Background: We are in our early 30s and this was our first Celebrity cruise. Past cruises were with Royal Caribbean twice and once with Princess. We have enjoyed all of our previous cruises and find that each cruise line has its perks. The main reason we booked this cruise was for their restrictive smoking policy.
Stateroom: We booked an aqua class cabin. Overall, we liked the layout of the cabin. We thought the bathroom had ample storage, with the exception of the shower which needed more area for your shampoo, soap, razor, etc. We liked having storage above the bed as well as a place to store your luggage under the bed. The pillows and mattress were extremely comfortable-probably the most comfortable bed of any previous cruise ships. We really enjoyed the adjustable chairs, ottomans and table provided on our balcony. We only noticed smoke(we were on the starboard side) a few times from people that were smoking on deck 5 (even though they were supposed to be on the port side as noted on their communication). This was only a minor issue twice.
Ship: The ship was very clean and in great condition. The layout of the ship was great and we liked how open everything was(casino, library, card room, etc). We really enjoyed the lawn area.
Food/Dining Rooms: We dined in Blu the first night and although the food was good, we were not impressed with the service. We had to flag down our waiters for water refills and to have our dishes removed. The rest of the cruise we dined in the main dining room and had much better experience. We were able to dine alone with minimal waits when we wanted. We only ate lunch one day in the main dining room and were not that impressed with our meals. We actually preferred breakfast and lunch in the buffet(see next section.) Most of our dishes were extremely good, the seasoning and spices on both the meats and vegetables. We also ordered dinner one night off the main menu and the food was really good. They even called to check and see if we got everything we ordered.
Food/Buffet: As mentioned in previous reviews, the layout of the buffet is great. There was also a great variety each meal. The waffles offered for breakfast were amazing. The only minor issue we had with the buffet were the beverage stations. The stations were just too tight and each day a different machine would not be working. One worker told me the machine was resting when I told him they were out of ice :-) For lunch we found that there was always a nice variety to choose from. Sure, they might have several of the same items each day but they also had stations where they rotated among different meats and vegetables each day. I found that the grilled vegetables were extremely good. We also enjoyed having the ice cream bar with toppings. The ice cream was really good (especially the peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie). The buffet was busy but we were never had trouble finding a clean table.
Pool: We enjoyed spending most of our time in the indoor pool area. We found that the pool butlers did a good job removing towels from chairs. We also spent some time at the outdoor pools and were always able to find chairs in the shade. This ship has plenty of chairs to choose from in both the sun or shade.
Smoking: The main reason we booked with Celebrity was for their restrictive smoking policy. As nonsmokers it was really nice to be able to walk through the indoor areas, including the cabin areas, and not smell smoke. We also were able to enjoy our balcony with minimal disturbance. This is something that I definitely applaud Celebrity for. The smoking areas near the pool were always because they were near the food areas. I did write on my comment card that I wished they would pick one side or the other(starboard or port) for the designated smoking areas. It was hard to keep up with which side was smoke free around the pools. Also, I wrote this on my comment card, and Celebrity called me 5 days after my cruise to follow up on my comments. So if you have feedback, make sure to write it down, because they do read and follow up on them.
Shows/Entertainment: We went to about half of the shows. We really enjoyed the comedian (James Stephens III) and the toast by the Captain. We found that the other shows were not as good as on our previous cruises. We did enjoy listening to the guitar player (Martin) but were not impressed with the other live performers.
Disembarkation: We walked off with our luggage and were at the airport before 8am.
Overall we really enjoyed our first Celebrity experience and will definitely consider them again for our next cruise.