This was our 16th cruise and 2nd Celebrity cruise. After trying 8 different cruise lines we have decided that Celebrity suits us best.
We stayed at the Hampton Inn, Plantation FL through stay123. Front desk personnel were very friendly and helpful. There are shopping malls on both sides with numerous retail stores and restaurants.
The stay123 pre-cruise package includes a one night stay, free breakfast buffet with hot items and great coffee, free shuttle to the cruise pier, 7 days free on-site parking and a free shuttle back to the hotel.
We sailed on the Eclipse last year and since they have identical deck plans, we found it super easy to get around. We had an oceanview room on deck 3, which allowed us to pick the free classic drink package on their Go123 program. Deck 3 is on the same floor as the Silhouette dining room & Passport Bar and only 1 flight of stairs up to the theater.
We found the embarkation and disembarkation to be very efficient and on time. The doors opened for embarkation at 10:45 AM, we sailed through security, got our sea passes and we were onboard with our free glass of champagne by 11:05 AM. Cabins opened at 1:30 PM and our luggage arrived at 2:30 PM. We did the self disembarkation which was easy, as long as you were willing to stand in line and talk to people you somehow never met during the 10 night cruise!
Our OV room was kept clean by Inacio & Nadine, plenty of storage, loved the circular shower doors.
Cruise Director Paul was the best! We always saw staff cleaning or vacuuming; painting or washing the exterior while in port; public bathrooms were immaculate and all personnel were super friendly. A special thank you to Solarium attendant Mayo!
We had Celebrity Select Dining and the 1st night we were seated in Sergio's area. We asked for Sergio & the same table every night of our cruise. Food was plated beautifully, served at the correct temperature & excellent quality! Recently, we have noticed, that other cruise lines have downgraded the quality, but Celebrity just cut back on the quantity. Which I am OK with - I have never gone hungry while cruising! My spouse had a draft beer at the new Gastrobar ($9.78 and not on the free drink package)
Activities: played Bingo once ($39 for 3 cards, $49 for 6 cards and $59 for 9 cards) watched the cupcake demo, participated in the Reindeer Games, watched the Corning Glass show,, watched the Top Chef challenge and generally spent a lot of time at the Solarium pool relaxing!
The best part of this cruise was the Christmas decorations. Especially in the Grand Foyer, where they built a whole gingerbread village between the two elevator. Then on the last night of the cruise they had Holiday Caroling lead by Cruise Director Paul (who has an excellent voice!) with faux snowflakes floating down into the foyer and several floors of passengers joining in. It was a true goose-bump moment!
Because this cruise had 5 ports on 5 consecutive days, we decided to stay on board the ship, since we had been to St. Maarten several other times.
We were going to take a taxi to Megan's Bay, but it looked like rain. Nathaniel approached us and suggested an island tour for $25 per person. Stopped a 3 scenic overlook for some terrific photos, including a stop at the "world's largest gift shop" and where they have sold over 7 million world famous banana daiquiris. Open-air van ride for approximately 3 hours.View All 291 Island Tour Reviews
We booked an Island Paradise Tour in November, based on the reviews on CC & TA. Rosevelt responded quickly and sent us a detailed itinerary. We put a $20.00 per person deposit to hold our tour.On Tuesday December 15, 2014 we met Rosevelt's the dock at 9 AM. There was plenty of room in the air-conditioned van. After a half hour drive with three small stops to learn about flora and spices (Rosevelt even picked some flowers for all the women) we arrived at Romney Manor, where there were beautiful botanical plants with an ornamental fountain, an old bell tower and garden paths. On site, they demonstrate how they hand produce Batik fabric using a wax process and a shop that carries Caribelle Batik clothing. Old but clean bathrooms at this stop. We had enough time to watch the demonstration, plus I was able to make a purchase. Next it was on to Brimstone Hill Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rosevelt paid the entrance fee, which is $10 per person for non-residents. Well worth the climb - what great views - especially on a clear day! The fort was known as 'The Gibraltar of the West Indies'. Food and bathrooms available at this stop.Then a 10 minute stop at Timothy Hill where you can see the Caribbean on one side and the Atlantic on the other, with Nevis straight ahead. Our tour was from 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM. We had a terrific 5 hour tour for $50 per person, which in my book is a terrific bargain! Rosevelt also goes by the nickname "Texas" as he also served in the US Army, so his English is excellent!View All 293 Island tour Reviews
Elegance Catamaran Cruise only take a maximum of 14 guests.Plenty of room everywhere and bathroom facilities downstairs. First we snorkeled and saw the ship wrecks and sea turtles. Once the snorkeling was finished - the bar was open - wine, beer, soda or mixed drinks.Our favorite place was on the open bow, which had a tight knit trampoline-like material (not loose netting) with a drink in hand and the breeze in our face! Mid morning they served home made banana bread and Chex mix as snacks.Then we set sail for a quiet bay to anchor and have a Bajan style lunch which was delicious! Flying fish, chicken, mac & cheese casserole, rice & beans, tossed salad, coleslaw, rolls and carrot cake for dessert.This five hour catamaran cruise is $100.00 per adult, but well worth it to feel like you had your own private catamaran with a very competent crew!View All 119 Catamaran Tour Reviews
Steps down to the shallow area where you entered, then a deep gorge and the water got very deep. Water was extremely cold (bone-chilling) Several van groups were going into the gorge at the same time, thus there were too many people in a very tight space. Water coming over the small waterfall was knocking people down. One gentleman slipped and cut his leg enough to where the guides had to bandage him and give him ice to bring down the swelling. If there were fewer people, we would have continued to the 2nd falls. Ti Tou has no bathroom facilities and a small local craft area.View All 26 Ti Tou Gorge Reviews
Trafalgar Falls, where the guides paid for our admissions. Stunningly beautiful 10 -15 minute walk through the tropical rain forest. But, be very careful of where you are placing your feet, as the primitive steps (think Boy or Girl Scout camp) were very slippery with mud, plant roots and numerous rocks. When you reach the viewing platform, you will marvel at the view of the twin falls: Father Falls (125ft) on the right and Mother Falls (75ft) on the left. Unfortunately it is very difficult to get both falls in one photo, even though they are 2 -3 miles away. I had assumed we would be standing closer to the falls, with mist in our face. Several people coming back up from the warm volcanic pools, mentioned that the pools were very muddy. So, we decided that there was no need to climb down the steep stairs and we headed back to the van. There are bathroom facilities and several craft booths in the parking lot.View All 51 Trafalgar Falls Reviews
Champagne Beach is not the easiest to get to or to get into the water. First; watch your step on the long walkway made out of wood, as there are several holes & cracked planks. They have a very rocky beach with a thick rubber slip & slide leading into the water. We saw some fish and saw the bubbles, but the photo of the Champagne bubbles on their website is very colorful (perhaps enhanced) When in reality - it all looked grey. Getting out was also hazardous, as waves are pushing you against the rocks. There are bathrooms, outdoor showers & snorkel equipment for rent. You can definitely do the snorkel without using fins.View All 16 Beach Reviews