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RCI Cruisers Try Celebrity: A pictoral review


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Ive posted on the celebrity boards but Im going to try n copy it here, so here goes....

 

Just back from our first Celebrity cruise, we were on the Eclipse western 04/02 through 04/09. We have to say that this was our favorite cruise. My review will compare some parts to RCCL and just are overall experience.

 

Players- Me 43, my wife 42 and 2 dd's 15 and 13

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Our cruise history is down below in my signature but we have sailed on RCCL 6 times and loved every one. We have always wanted to try Celebrity and this cruise kinda fell in our lap.

 

We didn't book this cruise til the Monday before, we were trying to book the Freedom of the Seas for the same week when we saw prices the week before fell to $479pp for a promenade room. They had about 10 sets of connecting promenade rooms left so my challenge was to find affordable airfare to leave in 5 days from San Diego to anywhere in Florida. I had no luck, I looked from any airport within 150 miles of San Diego and any airport in Florida,(we figured we could drive if we had to fly to Miami or such) most searches came up over $550pp which was way too much for us to pay. This was Sunday, and by 5pm all the connecting rooms were gone so our cruise hope seemed bleak. I mentioned to my wife about the deal I saw for the Eclipse from a large online broker $599pp for the first 2 and $349 for the second 2 people for a 1A veranda. She said keep looking for air. It was Monday now at work and my wife texted me to check air from Phoenix, I did and boy-howdy $350 rt with all taxes. She said book it. Woo-hoo we are cruising for the first time in 4 years. So on Thursday we drove 6 hours to Phoenix, caught a midnight flight to Milwaukee and then to FT Lauderdale, landed about noon on friday went to our hotel by Sawgrass Mills and slept til Saturday morning.

 

More to come.........

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Saturday morning comes fast, I didn't sleep very much but that didn't matter cause I was excited to get this cruise going. We rented a car from Ft Lauderdale the day before and dropped it off in Miami on Saturday. I did some research cause I wanted to make sure that the car rental co I rented from had a shuttle from Miami Airport to the cruise terminal. The only ones I found for sure were Dollar/Thrifty. We rented from Dollar and I was very happy with the car and service. The last time we did this the car rental companies were off site, now there is a huge parking garage in both FLL and MIA which makes it very convenient. We arrived in Miami about 10am, dropped the car off, had some trouble finding the right shuttle but finally got on the right shuttle and we were on our way to the port.

 

We arrived at the port around 10:45am, pulled right up, unloaded luggage and we were headed into the terminal. They hadn't started checking in people yet so we only waited in line for about 15 minutes. Once they started it was another 15 minutes til we were on the ship.

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You walk into deck 5 and see the grand foyer, what a sight!! It reminded somewhat of the centrums on the Vision class ships. Open 3 or 4 decks high on half and open to all decks on the other half. There are 8 glass elevators over looking the foyer and really cool tree that hangs in the middle.

 

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They had live music, dancing and dance classes in the foyer.

 

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Our rooms of course were not ready til 130 so we went up to the front of the ship to see if we could see our relatives, inlaws, her sister and aunt. They were on the Liberty of the seas and they were parked right in front of us nose to nose.

 

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I quick zoom, and there they are, headed to Spain on a 14 night transatlantic.

 

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I knew we were to leave at 430 so we called them to find out what time their ship leaves and they didn't know. How could you not know?? They text us later and said between 5 and 6. I thought since we were going to leave first we would probably pull out and pass them and turn around. Thats exactly what we did, but as we passed them they pulled out and then we followed them out of the port. It was pretty neat.

 

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Like i said we booked a Veranda, it was a 1b on deck 8 room 8267 on the hump. When we booked there were probably over 50 verandas left and 2 of them caught our eye, 8267 on the hump and 8197 an angled veranda on deck 8. Not knowing too much about Celebrity's cabins we decided on 8267 because it was on the hump(I know people like the humps on rccl). Of course after we booked I read a post about hump cabins and the angle veranda cabins and the anlgled were sought after more because the verandas were 2 to 3 times the size. Oh well, now i know for next time. Either way we loved our cabin, it was big and well laid out. My wife was worried about the pullman bed because we have seen them where they are over the main bed. If this was the case the girls were going to have to share the sofa bed. To our surprise the pullmen was over the sofa, so much better. The sofa actually had a trundle bed as well, so our sleeping arrangements were great. The veranda was bigger than I thought it was going to be, 2 nice chairs and a table. I spent most of my mornings and evening out there watching us pull into and leave port.

 

Here are a couple shots of our room. We had the bed by the closet which I think worked out well when using the pullmen bed.

 

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This was a connecting room which I thought was awesome how Celebrity dose this. Instead of a connecting door in the middle of a wall, your entrance doors can be left open(they open inward) and an outer door is used for both rooms. Kinda like a lock-off condo room.

