I am a very, very experienced cruise traveler. I enjoyed this cruise, had a good time. There are some big BUT's though which unnerved me. Here my opinions, which will most likely resonate more with fellow Europeans:
Ship beautiful, (if you like modern ship design, which I do), looking new. It did not look full, although it must have been at 90% of capacity. Except the pool deckchairs of course.
Staff very good, dining staff exceptional (incl. remembering preferences and satisfying special wishes).
Entertainment program very good (important on a cruise with many sea days).
Guest lecturers were knowledgable and interesting. I like that they include also off-mainstream subjects, like cave exploration.
Dining was good and variable at the dining rooms, no variety at the casual buffet any time of the day, and day after day the same items. Nothing to eat after 10pm.
Cabins small relative to other cruise lines, but nothing was missing. I knew that from earlier cruises and was traveling solo anyway, so I had enough space. Nice touch: Night light in the bathroom. Only small tubes for generic shampoo, conditioner, body lotion.
Constant music, too loud, everywhere. Including the main pool area, which is probably desired by the guests during a Carnival Caribbean cruise but not on this cruise with more mature passengers. Not one quiet place where you could read a book without having to order a drink or without loud music or with some sales event going on there (gym courses, wine tasting and selling, art selling, adult coloring class, bingo etc. etc). Library is a minimal room with 4 seats (on a 2000+ passengers' ship) burried in the interior, with probably less than 200 books.
One thing I really disliked: There is an extensive and detailed "code of conduct" for passengers which lays out a regime I did not sign up for when I booked this cruise and foresees severe consequences at the sole discretion of the ship's management. I think common sense, courtesy and if necessary the applicable laws are more than enough. And body cams on security staff at all times, in addition to the omnipresent fixed video cameras, obvious and hidden. A person I had met (a young lady in her first trip ever outside her home country) was forcibly disembarked in Muscat, Oman for climbing over a reeling.
Another major objection is the prices of side services, which Celebrity describes as "reasonable" in their website but they don't publish detailed pricelists anywhere. Here below I will compare prices with Holland America because I was on a HAL ship just one week before this cruise:
-Many items included in the price with other cruise lines are charged here, and handsomely: Certain drinks at breakfast-juices, more than half of items listed in the room service menu and even for the free items a delivery charge of $4.50!
-Pay per view movies in the cabin at $13.50 each, compare with the extensive free library of HAL on dvds AND one new movie daily at the movie theater (versus one big screen movie in 16 days on Celebrity).
-Prices for drinks and beverages are outrageous: Why is a cappucino priced $7 incl. 18% gratuity and Holland America charges $4 incl. 15% gratuity? Is it so much better? Similar with wines and cocktails. Small plastic bottle of water $3.50+18% gratuity? A scoop of ice cream $4+18%? It is forbidden to bring even a glass of wine on board, for no other reason than to consume their own overpriced items.
-Prices for laundry are outrageous too (no self laundry possibility on Celebrity): A bag of laundry at $49 on "one time special offer"? A 2 piece suite for $19? A pair of socks $3? Double the price of HAL? They clean double as good?
-Internet package for 16 days $299? Or $23.50 for 1 hour? Prices for one device only! Again almost double the price of HAL for the same satellite service.
-"Optional" but automatic gratuity $13.50 per person per day? (HAL $10.50 for no worse service). No adjustment of the amount is possible, either nothing or the full amount.
-Shore excursions similar, but in this Celebrity is no worse than other cruise lines and critically the consumer has alternative options with local tour operators.
-Specialty dining for a charge and spa services: I didn't try, cannot compare.
- Shops on board: I compared prices for items I had earmarked earlier for purchase such as alcohol and certain perfumes with other duty free outlets (airports and airlines). Don't bother, Celebrity's "duty free" price is 20-30% more expensive at every single one. Seems to me they reduce the state tax and add the difference directly into their sales margin.
-Shoe shine service as on HAL? Let alone complimentary? Not here!
So this cruise was only a good value if you restricted yourself to the absolute minimum of consumption, did not drink wine, cocktails, coffee, did not watch movies, did not use laundry or internet and checked if your conduct fits Celebrity's regulations at all times. But if you consumed all of the above, you could easily spend on board 3-4 times more than the price for the cruise. Hmmm... Quite the cheap trick of "get them on board first and sell them every little thing or service expensive"... not my idea of relaxed vacation or fair pricing policy folks and counterproductive.