My friend and I, two 24 year-old women, chose Celebrity because we have both cruised it before and were looking for a low-key, relaxing trip with excellent food and service. Overwhelmingly, this cruise met our expectations.
Arrival in Bayonne was a breeze - once we got to the port, that is. Signage was extremely unclear and confusing, but that is on Cape Liberty and not Celebrity. Once we got to the port, around 11:45, we were on the ship within fifteen minutes.
The room (2089) was what we expected - an outside cabin (no veranda), pretty sizable and clean. We were expecting bathrobes in the room, but Celebrity does not provide them now until you call and ask. Our toilet didn't flush initially, but we called and it was fixed within an hour.
The food was awesome. I read all of the reviews in the weeks leading up to the cruise and was worried about the buffet. I have to say, it's like the past reviewers were on a different ship. The buffet was excellent - delicious food, a wide variety of choices, and the only time it was overcrowded was on the first day, which is to be expected (although I do work in Times Square so maybe my standards for "crowds" is a little different than other people's). I loved the mini-basket concept! And the food was most certainly not dried up. I have very high standards for food and I was not disappointed by the offerings at the buffet.
The MDR experience for us was wonderful. Our waiter, SOE, assistant waiter, DAVID ROY, and sommelier, NELSON, were all excellent. They took care of us not only in the dining room, but at the breakfast and lunch buffet as well, when we saw them there. We had great tablemates, and the food in the MDR surpassed expectations. By the end, we were all ordering two entrees each because we wanted to try everything!
We got the classic beverage package with the 1-2-3 GO promotion, and it was definitely worth it. There were some limitations, but nothing that really affected us greatly (read: I don't need evian water over generic, and I'm also fine with Absolut as opposed to Grey Goose). Basically any drink at Café al Bacio was included on the classic package, which was definitely a highlight for us! I'm going to miss my daily cappuccinos. My only issue re: drinks was that I was forced to carry around my driver's license since I was ID'd basically every single time I ordered a drink. I understand why, but it was very annoying.
We never had trouble finding two lounge chairs together at the pool. Again, my standards for what constitutes a crowd might be different than other people's, but I never felt like there were "too many" people around. You have to give a little lee-way when you're sharing a space with 2,500 other people, but crowds, even at the pool on sea days, were never a real problem for us.
As far as entertainment, there was always something to do. We went to some of the shows - Roz Ryan, Ed Regine, one original production, the Sin City comedy show, and the last night variety thing - and were very entertained. The original production we saw, Sirens, was crazy! The singers and dancers were incredible, but the play itself was wacky. Celebrity might want to think about doing actual musicals as opposed to this. KEN and LUIGI (Cruise Director and Entertainment Director, I believe) were great, we always enjoyed their commentaries, and there were plenty of activities during the day and at night. I loved karaoke with MIKE (I think he was the Activities Director). He was hilarious!
Bermuda, it goes without saying, was incredible. We hit up Hamilton, St. George's, and Horseshoe Bay Beach, and wasn't disappointed by any of them.
Disembarkation was very easy as well - after reading previous reviews we decided to go with the "Self-Assist" option. The only issue was snagging an elevator to get down to the gangway! We were off the ship and through customs in literally five minutes. It was a very smooth process.
Overall, this was a great cruise. It was interesting to me that Celebrity has cut some of the things that I classify as "classic cruise" things, like bathrobes in the room and the baked alaska parade in the MDR (there was still baked alaska and still a parade, but separate). The worst thing, for us, was that they no longer put a piece of chocolate on your pillow at turn-down! It seems to me that the cost of that could not possibly be exorbitant enough to justify cutting it. We were very disappointed, since that was something both of us were looking forward to. However, it was clearly a great overall experience if our biggest criticism is that Celebrity no longer gives you chocolate every night at turn-down!