Constellation - Eastern Caribbean: Celebrity Constellation Cruise Review by Pete&Debbie
Overall Member Rating
Constellation - Eastern Caribbean
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Bayonne (Cape Liberty)
What a wonderful ship, she is now our favorite. Celebrity has a real handle on embarkation&we arrived at 11:30am and were on the ship by noon! We did not leave port until 6pm. We really did not experience any negatives on this cruise except for slightly discolored water. We had read about this in reviews prior to our cruise so it did not come as a surprise. It was fine for More showering and etc. so it was not a big deal. However, they do have a problem and they should correct it. The layout of the ship is very easy to follow and the dEcor was very pleasant. The Crew is constantly cleaning and polishing and the ship is immaculate.
We like to go to the Art Auctions, and have even purchased a few pieces in the past, however the seating is not the most comfortable on this ship. They have allocated an area in the middle of the shopping area for the auctions and the seats are crowded together. We did not attend the auction because of the seating arrangements.
The shopping area of the ship is very nice, better than on some ships. The stores had good selections and the staff was most courteous and helpful. Actually, all the staff was very nice, helpful and polite. This being our second Celebrity cruise, we find that they provide the best in service and hospitality. We have sailed Princess, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity and find Celebrity to provide the best service.
The food was very good. We did visit Ocean liners one evening and it is well worth the money. For $30pp, we got the very best in service and the food was excellent. We would pay plenty to experience this type of service and food at a restaurant at home.
The entertainment was very good. We did have rough seas the night the comedian did his show and we missed it due to sea sickness. I think about ¾ of the ship missed dinner and the show that night! However our son attended and said he was very good and funny. He even bought his CD. We went to the Cirque de Soile and that was great. That night they had the adult Cirque de Soliel white party in the disco. We did not find it all that great as that is all it was, a party. They did do some light projections on the walls that were cool and also reflected off of your white clothing, but it was just a drinking party. We had heard that there was entertainment, but the only thing to see there was people dancing, we were not impressed with the party. All the other shows were good and we truly enjoyed them.
We attended all of the talks by Dr. Joe Bishop, a meteorologist who had worked at NOAA. He gave talks about climate changes, global warming, freak weather patterns and rogue waves, tornadoes, hurricanes and natural disasters. Since our son is studying marine biology he made sure to attend every session. So much so that he got up to attend one that was held ay 9:30am, after being out to the wee hours partying at the teen disco! We attended all of them as well. He was very interesting and educational. There was always a packed house.
The weather was not the best. It was raining when we left Port Liberty and the rain seemed to follow us right down the coast. Not steady rain, but here and there. When people would complain, I would ask them, You are off from work and on a cruise -- what is there to complain about and they would realize that it wasnt as bad as they had made it to be. Drizzly rain here and there, but the sun did shine; I was even able to get a very fine case of sun poisoning.
Most of the ports were OK because it would be drizzly in the AM and the sun would start shining in the early afternoon or it was sunny in the AM and the rain would begin in the late afternoon. St. Maarten was the only port where it rained most of the day. When we got ready to leave the St. Martin port, the sun came out and the rest of the day on the cruise was beautiful.
First port was Charleston. We walked (took about 20 minutesto the right when you leave the pier) to the boat for Fort Sumter and took the tour. Very educational and enjoyable and very inexpensive! We then went next door to the Aquarium which was also reasonably priced and fun. There was a flea market right near the pier so we went for a short walk through on the way back to the ship. It was a good day and since we did everything on our own it was not expensive to see the sights.
Next port was Grand Bahama Island (Freeport). We had been here before so we knew there was not much to do here. Our 16 year old son took the nature walking tour and had a great time. He was originally scheduled for the Open Water Kayak Tour but it was cancelled due to the rough water. He was glad it was cancelled after he went on this tour. The nature tour had kayaking (inland) and a visit to a national park. He really enjoyed it. My husband and I went to Port Lucaya to have a look. Typical outdoor market. We had a beer and some conch fritters, walked around a bit and went back to the ship. The cab cost us $5 each. This was our second time in Freeport, not the best port but anywhere for a cruise!
Next was Nassau. We had never been here before so we grabbed a cab to Paradise Island. The cab ride was a little scary but Paradise Island is beautiful. We went to the aquarium which they have underground. It had an Ancient Egyptian type theme and was a lot of fun. We were there by 8:30am and did not see anyone collecting admission. When you come out of the aquarium you are on their lagoon and it was very nice. We took a walk around and watched them feed the big ray that is in the aquarium. You can also tour the aquarium from above and the walk goes around it, so you can tour the property and look into the top of the aquarium at the same time. There is a casino, but we did not gamble&just walked around to have a look. After taking a cab back to Nassau, we went to visit the Pirate Museum. It was raining by now so it was perfect timing, and we had a good time. We had to walk back to the ship in the rain afterward, but it just drizzled rain with a few downpours in between. As a lot of the sidewalks are covered, we were able to stay reasonably dry.
