I could not agree more with all the negative comments made about this cruise - it was a disaster from beginning to end. Everything that has been said about service, food, disorganization is right on target. Celebrity is supposed to be RCI's premium line but they are so focused on their amusement-park ships, they have let this line go down hill and it gets worse every year. Having sailed with the line when it began under Mr. Chandris, it was one of the best in terms of quality and value - then RCI took over, unfortunately.
On this particular cruise, the Chief Housekeeper should have been fired. No matter what the time of day or night, one would walk down corridors and not only all the housekeeping carts but large laundry bags in red, blue and green attached to railings were present, along with little buckets of dirty water with a sponge in them. Absolutely disgusting, especially when one is on the way to dine. Passing housekeeping staff in corridors, there were no smiles or greetings - very sullen group. I had a small right-angle cut on the upper left portion of my lower sheet and it was there the whole time - I doubt the bed was changed in 14 days and it never appeared crisp and clean. Our two attendants were in and out of the cabin in 5 minutes.
The dining room food was hit-and-miss but the beef certainly was not Choice and I doubt even Select quality. We could not cut even the prime rib or the rib eye with a steak knife, it was so tough. When the Maitre'd and Chef circulated one night, I asked about the beef and was assured it was from the US so I told them outright "It is horrible and tough!" They looked at each other as if to say "We've been caught!" We were fortunate to have a very good waiter and assistant who tried very hard - it was not their fault. One day I was using the TV interactive menu to check my account but decided to look at food for room service. I noticed a box for "charges" and when searching everything came across a $25 fee if one wished to have a steak! The Bistro 5 is supposed to be an alternative restaurant for crepes, panini and salads, for a charge of $5 per person. The crepes were fatter than a flour tortilla and very tough to cut with a knife and there certainly was nothing special with the panini or anything else. The comments about the buffet area are also right on. On embarkation day when the ship was being "sanitized," everyone was told cabins would not be ready until 4 PM and people were asked to wait in lounges until that time. Instead, people who reached the luncheon buffet early ate and then sat at the tables instead of going to a lounge when finished so one could not find a place to sit. I told one of the head people they should be making announcements asking people to vacate after eating but nothing was done. This was a constant problem, as someone else also has mentioned.
Those of us with Elite, Elite Plus, Select, etc. status, were given three drink vouchers per night, to be used between 5 PM and 7:00 PM in select lounges/bars. Restricting that time makes it hard for people who have a 5:45 PM dining hour to enjoy anything. In the Cosmos Lounge, where entering was restricted for these past passengers, it was almost as if one were invisible, trying to get service or be served the complimentary appetizers. One night I asked if I could have some sparkling mineral water instead of a cocktail and I was told "No, there is a charge for that." I know what I pay for a case of this water here at home and find it hard to believe the cost for one glass would be more than the liquor in a cocktail! Every once in a while there would be a sharp waiter but they were few and far between. The same thing would happen in the section reserved for breakfast on Deck 5. One would sit down and then try to get a waiter or waitress to come around and take a coffee order - they seemed to be floating around and not paying attention.
The person who mentioned the music was also right on! It was absolutely horrible, especially the piped in tapes of singers doing nothing but repeating the same phrases over and over, and thump, thump, thump. You could not find a quiet place to read or relax without hearing this truly stupid excuse for music.
No comment cards were issued at the end of the cruise nor were any on board statements delivered - all of this for the "Save the Waves" environmental program, yet every night there were multiple inserts in the next day's activity paper, advertising store sales, spa items, etc. One was told if the ship had your e-mail address, you would receive a comment form this way but it was to be completed within one week of the cruise ending, then it would be gone. What a great way to avoid criticism.
The only pluses were good entertainment and on board lectures. Otherwise, this was one of the worst cruise experiences ever. The ship may have been refurbished in 2012 but looks very tired and worn and needs a lot of maintenance both inside and out. I had sailed on her when she was new and very beautiful but they have replaced lovely areas (like the fresh flower conservatory) with things like eating areas chargin feesThey need to get their officers and crew to do a better job. I think they might have been aware there was more than Norovirus hitting it, too. I fell ill on May 19th and am just now recovering from a severe case of bronchitis. There was a lot of coughing on the ship and not sailing in US waters during this time, I am certain there is no notification to the CDC of these things.
I will never sail on Celebrity again and will tell everyone I know about our experience. RCI should be ashamed of the way things are being run!!