We are a couple from the UK in our early fifties. We absolutely love cruising and have mostly been on various Royal Caribbean ships. So as this cruise covered New Year, we thought we would " trade up " and although it was expensive, we thought it would be worth it to enjoy the 5 star treatment Celebrity promised. Oh Dear !
I really don't want to write a moaning, negative review but Celebrity failed on so many areas and I think it is only right to point out what we experienced so that other guests will know what to expect.
We flew British Airways from the UK to Miami. It took 3 hours to get through immigration and out to the bus. Brits please note , it's better to fly into Fort Lauderdale. They are much quicker. Pre night cruise was the FLL Hilton Marina. Room was clean and comfy. They stiffed you a bit on the price of their breakfast.
Embarkation on cruise day was like any other. A big queue but what do you expect when there's 3,000 passengers.
The ship is beautiful, of that there is no doubt. Furnishings are very plush and we had no problems ever getting loungers etc. Yes, people do leave towels on loungers all day but that happens on all cruise ships.
My first gripe is the crew. They just didn't seem interested. Don't they realise it's us customers that keep them employed ? Bar staff, waiters, cabin attendants, guest relations all made us feel as if we were getting in their way. Don't get me wrong , I'm not into having long , meaningless conversations with crew but a simple Hello or the odd smile wouldn't hurt. The crew on royal Caribbean ships were much more friendlier and interactive and this is the same company. So what's gone wrong on Celebrity which they say is their premium cruise line ? - I don't know but the difference was extremely noticeable.
Second gripe is the food. We enjoyed excellent food on Royal Caribbean so we were really looking forward to Celebrity cuisine. What a disappointment. Main dining room food was cold, very small portions and took way too long to be served. One hour wait between soup and main course is appalling. No point complaining as all you got was a blank stare. Food in the buffet was more akin to a works canteen. Someone should tell the chef that custard can be accompanied by more than just Bread and butter pudding. We didn't use the specialty ( or fee paying ) restaurants and from what I saw, not a lot of other people used them either
The Cruise director was Patti Honacki, a celebrity wannabee who thinks her role is to appear once a day on the TV to tell us how wonderful she is, what bit parts she has had in films and to advertise the specialty restaurants, spa and other fee paying stuff. Absolutely no interaction with passengers.She should take lessons from Richard Spacey or Joff Eaton to see how it is done.
Theatre entertainment was a bit naff. More akin to what you would get at a Butlins holiday camp.
On board activities seemed to be limited to Trivia challenges and Zumba. For what we paid I expected a bit more imagination than that
There is a large lawn area on the top deck and it is a complete waste of space. Especially when there are " Keep off the Grass " signs all over. I found that ironically amusing.
A word of warning, check your stateroom account daily. We had shore excursions, champagne and specialty restaurants all charged to our stateroom account. Problem was we hadn't done any of those. We wasted valuable time trying to convince the uninterested guest relations people that they had made these mistakes. And also, even if you haven't opted to pre-pay gratuities, they still add them to your stateroom account. You have to go to guest services and stand in a queue to sign a waiver if you want to give your tips in cash. This is a terrible way to treat customers. Anyone who saw the Channel 4 Dispatches programme will know this in the only way to ensure that your tips get to the people you want as Celebrity use pre-paid gratuities to make up the crews basic wage
I won't go into details about the ports - It's the Caribbean - you know what to expect. However I would advise avoiding Celebrity's excursions as they are very expensive.
So to summarise - a comfortable ship but staffed by a crowd who don't seem to realise why they are there. I will not use Celebrity again.