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193 Celebrity Holiday Cruise Reviews

This was our tenth cruise,5th with celebrity twice on Solstice.Did this same so called Christmas cruise 2 years ago.Last time it was very good this time terrible.Did not mention FATHER CHRISTMAS ,who is this CRINKLEBUM that so called ... Read More
This was our tenth cruise,5th with celebrity twice on Solstice.Did this same so called Christmas cruise 2 years ago.Last time it was very good this time terrible.Did not mention FATHER CHRISTMAS ,who is this CRINKLEBUM that so called cruise director JC was always on about?Did not see FATHER CHRISTMAS giving gifts to children as was the case on the other CHRISTMAS CRUISE.The CHRISTMAS fare on Christmas day for lunch and dinner was non existent. There were no party hats, bonbons,tinsel or anything on the tables, PITIFUL. Regarding food, Epernay dining rooms food was very average but staff as always were very good,food deck 14 Oceanview cafe was less than inviting with little choice and variety, 3 food bays with same food on all. In my humble opinion JC is not employing quality entertainers( AUSSIE BOYS AND NEIL DIAMOND ENTERTAINER) excepted.There were other issues, these were the main ones. Many other passengers commented about the lack of Christmas cheer. If u are not going to celebrate CHRISTMAS, then dont advertise it as a CHRISTMAS cruise!!!!!!!! We have friends two couples, who are contemplating this cruise next year, will advise them to think again and check if SOLSTICE will celebrate Christmas next year. Standards on Solstice have definitely dropped. THE BEAN COUNTERS ARE CERTAINLY ABOUT. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This cruise was over Christmas and New Year. The cruise went to 8 of the Caribbean Islands, (Aruba, Curacao, Grenada, Barbados, St Lucia, Antigua, St Kitts and St Maarten). Overall the cruise was up to Celebrities high standards. However, ... Read More
This cruise was over Christmas and New Year. The cruise went to 8 of the Caribbean Islands, (Aruba, Curacao, Grenada, Barbados, St Lucia, Antigua, St Kitts and St Maarten). Overall the cruise was up to Celebrities high standards. However, the Ultimate Dining Package, which we have used in the past, had been withdrawn for this cruise. The excuse given was that this was done to allow all passengers the opportunity to dine in the specialist restaurants. However, everyone had had the opportunity to book specialist dining prior to cruising either on Celebrity's web site, direct with them or via their travel agent. We had booked for every night prior to the cruise, costing an equivalent of $1180. The normally available Ultimate Dining Package gives a discount to this plus other benefits, lunches, coffees being some off them. The withdrawal of this package for this cruise should in my opinion have been mentioned on their web site, so as not to have tarnished the cruise slightly for us. The staff in all departments were again excellent, particularly Marion (the Maitre'D), Christian, Micha and Alicia in the Murano restaurant especially. The cabin staff Muhamad and Brian kept our cabin tiptop and Tanishia looked after us in the bar. The ship was decorated out for both Christmas and New Year and the majority of entertainment was very good. The shore excursions we took took were generally very good, particularly the catamaran cruise from St Kitts to Nevis. Hopefully the management staff of Celebrity will in future give consideration to their loyal customers!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
What a disappointment! I booked with Celebrity due to its reputation as a high-quality, excellent line. My experience, however, was merely average and therefore disappointing. I have sailed twice in the past - the first with NCL Gem and ... Read More
What a disappointment! I booked with Celebrity due to its reputation as a high-quality, excellent line. My experience, however, was merely average and therefore disappointing. I have sailed twice in the past - the first with NCL Gem and the second with Carnival Splendor. Each of the prior cruises had highlights. NCL Gem had excellent food and an engaging cruise director, Sinan Ulucay, and the Carnival Splendor had some of the best stand-up comedian entertainment I've seen with "The Punchliner" series. Each of the above also had a variety of entertainment outside of the main theater. In contrast, there were no highlights on the Celebrity Reflection. Pros: 1. The ship is very clean, and the staterooms are the cleanest we've experienced. 2. The guest entertainers were good. Antonio Salci, Kyle Knight & Mistie, and Claire Vinkestejn (apologies if misspelled) were very talented, professional, and entertaining. As an aside, I often wonder why cruise lines continue to push the pseudo-Broadway experience instead of opting for more instrumental/orchestral music, other non-singing performers etc... 3. The dancers/aerialists were impressively excellent. 4. Everyone who works on the ship clearly works hard, and it shows. Slobodan, the guy who runs the buffet, is a workhorse. Cons: 1. There is very little entertainment on the ship. On other lines, including NCL and Carnival, the daily itinerary is chock full of activities like dancing, games, lectures, etc to the point that one needs to sacrifice certain activities to attend others. For instance, on the NCL Gem, there were something like two trivia games a day and a whole bunch of guest game shows, whereas on Celebrity Reflection there were approximately five trivia games and two game shows the entire cruise. Fun things to do, besides laze by the pool, were few and far between. Which leads me to my second point... 2. The majority of the itinerary consists of either shopping events or pay-to-play activities. Given the relatively high cost of the fare, I had incorrectly assumed that daily entertainment would be largely complementary as it is on other lines. How I was mistaken. Rather, the main focus was on being hocked "low-end high-end" items like Michael Kors bags and Invicta watches and paying $20 to do simple things like paint. For example, the majority public real estate of an entire deck, deck 5, consists of shops and specialty restaurants. Other decks aren't much better. 3. The food in the Main Dining Hall is average, slightly better than Carnival but certainly not worth the extra cost of the fare. It pales in comparison to the food on the NCL Gem. This is supposed to be a higher-end line, so I expected higher-end food as the default. Instead it seems that the food is made to be palatable but not special so that passengers are more likely to spend money on the specialty restaurants. The buffet food left a similar taste in my mouth, pardon the pun. 4. The entertainment is standard cruise fare, with shouting-with-tone Kelly Clarkson-style female singers, hopping agile dancers and poppy tunes. Not really a con, but not a pro. 5. Why is the library overlying the main foyer where the loud music comes from? It defeats the purpose... 6. The destinations, while good, were not timed optimally. Landing in San Juan at 1530 and leaving at 2200 doesn't leave one much time to enjoy non-Celebrity-arranged excursions. 7. The dining halls are closed when at port. I don't remember this happening on the other cruise lines. 8. In the games room on deck 9 there is an abundance of Mahjong sets but no Backgammon, and far too few decks of cards. Overall, my cruise felt like a shopping mall with an exorbitant cover charge rather than a truly entertaining vacation experience. I will not recommend the floating shopping mall, Celebrity Reflection. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Firstly a bit about us: we are 45 (husband and wife) who loves to travel and cruise, we are not hard to please people, we like the beach, we like to drink a little, we normally cruise as a couple but sometimes we cruise as a family (with 2 ... Read More
Firstly a bit about us: we are 45 (husband and wife) who loves to travel and cruise, we are not hard to please people, we like the beach, we like to drink a little, we normally cruise as a couple but sometimes we cruise as a family (with 2 kids currently 19 and 21) and sometimes with our friends. We live in Australia but we were born in Portugal and Brazil. This was our 7th cruise. We booked this cruise 10 days before departure, it was a last minute decision we booked the last cabin available being an inside cabin (1055 level 10) and we paid AUD$5,900.00 for it. I have heard hat Celebrity was on the same level as Princess Cruises (we cruised with Diamond Princess and we really liked the ship and the service) and a level higher than Royal Caribbean (we did Radiance, Rhapsody and Voyager) so I was expecting a beautiful ship,with great amenities and outstanding service. It was a Christmas, new years and my husband birthday. Because we are Paltinun level on RC (almost emerald) we had the "Select" tier on Celebrity. Upon arrival, around 3pm, we boarded without any delays or queues, as almost everyone were already in the ship. We went direct to our room. The room was a good size, and good set up, the only improvement would be a nice picture frame or a mirror on the wall opposite the door to give some focal point as one opens the door. The shower whithout the curtains was a big relief, and the best bathroom i've had on a cruise. The only thing we found on our room was a print out with some "special events" for the select members. On the day of those events no invitation was sent to the room so its easy to forget and miss those events. My husbands birthday was during our cruise and nothing was said or given, not even a card saying happy birthday, not a cake or no one wine him a happy birthday. Very disappointing. The ship was on its full capacity, and we noticed it on the pools, and during lunch and breakfast. Breakfast closes at 10am and with only 2 hours to serve breakfast for over 3,000 it was a dogs breakfast, queue for bread, queue for eggs, queue for everything. Same history for lunch. The food was not presented in a nice way, it was like they were feeding the army, bland food and not very nice to look at, no decorations. The hours of service should be increased when the ship is full to accommodate and serve everyone in a nice manner. The lunch was supposed to end at 2.30pm but they start removing the trays around 2.10pm and all is removed but the pasta and pizza only after that. We tried the main dinning room for two nights but the food was not special, and we decided to have dinner at the buffet. The seating area isn't big enough to accommodate all guests during meal time. The only time one could use the buffet wihitout having to fight or queue for food was at dinner time when most guests where at the min dining room. The entertainment was a hit and miss, and we did walk out on few show and didn't turned up for others. With only 3 swimming pools, one indoors for the oldies. And 2 outside with the children taking over was not possible to use it at all. One of those outside pools should be for adults only and the other for the kids. There isn't many activities happening and after 11pm the only option is to go to bed, because there isn't anything to do. The ship is okay and being a new ship to should be stunning. The excursions where very overpriced. The Captain was the best thing on the ship, Captain Tesos is a people person and e is always around the ship and happy to have a chat and take photos. I wouldn't cruise with celebrity again based on my experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Having just returned from spending Christmas and New Year onboard Celebrity Millenium I have to say this is the worse cruise ship I have ever been on. Having sailed with several other companies I was persuaded by family and friends to try ... Read More
Having just returned from spending Christmas and New Year onboard Celebrity Millenium I have to say this is the worse cruise ship I have ever been on. Having sailed with several other companies I was persuaded by family and friends to try Celebrity. From the minute we arrived at the Departure Lounge we felt let down. We booked concierge class and the brochure quite clearly states early boarding, however we were put into group 6 and were last onboard. Our cabin was "tired" and with that Im being kind, we had torn bedding, a dirty balcony, with furniture and handrail splattered with paint, and a bathroom desperately in need of redecorating and updating. The biggest disappointment was the food, the resteraunt was ok, however I had to remember not to trip over the torn carpet, however the Buffet was dreadful. Breakfasts were a nightmare, bacon swimming in water, diluted baked beans, and everything cold. However if you wanted cold fruit or continental breakfast the plates were to hot to hold. I opted for omlettes however this meant queing for at least 20mins and on one occassion over half an hour. Both myself and my friend were taken ill with chest infections and while I appreciate the need to pay,we paid $121 dollars for our first visit to see the doctor and a further $105 for medicines and treatment I was however appalled to find we were both charged $42 dollars for a second visit (suggested by the Doctor) for just reporting to the office, and a further 95 dollars for the treatment. We literally said our names and for this we were charged $42. I have written to celebrity to complain with photos, however i am not sure i will get a response. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We have cruised other cruise lines but heard that Celebrity was top notch. We booked Concierge Class on this ship and were assured a butler and preferential treatment.( It was our 20th anniversary). From the moment we boarded it went down ... Read More
We have cruised other cruise lines but heard that Celebrity was top notch. We booked Concierge Class on this ship and were assured a butler and preferential treatment.( It was our 20th anniversary). From the moment we boarded it went down hill. Our room was filthy. We had to request it be cleaned twice! No butler service or preferential seating promised. We could not get traditional dining as we were told it was full. However, each night over 100 seats were empty and available. Configuration of the cabin was such that the bed was in the middle and had to almost crawl over bed to get to the couch, balcony, make-up desk with mirror, The food was honestly so poor that two nights we went upstairs to the buffet and had pizza. One could not use the sauna or steam room without paying each time even when one took a class or used the gym. We could not even get a light fixed...and add insult to injury they painted our balcony the morning of our last day! We were never asked or told..we were just greeted with a sign "Wet Paint" . Due to this we had no use of our balcony our last day/evening. The shows were not very good. If you think I am a cranky complainer the others we met on the ship had worse experiences! Each encounter with other passengers were worse and worse. One person could not get seated for dinner new Years Eve and was told "there was no room. Sorry" Another couple told us their room had to be scrubbed for 1 hour due to the filthy condition. Another told us about their door coming off it's hinges on her! It just goes on and on. Sadly, any screw up was greeted by chocolate strawberries to the point I just left the 5th dish of them outside the door. There were certainly ways to make things better. After 1 day, the strawberry plate got old. The employees seem trained in "no" and "can't" on ANY issue even the smallest. The captain was busy being a comedian, playing volleyball and game show host. This detail may seem trivial but I would prefer my captain to head the ship and it was operating poorly. Constellation is an old ship. There were many things that could be done to improve the food and service. This is not going to happen. Please pick another cruise line or at least new ship! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
The restaurant seating "TEAM" needs to take their work a little more serious. You don't seat two English speaking people at a table with six Chinese speaking people. And if the "TEAM" was too busy overlooking names ... Read More
The restaurant seating "TEAM" needs to take their work a little more serious. You don't seat two English speaking people at a table with six Chinese speaking people. And if the "TEAM" was too busy overlooking names (Italian vs. Chinese), then the waiter should have picked up on the situation and rectified the arrangement. We ate in the buffet for the remainder of the cruise. Food was sub-par, especially the beef, and not only in the buffet, but the main dining room also (I ordered the prime rib on the first night of the cruise). Buffet was about as organized as a soup sandwich. Had to hunt for everything I wanted on my plate. Meat in this line, potatoes in that line, veggies somewhere else. The so-called "Cruise Director" is pretty much skating. Not much planning, considering this was a Xmas cruise. A first year Arts & Entertainment student could have planned the five day cruise much better. This was by far the worse cruise I have ever taken, and to think that it was a Xmas cruise was even worse than worse. You people are billed as a five star cruise line...welllllll...that's just a bunch of bull. I've taken many a cruise with a lesser star rating that far exceeded my expectations and would make your outfit pale in comparison. I paid for a premium brand and got stiffed. That won't happen again. On a brighter note, the ship was very clean and bright. Casino....Wife and I playing identical slot machines...cruise cards inserted in each...mine wasn't giving nearly as much points as my wife's, even though we started off with the same amount of money and had equally won/lost the same amount of money when I called a floor mgr??? to inform him something was wrong with the machine/s. He looked, agreed, walked away and was never seen again... We will never sail with Celebrity again. They could care less about the customer. It's all about profit. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We have sailed with Celebrity Cruises 5 times now all on different ships. The first 4 were amazing but this most recent one was awful. We chose a Christmas Cruise as it was something we hadn't managed to do before however never again ... Read More
