Number of Cruises: 13
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: September 7th, 2004
Greatest service from the Air Dept of Celebrity, last March, when I received an email regarding our non-stop flight CLE-LGW 9/6 at 7:30PM arriving Gatwick at 7:30AM. Flight was comfortable as we had emergency exit aisle seats & slept well. But arriving in Gatwick, obtaining our luggage & immigration was fast but NO CELEBRITY PERSONNEL anywhere. So I asked the info desk & they paged a gent who met us & took us to another area of the airport where their desk was at, not the area we came out into the lobby at. So we sat for 1.5 hours until we were guided by a young gent to the bus to Dover. Speed of check in was great as Concierge Class has its own area & we were it in there. Pose for a photo & into the Atrium where we get a glass of champagne & are told the elevators are ahead & all go to the buffet for lunch as the rooms are not done. No escort to our room, we just went to 9140 & walked in at about noon, unpacked our 3 carry on's, met our Steward named Ephran. We requested the mini bar which was locked be empty so we would have a fridge available.
The room is airy, bright with green tone bedding & drapes. An 8 vase unit is on the desk with fresh orchids in it & a peuter vase in the bathroom has another yellow flower in it. An ice bucket with champagne greets us, but too early to drink it. So we are off to walk around the ship to find everything. The atrium is breathtaking as is the dining room named San Marcos. We stopped at Guest Relations (no longer called Purser) area & a great gal named Julie turned into a best friend for 2 weeks. We verified our onboard account, she gave us a map of the ship & highlighted key areas. Luggage arrived at 2:30PM. Very few hangers in closet but Ephran got us plastic ones to hold all our clothes. Dinnertime & we are off with the card stating our table #, and that is the only night we are escorted to our table. A table for 6 that had only 4 people The service by Waiter Basilio & Assistant Calixo was fabulous. Chef Marcus can really cook with a key presentation to every dish whether appetizer or the entrée. Then we get the life drill afterwards, ending as a good night with the big day, which was actually 2, ended for us.
Paris is our day 9/8, so a fruit smoothie & coffee on the balcony, which was so majestic with tablecloth on table, napkins with silverware set up like dinner, cushioned chairs just made us feel famous! Concierge Class has an exclusive breakfast menu found in the front area of the big black book on the desk. Sunrise Frittata was an omelet with 3 cheeses & veggies, have any sides from 10 offered, fruit smoothies from mixed berry to Omega 3 with soy, hot coffee from Germany, Danish or just about whatever you may want. Other staterooms have their menu to order on TV or via phone. We can fill out the card to be delivered at a specified time, but we chose to phone & watch Ephran carry it in & set it up. We also learned that vases must have the Celebrity logo showing facing the BOW to be correct. So we were always checking tables for this, for the fun of it. Then off for the 2.5 hour ride to Paris & the $111 PP tour by bus throughout the City. We inquired which side for photography & the operator stated all seats were great, so we sat at a clear window on the right side of the upper tier of the 2 story bus. Turned out all sights were on the left side, so no photos, nothing, as it would be faces & heads not the sights. They never stopped for photos at any locations either. A VERY POOR EXCURSION CALLED "TASTE OF PARIS". We filed a complaint with the Shore Excursion Desk that was rejected by the Operator, but we did get $55. Far cry from $222 paid! So for the 3 hour time that we are dropped off we walked to take photos of Eiffel Tower, Arch de Triumph with Champs Elyes and the 12 streets at compose the circle so famous. Back on the ship we visited the T-Pool, about 8:30PM since no show in the theatre. We noticed the hot tubs in the spa area were being covered with nets & folks asked to get out. Seemed very strange to us as it is open until 11PM.
Sea day 9/9 as we are headed to Cork, Ireland and the first of 3 parties for 186 friends from the Net & Cruise Critic & Cruise Tender newsgroups. There we met everyone & our Cruise Director Derek, who became another great friend of 2 weeks. He is excellent at keeping folks happily enjoying their cruise with plenty to do from trivia or great lectures from News with LA News Director Jerry Matthews to Cruising themed book writer John Maxtone-Graham. 4 more new friends for the cruise. Then we met their wives & with our 2 spare chairs at dinner, they were always invited to join us. Our first formal night & meeting the Captain Ioannis Papankolaou & his Hotel Manager Nickos Batistatos who also became great friends, always saying hello & answering questions & being embarrassed by stuff I say in fun & telling me they will get me back. The theatre was another piece of majesty. 4 tiers of seating, 2 floors to enter from, a U-shaped large stage with hydraulic ramps to bring props & performers up & down. Lights & sound couldn’t be better. The house band was fabulous backing up, not taking over, performers.
