Must start by saying that we have sailed with Celebrity 3 times prior to our sailing on the Constellation and each experience in the past has been fantastic. This was our 4th Celebrity cruise in a 12 month period. Had it been our first it would most likely have also been our last.
We sailed on the Constellation on a quick 2 night-er (January 19 and 20) out of Miami as a follow up to our week on the Reflection (January 12 - 19). The difference in our experience was so drastic we wondered if both ships were operated by the same company (see my review on our Reflection experience on the Reflection reviews page - we love that ship).
Having only sailed on Solstice class ships in the past we expected the Constellation to be an older and 'dated' ship. While the style and layout of the Constellation was not to our taste (lots of dark wood, not a lot of windows in public areas, very low ceilings), this was to be expected for an older ship. However, the maintenance of the ship was something that we felt could use a lot of improvement. It seemed very run down - tears in carpets, ripped and stained bed skirts, lots of rust on balconies and public railings, lumpy and caved in beds, poor quality linens, and sheets that did not fit the full length of the bed were only a few of the things that surprised us. We also found that cleanliness on the ship was not a top priority (when we entered our stateroom for the first time there was old pieces of fruit and red wine stains in the sink, long dark hairs on our bathroom floor, and carpets in public areas didn't seem to be vacuumed often).
However, our major issue was with the the lack of customer service and attention to detail during the whole cruise. In most cases, the staff just seemed to not care. With the exception of the main dining room, we found the level of service terrible. It seemed the ship was severely understaffed and those that were 'serving' did not want to be there.
Officers and 'managers' were also noticeably absent on this cruise. On the Reflection there was a strong officer (and captain) presence at all times. I don't think we saw one office in our 2 days and we did not see or hear from the captain at all (no morning announcements).
We were told that the prior cruise had been a charter and it seemed the following cruise was also going to be a charter as staff spent the bulk of our 2 days prepping for the next cruise. They were putting up posters all over the ship with the name of the company that was coming on board...this was more a focus for them that tending to the needs of the guests that were actually on board. It didn't seem right that often there were no clean glasses at the beverage stations, no ice in the ice machines, and you'd have to wait 15 minutes for service at a bar while you could see staff putting up these posters everywhere.
Must also note that the muster drill was concerning as on previous ships this has been a high priority. During the drill there was no safety video presentation and no demonstration by staff on how to put on life jackets. We went to our muster station (which was packed, not enough seats, people sitting of floors), checked in, sat for 15 minutes, and then were dismissed. Had we not been on other ships we would have been completely in the dark about what to do in the "unlikely event of an emergency".
Disembarkation was very frustrating. We were given no information beforehand - were told as it was just a 2 day cruise they didn't give info or luggage tags. We were to carry our own luggage off. Only got 1 customs card - asked for another and told "only 1 per stateroom if you need more go find your stateroom attendant". We finally found out that our time to disembark was 9am. Disembarkation morning there were no announcements. We went down to the gangplank at 9:15 figuring it was time to get off and waited 45 minutes in a huge line before we were able to get off. A little communication would have gone a long way here.
Overall this was not a good cruise for us. The ship is very dated and not well maintained and the level of service is far different from all of our other experiences with Celebrity. This was disappointing. They bill themselves as "modern luxury", but we do not feel the Constellation was either modern or luxurious.