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Sail Date: February 2011
What a great way for the boys to learn about other countries and modern miracles. The lectures helped us all understand a great deal about all we were able to see. The boys were pre teens and still able to enjoy the kids clubs while ... Read More
What a great way for the boys to learn about other countries and modern miracles. The lectures helped us all understand a great deal about all we were able to see. The boys were pre teens and still able to enjoy the kids clubs while being old enough to enjoy some free time with all the others their age. My boys have cruise since they were 7 and 9 so know the how to get around a ship.and make the most of all the club events available to them. The boys were spoiled rotten on the ship with tours and numerous activities to keep them entertained. I was lucky enough to run into an old friend on the first day so had some one to hang out with while my husband sat at the pool and people watched lol. (Shopping isn't his thing) There was always lots to do on board and on all the shore days too. I bought one of the Frozen drink packages for my husband who was then able to have any alcohol or non alcohol frozen drink. This was well worth it for him on such a hot itinerary even though he is not a big drinker. The food was spectacular and the restaurants all fantastic. My youngest loved chocolate ice cream at that age and the ice cream counter lady was amazing with him always encouraging healthier choices. The room Stewarts were always leaving great towel animals for the boys to enjoy. The boys have several friends who have now gone on cruise as kids are perfect ambassadors I loved the little bar dining area at the back of the ship for lunch and or brunch on sea days. Try the bagels or croissants with the cream cheese and the lox or the amazing blintz. I know even with working out and all the touring I still gained 5 pounds but it was so worth it . My husband says I travel by tasting and shopping I think he may be half right I love the people and their foods and the sights. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2011
Constellation 1/02/11-1/15/11 San Diego-Fort Lauderdale 13 nights My husband and I traveled on the Celebrity Constellation from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale. It was our second Celebrity cruise. We have also cruised Carnival, ... Read More
Constellation 1/02/11-1/15/11 San Diego-Fort Lauderdale 13 nights My husband and I traveled on the Celebrity Constellation from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale. It was our second Celebrity cruise. We have also cruised Carnival, Premier, NCL, Holland America, and most recently Royal Caribbean. I have read and learned so much on CC that I want to share our experience. Embarkation: This was the only area where improvement is needed. I need to start with the fact that our documents did say that arrival after 2PM was recommended. As all seasoned cruisers know most ships begin boarding between 11:30 and 12. When we arrived at 11AM cruisers from the previous trip were still at the terminal. Wow we had never seen that before. The luggage drop off area was chaos. That is because there was only one porter to collect all the luggage of the arriving passengers. The other porters were still helping the departing passengers. Once we dropped off our luggage we headed to the check in area. Short line, we got our sea pass cards and boarding group number one and off we went. The check in agent said boarding should begin about 11:30. We made our way to a large room with folding chairs and we waited and waited. To summarize boarding for passengers did not begin until 2 PM. Our beef is that no information was given. If they had explained the delay it would have made things better. Communication was lacking here. The Ship: The overall appearance of the ship was beautiful. Everything was sparkling clean and if there was wear and tear we never saw it!!! My husband noticed that several LED lights were not working especially on the stair treads in one of the lounges that was dimly lit, but I would never have noticed it. He felt it was safety issue. We spent our first half hour exploring the ship. We decided to have a quiet lunch on Bistro on 5. One of the best tips we read on CC. We were the only patrons the entire time!! Lunch was great and we vowed to return later in the cruise, which we did. Cabin: We had a veranda cabin on deck 7. On first entering the cabin looked smaller than others we have had. Once our luggage came and we unpacked, the efficiency of the storage made up for it. We had a place for everything plus storage that we never used, making the cabin very efficient and not so small any more. The bathroom also had plenty of storage. The only criticism here was the hairdryer. It was fixed on the bathroom wall and not very efficient. I was very happy I brought my own. Now I could dry my hair in the cabin at the vanity while my husband showered. Food: We ate most breakfasts in the Buffet. Never had trouble finding a table and I never felt crowded.Food was plentiful, lots of variety. Omelet stations, poached egg station, waffle, French toast and pancake station. The stations made the buffet very efficient. Coffee was hot and good. We had breakfast twice in the dining room. Service was fast, food good, not as big a selection as buffet, but being waited on was a plus. We had lunch in either the buffet or at the grill, the selection seemed large. Most days we opted for a light meal at lunch. Dinners: We had select dining. Let me start by saying we sat in different sections, repeating wait staff only a few times. We never waited for a table. Service each night was efficient and orders were received promptly and correctly. The one thing I don't get about select dining is the reservation system. We had made reservations online prior to our cruise as is suggested. They always had a table for us, but the dining room manager consistently made comments that we could get a more desirable table by arriving earlier or at a different time. HUH?? As the cruise progressed we continued to arrive at our reserved time and the comments stopped. Overall we were pleased with our select dining experience and we booked that for our next cruise. We ate at both the Tuscan Grille and Oceanliners. Both were outstanding in service and food and presentation. I would recommend both these restaurants, with Ocean liners being our favorite. Formal nights: We made a decision before the cruise not to dress for formal nights for many reasons. We made reservations for the specialty restaurants on the first two formal nights and ate at Bistro on 5 for the third. This allowed us to stay within the luggage weight and allowance for our airlines and have an overall more relaxed dining experience. Birthday celebration: My husband's birthday happened to be on a sea day and also our second formal night. He had asked me not to make a big deal about this. He preferred to keep it quiet, no decorations, or singing waiters. We had reservations for Tuscan Grille that night. In our cabin on our arrival to the ship, there was an envelope addressed to only me and inside was a short note from the captain's club concierge stating that they noted it was my husband's birthday and if there was any way they could help me in celebrating that day to let them know. Another Wow!! I knew I wanted to try to arrange for a bridge tour. On the first sea day I called the concierge dept and made that request. They said "They would be happy to make that happen" ... And they did. The day before his birthday he received an invitation to attend a bridge tour. He was very surprised and excited. It was a perfect way for him to celebrate his day!! He also received a certificate good for 30 dollars in purchases in the on board shops, a very nice touch and totally unexpected!! We especially appreciated the smoking policy on Celebrity. We never smelled smoke the whole trip. The entertainment was plentiful around the ship. There were multiple venues every night with music playing throughout the evening. We attended most of the evening shows and enjoyed them all. We thought the singers/dancers on this ship were the best we have seen on any ship. Their shows and the guest entertainers were all very good. A bonus on this trip was that there was a large jazz group on board consisting of several bands and followers. They were not part of the ship's entertainment, but they played in the lounge areas of the ship almost every night and the cruise director announced that we were allowed to go listen whenever they were playing. This added to our trip as we enjoyed their music. Ports: Our first port was Cabo San Lucas. We booked a private excursion. My husband had seen a small boat whale watch on the Celebrity site when investigating this cruise and that's what he wanted to do. When the shore excursions for this trip came on the web site, the small boat excursion was not available. So after some investigation I booked an independent excursion. It was a fifteen person boat. The excursion was fantastic. We saw 6 whales up close and personal, (within the government guidelines for how close you can get to the whales), which is what we wanted. Acapulco: We did the ship's sponsored city tour which gave us a good overview of the city. It included the cliff divers, which were amazing. Hualtuco: We did not book an excursion here. We walked from the ship to the shopping area and beach. Costa Rico: We booked the Rainforest Canopy Tour, which was a zip line tour through the rain forest. My husband loved it, but it was a bit too adventurous for me. I'm glad I did it once, but would not do it again!! One thing I would note is that it was difficult to see much of the rain forest as you were moving fast. I can now cross zip lining off my "list"!! Panama Canal Transit: we did not do an excursion here, opting to enjoy the canal and locks on the ship. It was great day. Cartegna Columbia: We did a ship sponsored city tour. We felt it gave a great overview of the city and it's rich history. Sea Days: There were many listed activities. Our agenda on this trip was rest and relaxation. We participated in very few activities. We attended the galley tour, which was enlightening. The only thing lacking here was there was no cookbook available. I would have bought one if offered!! My husband attended the navigation talk by the captain and he was impressed with his professionalism and found the talk worthwhile. There was a list of Captain Club activities given to us on arrival to our room. The only one we attended was the backstage theater tour. This was informative and worthwhile. Disembarkation: We opted for the luggage valet service. For an extra $20.00/person The cruiseline transported our luggage so the next time we saw it was when we got off our plane in Boston. They printed our boarding passes and we were able to go through customs with just our carry-ons. Well worth the up charge in our opinion. Overall: The staff on this ship are outstanding. Everyone we encountered was friendly and smiling. Earning extra credits was our room steward Doris, who went out of her way on a daily basis for us. She was the best. We also noticed that the head waiters worked harder than I've ever seen, clearing tables, serving meals, trouble shooting, and generally checking that all guests were having a good experience. They all went out of our way to make our trip the best we have had in fourteen cruises. If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them. Thank you for reading my review. Debbie Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We thoroughly enjoyed our 15 nights aboard the Celebrity Constellation. We (2 adults and 2 teenagers) had the time of our lives. The ship was just fantastic - having recently been refurbished. Our cabin on level 8 (with balcony 2 B) was ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our 15 nights aboard the Celebrity Constellation. We (2 adults and 2 teenagers) had the time of our lives. The ship was just fantastic - having recently been refurbished. Our cabin on level 8 (with balcony 2 B) was very comfortable and in a great spot on the ship, at the front near the lifts but not to close. Our kids were in a separate cabin on level 2 (inside cabin). We chose this because it was cheaper than the 4 of us staying in one cabin. We booked through VacationsToGo and (despite being from Australia) we had absolutely no problems with our booking. Our cruise had 7 ports of call, Cartagena Columbia, Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, and 4 Mexican ports, Huatulco, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Luca. Each was wonderful and worth visiting, our favourite was Cabo San Luca. We did NOT require a yellow fever vaccine certificate for Costa Rica (which was something I was very worried about) - in fact our passports were not checked at any of the ports of call. The ship's entertainment was really great with shows every night as well as lectures and activities every day. Enough to keep everyone satisfied. The food was divine. Our waiter at the San Marco Restaurant, Mr Cecil, was fantastic and allowed us to overindulge every night - providing us with extra desserts. On sea days we spent quite a bit of time at the Aqua day spa - which was a bit expensive - but decadent. For Christmas, the ship gave everyone on board a lovely cruise bag for a present - which was really nice. For New Year's Eve (which we celebrated twice!)the ship's crew went to a lot of trouble to put on a wonderful night. We had three formal nights on board but there were no facy dress theme nights (as there is on other cruise lines). Our kids were very well entertained. We basically didn't see them much for 2 weeks - they spent all of their time at the kids club - the X club. There were approximately 250 kids on board and most just happen to be the same age as our two (15 & 17 yrs) - which was just fantastic for them. They made so many friends from all over the world. There is nothing we didn't like about this cruise. I fully recommend this cruise line, ship and itinerary. 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
