We are a mother and son and this is our first Celebrity cruise although we have both cruised with other lines. Because we live in the North of Scotland we decided to spend a couple of days in southampton prior to boarding the ship. We booked the Jury's Inn Hotel in Southampton which was well located for the city center being only a short walk away. We were lucky in that we got to see the brand new Liberty of the Seas who was berthed at the City Cruise terminal for the 2 days we were there. apparently this was one of the busiest weeks that Southampton docks have ever had with several ships being in, including QM2, Oriana, Arcadia, Artemis and the newly named Ocean Village 2.
The day of embarkation we arrived at the terminal just before 12 and were through check-in within 5 minutes. This was where we got the pleasant surprise of an upgrade from an inside to a balcony cabin. We were then on the ship within 15mins with a glass of bubbly in hand. The ship seemed to be in a good state of repair with only a few things looking worn, you wouldn't think she was going into refit straight after this cruise. Our cabin was nicely located on deck 7 just aft of the midship elevators and only ever having inside cabins it was nice to have daylight streaming into the cabin. The balcony was a nice touch but the weather didn't really afford much time there. One thing i did find disconcerting was the mirrored wall. The dining room was a lovely two deck room and we had a table on the lower floor just by the staircase. I would have to say that i found the service to be quite ordinary and that we have received better service and more personable service on other lines we have cruised. The food itself was quite average with poor quality steaks, a limited choice and at times the food was not very hot. I found the room to be particularly noisy and had trouble speaking to the people on the other side of the table. The seaside cafe and grill would have to be the best buffet areas I have come across, with a good selection of food especially the Pizza and the burgers. The service we received here seemed to be better than that in the restaurant. Entertainment was generally good with the production shows being standard cruise ship fare. Although i find it strange that they bother to get the dancers to mine to the songs when most of them didn't do a very good job of it. There was an Irish comedian whose name I forget which is a bit like his show and also a cabaret singer from Scotland called Jack Walker who was particularly good, who was worth going back to the late show for.
The ports of call were good but I found both Cork and Dublin just like any big city in the UK with some nice places of interest but generally the same shops selling the same things. There were several issues that put a slight damper on our cruise, these being not receiving our luggage until 8.30pm even after being told at 4.30 that they had located our luggage and would be sent directly to our cabin. We later found out it was actually sent to our original cabin of 9021 and that our cabin steward was going to cabin 9012 to look for it. Our cards were changed 8 times between us as my card would not open the cabin door and this took several visits to guest relations to get resolved. They also added double the amount of tips to our onboard account even after asking for the tips not to be added to our account. Overall we had a good cruise, meeting some very nice people and visiting some good ports of call but it was let down by some minor issues. We left this cruise feeling that Celebrity did not live up to its reputation where service and food are concerned and that it is no better than many of the other mass market lines out there.