Well, after deciding that we liked Crystal best, we of course took our next cruise on Celebrity. I wanted to know if Celebrity was "Crystal lite". Due to my motion sickness, I also wanted to see if a larger ship would be more ... Read More
Well, after deciding that we liked Crystal best, we of course took our next cruise on Celebrity. I wanted to know if Celebrity was "Crystal lite". Due to my motion sickness, I also wanted to see if a larger ship would be more helpful to me. The cost of our vacation was in fact 1/2 of our previous cruise with Crystal , and we overall thought this was good value for what we got.
Motion on the Celebrity reflection: I know the cruise line cannot control the weather! It was very windy and wavy, and the ship was very rolly. I had a very hard time with the two sea days to the ports, and the two sea days back. This of course has coloured my view overall of this vacation, but will try to remain objective for remainder of review. So, no, the larger ship was not better for my motion sickenss.
Size of ship: Pros- lots to do! Very impressed with the diversity of activities. This was a Top Chef themed cruise, and DH enjoyed the free cooking shows. He noted that they were overall too short for an hour each, but likely this was to promote the longer paid sessions, that one could book. I liked the shops on board, and used my cruise credit to buy Chanel eyeliner that I had run out of- so I was very pleased to have the makeup area on board. Cons- the ship was full- there were too many people for my liking, and I got agoraphobic. The one lone tree in the middle of the ship could not clean the stale air of so many people wandering about. Despite so many people, one could find a lounger on the sun deck and seating at the buffet if you looked hard enough. Lines for drinks were long- no separate line for sodas or non-alcoholic drinks, so often you had to wait a little while. Leaving the ship at ports had long lines. I could not imagine how a tender port would go. Patience is needed, everywhere.
Dining and Beverage:
We had select dining. The first night the main dining room was overwhelmed and we were told to order room service, (or to wait for at least 20 minutes for a table), which suited us fine as we prefer to dine in our cabin (especially with my motion sickness). We did not dine at the main dining room after trying the first night, so no comments of that. We had room service from the main dining menu on Top Chef night, which we enjoyed very much. We liked Tiffany Derry's shrimp dish the best, despite us both thinking Hosea's dishes would suit our palates. I did not try Shirley's congee, but in hindsight, this would have been good for my motion sickness. No regular rotation Asian soup on board. However! I love the buffet! Fantastic. One day I had the lelemon coriander hot soup which was so flavorable and soothing I was so impressed with it. Well done.
Lawn club grill. We liked this venue the best. It was outdoors (helped with motion sickness). The cuts of meat were of good quality, and well seasoned. It was fun for DH togrill his own meat. I didn';t really care for the flatbread as wanted to keep my appetite for the grilled meats and seafood. DH said Qsine was very interesting, but you need a larger number in your party to properly try everything. He also said Tuscan Grill had good service, and the food was good too. We thought the specialty restaurants were worth the extra fees.
Premium beverage package: We tried to make our cruise as "all inclusive" as possible to mimic our previous small ship cruises. THe range of beverages were more than we have seen in the luxury cruise lines, so we really enjoyed sampling everything. We tried the martinis, molecular bar, etc and the alcoholic drinks were very fun. We would not think these would be worth paying for, individually, but very fun to be able to try them. We really like the smoothies at the Aqua bar. They were well made, tasted great, and the service was so friendly. We enjoyed the Vitamin water, Evian, San Pellegrino, Tea Forte teas, specialty coffees, Arizona iced teas (beverage heaven). No high tea time though, and no loose tea on board. Tea Forte was OK for our needs, but we also brought our own tea.
Michael's club: Maritza was very helpful to us, and welcoming too! Thank you Maritza!
We took water, iced teas etc from the Michael's club to stock our bar fridge. Our butler emptied out the fridge so that we could stock it to our preference. Otherwise all the bar fridge contents would be a charge despite having the premium bev package. Makes no sense to me, but those are the rules at the moment, and may change in the future. Maritza helped us make specialty restaurant reservations, and notified us of any special events. DH went to a special sail-away at the helicopter pad. The venue (Michael's club)provides a more intimate location to chat with your fellow passengers. The people we met were interesting and friendly.
Royal Suite 1130: The room opens directly to the elevator banks and stairs. Very convenient, but also very public. This was the best equipped room we have sailed in- very very nice. I liked that the bed was in an entirely different room, with a door (not separated by a curtain). Bathroom well appointed with Duravit sinks (two). Shower worked well. Bulgari white tea toiletries (not my favorite, meh). LIked very much the large dining table, which we did use for room service, and as a desk. Kitchen-like area with bar sink made organization of empties easy. Separate "guest" bathroom very cute and cozy. Balcony was luxurious and spacious! I spent much of my seasickness time on the divan on the balcony, in my Frette housecoat, sipping smoothies, far from the madding crowd. How great is that! The jet tub on the balcony just takes up space. I couldn't imagine using it. There is also a small table with two chairs. We liked the modern, Vegas-like decor of the ship overall. I thought the artworks were thoughtful and impressive. Why couldn't you auction off to me that wonderful lithograph, instead of the cheesy artworks in the shop? :)
Excursions: we did not take any ship sponsored excursions. We took a foodie tour in San Juan (spoon food tours) which was fantastic!! We could not find any similar type walking tours for the other ports. I was surprised there were not Top Chef themed food tours at the ports (mostly on board demonstrations).
Overall: Good value for money. Tries to be a "just short of luxury" experience, and succeeds. I would be intrigued to see their new "suite class" and how all inclusive it would be. The sheer number of fellow travellers would however hinder me to book with this cruise line again, but if you are outgoing there is a lot of opportunity for socializing. I would not book this cruise line for ports of call that I would find important to see (eg Europe- getting off the ship took too long) but for a sea and sand Caribbean cruise the ship has a lot of fun things to do on board. Read Less