We're in our mid-40's and have been on 30 plus cruises on 6 different cruise lines ranging from 4 to 15 days. This was our fifth Celebrity cruise although we are Select status due to previous RCI cruises. This was our first cruise on an S-class ship, since we hadn't cruised on earlier S-class ships I can't comment on the effect of the additional cabins and changes as compared to earlier S-class ships.
We spent a few days at Disney World before the cruise, so we flew from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale then shuttled to Port of Miami the day of the cruise. I researched renting a car and driving, but found that airfare on SW and a shuttle from Fort Lauderdale airport to be cheaper and less stressful since I didn't have to drive. The flight wasn't full and was quick and uneventful. After collecting our luggage we called the shuttle and were soon on our way to the port. We shuttled with SAS for $15 per person; we picked up one other couple at a hotel on the way. Our shuttle driver made sure to drop us as close as possible to the entrance of the port building.
It was afternoon when we entered the port so there wasn't much of a line, just a bit of a wait when going through the x-ray and metal detectors. As we were stepping on board at 12:45 they were announcing that staterooms were ready, so we went straight to our room.
We were in stateroom 1001, which is a concierge class all the way forward on deck 10 port side, our balcony was right next to the bridge. We had originally booked an inside room as we usually do, but then a couple weeks before the cruise they cut the prices and we upgraded from inside to concierge class for very little money. The room was efficient, not very big but had everything you need, except that it was lacking sufficient storage space, at 5'6" the storage over the bed was difficult for me to reach. There was plenty of storage in the bathroom. In this room the sofa was near the balcony door. Our cabin steward introduced himself and took good care of us for our time on board. The bed was firm and comfortable. I enjoyed the flowers in the room.
We ate lunch at the Mast Grill and had cheeseburgers and fries. They were very good.
Our muster station was in the theater, we didn't have to bring our life jackets to the muster drill.
We enjoyed sail away from the sunset bar. The Reflection has an expanded sunset bar with a lot of comfy seat and a drink rail along the back to sit and watch the wake.
The first night we ate at Tuscan Grill. We each ordered the filet mignon as our entree and it was one of the best steaks either of us has ever had. We both had the premium drink package and we each found a wine by the glass that we liked and enjoyed a few glasses throughout the meal. The soup and salad course was also good, but I would have appreciated smaller portions in the early courses. We asked about the 20% rebate for dining in a specialty restaurant the first night and were told they only do that on 14 night sailings. Even though I received an email regarding the rebate and no such length of cruise requirement was listed in addition to a flyer delivered to our stateroom that I have since found when going through all my papers, I decided not to waste my time chasing this money since it took me five days of trips to guest relations on my last cruise and this cruise was only three days long.
After dinner we stopped at the Molecular Bar. I was looking forward to checking out the foggy drinks here. The first one I tried was foamy not foggy, but a tasty ginger concoction.
Our first morning I ordered a ham and cheese omelet with salsa, coffee and some fresh squeezed orange juice to make mimosas with what was left of our complementary sparkling wine. All was delivered on time and was very good except that the salsa didn't have much flavor.
It was announced on boarding day that there were too many ships in Nassau and there wasn't room for us. It was announced that the plan would be to adjust our port time to 6PM to midnight as there would be room for us after a ship leaves. We weren't concerned as we didn't have plans to go ashore.
After breakfast we went up to the Solstice deck and spent some time on the comfy lounge sofas. The weather wasn't that great, cloudy and windy. After awhile we moved down to the main pool area where it wasn't as windy. I ate lunch in the buffet. The buffet is set up as various islands, so it's not one long line to wait in to get a couple things, you can walk up to each island with the choices you prefer. After some more pool time we decided to change and check out the martini bar. It takes a lot of patience to get a drink at the martini bar, this is a good sized bar with usually only two bartenders working and it seemed like they spent more time running to the store room to get something than actual drink mixing.
While we were at the martini bar it started storming. The storm delayed our already late arrival to Nassau. In an attempt to make up for the delayed arrival the bars were opened for an hour at no charge, then another half hour. So already short staffed bars were now over whelmed and were not earning any tips. This gesture was unnecessary and did not benefit those who don't drink or had purchased a drink package.
We had 8:30 reservations at the Lawn Club Grill, at 6:30 we received a call from the restaurant that we should consider canceling due to the wind and the rain. I thought that they would have some sort of protection but I took their advice and canceled. I tried getting a reservation at another restaurant, but there was no availability, so we ate in the dining room. The food and service in the dining room was good, I was just disappointed that we weren't eating at the Lawn Club Grill.
After dinner I tried a foggy drink at the Molecular Bar, while it looked cool, it didn't taste that good. I think I'll stick to the martini bar.
For our second breakfast I ordered a banana blaster smoothie, it was really good. Today we were at Coco Cay; we decided to stay on board and spent more time at the pool. The shortage of bar staff became very apparent today when all the bartenders were sent ashore leaving the sommeliers to tend bar on the ship, they were lost behind the bar; they didn't know where anything was and were even slower than the usual bartenders.
I spent some time at the pool and then when I was ready for some shade found a comfy spot back at the Sunset Bar.
Tonight we had dinner at Qsine. Our travel agent arranged a wonderful meal for 17 of us! I had read that Qsine was better with a group and it's true. We were able to try just about everything since we could share. This was a very fun and memorable meal; I will definitely eat here again.
After dinner we stopped in at Michael's. While on the premium drink package I've been experimenting with scotch, trying to decide which one I like best. I heard that they had changed Michael's to a micro brew bar, but they still have a good selection of scotch and cognac. I wish I had stopped by earlier in the cruise, Michael's was a hidden gem, very quiet and relaxed and practically empty. There was no wait for service here.
My original plan was to go to the late comedy, but I lost track of time visiting with friends. After Michael's we spent time at the martini bar and the casino bar.
Disembarkation was easy. When we arrived at our appointed waiting area our number had already been called so we proceeded right off the ship. We found our luggage easily and were quickly outside. We would be boarding another cruise ship in Port Everglades later that day; we decided to rent a car since we had a couple stops to make on our way. I used a AAA discounted with Hertz and booked directly on their web site. We were to call the Hertz office once off the ship, they told us to flag down the shuttle, which we did. The Hertz office in downtown Miami is less than a mile from the port. There were a couple people in line ahead of us, but the wait wasn't long. This location is at a parking ramp in downtown Miami so once the paperwork is complete you have to maneuver your luggage into a small elevator to get to your car on level 3. Once I found my way out of the ramp, between the map Hertz provided and the mapquest directions I had printed out ahead of time it was an drive up to Fort Lauderdale.
This was our first time on an S class ship. I really liked the ship and feel like I didn't have time to explore the entire ship. I'm hoping the slow bar service was a growing pain as the ship transitioned between Europe and Caribbean sailings. I'm excited for our future cruise planned on the Equinox. We will definitely dine at Qsine again while on the Equinox and look forward to enjoying our next concierge class stateroom.