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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Review of Celebrity Eclipse We tried out the Eclipse on its ten day journey from Hawaii to Vancouver. We usually cruise on Princess so it was inevitable that we tended to compare the two. The Eclipse is a very elegant ship but we ... Read More
Review of Celebrity Eclipse We tried out the Eclipse on its ten day journey from Hawaii to Vancouver. We usually cruise on Princess so it was inevitable that we tended to compare the two. The Eclipse is a very elegant ship but we found that some of the venues were a bit sterile feeling, in particular the main dining room and the Quasar lounge. The main dining room is far too crowded, too many tables and strangely uncomfortable tub like chairs. The buffet area however was wonderful, spacious food stations with lots of access room between, definately superior to the Lido area on Princess ships. The main theatre is well laid out and quite comfortable. Our outside cabin was lovely but the bathroom is poorly designed with very limited counter space and strange tiny drawers and cabinets. They do have sliding doors for the shower which is just brilliant. No shower wand which would be preferable. Buffet food was excellent, lots of choices but finding a table was often difficult and line ups for the food were long. We were very disappointed in the dining room fare. Poor choices and variable quality food as well as disorganized service. Princess offers a far better dining experience. We did not use any of the specialty dining rooms even though they were very aggressively promoted. A major negative for us was the coffee. Very poor in the buffet and dining areas and the specialty coffee offered in the Cafe was very overpriced (5$ compared with Princess' $2.75). We purchased Starbucks instant in Honolulu and used that during the cruise. We have yet to see any cruise line that can compare favourably with Princess' International Cafe. Entertainment was very good, perhaps the best we have experienced. The singers and dancers were very talented and gave excellent performances. Shops were nothing special, overpriced and limited selection, however we don't patronize cruise ship shops anymore. Staff were friendly and efficient in most areas. Our cabin steward was wonderful, shout out to Marco! All in all a good, not excellent cruise and Princess will remain our go to cruise line. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Firstly, the ship is in excellent shape. This was our 7th Celebrity cruise, the first time to Hawaii and also the most sea days we have experienced. Much of the staff was top notch, as friendly as you would expect on a Celebrity ship. ... Read More
Firstly, the ship is in excellent shape. This was our 7th Celebrity cruise, the first time to Hawaii and also the most sea days we have experienced. Much of the staff was top notch, as friendly as you would expect on a Celebrity ship. Food was excellent, except a bit of a hiccup in Murano one evening, but no one is perfect. We have never participated in so many activities, specifically the dance classes (keeping busy during the long sea days) The Hawaiian dancers/instructors were amazing. I really enjoy working out and they actually had a couple of super tough workout classes which had no charge. My workout experiences were excellent. Our cabin was not the cleanest when we arrived, major fingerprints on the doors. Cleaned it ourselves. The biggest problem with the cabin was the noise, neighbor’s phone sounded like it was in our cabin, there must have been a speaker right outside our door, so even though we were trying to sleep in, we had to hear every single tender announcement. All the way to “39 and 40”. We love to sleep in on vacation, was only able to once. Room attendant would vacuum the neighboring cabins shortly after 8 am.... Biggest beef is the entertainment and specifically the music. Must have heard “Rock around the Clock”, four times.......either performed by one of the house bands or a DJ. I googled the song, it was released in 1954........really??? So you would have to be 80 to have “grown up” with music that old, I have nothing against 80 year olds as I plan to be one someday but I don’t think they were up dancing at 11 pm.. Was told that Celebrity carefullly pre-selects music. I don’t expect to hear Eminem but a song that is 64 years old played at least 4 times is crazy. That was just an example of how poor the music was. Clearly Celebrity is aiming at a demographic much older than we are, and we are in our 50s. I planned to discuss this with the cruise director but he was no where to be found. Bottom line, we had a pretty good time but we would never cruise to Hawaii again, it is too beautiful to spend 5 days to get there, fly straight there and enjoy the beautiful islands longer. Secondly, we are taking a break from cruising. Some people cruise to stuff themselves with food and booze, cant deny we do a bit of that but we also cruise to enjoy dancing, getting out at night etc. This had to be the worst cruise for music we have experienced as Celebirty seems to be catering to the 70 plus set. I don’t think I will ever like songs like Rock around the clock but perhaps in a decade or two I won’t mind so much... Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We have sailed with Celebrity for years, enjoying many of their ships and cruises. We booked this cruise, starting in Hawaii and going on to Canada. It's fair to say that we are now unkeen to remain with Celebrity. Starting by ... Read More
We have sailed with Celebrity for years, enjoying many of their ships and cruises. We booked this cruise, starting in Hawaii and going on to Canada. It's fair to say that we are now unkeen to remain with Celebrity. Starting by saying that the room steward and our waiters were fabulous. I have simple dietary needs. Well, simple to explain, but apparently almost impossible to deliver on board, it seems, for reasons too mysterious. The hotel before the cruise managed fine. Other restaurants on land manage fine. The hotel after the cruise managed fine. I am not a chef and can manage to feed myself effortlessly. On Celebrity, the chef for Blu managed by just not giving me food. For example, each day, I'd watch the other diners with their basket of bread. For me, nothing. Their meals had sauces. For me, nothing. They had a full range of desserts. For me, same one offered every night, barring one where the lovely waiters took pity on me. Cakes -nothing. Pastries - nothing. The actual waiters and staff were good. But I was left truly hungry on the ship. The cafe had foods that nearly all contained the things I can't eat. The grill likewise. The 'highlight' for me was a main course which consisted of one dry piece of meat balanced on two burned brussels sprouts. I actually burst into tears afterwards. Interestingly, the male diner next to me was given sauces I could easily eat, so the chef could do them. He just didn't bother with mine each time. The waiters tried their best to improvise, but they are not the chefs. Then, there was the nightmare flight on their preferred partner from LA to Honolulu, Delta, booked via Celebrity. We arrived in pain and exhausted, unfed and with nothing to drink. Crammed into tiny uncomfortable seats for six hours. Having paid for an upgraded service, we even had to pay for a snack that I couldn't then eat. Then, their transfers to and from the ship and hotels, again organised by Celebrity. Don't ask how two of the four of those went. But if you enjoy paying a lot of money for a car transfer that turns up an hour late, or one that drops you unexpectedly in the middle of an unknown town at near-midnight, some distance from your hotel, with four heavy cases, you're in the right place. "Oh the road's closed ahead - I'll have to leave you here. The hotel is just round the corner". It wasn't. No attempt to find anywhere closer. Again, left in huge pain trying to get the cases to the hotel. As a disabled traveller, Celebrity have always been good until now. This time...I just can't explain how exhausting it was. Celebrity, you need to do better than this. We've been very loyal and, as normally-suite-level customers, spent a lot of money with you. We are in conversation with their guest relations people. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
The speakers were outstanding. The waiters and room attendants were excellent, as usual. The ship's cabins are starting to show a bit of aging. I understand that the Solstice is going into dry dock for some updates soon, so maybe ... Read More
The speakers were outstanding. The waiters and room attendants were excellent, as usual. The ship's cabins are starting to show a bit of aging. I understand that the Solstice is going into dry dock for some updates soon, so maybe that will be addressed. Most of the nightly entertainment in the theater was pretty good--we enjoyed the people they brought in more than their own productions. However, every show we attended was way too loud. We (and others) left shows because of the noise level. A hint--we discovered half way through the cruise that there are free ear plugs available at the guest relations desk. The only specialty restaurant we used was the Tuscan Grill. It was wonderful. I found the menu in the main dining room for main courses a bit difficult for me to find items I would enjoy. Desserts--no problem. The Windjammer menu was the same old same old and we tried to avoid going there. It is crowded at mealtimes, although the staff does try to clear tables as quickly as possible and are always very helpful. In Maui we took "The Road to Hana". Be aware that it is a very long day. There are beautiful waterfalls and lovely views but after a couple of hours I had seen enough. The excursion lasted approximately 11 hours. All the tour guides on the excursions from the ship were very good. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We had to toss up between a Good or Very Good rating - why - mainly because of the Main Dining Room experience of an evening. The service was good however the food was far from acceptable, especially after sailing on RCL's Legend of ... Read More
We had to toss up between a Good or Very Good rating - why - mainly because of the Main Dining Room experience of an evening. The service was good however the food was far from acceptable, especially after sailing on RCL's Legend of the Seas in December, which is one of their older ships sailing however had much more appealing food in their Main Dining Room with absolutely no complaints. When the Solstice's Maitre D and the Sous Chef visited our dining table towards the latter end of the cruise to ask about the food, the Sous Chef blamed Australian Beef for the poor quality. Not a good thing to do! It was like waving a red rag to a bull saying that to Australians! After all, we do export to Japan, so questions need to be asked as to was it the cuts purchased by the staff, quality of what they chose to purchase, their actual supplier, preparation or cooking of the beef (and other meals) that resulted in substandard meals. Even a butcher on the cruise was complaining. We were not the only ones as many who had sailed on her before were bitterly disappointed after previously wonderful experiences. And the quality and presentation of the food overall was not just about beef. One example is I personally had Beef Goulash for a starter, there was one piece of beef the size of a small finger nail in the Beef Goulash, the rest was liquid. Another example was having Beef Cheeks which was predominantly full of fat which I couldn't really spit out sitting with a table of other people. The Creme Brûlée was the same nearly every evening whereas on other ships they actually make different flavours. The food was just average at its best. We had been allocated 8.30pm dining which is too late for me, therefore the first thing we did was to head to the Dining Room to plead for 6pm dining (due to my illnesses) which we were told may be unlikely as it was already fully booked with people requesting 6pm from 2 years earlier whereas we had recently booked. It was a pleasant surprise the next day receiving advice they had a table for us and we dined with some wonderful people who we plan to keep in touch with. It may or may not have been the food offering, however, this Dining Room was 'at least' 25% empty the majority of the time. This is the first time I have criticised a cruise after sailing on many. More specifically because this cruise was on my Bucket List as I have terminal Illnesses and I really wanted to sail on Celebrity while I could as I had heard so many wonderful things about the line. Even the bread on the table was predominantly a white loaf sliced in a basket, whereas on Legends, the Assistant Waiter would come around with a tray full of a beautiful variety of freshly baked rolls and bread to offer. Solstice felt more like a cafeteria in this regard. We chose to dine at one of their Specialty Restaurants, Muranos, a