I'll skip an in-depth discussion of the Embarkation Procedures that involved busing to Ensenada to board the ship, though quite honestly, in my opinion, it wasn't bad at all. However, I am sure many would disagree with that assessment, and I know many issues have been directed to Celebrity Management.
Once we boarded the ship, almost immediately the "Celebrity Experience" (think relaxation, service, food, drink, smiles) took hold, and continued throughout the 11 nights. Staff were pleasant, helpful, accommodating, kind, professional and unfailingly full of smiles and genuine warmth. I typically get up around 4 am to wander the ship (even with the many time changes) and spoke to every level of crew member I encountered...and every exchange was "excellent" (typical Celebrity response) !!
The ship was in very good/excellent overall condition, and staff are seen at all hours cleaning, polishing, washing, etc to make sure it stays that way. Cabins (C1 Aft) were comfortable More
and the bathroom, carpets, fixtures etc all in good condition; bedding was good, storage is adequate (much prefer the M Class bedside tables to those on the S Class). We are aft/stern lovers, and the size of those balconies is wonderfully large, with 2 lounge chairs, 2 regular chairs and a small table. Though pads were not initially provided for the lounge chairs, they were quickly obtained when I asked my Stateroom Attendant. We were on deck 9, and were a bit worried of noise from the deck above, but for the most part, it was a total non-issue...yes, you could, at times, hear the scraping of chairs, but not to the point of "disturbing". We could also sometimes hear talking/music from the deck above, but only if we had the balcony door open. Friends on decks 7 and 8 had absolutely no noise issues. One item of note, that I think I recall being mentioned on CC...at night on several nights, we could hear a thumping sound...almost like the sound of a loud bass from a car radio that you hear while sitting in traffic next to someone with the radio turned excessively loud...At first I thought it was just that...music from somewhere...but it was 3am. Other nights we never heard it...so I never was able to determine what it was/where it was coming from ??
There was a group of 6 of us traveling together, and we were assigned late seating in the MDR (chose this because of the number of sea days, and because we typically indulge in the offerings of the Sushi Bar at 5;30-6pm...so a later dinner works well for us. Our Head waiter (Ali from Turkey) and Assistant (Ernest from the Philippines) were super fantastic, and in fact probably rate as the 2 best I have had on any cruise. Ali in particular was one of the kindest, most sincere, and friendly individuals I have met in my life...and I look forward to staying in touch with him. Trying to recall, I think during the entire cruise, our table (6 of us) returned/were not satisfied with a total of 3 dishes....that's impressive, since we ate in the MDR for 10 of the 11 nights....one night was on-shore at Old Lahaina Luau. Food quality, quantity, portion size, temperatures, served as ordered, etc...were routinely excellent. We had planned to eat at the Specialty Restaurants a couple of times during this cruise, but were so satisfied with the MDR, that we never did.
Cafe al Bacio was my morning ritual (several times each morning), and I am happy to report that service, quality and consistency of coffee drinks was excellent. I am a coffee addict, and although I know Celebrity has improved the quality of their coffee in the machines in the OceanView Cafe...it still is not the least bit appealing to my taste buds....and yes, since Cafe al Bacio didn't open til 6:30am (better than 7am as on previous cruises) I had to partake of the machine coffee each early morning...not good !!
T-Pool was wonderful. Gym was in good shape, with all but 1 or 2 machines in working order. Just a note, although the Gym opening hour is listed as 6am, the doors are never locked, and I was often done my workout by 6am.
We are not big show folks, so I can't give a detailed account of the quality/noise levels/crowds etc. We did attend a Comedian...very good, and a Pianist...also, very good. Theater seats and condition overall appeared excellent. On a related note, CC recently had long threads discussing music noise levels on Celebrity ships lately...I never noticed loud music in any venue during this entire cruise.
Tendering went well, with no overly long waits on-board or on shore (except the first morning in Kailua-Kona and the evening after the Luau's were over at Lahaina, and buses of folks were returning at the same time).
Martini Bar was popular...Thanks to Wid from Indonesia !!
Casino seemed popular...I make it a point to never lose in excess of $10...that took all of 5 minutes, and I was done in the casino for the next 10 nights !!
Photographers did not seem as intrusive on this cruise as in the past...in fact, we found it a bit strange that the Photo Shop was closed upon our initial arrival in Honolulu (it was an overnite), and we saved money, as we were not able to purchase pics on our last days !! Never fear, between the 6 of us, we probably took a few thousand pictures combined !
Several activities were offered that were fun/educational and well attended. Specifically, we very much enjoyed the Hula Lessons, and lei making. Very popular and great fun !!
One area of the ship that I think is wasted space is the aft/stern area of deck 12...above the new Aqua Class Cabins. There are lounge chairs up there...but nothing else. Seems kind of unappealing in my eyes...Appears like it would have been a perfect spot to install a couple of Hot Tubs/Endless Pools, and some tables with umbrellas or something. Rarely saw anyone up there at any time, except sail-aways.
We did 2 ship sponsored excursions...snorkeling in Lahaina on the first morning (excellent); and on debarkation day...Pearl Harbor/City Tour with Airport drop-off (excellent).
Overall, this was a Great cruise, with Great service from Great Staff, on a Great itinerary, spent with Great friends ! Less
Helicopter tour with 2.5 hrs in air and 1 hr landing in a valley with hiking to waterfall etc. EXCELLENT tour that exceeded all expectations. I HIGHLY recommend this tour, and anyone who is interested may contact me for information.
After 2 hours sleep, we were up at 1am, off the ship by 145am, and picked up by Bike Company at 2am. Van ride to summit to watch the sunrise..SPECTACULAR !! Then a 23 mile bikeride down the mountain...FANTASTIC !! Highly recommend.
Boarded a large motor catamaran for trip to Lanai coast for snorkeling, and dolphin watch. Breakfast, lunch and all drinks (alcoholic and non) provided in cost. Conducted by Pacific Whale Foundation, so was very professional and informative. When a huge pod of dolphins was spotted the Captain slowly followed them for quite awhile...so everyone had ample opportunity to observe, take pics etc. Highly recommend.