Well we are back from our cruise on the Celebration. As many of you may know, this was our very first cruise. We did know going into the cruise that the Celebration was an older ship with less amenities than most, but it was very affordable so we thought we would give it a shot. I have to say I was pretty unimpressed with the cruise overall as I expected much more grandeur than we saw. The service staff was about 80/20 in personality, some were great and others just plain rude. We did get excellent steward service and our server in the dining room was excellent. As far as the food goes……The wheelhouse bar and grill where they server the buffet was nothing short of cafeteria food. Not to mention there are hairy old men with their shirts off going through the same line that you are getting your food from. We very quickly realized that if you want a good meal, you need to eat them all in the dining rooms. We did get excellent eggs benedict for breakfast one morning, lunches were just mediocre, and the dinners were good but by no means something to write home about. We got sat with a group on our first night that we had absolutely nothing in common with, we are very sociable people, so we gave it our best shot to get some good conversation going but it just wasn’t going to happen with this group. We moved to a table with some friends we made 20 minutes into getting on the ship and this made dinner much more pleasurable. I do have a problem with how fast they serve your dinner and how everyone is eating at different times at the table depending on what courses they chose. I was raised to not lift my fork until everyone has been served and this just wasn’t the way things worked with dinners on the ship. The pizza and ice cream that you get 24 hours was very good if you just need a little something to get you through. We had room service one night and it was basically just sandwiches, but pretty good. The sushi was smoked salmon, not even raw sushi grade. I am a big sushi lover so I was very disappointed in this. Overall, I was not impressed with the food. We eat pretty good on a daily basis and I try to cook a lot, so maybe we are just a little spoiled The activities on the boat are there if you are into that kind of thing, they range from dance lessons to bingo. We did a couple of activities here and there but realized that we aren’t much for being on a schedule when vacationing and mostly just did whatever felt good at the time instead of trying to keep a schedule all day to get it all in. I think the schedule part of the cruise was the biggest low point for us, maybe freestyle cruising if we ever cruise again. The pools were very small and full of children, although I did go down the waterslide at least 15 times while we were on the ship. The cabin was always cleaned every time we left it and the beds were EXTREMELY comfortable. I had to get used to the rocking of the ship the first night and didn’t sleep much, but once I realized what was normal with the rocking and was no longer a little scared I was fine, slept like a baby. We had coffee delivered every morning as our wake up call. I did notice that the bars were extremely smoky as well as the casino, you would think that they would have better ventilation for this problem, so that the non smokers could enjoy it as well. My boyfriend just recently quit smoking and this caused a little issue for him. We thoroughly enjoyed our ports of call (Key West and Nassau) we didn’t do any excursions but we did a lot of shopping and eating and such. We had a great time in both places and would love to visit each again some day. I was taken aback by one thing while at the ports of call. It started pouring down raining as we were on our way back to the ship in Nassau. About 20 of us standing in line in the rain with all of our bags with our new purchases and NOONE from the ships staff made any effort to try and help us out with umbrellas or ponchos or to speed up the process of checking everyone back in. I bought two wicker type bags in Nassau that are basically ruined.
As far as entertainment…We went to the comedians a couple of times and one of the shows. The comedian was very funny. The boat was really really rocking so much that the comedian made reference to it one night, I had to get up and move around just to make sure I didn’t get a little sick from it.
I know this sounds like we just had the worse time you could imagine but that’s not really the case. It just wasn’t anything like I had expected. I assume maybe cruising just isn’t our thing and for some it’s a wonderful time. We went to Siesta keys and stayed in a condo on the beach for 4 days after the cruise and realized that is much more where we would have liked to have been. Maybe it’s just not for everyone. I do want to thank all of you that helped me plan out my trip and all the helpful suggestions as of what to pack…some of the things you told me came in so handy I couldn’t believe it and would get a little smile on my face when I realized I needed something and that I had actually packed it thanks to your suggestions. Hope everyone had a great week while we were cruising and if anyone is cruising the celebration anytime soon and has any questions, feel free to ask.
Many of the things you were concerned about are just related to the older, cheaper ship. A cheap cruise means basically anyone can afford it, so you will indeed get someone inappropriately standing in the buffet line with no shirt on! I have never been on Celebration but I know that on mostg boats the buffet is pretty good! But like you, I really enjoy going to the dining room. You mentioned you saw the commedians...no shows? I find the shows VERY good. Overall, I DO believe that you get what you pay for, particularly on Carnival. You will enjoy the bigger newer boats more...but they will cost a bit more too. Overall, I REALLY enjoyed your review. Anyone else have thoughts??
Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy your cruise. If you ever try cruising again, consider a different ship or a different cruise line. Of course, I'd suggest Princess because they're my favorite, but Royal Caribbean has some great ships as well. Best wishes and look forward to the pictures. Don't be a stranger here.
Steve's comments are what I was thinking too...it is an older ship that really doesn't have any "wow" factor to it and it is sold at some pretty cheap rates. This is why I like the sister ship Holiday so much - it is a nice inexpensive cruise. But you need to have your expectations properly set. Of course, this is hard to do for someone on their first cruise.
Rather than think cruising isn't your thing, perhaps a 7-day cruise on a newer ship might change your mind. Plenty of "wow" factor on many newer ships.
My husband and I are leaving for our cruise on Celebration next week!, I am so excited!!
I read you review of your cruise, very good by the way, and I am sorry that you didn't have a better time. I agree with Steve, you would probably have a better time on a larger ship with less restrictions on your time. I am like you and it would just gross me out to see a big, hairy guy with no shirt standing in line with you to get food. I remember reading something on another site about that and the lady told the staff member nearby and they made the guy get out of line and put on a shirt on, but I don't think I would have the nerve to do that, I am too shy, I would just deal with it or leave.
Anyway, I have tons of ?'s for you but I will TRY to keep it short and sweet. Did you get any sea sickness, I am worried about this with my husband because he gets sick on carnival rides alot, (no pun inteneded ). Also, did you dress up for formal night and how was it?? You mentioned packing suggestions, do you care to share what you packed that you ended up needing and did you need anything that you wished you had packed? What was it about the food that you did not like? Did it taste bad or just not what you are used to? And, I guess the question that everyone wants to know............Did you get the Melting Chocolate Cake?
Thank you for sharing your trip with us and I hope I have not been to excessive with the questions.
Did you get any sea sickness, I am worried about this with my husband because he gets sick on carnival rides alot, (no pun inteneded ). Also, did you dress up for formal night and how was it?? You mentioned packing suggestions, do you care to share what you packed that you ended up needing and did you need anything that you wished you had packed? What was it about the food that you did not like? Did it taste bad or just not what you are used to? And, I guess the question that everyone wants to know............Did you get the Melting Chocolate Cake?
I didn't get any sick sickness although many on the ship were getting a little from time to time...we did quite a bit of rockin'...the girls we made friends with were both on dramamine and did fine, except for one dinner. We absolutely dressed up for formal night and I wouldn't have done it any other way...we didn't go long ballgown dresses but more tea length and adam had on a suit. I only saw a couple of jeans and t-shirts, mostly all enjoyed the experience of getting to dress up and enjoy some lobster. Some things I feel essential for packing besides the obvious are: travel coffee mugs for taking around the ship, a small fanny pack like purse to take with you everywhere you go, and I should have listened to the suggestion of not wasting the packing space with beach towels, they are provided for you. I'm sure there are more and I will list them as they come to mind. Enjoy your cruise and eat in the dining rooms Oh and yes the melting cake is divine! I heard a couple at my table send theirs back because it wasn't "cooked" all the way through...well it isn't supposed to be...just keep that in mind.
Oh and BlackVinyl....getting on and off the ship was basically what you would expect. It's kinda like herding cattle but in very organized chaos...we got there around 10am and sat until they were ready to board us once we checked in for atleast an hour or so...in hindsight, I wouldn't have gotten there as early as we did. if you have more specific questions about it feel free to ask.
One other thought about the food...see if any of you agree.
You hear so much about the food on a cruise ship that you automatically assume it's gourmet cuisine!! No where does Carnival or RCCL or NCL ever claim their food is gourmet! They claim it is good and plentiful. I think many cruisers's disappointment stems from their own preconceived ideas about what it's going to be like.
It's interesting that Penny likes Royal Caribbean. I took one cruise with them and was NOT impressed...but then again, I was on their oldest cheapest boat. I suppose my suggestions to you are the same I should follow with respect to RCCL!
Uh, Penny is a Princess lady! Sonny is the RCI promoter.
I agree about the food. None of the mainstream lines boast about their food being haute cuisine. Even though Carnival has a deal with big-time chef Georges Blanc, his "signature" dishes are not heavily promoted in the dining rooms. For a real gourmet experience one either needs to go on a new ship with an extra-fee restaurant or spend the big bucks and go on an ultra-luxury ship. As they say, you get what you pay for.