We chose this cruise because it linked to another cruise that would be ending and went to a destination we wanted to see. This was advertised to us as a 5 1/2 star ship. It is a 4 1/2 star ship with 3 1/2 star food and service.
Embarkation: The porter staff was gruff and borderline rude. We were told if we had alcohol in our checked luggage we had to remove it or it would be confiscated.
Cabin: Chipped veneer, worn carpet, holes in the black-out blinds, scratched furniture. Our room was sold to us as "partially obstructed". Upon inquiry, we were told by Celebrity that the top of a lifeboat would be at the base of our balcony so it would obstruct our view looking down. However, if, like ours, your lifeboat is one of the tenders, it is much taller than the lifeboats and therefore reaches the railing height such that when you are seated, it fully obstructs your view.
Cruise Experience: In the first 3 days we were inundated by sales people trying to sell us beverage and wi-fi packages. It was relentless and obnoxious. They would walk up to you anytime and anyplace, interrupt your meal, your conversation, whatever you were doing and try to sell you this stuff. Some would not take no for an answer, just like commissioned sales people do.
After seeing that they were charging USD$6 (plus tip) for each bottle of water, latte or coke, I bought the basic beverage package. However, once I bought the package, only once was I asked if I would like any of these things served to me. If you want one, you have find a place that served them, stand in line, and get it yourself. Also, if your spouse does not buy a package, you can never ask for 2 drinks at a time, so mid meal, if you want a second drink, your food gets cold while you go get yourself another drink.
Buffet Service: Finding a seat was like being in a mall food fair at lunch time. We could never find a seat and usually ended up clearing a table ourselves to get one. It seemed to me that there were staff available to clear tables, but they aimlessly wandered around with one or two dirty coffee cups on their trays trying to look like they were busy. One day, we could could only find one table available, but it was piled high with dirty dishes from everyone dumping dirty dishes on it to make a seat for themselves, I asked 3 different people over to clear the table and not one of them came over!
The food staff was borderline rude. One morning I asked the cook to not put my Eggs Benedict on a bagel (which he was about to do) and he gave me attitude. The menu description in front of him said it came on an English muffin and they were right beside the bagels, so....? I do not recall a single happy smile or greeting by any staff member at the buffet. I got the distinct feeling that the staff are not treated well and actually witnessed one staff member getting publicly yelled at. Not cool.
Buffet Food: The food was cafeteria-like. Heavy on the carbs, cheap cuts of meat (1/2" thick steaks), frozen vegetables and the cheap fresh fruit (melons, apples, oranges). A good example of how cheap the food is - the only crackers served on the cheese board were Premium Plus soup crackers in the plastic wrappers.
One expects better food in the dining room, but it was not. The only benefit of the dining room is that you got a table and they bring you your food. However, the same austerity program was on display in the dining room. For example, I ordered prawn linguini for an entree and got a bowl of pasta with 3 little anemic shrimp on top (like what you get on a Domino's pizza).
The dining room for breakfast was horrid service. Our first time, with the restaurant 1/5 full, we waited 45 minutes to get an omelette. Day 2, I ordered an omelette and toast. I repeated my order 3 times to the steward as he didn't understand what I wanted despite it being on the menu item with no substitutions. My husband ordered pancakes, eggs and bacon. 45 minutes later, two omelettes were brought. Extra omelette was taken away, husbands order repeated, and again I asked for my toast. Twice more I asked for my toast. After I finished my omelette, eggs showed up for my husband, but no pancakes or bacon, and I still had no toast. By this time, two "supervisors" had now come over and apologized profusely and advised it was being looked after - but we never got our food!! My husband finally gave up and went to the buffet for breakfast.
Specialty Restaurant: As condolences for the dining experience, the ship sent us to their specialty restaurant, Murano for dinner. It was fantastic. The price is $55 pp.
Entertainment: The entertainment was the best I've seen on any cruise line. One curiosity, in our view, the best male and female singer on the ship's troupe were a Hispanic female and black male. However, they were not the leads. The leads were a white male and female of mediocre talent.
Shore Excursions: We did not book with the ship, preferring the smaller groups of private tours at (usually) half the price.
The Gym: The fitness room was excellent, but the entire floor work area always had chairs set up in it for their sales pitches. If you wanted to to do floor work you had to do it between weight machines.