We were quite excited to book a second cruise on Constellation, since we had fond memories of our Baltic/North Sea cruise of last year. The embarkation process went smoothly, and we were pleased with the ship's new color scheme, as well as with the 'fresher' look of the furnishings in our cabin. We found the staff as friendly and helpful as ever, so we looked forward to the pleasant 15 day cruise.
Although we expected some (occasional) bumps in the road, we were rather disappointed in number and frequency of them. The quality of the mattress was very poor (lumpy and unable to support our backs), so as a result we found sleep difficult to come, and most mornings we ended up with sore backs .
We also found that the quality of food in the main dining room has gone 'downhill' since our last cruise, and that the service was much slower and with lacking in the 'finer' touches (on many occasions no coffee, or creme/sugar were forgotten, or the water glasses were not refilled). We believe it may have been due to cost cutting (having less waiters look after a greater number of tables/patrons). Luckily, we were able to book ourselves into both specialty restaurants a few times and the food and service there were absolutely wonderful. We highly recommend paying a little extra to feel so thoroughly pampered.
We also found that we did not enjoy our visits to the theater much, since we found the 'in-house' entertainers rather forgettable, and the 'visiting artists' to be less-than "artistic" (especially the 'singer-comedienne' brought especially to 'entertain' us New Year's eve who thought that constantly berating and insulting the audience in a rather crass manner was enjoyable).
We did enjoy our shore tours and the disembarkation/embarkation process during those went quite smoothly...which certainly did not prepare us for the horror of San Diego.
We were given to understand just a few days prior to the end of the cruise that although we'd arrive in San Diego by 7 a.m., everyone would have to wait for the border authorities to come on board to 'process' everyone prior to allowing even a single person to disembark...however, we would be all coded by color and number and those with earliest flights would be given a priority when the processing was completed around 10:00 a.m. It certainly sounded well planned out and organized. Unfortunately, that's not how it worked out. Although it seemed that all 'early fliers' were already processed, they were not able to leave the ship because of some passengers who either slept in or decided to have another drink before facing the processing...and everyone had to wait till they were found and 'customized'.
When they finally opened the gates at 10:25 a.m., the passengers rushed through them without any regard for colors/numbers on their tags (as a matter of fact, nobody bothered to even mention them over PA system until the rush subsided). You'd think they'd have shuttles ready to take us to the airport (we paid for the transfers), but there was no-one to tell us where to go to find them, and when we finally figured it out, there were throngs of people already waiting and NO shuttles, so we paid again and took a private one.
Luckily, we caught our flight, but definitely not thanks to Celebrity personnel who truly dropped the ball on this.