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Monica Pileggi

Age: 46

Occupation:Contract Specialist

Number of Cruises: 10

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Galaxy

Sailing Date: June

Itinerary: n/a

Celebrity Cruise Lines
Celebrity Galaxy Cruise Review
Eastern Mediterranean

NACTA Seminar at Sea Group
1st, 2007

The following is a ship review done by the members of the NACTA Seminar at Sea sailing June 1, 2007 on Celebrity’s Galaxy. This review will start with the Sky Deck and move down to Deck 4.  You will note that some reports do not fit into a particular floor category and a couple of areas were not reviewed.  We hope you enjoy this review.

The Stratosphere

The Stratosphere night club/lounge is on Deck 12 forward; it is above the bridge and has a fantastic view of where the ship is headed. Open 24 hours the Stratosphere affords a great view during the day. After 5:00pm things change. There are vague themes (60's 70's 80's TOGA parties) that can be missed. As the night progresses, the music gets louder and louder until it becomes a full blown DISCO, where you can't here yourself think. This is what Europeans want for fun so...so what. The teen room is an afterthought...if Celebrity wants to attract more families they have to expand this area.

Basketball-Volleyball-Table Tennis – Deck 12

Two net-enclosed basketball/volleyball courts located Deck 12 Aft. 
Basketball courts are half-court
Table Tennis adjacent to each basketball court
Significant wind/ship movement bias.

Room Service

Room Service was available 24/7.  A menu offered the usual choices including an early morning continental breakfast. One evening I tried to order dinner from Room Service.  I was told they couldn’t serve me until 8:30PM because they were busy with the dining rooms.  Since I had been feeling ill that evening, it was a worthless benefit.  We decided to go to the dining room anyway.

We ordered tea at bedtime a couple of times and when they understood our request, they brought us two herbal teabags and water for two teas.  I also ordered a cheese tray and my roommate ordered a fruit tray.  Both had a good selection and were fresh and nicely served.  Room Service was delivered in a timely and pleasant manner. 

Jogging Track

Not conducive to exercise during sail away and when at-sea events are at or near the pool. 

The deck chairs at the track level "toe in" toward the track so ingress and egress  to the deck chair come from the track side and this causes congestion to those wanting to keep a walking pace.

Track is not an oval thus to stay on the "right of way" the walker/jogger must do a little more zig and zag.

Remind clients that the 26 laps around are a nautical mile (6076 feet) rather than a land mile.

Best times to use the facility are early AM and after dinner commences.

Aqua Spa by Elemis

The Aqua Spa is on Deck 11 forward.  There are 17 employees including the manager and the hours are 8 am – 11 pm.  On sea days all staff are available for appointments and on port days only 13 are available.  There is a complimentary sauna in both the men’s and women’s changing rooms.  The Thalassotherapy pool and steam room are available for $20/day or $100 per cruise per person.  There is one hydro pool treatment room and one Rasul which is a steam room and shower for couples.  There are about 12 different specialty treatments that can be done alone or in combination.  Several packages were available.  I had an excellent full body massage.  The tip is included in the final billing.

Thalasso Therapy Pool

The thalasso therapy pool is like a giant hot tub filled with salt water that has been filtered and warmed to body temperature.  You can experience a full body massage in the pool simply by turning your body to the numerous jets where the water is expelled with a powerful force.  It is a wonderful way to relax at the end of the day or to sooth aching muscles and fatigue.

The pool is for ages 18 and up and is open until 11:00 pm each day. Passengers have a choice of paying $20 per day, or on a ten-night cruise, a pass with unlimited use of the pool was available for $100.  To ensure the pool is never crowded, the number of passes sold was limited to 50.  However, I never experienced more than eight in the pool at one time and this was in the evenings after the ship had left the port.  For a ten-night cruise, it was closed one day for maintenance.

The overall atmosphere in the pool area is private, quiet and relaxing with comfortable lounge chairs available.  It is easy to fall asleep in one after your body has been relaxed in the warm, but not uncomfortably hot, water.  I greatly enjoyed my experience in the pool and would recommend it to others.
 
