First, Based upon vacations to go ratings, this is listed as a 5.5 star ship. Three months earlier I sailed on the Carnival Elation which is a 3.5 star ship. My review has the perspective of what should be significantly different ships and experiences. What Celebrity did better:
Entertainment in the theater was excellent. The shows performed by the onboard cast as well as the quality of the entertainers far exceeded anything on the Carnival cruise. With one exception of the juggler/uni-cyclist, all shows were phenomenal. Under no circumstance should you miss the Liars Club with Captain Leo. Skip anything else but not this. The Hot Glass Show was second only to the Theater. I cannot believe they are discontinuing this as attendance was always great. The artist were very talented and knowledgeable. I learned a great appreciation of blown glass and am thrilled to have a new vase in our house. Music around the ship was very good though geared to a 60+ aged crowd. Somehow even 80s night ended with Beatles and other 60s music. I appreciated the quality of the talent and knew I was getting on a cruise where I would be significantly younger than average. We did not participate with other entertainment venues for trivia, pool games, etc. There seemed to be something for everybody.
The service throughout the ship was excellent. Room stewards, bartenders, waiters, dining staff, etc. What more can you say? The only complaint was bar service in the main dining room but that equated to one person out of hundreds.
The cabin was spacious with good storage. A few minor complaints. First, the bed was very firm. Somewhere our room steward found some extra padding which corrected the preference and we were very comfortable after that. Another complaint was the length of the bed. They have beds that are rounded on the end which helps mobility in the room but is too short for a taller person. I am 6'-4" and found the bed to be the length of a twin instead of the queen advertised. I have heard similar complaints from others on the ship. We were in the Sunset veranda rooms at the back of the ship and I think the height of the rooms were altered to allow additional height in the restaurants below. After stepping up in the bathroom, my hair would brush the ceiling in the shower. I do not think all rooms have this issue.
Food: I am not sure what I expected but I did not quite get what I was wanting. Dining was always good and usually excellent. However I did feel there was a decent bit of room to improve. Some meals were unimpressive. Beef dishes especially lacked anything special with the exception of the filet and the prime rib which were excellent. One visit to Qsine was beyond compare. There is no doubt the talent on the ship is there to cook the very best. I highly recommend this experience with a group so you can taste many of the incredible dishes they provide. The Oceanview cafe was nothing special and seemed to serve the safe selections every day, lunch and dinner. There was a specialty every day but so much was the same that it got old by the end of the cruise. The mast bar had a good burger but here is one place I will sing the praise of Carnival. There is no comparison to the Carnival burger. We had room service most mornings for coffee and sometimes breakfast. It was average at best. Not sure the purpose of a plain omelette other than being a flat cooked egg. The cheese and fillings is what gives them character but was not an option. Coffee was fairly strong but good. Took a little extra cream to ease the bite.
I was surprised how similar the schedule, events, and promotions were between the Carnival and Celebrity. Every day is was selling everything everywhere. Jewelry, bingo, drinks, gambling, etc. was over 50% of the daily activities. I guess this earns the cruise extra money and does appeal to enough to be worthwhile. I was hoping on this much nicer cruise this would not be so prevalent. Overall, it was a great experience and an awesome vacation.