We had 2 cabins next to each other with veranda's , it was our families 20+ cruise, 3/rd on CEL, first time in CAT 1/A, cabin was too small, in one cabin we had 3 people, one cabin 2 people, if you have more than 2 people in your ... Read More
We had 2 cabins next to each other with veranda's , it was our families 20+ cruise, 3/rd on CEL, first time in CAT 1/A, cabin was too small, in one cabin we had 3 people, one cabin 2 people, if you have more than 2 people in your cabin, you have no room to do any in-room dining, bummer.
I don't think the line has kept up with the maintenance of the ship, after 4 years it was very worn. We had to have the shower head fixed in one room (it should have been fixed prior to us getting on, it took 2 calls to get action by the 3/rd day), the other had several minor problems, but the decor etc looked real worn, carpet etc needs to be replaced. Chair in the rooms is so small, only a 100 pounder can sit in it, a normal adult can't, it's so small. We were ok with the room attendants for each cabin, but I did give them money the first day, a practice I started a few years ago, it seems on CEL that is how you get basic service. No public announcement policy is good, but TV's have only a few channels, but they do have several movies running most of the day, that was ok while in cabin between activities. I will say that the cabin was very quiet, and very little or no noise from the other rooms or hallways. Also no creaks or noises from the walls and ceilings, doors all closed properly, but closet was small.
Dining in the casual spots for breakfast after 11am was horrible, pancakes were frisbees, all other food was either cool or lukewarm at best, eggs were not really tasty. If you get up and you're ready to eat by 9:30am and want to wait in lines you can get "made to order" omelettes, eggs, waffles, but each had their own station, again several lines to get your food, but that food was hot and decent. We did not like the constant opening and closing hours of the various food stations in the casual dining areas, also after 12:30am on all but 2 nights, no food available, and forget room service at that time till 530am. The food in the main dining room was very good. I disagree with several of the recent reviews I have read, The lobster night was great, huge 6 to 7.5 pounders, one of my sons had 3, the other had 2, the rest of us had 1 or 1.5 each, best lobster we have had in 20 years of cruising by far. The rack of lamb was also very good, along with the pork, beef and veal, I even commented to the waiter about how much better the food was in the MED vs the Caribbean, he told me they just changed the menus a few months ago, and even he noticed the food was better as the guests were complimenting him more lately. Our Waiter was also very good, Mr. Sandor from Hungary, asst waiter was ok, but either they gave him to many tables or he could not keep up. We did not like the time dinner started, we had late seating, CEL means "late", the room was supposed to be opened at 8:30 per the brochure, but it did not open till 8:45pm, closer to 8:50pm, and most nights we did not get to order till 9 to 9:15pm, and dinner took over 2 hrs, most nights if we stayed for dessert we left at 11:30pm, and there were over 50% of the people still there. In my opinion because it took so long to eat in the main dinning room, I noticed each night less people in the room, till finally our waiter was down to just our table from the 4 he started with most nights, there were nights when over 40% of the people did not come to dinner, our first cruise that has happened unless the weather was real bad. Also if the ship went over 18 knots the vibration from the engines was noticeable in the dining room, even on 2/nd level 30 or 40 feet from very large windows at rear of room, which I will say was a bonus as from our table we could see out the windows, and CEL kept the drapes up, we all liked the views. Unfortunately the coffee was not very good, and if you wanted espresso or cappuccino there was a very expensive charge, not as good as what you could get ashore and more costly. We found most of the desserts ok, not great, and a little disappointing, both in selection, and taste and presentation/look. I would compare them to something you would get at--- Denney's--- for example.
We liked the Sushi cafe, but it had poor selection (each day same 4 or 5 items), ok rice, and wasn't open early or late enough, only a few hrs after 6:30pm, for early sitting--- "no sushi for you"----, if you also want to go to main dining room. We used it as a sort of early pre diner-diner as we came back from our days ashore before our 9pm diners. Hot dogs were very good, hamburgers ok, but buns, not so good, after first day, eat them without the buns. I think overall food was not as good as Princess, about as good as Carnival except casual and breakfast which Carnival does better. Olympic was visited by 2 of our table mates, with wine and drinks they spent over $130 US, they had another reservation, but cancelled it, also you could have had a reservation any night right up to the time they closed. Food was the same as the main dining room except Caesar salad prepared fresh and they offered steak diane prepared at the table. One ordered the fish, thought it was ok.
Casino had mostly very friendly dealers etc and while we were there the jackpots were hitting a lot, from $1000 to over $9000, one night in the span of 40 minutes , 2, $2500 slot jackpots and a $4000 were paid, unfortunately not to any of us. Slot attendant told me that the week was way above normal, not a good week for the house. But due to length of time in ports, casino was usually closed around 2am. Which brings us to the age of the cruisers. We were told over 60% of the cruisers were over 60, and after midnight it seemed you couldn't find anybody still up, this was not a party ship.
We liked some of the entertainment, Revue shows were not as good as Carnival, better than Princess, individual acts in main showroom were good to very good. Some of the acts in the other venues were ok to poor, but again after we came out of dinner most people seemed to just go off to bed, most of the nights the show for late seating was at 7pm, this was not a great idea, but since dinner took so long, we actually started to go to the 7pm shows about halfway into the cruise. It was that or hardly no entertainment after we left dinner. For that reason, I think the line should start dinner earlier, 6pm for first sitting, not 6:30: and 8:15 for late, and get the people out in 2 hrs, then maybe more would actually come to main dining. Or simply go to open sitting, open times, get people in and out like a normal restaurant.
Best part of the cruise was the ports and the drivers/tours we booked on our own. To name a few, Spiros and George in Athens, the very best, our time in Venice, Pisa, Capri, the beaches north of Pisa, Rome, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Nice, Mykonos and Santirini, all memories to cherish, and at most of those locations, we found great hotels to go back to for many summers in the future. That is the one best thing about this cruise, it took us to a lot of great ports, we'll have plenty of trips to Europe to get back to these places, and we already planning our next summers trip to Naples, Capri and Mykonos.
We have now decided (the five of us), ages 16 to 55: 61 cruises total between all of us, (9 on CEL) next cruise will be on Royal Caribbean, same type of ships/food as Cel, less money, younger people; or Carnival less money, better entertainment and more fun, or Princess, same money, better service and food. Caio for now!!!! The Cruisin Varrenti's. Read Less