Celebrity Constellation Cruise Review by lakegirl16
- Sail Date: January 2015
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Concierge Class 3
Before I begin my review, a little about us. We are in our mid fifties and this is our sixth cruise in the past nine years. All of the previous cruises were on Princess. I will point out differences, likes and dislikes of Celebrity and Princess. If I am critical, please know it's just constructive criticism. I love to cruise and always enjoy my cruises. I am amazed at the people that I think just try to find something to complain about.
We flew in late the day before the cruise. I booked a room on Travel Pony at the Springhill Suites in Dania Beach. The price was a great deal $127.00 a night. We called the hotel when we landed and the shuttle (a Mercedes Van) was there to pick us up within 5 minutes. So much of the pick up by hotels at the Lauderdale airport is a matter of timing, ours was good this particular day. We were greeted by a very friendly hotel staff when we arrived. They gave us bottled water and answered questions about our stay at the hotel.
We have never stayed in this area before. There is a huge shopping center with lots of stores and restaurants just across the highway. There's a K-Mart for those last minute purchases (water sox for us). We didn't think their wine selection was great but since we had the beverage package, it didn't matter to us. We were going to go to one of the restaurants in the shopping center when another guest at the hotel recommended the Rustic Inn. We took a cab and had a great time. Their specialty is crabs and if you haven't been there, don't go with a headache. Everyone is given a mallet to pound the crabs or pound to celebrate the birthday or anniversary of one of the diners. I didn't think of Uber when we went to dinner but we did use Uber for the ride back. Highly recommend it, it was 1/2 the price of a taxi.
The hotel provides a nice breakfast, eggs, meats, pancakes, and all of the normal hotel breakfast items. The hotel also provides free transportation to the port. The shuttle time for our cruise was 11:45. Since you can't get into your cabins on Celebrity until later, we decided to take advantage of the free shuttle.
All in all this was a great hotel deal, nice room, free cruise port and airport transportation, as well as breakfast. I will book this location again.
I didn't look at my watch when to see what time it was when we walked in the cruise terminal, I'm guessing around 12:15. We departed from the new terminal #4. It was very nice, it's a long walk from where you drop your luggage to the check in area. The check in line was somewhat long, guessing it took us about 45 minutes to get through check in. We were Concierge Class but really never saw a check in line for these guests.
Enjoyed the glass of champagne or mimosa when boarding the ship. Off to the buffet, to find it was VERY crowded. There was no where to sit, I am guessing we walked around for five minutes before we could find a place to sit. I should have listed to everyone on Cruise Critic and gone to Bistro on Five. The buffet is set up in stations and I've read nothing but good comments about how much people like it. Me, not so much. I felt like by the time you found what you wanted,, the first items you picked up were cold. I'd read a lot of comments saying the food was better on the buffet on Celebrity than Princess. I didn't find that to be the case, I thought it was good but not great. The one difference, I really liked was the nice selection cheese, sliced per your request. I wish this was offered in the evening buffet.
Bar service was pretty limited in the buffet, overall we found it a bit sparse everywhere but still managed to get our monies worth out of the drink package. (More on that later). We missed Princess having waiters everywhere to bring you water or take a drink order.
Cabins were announced to be ready at 1:15. The welcome bottle of champagne for concierge level room is a nice touch, we saved ours for later in the cruise.
Walked around the ship to learn the lay of the land. Went to find the drink of the day which was listed to be at Cellar Masters on deck five. Bartender (Borris) told us it was not this bar couldn't make it. He was a wine bar and didn't have the ingredients. Really made no apologies like it was our fault that we were asking for something he could make. Settled on a drink at the pool bar waited 5 minutes. Lady across from a said she had been waiting 20 minutes.
Didn't meet room steward until around 6:00, Anthony. He was a fine cabin steward. We really didn't have any requests, so not much to comment on here.
We arrived right before the drill started and the room was packed. First time we've ever seen passengers show up so early for a muster!!! Muster you do not have to wear your life jacket or even take your lifejacket. It was VERY crowded and other than showing how to put on the life jackets, there wasn't much to the presentation. Much less than Princess.
9181 - Cabin larger than Princess. Thinking more like a mini? Small couch in the room. Unfortunately, ours was awful, when you sat on it, you sank to the bottom.
