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Sail Date: December 2011
after a long flight we arrived in Miami airport. after 30 mins we were through customs control and on our way to our Fort Lauderdale overnight hotel. we had the most amazing meal at a steakhouse with friends. the next day we were in the ... Read More
after a long flight we arrived in Miami airport. after 30 mins we were through customs control and on our way to our Fort Lauderdale overnight hotel. we had the most amazing meal at a steakhouse with friends. the next day we were in the hotel foyer at the allotted time but we did not board our bus for another 90mins due to a football team staying in the hotel. we had to wait until their buses left the hotel before our buses were allowed into the hotel forecoat. our bus driver was very funny and informative re Fort Lauderdale. check in went smoothly. it took approx 30min from arriving to boarding the ship. our cabin was not ready so we had a wee wander around the ship after we had lunch in the buffet. our suitcases arrived at our cabin about 2 hours after embarking, the quickest yet. our cabin was an inside on deck 8. the cabin was kept clean by our cabin steward and assistants. they carried out their duties quietly and efficiently. nothing was too much bother. all areas on the Constellation were kept spotless by the hard working staff who were always cheery no matter what time of day or night. the food in the MDR was as usual very good. we were on anytime dining which we enjoyed. we shared our table with our friends, and sometimes with more people. everyone we shared our table with were so very nice. we ate in Ocean liners twice. the feed and service was excellent as usual. our friends ate in Ocean liners and Tuscan grill. they enjoyed both meals enormously the entertainment was Celebrity's usual.........so so. the singers and dancers shows were very good. the comedians were just OK. Sue Dennings, the entertainment director, one woman show was excellent, as was the staff and passengers talent show. some of the staff in the show were far better than the entertainers that Celebrity had booked and paid for. we had heard mixed reviews about Perry Grant who is based in Michaels club in Constellation. we did not go to see him in Michaels club but did go to his show in the theatre. we are glad that we did, yes he is not a great singer but he is a great showman and entertainer. he kept us entertained from the start to the end of his show. entertainment in the bars were not that great. I enjoyed all of our port of calls but eventually all the islands blended into one. we took either a taxi or bus to take us on a tour of the islands who we shared with our friends. however if in Granada and wanting a taxi you can get one at the port but remember to ask for Ambrose. he was very informative and courteous taxi driver. Ambrose did not want payment for our island tour until the tour ended. we asked to be dropped off in the town instead of the dock but wish we hadn't as the town not very nice. we only spent 30mins in town. by the time we arrived in our last port, St Thomas, I was fed up looking at jewellery shops. ok, ok I know I am not a shopper. Barbados was our least favourite island. we did not take a taxi but just went into town which did not impress us too much. we took the ships tour of the rainforest in St. Lucia. what a great tour. it felt cool and very quiet in the rainforest. I also managed to have a bushwhacker cocktail in St. Marteen........loved it. we did see some light rain in our first few days and very heavy in Barbados, but the average temp was still approx 85-90 degrees with high humidity. a wee bit too hot and humid for me. the first leg of our BA flight home was delayed for about an hour. at the end of our flight we were asked to fill in a form informing us that we had been incontact with a dangerous infectious disease!! there were two people with the D&V bug ?noro virus. at least one of them had been on the Constellation. I feel that the infected people should not have been allowed on the flight as their illness put every pax at risk. poor show on both BA and the people with the illness. it showed little regard for everyone else on the flight. all in all I loved my cruise but don't think I will be rushing back to the Caribbean in the near future. the only bad bit was the flight home fiasco. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We sailed on the Constellation December 17, 2011 Southern Caribbean. Appearance: Ship was well maintained and looked great. Staff: The crew was friendly and helpful. Wait staff were professional. Everyone you passed in the hallway ... Read More
We sailed on the Constellation December 17, 2011 Southern Caribbean. Appearance: Ship was well maintained and looked great. Staff: The crew was friendly and helpful. Wait staff were professional. Everyone you passed in the hallway said hello. Officers circulated freely and engaged passengers. Overall, outstanding. Entertainment: Theater entertainment was a mixture of production numbers and guest performers. The production cast of 15 singers and dancers were wonderful and the staging excellent. The guest performers were varied in entertainment value, but for the most part were enjoyable. The bands that played in the various venues around the ship did a fine job. Notable were the a'capella group and the string trio. The cruise director, Sue Denning, did an outstanding one woman show and she was a delight throughout the trip. Food: The food was acceptable. It definitely was not up to the standard of sister line Azamara and our recollection is that it was not as good as that on the Solstice and Eclipse. Health: We heard of a few cases of gastrointestinal infections. Nothing was said about it and I didn't notice any extra cleaning of handrails etc. Overall: It was a good trip and we booked another Constellation trip for June. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
This was our first cruise with Celebrity and our first Christmas cruise. We were excited to see how it would go and we were not disappointed. We took a shuttle from our hotel and arrived to our ship by 11:15. The embarkation process was ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Celebrity and our first Christmas cruise. We were excited to see how it would go and we were not disappointed. We took a shuttle from our hotel and arrived to our ship by 11:15. The embarkation process was a cinch and, as we were early, we were assigned a waiting area for concierge passengers. By noon, we were on board ship. We were greeted with smiling faces and glasses of champagne, a very nice start to our trip. We headed off to find some lunch and then toured the ship a bit, looking at the pools, the theater, the lounges etc. By 2pm, the rooms were ready. The room was a nice size, compact and efficiently set up. My bag arrived shortly there after but my husband's did not. As the afternoon progressed and the bag did not arrive, we started to be a bit concerned. We spoke to our steward who told us the bag was in "security" and we had to go retrieve it. Off we go to the first floor to find the missing bag. It turns out the bag was pulled aside because hubby had left his pocket knife in the flap of the bag, a knife which has travelled all over the world and never been an issue before.It was deemed a dangerous weapon and confiscated. This left us with a funny feeling as there are knives all over the ship and anyone could use them to stab someone else. They are way more dangerous than a small pocket knife. Off we then went to unpack his bag and go to diner. The ship was beautifully decorated for the holidays, the food was amazing and the service exceptional. Of particular note, were the maitre d's, two lovely young ladies, who were smiling efficient and very pleasant to deal with. Princess could learn from this cruise line as their maitre d's are surly and take themselves way too seriously. We had booked select dining and never waited once. The waiters were all happy, smiling and very eager to help us. We were sat in different areas and hence had different sommeliers. Suzanna was very good, knowledgeable and extremely efficient. Not so with a male sommelier, who made numerous errors with us and others around us. We did not try the other restaurants as we felt the food in San Marco was fine. We had lunch each day at the Seaside Cafe and found lots of options to please all tastes. The sorbet, made daily is amazing. The Christmas day brunch was fabulous at there were numrous stations to suit everyone. Really aprreciated the full roomservice breakfast in the concierge class which we used several times and ate on our balcony. The T pool is great as it is adult only. Lots of chairs to be found, rarely waited. To us on this cruise, the ports were less important as we have done them many times before. We were on this trip to rest and get away. We did go for a tour on Grenada, the spice island,looking at cocoa production, nutmeg and other fruits ans spices on the island. Very informative. In other ports, we simply went to the beach. I forgot that we were caught in a downpour in Curacao,on the floating bridge. We got soaked to the bone but, it was a warm rain so who cares...Orient Beach in Saint Martin was very disappointing. Very crowded, busy with motor sports stuff, para-sailing etc. Not one we would recommend if you want to be quiet and enjoy the sun and the sea. Of course, Magens Bay beach was wonderful. Activities on the ship. The Christmas eve caroling and the show in the theater were lots of fun because they were informal and all could participate. Otherwise, the musicals were great, the dancers full of energy.The acapella group were wonderful, the Arabesque Trio not quite so,as they were often off key. Beyond the Podium talks were also a nice change. Learnt lots of info about the Caribbean. We skipped many of the other entertainers as the comedy did not appeal to us. In summary, this was our 10th cruise, Princess, NCL, Carnival and now Celebrity.We would certainly sail again with Celebrity as we would with Princess who compare quite well. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Our 3rd Celebrity Cruise and 2nd time on the Solstice. Flew in the night before. Boarding was on time, rapid and painless. Excellent cabin on the hump with a very large balcony. Great, efficient service by our room steward throughout the ... Read More
Our 3rd Celebrity Cruise and 2nd time on the Solstice. Flew in the night before. Boarding was on time, rapid and painless. Excellent cabin on the hump with a very large balcony. Great, efficient service by our room steward throughout the cruise. Ate in the MDR on all nights in the late seating. Again, great service by our waiter and assistant waiter with professional and efficient service. Food quality varied with some great dishes and some just average. Many more young children on board, almost certainly because it was a holiday cruise. The cruise line never enforced the adults only rule for one of the outdoor pools so we generally stayed in the covered pool area which was quiet. Got to meet the new ship's master, Captain Gerry, during a sail away bridge tour offered during this cruise for $75.00. Captain Gerry had joined the ship this cruise, but has been Master of several other S class ships. For the bridge tour about 20 of us came on the bridge before sail away from St. Maarten, got to watch the Master brief the officers and then got to watch the Staff Captain maneuver the ship out of port. The ship's master spent 45 minutes with us answering questions about the ship and Celebrity. A great experience. The on board musical groups, including the ship's orchestra, were generally excellent. The specialty acts ranged from a great juggler, to a really terrible singer/mimic. The only comedian on board was there for one night at 12 MN. During the "liar's club" ship activity the Staff Captain revealed himself as an excellent "straight man" comedian. The ship's Master played his guitar and sang during the last night show and had a great voice. We were late getting into San Juan and arrived a dusk due to high winds. We toured on our own in San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Martin and had a great time. We took the ship sponsored Zip Line tour in St. Kitts and I highly recommend it. The Solstice has had problems with gastroenteritis/noro virus outbreaks this year. During the cruise immediately preceding ours, the ship was on "lock down" and guests could not touch utensils in the Buffet. We had no such restrictions on our cruise. Unfortunately during the last night of the cruise (Christmas Day), one of my family members developed severe GI distress. I was informed by the responding nurse practitioner that there had been an outbreak of many cases of GI distress that night, and that 3 separate medical teams were responding throughout the ship. Needless to say this made disembarkation particularly difficult. I wonder if the latest GI outbreak was due to noro virus or food poisoning. In any case this seems to be a recurring problem on the ship and needs to be dealt with. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We loved the Eclipse. The ship is beautifully designed with lots of bars (of all kind), very good food-even in the beautiful and spacious buffet and especially in Blu where the staff was terrific. Boarding-We arrived at the terminal at ... Read More
