We have cruised 6 times, 1 RCCL, 1 Carnival, 1 Norwegian, and this was our 3rd Celebrity. Obvious, we have Celebrity most to our liking. When I booked the cruise, I was a tad short on funds so I went with inside cabins (my teenaged sons in one, wife and myself in another). I had never tried an inside cabin, and while I'd heard some negative comments on it, most of those comments entailed claustrophobia which none of us have a problem with. More on that later.
We live on the east coast, and had little trouble finding decent non-stop fares to Puerto Rico. You can pay $40 per person for transportation to the pier from the airport, but I'd read that cabs are the less expensive option, which proved to be true. Rates to the pier (and other locations) are clearly printed in the airport. Most of the cabs were mini-vans, so there was no trouble fitting the 4 of us and our bags. I believe it was about $32 with tip each way.
One of the nice things about this cruise is that it doesn't depart until 8:30 PM, which allows for some airline delays, and less travel stress. I know a lot of people flew in the day before and stated at a hotel, which wasn't an option for us as I didn't want my son to miss another day of school. We arrived at about noon, and were able to board as soon as we go to the ship. Celebrity's embarkation is quick and painless. I would say we were on the ship within 30-40 minutes of getting to the pier.
The ship was rehabbed in early 2012. As such, is was very clean, and obviously well maintained. As I said, we had an interior cabin. The rear wall is mirrored, which gives the feeling that it is much larger than it really was. It was well laid out, and the bathroom seemed to be larger than what I'd had on other ships. My only problem with the interior cabin was mornings. I'm used to being awakened by the sun, and it was a bit weird waking up in the darkness. Generally we spend very little time in our cabin, but I read a lot, and reading in a cabin during the day with no natural light was a bit off-putting. I doubt I do interior again.
The public spaces ont he ship are very nice, not tacky as I've experienced on sone ships, but modern and elegant. The pool are was also quite nice, we never had trouble getting a deck chair, and the attendants do a nice job dealing with chair hogs.
The ship has a thalassotherapy pool, which quickly became one of our favorite spots. If you are unfamiliar with it, it's like a huge hot tub, and was generally kid-free. They also has "spa cuisine" which were very tasty and healthy alternatives to the usual fare. I strongly suggest the lunch salads.
The food, as with m other Celebrity cruises was very good, as was the service. We only ate in the main dining room 3 times, once in the Q-Sine restaurant, and then "whatever" for the other nights. I cook, and knew good food. My wife had fish that was a bit dry one night, but other than that, all of our meals were great. I would definitely recommend coughing up the $40 for Q-Sine. It was weird, fun food, well presented, and quite interesting. I definitely do it again. Also, they have a coffee bar where you can pay for special coffees, lattes, etc. The deserts at the coffee bar are not extra money, yet tended to be more interesting than what they had in the dining room.
We don't go to shows, so I speak to them.
Out kids are older teens, so I can't speak to the kids' programs; we specifically chose this cruise s we figured there would be fewer children, and we were correct. This isn't the right cruise for you if you have kids that need a lot of peers. Perhaps over a holiday or when school is out, but not in early Nov.OOne of the reasons we chose this cruise was I'm not fond of sea days. This itinerary entails 5 island, each for about 8 hours. We never felt rushed, and all of the ports are deepwater, so no tendering in. We did excursions I found on Cruise Critic, with strong reviews from Trip Advisor. If you do this cruise, I STRONGLY recommend the Calabaza tour at Barbados. It was quite honestly the best tour I've ever taken. We did the Cosol Island tour in St. Lucia, which is an excellent way to see the island, but be warned, if you don't drink, maybe this isn't the tour for you. We went to Jolly Point at Antigua. If you want to go to a stunning beach, with few crowds, I recommend it over the beaches nearer the ship. It's easy to get a cab to and from the beach, and there is food and booze available. My kids rented jet skis and had a blast.
At St. Thomas we went off on out own, cabbed to Red Hook and took the ferry to St John. My wife and I liked it so much we're spending a week there this winter.
I didn't use the fitness center, but my and son did, and they were very impressed.
Disembarkation was also painless. We were in a cab within minutes of getting off the boat. Even customs was easy.
The only negative I have was drink service. On The last two cruises we went on, the roaming drink guys were like locusts. As soon as one was walking away, another was bugging you to buy another drink. It got really annoying. The problem was the opposite on this cruise. I would have to go looking for a server, or wait 10 minutes at the bar. This problem was specific to the pool area. I didn't have this problem at other areas. I don't know if they were shot staffed or what, it was weird.
So how much did I like this cruise? Well, the ship alternates routes week to week. I've already made plans to take the alternate route itinerary this in Nov 2013.