Daytime activities, particularly on sea days, offer the usual cruise fare -- movies, organized bridge games, Champagne or wine tasting (fee applies), and activities' staff events such as table tennis or "battle of the sexes." Online@Celebrity features computer classes, and the Fortunes Casino, with table games and slots. It's open when the ship is at sea.
The ship's energy level really gears up as dinner approaches, and lounges such as the Martini Bar, featuring a shivery, ice-like decor, and the elegant Michael's Club, are popular places for aperitifs. Other cocktail venues include Rendez-Vous Square, which has a small platform for musical performers and dancing, the Crystal Room Night Club, a secondary performance venue, and Hemispheres, the top-of-the-ship observation lounge and disco.
And let's not forget the Sunset Bar, which wraps around the back of the ship. It's the best place for a sail away cocktail -- and the occasional vocalist or guitarist is a pleasant accompaniment.
Post-dinner shows and concerts are primarily held in the Celebrity Theater and are, of course, timed to main and late seating dining. Productions may be mildly entertaining, if a little bit old fashioned. Musical offerings are nicely varied. A dance band for hipsters may play in the Crystal Lounge, the Rendez Vous is the scene of more laid-back dance music. Michael's Club is a great spot for sentimental favorites.
Other activities may include a late night country hoe-down or "The Best of Elton John." Particularly interesting is an effort to match movies in the cinema to the itinerary.
As expected on a ship this size, Celebrity's three-deck high "plaza" communicates the intimate, rather than grand. Deck 5 is pretty much devoted to the business of your holiday -- with its excursion and purser's desks, and the concierge station. The latter, also a service available to all, proved to be quite helpful to a number of folks. I was eavesdropping when the concierge was helping one lady, concerned that her credit card company had declined her charges. First she figured out the nature of the problem (hint: it's helpful, if you don't travel often, to give your bank a heads up beforehand or they'll assume the charges are fraud-related, which was the case in this situation), then provided the number of her bank and actually put through the call.
Murano is located on this deck as well, and there's a very strange shop that sells ultra-luxury goods; it was empty nearly every time I passed it.
Decks 6 and 7, the Promenade and Entertainment respectively, are the main gathering places for inside the ship fun. On Deck 6, the anchor is the Cova Cafe; off to various sides include a card room, a generous library (that actually spills over into the game room), Online@Celebrity Internet stations, and a conference room that also serves as a cinema and lecture facility.
The Entertainment Deck starts with a handful of shops as its focal point. While the merchandise ranged from the usual duty-free and souvenir items you find on most ships, they may also carry itinerary-specific fashions and collectibles. This was one area of the ship, however, that was rather cramped and almost impossible to navigate when passengers were moving between The Grand Restaurant and Celebrity Theater.
Also on this deck is Celebrity's High Seas Computing classroom, with rows of terminals and offering a variety of workshops; options range from Adobe Photoshop to Web site design, and from basic Introduction to Windows to Microsoft Excel. Classes are $20 apiece.
While the computer stations here aren't typically available to passengers, there are Internet-connected machines scattered in various places -- there's a group right next door, as a matter of fact, and wireless capability exists, though it is temperamental. The price is fairly high these days for cruise ships -- 75 cents per minute -- though packages can reduce the per-minute charge to as low as 24 cents.
In the main pool area there are two pools. One is more of a family pool; the other, adjacent, is a bit quieter. Other features include four whirlpools and a dance floor.
Century's spa, which became a Canyon Ranch SpaClub in 2014, is truly magnificent. The retreat has a blue and green color scheme that actually offers a visceral pleasure just walking through. Features include a Persian Garden relaxation room, outfitted with steam showers and heated tile loungers. There's a charge to use it -- I never got around to it. More interesting is the barber shop for men and, heralding the mainstreaming of tooth whitening treatments, a dedicated area that includes a heated lounger and flat-screen television. (If you've ever tried the treatment in a standard spa room it's about the most boring 50 minutes you'll spend -- and roughly as pleasant as a visit to the dentist.)
There's also a stand-alone acupuncture facility adjacent to the spa, with a treatment room specifically designed for folks with disabilities. Kudos on that one.
A full range of treatments is offered from standard massages and beauty treatments to fancier stuff, like an "Egyptian Ceremony of Milk and Ginger" and a "Tahitian Ceremony of Flowers." Prices are, as usual, on the high side, but there are discounts on port days -- look for them in the "Celebrity Today" daily newsletter or just check with the spa.
Canyon Ranch is also in charge of fitness classes. The usual offerings apply -- things like Pilates and spinning require a fee, stretching and aerobics do not.
Golfers can partake of a golf simulator. Basketball and Ping-Pong are other recreational options.
The Fun Factory, the actual play facility for kids, is a windowless, mid-ship destination, unlike those found on newer vessels featuring windows and adjacent deck space for splash pools and such. Programs for children ages 3 - 11 are available every day from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Fun Factory opens a half hour before arriving in port for children whose parents depart before 9 a.m. for a Celebrity Cruises Shore Excursion. A trained youth staff supervises games and activities such as karaoke, puppeteering, theme parties and movies.
Celebrity's program is divided into several age groups: Toddler Time (under 3 years), Shipmates (3 - 5), Cadets (6 - 8), Ensigns (9 - 11) and Teens (12 - 17). Toddlers are permitted in Fun Factory only with parental supervision. Both Shipmates -- who must be diaper-free -- and Cadets must be signed in and out of the Fun Factory by someone 18 years or older. Ensigns can sign themselves in and out of programs -- some based in Fun Factory, others in venues around the ship -- until 10 p.m. Teens can enjoy their own hangout, X-Club, which features electronic games, sports activities and late-night, teen-only dances. Youth counselors host all activities in the teen facility, which boasts dark paneled walls and 1960's streamlined couches and chairs (a little James Bond modish).
Activities are held, on sea days anyway, morning, afternoon and evening, and include, for instance, "partycrafts" and "family scavenger hunt" for the Shipmates, "Super Hero Intensive Training" for Cadets, "Scavenger Quest" and a talent show for Ensigns, and "Dodgeball Insanity" for teens.
For-fee activities are scheduled when the ship is in port and each evening. These include lunch and dinner parties, and slumber parties. Fees are $6 per hour, with immediate surcharges for late pick-up. Group babysitting is available in the Fun Factory on port days from noon until 2 p.m. and in the evening from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for a fee of $6 per hour per child. In-cabin babysitting for children 12 months or older is subject to availability. Fee is $19 per hour for up to three children in the same family.