May 3, 2002
We just returned from a 10-day cruise from Ensenada to Honolulu, Hawaii and while it was a nice cruise, we would only rate it as a three star cruise. We have cruised three times before on Royal and we feel that the service that we received on Royal was much higher than on Celebrity.
Embarkation - We arrived in San Diego and we didn't find a Celebrity rep until we were out at the curb with our luggage. Luckily our friends were there ahead of us and showed us where to go. The drive down was very uneventful for us. We arrived at the hotel in Ensenada and we were taken to check-in. Our check-in went smoothly and we were then loaded back onto the buses. We found out later than they had lost my husband's passport number and other information that were given them upon check-in. They could not tell us what had happened with it and I informed them that this was not good.
We were then taken down to the shipyard and had to sit in the buses. We sat in the buses for about 45 minutes while waiting for other buses to unload. It was fine for most of us on the bus because our bus driver had a movie to play, but a lot of buses did not have anything like this and people were upset. The reason for taking so long was that they had to program your card to your picture while boarding.
Our ship was about two hours late leaving due to luggage showing up late (this was actually the first luggage truck to leave before we did so no one knows why it showed up so late) and to a bus loaded with luggage and three people who unloaded at 9:30pm. Our luggage showed up in a timely manner.
Room - Room 8078 was a very nice room with a veranda. The shower was nice and big and allowed for taking a nice shower. We did notice water noise running through our cabin at times and that the walls could at times be very thin. You can hear the drawers opening and shutting. Besides that, there seemed to be plenty of room to store stuff and all. Our stateroom attendant and his assistance kept the room neat and clean for us. We were not prepared to have to tip a chief housekeeper. We don't like tipping anyone we haven't seen and felt that this was in poor taste. This person was not our stateroom attendant or their assistance.
Pools - we didn't use, but they looked nice.
Gym - Very nice, we used it a lot and it was stocked very well with treadmills, elliptical machines, nautilus equipment, free weights, stationary bikes, etc., one of the best that we have seen.
Food - The food was very good, just like we have come to expect from Royal. We had no complaints about the food. We were disappointed that we now have to pay for sodas, we are not drinkers at all and it does add up with sodas come to more than $2.00 per drink and the are very small. The soda card is fine, but it still seems excessive for something that shouldn't matter.
Normandie - This restaurant is unbelievable, very much worth doing for the $25.00 per person. The service in here was exceptional and the food was out of this world.
Entertainment - We saw four Broadway shows which were very nice, we have seen better, but we still enjoyed them. We saw one comedian that was very good also (noodles was his name).
Photography - The quality of the prints is not as good as we have seen, they didn't have as many places to take pictures during formal nights. They didn't bug us too much about taking pictures once we were off the ship which was nice. We still detest those pre boarding pictures that they herd you into and don't let you get out of.
Shops - Very nice shops, lots of places to shop. The art auction even has its own special place for it auctions, kinda wild. The pastry shop by the Cova Cafe was very nice.
Service - now here comes one of my displeasure's with this trip. The service in the dining room was very slow. It was taking two hours and sometimes longer for breakfast and lunch. I have never taken this long to eat and it was ridiculous. We decided to eat up in the buffet called waterfall cafe, which is where most everyone ended up because they were fed up with taking so long to eat. Dinner wasn't much better. We had lots of problems with water glasses not being filled or coffee not being filled. Since I only drink water with my meals, I drink a lot of water and our glasses were dry a lot. We tried to discuss this with the assistant matre'd, but it only made them go faster, but not more efficient. We just had to keep always asking for water when we could find either our waiter or assistant. We also ended up being one of the last tables to leave and they were constantly turning up the lights on us in the dining room and we hadn't had our dessert. We were never loafing in our eating, but we would go for long times between courses with our waiter. We would actually give Celebrity 2 stars for its service and we were disappointed since we had been told how wonderful the service was aboard.
Tenders - here is the other displeasure of our trip. The tenders seemed to run okay, but they were like an e-ticket ride at Disneyland. We know of two tenders that were damaged (one had two broken windows and a missing mooring and one had a broken window that we could see). There were numerous people who were injured while getting off the boat onto the tenders and getting onto the boat from the tenders. The injuries included, bruises, broken arm, broken leg, head wounds, wrenched knees, etc . . . It was not pleasant on these and you got bounced around a lot. One tender we were on had people thrown from their seats. We barely hung on. It seemed like they weren't being watched properly.
Shore excursions - We did one shore excursion from the ship and it was a disaster. The person running the show didn't know what was going on. Our biggest disappointment was that they did the staging from the rendevous lounge where people could smoke. I am allergic to smoke and it was not pleasant to breathe this in and have problems while waiting for our tender to be called. I would like to see this go back to the theater where smokers can't smoke.
Smokers - Sorry, but the smokers were all over the ship, smoking in the rooms, hallways, etc. It was more prevalent than we have seen before. We were even informed that there are smoking rooms on the port side of the ship(which we were on) and that they could smoke most anywhere on this side of the ship. It seemed like they were just smoking anywhere they wanted to.
All in all we did have a good time on this cruise regardless of all the problems that happened. Our motto is to enjoy our vacations no matter and to just deal with what we can that is within our abilities.