We chose this cruise for its itinerary and the sailing dates since it coincided nicely with the Christmas and New Year's holiday. My husband and I have cruised multiple times before (on different cruise lines). But our previous cruises have all been in the Caribbean or the Alaskan Inside Passage, where the scenery and activities do not change much from port-to-port and there is nothing to do at port at night (besides drink). This was our first (and last) international-type of cruise where there are world class cities and UNESCO heritage sites on the itinerary. There was simply not enough time in port for any of the locations. Furthermore, the destinations of interest were so far away from where the ship docked (1.5 - 3 hours each way), much of the precious port time was spent on a bus. With the exception of Bangkok, none of this is communicated when you book your cruise or your shore excursions. Like many things with Celebrity Cruise Lines, you have to find out things on your own. Lack of communication, and sometimes conflicting information, was definitely an overarching theme of this cruise...from booking to our very last shore excursion. This was our first (and last) cruise with Celebrity.
While check-in ran smoothly, the nickel-and-diming upon embarkation was ridiculous. There were crew chasing passengers down in the terminal like they left their passports at the desk or dropped their wallets. But, nope, they just wanted to sell them a premium beverage package. Most of us were coming off of 10-12+ hour flights and were toting our luggage. We just wanted to get to our cabins and not be hassled into buying unlimited sugary drinks or cheap, drugstore wine. (Referring to the Beringer white zinfandel, among others, that was included in the classic wine package.)
Depending on traffic, Bangkok is 2-3 hours away from where the ship docks. As a result, 1600 of the 2000 passengers overnighted in Bangkok. We arranged our own private tours. During the day, we were with our awesome guide, Rut, from Your Thai Guide (https://yourthaiguide.com) who showed us around the Grand Palace and some temples, and in the evening we did the Hangover Tour (http://bangkokhangovertours.com) with our lovely hostess, Aya. If you are open-minded and want to experience the Bangkok nightlife, we highly recommend this tour!
This was the one day we completely planned on our own and this was our favorite part of the trip. I don't think it was a coincidence.