We missed our airline connection in Chicago and therfore missed the boat in Anchorage. If we had travelled to Alaska a day in advance, we still would have missed the boat because most of the flights were full. So the lesson we learned is: If you are travelling to Alaska from the midwest or east coast--go 2 days in advance. The other piece of advice I have is: buy travel insurance--which we had! Hotel rooms and meals were covered until we were able to reconnect with the cruise ship in Juneau. There were 42 passengers who missed the boat in Anchorage--so apparently this is not a rare thing to happen. Make sure you have a charged up cell phone with you because I spent incredible amounts of time on the phone talking to the airline (very rude and unhelpful), talking to the emergency travel contacts at Celebrity (more helpful) and trying to figure out where our luggage was (it got flown to Anchorage.) Kudos to Celebrity for hiring the nicest travel agency in Juneau to pick us up at the airport, deliver us to our hotel, orient us to the city, help us find our luggage, and deliver us to the pier the next day!
So, bright and early on day 3 of the cruise--we were at the front of the crowd joining the ship in Juneau and were expecting tons of paperwork and were also expecting to probably miss our early shore excursion. Celebrity got us checked in in 5 minutes and made sure that we were able to meet up with the shore excursion scheduled to start at 9:30AM.
We had booked inside cabins--they were small. Next time I do an Alaskan cruise, I will get a balcony cabin--totally worth it for the scenery. The room steward was incredible--very attentive and helpful--what a refreshing change from other cruise lines! No--towel animals, but great service instead.
The main dining room and food in general on the cruise was excellent. We felt no need to even think about going to the specialty restaurant--because the food was so good in the regular dining room. The service was also excellent--reminded me more of the caliber of service that we used to get 15 years ago on cruise lines that is so hard to find these days on other lines. The only minor complaint about the food was that I didn't think the desserts were as lavish as on other lines.
The shows were OK. Nothing outstanding. Enjoyed the naturalist, would have liked to have had more exposure to him--more lectures, etc. There were more opportunities for dance lessions, which we love. The other observation that I had was that nothing seemed overly crowded--was always able to participate in dance class and always was able to easily find a table for breakfast or lunch in the buffet area. Unfortunately, missed the cruise critic party because it took place before we got on the boat, and missed the invitation to tour the bridge because I was on a shore excursion. Kareoke was only offered twice, heard lots of complaints about not enough kareoke. Didn't find the casino dealers or pit bosses as friendly as on other cruise lines. We spend several hours every evening gambling and are usually on first name basis with the dealers and are offered free drinks--none of that on this cruise. Probably better that way, because I ended up gambling less.
Ship decor--modern, not glitzy. I liked it.
Overall--we were very happy with the service and had a very relaxing time. Wide range of shore excursions offered. Will definitely sail with Celebrity again.