Celebrity Constellation Cruise Review by BODICERIPPER: Had a fabulous time
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Had a fabulous time
I realise that I've written one LONG review, but I've attempted to address some of the topics that I wanted to know more about prior to taking my first cruise. Hope it's helpful to some folks. :)
This was my first cruise ever and it was a great way to start! I've traveled on ferries and smaller boats/ships overnight, but never a real cruise ship. I'd read some negative reviews prior to my cruise, so I was a tad apprehensive. However I didn't think that the Turner Classic Movie Channel would risk its reputation by offering this rather pricey cruise, attended by many famous people, on anything less than a stellar cruise ship, and it seems that I was right! My experience with Celebrity and the Constellation put any worries that I might have had to rest!
(This cruise centered around the showing and appreciation of classic movies. TCM TV hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz were on board, as were celebrities such as Mickey Rooney, Debbie Reynolds, Arlene Dahl, Sally Ann More Howes, Norman Lloyd, Rich Little, and Alex Trebek.)
Booking was easy through "Sixthman", on-line. All information and directions were very timely, thorough, and helpful.
Our hotel shuttle dropped us at the Celebrity (Constellation) pier. Our checked luggage had the correct Celebrity specific tags on it and it was swiftly handled by the cruise line's staff from that point on, without any problems. We made our way into the building which seemed like a proper, permanent structure to me; clean and well decorated, and there were many well groomed and polite staff members available to direct us, and to answer questions.
We got through security swiftly, and then went on to "check in". This process seemed to go quickly in general for most folks from what I could see at the time, but we were especially lucky in that we were permitted to board right away as we had "priority embarkation"; a perk from booking a "Sky Suite" (S1). We had no waiting to speak of. At this same desk we could see some staff members in funny hats who would entertain folks by singing Happy Birthday to anyone whose birthday it happened to be. :)
The line of guests walking toward the doors of the ship moved along very quickly and with no waiting that we could see. There were crew members smiling and greeting us at every turn. Once on board we were given champagne, mimosas, or juice. We walked aft and were free to do what we wished as we waited for our room to become ready. We chose to sit in the peaceful 5th floor bar "Cafe al Bacio" and enjoy more champagne, and some yummy pastries. We both had obtained the Premium Beverage Package during booking our cruise, and this package is definitely a good idea if you enjoy a drink with meals, in between meals, and in the evening.
An overhead announcement stated that all staterooms were ready after we had waited for approx. an hour, maybe less. We easily found our stateroom and our luggage arrived very shortly after. Our butler Alfred (what a dear!) and our two room stewards Luis and Boris, introduced themselves in turn and explained the daily routine. The butler provided us with two methods of contacting him, and he reminded us often to contact him if we needed anything at all. He answered very promptly whenever we did call for him.
There was champagne and fresh flowers and fruit waiting for us. We had flowers, fruit, and a never ending supply of canapes and desserts showing up in our room several times daily, as if by magic. The stewards kept the room very clean and would supply towels, beach towels (excursions), and change the sheets whenever asked. The three of these fellows worked hard to quickly fulfill any and all requests. They all seemed very well trained, polite, friendly, and impeccably groomed. I did notice that all of the staff on the Connie smelled similar, and they all smelled great. Maybe they have rules about which scents they may or may not use?
They didn't discuss the "Pillow Menu" as such, but in our room, we seemed to have every type of pillow they had available. We both seemed to find our favourite.
The room had a safe, a small fridge, and lots of storage for the two of us. The room was tastefully decorated and very quiet. The carpet looked quite new. We couldn't hear any noise from the hall or from the next door rooms, other than perhaps a little bit while we were in the bathroom. But you couldn't hear this "noise" from the bedroom. We couldn't hear any noise from the public space under our room (the dining room), nor from the staterooms above us.
The beds were surprisingly comfortable, and the sheets of good quality. The closet was quiet large and even large enough to be used as a tight changing room if you're shy. :) The TV was of quite a large size. The balcony was heaven! 6127 has a nice balcony. The HVAC system would make a gentle hum at certain settings, but it was not too loud; in fact I found it rather soothing. We had enough hangers, but we could easily have obtained more if we had requested. The drapes were heavy enough to block light quite well. There was a night light in the bathroom that could be unplugged. The hairdryer was not great, but certainly adequate.
