We planned this cruise for a year; the travel agent told us wonderful things about buying an Aqua Class room, the great dining and perks for this special holiday cruise. We'd been on many other cruises, and knew what basic cruising was about. We looked forward to the spa feel of this special trip.
The ship was magnificent throughout. Up to date, beautiful, elegant pools, beautiful specialty restaurants. And our room steward was the best ever (Bernadeth). She was always available, taking care of our every wish, whether standard or not.
As we were Aqua Class, our standard dining was in the Blu specialty restaurant. It was lovely, although the majority of tables were for couples, only. This made getting to know other cruisers a little awkward, as you had to start up conversations cross tables, which often felt like invading privacy . . . but we grew accustomed to it. The Blu had the best servers, Maitre'd's, and sommeliers. They were all fun, personable, and engaging, and they did their jobs well. The food in the Lido area was mediocre and repetitive. That was sad.
The ship was sadly lacking for entertainment . . . particularly in the bars. Canned loud music available in the martini bar, nothing memorable in the passport bar, and dark dismal surroundings in the Ensemble bar, although some live music was available there. The theatre entertainment was hit and miss; the Celebrity entertainers did their jobs well, but the hired entertainers ranged from mediocre to pretty good. The shows were about a half hour long, leaving you lots of time to find nothing to do in the bars, and thus, go to bed early.
But nothing was as awful as disembarkation. We opted to walk off, as Ft Lauderdale is a friendly port and we had arranged our own transportation; we've been there many times on other cruises without a hitch. Celebrity told us we could have this option if we could manage our own luggage . . . and we could . . . except that we couldn't find an available elevator for more than a half hour, and we were expected to be off at 7:45 AM. A couple of us wives hitched a ride on a full elevator, waiting on the lower floors for a long period. At last, the men got irritated waiting for elevators and hiked the luggage down 9 flights of stairs ton meet us and leave the ship. It was horrible for all parties concerned.
So given some of the fine things we love, good food, good entertainment and the option to connect with other travelers, we'll take our cruise business elsewhere. Celebrity would sell us lots of specialty food services to improve our food options, but the standard option was not very good. Blu was nice, but breakfast was redundant there. And so at the end of fourteen days . . . we left vowing never to return.