 

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With the pullman down and ready to use. My other dd just slept on the sofa instead of the trundle bed so we would have more room to get out to the vernada and the vanity.

 

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Here is a shot of the trundle bed pulled partly out.

 

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The rooms we have been in on RCCL were always connecting Promenade rooms, we like the veranda much better even tho we only had one bathroom.

 

 

 

Food:

Here is where we felt that Celebrity out shined Rccl. We ate every night in the dinning room, table #277 which was not in a great location but we rolled with it. Our waiter infromed us on the first night that the items on the left side of tthe menu were on there every night and the itmes on the right side would change nightly. One thing I always looked forward to on Rccl was their lobster bisque, guess what its on the left side, I had it every night. The menu offered great selections every night, some nights I ordered 2 entrées. The things I remember that they had every night were;

-Shrimp Cocktail

-Ceasers Salad, Capresse Salad,

-Lobster bisque, a Consumme

-NY Strip Steak, Grilled Salmon, Chicken Breast

-NY Cheesecake, Creme Brulee, Apple Pie

I think there were a few others but that what I remember.

 

Here are some shots:

 

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This again was something we enjoyed over Rccl, your own bread basket, not the waiter offering you a selection. The Bread was great too.

 

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Not sure what that was, but Im sure it was good.

 

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Me and the quail.

 

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Whitney and her Creme Brulee. She had it all 7 nights.

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I'm very much enjoying your review! How fun that you actually were able to find your inlaws on the LOS!

 

I'm interested in what your girls thought about Celebrity vs. RCCL. Was there enough interesting for their age bracket?

 

We are making diamond status on our next cruise, and plan on taking that status right on over to Celebrity, primarily because of the smoking/balcony policies. I feel we're relegated to inside rooms on RCCL because I won't waste money on an unusable balcony again.

 

Looking forward to the rest of your review!

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Reading every line of your review. My DH and I are seriously considering trying another cruiseline, and Celebrity or Azamara are at the top of the list. I really appreciate your comparisons to RCCL, that helps us put it in perspective!

 

Ann

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Seared Tuna

 

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The Fillet.

 

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Almond cake I think.

 

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NY Cheesecake offered every night.

 

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This was a shrimp risotto appetizer

 

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This was new, Chicken Wellington. It was fabulous.

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The Oceanview cafe was pretty good, I think it was better than the windjammer in both selection and quality. Breakfasts were your normal items, scrambled eggs, bacon, pork and turkey sausage, corned beef hash, the most tender carved ham etc etc. Apparently the waffles are the thing to get there tho, my dd's had them everyday. The do have an omlette station that would also do made to order eggs. The line at the omlette station was hit or miss, on days it was long I would just get scrambled eggs. The scrambled eggs seemed really watery compared to my last cruise but they were still good. Lots of other choices too, fruit, bagels and all the fixins, even salad, cold cuts and cheese, and lots of pastries. Lunch was also good, lots of hot dishes including an indian station, pasta station, stir fry station and deli sandwiches. Plus carvings of ham, pork and beef with all the sides, potatoes, veggies and more.

 

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This is the chicken tika which my dd loved, again an everyday dish.

 

 

The thing i really loved about the oceanview cafe is they had outdoor seating. A pretty big area outside the back on the aft of the ship. The views were great and setting even better.

 

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Here is a shot at night during one of our many snack sessions.

 

Of course we still called the windjammer all cruise.

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We didn't eat at any of the specialty restaurants except Bistro on Five. We wanted to give the MDR a try the first few nights and if it didn't suit our tastes then we were going to try at least The Tuscan Grill. As i said before we thought the MDR was very good to fantastic. The only thing my wife was disappointed in was they never offered any souffle's for dessert. She always loved them on RCCL.

 

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Bistro on 5 was well worth the $5, we all tried different crepes and liked them all. The waiters kept coming back and asking us if we wanted another one or anything else that was on the menu. We of course tried some of the other desserts which were also very good.

 

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On day day 6(sea day) they prepared an "sunday brunch" type buffet in the MDR. It was from 11am to 2pm and was like the old midnight buffets. It was nice to see so many people in there eating and enjoying it. It makes way more sense to have it during the day when people are hungry than at midnight when you normally don't eat. The food was good and there was plenty of it from breakfast items, carving items, lunch items and lots of desserts including crepes made to order.

 

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And us with our MDR team.

 

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.

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Now for the ports, i think this was best itinary we have ever been on. The ports of call were Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Costa Maya and Roatan. First off I have to say that the cold water and ice towels that Celebrity provides when you get back on the ship from a port is awesome. This is definitely something Rccl doesn't do. Also I forgot when we first boarded the ship in Miami they greeted each and every customer with a glass of champagne, such class.