We have sailed with Celebrity Cruises 5 times now all on different ships. The first 4 were amazing but this most recent one was awful. We chose a Christmas Cruise as it was something we hadn't managed to do before however never again and never again on the Constellation. To start with it's an old ship with a recently refitted (aqua class). We always travel aqua class as we primarily enjoy dining in Blu. The Blu restaurant on the Constellation is an after thought and was therefore squashed in to a very small space on the ship, too small to accomadate all aqua class passengers. On several occasions we had to queue and wait for a table. The restaurant itself has it's tables so close together you may as well be dining on one long table and not individual tables. It was very claustrophobic, and we felt rushed. Especially on Christmas Eve when it was clear the staff wanted us all gone so they could enjoy their own party in that restaurant!! The atmosphere was dull and matter of fact, not a party hat or party popper in sight!! Guest relations on this cruise were abysmal. They were disinterested in helping and again we were felt to be an inconvenience to them. On Christmas Day, we purchased an internet package at a pricey cost of $81 for the sole purpose of either face timing or skypeing home, when we couldn't connect, my husband rang guest relations and they said it was working fine but a bit slow so 'be patient'!! When we still couldn't connect after 45 mins we went to the ilounge only to be informed that it had been disabled as the signal was poor. We had to fight very hard to get any form of refund, eventually we were refunded $40, a lot less than was was left unused. We also took advantage of booking celebrity transfers to MIA airport, on the information sheet we were informed that we needed bag tags 'green no 15', we were given different tags so rang guest relations, who promised to send the correct ones. When they didn't arrive (and we getting close to having to put our bags outside our door) we rang again twice - nothing happened, so went down and collected them ourselves. On return to our cabin at 10.55pm we were given 10 new tags!!! The food was OK, have had much better on other celebrity cruises. Cleanliness was lacking. Our cabin was beautifully cleaned, but the balcony didn't get a look in. We had to clean it ourselves. Overall we have had some truly beautiful celebrity cruises and have never ever felt the need to write a review. This time however it was a very different story. It was made quite clear that the passengers were actually an inconvinence and they just wanted us on and off again. Whether this was because it was only 5 nights we are not sure. Especially being Christmas, we were looking for a little extra happy atmosphere, but were left totally let down and now looking forward to trying a different cruise line Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We are a couple from the UK in our early fifties. We absolutely love cruising and have mostly been on various Royal Caribbean ships. So as this cruise covered New Year, we thought we would " trade up " and although it was ... Read More
We are a couple from the UK in our early fifties. We absolutely love cruising and have mostly been on various Royal Caribbean ships. So as this cruise covered New Year, we thought we would " trade up " and although it was expensive, we thought it would be worth it to enjoy the 5 star treatment Celebrity promised. Oh Dear ! I really don't want to write a moaning, negative review but Celebrity failed on so many areas and I think it is only right to point out what we experienced so that other guests will know what to expect. We flew British Airways from the UK to Miami. It took 3 hours to get through immigration and out to the bus. Brits please note , it's better to fly into Fort Lauderdale. They are much quicker. Pre night cruise was the FLL Hilton Marina. Room was clean and comfy. They stiffed you a bit on the price of their breakfast. Embarkation on cruise day was like any other. A big queue but what do you expect when there's 3,000 passengers. The ship is beautiful, of that there is no doubt. Furnishings are very plush and we had no problems ever getting loungers etc. Yes, people do leave towels on loungers all day but that happens on all cruise ships. My first gripe is the crew. They just didn't seem interested. Don't they realise it's us customers that keep them employed ? Bar staff, waiters, cabin attendants, guest relations all made us feel as if we were getting in their way. Don't get me wrong , I'm not into having long , meaningless conversations with crew but a simple Hello or the odd smile wouldn't hurt. The crew on royal Caribbean ships were much more friendlier and interactive and this is the same company. So what's gone wrong on Celebrity which they say is their premium cruise line ? - I don't know but the difference was extremely noticeable. Second gripe is the food. We enjoyed excellent food on Royal Caribbean so we were really looking forward to Celebrity cuisine. What a disappointment. Main dining room food was cold, very small portions and took way too long to be served. One hour wait between soup and main course is appalling. No point complaining as all you got was a blank stare. Food in the buffet was more akin to a works canteen. Someone should tell the chef that custard can be accompanied by more than just Bread and butter pudding. We didn't use the specialty ( or fee paying ) restaurants and from what I saw, not a lot of other people used them either The Cruise director was Patti Honacki, a celebrity wannabee who thinks her role is to appear once a day on the TV to tell us how wonderful she is, what bit parts she has had in films and to advertise the specialty restaurants, spa and other fee paying stuff. Absolutely no interaction with passengers.She should take lessons from Richard Spacey or Joff Eaton to see how it is done. Theatre entertainment was a bit naff. More akin to what you would get at a Butlins holiday camp. On board activities seemed to be limited to Trivia challenges and Zumba. For what we paid I expected a bit more imagination than that There is a large lawn area on the top deck and it is a complete waste of space. Especially when there are " Keep off the Grass " signs all over. I found that ironically amusing. A word of warning, check your stateroom account daily. We had shore excursions, champagne and specialty restaurants all charged to our stateroom account. Problem was we hadn't done any of those. We wasted valuable time trying to convince the uninterested guest relations people that they had made these mistakes. And also, even if you haven't opted to pre-pay gratuities, they still add them to your stateroom account. You have to go to guest services and stand in a queue to sign a waiver if you want to give your tips in cash. This is a terrible way to treat customers. Anyone who saw the Channel 4 Dispatches programme will know this in the only way to ensure that your tips get to the people you want as Celebrity use pre-paid gratuities to make up the crews basic wage I won't go into details about the ports - It's the Caribbean - you know what to expect. However I would advise avoiding Celebrity's excursions as they are very expensive. So to summarise - a comfortable ship but staffed by a crowd who don't seem to realise why they are there. I will not use Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
The transfer bought from Celebrity from Rome to the port is not worth the money. Celebrity's buses were at a hotel way out of the city of Rome, so by the time you take a taxi to this hotel for their bus, sit around waiting for the ... Read More
The transfer bought from Celebrity from Rome to the port is not worth the money. Celebrity's buses were at a hotel way out of the city of Rome, so by the time you take a taxi to this hotel for their bus, sit around waiting for the bus to leave, it would have been much cheaper for two people to hire a private car shuttle and get there in half the cost and half the time. The Silhouette ship is the most beautifully decorated I have ever seen. And the embarkation process was as smooth as silk. However... This is my 16th cruise, and 7th with Celebrity. Over the years I have learned to love cruising with Celebrity for three reasons: 1) The indoor heated pool on the Millennium class ships, 2) The wonderful Friends of Dorothy gatherings, and 3) The superb dining. Well, Celebrity on the Solstice class ships such as the Silhouette have managed to eliminate all three reasons why I loved Celebrity. First, the indoor pool is no longer heated to a comfortable temperature. Not only that - on our cruise from Rome to Bayonne New Jersey, half the time the pool had a net over it, or there was no water at all in the pool. As to the Friends of Dorothy gatherings - Celebrity decided to have it at the Martini Bar, which is the busiest and most scattered bar of the entire ship, so nobody could find anyone among the crowd gathered there. It is like trying to meet up with someone for the first time at New York's Grand Central Train Station at rush hour. Last, and the saddest of all, the dining: I remember the days when the Celebrity waiter would offer fresh pepper for each course, and scrape away the crumbs at the end of the main course. No longer. You neither get the offer of fresh pepper nor the clearing of crumbs. In fact, our single waiter and his assistant had to serve 14 passengers. The worst decision Celebrity made was to place tables merely 1 or 2 inches away from each other. I had requested a table for two, and our table was inches away from the next. The end result was like eating in a canteen, where the waiter had to throw dishes at you from left, right, behind you or even reaching from across the table. If you read the wonderful description of Celebrity's website on their new Silhouette - each feature they highlight requires an additional fee, which is not mentioned. As to the Cruise Port of Bayonne New Jersey where the Silhouette docked at the end of its journey, the terminal is clearly not equipped to handle a ship the size of the Silhouette. When we arrived, it took hours for the luggage and passengers to get off - many hours after the scheduled arrival, and causing many passengers to miss their flight. Some friends of mine didn't get off till 12:30 PM, as the next passengers were already getting on board. (On my travel summary from Celebrity, the scheduled arrival time is 3 AM.) To describe how ill-equipped the "cruise port" is - here is the procedure for the luggage: small cages of luggage were first one by one off-loaded onto the dock. Then the cages were lifted two by two by forklifts onto a truck. Then the truck had to driven the luggage cages to the cruise terminal, where each cage had to be lifted off the truck and then the luggage had to be taken out of each cage to be made available for the passengers to pick up. This of course took hours. Think of 2,886 passengers with at least 2,886 pieces of luggage. There were only two trucks at a time being loaded. The procedure for passengers were no less cumbersome: even when we were told we could get off, we had to stand for half an hour on the stairs and exit, waiting to get off the ship. After we got off the ship and got onto buses which had to transport all the passengers to the terminal, we sat on the bus for another 10 minutes because the terminal could not accommodate beyond a certain number of passengers. The entire disembarkation process took hours. Bayonne New Jersey as a cruise port is definitely not ready or prime time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Our flight from Miami to San Juan was filled with excitement for the three of us. We awoke at 3AM to catch our 7:15 AM flight with lots of enthusiasm and zest. We were bombarded with long lines and lots of waiting and hardly any airline ... Read More
Our flight from Miami to San Juan was filled with excitement for the three of us. We awoke at 3AM to catch our 7:15 AM flight with lots of enthusiasm and zest. We were bombarded with long lines and lots of waiting and hardly any airline personnel around to help us. Thank goodness for the American Airlines lounge where we relaxed had a chance to call our loved ones before boarding. Upon arrival in Puerto Rico, we were stoked about our cruise and the plans we made for fun and relaxation. We hailed a taxi from the airport to our Celebrity ship; the Summit. Embarkation was handled a bit clumsy and awkward as the computer system went out. Finally we were herded like sheep to check in and finally board. We found our room and I almost wiped out in the bathroom due to slippery floors where a water leak occurred. Great! Just what I wanted on my vacation- to sit and wait for a plumber to fix a problem in our cabin. It was finally resolved and our vacation was about to start. So I thought...something was missing oh yes how about the ambiance Celebrity is famous for- well it was fading fast along with the carpet in my cabin....But I still had high hopes. We grabbed a quick snack on the 11th floor cafe with the left over food from the previous cruise.It was sufficient until dinner. We then hailed another taxi to shop at the Mall of the Americas. We love shopping...it was way too hot to trot around Old San Juan;though in retrospect was a better choice...the mall was insane!What was I thinking???? We were on deck 9-the Concierge floor. Nothing special or worth the up-charge. Overall, the entertainment was poor, the food-worse ever and I was so turned off that I will sail with Celebrity again as they have lost us as customers. Our daughter, age 16 could not find any fellow cruiser to hang with as the Tennprogram was not existant. We walked the ship nightly and tried to find some sort of amusement. We were not even enticed to gambling where sometimes we love to play nightly.After boarding once again, we took showers got ready for the Muster station drill,( cruise number 9 on Celebrity and 17 overall)2nd seating dinner and looking forward to laughs with my family. Dinner was almost laughable but most of all almost inedible. We enjoy fine dining(? not on this ship) and we watch our weight as well. Nothing had much taste. We were shocked with portions and the only positive thing I can say about the menu choices were not much. The quality of the food and overall service was very poor. How else could the outcome be if you cut any and everything to the bone? Corporate decisions were obvious and unfortunately does not help Celebrity Cruise lines-it shows poor judgement and even poorer quality of an once coveted cruise line that was above the mass market cruise standard. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Terrible experience will be sure not to repeat. Traveled with mother and 90 y.o. grandma (probably her last) The suite was nice, beds were ridiculously uncomfortable, I elected after 3rd night , of a 14 day trip, to sleep on the ... Read More
Terrible experience will be sure not to repeat. Traveled with mother and 90 y.o. grandma (probably her last) The suite was nice, beds were ridiculously uncomfortable, I elected after 3rd night , of a 14 day trip, to sleep on the floor!!! Food was terrible, actually embarrassed for them. Excursions were a terrible joke and NOT appropriate for my grandmother - Where indicated: Leisurely was actually a HIKE that I could barely manage, she had to stay in the bus and miss the Orchid Farm which was only thing she Really wanted to see. On another excursion driver was high as a kite and threw bus into reverse while driving we all got hurt. In the fancier dining room that you pay extra for I was scalded with coffee arm and chest by waiter, did they offer to pick up the tab? No! One Big Sales Gimmick To Buy Jewelry non-stop bombardment. They should pay us to take this trip and listen to their ongoing sales pitches. Shocked at the level of lies, service, horrible entertainment, food, and intent Celebrity operates under! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Having completed 6 previous cruises mostly with Cunard, we chose the Celebrity Solstice on recommendation. Embarkation Embarkation at Fort Lauderdale was long and tiresome as we had to wait 2 hours after being herded in a seating area ... Read More
