Firstly, let me say this is the first time I have felt compelled to write a review in 14 cruises.
We flew to Istanbul on Oct 25 after spending 3 weeks in Holland, arriving later afternoon and proceeded directly onto the Constellation. We were immediately told there was an issue on board from the previous cruise re Norovirus and we would be able to go to our cabins around 5pm after the ship had been disinfected.
When we arrived at our cabin, we were very disappointed to find that while the towels and linens had been changed.....not much else had happened to our cabin. The bathroom was just plain dirty. The shower was ugly, the mirrors spotted with water marks, the air vent had dust balls hanging from it, the tile in the floor cracked and rust everywhere around the door frames, the shower curtain had to be changed and a few other unmentionable things hanging about. (pictures) We asked our cabin bathroom to be cleaned while we were unpacking but it soon became obvious that more than the bathroom needed to be cleaned, with the closets and drawers disgusting. Unfortunately we had to ask for the bathroom to be re cleaned and physically show the staff area by area where the problems were.
The ship was really great and we enjoyed the layout very much. Easy to find your way around, with no problem finding a quiet place to relax. We chose select dining and found the overall quality of the food great. Service was another thing. Why was it taking us 2 1/2 to 3 hours every evening? We were trying to schedule our dining around attending the evening shows but not being very successful. However, we started to noticed when we had certain dining room staff it was a long dinner and when we had other dining staff it was 1 hour less. Going to the Seaside cafe was like no other experience I have ever had on a ships buffet. Mass confusion every day. It was like the staff did not know what to do and any guidance they were being given......not helping to rectify the problems at all.
Having experienced a ship with Norovirus before... all I can say is the Princess knows how to handle this situation and Celebrity does not.
Celebrity was not responsible for our change in itinerary in Israel...Haifa for 4 days instead of 2 in Ashdod and 2 in Haifa. Most people I met took the changes in stride and to give credit to Celebrity, they allowed free internet so people could make contact with tour providers etc. It made for long days for everyone being that tours to southern Israel took 3-4 hours longer and we were returning to the ship around 8-9pm each evening.
I also believe the infirmary staff did a great job under the circumstances. With my first hand knowledge, while tied up to an IV drip, they tried to accommodate everyone as best as they could. I was quarantined for 48 hours while my wife only for 24. The ship did not charge us for any of the medical services and did offer us compensation payment in the form of a future cruise credit yet to be received. I called the phone number they gave us with regards to the credits only to be told by RC that I had called the wrong number. Then I was transferred numerous times until someone finally apologized and said the credits should have been sent out a few weeks ago and that he would find out the problem and call me back. 2 weeks later, I am still awaiting his call and or the certificates.
When we returned home, we also received the "after the cruise" how did we do e-mail. Well I am afraid I was not too nice with my comments with regards to our room situation etc and explained I had pictures to back up my comments but again to date.....no comment from Celebrity.
This was our first time on Celebrity and even if the credits come through, I am not sure we will use them. Firstly, they are only good for a year and I do not feel this is long enough. Once bitten, it may take us more than a year to jump back on board and take the ride again. Having heard so many good things about Celebrity in the past but experiencing first hand the not so good things while on board and then to return home and still have the experience continue makes me think maybe Celebrity is just not for us.
On a good note, one of the best thing about cruising is the people you meet. Thanks to CC, we met some great people from England and Nancy and Jerry from Toronto who we continue to see on an ongoing basis.