A group of us that had met on Cruise critic got together for a shared ride from central Rome to the port. We were dropped right off at the dock and our luggage was taken immediately by the porters. We all walked in and those in Aqua class and suites had priority check in. But there were so many vacant counter agents no one waited. I went through and was on board within minutes.
There were staff everywhere directing passengers helping them find their way around the ship. At all the elevators common areas and restaurants. The ship was spotless and was constantly being wiped of any hand prints or germs.
It was very windy outside and started to rain so we did not go back out to explore the port. We went upstairs to the buffet and had lunch. At around 1pm our cabins were ready. Mine was a 2A midship port side. I was on my own so I really could spread my clothes out. My friends next door had 3 in their cabin but still had enough space. My cabin had the desk up front and the bed near the veranda. On the balcony you could see the life boat below you if you looked down, but if you sat down or from the room you didn't see it at all. The only thing is you couldn't see what was going on at sail aways, you had to be on the hump or on deck 5 for a good view. I was very glad to be midship. Those at the bow or stern certainly could feel the bad weather a lot more than I did.
My stewards were great, my room was always kept tidy and every time they saw me they knew my name and unlocked and opened my door for me. There is a crew door opposite, it didn't disturb me but there was usually a cart outside my door.
I ate in the main dining room most nights. The food was just fine. Not amazing but pretty damm good. We did go to Qsine one night, I was a little disappointed. Some food was great and other just OK. The desserts were not really special, but it was all fun. One of the men had red wind spilt on his tuxedo shirt, partly my fault and the staff very quickly raced to help and gave him vouchers for laundry.
Tuscan Grill we went to on a sea day. I wasn't impressed, but everyone adored it. I had the sea bass and found it fishy and bland. The risotto was stodgy, dry and tasteless. But as I said everyone else loved their food. Maybe it was just me?
The last formal night they had all the good food together. Lobster, lamb chops, duck, scallops, mushroom risotto. I had 2 main dishes and so did lots of people. I had two desserts several times.
The real surprise was the Bistro on 5. I went there 3 times. I had several crepes assorted desserts including a wonderful chocolate mousse. The steak salad was wonderful and so was the tuna salad. You can mix and match any of the meats and vegetables.
The weather in Rome was so windy we could not leave on schedule. We had the bow thrusters and a tug boat pushing us just to stop us from breaking our moorings. The forward cabins could feel vibrations all night. Finally in the early hours of the morning we left but no big sail away party as planned. We also missed Florence.
The seas were pretty rough and lots of passengers were feeling sick. I had a large container of ginger pills and wrist bands. I felt fine. Several of the doors on the upper decks were locked because of the winds. I did find a way to walk around the ship outside and it really was howling. The pool in the solarium seems to be much worse off with large waves going front to back and showering everything around it. You had to pick your time carefully to move around it or get soaked. It really as impossible to swim in.
The Capt and officers were very visible they ate in the buffet upstairs and other areas on deck 5. They were all approachable. The Capt had a very funny sense of humor and his daily speeches at 10am became a do not miss. Everyone went quiet in the public areas even the bingo and trivial stopped.
The entertainment was OK. Some was good and some only OK. The main show was very lame. Some of the acts simply fell over and were unable to keep their balance. Everyone said the other ships were better. Overall the acts were pretty tame, probably so not to offend anyone. There were very few kids on board. That is what I had hoped. It seems the ones on board were crew members families.
I didn't go an any Celebrity shore excursions, I booked through cruise critic members.
I purchased the premium non alcoholic drinks package. I think it was great value. The Aqua Spa cafe charges $5 for a healthy smoothy and greek yogurt sundae for breakfast. So by 9am I would have already spent $10. Add $3 for fresh orange juice and with one small bottle of premium water I was already even by lunchtime. I don't drink alcohol but even so I think it is a no brainer.
Overall the cruise was an amazing deal. I had already made contact with several other solo travelers on CC and we had a great time. I would absolutely go again and use the roll calls here on the forum.