Having completed 6 previous cruises mostly with Cunard, we chose the Celebrity Solstice on recommendation. Embarkation Embarkation at Fort Lauderdale was long and tiresome as we had to wait 2 hours after being herded in a seating area before being allowed to board. This was in order for US customs to check the ship and crew which we were told was routine for ships coming into America after months sailing Europe. Just a shame we were not forewarned. Pre-Cruise Hotel The overnight stay in the pre cruise Hilton Hotel was exceptional, the room was clean and recently refurbished with a large flat screen interaction TV and great balcony views of the yachts. First Impressions First impressions were promising, the Solstice being a clean nearly new ship with impressive modern features. Ship Experience It was only after getting settled that you realised that the impressive modern look of the ship masked serious fundamental flaws. The modern bars and casual lounges were poorly designed with seating that looked impressive but gave a less than comfortable feel. We got the feeling of always being on show in the bars and lounges as there were few nooks and niches to relax. The bar servers looked sullen and table service took longer than you would have expected. There weren't the usual relaxation areas inside the ship to sit which led us to stay in our cabin over prolonged periods. The Bingo Experience I'm not a bingo player but when in Rome... The ticket pack for the 2 of us was very expensive, $60! The prize money was relatively low. Poor value and best avoided in my opinion. We paid the extra and booked the speciality restaurants throughout the cruise after reading poor reviews about the main dining restaurant. The Buffet Area There was a good variety of foods served here from salads to burgers and something for everyone. However we and others found the English style breakfast items cold and only cold plates were available to use. Poor Buffet Opening Times One major complaint was the buffet closing after 1am. If your hungry for a late night snack it's not easy ordering from the only available food source, your room service, especially when your wife is asleep in bed! Tuscan Grill Food quality was inconsistent, we pre-booked Tuscan on 4 nights. You would have thought the Tuscan staff would remember us but not a bit of it, after tipping well throughout, on the last night we were shown the worst table in the restaurant, in a corner next to the kitchen door which kept opening and closing. To make matters worse this was the last formal night with my wife dressed up to the nines facing the wall as if she were some naughty school girl. Afternoon Tea This was held during the afternoon in the Tuscan Grill and was a complete and utter shambles. The staff clearly had no idea how to serve afternoon tea which is a predominantly English affair. Even though there were more staff than guests, we and other guests were constantly ignored. We only managed to get one small cake and sandwich throughout the experience while staff walked round with full platters of which they seemed to have no inclination to empty. Murano Our impression was of an overrated pretentious service. When we asked the sommelier to help choose a wine for us he took it upon himself to open a £150 dollar bottle of wine without first checking, presumably to maximise his 15% beverage gratuity on our bill. We only learnt the true cost of the wine when it came to pay the bill which we paid reluctantly to avoid embarrassment. This ruined our cruise experience Silk Harvest Reasonable Asian cuisine but with poor overbearing table service. Bistro on 5 This was by far the best experience for us at the least extra cost (an extra $5 dollars per person). The food was fresh and exciting with a good menu with plenty of salads and crepes. Service was exceptionally friendly throughout. I would wholly recommend this restaurant. Deck Grill Serves burgers, hot dogs and chips. These were of good quality. Try the onion rings in beer batter which were exceptional State Room The Stateroom was a good size, well thought out bathroom and private glass/perspex balcony. Good large flat screen TV with swivel arm allowing bedtime viewing. The interactive service was exceptional allowing up to date viewing of our on board costs. There were a host of free newly released films to watch as well as videos of the bookable excursions. In Cabin Breakfast Service We liked our breakfast food delivered so we could eat first thing on our balcony. Food was always delivered hot and then followed by a phone call an hour or so later from the kitchen to check everything was all right, top marks for this service 10/10. Disembarking Took over an hour, quite tiresome and not well directed. On Board Advice, Tips & Excursions If you don't want to pay the daily $12 dollars a head automatic cabin gratuity, ask guest services to remove this from your bill. Many seasoned cruise travellers do this to focus on those providing exceptional service. In my experience, paying your cabin steward a little in advance with the rest at the end will ensure attentive service throughout. Our cabin steward was exceptional. Try ordering breakfast in bed from the breakfast menu in your cabin and then sit eating it on your balcony. You can order as many breakfast items as you wish but spare a thought for the poor steward who has to carry the tray down. Those Virgin Trans Atlantic flights are tiresome especially if your economy seating, I'm no bulky person but the seats are extremely narrow with little leg room for tall persons. Extra leg room is worth the extra cost or better still, premium economy provide more comfortable seating. You can save money by just getting off ship and doing your own thing. This proved easy for us to do, we were soon walking around the more interesting parts of the port town of Porto Rico. By asking which were the safest taxis to use, for a few dollars, we were relaxing on the best and quietest beaches on St Kitts and St Martin.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
First, the ship is awesome and the food was phenomenal. The ports were great and the excursions were fantastic. But, here's the rest of the story: Since our travel agent booked us a guaranteed stateroom 9297, we had to walk ... Read More
First, the ship is awesome and the food was phenomenal. The ports were great and the excursions were fantastic. But, here's the rest of the story: Since our travel agent booked us a guaranteed stateroom 9297, we had to walk all the way down the hallway to get to our dining, spa, and ALL activities. On Day 2, we noticed a STRONG SEWAGE smell in the hallway. It was disgusting, and so we thought it would be obvious enough for others to notice. And we heard others talking about it. My wife being proactive made contact with the Guest Relations to let them know that the "funky smell" was there every day. We suggested that they deodorize the hallways hourly to keep us from almost throwing up each time we left our stateroom. There were a few times that we noticed the smell of deodorizer, so they must have sprayed sometime. Finally, on Day 9 (after calling or complaining to our Stateroom Attendants every day) - we got a call from the Guest Relations that we could move to another stateroom. We did go check it out but the balcony was not as large as the one that we signed up for, so I asked them for other options. That's the last time I heard anything and the cruise ended! Upon disembarkation, we filled out the satisfaction survey, and stated (truthfully) that the cruise would have been a 10 except for the stench, and that would not sail with Celebrity again because of the way Guest Relations handled our complaint. Now, we finally got a call from Ms. Smith with Celebrity and we're getting nowhere! She does not have an email address, nor, does she believe our story. Furthermore, Ms. Smith "does not read Cruise Critic", and denies that there were any other complaints. (my further research shows otherwise)... Read 02/2009 review here on CruiseCritic.com So, if you happen to have been on this sailing Nov. 23, 2009 to Dec. 4, 2009 - please post on this thread. Man, I wish Celebrity would have done the "right thing" ... the ODOR killed an otherwise FANTASTIC cruise. It's THE WAY THAT CELEBRITY HANDLED the issue (It's a known problem, engineers were on board, and the manufacturer's reps are on board for the whole 1st year.) Unfortunately, I will no longer contribute my hard earned dollars to a company who denies a problem existed on my cruise, and won't make it right. Peace and Merry Christmas! BrokerO Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Let me start by saying that we have about 15 previous Celebrity cruises under our belt - and 30+ in all. We started with X back in the early days of Chandris, sailing on the Meridian, Horizon, Zenith, up to the largest ships. We prefer ... Read More
Let me start by saying that we have about 15 previous Celebrity cruises under our belt - and 30+ in all. We started with X back in the early days of Chandris, sailing on the Meridian, Horizon, Zenith, up to the largest ships. We prefer smaller ships but have enjoyed the Aqua Class/Blu experience so much that it offsets the size issues. We have done holiday cruises many times on Celebrity and other lines, including RSSC, Oceania, and Seabourn. This year we liked the prospect of leaving from San Juan so we booked Summit 12 months out. Our cabin on Deck 11 was absolutely fine with terrific stateroom service. Only negative here was that our balcony overlooked the Sunset Bar and we had to contend with music every evening until 10.30 or 11.00 pm. We loved the aft location. Two concerns pretty much tainted our interest in any future trips with Celebrity. There has been a significant decline in the quality of food and food service, even within the past 12 months. Even in Blu, which we think is an inspired concept, I had ahi tuna one evening that was inedible because of the fishy taste. The Ocean View Cafe has been reduced to a glorified strip mall cafeteria. Nowhere do they post the menu being offered - the only way to find out is to wind your way through every serving line in the restaurant. Signage is incorrect or missing for many items. One of the best was "Barbarian" Sausage (Bavarian maybe?). Red Jello/Vanilla was actually Yellow Jello/Vanilla. Servers don't know what they are serving. One dish looked to me like orzo or rice, I couldn't tell which. I asked the server and she pointed to the sign which said "Mixed Vegetables." Veal Piccata had no lemons or capers but a thick gooey brown gravy and mushrooms. Previously, servers would remove plates etc from the tables almost before you could put your fork down. We saw tables with empty dishes on them for 15+ minutes. The ship's interiors look really well in most every aspect. But the exterior spaces are run down, rusty, and embarrassing. The teak floor in the Solarium is flaking apart and looks like there is sand on the floor. The ceiling a/c vents are dripping with rust. The chair cushions are stained with white paint. Ice dispensers "out of order" for the entire cruise at the Pool Grill and servers told me they had not been working "for some time." The piece de resistance was the afternoon canapes we received in Aqua Class. Every day the same uninspired, unidentifiable things appeared and twice we were served chocolate chip cookies. Could not believe it. We overheard several European guests on the ship who were complaining about having been duped into believing they were getting a 5-star experience. I am sorry that a once great cruise line has dropped to this level. There are plenty of hard-working staff everywhere. And I expect there are very bright minds at work in the RCCL and X offices in Miami. But something strange is missing in between. We have enjoyed many wonderful cruises with Celebrity but we will most likely not be back. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This cruise was sold as the "ultimate" and the ship was rated with 5 stars ! This cruise was just the worst I ever experienced. Apart from 4 constant shopping channels on the TV with a cruise director who should be fired at all, ... Read More
This cruise was sold as the "ultimate" and the ship was rated with 5 stars ! This cruise was just the worst I ever experienced. Apart from 4 constant shopping channels on the TV with a cruise director who should be fired at all, this cruise can be considered as a "rocky horror picture show".. Christmas was celebrated with flying paper-planes and hard rock music, 30 minutes (!) the cruise director was playing the piano ( worse than an beginner ) where the guest were allowed to sing christmas songs,the dinner was very poor, no decoration on tables, noisy kids were running around during dining and there was no feeling like christmas. at the pool area the so called cruise director played with the awful house rock band hard rock as it worst. The show at the theater were unprofessional, cheap and stupid. Same on new years eve and during the other days. The food was ordinary, always the same and the presentation of it far away from 5 stars. But the worst thing was the lack of hygiene - kids with diapers occupied the pools and hot tubs, even the spa. This actually should be reported to the us health authorities. Lazy waiters were busy with internal discussions rather than to clean the tables and take the dishes away. Same with the area on the pool deck. On top of it the entire staff was unfriedly except the cabin attendant and the bar keepers on the sunset deck. There was neither control, nor security visible. I could continue the list of endless complaints but it would exceed this report. One thing still to mention - the captain could not answer the question how many guests are on bord this ship! In my opinion this ship was totally overloaded. I was happy that the "horror picture show" did end after 11 days finally. This cruise line never again ! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We returned from our Christmas Holiday cruise on the Summit. This was our family's first time on a Celebrity ship so I can't speak for other Celebrity Ships but the Summit was not impressive. We had two cabins and one of them ... Read More
We returned from our Christmas Holiday cruise on the Summit. This was our family's first time on a Celebrity ship so I can't speak for other Celebrity Ships but the Summit was not impressive. We had two cabins and one of them smelled of mildew the entire week despite a complaint to our cabin stewart who loved to hang out in the hallway outside our room to chat with guests and other staff, but not actually get much done in the way of cleaning or providing towels. Usually, one of our rooms were missing some bath or face towels on any given day. But I wouldn't let the towels or the smell get me down if it weren't for the food. The quality and variety of food choices for breakfast and lunch were poor. If you didn't love powdered eggs and greasy sausage or bacon, you had better get up early because the full breakfast ended way before most passengers arrived in the buffet line! The staff running the buffet line always looked confused when you asked them a question, I think they were all new to their jobs. Lunch was slightly better than breakfast but not by much. While the food looked fresh, it was rarely varied-there was the pizza station, poor quality cold cuts, the salad station and stir fry spot as the main anchors to a few hot items and cold salads. There was little to get excited about or look forward to. Dinner was only a small step up from breakfast and lunch since our waiter was excellent and tried to his best to make dinner an enjoyable meal despite the kitchen's many shortcomings. Lobster night featured overcooked lobster tails that were burnt to a crisp. If you did find something to enjoy at the dining room, don't try to find it the next night because they would not ever find you something off the menu from the previous evening. It was to the point that our family looked forward to getting off the ship so we could get an interesting meal. We attended a cook off event on the ship where the head chef was asked about bringing some local flavors into the menu. He answered in his french accent that he would never try to bring the flavors of the ports we visited into his menu, that he never varied his menu to reflect the areas that the ship visited. He seemed proud of this accomplishment, although I'm not sure why since other lines we experienced had done exactly that and it made the meals that much more exciting. The ports on this ship is what made this cruise fun for our family-Dominica was beyond our expectations in both beauty and the friendliness of its guides. We hiked in the rain forest and found the trip exciting! Grenada has beautiful beaches and wonderful spices, although there are many aggressive vendors on the beaches trying to braid our hair or sell us something. On St. Kitts we took the ship's catamaran and snorkel trip and it was one of the highlights of our week. The crew were exceptionally personable and helpful, and the sailboat was stunning. All in all, we had a relaxing vacation but it could have been so much better if the Summit were as good as promised. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My husband and I recently sailed on Celebrity Summit to Canada and New England. This was our first experience with Celebrity and it will probably be our last. I have never seen such disorganization and it started from the time we first ... Read More
