I’d been on this ship in Nov ‘19 and loved every moment so when the opportunity to do another cruise on it this year was offered back then, I paid my deposit. The ship is supposed to be safe, full vaccinated passengers and crew. Passengers are expected to test negative before boarding. Their staff was apparently tested back in Vancouver 11 days earlier. The ship had Covid cases on board (source is the CDC dashboard for cruise ships - this ship is currently Orange as are 72 other cruise ships and the CDC has it under investigation). We paid a lot of money to upgrade to a Celebrity Suite which comes with a cabin concierge looking after our needs (if you believe some of their tv advertising about personal butler…). On day 1 our concierge shook our hand and introduced himself; by the end of the evening he’d been placed into isolation and another concierge was given double duty for the rest of the cruise. The ship has about 50% of the normal passengers on board and staffed accordingly. In our cabin was a notice that the ship has loads of barnacles on its hull (as will all ships after being at anchor for so long). This means slower speeds, shortened days on land and in our case we lost 1 full day and one stop so that we could sail from Hawaii to Vancouver on time.
Food on board is creative and ambitious but the taste is not impressive. The buffet has the same basic food every day, which while interesting for the first couple of days gets monotonous and boring over a longer cruise. There are no more sugar free options for deserts (apparently diabetics don’t matter here anymore). They do offer some gluten free foods though. The portion sizes are small in all restaurants and they don’t have a problem if you ask for several appetizers or the one vegetarian option as a side with some cheap and thin sirloin steak. We did eat in their suite guest’s restaurant which boasts a special menu created by celeb Daniel Boulud as an option. The entree, ‘Moroccan Chicken Tagine’, it was two pieces of boiled chicken pieces (leg and thigh) with soggy skin and some tasteless spice shaken on top of it. Boulud would be horrified that his name is associated with that. Another night I ordered roast chicken and got the same two pieces as before but the difference was one was still partially raw!
Day 6 I felt really cold and had a sore throat, yep Covid positive, as was my husband. Now we have been confined to our cabin at at the mercy of the room service team and our hugely overwhelmed butler. We were promised 2 calls a day from the medical team to check on us and for us to tell them our temperature and blood sats using the equipment they left us. It is our last day on board and we never had 2 calls a day and today we are still waiting for call 1 (the medical team are hugely overwhelmed). We have consistently waited over 1.5 hours for food delivery and have yet to receive any food that is supposed to be hot (fried eggs and bacon sitting waiting for delivery that long doesn’t keep warm too well). There is a dearth of information/ communication on what is happening , how we will leave the ship, when etc. I have just discovered that the two concierges in the Michael’s lounge both tested positive today. The captain announced mandatory face masks throughout a couple of days ago. I am busy trying to get my refunds as committed by the ship plus my unspent on board funds and I’m not getting much satisfaction. When you call and complain about food service or lack of ice being replenished you just get told they are busy. Do yourselves a favor, save your money for a while longer when the ship either staffs up with more people instead of running on good will and with exhausted staff, who’s tempers and frustration are no longer kept under control.