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: March 2010
Let's begin with a few words about the author. My wife and I have cruised for many years and have experienced most of the mainline cruise companies along the way. In a number of cases, we have had multiple cruises on various lines. We ... Read More
Let's begin with a few words about the author. My wife and I have cruised for many years and have experienced most of the mainline cruise companies along the way. In a number of cases, we have had multiple cruises on various lines. We are experienced enough to arrange for our own tours, i.e. not sponsored by the cruise lines. We have enjoyed all of our cruising experiences and recognize that each cruise has its occasional lapses. Our trip on Constellation departed San Diego en route to Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Huatulco (all in Mexico), Costa Rica, a full Panama Canal transit, and Cartagena, Colombia with departure at Miami. Regarding Constellation, we had an outstanding experience. The ship is understated elegance. Although large, we never felt crowded. There are all sorts of spacious gathering areas. It is the most stable riding ship we have ever experienced. Although now on its way to refurbishing in dry dock, it is meticulously maintained. It has a quirky art collection on board, not to my tastes but interesting nonetheless. The crew is very friendly and will interact with the passengers, which is a nice change from years ago when Celebrity had a "non-intrusive" crew policy, read "cold atmosphere". In fact, we both remarked that the crew went out of its way to greet you whenever they encountered you on your travels about the ship. Since this was a long cruise during the school year, younger people were definitely in the minority. We have been on many Celebrity cruises and have seen a wide variety of age groups on board, so the demographics of this particular cruise should not be used as a measure of the age of all passengers on this line. With that said, I would characterize Celebrity passengers in general as educated, cultured, and international, although most are from the U.S. We both noticed more people dressing up on this cruise compared to previous cruises on Celebrity. Once again, this may be due to the ages of the passengers on this particular cruise. There were very few t-shirts in view, unless purchased from the ship and denoting the ports visited. The entertainment was quite good, but for a more cultured audience. The resident dance and singing company was as good as we've seen. The musical groups in venues outside the main theater were excellent. The headliner type acts were typical of cruise lines throughout the industry. One exceptional feature was a Smithsonian lecturer who was an expert on Latin America. I found his talks to be extremely interesting. Regarding food services, we were not disappointed. Celebrity is known for its dining experiences. The service and food in the main dining room was excellent. The buffet was as good as we've seen anywhere. One note: we used the traditional seating method of dining, as did the majority of the passengers. We find that the service is more attentive and we get to all of our activities without the hassle of planning our dining in a group of six. The only complaint we heard was from people who chose the "free style"service. They found the experience to be longer with less attentive service. Do you have more freedom when you dine this way? Yes, but you pay a price as well. One negative was the 40's night party on deck 11, a clear substitute to the old midnight buffet. It was crowded and dangerous because of it. Surprisingly, there was little or no 40's music played. Free drinks of any kind, including water, were not in supply. Another negative was the trivia contests on board. Some of the crew acted like they had never conducted one before. Passengers were giving the crew advice about how to m.c. the games. The games were still fun, just frustrating at times. All in all, this was pretty minor stuff. In general, we had the impression that little expense was spared to provide the passengers with a memorable experience, even though the fare was very low for a premium cruise line. This ship gets high marks, indeed! Cabo San Lucas We had been here previously on another cruise, so we elected to tour Todos Santos on a ship sponsored tour. It was well-narrated and the trip there, although long, was very beautiful. The town itself is interesting but not spectacular in any way. If in Cabo for the first time, a trip to El Arco is a must. Restaurant Mi Casa is also highly recommended. Acapulco Many reviewers are not kind to this community. They cite crime issues and "faded glory". We did our homework and booked the highly recommended Tour by Van with Rudy Fregoso (Rudy Acapulco). Rudy and his guide Sergio took us on an exceptional tour of a beautiful city. We found the people of Acapulco to be most welcoming. Rudy's van is spotless, can go where the large tour buses can't go, and is considerably less expensive than the ship tours. Huatulco There are some very nice shops near the pier. The jewelry shop here has a superior selection of fire opals, but they are expensive. The beaches are nice, but the water is still not up to Caribbean quality. The nearby town of La Crucecita is a short distance away, but may not be worth the time and trouble since time is tight. The area is picturesque. I would suggest shopping and swimming. The beach by the pier is very nice. Costa Rica We went on a river tour here, which we enjoyed. We saw lots of crocodiles and birds. As in Acapulco, we used a private van, this time through Okey Dokey Tours, another highly recommended service. It was an excellent tour at a very reasonable price. One negative note: I expected an eco paradise here, but was surprised to see the amount of trash and litter. I haven't seen anything like this since we were in Santo Domingo during a garbage strike. Waste Management is needed here. This was all the more glaring due to the country's international reputation for ecological management. Sadly, Costa Rica was the least clean of all our stops. Panama Canal Amazing. Period. Cristobal Colon This is a souvenir stand, pier only stop. Cartagena, Colombia As in previous stops, we used a private van service through Lee Miles (Mr. Emerald). His guide, Mercedes, provided an exceptional tour of a beautiful city for a very low price. The old city is reminiscent of the French Quarter in New Orleans. The city is clean and safe. In many ways, the best was saved for last. One note: If shopping for emeralds, you will find a superior and cheaper selection than the ship's at Mr. Emerald in Cartagena. Summary This is a great ship with wonderful dining and activities. It is particularly recommended for individuals looking for an educational experience and for those interested in meeting people from around the world. Trip highlights for us (with the right tour provided) would be Acapulco and Cartagena, although all stops were interesting. This ship and itinerary is probably not the best for families with children, including teens. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
We stayed onboard the Constellation to do back-to-back cruises. The first cruise was a private charter from San Diego to Hawaii for 16 glorious days. I don't like to fly, so when I saw that the Constellation was going through the ... Read More
We stayed onboard the Constellation to do back-to-back cruises. The first cruise was a private charter from San Diego to Hawaii for 16 glorious days. I don't like to fly, so when I saw that the Constellation was going through the canal to Miami after our charter cruise, I asked my husband if we could go. He said, yes, and we called our local travel agent to book the second cruise. We were lucky enough to have the same cabin on both cruises, so we did not even need to pack up at the end of the first cruise. This meant we were on the ship for 29 nights. We were a little worried that we might not like the cabin since it was only on deck 3 and right next to the Guest Relations desk and offices. If we didn't like it, we were going to be stuck there a long time. It was also our first experience with Celebrity cruise line. We needn't have worried at all. The location of the cabin turned out to be a big PLUS. It was very convenient to everything and very quiet. We never heard people out in the lobby at all, and there was not as much traffic through our corridor as we expected. The cabin was spacious, beautifully appointed, with lots of storage space for the two of us. We had LOTS of clothes and bags since we were on a 42 day trip, including 30 cruising days. Still, we did not feel crowded in this Oceanview stateroom. The Celebrity Constellation's bathroom was also extremely nice, with a very large shower. This was a pleasant surprise. Some other cruise lines, even in balcony cabins, have much smaller bathrooms. We also loved the food service. My husband and I keep kosher at home and like to eat vegetarian outside the home, including fish. On buffets it is sometimes problematic if you don't know what's in the dish. The Constellation had all of its food items on the buffet labeled very well, plus any staff member we asked about the food was knowledgeable. This was not always the case on some other lines. When we ordered kosher meals, they were hot and delicious as well. We especially LOVED the grilled tuna and salad prepared and served at the AquaSpa Cafe. We ate lunch there at least half of the days. As for the main dining restaurant, the San Marco, the food was good and attractively prepared. There was always a vegetarian option as well as one or two fish options to choose. Our only complaint was that the service was very slow. Our early seating dinner time of 6 p.m. usually had us leaving at 8 p.m. Two hours for dinner was just a little too long for our taste, but our tablemates were congenial, so we had lots of good conversations. We loved the ports of call: Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Hautulco, Puntarenas, Panama Canal cruising, Cristobal Pier, Cartagena. We started in San Diego and ended in Miami, which was perfect for us. We are not particularly adventurous travelers, so we always choose shore excursions provided by the cruise line. Again Celebrity excelled at this. We enjoyed every excursion and thought that the cruise line did an excellent job in organizing people to head out on each adventure. We overheard some people complaining that it took too long to get everyone out and on their way, but honestly when any organization is trying to deal with over 2,000 people at the same time, there might be a snafu or two. We felt that it was handled as well as could be expected, very much like any other cruise line we have tried (Holland America, Princess, and Disney), and we were out and about doing our activities when we were scheduled to do so. I really don't see why anyone had anything to complain about. Staying 30 days on the same ship meant getting to know the staff really well. Everyone was extremely friendly. We were greeted, often by name, most of the time. Our room steward, assistant maitre d', and San Marco servers were especially wonderful. This friendliness allowed us to feel at home for our month at sea. The ship also had wonderful entertainment and lots of little places to go for drinks or specialty coffees while enjoying some quiet entertainment by pianists, singers, guitarists, a cappella singers, and string quartets. We found more entertainment options in these smaller venues than we had experienced on any other cruise line. Many of the entertainment options changed after the first charter cruise, while some remained. This provided us some nice variety as well. Finally there were lectures every sea day about the history, culture, or natural wonders of the upcoming ports. Two different lecturers provided about five or six talks, EACH. Wow! We learned so much about the places we were visiting. The Constellation left us in Miami and then went on a translatlantic cruise which ended with a refit in Germany. My husband and I are now very interested in booking another cruise on this ship to see the new improvements that have been made. We were also so impressed with Celebrity as a cruise line that we have booked three back-to-back cruises on the Celebrity Century in February of 2011. I can't wait! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
This was our fourth cruise, after Carnival in the Bahamas, HAL - Mexican Rivera, and Princess - Alaska. I'm seventy, my wife of 47 years, sixty-nine. Celebrity and its ship, Constellation, topped all of our previous three. Night ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise, after Carnival in the Bahamas, HAL - Mexican Rivera, and Princess - Alaska. I'm seventy, my wife of 47 years, sixty-nine. Celebrity and its ship, Constellation, topped all of our previous three. Night before in a arranged Miami Hotel and the boarding process went well. Throughout the cruise -- almost every encounter with a crew member was one in which respect and genuine warmth was expressed! This is to be highly commended. Our cabin was well constructed, with the bathroom having enough room, a reality not so with HAL and Princess, where one can barely turn around in the shower! Our steward and his assistance were attentive, but not overly so. However, they could have been more enthusiastic. The food was certainly the highlight of this cruise, with out head waiter and his assistant so attentive and wanting to please. The "wine guy" had a sparkling personality and served us well. Just the right amount of servings for a healthy approach. I must say the healthy buffet at the Aqua Spa saved the day for both of us. During at sea days we ate both breakfast and lunch there. On those same days, we walked on the jogging-walking track around the eleventh deck. And we also made good use of the gym and its staff. Both my wife and I gained just two pounds over our fourteen day experience. On previous cruises, I unfortunately usually gained a pound a day. This was a "healthy cruise," during which we felt supported by the Celebrity crew and environment. The nightly shows were good, although a couple left something to be desired. The singers/dancers were great and enthusiastic. The top Shore Excursions for us were Cottaging, Columbia, and Huatulco, Mexico - with Acapulco a close third. The Costa Rica Port of Punt arenas is dirty, and left something to be desired, and Cabo San Lucas has become a building fest and overly commercialized. The Shore Excursions were good, but on the whole, not outstanding. The Constellation is easy to find ones way around, and we rarely got lost. The elevators are well placed, and directional signs helped a lot. The highlight of this cruise for us was traveling through the Panama Canal! The narrative provided throughout the day was very helpful. Although the last day in San Diego was an unpleasant experience, it did not detract from our overall experience. The Coast Guard apparently couldn't find all the international passengers, communication broke down and resulted in hours of waiting. Our San Diego Port and Airport experience were the same as the previous time, not good! The whole process needs redoing, and San Diego needs a new updated airport, like we have in Portland, Oregon Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