My husband and I recently sailed on Celebrity Summit to Canada and New England. This was our first experience with Celebrity and it will probably be our last. I have never seen such disorganization and it started from the time we first made our reservations through Celebrity. We were told that they would pick our cabin in the next 10 days. My husband had asked for a veranda with a view on the port side. They selected a veranda with a blocked view on the starboard side. When we called, we were told they had one on the other side (port) that was available. The ship itself was very nice and clean. Our cabin was also very clean and the cabin steward was very good and accommodating when we asked for something. We selected 6:00 traditional seating and weren't even told that it was booked. When we checked our reservations they had us at 8:30 dining. We called about that and were told that because we were "Select" that we could "wait list" for the 6:00 seating and would probably get it. Every time we called after that they kept telling us that we would get the 6:00 seating. But of course, that didn't happen. We had to take "Select" and didn't get to have the same waiter every night. When we arrived at the dining room, they never asked if we wanted to sit with someone, just assumed that we were a couple and sat us at a table for 2. The wait staff showing us the tables every night never even knew where the table was. We found most of the service on Celebrity very slow. We sat in Michael's Club one night and there were only 4 people in there and 2 of them were staff. It took 15 minutes before we were asked if we wanted something to drink. But in Rendez Vous, they were very quick to ask if we wanted something. We didn't book any excursions through the ship, but plan a couple things on our own. We tendered in 3 ports and that was a total disaster. In Sydney, we waited almost 3 hours to get off the ship. While there wasn't much that we wanted to do in Sydney, we did want to walk around since we had never been there before. In Bar Harbor, it took about 2 ½ hours to get off the ship. And then, the tender we were in still had about 30 empty seats with passengers still on board waiting. We hadn't eaten lunch on the ship because we really wanted to get lobster locally, but we didn't eat until 3:00. Then to finish the cruise, our debarkation time was 9:30 and we weren't called until 10:20. On a positive note, we did have an excellent cabin steward and wine sommelier. The food also was very good. This cruise was just one thing after another and I heard many long time cruisers on Celebrity say the same thing. Many even indicated that they would not be sailing on Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
As an introduction, I am hardly a novice cruiser. My husband started up and staffed ship's hospitals for about a decade, so I served as a hybrid between pax and crew on about 6 or 8 cruise lines and have been a passenger on several ... Read More
As an introduction, I am hardly a novice cruiser. My husband started up and staffed ship's hospitals for about a decade, so I served as a hybrid between pax and crew on about 6 or 8 cruise lines and have been a passenger on several others, perhaps 12 or 15 in all. Several of these stints were truly maiden voyages where the entire ship was newly built with completely inexperienced staff. I mention this because many of the inadequacies and equipment failures were chalked up to the Infinity's "upgrade" to Millennium class, after which we were the second voyage. I must say, there were more "glitches" in the first three days of the "new and improved" Celebrity Infinity 's second voyage around S.A. than in a week or two on other cruise lines. Now, hopefully many of these refit issues have been resolved. But it was the attitude of onboard staff and subsequently management, that brings me to post this now. And the realization that they didn't even correct the billing mistakes I pointed out on the invoice while on board. Also, the client-specific issues may not change from year to year. I booked in August. The first problem was failure to receive an invoice for the cruise from either the cruise line or the travel agent by deadline. Celebrity canceled our reservation and planned to keep the deposit. I was able to get this reversed by the agent, and indeed got a lower fare in September for a higher class of service (Aqua class). We never received boarding instructions, direction to the cruise terminal, or anything like boarding passes despite many phone calls to Celebrity and Continental. Embarkation was inefficient, luggage long delayed and for half of the ship, access to suites was impossible for many hours due to repeatedly faulty key cards. The drill was conducted in 3 languages, took 45 minutes in a stifling, SRO lounge, and we never were directed to lifeboats. The minibar was barely functioning, bathroom fixtures leaked repeatedly, and the room heating was defective. The spa, which was the only alternative for a shower to a lake in our bathroom, had poor lighting, no place to hang dry clothes, extremely slippery floors and very poorly maintained thermal rooms with nonfunctioning door handles or no doors at all. The outdoor spas were consistently intolerable with extremely hot water in the torrid places and cool water closer to Antarctica. The gym equipment was not functioning properly because of the extreme heat in the room, and spa staff were focused on sales rather than the comfort or safety of passengers using non-revenue features. Guest Relations was a nightmare, with long lines daily throughout the cruise and no acknowledgment or apologies for the many deficiencies all were experiencing. The concierge spoke minimal English. The most difficult problems involved unruly children and teens, coupled with parents who ignored prohibitions, and security staff who were unwilling to confront them. So for example, children ran and jumped in the pool area and cafeteria at all hours of the night (over guest suites), teens jumped in and played handball off a wall with small hard balls in the adult only "relaxation" Thalassotherapy pool, and babies were brought, in diapers and pool toys, into this area which is not sanitized except with salt. Teens played (prohibited) boomboxes in the open pool/deck areas right under the eyes of security, and were present on deck with drug paraphernalia in the mornings after obviously partying all night. The only time ships staff did intervene was when I reported unsupervised children hanging from the ropes/yardarms on an upper deck! Entertainment was extremely variable in quality, some superb, much mediocre. The library offered no videos or other diversions, there was no guide to what was available on TV, and books apparently were of the "found" variety rather than selected for quality or relevance to the voyage. The onboard enrichment programs were so-so, but the only practical port information had to be obtained by repeated trips to shore excursions, because all of the ship sponsored port talks were sales pitches for tours. The food in the Aqua class restaurant, BLU, was superb as was the service. The main dining room, however, served fish and steak that were inedible, and even the highly popular sushi bar got less and less attractive later in the voyage because all food is brought in from the states, despite some of the best and freshest fish and meat in the world in the regions we were cruising. I was very sorry for people experiencing all of the other disappointments and not even able to eat well. Disembarkation instructions were extremely limited and VERY late in coming (the last newsletter on the last night). We were not warned of the cutoff time for Internet, and coupled with the many times during the voyage that internet was unexpectedly not available or interminably slow, quite a few purchased minutes (at typically exorbitant cruise rates) were foregone. We were not given information about tipping or alterations from the "automatic" tipping scheme, were not even given our invoices in order to correct mistakes (supposedly they were available on TV, but this system never worked), and when mistakes were pointed out, had no way to check whether they were corrected (and incidentally, I now realize that they weren't) because I NEVER received a final accounting even after the cruise by mail, as was promised. People had apparently been allowed to give their folio #s orally in the lounges and restaurants (instead of supplying a card), so there may have been quite a bit of freeloading if our invoice was at all typical. I expressed all of my health and safety concerns to staff while on the ship, with only the most serious being addressed. Reportedly, the onboard Guest Relations staff was still reeling from the complaints from the prior voyage, when even more accommodations were "not ready for prime time" or not ready at all---the whole upper deck still held containers by one report. After the voyage I wrote a lengthy letter to the President (because the disembarkation survey was extremely limited compared to other cruise lines) and received a brush-off written by apparently quite a junior staffer---after 6 weeks, and two or three follow up calls to land based guest relations. The bottom line is, beware of post "refit" cruises, though they will be advertised as elevating your cruise experience immeasurably; it might take multiple voyages before they are even functioning normally! Beware of Christmas cruises, unless you are on a line that does a better job of enforcing security and protecting adult spaces. And I would have to add, beware of Celebrity which is one of the least responsive cruise lines I have every experienced when there are problems. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
My son and I have cruised 20+ times in the past and Celebrity has always been our favourite. WE are Elite members and have sailed on Solstice two years ago. At that time we had enjoyed our cruise very much and we were looking forward to ... Read More
My son and I have cruised 20+ times in the past and Celebrity has always been our favourite. WE are Elite members and have sailed on Solstice two years ago. At that time we had enjoyed our cruise very much and we were looking forward to have the same experience. Unfortunately this time the cruise did not turn out to be up to Celebrity standard. It seemed like I was on a totally different ship. Starting from below average food quality (both in the main dining room and upstairs buffet) and continuing with very poor entertainment. I can't believe that Solstice cruise director Stewart has worked for Celebrity for over 10 years and nobody fired him yet!!!! Overall, entertainment crew appeared to be not motivated, and often they looked like they didn't want to "be there". I saw the same shows two years ago and what a difference! As Elite members we took the backstage tour once again. I invited one of the ladies from our dining room table to join as as she was an artist. I bragged to her prior to the tour how exciting it was going to be and how much she is going to learn about show productions. And you have no idea how embarrassed I was after we took the tour! For first half hour we listened to cruise director Stewart how fabulous he was (and he wasn't even supposed to be there!) and after they just walked us through the back (it took literary 1 min) and sent us on our way... This brings me to the subject of consistency... Consistency with previous quality of food and service on Solstice as well as consistency of food and service on the current cruise. Every drink, every cup of coffee I ordered tasted different from each other. I really can't understand why. There was also a problem with consistency of information received from the crew. I had an issue with shore excursion stuff in relation with my extended stay excursion in Ft Lauderdale after disembarkation. When I went to shore excursion desk to inquire what exactly is involved in the excursion one lady told me that we get dropped off "somewhere in the city and it was my responsibility to take a taxi if I wanted to go to the beach". She became very argumentative to the point of being rude when I asked her to double check this info as the description of the excursion in the paper was totally different from what she was telling me. She also stated that the manager was unavailable to answer my questions. I then spoke to another shore excursion officer who told me that we in fact get dropped off at the beach (totally opposite from what the first officers told me). She was even be able to get the manager on the phone to confirm this information. And last but for sure not list.... My BIGGEST issue with this cruise. If I only read the reviews of past passengers that sailed on Solstice earlier the same month.... I would have known that the ship had to be thoroughly cleaned several times (in fact, there was a huge delay with embarkation early December) due to noro (or Norwalk) virus. NOBODY from the crew bothered to tell us that this problem existed. I actually remember that once when I sailed with another cruise line they sent out a letter prior to the sailing day notifying passengers about the virus. NOT THIS TIME. If you read this and you are about to sail on Solstice please, please, take the precautions!!!!! they for sure would not care! I always wash my hands, so does my son. We have not been sick in years. ON Christmas night, the night before disembarkation, my son fell very ill (I will spare you from the details, but I can tell you it was awful). I followed in the early morning hours as I obviously was in close contact taking care of him. In the morning both of us could not even move. And as you all know on the morning of disembarkation all they wanna do is to get rid of the passengers as soon as possible so they can start with the new ones. It is very hard to explain in words how you would feel if you had this virus, but all I can say that you just wanna die. Of course, you would not be able to think straight and the fever does not help at all. I knew we had to get out of the cabin, my son wasn't even moving though. All I could think was to go to the guest relations desk for help, and also it was the closest place to our cabin (I had difficulty walking at that time). When I told the officer from the Guest Relations desk that my son and I are very ill SHE SAID "so what??" I could not believe this response. I further told her that I thought they wanna know as other passengers may get sick as well. She did not seem to care. She did say that she will get a nurse to call my cabin. At no time did she ask if we needed any assistance to disembark or anything else for that matter. Unfortunately by the time I returned to the cabin the nurse already called and spoke to my son. Not sure what she was able to get out of him as he was half unconscious.. As the room attendants were already knocking on our door asking when we were leaving (to give them credit they had no idea how we were feeling and they were just doing their job) I had to get my son up, grab our bags and crawl out of the room. For me it appears that nobody on board really cared. Needless to say that the rest of the day was pure hell... Upon arriving home we received emails from several other passengers that we met on this cruise who fell ill as well. I immediately contacted Celebrity to notify them that they might have a problem. The operator didn't seem to care and quickly tried to judge the steps that I made and blame me for not going straight to the nurse. It is probably very difficult to understand the state of mind I was in without experiencing it. I did state to the operator that the reason for my call was not to get anything out of this but to alert the cruiseline of the potential problem on board Solstice. I hope those of you who are planning a cruise on Solstice will find this information helpful. We may be considering another trip with Celebrity but for sure not on Solstice and most likely not on "S" class ships Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Before I start and give my review of this cruise, I would just like to tell you my travelling companion and I have worked in the travel industry for over twenty years and we have both held senior positions on cruise ships in the past. ... Read More
