First, let me say that we had a great time! The Celebration is a nice ship. The staff is always cleaning so the place was spotless. The ship is ideal for first time cruisers as well as cruisers that like smaller ships. We prefer smaller ships because you get to know more people.
Food: The food was very good. The service was impeccable. I actually was scolded, by my head waiter, on the first night because I tried to help him clear the table. He told me to relax and let him do the work. (Don't get that at home!) Don't forget that if you want more of a particular item or want to try something else, ASK!
Room: We had the standard room E120 and were comfortable. We actually saw dolphins from our room! The room stewart introduced himself the first night and we really never say him again. They must have a secret door somewhere. I did have to hunt down wash cloths one day but we were napping when he came to make up the room, so we probably wouldn't have had too otherwise.
Staff: I have been onthree cruises and Carlo the cruise director was the best I've ever seen! He was great! The captain was a hoot as well. The photo staff were a little rude and acted as if we owed them. Everyone else was great.
Ports: Cozumel was OK. We took the Fury Catamarran Sail and Snorkel shore trip and absolutely loved it. I would recommend this trip to anyone! Cozumel wasn't as good a deal on bargains as everyone said it would be. No one wanted to deal so we didn't spend much. Calica is a waste of time. We should have booked a tour but didn't. I think Calica is a kickback port for Carnival because you can't just go out a look around on your own so if you want to have fun you have to book a tour. There are only ten or so tents set up and that's about it. Calica is too far to walk anywhere. We had the most fun trying to teach one of the port workers how to speak English. He was nice.
Expenses: Be prepared to spend lots on pictures. The photo department on the ship wants $20.00 for 8X10's, $7.95 for 6x9's and $5.95 for 5X7's and you have to buy the size that they print. You don't get to choose the size! If you go on the Fury Catamarran, they take pictures and have t-shirts, take money. We didn't because we were the first tour and planned on going back to the ship to freshen up before going into Cozumel. The photographer was nice enough to let my husband run to the room to get money and come back so that we could buy the pictures and shirts.
Weather: It was the best! Not under the control of Carnival but we couldn't have ask for better weather. The last day was pretty but we had ten to twelve foot waves at sea so needless to say people were sick everywhere. Luckily we didn't get sick but a lot of people did and the ship was a mess for awhile. The ship was promptly cleaned and you wouldn't have know so many people were sick. They actually had to cancel the X-Treme Country show that was scheduled because they didn't want to dancers getting hurt.
Entertainment: The comedy shows and dance shows were really good. Don't miss the "What's in the bag" game! What FUN! Don't miss the pool side games either. Make sure you are involved and buy the Travel Log if you are! It is really fun to watch and a good document of your trip. The Travel Log is $24.95 but worth it if you participate.
Overall: We had a good time but we also made sure we were involved in activities. Our friends that when did have a very good time but all they did was eat and sleep. Anyway if you have any questions or concerns write me and I'll be happy to help you out. firstname.lastname@example.org put Celebration is the subject box.
Before traveling I had read some cranky comments about Carnival Celebration. So, I thought I would share my perspective. My expectations were exceeded! Our stateroom was very nice. It was recently redecorated and comfortable. The colors and decor was very up to date and tasteful. We had a nice big window on the main deck. This room was certainly nice for the value. Our Steward was excellent. It seemed like everytime we left the room it got cleaned. Amazing!! Several parts of the ship have been recently renovated and redecorated including the dining rooms, staterooms, and stairwells. The outside decks were nice. A couple of the lounges had a "1980's" flair but were in good shape. Our fellow travelers were very diverse from young to old.
It didnt seem like any age group dominated on the trip. There were a few families and some teens but that didnt bother us. The food is ok...and there is alot of it. From time to time I would find something I really liked. After boarding you are treated to lunch on the Lido deck in the Wheelhouse room. I would suggest getting out of thegrill and hot food line (it can get long while boarding) and hop on over to the pizza, salad bar, or the cesar salad bar. Dinners are good for the most part. The waiter for our table was excellent and made sure we had a fun time. Our two ports were Cozumel and Calica. At Cozumel we did the Passion Island excursion. That was cool. With an open bar, lunch, beach chairs and hammocks. The beach was amazing and private...with just the 130 people from our ship. However, we may have gotten a better deal if we found a beach outside of one of the excursions. In Calica/Playa Del Carmen, we took a cab to the downtown/beach area.
Calica is a no frills port so you have to take a cab to Playa Del Carmen (which is nice). That was just six dollars for three of us. Once we got to the beach there were several resorts to choose from. They offered chairs and umbrellas...and had wait service on the beach. We bargained until we got the best deal. Some of the resorts will throw in some extras if you are willing to bargain. One thing you shouldnt miss... Watching the sunrise and sunset. It might be cool to wake up and watch the sunset while pulling into port in Calica. You will probably be awaken anyway since the ship docks early. We didnt do that but heard it was outstanding.
