September 2013 - Celebrity Summit to Canada, New England, New York
Let me preface my review with the following comment: " If I were reviewing the crew alone, who were the most exceptional crew I have ever sailed with, I would have given the cruise experience five stars, but since I was asked to review the cruise experience overall, I could only gave it two stars.
1) I do not consider "priority" embarkation, a line where one (1) ground staff was checking in passengers and the "non-priority" emmbarkation line had at least five (5). Just to make it clear, the line for "priority" embarkation was longer than the line for "non-priority". Since the indication on the documentation provided by Celebrity was that embarkation was to commence @ 11:00 AM for decks nine (9) and eleven (11), the Aqua Cabins were on both of those decks, in addition to Suite Guests, the presumtion would be that most of those checking in would be "priority" embarkation. You would not have presumed that if you were waiting in line to check in. In addition there seemed to be no differential applied in boarding the shuttles that would take you from the terminal to the ship. I was not the only one to remark about this. I am not reering to those guests with special needs. They should always be boarded first.
2) The reception on boarding was exceptional, not because we were offered a drink, but because the atmosphere and the crew immediately made you feel welcome. Instead of having to "fight" to get into an elevator, the elevators were "staffed" with a crew member and the only stop available was Deck 10, where lunch was being served. Cabins would not be ready until approximately 1:30 PM, which is "normal procedure" on the day of boarding, so not having people wandering around on all decks while the crew were trying to finish up their work, was an inovative and forwrding thinking idea. It works; because cabins weere ready before 1:30 PM. Yes, I do give credit where credit is due.
3) I got "turned around" trying to locate my cabin and a crew member came to my rescue and showed me the way. He was helpful again later in the evening when I had yet to get the deck plans down pat and again could not locate my cabin. Since we had to walk on an ouside deck, he told me to be careful as it was windy.
4) The "gastrointestional" illness was "played down", which I presume is for PR purposes, but, to the best of my knowledge, it does not take thirteen (13) days to eradicate "noro", if the proper CDC sanitation protocols are followed. I do not think that guests are that "rigid" that tey would not understand the reasonign behind the increased protocols. The "message from the bridge" everyday was the same, that a "few" guests had been to Medical for gastrointestional symptoms. Although that statement was "put paid to" when the "situation" hit the news both in print and on TV. I do not think that 14.5 % of guests, at a full capacity of 2046 guests, that would be 297 persons and with 1.5 % of crew, I believe the crew to guest ratio is 1:2, or approximately 1000 crew, that would be 15 crew, for a total of 312, not, in my estimation, to be considered "a few people". I believe the final tally, acording to the CDC, was 400 plus persons, although due to the "furloughing" of federal employees, we may have to wait until after the CDC is at "full staffing" to know exactly what the actual numbers were. For the CDC to send an epidemiologist and a Health Officer to meet the ship when it returned, puts the statement "a few" to shame. Celebrity did, in addition, request the procedure for disembarking "active cases". In addition to requiring the full "cleaning", I would use the work decontamination, since seeing crew in hazmat suits wearing masks would not bring to mind the word "cleaning", of the ship and the terminal as well, so the situation was not as "minor" as we were told. In the over forty (40) years I have been sailing, this is the first and only time I have ever gotten sick. Not a very good introduction to Celebrity.
There were other reasons for the two (2) star rating, but I believe the foreging is enough of an explanation at this time.
Just as an "aside", a letter will be going to Celerity, with a copy to Fallon @ . She has my permission to share the entire contents with you.