I want to begin by saying I have never written a review before, but I do so enjoy reading the reviews that everyone writes. It's a great way to find out about the ships and to hear the various opinions, so I thought I would give it a shot. Please remember these are only my opinions.
This was our first time on Celebrity and our 9th cruise. We have sailed on American Family Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Princess. Our group included myself, my husband, our 4 children--ages 18, 16, 14, & 10. We also had 2 friends of children along--14 & 16.
We had 2 outside quad cabins on the Riveria Deck, right smack in the center of the ship. My husband, myself, my 18 yo son and my 10 yo son shared one cabin and the 2-16 yo and 2-14 yo (all teen girls) shared the other Cabin. These cabins had the most closet space I have ever seen on a ship. Two large double closets , one with two sets of drawers, plenty of hangars and robes for everyone to use while onboard. The bathroom was also nicely set up with plenty of storage. There were corner shelves and a large storage cabinet under the sink. There was a hair dryer in the bathroom (not very powerful though), a lotion dispenser and shampoo/conditioner dispenser in the shower. Our cabin steward, Derrick, was wonderful, even with a whole cabin full of messy teen girls!
This was Easter week and the shipped was booked to capacity. There were many families on the ship, but also many older folks also. All the kids seemed well behaved throughout the week. Our itinerary was as follows--Left from San Juan, St. Croix, St. Lucia, Barbados, day at sea, Antigua and then St. Thomas. It was a great itinery for us as we are a beach loving family. Our air was through Celebrity from Milwaukee, WI. The flights went flawlessly. We left Milwaukee at 7 AM and we were in San Juan by 2:45 PM. We were on board the Galaxy by 3:30 PM. Check-in went smoothly, taking about 15 min. We sailed promptly at 11 PM with a great deck party for sail away.
My first impression walking aboard the Galaxy was elegance. I thought the decor was beautiful. She was spotlessly clean and was kept that way throughout the week. The kids are use to walking on ships with a Grand Atrium, Galaxy does not have the Atrium effect. They have the Grand Foyer. It was beautifully done, but the effect is not the same, more closed in feeling. We were escorted to our cabins by a crew member who showed us our cruise cards and explained the dining for the night. Dining the first night was open seating at your assigned time (we had late seating). The Orion dining room was as the rest of the ship-elegant. The staff in the dining room and for that matter on the whole ship was excellent. The service had to be the best we have ever had on any ship we had been on. We were very impressed. The following days we were seated in the lower dining room, at a table for 8 by the window. Our waiter Rana, and our asst. waiter, Rafael, were outstanding. They treated us like royality, entertained the kids, etc. The wine stewardess from Lithuania, was wonderful also. She had a different puzzle or brain twister everyday for the kids (she used to be a kindergarten teacher). The bar man was the only crew member I ran into on this ship who would not take home any prizes in the personality dept. Our kids all had soda cards, which for some reason bugged him--he kept trying to talk them into Virgin Pina Coladas or Strawberry Daiquiris & seemed annoyed when they only ordered soda. By the 3rd night he lightened up a little, even cracked a smile. As for the food , again this is solely our opinion. It was very good. Many people before this trip had told us how Celebrity had the best food of any cruise line. Personally, I don't think it was much different than Royal. I think Princess was still better and would get my vote for the best I have had so far. We had breakfast 3 times in the dining room--it was very good. Service pleasant & efficient. The other days were at the buffet, the made to order omelettes and belgian waffles were great, the other hot food was your basic buffet, okay but not great. It was great to have the waiters carry your trays to the table. As for lunch, we never ate in the dining room or the buffet. by the time we got back to the ship, it was over. We ate pizza which was very good. A couple of days, it was burgers, dogs or fries at the grill. They were good. My 10 yo thought the fries were great , and also the frozen yogurt served everyday from 4-6 PM. Most people on Formal nights were very dressed-- many tuxedos. Of course there was the 1 or 2 exceptions, who didn't seem to understand this concept. Our family enjoys dressing up for formal nights, and it gives a chance for those homecoming and sno-ball dresses to be used again!We looked at a few Midnight Buffets, but never ate at one. With late seating you are barely finished with dinner and the thought of more food only brought groans. They were all attractively done, looked & smelled very tasty!
