Have been back 4 weeks now so have had time to reflect on what was originally planned for my 50th Birthday trip, Ok so it was 4 years late but we prepared by having a trip for 7 days to the Fjords to get the feel of cruising, that trip was taken 2 years ago, on the P&O Azura so any comparisons that I do will be based on that experience.
Check in was much better, for the earlier Cruise we waited in a car line for what seemed like hours but was actually about 90 minutes when all we wanted to do was get on the Ship, in fact when we did board it was only 20 minutes until we sailed, with Celebrity we were on Board for 1145H for an 1130H time. Very good Celebrity, I would guess that we had pretty much the same class level on each of the ships but it was great to be on board before 1200H, and we could relax until our cabin was ready at 1340H. We ate the excellent Burgers at the Mast Bar for lunch, and had a few Beers whilst sitting in glorious Sunshine, a fantastic start. They More
also did Hot Dogs that I can recommend and Fish and Chips that presumably only appear on sailings from the UK, but I didn't try these.
Luggage was delivered to the Cabin about 1430H, and we spent some time unpacking before going exploring. The Cabin was smaller than our previous sailing (were we had a Bath that we never used once!) however we all thought that it was much better designed. The advice re the hump cabin came from Celebrity when we booked and they were correct 1075 was plenty roomy enough for us as the enlarged Balcony was great. If I was a sun worshipper I guess I could say that it was a little shaded but I preferred that to the tiered overlooked balconies of Azura. The layout of the bathroom was great and although small perfectly adequate. Great power in the shower.
Staff, all great and extremely friendly, a credit to themselves and Celebrity, cant believe that they are so happy being away from loved ones 6 months at a time.
I think that I heard they had 77 different nationalities of Staff on board, well done to all.
Every drink that you wanted really. I am not a big spirits drinker, so Classic Package was fine, tried all the Canadian Whiskies and managed a couple of JDs
as well. There was plenty of choice for me on the wine list both reds and whites at dinner and a refreshing fizzy white during the day. Good choice of non alcoholic drinks, coffees from Al Bacio were good as was the evening Hot Chocolate for my daughter. If anything the area around Al Bacio needs increasing as it does get rather crowded. Only went in Cellar Masters once and that was atmospheric to say the least, Michaels Club was closed to people like me! Spent pre Dinner in Passport Bar
although the non alcoholic mixed drinks were actually poor there when compared to getting them at your table. We also had a JD put on out tab at that bar for no real reason. This was immediately credited by Guest Relations once they were made aware. Ran out of Coke on the last night, all over the ship, actually had a Diet 'Caffeine Free' Coke, didn't taste of anything! I need to ask Coca Cola what is the point in making that? Drinks service from the bar at the table in the MDR was super, always turned up quickly, and if you wanted a refill they were soon available if you asked.
Wouldn't frequent the Sunset bar due to smoking.
What a waste of space all those slots are. Sparingly used on this Cruise , could do much better with that space, however I guess they will be used more in US sailings.
I am a very small time Blackjack dabbler but I went to play a couple of times towards the end of the Cruise, felt intimidated as players even on the five dollar table seem to be gambling fifty dollars a hand, too rich for me, so I didn't get to play. Must be a cultural thing!
This was good. Most mornings had Room Service breakfast that was a great way to start the mornings, and avoid the scramble at the Oceanview Cafe, towards the end of Breakfast service. The hot items on room service were actually hot.
Mast Grill, great Hamburgers , Hot Dogs too much of a temptation just to stay there for lunch!
Well what a surprise this was. I mention above about avoiding the scramble at Breakfast time, however that was a perception, when we actually got there it wasn't too bad at all, and we got a table quickly on all occasions. Tables were cleared really quickly, so this obviously helped, and the set up of the stations was great. Carvery of the Day looked good although I never tried it, the Pizzas were realistic, the English Breakfast items were good, including Black Pudding!, tried the Eggs Benedict a couple of times, also very good. The Curries at lunchtime packed a punch and were great. In all a good buffet restaurant. Only thing I would have done differently was to have the late Breakfast items available even later!
The drinks servers were not particularly abundant, but you could easily walk to the bars and get served quickly.
Cafe Al Bacio
Cakes and Cookies were great so the girls tell me, but they are not on Sworrub's menu!
Excellent excellent, sure there were things that we didn't like, but the choice was amazing. The quality of the beef was superb and by far the best that I have had outside the USA. Never even considered for one minute eating in any Speciality Restaurant as this was at a good enough level for us. I took a particular liking to the Caesar Salad, and the Apple Pie A La Mode, and enjoyed both of those on several occasions. No problem in getting any drinks either wine or Bar service, you only had to ask and they were there in 2 minutes, or less. Particularly liked being seating on the Balconies edge, looking down on our subjects (haha!), in fact preferred this to a window seat, were we looked to be moving so fast!
My own opinion is that Dress Code must be enforced strictly. It doesn't spoil my holiday but people who want to down dress have a place and that place is the Oceanview Cafe.
Although we didn't dine in here sat here as we awaited disembarkation all I could think of was how enclosed and claustrophobic it was, I don't think I would have enjoyed eating here as it was one of the poorest spaces on the Eclipse.
This was appropriate to the cruise I feel see fuller review of the acts in an earlier post, some I liked some not so much, however in general I would say it was all fine. A couple of things though I thought that the trivia quizzes were to short, should be aiming for any hour, really what is the point of it being over in 20 minutes, and the Games available on the Lawn were rather restrictive having set times for example only between 1400 and 1600H, why?, we can manage to throw a few things around without supervision! Seemed a little too regimented.
OK, but I can never get over the fact I don't really like coaches! The Local Life Experience on the Underground in SPb was the highlight for me. We did get everything the narrative on the Excursions said. A surprising highlight was the Vasa Museum, the low light Belgium. Could have been better but for traffic and Weather Copenhagen. The ship also docked a disappointingly long way from the Centre in Copenhagen ridiculous when we were there for 16 hours or so, didn't make seeing Copenhagen on your own easy!
I would most certainly travel with Celebrity again. Everything was at a level that we enjoy, never enjoy 'slumming it' on holiday and would much prefer to go less often at the level we want rather than go somewhere we don't like. I know that sounds awfully snobbish, but it is true! The original travel agent we saw when booking our first cruise got us to list the Hotels that we had been to and enjoyed, then she came up with P&O or Celebrity as being the Cruise lines for us, she was correct. We rate Celebrity higher than P&O having now tried them both, and with identical itineraries would probably
choose Celebrity first. I am a little worried about the UK cutbacks in schedule as this limits our choice, (sworrub is sick of flying!), but it is true to say that our next Cruise will probably be to the Canaries or Med, and the line of choice will be Celebrity. (I also want to sail into New York but this will obviously be with the Market leaders in this Cunard!)
One slight issue was that they added $10.50 to my final bill for no reason, immediately credited it when I complained but said that it happens a lot, why why why? only upsets Customer for GBP6.50 whats the point, but if you multiply it by 2800 then I guess there is a point!
Didn't think the the Photograhers were very good, in fact only bought 2 photographs down from 6 last time, would guess though that Sales figures tell Celebrity of this issue.
The one big improvement that all Cruise lines could and should make is to completely ban smoking and make offenders walk the plank (ok so the last bit is a joke!) Loved the Celebrity policy though, as it must be one of the toughest at sea. That automatically puts them up my list of future Cruise suppliers.
If you have read all of my review thanks for sticking with it, hoped it has helped some of you to decide on what to do, but I can thoroughly recommend Celebrity and the Baltic itinerary. Less