One more thing...drinks! While boarding the ship you can get the drink of the day in a special glass. It's around six dollars for the first one and a couple bucks off after that. Any other frozen drink can be refilled in the glass. It was fun to have a fruity island drink to toast as we pulled out of Galveston. The other alchoholic beverages are reasonable in price and are often cheaper than what you can get in a bar in the US. Hope that helps! We had a great time. Enjoy!
Celebration by Prairiefire Western Caribbean August 24, 2003
We couldn't leave this ship fast enough--it was broken promises and lots of disappointment all the way for this 50-year-old mom and three teenagers (13, 14, and 15).
The kids got on board, went exploring, and found 'adults only' signs on about 1/2 of the public areas: the bars, the casino, the gym, the spa, and the upper sundeck. They were put off by the early-childhood decor of the children's area, and found themselves limited pretty much to the cafeteria, two small pools, and our stateroom.
When I sought out the Youth Social Director to find out if we had missed anything (perhaps one small corner of the ship designated for teens to meet and mingle?), the social director handed us a sheet of paper with some listed activities and rattled off for me a list of places my kids couldn't go. (Yes, we can see the "no one under 18" signs, thank you.)
We tried out some of the activities and they were dominated either by little kids (tee-shirt painting) or by adults (wrestling an inflatable crocodile in the pool). Playstations were allegedly available forone hour a day, but when my 13-year-old son sought them out, he found them parked in one corner of a dank, windowless nursery area with decor and seats suitable for 4-year-olds, and he had to be let through a toddlers' safety gate to get to them. He wouldn't set foot in the place, like any self-respecting 13-year-old. Internet access was available in more inviting surroundings, but at something in the neighborhood of $50 an hour.
When I complained about the limited teen activities in writing to the cruise director, she wrote back, but conceded that the 14- and 15-year olds would be allowed in the gym, but only as long as I was also present. So much for the promise that I could get some relaxation while the kids had their own fun.
And DO NOT board a cruise that leaves from Galveston unless you truly enjoy the company of Texans who love to brag loudly about Texas at the slightest provocation, which the cruise staff gave them at every gathering (Hello, Texans!). The 25% of us or so who were from elsewhere rapidly tired of the Texas braggadoccio, but pretty much had to keep our mouths shut because we were so very much in the minority and the cruise staff egged the Texans on.
These were no genteel Southerners, either. Bad grammar, four-letter-word vocabularies even when they were engaged in friendly chatter, obscene tee-shirts, crass materialism (Bingo cards and scratch-off games at nearly every gathering, along with staff souvenir give-aways that had this crowd literally knocking each other over grabbing for the free tee-shirt or whatever.) I thought the dining room might be a refuge, but the loud potty-mouths at the next table would whoop and holler anytime a waiter dropped a tray. Take your kids to the neighborhood bar for the same atmosphere at a cheaper price.
The shore trips at Cozumel (we went on a Jeep eco-tour in a conservation area) and Calica (we visited the Mayan ruins of Tulum) were very good, and I enjoyed the low-fat spa cuisine menu. The housekeeping staff were genuinely concerned about our cruise experience, and the waiters were warm and friendly.
This is a review of our 8/24/03 sailing on the CCL Celebration. There were four of us, my DH, son (18), his friend (18), and myself. We elected to drive this time, and although it went OK, we plan to return to the flying route.
We arrived in Galveston in the afternoon on Sunday, and checked into the Hilton on Seawall for the night. After making our parking arrangements and setting up the shuttle for the next morning we set out for Benno's for dinner. The fried shrimp was really good.
The Ihop was close, and we had a nice breeakfast before heading to the pier. We arrived around 11:40 am, and there was a line. I have to say that the staff at the Galveston facility is very efficient, and the line moved very quickly. They win points on this one. We were able to board right away. The ship is pleasant, and kept quite clean.
