Embarkation in Barcelona was the best of any cruise we have taken. We arrived at the terminal by taxi about an hour after the first passengers could board, our baggage was immediately taken away by a porter, we went straight to the area designated for our deck, checked in and were on board within about 15 minutes. We went to our stateroom, met our room attendants, had lunch and by that time our bags had arrived. All very efficient and hassle-free.
Our stateroom was what you would expect on a brand new ship. Clean, reasonably spacious and kept immaculate by the two attendants. They were very friendly, never intrusive and seemed to know whenever we left our stateroom for breakfast as by the time we returned the bed was made and the cabin tidied.
We love the concept of no fixed seating/sittings in the dining room and would generally arrive for dinner at about 7.30 pm and on only one occasion had to wait for a table. Food in the main dining room was good but certainly not great and there was not enough variety. Nowhere near the standard of a good restaurant on shore. Did not live up to the expectations we had after reading other reviews by Celebrity passengers. One major fault with the dining room was the dim lighting. It became a joke as people would use the torches on their cell phones in order to be able to read the menu. I don't expect a restaurant to be brightly lit but surely you should be able to see to read the menu. We tried the specialty restaurants and again, although the food was good it was not exceptional and certainly did not live up to the hype.
For most of our shore excursions (including some we did with fellow Cruise Critic members) we used private tour guides and these were excellent. We took two organised by the ship and both were frustrating in that fellow passengers would arrive back at the bus up to 20 minutes late. This meant that on one tour we actually had to miss one of our stops. I know this is not the ship's fault but surely something can be done to avoid this. Maybe make an announcement that if you are late returning to the bus it will leave and you will be required to make your own way back to the ship.
Entertainment on the cruise was hit and miss. The Filipino group was excellent and we listened to them every night. Other shows were in the main not great and it was evident that other passengers felt the same way as on quite a few occasions you would see people leaving the theatre after 5-10 minutes.
Disembarkation in Venice was swift with no problems. Once outside the terminal, however, it was a different story. It was raining and there was no shelter as we waited with dozens of others to get the one shuttle to the area where you could get a water taxi to your hotel. As seems to be the case in these situations, people were jumping the queue and pushing their way onto the shuttle each time it arrived. When we finally arrived at the water taxi area it was quite chaotic with people lined up to buy tickets and then not sure where to go after that. Not a good end to the cruise.
In all, we enjoyed the cruise but had expected more. We found the experience no better than the other cruise lines we've cruised with and will probably only choose Celebrity again if there is an itinerary we find particularly attractive.