We did not get off to such a good start. We decided to drive to Miami which we will never do again. The ride from the Ft Lauderdale Area into Miami was traffic laden with a lot of thoughtless drivers. It stayed that way the whole time we were there, and we came in 2 days early for the cruise. We stayed at the Hampton Inn Blue Lagoon (Very nice) and they let us park our car there for the week. It was so much easier letting someone else do the driving.
We got to the pier about 11 a.m. Saturday and were whiskedd through security and registration. Then we came to a dead stop. We were ushered to a place against the wall in the registration areas and there we stood for 50 minutes. There were no seats or much space. We watched as many, many people were allowed to go on boardd. We figured we were the "untouchables" of the cruise passengers and had to wait with the masses and get on last. More and more people were directed our way until there were several hundred of us standing in lines. By the time we were allowed on boardd, I had formed an initial bad impression of this cruise line.
But wait -- that really was the worst thing that happened all week. As we were offered a glass of champagne as we entered the ship, and we saw how beautiful this ship is, the bad impression melted away. We went upstairs to the buffet which was magnificent. If there was not something to your liking, then you are one very very particular eater. You name it, it was there, including a homemade ice cream parlor of sorts with some of the best ice cream I have had. By the time lunch was over so was the bad impression.
Our room was a very pleasant surprise too. We were at the very front of the ship and our room had extra space at its large slanted window which looked out over the very front of the ship. The room was quite large by ship standards because of this slanted front wall. We had great views. If you want something different, book one of these front rooms. The room also was quiet.
Dining was very good everywhere. The buffet upstairs of course was great and varied. Breakfast at the buffet was better, I thought, than the dining room because they had some things there -- cheese blintzes, waffles with lots of toppings, more bread selections, cheese, and regular pancakes for us, that the dining roomm did not have. A place above the pool area had hamburgers and hot dogs most of the day. You could also get self serve soft ice cream there.
Dinner was a great experience. The selections were fresh, tasty and varied. We had great waiters who gave good suggestions. We did notice a lot of people came in about 15-20 minutes late which made it hard on the waiters. One of them even remarked to us how they appreciated that we were on time. This cruise served a lot of lamb and veal which we like. We also had the largest lobster tail I have ever had -- at least 1/2 lb. And cooked perfectly.
We ate at the alternative Restaurant Tuscan Grill and found the food on par with the Dining Room which was very good. The difference is the attentiveness of the staff,and the atmosphere.
The shows were good. All the troupe ones got standing ovations. For the others there was a singer and a magician who were good too. We went to a late night comedy show that was hilarious.
The ship itself is gorgeous. There is an area on deck for adults only that has an enclosed pool and we spent a lot of time there. In the evening there would be music and dancing at the bottom of the atrium. And there is a lovely bar on the very back of the ship outside that was so nice to be at. We also found a place called the hideaway which is situated on an upper level of the atrium where you can sit quietly or read and enjoy some coffee, tea or hot chocolate. We saw people using it in the early morning -- probably early risers who did not want to disturb their roommates.
We attended a reception for people with anniversaries/newlyweds and the past passenger party. Both were very tasteful and enjoyable. We felt like a lot of effort was put forth on this ship to ensure we had a great cruise. The workers were pleasant, and helpful.
The ports of San Juan, St. Thomas and St Martin were fine. We were lucky we had good weather and calm seas.
It was sad to have the cruise end. We will certainly cruise Celebrity again. I think they have maintained a lot of the service things we seasoned cruisers miss from cruises past on other ship lines.