We were not sure how it would be to have all four of us in the same cabin, but it worked out just fine. We had a cabin with the twin/king and one upperberth, we used a roll away for the fourth bed. This was a good plan because the roll away is almost on the floor, and was easy to get around. All beds were very comfortable. Our Cabin Steward was Brenda from South Africa, and she did a fine job all week. In the cabin when you board there will be a bunch of sodas, bottled water, etc.. on the desk, Brenda gladly removed them for us as we never purchase these items. We brought on our own water and a few cans of pop for the cabin, a couple bottles of wine, and even smuggled on a few little bottles of rum. We ended up taking home pop, rum, and one of the bottles of wine. We did use our bar cupons that I bought prior to the cruise. We did have a small problem with the shower. The screw that holds the shower head up was stripped out and made taking a shower a little inconvenient. We did request that it be fixed, but was not done during our cruise. There was plenty of closet space, and we made use of my over the door hanger. The walls on this ship are made of paper though! On one side we had a couple with two toddler boys that felt the need to get up by 5:30am each day, and ready to jump on beds, click the light buttons, yell and play! On the other side was a loud couple that insisted on being intimate at around 2:00am! They clearly didn't have any regard for the people on the other side of the "paper wall" to try to keep the noise down!!!!!!! This in turn caused the boys to go into hysterical laughing, with me joining in no matter how hard I tried to ignore them! Sleep was not a reality on this cruise!
We went to the Aft pool area for the sail away, and I ordered my traditional cruise drink, a Kiss on the Lips. I was VERY disappointed to find out that they didn't have any Mango juice, so no Kiss on the Lips for me!! In fact they never got any, so all week I had to do without. I did enjoy the Green Apple Martini. We had good weather most of the cruise, and only had noted movement on Thursday afternoon, after leaving Calica.
We were seated at table 250 in the Horizon dining room at a table with a nice family of four. We did feel vibration at dinner every evening. The food on this cruise was excellent, and never had a dish we didn't like. The menu was the same as it has been for the past few years, but I don't mind, this way we know what we like best! The food in the Wheelhouse Grill/ Buffet was also very good, fresh, and plentiful. The Lobster, Prime Rib and Salmon were delicious on Formal night, but I must say that the Salmon was especially great this time! Not a bad dessert all week either!
Formal night was nice, and being the traditionalist we are the guys were in beautiful tuxes, and I wore my favorite matching black and white gown. We were beautiful if I do say so myself! LOL! I had the boys hit the showers after me, and they showered and dressed while I went to the spa to have my hair done. When I got back they were done and out of the way. Even though this 5 day cruise was more casual, we did get a few compliments, made us feel good!
The entertainment on this cruise was pretty good, and the new big production shows were very well done! It was nice to see something new. You really should not miss these. The female singer Amy Sexton was extremely talented, and did outshine the male singer Heath McMillian. There were plenty of ship board activities to enjoy, or not. It has been a goal of mine to win a ship on a stick, and no matter how much I have tried, I have never won one. We have won medals, and that lovely bubbly wanna be Champaign, but never the coveted ship on a stick. I was determined this time, and lo and behold, my darling son won one for me! It took great effort on his part to do so. He and his friend participated in the Battle of the Sexes game. Between ripping the dentures from my DH's mouth, and stripping to his boxers on stage, the guys came up victorious! He was so sweet to present the trophy to me! Sometimes you just gotta love teenagers! We were disappointed to find out that the Video Diary people didn't film this competition, but at least I took photos!
I also must mention the fabulous captain Antonino Allegretti! On most of our cruises the captain was never very vocal, or social. Captain Allegretti was animated, funny, very social, and you could tell by the way the crew felt about him that he is a wonderful man to work for! Our cruise was his last sailing until after his vacation, and the crew gave him a send off celebration. They sang to him and some shed a few tears! We will definitely pay more attention on future bookings to see if we can sail with him again!
We did discover that we will not sail from any port other than Florida during the last two weeks of August. It was a very good thing we brought a friend for our son to hang with, as there were no older teens, or young adults on board for them to do things with. Evidently, Texas students had started back to school already, and most of the families from the east coast fly to Florida to cruise, so back to Florida for us. There were MANY older cruisers, and they did provide some interesting entertainment at the Bars! We did see Security "help" a few people to their cabins on a few occasions.
Cozumel was great as always! It has really built up since we were there 2 years ago. There is a big outdoor mall area as you exit the pier. You have to walk through it to get to the taxi area. There also is a big indoor mall at the pier closer to downtown. We skipped shopping at both of these places. We went back to Chankanaab first thing to try to beat the crowds. The snorkeling was very good, with good clear water, and lots of variety of fish. They still do a good job of keeping this place clean. We did notice that there were not as many big Eguana at the park as there had been a couple years ago. Also we noticed that there were not any water lilies in the pond in the Botanical garden any more, not sure what was up with that. Since the highway has been completed the taxi ride to and from the Park was not as exciting. They still go very fast though! After snorkeling we headed to Poncho's, the original one, for lunch, margaritas, and music! Fabulous as always. It was my son's friends birthday the week prior, and my son told them at Poncho's. The waiters sang Happy Birthday to him in Spanish, and proceeded to pour a tequila shot down his throat! The look on his face was priceless!! He discovered that he likes Key Lime Pie, they brought him a slice with a candle in it, and he had never had it before.
