We spent embarkation day in the Vancouver Convention Hall & we were "stuck" there for 8 hours. After you checked in your bags & went to the convention Hall, then they told you that you could tour Vancouver. Unfortunately, many people weren't dressed for that, nor did they have their walking shoes because "X" took their bags without saying a word about the delay. We didn't know about the delay until we reached the Convention exhibit hall & then we were told we wouldn't be getting on the ship until 7 PM & we wouldn't be sailing until 4 PM on Monday. They needed that time to repair the propulsion pod. It was a mob scene in the exhibit hall...there was no operational PA system (you couldn't hear it) and people pushed & shoved out the doors when they called for the first group to board. I saw elderly & handicapped people caught in the mob of people trying to get on the ship. Many of the seapass cards also weren't working properly & this created more angry passengers. But, believe or not, "X" had their photographers in the hall ready to take embarkation pictures. This was hard to believe. All around us people were shouting & complaining. We hadn't even stepped foot on the ship yet!
It was so frustrating that after 10 cruises we chose to sail on the Infinity because if its high ratings & it turned out to be our only cruise disaster. Not only did we not go to Sitka...we also didn't sail through the Inside Passage when we left Vancouver...basically we were at sea. On the return trip, we did get to see the Inside Passage briefly.
Our port day in Juneau was delayed by 2 1/2 hours & we missed our 8:30 private excursion with Captain Larry. Luckily, they moved us to the 11:30 whale watching trip, but we had limited time to walk around town after that because we had to get back for dinner.
Our port day in Ketchikan originally was from 7-4 PM, but it changed to 2-10 PM. In actuality, we had to leave for the ship by 6 PM because of dinner & also because many of the shops were closing at 6 PM. Things looked good on paper, but in reality weren't what they seemed. We were advised NOT to eat off the ship in any port because of the Norovirus situation, so we had to return to the ship in enough time to get ready for dinner. We also weren't told anything about the Norovirus situation at all from Celebrity, nor did we have to fill out a questionnaire indicating if we had any recent intestinal problems as we did on our previous cruises. On Monday, all passengers had to leave "our floating hotel" and go through U.S Customs in Vancouver...this process took us almost 3 hours and after we finished the ship was again delayed for a few more hours because about 30 stateroom passengers never showed up for customs. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong, and things seemed to domino after day #1.
Except for Martina & Julia, the staff at Guest Relations and Shore Excursions were rude & we spent the week watching & listening to angry passengers trying to fix many of the problems that Celebrity caused. The Captain's Club desk had its hours posted, but frequently there was no one there. I never received my invitation to the Cruise Critic get together. The Captain's Club cocktail party was held on the last night of the cruise. The Captain made a prepared speech, along with the CD & they both departed immediately. No pictures with the Captain on this cruise. (I wonder why?) Very few people showed up for the Captain's Club cocktail party (probably because they never received an invitation) ...it was only listed in the newsletter. Celebrity made the last night the 2nd formal night and that infuriated more people. Imagine being asked to have your bags out in the hall when you had your formal clothes on. Celebrity never did anything to make things better. They never opened up the bars for a few hours to serve free drinks or wine. They never served hot chocolate or soup at Hubbard Glacier, unless you wanted to pay $9.95 for hot chocolate in a special "X" cup. The naturalist on the PA system at Hubbard Glacier could not be understood...no one knew what he was saying. This was unfortunate, because he was excellent when we heard his lecture in the theater. Celebrity brought in two executive reps. from customer service to hear complaints from passengers. Passengers were sent to a private conference room to vent their concerns. Notes were taken on a laptop. It appeared that people were sent to see them when no one else knew what to do with them.
We did have a few pluses: The food and the service in the dining room was very good, our stateroom attendant was excellent, and the shows were also good. Our excursion with Captain Larry (whale watching) was wonderful & our flight to Misty Fjords was also great. If you visit Alaska I highly recommend these two excursions. Our travelling companions were great...friends that we met on our Century Cruise 2 years ago. These were the highlights of our week. Other than these positive items...everything else was pretty much a disaster. I have never seen so many unhappy passengers on a cruise ship.