It never crossed my mind that the third of March would be Spring Break for some schools! Celebrity has never been the cruise line of choice for party going young people, so I seriously thought we’d boarded the wrong ship on the wrong cruise line. Young people boarded and went straight to the bars. We never saw bar staff verify any passenger’s age. This was definitely a Spring Break Party Cruise and we'd somehow gotten our older selves into the middle of it. I kept thinking, where are we? This can't be The Connie!
The music everywhere on the ship was irritatingly loud and obviously aimed at this under 30, partygoing group of young people. That couldn't have been a mistake. The Celebrity we know must be marketing to a new, younger customer. They had a DJ from Miami and that was the 'music' that greeted us at sailaway. They might as well have handed us a bottle of beer at boarding rather than a glass of sparkling white wine. All we heard for five nights and days was the boom, boom, boom of the bass! On the pool deck, it was impossible to read once the music started. At night in the martini bar, everyone looked well over fifty and yet the DJ set up right near us. Conversation stopped because we quickly got tired of yelling to one another over the music.
Young people can be charming and some definitely were, but more than once we saw shirtless young men in their wet bathing suits at the buffet in The Oceanview Cafe. Never saw staff tell them to don a shirt and even saw one staff member, dispensing hand sanitizer at the entrance to the buffet, drop a blob of the liquid into the hand of a young man wearing no shirt without saying a word. Also irritating, apparently the young don’t understand that when you party until 2 AM, it is polite to return to your cabin quietly. We definitely picked the wrong ship at the wrong time and it will be the last time we do that.
The Connie was once the shining star of the Millennium class ships and during her heyday, she reigned at the top of a prestigious list of the best large cruise ships. Despite the addition of the few Solstice venues, she is looking tired. If you are going to update her, doesn't she deserve new carpeting? Five day venues apparently appeal to more young people who want to party onboard ship and from now on, we are going to give the five day cruises a miss.
We cruised on The Connie twice in her earlier, grander years. Her staff back then worked under past Celebrity Hotel Director, Nickos Batistatos. He ran a tight ship and the Connie was a grand venue and the staff, top notch. Nothing stays constant in this world and this was like sailing on another ship and another cruise line entirely. It was painful to see. The staff were basically doing their jobs, but not terribly well and definitely without enthusiasm.
Regrettably, this will be the last time we cruise on The Connie and definitely the last time we'll book a five day cruise. If you are looking for a more upbeat and upscale cruise experience, consider the longer cruises on Eclipse or Reflection. The Connie has had her day and she just isn't the ship she used to be.