We booked with Celebrity on the advice of my father who has taken to cruising in his retirement. Celebrity is his favourite to date although he has good things to say about holland America and princess lines too.
We liked the equinox itinerary and considered that the overall cost was comparable to previous holidays in good hotels when costs of eating out transport etc were added in.
I chose the stateroom carefully based on advice on Internet and from father. Fortunately the stateroom was fine. Smaller than hotel room obviously but ok for the two of us and our nine year old daughter. Ladies- I have long thick hair and had been worried about shower pressure, how good the hair dryer would be, usable mirror, plug etc - all fine. Good water pressure and excellent hair dryer. Just as well as didn't rate hair salon- overpriced and cheap colour stripping shampoo! Was also worried about having enough wardrobe space as I don't travel light and with no ability to iron clothes myself needed to be good. I had taken various cunning multi hangar devices etc sourced from the Internet (neurotic or what?!) but there were actually plenty of hangers. That said my husband used the overhead lockers for most of his stuff! There is also plenty of room under bed for storage of even large cases. There was virtually no noise whatsoever from neighbouring cabins and none at all from card room on same floor. Bed was extremely comfortable. Shower room good. This stateroom had a larger than standard verandah with good views fore and aft.
Stateroom attendant excellent. Cleanliness even up to my standards and I travel with Dettol wipes! The restrooms near the eating facilities appeared to be permanently staffed and each sink and toilet cleaned after every use. Saw many incidences of elderly or infirm passengers ( not many as most middle aged families at this time) being kindly assisted and engaged in non patronising manner. Only one occasion poor service at icecream counter buffet - staff probably frazzled and hot and after that one incident when they were unhelpful to elderly man on crutches and grumpy with my enquiry re nut allergy - they were fine on all other days. Waiting staff main dining room universally excellent - we were select dining so never had same one twice and all very pleasant and professional indeed.
I wasnt expecting Disney type family entertainment or royal carribean ice rinks but was a little disappointed at the lack of family activities. I would have thought a family meet and greet to allow children to make friends or a family bingo, putting event or quiz could have been scheduled on at sea days. A great many children are not 'kids club' types and if not, there is very little for them. No children's books in library, limited Xbox provision, small overcrowded pool etc. that said this was a destination heavy cruise and my daughter thoroughly enjoyed the port days as did we. The evening entertainment was good. We found wandering round the ship post dinner and hearing the barber shop quartet/ opera/ jazz enough but sometimes went to the theatre where we all enjoyed the comedian night and the renowned violinist in particular.
We used celebrity organised tours for Rome and Florence and otherwise did own thing. Was worth it for those ports given travel distance from ship. However enjoyed ports where we did our own thing more. Paying for free any time tendering in Venice well worth it. High points for me sailaway from Venice spent on grass with glass wine and arriving at dawn in Kotor Montenegro - absolutely stunning.
Silhouette restaurant excellent - beautiful meals and excellent service. ocean view Buffet disappointing. Quality not what expected compared to good hotels have stayed at elsewhere. Food in buffet very salty for British/ health conscious tastes. mast grill great for quick lunch. Drinks comparable prices to British cities so no big shocks there.
Overall a wonderful holiday - lovely food and service; opportunity to see many places without hassle of driving or repackiing - your five star hotel comes with you! Will definitely consider celebrity again.
Nine year old daughter comments:
I had the sofa as a bed but it was comfy. Christine our stateroom attendant was very kind to me and almost every night came to admire my outfit! Luckily we had a bigger balcony because it was slightly offset and triangular so there was room for three chairs instead of the usual two.
I thought the silhouette dining rooms food was absolutely gorgeous. I had the adult menu every night. It was lovely. My favourite was the chocolate cake. The waiters were very careful and kind about my nut allergy and one night the waiter was so sorry for me he brought me an extra cake from the chef! Delicious. Even though I thought the buffet was very disappointing the icecream from the machines was very nice. The food in the buffet was very salty. The mast grill was great. We often had a burger or hot dog from there for lunch.
I thought the activities for kids were poor as there is nothing if you do not want to go in the kids club. The pools were very crowded and we hardly ever got a good sun lounger and usually only in the shade which was cold when wet. In the quasar lounge there was an Xbox in the morning. It had sports games. I wish it had been available all day but they put it away in the afternoon.
The staff were very pleasant.
Overall my favourite ports were Venice - I loved the gondola ride it was eighty euros for forty minutes but well worth it - and Kotor in Montenegro. We went on the Celebrity 'Rome for families' tour. With the exception of a quiz at the Leonardo da Vinci museum therewas nothing particularly family/ children about it. Montenegro was very beautiful and it was definitely good to see.
Things I loved
Dressing up for formal nights; icecream and chocolate cake; our stateroom attendant Christine; travelling on the roof of the tender to port; gondola ride in Venice; Venice; Montenegro; lifeboat drill; officers and guests dance-off; chatting with the Captain??
Things I hated
Being called ' princess' by staff; sometimes bored on ship days; pool too small for swimming or games; no kids books in library - everyone likes Harry potter!; the humidity.
Overall I loved it!!????????????