Did Eastern Carribean out of Ft lauderdale. Let me just say that I have been on a few cruises and this is my first Celebrity Cruise. I am going to focus on the cruise ship not the ports....since that is the same whatever boat you go on.
You will notice the crowd is a bit older on these line, not exactly a fun atmosphere....more of a relax atmosphere. I will say without a doubt, this was the nicest dressed crowd that I have ever experienced. No wife beater t-shirts in the dining room like you see on Carnival. The common areas are all very nice and the staterooms are the some of the most well appointed that I have had.
Embarkation was very good. We arrived at around noon, but were on the ship within 20 minutes. I believe they start letting people get on the boat right at 11. The main ocean- cafe buffet was a mad house when you first get on the boat. Be prepared.
Food: This is where I really think Celebrity has sort of missed the boat. As with most cruises, it is hit or miss with some things. You have to keep in mind that this is not a 5-star dining experience, this is a catered experience, a large scale catering operation. As such, I think my expectations are reasonable. There were some items that were good and some that were plain awful. I honestly thought the buffet on RCL was better and had more options. I was really not that impressed with the breakfast...
The specialty dining spots (Bistro on 5, $5, but really not that good). Again, the atmosphere was nice, the service EXCELLENT, Food...no so good. Murano is beautiful and they are trying REALLY hard to make it a high end dining experience, but the food again was really not that good. There were a few dishes that were passable if you got them at the mainland at a real french restaurant (Foie gras was surprisingly good). The Italian place actually was better than Murano. I got a Ribeye and it was equivalent to a nice steakhouse on the mainland. It is at the back of the ship, so try to get a seating when you leave St. Thomas. Quite a site! The regular dining room had one of the largest menus I have ever seen on a cruise ship. It was nice to have that selection, but again, some of the items were not that impressive.
I really was kind of bored on this boat. I thought the pool deck was small, cramped and kind of boring with horrible "House techno" music blaring away. The bars and "clubs" (I use the term loosely) were not exactly happening. however, I will say I really enjoying having the drink package and I thought the drinks, wine selection, etc. were some of the best I have ever experienced. It was nice being able to get a drink without having to sign anything. If you get the drink package get a about $50 in ones to tip your favorite people on the boat. They don't get as good of a tip if you have the drink package. Spent some time in the casino....great staff in there....but the casino is far too small for a boat of that size.
Overall, I am not sure what to think of Celebrity. I think you have more to do on a RCL cruise, but the staterooms and decor were much nicer on Celebrity. The food I think on Celebrity was actually not much better than RCL and in some cases worse (breakfast).