First of all, we had a wonderful experience on the Celebrity Constellation when we sailed August 6, 2019 for a 9 night Greek Cruise, EXCEPT using Flights by Celebrity. I booked 2 Aqua Class rooms for friends and 1 Royal Suite for myself and my friend for a special 50th birthday celebration. We booked this in February 2019. I can not say enough about the Royal suite and our Butler, Ali. We had suite 6133 and he and the stateroom attendant are top notch!! Also a shout out to Joyce in the coffee bar/Michaels club. She’s an absolute delight.
Now the issue...I booked this direct with Celebrity for the rooms and the airfare for the Royal Suite and 1 Aqua class room and paid in full in May, when full payment was due. I first found out several weeks before the trip my 1 hr 10 min layover in Chicago to Venice had been reduced to 35 min to change gates and get my luggage aboard. When I called Celebrity they informed me that the change to 35 minutes was an “acceptable” amount of time to find the connecting gate and have my luggage transferred. Since we were meeting friends in Venice for a day and half before the cruise, I was very concerned about the layover time. I called back again to Celebrity to be told I would have to pay Celebrity several hundred dollars to take a flight 2 hours earlier from Charlotte to Chicago through American Airlines. Frustrated, I called American Airlines directly and they changed my flight to the earlier flight with no issue and no charge. Then a couple weeks before leaving I realized Celebrity had me on the very last seat on the plane on one side window, and my friend on the very back of the plane on the opposite side of the plane window to Venice. I booked this in February...I finally called and paid American Airlines direct to change our seats to be together. Then came check in with American Airlines 24 hours in advance. I could only check into Chicago, but not all the way to Venice. We spent over an hour waiting in line at American Airlines ticket counter as we could not do curbside checkin all the way to Venice...The final straw was trying to check in back to Charlotte from Venice 24 hours before the flight. When I could not check in but my friend who did check in with no issue, since he booked his flight directly with American Airlines, he informed me they had 8 first class upgrades available for $500 each. I went to our private concierge agent in Michael’s lounge (since we had the Royal Suite) for assistance sInce I wanted the first class upgrade deal. I was worried by the time we went to check into the airport 3 hours before flight the upgrade offer would be sold out. (No surprise it was sold out). She did everything possible to check us in but could not check us OR previous clients using Flights by Celebrity in when check in was available August 14th. Let me say she went out of her way to help, but when she finally called Flights by Celebrity they told her I could upgrade to first class for over $4,000 one way. She was just as amazed as I was with the response from Flights by Celebrity and mentioned she would email corporate to inform them of the situation, even thought nothing could be done. I paid $1,800 to Celebrity for my round trip flight each person, which I am sure I could have done direct with American Airlines and never had these issues. I wasted 3 hours of our last cruise day dealing with this.
We used the spa services, several specialty restaurants for all 7 of us, gambled every night but one, closing down the casino each night and tipping the staff very well during the cruise on top of the prepaid tip package. We also bought a great deal of high end wine as this was a once in a lifetime trip for a few of the 7 that traveled together. The service from Flights by Celebrity was a slap in the face considering the amount of money I spent on that trip for all of us. Oh, by the way, on our return flight from Philly to Charlotte Flights by Celebrity had us both on the last back seats on the plane, but at least this time we were side by side. Never again will I book my flights through this company. I will go directly to the airline for my flights to save all the wasted time, frustration and money.
The suite was beyond expectations. All 7 of us were able to gather in the living room or balcony very comfortably since we were spread out in different cabins on the ship. The bath and bedroom were beautiful and room service was great when we used it. There was more closet space than we could begin to use. The hot tub on the balcony was a bonus! Again a shout out to Ali, our Butler, and to our room attendant. They seemed to be a step ahead of our thoughts many times with their awesome service. By the way the entire staff at Luminae (especially Indu, Swaraj, Aleks, Rosebud, Siraz and the rest of their team) made the dinners an absolute pleasure when we dined there.