Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: February 5th, 2005
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
I am puzzled by the Rave reviews that Celebrity receives, based on my experience on the Century. Basically I found that it could not compare to my previous two experiences on Princess, where I was so impressed that I booked my next cruise before I left the ship.
We got to the ship fairly late (3pm) and flew through the boarding process. I was under the mistaken impression that you were greeted with champagne, but that didn't happen. No big deal.
While the ship is in basically good condition for a ten year old ship, given Celebrity's constant bragging about how great they are, I expected better. Simple things like the plexiglass railings were scratched beyond belief so you could hardly see through them. Same for many of the windows in the wonderful forward lounge which should have been replaced years ago. The poolside lounge chairs were too short for an average human being, and impossible to lay tummy side down!
We had our first inside cabin, which was fine with tons of storage space. The cabin attendant was great!
Dining options were limited compared to Princess. The formal dining room was very grand. Food was OK, nothing spectacular. Service was harried, not overly friendly, as if they were coming off of their six month contract. Due to Celebrity's tipping policy whereby you have to hand the envelope to the staff member, our waiter confronted one of our table mates who may have chosen not to tip them based on their service experience over the week.
Also, I wasn't particularly happy after following the posted rules regarding dress on the informal evening (gentleman require jackets) to find half the dining room in Hawaiian shirts).
The buffets had limited variety of food items and were not particularly artistic. The same scrambled eggs every morning. The staff insisted on serving the portions, so most times you got far more than you really wanted. They did not have a full dinner buffet every night. At least three nights they only had Sushi. The Sky Bar (poorly named) was an interesting alternative, but it was poorly marketed, and they never posted the menu so that you knew what was available. Other than pizza and pasta by the pool at night, there were no snacks or deserts available after dinner, unless you wanted to wait until the occasional midnight extravaganza. Yes, there were chocolate chip cookies on room services, which were the worst I have ever had bar none!
What there was of the entertainment was fair to good. Typically there was only one major form of entertainment each night (repeated twice of course). Unfortunately the sound system was turned so loud for the featured guest performer (one of the Letterman), that people left in droves.
Despite having numerous beautiful lounges, entertainment was timed poorly, so that when you left the main show at 9:45 or so, there was absolutely nothing else going on on the ship until 10:30 or later, and the lounges were empty. After you went back to your room for an hour you didn't necessarily feel like going back out.
The library was great! Wish I'd had more time to read all the books!
Onboard movies were limited, poorly timed, and not particularly well projected. Nothing would be shown on windy days at sea, but then they would schedule something as you were pulling into a port. Go figure. Instead of varying the movies they had on board on a daily basis, the would show the same one three times in a row.
Same thing for the TV. The same 40 year old Andy Griffith episode was repeated numerous times EVERY day.
The cruise director, Alan, was outstanding, but the rest of the crew did not register what so ever.
Once again, because of rave reviews, etc, I expected more, but got less. If this had been my first cruise, I wouldn't necessarily rush for another. I definitely would not use Celebrity again. Thank goodness I have another Princess scheduled in October!