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25 Celebrity Constellation Holiday Cruise Reviews

We have cruised other cruise lines but heard that Celebrity was top notch. We booked Concierge Class on this ship and were assured a butler and preferential treatment.( It was our 20th anniversary). From the moment we boarded it went down ... Read More
We have cruised other cruise lines but heard that Celebrity was top notch. We booked Concierge Class on this ship and were assured a butler and preferential treatment.( It was our 20th anniversary). From the moment we boarded it went down hill. Our room was filthy. We had to request it be cleaned twice! No butler service or preferential seating promised. We could not get traditional dining as we were told it was full. However, each night over 100 seats were empty and available. Configuration of the cabin was such that the bed was in the middle and had to almost crawl over bed to get to the couch, balcony, make-up desk with mirror, The food was honestly so poor that two nights we went upstairs to the buffet and had pizza. One could not use the sauna or steam room without paying each time even when one took a class or used the gym. We could not even get a light fixed...and add insult to injury they painted our balcony the morning of our last day! We were never asked or told..we were just greeted with a sign "Wet Paint" . Due to this we had no use of our balcony our last day/evening. The shows were not very good. If you think I am a cranky complainer the others we met on the ship had worse experiences! Each encounter with other passengers were worse and worse. One person could not get seated for dinner new Years Eve and was told "there was no room. Sorry" Another couple told us their room had to be scrubbed for 1 hour due to the filthy condition. Another told us about their door coming off it's hinges on her! It just goes on and on. Sadly, any screw up was greeted by chocolate strawberries to the point I just left the 5th dish of them outside the door. There were certainly ways to make things better. After 1 day, the strawberry plate got old. The employees seem trained in "no" and "can't" on ANY issue even the smallest. The captain was busy being a comedian, playing volleyball and game show host. This detail may seem trivial but I would prefer my captain to head the ship and it was operating poorly. Constellation is an old ship. There were many things that could be done to improve the food and service. This is not going to happen. Please pick another cruise line or at least new ship! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
The restaurant seating "TEAM" needs to take their work a little more serious. You don't seat two English speaking people at a table with six Chinese speaking people. And if the "TEAM" was too busy overlooking names ... Read More
The restaurant seating "TEAM" needs to take their work a little more serious. You don't seat two English speaking people at a table with six Chinese speaking people. And if the "TEAM" was too busy overlooking names (Italian vs. Chinese), then the waiter should have picked up on the situation and rectified the arrangement. We ate in the buffet for the remainder of the cruise. Food was sub-par, especially the beef, and not only in the buffet, but the main dining room also (I ordered the prime rib on the first night of the cruise). Buffet was about as organized as a soup sandwich. Had to hunt for everything I wanted on my plate. Meat in this line, potatoes in that line, veggies somewhere else. The so-called "Cruise Director" is pretty much skating. Not much planning, considering this was a Xmas cruise. A first year Arts & Entertainment student could have planned the five day cruise much better. This was by far the worse cruise I have ever taken, and to think that it was a Xmas cruise was even worse than worse. You people are billed as a five star cruise line...welllllll...that's just a bunch of bull. I've taken many a cruise with a lesser star rating that far exceeded my expectations and would make your outfit pale in comparison. I paid for a premium brand and got stiffed. That won't happen again. On a brighter note, the ship was very clean and bright. Casino....Wife and I playing identical slot machines...cruise cards inserted in each...mine wasn't giving nearly as much points as my wife's, even though we started off with the same amount of money and had equally won/lost the same amount of money when I called a floor mgr??? to inform him something was wrong with the machine/s. He looked, agreed, walked away and was never seen again... We will never sail with Celebrity again. They could care less about the customer. It's all about profit. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We have sailed with Celebrity Cruises 5 times now all on different ships. The first 4 were amazing but this most recent one was awful. We chose a Christmas Cruise as it was something we hadn't managed to do before however never again ... Read More
We have sailed with Celebrity Cruises 5 times now all on different ships. The first 4 were amazing but this most recent one was awful. We chose a Christmas Cruise as it was something we hadn't managed to do before however never again and never again on the Constellation. To start with it's an old ship with a recently refitted (aqua class). We always travel aqua class as we primarily enjoy dining in Blu. The Blu restaurant on the Constellation is an after thought and was therefore squashed in to a very small space on the ship, too small to accomadate all aqua class passengers. On several occasions we had to queue and wait for a table. The restaurant itself has it's tables so close together you may as well be dining on one long table and not individual tables. It was very claustrophobic, and we felt rushed. Especially on Christmas Eve when it was clear the staff wanted us all gone so they could enjoy their own party in that restaurant!! The atmosphere was dull and matter of fact, not a party hat or party popper in sight!! Guest relations on this cruise were abysmal. They were disinterested in helping and again we were felt to be an inconvenience to them. On Christmas Day, we purchased an internet package at a pricey cost of $81 for the sole purpose of either face timing or skypeing home, when we couldn't connect, my husband rang guest relations and they said it was working fine but a bit slow so 'be patient'!! When we still couldn't connect after 45 mins we went to the ilounge only to be informed that it had been disabled as the signal was poor. We had to fight very hard to get any form of refund, eventually we were refunded $40, a lot less than was was left unused. We also took advantage of booking celebrity transfers to MIA airport, on the information sheet we were informed that we needed bag tags 'green no 15', we were given different tags so rang guest relations, who promised to send the correct ones. When they didn't arrive (and we getting close to having to put our bags outside our door) we rang again twice - nothing happened, so went down and collected them ourselves. On return to our cabin at 10.55pm we were given 10 new tags!!! The food was OK, have had much better on other celebrity cruises. Cleanliness was lacking. Our cabin was beautifully cleaned, but the balcony didn't get a look in. We had to clean it ourselves. Overall we have had some truly beautiful celebrity cruises and have never ever felt the need to write a review. This time however it was a very different story. It was made quite clear that the passengers were actually an inconvinence and they just wanted us on and off again. Whether this was because it was only 5 nights we are not sure. Especially being Christmas, we were looking for a little extra happy atmosphere, but were left totally let down and now looking forward to trying a different cruise line Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our second cruise. Our first was a great experience with Royal Caribbean. Based on reviews, we decided to go with Celebrity this time. The experience was a great deal of fun with plenty of opportunities for relaxation; but was it ... Read More
This was our second cruise. Our first was a great experience with Royal Caribbean. Based on reviews, we decided to go with Celebrity this time. The experience was a great deal of fun with plenty of opportunities for relaxation; but was it worth the cost, and did it live up to its 5 star rating? Embarkation was smooth and painless. The Constellation had docked at terminal 4. This is a brand new building with a well organised and friendly staff. We were through the terminal and on the ship in about 15 minutes. Once on the ship, we received a complementary champagne, were just about to start exploring, and the sales pitch began. We were immediately approached by a hostess from the specialty restaurant "Ocean Liners". The hostess thrust a menu into our hands and began giving us details about the menu, service and value we would receive at this restaurant. We responded that we had already booked and paid for the other specialty restaurant "The Tuscan Grill". This did not halt the sales pitch. Feeling a little pressured, we relented and booked in for that evening. We then decided to head to our stateroom, on our way out of the lobby, we were approached by a host from the "Tuscan Grill" specialty restaurant with a similar sales pitch. He only relented when we explained that we were already booked into the Tuscan Grill and provided details of which night we were booked in. From there, we went to our stateroom. We had booked 2 inside staterooms on deck 3, one for my husband and I, and one next door for our teenage son. We were pleasantly surprised at the size of the staterooms, much bigger than on Royal Caribbean, and very well laid out. The bathroom was large enough to move around in, and the shower was huge (huge in ship terms, which is small, but much larger than the one we had on Monarch of the Seas). There was plenty of storage. So much in fact that we didn't use it all. The rooms were clean and comfortable, and the housekeeping staff met us at the door to introduce themselves. Throughout the cruise they were very friendly and always available. The Constellation has several specialty restaurants, a main dining room, and a buffet. Ocean Liners is their signature specialty restaurant, and that is where we dined on the first evening. The service was flawless. We ordered ala carte and were not disappointed both with taste and presentation. My son had the rack of lamb, I had the chateaubriand, and my husband ordered the lobster, which was prepared table side by our hostess. My husband a I enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine from the wine package we had previously ordered (the 5 bottle classic wine package). Upon leaving the restaurant, we were approached with the bill, which showed that they had originally charged us for the wine by the glass, then realized they had confused the classic wine package with the classic beverage package, reversed the charges, and told us that the remainder of our wine would be sent to the next restaurant, The Tuscan Grill. The following evening, we went to the Tuscan Grill. Once again, the service was impeccable, and the food amazing. My husband had the rib eye steak and says it was the best steak he has ever had. I had the fillet mignon, and our son had the lobster penne. The desserts were "to die for". Again, my husband and I enjoyed wine with our dinner. We had informed the waiter that we had the classic wine package and that our wine was supposed to be sent over. At the end of the meal when the bill came, we were charged for the wine. They had once again confused the beverage package. The maitre'd apologized for the confusion, admitted it was their mistake, but refused to reverse the charges. We paid, then went to Cellar Masters where after about five minutes, it was sorted out by a very helpful staff member. The remainder of the cruise, we went to the main dining room. The food was amazing, however the service was far less impressive than in the previous two restaurants. Each time we ordered something "extra" (pop, espresso), they immediately asked for the sea pass and presented a receipt to be signed, instead of waiting until the end of the meal. We selected the anytime dining which worked out well. We were able to sit at our own table and book any time we wished. For breakfast and lunch, we went to the buffet. The buffet was average, as to be expected when serving over a thousand. Activities were scheduled throughout the day, appealing to a wide variety of people. There was ballroom dancing, live entertainment in the theatre, and bands both on the pool deck and in the lounges. We especially enjoyed the trivia game shows, and the comedian showing in the theatre. There was also plenty of opportunity to sit back and relax in the many quiet areas on the decks. Our 16 year old son enjoyed the teen club activities. Our ship docked in Cozumel on Dec 24. There were several tours available to choose from. We wanted to see the Myan ruins. There was an 8 hr tour, and a 4 hr tour. We chose the 4 hr tour rather than spend hours on a bus. We really enjoyed this trip. We went to the ruins in San Gervasio, then a bus ride to The Mayan Cacao Company. The trip was very interesting, great people, very informative guide. There was plenty of opportunity for photography. On Dec 26, we docked in Key West. We decided not to book an excursion, instead opting to walk around on our own. We purchased tickets for the Hemingway House and the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum from a local vendor. The Hemingway House was amazing, and again, plenty of opportunity to wander around and take photographs. We very much enjoyed this. Next, we went to the Mel Fisher museum. Again, very interesting with amazing artifacts. Great value for money on these excursions. On Dec 27, the last day of the cruise, the ship docked at its final destination, Fort Lauderdale, at around 7 am. Since our flight was not scheduled until 7 pm, we chose to do the shopping excursion to Sawgrass Mills Mall. We were to meet our tour guide in the theatre on deck 5 at 8:45am. Our guide was then meant to escort us through the disembarkation process. However, at 8:05, an announcement was made for those of us going on this excursion to go to deck 3 and disembark. I immediately went to deck 3 and explained the confusion of the contradicting instructions to a staff member. This staff member seemed confused, spoke to someone on the radio, then said we needed to come to deck 3 right away and disembark. Therefore, we followed her instructions and disembarked. After clearing customs, we went to the front of the terminal. There was some initial confusion as we did not see a tour guide or bus. After asking several terminal staff, we were approached by a tour guide who said that we were late. We explained that were told to disembark. He said we did not follow instructions properly, then he left. About 5 minutes later, we were met by a second tour guide who was extremely helpful and informative. He said the bus would arrive shortly and stayed with us and the other guests who had begun to arrive, assisting us with our luggage, very nice. We were driven to the mall, and dropped off with a time to meet for transport to the airport. Unfortunately some people chose to be 45 minutes late for the meeting time, making everyone else late for their arrival at the airport. We were in no danger of missing our flight, but other travelers were, due to the inconsideration of people who chose not to meet the timings. The positive point about this excursion is that we didn't need to worry about our luggage, which was kept on the bus during the shopping trip, and we didn't need to try to find a taxi. The Celebrity Constellation is one of Celebrities older ships. It received a remodel to upgrade some of its amenities but is still showing some signs of age. The staff was courteous and friendly and for the most part very helpful. Celebrity sell themselves as an upscale cruise line. However, despite paying more for this cruise, we feel the service was not as good as our Royal Caribbean experience. We had a great time, and will probably sail with Celebrity again, but would like to try a different ship.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
So, my 5-day Christmas cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Key West and Cozumel was a nice alternative to spending the holiday covered in ice. The weather in FL and Mexico was really nice; not too steamy (while here in New England we were ... Read More
