When packing for this cruise I forgot two very important items.... my AARP card and my Medicare card! It seems though that the majority of the other passengers got the memo and brought theirs, as this cruise was like a floating retirement home. Since my husband and I are nowhere near retirement(I am 36 and husband is 41) we were definitely in the minority on this ship. When we booked we were looking for a relaxing itinerary and while we satisfied with the ports and amount of days at sea, we were also bored stiff at times. We are experienced cruisers and have tried multiple lines, including Celebrity, so we know that boredom is not a regular-scheduled activity. With all this being said, I am going to try to be as objective as possible with this review as there were some very positive things about this cruise.
EMBARKATION we flew in the day before and stayed at the Hilton near the port. This was very convenient in terms of proximity to the ship, but not if you are looking for a quick bite to eat . There is nothing really within walking distance, except a Walgreens. The limited food choices at this hotel were outrageously expensive and they had no vending machines except for soda. The next day we took a quick taxi ride, costing about $10 and arrived at the port around 11:30 a.m. This was by far, the quickest embarkation we've experienced to date. It took about 15 minutes and was stress-free. The agents in the port are friendly and very organized. A quick picture, a ride up the elevator and we were on the ship with champagne in hand. We were pleasantly greeted by alot of the management level staff and we took a seat to drink our champagne and people watch as the cabins were not ready. This was when we quickly began to realize that our fellow passengers were not going to be hanging at the disco. The parade of walkers, wheelchairs, canes and electric scooters was unbelievable! One right after another! I turned to my husband and said "are you kidding me?"
ACCOMMODATIONS We booked a balcony room on the 7th deck. Before I make a comment about the condition of the room I have to praise the stateroom attendant(Paulwin) and his assistant(Kevin). These guys are two of the best attendants we have ever had. Within minutes of us arriving they were there to introduce themselves, asking us if there was anything special we needed. For the entire time of our cruise they were always pleasant, professional, prompt and did their job with a smile on their face. They work very hard!!!
Now, you can have very hard-working staff that do their job great, but if you have a rusty penny, so to speak, no amount of polish is going to make it shine. This is how we felt about the cabin. Upon first appearance it looked clean, with ample storage space and enough room to walk around comfortably. The bathroom is of decent size, as is the shower. But, once we settled in, the wear and tear became very obvious. The carpet was stained, especially at balcony door. The carpet was also damp at this area and stayed that way the entire cruise. The sofa and vanity chair were very dingy and also had a dampness to them that remained the entire cruise. We placed towels over them because our clothes got damp when we sat down. The bathroom, while sanitized, was a little gross in the sense that the toilet seat was stained, tile was chipped and discolored, and the shower curtain was dingy. We were on the Norwegian Dawn 6 weeks ago and got spoiled by their sliding shower doors!! What a great thing to have. No worries about the curtain clinging to your wet leg!! I just think of all the other legs it has clung to and that skeeves me out!!! I will say that the bed linens are great!! They are soft, and super- comfortable and the bed was great. The bathroom towels are not plush, but they do the job. I would grab a couple of pool towels and bring them to the room as they were softer.
FOOD While we are not gourmet food critics, we do know whether we have had a good meal or not. We feel that the food on this ship, overall is very satisfying. The buffet has enough choices, with good quality. I appreciate the efforts to minimize food hogs and germ control by having the staff serve you. ( except at the salad bar where I saw a woman use her had to grab tomatoes!!! come on!! ) Everyone comments on the breakfast waffles and I will join the masses- they are the best!! The salad dressings are very good, but the salad bar is squished into a tiny space and the items end up getting mixed in with the others. Nothing like tuna flaked into the olives! The salad bar needs more space. We ate in the main dining room every night. We always found something on the menu that we liked. The beef was always great. Always cooked as we asked. I was disappointed in the fish, especially the sea bass. It tasted very fishy and was slimy. the mussels also tasted very fishy. The soups were fantastic and the salads were always good. Desserts were delicious. I appreciated the display dessert tray so I knew what I was getting before I ordered. I ordered a cafe latte one night in the dining room and I was surprised that I was charged. I didn't say anything, but when we were on the Millennium last year they never charged me for dinner lattes. It adds up at $4.50, so i just switched to regular coffee, which was decent.
ENTERTAINMENT This is were I have the biggest beef. It was a huge joke! Where was the entertainment? It seemed that this ship had a lights out rule in place as it was a ghost town after 10:30. Now I know I am going to offend some people with my next opinion, but i am entitled to it. i know That Perry Grant has a cult following from reading the message boards, but I don't see what the hype is all about. Yes, Michaels Club was jammed every night, but when we peeked in all we saw was a sea of gray hair. It was like I had walked into a nursing home during activity hour. Some of the audience had nodded off and the others were clapping their hands in unison. It brought me back to the days of visiting my grandma in the nursing home!!! We enjoyed the band in the Rendevouz lounge, but they were usually playing to an empty dance floor by the time we got out of our late dinner seating. The band, Fusion, was good. I know that the cruise line must look at their demographics and plans activities to suit the majority of passengers, but I got really sick of name that tune and art auctions. This ship was a snore-fest for excitement. The pool area was jammed everyday, but it had no life. I swear I walked by an elderly gentleman who was propped up in his lounger and he looked dead. He stayed that way for a few hours and I almost wanted to shake him to see if he was alive. The biggest source of entertainment for my husband was a very large woman who decided to make her own topless section and laid out for the whole deck to see her not so pleasant looking breasts.
FITNESS CENTER AND SPA We really enjoyed this area and used it everyday. Again, though, there were a lot of elderly people in here that you could tell had never set foot in a gym. They sat on the equipment looking clueless, swinging their legs and fiddling around with levers, not having a clue on how to use the equipment. They slowed the process down for those of us who were in there to to do a legitimate work-out. Even though the fitness instructor was around he never seemed to show any interest in helping these people figure out how to use the equipment. He was too busy trying to sell metabolism- boosting sessions and cellulite busters. The spa offers a good selection of treatments, but are always overpriced in my opinion. You always have to be prepared for the hard-sell of products after your session... One staff member tried to push a $50 bronzer on me after my facial. No thanks!! I can go to Target and get one for 5 bucks!
A FEW CLOSING THOUGHTS.... Overall I found this to be a decent vacation, and I appreciate the extra touches you get with this cruise line. I think this ship overall is beautiful but the areas that get the most use are showing signs of wear and tear. We know that celebrity attracts, in general, an older crowd, but we did not anticipate the geriatric pace aboard this ship.
Will we sail with Celebrity again... sure... when we celebrate our 80th birthdays!!!