Embarkation: Perfectly smooth. We arrived at the terminal at 11:00am and were on the ship before 11:30. The row-by-row embarkation is wonderful. Our room was ready by 1:15.
Cabin: Balcony cabin on the starboard aft corridor. It was spacious and lovely. There was lots of storage room, a *very* comfortable bed, and the best bathroom we've ever experienced on a cruise -- shower door instead of a curtain, great storage areas, bright lighting with a night-light feature.
Service: Our cabin steward couldn't have done a better job or been more accomodating. Our room was spotless.
Buffet: We ate breakfast and lunch here most days, although we enjoyed the AquaSpa cafe, too. We were very happy with the wide variety of food and always found many appetizing choices. We liked carrying our plates out to the "Oceanview Bar" at the back of the ship and eating outside. We always found seats with no problem.
Dining: We were stuck with the late seating, which we did not like (too late, interfered with too many evening activities we wanted to do). We were unable to change to the Select Dining option before the cruise and, in fact, the Maitre D' was quite rude about his refusal to accommodate our request to change when we talked with him on embarkation day. To make matters worse, we were invited to dinner mid-week by a couple we met on an excursion. When we arrived at the dining room with them (they WERE on Select Dining), the Maitre D' gave the four of us a very difficult time and would only agree to let us eat together after our friend asked to speak to a supervisor. At that point, the MD said, "Well, I will let you in this time, but don't ever ask to do this again." We ate dinner in the buffet (very quiet and, again, we could eat outside on the back deck) or in the Bistro.
The Maitre D's inflexibility was especially hard to take because the dining room was never full -- not on the one night we did eat there at the beginning of the cruise or on the night we ate there with our friends. In fact, other people we talked to throughout the week said that there were always MANY empty tables in the dining room during both seatings.
In any event, we did not mind eating at the buffet and we enjoyed being able to eat outside. Plus, we could spend as much or as little time dining as we wanted to, unlike in the dining room when dinner was a two-hour affair. We were also free to dress much more casually than if we had been in the Grand Epernay.
Solarium: This adults-only pool area is fantastic! We never had a hard time finding lounge chairs and we loved the atmosphere. This became our favorite area of the ship.
Activities: The Celebrity Life series was great and we especially enjoyed the Hot Glass Show up on the top deck.
In short, we loved this cruise (our second on Celebrity) and will definitely cruise with them again. Of our past 16 cruises, this was one of the very best, in spite of the dining room experience.