So, my 5-day Christmas cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Key West and Cozumel was a nice alternative to spending the holiday covered in ice. The weather in FL and Mexico was really nice; not too steamy (while here in New England we were having another lovely power-outage-inducing ice storm). This was my first trip with Celebrity. The ship was the Constellation, an older ship that has been updated. First, I have to say that I was disappointed in that Celebrity touts itself as a "luxury" cruise line. It was nice, yes, but considering the cost/quality ratio, it did not live up to my expectations of a "luxury" cruise. I had a concierge-level cabin, which means that I had fresh flowers and a bottle of bubbly waiting in my room, a nice robe to wear, decent bath amenities, and a bit more space in which to flop. The cabin was 9193, which was not too far from an elevator/stairway, and just one level below the buffet. It was the last cabin before the aft-facing cabins and was very private and quiet. Right up my alley. That being said, here are my pros and cons. Pros: The ship staff - From my steward, Jaime (sp?), to the main and buffet dining staff, to the gentleman who ran the iLounge, they were professional and friendly and made me feel cared for. Well done. The martini bar - The bartenders were, bar none (pun intended), the best flair bartenders I've encountered on any cruise. They were amazing at their craft and a joy to spend time with. The ice-topped bar was pretty neat, too. The captain's daily announcements - Probably the youngest ship's master in commercial cruising, he was humorous and charming, and I understand that he isn't so lofty that he doesn't spend time with the crew. I like that in a person of higher responsibility. Main dining room food - Pretty damned good. The food was prepared perfectly and the Maitre d' (sommelier?) was very engaged and responsive. Specialty restaurant food - Having grown up eating venison, I was floored by the venison I had at Ocean Liners. Perfection! The crepes in Bistro on 5 were exceptional (and it was open 24/7, so yay!). And the food in the Tuscan Grille, especially the beef Carpaccio, was skillfully prepared. Embarkation/debarkation - I don't know whether to credit Port Everglades or the ship or a combination of both, but this was the easiest, breeziest on/off process I've ever experienced. Cons: Entertainment - One word... abysmal. It was terribly outdated and as for quality, I'd prefer to have gone to a high school play (at least I would have had the emotional investment to have been able to forgive the lameness). When other cruise lines are providing shows like Blue Man Group and Cirque, you had better up your game and get away from the dated, cheesy, low-quality fare that was offered on this cruise. I certainly hope that other Celebrity ships provide better. Activities - Uh... what activities? When more than half of your daily newsletter is advertising for the shops, spa, and art gallery, your activity offerings are sorely, sorely lacking. I saw the largest crowds ever attending the trivia games. Why? Because there was nothing else for them to do! Oh, they could have attended the scrapbooking class... uh... really? I heard several families complain that there were not enough activities for their kids to participate in, and this was over a school vacation period, so it's not like they weren't expected. Granted, Santa showed up on Christmas and all of that was nicely handled, but (I hope Celebrity reads these posts) the cruise-going demographic is changing. More families are sailing and more solos are sailing, too. Long gone are the days when only retirees and the well-off are opting to spend their vacation dollars at sea. Celebrity had better get with the program or they will be going the way of the dodo. Invisible officers - I never saw any officers except on TV. Personally, I like to see that they are out there making sure everything is shipshape. Specialty restaurants - Although the food, for the most part, was noteworthy, the staff really needs some dance lessons. They seemed to be walking all over each other. I never knew who to defer to, and I felt that the entire experience in both Ocean Liners and the Tuscan Grille was like watching an episode of Keystone cops. They truly need a lesson in calming down and presenting a more seamless, professional, cohesive front. Final verdict: I will go on another Celebrity cruise. I can't make a judgment based on one 5-day experience on an older ship. I am hopeful that when I next choose to live on a Celebrity ship for any amount of time they will have upped their game a bit.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our first cruise with Celebrity, and overall we were pleasantly satisfied with the experience. Here's a lengthy review: Embarkation: Our cruise was set to depart at 4:30pm. Our flight arrived in Miami early - around ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Celebrity, and overall we were pleasantly satisfied with the experience. Here's a lengthy review: Embarkation: Our cruise was set to depart at 4:30pm. Our flight arrived in Miami early - around 8:45am. We hopped in a cab and arrived at the Port Miami by 9:30am. The $25 flat rate fare is nice, considering our cabbie was new and didn't know how to get there. But, since we were early, we had plenty of time, so it wasn't that big of a deal. We arrived at the cruise terminal around 9:15am, and the porter took our bags and informed us that they would start checking in passengers "between 9:30 and 10:00". We meandered over to the check in area around 9:45 and they said "Not yet. Come back later." Around 10:15, we saw people lining up quickly, so we got into line. We all waited in that line for over an hour before they finally started the check-in process. Once the process finally started, we got on board smoothly, without issue. There was a lunch buffet served up on deck 10 when we boarded, but before the rooms were ready. However, because we followed a tip from a previous review on cruisecritic.com, we didn't go to the lunch buffet. Instead, we went to deck 5 to Bistro on 5, paid the $5/pp cover charge and ate a delicious meal. We were the only ones in the restaurant the whole time, and we sat there for hours in total comfort and peace & quiet! It was completely worth the $5/pp. The room was ready around 2pm. Stateroom: We were in a C2 cabin (#8074), and it was good. Relatively small, in the grand scheme of things. I can't imagine how small the inside staterooms are. But, we had sufficient storage space. We upgraded so we could have a nice balcony. The balcony was satisfactory - a little small, of course. Just large enough for 2 chairs and a small table. The bathroom was good, and the shower was nicer than I had expected. If the shower had been 6 inches wider, that would have been nice. Good water pressure, and I never ran out of hot water. A nice quiet location.... decks 9 and 7 are both for staterooms only, so we didn't hear any of the foot traffic or music from deck 10. Staff: Our cabin steward, Peter was good, for the most part. We didn't want the contents of our mini-bar, but wanted the space to store our own drinks, and asked him to remove the mini-bar contents, and he told us to just move the other things aside, to make room for our own drinks. On embarkation day, there was a bottle of champagne in our room, which was warm by the time we got to our room. We asked Peter to remove it, and he said that he would, but he didn't. My husband ended up pouring it out on our 2nd last day. The waiters and bartenders were all excellent. They always seemed to remember our preferences for drinks, etc. They often recognized us and some even remembered our names by the 2nd day, which was quite impressive. For the most part, I was called "Madame" or "My Lady". Anytime you walked past a crew member, they always said hello, or asked how you were doing, if you needed anything, etc. Very professional and friendly. Dining: MDR - We only ate in the MDR (San Marco Restaurant) on 2 evenings - both were satisfactory. We were on the early fixed seating time (6pm). Our waiter, Ronald was fantastic. The MDR is noisy, and the food quality is ok. We had read reviews that the MDR didn't do beef very well, but I had steaks both nights and they were good. Tuscan Grille - For Christmas Day dinner, we made reservations at Tuscan Grille, which was excellent. The restaurant is dimly lit, with large comfy chairs, making for a more intimate dining experience. I had the crab cake as a starter, which was ok. I was nervous that it would set the tone for the remainder of the meal. But, the Tuscan onion soup was incredible. So cheesy, so rich, so decadent. My filet mignon was cooked perfectly. My husband's ribeye wasn't nearly as good as my filet. Our dessert of creme brulee was delicious. They put pop rocks on it, so it tingles in your mouth and takes you on a bit of a nostalgic trip to your childhood. Very lovely. Ocean Liners - Totally disappointing. We went for our last night and wish we hadn't. It took them 45 minutes to bring me my cocktail that I had ordered (and never offered me a 2nd one). It took over an hour for our appetizers, which were not very good. Well, my goat cheese souffle was lumpy and grainy, but my husband's risotto was yummy. I couldn't eat the souffle, so I chose another appetizer...the crispy pork belly. It was better, but certainly wasn't delicious. (It took them over 30 minutes to bring the 2nd app). We both ordered the 3 petit filets, and both of our orders were way overcooked. It seemed like they had been sitting under a warming tray for a while (they probably had, since it took nearly an hour for our entrees to come after our apps). The waiter came by and asked how everything was, and I mentioned that our steaks were overcooked. He immediately brought over the manager, who apologized profusely. He said it was a very busy night (as my husband and I looked around and saw several empty tables...) He asked if he could get us anything else instead... by this time, we've been there for several hours, and we kind of just wanted to get back to our rooms so we can pack for disembarkation the next morning. So, we politely declined but he talked us into staying for dessert. He personally cooked my tableside flambeed crepe, and it was delicious. After all of that, he comped our whole meal, which was nice. Paying $40/pp for that meal/experience would have been unacceptable. Seaside Cafe: Lots of options, lots of people, lots of food. The pizza station was definitely popular. As soon as a pizza hit the station, poof - it was gone. People stalked it like vultures. The asian food station was yummy. The breakfast buffet had a really nice poached egg station. Very delish. We always sat outside on the aft sunset bar. Breezy, comfy and the staff there were great. Room Service: Severely lacking. We were hoping that we could sit on our balcony and have a nice quiet breakfast. However they often forgot items that we had ordered. One morning, my 2 fried eggs arrived, but my husband's omlet was nowhere to be seen. Instead, they gave him some cereal...but no milk. Food was cold and late. With so many other food options available, I wouldn't recommend the room service. Ports: Falmouth, Jamaica - A very nice gated community. Not a true representation of the Jamaica experience. Lots of high end shops for jewellery, diamonds, etc. You can tell this is a new port and was designed specifically for cruisers. The entertainers on the street were not pushy, and we weren't bombarded by annoying merchants. However, once you stepped into one of the jewellery shops - watch out! They start laying jewels and watches and all sorts of gorgeous and incredibly expensive things on you, trying to convince you to buy. They are pushy, but back off once you tell them no. Grand Cayman - A beautiful island. The tendering process went smoothly. However, when we were there, there were six (6!!) cruise ships tendering at the same time. It was crazy. Approximately 20,000 cruisers descended upon the same very small pier area at the same time. We waited for a long time for our excursion, which ended up getting cancelled. We were told that there were 3 different buses that were in accidents, so they had to cancel. We immediately went back to the ship. It was far too crowded and chaotic there to be comfortable. I think 4 of the cruise ships were Royal Caribbean. Seems like poor planning to schedule so many cruise ships at the same bloody time. Other: The ship was decorated in fine Christmas spirit. Lots of Christmas decorations helped keep you in the mood. In the tropical setting, it was easy to forget that it was Christmas time.... apart from the continuous Christmas music playing. As I mentioned earlier, we often sat at the Sunset bar on deck 10, and they kept playing the same Christmas CD over and over. It must have been "Destiny's Child Christmas album", because now Beyonce is haunting my dreams.... Don't get me wrong, she's got a lovely voice, but I don't know how the bar staff could tolerate her voice all day and evening every day. At any rate, the ship was kept very clean at all times. The pubic restrooms were immaculate. I had read reviews that the ship seemed old or antiquated, but I thought it was lovely. Yes, you'll see a few rust stains across a railing here or there, but the ship is traveling through salt water constantly. Rust is inevitable. The elevators move very quickly, but the stairs are roomy and wide, and are a good alternative for a quick bit of exercise amidst so many calories. The casino was nice, although some blackjack tables with lower min bets would be ideal. Disembarkation: Went very smoothly. We opted to take our own luggage, so we didn't have to follow the ship's schedule. It was nice. We woke up, finished packing some last minute things, and just walked off the ship. Very easy. Overall, it was a nice relaxing Christmas holiday. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
I would say I am ambivalent now about cruising and will only do luxury if possible in the future. This was a Christmas cruise on celebrity constellation. Embankment took about an hour. Had two insides that adjoined with our adult ... Read More
I would say I am ambivalent now about cruising and will only do luxury if possible in the future. This was a Christmas cruise on celebrity constellation. Embankment took about an hour. Had two insides that adjoined with our adult children which made the spaces more livable. Cabin was ok except for the cots they called beds. Cabin service was excellent but that was the only excellent I would give. We enjoyed the food but had to haggle to get the early dining requested the ten months before in booking. Celebrity needs to do open seating...they will need more restaurants to do this. Late seating wide open. The Christmas buffet was wonderful, but dinners were not as impressive as past cruises. No lobster tails and the $40 pp to get into their specialty restaurants was a bit much for family of four. Seems like everything is extra now on board Entertainment was ok. No quartets lounge singer only and beyonce christmas songs till i wanted to jump overboard. It also pissed me off that formal attirecwas not enforced...i had to wear dress and cart suit etc.. some men no ties or jackets. eithervend it or enforce it. The days at sea did not have lots of fun things to do like cooking demos or napkin folding etc. some trivia and bingo was a real joke. Bingo prizes small and cramed into small theater. No drink service there and had to beg for it in the casino. Spa service hard sells...get indivual services as two together not as good as each separate. The food and service were way better then holland but like I said I will step up next time. The ship overall was nice for older ship and they had Purcell everywhere which I appreciated very much. Unfortunately we did not realize Jamaica had Boxing Day holiday so the island was crowded. We did our own excursions and had a good time but grand cayman had six or seven ships in port...insane and not enjoyable. I take responsibility for not checking that out somehow before. We had a good time because we were together as family and we were all in need of a vacation, but I will never do Christmas again and will save up to step up to luxury lines.Together and were all in need of a vacation but I will never do holiday sailing again and will save up to do luxury next time. FYI I have had cabins of all kinds family , sky suites, verandas and insides. Again will ask whether cots or beds next time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
I have sailed on the Eclipse so I was a little apprehensive about the Constellaion .however I was pleasantly surprised. The crew were welcoming and helpful. The ship clean and well laid out. Our outside cabin met our needs and we had no ... Read More
I have sailed on the Eclipse so I was a little apprehensive about the Constellaion .however I was pleasantly surprised. The crew were welcoming and helpful. The ship clean and well laid out. Our outside cabin met our needs and we had no complaints. The ship had previously experienced noro virus outbreaks so no self service and no ice on the martini bar. The crew were well prepared with gel etc so we experienced no problems. We has a premium non-alcoholic package and this was an excellent choice. I thoroughly recommend this package. I have previously used the premium alcoholic package but I think the non-alcoholic package met our needs better. We did have some Martinis and had fun with the flight of martinis once or twice. We also tried Ocean Liners and this was a highlight of our cruise. We also went for the champagne afternoon tea and this was the first one on a cruise I have enjoyed. Even Cunard had been a disappointment. We spent a lot of time relaxing in the Cafe Baccio, enjoying the coffee. Staff again were excellent. We paid for access to the perfumed garden but I am not sure if I would do that again. The entertainment was hit or miss. I enjoyed the acts placed around the ship but did not enjoy Perry. However, Michaels club was packed out when he played, so we were not missed. Some acts in the theatre were good, others ok. All a matter of taste. Celebrity delivered the break we needed and we will definitely cruise with hem again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We have been on many cruises and most recently have done our last 4 cruises on Celebrity because we find that this company provides what we are looking for in a cruise holiday. Embarkation - a pleasant trouble free experience - no ... Read More
