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9 Things You Should Know Before Your First Cruise With Celebrity

If you’re taking your first cruise with Celebrity below are 9 things that I think you should know.

I have been lucky enough to cruise on two older Celebrity ships, Silhouette and Infinity and the ground breaking “Edge Class” ship, Celebrity Edge

Knowing the following 9 tips will help you get the most out of your cruise!

1. Different Main Dining Room Options

You May Be Given The Choice of Three Dining Options

You can have a late or early dinner – or choose “Celebrity Select Dining Anytime”

Set Dining

Celebrity will offer two seatings if they have set dining onboard the ship you choose. You will sit in the same seat, with the same people, and have the same waiters. Some people love this traditional style of cruising.

With Celebrity Select Dining Early, Late, you’ll have a designated time each evening for dinner, starting as early as 6pm or as late as 8:30pm. With Celebrity Select Dining Early, Late, you’ll be seated with the same people and get the same waitstaff each night.
ou’ll get to know your tablemates and the crew. It’s perfect for making new friends with similar interests and swapping travel stories over dinner.

Celebrity Cruises

Flexible Dining

The newer ships favour a more flexible approach to dining, with more than one free main dining room option for you to pick.

Celebrity Select Dining Anytime, on the other hand, is ideal for travelers who want a little more flexibility in their evening schedules. 

Celebrity Cruises

I personally prefer anytime dining, because I can just eat when I am hungry. Luckily I do prefer to eat earlier – and that is when the restaurants are at their quietest.

There are some dress codes for the main dining room. Men must wear a collared shirt in the main dining room (this can be just a polo shirt.)

There are suggested dress codes for each night:

You will find details of this on the App or in the daily paper schedule.

  • Evening Chic – more like a slightly more relaxed formal night on other cruise lines – cocktail dresses, trousers and “designer jeans” are the suggested dress code.
  • Smart Casual – more relaxed, smart jeans shirts, a “casual” top – but not T-shirts.

Of course, if you want to wear T-shirts and shorts, you can always eat in the buffet.

You can also book restaurants via the Celebrity Cruiseline App.

You don’t need to buy the ship’s WiFi To use the Cruise ship’s app. Find out more about that here:

You Don’t Need to Pay For Wi-Fi To Use a Cruise Line App – Here’s Why

Celebrity Infinity has one main dining room

Main Dining Rooms

Celebrity have the option of 2 or 3 main dining rooms, on the newer Edge class ships – all of which serve mostly the same food.

Older ships in the fleet, like the Celebrity Infinity, have one more traditional, main dining room

They usually all have the same menu which changes each day.

Buffet & Poolside Grill

There is a buffet on all ships which serve a wonderful variety of food.

They have a free ice cream station, food cooked to order ( like stir fries) and a wide variety of different cuisines available. These change from one day to the next.

There is also a poolside grill of some sort, offering burgers, hot dogs etc,

Lovely, fresh buffet food on Celebrity Infinity

Speciality Restaurants

There are also a number of speciality restaurants which cost extra, these can get quite busy and you do have to book to dine in these.

You can book Speciality Restaurants easily and quickly via the cruise ship App

I have always found the food on Celebrity to be very good, and quite varied – so I don’t often feel the need to dine in their Speciality restaurants.

Find out whether the food would suit you, see everything I ate on my cruise on Celebrity Edge here:

Everything I Ate on my Celebrity Cruise (Photos and Menus) – Food Review

2. No Need To Book Shows

Unlike many other cruiselines – Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, P&O for example, you don’t have to book theatre seats.

They have some brilliant shows on Celebrity. There is a variety of performances in the theatre and there is something on every night.

They always have dancers, singers, and classical musicians – and often have a magician or comedian too.

Make sure you arrive ten minutes or so before the show starts, to make sure you get a good seat.

Find out all about the cruise I took on Celebrity’s Older Ship, Celebrity Infinity here:

3. Get ready to be busy! (If you want to be)

Celebrity have lots of things going on around the ship, so you shouldn’t be stuck for something to do – and of course, you can do as little or as much as you want.

You won’t find waterslides, rock climbing walls, ropes courses or bowling alleys on Celebrity ships.

Celebrity are part of the Royal Caribbean International Group – and those sorts of activities are found on the Royal Caribbean ships.

Celebrity ships aren’t designed to appeal to families with young children – although they do have a kids club and children are welcome onboard.

Daily Schedule

Every night a ‘Celebrity Today’ paper will be placed on your bed. This paper sheet lets you know what is happening the following day.

The “Celebrity Today” is the timetable of where and when events are taking place around the ship. There are events going on from the early morning to late at night.

You can also find the same information on the Celebrity App.

The ships are always filled with live music and there are a number of gameshows/presentations every day.

The seats in Celebrity Infinity’s theatre are spacious, and the theatre is well-designed.

