As travel agents, Emily and I feel that in order to stand by the companies we book your trips on, we have to try them to ensure that we know the ins and outs, ups and downs, and of course their value.
Just a few weeks ago we completed our re-certification of our 5 Star Academy Celebrity status and decided to give them a try for ourselves, after all, they are Royal Caribbean’s upper tier! What could go wrong?
We booked a 2 night Bahamian sailing from Ft Lauderdale to the Bahamas, an inside cabin on deck 2. We made our plans, booked our flights, our pre-stay hotel, and counted down to our cruise. Understand that I was nervous as I had sailed other lines, am a DCL girl, I don’t love deck 2 or inside staterooms, but I was going in with an open mind.
Our booking window opened and we realized that soda, bottled water, or any non alcoholic beverage required a beverage package. Wait, really? Emily purchased one for us, no big deal, right? I decided that we should have the classic beverage package so we could have a few adult beverages, easy enough, I upgraded us. BUT THEN after reading what that didn’t include, which is pretty much any alcoholic beverage you would actually order, I called to upgrade it and I couldn’t. I had to repurchase it and the original packages had to be refunded…this took weeks. Lesson learned.
Also worth noting, when booking excursions, don’t call them Port Adventures because the crew members get very rude about it, you have to pay upfront. We booked a really nice one to Pearl Island, it was the best part of the trip.
Embarkation day finally came, we woke up, picked up a rental car, drove to the port, and the adventure started.
Parking: the parking garage is FAR from the ship, no joke, we walked down 3 flights of spiral steps with our luggage and then hoofed to the ship.
Check in: seemed organized, different lines for concierge, aqua class, new sailors. The issue, they kept taking the new sailors and moving them into the other lines which was clearly annoying the concierge and aqua class guests and rightfully so!
Boarding: we were able to walk on right away, we got there later than our port arrival time. We walked onto the ship deck and that is where you scanned your key, once through there you were handed a glass of champagne and that is where ALL of the constant up-selling starts.
Emily and I walked onto the ship and we were greeted by head waiters of the restaurants asking if we wanted to make reservations for dinner, bartenders asking if we wanted the beverage packages. Not one welcome aboard, not one moment of peace.
We toured the ship, the pictures make it look beautiful but as we soon found out we realized it was deceiving. I will cover that in a few minutes.
We went to eat lunch at the buffet. Wasn’t the best but we found something to eat. There was a beautiful sheet cake that said “welcome aboard” but someone was guarding it and said we couldn’t eat it…true story. Please note that someone stole a piece 😂😂
Our room was ready and we were excited to put our things down. As we headed down to the 2nd floor there was a bad odor, a mix of smoke and mold. Other guests noticed it too and were commenting as we all walked further and further down the hall.
Our room smelled awful, it looked ancient, we were afraid to sleep under the covers. The bathroom was missing parts of the mirror, the sink was rusted, and worst of all, the water ran brown. We didn’t want to be in there at all, we headed to the pool.
It was loud, the DJ was jamming but we just wanted quiet so we went to the solarium, this is the pool for adults only and part of the spa. It is indoors and should have been paradise. PS: the Spa Cafe was not open once the entire cruise.
Not only did children arrive in this pool but a very loud drunk group of adults, about 10 of them, came with there own speaker and started partying IN the pool…remember it is indoors so it echos. Not ONE crew member put a stop to it. This happens both days.
There was nowhere quiet on this ship so we went to the spa…more up-selling. This was lined with crew members handing us their cards, it was almost funny.
The ship set sail and off we went, and downhill from there. It’s a lot so I will just bullet point it from here.
- Went to the coffee bar, they lost our room keys, took them an hour to tell us, blamed us, then admitted that another guest must have picked them up. (The issue, these keys have your room number on them) They took another 1/2 hour to get us new keys
- Went to front desk to tell them about the mold and smoke smell. Woman didn’t care, whispered to us that sometimes people break the rules and still smoke on their rooms
- Mold/dirt/towels/dishes/empty bottles all over the ship. Never cleaned…the entire time!
- Pool decks never squeegeed, water, hair, filth all over
- Parts of spa never working
- Crew members, who are they? Did we even have a cruise director? Does anyone have a uniform? Why are they all rude?
- Mistakes on our bill, why can’t guest services fix them??
- Dinner, couldn’t even get through that without our waiter asking if we wanted to pay to eat dinner at a restaurant the next night
- Did I mention the ship is filthy? How about the poop on deck 3 outside of a stateroom??this is real folks!
All of the above was day 1, we still had to get through the second day. The good news is that we would be at the beach in Nassau all day and not on the ship.
Again, no guidance, we basically had to walk off the ship and find our excursion. While trying to do this we were approached by our crew people dressed as sailors and pirates hounding us to take pictures. Best part, one was smoking while working. Yup.
We found our group and they asked if we had towels. None of us did so back to the ship we went, where they took our room numbers!!! Were we going to be charged for towels too?!?
The island was gorgeous, we did not want to leave it. The excursion included lunch, the beverages were at an additional cost. This was the best part of the cruise.
We headed back to the ship and my heart, the Disney Magic was in port. I had to go to her, I had to just breathe clean and speak to a Cast Member. I hugged him and cried, he welcomed me home, he just let me stand there, it was if he understood. Lol!
Emily and I approached the Infinity and grabbed some pictures of the exterior, maybe it’s time for her to be retired. We knew we had to just make it through the night. We did!!!
We found the martini bar, figured out we should have been there the entire time. Packed our bags and went to sleep.
At no point did we receive comment cards, at no point did we receive acknowledgment to any of our concerns or complaints, at no point did anyone even apologize for the lost keys.
We had express walk off in the morning and as we sat in the lounge waiting for the ship to clear we heard nothing but complaints. Some first time cruisers vowing never to cruise again, some Celebrity fans saying they were done with them. It was truly sad.
My friends, here is the kicker, the icing on the cake: As Em and I stepped off the the ship onto the gangplank I said “I’ve never been so happy to step off a ship in my life”. This was heard by a Celebrity crew member who actually asked why I said that. Emily thanked her for being the first to ask and we kept walking. As we stepped into the customs area this crew member said, and I quote, “MAYBE YOU SHOULD JUST STICK WITH DISNEY CRUISE LINE”! Yes folks, she said this to which I said, “not a problem”
We tried friends, we really did try. I have heard the following “what do you expect from a 2 night cruise”? We expect service, the same service that we get on a 7 night cruise. The same service the DCL gives you on their 2 night cruises. We expect better for ourselves and our clients.
We have emailed and spoken to Celebrity, all pictures have been sent to the correct departments. We were offered a small (and I mean small) voucher for a future cruise so they can show us that they are better than this.
The good news…our adventure did not end here, it ended magically at Walt Disney World! Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog….
Do you have thoughts? Would you give them a second chance? We would love to hear from you, drop a comment!