I am a seasoned world traveler, but have been resisting the notion of a cruise for decades, based on stereotypes of the past (such as their being for the "newly wed and nearly dead") and others' firsthand stories over the years (both good and bad). But I finally caved in, and tried my best to go with an open mind. So very glad I did and I'm already thinking of a second one next year, but on a different itinerary. My perspective here is for someone traveling with a friend and no spouse / family / children.
I was generally impressed across the board with no complaints whatsoever. At first, one is quite taken aback at just how big these puppies are in terms of sheer size (length and number of decks). I found the specialty restaurants up to par and worth the extra price for the great food, friendly service and contrasting ambience. The Tuscan Grille, Qsine, Sushi on Five, and Lawn Club Grill (for both dinner and lunch at this last one) were the ones I personally experienced with a friend. One tip I received and acted on was that on sea days only, the Lawn Club Grill does a special burger lunch, and it was worth knowing that for an ultra, uber-rare delight cooked perfectly (for my caveman taste anyway). That being said about the specialty / premium restaurants, I always found lots of great choices and quality at Oceanview too, be it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The ports of call were all great, and there were a few new ones in there for me along the way in both Belfast and Liverpool. Amsterdam is a fantastic city I know well from having lived there for four years long ago, so I didn't really bother exploring it this time. But for those not familiar with it, a few good days on the front or back end in AMS are highly suggested.
As a traveler, even in new places, I tend to like exploring on my own, rather than using guided tours and expeditions. However, a last minute opportunity to take in The British Open Sunday Final arose, and so it was taken. It was well organized, with the coach ride narration about Liverpool and its history being noteworthy by our expert local guide, John Corbett.
Some passengers were unhappy with the Guernsey visit cancellation (July 20) due to rough seas / winds which prevented safe tender to ship tie-up and on to shore, resulting in an extra sea day after a few hours of waiting and sussing the situation and weather. The ship crew were on hand the next day in the main theater to field questions (and griping) about it all from any passengers present. Their cancellation decision reasoning and logic were all very sound, and one needed to consider the risks and bigger picture at play despite any disappointment quite a few had. The session overflowed into a wide range of other ship related and general cruise questions, and the executive handled them adroitly with flair and humor at times. It was all well done and amusing at times. Memorable moments included statements / answers such as:
- "There's an app for that."
- "Ma'am, I suggest a double gin and tonic."
- "What's with all the passport questions today?!"
- "Some people think the ship is run like on The Love Boat with just the captain, bartender, doctor, purser and cruise director."
My favorite bars to hang out included Martini Bar and the Sunset Bar. Silent Disco night at Martini Bar was a lot of fun, and a new experience. One friend I know getting married soon plans to use it as a way to get around later night noise restrictions at his wedding venue. Kudos to all the bartenders at both spots for engaging, friendly and attentive service. The other bars were all tried as well, including the night club late one night. But hey, we all have our favorite watering holes. As that old saying goes, "Alcohol ... because no great story ever started with someone eating a salad." If one is say, a European style heavy / steady / regular drinker, your best option is just elect for the top bevvie package to make things simple, easiest and extract optimal value.
The gym / health club was used twice by me, and I was impressed with all the equipment. I didn't sign up for any classes. My friend used the spa a few times for treatments and massage and was happy overall with it as well.
One on-board tip that was so true was that the crew members' personal life stories from all over the world with so many perspectives are a secret delight. All you have to do is just ask and listen as and when there was the time and opportunity to do so. There were some great conversations and interactions that happened here.A great angle is seeing the first name and country of all on their name tags, and then just take it from there.
Anyway, for someone's virgin cruise experience, after much deeply ingrained reluctance, I am now a fan. A fine job, Celebrity, to all on board in all capacities.
Deck - 9
Cabin Class – Concierge
Starboard or Port Side - Port
Bed near?(balcony or bath) – Balcony
Quiet Cabin – Very quiet.
Balcony View. – Great unobstructed view
Balcony Size? - Normal
Was wind a problem? Nope...I used the balcony a lot during the cruise; most pleasant
If an aft cabin, was soot a problem? No issues.
Any specific problems with this cabin? None
Any other comments? Room was great. Very clean and my primary cabin attendant, Jack from Goa, India, was always on top of things and a pleasure to talk to.
Fantastic city I know well from having lived here four years. I didn't spend much time here this trip, but I highly suggest 2-3 days here at the least, on either the front or back as it suits.
Great day trip to see the Sunday Final. Awesome weather made for a great day all around.View All undefined undefined Reviews
First time to this city and I was very impressed with what I saw. Great efforts and investment have been brought to bear to renew the city and make it a tourist destination. I enjoyed the Titanic Museum immensely. It is very well done.
A very nice and pretty city to walk around for a day, hit a few cafes and take in the ambience.