Overall we had a wonderful cruise, but I can’t say it was a typical (I hope) Celebrity product.
It was our first M class ship, and she is certainly looking tired but the staff keep her spotlessly clean. The decor is a bit dated and the soft furnishings desperately need changing. However, we never had to fight for a table in Oceanview Cafe, El Bacio or sun beds. The ship sailed full but it never felt crowded, even on embarkation lunch time we managed to find a table in the buffet - something we have struggled with on S class ships.
We were in cabin 7039 and had a great stateroom attendant, Select dining was a bit hit and miss our waiter Jess wasn’t the best but the assistant Djhannah more than made up for any shortcomings. Food, whilst subjective was certainly better than Silhouette last year and there was always something on the menu to tempt me. It helps that I think the french onion soup is one of the best starters.
Ports of call were good, Venice was a return trip for me, we went to Murano on the first day to buy the piece of glass I should have bought last year, unfortunately the shop was closed but I managed to find the glass works who produce the item and I ordered the piece to be made and shipped. Next day we went to St Marks and had the obligatory gondola ride, cheesy but great fun.
Our tour in Split was a disappointment, we opted for The Game of Thrones sites tour. The guide was very knowledgeable but never shut up talking, it was seriously overkill, no time to stand and take in views etc. It was also fiercely hot 42 degrees and whilst the tour was badged as moderate it should have been strenuous, 2km hike up a 30 degree gradient of loose shale with no handrails. I think it was telling that of our group of 30 ish people only about 4 or 6 opted to continue the second half of the tour which was a further hour and half walking tour around the town, most people at this point went back to the ship. I did go to guest relations and suggest that the tour advert should be amended so people knew what they were signing up for but to be honest the person I spoke to didn’t really seem that bothered. As a result of this bad experience I cancelled our other booked tour to Pompeii, it was badged as strenuous and if it was going to be more difficult than the one we had just done I don’t think we would have enjoyed it.
Montenegro was fabulous, stunningly beautiful and a wonderful sail-in/out. Tender port but efficiently done with both local and lifeboats used, about a 15 minute wait to get off. The old town is charming and great for leather goods. Definitely on my list to return to.
Corfu, least favourite port, not particularly attractive and the only place we were hassled by beggars who were quite aggressive.
Naples we did a great local excursion. Twenty minute walk from the ship to Underground Naples, 40 m down steep stairs into the Roman water tanks and tunnels which served the whole city. These were used in the Second World War as air raid bunkers. The whole city lived down there. Fascinating place and great volunteer guide, the best 10€ spent of the cruise. Highly recommended.
As I said we really enjoyed the cruise but now for the contentious bit...............go get the popcorn and sit back!
I have never really understood why people get so het up about dress codes, well I do now. Celebrity have a policy but they just don’t enforce it, well they do sometimes............
Bare chests in the buffet, bikinis in the buffet, pyjamas in the buffet, I didn’t think it would bother me but it’s unsanitary and it did.
The main dining room was similar in that scruffy cut off denim shorts and T shirts seemed to be acceptable dress, even on evening chic nights if you were from a non English speaking country. We saw an American teenager dressed in smart burmuda type tailored shorts turned away after having the dress code explained, whilst many Italian and Spanish teenagers were allowed in wearing cut offs and running shorts. It just didn’t seem fair. I would like to think that maybe the staff at the door didn’t have a good enough grasp of the language to explain the dress code. We heard guests complaining about the non enforcement of Celebrity rules, the restaurant manager said he would pass the complaint onto his manager.
The other area which to me was a negative was the Cruise Director, Luigi. Loud pool games every afternoon, not much trivia or the usual Celebrity entertainment, a generally manic demeanour- it felt like Butlins at Sea. I wonder if he had been brought on as there was such a large Spanish guest population and he was a Spanish speaker? All announcements were in English and Spanish. It felt more like a Royal Caribbean cruise with knobbly knee contests etc. Main theatre entertainment was weak but the music around the ship in lounges and bars was generally very good.
Officers around the ship were almost invisible.
I have two future cruises booked, around Japan and the Baltic next year, I’m hoping that the product will be back to what we usually expect.
Feel free to ask any questions.