Overall, our cruise was great. The food and service in Luminae were consistently superior, and the shows were very enjoyable and featured very talented performers. The ship is absolutely gorgeous with lots of high tech features and entertainment options. Our butler Natalia, and room attendant Jefrey were both top notch. We were in a sky suite, so we had access to the Retreat, which was a real plus, given the crowds in some of the venues. Unfortunately, I had some issues with the Retreat bar waiter, who seemed to be unaware of what was, and what was not in the bar stock or the drink packages. For example, he told me that the ship did not carry Russian Standard Vodka, although all the online menus featured it. I finally took a photo of a bottle in another bar, which I showed to him. He then said they didn’t carry it in the Retreat bar, so I then went to the Retreat Pool Bar and took another photo of the same brand and showed it to him. He finally retrieved a bottle about 4 days into the cruise. The Concierge did not seem to be interested in my personal problems with the bar staff. There were also other bar issues which could have been solved with a printed list of available drinks, but I guess this was too difficult for management.
The other big problem we had was that the muster drill was a nightmare. Passengers assigned to lifeboats 8 and 10 were squeezed into a small open space by the high end jewelry shops, with almost no seating available, despite the senior citizen passenger demographics. (I, for one, cannot stand still in one spot for 30 minutes without having someplace to sit.) We were then subjected to an idiotic video that was neither humorous nor informative. As horrible as it was, at least as a native English speaker, I could understand the interminable and torturous video, but I’m sure most foreign passengers were lost. I don’t understand why they don’t use the comfortable theater for multiple or sequential presentations, assigned by lifeboat groups.
On a more positive note, the only optional dining we tried was the Eden restaurant. It was a unique experience that we would highly recommend. The oyster course was the most delicious thing I tasted on the cruise.
Finally, someone at guest relations or the concierge staff dropped the ball on our extended stay reservation, notifying us on the last night, that due to their error, they could probably not accommodate us, but would compensate us for our trouble if they happened to find a way to make it work. Since I was using non-refundable on-board credit to pay for the extension, I had to run down to the Casino in my sleeping shirt (no bunny slippers!) to use my $200 credit on the slots, so I didn’t lose it. Luckily, I came out five bucks ahead! Amazingly, the next morning, the guest relations supervisor was able to resolve the extended stay issue and we were able to stay on board until 1:30 PM. We were very appreciative of her efforts, but noted the promised compensation for our stress suddenly disappeared from the table and the conversation, with the normal fees being deducted from our refundable onboard credit.
It was just too bad that such a great cruise with a great crew on an amazing ship was tainted by unforced and easily preventable errors and the unfortunate reliance on “single point failure” management processes.
Despite being sort of an old curmudgeon, I am still a big Celebrity fan and will not let these minor irritants deter us from sailing again with this wonderful cruise line.
Beautiful cabin, but a little creaky and noisy in moderate seas.