Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: June 2nd, 2006
Celebrity Cruise Lines
Celebrity Galaxy Cruise Review
Best of the Mediterranean
Overview: A very
enjoyable cruise on a medium-sized liner, with an experienced crew offering a
high level of service, going to beautiful places.
These consist of the usual areas you find on a decent-sized cruise ship: a large restaurant, several lounges nightclubs and bars, a theatre, a cinema, a large buffet area, the open decks, and of course functional areas such as the Guest Relations desk, Future Cruises/Captains Club desks, library and card room. Oh, and shops and a casino which we didn't use.
Mostly these are in good condition given that Galaxy has now been in service for just about 10 years. I was particularly impressed with the main dining room, which is well-decorated and has a stunning centre-piece staircase down which to make a grand entrance. The theatre too was especially impressive; no signs of wear or tear, good decor, excellent sightlines; we enjoyed it. The bars and lounges were perfectly OK; good seating, good decor, in a generally restrained manner - Galaxy could never be mistaken for a Farcus designed ship! The only area that looked worn was the Stratosphere lounge (the forward-facing observation lounge, up high on deck 12) in which a number of the super-full-height windows were clouded with corrosion. The buffet areas seemed to be rather less crowded than on other ships I've been on. The open decks were pretty much as normal; crowded on sea days, much less so on port days. The promenade was not walk-round, but you could walk from just aft of the bow on one side, round the stern, to the equivalent starting position on the other side.
Food & service: Varied between 'very good' and 'excellent'. There are no specialty restaurants on Galaxy, and we ate in the main restaurant, second sitting, on each of the 10 nights. There were 5 courses, with good choices for each of: appetizer; soup; salad; entree; and dessert, with coffee served with the latter. The main flavors were Italian - lots of Italian appetizers and entrees - and American - lots things such as Prime Rib (twice, I think) and of course the lobster on the final formal night. I remember one night they served 'English-style' roast beef, saying that it was 'thinly sliced'; well, actually it was still thicker than I would have expected (thou very good). And only the most curmudgeonly "Yorkshireman" would complain about the Yorkshire Pudding being served with the entree, and not on its own as an appetizer.... But the meals were very good; I particularly enjoyed some Italian dishes I had which were excellent. I happened to be sitting with a group of Italian-Americans, and they were approving of the pasta. Service in the restaurant was good, and we weren't hurried. On one or two occasions we found ourselves being 'cleared-up-around', but this was because we still sat at the table talking after 11pm when the restaurant was otherwise almost empty. But even then we were never actually asked to leave.
The buffet was also good, much better than on Sinfonia last year. For a start, the hot dishes were hot! There was always a wide choice, and it seemed well-prepared and fresh. The all-day pizza was good on the one occasion I had some, as was the burger I ate one afternoon - definitely made from decent-quality beef.
We also ate a few ice-creams, which were perfectly OK. It was just unfortunate that we also had ice-creams from shore-side gelaterias in Taormina and Capri, and those were ice-creams to die for.
At 170 sq feet, they were roomier than we had experienced on Sinfonia in 2005. We had a category 5 - 'Deluxe Outside', which meant a larger window but no balcony. There was plenty of room, with a very welcome small seating area next to the window. The wardrobes were big; we had no problems storing clothes for 10 days, including gowns & dresses, plus a dinner suit & dinner shirts for three formal nights. One suitcase went under one of the beds, the other one could have gone under the other bed but instead we chose to put it in the wardrobe.
The bathroom was efficient; the shower was certainly a bit bigger than on Sinfonia, I wasn't constantly getting the shower-curtain wrapped around me. There were some marks of wear and stain in the wash-basin, but other than in appearance these made no difference. Everything in the bathroom area worked.
Overall we were pleased with the cabin, and we found it significantly roomier and more comfortable than the cabin in Sinfonia. One thing - the air-conditioning was a bit loud, louder than on Sinfonia, and it took us a few nights to get used to it.
We went to two shows in the theatre, both featuring the Galaxy singers & dancers. Not surprisingly, these were typical 'singing & dancing' shows! In addition to the normal troupe, there were a couple of guest artists - a pair of very good dancers from Hungary, and an aerialist who did amazing things with a hula-hoop. The English-language bias of this cruise showed very clearly in the entertainment: the shows were all in English, there was also an English comedian, and an English guest singer who did several sessions in the theatre and the Rendezvous Lounge.
There were some other acts: a lounge duo in the Rendezvous Lounge early on most evenings who went down well, a lounge pianist who was struggling a bit in the Martini Bar area, and at least one other band late at night who didn't have much of an audience. But the quality of all the acts was at least good, and generally very good.
Activity & This was a 10-day cruise, Rome to Rome, with 3 days at sea and 6 ports of call. The schedule was as follows: embarked at Rome; Naples; day at sea; Mykonos; Santorini; day at sea; Messina; day at sea; Cannes; Livorno; Rome. We did excursions at Naples, Santorini, and Messina, and at the other ports of call did our own thing. All the stops were 'full day' except for Mykonos which was scheduled to be noon till midnight. In the event we got there at 10:30 so had an extra 90 minutes. The schedule seemed to be a good mix of busy days and quiet days. On reflection, we chose a hard excursion for Naples, the first day after embarkation, given that we were traveling all day (4am start) the day before: the Naples excursion had us up at 6am, and in the theatre to form our group at 7:45. But other days were very quiet: I remember our hours on Mykonos with great pleasure, and Santorini. In general getting on & off the ship was easy: while excursion-goers were prioritized in most ports, these tended to start so early that on most occasions by the time we were ready to go ashore, they had announced 'Open Shuttles' or tenders. The only exception to this was at Cannes, where we had to get a ticket for the tender and wait in the theatre until our tender was called, as late as 11:15 or so.
The sea days were pretty quiet. I went to a lecture and disgraced myself by falling asleep! We also went to a trivia quiz and a wine tasting. They were OK - we didn't bother with any more of the wine tasting program. Most of the ship activities were of the art auction/napkin-folding display type. We didn't really bother, and took the opportunities to rest on deck.
I would say that the clear majority of cruisers were American, with a bias towards the elderly, although there were younger people - at least one pair of honeymooners. Then there were a fair number of Brits, and we did come across a German couple. But I would say that it was perhaps 75% American. Ages were generally middle-aged or older, but there were some younger people, mainly in family groups. There were very few children or adolescents, and I don't remember seeing any infants or babies at all. Everyone seemed to be enjoying it.