My wife & I decided to sail with Celebrity Cruises this time, having sailed a number of cruises previously with P&O....this time we wanted something a little more upmarket & were told that Celebrity was 5 star as opposed to the supposedly lower rated cruise lines we were considering.
Our cruise package included flights to Sydney & return flights to Brisbane as well as transfers...these were without fault (top marks)...however, on embarkation in Sydney, the sign on the wharf indicated they our embarkation was about 4.30pm (or thereabouts) but we decided to embark anyway, 2x lines...no signs & no sign of anyone we could ask...at first we stood in the longer line but overheard someone mention that the shorter line was for Concierge class & above...that was us, so we swapped lines....about 20 minutes later, we were on board, our cabin was ready & about an hour later, our bags arrived at the cabin.
The cabin was a good size and clean, as was the rest of the ship...it's a beautiful ship and appears to be well maintained. It has many facilities, so exploring it was half the fun.
This cruise was supposed to be about about cruising both Australia & New Zealand, & for the most part, it was....we cruised from Sydney to Melbourne...the activities were based on Australia which was great...however, when we eventually reached & cruised New Zealand, the activities were still pretty much based on Australia which I feel was not in keeping with where we were cruising. I appreciate that the Cruise Director & Activity Director are Australian, but I don't see this as any excuse as we were in New Zealand and the activities surely should have included New Zealand....something I thought was poorly planned....additionally, those staff & crew involved with promoting the ports & tours could at least have taken the time to learn (or at least tried) the correct pronunciation of the port names & tour destinations...a pet hate of mine....needless to say, I opted not to accept any of the Cruise line tours but instead hired a car or took an independent tour instead.
The destinations were great and the weather was perfect....apart from some rain in Dunedin.
This cruise does appear to be popular with many older people, mainly from the US; I don't see this as an issue, in fact it was good to see many of them getting into the ship's activities.
The entertainment was first class....I particularly enjoyed the presentations by Milos.
There were 3x formal nights on this cruise, I opted for suit & tie which appears to be the main formal attire for the gents.
We ate on occasion at the main dining room (which was nice but the meals were very small & occasionally the service went wanting) but we're not fans of dressing up for dinner, so we chose instead to eat at the Oceanview Cafe instead which we thought was fairly well organized; the food was good with a reasonable selection and without the wait of the main dining room.
We opted not to try the specialty restaurants, taking our benchmark from the main dining room.
Generally speaking, most of the staff were accommodating & pleasant; however, we did come across a number who were not so accommodating. I did have 1x occasion where I purchased a drink across the counter, then took a seat & was then told off by the delivering waiter for not ordering with her....had she been around where I ordered the drink then maybe I could understand the problem.....alternatively, a sign indicating waiter only service might have been a good idea.
Making a spare HDMI port available on the TV would have been nice for reviewing photos on a bigger screen or attaching a laptop.
In all, an enjoyable cruise on a very nice ship......would I cruise with Celebrity again?...certainly, but only if the deal was good,