My partner and I took this 4-night cruise Jan 2nd with a family group that included 4 other cabins. Everyone had a wonderful time and thought that the ship and the crew were great.
Pre-Cruise – we stayed at the Marriott Harbor Beach. Beautiful hotel and the views from the poolside rooms are stunning. It’s great to walk out on your balcony on the day you sail and see the ship waiting in the harbor.
Embarkation – we boarded from Terminal 4 at Port Everglades. This terminal is like a warehouse and isn’t nearly as nice as the terminals in Miami. The staff was very welcoming and efficient but the process took longer than normal. We were through and on the boat in 30 minutes. Not great but not terrible either.
Cabins – We booked 4 verandah cabins and 1 inside cabin all on deck 7. The verandah cabins were 7169 – 7175 and 3 were “hump” cabins with larger balconies. They were awesome! We’ve gone Concierge Class several times in the past but had never done a regular balcony room on a Millennium-class ship. For this cruise, the price difference didn’t seem worth it. The regular verandah cabin is smaller but it’s fine. The larger balconies on these “hump” cabins were great and I’d try to book them over a concierge class again in the future. The cabins were clean and in good shape. There’s tons of storage and the beds were very comfortable. (Definitely new since our last cruise on the Contellation) Cabin steward was friendly but not intrusive. No, we didn’t have ice service and found the ice bucket under the counter on the last day. But we didn’t care; we had what we needed. The only comment I’d make is that consistency is an issue. Two of the cabins had robes; three didn’t. One of the cabins got the free mesh bag; four didn’t. I asked for the bags (they make great beach bags or shopping bags) and got them. The robe wasn’t a big deal. I wasn’t expecting it since we weren’t in Concierge Class. But it’s annoying when one person in the party is raving about the robe and the others are scratching their heads thinking they’ve been cheated. Very minor but the attention to the details just isn’t there when the cabin stewards are stretched as thin as they are.
Food – We did breakfast and lunch at the buffet or at the poolside barbecue. I’ve heard some complaints about variety and quality but there was a huge selection at breakfast and lunch and all of it was very good. The poolside burgers and hot dogs are really good.
The dining room is OK. The food was really good about 75% of the time. 25% of the time, it wasn’t. Presentation was always good. I think Celebrity has just had to downgrade the quality of its food overall because they’re not getting the prices they once were. My family was very happy with the experience and felt that Celebrity did a great job but I wouldn’t say they were blown away. Next time I’d book one night in a specialty restaurant and I’d be OK paying for it. Service in the dining room was excellent. Aside from some rushing on the first night (the next course being served to some while others were finishing the previous course), the service was polished and very gracious. Both the server and assistant knew their jobs and performed them well. The wine steward was also very friendly and polished.
Everyone in our group had the Classic Drink Package and felt that the selection was fine. Wines aren’t premium but no one felt the need to upgrade. The only negative was the bar service. Some bartenders are downright rude. Many of them seemed “off” and very inefficient. Very annoying.
Entertainment – For a ship of this size, we thought it was good. I’d read some great reviews of the captain on this ship and I agreed with them. He’s very engaging and funny. The shows were good quality and the live bands/DJ were all good. I’d read some negative comments about the Cruise Director and I don’t agree with them. I thought he did a great job. Cruise directors are all a bit flamboyant and full of themselves. They have to be; it’s part of the act. I thought that JC was did his job well and that his staff was really good.
The Ship – We’d sailed on Constellation in February of 2013. While we were happy with that overall experience, we did feel that the ship was worn. The dry dock in May of 2013 corrected those problems. Beds are new. Deck chairs are new. They’ve refreshed the finishes in many areas, including the dining room. We all felt that the ship was beautiful – classic in design, large enough to give variety, but small enough to feel like a ship. It is very clean and very well-maintained.
Disembarkation – smooth as silk. We were all in group 1 and were at the airport and through security by 8:30 am.
Overall Thoughts – We had a great time!! I know that many feel that “it’s not the Celebrity it used to be.” And in some ways, I agree. But Celebrity does a great job and they deliver a vacation experience you can’t beat for the money. All of the 9 people in the group had cruised before, including trips on Royal Caribbean, NCL, and Disney. Just my partner and I had sailed Celebrity. Everyone felt that their experience on the Constellation was a cut above, even above Disney. Celebrity knows how to deliver a great value and we’ll be back!!