Our recent cruise on the Constellation was excellent. Boarding at Cape Liberty is very smooth and takes no time at all. We were one of the fortunate ones that only had to park in the vast parking lot which was very convenient and only costs $12.00 a day.
If you are looking for "glitz" this is not the ship for you. It is understated elegance.
We have sailed with Celebrity before and we have only found their entertainment adequate. What a surprise this was as the entertainment was fantastic each and every night. Their production shows, guest stars and even a night of Cirque De Soleil were wonderful. We were very surprised to find "Nick Weir" as the Cruise Director. We have sailed with him on other lines and his Father before him. In our opinion he is by far the best Cruise Director at sea.
Dining: This is where the Constellation really surpassed other ships. The dining room menus, service, preparation and presentation was very impressive. It was so good we decided to pass on their Specialty Restaurant rather than miss a dinner in their dining room. For breakfast and lunch we always ate at the pool deck buffets. In the morning they offer pastries, smoked salmon, eggs, meats, fresh fruit, made to order omelettes etc. In the back of the ship I found the lightest Belgian Waffles and pancakes made to order with blueberries, fresh strawberries, stewed cherries, melted butter and just plain heated maple syrup.
The lunch buffet had a different theme each day. Fresh sandwiches were made in the back of the ship. The fresh pasta station was always a favorite with different sauces served each day, all day and night. The ice cream station served soft and assorted hard flavors, offering hot fudge and toppings daily.
The Aqua Spa also had an all day "healthier" buffet with great coffee.
My only complaint was the pizza. Not good. Very thick, soft crusts which never tasted cooked.
A soda card for the 12 nights was $72. ( $60 + $12 tip) Which we found excessive compared to other ships.
Very, very over priced. One can find brand perfumes on the Internet for a fraction of the cost. The jewelry prices were ridiculous and the costume jewelry was not even nice. The usual inch of gold, watches and day sales. They just opened an all amber store, the first one ever at sea. The girl who runs it, Stephanie was a delight and very knowledgeable.
The same crowds were at the shops daily looking for bargains which certainly did not appear. Any local Department store sale on land far exceeds anything on the ship in price and choice.
I will not go into detail on the ports, which we enjoyed. We stopped in Charleston, S.C. and walked over to the boat to Fort Sumter and afterward toured the city ourselves. This cost us $12 per person rather than the $49 charged by the ship
In conclusion, we would definitely take this ship and Cruise line again. Celebrity, while not as luxurious as Crystal or Silver Seas, has food prepared equally as well, and is far superior to Carnival, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess, etc.
While they do have a guide for tipping, one can choose to have it charged to their account or handle it personally. When charged to your account you are given a slip to enclose in an envelope letting the crew member know that you remembered them and appreciated their service.
Finally, all of the crew we encountered were very courteous and polite always going out of their wy to assist you.