After sailing on 4 different cruise lines (actually 5, I went on the Home Lines Oceanic, a line and ship which are no longer in service), I wanted to try something different than what Carnival Corporation has to offer. Carnival owns 50% of the cruise market, and my previous cruises were with Carnival, Holland America Line, Princess and Cunard. We decided to give Celebrity Cruises (owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line) a try. Celebrity is supposed to be the upscale version of RCL. It was not delivered as promised.
The staff and crew were rude and arrogant. I got the drink package, and one night at dinner I ordered a drink. I was at a table for four persons. Nobody at our table had a drink. I ordered one drink and let my wife have a sip of it. I then was lectured at the dinner table by an Eastern European cocktail waitress about how that was not permitted with the drink package. She wanted to take the drink from me. She told me that my wife has to get out her own card and pay for a drink. We were all sitting there in tuxedos and cocktail dresses on formal night having to listen to this. If I was in fact not following the rules of the drink package, she should have told me in private and not embarrass me at dinner.
Also, the staff are from 100 different countries on this ship. There are language barriers, cultural barriers, religious barriers etc. This does not lend itself to consistent service. For example, on Holland America only individuals from Indonesia work as cabin attendants and as waiters. Only individuals from Philippines work as bar staff. Holland America has far superior service on their cruise line. The fellow passengers were also rude and very arrogant. One passenger asked me what type of hotels I stay at. I told her Hilton. She said "I can tell what type of person I am talking to by what kind of hotel they stay at. We only stay at the Ritz Carlton." Well, excuse me.
The food was terrible. The lobster tail was overcooked and tough. The ribeye steak was full of fat and not fit to eat. We ate in Quisine one night. What a joke. They make you play with toys like Rubics Cubes. Tomato soup is served in test tubes. the take perfectly good food like sushi and ruin it by putting sprinkles on it and trying to turn it into a lollypop. You are held captive for three hours for this ridiculous "dining experience." Bar staff wanted tipped all the time and looked disappointed if you had the prepaid drink card.
I asked to limit access to cash advances in the casino and not be able to charge casino credits to the room card. All other cruise lines I have sailed with in the past honored my request. Celebrity did not. They even had my picture and knew I requested to be excluded from taking cash advances and charging them to my room for the purpose of casino play. Casino staff told me they would give me cash advances anyway that it did not matter to them. I could get as much as I wanted. Another disappointment.
The ports, except St. Maarten were terrible. The water and beach are dirty at Labadee (private island) and there are rocks that will cut your feet. Meagan's Bay in St. Thomas is very overrated. It is crouded and the beach stinks like urine. The water is not clear and dirty. The beach in Grand Cayman is much nicer. It is NOT one of the world's 10 best beaches. I wonder who St. Thomas paid off for that rating.
The entertainment on the ship was non-existent. One band played on some nights only in the Sky Lounge but not until 10 pm. The tables are way too close together in the main dining room (Moonlight Sonata). It was like dining with 16 other people. The waiters barely had enough room to work or do their jobs. All meals were terrible, except for prime rib. I ordered two because I was starved. I would never go on this cruise line again. I really can't think of any positives, Even the cabins were small compared to Holland America and Carnival.
There is a reason why Carnival Corporation owns 50% of the cruise market. It's because they have the best product line. RCL will never match Carnival. From now on I will only go on Holland America Line. Celebrity is not even in the same ballpark with HAL. In fact, I have had better cruises, better food, better entertainment and better service on Carnival Cruise Line. Lots' of people like to badmouth Carnival, but I have never had a bad Carnival Cruise. Holland America is in a class by itself for the large mass market cruise lines. HAL is truly 5 star. Celebrity is a joke.