Three friends and I booked this cruise as a girl's trip getaway. We all met on a Carnival cruise in 2006, and this cruise certainly surpassed that one (not that it would be very difficult to do!).
We flew in the night before and stayed at the Spring Hill Suites Marriott by the airport. It was actually pretty far from the airport, but it was a good value—two queen beds plus a pullout sofa and a nice breakfast in the morning. We took the shuttle from the hotel to the airport in the morning and were checked in and on the ship by noon, about a 15-minute process. Very easy, and the Miami port is very nice.
We had two inside rooms on deck 8. The rooms were great; you could really tell that they had been updated. There is TONS of storage room, way more than enough for our (too) short 4-day cruise. Both of our rooms had trouble with the safe (they are behind the mirror on the vanity) but other than that, everything was perfect.
The ship is really nice. It is pretty small, so doesn't have some of the fun areas that RCCL or Princess have (like MUTS, rock climbing, etc.) but it was perfect for relaxing. It was a little hard to snag lounge chairs after Key West and on the at-sea day. A LOT of chair saving going on. I think if you are up and out to the deck by 10am on the sea days, you should be fine grabbing seats. The spa on this ship is lovely. One of us had a pedicure (best she had ever had), one had massage, and I got a hair cut and highlights (very happy with it and much cheaper than salon prices in NYC). All of us were very pleased. I also paid for the Persian Garden ($69 for unlimited access on the four-day cruise). The hot stone loungers overlooking the ocean were impossible to resist, even for the steep fee. It was well worth it—I spent at least an hour a day in there. (Also, there are two steam rooms and a sauna.) It was very hard to keep my eyes open, but sometimes I managed. We also did a Yoga class which I wouldn't really recommend. It was only 45 minutes and wasn't very organized with no personal touches. We might as well have been following a video. The fitness center is tiny tiny. It seemed to be pretty crowded on our cruise too. I think the running track on the top deck is the better option.
The public rooms are all nice, though we didn't avail ourselves to them much. On a quick cruise like this, we spent optimal time lounging in the sun and took part in very few of the activities, of which I feel this cruise was lacking. Maybe on the shorter cruises they don't offer as many options, but even when we did feel like getting off our chairs (rarely!), it was hard to find much on the Celebrity Daily that sounded like fun to us. We also didn't really see any shows. I wanted to catch the juggler and comedian, but we were so tired by the 11:00/11:30 show that we didn't stay up for them.
The food was delicious. As usual for me on cruises, I enjoyed all the soups, starters, and desserts more than the entrees, but they were still good. We had a great night at the Murano. Not to be missed. The goat cheese soufflE, the chateaubriand (special), and the chocolate soufflE are all divine. The service in the Murano is first rate. Overall, we were very pleased with the service on the ship. I find the staff on the Celebrity ships to be very friendly (always a nice hello in the hallways, etc.) and not snooty as some have been on other lines I have been on (especially in the spas).
A couple minor complaints: the buffets weren't amazing (though I have yet to have great buffet food on a cruise or maybe anywhere for that matter) but were good enough and there was decent variety. (There is a sandwich bar in the very back of the Island Cafe on the port side—great choice for lunch.) The sushi was pretty bad, but I am spoiled by New York sushi. This is going to sounds so nitpicky but the "sensor" ice and water machines were completely maddening. It was so hard to get any ice or water out of the machines that the whole drink line would back up as each person cursed the ice machine waiting for their meager portions. Sometimes I just wish that I could push buttons again instead of waiting for all these gadgets to register my presence. Use the water button on the juice machine—much easier to get water out of there. Our continental breakfast delivered to the room was ok, but they messed the order up pretty badly. If those are my only complaints though, that means it is a good cruise. Little things go wrong on every trip and these are all minor. Our biggest complaint was that the trip wasn't longer!
Our excursions (not purchased through the ship) were the highlight for all four of us, I think. We did a parasailing trip through Fury in Key West. I would highly recommend parasailing and Fury. What a blast—so easy, you don't even get wet if you don't want to. We had the 9:00 departure and were the only ones on the excursion. When we got back, there were droves of people that had done the same exact excursion through the ship. I just can't for the life of me figure out why people do shore excursions through the ship that they could do on their own for half the price. We paid $35 per person, and the excursion with the exact same company for the same trip with ten times as many people was around $75 per person. Ridiculous. People also booked the trolley tours and conch train tours through the ship. We did them on our own, and again, paid half the price. Key West is a tiny island—it is easy to get to any place you need to be and there is no reason to pay double for everything.
Our snorkeling trip in Cozumel was one for the books. I booked with Roswitha after reading so many great recommendations on the CC boards. There were five of us total on this trip with the guide, who snorkels with you and points all kinds of things out that we wouldn't have seen on our own. He takes you to three sites, each deeper than the previous, and each quite different from the other. We saw a moray eel, sting rays, a six-foot eagle ray, lobsters, a sea turtle, enormous starfish, barracuda, more (huge and colorful) fish than you can imagine and...sharks. I think my group saw five or six of them (after I completely chickened out after I saw them and got back on the boat). They were perfectly docile though (nurse sharks, and I think one white-tipped reef shark) and our guide knew how to keep a safe distance while still watching them. It was quite a thrill. I highly recommend this trip—was a highlight of all my time in the Caribbean (even with my shark-seeing wimp out). There is info about the tour at http://www.cozumelmycozumel.com/Pages/CozumelSnorkelingTour.htm .
Disembarkation was a breeze too. About 30 minutes from leaving our room to being in a cab. I don't understand the rush to disembark, so we all just had a leisurely breakfast and then disembarked at the "last call"—very short lines and easy. It was a 15-minute, $24 ride to the airport. Cabs are waiting in abundance as you get off.
As usual, I was very impressed with Celebrity. I think it is the best bang for the buck—great food, service, ships at a reasonable price. We loved the Century and would recommend this cruise to anyone (especially our excursion in Cozumel).