We wanted to take a holiday to Italy or Croatia (had considered flying out) - when we found this particular cruise,only a couple of months prior to departure- it fitted some of our criteria - one factor was that it was sailing to and from Southampton - a port some 30 miles from where we live.
When we arrived and saw the size of the ship - !!!!!!!
Embarkation was a pleasure, we had a taxi from our home, was dropped off at the terminal, our luggage was taken without any fuss (We were told on our online documentation that we should check in at 1.45 p.m.) but we arrived about 11.45 a.m. There might have been one or two couples before us in the queue. In no time we had been given our Sea Passes and were boarding - handed the usual drink which in a way is cumbersome, as we were holding coats, bags etc .
We duly made our way up to the Ocean View on Deck 14 - yes it was very busy - but did manage to find a table - not too long after and announcement was made that the staterooms were ready.
As we had booked a guarantee - we were more than pleased with the one we had been allocated. Yes it was very aft of the ship just before the Sunset Staterooms - but because of the shape of the aft - we had an extra large balcony - which during the cruise we used on more than numerous occasions.
I will not reiterate what other reviewers have said about lack of cupboard, drawer etc space - I personally think, whoever designed it - was only maybe thinking about a 7 day fly/cruise and not a 16 day cruise with 3 formal nights :-) And the sofa - I wonder if the designers had ever tried to sit on it for longer than 5 minutes!!!
The bed tho was extremely comfortable and big - as was the shower /bathroom.
We chose Select dining which suited us very well - we never had to wait more than a few minutes at any time for a table - we always chose to share, and met some very nice/friendly people.
Found the food very good, and enough variety - We ate breakfast and lunch at the Oceanview Cafe and when we could, sat out on the deck and ate.
The night we sailed out thru the Straits of Gibraltar we ate in the Oceanview - my hubby wanted the Sushi, which he said for him was only OK - Also found it sparsely occupied - which was surprising, but we did get a good view and a wonderful sunset :-)
We never went to the speciality restaurants - did not find it necessary.
The entertainment was hit and miss for us - we enjoyed the juggler and the male singer at the beginning - as has been said before, any entertainment in the foyers etc was extremely crowded in a small space and very limited seating - and the once we managed to find a seat - we didn't find it comfortable . The best part of the ship for us was Michael's Bar with someone playing the piano - it was an oasis.
The sun loungers on the various decks are more like sardines in a can (glad we had a balcony) - yes the Lawn club looks great at first glance - but maybe wasted space perhaps?
We enjoyed the stops - the limited time we had there - We hope Celebrity have learnt a lesson and will not do tendering - Split was BAD we collected our tender passes at 10 and only left the ship just before 1 p.m.-various excuses were handed out - UNACCEPTABLE -
We know that some passengers just gave up - it did on that day leave a bitter taste in our mouth!
Sailing out of Venice tho made up for it - words cannot describe the wonder of it.
We had a CC sail-away aft of the sunset bar, but unfortunately Celebrity got their act wrong and most of us did not get the initial invite to the get together - which I think is an extreme pity - not everyone goes down to the Guest relations desk to read the community board :-(
Found the crew from the lowest to the captain extremely friendly and nothing was too much trouble
Yes we knew when we booked the ship was big and that there were some 2850 pax - but for it too was BIG. We had been told by friends who had been on her previously, it wont be a problem - unfortunately tho for us, it was!
I think my hubby sums it up by saying he found it uncomfortable - on a bad sea day there is no where to sit in comfort
We had a holiday and a rest but......
We have found out that we would not sail on such a big ship again