We spent the night before the cruise at the Holiday Inn on the Bay. Enjoyed getting up the next morning and seeing the Connie right outside our window. Embarcation was long and slow. First time I've ever gone after 2:00 p.m. and ... Read More
We spent the night before the cruise at the Holiday Inn on the Bay. Enjoyed getting up the next morning and seeing the Connie right outside our window. Embarcation was long and slow. First time I've ever gone after 2:00 p.m. and I'll never do that again. Friends who went aboard at noon just breezed on. Our cabin was great, our stateroom attendant, Doris, was very attentive. We ate in the main dining room at the main seating--our waiter, Bonifacio, and his assistant, Luther, were fabulous. We hated to leave them behind! The event coordinator, Allen Sharpe, was extraordinary. He welcomed us all to the Connections party with nametags and introduced several of the ship's officers. None of the officers spoke for a long time; they gave us time to visit with each other. Allen arranged a bridge tour for all of us as well as one for the members of my group. Cruise Critic members were also invited to a sailaway on the helipad. I cannot say enough good things about the staff on this ship. Everyone we met was pleasant and friendly and wanting to please. Denise, of the shore excursion desk, went out of her way to get two friends and me on a whale watch on a zodiac. I've never seen so many whales up close! Food was very good. Our waiter seemed to be able to conjure up our favorites. Huatulco is not listed in the dropdown menus for a review. Probably because it's hot and not particularly interesting. The journey through the Panama Canal was very interesting. We got off the ship at Cristobal Pier and did a bit of shopping after the transit. Embarcation in Miami was long--not getting off the ship, that was a breeze, but very long customs lines. We had a large number of foreign nationals on the ship, so that could have been part of the problem. Note to TSA: do what the Europeans do, have one line for people with EU passports and one line for all others. In Miami, there could be one line for US passports and one line for all others. I'd sail the Connie again in a heartbeat! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
We choose this specific cruise as a way to see some new sights and also to relax. Spent the night before the cruise at the Westin San Diego, an outstanding hotel, and around noon were picked by Celebrity and in half an hour were in our ... Read More
We choose this specific cruise as a way to see some new sights and also to relax. Spent the night before the cruise at the Westin San Diego, an outstanding hotel, and around noon were picked by Celebrity and in half an hour were in our suite. We had a Concierge Class suite with a nice veranda, good size suite. We think that we took to much stuff with us and still we were able to arrange everything in the closet and put our luggage under the bed for the entire cruise. Very convenient. We found the ship well maintained, elegant and with a very good service. Our attendant accommodated all our needs without any problems. The food selection was very good. We used for breakfast and lunches the Spa Cafe, a terrific place where you can eat healthy food in moderate quantities.Ivo and Christian provided very good service and advice. For dinner we had the flexible option, we had dinner every night at a different time, most of the time we shared a table with other guests and this was a very good opportunity to meet a lot of nice people. We used the Ocean Liners restaurant twice and found the food and service outstanding, especially Christian and Nicoleta provided very good advice on food and wine selection. We booked shore excursions on the web before we started the cruise for all ports except Acapulco.In Acapulco we booked a tour with Rudy from Tour by Van tours of Acapulco. This was by far the best tour. Rudy fulfilled his agreed upon obligations and more. I strongly recommend him. The Celebrity organized shore excursions were good to very good except the one in Huatulco, Mexico. The ship had a large variety of entertainment events, some better than others, but in general, we enjoyed most of them very much, especially the dance band which provided good live dance music almost daily. As our flight was very late we took a tour in Miami. We disembark quickly but had to wait more than an hour for another guest which apparently had her suitcase misplaced. All in all a very enjoyable vacation and we will definitely use Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
Celebrity Constellation Jan 2010 The wife and I have just completed a 14-day cruise from Miami to San Diego via the canal on the Celebrity Constellation. Our Daughter and Son-In- Law joined us. We had a great cruise with little problems. ... Read More
Celebrity Constellation Jan 2010 The wife and I have just completed a 14-day cruise from Miami to San Diego via the canal on the Celebrity Constellation. Our Daughter and Son-In- Law joined us. We had a great cruise with little problems. We would rate the overall experience a 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5. The little cut on the rating comes from the embarking and debarking process. We think that Celebrity is taking more of a bad hit than they should. We feel some of the problem lay with non- USA citizens not showing up as requested for the debarkation process and the U.S. Immigration Dept. process. We found the food in the main dining room very good with a wide selection. Some of the daily appetizers left a little bit to be desired but the options from the everyday menu side more than made up for this concern. Our table staff did an excellent job and met every need and request, Our room Stewart and his assistant did a very good job. They made up the room quickly and responded to any request or needs we had. This is our second cruise with this Stewart and we have been pleased both times. We attended several lectures and enjoyed them. Most of our entertainment came at Michael's club with Perry Grant. This was our second cruise with Perry on board and we enjoyed him just as much this time. In the theater we found the Celebrity Orchestra to be somewhat loud. Sometimes drowning out the main act. Our shore tours we booked through Celebrity were pretty good. The boat tour to see Acapulco bay and the cliff divers was excellent. The Lands End tour was mostly enjoyable but it fell off at the end of the tour when we were brought to a hotel, wrong hotel than what was listed, for some refreshment and to sit around getting ready to leave for the ship. The 2nd half of the tour was kind of a waste. We did a private tour with other Cruise Club members by Okey Dokey tours in Costa Rica. Mistake, long time going places to not see much. The beach they took us to was filthy and the AC in the van did not work well. We found the ship in excellent condition. There are signs around showing that the ship has been in service 7 or 8 years but this had no effect on the cruise enjoyment. The Constellation is scheduled for refurbishment if April. We spent a day in San Diego's Old Town area and enjoyed it greatly. We also got out just before the rains came. We would highly recommend this cruise to others. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
Fantastic is all I can say. Just a perfect cruise. Embarkation: There was a delay but so what. It went fast and once on board I made my way to the Buffet (as did everyone else) and pushed my way through the crowd. I was starving since I ... Read More
Fantastic is all I can say. Just a perfect cruise. Embarkation: There was a delay but so what. It went fast and once on board I made my way to the Buffet (as did everyone else) and pushed my way through the crowd. I was starving since I haven't eaten in years and really needed to get at it. Outta my way, outta my way! Let me at it!! I was so hungry that I ate off the tray as I shoved my way through the line. Just kidding, but the first day is a feeding frenzy. The buffet food was very good and lots of variety offered. Stateroom: Fabulous! We had a corner aft and the best room steward, Denis, that we ever had. When I first got to the room the couches and patio furniture looked like they came straight from the Goodwill store but I got over that in about 5 minutes. We spend a lot of time on our veranda so this was important to us. Just fantastic. MDR: Bring the bread, quick! Hurry, hurry, hurry with the appetizers, salads, main course, dessert, hurry! I'm starving!! I'm a regular bottom feeder. The food was great in the MDR the first week and went downhill from there but we enjoyed our tablemates and continued to go to visit with them otherwise I would have tried a different food venue. The Oceanliners restaurant was great and was worth every penny but we only went once. Highly recommended. Entertainment: Very good except for one night. The best was Perry Grant. We found him too late, about 9 days into the trip, but didn't miss him after that. He made me laugh and he is just a great entertainer. I love you Perry! The ship overall is in beautiful condition. Very clean and well taken care of. Went up to the pool deck early every morning just to check on the chair hogs and make sure they were all there and they were. It didn't bother me as I don't spend time there but I just wanted to see what everyone was talking about. Ports: If you go to Punta Arenas, Costa Rica take a ships tour. The port is a pit with the dirtiest beaches we ever saw in all of our travels. We did an Okey Dokey tour with Charlie Soto along the coast to see the world's dirtiest beaches and I wouldn't recommend doing that or going with him. The people we talked to who did ships tours were very happy and loved what they had to offer. All of the other port stops were fine. The Casino wasn't very kind to me. The service overall was fantastic. I can't wait to go again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
We had a wonderful time on this cruise, we opted to add 2 extra nights in San Diego, so with the night they put you up we had 3 nights. I would definitely recommend this has it is such a long flight, that we were fresh by the time we ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on this cruise, we opted to add 2 extra nights in San Diego, so with the night they put you up we had 3 nights. I would definitely recommend this has it is such a long flight, that we were fresh by the time we boarded our cruise ship. we absolutely loved San Diego and would recommend the Sheraton Marina where we stayed, we had a lovely room and we visited the Famous San Diego zoo, the gaslight quarter which was great for shopping and eating. Definitely eat at Richards pancake house, it was yum. The ship boarding was a bit drawn out but we got through it, we were a bit disappointed with our room as the balcony had an overhang which we didn't like. we asked to be moved which they did after a couple of days and moved us up to concierge class so we were happy after that. We really liked the ship, lots of wood panelling and the food and service was excellent. The shows were brilliant, we went every night. The resident singer/dancers and the orchestra were great and the acts ranged from violinist to ventriloquist to singers etc all were excellent. The thing we really liked though was they had small artists in the smaller bars guitarist,string quartet, piano player etc and they were all really nice to listen to whilst you were having a drink before dinner. Our first stop was cabo San Lucas which was well worth getting off the ship for, we looked round the shops and market stalls and went out on a boat from the harbour. this cost 25 dollars each which was well worth it. Our next stop was Acapulco which we really liked. we got off the ship and got in a mini bus with some other people from the ship, again this cost 25 dollars each, we were taken all around the sights, the monastery, beach, where the diver jump. we had a full day and felt it was well worth the money, and much cheaper than the trips on board ship. Our next stop was Huatulco mexico, there wasn't much to see here but we still got off the ship for a wander round, we found the people friendly, and goods were cheap to buy. Our next stop was Puntarenas costa Rica, we booked a trip this time from on board the ship, we went walking in the mountains and rain forest. It was enjoyable but we were held back a lot of the time by people who couldn't walk very fast. I didn't feel that it was worth the £40 each and so we decided after that we would stick to doing our own thing with taxis etc. Next we did a full transit of the Panama canal, we got up a 7am to make sure we saw all we should. This was a great sight and we couldn't believe how skillful the captain and his team had to be.we passed through several locks as you would on a canal, but on such a big scale, we would definitely recommend this trip. After that we went to cristobal pier panama and then Cartagena Columbia, once again we did our own trips using taxis. There was lots to see in Cartagena, we were taken all round the city, it has a castle, many shops and markets. well worth a look. we were then 2 days at sea and back to the port of Miami and flight home We had a great time, our dinner waiter Gidey who was from Bali couldn't do enough for you. we would definitely recommend Celebrity cruises and also the panama canal for cruising. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
