I selected this particular sailing for my husband and myself based on aft cabin availability, pricing and time of year. We had a very early flight the first day and arrived at the terminal right before they let everyone in. We were ... Read More
I selected this particular sailing for my husband and myself based on aft cabin availability, pricing and time of year. We had a very early flight the first day and arrived at the terminal right before they let everyone in. We were processed very quickly and only had to wait about 30 minute before boarding the ship. We were in our cabin by 2:00 pm and had time to unpack and settle in before the muster drill. The muster drill was run efficiently and left us time to get on deck to watch the sail away. The ship was easy to navigate and I found things easily (except for my room since I insisted on turning right instead of left in the hallway leading to the back of the ship almost every time I returned to my room - definitely my issue and not the ship layout.
The ship is very pretty and we never felt it was crowded or that we had to wait for anything, i.e. dining room seating, leaving the theater following a show, getting a drink at any of the bars, etc. The ship is immaculate and the staff is amazing. The food in the Cafe buffet was always good with a wide variety of options to choose from. The main dining room provided several different selections each day - some we liked and some we did not - but we did not starve one single day or meal all week. Our wait staff, Terence and Bonilla were fantastic!
We chose to eat at the Tuscan one evening when they offered 30% off of the regular $45 price per person. The menu is great with lots of choices and you can order anything and/or everything off the menu for that price. They did have two specialty steaks for an additional cost so my husband ordered the 22 ounce porterhouse for an additional $18, but he ended up sending it back to the kitchen. It was a horrible looking steak and was truly not edible - we found it surprising that the kitchen would even send it out, but they replaced it with a melt-in-your-mouth 9 ounce filet mignon and it was incredible. The desserts were amazing and we each ended up trying 2 different ones and sharing. Had we gone again for this special I would have ordered one of each category and shared each item with my husband.
We always book an aft balcony and we loved our cabin - 7364 - and our room steward, Jayson. He was so pleasant and attentive and we found no fault with our room at all. On a side note - i found on day 5 that our balcony chairs reclined, so i reclined my chair and layed back to enjoy the sun. I raised my leg up to scratch an itchy ankle and the chair flipped backwards so that my head ended up down on the decking and my legs were in the air. I did hit my heat on the side of the ship but not hard. Fortunately, my husband was there to try and get me upright. I ended up having to roll out of the chair sideways and twisted my left knee in the process. I did report the incidence to guest services so they would know there was an issue with the chairs tipping. My husband was very concerned that I had hit my head against the steel, so I was fortunate that I was not seriously hurt.
Another issue I encountered that same day was that they were taking the deck chairs and tables into their work area to re-varnish the arms of the chairs and the table tops, along with polishing the tops of the table by the sofa. Around the same time they were vacuuming the ducts in each cabin with a large shop vac, which was stirring up dust in the cabin. The combined smell from the varnish, polish and dust set off my asthma and I had two asthma attacks. I went to guest services to report my health issue and ask how long they would be doing this maintenance work. The agent called the supervisor and I was told the work would stop immediately, but when I returned to my room later that day they were still doing both projects and continued them the following day too.
The shops on the ship carried the same item types as any other ship we have been on, along with the same hallway table sales, but did not have any shop raffles all week. The bingo games were held every day we were at sea (including the day we were going to Puerto Rico as they don't consider this a port day??, but it was not cheap to play and the prizes were decent but not that impressive. there was a raffle on the last day but only one prize was raffled off, which angered several people who had invested in bingo all week.
The entertainment was great for the most part. Kevin Spacy is the ship's cruise director and he was very entertaining and also very visible throughout the day - and very approachable. He has a great video on YouTube showing his compilation of various dance moves he has witnessed by ship guests throughout the years. The ship's entertainers performed 3 shows all week, which is less than what we are used to from other cruises. The cast is very talented but we - once again - found some of the singing so loud that it was hard to understand what they were singing. All 3 performances were colorful and included acrobatics that were well orchestrated and pleased those in attendance, but the stories themselves were puzzling to my husband and me and we just did not get them. The entertainers they brought on board the in between nights were all great - those we really enjoyed.
On Wednesday night/Thursday morning I woke to loud talking and realized it was coming from the balcony above my cabin. My door was locked closed so it was tightly closed, but when I went out onto my balcony to check out the source I found that there were 3 younger guys standing on their balcony above mine have a very loud conversation at 4:00 am. I returned to my bed and waited another 20 minutes but they continued their loud conversation outside their cabin, so I then returned to my balcony and asked them nicely to please take it inside, which they did.
The ports were all ones we has been to previously, so we chose to skip tours in San Juan and Saint Martin, but did a train ride in Saint Kitts. For our visit to San Juan, I called Celebrity three times asking if we were docking at the Pan American pier (which is located near a small airport and an industrial area and requires a cab to get anywhere) or the pier at old San Juan. I was told each time that we were docking at the Pan American pier - we ended up docking at old San Juan !?! We got off the ship and walked through some pretty shabby areas to get to the actual upscale shops recommended by the ship - very disappointing. The highlight was finding a shop on a side street called The Butterfly People - very high end pictured using beautiful butterflies that had naturally run their life cycle. Otherwise, there was nothing within walking distance of the pier that I would want to revisit.
We did not do a tour on Saint Martin, but did get off the ship and paid to take the water taxi to the main shopping area ($7.00/pp for all day pass) so that I could buy some good vanilla from a local shop - only to find the shop was closed for renovations, which was not noted on their website. We returned to the ship with no vanilla
On Saint Kitts we took a very fast bus ride to the train over some pretty bumpy roads. The train ride was close and relaxing, but could have been done in less than two and a half hours as the terrain did not change all that much - in a couple of areas the housing was improved from shacks, but the island is still very humble and their is not a lot of wealth among the population.
I gave the shore excursions a lower rating just because we are seasoned cruisers and always find the shore excursions to be very costly and often disappointing.
Overall, I would highly recommend this ship. Read Less