We have been on many cruises and most recently have done our last 4 cruises on Celebrity because we find that this company provides what we are looking for in a cruise holiday. Embarkation - a pleasant trouble free experience - no complaints here. Cabin - we were in a C2 cabin 9038 which I chose due to the irregular shaped balcony. It was a lovely cabin and the extra room on the balcony was fantastic, we had lunch there several times. The overhang is large but didn't bother us in anyway. The Cabin Steward and his assistant were very friendly and kept everything spic and span. Food - Unfortunately in the MDR we were not impressed (we were on Select Dining) The service was not very efficient, a lot of waiting on some nights between courses, and also the quality of the food was not the standard we have enjoyed on previous cruises (our last one being in the summer on the Equinox). We did eat in the Tuscan Grille and Ocean Liners, both were substantially better than the MDR and the service and food was excellent. We also ate in the Creperie on Deck 5 some nights and this too was a much more enjoyable experience - unfortunately the menu choice was rather limited. The food in the Sunset Grille was fine for breakfast and lunch but awful at dinner in the evening (hardly any choice - pasta or pizza it seemed every night). The layout of the cafe is much nicer on the Equinox too. I think the Christmas dinner in the MDR was the most disappointing for me, about the only edible thing on the plate was some turkey breast - perhaps the Americans don't really 'do' Christmas dinner. Entertainment - there were a few highlights. Perry Grant was entertaining in Michael's club (the Piano bar), one of the production shows was good and the Christmas show was nice. Unfortunately our 17 year old son and his 18 year old cousin were with us and this provided a problem which Celebrity seemed less than efficient at solving. Our son wanted to spend time with his cousin in the evenings, the place to go was the nightclub 'Reflections', unfortunately at 11.30pm they would tell anyone under 18 to leave. This meant our son came back to the cabin early and missed spending time with his older cousin. We did ask if the rules could be relaxed but although we were told someone would get back to us, nobody did. We were upset to find out from other parents that their children under 18 had managed to avoid being ID'd and were able to stay late at the club. We did complain again to the cruise director and she apologised and amazingly for the last 2 days of the cruise suddenly no one was told to leave the nightclub ... we did ask for this much earlier in the cruise and it is such a pity that we had to wait until the last 2 nights of a 14 night cruise for something to be done .. a shame for us Celebrity fans because our son ended up unhappy and saying it was 'his worst cruise ever'. Overall- our holiday was OK and we did enjoy the ports we visited and the staff on board (particularly the cabin staff and those in the speciality restaurants) were really friendly. We have been on the Constellation before but will not choose the ship again because we prefer the Solstice Class more. I don't like being negative about things and I have to say I did meet some lovely people on board but we would not sail on Constellation again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Part I - Precruise A. Inception We are avid Caribbean cruisers. Last year, we spent Christmas and New Year's in the Caribbean on the Celebrity Mercury (which, sadly, sailed for the last time under that name in February 2011) and we ... Read More
Part I - Precruise A. Inception We are avid Caribbean cruisers. Last year, we spent Christmas and New Year's in the Caribbean on the Celebrity Mercury (which, sadly, sailed for the last time under that name in February 2011) and we wanted to do it again. We looked at all cruise lines, but settled again on either Royal Caribbean or Celebrity (the only lines we have cruised on) because of their itineraries and schedules. We prefer to drive to the East Coast for our cruises (last year's holiday cruise left from Baltimore), but that just wasn't an option this year. B. Cruise Critic We use the community chat boards on Cruisecritic.com extensively for cruise port hints and information. This review is my way of sharing. Thank you to everyone who shared in their reviews and roll calls. C. Choice of Route Our route was out of Fort Lauderdale to Aruba, Curacao, Grenada, Barbados, Antigua, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. This is our first time to Grenada and Barbados and we are excited to be headed there. D. Choice of Cruiseline and Ship We selected Celebrity as it is affiliated with Royal Caribbean. We are __ members in the Celebrity club. Galaxy is a 91,000 ton ship with has 11 decks. Capacity is 2,034 passengers plus a crew of 999. They are very proud of the 2:1 passenger to crew ratio. It was launched in 2002, is registered in Malta and has a CDC score of 98. E. Choice of Airline This was pretty easy. We picked the cheapest, most direct flight from Milwaukee to Fort Lauderdale. We could have also flown into Miami. Air Tran was reasonable and was a non-stop flight. Flying hints: 1. Don't fly if you have a choice. I suggest driving if you can. 2. Go non-stop if you fly. Each connection increases the possibility of lost luggage and additional flight delays. 3. Consider flying in to your departure port one day early. This can be a major stress reducer! (For this cruise, because our son would have had to miss another day of school if we had left a day early, we left the day of the cruise. Yes, I was very, very nervous until we landed in Fort Lauderdale!) 4. Don't select your airline seats without first visiting SeatGuru.com. They have detailed airplane seating plans and hints about each seat for almost every plane flown by major airlines. F. Choice of cabin Generally, the lower your cabin and the more central its location, the less you will feel the movements of the ship. We love rocking and so did not mind being closer to the front of the ship. We always stay in inside cabins (unless something strange happens) because it is nice to be able to sleep in without worrying about the sun shining in the window. A recommendation to anyone in an inside cabin is to bring a clock. It can be very disconcerting to wake up and have absolutely no idea what time it is. We were in cabins 7067 & 7063. My husband and I were in one and our 16-year-old son and his uncle (a first-time cruiser) was in the other. G. Price We went to a local Travel Agent who specializes in cruises (as we always do for cruises). The cost, because it was over the holidays, was high at just over $1500 per person. The flights were just under $2000 for all four of us including an added charge of $24.00 to choose our seats early. As I wanted us to sit relatively together, it was worth it as we all got rows with no middle seats. H. Passports My husband, son and I all have passports and encountered no problems. My brother-in-law has a passport card and he had no trouble either. I. Insurance We also purchased travel insurance because we never know when our son might wind up in a cast or one of our aging parents might have a health crisis. J. Prebooking Excursions We booked all of our excursions on our own. I am an avid planner and researcher and enjoy this sort of thing. I booked a lobster lunch cruise on Antigua for myself (my guys did not want to go) and a deep sea fishing excursion for my guys (husband, son and brother-in-law) and three others who we met on the Cruise Critic roll call in St. Maarten. More on those later. K. Packing We packed for 3 formal nights (rented tuxedos for the guys and I brought nice outfits), and the rest at various levels of casual (non-jean pants and nice shirts for all of us). Additionally, we brought enough clothing to cover us during the day for 14 days. This is less than you think because clothing rarely gets really dirty and we tend to re-wear clothes a few times before it goes in the "to be washed at home" luggage. Among the most helpful "extra items" we packed were: power strips for each room (usually, there are only 2 outlets in the room and we have lots to charge), alarm clock, shoe rack, bug lotion, sunscreen ranging from 100 to 15 spf, highlighters, beach bag, and water shoes. We also brought Christmas decorations for each room, as well as Cruise Critic door signs printed off of the roll call lists. Part II - Embarkation A. The Port We flew into Fort Lauderdale and arrived at 1:00pm in plenty of time to catch our 4:30 pm departure. You have a choice of buying transfers from Celebrity, catching a taxi or hiring a car. After exploring these options we decided to hire a car to the Port Lauderdale pier. The car we hired was from GO Airport Connections. He decided to hire a car rather than risk a taxi because we had 4 people and 6 pieces of luggage. I was afraid we wouldn't find a taxi willing to take all of us and would have to split up. It was a short, 5-minute drive from the airport to the port. The cost was approximately $50 with tip, but it was worth it. B. Security Processing and Boarding We arrived at the pier at 2:15pm and there was no wait for security screening. Once through, there were separate lines for Captain's Club (CC) and non-CC passengers by deck. All lines were basically empty and fed into a table of folks processing your boarding documents. Assuming you had already completed all the documents requested online, signing in and getting room keys (which is also your cruise ID, and ship credit card) took no more than 5 minutes. There was a quick wait for the initial cruise photo (which can be skipped). Up an escalator and our cruise cards were quickly data encrypted with our images at one of two stations. Once they handed us our cards we found ourselves on the 3rd floor main lobby of the ship. It took a total of 20 minutes from the time we arrived at the pier to our arrival in our cabins. I later spoke with people who had arrived earlier and they told me it was a cattle call with massive groups of people waiting at each phase of the embarkation process. I was glad that we missed that. C. Explore The Cabins We were in cabins 7067 & 7063, side-by-side, inside category 9 cabins in the middle. The cabins are 170 square feet and were set up for my husband and I to sleep in one big bed and my son and brother-in-law to each have their own. The bathroom has enough room, and the shower was very nice. Our bathroom had a reasonably large shower (no bath), hair dryer, large mirror, sink, toilet, and some pretty decent storage. Something new since the last time we were on a ship: a nightlight we could use in the bathroom or main cabin. We used it in the bathroom so we wouldn't have to turn the lights on at night. Hangers and robes were provided in the cabin, as was a welcome gift: a canvas shopping bag. The room safe is located in the closet, along with several more drawers for organizing your stuff. The desk featured a number of informational brochures including that day's event newsletter "Celebrity Today". The cabins also have a TV, thermostat, phone (but no clock, although you can set your phone for an automated wake-up call), and a mini-bar (small refrigerator). Our mini-bar was locked upon arrival, but we asked that it be unlocked and emptied so that we could keep water in it. Having signed up for the Connections party, we received invites to the following day's gathering. Being members of the Captain's Club, we were also given invitations to a number of different events during the cruise. Our stateroom attendant, Doris from Honduras, and her assistant, Elvis from India, did a wonderful job throughout our cruise. D. Tour of Ship and Search For Food We found sustenance in the Seaside Buffet on the deck 10 for a 3pm buffet lunch. We were hungry, having not eaten much that day because we had left the house so early. The ship is well laid out with ample sets of stairwells and elevators. I tried to take the stairs as much as possible (and pretended that this was sufficient exercise to cover my food intake). E. Lifeboat Drill/Sailaway About one hour prior to leaving port, we participated in the mandatory lifeboat drill. The drill went smoothly and lasted 20 minutes. We are very happy at the changes that have been made in the muster drill as we no longer have to get our lifejackets and wear them to the muster and we no longer have to stand outside waiting for everyone to show up. Instead, we sat comfortably in the theater and watched a demonstration of how to use the lifejacket and an explanation of the safety procedures. F. Dinner -- 8:30pm Late Seating We selected the late seating. We were seated at table 525 with seating for 8 at a circular table on the upper floor (5) of the San Marcos Restaurant, next to the balcony overlooking the 4th floor. With the exception of the first evening, our server, Tale from Macedonia (great-great-great-nephew of Alexander the Great!) and his assistant, Gulshot from Russia, did a very good job throughout our cruise. On the first evening, Tale's assistant was Aleksandra, who was not fast enough or organized enough for the work. The meal was paced so slowly that the evening dragged on and we left the dining room after 11pm. We did not complain because we decided we would let them have one more night. The next night, Aleksandra was gone, replaced by Gulshot. Tale explained that Aleksandra was new and although she had much experience in restaurants at home, she wasn't prepared for this type of work. She had been reassigned to a smaller set of tables so she could get up to speed in an easier area. The two-story restaurant has a seating capacity of over 1,300 passengers at each seating. Of note: jeans, t-shirts, tank tops, swimsuits, robes, and bare feet are prohibited in the San Marcos Restaurant at all times. Shorts are permitted at lunch only. On the first evening, I did notice one long-legged woman arrive for dinner in short-shorts. She was escorted out and asked to return when she was dressed appropriately. Part III - Food! Celebrity has a good reputation for their cuisine. The meals met our expectations. There was good variety. There are 3 specialty restaurants on the ship--Ocean Liners (French/Mediterranean) for $40 per person, the Tuscan Grille (Italian Steakhouse) for $30 per person) and the Bistro on 5 (creperie) for $5 per person). The Bistro was also open for breakfast and lunch. We did not feel the need to eat at any of the specialty restaurants for dinner because the food in the main dining room was sufficient. A. Always Available We were informed the first night, that the following items are available every night at dinner and could be found on the left side of the dinner menu: Appetizers: Shrimp Cocktail, Escargots, Antipasti; Salads & Soups: French Onion Soup, Lobster Bisque, Caprese Salad, Caesar Salad; Entrees: Salmon, Chicken Breast, Sirloin Steak; Desserts: Cheesecake, Apple Pie a la Mode, Crème Brulee. B. Our Favorite Breakfast Items The Constellation has added a "poached egg" station where you can get a variety of different poached egg passed breakfasts, including eggs Benedict and eggs Florentine. I got a variety which was an English muffin covered in caramelized onions and cream cheese with a poached egg. It was amazingly delicious. C. Our Favorite Lunch Items The turkey burger at the Seaside grill was yummy. The French fries are always tasty and are double fried. D. Our Favorite Appetizer The avocado and crab appetizer the first night (although lump crab would have put it over the top). My husband loved the Duo of Smoked and Pickled Salmon. E. Our Favorite Soups French Onion soup was outstanding! All of the chilled fruit soups were yummy. We also liked the baked potato soup. F. Our Favorite Salads They were all good. What are great are the salad dressings. The Celebrity signature dressing was very tasty and definitely had anchovies in it. G. Our Favorite Entrées I was partial to the lamb the first two nights. I truly believe Americans do not eat enough of this delicious meat. The steaks were delicious and very flavorful. The fish dishes were delightful. I really enjoyed the mushroom pasta (it had a much fancier name--Pappardelle con Funghi). I heard that the turkey and all the fixins that was offered on Christmas was wonderful. I enjoyed the chicken kiev on another evening. H. Our Favorite Desserts A "sandwich" made of chocolate macaroons and chocolate sauce was to die for. My husband loved a panna cotta flavored with Pernod and Absenthe. I liked the Grand Marnier soufflé and my husband loved the After Eight mint cake. I. Buffet There is an excellent sushi bar in the Seaside Buffet on late afternoons (starting at 5:30pm). The Indian food is particularly wonderful. The pasta bar was very busy and I liked what I got there. Also, there are little sandwiches offered in a late lunch/early dinner timeframe that was very tasty. J. Room Service Room service took a little while (15-20 minutes on average), but was the food was very, very good. I particularly enjoyed the Celebrity Club Sandwich so much I began to crave it. This made going home especially difficult. Part IV - Entertainment A. Movies All the movies were shown in the Cinema. They were mostly releases from about a year ago. We did not watch any movies in the Cinema. B. Shows The Celebrity Theatre is gorgeous, with comfortable seating and good sight lines. We did not see any shows in the theater. C. Casino Large casino filled with the usual. We did not use the casino. D. Spa I booked a deep tissue massage during the port day in St. Maarten. It was very nice; I had a masseuse who was on her third day on the ship (she had spent time in training beforehand). Now, for someone who wants to relax, it would have been a great massage, but for me, I want someone to work on the knots in my muscles (which can and should be painful). I didn't really get that, but it was very relaxing. After the massage, the masseuse tried to sell me packages of products which I declined. She was not pushy at all and took my "no, thank you" in stride. During my massage, there was also a crew muster practice which meant that there were announcements and sirens during about the first third of my massage. I wasn't angered, but I wished someone would have rescheduled my appointment around it. I received a happy surprise when I got to the front desk afterward when they offered me another massage for free later in the cruise to make up for this one (which I had already paid for). The second one was wonderful and very relaxing. E. Outdoor Pools and Hot tubs. They were busy all day when we were at sea. One pool had a few basketballs and a hoop on it so that you could practice dunking like Michael Jordan. The pools are chlorinated salt water. The hot tubs are fresh water. There are fresh water showers near each pool and hot tub. F. Indoor Pools and Hot Tubs The thalassotherapy pool was the indoor pool. It is only for guests 16 years of age and older. It was quite warm and felt great. On each of the longer sides, it had places where you would sit on bars that were arranged to be in the shape of lounge chairs (I am not doing it justice, but it was very comfortable) and bubbles of cooler water bubbled all around you. I wasn't sure what its use was at first, but it turned out to be incredibly relaxing. On the shorter sides were showers of water like faucets where water fell out at varying degrees of speed (depending on which you were under). I stood under one and it was like a water massage on my neck and upper back. Very nice. There are fresh water showers near the pool. These