After lunch we headed out to the downtown area for some bargain hunting. This was all new to my sons friend, and was a bit nervous about the aggressive salesmenship, but it didn't take long, with our help, to get his shopping done with some great bargains in tow! We then headed to Sally's Mini Golf. We are so glad we had time to go there! Sally makes it very special, and we all had so much fun! We were able to choose the music we wanted to listen to while there, and her Sangria is wonderful! The course is beautiful! by the time we finished shopping it was time to head back to the ship for showers and dinner. After dinner was the Mexican Heritage Show. We had seen this a couple years ago, and it was fun to watch again.
We set sail and proceeded to basically sail in circles all night to dock at Calica the next morning. We had chosen to go to Xcaret for the day and I have to say that I have very mixed feelings about the place. Should we go back to Playa Del Carmen/ Calica again, we will try Xel Ha instead. Snorkeling, and the undersea world is one of the most important aspects of our vacation, and Xcaret really fails in this area. The only fairly decent snorkel area is in the Manatee lagoon. This a pretty area with a couple ropes extended across it that you can cross, and fun for the boys to "fight " on. The shoreline and designated snorkel/dive area are very sad! The coral is dead, and the only fish to be seen through the filmy water is a school of huge Blackjack that hang around because they feed them meat! Evidently this are has been over used, and it was sad to see. The other areas of the park are pretty to look at, and we had a very good buffet lunch, with delicious Pineapple Man drinks! This brings me to the man made Mayan, and underground snorkeling rivers. DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME! There was virtually nothing to see under the water, when you could see, there is no current to float with, so you will have to swim to get to the end, and there were areas that smelled like manure, and one area that had a strong fuel smell! I understand that there is a natural underground river to snorkel in at Xel Ha, and some people that had been there the previous day spoke highly of it.
The boys tried out the Casino, and our son did pretty well. It made it hard for us to try to teach the lesson that you don't always win because every time he played the slot machines he came out a winner! At least he was smart enough to take his winnings and leave each time he got ahead. He used some of his winnings to buy a new watch on board.
The Cruise Director was Darcy Knievel, and although she is not a song and dance type she was funny, and ran things well. The Hosts were Jennifer and Smitty, and we enjoyed them both.
We were chased by Tropical Storm Grace all the way back to Galveston. We stayed an extra day in Galveston at the Holiday Inn. The storm preparations were being made, and there was enough surf for the boys to have some fun with the Boogie Boards. In the afternoon the rain came, and it was sideways a few times, but we went on about enjoying our day. We tried out the water ride at the Rainforest Café, and had a delicious dinner at Fish Tales, topped off with huge ice cream sundaes.
All in all, we had fun. It was a good cruise, clean, comfortable, and fun. We never had to worry about deck loungers, there were plenty. My sons friend had a great first cruise, and hopes to go again. I have saved the Capers, and have lots of photos I will be posting. If you have any questions I will be glad to answer them for you.
You can check out our photos at-
Just returned from a 5 day cruise. Had a great time. I had read many posts about the Celebration being noisy and bumpy. According to ship staff it was recently refitted and things were smooth.
Food was good. Service was good. I had booked the least expensive cabin and was upgraded to a outside room! I highly recommend this cruise.
This was my 2nd cruise (previous cruise in '97 on RCCL) & my husband's 2nd. Overall it was a great value. The food & service were above my expectations. We sailed out of Galveston & got to the pier about 11am on the cruise date. Embarkation was a breeze & we were enjoying our lunch buffet by 12:15 on the Lido deck. I didn't plan well for the weather as it was a little cooler than I expected. I definitely would suggest packing some pants & sweatshirts if traveling in the winter months. The shows were as good as we experienced on previous cruises.
We booked our own snorkeling trip through Eagle Ray Divers. This turned out to be a great option since the ship excursions were cancelled due to wind. The boat ride was bumpy but the snorkeling was incredible! I definitely would suggest booking your own excursions for these ports of call as taxis/transportation are plentiful. In Calica we went to Xel-ha. This was disappointing after snorkeling in Cozumel & was expensive. If I were to do it over, I would have found a nice beach close to portto hang out on.
The days at sea were fun. Again, the food & service were really good. The ship is older but we found it to be clean & well kept. Our beds were very comfortable & I didn't have any problems with noises or anything.
Minor complaints were: 1) Only 1 $5 blackjack table open & it was always full. On the last day they finally opened 2 more $5 tables. 2) They same old movies are shown again & again in the cabins. Then they are repeated on different days. I think they could offer a little more variety. 3) Camp Carnival was disappointing. Maybe this is because we traveled in the off-season. My kids were bored most of the time & dreaded going. The Camp didn't watch the kids over dinner & then on the last day, most of the activities required a parent to be present. We didn't find this to be very helpful.
