This was our fourth transatlantic – the other three have all been with celebrity and all on solstice class ships. In fact, all of our previous cruises have been with celebrity on solstice class ships so this was our first experience of ... Read More
This was our fourth transatlantic – the other three have all been with celebrity and all on solstice class ships. In fact, all of our previous cruises have been with celebrity on solstice class ships so this was our first experience of one of the older ships.
We weren't sure what to expect, but felt confident that given the number of positive reviews we'd read – celebrity constellation wasn't going to disappoint us and... (I'll cut to the chase here) it didn't really disappoint is, but I have to say we simply don't think it's quite as good as the solstice class ships – possibly that was just our experience on this cruise? I've put further details below and leave you the reader to decide.
We spent a few days in Ft. Lauderdale and really enjoyed them, what a lovely place, the water taxi right being something of a highlight! Boarding.. was pretty much pain free – is it only me that gets really stressed leaving my suitcases with a complete stranger at the terminal?? – I have a recurring fear the cases simply won't get there, consequently I also make sure I tip the baggage guy (which for a Brit is a pretty stressful experience because we simply don't know how much to tip whether we should tip at all) .. anyway the bags arrived .. one was delayed because it contained a few bottles of tonic water – apparently
Now – this was one thing we got wrong, recognising that many people board early, to enjoy the ships facilities, we boarded at about 1 PM, consequently the room wasn't ready ... not a problem, we headed bistro on five (one of our favourites) .. unfortunately, it seemed everyone else had, so there wasn't a table available. a glass of wine in the cellar Masters calmed us down a little .. and soon a table was ready – no sooner had we sat down than the announcement came that the rooms were ready ( our timing on this occasion was definitely off) .. we finished our meal and headed off to the room .. aqua class cabin number 9080 pounds – I think all in all it was very good in fact – possibly the only aspect of the ship that was "slightly better" than solstice class .. a better wardrobe, and proper bedside tables .. were a definite plus.
Unfortunately the flatscreen TV and interactive television is a definite disappointment - there were NO free on demand movies - this might seem like any minor gripe, but we've really enjoyed (on the solstice class ships)the ability to watch fairly new films using the pay-per-view system – you can start stop pause rewind re-watch – altogether absolutely excellent – this in turn is usually motivated us to buy one of the other movies.. unfortunately – there were only movies to buy – there were movies on the remaining channels (probably on a continuous loop) but there was no real way to see which movie was on and what time it would be starting – plus as we crossed the Atlantic the channels faded in and out with new ones coming in, and other ones dropping out. - This was a definite negative..
Also – I have to say that the present Mrs barnos was disappointed with the general standard of cleanliness and quality and state of repair of certain aspects of the cabin. In particular, there were holes in the sheets! and she felt that the sofa was little drab..
Further gripe – evening including Captains club Internet minutes I still ended up purchasing a couple of extra bundles – largely because the connection was so unbelievably slow. Bearing in mind I've travelled transatlantic with celebrity before – so I know the connection might not be brilliant but (presumably due to the age of the ship?) The connection was frankly awful and they shouldn't charge for it – it's that bad ... incidentally a warning to any UK customers who use the mobile service provider EE .. apparently although they are just about the biggest in the UK at the moment, there are the only mobile service provider that doesn't connect to celebrities cellular at sea type mobile service .. so apart from poor Internet, I also had two weeks of no mobile.. thankfully my better half's T mobile connection worked fine!
I'm going to edit the comments down here and try and be as concise as possible. yes, it's still a nice ship, in general the staff were excellent, the weather was exceptionally kind to us and the captain deserves a special mention. Capt Nicholas I think. I've never seen a captain so "visible", interesting uncommunicative morning announcements, taking great care to Advise us about the weather (surely that's the only thing that is of real interest on a transatlantic crossing). visible about the ship and very friendly and personable – I suggest this guy is heading for the top!
Now the down side or negative points. Our principal reason for continuing to choose celebrity probably the quality of the food.. and the food here – including our favourite restaurant Blu .. was good but by no means exceptional, and on some occasions disappointing. Blu was still good – enjoyable and I would certainly choose to travel Aqua class for this reason alone. However, after a few days the "imagination" or creativity seemed to fade and many of the course choices seemed predictable. On a couple of occasions we were told by the waiting staff not to have a particular course as it was dry/disappointing or whatever .. I think there is a problem with the distance between this restaurant in the kitchen (we were told its three decks away)
The Oceanview cafe was disappointing. firstly, I was extremely surprised to find that whenever we seem to turn up for a late lunch or late breakfast there were large sections closed or in evident transition – plus the choices were simply not very good. When compared to the Oceanview cafe on the solstice class ships, 9Hardly ever closed and usually spoiled for choice at every occasion). We didn't eat in the MDR .. other than afternoon tea for Captains club elite .. okay personal gripe here .. forgive me, we love travelling to America and generally love all aspects of American service BUT there is only one thing that is important when making tea – is that the water MUST be scalding hot at the moment it hits the tea ... don't worry about milk first/ water first – just simply pour boiling water on tea leaves .. it's really that simple. Unfortunately, as often happens, afternoon tea covered every single conceivable angle except failing on the only aspect that is essential (that's the scalding hot water hitting the tea part) .. if you don't get that right, there's no point in offering a huge range of fancy sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, 10 or 20 choices of tea just make sure that Boiling hot water – hits tea... if you don't get that then please don't bother .. sorry, rant over.
We dined in ocean liners on a couple of occasions.. and I'm afraid the levels discussed above were just about the same, okay but not exceptional..
My biggest gripe and general disappointment with Celebrity comes at the end – landing in Rome and returning to the UK, the only flight leaving on the day we arrived was at 10:40 AM from Ciampino airport, which is Rome's second airport. Regrettably, celebrity seemed only interested in offering assistance/transport to Rome's main airport Fiumicino. I approached the guest relations desk several days before we arrived in Rome, and was more or less told that I was "on my own" I had to press them really hard to ask if they could help me organise a taxi or private transfer and I was completely stunned to be told that they could at a cost of €240. I told them I felt sure that the taxi should not be that expensive.. the NOT very helpful lady insisted that they could only use their "port agent" and that's what he'd quoted.
It took me 60 seconds to Google " airport transfers Rome" and get a quote for €119. The service was excellent, we were met almost as soon as we left the ship, pleasant taxidriver, smooth ride, generally better service than any we've experienced before (when booking with celebrity). So come on celebrity put the extra effort in having taken our leisure dollars of us and help us end our holidays conveniently! ...
I'm sure we'll be back to travel with celebrity again, but, the few disappointments here will make sure that I keep my "eyes open" from alternative cruise lines .. I'm sure there are plenty out there.
I have completed my post-cruise survey and asks celebrity to contact me about my specific disappointments... but, I'm not surprised to have not had any contact from them yet.
Happy cruising Read Less