The little things that made it great: no annoying loud speaker announcements; no pesty bar wait staff; no pesty photographs. If I wanted a drink or a photo, I could easily get it. But nobody was "in my face" trying to sell me ... Read More
The little things that made it great: no annoying loud speaker announcements; no pesty bar wait staff; no pesty photographs. If I wanted a drink or a photo, I could easily get it. But nobody was "in my face" trying to sell me anything. The little things that made it less than perfect: the order of the meals in the dining room. I loved the food, but I didn't want lamb two nights in a row (even though I love lamb) and I didn't want slow-cooked meat two nights in a row (even though I love osso buco and braised short ribs). The cabin steward, who left us Q-tips on Day One but then didn't replenish them. The same cabin steward, who didn't bring us ice at 5 or 6 pm even though we asked for it a few times. The same cabin steward, who left us the old Daily Program once instead of the next day's. The time change -- we wanted to get up at 6 am to see the entry into the Panama Canal. After dinner, lo and behold we find out we're losing an hour's sleep that night! We'd rather have lost an hour after the long Puntarenas day, when we were already exhausted but when we had an AT SEA day the next morning so we could sleep as late as we wanted. I personally would've preferred going to Jamaica or Grand Cayman rather than Cartagena, after the Canal. As you can see from the marks I gave this cruise, it was pretty close to perfection for me. Congratulations on providing a great product, Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
Mr. B. and I have gone on seven cruises with five different cruise lines (two now defunct). In the past three years, we've cruised four times: HAL twice, Carnival once, Celebrity's Connie twice. We're approaching age 65 (and ... Read More
Mr. B. and I have gone on seven cruises with five different cruise lines (two now defunct). In the past three years, we've cruised four times: HAL twice, Carnival once, Celebrity's Connie twice. We're approaching age 65 (and Mr. B. has been retired for five years). We had reason to be in San Diego from Nov. 30th to Dec. 6th and have "always" wanted to cruise through the Panama Canal. A little searching revealed that we could cruise on the Constellation, home of our fabulous 14-day Baltic cruise in July, 2008, and end up in Miami, positioned to drive home to the west coast of Florida. Seemed perfect! Booking quickly followed. The cruise met and exceeded our expectations about 98% of the time. At first we weren't going to book a Concierge Class cabin, just opting for a veranda and saving about $400 for the cabin. A few months later, though, a price reduction meant we could have a CC again (had one on the Baltic, too) for just about $100 more total than the veranda cabin. This seemed worth it, and indeed I still think it was the right choice. On embarkation day, before we left our lovely Omni Hotel (booked for around $100/night at Hotwire), we heard that the previous cruisers' disembarkation had been delayed until 10:30 am, over two hours later than scheduled . We went at our planned time anyway, but were probably more delayed than we would've been, otherwise. The Omni, btw, had THE best staff -- getting us right into the mood of the Constellation crew who were always anxious to do whatever we needed to make our cruise successful. The folks waiting to get off the ship after their westbound Panama Canal cruise were no doubt as anxious to get off as we were to get on, but Customs and Immigration doesn't let our anxiety concern them. They do their job. I can't say that I blame them; but it makes for a frustrating start or end to a cruise, that's for sure. Our cruise ended in a similar fashion, not with a specific delay, but the process of going through Customs and Immigration in Miami was slow, slow, slow. Perhaps Celebrity staff are overly optimistic when planning our departure times, and definitely they could give us 15 minute updates reminding us that we are only allowed off as quickly (meaning, as slowly) as the authorities manage to process us. Finding our luggage rather easily was a big relief and off we finally went, breathing a sigh of relief that we only took two hours from our expected disembarking to our actually walking away with all of our luggage firmly in hand. Ok, back to the beginning. We arrived at the port at around 12:15. Despite the signs saying to drop luggage on the right, as we entered the port area, our taxi driver knew where to go -- on the left, where plenty of luggage had already been deposited. Ours joined it, and we walked across to the embarkation area. One lone guard was supposed to be directing us to a sitting area. There we waited a bit even before being allowed to join the end of the three long lines of people going through the security scanning process. Afterwards, though, we quickly sped through the Concierge Class check-in and showed our gold room card key to see if it would get us onboard before our "group". Sure enough, onboard we went! Our cabin was ready (it must've been about 1:15 by then) so we dropped off our carry-ons and headed up to SeaSide Cafe. As we had boarded very early, it was quite empty. It was quite delicious. When we returned to the cabin, our luggage was there and we unpacked! I went wandering around, looking at the internet packages and then deciding perhaps I should check on our table assignment. Good thing I did! I have no idea why I was sure my request for a table-for-two would be honored. We were assigned to a large table and I waited my turn to change the reservation. In the meantime, I learned some interesting things. The seatings were very lopsided. About 1300 guests were confirmed at the Main Seating (6 pm) and only half that many had Late (8:30). We vastly prefer Late, so we were happy with that part of our assignment. Some folks, though, had to wait to deal with a more serious worry. Although their reservations had been cross-referenced with other cruisers, quite a few had not been assigned to the same table as their travel companions! They all mentioned that this had never been a problem before. I am guessing it all got sorted out. I even heard of a couple who were wait-listed for Main and they were "cleared for the second dinner! It was quite chilly for our sail-away, but we were up on Deck 11, going from side to side, trying to pick out various landmarks. I had hoped to see the Hotel Del Coronado, but I could only guess at it. Then the lights I thought were La Jolla might've been Tijuana! However, Mr. B. was able to point out the Midway plus a newer aircraft carrier at the Coronado Naval Station to me. Mr. B. highly recommends the Midway tour. Our experience with the food this cruise was quite a big better than in the Baltic in 2008. We felt the dinners in the Main Dining Room were outstanding, with just a few disappointments. Our serving staff would fix anything we didn't find satisfactory (only happened once). I highly recommend Loreto and Moises, as well as Nicolina, our wine stewardess. The left side of the menu stays the same every night and we enjoyed the escargot and the French onion soup, as well as the Caesar salad, on a few nights. Be sure to say if you want anchovies! Mr. B. loved the left side apple pie, and I had fresh berries one night for dessert. Just ask! The right side of the menu changes nightly and almost always had two (or more) appealing items for us in every category, appetizers, soups and salads, and mains. Some nights we ordered a soup AND a salad. About 95% of what we ordered came out appropriately hot and delicious. How do they keep the lettuce so fresh that on the 14th dinner, a thousand cruisers get crisp lettuce in their salad? There's a hearty soup, a broth and a cold soup selection every night, always a melon appetizer and several other choices, and pretty much everything we ordered had been cooked to our liking. Whoever planned the recipes definitely does everything that appeals to me and to Mr. B. One particular favorite appetizer was a pear and goat cheese pairing. Interestingly enough, we'd devoured the poached pear dessert, the night before! Many nights the vegetarian entree appealed to me, but so did the seafood or fish or fowl or lamb or veal. There was duck one night, followed the next by a nice duck appetizer. I even enjoyed the prime rib the first time it was offered (and Mr. B. ordered and enjoyed it, the second time). Perhaps our good experience with the food being served at the right temperature had to do with our being on Late Seating (not so busy), and being not too far from the kitchen. Of course it was also Loreto's skill! Our buffet experiences were outstanding, too. It can be overwhelming to new cruisers, but if you go when you're not rushed, and do a stroll around the entire place, you'll be more apt to know exactly what you'd like to try, and on subsequent days you can almost plan your meal before you even get up to Deck 10. New stations that I noticed this year include the poached egg station for breakfast (still having the eggs benedict, sometimes with spinach or salmon, on the two main buffet lines), and the fish and chips/jacket potato/shepherd pie/mushy peas station at lunch. There were several nicely done Asian choices every single day at their own station, mostly Indian but also quite a bit of Thai. The waffles (go as far aft as you can to find them) are great and very popular at breakfast. Blintzes are available there, too, as well as French toast and pancakes. Waffles and blintzes especially are yummy. Desserts, ice cream, outside grill area for burgers, hot dogs, nachos, wings were all great, and then in case you get hungry, there's a substantial snack at 4 pm (finger sandwiches and more desserts) and a sushi bar at 5 pm. Mr. B. ate hot dogs for many lunches -- or a late afternoon snack! I suspect he'll start grilling them outside for us at home, now, too. Oh, and the pasta station is open from lunchtime until 6 pm. Ice cream, plenty of choices, including a sugar-free one and a sorbet and a low-fat (maybe that one was a yogurt?) plus plenty of nice toppings is open until late afternoon, too, I think. I forgot to mention the pizza station! Several pies so you can have a cheese, a veggie or a pepperoni slice, or a calzone. How about this: you can order an individual pizza for lunch! It takes about 10 minutes and they accommodated Mr. B.'s request for thinner crust, as well as his particular combination of ingredients (of course). The concierge class room service breakfast in the cabin was great -- evidently it has nice choices that aren't on the "regular" room service, including fresh squeezed orange juice, a yogurt/granola/fruit parfait, and a few other neat choices. The only thing is, if your bagel comes less toasted than you like it, then you have to decide how to proceed! Also, I guess I forgot to specify butter -- so there was only cream cheese for Mr. B's untoasted (mini -- why only one?) bagel, no butter for my toast. After that, we went upstairs to the buffet or to the sit-down breakfast the rest of the days. I had breakfast in the AquaSpa cafe a few times and it was perfect when I wanted a quiet and less filling meal. The yogurt parfait was half the size of the one on the CC room service and there were nice bread selections with low-fat spreads -- I only saw them there, at AquaSpa, and they were delicious. Plenty of fruit and cereal choices there, too. Our itinerary had one huge highlight. We were transiting the Panama Canal. It was absolutely unconditionally worth it. Oh, the Canal transit! fabulous, fantastic, phenomenal. The previous day we had watched a PBS t.v. show featuring David McCullough, shown continuously on a channel to watch in our cabin, and we had the wonderful map from the book by Anne Vipond about cruising the Panama Canal. We woke up at 6 am and went up to Deck 13 (which is far forward), to watch our approach. It was just barely getting light, and I was hoping to get a little bit of photo footage of the impending sunrise -- until I missed it b/c I just couldn't get the fact in my head that, despite the fact that we were going from the Pacific to the Caribbean, we were motoring west and the sun rose behind us! At 8 am, we took advantage of the captain's being able to open the Helipad for guests to watch from Deck 5 at the very front of the ship, and we were totally enthralled. A little watching from our veranda as we cruised through Gatun Lake, and aft at lunch, rounded out our experience, and then later when the photographer's video was shown in the photo gallery, we watched and saw the part we'd missed -- seeing how tight a fit our Panamax ship was, getting through the locks. At one point when we were waiting for one lock to open -- and we had progressed so we were VERY close to the lock, which would open towards us -- a captain's crew member went in front of the ropes at the very front of the helipad and peered over the rail, then spoke to somebody in the bridge room, which we could see above us (deck 9?). I guess all was satisfactory, as we did get where we were going, safely. I missed seeing the view from a lower deck, where we might've seen the concrete sides of the lock, through a porthole or larger window. Also, I wish we had lost an hour's sleep after our long day in Puntarenas, which was followed by a lazy at-sea day, rather than the night before we woke up at 6 am for the canal. Also, I didn't see any of the locks from the aft deck 10 location, just the lovely Gatun Lake. I'd happily take another transit, and run around the ship to as many places as