We sailed from Southampton on 14 October, having travelled down from Cardiff by train.
Embarkation: Not impressive. It took nearly an hour to shuffle around the hall in single file. Other lines let you sit down until called.
Cabin:We were originally on deck 6, above the theatre, but the noise drove us to ask for a move which was done speedily and efficiently, to Deck 10. Top marks.Cabins smallish,with drawer space at a premium, but excellent shower in large bathroom.Spotlessly clean.
Dining: We had Select Dining after paying Â£221 gratuities in advance. But the tables we were given were always next to a service station.The better areas appear to have been assigned to those who had cruised with Celebrity before. No problem, but an early indication of the dual class system on board. For instance, the best bar was arguably the Sky on deck 14, but each evening this was reserved largely for the Captain's Club members.The small area left was for smokers, and it was usually difficult to get service.
The self service restaurant was the Ocean View on deck 14, which had easily the most comprehensive range of food I've experienced, but at peak times it was extremely difficult to find a free table. These were not always cleared quickly, though strangely, there was always a surfeit of staff pushing drinks (of which, more later).
Entertainment:External acts brought in were mixed, but those who stood out were Irish comedian Adrian Lynch, Welsh comedian Mike Doyle, and songstress Lindsay Hamilton deservedly brought the house down. But the funniest was a juggler/comedian, whose name I didn't note but should have. To attend a popular act, one had to get to the theatre half an hour early. P & O lay on 3 shows a night to obviate this. Why can't Celebrity?
Drinks: As others have noted, the prices charged will stop me cruising with Celebrity in future. Two single gin and tonics Â£14?(Not even Schweppes!) Cheapest wine about Â£21.
Gratuities: The brochure says Reception will give people who had pre-paid
a voucher to prove it. One old lady at Reception was told they don't, to her obvious distress. We told our cabin steward we had, which he says he understood, yet left 2 envelopes when we checked out, which is another reason we will now be returning to P & O.