Goof #1 happened formal night, as we entered our stateroom to change out of gown & tux, I notice the large bag with hanger given to me by the store for my off shoulder gown was gone from the bed where I laid it out. Ephran threw it out thinking it was garbage. I put my pajamas on & ran out to the hallway, with friends in their tuxes returning to their staterooms wondering what happened, but he is nowhere around. I call Guest Services & a foreign lady keeps telling me she will sent a garbage man to my stateroom. So we laid my gown on the sofa & next morning I get a visit from Asst Housekeeping Manager Michalis, who instantly returns with a Celebrity garment bag & he also left me chocolates and a bottle of Moet champagne. So we packed the gown, and named him MIKE for his kindness.
Cork Ireland 9/10 was a great tour of castles, the beautiful green valleys of cows & sheep, with our last name of Moran, we met a few that we were not relatives but the Moran name in Ireland is like Jones in the USA. Back to the ship for another excellent meal, another excellent show, and a $950 win in the casino made for a great night.
Belfast 9/11, where my boxer friend Paul Drain was to meet us for his tour of his homeland. A band from Belfast greeted us as we pulled in, and Paul drives a Ford Ka, since tiny cars are the norm there. We saw the Zoo, Belfast Castle which we had tea & scones at, very sad locations of the violence of the past that killed many of his friends, the gym he now trains kids at, just a very beautiful area that we learn is British rule, not Irish. We walked the mile long driveway to Parliament which hasn’t been is session in years. Great time with Paul but ship will be leaving so back on we go.
At Sea 9/12, another party for Cruise Tender folks, the first of 3 slot tournaments & friend John was the winner getting $396 & a trophy, me I was dead last!
At Sea 9/13 when we all are shocked to hear that Iceland was scrapped do to a very dangerous low reading of pressure meaning Hurricane Lilli was here. So we are now headed to Vigo Spain. So now poor Julie has hundreds in line & I see Derek & tell him to announce that the excursion monies have been credited to your onboard account to use for Vigo. He quickly got the mike to do it after the Captain finished his announcement of arrival time in Vigo on Monday 9/14. Our computer group was relieved that we were not having storms, though the seas to Vigo was a challenge to walk. Now the Captain has to announce that decks are closed as the waves are crashing over them, even up to deck 9 where we were & our furniture was wet & salt covered.
9/14 Vigo, Spain, a huge port City but not much to do there. 1-4PM shops are gated; even the bank exits folks for siesta. So we walked a bit & returned to the ship to nap. Our meals are balcony for breakfast unless the waves are wrecking that which we then go to the buffet area. Very nice offerings from fresh grapefruit, berries, to corn beef hash which were my favorites. The omlette man worked his craft to major lines by 9AM. A waffle area also was busy with their offering which we found not to be cooked all the way. So we meet a great gentleman named Bigwein who is the boss up there & he had this waffle preparers cook them fully toasting them nicely. He appreciated us telling him the problem. Staff changes every 6 months, as they get 2 months off before a new contract starts & some do not return to the same ship. So he is always training as is the Chef Marcus who walks around checking his staff, sometime yelling to be heard by someone. I always let him know how wonderful the flavors are, the presentation is a picture book, that I sometimes get all the appetizers & soups to see them all.
So now we have a week at sea until NYC arrival. Amazing how quickly the 13 nights zoomed right by, agreed by all friends. Never a boring minute, so much offered from lectures to parties, great shows to just a lounge band such as Black N White who were great to listen to & the dance floor was packed. We even notice the staff hosts for single woman to dance with. Great idea! We also love the idea of at least 70% of the ship over 70, many not married but cruising together to save money. A few did marry after 15 cruises as did the couple we dined with age 75 & 80 from Myrtle Beach. Very few wheelchairs & walkers, these folks are still young at heart! Cruising does it!
