Celebrity Constellation Cruise Review by JAMESFALLETTA: Good for the price paid, but don't expect Solstice Class
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Good for the price paid, but don't expect Solstice Class
Experienced cruiser in early 30s traveling with my wife, mother-in-law, and parents. Got a pretty good deal on this 14 day itinerary compared to later 2012 14 night sailings on Eclipse.
Went with inside cabins as balconies were 2x the cost and smaller than S-class, so we didn't see value in paying up. The cabin was small compared to industry standards, and it showed it's age despite being recently "updated." No room to enjoy room service, bathroom showed rust, and room was dusty. You could hear any noises coming from the hallway and above (ocean liners?) quite easily. Deck 2 aft location was terrific to avoid elevators on port days.
One cabin in our party was laid out sideways instead and this had much more space than the other 2 insides.
On the second-to-last day of the cruise, we had a pipe burst in the ceiling of our cabin, and water dripped heavily inside. We were in the room at the time and our steward had maintainance on the scene More quickly. It put us out for 2 hours. We were told it was fixed, then it started again, and finally we asked to move our room. They found an empty oceanview cabin for us. That cabin was much larger with better air conditioning. We asked an officer to comp us dinner that evening in Tuscan Grill and that was not a problem. Luckily we were leaving the next day so we just packed our suitcases a day early and switched cabins.
The work very hard to maintain the condition of the ship, but time does take it's toll. Chairs in the main dining room need to be replaced. Scratches and no arm rests compared to S-Class. The Casino smelled like the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas--gross, old, and musty. It still has coin operated slot machines. The fitness center was small and felt cramped. Throughout the ship the floors had bumps and divits, and we noticed toilet smells on lower decks the final 4 days. Probably a problem with the vacuum system. We noticed glasses, plates, and garbage placed on tables, floors, and furniture throughout the ship. I understand cruisers are to blame but when it's in plain sight, it shouldn't be visibly left for long periods of time, as we would see things on the way to dinner and still there on the way back etc.
Menu had fewer daily appetizer and salad offerings than previous Celebrity sailings. We asked the Maitre'D about the Caprese Salad (our favorite) and she quickly offered to have it prepared special for us every night. Our waiter had trouble with English and building rapport with us (late seating). His assistant did most of the talking. Service was quick and accurate. Some nights, especially toward the end of the cruise, we had trouble finding entrees with acceptable quality. Costs are being cut left and right and it's obvious. We never went hungry but there is a noticable drop off. We also enjoyed 2 brunches (1 was Easter) in the MDR.
The buffet never seemed to change for breakfasts. They ran out of English muffins half-way through the cruise. Some offerings were of low quality like the carved meats. Ice cream hand scooped is a Celebrity advantage over most other mainstream lines. They have a made-to-order steak/chicken/pork chop/salmon station for dinner in the aft section. Service was friendly but slow. Every order took 10 minutes, which I understand for "made-to-order." But with 10 people in line, just throw some steaks on the grill and worry about temperatures later just so you can get things started in anticipation of orders.
A side note--not a day went by without me seeing at least 1 cruiser use their hands to directly grab some food out of a serving tray. Sometimes just a roll or bread, but please people don't use your hands!! Many of the food bins had spoons facing the workers so most buffet food was served to you.
I'm a picky eater and was worried about Ocean Liners having never tried Murano. They had a 50% off cover night so we decided to check it out for $20pp. It was THE BEST dinner I've ever had on a cruise. Over 3 hours in length, we went wild and had 4 appetizer/salads each, plus an amuse brush, intermezzo, entree, dessert, and cheese plate. 9 course of bliss. Simply fantastic!!
Tuscan Grill was OK--just like on the S-Class ships. Service was fine here also. Not worth $30 if paying full price.
We love the aqua spa cafe for lunches, but closing at 2:30pm we cut it very close coming back from ashore some days. They were very eager to close precisley at 2:30 to the point where they'd cut off the drink station power at 2:29 (a clock was directly above) and they couldn't wait to close their doors. Not very friendly.
We enjoyed the desserts at Cafe al Bacio--these were usually better than those offered in the MDR.
We love the little things that Celebrity still has intact, such as cold towels and water when returning from ashore. Announcements have started in the morning and afternoon--they would have been brief however we had many international guests aboard so they were repeated in several languages.
Our room steward was fake-helpful. He would listen to your requests, but not fulfill them. Very simple--we like ice filled twice per day and want some wine glasses too. These were hard to come by consistently. Our Steward or his assistant literally spent 5 minutes each day cleaning our cabins. We could tell because we had adjoining rooms and sometimes he'd think we went to breakfast but instead we just went next-door. The cabins were small so he really just made the bed and put out new towels. We've had much better service in concierge class.
Officers were very outgoing and friendly. We simply asked at Guest Relations about bridge tours, and got invites to both a bridge tour and a separate engine room tour. On Silhouette, Guest Relations wanted to charge me like $79 per person (not worth it though interesting). On the final port day they also had a sail away from the Heli-Pad which was very nice.
Comedian was good. Magician was old-school but enjoyable. Perry Grant was not our style. His selections were from way, waaaay back (think 1930s or earlier). He has a very loyal following, I'll give him that, and he is talented but just too over-the-top for me. We didn't see any of the production shows. We make our own fun drinking and playing games. These longer cruises attract a more subdued clientel.
I've been to the Caribbean so many times that they all seem similar and I have trouble remembering what we did each day. We do our own excursions to the beaches. Highlights include watching planes land at Maho Beach in St. Maarten, beautiful water and beaches in Grenada and Barbados, and my first visits to Aruba and Curacao. I liked how most islands had cabs for about $4 per person and beach chairs/umbrellas at similar low costs to what I've found in more developed islands like St Thomas and Puerto Rico.
We paid about $1,000 per person total for 14 days, with free gratuities through Celebrity Passages.
M-Class vs. S-Class
My 3 prior Celebrity experiences were on Solstice, Equinox, and Silhouette. Those expecting S-Class style and new-ship condition will be disappointed with Constellation. There's a reason Celebrity is sending her to do short cruises from Miami later this year--her days in the prime lineup are over. There's no such thing as a bad cruise and Celebrity remains our line of choice. Less
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