We've cruised Celebrity once before and have cruised on RCCL, HAL, NCL, MSC and Cunard. On this trip we took Amtrak from Jacksonville, FL to Newark, NJ. The trip was 20 hours from 5pm to 11 am. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Jersey City, NJ which was an easy local train trip from the Amtrak stop. We just stepped out of Amtrak over right across from us was the local PATH train. The hotel was about 20 feet from the PATH stop. The hotel has a fantastic view of Manhattan and is safe to walk around. We paid $50 with tip from the hotel to the ship.
Embarkation was quick, dropped off bags to Longshoreman and got through the check-in line. We waited about 10 minutes and then they started boarding the buses to the Constellation. On board (at 12:20pm) we received a drink and an invite for lunch in the Seaside cafe. We had confirmed from Celebrity and our travel agent for first seating, but there was no seating card in our room. We had to wait in line for the Maitre d' and we ended up with second seating. Never had that happen before!
Our stateroom attendants were fantastic, very personable and caring. Very clean room, always asked if we needed anything. We had an inside cabin and never heard our neighbors or any ships noise. One of the quietest cabins ever. Beds are so much more comfortable than before. We enjoy a coffee or tea and the pastries at Cova Cafe. Many mornings I'd be there instead of with the crush at the Seaside Grill. Also went to breakfast in the San Marco Dining room. Met some interesting folks there and service was fantastic. The food was good also. We like the Trivia games, the enrichment lectures, listening to music and even went to the disco one night. I liked the Library's custom of just taking and returning books without signing in and out. Very easy.
We had one shore excursion in Bar Harbor, ME - a bike ride on the carriage roads of Acadia National Park. Moderately strenuous. My knees are still killing me!
Dining: The menu is more limited than a previous Celebrity cruise, I miss the cheese and cracker plate, although when I asked for cheese and fruit, I got that. Our table had the best waiter and assistant, Stephan and Sumantra. Stephan always gave us a rundown on what was good that night and since it was second seating, what the guests had commented about the food from first seating. Food is excellent and variety is nice. The one night I had shrimp cocktail, I had only two shrimp! - If we didn't like the entrEe after ordering, Stephan was more than happy to replace it.
Entertainment: For the overnight in Quebec, Celebrity brought in a local dance group and they were marvelous. For second seating sometimes the show was before dinner, sometimes after dinner. Always something going on in the disco. The band Top Notch was terrific.
Quebec City was our favorite. The people of Quebec were very polite, very friendly and bilingual. The staff in the shops were wonderful. My husband bought a pair of trousers and their English was perfect. No problems taking American cash, traveler's cheques or credit cards.
Debarkation went well. If only people wouldn't congregate at the entrances... Another $50 for a taxi from the pier to the Amtrak station. Wonderful cruise with a fantastic staff.