This cruise was our first return to the Celebrity Cruise experience since what we had been saying was our best cruise experience ever, our Celebrity Eclipse cruise to Argentina and Antarctica in Jan/Feb of 2020. While the destination can’t really compare in any way, the cruise experience was equally pleasing. With only 60% capacity on this Caribbean cruise, it was in some ways a better on board experience with ease of service in the dining, drinking, and theater venues.
We cruised on a last minute promotional rate package that did not include Celebrity’s Always Included Perks, and I can tell you that the value of that package generally exceeds the usual price difference of most last minute rates. However, with us having the Elite Loyalty Member Happy Hour, we think we came out ahead by not having it. Having the Gratuities, Beverages and WIFI included makes a big plus. As we were running our business from the ship, we needed to purchase the streaming WIFI in order to do WIFI calling. We wouldn’t have upgraded to the streaming packages if we hadn’t needed the WIFI calling, but we ended up using the streaming for watching Movies in the fitness center and football in the Craft Social Club with some new friends. We had free drinks from 5:00 to 7:00 pm with our Elite Plus loyalty status, so we were able to get by with those drinks and some glasses of wine with dinner for less than the daily cost of the beverage package. We paid our gratuities when we paid for our cruise so our gratuities were pre-paid.
We were in a category 2B veranda cabin, which is 192 sq feet interior with a 54 sq foot balcony. I have two pictures from the Celebrity website below. The one with the orange and tan decor depicts the lay out of our cabin with the bed by the balcony and the sofa and desk near the bath. The second cabin with the blue X pillow is the current decor on the ship but depicts the alternative layout. The cabins are every other other one alternating configuration. The bath, while not huge, has enough room for one to undress and dress before or after the showering. The room comes also with several storage areas including a sliding door closet and dresser. The cabinet above the bed is also storage area. We were greeted by the Cellar Master with a bottle of champagne as she was a colleague of a Cellar Master we have sailed with many times. He arranged for her to bring us a welcome bottle of champagne.
There were really too many activities for me to do. During the day they offered an abundance of cruise activities like safe archery, ballroom dancing, fun dancing class out by the pool, arts and crafts workshops, casino lectures, music trivia, corn hole tournaments, games by the pool, pool Olympics, tennis, bocce ball, movies, lectures by the captain and ships officers about deployments of new ship and environmental initiatives . Plenty of activities that would keep anyone busy and engaged. Unfortunately, and here I go sounding like a broken record again, but I was working during the day most of the time. I did plan to go to trivia a couple of times as I am super competitive at it, but I got customer calls and had to work. The activities staff was always energetic and engaging. Our cruise director Shawna’s enthusiasm was contagious.
This ship had a beautiful, subdued decor throughout. Nothing over done or garish, just cool elegance through out.
Spa and Gym
Celerity offers an extensive spa and as a profit center of the ship, offers all different types of treatments and wellness services. The price of a massage is about what you might pay in a major city or in top notch land based resort, with most treatments being about $120 to $150. They offer discounts on port days, but on this cruise I never took them up on a treatment. The gym was well equipped but I would not say that all the equipment was in top shape running order. Many of the treadmill could not change elevation even when running a program that called for it. Often the TV channels did not work on the treadmills and other cardio equipment. Sometimes you could get a few channels but no sound or staticky sound, or the picture would fade in an out. If you have the streaming internet package, this is a good chance, to bring either your phone or your tablet and watch a movie while working out.
Bar Service and Venues
I have always found the Celebrity service to be exactly as described in their marketing intuitive without being intrusive. Generally, in any venue your are offered service before you have to waive someone down which makes for a very worry free vacation. The venues we enjoyed the most were the Sunset Bar for sail away happy hour, the passport bar to enjoy the pre-dinner bands and watch the dancers on the dance floor, the Craft Social where we enjoyed watching football, and the Sky Lounge for late evening music and dancing. The Craft Social has replaced the Cellar Master’s bar on the Equinox. It is also a featured venue on the new Edge class ships. It is more of a craft beer venue than a fine wine venue, but if there is a fine wine that you like on the dining room list or maybe one the specialty dining room lists that you would want them to have available for you all you have to do is ask.
On previous cruises the Cellar Master’s is our usual pre-dinner hang out because of the fine wine selections, but on this cruise with only the “Happy Hour” wines available to us we usually ended up at either the Sunset Bar or the Passport bar just off the main atrium on deck 4. For late night fun we found ourselves in the Sky Lounge for “Headline the Band’ which is like Karaoke but with the band playing live or late night disco parties. There were also a couple of pop up shows in the Grand Foyer which we could enjoy from either the Passport or Craft Social.
I thought the entertainers hit things out of the park on this cruise. The Celebrity singers, dancers and acrobats were excellent, though I have to admit of the 4 production shows, I only attended two as I had seen the other two multiple times and just thought it would be nice to do something a little different those nights.
The guest entertainers, except the rock and roll duo, all were fantastic. Heather, The Piano Lady, played the piano and sang a great variety of music from country to classic rock and current pop hits. She even had to pinch hit the third night of entertainment when one of the other guest acts fell and hit his head back stage. They had to reschedule that act, The Knights, who sang songs of “Knighted” British entertainers to a matinee on one of the last sea days. Heather stepped in and on the fly did her second show with no rehearsal with the band. She did a great job, again with more country and rock-in roll favorites.
The comedian, Kevin Jordan, was a total hoot. He was a former Los Angeles Police officer who started doing comedy one night on a dare. We attended both his early cruise show which was his “clean” show and his later show which was his adult themed show. Both shows were quite funny, and one of the things that made him unique was the way he found people in the audience and made impromptu jokes about them. There was one “kid” who was 18 and traveling with his mom, and the poor guy was forever know as “Eighteen” through out the cruise.
One of my favorite acts was the men’s classical and soul quartet “Vox Fourtuna” who were finalist on Britain’s Got Talent. One these guys was British and the rest were all American. Two of the guys in the act had played Simba in the Lion king either on Broadway, The West End or possibly a National Tour, and the other guys in the act were fabulous vocalists too.
The Rock Duo that I mentioned earlier were the only ones that were not quite up to Celebrity standards, as the female singer was very harsh and pitchy. I will give her the benefit of the doubt and say she might have had vocal strain or a soar throat, but there were better singers among the cruise guests at “Headline the Band” (aka Karaoke but with the band vs recorded tracks). We just snuck out of the theater early during a break on the rock-duo’s show.
There was also a violinist that did both classical and contemporary violin pieces, and a soprano vocalist, whom I did not see in her main show due to the big Michigan football game.
I didn’t film a lot of the entertainment as this was some of the only down time I had on my cruise, but it was all first rate and memorable.