Embarkation on 2/25 went smoothly, though could not go to stateroom until around 3:00 PM due to norovirus-induced cleaning.
Dinner in the San Marco -- I indicated through early registration that wife had lactose sensitivity issue, but dining room staff was unaware of this and did not get it straightened out until the following Tuesday (2/28). Meat was often dry and/or tough, and vegetables were often overcooked to the point of mushiness. Dinner swevice was slow and entrees were often cold. One night we tried the Seaside Cafe for dinner, but this was not an adequate substitute.
Went to Ocean Liners twice for dinner (excellent food & service) and Tuscan Grille once (very good, but not quite as good as OL). Too bad we had to pay extra for a good-quality dinner!
We found breakfast in the San Marco to be better than the buffet in the Seaside. However, 7:30 opening precluded use when early tours were scheduled, Lunches in the Seaside were very good, and we More
were often back from island tours before it closed at 2:30 P.
I was not informed of the bucket of beer special (6 beers in a bucket of ice for price of 5) until Mar 4, with cruise over half over. On other cruises, this was publicized on the first day.
Concierge C-3 room was nice, but true concierge service was lacking, and not well explained (better service in Veranda or Balcony-class rooms with other line). Luggage was left in hallway; not placed in room on bed on protective pad. No explanation was given for using TV to order room service, or how room fixtures work. We never did figure out what one dial on the wall was for. Hors d'oeuvres (canapes) were plain with little variety from day-to-day. Rose in room wilted first day because stem was not crushed. We did not receive our leather key holder or tote bag. The balcony was small but well furnished with two chairs & small table.
The Entertainment was very good. The acapella group was excellent, as was the ventriloquist & Nosewothy (I laughed until tears came to my eyes). The Celebrity singers & dancers were also very good, and Perry Grant was good for an occasional changeup.
Debarkation was lengthy with long lines -- Over an hour before we cleared the facility, then had to wait in line for a taxi.
1) TV map did not show Phillipsburg St Maarten.
2) We found much better bang for the buck scheduling shore excursions or arranging taxi tours on our own. Celebrity excursions were over priced and in 2 of 3 cases, did not perform as expected (see Port Reviews). Less
Celebrity Constellation Cruises to the Southern Caribbean
Best of Aruba Tour ($39.75 ea through Celebrity) -- Pretty good, but not as advertised; did not go to gardens or advertised substitute (aloe factory); driver did narrating, which limited ability to respond to questions.
Hired van with one other couple for three-hour tour ($25.00 ea); Good tour of highlands surrounding Castries, Marigot and Marigot Bay, and nearby small village with shopping. We did not have time to get to Soufriere or the Pitons.
Booked tour with Bernard's Island Tours ($40.00 ea) -- Tour was over five hours long on a small bus with drinks served throughout. We had beach and shopping time at Orient Beach, Marigot, and Sunset Beach.
St John Island tour ($59.75 ea through Celebrity) -- Water taxi to St John was way crowded (standing room only) and over rough water (several people got sea sick). The island taxi was a pickup truck with five rows of seats that each sat five across; again we were packed like sardines! Driver was isolated from tour participants, and narrated from cab (little interaction with driver). Our driver was arrogant and demanding. We reported this tour to the Celebrity Excursions Desk, and would not recommend it to anyone. Too bad, because St John has some of the prettiest beaches in the Caribbean.