With 20 cruises in our past, 4 different lines last year, we thought we would try Celebrity's M-Class Solsticized Constellation for a short sailing. We love the sea and Constellation is a fine ship. I will note where change has occurred and whether I think it is for the better or not because this is Cruise Critic after all and we are all hungry for details, but I would sail this ship again with a minute's notice.
Embarkation was quick and painless. We arrived a little late for us (1pm) because of the construction near the pier. Greeted with the welcome glass of champagne -- yes, it is a recurring theme in our cruise. Our cabin was ready and we went to the Buffet for lunch. The Concierge cabin (a little bigger than standard balcony cabin on M-class) was beautiful with loveseat near the balcony and champagne on ice and fruit. Cabin & bathroom were very clean. Prefer bathrooms on Solstice Class but this one had nice, hand-held shower wand and good toiletries. Our cabin steward did a good job throughout the sailing with requests for extra foam pillows from pillow menu and different type robes (preferred lighter ones) and ice in the wine bucket and for water.
The Buffet was not as varied as we have seen before and the food looked a little tired but we easily found a table in a quiet section. Looking around the ship, it was truly beautiful with soft colors and lots of places to sit inside and outside. There is a wide promenade deck for walking or sitting -- not a common thing on every new ship anymore. We used it for both over the 5 days. The ship never felt crowded, passengers we met were friendly as were the crew and officers. Only a few children and all ages onboard but a lot were 50s, 60s.
There was a bit of a mix up regarding our dinner table for 2 and we landed in Select dining with the same table for 2 each night at around the same time. Select is done very efficiently with no long lines at the door and no pagers were necessary. Our waiter, Enrico and his assistant were very good and the food was excellent each of the 4 nights with good choices (I'm picky and don't eat seafood, lamb or veal). We also ate one night at the fee Tuscan Grille -- very delicious with the best chocolate fondue I'm still dreaming of another one. We tried Bistro on 5 once for lunch. Great bargain price of $5 per person, very good food and service in a pretty setting.
On the last sea day there was a Brunch -- lots of breakfast & lunch choices from made-to-order omelets & stir fry, carving station, chocolate fountain with fruit, pastries, with ice sculptures and fruit carvings. A fun event. The pizza is now flatbread with choices of toppings -- like it better. Ice cream station in buffet still delicious, Less choices even at the pool grill, Aqua Café less choices. The day we wanted to eat there, there was a choice of deviled eggs or miso salmon freshly made (there are also some salads, etc. in the cases but picky me wanted the chicken breast) -- but ok, back to the buffet. Don't think that you would ever be hungry, There is also room service, There are so many hot and cold room service choices, we had breakfast in our cabin 4 out of 5 days with good service, There is a room service menu 24 hours including dinner from the MDR menu
Now for some changes that we didn't like. The Captains Club party was not as nice as in the past with appetizers not very appetizing (couldn't get the chicken piece down) and deviled eggs (another recurring theme) instead of the wonderful food in the past. And I couldn't seem to get one drink. Entertainment was just OK. There was a string trio (usually love the string quartets and trios) -- we couldn't hear them really with the loud tracks. Heard them later in the sailing but disappointing.There was another dance quartet -- they were OK. It was held in the Reflections Lounge on an upper deck with formerly the best view which was cut down to make space for kids zone. The Captain and Cruise Director made short appearances and we left quickly.
There is no show band, no piano player, no movies, no crafts, 1 crepe demonstration, no battle of the chefs, no enrichment lectures, The guest acts were boring as was the production show especially to canned music. There is trivia, fitness classes, bingo, etc., just not our thing.
Bright spots include a fantastic Latin trio that had the dance floor full. The female vocalist gave dance lessons as she entertained. Don't miss Liars Club, sort of like the old To Tell the Truth Game with the Captain, Activities Director (very funny Mark) and CD telling stories to be judged by the audience -- haven't laughed this much in a long time. Very much enjoyed 2 singers in the show Jaime and Allison.
Casino had a lot of different slot machines and tables and was busy. They took my contribution quickly though
Ports were Key West & Cozumel -- very nice stops, We did a fun Ghosts and Gravestones ship's excursion (not expensive) and just walked around Cozumel on our own.
We talked to the future cruise representative about the entertainment and he said that there is still a show band on the Solstice Class 7 day sailings along with a movie theater, and we booked a sailing of the Silhouette which was docked next to us in Cozumel.
Even with the changes, Celebrity is still our favorite cruise line. The service is wonderful, a very friendly atmosphere thanks to the crew and officers -- we feel so comfortable. And Constellation is still a great ship. The part I love the most is the peace of sitting on the ocean with my kindle and a bit of entertainment when my eyes get blurry. You'll like Constellation.