I could, to see more, more, more. The Deck 4 port and starboard outside decks would've been good, too. Do you know what an electric mule is? [I have attached port reviews, but Huatulco and Puntarenas aren't listed as choices, so I'll just say that Puntarenas is a 12-hour port day b/c it takes so long to get to all the good sight-seeing, and Huatulco has a pretty little beach area right by the dock, and a town with good shopping, a mile away from the port.] We had a great time with the entertainment and the new Celebrity Life programs, as well as the brain challenges. I had originally been apprehensive about seven at-sea days, but it turned out I actually had some times when I had to pick and choose among two fun-sounding activities that conflicted with each other. We easily avoided anything with a surcharge and just enjoyed all kinds of complimentary things. There were exercise classes I hoped to take but didn't, because I didn't wake up early enough! I avoided the treadmills b/c I like to walk out in the fresh air. On my two strolls past the work-out area, it seemed to be busy. The onboard entertainers in general were outstanding. The disappointments were the one- or two-night shows (called visiting entertainers?) although many folks in the audience seemed to like the ones we didn't care for at all. The Celebrity Orchestra, the singers and dancers, the fabulous costumes and sets, the nice use of the movable stage, and the string quartet all added to our lovely cruise experience. Two people were especially instrumental in making this the best cruise I have ever taken. Cruise Director John Grantham is a gem. For us, he was head and shoulders above any past cruise director. Perry Grant almost defies description. Perry is definitely "not for everybody", but Mr. B. and I enjoyed him so much, we spent part of about 12 evenings laughing, singing and being silly with Perry in Michael's Club. Perhaps not too many guests have seen Perry in a serious mode. Let me assure you, he is just as good at being serious as he is at being funny. It just doesn't happen very often! I feel as though I've gone on ... and on ... and on, while barely scratching the surface. I'll try to summarize: Delightful: most of the entertainment and brain-challenge games and speakers, plus I happen to like the unusual art around the ship. Delicious: 98% of what we ate and drank. Dignified: the crew, including the captain and the cruise director and their respective staff members, and the welcome back to the ship from all ports, and the unobtrusive bar wait staff and photographers. Divine (in the campy sense, not the religious): Perry Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
This was our second time sailing Celebrity and our first on the Constellation. We are in our mid-forties which is definitely young for this ship. The embarkation process was fast and efficient. We arrived at 12:00pm and were on the ship ... Read More
This was our second time sailing Celebrity and our first on the Constellation. We are in our mid-forties which is definitely young for this ship. The embarkation process was fast and efficient. We arrived at 12:00pm and were on the ship within 40 minutes with a glass of champagne in our hands. The ship: The Constellation is beautiful. It is well laid out and has diagrams at every elevator which makes it easy to find your way. Staff were always cleaning and maintaining the ship to pristine standards. The artwork was a little bizarre for my taste. I prefer a more classic decor. The music in the main dining room during supper hours was also a little odd. It was a mix of European techno and modernized Gregorian chanting. The main theatre was spacious and we never had a problem finding a seat. Deck 4 has wonderful shaded lounge chairs where you read a book and look for dolphins. We saw to schools of dolphins,many flying fish (they are very small about the size of sardines) and a shark. THe library is on 2 floors but the selection of books is small. Stateroom: We had a balcony room. It was functional, clean, but not luxurious. It compared favorably with other cruiselines. The bed was a bit on the firm side but comfortable. The balcony was wonderful. I often had my coffee there in the mornings. By the way, they tell you in the information in your stateroom to order your breakfast the evening before. I found this inconvenient as I do not sleep to a schedule. I had no problem calling in my order upon waking. The shower was on the small side but I would often have my shower in the spa area. Much nicer. Our housekeeper was not overly friendly or talkative but got the job done. Dining: The food was good to excellent. Breakfast: Try the Cova cafe for warm almond or chocolate croissants. The main buffet was well laid out. The waffle station at the back was excellent with outdoor seating available. The non-smoking section was on the left. We never had a problem finding a seat at the buffet. The coffee is not always the hottest. I solved this problem by asking one of the staff for some hot, fresh coffee. They would go to the kitchen and get a fresh pot. Also, they often wander around offering refills. This coffee is also hot and fresh. Lunch: We ate our lunch at the buffet. Great selection. Pasta station is alot of fun. Dinner: The selection was generally very good with 1 of each category of food being offered (vegetarian, pasta, fish, chicken, beef). The appetizers were varied and could be hit or miss. You can order as much as you want so don't be afraid to try something. If you don't like it, order something else. We had the late sitting because we found out on previous cruises that we were rarely hungry at 6:30pm. Portions were adequate and well presented. Quality was excellent. There are three other options for dinner. The specialty restaurant costs $30 and is definitely worth the experience. You can go to the buffet and eat pasta, pizza, salad, sushi, and dessert. Very informal. The third option is to make a reservation for alternate dining. This is an area of the buffet which is converted to table service. The menu options are more limited but you have a dedicated chef which prepare everything fresh. You also have smaller tables with ocean view. Worth a try. Entertainment: The shows were good for the most part. The acrobats were very talented. Perry Grant in Michael's lounge is a character. He sings older songs and encourages audience participation. His style reminds me of Liberace. Great singing voice. We had a blast. There were enrichment lectures on our ports of call that were educational and fun. A small movie theater played movies during the day but I found that most of the movies were very obscure and you had to wonder who chose them. The accapella singers were talented and performed in different venues. Spa/Pool: The two swimming pools in the middle of the ship are salt water and not heated. The thalassotherapy pool was very relaxing and free of charge. We considered getting a pass to the persian gardens for $99 each but we decided that the thalassotherapy pool combined with the free oceanview saunas in the changeroom was sufficient. Never a problem using the fitness equipment. Service: What can I say. It's a cruise ship. You can't find better service anywhere (at least in my income bracket). The staff were friendly and appreciative of their position on the cruise ship. Many of them have dreams of retiring on their own farm or starting a restaurant back home. On the way to the ship, my Panama hat blew off of my head and went over the pier into the ocean (I had just bought it). A staff member actually ran after it. At dinner that night, our assistant waiter told me that the someone had called a harbor boat to retrieve my hat. Our waiter who had been working on the dock that day had recognized me and the hat was waiting for me at customer relations. All this for an $8 hat. Need I say more. Ports of call: Grand Cayman: We walked off the boat and walked to a snorkeling site. Free and fantastic snorkeling. Columbia: Beautiful city. Walked off the boat and got a wonderful city tour for $25 each. Panama: Purchased the monkey tour on ship. Great tour. Saw sloths, monkeys, boat tour of Lake Gatun which is part of the canal. Costa rica: Did the boat,train,bus excursion from the ship. It was OK. Cozumel: Took a cab to a snorkeling spot. Lots of options available at the port. No need to book on the ship. I would recommend that you use the ship excursions for Panama and Costa Rica as the choices available on shore are limited and many of the excursions are lengthy and require long bus rides. Overall a great cruise and would highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2008
I am an Elite CC member, and this is my 4th M Class cruise in the last 12 months. Switched to Celebrity about 8-9 years ago. However, this was my first Constellation sailing. She was dry docked in May 2007. The itinerary was 12 days to ... Read More
I am an Elite CC member, and this is my 4th M Class cruise in the last 12 months. Switched to Celebrity about 8-9 years ago. However, this was my first Constellation sailing. She was dry docked in May 2007. The itinerary was 12 days to Grand Cayman, Aruba, Cartagena, Panama and Cozumel. We had perfect weather every day. 80-85 and sunny. Since I had just gotten off Infinity 90 days ago, I was shocked at all the changes on Constellation, so I felt compelled to write a review. Many of these changes went into effect January 1, 2008. CABIN - well somehow I managed to pick the worst cabin on the ship. I was in CC Class, sky deck (which I have booked before) however, this cabin 9094 was directly next to a Sky Suite and the veranda was CUT IN HALF....literally. It was fine for me, since I was traveling alone, but would not have comfortably accommodated two adults. I will never book sky deck again. For the first time, I had to deal with 5am joggers (shoot them!) overhead, which woke me every day. I will only book 7 or 8 deck. The overhang which wasn't so bad in my last sky deck cabin completely obliterated the view. The good news is they have completely updated all bedding and linens. The mattress was pillowtop and clearly new, all the linens were high thread count and soft. Yes, even the towels! They have finally discovered fabric softener on M Class. I have been complaining for years about the hard "loofah" like texture of the towels. I was on starboard, and for the first time ever, every single stop was portside...I saw nothing but ocean from my tiny veranda. I always order Isotonic pillows and one Body Pillow from the pillow menu and this time I took off all the linens to rip off the manufacturers tag. I have been trying for years to duplicate these marvelous pillows at all stores, but nothing comes close. So now I have the manufacturer and can buy my own! The cabins now have high power hair dryers (under the sink) for us ladies, so no need to bring your own. Another GREAT (why didn't they think of this years ago) thing...the shower curtain is now permanently affixed down one entire side of the shower. No more flopping shower curtains or water on the floor! All the rugs and towels were new. There were noticeably less TV and music selections, and the music was not American, but European. For example, "Pop" music is now "Euro Trance" type music. "Easy Listening" is now some kind of weird Greek stuff. I did not like this and made my feelings known. I wanted to hear something in my cabin I actually recognized. PORTS - Some of these were new to me, so I did get off (briefly) in Cartagena for a couple of souvenirs. There is a lovely park and duty free store just off the dock. Everything else was a long taxi drive and I had no interest. Cayman and Aruba I've been too. Stayed on board in Aruba and got off in Cayman only to buy some more diamond jewelry (a girl's best friend). There were 5 ships in port at Cayman, so the island was inundated and far too crowded to spend much time in. One poor woman's husband fell off the crowded sidewalk into the water, hitting his head and had to be rescued by a good Samaritan who held his head above water (he was unconscious) until the ambulance arrived. I took the rain forest excursion in Panama and was thrilled to get 3 things in one. Not only did we get to go deep into the rainforest and see holler monkeys, 3 toed sloths, macaws, toucans, killer bee hives, enormous bright blue butterflies, etc. but we also got to cross the bridge going over the Gatun locks, which meant we saw first hand a barge being lifted up and down, and the water being returned back into the locks. The bridge itself actually goes within feet of the huge locks, the closest you'll ever get to them. In addition, we stopped at an ancient fort on a mountain top with spectacular views and amazing history of pirates, etc. The guide was excellent. Cozumel I did my usual "excursion" which involves many raucous hours of drinking in the MAIN Senor Frogs downtown. Do not go to the little one on the water...go to the big one downtown. You simply cannot beat the fun and great food at Senor Frogs. It's a true experience. I've been to Senor Frogs all over the world...this one is the BEST. ENTERTAINMENT - It was far above the usual fare. This is where I saw the most changes - all great. The daily planner was far more exciting, with enrichment speakers (excellent!), star gazing excursions off Deck 12 (the Captain turned the lights off for us), continuous music (this is a HUGE improvement. There used to be large "gaps" between band music during the evening) now 3 different bands play continuously throughout the night in the Rendezvous Lounge. Michaels Club had a SELLOUT entertainer named Perry Grant. Apparently, some people book cruises just to see him. You simply could not get into Michael's unless you came early. Normally Michael's is BORING and dead with some lame piano or guitar player. Perry Grant ROCKED. There was an EXCELLENT comedian (sorry forgot name) and a good variety of shows, most of which I did not attend. The Senior Officer Party (for Elite Members) was held at 11:15AM - which I thought was very bizarre. It said casual....I wore shorts and a shirt...some people showed up in suits at 11AM.... SHIP - First things first. THERE