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Caribbean Holiday Cruise - Part III

Author: arubalisa (More Trip Reviews by arubalisa)
Date of Trip: December 2006



Disembarkation

Disembarkation on January 2 was painless. Luggage tags handed out the previous night and there were about 12 colors total. Once off the ship you claimed the luggage by color. Some colors were assigned numbers and the number denoted what time you were getting off the ship and which lounge to proceed to wait for your color and number to be called. Times listed in the "Celebrity Today" ranged from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Were there long lines? Yes of course, but these were not the fault of Celebrity. Everyone has to stand on line to go through US Immigrations and then US Customs.

The luggage valet was offered along with onboard check-in for passengers flying American, Continental, United and Delta. This, at least for our family, did not go quite as smoothly. Beware that you will not automatically be eligible for this program. Even if you are willing to pay the $20 per person it is at the discretion of the TSA and Homeland Security. My parents both applied and my Mom was approved and my Dad was "randomly" denied. Guest relations would only say that Homeland security randomly disallows people. Celebrity states "due to Homeland Security Regulations and Airport procedures", we [Celebrity] cannot guarantee that all guests will be able to check-in by our remote system." Now the biggest inconvenience with that they were not informed of this fact until they returned to their cabin at 10:30 pm following dinner. To find out only then when the luggage was due out in the hallway was a problem. Does my Mom use her "new" color tags she was issued and use the old color for my Dad? He went down to guest relations and you guessed it. They were no help at all. All of this, not to mention that my Mom paid the $20 for her valet and check-in all for nothing. She still had to wait while my Dad checked in and received a boarding pass at the airport. So no time saved for sure.

My husband, daughter and myself used the luggage valet without a problem. Do beware that you must still go through the stacks of luggage once you get off the ship. You, yourself, must "hand off" your luggage to airline personnel, after you have cleared US Customs.

Word of warning though, is that you cannot put your luggage out in the hallway until you return from dinner. The three of us were issued an entirely different color of luggage tag, so old ones had to come off and new ones went on. Boarding passes were in an envelope with the new luggage tags and we were also issued a new time for disembarkation. I believe it was earlier than what we previously had. My brother chose not to use the luggage valet for he and his 3 kids. Not certain exactly what the procedure was but he did mention at the cruise terminal, before getting on the bus to the airport, they handed off the luggage to be put on a truck. Once at the airport they had to claim their luggage from the truck. He made it sound fairly easy and stress free.

Kids Club

There is not much for me to write about in this area. The crew does a superb job at keeping these kids BUSY! This was our daughter's third cruise in as many years and if you asked her, her reason for cruising? Very simply she loves and adores the kid's club. Their staff is friendly and they offer a wide variety of activities. We insist that our daughter eat dinner with the family, but during the day you can usually find her in the kid's club.

Stuff

Celebrity, you should really do something about the rust streaks on the hull of the ship. There were some around the pool also. White is white and rust is rust and rust sticks out like a sore thumb. Come on Celebrity and have a little bit of pride! Give me a paint brush and some paint and for some free board and a room, I'll paint it for you. Fogged windows are one thing, major overhaul to remove and replace, but here we are talking about some scaffold, paint and a brush. That is a big difference which goes a long way in making an old ship look "fresh". Believe me it in no way detracted from my trip. As a matter of fact I did not even notice it until going through some of my 4000 pictures.

Liked A Lot

1. NO announcements, still wins hands down for me on any cruise! 2. We all loved the Caesar salads at lunch and dinner and the kids especially, the all afternoon long ice cream. 3. Cappuccino on the ship is excellent whether it be in the Oasis Cafe, dining room or from Cova. 4. My husband and I enjoy sailing on Celebrity for the sushi. Not as good as the sushi restaurant near our home, but better than what we are able to conveniently purchase at the supermarket on the way home from work. 5. Soda card at about $65 a person sounds like a lot of money but at a little less than $6 is a bargain for me. Spending a lot of time at the pool as we do and drinking soda at night with dinner, we felt it is a good value for ourselves. 6. Thumbs up to our waiter Sergiu and his assistant Agus for always making sure we were well taken care of. Our cocktail waiter also took excellent care of us and quickly remembered who of the 10 of us at our table had soda cards and made sure our glasses were always filled! 7. If you have never been at sea for New Year's Eve, do try it at least once. Very exciting and very memorable way to begin the start of a new year.

Disliked

1. Being deceived into thinking that by paying $20 our luggage would go directly to the airport, our plane and ultimately our destination when in actuality we would have to rummage through the stacks to find it to drag it through US Customs before dropping it off with the airline personnel. 2. Having to walk down to Guest Relations when there was a problem because they never answered their telephone. 3. Having to wait until after our appetizers were already served before receiving our bottle of wine not due to any fault of the wine steward, but her just having way too many tables to serve. 4. Being lied to be the assistant dining room manager regarding our table assignment. After he realized he was caught in the lie, he avoided our table for the entire cruise. We had the same assistant dining room manager last year and he visited our table incessantly to the point of being annoying. We did not like him last year and we did not like him this year.

Hated

1. Probably the same as on any other cruise ship, but days at sea were horrendous if you intended to obtain a chaise lounge anywhere on the ship. 2. I don't drink it, but have to listen to my husband, "Coffee tasted lousy no matter where or when on the entire ship". 3. The lack of Christmas atmosphere on a cruise ship during the holidays. 4. Each and everyone of the 4 items our family members purchased through Celebrity's Bon Voyage department was screwed up in one way or another. My grandmother even received a note saying she received a shipboard credit from her mother who has been dead over 50 years. It was supposed to go to her granddaughter with whom she was sharing a cabin. The credit was to that child from "her" Mom.



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