We only take repositioning cruises, either going to or returning from someplace we will be exploring independently for a month or more. For our first Transatlantic trip we chose Celebrity due to its general good reputation and to specific encouragement from friends who have used them often. We were sadly disappointed.
First the good parts: our rooms and beds were comfortable, our room steward friendly, our meals in the dining room really quite good, though sometimes a bit too slow. We are not big on entertainment, but the Fiore Trio, three highly talented instrumentalists from Russia, knocked our socks off with music from Bach to Gershwin to Russian folk tunes. The fitness center was well-equipped and in a nice location up high in the front of the ship, not tucked away in a place with no views.
There are good walking areas on the top decks, but they are out of doors. You cannot walk under cover on a rainy day on the Promenade Deck without crossing through the ship fore and aft, something that quickly gets old.
So what was so disappointing? Three things, all quite important to us:
The lecture program was almost a joke. We were sailing to Europe via the Azores. So much history to talk about, but nobody did. Three interesting port calls plus our landing in East Anglia, but no port lecturer to tell us something about them. The maps that were available were less than grade-school quality.
The library was only slightly bigger than a closet, the selection only a tad better than your local thrift shop offers. Celebrity has known for over a year that this ship was going to Europe for the first time in 2013, but there was not a single guidebook for any of the countries we were headed to, or that the ship would sail to after its first landing in Harwich.
The cafeteria was more like our high school days than a cruise ship. Except for two special stations that it took us a few days to find, it was mostly disappointing. Not at all close to the quality in the main dining room.
We were also mildly disappointed that there is no movie theater. another petit grumble is that one of the locations the Fiore Trio was given for their performances was too busy with foot traffic and also had poor acoustics, and a second location was only marginally better. So only about a third of their performances were in a decent venue.
In addition to the ports of call reviewed below, we also stopped at Cherbourg. We visited the city on our own, and found a little bit of charm and much more economic malaise. Almost all the shore excursion options involved far too much bus time for our taste.
It was a smooth crossing and at a good price, but it left us unconvinced that Celebrity was a cruise line to get excited about.