4. There is a “Corkage” Charge

You are able to bring 2 bottles of wine onboard with you at the start of the cruise, and you can consume this in your cabin free of charge. If you take them to the restaurant, you will be charged the “corkage” fee.

Guests wishing to bring personal wine onboard with them at the beginning of the
cruise may do so, limited to two bottles per stateroom, but when consumed in any
shipboard restaurant, bar, or dining venue, each bottle shall be subject to a corkage fee of

Celebrity Cruises

This charge has never seemed worth it to me, so I haven’t ever brought wine on board. I am not a big drinker.

You can’t bring on any non-alcoholic drinks, beers or liquors onboard at ports. They will put your bags through an airport-style scanner when you board to make sure you don’t sneak anything on.

5. No Free Room Service Or Laundry

I have been on other cruise lines that provide free Room Service.

This isn’t free on Celebrity, at the time of writing it costs $9.95 per order – plus an additional 20% service charge on top.

There also is no free laundry room where you can do your own washing/laundry.

When you reach the higher tiers of their “Captains Club Loyalty scheme” you do get a free bag of laundry though, which is brilliant.

Find out more about the laundry service on Celebrity Cruises here:

Celebrity Cruises Laundry Services: Packages, Price Lists, and Alternatives

Find out about the cruise I took on one of the newest Celebrity ships, the Celebrity Edge here:

6. Lawns And Gardens Onboard

Older Celebrity ships have a real grass lawn on the top deck!

Celebrity is the only cruise line to have these unusual features

On the newer Edge class ships, they have done away with the lawn (It must take a lot of maintenance and upkeep!) and replaced it with really impressive rooftop gardens.

There is also a speciality restaurant in part of the rooftop garden – it’s a really memorable experience to eat there as the sun goes down…

emma cruises cookie tshirts

7. Additional Service Charges on Drinks and Speciality Meals

On the majority of cruise lines you pay a daily service charge/gratuities – that are basically tips given to the staff.

These are added daily to your onboard account, or you can pay them upfront.

British cruise lines such as P&O, Marella – and MSC if you are booking from the UK include gratuities in the price, as we don’t have the same tipping culture as in the USA.

On Celebrity, as well as a daily service charge ( upwards from $17.50 a day) you will be charged a 20% service charge on any drink or drinks package you buy.

You will be charged an additional 18% service charge on any speciality meal you buy – or on any speciality dining package purchased. (A speciality dining package is when you buy a number of speciality meals at a slightly reduced cost.)

Find out more about cruise ship gratuities/service charges here:

Cruise Gratuities: A Simple Step by Step Guide For First Time Cruisers

8. You Will Get Added Extras…

As Celebrity are a more premium cruise line, you will find a few added extras that budget cruise lines either won’t include – or will come at an extra costs.

Added extras include:

  • Soft drinks available in the buffet all day
    • On all cruise lines you will find free juices at breakfast time – but Celebrity offers Lemonade, Fruit Punch etc by the tea and coffee station whenever the buffet is open.
    • If you don’t have a drinks package, you can grab a lemonade and take it out to the pool deck or the cabin.
  • Cardboard takeaway coffee cups.
    • Celebrity have takeaway coffee cups, so you can grab a coffee and easily take it elsewhere on the ship.
  • Celebrity Tartan Blankets on the pool deck for chilly days.
  • Free Shuttle Buses
    • If the town is a fair way away from the port, Celebrity will put on free shuttle buses. If you are on a more budget line, like MSC, you will find they charge for them.

Do some research before you travel on a budget cruise line. You might be able to walk to the town easily, or there may be a free port shuttle bus. The cruise line won’t volunteer this information.

Free soft drinks available in the buffet whenever it is open.

9. Not All Ships Have Traditional Balcony Cabins

Edge-class ships have “Infinite Verandas” – rather than conventional balcony cabins that you find on other cruise ships.

This means that they have a large opening window, rather than a balcony – the idea is that the whole cabin is turned into a veranda at the touch of a button.

There are advantages and disadvantages to “Infinite Verandas.” Some people love them, some people hate them.

I tried an Infinite Veranda cabin on Celebrity Edge, find out what I thought of it here:

Before You Go

Find out all about the orange platform that sticks out over the sea on Edge Class Celebrity Ships. It is known as the “Magic Carpet” and has many useful functions:

This Cruise Ship Has a Restaurant Sticking Off The Side! (Celebrity’s Magic Carpet)

The last thing you want at the end of your holiday is a massive bill. Find out how to cut your onboard expenses before you cruise here:

Cutting Onboard Expenses, BEFORE You Cruise. (Drinks, Speciality Meals, Excursions and More)

Free Insiders Cruise Line Guide

Ever wondered how the mainstream cruise lines compare? Cruise lines won’t tell you this, but I will.

This FREE guide shows you everything you need to know to find your perfect cruise line.