couple of times and the food, as well as their service was superb. Their fillet steak melted your mouth and was also Australian. No excuses there! There are two other Specialty Restaurants on the ship which we also heard good reviews about. The Buffet was probably the best we've experienced with a great selection of food. No complaints there however I needed to eat where there was a less likelihood of picking up bacteria or a virus due to my low immunity and not the ships attempts to maintain excellent cleanliness in every area of the ship which they did. Oh, and room service was very efficient with good quality of food. And, there are other places offering food in different parts of the ship that seemed to be well accepted by the guests. The other thing we must comment on was that we chose this same dining room for breakfast and lunch and could not complain about anything at these times. The other reason for our questionable rating was the tendering, for example when we tendered off The Bay of Islands NZ, we were not able to disembark the ship by tender boats until around 12.30pm when half the day was gone so it really impacted on our visit and restricted what we could do and where we could go. This was despite us obtaining our tender tickets around 9.05am when they started distributing them at 9am. Must have been a lot of people there early! There were many many annoyed and frustrated people at this time. The other tendering ports still had minor issues however the staff had made great improvements from the Bay of Islands. Also, we had to hand in our Passports prior to arriving in Tahiti and 'that' was a big mess too, resulting in guests queueing for at least 40 minutes or more, then the reverse when collecting them prior to visiting Maui and going through the US Customs on the ship. There 'were' better options to be considered for this process rather than alienating and inconveniencing guests, such as a deck at a time, or not all on the same day (for handing in the passports), or pre boarding Immigration Inspectors at the earlier port (may be cost and space prohibitive but...) These things need to be addressed if the ship wants to maintain a questionable 5 Star experience which we expected and were really looking forward to. Now I've got that off my chest, which I do hope has now been addressed, the ship and cruise was really nice. Externally there is a bit of tiredness showing and the balconies need new furniture, however 'she' is going in for some upgrades in September which can account for this so no real issues. The cabins were comfortable, clean and had everything we needed. The service overall was excellent. The entertainment in the main theatre was also excellent (best we've experienced). The Cruise Director Ben again excellent, funny and Australian!! The Lectures we attended were excellent especially Chelsea who is a young, vibrant, enthusiastic and knowledgeable marine biologist. We didn't avail ourselves of the shore excursions and chose to do our own thing on shore as we had visited these ports before, we just wanted to sail on Celebrity! Ports were also excellent (bad luck about the overcast weather in Tahiti not allowing the beautiful colours of the water to be exposed). We both couldn't help but wonder why the ship has the natural grassed area on Deck 15, which is roped off anyway. It seems to be a waste of space with few passengers seeming to avail themselves of the deck itself. The Glass Blowing and a bar is on this deck and worthwhile visiting...otherwise.... The ship itself presents well, is easy to navigate (internally), has a lovely spacious lounge and bar area overlooking the ocean views where Trivia is played of a day but where you can relax with a book to read in comfortable seating. Two lovely pools, internal and external which appear to be well maintained. The theatre is beautiful and there is an additional smaller theatre next to it for smaller activities, bingo, lectures etc. There is really nothing lacking in these areas. The shops are central, between the main dining areas and theatre and alongside the casino area. There were not many children on this particular cruise, however those that were on it seemed to be well behaved so obviously well cared for by the staff. There appeared to be lots of activities in the latter part of the evening for those who could stay awake LOL. We were off to bed after dinner and the 9pm show however the ship was still 'alive' at this time. Embarkation and Disembarkation ran smoothly. No issues here whatsoever. Overall, we did really like and enjoy the cruise but the food issues really spoilt it for us. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We chose this cruise on internet reports that Celebrity Solstice is an upmarket experience in cruising. The cabin was good. The crew were good. The shipboard experience was a let-down. No coin laundry; a debacle in tendering at Bay of ... Read More
We chose this cruise on internet reports that Celebrity Solstice is an upmarket experience in cruising. The cabin was good. The crew were good. The shipboard experience was a let-down. No coin laundry; a debacle in tendering at Bay of Islands where it took us over 3 hours to get on a tender. (Improved in later ports); main Dining Room food was a huge disappointment. Overcooked meals. Many dishes tasteless. We purchased a 5 night specialty Restaurants package. Murano and Tuscan Grille were excellent in menu, food, and service. Silk Harvest Asian Restaurant was a disaster - dried out whole fish, long overcooked duck breast. Drink prices on board were over the top!! Repeat Celebrity Solstice cruise guests reported that the standard of the ship was way below previous cruises. Another huge annoyance to a lot of cruisers was the expulsion from the only seaview lounge on the ship at 5pm to allow private access to a "higher paying" class of guest. No more Celebrity!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
I first want to say that we sailed on Reflection last year and loved it, had no complaints. We have over 20 cruises under our belt, most on RCI. So when we booked Solstice to Hawaii we were expecting a great cruise. However there were ... Read More
I first want to say that we sailed on Reflection last year and loved it, had no complaints. We have over 20 cruises under our belt, most on RCI. So when we booked Solstice to Hawaii we were expecting a great cruise. However there were too many things we were not happy with and I doubt I will go back on this ship. First the food in the dining room was not what we were use to. Many times it was cold, it was tasteless and they have made the portion sizes very small. I asked one of the chefs what was going on and all he could say was cost cutting. Trying to reduce waste. Also the dining room was so cold by the end of the cruise I couldn't wait to go home. I was sick of freezing to death during dinner. The Staff was amazing, very happy and always said hello. They made the cruise for us. I have not one thing bad to say about them. The ship was clean but all common areas were freezing all the time. Again we have never been so ready to go home and be comfortable. Also we were disappointment in the shows at night. They were the worst we have seen. The dancers were great, but the others were not what we were use to. The tours we did were amazing, can't say enough about them. Hawaii was beautiful. Our Hawaiian ambassador, June was wonderful. She held hula classes for 5 days and I never missed one. It was the highlight of my cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
After being on Constellation and Infinity, we were expecting a major step up to the Solstice class. Way too many staff were disinterested or rude. I was stunned by the obscene pricing increases on drinks, an obvious railroad into a ... Read More
After being on Constellation and Infinity, we were expecting a major step up to the Solstice class. Way too many staff were disinterested or rude. I was stunned by the obscene pricing increases on drinks, an obvious railroad into a drinks package. We were given the used car salesman hard sell on day 1, anywhere we went. I don't go on vacation to be hard sold on anything. It it happens again, I'll likely never sail with them again. The shows were repeats, and quite average. Dining room staff were great as normal, but the food was a "blah". The menus were identical to our Infinity cruise from a year and a half prior. Oceanview Cafe was horrid, and there was no service to speak of and very little variety changes from day to day. Silk Harvest was nasty, not worth the $35 cover. Murano was fantastic as normal, amazing food and service. I mentioned to my spouse this is how the cruise main dining room used to be a decade ago. Tuscan was good, but made better by a very attentive server. The best part - the hot glass show was awesome! There was nothing that stood out to make this a "WOW" cruise, and are now debating cancelling our 28 day Transpacific for 2016. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
My husband and I are in our mid 50's; Celebrity Captain's Club members. !st time on Solstice , but militple times on Equinox, Eclipse and Reflection. This ship was a huge disappointment on so many levels. Lack of service, ... Read More
My husband and I are in our mid 50's; Celebrity Captain's Club members. !st time on Solstice , but militple times on Equinox, Eclipse and Reflection. This ship was a huge disappointment on so many levels. Lack of service, officer and crew rudeness towards passengers , tendering was a mojor safety issue; the crew was having difficulty leaving passengers with the impression this was their first attempt at doing this. Selection of food items in the Oceanview Cafe was nothing speail. Cruise lacked holiday spirit, fun. Crew members appeared miserable and the gift shops were shop worn I had a $500 credit and had a hard time spending it . Great ship for new cruisers because of itinerary. Ship is in dire need of a refurbishment very worn but EXTREMELY clean . RCI is putting money into building new RCI ships and fogetting about the beaulitifl Celebrity Solstice line Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
This was my first trip with Celebrity Embarkation very good with no hitches Cabin was good but no tea /coffee facilities? Ship was excellent and being on deck 12 access was easy to everything No laundromat facilities? ... Read More
This was my first trip with Celebrity Embarkation very good with no hitches Cabin was good but no tea /coffee facilities? Ship was excellent and being on deck 12 access was easy to everything No laundromat facilities? Gymnasium was good with plenty of equipment and clean towels Food in the Dining room was excellent however bistro food was noticeably below average as the trip progressed Only one decent Coffee shop (Lev 5) with constant lines of people most of the time? Entertainment was very average with exception of The Circus Solei night which was outstanding. On deck activities were nearly non existent. Too many 'at sea' hours spent on deck with most people sound asleep with their mouths open!! 30 min of dancing at lunch time is not enough to keep passengers interested nor indeed was a single guitarist singing to 500 people, mostly asleep. People needed to DO stuff. One passenger threw a a blow up ball int the pool and instantly the pool filled up with people having fun...Really!! Instead of putting on entertainment each evening in the theater, Celebrity would run a movie which you could watch in your suite anyway Highlight of the cruise was rescuing the two stranded yaughtsmen from the island I thought the costs charged on the ship for drinks were nothing short of obscene. The dining room would happily charge upwards of US$55 for for wines which could be purchased in Australia for AU$10 !!. Beer was costing US$8.50 for a bottle. Scotch and cocktails up to US$15 On shore Excursions, if booked on the ship, were heavily loaded. I booked all tours on shore. One tour cost $155 if booked on board, $50 on shore, with full fare paying passengers sitting along side us on the tour? There was a Hawain get together on deck at 10.30pm on the night before we disembarked in Honoloulu.? Why not a couple of days before hand, earlier start and lots of great music and Hawain dress up and maybe get your dance performers involved? It was the opinion of quite a number of passengers that Celebrity was intent on doing the minimum required for the cruise and at the same time suck as many dollars they could from their passengers. Celebrity....this was our first experience with you and it will be our last A super Ship does not always mean a super cruise. It is the people and the experiences that will be remembered Celebrity... You need to look very closely at your competitors...and learn Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
I booked this cruise as my girlfriend's birthday gift in January of 2014 based on a couple of reasons. 1st reason was the 123 go option that enabled us to enjoy the classic beverage package for two plus a minimal onboard credit. 2nd ... Read More
