Our first cruise with Celebrity (mid 30s couple, no children) and had high expectations based on universally positive feedback from friends and other cruisers. Have previously cruised with Princess, NCL, Carnival and Regent and have done 14 cruises prior to this
Embarkation was slick and effective and first impressions positive with Champagne as we boarded. Ship looks to be in good condition and all staff were friendly.
We had a great sailing, great weather and sea conditions throughout 5 sea days on this trip. Entertainment was quite good and varied, particularly loved the Martini bar and generally the service levels and attitude of staff was excellent.
Where Celebrity let themselves down is with a “penny pinching” mindset. Firstly and most annoyingly there is no ironing room facility on board. We’ve had this on all other ships and regardless of how well you prep and pack in advance, after long haul flights shirts and dresses benefit from a quick pressing before wearing. We had to pay for laundry service to do this as it’s “unsafe” (apparently) to have an ironing room with irons on timed fuses (as Princess do for example). No water in rooms and very expensive mini bar for water ($6 for a two litre bottle when we had no choice on first night).
Food in main dining room was generally medium quality but menu was quite poor. Lots of repetition with same major ingredient (eg prawns) featuring on always available menu as well as being a special item of the night. On 3 consecutive occasions we were served stale bread. We complained twice but it was only on 4th visit to MDR that we actually got fresh bread. Our first meal in MDR on First night was very very poor.
Speciality restaurants are reasonable. Did QSine twice but food was medium veiled in an over elaborate presentation.
Another major annoyance is on embarkation staff are preying on customer confusion by constantly aiming to upsell customers to premium drinks package etc where it’s not actually required. Found this quite cynical and helped a couple of people defend against this at the bar on first day.
Buffet was reasonable, morning and lunch. Often over crowded and difficult fo get a seat
Overall we had a great time, we drifted from being really annoyed/anti on Day 1-2 due to the above niggles but settled down and we enjoyed ourselves. Had already booked Celebrity Edge at this stage for Spring 19 so were a bit concerned. However was good overall and as with all things some aspects better than other lines, other aspects much worse.