For a company that markets itself as 'Premium' and, as being better than all of the rest, please take note - You Are Not.
Never in 40+ cruise have we experienced such a shambles in what is the Celebrity Eclipse that sailed from Southampton to Cork for a 4 night mini break on 29th April 2011.
It took 3 days for a member of senior management to admit to us that they were short staff and were taken completely by surprise by 3000 thirsty Brits! Rubbish, you mean Celebrity have never sailed out of the UK???
There were numerous complaints made by us and many of our fellow passengers.
• At check in the new Celebrity online system meant that 3000 people turned up at the terminal at the same time. Complete chaos.
• Rude and indifferent Bar staff where everything was definitely too much trouble.
• Table service was almost completely nonexistent. If you wanted a drink in the majority of the bars you have to and get it yourself. This was more akin to a B&B than a luxury cruise.
• The bars would regularly run out of popular rinks such a wine and champagne. The bar staff would then disappear for 10 minutes and come back with one bottle of wine.
• The bars are designed to look pretty but there was no room for storage. All are free standing which means that staff have to leave the bar unattended to stock up.
• At dinner you were allowed about 4 minutes to peruse the menu. They really were keen to see the back of you as soon as you sat down.
• It was amazing how the food would always arrive at your table the same temperature - tepid. Nothing was hot except the French Onion Soup!
• On embarkation day we visited 2 bars. The Sky Lounge had 1 barman on duty with 9 people waiting to be served. The Passport Bar had 12 people waiting and 1 bar tender. This situation continued throughout the cruise.
• The waiters did not listen to your order i.e. one pine apple juice and one portion of sliced pineapple, brown toast and white toast. Result was two plates of sliced pineapple and no toast. This was just an example that continued throughout the 4 days.
• Wrote a letter of complaint to the Captain on the second full day on the ship but never received a response.
• Complained to reception within the first twelve hours of being on the ship requesting a meeting with the Food and Beverage Manager the next day. Instead, Tom the Assistant Guest Relations Manager left a voice mail message to the effect of "thanks for bringing your concerns to our attention and you will see a difference in the service standards when you are next in the bar." There was no difference in the bar or table service.
• Received a further telephone call from a Bar Tender saying similar.
• Finally received two voice mail messages from Carlos the Food and Beverage Manager who also said that as he was not able to catch us when we were in our cabin he would meet us in the evening when we were at dinner. We never saw him at dinner even though we did dine in the same restaurant every night at the same time.
I have never had a cruise whereby I was looking forward to getting off so soon as I had got on. After all of the hype of the new Solstice class of ships we were whipped into a frenzy of excitement and expectation that went overboard within minutes. We will not be sailing with them or Royal Caribbean again.