This was our 3rd cruise with Celebrity and having always told everyone Celebrity were just that little bit better than RCCL, this time we did not find that to be the case.
Embarkation and disembarkation were both very fast & efficient, although we were advised to wait in Qsine until called to disembark and this area was far too small for the amount of Concierge Class passengers wanting to use it, but we & other passengers had no trouble finding seats nearby.
The cruise got off to a bad start, we found out almost as soon as we boarded that we were not going to the Azores due to bad weather but going to Vigo instead. I understand that the cruise line have no control over the weather, but did they really have to keep the ship in the cold, rough & wet weather for 2 days rather than sailing immediately to warmer shores. We departed Southampton at 5 pm, but the next morning at breakfast the Captain informed us we were just south of Plymouth (in other words we had gone nowhere). That was the main complaint of everyone we met during the cruise, no-one could understand the reasons for this.
The ship is beautiful, the entertainment absolutely first class, but most of the headliners were only on stage for 1 night during the 14 nights cruise so if you were unable to make that 1 evening, you had missed the chance to see them, which was disappointing.
The food & staff in the Speciality restaurants were excellent, Qsine in particular was an experience of the senses, rather than just a meal. The main dining room was OK, the food was certainly not as good as on our previous cruises with Celebrity. That isn't to say the food was not good, just not as good as I remember it.
We booked a dining time for the 1st night as we were Select dining, but on arrival at the dining room, it was a bit of a shambles. with queues everywhere. A party of about 8 people had also booked but were still waiting to be seated 15 minutes after their reservation time. We ended up at the back of the restaurant next to the galley doors, in an area which seemed like a bit of an afterthought. We gave them the benefit of the doubt as it was the 1st night and to be fair after that whenever we ate in the dining room it seemed more organised even though we never reserved in advance again.
The main difference we noticed from previous cruises was the difficulty in finding somewhere to sit, in both the buffet restaurant and the lounge & bar areas, Cafe al Bacio was particularly difficult to find a seat in. Only once, when we were again struggling to find a table in the buffet restaurant did a member of staff approach & show us to a table. We even saw people with walking sticks carrying their plates around looking for somewhere to sit and eat. On past cruises with Celebrity, the waiters were always very quick to find a table for you even when the restaurant was not that busy.
We were also a little concerned at the number of disability scooters left in corridors around the ship. Surely this is a health & safety risk. It certainly would not be allowed in hotels or any other venue where the need to evacuate could be required.
To summarise, we enjoyed the cruise despite the rocky start, but will probably go back to RCCL as the price for the same destinations is often less than Celebrity and it seems nowadays there is no difference in quality of food, service or entertainment. In fact when we cruised on Oasis of the Seas last year we rarely had a problem finding somewhere to sit after or before dinner & the waiters in the much maligned Buffet restaurant were always very quick to find you a table.