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89 Celebrity Constellation Repositioning Cruise Reviews

Well, there is good news and bad news.First, the good news: the crew on the Constellation was the friendliest of any cruise we have been on. They always greeted us and were helpful in promptly providing assistance when requested. Sue, ... Read More
Well, there is good news and bad news.First, the good news: the crew on the Constellation was the friendliest of any cruise we have been on. They always greeted us and were helpful in promptly providing assistance when requested. Sue, the cruise director, and entertainer Perry were excellent. Many of the crew members often were hard to communicate with because of their limited English skills, but a little patience solved any problems. The entertainment was generally good, about what one would expect. It was so pleasant not to have a cruise director that constantly made often-trivial announcements over the public address system (this happened on our last HA cruise). Embarkation and dis-embarkation procedures were a breeze, best we have ever experienced.Food: a mixed bag. The beef, as reported by previous cruisers, was of mixed quality. Sometimes o.k., other times very tough. We found the pizza, which others have said they liked, quite tasteless. And the veal cordon bleu served one night was unlike any such dish I have ever seen or tasted, but other passengers seemed o.k. with it. Overall I would say the cuisine was a bit below "cruise average."Dress code: what dress code? All but three nights were listed as "smart casual." Very casual would describe what actually was worn, especially by men. At night, we dined on the fourth deck, early fixed seating. The rush to enter the dining room at 6 p.m. reminded me of visiting New York City and watching the 5 p.m. mob rush toward the subways. Suits and sport coats were rare, collared sports shirts common, and frequently some men wore the type of T-shirts you would expect to see on a beach. On the formal nights, I estimate fewer than 10 percent of the men wore tuxedos (I quit that years ago). Maybe since this was a repositioning cruise it was more casual. But more likely the baggage fees being imposed by the airlines are continuing to accelerate the trend toward more casual clothing.Our FV cabin, 7199, was fine, and the 242-square-foot balcony was wonderful, although cool weather often prevented us from fully enjoying it. Our cabin attendants were cheerful, prompt and helpful. The ports: average. Renting a car in Cherbourg and visit the D-Day beaches and American cemetery was the highlight for me. I wish the Azores stop had been in scenic Madeira instead of Ponta Delgada. Lisbon was interesting, and although the stop in Dover didn't allow time to visit London, it was a nice little town with friendly residents. We don't like tours but we did book the see-Paris-on-your-own bus tour from LeHave; it was a bit rushed but this was unavoidable because of the distance involved. (I had asked the tour desk twice if there would be a rest stop on the 2.5 hour bus trip to Paris, and was told both times yes, there would be. There wasn't. But to our surprise, the bus did have a toilet.) The low value of the American dollar was dramatically illustrated by the on-shore prices everywhere we went. For example, my wife found a Guess purse in Holland priced at nearly three times what it sells for in the U.S.Now the bad. There were perhaps more than the normal cruise aggravations, such as an awful mattress, a sliding glass door that Arnold Schwarzenegger would struggle to open and close, loose tile in the shower, shower tiles that were mildewed, a TV that quit working, and a few others. Most of these were promptly fixed when we reported them. But the really disgusting thing was a toilet that repeatedly would not flush. This happened on at least seven occasions. The plumber told us aft cabins on decks 7, 8 and 9 were affected, apparently because passengers kept ignoring the written notice to flush only toilet paper (not Kleenex-type tissues and other stuff) in the toilet. (As one previous poster has described it, the toilet paper is "molecular-thin," an accurate description. Reminds me of what was provided in most European hotels in the 1950s). The plumber did his best but the problem kept occurring. I suggested to him that perhaps he should bring a bed and sleep nearby in the hall rather than having to make repeated trips to fix the problems. Obviously some people will just ignore the instructions on what to and not to flush, so why Celebrity doesn't take this into account in design of the plumbing system is a mystery to us. We had never have had such a continuing problem on any other cruise ship. This kept us from rating the cruise higher. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Ever since my cousins embarked for a year in the Middle East (Iraq!) in the early '60's on a trans-Atlantic cruise, and I had to get off the Italian Line boat before it sailed (when you could still do that!), I have wanted to ... Read More
Ever since my cousins embarked for a year in the Middle East (Iraq!) in the early '60's on a trans-Atlantic cruise, and I had to get off the Italian Line boat before it sailed (when you could still do that!), I have wanted to sail across the Atlantic. Finally, a last minute "sale," and other factors, combined to make such a trip possible. It is great that my husband has ended up being a fan too! We researched lines for about 6 months; and instantly most were eliminated due to the allowing of smoking, or not enforcing limiting rules, as reported here on CC & elsewhere. Picking a cruise, is like buying a car, you are never going to have everything exactly the way you might like it. Celebrity was one of the few left and we were very happy with the experience. We were later than we would have liked boarding, as we were scheduled on a late van from an area motel. Upon boarding the Constellation, we were immediately accosted by crew trying to sell us a specialty dining package. Not a good start! We broke free and made our way to our cabin, where our wonderful attendant, Victor, was a lot calmer & helpful. (The cabin was cleaner than clean, I'm thoroughly spoiled.) Then we made our way to the top of the ship, for the sail away in beautiful weather. Somewhat disconcerting was the every other night loosing of an hour as we traveled East. Thus to pick up that hour of lost sleep, life on board settled into a pattern of a late b'fast, lunch & dinner. Most breakfasts & lunch were at the Seaside Cafe/Grill. Having chosen the Anytime Dining, because we didn't want to be tied down to a schedule, worked out most times. The Maitre'D there performed a nightly juggling act very well, we thought. The only problem there, was except for the brunches (YUM!) we didn't get to eat on the main floor. Noise level was a problem, which was why we sometimes preferred the Seaside. We did the Tuscan Grill one night - service was excellent, one of us was pleased with our meal, the other less so. Late in the cruise we went to the Bistro on Five, and wished we had visited more often. Since this was our first big ship cruise, we really enjoyed the behind the scenes tours - galley, bridge & engine control room. We also liked popping in on the lectures, & sometimes caught up with them via in house video. We never seemed to connect when the Strings were playing and that was a regret. Overall the atmosphere on board was cheerful and pleasant. Thanks to all the crew for their hard work. Husband had 3 acupuncture treatments with Dr Woo, on an unhappy thigh area, and he credits these for getting him up Mt St Michel on a port stop. Although this was the first big ship, we have been on other boats from rowboats, to multi-night whale watches for 35, to large Canadian & Danish ferries. We thought the ship was very smooth, and actually enjoy the roll of the ship, if it is not violent. Some Bonine took care of one of us one day between the Azores & Portugal. Alas the sky's were often cloudy, so we missed seeing the stars we had hoped to. As for excursions, part of the attraction of this trip were the northern ports in France. Seeing, climbing, being at Mt St Michel & Monet's Garden will cast a glow for the rest of our lives. Thanks to the wisdom & knowledge of Susie, Bonnie and Mike & Clare, all contacts brought together here on CC before sailing, these private, small group excursions were beyond satisfactory. Lisbon was probably the most interesting port to sail out of, with the ship just squeaking under a bridge with the low tide. As for the plumbing troubles experienced by others on higher decks, all of us in steerage on the lower decks, seemed to obey the flushing rules, and had no issues that I know of. :-) The cabin signage should be a little more explicit & visible with instructions in this dept. Many people do not think of the disinfectant wipes so popular today as a problem for a ship's sewage system - they are. The crew should put the disposal baggies out in a more prominent location. At one point we had to ask our cabin steward for more bags, they were hidden in an under-sink cabinet. This is where experience with smaller boats & living on off-shore islands, had us well trained. Celebrity & other lines have got to get their act together with Internet access, if they wish to attract younger cruisers. At present, it's overly expensive, slow, poor service, etc. They need to install more 'lines' to the satellites for passengers. We liked the daily NYTimes news sheet. Found the daily reporting of the winnings in the casino amusing - with no info on the amounts bet! HAHA Our group experience with others at the beginning of the cruise, didn't encourage us to try again. Mistake on the part of the casino people. On the positive side, they shouldn't change their chocolate supplier or the onion ring recipe! We didn't want the cruise to end. We are looking forward to another cruise with Celebrity in the future - maybe on the Solstice, with the hot glass show, where you will find me fused to a chair to watch the magic! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
The Constellation is a first class ship and I have been on many. It is not too big and is still part of the elegance of cruising. No bowling allies, rock walls, or tractor pulls. Great shows, beautiful decor. I usually avoid the Buffet ... Read More
