Okay, I'll tell you a little about the ship. There are pros and cons and some things we liked better on Celebrity and some things we liked better on RCCL. The ship is beautiful, when boarding we were handed mimosa's or champagne as we entered the ship.....nice touch. The ship is a little longer than the Explorer but a LOT narrower (about 26 ft narrower) so there is more movement even in calm water. Our sailing was pretty calm but the ship was rocking sometimes, especially at night.
Lots and lots of bars. The bars are pretty spread out and on different floors so it's kind of hard if your looking to meet up with someone because you'd have to run all over the ship checking all the bars. They have an ice bar which was pretty cool (it's the martini bar). I really wanted to try the molecular bar to try a crazy kind of martini but every time we passed there was hardly anyone there.........sometimes no one there, but the Martini (ice bar) was packed every night. There was music all around the ship in the evening and dancing in the Centrum, but the disappointing thing for us was there was no music at the pool on the first sea day which we found odd. On the 2nd sea day someone finally appeared for music but it wasn't a steel drum band. They seemed to do 1 hr gigs - for instance, there was a guitar player one day, then an Capella group, then 1 steel drum guy. One day it was just piped DJ music for a couple hours before some other act came on. We like Steel Drum music at the pool playing reggae to get you in the Caribbean mood, I don't want to hear someone singing a country song on my way to the Caribbean. Wait staff did not walk around the pool area with trays of drinks like they do on RCCL. As a matter of fact, they hardly walked around at all and it was tough sometimes to get someone to get you a drink........LOL I have to admit that their lounge chairs were very comfy because they had pads on them instead of just the plastic lounges that RCCL has. I also liked the fact that they had a Mast Grill outside on the deck above the pool and they made fresh burgers, hot dogs, fries and veggie burgers. The burgers were delicious there!!! They also had frozen yogurt there and beverages. I never eat burgers on RCCL because they sit under those hot lamps, so we liked that aspect on Celebrity better.
The ship was beautiful but honestly, I hated all the "so called art". It was mainly pictures/photos that were pretty ugly if you ask me............LOL For instance, a girl's head with a tree growing out of it or an entire wall of kids pictures (just faces) with their eyes closed and their mouths open and they all had marks on their faces.......freaked me out!!! Backs of women instead of a front view. Guess the art goes with the modern ship. OK, so the ship was pretty but art was awful but that's just my opinion. I always loved walking the stairwells on Royal ships to look at all the cool artwork, but not here, they were all pictures or vases. The art on the ship might appeal to some people but not to me, art like food is subjective.
Lots of places to eat, main dining room, buffet, Mast Grill at the pool and Aqua cafe were all free. Aqua cafe had healthier choices for breakfast and lunch and was located in the solarium.
Specialty restaurants were pretty expensive.
Qsine $40/person - we did not eat there but others were disappointed and said it was not worth the price.
Murano's $40/person - we did not eat there either and I heard mixed reviews about it.
Tuscan Grill $35/person - we did eat there and the food was very good but I still think that the price is to high.
Lawn Club Grill $40/person - we did eat there and it was fun. You can either cook yourself or have the chef cook your food. We were with friends of ours so my husband and me put on aprons and he made a flat bread pizza with sausage and pepperoni and I made a Margarita flat bread pizza. Then he did the grilling of our steaks/filets along with the chef. Also a couple kabobs of shrimp/scallops. It was fun but honestly, I wouldn't do it for the price of $40/person again. For $20/person I would, but not $40. We ate there the night we were in Old San Juan and we had an extra surprise because they were doing concerts on the lawn that night so we got to see/hear the concert while we had dinner.
NOTE: If any of you go on this ship, don't book ahead of time because I found out they were offering 2 for 1 to people on-board. I guess they weren't getting the business they expected but for the price they are charging I can see why. Friends of ours ate at the Lawn Club 3 times at half price. Unfortunately, we booked ahead of time.
Bistro on 5 $5/person - we didn't eat there, looked like they had crepes and people were raving about their banana/nutella crepes. I never had a crepe so can't comment on that one.
The Porch $5/person - we did not eat there either. It was located up on the lawn by the Lawn club Grill and I never saw ONE person eating there. The decor was pretty but a waste of space if you ask me. They should either make it a free venue or get rid of it. The place was pretty much empty the entire cruise. I looked at the menu and all they had was some breakfast stuff, soup, salads and pre-made sandwiches/panini's. I can see why no one would eat there when you can get all those things free in the buffet.........LOL
The buffet was set up nice......they had 2 fresh egg/omelette stations so there were no long lines. We mostly ate there for breakfast but not so much for lunch and never for dinner. We did stop in a few days at 5:30 for some pre-dinner sushi which was pretty good.
Cabins were okay. Thought I'd have a problem with storage but it wasn't bad. I did find a place for everything and plenty of room under the bed for all the suitcases. There's only 3 drawers but there's an over the bed bin. I had no problem with the overhead bin but short people would have a problem. They'd have to step on the bed to reach it...........LOL
Beds and linens were very nice and comfy. All cabins had flat screen big TVs.