We loved the Eclipse. The ship is beautifully designed with lots of bars (of all kind), very good food-even in the beautiful and spacious buffet and especially in Blu where the staff was terrific. Boarding-We arrived at the terminal at about 12:30pm and boarded right away with very little wait. We had carry-on luggage and went right to the buffet for lunch. Our room was ready shortly thereafter. Cabin-we were in Aqua Class, cabin 1631. It was very nice but a bit smaller than we're used to and less drawer room than we've found on other ships. Nonetheless it was fine. The veranda was large enough for a small table, 2 chairs and two ottomans--all very modern furniture. The bathroom was also nice with enough storage room, but again small with no tub. (The best bathroom we've ever had was in a veranda room on the Niew Amsterdam earlier this year-it was huge with separate shower and tub). Thankfully, the cabin was very quiet and we were glad we booked a cabin below other cabins as v. a public area. We're convinced, after several noisy experiences, that a cabin between other cabins is the best choice. Restaurants-The dining room reserved for Aqua Class is Blu. It was wonderful-great, healthy food--but not bland, just well cooked and not enormous helpings. If a food was not on the menu, staff did its best to get it for you-like a certain vegetable. On the subject of staff, they were great and eager to please. Blu was open for breakfast and dinner only so we either had lunch at the buffet or on deck 12 at the healthy spa food area. The problem with the buffet was that there were so many choices, arranged in multi-stations, that we tended to overeat there. We also experienced the usual rude passengers who acted like they hadn't eaten for days!! We also ate at Qsine-one of the specialty restaurants. It's menu could best be described as ecletic tapas--very interesting and worth at least one try. The other restaurant that we paid extra to eat at was Murano. We were looking forward to it based upon positive reviews on this site. However, it turned out to be our worst meal. The service was okay, but the lobster was horrible--very small, dry tails almost like a langostino, but not billed as such. After one meal was sent back and another one just like it arrived, Tony, the maitre d' came over to ask me what the problem was. I told him the food was "horrible" and he started arguing with me in front of everyone about how I could use the word "horrible" to describe my meal. I was mortified and I told him I'd take up his attitude with the hotel manager-which I did. The manager apologized and I hope that no one else experienced what ruined the evening for us. We had room service several times-for early morning coffee. It was great-on time and hot coffee. Entertainment-We went to two shows-both were good-not spectacular, but fine. We also attended two lectures-on the history of pirates (which was very boring) and on baseball (which was okay). We also went to one afternoon movie. Bars-The Martini Bar was the most entertaining with very talented bartenders who used a very generous pour. We also had wine at the Wine Cellar. The Cellar had a unique way of purchasing a glass--you buy a card there, insert it at a wine "station" and then select the amount of wine you wish. There was a tremendous variety of wines and delightful staff to help. Gym-The ship has a large gym with newish equipment (since the ship is a little over a year old). Very nice facility with the usual very young staff not too interested in helping you unless you're buying their services. Disembarkation-It was a breeze. We left the ship at 8am and were at the Miami Airport by 8:30am. Since we had carryon we just walked off the ship when we were done with breakfast at Blu. P.S. Ports-The 3 ports were essentially the same. They were Puerto Rico (good to get off ship to cross street to go to CVS), St. Thomas-the usual tourist spot with tons of jewelry shops, and St. Maarten/St. Martin. On this last island we took a van tour with 3 other couples-got it outside the port for $25/pp. It took us around the island-both sides-and was very good with an entertaining guide and a very good price as v. the ship's tour. The most interesting thing in St. Martin (the French side) was the Sarafina Pastry Shop-pastries and coffee tasted like Paris! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
CELEBRITY ECLIPSE East Caribbean Cruise December 10 -- 17, 2011 By Mary & Vincent Finelli 'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house there was hustle and bustle, so this review did not get done! 'Twas ... Read More
CELEBRITY ECLIPSE East Caribbean Cruise December 10 -- 17, 2011 By Mary & Vincent Finelli 'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house there was hustle and bustle, so this review did not get done! 'Twas the week after Christmas and all through the house there was hustle and bustle, so this review did not get done. 'Twas Jan. 1, 2012 and a New Year, so with resolution we now attack the job; it will get done. The Celebrity Eclipse is a wonderful art experience. Since she is a sister ship to the Solstice, she is exact in every way except in her decorations. The art collection has been described like her name: Eclipse -- "rare and unexpected" as the book on Eclipse art says. The pieces of art have been selected to make the passengers look "stop and ponder." Featured is the art community of Miami; showcasing two artists per deck, one on port side and one on starboard. With each display there are unique points being made, for example, Miller's photos of what seems to be an eclipse are actually camera less shapes made directly onto photographic paper. Using this as a stepping off point will set passengers up for a unique and surprising art experience. Be careful what you think you are seeing may not be what you are seeing at all! EMBARKATION The Eclipse sails out of the Port of Miami, although it's about a one hour ride from Boca Raton, FL, security is much less time consuming than Ft. Lauderdale. Thus a similar amount of time is required. We arrived at 12:45pm, baggage drop off was rapid. Vincent used his walker and not his scooter. Even though 1:00pm was listed as boarding time, we were boarded immediately. We have Elite status; therefore, there was no waiting. Our stateroom 1524 Deck 11 was ready; we left our carry on luggage in the room and were off to the buffet of Roast Beef and Pop overs in the Oceanview Cafe` (deck 14 aft). THE SHIP As we remember, all the captains of the Celebrity ships we have met have been Greeks, so is this one on the Eclipse, Captain Panagiotis Skylogiannis, who was born in Athens, Greece. The ship was beautifully decorated for Christmas. The Grand Foyer on Deck 3 had a wonderful gingerbread Church and winter scene. The church had three separate sections and two bell towers. The scent of gingerbread brought Mother's kitchen to mind. It was artfully adorned with lots of frosting and "snow"; the foreground had a miniature train and it was surrounded by miniature Christmas trees with many twinkling white lights. There were several mini house scenes and even a red mail box with Snoopy sleeping on top of it. The Atrium balconies on Decks 4 & 5 were festooned with green balsam garlands and clusters of gold and maroon balls. Everywhere were real red poinsettia plants and some areas were all white poinsettia plants --- just lovely. To travel on these fantastic cruise ships anytime is great, but at holiday time it's spectacular. Hotel Director Bernhard Stacher (Austria) and his staff set the tone on the Eclipse with very high standards. The sea is good to Bernhard and he gets younger looking every cruise. Even though we wrote a thorough description of her sister ship, the Solstice, here we will concisely review the Decks: Deck 2 houses the medical facility. Deck 3 has the lower level of the Moonlight Sonata Dining Room with its fantastic ceiling of crystal balls and ship evoking shapes. Here are also Guest Relations, Shore excursions and the Passport Bar. Deck 4 has Celebrity Central, Entertainment Court and the Eclipse Theater. Here are also Cellar Masters Wine Room and three Bars: the Quasar, Martini Bar, and Crush. It also houses the Fortunes Casino, the shops on the Boulevard and the upper level of the Moonlight Sonata Dining Room. Deck 5 has the upper level of the Eclipse Theater, the Art Gallery, Galleria Boutiques and the Photo Gallery. There are four lounges: Cafe al Bacio (coffee), Ensemble, Galleria Tastings, and Michael's Club. There are five restaurants: Bistro on Five (Creperie), Blu (Aqua Class reserved restaurant), Murano (specialty restaurant, French cuisine), Qsine (specialty restaurant, around the world cuisine), and the Tuscan Grille (specialty restaurant, Italian steakhouse). Deck 6 has the iLounge (Internet) and staterooms. Decks 7, 8, & 9 have all staterooms. Deck 10 has the Library with open stacks (24 hrs.) and staterooms. Deck 11 has a Relaxation Lounge and staterooms: mostly Suites, Concierge and Aqua Class staterooms. Deck 12 has passenger areas: Aqua Spa, Beauty Salon, the Persian Garden Pools, Solarium swimming Pools and Whirl Pools. Aft there are the Sky Suites and the Concierge Staterooms Deck 14 has two Bars, the Mast and the Oceanview, the Sky Conference Center and the Sky Observation Lounge. Midship is the Jogging Track and aft is the Oceanview Cafe`. Deck 15 has the Corning Hot Glass Show, the Lawn Club and Bocce field, the Fun Factory and the Video Arcade. Deck 16 is the Sun Deck. The ship is registered in Valletta, Malta. She had her Inaugural Season 2010; she weighs 122,000 tons; her length is 1,033 ft., beam is 121 ft. with a draft of 27 ft. and a cruising speed of 24 knots. Her occupancy is 2, 850 guests. CABIN Wheelchair accessible cabin #1524 (Aqua Class) is located forward on the starboard side. It has an automatic door opener with an extra wide door and a foyer with a place to park the wheelchair. When entering on the left is a huge bathroom with a large 4X4 ft. shower with fold up seat. And safety rails all around. Next is the queen size bed with flanking night stands: One drawer and a shelf and reading lamps. Then, there is a small beige love seat and a medium coffee table. When entering on the right there is a double wardrobe with ample room. Next, is a long desk/cabinet with six drawers, a personal safe, a refrigerator, a lighted mirror, a desk chair and a coffee table. The carpeting was Burberry, heavy on the maroon and our Steward was Fevon Gracias, who was always ready to help. The far wall is half window and sliding doors to the balcony which has two recliners, two stools and a table. Vincent uses the balcony frequently, he loves to relax, to contemplate and sometimes naps lulled by the ship's motion and the sound of the waves. He also enjoys star gazing and this time he was lucky to see some of the most bright shooting stars on late Tuesday evening. Later we learned that it was the peak of the annual Geminid meteor shower. FOOD AND SERVICE Service under Hotel Director Bernard is excellent. We travelled Aqua Class with our own special Dining Room "Blu." This restaurant is dedicated to healthy, inventive offerings (reminiscent of chef Todd English). The portions are medium to small; just the way we like them, since we are more tasters than eaters. The Blu manager is Alex , whom we met on the Solstice. Maitre D' is Marcel (Slovakia) and Asst. Maitre is Viorel (Romania). The Sommelier is Krish (Mauritius). Our waiters were Gede (Indonesia) nad Renata (Macedonia). This friendly International group made our week at table #855. Blu is decorated exactly like the one on Solstice except the dominant color there was cobalt blue and here it is ruby red. Not as stunning as the blue, but still lovely. The breads are excellent and hot: crispy bread sticks, French bread, olive rolls, dark ryes and some sweet ones too. Practically, there are just four courses: appetizers, soups and salads, entrees and desserts. Eating in Blu was pleasant and quiet. On the second Formal Night Bernard invited us to the Captain's table in the Moonlight Sonata and we were struck by the fact that the main Dining Room was so active and high spirited. It was fine for one night, but the next night we truly appreciated the calm and relaxing atmosphere of Blu! I guess we are starting to show our age. We dined in the Tuscan Grill ($30 cover charge) and enjoyed it. The menu is new, the Maitre d' Jorge is from Portugal and his Asst is Erkan from Turkey. There is an offering of eight or so appetizers. Mary tried the crab cake and a carpaccio of mango and octopus, and Vincent the prosciutto and an arugula salad with fried mozzarella. For entrees Vincent took the perfectly cooked filet Mignon and Mary the Veal cutlet done Milanese style with mushrooms and truffle sauce, buonissimo. Our waiters were Peter (Hungary) and Mehomet (Turkey) and the Sommelier was Maria (Serbia). Service was terrific and the entrance of walking under giant wine casks sets an expectation for a special night, and it was. ENTERTAINMENT On board activities are under the supervision of Cruise Director Mike Gibbons whose interesting background in music and performance makes him a hit! On this ship , in addition to the usual cruising activities, such a dance parties, pool games, trivia, bingo, casino gambling, etc., there is an interaction between officers and passengers which includes challenges of officers versus guests in Bocce games (Lawn Club, deck 15), Pool Volleyball (deck 12), etc.... Also there was a Star Gazing party on the Lawn Club conducted by officer Andrew. The List of Activities published in Celebrity Life is so extensive that you can be very busy throughout the cruise, so we are very fussy in selecting some interesting ones and dedicate the most of our time to relaxing and enjoying "il dolce far niente" (the sweet do nothing). We also enjoyed chatting with a few officers at the Captain's Circle Party, the Environmental Officer Andrew Mott (Worcester, Mass.), Financial Controller Fani Kechagia (Greece) and Resources Officer Mario Valentino (Canada). All of them are courteous, helpful and interesting people, easily interacting with passengers. "Celebrity Showtime" in the Eclipse Theater has been on par with our expectations, but the one show we enjoyed best was that of the singer impressionist Paul Tanner: a great voice and terrific impersonations of Tom Jones, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. We heard that comedian Al Ducharme was really hilarious in several performances throughout the cruise, unfortunately his shows were so late at night that we missed them all. PORTS OF CALL Day 1. Miami, FL USA Depart 4:30 pm Day 2. At Sea Day 3. San Juan, Puerto Rico Arrive 3:00 pm Depart 11:00 pm Day 4. St. Thomas, USVI Arrive 8:00 am Depart 5:00 pm Day 5. St. Maarten, Antilles Arrive 8:00 am Depart 5:00 pm Day 6. At Sea Day 7. At Sea Day 8. Miami, FL USA Arrive 7:00 am DEBARKATION We had an early breakfast at Blu Restaurant and at eight o' clock we went to the Bistro to get wheelchair assistance for debarkation. It was all so very simple and expeditious that we were on our way home by nine o'clock. CONCLUSIONS This was another great cruise. There has been insinuations by some readers that our reviews are not critical enough, since they contain only a few negative points and bias for the special treatments we receive from officers and crew. And this is somewhat true: How could we write a negative criticism when we have had a great cruise, where everybody made us feel very special, where everything we desired we received? Naturally, our demands are reasonable and we know what to expect when we book a cruise on a given ship. This was our 93rd cruise and by now we know well many cruise lines and their ships. Thus, we know what to expect from most of them and we can choose our cruises accordingly to our desires and preferences. Furthermore, since in the last few years we both have had to deal with limited mobility and need a wheelchair accessible cabin, we cruise only with those lines which do best to accommodate disabled passengers. In the past we have raised issues about availability, location, comfort of accessible cabins with several cruise lines, but only some of them have heard our plea by making their new ships more wheelchair-friendly (i.e., Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Norwegian), while some others have ignore the problem (i.e., Costa, Carnival and Holland American). Actually, there is something that can be improved even in this ship: The gangway at the entry point to the ship on deck 5 is a bit too steep for Mary's wheelchair pedals thus she had to be helped to access the ship. Our next cruise is on one of our very favorite ships, the Oasis of the Seas, Jan. 21st, 2012. We sailed on the Oasis in Dec. 2010 for the inaugural cruise, thus we look forward to spend our wedding anniversary on this fabulous giga ship. We have also booked a cruise on the MSC Poesia for Feb. 18th, and this is a new cruise line we want to experience. Happy cruising! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2011
