Embarkation - we arrived at our assigned time of 11.30 am and it took an hour to board. Our bags arrived at about 5 pm.
We had our first meal on board at Bistro on Five so as to avoid the buffet. The food was fine, it was not crowded and well worth the $5 charge.
The ship is modern, attractive, clean and very stable. It is also quite peaceful as there was usually only quiet classical music played around the different areas.
Our cabin on deck eleven was large enough with adequate storage, very quiet and was kept immaculately clean by our cabin attendants. The bed was huge and comfortable and the shower is great - the best thing about Aqua class.
Our balcony was a good size and we could actually use it! No smoking on balconies is such a huge advantage of sailing with Celebrity. On our previous 2 cruises we had smokers next door to us so we could barely get any use out of the balcony.
Entertainment - overall the entertainment was of a surprisingly high standard. Will More
Martin was exceptional and amazingly talented. He even sang some songs better than the original performers. Jane Cho was also great. We enjoyed the pianist and the Italian Australian singer guitarist. The production shows were also good with some very talented performers. I particularly liked the very flexible dancer/ gymnast.
Celebrity Life - We went to quite a few talks. Milos is a standout. Better than most comedians I have seen in my lifetime. He made every topic he spoke on interesting and informative. He was also hilarious in the Liar's Club.
Gymnasium - I used the gym a few times, mainly for stretch and other free classes. These were fine but extremely crowded. Maybe more should be scheduled. And a word of advice to Celebrity - buy some new yoga mats! The ones they have are dreadful and well past their use by dates.
Food - cafe al Bacio. Often crowded but we could usually find a seat somewhere. We used it at least once everyday. The coffees were quite good but would have been better with fresh milk rather than long life milk. The treats were great.
We started out eating our meals in Blu. The food is "clean" healthy food in a quiet environment. The servings are not large. We actually found Blu a bit boring so we changed to the MDR where we enjoyed the food more and found it much more fun and sociable. We joined a large table with lovely people and a great waitstaff.
We tried the 3 specialty restaurants and enjoyed all of them. Murano is very elegant with great service. The lobster cooked table side is great and the chocolate souffle is delicious. Tuscan Grille had very good fish and a very picturesque view over Papeete. Silk Harvest was excellent and our favourite of the three restaurants. The Aqua spa cafe had good healthy food, although it could get pretty crowded.
Noumea - we walked around in the morning and took a ship's tour to the mangroves in the afternoon. It was an excellent example of a mangrove swamp and the guide was excellent.
Moorea - we took a ship's afternoon circle island tour. It was fine.
Bora Bora - this was the nicest place and the best tour by far. It was a tour organised through Cruise Critic with Patrick. A boat ride with snorkelling, swimming with the stingrays and sharks and a motu picnic or feast with traditional food. It was a fantastic excursion - the highlight of our cruise.
Lahaina - here we experienced a huge customs mess. Initially there was only 1 customs officer as the others were delayed so there were delays. It didn't really affect us as we had a ship's tour booked so we didn't line up but waited till we were called. However I did speak to some people who waited an hour or two. We went to the Haleakala volcanic crater. It was along drive but the scenery at the crater was very interesting. It was well worth doing once.
Minor issues - the cruise did have many cases of norovirus on board as well as lots of coughing. I hit the jackpot and caught both! Norovirus is nasty, but quick and I was only confined to my cabin for 24 hours. The cold lasted much longer and luckily I had bought my own medicines. But these illnesses really didn't affect my overall enjoyment of the cruise.
With regards to queues the cruise did have some problems. There were definitely long queues to embark, disembark and clear customs and immigration in Lahaina. None of this really affected us as we were not in a hurry but they may have upset some people. They were generally caused by circumstances that were beyond Celebrity's control and it would be unfair to blame the cruise line.
Overall we had a great time with excellent service. Celebrity is a classy, caring cruise line who endeavour to provide a wonderful experience to all their guests.
We have already booked further cruises. Less