We did not dine in the specialty dining rooms but I only heard good things from the few folks I heard speaking about their experiences with them. Well, we did have crepes at the Bistro on Five which were wonderful. All of the crepes are five dollars and they are very good. This Bistro has great hours, and the decor and staff are lovely.
The food that we had at the main dining room, the Aqua Spa Buffet, the Sunset Bar, and the many other venues around the ship that we visited, was all very good! There was a pool side grill where hot dogs, hamburgers, and the like were made to order. Generally I found the food on the ship to be of a chef level quality, well presented, and professionally served. Most of the food seemed to be of gourmet level to me. The buffet choices were vast and there were food selections from around the world. I enjoyed the Indian food. Even the buffet pasta was great; not overcooked at all which is a feat when it comes to buffets.
We enjoyed the "Crush" ice bar and martini bar on the fourth deck. It was a great place to meet folks, and enjoy the very good martinis.
We didn't have to endure much waiting at all on the Constellation, despite the ship being at full capacity (the cruise was "sold out"). We had no waiting at the dining room, buffets, or other food venues. There were only the occasional very short waits for the elevators, if any at all. We never had to wait for a poolside deck chair.
There were always seats available at the theater which is saying something on a cruise such as ours. There were popcorn and drinks available when entering the theater where the staff would welcome you with a smile, and waitstaff would also bring drinks to your seats. The screen was surprisingly large, and the sound system was great. I found the seats comfortable, and there are little tables between the seats on which you can place drinks. Being at the front of the ship, we'd sometimes feel the roll of the ship while in the theater, but it was not bad at all. The seats were placed at such an angle that even short persons such as myself were able to see the stage and screen.
The regular outdoor pool area was a nice spot to read, relax in the sun, or meet folks. There were two pools in that area and the water was not too cold. They are not deep enough for the water to be over an average sized adult's head, but certainly deep enough for swimming. There are four, fairly large hot tubs surrounding these pools.
The deck chairs around these pools were cushioned and some were out in the open beside the pools, while others were sheltered from the sun by a mezzanine that hung above the periphery of the pool area. These sheltered chairs were still definitely "outdoors", but you could still enjoy the pool area if the weather got bad, or if you had too much sun. The glass walls (windows) around these chairs slid open to allow the sea air in, if you're so inclined.
There were always lots of clean towels available and the staff kept the pool area well picked up and tidy. Waitstaff circled the area often and took drink orders. I noticed the waitstaff bringing food and other items to some of the quests who were resting on their deckchairs.
The salt water spa pool "Aqua Spa" was located beyond (forward of) the outdoor pools and it was very nice. The water was lovely and very warm, but not hot tub warm. There were two hot tubs on either side of the main spa pool. One nice touch was that there was a lift chair to aid those folks with mobility issues in and out of the hot tubs (but maybe not the spa pool itself? - I couldn't quite tell for sure). Another nice touch, was that this spa tub and area was designated as being an "adults only" (16 years and older) area, making it an even more peaceful retreat. There was a sign or two that gently reminded folks to please keep the area serene, as "spa treatments are in progress". Many folks rested on the old fashioned, wooden deck chairs and read. It was one of my favourite places on the ship.
There were four huge, high taps on all corners of this spa pool that dropped water straight down with some force, and they provided quite a good neck and back massage. There were fabulous "bubble chairs" built into the two sides of the pool where you could recline on smooth, stainless steel bars, and the warm water would bubble up around you. This area was quiet and the noise of the water drowns out (pardon the pun) any voices or other poolside noise that might occur. This area was covered by a transparent roof, so the sun was always visible. It was a very nice place to relax, especially if the weather was poor.
There were showers, saunas, and a spa treatment area beyond this spa pool. The sauna had a large window that overlooked the ocean. Guests were able to use these facilities without any fuss, and we were able to walk right in, no waiting, no extra fee (other than for the spa treatments themselves). These full shower/bathroom facilities could be used by quests who had crowded cabins as a secondary bathroom, as long as they didn't linger too long.
There was quite a mix of folks on our cruise, but it seemed to me that most folks were middle aged or older. But there were also many young couples. I only saw one child embarking, but never saw him again during the cruise. The folks on this cruise were all interested in the theme which was classic movies, so maybe we all got along better than the average crowd? But I don't really know as this was my first cruise. Some folks seemed to go to bed early, and others never seemed to sleep at all. But there were many public places where the night owls could meet without bothering those who were trying to sleep.
