EMBARKATION: We arrived around 11:30 and it took less than 20 minutes to board. Most of that time was just the walking and checking in......no lines at all. We went to Bistro on 5, and before our lunch was done, our room was ready. Very well done!! We had time to unpack before muster.
OVERALL SHIP: This is a gorgeous ship. I would describe it as understated elegance. Never once did we feel crowded. There are so many different venues, that there is never a crowd anywhere....well, with the exception of the muster drill....that was a little unorganized and crowded feeling. The staff was very friendly...again, there were exceptions, but for the most part, they were great. I think some of the bartenders could use some lessons in basic etiquette, but that shouldn't mar my opinion of all the other servers and staff.
THE ROOM: We had an aft concierge room and loved it. It was well thought out, had a great balcony, enough storage to get by, and decent size bathroom. You might want to bring your own hairdryer if you have anything but very short hair....the one in the room is not very strong. The couch is not very comfortable, but we didn't spend much time on it. My only complaint would be the lack of stairs/elevator near the aft of ship. You have a very long walk to go anywhere. We usually like to go up to the buffet and get food to bring to our cabin....this is impossible with this room and ship. Also, they've done away with the trays in the buffet, so it makes it very difficult. Not happy about that.
CC MEET and GREET: I am giving this a category, because it was the one big complaint we had. It was a joke....the girl that represented the ship at our meet and greet, spent 45 minutes telling us all about HERSELF. We heard all about her life, where she went to school, where she lived, etc. It was totally a waste of time. I wasn't interested in her diving history. Never once did she suggest we introduce ourselves. About 3/4 way thru she said "oh yeah, there's coffee etc over in the corner, help yourself". Then she got a phone call, and had to leave...thank goodness. So we managed to meet a few people, but most left. I turned in a complaint, and Celebrity was very good about it....they called and apologized...even sending up a bottle of wine. I just hope they address the situation.
FOOD: We only ate in the main dining room twice. The food was average...I had expected a little better. It wasn't bad...just average. The tables are very close together and it is quite noisy....but maybe we didn't give it enough chances.
The buffet in the Oceanview was very good, as buffets go. The layout and selection is great.
I can't say enough good things about the Specialty Restaurants....Murano and Qsine were outstanding. Don't miss the Kobe beef sliders at Qsine and the table side lobster in Murano....fabulous to say the least!! Bistro on 5 is also a GREAT deal at $5...we ate there several times and loved everything we had. We didn't get a chance to try Tuscan Grill...next time...
Room service was okay...I wish they had a little bigger selection...I have heard you can ask for anything, but we were reluctant to do that.
PORTS: We went to San Juan, St. Kitts, and St. Martin....all were very nice. We did our own excursion on San Juan...big mistake. We did the San Juan Flavors tour....one word...awful. Not the ships fault. The only ship sponsored excursion we did ,was in St.Kitts...the cooking class. If you like to cook, it was great...very informative and entertaining. The house where it is held at, has a beautiful view of the bay and ship.
ENTERTAINMENT: This ship has so much to do, its impossible to get bored. In fact, we missed a few things we really wanted to do. We never made any of the shows, and we didn't see the glass show. Oh well, we will just have to go back..lol.
We did have a small complaint...this cruise was supposed to be a "Savour your Destination" cruise with guest chef ect....the minute we got on board, we went to guest relations to inquire, and hopefully book these events. They had absolutely no idea about any of it....I had to spell the guest chef's name, because they had never heard of her! So I just told them that we wanted to attend anything she was doing...they took my name and promised to let me know. Five hours later, when I got back to my room, I had a message to call them. I immediately called, and was told it was sold out. Luckily another person in our group had also asked her butler to book us. He got us in. I would have been a VERY upset guest, had this not happened.
It seems the whole concept has not been well planned. I am not gonna go into the whole dinner we had with the chef (at $95 a person), but it was not good at all. Celebrity did apologize and made up for it. I think it just a breakdown in communication and planning. I sure hope they get this under control, because the concept is great. We actually got to cook in the Murano galley with the chef for one of the events. That part was really fun, and the meal we prepared was great.
A COUPLE MORE SUGGESTIONS: The sky lounge is a beautiful venue. Why not use it more? I know some people say it is smoky smelling...I don't smoke and I didn't notice any smell the 3 times we were up there.
Please bring back the trays in the buffet...it is very hard to carry the things you need to.
Think about putting stairs in near the aft for those of us that love the aft cabins.
OVERALL: We loved it, and booked a 10 day on the Equinox while on board....that should say it all. We were very impressed with the way Celebrity followed thru with any concerns we had....very professional.