ARE NO MORE POD ISSUES....I promise! Gone. Turned out the Captain (Dimitri) was an old pal of mine from Millennium years ago when he was Staff Captain. I also ran into many, many old crew pals from ships past, which is always nice. Some I hadn't seen in many years. Captain Dimitri (bless his heart) kept the engines running at all times while docked in port, so instead of weak AC, we had full power the entire time we were docked. To me, that's a big deal. Since I stay on board frequently, I don't appreciate the AC being cut down to where I'm hot in my cabin. The artwork was FABULOUS on board. It usually is, but the Constellation has some killer art pieces in all the public rooms. They now have a brand new officer position, "Marketing Manager" and boy, do they market now!! They have clever and new gimmicks to get you to buy on board (I was just happy to see new techniques) but now they hard sell you on bottled water (yeeesh!) at dinner. There were no takers as far as I could see. But they are bringing their marketing techniques into the new world of cruising, which was interesting to see. FOOD! - Okay, admit it, that's why we all cruise ? The first thing everyone noticed immediately was that portion size in all venues (including room service) is far smaller...in a good way. No longer do they load your plate and waste food. Now they give you a normal portion and you can always ask for more. I think this is a sensible and pragmatic move for RCCL. The main dining room continued to exceed expectations with 5 star cuisine. My experience in the specialty restaurant was disappointing. The service and presentation were 5+ star, but I found the food to be of the same quality as the main restaurant. I only booked it to get a chocolate soufflE, which they no longer serve anywhere BUT the specialty restaurant. It was delightful and sinfully good. Some new things!! My beloved pasta station is now open until 11pm (instead of 10pm) the sushi bar has been totally revamped, tons of high end selections and a companion stir fry bar. FAR better quality sushi!! I loved it. And they too, changed their hours and location to the front of the food area and are open only from 6pm to 9:30pm. PASSENGERS - This was where I saw the most changes...strange changes. Usually when the ship leaves from Port Everglades, you get 30% Floridians, and the rest mostly American. This cruise has a very eclectic mix. There were only 25% Americans (from all over) 40% Canadian and 35% European (German, UK, Italian, French, Irish). The dress code went WAY UP with this crowd. There were designer gowns on each formal night, tuxes galore. Informal nights were fancy cocktail dresses and tuxes or black suits. Casual nights were even dressy. I never saw such a well heeled crowd. No "boxed wine" brought aboard on this ship! Consequently, there wasn't much early evening action as most Europeans are a late crowd. Average age was younger than usual - between 40-65, although I saw many young couples, children and older adults. INTERNET - YAHOO!!!! They just finished when we boarded installing a brand new main frame, and the connection are now DSL speed. No, I'm NOT kidding! So, with your 20% more internet time coupon, you can actually cruise the internet, check your stocks and do e-mail without the excruciating wait for a page to load. And I checked on the live cam situation, they do not see them coming back anytime in the near future. SECURITY - Wowsa....we were on code Orange when we left, but I never saw such tight security. There were K9 units sniffing not just the main food shipments, but each individual box that came on board....my handbag was checked 3 times. Not sure if this was an Everglades issue, or all around tight security, but I never saw it so tight. There are no tour any longer of the bridge or even the galley for security reasons. You now must fill out a health questionnaire and sign a certificate that you agree you can be confined to cabin if you show signs of illness. If you do not REPORT a fellow passenger who is ill, you can be fined or disciplined. All the bags were very late, which I presume was due to the heightened security. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
We live in Western NY (the Fingerlakes Region) and so had to fly to Fort Lauderdale, and stay at a a Hotel The Comfort Inn Air/SeaPort. We do not recommend it, it was crowded, noisy, shabby and costly considering what I just wrote. There ... Read More
We live in Western NY (the Fingerlakes Region) and so had to fly to Fort Lauderdale, and stay at a a Hotel The Comfort Inn Air/SeaPort. We do not recommend it, it was crowded, noisy, shabby and costly considering what I just wrote. There was free transportation to the cruise port that did go smoothly. This was our first cruise ever and although we were very prepared (we had our documents and a day bag packed with what we needed until our luggage arrived at our room) we still found that the bus drop off and checking in was not well coordinated. There was no one to let you know where to go or what to do and very frankly it seemed like mayhem to many. Once we did get checked in people were quite helpful, we went to our room which was larger than we expected and quite nice ( champagne and fresh fruit on our table, nice fluffy robes, apair of binoculars for our use as well, and plenty of literature). We got a bite to eat, and wandered the ship for awhile and scheduled a massage for Christmas day (which was already almost booked!). By then it was time to get ready for dinner, but we opted out of the regular sit down and ate at the buffet, which was pretty minimal and disappointing, although we chalked it up to the "first day at sea". As for the rest of our dining experiences onboard, overall the food in the dining room was pretty good, (I've worked in food service for 25 yr.s), and very frankly I wish they would have kept things simpler, they probably would have had more success overall. By trying to produce fancier meals on such a large scale, things often arrived dried out, poorly presented, or combinations that just seemed odd. The buffets were satisfactory, a pizza station, pasta made to order, sushi station, soup and sandwich station, etc. The breakfast buffet was actually quite good, but what amazed me the most was the Afternoon Tea was surprisingly nice (finger sandwiches, fruits, hor'deurves) that were really quite pretty and filling! The pool was nice, yes there were "lounge hogs" and no, the crew did not care. However, we occasionally got a decent chair. We only got frustrated twice and quite by accident found ourselves on the "topless" deck. What a well kept secret! Only one person was topless, and she kept herself quite hidden, the rest were in their 50's or so, who were just looking for peace and quiet. Up there you could not hear any of the noise from the pool (ie: kids, the band, etc.) and the oceanview was lovely! We actually wish we had found this little haven sooner, and swore not to tell even our friend on board, until after the cruise. As I said our room was lovely, the bed was a king size, the couch had a fold out bed (we did not need though), there was plenty of closet space, we loved our balcony, and there was ample space in the nightstands and closet drawers for our things.. Our stateroom attendants were amazing and we wanted for nothing! We asked they delivered, sometimes we didn't even ask, like extra soda at night or extra kleenex(I had the sniffles), they just put them there, it was wonderful. Each night literature and a schedule for the next day arrived in your room, there was always extra info about your next port ie: shopping, history, maps, it was quite helpful. It also seemed as if very few of the shore excursions had sold out, and apparently we were a full ship! We went into Grand Cayman, Aruba, Panama, and Cozumel. Columbia had some warnings and we spent the day on ship although most people got off and atleast checked out the pier shopping without any problems. I don't want to get into much of the port activities, because everyone, and every activity is so different, other then to say we enjoyed ourselves. Onboard we found the shopping to be meager, but we truly loved going to the Art Auctions (there were three), we went to the casino a few times and actually won a bit, the activities are what you would expect (Bingo, Poker tournaments, Karaoke, dance competitions, a few lectures, a few wine tastings etc.), the nightly entertainment was the most disappointing thing on the whole ship. I truly can not say enough about how bad it was, I have seen better performances in elementary schools, and simply do not understand what the problem was! There was only one performer, a comedian, who played one night, he was good after that, well.... All in all, my husband and I were impressed by 98% of the crew, the cleanliness of our room and majority of the common areas was amazing, the food was good considering the amount they had to pump out each and every day, 24 hours a day, the coordination of the shore excursions was very good, andwe had a WONDERFUL time. Now we just need to save up some more money so we can do this again, because, we would love to! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
We did a 11 day cruise with stops in Aruba, Panama, Costa Rica and Cozumel Jan 8 to 19th. We missed Grand Cayman because of the wave swells. We loved the Celebrity experience!! Especially after being on the Carnival Victory last May. ... Read More
We did a 11 day cruise with stops in Aruba, Panama, Costa Rica and Cozumel Jan 8 to 19th. We missed Grand Cayman because of the wave swells. We loved the Celebrity experience!! Especially after being on the Carnival Victory last May. It's a real noisy party ship for a younger crowd. The Constellation is a classy ship with a superb level of service and pampering. We had a balcony which is well worth the extra money. However, it was very windy a few days so we couldn't go out on it as much. But we loved the relaxation on the ship. There was not a constant barrage of announcements. The captain came on at noon only to give a review of things. the cruise director only spoke after each excellent top-notch show each evening. The Cirque de Soleil show had been discontinued 2 cruises before our's. We ordered room service 2 times for breakfast. It was very efficient and professional with one girl in a nice uniform delivering not like Carnival that had a new person each time who forgot items always (cutlery, cream etc). The buffet was wow. Waiter's served you and other's were always there to help you bring your tray to your table. They had a waffle/pancake station and omelette station in the morning. In the evening there was a Sushi Bar, a Pizza station 24 hrs and a pasta station. The ice cream station had about 8 flavors on the go each day. We loved the Aqua Spa food as it was the light and healthy type and so delicious. We loved our dining room experience with our waiter Marius and Kutu (spelling?). 11 days was wonderful as you had time to absorb everything and relax. I couldn't get over how fast the embarkation was too. They have a 2 floor library also with a librarian. Loved all the reading. We danced to our heart's delight. The Rendez-Vous Lounge had music everyday, also the Bar at the Edge of the Earth and by the pool. You didn't get stuck going through the casino at every step like the Carnival Victory. You rarely got choked up with smoking around you as it was absolutely everywhere on the Victory. My advice: think what you really want on a cruise. Our's was mostly people in our ages (50's and older). It was a wonderful experience. We didn't realize that the Constellation did not go into the Panama canal. It docked at Cristobel pier and in order to see anything you had to book a tour as the crime rate is so high there. We booked an 8 hr bus tour to Panama City which was so interesting. It stopped at the Gatun Locks and we got to see how the ships go through. Then we went into Panama City, about an hour's ride away and a guide took us on a tour of the old city etc. I loved it! In Costa Rica we took a tour to a banana plantation, an old railway that used to transport the banana's and a boat ride of a river. Saw lots of wild life. We would highly recommend the Celebrity line of ships. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We were quite excited to book a second cruise on Constellation, since we had fond memories of our Baltic/North Sea cruise of last year. The embarkation process went smoothly, and we were pleased with the ship's new color scheme, as ... Read More