The Constellation is a first class ship and I have been on many. It is not too big and is still part of the elegance of cruising. No bowling allies, rock walls, or tractor pulls. Great shows, beautiful decor. I usually avoid the Buffet on all ships except for a breakfast or a snack but actually found it to be fabulous with an amazing selection and style of foods. Just look the the Yellow Pages under restaurants and they have covered all the types in the Buffet. For a quiet evening wait till every-one's in the dining rooms and then go to the back of the buffet at the grill where the grilled salmon is No.One with mixed grilled peppers and a carafe of wine for $10.00 and you not only have the best meal you have peace and quiet because nobody is there and you hear soft music you normally wouldn't notice, the lights are low and its wonderful. Going against the flow is always a good way to enjoy a cruise. I most split my dining between the two specialty restaurants...The Ocean Liner and the Tuscan Grill. $30. a pop but a discount if you buy in 3's. The fillet steak is like a tender soft ball ripped out of a cow...crab cakes amazing...flambe lobster, fabulous cheese selection and flambe strawberries. Too wonderful and please dress....its classy...no farm cloths. The main dinning room was very elegant but I found it so rushed...like a cafeteria...I only tried it twice and was too wound up when I left. I like to relax over my food then go to the theatre. The wine package was a pain in the butt...won't do that again. I kept ending up with wine that wasn't on my package and having to pay huge amounts...I prepaid 5 bottles and think I only used 4 so there goes any tiny saving. The $10. carafe was a better deal. The various stops were wonderful but be very careful in Lisbon as many of us were openly attacked and robbed by pick-pockets...I literally had to fight with three aggressive young woman to hang onto my money. Lisbon should put a stop to them or the ships to by-pass Lisbon. This ship is a bit smaller but so much better and as it was a repositioning cruise I had an outside cabin with a patio, flat screen TV with actual TV programing which I've never had before. I wish there was a list you could be on for last minute single offerings for seniors who could go in a few days notice. Thank you constellation. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Who we are This was our sixth cruise, our second on Constellation and our second transatlantic. Our first cruise was on Constellation and we were keen to see how she looked following her Solsticisation but, having had two outstanding ... Read More
Who we are This was our sixth cruise, our second on Constellation and our second transatlantic. Our first cruise was on Constellation and we were keen to see how she looked following her Solsticisation but, having had two outstanding cruises in 2009, this one had a lot to live up to. Pre-cruise Our flights were booked through Celebrity. Unlike the recent experiences of other who have booked BA through Celebrity, we did not have a group booking and were able to manage our own reservations and check-in online 24 hours before our flights. We only booked an over night stay at the Gran Hotel Havana in Barcelona pre-cruise this time leaving us just time for a late lunch of tapas and a quick room service evening snack. We requested a corner room similar to the one we had previously and, as the only one available was on the Club Level, we were given a complimentary upgrade. This was a nice touch not usually to be expected if only staying for one night. We book our pre- and post-cruise packages through Celebrity and the great thing about this in Barcelona is that you leave your luggage outside your hotel room and do not have to bother about it again until it turns up delivered to your stateroom. This year, the luggage did not have to be put out until 8:45am allowing us plenty of time to pack our toiletries and nightwear in our check-in luggage. The coach only picked up from one other hotel so the trip to the ship was fast. Embarkation The layout of the terminal had changed since our last cruise from Barcelona in 2007 and security scanning was the first followed by check-in which was not as smooth as we had hoped. I suppose that it really did not take very long but, as we have never before had any wait to check-in on any cruise, having to queue came as an unpleasant surprise. Having a choice of the suite queue or the Elite queue we joined the shorter suite one. There were only two other couples ahead of us. However, they were also using the suite check-in for passengers using wheelchairs. There was a steady stream of these and, as they were given priority, we had a really long wait. Although with over 400 Elites on board, that queue was realy long, we would have been checked-in much, much quicker if we had used that queue. This slight annoyance was quickly forgotten and we stopped by the speciality restaurants desk to change the time on our online reservations in Ocean Liners to the time we really wanted. On this cruise, suite guests were being offered complimentary speciality dining on the first evening. As we had already reserved online for the first night, our payment was automatically refunded to our onboard account. Alongside the speciality dining desk, there were also areas where you could purchase wine, beverage or spa packages at the pier. Next there was a reasonable selection of duty-free shops including a couple selling wine and bottled water. Having picked up a couple of bottles of wine we were ready to board at about 11:30 just 75 minutes from the time we were required to meet in the hotel lobby. First Impressions Thanks to Cruise Critic, we knew to head straight to Bistro on Five after first checking out Ocean Liners. We were disappointed to see that the Champagne Lounge that had been added when Constellation was Solsticised had since been removed. We thought that the lounge was a great idea and had been looking forward to using it. By the time we had reached Bistro on Five, we had fallen in love with Constellation's new look. Our first ever cruise was on Constellation and you always love your first ship but we were falling in love all over again. Bistro on Five was a welcome haven of peace on this first day. We had a leisurely lunch getting to know the maitre d', Jonny, and our two waiters, Nemanja and Crystal. I was delighted to find that they had cider on board and you simply must try the Italian crepes. This was getting better and better. The announcement that the staterooms were ready came at 1pm. On the way to our suite, we ordered our "Build It Yourself" wine package in Cellar Masters where we met Duarte Da Silva, the food and beverage manager who let us have the dates and times for all the culinary events. My husband loves these and did not want to miss any of them. Royal Suite Now it was time for our first look at a Royal Suite. It was gourgeous with the same elegant new decor of the rest of the ship. In most of the photographs we had seen, the M-class Royal Suites had looked very dark but, while not as light as a Celebrity Suite, it was far from dark. The bedroom and bathroom are much larger than in the Celebrity Suite and the balcony is wonderful. With the hot tub, two loungers and dining table with four chairs it only lacked a side table by the loungers. This was quickly rectified by Bernard our stateroom attendant who found one for us from somewhere [well, the Pool Deck we realised later] in no time at all. With two large sofas and an armchair, the sitting area is really comfortable. We found the large coffee table really useful but were constantly walking into it. Our shins were black and blue and may have been saved by rounded corners to the table-top. The dining area has a good sized table and four wonderful leather-upholstered chairs. A big surprise was finding, in addition to the bottle of French sparkling white wine, two complimentary 1lt bottles of spirit and 8 cans of soda waiting for us. When we said that we had not expected them, our butler later explained that it "depended on the ship" but that, on Constellation, they were provided in the Celebrity, Royal and Penthouse Suites. Had we known, we would not have purchased the bar set up package. Before long both our stateroom attendant, Bernard from Goa, and our butler, Alex from Mumbia, had introduced themselves to us. We did not meet Heru, Bernard's assistant until later. It was impossible to fault how these three looked after us for the whole cruise. Nothing was too much trouble for them. Our suite was spotless the whole time and any request was met sooner than we could reasonably have expected. For example, Bernard delivered the side table for the balcony within about 15 minutes before, even, our luggage had arrived. We had time to explore the suite and stow away everything from our carry-on luggage before our suitcases started to arrive but we had managed to unpack all four cases before lifeboat drill. There is ample storage space in the suite although I think the Celebrity Suites have slightly more hanging space. Of course, we needed extra hangers, as always, but these were quickly supplied. We have always thought that one of the luxuries of a Celebrity Suite was sufficient cupboard space to be organised - a cupboard for port visits, another for souvenirs to take home, etc. The storage is even better in the Royal Suite. Dining We did not eat in the main dining room at all so are unable to comment on it but Ocean Liners, Tuscan Grille and Bistro on Five were wonderful as well a the Aqua Spa Cafe for breakfast. The food in these four venues under the control of Sous Chef Niels from the Netherlands was of the highest quality. Ocean Liners had the same menu as the SS United States when we were on Infinity a year ago but there were subtle changes to the presentation. We loved the Roquefort ice cream with the cheese course and the Porcini Gelato with the Wild Forest Mushroom Cappuccino. The service from maitre d' Srdjan and his staff in Ocean Liners was, as always, impeccable and the quality of the Foie Gras as good as that we had in the Olympic on Millennium in 2007 and better than any we have eaten in France. This was our first experience of the Tuscan Grille and we realy liked being able to experience a totally different dining experience to Ocean Liners. The service provided by maitre d' Vlaho and his staff was also excellent but with a much more relaxed approach. The food was incredible and, one day, my husband had one of those extremely rare experiences - the absolutely perfect meal