The Good: To start off let me commend our main dining room staff , Marius from Romania and Rudy from Indonesia, gentlemen you exemplified perfection, I'm proud to consider you my friends! Our wine steward also deserves a heartily felt “well done” even though your department was obviously way understaffed you managed to pull it off! I tipped all three of our MDR staff above the general tipping recommended by Celebrity. We spent three nights in Barcelona at the Barcelona Hotel Universal. We loved the hotel and Barcelona.
Embarkation was nicely done in Barcelona from the taxi driver to the swarms of porters to the Celebrity personnel at the port. Arrived at the port around 11:30 checked in by 11:45 or so killed time to 1:15 when the rooms ready announcement was made. Found our nicely laid out concierge class cabin without a problem. We had started out by purchasing an outside cabin from but several months before departure saw guaranteed concierge balcony class advertised on Celebrity.com for the same price. The first agent I called at wouldn't make the change because the reservation with excursions were “too imbedded” Asked for her boss who made the changes no problem. Lost the $150 ship credit from and got $50 instead. But gained the classic drink package for free. On that note what's with the unwritten description of these drink packages? Nowhere can you find a list of the wines and liquors that are actually included in this package! More on that below. Overall for way less than $100 per night per person including adequate food, great service and drinks included this was a highly enjoyable and educational cruise to some really outstanding destinations. I would do the whole thing over again in a minute. I feel that the entire crew on this ship has been well trained and are in general the friendliest I've ever encountered on a cruise ship with the exception being the food handlers in the cafeteria who appeared grumpy as usual! The officers were continually present and all appeared very welcoming and approachable. We purchased ship excursions to see Rome and Florence and would do the same again . I organized a small group in Naples with and would highly recommend Mariano for tours to the Amalfi Coast, Pomei and Naples.
The Bad: Celebrity continues to suck money out of their food budget to turn a profit. When we remember our first cruise on Celebrity the food seems to have gone from a 9 to around a 5. All of that downward slide starting when soup and salad were changed to soup or salad. The beef in the MDR was in general inedible. If I had to guess the grade of this beef is around Utility (I own a cattle ranch) and should only be served in stews or braised. Salmon on the other had was fine and came out perfectly cooked. The food at the highly touted Sunday Brunch was the same stuff available daily around the ship in the cafeteria and grills. Fish-less (fake) Sushi and marshmallows and watermelon (only) at the chocolate fountain speaks loudly to the quality available! The decorations like ice sculptures and fruit carvings were far better then the crappy cafeteria food laid out for consumption! The stinginess with the food was never more obvious then during our $15 food wine pairing class when the Sommelier instructed us to “take a half of a half a slice of cherry tomato and put salt on it”...you get the idea.
The UGLY: The Equinox MDR was closed for lunch several during this cruise with outrageous results in the buffet. When the crew has to repeatedly get on the P.A. to beg passengers to vacate their seats so that others may eat you know you have a problem! They simply can not expect to run up to 2800 guests through this cattle trough operation in the time allotted. Service on the second level MDR during Sunday Brunch was atrocious. Dirty plates were never removed! Coffee had to be asked for four times. Waiters obviously arguing about who was going to do what. No waiters visible at several times and then...they suddenly get busy resetting tables for dinner service while now TOTALLY ignoring the guests still “enjoying” brunch! You have to wonder if the MDR food is a message to make you try out the overpriced specialty restaurants! You could not avoid the “barkers” attempting to force specialty restaurant reservations on you. The were simply everywhere and at very inopportune times like in the middle of brunch. Celebrity may as well have a bunch of beggars running around to get some more cash flow going. I prefer to drink Courvoisier on the rocks as a cocktail and this was included in our Classic Drink Package. Amazingly every time I ordered this drink at a bar, I got exactly what I asked for. Each and EVERY time I ordered this drink away from a bar I got something totally different! One time, in the theater, my Courvoisier came out water clear. I have sent two inquiries to Celebrity about this policy without answer. Apparently Celebrity has now also resorted to a shell game to turn a profit. You have to wonder what Beam Inc. the owners of the Courvoisier brand would have to say about this ???