We sailed on the Constellation in early December to the Eastern Carib for 10 days. The first problem we encountered was checking in. As both handicapped and a Captain's Club member, check-in should have been quick and easy. Instead we ran into the transportation crew's obnoxious and rude handling of guests. Wearing a visible leg brace and wobbling slightly, though not in a wheelchair, my husband was told to stand aside and wait till they were ready. We said he is handicapped (were they blind?) and we are Club members looking for priority check-in, so asked where should we go to check-in. "Go find a seat! Wait over there!" Finally we walked past these people and inside only to find we had to wait in line. No one "knew" where the priority check-in was. No one helped.
Eventually the line lessened and we walked aboard. One problem done.
The buffet offered to those who boarded early was chaotic. People acted like they had not eaten in months. They pushed and shoved their way around, and there was no one to assist in organizing matters. No signage either. Tables were not cleared quickly. The buffet - while extensive and excellent - has a bad service flow. Traffic gets bogged down at various stations, and this lasted throughout most of the cruise.
The main dining room had a breakfast buffet that was crammed and chaotic as well. While the food was fresh and good at the buffet, we ignored a lot of areas (and avoided the second one presented on board during the week) because it was poorly designed and jammed up.
I will continue with the food aboard as long as I am there already. We requested a table for 8 and were lucky to be seated with wonderful fellow guests. We had similar interests and every night enjoyed a full 2 hours of sitting, gabbing and laughing.
Our waiter and attendant were excellent, attentive and pleasant. When I requested having lemonade mixed with fruit punch (free at the buffet upstairs and at poolside) for dinner one night, it was there every night - no charge. It was great! Since ketchup is like another food group to me, it was delivered nightly to our table without fail - and I found others at the table also enjoyed it. One tablemate liked her water without ice, and that was no issue. Every night the two staff members remembered what we wanted or brought a new item immediately to one of us. The service was great.
The food was iffy. Some nights the food was brilliant, while other nights it was plain, tasteless and poor. One of the steaks was inedible. The fish was bland and unseasoned. Some nights, only steak was the best choice as the other entrees were unappealing.
That was a disappointment. But I never went hungry. There was enough food, believe me!
I have some food allergies and Nixon brought over the assistant maitre d' to speak with me. He suggested ordering the night before to avoid having these foods in the plate. This occurred two nights of the remaining 8 and then it was forgotten. That was fine. I would just ask Nixon to leave off this or that or substitute something for what I wanted, and it was done. This was easier than deciding on a full stomach what I wanted for the next night.
Lunches at the buffet and breakfasts there as well were terrific. The grill for burgers and hot dogs (among the best franks I've had) and the buffet for freshly made pasta as I liked it were great. One afternoon at sea near the end of the trip there was a management-handled barbecue poolside. People gathered while they set the tables up, as if they had not eaten for years, ready to partake. The food was good, but better for us inside.
The entertainment was excellent! We really enjoyed the fact that the theater was open in advance to find a seat and very few guests saved more than 2 seats. It was all very polite and well managed. (Better than the pushing and shoving at the buffets!)
The entertainment was top-notch. The on board performers were very talented, including those that sang opera (yes, opera!) and the cirque du soleil-style acrobat. Noodles somebody the comedian was great fun. Imagine a comedy act without a single dirty word that was funny!
Jack Walker and Helen Jayne were individual guest performers and they were wonderfully talented show-stoppers. The only weak night was the Christmas/ Chanukah show where they included the children guests to single some songs. We could have done without that, but I am sure the proud parents felt good about it.
Somewhere aboard ship there was an amateur talent show but we never found it.
Then there was the Liberace style/Don Rickles performer, Perry Grant, who was wonderful in Michael's Pub - standing room only. They put him on the big stage one night and while he was okay, he could not be as funny or flamingly loose as he was in the small venue of the Pub. He brings the waiter or the guests into his act and people love it. (You have to go for that kind of entertainment - we did!) People take the cruise often to see Grant every night! You can catch part of his honky-tonk style act on YouTube but it is nothing like in person. Elsewhere on board, there was dancing and entertainment in various clubs. Our cabin was a standard inside cabin, large enough for the time spent inside. Adequate on storage - I'd like to see some drawers in the bathroom. And clean. I always use my own Clorox wipes anyway, but the place seemed clean. Sheets were changed once in the 10 days and that was fine. Our steward was pleasant and had ice and water delivered to the cabin nightly. The shower had collapsed one evening after we were ashore (on our steward's day off). It had to have happened while cleaning, and no one followed up on repairs. After the phone to the Maintenance desk was not answered, we asked a nearby steward about it and he called Maintenance. In 5 minutes, a guy was there to fix it. The water had been freezing in the shower till that day and we asked him. He told us how to adjust it (rocket science - even the comic complained on stage about water temp). From then on it was fine. Small issues, not to be dwelt on. In all, the cabin and its service were fine. They provided small cloth bags to use ashore and keep, and bathrobes to use on board or buy.
Photography was haphazard. Photos were strewn about the walls in no real order. It was hard to find what you wanted. We bought our one requisite photo and never bothered again.
We don't gamble, but the casino was crowded. Getting from the San Marco main dining (aft) to the theater (fore) went through the casino and people stopped to watch midway and blocked the flow.
We've been to the ports before so we only took one excursion in Barbados and it was fair. There was not much info provided on board about the ports except where to buy. But that was what most ports were for.
A note on the med service: One of our tablemates fell on an island where the sidewalks and roads were chopped up. The med service on board took good care of him and he was satisfied with the service he got.
By the way - we never saw so many wheelchairs and walkers in our lives! Glad to see people can still enjoy cruising.