A very short little cruise from Amsterdam to Southampton, repositioning the ship before her Wine Cruise season. 2 nights long and just 250 miles travelled.
We used BA Avios airmiles to buy our flights to AMS for Â£13.50. Took off on time at 7:20 and landed in Amsterdam an hour later. By accident we bought 1st class train tickets for â‚¬6.50pp for the 15 minute ride into town. Exit the station by platform 15 (or you just follow the boat signs), cross the road to the water, look to your right and you should spot your ship just by the Movenpick Hotel. It is a simple easy 10 minute stroll to Amsterdam Cruise terminal, avoiding the cyclists. Within an hour of landing in Holland we were checking in to leave again. Nothing personal! We were on board by 11am and it looked like we were one of the first to arrive.
Having only taken s-class ships recently we were interested to see what a solsticized m-class ship looked like. Unfortunately she fell a little short of the real thing in our opinion. We found her a bit shabby in places, balustrades desperately needed varnishing, rust on balconies needed painting, bathrooms needed replacing, buttons in the elevators were worn. Strangely our oceanview room smelt of paint be we could not see what could have been painted. Perhaps it was outside. The ship was very clean though and we did like the general layout. Many wasted areas such as Cellar Masters (but hey, that is empty on s-class too).
Seaside cafe was strangely laid out in 2 halves separated by the stairs and elevators. And it had carpet on the floor? Outside seating area was nice, clearly divided into the smokers and non smoking side. Food was good, especially the chateaubriand in the MDR on the 2nd night.
We had bought the drinks package and here we encountered the first issues with service that befell the whole cruise. A waiter approached, ready to take our order, we said we had the package and he walked off. Oh dear. Were we about to experience the service issues 'because we have the package so they won't get tipped' that we had so often read about. It took 3 attempts to get a waiter to serve us. Finished plates lay uncleared on the outside table for 25 minutes. There just seemed to be an apathy about the crew which we had not encountered before, which if it had been a longer cruise would have caused concern.
There was a mandatory inspection by UK passport authorities. We were told that we would have a letter in all cabins advising of the time to go. We did not have one; neither did many others. When we called GR we were told to go at any time. The whole of the Reflections Lounge on 11 was given over to this. A solitary UK passport official gave a cursory glance at the passport and that was it. They were calling for guests by name and room number later that afternoon -- so they probably had not got the letter either.... or heard the announcements ....or read the information in the daily sheet.
Because it was a 2 night cruise there was general confusion before going about the dress code. The UK office were advising that there was one formal night, but then this changed to Smart casual or Formal optional leading to a mixture of outfits. There was a general party atmosphere on board, and there was a very large group who totally disregarded the dress code and had a fancy dress evening one night which did not fit in with our impression of what Celebrity cruises should be like. They also seemed to take over large areas of the ship, even adorning statues with tee-shirts advertising their group. Classy.
Captains Club vouchers were not issued, probably as they would have been pointless (no time to do laundry!) but we did get the $49.99 internet voucher. The Captains Club Elite drinks were held on the 2nd night in Michaels Club, but given that there were apparently 150 Elites on board you could not even get through the door. Remember that the Passport man is sitting in solitary splendour in the vast Reflections lounge perhaps the venues could have been swapped with some forward thinking? Now it usually takes 2-3 days to get the internet package redeemed so this led to issues on the last morning when the value had not been deleted from the account, despite a visit to GR the day before and a call to our room by GR advising it had been done. The interactive TV did not work for the cruise so we could not check via our TVs.
I wonder why Captains Club cannot introduce guest 'Preferences' selection like RCI have done for their Diamond and D+ members where you can go on line and pick the gift you want. It would be so much easier and you could pick that you wanted the Internet voucher as your gift and your account could be preloaded with $49.99 in OBC before you board to save all this kerfuffle. Perhaps we should forward that as an idea to Michael Bayley ( but as we in the UK did not get his email but that is another issue!).
Having just re-read this it does sound a bit negative. We do not mean it to be but I think after so many wonderful cruises on the s-class ships, with great service this cruise just fell a little short. However the weather was wonderful, considering we were in the middle of the English Channel, we travelled with some great friends, and we even got to experience Perry Grant......who was frankly average --but I did only stay 4 minutes before bailing out to the better offer that was the Martini Bar!