Our cruise started out with problems right from the start. We checked in without issues other than have to go through something like 3 security check points. We get to our room and look around. Its a standard inside cabin, and as we look around we notice that it hasn't been cleaned very well. Some trash by the floor by the bed, finger prints on stuff, and some small items left behind by the previous occupant. None of this is a big deal on its own, but we found a letter on the door and I opened it thinking it was my captain's club welcome letter.
It was a letter to the previous occupant about how they were going to receive some compensation for being quarantined in their room due to gastrointestinal illness. It's dated today. So I tell me wife not to touch anything and go down to guest relations and ask them about it. They say not to worry that its been disinfected. "Oh really? All trash, etc in the room says otherwise!" is my response. We get a manager and tell them that we aren't staying in that room. This is the start of a two week vacation for us and we aren't about to spend it sick. Their response is that the ship is full and that there are no rooms to switch us to but maybe someone won't show up. We walk up there with the manager and show them the problems and they promise to clean the room better. We're not returning until this is taken care of.
We go to dinner with my folks and as we leave the dining room we find the floor manager for our deck waiting for us. She seems slightly shaken and apologizes and tells us they steam cleaned everything in the room. We thank her, and go to talk to the manager to see if they can switch us yet. The manager tells us that their "Internet is down" and that she can't check with the home office about people who didn't show up yet. Never mind we were just leaving the dock at this point.
Anyhow we end up staying in the room this night worrying the whole time if we're going to come down with something. It's quite a bit cleaner than before, but I feel like I've already been exposed. Next morning we get a call from the manager that there is still no news, but check back after port. St Thomas is the port for the day and we head out.
Once we get back there is finally some news on being able to change rooms. Someone didn't show and they move us to a room with a balcony. Its a much nicer room, but I honestly didn't expect that, I just wanted another room. Even if it was on a lower deck, etc.
The story doesn't stop there though. The manager offered us a couples massage as well, but It wasn't something we were really that interested in. We ended up getting $200 in credit towards a future cruise instead. The manager was really nice the whole time, but I'm not happy about having to stay the one night in a infected room. If my folks hadn't been on the cruise its likely we would have got off the ship rather than risk being sick for our entire vacation.
The rest of this cruise was a little bit of a disappointed as well. Some of it they had no real control over, most of it they did.
The weather was pretty bad for most of the trip. It rained nearly everyday in port and made it pretty hard to go to the beach. We ended up taking a lot of island tours in taxis instead. Not quite what I had in mind for a Caribbean cruise. Not the cruise line's fault though.
We tried their select dining experience this time. No set dining time, but no set table and waiter either. I really liked being able to show up for dinner anytime I liked. It meant we could get home from port, relax and then go to dinner and still have a show. Very nice. However the service was much worse in select dining than I am used to on a cruise. Since you have no set waiter, they never learn your preferences. Not a huge deal, but notable. We also waited a long time between courses and for the waiter to come take our order. Sometimes the wait was long enough that I would have been tempted to talk to a manager about it had it happened back home. I'm not sure what exactly the problem is. I don't know if they're not trained to handle the flow of diners coming in and out. Maybe they just don't have enough staff since it can vary from overflowing to near empty. It might also just be as simple as your tips are pre-paid so there is very little incentive to try harder.
The food quality is also down from what I remember even a year or so ago. The cuts of meat in main dining are now sub-sizzler level. There was very little in main dining that I considered truly good. That is it would stand up in a land restaurant. Its gone to mostly acceptable, but not food I feel like I should be dressing up to eat. I rarely found anything at the buffets that I found palatable. The specialty restaurant was still pretty good, but I don't know that its a good deal at $30 a plate. I can get a better meal for $30 a person at home and I'm not giving up a free meal to do so. I feel like they are lowering the bar on food in general in order to force people who care about quality to pay extra. It seems a trend you see even more in newer ships. I wouldn't be shocked to see main dining go away eventually in favor of only buffet or pay options.
The entertainment was a little disappointing too. All the Celebrity shows were just mash-ups of various hit songs or Broadway shows. They didn't even attempt anything coherent on this cruise. Plus I noticed several repeats from year ago. The guest entertainment was pretty "meh" as well. There was a comedian that was okay, but for the last night performance he repeated jokes word for word from his first show. There was a singer who was bad enough that we walked out on, and a xylophone performer who was okay. He obviously worked his wife into the show so she could get a free cruise. Nothing really bad, just not quite what I had hoped. This on the same line, and a ship one class newer than I was on before.
Overall I went away from this cruise pretty disappointed. If this had been my first cruise, or first one with Celebrity, I don't think I'd be going back. I've gone on many cruises with them however and am inclined to give them another shot, but you can bet I'll be looking harder at other cruise lines after this experience.