Boarding in Sydney was very smooth. About 10 minutes for us in Concierge and about 20 minutes for my son and DIL and 3 children and my daughter and SIL. Staterooms were great especially the family stateroom which the young family had - two bedrooms, five beds, lounge etc.
All services were the usual Celebrity style and efficiency of service was noticeable. Entertainment was spectacular - especially the magician and the last night's show in the Cirque de Soleis style. Food in the Epernay Dining Room was good but the specialty restaurants were a little disappointing. Both the Tuscan Grill and Murano's were excellent but I don't think they were much better than the 'normal dining room.
However, you could tell that it was a new experience for Celebrity to have lots of Australians on board. You could notice it in the menus, drinks, television etc. One particular example, the Silk Harvest Restaurant was not very good. The menu, cooking and ambience was not very Asian. Many customers were similarly disappointed - but knowing Celebrity they will learn very quickly. Another - Michael's Club which specialises in whiskeys and cognacs was virtually empty most nights. Australians are obviously different to Europeans and Americans.
It was also interesting to note that the late nights in the Sky Lounge were poorly attended. During our last Celebrity cruise around South America it was packed every night - must have been the many spanish influence or perhaps we are just getting older!
One significant criticism was the price of the shore excursions. For example, to take my family on the 'Hole in the Rock Excursion in the Bay of Islands would have cost me almost $1,600. I booked the same excursion online and paid $495. This was only one example of many.
In general, however, the cruise was outstanding and we have already booked another Celebrity cruise next year.