This was my first Transatlantic cruise and I had much concern on what to expect from my getting to the ship to returning home. I had the cruiseline to arrange for my wife and I to fly into Spain from New Jersey. It was setup that we left from Newark airport for our landing in Barcelona, where after clearing customs, we were met outside the baggage area and immediately met by Celebrity staff who took our luggage, telling us we'd not see it till it got to our rooms as we surrendered them. We were escorted onto a bus and taken to the ship, where we waited a short time for personal to begin signing in passengers to go on board. Because we were early, our room was not ready, but attendant requested that we could put our carry on bag in the closet as they made everything ready. After getting a bite to eat, our room was ready and it was better than I expected in size and arrangement of everything. The balcony was well kept and was to our liking.
We enjoyed the ships-tour of Casablanca,Morocco despite having a guide who was the worse I've ever had to guide me or my wife. We toured Casablanca and Rabat enjoying all we saw, but just couldn't understand guide in some of his talks. In Malaga, Spain we took a cab and that was quite an experience also for he too was hard to understand, but was very pleasant in manners and pointing at areas of interest for us to see and read the english translations. We really enjoyed Cadiz, Spain and the top of the open-aired bus we used to get around the city on. You could get on and off when ever it stopped and see what you wanted to see for a fee of $14.00 USA dollars, the total round trip taking two hours to complete if you stayed on the bus and not get off. Get off!!! You'll miss the topless beach and it's beautiful sites!!! We took the bus also in Lisbon, Portugal and toured the city and it too had he same arrangement as our previous stop. On these buses, they give you ear phones to plug in a slot on the seats that speak to you in the language of your choice, telling you what you are coming up on during the rides. Very nice set-up and reasonably priced. Being that we stayed in Portugal two days, on the second day we took a safari tour offered thru the ship and I was outstanding! We went off the paved roads and into the mountain ares in an open aired vehicle, which seated six of us in the back and it was great stopping to take photos and having a small picnic in the woods and mountains all arranged by our guides. We have fun, fun, fun, stopping in a town called Sinatra to shop and fellowship with the people and each other. Ponta Delgada, Azores was too a nice visit and we took the country and wine tour arranged by the ship. Great guide and outstanding tour, stopping to allow passengers to get on and off to take photos and shop.
Each night our dining room service was fine and our waiter (Wilson and his helper) was one of the best we have ever had to serve. I enjoyed the food of all my choices, but my wife didn't in hers. She was always offered to change and allow them to bring her something else, but she never did. Me!! I enjoyed everything. We only ate in the dining room at dinner and had the buffets during the days, which were fine, but not great. Did go to a few shows but avoided the ships singers and dancers, for in comparison to others cruises I have taken, they are out classed. Others liked them, but I'm spoiled and they lacked in areas I'm used to hearing and seeing as singers and dancers. Attire was outstanding though. Went to the lectures and learned a great deal of information which kept my attention. Enjoyed the answer and questioning allowed of the passengers and person speaking. Very nice. I took computer classes on the ship and the instructor was very informative and well prepared, her being a crew member enjoying her helping others to understand and learn. The cruise director (Gary) was too one of the best to have met. He was everywhere and was very touchable to the passengers. I don't know when he slept for he was everywhere and seemed to be at every turn and corner at all times of the day and night, smiling and talking to everyone. They kept us all busy for the days at sea and that was a "BIG" concern of mine in planning this trip. Upon our arrival into New Jersey, was were delayed a while to debark, but because we arranged to have transportation to take us home, it didn't matter, for we were only sixty miles plus away form home. We both say we'd do it again and would tell others to try it also. Had a great time!!