Having cruised RCCL three times before, we selected this as our first cruise with Celebrity because the Caribbean itinerary didn't include a proprietary resort like Castaway Cay or or Perfect Day at Cococay. We travelled with two ... Read More
Having cruised RCCL three times before, we selected this as our first cruise with Celebrity because the Caribbean itinerary didn't include a proprietary resort like Castaway Cay or or Perfect Day at Cococay. We travelled with two other couples all over 50 year of age. This cruise was great for our demographic, but this ship is definitely not ideal for families with kids. We saw very few children or teens, as almost all passengers were 45-75. On the other hand, one plus was we never saw any passengers who were out-of-hand or drunk.
The food was as good as any we have had on a ship. The Oceanview buffet in particular was a notch above RCCL. In addition to the usual fare, it has specialty dishes like coq au vin, beef bourguinon, etc. It was so good that one night we opted to eat there for dinner instead of a formal dining room. And we enjoyed all four of the standard dining rooms, which more or less were the same except for a few "signature" dishes and decor. We felt no need to pay more for specialty dining.
We got an interior cabin on the 10th floor aft side, cabin 10263, which we were very pleased with. Our room attendant Jaime was absolutely incredible, pampering us without ever missing a beat. We tipped him accordingly. Our friends paid to upgrade to the "infinite veranda", which was nice - but probably not worth the increased cost for us. It's not a typical balcony, but instead a bump-out with a sliding window.
In that regard, one drawback is that this ship has a lot of 6-8' glass panels along outside deck railings, that are designed for safety, but I feel they cut you off from the ocean too much. It's like watching a baseball game behind the net. Lawyers have to ruin everything!
The entertainment was pretty good. The house band was great, especially the singers, dancers, and acrobats. I wish they featured the pianist, trumpet, and trombone more though. Only the sax player got featured in any of the concerts we attended and she could really bring it.
The comedians were better than expected, and had very clean humor which we often would laugh out loud to. They were at their best when the comics interacted (or attempted to) with people in the audience.
We saw three touring acts: "Vox Fortura", "December '63", and "Our Lady Valentine". We enjoyed the powerful singing of Vox Fortura, but I thought My Lady Valentine wasn't any better than the house musicians -- who I thought were very talented and had a great repertoire. The house drummer was very good, but for some reason switched from an acoustic set to an electric drum kit for Our Lady Valentine, and the toms and cymbals all sounded very artificial. My favorite act was December '63, who did great renditions of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The only problem was that during December '63 I couldn't hear the piano at all, even though the theatre is world class. So there seem to be some bugs with the sound crew that puzzled me.
We went to see the acrobats and dancers as much as we could. They are simply amazing and leave you wondering why you can't even touch your toes.
Getting on and off was a breeze, and very well planned. Hand washing stations were everywhere. The ship was very clean and new.
As far as the layout - there seems to be a lot of unused and poorly planned spaces. The Retreat is for suite customers only and takes up key space on the forward side which was rarely used, and makes it hard to get around. For this reason, the walking/running track winds around on multiple levels and sometimes you have to use it just to get around the upper decks. Also the cabanas are next to the pool but cost hundreds of dollars to rent per day, so they mostly sat empty. Things are very compartmentalized on the ship, which makes it a little hard to get used to, because there is no main drag going down the middle of the ship with all kinds of shops like some big ships. The solarium was nice, but chairs were in short supply between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on sea days.
Our main complaint was the lack of poolside service. If you wanted a drink you had to go find an open bar and usually wait. Their phone app was very useful, but one great enhancement would be for customers to be able to order a drink on it from any location on the ship, and have it brought to you.
The fitness center was superb, but we didn't use the spa.
We went on a couple excursions, and our favorite was the Key Lime bicycling tour in Key West. The guide really educated us about the local history, and the slice of Key Lime pie (okay ... slices) were heavenly.
We were a little surprised Covid-19 screening seemed lax at check in, but we had a great time and would definitely recommend this cruise for friends without kids. Overall, I rate this cruise as "excellent" and a very good value. Read Less