We booked this cruise over a year ago as we wanted this particular itinerary for its ports and its dates, as it was my wife’s 50th, we booked from the UK through IGLU and got a decent price. We also purchased the drinks package closer to the cruise date, as the drinks are very expensive and although we like a drink, when you add up the soft drinks, water and coffee plus a "few" beers we easily got our money’s worth
We stayed in Orlando for the week before the cruise, travelling down the night before and staying at the Marriot just outside the port
The ship is big and well laid out, even the wife had worked out navigation by day 3, and it never seemed crowded, even on days at sea. The lawn area is a waste of valuable deck space and although it’s novel and quite nice to look at, it is none the less pointless. The pool area gets very crowded due to it being close to the food areas but you can always find deck space to chill out if you’re prepared to be more than 20 feet from a food area
Always seemed to be something going on somewhere, however most people either lay in the sun or were eating, often some did both
Overall was very good, on deck the pool waiters struggled to clear the mess left by the deck eaters but in most areas and bars there was always someone on hand to offer a drink
Port & shore excursions
The ports were excellent and very easy to sort your own itinerary out, the excursions as always are hugely overpriced, probably double what you would pay if you sourced yourself.
We were on deck 9 (9192) and had one of the extended balconies due to the shape of the ship, balcony was large enough for two reclining chairs and table, we didn’t spend that much time on it, occasionally eating breakfast on it. The cabin was ample in size with plenty of storage however the wardrobes could be bigger, suitcases (3) fit under the bed. Bathroom is a good size, wash basin is on the small size, shower is good, again plenty of storage. In cabin entertainment is good, even having Sky News, the American sports channels often showed Premiership football matches. Air conditioning was good and fairly quiet.
We were on select dining which was brilliant as it gave flexibility in when and who we ate with, the service on the right was excellent, very attentive staff, informative wine waiters. On the left they were hopeless. Top tip always ask to be seated away from the serving areas
The food in the main dining is excellent and you can order "all" the starters, "all" the mains if you so wish.
The cafe food is varied and again excellent, it can be a bit chaotic trying to get something as most guests don’t feel the need to queue for anything, seating again can be difficult again down to guests occupying a table for 4 with 2 guests and deliberately placing items to block the other 2 places
Qsine is a place to eat at least once, although its $45 per person we felt it was worth it for both the food and the experience, we managed 6 courses!!
There are other "pay extra" options to eat but we didn’t bother
Very expensive for beer, paying $6 for a small bottle of beer, about the same for a spirit (although the measures are "very" generous!!!) water and soft drinks are extortionate, proper coffee again isn’t cheap, wine is $8 a glass for the cheapest, a bottle at dinner costing $33 minimum - - Don’t forget to add tax to all these costs - in our opinion the drinks packages are well worth the cost which initially seems very high, based on our final print out, we at least drank twice the value of purchase price and at no stage of the cruise were we bling drunk, a couple of nights we could be classed as "Unsteady"
They have them but didn’t see many kids, well done to the parents for keeping them occupied
Oh where to start with this one, let’s start positive and there is only one - Fusion, the singing group were very good (world class compared to the rest), thankfully they were used daily in various parts of the ship. The shows were without doubt the worst I have seen anywhere in the world, talentless and dull. The ships cast should have been left at the first port of call, the cast "singers" are best compared to a drunk relation who feels the need to grab the microphone at a party and destroy whatever is on the Karaoke. We had read from previous reviews how bad the entertainment was but were genuinely shocked at how poor it was!
Very varied, Americans, Canadians, British, German, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, French........ Ages varied from late 20's to 120 (or so it seemed) the main age group being between 50-60. There were very few rude guests on board, the ones who treat staff like slaves, there were a few very loud guests who felt the need to communicate at 130 decibels but overall the guests were pleasant
Easy, apart from the number jumpers hovering around the exit points, can’t understand why if they wanted to get off early they didn’t just ask for a lower number. Once through customs chaos ensues, as people fight for taxis, with queues of over 100, in the blazing sun. This however is organised compared to the fiasco of trying to get your hire car shuttle - top tip, risk life and limb and approach one of the security staff guiding traffic in the middle of the road, it’s a risky approach but worth it, ask them to direct the next shuttle for your company in your general direction. The drivers of these shuttles just drive around with their eyes shut and MP3 players on, 3 drove past in the first 45mins of waiting
Would we cruise with Celebrity again, simple - yes. The food is fantastic, the ship is beautiful and the itinerary was perfect.
On a final note we met some lovely people who were excellent company, both on and off the ship (Gareth & Karen, Mike & Neil, Mark & Sarah, Steve & Irene) Good memories