We're fairly experienced cruisers and enjoy luxury cruises. This was our first Celebrity cruise and our expectations were high. Celebrity did not disappoint. The Eclipse is a gorgeous ship. The interior design work on the ship, ... Read More
We're fairly experienced cruisers and enjoy luxury cruises. This was our first Celebrity cruise and our expectations were high. Celebrity did not disappoint. The Eclipse is a gorgeous ship. The interior design work on the ship, the fabrics, furnishings, linens and attention to detail on this ship was second to none that I've sailed with prior to this. The ship is well laid-out and it's easy to find everything. We had a CC stateroom and enjoyed this level of service. The upgraded linens were very beautiful and comfortable. The bed was very comfortable. The shower was very roomy and had rounded glass doors. There was ample storage space for clothes and suitcases. We ate at the MDR only once for dinner (New Year's Eve dinner only). We prefer the other dining options and thoroughly enjoyed Murano three times and the Tuscan Grille three times. I would recommend either of these choices for a great dining experience and exceptional service. The cruise director was great! There were so many great options of activities for all age levels and interests each and every day that if you couldn't find something to do, then it was your fault. We enjoyed a bocce tournament and golf putting tournament at the Lawn Club. It was great to have a real grass area at sea. We also enjoyed the fitness facilities and I took two Pilate classes that were well done. The shows were excellent. There was a Cirque du Soleil type show that was truly exceptional. The Eclipse singers and dancers were by far the best that I've seen at sea. We enjoyed every show. I didn't stay up to see the comedians but I heard that they were good. Our ports of call included San Juan, St. Martin and St. Kitts. St. Martin was truly gorgeous. We took an excursion to Orient Beach and had a great day. San Juan was okay. We took a city tour and saw a historic fort St. Kitts was fun and the people of St. Kitts were very nice. We took a catarmaran ride and a train ride to see quite a bit of this pretty island. The staff on the Eclipse were all wonderful. Our stateroom attendant, Racquel, was a true sweetheart and she brought us fresh fruit and flowers each day. Our room was always spotless. The Murano and Tuscan Grille staff were exceptional. We will book with Celebrity again. We were impressed and had a great vacation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2011
We flew into Miami a day early and stayed at the Sheraton Hotel, we ended up heading to South Beach for a little night life which I would recommend, what was really nice about the Sheraton besides the fact that it seems to be a fresh ... Read More
We flew into Miami a day early and stayed at the Sheraton Hotel, we ended up heading to South Beach for a little night life which I would recommend, what was really nice about the Sheraton besides the fact that it seems to be a fresh remodeled hotel is that they let us stay until 1:00pm which gave us the much needed rest after being out late and getting ready for our cruise. Embarkation - A+: We chose to book concierge class which gave us priority embarkation, since we were out late we chose to show up at the 1:30 pm recommended time and were on the ship in less than 5 minutes, with the priority embarkation we had no line and were able to walk to the counter and get checked in. Concierge Class Room - A: Our stateroom was more than adequate, the balcony was fantastic, the bathroom was twice as large as our previous cruise ships bathroom and the room looked perfect, we also had a complimentary bottle of champagne and fruit bowl which was a nice add on to the concierge class, the only thing which was a little lacking was the drawer space and the closet, there is plenty of additional storage through out the room to compensate though. Ocean View Cafe - A+: We found the Ocean View Cafe to be a much better set up than the windjammer on RCCL, the food selection was great, the drink selection was also much better than in the windjammer. The atmosphere of the Ocean View cafe was very vibrant and fun, yet very luxurious. Side Note: We decided to add one premium beverage package to our room, we made this worth it though I do have to say if you don't plan on drinking more than 8 drinks a day then look at a different package or no package at all. Adding the package definetly gives you the ability to have no restrictions but after several days of drinking we started to wonder if we could have done with out it. Bars & Lounges - A: The bars on the ship are awesome, especially the ice bars, I have no complaints about the bars, we did run into an issue with a bar tender mouthing off about us ordering a drink and not wanting to cover it under our premium package, if it was not for this I would rate it an A+. Moonlight Sonata - A+: We chose the 8:30 seating but ended up changing midway through the cruise to a my time dining scenario due to a large group of children being seated next to us initially, this was nice because we were able to see different dining room areas and different staff (we had prepaid gratuities which is required to do my time dining). The food was the most consistent and great tasting I have seem considering we ate there 7 nights in a row. This comes from a standard of eating regularly at high end restaurants. The other nice option was customization, on RCCL ships you get what the menu says and that is it, on Celebrity your meal is made for you, because of the quality and daily menu changes we felt no need to try any of the specialty venues. Nightlife - A: For a cruise ship the nightlife was a good scene, I am not sure if the holiday cruise helped evolve this though it typically did not get going until after 12:30am, not the cruise ships fault at all, just I believe they may be able to do something to help get the night life going a little earlier. Casino - A-: After the shows let out the casino was always full yet they didn't have all the table games open, it is a very nice casino with plenty of slot machines and was open the rest of the ship so it did not feel confined or separate from the cruise ship, I just wish they had all the table games open so we were able to play a little more. Entertainment - A+: The entertainment on this ship was fantastic, after spending thousands of dollars at shows in Las Vegas the entertainment was almost worth the the cost of the cruise alone. The evening shows were some of the best we have seen, the comedian was one of the funniest we had ever seen and the singers were some of the best we had seen live. The cruise director was very involved and really made things spectacular! Public Areas - A+: There is so many nice spaces on this ship, we were able to do different things everyday, the ship looks brand new and is always being maintained. The pool area is very spacious and there is enough going on to keep the area active but also large enough to have peace as well. Service - A+: We were very happy with the service on the ship, we ran into a couple little issues, but nothing that would not be expected when the amount of service is being provided to you by so many people on a daily basis. Celebrity Cruises really does have a good staff running their ship! Enrichment: There was so many different options for enrichment including specials on the tv in regards to the ship, from all the options and the things that we had noticed going it did seem there were a lot of things the be involved in, we just chose to not. Fitness & Recreation: We did not partake in any of these options though there were plenty available. Cruise Overall - A+: Celebrity Cruises has really set the bar here, I don't know how it can be topped but they have definetly earned a repeat customer! We will be recommending this cruise ship & cruise line to everyone we know. We booked this fantastic cruise through cruise.com which prepaid our gratuities and gave us an onboard credit, they were great to work with and made our booking experience fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
This was our 40th cruise. We were looking for a New Year experience and we got more than we paid for. This ship and crew were outstanding. It was a typical soltice, celebrity expereience. The new ships are beautiful, easy to get around and ... Read More
This was our 40th cruise. We were looking for a New Year experience and we got more than we paid for. This ship and crew were outstanding. It was a typical soltice, celebrity expereience. The new ships are beautiful, easy to get around and do not seem as big as they are. This particular cruise the dining in the main dining room was the best we have ever been on. Celebrity has made some minor changes in their menus and it was all for the better. We have always thought it has been good. We did the Tuscan speciality restaurant the first night and that was great. Then we went to regular dining but chose select for the first time. We were so happy with that we did not go back to another speciality restaurant. We will try the new restaurant on our next cruise. Since we have elite status on Celebrity we do get to meet many crew staff and all are very helpful and friendly. We also go to Micheals everyday for the free cocktail party where we meet many experienced cruisers. We also have thins status with Princess but the do not have this perk. The perks with Celebrity and RCCL are the best in the industry. We also frequented the Martini bar and other bars that have entertainment in the evening between shows. This is what separates Celebrity from HA and Princess. The entertainment on this cruise was spectacular. There were two groups that played party music, guitar player, barber shop quartet, and strings group. All were great. The shows were very good and comparable to other celebrity cruises. The did have one new show with some new music which was great. They also had a special Christmas show done at two in the afternoon which was exceptional. The cruise director and all star singers and groups played. We really enjoyed this show. We cannot say enough about how good everything was on this cruise. There is usually something to complain about but not on this ship. One last thing, the disembarkation experience was so good. We signed up to walk off at 745 am and did just that. We were in our car leaving for home at 803am. What a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
My husband and I have sailed with Celebrity since it's inception from the late 80's inaugural voyage on the Horizon as well as the other Chandris ships. Celebrity at that time had a fine reputation for luxury as well as fine ... Read More
My husband and I have sailed with Celebrity since it's inception from the late 80's inaugural voyage on the Horizon as well as the other Chandris ships. Celebrity at that time had a fine reputation for luxury as well as fine dining. Also, the convenience of leaving from New York as we live on Long Island was a plus. However, as newer luxury lines came into play such as Crystal, Silversea and Seabourn, we veered away from Celebrity.Being that this was a new ship and being homeported in Bayonne made it an attractive offer. The feedback from other reviews regarding embarkation and disembarkation were totally correct, so I won't go into detail here. As we were able to drive to the port made it a little easier, although I feel Celebrity should really step up their procedures as ships with the same amount of passengers as well as luggage do much better. The ship itself looks very pleasing to the eye but overall service and quality throughout has greatly deteriorated. All their new additions such as cabanas, lawn club area and specialty restaurants take up so much valuable space that could be better utilized for passenger enjoyment. I for one do not need to sit on real grass on a cruise ship as I can do that at home for nothing. As for specialty dining, Celebrity has caved into the competitive market and not for the better. All food in those venues has recently disappeared from the main dining which used to set itself apart from other cruise lines for quality, type and preparation as well as presentation. All of those things are gone from Celebrity. The Terrace Cafe needs a complete overhaul regarding staffing, availability of tables as well as cleanliness. We observed many children as well as adults picking up food with their hands and nothing was done to address this. As a result, my husband and I never forward to any meals that we had there. Main dining room was a little bit better as we had fixed seating and the same wait staff every time. Quality of food was minimal at best and foods such as lobster tail and the usual luxury fare was almost non existent. Other venues such as The Bistro and The Porch offered not much better and for an additional charge. Celebrity needs to upgrade it's offerings without additional charges if they expect to retain the same guests coming back. We had quite a bit of feedback from repeaters and not for the better. As for the cabin accommodations they were pretty much standard for each category. The room sizes were much smaller and more contour so you felt somewhat crowded when you shouldn't have. Whomever designed storage space needs to have their examined as storage over a bed was totally ridiculous not to mention dangerous when there was ship movement. Entertainment was a valiant attempt to put on a good show but somehow lacked substance. Celebrity is down in this category as well. I give a 5+ to Captain Nicholas Pagonis as he was the only positive in an otherwise negative experience. He was most visible and personable each and every time he spoke. I would would love to sail with him again. A job well done. The staff in general was accommodating and always with a smile on their face. I think Celebrity is ahead in this category. The most disappointing feature was the fact that this was a Christmas and New Years sailing with 600 children on board. Needless to say they were not well behaved or supervised by their parents and as a result were left to ride the elevators and also running down the hallways at all hours of the day and night. Totally unsupervised and not at all called for. I feel that Celebrity did not enforce rules and as a result many cruise passengers had a totally disappointing cruise. In summary I will say that this was one of the most disappointing cruises with Celebrity and in all truthfulness would rather sail on other luxury ships where the focus is on the passenger rather than a child. I did neglect to mention that the rules regarding the adult pool were not enforced as well as the main pool was not always clean and sanitary the way it should have been. Many days we observed toddlers in the water with diapers falling off. Needless to say we did not utilize the pools. Enough said. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
I do not know how to begin to review this cruise other than it was very un-expected and changed the whole tone and mood of the cruisers on this trip. First, lets take care of business and let you know that this ship is about 9 months ... Read More