Before I start and give my review of this cruise, I would just like to tell you my travelling companion and I have worked in the travel industry for over twenty years and we have both held senior positions on cruise ships in the past. After embarking the ship in Istanbul for our Holy land cruise on the 6th of November we were amazed how quickly we got through the terminal and onto the ship. The welcome onboard glass of champagne went down like a treat and our party of 6 couldn't wait to go and explore what would be our new home for the next two weeks. Being Diamond Plus in the Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor programme we were matched across to Elite status with Celebrity's Captains Club. We were all looking forward to being made welcome and special like we have enjoyed and experienced many times in the past. Once on the ship at 1pm we were shepherd to the Seaside cafe on deck ten to have lunch. Having not cruised with Celebrity before I was somewhat dumb struck at the rat race and free for all that was happening right in front of me. Trying to push my father through the cafe in his wheelchair was near impossible. Passengers were just hitting each individual section of the buffet from left, right and centre causing ciaos and frustration for many people just wanting a simple lunch after a long day travelling. My first impression was "why is it taking so long"? 15 minute to wait to get a salad was bad enough but this was topped by a 10 minute wait to get a cup of coffee. I didn't mind too much telling people not to push in front of me but poor old dad with his walking sticks he had no chance at all. At this point all I could I think was, don't they do things different and why is everything from a packet of butter to a glass of water being served personally by a member of staff? All I could I do was reflect on what I had seen in the Seaside cafe and try and make sense of it as we waited to get the announcement at 3pm saying that our cabins were ready. We settled into our generously large outside cabin on deck 6 and found the decor pleasing and cabin spotlessly clean which it remained to be throughout the whole cruise. Nothing was too much trouble for our stateroom attendant and it was nice to be engaging with someone who really had a passion for their work. The evening meals in the main dining room were exceptional. The choices on the menu we found to be fresh and creative and it was joy to have such wonderful dishes served by two very enthusiastic and fun waiters. At dinner on the second night compliments were sent to the chef and to our surprise no other than the executive chef himself came to our table to thank us personally. We were asked if anyone had any questions they would like to ask. I asked the chef "what was happening at the lunchtime buffet"? He told us steps had been taken for staff to serve everything in the buffet as the ship had experienced a bug on the previous cruise and many people had been taken ill. At this point things did start to make sense we had thought the cruise line was going over the top showing over and over again on the TV how to wash your hands and how to prevent the spreading of germs and infections at sea. On the third day of our cruise two out of our party had been struck down with a bug and by the end of the first week four out of the six of us had been isolated with the unspeakable virus! Of course for their own reasons the officers were tight lipped when asked if the Norovirus was present on the previous cruise. At one point we were told 4 passengers had embarked the ship in Istanbul ill and this had caused the outbreak! To be honest with you, should we have known this prior to embarkation I think some of our party would have thought long and hard about going on a ship with such a terrible and painful virus as some of our travelling party have had fragile health of late like I guess most of the population of pensioners onboard the "Connie". After being released from isolation I found the free for all had continued in the Seaside Cafe and the attitude from some of the stripes still remained aloof, arrogant and still in denial of what was happening around them. Today, having only returned home late yesterday I cannot find it within me to thank Celebrity Cruises for showing me how I am actually able to projective vomit and experience the other things associated with the unspeakable bug. However, once I receive the "gesture of goodwill" compensation payment in the form of a future cruise credit of one lost day in isolation, my opinion might just change but I don't think it will it took us almost three days to come around after. I am more than aware I have been going on and on so I'm not going to go into details of the cold food and never once seeing a food thermometer, finding sinks full of vomit in public toilets and the inability of stripes to communicate with one another along with the disorganisation in the dining room for breakfast and lunch and, don't even get me started on the elegant afternoon tea. So, go on, ask me did I enjoy my cruise? Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
I have sailed on many lines, however this was my first cruise on Celebrity. My sister and brother in law with whom I sailed have enjoyed saIling with Celebrity and assured me that I would also do so. They were wrong, I was very ... Read More
I have sailed on many lines, however this was my first cruise on Celebrity. My sister and brother in law with whom I sailed have enjoyed saIling with Celebrity and assured me that I would also do so. They were wrong, I was very disappointed. This was the first time that I travelled as a single, consequently paying for two was a huge expense and I would only cruise again if singles get a better deal. The food on "Constellation" was very ordinary, definitely not up to the standard I have enjoyed on other ships. The buffet offered the same food every day. There were plenty of salads at lunch time but little in the way of meat or fish to go with them. This is the first cruise I have been on where afternoon tea was not served. On the last day of the cruise afternoon tea was offered at a charge of $18.00 per person. We did partake and it was very nice, however I think the charge was excessive. Indeed almost everyone I spoke to complained of the greed of the company in their charges for every little thing. In Mykonos there was a last minute change from a tender landing to a berth one. We were charged $7.00 for a two minute trip on the bus into town! The entertainment was very ordinary apart from a violinist who entertained us on two evenings. Norovirus struck down a huge percentage of passengers and crew. Disembarkation was handled smoothly although we were disappointed that there was no provision made for people who had a late flight out of Istanbul, to leave luggage. I sat at the airport for eight hours! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Having arrived in San Juan to embark the ship our cases were taken and we were very quickly registered and on the ship. Whilst waiting for our luggage we went off to have lunch, on our return the smell of wine to which you are allowed an ... Read More
Having arrived in San Juan to embark the ship our cases were taken and we were very quickly registered and on the ship. Whilst waiting for our luggage we went off to have lunch, on our return the smell of wine to which you are allowed an allowance was really strong, our friends had wrapped their's inside some clothes inside their suitcase and it has been broken and the whole suitcase full of clothes was ruined, coverd in red wine and at the same time they had managed to break the bottom of one of our cases and break the handle off, so no care taken with your luggage so be warned!!!!! Dinner in the main dining room is an event in it's self, very long winded, fine if you don't mind waiting, dinner time which was set for 8.30pm was moved to 8.45pm without warning and stayed at that time during the whole cruise. If staying in the same cabins that we did, 8147 & 8149 be advised that 8149 is right next to a family cabin and we had some very noisy teenagers using foul language, so had to call security twice, not a good cabin, the noise can also be heard from 8147. I would like to thank our table waiters Renante and Sonnel who looked after us every evening and did a really good job the best people on the ship in my opinion and the only good thing on this cruise. We dined in the Olympic Restaurant twice worth every penny but very rich food and very filling, but you will enjoy it and it is worth the $30 dollars extra charge, the service is spot on, but they do not do flambe at the table like they say they do. We did cruise over christmas and new year and the ship was full of children, so if you like the quiet life not a good time to go as it is definately a family ship at this time. When you came in from being on shore for the day your bags are scanned and if you have any bottles of alcohol or cans of beer they will take them away this did cause a few arguments that we saw, the security were very unfriendly on this ship and we have never found this so with any other. I would say all in all that Celebity seem to have a very good reputation the ship is very nice but that is where it ends, the food is not brilliant and we have had a lot better, the service is not brilliant and you are treated like something they have never seen before, I really don't wish to repeat this experience, everywhere you turned on this ship you just felt that they were trying to extract money from you, even the freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning had to be paid for it never has on any other ship, they have an English breakfast bar but they ran out of English bacon a week before the cruise finished, they even ran out of white bread one morning, crazy. Don't get forced into buying the soda package you can get drinks all day long from the cafe's that you don't have to pay for and the soda packages are expensive, one more way for them to try and make money. The restaurant was not open for lunch for the entire cruise, if you go with other companies even if only 5 people are in the restaurant they are still open, but not celebrity. So all in all 2/10 an experience not to be repeated. Although we had a concierge cabin there are only 2 chairs and a table on this balcony, no sunbed so if you want a sunbed don't go for this class of cabin. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
This was our 5th cruise but our first with Celebrity. The period of the cruise was over Christmas and New Year and having been on 2 similar cruises before which were very good, my husband and I were looking forward to a similar experience ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise but our first with Celebrity. The period of the cruise was over Christmas and New Year and having been on 2 similar cruises before which were very good, my husband and I were looking forward to a similar experience on Constellation. We flew British Airways to Miami. Having cheated all sorts of obstacles (BA threatened strikes and bad weather in the UK) we arrived in Miami only 10 minutes late. We were transferred to the Wyndham Miami Airport hotel for the night and would be transferred to the ship the next morning. The hotel was adequate and the transfers were fine. We were in a Concierge Class cabin and were therefore entitled to various extra goods and services including priority check in and boarding. Not on this occasion. We were at least an hour in the check in queue whilst all other queues moved a lot quicker. There were plenty of complaints from us and our fellow queuers!! Then, when we got to the check in desk the clerk made a song and dance about the fact that my husband has a USA visa (and why did I not also have one - as if it was any of his business) and that he had never seen anyone with a British passport with a "white entry form" whereas mine was the visa waiver green one. I was hugely unimpressed. Eventually we were allowed to proceed. We went straight to our cabin which was ready, had a quick look round, noted that there was no fruit to which we were entitled and then went for some lunch in the Seaview Cafe. After lunch one of our cases had arrived at our cabin door and the other 2 cases followed in short order. Our cabin steward came to introduce himself and the fruit arrived. We opened our complimentary bottle of sparkling wine and sipped this on the balcony overlooking the marina in Miami. Then we had a look around the ship. The atrium was nicely decorated with Christmas trees and sparkling stars and we felt ready to enjoy a nice Christmas and New Year cruise. The ship was supposed to sail at 17.00 but there was an announcement that the captain had decided to wait for an hour to see if people who had been delayed on flights could make the ship before it sailed. There had been bad weather in the eastern USA as well as Europe and flights were being cancelled wholesale. In the event, over 100 people did not make it and had to join the ship 3 or 4 days later in Curacao or Aruba. We were booked for second sitting in the San Marco Restaurant (deck 4) on a table for 6. 2 of the other 4 people were there for the first night. They were from Miami and therefore had not had any hassles with travelling. The menu showed the day's specials on the right hand side and the "always available" items on the left hand side. There was a good choice. We both chose a crab starter, followed by a soup and then main course and then chatted to our table companions. When our crab dishes arrived we were dumbfounded. On my plate there were 2 leaves of rocket and drizzled on one of them was about a tablespoonful of a crab sauce. That was it!! We did not say anything at the time, thinking this must be an error or a first night hitch. However, when the soup arrived it was lukewarm and slopped all over the sides of the soup bowls. Altogether we were not impressed with the food and we also noticed that the staff were running around like headless chickens. There did not seem to be any leadership or co-ordination. We thought we would see how things went the next night before making any comments. We took breakfast in the Seaview Cafe. This was fine and there was plenty of choice and room to sit no matter what time you arrived. We did this every day. Also the tea and coffee stations were good with nice sized mugs instead of small cups. No complaints here. Our first day was a sea day. The weather was cloudy and windy and not very warm. Still we found a nice place to relax on sunbeds at the front of the ship on deck 11/12. This was nice and quiet but if you wanted music all you had to do was to move further to the centre of the ship where there was more action and they had a Caribbean band playing for part of the day. That night was the first formal dress night. My husband and I like these opportunities to dress up. Unfortunately we were not in the majority. Around 95% of the ladies dressed up in nice gowns or cocktail dresses but around 95% of men could not be bothered to adhere to the dress code. This got worse on the next formal night - but read on......... The food in the restaurant was about on a par with the first night and the service was no better and just as chaotic. I did notice that when our waiter came round to ask if our food was OK he also asked if it was hot - strange - never been asked that before. With just a couple of days to go before Christmas Day, we noted that there were no decorations whatsoever in our part of the restaurant or indeed in the Seaview cafe. We decided that they would appear perhaps on Christmas Eve. On the 3rd night in the restaurant, things were no better and my husband decided to make a complaint. He pointed out about the soup being slopped over the sides of the bowls and about the food not being overly hot. Complaints were taken on board although the waiter said they just delivered what was sent up by the kitchens. It had also come to our attention that whilst our table (and a couple of others) had to wait a long time for service, another table next to ours seating 8 got served straight away. They had the same staff as we did but the staff fawned over them the whole time - you would have thought they owned the ship. By this time the service and the quantity of the food on offer was a nightly talking point on our table as our companions were no more impressed than we were. We were all driven to ordering a starter, soup and salad in order to ensure that we had enough to eat. Having said that, the salads were mainly chopped up lettuce. By the 3rd day, we had got used to our cabin. Lots of storage space. It was clean and the beds and pillows so comfy. The balcony was rather small with 2 chairs (non reclining) and a large table. Still we managed. The worst aspect was the cold water from the tap in the bathroom which was always warm - sometimes quite hot. On the other hand, there was plenty of hot water, the shower was OK (but not the best we have had) and the cabin was nicely serviced including change of towels twice a day. The air conditioning was particularly good. On Christmas Eve, we returned to our cabin late morning to find that our balcony was flooded. The glass doors outside were streaming with water, the table top was similarly covered in water and the chair cushions were soaked. By late afternoon, the balcony was still in no fit state to use and we had to complain. Someone came up and sort of dried it. Christmas Day and Santa had found us on the ship!!! we also got a nice beach bag from Celebrity and a card wishing us season's greetings (not Merry Christmas). When we arrived for breakfast in the Seaview Cafe, there were Christmas streamers along the top of the serving counters. Hurray!! But by lunchtime they had been taken away. We spent the day relaxing in the lovely weather. There was plenty of sunbed space at the front of the ship and plenty of beds spare. So no fighting over sunbeds or deck space on this ship (which we had experienced before). Arriving back in our cabin late afternoon, there were no canapes so we rang to ask where they were. When they were delivered our cabin steward told us that they had not been delivered because we had put the "do not disturb" sign on the outside of the door. NOT TRUE. This statement was later retracted and our steward told us it was his assistant's fault - he had missed us out. This was the second formal dress night for the restaurant. Needless to say, compliance was hardly better that on the 1st formal night. Even worse, the aforementioned table next to ours that got the good service, turned up in casual clothes - some in jeans. How ignorant can you get? And still they got the best service and despite coming in very late, got their food before us. 3 out of the 4 of us on our table ordered a lobster salad for starters. This arrived on a plate hardly bigger than the side plates used for bread. It consisted of some shredded lettuce leaves, about 4/5 very thin slices of radish and a couple of slices of cucumber - but no sign of the lobster. We all stared at our plates and called the waiter to get us some lobster. It was pointed out that the lobster was between 2 of the slices of radish. Well I managed to retrieve mine but it was cut so thin that it disintegrated when I tried to move it away from the radish. We could do more than laugh even though it was so bad. We had pre- ordered a particular bottle of wine for my husband and a bottle of champagne for me. We had been told they would be on our table when we arrived at dinner. When we enquired where they were we were told that they had run out of the champagne. You can imagine how unimpressed we were. We chose an alternative bottle at the same price as the original bottle. The Christmas turkey was OK if a bit salty but there was no Christmas pudding or cake or mince pies and no decorations in the restaurant. Where had we come to? On arriving back in our cabin at 22.55, there had been no turn - down service and no bathroom service. My husband rang to enquire. 