This was a port intensive cruise with a good mix of nationalities from the Canada, Britain, Europe, Australia and the USA - for once we actually sympathised with our American friends as their flights to Singapore were much longer than ours.
Unfortunately the ship had had problems with Norovirus for some time, as earlier reviews confirm and, while the crew were trying to deal with it, it does impact on the cruise experience particularly in the buffet where everything has to be served. The other downside is the constant reminders to wash your hands and not to eat any dodgy food on shore. They are probably right though, having seen how many passengers seem to take no precautions on shore, but it does not help.
Luckily it did not affect us and there were many good things. Embarkation in Singapore was fine and disembarkation in Hong Kong excellent (Miami please learn a few lessons), the crew were friendly and the entertainment staff excellent - we could not remember when More
we had had such a choice of dance music in the early evening. The entertainment in the theatre was certainly varied, not all suited us - but that's fine. The real bonus was the lecturers; for once they were relevant to the itinerary - talking on Buddhism and our ports of call. The lecturer in Buddhism was first class - he really had people talking and at tour lunch stops, when we met other guests, conversation frequently turned to what he said.
Some reviewers have said the ship is looking a little uncared for. We didn't think it was any worse than some other lines we have been on but it does feel old fashioned and a bit dark if you compare it with the Solstice Class of ship which are so light and airy. It confirms the Solstice ships are a step change up and the Millennium Class has been left behind a bit in their wake.
We choose select dining and were lucky to find Serkan and Mao serving us plus a top class sommelier, fairly early in the cruise, and persuade the welcome lady at the door to put as there very night. We thought the food at dinner had improved from our last cruise in Europe, with more interesting choices.
However for us the guest relations department took the prize. Our airline managed to lose our main luggage on a short stop over in the Middle East and we were not reassured on arrival in Singapore. We went to see guest relations and they immediately gave us confidence, I appreciate this is something they have to deal with regularly, but they said they would contact the airline and the agent and make sure it arrived - luckily we had two days in Singapore at the start and arrive it did, just one hour before sail away.
We are long standing captain's club members and the host was not the most user friendly we have had. He made no appearance at the breakfast in the Olympic, (he seemed to be used to shore up the buffet cleansing operation), but the real problem was that 'head office' had done a deal with one of the art auctioneers to use the Cosmos Lounge nearly every evening before dinner. This meant that captains club members who enjoy the early evening drinks which are normally held there were given vouchers and told to go elsewhere - on further discussion it appears that vouchers is the way that Celebrity are going forward but I did not hear one frequent cruiser who thought it a good idea.
We booked all our tours in advance from Celebrity and were generally pretty satisfied. The ports are a long way from the main cities (3.5 hours in the case of Hanoi), and some guides were better than others, but we saw everything we were supposed to and the organisation on the ship beforehand was good.
At the end we were pretty happy and would recommend this cruise as an excellent way of seeing this part of the world. Less