We were a little worried that we might not like the cabin since it was only on deck 3 and right next to the Guest Relations desk and offices. If we didn't like it, we were going to be stuck there a long time. It was also our first experience with Celebrity cruise line. We needn't have worried at all. The location of the cabin turned out to be a big PLUS. It was very convenient to everything and very quiet. We never heard people out in the lobby at all, and there was not as much traffic through our corridor as we expected.
The cabin was spacious, beautifully appointed, with lots of storage space for the two of us. We had LOTS of clothes and bags since we were on a 42 day trip, including 30 cruising days. Still, we did not feel crowded in this Oceanview stateroom. The Celebrity Constellation's bathroom was also extremely nice, with a very large shower. This was a pleasant surprise. Some other cruise lines, even in balcony cabins, have much smaller bathrooms.
We also loved the food service. My husband and I keep kosher at home and like to eat vegetarian outside the home, including fish. On buffets it is sometimes problematic if you don't know what's in the dish. The Constellation had all of its food items on the buffet labeled very well, plus any staff member we asked about the food was knowledgeable. This was not always the case on some other lines. When we ordered kosher meals, they were hot and delicious as well. We especially LOVED the grilled tuna and salad prepared and served at the AquaSpa Cafe. We ate lunch there at least half of the days. As for the main dining restaurant, the San Marco, the food was good and attractively prepared. There was always a vegetarian option as well as one or two fish options to choose. Our only complaint was that the service was very slow. Our early seating dinner time of 6 p.m. usually had us leaving at 8 p.m. Two hours for dinner was just a little too long for our taste, but our tablemates were congenial, so we had lots of good conversations.
We loved the ports of call: Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Hautulco, Puntarenas, Panama Canal cruising, Cristobal Pier, Cartagena. We started in San Diego and ended in Miami, which was perfect for us. We are not particularly adventurous travelers, so we always choose shore excursions provided by the cruise line. Again Celebrity excelled at this. We enjoyed every excursion and thought that the cruise line did an excellent job in organizing people to head out on each adventure. We overheard some people complaining that it took too long to get everyone out and on their way, but honestly when any organization is trying to deal with over 2,000 people at the same time, there might be a snafu or two. We felt that it was handled as well as could be expected, very much like any other cruise line we have tried (Holland America, Princess, and Disney), and we were out and about doing our activities when we were scheduled to do so. I really don't see why anyone had anything to complain about.
Staying 30 days on the same ship meant getting to know the staff really well. Everyone was extremely friendly. We were greeted, often by name, most of the time. Our room steward, assistant maitre d', and San Marco servers were especially wonderful. This friendliness allowed us to feel at home for our month at sea. The ship also had wonderful entertainment and lots of little places to go for drinks or specialty coffees while enjoying some quiet entertainment by pianists, singers, guitarists, a cappella singers, and string quartets. We found more entertainment options in these smaller venues than we had experienced on any other cruise line. Many of the entertainment options changed after the first charter cruise, while some remained. This provided us some nice variety as well.
Finally there were lectures every sea day about the history, culture, or natural wonders of the upcoming ports. Two different lecturers provided about five or six talks, EACH. Wow! We learned so much about the places we were visiting.
The Constellation left us in Miami and then went on a translatlantic cruise which ended with a refit in Germany. My husband and I are now very interested in booking another cruise on this ship to see the new improvements that have been made. We were also so impressed with Celebrity as a cruise line that we have booked three back-to-back cruises on the Celebrity Century in February of 2011. I can't wait!
Our final stop in Mexico was Hautulco. We had a laid back day which included a short walk to a nearby hotel for a folk music dance performance. Then we went to the beach. The beach by the pier is spectacular. I enjoyed the easy access into the water, very little waves, warm water, warm air. It just was a most pleasant experience. The ship allowed people to take the beach towels from the ship out onto the beach. I thought that was a nice touch. We were there on a holiday weekend, which meant lots of Mexican families were there. Still it did not feel overcrowded. It was a wonderful day.
Puntarenas, Costa Rica afforded us a chance to go on an Eco-Cruise on the Tarcoles River. The boat captain jumped out and fed the crocodiles. That was pretty exciting. We also saw dozens of birds. I would recommend this to anyone.