We were scheduled to meet Greg, Mary, Julie, and Paul at the Pelican bar. The bar is right on the water and was a nice place to meet. We quickly figured out who everyone was and were soon drinking and talking like old friends, which is what we became. We all went somewhere to eat dinner, not sure where, it was also just OK but we all had fun so the food was secondary.
On Saturday we got up about 9:30 packed had coffee and headed to the ship about 11:00 AM. Celebrity has the best boarding procedure in the industry. We checked in quickly, about 10 minutes and I headed for the upgrade station. I was told there were several suites available for upgrade all were the same price. One of them was the Royal and we jumped on it. What a cabin, bedroom, living room, dinning room, walk in closet, etc. We all meet in Gary and Mary's cabin for sail away and had a great little party. We had a table for 10 at dinner. Mary had the idea to switch chairs every night and it really worked out well. We were able to get to know all of our other dinner mates and had a great time. We all ate together every night even though Greg was under the weather a couple nights he hung in there. I think we all agreed the food was fair to good. Some things were good but many more were only fair.
Our first port was Jamaica and we went to Sandals for the day. It was very nice and is as they say, all inclusive. We hung around the pool had some drinks, ate lunch then headed back to the ship. Some of the group went to Dunn's River and it seemed everyone had a good time.
Our next port was Cozumel. We did some shopping and then headed to Senior Frogs 1/2 by the ship. There were 6 cruise ships in port so every bar was packed. We were going to meet the gang at big Frogs but you could not get in. The 1/2 Frogs was fun and close so it worked out well.
On Thursday we had most of the CC group up to our cabin and had another little party. It was also allot of fun as I think everyone was getting to know each other by then. This was another sea day and for me that equals Casino time, for the wife it was reading and getting rid of me for a while. We also worked out in the spa and did the Therapy pool every sea day.
Friday was Key West. WOW it was Fantasy Feast in Key West and it was something I had never seen. From talking with the group it was something most of them had never seen either. There was allot of body paint and in some cases nothing else. As the day went on it was most cases nothing else. We left port at 4:00 PM but there was plenty to talk about at the pool bar that afternoon.
Saturday we were off the ship, had our luggage and on our way to the airport by 8:15 AM. We had booked a latter flight but were able to change to one that left at 10:25 AM. If you are on Celebrity you should be able to make any flight that departs after 10:00 AM
This was our 7th cruise and one of our best. The CC group was small but we had allot of fun together. It was a great group. This was our second Celebrity cruise, here is a quick list of what I like and don't like about Celebrity.
1. Customer Service. Land based is the worst I have ever had to deal with. Let your T/A deal with these people if you have a problem. The ships customer service department was much better. We had to check with them since we had changed cabins regarding our luggage and a bottle of wine our T/A provides. The luggage was taken care of quickly, the bottle of wine was never located.
2. On each of my cruises with Celebrity they have a policy that drinks are poured exactly with one jigger of booze. No big deal but I like hand poured drinks, to me it puts more of a human instead of a corporate element on your experience.
3. Pressure from head waiter, CD and everyone else to mark excellent and only excellent on your comment card. I thought the service was excellent but I do not like to be told you must rate us excellent.
1. Service on the ship. Celebrity does try to provide excellent service by everyone on the ship. From the time you board the ship you can tell these people want you to have a great vacation. I don't know how they do it week after week, they just get one group off and they are fresh and ready to go again.
2. Boarding process. The best in the industry in my opinion. You are on and off in no time. If you fill your doc's out on line you will be on board almost immediately. I have never seen more then maybe 6 people deep in any line.
3. Upgrade at the pier. Other lines may do this but I am not aware of any. It is nice to check in and then go to the upgrade area at the pier before you get on the ship. I know there are usually none available but at least you know quickly.
4. Room Service. You are given a choice of 1/2 hour time slots for breakfast to be delivered. They always call your cabin and say your meal is on it's way and it is always in the correct time slot.
5. Captains club party. This was the nicest party for repeat customers I have ever attended. We were not going to go but decided to at the last minute. They provided a nice choice of drinks not just one or two, a band and very good appetizers. It was a very classy affair.
6. No cabin announcements. You can nap, sleep in or anything else you want to do without constant announcements about bingo art auctions, etc. You do need to read your planner or you will not know what is happening.
Food. I did not feel the food on this cruise or the Mercury cruise was any better then any other line. Some things were good some were bad and most were just average.
Entertainment. Again it was OK. I have seen better and worse on other cruise lines.
All in all this was a great cruise. We had been to all the ports several times and yet this was still one of our best cruises. I contribute this to our CC group and to the cruise line. After two cruises with Celebrity I agree they are a very good line. They really do want to make you happy and it shows. I would pay a little more to cruise with them as long as they can keep their prices somewhat competitive.
Island Princess 4/4/05
Caribbean Princess 9/3/05
Island Princess 5/06
Dawn Princess 3/07
Golden Princess 5/08