showers are incredibly hot. G. In-room TV There were a number of closed-circuit ship channels and satellite stations (Global CNN, ESPN, Eye on CBS, Sky News, and a few others) available on the TV in the cabin. Pay-per-view movies were also available. You can also order room service and check your current account on the TV as well. Part V - Cruise Critic Get-Togethers A. Sailaway Party As a group, the Cruise Critic folks had arranged (on the boards) to get together at sailaway at the Mast Bar on Deck 11. About 20 showed up and we had a great time. I think that if I were to do it again, I would recommend the Sunset bar instead because it has a more closed-in space. Some cruise critics I met later in the cruise said they hadn't been able to locate us at the Mast bar. B. Connections Party We signed up for the Cruise Critic Connections gathering on the Celebrity web site. We received an email confirmation that a party would take place. Upon our arrival in our cabin we received an envelope containing an invitation to the party, set for 10:00 am on Sunday (our first day at sea). At the appointed time we arrived at Michael's Club. In total, about 40 folks attended. We had a great time meeting and greeting our fellow cruise critics. Light refreshments were provided. The Captain, Cruise Director and the Captain's Club Manager were in attendance. The Captain said he disliked the moniker Cruise CRITIC and instead said we are Cruise FEEDBACK people. He said he appreciated anything we had to say and hoped it would be DURING the cruise and not AFTER. C. Slot Pull We had also arranged a slot pull (which I had to miss because I was ill). The idea behind the slot pull is that the group meets in the casino and everyone puts in a set amount of money and then gets a certain number of pulls on the slot machine. The entire group shares in the winnings. They arranged additional slot pulls each sea day (except Christmas Day) at 2pm. I encourage everyone to have these on their cruises. They were a lot of fun! D. Cabin/Poker Crawl We also arranged a cabin crawl on the third sea day (after Curacao but before Grenada). We started in the 9th floor library and had 19 people participating in the poker crawl and a few others walking with us. We visited both inside and outside (side veranda, rear veranda and port hole) rooms. The coolest room was the Presidential Suite where our hosts let us look at everything in their 1,100 square foot cabin. Part VI - Health Concerns A. Smoking Smoking was permitted only in the Reflections Lounge (Deck 11, Port), Mast Bar (Deck 11, Port & Starboard), Pool Deck and Sundecks (Deck 10, Port), Open Deck (Deck 4, Port) and Seaside Cafe Bar (Deck 10, Port where pipes and cigars were also allowed). Although we are very sensitive to smoke, we could not detect any smoke smell in our cabin. We did not observe anyone abusing the smoking privilege. They had every right to smoke in various areas of the ship, and unfortunately they did. B. General Cleanliness of the Ship In a word: impeccable. You could not take a stroll without witnessing some type of cleaning going on at all hours. The ship was constantly being cleaned: floors, walls, fixtures, everything! C. Viruses I found myself incredibly sick our second day at sea. I remained in my cabin all day and was tended to by my husband and our wonderful stateroom attendant, Doris. She brought me toast, tea and apple juice. She instructed my husband to purchase a Gatorade for me to replenish my electrolytes. She stopped in occasionally to see if I needed anything. She was very kind. I ventured out the next morning to have breakfast (a banana and muesli and more apple juice). I avoided being near others or touching anything. By the afternoon, I was feeling much better. Unfortunately, my husband came down with the same illness late on the third day (after our stop in Aruba). It laid him up in the cabin for the full day in Curacao, but he was better during the at sea day between Curacao and Grenada. I also heard from others on the Cruise Critic list who had endured the "24-hour bug," too. E. Seasickness We had rough seas on our way from Fort Lauderdale to Aruba (the second day when we were in fairly open water). It did not bother me, but there were seasickness bags out all around the ship just in case some of my fellow cruisers were not as lucky. We did have rough seas on other days, as well. Part VII - Ship Notes A. Ship and Crew We were very impressed with the ship and crew and they were all very friendly and competent. The ship and furnishings were in very good shape. She was very clean. B. The Shops There was something on sale each day. Realize that if you forget something, you can buy it on the ship, but necessities are expensive. Deodorant, mints, dental floss, M&Ms are all available, but not at a price you might want to pay. My advice: remember to bring the essentials, even if that includes M&Ms! C. Internet Service The good news: there are plenty of computer terminals with internet access on the ship. The bad news: it costs about 53 cents per minute. You can get your cost down to around 35 cents a minute if you buy a bulk of minutes. I continue to hope that Celebrity will rethink the pricing to find the price point at which the computers will be 75%-to-85% utilized. Passengers will be happier, and Celebrity will end up with more net income, rather than having a wasting asset on board. D. Children Our ship had 150 children on board, 70 being teenagers. They behaved very well. Part VIII - The Ports We visited seven great ports. We set up excursions ahead of time with highly-recommended tour operators at 2 of these ports and did our own thing at 5 ports. A. Oranjestad, Aruba Aruba is a part of the Netherland Antilles. It is an island of stunningly beautiful beaches. Located only 18 miles off the coast of Venezuela, Aruba is only 75 square miles in size. The official language is Dutch, but almost everyone also speaks English and Spanish. We had planned to spend the day at either Palm or Eagle Beach (both come highly recommended), but it was raining quite hard all morning and so this scuttled our plans. My husband and brother-in-law did spend time in Oranjestad and found a nice little "hole in the wall" place which served cold beer and tasty schwarma. They were there with a local named Armando and the owner. They also picked up some Caribbean/Hawaiian shirts as well as some t-shirts. I stayed on the ship and enjoyed the ability to nab a chair in the sun (when the sun came out in the afternoon). B. Willemstad, Curacao Also a part of the Netherland Antilles, Curacao is not as famous for its beaches as Aruba. However, Willemstad is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one look at it tells you why. This is exactly what you expect a Caribbean city to look like with its bright, Easter-egg colored buildings. In the morning, we walked through Curacao, visiting the floating market and walking the packed and small streets. The fort is well-developed now (it wasn't the last time we were here) with lots of high-end retail shops and some bars and eating establishments. The floating bridge was great to walk over, even though it was moving at the time (it made our sea legs seem all too real). In the afternoon, we went to Cabana Beach near the Seaquarium. It was a nice, little beach. The prices for food were steep since it is part of the Kontiki Resort, but we just enjoyed the sun. It cost $20 for the taxi each way to the beach (for 3 people) and $3 per person to use the beach. A chair cost $5 to rent, but no one ever asked me for money for that. It rained for part of our stay on the beach, so we just enjoyed a few hours of sun and sand. It was enough to whet our appetites for what was to come. Be warned. The ship will leave without you. Rumor has it (I heard it from several sources) that we left a family of 6 waving and yelling at us on the floating bridge as we left Curacao. If you think you might be late, take your passports and credit cards without and be willing to pay and arm and a leg to get to the next port. C. St. Georges, Grenada This was our first visit to Grenada. Grenada, known as the "spice island," is part of the Lesser Antilles' Grenadines and is part of the British Realm. My husband and son visited Great Anse Beach all day. After mailing my Christmas cards (I had 51 cards and mailed them for $39 with beautiful stamps I obtained just inside of the pier at a wonderful little post office stall), my brother-in-law and I went in search of spices. First, we tried walking to the Market Square and got hopelessly lost, so we decided to take the local "buses" to Guyanve to see the Dougaldston Estate which is famous for its spices. For US$2.00, we hopped a #5 bus (really just a large passenger van that, at times, held up to 19 people) for the 30-40 minute ride to the Estate. They dropped us off on the main road near the estate (and a beautiful stream where some Grenadians were doing their wash). We walked into the jungle on a path and a small boy (maybe 6 or 7), sent by the ladies washing their clothes, came to show us the way. I tipped the small boy US$1.00 for being our guide. He seemed surprised, but grateful. He led us to a run-down building with large trays of a spice drying in the sun. Had I been less surprised about my surroundings (I had expected something much more commercial and touristy), I would have smelled the cocoa drying in the sun. We were the only tourists there, and we went into the building where one of the ladies did her demonstration of the various types of spices they process--bay leaves, all spice, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, cocoa, vanilla, cloves--and then we could buy some. Each packet (a good-sized amount) was US$1-2.00. We loaded ourselves with spices and then bought some water, grapefruit soda (called "Ting") and ginger beer. All of the spices were sealed and as long as we don't open them before we go into the US, we are good with US agriculture. After getting directions to the nearest bus stop, we started walking again through the cocoa-scented jungle to the road. We were followed by some friendly stray dogs and a saw a few not-very happy goats tied up near the road. Right after we got to the main road, we caught a bus. About 5 minutes into the ride, I realized we were going the wrong way. I mentioned this to my brother-in-law, but we decided to go with the flow. The flow took almost 2 hours to the end of the route and back to St. George's. It was a great, though sometimes harrowing, experience and we saw a lot of the coast and the people of Grenada--all for US$2.00 per person. It was probably the least expensive tour of the island that anyone from our ship had all day. Upon our return to St. George's, we stopped at a local supermarket and bought some local rum. It was less expensive than at liquor stores and was just as good--two small bottles for US$7.00. I also stopped in the Duty Free store and bought some Nutmeg Syrup for US$5.00. There was free (but slow) WiFi at the pier. My husband and son went to Grand Anse Beach via water taxi (directly from the pier, US$4.00 each way per person). Grenada was the only location where we had to go through a magnetometer and put our bags through an x-ray machine just to get onto the pier. This was in addition to the same thing once we got back on the ship. I am not sure why this was. D. Bridgetown, Barbados This was also our first visit to Barbados, which is also a British Leeward Island. The pier is a combination cruise pier and working cargo pier. We were docked pretty far down the pier and the cruise line offered free shuttle buses for us so that we did not have to walk down the pier. We walked through the pier shops and took a taxi to the Hilton Beach (US$7.50 per person). All of the beaches are publicly accessible in Barbados, but at first the Hilton wanted to charge us US$80 for each person to use their chairs, an umbrella, and the pool, as well as have lunch. After some discussion with the man who handled the chairs and umbrellas in the area, we got two chairs under a palm tree for nothing. He helped us out; I tried to find him later to tip him, but he had disappeared. The beach at the Hilton was under a red flag which meant that there should have been no swimming, but with the waves so strong, it was irresistible. There were many people out in the water, and the lifeguard was very attentive. After a couple long rounds of bodysurfing by the three guys in our group, we were ready to return to the ship. We used the freshwater showers, dried off, and went through the hotel lobby and got a taxi back to the pier (US$4 each person). Again, there was free (but slow) WiFi at the pier. We bought some aged Mount Gay Rum (made on the island), Banks Beer (also made on the island) and rum cake (a local version made, you guessed it, on the island). E. St. John's, Antigua I had booked an outing in Antigua with Creole cruises--a lobster lunch and snorkeling outing. I had given them my credit card number to hold the opening, but I decided to pay in cash because I got a 10% discount, so instead of US$130, I paid US$117 for myself. We were picked up on time (9:45am) by Captain Glen on the dock outside of the Exotic Antigua store just off the pier. There were already about 16 people on the ship from local resorts and I and two fellow cruise passengers joined them. We took a 10 minute speed away into the Caribbean Sea and then were served non-alcoholic drinks, then had another 25 minute speed into the Atlantic Ocean and to Bird Island, part of the nature preserve which has between 22 and 24 smaller islands around Antigua (the numbers kept changing). I got off here with about 10 of my fellow passengers. We decided to explore this lonely, lovely beach instead of snorkel. I am really quite bad at snorkeling and was glad for this option. The beach was wonderfully deserted. I walked up and down the beach, talked with many of the other passengers, and watched the young mate, Mario, clean up and get ready to cook our lunch. We were able to drink freely of the water, juice, rum punch, and beer that they had brought, all served with a smile by Travis, another mate on the boat. No alcoholic beverages before snorkeling, but since we weren't snorkeling, we were fine. A few other boats stopped by and disgorged their passengers, but it was still a beautiful and peaceful beach. After lunch of four different salads, wood-fire grilled spiny lobsters, a bottle of white wine for each of the four tables, and a perfect macaroon to top it all off, most of us embarked on a short nature walk. Warning: Wear sneakers or hiking shoes. There is a difficult climb up a rocky path with few footholds. I and many of my fellow passengers made it wearing crocs and flip flops, but it was not easy. The walk was worth it because the view from the top of the island was unbelievably beautiful. The opposite side of the island is rocky and craggy, not like the side we had been on. It was a perfect ending to our day on this island. After we were all aboard and everything was cleaned up on the island, we stopped at Maiden island where some people went in to see an amazing array of starfish. I did not go, but I hear they were many colors and sizes. We arrived back at the dock at 4:10pm, a little later than the promised 3:45pm, but in time to reboard our ship by 4:30pm. F. Philipsburg, St. Maarten St. Maarten/St. Martin is an island owned by two different countries: the first section by the Netherlands and the second by the French. My husband, son and brother-n-law joined 3 others recruited from the Cruise Critic boards in a private deep-sea fishing excursion with TaylorMade cruises. I had contacted them through the internet, and had paid a $100 deposit to hold the date and time. The cost was US$117 per person. I hear the trip was fun, although not fruitful. The waters were very choppy, so the ride was bumpy and the only fish caught was a large barracuda by my son. G. Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas There were 4 ships in port (that I saw) on the day we were at this US Virgin Island. Everywhere we looked was packed. We docked at the Havensight Mall. Remember to take a photo ID with you on shore because you need it to get back on to the pier. We walked to the taxi stands at the outside of the mall and got a taxi (SUV) for the 8 of us (we had friends with us) for $8 each to Magen's Bay Beach. The entrance fee to Magen's Bay is another $4. The beach is beautiful and it was packed with people, but we did find a place to sit. With chairs at $5 each with a $5 refundable deposit when you return them, we parked them near some overgrown shrubbery and enjoyed our day. This is truly the most beautiful beach I have ever been on (okay, it is a tie between this beach and Waimanalo Beach in Oahu, Hawaii) and we had a great time. The taxis were $8 to get back to the ship after our wonderful day I. Days At Sea Between ports, we had six at sea days. Our first at sea day (just out of Fort Lauderdale) had us following the northeastern coast of Cuba all day. It is a bigger island than I thought. Toward the end of the day, we swung a hard turn south and passed between Cuba and Haiti (the island of Hispanola) and then past Jamaica and into the Caribbean Sea. The second at sea day put us directly into the Caribbean Sea all day on our way to Aruba. The day at sea between Curacao and Grenada was very windy and the seas were rough. Because we were going directly into the waves, the stabilizers did not work. They only work when the waves are coming from the side. We learned this because we were invited to tour the Bridge on our second sea day. This was our first time and it went really fast--only 20 minutes and we asked a lot of questions. A few interesting notes from the Bridge tour: a) There is a person on watch at all times. When we asked what he was watching for, the answer was small boats and cargo containers that had fallen off of container ships during rough weather. b) The captain is in charge during all docking and undocking activities. Even if a pilot is brought on board to advise and "takes the con," the captain can override any decision that the pilot makes. c) The ship can pull into areas where the clearance under the ship is only 1-2 meters. It has to move very slowly, but it can and does manage. d) The ship's propellers move independently and can turn 360 degrees. The ship can move sideways, if necessary. Each propeller also has its own engine directly within the propeller case and there is room for 2 people, if needed, in each propeller case. e) 60% of the energy created on board is used to run hotel systems like computers, vacuum cleaners, lights. Only 40% is used to propel the ship forward. Additionally, 30% of the overall energy is used to run the vacuum system used for the toilets. J. Speakers/Entertainment I have never spent much time on the speakers on past cruises--their topics never really interested me. However, during this trip, Dr. Jim Rowe was presenting on each sea day about Caribbean culture and nature. The timing of the presentations wasn't great (10am) because other things interrupted us (the Cruise Critic meeting one day, the Bridge tour the other); however, they were replayed on the internal television stations often and we were able to watch all of them. He was a very interesting speaker and both my husband and I enjoyed his informative speeches. We also enjoyed the song stylings of the 4-man a cappella singing group 545 Express. They were fun and their takes on traditional Christmas sons, including their rendition of "The 12 Days of Christmas" which somehow morphed into "(I bless the rains down in) Africa" by Toto were well-done and creative. We also enjoyed an evening listening to the folk singing of Jefferson Ang, a talented young man. Part IX - Tipping The service personnel on Celebrity receive meager wages and rely on your tips for income. While Celebrity says it is customary to offer gratuities to the ships personnel who service you on the voyage, it really is expected, and it's something you should figure into your cruise budget. Our tips were paid on our cruise charge at US$11.50 per person per day. During our last cruise, we had asked our server and stateroom attendant if they received all of the gratuities from the cruise charges and they said yes (we were worried that a portion would be withheld by the cruise line, but that is apparently not the case). We did tip extra to everyone for their good work. On our evaluation, we also included the names of people who had gone that extra mile for us. We have heard in past cruises that this is a great way to recognize people and it can result in a monetary bonus for people whose names are written down often. Part X - Captain's Club On this cruise, we were select members and so we received a "Welcome Letter" which invited us to a cocktail party, a "double jackpot" time in the casino, and a future cruise presentation.If you have taken a previous voyage and are not a member of the Captain's Club, sign up. It's free. Benefits include a CC express line at Embarkation, priority disembarkation, some small cabin welcome gifts, very minor casino, wine and spa discounts, a $20 "all you can fit in a cleaning bag" coupon to launder your clothes, two complimentary pressed items, a cocktail party, a "behind the scenes" tour, and a one cabin upgrade, whenever possible. Some exclusions apply. Part XI - Disembarkation and Customs A. Disembarkation Disembarkation ("exiting of the ship at the end of your cruise"). Breakfast was served in cabins, on the buffet, and in the restaurant. Disembarkation went smoothly. Earlier in the week, everyone completed surveys which were used to prioritize passengers. Clearly those folks needing to catch plane and train connections or who were on escorted tours in Fort Lauderdale had highest priority. Captain's Club members had priority within their color group. Color-coded Disembarkation luggage tags were issued to all cabins, and passengers were instructed to place the tags on their luggage and put it outside their cabins prior to 11:00pm Friday night. We were self-disembarking which meant we carried all of our own luggage (not easy with 4 backpacks, 4 carry-ons and 2 checked bags (larger bags) and only 4 people. But we made it. We met on the 3rd floor at 7:45am after breakfast and were off the ship, through customs and immigration and outside the pier by 8:30am. B. Customs US citizens are permitted 1 liter of alcohol and $800 worth of Duty Free goods per person. If under the limit, all you needed to do was to declare the total value. Anything greater had to be itemized (declared) and a duty paid, if requested. C. Transportation Options to Airport There were transfers available through the cruise line which would take you on bus to either of the local airports--Miami or Fort Lauderdale, taxis were available, and hotel shuttles. We chose to hire a car to meet us. I called them early in the morning with our approximate pick up time and he was there waiting for us when we left the ship. We stowed the luggage and ourselves for the quick trip back to the Fort Lauderdale airport. It was an effortless way to get there. D. Fort Lauderdale Airport Upon arrival at the airport, we proceeded to the AirTran check-in. It took us less than 15 minutes to turn in our bags and less than 10 minutes to clear security. AirTran charges $20 per checked bag (of less than 50 lbs) for the first checked bag per person; $25 for the second. We checked 2 bags on the way home, one each for my husband and myself, for a total of $40. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was our first Celebrity cruise and our first holiday cruise and we were not disappointed. We arrived at the port around 11:30 and we shown to a waiting area for the concierge class. Checking-in was easy as can be. We were on the ... Read More
This was our first Celebrity cruise and our first holiday cruise and we were not disappointed. We arrived at the port around 11:30 and we shown to a waiting area for the concierge class. Checking-in was easy as can be. We were on the ship by noon and promptly went for lunch. It was a very nice touch to be greeted with a glass of sparkling wine upon embarkation, this from smiling happy staff. Our cabin was ready by 2 pm and my bag was there as promised. My husband's was not. We went and explored the ship and found the San Marco dining room and the various lounges, pools and cafes. By 5:30pm, Dave's bag had yet to show up. We asked our steward to help and he located it in security. We were told we had to go claim the bag. It seems that his pocket knife was deemed a dangerous weapon, a pocket knife which traveled all over the world and was never stopped before. This seems odd as there were steak knives all over the ship with much bigger blades. Our stateroom was very nicely appointed, with lots of storage space, a huge shower and a comfortable love-seat. The balcony was small but sufficient. The overhang did not bother us but might do for someone wishing to sunbathe on the balcony. It was very quiet most of the time except for the odd sound from above from chairs being moved around. The San Marco dining room was beautiful and very nicely designed. We chose select dining and never waited to be seated. The maitre d's were 2 lovely, pleasant and helpful young woman who smiled, joked with us and even chatted with us. Princess could learn from them as their maitre d's are are surly older men who take their jobs far too seriously. The food there was great. Lots of variety, perfect portions and served perhaps a bit too quickly but overall, great.The one thing Celebrity can not do is beef. It was tough and/or tasteless. We never tried the other restaurants as we were satisfied with the choices in the main dining room. Suzanna, one of the sommeliers, was great. She was efficient, knowledgeable ans sweet. the male sommelier was not quite so good. He made many errors both with us and with people around us. As this was a holiday cruise, the ship was beautifully decorated with poinsettias, trees and other lovely decorations. The main stairwell was decorated with gingerbread houses and there was effort put into the entertainment with caroling and a show in the theater. On Christmas day, there was a huge brunch in San Marco with every conceivable food choice including a suckling pig. The entertainment we found to be mixed. We enjoyed the acapella group and the dance company but did not go to the comedy shows at all and found the classical trio sadly lacking in talent. As we had sailed the Caribbean many times before, the ports were less important the experience on board ship. We did a spice tour in Grenada which was fabulous and mostly beached in the other ports. Orient Beach in St. Martin left a lot to be desired. It was noisy, very crowded and not very enjoyable. On the other hand, Magens' bay and Dickensen's beach were wonderful. Sadly it all came to an end too quickly. The last 2 sea days were the most calm seas we have ever seen. Mirror perfect surface. Debarkation was also good except for the long lines to get through customs. We would certainly cruise with Celebrity again as all staff were pleasant, smiling, helpful genuinely happy people. It was a great experience. Cruisfan Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
after a long flight we arrived in Miami airport. after 30 mins we were through customs control and on our way to our Fort Lauderdale overnight hotel. we had the most amazing meal at a steakhouse with friends. the next day we were in the ... Read More
after a long flight we arrived in Miami airport. after 30 mins we were through customs control and on our way to our Fort Lauderdale overnight hotel. we had the most amazing meal at a steakhouse with friends. the next day we were in the hotel foyer at the allotted time but we did not board our bus for another 90mins due to a football team staying in the hotel. we had to wait until their buses left the hotel before our buses were allowed into the hotel forecoat. our bus driver was very funny and informative re Fort Lauderdale. check in went smoothly. it took approx 30min from arriving to boarding the ship. our cabin was not ready so we had a wee wander around the ship after we had lunch in the buffet. our suitcases arrived at our cabin about 2 hours after embarking, the quickest yet. our cabin was an inside on deck 8. the cabin was kept clean by our cabin steward and assistants. they carried out their duties quietly and efficiently. nothing was too much bother. all areas on the Constellation were kept spotless by the hard working staff who were always cheery no matter what time of day or night. the food in the MDR was as usual very good. we were on anytime dining which we enjoyed. we shared our table with our friends, and sometimes with more people. everyone we shared our table with were so very nice. we ate in Ocean liners twice. the feed and service was excellent as usual. our friends ate in Ocean liners and Tuscan grill. they enjoyed both meals enormously the entertainment was Celebrity's usual.........so so. the singers and dancers shows were very good. the comedians were just OK. Sue Dennings, the entertainment director, one woman show was excellent, as was the staff and passengers talent show. some of the staff in the show were far better than the entertainers that Celebrity had booked and paid for. we had heard mixed reviews about Perry Grant who is based in Michaels club in Constellation. we did not go to see him in Michaels club but did go to his show in the theatre. we are glad that we did, yes he is not a great singer but he is a great showman and entertainer. he kept us entertained from the start to the end of his show. entertainment in the bars were not that great. I enjoyed all of our port of calls but eventually all the islands blended into one. we took either a taxi or bus to take us on a tour of the islands who we shared with our friends. however if in Granada and wanting a taxi you can get one at the port but remember to ask for Ambrose. he was very informative and courteous taxi driver. Ambrose did not want payment for our island tour until the tour ended. we asked to be dropped off in the town instead of the dock but wish we hadn't as the town not very nice. we only spent 30mins in town. by the time we arrived in our last port, St Thomas, I was fed up looking at jewellery shops. ok, ok I know I am not a shopper. Barbados was our least favourite island. we did not take a taxi but just went into town which did not impress us too much. we took the ships tour of the rainforest in St. Lucia. what a great tour. it felt cool and very quiet in the rainforest. I also managed to have a bushwhacker cocktail in St. Marteen........loved it. we did see some light rain in our first few days and very heavy in Barbados, but the average temp was still approx 85-90 degrees with high humidity. a wee bit too hot and humid for me. the first leg of our BA flight home was delayed for about an hour. at the end of our flight we were asked to fill in a form informing us that we had been incontact with a dangerous infectious disease!! there were two people with the D&V bug ?noro virus. at least one of them had been on the Constellation. I feel that the infected people should not have been allowed on the flight as their illness put every pax at risk. poor show on both BA and the people with the illness. it showed little regard for everyone else on the flight. all in all I loved my cruise but don't think I will be rushing back to the Caribbean in the near future. the only bad bit was the flight home fiasco. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We sailed on the Constellation December 17, 2011 Southern Caribbean. Appearance: Ship was well maintained and looked great. Staff: The crew was friendly and helpful. Wait staff were professional. Everyone you passed in the hallway ... Read More
We sailed on the Constellation December 17, 2011 Southern Caribbean. Appearance: Ship was well maintained and looked great. Staff: The crew was friendly and helpful. Wait staff were professional. Everyone you passed in the hallway said hello. Officers circulated freely and engaged passengers. Overall, outstanding. Entertainment: Theater entertainment was a mixture of production numbers and guest performers. The production cast of 15 singers and dancers were wonderful and the staging excellent. The guest performers were varied in entertainment value, but for the most part were enjoyable. The bands that played in the various venues around the ship did a fine job. Notable were the a'capella group and the string trio. The cruise director, Sue Denning, did an outstanding one woman show and she was a delight throughout the trip. Food: The food was acceptable. It definitely was not up to the standard of sister line Azamara and our recollection is that it was not as good as that on the Solstice and Eclipse. Health: We heard of a few cases of gastrointestinal infections. Nothing was said about it and I didn't notice any extra cleaning of handrails etc. Overall: It was a good trip and we booked another Constellation trip for June. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was our first cruise with Celebrity and our first Christmas cruise. We were excited to see how it would go and we were not disappointed. We took a shuttle from our hotel and arrived to our ship by 11:15. The embarkation process was ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Celebrity and our first Christmas cruise. We were excited to see how it would go and we were not disappointed. We took a shuttle from our hotel and arrived to our ship by 11:15. The embarkation process was a cinch and, as we were early, we were assigned a waiting area for concierge passengers. By noon, we were on board ship. We were greeted with smiling faces and glasses of champagne, a very nice start to our trip. We headed off to find some lunch and then toured the ship a bit, looking at the pools, the theater, the lounges etc. By 2pm, the rooms were ready. The room was a nice size, compact and efficiently set up. My bag arrived shortly there after but my husband's did not. As the afternoon progressed and the bag did not arrive, we started to be a bit concerned. We spoke to our steward who told us the bag was in "security" and we had to go retrieve it. Off we go to the first floor to find the missing bag. It turns out the bag was pulled aside because hubby had left his pocket knife in the flap of the bag, a knife which has travelled all over the world and never been an issue before.It was deemed a dangerous weapon and confiscated. This left us with a funny feeling as there are knives all over the ship and anyone could use them to stab someone else. They are way more dangerous than a small pocket knife. Off we then went to unpack his bag and go to diner. The ship was beautifully decorated for the holidays, the food was amazing and the service exceptional. Of particular note, were the maitre d's, two lovely young ladies, who were smiling efficient and very pleasant to deal with. Princess could learn from this cruise line as their maitre d's are surly and take themselves way too seriously. We had booked select dining and never waited once. The waiters were all happy, smiling and very eager to help us. We were sat in different areas and hence had different sommeliers. Suzanna was very good, knowledgeable and extremely efficient. Not so with a male sommelier, who made numerous errors with us and others around us. We did not try the other restaurants as we felt the food in San Marco was fine. We had lunch each day at the Seaside Cafe and found lots of options to please all tastes. The sorbet, made daily is amazing. The Christmas day brunch was fabulous at there were numrous stations to suit everyone. Really aprreciated the full roomservice breakfast in the concierge class which we used several times and ate on our balcony. The T pool is great as it is adult only. Lots of chairs to be found, rarely waited. To us on this cruise, the ports were less important as we have done them many times before. We were on this trip to rest and get away. We did go for a tour on Grenada, the spice island,looking at cocoa production, nutmeg and other fruits ans spices on the island. Very informative. In other ports, we simply went to the beach. I forgot that we were caught in a downpour in Curacao,on the floating bridge. We got soaked to the bone but, it was a warm rain so who cares...Orient Beach in Saint Martin was very disappointing. Very crowded, busy with motor sports stuff, para-sailing etc. Not one we would recommend if you want to be quiet and enjoy the sun and the sea. Of course, Magens Bay beach was wonderful. Activities on the ship. The Christmas eve caroling and the show in the theater were lots of fun because they were informal and all could participate. Otherwise, the musicals were great, the dancers full of energy.The acapella group were wonderful, the Arabesque Trio not quite so,as they were often off key. Beyond the Podium talks were also a nice change. Learnt lots of info about the Caribbean. We skipped many of the other entertainers as the comedy did not appeal to us. In summary, this was our 10th cruise, Princess, NCL, Carnival and now Celebrity.We would certainly sail again with Celebrity as we would with Princess who compare quite well. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Before I start and give my review of this cruise, I would just like to tell you my travelling companion and I have worked in the travel industry for over twenty years and we have both held senior positions on cruise ships in the past. ... Read More