We were quite excited to book a second cruise on Constellation, since we had fond memories of our Baltic/North Sea cruise of last year. The embarkation process went smoothly, and we were pleased with the ship's new color scheme, as well as with the 'fresher' look of the furnishings in our cabin. We found the staff as friendly and helpful as ever, so we looked forward to the pleasant 15 day cruise. Although we expected some (occasional) bumps in the road, we were rather disappointed in number and frequency of them. The quality of the mattress was very poor (lumpy and unable to support our backs), so as a result we found sleep difficult to come, and most mornings we ended up with sore backs . We also found that the quality of food in the main dining room has gone 'downhill' since our last cruise, and that the service was much slower and with lacking in the 'finer' touches (on many occasions no coffee, or creme/sugar were forgotten, or the water glasses were not refilled). We believe it may have been due to cost cutting (having less waiters look after a greater number of tables/patrons). Luckily, we were able to book ourselves into both specialty restaurants a few times and the food and service there were absolutely wonderful. We highly recommend paying a little extra to feel so thoroughly pampered. We also found that we did not enjoy our visits to the theater much, since we found the 'in-house' entertainers rather forgettable, and the 'visiting artists' to be less-than "artistic" (especially the 'singer-comedienne' brought especially to 'entertain' us New Year's eve who thought that constantly berating and insulting the audience in a rather crass manner was enjoyable). We did enjoy our shore tours and the disembarkation/embarkation process during those went quite smoothly...which certainly did not prepare us for the horror of San Diego. We were given to understand just a few days prior to the end of the cruise that although we'd arrive in San Diego by 7 a.m., everyone would have to wait for the border authorities to come on board to 'process' everyone prior to allowing even a single person to disembark...however, we would be all coded by color and number and those with earliest flights would be given a priority when the processing was completed around 10:00 a.m. It certainly sounded well planned out and organized. Unfortunately, that's not how it worked out. Although it seemed that all 'early fliers' were already processed, they were not able to leave the ship because of some passengers who either slept in or decided to have another drink before facing the processing...and everyone had to wait till they were found and 'customized'. When they finally opened the gates at 10:25 a.m., the passengers rushed through them without any regard for colors/numbers on their tags (as a matter of fact, nobody bothered to even mention them over PA system until the rush subsided). You'd think they'd have shuttles ready to take us to the airport (we paid for the transfers), but there was no-one to tell us where to go to find them, and when we finally figured it out, there were throngs of people already waiting and NO shuttles, so we paid again and took a private one. Luckily, we caught our flight, but definitely not thanks to Celebrity personnel who truly dropped the ball on this. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2010
Our cruise started in Miami on February 28th and ended in San Diego on March 13th with day and half day stops in Cartagena, Puntarenas,Costa Rica and three stops in Mexico: Huatulco, Acopulco and Cabo San Lucas. The highlight of the ... Read More
Our cruise started in Miami on February 28th and ended in San Diego on March 13th with day and half day stops in Cartagena, Puntarenas,Costa Rica and three stops in Mexico: Huatulco, Acopulco and Cabo San Lucas. The highlight of the cruise,the Panama Canal, was a full days transit with a commentary provided by a Canal pilot, throughout the day. Apart from Cabo San Lucas we organised our own sightseeing, which we found very easy to do with taxis at the dock. This was purely our own preference as we understand the official excursions were well oprganised, if a little long in some instances. Contrary to an earlier review, we found the cabin on Sky Deck to be entirely acceptable, clean and well furnished. It is true that if you looked carefully there was some carpet wear at the balcony door but it was not a major issue. The upper open promenade deck did however, show considerable weathering and wear but again, it was not a major problem for us. The ship goes into dry dock in April for renovation and the creation of an additional restaurant on this deck. All the public areas were clean and tidy but some seating areas were showing signs of their eight years of intensive usage. Service was excellent and everyone was obviously very well trained to ensure that clients received the very best of attention and with very few exceptions, this was constant throughout the cruise. As far as eating was concerned, we found the Aquaspar and Seaside Cafe to be fine. We dined in the Ocean Liners Restaurant on one occasion, which was excellent but with a $35 supplement, unnecessarily expensive. The problems arose in the main restaurant, the San Marco, This has a series of very fine menus, prepared by a Jacques Van Staden but unfortunately, on a number of occasions, what arrived on the plate was a very poor replica of the menu description. For example, the Beef Wellington was made up of heavy pastry and rather poor, very overcooked beef. Just a pity that this Jacques Van Staden was not on hand to see the damage done to his menu ! There were a number of other dishes with similar problems, but to be fair some of the dishes, particularly desserts, lived up to the menu description. Having been disappointed by the standard of meals in this restaurant we tried the Casual Dining in the Seaside Cafe. In the evenings an area was set aside with elegant tables and we found it to be very good and far better than the main dining in the San Marco. On reflection, the ship was perhaps trying too hard and had there been a simpler menu, then maybe there would have been a better correlation between the menu and the plates arriving on the table. The talks on board were excellent but we could have done with more talks on the places to be visited. For example, there was nothing on Costa Rica and not much on Cartagena. Would I take a cruise in Constellation again ? Yes, why not especially after the refit and some change in the dining. Ian Bennett Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
This was our first cruise, and it was a surprise for my wife's 50th birthday. She did not find out the actual itinerary until the night before at dinner in San Diego! We flew in from Sacramento the day before and stayed in the Holiday ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and it was a surprise for my wife's 50th birthday. She did not find out the actual itinerary until the night before at dinner in San Diego! We flew in from Sacramento the day before and stayed in the Holiday Inn On The Bay with a great view of the Constellation out our balcony window. The HAL ship Oosterdam left the berth the day before, and she looked like a bulbous tub compared to the trim Constellation. I kept looking for the three tails on the back of our ship, but never found them (aviation buffs will get my drift!). Embarcation in San Diego went relatively smoothly once we were freed from the clutches of the Federal Government, our Concierge Class status got us into a shorter line and we were onboard and in our stateroom by 2:30. We had a light lunch at the Buffet, and all our bags arrived at the stateroom by 5 PM. I knew at once that the Aft Balcony stateroom 8185 was a great choice. The room was very quiet, we discovered that two of the three kids onboard ship were in the room directly above, but we never heard them with our balcony door closed. There was a bit of vibration and noise from the azipods, but only during periods of following seas. The balcony was large enough to hold 2 padded loungers, 4 chairs, and a large table. The view aft was perfect, and was to prove advantageous during our transit of the Canal. It took a bit of doing to get all the contents of our luggage stowed, but there were sufficient nooks and crannies for everything, and our empty bags fit under the bed. The double bed was comfy and we didn't need extra mattress pads as some folks have reported. Our stateroom steward Iwan and his assistant Leroy were great, we always had a full ice bucket, water pitcher, and daily fruit bowl. The flower bouquet on the desk and the red rose in the bathroom were changed once during the cruise, and the nightly chocolates were much appreciated. Special instructions (like a wine bucket and glasses for our own bottles) were attended to promptly. Unlike other reviewers, we thought the daily CC-class 4pm canapes were just fine, with Brie and caviar on some as well as the more pedestrian seafood paste and ham/olive. The "head" was small but well laid out, and the Hansgrohe shower head was wonderful, with plenty of hot water and good pressure. The CC-class upgraded towels were soft and fluffy. I had absolutely no problem with the much-maligned Italian wall-mounted hairdryer, and never had a need to use the hand-held one. The only gripes I had with our stateroom were very minor - the phone was too large for the nightstand, and every time we answered it, it fell onto the floor. The one overhead light switch turned on 3 fluorescent floods, 4 halogen spots, and one valence light - wasted energy! And when we were on our balcony in port, we occasionally got a bit of cigarette smoke odor from the port side of Deck 10, but none was present when we were underway. I enjoyed going to the Cruise Critic get-together hosted by Celebrity. We got to meet some of the officers and I finally got to put faces to names. Thanks also to whoever organized the Bridge Tour for us Cruise Critic folks as well - that was a highlight of the cruise! Food was somewhat of a mixed bag, but overall I would give it a Good rating. The quality depended a lot on where you ate. We began by ordering our enhanced CC-class room service breakfast, but found the choices were limited so we began going to the Deck 10 buffet for breakfast. This proved disappointing, because most of the American breakfast choices were bad (soggy scrambled eggs, undercooked country potatoes, bagels with more hole than bread, and undistinguished waffles (sorry, Texed). We began eating more international things like pickled herring and congee. It was not until Day 7 that we discovered the Aqua Spa cafe for both breakfast and lunch, and this was EXCELLENT. Our dinners in the MDR were good overall, with some misses like watery bisques, bland Dover sole and seafood, and the cold soups. Avoid the pizza and sushi in the Buffet at all costs, and the hamburgers at the Seaside Cafe which were grey and lifeless. We ate dinner twice in the Ocean Liners specialty restaurant, and that was 5-star! And the almond and chocolate croissants in the Cova Cafe were heavenly. Just don't get snookered into paying $4.00 for hot chocolate at the Cova - a little investigation revealed it was nothing more than Nestle's mix in hot milk. Here's an observation that can help with your food choices. We found that there are two food service management organizations on the ship. One operates the MDR and the Buffet on Deck 10, whereas the other operates the Aqua Spa Cafe, and the Ocean Liners restaurant. The Aqua Spa/Ocean Liners group is by far the best. Our nights in the MDR were made more fun by our table companions, two couples from the UK and one from Vancouver Canada. House wines are pedestrian - the Heron's Nest Cabernet was jarring, and the Wente cab wasn't much better. Talk about young - maybe they would be drinkable in about 5 years. I think they do that on purpose so you buy more expensive wines. We attended the Reidel wine glass workshop, and learned a lot even though we already own some Reidel glassware. Entertainment had its highs and lows. We truly enjoyed the string quartet from the Ukraine, and sought them out in the Cova Cafe on several occasions. They were very versatile and provided excellent accompaniment to some of the other acts. The acapella group was good also, although their baritone got sick partway through the cruise. We enjoyed the violinist Doug Cameron and the Xylosynth player David Meyer. Now here's where we will make some enemies, but Perry Grant was truly awful. Maybe we are too young to appreciate his act, but he seemed to have a bunch of in-jokes relating to movies, shows, and actors that are totally foreign to us as Baby Boomers. As I watched him bouncing away at the piano, I got the creepy feeling that I was watching one of the ghosts from the Overlook Hotel in "The Shining". The production show onstage cast was pretty mediocre, but the orchestra (including the aforementioned string quartet) made it tolerable. We attended two "enrichment" lectures, and they were like night and day. Diane Buffington the psychologist did a hilarious lecture on "talking with your X-chromosome", and my wife has been citing it ever since! We had the pleasure of sitting with Diane and her husband at the Noon special buffet, and we had a great time. On the other hand, where did Celebrity dredge up that crackpot George Stosur? We sat through his Panama Canal lecture, then watched the David McCulloch NOVA program on the Canal in our stateroom. Seems like old George saw that NOVA show also and stole some items word for word for his lecture! After that performance, we weren't about to attend his Bermuda Triangle lecture. On the other hand, the woman that came on the ship to narrate during our transit of the canal was very informative. The shore excursions were all great fun, all of ours were sponsored by Celebrity. We took the semi-sub boat ride in Cabo, went to the Tehuacalo archaeological site outside of Acapulco, attended the Mexican cooking demo in Huatulco, then took the Monteverde walk in the cloud forest tour in Costa Rica. We stayed on the ship through the Canal, but went on the Deluxe Cartagena and Fortress tour. Seems like we never had enough time to shop for stuff we wanted (like coffee and local souvenirs), but had altogether too much time at shops that sold stuff we could care less about (like silver, diamonds, emeralds, booze, and fancy watches). Celebrity isn't going to make any money off us in their onboard stores, that's for sure - I'll leave those to the elderly matrons with more money than sense. One aspect of the shore excursions that could use improvement was the organization of the disembarkation process at each port. Seems like things always went smoothly once you were out on the pier, but it was the getting off the ship that was screwy. I know the crew probably wants to keep the location of the gangway quiet so as to avoid a huge crowd, but sometimes it didn't seem that one hand knew what the other hand was doing. In one case, they got us all into the Celebrity Theatre and gave us colored sticky tags for each different shore excursion at Puntarenas. That was good. What wasn't so good was they got someone with a poor command of English who told 5 different groups (including ours) to assemble down at the stage near the front exit. Suddenly someone was screaming at us that we had to clear the area because of fire regulations! Get your act together, Celebrity! You would think they have been arranging shore disembarkations long enough to get it right. Our final night at sea we celebrated my wife's birthday in Ocean Liners, and it was one of the most memorable meals of the cruise. The only disappointment was that her birthday cake (served after we had our dessert) never made it to our stateroom for us to eat later, it disappeared somewhere between Ocean Liners and the housekeeping staff. We did get a set of Celebrity champagne flutes as a consolation gift though. Disembarkation at Miami was a goat rope, but this time it wasn't really due to Celebrity. Why the Feds herd everyone together in one big customs line is incomprehensible - they should separate U.S. citizens and the line would go a lot faster. One unexpected result of this was that I met a great fellow from the UK while we inched forward in the line for nearly an hour. He was an aviaiton trivia fanatic like me, and we have been corresponding ever since. So would we cruise Celebrity again? Probably not (except maybe the Xpedition), and it doesn't have to do with any of what I have reported here. Although we enjoyed our 3 formal nights getting dressed up, we found the "Smart Casual" dining to be a little too formal to do every other night. It was just at odds with our laid-back concept of "vacation" to have to rush back and get dressed for dinner all the time. We know we could avoid that by eating in the Buffet, but the food wasn't as good as in the MDR. We made lots of cruise friends though, and had a great time both onboard and in port. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
