Celebrity Constellation Cruise Review by paulrtg: The Celebrity was the Captain
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The Celebrity was the Captain
If I have my facts straight, our newly promoted Ship's Master, Captain Tasos Kafetzis is but 38 years of age. A "dashing" bachelor and lover of fast cars, powerful motorcycles and even more powerful cruise ships proved to be the hit of the voyage for many if not most of the women and quite a few of the men. Captain Tasos is fond of "donut" maneuvers in tight spaces and handles them superbly. He is also, seemingly, one of us and, perhaps, even one of the crew, seemingly much loved by them even as he has just taken over this vessel. I saw him in port, poolside, in the Oceanview Café. He seemed to be having as much fun as we did. But, don't let his youth fool you; we transited near hurricane force winds one night (65 knots) and I felt barely a shudder. The ship and the captain are to be commended.
As for Constellation, she is neat and tidy and clean and there was no hint of the Noro Virus that reportedly plagued her on an earlier Mediterranean voyage. The virus, of More course, is the fault of the passengers more than the crew or ship. Hand sanitizer was offered everywhere.
I heartily recommend breakfast and evening cocktails at the Sunset Bar on Deck 10. Mario, a server who quickly learned my preferences and name, is an excellent server. After he told me of the $20 bottles of 2012 Anakena Chilean cabernet that they were selling--the also had $20 bottles of sauvignon blanc--I got hooked. That wine sells for $8 or so in liquor stores in the U.S. and is very good for the price. To find it here for $20 blew me away. Drink up. For an extra treat, stroll inside the adjacent Oceanview Café and make yourself a cheese plate accompanied by bread sticks or garlic bread and take it out on the deck with you. Seats fill up on both the starboard (non-smoking) side and port (smoking) side quickly but they turn over reasonably often. Don't hesitate to ask to share a table; there are a lot of friendships to be made out there.
As a wine lover, I also frequented Cellar Masters on Deck 5 where Elvis--from India--holds forth both pouring from bottles behind the bar and also sells cards for automatic pours from the three wine dispensers in the bar. One was down but Elvis did a good job of mixing and matching whites so the inoperable station wasn't too much of a concern. The reds were amazing: Phelps, Nickle & Nickle, Far Niente and more by the glass is a great find aboard a ship. $100 cards were offered with a $35 bonus and $200 cards delivered a $90 bonus. Remember that there is a 15% automatic gratuity on all drinks so the $100 card actually costs you $115, etc.
The Martini Bar on Deck 4 was always popular and the bartenders put on quite a show there.
Dine at Ocean Liners at least once but make sure you are offered a discount. Twenty percent off is common but, if you ask, up to fifty percent can be had. The service is sublime and both the chateaubriand for two and the sole are wonderful. Service is excellent with simultaneous revelation of everyone's entre and more. Don't miss it.
Skip Tuscan Grille, the Italian steakhouse on Deck 11. On my first and only visit, my lobster alfredo was inedible. After one bite I pushed the plate away. It took my server a full five minutes to muster up the courage to ask if anything was wrong. When I said it tasted "off," he retreated with it. But, I was presented with a bill at full price. Never in all my years of dining have I sent an entre away and still been billed for it.
Food in The Oceanview Café (buffet) was fine if uninspired. If you like burgers, be sure to try the Poolside Grille on Deck 10. For me, a burger is a great lunch.
The dining room, San Marco, was what you would expect; nothing more and nothing less. I opted for 8:30 but went to Ocean Liners three times,Tuscan Grille once and ate at the Oceanview Café twice leaving only six nights in the dining room.
Constellation's crew is good at what they do but they are not well trained about what to do when the inevitable service failure occurs. Fortunately for Celebrity, service failures were few and far between.
Typically, wireless internet is pricey but, unlike on many ships, the service aboard Constellation was fast and reliable. I suggest a trip to the "Celebrity iLounge" on Deck 9 to have one of the two able staff members there install the "app" on your phone or laptop. The app makes it much easier to both sign on and to successfully execute the critical "sign off." Signal strength was great everywhere that I went on the ship.
Guitarist John Winters, guitarist Cesar Paucar and string trio Fiore were all fine before or after dinner entertainment. But, I was most surprised by the quality of the singers and dancers in the Celebrity Theater. I am usually embarrassed for big production number shows on cruise ships but this group was very good.
The Carousel Party Band did a fine job in Reflections on Deck 11 if that's your late night thing. The place got hopping more than once.
Ports were Istanbul, Sea Day, Kusadasi, Turkey (Ephesus), Bodrum, Turkey, Rhodes, Greece, Marmaris, Turkey, Santorini, Greece, Athens (Piraeus) Greece, Mykonos, Greece, Chania (Crete), Greece, Sea Day and Istanbul. We docked everywhere except for Santorini which was, for me, the highlight.
Cabins are average in every way. Mine (6074) was well serviced by Francis and I heard no complaints from anyone about anything amiss in the hotel department.
The crowd aboard Constellation was pretty friendly and, if you tried (and I did) you could make friends easily. That is not always true but this semi-upscale crowd (typical for Celebrity) has its social skills pretty well honed.
There were almost no children aboard, probably due to timing and the remote nature of the departure port. As you would expect, there was a diverse bunch of passengers hailing from all around the world.
With the exception of Tuscan Grille, this cruise was sublime for me. Less
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