Before I start and give my review of this cruise, I would just like to tell you my travelling companion and I have worked in the travel industry for over twenty years and we have both held senior positions on cruise ships in the past. After embarking the ship in Istanbul for our Holy land cruise on the 6th of November we were amazed how quickly we got through the terminal and onto the ship. The welcome onboard glass of champagne went down like a treat and our party of 6 couldn't wait to go and explore what would be our new home for the next two weeks. Being Diamond Plus in the Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor programme we were matched across to Elite status with Celebrity's Captains Club. We were all looking forward to being made welcome and special like we have enjoyed and experienced many times in the past. Once on the ship at 1pm we were shepherd to the Seaside cafe on deck ten to have lunch. Having not cruised with Celebrity before I was somewhat dumb struck at the rat race and free for all that was happening right in front of me. Trying to push my father through the cafe in his wheelchair was near impossible. Passengers were just hitting each individual section of the buffet from left, right and centre causing ciaos and frustration for many people just wanting a simple lunch after a long day travelling. My first impression was "why is it taking so long"? 15 minute to wait to get a salad was bad enough but this was topped by a 10 minute wait to get a cup of coffee. I didn't mind too much telling people not to push in front of me but poor old dad with his walking sticks he had no chance at all. At this point all I could I think was, don't they do things different and why is everything from a packet of butter to a glass of water being served personally by a member of staff? All I could I do was reflect on what I had seen in the Seaside cafe and try and make sense of it as we waited to get the announcement at 3pm saying that our cabins were ready. We settled into our generously large outside cabin on deck 6 and found the decor pleasing and cabin spotlessly clean which it remained to be throughout the whole cruise. Nothing was too much trouble for our stateroom attendant and it was nice to be engaging with someone who really had a passion for their work. The evening meals in the main dining room were exceptional. The choices on the menu we found to be fresh and creative and it was joy to have such wonderful dishes served by two very enthusiastic and fun waiters. At dinner on the second night compliments were sent to the chef and to our surprise no other than the executive chef himself came to our table to thank us personally. We were asked if anyone had any questions they would like to ask. I asked the chef "what was happening at the lunchtime buffet"? He told us steps had been taken for staff to serve everything in the buffet as the ship had experienced a bug on the previous cruise and many people had been taken ill. At this point things did start to make sense we had thought the cruise line was going over the top showing over and over again on the TV how to wash your hands and how to prevent the spreading of germs and infections at sea. On the third day of our cruise two out of our party had been struck down with a bug and by the end of the first week four out of the six of us had been isolated with the unspeakable virus! Of course for their own reasons the officers were tight lipped when asked if the Norovirus was present on the previous cruise. At one point we were told 4 passengers had embarked the ship in Istanbul ill and this had caused the outbreak! To be honest with you, should we have known this prior to embarkation I think some of our party would have thought long and hard about going on a ship with such a terrible and painful virus as some of our travelling party have had fragile health of late like I guess most of the population of pensioners onboard the "Connie". After being released from isolation I found the free for all had continued in the Seaside Cafe and the attitude from some of the stripes still remained aloof, arrogant and still in denial of what was happening around them. Today, having only returned home late yesterday I cannot find it within me to thank Celebrity Cruises for showing me how I am actually able to projective vomit and experience the other things associated with the unspeakable bug. However, once I receive the "gesture of goodwill" compensation payment in the form of a future cruise credit of one lost day in isolation, my opinion might just change but I don't think it will it took us almost three days to come around after. I am more than aware I have been going on and on so I'm not going to go into details of the cold food and never once seeing a food thermometer, finding sinks full of vomit in public toilets and the inability of stripes to communicate with one another along with the disorganisation in the dining room for breakfast and lunch and, don't even get me started on the elegant afternoon tea. So, go on, ask me did I enjoy my cruise? Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Sorry about the length of this but we have a lot to say! It was clear from the start that the ship has medical problems - and not brought on in Istanbul by the current passengers as was suggested. Gel being dispensed everywhere, all food ... Read More
Sorry about the length of this but we have a lot to say! It was clear from the start that the ship has medical problems - and not brought on in Istanbul by the current passengers as was suggested. Gel being dispensed everywhere, all food and drink being served, continual hand washing instructions,no library books, cushions glasses ice buckets info folder all gradually disappearing from the cabins, etc. In spite of this many passengers and crew came down with the virus throughout the cruise - people did throw up pretty much everywhere - pool, busses, dining room, lifts, but the crew worked very hard continually cleaning and clearing up so the ship did stay clean.I did wonder about the instructions that if you got it you had to make your way through the whole ship to the medical centre on deck 1 - surely they should have stayed in their cabins and been visited by the doctor? We didn't get it (noro) but it felt like the sword of Damocles was hanging over us all the time. A couple of points - The hard working but "brassy" CD Sue Denning gave a daily briefing, but it was really the same every day, "Thank you and keep washing your hands". She continually said that she would tell us the truth, but the one thing wouldn't tell us was how many people were affected. We understood that it was 400 - 500 people. Also I wonder how much the crew are involved in spreading problems. I saw one of the panini servers wearing plastic gloves pick up a handful of crisps, put them in his mouth and then go on serving, cutting and spreading the bread. I immediately reported this to a manager but don't know what action was taken. To be fair I also saw an idiot passenger use the restroom and then go out without washing his hands! Ok, on to the rest. If you take trips in Israel my advice is to arrange your own. If you take ship tours it may say "shopping time" but you won't get it at the many interesting little shops you will walking by, no, you'll get it at the end in a very large isolated store where the tour guide gets 35% of everything you buy (and it's not cheap!)- get the picture? This happened on all 3 trips for us and we didn't like it - so no tip for the guide, they get quite enough!! Finally the best for us was the variety and quality of the music / entertainment. This was the best we have ever experienced on a cruise. There was music happening all over the ship including - The ships Song and Dance company - It was the last 2 weeks of their service and they were great. The shows were fantastic. Ship's Orchestra - they were excellent performing and backing other acts. Jefferson Ang - Guitar and singing in the coffee bar. 545 Express - acapella group and very good. Arabesque Trio - 2 violins and piano. Lovely classical music in one of the lounges. Great Ideas Party Band - fantastic atmosphere every night. To see the boy and girl singer both perform footloose (?) was really amazing. Pity they didn't have a CD to sell - I would have bought it! Perry Grant - singing and piano. Very entertaining, but I couldn't face seeing the same performance and comedy every night although quite a few did! The visiting entertainers - were all good but the absolute highlight for us was SAMANTHA JAY. What a talented lady this girl is. She plays the oboe, violin, saxophone and piano in a wonderful fast moving show with popular and classical music. She also seems a genuine and modest person - a real star! If you get the chance go and see her. So we did enjoy the cruise in spite of everything and hope that the deep clean (again)in Barcelona where they made everyone leave the ship (including back to back passengers)will do the trick. I think they are worried about not being allowed to dock in USA. I somehow doubt it will be enough though. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
I have sailed on many lines, however this was my first cruise on Celebrity. My sister and brother in law with whom I sailed have enjoyed saIling with Celebrity and assured me that I would also do so. They were wrong, I was very ... Read More
I have sailed on many lines, however this was my first cruise on Celebrity. My sister and brother in law with whom I sailed have enjoyed saIling with Celebrity and assured me that I would also do so. They were wrong, I was very disappointed. This was the first time that I travelled as a single, consequently paying for two was a huge expense and I would only cruise again if singles get a better deal. The food on "Constellation" was very ordinary, definitely not up to the standard I have enjoyed on other ships. The buffet offered the same food every day. There were plenty of salads at lunch time but little in the way of meat or fish to go with them. This is the first cruise I have been on where afternoon tea was not served. On the last day of the cruise afternoon tea was offered at a charge of $18.00 per person. We did partake and it was very nice, however I think the charge was excessive. Indeed almost everyone I spoke to complained of the greed of the company in their charges for every little thing. In Mykonos there was a last minute change from a tender landing to a berth one. We were charged $7.00 for a two minute trip on the bus into town! The entertainment was very ordinary apart from a violinist who entertained us on two evenings. Norovirus struck down a huge percentage of passengers and crew. Disembarkation was handled smoothly although we were disappointed that there was no provision made for people who had a late flight out of Istanbul, to leave luggage. I sat at the airport for eight hours! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was our 4th Celebrity Cruise and we had previously sailed on the Consteallation pre 'Solcitization'. We were therefore interested to see the changes. I had seen a blog before we left home that there was sickness on the ... Read More
This was our 4th Celebrity Cruise and we had previously sailed on the Consteallation pre 'Solcitization'. We were therefore interested to see the changes. I had seen a blog before we left home that there was sickness on the Connie but I was hoping that by the time we arrived the situation would be resolved. On arrival at the terminal it was obvious that sadly this was not the case. We were given a number for embarkation and there were notices everywhere saying that staterooms would not be ready until 5pm. Nevertheless we were eventually allowed on board for some lunch, although without the usual welcome drink. As we had arrived relatively early we were part of the first group on board and were able to get our lunch fairly easily although everything, including teas and coffees, had to be served by the crew. We were eventually allowed to our cabins and were very soon greeted by our lovely cabin attendant Lalaine. She did a great job looking after us. So then we were able to enjoy our sparkling wine whilst we unpacked. After an overnight stay in Istanbul we departed for Kusadasi in the afternoon. This was when we had our Cruise Critic party so we missed sailing through all the shipping that anchors in the Marmara Sea. The get together was good and it was clear to see that Celebrity do take notice of the CC boards. As we had made private arrangements for all the ports of call we cannot comment on the ship's excursions. But we were very pleased with the arrangements we had made. In Rhodes we hired a car and drove ourselves to Lindos and back with a lunch stop at the lovely Seven Springs taverna which is in the middle of the island. By this time the high level sanitization procedures had been lifted. The next day was the sea day as we sailed to Israel. This was the best day of the sea days for weather and we enjoyed sitting around the pool. As we were retiring that night at 11:15 the Captain came on the public address system to tell us that Ashdod port had been closed to passenger traffic following an attack by the Israeli army on the Gaza strip. We subsequently found out from our tour guide that Hamas had targeted missiles on the south of Israel. The ship therefore diverted to Haifa for 4 days instead of 2 in Ashdod and 2 in Haifa. This threw everybody's arrangements into disarray and it wasn't until we were on our way to Bethlehem that we found out all the facts from our guide. We ended up on a bus in a group of 37 all of us having arranged private tours in smaller groups with Guided Tours Israel(GTI). The problem was that the tours arranged from Haifa were using local guides and drivers who were unable to get out of the south of the country. Although everyone was very disappointed we had to give credit to GTI for making the alternative arrangements at such short notice. Our guide, who did an excellent job, told us that he had been called by GTI at 2 in the morning! Our second day was to Masada and the Dead Sea and because of the journey being from Haifa instead of Ashdod we had the opportunity to see some of the Jordan Valley. These were two very long days as the journeys from Haifa were that much longer than from Ashdod. On the third day the small private tours resumed as they had originally been planned from Haifa. Unfortunately we did not make our trip as my wife was suffering from the dreaded bug. It came on very suddenly at the end of one day and the next day we visited the medical facility. My wife received very good attention, an injection and some medication all without charge. After 24 hours she had recovered other than not being able to eat as much as usual! So one day in the cabin. The last day in Haifa we looked arounfd the City and went up to the top of Mount Carmel and viewed the Bahai Temple -â€" quite spectacular. Then another sea day as we sailed back to Athens. Unfortunately it was quite a windy day and just a tad too cool to stay out on deck. In Athens there were no strikes and we made our own way to the New Acropolis Museum followed by lunch in the Plaka. This was followed by a final sea day and again as it was now November and we were sailing North to Istanbul not an outdoor day. We sampled both the Tuscan Grill and Ocean Liners. The latter was as excellent as we remembered it and the Tusacn Grill is a very good addition and worth the fee for one night of the cruise. We also used Bistro on Five on sea days to avoid the crush of the buffet. Excellent Service and good value. Towards the end of the cruise I asked Guest Relations for a form to make extra gratuities. I was told that this was not possible as the Finance Team controlled whether or not this facility was available and in this case it was not. I had met the Finance Controller as he was a Brit and had quite a conversation with him. He even sent some truffles to our cabin. I do think however that this was a little unfair on the crew. With an itinerary like this, visiting numerous countries using different currencies, it is not always possible to have a suitable currency to pass to the staff members you wish to thank. Nevertheless we received nothing but excellent service from all the crew we dealt with. The entertainment was a bit mixed. The cast shows were excellent but the music in the various lounges of an evening was sometimes lacking. Indeed on the night after leaving Athens there was a scarcity of music in the bars. Thank goodness for Perry Grant! I had read about Perry before we left and was not sure as to whether he would appeal to us. Well, he did! We went the first night with an open mind and returned every night! So a good cruise, good food, good service an interesting but amended itinerary. All the downsides were way beyond Celebrity's control and they handled them excellently. We are even going to receive an onboard credit for the day my wife lost in quarantine. So although disappointments absolutely no complaints from us. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
My wife and I joined Constellation in Istanbul and sailed the Eastern Mediterranean itinerary. If flying from the UK you usually arrive at the ship late evening so we travelled the day before and stayed overnight in a hotel in Istanbul. ... Read More