just returned from 14 day cruise on constellation to panama canal.on the whole,was quite pleased with our 1st cruise.staff were excellent,food good,apart from the buffet,which was spoilt sometimes by a lack of hot plates.the food was not ... Read More
just returned from 14 day cruise on constellation to panama canal.on the whole,was quite pleased with our 1st cruise.staff were excellent,food good,apart from the buffet,which was spoilt sometimes by a lack of hot plates.the food was not as hot as it could be,which meant that food was cold by the time you sat down. entertainment was pretty good,especially perry grant,who always put on a good evenings entertainment.the theatre shows were very professional,even though they are not my cup of tea.i found the poolside groups very loud,and have seen better on x factor.i found very little to my taste apart from the music,but was not to bothered,as this was meant to be a relaxing cruise.the shore excursions,i thought,were quite expensive.i think you would be far better off organising your own trips before you go.for eg,in cabo,we organised our own taxi,and did a tour covering the same places as other passengers.ours cost $35 dollars for 4 pax,celebrity charged $45 per pax.i thought the stop at cabo san lucas was badly timed,by the time we disembarked(by tender)we only had 4 hours on shore.this is a place i would have liked to stop overnight.my worst gripe is reserved for the embarkation and disembarkation procedure.at miami it was bad enough,at san diego even worse,there we docked at 7am,even though we had a connecting flight to catch at san diego airport at 11.30am,we did not get off the ship until 10.30am.this meant we didnt get to the airport until 11.00am,luckily,thanks to efficient american airlines staff we made our flight.surely cruise lines can make this run a lot smoother.finally i have to say i would choose celebrity again,especially after seeing the type of cruiser i could have been on.we were in port,in cabo,the same time as carnival splendor.hundreds of passengers waiting for the tender,virtually all with a beer in their hands.ok if you fancy a club 18-30 cruise,otherwise best to avoid. looking frward to my next cruise,any suggestions? Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
This was our second cruise on the Constellation, the last being in the Baltic in 2008. That experience was very good, this one was even better in many respects. Delightful and friendly staff, mostly good service, good to very good food. ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Constellation, the last being in the Baltic in 2008. That experience was very good, this one was even better in many respects. Delightful and friendly staff, mostly good service, good to very good food. Ship was showing a bit of age, but was well-maintained. Given the enticing fares these days, a great value. The only real disappointment for us was the conduct of the excursions. I think the Constellation is new to this route, and it showed. Excursions were weak (their European excursions were pretty good)and not well organized. The land excursions during the canal crossing were bungled as the tendering process was not well planned, resulting in visits to tour stops as they closed or in the dark. Our best excursions were the ones we'd pre-planned ourselves (highly recommended, but do your research!) but that's not an option with Celebrity in Panama. A mild disappointment was the "Celebrity Life" classes, purportedly designed to teach lifestyle improvement. They are really selling questionable concepts and products. Stay away. Recognizing not everyone is as excursion-oriented as we might be, I would not hesitate to recommend the Constellation for a satisfying and enjoyable cruise. While I would not necessarily commit to Celebrity for future cruises, they will certainly receive favorable consideration. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
This was another excellent, not perfect cruise on Celebrity - our seventh on Celebrity and 19th overall. You will read below some comments about the disappointments we encountered, as well as some very satisfactory things. Overall we had ... Read More
This was another excellent, not perfect cruise on Celebrity - our seventh on Celebrity and 19th overall. You will read below some comments about the disappointments we encountered, as well as some very satisfactory things. Overall we had a very relaxing time, and would recommend this ship and this itinerary, with advisement. We are seniors, newly retired. We flew two days early from Harrisburg, PA to Newark, NJ to Fort Lauderdale on Continental. Will not do that again. All four of our flights were late. In future we will drive to BWI or Dulles and fly directly. Due to our travel agent's recommendation we booked our flights back in May. We should have waited. Prices dropped to less than half of what we paid on our non-refundable fares. Stayed at Embassy Suites hotel. Hotel amenities including full buffet breakfast and Manager's Evening reception were well worth the extra bucks. Room was clean, comfortable, very quiet, and everything worked. The location is wonderful for walking to the Water Taxi and nearby last-minute needs shopping. Embarkation was a breeze. Taxis at Fort Lauderdale are cheap and plentiful. Don't bother with "free" hotel transportation or a booked transfer. We were aboard before noon, and having a leisurely lunch in the Seaside Cafe. Our cabin was ready by 1:00 pm. Our cabin was one of those "to die for" family suites with a corner balcony. The stewardess was excellent and unobtrusive, as well as responsive to our needs and requests. The soft furnishings show some wear - that was to be expected. The mattresses were excellent! Dining: After the first two dinners in the San Marco Restaurant, we told the maitre d' to give our two seats at the "main" dining to someone on the waiting list. We never went back. We always request a table for 2 or 4, and get seated at a table for 8 or 10. I have lower back issues, so I cannot sit at table while the meal drags interminably. Nor can I comfortably converse with that much noise in the background. The food was not all that great. We ate many of our dinners in the Seaside Cafe. One improvement was the addition of a stir fry area, other than that, in the evening one can choose pizza (not as good as frozen pizza at home), pasta, salad, sushi, and dessert, as well as the stir fry. The one advantage was the peace and quiet. We ate once in the specialty restaurant. The food was excellent, but very rich, and the portions were much too large. The quality of the food is what I would expect in the main dining room, at least in days gone by. We ate several breakfasts on our balcony. The service was prompt, and one could write a special request on the bottom of the form - Bananas and yogurt for instance. The bread is wonderful - the best thing on the ship! The Cova Cafe was a disappointment. In previous voyages, we were able to purchase a coffee card, good for several coffees at a slightly reduced price - much like a soda card. This was not offered on this voyage. Just as well. The one cup my DH ordered was about $5 with tip, and it was awful. Entertainment. The one thing I love about Celebrity is all the live music: there was a male a capella quartet, an instrumental quartet, a singer/guitarist, the Celebrity orchestra, and probably more that we didn't get around to hearing. I had heard about Perry Grant and was very anxious to hear him. Not my cup of tea. His music was loud, with no varying of dynamics or tempo. You could hardly tell the difference between one selection and another. He plays piano with only one hand, with the other he manipulates a rhythm and harmony machine. Not my cup of tea. But some folks do like him, so more power to him! The special pianist, Antonio Salci, who appeared in the evening, was a great entertainer and good musician. The comedian, Noodles Levenstein, was very funny to my DH. I had trouble in distinguishing his words - a problem with the sound system? The Lecturers. Dr. Diane Buffalin, a practical and funny psychologist, was excellent! I attended all of her lectures - and especially liked "How to talk with a Y Chromosome!" There was a veterinarian - rather low key, and informative in a general way - popularity of his lectures reflects that so many of us are pet lovers. There were two other lecturers, and to my regret I did not get to hear them - there is only so much on can do on a cruise, and naps take priority! The presence of a Roman Catholic priest, and the celebration of daily Mass, is very important to me, and one of the reasons I choose to cruise Celebrity. The priest on this voyage was a gentle man whose original language is Spanish. He was an excellent temporary shepherd to his temporary flock. The shore excursions were a very mixed bag. Grand Cayman - if I never go there again I will not pout. There were a lot of ships in port - 8? - so I had booked an excursion through the ship to the Turtle Farm, Hell and the rum cake factory. Actually the Turtle Farm was very interesting, and if we are ever in Grand Cayman again, I will take a taxi there and purchase the ticket that allows one to swim in the lagoon. It is absolutely criminal to cram senior citizens, many of us with canes, artificial knees, and other infirmities, into a small van with jump seats. My DH said " why are we paying for something you couldn't pay me to do?" Cartagena - we had been there previously, and did not want to see the sights, so we booked a boat trip and beach break. The boat trip was great - I love small boats. The beach was lovely and the water was almost warm. HOWEVER the local vendors were the most persistent we have every encountered! They simply would not leave us alone. When we sat in our beach chairs, they squatted in a circle around us and looked at us like starving puppies. OK- it is their country, and they are very poor, but this was not what we had expected. I did leave with them all the cash I had brought with me - purchasing some cheap things that I did not really want. It was a voluntary act of charity. Colon - the city center itself used to be very pretty - maybe about 100 years ago! What a dump now! But we went on the Gatun Lake Explorer excursion and it was worth every penny! The small "jungle boat" was manned by a very funny and informative captain. We saw five kinds of monkeys, crocodiles, turtles, and a sloth, as well as innumerable birds. For lunch, we rode through a very narrow jungle canal into a lovely secluded lake, with several connected barges. The lunch was enjoyable, the beer was cold, and DH swam in the (perhaps) crocodile infested waters, very carefully I might add. A great day! Puerto Limon - the city itself was grim. We took the Hacienda Experience. We had to ride a bus - a very nice bus this time, for 2 hours to get to our destination at a macadamia and coffee farm. The visit to the lovely hacienda, the demonstration of sugar cane processing and coffee and macadamia processing was interesting and worthwhile. The lunch was excellent. But I think we will be careful not to choose again those excursions which require a lot of bus travel - it just makes the day too long. I recommend the hacienda but not the bus ride! Cozumel - the last time I was there was one day before Hurricane Wilma. I was stunned and delighted that Cozumel seems better than ever! We took the Passion Island Escape, and again, it was money well spent. The Island itself and the experience remind me of the various cruise line private islands I have visited, but perhaps a little bit better! Very clean, very lovely white sand beach, very well laid out, lots of lounge chairs, shade, a great lunch with cold beer and margaritas, and massages in a little kiosk on the beach. And wonderful service. What a relaxing day! I'd do this again in a heartbeat! Clothing on the ship: We notice that very few people are dressing very formally. "Smart casual" is the designation for all nights other than the TWO formal nights - used to be THREE on a cruise of this length. My simple dress, and DH's sports coat and tie fit right in with the rest of most of the folks on the formal nights. Debarkation was a breeze thanks to the valet luggage program. We signed up for this when we got on the ship. The night before debarkation, we put our special luggage tags on our luggage, left it outside the door and did not see it again until the baggage claim at our home airport. We even got our boarding passes delivered to our cabin. So on debark day, when our number was called, we walked off the ship with our little carry-ons, handed in our customs claim, got in a taxi and were in the Fort Lauderdale airport by about 9 am. So easy! Only thing we had to wait in line for was Security. Already booked for two more Celebrity cruises. Read Less
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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