My DH and I flew the day before from Phoenix on Southwest and stayed at the Hampton Inn Airport/Cruise in Ft. Lauderdale. It was a great place to stay as it was close the Port Everglades and they had a free shuttle that picks you up at the airport and a free shuttle to take you to the pier. It is just across the street from a Winn Dixie and liquor store so you can all the supplies you need! There are also some restaurants in the small strip mall - We ate at Slackers which is a sports bar/grill and had a great meal of snow crab legs and a very tasty hamburger. There are a few other restaurants - a Thai, Subway, McDonalds and others in walking distance. Hampton Inn offers a free breakfast which was just fine for us as we were looking forward to our first lunch onboard the ship!
We caught the 11:45 shuttle to the pier as we wanted to sleep in. Great service and very friendly staff. I highly recommend this hotel. They unloaded our luggage and a porter immediately appeared and took our luggage to the ship. We headed to check in and breezed through security. We both carried one bottle of wine and some bottled water in our carry ons. No problems. We then proceeded to what we thought would be a huge line and we were first in line! We were in Aqua Class so there was a separate line and were on the ship by 12:45 and were met with a glass of champagne and told to proceed to deck 14 for lunch as the rooms were not ready yet. The buffet in the Oceanview Cafe was very hectic as people were trying to figure out where everything was. I didn't particularly like the layout of the buffet but as the cruise went on I got more used to where everything was located. People were very polite on this cruise. I didn't encounter any rudeness at all.
The demographics on this cruise was very mature. DH and I are 64 and 60 but we felt like one of the youngest couples onboard! There were a lot of Europeans and Canadians and it was fun meeting such a diverse group on people!
We were in Aqua Class on deck 11 with balcony on the port side near the back. It was a great location for us. Very quiet with cabins above. It was near the stairs so it was easy access to the Oceanview Cafe and pools. We try not to use the elevators as this is a good way to work off our meals so it was a ways to the dining rooms on decks 3, 4 and 5 but we didn't gain any weight! We ate in the Blu dining room most nights and it was very good. We tried the main dining room one night - OK but very loud! For my birthday we went to the Tuscan Grille which is an additional charge and it was good. Nothing exceptional but good. I was hoping for a surf and turf but it wasn't offered. Also, it is very loud and not very romantic.
I would definitely book Aqua Class again as we enjoyed Blu and the Persian Gardens. Persian Gardens has heated loungers, steam room, aromatherapy room and showers - very relaxing.
The ports were St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Barbados, Dominica and St. Maarten. We did the "Volunteerism on St. John" excursion which Celebrity donates the cost to the National Parks. It was $50pp which included lunch and transportation. It was a beautiful day - they took us to Cinnamon Beach to clean the beach and pick up trash in the camping areas. It was Celebrity's first time doing this and there were only 3 of us. We were so blessed to go on this cruise so it was humbling to be able to give back even if it was just for a few hours. We didn't do anything on St. Kitts except walk around and have drink at Fat Tuesdays. We did a day pass at the Barbados Hilton and it was awesome! Beautiful resort and the beach and ocean were fabulous. It included lunch and it was very good. On Dominica we did the Celebrity excursion "Caribbean Cooking, Rum and Nature." What a great time! We learned how to cook in the Caribbean style! St. Maarten - we've been there before so we just walked around and went back on the ship to enjoy an almost empty ship.
My final thoughts are - not sure if I would sail Celebrity again. Although the service was exceptional, the cabins were fine, the food was great - there wasn't much do to on this ship. Most nights we felt we were on our own personal yacht!