After the stories in the press we were a little nervous about taking this cruise,we needn't have been ,more later.
The big problem was embarkation with the times being pushed forward and forward as the crew tried to complete a deep clean of the ship,of course not everybody got the message to delay their arrival at the terminal so when we turned up at our allotted time the place was buzzing.Credit to Celebrity they provided hot & cold food vouchers only they had run out by the time we arrived so we finally embarked around 5pm instead of 11am.We were fortunate as we had booked a transfer with Cape Liberty Shuttle.com who adjusted their timings to suit the delays,a good company..
We made our way to the Aqua Spa café on deck 10 for the sailaway as this forum in order to get a nice view of Manhattan & the Statue of Liberty only it was very hazy so not a great view.
Eventually we got to our cabin No 9015 on Sky deck,first impressions were that it seemed on the small side but also well laid out with plenty of storage for our needs,the closet had 20 hangers and along with the few we brought with us we had plenty.The balcony was one of only about 6 on deck 9 without a massive 7foot overhang so check before you book if you want to maximise your sunbathing.This cabin is well forward but apart from a bit of heavy footwork from the spa above was very quiet and very convenient for the elevator and only a short distance from the pool.Aqua Spa Café & the pool bar.
Regretably I have to say the room was not as clean as we expected and we had to call the room steward to clean up certain areas, after that all was well.Another thing was having to wait 4 days for a room service menu and 3 days for a laundry bag despite repeated requests and when room service eventually delivered there was always something missing from the tray,disappointing.Unfortunately after the norovirus no amenity books were in the cabins so you had no idea of the various facilities or the prices of drinks etc.
We opted for select dining and we made our reservations online well before the cruise,the only thing we couldn't understand was that there were two lines for dinner,with & without reservations but the without crowd were always seated before us,a mystery.All of they dining room staff were absolutely great,friendly and efficient especially on the first night when virtually everbody turned up at once wanting to be fed,they did a great job.Of course every corner you turned had a Purelle dispenser or a crew member with sanitizer,and it worked no problems on this cruise.
Most days we had breakfast in th Aqua Spa,lunch in the Oceanview Café and dinner in the Cosmopolitan restaurant all fulfilled their function very well,never to difficult to find a seat with more room than expected to the aft end of the ship where there were some extra speciality serveries.
On one occasion we had dinner in the sublime Normandie Restaurant for a special birthday and it was worth every penny of the cover charge with relaxed professional service and very good food.
As for entertainment the production shows were very professional with lavish sets & costumes along with really good performers.Other nights featured individual artists and although not all of them were to our taste we could appreciate their talents,overall we thought the shows were pretty good.
Also on board were resident musicians performing at various venues during the evening most of whom were quite listenable,except that is for the party band Flava who were brilliant at getting the party mood going.
We did enjoy having coffee in the Café al Bacio on 5 but getting a seat wasn't always easy as many selfish people were occupying the tables playing cards or sitting doing knitting etc for long periods,there are plenty of other areas for that other than the café.
The ships tours we took were well organised but on one or two Celebrity were only acting as ticket agents for shore based companies so you took your chances getting a decent seat.get there early!!
Favourite port...Quebec followed by Prince Edward Island then Portland for the lobster at the Portland Lobster Company which is fronted by a small'shack' with seating out the back posh it ain't but the food is excellent.
This was our first cruise with Celebrity after being with several other lines and overall didn't feel it quite lived up to its reputation,many of the open areas had peeling or peeled varnish which clearly hadn't been attended to for some time and there was a distinct shortage of drinks waiters around,maybe a plan to stop you getting more than your share out of the drinks packages,cynical me.However we felt the drinks packages to be worthwhile and would use them again.
The actual disembarkation process was straight forward but we,along with many others were left a bewildered at the lack of either tickerts or vouchers for the airport transfer but it seemed you just joined the bus line and without any checking got on the right bus as advised by the ground handling staff and off you go.
This was a pretty good itinerary but the 2 sea days on the return leg would have been better to have called at,say,Bar Harbour,on the way back rather than on the way out.
Would we do Celebrity again ? probably because the food and crew were so good.