December 2015 - Celebrity Equinox to Caribbean - Southern
Our Elite Plus Captain's Club status testifies to our long-term love affair with Celebrity. That love affair ended a couple of years ago when we saw Celebrity fall from grace by trying to compete with Carnival as a noisy classless line catering to a younger, less-demanding, less-affluent crowd. Nothing wrong with trying to attract younger people, but if you're going to do it, DO IT! Set up a different cruise line; don't destroy a quality brand by trying to be all things to all people. We jumped ship to Oceania and to enjoy what Celebrity once offered. We were amazed at the number of guests on Oceania who recently had done the same thing .... switched from Celebrity to Oceania despite the higher prices.
Our cruise consultant at assured us that, with a new President, Celebrity had returned to its previous glory days... a string quartet, decent pianists in the cocktail lounges, acoustic guitarists who could do more than strum the same cord over and over, music at the Elite Captain's Club party each evening, etc. We relied on that advice and decided to give Celebrity another try. BAD ADVICE LEADS TO WRONG DECISIONS! When I inquired about the number of formal nights, I was told 3. Three formal nights on a 10-day cruise? Really? Absolutely, I was told. So I lugged along 3 dress shirts, 3 sets of cummerbunds, dress shoes and a tuxedo, Turns out that Celebrity no longer has "formal nights." Now they're called "chic" nights, there are only 2 of them, and all it means is that they'd appreciate your sewing up the rips in your cutoffs. Now I'm not a formal-night addict, but I expect correct information from my "consultant."
As far as the other advice goes: there are still half dozen 6 and 7 foot grand pianos on board ... but no one to play them! The lounges are ghost towns after dinner. The extravaganzas in the main theater are now 4th rate instead of 3rd rate. The dining menus have been abbreviated and cut to 3 courses from 4. The luncheon buffet is god-awful: the beef is so tough you could sole your shoes with it, the meat is mis-labeled (in case the chef is unaware, a "steamship round of beef" is NOT cut from the lower leg!), the hamburgers which used to be terrific are pre-cooked and cold, and I could go on with the mystery-meat they peddle.
Celebrity has even stopped providing slippers in top-of-the-Concierge-class (C1) cabins. What are they saving? A quarter? Every cut they make is supposed to "Save the Waves"! If you believe that, I have a nice bridge to sell you connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn! To "Save the Waves." there are no printed announcements sent to your cabin to remind you of "goodies" you're entitled to as an Elite Plus member. (They still provide printed cards to inform you of what the junk art dealer is peddling.) There isn't even a printed statement of your account sent upon departure. They say that's to "Save the Waves". I say it's so you won't see how they have cheated you out of your discounts. We used only 2 of the many discounts available to Elite Plus members: 10% off a wine package and 15% off any spa treatment received in port. NEITHER DISCOUNT WAS CREDITED TO OUR ACCOUNT UNTIL I COMPLAINED!. One "mistake" I can accept. Two out of two isn't accidental ... especially when the second one was clearly mentioned and agreed to at the time the service was received!
Good-bye Celebrity! It was nice knowing you.