Hi. We have sailed many mass market lines and this was my second Celebrity cruise.
We arrived one day early and stayed at the Embassy Suites on 17th Street. Nice place. Ate at Carlos & Pepe's and the food was good and margaritas fantastic. Publix, wine store, restaurants, etc. in very close walking distance.
Others from my family arrived at FLL at 9am and headed right to the port. Boarding ended up being delayed until after 1pm. The people in the terminal were told it was an immigration issue. My friend & I arrived at the terminal around 1:40 to no line at security check. My glass and plastic bottles were inspected (seltzer was in some--unopened, and 2 bottles of champagne). No line for check in either! Woohoo. Meanwhile we asked employees why embarkation was so delayed and they said there was a group of passengers who would not get off the ship from the previous cruise! Surprising, yet it did explain why we saw people outside the cruise terminal getting into taxis with their luggage at 1:45 (late!). If customs/immigration had been the sole cause of the delayed boarding, all subsequent boardings would be delayed as well, and that has not been the case. So hopefully this was a one-time incident.
Now onboard we got our glass of sparkling wine and headed to our 2B cabin on deck 7. The cabin was larger than I expected. The balcony was large too. We thought it was very nice. There is very limited storage space, and if there were 3 in the cabin there is definitely not enough storage space. Did not like that there were lifeboats and a big ugly blue platform just below us. Our bathroom fan was not working; I only know this because my bro's cabin fan did. No towel animals during this cruise. We noted that the walls in the cabin must be quite thin, as we heard the person in the next cabin coughing at all hours. We could also hear neighbors' phone conversations through the wall. I was glad there were cotton balls in the bathroom as I used them as earplugs.
Attended the muster drill which was way too long at 30 minutes. NCL has muster drills down to a science and they're less than 15 minutes getting the same info across.
The Molecular Bar was really cool and we tried various drinks throughout the ten days. The rose one was my favorite I think. The 2 bartenders were great too. There were many bars on the ship and they had peak and quite dead times. Martini bar was cool but we didn't spend any time there. Quasar lounge near the theater was funky but I didn't see anyone in there ever.
The tv channels were more limited than other lines and too many of the few available were news channels. There was also the Cartoon network and TNT along with Celebrity channels. "Classic" movies were from the 90s. There were a few movies on demand too. Menus need to be on the tv. Onboard account is visible on the tv but OBC took a day or two to show, and the system showed a balance of $0 the day before the cruise was over. Navigation system channel could be better; shows where you are and speed and outside temperature. Nice that you can order room service through the tv and we did this once or twice.
Demographics on this cruise I would estimate at 75% over 60. Many Europeans too. I heard others talking about how it was not the most friendly bunch of passengers or crew, and this was even noted by one of the comedians.
The 3 Production shows were good; we also saw the juggler, pianist and comedian and they were all good too.
Food everywhere was fabulous. Dining room service and food was superb. We ate there 6 of the 10 nights. Sometimes 2 hours for dinner is a bit much for me. The dinner buffet seemed to be the same every night, and service was quite lacking. There were not a lot of people in the buffet for dinner. Dirty dishes stayed on tables for way too long every time we were in the buffet regardless of time of day. Indian food was good, Asian stir-fry or hot station, pizza, pasta station, breads, sushi at dinnertime, fruit, desserts. I love that ice cream/sorbet is available from ~12 noon-11pm. They had great flavors and most were delicious. I ate more ice cream in 10 days than I do in a year! Guava sorbet was my favorite. The no-charge coffee was not to our liking; we bought at The Daily Grind a few times. Sad you have to pay for decent coffee. The burgers at the grill by the pool were quite good as were their fries. Brunch one of the sea days was really good; next time we will arrive 45 minutes after it starts so the lines are gone. I thought shrimp cocktail belonged there but there was none.
The ship wasn't as clean as I'd expect. Even our cabin balcony had garbage and finger or toenail clippings (not ours) and there were prior cruisers' lotions, etc. in the bathroom drawer. I had to ask for the balcony to be cleaned on the second day which I don't feel I should have had to do. Need more attention to detail. Towels and bath mats were sometimes quite ratty and frayed. Thinking room stewards may have too many cabins for which they're responsible.
Why does this ship have only two banks of elevators? For 3,000 people that is not enough. I heard people complaining about how far our walk from aft was to the nearest elevator; we viewed it as exercise!
There are two pools outside, one is shallow, one deeper. The other is in a solarium and is for adults only. A ship of this size needs more pools. My nephew loved the outside pool and actually swam distance for the first time. It was exciting. Yes, there were chair hogs by the pools.
Photographers were set up a few of the nights, not just on formal nights. Many nice photos were on display for purchase at a decent cruise-level price. Then the usual embarkation and various in-port photos (I like and buy the ones of us with the actual ship in the background only!). My bro got some nice family portraits in some type of package. There is also another photographer set up sometimes with whom the ship contracts for special photos; his cost more than the regular Celebrity photos but he does a nice job.
There was a mixology demo poolside the first sea day and they gave out a few cocktails. I got the mojito. You just have to be vocal when they ask who wants the cocktail!
Corning Hot glass show was very cool. The lawn area is nice but I think is mostly wasted space.
The live musicians were good for the most part. I thought their performances and the recorded music that played poolside was too loud.
Around 10am each day the captain would give an announcement with the ship's position, ETA for next port, weather report, etc.
REALLY LIKED: the brunch, larger than expected cabin and balcony, decor, library, Molecular Bar, outdoor areas, Guest Relations: my bro and SIL had an issue in their cabin and it was resolved, and the person at GR even followed up which is rare. We were impressed!
DID NOT CARE FOR: lifeboat location (obstructing views though one deck below us), long muster drill, ratio of pools to passengers, no final bill delivered to room day of debarkation, paper comment cards (all other major lines do this electronically). Difficulty to get an extra beach towel---like there was a shortage. This ship does not have a deck that goes all the way around the ship for walkers or just a nice view. Missed that.
PORTS: St Thomas we did a daysail. St. Kitts we walked to the ferry to Nevis and then a taxi to a close beach and hung out there awhile. Lime I think the place was called. Drank a few Killer Bees. Barbados we did a catamaran sail with Silver Moon. Was great except for the sea lice that were biting. Dominica we toured with Woody which was great, and St. Maarten we went to Maho Beach via taxi.
We got back to Port Everglades around 6am, and we had #19 with a 9am meet-up in the Silhouette restaurant. We thought it odd that the buffet closed promptly at 8:30 day of debarkation (seems early). Our # was called around 9:40am and it took about 45 minutes to get through the long customs/immigration line. Only 3 agents were processing everyone (no separating US citizens from non-US citizens).
Was it a fun cruise? Of course. Will I cruise with Celebrity again? Probably, but I'll still cruise other lines too. The things I noted that could be better don't ruin my cruise. And the ship was lovely.