Having travelled on RCI Independence of the Seas 7 years ago, (which was fantastic) this was our second cruise and one which we were very excited about. However, from the moment we stepped on board I knew we had made a huge mistake. ... Read More
Having travelled on RCI Independence of the Seas 7 years ago, (which was fantastic) this was our second cruise and one which we were very excited about. However, from the moment we stepped on board I knew we had made a huge mistake. Where the RCI Indy had literally blown us away as we boarded, this ship totally lacked luster with its dark panelled walls, no bright central arena, just a dark central staircase with net curtains hanging down either side. Depressing. However, given our initial reaction we were pleasantly surprised by the cabin. We had opted for one that was assigned by Celebrity and were assigned 6301 at the aft of the ship, directly over the "Blu" restaurant. It was very nicely decorated with light wood units, a deeper than average balcony and a superb shower room. Absolutely no faults there at all. Sadly that was the best bit of the whole cruise.
We ate in the Oceanview cafe for nearly every meal as my husband's feet had swelled badly and he could not wear shoes, so we were unable to use the Opus dining room as they enforce a dress code (which we fully applaud). The food was always cold - and I mean often stone cold. We did complain but they only expressed surprise and nothing changed. The plates are also cold, and the food stations illogically set out so people have to keep chopping around to make up the meal they would like, so its chaos when its busy. Also the loud screeching female singer they seem to have permanently as background music is truly dreadful.
As for entertainment: the theatre shows were excellent, different every night and of a high standard. The other entertainment in bars was also good in the main, apart from the female rock/pop singer in the central area who was often off-key. Other than that, there is none. Therefore, its a boring ship. High price shops, high price photos ($25 per copy), extortionate cover charges for speciality restaurants ($45 per head) which were usually empty. Beware of staff dressed as waiters coming to talk to you while you eat in the Ocean cafe, or drink in a bar, as after a few minutes they then launch into the sales pitch for a particular restaurant. This ship is ideal for those who wish to sunbathe by day and drink by night. There is no decent dance floor and no fun activities like mini-golf such as on RCI. The indoor pool closes 2 hours BEFORE the outdoor one. The library is poorly stocked and not quiet at all, totally open to the sounds from the rock singer below.
As for the lawn on the top deck, this is a total waste of space, offering cabanas for the few who wish to pay $145 for the pleasure of sitting on a wicker chair/sunbed under a piece of canvas on a sea day. Its a bargain (not) at just $95 for a port day! And the port excursions are expensive, you can do better deals on shore locally. Celebrity seem to be about taking you to ports where you will need to take the excursions to enjoy it, two of which are Athens and Naples. At Athens you are left to walk approximately 1.5 miles to the town via a very busy highway. As for Naples, its dirty and not worth the visit, so take a boat from the port quayside to Capri for the day. The best place was Rhodes, followed by Mykonos. Santorini was OK, but with 2 huge cruise ships in port together, and the only was in was by tender and then cable car (unless you want to walk up 500 steps behind a poor overworked donkey) the place was heaving.
The shops on board are expensive, "named" brand merchants, and only one that sold just a very few ordinary items that might be of need such as toiletries. There are various bazaar sales, but they are the same tourist items that you just saw in your last port, and not at the same price. All in all, this ship is about taking money off you as much as it can. On the plus side, the staff are all absolutely delightful, very polite and friendly. However, we will definitely not book with Celebrity again and return to normal prices and some fun on RCI. Read Less