My wife and I had previous experience of Celebrity in the days of its independence and in the smaller boats around the Caribbean.The new parent company Carnival and the larger boat completely change the character but retains some for example - we still excellent food and service.
Objective reviews are based on personal circumstances and although my wife and I are retired we are still extremely independent and active and were using the cruise for little R&R after a hospital operation. That is as a high standard floating hotel to try the food/ drinks/ read a little and good company. Ideally eclectic mix . Plus see some of the interesting places around the Mediterranean - one of the reasons we chose this cruise.
We booked at the last minute and for the first time had an interior cabin - it proved impossible to upgrade and I have to say it was larger than any cabin I been in previously and did not detract from the holiday one iota. Plus the room service was good.
UK Southampton was the usual - we are previously been on a cruise on the Cunard Victoria six months earlier - there was a disproportionate number of the extremely elderly and infirm and wheelchairs although less than the 300 on Victoria which was quite intrusive. It's difficult to get a mix of the ages but similarly when we were on a Carnival Cruise around the Caribbean , there were reportedly 800 children - no problem for us as we had our grandkids but if not .... . However Carnival caters for the kids.
The ship was noisy believe me blaring background music in every corner. Whereas Cunard used a large panoramic atrium Lounge as a haven of peace and quiet- the similar lounge on the eclipse there were either games or physical activity etc where the music was so loud the people not participating had to leave . when I asked if there was anywhere where you could sit and read a book - the young lady in reception to me to use my bedroom!
Equally for some obscure reason, the boat always appear crowded and one spent one's life queuing - more of that later. It was difficult to work out why as was similar in size and numbers to the Cunard Victoria.
Similar to other cruise liners - it had a very nice library without a librarian and the theatre was the largest I have ever seen - there was never any difficulty in obtaining a seat. Some of the shows were designed for different age group - jarring pop music and stroboscopic lights but in general terms the were very high standard and some of the musical ones were excellent.
Celebrity charges for everything - almost the air you breathe - but I think this is the way that all cruises are going now similar to low-cost airlines in reducing the price and piling on the extras. I will not deal with the bar packages but there were constant source of complaints from other passengers.
The ports that we visited were a disgrace to a company of the reputation of Celebrity - people in the know deliberately said that they arrive late to save a mooring fees. There are no transfers and you have to make your own way by taxi or whatever.
For example the initial stop at Malaga arrived at 1 PM and the passengers with booked trips were allowed off first so it was over an hour before we disembarked and then found a taxi etc. This was the norm and the boat was often a long way from the main town - in Provence you would have to take a river taxi for '22 to get into town. This is a problem if the boat arrives after 10 o'clock rather than 7 o'clock in the morning when everyone wants to get off at the same time and there are 3000 passengers.
Villefranche was a disaster -this is tender transfer and wait for it, it took almost 4 hours to empty the boat. People were returning before some people even got into town.
I don't want to sound too curmudgeonly as we had an excellent cruise, but never again because of the noise and hassle factor as many other better options.
The final appendum is that we had a bottle of water in the room on arrival and I assumed it was free as was no notice - I told the reception to take off my bill which they agreed. Two weeks after disembarking there was a charge of $4.75 plus the usual bank charges for the water.