This is part of the attachment I sent on an email to Celebrity 2 weeks ago, which I recently followed up with a letter, and have yet to receive neither an acknowledgement of, nor response to, from them, which saddens me somewhat, in that while I have been critical I did so in the hope that they might take some notice and action.
Had I received something from them I might have restructured my review somewhat to acknowledge that they had listen to and acted upon our concerns, unfortunately I now feel that I must pass this on to others as is.
We are a recently retired couple from Perth Western Australia, and I am a Marine Engineer by training, having spent 10 years in the RAN, and we have been Celebrity Cruise fans for some ten years now and are Select Captains Club members having been on 6 cruises with Celebrity, and also with Azamara, and have, in the past, recommended Celebrity to everyone as one of the best cruise experiences of all the cruises lines we have used, until now.
We have just returned from a Baltic Cruise of the Celebrity Constellation departing from Amsterdam on Monday the 20th May, Cabin 7023, which turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, not because of the destinations, which met all our expectations, but rather of the cruise itself.
While we found the service in most areas was good, it was not outstanding, however the food was such a letdown in both the San Marco main dining room and the Ocean View Buffet, such that in the main dining room I had to send two main meals back, one, a fish dish, in which the fish was served on a plate of cannelloni beans in a runny sauce, the fish was found to be of a mushy consistency and tasted quite peculiar, as such I did not wish to take a chance!
Also a slow braised Osso-Bucco that was about 40mm thick and as chewy as boot leather and tasteless, on both occasions I was offered a replacement meal, however I was so let down I could not take up this offer, the head waiter brought a Chef over on the first occasion and he took notes and apologised, however on the second occasion the head waiter took the chef to the other side of the table and ignored the complaining Australian!
The presentation of many meals was mediocre, the accompanying vegetables were trivial to say the least, and in many instances not in keeping with the main part of the meal, the night we had Lobster Tail it came with an upturned cup of steamed rice with peas and carrot pieces in it, along with two small pieces, about the size of my thumb, of undercooked broccoli, most unappetising.
As well there were no flowers on the tables as they used to have, there was no fruit, vegetable or ice carvings they used to have, no procession of the flaming Bombe-Alaska on the last night as they used to do, they had the Bombe-Alaska for sweets that night but it was not made the way real Bomb-Alaska is made, how sad.
Unfortunately the buffet in the Ocean View appeared to be the same for every breakfast and lunch we went to, the selection never seemed to change, except for the small section, aft on the port side, which was marked British / English Food, which was so bad it never got eaten, you would have thought that after a couple of days when it was left untouched they would get the message, but no.
The table service staff in the Ocean View need to understand that at breakfast time when you have finished your cereal or fruit and you leave the table to get your next course, with your knife and fork set in position ready for the next course, along with your napkin folded neatly, and half a glass of fruit juice yet to be drunk, but with the two used cereal bowls to one side, you dont expect to return to find that it has all been removed and someone else sitting at your table, which happened on at least three occasions, it came to the point we had to go separately to get anything else, leaving the other guarding the table.
It is to be hoped that the apparent lowering of standards in these dining areas is not due to the promotion of the increased number of speciality dining areas, that appeared to have blossomed throughout the ship, at the demise of other once publicly accessible areas, in order to sell you quality dining, which one should expect to receive in the San Marco.
The main entertainment in the Celebrity Theatre, along the bands and singers appearing throughout the ship were very good, however during the sea days the days program consisted mostly of activities linked to selling you something, like that they have done away with the movie theatre and card room, and other public areas but have opened up another 3 or 4 speciality shops, the manager of which unfortunately came straight from a job as a side show sprooker at the local show, what an annoyance he was.
Along with that there were the spa treatments and massage, and painting auctions, photo shop and many and various other activities but all were at an additional cost, I was that desperate to find something to do on the sea days that in the end I would have attended a napkin folding demonstration had they put one on.
The Enrichment Programs as it used to be called, now the Beyond the Podium series was such a disappointment in that, having had the most wonderful speakers on subjects relative to the cruise and destinations on all our previous cruises, this one was such a letdown, with singling out anyone in particular, having attended a couple of them and leaving after about 15 minutes I believe such that in the end they moved them from the main theatre to the small conference centre on deck 3 aft, as only a hand full of people would turn up, they were so boring.
I am sorry to say we were also not impressed by the cruise director and his assistant the activities director who, when they appeared together reminded us somewhat of Laurel and Hardy, but without the comedy, individually neither provided us with any motivation to participate in the activities they were presenting, which is such a shame as we have had some wonderful cruise directors in the past.
We noted that the drink prices appeared to have gone up and that there was no Cocktail of the Day, at a reduced price, or two for the price of one specials that many seniors and pensioners who are traveling on limited budgets have previously found to be of good value!
The Constellation, we were told, had just come out of dry dock, unfortunately it was difficult to see what had been done as the ship still looked old and tired, the furniture and carpets have seen better days, I do know it had been painted on the outside as there was lots of white paint drops on the wooden handrail of our balcony, just how difficult would it have been to put a cover over the handrails when painting!
While most of our shore excursions were well done, it should be considered to have people sign a declaration that says that when given free time and you are given a time to be back at a meeting place or the bus, that if they do not meet back with the group within a short period after that nominated meeting time, say 5 minutes, that the group / bus will move on to the next part of the excursion, and that they will be responsible for their own return to the ship.
On two occasions we had to wait 10 and 15 minutes for different couples, which when you are on a 2 hour tour is a lot of time you miss out on, and I am aware that another group had to wait for an hour for a couple, who had been warned previously for being late on this excursion, and upon their return they had nothing but contempt for the tour guide and fellow passengers, this is not good enough, and needs to be nipped in the bud.
Finally I must say that the demographics of our fellow passengers appears to have changed a little, people dont seem to take pride in their dress standards in the main dining room as they once did, and I am sad to say that the respectful, courteous, kind and friendly fellow passengers we have met on our previous Celebrity cruises appear to be changing, I dont know what has happened to make this change, however those passengers of previous cruises appear to have moved on, and so must we.
It is the little things that make the difference between a good cruise and a great cruise, unfortunately we now find that these are sadly lacking with Celebrity, where on Constellation, and Century on our New Zealand Cruise the year before, are at the point where even the fundamentals were not being met.
We bring our feelings to your attention simply in the hope that you can make some changes to return Celebrity to the position it once held.