March 17, 2008
We had 2 inside staterooms and were pleasantly surprised at the condition of them based on reviews we'd read previously. The beds were great, there was tons of storage and the bathroom was roomy with a very large shower. We spoke to other passengers who had problems with their cabins so it seems like Celebrity is starting the refurbishment at the bottom and working their way up. The only complaint about the stateroom was an annoying banging coming from behind us. It seemed to come from a crew work room adjacent but stopped once we complained to guest services.
Apparently there were 150 kids on this ship as it was Spring Break but it didn't seem so. Our 12 year old went to the Kids program and many times he was the only one there! As the cruise went on though, more kids joined and he had a great time.
The food in the dining room was pretty good but not the standard I expect from Celebrity. Our waiters were excellent though. The buffet food was disappointing with limited selections compared to all other ships I've cruised on.
The entertainment was the most disappointing thing about the cruise for us. We love to participate in activities and go to the theatre for a show every night. There were some good activities but most of the time we found there was hardly anyone taking part. I've never been on a ship where you could go to the disco at 10pm and be alone! Even when there was 80's hour or things like that, there were only about 7 couples. This is not the fault of the ship obviously, but I fault the cruise director for the choice of activities. The shows in the theatre were very poor. The costumes and set decoration were amateurish. Some nights there was no show at all.
The disembarkation was very smooth and we took advantage of the Luggage Valet service which was great. We met in the theatre at the appointed time, picked our luggage up on the dock, carried it through customs and then didn't see it again until Seattle. We had about 4 hours in San Juan to site-see so we were able to do this without shlepping around our luggage.
The ship has very few announcements and none on disembarkation day, unlike other ships who start the announcements at 6am.
The ship is definitely old and the areas that show it the most are the cloudy windows in the Stratosphere Lounge, and the walking deck above the pool deck. The seats in the main theatre are also dirty. Having said that, the price for a cruise on this ship is great, so if you're looking for an inexpensive vacation with great ports, don't be deterred. Just don't expect the usual Celebrity experience in terms of ship condition, entertainment and food. The refurbishment is this month but I've heard Celebrity is not spending as much as originally planned on it.