Embarkation in Civitavecchia was smooth and efficient. I was onboard in less than 15 minutes. But I wish I had been advised in advance that the port (not Celebrity) provides a free shuttle bus from the town to the ship. At the gangway, I was met with staff who welcomed me with a glass of champagne, a nice touch.
My category 1A balcony cabin was nicer than expected. It was spacious enough, functional, and attractive. The bathroom was larger than on other cruise ships. I would suggest the addition of a retractable clothes line in the shower.
At first impression, the ship was beautifully decorated, clean, large, and spacious. However, a very large amount of space is dedicated to extra-pay restaurants and stores. Extra-pay venues are squeezed in everywhere, even on the outside decks. As a result, the 3000 passengers onboard were confined to a much smaller space. The ship felt crowded and noisy throughout. There was even a request in the daily program for guests not to linger at the lunch buffet to free tables for waiting guests! It was also difficult to find a place at the pools when the weather was nice; and jogging track was like an obstacle course. The two elevator banks were insufficient for the number of people on board.
Food quality in the main dining room, once a hallmark of Celebrity Cruises, has declined. Food was generally bland and not cooked well. The food was not up to the standards of decent banquet food. This was a big change from my prior Celebrity cruises. Waitstaff in the dining room and throughout the ship were competent and courteous.
I missed the thalassotherapy (sp) pool, a Celebrity trademark. It has been replaced by a still pool. The gym facilities were very good, with a variety of quality equipment. I went in the off-hours to avoid the crowds. But the "wellness" seminars were generally connected to purchasing a product or service. I was pleased to find that movies were being shown in a cinema, something that other cruise lines have eliminated.
Despite the negatives, I still feel the cruise was a good value for the price. But Celebrity, once a cut above the rest, is now part of the pack.