Marina Di Pierro
Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: June 28th, 2003
Itinerary: Ney York to Bermuda
My husband and I took our first cruise on Celebrity to Bermuda, I am 31 and he is 40. We selected Celebrity because we had herd consistently wonderful things about them. WE live in the N.Y. area and were happy to avoid flying (Note: when the Bermuda seas were rough, I was seriously wishing I was on an airplane!)
The Verdict: I will continue with details, but Celebrity was exceptional. Food, service, ambiance and overall experience was an A ! We enjoyed cruising so much that we book another cruise 4 days after our return. But I would never cruise Bermuda again and not recommend it because of the high tendency for rough waters. Going home, we experienced 10 to 12 foot waves and I was (along with half of the ship) very sick. Now I spoke to many of the staff who told me that this little front we went through was nothing! (10-12 foot waves and the rocking we were experiencing was awful for me, but this route experiences much worse.) The staff admitted that it is always rough at one point each sailing, and when it’s rough, it’s not just for a few hours, it remains rough for the remainder of that trip. Before we embarked, I talked to several people getting of the Horizon, they all told me it was “horrendous” sailing there, and ok returning. Also, when I was taking to the staff they told me a month ago 5/03 sailing out to Bermuda, they were experiencing 15 – 30 foot waves all day (on the first day out at sea), by late afternoon hundreds of people were calling the captain (via the guest relations desk), begging him to turn around and go home (he would not). Very few people made it to the formal night and over 100 people actually slept in the lobby floor because it’s mid-ship, more stable. (Now this ship is not large compared to today’s mega-ships, and it was not a huge lobby by any means.) Also my neighbor who has cruised 31 times says the only cruise she ever got sick on and refuses to sail on is the Bermuda route. Even Olga (who works on the Horizon as a cruise consultant/booking agent) admits Bermuda is a consistently rough route due to the cross-currents and you don’t experience this roughness on Caribbean cruises (departing from Florida and such). Also, my brother who sailed the Carnival Victory in Sept. 02 in the midst of hurricane Lily felt little rocking and was never sick. I know there can certainly be weather disturbances on the Caribbean route, but the Captain can change course to outmaneuver it. But in Bermuda, we didn’t have that option, he had to sail directly through this front. The worst was when I tried to sit on the deck to get some air and watched all the water literally shoot out of the swimming pool! It was like a gusher, really frightening.
The Food and Service: Now my husband and I often eat in three and four star NYC restaurants, so I consider us gourmets! The food was excellent; we don’t know how they served consistently fresh and delicious food. We were told their kitchens prepare 7,000 meals a day, and the food did not taste like catering hall generic banquet food at all. The Starlight dining room had an excellent menu, lots of variety. Now we eat out a lot and we tried things we never had before, so the menus were definitely not boring. My husband is a filet mignon expert and when he ate their filet mignon with béarnaise sauce, he said if he had to be served one last meal, that would be it! Our servers Marlise and Nada were charming! By the last night we were sad that were not going to see them again. We definitely over tipped these extremely hard working ladies. We found out that Celebrity pays them 50.00 a month!! Disgusting! So these people survive on tips. Considering the number of people who are cheap and do not tip well or at all, I pity them. The tipping on Celebrity is on an honor system, they give you envelopes and a “suggested gratuity” pittance of 3.50 a day for the waiter and 2.00 a day for the assistant server, but they work so much harder than that suggested amount. And long hours as well 6am to about 1 am every day, they get days off in a type of lottery system, where they get days off only if people mark good comments for them on the survey sheet you are asked to fill out before you leave. My waitress did not have one day off or afternoon off our entire cruise! So please over tip, these people deserve it!
The matre’d Frank was great, at our request he gave us a table for 2. We had table # 77, which is right next to the captains table. Also, the non-smoking dining rooms were wonderful; you also can’t smoke in the buffet areas as well. The buffet lunches and breakfast at the Coral Seas café was also excellent. Now they had formal or sit-down service breakfast and lunch, but we were so busy having fun we never had time for that! And the grill serves endless hamburgers, pizza if you miss the buffet lunch. Course the quantity of food is also over-abundant. They will bring you however much, many of whatever you want. So if you can’t seem do decide on your appetizer, most likely your server will bring both or all! “Just for taste” as my server would say. Overall the dining deserved an A as well as overall service. The staff we encountered was always friendly, with a “good morning” comment. Very nice people. Also the ship was extremely clean, cleaning was ongoing, everyday. I also loved the daily bulletins with dining and activity information and excellent port information. They always listed sunset and sunrise time. One morning we got up to catch the sunrise at sea, what a sunset! We took great pictures.
Bermuda Island: The island itself was wonderful. Clean, safe with kind, friendly people. We did the 22.00 a person unlimited bus pass, which worked out excellently for us. The buses were air-conditioned, clean and on time (every 10-15 minutes). The routes were easy to follow. We bused all over the island (as did many other cruise ship passengers)! We saw elbow beach, shelley bay, tobacco bay, church bay, jobsons cove, horshoe beach, john smith bay, warwick long bay. All excellent, beautiful beaches. Now if you are a snorkler, our favorite was Tobacco Bay for the snorkeling.
Misc: Other notes include there was excellent security. If you were not staff or a passenger, you are not getting on that ship! If you have to call home, buy a 10.00 phone card at Bermuda, that will give you 20 minutes. You can buy these and call right at the ship dock area. Also your bags are scanned every time you leave/re-enter the ship. So if you use disposable cameras (like we did) carry them in your hand instead of leaving them in your bag or your film may get damaged. Very important!!
My List of 8 things to do or know for the Horizon Bermuda Cruise:
1- Expect rough sailing at one point, for this route, it’s inevitable.
2- Wake up early your mornings at sea to see the sunrise.
3- Eat in the dining room on the formal nights.
4- When you re-enter the ship, hold your camera in your hand so you don’t ruin your film.
5- Shop at Front Street for great souvenirs.
6- Explore their beautiful beaches.
7- Take high tea in the dining room.
8- Over tip your servers!