I do not know how to begin to review this cruise other than it was very un-expected and changed the whole tone and mood of the cruisers on this trip. First, lets take care of business and let you know that this ship is about 9 months old, so mostly everything works and it is of high quality, and the crew and captain have been hand picked from the best of other vessels. The cabin is spacious, well distributed, many have balconies, with decent size and good furniture. Flat screen TV's, plenty of hot water, toiletries, minibar ... etc as expected. The cabin attendant was always smiling, provided us with information, attention and care. Plenty of food venues, from the plentiful buffet, great burgers on sun deck, specialty restaurants galore and many other options. The main traditional dining was excellent too, no need to go to specialty, unless you are dying for superb sushi or other exceptional food experiences. In most port of calls we were the envy of other cruisers, since Silhouette had always out a welcome and departure service point with cold drinks, ice towels and even sofas to rest if you needed it. For the un-usual cruise experience, this trip departed 12/24/11 thru 1/5/12, and the almost 3000 passenger capacity was booked solid. We expected mostly US travelers and this was not the case, there were plenty of Brits, Mexicans, Russians, US, Germans, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Latin Americans. In addition, it seems that a lot of people had the same idea at the same time, so there were plenty of families with children. The Ship carried between 600 and 700 children of all ages and they had plenty of opportunity to socialize or follow the activities designed for them, and you could review on your TV screen if you wanted to! In addition, we traveled with our son 23, the cabin phone kept on ringing from new friends, when he decided to take a break from the activities and rest in the cabin for a while, asking him to come out and join the fun! I have never seen so many passengers running thru the halls at the same time (other than in a sinking ship!), when the announcements from the PA system let them know that Santa had arrived on the ship and was making his rounds on all decks starting on deck 14. We also even enjoyed two new year's eve, since the ship crossed the time zone at 12:15am and rolled the clocks to 11:15pm and had another new year's eve for 2012. We run into friends on Amadea bound for Lima, Peru in St. Martin and out of the 1460 cruisers there was not a single child on board. They could not understand how we could cope with 600+ children on our ship without going nuts, it must be miserable to travel like that and we disagreed completely. Actually I never knew how much more pleasant our trip could be, having all these mini-cruisers having a blast on board of a superb ship catering to all their needs. Great Going Silhouette, if anybody can do babysitting in style you can! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Arrived a day early and stayed at Hotel Borge del mare In Civi. which I recommend. Room is adequate for the one night and the food and service good. They have free shuttle service directly to the ship. Embarkation was quick after an ... Read More
Arrived a day early and stayed at Hotel Borge del mare In Civi. which I recommend. Room is adequate for the one night and the food and service good. They have free shuttle service directly to the ship. Embarkation was quick after an 11:30 arrival. Rooms were ready atv1 PM so we toured the ship and had lunch in the Ocean View Cafe. Room with balcony was very nice, storage was adequate, suitcases fit under the bed. Bathroom was best at sea in my experience. Nice flat screen TV. Steward was excellent and professional. Shined my shoes. Above average compared to other ships. Select dining stress free. Had reservation at 8 PM each night. No waiting and most of the time had same table and waiter/assistant so they knew our preferences. Wine steward was also same. Had Premium drink pkg and suggest it. With coffees/lattes, fresh orange juice, wine at lunch dinner, and cocktails in evening it more than pays for itself. Bottled water at gangway for shore excursions great. Food was very good, nothing is perfect but overall very satisfied. Ocean View Buffet was best I have encountered so far. Serving stations free up the cafeteria wait on other lines. Food was very good and wide variety. In Istanbul they had a large variety of Turkish dishes. Service was good. Getting custom omlettes was hard at times with long wait. Only one cook. Fresh juice was great, extra charge. Somewhat slow for picking up finished plates. Crowded on port days AM. Pick up you items and take them to your room, much nicer or order room service. Only did RS once, fast, hot, and quite good. Used TV to order, challenging but got used to it. Entertainment throughout the ship was very good. Main shows in theater were quite bad. I never finished an entire show. This is definitely a weak area. The Martin Bar and staff were great. They put on their own shows. Cruise Director Que was okay. I liked that there were few announcements throughout the day. Tuscan Grill great service and steak excellent. Recommend it. Silk Harvest not so good. Service was overbearing, rushed, and made us feel uncomfortable. Sashimi was terrible and we lost our appetite after that. Left early, no desert. Replace it with Quisine! Cancelled Murano we were too full. We heard great reviews from others. Will try next time. Ports were excellent. Athens to see the Acropolis was nice but city is dirty and taxi drivers try to cheat you each time, lookout for the switcheroo when you give them a 20 bill and they immediately have a 5 in their hand and say you only gave them a 5 note. Istanbul was great. Ephesus is a must see site. Sicily great and Amalfi Coast beautiful. Did private tours in all ports. Great service, small groups-6 to 10, and half the ship tour cost. Suggest Ephesus Shuttle for Istanbul and Ephesus. Taxi Taormina in Sicily. Aldo's limos in Naples. All were on time, vehicles spotless, and guides very professional. I find Celebrity a cut above Princess overall. The ships are sophisticated, well designed. Equinox is beautiful. If they can only improve on the Equinox Theater offerings it would help. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
we embarked on our cruise on 30th October 2011 from Southampton, the embarkation procedure took quite a long time but I guess we just arrived at a busy time, we had flown down to Gatwick and were met by a rep who showed us to a mini bus ... Read More
we embarked on our cruise on 30th October 2011 from Southampton, the embarkation procedure took quite a long time but I guess we just arrived at a busy time, we had flown down to Gatwick and were met by a rep who showed us to a mini bus and taken to the ship, our luggage was taken to the cabin. Once on board we found our way to the cabin, excellent, could not fault anything our cabin boy was Martin who quickly found us and explained who he was and if we needed anything he was there. The ship is absolutely first class, spotless in all areas, cannot find fault with anything even the glass lifts (elevators) not a finger print anywhere. You could always find a comfortable place to sit. The weather was not so good and the captain had to change course, we were kept informed at all times. we did not get to the Azores but better to be safe than sorry, we did however visit Gijon in Northern Spain a very pretty town and La Coruna which was within walking distance off the ship.We did not do any organised trips just made our own way to the towns and wandered around. We opted for first sitting in the Moonlight Sonata restauant and shared our table with 4 very nice friendly Americans, the ship was 90% American people who we found to be extremely nice. The food was always excellent a good choice avaliable and if you wanted something not on the menu (as one by us did) they were always accomodated. The waiters were great very friendly and efficient at all times. The wine waiter very good and kept the glasses filled up, we were on the premium package which made a big difference to us in that we could have almost any priced wines. The entertainment was first class and we always managed to find suitable seats with a good view in the theatre. The daytime activities were plentiful, my husband attende the lectures and thouroughly enjoyed them very interesting and informative. I attended the cookery demonstrations they were great fun especially the chef from Hungary, hilarious, you could not be bored on this ship. As we went further west the weather improved and we were able to sit outside on the decks, again spotless and plenty of space. The range of food available was tremendous the mast grill doing burgers and hot dogs was busy but really good. The Ocean view cafe was always busy and the only trouble was finding a space and keeping it so we usually went up for our food seperatly a bind at times but ok. The ice cream counter was usually 15 deep but worth waitng for ( the Americans really loved the ice cream. When we came to disembark we had to place our luggage outside the room the night before and we were given a time and place to go to our time was 9.00am, but as we were going to America I think the port authorities obviously do more checks as the crew had to go though a drill and this then held up our disembarkation, we were lucky in that we gor called off at 10.15am our luggage was waiting for us and we sailed through the US checks, outside the port we were shown to the bus and more or less taken to our hotel and arrived by 11.15am. I cannot recommend Celebrity X highly enough especially Eclipse Crew and Officers. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
About Us: We are married, in our early 40's and have cruised 4 times previously (RCI twice, HAL once, NCL once). As this was our first Celebrity Cruise I will be comparing some of the aspects of the ship against the other lines ... Read More
About Us: We are married, in our early 40's and have cruised 4 times previously (RCI twice, HAL once, NCL once). As this was our first Celebrity Cruise I will be comparing some of the aspects of the ship against the other lines we've cruised. Embarkation was fairly smooth, we were on the ship 45 minutes after arriving at the pier. An announcement was made about 1:15 that all the cabins were ready, and soon after most passengers discovered their room keys didn't work. Celebrity set up many make shift passenger services tables around the ship for everyone to turn in their original key card for a new key card (with lines of 20 plus passengers at each table). We overheard many people complaining about this for a few days. Ship: The ship is 4 months old, modern, well designed and sparkling clean. Although the Silhouette doesn't offer a promenade deck (where you could walk the entire perimeter of the ship outside) like other lines offer, I was impressed with the large variety of shady places to sit outside (on high quality, wooden deck chairs). Unlike RCI and NCL, there were also many places to sit outside where it was quiet. There are two banks of elevators, fore and aft. With the larger number of elderly passengers on board these would often time be full and we'd end up taking the stairs which was fine by us. Fellow Passengers: As the ship departed from Bayonne, NJ a large number of passengers were from the NYC area. I'd guess about 15 to 20% of the passengers were European, and well over 2/3 of the passengers were over 60. I recall previous Silhouette reviews had noted a large numbers of passengers on scooters with a penchant for running over other guests' feet and I was a bit leery of that possibility. On our cruise there were only a few scooters and I'm glad to report they all were driven responsibly and with respect for the other passengers. We met many great people of all ages. Interestingly several of them had been loyal (long time) HAL fans who had switched to Celebrity in the past few years for the better service they report Celebrity delivers. Staff: Fabulous, Celebrity really shines in this department. Our room attendant, Ozzy, kept our room spic and span, and was always available if we needed anything. All of our requests (extra towels, foot stool for our balcony) were taken care of immediately and with a smile. I can't say enough about him. Best room attendant we've encountered on our 5 cruises. Every staff member we encountered always made eye contact and asked us if there was anything else we needed. We also noted that there were always officers walking around the ship mingling with passengers, I don't recall seeing this on other lines. Room: We booked room 8226 (Category 1A), on the hump, for the sole reason the balcony is over twice the size of a standard balcony (book early, they sell out quickly). Ample storage space, great water pressure in the shower and more than enough room for the two of us. Each room has 2 bathrobes, a small bag and an umbrella (all of which are for sale but available for your use during the cruise). They also provide you with very large, high quality beach towels on port days. Bring a power strip as there are only two outlets (both located at the desk) to plug in your various items. Nice flat screen (27" or 32", I forget) TV where you could check your onboard account, order room service or look at photographs the staff had taken of you. Food: We ate in the main dining room 6 nights out of the 12 and found the food and service to be top notch. After missing a few nights (having gone to specialty restaurants) our waiter greeted us like long lost family and appeared somewhat nervous we had skipped the last few dinners due to something he had done wrong (it wasn't). I'm not a fan of the waiters parading around the dining room on the last formal night but I guess I'm in the minority on that one and it seems that all the mainstream cruise lines seem to be doing that. We were pleased with the food and service in the MDR. We tried 3 speciality restaurants: Murano, Qsine and The Lawn Club Grill (our favorite of the 3). We ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet which provided a large selection of food (including fresh vegetables for salads). Sometimes it was difficult to find an open table at breakfast or lunch. We ordered room service once and our food was in our room within 20 minutes. Drinks: My husband and I both opted for the soda drink package (about $90 per person for the 12 night cruise) and were very pleased that we were given cans of soda with a glass of ice each time. I recall that RCL and NCL's soda packages require you take your plastic soda cup (that they give to you the first day) to the bar to be refilled (from the tap) - not only does this mean you must have that cup on hand any time you wanted a Coke but you had to clean the cup yourself. Not exactly the most sanitary route (but I'm sure RCL and NCL save money with this routine). Celebrity's soda package was a very good value (and includes Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Diet Sprite). Silhouette's Martini Bar was located right off of the Atrium and those bartenders were entertaining (check them out on You Tube) but also made great drinks (most martinis here were $10 plus 