where all the courses worked together for him in that moment of time. He had a perfectly seasoned Bistecca Tartare, Cioppino [rustic San Francisco seafood stew], Grigliata Mista [mixed grill] and gelato. Our only negative comment about the Tuscan Grille would be that the tables were much smaller than we like and became expremely crowded when the anti-pasta platters were served. However, this was easily rectified by foregoing a window table and having a table for four until they "found" a larger window-side table for us! The anti-pasta platters comprising a plate of Proscuito ham, cheese, artichoke hearts and olives with small bowls of sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic and olives and a bread basket we wonderful but far too tempting. With over 400 Elite Captain's Club members on board, it was impossible to hold breakfast [or cocktails] in Michael's Club. This was such a shame because the ambiance was just not the same in the Relections Lounge. We tried breakfast there a few times as well as in Bistro on Five and in-suite [with perfectly poached eggs on each occasion] but, eventually, settled for the Aqua Spa Cafe wishing that we had discovered the freshly made fruit jams long ago. With fantastic breads and a great selection of fresh fruit and cereals, this made a perfect spot for a healthy breakfast. My husband did abscond on a couple of occasions to try the less healthy options in the buffet. Captain's Club Not many novice cruisers are likely to choose a transatlantic cruise with seven consecutive sea days. Consequntly, as mentioned before, there were over 400 Elite Captain's Club members on board out of nearly 600 members in total. Not only was the Elite breakfast crowded but also the Celebration.which was held twice, once for Early Seating and once for Late Seating. Unlike on Infinity last year, there was only 2 or 3 food stations set up. The queues were long, it was noisy and there was not enough seating for everyone. We decided to leave before the event really got started. However, with so many members on board, it is difficult to know what could have been done to make the event better. If it had been held in the main dining room, there would have been more seating but it would still have been busy and noisy. Cruise Critic There were around 200 members on our active Cruise Critic Roll Call. A number living in Florida had already met up for a brunch before leaving for the cruise. Another group had met up in Barcelona before embarkation and there was a sail-away party on board. Because of our travel and dining plans, we missed all these events. By the time of the Cruise Critic Party on day five of the cruise [the first sea day] most of the group already knew each other well. We found the party more useful on Azamara Quest where we had a much smaller roll call and all the senior officers attended the party giving us the opportunity to get to know then. With a group as large as ours on Constellation, we far outnumbered any officers and staff brave enough to turn up. We were invited to tour the Bridge and the invitations made it clear that this was not offered to other passengers. Without wishing to sound ungrateful, again the large numbers resulted in the tours starting every 30 minutes and the time on the Bridge shorter than we have experienced in the past. The numbers of Captain's Club and Cruise Critic members on this cruise very much affected the success of the events arranged for us. If these are important to you, transatlantic cruises are probably best avoided because it is hard to see what Celebrity can do to improve the situation when the numbers are so large. Officers and Crew Unlike on Azamara Quest and Infinity where senior officers were ever present, contact between the Captain, Hotel Director and the senior officers appeared to be solely at stage managed events which, because of the numbers of Captain's Club and Cruise Critic members on board, were crowded. Although crew morale appeared high and consequently service was good, from experience, pasengers appreciate the day to day contact with senior officers which was missing on Constellation. However, In maked contrast to our previous transatlantic cruise on MIllennium in 2007, all the officers and crew unfailing greeted us everytime we saw them and were immediately responsive to every request, even when they only overheard a comment in passing. In this they cannot be faulted. It is clear that the Captain and Hotel Director ran a happy ship and this is what is important for the passengers to have a great cruise. However, unlike on Infinity a year ago where the Captain and senior officers were ever present, we rarely saw the Captain and other senior officers unless they were having a private meal in a speciality restaurant. Being regulars in the speciality restaurants we were well known to their maitres d' and their staff and they ensured that we were well looked after all round the ship. We had absolutely no complaints on that score. Entertainment and Activities We never go to the shows on board so are unable to comment on them and, after only three previous Celebrity cruises, felt that we had "been there, done that" with most of the activities. I did attend a couple of lectures but, yet again, found them disappointing but I am probably far too hard to please because I know that others found them very interesting. The main focus of our cruises is always the food and we are more than happy to spend the whole evening dining. In the past, this has always started by enjoying a pre-dinner drink. Previously on Celebrity ships, this has been at the Champagne Bar where we have made new friends. The Martini Bar has always had a different ambiance. With the loss of the Champagne Bar on Constellation, we felt that there was no longer anywhere for us to go in the evening. Consequently, we spent a great deal of time enjoying our suite on our own and the highlights of our cruise were the Wine Harvest Celebration Dinner and Lunch with the Executive Chef. We attended the Wine Harvest Celebration Dinner at the same time last year on Infinity and, although we enjoyed the occasion, we were a little disappointed. Unlike on Infinity when there was a totally different menu, the menu this time was made up of items identical, or very similar, to items off the normal Ocean Liners menu. As we were already eating in Ocean Liners on alternate nights, we felt let down by the choices. All the wines served were from one French maker. Except for the desert Sauterne from Bordeaux, they were all from Burgundy and very similar. While we would normally prefer to drink French wines, the Wine Harvest Celebration dinner on Infinity gave us the opportunity to sample, enjoy and learn about great wines from other areas. Although a representative of the wine maker was present to explain the wines, it was clear that he had not selected them and may have made different choices. If the Wine Harvest Dinner was slightly disappointing, lunch with the Executive Chef was wonderful and far exceeded our expectations. Executive Chef Andy Bouchard was a great host and showed us how the meal was prepared. He answered all our questions and even demonstrated additional techniques such as how to fillet a flat fish. The wines paired with the food were great and we enjoyed them much more than those at the Wine Harvest Dinner. We will certainly sign up for this event in the future but perhaps not make any plans for dinner in the evening next time! Ports and Shore Excursions We booked this cruise for the sea days and to relax so only booked one ship's shore excursion. In fact, we did not venture ashore at all in Palma and only for a very short time in Alicante. We had been to Malage before and headed to Taberna El Trillo for lunch. In Funchal, we booked our own tour of Blandy's Wine Lodge followed by shopping for Madeira wine and a mediocre and disappointing at the Golden Gate Restaurant [which had been highly recommended on Trip Advisor]. We booked our Celebrity tour of the Pyramids of Guimar on Tenerife online for £31.50 and we considered this to be excellent value. The coach took a circular route with a stop for photographs looking down on the cruise port from the La Esperanza forest on the way to the site of the pyramids. At the Park, we were given a superb guided tour by the Director Science followed by a short film. Following light refreshments, we had some free time to explore the site on our own before the coach journey home. Although there was an opportunity to purchase souvenirs, unlike many tours, we were actually rushed through the museum shop and there was no pressure to buy anything. Disembarkation As we had booked our post-cruise stay in Fort Lauderdale, we were given the fairly late time of 10am to meet in the theatre with the request to meet there a "few minutes" before the allocated time. We had arranged for our butler to leave cereals and fruit in our suite on the last evening so that we could get ready to disembark at our own pace. Once we were ready, we went on deck to enjoy the sun while we waited for our time slot. At about 9:30am an announcement was made over the tannoy that all label colours had been called and all passengers should now leave the ship. Expecting that most people must now have disembarked, we were surprised to be part of a huge crowd. Eventually we found ourselves in the baggage claim area and were told to collect our luggage before queuing again for immigration control. It took a while to find a porter but this proved to be a great move because the porters were taking their "customers" almost the front of the long queue. Without a porter, it would have taken considerably longer to emerge from the terminal. Outside, we had a short wait for our hotel transfer because Celebrity were sensibly using small vans rather than waiting for enough people to fill a coach. Post-cruise This was our third time staying at the Embassy Suites Hotel. We are more than happy with our choice and get a very good rate from Celebrity - certainly cheaper than we can book ourselves. Although not the most luxurious hotel, we are more than happy with the space we get and find the location extremely convenient. The provision of free Internet access for airline check-in and emails is also appreciated. Conclusion We loved the revamped look of Constellation, and are looking forward to our next cruise on Infinity immediately after her dry-dock. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This was our first cruise since 2007,the last one being Canada/NE on the Constellation. This was our 3rd cruise on this ship, and we've loved the ship, and the ambiance. On arrival at the port, we had a short wait, and were allowed on ... Read More