We were excited by our next port -- St. Maarten. We had never been here but heard a lot of good things about St. Maarten. We had reserved a car from Arthurs at the recommendation of reviews on the board. I should tell you that it was Good Friday when we were there so a lot of the stores and etc. were closed. When we got to Arthurs, he was not open! This was around noon and he had confirmed that he would hold a car for us until then. I dont think he realized that it was Good Friday when he confirmed the reservation, but none the less, he was closed. We had passed several rental agencies on our way out of the pier area to get to Arthurs so we just headed back that way. There was a Budget, Hertz and the like, but they were all closed so we ended up renting from Reynolds Car Rentals. He is located at the far end of the row of rental agencies to the right when you leave the pier. DO NOT RENT FROM REYNOLDS!!! A local was hawking rentals and led us over to Reynolds, which was the only agency open. We told Reynold, the owner, that we wanted to pay cash for the rental and as is customary he requested a signed credit card slip as a deposit. He had the young man retrieve the car, a well used Toyota. He informed us that we had to re-fill the gas to its original ¾ tank. (It cost us $5 to re-fill it after touring the Island for four hours.) Upon returning to the agency to return the rental, the door was locked. We waited for about 15 minutes, when the young man who brought us to Reynolds initially came walking up. We paid him $76.00 cash and he gave us the signed charge card slip (with all sections intact) and a cash receipt. I shredded the credit card slip into tiny little pieces and trashed it and we went back to the ship. When we returned home and received our statement we found that Reynold had charged our card for $200. Originally VISA told us that we had to prove payment with our cash receipt, which I had thrown away at this point. We asked them to prove the charge by showing a signature, which we know they cannot do because it is gone. Now VISA is going to make him authenticate the charge. This is proving to be rather difficult because Reynold does not answer his phone. We are currently working with the bank to get our money back! So needless to say, we do not recommend Reynolds and warn you to stay away from them. Enough about that --it was raining and we had planned on renting a car and touring the Island. We went to Marigot and most things were closed, but we did visit there. We also stopped by the Zoo. It is small, but fun. It is run by a conservation group so your entrance supports their cause. We spent about an hour to 1 ½ hours here. We also visited the Simpson Bay Beach, where the planes come in real low. Then we headed back to the ship, we had not eaten in hours and were starved!
Our next stop was in St. Thomas. We had been before, but there is so much to see here that we had a great time. Our son is a newly certified Scuba Diver so we had scheduled him to dive with the Coki Beach Dive Club. It was a dive off of the beach which made my husband and I more comfortable than sending him out alone on a boat with strangers. The cost was $40 for a two tank dive and it lasted for about an hour. They supplied the gear so we did not have to cart his gear around with us. They pick you up at the ship and take you to Coki Beach. It cost my husband and I $10 each (since we were not diving) for the ride and you have to get a taxi back to the ship which costs $7pp. For $20 we were able to add another dive to our reservation, which took place about ½ an hour later. As my husband and I were relaxing on the beach, he did the second dive. They dive two different reefs right from the beach and he had a blast. Saw all kinds of sea life and really enjoyed it. They are a great outfit and we highly recommend them. Just make your reservations on line and it is about ½ the price of the ship excursion. My husband and I met a native of St. Thomas on the beach and enjoyed a leisurely afternoon in lovely conversation. After taking an open-air taxi back to the ship, we did a little shopping at the pier. We bought our quota of liquor and headed back to the ship. A great port and a great day in St. Thomas. Although we had been here before, we love St. Thomas and really enjoyed the day.
On to San Juan -- where we were in port for only a few hours. We had been to San Juan before and had taken the ships kayak tour of the Bioluminescent Bay (highly recommend it) on our last cruise to this port, so we decided to walk to the forts. The walk there is a little rough as it is all uphill, but going back to the ship was a breeze. As it was Easter Sunday, it was nice seeing all the churches open and everyone in their Easter finest. You can walk from one fort to the other and in between there is a large field where all the families were kite flying. We sat and took a break in the field and watched the kites for a little while in between visiting the two forts. If you plan on attending both forts, you can get a ticket which covers both and offers a discount.
No more ports&just sea days to get back to Port Liberty. Oh boy, love sea days, especially after so many ports!
Debarkation was the usual -- wait for your color to be called. Even though we drove to the port, we were off by 11am and home by 12:30. This was our best cruise yet and we would highly recommend Celebrity for your next cruise. Less
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