This was our first trip on one of the S-Class ships, but it will not be the last.
-Stayed at the Doubletree Gallery One the night before. Really nice place, great room and right across from the Galleria Mall. Arranged transfers with VIP Limo from the airport and to the port. Cars were super clean and spacious w plenty of room for luggage. Not much more than a cab and a lot nicer.
-Embarkation was a breeze. It took 20 minutes from when we handed off our luggage till we were on the ship! (Skipped the photo opportunity) We did not fight the crowd in the buffet for lunch, we did stay on deck 5 and went to the Bistro on 5 (A $5 up charge applied) and had a wonderful lunch until the cabin was ready @ 1PM.
-Splurged for a Celebrity Suite on Deck 10 and could not have been happier. The room had tons of storage, was laid out nicely, bed was comfy, walk in closet, bathroom was big enough for both of us and the shower was out of bounds!!!! The room was clean and in good shape. Balcony had a padded day lounger, table and 2 chairs with plenty of room to spare.
-Dining was great everywhere, you can't go wrong!!! Dined in Murano, Tuscan Grill, Qsine and Bistro on 5. Qsine is NON TRADITIONAL specialty dining and was a pleasant surprise for us. The experience in all of these up charge venues is worth the price. Look for discounts and specials being offered like 20% off and 2 for 1 dining. The MDR (Moonlight Sonata) and Buffet (Ocean View Cafe) were the best we had experienced on any of the previous ships we had sailed
-The common areas of the ship were well laid out and visually appealing. We liked the Library on deck 10 and the 3 story real tree spanning from deck 6-9 between the 2 central elevator banks.
-Bars were plentiful, but we liked the Ensemble Lounge with comfy chairs and low key entertainment.
-Spa and workout facilities easily handled all interested guests. We loved the Persian Garden steam and relaxation area (small up charge and worth every nickle)
Did the Hot Rocks and Bamboo massages, both were great but get ready for the array of products they want you to buy at the end!
-Entertainment 1)Main Theater was nice but shows were so-so. Headliners were ok but I am glad I did not have to pay extra. 2)Hot Glass Show and Lawn Club are really cool and some of the last things you would expect on a cruise ship. The glass items they make during the show are amazing and there really is about 1/2 acre of grass you can walk and have a picnic on. 3) Guest speakers were good and topics were varied. 4) Small venue entertainment was a pleasant surprise especially the string trio.
-Did shore excursions with the Cruise line at all port except Aruba and Curacao (we picked up tours at the end of the pier). The Cruise Line Tours provided nicer transportation but were more expensive. The independent tours still provided air conditioned transport and were much more flexible with requests to stop here and there as opposed to the regimented schedule of the Cruise Line Tour. All provided good value, safe transportation and knowledgeable guides.
Disembarkation was very slow due to staffing cuts with the Customs Service. DO NOT book an early flight if you are returning to Ft. Lauderdale while the budget battle is raging. The cruise ship traffic load in the port should be your guide in booking your outbound flights.
-Overall Great Cruise!!!! Loved the Itinerary, Loved the Ship and Crew, Thought it was a great value for the price paid