First Celebrity Cruise, but not the last!
We made the reservation based upon the itinerary offered. We prefer to cruise to new places instead of the same locations. We booked an affordable excursion for each port stop. Our favorite was the Underground Mayan River Cenote and Famous 5th St Shopping and Beach. First of all, this is NOT the 5th street actually located on Cozumel where the port is located. This is a ferry ride to Playa del Carmen. Still good shopping though. The underground river was a blast. We had a traditional Mayan lunch served afterward. Word of warning, since some tend to not read the description. You WILL have to walk through water so bring water shoes. Don't inconvenience everyone else when you have to hold up the line and gripe about not wanting to get wet. Pet Peeve. Next we did the Costa Rica Puerto Viejo Beach Break and shopping tour. Waves were too rough to swim. Drinks were available for purchase. Included in the price was lunch and a local fruit punch. Lunch? Toast with butter and shredded cheese. Next was Panama's Gatun Lake kayak and eco adventure. Our guide was funny and knowledgeable. We went to one of the locks to watch a ship cross the canal before starting our kayak adventure. NOTE: The 8 buses that took people to the Panama Canal Tour were late arriving back to the ship resulting in a 45 minute late departure. This is where buying the cruise excursion keeps the ship from leaving you high and dry. It takes about 8 HOURS to cross the canal. It is not a quick crossing. Be aware. Next was 2 days in Cartagena. Day one we did Romancing the Stone and learned a lot about emerald with the opportunity to shop for jewelry. Day two we did Cartagena City, La Popa HIll, Folkloric Show and shopping. La Popa Hill is the highest location as well as a monastery. Great panoramic photos! We got great deals on leather at the artisan shops afterward. The last stop was George Town, Grand Cayman. We had booked the Shipwreck Snuba but due to high wind/seas, it was cancelled. We took the shuttle to the shopping district and had a relaxing time shopping and taking photos. We booked the Ft Lauderdale Land and Sea excursion for disembarkation day so we'd have a ride to the airport but not have to spend all day waiting for our flight. We had a very energetic tour guide telling us all about the history of the city. We almost didn't get onto the paddleboat as there was a mix-up with the dates. We did get to board but didn't get the lunch that was promised. We could buy drinks and chips. The tour was amazing, seeing all those mansions on the New River canal.
As for the ship, the ONLY places people can smoke are a few designated outdoor locations. Therefore the casino was nice to walk through, although not very busy. There was no 24/7 food location, only water/coffee/tea was always available. We had an AquaClass suite therefore had a dedicated dining room for only AquaClass, Blu. Absolutely outstanding service from Ray and John. We didn't go to any specialty restaurant. I had the premium water package - Evian, but I wished it was kept colder. If you want to save money, just get water from the buffet and pour into a bottle or a bottle of normal water. Next time, I'll bring an insulated thermos that will keep ice water icey. My husband had the classic beverage package which allowed him soda, water, and PREMIUM COFFEE drinks. He loved that!
With the AquaClass suites, the Persian Garden Spa pass is included. The ceramic lounges were nice as was the aromatherapy. There are no jacuzzi's in the spa area, which I had wished there was. However there were at least 6-8 located on the deck. Half of them were in the adults-only area as well as one pool. We only saw a handful of kids though. Of course there were the adults staking claims on deck chairs. No waterslides, but there is real grass on the top deck with Bocce ball and a few other lawn games available. No shuffleboard.
In my opinion, the entertainment wasn't as good as on NCL or Carnival. The ship entertainers/dancers were good, it was the contracted entertainment that wasn't up to par. Then again, the age demographic that appeared the majority on the cruise probably doesn't stay up late or really get interested in some types of entertainment. The entertainment highlight for us was the Corning Museum of Glass Hot-Glass demos that were done almost nightly. The disappointing part was that we couldn't buy anything they made as they are a non-profit. They did auction off 6 pieces on the last day, but with auction increments of $100 starting at $100, they were out of our price range quickly.
The extras, like the salon services, were pricier than the other ships as well. The art was the same.
We did book an Alaskan cruise for 2017 in order to get the perks, so we are looking forward to cruising Celebrity again.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Ray and his assistant John in Blu are wonderful. Ray learned my dietary needs and had spot-on recommendations. Highly recommend sitting in their area.