We did this cruise for my birthday and as our first real trip after all the COVID crazy cancelled so much in 2020. Overall, we had an amazing experience. Flying into Saint Maarten was not as bad as expected, only time I was worried was waiting in the check in-line in CLT because it was a very long line even at 4am and we had to check in with an agent to get our documents reviewed. It was only bad because there was a large group of folks holding up all 8 agents due to not having their travel documents in order. We checked in super quickly once we got to an agent but it was because we had our documents in order (EHAS approval form, test results, and passport). After landing in Saint Maarten, we went through a fast moving line to get our documents reviewed again, then a quick check with customs and we were out the door to our celebrity transfer. Airport was probably around an hour of time total. We had to wait longer than I would have liked on the bus for one last couple who had a flight delay. Got to the port, showed our express pass and we’re checked in immediately with a few quick pictures of our vaccine cards and test results. A short golf cart ride to the ship and we were on board in less than twenty minutes. Stopped by our suite to get our sea pass cards and drop off our stuff, the suite was decorated for my birthday with a sign on the door, message on the mirror, flowers, and a huge chocolate cake. Met our butler, Alfred, who was absolutely amazing and then went off to explore the ship. Luggage was at the suite in no time.
Overall, the ship looked really good. The decor in our suite was much lighter and more modern. We have been in that exact suite before and can say that it was a huge improvement. Love the new furniture on the balcony, the couch was perfect for naps. The public areas all looked great, with nice furnishings, clean carpets, and nothing in need of repair. They were constantly cleaning everything. Since it was reduced capacity, there were never lines for anything and service was impeccable. The new retreat sun deck was amazing. Very comfy loungers and cabanas. We were always able to find shade or pull up the shade on one of the round beds if we wanted shade and could get plenty of sun if we wanted as well. Attendants brought snacks occasionally and kept the drinks flowing. It is a fantastic perk of the suite class and makes it worth the upgrade almost by itself. The retreat lounge was also great, it’s one of our favorite spots on this class of ship. The bench seating was too firm for my taste but the chairs and couches were very comfy. Snacks were available throughout the day, tea was served every afternoon, and Cecy would make you anything you asked for. She even made sure to have a wider selection of craft beers for us after she learned our preferences. Alexandra and Toni were our concierges and they were excellent at handling anything we wanted, although we used Alfred for almost all our requests. Alfred was incredible, he did our spa appointments, handled the liquor and wine options for our suite, kept us stocked on vitamin waters, brought us cheese plates and crudités randomly, delivered coffee and breakfast, and generally ensured we had anything we could ever want.
The entertainment on board was excellent. The Blackwood duo provided amazing string instrument music. Magnifica was a fantastic band that got everyone dancing. The singers in the theater were outstandingly good, some of the best we’ve had on a ship. The dancers were energetic and talented. Alejandro and the entertainment staff made sure there were tons of options for things to do and they even did some performing of their own that we just loved.
The cabin was very fresh and light feeling. Loved the new brighter color pallet. Bed was very comfy, there was way more storage than we needed, and the balcony furniture was fantastic. Alfred and Moreno made sure we had everything we needed and then some. The evening pillow chocolates were divine. We didn’t use anywhere near as much wine and booze as was provided since we had premium drinks everywhere but it was nice to pour a little something while enjoying the balcony or getting ready for the evening.
We did an island tour with beach time. It was a lovely island with lots of things to visit. The beach was fantastic and the local Balashi beer is quite tasty. After the excursion, we wandered into town and stopped at a little place on the water for more local beer and some bitterballen (loved these in Amsterdam so we were very happy to get them in all the Dutch islands). Did a little shopping for island shirts and aloe products and then got back on board.
We did the catamaran sailing and snorkeling with the sea turtles. One of the best snorkeling excursions we have done, the turtles were awesome and we saw a sting ray and tons of fish. They served lunch on board which was very tasty and had plenty of drinks. The Banks Deputy beer is very drinkable and perfect for a sunny day on the catamaran. They had a small gift shop so we picked up a couple tshirts and then took the bus back to ship.
We did an island tour with a liquor tasting and then a stop at the beach. Bought a bottle of the tamarind curaçao liquor which was our favorite from the tasting. They had a beach bar that served bitterballen and Dutch fries as well as beers so we were in heaven. After the excursion, we stopped at the cigar bar and DH enjoyed a cigar and we had a couple more local beers before getting back on board.