After hearing many good reports about Celebrity we finally booked one albeit only 7 days in the Med at the beginning of October,we went along with two friends who hadn't cruised before. We had only cruised twice previously firstly on Cunard's Queen Victoria then on P&O's Ventura. Our feeling was at the end that they all have things to commend them and all do some things better than others, but lets get into my review of Celebrity's Constellation.
Our cabin was 2114 a sea view room on deck 2, as is always the case the room was fairly small but very well designed giving us a decent sized bathroom and lots of storage easily enough room for a 2 week cruise with the extra clothes you would need, in our case half the storage wasn't used, the seating area was also well planned and gave us no cause for complaint of any kind. The TV gave us all the information we needed and the safe was easy to use. As is always the case in our experience the room steward Achmad was superb catering to our every need and keeping the room spotless.
FOOD and STANDARDS
This for me is one of the highlights of cruising especially the 5 or 6 course dinner in the evening which in the past has been at least equal to some of the better restaurants I have been to on land, as always our waiter Agostino couldn't do enough for us and was happy to replace dishes not to our taste or even duplicate dishes which were but the quality of the food didn't seem quite as good as I've experienced before, on three occasions steak or lamb came to our table overcooked to what we'd asked for, the waiter did of course replace if we asked and the maitre'd was most apologetic, once would be excusable but 3 times on a 7 night cruise is a lot. We changed our seating option from late which we had understood to be 8.30 on booking but which was actually 9.00 to early at 6.30 though we often didn't arrive until 6.45 and at this time of the year on this cruise it suited us better. The buffet on deck 10 was good too but you need to explore it all to see whats on offer, some sections of it we didn't find until nearly at the end of our cruise, don't simply assume as we did that both sides are just the same. What we did find disappointing was the fact that some guests didn't respect the dress code for formal nights, I like to dress up in a proper dinner suit with bow tie and the dress code was stated as Dress suit (tuxedo) or lounge suit with tie, most did adhere to the code but some still turned up in jeans and T shirt or polo shirt, I feel dressing for dinner is only respectful to the staff and to the history of cruising, I don't know how those people who admittedly were a tiny minority felt in the company of well dressed people when they looked frankly scruffy. Maybe if a ship has standards it needs to enforce them or not have them at all.
ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES
This for me was excellent and many of the shows I saw on the ship I would gladly pay to see at the theatre, the ships company of singers and dancers are very very good as were the west end singer and classical pianist (no not dry at all) in the main theatre. Perry Grant in Michael's Club is one of a kind and how he's never broken through into front line entertainment is a mystery to me though maybe it only works well in the intimate setting of somewhere like Michael's Club, his show which often went on for 3 hours or more was a mixture of songs comedy and audience participation with never an empty seat to be found, if you're going on Constellation and he's there don't miss it. There was also a very good party band and a more laid back four piece in the Rendezvous lounge as well as various other musicians around the ship. Entertainment in the night club on deck 11 after 10.30 was very good and without question the entertainment on this ship was head and shoulders above the same seen on previous ships I've been on. However on our last day I decided to go to an "enrichment" lecture, the lecturer was very sure of himself and presented with authority but his subject was allied to world consumerism and much of his data was at least 3 years out of date and so irrelevant given the current world financial and business climate.
DRINKS and SERVICE
I've already commented on our room steward and our waiter likewise on the ship all the staff were very friendly and helpful even to the point of senior officers including the captain being on the dock to welcome back guests after a day off the ship. Drinks to my point of view were very expensive, I ordered a Boddingtons beer (the only English bitter available amongst dozens of continental and American lager beers) when I first got on what I was presented with was a can which I could buy at home for around 75p ($1.20) the cost on board was $6 + VAT + 15% service charge coming close to £5 a can, unless you're a heavy drinker the drinks packages also seemed very highly priced.
We visited 5 ports in the course of our 7 days though at Genoa the rain was so heavy we never left the ship, both my wife and I agreed it was for us too many on such a short cruise we would have preferred at least one more sea day, excursions from the ship were as always very pricey and we used them only once to go to Rome, in hindsight we could have had a much better day independently using local trains and the open top buses in Rome for a third of the cost. We did indeed do that in going to Pisa from Livorno for a total of 7 Euros each return including a bus to the station but did think it a bit of a cheek asking for $7 to transfer out of the port area when we were told we weren't allowed to walk off anyway. We also did Monaco which we both loved from Villefranche on the bus for 2 Euros each return, though in both instances we did a lot of walking once there.
Constellation to anyone who as with us has only been only ships that aim at the mainly British market is very American not that that's a negative comment but it is different, more in your face and a very large casino compared to the ships aimed mainly at the British market which I've been on, and I think the American guests on our cruise were probably in the majority
So would I cruise with Celebrity again?
yes especially for the entertainment but depending on the itinerary
Would I go on Constellation again ?
Would I recommend it ?
probably yes with reservations about the quality of the food and the price of drinks
Would I use their excursions again ?