I booked this cruise only 1 week before departure and my experience suggests that Celebrity are not geared-up to deal with late bookings, particularly just before a weekend. The booking went smoothly, initially, with a confirmation invoice received almost immediately and a link to book the free parking at Southampton. However the all-important email regarding PCR tests did not arrive. I left it until Saturday morning, before trying to contact customer services. I was on hold for more than half an hour before a very helpful agent managed to extract our details and send us an email so that we could book the tests on the following Tuesday. (In fact the official email from Celebrity didn’t arrive until after we had our appointment on the Tuesday.) The call took, in total, over 1 hour.
The next glitch was when I logged onto my account and found that I apparently owed $194 for gratuities, which are of course included in the price. Another 20 minute call and another helpful agent managed to fix that.
One reason for booking a Concierge class cabin is for the perks, such as priority embarkation and priority dining times. However we were only offered a 3.30 pm embarkation time and since you can’t book any restaurant until you are on the ship’s wifi, we were only offered times before 6.00 or after 8.30. As a consequence, we never did get the select dining we had requested, sitting down to dinner at 8.45 on deck 3 in the fixed sitting dining area, where we were persuaded to dine for the remainder of the cruise at 6.00 pm.
Deck 9 Cabin, behind the hump. The cabin was very good though I perceived that the balcony was smaller that in our Aqua class cabin last time. The sofa was nearest to the balcony, the bed nearest the door. The bed and pillows were superbly comfortable and the curtains did a pretty good job of keeping out the early morning light. One major omission was the total lack of usb ports, we could have done with at least three. There were three mains outlets, two American flat –pin 110v and one European, round pin 220v. We made the mistake of thinking there would be English sockets and brought no adapters. Fortunately guest services came up with a couple for a $50 dollar deposited, later refunded.
Ship was docked right alongside the Liver building, closest of all the dockings. We did the coach tour around the city streets as we have visited Liverpool before and been on Beatles' tours, so didn't need to repeat that. Tour was good, being a Sunday, traffic was light and a good tour guide. Trip passes by both Liverpool FC and Everton FC grounds. We had 30 minute of Beatles music prior to our departure from the dock.
Greenock is a fair distance from Glasgow, none of the trips offered visited Glasgow and the train route is prone to cancellations at the moment. We did the panoramic coach tour around the 6 lochs, lovely scenery and a ferry trip to get back to the ship. The tour guide kindly provided a map so we could follow our progress on the trip. Greenock council laid on free shuttle buses if you wanted to go into town. I've reduced the rating by 1 as disembarking from the ship was a problem. A single gangway, which was very steep and only wide enough for people to go in one direction at a time, you needed two hands to hold the rails. When afternoon trips outgoing clashed with morning trips incoming, the situation was dire. Long delays getting off the ship and I believe unsatisfactory for wheelchair users.
Much easier getting off the ship, we took the coach trip to see the Churchill Barriers in Scapa Flow and the Italian Cathedral. The landscape in Orkney is more agricultural, with very few trees, but the historical aspects made up for the scenery.
The dock is at Invergordon, some 20 miles from Inverness. The Cromarty Firth is interesting with oil rigs in for repair of scrapping. We took the Scottish Highlands Scenic drive with a stop to see the cascades on the River Shin and an unsuccessful attempt to see the salmon leaping up river. (A bit early in the season apparently) We had a lone piper welcoming us ashore and 7 pipers making sure we left, bidding us a fond farewell!