I booked this cruise as my girlfriend's birthday gift in January of 2014 based on a couple of reasons. 1st reason was the 123 go option that enabled us to enjoy the classic beverage package for two plus a minimal onboard credit. 2nd was the hansgrohe massaging shower head that is advertised on both the Celebrity website and in one of their catalogues. Shortly after booking the cruise I received an email from the travel agent that there would be a hand held shower head in the room. The drink package was a nice touch although due to sea conditions for the first three days did not drink much alcohol (not the cruise ship's fault on the rough seas). For the hand held shower head, it was non existent. It was explained to us at the front desk that all shower heads on the ship were fixed heads that could not be removed (except for Aqua Class Rooms and some suites had hand held). Upon returning to the room and looking at the shower head I made an attempt to remove it. It came apart with hand pressure only exposing a standard shower nozzle thread. Upon showing the confirmation by email from Celebrity that there would be a hand held shower head in the room the front desk rudely stated that nothing could be done. I tried to explain that I had sailed on the Solstice on the same floor but in one concierge class down C1 in 2010 and C2 in 2014. The room location was only about 40' away from where I stayed the last cruise. Instead of a hand held shower head in the bathroom there was a shower stool. Somehow between the time of booking the cruise in January and sailing in September there had been a mix up on the request and Celebrity would do nothing. To help make up for the lack of the hand held shower head and no flower in the bathroom, the supervisor for housekeeping sent up a complimentary bouquet of flowers (big deal). She also advised my girlfriend that could have on free hair wash at the spa. One hair wash for a 12 day cruise ? Are you f'ing kidding me? Throughout the cruise we continued to visit this Supervisor (Sandra from South Africa). Although we never got the hand held shower head, we got $150 taken off of the house account and $ 500 deposit towards another cruise. I am not done with them yet. For the record ... I read through one of my Celebrity cruise books for the 2012/13 season and visited the Celebrity site today to see the benefits of the concierge class staterooms. It states in black and white on both : Hansgrohe massaging shower heads will be provided in all concierge class staterooms. The evening hors d'oeuvres are a joke as compared to what they were the first time on the Solstice in 2010 and the Reflection in 2012. There used to be a different variety each night of small sandwiches, meats, and fruits. Now there is an assortment of olives 4 chips and a dip. The same thing every evening. The amount of cutbacks is amazing especially when you have experienced first class everything on the ship on previous cruises to these penny pinching measures that they are providing now. The daily delivery of fruit has noticeably been cut back as far as selection. Do not waste your money on the chocolate covered strawberries. For $26 USD the plate that came to the door was 6 tiny strawberries that were barely covered with chocolate. I had to catch the girl who delivered the strawberries to remind her that I had ordered 12 of these berries. They arrived shortly after but each serving was thrown together. There was absolutely no presentation. At least the strawberries had decent flavour. It is frustrating with all of these cutbacks especially when there is no notification prior to final payment. Before the final payment. There was even big cutbacks with the food at the main dining room. There used to be a brunch in the main dining room on the first sea day (we had 6 in a row). We were advised that this was cut out 1 year ago. Yet more cutbacks! This was supposed to be a Hawaiian cruise. It certainly did not feel like it. Not once during the 12 days of the cruise was there any Hawaiian music being played in public areas such as hallways, by the pool etc. Will I sail with Celebrity again ? Yes Will I book in a concierge room again? Maybe if the price is right and Celebrity picks up their act and delivers the same service that I had on the previous two cruises. Had I never sailed with Celebrity and experienced first class service and this was my first cruise with them ... it would have been my last with Celebrity. Who knows, maybe they had a new crew on the ship and those that were on this ship had never experienced the first class things that were delivered in the past. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
We are pretty new to cruising, our first and only other cruise was 2 years ago in the southern Caribbean with Carnival. Booked this trip to Hawaii with Celebrity for our 25th anniversary, along with friends. All we kept hearing from people ... Read More
We are pretty new to cruising, our first and only other cruise was 2 years ago in the southern Caribbean with Carnival. Booked this trip to Hawaii with Celebrity for our 25th anniversary, along with friends. All we kept hearing from people was how upscale Celebrity was, and that it would be much more luxurious than Carnival. Really? We had a great trip to Hawaii and a lot of fun while there, but that had more to do with Hawaii itself and the friends we were traveling with. To be honest we didn't find Celebrity to be better than Carnival in any way, certainly would not consider it a luxury line. Embarkation in San Diego/Ensenada was crazy. All passengers have to go thru the Pier in San Diego, they had limited sandwiches and water/lemonade available while we waited. No secure place to leave your carry on luggage, so unless you want to drag it around with you you're stuck there until the buses start to leave. We were just lucky to have been given the wrong bus number (the girl asked me if I was in a suite and not knowing any better I said yes - we were giving bus 6, our friends were given bus 30, but we managed to switch them to bus 6 when we noticed the difference) so arrived in San Diego 12:30 pm, on a bus at 4:00, boarding the ship at 8:00 and able to have a full dinner. Looking at the people getting off the last bus at 10:30 - 11:00 I recognized a few people that had been at the San Diego pier when we were there and heard lots of grumbling that there was no dinner provided for these people once they were on board. Found the food to be pretty average overall. Very little variety in the buffet, pretty much the same thing every day. Found I had to be careful with the omelets and fried eggs, staff tended to rush when there was a line up and you needed to make sure that the eggs were actually cooked. We did not try any of the specialty restaurants, don't see spending an extra $49 per person when I have already paid for my dinner. Formal nights? We made a conscious decision ahead of time not to bother with the formal nights - guys didn't want to carry suits just for 2 dinners. Sitting having a drink in Rendezvous we were very surprised to see what was passing as formal wear for some of the other guests - Hawaaiin shirt and jeans? golf shirt, khakis and running shoes? Didn't see any of these people turned away. Formal night on Carnival was more formal. Attended a couple of seminars while we were at sea. "Suffer from Back Pain" or "Want to Improve your Posture" - that is Celebrity code for Buy this Orthotic Insert ($179). "Learn How to Make Crepes" - Celebrity code for Come and Buy Crepe's for lunch or dessert ($5) or Come and Eat in Our Fancy Olympic Dining Room ($49 each) Accosted every time you passed thru the lobby on Deck 10 on the way to the pool by staff trying to sell you on the specialty restaurants. One thing we did appreciate is that we weren't forced to have our photo taken every time we turned around. Average age on our cruise was 60+, and we were told by one of the staff that it was much better than the previous cruise where it was 70+. Entertainment was very bland with 2 exceptions - Glenn Smith was very entertaining and native Hawaaiin entertainment from Honolulu was excellent. Ran into a few issues with the tipping. Our friend booked some training sessions at the gym and noticed afterward that they had added the 15% gratuity to the cost of the sessions. When he went to Customer Relations they wouldn't take it off. Sorry but if you are paying $120 for a personal trainer why do you need to tip them too? Also on our final night, we had a drink at the pool bar before going to get ready for dinner. My husband noticed the bartender look for the extra tip amount when he picked up our bill, and scowl when he saw it was empty. Not sure what he thought he did that warranted more than a 15% tip. We found the stewards and wait staff all very friendly and helpful. The final issue we had was the fact that you have to be off the boat by 9:30am on the final day - doesn't matter what time your flight is. With Carnival we were bused to the airport, but this time around we were on our own. It was suggested that we try to book an excursion that would drop us off at the airport - but that still would have had us at the airport about 6 hrs early. We decided to go to the airport and rent a car for the day since our flight wasn't until 9:30 pm. Looked into the shuttle provided by the boat but they wanted $25 per person to get us to the airport, checked with the taxis outside and it was < $30 to get all 4 of us to the airport. Despite spending a lot of money for our luxury cruise, I feel like Celebrity had their hand out for more, more, more every where you looked. Recommendation: Baked goods in the Cafe are much better than those in the Oceanview buffet, worth the trip downstairs to grab a muffin, croissant or sticky bun in the morning.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Boarding in Sydney was ok considering 2800 passengers were to be boarding.Upon our arrival at the terminal we were totaly surprised at the demographics of the people standing in line.I would say 90% would have been over 65/70 years old.We ... Read More
Boarding in Sydney was ok considering 2800 passengers were to be boarding.Upon our arrival at the terminal we were totaly surprised at the demographics of the people standing in line.I would say 90% would have been over 65/70 years old.We are a family of 5, aged in our early 40s with 3 teenage kids. Main dining room was good,my only complaint being our seating arrangements.Younger family seated with two elderly couples does not make sense to me.X could have made an effort to seat people with a similar age group together, it would not have been hard. Poolside entertainment was non existent, apart from pool zumba in the mornings for the senior cruisers. There was hardly any music played poolside during the day.I gave up asking the poolside attendants to play music by the pool. Everything seamed to be set up for the senior cruisers from entertainment to the "back pain" lectures. X should let Australian passengers know that these cruises cater mainly for the over 70 age group, change your brochures and let people know, alternatively provide entertainment for the younger guests. Ports of call were good.Some hiccups disembarking in Lahiana(customs) same again in Honolulu (gangway issues)I would blame x cruises for both issues because if I was the responsible X agent in Lahaina I would have ensured that the US customs sent the appropriate number of agents to clear the ship.The same goes for the gangway that did not fit in Honolulu, someone from x cruises should have checked that it would fit prior to its arrival. Overall the Solstice is a huge clean ship.I had no problems with the sanitising that was required to control the Norovirus out break, It all comes down to personal hygiene. I would not recommend X cruises for young families. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2013
We sailed on an 11 night Hawaii cruise from Honolulu to Ensenada Mexico. Unfortunately, as luck had it, the cruise prior to ours had a Norovirus outbreak which affected our cruise and was not handled very well by Celebrity. See last ... Read More
