We love transatlantic cruising. Only having to fly one way is a big plus and cruising this way is usually cheaper than flying. You can't eat, drink and be pampered on an 8 hour flight! We chose this cruise because we wanted to spend some time in southern Italy post cruise. We had previously been on another Celebrity transatlantic 6 months earlier (see my Silhouette review) that was not very good so we did not have high hopes for this one but since we were using the ship primarily as transportation and not as a vacation this was ok. Well we were pleasantly surprised as we had an excellent cruise albeit not without a few issues. Embarkation in Fort Lauderdale was quick and easy surprisingly!
Firstly, the food was GREAT. Our last TA it was TERRIBLE. Almost every dinner was excellent. We used room service and did not eat in the MDR. This did not detract from the experience as every day the food was delivered promptly and hot. We ate off the MDR menu. The salads. however were always terrible. The breakfast buffet was good and lunch was hit or miss. The sushi at dinner was the best I have ever seen on a ship. It will be a shame to lose this if Celebrity chooses to convert all the Bistro on 5's to sushi restaurants. The Bistro on this cruise was a disappointment. The menu had changed since our last cruise and ALL our favorites were gone.
Entertainment was plentiful but quality-wise was mediocre. BUT that is my taste. The comedian had a good show and bad, the production shows were just ok. There was something going on every night which was a good thing. Despite the bad weather the ship was very smooth even on the day we had 17' waves. The size and layout of the ship are very nice indeed. The crew was mostly happy, helpful and very friendly. It really does start at the top. The captain was nothing but cordial and jovial every time I saw him. I liked the three ports we stopped at. Madeira, Gibraltar and Cartegena. I did not participate in any ship excursion.
Easy walk into town. Bus was available at a cost
Excellent downtown area close to port
Fantastic shopping - long walk to town but taxis available
Good embarkation experience