Sad to say, this cruise did not meet expectations. I had never sailed Celebrity before, but I was expecting it to be somewhat like Princess in that I expected good service in an upscale setting for a mostly adult crowd. The ship itself was decent, despite a few awkward areas that didn't seem to have an identity. But I found the service level of the staff to be far below expectations, and by far the worst of any I've experienced in any of my 10+ cruises.
We sailed a 6-night itinerary to Bermuda, which I understand was unusual (all of the other sailings were 7 nights), and also it was the last sailing to Bermuda before the ship gets re-positioned to Canada. The crew and the activities all seemed to be "off" -- nobody seemed to know what time things started, entertainment crew was late/missing to activities, the time zone change was incorrectly communicated so that all of the passengers and crew had conflicting ideas of what time of day it was, our stateroom attendant was angry with us that we had not evacuated the room by 8am on disembarkation day (although I searched everywhere and could find NO mention of this expectation anywhere) ... Very strange. I chalk this up to the crew being thrown off by the change from a 7 day to a 6 day itinerary. Possibly the crew was also just "tired" of the Bermuda itinerary?? It was a very strange experience with lots of unnecessary mix-ups.
Besides the scheduling and time zone snafus, I want to make 2 more notable mentions of the overall disorganization before I get into my list of pros and cons:
The first was at the AquaSpa, where my BF and I were trying to each get a service (him a neck and shoulder massage, me a stone massage) and they kept mixing up the two of us over and over and over. After trying to resolve at least 3 times, they then said they had straightened it out and took me into the salon because they still thought I had the neck and shoulder massage! You would think this was the most difficult problem in the world to solve, the way they handled it. Needless to say, by the time I finally got my stone massage I was extremely irritable and stressed.
The other thing I want to call out is the Celebrity Select dining - I do not recommend this over traditional dining! Service was consistently awful. Wrong dishes were brought, we'd have 5 different people serving us at any given time, I never knew who to ask for what.... It felt like eating amid chaos every night. I would ask for a lemon wedge, or a Perrier, or an extra spoon, and they would either come 25 minutes late or not at all. My BF asked for a glass of Port and that never arrived. One night two different someliers came to give us a glass of wine we had ordered and we ended up with double the amount of wine. At one dinner, I ordered 2 appetizers and received neither of them, and instead got 2 appetizers I did not order. It was simply ridiculous. We asked other passengers who did traditional dining, and they did not have these problems that were consistent with everybody we talked to who did Celebrity Select dining.
General List of the Good and the Bad:
-Embarkation was fast and efficient (Cape Liberty)
-Stateroom with veranda was nice
-Quality of the food was quite good, and the buffet food quality was probably the best I've seen in a long time
-Solarium area and AquaSpa buffet was a nice change from the usual cruise fare
-Casino was fine, and slots were pretty loose (we got a lot of play time for our money, and broke even)
-Beer selection at Michael's Club was great
-Bermuda was fabulous (as always)
-The production shows in the Celebrity Theater were actually pretty good (the Sirens one was our favorite)
-Coffee shop and Gelato shop were great
-TVs in the rooms had nice channel variety
-Celebrity's Premium Beverage package was awesome, really convenient, and well worth it
-Celebrity Select Dining. Just terrible.
-Crew always seemed to be missing or slacking off. Counters often were unmanned, never saw anybody on the pool deck walking around to bring you drinks. When you could find some members of the crew, they always seemed overworked or exasperated.
-Crew misinformed about time zones and activities (or differently informed than passengers, anyway).
-No sports bar on the the ship. If you want to watch the game, they send you to the business conference room on deck 3. Very weird.
-Michael's Club didn't open until 7pm on most nights.
-It felt like there weren't enough lounges and bars (and the ones they had were often not open until late)
-Trivia activity was awful. Disorganized and not fun.
-Jogging track got cut short by the "solstice-izing" of the ship, and now runs into a wall.
-The "for-fee" things on this ship were much more expensive than on other ships I've been on. $40 per person for specialty restaurants. $80 for 2 fitness classes.
-Disembarkation was slow and inefficient at Cape Liberty. We had to all pile onto buses right off the ship, and the buses take you literally about 20 meters down the road. Took FOREVER to get everybody off the ship, into the buses (lots of elderly and disabled on this cruise, plus suitcases, which added to the bus loading time), and off the buses.
Message to Celebrity: You'd better improve your service if you expect repeat customers. Next cruise I think we will go back to Royal or Disney.