We sailed on an 11 night Hawaii cruise from Honolulu to Ensenada Mexico. Unfortunately, as luck had it, the cruise prior to ours had a Norovirus outbreak which affected our cruise and was not handled very well by Celebrity. See last section Below. SHIP. First, the good points. The Solstice is a very nice ship. It is in very good shape considering its age and the Art Deco and Nouveau design of rooms are appealing. Even full, the ship is not crowded. PASSENGER TYPE The average age of our passage was older than expected, perhaps late 60s or early 70s. It may have been the itinerary or length, but certainly the age was much older than expected. we had lovely table mates and did find some folks to hang out with who, like us, were in their 30s or 40s. There MAY have been 10 children on the whole ship. We cruise with friends who are AWESOME! ENTERTAINMENT. Entertainment reflected this age group. For us, the 60s music of bands and Muzak at the pool were a bit of a bore, and wanted some more current options. We asked for more current music at the pool, but were told the "old people " would complain. the daily activities, likewise, were clearly geared towards retirees. However, we enjoyed the hot glass show and the Solstice "circus"production show should not be missed. X just needs more options if they want a younger crowd. Pool chairs were nice. Solarium pretty, but not nearly as pretty as some of the RCI Solariums. SKY SUITE. Cabin 6304, a SS1, was a highlight. Great, quiet room, with plenty of space, a tub and nice sized balcony. Roomier and much nicer than junior suite on RCI. More like a Grand Suite on RCI. Room attendants very nice. Be warned, there is a LARGE blue roof of the restaurant below that extends many feet past your balcony, for a not so good view of the ocean. And despite no smoking, Those above us threw cigarette butts on our balcony all the time. Nevertheless, great cabin. You do have a lighted magnifying makeup mirror, large TV, iPod docking, robes, umbrellas, tote bags and binoculars...in case those are of import to you. No DVD player. DINING. The main dining room is quite lovely with very good food and good selections. We really enjoyed the food and thought it superior to past cruises and I think a step up from RCI or M Class. Service was exceedingly slow, causing us to miss shows, but our table mates kept us entertained! We ate at Silk Harvest and Tuscan Grille, neither of which we paid for because we had a suite. Both we just OK and certainly the specialty restaurants on the M Class FAR outshine these, as to RCI venues like Chops and Giovanni's Table. I would not pay the high cost to eat at these, but as I said, we did not, so they were fine. SH is probably a bit better than TG. They are worth a $15 surcharge, but not the $35 to $45 extra you pay... Especially given the fine food in the MDR. BARS. As noted below, we really had trouble enjoying these for 9 of the 11 days. I REALLY wanted to try the Molecular Bar, but couldn't until Day 10 due to no menus... See below. When we did try it, the drinks are super unique! Loved the Lucky Cat. Had aMartini Tasting at Martini Bar which was a bore at first.... Served on a little tray.... Until we complained and Orlando rescued us! He dumped out those drinks and poured 18 martinis at once!! Great show and got the passengers excited! We were going to get a drink package, but with issues below, didn't waste our money and felt bad for those who did. PORTS. Hawaii is nice, albeit commercialized and IMHO, a bit overrated. We did ship excursions... Never smart due to overcrowding....except in Hilo where we had a GREAT private tour. We just prefer the beaches, prices and more private excursion options of Caribbean I guess, NOROVIRUS/MANAGEMENT. The real let down of this cruise was management. Let me explain. There was a NV outbreak on the prior cruise and I guess X didn't know what to do? We were supposed to board at 11 am in Honolulu Day 1, but cabins not ready until 6 pm. So what do you do all day on a port day with carryons? You wait around. The cabins had NOTHING in them... No ice bucket, glasses, mirror, hair dryer, menus, robes...no suite amenities... Nothing at all but furniture. Not even the Celebrity Today to explain anything. No card with a table assignment. No one knew where to go or what to do.... No luggage until 10 pm. No one had explanations. We stayed overnight in Honolulu and had Day 2 there as well until midnight. However, our tour was ruined on the Day 2 Honolulu port day by a 4 pm lifeboat drill in the middle of a port day.... We didn't leave until midnight. Many complained and were so upset.... you had to plan everything around an extremely ill timed drill. i complained and one officer told me "too bad." Service was very slow due to no salt, sugar, bread on table. Strangely, things were rationed.... Like you were only given one tiny salt packet if you asked. You almost had to beg for more. I kept saying "can I please have just one more Equal." We didn't get the normal things in the cabin for many many days, and then only after repeated requests. Nothing was self serve, so lines for food or iced tea, water, were very long. Food lines were so long. We waited 30 minutes for a cup of water. Bartenders refused to give us iced water and told us to wait in line. It just got very tiresome waiting for 9 days. There were no menus at any bar, so you had no clue what to order or prices. We asked servers and managers and were told stories from X is changing bar prices, to menus were burned, to no one knew where they were at. Bartenders didn't even have a menu to hold for you to look at. This all went on for 9 of the 11 days, with no explanation, information in daily Celebrity Today, etc. Management just shrugged when asked when we would get things like a glass in the room. No one knew anything and management didn't seem willing to address or fix issues. We understand the need to sanitize, and appreciate that may take a day or two, but this was basically the whole cruise. given the impact on lines, service, cabins, X should have (1) kept passengers informed or at least offered explanations, (2) reallocated staff to reduce lines... Such as instead if having MANY waiters asking if we wanted wine at lunch, assign them to walk around with water or tea or coffee, and (3) figure out solutions sooner... Like at least a menu a bartender could hold?? Anyhow, this was one of the most expensive cruises we have done... More than many European cruises.... We just felt the situation and especially management were subpar. I guess it was luck of the draw, but not sure we would give X another try.... I guess we will see how they handle customer comment cards. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
We were informed by text 2 days before sailing that there was still norovirus on the ship and asked not to arrive for embarkation before 2pm as the staff were deep cleaning the ship. (We know people on the ship that actually caught ... Read More
We were informed by text 2 days before sailing that there was still norovirus on the ship and asked not to arrive for embarkation before 2pm as the staff were deep cleaning the ship. (We know people on the ship that actually caught norovirus at Christmas 2012 so it is sadly an ongoing issue). We arrived for check in at 5pm; it was chaotic and our suitcases arrived at 8pm so many people had to go for dinner in their casual clothes. Celebrity relaxed the rules on this occasion. We never heard anything from the Captain for 3 days and actually enquired if he was aboard as the ship was docked for this period. Because of the norovirus restrictions were in place so there was no self service even in the buffet restaurant and the poor staff worked relentlessly serving everyone with everything, even cutlery. We previously travelled on this ship in 2008 and the service was exemplary; not the case this time. There were no drink menus so no idea how much anything cost; no books in the library, no ice buckets or condiments until the last 2 days when the restrictions were finally lifted. As we had 5 days at sea it made for very long queues especially to get drinks in the buffet restaurant. For some reason this seemed to have a knock on effect on other areas and room service was incorrect every time we ordered it. The ordering by tv wasn't working so we completed the cards given to us by the cabin steward. One day we got 4 cooked breakfasts! We tried completing individual cards for each of us but it seemed that no-one could understand the orders. So much food must have been wasted. Even breakfast in the Grand Epernay dining room was chaotic, taking a long time to get served and having to ask 3 or 4 times for juice. Aside from these issues all the food was good and the menus very varied. The entertainment as usual left a lot to be desired and bizarrely a lot of the late night entertainment took place in the foyer with the singers and dancers performing on the stairs while the purpose built Sky lounge was devoid of entertainment and therefore empty. What I love about the Solstice is the Solarium (adults only)and we always found somewhere to sit even if we arrived at midday. We don't go for the napkin folding or trivia but the lectures were really good. The guy who delivered them was witty and made them very interesting. Nearly all the ports were tendered which seemed to take forever and the organisation once again seemed chaotic. There were many elderly people on the ship so it took ages to get everyone off and on again. We had a lovely spacious cabin with a large balcony; one of the largest there was and made full use of it. Internet was very expensive and I think in this modern world this needs to be addressed. There was no information about the ports of call to be found anywhere and no-one willing to give information if you weren't taking the shore excursions. Even then the information was scant; we booked a snorkeling trip in Kona at $115 each. When we arrived for the excursion we were informed that it wasn't suitable for people with bad backs so had to opt out. This meant we wasted the whole day in Kona and didn't then have the opportunity to arrange anything else as the trip was at 1pm and the last tender was at 4.15pm. We didn't feel it was worth buying the drinks packages; you would have to be a serious drinker to do so. We didn't find the drinks that expensive; cocktails were $6 so cheaper than wine. You can take 2 bottles of wine aboard to drink in your cabin which we did with no problems. Dinner is at 6pm or 8.30; we had the 8.30 option. Other chose anytime dining but apparently this didn't work too well and you had to prepay tips for this option. Overall the cruise was lovely but it was compromised by the restrictions. The ship is well maintained The best part of the trip was sailing past Mount Kileaus at night. Spectacular! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
This was my third cruise on Celebrity. I chose Aqua Class because my traveling companions were booked on that level and they told me that their restaurant, "Blu", was phenomenal, both for its food and service. (More on Blu ... Read More
This was my third cruise on Celebrity. I chose Aqua Class because my traveling companions were booked on that level and they told me that their restaurant, "Blu", was phenomenal, both for its food and service. (More on Blu later.) We were informed before the cruise that that there was a norovirus outbreak on the prior cruise from Sydney, so our embarkation would be delayed. That's fine...let's keep as many people safe as possible. The line getting to the check in area was crazy long, and the bag drop off was hectic (at 3:30pm). Once inside the un-air conditioned terminal, we finally found our check-in point and were given a number that would be called when the ship was ready to receive us. We moved to a part of the terminal that was suppose to have provided us with water and something to eat, but all we found were two empty tables with crew members breaking down boxes that once held cookies. So, we received nothing to quench our thirst as we waited 10 minutes for our number (14) to be called. Once called, we waited on line 30 minutes until we could go up the escalator to join other passengers before we could get on the ship. That line was another 25 minute wait. We situated ourselves in the Cafe on deck 14, and sat to listen to numerous announcements saying that our crew was working hard to disinfect the ship BUT OUR ROOMS ARE NOT YET READY. OK...we are expecting a 5:30pm "all clear" based on Celebrity's earlier pre-cruise communication, so we continue to wait...have a little bite...a beverage... At this point, the every-15 minutes communication on the loud-speaker is getting annoying, because there is nothing encouraging about them. FINALLY, at 6:15pm, we get the all clear. I'd like to suggest to Celebrity that if you are going to be so bold as to put a time down that guests can expect to get into their cabins (in our case, 5:30pm) that you stick to that OR you do something to make the who-knows-when-this-is going-to-end waiting period tolerable by bringing around trays of wine and beer, at your expense. That gesture would have brought you some goodwill and probably lightened the mood for most travelers on this cruise who had already been traveling 12 hours or more that same day, to get to Honolulu on time. So, finally in our rooms...let the cruise begin. Blu: I went to Blu Friday morning, solo, and the service was terrible. My understanding was that Blu is assigned seasoned servers, but you would never know this by my experience. The greeter, Anita, was great and personable, but the servers were bumbling for the most part. I get that we were still on "anti-noro" alert - I've been on other cruise lines that have had to deal with this issue - but this group had no clue what they were doing. My first morning took FOUR servers to get cream to me for my coffee (which was cold by the time