Gym

The Gym on the Galaxy is first class with 40 life-fitness machines, 25 of which are aerobic and 15 for weight training.  There are also numerous free weights. In addition there are aerobic classes offered every day for a minimal charge of $20.  The aerobic classes include spinning, yoga, Pilates, stretch, step and body conditioning. For an additional fee of $70 per hour your client can have a personal trainer.

Beauty Salon

The Salon next door includes complete treatments found at better beauty salons with prices somewhat higher than on land. The list is too exhaustive for a summary report but your clients can be assured they will find everything they could possibly desire.

Oasis Cafe/Grill

The Oasis Cafe/Grill on the Galaxy is a small area adjacent to the covered outdoor pool.  It is presently referred to as the spa pool for adults but this name seems to be a misnomer since it is unrelated to the spa area at the fitness center.  From 7 to 10 am daily, you can get pancakes and waffles made to order.  From 12:00 noon until 1:00 am, the area becomes a pizza and pasta station. The pizza served was good, and I especially appreciated the availability of whole-wheat pasta in addition to the regular pasta.

There are tables and chairs available and although the menu is limited, the area is a nice alternative to the other casual eating venues where it is more congested and noisier.  This is a perfect location for a true spa dining area and I hope that Celebrity turns it into one when the ship is renovated next year.

Children’s Programs

On the Galaxy, the Vista Deck (Deck 9) is the focal point for children’s activities while they are on board.  Parents and children receive a daily print-out of events for four age groups:  Shipmates (3-6), cadets (7-9), ensigns (10-12), Teens (13-17).

For the 3-6 and 7-9 age groups, activities are centered at the Fun Factor, on deck 9 aft.  There are several different colorful stations.  Activity times are 9 am to 12 noon, 2 pm to 5 pm, 7 pm to 10 pm.  Twelve noon to 2 pm on sea days is quiet time/free play.  Twelve noon to 2 pm on port days is an afternoon party.  Five pm to 7 pm is free play and dinner.

There is a children’s pool, accessible only through the Fun Factory.  This pool is filled and open only when at sea.  To use the pool and also the “ballroom” area, children must be over 3 years old and fully diaper free.

For the older groups (10-12 and 13-17) activities take place not only in the Fun Factory, but also in the Sports Deck (12), Oasis Café (11) and Teen’s Disco (12).

On sea days, children’s programs are no charge; on port days there is a $6 per hour charge.  Baby sitting (slumber party) is also available by pre-arrangement.

Library

The library of the ship is located at the top of the grand foyer staircase on the 7th deck.  It is in a curved room with windows overlooking the foyer.  At 11 am all the cases containing the books were open and unlocked and available.  Tves of books in foreign languages.  There are daily crossword and Sudoko puzzles and there are several leather club chairs for seating.  The atmosphere is quiet and relaxing.

Video Arcade

The video arcade, Cyberspace, is located next to the casino.  There is a surveillance camera and a machine where you can recharge your ships pass to play, a little unnerving for parents of teens I think!  There are 14 machines of a variety of types of games.

Champagne Bar – Deck 7

Champagne Bar is combined with the Savoy Night Club
Offer Champagnes & Sparking Wines $6.95 - $29.50 per glass (plus 15% gratuity)
Selection of Champagne Cocktails - $8.50 (plus 15% gratuity)

Celebrity Theatre Layout

The Celebrity Theatre is used for evening productions and also for day-time activities.  Day-time activities include: bingo, port presentations, ballroom dances classes and the Discovery Enrichment Series.  The Theatre is also the beginning point for shore excursion departures and disembarkation departures.

The Celebrity Theatre has entrances from decks 6 and 7.  There are both stairs and an escalator going from deck 6 to 7.  The escalator is a real convenience for the guests dining on deck 6, they just walk all the way forward after dinner and reach the upper level of the theatre using the escalator, which is the main entrance for the evening shows, without expending any of the calories they have just consumed!

There are restrooms on deck 6, underneath the stairs that go from deck 6 to 7 of the Celebrity Theatre.  This is a good placement for these facilities.

