by Helene Apper
October 16, 2006
I love Celebrity Cruises. All of my previous cruises have been fantastic on this line. However, I think there may have been problems on this cruise. This was their last cruise to Canada/New England and I think some of the staff were just too anxious to get to warmer weather.
The itinerary was fabulous. We started in Bayonne, New Jersey (by the way -- this is a port that is basically organized and has their act together. Friendly porters and very accessible).
We went to Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Quebec City, Quebec, cruise the Saguenay River and then to Portland, Maine. All the ports were ready for the influx of people and dealt with it well. Rather than taking trips off the ship, we hired our own guides and/or took a taxi wherever we went. We weren't in "foreign" countries and drivers were readily available at all ports for less money than you would pay the cruise line for a side trip. I wouldn't risk this out of the U.S. or Canada, but I highly recommend it for these ports. It leaves more time for shopping and you can spend as much time as you want at each location.
Unfortnately, service on this ship was severely lacking in comparison to our past cruises on Celebrity. The food only rated an okay with everyone at our dinner table (and we are all seasoned cruisers). The cabins stewards were okay (we were Concierge Class and expected a bit better). The cabins are beginning to look dated and the beds needs replacing. I will recommend that cruisers not pay the upgrade fee for Concierge Class. You pay about $200 per person for stale canapes and towels that are a bit fluffier - no biggie. Allegedly you are supposed to get a more seasoned cabin steward but you don't. You get little trinkets extra but not really worth the money.
The shows on the ship were EXCELLENT including a brief Cirque d'Soleil show. Fabulous. Embarkation/Debarkation was a breeze. The Captain on the ship was very witty and fun to listen to.
I was a little ruffled about the fact that on sea days they stacked activities that shouldn't have been stacked (i.e. bingo and black jack tournament at the same time). They also nickle and dime you for everything -- however this is the way of the cruise lines today.
All in all, it was a good cruise. The food was average, the service was average, but my expectations for Celebrity are higher than that for Princess, NCL, Royal or Carnival.