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4 things I loved and 4 things I hated about Celebrity Ascent


I recently returned from my first-ever Celebrity cruise on their newest ship: Celebrity Ascent. From the moment I stepped onboard, I knew this wasn't an ordinary vessel. 

As soon as you walk inside the Grand Plaza, you're left speechless. How is something so beautiful actually floating on water? The ship gets more and more impressive as you continue to explore. If I remember correctly, my jaw actually dropped when I saw my stateroom's ensuite bathroom. 


While my time onboard Ascent was more than memorable, not everything went according to plan during my trip. Even though there were certainly more aspects of the cruise that I loved, there were some things that I was not the most fond of. 

Here are 4 things I loved, as well as 4 I hated, about Celebrity Ascent. 

Read more: I spent $4,600 for a seven-night cruise on Celebrity Ascent. Here's what everything cost, from $860 airfare to $600 in onboard expenses

I loved the dining onboard Celebrity Ascent


One of the first things I did on embarkation day was head up to the Oceanview Café for a bite to eat. Ascent's buffet was unlike any I'd ever seen on a ship. The sheer amount of made-to-order sections was what impressed me the most. You could order anything from pasta to stir-fry, and there was even a Caesar salad station! 

In addition to the buffet, I loved the complimentary options for lunch. If you weren't feeling the buffet, there were plenty of other places to visit, including Eden Café, Mast Grill, The Spa Café, and Café al Bacio. On the second day, I had udon noodles and fresh fruit from The Spa Café while sitting in the Solarium, and I don't think that could have been any more perfect! It's nice that Celebrity has options ranging from more indulgent all-you-can-eat buffets to lighter bites. 

Moreover, I had delicious meals in the Main Dining Rooms. From the short rib in Cyprus to eggplant bruschetta in Tuscan, everything I ordered was tasty. The food was definitely a step up from their sister brand Royal Caribbean. While I heard great reviews about the specialty restaurants onboard, you'll have great meals no matter where you eat. 


I appreciated the different dining rooms, as they fostered a more intimate dining experience compared to ships with single, multi-deck rooms. Each had a different theme with exclusive dishes, so it felt like I was trying out different restaurants on land, rather than returning to the same venue each night. 

On the second to last evening, I decided to splurge on a meal at Le Voyage, and while expensive at $150 per person, it was one of the best meals I've ever had in my life! Typically, I don't spend extra on specialty dining; however, I'm planning to return on my second Ascent cruise in July with my fiancée; it was that good! 

The experience began with a complimentary glass of Veuve Clicquot, followed by a small scallop appetizer. Next, our actual appetizers were brought to the table. I ordered the Roasted Beet & Carrot Salad, and while the beets and carrots themselves were delicious, the dressing is what made the entire dish; it was so light and refreshing! 


The highlight of the entire experience, however, was the Prime Black Angus Filet. Per my request, it was cooked to a perfect medium temperature, with each bite surpassing the previous one. My table also shared a lobster risotto, which I thought was delicious as well; however, I am glad that we opted to split one, as the dish itself was rather rich. 

My table of five decided to split all five of the desserts, too. Out of all the options, my top choices were the Sauerkirsche Black Forest and Cafe-Cardamom. Additionally, we were brought two more treats: dark chocolate bites and fluffy madeleines. 

I hated the awful sewer smell on Deck 3


On embarkation day, I noticed a weird smell emitting from my cabin's bathroom. I wasn't too sure of what it was, so I ignored it. It wasn't the first time my nose had picked up an odd smell on a ship. Usually, though, it fades pretty quickly and is nothing too concerning. 

While chatting with other passengers, I learned that numerous other guests had complained about the same smell on a Facebook page. Thankfully, the smell did subside by the middle of the week; however, it made the first few days unpleasant! 

Read more: Photos show what the smallest room on Celebrity’s newest cruise is like

I loved utilizing Celebrity's Elite benefits


Even though this was my first Celebrity cruise, I was able to use all of the Elite Captain's Club perks, thanks to their status-matching program with Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Program

These included a nightly happy hour with select complimentary cocktails from 5-7pm, as well as a free bag of laundry. There was also an exclusive daily coffee hour; however, I never made it to the restaurant to check it out. Either way, it's still a neat benefit. Had I not purchased a Wi-Fi package, I would've taken advantage of the complimentary 90 minutes of Premium Wi-Fi, too. 

