This is our 8th cruise, 2nd on Celebrity. We had a great vacation but this trip doesn't begin to compare with one we took on Constellation several years ago! Service was the poorest we have experienced on any cruise we have taken. It's so different it doesn't seem to be the same cruise line. I use reviews when I plan my vacations, so I need to post my thoughts on this, for others to consider. I do not consider the higher price for this line to represent good value for the money spent.
We booked a precruise package from Celebrity prior to the cruise. The hotel room we received was dirty and needed servicing. Our (prepaid) transfer to the pier stood us up. The luggage handlers at the pier were rude-all but putting their hand in my purse to snatch out a tip!! Once in line for the preboarding ritual, we waited almost an hour. Water and punch were offered by the ship staff. Onship there was no welcome aboard, no help in finding your stateroom, no welcome drink, no offer of a photograph. The arrival buffet in the buffet was chaos and there are several descriptions of it on other reviews and they are accurate.
Meals in the buffet were generally the same each day and the style of service doesn't make for a quick stop to pick up food, coupled with the lack of staff, so the process takes a while. I enjoyed the ethnic cuisines, including breakfasts of dim sun and other Asian specialties. Most of the food was good. Wait staff service at the buffet was poor. One morning there was no coffee available (they had not made enough). In 7 breakfasts, I was offered a refill on my coffee only one time; and the sweet rolls which were passed each morning on the Constellation were organized and out for the service staff but I never once saw them offered to anyone. Keeping your silverware clean was an issue. The tables were wiped between uses, but bare, so once your unwrapped your silverware you almost had to it balance on your plates to avoid putting it down on a table that didn't impress you as being especially clean. One AM staff person cleaned away an entire uneaten breakfast that was put onto a table while the owner went searching for coffee. And, clearing of tables that were (really) finished was slow. We found the evening food to be very good, however, with the exception of the last evening, when the veal/ham entree was inedible. At nite, the assigned service staff was all personality and great fun. Service was slow, sometimes taking more than 2 hours for our table of 9!
We really enjoyed the ship cast, ships' orchestra, and Neptune, but the other acts were not very good. There were few opportunities to dance, and a band one evening that got up for a 10 minute break had not returned after 45 minutes, at which point we got up and left. Our last evening in the theater, the small table next to us was completely loaded down with dirty glasses from an earlier performance, which were not removed, nor the table cleaned, at any time. In retrospect, it is easy to see why the norovirus that lurks on any ship takes over from time to time on this one. One public restroom was so filthy I left and searched for staff to request that it be serviced; at times there was no toilet tissue nor hand towels. We did not use the outdoor pool but the indoor salt water pool was fine and very comfortable.
Our stateroom was OK, service good but rarely visible. We had plenty of room. Used the ship laundry without any problems.
We were invited to and attended several Captain's Club events and enjoyed socializing with the officers. We ended up purchasing ship tours and found them overall to be good; we enjoyed Maine and the ports in Canada. The crew talent show was awesome!!
I cannot "put my finger" on what made this ship's overall service to be so dispirited-a stressed or overworked staff or perhaps inattentive management. But, although we had a very nice vacation, and will consider returning to Celebrity, it certainly will not rank in our minds as offering a better experience than less costly competitors.