Regarding seating, the middle section seats provide the best viewing of productions and other events held in the Celebrity Theatre.  The slope of the floor and seating allows for good viewing from any of the mid-section seats.  Side seats and balcony seats have blind spots where it is difficult to view the full stage.  In the balcony the partitions to the side and front of each balcony sections prevent full viewing of the performers who are in the theatre aisles.  In addition, the balcony seats do not provide for a full view of the video screen which is used during some evening performances and also during some daytime activities.

Seats in the theatre are firm and relatively comfortable but I have experienced more comfortable seats on some other cruise lines.  Space between rows of seats is limited, perhaps due to the number of theatre seats required to accommodate guests for the evening show performances.  Navigating rows can be a challenge given the tables in front of every two seats that are provided to set drinks or bingo cards on.

There is space reserved on deck 7 near the back of the theatre for guests using wheelchairs and is so designated.  Guests can access deck 7 by elevators located near the theatre entrance and then wheel into this reserved area.  Given the slope of the theatre this section provides for good viewing of performances. 

Floor lighting that runs down each side of each aisle is a good safety feature for guests who need to navigate the theatre after lights are out and for beverage staff who are serving guests during performances.

The Celebrity Theatre provides an overall very enjoyable theatre experience.  Improvements to the balcony layout during the ship’s refurbishment would eliminate the only significant detraction that is related to the ship’s layout.

Celebrity Theater Productions

The Celebrity Showtime performed two shows nightly, 7 pm for late seating and 9 pm for main seating. The theater seats 950.

Aboard the Galaxy we were entertained nightly with shows that were conceived, directed and produced exclusively for Celebrity Cruises and hosted by Cruise Director Stewart Turnbull.  Four nights of entertainment were presented by the FJM Production, starring the Celebrity singers, dancers and guest artists and aerial artist all accompanied by the Celebrity Orchestra.  The production Broadway Express was singing and dancing from various Broadway plays themes songs, such as Chicago and Phantom of the Opera. The second performance was based on the theme for the night, which was Ole Time Rock’ n’ Roll. Songs and dances from the 50’s and 60’s such as Elvis and the Motown Sounds were performed.

The performance called Elements, were songs and dances conveying fire, earth and air. The guest aerial artists made this show very entertaining.  The final show presented by FJM Productions was Dance around the World which was very entertaining as well. This show presented dances such as Tap, and River Dance.  I found the international guest pianist extraordinary. He also played theme songs from plays as well as his own musical composition, which he did both extremely well.  A vocalist, Helen Jayne another international guest sang tunes from Tina Turner, Shirley Bassett, and Bette Midler’s Beaches. I must say there is entertainment for everyone.

Entertainment about the ship

Party Band Euphoria—They play a variety of music for listening and dancing. They have a female vocalist; otherwise, both the guitarist and drummer were lead singers on different nights.  Played in the Savoy Night Club, Rendez-Vous Lounge and Poolside.  Superb. 

DJ Jazz—Recorded music for dancing and partying.  Very Loud.  Geared to a young crowd.  If you like to talk, not a place to be—you have to yell over the music to be heard.  A great place to meet staff members of the ship.  Stratosphere Lounge, Deck 12.

Steve Heist (Cabaret Entertainer)—This area had a good attendance of people nightly; unbalanced sound system (loud on one side—louder on the other side)—this carried over into the Rendez-Vous Lounge and interfered with the listening pleasure of the group that was playing there.  One night we heard a different singer (in place of Steve), and decided he was the best.  This man also plays piano.  It turns out, he is one of the guests on the ship.  We recommend hiring him for on-board Celebrity!  Martini Bar Deck 5 Aft.

Ron Thompson (Guitarist)—He played well when he was playing; spent too much time talking with guests rather than playing, but a lot of guests would like that atmosphere.   Winter Garden, Deck 11 Aft.

Discovery Strings—They played in the Main Orion Dining Room and Michael’s Piano Bar.  Soothing music for our listening pleasure.  A variety of classical music was played.  Enjoyed by a more sophisticated crowd.