Again, overall the cruise was a lot of fun for the price. I would recommend it for adults but I would suggest those with children to inquire further about the activities so that you don't find yourself or your kids disappointed.
Departure. We got to the pier about noon, after reading what others had written here. Check in was a breeze. Lots of guys with carts waiting outside...I tipped a dollar a bag and turned over all luggage. The next time we saw it was outside our room. I left my party and parked in lot, took shuttle back. by 1 p.m. we were eating on Lido Deck. Getting there early is great idea. Only drawback was lots of Carnival employees asking you if you wanted a "drink special" and handing it to you before you answered....it makes it seem like it is free. It isn't, but if you have it in your hand already....The champagne, however, is free.
Shows. Two reviews by cast....the second one was really, really polished. Passenger talent show one night, only four tried on and all singers. Folklorica show when we docked in Cozamel, presented by locals. Really fun and a good tast of the local culture. Mexican juggler one night, fantastic. Carnival line comedians fair, one did dated material (enough with the Monica Lewinsky jokes already),the second one was good...a lot of fat jokes at hisown expense. We discovered the Kareoke bar is packed each night and much fun. Don't miss it.
Cabins. Fine. There were five of us and the rollaway was not for anyone over five and a half feet, but adequate. We were in cabin M48. Clean, had towel animals each night, etc. My sister in law in another room had a monkey one night and my daughter accidently destroyed it by picking it up and her aunt was mad. I
Our vacation was a blast; we had a group of 13 people in three families, ages 11 to 76. For my family this was our fourth cruise, three on Carnival and one on Royal Caribbean.
Up front, this boat vibrates. We have been on the Carnival Ecstasy, and the Royal Caribbean Majesty Of The Seas, and nothing shakes and vibrates like it. The crew all had different responses when questioned and they looked at me like I was offending them when I asked.
We set our expectations for the Carnival Celebration about a grade B and we were neither surprised nor disappointed. 90% the things were great, 10% the things were disappointing. First, in comparison to the rest of the Carnival fleet and other cruise lines this is an old boat. It was built in the late 80's and no matter how much Carnival refurbishes and retrofits; they cannot enlarge the stairways, the elevators or the dining rooms. They are all small.
The cabins were adequate in size for a small family, (ours was 3) and we were impressed at the cleanliness, and promptness of the steward. He was not the friendliest guyhowever. The entertainment was nicely done, and except for one show where Carnival lost its mind on what is considered family oriented, the shows were well done. The shore excursions were presented to us immediately upon boarding, and I would strongly suggest that all cruisers do some web base research on what you want to do. The lines at the excursion desk are long, and being prepared made it a breeze for my group. The food was excellent overall in the main dining room, the staff was friendly and with few exceptions the service times met expectations.
Day One: Arrive early, arrive early, and arrive early. Got the picture? We drove down from Houston, arriving at the dock prior to noon. The lines for luggage drop-off check in and shore excursions were short. By 1:15 pm we were standing in our cabin, luggage in hand. We went to the Wheelhouse Cafe on the Lido deck and the food was excellent for a buffet line. The wait times were less than 10 min. from line to table. The rest of the afternoon we spent exploring the ship, and the handy Deck Plan pocket maps Carnival provides are a valuable tool, get a spare or two. The pools are small, but the temperature for this cruse was a little cool on the Fun Days At Sea, so the numbers actually swimming were few.
The evening dinner was great, we had a waiter from China, and he managed several tables well, with only a couple of missed orders. The balance of the first day we fed the slot machines, (a wasted effort, they were paying off zero) and attending the Welcome Aboard Show at 10:30pm in the Astoria Lounge. Here is a valuable tip for this lounge, you can enter from two levels, view the stage from both. Small groups might like the theater styled chairs in the balcony versus the larger cocktail styled booths on the first floor. No bad seats exist here, it is tastefully decorated, and the sound system is good and the shows started right on time. We finished the day scarfing the ribs at the Western Buffet in the Wheelhouse, and they were one of many meals that contributed to all of us gaining weight.
Day Two: Our first Fun Day At Sea, or spend, drink, gamble and eat. Carnival has adopted an industry standard with the Sign and Sail Card, and you can lose sight of how much you spend. If you want to drink more than a couple of drinks you might consider pre-paying for a drink booklet, some in our group did and they saved money. The food was excellent at breakfast at the Wheelhouse, and I'd suggest skipping the powdered eggs and opting for a made to order omelet. One note about the Wheelhouse, pizza, ice cream and frozen low fat yogurt are served 24 hours a day, and late nights with a slice of pizza or two were fun with our entire group. We played Bingo, cards, and board games and just sat and relaxed. It was a beautiful day. We attended the evening show in the Astoria Lounge, and this is where Carnival's staff left their brains at home. The costumes were very skimpy, the songs featured women dancers "wanting to be spanked" and the men's costumes left little for the imagination. While I did not mind the show, the groups of parents that placed their kids in Camp Carnival might have had second thoughts had they known that their little ones would be on the front row of the side balcony. This is a really genius move for the Phi Beta Kappa's at Carnival. No excuse can be made here.
