First time cruise for my 40th birthday. Me and mum. Concierge cabin 1186, deck 10, starboard aft. My mum was really apprehensive about cruising but she was the one who decided we were going to book another one!
Our stateroom attendant, Juvy, and her assistant were fantastic and a true credit to Celebrity. The vast majority of other staff were lovely. The man who gives out the anti-bac hand gel at Oceanview (I didn't get his name) brings a smile to everyone's face and also the pool butler who is outside the ship on port days to welcome everyone back.
Food was generally excellent but service in Opus was slow. Waiters and sommeliers spent too much time chatting with guests rather than taking the orders of others. Once the order was placed, the speed improved. They would also insist on recommending things on the menu even though we had had 15 mins looking at the darn thing! Breakfast service in Opus was appalling, so we changed to the Oceanview every day. We asked the waiter in Opus for milk for our tea, so he brought us cream and then proceeded to pour it into the cups until they were half full! Surely a waiter on a 5 star cruise line has been educated that milk goes in tea and cream goes in coffee?? I'm still waiting for my yoghurt to arrive. Tip for the Brits - the Oceanview has Tetley tea bags in the beverage stations! Oooh, a decent cup of tea! AND Oceanview do petite sandwiches, cookies and mini desserts for afternoon tea. Bliss.
Ate in the Oceanview on quite a few evenings, partly as we couldn't always be bothered with the whole waiter thing. Interesting to note that a number of officers eat there about 8.30/9.00pm every evening. We ended up chatting with quite a few - you see, you don't need to be an Elite member to meet officers! AND my mum met the captain as she was walking to the ladies loos!!!
Specialty restaurants - Tuscan Grille was amazing - food and service. Murano was good but the service was overbearing. The waiter had been over 5 times before I had even managed to get beyond the starters on the menu. It wasn't his fault (he was actually very good), it was the manager who obviously instructs his waiters to do this.
We found a lot of food on board to be quite salty (although not overly so). Initially I thought this was just me as I don't season a lot of food, but then I thought maybe this was Celebrity's way of trying to get guests hydrated via water retention!
Bars - the barman in Secondo Bacio in the Oceanview was lovely. We also drank in the Passport bar as there is often a band of some short on in the foyer. Didn't try the martini bar or the molecular bar as one of their drinks would have sent me for a lie down! The Ensemble bar was very dark, so dark you couldn't read the menu and was sometimes reserved for Captain's Club events. Didn't manage to get into Michael's as whenever I tried it was reserved for Captain's Club - made me feel a bit insignificant. The Sky Observation lounge(I think that is what it was called) was great for viewing the scenery go by at sunset.
We didn't take a drinks package. Our drinks bill came to about $420 in total (including gratuity) for the 10 day cruise. We were able to order a bottle of wine in our cabin for sailaway and then have another glass of wine or two with dinner and a cocktail or two afterwards.
Shore Excursions - took 2. Both well organised, especially the Ancient Ephesus one (excellent tour guide).
Concierge cabin benefits - I'm not too sure about these. The canapes were measly portions and we didn't try the room service. The Hans Grohe shower head - seriously? You can get these in Holiday Inn Express in the UK. The bath robes were nice especially when sitting on the balcony (sorry, verandah!) late at night. We didn't get the second hairdryer but there really isn't enough room for two people to dry their hair at once. Didn't use the umbrella, but loved the binoculars. Many happy times on the balcony spotting ships' names and registered ports (made me feel like James Bond!). The sparkling wine was lovely for the first sailaway. Fruit was 3 apples, which changed to 2 apples and 1 orange when an apple went brown. Eventually a pear arrived too!
Went to a couple of talks - Panos, one of the navigation officers did a really interesting one. Another man did a series on ancient Athens/Rome (I went to the first) and a women did stuff about the White House, but it was so gushy, and unless you were American it wasn't that interesting (I know some Americans won't like that opinion, but I am an honest person, so there you go). We were the only non-US in there. Also the galley tour was good but short. Also went to a short but sweet cake decorating demo. Didn't go to the shows as they began quite late and we didn't do any of the pool entertainment either.
Despite it not being allowed, some people do smoke on their balconies. Also people were smoking around the pool on the one day I went up there.
BTW, if you book another cruise whilst on board, you get OBC for your next cruise. We are getting $350 which should pay for 2-3 shore excursions.
The only really bad thing was that they give you your disembarkation information 3 days before the cruise ends! Imagine if you were only on a 3 day cruise? You would get your disembarkation info when you embark!!
Sour points - on the last night of the cruise, they removed everything from the cabin that could (potentially be stolen). Now, I know that some people will steal anything they can, but not me and not my mum either. We really did not appreciate being painted with the same tar brush.
The other thing was some couples arguing over who ran up the big bar bill!! The most unsavoury thing was one woman saying that she didn't want her "US Dollars going to some Fillipino maid or waitress". Not nice to hear. The staff (no matter what their nationality) worked their behinds off to make our cruise amazing. Even though we had already paid all our gratuities, we still gave the cabin stewards something extra, as they were truly fantastic.
Okay, I have waffled on enough. I hope this helps some future cruiser!