Fl ti Miami and stayed in Springhill Suites near Miami airport. Less expensive than flying into Ft Lauderdaleand. We used Joshua Limo to take us to the port the next day. We have used them before and they a great. With three in a limo it's less than a taxi, more comfortable and makes a nice start to the irip.
Boarding the ship couldn't have been easier. Celebrity has this perfected. He little touches like a glass of champagne or OJ just let's you know that this will be a great cruise.
We specifically chose the sailing to Barcelona because my niece wanted to see Lisbon, Portugal as well as Spain and this was her first trip to Europe. We also loved Aquaclass and wanted to sail in Aquaclass again.
The room was ready for us and our bags arrived quickly. We were unpacked and settled before we knew it. The buffet was a pleasant place for lunch and everyone did whatever they could to make the boarding and cruise special. Our cabin steward was efficient and helpful and the Aquaclass concierge ma every effort to help with what ever we wanted.
The crossing went faster than we expected and we quickly fell into a routine of going to the gym and spa, eating, enjoying the shows and the casino. The gym was overcrowded at the beginning of the cruise but as the cruise progressed people lost interest and there were sufficient machines available. Some people complained that passengers did not adhere to the 20 minute limit but I had no problems. There wasn't a lot of help or supervision to help those new to the machines so novices were on their own. I think that could be improved.
Dinners at Blu, the Aquaclass restaurant were usually quite good. My objection might be that there was too much pork on the menu, but I always found an alternative. We dined at Tuscan one night and the food was excellent albeit too much. Our experience in Silk Harvest was not as satisfactory. While the sushi course was good, the main courses were poor examples of Asian cuisine. I suggest that if they cannot improve it, they should change it into something else, like a nice tapas bar. We did not try Murano but everyone who did gave it rave reviews. The buffet and deck restaurants provided nice alternative food choices that were quite tasty.
Shore excursions: It took Celebrity a long time to get shore excursions posted to their website. Quick aside, I think the Princess website is far better than Celbrity's. We opted to use Celebrity for the Azores and that excursion to Furnas Valley was very nice. We used Spain Day Tours/Top Day Tours for tours from Cadiz to Seville and Malage to Granada and Greyline Tours for Lisbonand Sintra(Penya Palace). We were very satisfied wi what we saw on all the tours but enjoyed the smaller group aspect of the other tours. We also heard that the Celebrity Lisbon tour concentrated on shopping and we are glad we missed that. Our tour guides were knowledgeable and answered all our questions. If I have one complaint, it was that we ren't told that there are extra admission charges on the Cadiz to Seville tour. However, I would use them again.
Entertainment was a mixed review. The a capella group was fantastic. A few of the entertainers were as well. The real surprise was that our captain appeared in two of the shows and has a great singi voice! I also want to say that our captain was the best of any on any of the cruises we have taken. He was out and around the ship, talking with passengers, at the shows, and even in the water volleyball game between crew and pasasengers. He really added a excellent human face to the cruise line and that attitude was evident with all the other senior officers as well. Congratulations, Celebrity! Job well done
Ponta Delgada: Very tidy, enjoyable port with nice buildings and a good place to radar back into land after 6 days at sea