Embarkation: The Port Liberty cruise port is really odd, but it seemed to work well once you were there. I live in Brooklyn, so we took a car service to New Jersey and it cost about $75 each way including tolls. It took about 25 minutes from door to door. We arrived close to 11:00 am.
The staff was very friendly in the terminal. We went through security very quickly and waiting 10-15 minutes to get our documents and keycards. Once we were in the waiting area, we took a seat and waiting to get called to the bus to take us to the ship. They had tables set up were you could purchase wine and drink packages, along with staff giving out water and fruit punch. There weren't a lot of people waiting with us, but I could imagine the terminal could get warm and loud. In fact, the wedding party that was boarding was both sweaty and loud (but that's another story). We were on the ship before noon.
Ship: I read a lot about the age of the ship prior to cruising and I was a bit worried. I'm a pretty tough customer, but the ship looked pretty great. Sure there are things that look a little worn or dated, but nothing that made me enjoy the cruise any less. The layout of the ship was easy to navigate with all the food in the back and entertainment in the front.
The public rooms had an elegance to them that I didn't expect from the pictures that I saw before had. The main staircase with the silk pillars is very nice. All the lounges seemed well maintained, with the Martini Bar being the best in my opinion. The bartender was particularly great with a bunch of drink pouring tricks.
We particularly liked the Solarium and the t-pool. This area could use some sprucing up, but it's a great feature.
Cabin: Our cabin was #6024 - 2C Veranda. The room dEcor is a bit old. The bedspread seemed a little past it's prime (but who touches those anyway?). And the orange fabric motif on the curtain and headboard thing isn't my style. I still don't understand the headboard fabric panels with bar...oh well. The room was very clean. Our stateroom attendant, Rafael, was the best we ever had. He really went out of our way to anticipate our needs.
The real selling feature of this room is the balcony. Being twice as deep as a standard balcony is really nice. We asked for two additional chairs so we could prop our feet up and invite friends over for wine before dinner. Rafael got us two great chairs with wooden backs and pads. We used the balcony every morning for coffee and croissants before getting ready.
We didn't hear any noise from the theater below or from the cabins below. I would not hesitate to book this cabin again or recommend it to a friend.
Food: The food on Celebrity was by far the best I've had on a cruise. The main courses seemed to be their strong suit. The Coq-au-Vin was delicious! The veal and prime rib were great. The soups and salads were fine if a little generic. The desserts were hit or miss, but I'm not big on chocolate and ordered the cheeses twice.
The food at the buffet was good. I especially like the sushi, pasta station, and the poached eggs for breakfast. The only issue I found was that most stations were closed. I'm sure that I could have gotten more choices if I planned better.
The Aqua Spa Cafe was a favorite for lunch. But again, the limited hours was a drawback.
The coffee was better than the other cruise lines we've sailed, but still not good. We took the advice from the message boards and brought along a French press and some coffee from home. We ordered tea each morning and used the hot water for the coffee - perfect. It was difficult to get hot water in a carafe from room service, so the tea trick worked.
Other: The casino was a fun diversion, but they should really pay more attention to the guests. There was only one blackjack table with a minimum under $10 and 20 people standing around trying to get a spot. After waiting for 30 minutes and noticing that the $10 table remained empty the entire time, I asked the guy getting money behind the dealer if they could opening another lower minimum table. He said that there was nothing he could do. I went over and asked the dealer that was sitting alone. He said that he couldn't change the minimum. The manager, Stephanie, saw the conversation and asked if she could help. I explained that everyone wanted to play blackjack, but no one wanted the higher minimum. She thanked me, lowered the minimum, and bought me a drink. The table remained full the rest of the night. I'm not sure why they didn't just do this without being asked.
The production shows were the low point of the cruise for us. The performers couldn't really be faulted. I guess our feelings were cemented with The Wiz section of the Encore show. The performer did a great rendition of Home. However, the video projections started behind her and it was a montage of all white people in cornfields and having picnics. Not one minority was represented. It was offensive. This wasn't the only issue I had, but it really took the cake. I wish the performers had the opportunity to sing with nothing else going on.
Destination: Bermuda was spectacular! The people were very warm and friendly. The public transportation available was reliable and affordable. We snorkeled in St. George, which had some really great fish. The Crystal Caves were very interesting to see. We did both the Crystal and Fantasy caves. Our group thought that we could have only done Crystal and would have been fine. The beach at Horseshoe Bay was perfect for us. It had soft, fine sand and pretty gentle surf. The only negative as the Portuguese man-of-wars. The lifeguard caught three while we were there. As long as you look, before you jump in, you should be fine. I definitely want to return to Bermuda and try more beaches.
Overall: We had a fabulous time with some great people on our first Celebrity cruise. The service, food, and atmosphere were a cut above the other cruises. Mostly my negative comments are me being picky. I probably won't go back to a production show, but the other shows were lots of fun - cooking show, talent show, the band.
We are already looking into another Celebrity cruise!