Great itinerary. We arrived in Singapore a few days early. Boarding in Singapore was easy. We arrived at 1pm which was after the crowd so we boarded very quickly.
We went directly to our room and then on to the spa to sign up for passes to the Persian Garden. This was not offered at a daily rate but at the rate of just under $200 for the 2 weeks. The Persian Garden is an area of the spa where you can do Turkish steam baths, other steams baths, scented showers, heated tile seats, etc. I did this on a Royal Caribbean ship and loved it so we wanted to experience it again. After trying it out once I asked for my money back because pretty much everything in the place was not working and there was mildew on the tiles, dirty in general and not worth the extra money. They returned my money without any argument.
The first night was spent in Singapore and the ship was supposed to sail out of Singapore the next day at 2pm. For our first night we signed up for the tour to the Night Zoo/Night Safari. Tour was as expected and the tour guide was good. The tour left at 6pm so we did not have much time for dinner just a quick bite in the afternoon. When we returned at about 10:30 pm the buffet was closed so I ordered room service for a sandwich. By 11:15 pm I tried to call to cancel it since I wanted to go to sleep.....on hold forever, never got an answer. Got into bed and at 11:45 was woken up by knock on the door with the sandwich.
The next morning we exited the ship and tried to grab a taxi to get to the city so we could do a little more sight seeing before the 12:00 noon time we were to be back on the ship for the 2pm sailing. We had not been informed by Celebrity that a RCCL ship was disembarking from their entire cruise at the same time with tons on luggage and long lines waiting for taxis to the airport. If we had known this we might have arranged for a taxi ahead of time or tried to figure out how to take a train into the city. We eventually found a person to order a taxi for us and were told it would be there in 20 minutes. 30 minutes later he called another car and it arrived in about 15 minutes. Since he had to call the car, there was an extra charge added to our fare. We did our touring and returned to the ship at 11:30 but due to immigration problems and other passengers not returning to the ship on time we sailed out about 2 1/2 or 3 hours late. I'm not blaming Celebrity for these people returning late but I was really irritated that they did not warn us about the RCCL ship offloading their passengers at the same time.
A note about room service: If you order something and it does not arrive within 15 minutes, call your room steward and he/she will go get it. I found this out about 8 days into the trip when our steward told me to just call him.
The next morning was an at sea day so we thought we would try the dining room for breakfast: once was enough. Very limited menu. Ordered eggs Benedict....took forever and arrived cold and eggs hard. Service VERY slow. Nothing good about the experience. The rest of the cruise I just ate breakfast at the buffet. Please note that at some point during the 2nd week on a sea day there was a big brunch buffet in the dining room and I only found out about it from someone else I overheard in the hallway talking about it. No waiters mentioned that it would be going on, no real mention of it in the daily brochure. I tried lunch in the dining room on a different sea day and the lunch took so long I missed the lecture that I was planing to attend. I was only sitting at a table for 4 and no one ordered more than a one plate meal. Very limited menu there also. No salads, etc. Never lunched in the dining room again.
Dinner Dining: Tried "select seating" for the first time. Never had trouble getting a table. Liked the option of sitting with other people or not. Had 2 good waiters out of the whole 2 weeks. Most of the service was very poor. After the 2nd night I gave up on trying to order an iced tea or getting a refill on the water. The food in general in the dining room was nothing special and not very good but near the end of the cruise the quality seemed to get better.
Buffet: OK. Nothing special. Pretty much the same buffet everyday. The salad area was not well organized and after one try at it I just avoided it as well as the cook your pasta to order option. I mostly ate whatever was at the back of the buffet area since the line there was very short. The ship ran out of 1/2 & 1/2 about 4 days into the cruise. I'm a big coffee drinker and really missed it.
Pool grill: good. Room service: good food, poor service., Aqua Spa grill: good
Specialty dining: Didn't try it. Only had baked goods from the coffee cafe area. I can't remember what it is called but it is where you pay extra for coffee drinks. Little secret: The baked goods are free there and very good.
Entertainment: VERY poor in general. Liked one big evening show entertainer. Can't remember his name,I think Tony something. He played the guitar and was sort of an comic also....very entertaining and put on a great show. After the first few shows I didn't care if I missed a show. Other lounges in the evening...nothing going on. Daily activities: only looked for them on sea days. Not much to offer. Many of the activities had fees attached with them. Went to several lectures, enjoyed them. Went to a few "captain's club" events. Also not very good. Much better events and entertainment on RCCL and Carnival. I don't look for wild parties just good talent and a variety of activities to keep me busy. Not much to offer on this sailing.
Ports: Very far from the ship but I knew this before booking the cruise so I booked private overnight tours with hotel stays in BKK, Saigon, and Hanoi. Had great tours and companions that I met through cruisecritic.com
Getting off the ship in BKK (passport fiasco) and Halong Bay (ship tenders) NOT FUN and VERY disorganized. Hopefully they will correct these problems for future cruises.
Took a ship tour in Hoi An: bicycling through the countryside. Really only about a 2 mile tour but fun. Made bike stops and a school and a private home and then on the way back to the ship our bus stopped at a fishing area on China Beach which was interesting and a marble factory store which was a waste of time. Bikes were OK but no helmets. Lunch at a restaurant in Hoi An was included and very good but took so long that we didn't see much of Hoi An We had a lot of fun on this tour and would recommend it.
Called the customer service desk 3 times the last day at sea to ask them what the suggested tipping was for our cabin steward because I just couldn't remember and couldn't find it written anywhere which was strange. Each time I got a different answer. I knew the first guy was wrong when he told me that based on my cabin $30 for the 2 weeks for the 2 of us was the recommended amount. The next guy told me $3/day per person. I couldn't believe that this was what they were being told to tell me. Obviously we paid a lot more and just based it on what I seemed to remember from previous cruises. I don't think the service was good and the room could have been cleaner but our guy was very nice and I know he had a family to support and it wasn't his fault that the standards seem to be low on this ship, I really think it is a management problem.
Disembarking in Hong Kong at end of the cruise: Carried my own bags off. No problem.
Over all: Had a great vacation. Loved the tours I took. Loved the people I met on the ship and through cruise critic. If I hadn't met these people I would have not had a great vacation at all.
This was my first Celebrity cruise and I won't do another one except for the Expediton. I was very excited about going on Celebrity and VERY disappointed. Even the "Captain's Club" extras are better on RCCL and Azamara (you can transfer credits between the 3 lines). Celebrity had an excuse for everything. They could have said we are sorry that we are so disorganized. We are sorry you are missing several hours in each port due to our disorganization. They never said they were sorry, they just said it was not their fault. They said this was the first cruise to Asia. Celebrity is really the same company as RCCL and Azamara. They both have Asia experience so I do not accept Celebrity's excuse of not being responsible since it was the first trip to Asia.
I will recommend a cruise to Asia. I will NOT recommend Celebrity.