Celebrity features a lot of sales of tee shirts, junk merchandise with their logo, a "Russian Bazaar" sale and costume jewelry while the ship is at sea. Celebrity's motivation seems to be one of greed, not one that features the passenger's enjoyment of their ship.
Overall I found the ship to have a rather difficult layout. There is no main entrance to the main dining room from the lobby or from the cabins. It is necessary to walk through the casino or shops to get to the dining room. The first few days I was convinced I was headed in the wrong direction because the layout is so illogical. The emphasis is on spending money in the shops or casino. There are no direct through passageways on the cabin decks. The promenade deck does not go completely around the ship. In all I think the ship is awkward and illogical in its layout.
The Edge of the Earth lounge, forward on deck 11 would or should present magnificent views of the sea except for the odd curtained cubicles at the center just in front of the windows to the sea. The entire room is draped in what is one would assume to be undersea kelp. It is particularly odd in the daytime and the chiffon netting is torn and worn in many places. I thought perhaps at night this unusual decor would be lit to look like an undersea atmosphere but in fact that is not the case. It is just strange and rather like Halloween decor. Unfortunately the floor is sticky, dirty, covered in black marks and is absolutely revolting.
The onboard "expert" on port destinations is very self serving. He is an older man with a remarkable reputation but his lecture was wandering, boring and always reverts to his latest book on South America, a book with no connection to the Baltic even though he tried very hard to make a connection.
Sadly the entertainment was extremely poor in quality with the exception of the string quartet, the classical guitarist and the one comedian. The singers in the night lounge and at the pool sang off key and many people covered their ears to keep from cringing when the singers attempted to hit high notes. In the dining room their is scratchy Muzak-type recorded music that only adds to the noise level. We requested that they turn down the audio in the dining room but unfortunately that was not possible.
The first cabin in which I sailed was beneath a pantry where the noise from a dishwasher continued until past 1:30 am and started up again very early in the morning. After several nights of not sleeping the guest relations office moved me to another cabin.
There was a sewer-like odor that came up the stairwells. Toward the end of the cruise the odor wafted into the Lido Cafe/food court on deck 10. It was a great aid in curbing appetite.
The discounting of fares is attracting a group of people who don't care about their fellow passengers. On several occasions, people came into the Lido Cafe to dine while wearing wet swimsuits, sometimes covered by a bathrobe from their cabin, other times just their swimsuits. Equally odd was finding women eating breakfast in their robes with rollers in their hair. Celebrity needs to enforce the dress code.
The passengers I refer to as the feral-type allowed their kids to run up and down the hallways outside of cabins until 1:00 a.m. The same kids were seen charging around the ship, through the shops, lounges and Lido Cafe as though they were on a playing field. Obviously the parents were oblivious to their children's behavior. One child brought chicken to her mom in the library where they had a little picnic. Of course they left the chicken bones and dishes in the library after their meal.
Celebrity's handling of disembarkation in St. Petersburg was clearly selective in allowing the passenger who had purchased shore excursions from the cruise line to have favorable position in clearing immigration before going to their tour buses. The individuals and groups with shore excursions arranged privately were required to stand in line for more than an hour while the cruise line passenger were processed quickly by 3-4 agents vs. the 1 agent for the private payors.
Even though the cabins are all non-smoking, there were still passengers smoking on their balconies. Smoking is allowed in the entertainment theater and in The Edge of the Earth lounge. As a non-smoker I think allowing smoking on one side of a room is a joke! Celebrity needs to confine smoking to outdoor areas only.
On the favorable side, the room stewards were courteous, friendly and efficient. Our dining room waiters were superb! The food for the most part in the dining room was quite good.
This was my first experience on Celebrity. In comparing Celebrity to Princess, Crystal, Holland America, Cunard, P&O and the now retired Royal Viking Line, I can't say I would rate it the 4 stars that they claim. Would I sail again on Celebrity? Probably not.