This was my first time sailing with Celebrity. I had a really good time and the onboard staff were great. Cruise Critic was very informative before I left (a lot more helpful than the FAQ and pre cruise online customer service for celebrity) so I want to answer some of the questions people had before they sailed.
We had a kettle in our room. Also had a handheld hair dryer in addition to the wall one in the bathroom. Robes but no slippers. Masses of shampoos etc, extra hangers upon request, wine glasses in room.
We had anytime seating and could always show up (6 of us) and get a table right away in the dining room without a time reservation.
Negative was that the hot tubs closed very early (between 8 and 9) and we often wanted to relax in them after dinner to recover from a day of walking - often in bad weather. also one side of the indoor therapy pool was broken for the entire trip so use of the jets was usually restricted to 5 minutes because of the number of people waiting for their turn.
I was disappointed that there was an extra fee for exercise classes in the gym and there were no activities specifically aimed at singles.
Took a wine tour with a company called Bordeaux Vertigo which I booked with them before I left and that was very enjoyable around the vineyards and a lot cheaper than the Celebrity tour (and more personal). I would recommend limiting it to six though because we were a little cramped in the van with 8 people.
Celebrity offered $15 transport to Bilbao but we walked into the harbor and caught the metro train for a couple of euros which brought us right to the center. Then we took the finicular up to see the view of the town and walked to the Gugganheim and on to the old District. We met quite a few people in town who had taken the half day Celebrity bus tour and were very disappointed with it.
We did not realize the ship docks 60 km from Bordeaux so we spent the second day at Soulac-sur-mer near Bordeaux - a bit boring but stop by the market (closes at 1-5pm) and grab a plastic liter of Grand Cru wine from their taps for only $4 !! Very nice wine and cannot beat the price...
We were disappointed that Celebrity did not offer Happy Hour in any of the bars before dinner which is always a nice social time. the only offer they had was 50% off the 2nd martini between 9 and 10. However, they did not restrict us from bringing bottles of wine onboard to consume during the trip.
I highly recommend the Celebrity trip to Giverney and Rouen. A bit pricey and a long day but Monet's Garden is amazing and Rouen makes England look new. It included a very good lunch and our guide was extemely informative about the area and the history during the long drive.
Take zinc or airbourne. With a winter trip like this we were inside breathing recirculated air a lot and 3 out of 6 of us got very sick with chest infections and stomach disorders. :(
The weather was totally unpredictable. Layering is the only way to go when you get off the ship but the ship itself was very warm most of the time.
Lots of entertainment - comedy, singers, bands, dancers - in the showroom and the various bars. Lovely ice top martini bar. Several wine tastings offered on board. the Cruise Director is amazing - Sue. She remembers everyone's name and shows up everywhere to greet us.
Disembarkation went like clockwork. I was in the last group and got a cab to the train station and got there by 10am. Much earlier than I expected.