Bayonne New Jersey to the Caribbean and Back 1/5/12 to 1/17/12
My wife and I, in our sixties, were on the Sky Suites aft( 1668) on the 11th deck.
This is our 9th voyage, our first on Celebrity. Previously we have sailed with Windstar, Oceania, Norwegian and Holland American.
We arrived at 1:30 for a 5 Pm departure and the process went fairly smoothly. The registration was rather straight forward, there were enough agents and we were at the "Buses" to take us to the ship, within 15 minutes not withstanding the gentleman who could not understand that if you were in the US illegally you were going to be denied access to the boat.
The ship is very handsome, well designed and both pleasing to the eye and practical for the passenger. The atrium lobby is impressive and the elevators provide an impressive birds-eye view of the interior of the ship as you go to your stateroom. The suite was very adequate with enough room to store your " stuff" and to sit comfortably in your cabin if you chose to withdraw from the ship to a private place. '
The ship is large enough so that it rarely feels very crowded except for the buffet on the first day, which looked and felt like a high-school cafeteria, albeit the food was a few notches better.
The pools looked very inviting albeit it was cold and cloudy when we left. By the time the sun warmed us, the pool area would become the central point with music, 'swimmers" and chatters occupying much of the space on that deck.
Friendly, efficient and solicitous ....unanimously. After a few days we were on first name basis with several of them. Our stewart knew, almost better than we did , when we would be going to breakfast and dinner, and our butler, Dennis, was very careful to deliver snacks each evening which were the least caloric( a task which was by no means easy) available. In the restaurants the waiters , maitre d's and staff were in every case solicitous friendly and efficient.
Grand Cuve Dinning Room:
Pleasant on the upper level, massive on the main floor but the food quite good . We ate there only once, but the food we ordered on that one occasion was quite good, well presented and the waiter solicitous and engaging.
We are both very weight conscious so we opted for Blu as our restaurant of choice. Although it is dedicated to aqua class , it also will provide service to Suite passengers on a " space available " basis, for an extra charge ( 5 dollars per person for dinner , gratis at breakfast) The food at Blu was always excellent, well presented and completely adequate. If you want to keep the eating to a " dull roar" that is the place for you.
At breakfast the Muesli prepared table-side and the smoothies made for welcome and very satisfactory selection.
There are other possibilities that are too numerous to mention, but as a whole the experience was totally satisfactory.
A much smaller venue, elegant , giving you the sense of a very fine up-scale , intimate restaurant. The service excellent in all respects.
The food was outstanding , the Lobster in Mustard sauce memorable and the souffle at the end of the meal totally satisfactory. If it is your intention to choose only one specialty restaurant , that would be my choice, hands down.
A steak house and Italian fare . I think we made a mistake and ordered fish, which was undistinguished . We later found out that the correct choice should have been " steak".
So....it was just OK for the fish....try the steak.
A novel experience. You order from and Ipad and desert from a rubbix cube. Do not go there as a couple as the food is too much for two. That was what we did and we were overwhelmed after the Turkish Messe "suitcase" ....who can eat so much? those who came in groups of 6 or 8 , I think fared better.
Alot of fun. flat bread( a.k.a pizza) hand made with your participation ....a complete salad and meat of your choice grilled by you and a grill master. Although I am the family grill master and my friends and family love my grilled meats , I managed to learn alot from the chef who instructed us. A lot of fun. Go there where the weather is good.
We tried to go there on our way back to Bayonne and it was blowing like blazes( they refunded our money).
Bistro on Five:
Great soup and crepe , modest extra charge. Good alternative to the buffet for lunch.
Nice space on the front of the ship. Available without extra charge to Aqua class passengers only. We had to pay 20 dollars per person. The space is " co-ed" so if you want to use the steam room and " power showers" you have to wear you bathing suit. In the men's changing room there were no hand towels, razors, after shaves, deodorants,combs, hand soaps etc. probably the worst set up I have experienced, including the YMCA.
Lounge singers, dance band violin and piano, a cappella all excellent. did not see many of the large shows.
Most of the ports are well known and well described no need for me to add to the chorus.
La Baddee a stop own by HAL , was truly wonderful... we decided to get the " cabana " which made the stop even more wonderful.
There is a general tendency to charge....charge.....charge for everything. , expresso etc. 4.5 dollars, drinks on the expensive side some of them in the 15 and 20 dollar range ( for a glass of wine!) water when you go on a tour ( 3 dollars) etc. etc. after a while it wears on you.
We met some lovely people aboard , and in general I had the sense that our fellow passengers were attentive and generally good humored.
The disembarkation was a disaster, but that is much more the " fault" of the authority in Bayonne. Celebrity would do well to find another venue ( NYC is much better ).
All in all a very nice trip.