Second cruise and first time with Celebrity.
Boarded easily - despite being on a fly cruise package with several coaches arriving at the cruise terminal at once. Being AQ gave us a bit of a head-start in boarding but all classes seemed to make a smooth journey onto the ship.
We went straight to the buffet - as do most cruisers - and were delighted with the choice and quality of food and the availability of tables. Comparing with P&O Azura, the Celebrity buffet dining throughout was a much more comfortable experience.
Being AQ we ate in Blu in the evenings and whilst the food was great, there were days when we resorted to the mainstays of steak or salmon. The menu had items we didn't recognise but the waiter was friendly and happy to explain and recommend - and in no way condescending. In fact the wait staff in Blu were exceptional.
We were in 1577 which is below the walkway around the pool deck. The overhang meant no direct sunlight but it didn't bother us despite us being vehement sun worshipers. We had a little noise from overhead in the evenings but virtually nothing at night (it was October and people may use the decks more in the height of summer). Our attendant was first rate, as was his assistant. They checked on what time we'd like coffee on our balcony, brought fresh ice every day and chilled anything that we left on the worktop.
We thought that the crew on this ship were wonderful. Their greetings felt genuine and they did go out of their way to make our holiday a great one.
We enjoyed the ports:
Messina - took the trip to Taormina and found it a relaxing day in a pretty town.
Athens - took a local bus to Glyfada thinking it was a greek holiday resort. It wasn't up to much and we returned to the ship within an hour.
Kusadasi - is a great port and so accessible on foot that it feels a waste to take an excursion.
Mykonos - we'd holidayed here earlier in the year but took the $8 shuttle into the centre which offers plenty to pass a nice day.
Rhodes - another great port where you can wander on and off the ship all day and an excursion's not necessary.
Santorini - the only port using tenders. We took the cable car to the town and the local bus to Oia (stunning). Had a great day but to get back to the ship was traumatic we had to walk down the 600+ steps alongside the donkeys/mules. It was slippery and scary. We had to do this because there is no effective queueing system for the cable cars to come back down and we'd stood in line for over an hour without making any progress whilst people queue jumped.
Naples - took the trip to Sorrento. The journey takes a while and we only had about 90 mins to explore but its a pretty place and had some nice shops for gifts at good prices.
The worst part of the holiday - by a country mile - was the return flight from Rome. Check in took an age, luggage wasn't loaded until all the passengers were on board and the airport staff stood around talking into their phones without any evidence of a game plan. I'd not be happy about using that airport again and Celebrity would do well to try to influence how their clients are managed through the process.
Last point - the flight from Manchester was with Thomson - a chartered flight specific to the cruise. 20k checked luggage and 5k hand luggage felt stingy and not to be offered a free drink felt positively tight.