The first thing that made this cruise different is Captain Thasos Kafetzis. He is forever present on the ship. On his daily report, he tells you stories about Greek gods, you see him on TV making jokes with the cruise director. You meet him in the corridors, in photo ops, everywhere. You come to identify him with the operation of the ship and you know that if the ship is parked with the sunset bar towards town, that captain Thasos wanted you to have a better view. He really makes you feel like he is there for your needs and your enjoyment of the trip.
The second thing that made this cruise special was the amazing destinations. Istanbul, Kusadasi, Bodrum, Marmaris, Rhodes, Santorini, Athens, Mykonos, Naples and finally Rome. A lot of history, a lot of different cultures and a lot of beauty, especially Marmaris, which deserves its title of the Turkish Riviera. I could not have designed a better course to see a lot in a 12 night cruise. From Canada, the only drawback was the expensive plane tickets.
The wife and I have a limited cruising experience. Two river cruises, one in Europe and one in China and three cruises with RCCL (two in the Caribbeans and one transatlantic). It was our first experience with Celebrity.
The Constellation is the best maintained ship I have ever been on and the personnel, from room attendant to the cruise director, is the most friendly, happy and helpful bunch I have ever seen. It has also recently been refurbished and is really comfortable.
The night shows were exceptional. The singers, dancers and musicians were the best. I could not believe I was on a cruise ship. The acts and efforts were first class. I usually hate cruise directors, with their aggressive attitudes. The cruise director JC had his daily show that I would not miss, full of humor.
In the past, we always had a balcony cabin but this time, given the weather expected, we went for an ocean view cabin on deck 2 near the elevators and in the center of the ship. It was a perfect choice. The ocean view, so near the waves, is fascinating like a fireplace.
I spent most of my working life on the road, staying in hotels and eating in restaurants, waiting after waiters. Now that I am retired, I avoid the waiting game as much as I can. I never go to the MDR or the specialty restaurants: too much decorum, dress codes, not enough real service, obnoxious waiters and much waiting for one thing or another.
On RCCL, the Windjammer totally satisfied me. Tasty, earthy soups, like minestrone, root vegetables, clam chowder. Lots of meat and fish of yesterday recycled in beautiful and creamy stews, served in no time at all in the quantity that one wants. Perfect for me.
I expected the same or better on Celebrity since they have a reputation for better food than RCCL. It was certainly not the case. Nothing tasted the way I expected it to taste. The soups were strange, like a celery cream that did not taste of celery at all but had a strong taste of nutmeg. A clear fish chowder (New York Style, I guess) that was mostly water or a bisque that hardly tasted like a bisque, again with way too much water added. They had a lot of variety, a large assortment of shushi, a bit of sashimi, a pasta station, cooked to order, a pizza station, a pannini and soup station, nice salads but no Cesar dressing. They had a stir fry station but no soya sauce. Nothing was really bad but nothing tasted like it should either. They also had an indian station with dahl and curries. They had the daily carved meat, like roast beef, but with a strange thick brown gravy with raisins in it instead of serving it ‘’au jus’’,the way it should be. Another little problem was that the food was less then hot, sometimes less than warm. I even had green beans totally cold one night, like coming out of a fridge, after laying for a while in the steam tables, like if they were not heated. They had no plate warmers. As soon as a slice of carved meat was served in it, it immediately became cold meat.
The best meal on board was the grill serving hot juicy hamburger and hot dogs near the swimming pool. At the end of the cruise, the wife and I stopped trying and went there to grab a bite and come back to the cafeteria for coffee and dessert.
Maybe the taste of the food was made to accommodate a great variety of cultures and taste, I don’t know. There were a lot of Japanese on board, a lot of Germans, some British people, Indians from India, and the North American community was not in majority, for sure.
It was the best cruise with the worst food I have ever been on.
Every day, I walked by an empty Café Al Baccio and wished that instead of crepes, I could have a good quick meal of homemade trattoria pasta or some sea food or a steak cooked to order without the decorum or the waiting game of the dining room or the Tuscan Grill. I would have gladly paid for it.
But overall, we both enjoyed our cruise a lot and we will certainly cruise again with Celebrity if the itinerary and the price are right.