15% gratuity). A nice alternative was the Molecular Bar (on deck 5), they made some great martinis as well (very unique, these were $12 each plus the 15% gratuity). If you're a wine drinker you really have to check out the Cellar Masters (deck 4) where they have samples of all sorts of wine available to try out before you commit to an entire glass. We've not found this on any other cruise line; two more stars to Celebrity for this idea. Entertainment: We didn't go to any shows so I can't comment on those. The music onboard the Silhouette was very, very good. Unlike NCL (who follow the 'This is Spinal Tap' School of Music in that everything is played at 11 on a scale of 1 to 10), all the music on Celebrity was played at a reasonable level where you could actually speak to your neighbor at a normal tone of voice and hear what they said to you in response. There were also many movies available to view in your room (and one daily in the theatre) at no cost. Gym: Stocked with 'Life Fitness' brand treadmills and eliptical machines, weight machines and free weights. Other than the first full day there were always machines available. There is a smaller aerobics room that was being used the majority of the time for classes or seminars so I found I had to do my stretches and sit ups on the perimeter of the main room. The mens and womens locker rooms off of the gym each have a sauna (no add'l cost), but if you're looking to use a steam room you need to either book an Aqua Spa cabin or pay extra to have access to the Persian Gardens (we didn't do either). Spa: Neither of us used the spa so we can't comment on the quality of services. The prices of the services seemed a bit steep to us (on the second to last day they were running a special for a 100 minute massage for $200 plus a standard 15% gratuity). Kids Program: our daughter didn't join us on the cruise, so we have no firsthand knowledge of the program (we also found there were less than 25 kids on board for our cruise). We spoke to many families on board, all of whom reported their kids absolutely loved Celebrity's Kids Program (one young lady, who I'd estimate to be about 10, told us she liked Celebrity's Kids Program better than RCL, HAL, Carnival and NCL). We toured the kids area with a staff member who told us that 600 kids are booked for Silhouette's Christmas Cruise and they had about 400 kids for the Thanksgiving Cruise. I assumed Celebrity to be more of an adult line but based on everything we heard from other passengers they have a very well run kids program and we have no hesitation including our 7 year old daughter on our next Celebrity cruise. Summary: Based upon this cruise I'm sold on Celebrity as their customer service was great. The majority of passengers we spoke with are seasoned cruisers who are loyal Celebrity fans. There were not as many sales pitches as on the other lines (but there were still some). A huge plus is that there is only one announcement per day (so you don't have to listen to multiple announcements about useless art auctions, gold necklaces being sold by the foot, bingo, etc) and that is only broadcast in the public areas (not staterooms). As non smokers we liked that there was little smoking going on (and were told that as of 1/1/2012 smoking will be further limited to a small section in the pool area - two 'snaps up' to Celebrity on this move). We look forward to sailing with Celebrity in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
This was our 4th Celebrity Cruise and we had previously sailed on the Consteallation pre 'Solcitization'. We were therefore interested to see the changes. I had seen a blog before we left home that there was sickness on the ... Read More
This was our 4th Celebrity Cruise and we had previously sailed on the Consteallation pre 'Solcitization'. We were therefore interested to see the changes. I had seen a blog before we left home that there was sickness on the Connie but I was hoping that by the time we arrived the situation would be resolved. On arrival at the terminal it was obvious that sadly this was not the case. We were given a number for embarkation and there were notices everywhere saying that staterooms would not be ready until 5pm. Nevertheless we were eventually allowed on board for some lunch, although without the usual welcome drink. As we had arrived relatively early we were part of the first group on board and were able to get our lunch fairly easily although everything, including teas and coffees, had to be served by the crew. We were eventually allowed to our cabins and were very soon greeted by our lovely cabin attendant Lalaine. She did a great job looking after us. So then we were able to enjoy our sparkling wine whilst we unpacked. After an overnight stay in Istanbul we departed for Kusadasi in the afternoon. This was when we had our Cruise Critic party so we missed sailing through all the shipping that anchors in the Marmara Sea. The get together was good and it was clear to see that Celebrity do take notice of the CC boards. As we had made private arrangements for all the ports of call we cannot comment on the ship's excursions. But we were very pleased with the arrangements we had made. In Rhodes we hired a car and drove ourselves to Lindos and back with a lunch stop at the lovely Seven Springs taverna which is in the middle of the island. By this time the high level sanitization procedures had been lifted. The next day was the sea day as we sailed to Israel. This was the best day of the sea days for weather and we enjoyed sitting around the pool. As we were retiring that night at 11:15 the Captain came on the public address system to tell us that Ashdod port had been closed to passenger traffic following an attack by the Israeli army on the Gaza strip. We subsequently found out from our tour guide that Hamas had targeted missiles on the south of Israel. The ship therefore diverted to Haifa for 4 days instead of 2 in Ashdod and 2 in Haifa. This threw everybody's arrangements into disarray and it wasn't until we were on our way to Bethlehem that we found out all the facts from our guide. We ended up on a bus in a group of 37 all of us having arranged private tours in smaller groups with Guided Tours Israel(GTI). The problem was that the tours arranged from Haifa were using local guides and drivers who were unable to get out of the south of the country. Although everyone was very disappointed we had to give credit to GTI for making the alternative arrangements at such short notice. Our guide, who did an excellent job, told us that he had been called by GTI at 2 in the morning! Our second day was to Masada and the Dead Sea and because of the journey being from Haifa instead of Ashdod we had the opportunity to see some of the Jordan Valley. These were two very long days as the journeys from Haifa were that much longer than from Ashdod. On the third day the small private tours resumed as they had originally been planned from Haifa. Unfortunately we did not make our trip as my wife was suffering from the dreaded bug. It came on very suddenly at the end of one day and the next day we visited the medical facility. My wife received very good attention, an injection and some medication all without charge. After 24 hours she had recovered other than not being able to eat as much as usual! So one day in the cabin. The last day in Haifa we looked arounfd the City and went up to the top of Mount Carmel and viewed the Bahai Temple -â€" quite spectacular. Then another sea day as we sailed back to Athens. Unfortunately it was quite a windy day and just a tad too cool to stay out on deck. In Athens there were no strikes and we made our own way to the New Acropolis Museum followed by lunch in the Plaka. This was followed by a final sea day and again as it was now November and we were sailing North to Istanbul not an outdoor day. We sampled both the Tuscan Grill and Ocean Liners. The latter was as excellent as we remembered it and the Tusacn Grill is a very good addition and worth the fee for one night of the cruise. We also used Bistro on Five on sea days to avoid the crush of the buffet. Excellent Service and good value. Towards the end of the cruise I asked Guest Relations for a form to make extra gratuities. I was told that this was not possible as the Finance Team controlled whether or not this facility was available and in this case it was not. I had met the Finance Controller as he was a Brit and had quite a conversation with him. He even sent some truffles to our cabin. I do think however that this was a little unfair on the crew. With an itinerary like this, visiting numerous countries using different currencies, it is not always possible to have a suitable currency to pass to the staff members you wish to thank. Nevertheless we received nothing but excellent service from all the crew we dealt with. The entertainment was a bit mixed. The cast shows were excellent but the music in the various lounges of an evening was sometimes lacking. Indeed on the night after leaving Athens there was a scarcity of music in the bars. Thank goodness for Perry Grant! I had read about Perry before we left and was not sure as to whether he would appeal to us. Well, he did! We went the first night with an open mind and returned every night! So a good cruise, good food, good service an interesting but amended itinerary. All the downsides were way beyond Celebrity's control and they handled them excellently. We are even going to receive an onboard credit for the day my wife lost in quarantine. So although disappointments absolutely no complaints from us. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
My wife and I joined Constellation in Istanbul and sailed the Eastern Mediterranean itinerary. If flying from the UK you usually arrive at the ship late evening so we travelled the day before and stayed overnight in a hotel in Istanbul. ... Read More
My wife and I joined Constellation in Istanbul and sailed the Eastern Mediterranean itinerary. If flying from the UK you usually arrive at the ship late evening so we travelled the day before and stayed overnight in a hotel in Istanbul. This is a great way to start your holiday as it not only gives you an extra day in Istanbul but you are fresh and ready to join the ship at lunchtime the next day. Istanbul airport passport control is very busy. You should be aware you need to queue to buy a Visa with payment in cash only, before you can go to passport control. It's £10 British citizens, all nationalities have a different price in their own currency. The traffic can be can be very bad and we heard of passengers taking four hours from leaving the plane to arriving at the ship. As we arrived at the ship early afternoon embarkation was really efficient, virtually walking straight on to the ship. First impressions of Constellation where excellent. Our stateroom was available within a couple of hours of boarding and it was great. Quite big, very comfortable with a balcony on Panorama deck 8. The only drawback was a connecting door to the next cabin and occasionally we could hear voices of our neighbours but it was not a big problem. This cabin would be ideal for a family to have adjoining cabins. On all our previous cruises we have taken the later seating option in the restaurant. For the first time we chose Select anytime dining. It has benefits as you can go for dinner at different times each evening although occasionally you may have to wait briefly for a table. If you choose a large table you can meet different people each evening. The drawback is that you do not get to know other guests very well and form good friendships as we have done on previous cruises. You cannot get to know the table waiter well as you will usually be on a different table each night. My wife prefers open seating but I prefer fixed later seating! A previous reviewer gave the Dining a one star rating. Just what rating system and standards are they judging the food on? This is clearly a ridiculous rating and it's a shame as it then makes their whole review pointless and not worth reading. Surely a rating must be taken in context of the circumstances you are eating i.e. on board ship at sea with 2000 people being served and of course the price you pay. What would this reviewer expect for five stars and what price would they have to pay? Don't let their rating put you off Constellation! My view on Dining: The restaurant food and service is first class. The table waiters do everything they possibly can to satisfy your requests. If you are at all unhappy with any item they will replace it immediately. The lunchtime buffet is superb. The choice is so wide it's hard to choose. There is a huge choice of salads, hot meals, specialty meat of the day, and separate pizza, Asian delights and traditional English serveries. Choice of fish is poor, only limited and should be improved. The gourmet sandwich bar offers a wide variety of breads and fillings - if you want to add some different meat to your salad then this is the place to go. The poolside grill offers the usual burgers and fries type snacks. Very good too! One of my favourites for lunch was the healthy option by the spa pool. Several choices including delicious chicken or tuna cooked to order. Breakfast? Well, so much to choose. Everything you would expect. My personal favourite was eggs benedict, although the waffles were close seconds! Afternoon tea and cakes is available at 4pm in the buffet restaurant. We visited both specialty restaurants - Ocean Liners and Tuscan Grille - an extra £20 and £18 per person respectively. Ocean Liners service was exceptional. The food was great, although the fine wines are rather expensive. Tuscan Grille was our favourite. A little more relaxed with fantastic Italian style dishes. I would definitely visit both restaurants again as they make a pleasant change from the main restaurant option. I think they offer good value for the additional charge. The entertainment provided overall was good. There were some star singers (Jane, the English lady was superb), the entertainment team put on some good shows and Perry the piano entertainer in Michael's bar was in a league of his own -â€" really entertaining! All the public rooms have their own 'character' and we found them all very comfortable and enjoyable. Although the ship was full we never really felt it was crowded anywhere other than the most popular theatre shows. All the rooms were kept very clean. The gym was well equipped and although well used was never too busy. The spa pool area was very relaxing and our favourite spot. The ship was affected by norovirus for the last few days but you could certainly not fault Constellation for that. The captain implemented a sanitisation programme - staff were everywhere sanitising everything! They certainly did everything that you could expect to eradicate it. It never ceases to amaze me that some passengers just walk into the restaurants without sanitising their hands, they seem to object to this for some reason - they are probably the first to complain about illness on the ship. Once the sanitisation programme was in place the staff ensured all passengers observed the correct procedure. Disembarkation was very organised - just arrive in your allocated meeting point at the correct time (dont' go too early!) and we left in an orderly manner. After collecting our cases there was a slight delay in boarding coaches but again considering all the circumstances with 2000 people disembarking it could hardly be better. Overall, we had a fantastic cruise and would certainly sail on Constellation again. I must also mention that all the staff, without exception, provided excellent service and were really keen to assist at all times. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
