by Doreen & Don Edwards
May 19, 2002
We flew from Heathrow to Barcelona with our group from Cruisein in Andover Hants. All went well and there were no flight delays.
Although there was quite a crowd at embarkation we were aboard quite quickly due to the large number of staff dealing with documentation. This was our first cruise with Celebrity so we wondered how they would compare with Holland America Line.
The ship was only one week old and was beautiful. The decor was very modern and to some of us the colours seemed to clash somewhat. The modern art paintings were really rather strange, for instance a photograph of a half empty fast food container!!
We had a stateroom on deck 8 with a veranda which was very nice although as I said the colour scheme was unusual. Red and orange curtains and bedspread and a very bright light green settee. panelling was all light oak.
Service was very good almost without exception. The crew were a tremendous mix of nationalities. Our cabin stewardess Annaliza was from the Philippines. She was excellent. Our waiter Juan was I think Spanish, our assistant waiter Nicoulas was from South Africa. Many of the Waiters were from East Europe. They all appeared to work together very well.
Food was good in general sometimes excellent. We ate breakfast in the Seaside buffet on deck 10 every morning but one when we had room service. We were not too impressed with the cooked selection. Certainly the scrambled egg was usually cold and rather slimy but the cold selection was good.
Again we ate lunch in the same restaurant each day but one. lunches varied rather, somedays very good other days not quite so good.
Dinners in the San Marco Restaurant were very good to excellent with very good service from all concerned. We were on first sitting on a table for eight and we got on very well with each other.
The first production show by the resident entertainers was pretty awful most of us thought although the voices were good.
The pianist, Brooks Aarhon was extremely good and gave tremendous performances.
The comedian whose name we forget was good but his jokes were sometimes rather old.
The second production show was a complete contrast to the first. It was fast, spectacular and very well staged, really excellent.
The last show was an operatic tenor who could also sing popular songs well. He was very good with a nice personality.
We missed the other act which was billed as 'the only legal pickpocket." We were sorry we missed this as we understood he was excellent. His name was Bob Arno and he later gave a very good lecture on personal security.
The first port was Ville Franche, an attractive little port where we anchored and went ashore by tender.
Next was Ajaccio in Corsica. The birthplace of Napoleon Bonapart. Quite an attractive little port but the excursions did not seem too interesting.
Civitta Vecchia followed, this is the port for Rome but it not very attractive in itself being a mainly commercial port.
Naples followed. This is an interesting place in itself and with good excursion to places such as Pompeii, Capri and Sorrento.
Next day we were supposed to arrive in Valletta, Malta but as we approached a gale sprang up blowing hard across the harbour entrance and the visit was cancelled. We steamed on all day into the gale but the ship stayed very steady. The Captain was able to secure a berth at the alternative port of Palma Majorca. This is an attractive place and pleasant for a walk ashore.
On arrival back in Barcelona early in the morning the disembarkation was carried out very efficiently indeed and we were off the ship by 0930 and our luggage was waiting for our collection in the shed.
All in all we enjoyed our cruise with Celebrity who we found very efficient bearing in mind the ship carried nearly 2000 passengers.
In some ways however we feel we still have a slight preference for Holland America although it is only slight.