This was our first cruise since 2007,the last one being Canada/NE on the Constellation. This was our 3rd cruise on this ship, and we've loved the ship, and the ambiance. On arrival at the port, we had a short wait, and were allowed on board about noon, but the staterooms weren't ready until about 1pm. Our stateroom attendant, Schubert, was excellent, looking after every detail, and responding immediately to whatever question we had. We also enjoyed the special little touches offered to elite travelers. Some have said the appetizer bread was stale, but it doesn't take long for those little squares to dry out. The champagne was cold, and the coupons were much appreciated. Our waiter, Augusto, was also excellent, and his assistant..Lorena? was very good, as well. They were both very personable, and made dining a pleasure. The food....not so much. It was OK, but I noted that the dinner served on our return flight had more flavor than any of the meals in the dining room. Little things seemed s bit "off",such as the shrimp cocktails being served in a small dessert dish, rather than the cocktail dishes used previously. Nothing big to complain about, just a slight feeling of cut-backs. My husband has difficulty walking very far, so we can't comment on the entertainment, and we only did one tour, but it was great. A lady on the Cruise Critic roll call arranged a tour of the Amalfi Coast with Sorrento limousine service and it was very enjoyable. Our driver/guide, Girardo was very accommodating and informative. There were just 7 of us on the tour, and after an unexpected hour spent in Sorrento, and a visit to beautiful Positano, Girardo took us to a charming, noisy, delicious tratorria, Where we tasted various Italian dishes, and wines. It was a highlight of our tour. Because of time constraints, we didn't have much time to spend in Amalfi or Rapallo, but it was a splendid day. Rapallo, but it was a lovely, memorable day. As an added note, the refurbishing was well done. All in all, we enjoyed the cruise very much. The disembarkation was smooth and efficient, in spite of a long wait in line for boarding passes. We had a 10am flight, and made it with time to spare. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We booked this cruise about 7 months in advance. Someone on our roll call alerted us that our cabin on the aft and was able to get it that day when I contacted our ta. We went one day early by flying into Ft. Lauderdle. Used Ambassador ... Read More
We booked this cruise about 7 months in advance. Someone on our roll call alerted us that our cabin on the aft and was able to get it that day when I contacted our ta. We went one day early by flying into Ft. Lauderdle. Used Ambassador limo to get to Conrad Miami, which were all stellar. Would do it all over again. The ship was well maintained. Thought it looked great for 10 years old. I was very impressed that they had complimentary scrapbooking class. I loved going and the quality was great. There were only 3 ports of call to Hamburg. First was LaHavre and took ship's tour Paris on your own. It was a long bus ride for the 5 hours. We had been before so just visited our favorite cafes and shops. Next, Dover, where we toured Canterbury and Faversham on a private tour which was outstanding. Rotterdam was last port before Hamburg, we took the shuttle provided by port to train station where we took train to Delft. Loved Delft! We had a C1 aft. It was really the best. Loved the size of the balcony and had a wine and cheese party one night with two other couples. Our room steward was wonderful. The food started out great, but declined in the MDR after 4 nights. The Oceanliners was okay, really thought the Normandie on Summit was more of a speciality venue with superior service & food. The food in Aqua Spa was very good. Room service was prompt and good. The waffles were a huge disappointment. This was one reason we wanted to go on Celebrity. They were outstanding on Summit. The buffet was okay . The standard quality and variety. Loved Perry Grant and the guest piano player from Julliard. The Latin show was also very good. Guest Relations in all fairness had their hands full because of the volcano, but they were very under-staffed on the last night at the desk. At 10 pm they had 2 people and a huge line of people. The problem was airline changes were posted on guests doors around 9 pm. Disembarkation was without incidence. We waited in Concierge area and didn't even have to go through Immigration. Hamburg personnel were great. There was a shortage of wheelchairs with only 6 for the whole airport. Our flights were all changed because of the volcano. We did have complications without tickets just a paper from Guest Relations for Choice Air. Next time I want more because in Paris almost was denied boarding without ticket just boarding passes. Entertainment was what we expected. Loved Perry Grant in Michael's Club. Dining in MDR was great first four nights then declined. It was the quiet of food. Oceanliners was just okay. It was not as good as Summit. Waffles were terrible! Tried more than once and didn't improve. Aqua Spa was good as always. Room service great in morning with CC menu. Guest relations under staffed on last evening. In light of volcano and flight changes they needed all windows open. Disembarkation was smooth. We didn't even go through immigration. Shuttle to Hamburg was fast and very nice. Flights home were complicated because of flight cancellations. Almost denied boarding in Paris because we didn't have anything but a piece of paper fom Guest Relations for Choice Air. Celebrity has not kept it's level of quality of food and service up to four years ago. Really feel RCCL is just as good except for food presentation. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Transatlantic Miami- Hamburg on board Constellation, right before Dry-dock Pre cruise stay: Miami Intercontinental, very good choice which I can highly recommend for a pre cruise stay in Miami. It is right next to Bayside Market- Place. ... Read More
Transatlantic Miami- Hamburg on board Constellation, right before Dry-dock Pre cruise stay: Miami Intercontinental, very good choice which I can highly recommend for a pre cruise stay in Miami. It is right next to Bayside Market- Place. If you stay longer before your cruise starts and you are fancy about beach and sunbathing, a Hotel in Miami Beach would be more handy! A bit pricy, but well worth the money in my opinion. As I don´t get tired from the view of a port packed with big ships, I asked for a room facing the port of Miami. The staff at the hotel and most of all those at the front desk were very attentive and helpful and the room I got was not just facing the port, it was also "overlooking" it, as the room was on the 24. floor! Could not have started out better! As the most reviews I read start with the embarkation- I will follow this path. Usually and on all my cruises with X- embarkation was a breeze. Not so this time. I have no idea why- it was zoo right from the moment I left the cab. It was the first time I embarked a X- vessel in Miami. As bigger ships start out of Miami I am sure it has nothing to do with that- just a mere coincidence I suppose. After an hour or a little less I made the first step on board the Constellation after 7 years and enjoyed my welcome "champagne" - well it tasted more like sparkling wine to me, but I am not much of wine or champagne enthusiast. As I read comments about the "sloppy maintenance " of the Millie- Class ships it is obvious that one takes a closer look. I am definitely not the " lift every carpet- you may find at least something to complain" kind of person, so traces of wear and tear are not bothering me at all. Overall I found the ship, with only a few exceptions, in good condition, very well kept and as always on board a X- ship- spotless clean. I booked a regular veranda cabin, ( Kath. 2A ) aft. - very close to the aft Lobby stairs and elevators. Great location. The cabin itself was in need of a refit. The carpet was stained, one door of the closet was not working properly. As the ship went right into dry-dock after our Transatlantic Cruise that will no longer be an issue- as all the cabins get a refit. My last two cruises were with the brand new Solstice so I wasn ´t sure myself if the difference between brand new- and eight years old , would be extreme. Well, it was not- there was a difference , of course, but I found the public rooms of Connie in excellent condition. In fact I thought the carpets in the landings in every one of the three staircases must have been replaced lately. What really needs a total refit is the Top- Deck - Jogging Track floor. If one just gets a look at this particular deck- one might thing the ship is soon to enter Alang for Scrap. I always enjoyed sailing out of Miami, so I really looked forward to Sail Away. Big Bummer- A heavy thunder storm hit us right when were about to leave port. I got soaked wet, but still stayed on the outside decks. The boat drill was a very quick one- because of the ongoing embarkation of passenger who ´s planes arrived late or wasn´t on time. After the "zoo" at load off stations at the port and chaos there I feared my bags would not show up in my cabin- well I got them, late, but just in time to get unpacked before the first dinner! One of the most exciting moments of a cruise always is the first evening, when I meet the dinner companions for the upcoming cruise. I choose the traditional dinning- in my case always 2nd seating. Well to avoid " surprises" I ask for at least a table for 6- and if possible, international group. Much more interesting to chat we people from all over the world than just with you own citizens. Anyway this time I was seated with a couple from Germany - as it turned out we could not have had more fun during each and every dinner! I looked forward to every dinner! Entertainment - I saw two shows in the theater, both were very good. I finally had the chance to see the famous Perry Grant. He performs every evening in Michaels Club. Never, ever I saw this great lounge so packed as when Perry Grant was in there. There were passengers standing in the doorway of Michael´s Club - even well in the photo shop, to see or hear him. When Rob Wheatley introduced