Celebrity Jazz Quartet—Ship’s own band.  Great sounds and great music—very talented!  Rendez-vous Lounge.

Rhythm of the Night—Rendez-Vous Square -Good.

Helen Jayne—She was good but not excellent.  Celebrity Theater

Comedian—Mike Goddard—Excellent and I don’t like comedians.  He interacted well with the audience; picking up on things they said and made an excellent joke; a great show.  Celebrity Theater

Tian Jiang—Pianist—a great performer, one of the world’s finest.  He makes the keys dance!  Celebrity Theater

Treats, Sparkles & Scents

Treats, Sparkles, & Scents are located slightly forward of mid ship on the Entertainment Deck # 7.  Treats is a shop where guests may pick up snacks & other munchies to go, along with a wide selection of liquors, aperitifs, cordials, & specialty after dinner liquors.  They also feature chocolates, sundries, & necessities. 

Sparkles is a lovely specialty shop featuring mid to premium selections of watches, jewelry – rings, necklaces, pins, earrings- are featured.  The selection of watches is varied, including Burberry, Louis Piccard, &  Swatch.  One afternoon, the shop featured an “unveiling” of The Diamonds of Russia, while serving Champagne for guests.  The shop also featured Duty Free shopping, with onboard convenience, served by knowledgeable, international staff. 

Scents is a wonderful shop with many new & exciting perfumes & aftershave fragrances for women & men.  The staff is friendly and enjoys serving the guests while assisting them in selecting the right fragrance for a gift.  On most days while at sea, the open area near these shops would feature special selections of various jewelries at very special prices.


Galaxy Shops

Shops are situated in the center of the ship and were convenient and separated by products, such as jewelry, alcohol and clothing.  Space for each shop was good except the alcohol shop was too big and the sport clothing shop was a little small.  Inventory was good except sport clothing offerings were quite limited.  Presentation was good and the personnel, managing and selling, were extremely pleasant and helpful.  Special events by the staff, such as “$10 for all” were handled very well.  The space to move around special event tables was a little limited.  Raffle events were well attended and handled well by the staff.  Prices were reasonable.  Open hours are generally when ship is at sea.

Clothing Shops

I also checked out the stores with clothing.  The selection was small as were the size choices.  One of our tour members whose suitcase was missing found it difficult to fill in due to lack of sizes.  But generally the selection was what you would expect on a cruise ship or at a luxury hotel. 

Fortune Casino

The casino is an attractive facility and large enough for comfortable use when the ship is at full capacity.  Casino staff are very helpful and ready to answer questions from experienced and inexperienced “gamblers.”  The slot machines are spread throughout the casino to allow free movement by “gamblers” and those who are just passing the slots.  Blackjack minimums are a little high to accommodate those who want to “gamble” for entertainment.  The special events, such as raffles and game tournaments are handled very well and enjoyed by many travelers.  An ATM is nearby for cash in US dollars.  Casino open hours are generally when ship is at sea.

On Line – Deck 7

Formal Computer instruction
Scheduled classes – fees charged
Over a dozen computers
Open only during class time
Note:  Computer access/wireless connection available in many open space areas
The hotel manager told us that Celebrity has now taken over operation of the internet facility.  The no longer have staff available to help save pictures and make a disc at the end of the cruise.   Since the classroom is open only during class time, the only computers available are in the public areas.

Art Auction

Two art auctions were held by Park West at Sea, which is represented on more than 70 cruise ships.  Their selection of 800 art works include: contemporary artists like Thomas Kinkade and Peter Max to masters like Pablo Picasso and Salvadore Dali.  Several champagne-laden previews were held to stimulate interest before each auction.  Dozens of art pieces are sold each cruise, which are shipped, duty-free to the passenger’s home.  Credit is offered by the gallery as an extra incentive.

Cinema & Conference Center – Deck 6. 
197 comfortable seats with unobstructed views 
Lectern/microphone/speaker system for conferences

Card Room – Deck 8
Four game tables – no readily available playing cards
One board game table – Scrabble, Monopoly, Life, Checkers/Chess Boards
No attendant
No game instructor
Limited space

Acupuncture at Sea
Acupuncture can dramatically increase overall vitality and energy.  Acupuncture needles are single use stainless steel and virtually painless. The needles are left in place for 20-40 minutes during which the patient relaxes while soft music is playing.

