I chose this cruise because of the timing and the ports. It was my first trip to the far east and I wanted to see Vietnam in particular. I booked Aqua class and got a very good deal. Celebrity threw in a drink package which was very ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the timing and the ports. It was my first trip to the far east and I wanted to see Vietnam in particular. I booked Aqua class and got a very good deal. Celebrity threw in a drink package which was very nice.
My cabin was a standard cruise ship cabin with a balcony, beds, good closet room and a couch. The shower was big for a cruise ship shower so there was no problem showering comfortably. The cabin steward was very nice and took good care of us.
Some of the reviews I had read complained about the ship, but I really liked it. There was live music that rotated around, and I liked to have drinks in Cellar Masters and the Martini Bar. I swam in all the pools, indoor and outdoor. I particularly liked the Thalassotherapy pool in the solarium. I used the personal trainer on the ship and he was very good. The gym was smaller than on some of the newer ships but it suited my purposes fine.
For dinner, we dined in Blu most nights. It was my first cruise without a fixed table and the same waiter every night. But Blu is small and intimate, so we got to know the whole staff there and they were great. The food in Blu was quite good, particularly the filet mignon that we had on the first night. I bought a specialty restaurant package and we really enjoyed Qsine, so we ended up going there 3 times. The food was creative, delicious and well presented, and the wait staff was great. We also tried Tuscan Grille but that was a big disappointment in terms of the food, though the service was very good. We had been eating so many steaks that I decided to go with an Italian dish - lasagna. It was a very poor quality dish, probably comparable to what might be served at a lower end chain restaurant. It had almost no pasta, was dry, and the sauce was poor quality. The food in the buffet was good, but I found the atmosphere there to be chaotic, worse than other cruises I have been on. I think it had to do with the demographics of the ship's passengers, with many more people than I am used to taking their meals primarily in the buffet. It was difficult to get a table most of the time unless it was a real off hour. We also tried Sushi on 5 and I liked it, though I didn't have sushi.
This was a pretty demanding cruise in terms of the tours. Most cities we visited were some distance from the port, which meant long days off the ship. As a result, I didn't get much into the entertainment on this ship so I can't really rate it.
I found the service to be very good throughout and never had an issue. On one previous cruise (not Celebrity), I had an issue with bar service, but not on this ship. The waiters, bartenders and the cabin steward provided very good service.
I chose this cruise for the ports and I really liked the tours we got in each port. At Halong Bay, I decided to skip Hanoi because of the distance, and I preferred not to stay there overnight since I wanted to see the Halong Bay caves, which were magnificent. We also had a very educational tour of the Red River Delta and Haiphong. At the Danang port, I agonized between seeing Hue and Hoi An, and decided on Hoi An because I wanted a bike tour. It turned out to be a good decision since Hue got torrential rains that day while the Hoi An tour had perfect weather. Hoi An is a real tourist spot but quite pleasant and has some very nice example of pre-French Vietnamese architecture. Saigon was the most interesting port in Vietnam. I had wanted to see it for a long time, and I really enjoyed seeing the spots I have long read about -- the former Presidential Palace, the city museum, the site of the former US Embassy and then the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden. The people throughout Vietnam were so friendly, including the children who were wonderful. The whole visit there was a great experience.
In Taiwan, we saw Tainan at the first port (Kaohsiung), Taroko Gorge at the second port (Hualien) and Taipei at the thrid port (Keelung). It was interesting to learn some Taiwanese history, especially that it has only been Chinese for about 300 years and prior to that was inhabited by people closely related to the aborigines. At Taroko Goge, I was expected a hike through the park, but it turned out to be more of a series of bus stops (along with a million other buses) to take some photos and get back on the bus - a very geriatric tour. If I had it to do again, I would arrange a private tour that would hopefully involve more of a hike away from mobs of tourists. In Taipei, I really loved Taipei 101, which was not expected. I thought it would just be a visit to a random high building, but it was beautifully done and had a lot to see. I could have spent the whole day there, and we enjoyed a great lunch/dinner at a restauratn in the building.
Our Hong Kong tours were very good also. When I first arrived, I had not been thrilled with Hong Kong because I didn't see the right things. The daytime tour took us all around Hong Kong, including to Stanley and around Repulse Bay, plus up to Victoria's Peak, so I got a much better rounded view and got to really like it. We also took a night tour to see the laser show and back up to the peak. Hong Kong has a magnificent skyline at night, with the buildings' colors and displays changing and dynamic. Unfortunately, for both trips up to the peak, it was foggy and the view was poor (as in non-existent), but that was beyond anybody's control. Read Less