I truly cannot think of a thing to complain about regarding this cruise. If I was totally unreasonable and nitpicky, I might be able to think of something. But in all reality, things went very well indeed. Especially when I consider that there were a couple of thousand of strangers gathered together in a new and strange environment, out in the middle of the Caribbean.
I must admit that I did hear several folks complaining about little things. Frankly it seemed to me that these folks just loved to complain in general, and would complain no matter how well things were going. Jeepers, some of them were just awful. I don't know how the staff endured folks such as these, but they would just keep on smiling and acting in a professional and respectful manner. I know that things must go wrong on cruises at times, and that they do need to be addressed. But from what I observed, the nonsense about which most of these folks were complaining was either nonexistent, or not important in the least.
During all of our comings and goings from our stateroom, the staff managed to clean it twice a day, deliver our daily goodies, and perform our nightly turn down service without detection. Their timing was magical, and we never saw them unless you wanted to. Our butler was very helpful organising one of our shore excursions, along with our other extra requests.
We were supplied with fabulous, fresh beach towels for both of our excursions, along with a very good quality tote bag/wallet for off shore exploring; it appeared to be very water resistant.
Getting on and off of the ship for our excursions went quickly and smoothly (waves permitting), and the staff wished that we "have a great day", and "welcome back" as we came and went. The staff were very attentive to anyone needing aid, and they seemed focused on safety. We enjoyed Celebrity's famous chilled towels and champagne upon our return to the ship. Also, antibacterial soap was dispensed by a couple of crew members at the door, if you were so inclined.
Leaving the ship also went very smoothly. We had our luggage tags delivered to our room by our butler the night before, and he explained the process. We packed, put our tags on our luggage and placed it in the hall before going out for the evening. We didn't realise that we couldn't get our room service coffee on the day of disembarkation (silly first timers), but when our butler heard us asking our steward about this, he said not to worry and took the time to deliver it himself! What a great guy.
We were allowed to leave the ship whenever we wanted to due to our "priority disembarkation" perk from booking the "Sky Suite" (S1), so we wandered over to the bar on the 5th floor where we had first started our cruise five days before. We relaxed and enjoyed some mimosas while our Beverage Cards still remained activated! We only had to line up for a small amount of time in order to leave the ship, and we easily found our luggage and got though customs. The staff was helpful as we lined up to leave the ship, ensuring that we had our customs cards filled out, and answering questions. We took the Celebrity shuttle to the airport. We had no tickets for this shuttle (our fault) but the driver saw our Celebrity lanyard ID's and let us on the bus anyway. Nice guy. :)
If anyone has any specific questions for me, please feel free to ask. :)
I grew rather fond of "Connie" during my five days on board. I would definitely book a cruise with Celebrity again, and would certainly take the opportunity to enjoy more time on board the Constellation. :) Less
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Cabin review: S16127
6127 "Sky Suite" (S1) Celebrity Constellation (port side, aft quarter of ship) - there were two of us sharing this stateroom: Really enjoyed this suite! :) The room looked just as it had in the photo at the Celebrity site. It did not seem smaller in real life as sometimes happens when looking at photos on-line. It was clean, orderly, and very well designed. Decorated in earth tones, with warm wood trim. Restful colours. There is a sofa that opens into a bed if it is needed. The room did not look worn nor tired. It was a very pleasant space in which to spend our "down time". There was a scratch on the wood of the closet door that had been repaired quite well. There was some kind of very small, communication device (?) on the side of the vanity in the bathroom, and it seemed to be no longer in use. I don't know just what it was in its day. It didn't bother me, but I'm not sure why they haven't removed it yet. The bathroom has a full sized tub in it, and I was surprised to see just how deep and wide the tub really was, perfect for bubble baths. I had expected a shallow, narrow tub, so it was a pleasant discovery. The bathroom featured a stone floor, stone vanity and stone wall tile. This stone was a lovely soft pink/salmon colour, either marble or maybe even onyx. There was plenty of storage in the bathroom. We were supplied with two large bath towels, two hand towels, two face cloths, and a bath mat. The room stewards would bring you extra towels and such if you wanted them to. If you hang your towels up, they don't replace them daily. Place them on the floor however, and they will replace them. There was a night light in the bathroom which could be unplugged. The hairdryer was not great, but it certainly was adequate. There is a very handy, retractable "clothes line" in the tub area where you can hang