Very nice cruise,
We are seniors and have done about 48 cruises on various lines. We have done about 10 coastal cruises along the Pacific coast and have previously visited most of the ports on this cruise. Our primary reason for taking this cruise was the entertainment, food, and a close to home get a way. We live about 120 miles north of San Francisco.
We drove down to the bay area and stayed the night previous to our flight at the El Rancho Hotel in Millbrae. We have done this several times. When a cruise starts in San Francisco, we have the hotel shuttle take us to SFO where we get the cruise ship bus to the port in SF. On this trip, we had had a 6 AM flight to Vancouver. We were up to catch the shuttle at 4 AM. The flight was smooth and our customs check in Vancouver was also. They have a new system at the airport that allows Americans to pass through customs with a minimum of time lost. It is a BIG improvement over our last time at this airport. You just slap you passport on a screen at one of the machines, get a receipt and you are on your way. If you have any problems, there is a helper there to answer any questions. Otherwise, you wait in VERY LONG lines to get up to talk with an inspector. We were through and out the door in about 5 minutes.
We expected a traffic jam at the port, because members of the British Royal Family were visiting the port area about the time we were supposed to arrive. We were pleasantly surprised when the bus sailed right through and we were dropped off at Canada Place. We did have to wait for about a half hour before boarding, but we were on the ship before noon. The cabins were not ready until 1 o’clock, so we had lunch at the lido restaurant and waited on deck until then.
We had a balcony cabin located mid ship. It was a typical cabin with vanity, small couches, and king size bed. On each side of the bed was a two-drawer night strand. The light in my reading lamp was not adequate, but the one on my wife’s side was better. The balcony was small, but had two chairs and a small table that were adequate. The bath had two shelves for storage and the typically large Celebrity stall shower. Our only objection was that the life boats were directly below the balcony and blocked the view of the water below. Our cabin steward took very good care of the room.
We booked this cruise with a travel agent because of an email ad we received from them. It was a president’s cruise attended by the president of the travel agency and several of her employees and had some extra perks included. They turned out to be not worth the cost. Some, like the slot contest, were actually an added cost. At first it looked like a good deal, but we later found otherwise. All the cruise lines recently started to provide bonuses like drink packages and pre-paid tips as an inducement to book with them, but in reality they just added the cost of these items to the regular booking price. If you wait until a month or so before the cruise, you will probably be able to get a much better price and paying for the extras yourself will be cheaper than taking the so-called bonuses. We found that the drink package was the biggest loser as we seldom have more than one or two drinks each day. We also used the package for purchase of water, the cost of which has really gotten out of hand. However, the water and liquor in the cabin could not be charged against the package as it did not qualify. We had to buy the large water bottles at a bar and take them back to our cabin. This actually turned out for the best as the Evian water in the cabin tasted terrible. The bars had a different brand that was much better.
Celebrity has always been known for serving good quality beef. That is still true, by the best quality cuts are not served as often as before and more stews and similar types of beef are now more prevalent in the main dining room.
The food served in the lido restaurant has always been somewhat tasteless or over spiced and that has not changed. On this trip, there seemed to be a larger percentage of Asian food available and less American. The soups in this restaurant were terrible. The redeeming item was the breads. They were always good at all the restaurants.
The service in both restaurants was always excellent. We did not eat at any of the specialty restaurants.
Celebrity shows have never been as good as Royal Caribbean shows. That seems strange as both lines are owned by the same company. Those on this cruise were just OK with very memorable.
Overall, it was a good cruise with great weather and smooth seas most of the way. We had no rain at any stops and very little wind. The temperature everywhere was very comfortable. The high point of the cruise was being able to stand on the top deck of the ship in San Francisco and watch the Blue Angels put on their show during Fleet Week. We have seen them perform several time, but never had seats like this before. It was spectacular.
The cabin was adequate for our needs. It had a vanity for the wife, a small couch and table, and a king-size bed. Two drawer night stands were on each side of the bed with reading lamps on each. The bath had the typically large Celebrity shower and hand-held shower head. Two adequate storage shelves were above the sink. The closet area was adequate and several drawers were available in one part. There was a safe for valuables. The balcony had two chairs and a small table. The steward did an excellent job taking care of the cabin.