 

Grand Cayman- We have been here twice before and both times did Nativeways Rays Reef and rum tour. We think this is still the best excursion we have ever done in any port.

 

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We were there with the Crown Princess.

 

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So this time we didnt want to spend a lot of money so we took a cab to 7 Mile Beach (we had never been there). When we got off the ship there were plenty of taxi tours waiting. It was $4 per person for a ride to Royal Palms. We laid out some towels in the shade and hit the water. The beach was really nice but it seemed like it was pretty crowded. I think next time we come we will try and go down a little bit further. The taxis sign had prices for 5 or 6 stops along 7 Mile Beach so we just got off at the first stop. We only stayed a couple of hours and caught another taxi back to do some shopping.

 

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We did a little bit of shopping and ended up at Margaritaville (we love Jimmy) Just a quick tip, we went in just for a drink (Ice Tea, Soda) and some nachos. When we ordered our drinks the waitress asked us if we wanted large and of course we said yes cause it was hot. Well when you order a large non alcoholic drink you are ordering the souvenir glass which is $9 bucks and you really don't know it till she brings you the glass full of your drink. That was ok with us because like I said we like Jimmy.

 

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We stuck around for some music and free shots and then made our way back to the ship.

 

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Next port of call, Cozumel.

 

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We have also been here once before, last time we rented a jeep and drove around the island. Well, were real adventurous folk, so we rented an air conditioned car this time and we drove around the island in the opposite direction:D Again we weren't looking to spend a lot of money so that cost us 55 bucks. The scenery was fantastic.

 

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As you drive around the island, the side the ship is on there is no scenery(just cause you don't drive next to the beach). The back side road is right along the coast giving up spectacular views.

 

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We stopped at one of the many drinking holes and took some pics, had a couple beers, did some shopping and then kept moving. We were only gone probably 3 hours and ended up back at the pier.

 

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DW and DD's shopped the shops right at the pier while I went to Senior Frogs and yep you guessed it, had a couple drinks. Senior Frogs has great views of the ship and a took a couple pics.

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Costa Maya, again we have been here once before pre hurricane. We loved the town of Mahajual then so we wanted to go back and see how it has developed.

 

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We took the bus from the port to the town, it cost $3 bucks each, not too bad. Last time we came we went to the Cats Meow and it was really fun. We got off the bus and the end of town and walked down the boardwalk to see if we could find it again. As you are walking down, no less the 20 people will try to get you stay at there little area on the beach. We walked quite a ways but never found the Cats Meow so we just stopped at another spot that looked like it had a good beach. We paid 10 bucks for chairs and had a waiter for drinks and food.

 

Here is the view from the water.

 

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Here are some views of the beach.

 

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All thats missing is the Corona Bottle.:cool:

 

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And a baby Sting ray (my dd named him Squirt :)) showed up in the shallow water right by us.

 

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DD and I did a little bit of snorkeling, which was ok. Nothing great. We did find quite a few conch shells but they had conchs in them so we didn't keep them.

The town of Mahajual has changed a lot. It is a lot more modern now, at least along the beach. It is a great place to go relax by the beach, eat some food and do some shopping.

 

Now back to the boat.

 

We were supposed to be docked with the Grandeur of the Seas, but they were a no show, so we had the port to ourselves...

 

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Now the last port, Roatan.

 

This port we have never been too, we really didn't know what to expect. Since we booked the cruise so close to sail date, I didn't have very much time to research. One thing I wanted to know is where we docked, I knew Carnival built a dock so I wasn't sure if we would dock their or some place else. I found out we would dock at Coxen Hole, and I was a little worried not knowing what kind of a place it was. When we pulled into port, my uneasiness was lifted. What an awesome port to be at.

 

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This was our view from our veranda.

 

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They welcomed us with a little music.

 

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And welcomed us with opened arms.

 

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We really didnt know what to do here, so again we decided to go to the beach, I know, surprising huh? We went down to the vendor area, found a vendor who offered us $20pp to go and spend the day on the beach.

 

We ended up at one of the west end beaches, Banana-rama. It was really nice but very crowded.

 

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The Carnival Glory was already in port when we arrived, and the beach was pretty full. It was nice tho because on the Eclipse we fell back 2 hours by the time we arrived in Roatan, apparently the Glory stayed on Miami time. Around 12pm all the Glory folk started to leave (2pm their time). So again we had the beach to ourselves. The "Carnivalization" of the beach was gone:D

 

DD and I did some snorkeling again and this was much better. If you go to Banana-Rama go to left past the boat dock and their is a really nice reef.

 

The girls got their hair braided.

 

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And then back to the ship.

 

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If we did this again I would do the same thing but just pay a taxi to drive us to the beach, because thats basically what this tour was. We paid $80 for ride to and from The West End.:eek:

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