My background: my 7th cruise, 3rd with Celebrity. Most recently on the Silhouette in Dec 2102. I'm mid 40s, cruised with my 80 year old mother and a couple of friends.
Embarkation: because of Cruise Critic I knew to arrive well before noon for check-in. We arrived around 11:00 and we got number 40 since we were not elite and were not in concierge, aqua or a suite. We were told it would be a short wait and it was. They didn't have enough "special" people to fill the early buses so they jumped to the mid 30s. We were on a bus by noon. The bus ride was fine, very scenic at times. We waited on the bus for about 45 minutes when we got to the ship, which would have been a lot easier to take if a rep had just kept us informed about why we had to do it. A little information goes a long way. Overall I was pleasantly surprised, but the key was getting there early.
We had a great time, met lots of nice people, loved the general feel of Celebrity as usual. Never had an issue with deck chairs, though there were some hogs dropping towels on chairs for the day and disappearing. The pool crew would generally ignore it in the morning but start removing them mid afternoon. We only went to the circus type show, which we enjoyed. The other shows are a little too old school for me. We liked the deck party and the various dance events in the atrium.
Great location with one of the big balconies on the hump. Wind was never an issue even though we were angled forward, and we never smelled smoke from the smoking area on 6 behind us. Beds were by the balcony. Standard cabin interior that was in pretty good shape. One closet door was very stiff and noisy, but after mentioning it twice to our attendant someone finally came and adjusted it. Pillows are awful and bedding is thin - that's one area the NCL Epic excels in.