We normally love Celebrity and like being at sea so a great deal on a suite on a transatlantic cruise should have resulted in a great trip. Sadly Luminae the Suite Restaurant was a huge let down. We had read great reviews and were expecting great things. Out of the first 7 meals 6 went back. Despite having a tomato allergy that they knew about, and constant reminders each time we dined, five dishes had tomato and the 6th had an inedible piece of fish that was so overcooked it was curling up on the plate. The service was appalling - I don't think we ever got anything hot and the last time we ate in there we waited 70 minutes for a starter before being brought a tomato salad. After that debacle a letter of complaint was sent to the Head of Food and Beverage. They tried to brush us off by sending the Luminae Maitre D to see us and offer an apology but we were well beyond that being adequate. I was googling the e-mail for the CEO when we were contacted by the Head of Food and Beverage and we had a couple of meals in the speciality restaurants on Celebrity as a result. It wasn't worth the distress and the physical rashes and blisters caused by the allergy. From that point on we ate in Blu who were great. It is also worth saying that we met a lot of Suite Guests dining up in the Ocean Grill. We liked to have a big old plate of salad at lunch and so it was a great option for us. It is also a testament to the quality of the food up there.
The other point of note is that the current Celebrity thinking is to aim for a younger market so they are not doing as much music trivia and less 50's and 60's if any at all. In fact the entertainment programme seems quite poor in comparison to other cruise lines.They also have a list of activities that they are trying to do away with and Bridge is one of those, so if you are a player it is difficult to get a game. We ended up running the unhosted Bridge Programme and had far more people attending than any of the trivia or quizzes so perhaps they need a re-think.
The shore excursions were overpriced and over-hyped. I would strongly advise people to either do their own thing or book with other tour operators. We did in most ports with just 2 booked with Celebrity and they were both pretty blah - Nougat and Wine tasting in Corsica and the Pyramids in Tenerife. As Suite guests we were supposed to get priority embarkation at ports of call. That didn't happen anywhere and our worst experience was queuing for nearly 2 hours to tender back to the ship in Corsica. Well I say queuing it was more of a free-for-all. The experience was so terrible that the Captain ordered a free bar for an hour that evening. It was no compensation for us as we had complimentary drinks anyway as suite guests.
Beautiful room with plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. A couch and coffee table provide a lovely seating area. We were in a Sky Suite so it's about half as big again as an Aqua Class Balcony room. A pillow menu meant we could both have pillows to suit our bad back and necks without having to take our own. The extra space means you get lovely reclining chairs on the balcony and a bit more room if 2 of you want to sit out there. You had to be a rocket scientist to work the shower with all it's jets and functions and having a bath was lovely. The bathroom is still small but it was beautifully appointed. You also get a better quality of toiletries but as we only use Neals Yard Organic they were wasted on us. You never get enough hangers so I always take my own. However you can get extra if you request them. If you are a room service, like to be waited on kind of guest who doesn't like unpacking their own cases then having a Butler will suit you. We barely used him. He was lovely and really looked after us when he got the chance but we like to do our own thing and it wasn't a service that held any value for us. On Evening Chic nights you get reserved seating in the theatre and your Butler is on hand to bring you complimentary beverages and that is rather nice.
We arrived in the afternoon checked into our hotel and the sailed the next day. Fort Lauderdale is beautiful and we had a good walk around. The beach goes on for miles and if we had been there for longer it would have been very tempting to have a swim.
We booked our own walking tour through viator and it was both excellent and half the price of the ship tour.
We wanted to go inside the Sagrada Familia but sadly the online booking didn't take the payment and it was fully booked on the day by the time we realised. We couldn't do it the time before either because of the rioting.