My wife and I joined Constellation in Istanbul and sailed the Eastern Mediterranean itinerary. If flying from the UK you usually arrive at the ship late evening so we travelled the day before and stayed overnight in a hotel in Istanbul. This is a great way to start your holiday as it not only gives you an extra day in Istanbul but you are fresh and ready to join the ship at lunchtime the next day. Istanbul airport passport control is very busy. You should be aware you need to queue to buy a Visa with payment in cash only, before you can go to passport control. It's £10 British citizens, all nationalities have a different price in their own currency. The traffic can be can be very bad and we heard of passengers taking four hours from leaving the plane to arriving at the ship. As we arrived at the ship early afternoon embarkation was really efficient, virtually walking straight on to the ship. First impressions of Constellation where excellent. Our stateroom was available within a couple of hours of boarding and it was great. Quite big, very comfortable with a balcony on Panorama deck 8. The only drawback was a connecting door to the next cabin and occasionally we could hear voices of our neighbours but it was not a big problem. This cabin would be ideal for a family to have adjoining cabins. On all our previous cruises we have taken the later seating option in the restaurant. For the first time we chose Select anytime dining. It has benefits as you can go for dinner at different times each evening although occasionally you may have to wait briefly for a table. If you choose a large table you can meet different people each evening. The drawback is that you do not get to know other guests very well and form good friendships as we have done on previous cruises. You cannot get to know the table waiter well as you will usually be on a different table each night. My wife prefers open seating but I prefer fixed later seating! A previous reviewer gave the Dining a one star rating. Just what rating system and standards are they judging the food on? This is clearly a ridiculous rating and it's a shame as it then makes their whole review pointless and not worth reading. Surely a rating must be taken in context of the circumstances you are eating i.e. on board ship at sea with 2000 people being served and of course the price you pay. What would this reviewer expect for five stars and what price would they have to pay? Don't let their rating put you off Constellation! My view on Dining: The restaurant food and service is first class. The table waiters do everything they possibly can to satisfy your requests. If you are at all unhappy with any item they will replace it immediately. The lunchtime buffet is superb. The choice is so wide it's hard to choose. There is a huge choice of salads, hot meals, specialty meat of the day, and separate pizza, Asian delights and traditional English serveries. Choice of fish is poor, only limited and should be improved. The gourmet sandwich bar offers a wide variety of breads and fillings - if you want to add some different meat to your salad then this is the place to go. The poolside grill offers the usual burgers and fries type snacks. Very good too! One of my favourites for lunch was the healthy option by the spa pool. Several choices including delicious chicken or tuna cooked to order. Breakfast? Well, so much to choose. Everything you would expect. My personal favourite was eggs benedict, although the waffles were close seconds! Afternoon tea and cakes is available at 4pm in the buffet restaurant. We visited both specialty restaurants - Ocean Liners and Tuscan Grille - an extra £20 and £18 per person respectively. Ocean Liners service was exceptional. The food was great, although the fine wines are rather expensive. Tuscan Grille was our favourite. A little more relaxed with fantastic Italian style dishes. I would definitely visit both restaurants again as they make a pleasant change from the main restaurant option. I think they offer good value for the additional charge. The entertainment provided overall was good. There were some star singers (Jane, the English lady was superb), the entertainment team put on some good shows and Perry the piano entertainer in Michael's bar was in a league of his own -â€" really entertaining! All the public rooms have their own 'character' and we found them all very comfortable and enjoyable. Although the ship was full we never really felt it was crowded anywhere other than the most popular theatre shows. All the rooms were kept very clean. The gym was well equipped and although well used was never too busy. The spa pool area was very relaxing and our favourite spot. The ship was affected by norovirus for the last few days but you could certainly not fault Constellation for that. The captain implemented a sanitisation programme - staff were everywhere sanitising everything! They certainly did everything that you could expect to eradicate it. It never ceases to amaze me that some passengers just walk into the restaurants without sanitising their hands, they seem to object to this for some reason - they are probably the first to complain about illness on the ship. Once the sanitisation programme was in place the staff ensured all passengers observed the correct procedure. Disembarkation was very organised - just arrive in your allocated meeting point at the correct time (dont' go too early!) and we left in an orderly manner. After collecting our cases there was a slight delay in boarding coaches but again considering all the circumstances with 2000 people disembarking it could hardly be better. Overall, we had a fantastic cruise and would certainly sail on Constellation again. I must also mention that all the staff, without exception, provided excellent service and were really keen to assist at all times. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We have just returned from a 12 day Eastern Med cruise on the Celebrity Constellation. We had a wonderful time and gladly recommend Celebrity to any cruisers. The embarkation process in Istanbul was fast, well organized and efficient. ... Read More
We have just returned from a 12 day Eastern Med cruise on the Celebrity Constellation. We had a wonderful time and gladly recommend Celebrity to any cruisers. The embarkation process in Istanbul was fast, well organized and efficient. Upon boarding, we went straight to the Spa to make reservations for massages. When we returned to our cabin, our luggage was there. The staff were all very friendly and accommodating. I did not hear any staff talking about the Hotel Manager and received excellent service from the cabin steward and staff. I had requested some special items in our cabin because of a medical device I travel with and it was delivered promptly, as promised. The food in the MDR was very good and the wait staff and servers were attentive and very nice. The menu choices were varied on every evening and were well received by all of the guests sharing our table. I do believe that the food was not quite as good as we experienced on the Summit two years ago. However, the differences were not that significant. Also, I must point out that chefs are different from one another. That difference does not necessarily correspond to "worse" or "better", just different. The food in the buffet on Deck 10 was quite good. We experienced the Pasta Station, the Stir-fry station, the Mexican Station, and others. We had no complaints with the service. I frequently saw servers carrying trays and getting drinks for guests, and not just alcoholic ones.The entertainment was adequate, though I must admit that this is an area that is not a high priority for us on a cruise. Perry Grant was quite different, but had a huge following. I admit that after just a couple of visits, I became a fan. The casino was well appointed and had a good variety of games. The casino staff were very friendly and helpful. Sadly, there were not many guests who chose to participate on this cruise. The ship sponsored excursions were well organized and, for the most part, very informative and interesting. As with most cruises, it seems that there is always one excursion where the guide is less that satisfactory; but I have to admit that that is a very subjective and personal point of view. Debarkation was a snap! We did early exit because of an early return flight. We were off the ship at 7AM with plenty of time to make our flight. In conclusion, we plan to sail with Celebrity again for our next cruise. I will admit that we do not take three or four cruises per year and we are not at the top tier of the Captain's Club. Perhaps that is a good thing because it seems that we can still clearly see the great things that Celebrity does without expectations of "special" treatment. I believe that all of the guests on the Constellation had the opportunity to experience the special treatment from a staff that was welcoming, efficient and attentive. Thank you Celebrity! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
My husband and I joined the cruise late because of bad weather, so we joined at the the first port of call, St Thomas. The embarkation was great, very quick and very personal once we contacted a member of the crew (the Cruise Director, who ... Read More
My husband and I joined the cruise late because of bad weather, so we joined at the the first port of call, St Thomas. The embarkation was great, very quick and very personal once we contacted a member of the crew (the Cruise Director, who was great - very efficient and helpful). Boat very good - pleasant cabin, attractive public areas, clean and nicely decorated for Christmas. Lots of places to lie in the sunshine although those in the shade were at a premium!! Staff excellent - helpful and very friendly everywhere. Customer Relations were particularly good - never had to wait to speak to someone and issues resolved quickly and efficiently. Itinerary good - we enjoyed every stop. We took ship's tours in 3 ports and they were good -reasonably priced, well organised, and covered what was promised in tour description. Lovely pool - unusually, big enough to swim - most cruise ships have pools only big enough for a dip and to cool off. Also, a wonderful thalassotherapy pool, with targetted jets of water and wonderful side areas to lie on the jets - really fabulous. Entertainment generally good and varied - 2 excellent comedy singers, comedy magician and juggler all good. We did not see the crew shows - not our kind of thing. Otherwise very little in the way of talks or enrichment - just lots of trivia quizzes. Library seemed poor - but we did get on late so we might have missed the best contents!! The only real downside was the food which was not up to the usual Celebrity standard. At dinner, some of the offerings were very odd - a good example was the duck served with French toast - that didn't work well, as you might expect. Also, some of the dishes were poor, with very few of them good to excellent. We sent back 1 or more dishes uneaten at about 75% of meals - normally we would never send anything back. The restaurant staff were great - very concerned when something wasn't up to standard, which was often. The main restaurant was never open for lunch on land days and never offered afternoon tea - which meant often that the buffet was the only option. Also, the food in the buffet was OK but not at all special. My husband enjoyed the Asian food but it was too spicy for me. I was trying to eat lightly, to avoid adding weight, and that was very difficult. The worst food was in the pool grill - my hamburger was just a grease sandwich!!!! The saving grace was the Aquaspa cafe which did excellent low-calorie and tasty breakfasts and lunches. Celebrity need to get their act together - I was talking to passengers on another Celebrity boat in December and they also said the food was poor - not sure if it is cheap ingredients or poor menus and recipes to blame Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Another great Celebrity cruise with specialty restaurant providing the wow factor..........The veranda cabin was 2 feet shallower than the concierge cabins. The only downside was the smaller vanity and as such it was less used. The option ... Read More
Another great Celebrity cruise with specialty restaurant providing the wow factor..........The veranda cabin was 2 feet shallower than the concierge cabins. The only downside was the smaller vanity and as such it was less used. The option to upgrade to concierge of $700 pp was not worth the extra. The ship was full because of the time of year (over Christmas and New Years)The Constellation was Solsticized, which was a nice improvement from Summit. The addition of Tuscany as a 2nd specialty restaurant was great, as was Cellar masters and Cafe @ 5. Although I am a wine lover, Cellar Masters took up too many square feet and was under-utilized, as was the specialty wines by the glass automatic dispensers. I suspect that section will be re-configured.The wine choices, including 5 Champagnes by the glass was wonderful.Michael's was great with a wonderful pianist/singer. Staff was very friendly and helpful.We dined in Ocean Liners (3), Tuscany (3) and MDR 7 and it was well worth the $390 extra. We were regulars and treated incredibly well.Zip lining in CR was fun but my wife had to pay full price even though she did not zip line.3 formal nights were fun but many passengers dressed down and would not have been admitted to a private club on such an occasionDebarkation in San Diego was very slow and annoying but we were forewarned that it would be slow.This was our 2nd Celebrity cruise in 2010 and very favourable. We will likely sail Celebrity again, however, we would like to try upscale in order to avoid some of the less attractive aspects, being their emphasis on junk food, sloppy dressing passengers and fewer of the buffet crowd. I recognize that this might sound a bit snobbish, but we do enjoy healthy alternatives, fine dining and dressing up on special occasions.I suspect that a large percentage of Celebrity passengers are more "mainstream" than "premium" passengers, but because of the more subtle approach to cruising, the more mature passengers prefer what Celebrity has to offer. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
This was our 5th cruise but our first with Celebrity. The period of the cruise was over Christmas and New Year and having been on 2 similar cruises before which were very good, my husband and I were looking forward to a similar experience ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise but our first with Celebrity. The period of the cruise was over Christmas and New Year and having been on 2 similar cruises before which were very good, my husband and I were looking forward to a similar experience on Constellation. We flew British Airways to Miami. Having cheated all sorts of obstacles (BA threatened strikes and bad weather in the UK) we arrived in Miami only 10 minutes late. We were transferred to the Wyndham Miami Airport hotel for the night and would be transferred to the ship the next morning. The hotel was adequate and the transfers were fine. We were in a Concierge Class cabin and were therefore entitled to various extra goods and services including priority check in and boarding. Not on this occasion. We were at least an hour in the check in queue whilst all other queues moved a lot quicker. There were plenty of complaints from us and our fellow queuers!! Then, when we got to the check in desk the clerk made a song and dance about the fact that my husband has a USA visa (and why did I not also have one - as if it was any of his business) and that he had never seen anyone with a British passport with a "white entry form" whereas mine was the visa waiver green one. I was hugely unimpressed. Eventually we were allowed to proceed. We went straight to our cabin which was ready, had a quick look round, noted that there was no fruit to which we were entitled and then went for some lunch in the Seaview Cafe. After lunch one of our cases had arrived at our cabin door and the other 2 cases followed in short order. Our cabin steward came to introduce himself and the fruit arrived. We opened our complimentary bottle of sparkling wine and sipped this on the balcony overlooking the marina in Miami. Then we had a look around the ship. The atrium was nicely decorated with Christmas trees and sparkling stars and we felt ready to enjoy a nice Christmas and New Year cruise. The ship was supposed to sail at 17.00 but there was an announcement that the captain had decided to wait for an hour to see if people who had been delayed on flights could make the ship before it sailed. There had been bad weather in the eastern USA as well as Europe and flights were being cancelled wholesale. In the event, over 100 people did not make it and had to join the ship 3 or 4 days later in Curacao or Aruba. We were booked for second sitting in the San Marco Restaurant (deck 4) on a table for 6. 