him on his only performance in the Theater he described him as a mix of some comedian ( sorry forgot the name) and Judy Garland. There are just two options; whether you like Perry or you can´t stand him. There is nothing in between. I opt. for the first and liked his shows, great jokes, great songs. I still chuckle when I remember: " Can you please turn on this little ball?? " Thaaaaaaaaaaank you- ah he adores meee! " " Oooh I think am going through the change - again... ...... and so on and so forth! The Cruise Director, Rob Wheatley was great, very friendly and always took his time to greet , meet and mingle. He and his assistant together were priceless. Dining Experiences: That's said in a few words - great- as always with X. Great in the main dining room. Outstanding good in Ocean Liners. The new elite perks are much better than in the previous years. I like the laundry coupons and free internet minutes most. Other than that- the coupons are arranged in the way " buy something THEN you get something! And one has to notice the laundry coupon is just washing and folding - no pressing- for that " extra service" you have to pay. The team in the Martini - Bar and in Cova Cafe cannot be praised enough. Elli - if you read this- you provided us with the best Martinis - ever, always served " in style" and along with a nice chat! Cova staff- the same, a pleasure to enjoy my tea´s there. The Crossing- the weather was okay during the first two days- very windy but no rain. After we passed the Bermudas it got worse and worse by the day. Nevertheless I enjoyed these calm and relaxing days immensely. If you are forced to stay inside - that's when the pro´s of the Millennium Class of ships against the S- Class get obvious. No loud background music all over the place ( very annoying on board Solstice) After eight days at sea in a row we finally made landfall- Le Havre - France, had to skip Paris due to the ongoing cold I caught. Instead I walked a bit in Le Havre. Nice city, almost everything in the city is within walking distance. X provided a shuttle bus- no cost. Next port of call was Dover- well the famous White Cliffs were quite visible from the place where we docked. Again had to cancel London, so I just walked through Dover. Also a very British and charming little city. Well worth a visit and walk. The last stop was Rotterdam / NL . Very interesting BIG City- nice walkways, some interesting buildings! Excellent Tourist Center, with great possibilities for information's! Sailing out of Rotterdam was a real thread after the unhappy Sail away out of Miami. First of all the nice scenery. Then, as a tradition in Rotterdam, a Shanty - Choir sang for us and made this " Good bye" unforgettable . " All good things have come to an end" - so the last sea day was here, once again I enjoyed the "old Constellation" , made pictures from the interior and especially from the rooms and decks that get a completely new layout! A last dinner and a goodbye to new friends, tablemates and from an exceptional friendly staff! I love the tradition of singing Auld lang Syne after the last Formal Dinner! Debarkation in Hamburg was a very rushed one. At about 8 am everyone had to be disembarked. As I understood the ship had to get prepared for the Dry Dock. Well it almost looked like the where rolling up the carpets behind us. We docked in Hamburg Altona- which is not jet finished, so our luggage stood piled up in a big tent. All a bit disorganized. Far to less cabs on hand for so many passengers. For that I blame Hamburg not Celebrity- Cruises! I can recommend a Transatlantic Cruise to everyone who enjoys being on a ship for several sea days and look for a relaxed way to come from Europe to the US or visa verse! It is absolutely not to recommend for those who look for the most sightseeing possibilities one can put into two weeks. Michael Bayer Mai 2010 Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We recently completed a transatlantic on Celebrity's Constellation from Miami, Florida to Hamburg, Germany, and could not be happier with our experience. After disembarking, we stayed on in Germany for 10 days, using rail passes to ... Read More
We recently completed a transatlantic on Celebrity's Constellation from Miami, Florida to Hamburg, Germany, and could not be happier with our experience. After disembarking, we stayed on in Germany for 10 days, using rail passes to travel through the country. We only got home a week ago, and are already searching for another transatlantic cruise for later this year -- that's how much we enjoyed it. But, I will start at the beginning: Pre-cruise boarding: We started in Naples, Florida, so we rented a car one-way and drove it to the Miami International Airport and dropped it off. Then we took a cab to the port ($24 set fee), so getting to the port was a breeze. This saved us a lot of money and worry, as we did not have to leave our car parked somewhere for so long. Embarkation: A breeze. We arrived around 1:00 p.m., and dropped our bags at the curb. Even though we had not received our bag tags, we filled them out with the porter, attached them to our bags, and in a matter of minutes we were headed inside. (This was a different experience than when we left out of Miami on a prior cruise with Carnival.) There was no line to wait to go through the scanners, and not many people in front of us when we completed our pre-boarding paperwork. I should note, that we carried on 2 bottles of wine (as permitted on Celebrity's website, and saw a number of other passenger do so as well) with no problem. Our Stateroom: We booked a balcony stateroom, and requested (and received) a room on the starboard side of the ship (8th floor). This was the sunnier side of the ship as you head eastbound, and I wanted to be able to use the balcony if weather permitted. Our room was in really good condition, with only some minor aging evident in the bathroom. I should note that the Constellation was going into dry dock once we arrived in Hamburg, and although some of the exterior of the ship was in need of some TLC, the interior was spotless and beautiful. Activities: It's funny how easily you can fill up your day on the ship. I was worried we would be bored, but neither my husband nor I ever were. There were lectures you could attend, all kinds of internet, language and food based classes, as well as the usual spa, gym, bingo, casino, and art auction events. In addition, as we were traveling with a group, we were able to tour the bridge, galley (it was really fascinating seeing how large the kitchens were, and see and hear how they manage to prepare over 13,000 meals a day), engine observation room, and backstage of the theatre, things we had never done on past cruises. Fellow passengers: The passengers on the cruise were 99% older than my husband and I (we are in our 40's). While it seemed like this was everyone's first transatlantic cruise, most the people I met were truly experienced cruisers, having been everywhere and seen everything. They were a really interesting bunch, full of information about places I want to see/go. Food: Now for the important information, THE FOOD. Oh. My. God. While the food is typically very good on every cruise, both my husband and I agree that the food was the best we have ever experienced. The quality of the food never wavered throughout the 13 days, and the presentation of each dish at dinner and at the Aqua Spa dining always looked like something you would see in a magazine. They had sushi rolls and sashimi, unbelievable risotto with scallops and shrimp, the most delicious fish (Chilean Sea Bass, Halibut, Salmon), jumbo shrimp EVERYWHERE, Osso Bocco, a Pizzeria, Patisserie, and even a Healthy Dining Location (Aqua Spa) adjacent to the indoor pool/solarium (for when you are tired of gorging yourself). And of course, the desserts....crème Brule (my favorite) was available EVERY NIGHT, tiramisu, soufflEs, panna cotta, ice creams/sorbets/gelatos. I should note that all breads and ice creams/sorbets/sherbet are made fresh on the ship (and included flavors such as red wine sorbet and cinnamon ice cream - delicious). And if breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all the extras were not enough, there was a brunch in the main dining room held every so many days, served with champagne and mimosas....accompanied by a string quartet and grand piano player. Molto elegante. And they gave you champagne at every corner...when you board the ship, when you stop into a shop, when you tour the galley, EVEN when you appear for the muster drill....etc. mmmm. Entertainment: The entertainment on the ship is the typical cruise entertainment. There was a fabulous string quartet in the bars, and the usual orchestra/dancers/singers/comedians at night in the showroom, etc. One night the showroom entertainer was the guy who sang on the television series "The Love Boat" and he actually sang the theme song you heard at the beginning of each episode. Come on, sing along....."the loooooovvveeeee booooaaaatttt...soon will be making another ruuuuuunnnn....the looooooovvvvveeee booooooaaattt, promises something for everyone.......I couldn't stop giggling while he sang Funny. All kidding aside, he was really quite good. On another night, there was a comic/magician, Carl Andrews, who was also very good. And another comic (who's name I can't recall) who was very funny. We missed the first broadway musical show, but heard rave reviews from other passengers. We learned on our backstage tour that the company that provides the shows was being replaced, so the entertainment should be markedly different on future sailings. Gym: Like all ships, there is a gym, but the one on this ship was quite large, with around 20 treadmills lining the front of the ship. HOWEVER, unlike any ship I have ever been on there was a WAIT for the machines. And I mean you seriously had to line up and wait for the treadmills. I have NEVER seen that on a ship before (or any gym, for that matter)! Bunch of crazies!! I was told that it would thin out (no pun intended) as the cruise progressed, but it never did. And even though we had very smooth seas, the ship did move up and down/bow to stern. When it moves up slightly when you are running on the treadmill, it's like you are running uphill, then downhill as the bow lowers again. It's probably really good for your workout, and probably really bad on your knees. Unique Qualities to a Transatlantic Cruise: Since Europe is 5 hours ahead of Florida, we