Michael A. Kane
Age: 31 to 40
Number of Cruises: 2nd
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: 9th,
Itinerary: Deep Eastern Caribbean,
Food in the Starlight Restaurant is Excellent for all meals. The Coral Seas Buffet for Lunch, Breakfast, and Afternoon Tea. My Wife and I did not attend the Casual Dining option for dinner. Pizza is very good comparable to Papa John's and Pizza Hut. Pizza was only available in three Varieties Plain, Pepperoni, Vegetarian (Onions Peppers and Mushrooms). Did not eat the Burgers or Hot-dogs. Soft serve Frozen Yogurt was good but not spectacular.
Pool area on the Deck 11 has one medium sized pool and One Large Whirlpool (Water was only luke warm.) Plenty of Deck Chairs available but you are advised to get to the pool early if you want to guarantee a spot.
Cabins: We had an outside state room with a window and king-sized bed. Experience was average on our first cruise on Mercury we had an inside cabin. I felt there was no significant difference between the two cabins because the usable space was the same.
Cabin Attendant this can make or break the stateroom experience unfortunately our cabin attendant was lacking on this cruise. We saw her twice on the third day of the cruise she finally introduced herself and then we didn’t see her again until I had to summon her for her tip on the last day of the cruise. She would put paper tabs in our door to see if we were in or out of the cabin. (Our cabin attendant on Mercury was much more attentive, and provided us with a better experience).
Waiter and Assistant Waiter: Good service at meals can make or break the dining experience. We had an excellent waiter. He was very attentive and saw to our every need. We sat at a 6 person table two of our dining companions never showed up the other Couple was from Canada they were very pleasant and we had several pleasant conversations ranging from current events to political discussions. We spent a lot of time with our dining companions including time at the pool and part of the last day on the cruise.
The Cruise: Embarkation Aruba
My wife and I flew direct from Philadelphia to Aruba
The Plane Landed at 3:30 PM Local time we cleared Immigration and Customs in less than a Half Hour we were met out side the Airport by a Celebrity Employee who told us where to put our luggage and what bus to get on by 4:30 PM we were at the Port filled out the forms to board the boat and boarded the boat by 4:45 PM. (Very Efficient as compared to our last cruise which departed from Ft Lauderdale where we waited at various points and boarded the boat four hours after arrival.) Unfortunately we missed the welcome aboard buffet and had to settle for bread and water. The boat departed Aruba after midnight for a day at sea and the first port of call St. Martin.
Ports of Call:
St. Martin discounted Shopping is a feature prices were very low we found a outdoor market with low prices of course the buyer should beware I bought a St. Martin shirt with a picture of the island and city names on it which upon later inspection turned out to be the Dominican Republic with a St. Martin iron on patch over it. We did the Orient Beach with Lunch excursion and had a great time the water at the beach was a bit rough.
St. Kitts: we did on our own went to a beach at South Friar's Bay a beautiful Volcanic Rock Beach the water was a bit cold and it rained while we were on the beach Then we went into Basseterre the Capital to look around. St. Kitts is very poor and has not fully recovered from the last hurricane.
St. Lucia we did an Island Tour with a one-hour beach stop the water was warm, crystal clear and the white sand beach was very nice. Castries is a very nice city the markets had some nice deals.
Barbados the most expensive of the islands we arranged a private tour with three other couples and ended up at a beach where we spent over most of the time in the crystal clear and warm water the best beach experience of the cruise.
A final day at sea and back to Aruba. This is where reality hits hard everyone was kicked off the boat by 8:30 AM After finding our Luggage we proceeded to put our luggage on the truck to go to the airport only to be informed that because we did not have the celebrity charter air service that we did not have transportation to the Airport for us or our Luggage. We ended up taking a tour of Aruba with our luggage then went to the Airport and waited for three hours for the check in line to open up before checking our luggage we then went back to the city and ate lunch and shopped then went back to the airport cleared immigration and customs and left for home.
Passengers this sailing had about 1000 Passengers over 650 of them were from Latin America; the Entertainment staff was not prepared for this the next sailing was to have over 800 passengers from Latin America. The entertainment staff was learning Spanish via a crash course.
This cruise is supposed to switch St. Martin and St. Thomas on a rotating basis, Because there is no problem with immigration in St. Martin, expect more cruisers from Latin America when the boat sails to St. Martin.
Warning to the cruiser we purchased our airfare through Celebrity. We were supposed to have all transfers to and from the port to the airport, and did not. Even though you had your travel agent purchase everything from the Cruise line have your travel agent make sure you have transfers. My wife and I trusted the cruise line and were let down on this important factor.
Michael A. Kane