We are bargain/deal led cruisers. We're not loyal to any one cruise line. This was our 5th cruise. Previously we had cruised with P&O, RCCL and NCL. We decided to book the 10 night Ultimate Caribbean with Celebrity because we got a free Classic drinks package and free WIFI on board. We were aware of the good reputation of Celebrity, so we booked with confidence. Prior to the cruise we were also got an upgrade to a Concierge room.
The ship was understated and elegant compared to some we have cruised on before. The ship was in excellent condition throughout and very well maintained. Check in was a breeze and we boarded the ship immediately. The fastest embarkation of any cruise we've been on.
Staff were very friendly and courteous and always on hand should you need anything.
Buffet was of very good quality, but had an issue with flies. Not a meal went by without having to swipe flies away from your plate. I also witnessed flies on some of the buffet food and it put me off eating all together.
The biggest surprise for us was the age range of the other passengers. We are both 35-40 years old. The average age of the cruise passengers was 50-70 and everything seemed geared towards them. Unless you particularly enjoy being around an older generation I would strongly advise the 20-40 age group to avoid Celebrity altogether.
There are no Clubs, duelling Piano bars, Pubs, Kareoke bars, Sports bars or even Comedy clubs on board. Quite the opposite in fact. Just sedate bars and lounges which were dull to say the least. Lots of older/elderly people just sitting in silence. There was no variety at all and this made the on board offering bland as hell.
Also there was an excessive number of high end retail stores on board. These stores were practically empty the entire cruise and seemed like such a waste of space. If Celebrity want to appeal to a younger cruiser, they need to diversify their offerings and better use the space on board.
Also because of the age range of the passengers, after 5.30pm everyone got smartly dressed which created a formal atmosphere. Men were dressed in trousers and shirts and ladies in dresses or evening wear. Personally we're not fans of formal evenings, but this ship felt formal every night. No matter what bar or lounge you visited, you simply couldn't find a casual and relaxing environment. We're on holiday and want to be able to rock up to a bar in casual clothing and for that to feel acceptable. This was never an issue on NCL, RCCL or P&O, but on Celebrity it was. The grey hair brigade are out in force and staring down their noses as you stand at the bar in your casuals waiting to order a drink. It made us feel very self conscious and we ended up changing our attire every evening just to feel comfortable.
The entertainment on board was poor to say the least. Broken Strings had absolutely no narrative and was a bunch of people singing at each other in a barn, but no explanation as to why! Likewise the Caberet show was promoted as some of the biggest songs from Broadway and the West End, but what followed was mostly obscure songs from little known shows. A totally wasted opportunity that should've showcased songs we know and love. In fairness, the female singers were very talented and could've easily have had a show built around them. Overall, compared to shows offered on RCCL and Norwegian, Celebrity was well below par.
My biggest bug bare was the smoking situation on the ship. Celebrity do not allow smoking anywhere inside the ship and they are to be congratulated for this. However, this meant the two bars on deck 15 (top of the ship) called Sunset and Mast have been designated in part, as smoking areas.
The Sunset bar especially is a lovely bar at the rear of the ship, but it stinks of cigarettes and cigars ALL the time. So you can forget drinking at both of these bars unless you'd like a lung full of cancer. We were so disappointed, as every other cruise ship we had been on had lovely smoke free bars at the rear of the ship to enjoy. As non smokers we were forced to use the pool bar on deck 14 or endure the stench of both bars on deck 15. Agreed, smokers have to be given somewhere to smoke, but they most certainly should not be given both of the bars on deck 15. Its also worth adding that the Sunset bar is directly above the outisde eating area for the Buffet and the stench of smoke wafted down. So this was another area we had to avoid.
Celebrity is most certainly a quality cruise line. The food was of very good quality as were the service levels from staff. But because the ship is dominated by an older, more sedate crowd, everything feels conservative and dull. There needs to be a greater variety of bars with more upbeat offerings. The entertainment needs a complete overhaul and the smoking area removed from the Sunset bar. If it hadn't been for a great itinerary, free WIFI and free alcohol this cruise would've been a total bust.
Personally, we much prefer freestyle cruising and would opt for Norwegian or RCCL next time. However, the free perks offered by Celebrity are hard to beat and I have to concede that we saved a LOT of money.
Concierge totally not worth paying for. We got a free upgrade, but the perks are minimal. Room was adequate with a large balcony, but only 2 power sockets in the entire room and not next to the bed. Had to ask for an extension cord.