We are a retired couple, usually traveling with another couple. We have sailed with NCL, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Celebrity.
Embarkation at Cape Liberty, Bayonne, NJ was fantastic. We arrived slightly after 11 am and after a short wait, we were welcomed aboard w/ champagne and looking for lunch in the Seaside Cafe. Selection and service were good and we were soon checking out our stateroom. Luggage arrived throughout the afternoon and we were pleasantly surprised when the mandatory lifeboat drill did NOT require life jackets!Cabin 7114 is situated mid-ship, not too near elevators, with no cabins
across from it; in other words, quiet w/ easy access to everything. The
balcony is equipped with 2 chairs and is 2 floors above the life boats
which we looked down on. Storage is adequate, but I missed a drawer in
the desk because that is usually my make-up area. Hint: we use suction
cup hooks on mirrors for hats, storage bags, etc.
This is our first cruise to try 1st seating for dinner, but after dinners that finished at 10:30 on our last (Holland America) cruise, we made the switch. So, 6pm found us in the San Marco Dining Room where we were delighted to find our table for 8 and two delightful couples from NJ. Our Waiter, Jorge, and Assistant Waiter, Andres, began right away to learn our preferences and try to keep us happy. They were good at their jobs; we were impressed that Andres remembered drink choices and did not have to ask again.
Food: We ate in the San Marco every night except 2 and in the Seaside Cafe for all breakfasts and lunches unless we were ashore or there was a brunch in the San Marco (these were GREAT). Overall, the food was good, but some of our group and others we talked to agreed that the nightly offerings had an unusual (some said European) flair. Thankfully there is a "classic" menu from which one could order any night and we chose items from this menu frequently. When I did stray to the other menu, I was quite often disappointed; items like Shrimp Scampi which had 3 very tough shrimp, rice not done and pureed vegetable were not to my taste. My husband, a beef eater, had several beef dishes that were tough or not cooked to order. It is our opinion that the quality of beef in the main dining room has suffered since the specialty restaurants appeared. We have eaten in a specialty restaurant and it was wonderful, but we are not willing to spend extra every night and don't believe we should have to.
Seaside Cafe had great choices for breakfast and lunch. Any type of breakfast food could be found, cooked to order or quick pick up. The only sad note here was the coffee which was (to our taste) not drinkable as it came from the urn. We found that a mix of 1/3 decaf, 1/3 regular, and 1/3 hot water gave us something we could drink. We saw many others adding water and even saw waiters adding water to the coffee they were serving through the dining room. Our complaints seemed to fall on deaf ears. Lunch choices ran from hot foods to a great deli whose chicken salad, egg salad and hot soups were great lunch fare. The only burger we ate from the grill was cold; a disappointment because we usually love the grill items.
The 'Casual Dining by Reservation' did not live up to it's billing. We found that they have one menu for the entire cruise! Also, the 'classic menu' from the dining room was not available as we had understood (we were told this was a recent change).
Entertainment: Something for everyone! The Celebrity Theater brought us some very enjoyable shows. The productions were well done, costumes great, and our only complaint here is that the volume was way to high! There were the usual orchestra, a classical guitarist, a pianist, comedians, and some combinations. Acts that stood out were Alex & Sally, an Adage Duo, and an A Capella group, The Voice Males. The party band, Sipra was especially good.
We attended several enrichment talks and enjoyed them. We are not fans of the art auctions and usually prefer to find a quiet spot for reading when there is time to relax.
All employees of the cruise line were efficient, friendly and always trying to please.
Cabin 7114 is situated mid-ship, not too near elevators, with no cabins across from it; in other words, quiet w/ easy access to everything. The balcony is equipped with 2 chairs and is 2 floors above the life boats which we looked down on. Storage is adequate, but I missed a drawer in the desk because that is usually my make-up area. Hint: we use suction cup hooks on mirrors for hats, storage bags, etc.
We took a city bus RIPTA #67, $1.75 ea way or $5 day pass, to the Bellevue Ave mansions where we bought a ticket and toured Marble House ($11 pp). Packages are available if you wish to tour more than one mansion. Then we walked a portion of the famous cliffwalk along the bay and caught a bus back to town for lunch and looking around. It was very easy and relaxing to make our own way without the time restraints or cost of an actual tour. Bus drivers were very helpful.
We purchased tickets online for the Olde Town Trolley (under $30 pp) which has a stop near the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal. The terminal is not very close to anything, so a bus, tour, or taxi is advised. We walked a couple of blocks to our bus stop, our e-ticket was stamped with the date and we were free to get on and off all day. A complete guide book was sent when we purchased the tickets so we already knew which stops would be priority. With trolleys running every 15-20 minutes, we never had to wait long. The drivers were very knowledgeable and their narration described every stop. We walked part of the Freedom Trail, visited historic sites, had lunch at Faneuil Hall, completed the circuit and took another trolley back to the ship. It was a great way to see the City!
We got a day pass for the Metro ($5 pp) to the downtown area and explored a little during the morning. Dunkin Donuts had a great cup of coffee. Wadsworth-Longfellow House was very interesting (we had buy one get one free pass from online) and we stopped in the LL Bean downtown outlet. Back to the ship for lunch since we have a Celebrity Excursion leaving there at 1pm. Our excursion took us to 3 lighthouses: Bug Light, one whose name I don't remember and we only saw from a distance, and the Portland Head Light. This tour wasn't worth what we paid - we should have gone on our own (bus or taxi) to the Portland Head Light which was very interesting.
What a beautiful place! At the terminal where our tenders came in we got our tickets for Acadia National Park (our Golden Age Pass took care of admission) and directions to the FREE shuttle bus. A short walk up main street to the Village Green and we were on our way. First stop, Sandy Beach where we walked down and took pictures of the massive rocks and beautiful beach. From there, we took a 1/2 mile hike to Thunder Hole - more pictures. Back on another shuttle, we're off to Jordan Pond House, a nice restaurant (we did not eat) and beautiful grounds. Another shuttle bus back to Village Green. We had lunch at Geddy's on Main St - their 'lobsta roll' was great! Shopped our way back to the tenders. Fun day!
Oops, it's cloudy and misting rain, so after a short stroll along the beautiful shoreline boardwalk, we made our way to a bus stop and caught FRED (free ride everyday downtown). This convenient bus runs every 15 minutes or so and goes virtually anywhere you want to go in the downtown area. We got off at the Citadel and took a tour - luck was with us because we were at the gate for the changing of the guard, inside the fort when the cannon was fired at noon, saw the bagpiper play and enjoyed our tour. Near the end of our tour, the rain got worse, so we got back aboard FRED and continued around the route back to the Constellation. A great day - thanks, Halifax, for FRED.