by David Melgar
July 8, 2000
Cruises provide a variety of activities to suit different tastes. For us, exercise is our main goal. We are a couple without kids in our mid 30's with enough vacation to be able to enjoy many cruises. We're avid sail boaters & love the sea. We don't smoke, we love the outdoors & exercise. We're not into luxury, we always book cheapest cabin because we want to be able to vacation a lot. We care a lot about ship design, wrap around promenade decks, open spaces to view the sea, sunsets, moon shimmering on the waves. We're not into service, fancy food, and casinos.
The stern is terraced down to deck 8. Deck 12 aft has cool chairs with a built in canopy to protect from the sun while letting the breeze through. They were always busy as were most deck chairs. Deck 11 aft is the buffet restaurant, where lots of garbage blows overboard. Deck 9 aft has 3 ping-pong tables & golf net. The ping-pong tables were either busy or ball-less. This cruise apparently had a problem with kids throwing balls over the side. You had to sign your life away on deck 5 just to get a ball.
I wish I could have bought some for a few bucks rather than go through the hassle. How cheap can Celebrity be? Deck 8 is the lifeboat deck, closest thing to a promenade. Teak decks, shuffleboard, but they don't like chairs on the deck.
Most public rooms were on decks 7 & 8, providing a decent variety of lounges. There is also a lounge on deck 11. Michaels club has really interesting decor reminiscent of a 1st class smoking lounge (it is a cigar lounge). Don't try to play chess on the equally interesting table. The extremely rude staff won't let you move the portable set if the smoke gets to you. We were in the middle of a challenging game, someone came in for cigars, we started moving the table to the game room immediately next door.
The bartender scolded us and forbid us from moving it. No room for negotiation, she didn't care about the game, not her problem, the board stays here in the smoke. We walked out for a second to contemplate the situation, upon returning, she had already reset the table. I have never experienced such rudeness. This one event made us so upset that it seriously adversely affected our cruise.
The ship has lots of soot from the smoke stack that falls on the rear decks. The problem is pretty bad, but the crew works hard to keep things clean. Watch out on your clothes & food.
Other than that the ship is very clean & well maintained, other than being an older boring design, you can't tell the ship is not new.
Overall, the ship is clean and functional, but hands down the ugliest ship we've been on.
The crew was often was rude to passengers. When some of our tablemates were late to lunch, they were asked, "do you know how to read a watch?"
Most irritating was a feigned interest in passenger complaints. Complaints were not responded to. The attitude was, complain all you want, we won't change it.
I can't complain at the crew, they're typically following orders. But the officers, and Celebrity should know better. We attempted to speak with the hotel manager Mr. Filippos Gergiov, but he did not bother to return our calls.
The exercise room has been cut in half, creating one of the smallest exercise facilities afloat. The space has been converted to spa & massage, which are big money makers for cruise lines.
The exercise day consists of two morning exercise classes, one of which conflicts with a supposed walk a mile. The staff sometimes did not even show up for the morning walk. It was hard to tell it was ever going on.
The pool, our favorite spot to exercise, closed at 6:45pm even though sunset was at 8:30. During the day it was too crowded. The only chance to swim was early in the morning. I've never understood the need to close a pool that early & much prefer cruise lines that leave them open (such as Princess).
As mentioned earlier, the ping-pong tables had paddles but no balls. You had to traverse the ship and leave your cruise card to get a $0.50 ball! How cheap can Celebrity be? I wish I could have bought a box to avoid the hassle. Again, everything on a schedule, the front desk closes, after that time you can't get a ball no matter what.
That's about it for exercise, or the lack thereof.
These complaints were not isolated cases. Many passengers were distressed by the attitude aboard. When the attendant unceremoniously kicked everyone of the pool (a sizeable crowd), they were about to mutiny. All pleas and questions to the crew about why the need to close the pool were met with disinterest. His job was to close the pool no matter how many paying passengers were enjoying the afternoon sun. I have pictures of the cleared out and netted pool, as well as the deck being cleaned and chairs stacked on an obviously gorgeous sunny afternoon with many irritated passengers standing by.
In no way could I recommend Celebrity. Cruises can vary from week to week and ship to ship; however, I must strongly caution anyone considering a Celebrity cruise, and especially the Horizon. Spend the extra money, go on a cruise line that cares, basically anyone else. Your time is important, don't waste it on a cruise that is less than it could be.