If it wasn't for the people I was with, I would have left this cruise mid-way and flown home. I would have had MORE fun!
Let's start from the beginning...
Firstly, I was traveling in a group of 6 people, ages 29-70. This review is the experience we all had combined. 4 out of the 6 people were Elite members and have cruise a lot, the other 2 are fairly new to cruising. In this review, you will get all perspectives.
Let's try to get some good things at least stated first..
Embarkation: This was pretty straightforward. We arrived in Venice, Italy, got to the port (via our own transportation) and it went FAIRLY smoothly. I say fairly because it looked pretty messed up in the other lines, but since I am an Elite member with Celebrity I was able to go in a separate line. The newbie to cruising wasn't sure what was going on, I think she assumed the chaos of people was normal.
The Ship: This IS a gorgeous ship. Everything was clean from the cabins to the main areas and dining. The were sanitizing everything and even gave you sanitizing gel every time you entered the main casual dining upstairs. From artwork, to the shops, casino... just stunning.
The Cabins: Gorgeous Cabins. We had a total of 3 cabins between the 6 of us. 2 SV categories (sunset veranda's at the back of the ship) and one Suite Category (also at the back of the ship). We liked these balcony rooms as we could see ourselves sailing away from the ports (for the most part) and could watch the sunsets from our balconies. The size of the room was fairly large compared to other cruises I have been on. There was no real storage space which I found odd. There was only one area with plugs, 2 outlets total. This also did not make sense! The bathroom definitely seemed bigger than any Royal Caribbean cruise I have been on (fyi i have been on every class ship on RCCL except the Oasis class). The Balcony was a decent size as well. For the most part, you have to remember you are on a ship, and you cannot expect huge staterooms without being in a suite. The suite that 2 of us had was beautiful! It was also situated at the back of the ship, and it was MUCH larger than the SV category. It also had its own butler that would always bring food, chocolates... anything that you really wanted. The bathrooms were also huge. The suite bathroom had an actual tub/shower combo that I have never seen before on a ship! Nice touch, especially the rain shower!
One side note: Our Stateroom Attendant left our door open once to our stateroom which was unacceptable. He also left our Balcony door open TWICE... and the separation between my balcony and my neighbours was broken. This is UNACCEPTABLE. For a cruise that was on it's 3rd journey, I'm shocked the ship is falling apart.
Entertainment: This cruise LACKED entertainment. Not only this, but it NEVER started on time. It was always about 10 minutes late. It was 14 days, where only 3 of the 14 days had actually good entertainment. The Magician (which i unfortunately personally missed out on for reasons you will find out later in the review), the Comedian, and the last dance show nearing the end of the cruise. The other dance shows and acts that we had were horrid. All 6 of us, along with a lot of people left the shows because they were too painful to sit through the full hour.
Cruise Director: "Terrible" doesn't even seem to properly describe this cruise director. He was NEVER at the shows, NEVER had interaction with the passengers, NEVER around! One of us actually saw him walking on the ship, we said hello, he didn't even respond. He was rude, and all he cared about was being on his cell phone. He never once cared to interact with us passengers, nor even make himself visible at the shows at times! What exactly is his job again?? I'm sorry, does the Celebrity Cruise Director application require "good knowledge and use of cell phone and texting"? Because that's all I saw him do while I was running to a show. It was maybe 5 minutes after the show SHOULD have started (as I mentioned before, it started late, so i actually was perfectly fine coming in 5 minutes late) and walking towards the theatre I saw the Cruise Director on his phone (yet again) right outside. Well, would you believe that he didn't even come on stage that night to introduce the act? Nope! What the heck was he doing outside the theatre?! What the heck is his job?
Captain: CLEARLY this captain has his own fan club... If you sat in on his little speech about his "saving of the passengers"...you could vomit. I personally watched this on TV as I had something else to attend to, but 3 of our party sat in so that when the q&a period came we could talk to the Captain about our problems. Let me first tell you what happened:
On this cruise, while at dinner actually, we heard a loud bang/boom. The next day we found out that we were no longer going to our port of call because one of our engines stopped working. Well, first it was our engine, then it was our propeller, and then the Captain told us everything is fine (when clearly it wasn't because we never got to our ports on time!) Not only that, but there are advantages of having a cabin at the back of the ship... you can see if the engines are working! Well... one engine was working... the other one was fluttering. The Captain never updated us at all on what was going on, and he was never honest about the situation.
SO... when this q&a opportunity came up, we had to ask what the heck was going on and why NOBODY would tell us the truth. He beat around the bush and didn't want to answer our question straight on. He is a TERRIBLE Captain. I don't care that he saved passengers, I care that I am not LIED to. That he tells us the TRUTH, and that he tells us what the heck is going on! He thinks he's all clever by using Ship terminology to try and say "I never said we had an engine problem!" ... yeah, well we aren't idiots, we can see the engines working or failing from our cabins.. BE HONEST! A full day would go by without even letting us know the progress of fixing the problems! This is NOT how you handle a situation like this. Not only that, but if we were in our staterooms we would have to run to the outside every time he would make any sort of announcement as he NEVER announced them in the Cabins. I mean... don't you think it's kind of important?! I never once was on a cruise ship where if there was a problem it wouldn't be announced in the cabins. If the cruise ship was sinking, would we have to run to open the cabin doors to hear the announcement as well? Just downright wrong. This Captain by far was NOT good.
