Our first surprise came a few weeks before we were due to set sail. Our local travel agent contacted us to tell us the great news-Celebrity had upgraded us-to the Penthouse Suite!
We arrived in Barcelona early Saturday morning and went to the pier. By 10am we were able to check in our luggage and then left to explore Barcelona for a few hours. The cruise attendant told us about the local bus. 3Euro's round trip. Great bargain! When we checked in (about 1pm) we walked around the ship for about 15 minutes and then went upstairs to see our stateroom. Breathtaking! It was more like an apartment then a stateroom! The living room had 2 flat screen TV's (we knew we weren't there to watch TV but still quite impressive!) We had a dining room that could easily seat 6 people along with a butler's pantry complete with a full size refrigerator with an ice maker. A bottle of Dewar's and a bottle of Absolute were at our disposal as well as daily fresh fruit and afternoon snacks. A bottle of Champagne was sitting in a bucket of ice on the coffee table in the living room. The deck was fabulous! A bistro table and 2 chairs as well as 2 lounge chairs. Oh, and an outdoor hot tub! The master bedroom held a very comfortable king size bed with plenty of drawers and another flat screen TV. A walk in closet and a make up vanity rounded out the area before entering the plush master bathroom. A tub big enough for 2, as well as double vanities, a separate toilet area and a walk in shower. We never had any issues with hot water. We had breakfast in our room each morning. Imagine waking up to the views of Portofino!!! The entire crew was so very friendly. Every night we went to the Martini Bar-not to drink-but to watch Eugene the bartender and his amazing tricks and magic! And his personality was genuinely warm and friendly. We had a tour of the bridge and were invited to have dinner at the Captain's Table. We ate at the private restaurant Murano 3 nights while we were there. The night of our 30th wedding anniversary the head waiter brought us a beautiful cake and gave us a special speech. Our food was excellent and the service fantastic. We also loved taking a meal from the cafeteria to the back and watch the views of the port. So peaceful and so pretty! We didn't have time for much of the onboard entertainment as we went on several shore excursions. All in all we loved every minute of our cruise. The upgrade to the Penthouse was certainly unexpected and most welcome but it is apparent by our conversations with many other guests that they too felt like royalty. Now we understand why so many people rave about Celebrity. I know that if we are fortunate enough to cruise again we will first check into what Celebrity has to offer. In the past I have cruised with Cunard (1976-QEII), Carnival, and Royal Caribbean. Although those companies have many great qualities we will always remember this cruise for the sincere and gracious attitudes displayed by all the crew. We loved it!