This was our 21st cruise with Celebrity, and it was wonderful. There was an outbreak of Norovirus on the cruise that is discussed in threads on the main board; it made life on the ship inconvenient overall and made life miserable for the passengers afflicted but we were fortunate that we didn't come down with anything.
We live about 45 minutes from Cape Liberty, so our trip to the port was easy and we arrived a little before noon. It was nice not to get up at 0-dark-thirty and worry about getting to the airport to fly to Florida or San Juan or anywhere else. Dropped off our suitcases and proceeded to check-in which only took a few minutes. We were handed a letter stated that boarding would be delayed because there were some Norovirus problems on the previous cruise and they wanted to do a thorough sanitizing of the ship. Even with that, I think boarding began around 12:30 and we boarded the shuttles and we were on the ship by 1:00. I carry the garment bag and we both had a carry-on so we were loaded down getting on the shuttle, but we like being able to get a good start on the unpacking and not have to wait for luggage to be delivered. We were in a Concierge Class cabin on the Panorama deck, thanks to CruiseCritic member Stefanie whom clued us in on a senior citizen special a couple weeks before the cruise. We upgraded from Cat. 2B to Concierge, and received a significant refund. Great deal! I don't think the cabin is noticeably larger than a 2B, but the balcony sure is. Large enough to fit a large round table, small round table and two padded chairs. I was shocked when we first entered the cabin it was shades of melon/salmon with a pea green sofa, but I didn't even notice the sofa as time went on. Choice of pillows and the enhanced bedding were nice, and my wife liked the shower head. I couldn't tell if it was any different from the other cabins, but she said it was. Shampoo is in bottles as well as in a dispenser in the shower, but the shampoo in the bottle is the same as in the dispenser, same as in all other cabins I've been in since they switched over from the Frances Denney green shampoo I encountered on my first Celebrity cruise. We never did drink the Sparkling wine that was provided in the cabin, and after a couple of days we told our cabin steward (Agnelo) not to bother with the fruit basket anymore. We did accept the hor d'oeuvres everyday, more out of curiosity than desire. Agnelo was one of the best cabin stewards we've ever had, and we've had some great ones.
The Connie is a beautiful ship. Artwork doesn't seem to be as intense as the other M-class ships, i.e., no heads on the landings of the center stairwell like the Millie. Love those heads! We had breakfast in the Seaside Cafe or in the cabin most days, lunch in the Cafe (if at all) and dinner in the San Marco. Once the crew implemented strict sanitary measures in the Cafe, we had most of our breakfasts on the balcony and the food was always prepared well and served warm. There is a new menu on the Connie; we were on the Millie TA in May, and those menus were slightly different from what we were accustomed to, but the menus on the Connie are completely different. Left side indicates that shrimp cocktail, slugs, Caesar salad, grilled salmon, chicken, steak, are available every night for dinner, and there were favorites like Filet Mignon and lemon tarts dropped off completely. The food was great! Rodriguez from India was our waiter and Kuri from Indonesia his Assistant. Both provided excellent service. Vlado from Macedonia was the Assistant Matred, and he was very accommodating, making sure we had special desserts like Key Lime pie and Chocolate Cappuccino Mousse. Due to the sanitation procedures, there was no Baked Alaska procession on the final formal night. Dining room staff paraded around, but empty handed. Weird.