9/15 has goof #2 happening. A room service waiter bringing our smoothies & coffee we ordered dropped the tablecloth as he walked thru the sitting area to the balcony. So he bends down to pick it up & nails me in the head, as I am seated on the sofa reading the daily “Celebrity Today”, with the tray spilling the mixed berry smoothies all over me, the bed which had my husband’s dress slacks & jeans on, the walls, furniture, desk, just everywhere. Jerry comes out of the shower to see the mess as the waiter runs out! I go out in the hallway to see more stuff in the hallway from our tray as dear MIKE sees me covered in raspberries on my white long skirt & peasant top. He immediately sees the stateroom also, has us put clothes in a bag for him to get laundered, then the carpet shampooer and 4 cleaners show to do our room. He even tried to move us to another stateroom but we told him we had a full day of lectures, games, visits, so just do the work & all will be find. We return after dinner to clean clothes hung up on the pegs, clean stateroom, with another bucket of champagne on the glass coffee table. So we pop it open, invite Mike to join us but he turns it down, so our dinner mates came & we enjoyed a nice wavy evening again, laughing that we can be drink & be normal walking around the ship. I go inside our fridge for the other bottle which is very warm. Turns out the mini bar isn't a fridge I thought it was but another closet for stuff they sell. So we will get another ice bucket.
At 4Pm every evening we are served canapés, from caviar to shrimp, lunchmeat stuffed with olives or even baby corn. Problem with them is the bread is hard & stale. I learn from Marcus that they toast, de-edge the bread, cut into 1” squares to serve. 8 to a plate heavily wrapped in plastic. I told him it wasn’t working or it was taking to long to serve.
Another item was the body lotion especially made for Celebrity, as it reads. It smells terrible & gives me a dirty feel when I used it. In the shower, which is perfect for a 6’+ gentleman is the new portable hand held or attached Hansgrohe shower. Great hard spray, very comforting after a long day of walking. But 2 controls for the water made for a shocking first try that was COLD! The green tabbed control that goes left to right is the on & off, but on the left side is the temp control. SO we learned fast how to use it. In front of us is a white plastic dispenser for shampoo that really is drying to hair whether very long like mine or short like Jerry’s. The other shampoo in bottles on the shelf of the vanity worked much better.
9/17 at 4PM I get a phone call from the Doctor requesting me to stop by for an exam from the accident with the waiter’s tray. His office has a great ex-gymnast as his head nurse from Romania. I am getting my blood pressure read as a woman is rushed into ICU with her family member from a reunion from Germany in pursuit. Days earlier a woman was rushed by Royal Air Force helicopter to London with a guy & bed dangling to obtain her with the hovering copter in rough seas. Amazing to watch. Learned from the Doc that she was in stable condition. So he asked if I had headaches since the hit which I did but not horrible. So his thumb meets me for head above my left eye to a painful yell. He states no goose egg, no bruise, but painful. So he prescribes a medicine to take at night & if headache returns during the day then take during the day too. After 2 nights it was fine. I returned & all was great. Again dear Mike is returning to our stateroom to make sure everything is fine, I am fine, and Jerry is fine. He learns I am off the pills, so he takes the warm champagne with him & returns with an ice bucket & new Brut in it. He also is now our Steward delivering all our breakfasts, making sure my flowers are fresh as Ephran wasn’t good at. He got Jerry a Concierge Class Celebrity robe for $48.
9/18 we have an anniversary party for all on board some married a year up to 68 years. Great cake, champagne, snacks. Nice get together to meet more friends. Then back to the casino for a BJ Tourney that our male tablemate made the finals at, at age 80. He placed 3rd, got some cash, and his chest was too big for everyone around him. It was too cute!
