We are multi trip Celebrity Cruisers and were on the 1/20/2014 Sydney Departure for 14 nights touring Australia and New Zealand.
We spent 5 days in Sydney prior to the cruise and had time to explore the city, climb the bridge, go to the opera house abnd took 2 private tours to the Hunter Valley Wineries and to the Blue Mountains. Sydney is a fabulous city and the tours thru Real Sydney Tours were wonderful.
Celebrity is now assigning check in times (ours was 1130am). They do have separate check in for the Suites, Elite, and Aqua Class so we were on board within 30 minutes of getting in line. The general boarding seemed to be somewhat longer.
Our impressions were that the ship was easy to navigate, we never waited to long for elevators and the crew was very friendly.
Since we were in aqua class we ate in blu for most of our meals. The food was very good and although I am a little picky I could always find something to eat. We ate at all the specialty restaurants at least once they were all very good as well, although we preferred Murano and Silk over the tuscan grill. The staff in blu was great even though we didi not have a set wait staff every meal.Also ate a couple of times in Bistro on 5, really good food and service. The dessert crepes are to die for.
We were in Cabin 1604 (bed by the balcony) it was not huge by any means but very adaquate. Bed was comfortable and the balcony although completely covered was slightly larger than normal. Our cabin attendant John was an absolute delight. He was definately at the top opf the list of the best attendants we have ever had on a cruise.
As has been reported before the Martini Ice bar was not working for the lst 1/2 of the trip BUT they got it fixed for the 2nd week. It was a lot of fun and the bar staff is very entertaining. Go for the happy hours as they have good specials. In addition they have a side area which contains vodka of many types in an ice bar.
We took several ship excursions and they were OK except for Akora. As has been reported for months Celebrity seems to have issues with this tender port. We were 30 minutes late getting off the ship thus we were 30 minutes late getting started. We went to the zoo and it was not a good experience. We were on the bus for over 2 hours without a rest stop and because we were behind they were not going to let us off the bus at the zoo upon arrival to use the facilities. After a small mutiny they did allow us off. The tour people were completely inflexible and we ended driving around the zoo in the bus (pretty dumb) and were just allowed short period to be off and to take pictures. Long story short not good and Celebrity needs to fix the tendering issues for the tours here.
Despite a couple of hiccups we all had a great time it is beautiful country, and everyone in our group of 6 felt it was a good value for the money
One last comment, the internet was so slow that after talking to our travel companions we decided not to waste the money on it as they both had issues.