We just got back from a 5-day aboard the Celebration and couldn't be happier!!!! We arrived for embarkation check-in at about noon and were on the ship by 1:00.....very smooth check-in. We immediately found our room.....Empress deck....room 46......and met our cabin steward....Igusti Kencana. He was very nice and promised to do everything he could for us. We were quite taken with our window....have been on 2 other cruises, but never had a window before!!! I'm pretty sure we could never go back to an inside cabin now!!!
We made our way up to the WheelHouse Grill for some lunch......this was the only place on the ship that we really didn't care for the food. It was somewhat bland. The breakfasts were good there, but lunches and dinners were not so great. They had great salad bars and dessert bars there too. And of course the 24-hour pizzeria...which was absolutely fabulous!!! The ship was a bit confusing at first, but they give you these handy little deck plans that help lots. At 2pm, we went to the Salon talk in the Astoria lounge. Was very glad we went, because I won a pedicure.....it was awesome!!
Our waiter (Murat) and assistant waiter (Damor) were simply wonderful!!!! You could tell they were busy, but they always had time for us and when they slowed down after dessert, they always came over and chatted with us. Murat was funny, in a dry sense of humor sort of way. Damor was hilarious...always posing for pictures! The food in the dining room was wonderful. My husband is a hearty eater, so he always ordered 2 entrees and Murat was more than happy to bring both.
We didn't do any of the ship shore excursions, so I can't tell you anything about them. In Cozumel, we rented a Chevy Tracker and took off on our own. If you want to rent a car, take a cab to downtown and go see Freddie at Alamo downtown....he gave us the best deal and it was really easy. We found some Mayan ruins to tour and found the most wonderful restaurant, Coconuts, on the East side of the island. It didn't even have electricity....they cooked over an open flame. It was up on a bluff over looking the ocean!!! We docked in Playa del Carmen instead of Calica, which was good because there was shopping there. We decided to take a cab to Xel-Ha as the only ship excursion there included the Tulum ruins. It was a wonderful place with snorkeling and such....just beware....the cab ride there is about $20-$25 each way.
HINT.......shopping is better if you get off the main drag in Cozumel.....more vendors will bargain with you. However, the more quality t-shirts are on the main drag. Playa del Carmen is awesome for shopping!!!!! I really think it was better than Cozumel. The shows on board were really good. The only thing I didn't like was that you couldn't use flash photography, so we couldn't get any good pictures of them. The Mexican dancers were ok, just not really our style. We probably wouldn't go see that show again. Everything else was great.
Beware of pictures......they take a TON of them for you and charge you an arm and a leg for them. I love pictures, so we spent a ton on them. 5x7's are $6.00, 6x8's are $8.00, and 8x10's are $19.00. Also, if you want a picture with the captain at the captain's cocktail party, enter the Astoria lounge on the bottom right side and bring your own camera. This is one of the few picture opportunities the crew did not take.
I was somewhat disappointed that the bridge tour was scheduled for while we were in port. And the galley tour was cancelled due to rough weather. Our last day at sea was the roughest I have ever experienced on a cruise ship. It was rocking so much that it was knocking over band instruments in the orchestra!! We had to buy the motion sickness wrist bands and medicine.....and I have never been motion sick in my life. We finally had to go take a nap. Fortunately, it only lasted about half the day and smoothed out.
If you want Carnival beach towels to take on shore with you, remember to request them the first or second day. We got ours, but heard that they do run out pretty quick. Just remember to bring them back or it's $20. each. Also, you have to ask the cabin steward for the safe key. Keep up with it, or that's another $40.
Overall we had a wonderful experience and would definitely cruise Carnival again. I'm not sure that I would like the bigger ships though....this one was a pretty good size!! If anyone has any questions, I will certainly try to answer them!!