My now husband and I selected this cruise by luck. We were actually booked on a Norwegian cruise but when Norwegian decided to change every port on the itinerary, we canceled it and found this one. Since we were celebrating our ... Read More
My now husband and I selected this cruise by luck. We were actually booked on a Norwegian cruise but when Norwegian decided to change every port on the itinerary, we canceled it and found this one. Since we were celebrating our honeymoon, we splurged and booked a balcony room. This was our first Celebrity cruise and we have to say, it lived up to its potential! To start, we arrived by shared private shuttle probably around 1pm. The shuttle pulled right up to the terminal, our bags were checked, and we were off down the terminal hall. It was a very quick and easy walk. Once we arrived in the check-in area, we were pleased to see that there were NO LINES! WHAT? The check-in process was quick and painless as well. Total time between getting out of the shuttle and getting on the ship was no more than 20 minutes (unlike Carnival where we had to wait 2 hours at a boarding gate).
Once on board, we found the ships layout to be very easy to navigate and the decor very interesting and beautiful. One thing we noticed throughout the cruise is that Celebrity is constantly working on the ship to keep it in shape. One day they were going around touching up the paint and another day (in port) one of the jacuzzis was closed off so they could sand and stain the wood around it. Everything was kept very pristine! On that note, I know a lot of cruise lines have hand sanitizers all over the ship but I liked how Celebrity would keep attendants strategically placed to offer a squirt of sanitizer... when getting onboard, when entering the Oceanview Cafe, etc. Better safe than sorry!! The public bathroom spaces (although at times were hard to locate) were also kept very clean with warm towels for hand drying. Our stateroom was also very beautiful and well-kept. Our stateroom attendant, Davian, had our names down by the 2nd day! The service was another great part of this cruise. Everyone is very friendly making sure to say good morning/evening, etc when passing by. We dined in 4 of the specialty restaurants: Tuscan Grille, Murano, Lawn Club Grill, and Qsine. I've listed them in order of favorite to least. The food in all 4 was excellent but we decided we probably wouldn't go back to Lawn Club or Qsine. Just wasn't for us. That steak in Tuscan Grille was perfection and I would definitely go back for it! Another really great aspect of this cruise was the disembarkation process. WOW!! Again, comparing Celebrity and Carnival are like comparing fine wine and engine oil. =\ Getting off a Carnival ship, it was like a herd of people all trying to accomplish the same goal of getting off the ship with some of those people just shoving without so much as an "I'm sorry." I had to elbow some girl who flopped herself onto me to get me to move... and there was no where to go! Not with Celebrity. Hello personal space!!! Each cabin class had a spacious designated area where they could wait to get off the ship. But mostly it was the option guests had to disembark any time in a 3 hour window making the process very smooth. We were even able to use the elevators! Overall, I give this cruise line 5 stars. They really know what they are doing!
On the downside... just a couple of things I wish they would improve. Since we were splurging, we decided to do their GoBest program to get the Premium Drink Package, Unlimited Internet Access, Prepaid Gratuities, and $300 Onboard Credit. (Side note, the Premium drink package is the way to go!) Plus we pre-purchased a specialty restaurant dining package. For about the first 3 days onboard, it was practically impossible to go anywhere without being hounded about buying a package. Sure you can just walk by and politely say "No thanks" but then again, when you're on vacation, how many times do you really want to be pestered about this stuff? If I want it, I'll buy it. Otherwise, leave me alone. The food was another area leaving something to be desired. The food in the main dining room was average. On cruises, I like to branch out from the norm and order some of the interesting things cruise chefs come up with... On this cruise, it's better to stick to the basics. Too many of my meals in the MDR were bleh while my husband's were good. Stick to the basics! Also, not sure why but not all the bars/restaurants carry the same wine selection. I just found that odd. It took us a while but we finally figured out which bars we needed to get to in order to get the wine we wanted. My final gripe is one that I think applies to a lot of cruise ships. We live in a tech-oriented world and cruise lines seem to struggle to keep up with that. Celebrity has developed one really great app, Cruise Lingo, but this isn't their main app. It's a great app for traveling and I highly recommend downloading it if traveling internationally. However, their main app, once downloaded, only crashed over and over again. I never got it to work and finally deleted it. It would be GREAT if cruise lines could develop one app where guests can see a variety of info: 1. The daily itinerary (goodbye wasted paper in the stateroom); 2. Daily menu's for the dining areas so guests can pick ahead of time where they want to eat; 3. Link the stateroom charges to the guests account on the app so guests can log in and see their charges at a glance; 4. Maybe even link the onboard photos to guests' accounts so they can see and/or purchase them from the app; 5. List the excursions available for purchase and maybe even allow purchasing through the app! There are endless possibilities!
