This was our fourth cruise, our first on Celebrity. We are "itinerary" cruisers, and we booked this cruise because we had never been to any of the ports: Bermuda, St. Maarten, Aruba and Curacao. We also booked this cruise because of the "hype" about Celebrity. Conde Nast Traveler rates Celebrity #5 in Large Ships, above Holland America (#6), Princess (#8), and Royal Caribbean (#9). Why, I have no idea, but more about that later.
We flew from Tampa to Newark at 7:00 a.m. on the day of the cruise. No flight problems, and we had arranged with another Cruise Critic couple to share a van to the port. Arrived at Cape Liberty around 11:00, checked in very easily, and waited till noon to embark. We were pleased to find our stateroom ready to occupy, and satisfied with our balcony cabin. The staterooms on the Constellation are a tad tinier than on some of the other ships we have been on, but we loved the shower--the biggest we have had. You could actually bend over to pick up the soap! After checking out our cabin, we walked around the ship. The Constellation decor is interesting, to say the least. We have decided that the decorator was either drunk or on drugs, because we saw some of the ugliest art ever. Nothing had any kind of theme, unless bizarre is a new fad!
After our amusing tour, we went up to the Seaside Cafe to get some lunch. I had fettuccini alfredo and Max had roast beef. My pasta was watery and tasteless, and the roast beef was very average. Unfortunately, this was an omen of things to come. Dining in the San Marco dining room was an exercise in futility. We had one decent meal--lamb chops--but the rest of the time the food was fair to poor. Soups were like dishwater, and everything was bland. Because these chefs are cooking for close to 2,000 people, we don't expect gourmet--but a little flavor would be helpful! Burgers and hot dogs at the pool were fine, as was breakfast. We did dine at Ocean Liners, and I am happy to say it truly is a 5 star restaurant. Worth every penny of the $60 it cost us.
Service on Celebrity Constellation is another subject. Those kids bend over backwards to help in any way they can. They're friendly, polite, and always trying to please. Same goes for the rest of the staff: John, the Cruise Director, all the activities people--everyone was delightful.
Entertainment on board was excellent. My only complaint would be that there weren't enough shows scheduled before the 8:30p.m. seating. Since we didn't leave the dining room till after 10:00 (yes, we're gluttons for punishment--went every night but two!), the only shows available were at 10:45. We're in our sixties and enjoy staying out late occasionally, but not nightly. I will say, however, that the ventriloquist (I think his name was Patrick Murray)and his puppet, Matilda, are worth staying up for!
Overall, our cruise was a good one. Ports were wonderful, staff was top notch, accommodations were good. Just one problem: if you plan to eat, brown bag it!! I'm still puzzled about the Conde Nast survey--I think Celebrity is stuffing the ballot box!