Pre-cruise: As twice before, we had reserved a room with a package at the Hotel San Giorgio in Civitavecchia. In addition to the room, the package included a shuttle service from Funcimo Airport, Rome and to the Hotel, a good three course dinner at their nice restaurant “Bistro 34”, breakfast next day, and after breakfast – shuttle to the port.
Embarkation: Went very smoothly.
We have earlier sailed on several cruises in the Mediterranean, but never late fall. Therefore, we were a little anxious about the weather conditions at this time of the year. But more about the weather later in this review.
The Ship: It is a few years since we last were on a Celebrity cruise, and then only on S-Class ships. This was the first time we were aboard an M-Class ship. But it turned out that we had nothing “to be worried about”! We found the Constellation to be a nice ship, and we think the ship seems mostly well maintained.
Moreover, we really enjoyed the indoor Thalassotherapy Pool.
Stateroom info: We had booked a Deluxe Veranda Stateroom on deck seven. It was comfortable. Two special comments: Some of the joins in the tiles on the bathroom were not clean, and some part of the balcony floor was not nice.
We were very satisfied with our stateroom attendant.
Dining: In connection with our embarkation, we were surprised to be informed that we had not been assigned to a set dining time in the MDR on deck five. We were on the wait list. But after talking to the maître, fortunately it was sorted out after a short while.
We were pleased with the quality of the food we selected, and we had always excellent and pleasant service on our table no. 462, from our waiter Mayuresh and ass. waiter Praful, both from India, and from our sommelier, Lorenz from the Philippines. We really looked forward to every dinner with pleasure.
We had all our breakfasts at the Oceanview Café, and also lunches, if we got back on time, after being ashore.
During “peak hours” it could be a bit difficult to find an unoccupied table. When the weather was nice, we really liked to eat in the outside part of the Oceanview. We were pleased with the food selection.
The employees did a good job of clearing tables etc., and the bars service was very good.
We found the burgers at the Poolside Grill to be good.
The Café al Bacio impressed us with its wide menu of coffee and teas, and with an excellent waiter service.
Bars: We were very pleased with the service in all bars, and we think it was extra impressive with a view to the fact that the majority of the passengers also had a Beverage Package. Our favorite hang-out bar/lounge, was the Rendez-Vous, where we always received a friendly bar service, right after we were seated.
Entertainment: With the exception of a male group, who performed Four Seasons Songs in the Theater, what we think in an excellent way, we were not particularly impressed.
Unfortunately, we think most of the live music in the Rendez-Vous, was too noisy.
The Captain’s Club Society: We are Elite Members, but we never attended the Elite Cocktail Hour, so I can't give any comment on that event.
The Voyage: This cruise should have visited 8 ports of call - Gibraltar and 7 ports in Italy and France - in addition 2 sea days. But it happened unfortunately not quite as planned.
During the first 8 days of the cruise, we had great weather. But especially the last 2 days, we were strucked by really bad weather with high winds and rough seas. And Constellation had to alter 2 ports. Instead of sailing to Portofino and Livorno, we had to sail to La Spezia as a replacement port.
We were docked in La Spezia for 2 days, and on the second day it became really dramatic.The ship’s moorings broke, caused by the bad weather with heavy winds, and Constellation hit the cruise ship Costa Magica, which was docked behind us. Fortunately no one was hurt!
The incident with Costa Magica happened in the afternoon, but no information was given until in the evening.
Later, it was informed that those passengers, who wanted a free coach ride to the Funcimo Airport in Rome later in the evening / night, could register with Guest Relations on deck 3. Along with several hundred other passengers, we stood in line to be registered. We were told, that further information about the coach departures, would be announced later in the evening/night.
My wife and I travel a lot, both on cruises and other ways of traveling. We have both experienced and know that unforeseen thinks can occur during a trip. In such cases, we also know that you unfortunately not always can thrust the information given by crew and employees, is correct. Their first priority will often be to try to “calm down the situation”.
Personally, we therefore always in the best possible way, “closely try to follow up”, if unfortunate incidents should occur when we are travelling.
After a couple of hours, we responded to the lack of information about the bus departures. We therefore took our baggage from our stateroom and found a place to sit down together with many other passengers near Guest Relations on deck 3.
After a while we realized that the registration with the Guest Relations earlier in the evening, did not meant anything. You had to queue up. “First come, first served”. We understood later that we probably were some of the last ones who got a coach ride to the Airport.
Our coach left the port around 3.00 am, and the ride took about 6 hours.
Due to lack of space for suitcases on our coach, the coach was not full. So we had a relatively ok ride on mostly highways to the airport, and we arrived well in advance to our previously booked flight.
I understand that it probably would not have been possible for Celebrity in the evening and night to get enough coaches to carry many hundred passengers on a 6 hour coach ride. But I feel really sorry for those of my fellow passengers who waited in vain in their staterooms for many hours for announcements for coach departures, announcements that never came. And therefore did not get the chance to catch a coach to the Funcimo Airport in Rome, and again maybe lost their flights.
Overall – with the exception of the last 2 days of the cruise, we are very pleased with this our first cruise with Constellation. A nice ship, with an excellent and friendly crew.