25 minutes later when no one had come to sort things out, I strode down to guest relations in my long gown and flip flops (!!) to complain. 10 minutes later, the room was serviced. The following day our steward said the cabin had not been done because we had locked the door. LOCKED THE DOOR????? WE HAD BEEN IN THE RESTAURANT SO HOW DO YOU LOCK A DOOR FROM THE OUTSIDE??????? This accusation was later retracted and we were told that the steward had simply missed our room. This was the second time we had had to complain and on each occasion, it was initially our fault. What sort of customer service is that?? Boxing Day we dined in the Ocean Liners restaurant. What a difference from the San Marco. You were made to feel special, the service was great, the food likewise. But why did we have to pay a 30$ surcharge each to get these things? Thereafter we spent our days leisurely on the sun deck or wandering round the ports of call - we did not do any trips as we had been to a lot of the islands before. We went to the Casual Dining restaurant in the Seaview Cafe on 2 nights and this was excellent - no surcharge but a tip was suggested. We left in excess of the suggested amount as the service and attention was so good. On each occasion, this restaurant was underused. We felt that people did not realise now nice it was and that what you got was far better than the San Marco. Talking to fellow passengers, a lot were disappointed with the lack of Christmas feel on the ship. Some had complained and had been told that this was out of respect to non - Christian passengers. OMG - I thought we had left political correctness at home when we stepped on the plane at Heathrow. No it is alive and well at Celebrity. New Year's Eve was another formal night and this time a lot of people adhered to the dress code. There was a deck party around the pool. This had all the makings of a disaster when at 23.00 on 24 December, we had to sit and watch the band set up on the stage and someone trying to get a computer to project imagines onto a screen. At that time I expect to be dancing. Once the band got going it was fine and the Caribbean band they had on next were excellent. They had ice carvings showing 2009 and when it was 2010 they changed the carving to show the new year - very clever and very good. Except that they told us it was midnight with some 5 minutes still to go. So we had 2 goes at Happy New Year. As someone next to me said, you would think that on this ship they were doing everything for the first time, it was so amateurish. When we got to the San Marco restaurant for dinner on New Year's Day - we waited almost half and hour before we got the menu. Needless to say the aforementioned table next to us arrived late and got theirs straight away. My husband lost the plot at this stage. He called our waiter and asked him to explain why on each night, this other table got priority service over everyone else. The waiter agreed it was unacceptable. Needless to say the following couple of nights we got quick service - but by then the damage to our confidence had been done. Disembarkation was fine for us as we were told to go early. However, on leaving the ship we found out that we had to complete USA entry forms. We still had the stubs of the previous forms we had filled in on the plane for arrival in the country. Apparently these should have been taken from us in St Thomas. We got off the ship there but no one asked us for anything. We weren't the only people having to re - do forms. When we got to immigration we were told that there were 68 people who did not hand in their form stubs on leaving the ship in St Thomas. If that was so, the ship must have known who they were so why did someone not contact the people concerned to tell them what to do? Apart from this the disembarkation experience was OK and we were soon at Miami airport for a long wait for our flight home. So to sum up, and putting glitches to one side, GOOD POINTS of the cruise were the cabin size, storage space, air conditioning, cleanliness and (on the whole) service; the space on deck for sunbathing; the Ocean Liners and the Casual Dining restaurants; the New York steaks in the San Marco, the bread served in the San Marco and Aqua Spa restaurants, the Caribbean band and the dance band in the Rendevous Lounge, the Martini bar, the IT centre and the New Year's night party (when it got going). POOR POINTS were the standard of service in the San Marco (except for our assistant waiter), the variety on the menu on some nights, the unpredictable amount of food you would get in the San Marco, the length of time it took for us to have our dinner (we were often not getting out of the restaurant until nearly 23.00)and the table settings - often there were no wine glasses on the table and the water glasses were all wet as if they had just been rinsed, embarkation and to an extent disembarkation, the warm cold water in our cabin and the lack of Chrismassy feel in the ship generally. We did not do the shows and therefore cannot comment on them. The bottom line is that what we experienced on the Constellation was nowhere near as good as what we had on the RCI Serenade of the Seas in September 2009 and was a lot worse than what we have had on P&O and not even in the same street as what we got on the QE2. Would we sail with Celebrity again? Well it would not be our first port of call when looking for another cruise. I doubt if we would ever use them again as we would not have the confidence that what we would get would be OK. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
My family of 4 set out for a special holiday adventure to South America. What we ended up with was outrageous treatment beyond belief. American Airlines and Celebrity Cruise line's incredible callousness and incompetence nearly ... Read More
My family of 4 set out for a special holiday adventure to South America. What we ended up with was outrageous treatment beyond belief. American Airlines and Celebrity Cruise line's incredible callousness and incompetence nearly completely wrecked our holiday before it even began. When we finally made it to the ship after two and a half days the treatment and service on board wasn't much better. This cruise line behaves like a company ready to go out of business (it certainly will if it keeps this up).This is going to be a long review, but bear with me because it is necessary to include all the details to fully illustrate the incredible degree of incompetence and indifference that my family encountered on this expensive cruise. We were scheduled to sail on the Celebrity Infinity for a 14 day holiday cruise from Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina which embarked on December 21, 2008. Scheduled is the operative word here. I had upgraded our cabin to "concierge class" because I wanted a balcony and decided that the extra amenities seemed worthwhile, particularly the priority embarkation and disembarkation that was promised. My two daughters, (ages 20 and 14) had an inside cabin of their own. I also purchased air transportation and port transfers and a two day add on stay in Buenos Aires from Celebrity. The first problem was that we were scheduled to fly from Cincinnati to Chicago to Miami to Santiago on December 20. When the weather in the Midwest started getting dicey, I called my travel agent on December 19 to see if there was any possibility of being routed through a hub other than Chicago. No luck there except an earlier flight from Cincinnati to Chicago which ended up prolonging the agony in Chicago. Our flight which was scheduled to leave Chicago at 3:45 pm ended up leaving after 7 pm with an estimated arrival time of 11 pm in Miami. Our connecting flight to Santiago was to leave at 11:25 pm. A couple hours prior to boarding the delayed flight to Miami, i called Celebrity and told them that I might miss the connection. Their office closed t 7 pm Eastern time and I told them the flight wouldn't even start boarding by them so I wouldn't know my situation before they closed. I was told just to call the same number and it would ring through to an after hours emergency operator if I had a problem. After we boarded the flight to Miami, I asked the American Airlines flight attendants if they could arrange for assistance at the arrival gate in Miami to reach our international gate due to the tight connection. I have health issues that prevent me from running any distance. The attendants not only refused to assist, but were downright nasty. Since we were at the very rear of a large plane, I asked if at least we could be moved to a seat closer to the front of the plane. Again I was refused. My daughters and husband ran ahead to the international terminal while I tried my best to run. My daughter got to the gate, only to be refused boarding while others who were on the same connecting flight from Chicago and who had arrived at the international gate at the same time she did were boarded. (American Airlines excuse when I filed a complaint was that they were sorry that we arrived after the flight had closed. That is ridiculous when you consider that the people standing right next to us in line were allowed to board and we weren't). All in all, 15 people from our cruise were denied boarding on this flight. The American Airlines supervisor at this gate was even nastier than the flight attendants had been. It took over an hour to re-book everyone. Meanwhile I became ill from all the exertion and stress and I lay on the floor at the gate the entire time with chest pain and my head pounding, taking medication. No one from the airline even inquired as to whether I required assistance. It was almost 1 am by the time we got the new tickets. They made no attempt to put us on a morning flight which would have still allowed for the possibility of making the cruise which didn't leave Valparaiso until 9 pm the next day. Instead we were put on a 9:30 pm flight the next night (Sunday December 21) on LAN (this meant we'd still be in Miami after the ship left the dock in Valparaiso). I called the "emergency" number at Celebrity and instead of being put through to the emergency operator who was allegedly available, I got a "we are closed" message. As soon as we got to the hotel, I checked our reservation on LAN's website but it wouldn't recognize the locator number. At 7 am Sunday morning, I called LAN and got the same answer-we don't have that locator number in our computer. So off we went in the shuttle back to the airport, and amidst hundreds of people trying to check in at American Airlines, we tried to get help. After being told by one agent that LAN did have the reservation and calling LAN again to be told the new locator number AA gave us wasn't valid, I finally found an AA supervisor who admitted the reservation had been put in the wrong database by the bungling AA employee at the gate the previous night. She reissued the tickets and we went back to the hotel. I was still not certain at that point whether we had confirmed seats on the LAN flight or if we were standby, which had been mentioned by the gate agent, so I called the "day of travel" number at Celebrity and inquired as to what I should do if I didn't get on the LAN flight that night. I was told that I should just go to the airport that evening and standby and wait. I told her that I didn't think that was a good answer because if I didn't get on this next flight, the ship would be out to sea and would be 1000 miles from the port by the next time it docked. Her answer was "just go to the airport and see what happens." I hung up on her and called my travel agent. The travel agent told me that she could get us seats on a LAN flight the next morning from Santiago to LaSerena but that it would cost nearly $800 for the four of us and we would have to pay out of our own pockets and hope to be reimbursed later. I said that I didn't like that idea and that we needed to get a more definitive input from Celebrity. Phone calls from the travel agency came in all afternoon. At one point the travel agent said that two travel agents (it was Sunday and the agency was closed) had come in and had as many as four phone lines going to Celebrity trying the resolve the issue. Ultimately, we got a call from the travel agent informing us that we did have confirmed seats on the LAN flight from Miami to Santiago and that once Celebrity was sure that we were on the flight, they would make arrangements to fly us to La Serena. Dream on. At 5 pm we picked up our hand luggage that had been stored at the hotel and coincidentally met up with another family who were to be on the cruise and had been refused boarding as well. I asked them if they had checked their tickets, because I assumed that the same mistake had probably been made with their re-booking as had been made with ours. They hadn't. When we arrived at the LAN counter at 5:30 pm(behind scores of other passengers, even though we'd been told by AA that we couldn't check in there any sooner than 3 hours before the flight) we were relieved to find that we were on the passenger list. Unfortunately, the other family was not. They were sent back to AA to try and get re-booked again. Once we were finally at the counter, the LAN agent said that our tickets still weren't correct and we spent another half hour standing there while she reprinted the tickets yet another time. Then they made a big deal of checking all the luggage tags and recording the numbers from the AA luggage receipts, as our luggage was allegedly going to be transferred to this flight. With boarding passes in hand, we called the travel agent again and told her we were headed to the gate. Again we were told that a Celebrity Agent would meet us outside of customs in Santiago and guide us to the ship. We boarded the LAN flight at 9 pm. The other family finally made it to the gate just as the flight began boarding. They had been hassled for two hours between AA and LAN before LAN finally issued them boarding passes, even though they too had been on the phone all day with their travel agent who had assured them three times that they had seats on this flight. The flight on LAN was great (much nicer than the United flight on which we returned from the trip). Comfortable seats, a decent dinner (for airline food) and a complimentary glass of wine. Movies, videos, games and music on demand were on individual screens with remote controls. LAN was to become our best travel ally. After deplaning in Santiago sometime around 8 am, we paid the arrival tax ($131 per person) and went off the retrieve our luggage. It wasn't on the flight. My husband went to stand in the huge line of passengers with missing luggage and suggested that I go through customs and get outside to look for the Celebrity agent. No Celebrity agent anywhere in sight. I did meet another man who had been on our flight who had also been bumped from Saturday's flight. He told me that our luggage was in the AA office. They had sent it to Santiago on the next AA flight (so why couldn't they have sent us on the next flight too?). I had no way of communicating this to my husband who was still back in the secure area of the airport. By that time I was in tears, and some guy who appeared to be airport personnel asked if he could help me. He wanted to direct me to a taxi of which he was probably getting a cut of the fare. My husband and daughters finally came out through customs, after having waited about 45 minutes in line to be told that the luggage was indeed in the AA office. In the process, we ran across another party of 4 people in the same situation, but they told us that American Airlines had given them free tickets to La Serena to meet the ship. I put my 20 yr old daughter in charge to trying to contact the travel agency and Celebrity as I was so stressed at that point it was hard for me to be objective. She has traveled the world to such places and Burma and all over India by herself, so she's an experienced traveler and very level headed. Again, a continuous barrage of calls ensued back and forth (now on international roam prices) all of which proved to provide false information. We were first told that a shuttle was to meet us in front of the airport to drive us to La Serena (a 300 mile distance through the Atacama Desert) and that it would be arriving soon. It was now after 9 am. At the front of the airport we met up with another group of 4 people who were also on the cruise and had been bumped from the Saturday flight. They had been in front of the airport waiting for a Celebrity agent since 6 am. The other family of three joined us, too. There were now 11 of us waiting for the shuttle. Around 10 am my daughter called again and was told by Celebrity that the shuttle was on its way. Another half hour passed and everybody was getting anxious that we wouldn't make the boat in the time that was left even if the shuttle came. The airport agent and his taxi vultures had convinced us at that point to ride to La Serena in one of their vans for $100 per person and grabbed our luggage and started hauling it to the vans. As we were doing that, my daughter made another call to Celebrity, who insisted that the shuttle was still on its way. We wrested our luggage back from them and hauled it back to the curb in front of the airport. More time passed. The taxi vultures kept insisting that they could drive us