The closet is in the "hallway" and creates congestion between closet and bathroom. Bathroom about same size. Shower larger but difficult to figure out the hot water, you have to push in the button.
Light in bathroom stays on all time, I think?
Nice to look at bill on TV, seemed less channels than Princess. Also, really lacking in the navigation information shown on the TV on Princess. I really like to know how far we have gone and where we have to go, the seas, the temperature etc. Coming back at night and reading the next days activities along with looking at that channel are my way to end the day.
Balcony: Ours had a covered overhang , the pillars were somewhat in the way of photos. Really ike the cement verses rubber floor on Princess, much more comfortable.
Chocolate cookie on pillow first formal night, no mints.
Hair dryer, need a rubber band to keep it on. Thanks to my Cruise Critic friends for letting me know this tip.
Bed was very comfortable, more so than Princess.
Nice to have tables for drinks in front of your seats. Not much bar service.
Shows were good to very good. Really enjoyed the two comedians. Can't remember two comedians on a cruise before. Production Shows, Comedians(2), Juggler, Pianist, Liars Club
Casino crowded. Love non smoking. Slots seem looser.
We had anytime dining. I made reservations on line in advance for most nights. We had to change a few nights around and were able to get right in or wait in the bar with a pager. We never waited longer than 15 minutes.
Dining room hosts didn't seem as accommodating as Princess. Warm in dining room and theater!
Water was bad, really musty tasting first night. Did get better then bad again. Since we had the drink package, we requested bottled water.
Dinner service fluctuated between bad and good. We had a couple of great waiters and a couple not so great, never coming back to check on us after meal was served.
Food we thought overall was very similar to Princess. I missed Princess Fettuccini Alfredo and my husband prefers the Caesar Salad on Princess. Desserts, I think are better on Princess.
Very entertaining and those guys pour a strong drink. Fun place to stop at night.
Cafe al Bacio
Beautiful setting. Nice touches, plates, cups etc. Pastries divine. Friendliest crew on the ship, always call you by name.
Like how it's in a somewhat secluded location, not like international cafe on Princess but missed salads and sandwiches of the IC.
10:15 no trouble finding a spot by the pool. Perhaps staff watches chair saving better than on Princess?
Miss the smaller adult only pool back of ship on Princess.
Buffet very crowded first Sea Day!
Line in the dining room long. Dining room breakfast nothing special, same every day, Like how Princess has special breakfast entrees.
Missed the yogurt that Princess has where you can add your own granola, fruit, etc.
We thought the food was good, not great. Similar to Princess, I think Princess buffet may be better?. Perhaps desserts better on Princess also. Pizza very good on Celebrity.
Aqua Spa Cafe, great place for late afternoon (4:00-5:00 pm) snacks.
Beautiful art work
Dining room. Much more elegant than Princess.
There were more children but never did they interfere with anything we were enjoying.
Pillow menu none .
Check in line none or we missed it.
Canapés. None first day. Second day. Plate with 4 small sections. Piece of watermelon olives dip 3 chips. Hardly worth the effort.
Honestly, wouldn't book this class again, if you didn't get better 123 Go benefits for Concierge class or higher.
Food was wonderful and service excellent Calamari excellent , goat cheese salad , filet very, good dessert creme brûlée. Toffee panacotta amazing. A bit expensive at $45.00 per person.
Formal Nights / Dress Code
Much more dressed up than Princess.
Second formal night, we dined at the buffet for first time. Was okay, not great.
Some men with just polo style shirts were allowed in dining room.
Couple we met from Canada, he was asked to change when he ame to dinner in shorts. This would never happen on Princess. I think this is fine but if they're going to enforce the dress code, they should also enforce on Formal Night and not allow men in the dining room in polo shirts.
Captain and Cruise Director
BEST EVER! We want them both on every cruise
Drink plan we were given the classic package when we booked. We upgraded to premium. If you're a wine drinker might be hard to find wine on classic. For us, the drink package was a great deal. All the bottled water, soda, coffee, wine and cocktails you can drink up to $13.00. Martini's are $13.00 each and we spent a lot of time there. We both drank wine at dinner that averaged around 10.00 a glass. With the 123 GO package, it's certainly a great incentive to book a Celebrity cruise over Princess.
