In Phase 3, Slide 4, I noticed that the same tacky cheap-motel looking formica vanity and bed-side tables are still in place. The hinges in our vanity were broken, making it unusable -- I hope they were repaired. Slide 6 shows the newly refurbished (and renamed) Cova Cafe. On our cruise we were there every evening enjoying either the outstanding string quartet or the piano entertainer. If this remains a venue for music performances those new high-backed chairs are going to be a problem! Slides 5-6 show the replacement of the Conservatory, which was a delightful light, airy space that took advantage of being at the top of the ship, by the Tuscan Grille, with a "signature rough-hewn wine country steakhouse." In the slide it looks like a cave, and certainly won't entice me! We've certainly enjoyed steak restaurants in light, airy surroundings on cruise ships in the past, i.e. our cruise on Azamara Journey to Antarctica.
One other note: we had Celebrity book our air transportation -- with the first port being 8 days from departure, we wanted to know that the ship would be held for us if our plane was late. We arrived in Miami mid-morning of departure day to find hundreds of Celebrity/Royal Caribbean passengers already crammed into a small area near the carousels. They had already been waiting for hours for buses to the terminal. The mountain of luggage was so large we were unable to leave our large suitcases and had to take them to the buses ourselves. There was no place to sit, a serious hardship for many passengers. Buses began to arrive when we had been there 2 1/2 hours. Champagne and a string quartet on embarkation didn't make up for the bad taste in our mouths from our airport experience! We are experienced cruisers, having sailed many times from Miami with "lesser" cruise lines, and have never experienced such a mess at the airport. We are not likely purchase transfers from Celebrity again unless it seems absolutely necessary. At the end of the cruise when we docked in Hamburg, they scheduled all passengers to depart *very* early, we assumed so that the ship could go into drydock to begin renovations. (It was fun to watch the lifeboats scurry away while we were waiting to debark.) We were among the last groups scheduled to leave at 8:15. At 8:00 it was announced that all remaining passengers should leave PDQ (despite having been told that no public announcements would be made). Getting out of the terminal was a nightmare: Finding our luggage was no problem, but Celebrity appeared to not have considered egress through the gate, and there were too many passengers leaving through a small space. We were repeatedly told to stay to the left and to hurry up to reach the bus to the airport. (The word "please" would have gone a long way.) In fact, the buses departed from the right, so we had to make our way through the large group waiting for cabs, and once we got to the bus departure area there seemed to be no rush. We arrived at the airport before 9 a.m., a good 6 hours before our flight (scheduled by Celebrity) to Frankfurt. (Celebrity scheduled no excursions in Hamburg to keep us occupied.) We watched several other Lufthansa flights leave for Frankfurt, and when ours was delayed it looked for awhile as if we might miss our connection to the U.S. Both the embarking and debarking experiences were unpleasant enough to that we have reconsidered cruising to/from ports where we do not feel comfortable making our own airline and transfer plans. It was part of our decision to cancel a TA scheduled for the Fall. The best part of our pre-post travel experience was that Celebrity booked our return travel on Lufthansa. We flew steerage, but we were treated well!