items to dry. The toilet is the typical vacuum type, and often needs two flushes to do the job. The toilet is a tad noisy when flushed, as this type of toilet often is. I think that the noise is unavoidable with vacuum toilets. There is a weigh scale in the vanity if you dare to use it during a cruise. :) Complementary robes come with this suite, and they are nice and thick and warm. The shower can be used either left affixed to the shower wall, or as a hand held shower wand. There is a fixed glass window between the tub area and the bedroom area in this suite, which lets more light into the tub area. It gives the tub area and bathroom a sense of having more space and makes the bathroom seem more open. There is a venetian type blind inside of this window, between the panes of glass, useful for privacy. There is a step up at the entrance to the bathroom as its floor is higher than the rest of the suite to allow for the plumbing. Surprisingly, neither of us tripped over it during the trip, so it must be at just the right height. Lighting in the bathroom is very good, and there is a magnifying mirror for makeup and shaving. The bathroom van worked quite well in clearing condensation from the mirror after showers. The room had an easy to use safe, a small bar fridge tastefully hidden beneath the TV, and lots of storage for the two of us. The room was tastefully decorated and very quiet. The carpet looked quite new. We couldn't hear any noise from the hall or from the rooms next door, other than perhaps a little bit while we were in the bathroom. But you couldn't hear this bathroom "noise" from the bedroom. We couldn't hear any noise from the public space under our room (the dining room), nor from the staterooms above us which we know were occupied as the ship was full to the rafters ("sold out"). The beds were surprisingly comfortable, and the sheets of good quality. The beds seemed maybe slightly narrower than a twin bed, but a tad longer? I'm not entirely sure about that though. We both slept quite well during the five night cruise. The closet was quiet large and even large enough to be used as a tight changing room if you're shy. :) The TV was of quite a large size. The balcony was heaven! 6127 has a nice balcony. We spent a lot of time out there. It's over a large, white "box" that's on the deck below that must have safety equipment in it? But you don't see that white box unless you look down. Also on this deck below the balcony, there is a public deck (forward to the white box) where quests might be able to get onto, but we never heard any noise coming from that area during our trip where everything seemed to be open to the quests at all hours. You can hear the waves from the balcony as the ship moves along. There is a larger, angled deck on the sixth deck, two staterooms aft of the one in 6127, and if you stand up and lean over the rail of the balcony of 6127, you can see onto this angled balcony. We didn't find that this balcony really "looked into" our balcony that much at all, and it didn't look into our stateroom at all. We didn't feel that our privacy was compromised. The HVAC system would make a gentle hum at certain settings, but it was not too loud; in fact I found it rather soothing. We had enough wooden hangers, but we could easily have obtained more if we had requested. The drapes were heavy enough to block light quite well. There was a night light in the bathroom that could be unplugged. The hairdryer was not great, but certainly adequate. 6127 is conveniently close to the aft elevators, but we never heard them from inside the room. The elevators on the Constellation seem to be very quiet overall. Room 6127 is located at a bulge in the hall just outside of the room. I thought that we might hear the stewards using this area as a staging area for linen and room service (which they do), but I never heard them doing so. Conversely, it's convenient because if you need anything extra in the morning or at turn down at night, this bulge in the hall is usually where you'll find the stewards and their supplies. Suite 6127 comes with a butler and two stewards and they will do anything to make your stay a great one. It was very easy to contact our butler and he gave us two methods of doing so, along with his business card. It seemed that either he or the stewards were always around our part of the ship if needed and very easy to locate. We were supplied with fabulous, fresh beach towels for both of our excursions, along with a very good quality tote bag/wallet for off shore exploring; it appeared to be very water resistant. We also enjoyed very quick embarkation and disembarkation, more perks of this type of room. The other features of this type of suite are listed on the Celebrity site. We had champagne waiting for us when we first arrived at the room, and the flowers and fruit bowl were kept full and fresh throughout our cruise, and several times during the day our butler would deliver canapes and desserts. We never had any issues with room service; it all went well. Room service could be ordered via the TV or by phone. The stewards and butler magically kept our room in order without us ever seeing them at work; it just happened! The turn down service at night was nice too. The staff was very professional, eager to please, very well groomed, polite and always smiling. I'm spoiled now, and after only my first cruise. I'm not sure if I can book anything other than suite from now on! :)