My husband and I are Americans in our 40s, Caucasian, non spanish speaking, slightly overweight but love to walk/hike, not real big shoppers. Not hard liquor drinkers but do like wine, beer and typical cocktails (margarita, pina colada, etc.). This was our 4th cruise.
* The average age on this trip had to be 62, and I'm not exaggerating! My guess is that most people have to be retired or nonworkers to take this much time off work so you don't get the younger crowd.
* There really wasn't an "upbeat" vibe on the ship (although Steve, Luisa and Valeria were great) and my guess is that with the age group of the passengers, that the folks move at a little more relaxed pace. The music entertainment throughout the ship was more relaxed as well (piano, light jazz, quartet. There was one show that had an entertainer that played some rock music which I was so excited to hear!!!
* Fresh fruit was limited to oranges, apples, cantaloupe, pineapple, watermelon and honey dew. I didn't understand how you can stop at Costa Rica that exports strawberries and not have an abundance of at least that or mangoes or coconut. I did find a nectarine once but it was under ripe.
* Their dessert extravaganza was a disappointment. We stayed up until 11 pm to attend and it was basically the same stuff that they had at the special brunches.
* Celebrity is supposed to be known for their food but other than eating in the dining room, the buffet section got real monotonous. The same foods almost daily with very little variety. Also their buffet is set up funky. I couldn't tell if I was supposed to dish myself up or if the staff were. In a lot of cases the dishes were too far for me to even reach to scoop up the item I wanted. Very frustrating.
* They have speakers throughout the cruise to give special talks which I really enjoyed but their presentations on the big screen were either blurry or the left hand side was cut off - couldn't believe this couldn't get fixed!
* The photo gallery was too expensive. $20 for a picture. Overpriced in my opinion.
* Their drink packages were outrageously priced. We didn't do any of the packages and took on board 8 bottles of wine without issue (2 in each suitcase and carried on 2). Even with the cost of the wine along with our drink tab on ship we still came out better than the ship's packages. We are mostly beer drinkers (even though we brought on a bunch of wine.)
* The disembarkment from the ship was a disaster. The protocols were totally ignored and the staff just shrugged their shoulders. I can't believe that after having so much experience with the process they haven't perfected it. To me, it's simple, you get kicked out of line if your number is not up - but I guess they don't want to tick off all the rich people who seem to think that the rules don't apply to them.
* Loved all the ports!!!!! Lots of excursion options!!!
* Because of the age group of the passengers, few kids to hog up the pools and scream and yell
* The Aqua Spa was fantastic! It's an indoor hot pool/whirlpool that you can just lay in to relax
* Loved the entertainment on the ship - the shows were all fantastic! Especially Kimtka! We only missed one show they were that good. There was good variety too, singers, dancers, acrobatics, comedians, variety shows, vegas-type shows, etc. The strange thing was that even though the ship has older passengers, the majority attended the later show! Weird.
* The Hi-C quartet were fantastic. It was 4 younger gentlemen who would sang throughout the ship at random times. We basically stalked them around the ship to listen to them.
* The ice cream bar became a daily mandatory stop...hand made ice creams along with soft serve...yummy! Peanut butter being the best!
* The cruise director, Steve, is fantastic!
* Loved the little game room they had. They also have a library where you can check out books.
* The cruise staff are outstanding and friendly!! I only had one bad experience with a guy serving at the buffet who was rude. One side of the Aqua spa wasn't working so I found someone walking by to see if they could find the right person to talk to. He hunted down the right person and then took the time to find me to tell me that it was getting addressed right then.
* The cruise offered various speaker presentations (Squid presentation, Identity Theft presentation, baseball presentation, etc.) which were fantastic. I didn't attend them all, but the speakers were awesome - especially Dr. Clyde Roper with the Smithsonian. I really enjoyed this aspect of cruising.
* I've only been on 4 cruises in my life and loved that they enlarged the shower space!
Loved Guatemala! Note that we were on a guided tour however so never did see the "real" Guatemala other than driving by depressed areas. We did the Pacaya Volcano Hike which was spectacular. A bit of a drive (over 2 hours). When you arrive at the drop off location for the hike, you are surrounded by little kids "renting" you a hiking stick for a dollar. The sticks are literally just branches. Nothing special. If you decline then they respond with "dollar for me?" You can tell that the parents are peddling these poor kids! So sad. They also have horses that you can rent to take you up the mountain. However, we were there to hike. Now this definitely met the strenuous criteria!!!! I would say it was a couple of miles up. Note that it was a little chilly for us at the start but once you get hiking you warm right up. There are bathrooms but for the woman - bring your own toilet paper and don't expect the toilet to flush!!!
If your tour is during the day, you will not see lava. However, you will see steam vents, lots and lots of them. They let you walk on the hard lava rock and in fact you get to walk into a steam vent if you want. Like a sauna. It was absolutely wonderful and spectacular.
I highly highly highly recommend!!!!
Afterward, they take you to a restaurant - the food was really good in my opinion, chicken breast, potato, guacamole and salsa. And a beer!
At the port there is a ton of vendor shopping available. If you like funny t-shirts, they have them that say "Guat's Up!!! Guatemala" Cracked me up. There is also a stand where you can get a fresh coconut with coconut milk and you can add rum! Soooo good! Lastly, this is a good location to mail postcards.
(Wasn't too happy about seeing the military with large weapons throughout the area.)