Our cruise started in Miami on February 28th and ended in San Diego on March 13th with day and half day stops in Cartagena, Puntarenas,Costa Rica and three stops in Mexico: Huatulco, Acopulco and Cabo San Lucas. The highlight of the cruise,the Panama Canal, was a full days transit with a commentary provided by a Canal pilot, throughout the day. Apart from Cabo San Lucas we organised our own sightseeing, which we found very easy to do with taxis at the dock. This was purely our own preference as we understand the official excursions were well oprganised, if a little long in some instances.
Contrary to an earlier review, we found the cabin on Sky Deck to be entirely acceptable, clean and well furnished. It is true that if you looked carefully there was some carpet wear at the balcony door but it was not a major issue. The upper open promenade deck did however, show considerable weathering and wear but again, it was not a major problem for us. The ship goes into dry dock in More
April for renovation and the creation of an additional restaurant on this deck. All the public areas were clean and tidy but some seating areas were showing signs of their eight years of intensive usage.
Service was excellent and everyone was obviously very well trained to ensure that clients received the very best of attention and with very few exceptions, this was constant throughout the cruise.
As far as eating was concerned, we found the Aquaspar and Seaside Cafe to be fine. We dined in the Ocean Liners Restaurant on one occasion, which was excellent but with a $35 supplement, unnecessarily expensive. The problems arose in the main restaurant, the San Marco, This has a series of very fine menus, prepared by a Jacques Van Staden but unfortunately, on a number of occasions, what arrived on the plate was a very poor replica of the menu description. For example, the Beef Wellington was made up of heavy pastry and rather poor, very overcooked beef. Just a pity that this Jacques Van Staden was not on hand to see the damage done to his menu ! There were a number of other dishes with similar problems, but to be fair some of the dishes, particularly desserts, lived up to the menu description. Having been disappointed by the standard of meals in this restaurant we tried the Casual Dining in the Seaside Cafe. In the evenings an area was set aside with elegant tables and we found it to be very good and far better than the main dining in the San Marco. On reflection, the ship was perhaps trying too hard and had there been a simpler menu, then maybe there would have been a better correlation between the menu and the plates arriving on the table.
The talks on board were excellent but we could have done with more talks on the places to be visited. For example, there was nothing on Costa Rica and not much on Cartagena.
Would I take a cruise in Constellation again ? Yes, why not especially after the refit and some change in the dining.