had to move our clocks forward nearly every other day. It's like daylight savings time every other day. And when we went from France to England, we had to move our clocks backwards, then forward again when we headed to Amsterdam. In short, you lose 5 hours on your cruise....Note to self, the transatlantic westbound cruise actually lasts 5 hours longer J Ports/Excursions: We did not participate in any cruise organized shore excursions; my husband and I traveled independently at each port. Our first port of call, after spending 8 days on the water, was La Havre, France. Here, a lot of our fellow passengers went to Paris (2-3 hours away on a train). We opted to visit Claude Monet's home in Giverny. We walked to the main train station in Le Havre, took the train to Vernon (via Rouen). Giverny is a gorgeous place and the location of where Monet's Water Lilys and Japanese Footbridge were painted. We were lucky enough to be there when all the tulips were in bloom. Really, words, nor our pictures describe how gorgeous a place it is, as well as all the surrounding hamlets that line the train's path. Highly recommended! Our second stop was Dover, England. From this port you can visit London (again, nearly 3 hours to get there), but we opted to visit Leeds Castle, somewhere we had never been and wanted to see. We traveled to Bearstad by train, then took a bus to the castle. The grounds are enormous, very park like, and again, gorgeous. We were also able to spend some time in Dover, which is a very cute British town, with the Dover Castle perched above the city and the famous White Cliffs of Dover. After Dover, we arrived in Rotterdam, Netherlands. It is a very modern city, having only 3 major buildings survive World War II. It is full of really interesting architecture. The cruise line provided a bus to the Rotterdam city center, and they give you an interesting tour of the city. Again, we left via train and headed to Amsterdam. You can buy a ticket from the machine, but you need all coins. To buy a train ticket, you buy from a clerk upstairs and they too only accept cash, so make sure you have plenty of euros with you. Amsterdam was a very busy city, lots of bikes (be careful, or you will be run over). Here we were able to tour the Anne Frank House (loved it), and play tourist viewing the canals, wooden shoes (yes they really wear them), and seeing all the Amsterdam "unmentionables." We took a fast train to get to Amsterdam (past windmills), but a slower train back that took us through tulip fields. As my husband described it, it "looked like someone painted the ground." Service: The service we received was fabulous. Our room attendant always addressed us by our last name (and we don't have an easy name to remember or say), and our waiter was GREAT (Julian) - he was always smiling, whether you saw him at breakfast or dinner. The captain on the ship (Captain Gerry) was very engaging and approachable. He would stop and talk with you at dinner, in the gym, wherever you ran into him, and we looked forward to his midday updates, with his words of wisdom from his "Chinese friend." I should also mention the great service we received from the event coordinators (especially Sebastian) as they were SO pleasant and friendly, and played a big part in making our cruise really special. Crossing/Weather: I just read the review of the German traveler on the same ship, and he indicates that it rained when we left port in Miami, but I do not remember this. I was probably eating. All and all, I thought the weather on the crossing was great. And I have to admit that I was a little concerned how rough it would be, as my husband gets seasick. But it was so much nicer than I had hoped. In fact, my husband had been taking ½ bonine 2 times a day, but quit taking it altogether later in the cruise, as the seas were so calm (especially once we got near France). We did have 2 days when the swells were between 7-10 feet, but other than that they were less than 3 feet. It was cold in Dover and Le Havre, but a little milder in Amsterdam. We were able to sit in the sun on our balcony, run outside on the deck, and I watched several people sunbathing throughout the cruise. Disembarking: As the prior reviewer indicated, we had to be off the ship early, as the Constellation was going into dry dock. As the Captain explained, we arrived in Hamburg on a river, and the tide needed to be high enough for them to take the Constellation further up the river from where we disembarked, and turn the ship around to be placed in dry dock. A lot of passengers complained about the early disembarkment, but we knew it before getting onboard (they should have known as well). Our luggage was easy to find, we waited in line for a cab, and headed to the train station to continue our adventure in southern Germany. A couple more points: We brought only dollars onboard and exchanged money on the ship. The exchange rate was fractionally higher than $1.40 per euro. At the time, the dollar/euro was trading around $1.34 - so the rate of exchange was SO reasonable. The internet is slow to connect, so writing an email offline, then sending online still ends up costing about $5-$7. OK, that's it. It was a great experience, and if you like to cruise, I would highly recommend a transatlantic. And if you like to eat, I highly recommend the Celebrity Constellation. Bon voyage! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We were told that Celebrity reads the Cruise Critic reviews so here are my comments about the CC slide show of the changes that were made: In Phase 1, Slide 5, mention was made of the repair of the "huge hole in the cement" ... Read More
We were told that Celebrity reads the Cruise Critic reviews so here are my comments about the CC slide show of the changes that were made: In Phase 1, Slide 5, mention was made of the repair of the "huge hole in the cement" (underflooring, covered by carpeting)which was a minefield every time we entered and exited the dining room. I hope they made the same repair on Deck 2, which badly needed it. No mention was made of noise abatement in the dining room, which is unfortunate. It was so noisy it was hard to to place our orders with our waiter, nevermind converse with our tablemates. On the couple of occasions that the P.A. system was used near the end of dinner, the sound level was physically painful and we simply left. In Phase 3, Slide 4, I noticed that the same tacky cheap-motel looking formica vanity and bed-side tables are still in place. The hinges in our vanity were broken, making it unusable -- I hope they were repaired. Slide 6 shows the newly refurbished (and renamed) Cova Cafe. On our cruise we were there every evening enjoying either the outstanding string quartet or the piano entertainer. If this remains a venue for music performances those new high-backed chairs are going to be a problem! Slides 5-6 show the replacement of the Conservatory, which was a delightful light, airy space that took advantage of being at the top of the ship, by the Tuscan Grille, with a "signature rough-hewn wine country steakhouse." In the slide it looks like a cave, and certainly won't entice me! We've certainly enjoyed steak restaurants in light, airy surroundings on cruise ships in the past, i.e. our cruise on Azamara Journey to Antarctica. One other note: we had Celebrity book our air transportation -- with the first port being 8 days from departure, we wanted to know that the ship would be held for us if our plane was late. We arrived in Miami mid-morning of departure day to find hundreds of Celebrity/Royal Caribbean passengers already crammed into a small area near the carousels. They had already been waiting for hours for buses to the terminal. The mountain of luggage was so large we were unable to leave our large suitcases and had to take them to the buses ourselves. There was no place to sit, a serious hardship for many passengers. Buses began to arrive when we had been there 2 1/2 hours. Champagne and a string quartet on embarkation didn't make up for the bad taste in our mouths from our airport experience! We are experienced cruisers, having sailed many times from Miami with "lesser" cruise lines, and have never experienced such a mess at the airport. We are not likely purchase transfers from Celebrity again unless it seems absolutely necessary. At the end of the cruise when we docked in Hamburg, they scheduled all passengers to depart *very* early, we assumed so that the ship could go into drydock to begin renovations. (It was fun to watch the lifeboats scurry away while we were waiting to debark.) We were among the last groups scheduled to leave at 8:15. At 8:00 it was announced that all remaining passengers should leave PDQ (despite having been told that no public announcements would be made). Getting out of the terminal was a nightmare: Finding our luggage was no problem, but Celebrity appeared to not have considered egress through the gate, and there were too many passengers leaving through a small space. We were repeatedly told to stay to the left and to hurry up to reach the bus to the airport. (The word "please" would have gone a long way.) In fact, the buses departed from the right, so we had to make our way through the large group waiting for cabs, and once we got to the bus departure area there seemed to be no rush. We arrived at the airport before 9 a.m., a good 6 hours before our flight (scheduled by Celebrity) to Frankfurt. (Celebrity scheduled no excursions in Hamburg to keep us occupied.) We watched several other Lufthansa flights leave for Frankfurt, and when ours was delayed it looked for awhile as if we might miss our connection to the U.S. Both the embarking and debarking experiences were unpleasant enough to that we have reconsidered cruising to/from ports where we do not feel comfortable making our own airline and transfer plans. It was part of our decision to cancel a TA scheduled for the Fall. The best part of our pre-post travel experience was that Celebrity booked our return travel on Lufthansa. We flew steerage, but we were treated well! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
I had been anxiously awaiting the transatlantic cruise for months and it was finally here! We spent 3 amazing days in Paris, no snobby or unfriendly Parisians were encountered, and 2 in London. Even though the itinerary of the ... Read More
