As avid cruisers living in South Florida, nothing beats the convenience of a simple drive and hopping onto a ship to enjoy some fun and relaxation. As such, we typically wind up in the Caribbean with very little preference as to Eastern vs. Western or specific ports of call. We have visited most Caribbean ports numerous times so for us it's all about the ship. My very first 2 cruises on Celebrity were back in 1998-1999 and since then, for whatever reason, there had not been an itinerary that worked for us so we went on Princess, RCCL, NCL and even a Silversea (overrated and overpriced, I think but that's another review). Back in the late 90's we sailed the Celebrity Century and Mercury and were totally impressed by both the modern elegance of the decor as well as the service, food, etc. Princess did a good job with the food but the decor and design of the ships did not impress too much. Last year, just to give it a shot we sailed on the Oasis of the Seas and enjoyed a Loft Suite. The suite scored an A+ in our book but the common areas just felt so tacky and the food was not so great. So when we decided to do a quick 4 day getaway and the Constellation was an option I was only a little bit reluctant because I was afraid that the shorter itinerary would equal an old, unimpressive ship but we decided to give it a shot anyway. I read the reviews,(mixed) and went last week with fairly low expectations. Truly, I could have not been more impressed!
Embarkation was flawless. We arrived at the port of Miami, parked easily and were from car to ship within no more than 10 minutes. Stepping onboard we were welcomed with mimosas, champagne, wine, etc. from the friendly and attentive staff. Then, we were met by Grame, the ship's Captain's Club representative, who invited us into the Michael's Lounge where there were light canapes, water and more champagne offered until the staterooms were available, about 1:30pm. Grame was so friendly and somehow we were the only ones who took advantage of the endless champagne and quiet lounge so perhaps it's a hidden secret for Captain's Club members?
Our Concierge Class room was pretty much just a glorified veranda room I believe. From reading other reviews I can agree with the cabin details: the bathroom is in need of a re-do and the bed left a lot to be desired (even with the egg crate which we immediately requested at the advice of other reviewers; thank you!). Yes there was quite a bit of storage space and for a short cruise the space was adequate. Tough to compare after spending a week in the Oasis' Loft Suite. Our cabin was mid-ship and although it was right next to the stairway I did not find it to be loud at all. The only thing is I had thought that Concierge Class rooms received upgraded toiletries and fresh flowers like sites? We did not have flowers and if the toiletries were upgraded I am not sure what the regular ones might have consisted of?
The food was across the board fabulous. From the buffet to the main restaurant to the Tuscan Grill (if you go, do not miss the dark chocolate fondue dessert!). I would review the room service but that was a problem. We ordered some light snacks to enjoy one afternoon with champagne (provided with Concierge Class) but the food just never arrived. After an hour we just gave up and grabbed some snacks from the buffet.
Yes, the ship is 10 years old but I did not feel like it was grundgy or looked like an aging ship might. As I understand it is heading into drydock for some work next month which may explain some need for repainting in some spots and hopefully a bathroom/hallway update. Missing cushions on lounge chairs didn't really seem as bad as some made it out to be and the staff was BEYOND fabulous at finding lounge space on deck and providing plenty of clean, fresh towels.
The entertainment was fair. The singers and dancers were just ok and the stage shows did not impress too much but there is a singer named Alan Kavanaugh who performs at the Sunset Bar, deck 10 aft and he is just wonderful. That was our absolute favorite place to hang out and enjoy the view and his guitar and singing. He performs everything from current top 40 hits to the Eagles to Jack Johnson. A total treat!
Although a sold-out Spring Break cruise, we never felt crowded or stuck in long lines. Even the lunchtime buffet lines on the sea day was just fine and on many occasions we just looked at each other going "where IS everybody?" I despise crowds and it was literally never an issue.
The Martini bar was another cool spot and the drinks were strong and inventive.
Debarkation went just as smoothly as the embarkation. We had signed up for the Express departure, meaning we carried our own bags, and we were off the ship and in the car heading home by 7:40am. There was a full buffet breakfast being served this morning too as well, which some cruises do not offer on debarkation day.
Overall we remembered why we loved Celebrity so much the first all of those years ago and will certainly be very loyal going forward. I think anything else would be disappointing and even Celeb's older ship was far superior to other line's newest ships. We plan to try the Reflection or Silhouette for 7 days next!