Out of 20 cruises, this was the worst cruise we have ever taken. Bayonne NJ is not a cruise ship terminal. It lacks any cruise terminal facilities. Embarkation is through tents and boarding buses for a 500 yard ride to the ship. First time we ever had a steam iron confiscated by the ships crew after hand carrying it on a plane. We just wore rumpled clothes for 2 weeks.
Once on board, around 2pm, we went to the buffet for lunch. The food was fair, but service was non-existent. We had to bus our own table to have a place to eat..and this continued throughout the cruise for breakfast. Everyday at the buffet breakfast there were 4-5 staff selling wine, soft drinks, etc but rarely a person to bus tables much less bring a coffee or orange juice refill. In fact, we bussed tables for some elderly so they could set their trays down to eat. The first morning, they had sticky buns which we all liked. After that day, they disappeared and on two other days you had to search high and low to find any. The buffet line was very long and on both the starboard and port sides. Finding food was a moving target and required walking around the length of the ship. For some reason fresh pineapple was in short supply. There were usually 3-4 location for fresh fruit, but only one had pineapple and it changed daily. In addition, the last night we were supposed to have pineapple crme Brule, but none was available for the first dinner sitting.Food was a disappointment and would have to get better to be a 3 star, .Lobster night was a real joke. 1/2 lobster very dry and no drawn butter served with 2 broiled shrimp and several slices of half cooked scallops. We did not attempt to eat the scallops and the wives didnt eat the lobster. The wait staff was totally undermanned and could not keep up with the meal, but they tried very hard. Several nights one of the 6 persons at our table didnt get their main course on time. Coffee was always served late after most had finished their dessert. This was the first time I had ever seen regular coffee and decaf come from the same pot. It was obvious from the first day that the ship was very short of wait and kitchen staff. Desserts were not up to prior Celebrity standards by a long shot. There is more, but you get the picture
We have traveled on Celebrity several times in the past. Therefore, we knew what to expect. Everybody was complaining about the food and the service. Moving on: The entertainment was first class and an improvement over past cruises. The cabin steward was first class. The cabins and ship in general was in good repair.
We had bad weather and the ship had to change our itinerary to a little town called La Baie, Quebec. The day spent in LaBaie was the best port we have visited in 5 years. The local people put on a show at dockside which was amazing. The had locals in costume, taking pictures with the guests as they left the ship, offering slices of homemade blueberry pie, blueberry wine and chocolates filled with blueberry...free. The hop on hop off tour the towns people prepared was outstanding. It was truly a town experience done the good old fashion way making people welcome.
The finale: We were supposed to dock at 7am. Our ship was 3 hours late docking on the last day with no explanation. We had a 2:15 plane using Celebrity transportation to and from the ship. We barely made the plane. The debarkation was an exercise similar to my days in the army. Hurry up and wait. Stand in line. Wait for the second and third bus. Ride the bus for 500 yards and then sit on the bus for another 15 minutes before being allowed to exit. Make a mad dash for the luggage and try to locate the right bus to take to the correct airport terminal. Oh yes, no time to retrieve the new steam iron purchased for this trip. My claim ticket for the iron is 63167. We made the 2:15 plane with less than 30 minutes to spare.
Bottom line. Celebrity management made several mistakes.
First, should not use Bayonne NJ cruise facilities
Second, bad food: need to totally improve the food to previous standards
Third, staff shortage: increase wait staff and kitchen staff to adequately service the guests.