Overall Rating: Excellent
|Departed From:||Cape Liberty, NJ|
|# of Nights:||11-14 Nights|
March 5, 2012 we arrived at Cape Liberty at 10:45. Jim dropped me and the luggage off and went and parked the car( $19- per day) and walked across the street to meet me in the terminal. We breezed through security and found no line at the check in desk. Then things came to a screeching halt. They could not find our sea pass cards and after checking, calling a supervisor and checking again they proceeded to take us into the waiting room and told us they would be back in a few minutes. 30 minutes later was asked to see a Supervisor - 45 minutes later we demanded the same. She finally came and told us she would be right back. After another 45 minutes she returned and gave us a paper to get us on the ship and go to Guest Relations and straighten out this mess ourselves. They could have done that 1 1/2 earlier. Guest relations quickly issued us our sea pass cards, apologized for the inconvenience and then sent us back downstairs to the check in line so we could have our picture taken. All in all close to 2 hours from the time we entered the terminal til we were officially on the ship. Just horrible.
Since cabins weren't ready til 1:30 we went to deck 14 to the buffet where we were told there was no seating available and we would have to wait out by the pool for 15 to 30 minutes. Did I mention that it was 31 out at this point?
Things turned around quickly though when we found the Bistro on 5 ($5pp) and enjoyed a lovely lunch with a waitress who gave us hope that all the bad times were behind us. Wonderful crepes, soups and salads and the only thing better than the crab and asparagus crepe I had was the banana and nutrella one I had for dessert. We went back there several times during the cruise.
At 1:10 they announced the rooms were ready - We went to our cabin (8346) an aft balcony. The cabin was very nice, even though there seemed to be a shortage of storage space, expecially for a 12 day cruise. The largest storage unit is a shelf over the bed and thanks to some previous advice we brought along collapsible canvas boxes and these worked out just great. Aside from that space the only storage was a small closet (with no shelf) and 3 small drawers in the vanity. The bathroom was huge - glass shower doors and more than enough storage space. The balcony was a bit of a disappointment as the afts are usually so much bigger than the other balconies but these were standard sized. We enjoyed sitting out there in the morning with our coffee and in the evening with our wine. We were able to use our computer from our cabin, rather than seeking out hot spots and the interactive big screen tv was very handy. Our cabin attendants were wonderful - I don't know where they appeared from but every time we got back to our cabin one of them would beat us to the door with the key. They couldn't do enough for us.
The ship - in one word - GORGEOUS. After exploring it for 12 days we were still finding little nooks to sit and relax. The atrium on deck 3 always had something going on - music or vocal performances. Plenty of seating around to just relax. Deck 4 contained the shops and casino. The slots were tight and didn't seem to be paying at all. The theater was nice but not large enough for the size of the ship. You had to constantly get there 1/2 hour early to be sure to get a seat. Shows were the usual - some better than others.
Those of you who were on the Connie goes Crazie group cruise would probably have enjoyed the Martini Bar. The top of the bar was iced over when it was open, always ensuring an ice cold drink. The waiters tried hard but just didn't have the Martini Shake down. They need a few lessons. Right next to the Martini Bar was the vodka bar where the bottles of vodka were kept in a well of ice at the bar.
Our favorite outdoor spot on the ship was the lawn club and Sunset bar. The lawn was roped off for most of the cruise as they were reseeding but from talking with the staff it seems the lawn is taking a real beating traveling between the cold northereast and the warm Caribbean. The cabanas were rarely used ($199 per day but during port days they still couldn't fill them for $39 for 1/2 day) They face the lawn - I think they should be turned around to offer a view of the ocean. I can watch the grass grow at home. They did have a wonderful wine/cheese concert one night with blankets and throw pillows down on the bocci courts and live music. Probably one of the nicest evenings we have ever spent on a ship. The sunset bar with it's wicker furniture was a great night cap spot to sit and watch the wake of the ship.
Much to our suprise the food in the dining room was excellent. Can honestly say we did not have a meal that fell beyond that. Great service went along with the dinner and twice our head waiter brought around `1 of the chefs to chat and see how we are enjoying our meals. Classy touch especially since when the chef left we were all served souffles from him thanking us for our feedback. Everyone seemed to adhere to the dress "suggestions" and we did see one gentlemen turned away for trying to enter the DR in shorts. Lots of tuxedos and gowns on the formal night - more so than I remember seeing on other cruise lines.
The food in the dining room was so good in fact that we only tried 1 of the many specialty restaurants. We went to Qisine - different and something to try once but next time we would try something else. Most of them were $40 pp though and towards the end of the week were having 2 for 1 specials because they weren't filling up. I think we would have tried more of them if they were a bit cheaper.
We ate most of our breakfasts and lunches in the buffet - great varierty of foods offered at every meal. Hot foods were hot and cold foods were well chilled. Never had a problem finding something to our liking. Staff was always ready to help find you a table and even carry the plates for some of the older people who were having trouble. Only problem I found with the buffet was every day they identified one thing on the steam table by the way they cooked it - fried - broiled - baked, poached followed simply by the word fish. Wish they were a little more specific. If you asked you generally got the answer - cod,. I think it was the only word he knew.
Our first 3 days were very cold and windy so the pools were empty however the solarium was packed. Large cushioned lounges made it a very popular spot. The pools on the outside also have nice comfy cushioned lounges. Towels were waiting on the lounges for you in the morning. No need to go sign them out, etc.
Once we got to the Caribbean, the weather was wonderful - mid to high 80's every day and just one very brief rain shower in St. Thomas.
The Captains Club held a cocktail hour for elite members every evening in the Sky Lounge and it was a wonderful place to watch our sailaway each night. A private Continental breakfast in the morning was held in the Tuscan grill at the very aft of Deck 5 .
Our trip back up north was much better than our trip south - temperatures remained warm and seas were unbelievably calm until about 5 pm the evening before we arrived home when pea soup fog set in and we heard the fog horns for most of the night. Going under the VZ bridge in the morning you could hardly see it. It was amazing watching the fog come in though from the sky lounge.
We docked at 7AM - were told to meet in the Tuscan Grill by 8AM and were escorted off the ship by 8:20 - ahead of our projected 8:45 departure time. We didn't even have time to finish the continental breakfast we were served.Found our luggage, got through customs and was in the car heading home before 9AM
Would we sail Celebrity again.......YES....in a hearbeat. This was probably once of the best cruises we have had.
Any questions, please ask. I know I left a lot out but got kind of carried away.