Although we enjoyed our vacation very much, we had been expecting more from Celebrity. As Holland America cruisers, we were expecting the entertainment, activities and children's programs to be significantly better on Celebrity, but instead found them to be not as good. On the other hand, the food was, overall, a bit better than we had experienced on HAL.
Embarkation: Smooth and quick, with less than 30 minutes from stepping out of the cab to being on-board
Debarkation: As our flight wasn't until 5pm, our offloading time was 1025am, which was fine with us. What wasn't fine was being informed that we were to be out of our cabins at 8am, with NOTHING available after 8:30 but cold coffee and danishes in the concierge lounge set up in the Cosmos. On the advice of more experienced cruisers, we ignored the letter telling us to be out by 8 and left our rooms at 9am instead. We spent a bored, uncomfortable hour sitting in the Cosmos.
Cabins: We had C2 8069 for myself and husband, and also 8077 (inside) for our 2 daughters. Cabins were fine- clean, adequate storage, smallish balcony.
Dining: We mostly enjoyed the food. Service in MDR was good, food was mostly prepared well, what one would expect at a mid-line restaurant. We dined twice at the Olympic and found the food to be generally good-- Outstanding cheese cart and chocolate souffle, but other dishes were a bit over fussed with. Service was silly, pretentious and intrusive. Breakfast in the buffet was good with a broad selection from healthy to indulgent. Lunch was also good there-- particularly the spice Asian dishes. Ice cream didn't live up to the rave reviews we had read on cc-- too soft, often with frost burn.
Entertainment: This was the biggest disappointment. The headliners were blah. The production shows were boring. The "Celebrity Life" activities were run by well meaning, but poor English speakers who were unable to engage the passengers in the experience. The CD was pleasant, but went on far too much about how wonderful all of the crew, entertainers, etc. were. I am tired of spending so much of my vacation time cheering for the cooks, waiters, staff, etc. I am tired of being told that the comedian, singer, dancer is "the very best anywhere", when it is obvious, 5 minutes into the performance, that they are pretty darn ordinary.
Children's Programs: The staff was very nice and well meaning, the facility was fine. My girls, ages 7 and 12, enjoyed the experience, but not nearly as much as they have enjoyed their experiences on HAL. This really surprised us, but on Celebrity (or, at least on the Millenium), the kids staff is much more "rule bound"-- no excursions outside the kid's area for under 12 kids, very strict about what activities will happen when, etc. For example, on the last sea day, there is a really cute kid's "talent" show put on in the movie theater. My daughter did ballet on the carpeted little stage. The staff insisted that she had to wear her sandals during the performance rather than just socks or barefoot-- because those are the "rules"-- shoes must be worn at all times outside of the kids club area. While in general this is sound rule, most reasonable people would have let her shed the sandals at the stage edge, perform her dance in socks, replace sandals. I only bring this up as an example--It wasn't a big deal, my daughter danced in her sandals without complaining, it is just an example of the difference in style. There were a total of 27 children on board, but only 6-7 participated in the program (some of the non participants spoke no English).
Ports: Typical Caribbean experiences. Great weather! Lots of poverty.
Service: Overall, quite good. The staff was pleasant. The few times I had questions for the front desk, there was little wait and they handled my issues well. Cabin service was adequate, although the mini bar was never replenished.