One more wonderful cruise vacation came to its end, so nice to know that there will be more.... This was our seventh cruise with Celebrity and the second Mediterranean one. When in port, we always do our own thing because of the two ... Read More
One more wonderful cruise vacation came to its end, so nice to know that there will be more.... This was our seventh cruise with Celebrity and the second Mediterranean one. When in port, we always do our own thing because of the two obvious reasons: Cost and itinerary, we pay less, usually half the ship land tour cost and we see and learn more, much more. One have to spend a lot of time looking at the options and for the pitfalls ... Thanks heavens for the internet and cruisecritic.com. Those who do not have the time or the inclination to organize such tours, those who do not mind sharing a tour bus with a crowd of 45 fellow passengers, those who do not want to spend time looking through the long list of land tours, Celebrity offers two packages of 6 shore excursions each, one for half day tours at each port and the other is for a full day tours, cost was $371.50 and $732.50 respectively. For those who do want to do their own thing, we describe what we added a day by day description and added some website addresses that can help. Here and there we expressed our opinion about the Solstice. On this cruise we used one of our Celebrity Open Passages, a voucher we purchased on our last cruise. The Open passage is a $100 voucher you buy aboard a Celebrity cruise ship to be used when making the next reservation. The $100 voucher is used as a down payment for the next cruise and entitles you and two more couples for an on board credit of $100 to $300 per Cabin depending on the length of the cruise. This time we and our friends got $200 On board credit per cabin. The concept was applied first only for the US and Canada but became available for other countries last January. Guess this is why my travel agent did not know what to do with the vouchers and we had to ask Celebrity customer relations to sort things out for us. Read more about the Open Passage: http://creative.rccl.com/Sales/Celebrity/General_Info/Flyers/11022582_CEL_Passages.pdf One thing before we begin: The Crew members on the Solstice are fantastic in every respect. May I tell you a story: We met few hotel directors onboard Celebrity cruise ships, the hotel director are in charge of most of the Celebrity employs aboard the ship. The hotel managers we met were kind people, not at all the army commander's type I expected. So, I asked one of them how do the run such an operation with out being tough on the crew, and the reply was: The secret is in recruiting the right people, people who are geared to give others good service with a smile, Well, it works! Tue Oct 11th 2011- We left the Barcelona International airport terminal at noon, no need to take the cruise ship transportation as there is always a long line of yellow and black taxis waiting out side the terminal. The drivers speak only Spanish, but they understand "Cruise Ship" and "Celebrity". In twenty minutes and for 30-35Eu the taxi will take up to 4 passengers and will take you all the way to the port and up to the terminal doors. Look at: http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/transport/barcelona-cruise-port.html In the terminal there were no lines and many reps were waiting for passengers, we got our Sea Cards and went right away to our Cabin. As this was our fourth time in Barcelona we decided to stay on the ship. On past cruises we took the bus from the terminal to La Rambla Ave. for a quick stroll. We had a nice Tuna Steak lunch at the Spa Coffee and had some rest before the unavoidable drill. Dinner, early seating, had table for four as we asked to be sited with our friends. Marlin and Ali were our attentive waiters. After dinner: A show. Bits and pieces of what one can expect on next evenings shows. The theater on the Solstice is nice but we prefer the theaters on the Celebrity Millennium class ships, as they have more legroom and little tables for each couple. Few words about our Cabin: We were lucky as the two of us got one of the four family cabins measured 600sq feet, with two bedrooms, large living room and large balcony (8108). Our friends got similar cabin but it was on the same level as the Helipad and got a smaller balcony (7107). For the best cabins on the Solstice look at: http://cruiseadvice.org/celebrity-cruises/celebrity-solstice/cabin-selection Wed. Oct 12th -â€" Sea day: 06:00am: As always I went to the Gym early. I go there almost every day during the cruise while my love takes a walk along the 1000ft long track on deck 14. 10:00am: A get together party for the Cruise Critic members. It was also time to meet the 12 guys who will go with us on the self organized day tour in Malta. And help a second group to find a four more people to share the cost of the tour. 17:00: The Elite Captains Club daily happy hour (Actually two hours), Cocktails, beers and soft drinks for free and a chance to meet people who love cruising and prefer to cruise with the specific company. Gabriela, the lady responsible for the Captain Club activities was always there making sure all is working fine. A word about the Elite Captains Club goodies: It is a good idea to join the club right after the first cruise. You get credits for every cruise you go on; number of credits is a function of cruise length and type of cabin. Once you have enough credits, I think nine credits is the magic number, Celebrity gives you a lot of goodies: The happy hour with free drinks in the Sky Lounge, Light breakfast with real coffee in Michael's Club, three hours free internet per cabin worth hundred dollars and 60 items of laundry, 4 items for ironing, couple dry cleaning items and more. Because of the free laundry we bring fewer items from home and save luggage weight, which means more room for presents for the grandchildren. A sea day is a good opportunity to look at the culinary options they got on board the Solstice: A ward of advice, if you find it hard to control the amount of food you put on your plate at the buffet style Sea Side Cafe, go for breakfast at the Grand Epernay. Here you are being served by waiters and what you ask for is what you get... You can also have lunch here on sea days. In the Solstice ships they have the buffet style food served on "Islands" and they do not have trays, people are wondering back and forth to their table as they can carry so many plates and drinks on one trip. And the restaurant looks busy and crowded. I do not like that. Thursday Oct. 13th: Rome. Took the 07:30 train from Civitavecchia to Rome. You first take the free shuttle bus to the port gate and than follow the signs to the train station. Train station is less than 10 minutes walk from the port's gate, just follow the signs. By the way, they opened a ticket booth right next to the port gate, save you some time. Buy 9Eu return BIRG ticket that allow you free all day ride on all public transport in Rome, Do not forget to validate your ticket before going on board the train. This ticket is good only for the Regionale train company. Our friends had tickets for the Vatican tour and got off the train near the Vatican while we went all the way to Termini station and took the underground line A to the Piazza Di Spagnia. There we took the 11:00 o'clock Free Tour to the Vatican City. Purchase tickets ahead of time on the internet for the main sights in Rome; Lines are unbelievably long, even when it is out of season. The free tour we took was just OK. We had couple of tours with them a year ago and the guides were very good. This time the guide seemed to be in a hurry. We arrived exhausted to the Vatican City. Here we met our friends and leisurely walked back going through Vittorio Emanuel Bridge, Campo de Fiorri, Piazza Navona, Trevi's fountain and back to the Piazza Spagnia. We took the 15:39 train back from Termini. It was a good idea to return to Termini and take the train from there as the train gets very crowded on next stations. It can be a very long 80 minutes ride standing up after all the walking one does in Rome. Find a train from Civitavecchia to Rome: http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=ad1ce14114bc9110VgnVCM10000080a3e90aRCRD Tickets for the Coliseum and the Vatican: http://www.italy-museum.com/ Tickets for the Borghese museum: http://www.galleriaborghese.it/info-en.htm The free walking tours: http://www.romefreetour.com/free%20tour.html Friday Oct. 14th: Naples. Last time we rented a car and drove along the Amalfi coast. This time we took the Hydrofoil to Capri. It was a 30 minutes, 17 EU each way very bumpy ride. Crew members were ready with plastic bags handing them to those passengers who felt sick. Hydrofoil terminal in Naples is few minutes walk from the ship. We decided to buy our return ticket when in Capri and not to restrict ourselves to specific company or time of return by buying a return ticket (the cost is the same) Weather was cloudy and cool, the Chair lift from Ana Capri to Monte Solare did not work that day due to weather condition, so we decided to go along with an advice we got from a local guy and took the bus from Marina Grande up the hill to Capri's city center and walked from there through the beautiful streets to the Arco Naturale, the natural rock arch and than took 500 stairs down to the trail that follows the shore and led us back into Capri. Beautiful and very quiet hike, no tourists on this trail. A note: The Blue grotto was closed too. But we did not plan on going there any how. We believe the 30 seconds visit inside the grotto does not worth it. Had a pizza in one of the Marina Grande restaurants and a very good hot chocolate. The Hydrofoil ride back was not too rough. No need for plastic bags.... Tomorrow, another day at sea. Hydrofoil to Capri time table: http://www.capri.net/en/ferry-schedule?path_id=11 Saturday Oct 17th: Sea day: Time to rest, read a good book from the ship library, relax on the balcony or next to the pool, or better yet, at one of the many romantic secluded places aboard the ship. We always wondered how is it possible that there are 3000 passengers aboard the ship and still one can find so many quite places like the Sky lounge, Michael's club, the higher decks, the library and the game room, the cinema etc. Problem was, Sea was rough. My wife stayed in bed feeling awful while I enjoyed every minute of the rollercoaster???? ride. Yes, it is a big ship, yes they got computer controlled stabilizers, but still, and the ship went up and down with those huge waves. A note: According to the ship first officer, best cabins for stormy weather will be the cabins located mid ship lower decks. Thought you should know before going on your next cruise. Sunday, Oct 16th: Athens. There is always some one on strike here in Greece, This time, the museums' guards. That is why the Acropolis was closed to public. Last time we took the train from Piraeus to Athens. Was very easy and cheap ride. This time we arrived to Athens using the HoHo bus. It is a 22EU all day ride with commentary in 11 languages. Busses are located right next to the port terminal. We decided on going to the Acropolis new museum. Very good and informative visit, every thing here is both in Greek and English (5Eu pp). Then we went on the 90 minutes ride with the HoHo bus, plus a little self guided tour of the city, and than, as it started to rain we took the HoHo bus back to Piraeus and the ship. The Hop on Hop off bus: http://www.citysightseeing.gr/blue-and-red-route/ The Acropolis new Museum: http://www.theacropolismuseum.gr Strikes in Athens: http://livingingreece.gr/strikes/ Monday, Oct 17th: Mykonos. If you are interested in Archeology, than a boat trip to the near by Delos Island is something for you. Just keep in mind that the whole island of Delos is considered a museum, and it is closed on Mondays, The only way to visit the island on Monday is with an expensive ship tour as they open the Island especially for ship tours. We took the 10$ (Return) shuttle into town. This was our second time in Mykonos and we just followed the same walking tour rout we did last time, using our IPod. It was windy and rather cold, so we went back to the ship for a Jacuzzi and a Sauna. (We like the Sauna on the Millennium class ships better as they have a huge window facing the open sea) Self guided walking tours: http://www.ricksteves.com/news/travelnews/0602/podcast-faq.htm Tuesday, Oct 18th: Kusadasi Turkey. We did not go ashore, so, had the whole ship to our self.... a spoiling experience.... Friday, Oct 19th: Santorini. What a beautiful sunny day! Three options to go from the port to Fira: You can climb 600 stairs; you can ride a mule for 5Eu or do as we did: We took the 4Eu Cable car up to Fira, and from there we took the bus to Oia. There is a bus every 20 minutes, you get in, find a seat and a conductor gets on the bus somewhere on the way to collect the few cents this 25 minutes ride costs. Oia is the place all those postcards pictures are taken. There is no need for a guide, just walk around the town and enjoy the view. After returning to Fira and walking along the streets that were so crowded with tourists from the four cruise ships that were in the port, we found out that waiting in the line for the Cable car that goes down to the port will take about an hour and a half, so we went down the 600 stairs, it took us around 20 minutes including avoiding the mules and their manure on the way down. Santorini bus from Fira to Oia: http://www.ktel-santorini.gr/ Friday Oct 21st: Valletta, Malta The guides, Vince De-Bono and Louise were already there, waiting for us, when we left the boat. It was 07:00 am, still dark but there was a long day ahead, full with interesting sites: The old town of Mdina, an artisan village, a Neolithic temple, a boat ride to the Blue Grotto, Marssa Xlokk fishermen's Village, Valletta with the impressive St John Cathedral and so more. Vince is very knowledgeable guide and a very kind and eager to please person, very enthusiastic when the knights' period is discussed. Both groups had a wonderful day in Malta. The tour was organized using the thread on Cruise Critic web site. It was a 400Eu for 12p plus the cost of the boat ride (7 Eu, and the ticket for St John Cathedral ($4.60Eu) and the tip. In short, very well spent $70 per person. Thank you Vince! (Hope you liked the wine we brought you from our home country) Touring Malta with a guide: http://www.guideinmalta.com/ HoHo Bus in Malta: http://www.maltasightseeing.com/ Scenic Flights over Malta (But read the cancelation policy before making reservations): http://www.harbourairmalta.com/harbourair/content.aspx?id=45136 Walking tour of Valletta: http://www.geovative.com/GeoTours/tourView.asp?6174Vq=JEHH Saturday Oct. 22nd: Day at sea. Had time to make 500 pictures PowerPoint Show of the whole trip, even added music to the show and made copies for those couples who went on the Malta day trip with us. Had fun working on my laptop, seating in the balcony with the sea right there. Wish I had my office in such a location. Sunday, Oct 23rd: Arriving to Barcelona. Got off the ship around 08:00am. Again, no need for ship expensive transportation to the airport as there is always long line of taxis waiting for you right there at the port terminal. What next? While on board, we purchased four (4!) Celebrity Open Passages as we plan to go on Back to Back cruises either to South America and/or to New Zealand and Australia with as many as 5 more couples and we want them all to enjoy the $600 on board credit for the two long B to B cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Please excuse if following is boring but was a real chill out cruise. My wife and I have just returned from a smashing 10 nighter on the Celeb Equinox which we thoroughly enjoyed and went too quickly. Everything went well with no ... Read More
