As I have never sailed on Celebrity before, I thought I'd write about my impressions of our recent cruise to Key West and Nassau. This was our first ocean cruise in several years. We have sailed with Carnival, NCL, and the old Renaissance in the past. Recently we have also cruised with Windstar and Avalon. With that background in mind, here are my thoughts:
EMBARKATION: Couldn't have been easier. We drove over from the west coast in 2 hours, parked and took a shuttle, and "sailed" through the process to get on board. I was impressed with the organization and friendliness of the staff. Granted we were early and so faced no real lines, but it was much easler than anticipated.
STATEROOM: We booked the least expensive outside cabin. It was quite basic and rather unimpressive. Having said that, it was fully adequate for our needs. The bed was comfortable and storage was excellent.
We were allowed in shortly after 1pm and our bags arrived before 2:30.
FOOD: Breakfast was fine. We ate most days from the Oceanview Cafe buffet, and there were plenty of choices, including made to order omelets. One day we ate in the main dining room, the San Marco, and the menu was limited, but the food was good. Lunch I found to be just ok, although there were plenty of options, including poolside burgers and dogs. We loved dinner at the San Marco. Food was plentiful and excellent. We had thought we might try one of the alternative restaurants since we had some OBC, but never bothered. Frankly I was surprised by the quality of the food at dinner.
DRINKS: We had the classic package as an inclusion, and for our tastes it was perfectly fine. I was able to drink beer, wine, scotch (J+B), a Miami Vice (Capt Morgan), margarita (Bacardi), and even an ouzo (Metaxa), all included with the package.
SERVICE: I was a bit worried here due to reading various posts. We found the service to be good to excellent. Poolside it was good; at the lounges it was good to very good. We were usually approached at lunch to check on our drink needs as well. The dinner service was excellent in all respects -from the wine server to the 2 waiters to the busboy. Anything you wanted was their pleasure to provide. As an example, one evening one of our dining companions requested one of the entrees as her appetizer-no problem!
We chose select dining and were very happy with that decision, as it places you on Deck 5 overlooking the main dining area. Also everyone is not seated at once, making for a less hectic experience. I would suggest, however, that if you decide to go that route, you make advance reservations online to get the time you would like.
ENTERTAINMENT: We enjoyed the 2 revues we attended in the theater. We weren't interested in the illusionist or the juggler on other nights. The Reflections lounge had an excellent band one night that we enjoyed. There were also good trios in the Rendezvous Lounge for pre or post dinner drinks.
DISEMBARKATION: We elected to keep our luggage and take it off early ourselves. We left at 7:30, went through customs, got our bus to the parking lot, and were on the road by 8:30. Again, very easy and efficient.
In conclusion, I would have to say that we were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed the trip. Celebrity certainly delivered and exceeded our expectations. We felt we received great value without giving up quality, and would definitely sail with Celebrity again if the itinerary and deal both suit our interests.