Fourteen Great Caribbean Days!
This was the 25th Cruise together for my wife and I. I just turned 60 and my wife is in her mid 50's, and we both love the Caribbean Beaches and time in the Sun with 16 of our Cruises being to this area. This was our Fifth Cruise on Celebrity and have three more booked with them over the next 13 Months as we have found their service, food and smoking policy to be very well suited to our likes.
We stayed two nights prior at the Hilton Marina Hotel near the pier and there were 10-11 other Cruise Critic couples staying there also. We had a great pre-Cruise Cocktail gathering by the pool bar the evening before the Cruise with about 25 fellow Cruisers present. Our Cruise Roll Call was very active and we met a lot of new friends, scheduled events such as this and others on-board, and linked up with others for our MDR Table. All worked out very well, and thanks to Cruise Critic it made for a great Cruise.
Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the ship about 11:30 and were on board within 40 minutes or less. Being Elite and in a Concierge Class cabin made no real difference at this time as our travel mates moved through very smoothly also and were right behind us the whole way through the process. Our bags did not show until about 4:00, which is a bit later than the last few cruises we were on, but still ok.
The Constellation was our first Cruise on this class of ship and we thought she was lovely and in great shape. Public Rooms were very lovely and we spent a lot of time in the padded chairs around the pool. Ship is a nice size with plenty to do and large enough to do my little "walk a'bouts" around the deck as the day went on. Bar service around the pool was good without being overly intrusive and music was at a nice level to not be overwhelming.
We had a C3 cabin mid-ships and to be honest do not really see the benefits of Concierge Class over a 1A or 2A Balcony cabin. One drawback to me was the large overhang over our Balcony. It did keep any rain off the Balcony but did not permit the late night stargazing I usually enjoy. Appetizers at 4:00 were ok but kind of boring until we switched and asked for just Cheese and Crackers. That got a bit boring too after 10 days of the same cheese? The fresh flowers in Cabin and Bath were nice, but would not do Concierge again unless price was pretty close.
Food and Service in the MDR was superb. Our waiter Roger and his assistant Thomaslav did a wonderful job and were always there to take care of any little issue . Carlos, the Head Waiter for our section of MDR, did a truly great job too. My wife is Gluten (wheat only) intolerant and they went out of their way to get her the next day's menu and made sure everything was done correctly throughout the two weeks. We had a great table of Cruise Critic friends (8 of us) and enjoyed wonderful conversation throughout the voyage.
We ate one night in Tuscan Grill and had a wonderful meal with another couple we were sailing with. My wife and I enjoyed a nice lunch in Bistro on Five one Sea Day too. The desert Crepe with Nutella, Banana and nuts was out of this world. Plenty of good places for meals aboard the ship and enjoyed many great salads, pastas, ice cream, and many other things as the cruise progressed.
Stops on this Cruise included Aruba, Curacao, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St Maarten, and St Thomas along with five sea days (two at beginning and end and one after Curacao). Nice mix and we liked it so much we booked the same Itinerary for next March on the Eclipse, which is taking over this run from the Constellation next year. No new Islands for us this trip but did hit a new Beach or two along the way. Weather was 80's and sunny almost all the days with only a few brief showers on a couple days but nothing that caused any disruption in our plans.
Entertainment on board was pretty good. Jefferson Ang on guitar was very nice as was the Piano Man (a sub for usual Perry Grant) in Michaels most evenings. We did not do any of the evening shows, as not a fan of shows at 7:00 before our Late Traditional dining at 8:30. The bands in Rendezvous through the dinner hours were pretty good and the dance floor there was usually pretty full. We met friends there for pre-dinner cocktails almost every night and Chris, one of the Bar Waiters, got to know us very well. He was headed home for a break and we wish him well.
We used the Celebrity Luggage Valet service for $20pp. Had used it prior on Oasis sailing last year and would suggest it to anyone with a later flight out of FLL. You get special tags and set the bags out as normal the night before disembarkation. You then do not see your bags until they come off the line at your home airport. No need for Porter or lugging your bags in and out of a Taxi, etc. Real issue is that on Saturdays and Sundays, you cannot check in your bags at the airport until 2 hours prior to your flight. We walked to Security past hundreds of people sitting in the outer airport lobby with their bags waiting for that two hour time limit to arrive- no fun at all.
Disembarkation went ok, there was a slight wait right after we got off the ship but not having to find our bags was a help. Customs was very smooth and we were off to the airport with only our Carry-ons in tow.
This was a truly wonderful cruise on a great ship with a very friendly Crew and great service. We are looking forward to our next Cruise on Silhouette this April. That will be our first Solstice Class sailing and our first time trying Aqua Class and Blu. Boy, am I ready to sail again! And Again! And Again!!!