I just got back from cruising the Galaxy last week, and all in all I had a relaxing vacation. We loved Aruba, it was very relaxing, and we enjoyed the beaches there. Our cab tour of Barbados was also wonderful, we will have a lot of wonderful memories from that.
But I would have to say I am disappointed with a number of nagging inconsistencies in my cruise experience. In the past, when it came time to plan a vacation, it was always a given, lets do a cruise on Celebrity. Next time, I will have to give serious considerations to other options.
To begin with, at embarkation time, we were not given priority for captains club, or for the fact we were in a suite. While we waited the hour + in line, numerous couples were given this courtesy, the same courtesy to which we were denied. We politely inquired four different Celebrity employees for this same courtesy, but were summarily (and in 2 cases, rudely) rebuffed. The rude supervisor who we last spoke to finally relented, and let us get in the suite queue - when there were only 2 other couples ahead of us in the regular line to get to the booths, but 3 couples in the line for the suites/captains club.
Needless to say, I was not pleased and felt I was cheated out of something Celebrity promised us.
We were also supposedly to get priority in getting our baggage delivered to us. This turned out not to be the case. We got there earlier than many other non-suite guests we spoke with, and yet many of them got their luggage delivered hours before us. Not a big deal, but when added to the shoddy treatment at check-in, it made the first day not especially nice.
On board, Patrick our butler was great; I could say nothing bad about the hotel side of the ship. But little touches were missing on the restaurant side. To begin with, the cards assigning tables printed both the wrong time to show up for dinner, and also gave the wrong directions on what deck to enter the restaurant. On top of this, the Orion restaurant opened 7 minutes or so late, the first night at sea, which meant those of us who followed the directions on the card to be there at 6 had been waiting for over 20 minutes. This led to a near stampede on that night as people tried to get to the right place.
Another inconsistency was the policing of the crowd on formal night. I was barred from the dining room on formal night for not having a jacket, (though was assured by our waiter the night before it would not be an issue...) and yet another man (non staff member) walked in with a polo shirt, in full view of the same man who told me to leave. And perusing pictures of the formal night couples, it became clear there were a number of other people who were not held to the "jacket required" standard. That pushed a few of my buttons. Our butler was shocked and outraged at this; he contacted the head of housekeeping that in turn brought it up with the hotel manager. The head housekeeper, who had been a maitre de in the past, said point blank he would never have nbarred me from the dining room in the very nice outfit I had on. We got a free bottle of wine as we ate dinner on our veranda. It was a nice night for dining out doors, but I was still angry, we decided not to go to any other spaces that night because I did not feel like having another run in with anyone else on the issue. Besides, the bottle of wine got us pretty sleepy
Also in the dining room, I was annoyed at continually having to ask for simple things like iced tea 2 or 3 times. Our headwaiter was very good though, and gave excellent suggestions. I did like how he said "beautiful choice" after you finished your selections though, no matter what you chose It did seem to me that there was more repetition in the menu then I was used to, for example, I thought escargot as an appetizer two nights in a row was a bit strange, maybe that is how it always was but seemed too much to me.
Another inconsistency I noted was with the VCR. We were never sent a list of movies available from the ship/library/what have you. However, the people at our dinner tables who were not in suites reported for some reason THEY were being sent the list of VCR tapes, despite the fact they had no VCRs in their rooms. Considering 2 days at sea, and some rainy days in port, we might have gotten some use from the VCR had we known.
This was my second cruise with Celebrity, and for the second time, they misplaced my suitcase, despite the fact it still had the correct red luggage tag clearly affixed to the handle. That kind of consistency I can do without, I really do not enjoy spending all that time searching for my luggage, worrying someone else has grabbed it by mistake, etc. I was happy though that Customs did not search my luggage on the way out, as I had already spent more than enough time in the cruise terminal.
If excellence is measured by attention to details, the small things, then I cannot in good conscious call my experience on Galaxy excellent. In fact, in some ways I would have to say it felt short significantly from what I was led to expect.
A very nice ,concise and specific critique. I'm afraid I don't understand a few things. You had tickets showing you were in a suite(and I presume Captains Club cards) and someone physically barred you from getting on the special embarkation line? I've sailed Celebrity twice this past 11 months and found the words "Captains Club" to be embarkation majic.Why didn't you just walk over and get on the line? What am I missing?
I've sailed 8 times in the past 5 years on four different lines and 8 different ships (including 3 Celebrity). I've seen everything from polo shirts to tuxedos on formal nights and never heard of anyone being turned back from a dining room. Did they "suggest" alternate dining or did someone bar you physically from the dining room? Who stopped you, a waiter, a maitre'd ,a head waiter?I won't even ask why you wouldn't at least throw on a sport jacket for formal night? I've never seen a vcr list passed around on Celebrity,usually you just go see what they have, but, if there was one, why didn't you get your Butler to get you one? That's what you paid for when you got the suite.
None of these things should have happened , but, it seems that most could have been remedied by just speaking up and insisting politely on getting what you were entitled to.
The captains club/suite priority lines were behind the ropes, with guards watching to make sure people did not cut through the ropes without a celebrity employee moving them for you.
We pointed out our cabin class and showed our captains club cards to celebrity employees on four seperate occasions including the supervisor in charge of the line, and were rebuffed, sometimes not very politely. We were told it was for security reasons, the supervisor told me the lines were too long to allow for providing this service.