I had been anxiously awaiting the transatlantic cruise for months and it was finally here! We spent 3 amazing days in Paris, no snobby or unfriendly Parisians were encountered, and 2 in London. Even though the itinerary of the transatlantic cruise said Paris (Le Havre), the city of Paris is 2 1/2 hours away by train or bus! No way was I not seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night! We arranged for our own transportation to the Harwich Terminal and it took a good 2 hours from London. The train stops right at the Terminal so next time that will be the method. The check in was a breeze and we were off! I was disappointed by the cabin, so small, and it was a balcony on the 6th deck. The beds are horrible!! Those egg crates for padding that they try and appease you with are just as bad. Room service was punctual but was never hot when it got to our room. Our attendant was exceptional as was all the service throughout the trip. The crew make the experience since you're spending practically 24/7 together. The ship is showing its' age. I was disappointed with the entire cruise. Amazing with the 3 other reviews on the same ship, we could have such different experiences. The food was ok at best and the only good meal was the Parade dinner. The entertainment was ok, the activities were the same. The bingo king was obnoxious while he took he was being cute. The shore excursions were varied and well organized. I'm not sure if the excursions at St. John, NF were cancelled because of the bumpy ride or the fact that we left Reykjavik 3-4 hours late! We were on board before departure time (remember they'll leave you behind) and we saw bus after bus pull up and watch as it snaked through the port building to get everyone back on board! What a joke! The sea were high between Scotland and Reykjavik and then onto Canada. The dining was sparse a couple of nights and the entertainment cancelled. I felt that the quality of the Celebrity cruise had slipped since our last cruise. While you think you'd be treated differently, the specials offered on board were better than what they offered their repeat customers. Shame! Some cabins lost their luggage for the entire trip from the Celebrity transfers out of Heathrow airport. We had to lend them some of our clothes because Celebrity had only given them complimentary laundry services at the time. Can you imagine a 2 week cruise with the clothes you wore on the plane? Yikes!! I chose this cruise because of the Celebrity name, the ports and because it was my husbands' first trip to Europe. However, it will probably be my last cruise with Celebrity. Outside of the amazing service and crew it was just an ok ship with ok food and entertainment.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
This was our first 14 day cruise and our first Transatlantic. It was like two cruises in one. The first part of the cruise we did the British Isles and we hit a port just about everyday. We had beautiful but cool weather and rain only on ... Read More
This was our first 14 day cruise and our first Transatlantic. It was like two cruises in one. The first part of the cruise we did the British Isles and we hit a port just about everyday. We had beautiful but cool weather and rain only on one day. Our pictures came out great. The tours were ok but there was a lot of busride time. The sites we went to were in France, including the US World War II Cemetary and some small towns along the Normandy area. All of our tours went well except the one in Scotland when we went to Edinburg. The tour guide was very disorganized and we lost two people. It included lunch but that was in a hotel and the food was hotel fare. As far as the ship was concerned, the food was outstanding, the service outstanding, the ship was clean, and we absolutely enjoyed Perry Grant each night after the main show. The entertainment for the most part was very good but there were a few nights where the main entertainment was filler, if you get my drift. So we always went back to Perry Grant and we assured of a fabulous show with him as well as great music. Couple 69 danced and Joyce, as always, was there. He also had a number of other groupies and although he repeats his jokes (he yelled about Cruise Critics.com one night) he is always a hoot. We got his DVD but it does not do justice to his in person talent. Anyway, the downside to the Constellation we thought was that the rooms are a bit dowdy. They need new carpet and the storage space is pretty minimal. Bathrooms are nice and the cabin service is excellent. We had a Ocean View with balacony but used the balcony infrequently on this cruise. Room service was excellent and very punctual. They really tried to pull out all the stops for this group of passengers as we have been on other cruises on Princess and Holland where the service was terrible. No so on this cruise. They knew they had an audience with some means and they intended to make us happy. Another downside I thought were daily activities. There were not as many activities as we had experienced on other lines like Princess. This could have been because the pool area was too cold to use so everything had to be inside. I accidentally happend upon the Bridge Tour and that was excellent. If you can get a Bridge Tour I highly recommend it. No other cruise that I know of has allowed a Bridge Tour. We met with the Captain several times and he was very personable. I thought the stores were low on merchandise but they did have some sea day sales. The transatlantic crossing from Scotland to Iceland is not for the faint of heart. The seas were rocking and rolling and while I found that really cool, others on board were not as amused as I was. The crossing from Iceland to Canada, at times, was also a tad bumpy. There were some general updates but the info was few and far between. Also we had no CNN or other news contact via TV and the internet was really slow and quite expensive. So be prepared to be cut off from the outside world. In any event, I would highly recommend the Constellation, she is a beautiful and fine vessel and she is going into dry dock next year, I believe for a makeover. In many public areas, however, it looked like she had had a makeover recently since that carpet looked great. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Onboard life-I like the less announcements policy a lot. Rarely do you hear announcements exception being the Captains noon update. Staff knows your name, drink, food preferences within a few day of boarding, which is a miracle in itself ... Read More
Onboard life-I like the less announcements policy a lot. Rarely do you hear announcements exception being the Captains noon update. Staff knows your name, drink, food preferences within a few day of boarding, which is a miracle in itself to me, since I rarely remembered even my table mates' names until after the first week. One of the things that was quite impressive that I never noticed before was Celebrity's attention to people with disabilities. We had a nice couple onboard who were deaf, Celebrity made available to them interpreters anytime they needed it for shows, excursions, etc. People who had a physical disability that confined them to a wheelchair were treated like the VIP's that they should. We did have a day or two of rough seas, which wasn't totally expected since it was a transatlantic cruise in September. The ship obviously tried its best to minimize the rocking, was really impressed though how the crew/staff handled the passengers concerns. They tried to keep people from focusing on the movement and suggested simple but effective solutions to make it as smooth/comfortable as possible. One suggestion for cruise travelers. Find a cruise line you like and stay with it. These was my 10th cruise with Celebrity, and appreciate the perks they offer repeat visitors. Galley tours, backstage tours and even a bridge tour as well as meeting the senior members on the staff, really make you feel like they value your business, and I appreciate that. Crew-Seems genuinely happy and integrated- From talking to various members, found that ~ two weeks they have a get together in the lounges for crew only, really sense that this helps to bond them. Master and Hotel Director are respected and admired for their work, they talk the talk but more importantly they walk the walk, and lead by example and this same spirit flows to the rest of the crew. The hotel director Christian was astounding with his attention to detail, personality, and recall. He's a great asset to the Constellation, Celebrity and RCL shareholders. One thing also I thought worth mentioning, the crew seemed to genuinely respect the leadership of Celebrity up on the corporate level as well. One of the singers was telling me during a backstage tour that they appreciated that the fleet wide recycling effort (Save the Waves) they did onboard, any profits generated went to the crew recreation fund, and heard on several occasion from more than one staff member that "they take good care of us here". Spa-Went for a few massages while onboard and all where quite good. Found though was better booking the day I needed them rather then in advance as usually could save 30% off listed prices. When I tried to negotiate a deal upfront for package of 10 best they could do is 20% off, so glad I waited and got the 30% off almost daily special. It is riskier as they generally don't offer the larger discount on sea days, but on this cruise they did several times. Was happy too that after telling the first "therapist" that I wasn't interested in creams, lotions, products they sell, they left me alone and stopped recommending Excursions- Thought they were good, and used the time well. Think I took four or five while onboard. All I thought had a good host, well versed in the local history of the spot visited. I was glad also that they weren't trying to point you to a store for shopping. Always been a pet peeve of mine to pay for a tour and have them spend the time bringing you to their colleagues shop instead of concentrating the focus on the local sights (unless of course it's a shopping tour). Dining-Overall give it 4.5 stars out of 5. The buffets are good and plentiful. San Marco dining staff attentive. Absolutely love their presentation and attention to detail on every plate. I don't think I eve r waited for a course in 14 days, always served promptly. I also-liked that the waiter Justo suggested his favorite choices from the nightly menu, as well as desert. If he noticed you didn't seem to be enjoying you're entree, he would suggest a different entrEe, as he