Just returned from 7 nights on the Celebrity Constellation. Ports of Call included Dominica, Aruba and Curacao. The cruise dates included Christmas and Hanukkah - we returned to San Juan on New Years Eve.
This is my 3rd cruise. In the past we've cruised with Radisson and everyone said we we would be disappointed by any other cruise line. That was not the case. While there was certainly a difference in the experience, I was delighted with our Celebrity Cruise.
The Pros: The embarkation and disembarkation were easy and efficient. The cabin was roomy enough for 3 adults and all our luggage. (We had a room with a balcony on deck 9). The ship was lovely and kept spotless.
The evening entertainment was excellent. There was music in every public space in the evenings - all of it good. The singing and dancing troupe that performed on the main stage in the evening was top notch. Production values were tremendous. The Comedian was excellent. And I never expected Cirque de Soleil. Wow!
Food at the evening meals in the San Marco dining room was generally very good. (Stay away from the veal picatta. It is nothing like any veal picatta I have ever eaten.)
The cabin attendant was terrific. The room was kept spotless and always well supplied with clean towels, etc. He found my missing running shoe, offered to bring my son (who slept late and missed breakfast) juice, pastries, etc. He learned all of our names and always had a smile for us. Our waiter was also terrific. He was friendly, remembered our preferences from night to night (who liked chocolate desserts, who preferred decaf coffee etc). He brought us extra servings of lobster and beef tenderloin. If he thought we might miss out on the best dessert, he brought one of the those to the table too for us to sample.
The spa was pricey- but the services were excellent and we didn't have any trouble booking what we wanted when we wanted (we did book as soon as we got on board). The couples massage was especially good.
I had read some reviews that said the staff were not friendly. We did not find that to be the case. Almost everyone we interacted with was cheerful and helpful. Some of the more "backroom" staff were less friendly or quiet. Could have been that their language skills weren't up to extensive conversation. Their behavior was, at worst, neutral.
The Cons: Not enough lounge chairs for days at sea and the stated policy (no reserving chairs) was not enforced by the staff. This lead to both disappointment (no chair available if you weren't' out claiming one by 7:30 am) and disagreements amongst the guests. Insufficient daytime activities. Nickel & Dime (or rather $5-$10) charges for various things - including some exercise classes (Pilates, Yoga), soft drinks (sodas, pineapple juice, bottled water) that IMHO should have just been included. Body Lotion and Shampoo were provided via a dispenser instead of as bottled amenities. The quality of the product was okay, but the method of delivery didn't match the ambiance of the ship. The buffet (where we ate breakfast most mornings) was okay. Nothing special and a little too cafeteria-like. Sometimes staff was there to carry your tray. Sometimes not.
Destinations: We enjoyed each of the ports of call. Dominica was far less touristy than most islands and that was refreshing. We had far too little time in Curacao. We took excursions on each island and felt that each was fair value for the money. On Dominica we took the Dominica Highlights trip and saw the waterfalls. On Aruba we did the 1/2 off road jeep trip and snorkeled on Curacao. Probably the best snorkeling I've experienced anywhere.
Other Comments: The demographic of the cruise was interesting. Perhaps because of the holidays, there were lots of multi-generational families on board. Many 50-somethings with college age kids, younger sibs and grandparents. Over 400 "junior cruisers" were on board and the kids activities must have kept them busy because we didn't see much of them at all. It was too bad nothing was organized for the college-age kids to meet each other.