My wife and I chose to cruise with Celebrity on our 1st time cruise after doing as much research as we could (and working with our travel agent). At the end, we narrowed it down to Princess and Celebrity and opted to go with Celebrity as we liked the itinerary better. We were a little adventurous for 1st time cruisers as we picked a 14 day cruise as our inaugural voyage but we were glad that we did.
Overall we had a wonderful time and met some wonderful people.
We met a couple from Ontario, Canada (we are from Alberta, Canada) while waiting in the lounge prior to embarkation. They are avid cruisers and had cruised on the Equinox (sister ship to the Eclipse) so they knew where everything was and offered to show us around once we boarded. This chance encounter had a huge positive influence on our cruise as we ended up spending a lot of time together. The remarkable thing about that is that my wife and I are in our late 30's and they were in their late 50's and early 60's.
I will start with the cons as there was only a few and not really big deals.
Internet- so slowwwwwwwwww and expensive. I don't mind paying a little more for something but I expect to get my money's worth. I was going to complain and ask for my money back but I didn't as I was pre-warned. My recommendation is that you wait to you are at port and for 3-5 dollars you can get Wi-Fi at the majority of the islands. I own a business and while it is nice to be away it is also nice to stay connected.
Room service- tried it a few times for breakfast as we wanted to enjoy it from our balcony. Both times the orders were messed up and quality of food was low so we just stopped doing it. We ordered room service one night as well as I was not feeling well and while the food and service were good, there was an additional room service charge.
Door shutting- now this is a pet peeve so maybe I am little sensitive to it but I really get annoyed with people at hotels (or in this case a ship) that can't close their door without it banging loudly. And while I blame the people for the most part, I also think that a better door system could be put into place.
Embarkation- was delayed by a few hours due to extra sanitizing but once it commenced was very smooth. Staterooms were not available for a few hours after but we used that time to look around, have a nice lunch and enjoy the poolside bar.
Décor/atmosphere- very clean ship and tastefully decorated. The majority of staff were friendly and helpful and while we did run into a few that maybe weren't having their best day (it happens) it really didn't diminish our enjoyment.
Food- overall was very good. We ate the majority of our breakfasts at the buffet and we could always find what we wanted. The majority of our meals we ate in the main dining room and were very happy with both the quality of both the service and the food. I am not usually adventurous when it comes to food but I found myself trying different things every night. Our waiter (Prahlad) and his assistant (Raimon) took very good care of us and always ensured that we left full and happy. I have a bit of a sweet tooth and they picked up on this very quickly as they always brought me an extra dessert. The group of 4 next to us (who were from Quebec) enjoyed this nightly joke with us. I can't remember the exact name of the grill (I think it is on deck 13 or 14) but you could get a grilled hot dog or hamburger which were very tasty. We did not try an specialty restaurants as we saw no reason to not eat in the dining room.
Stateroom- very clean (with the exception of the balcony) and had enough space to be comfortable. Bathroom made very good use of space. Our room steward (Carlos) took very good care of us. We were in stateroom 1136 on the 10th deck (Concierge class 3).
Disembarkation- very easy and straight forward. Our flight was for 11:50 that morning and we made it in plenty of time.
Drink Package- we booked at the right time and we got to big a perk out of their 123GO promotion. We chose the drink package and then upgraded to the premier drink package. Money well spent. I enjoy a nice glass of wine but am not a wine expert by any means. Our sommelier (Augustino) noticed that I had the premier package and so he began to recommend higher quality wines. That alone was worth the price of the upgrade. We are not big drinkers but it was nice to be able to try some different things without worrying about the bill at the end.
Entertainment- Katy Parry was very good and our favourite of the entertainers. Other notables were the comedians, the illusionist and the juggler (sorry I can't remember their names). One big disappointment was Perry Grant as there was this big hype about him at the beginning of the cruise so we decided to check out his show. He has a following (groupies if you will) of fans that follow him ship to ship with the average age of about 75. We didn't find his singing or on-stage performance to be that good and that the majority of people we spoke with were not impressed either. I give the man credit for being out there and putting in the effort but it may be time for him to move on.
Excursions- the Celebrity excursions were a little pricey but at least the ship would wait for you if you were late returning. We did the Atlantis submarine at Barbados which was good but expensive. Horseback riding on the beach on Aruba was ok but it was more like a slow trot on a rocky trail on old, tired horses and very little time on the beach (we still enjoyed it but if you think you are going to be gallpoing along a nice sandy beach you will be disappointed). Our favourite excursion (not a Celebrity approved one) was on St. Marteen as we took a taxi to the beach next to the airport. Aircraft of all sizes fly in low as they come in on their approach as the runway is separated from the beach by a narrow road. The big excitement if you are there on the right day (we were lucky) is that a KLM 747 lands and when it is over the beach you can almost touch it. Google KLM at St. Marten and you will see some awesome videos.
Overall, we were very happy with this cruise and while on board we booked a cruise for next year (got the drink package again). Maybe in the future we may get more fussy and complain about all of the little things that we didn't like but I sure hope not. When you work as much as we do, having someone cook the meals and clean your rooms for two weeks is an absolute pleasure. And Celebrity does it very well. :)