Day Three: Cozumel is a nice port. All of us except the seniors booked the Passion Island Tour. The short bus, and then boat ride to the island took us to paradise. We found a shaded spot, 11 chairs and loungers and the water and waves were awesome. Lunch and drinks were provided, and the Coronas were cold, the food was fresh and plentiful. This was the best bargain for the trip. The bus dropped us off downtown on the way back, and I'd not recommend doing this. I'd go back to the ship, shower and then walk off the boat. The shops near the dock are all new, and the prices were just as competitive. One note about the shopping, the liquor on the boat was as inexpensive as the ports, and the cigars at the ports were no bargain. All Mexican shops lie to you about Cuban cigars, none can be brought back. The senior couple (my parents) went on the submarine tour, it was expensive, but the walking requirements were little and they saw the ocean views at over 100 ft down. We came back to the port area after dinner and just enjoyed the people watching, and the views of the Celebration and Carnivals new ship the Elation that was docked alongside. All in our group pooped out about 11:00 this evening.
Day Four: Calica. Carnival can tell you about this port and brag; but trust me it is gravel pit. The gangway must go over the gravel hopper and the dust is a little bit overwhelming. This is done to save Carnival money at your cost and mine. If you do not have a scheduled shore excursion stay in bed and sleep. You cannot walk to anywhere from this port. We booked an excursion to Xcaret; billed as an ecological park this is a huge place. The swimming, sunning, snorkeling and dolphin encounter tour is not to be missed. I took four teenagers on the dolphin swim, and while expensive it was a memory of a lifetime. The video and still photos is a tremendous souvenir. We missed the butterfly exhibits and fellow passengers as beautiful described the chapel and them. One note here, scavenge the fruit and munchies from the ship, the food here is outrageous. We went casual to dinner this evening, and Carnival did not enforce the No Shorts policy for evening meals. One note, over 75% of the passengers drove to the ship. Texans have a reputation for going comfortable, and this cruise was no exception. I didn't see any welding hats in the dining room, but I did see them poolside. I wore khaki shorts to dinner two of the five nights and no one complained except my wife. After dinner we enjoyed the Guest Talent Show, and the crowd was large. As I mentioned above make sure to stake out a table early. Prior to the talent show was the 30 Years of Fun Game Show. We loved this, it gave us a chance to heckle some from our own party, and it was hilarious. After a stop at the Wheelhouse for a drink, two slices of pizza and a frozen yogurt chaser, we dropped into bed about midnight. We did view the Midnight Gala Buffet, but we were too sleepy to make it, as they didn't serve food until 12:30pm.
Day Five: Our second Fun Day At Sea. This was a disappointment not to blame on Carnival. Rainy weather and moderate seas prevented any deck activities, so we enjoyed the Not So Newlywed Game and Bingo. The slot machines were no better, and twenty dollars later I walked out. The food for all the meals today was excellent, and the staff was overwhelmed at the numbers that elected to dine at the Wheelhouse.
Debarkation: Smoothest of any cruise to date. We got up early, cleared US Immigration and walked off the vessel to the US Customs, claimed our luggage and loaded them in the car for the drive home. We were on the freeway before 9:45am. Nicely done Carnival.
Finally, if you can afford to fly for your cruise, fly to Florida. If you want to drive, then the Celebration is a good bargain for the money. We got discounted fares, and got a discounted cruise ship. The ports were not comparable to Nassau, and the private island stops the other cruise lines offer on Miami based cruises are well worth the effort to fly.
However, if you want a bargain cruise vacation, set your sights to a slightly lower level of expectation and you will not be disappointed. Hence, the overall grade of B for this ship, the ports and amenities.
This was a horrible cruise from the start, but I will try to be objective. I was on the Carnival Celebration cruise ship which leaves Galveston and makes one stop in Cozumel. The Carnival staff at the Galveston port were incredibly rude and acted as though they were doing us some big favor by letting us cruise with Carnival. I was accused of having a fake birth certificate and pulled from line to be "interviewed". My so-called fake birth certificate was my "original" birth certificate from the hospital, which the Carnival Website states they accept. The same birth certificate was used to obtain my Texas Drivers License and a passport 15 years ago! Not sure what Carnival claims is fake about it! But, there was absolutely no reason to try and humiliate me, which is what the Carnival staff went out of their way to do.
