Overall, the cruise was good and we loved the itinerary. However, we just had too many issues that should not have occurred. Plus, I really do not like being in the situation of chasing down and solving problems when I'd rather be spending my time relaxing.
We've always heard that Celebrity Cruises was a step above its sister line, Royal Caribbean. We have taken numerous cruises on Royal Caribbean and are Diamond members. So, we wanted to venture out and try Celebrity Cruises and booked our spring break cruise. As a result of our status on Royal Caribbean, we qualified as Elite members in Celebrity's Captain's Club.
Two weeks before we sailed, we notified Celebrity that our Elite status was not showing on our documents. Celebrity assured us that our status was noted and was in their system, although it did not show up on our documents. Upon embarkation on March 10, 2012, our Captain's Club status was not in the system. As a result, we were not given any of the benefits associated with the Elite status. It wasn't until after several hours of inquiry and chasing down the Captain's Club representative that our status was updated and new seapass cards were reissued.
Cabin. The family ocean view stateroom with veranda is great for families. It has a terrific balcony. However, our stateroom had some quirkiness because of its location. First, our stateroom was in a corner, which required that we pass through two sets of doors to enter the stateroom. Sometimes, it smelled of sewage when passing between the first and second stateroom doors. That's right, our seapass card had to be used twice to enter the stateroom because of how the entry is located. However, upon entering the stateroom, there was plenty of storage for luggage and clothing. Overall, the stateroom is decent but it is time for an upgrade. You could clearly see worn areas in the bathroom. Part of the door frame had rusted away, probably because of water damage.
It goes without saying that one would choose our stateroom for the fantastic balcony. Our balcony was located aft on the starboard side. We really liked the location and spaciousness. However, our balcony looked as if it had not been cleaned in months. The cleanliness was so lacking that we called Guest Relations and inquired how often the balcony was cleaned. There were even grease marks and hand prints on the sliding glass door. Yes, soot from the engine exhaust can drift onto the balcony, but that is a minor and rare inconvenience that did not bother us. Our balcony was just not cleaned as it should have been. The lounge chairs were in no better shape and I requested several times to have padding placed on the lounge chairs so that I would not get my clothes dirty. We had hoped to have breakfast on our balcony, but after seeing its condition, we ditched this idea. Once we got the padding on the lounge chairs and had someone clean the balcony floor, we enjoyed it. Again, given the caliber of this cruise line, we should not have had to address any of these problems. These issues should have been fixed before we set foot into the stateroom.
Our stateroom attendant's service was not as good as it should have been. There were four of us staying in the stateroom and for some reason, our bathroom would only have two washcloths. We called once and informed that our bathroom should be provisioned with a quantity of four. In addition, the lowest point of the cruise occurred when our bathroom was provisioned with towels that had holes in them. I couldn't believe that Celebrity would allow this to happen on their cruise line. I've never received a towel with holes on any of my Royal Caribbean cruises.
Captain's Club. Captain's Club is definitely not as good as Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society. As Elite members, we received a one-page sheet of coupons (15 coupons to be exact). Some of the coupons were good, but I couldn't help think that Celebrity was not a step above Royal Caribbean in this regards. Which is better? A sheet of 15 coupons for each adult (Celebrity), or a booklet of 28 coupons for each adult and a booklet of 15 coupons for each child (Royal Caribbean). Further, the evening social hour in the Michael's club is a nice touch, but this benefit was not available until March 12, two days into the cruise. Again, we thought Royal Caribbean's Concierge social hour was better and more accommodating than what we experienced on this cruise.
So, one may ask, what did we enjoy about the cruise? The food! We enjoyed the food. The quality of the food was very good. We initially had a seating arrangement problem due to a member of our party having a food allergy. Our head waiter resolved the seating problem and also went out of his way to make the food experience enjoyable for our kids. Our waiter and assistant waiter were very attentive.
Despite the problems, we enjoyed the cruise. As you can imagine, we did not think it was a step above Royal Caribbean. Perhaps, Celebrity's newer ships in their Solstice class provide a much more enjoyable experience. However, we are not going to take the chance and have opted to cancel our future reservation on Celebrity's Reflection. We will continue with our August cruise on the Vision of the Seas. Finally, we hope Celebrity Millenium is much better after it becomes Solsticized.