by Richard Stein
November 10, 2005
This was our 14th Celebrity Cruise. I have elite status with Celebrity and booked CC cabin 7189 in January 2005. Right after I made my final payment Celebrity had a Happy Hour sale and was selling suites for this cruise for what I paid for a CC cabin. I wrote Celebrity on this and they wrote me back saying Happy Hour prices applied to new bookings only and offered me nothing. This is just a caution to those who might book this cruise early next year. I booked my air through Celebrity and flew on the day of the cruise with non-stop flights both way using my Complementary Custom Air-kudos’ for this. Picked up bags in Newark, and searched for a Celebrity representative for over 30 minute before I found one. I was on a mini bus to the dock within two hours after arrival.
Embarkation: My elite status, my CC cabin which is supposed to have Priority Check-in and Expresspass saved me no time as all were ignored and they put us all in a long check in line with a 45 minute wait with first timers. Also got no help on ship finding my cabin.
Cabins: The cabin 7189 (cat. CC) was attractively decorated and good sized for the price. The balcony offered privacy and had padded chairs. The shower was large with a hose and wand arrangement that I like. Cabin service was efficient and unobtrusive. Enjoyed breakfast in room several times. I also enjoyed the better bathrobes and canapés on several times. Suite upgrades were a Bingo prize given away during this cruise.
Public Areas: The public areas are nice and never feel crowded. They had good shows on board and the comedians and dancers were great. The bars had a buy 5, pay for four Heineken beer special on the Open deck bars, which I got this all cruise long and put them in the cabin fridge. There was bottle opener in the bathroom. All beers foreign and domestic are at least $4.50 on this ship, which is higher than other cruise line. I missed some shows that were at 11 PM, due to being in second seating and being tired. There were plenty of activities to keep you busy all day including lectures and classes of all kinds. I went to and enjoyed several parties for elite members, but did not get invited to several events for elite members like the complimentary wine tasting. They had a Priest on board and daily mass- kudos’ to Celebrity for this.
Dining: I requested 2nd seating dining when I booked and I got some of the best tablemates at table 100, next to the Captain’s table, that I ever had and a good waiter too. We ate all our evening meals here. All of us at this table had elite status and were in CC cabins. One of the so-called elite perks is an invite to the Captain’s or Officers table, which did not happen. We ate breakfast and lunch in the main dining room most days. We did try the waffles with blue berries in the lido for breakfast on several occasions. We had lunch in the lido on Italian day and several other times when the main dining room was closed while the ship was in port. We had pizza, hot dogs and burgers several times for a snack. The afternoon tea in Lido had some nice snacks and ice cream daily. All the restaurants were nicely decorated and the food in all the Dining rooms was up to Celebrity standards. The food in the Lido was also good.
Tours: We passed on any tours as we had been at all these ports before. I was looking forward the Charleston as a port but they deleted it and changed the port to Grand Bahama. I would have done tours in Charleston. We did walk around and shop in port.
Disembarkation: We had an invite for the Elite Continental Departure Breakfast in the Specialty restaurant, but were turned away due to having Gray luggage tags. Getting off the ship went slow, out bags were loaded on trucks and it was a mess getting our bags at the airport and getting onto the plane. The flight back was a non-stop flight and was fine.
Overall, this cruise was a “true departure” from our previous Celebrity cruises and I will be very reluctant in the future to book a Celebrity cruise early. The letter I received from Celebrity prior to sailing will also bear on my future plans along with how we were treated from the time we got there till we left. Had I booked 60 days out I could have had the same category cabin for $400 per person less than I paid. I will consider Celebrity during a Happy Hour sale in the future as I retire at the end of 2006 and can be flexible.