they arrived.) I asked the coffee server, who had only coffee and milk....he said he would get the cream. I waited 5 minutes then asked a server who had bowls of sugar if they could find some cream...he left and so another 5 minutes goes by. (FYI - no one has asked me what I want to eat for breakfast yet, and only 15 other patrons were in the dining room at the time.) My next request was made to the (I assumed from his uniform) dining room captain, who looked to his left, then his right and then walked away to find someone. ANOTHER 5 minutes, and then some poor soul comes with a pitcher of skim milk and I was like, FINE, I'll take it. Ridiculous. For the next several mornings, the service was pretty much the same, but I was "armed" with more info based on morning one's experience. So, when I found the sugar person, I knew to ask for salt and pepper too. (Somewhere in their training, these servers were never taught to ask if you would like sugar, cream, milk with your coffee...butter and jam with your toast...salt and pepper with your eggs. They were all 'thrown' by the extra measures taken to avoid our contact while they tried to ensure the noro wouldn't spread to our cruise...these servers had no clue to ask if they could get us the basics you would expect for breakfast in a lovely dining room experience.) This experience was repeated every morning until I couldn't take it anymore and wrote to the hotel director. My comments were dealt with immediately and the service improved...for me. But, I wonder about those that didn't speak up? Many other cruisers spoke of the pitiful service in Blu when I was on different excursions in ports in Hawaii. I knew my experience wasn't unique based on these several conversations, but I kept my critical comments to my own specific experiences when I complained. (and, if you are wondering, dinner service in Blu was hectic and uncomfortable for at least one week. I don't know what was going on with this group of servers. Was it the Maitre d'hÃ'tel? Was it the training? All in all, it took at least a week before service seemed to be of the caliber I was expecting from Blu.) On the other hand, I had dinner one night in Murano, and it did not disappoint! (I've had dinner in Murano on other Celebrity cruises and it was also a fabulous experience.) To make a final food footnote here, the Oceanside Cafe on 14 was terrific. Very good food considering they are cooking for the masses and the bar service and busing service were very strong. My cabin (1525) was wonderful and I had terrific attendants who did a great job of incorporating items back into the room as the virus concern lifted. I had a manicure our first day at sea and I would say to you "save your money". Not worth it. The actual manicure (polish and top coat application) itself was botched and I had to go back for touchups...and for $60, I was not happy. It still looked pretty bad after that, but I wasn't going to waste any more time in the Spa on a manicure. All the bars were great and efficient with the bartenders at the Martini Bar being as entertaining as I've come to expect. The ship was very, very clean throughout and overall I would rate this a good experience...until we get to the disembarkation in Ensenada, Mexico. Ensenada: If Celebrity keeps the same itinerary as we had (Honolulu to Ensenada), I would say to you to be VERY careful about your flight plans from San Diego. Let me explain: You get on a bus in Ensenada, are driven at least 1.5 hours to Border Control in Tijuana by someone who does not really speak english and there is no Celebrity representative with you, go through Customs (thankfully for us, ON THE BUS) for 30 minutes, then another minimal 45 minutes to San Diego airport and/or nearby hotels. We were to be in Solstice theater at 8:30am for departure...and we were...and our bus was called at 11:00am! We pulled out of Ensenada port at 11:15am and arrived at our hotel (five minutes from the airport) at 2:30pm. Thankfully, I had a 'red-eye' and my traveling companions were staying overnight and flying out the next morning, so we had no schedule worries, just general aggravation. However, there was one woman put on our bus (#65 - the last bus) at the last minute who's luggage was on bus #59 and her handicapped husband on an entirely other bus. Our driver went to San Diego airport first...I saw bus #59 go by and stop about four buses ahead of us, and so this woman jumped off to at least get their luggage and then figure out how/when she was going to locate her husband. (I can only imagine the letter she is going to write to Celebrity!) ...and to say nothing about the fact that she left her passports, credit cards and other travel docs on our bus -someone found them on her vacated seat while we were stuck in airport traffic, handed them to me and so I raced off our bus to find her to return them to her. INSANE! I would definitely take a cruise with Celebrity again, (my other two cruises with them were superior to this one) but this itinerary was ridiculous. The funny thing is, our ship was in San Diego the day after we disembarked in Mexico. So, I don't understand, why we could not have disembarked there instead...why did we have to go through all that craziness in Ensenada? Celebrity never clued us in on what to expect at disembarkation. They left all of us stranded in the theatre for hour upon hour with no water, juice, Danish set-up. Everything was closed at 8:00am so we couldn't get coffee, sodas, etc even if we wanted to pay for it. (Although at one point it was announced that the Cafe would be open until 11:30am that, in fact, was not true.) The weather - rain - had been forecast and we were told that the disembarkation process was halted after the first five or so buses left at 6:00am because of the rain - they didn't want us to get wet waiting outside. What? So, grab the porters, all the large umbrellas in the state rooms and let's get going! They had no contingency plan for rain? Really? Celebrity left us in the hands of a lovely guy from Spain named Andres, who did whatever he could to keep us occupied during our long, long wait. He was fantastica and should get a raise and promotion plus additional port time for his efforts in keeping us engaged and not enraged. (Note: Not an officer in sight either during embarkation delay nor disembarkation craziness.) Oh...Celebrity...you let us down this time... I'll still love you, but I'll give you only one more time to redeem yourself. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2012
This was my eight cruise, my third visit to Hawaii and also my second with Celebrity. This was also Celebrity's second chance at getting my vacation right after the awful cruise I had with them in 2010. I'm sad to say that ... Read More
This was my eight cruise, my third visit to Hawaii and also my second with Celebrity. This was also Celebrity's second chance at getting my vacation right after the awful cruise I had with them in 2010. I'm sad to say that Celebrity screwed up their chances within hours of me setting foot on the ship in Ensenada. This review isn't going to be very complimentary as a lot of things went wrong (although I will concede that some problems were not of Celebrity's making) and in my conversations with Tony (KangarooCruiser) on the ship, I have promised him that I will be very fair and I will include the good bits of the cruise (but there weren't many of them). I am going to put the review in catergories starting with.... Landing at USA airports. Despite the fact that several people on the Roll Call said that there were going to be Celebrity staff to "meet & greet", I didn't see one member of Celebrity staff anywhere at San Diego (SD) airport. We were left to fend for ourselves (I had to fend for myself in 2010 too) and the vouchers supplied by Celebrity were useless. I used the free Sheraton shuttle to get to the hotel. Embarkation. We were all taken to the (B) Street Pier in SD to check in. This was a very large building with lots of chairs/benches etc. and on one side all of Celebrity staff waiting to check everybody in. The ship was already there (and it had been since around midnight the same day) but we were not allowed to board it because of something called the Jones Act. This is a 19th. century maritime law which boils down to this...if a ship comes from an American port to another American port without visiting a foreign port in between, then all 50 US states can come and collect taxes from you. So you have around 2,000 people milling around doing nothing as we were not allowed to board the coaches to Mexico. Celebrity did supply refreshments but they were soon gone and people starting to complain that there was nothing to eat/drink. I was told that my coach was number 43 and would be leaving around 5.20 with an approx 2 1/2 hour drive to Ensenada. I was told that I could go out of the terminal to explore SD on my own-this I did but where we were there wasn't a lot to see. I have been informed on a Roll Call (on this site) that the ladies toilets were only three stalls, one of which was broken. This was for around 1,000 women. The "VIP" area was exactly the same as the rest of us. We eventually started to board the coaches around 3.00pm with my coach leaving at 4.05pm. This meant that there were around 55 coaches leaving within minutes of each other going to the San Ysidro USA/Mexico border crossing-THE busiest border crossing. We ended up at the border in one lane as we were in coaches and all of the coaches had to do this. My own coach took over two hours to travel less than 400 yards. Which idiot at Celebrity decided to send 55 coaches to the border at one go? why didn't Celebrity send a coach as and when it was filled by guests that had already checked in? I was also told that some of the drivers got lost in Mexico and didn't get to the ship until very late-I heard of coaches arriving around 11pm. My own journey took five hours and not the 2 1/2 hours predicted. On board. The sail-away was going to be midnight and I decided to video the event. We did sail around 12.30am and I went back to my cabin. I still didn't have my suitcase and I found a letter from Celebrity that they were holding my suitcase on deck 1. I went to deck 1 and found a room with a small fenced off area with several bags (I estimate around 30) in it. There was also an American woman who was clearly very distressed and crying. She was wearing a bathrobe (out of her cabin) and she said that Celebrity wouldn't give her her cases as they wanted to examine them for "contraband". I asked why my case was being kept and I was told that I "was smuggling alcohol on the ship". At this stage I let rip. I am not a patient man at the best of times and this guy got both barrels. I can't write what I said in this review, but I used several words beginning with F, C and whatever else I could think of. He also accused me of bringing a clothes iron with me. Why would I bring such a heavy item with me when I am restricted to 50 pounds in my checked-in bag on a plane? The guy wanted to examine the contents of my case and asked me to open it. This I refused. I also told him that if I didn't get my case back, I would leave it there and walk around the ship completely naked with just a bathrobe and a pair of sandals. All of my toiletries were also in my case so I would not have been able to use any deodorant-and it wouldn't take long for me to start smelling. After a lot of shouting and screaming, he eventually gave me my case. I do not know what happened to the woman, but I seem to recall that she was threatening to sue Celebrity for all the distress. By this time it was very late (I was still unpacking at 2.00am), I was very tired and extremely angry that I was accused of smuggling. Food. This was excellent. The main dining room was very well attended and the food on offer was top notch. The buffet was a also quite good. Breakfasts were in the American taste-VERY crispy bacon (almost cremated), hash browns, corned beef hash, several styles of eggs (scrambled, coddled, Benedict to name a few) a wide selection of fruits, cakes, danish, yogurts etc.....Lunchtimes were nearly all the same with a varied selection of sandwiches, hot and cold food/snacks etc. and the evening meals didn't change a bit (as was the case in 2010 on the Infinity). there were "Chefs Specials", a pizza bar, pasta station, a varied sushi bar and the usual currys/meats/vegetables. What really spoilt the buffet was the people who were behind the counters. The buffet was not self-service and you had to ask the staff several times for the foods that you wanted. Celebrity needs to sort this out. Make the buffet self-service or don't put morons behind the counters. The staff either didn't want to know, didn't care or were half asleep all the time. There are two speciality restaurants on the ship. One was the SS Olympic and the other was Qsine (this is the correct spelling!). A group of us did Qsine. I must say that the style of Qsine is very different. We were given small tastes of everything instead on three