Transatlantic Crossing 4/24-5/9/2014 Embarkation:
We spent the night prior to the cruise in Fort Lauderdale. Transfer from the hotel to the ship was complimentary and easy. Check-in was efficient and took around fifteen minutes. Since the staterooms were not available until 1:30 PM, the Ocean View café was overly crowded with little sitting room available. Staff did not really assist guests to find searing. Some of the food offerings ran out and there was general confusion.
We were in cabin 8086, Concierge class. It was located midships, was quiet and very comfortable. We especially liked the cabin layout as it felt larger than it was. There was ample storage space for fifteen days’ worth of clothing. The cabin was very clean and had been upgraded so appeared fairly new.
The Connie is not a new ship. It was supposed to be “Solstice-ized”. There is no comparison between a Solstice class ship and a Millennium class ship. This is especially noticeable in the Ocean View buffet. Solstice class ships offer a spacious buffet experience while the connie buffet is old-style and congested. Having said that, the ship was well maintained. Cabins were upgraded and the common areas looked new and modern. The ship’s exterior was in good condition. There was no appreciable rusting. The bright work was polished and the windows were clean.
We ate in the Tuscan Grill early in the cruise. The food was delicious and the service second to none. We heard some complaints about the service but I felt the key was to make reservations for an early dining before the place became over crowded. The Tuscan Grill is a highly recommended treat if time and money permit.
Ocean View Café:
Breakfast was average for the cruise industry. Cold cereal was dispensed in bulk which limited daily selections to three or four choices. Milk was also served in bulk and became warm after sitting out for a time. I much prefer a cold cereal selection of individual serving boxes and milk in small cartons kept refrigerated. Omelets were average as were the pastries. Very little variation was observed from day to day.
Lunches were a noticeable improvement from breakfast. More variety and delicious sandwiches, especially the chicken and tuna salad. Hamburgers and sausage from the poolside grill were the best I have ever seen on any cruise ship. Pizza was below average. Crust was too thick. For some reason the pizza improved during the evening hours. We ate some evening meals in the Ocean View Grill during in-port days. The Italian and Asian entrees were very good, better in some cases than the main dining room.
San Marcos Dining Room:
Our table was located n the center of the room and was very noisy. We were surrounded by eight person tables which made conversation nearly impossible. Several nights we took dessert in the Ocean View Café so we could carry on our discussions. The quality of thje food ranged from below average to very good. The fish entrée were not very appealing nor tasty. Steaks were average. The one night we had lobster was wonderful. Chicken dishes were usually well above average. The table breads were boring and basically did not vary during the fifteen day trip. Our waiter, Limon, was very good so service was very good, except for getting dessert and coffee. Conclusion: the dining room experience was not as good as on other ships.
The ship singers and dancers were above average for cruise ships. The production shows were not geared for the mature guest. Might have been good for families or the younger audience.
The classicall pianist, Brooks Aehron, was wonderful. Both his evening show and the “Classics on Celebrity” performance were outstanding. He was informative and entertaining. The “Classics on Celebrity” program is new with Celebrity and a welcome edition to the on-board enrichment programs.
Jack Walker, vocalist, gave a top notch performance with music from serveral different styles (pop, Broadway, country, and opera). Fantastic voice and stage presence.
Jaqui Scott, a London West End star, gave an absolutely wonderful performance combining show tunes with pop songs. The best performance of the cruise.
Other performers were well above average as well. Without a doubt, this was the best entertainment of any cruise that we have taken.
The at-sea programs included history, music, and current events. The port lectures were informative and did not push ship-sponsored shopping. A welcome change from most cruise ships.
The ship made stops in Lisbon, LaHavre, Brugge, and Dover. We used the ship excursions and were generally pleased. The one bad experience was in LaHavre where ther guide was awful. When we addressed this with the ship, we were promptly refunded the cost of the excursion.
Being elite members of the Captain’s Club, we were given a special area tgo wait for debarkation. Coffee, juice and pastries were available. When our time was called, we departed the ship without any delay. Our luggage was waiting for us in the terminal area when we debarked.