This was my husband and Is 11th cruise with Celebrity but the first where we have taken our son who was 8 months old whilst on the cruise. We chose the cruise as it involved no flying and we had hoped that it would be easy to get on/off the ship with a very large amount of luggage and a small child.
Overall it was a wonderful holiday and the crew could not have been more helpful and kind. I have summarised our experience below.
The embarkation was challenging although not entirely Celebritys fault. We left my parents house (12 miles from Southampton) just before 1pm. At 3.45pm we finally reached the ship with a very tired and hungry baby! The traffic was backed up for miles no accidents just terrible congestion. I seriously thought we were going to miss the ship at one point. It didnt get much easier when we arrived at the ship as my husband dropped the bags, our son and I by the ship. He then had to drive to the car park and come back through the traffic on a shuttle bus. This took 45 minutes while I waited outside the terminal. The queues to enter the terminal were enormous many people reported standing in line for over an hour. After check-in further long lines ensued for the security screening. When we finally got on board (with a very tired and hungry baby!), the cabins werent ready. The next day, we learnt that the delay was due to a mass fumigation of the ship. I fully appreciate that this needed to be done but it would have eased my frustration if I had known that was the problem. It was clear that the housekeeping team led by the Chief Housekeeper Mihai did a great job in cleaning the ship and ensuring there was no outbreak of illness on our cruise.
When we did get into our room, we were really pleased with the space and layout. We had booked a Royal Suite as we knew we would eat most meals in our room as our son goes to bed early and was too young for the baby sitting service. The dining room and bar area was perfect for preparing his meals and milk and it was great to have a separate bedroom so that he could sleep without us disturbing him.
The ship eventually left just after 6pm and our butler (Arnel) and room attendant did a great job helping us get the room set up, finding our luggage and serving us a well needed dinner. Every request we had (and there were some unusual ones!) was met with a smile and almost immediate action.
The cruise itself was fantastic. The highlight had to be the staff who could not have been kinder or more attentive to our son this ranged from the security staff, to waiters, the Officers and events team. We accompanied our son to the Fun Factory every day and the team there were so professional there were plenty of toys and we could borrow them to take to our room. The staff also did a great job in keeping my husband and I occupied by bringing us quizzes to do while we watched and played with our son.
On the subject of quizzes, that was about the only entertainment we participated in. I formed a team with some great fellow passengers (from the CC roll call) and we took part in most team trivia events. They were fun and well run. On the last port of call there was a flamenco show by a local group we really enjoyed this opportunity to see traditional Spanish dance.
We only ate in the main restaurant twice but I think that the food had greatly improved the staff were excellent at bringing our son copious supplies of breadsticks and keeping him amused. We ate in Qzine on the last formal night and I enjoyed it very much . On other evenings we had dinner served in our room. Our butler did a great job at ensuring we got the food hot and beautifully presented. We also discovered the Bistro on 5 for the first time and we ate lunch there on most days it was never very busy and always very good food.
Other mentions for great service go to the Photography team who were highly professional but great fun they made a real fuss of our son and took some fantastic pictures of him. Jonette, the Captains Club hostess continues to do an amazing job and always had a smile on her face. I also thought that the Officers were highly visible and approachable.
We enjoyed all of the ports we normally got off the ship a couple of hours after the rush and wandered around for a few hours. I think my favourite port was Cartagena especially seeing the Roman theatre.
This was a holiday of many firsts our son got his first teeth, took his first steps and said his first words I cannot think of anywhere better for him to have done this. The leadership of Captain Manetas and his senior team was outstanding and we have left with many many happy memories. We'll be back next year!