June 19, 2011
Bayonne NJ- Bermuda
Background- My wife and I are in our late twenties. This is my 9th cruise, her 4th. I have been on Norwegian, Royal, Carnival and Celebrity before- although haven't been on Celebrity in quite some time. It was my wife's first time on Celebrity. I really enjoy cruising, but had an unpleasant experience with my last two Norwegian cruises.
Embarkation- Getting to Bayonne from Boston was a breeze. We left at 6am and had a really pleasant ride. Based off of hearing about negative experiences parking at the cruise terminal, we used a service called "Park2Go." The rate was slightly cheaper than parking at the ship and they assured us the parking was safe and that they would give us a private van ride. Parking was fine and they got us to the ship quickly. Check-in was easy and we waited for about 30 minutes before they started boarding. They had beverages for you if you were thirsty.
The Ship- Wonderful. As I began to walk around the ship I remembered one of the reasons I love Celebrity. The design of the ship is classic and beautiful. Even though she is a bit old and is going to dry-dock soon, she is still wonderful. If you look for ware and tare you will find it, but who cares? She was clean, well-cared for and classically beautiful. It was a refreshing change from the tacky design of the NCL ships.
Stateroom- We booked an inside GTY and ended up with the highest category of inside cabins. We were forward on deck 7. Deck 7 is a great deck to be on, just a couple flights up or down for pretty much everything. The cabin was a bit bigger than some of the insides we have had, with plenty of storage for two people. The bathroom was fine as well. (The one and only thing we missed from NCL was a shower door. We prefer the glass doors to the sticky shower curtain.) Our stateroom attendant was Basuki and he was wonderful.
Food- During our first lunch at the Waterfall Grill, I thought for a moment that Celebrity's food had really declined since my previous cruises. Throughout the cruise, I wasn't in love with the food from the buffet. However, the main dining room food was delicious. In particular, the cold soups, spring rolls, steak skewers, meatballs and desserts! Migel, from India, was great. (Note: If you are unhappy with your dining time, head to the Rendezvous lounge when you board, they can change it for you there.) The dining room is beautiful, but our table location was not (right at the entrance, with no view.) We ate in the main dining room every night and even enjoyed a table for 2 during the 2 days we were docked in Bermuda when our table-mates didn't come!
Pool Area- We spent a lot of time here. We were able to get great spots every day because we started early. The chairs were plush and comfortable. Some smokers would break the rules and sit where they shouldn't, but other than that I can't complain. The pools were great and it was very relaxing.
Entertainment- We really enjoyed much of the entertainment on this cruise. Don't miss iBroadway (not sure why the put the "i" in it. . . ) it was the best of the production shows. The comedian was great as well. The Neptunes, an a capella group were outstanding and so was the "So Cool Quartet." Don't miss the "Dancing with the Stripes" competition, is is A LOT of fun (especially if you end up wining it ;) ).
Bars/Lounges- We frequented the Martini Bar after dinner each night. I know this will be moved and remodeled during dry-dock and sounds wonderful, but I have to say- it was GREAT as it is. We loved looking down on the dancers while we listened to the jazz standards. Charles is an outstanding server here and after a week of chatting it felt like we were friends.
Cruise Director- (Mike.) He was fine. I think he was new to the ship because he referred to it as Century a few times. Although he was just OK to me, a cruise director doesn't make or break the cruise.
Casino, Shops, Gym, Spa- Didn't really use them this cruise. This cruise was all about relaxation for us this time around and that we did.
Bermuda- Having just been to Bermuda 2 years ago, we didn't feel the need to see and do everything. Instead we stayed on the ship for about half the day each day and explored the island unrushed. We spent time in the dockyard, at Elbow beach and in Hamilton. We did a carriage ride in Hamilton which was very nice (We booked this on front street.) We purchased a 2 day transportation pass this time around.
Closing Note- After rereading this review, I feel as though I need to underscore something. This cruise was wonderful. Celebrity's ship design, overall service and food is the best I have experienced on a cruise. From small touches like cold towels when coming back from port, champagne on the first day and last day in Bermuda, a rose for our anniversary, these are things that are special. Celebrity cruises are fun, relaxing and classy. It had been too long since my last Celebrity cruise and I hope it isn't as long until my next one.