Background: I am a 47 year-old single woman who loves to travel! This was my 27th cruise, and my 5th on Celebrity. On this cruise, I traveled with my mom. We are both very active and chose this cruise because of the interesting ports, most of which we had never been to before. Out intent was to just wander around each port and take in the culture and atmosphere.
Ship info: This ship was really sleek and beautiful, but there are some things about it that didn't work for me. The one thing that most impressed me was the staff. I've never seen a group of officers (including the Captain) who were so engaged, visible, friendly and fun. They truly were EVERYWHERE and made each passenger feel like a guest in their home. Now my expectations are so high for my next cruise! The ship itself is really beautiful and well designed. I rarely felt I was in a crowd as there were so many different areas. The only couple of complaints I have are these. The grassy area on the top deck is a complete waste of space. It was always roped off and there was never anyone there. Also the restaurants that charge a fee on that grassy deck were always empty. It' s just a shame that half of the top deck is mostly empty. Just open it up and stop charging a fee. Also, there is really no central atrium or gathering point.
Activities: My only true complaint was the complete lack of anything fun to do. When you looked at the daily activity guide, it appeared to be full, but when you really looked at it, most activities were for a fee (food and/or beverage related) or occurred during the day when you were in port. In the evening (between maybe 6-10pm) there was absolutely nothing to do other than whatever the main show was. The assumption is that the entire ship would be just drinking and eating and entertaining themselves. But we saw many people just wandering around looking for something to do. There wasn't even a great band playing where you could sit and listen to music. I honestly thought the Cruise Director was completely worthless as it related to entertainment
Service: Impeccable! And soooo friendly!!!
Port & Shore Excursions: We did not book any shore excursions through the ship. We arranged two excursions on our own through Cruise Critic boards, and then just wandered around on our own. The ship did provide (for a fee) some shuttle services that we did use in Venice, Ravenna and Dubrovnik. These were fairly priced and very well communicated and arranged.
Embarkation: Super easy. Took all of 7 minutes and we were on the ship by 1pm
Cabin: We booked cabin 1200, which was a Concierge class balcony. The cabin is pretty well designed, but there definitely is a lack of drawer space. The bathroom was fantastic. Very well designed and spacious for a cruise ship cabin. We completely rearranged the furniture and made the room seem bigger. The beds and bedding were extremely comfortable.
Dining: We had "anytime" dining so we could do what we want, when we wanted. We ate breakfast everyday in the buffet and LOVED the eggs benedict. I thought this was one of the best organized buffets on any ship I've been on. Very spacious and lots of choices. For dinner, we split between the main dining room and the buffet. Sometimes the dining room just made us too full, so we opted to graze at the buffet and eat a little lighter. One evening we ate at the Tuscan Grille and that was superb! Overall, I thought the prices for the specialty restaurants were too high. $45 for a specialty dinner when you are used to eating for free is just too steep.
Entertainment: Not much. The production shows were good. The guest entertainers were ok. The bands were non-existent. There was a good acapella group, but they only played for 15 minutes at a time. The "party" band was terrible. There were two "one-man" guitar players. Really? That's entertainment? This is my one complaint about Celebrity. They really skimp on the entertainment, especially the live music
Summary: For me, Celebrity is all about the ports of call and the service. If you are not looking to be entertained, but you are looking for great ports every day and being treated like a guest in someone's home, this is for you.