We planned this cruise a year ago to visit with our son who is studding medicine in Australia. It was a time for family bonding even though he is an adult.We flew from Canada on Air Canada/Air New Zealand and they were very good.
We met him in Auckland at the Hilton hotel which is next door to the pier, how convenient to just walk your bags down the block. Great views right by the ferries beautiful rooms and wonderful breakfast.
Boarding was a bit disorganized as it is a small chopped up area so you were moved from one place to another before final processing. Once on as typical of Celebrity you were greeted with smiles and a drink.
Cabin was very comfortable with lots of storage space but bathroom needs a clean up, new grout and shower curtain would help.
I quickly checked our table as I have asthma and need to sit with just our family who know not to wear cologne, alas they screwed up again with a table for 8. After giving them some time they did come back with a table for just the 3 of us and things worked out fine.
The ship is in good shape for it's age and the new Persian garden is a welcome item. My son was pleased with the the quality of equipment in their gym and we all spent most early morning there and enjoyed having the Spa Cafe are for our breakfasts.
The staff were most accommodating and any problems were dealt with quickly the captain made a wise decision at the port in Akora not to tender in as it was bad weather and he was concerned about getting the passenger back since I was told last cruise they had this problem. The crew stepped up to the plate quickly planned some trivia games, informative talks and other games to keep everyone busy.
I found the food in the dining room had improved from other cruises as it was less saucy and good alternatives.
The entertainment was the one let down on this cruise both in the main theater and dancing lounges. We found the shows to be draggy and the music for dancing older tunes and very short times.
The cruise critic party that the ship put on was a wonderful way to meet all the people I had talked to on the months leading up to the cruise.
Our weather on this trip was not great but in most ports we were able to enjoy our tours as we had booked many from cruise critic suggestions and Trip Advisor. The day in Bay of Island it rained most of the day so our planned sailing adventure was a bit damp.
On the second port of Tauranga we had a tour company take us white water rafting and then to the area with the geologic openings he chose a place called "Hell's Gate" as it was not as busy as others. It only started to rain as we visited the Kiwi factory so it made for a wonderful day out.
In Napier it was rainy and windy so our planned bike trip was ditched and we headed for a winery for a great tasting and lunch.
We were very pleased as a family that the cruise line planned a Hanukkah celebration with candle lighting and latka's, with all the Christmas hype all the time it was nice to celebrate our holiday with our son.
Disembarkation was quick and efficient I can not remember a cruise doing it so fast and painless. Bags were easy to find and exit was also quick.
This is a crew that makes this ship feel like a home, they have spunk and dedication.