Just off of a 3 night Century Bahamas cruise that was not close to previous Celebrity cruises in many ways.
We arrived at the pier at about 130PM ready to enjoy expedited concierge class lounge services. These were non-existent and not mentioned at any time. No crowds at the pier as we were nice and early and the smaller Century helped the process along. We had to be aboard by 2PM at the latest.
First impression came when I phoned guest services at about 5:15pm to ask why we had not yet departed (departure was set for 4pm) and to my surprise was told "sir we are sailing". Though I had a few glasses of sparkling wine at this point, I could see from our balcony that we were fixed to the pier and not moving. They continued to insist that we were in fact sailing though we did not depart for another half an hour.
Muster drill seated in the packed Fortunes Casino featured several A/V issues which might be excused but for this being a seemingly more important event after various emergencies over the past year. Towards the end we were told to await the Abandon Ship signal only to instead hear blaring Gansta Rap including lyrics such as "We Dont Fuc* Around" clearly played for the women and children in attendance there. Classy.
I had made reservations for Murano online using the MyCelebrity website for 6pm that first evening. Imagine my surprise when the maitre'd advised that there was no reservation whatever and was I certain. I will say that this is where the only superlative experience began and he swept us in to what was a fantastic meal and made all the better by table captain Nenand. All of the food was excellent and the service was just as good and worth the price. Though, admittedly I was surprised to be paying $175 for dinner on a cruise that was $1,200 for 3 nights. My choice certainly but if value is a part of your decision I'd say that it is only a modest value even with the service level and food quality which was tops.
On this itinerary there was no lunch served in Grand, which I find to always be an enjoyable part of the day. I'm sorry but for the fares we all paid it does not seem plausible that Islands and Aqua Buffet only can equal personal service. Little did I know how true that hesitation was when the experience instead is met with dirty plates left uncleaned and scattered all about. The food quality seemed no better than NCL. Twice at lunch in Islands I was never approached for bar service. On one occasion we saw a gentleman excoriating several crew about the temperature of the food (both hot or cold) and the lax nature of the cleaning being done in Islands. This turned out to be a staff inspector who seemed surprised to hear that the Poolside grill was not working properly (this after drydock) and semi-frozen burgers were being returned and reheated. Driven by hunger I still had a half warm cheeseburger for dinner on the last night.
Second night dinner in Grand with Select seating was another lackluster event. My wife waited with me on the starboard side of the deck 6 entrance next to the maitre'd stand. And we stood there and stood there and stood there......waited some more all the while staff passed us by without so much as a question. Finally someone came back to this unmanned post to inform us that we should be on the port side instead. We walked over to the "no reservations" side of the entrance. Really making a reservation seems in direct opposition to Select dining in the first place but we waited our turn and were seated within ten minutes or so. I knew earlier in the day that despite this being a 3 night cruise this was Formal night so I donned my loaner with pride and we went to table 404. I had wine left over from Murano which was sourced by the wine server for me. Wifey ordered "Crispy Frog's Legs" "Cold Melon and Honey Soup" and "Grilled Cobia" for her meal and I had the "Salmon Tartare" "Corn Soup" and "Rack of Lamb". Food was decent except for about a seven inch long piece of salmon skin in the tartare which was quite amusing looking. Waiter was embarrassed for it and wanted to show the chef what they were serving. I know that this is batch made and not hand chopped but quality control is important. Balance of the meal was good, service hurt by large tables near us which took more time for our staff to attend. I did miss Murano.
Shore excursions for Nassau were clouded by the weather which called for overcast skies and thunderstorms. We decided to taxi to Ardastra Gardens which is a quaint small zoo and had a nice tour on our own. Good break from the usual straw hats and jewelry stores which unfortunately have turned downtown Nassau into a theater of the pathetic once you have been even one time. For the fake Coco Cay excursion we booked a glass bottom boat tour with a 930 departure. Upon arrival the tour operator informed us that Celebrity allowed two of the six booked guests to change tour times leaving just four. Two others never showed up and our tour was cancelled due to a lack of attendance. We went back to the ship for lunch and to return our tickets to find the exclusion desk unmanned all day until 6pm and the main guest relations folks unable to handle the transaction somehow. At this point I wanted some rum in my system and we went to enjoy the near empty pool deck. I asked the bartender if he could made a Mai Tai or Bahama Mama and he mumbled sure and went to the menu for guidance. This was after about a ten minute wait. I enjoyed the drink and headed for the pool where I saw a woman trying to lower herself from the ladder into the inviting waters. I showered and grabbed the other ladder, noticing the pained look on the woman's face as she was at this point submerged. At first touch I could not believe the temperature of the pool which seemed to be close to 60 degrees F at the most. Hot tub it was which was nice since the outside air temp was only in the 70's. Having learned my lesson I ordered two beers next and watched as my empty Bahama Mama glass sat for the remainder of our stay at our pool time ignored by staff. We waited until my suit was dry enough to break the rules and have lunch in Islands. Later in the day we went back to Coco Cay to enjoy the warm water beach on our own. After tendering back and departing the island it was time to return our tour tickets at 6pm. After hearing our story one of the two excursion staff actually tried to tell us that the tour was never cancelled. I guess the shocked look on my face told the story as the other woman thought the better of it and said that she would credit the tours and also let staff know what happened.
CC balcony cabin 9159 was quite nice and clean. Our steward Deng was pleasant and efficient.
Group 2 Disembarkation was by 8:15 and the lack of any lines was nice as we had a 1030 flight out of FLL. I'm sure we could have got out earlier as it seemed nobody else had an early flight.
In all we thought the many instances of poor service were simply not acceptable on Celebrity. The service and food were not up to the level of the three other Celebrity cruises I'd been on and even below some of the NCL cruises I'd taken. I believe that the level has been reduced in an intentional way to get you to pony up for their Azamara product. No thank you.