Embarkation: I arrived at the pier at approximately 11:30 a.m., thinking this would avoid a long line. Wrong. The lines were very long and it was about a two hour wait to board the ship. We were directed from line to line by staff who did not have a clue as to how to handle the crowds.
Cabin steward: From the start, my travel companion and I had the impression that he did not want to be a part of the Celebrity staff. He never introduced himself. When we had our first contact, he accused me of slamming the door in his face. His accusation was totally false and the situation made me uncomfortable. He did not anticipate any of our needs and we constantly had to track him down.
Waiter: It took him 20 minutes to come over to the table. We noticed other passengers were already on his/her second course. He did not describe the menu selections. In addition, he had no personality. We changed our table and had a wonderful waiter, Erdal. It turns out that I knew Erdal from past Celebrity cruises and he is really professional. Erdal is an example of what Celebrity service used to be like. There were not many "Erdal's" on board.
Maitre D': non existent. Although we were told who our Maitre D' was, he never came over to the table to check on his passengers.
Food and menu selections: The quality and presentation of the food varied from awful to very good. In the dining room, the food was rarely served hot. The menu selections have decreased and have drastically changed and not for the better. When the current staff attempted to duplicate past recipes upon my request, the food did not taste nearly as good as it did in the past. Since Celebrity lost Michael Rioux, the dining experience is not the same.
Activities: Elegant Tea is only served to Concierge Class and Elite Captain's Club. Although I am one cruise away from being an Elite Captain's Club member, I asked to attend the tea. The tea was served in the speciality restaurant, Ocean Liners. The sandwiches and pastries were only offered one time. If the waiter took your tea bag, no replacements. The string quartet did not play during the tea, only a harpist. There were no jewelry seminars. It seemed other activities were also eliminated.
Staff in general: many staff did not speak English and did not know how to direct passengers throughout various parts of the ship.
We witnessed a waiter drop three oranges on the floor at a buffet. He placed the oranges back onto the fruit tray along with the other fruit and placed the tray back onto the table for the passengers to eat. I asked another staff member to remove the fruit and to discard it. I did not get the waiter's name, but I reported the incident to the manager of the restaurant and he addressed the issue immediately.
DO NOT GET OFF THE SHIP IN ST. THOMAS: I had visited St. Thomas five times previously and never had a problem. It's a long story but I had a security incident and it is very clear that the natives are very nasty to the tourists. In fact, if they have an opportunity to harass, intimidate, or upset tourists, they will do so. In addition, the shopkeepers make it very clear that they are only interested in money and they are very rude to the tourists. I believe that St. Thomas is dangerous and it should be removed from all cruise itineraries.
Many tours were cancelled along the way. We were told the seas were rough. The seas looked fine to me, but then again, I am not an expert in that area.
We did meet very nice people with whom we plan to correspond. The weather was great for the most part. In spite of the fact that Celebrity has gone down hill in several areas, I will continue cruising. I am not sure I would go on Celebrity again unless I was assured that they have improved in the areas I mention herein.
Debarkation: It was totally disorganized and passengers who needed wheelchairs and other assistance waited a long time. I felt sorry for them.
Finally, after I got our table changed and all of our needs were met, I was able to relax and enjoy. However, my thoughts drifted back to the Celebrity of just a few years ago, and how all good things come to an end. Of note, this was my 4th Celebrity cruise and my 40th cruise in total.