Cruise out of Fort Lauderdale to Western Caribbean on the Solstice Ship - I was very disappointed in the embarkation process for this trip. I there was a serious problem, the Virus, on the sailing from Spain to Ft Lauderdale and had to have the entire ship sanitized.
I was only notified the day prior to sailing that there would be a delay in embarkation, instead of 1:30 PM, it would start at 2 PM, without any further explanation.
It was only after I arrived at the port shortly before 1 PM, and dropped off the suitcases curbside to check in for the cruise, then parked my car in the garage, and went to form a line, when we were told that embarkation was further delayed due to necessitated cleansing of the ship due to the virus, when many were taken ill.
The boarding did not actually start till 3 PM, and we did not get onto the ship till almost 4 PM, due to the long lines. So we stood on line for 3 Hours waiting till boarding the ship !
Once onboard the Buffet cafe was packed, hard to find a table to eat, which was not at 4 PM, eating lunch.
Then we were told that the Staterooms would not be available till 6 PM>
Then we were told that the luggage would not be delivered to the cabins till sometime later that evening.
Needless to say walking around, trying to eat lunch with small carry ons, and not able to get to our stateroom prior to dinner to rest some was deplorable.
So we went to dinner in our shorts, with no way to shower and change clothes. Not a very relaxing way to start the cruise.
And then of course there was the lifeboat drill, mandated by the coast guard, which did not take place the afternoon of boarding, but on the next day, first full sea day, late morning. So that interrupted the morning activities as well, for me at the gym, for my partner in the pool.
We should have been advised there was a health problem on the ship when we were called about the delay in embarkation.
I also noticed that the first few days on the ship the entire crew had a certain anxiety about, and also in the manner the meals were served in the cafe buffet on deck 14. It was all served by the crew. Management did not have enough personnel there to afford a speedy process in going from station to station for the different food items, as there were lines all over and they moved slowly.
I booked this cruise four months prior to departure, paid my fare passage, and on my sailing date at the port only to learn about the Virus outbreak for many days on the ship after departure from Spain. This was not a Celebrity cruise to remember and was very disappointed after paying my Fare for Passage, not receiving what I paid for nor what I was accustomed to in a Celebrity cruise.
There were many apologies by the staff for the delays at embarkation as well as while on the ship. However Celebrity did not offer any compensation for the delays or inconvenience. I was very surprised that when I inquired at the Guest services area on the ship about any compensation, I was informed, by Anna, none would be given. What a disgrace that was !
I had enjoyed the Celebrity cruises in the past, however from all the major cruise lines I have been on in the last 25 years, I have never written a letter to complain nor requested compensation.
As a baby boomer I plan on doing a lot more cruises and considered Celebrity Cruises one of the more upscale lines to cruise on, however I was very disappointed this time around.
This cruise was a bad experience and we should have been advised of the health condition prior to the trip so as we could decide whether to postpone and reschedule. If it was truly about passenger safety as was emphasized by the crew staff all week long, then advance notice should have been provided by Celebrity regarding their serious illness problem as it returned to Fort Lauderdale. Management certainly did a poor job in advising the passengers what was really going on.
Cruising is enjoyable however maybe should look at other Cruise lines that would be more responsive in the event of a major problem with more skilled management at the top to handle it properly from a customer service point of view.
I have written to Celebrity Cruises as well to voice my concerns on this particular cruise.