Except for the day at sea, the pool area was pleasant. The padded lounge chairs and padded table chairs were very comfy. There were a couple groups of "chair-savers" but not as bad as I have seen other times. The Oasis pool towards the back of the ship, was very pleasant. It had a retractable roof which was kept open during the day and closed later around sunset. The open deck behind the Oasis pool was one of my favorite areas to sit. It had tables with umbrellas, it was quiet and peaceful. My husband and I would escape here to sit and have a quiet drink and watch the world go by. As I said before, we are great beach lovers, so our time off the ship was going to beaches for sun and fun. We did not do any ship excursions. We got our own taxis (which were always plentiful at every stop). On St Croix, we went to Rainbow Beach. It was about a 5-7 minute taxi ride. It was a local beach with a small bar area for drinks and soft drinks. There were bathrooms and changing rooms. It was a nice,sandy beach, nice clear water and no beach vendors. No chairs here, we used our towels to sit or lay on. Next stop St. Lucia, we taxied to The Rex St. Lucia--a very lovely resort with restuarant & bar service, bathrooms, changing rooms, etc. you can use at no charge. They did charge you for chairs-$5. Water sports were very reasonable here. My oldest and youngest son went jet skiing for $40 for 1/2 hour. They had a great time--they rode together. The girls went tubing on the Delta Double (a tube for 2). It was $16 for a 10 min ride. There were also banana boat rides, etc. There were some beach vendors here, but a "no thanks-not interested" and they were gone. The beach itself was great. Beautiful aqua colored water, wonderfully clear.
At Barbadoes, everyone wanted a beach with waves this time so we taxied to Casuarina's- a beautiful, tropical resort about 10 min from the dock at Bridgetown. Again, restuarants,bar, changing rooms, all available to use. Chair rental here--$4 per chair. The beach again was beautiful, sandy , clear beautiful blue water. The waves were great to play in--big enough to ride in or dive into but not dangerous undertows. Again a few vendors, but not pushy.
In Antigua we went to Millers Beach Resort about a 10 minute taxi ride. Again a lovely beach with velvet-like sand to walk on. Chairs were free here. There was a bar/restuarant area, bathrooms and changing room. Many vendors here, a lot pushier than anywhere else. You just had to hold your ground. St. Thomas was our last stop and as always one of our favorite stops. The hardest part here is deciding which beach to go to. Since last year we went to St. John's to Trunk Bay ( a beautiful beach) we opted to re-visit Magen's Bay. This is my kids favorite beach. They love the sand and the water here and floating on the rafts in the water. It was as beautiful as we remember. Needless to say we came back very tan, a couple a little red, but we loved every moment. Any shopping we did was always at the dock area. We wandered through the local open Markets. The girls got some great necklaces made by the islanders, a couple of t-shirts, but nothing real earth shattering.
The "teens" did not think Celebrity had the greatest teen program. Their favorite clubs have been on Royal--with midnight swims, pizza parties, dancing parties etc. There is a teen disco on Galaxy but it is extremely small and really was not used very much. Most of the times, they met in the Rendez-Vous Lounge and had karaoke. They mostly did things in their own little groups. They had a great time though and would do it again in a minute.
Entertainment on the ship was okay. The theater itself is beautifully done. There was never a problem getting a seat. The singers and dancers were average. The comedian was very good & the Chinese acrobats were entertaining. I definitely think Royal or Carnival has Celebrity beat in this dept.
Overall, this was a wonderful cruise. We loved the itinerary, the ship & the crew. Galaxy, IMHO, is a beautiful , wonderfully layed out ship. In one days time, I was able to find my way around without a problem. This is great for me since I am easily turned around. I also liked that announcements were not made continously. Much more peaceful. Would we go on Celebrity again--yes, without a doubt!