I booked a cruise with my local travel agent for the Constellation sailing out of San Juan. This was my 8th cruise – 2nd on Celebrity -- and my fiancée’s first. Overall, the cruise was quite enjoyable, with some minor quibbles.
Embarkation -- 3
We had a nightmare experience getting to San Juan after being bumped from our flight. We actually met up with the Constellation on Sunday in the Dominican Republic. The travel department at Celebrity was absolutely NO help at all. In fact, if I could give the staff at Celebrity a negative rating here I would. However, the crew of the Constellation was very helpful and friendly: meeting us at the airport in the Dominican Republic, steering us through local Immigration/Customs, and preparing our cruise documents rapidly. Their deserved 6 star rating averages out the 0 stars for the Celebrity travel department for an overall rating of 3.
I should note that on my prior Celebrity cruise aboard Infinity out of San Juan our embarkation was very smooth.
Public Rooms – 6
The overall architectural atmosphere aboard the Millennium ships is quite nice. Not too glitzy, not too subdued. All public areas aboard these ships are adorned with original art and photography pieces, giving them an aura of elegance without being snobby. The color scheme of the boat’s interior is spot-on, but I must admit I find the exterior of the ship to not be my cup-of-tea. Rest assured that you will not find a better variety of areas more tastefully decorated on any other cruise liner currently at sea. I’m sure there are more richly/elegantly appointed boats at sea, but I doubt one could book a cruise on them at this price point. A+
Cabin – 5
Our cabin was very utilitarian and pretty, though somewhat disappointing for me after having stayed in a Sky Suite on my prior cruise aboard the Infinity. The deck is now a must have for my cruising vacations and I would recommend EVERYBODY to ensure they have their own private veranda. I spent EVERY morning on it with my coffee, reading/journaling, enjoying the scenery. My only gripe with the veranda is regarding the lack of privacy. Depending on your room’s location, you may or may not have ANY privacy on your deck. We found the cabin to be lacking in storage space, though this may be more indicative of our excessive packing than a weakness in the cabin. Also, there are no irons/ironing boards aboard the ship. [I would recommend packing a travel iron if the thought of wearing wrinkled clothes or paying $$$ for pressing services bothers you. I used the laundry services on the boat and can attest that they did a nice job of stain removal on several garments and all garments were pressed perfectly, and delivered promptly.] Also on the downside, my fiancée and I both felt the linens, particularly the bed spread, appear worn out and even, yuck, dirty.
Dining – 6
There is nothing for me to add here that hasn’t already been said ad nauseam. At this price point I guarantee you will not find better food. How they can prepare such high quality food for so many passengers still boggles my mind. Not to be missed: at the aft of the 10th deck Seaside grill there is a daily luncheon pasta and salad bar. For whatever reasons, this particular luncheon spot remains relatively unnoticed by the majority of the passengers. I highly recommend it for lunch.
The Oceanliners specialty restaurant is well worth the money. I believe Celebrity’s specialty restaurants rank as some of the best dining experiences PERIOD, not just at sea. If my dining companions were willing, I would gladly eat there every night. The staff can be a bit over-the-top in their mannerisms, but I appreciate their commitment to excellent service.
Room service is also a wonderful touch. I highly recommend the Chocolate chip cookies (“Warmed up please”) and their Pizza. For some reason, their room service pizza is different, and in my opinion better, than that which is served poolside.
Speaking of poolside, there has been a definite drop in the service level offered by the wait staff poolside since my last Celebrity cruise. I’m not sure, but it appeared to me that there were fewer “Pool Butlers” than there used to be. Minor quibble…
Entertainment – 5
We went to one show – “Fantasea” – and it was laughable. All of the musicians aboard the boat were terrific. The pool side band “Prodigy” was great. In fact, I would recommend going down and having a listen even if you don’t want to lay out – they are that good! The casino is quite nice though smoky. They offered the typical cruise line game assortment with the exception of single deck Blackjack at $10 minimums!
The in-room TV was acceptable with a varied movie rotation, CBS primetime programming and CNN International live. On board, internet access was reliable though expensive. There are art auctions managed by Park West [my advice… buy elsewhere], a nice shipping facility, movie theater showing recent films, etc. Bingos were, as usual, popular with the kids and blue-hairs.
Bottom line: You should never feel bored.
Fitness & Recreation – 6
Their health club is first rate, the spa is excellent though $$$. With the fitness facility, aerobics, spinning and yoga classes, and spa dining, if you wish to not gain weight, or even lose weight on your cruise, Celebrity makes it possible.
Value – 6
You will not find a better value for your cruising dollar. PERIOD.
My fiancee thoroughly enjoyed her first cruise, and is looking forward to cruising again. We had some horrible seas on our last night (St. Thomas to San Juan) but otherwise it was literally smooth sailing. These Millenium vessels are, in a word, awesome!