I brought a group of 16 people for a short mini vacation with friends on the Ecplise. I was the group leader and handled the back office details for the group. I am not kidding when I say I spent at least 10 hours on the phone with the Groups department trying to resolve mistakes the back office made with payments, credit card refunds, incorrect documentation, etc. I could not believe all the problems - the response given by many representatives was sorry- We eliminated a department- and we were transferred all their mistakes.This was going on for months before our sailing November 17th. This was just a continuous headache. I kept an open mind upon boarding. I was really looking forward to our short vacation.
Embarkation was easy - except everyone in our group who pre-registered online did not have their credit card information on file. A computer glitch I was told. The rooms were Aqua Class and were lovely. However, I do agree the storage situation and location of closet is poorly designed. I was only on a three day and there was barely enough room for our small amount of things. I can't imagine a 7 day with the amount of storage allocated. We went to Oceanview Cafe for lunch and ate outside. The food was well presented and delicious. I went to spa and booked hair appointments and a couples massage for trip. The salon staff was great and very welcoming. I then went to Blu to let them know we had a group of 16 for dinner that evening and wanted to give them a heads up regarding seating. They were great and very accomodating.
Then I went to Murano to also discuss my group reservation which I booked through Captains Club for Friday evening evening at 7:30 PM. I knew they would not be able to seat us all together and that was fine. I brought my email printout with my confirmation for my dining reservation. I was then completely shocked to find out from the Maitre'D that he had no record at all of our reservation and quite abruptly told me "Sorry I cannot accomodate you" The restaurant is sold out and their is nothing I can do about it." I said, but I have an email confirmation printout. He said he didn't care I was not in "his" system.He then told me to lodge my complaint with Captains Club. I then spent another hour in the Captains Club office waiting with others and finally explaining my situation. They took a copy of my printout confirmation and told me they would get back to me tomorrow- but they couldn't promise anything. I left shaking my head and completely frazzled. My group were all huge foodies and their Murano reservation was at the top of their list. Everyone was upset and amazed at the callous treatment I received from the Maitre'D. I wasted an entire afternoon on a short trip dealing with this when I would have rather been having fun with my friends. The trip did not start off well for me.
I went to the Salon for my hair appointment. I love the hair salon. The stylist I think his name was David from Tazmania was outstanding. He was completely charming and did amazing hair. I went to him every night before dinner. It was the best salon experience I have had on any cruise.
Our departure was delayed until 7:00 PM which was a disappointment as it was dark and everyone was back in rooms getting ready for dinner. I always love the sailaway and totally missed out on this cruise. I stopped by for a quick cocktail at the Sunset bar before heading to the room. The service was atrocious. The bartenders were out of stock of everything-ignoring customers-terribly slow. The bar itself was littered with dirty glasses and overflowing ashtrays.
Our dinner at Blu was wonderful. The space is gorgeous, service warm and professional. I had a bleu cheese souffle for appetizer, seared tuna for entree, and coconut creme brulee for dessert. It was delicious!! Everyone in our group was impressed.
We went to the Sky Lounge for after dinner drinks and dancing. The band was good. It was too tame for our group living in Miami- but it was enjoyable overall. The disco was okay -
The next morning we received a message that they would accomodate us at Murano on Friday but at 6:00 not our desired confirmed time of 7:30. We took the time as it was the best we could do in this situation. We had breakfast at Blu. It is a great place in the morning- bright, cheerful and relaxed with wonderful hot breakfast. We ate there every morning. It was that good. The day on the ship was spent exploring. The feeling at the pool deck was lame. There was absolutely no entertainment or pool side steel drums etc. It felt blah blah blah. Poolside music has been on other Celebrity ships. I don't know why they didn't do it here. It was sorely missed. There was a definite lack of festivity.
Our group arranged to eat in the Main Dining Room that evening to check out the beautiful room and experience Formal night in the bigger more boisterous space. We were told there would be no formal night on this short cruise yet they put one in anyway. Our group had plenty of dressy cocktail clothes. It might of been a surprise to others that were not prepared. We stopped in at the Martini bar prior to dinner. The drinks were very good. The bartenders were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of guests. The service was rushed due to the crowded bar condition.
Dinner in the MDR was excellent. Waiters were fun and service great. I had the rack of lamb which was a perfect rosy pink and as good as I have had anywhere.Our group disbanded- some went to the casino, some to the shows, some to the Molecular Bar -which was a rave for those that went.
The next day at Nassau we went to the One and Only Beach Club. We had all been to Atlantis numberous times and wanted something different.The One and Only is very upscale and sits on a beautiful pristine stretch of beach. We dined at the Dune Restaurant. It is a John-George Vongerschen restaurant and overlooks the beach inside and out. The food is worth a side trip while in Nassau. The lobster sandwich is out of this world!!
We rushed to get to our Murano reservation at 6:00 PM. What is amazing is that for 2 1/2 hours while we ate the restaurant was half empty. Oversold it was not and they even took in walk ins who were 1 1/2 hours late for their reservation. The food in the Murano was the most disappointing of the trip surprisingly. The food quality had definitely declined from past experiences. Wine and drink service was horrible. I waited for a good forty five minutes after being seated to get a glass of champagne I requested over and over again. Ports requested to accompany cheese service were forgotten. After dinner drinks were not much easier to obtain. Food was beautifully presented but lacked taste. Many of the dishes were bland and underseasoned. Fish was full of bones for one friend. Just not the Murano experience I wanted. Especially after everything I had to do to get the reservation.
Disembarkation the next day was fine until you arrived at customs and immigration. The lines were long. There was a lack of direction from personnel. We waited an hour to get off the ship. It was very disorganized. Upon checkout certain people in our group received their promised onboard credit and others did not. More back office nightmare. Those that did not got it resolved after the cruise by contacting the Group Department.
There were definite bright spots on the trip - but other problems did cloud the overall cruise experience. I am not as thrilled with Celebrity as I use to be.