We sailed from Auckland to sydney on the 4th January. We chose Aqua class mainly for the private dining and cabin service. We have cruised many times in most parts of the world and wanted to introduce a family member to the joys of cruising so selected this particular cruise. The ship presented well. Furnishings were excellent. The areas of disappointment were:
. A wasted space having the lawn club and glass blowing. One viewing of the glass blowing was sufficent and the pressure was applied to buy. The wasted area of the lawn as it was not used by any guest the whole cruise unless a game of bouche was being played. Obviously due to lack of space they positioned the table tennis on deck four inside, which created a blockage as it was positioned in a throughfare! There was a lack of outside activities which would have been very difficult for families. As we had quite a few sea days activites are very important. In conversations with a few guest everyone was feeling a bit bored and happy to be leaving the cruise. This has never happened to us in the past -we have always regretted the end of the cruise.
. Entertainment - we are not a big lover of the Vegas type shows so select the guest entertainer to entice us to the theatre. Some were good. The most disappointing of the cruise entertainment was in the general area of the ship. The Martini Bar seemed to be very popular and yet they had no entertainment in this area. We have always enjoyed pre dinner drinks and look forward to a small music group to entertain us and have a dance. This happens on all the other cruise lines we have been on. As the main age group is 40+ and people are making an effort to dress this is something they would enjoy. It also would make sense from a financial point of view as people would linger and spend more money on drinks! A latino style of music works really well to get people energised. We also felt that after dinner music was also lacking and the Ensemble lounge was the only place to go other than the night clubs, more suitable for the younger age. This lounge was a throughfare and there was no great area to dance. The other area they seemed to place entertainment was on level three in the main foyer near the staircase. This was not inducive to the right ambience to have a drink and dance. They also decided to do a Zumba class in this location one morning. No consideration was given to the above decks with reading chairs (people were inside as it was not a nice day out) and the loud music resonated throughout even into the Library and games room. Very bad planning. We couldnt but compare this to the Voyager RCL which we cruised on to Mexico. A very well laid out ship and certainly knew the type of entertainment people were wanting including activities. Having three formal nights and the delight in dressing was marred when you realised that nothing different or extra organised to warrent the effort of dressing up.
. The Guest Relations staff members were very poorly informed and not that helpful this also applied to the shore excursions.
. We found the wine service in the Blu Dinning very lacking. Again if better prompt service we would have drunk more and therefore spent more.
. Good points - the wait service in the Blu Dinning was exceptional.
. The Blu staterooms were nice with good bathrooms - disappointed in the quality of the sheets - not good quality cotton as pilling could be felt.
. We arranged for a fly cruise option and was most annoyed when we were advised we would have to depart the ship at 8am when our domestic flight was not until 1pm. If all passengers had to depart the ship by 9.30am I cannot understand why they did not book the guests on an earlier flight. It would appear this was simply to suit all their ground arrangements and no consideration for their guest. If we had been advised of our departure time at the time of booking we possibly would have made our own arrangements.
. On the last day in port in Sydney we received a notice that they would be carrying out some maintenance on our bathroom and we had to remove all items from out draws. This was between the times of 9.30am - 3pm. Not very considerate to the guest who may have been wanting to remain in their cabin or sleeping. All they did was put some draw liners in. Why this task could not have been carried out between re load or when the ship is in dock who knows except we had paid for this room and basically could not use it!
Overall the bad points outwayed the good points so unless Celebrity improves in these areas we will not travel on them again.