Just had a chance to compare Princess and Celebrity back-to-back on Caribbean cruises. This review does not include the ports- just ships and the attitude and experience between the two cruise lines.
First of all, the attitude between the cruise lines in noticeable right away. On Princess, the customer is always right, on Celebrity, the attitude is that the passenger is always wrong. On the second day, I was asking about adjusting the gratuity amount upward on Celebrity as this is something we invariably wind up doing, however, two employees at the customer relations desk thought I was going to adjust it downwards, and I was told that it is "mandatory". As an experienced cruiser, I knew it wasn't mandatory so I asked for the form. It was refused to me. I was told it was "basically mandatory". What is "basically mandatory", I asked. I was referred to their website. No gratuity increase was completed and I came close to insisting on adjusting the gratuity downward just to make the point.
Beware of the policy of Celebrity regarding the security of your stateroom. We came back to the ship early one day from port to see our stateroom wide open with a stranger standing outside. Our steward left the door open while she went on an expedition for towels or something and was completely out of sight for about two minutes. We were deeply concerned about this and indicated this to our cabin steward. She argued with us that it was ok. I complained to the customer relations desk about this incident. The woman at the desk tried to argue with me that this is ok and it is nothing to worry about when it happens.
I cut her argument off immediately and told her that there is absolutely no explanation for leaving a cabin room wide open. She was going to refer my concern to the manager of housekeeping. I am still waiting for either an apology or an explanation or even a sense that there is some accountability by the crew for this behavior. The result was that we did not get cabin service for the next two days and always put the do not disturb sign out. We did not get notices, disembarkation information or nothing thereafter. It is a shame that we could not trust the behavior of the steward and that there was no apparent corrective action or explanation that the ship wished to make.
The food is ok, but nothing special. The buffet always seemed to have coffee machines and juice machines out of order for breakfast. You have to hoard table service as soon as you see it on the buffet line or it will be gone. The production shows are good when singers and dancers perform. The entertainment is below poor when the stage is given to other forms of entertainment. The grass on the top deck was brown, trampled, and practically worthless as an attraction. Celebrity needs to dump this idea.
The ship is beautiful and we want to especially commend the bathroom attendants in the public areas. These are people who worked hard all of the time, their efforts were noticeable and appreciated by many passengers.
The solarium is a nice feature and better than the costly Sanctuary idea on Princess.
We have sailed many times and frankly, Celebrity seems to care less about the passenger than any other cruise line. During the entire week on Celebrity, I was afraid to ask or comment about anything because I invariably would get a pompous and arrogant attitude from the personnel.
The ship managed to rescue a man overboard in the middle of the night in open seas and I don't want to minimalize this spectacular result. Passengers mostly see the service personnel though, and this ship needs an attitude adjustment in a hurry.