I'm really looking forward to testing out the Elite benefits on my second Ascent sailing in July, as we are tendering in Santorini, and Elite Captain's Club members have priority tender access. 

I hated the expensive cocktails


During sail away, I found a nice spot on the Magic Carpet, an Edge Class-exclusive venue. I opted to treat myself to one of their cocktails and was shocked when the total came out to $21 after the automatic 20% gratuity. Needless to say, I didn't return there for another drink. 

While I didn't have a drink package, it almost seemed as though Celebrity kind of forced passengers to upgrade from the Classic to the Premium Beverage Package, as very few drinks were $10 or under. 

Because of my Elite status, I was able to enjoy complimentary drinks from 5-7pm. Other than that, I didn't find myself wanting to pay for any cocktails. Thankfully, when I cruise on Ascent in July, my fiancée and I will have the Premium Package. If we didn't I think I would have to make the splurge! 

Read more: Are cruise drink packages worth it?

I loved the upscale vibe of the ship


Every aspect of Celebrity Ascent seems to have been thoughtfully designed. From the beautiful Grand Atrium to the elegant staterooms, it truly felt like I was staying at an upscale resort, rather than a standard cruise ship. Having primarily sailed with Royal Caribbean, everything about the experience felt like a step up. 

While I've still enjoyed my time on newer ships like Symphony of the Seas, Royal's ships never feel as classy. And that's okay; their primary audience is different! As a 20-something without children, though, I can see why Celebrity's product is so appealing. 

In addition to the lack of children, everything about Ascent felt like it was curated more for adults' enjoyment, rather than having to cater to a diverse range of ages. 

I hated that there weren't a ton of opportunities for solo travelers to meet and mingle


With Celebrity Ascent having dedicated staterooms for solo travelers, you would think that there would be a dedicated meet-up. While there was a daily LGBTQ mixer at the Sunset Bar, there wasn't a general time for solo travelers to mingle with one another. 

Whenever I'm alone on cruises, I rarely attend solo mingles; however, I always appreciated having the option to go. Instead, I've always made friends at dinner or other events. This cruise wasn't any different, as I met two wonderful ladies from Colorado and North Carolina on the first evening while dining at Normadine. Additionally, I met a fun group of friends traveling together at the LGBTQ mixer on embarkation day. 

Events for solo travelers are, I think, smart, as they give more timid individuals an opportunity to make new connections without feeling like they have to put themselves out there too much. It's always a little scary going to any event by yourself, especially knowing that you may be the only solo cruiser there. 

I loved Eden


At the aft of the ship on Deck 5, you'll find Eden. It's part bar, part lounge, part café, and even part entertainment venue. I'd be surprised if you didn't venture into Eden at least once during your cruise. 

During the day, it was quiet and relaxing, the perfect place to get a little bit of work done. Plus, there's a spot for sandwiches and salads, so you don't have to wander far for food. The majority of sandwiches are complimentary; however, you can pay extra for things like a lobster roll or prime rib sandwich. 

At night, the energy in Eden changes, as it transforms into an entertainment venue. During my cruise, I watched Shimmerbox and thought that it was a fun production. The singers were extremely talented, and the dancers didn't miss a single beat. 


Pro tip: check out the swings that are hidden behind the bar. You can access it via the ramp to the left, or walk up the stairs to the right and then turn left. They're fun to relax in, and they have amazing views of the ship's wake. 

And while I didn't have the opportunity to do so on my sailing, there's also a specialty restaurant on the lower floor of Eden. I talked to a group who dined there on the second night, and they said it was delicious. Dinner starts at $85 per person; however, there's also a tasting menu available for $120 each. Dishes include things like sheep's milk gnocchi, Tandoori-style beef, Nova Scotia lobster casserole, and roasted chicken with duck-fat potatoes.

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I hated that the mobile app was glitchy


Whenever I went to open Celebrity's app on my phone, it took a while to load. There were times when I'd have to close it out and refresh it. I've never had this issue on Royal Caribbean before, so I'm not sure why it was acting up on Celebrity's newest ship. 

While it was a minor issue, it was inconvenient having to wait to access information. If I wanted to know when a show was or double-check dining times, it wasn't something that could be done in a minute or two. 

I also noticed on embarkation morning that I wasn't able to complete the required safety videos ahead of time. Whenever I'd try to watch the life jacket instructional video, an error message would pop up. I had to wait until I was onboard and watch them from my stateroom's television. 

Read more: The best cruise apps you need before your next sailing (2024)

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