The ship, coming out of major refurbishment, was not cruise ready. Embarkation was delayed by bussing passengers to a convention center where we sat for several hours, given a box lunch while travel agents were given a party onboard, and then bused back to the cruise ship. This also meant the dining room wasn't prepared and didn't open on time for dinner. The ship departed approximately 6 hours late which limited onboard activities while we sat in port.
There were several "inconvenience" issues throughout the cruise. Water, ice, and coffee machines were frequently empty or not working, buffet lines closed early, and there was a morning of plumbing issues in which toilets on our deck wouldn't flush. In Manta we were told we had to purchase shuttle tickets if we were to get off the pier. This simply was not true as many of us learned after buying Celebrity's tickets. Upon exiting the ship there were "courtesy shuttles" available.
There were several "health risk" issues. The chemicals in the thalossotherapy area were so high it bleached swimsuits and left a residue on our skin. Having life threatening food allergies I always call ahead several times to make sure my dietary requests are noted and check again once in the dining room. Because some of the meals I received left me questioning whether I was receiving the correct meals, I met with the Maitre d'. It was on the fifth day I learned the staff didn't understand my allergies and it was now taken care of. Anyone with required dietary needs knows this is a major (in my case, life threatening) issue.
There were several "good" issues. The itinerary was great. The room stewards were wonderful- always smiling and there to help. Jenny Baker from Guest Services was fantastic and several passengers commented on her efficiency. Once underway the ship was beautifully decorated for the Holidays.
Previous Celebrity cruisers suggested I write Celebrity a post cruise letter and give them a chance to renew our faith. The response letter by Jessica, Guest Relations Advocate, was like the cruise, mediocre at best. The response letter stated "I sincerely apologize for the 'inconvenience'" in regards to severe food allergies; "regret that we fell short in this area" reference the box lunch, bussing passengers to the convention center for several hours, and delayed departure; "the misinformation provided about the transfers offered in Manta. I appreciate the time you have taken to share your experiences." pertaining to paying for transfers we shouldn't have had to pay for; "have also noted your additional concerns" regarding "the discomfort caused by level of chemicals in the hot tub, and the plumbing issues" which left me feeling the health issues weren't taken very seriously.