Once on the ship, we found our cabin, E198 at the very back of the ship. The size and layout of the cabin was good and worked well for the duration of the trip. There was food service available for lunch in the Wheelhouse Grill,which was really good.
Before we could set sail, we had to go through the safety drill which was fairly disorganized, but was over quickly. The last part of the drill, we were sent out on the deck to find where we would be in case life boats needed to be lowered. The staff was barking orders to the passengers if they weren't standing in the correct place and we were made to stand out in the pouring rain for about 20 minutes. I thought for a moment I had joined the Navy, instead of being on what was supposed to be a pleasure cruise.
Due to hurricane Isidore moving into the Gulf, Carnival would not tell us where our port of call would be until we boarded the ship. I thought this was very bad of Carnival to do. They should have told us that we would be sailing to Veracruz, Mexico and let people make the choice of whether to go or not. If you ever have a chance to go to Veracruz, pass on it!! Carnival states that their top executives will periodically sail to ensure the quality of Carnival ships and ports of call. Well, obviously their executives have never been to Veracruz, or they would never divert another ship there!
The days at sea were fun. It was overcast and cloudy most of the trip, so the pools and the decks weren't much fun. I understand that Carnival has no control over the weather, but again, they should have cancelled this cruise and refunded money or rescheduled passengers to later dates, but I think money is Carnival's main objective, not whether passengers have a good time or not! Our cabin was located just below the deck where Carnival employees take their breaks and they would drag deck chairs across the deck at all times of the night, which would wake us up and then it was hard to get back to sleep. We spent time in the casino (I won $100) and I had spa treatments, which were wonderful! The shows at night were really good and we enjoyed them tremendously. The staff on board in the diningrooms, lounges and gift shops and cabin stewards were really nice and helpful.
Docking in Veracruz, the ship was incredibly noisy and lots of movement. I heard some passengers say it felt as though the ship had a bent drive shaft or broken prop. This was my first cruise, so I don't know how a cruise should feel. I had been told that ships have stabilizers, but from all the movement, I don't think the Celebration has stabilizers. Or it might be the storm in the Gulf was causing much of the movement, I don't know which.
Veracruz is a God-forsaken place that I hope no other cruise ship has to be subjected to. The townspeople came out to gawk at the ship and beg the passengers for money. Trying to shop in the downtown marketplace was next to impossible because the locals wouldn't take American money and would not help us find a bank to exchange money. We finally did stumble across a bank and the teller acted like it was a big imposition to offer bank services. There were locals on the beach yelling at the cruise passengers that they hate Americans and death to America! And the beach was littered with all kinds of trash and sleeping homeless people.
We did finally find a very nice taxi driver that took us to the Aquarium. Veracruz has a really nice Aquarium attached to a shopping mall. The locals at this mall where much nicer, and the prices were not as low as downtown, but I personally would rather pay a little more and be treated in a nice manner.
We said Adios to Veracruz at 5:00 Saturday evening. The townspeople who came to gawk at the ship started waving white handkerchiefs as the ship left. I'm not sure, but I think that is probably Mexican for 'please don't leave us behind in this God-forsaken city!'
Sunday night, we hit really rough seas and I literally thought the Celebration was going to find her final resting place at the bottom of the Gulf. But we did make it back and I am very glad to back on dry American soil. Never again will I take a Carnival Cruise!
We arrived at the pier about 12:30 and were told to leave our luggage with a porter and then go to the cruise parking lot (couple of blocks away) and park our car. My children and I waited outside the cruise terminal while my husband parked the car and rode the shuttle back. It took him about 10-15 minutes to get back.
Embarkation was a long wait. We were in line for about an hour and a half before making it up to the check-in counter. Once there the process went smoothly. We had to show our picture ID's and birth certificates and then give a credit card to be used for the sail and sign card. Once that was done, we picked up our cabin "keys", sail and sign cards, and flyers for Camp Carnival. The photographers greeted us next and took a "Welcome Aboard" picture. Make sure to put down any carry-on luggage so it won't be in the picture. Next we had to one-by-one have our sail and sign cards scanned and our picture taken for security purposes for disembarkation in Cozumel. And finally we made iton board about 2:30. Was Spring Break though.
We booked this cruise about a month before sailing. Got a really good deal but didn't have much of a choice left in cabins. I was sailed with my husband and two children. We stayed in Cabin U217. This was on the Upper Deck and was the last cabin AFT with an oceanview. It was roomy and fine for all four of us. We had two twin beds. Above one of the twin beds was an upper berth that pulled down to make another twin bed. We also had a rollaway bed that was set-up beside the other twin bed. Bathroom was perfect for one. Cramped if two people tried to get in there at the same time to brush their teeth. Plenty of towels. Basket of amenities provided with razors, deodorant, Tylenol, samples of body wash, etc. Make sure to bring hair dryer. There is not one in the cabin.