Used the breakfast card to order the night before. Room Service called before delivering. Delivered right on time.
Internet VERY slow. One nice thing you can use account on multiple devices.
The one benefit of concierge class that really liked is these guests were called in their special waiting area, prior to the announcement for the large group of their specific luggage tag number. We were off about 830. The one thing I really did not like about this cruise is there was no EZ check to check your luggage to the airport from the cruise. CELEBRITY - I hope this changes next time we cruise!!!
The airport, of course, was so busy. When we got there about 9:00, they were allowing you to check baggage up to two hours before your flight. We were fortunate and found a place to sit. After we had been waiting a couple of hours, they announced there was early baggage check for Southwest downstairs. Who knew? I went to check it out and there were bags EVERYWHERE. At that time, they were allowing people to check bags up to three hours before their flight and that was only about another hour for us, so we chose to wait. Once it was time for check in, the line was very short. We had TSA precheck, so through security pretty quickly.
I was a little leery of this stop. There's not a lot of information on the Cruise Critic page and a lot of what you read isn't good.
We were tender ticket 4. Off by and on shore 1045. We used Turbe rental car, Kia Picante for $50.00. The car was delivered to the pier about 11:15. The roads are very narrow and curvy. It's funny all the cars you see have scratches on them on the bumpers.
We stopped at the Supermarket by the airport and picked up sandwiches. Delicious baguette with ham and cheese for around $5.00. The supermarket would take a credit card for charges over $10.00 or you could pay in US dollars, change returned in euros.
Drove around the island, beautiful island and fun to explore. Stopped at beautiful Petite de Culdesac beach. Car return at the airport and they drive you back to the port. Gas must be paid for with a credit card with a chip. Stopped for a beer at St. Jeans beach before returning the car. Some shopping at port. Souvenir shop on Main Street by super market had traditional type souveniers. We purchased a Christmas ornament there.
We found the people to be friendly and would not hesitate to go back. Renting a car is the way to go!!!
Tour with Sweeney's Safari Tours. Drove around the island. Went to the Cruzan (pronounced cruisin) rum factory.
Tour was 8.00 (credit card only) but you get two drinks and 4 tastes, strong drinks, well worth the 8.00.
We had some rain showers but we were in the van during the rain, so no problem.
Lunch at Harvey's, excellent highly recommend. Owned by step mom of basketball player Tim Duncan. Very friendly and great service.
After lunch did some souvenir shopping. Purchased beautiful glass plates at Mitchell Larsen Studio and a hook bracelet at Sonya's.
We got off the ship at 8:00. Took trolley to fort, which didn't open until 9:00. $5.00 admission for both forts. We walked into town. Did some shopping at Puerto Rican Artcraft on Fortaleza Street. Unique, reasonable hand crafts, all made by local artists. Had lunch at Barrachina, tried Mofongo, delicious! , Of course, visited the GIANT CVS that everyone talks about across from the port. Old San Juan is charming, wish we'd had more time.
We were in the port with Celebrity Reflection. Both before we cruised and on board, everyone was concerned about how crowded Labadee would be. We got off the ship fairly soon after we docked. We found a beautiful spot under palm trees right by the first swim beach (I can't remember the name). They had gentleman helping with beach chairs. I did get some bug bites on my ankles, so take spray. I am really susceptible, no one else in our group got any.
The lunch and the line reminded me Princess Cays. Long lines and lots of flys. Bar service was sporadic. I ordered a daiquiri, which was on the menu at the bar, and the bartender said we don't have those at this bar, some of the drinks weren't cold. Only saw someone walking around taking drink orders once.
The zip line looked like lots of fun but to us, very overpriced at $91.00.
The entire island seemed to really clear out by about 1:30. When we headed back to the ship about 4:00, there was hardly anyone on the island. Nice day but for future, like Princess Cays, I might stay on the ship.
Overall impression of Celebrity verses Princess, there are some things we prefer on Princess but we would for sure sail Celebrity again. Especially with the incentive of the drink package, paid gratuities and onboard credits.
We had a wonderful cruise, very relaxing, great weather, calm seas and nice port stops. Made some new friends from Canada and enjoyed touring and dining with them several days and nights!
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