or four courses like a normal restaurant. The menu was very good and I thoroughly enjoyed the meal. I didn't go to the Olympic but I was told that the fare was very good indeed. There is a small cover charge for these restaurants but I would recommend doing one or both. Entertainment. I cannot comment on the shows as I didn't see any. I was told that the productions were very good and there was an American comedian on board who was very good indeed (if second-hand reports were true-and I have no reason not to believe them). There were two guest speakers. A Dr. Michelle Thaller who is a NASA scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Centre (along with her husband). She gave lectures of our place in the universe. I really enjoyed these lectures and Dr. Thaller is a very approachable woman who is willing to speak (at length) and to respond to any questions that were asked of her. I was on the same coach (on disembarkation) and thanked her personally for the lectures. There was a Mr. Hall (I forget his first name) who gave lectures on the history of Hawaii which were also very interesting. The Chefs on board also did a cooking demonstration and had an "Iron Chef" competition in the main theatre. Both shows were very entertaining and very amusing. There was also the usual Guest versus Staff shows such as "Dancing with the Stripes" and a Karaoke/Talent competition which (I have been told) were very good. Disabled persons/access. I am not discriminating against disabled persons (my own father is disabled), but Celebrity needs to look at this. The disabled people on the ship seemed to think that they owned it. If you didn't get out of the way of an electric scooter, they just drove at you anyway. Anybody that didn't get out of the way were "bigots". I had first-hand reports of disabled persons knocking people over because they didn't get out of the way. I am all for access for all people, but what about my rights as a fare paying passenger? Don't I get some respect? An example I personally experienced...At breakfast in the buffet, there were a group of Americans (three couples) one of whom was disabled. Do you think that they took the first accessible table available? NO. They had to have the furthest table away from the entrance to the buffet and that meant that everybody had to stop with their breakfast and move chairs out of the way to accommodate this woman's scooter. Not only was this disruptive, when they got sat down, they started to steal other chairs from tables without asking and snatching condiments from other peoples tables as they didn't have enough. There is a word for this-IGNORANT! I would suggest to =X= that the buffet needs to be split up to give disabled persons their own part of the restaurant and not disturb the rest of us. Customs/Immigration at Hawaii. After five days at sea, we had to go through US Customs (again). This was because we has sailed from Mexico and not SD. Do US Customs think some of us had swam back to Mexico? Had we visited another country? NO. The customs inspection was in the Cosmos Lounge. I was told to report at 0745 and when I got there, there was around 500 (maybe more) people waiting to have their passports checked. This included US citizens. After an hour, there was very long line and there was only TWO US Customs officers doing the checking! Eventually, four more officers turned up and they received a round of applause from all of the guests in the lounge. I was in there for one hour forty-three minutes and only just got to my bus for my excursion. There was absolutely no organisation from Celebrity, no apologies and it was a complete mess from start to finish. Excursions. I booked mine online before the cruise and they were very good. I did Mount Kilauea (big island of Hawaii), a Luau in Lahaina, a tour of coffee/chocolate plantations and a general sightseeing tour. These were very good although a little pricey. Several people did independent tours from locals on the piers at each port. If you do these independent tours, they are NOT obliged to get you back to the ship on time. If you miss the ship, you will have to get to the next port at your own expense. Commendations. This cruise wasn't a complete mess. I would like to commend several staff who went above and beyond their duties-Kian and Vince in the Sunset Bar and Shaun in the Rendezvous lounge were very friendly and got to know all of the guests preferences. The rest of the staff were very attentive and nothing was too much trouble. My cabin was very clean all of the time (if a little threadbare) and the ship was kept neat and tidy all of the time. Decor in the general public areas of the ship wasn't to my taste but was in keeping with other cruise ships I have travelled on. On a personal note...my evening meals were spoilt by one of the people on my dinner table. This person was a thirty something US citizen by the name of Jeff. I am certain that he didn't change his shirt for the entire cruise. He was completely naive and didn't have a clue about any other part of the world. He kept saying that the wanted to visit the UK and would be based in London. He didn't seem to understand that we in the UK do not drive on the same side of the road as he does. He also didn't accept that the price of petrol in the UK was at least 2 1/2 times as much as the US. He also wanted 110 volts so that he could bring all of his gadgets with him-we use 240 volts. I could go on about this guy but I eventually snapped and told him in no uncertain terms about which side of the road we drive. I also told him he couldn't drive to Scotland and back in one day (as he said he wanted to do) and that I lived 240 miles north of London and Edinburgh is a six hour drive from my location. I left my dinner table early that night so I didn't say anything I might have regretted later. Two of my fellow diners-a British couple Helen & Karl-were of the same opinion as me and I apologised to them the next night for storming off. Disembarkation. Another mess. We were each given luggage tags so that we got off the ship in time for our respective travel arrangements. My time was 0730 in the Rendez-vous lounge. We were told that all of our luggage had been off-loaded the night before. This was a lie. All you had to do was look over the side of the ship to see shore staff still unloading luggage! When I eventually got to the exit (over half an hour later than scheduled), I was prevented getting off and was told to report to Guest Relations for a message. This I did only to find one person behind the counter. After a few minutes with still only one staff helping and around twenty people behind me, I walked up to the counter a shouted at the top of my voice "..is there anybody here? I have a plane to catch..". With that, three or four staff members suddenly appeared. I said that there was a message for me. Firstly, the staff asked me to stop shouting at them-this I refused to do. I was told that there was no message and that I could leave the ship immediately. This I did still shouting (with lots words not printable in this review) included. When off the ship, Celebrity staff had absolutely no idea which coach we were supposed to be on and I was nearly put on a coach that was going on a tour before dropping people off at the airport. I eventually got on the correct coach only to be confronted by yet another "Jobsworth" (as in '..it's more than my jobs worth..') who insisted on seeing all of my documentation. Were does he think I've been for 11 days? Honolulu airport. I must say that US Customs Officers seem to have been on a charm offensive since the last time I travelled through the USA. Instead of being constantly shouted at and intimidated, I was pleasantly surprised to find very nice people who were very courteous and polite. Finally, if any US citizens are reading this, can I ask you to write to your Congressman/Woman to get the Jones Act repealed. I will not be doing this transfer again! Conclusions. 1. If you are going on a cruise that involves being transferred from a US port to Mexico-make your own travel arrangements. Do not rely on Celebrity to get you there in comfort. 2.Celebrity does not provide "Meet & Greet" staff at airports-you will have to fend for yourself. 3. Don't expect any proper organisation from Celebrity. Everybody I spoke to (including US citizens) was disgusted with the treatment that they received. 4. No explanations. 5. No apologies. 6. And finally....DO NOT book a cruise with Celebrity! This was Celebrity's second chance. I will not be booking a cruise with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
This was our 3rd experience with Celebrity. Our first 2 were excellent. Our connection from the San Diego airport to Celebrity's SD terminal was quick. It went downhill from there. The terminal was chaotic and dirty. We finally ... Read More
This was our 3rd experience with Celebrity. Our first 2 were excellent. Our connection from the San Diego airport to Celebrity's SD terminal was quick. It went downhill from there. The terminal was chaotic and dirty. We finally boarded a bus to Ensenada at around 4PM. The bus proceeded to the border, where we were delayed about 1 hour by Mexican border security (not too bad, others were much worse). As night fell, the passengers enjoyed the darkness, as there was no light in the restroom. ( I leave this to your imagination). We reached the dock at 8 PM. Incredibly, we sat on the dock, waiting to board, until 9:05. After 5 hours, I thought it was reasonable to get an explanation from an officer. I was told that no officer was available, but someone from Guest Relations would contact me. We finally made it to our cabin at 9:20, just in time for the mandatory safety muster. We informed the officer at the muster station that there were still hundreds on guests on the dock, waiting to board. We also mentioned that we hadn't eaten since early that morning. We were told that the Captain had ordered the restaurant to stay open until 10:30 PM. After the safety meeting, we tried to get to a restaurant, only to find that only part of the buffet was open. We also had the pleasure of walking up from Deck 4 to Deck 10, because the elevators were being used for luggage. The next day, when I received no call from Guest Relations, a I decided to pay them a visit. Their response was that they had received similar complaints from many passengers (surprise!), that they were very sorry, and that 'corporate' had been notified. My reply was that this was disgraceful and unacceptable, which prompted another 'sorry'. (As a postscript to this, we followed up in writing in the ship's survey. Finally, after no callback we called corporate to repeat our complaint. This generated another 'sorry'). Here is my (hopefully) objective review of the balance of the cruise: Cabin - small, but modern and clean Housekeeping - excellent General ship condition - good to very good Entertainment - very good to excellent Dining - In general, not as good as prior Celebrity cruises. - Buffet - good - Metropolitan - quality good, presentation fair, deserts poor - Qzine - very good - Excursions - pricey but very good To summarize, under no circumstances should you consider embarking in Ensenada. Celebrity quality and service, on which the company prides itself, has slid significantly. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2007
This past holiday season my wife and I decided to combine our 40th anniversary, a desire to finally make it to Hawaii and a chance to celebrate Christmas and New Years on the high seas... We have traveled on Celebrity transatlantic and ... Read More
