This was our first cruise on Celebrity and was much anticipated. We began planning over six months prior to sailing and off the bat, let me say that getting hooked up with fellow passengers via the CC message boards was the best and smartest thing we've ever done with regard to cruising. This was our first time to "meet & mingle" pre-cruise and we HIGHLY recommend it to everyone, especially novice cruisers, although we found out invaluable, and we are far from novice at this.
Overall, I'd say that Celebrity was not all I expected, given the price. On the "good" side, we had an good experience with the air through RC's Choice Air - good fare price and no issues with airport-to-ship transfers, even though our flight was over 2 hours late. Everything on that end was very smooth and we were satisfied. The ship itself is a bit older & more worn than I expected, since her praises had been sung here and she apparently underwent a renovation recently. I did like the many "private" areas where you could sit and gather and the layout in general was very easy to maneuver - the decor was easy on the eyes, etc. I guess I was just expecting a bit more "glitz & glamour" and that wasn't there in my opinion.
Also on the "better than good" side was the service by the wait staff, including the cabin stewards. We had some of the most attentive and individualized service we've experienced anywhere and we were most appreciative of that. Celebrity does train its staff well in the customer service department. Also on the "very good" side, our cabin (6016) was better than expected - we had an extra-large balcony that was somewhat more private than others due to its location. Being forward starboard meant we got to see many of the ports as we arrived, but did have the morning sun issue, so I recommend keeping the heavy curtains closed if you're a late sleeper. The cabins have very adequate storage in our opinion and the mirrored wall makes it seem larger in general - very airy and spacious appearing.
Finally, on the "good" side was the live music on board. This cruise had a salsa band that was awesome, a classical acoustic guitarist who was amazing and a "disco" type band that was extremely good to dance to. There was also an acapella group, which is not our cup of tea, but they were good musically.
On the "bad" side - can someone on that ship PLEASE learn to make a decent cup of coffee??? We had NO decent coffee at any time except dinner in the Metropolitan dining room and even that was borderline. One of our dinner companions actually complained to the maitre'd and was promised a response, but never got one. I never tried the "specialty" coffees (too expensive), so perhaps they make bad coffee deliberately to up their sales of the pricey stuff. Anyway - if you're a coffee drinker - be forewarned. Also on the "bad" side, speaking of prices, was the cost of the specialty drinks and alcoholic beverages. The cheapest cocktail I ever saw was $9, so by the time they added the mandatory gratuity, all drinks were $10+. I will say they were decent (I had two great mojitoes and one awesome chocolate martini), and they did not skimp on the alcohol, but the price was just way too high. Finally, in the "bad" category was a good portion of the food. Most of our meals in the Metropolitan were at best average. The wonderful service made it tolerable, but I'd probably think long & hard about doing another Celebrity just based on the mediocre food alone. I think Carnival does a better job, even on their "old" ships like the Ecstasy. The pluses on the food scene were the grill - you could get a fresh grilled chicken breast and a wonderful minted fruit salad every day that was delightful. Also, for breakfast there was a huge variety on the 10th deck buffet, so as long as you weren't expecting consistency with the offerings, you could usually find something that would meet your needs.
Now for the "ugly" part. We booked three shore tours through the cruise line and we booked three tours separately via the internet (on recommendations from fellow travelers met on the message boards). Two of our three ship tours were cancelled at the last minute for no good reason and without much explanation. While our costs were reimbursed, the ship did a poor job of offering alternatives, other than to say "please see our shore tour desk to book another one." You were basically on your own to figure out what you wanted to do. We heard of MANY shore tours cancelled in the same way, so that leads me to believe that either the tour operators don't care for Celebrity and this is their way of sending their message or else Celebrity just doesn't take much care in making sure that their tour operators are reliable. The one tour we did take was mediocre, although the cost was decent.
So overall, this cruise was a mixed bag for us - we loved most of the ports (see the reviews below), but probably would NOT do Celebrity again, just because of the food and the shore tour issues. As always, each cruise is a learning experience and this was definitely one for us.