Billed as a “3 day Sampler” cruise, this was my first adventure on a ship with over 2000 passengers and my first time on Celebrity.
What I liked:
– My S1 Sky Suite on the aft corner of deck 10 was lovely. Lots of room for 2 people. Nice and quiet.
– The library on deck 10. It faces out onto the atrium and is a nice quiet getaway to read.
– The Sky Observation Lounge, forward on deck 14. We saw many dolphins swimming along with the ship during a visit to this lounge. This was one of the few places on the ship that wasn’t crowded.
– 3 entertaining shows. The Aussie Boys (3 male singers), the Solstice Show (an excellent acrobatic type show) and the very talented Jane Cho (an electric violinist).
– The deck 14 & 15 walking track.
– As a suite guest, we were able to eat breakfast and dinner (subject to space available) in Blu. This was a nice restaurant with good service. I was concerned that it might be booked out but the Maitre’d organised a table for us immediately. This was the only place where we didn’t have to wait.
– The Oceanview Café (buffet) on deck 14 is the biggest buffet I’ve ever seen and it had so many things to choose from. I loved the gelato ice cream there. It made sense to have gelato in the café for free rather than paying over US$5 in the Café al Bacio.
What I didn’t like:
– Too many people. The ship was literally packed to the rafters. There were long queues for everything – drinks at the bar, coffee at Café al Bacio, getting into & out of the elevators, both outdoor and indoor pools. Celebrity didn’t have enough staff to serve in the bars or pool area…one or two staff to serve 3 and 4 deep people queueing for drinks. It wasn’t pleasant.
– The only time I saw our butler was when I called him to report that the balcony was continually flooding with water and the panel between the cabin balconies was broken. He came promptly to view these problems and they were fixed but I never saw him again.
– No offer of a pillow menu – is there even such a thing?
– Not enough activities. Not everyone wants to lie in the sun all day, or go to seminars about marsupials, chocolate diamonds or watches. Trivia at 0930 in the morning was far too early.
– Food is very subjective but generally I liked the meals. I did have 2 courses that were awful (a prawn (shrimp) cocktail and a soup). Did the Chef even taste this food before it was sent out?
– Tables for 2 in the dining room were extremely close together making it very awkward when sitting down. Unfortunately we met some very rude people who were incapable of even a smile let alone a pleasant acknowledgement.
– Disembarkation was a free-for-all. No coordinated deck by deck or timed disembarking. It took ages to eventually squeeze into an elevator to get to deck 5 to disembark. Another unpleasant experience.
Whilst I enjoyed my 3 sunny sea days, the crowd situation was awful. Celebrity needs to ensure they have enough staff to serve people when the ship is at full+ capacity. If this was a ‘sample’ of cruising with Celebrity, I don’t think I would want to experience it again.