My family of 4 (2 teenagers) cruised to Alaska on June 7th. We have cruised 7 times (5 = Carnival, 1 = Disney, 1 = Princess). Since we have sailed Carnival the most, that's what we used as our frame of reference.
* The ship is absolutely beautiful, by far the most elegant ship we have been on.
* Embarkation and Debarkation is incredibly smooth and fast, much better than Carnival.
* The Alaska Scenery was awesome, probably the most beautiful place we have ever been (including Hawaii).
* The staff is very professional and polite, and we didn't have a bad experience with any crew member.
* Except for the first day, the weather was fantastic. Not a single drop of rain during port days, and passengers were actually swimming outside in Skagway.
* Brent Nixon (Naturalist) gave some fantastic talks, very educational. He's a bit over the top, but very good.
* The "Solstice show" was incredible (Best we have seen on a cruise), and the Xylophone guy was really cool. Other than that, the shows were nothing special.
* Escargot is on the everyday appetizer menu in the MDR, that was nice.
* The Oceanview cafe food was fair, nothing great. Not much variety, pretty much the same things each day.
* The Oceanview seating was absolutely terrible. There isn't enough seating and if you try to eat during the peak times it was a real chore to find seating. Maybe this is partially due to it being a cold weather itinerary and you can't sit outside. I think the problem is also compounded by the fact that they don't start lunch until 12:00 pm. We really started dreading eating breakfast and lunch in the Oceanview, because finding a table was so difficult.
* I got a chuckle out of a review from "californiacruiseluvrs", and then I went on the ship and she was exactly right. Here is what she said, I can't say it any better.
"The Ocean View is like a 'Hometown Buffet' with an environment that is a disgusting free for all with rude fellow passengers scrambling for their large plates of food to feed their morbidly obese bodies. It really is a disgusting experience and is a disconnect from the rest of the otherwise elegant Celebrity experience."
* The first day of sea was terrible, the seas were extremely rough. I've never seen a ship rock that much. I don't blame Celebrity; however, I really wish they could have given some advanced warning of the rough seas that were coming. Most of the patches and medication require you to put it on in advance, and so some warning would have been nice. I saw several people barf during that first day, the swimming pools looked like wave pools at a water park.
* We ate in the MDR every night. Maybe we have simple taste, but we really had a hard time finding something on the menu many nights. A lot of strange dishes that really didn't suit our taste.
* Carnival has Warm Chocholate Melting Cake (WCMC) which is awesome, and you can order it every night. I never found a single dessert on Celebrity that was as good as WCMC. Desserts in the dining room were good, but not great. I realize everyone's taste is different, it just surprised me that I didn't like Celebrities choices for desert as well as Celebrities. Most of the Desserts in the Ocean View looked great, but didn't taste so great.
* Pizza and burgers on Carnival is MUCH better. The Pizza wasn't bad, it was just ok. The burgers tasted like some kind of Soy burger, not nearly as good as Guy's burgers on Carnival.
* Patti the cruise director is your typical corny CD who loves the sound of her voice.
* We had 4 people in our cabin. The couch had a trundle bed that pulled out. I think it must have just been due to our cabin, but this style of bed was much less practical than a bed that folds down from the ceiling. There was no floor space when all beds were pulled out. I saw other cabins with the bed that folds down from ceiling, so there must have been some reason ours wasn't configured that way (Cabin 9211).
Ketchikan - This was our favorite port. We did a tour with Ketchikan taxi tours (Kat) and it was great. Then we shopped down town. We saw lots of eagles and got a great overview of the island. Unfortunately no bears.
Tracy's Arm - The highlight of our trip, you have to get up early and don't miss it. The views while sailing through the Fjords are unbelievable.
Juneau - This was our least favorite port. It feels more like a regular town, we didn't find it that interesting. We signed up for a tour at the dock (last chance tours). It was ok, nothing great. They gave an overview of the town and took us to Mendenhall glacier. After seeing Tracy's arm, Mendenhall was less impressive, but it was still worth seeing. Since it was a late port day, the glacier was extremely crowded.
Skagway - We rented a car at Avis and drove to Emerald Lake. It took about 5 hrs round-trip, and it was worth it. The scenery is really nice, and Emerald lake was nicer than I expected. The whole family enjoyed it.
Victoria - We had been before, so we weren't really looking forward to this stop; however, we were more than ready to get off the ship after nearly 2 full sea days. The temperatures were very cool, but we had a nice time. You can take a shuttle to town (Too far to walk, probably a good 2 miles) for $10 per person RT. We just shopped and took pictures. I really feel like they could make it to Victoria earlier in the day, I'm not sure why they schedule the times so late, but maybe there is a good reason.
We saw a lot of whales on the trip, and that never gets old. From Ketchikan until we left Skagway, we saw many whales. Then we saw what appeared to be a pod of Orca's right before we entered the Strait of Juan going to Victoria. The sky lounge is a great place to look for them, and stay warm. But we even saw some from our balcony. We saw lots of Dall Porpoise, they look like a cross between Orca and a dolphin. If you are patient and watch the water, you will see a whale at some point.
We would sail Celebrity again, we just wouldn't pay a premium to do so. The ship was beautiful and very clean. The passengers were older, ruder and more inconsiderate than what we have experienced. I don't know if that's because it's Celebrity, Alaska or both.