First let me start with the few complaints I have to get them out of the way. Then I can go on and on about the things I loved about this cruise.
I sailed with my husband and six year old son. We are experienced cruisers and have sailed with RCL,Disney and HAL. This was our seventh cruise.
1) There is not one channel on TV for children. 2) The cabins are not equipped with DVD players- too bad we brought DVDS with us.
3) There is no indoor swimming area for children- so on cold days our son was out of luck.
4) Paying an additional 18% Spanish VAT on charges was painful. Not Celebrity's fault but perhaps there is a way around this like using different departure ports in the future. We've been on two other cruises from Barcelona but this was the first one that charged the VAT.
5) Would have enjoyed destination lectures more than lectures about astronomy.
NOTE: For our son, swimming is among the most important bonuses of being on a ship and being able to chill in the room with cartoons is also very important to him. Please Celebrity, think about keeping the kids happy outside of the kid's club. This makes parents happy too!!
Now on to the many praises I have for my new favorite cruise line.
Their supervised youth program is by far the best we have seen. Kudos to the staff first of all. All were friendly to parents, liked kids, were energetic and attentive. They made the program a success. The facilities were terrific! The ball pit, climbing aparatus, art center, toys, etc. all first class. The only negative was having to pay extra for hours on port days. Both the 12-2pm and 4-6pm time frames had to be paid for. Almost $15 for two hours with the Spainish VAT of 18% that was charged to nearly EVERYTHING! It would be nice if we didn't have to pay extra for port days. We gave them a tip at the end.
Dining was outstanding! The MDR was superb and Ocean Liners was truly amazing. Our Sky Suite was fabulous though we didn't have much for the butler to do but still tipped. The service everywhere on the ship was first class. We were pampered and treated nicely at all times. Our fellow guests were also polite and enjoyable to cruise with. We met great people through Cruise Critic. We got a tour of the bridge in addition to our meet and greet which was great! The shore excursions were excellent.
The evening shows were not as good as I was hoping. I walked out of one of the shows as the dancing got to the point that I considered it X rated. The pianist in the Cafe was superb. The band that played by the pool was so-so. They could use some updated repertoire.
The ship itself is incredibly beautiful despite some of the strange modern art pieces that make you think "how much did they pay for that one?"
If you haven't tried Celebrity you really should. While there is a lot of up-sell to get you to spend more, the cruise experience on Celebrity is truly the best our family has experienced.