We arrived into Fort Lauderdale two days early, staying at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale beachfront hotel. The weather unfortunately was the coldest of the season so visions of pre-sunning at the pool or beach were dashed. There was a CVS within walking distance to stock up on water to take on the ship. The hotel did not provide complimentary shuttle service but arranged a 4 person van for us to take us to the pier at 11 am.
Embarkation was a joy. The people at the embarkation desk are so friendly and helpful. We were staying in a suite and our parents in a concierge class room which would have had us splitting up to separate sides of the room to do check-in. They allowed us to bring them to the suite line with us and check them in so we could stay together. That was much appreciated. We were checked in to the ship within 15 minutes.
We immediately went to find a seat at the Oceanview Bar as we knew from past experience on the Equinox that seats are hard to come by when the staterooms aren't ready. We toasted with Corona's bucket of beers to a great time! We had a relaxing lunch and staterooms were ready by 1:30 pm. Luggage was delivered shortly thereafter and we were unpacked and ready for the muster drill by 3:00 pm.
The stateroom (Sky Suite 2155) was spacious and a godsend as my DH came down with a cold in Fort Lauderdale and we ended up spending more time in our stateroom than normal. There was so much storage in the sky suite that we didn't even use it all. A couple complaints - one was the location of the safe, for me to see into the safe I had to drag a chair over to get on as it was on top of a shelf in the closet. Even DH who is 5ft9in couldn't see into the safe without a chair. The bathroom and shower/tub combination was very modern and I loved the feel of the tile on my feet. The veranda had an overhang that kept the sun off of it mostly which was nice. I would not recommend the location of the room as it was below the Oceanview bar and if you take naps like we did, you could hear chairs scraping the entire time, ice being thrown into a sink, and subsequent water running down a drain. Had to wear earplugs a few times to get through the noise. At night the noise was better since nights on our cruise were a little cool and windy so the bar wasn't used as much.
Our butler, Manuel, and stateroom attendant did an amazing job. Our room was always promptly serviced and they did little things like make a towel animal friend for my Eeyore stuffed animal, put out an all points bulletin when Eeyore accidently got rolled up in the sheets and put in the laundry, and other things that left us feeling special. We had breakfast in our room almost every day and it was always hot and delivered promptly and correctly. Manuel was most accomodating to our nap schedule always willing to bring me cappucino even though coffee service had already been completed.
The dining menus at the Silohuette dining room (and other ships for Celebrity) are due for an overhaul or need more rotation. I felt like the menus were very similar to the last two Celebrity cruises I have been on and I could figure out what was coming next. Food quality and presentation was excellent since our waiter Akindar and Jorge always gave us the scoop on what was particularly good or to stay away from. Jose, our bar service always called us by name and remembered our drink orders.
For lunch we ate either at the Oceanview cafe or the Pool Grill area. Food did not vary day to day except for the hot section and carving station other than that the choices were pretty much the same. Food was OK, don't really have high expectations for buffet meals though.
The pool area was well supervised by the pool butlers and hoarding of chairs was discouraged. We found pool bar attendants to be attentive (sometimes too attentive). There were plenty of towels to wrap up with.
Loved the Zumba on board, it was always well attended. There were plenty of activities to do if you wanted to do them. We didn't participate in too many as I was more content to read 5 of the 6 nook books I had downloaded.
Shore excursions we booked through the cruise line were well organized and in Belize, we were delayed in leaving for our excursion which meant we were late coming back. Celebrity held the ship as they must for a sponsored excursion and we were on one of the last two tenders to leave. Our only complaint was the tendering process in Belize, instead of the ordered process that was used in Grand Cayman, all shore excursions were dismissed at once and we walked past angry people being held back with priority tender tickets who couldn't get off the ship.
Entertainment was varied in the locations and a couple bars had nightly happy hours with 2 for 1 drink specials. I really miss Michael's club with the piano bar, I wish Celebrity would bring that back. The shows, we only went to a few, the entertainers had wonderful voices and I enjoyed the dancing.
This was our 7th cruise with celebrity and it won't be our last.