We are seasoned travelers on cruise ships with many of them on Celebrity and previously have always had above average experiences. However, my husband and I (and MANY fellow travelers we learned throughout) have seen a noticeable drop in overall quality.
Let me start by saying that in our BTB cruise (NEW Zealand also) our room was very nice, clean, spacious, with plenty of storage, The person who took care of our room was beyond excellent. The food in The Blue Dining room was very good and the staff warm and gracious. We were so impressed that many remembered our names and preferences after only a few days. I also loved the Persian Gardens that came with our Blue upgrade. I enjoyed laying on the warmed tile seats and sweating it out in the steam room. My husband and I also enjoyed the workout facilities although I wish they were much quicker to repair broken equipment. 3 treadmills were out of order so at certain mid morning times we would have to wait awhile to get on one. Same was the case with the Persian Garden chairs. I believe by the end of the trip there were two out of order.
Where the ship fell short were primarily in the excursions. Many of them were disorganized (more so on the New Zealand half but I'll save that for my other review). We at times felt rushed with not enough time to do much of anything. That said, we were taken to some beautiful areas, especially the Great Barrier Reef. It was unfortunate though that we were not able to see the quantity of fish and coral we were hoping for. Some on this excursion claim they saw almost no fish. Some guidance from the crew on the platoon as to where to snorkle once we got on the beach would have been helpful. I found I had to go out quite a bit further than others to see what I came to see. As a side note, a couple of days prior to this excursion we tried to change it to another snorkling experience because the man at the excursion desk told us "you aren't really snorkling in the Great Barrier Reef". When we asked to change it he told us they were all booked and "you should have booked one of the other ones earlier". We left sorely disapponted and scratching our head that he would say this to us. We later learned that it WAS part of the Great Barrier, just the southern part. This was one of a handful of mishaps with customer service but overall the many great workers on the ship made up for the handful of poor ones with fatigue attitudes.
To sum up our shore excursions I would advise anyone going on a cruise to either book your cruises through Cruise Critic when someone in your group sets one up or go to a site like Viator to book it. You will get better excursions for less price and smaller groups. From this point forward we will be avoiding ship excursions until/unless we read that they have upped their game. They are way overpriced for what you get.
Another area of disappointment was the food in the cafe on the 14th floor. Almost universally the food was just blah with little flavor. The best were the asian noodles but I can't say too much for the other food (and I'm not a picky eater at all). There was almost no variety from a day-to-day basis. This is 100 percent true with the healthy eating area on the other side of the ship on the 12th floor. The selection there (albiet limited) NEVER changed for either of the 2 cruises we were on.
Overall we enjoyed the nightly entertainment in the theater. Some were better than others but still entertaining.
Cabin was very good! Comfortable, clean and spacious enough.
Hunter Valley. This excursion was booked through cruise critic. Lots of fun!
Didn't see much fish or coral.View All 27 Barrier Reef Reviews
Disorganized. They were not expecting us when we arrived so we all stood around for WAY too long before being instructed what to do. We never had a chance to have photos taken next to the Koalas like we were told we could do.View All 32 Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Reviews