Our bags were waiting outside of our cabin door when we got there. Also our cabin steward, Springer, came by and introduced himself. He is awesome! More on that later.
We planned ahead of time for our cabin to be decorated for my daughter's birthday. It was definately worth it! Ballons, streamers, Happy Birthday banner, and a cake. Looked great and put a huge smile on my daughter's face.
At 3:30, we had to go to our Munster Station for the lifeboat drill and were on our way to Mexico by 4:00. (The waters were rough and the pool could not be opened Thursday or Friday.)
We headed up to the Lido Deck for some pizza. It is great and open 24 hours. My husband and kids loved it. Only problem is they only give you one or two slices at a time.
Camp Carnival was great according to my 9 year old. Lots of activities each day. The kids were kept busy with crazy card games, nintendo, ping pong contests, t-shirt decorating, ice cream eating, cookie making, and scavenger hunts. Thought it was great that Camp Carnival had a Coketail Party for the kids so the parents could enjoy the Captain's Cocktail Party. You could also sign your kids up for the Kids Dinner if they didn't want to eat at the Formal. Mine loved dressing up though and went with us. There is also a Kids Talent Show.
We ate dinner in the Horizon Dining Room. Our waiter (Hermann) and our assistant waiter (Adrian) were both wonderful. They always remembered to bring ice tea for my husband and chocolate milk for both of the kids. Hermann taught my son how to fold a napkin one night because my son thought it looked cool. One night Hermann cut my son's prime rib. The food was good and plentiful. The lobster was delicious. And the chocolate mousse cake is awesome! Late night buffets too.
Lots of activities to participate in...Bingo, Trivia, Spoon Game, Survivor Contest, Country Line Dance class, Couples and Lovers Party, Horse Racing, Men's Hairy Chest contest, Newlywed Game, Celebration Show, Best of Broadway Show, Art Auction and Guest Talent Show.
The spa facials are great. You will definately be pampered. If you want a massage, sign up the first day at sea. My husband waited until the second day and was put on a waiting list and never got in.
The Library is nice. You can check out books and games or relax. One day during the cruise you can use the internet for five minutes for Free before being charged a per minute rate. You also have the option of paying a flat fee and having unlimited use during the entire cruise.
Movies are shown throughout the day and night in your cabin. Our choices were "Shallow Hal", "Behind Enemy Lines", and "Life Is A House". Also shown on your tv is a Video Diary of the cruise activities. You have the option of purchasing this video. You never know when YOU might be shown. My husband entered the Hairy Chest contest and my son thought it was too funny that his dad was on tv.
Cozumel is beautiful. The weather was perfect. We went to Chakanaub Park and did the Dolphin Swim. We did not purchase this through the cruise. Went on our own. Taxi cost was $8.00 for all four of us. Entrance to the park was $10 each. The swim can be reserved online through Dolphin Discovery. If you go, try one of the pineapple drinks.
Cozumel also has great prices on silver. Wait until you get into town to shop though. Lots of bargains to be found. We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon there.
Our room steward always made sure our ice bucket was filled. He left cookies for the kids each night and mints for us. We got a different towel animal each night. The cutest was a monkey that was hanging from the ceiling. Our room was always kept clean and we always had fresh towels. Springer would come by just to say "hello" to the kids and make sure we didn't need anything. We gave him a pre-paid phone card that he really appreciated. And tipped him extra. He was wonderful.
The Celebration is an older ship but is kept clean. It is a small ship so easy to learn your way around. We had a wonderful time and wouldn't hesitate to go back. Everyone that worked on the ship that we spoke to were very kind and helpful. The shows were great. There are two hot tubs onboard. One is "adults" only and the other is for children and/or adults. We didn't have any problems finding lounge chairs. There are signs posted that say "No Reserving Chairs". If you want to work out, the nautica spa offers treadmills, stationary bikes, and weights.
You are asked to sit your luggage outside your cabin by midnight the night before debarkation. So you need to bring a small piece of luggage to pack your pj's and other essentials that you don't mind having to carry when you leave the ship. We arrived back in Galveston around 7:00 Monday morning. You have plenty of time to eat breakfast. You are asked to stay in certain areas of the ship and wait for your colored luggage tag to be called before you are allowed to leave the ship. If you have an early flight, you are allowed to be one of the first to leave the ship. We were off the ship by 10:00 that morning. Good idea to mark your luggage with something colorful to make it stand out. Lots of black luggage.
This was a wonderful cruise. We all enjoyed it