Please excuse if following is boring but was a real chill out cruise. My wife and I have just returned from a smashing 10 nighter on the Celeb Equinox which we thoroughly enjoyed and went too quickly. Everything went well with no complaints (except Wales rugby result against France when docked in Athens !!!!). The ship was outstanding, all the crew (no exceptions) were so helpful and first class and the food... YUM !!!. The shows in the evenings were very good, energetic and good variation (unlike some previous cruises we have been on). Plenty to keep you occupied throughout the day and when we had some bad weather (rain) whilst at Santorini, the entertainment was re-arranged that morning to provide even more events. This was a great example of how 'on the ball' and pro-active the whole crew were. First class. Our room attendant Dennis and our waiters Muriano and Joey were excellent at all times and social. All deserve star gradings. The ship was close to capacity but still felt had plenty of room and good to see that some passengers (mainly Spanish) told clearly not to 'reserve' their beds/chairs by the pool or elsewhere on the decks by clearing off somewhere else and returning later. Their belongings were put to one side and when returned (as in some cases 4 hours later) instructed would happen again. They soon stopped. Fortunate to have met several lovely fellow passengers for chin wags and our table companions were great fun. One issue we would like to comment on was the increase in cover charge for the speciality restaurants which now cost $30 a head. This may appear trivial but we noticed that there were free spaces on each evening.... unlike previous cruises we have been on where it was between $15 to $20 each. May not sound much but it put off other guests in booking an evening after meeting a few over the cruise days. Anyway, once sampled the food at dinner in the evening why go speciality. Top quality. One of the best cruises we have been on. Great time and hope to go again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
We cruised from Southampton on the Celebrity Eclipse on the 14th October 2011. Very similar to the Equinox. Staff excellent from the Captain to the Cabin staff, ship usual Celebrity quality, well organised Embarkation and Arrival home, ... Read More
We cruised from Southampton on the Celebrity Eclipse on the 14th October 2011. Very similar to the Equinox. Staff excellent from the Captain to the Cabin staff, ship usual Celebrity quality, well organised Embarkation and Arrival home, Food in all areas was of the normal high quality.Weather very good for October, everyone happy? Yes BUT someone in Celebrity Head Office probably an Accountant (only looking at the bottom line), obviously had no idea about how the passengers would react to outrageous drink prices throughout the ship and being charged for visits to The Bridge, The Kitchen, The Engine Room and other on board activities. $4.50 for 1 litre of water. Wine in the Moonlight Sonata dining room at a 400% mark up on UK prices.We felt sorry for the Somelier who were very helpful and trying to please. We all expect to pay corkage in a restaurant or bar but where we find unreasonable prices we can obviously go elsewhere, this of course is not possible on board. Two years ago on the Equinox drink prices were not cheap but were much more reasonable. It was very noticeable that on the Eclipse in the theatre, restaurants and cafes many of the staff who normally sold drinks were walking around trying to sell drinks unsuccessfully. By the last four days the price of Trips to the Galley, the Bridge and the Engine Room were greatly reduced. This may sound like a whinge, but hopefully Celebrity will take this as a friendly report and all future cruisers will be aware of the situation. On the entertainment front, just a gentle hint. The majority of passengers on our cruise were 'mature' but a couple of the entertainers seemed to be unaware of this and their content was often extremely offensive and crude and was making fun of the very age group they were entertaining. On the last night approximately 15% of the audience walked out before the end of the show. The last night was particularly bad when the ventriloquist attempted comedy of a crude nature, much to the embarrassment of the some of the ladies in the audience. He should have stuck to what he is good at. Comments like 'wouldn't you like a bit of Yorkshire in you' are unacceptable unless you are in a working mans club not directed at an 80 year old lady. Dru we love you but please 'GET a GRIP' In spite of this we will sail with you again, if you will have us? !! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
We decided to travel to Southampton by coach from Liverpool, glad we did as the traffic congestion on arrival in Southampton was horrendous and I think we may have panicked if we had been on our own in the car. Check in was easy although ... Read More
We decided to travel to Southampton by coach from Liverpool, glad we did as the traffic congestion on arrival in Southampton was horrendous and I think we may have panicked if we had been on our own in the car. Check in was easy although there was a delay of about 20 minutes at security which was not a problem to us. The ship was absolutely sensational, clean, bright and modern, our stateroom and attendant were excellent. We ate in the Moonlight Sonata on the late sitting (we'll go select dining next time)and because the quality of the food was so good decided not to pay the excessive supplement to eat in one of the speciality restaurants, even though people we spoke who had visited them gave a glowing report (but not worth the supplement) We thought the entertainment was first class as did most of the people we spoke to, the comedian from Wales was particularly good as was the ships dancers and musicians. A special mention for Dru the cruise director, he is so enthusiastic and obviously enjoys his job (buy a new joke book Dru). The bad bit!...The drinks are so very expensive, I have never seen so many tables in a restaurant without a bottle of wine at dinner, the sommeliers were almost redundant. All in all though, this was a great holiday on a fantastic ship with first class staff providing excellent service,and met some lovely people, well done Celebrity, see you soon... Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Celebrity Eclipse 16 night Med cruise, October 2011 As usual, we travelled down to Southampton the day before our cruise, its 195 miles and takes on average 4.5 to 5 hours, worst trip was 7 hours plus. We have stayed at the Holiday Inn ... Read More
Celebrity Eclipse 16 night Med cruise, October 2011 As usual, we travelled down to Southampton the day before our cruise, its 195 miles and takes on average 4.5 to 5 hours, worst trip was 7 hours plus. We have stayed at the Holiday Inn Express at Nursling, a few times, so just a short journey to the docks. Since our last visit in May, they had become a recommeded hotel for a local childrens theme park, and it was a little noisy. We have decided to stay elsewhere in future. We had been very lucky in getting an invite to visit the QM2 on the 14th October, the same day as we sailed on Eclipse. Having had a good meal at the local Beafeater the night before, we skipped breakfast, packed the car and proceeded to the QE2 terminal. We had a very interesting tour of QM2, in a group of ten with a good guide, followed by an excellent leisurely lunch with wine. We knew it would be tight to get to Eclipse, and it was 2.20pm when we left the dining room! We disembarked, fortunately the car was close, and drove to the City terminal, quickly unoaded our cases, parked the car, and checked in. We were one of the last to check in, we boarded (no photographers!), drank the 'welcome' drink, and went to our Aqua class cabin, where we arrived at 3.05pm! The difference between the two ships was a stark contrast, the traditional decor of the QM2 to the modern light decor of Eclipse. We popped down to Blu, our restaurant, as we had heard that our favourite waiter was on board, when we got there he was on the maitre d's desk, and we got a wonderfull greeting. When we got back our steward introduced himself, and went on a case hunt, as only one of our cases had arrived. This was our 5th cruise on Eclipse, all in the same cabin on the 'hump', so might know that we are very happy with the ship, it was like coming home. We had also reached 'Elite' status, the top tier in their 'rewards' scheme, which intitled us to several perks. First two days were sea days, and again the Bay of Biscay was kind to us, in these 2 days they held the 'Senior Oficers' cocktail party in the Sky lounge, where the only problem was getting an non alcoholic drink for my wife! I also did the Elite bridge visit, it was a fairly large group and a fairly short visit would not bother again! First port was Cadiz where we just walked into town and explored its many narrow streets, returning to the ship for lunch, which consisted of a drink and a few rolls from Cafe Bacio. We attended several shows with 'guest' artists, some good,some not so good. We did not attend any production shows, as we had seen them before. many pax were unhappy having to go early to get a seat in the theatre, seams to be the same on most ships! The next day was a sea day, which we spent drinking coffee, doing crosswords, and failing miserably in answering the quizz questions. We always went for the wonderful Blu breakfasts, which was always a lovely unhurried event. In the evenings we always dined early, so we got our waiter, several other couples were doing the same, and the 5 tables for 2 were nearly always occupied by the same couples, often in seated in a different order, so we all became friendly. The food and service were sublime, and nothing was to much trouble for our waiters. Items from the MDR were obtainable, but we never felt the need. There were 2 'secret' sweets, never on the menu, but available if you asked (Creme Brulee and Apple Pie). Next port was Cagliara, which we have visited before. We have cruised the Med many times, and have done the tours that interest us,so we did not do any of the ships tours on this cruise, so again, we just had a walk round the town, we normally find somewhere to explore. One of the perks of Elite is the 'happy' hours between 5pm and 7pm where you are provided with drinks and nibbles, we really enjoyed ourselves there, meeting a couple we had met before, and another couple we got to know. The next day was Palermo, we had seen all sorts of dire warnings about the port, but frankly, we thought it was not as scarey as Naples! Another sea day spent at leisure, enjoying the ship. We had prepaid our tips, and purchased a Premium non alcoholic package each, which we found excellent value, as latte's were $5.25 each and Tea $4.75 we also had sparkling water in Blu every night, at a rough guess, the average drink priced worked at around $3, we loved the no signing, no tickets involved. Then it was Venice, the favourite port of the cruise for us, it was $20 for the boat ticket, and I noticed a sign saying one way trips were 7euro's, so not ripped off too much! We walked as far as the market, and were very suprised to see vegetables for sale from our home town in Lincolnshire! We returned to the ship with heavy parcels and a lighter wallet! We had an invite to an Elite sailaway on the helipad, the crew had put some chairs out on the helipad, trust us to choose two in front of an almighty loud speaker, which deafened us when they turned the music on! It was very cold, so much so they had to fetch some blankets for us, it was a wonderful experience, but it was so cold! Next it was Dubrovnic, and as usual, people had not read the paper, or listened to the announcments, and had failed to take goverment ID's with them, and were turned off the bus at the dock gates by the border guards. Again, we explored this intriuging town, making purchases on our way round! We were then over halfway through the cruise, at sea heading toward home, but with a couple of stops on the way. The Captains Club celebration was held on a sea day, usual speeches and jokes, and a selection of food available, they had some great beef being carved, in which I indulged. That evening in Blu i had a wonderfull steak, but the next day i decided I had eaten to much beef the previous day! We noticed in the evening that many of the officers were 'on patrol' mid evening, we had several chats, in particular with the Guest Relations Manager And so to Cartegena, another port where you can walk off the ship into the town centre, so off we set to explore the place. Down one off the side streets we saw a set of 3 escalators outdoors, quite unusual we thought, so up we went. it turned out to be some roman ruins on a hill overlooking the town. We were somewhat surprised to see one of our dinner companians, who uses a buggy, at the top! That evening, the captain warned us it would be rough the next day, which was a sea day. As forecast, it was rough with 9 metre waves and 40/50 knot headwind, and in the morning the captain announced he was slowing down for passenger and crew safety. We took some pills and retired to our stateroom for a few hours. We felt fine later in the afternoon, so went o the Elite event and dinner in Blu. After dinner we were walking past the shops with some of our dinner companions when the captain again made an announcement. He explained that as we had slowed down so much, we would arrive in La Coruna in the late afternoon rather than mid morning, and we were due to leave at 9pm. He then annouced that we would not be going to La Coruna, and our reaction was that we would be going home somewhat slowly. He the said that with the co-operation of the Miami headquarters, and the port of Vigo, we would be docking in Vigo mid morning, and leaving early evening. We were delighted, as were many as they had not been to Vigo. Others, of course complained, but we did not fancy La Coruna in the dark with lots of places closed. Full marks to Celebrity for