We have not crusied in 10 years. The two previous cruises were on Royal Carribean. Our first time Celebrity cruise was a great experience. After a private tour of Rome, we were ready to leave. Checking in was quick and efficient.
We were pleased right away to find that Celebrity encourages their staff to SPEAK and be friendly to the clients. That adds so much to the trip, since you are going to be dealing with some of the same folks each day. It is always interesting to learn where the staff is from, too.
Aqua Class was a big plus, especially the intimacy of Blu dining. I have a real sweet tooth, and sometimes yearned for a really decadent dessert, but the meals were wonderful, and I never left, feeling too stuffed. There was only one day during the week when none of the five entree choices did not really appeal to my husband or myself, and the meal was still good. ( I guess if the menus were shared for the entire week, people could plan their specialty nights when the menu did not appeal?) We treated ourself to one specialty restaurant-ate at Murano-felt the extra prices were a bit high, but the service and meal were exquisite.
Our first shore excursion was with a ships' tour. We were VERY disappointed-the guide was not personable, did not do a lot-of course Taromina did not have a great amount to see, and the group did not listen or follow directions-the problems lots of folks complain of with the large groups. This left me somewhat concerned for the other ship's tours we had selected. Luckily, they were not as disappointing We did enjoy the small group/private tours that we had for Athens, Rhodes, and Ephesus. (I do wish that the ship guides would set a TIME to meet, and make the folks stick to it-no fair to those who come back and have to wait around. As long as you keep letting them do that, they will continue to be late, as will more group members, and hold everyone up.) There was so much we had never seen, we did a lot of full day tours. That meant not as much time to use other amenities on the ship.
When we did have time to visit the pools, there was the same problem we had ten years ago-folks saving chairs, and sometimes never even coming to use them. The daily sheet commented on this, and even said they (who on the deck was responsible for this?)would start removing towels and personal items if left more than 30 min. We always managed to find two chairs, but it was difficult sometimes. We enjoyed the on-deck live music, especially the two singers with the band. We just wished that they played longer in the afternoon.
This was our first cruise with a veranda. It was a wonderful addition, letting us have a wonderful view of the islands. One afternoon, as we left one port, five or six seagulls flew along, riding the currents of our wake. They glided up and down the sides of the waves, rarely flapping their wings. At some point, they were going faster than the ship. We watched them for over 30 minutes. The balcony was especially great for room service breakfast when we had to leave early for excursions. Our room steward was GREAT! She made sure the room was ready for us all the time. (I had to laugh-no towel animals on the bed, though.) The extras of water, tea, and canapes for Aqua were very nice. Dining in Blu, at what time suited us, was wonderful. We got to chat with quite a few different folks who were also eating there. The wait staff were all pleasant, friendly, and really wanted to be sure your food was fixed to your requests. One "best kept secret" was the Crepe restaurant. We ate brunch there one day. It was delightful, a nice break from the buffet, and $5. each well spent.
The night-time entertainment was pretty good, some better than others. We had to admire the energy level and multi talents of the ship's performers.
My husband got some kind of intestinal problem the night before the second day at sea. We had to go to the medical center. The wait was less than in our doctor's office at home. While his problem required quarantine, we were pleased with the care he got. They gave us a card to give the excursion folks for a refund on our trip for the next day. When our cruise was at an end, the departure was almost painless. What a pleasure after what we remembered from ten years ago, sorting through the piles of luggage with mobs of others from the cruise. We used the ship's transport and were quite satisfied.