to La Serena in time to catch the boat before it left at 4 pm. That was physically impossible at this point unless they drove 100 mph the whole way. I finally had to start screaming that I was going to call the police to get them to leave us alone. It was now after 11 am and my daughter called Celebrity again and this time was told that there was no shuttle on its way! They said they had no authorization to send a shuttle and that they hadn't even gotten in touch with an English speaking agent in Santiago yet. The Celebrity agent on the phone told my daughter to get in a taxi and to try to reach La Serena on our own. She told him that would be impossible at this point due to the distance we would need to travel in the time left and his response was "stop arguing with me and get a taxi or you won't ever make it!" My daughter replied that she wasn't getting into a taxi and going on a wild goose chase and hung up on him. (Apparently he told our travel agent the same thing and she was incensed at the way he had spoken to her). We were all on the verge of despair, but we still had the option of buying tickets for the 1:30 LAN flight to La Serena, so we headed upstairs (with piles of luggage) to the LAN counter. While we were standing in line waiting to buy tickets for the flight, we received a call from the travel agent relaying a message that she had gotten from Celebrity claiming that they were sending an agent who was now on their way to meet us at the airport and take us to the port. We told her we were going to buy airplane tickets and fly there as we saw that as our only viable option and only had a few minutes to get the tickets before the flight started to board. She called back again and said that Celebrity had insisted that the agent was on the way and that it was only 2 hours to the port. At that point I realized that they were under the assumption that the ship was still in Valparaiso, which is 2 hours from Santiago. Unreal!! My daughter told our travel agent that what Celebrity had told her was nonsense and that we were going to take our chances and fly to La Serena and also told her that we wanted confirmation that the captain of the ship had been contacted and that he knew that we were coming before we got on the flight. Fortunately for us, one of the LAN supervisors noticed us and the confusion we were experiencing, along with the others in the group, and took my husband to the ticket counter, helped him purchase our tickets and expedited our luggage check in. As we headed to the gate we got more phone calls from the travel agency. We were told that we had to make it to the port by three or else the customs agent would be gone, then we were told again that a shuttle would meet us in La Serena and take us to the port (which was some distance from the airport). We were also told at that point that the captain was informed that we would be arriving in La Serena at 2:30 pm and we would proceed directly to the ship. We were told that the ship would wait for our arrival. We arrived at the La Serena airport after another pleasant short LAN flight. I went out to look for a Celebrity agent while my husband collected the luggage. Again, no sign of anyone from Celebrity at the airport. My daughter checked her phone (which had been turned off during the flight) and had text message stating that an agent was going to meet us at the Santiago airport, put us in a hotel in Santiago for 2 days and then transport us to Puerto Montt to meet the ship there!! There were now 15 of us assembled in La Serena trying to figure out the fastest way to get to the ship. Fortunately, one person in the group spoke fluent Spanish and negotiated hiring a van for us. Eleven people and piles of luggage went into a van and the remaining 4 took a taxi to the ship. We went careening through town, passing trucks and carts and a near miss of a crash or two before we finally got to the ship at around 3:15 pm. We were directed to the customs office. Fortunately the customs officer was still there. He stamped all of our passports and we headed back toward the ship and unloaded our luggage on the dock. An officer of the ship wandered over to us and gave us an incredulous look. She said that the crew had been told by the Celebrity office that we weren't meeting the ship that day. She said that Celebrity had sent a van to the airport and "waited hours and hours" for us and that we had never showed up! What airport? When? Really!! The captain obviously had no idea that we were on our way. All of this nonsense could have been avoided if Celebrity had just made the arrangements for us to connect to La Serena from the flight to Santiago when our travel agent contacted them on Sunday (and they were on the phone to Celebrity much of the day on Sunday, being put on hold and experiencing extreme frustration themselves). We would have avoided the long line to pay the arrival tax, the long line to get our luggage, and all the other frustrations, because if you had a connecting flight in Santiago to another city in Chile, you got to bypass all the arrival formalities in Santiago, and I am sure that they would have gone much more quickly at our final airport destination which was much less crowded. They made Sea Pass cards for us and we boarded the ship and went to our stateroom. It was now nearly 4 pm and the ship was preparing to leave the dock. No one else from the crew greeted us or called or made any inquiries as to any further needs that we might have. In our cabin we found a bottle of warm champagne (a concierge class amenity) that had been left in a pool of melted ice in the ice bucket overnight. No one came to bring us a chilled bottle. (We later found out the travel agency had also sent us a gift of a bottle of wine which Celebrity bothered to give to us). I was thoroughly exhausted from all the extra travel time, stress, and frustration. I asked my daughter to call our travel agent and extend to her the courtesy of knowing that we had made it to the ship, since she had spent so much of her weekend trying to help us. (The travel agent later told us that she received a call a couple hours later from someone at Celebrity who acted "absolutely giddy" that we'd made it to the ship. She told the person from Celebrity that she already knew this because we had called her hours earlier and said she "went off at her" telling her that it was through no effort whatsoever by Celebrity that we had gotten there.) After getting ready for dinner, we went to the guest relations desk because my daughter had discovered that her Sea Pass didn't reflect the beverage waiver that I'd filled out online for her before the cruise (if you are between 18 and 21 you can drink while in international waters if your parent signs a waiver) and also because I wanted to request a meeting with the hotel manager concerning the whole fiasco that we'd just been through. The beverage waiver hadn't been processed because I needed to present the form at the check in at the embarkation terminal in Santiago which obviously hadn't happened. It wasn't a big problem to take care of that issue (I just signed a new form and she got a new ID card), but in requesting a meeting with the hotel manager, I got the third degree from the guest relations person. She finally told me that I could only meet with the assistant hotel manager and that they would call me when he decided to meet with me! At dinner we were escorted to our table (for 8) and sat waiting to order. Another party of 4 (who were speaking Spanish) was escorted to our table, gave us a dirty look and left abruptly. So we ate by ourselves the first night. The next day was a day at sea, which I desperately needed to get some rest and collect my thoughts. I ordered a room service breakfast for my husband and myself, since I was still very tired and wanted a little pampering from the allegedly "special" room service selections available in "concierge class". The food took almost an hour to arrive and was cold and the order was not correct. This was a harbinger of what was to come with anything ordered in the cabin. It took almost an hour to get ice or a glass of juice in the afternoon (when you could contact the steward). After that initial experience, I ordered room service only one other time to get some pastries and fruit to take along on a very early morning shore excursion. Breakfast was on time that day but the order was still incorrect. Later in the day, I met up with other "stranded" families, who also told me that they had tried to arrange meetings with the hotel manager and were given the same standoffish story. I called guest relations three times over the course of that day and finally just before dinner, they conceded to allow me to meet with the assistant hotel manager after dinner. We had invited the couple and their daughter whom we had met in Miami to join us at dinner since they too had no one else at their assigned table. Before they arrived at dinner to join us, a man and his daughter sat at our table, whom we hadn't expected since they'd not been there the night before, and there were only two seats left so our new friends went back down to their original table. (We asked for the table to be set for 9 on subsequent nights so that the other 3 could join us, but that took 3 days for them to get right and ultimately they moved us all to a larger table on the other side of the dining room). On the positive side, the 9 of us all enjoyed dining together for the rest of the voyage. At 8 pm I went to meet with the assistant hotel manager, Alexander Zeitz. My daughter had told some of the others that I had finally arranged a meeting and they were all on hand to join me. When Mr. Zeitz came out of his office he was very upset to see the group rather than just me and said he was uncomfortable meeting with so many people at once. The others refused to budge and he finally acceded although he behaved like he was about to be attacked by an angry mob. After listening to our stories, we got a very polite song and dance about how this was all beyond his control and that he would have to relay the information from the notes he had taken to corporate because it was obvious to him that we wanted to be compensated for our ordeal above and beyond the $150 per person compensation that was their standard refund for missing a night of the cruise. He asked for our receipts from the out of pocket expenses for the airline tickets and taxi and said it would probably be several days before we would hear anything from corporate because it was December 23 and the offices in Miami would be closed for the holiday. He admitted that the message that customs would close at 3 had come from him, so obviously someone on the ship had been in contact with Celebrity's land based offices! So why all the confusion when we got to the ship?? After the others left, I ask to speak further with him privately about our accommodations. I expressed my dismay at having purchased an upgrade when apparently I wasn't getting the amenities I'd purchased. Most of the times that I'd called the cabin steward, he didn't answer his phone, nor did the main guest services line answer. I ended up looking for the pantry and getting my own ice when I wanted cold water. The concierge line never answered either (so much for concierge service!). The fancy pillows and bed linens never materialized either. The one time that we did get through to guest services about locating a light switch and a problem with the sliding door's latch, they said they'd send someone to the room but never did. What I was mainly upset about was having read in the nightly newsletter that priority disembarkation at the ports had been suspended in South America. This was the main reason why I chose to upgrade to Concierge Class. Response-more song and dance about how this would disrupt disembarkation and take longer if they gave priority to everyone in Concierge Class (because they had made half the staterooms on the ship Concierge Class, ostensibly to extract more money from the guests for no tangible upgrade in service). He said that the steward would be told to bring me ice daily and apprise me of my selection of pillows. No pillows, but occasionally I had ice in the afternoon. I still had to get my own ice from time to time. Finally after a week of frustration in trying to reach the cabin steward for anything (and I really didn't ask for much other than ice or assistance with things in the room that were problematic), I was finally told by someone in guest services that my steward's phone was broken and the he had a new phone number. Why couldn't he have told us this at the outset?! On Christmas Eve we arrived in Puerto Montt, where I had arranged a tour for my family with a private tour operator a few weeks before the trip and was looking forward to seeing the lake country of Chile more than any of the other port stops. Several of the other passengers that I knew had arranged for the same tour with this company. The morning announcer stated that if you were not participating in a tour through Celebrity's shore excursions, you could pick up a tender ticket in front of the theater, but they wouldn't be available until 10:30 am. We went to the guest relations desk and asked again if there was any possibility of getting a priority ticket, but were told-no, only guests in suites got priority tendering (this was different from what the newsletter stated of no priority tendering other than excursions purchased through Celebrity). I also asked what was the first possible time I could obtain a ticket at the theater for the tenders for non-excursion guests, and she said 10 am. We decided to go to the theater a little early and at 9:40 am we got a ticket for tender #16 (when they weren't even supposed to be giving out tickets until 10!). Finally we arrived on the shore and went out to look for our tour van. A man at the end of the pier was holding a placard for the tour company so we approached him. To my shock, he told us that the van had already left and that the tour operators had asked him to wait for us to see if we still wanted to go with him in his taxi. He gave us a decent tour but certainly not all that had been part of the original tour that I booked. He didn't have any arrangements for getting us lunch at the restaurant the tour operators used, so he discounted the trip to make up for the fact that we had to buy our own lunch. However, it was Christmas Eve and the restaurants for the most part were closed and it was 3 o'clock before we found a half decent place to eat. I spent the greater part of 6 hours jammed in the back of a Nissan with no air conditioning (it was an unusually hot day in the area), couldn't open the window much of the time because of the dusty unpaved road, and the trunk of the car kept unlatching! Frank, our guide (a Chilean native who lived in Canada for 23 years), was a great guy and we loved his narratives, so despite the discomfort, he got a substantial tip for Christmas Eve for his willingness to stick around and do his best to show us a good time. I was still pretty disappointed that I didn't get to see many of the sights that I'd hoped to see in this very quaint and scenic area (but I blamed that on Celebrity-not Frank). Back at the port, Alexander Zeitz was on hand to hand out cups of hot chocolate to the returning passengers. He asked me how my day had been and I told him that I missed my tour because of the tendering situation. He said that if I'd asked for assistance, they would have gotten us off the ship earlier. Really??? Isn't that what I'd discussed with him the night before??? I found out later that other passengers (who made it to the tour that we missed) had asked the hotel manager for priority tendering passes and she's simply given them out with the admonishment not to tell anyone else! Back on the ship, it was Christmas Eve, and I had made reservation several weeks before the cruise to dine in the specialty restaurant, the S.S. United States, as a special holiday treat. We got dressed in our formal wear and went to the restaurant at 7:30 pm. There was only one other party in the restaurant and yet they tried to seat us at the first table which was sticking out into the foyer of the restaurant. I declined that table. This meal proved to be an extreme disappointment and certainly not worth the additional $120 that I had paid for the meal. The waiters were very professional and the service was very showy. It's too bad that the food wasn't on the same level of quality. My husband and I ordered the lobster bisque, which obviously came out of a food service package. My older daughter pronounced her foie gras as excellent, though. The younger daughter ordered a Caesar salad. The table side presentation consisted of pouring the pre-made dressing over the salad in a bowl and tossing it around, adding cheese and croutons and serving it. Not your standard table side Caesar salad routine. It was average. For entrees my husband and I ordered the Chilean Sea Bass, after inquiring if it was indeed fresh since we were in Chile. We were told that it was. The girls ordered Sole Meuniere and Steak Diane. The sea bass was dry and not really good except for an interesting vegetable sauce. The table side presentation of the Steak Diane involved heating up a pre-cooked filet in some premade gravy with a few other garnishes. It was tasty but the filet wasn't top quality meat and was rather chewy. The sole was the only dish of distinction amongst the entrees. The French cheese course followed and actually was very good with a nice selection of fine cheeses. The dessert course was the most disappointing of all. My younger