Sixteenth cruise, six with Celebrity, first on Constellation, second no-fly departure from Southampton. Car to City Cruise Terminal using AP&H's efficient "Meet and Greet" car-parking service. Easy embarkation to outside stateroom 2077deck 2 midships (to offset the Bay of Biscay) with the first item of luggage arriving within an hour and the other two within another thirty minutes. Met with Cruise Critic members at Seaside Aft bar on sail-away. We went to the Captain's party for Cruise Addicts members on first day at sea. After this we met only one CC member throughout the cruise.
There were small unimportant differences on Constellation from the other Millenium Class ships we'd been on previously but none to alter the pleasure of being onboard. We used the AquaSpa for some breakfasts and lunches. Also used the Main dining room and the Seaside Buffet, mostly the quick serve pizza place. We also used the Elite Members breakfast facility. We used the Main dining room San Marco on a table for ten for the evening meal except the last evening when we went to the Ocean Liner's for a pre-birthday celebration. The variety of places to eat made for a more enjoyable experience.
A major event was the outbreak of novovirus. Celebrity responded quickly and efficiently and contained the problem. It meant, however, self-service was replaced by the crew members pouring coffee etc. This was a nuisance as there were queues at coffee points. The innovation of tea and coffee facilities in the room solved some of the problem.
The shore excursions were probably 20% too expensive and the Shuttle charges excessive with $15 for a day pass 2.5 km journey to Le Havre. We went to Bilboa by Shuttle on Tuesday because on Monday's the museums were shut and the hop-on-hop-off (HOHO) didn't run on Monday's -- except they have changed the rest day for the HOHO to Tuesday! Caught the Tour Bus outside the Tour Office at Vigo and the HOHO outside the docks gates at Oporto. Took the shuttle to Survac and Le Havre. The little tour train in Le Havre didn't show. Took a tour to Honfleur -- a very pretty place and worth seeing but the price of a short tour was high. Perhaps Celebrity should consider a better multiple offer than the one they have now. A better value package providing greater flexibility would be: "Any five trips, the cheapest one free." It would probably sell more trips.
The price of the wine individually and as a package was also high and it seems that Celebrity now entices people to get on board with attractive prices but makes it up with over priced extras. We managed the cost by setting a maximum spend figure and staying within it.
Overall the cruise met our expectations and we enjoyed the cruise. The staff at all levels, room, eating etc were as good as ever. The entertainment was varied and adequate. We'll go on another Celebrity Cruise.
Internet: It is not possible to use a USB memory stick on the ship's computers. If you need to access specific text, send it to your normal email account as attachment file(s) before departure.