Having booked Aqua Class on a more modern Luxury Cruise ship with an exciting itinerary, we very much looked forward to this cruise. The journey started with unexpected rain in Rome and an accident on the motorway, which led to our luggage being delayed to late that night. Unable to unpack prior to dinner or being able to change for dinner, this was not the best of starts. The cabin design was not the best we have experienced. There was extremely little storage space for clothes in fact extremely little space for storing anything.
Aqua Class we felt was a waste of money. The cabin space was cramped and the few extras did not justify the additional fare. We were unable to use the Spa facilities plus gym etc. due to the extremely busy itinerary. The Blue Restaurant's menu was far less healthy and interesting than expected. In particular breakfast was of rather poor quality. In the end we only went a couple of times.
Overall the ship was very noisy. At any given time there was some singer in some corner loudly yawping their heart out - especially around the pool area. Reading a book or quietly relaxing was out of the question. The outside deck areas, where the deckchairs were, was extremely crowded with no personal space between sunbeds. There seemed to be no escape and no privacy.
The same applied to the bars at night. There was nowhere to have a quiet, sophisticated drink, where one could also hold a conversation. It was all very loud. And some of the primarily American and Canadian passengers certainly made their presence felt.
The shops were manned by very young staff, who did not have any knowledge of the products they were selling. My partner bought a Longines watch. The sales assistant, dressed in a creased and crumpled suit had to do some research on the web first to find out its features, how to set it etc. For a luxury item I did not think this was satisfactory and sent out a message of incompetence.
The shore excursions however, were excellent. We both enjoyed having seen Capri, Rome, Sicily, Rhodes and in particular Ephesus and Pompeii. We had some fantastic experiences and saw some wonderful sights.
Overall, it was not a relaxing cruise. The programme was very packed and tiring but we realise it had to be that way, in order to make the most of the ports of call. The ship did not come across as luxurious, as described and was rather disappointing. The crew however, were excellent. Extremely friendly and helpful. I must say I would not consider travelling with Celebrity again. I felt the boat did not accommodate passengers who did not require constant entertainment and felt unrefined. In fact I am thinking of a land based holiday again, having not enjoyed this cruise as much as previous cruises with Cunard or indeed land-based holidays.