Celebrity is the first Cruise Line to offer this service on board a ship. It has been very successful for the cruise line.

I found it to be very helpful and relaxing.  Dr. Rida Wang ND,L.Ac was the Acupuncture Physician that treated me.  Specializing in women’s health, pain management, diabetes, menopause, fatigue, stress, anxiety depression, and nutritional, lifestyle, and weight loss counseling.  The onboard clinic was a small room and I personally would have liked a little more privacy during my treatment. I think it was priced right and good value for my money.

I suggest you tell your clients to book early as there is only one Doctor on each ship and they book up fast.

Cova Café

The Cova Café, also known as Tastings, is a wonderful combination coffee and wine bar located midship on Deck 6 of the Galaxy. They offer a varied selection of international coffee, pastry, finger sandwiches, wine and other spirits. You can enjoy your goodies at one of the bar stool style seats located on the starboard side, or you and friends can occupy one of the numerous tables located on both the port and starboard sides of the ship. Many of the tables offer great ocean view vistas during the daylight hours.

In addition to their duties as a coffee and wine bar, the Cova Café also host events during the cruise such as wine tasting.

If you are looking for a nice place to enjoy a cup of “joe” or other delights, the Cova Café is for you.

Galaxy Photo Gallery

The Galaxy photo gallery is located mid-ship on Deck 6. The gallery extends to both the port and starboard sides of the vessel.

The photo gallery offers a wide array of services, starting from selling photographic equipment and accessories, developing film and digital pictures, and of course, taking and selling pictures.

The staff of the gallery begins their job even before you board the ship. They are in the terminal taking your embarkation pictures. They also take impromptu pictures during the evening dining hours and when you exit the ship at various ports of call. Passengers can have a professionally posed picture with a choice of various backgrounds taken during the evening hours or by appointment.

The photo gallery displays the pictures in their display cases on both sides of the ship. They offer a choice of photo packages to suit any need or budget.

In addition to their photographic services, the photo gallery also offers professionally made video’s of the cruise. If you want to preserve pictorial memories of your cruise, you must visit the Galaxy Photo gallery.

Foyer, Guest Relations, Shore Excursions

The Grand Foyer is not so ‘grand’ as on many other cruise ships; no glass elevators, large sculptors, marble or glass staircases; in fact, no ‘wow’ factor, but it has an understated eloquence, a quiet sophistication.  Guest Relations and the Shore Excursions desk are central to the foyer but tucked away on one side we find a bank, concierge services, Celebrity future sales, Captain’s Circle hostess, and a small internet area.

Guest Relations is staffed by two or three personnel at all times and there never appears to be long lines of impatient guests as questions are dealt with efficiently.  In fact, complaints on this ship seemed to be few and passengers seemed content accepting the fact that this ship is in need of refurbishing – to take place in 2008.

Shore Excursions are extremely well organized on the Galaxy.  There are a wide range of choices for excursions ranging from moderate activity to strenuous.  These can be booked in three different ways:
1.      Up to 10 days prior to the cruise, excursions can be booked online through the Celebrity web site and prepaid by credit card.
2.      Each day excursions are shown on the stateroom TV and can be booked using the interactive TV and charged to the shipboard account.
3.      If requiring more clarification, excursions may be booked at the Shore Excursions desk in the front foyer where staff are there several hours each day and are able to advise on availability and give more detail on the type of excursion.

When disembarking for an excursion organized by Celebrity it is necessary to meet in a pre-selected venue (usually the Theatre) at least ten minutes prior to excursion time.  This allows passengers time to present their booking confirmation and receive a group number (a colored sticker to wear) - in some cases there are as many as ten groups departing at the same time for the same tour so it is important for all in a family to make sure they have the same sticker number.   Groups are called in turn to disembark and a large TV screen shows which groups have already left, which groups are in the process of disembarking and which are still waiting to be called.  The whole process is extremely efficient and the Galaxy should be commended on the ease with which they can disembark so many passengers in such a short time.

