Cruising Perspective: Previous cruises - Freedom of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Disney Magic. This was our first cruise without kids, and our first veranda cabin.
Precruise: One night at the Marriott Courtyard Downtown Miami. After checking in we tried to drive to South beach for some beach time. This was a BIG mistake. It took 45 to drive from downtown to South beach. It was Easter Sunday and it was jam-packed. No way to find parking (except for a small lot charging $30). We drove around, very slowly, taking in the sights best we could before returning to the hotel.
Later we strolled the river walk but were disappointed to find the entire Bayside Park closed due to cleanup from the previous weekend's concert. Went to the Bayside Market to again find huge crowds. Got the last two seats on the harbor sightseeing boat, which we enjoyed.
Embarkation: Only 45 minutes from hotel to boarding, which included parking the car at the port- very smooth. We went lunch buffet which was real crowded. After lunch chilled by the pool for a while then it started to rain very hard. Fortunately it cleared for the sail-away at about 5:15.
Crowd: This may have been the youngest ever on a Celebrity Cruise. It was spring break for many states and it was a 5 night cruise. There were LOTS of teenagers and a good amount of kids. At least 25% of the passengers were 18 and under. Fortunately, they seemed to be a good group and they were well behaved from what I observed.
During the first day a sea the weather was perfect. Around 9:30 we found a few empty loungers on deck 12 forward above the bridge. It was quiet and not crowded because few loungers were in that area. Soon after that EVERY seat was taken. Many people were circling the ship looking for a seat. The pool area was a zoo and the pools/hot tubs were human soup.
Room: 2C sweet 16 veranda. The room was in great shape for its age. Minor wear but we had no complaints. The room is not large, but has very efficient storage. The balcony was a different story. Dirty, worn out and rusting. The off-white colored chairs were more black than white, so bad that I would not sit in them. Soon after notifying guest relations they did thoroughly scrub them. They were useable after the cleaning but hopefully will be replaced during dry dock. Covering the entire balcony area was white paint drops from really sloppy painting. Others I talked to also had these drops on their balconies. Being it was our first veranda cabin we really did enjoy having it.
Ship: Interior was in good shape. It had slight wear but was clean and well maintained. The outside areas are showing a lot more wear and age. From a personal opinion, this ship was plain and lacked the 'wow' factor. It was nice and classy but very subdued when compared to Royal Caribbean ships.
Food: San Marco restaurant has great food and service. The food was very similar to Royal Caribbean's. The buffet was OK only. Food was decent but the layout is very poor. Congested and the food is way too spread out along the center island. Most is located at the front and center but way in the back are a couple more food stations.
Entertainment: Cruise directors Damian and Tyler did a good job. Main shows were entertaining with excellent singers and dancers. Production quality did not match Royal Caribbean's, and I was disappointed that there was no pit musicians, only canned music. The Comedian and Magician were very good.
Derek Lewis performed in Michael's Club at 11 every night. He is a Guitar player/singer/comedian/coerced Karaoke guy who host 'adult day care'. He is a riot and the place was packed every time. Party bands the Spitfires and Flava were excellent and performed all over the ship. We did not see the singer/guitar player at the Sunset Bar. Piano bar player was mediocre.
Classic Beverage Package: Great! Especially for the price - free. Wine glasses always full in the restaurant. Choices for wine under the package were few but they were good. It was really convenient with mostly good service and no signing. At peak times bar service was a little slow and understaffed.
Ports: On Roatan we went to West Bay beach which is as good as described. However, the roads are TERRIBLE, I would not want to endure a sightseeing trip on them. On a side note, when pulling into port I saw the two Carnival ships slowly limping away from Mahogany Bay. They obviously could not dock because of high winds. I felt bad for their passengers, It was perfect weather on the island. Cozumel -went to the rustic Playa Palancar beach club to escape the crowds.
Disembarkation: 1 hour fifteen minutes from off the ship to clearing customs. Not enough customs agents.
Did not use: Specialty dining, Sunset Bar, or the spa.