BACKGROUND INFORMATION:Hi :),This was our FIRST cruise and my wife & I took it to celebrate our 40th anniversary which is coming up this June. We are Canadians and hail from just outside Ottawa,Ontario,Canada, I do not have all the computer skills to make a report but please bare with me.
This would be interesting to the new cruisers out there probably more than the seasoned veterans. We left Port Hope, New Jersey on the 26th of March for the Caribbean to see:Charleston,South Carolina(beautiful) CocoCay, Bahamas (island owned by Celebrity Cruise Lines..another beauty) Freeport, Bahamas (bought my booze here :)) Phillipsburg,St. Maarten (took our "bubba excursion" here....local fishing trip not too far off the island..excellent) and also bought a JVC camcorder here at Boolchand's) Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas (beautiful beaches but should get rid of some of that garbage in local back yards which you see on the way to the beautiful beaches!).
San Juan,Puerto Rico (clean,clean,clean..I would go back here tomorrow if I could. Here is a proud city and you sure can tell. Beautiful++)
We arrived back in Port Hope, New Jersey on April 07 after 12 nights of cruising. We made transfer arrangements with Celebrity (all went well)and our cruise arrangements with our TA who was excellent did a lot of research on the internet before choosing Celebrity and can honestly say that we were very, very satisfied. Hours upon hours were dedicated to this and I must of read everything on Cruise Critic and all the other cruise web sites.
STATEROOM: Vista deck(#7)cabin 7172 with balcony. Whatever you do take a balcony! Fresh air, breakfast first thing in the morning provided by room service(included in your cost). Take it out on your balcony and enjoy. Martini before dinner.. take it out on your balcony ..enjoy!
We are spoiled now and don't think we would be happy with anything less:(.Lots of storage space and very comfortable bed (queen size for us). If you want to get rid of your luggage your cabin stewart will take it & bring it back ot the end of the journey).
DINING: We had early sitting..6pm. We sat with two other couples each evening and we all got along well (both my wife are positive people and so were our table mates). It took a little while to get to know each other but everything worked out fine and we shared some fun time :).The maitre d' will try to place you at another table if you so desire after the first dinner. If there is something you prefer to eat ask your waiter & the next evening you will see it at your table. Excellent service.
We tried alternate dining (Ocean Liners) and the presentation was excellent but I personally found nothing special about the food. (Lobster tail was my favourite which I had in the main dining room.)
ACTIVITIES: Endless things to do on board. You receive a "daily schedule list"on your bed each evening along with a couple of chocolates:)There is a social director and an activities group which will make you feel really at home. We went to bingo a few times and I entered a couple of slot tournaments (what happened? what do you mean I've been eliminated on the first round??aren't there another couple rounds??:() Fun anyway.
Your personal TV lists what is going on every day so you just have to tune in. They also show you the next port your coming into and what excursions are available.
SERVICE:What can I say? E_______T!Yes excellent. One could not ask for better service than what we received. Not just from people that are suppose to look after us but from ALL personnel.. smiling and always saying "good morning, how are you? May I help you?" I believe a lot of the credit should go to Captain Papanikolaou who runs a tight ship:) (thank you for the viewing of the bridge Captain and our picture together.) thank you very much to Raymundo (our cabin steward) and our waiter.
ENTERTAINMENT:The Celebrity orchestra, dancers and singers were extremely good+++ Other performances were by a ventriloquist, comedian, electrical violinists, cirque du soleil....I would of NOT been disappointed if I did not see the comedian (not as funny as he thought he was) and the violinists (amateurish):(I'M HO. The others were excellent.
SHORE EXCURSIONS: The only one we took was the "bubba fishing expedition" in St. Maarten arranged through Celebrity Cruise Lines. Excellent captain and two helpful ship mates. Caught some beautiful local fish.
We hired taxis in St. Thomas and Puerto Rico to give us a tour of their islands. Juan DeLeon firstname.lastname@example.org in St. Thomas was very interesting & informative and United Tour Guides "Jose R.Capeles"cell # 528-8140 in Puerto Rico was absolutely excellent. We did this on our own and found out it was 50% cheaper to do it this way!! Repeat ..50% cheaper! This would be a high recommendation by us to do it ...just make sure you have plenty of time to get back to the ship :).
DISEMBARKATION: Considering Celebrity had 2000 passengers to get off the ship, things went remarkably well. We were on our bus ready to be transferred to Newark Airport about 20 minutes after the disembarkation call was made.
SUMMARY: We would like to give a big THANK YOU to Cruise Critic for inviting us to meet people on line before the beginning of our cruise. We had a lot of fun and it was nice to put a face to a name. We would also like to say it was so nice to meet soooo many new people (the two "ladies in red" from England, the two couples from Ireland which we met at bingo, Liz & Herb, Karen & Ralph, Carole & Al, Pat & Rod, Dee,and so on :))
Would we do it again? Darn right!!I hope you have found this report interesting,we have tried to make it that way :). Please do NOT hesitate to contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions or we can help in any way. Happy cruising and may the wind carry you beyond your beliefs.