Based on our 3 prior Celebrity cruises, we thought they were the greatest thing on water since Noah's Ark, but after our problems on this one, I'm not sure we still feel that way. I'll give my overview first and enumerate ... Read More
Based on our 3 prior Celebrity cruises, we thought they were the greatest thing on water since Noah's Ark, but after our problems on this one, I'm not sure we still feel that way. I'll give my overview first and enumerate the problems at the end We stayed pre cruise at the Holiday Inn on the Bay at San Diego; a better location cannot be had. If not for all our luggage, and my wife being a wheelchair, we could have walked straight across the street to the cruise terminal. We had a on-line printed "CONCIERGE CLASS EXPRESS PASS". What a joke; there was just one big long line, although they finally shuttled us off to the side at a special location for the disabled. Then after check-in, another long line to board. At our cabin, was as promised, an electric scooter which I'd rented from Special Needs at Sea. It did fit into the room, but if it was in there, there was no way to get in or out. A short hallway across from our room proved to be a handy place to stash it when not in use. Ship folks loaned us an extension cord to use at recharge it at night. For the most part, it was a good cruise; weather near-perfect; our ports were Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Huatulco (all Mexico), Puntarenas, CR, Panama and Cartagena, Colombia. At Huatulco, we took a cab to nearby La Crucesita for shopping. We did a "Pacific Train Boat & Bus Adventure" in Puntarenas. The train was very rough, but it was a nice tour. Our only other shore excursion was "Best of Cartagena", which was a long, hot and tiresome 4+ hours. Our guide was good, but had such a heavy accent that we had trouble understanding him. We stopped for a couple hours of shopping at the market at Christobal Pier in Panama. It was somewhat startling to see several tables manned by wild looking native women that were topless. We later heard that in the past, they were completely naked but after complaints, they had to put on loincloths on their waists!
There were 3 formal nights, which is 3 too many for me, but I think 2 would have sufficed. There was a Cruise Critic party, with maybe 35 present. I had a 30 minute foot massage for $35 in the Spa, but their rate for full body massage, $120 for 50 minutes is very high. My wife had one accupunture treatment for a leg problem; $125; she did not feel they did much good. The Photo Gallery prices were ridiculous, seemed like every day they got higher; at the end it was $19.95 for a 5x7. I used the Thalassotherapy pool once, but found it very hard to get onto the massage area and even harder to get off it. On board entertainment was pretty much run of the mill; the Theater had the usual song & dance extravaganzas. One night there was a halfway decent ventriloquist. A Chinese fellow played a huge hammer dulcimer, good & loud, mostly loud. Also comedian Rich Ceisler, who supposedly has been on HBO, at Las Vegas, etc. Lots of old jokes. Some of the audience was rolling in the aisles with laughter; maybe my sense of humor is outdated. I'd hate to pay good money to see him in Vegas. The bar entertainers were pretty good; Voice Males, an a capella quartet had big crowds, likewise Jefferson Ang, a guitar player & vocalist. The Elk Island quartet was a nice young combo with an attractive vocalist who did mostly 1940-50's standards. Then there was the Odessa Strings, a Russian quartet who did classical music. They got a nice round of applause after each number, but never bothered to smile, nor nod nor say thanks. At the end of their set, they just packed up their instruments, walked away, looking straight ahead. Very rude in my opinion. CONCIERGE CLASS ROOM - I don't know how much extra we paid for this, about $250 a person I think and was it worth it? In a word NO!! Promised benefits: Early embarkation & debarkation; that did not happen. Shore Excursion preference - what preference? Personalized stationery - yes 2 sheets without name on them, big deal! Extra pillows, which were just in the way, daily canapes, fresh fruit & flowers, okay I guess but not worth several hundred $$. Welcome bottle of champagne; that was nice I guess. Express luggage delivery - another joke, it took longer to get our luggage to our room than on any of the other 10 cruises we've been on. My suggestion: pass on Concierge, spend that in the casino - you'll get more enjoyment.
NOW THE PROBLEMS: As soon as we stepped on board (my wife rolled on in her wheelchair), trouble began. Our cruise cards would not work, and prompted the machine to give a stern recorded message: INVALID CARD; DO NOT ACCEPT". They pushed us aside with a security guard watching over us to make sure we didn't pull any fast moves. After about 5 minutes of discussion between various officers, they then began to shuttle back and forth to the Guest Relations desk. This went on for 15 minutes while everyone passed by, looking at us like we had been caught sneaking on board. I then had to dig out my reservation credentials and finally they got us cards that would work. On top of that, they didn't offer to help us to our stateroom; I had to push her wheelchair, plus handle her and my carry-on luggage. Several days later, more problems. I went to Guest Relations to turn in my pre-paid gratuity form. The guy forgot to give my cruise card back, which I didn't discover until I got to the room. I went right back down; he was off duty by then and hadn't left my card there. A girl then made up a new card. Went to the room; it did not work. Went back down to GR; she made another card; it also did not work. Went back the 3rd time and after more delay she told me she would call the cabin steward to let me in and they would send up a new card later. They did that, but then that afternoon my wife's card would not work. She went to GR and they then gave her a new card and told her my card wouldn't work either, so they gave her a new card for me. The next morning, we try to disembark for a shore excursion and neither of our cards would work. They again take us aside in custody of a security guard and call GR come and get our cards. Quite a while later, a GR person comes down, takes cards and disappears. Finally a helpful girl (Kirsty) from the activity staff went up to GR and finally got us cards that worked, and we barely made our shore excursion. That evening I went to see Conny Hammelmann, the Hotel Director who is one of 3 officers that reports direct to the Captain. It was like talking to a brick wall. First she told me that we must have de-magnetized our cards. I said how could we when we were holding them in our hands before embarkation, and when I was going back & forth between GR and my room that day. Well, its just a common computer problem that they often have, she tells me. If its common, why don't they fix it? I left her office very unsatisfied. She did not seem to understand all the hassle and frustration we went through on this cruise. It definitely left us with a bad taste in our mouth for Celebrity. Read Less