wanted to genuinely see you go away happy. Only complaint I guess I had was the NY strip steak, at our table of 12 at least a dozen were ordered over the course of the two weeks, but all were tough and stringy. Maybe it was just a bad batch we had. -Soups were delicious, our table devoured the fresh bread every night, and deserts were excellent and original. Enjoyed the Michelin type service of the specialty restaurant as well, food there was EXCELLENT, service EXCELLENT, atmosphere and attention to detail EXCELLENT. Reminded me of a two star Michelin restaurant I visited in Toulouse a few years back. Most cruise ships know how to dress up an entrEe, but Celebrity takes it a step farther and has a great way of turning even something as simple as a salad or bread course into a culinary treat for the eyes and the palette. That takes some finesse that they pull off. Embarkation: Took the bus option from Celebrity to Harwich and arrived at approx 2PM, embarkation was a breeze and was on the boat by 3PMs. This was my second time at Harwich and both times embarkation was easy and stress free. Noticed though that the train stopped right at the Harwich terminal, so next time I might try that from London instead of the 2.5 hour coach ride, since I heard they have non-stop trains from London on cruise days. Cabins- Are what I've grown to expect for Celebrity. Clean, Smart Design, and well maintained. Towels changed out twice a day as needed. Beds generally made up promptly in the mornings after you leave and turned down at night while at dinner. Always a few chocolates on the pillow and fresh flower bud or two in the room as well. Had the greatest stateroom attendant for my cabin, a nice man named Newton. His smile and attention to even the smallest detail was there every single moment I was onboard it felt. I always look at miniscule details like the paint on the railing and deck chairs even though on this cruise it wasn't used much, but you could see that things were maintained even in parts that might not be seen or used all that much. I admire that attention to detail, as I think it reflects back on the bigger picture. Price- ROI (return on investment) EXTRAORDINARY. I don't see how Celebrity does it, provide top notch service, food, ships and still works out to about $100/day, which in most cities, you would be lucky to find a moderate at best motel room for with no food or entertainment included. Entertainment: Overall pretty good,. On a positive note, the Voicemales which were an A cappella group were quite good and personable. The voices were good. Movies onboard were recent first runs. The shows by the Celebrity singers/dancers in the Celebrity Theatre were good as well as the young talent has a lot of enthusiasm and spirit and put on a full enjoyable show. You could tell they worked well together. Did try the comedy show, but came across as bland and a bit too bland for my taste. Perry Grant's, performances in Michaels lounge were enjoyable to his audience, but was really just wasn't to my tastes. Was really surprised though what a big following he has. Onboard. Thought the entertainment staff was excellent, full of energy, funny and they obvious enjoy there work. Disembarkation : Easy, quick and organized. Ship arrived well before our scheduled 7AM arrival and was on the pier, cleared from customs with my luggage before 9:30. Overall-5+ stars out of 5+. You see what you get, an unforgettable first class vacation where you really are treated like an honored guest on the ship. The negatives were inconsequential compared to the positives compared to other cruise lines I've experienced, and will sail again with Celebrity without a doubt. In my experience the difference with Celebrity is they are a learning organization, that strives to continually improve. They experiment and learn and grow. To me it's not all about who has the newest/fastest /largest ship or the latest bells and whistles of the day onboard, it's about quality, and Celebrity is quality. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
We flew from San Diego to DC and then to London. Two hour bus ride to the ship. Checkin was very smooth, took only minutes. We were on the Sky Deck, category CC. Room was very nice and the cabin service during the total cruise was ... Read More
We flew from San Diego to DC and then to London. Two hour bus ride to the ship. Checkin was very smooth, took only minutes. We were on the Sky Deck, category CC. Room was very nice and the cabin service during the total cruise was excellent. We asked for extra wash clothes and tissue and every day we had the addition wash clothes and we also received enough tissues for the entire cruise. Everytime we left the room it was made up when we returned. The location of our room was very good, midship and on deck 9. We only had to walk up one level to be in the cafe. The food in both the cafe and main dining room was very good with a good variety to choose from. The service in the main dining for dinner was also very good. The ship had a nice wine selection and we had wine almost every night. The cruise was port intensive the first week and most of the second week was at sea, which was very rough. The North Atlantic can be rough and was during our crossing. There were a few nights with many empty seats in the dining room and show room. The main shows had to be cancelled on a couple of occasions do to the rough seas. The onboard ship activities were a little weak during the days at sea. Because of the weather it was impossible to have any outside activities. Spent time playing Bingo, with an entertaining lead that was name 'Captain Bingo' (Alfredo from Argentina). Most of the tours were well organized and we enjoyed the tours that we took. The weather for most of the first week was very nice fall weather, sunny but cool. We had only 1 day of rain the first week. The tours in St. John's, Newfoundland were cancelled because we were almost 5 hours late arriving due to the storms at sea. We chose this cruise for two reasons, the ports of call and Celebrity Cruise Lines. The ports for the most part were very interesting and we enjoyed the tours we took in the ports. Celebrity did not disappoint. This was our fifth cruise with them and we have always enjoyed our experience with them. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Background:  This was our fifth Celebrity cruise and our third on Constellation, which we had not sailed since a TA in 2006.  Since we are a family of three, we book suites, looking for discounted rates through Internet travel ... Read More
Background:  This was our fifth Celebrity cruise and our third on Constellation, which we had not sailed since a TA in 2006.  Since we are a family of three, we book suites, looking for discounted rates through Internet travel agencies.  We sail with a number of other cruise lines, including Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Cunard, Regent and Silversea.   Summary:  Although we enjoyed this cruise, we found that Celebrity has changed a good deal since our last cruise on the Constellation in 2006.  Service remains outstanding, but ship maintenance, food quality, food variety and the lectures offered have declined.  We will sail with Celebrity again, but on the new, larger ships.   Service:  All our stewards, in the dining room and our stateroom, were outstanding as usual. Service throughout the Constellation was wonderful.   Food:  Since 2006, the quality of the food has declined, but that said, we still enjoyed our meals overall.  A time or two, we had some very good entrees, including a wonderful fillet of halibut one evening, but overall the food is rather bland.  Ingredients used are not the best, with no butter at all in many of the cookies and no cream used in the preparation of creamed soups, with arrowroot or cornstarch  likely substituted as thickeners.  Overall, it is apparent that Celebrity is reducing per passenger costs by cutting food quality.  No longer is lobster served, except as part of a seafood medley at one formal dinner. The seafood medley is rubbery and tasteless.    Stateroom:  We booked a Royal Suite at a discounted rate, but found that the very same suite we booked in 2005 currently has some problems.  Our heat did not work throughout the cruise. At first, this was not apparent as we embarked from Florida, but as we advanced across the Atlantic, we were most uncomfortable without heat.  Attempts to fix the problem were not successful. Eventually, the maintenance crew simply turned off the cold air flow completely. I wonder how the passengers following us managed as they were going to northern Europe, which is quite cold in May.  Our lighting was also inadequate as Celebrity has added very low wattage bulbs throughout the suite rendering it rather like a cave due to all the dark paneling. This was not so in 2005.  The sofa bed also gave way, and we had to request that it be repaired. It was left open one evening, with the frame broken near the head of the bed.  The bedroom queen mattress was terrible....very hard even with added padding.  The suite was kept spotless, and the staff tried very hard to solve our lack of heat problem with no success.    Lectures:  In the past, we have enjoyed very good lecture series on crossings on the Constellation. This time, not so.   No "name" lecturers as in the past.    Library:  The library is quite literally a mess.  The lighting is so low that it is nearly impossible to even see the books.  There is no librarian. Books were randomly placed on shelves.  A beautiful room left to ruin. There are few books available.  Take your own....   Entertainment:  Overall, the entertainment was quite good. We particularly enjoyed Linsey Hamilton and the British comedian, whose name I do not recall. We did not see any of the production shows.   Conclusion:  Although we were disappointed in some aspects of this cruise, we intend to give one of the new Celebrity ships a try.  Some of the crew on the Constellation think that she will be sold as the newer larger ships enter service.  Perhaps that explains why we had problems in our suite.  The crew remain stellar, however, and provide wonderful, friendly service.  Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Celebrity Constellation Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 5.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 5.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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