We arrived at the port of Southampton in a private car and part of the package was free parking which was well organised, dropping the luggage off at one point, parking the car nearby and then a short walk to book in.
We completed the necessary security process etc. and after collecting our cards we went on board, the whole thing took about 30 mins and no waiting! We were greeted with Champagne and fruit punch and informed immediately that we could go straight to our cabin. The cabin was slightly smaller than expected however the extra room of the well designed shower room probably accounts for some of the space. The room was spotless, with a huge and very comfortable bed. I thought my 12 year old would have been on the sofa however the third berth came out of the ceiling and folded down at night over the seating area. The balcony was roomy with two comfortable chairs and a table. Over the two weeks we found the cabin to be comfortable, very well maintained with only a few minor design gripes. One being the rather strange tap in the sink, it was huge and I had wondered why it had been mentioned on other reviews, now I know! The 32" TV was great however it did have a tendancy to freeze when a movie reached the best bits (a bit like slow streaming videos on a computer with free & pay per view movies, you could book room service, view photos, view TV channels and listen various music etc). Finally, the third bed is a bit low in the folded position, when you sat on the sofa you had to be careful not to bang your head.
The ship never felt crowded, it had it's busy times of course but I felt the design is excellent and very few blockages. It is a new ship and has a contemporary feel about it, some may say clinical or spartan however lots of different areas where the styles varied.
The pool areas had plenty of loungers, obviously the prime spots were taken early on sea days but some were always available if you looked. This was the first time on any cruise where we actually saw staff taking items off beds if they were unattended for too long, well done to Celebrity! In addition to the usual sunbeds, you also had a variety of seating/bed styles around the pools including two person hammocks! The indoor adult only pool was very pleasantly heated, the outdoor pools less so.
We used the Gym on a few occasions to try and keep the waistline from expanding too much (failed!). Reasonable size & it had free weights with the usual mix of machines which were all brand new. (I was dissapointed that the 'gravity machines' were reserved for classes only and a charge of $30 seemed excessive).
Food. Lots of it! We had fixed dining, the staff were fantastic and could not do enough for you. We never bothered eating at any of the other restaurants because we found the food to be top quality (more veg would be nice though!) and our waiters were the best of any cruise so far. I felt the wine (and other drinks)was expensive and we had water or soft drinks with our meals. We did bring the allowed two bottles of wine on board which is a nice touch. We were going to buy a soft drinks package for my 12 year old however with the range of free juices, chilled water, coffee & tea readily available, she told us not to bother!! I would say the food was excellent however not quite as good as our experience on Princess, but it was close. Great lunchtime salads in the Aqua Spa cafe beside the indoor pool, we also liked the well designed buffet areas of the Ocean view Cafe for breakfast and lunch.
Entertainment. Some great evenings, one of the acts had been the lead in various west end shows, she had a great voice! The dancers, the band, the acrobats and most of the guest acts were great. I did not enjoy the 'Celebrity singers', despite the cruise directors enthusiasm, I thought they were awful (well three out of four!!!). One of the shows involved them singing a made up language while the dancers/acrobats etc. performed, why???? It ruined the music!!! I like everything from rock to classical music but even I thought some of the 'in house' performers were far to loud, with some very dubious arrangements!!!! Nick, the Cruise director was good and even performed in his own show. I know a few disliked him. His comment 'What about the band, lets hear it for the band!' became a bit of a standing joke, it became very repetitive but a minor point.
One novel idea was a Chior group. An invite for any interest was mentioned at the start of the cruise. Two weeks later a mixed group of passengers led by Carl put on a short show ala Whoopie Goldberg, very good!
Childrens Club. My daughter made a load of new friends and enjoyed herself despite very few children considering this is the school holidays.
A few of the 'kids' were idiots (knocking on cabin doors and running off for example) but the Security staff seemed to be on top of things most of the time. If anyone had a serious issue I am sure the CCTV combined with the facial recognition system onboard would have identified the culprits very quickly!
Overall we all had a superb holiday, very relaxing. I would not hesitate to sail with Celebrity again and have already recommended the ship to friends. This was cruise number 7 for us and we have sailed with Princess, P&O and Ocean Village in the past. Now, where is that cruise brochure!!!!!!