Dreadful traffic organisation at Southampton meant what should have been a 2-hour drive (with an arrival at 2pm) turned into a 3 and a half hour nightmare, with the last one and a half hours stuck on the dock road, able to see the ship and yet not get to the car park. Apparently it was the fault of all the cruise lines planning to set off the cruises on the same day. Hog wash! If a port's traffic organisation can't cope with their customers then they shouldn't accept the bookings for the berths.
FINALLY arrived at check in with minutes to go before the deadline. Hot, flustered and in no mood for a holiday. And from then on Celebrity worked their magic. Efficient security, luggage whisked away, red carpet gangway and onto the ship. Straight into a magnificent atrium with glass-sided lifts, library, bars. Even the inevitable muster stations drill was well arranged to take us into the Tuscan Grill (one of the speciality restaurants) for a video instead of lining us up in ranks on decks a la Royal Caribbean.
Cabin was in an excellent position across the stern, meaning great 180 degree views. Downside was that it had little storage space. Fine for a week, but not much drawer space and I guess that for a longer cruise it would have needed you to keep clothes in suitcases under the bed.
The run of the mill food was splendid. The standard dining room menu included lobster and fillet steak. Specility restaurants were fabulous. The Murano was very swish, and the wine pairing menu was pricey but worth every penny for a very special treat. Tuscan Grill provided another fabulous steak meal with some very knowledgable wine suggestions. Entertainment first rate - string quartet, a capella singers, great jazz, aeriel artists, singers, and a crazy juggler.
Stavager. On a Sunday this is probably the most boring city in Europe.
Clear that the money from oil means that no-one has to open up their
businesses to obtain tourist dollars. A fairly good museum about
drilling for oil in the North Sea, but it was the only joint in town.
Won't bother going back.
Gerainger. Wow and mega-wow. Tiny 200-people village set at the end of
a fjord. Surrounded on 3 sides by 4,000 feet high mountains. You can
reach the glacial mountain top via a stomach-churning bus ride and look
down to see your ship in the fjord like some model. Souvenir shops
selling better quality than most (but still some tourist-tat for those
who collect it)