We did 3 excursions with Celebrity (2 good, 1 bad), 2 excursions organized by Cruise Critic roll call members (1 good, 1 bad), and 1 excursion on our own.
Messina (Sicily), Italy
A roll call member organized a tour that was supposed to include hiking the Silvestri crater. We were very disappointed when that plan changed at the last minute and we weren't informed. We spent an hour and a half driving up the mountain to a recent lava flow, spent 35 MINUTES at the lava flow (enough time to use the bathroom, buy a quick souvenir, and get back on the shuttle, BOOOOOO), and then drove back down the mountain to a winery where we spent 2 hours (and had to pay an extra E20/person), finally 1.5 hours back to the port. The crater is what we thought we were getting and since that didn't happen, we didn't think this excursion was worth it. Be sure to ask a lot of questions if someone else is planning the excursion so you don't pay for something you don't want.
We did our own thing.
We did the Inside Access Cruise Ship tour. It was interesting to see behind the scenes.
All the employees are super friendly! Then a Pub Crawl with Cruise Critic roll call members. That was fun!
We explored Mykonos Town on our own. We were going to hit up a beach but it was too windy and kind of cold.
Medieval Segway Tour. Highly recommend doing this!!! It was so much fun!!
A roll call member organized a tour to drive around the caldera and visit the Akrotiri excavations site, then up the mountain to Prophet Elias, wine tasting at a small, 5 generation family owned winery, and then to Oia to see the famous blue dome. And of course back to the cruise port. Akrotiri was very neat to see. We didn't make it all the way to the monastery as there were too many tour buses in the way but we did go pretty high up and it was awesome! We stopped around the caldera for some really great views too. The winery was amazing! We discovered a new kind of cheese that is delish! Oia was extremely crowded as there were 3 ships in port at the time but we still managed to get a photo of the blue domes.
Celebrity excursion: Athens and Cape Sounion Tour. It was AWESOME! Our tour guide was very informative but didn't really do a very good job at keeping a headcount (at one point leaving 2 guests behind but we stopped in time to get them). We visited the Olympic Stadium, Parthenon, and Temple of Poseidon. Full day tour but very fun, not too crowded at each place. There were 3 tour buses with Celebrity passengers but they staggered us so we were never all in same place at once. Lunch was included and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was! Usually cruise planned excursion meals aren't that great but this was very good!
Did NOTHING and it was beautiful! :)
This was our final Celebrity excursion and we were not very excited about it. It was the Capri, Sorrento, and Pompeii Tour. We took a jetfoil (silly me, thought this was a fast boat) to Capri, rode the funicular up to Capri Town and walked to the Augustus Gardens. The entire island looks very beautiful but it was crowded and Capri Town is full of high-end shops. We did not make any purchases. Then another jetfoil (this one a bit faster) over to Sorrento where were were left to get lunch on our own. Thank goodness because by this point we were already sick and tired of the lines/crowds. We had lunch in a nice little restaurant off the main path and did some shopping. Then back to the large tour bus to go to Pompeii. Of course at each stop the tour guide wanted us to go into this shop or that shop and listen to their selling pitch. Bleh! The shop in Pompeii was by far the most expensive so nothing purchased there. It was very hot in Pompeii but we knew that going in. Learning about the history was really cool and there are some neat artifacts there. Lots of history. The 2nd best part of this whole tour. The best part was getting back on the ship after it was over. It was just too much going on. Stand in line, boat ride, stand in line, funicular, walk in line to gardens, stand in line at funicular again, stand in line for boat again, stand in line for small bus to get up to Sorrento, lunch and no lines (YAY), back to bus, stand in line, Pompeii, lines, cruise ship, no lines (YAY again). Not for us. Had we known the weather was going to play nice that day, we would have booked a tour to the Blue Grotto instead. Or just Pompeii on it's own. But we did manage to cram it all in and saw a lot so that's the bright side! Read Less