This was our 19th cruise and the 6th with Celebrity. We stayed one night prior to embarkation at the Marriott Courtyard Ft. Lauderdale Beach. The hotel is fine. It's not new or fancy but it was clean and the location can't be beat. It's withing walking distance of many restaurants etc and is right across the street from the beach (there aren't actually any hotels in that area that are on the beach).
Knowing that the cruise cabins aren't usually ready until 1:00 or later we decided to check out of the hotel late and arrived at the pier about 12:30ish.
Check in was efficient and we only waited in line for about 5-10 minutes. We got on board and while we were deciding whether to go have lunch or go up on deck first they announced that the cabins were ready. It was a bit after 1:00 at this point.
We were on Deck 8 mid-ship which was a great location. Our cabin was nice and the bathroom was really nice, for a ship bathroom, with lots of storage. My only complaint about the cabin is that they have reconfigured the closet and there were no drawers in it. There were only 3 drawers in the entire cabin. Many of the other Celebrity ships have a wardrobe in the closet. Also there were no night stand drawers. Not really a big deal for a week long Caribbean cruise but could be an issue with a 2 week European or other cruise.
The ship is beautiful and seemed very clean and well kept.
We signed up for traditional late seating dining and had requested a table for 2. When we arrived at the dining room the first night we asked before we were seated if it was a table for two and they said no, but immediately found us one. Or waiter and assistant waiter were great. The food in the dining room was really good. It was the same menu that they had 6 months prior on an Alaska cruise (on Infinity).
We ate all our dinners in the MDR. We had planned on trying a specialty restaurant but just never did. We ate all our breakfasts in the Ocean View cafe. The selection and quality of food for breakfast was great.
We had a few lunches in the Ocean View (we had 4 port days and so didn't eat on the ship those days) and those were all good as well.
They had some fantastic entertainers on the ship. Some of the best we had on a cruise in a good while. Lots of variety.
I felt like the nightlife was pretty good. We stayed in the Quasar dancing until 1:00 a couple of nights.
I, unfortunately, never made it to the spa. The weather was so fabulous I just didn't want to come in during the day. The fitness enter was a nice size and had a variety of equipment. I worked out twice during the cruise.
The pool area is well arranged with loungers in the shade and sun. The solarium is usually one of our favorite spots on a Celebrity cruise but we only went in there once on this cruise. I guess because it was so nice outside and we were there for a bit of sunshine therapy to escape the cold winter.
Just a little bit about the ports.
Cozumel- we took a taxi to Palancar beach and just hung out and had a couple of margaritas and some lunch and enjoyed the beach. It was nice and quite which is just what we wanted.
Grand Cayman- we did Sting Ray city and snorkle through an independent tour operator at the pier (tender drop off point). Sting ray city was awesome and we loved it. We then went to beautiful 7 mile beach.
Falmouth Jamaica- well what can I say? Falmouth is not really much to see. We did a ship's tour- the Chukka beach break with lunch. It started with a drive through Falmouth. There are some building from the 1700's but that's about it. The rest of the town is very much impoverished. The beach at Chukka was OK. The water there is fabulous- just gorgeous blues & turquoise. The actual beach (sand area) is not so great right in front of the so called resort. You could walk just outside the resort and there was some pretty nice beach area but vendors will drive you crazy if you aren't inside what they call the resort area. The lunch of jerk chicken was great. If you want to try some authentic Jamaican jerk don't pass up the lunch.
Coco Cay- this is Celebrity & Royal Caribbean's private island. I was a little worried that it would be like ants at a picnic there. If you get off the ship and just plop down on the first chairs you come to you'll be right in the middle of a big crowd. The island is actually larger than you'd think. Head out past the kids water park area and keep going towards barefoot beach. It's much nicer and quieter there (unless of course, you are into being in the crowd). The beach there is really quite beautiful and we were pleasantly surprised overall with the private island experience.
We were terribly worried about disembarkation. We'd been on a Celebrity cruise just 6 months prior to this one and the disembarkation was a total mess.
Fortunately, this one was totally organized and the luggage was arranged by color tag and we had no problem whatsoever finding our luggage or getting a taxi. We had an 11:30 flight and got to the airport with plenty of time to spare.