2 of the other 4 people were there for the first night. They were from Miami and therefore had not had any hassles with travelling. The menu showed the day's specials on the right hand side and the "always available" items on the left hand side. There was a good choice. We both chose a crab starter, followed by a soup and then main course and then chatted to our table companions. When our crab dishes arrived we were dumbfounded. On my plate there were 2 leaves of rocket and drizzled on one of them was about a tablespoonful of a crab sauce. That was it!! We did not say anything at the time, thinking this must be an error or a first night hitch. However, when the soup arrived it was lukewarm and slopped all over the sides of the soup bowls. Altogether we were not impressed with the food and we also noticed that the staff were running around like headless chickens. There did not seem to be any leadership or co-ordination. We thought we would see how things went the next night before making any comments. We took breakfast in the Seaview Cafe. This was fine and there was plenty of choice and room to sit no matter what time you arrived. We did this every day. Also the tea and coffee stations were good with nice sized mugs instead of small cups. No complaints here. Our first day was a sea day. The weather was cloudy and windy and not very warm. Still we found a nice place to relax on sunbeds at the front of the ship on deck 11/12. This was nice and quiet but if you wanted music all you had to do was to move further to the centre of the ship where there was more action and they had a Caribbean band playing for part of the day. That night was the first formal dress night. My husband and I like these opportunities to dress up. Unfortunately we were not in the majority. Around 95% of the ladies dressed up in nice gowns or cocktail dresses but around 95% of men could not be bothered to adhere to the dress code. This got worse on the next formal night - but read on......... The food in the restaurant was about on a par with the first night and the service was no better and just as chaotic. I did notice that when our waiter came round to ask if our food was OK he also asked if it was hot - strange - never been asked that before. With just a couple of days to go before Christmas Day, we noted that there were no decorations whatsoever in our part of the restaurant or indeed in the Seaview cafe. We decided that they would appear perhaps on Christmas Eve. On the 3rd night in the restaurant, things were no better and my husband decided to make a complaint. He pointed out about the soup being slopped over the sides of the bowls and about the food not being overly hot. Complaints were taken on board although the waiter said they just delivered what was sent up by the kitchens. It had also come to our attention that whilst our table (and a couple of others) had to wait a long time for service, another table next to ours seating 8 got served straight away. They had the same staff as we did but the staff fawned over them the whole time - you would have thought they owned the ship. By this time the service and the quantity of the food on offer was a nightly talking point on our table as our companions were no more impressed than we were. We were all driven to ordering a starter, soup and salad in order to ensure that we had enough to eat. Having said that, the salads were mainly chopped up lettuce. By the 3rd day, we had got used to our cabin. Lots of storage space. It was clean and the beds and pillows so comfy. The balcony was rather small with 2 chairs (non reclining) and a large table. Still we managed. The worst aspect was the cold water from the tap in the bathroom which was always warm - sometimes quite hot. On the other hand, there was plenty of hot water, the shower was OK (but not the best we have had) and the cabin was nicely serviced including change of towels twice a day. The air conditioning was particularly good. On Christmas Eve, we returned to our cabin late morning to find that our balcony was flooded. The glass doors outside were streaming with water, the table top was similarly covered in water and the chair cushions were soaked. By late afternoon, the balcony was still in no fit state to use and we had to complain. Someone came up and sort of dried it. Christmas Day and Santa had found us on the ship!!! we also got a nice beach bag from Celebrity and a card wishing us season's greetings (not Merry Christmas). When we arrived for breakfast in the Seaview Cafe, there were Christmas streamers along the top of the serving counters. Hurray!! But by lunchtime they had been taken away. We spent the day relaxing in the lovely weather. There was plenty of sunbed space at the front of the ship and plenty of beds spare. So no fighting over sunbeds or deck space on this ship (which we had experienced before). Arriving back in our cabin late afternoon, there were no canapes so we rang to ask where they were. When they were delivered our cabin steward told us that they had not been delivered because we had put the "do not disturb" sign on the outside of the door. NOT TRUE. This statement was later retracted and our steward told us it was his assistant's fault - he had missed us out. This was the second formal dress night for the restaurant. Needless to say, compliance was hardly better that on the 1st formal night. Even worse, the aforementioned table next to ours that got the good service, turned up in casual clothes - some in jeans. How ignorant can you get? And still they got the best service and despite coming in very late, got their food before us. 3 out of the 4 of us on our table ordered a lobster salad for starters. This arrived on a plate hardly bigger than the side plates used for bread. It consisted of some shredded lettuce leaves, about 4/5 very thin slices of radish and a couple of slices of cucumber - but no sign of the lobster. We all stared at our plates and called the waiter to get us some lobster. It was pointed out that the lobster was between 2 of the slices of radish. Well I managed to retrieve mine but it was cut so thin that it disintegrated when I tried to move it away from the radish. We could do more than laugh even though it was so bad. We had pre- ordered a particular bottle of wine for my husband and a bottle of champagne for me. We had been told they would be on our table when we arrived at dinner. When we enquired where they were we were told that they had run out of the champagne. You can imagine how unimpressed we were. We chose an alternative bottle at the same price as the original bottle. The Christmas turkey was OK if a bit salty but there was no Christmas pudding or cake or mince pies and no decorations in the restaurant. Where had we come to? On arriving back in our cabin at 22.55, there had been no turn - down service and no bathroom service. My husband rang to enquire. 25 minutes later when no one had come to sort things out, I strode down to guest relations in my long gown and flip flops (!!) to complain. 10 minutes later, the room was serviced. The following day our steward said the cabin had not been done because we had locked the door. LOCKED THE DOOR????? WE HAD BEEN IN THE RESTAURANT SO HOW DO YOU LOCK A DOOR FROM THE OUTSIDE??????? This accusation was later retracted and we were told that the steward had simply missed our room. This was the second time we had had to complain and on each occasion, it was initially our fault. What sort of customer service is that?? Boxing Day we dined in the Ocean Liners restaurant. What a difference from the San Marco. You were made to feel special, the service was great, the food likewise. But why did we have to pay a 30$ surcharge each to get these things? Thereafter we spent our days leisurely on the sun deck or wandering round the ports of call - we did not do any trips as we had been to a lot of the islands before. We went to the Casual Dining restaurant in the Seaview Cafe on 2 nights and this was excellent - no surcharge but a tip was suggested. We left in excess of the suggested amount as the service and attention was so good. On each occasion, this restaurant was underused. We felt that people did not realise now nice it was and that what you got was far better than the San Marco. Talking to fellow passengers, a lot were disappointed with the lack of Christmas feel on the ship. Some had complained and had been told that this was out of respect to non - Christian passengers. OMG - I thought we had left political correctness at home when we stepped on the plane at Heathrow. No it is alive and well at Celebrity. New Year's Eve was another formal night and this time a lot of people adhered to the dress code. There was a deck party around the pool. This had all the makings of a disaster when at 23.00 on 24 December, we had to sit and watch the band set up on the stage and someone trying to get a computer to project imagines onto a screen. At that time I expect to be dancing. Once the band got going it was fine and the Caribbean band they had on next were excellent. They had ice carvings showing 2009 and when it was 2010 they changed the carving to show the new year - very clever and very good. Except that they told us it was midnight with some 5 minutes still to go. So we had 2 goes at Happy New Year. As someone next to me said, you would think that on this ship they were doing everything for the first time, it was so amateurish. When we got to the San Marco restaurant for dinner on New Year's Day - we waited almost half and hour before we got the menu. Needless to say the aforementioned table next to us arrived late and got theirs straight away. My husband lost the plot at this stage. He called our waiter and asked him to explain why on each night, this other table got priority service over everyone else. The waiter agreed it was unacceptable. Needless to say the following couple of nights we got quick service - but by then the damage to our confidence had been done. Disembarkation was fine for us as we were told to go early. However, on leaving the ship we found out that we had to complete USA entry forms. We still had the stubs of the previous forms we had filled in on the plane for arrival in the country. Apparently these should have been taken from us in St Thomas. We got off the ship there but no one asked us for anything. We weren't the only people having to re - do forms. When we got to immigration we were told that there were 68 people who did not hand in their form stubs on leaving the ship in St Thomas. If that was so, the ship must have known who they were so why did someone not contact the people concerned to tell them what to do? Apart from this the disembarkation experience was OK and we were soon at Miami airport for a long wait for our flight home. So to sum up, and putting glitches to one side, GOOD POINTS of the cruise were the cabin size, storage space, air conditioning, cleanliness and (on the whole) service; the space on deck for sunbathing; the Ocean Liners and the Casual Dining restaurants; the New York steaks in the San Marco, the bread served in the San Marco and Aqua Spa restaurants, the Caribbean band and the dance band in the Rendevous Lounge, the Martini bar, the IT centre and the New Year's night party (when it got going). POOR POINTS were the standard of service in the San Marco (except for our assistant waiter), the variety on the menu on some nights, the unpredictable amount of food you would get in the San Marco, the length of time it took for us to have our dinner (we were often not getting out of the restaurant until nearly 23.00)and the table settings - often there were no wine glasses on the table and the water glasses were all wet as if they had just been rinsed, embarkation and to an extent disembarkation, the warm cold water in our cabin and the lack of Chrismassy feel in the ship generally. We did not do the shows and therefore cannot comment on them. The bottom line is that what we experienced on the Constellation was nowhere near as good as what we had on the RCI Serenade of the Seas in September 2009 and was a lot worse than what we have had on P&O and not even in the same street as what we got on the QE2. Would we sail with Celebrity again? Well it would not be our first port of call when looking for another cruise. I doubt if we would ever use them again as we would not have the confidence that what we would get would be OK. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Just a little review of our Christmas and New Year's cruise on the Connie. We had a great time! I must admit that embarkation was not particularly pleasant -very disorganized and Celebrity's employees were little or no help. ... Read More
Just a little review of our Christmas and New Year's cruise on the Connie. We had a great time! I must admit that embarkation was not particularly pleasant -very disorganized and Celebrity's employees were little or no help. However, once we boarded the ship we had a wonderful time. We were greeted with the standard glass of champagne. We went immediately to our cabin to drop off our carry on and then proceeded up to Lido deck to partake in the buffet. We were early so it wasn't very crowded. The food was the standard buffet fare. We were in our cabin by 1:00. We had an outside cabin on Continental deck. The location was great and very quiet. Our cabin was showing little signs of wear but it was clean and our bed was very comfortable. Our cabin stewards were very attentive and responded to every request we made. After putting a few things away we set off to explore the ship. The public rooms are in very good condition. The ship was extremely clean and we saw staff cleaning the public areas constantly. We ate in the MDR every night except one. We had great tablemates and enjoyed their company every night. I am not a big food person so I am not going to say a lot about the food. I will say that I was able to order any of my food the way I wanted it including asking for certain things on my salad and small portions of meat and big portions of vegetables. The sautEed spinach (which is not on the menu but I had it every night) was delicious. There were also two grand buffets in the dining room - Christmas Day and New Year's Day. They were very nice with a mix of breakfast and lunch foods. We ate breakfast on Lido deck every morning - they have the most delicious waffles. I was a little disappointed in the desserts in the MDR. However, the ice cream - all of which is made on the ship (except the sugar free) was great and the sorbets were among the best I have ever had. They were actually sorbet - not sherbet! Very nice! People dressed the same as they do on Holland America or Princess - some people were dressed every night, some people weren't. Some people didn't even get their luggage until four or five days into the cruise (I think some people never got their luggage). I would give you a more detailed fashion report but, truthfully, we don't really worry about what other people wear, we are only concerned about we wear - we stick with the recommended dress of the day! And, no one, no matter how they were dressed, ruined our evening. In fact, there was one man who never had shoes on - I don't know if he never got his luggage or his feet hurt or what, but no matter where we saw him he didn't have on shoes. We thought it was pretty funny! On sea days we spent a lot of time on the pool deck. We were happy to see that the pool attendants actually monitored the "chair hogs" and removed towels from the chairs that hadn't been occupied for a couple of hours. One couple - and they were "chair hogs" actually attached their luggage straps to the chairs supposedly to hold their towels in place. It was very relaxing and most afternoons the pool attendants came by with either sorbet or fresh fruit in little cups. The entertainment was good - we had a couple of comedians/singers. Some of the production shows were good some were just okay. The string quartet was excellent as was the a cappella group. We enjoyed them the most. We did get to see Perry and he was "himself!" One of the reasons we went on this cruise was the itinerary and we weren't disappointed. We booked only one shore excursion through the ship. We had never been the Curacao so we took a little tour with a taxi driver we found outside the gates at the port. It was beautiful. We had been to all the other ports many times so we just went to the beach on our own except in Antigua. We booked a catamaran tour on the Excellence with the ship. We tried to book it independently but they contract with the ship and will not allow independent bookings. It was excellent - I highly recommend. Unlike some catamaran tours except for about an hour and half stop to snorkel and eat lunch we were sailing around Antigua. We loved it! For us, the ship had a reasonable amount of Christmas decorations and entertainment. They had a very nice Roman Catholic midnight mass in the theater and Santa visited on Christmas morning. There were quite a few Christmas trees around the ship and the atrium was decorated. There was Christmas caroling and also a Christmas stage show. The New Year's Eve party was on Lido deck - it was a great time with champagne, hats and noise makers. The one thing that I didn't like was that it was formal night and it was too hot and sticky to be comfortable since we were dressed up. We danced a lot anyway and took cold showers when we got back to the room. For some reason, we got invited for a tour of the bridge. It was extremely interesting and we enjoyed it and hope we get invited to tour it again sometime. Something that really stood out for us on this cruise was that the officers were out and about continually. We saw the captain many times and he always stopped to say hello - and, his wife did also! It was a very friendly staff! Our cruise on the Connie was a great way to usher in the New Year. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Terrible experience will be sure not to repeat. Traveled with mother and 90 y.o. grandma (probably her last) The suite was nice, beds were ridiculously uncomfortable, I elected after 3rd night , of a 14 day trip, to sleep on the ... Read More
Terrible experience will be sure not to repeat. Traveled with mother and 90 y.o. grandma (probably her last) The suite was nice, beds were ridiculously uncomfortable, I elected after 3rd night , of a 14 day trip, to sleep on the floor!!! Food was terrible, actually embarrassed for them. Excursions were a terrible joke and NOT appropriate for my grandmother - Where indicated: Leisurely was actually a HIKE that I could barely manage, she had to stay in the bus and miss the Orchid Farm which was only thing she Really wanted to see. On another excursion driver was high as a kite and threw bus into reverse while driving we all got hurt. In the fancier dining room that you pay extra for I was scalded with coffee arm and chest by waiter, did they offer to pick up the tab? No! One Big Sales Gimmick To Buy Jewelry non-stop bombardment. They should pay us to take this trip and listen to their ongoing sales pitches. Shocked at the level of lies, service, horrible entertainment, food, and intent Celebrity operates under! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Celebrity Constellation Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 5.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 5.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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