My wife and I spent 4 nights in Salerno seeing the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Pompeii, and Sorrento, then boarded an early train for Civitavecchia. Easy 10 minute walk from the train station to the port entrance, where we boarded a free port shuttle to the ship. Embarkation was very smooth and quick around 11:30 AM and within minutes we were on the ship.
This was our 7th cruise, and our first cruise with Celebrity. We had previously sailed with Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Carnival.
Without going into exhaustive detail, here are my overall impressions:
Cabin - This was the best designed cruise ship cabin we have stayed in. It was comfortably spacious, as cruise ship cabins go. Plenty of storage space. We were really impressed by the design and ample size of the bathroom, and the shower in particular. You could actually move arms around in the shower without touching walls or the door, and we are not small people. Nice flat screen TV with system for ordering room service, pictures, etc., in addition to watching movies (if that's what you want to do on a cruise). Bed was the most comfortable cruise bed ship we've slept on. Balcony size was nice and not skimpy. Wind was blocked well. Even when it was too windy on the upper deck, we could enjoy our verandah comfortably. We had a "partially obstructed view" cabin on deck 6. The lifeboat was just below the balcony floor, but the lifeboat supports came up even with the railing. At sea we could see the shoreline and horizon very easily, but could not see down into the water. I would say that in the future if the price difference were small, I'd go with a higher deck. However when we booked (June), we got such a great deal on a guarantee verandah (the higher decks were hundreds more per person) that I'd book it again in a heartbeat in the same situation. It was still better than an oceanview.
Public rooms - The style of the public areas is more contemporary than the other mainstream cruise lines we've been on. Rather than having a general overall color scheme, every room is decorated in its own color combination. Wherever you look, you can tell that every square foot of the ship interior was carefully designed with regard to contrasting yet complementary colors. It's really a beautiful ship.
Service - Overall outstanding. We had a steward and assistant steward that kept our room very neat, provided our early breakfast room service on a couple of early port mornings, and delivered my rented tux. One or the other was easily available to us all the time. Our dining room waiter was super. He was quick, efficient and always got it right, and he also had a fun personality. Every night he would tell us which menu items he thought were best, and on the dessert menu, he would say "My girlfriend made that one". After a couple of nights, I started asking him, "Which one did your girlfriend make?"
Food - This was the only area that did not quite live up to our expectations, given the reputation of Celebrity. With the exception of 3 or 4 meals, I'm sorry to say that the MDR dinners were somewhat bland. Maybe it's that we live in Texas, where we eat a lot of flavorful and sometimes spicy food (SW, Mexican, Cajun, BBQ, etc.), and I cook with flavorful herbs and spices at home. The food was not what I'd call "bad". Ingredients were OK, fish dishes were not overly fishy or anything like that. It's just that it seemed like many dishes looked great, but were somewhat lacking in flavor. Exceptions: Moroccan lamb with couscous dish I had the first night was super, the corvina dish was very nice and flavorful, and the beef tenderloin and lobster at the end of the cruise was very good.
The other dinner we thought did not quite meet expectations was at Murano. First of all, I'll say that the service at Murano was outstanding, no problems there. However, my lobster was somewhat underwhelming - small and overcooked. Probably should have sent it back, but I didn't. My wife's filet mignon was good, but not memorable. Given the current surcharge of $40 per person (we paid $35 just before the price increase), I doubt we will return to Murano. We've had better, more memorable meals at premium restaurants on Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Sorry.
Bistro on Five was excellent, and we ate breakfast or lunch there a few times. We were also impressed with the consistent quality and variety of flavorful food options at the Oceanview Cafe - morning, noon, and night. The night we were docked in Istanbul we stayed out past our 6:15 dinner time. After a completely exhausting day, we returned to the ship and headed to the buffet. We were pleasantly surprised that they had some good Turkish dishes available and were playing Turkish music over the speakers. This was a nice touch that my wife and I appreciated.
Entertainment - We were primarily on this ship for lodging, transportation, and food as a comfortable, cost effective way to see the ports in Greece and Turkey, so the entertainment was not a priority. We got up early most days, exhausted ourselves, and went to bed early. The only production show we made a point to see was the "Equinox" Cirque du Soleil-style show, which we enjoyed. We also saw the Turkish group during our night in Istanbul. We enjoyed the South American guitar player and the pop group. As a musician myself, I have to say that the string trio made me wince from their significant intonation issues. I tried to avoid them or at least not listen.
Overall, we enjoyed our first Celebrity cruise. The ship is gorgeous everywhere you look, the cabin was very well laid out and comfortable. The food is in the MDR is OK, and occasionally great. More impressed with the buffet (for a buffet) and Bistro on Five. We will probably return, but most likely for port intensive cruises like this one rather than Caribbean cruises that are more about entertainment and having fun. However, Celebrity may have spoiled us with the outstanding, comfortable cabin and great service. We'll see. The test will be next time we sail with a different cruise line (which is actually coming up very soon).