Medical Services – Deck 4
Hours 9AM- Noon; 5PM-8PM; Emergency Call Number Available
Two Doctors; 3 Nurses on board
Equipment Includes:  X-Ray; Laboratory; ICU Monitor; De-fibulator; Oxygen Supply
Can perform small surgeries only
Three treatment rooms
Charges are between $76 to $113 plus cost of medications, laboratories or procedures
Charges are based upon posted U.S. Medicare rates
Services are charged to stateroom account.
Do Not Accept Insurance Onboard:  A detailed and coded medical services bill is provided to the patient for submission to insurance company.
Vending machine located outside Medical Center contains basic aspirin, non-aspirin, band-aids, etc. for 50 cents
Sea Sickness Pill Available at Guest Relations Desk

Two members of our group needed the medical center during our cruise.  They found the hospital very helpful but rather expensive.  Recommend travel insurance.

Cabins

As the ship was “sold –out” we were unable to visit any cabins to see them first-hand.
To start, note cabins 4109 and 4110 – both appear to be under a galley – 4109 having noises of bottles being delivered/dropped off regularly throughout the night. Upon bringing this concern to the attention of both the service desk – (we’ll see what we can do, but the ship is full) and the hotel manager (we’ll fix that for you), we were moved to a better location on the 5th deck. Lesson learned:  if the customer relations department can’t seem to do anything for you, contact the hotel manager directly.

At 172 square feet,  the standard ocean/inside cabin has sufficient size for mobility.  We didn’t discover the reasonably-sized safe (big enough to hold a camera and other small valuables) behind the mirror until we had moved.  Be sure to secure the mirror as it can swing out if the ship has movement.

Towels were changed several times a day – we always had dry towels and facecloths to use.  The service was discreet and attentive. If you are placed in a triple, the fold up bed creates a little difficulty moving on that side of the bed – it juts into the room about a foot requiring careful walking.

Four categories of rooms are the same size although the ocean view with balcony adds an additional 42 square feet. The different verandah (balcony) staterooms offer a different configuration with the beds facing sideways in the room which allows a small table and chairs next to the verandah.

Family ocean view stateroom at 210 sq ft is an interesting configuration – looks to sleep 4 in 2 “rooms” separated by glass sliding doors.
The remaining “classy” staterooms – Sky Suite, Royal Suite and Penthouse Suite all boast much larger balconies with SkySuite having 179 sq ft with a room size of 246 sq ft – sleeps 2. Royal Suite at 537 sq ft is truly set up as a suite of rooms with a long slim balcony, and the Penthouse Suite at 1100 sq ft is like a home away from home  with large TVs 100” DVD projector and its own security camera.

Overall, I found our cabin and sleeping arrangements to be quite comfortable – the space was well-used.

Gourmets bites
Every night from 11:30 PM to 12:30 AM in all public lounges:  Martini bar deck 5, Rendez-Vous Sq. deck 6, Casino, deck  7, and Stratosphere lounge deck 12.  There were about 5 to 6 variety of very delicious bites.

Midnight  Galaxy  buffet was in Orion restaurant  on Friday,
The first ½ hour was just for showing and taking pictures and another hour was to enjoy
Delicious variety of all kinds of foods, sweets and fruits

Elegant tea  every day at The Oasis Café on deck 11
There were few kinds of sandwiches, like tuna, ham cheese salmon,  Also there plenty of fruits and cookies.

Television circuit in rooms was very helpful.
Besides channels that were showing movie, comedy, music sport an news.  There was a channel showing information about ship.  Very helpful was channel about shore excursions and advice where to shop on shore.

 “Alternative Dining” which is set up in the Oasis Café in the evening, was most enjoyable – very attentive staff, a bit more personable than the dining room, & a great ambiance!

Susan Kimmel
CoryStevens Travel
Oregon NACTA Chapter Director
NACTA SAS Leader, June 1, 2007 Celebrity Galaxy

 







 

 

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