The embarkation process was chaos. We queued for a long time, only to be told to go away and return at least an hour later. Most disappointing. We were never sure what was the cause, other than some kind of computer error. By the cruise line or by the Port Authority at Hong Kong, we never were fully informed.
Once we were allowed to embark, it was quick and effective and the mishap was soon forgotten.
The Celebrity environment is always welcoming. So this went according to plan and we, in particular, were not kept waiting too long to gain access to our cabin. This time, we chose not to avail ourselves of the concierge option and barely noticed the difference in lack of improvements. It was, to us, all much the same, in fact we received less frequent knocks on our cabin door, which we perceived as a bonus. Perhaps to us, the Concierge class facility was bordering on over servicing our needs, which we saw as interruptions to our quiet time, on a previous Celebrity Cruise.
Celebrity runs a good show, not just in entertainment, but usually in its organisation of embarkation, disembarkation for shore excursions, on board services, food and beverage, all delivered with warm friendly smiles. This time it seemed that the organisation of disembarkation for shore excursions took a few days to improve from dismal progress through to more efficient handling of the passengers.
Our whole experience was made as comfortable as possible. All aspects of the cruise were satisfactory through to exemplary, with the exception of the following:
The ship was supposedly undergoing a renovation phase during 2012. It is a pity that no money from that phase was appropriated for bathroom improvement. The showers in the verandah cabins are severely lacking and need renovation or replacement. They are a good size, the shower heads are fine, but when compared to say Oceania, Costa, or Princess, the lack 'finesse' seem old and though constantly well cleaned, look a bit grubby. We found the same with the Concierge Verandah cabins on a previous Celebrity cruise.
In addition, they avidly promote beverage packages. One that we availed ourselves of, and we were specific about our requirements and were duly charged for, failed to eventuate as requested. We were casually and glibly dismissed and told to make another choice, from what was then severely limited due to it being a Christmas and New Year cruise. I have attempted to take up the issue with Celebrity about why the pre-sell and charge for a package the do not have enough stock on board to fulfill. This was initiated on day one, in port, and so perhaps they could have or to my mind should have reserved that which had been ordered by pre paying passengers, was specified and required for the order. No they did not unfortunately. It did cause so much anxiety, the whole unfortunate process, that I was almost about to cancel our forthcoming Celebrity Cruise in the middle of the year.
At the end of the cruise, Celebrity had been forgiven to a greater extent as most of the crew and staff, simply do work very hard to do their best, to make the guests have a comfortable and enjoyable time.
Celebrity is known for its excellent dining. The staff in the main dining room try to fulfill a persons every whim and desire at meal times. The guest artists brought on board for the Celebrity theatre proved to be very good, as previously experienced.
The prices of the individual drinks on board are very competitive, though I do feel that I would not participate in the beverage package option again with Celebrity. In the long run, unless you are a heavy drinker, I think it can be expensive, when compared to other ships packages.