We are 2 couples with many cruises behind us going back to 1972 honeymoon on the Michelangelo when we were 21 years old. We flew to Amsterdam from Newark one day early to do the sights and avoid any connection issues. Boarding was a pleasure as we arrived at around 12:30 for Elite check in and were on the ship in less than 20 minutes. Statement 8101 & 8105 was ready but more about that follows. DONOT BOOK 8101 OR 8105 or its equivalent on 9 deck. We did this inside stateroom as we figured too cold to go on the balcony and too light to sleep well. Savings went to the bars and spa. This is a noisy room due to the proximity to the swimming pool machinery on 10 deck and really goes into full action @ night. After 2 nights we requested and received a cabin on 3 deck. Handled perfectly by the hotel staff.
We've done many Celebrity cruises and things have remained at a consistently high level, particularly the ships entire staff experience. They are helpful,communicative and can be very personable if you strike up a relationship. The food was done well with a menu we've experienced many times before. We ate in Ocean Liners twice and Tuscan grill once and the both excellent with exceptional service. The Maitre D crosstalk between the specialty restaurants and the MDR Assistant Maitre D is very important. Our likes and requests followed us around without having to be requested by us. New feature is an on board package for 3 visit to the specialty restaurants. We planned 2 in advance so adding one more gave us a nice meal @ reduced price. Our assistant captain Alex was really on the case with special preps you don't expect on a cruise.
Ship is kept niche and the Solsterizing made it more interesting. We closed the new Ice Martini Bar each evening.
The entertainment was very good. This is all under the direction of the cruise director Sue Denning of Birmingham,UK who is one of only 2 women cruise directors on the line and the best we've ever had. Think of Sue as a combination of Mrs. Slocombe(Molly Sugend of are you being served on UK TV),Lynne Redgrave and 60's rocker Joan Jett and well, there you are. Sue starts the cruise in 5 inch hells and over the 2 weeks wore them down to 2 inches. Sue is all over the place and nobody escapes her bubbly personality as she's up to everyone, quite personally. We had conversations and refreshments with her almost nightly in the lounges. She's got a personal and family history in music and theatre and has great stories to tell. I hope she's not blushing as I told her I would single her out. We'd book again based on her presence on the ship. Shows are quite professional and the acts on board were really nice. Side Show Bert had the weirdest act I've ever seen on a cruise so watch out for the bowling ball if you sit in the first row. Perry Grant plays Michael's Pub every night and it's always packed. Great Kitsch even though he was a little ill and apologetic all cruise. He went on for his theatre performance despite being really under the weather. Show must go on. Joe from Long Island NY ran many activities very well and MC's a shows with a flair. Great stuff late evening in the night club.
The towns in Norway are beautiful and quaint. Don't expect big time tourist attraction accept in Bergen and Oslo. They have major sites and museum. Oslo put on a good face 9 days after the tragedy.
On the "Don't believe everything your told by the cruise line". The policy stated for the specialty restaurant's no children under 12 and no jeans and please wear a jacket. In the Ocean Liners twice kids under 5 were seated at a table for 10. Plenty of people with jeans and quite a few without jackets. I realized the are loathe to not seat 10 covers @$35. However in Jan 2010 I did not bring our 2 year grandson to the specialty restaurant and we had a table for 7.
Sad it was over but disembarking with an airport transfer took 2 minutes.
We're back in 10 weeks on the Silhouette, Rome to Bayonne