We are Captain's Club Elite and no strangers to Celebrity. We had our usual fine experience on The Constellation. It's no secret that cruise line profit margins have been squeezed in recent years and it really shows in several areas. Since base cruise fares have not risen at all that we can see in the past ten years, it may be time for a modest increase to restore some of the value to the experience.
Overall, food quality is very good and the buffet has held up well. The real decline has come with the selections in the MDR and Celebrity (and other lines from what we can tell) need to address this as a point of competitive differentiation. Out of a half dozen entree selections each night only two were really worthy of the excellence in dining on which Celebrity originally built its reputation. Other cost-cutting moves were evident, but less egregious than trying to do entrees on the cheap. Most bar prices have shifted to the high side, but values remain for those willing to work the menus. I'm sure Celebrity has a profit model for optimizing drink consumption against costs, but whatever the components of that model are escape me. The beverage packages are no value at all for most cruisers.
Continuing my rambling, Perry Grant continues to make his mark with us Celebrity denizens and the entertainment was, on the whole, very fine. One problem: many of us on this cruise appeared to sail with Celebrity once or twice each year and we all agreed it's time for some fresh production shows.
Two criticisms: With deck seating at a premium why, during the middle of the afternoon, is it necessary for the spa staff to tie up 12 to 15 seats in the solarium to hawk their wares with free demos? The spa may have run its course as a profit center for cruise lines especially among age 50+ passengers who predominate on most Celebrity ships. Many of us have regular spa and massage memberships at home and aren't interested in paying the severely inflated prices on cruise ships. There's nothing special about it.
Second, the berths where we were moored in several cities were miserably inconvenient and long hikes from the Port Terminals and transportation. In Athens, why was the Norwegian Jade berthed next to the terminal while Constellation was parked at the very far end in the freight area? Can the port charge be that different? Seems like serious nickel and dime stuff to many of us. Overall, another fine cruise and we look forward to stealing away for another sometime soon.