We cruised with Celebrity for the first time ever. It was for my husband's 65th birthday. We began in Seattle with a 2 night stay at Hotel 1000, a 5 star hotel. I highly recommend this for tops in luxury.It is right downtown and near everything. Be aware that there are many hills in Seattle, so wear good walking shoes. We caught the free bus and went to the monorail and to the Space Needle and also toured Pike Street Market.
Boarding the cruise at Pier 66 was an easy cab ride from our hotel. We arrived about an hour before the listed time but were greeted by friendly Celebrity staff who whisked our luggage away which we had tagged with the Celebrity tags provided with documents received and we were guided to the terminal building where we filled out our health questionnaire and went through a quick moving line to show our passports, register our credit card and get our room keys. The rooms were not yet ready, so we were greeted with champagne and shown to the pool deck where hot dogs and hamburgers and the fixings were served. Music was playing and a bar was open. In about an hour we got to see our cabin which was really nice. There were fresh flowers and a dish of fresh fruit and a chilled bottle of champagne waiting for us. The wine that I had pre-ordered was half there. They forgot one bottle which was delivered the next day without my inquiring. We had complimentary ordourves delivered every afternoon before dinner. They consisted of a variety of bread squares and rounds topped with shrimp, caviar, cheese, ham, vegetables.
Our stateroom looked 1960's with oak trim and closets and furniture which had seen better days. It was very comfortable and clean and we enjoyed a lot of time on our balcony with a round table and 2 chairs. The bathroom had a shower, sink and toilet and nice sized vanity. Complimentary toiletries, a hair dryer, umbrella, binoculars, robes were all provided. I recommend you bring your own binoculars because ours were terrible. Our cabin steward was extremely attentive and our room was promptly cleaned and towels replaced twice daily. The bed was turned down nightly and chocolates placed on our pillow. We never saw the pillow menu that is supposed to come with concierge class, however my request for feather pillows was promptly accommodated.
The ship left all ports promptly at the announced time. Ketchikan was raining all day which made me glad that we did not arrange any port excursions. The town was a tourist trap, at least the parts that we could walk to. There was a free shuttle to Walmart, but we didn't learn about it until it was too late.
Getting on and off the ship was easy and fast with the swipe of a Sea Pass card that everyone was issued. There was plenty of signage at the end of the walkway when getting off, directing people to their tours. Juneau was a nice stop. We had arranged a gold panning adventure through the ship. It was fun, but way too short of a time to really look for gold. The pans were pre-seeded with tiny bits of gold and no boots were issued for anyone to go into the stream to look for anything else. Just as we were getting into the adventure, we were hustled off by the tour driver. I felt short changed for what we had spent for that trip. We shopped after that and found some nice bargains. We returned to the ship for lunch and then booked a Mendenhall Glacier tour from a vendor right on the dock. It was $28 round trip for 2 which was considerably cheaper than what Celebrity offered. The bus dropped us off at the glacier and we had all the time we wanted to walk the trails and see the visitor center, which charged $3 a person to see. There were rest rooms and an elevator for those who could not climb the hill to the center. The glacier was awesome and I recommend it as a "must see". The bus came every 20 minutes to pick people up. There is only one park bench to sit while waiting. At this stop we saw 2 black bears and salmon in a stream.
In Victoria, BC we had booked a horse drawn carriage ride around town. That was pleasant but again, I question the cost. After the ride, we bought bus tickets for $6.50 for an on and off pass to go to downtown. The bus dropped us 3 blocks from the museum and we had an easy walk. The museum was closing in 45 minutes and we were informed of that when we tried to buy admission tickets. We were told we would not get our money's worth. We shopped the gift shop and bought some great bargains. I am still kicking myself for passing up an entire boxed set of china tea pot and 6 cups for $120. The staff was very friendly. It started to rain so we headed back to the ship.
There was always something planned on the ship, as outlined in the daily newspaper which was placed on our bed the night before. If we had any questions, a simple call on the in-suite telephone was greeted with friendly answers. The phone also had a built-in wake-up call in the event we wanted to arise early. Our room was fairly sound protected and the only noise we heard was if our neighbors turned their TV up loud.
The food on the ship was always available and of good quality. The meals were artfully presented and well prepared. Room service was available for free 24 hours a day. Service was prompt and friendly. The two formal nights had people arriving in many types of clothing. While some men wore tuxedos, most wore jackets and ties with variations of that. The women wore more cocktail outfits than gowns, although we did see some gowns. There were many children on the ship but the children's programs kept them occupied for the most part. Children were well dressed for dinner. We had live music playing for each formal night. The bars and clubs on the ship were always busy. Be prepared to pay around $10 a drink. Tip is added to the tab by the ship. The shops on board were many and varied. Everyday, there were daily specials with the most discounts coming the day before disembarkation. The ships photographer was everywhere taking shots of guests and also filming for a video that you can purchase for $34.95 for the on board experience and comes with a second dis about the Hubbard Glacier.We did not purchase our photos, thinking the price would go down if we waited, but the price never went down. If you really want your photo, you must pay the price.
We had letters placed on our door with all of the disembarkation information we needed, telling us where to meet and at what time. We participated in the program where, for $20 each, Celebrity takes your luggage and you never see it again until you get to your home airport. We had previously purchased from them a transfer voucher and were shown to a bus to the airport. Our bags were waiting when we got to our destination airport. When I saw people struggling with their luggage, I was glad we had done this. We have cruised before, but have never had the level of professionalism and friendliness as we did on this cruise. We are sailing with the same company, different ship, to Bermuda in April and we eagerly anticipate the experience.