daughter loves chocolate soufflE and three of us dutifully ordered ours at the beginning of the meal to allow adequate preparation time. My husband ordered some sort of fruit dessert. At approximately 9:30 our desserts were served. My older daughter asked if she could order a glass of the Royal Tokay with her dessert which was $20 per glass. I told her to go ahead since it was Christmas Eve. The wine arrived in a lovely Riedel crystal glass and was superb (she let me have a couple sips). The three soufflEs looked great until we started to eat them. Under the top crust, they were completely raw. When the waiter came to collect the dishes (he didn't come to ask how our desserts were) I mentioned this to him and he asked if we wanted something else. We declined since it was now after 10 pm. So much for an awesome Christmas Eve dinner. A couple days later the head pastry chef was giving a culinary demo and I mentioned the raw soufflEs to him. His response was, "sometimes they get busy". Indeed. The ship of lame excuses. We went up to the Rendezvous Lounge to meet some of our new friends and listen to some music until midnight Mass. I was explaining to our friends what had happened earlier with the tenders and how we had missed our tour. A lady came up to us and said she had overheard us talking and introduced herself as the wife of the cruise director. She said she was very sorry that this had happened to me and that her husband had been very upset with the way the crew had handled the tendering tickets that day. She wanted me to meet her husband and offered to buy me a drink. I told her that I didn't drink, but she insisted , so I ordered a Coke and waited with her until the cruise director arrived and we were introduced. He also offered his apologies and gave us his phone number and invited me to call him if I needed any future assistance. This was the first time anyone on the ship even acted like they cared anything about me as a guest. At 11:45 they set up a buffet of Christmas cookies and pastries, but we were headed to Mass and the line was long, so we couldn't partake in the goodies. At 12:45 am after Mass, we went back but the food was long gone. I guess that's a disadvantage of being Catholic. Again, on the plus side, on Christmas morning, Santa Claus handed out nice gifts to all the children (allegedly over 200 children on the cruise). My daughter got a nice messenger bag which she used a lot on the cruise. The holiday brunch In the Trellis restaurant featured some spectacular ice sculptures, but mostly mediocre buffet selections. By around 11 am most of the tables had been used and hadn't been cleaned and reset, so we had difficulty finding seats. The rest of the Christmas festivities were unmemorable. One of my chief complaints about the food on this cruise was that the food never seemed to be at the optimal temperature, neither at the buffets nor in the restaurants. Everything was lukewarm or marginally cold, and usually extremely under seasoned. At the grill near the pool they served hamburgers, hot dogs and other fast food items. They made a big deal out of putting the bun on small griddle to heat before they placed the hamburger of hot dog on it (which held up the line greatly), but it was still stone cold when you got it. If you asked for a cheeseburger, you got a cold slice of cheese on the burger. They had nachos which consisted of a warmer filled with fried flour tortilla triangles (that were so greasy they were actually good) and a melted cheese dispenser. The both the chips in the warmer and the cheese in the heated dispenser were stone cold. The ice dispensers were frequently out of order and galley pans of partially melted ice lay about on the counters for ice service. The Spa cafe occasionally had interesting and tasty fare that seemed to be prepared with a little more care than the other venues. I don't drink coffee, but a review book on cruise lines that I purchased before the trip said Celebrity had the worst coffee on the high seas. My husband agreed. One morning at the Spa cafe my husband saw a woman approach one of the attendants and ask who had made the coffee. The man replied that he had and she proceeded to tell him that it was the worst coffee she'd ever had. My guess is that they have bad coffee on purpose so that they can sell more in the Cova Cafe, which actually served good coffee for a price. The pastries in the Cova Cafe were frequently quite good. My husband and I bought a pass to the Persian Garden for the entire cruise on the third day of the cruise. It was, in our opinion, overpriced at $249 per couple, but we wanted to spend time together relaxing in the steam rooms and sauna and the only other sauna option was in the men's or women's locker room. We were pretty disappointed with the spa. On our only previous cruise, we had all bought spa passes on the Norwegian Pearl whose spa was magnificent. Those passes were only, If I recall correctly, $60 dollars per person, and included exclusive use of the thallasotherapy pool, individual spa tubs, a private sunbathing area with a great view at the front of the ship, sauna and steam rooms, and other amenities plus an excellent locker and changing room. The Infinity only offered two small steam rooms and a sauna. The locker rooms weren't inviting and there wasn't a comfortable, private, dry area to change clothes. After a few days, my husband complained that whenever he went up to the spa, there were no locker keys available. After paying $249 for a pass, I felt that they could at least have a locker available for him and I called Alexander Zeitz. He assured me that he would "look into it". The next afternoon as he was passing me by the elevator, he mentioned that the spa had "re-keyed" all the lockers and getting a locker should no longer be a problem. My husband decided to just go up to the spa early in the morning, get a key and keep it all day and use my key card to get in the room, since you had to surrender your key card to get a locker key. At the end of the voyage, when I went to settle my account, I found that I had been charged a $24.95 gratuity on the spa pass, even though my receipt clearly stated that the gratuity was included in the total price of the pass and $249 was listed as the total charge. I complained but they refused to remove the gratuity from my bill. Keys were another issue. They had to redo mine three times to get it to work in the disembarkation ID machine. My younger daughter got a couple of keys and none of them ever worked the entire time to allow her to charge anything. I received a notice in the cabin a few days into the voyage stating that they didn't have my credit card on file (even though I had filled out all of the information online weeks prior to the cruise) and that I was a cash account with a $500 spending limit. I surmised that this was because, once again, since I hadn't presented the paperwork with a signature at the check in at the terminal in Santiago, they couldn't process my credit card. I never did go down to straighten this out before the last night. I guess I just "got busy" like the pastry chefs. I didn't plan on spending anywhere near $500 at an enterprise that could apparently care less about my satisfaction as a customer. Other than the spa passes, the only thing that I bought was a small souvenir for my daughter and a sugar free chocolate bar. I thought a good chocolate fix would help reduce my stress but to my dismay the bar was hard as a rock and had obviously melted at some point in its storage, from observing the white "bloom" that covered it. I returned it to the store and the attendant did graciously give me a refund. Tendering continued to be a fiasco throughout the voyage. When we arrived at Punta Arenas, having learned a lesson from our previous experience, we just went down to the front of the theater really early, despite any announcements to the contrary, and got an early tender ticket. Later in the afternoon, we walked back to the dock after shopping in town with our friends and their young daughter. The weather was sunny and mild but I could see that a squall was looming out over the water. There were at least a couple hundred people standing in line on the dock which had only intermittent partial little shelters (like a line of bus stops with no sides and very short overhangs), waiting for tenders. The squall blew in a few minutes later and pelted us with rain, wind, and ice pellets until most of us and our shopping bags were soaked. I had purchased waterproof jackets for my husband and daughters especially for this trip, and they were glad to have been wearing them. The tender tried to come in, lurched, bounced, and struggled trying several times to dock before it was finally successful. My husband was afraid that the tender was going to capsize from the rough seas, but fortunately we made it back to the ship without incident. We were two hours late leaving port here because the anchor winch malfunctioned. At the last tendered port at Punta Del Este, again we had the situation of hundreds of people waiting on the dock for tenders. This time the sun was blazing, but at least there was a canvas shade. The last tender was supposed to leave at 5 pm in this port and the ship was to sail at 6, but the tenders didn't get all the passengers back on the ship until almost 6:30, even with extra tenders rented from local vendors that were put into service shuttling passengers. I had arranged for another private tour to see the penguin rookery at Punta Tombo when we arrived at Puerto Madryn. Other passengers had asked to join me and by the time all was said and done there were 24 people traveling with me in the group. (because I had arranged the same tour as the cruise offered for $193 for only $90 per person). I tried to call the staterooms of the other passengers to inform them of a time and place where we would meet before disembarking. I wondered what was going on when I didn't get any replies to my phone messages. I later received a note on my stateroom door from one of the other passengers that said that my voicemail didn't work. I called another passenger who was also on the ninth deck and realized that her voicemail wasn't working either, so I assumed that the same problem existed on the whole ninth deck. I placed a call to guest services and they said-you guessed it-"we'll look into it". I mentioned the problem to Alexander Zeitz when I saw him later and he responded," We had a problem with that on previous voyages. They were supposed to have fixed that when we were in dry dock." Well, I guess that they didn't! And p.s. my refrigerator doesn't work either, it's about 65 degrees and my sliding door won't lock (because some broke the locking mechanism) and the wind whistles through the door! Another passenger told me that Alexander Zeitz had commented to them that there seemed to be far more passenger complaints on this trip than usual. I bet! One of the elevators had a fire in the control box and stopped between decks while loaded with passengers, several days before the end of the cruise, and was out of order until we reached Punta Del Este (obviously they needed to obtain the burned out parts to repair it). Once the cruise reached warmer latitudes, we found to our chagrin that the air conditioning in our cabin didn't work adequately. I opened the balcony door for some cool air, but frequently had to close it due to cigarette smoke wafting in from other balconies (where smoking was not allowed). New Year's Eve was interesting. Normally, the Constellation Lounge is off limits to anyone under 18 after 11 pm. The family that my older daughter spent a lot of time with on the cruise had a 17 yr old son and wanted him to be with them and their extended family in the lounge one evening. They hadn't checked ID's the previous evening and this particular night the crew decided to be stringent and kick him out. When the mother complained and got into an argument with the crew members, citing the fact that small children had been in the lounge on Christmas Eve after 11 pm, the crew member said that had been different because those youngsters were children of crew members! Again, a meeting with Alexander Zeitz ensued and a notice appeared in the daily newsletter informing everyone that parents needed to sign a waiver if they wanted their 12 to 17 year old child with them in the lounge after 11 pm on New Year's Eve. At 11:05 pm on New Year's Eve all children under 12 were kicked out of the lounge and were running around the hallways screaming that they were kicked out of the lounge. The next day a notice appeared in the newsletter admonishing parents to control their children; otherwise crew members had the authority to do so and would. On the second to last night of the cruise, I received a letter from the hotel manager informing me that I was being offered 15% discount on a future cruise as a gesture for the problems we had suffered at the beginning of the trip. I was incensed. She got an immediate hand delivered reply from me indicating that I felt that was in no way adequate reparation for what had occurred or for the poor service I'd receive on the cruise. Alexander Zeitz had told one of the other "stranded" passengers that corporate had not wanted to offer us anything at all and this was being offered as gesture from the crew. He also invited us to join him in the lounge for a drink the following night before dinner in Punta Del Este. I wasn't too keen on this idea, but it wasn't an issue because the tenders were so late in Punta Del Este that I knew that he wouldn't be back on the ship until well after dinner started. He later came to our table and offered us a complimentary bottle of wine with our dinner. Again, I don't drink, so I suggested that the other family (who had shared our ordeal in Miami) who were now dining with us choose a wine to their liking since they were wine aficionados. My daughter suggested that she and I ask for a glass of the Royal Tokay with our dessert that had been so delicious in the U.S. United States. The sommelier grudgingly agreed and we were served two glasses of dessert wine. This was a harsh, acidic wine which was more likely a Muscat, which had also been on the wine list. There was no way that this was the same wine that we were served on Christmas Eve. The sommelier became upset and insisted that it was the Royal Tokay. I should have insisted that he pour me a glass directly from the bottle, but at this point in the cruise, I was so tired of dealing with these people that I just let it ride. In the middle of this last dinner aboard we had another exciting experience. The ship hit a mud bar in the channel which we were passing through in the Rio de la Plata (we could see all the mud churn up in the wake because we were dining in directly in front of the picture windows at the stern)and did about a 40 degree tilt to one side. Fortunately, we didn't capsize or run aground but the Poseidon Adventure came to mind for a minute or two. Later in the evening, the cruise line presented the guest talent show as entertainment in the theater. My daughter was one of the finalists in the dance contest. There had been preliminary competitions in different categories throughout the cruise. It was an interesting show and I felt that it was a nice concept that apparently had been an innovation of the cruise director, Alan King. Afterward there was an appetizer and dessert buffet in the Constellation Lounge. Unfortunately for all the kids under 18, the show finished after 11 so they couldn't attend the party. There was a crème brulee bar and other marvelous artisanal desserts. It proved that the culinary team could put together quality food service if they tried. The final aggravation was the last morning of the cruise when we were transported to the hotel for the post cruise package in Buenos Aires. About 100 of us were dumped into the lobby of the Emperador Hotel, again with no Celebrity representative in sight. Everyone waited in a huge line only to be told that we couldn't check in until 3. The representative showed up after an hour or so later when most people had finally gotten their luggage stored and had already left. She was present dutifully from 9-6 each subsequent day to sell tours. When we finally did get to check-in, we were pleasantly surprised at the excellent rooms we'd received. The bottom line- South America was fascinating and we'd like to explore it in depth someday soon-on land! We met several wonderful people on the cruise with whom we hope to cultivate lasting friendships and our children had a wonderful time with their peers. Celebrity Cruise line appears to me to have serious management problems-extreme lack of communication, breaks in the chain of command, major inconsistency in enforcing regulations and procedures, maintenance of facilities and equipment so lacking that in some instances would border on negligent, and obviously bad morale among employees to engender such poor service and indifference to customers. In my opinion, the quality of service, food, lodging and amenities on the cruise weren't worth half what I paid and the incredible degree stress and aggravation they caused me at the outset degraded my enjoyment factor of what value remained to just about zero. I wasn't alone in my opinions. I encountered many other passengers in the course of the cruise who swore they'd never cruise on Celebrity again, or expressed intense disappointment that the cruise experience on Celebrity had seriously declined since previous cruises they'd taken. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
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