However, I could not fail to notice a number of couples who other celebrity employees would open the ropes for, then close them again. We were not one of those lucky couples, unfortunately, even despite our polite but insistent protests.
As to the dining room, I was physically barred by the maitre'd, despite the fact other people far more casualy dressed were allowed in by this same person.
I didn't bring a jacket, the suit jacket turned out not to fit very well at the last minute when I was packing so we decided not to bring it and had planned on not going to the formal nights. However, we were convinced by our table mates and our waiter on the night before that by all means we should come to the formal night even sans jacket. I had a very nice french blue shirt, a nice tie, suspenders, and pants from my suit. Meanwhile, if they are going to make me go back to my cabin to eat, then why not all the others? I will admit though, that it looked like they were trying to be much more strict about the formal night policy this time, and I heard of another guest being turned away. To say I was shocked when I was turned away would not even begin to cover it, I had seen people even in the mediterranean in much less formal clothing on formal nights not barred from the dining room.
As for the VCR list, we never knew it existed until one of our table mates mentioned it, because it was being delivered to his cabin daily. Can't ask for something we did not know existed.
I'm shocked and saddened by your treatment on Celebrity. They are my line of choice primarily because of the service . I certainly do not understand why you were treated the way you were on all of these issues. I have never had a reasonable request refused on Celebrity and certainly have never observed anyone semmingly going out of their way to give a passenger a hard time.Have you addressed yor concerns directly to Celebrity since disembarking
(including a seperate letter to Captains Club for being denied the embarkation benefits (never mide that you had a suite!!)?
I would think the only people to object to your dress on formal night would be your table mates, and if they didn't care why would the maitre'd ?
Sorry you had negative experiences on Celebrity. But it seems for every negative post I see there are 20 positive posts. So I would think what happened to you is'nt the norm for Celebrity. Hope your next cruise goes better for you.
Sorry to hear of the problems you encountered. I can sympathize with everything
you have said except for the comments on "formal" nights. Anyone who has
cruised, or read carefully the "dress code"on the information material will agree
that the acceptable attire for that night includes a coat or sport jacket at least.
The move to "informality" is regrettable, in my opinion--but the complaint does
not seem appropriate.
I agree with you, however, the application of this policy was not consistent (people being allowed in in a polo shirt 15 seconds after I was barred from the dining room), makes me feel unfairly singled out.
I had not planned on going to the dining room for formal night, but was encouraged to do so by our head waiter even without the jacket. So it was a bit unexpected.
Wasn't last week the first cruise in the S Caribbean itinerary?
1) I try to steer clear of the first few weeks of an itinerary. There are usually brand new employees trying to figure out how to do their job. They are still working all the kinks out.
2) I'm shocked you were turned away because of your dress on formal night. It seems like people tend to ignore any dress code over the last few years and will wear anything to formal night and no one says a word.
Like you said, it seems like you had a few minor annoyances, but plan on these any trip you take. At least you didn't have anything major derail your entire trip.
Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy the trip as much as you should have. If you read my virtual cruise report from Explorer.. there's a section where I chat with the Chief Purser. He emphasized that passengers should voice their complaints on the ship, and have them to do their best to remedy the situation so that it doesn't impact the entire vacation.
Probably good advice .. then things don't fester.
We did enjoy ourselves though, had fun with our table mates, and relaxed ourselves. I feel much less stressed than I was before the cruise. The veranda was great, I would use it at times even in the rain.
I thought about taking issues up at the front desk but really didn't want to escalate the bad feelings I had, perhaps the next time I will give it a shot.
Al... quite a story. I, like others, cannot believe that an experienced cruiser like you even thought about getting onto the ship without a jacket. That someone else slipped through on formal night, well... it can happen... but that surely isn't justification for your turning up on formal night without a jacket.
As far as embarkation is concerned... something is very much amiss. What I cannot detect from your posts was the sailing date. If it was immediately after September 11th... any of the next two or three sailings, well... everything was quite upside down and security issues were still being sorted out. I have sailed the Galaxy quite a few times... the experiences you relate are surely not the norm.
As for the dining room opening 6 minutes late... come on, Al... 6 minutes late? I suspect that by this time you were thoroughly upset and seeing only "black" everywhere on the ship.
Finally, there is simply no way I would have not insisted on the Captain's Club... Suite Line. I would have asked for the Pier Manager who would have straightened that out in a flash. Something here just doesn't jell. (I'm tempted to ask what you were wearing during embarkation, but hesitate!)
Things are not up to par on some Celebrity ships these days. We noticed a real lack of "good service" on our Sept sailing of the Infinity. The food quality and dining room service in general was only "average" at best.We're skipping Celebrity for our next few cruises(thats after 7 Celebrity in a row). I don't care how cheap the cruise gets, if quality suffers, repeaters will look elsewhere.
sounds to me that you are one of those people who look at their glass half empty instead of half full. you knowingly tried to break the rules of jacket required and had gotten upset when they called you on it. I find that people will go out of their way to see that you are satisfied if you are polite and respectful. by reading your post, I detect a rudness and snobbyness which was probably noticed by celebrity staff in which case i would have gone out of my way to ignore your request which was pobably what they did. Sounds like you boarded the ship with that attitude and made those around you enjoy their vacation less. just my thoughts on the subject I will promise you one thing. I will try to keep those around me smilling and feeling safe.
A toast to friends not yet met. mark