This was our first luxury cruise. We are relatively new cruisers (only having gone on 2 prior cruises, both on Carnival). Based on what we read both from the experts and member ratings I must admit, my expectations were high. These were our impressions.
The room: I loved the bathroom with its shower doors (yea, no curtain!) and the pretty tile backsplash. I also thought the room was very nice (folks who complain about bedroom size, this is not a Hilton so I think expectations need to be reasonable). I have had 2 neck surgeries which were unfortunately unsuccessful so I have a lot of pain, especially when I lie down. In order to minimize it I need to have a firm pillow and must sleep on my side (facing one direction). My husband also presents a sleeping issue because he uses a CPAP machine (which he brought). Unfortunately the side of the bed my husband needed to plug in his machine did not have an outlet. Our room attendant (Wilfred) immediately found an extension cord and taped it to the floor. I asked him for a firmer pillow and he got that really quick. Our room was always very clean and the turn down service was a nice touch. In summary, we loved our room and especially Wilfred.
The service: The service was outstanding. Everyone, no matter what their duties, always greeted us with a smile. Dishes were picked up the second we put anything down. Room service arrived quickly.
Entertainment: I thought the shows were okay with the exception of their signature show on the last sea day. That was excellent. The hot glass show was fascinating. I thought the naturalist (Brent Nixon) was outstanding. He was by far the highlight of the activities we did on ship. Like he was advertised, he truly married entertainment and education. The kids loved him! I thought some of the bands were pretty good but a few of the singers were less than adequate. I liked the 4 piece jazz ensemble (all very young men) except they seemed obviously board (doing dinner type music was probably not what they dreamed they would be doing). My husband and I called them the smiling band because they appeared to be cracking jokes with each other during the performance. There was a guitar soloist that had an excellent voice. One of my favorite acts was the 70s party at the atrium area. The guys/gals from the theatre cast would go up and down the escalators with spotlights shining on them. When guests entered the elevator unexpectedly becoming part of the show, they would oftentimes start dancing themselves. Hysterical!
The venues: I thought for the most part they were okay although some have started showing their age. The Observation lounge looked a bit worn. The disco lounge near the theatre seemed like a waste because we hardly ever saw anyone in it. The theatre seemed fresh. With the bad neck, I really appreciated the high back chairs. The biggest disappointment was that they had no piano bar! Really?? Almost everyone we met complained about that and folks that I know that cruise frequently always mention how much fun they had at the piano bar.
Now the food: On our first night we went to Murano. What an outstanding restaurant! Some of the best food I have had in a long time. We went to 2 other specialty restaurants later in the week as well. Silk Harvest was okay, but the service was outstanding once again. We made mention to the chef when he asked us about our experience at Silk Harvest and he said that perhaps we werent accustomed to Asian Fusion but we are from the Washington D.C. area so we are very familiar with that. We thought that Tuscan Grill was also really good (and has a killer view). Now the bad. Every other eating venues we tried were TERRIBLE! Because of all the wildlife viewing tips we got from Brent, we didnt get a chance to eat in the dining room except for a brunch and a lunch. At the brunch we didnt get to try everything because they took up the food almost as soon as we got there. I suggest they not let anyone in unless they arrive 45 minutes before they take up the food so they dont feel rushed (or dont get anything). The Oceanview caf was the biggest disappointment. I like almost everything (I am overweight) and there were some things I literally could not eat they were so bad. The bacon was all fat and almost no meat, the calamari were rubber bands and the spaghetti was overdone and the sauce unappetizing. The sushi rolls were okay and when they did serve real sushi (with fish on top) it was very dry. Their Indian food was the only highlight.
Although there were a lot of really nice things about this cruise, the bad food outweighed them (seriously, people almost always make mention of the food when they discuss their cruise). As a result, we most likely wont cruise on Celebrity again.