We embarked at 2 PM and were pleased with the location, condition and cleanliness of our cabin 3103. Departure from Ft Lauderdale was late. We were told it was due to passengers arriving with too much luggage. Later we were told it was due to passengers from the last cruise departing too slowly then told it was customs delays and an additional review of their staff by customs. Later we learned the real story.
Our drill was in a lounge and we did not put on our life preservers...a new approach after 26 cruises. We were then moved to a lifeboat station. Most of the announcements were sales pitches during this. We found this unusual. TG we never had an emergency at sea.
Our first night out we were told by the captain that the late departure would be made up at sea so we would arrive at Georgetown, Cayman on time. We did not. We were told the currents were exceptionally strong and we could not make up the time. Water was rough and we tendered from an alternate part of the island. Our port time at the Cayman islands was reduced. No adjustments were made for shortened shorex. Carnival ships, like the Valor, were there before us and some still there when we left
That night at dinner we felt the ship turn and were later advised over a loud speaker by the captain that we had a seriously ill person on board and would be turning around and returning to the Cayman Islands. HUH? I asked why they did not airlift the person and got a puzzled look. I also asked if we would be delayed reaching Cartegena, our next port, and were again told the captain would make it up at sea. I asked about our shorex being impacted as we had a long one in Cartegena, but was assured that if we got there late,time would be added to the other end of our port time to make up for it. We ultimately arrived late, the time not added as advised and our shorex shortened without compensation. I had earlier sent a note to the bridge through guest services about increasing speed as we seemed to be moving slow, but did not get a reply until 2 days later after we had left Cartegena. Time was not added to the end of the port time either. Our tour was rushed and like in the Caymans did not have the time we should have had after the tour to roam and shop. We were told we had to leave when we did or miss our canal entry time.
Food in the dining room and cafeteria/buffet was adequate but not special. Dinner in the USS United States was fabulous. Services inthe dining rooms was good.
On the 3rd day out we finally bumped into our cabin stewart. We had never met him, nor was there a card with his name on it in our cabin. We tried to call on the phone but got a recording saying that the call was not allowed. The room was always cleaned nicely and we had no problems with the cabin. No nice touches like towel creatures but the chocolates and turn down were there at night.
The tour desk was not knowledgable or provided mis-information. We would recieve a note under the door about a change to the time of our tour and to call if we had questions, but when we tried we got a message saying the call was unauthorized. There as a sign at the shorex area that said to ask for additional details on the tours, yet when we asked we were given the same thing that was on the brochure. Neither were they friendly. We later learned from a manager that the shorex people should have gotten our cabin number and got the info and contact us back.
The entertainment was mixed. Their female singers a bit flat or our of range at times, The dancers did a great job. Pianist, violinist, and late cruise guest singer great. Coomic/Magician was horrible. Their on-board nature guy Milos was wonderful. Unfortunately, he was leaving the ship after this voyage. A speaker, on loan from the Smithsonian, had great info but her delivery was poor. She said "UM" 421 times in a 45 minute presentation. Her talks were, ultimately, poorly attended while Milos drew a full audience.
The business operations and guest desk servicesseemed disorganized. Three times we were asked to fill in our credit card information for our sail card.
The canal cruising was timely...for the first time The experience of traveling through the locks was spectacular. Arrival in Puntarenas was ..ON TIME...Weather and a (return) visit to Manual Antonio (written up as one of the 1000 things to do before you die) was great. We wandered on a path and were surrounded by monkeys including baby ones.
Our stop at Huatalco was a nice surprise. A charming, clean, seaside village teaming with happy people and beautiful, mostly uncommercialized roads. Most agreed that this was jewel that more time could have been spent at. Some vowed to return here for a separate visit. An airport was within 30 minutes.
Acapulco was...well..Acapulco. A big croded city filled with the charm of Mickey d's, KFC, and overcrowding. We had been here before. We opted for a tour to a newly excavated Aztec site and enjoyed it. Our last stop was Cabo. Unfortunately, we had to leave the port hours earlier than originally planned. Why? We learned that from the beginning of the cruise one of the engines was not working, and we could not pick up speed through the trip. We had to return early for an emergency engine repair. They never told us the truth until the end. We arrived in San Diego 2 hours early (about 5 am) but could not depart until 10:30. Seems they had to get the foreign nationals (mostly the crew) off first. Many passengers flying missed their flights as a result.
We finally got a credit for one of our shortened tours, a bottle of screw top wine, and an invite to the pricey USS United States on their dime (it was normally an additional 35 pp charge)The meal was wonderful and service great.
Trust is important to us when cruising as we are placing our lives in the hands of ship bridge management. What other lies did they make and what chances did they take with our lives? I am not pleased with Celebrity and expressed my displeasure in writing. I was told it would be sent to their land offices. I do not think we will ever sail Celebrity again.