I wanted to give a rating of 4.5. Not being possible, I decided it deserved a 5 more than a 4.
We booked a Sky Suite, best guaranteed, and somehow were upgraded to a Royal Suite. It was an awesome, one time experience and the extras included were fabulous.
We spent 3 nights pre-cruise in Venice at the Savoia & Jolanda Hotel in Venice. Great location on the Grand Canal and a short walk to St. Mark's Square, and plenty of restaurants. I would highly recommend it.
We arrived at the Cruise terminal at 12:40 PM and were onboard by 1:15, with most of that time involving the walk from the water taxi dock to the terminal. We went directly to our stateroom to drop off our carry-ons and were escorted from the elevator to our room by the head of Housekeeping. Our butler, Nilesh also appeared and we were given a tour of the spacious, awesome cabin. We then went for lunch to Luminaire, the designated dining location for all suite guests. Food was excellent and service was friendly and first rate. A Royal Suite perk is free unlimited specialty dining and we tried every restaurant on the ship. My summary follows:
Luminaire: Quality of food was excellent but menus were the most limited of all the dining spots, and many items were too eclectic for my taste. The lunch menu needs expansion.
Tuscan Grille: Food was hit or miss. Excellent ravioli and dessert but calamari was overdone and ribeye steak was a bit chewy.
Blu: Best breakfasts on the ship. Beautiful design and menu was unusual but less so than Luminaire.
Ocean Liner: We had 2 great meaqls here, although I would not have done this if we had to pay the $50pp charge. Excellent lobster, lamb and veal. Ultra attentive service.
Oceanview Cafe: Breakfast and lunch were quite good and selection was terrific. Lines were usually short except for the pasta station. Great coffee.
San Marco: This is the main dining room and had one sample of all 3 meals there. Enjoyed them all, but some areas are a bit too dark at night.
Overall the ship is in great shape. Cleanliness was exceptional. We had 2 minor housekeeping issues but they were corrected promptly after we reported them.
Activities are subdued as usual on Celebrity but we were never bored. The pool was too busy to enjoy on sea days, but that seems to be unavoidable on almost all cruise ships.
Entertainment varied. There were 2 headliner performers (a winner of Britain's The Voice, and a Polish violinist) who were excellent. The opening night variety show was not bad, but a production show called "Land of Make Believe" was incredibly stupid and borderline amateurish.
Our ports of call were Dubrovnik, Ephesus, Mykonos and Corfu. All were beautiful and interesting destinations worth visiting (for different reasons).
There were a few negatives: Suite guests are promised priority luggage delivery and dining reservations. That did not happen. Our luggage was not fully delivered until after the muster drill at 4:00. The reservation system needs to be improved or scrapped. We had Select dining, although it wasn't relevant for suite guests as one could come any time to Blu or Luminaire. Any attempt to reserve elsewhere at 7:30 resulted in a standard claim that only 6:30 or 8:30 were available. This was annoying because there were always tables empty throughout the 7:30 window. It seems Celebrity is trying to go back to trhe traditional early/late dining schedule.
Shore excursions were pricey and more strenuous than advertised. This was due partly to the high temperatures but also to many flights of stairs, and guodes who walked too fast (forgetting that we were not all athletic and fit).
Embarkation was a breeze, and as suite guests we were escorted from the Michaels Club lounge by its fabulous concierge, Erich.
In conclusion, this was a great cruise on a lovely ship, with great ports, fine food, and a friendly well trained staff.
Beautiful 2 room layout with a walk in closet, 2 large LED televisions, full sofa and loveseat, etc. Storage area was incredible as every room had large cabinets. There were 2 desks and a full dining room. Snacks and pastries were delivered every day between 4:30 and 5:00. There is a whirlpool tub on the balcony although we did not use it. The balcony itself had a table and 4 chairs, 2 loungers, and plenty of room to move around.
Unique architecture. Literally hundreds of shops and winding narrow streets that will get you lost, but its like being in a maze that you will eventually find your way out of. Very windy, which we were told is pretty common. It did keep temperatures comfortable.
Unique, fascinating city that exudes history and romance.