We're a family of 3 with a 17 y/o teenage son. We've cruised frequently over the past 14 years, mostly on Disney Cruise Line and NCL and twice on Holland America. We understood that Celebrity was an upscale line and did not expect what we encountered.
First: the balcony cabin was great and very clean. The cabin steward was attentive and helpful. The main dining room wait staff was efficient and pleasant and went above an beyond to help.
Embarkation was a breeze. But they kept our passports and said they would be returned later in the cruise. That is fine, but they also tell you that if you miss the ship from any port, you are responsible to transport yourself to the next port to meet the ship. How is that possible when they retain your passport? When cruising from Italy to Greece and Turkey, you need your passport if you encounter a problem or miss the ship. Yet, Celebrity refuses to give you possession and control of your own passport. We've had booze confiscated on a cruise, but passports?
We did not leave from Civitavecchia as scheduled because of a mechanical issue which took over 24 hours to repair, on a ship which had its inaugural season last year. So, we sat in port and missed Messina. Celebrity offered passengers a free shuttle into Civitavecchia, which was nice, but so what? We wanted to return to Rome to spend the lost day and Celebrity would not offer free transport to Rome, but they were anxious to sell us their brand new, over priced transport excursion back into Rome. Celebrity did give us a $250 credit for the missed port and that was nice, but coming from the U.S., the port we had never visited was worth far more then the $250.
I purchased a 2 day Persian Gardens Spa pass. First day, spa was unkempt. Dirty towels piled up for hours in the sauna and in the heated lounge area. Used pedicure slippers sat by the water station (which was never refilled in the several hours I was present) and were not picked up by staff. While on the heated loungers, a couple came in looking for chairs and sat and waited and waited. Four of the 5 chairs were unused, but occupied by chair hogs, who could be seen in the adjacent sauna. This is against their rules, so I finally informed the couple and they went to inform spa staff. The couple returned and said that spa staff told them to confront the chair hogs and move their belongings from the chair. Really? They set a guest up to confront another guest? The couple did confront the people in the sauna and moved the items from 2 chairs. Shortly thereafter, a couple women exited the sauna and were yelling about what he did with their items. That service is indicative of Walmart, nit an upscale cruise line. The steam room and sauna and overall cleanliness were so uncomfortable, I cancelled the remaining day of my pass.
Reflection has bands and DLs playing and people (mostly cruise line staff) dancing every nigh in the main foyer in front of guest services. They don't have an actual place for people to go and sit and listen to music or dance. So, if you want to dance, you're in the foyer while 3 decks of passengers walk by, watch you and laugh. This is so uncomfortable. We look forward to dancing on cruises and this was a disappointment. One night, our Daily listed the DJ at the Sky lounge (great place, nice views, with a dance floor) starting at 10PM. We arrived shortly after 10PM, and there was no DJ. When we inquired, we were told that the DJ didn't show up. It was ok with everyone but the passengers, that the DJ didn't show up.
When the DJ and ban play in the main foyer, they are in front of Guest Relations. So, passengers trying to address an issue with Guest Relations in person, while the band/DJ is playing, have a challenge. Passengers trying to contact Guest Relations on the phone during the same time, need to give up. We learned this the hard way.
W\We ate in Q"Sine only as a specialty restaurant. It was very good, but not $45 pp good. Our friends who were traveling with us and had linked reservations, were with us. That family consisted of the parents, a 16 y/o boy and a 14 y/o girl and an 11 y/o girl turning 12 on the cruise...the night we're at Q'Sine. The Mother and 11 y/o (turning 12) go to the public ladies bathroom during dinner and find a locked door. Then a male officer in uniform unlocks the door, exits and comments that the bathroom is clean. Inside, a female staff member was cleaning the bathroom. Really? Yuck.
This could occur on any cruise line, but it occurred here, on Celebrity and we're unsettled. So, I try to report this incident from my cabin that night since our friend did not want her children to hear her report it and focus on it further. I tried to call Guest Relations for 45 minutes from my cabin and they did not answer and I did not get a recording. I called the next morning and they confirmed their policy was to answer within a small number of rings. I realized they didn't answer because they didn't hear the phone with the band, the DJ and the dancing. How asinine. Who thought to put the music and dancing in front of Guest Relations? When I reported the bathroom incident to a supervisor in Guest Reltions, she was wonderful and called back to inform me that security had viewed the video, had confirmed the events, and had confirmed that the male officer had no official business in the women's bathroom with janitorial staff. Yep...in a public ladies' bathroom at prime time, with women and female children trying to enter to use the bathroom. Very creepy and gross. We appreciate the candor and that what was observed and reported was not dismissed. Both families are still trying to convey to our children that it was inappropriate behavior and possibly abusive behavior by a male in authority over a female with no authority.
Tender ports were a disorganized fiasco. You learned late the night before arriving at the tender port that you had to be at Guest Relations at 7AM the following morning to get a tender ticket to exit the ship. Why not inform passengers earlier? The line to get tender tickets was longer then the line of passengers with tickets who wanted to board the tender. The food was average. The shows were average. We did not think this was a premium cruise line. We will return to Disney for a premium line and will sail NCL for a good line at a fair price. Celebrity is not premium and to us, is not worth the extra expense. We don't anticipate sailing Celebrity any time in the near future.