The Celebrity dancers/singers do an excellent job with the 3 shows we loved and Pianist Brooks Aehron is a must see if he’s on your ship for a future cruise. The violinist Hanna Starosta was a bit stuck up to folks, even her stage presence was funny that she uses sheet music & stopping in the middle of a rhapsody to tell the light man to put up the lights so she can read her music. Very unprofessional for an awarded performer. The Entertainment Director told us that Cirque Du Soleil will be on Constellation starting 12/4/04, then off to Summit 2/4/04, doing all the ships. The contract is for 6 years. Celebrity's performers change with some ports, so showroom is closed during the day for rehearsals to work in new dancers & singers. We are told they sing live but background music joins the orchestra for full effect. We also learned how to keep stage clothes fresh without damaging the hand sewn ornamentation. 3 parts Vodka to 1 part water. Spray the clothes & the vodka removes odors.
9/20, amazing how fast the cruise went but NYC at early dawn is a beautiful sight. The Statue of Liberty with her gold torch, silver headdress & green body greeted us to a full 12th deck. Then we pass under the lit George Washington Bridge with its 2 story road. Then the eerie feeling of Dock 89 the former site of the WTC in front of us, and those docks were morgues during the 9/11 period. The Captain & Priest & Rabbi performed a wonderful service on 9/11. Breakfast was in the San Marcos & back to our stateroom to find a purse on the bed. I opened it to find a fat leather area that didn’t seem right. So I pulled on it & out pops a leather tote from Celebrity, twice the size of the blue fabric on in the closet for everyone. So that became my carryon. Luggage was out at 10PM last night, and now we have to pass through Immigration with passports & keycards bringing the letter with us to be scanned proving we were there. The letter states to use mid ship glass elevators, so we go to 4 in them to a 3 deep line from the Theatre back through 2 bars, the casino, to the back of the ship, back & forth. AGAIN THIS WAS VERY UNNECESSARY. Folks were pissed, stepping on each other, pushing & shoving, not the best way to end a cruise. Why they didn’t keep folks in their staterooms & start with 9th floor, down to 2 to pass through. Much orderly & organized. So close to 2 hours to get through. Then Concierge Class received a note stating for us to enjoy a Continental Breakfast in the Cinema & await disembarkation. We arrived at 9:30 nothing to drink or eat. I was told that they thought we’d be off the ship by 9AM so the removed everything. We sat there until close to 11AM, very thirsty, very aggravated. Then off the ship we go, get our luggage to learn we have to wait in line for one of 4 porters working for 2000 people. So 12:30PM we are on the bus to Newark. But the driver drops Continental folks off at International, not domestic Gate C. So we have to lug our luggage, which he pushed out the rear of the bus onto the street for us to retrieve. By now our nerves are fried. Rudeness of NYC is abounding. Now a huge line to check luggage, not the excellent service Continental give at other airports by scanning credit card in Kiosk machine & then giving luggage to agent in front of you. Nope, not Newark. So we make our 2:30PM flight to Cleveland to learn that only one runway is available. SO 2 hour wait in hot plane that is sold out for our takeoff. Too many sick folks on it that we have the flu to enjoy at home; that hit us the following day.
Concierge Class is an excellent idea, but a few nips & tucks to be fixed s we were part of first time Concierge Class upgraded by Jack Williams, Pres. The Duvets seem cheap, with an extra long quilted item, not a blanket or comforter, hanging out the top & bottom of the duvet. Then it is tucked into the bed, a duvets to contain a comforter or blanket & it should cover the bed. Sofa pillows stated in the extras on your web site where not on any sofa in CC. Suites had 10 on theirs but we had -0-. Mattress pad again is cheap & not strapped to the bed well to keep it from walking. Was just a flat item, not the luxurious advertised fare. I personally use a BED SACK on my bed for cushioning & comfort. I had a mound under me & husband has -0-. Not comfortable sleeping with a wide groove in the middle of the bed as it wasn’t joined well enough. We kept crashing into each other during the night in the sloop of the groove. Not comfortable sleeping I must admit. Then our balcony in 9140 was half the size of the 9138 2A balcony our neighbor had. Just fit us with our table & chairs not much more.
Now we await our next CC (9201) cruise aboard Summit doing Trans canal 11/20/2005. I do hope my recommendations are taken well to keep CC a superior category. Again after 12 Princess cruises, we are back with Celebrity for good!!!!
WE WERE TREATED FAMOUSLY BY GREAT FRIENDS ON THE GREATEST CRUISE LINE.