Number of Cruises: 5
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: n/a
Itinerary: Bermuda was quite nice even though we had some weather issues.
We just got back from our cruise and wanted to get this review posted while the memories are still fresh. Our most recent experience prior to this cruise was on Carnival. Frankly, I expected more from Celebrity than Carnival but after experiencing both would rate each cruise line about the same. Here are some observations about our trip:
Embarkation and disembarkation: Smooth and painless at both ends. The Philadelphia cruise authorities really had their act together, the lines flowed quickly and everyone was very friendly.
The Horizon were clean and decorated tastefully. However, several areas of the ship seemed constantly crowded, especially the Coral Seas restaurant and the pool area. The pool area is too small for the number of passengers and it was very difficult to find a lounge chair on sailing days. Passengers would put their stuff on a chair early in the morning and leave it there all day. Although this was prohibited in the Celebrity Today newsletter, I never saw any enforcement by Celebrity staff. One other small issue was the fact that the toilets stopped working on our deck several times thoughout the cruise but this was always corrected quickly.
Accommodations: Our stateroom was comfortable and clean and we were treated very well by our cabin attendant, Antonio. Room service was extremely quick both times we used it.
Dining: Dinners in the Starlight were fabulous, in terms of the cuisine and service. Our waiter (Armando) and assistant waiter were terrific and they took extra care to discover our preferences and give us the best possible dining experience. We ate most of our breakfasts in the Starlight and these were fine, although the service was definitely a step-down from what we experienced at dinner. We never ate lunch at the Starlight and I would have to rate the buffet lunches in the Coral Sea as mediocre with average food and crowded conditions.
Entertainment: I give the entertainment on Horizon higher marks than some of the previous reviewers. The orchestra and pool band were consistently good as were the dancers and primary singers (Jeremy and Leah). There were also two excellent comedians and an outstanding guest singer named Jack Walker.
The public transportation system worked well, even with the large number of tourists milling about. Do try to visit the British Maritime Museum at the Dockyards. Not only do you get to learn loads of interesting details about the Royal Navy and the history of Bermuda, but you get to see the Dolphin swimming experience at no extra charge since it is located within the museum grounds. Horseshoe Bay is a great beach and offers spectacular views if you wander off the main part of the beach. St. Georges is a charming town and we felt very safe wandering around the town at night.
Shore Excursions: We only booked one excursion through Celebrity, a two tank scuba dive with an outfit called Triangle. I would not recommend this excursion unless you happen to enjoy disorganized cattle-boat experiences. Our four hour trip took six hours because of the overcrowding and mechanical issues.
Staff: The Horizon staff was friendly and professional, with only one exception - the drink waiters were so prevalent as to be annoying and seemed to be entirely motivated by pushing more drinks on the passengers. For example, I had to ask three waiters to bring me a napkin with the first two just wandering away since I was not ordering a drink at that time.
Other: As many previous reviewers have stated, be prepared for some rough seas and queasiness on the Bermuda run. This wasn't bad enough to spoil our trip but was worse than I have experienced on our previous cruises and sailing experiences.
Summary: Overall, I would give the Horizon Bermuda cruise four stars out of six, or if you prefer a letter grade, I would rate the experience a B-. I was not wowed by Celebrity and do not believe they lived up to the Premium Cruise Line status on this particular cruise. However, I may try one of the newer and larger Celebrity ships and hope to write a more positive review next time.