We chose to join our friends on the Celebrity Christmas Caribbean cruise. They like Celebrity because they like the more sedate and mature cruises out of Florida. We ended up liking the age mix on Celebrity's Christmas cruise, which is apparently unusual for the line. The passengers included a lot of extended families that ranged in age from grandparents to grandchildren.
My biggest disappointment was the food and dining. On cruises we are accustomed to getting great food. Celebrity had a lot of misses. We wanted to get seated at dinner with other passengers so we could meet new people. Because it was a Christmas cruise with a lot of families this did not work out as we had hoped. After the first day the staff was able to get us moved to a 10 person table, but with just one other couple. The staff was great and they really tried, but there were a lot of "near misses" with the food. The beef Bourgogne was too salty and the Weiner schnitzel was served without sauerkraut or anything sour (ketchup please). There were whole filets of pickled herring on the breakfast buffet that were much too large for the tiny bagels, and they served cheese blintzes, but without sour cream. At dinner there were not a lot of vegetables and the fish dishes were consistently bland.
I was also disappointed with the shore excursions, but this was partly due to the island destinations. We did appreciate that there is spectacular scenery on all of the islands. San Juan, on Christmas day, was a mob scene, with bumper to bumper traffic. On the first day we had a melt down in frustration trying to find our tour on the crowded dock. Snorkeling in St. Maarten was okay, but the catamaran was crowded and we were in a panic when they initially did not have enough snorkels and masks (once we arrived at the snorkeling spot they got enough gear from another boat). The water wasn't very clear, but I did get to see tropical fish. Luckily they salvaged the day with rum punch and sandwiches on the ride back to the ship. The tour on Tortola was inadvertently fun because the bus driver drove quickly up and down the narrow winding roads. The tourist traps, like the rum distillery and the driver's friends playing Christmas music by the side of the road were also fun stops. The Saint Thomas tour to the botanical garden was just okay. The botanical garden is small and you walk through the gardens by yourself, with nothing marked. On all of our stops we really wanted a little more education and background from the tour guides. When we asked the guides questions we did learn something, like what they grow and eat locally, what the local plants were, in general what it's like living there, and what it's like to go through hurricanes. Surprisingly, no guide mentioned anything about the local pirate history. My favorite excursion, which was the most expensive was the behind the scenes tour of the ship. You are given a hearing aid but it's still hard to understand the crew members due to the ambient noise and their accents, but it was still a good tour.
A pretty standard balcony cabin, which is pretty nice. The only noticeable issues that we had were the drawers above the bed were discovered late in our cruise, but they weren't that didn't matter because they weren't that useful, and there aren't many electrical outlets in the cabin. The view is listed as partially obstructed, but we didn't really notice that.
For our Christmas cruise this port was very bad. We were told to park in a specific parking structure. On our return to port on New Years Eve the shuttle buses were not operating to this structure, and the parking structure was locked up. We had to walk up the car ramps and then exit by physically lifting up the gate.