When we booked this cruise the information showed Bordeaux as one of the ports. When we received our confirmation, Le Verdon was shown in parentheses next to Bordeaux. When I checked to see what was going on, I was told that the ship was too large to actually dock in Bordeaux itself, so Le Verdon was the closest alternative. Le Verdon is quite a distance from Bordeaux and there is absolutely no taxi service, buses or trains to take you from the port into the city of Bordeaux from the dock area. Actually, Le Verdon is sort of a seaside wasteland, as there are only a few cargo containers sitting around on the dock and absolutely nothing else within sight. There apparently is a little village some walking distance away from the dock, but since it was not the summer season, everyone who made the trek there said that everything was closed. We ended up taking the $89pp round trip bus into Bordeaux, but did not use the return trip, as we had booked a private wine Chateaux tour the following day from Bordeaux with two other couples, and it included the trip back to the ship. Our first stop was Le Havre, which is quite a distance from Paris and can be reached by taking a train one's own. Le Havre itself is an has some virtues and is not far by train from other historic cities such as Rouen, etc. The ship offered a bus into what was billed as the city center in Le Havre, but suggested that the port itself was not safe to walk through, which we found to be absolutely untrue. We made the nice walk into the city to find the train station, for which there were signs all along the way. We ended up walking around the historic part of Le Havre the first day in port, and then joined up with another couple to rent a car and drove to Rouen and Honfleur. The car rental agency is not far from the dock area, so very doable. The passengers who took the $15 bus trip into the city center ended up being deposited at the port entrance, a 2 minute ride, but still not in the center of the city. People were lined up to take taxis too, but I am not aware of the cost. The information provided by the ship for these two ports was sadly lacking if you wanted to do anything on your own. It appeared that Celebrity just wanted to gouge passengers for their own tours, which were very expensive for what was offered. The information for the subsequent ports was more detailed, although not greatly, especially if one is a do it yourself traveler like ourselves. Most people we spoke with about the ports felt Celebrity seemed to be "patching together" a cruise that was added when they abandoned some earlier planned itineraries and that the tours were thus poorly planned and too expensive for what they involved.
The ship itself seems a bit tired in some areas in spite of having been "Solsticized" not long ago. We heard that the ship is due for another remodel very soon, and it surely needs it. Part of the carpet trim near the floor in our cabin was missing and there was a layer of dust around the edges of the carpet that looked to have been there quite a while. There was black mold around the bottom of our shower, and several places where rust was clearly evident on the metal edges near doors, etc. While the crew seemed to be very helpful and friendly for the most part, the desk could have been a bit more responsive and friendly when we were asking about port options, etc. They acted a bit put upon. The concierge, on the other hand, was very helpful and understanding while still acting very friendly, even when we were complaining about the lack of port information. Our room steward seemed to be very overworked, and often gave us only one washcloth instead of two, but hurriedly came up with a second when asked. He also was quick to provide more hangars on our first day on board.
Food was fairly good for the most part, although a bit repetitive, especially in the buffet. On a couple of occasions, the food in the main dining room was outstanding, especially the fillet and the rack of lamb. Desserts all were excellent and service was impeccable. Our waiter, assistant waiter and wine steward were all tip top in every way. The brunch in the main dining room was a bit of a disappointment. We felt breakfast in the buffet was just as good, or even better in many ways.
The main pool on the ship is quite large and looked to be great for a lap swimmer like myself, but although I prefer colder water than others, it was way too cold for a swim. Was a huge disappointment for me, as swimming is my primary exercise and I was excited when I saw pictures of the pool online. The therapy pool indoors is too hot and not large enough for lap swimming.
While we enjoyed ourselves on this cruise and had a great time meeting and making new friends on board, we probably will never sail with Celebrity again, as this was our second cruise with this line, and both were a bit disappointing for one reason or another.