Embarkation: 3-14-2010, Port Everglades. Arrived around 11:00, easy check-in. The computer network was down, so we had to wait approx. one hour, no biggie. Once the computer issues were fixed, we were on board within five minutes.
Common Areas: This ship is absolutely beautiful. Everything was spotless (I know, new ship), and the decor is comfortably elegant without being pretentious. Every area of the ship just seems designed to help you relax. Extremely easy to navigate, and we never felt crowded at any point during the cruise. So much thought was put into every detail in order to make the passengers comfortable. The martini bar was fantastic, and the casino was huge for a ship. Making the casino a non-smoking area made it much more hospitable. The pools were nice. We never had any problem finding deck chairs. I've read many reviews saying the lawn club was a waste of space, but I thought it was great. The grass was beautiful with very few brown spots, and there were always people there during the day, although it never seemed crowded. The hot glass show was amazing (I watched three), although the bench seating was a little uncomfortable. Fitness Center was nice, but crowded. Suprised to see free weights in addition to machines. Aqua spa was great. One of the best massages I've had. Relaxation room is a must for entering ports.
Cabin: We were in aqua class, and it was well worth the extra money just to be able to dine at Blu. It seemed more like a hotel room than a cabin. The balcony seemed much larger than the photos, and the bathroom was unbelievable for a cruise ship. We are spoiled and and will always book this class in the future. The tea, bottled water, champagne and fruit daily was nice too. There was an issue with the on-demand movies not playing the first couple of days, but we weren't there to watch television. Plenty of storage space. I have read negative reviews about the overhang on the balcony, but the wife and I thought it was a plus. You could sit on the balcony without getting blasted by the sun or wet from the rain. The only minor complaint is the noise from the music on the Latin dance night at the pool. Other than that, it was very peaceful.
Dining: Blu, Blu, Blu.....it was awesome. Every meal was cooked to perfection and the flavors were delightful. We were a little worried that we would regret not eating in the main dining room, but our worries were laid to rest at the first meal. Not once did I receive anything less than a delicious meal, and service was fantastic. Our waiter was Billy Graham (No, not the evangelist), and I swear he was on a mission to make us gain as much weight as possible. We essentially sampled everything on the menu each night as he would bring menu items we did not order in addition to our meals for the entire table to sample. There aren't enough good things I can say about the dining experience offered by Blu.
Murano: Nothing bad to say, but not quite as good as Blu. Service was excellent, food was great. It was well worth the $35 per person.
Tuscan Grill: Best Italian food I've ever had in a restaurant, but again, the overall experience was not quite as satisfying as in Blu. The meatballs, although not quite a good as my mother-in-law's, were outstanding. Again, well worth the $30 per person.
We did not try Silk Harvest.
MDR: We only ate two meals here, brunch and one lunch. Brunch food was great, same league as the buffet. Lunch was so-so, desserts were kind of stale. Service during both meals was not so good. The waiters seemed annoyed at every request, and it took them forever to get them. We were spoiled by Blu.
Bistro On Five: Outstanding. Tried nearly all the crepes, and they were all great. We took the advice from previous reviews and came here as soon as we boarded, and it was not crowded at all.
Oceanview Cafe: Excellent. I'm not a big fan of buffets, but the food quality here was great.
Staff: Everyone was great (except for the aforementioned MDR staff). We had no problems with any other staff members. The Cruise Director, John Grantham, was great.
Entertainment: The first two productions shows were very good, but the last one (the Broadway Revue) was only so-so. The magician was good, but young. The vocal impressionist was terrible. The comedian was pretty good, which is saying something, because I usually hate comedians in this type of venue, they are usually too corny for my taste. Again, contrary to many past reviews, we found the vibe of the ship to be very lively even late at night, without being obnoxious. The Cruise Director was a retired Hollywood stunt man and bit actor. He gave a lecture and showed his reels one day in the theater. It was extremely interesting. It was the first time he did this, and I don't think he was expecting the response, because he ran over time answering questions from the audience.
Fellow Passengers: We had no negative experiences with any other passengers, everyone was happy. There was a 200 person wedding on the ship the second night, and we were treated to fireworks in the middle of the Atlantic from another chartered boat. Talk about big bucks. There were a fair amount of children, but all seemed well behaved.
Disembarkation: Great. We ate our last breakfast in Blue (make sure you try one of the breakfast parfaits) and headed to the theater for our 8:50 time slot. They called our number on time, and we were in the car and on the road within fifteen minutes.
Conclusion: We could not have asked for a better vacation. I can't wait to get back on. Aqua class is a must, and Blu was the highlight of the trip. This was our second Celebrity cruise, and I seriously doubt we will go with any other line again.