This past holiday season my wife and I decided to combine our 40th anniversary, a desire to finally make it to Hawaii and a chance to celebrate Christmas and New Years on the high seas... We have traveled on Celebrity transatlantic and through the Panama Canal, and it truly was our only choice of a line, after having tasted Holland America and Carnival on other occasions. My son had traveled on one of Celebrity's sister ships to the Summit, and for the last two years extolled the virtues of having booked a Concierge Class room, with the additional service and amenities. We had always booked a balcony room, but this time we were convinced to go all out and book into Concierge Class (CC). .. for which we paid a premium. It ran us nearly $8k for the two of us, without shore excursions. Boarding at LA was a pain... We were told we had priority boarding with CC, and to show up no sooner than 1 PM to board for a 5:00 sailing. We got their about `12:30 and found many lines and much confusion. When I asked about priority, I was told to just get in the line!.. I am on a cane, and standing isn't my strong point, but we managed to get through and then were told to go sit on a bench with the rest of the hundreds. I again asked about priority boarding and was greeted with.. " That was at 11:00 this morning... sit down and wait until your number is called. I asked about my handicap and was asked if I needed a wheelchair. I said no, and was told to have a seat... only there were no available seats. I found a sign marked elevator in the back of the room, and my wife and I worked our way there and up the elevator, where we found a line, about 100yds long leading up to the gangplank! We got up to the ship in about 50 minutes time. It was LA, but windy and cool. Once onboard we were handed a quick champagne and sent to our rooms. Even on the infinity we were offered to be escorted. The whole front lobby was crowded and looked fairly disorganized, We finally made it to the room and found our rooms to be the same size as the balcony rooms we had on the other 2 ships. They were up under the Pool deck so the noise was fairly heavy at all hours, and the overhang of the above deck sheltered the skyline and set us in shade for most of the trip. The cabin staff was great as always on Celebrity... But, the only amenities that Concierge brought us were some stale snacks at 5 (6 each day!) and a bottle of cheap champagne on the first day. There were a lot of kids on this trip, but that is to be expected on all vacation cruises. They over ran the Spa's thermospa pool however and we didn't get a chance to use it. Food at the special restaurant was first class as was the service, I wish I could say the same for the dining room, however. The food was not well prepared, though it looked great, but the service was just fine. Spa Food for lunch was the best! This was the best entertainment we'd seen on a ship, but the shops were full of a lot of touristy junk, unlike the other cruises on Celebrity. The worst part of the cruise was shuttling to shore on the launches. It was totally disorganized and PRIORITY tickets left on our bed in the Evening before were worthless. We waited 3 hours to get into port, one time. Another was 1 ½ hrs. The itinerary was everything we expected and more. I rate this a 3, Could have enjoyed it more by flying out there. And spending the extra $ of great dining Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
This was our fifth cruise, and we have sailed with Carnival, Norwegian, Princess and this was our first Celebrity. Pros. Dining room service. The main and assistant waiter have only a few tables to supervise, so they have plenty of ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise, and we have sailed with Carnival, Norwegian, Princess and this was our first Celebrity. Pros. Dining room service. The main and assistant waiter have only a few tables to supervise, so they have plenty of time for each table and they do an excellent job. Our sommelier Stephan was fantastic and very knowledgeable. Once he knew what we like he did a great job with new recommendations, and even warned us against some of our choices (and he was always correct). Disembarkation. Celebrity has introduced a plan that allows you to check your baggage with certain airlines before leaving the ship, as well as receiving boarding passes for $15 per person. We received special tags for our luggage, and we simply left it outside our stateroom. We didn't have to bother with it until we arrived at our final destination, which made leaving the ship extremely easy. Room service food was good and generally on time. They also called 1 minute before they arrived at your door to wake you up and give you time to unlock the door. The library is well run. The casino added its first Texas hold em table. Cons. Dining room food. The general quality and finish of the food is about the same as other big lines, such as Princess. Nothing about the food is special enough to distinguish it from other cruise lines. Three food related items in the dining room became very tiresome. The first is their cheese plate. It consisted of a processed pepper cheese, a cold bree (that was only correctly served room temperature once), and a simple cheddar. This same trio never changed for two weeks, even on days when other nice cheeses happened to make it to the lunch buffet or were parts of other entrees. The second boring element was their bread baskets, which were identical for the full cruise. They consisted of a baguette, breadsticks, a soft rye slice and a country roll. They were prepared correctly, but this quartet of bread was unchanging for the entire two week cruise. Princess, Norwegian and Carnival all vary their breads daily. Breakfast. The third repetitive thing in the dining room is their limited and pedestrian breakfast menu, which is the same everyday. There is not even one special to make breakfast interesting. Finally, there was not a single souffle offered for the entire cruise. The dining room really shows its age, and needs a refurbishment. The chairs are threadbare and missing their darning buttons. Embarkation. The embarkation process is the worst we have ever experienced. It took hours and consisted of standing in line after line because there was insufficient staff at each point in the process. The final disappointment was standing in line for yet another 35 minutes just to board the ship so that each guest can be escorted to their room by someone from the ship. We would have preferred to get out of that line and find our own room. Shore excursions. We booked our shore excursions two months early on line, and had confirmation numbers. But on board, there was no record of our reservation, and the excursions were full. We started to make it clear they needed to fix the problem, and we were rudely questioned regarding how many times we had cruised, the implication being we were at fault. Before we erupted the supervisor came over and intervened. They eventually solved the problem, but they were unprofessional about the whole thing Logistics and Timing. The timing of most aboard ship events was poorly planned. Trivia and other games. They started at unusual times, and sometimes several overlapped. There was clearly no organization or planning about when events were to be held. Evening live music, such as the quartet, started at different times, and didn't correspond with seating in the main dining room. Late night music in the disco was mostly karaoke instead of dancing. The afternoon tea was held at 4 pm, just two hours before dinner. The hot tubs closed early, some at 6 pm and the remainder at 10 pm. Movie times. Movies were not shown in the afternoons, only in the evening. They generally started about 30 minutes before the shows in the main theater. Itinerary. The itinerary was generally good, especially a really long day in Maui, but two changes were made. The first is that that Kuwai was removed and instead we had two full days in Honolulu. The second is that from Kona to Hilo the captain chose to go north around the island so there would be better conditions for his gala party (which was stupid). Instead, he should have gone around the south side to see the lava (which we've done before, and thats fantastic). Bar service. Bar service was generally terrible. Most of the smaller bars had incompetent bar tenders that couldn't even make gin and tonic correctly. There were exceptions, such as the martini bar (but that only opens at 5 pm), and the one bar tender in the waterfall bar at the back of the ship, Binoy. There is no bar service on the upper decks around the pool area in the daytime, only during dinner hours. The lack of bar service was irritating, and the only way to get a drink was to wait in line at the bar. None of the bars offers peanuts or snacks, except those next to the dining room that open at 5 pm. Normandy specialty restaurant. The stemware was beautiful, and a nice change from the main dining room. The service wasn't as good as the main dining room, and the food was exactly the same. For example, we were seated near a corner, and the waiters would annoyingly squeeze behind our chairs instead of just reaching from the other side. The assistant waiter poured half a liter of water in our over sized water glass, which made it almost impossible to drink out of. The food was the same. For example, anywhere on the ship anything involving salmon comes as smoked lox, which is nice, but it might be described on paper in a different way. Our salmon tar-tar was in fact that same smoked lox with mayonnaise. (The steamed fresh salmon in the main dining room was also more of the same smoked lox). We would definitely avoid the Normandy in the future. The stateroom. The stateroom was the smallest we've had anywhere, but the shower was by far the largest shower. There are two problems with the room. The first is that there's no closet light (or closet hallway light), so to see into the closet one must turn all the room lights on full brightness. The second is that there's inadequate places to hang damp clothes, so we ended up draping them over the place, which was ugly. The main theater entertainment. This was fine if your like old show tunes. Only two nights out of two weeks was there a more interesting variety or comedy show offered. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
This was our 6th cruise. We have cruised with Royal Caribbean 4 times and we decided to cruise on the Parent company line, so we booked with Celebrity. What a disappointing experience this was. We did the online check in and express and ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise. We have cruised with Royal Caribbean 4 times and we decided to cruise on the Parent company line, so we booked with Celebrity. What a disappointing experience this was. We did the online check in and express and we still waited outside in the sun for 2 hours. Our room was fine, but you can see the wear and tear on the couch, curtains, and spread. Our room steward was great, our room was always clean and everything we wanted was taken care of. Our Dinning experience was fine. Nothing special to write home about. Our wait personnel were great, there just was not the atmosphere we were accustom to on Royal. There were not special nights for dinner, no parade except on Baked Alaska night. Activities were not sufficient just a lot of lectures. The entertainment was adequate. No big entertainer as we were accustom on our other cruises. The public restroom were awful, cleanliness and adequate supplies were lacking. This was in all public areas not just main floors. The public areas show a lot of wear as well, stains on carpets and chairs. They ran out of coffee and we served instant. We had an excursion to Pearl Harbor and not enough time was given to see the museum and other outside exhibits before we were herded to our bus for a city tour. We will have to think long and hard before cruising with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2006
In March of 2006 we left LA to cruise to Hawaii on the Celebrity Summit. We are seasoned cruisers and heard a lot about Celebrity. So we tried it. The cabin was like most ships and the service was good. The people friendly and did their ... Read More
In March of 2006 we left LA to cruise to Hawaii on the Celebrity Summit. We are seasoned cruisers and heard a lot about Celebrity. So we tried it. The cabin was like most ships and the service was good. The people friendly and did their jobs well. The food was not great. Dinner the selection was fair, they could not even make onion soup. Breakfast was average and more could have been offered. Lunch buffet was not great. You felt like you were eating leftovers, the selection was poor, the food tasteless, and there were fruit flies flying around. The sandwich bar couldn't make a sandwich. They had some specialty lunches, again unappealing and tasteless. We did a carnival Mexican last year at the urging of our agent and the food was by far so much better. Hard to believe. The pools you couldn't get into for the 2 weeks they were so cold. The hot tubs weren't hot, and it is hard to get 2000 people into 1 indoor pool where no one under 18 is allowed. For the most part the entertainment was good. As usual the Casino is in the middle of the floor and for those with breathing problem you had to go to dinner either by the floor above or the floor below. Smoking in all the lounges made sitting around and talking or listening to entertainment very uncomfortable. DO NOT rent a car from the ship by Hertz. They were just awful or didn't show at all and we had to use alternate rental agencies. The port calls were not planned well and because of bad weather previous to our stay, they should have made alternate plans. They knew what was going on in these ports and could change as other cruise lines do, they had plenty of warning. Then on the best island of Maui they told us if we were not on a tour we couldn't get off until 10- 10:30 and had to be back by 2. We just got off at 8 AM., but we knew they couldn't stop us, but for others is was not a good stop. They took us to ports where you could do nothing but shop, you couldn't rent a car, all excursions were cancelled and you couldn't go swimming because of polluted water. We went to the Polynesian Cultural Center where we expected to spend the day. Left at 9 AM stopped at a lookout point, at the bus drivers friend's store. Got to the center at noon had lunch and ended up with 2 1/2 hours of the center that needed at least 6. The bus driver had to stall time going. We had to leave at 3 and then stopped at a beach and the Dole factory and back at the boat at 5:30. This was an expensive trip. Go on your own and rent a car and spend the evening there which is a much better take. The buses do not have lifts and it made it difficult for people with special needs and also took a great deal of time boarding. The art auctioneer was very boring and long winded. Sitting through it was torcher. The crew did everything possible to make our stay pleasant but they were not responsible for the problems. They took us to 5 ports in 5 days, not well planned. There were a lot of complaints from other people on board. Unless you do not care to get off the ship and really see the island I would not recommend this kind of a cruise. Try to plan one that gives you an overnight in a few ports, or go to an island like Maui a few days early and then a cruise and maybe stay on an island after the cruise. They now have inter island ferries. We have future cruises planned for Australia, Alaska and the Mediterranean, I can't say that I won't go on Celebrity again, but I will investigate my choices very carefully. Happy cruising. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