organising this at such short notice, other lines were cancelling ports completely. Docked as scheduled in Vigo, on a bright sunny day. Despite some moans, many seemed to enjoy our last port, the shops and restaurants must have welcomed this surprise visit by 3000 passengers, including around 35 children and 235 Americans. Once again, the Bay of Biscay was fairly kind to us, as we packed our cases and enjoyed our last chat with friends in the Sky Lounge, then our final meal in Blu and the farewells. I occasionally bought a glass of wine at dinner, and was paying around $9.25 for a glass of wine (which was a generous freepour) which is around £5.81, a similar price charged in many better hotels and restaurants in the UK. Cheapest bottle of wine in a Hilton recently was £20.00 equalling around $32.00, not sure why many were complaning about the prices of drinks on the ship When we awoke at 6am, we were back in Southampton, down to breakfast in Blu at 6.30am as it opened, when we finished we found out we could disembark, so returned to our cabin, picked up our carry off's, and walked off the seemingly deserted ship, quickly found our cases, surprisingly the customs hall was not manned, and off to the car which was parked close by. We were in the car and ready to go by 7.30am, the best disembark ever, and as it was a Sunday, a quick exit from Southampton, and home by 11.30am! In all, a wonderful cruise, perhaps our best ever, with the crew and food the best we have ever had. This not to say it was perfect, we had a few issues during the cruise.With the cabin being under the pool deck, around 7am we often got 'wake up' call around 7am, when the pool butlers started putting the sunbeds out. As mentioned previously, my wife often had a problem getting a soft drink at the Captains Club events, the waiters bring round a tray of alcoholic drinks, we ask for a non alcoholic drink, and off the waiter goes, often forgetting the drink, or another passenger highjacking it before they returned. After our visit to Vigo I went to guest Relations to pay some excess euro's off our account. There were 3 staff on duty, but it turned out only one of them was able to handle the transaction, and he was serving one passenger, with another waiting. Each transaction took several minutes, and I left the queue as it was time to get ready for dinner. When I left, there were 7 passengers waiting to do cash transactions! Looking at my account on the TV next day, I noticed that I had been charged for some drinks in a bar, and had not recieved the Internet credit due, so another trip to guest Relations, when I was able to pay in my Euro's, and sort out the overcharges. Never saw the Guest Relations Manager again, so could not hassle him about the service! Did not recieve a final account, but fortunately I had noted the ammount due as we went to bed on the last night. Just before we left for our cruise, Celebrity announced that Constellation would be coming to Southampton in 2012, to do a series of 'food and wine' cruises. We had already booked an Azores cruise on Eclipse, but this new cruise really appealed. so we enquired if we could change our cruise. Our Personal Cruise Specialist was really helpful, and changed our booking without charge, unlike other cruise lines we have used. We lost our free carking, that offer was not available for the new cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
After staying 4 days in Rome, we used Rome cabs for our transportation to the port. Embarkation was a breeze and we were on the ship in about 10 minutes. DINING- We signed up for select dining and we made reservations on line prior to ... Read More
After staying 4 days in Rome, we used Rome cabs for our transportation to the port. Embarkation was a breeze and we were on the ship in about 10 minutes. DINING- We signed up for select dining and we made reservations on line prior to the cruise. The reservation system worked great and we never had to wait for a table. All of the meals we had in the dining room were fantastic. There was ample variety on the menu and every dish was prepared as ordered. The service was great and they would always ask us if everything was fine or if we would like other entrees or additional desserts. We also ate at the buffet on deck 14, and the layout allowed for free movement between stations. The food was also very good with a great variety of dishes to choose from. CABIN- Our cabin (concierge class) was very nice, and I liked the interactive television feature. My wife felt the room was too small and the drawer space didn't meet our needs. I thought the bed was very comfortable and the shower was larger than most on other ships. ACTIVITIES-We enjoyed the trivia and sudoku competition, however there was only 1 mah jongg set on the ship and it was never to be found. My wife received spa services(massage and hot rocks), and she said that it was the best treatment she has had on any ship. I went to the gym daily, and it had all new equipment and plenty of space. There is also a jogging track above the gym. It was fine in the morning, however in the afternoon it is not usable due to the lounge chairs that are moved onto the track and people just standing on the track. The casino had a variety of games and I liked the no smoking feature. PORTS-We used private tours for each port and hooked up with cruise critic members to join us for the excursions. Without going into detail, we hit the major highlights in Israel, Capri, and Palermo. In Mykonos, we walked into town and hung out for a few hours. In my opinion, Mykonos was a wasted stop. DISEMBARKATION-took only about 5 minutes. Rome cabs was there on time for our trip to the airport. Also we met many cruise critic members and enjoyed their company. I want to thank Al & Donna, Mel & Sharon, Jack & Shelley, and Fran & Scott for making the cruise most memorable. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
We have just returned from a 12 day Eastern Med cruise on the Celebrity Constellation. We had a wonderful time and gladly recommend Celebrity to any cruisers. The embarkation process in Istanbul was fast, well organized and efficient. ... Read More
We have just returned from a 12 day Eastern Med cruise on the Celebrity Constellation. We had a wonderful time and gladly recommend Celebrity to any cruisers. The embarkation process in Istanbul was fast, well organized and efficient. Upon boarding, we went straight to the Spa to make reservations for massages. When we returned to our cabin, our luggage was there. The staff were all very friendly and accommodating. I did not hear any staff talking about the Hotel Manager and received excellent service from the cabin steward and staff. I had requested some special items in our cabin because of a medical device I travel with and it was delivered promptly, as promised. The food in the MDR was very good and the wait staff and servers were attentive and very nice. The menu choices were varied on every evening and were well received by all of the guests sharing our table. I do believe that the food was not quite as good as we experienced on the Summit two years ago. However, the differences were not that significant. Also, I must point out that chefs are different from one another. That difference does not necessarily correspond to "worse" or "better", just different. The food in the buffet on Deck 10 was quite good. We experienced the Pasta Station, the Stir-fry station, the Mexican Station, and others. We had no complaints with the service. I frequently saw servers carrying trays and getting drinks for guests, and not just alcoholic ones.The entertainment was adequate, though I must admit that this is an area that is not a high priority for us on a cruise. Perry Grant was quite different, but had a huge following. I admit that after just a couple of visits, I became a fan. The casino was well appointed and had a good variety of games. The casino staff were very friendly and helpful. Sadly, there were not many guests who chose to participate on this cruise. The ship sponsored excursions were well organized and, for the most part, very informative and interesting. As with most cruises, it seems that there is always one excursion where the guide is less that satisfactory; but I have to admit that that is a very subjective and personal point of view. Debarkation was a snap! We did early exit because of an early return flight. We were off the ship at 7AM with plenty of time to make our flight. In conclusion, we plan to sail with Celebrity again for our next cruise. I will admit that we do not take three or four cruises per year and we are not at the top tier of the Captain's Club. Perhaps that is a good thing because it seems that we can still clearly see the great things that Celebrity does without expectations of "special" treatment. I believe that all of the guests on the Constellation had the opportunity to experience the special treatment from a staff that was welcoming, efficient and attentive. Thank you Celebrity! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2011
Have been back over a month now and thought it high time I put in my review. Here goes ; Solstice Med cruise 12 nights starting 5th Sept All travel arrangements were made via Celebrity and although more expensive there is the ... Read More
Have been back over a month now and thought it high time I put in my review. Here goes ; Solstice Med cruise 12 nights starting 5th Sept All travel arrangements were made via Celebrity and although more expensive there is the comfort factor of Celebrity making sure you get to the ship and the coach waiting for you when you arrive. Flew from Glasgow to Amsterdam then on to Barcelona and then the coach to pick us up. Absolutely no problems with this and luggage arrived the same time as we did. We had booked a Celebrity suite but a couple of weeks before the cruise we had been upgraded to a Royal Suite and it was fab. Big lounge and dining area plus an additional guest bathroom which my sister commandeered and the best bathroom at sea we have had so far. Double sinks, walk in Shower and Jacuzzi bath. The Balcony also had a Jacuzzi on it and this was put to really good use especially after a long day off the ship when we could just relax with a glass of bubbly. Very nice indeed. We did not experience any overt noise from the resort deck apart from some music during the day which in no way spoiled our cruise or enjoyment of the balcony . George was our butler and he was most courteous and professional in his manner. We did not ask too much of him only that we got those little fruit tartlets with afternoon tea (even left them on the days we were not in the cabin).He also arranged our speciality dining requests but other than that we did not have any other little jobs for him to do apart from a couple of early morning breakfasts in the suite. Dining in general ranged from good to very good in the MDR although I did find the wine service a bit hit and miss as we all had the premium drinks package we had to flag down the waiter to get a refill. As we were on select dining we could not sort this out for the rest of cruise as we dined in different parts of the dining room .My one real complaint is the very poor cheeseboard in the evening (same stuff as you get in the buffet in the morning ) . I have suggested that they offer the cheeseboard that you can get in Murano for an additional supplement for those that wish to have this but still have the standard cheese plate for those that do not wish to select their cheese .I know that some people will not like this but if it means getting a better quality selection then so be it. The speciality restaurants were as good as ever and I would always go back to Murano and Tuscan grille at the drop of a hat. We dined in Tuscan Grill when leaving Villefranche and because of the picture windows it was lovely to see all the twinkling lights (and thats before the wine had kicked in! ). We ate breakfast in Blu as we were allowed this due to being in a suite . And by the way we had no difficulties in arranging this whatsoever . We did not dine in Blu in the evening as my sister is a very plain eater and the menu did not appeal to her. But we were asked if we wanted to dine in the evening by the head waiter so cannot understand why some people have had difficulties on this score. Entertainment is I feel the one area that Celebrity needs to work on. Some of the shows in the theatre are dated and there was not one comedian on board for the cruise. The majority of the passengers were English speaking so I do not think this was anything to do with language barriers etc. Some of the other groups were fine but if you have been on a Celebrity cruise before you will get the feeling that you have seen them all before. Premium drinks package worked really well for us. It was great not to have a bar bill at the end and as we enjoyed the Martini bar it was nice to try different drinks and if you did not like them well try something else then! Will definitely do this again on our next cruise. The overall cruise was one of our better ones due to the company that we met and also the itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
The Celebrity Equinox is a beautiful ship meticulously cleaned and maintained. The Eastern Mediterranean ports-of-call would make up a perfect itinerary except that each stay is too short by at least half. Even at that, first time ... Read More
The Celebrity Equinox is a beautiful ship meticulously cleaned and maintained. The Eastern Mediterranean ports-of-call would make up a perfect itinerary except that each stay is too short by at least half. Even at that, first time visitors to these ports-of-call (like ourselves) have to visit so many unskippable sites in so few days that it really is an exhausting trip. Aquaspa class offers nice accommodations (the showers are fantastic), better dining, and closer proximity to the pool and spa decks. The other advertised in-room amenities were just marketing hype: the "floral arrangements" were a single bud in a tiny vase, the afternoon canapes were marginal when they weren't irrelevant because of being ashore, the aroma stuff was nonexistent as was the "pillow menu" (though I have no doubt you can get as many pillows as you want with a quick phone call or word with the cabin stewarts). We loved the ports-of-call and the ship was spectacular. However, leaving Santorini before 10PM is immoral (especially when the ship simply holds station most of the night in front of the next port-of-call at Mykonos). Giving Celebrity the benefit of the doubt, I suspect that huge cruise ships in port beyond closing time for the souvenir shops would screw up the evening ambiance on the Greek islands. If we consider a repeat of the Eastern Med cruise, we'll give careful consideration to the smaller cruise lines with ships that can stay in port later or, alternately, the bare bones cruises that have you forfeit comfy cabins, good food and on-board entertainment for rock bottom prices and much longer port stays. It just might be better to spend the money saved on restaurants and entertainment in the ports and just use the ships for clothing storage and a place to sleep. Read Less
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