We have been trying to take this cruise for several years now and finally made it to Hawaii. We used Choice Air and depending on the next cruise we go on, we may just book our own next time.
We live in Las Vegas, so flying out they had us go to San Francisco for an hour layover, then on to San Diego. So we started the day quite early. Celebrity has lots of people at the Terminal to welcome cruisers and direct us to the area to wait for the bus to the Cruise Terminal. Let me just say they need more than 2 security scan stations at the port of San Diego. This was the second time we have left from there and while this time was much better with only one cruise ship in port, we still spent 45 min in line for the security scan. The actual check in took no more than 10 minutes, great. Once on the ship we recieved our sparking wine and tried to get to our room. Unfortunatly they were not ready yet. So we took our carryon's and went to the buffet for lunch. After lunch we checked to make sure we had a table for two, which we did, and made a reservation for the Specialty Restaurent. Then we were finally able to get to our room.
The room was pretty nice. We met our butler and asked for two body pillows and an egg crate topper for our bed. I now sleep with a C-Pap machine and there was a gallon of distilled water in the room. I was pleseantly suprised that there was an outlet right next to the bed, so I wouldn't need the extension cord that I had requested. We also asked if we could have a cheese tray instead of the hor'dourves they normally bring to the room. Also my husband mentioned that he eats at least one banana a day, and that he loved to snack on Strawberries. Our butler made sure than each day we had at least one banana, and we noticed every evening that there were at least 4 strawberries in the fruit dish. Our butler took such good care of us, that on the days that we were not in the room at tea time he new exactly what to leave us. My husban is diabetic and he always made sure to have a sugar free treat for him. Although I don't remember his name our butler was from India and when we expressed interest in Indian food he mentioned that all we needed to do was talk to the matra'd and we could request an Indian dish for the next night. Sometimes our butler would suprise us with shrimp coctail instead of our cheese plate and one night he had an Indian eggplant dish for us. It was wonderful. Couldn't ask for better service.
We had only cruised on the Infinity and the Mille, so this was a smaller ship for us. I have to say we liked it a lot. They layout was somewhat similar, the only thing I didn't like was we were on the lower level of the Dinning Room and in order to use the bathroom you had to go up one level. We had a great table for two. Our waiter was Domingos and his assistant was Duje. They were great. Our waiter was also Indian and once he found out that we were interested in Indian food, he made sure we saw the matra'd and my husband put in a request. Well they suprised us with an additional dinner each of linel soup and Chick Marsala. What can I say, it was wonderful. We fell in love with Indian food. Our waiter told us that on the buffet in the afternoon if we went to the Asian section of the buffet they usually have some Indian food there. On several other occasion he suprised my husband with some sort of Indian dish. I have to say that the meals that we had in the Dinning room we very good. I think the only thing I really didn't care for was the Baked Alaska. The sponge cake was way to wet and there really wasn't enough ice cream.
We went to each show at night and enjoyed most of them. The only one we didn't care for was a juggler that was constantly mmumbling it seemed to himself and just didn't make sense. All the other acts were great. We did attend a couple of the guest lectures about Hawaii and they were very informative. We also attended several of the craft sessions with June and we were able to make several items. She told us several stories of Hawaii and was quite funny. We were able to take part in a backstage tour and it was very informative.
Most of our experiences have been with a very young cruise director. We John is a bit older and I have to say, I think he was able to better relate to most of the cruisers. He is very well spoken and has quiet the sense of humour.
Our first stop was Kona and was a Tender port. We had a ships tour of Kona Highlights. The bus driver was very informative and we saw a lot. We capped off the tour with a stop at a Kona Coffe Museum and gift shop. At the end of the tour we did make a stop at Hilo Hatties and walked back to the tender after that.
Our next stop was Hilo. I had remembered on our way over that I had a friend that lived in Hawaii and was able to get in touch via Facebook. We had booked a tour of the Volanco and Hilo hightlights. Our friend met up with us at the Volano and we decided to meet at Hilo Hatties after the tour. While we didn't have much time we were able to see some of the parts of the City and nature that most people don't get to see. It was a good but short visit. Next time we will contact them as soon as we book a cruise and spend the whole day with with them.
Our last stop was Honolulu, we were here for a day and a half. The first day we went to Pearl Harbor and visited the Arizona Memorial. Then in the last afternoon we went to Paradise Cove for a luao. The setting was really pretty, but we didn't get to see all of the exhibits. The lines for drinks were crazy long and although the drink were small they were tasty. The buffet was good, but we were looking forward to the digging up of the roast pig, didn't happen with anyone watching. I didn't realize that maccaroni salad was authentic Hawaiian. Everything else was good. The show was wonderful. It did sprinkle a little during the show, but not much. The second day, my husband was told that Waikiki was only just past a few buildings and not far from the ship, so we decided to go for a walk. Did I mention that I had slightly pulled a muscle in one of my legs and I have a bad back and I also have Copd. Well the short walk turned into about a 5 mile round trip walk. Luckily there were several places where I could stop for a few minutes and rest my back and catch my breath, Last time we listen to a fellow cruiser. We did make it to a beach, just not Waikiki. Made it back to the ship terminal in time to do some final shopping and get back on the ship.
One the way back we did stop in Ensenada for a few hours. We did get off the ship for about an hour. There was a shopping area set up just off the ship. Then it was back to San Diego and time to start making our way home.
Remember we had booked cruise Air, well they had us on American Airlines and not leaving until 6:30 PM, so I booked a tour of San Diego. While a very good tour, we really didn't get much time for sightseeing. Then we were dropped off at the Airport around 1:00. We were able to check in our bags and this trip was scheduled to have a 40 minute layover in LA. Well lets see, first the 3:30 flight to LA was delayed so much that \for the international travelers they set up a bus to take them to LA. Then the 5:00PM was delayed for over 30 minutes. Next thing you know our flight was delayed for over 30 minutes. We made it to LA just in time to take a shuttle of another terminal and run to the gate, there was no room in the overheads for our carry ons so we had to check them. Come to find out they had held the flight for us and one other couple. Well needless to say we made it to Las Vegas at least 1/2 hour late. Our carry ons made it to Vegas, but our luggage was still in LA. We have to submit a lost luggage report and didn't get our bags until two days later. Talk about a stressful ending to an otherwise wonderful vacation.
We would do this cruise again in a heartbeat, but would book our own air travel.