Hi everyone, I have loved Cruise Critic since the day I discovered it years ago. It has been and continues to be a font of information for all sailors. On this particular cruise there were over 100 hundred active participants on the thread. There were over 200 invited for Celebrity Connections Meet and Greet and the Sky Lounge was quite full. Since the thread first started there were many people offering many different games and activities and tours and this is one of the many reasons that I love this site. I participated in a couple of them. I always like to go to the Slot Pull. I also play Mah-Jongg and know that Celebrity now offers anyone the chance of renting a set by going to Guest Relations and for a $50.00 or $100.00 refundable deposit, they will give you a set to take to your cabin for the entire cruise. I was lucky enough to procure one of the 4 they had on board. We had a game on every sea day at 1PM for 2 , 2-1/2 hours. We had probably 10 players that showed up most days and we had 2 games going that I knew of. We would have also had a morning game but there were issues with the Event Coordinator, Patricia. On this cruise we had the excellent services of Cruise Director Rich (not the crazy sock Rich). At our Meet and Greet, he started telling all of us that we'd be able to use the port side of the main dining room for all of our many games and that in the mornings we could start at 10, which was the usual start time for game playing, especially at sea. Also at the M&G was Patricia, the event coordinator, and that she had pre-arranged, with one of our group, different start times, (11-3) and went up to Rich to advise him of this new plan. Those of us that were active on this thread knew this before getting on board, but I, didn't like this and since this is my cruise, I was offering other times to play with the others. This didn't sit well with some and rather than have an argument over something so trivial, everyone played their games where and when they wanted to. Unfortunately, since they had set up or rather stripped the entire port side of the dining room for the games players and not many showed up, they kept making it less and less tables to use. I must point out that over 100 people told everyone that they would be playing in the different games and you really shouldn't make those kind of plans if you're not going to play. On the first day so many said they were coming to all of the planned games is the reason the cruise line gave us so much space. At the 11AM start time, I showed up and found the Bridge Director (a passenger) and his partner were there and 2 people that were looking for the many that said they wanted LCR and there was me. That's all. Spaced for over 100 and 5 people showed up. In the afternoon we met at the card room that has 6 bridge tables and had a nice game of Mah Jong but that space was quickly eaten up by the hundreds of other passengers that were looking for something to do and as the weather got worse the playing areas got worse. We retreated to the dining room where the duplicate bridge players were, they had upwards of 14 tables. Occasionally a couple other tables of different games dropped in but quickly dropped out when they realized that the music in the dining room was never lowered for anyone. I tried every possible officer I ran into and guest relations and the Event Coordinator to get this music turned down to no avail, so we had no choice but to play with music. I don't know about everyone else, but this put a bad taste in my mouth for Celebrity. I am very sorry if some folk had ruffled feathers.
Another issue I had was the exorbitant prices for the specialty restaurants. I took a 13 day package and did get a discount but except for the Murano and the Qsine, I was very unhappy with the food. NOT THE SERVICE, they were amazing workers. I made many friends with the staff on this trip and considering they work so hard, it wasn't their fault that the kitchens were poorly staffed.
I love crossings. I have been on 25 Trans-Atlantics. I love sea days and meeting new people, and this cruise was no different, nor will the next and the next. Most people don't realize how many things there are that are scheduled for sea days and make plans they can't possibly keep, but that's ok because it's your cruise and you can do anything you want. We have many tireless passengers that go above and beyond to make their cruise even more special and I applaud you all and thank you for your generosity in taking on so much work for a fun time.
Howard in Beautiful Ft. Lauderdale where every day is another in paradise.