A friend of mine actually won this cruise at a casino and invited me to go, otherwise I would have never taken a cruise on Celebration. I never heard anything bad about the ship, but the commercials were a little corny and the ship looked small on TV. Anyway, prior to the trip I did some research and read the reviews on this site and others. A lot of people complained about hidden fees and the 'Bahama Mamas' etc, but you can't please everyone and a lot of people are just very pessimistic.
To begin with, boarding the ship and setting sail was a breeze. The lines were short, it was simple to get through the security checkpoint and get on the ship. Definitely carry your luggage on and off the ship yourself, unless you just cant carry that much...but for a 2 day trip how much luggage do you really need? The room was nice, (5538) the window was large and clean, the bathroom was nice, and the 2 twin beds were easily put together to form a Queen size. The room was quiet at night and the AC/Heat worked great. Hot water was super hot so there were no problems taking a hot shower. Room service and cleaning was like a hotel and the rooms were always kept nice. I don't know if I would recommend the smaller rooms with bunk beds, unless you are by yourself. I didn't go in any of them, but I wouldn't want a smaller room that what I had for two people.
The crew was extremely nice all over the ship. Most of the employees are from different countries which is normal for most cruise lines. All of the employees I spoke with were very pleasant, eager to help, and all spoke English.
The ship is a little older, 1980's I believe, but it has been remodeled and is in great condition. The ship runs 220 volt, so you need to get an adapter from the concierge for free. Same with hairdryers and irons. As soon as you get on the ship sign them out to your room if you are going to need them. It is easy finding your way around the ship and it is large enough that you wont feel restricted. The elevators are a little slow as some people (lazy people) on here like to complain about. With all the food you are going to eat..take the stairs, unless you are unable to due to age or medical conditions. I saw some people taking the elevator up or down one level, and the stairs are right next to the elevators. The smaller elevators to the side of the glass elevators are faster as they are a little hidden and only hold 2-4 people. The pool on the top deck is very small, but it is still nice for a quick dip and the two hot tubs were nice as well.
As far as the food and drinks...I purchased the unlimited soda mug for $21.OO and it worked out great. They had drink specials for $4.50 at most of the bars, so it was very cheap to drink. Coming from Miami where a lot of restaurants charge $12-$20 for one martini...drinking on this cruise was very affordable and the drinks were good. I didn't have a Bahama Mama...so no opinion on that drink. I was offered one about 50 times, but i didn't mind it, as all the staff were nice and not pushy trying to make you buy it. Just say no thank you, and they will politely move on. :-).
The food on the ship was not 5 star...but it was still good. The pizza buffet was actually great...and I ate about 10 pizzas and Cesar salads over the two days. The dessert at the pizza place were also great, and I brought a couple back to my room. If you wait until about 10pm, the desserts are buy one get one free...otherwise they are $4.50 each...still cheap for a dessert.
The Crystal restaurant is the more formal dining room and the menu was very nice. I had Beef Wellington and my friend had fresh snapper...both of our meals were excellent. The Rio Restaurant was a casual buffet and the food was average. You order your main course, but get your own soup/salad/dessert. I also had breakfast in the Rio and it also was a buffet and average.
I didn't gamble in the casino, so I cant say much about it except that it looked nice and was clean.
The entertainment was better than I thought, Steve Zimmerman was awesome and is a great comedian/entertainer, there was a Cirque du Soleil performance that was great, also there was a performer from Miami/Argentina that used Boleros that was really impressive and funny. I actually thought the entertainment was better than Royal Caribbean's. The other bar's on the ship were nice and relaxing and there was live entertainment in most of them. I am not a fan of Karaoke, even when I am totally drunk...but I actually enjoyed watching it both nights on the ship.
As far as fees go...expect to pay $12 per day per person for gratuity... which is really cheap if you add up what you would pay in a restaurant/bar/hotel for all the service you receive. Also, there is a $9.00 per day per person fuel surcharge fee that is normal. Other than that, and the Soda mug for $21.00...there were no other 'hidden' fees. And these were not even hidden as they tell you as soon as you sign in.
The spa and gym were both nice and they offer spa discounts that were great. Take advantage of the duty free liquor as the prices were about half of what they cost in the US. limit is 3 bottles per person, but Customs didn't really care how many you brought back (10).
We did the Jeep tour in Freeport, and it was pretty cool. The only problem is that Freeport is a pretty boring port, so there is not too much to see and do. The lunch on the Jeep tour was a little disappointing, as it was just ham sandwiches you make yourself. I had hoped for a more Bahamian lunch. The beach is really nice and relaxing and snorkling is good there also.
Getting off the ship was simple, just had to wait about 35 minutes to get through Customs. Fill out your Customs Form ahead of time and have your passport ready.
Overall, it was a great cruise and a nice relaxing weekend getaway. If this is your first cruise I highly recommend it to get your feet wet with cruising and see if you like it.