The modern 900-seat Celebrity Theater is where most of the major entertainment action takes place. The banquet-style seats are comfortable enough for the nearly hour-long programs, and the small tables positioned along the rows of seats are handy. The two-tiered theater is three decks high and hosts Vegas-style song-and-dance revues at night, focusing on Broadway and pop hits. Other evening headliners may include veteran singers, comedians and musical acts. Celebrity has a favorite list of entertainers, including a lot of musicians and singers from England, so regulars can expect at least one or two acts during a cruise to be a repeat from previous cruises. Fortunately, they're enjoyable performers whether you've seen several of their shows previously or none at all. The Constellation's in-house singers and dancers are first-rate, and the costumes and staging are professional. The house band deserves the many kudos it gets, backing up every type of entertainer the ship books without a hitch.
Evening entertainment elsewhere on the ship emphasizes music, with bands in the Rendezvous Lounge on Deck 4 performing '40s and '50s jazz standards, some pop songs (a la swing) and other danceable classics. The Reflections venue on Deck 11 serves as an observation lounge for readers or sea gazers and a quiet place for dance and craft classes by day, but it's also the official gathering place and watering hole for the Captain's Club Elite members from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. and later turns into a (often sparsely attended) disco for the few who are willing or able.
Michael's, the ship's clubby sing-along piano bar, is no more. It's now Michael's Club Captain's Club Lounge for the exclusive use of Zenith-level loyalty program members (3,000 points) and folks who inhabit premium suites. A superior breakfast and evening tapas and cocktails are served. Peek in on the way to a show, and you'll see a handful of well-attired folks trying to look as if they're having a good time. Many end up migrating to Reflections lounge, which turns into the nightly Captain's Club Elite gathering place where long-time Celebrity cruisers join friends to quaff drinks, munch finger food and swap cruise stories. Occasionally, especially during transatlantic cruises, there are too many members to be accommodated by the lounge, and drink tickets are given to members to use in several other ship bars.
The Martini Bar on Deck 4 is a favorite haunt for fun-lovers. It looks a bit like a frozen space pod, with a phosphorescent green bar with silver accents, topped by an ice skating rink surface that keeps one from leaning on the bar with your elbows. It's a combination of booze and entertainment, and the bartenders flip and juggle bottles of top-shelf vodka and gin in time with disco music as patrons hoot and holler. Martinis of all colors and flavors are $10-plus. The colorful six martini tasting flight is $18, which is a very good value on its own, but the show put on to pour the six at the same time is priceless -- at least for the first two or three times. Finding seats around the main bar during peak time is a challenge, as is getting a bartender's attention. If you plan to be a regular at this bar, a tip (bribe) the day you come aboard of $20 or more may result in better service throughout your cruise.
Cellar Masters, the Constellation's wine bar, was known for its self-serve Enomatic wine dispensers, but because the system was so unreliable, it's been discontinued. Still, the venue offers a great selection of wines by the glass, along with some premium beers all served by a very friendly and knowledgeable bartender.
Celebrity offers a variety of all-you-can-drink packages. For $44 per day you can swill unlimited beers up to $5 per serving and wine and spirits up to $8 per serving, along with bottled water and soft drinks. The premium package, at $54 a day, allows you to drink every beer on the list, as well as wine, spirits and cocktails that cost less than $12 per serving.
During sea days, the ship's cruise director and staff offer plenty of activities to keep cruisers busy, although many passengers are content simply to read, knit or play cards. There are usually two or three popular Celebrity Life enrichment events including lectures related to the cruise itinerary or subjects of intellectual interest including astronomy, history, arts and music. In addition, there's usually at least one wine tasting education event per day and several beer and booze tasting events during the cruise.
Celebrity continues to entertain food-lovers with galley tours and cooking demos, but now the company has teamed up with the Bravo channel and the Emmy award-winning "Top Chef" to offer a special Top Chef at Sea experience on a number of sailings. Constellation offers a pared down version of the show's Quick Fire competitions with contestants chosen from the audience and senior chefs. The event doesn't quite equal the TV show's level of excitement, but it's still an enjoyable way to pass a few hours at sea.
For the active, there are exercise and dance classes, but the very popular Zumba classes that were offered at no charge have became not-so-popular now that they cost $15 per session. Other popular activities range from trivia and craft-making to photography demos and Apple-product how-tos. There seems to be an increased emphasis on shipboard marketing related to onboard art auctions, cosmetic and skin care services, jewelry sales and Riedel wine glass tastings -- all designed to sell shipboard products and services.
The ship, and the line as a whole, recently added the new position of destination concierge. An expert in the ports of call, this concierge will arrange private shore excursions for passengers who want to avoid bus tours but don't want to plan their own time ashore. The concierge will also book restaurant reservations and show tickets in port stops.