Continuing another little story that is related to this.... We stopped at Athens, Greece and were given an extended time there since we had "engine" problems. We were told to be back on the ship by midnight. Well, 4 of the 6 of us were out in Athens at night enjoying ourselves and at least getting a night experience there while we have the opportunity. We were very disappointed to have to be back by midnight as we did not want to leave. Well, the ship never left until 4AM! We went downstairs by 1:00am and asked what's going on!? We even called Guest Relations. Everyone said they could not tell us when we would be leaving. I did not have to end my fun time in Athens to be back on the ship to do nothing. At LEAST if you are going to leave later, give us the opportunity to stay later in Athens! The gangway was still out even at 2AM! They wouldn't let us off the ship, but yet they were letting other people on till 4AM. NOT RIGHT! They were not leaving on time for over half the trip. We would rush to be on time to find out we didn't need to stress ourselves out in the end.
Shore Excursions: We had a HUGE problem here. We took the 4x4 jeep tour in Malta. What it says on the information sheet.. FALSE! It is ALL wrong. What a terrible terrible excursion. Do NOT at any cost take it! EVEN IF SOMEONE PAID YOU!!! It was a ride from hell. We were 6 people in back of a pick up truck that was driving at high speeds like a crazy mad man, i almost fell out of the truck! It was also cold and windy that day.. none of this was taken into consideration. I guess the drivers' lack of knowledge of how fast he was going (since his speedometer was broken and remained at 0) and his flapping of his door which never locked properly, and broken seat belt was his excuse?.. yeah. The driver could have spoken English.. that would have been nice. It literally was a 3 hour ride of sitting in a crazy mad man vehicle in the freezing cold. No guide was given on the tour as the driver shut off the radio with the only English speaking guide talking on it as apparently we eventually would "not be able to hear it anyways!" ... All the cars in this excursion had the same issues and when we went to celebrity shore excursions to complain, all we got was a half refund. NOT ACCEPTABLE. Like I said before, I wouldn't take this excursion if you paid me!
Dining: The food - FABULOUS! I rarely find now a days that the food in the dining room is great, and this was just outstanding! I must commend that. We did have a few issues though. Firstly, the first day they screwed up our reservation and put all 6 of us at separate tables. This was not fixed much as they couldn't find us a table of 6. They decided to put us at select dining. Well, once we went to select dining, the first 2 days were terrible! We sat there for maybe an hour before we even got served or handed menus. When we complained for the 2nd time as we all were at this point very annoyed, they begged us to come one more night, told us they would switch our table and put us in good hands with another server. After this was done, we were treated AMAZINGLY. Our server, Melvyn, was just outstanding. We all could not have had a better experience with him. It was him who made us stay at select dining for the remainder of the cruise. There are no words to describe how great and attentive this man is.
Spa: We used the hair salon and got manicures at the spa. The manicures I find are overpriced but they did a great job. I didn't use the hair salon personally, but the person in my group who did I believe liked it. Her normally curly hair looked amazingly straight. The one problem I encountered was that the lady was late to take me about 20 minutes for my appointment.
Activities: Non-existent would be the appropriate way of describing activities. When we got stuck on the ship at an extra sea day because of our "engine" problems, we all dreaded it. There was nothing. Literally nothing! Aside from all of us being nauseous that day because the stabilizers were off and the ship was rocking like crazy, we had no activities to attend to and we all just sat miserably staring at each other upstairs at the 14th dining area. Bored. This was also the same for the other 2 sea days that were normally scheduled. I could not believe the lack of activities on this ship! Did they think the people on board were all in walkers and wheelchairs that no activities were scheduled? Do they think that people in their 50's, 60's and 70's just like to sit around and fall asleep? I can guarantee you that everyone in my group, ages 29-70 were ALL BORED. We begged for activities! Aside from the day we were all nauseous and terribly sick from the rocking we were all wanting to be a part of something!
Overall, what made this trip remotely great was because of the people I was with. We had to make our own fun when the cruise did not offer us this is any way. Had all these problems never happened, this trip would have been superb. It's sad that there were these issues because this ship does have potential... it just really REALLY needs to improve in service, activities, the Captain, cruise director, and entertainment. I felt so bad when I heard the Transatlantic cruise (the one that followed ours) was missing the Canary Islands because of the still ongoing problem with the engines [that, may I say, the captain once told us the problem was fixed (lie!)] because this meant they would now have 9 days at sea instead of 7 days ... I would rather swim the transatlantic ocean than be on that ship for 9 sea days! What horror they must be encountering..