Let me state this first. The cruise itself, its crew, and its
food rated 6 stars out of 5. The ship itself rated a 3 and support
from Cruise Air rated negative stars.
This was our first trip with Celebrity. We are Diamond Plus with
its mother company, Royal Caribbean. We had four disappointing
cruises with RCCL in a row, so we decided to see what the "Higher"
rated sister company would do for us. Again, as far as the actual
cruise, It was superb
(UGLY) We booked through Celebrity's Choice Air due to the
"guarantee" that they will work with the airlines to get you to
your cruise. Well, about all I can say is this is a lie. As soon as
our initial flight broke (engine wouldn't start) and we knew we
would not be able make our connecting flight in Los Angeles, I
talked to the airlines. For all practical purposes, their response
was "so sad...too bad". They would get us to Vancouver B.C., but it
would be 5 hours after our ship departed. I immediately called the
travel "emergency" phone number. The lady I spoke to told
me to "talk to the airline". When I told her that I had, she "in
effect" told me "so sad...too bad". And then she went on to say
that we could not connect with our cruise at the next port due to
the "Jones Act" (also know as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 and
was originated in Passenger Vessel Services Act of 1886). All she
would do is send an email to the ship and see if they would make an
exception and take us on in Ketchikan, AK. I called back and was to
she had no news yet. I raised cane with the airlines because there
was a direct flight to Vancouver and they were making no effort to
get us on it. They then started trying to get us seats. In the
meantime, I called Cruise Air again to ask if we should go ahead
and go to Vancouver or stay in Phoenix. I got a man this time whom
I told multiple times I could not hear or understand him. He did
absolutely nothing to try and raise his volume or adjust his mic
position. I finally determined he said he didn't know if I should
go or stay or if the cruise line would provide accommodations if we
did miss the ship. When the airlines finally released seats to us,
I called Cruise Air a fourth time to tell them we were on our way
to Vancouver and to notify the ship we were coming and would be
cutting it close. I got the same guy and still could not hear or
understand him, so I had no clue if he was going to pass on the
message or not. BOTTOM LINE: Only use cruise air to identify
flights that the cruise line say will get you there on time and
nothing else they are only there to duck, weave, and avoid when
something goes wrong!
We did arrive in Vancouver sans luggage. From this point on
Celebrity went out of its way to get us to the ship. They had an
employee go out and flag down a cab for us. The told the ship we
were on our way, even though we were going to get their
substantially after the normal cutoff time. We were run through the
check in line and security in very short order. Finally we were on
We immediately went to guest relations to notify them that our
baggage would be a couple of days behind us. To our surprise, they
gave us toiletries and some underwear to get us through the first
couple of nights with spending an arm and a leg aboard the ship.
That was a very pleasant experience. It actually buoyed our spirits
and relaxed us.
(BAD) I will take two negative shots at the ship itself and then
everything else was superb.
#1 The ship windows in the public area were horrible. The were
streaked, coated with salt, and very difficult to enjoy any type of
view through them. This ship just came out of a 17 day dry dock.
Are you telling me they could not have done something about the
windows and other corrosion before entering into a schedule that is
taking passengers through some of the most beautiful waters/terrain
found on this earth?
#2 The setup of the food in the Ocean View buffet constituted a
safety hazard. If you tried to reach food in the back trays you
frequently grabbed ladles that would burn you and you were also
frequently be burned by rising steam. The food was pretty good, but
you had to take care trying to serve yourself.
The dining room was outstanding. We had open seating for the
very first time in nearly 30 cruises. But, we were able to sit with
the same serving crew on all but 2 nights. I have never had a Head
Waiter (Diego) show up at my table EVERY night and greet you
wherever he saw you throughout the rest of the ship. The Waiter
(Jaime) and Assistant Waiter (Sharma) were truly outstanding. After
the first night they had our wants down to a science. We never had
to ask for ice tea for an example, because they had it ready when
they saw we were headed for their table. The food was truly
The on board entertainment was very good and very enjoyable. The
ship's production company did a great job. The contracted
entertainers were definitely a cut above those we have seen on RCCL
over the last several years. Finally, the groups singing in the
bars were good. There were a couple of entertainers that we
actually looked up to see where they were playing so we could
listen to them each evening.
For shore excursions, we viewed them as bucket list trips as we
were unsure if we will every come this way again in the future. So,
we booked high end excursions and they we absolutely outstanding.
Of course it did not hurt that we had unusually good weather
everywhere except Juneau where it was its usual cool, rainy self.
But even there the helicopter trip to the glaciers was fantastic.
Our ports included Ketchkan (float plane), Sitka (on our own
touring), Icy Strait Point (Hoonah)(whale watch), Juneau
(helicopter to glaciers), Skagway (canoe trip to glacier), Cruising
Hubbard Glacier (you can't legally get any closer that we did that
day!), and disembarking at Seward (5 hour cruise tour). I could
write a dissertation on how each one was so fantastic, but I will
spare you that.
We had an on board naturalist by the name of Milos Radakovich.
He gave three different seminars that were very good. His
presentation was not only informative but it was presented in a
humorous fashion that insure you paid attention. I would had signed
for his college classes if he had been teaching at my university in
days gone by.
Embarkation was a snap and our luggage was easy to locate. Of
course it didn't hurt that we were among the last off the ship
because of a booked excursion.
In closing, I will state that yes, I will most definitely sail
Celebrity again. The crew goes above and beyond what we are seeing
with most other cruise lines. Their look you in the, smile, greet
you, and just go out of their way to make you want to be there. The
food is great. Service is beyond reproach.....Just please clean the