Glad you enjoyed your Panama Canal cruise and sorry we didn't run into you there -- perhaps the lack of FOD meetings? We enjoyed the cruise as well, but still have a bad taste in our mouths about Celebrity's FOD posting policy. We're wondering just how Celebrity defines "gatherings."
After noting the absence of FODs, we started looking for other gatherings in the daily newsletter. Every day a Friends of Bill W meeting was posted in Celebrity Today as well as on the message board. In addition, we noted listings in Celebrity Today for Singles and Solos, Service Club members, Catholic and Jewish services, and, I believe, at least one veteran's group. Are these not also gatherings?
It seems to us that if they are going to list gatherings such as those they should also list FODs. To not do so is discriminatory. After all, we've always felt that the main purpose of FOD meetings is to identify others with similar interests early in the cruise. Given that objective, it does little good to schedule them unless they are publicized. (Did you look for that "message board?" Could you even find it? It was hardly conspicuous.) One or two meetings scheduled early in a cruise and noted along with other gatherings in Celebrity Today should be sufficient.
In this case, Celebrity only hurt themselves. On last year's South American cruise on the Infinity, several of us met at early-scheduled FOD meetings and as a result, 8-12 of us met nearly every evening thereafter for cocktails at Michael's Club. The bar bill was significant and we all had a great time. This time fewer gatherings and lower bar bills.