This was our 16th cruise, second on Celebrity, and our first on the Constellation. We have also cruised on NCL (2), Carnival (2), and Princess (10). We were in cabin 9175 which is a Concierge room located right below the buffet area. There were no problems with unwanted noise. We also had the classic drink package included with our cruise. We had anytime dining and did not visit any of the specialty restaurants.
Embarkation went pretty well. We had received an Email saying to expect a boarding delay because the Constellation had just arrived from Europe and there was going to be a Coast Guard inspection as well as extra immigration procedures for the crew. Boarding started about 12:30 and we were allowed into our cabins at 2:30.
Once on board we headed to the Bistro on Five which was a great place for our first meal. We figured this would be less hectic then the buffet and by the time we finished easting the restaurant was only about half full. Service was good as were the Panini’s, soup, and salad.
When we got to the room we were impressed. The bottle of Champaign was waiting for us. The rest of the Concierge perks came over the next two days. We got the flowers during the first cleaning on day 2 and the Celebrity tote bag came the evening on day 2. The personalized stationary, umbrella and binoculars were all in the room. Also waiting was a card with our Any Time dining reservations, and a card showing the shipboard credit from our travel agent. The credit eventually showed up on our bill on day three. The check luggage came by 4:00PM. There was plenty of storage space and as a matter of fact we never used the four drawers located in both night stands. Also on the bed were our Classic Level Captain club coupons. Only ones we used were the two for one free scoop of gelato and the $5 match play coupons for the casino. The rest had to do with internet minutes, picture packages, bingo cards and a few other items. The repeat passenger celebration was mid day on the first sea day. We did not attend.
Here are a few miscellaneous things. Formal night was the first sea day. Lobster was not available in the dining room. Escargot was always available. Bingo was never played. Bistro on Five never seemed busy. The Captain, who was just promoted 45 days ago and is only 37, was very visible and even participated on stage in the Liars Club show. JC was the Cruise Director and was good and his assistant Mark is as funny as they come.
The main show room entertainment consisted of a guest comedian (Fred Klett) who was very funny and another night there was a magician. The two musical productions are IHollywood and Celebrate the World. The dancers were fantastic, but in my opinion, the male singers and one of the female singers were weak. I did enjoy IHollywood more as the songs were more upbeat. You could walk in after a show had started and still get a good seat.
Other entertainment around the ship consisted of two or three trivia event per day, crepe making, beer and daiquiri tasting, x-box contests, ping pong and golfing contests, basketball events, Zumba by the pool and various shopping and spa seminars.
The amount and the quality of food offered are fantastic. The breakfast buffet had more items than any other cruise that we have been on. You do need to walk around the whole buffet room to see it all. There was an area offering English breakfast items and an area with Asian delights. The back of the buffet had pancakes and waffles and there was also an area for omelets and eggs any way you wanted. There was also an area serving six or seven varieties of poached eggs. Large amount of fruits and meats were also available. The front of the buffet area by the door had fresh squeezed orange juice, Coke products and water for purchase or free with the various drink packages.
The lunch buffet also had a large number of choices. The pasta bar was very popular. You can pick your own ingredients such as tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, etc and the cook would fry them up and then add it to your choice of pasta and sauce. There was also a pizza area opened from around noon to 2am. There was also an area serving ice cream during most of the day with around 6 different flavors. There was a brunch that took place in the main dining room during the last sea day. Try to attend if possible. Similar to what the midnight buffets use to be like. The event was not well publicized as being special but it was.
Any time dining was fantastic. We had reservations most nights but you could pretty much walk up and get a table right away. Waiter and wine service was fast and seemed really personal even with Any Time dining. Food was hot and very tasty. The always available menu was excellent and the daily choices o the main menu had something for everyone. The always available Cheesecake had 5 different toppings available.
The grill area had hot dogs and hamburgers and there is the Aqua Cafe by the indoor pool that opened for breakfast and lunch that had a good variety of healthy foods. You do not have to be in an aqua spa room to have access.
The music on board consisted of two solo guitar players, a party band, a string trio, a Latin band and another musical duo. All rotated between the various lounges.
The art auction took place on the last sea day. A couple of times a painting or lithograph that were not bid on for the asking price of say $400 would all of a sudden be combined with two or three other pictures. The new price would still be $400 but you would get the whole group of paintings. There was also a Kinkade that did not go for the opening bid of $900. The auctioneer then added 4 other Kincade’s to the offer and kept the price at $900. The whole process and the fact that the auctioneer could place his own bids to get the price up all seemed a little close to crossing a line.
The adult only indoor pool was great and heated. No kids allowed but there could not have been more than 10 kids on board. Never swam in the outdoor pool. Plenty of seating all over and never had any trouble getting a lounger. There were a very limited number of servers working the pool area. Just easier and quicker to get up and get a drink for yourself. I believe that the majority of people getting drinks at the bars were on a liquor package. Service was fast and waiting times were minimal.
We did not purchase any of the offered shore excursions. We took a cab to Pancho’s Backyard in Cozumel for lunch and did some shopping in a few of the stores. While in Key West we did our own walking tour and pretty much crossed the island twice on foot. We had been t both places in the past.
We chose self disembarkation. We were supposed to meet at 7:30am on deck three. We arrived at 7:15am and the line was already winding its way down the hallway. The line started to move a little after 7:30 and by that time there had to be 300 to 400 people in line. Once the line started to move it went pretty fast. We were on I-95 for the ride home by 8:00am.
This may have been our best cruise ever. The level of service and the classiness of the ship provide a special atmosphere. The concierge cabin increased our cruise fare by $20 per person and the amenities and the larger balcony seemed to make it money well spent. We also only paid $1100 (including taxes) for the two of us by taking advantage of a special offer that a large internet travel service offered back in the spring. Combining that with the included drink package made this cruise economically friendly. I can see why the Constellation is thought of so highly by the Celebrity community.