Background My wife and I (a little older than the '50' in the title) decided to add a short cruise after a vacation in Miami Beach. The objective was to see how we liked cruising. Our holiday in Miam Beach was in a condo overlooking the Government Cut and we are able to watch many cruise ships departing port from our balcony and only about 350 metres away from us. Conclusion from that experience: The Carnival ships passing were PARTY SHIPS. It was nice to here the 'When I wish upon a star' played on the Disney ship's horns as they set sail.
We took a cab from Miami Beach to the pier. Checking in shortly before noon everything went smoothly and quickly. The excellent customer service standards that Celebrity seems to have were immediately noted. We were directed (Surprise Surprise) to the 'Bistro on Five' for a first lunch. I say 'Surprise' because it is one of the pay extra facilities and there is a fairly constant sales pitch to sell the up-charged items aboard the ship. The $5.00 cover charge seemed quite reasonable as this although wasn't the fanciest meals we had on ship it was the freshest and well prepared and very tasty. The primary items on the menu are soups and both sweet and savoury crepes.
Sitting later at the stern of the ship having a cocktail we met some fellow cruisers. Being 'virgins' we didn't know what to expect but found it so easy to meet and converse with other shipmates. There is always was something in common, even it is 'the cruise right now'. This particular short cruise, over a weekend, had a wide range of ages and nationalities represented. There were few children and also few elderly people too.
We were told that the previous 5 day cruise from Saturday to Thursday had an older demographic.
Of note, the swimming pool area was quite a party scene during the day. I didn't see it as being crazy but the music was quite loud and the pool area is a bit of an enclosed amphitheatre. Again, we were told, during the previous cruise that wasn't over a weekend, that this was not the case.
I had selected room 9201 when booking from the deck plan. From the pictures it looked like the balcony was larger than the other ones in the same class. This proved to be correct. The balcony was almost as big as the main area of the cabin. Interestingly, being astern of the ship, the balcony was well protected and we never once had to deal with wind when outside. The actual room very nice and we appreciated the many storage options so that it was easy to keep tidy. Not having cruised before I can't really comment on how it compares to other ships or cruise lines.
San Marco Restaurant.
We had a private table booked for the late dinner seating. The food was very good, not quite excellent, and again I can't compare to other cruise experiences. Comparing it to high end banquet meals the food at the dining room on the ship was far superior and the selections were great. The servers we had for the duration of the cruise were excellent and remembered all our preferences.
On a future cruise we would likely ask for a traditionally shared table.
I was less than impressed by the breakfast in this restaurant. For example, ordering hash browns had the servers bringing a deep fried thing that looked and tasted like the Macdonalds menu item of the same name.
We had breakfast at the buffet restaurant and on the cruising day it was very nice. The poached egg station is a nice touch. I appreciated that the servers preferred to place the food on the plates, eliminating the need to touch utensils that other guests had touched. Breakfast on the departure day was less impressive and was typical buffet fare.
Cleanliness and prevention of germ transmission.
Celebrity takes this very seriously. There are numerous signs instructing guests to clean hands properly. There are many hand disinfectant stations about the ship plus crew members dispensing same when embarking. I saw on a number of occasions cleaners wiping down stair railings.
While taking the complementary tour of the spa area we signed up for a foot pain seminar. Miraculously the crew members were able to tell all our physical problems by a quick perusal or our footprints.
This turned out into a disgusting sell job for some overpriced shoe inserts. Of course, aboard ship, it is difficult to scour the internet to see if the products they are trying to sell will do what they say. I thought it sad that the cruise line is using their legitimate personal trainers to sell what seems like expensive junk.
Gym and Running Track
The gym is well equipped and faces forward with a view ahead of the ship. It's too bad that for a 6' tall man the windows are too low to see the horizon. I appreciated the running track and used it every day except for when the winds got too strong. It is 333 metres long so quite usable but best to use early before sunbathers and partiers block the actual surface.
It's hard enough not gaining weight with all the good food and drink available. I used a combination of daily exercise and never setting foot into an elevator to try to prevent the extra pounds. I can't say I was totally successful though.
The Hollywood revue was a fun hour in the Celebrity Theatre. It is always good to see young performers singing and dancing and putting their all into what they are doing.
Not having booked our travel through the cruise line we found that the departure time they allotted us was a bit tight to catch our plane. We wound up butting through the long line for departure and were able to get to the airport on time. Next time I would be more careful setting this up. Luckily our cab driver was a retired race car driver.
In general, we really enjoyed the Celebrity ship and Constellation in particular. She has the feel of a classic liner and I hope to return in the future.