Let me say first this was the only celebrity cruise we have been on and have only cruised once before with Royal Caribbean. We booked this 9 months in advance and got a very good deal. There were four of us 2 adults(early 30's) and 2 ... Read More
Let me say first this was the only celebrity cruise we have been on and have only cruised once before with Royal Caribbean. We booked this 9 months in advance and got a very good deal. There were four of us 2 adults(early 30's) and 2 boys (6,13) in an inside cabin (9159). I will try to be as unbiased as possible. Embarkation: Disaster! We stayed the night at the Best Western Sunrise ($100) that has a free shuttle to the pier. We were informed that there were problems so we could not board until 1:00pm. We got to the pier around that time but it was total mayhem. Thousands of people standing around not knowing what to do or where to go. The gangway was broken and the X-ray machine was broken so there was a huge delay with the people getting off and we could not get on. We sat in the cold and rain for over 4 hours with two children. I saw NO ONE from Celebrity to even help at all. This was very poor service on their part. Everyone has very angry. There were lines that went no where, people just wondering what to do. They dropped the ball on this one. They may not have caused the problems but they handled in the worst way. First four days at sea: The boat is GORGEOUS! It is very elegant but understated. It is a little confusing at first but in no time you figure everything out. Our cabin was inside on the skydeck (9). There is some noise from the restaurant and deck above so bring earplugs. There is also a sewage smell every once in a while but I don't know if that was around all the boat. I only smelled it on our deck. The cabin was small but fine but we were crowded with 4 people (our choice). Our cabin steward was great (Jose). I could not ask for anything better in this arena. He was efficient and quick as we rarely ever saw him. The sea was rough for the first couple of days so a lot of people were sick, myself included. The meclezine cleared it up for me. The activities on board were in one word BORING. They have a commercial you watch were it says that Bingo is the official sport of Celebrity, they mean it! There is lots of bridge playing (Bridge?)I don't even know anyone who plays. They had financial lectures (yawn), computer classes (interesting, but this is my vacation!),oceanographer series, and a "Hawaiian ambassador" (he was nice). I did the trivia, which was fun but the questions were strange and very age based. I played Bingo (because there was nothing else to do), the Newlywed game was very fun but just one night. The kids program was great for my six year old. He spent every minute there and had a blast. My teenager had a hard time finding the other teens as they did not so a lot to bring the older kids together but they eventually found each other so then there was a small pack of teens hanging out. After that we never saw him at all. The ports: Hilo: I highly recommend renting a car (Thrifty) and seeing things yourself. The ship's excursion is about $100 per person and they went to the same places we did but we spent just $35 for the car and they pick you up at the pier. We ate at a place called the coconut grill that was yummy ($50). The macadamia nut factory is on the way to Volcanoes Natl. Park so you can make a very easy trip of it. Kauai: My favorite, we should have rented a car. We went to the Fern Grotto and did the river cruise $60 for the fours of us, I really enjoyed this, it is truly beautiful. Taxis are hard to come by but there is a shuttle to and from the Coconut Grove Marketplace from the pier. Rent a car! Also if you arrange your tour from the pier or throughout the little freebee magazine. You can get a helicopter tour for half what the boat charges. Honolulu: Yuck is this LA? We rented a car ($35) and did the Arizona which was nice but not as moving as I had hoped. We got there about 9:30 and got tickets for 10:45am, not too bad. The film was great but the museum was so crowded you could hardly even look at anything. We skipped the Mighty Mo and the Bowfin (which I wish we would have done). We went to the Dole Plantation, skip it! The cost to go on the train ($30)was ridiculous and boring. We did the Paradise Cove Luau, Which was a lot like a Vegas night club act. I am glad we saw one but I don't ever need to see another. The food was so-so. We had the Entertainment book coupon which saved us $100. Kona: The only port that was tendered and we had a super short day there 8-3. Considering how long it took you get off the boat, you really only had about four hours to spend. The boys went parasailing with UFO parasail (BOGO w/entertainment book) which was great! The weather was the best in Kona at about 85F and sunny. I snorkeled right off the pier which surprisingly had a lot of fish and things. You can take a free shuttle to the better snorkeling beach as well. Kona was very nice and not too touristy like Honolulu. The last days at sea: We watched Cirque du Soliel and it was good. The shows were good as well but the movies, could they get any older? As I was desperate for activities we went to all of them. I enjoyed the library and the spa. I wish they would have had a laundry mat so we could have packed less. We lost quite a bit in the Casino but there was not a whole lot to do so we spent a lot of time there. The seas was great on the way home but not a lot of sun on the whole trip. The Normandie: We ate there and it was so worth the extra $60 The food was very good but there is not evening buffet which really limits your choices. The casual evening restaurant was lousy. The pasta bar is great but my kids only ate hamburgers by the pool side. The sushi bar was good and the pizza OK. The service of the wait staff is impecible (Kumar/Julian). I will cruise again but not with this company. This is tailored for the over sixty crowd. I didn't mind being in the minority but I would have begged for some fun things to do. Our last cruise had midnight buffets with conga lines and great bands and lots of fun. This had Bingo and bridge and lectures. The whole ship was in bed by 10:30. I was hoping for a little more rounded experience of luxury and partying. I hope I have been fair. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
The ship is very spacious and beautiful, if you discount the roaches in the buffet. Public areas are plentiful, if you like to drink. Cabins are fairly spacious, but no drawer space. Cabin attendant was outstanding and so was dining room ... Read More
The ship is very spacious and beautiful, if you discount the roaches in the buffet. Public areas are plentiful, if you like to drink. Cabins are fairly spacious, but no drawer space. Cabin attendant was outstanding and so was dining room waiter. That's the good stuff. The bad, this was a cruise over the Christmas/Chanukah/New Year holiday and there were over 600 children on board, about 2/3 were teens who had too much energy for senior citizens and more importantly, for their parents, who either didn't care or didn't care. Food was just food, nothing outstanding. The chefs suggestions were the worst, with much of it almost sickening. Deserts were just that, and we had ice cream most nights (vanilla, since chocolate was not available, except on special occasions?) Service in the buffet was spotty. Often they left tables dirty for an hour or more, and they never came around for a coffee refill until the last two days, (prior to the gratuity time). The pasta station was weak and we had to complain about the sandwich makers, who seemed to feel that a spread of tuna or egg salad made a sandwich. Breakfast and lunch in the dining room was uninspired and listless. The production shows were good, and so was most of the talent, (ie: singers and pianist and jazz violinist). The magician and juggler were third rate. The Circus de Soule was very weak, not at all like the Las Vegas shows. We would have a hard time returning to this line, and never, never, never on a holiday cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
This was our 5th cruise with Celebrity. The weather and ports were beautiful but the cruise left us wanting more...more attention to detail, better quality and more variety in food choices, better air arrangements, more variety in ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise with Celebrity. The weather and ports were beautiful but the cruise left us wanting more...more attention to detail, better quality and more variety in food choices, better air arrangements, more variety in activities, especially on sea days. Simple activities like movies during the day or live music other than while we are eating supper (main seating) would have been better. Also, it would be nice for the activities staff to have alternate plans for days when it is too cool and too rainy to play pool games. Many shows were only offered once a night which made it appear that they were trying to save money by paying the entertainers less. We notice a lot more extra fees for activities that really shouldn't cost anything extra, a lot more recorded music rather than live, and little notes announcing extra fees for water, towels, etc. all over our cabin. We booked with the cruise line through their 800 number in Miami. We found the agent to be very helpful and easy to contact until we made our final payment. We're still waiting for him to return calls made after that. We were able to have some questions answered by calling Captain's Club, but we tended to get different answers, depending on who we asked. We made our air arrangements through custom air, months in advance but when we received our final papers, the arrangements had been changed and when I called, we were told we didn't have custom air after all even tho the person I had spoken to said we did. We did not arrive at the ship until almost 7:00 pst and were told that we would have to wait for the 8:30 seating for supper. Since we had traveled all day from the east coast per Celebrity's arrangements, this would have been 11:30 est so we declined and ate pizza on the pool deck, just pizza...no salad, nor anything else along with many others. This is the first cruise we've been on where they didn't take open seating on the arrival night. Our return flights from Honolulu were even less well planned. I would suggest that if you choose this route it would be worth it to go through your own travel agent and make your own flight arrangements. Ours were poor. We see lots of changes in the little things that make cruising enjoyable and wonder if this is the result of the RCI takeover. They seem to be adding extras for extra fees that used to be part of the package. The special restaurant, S.S. United States was wonderful and more like what the main dining experience used to be. The ship's appearance, overall, seemed like it needed some cleaning and polishing and picking up. Although the face to face staff seemed helpful, the folks in the white uniforms did not seem to care if we were there or not. Several times I was left standing in line behind them as they got their lunch or their beverages without so much as an"excuse me"or friendly nod. I also think Celebrity should consider embarking from San Diego and then making a visit to Ensenada as that bus trip is the pits. We were rushed to the bus, with a bottle of water and a small granola bar with no one from Celebrity to escort us or tell us what we were to do next. It was a long, dark and uncomfortable ride. I think Celebrity may be looking for new passengers but not worrying about keeping the ones they have had in the past. Read Less
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