Bathroom and shower was very roomy. Lots of storage in the bathroom but the sink vanity is very narrow so you can't leave things out on it. The faucets in the sink were so close to the edge of the sink that you couldn't put both hands under them at the same time and water splashed all over. They changed the faucets with ones that had a longer arm so they reached the center of the basin while we were on-board so all is well with them now.
Concierge cocktails were from 5 to 7 pm every night for Elites. We didn't make it every night as our dinner wasn't until 8:30 pm so it was a bit early for us to have cocktails before 7 pm. When we did go, it was usually around 6:30 pm. They pass the appetizers and honestly none of them were as good as the ones that RCCL has..........LOL
MDR food was okay, nothing special but pretty good. They always had something that we could eat. Their everyday menu included escargot, shrimp cocktail, french onion soup (which was pretty darn good), steak, chicken, salad so if you didn't like what was on the menu you could order from the every day menu. Their lobster night was very disappointing, they gave us 1/2 of a lobster which was stuffed. The stuffing looked like all bread crumbs and I didn't even eat it so can't comment on how it was. I think I asked for Mama's pork chops that night and they were good. They put bread baskets on the table instead of passing bread but no one ever came around to ask if we wanted pepper like they do on RCCL.
I know we kept comparing this ship to RCCL ships which maybe wasn't fair but that's what happens. Our cabin guy was great and kept our cabin nice all the time but a lot of the other staff were not as outgoing and friendly like they are on RCCL. We didn't get any towel animals but we did get chocolates on our pillow every night.
In closing, we very much enjoyed our cruise and all our friends made it extra special. We loved spending 12 dinners with 6 of our friends. We had lots of laughs every night and enjoyed seeing a lot of our other friends around the ship.
We spent most days with 2 of our friends as they are beach people like us and one day we went with 2 other friends to Buck Island to snorkel when we were in St. Croix. We rode wave runners in St. Maarten and had a great time.
One more note about the ship. Most of the chairs on the ship are very uncomfortable......they're to low and they all lean back. It was really difficult to find a straight back chair. Again, it's because it's a very modern ship and they look nice but are not comfortable to sit in..........LOL We did find a few chairs at the Sunset bar that had a straight back. The MDR chairs weigh a thousand lbs (OK, I'm stretching it). Honestly, once someone pushes you in, you ain't getting out unless somone pulls you out!! And that's the truth!!! We saw many people using pillows behind them in the dining room. They did however, have lots of seating arrangements with lovely sofas and chairs in many of the bars areas.
Captain Pagonis was very personable. He was all around the ship. One night he was just hanging out in the casino and walking around. Another night he was hanging in the Martini Bar and then we saw him dancing in Quasar night club.
Our Connection party had about 150 people attend and our farewell luncheon in the MDR was arranged with the ship. They opened 1 floor just for us and had a special menu. The Captain even came to our farewell lunch.
Stores on board were pretty expensive. They did have some of the cheaper stores too and I was surprised that their liquor store was pretty small.
They had a chocolate buffet one night that was pretty disappointing. Nothing like the spread RCCL used to put on. They had a brunch another day which looked fabulous, however, they didn't advertise it very well and we had eaten breakfast in the buffet before we found out about it so no way could we eat again. We just walked thru to see what they had and they basically had tons of stuff...........looked delicious. To bad they didn't advertise it very well.
The only fresh strawberries I found on the ship were in Michael's in the morning for breakfast (Elite breakfast). I stopped in there a few mornings for a latte. Michael's was very comfortable.
We thought it odd that they had a basketball court at the front of the ship instead of at the back. There's way to much wind in the front of the ship.
Oh, if your a smoker, there is only 1 place that you can smoke inside the ship and that is in the Sky Lounge (behind these curtains....LOL). It's really strange because usually you can smoke on one side of a ship but on this ship you could smoke outside on the pool deck on the port side and the next deck you could smoke on the starboard side and on deck 5 outside on the port side.....it was kind of confusing because it was different sides on different decks. The other thing my husband noticed was the large free standing ashtrays were always full.......no one ever seemed to empty them. I thought smoking being allowed on the pool deck port side was so strange because it was right at the entrance to the Aqua Spa Cafe and people had to walk thru that area to get there. I don't think smoking should have been allowed in that area at all.
Will I ever cruise Celebrity again?? Yeah, I think I would but we both agreed that for fun we like RCCL ships. Guess it depends on what we want that cruise to be about, relaxing, sophisticated or fun. The ship was great but different from what we're used to. I prefer the openness and brightness of RCCL ships. Walking around the bars/restaurants just felt like we were walking inside a hotel. We kind of missed sitting in the Promenade and having a cup of coffee and people watching...........LOL But I would definitely go on Celebrity again.