I have to begin this review with the fact that the Monday prior to sailing (October 10, 2016) I was told by Celebrity personnel that we would not be allowed to board the ship without a China Visa. I checked with the Chinese Consulate who referred me back to Celebrity. The consulate said I might qualify under the 144 day (no visa needed for US citizens) rule, however, check with the Cruise Lines because they could not say whether or not I could board the ship. I spent 7 1/2 hours on the telephone and the bottom line was that we NEEDED the Visa before would could board the ship. This came from Celebrity Cruise lines.
After frantically looking for a way to get a Visa in 4 days (because they had to be in my hands before Friday - we were departing on Saturday to catch the ship on Sunday), and finally found an expediter in San Francisco who (for a fee of $259 over the cost of the Visa, and that was very reasonable compared to others) could get the Visas for me.
Going back AGAIN to the fact that I was TOLD REPEATEDLY that I could NOT BOARD the ship without this VISA, after boarding, one of the first signs that I saw was one that said "Guests who wish to participate on tours in Shanghai but do not have a Chinese visa may obtain a provisional visa to be able to participate on a Celebrity Shore Excursion." I later learned that these people got these provisional visas for $10.00!!!! Compare that to $432!!!!! I also learned that other people on this cruise had been told the same thing. If you were one of them, I would love to hear from you!!!
Along with being hoodwinked by someone who (I hope) didn't know any better because they do NOT COMMUNICATE properly, after boarding I found the food choices to be very limited, (You are strongly encouraged to purchase food from a specialty restaurant if you want variety) the on-board activities very good if you had one foot in the grave (during a line dance instructional class on the Lido deck, one of the guests asked the instructor to turn the music down!!), practically no activities during days at sea, the Guest Services Staff limited in knowledge.
They had no stamps aboard if you wanted to mail postcards. They had no money aboard if you wanted to exchange currency. They said they were waiting on stamps. Also told we could get money exchanged in port (what if we were going on a tour and had no time to exchange?).
I still have to give credit where it's due. The waiter and his assistant were wonderful, and the dining room manager was extremely accommodating. The ship is still a nice ship, but most of the staff did not seem very happy.
I was also told that there were Leadership people on this cruise from Celebrity. No one told me that while I was aboard and the leadership did not think enough of me and my predicament to have a face-to-face with me. even though she was presented with my circumstances. NOT EVEN TO APOLOGIZE OR TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN MIS-COMMUNICATION. They have a disclaimer on all documents that says each individual is responsible for knowing whether or not they need a Visa. How much good does finding out that you don't need a Visa do, when Celebrity turns around and tells you that you will not board if you don't get one??
I am going to write everyone I know to tell them that I think that CELEBRITY SHOULD TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY for my loss of almost $2,000 to expedite the visas, and my guests' loss of $170. each. I always thought a lot of RCCL, and felt that since Celebrity was supposed to be their higher end, the service, food, etc., would be also.
IT IS NOT!!
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