Subtle Changes since RCCL takeover: Celebrity Constellation Cruise Review by Serena
Overall Member Rating
Subtle Changes since RCCL takeover
Destination: Baltic Sea
This was a 10-day trip around the British Isles. We chose this over a bus tour, because of value and only having to unpack one time. We are 54 and 55, in excellent health, and most of our fellow passengers were in the over-50 range, quite a few elderly with canes, wheelchairs, etc. I attribute this mainly to the time of year and the itinerary. Kids are in school, and young folks want beaches and water sports.
Constellation is a beautiful ship, spotlessly clean, with a lovely atrium and beautiful public rooms. Overall it had a quiet, well-maintained, elegant feel. There was very little motion.
We did not participate in most shipboard activities. We have cruised a number of times, and mainly do so now to visit ports and relax. Visited the casino one night, and after wasting $6.00 knew the slots were too tight for me. Only one small win of about 10 cents. Did not attend any classes or More entertainment.
Service was pleasant and cheerful, especially our excellent room steward Assis, our waiter, Caesar, and our assistant waiter, Elvis. Ironically, the one exception was the ship's customer relations department. There was a definite language barrier, and they tended to argue more than accommodate. One big difference we noted: this was our third Celebrity cruise, first since the RCCL takeover, and we were very aware of staffing cuts in the dining areas. There was no one to take your tray to a table in the buffet area, and waiters, servers, and sommeliers looked harassed and exhausted, with dark circles under their eyes. Instead, there was a nonstop barrage in the buffet area of people trying to sell you wine, beer, and mixed drinks, sometimes interrupting your meal a dozen times. Okay, I know liquor is a big money maker for cruises, and we certainly drank our share, but please stop driving us crazy. If we want a drink, we know where the bars are.
We made stops at Edinburgh, Inverness/Loch Ness, Belfast, Dublin, and St. Peter's Port on Guernsey. We took cruise line shore excursions, which were a pretty good value and showed us what they promised. However, on three nights they returned late to the ship, necessitating rushing to our early seating in the dining room with little or no time to refresh and clean up. On the last excursion, the incompetent driver of the tender stripped the gears, and we had to keep a very long line of tired passengers waiting while we all transferred to another tender. Many people just skipped dinner, apparently, as the dining room was largely empty.
We had a veranda cabin, which was beautifully decorated, spotlessly clean, and comfortable with the exception of a pretty hard bed. Lying on my side caused a lot of pressure on my hips and shoulders. I got pretty sore, and rolling over at night sometimes woke me up. But there was plenty of storage space, and having the veranda is great for fresh air and views, especially at sea.
Celebrity's food is always plentiful and excellent, and this cruise was no exception. We ate breakfast and lunch at the buffet, dinner in the dining room. The hours need to be extended a little for the buffet, however. Everyone crowded into line at the same time, and sometimes we walked around the entire seating area three times to find an empty table. It grew tiresome. Two other small complaints, I'm from the South where we fry everything, and about the only fried thing available is French fries. Would have loved some fried shrimp, fish, etc. Also, is it ever possible to get fresh soft rolls that are not stone cold?
Both embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and well-organized. No complaints. The welcome glass of champagne was quite nice, although you had to stand and drink it there, instead of proceeding to your cabin. Luggage was delivered quickly. Less
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