This was our second experience of Celebrity, having been "loyal to Royal" for some time, but wanting to scale up our experience and loose some of the kids and large families that UK cruising seem to be attracting these days!
We arrived late at the port after wanting to watch the majority of the Royal Wedding at home. The parking staff, terminal staff and check in staff were all very helpful and speedy at processing us. We were amongst the last 20 people to arrive, but it worked out just fine.
The staterooms are great, especially the bathrooms with a shower big enough for two and some great storage and styling throughout. The balcony furniture is upgraded from the norm and very comfortable, plus the glass balcony gives lovely views from within the stateroom, a real plus. We had a concierge class cabin, (extra charge), which I recommend to you is NOT worth paying more than maybe £40-60 for. Otherwise save your money and treat yourself elsewhere. The extras just do not justify the cash, plus the daily evening canapes were TERRIBLE!
We like to check out the "Welcome on Board" show whenever we cruise as it gives us and anyone with us new to cruising a good taster of what to expect. We had good reason to be concerned...
The show was DREADFUL, totally embarrassing with little good to be said. A juggling "waiter" who threw his egg whisks around with gay abandon,(after being spun a clear lie from the Cruise Director), and a trumpeter who played his instrument with both nostrils. Both talented, but REALLY? The Acapella group WERE talented but starting their set with a tear jerking standard from Les Mis was hardly an uplifting start to our "4nt Cruise Vacation". As a group of 8 we left the theatre embarrassed and speechless.
Thankfully the two production shows on the consecutive nights were better, although the 4 show lead vocalists were weak at best, and the Cirque show which displayed great talent from the dancers & troupe, had an ANNOYING wailing from the not-so-talented vocalists and some of the acts were just TOO LONG.
The Cruise Director was not right for this ship. He had THE MOST ANNOYING "chig a chig ahhhh" sign off when leaving the stage or making an announcement. What on earth??? Was he in kids TV before? Patronising and simply not necessary.
I need to PRAISE now, as I don't want to sound like a whinging pom. The catering and food throughout the ship THANKFULLY was it's salvation. We swapped from late to early sitting with ease and had a lovely follow up phone call to confirm we were happy. NICE TOUCH. The table was great as were the waiting staff and the wine staff, who kept us topped up, (the only place where we were topped up!).
Qsine restaurant is awesome and clearly VERY popular. We had a great table on the last night and stayed for hours, avoiding the terrible service in any of the public rooms and bars. Once again the food quality was a real highlight of the trip.
Now what on EARTH was happening with the bars and waiting staff, plus the standards of cleaning in the bars and adjacent toilets were terrible!
The staff were overstretched, moody and disinterested. Seating hard to find and a waiter even harder. Never seen anything like it. we had to seek out different bars from the lounges we were using and send runners in our group to go and get our drinks for us. It's just not on Celebrity, whats the reason pray tell?
As members of the Crown & Anchor club, (with reciprical membership with the Captains Club), we were expecting at least a welcome letter or perhaps a small returners event, SOMETHING to entice us to use the company again, but again - NOTHING to be seen or heard. Perhaps the Loyalty Manager was helping out in a bar somewhere?
The gym is great, spacious and well equipped. Again for some reason, it failed to score with me because staff were rarely visible and absolutely no air conditioning and nobody to ask to switch it on. Seriously though, it was so warm in there you could not have stayed more than 30 mins or heaven forbid RUN on a treadmill.
Anyhow, that's all my griping. I will seriously reconsider booking another Celebrity cruise or using the same company again. SUCH a shame as the ship IS beautiful, but I feel they are relying on the ship to dazzle and but not it's staff.
RAISE YOUR GAME CELEBRITY... Let this website be your warning.