Panama Canal: Trip of a Lifetime!: Celebrity Constellation Cruise Review by MusicmommyS

Celebrity Constellation 5
Member Since 2010

Overall Member Rating

Panama Canal: Trip of a Lifetime!

Sail Date: March 2010
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: San Diego
We stayed onboard the Constellation to do back-to-back cruises. The first cruise was a private charter from San Diego to Hawaii for 16 glorious days. I don't like to fly, so when I saw that the Constellation was going through the canal to Miami after our charter cruise, I asked my husband if we could go. He said, yes, and we called our local travel agent to book the second cruise. We were lucky enough to have the same cabin on both cruises, so we did not even need to pack up at the end of the first cruise. This meant we were on the ship for 29 nights.

We were a little worried that we might not like the cabin since it was only on deck 3 and right next to the Guest Relations desk and offices. If we didn't like it, we were going to be stuck there a long time. It was also our first experience with Celebrity cruise line. We needn't have worried at all. The location of the cabin turned out to be a big PLUS. It was very convenient to everything and very quiet. We never heard people More out in the lobby at all, and there was not as much traffic through our corridor as we expected.

The cabin was spacious, beautifully appointed, with lots of storage space for the two of us. We had LOTS of clothes and bags since we were on a 42 day trip, including 30 cruising days. Still, we did not feel crowded in this Oceanview stateroom. The Celebrity Constellation's bathroom was also extremely nice, with a very large shower. This was a pleasant surprise. Some other cruise lines, even in balcony cabins, have much smaller bathrooms.

We also loved the food service. My husband and I keep kosher at home and like to eat vegetarian outside the home, including fish. On buffets it is sometimes problematic if you don't know what's in the dish. The Constellation had all of its food items on the buffet labeled very well, plus any staff member we asked about the food was knowledgeable. This was not always the case on some other lines. When we ordered kosher meals, they were hot and delicious as well. We especially LOVED the grilled tuna and salad prepared and served at the AquaSpa Cafe. We ate lunch there at least half of the days. As for the main dining restaurant, the San Marco, the food was good and attractively prepared. There was always a vegetarian option as well as one or two fish options to choose. Our only complaint was that the service was very slow. Our early seating dinner time of 6 p.m. usually had us leaving at 8 p.m. Two hours for dinner was just a little too long for our taste, but our tablemates were congenial, so we had lots of good conversations.

We loved the ports of call: Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Hautulco, Puntarenas, Panama Canal cruising, Cristobal Pier, Cartagena. We started in San Diego and ended in Miami, which was perfect for us. We are not particularly adventurous travelers, so we always choose shore excursions provided by the cruise line. Again Celebrity excelled at this. We enjoyed every excursion and thought that the cruise line did an excellent job in organizing people to head out on each adventure. We overheard some people complaining that it took too long to get everyone out and on their way, but honestly when any organization is trying to deal with over 2,000 people at the same time, there might be a snafu or two. We felt that it was handled as well as could be expected, very much like any other cruise line we have tried (Holland America, Princess, and Disney), and we were out and about doing our activities when we were scheduled to do so. I really don't see why anyone had anything to complain about.

Staying 30 days on the same ship meant getting to know the staff really well. Everyone was extremely friendly. We were greeted, often by name, most of the time. Our room steward, assistant maitre d', and San Marco servers were especially wonderful. This friendliness allowed us to feel at home for our month at sea. The ship also had wonderful entertainment and lots of little places to go for drinks or specialty coffees while enjoying some quiet entertainment by pianists, singers, guitarists, a cappella singers, and string quartets. We found more entertainment options in these smaller venues than we had experienced on any other cruise line. Many of the entertainment options changed after the first charter cruise, while some remained. This provided us some nice variety as well.

Finally there were lectures every sea day about the history, culture, or natural wonders of the upcoming ports. Two different lecturers provided about five or six talks, EACH. Wow! We learned so much about the places we were visiting.

The Constellation left us in Miami and then went on a translatlantic cruise which ended with a refit in Germany. My husband and I are now very interested in booking another cruise on this ship to see the new improvements that have been made. We were also so impressed with Celebrity as a cruise line that we have booked three back-to-back cruises on the Celebrity Century in February of 2011. I can't wait! Less

Published 05/03/10

Cabin review: 3108

Our cabin was 3108. It was an oceanview cabin; the first one on the starboard side from the lobby area where the guest relations desk is. We loved it. We found it to be full of storage space with a large bathroom and shower. It was quiet. We were not bothered by noises from the lobby. The only exception was on port days. Sometimes people exited or entered the ship from our side on this deck. We could hear the little electronic beep as people were swiped in. Most of the time we were not in the cabin long enough for this to be a problem. I would definitely book this room again.

Port and Shore Excursions

Cliff Divers! Wow! No pictures in a magazine or scenes from a movie do this justice. It's a MUST SEE for everyone. We had a lovely air-conditioned coach bus with an excellent guide. After the cliff diving, there was a brief performance of Aztec dance and music. Our tour also took us on a drive around the entire harbor, which is beautiful. There were lots of shopping opportunities, and this time we bought some lovely Mexican fire opals and some Mexican silver. We were quite pleased with our purchases.

Our final stop in Mexico was Hautulco. We had a laid back day which included a short walk to a nearby hotel for a folk music dance performance. Then we went to the beach. The beach by the pier is spectacular. I enjoyed the easy access into the water, very little waves, warm water, warm air. It just was a most pleasant experience. The ship allowed people to take the beach towels from the ship out onto the beach. I thought that was a nice touch. We were there on a holiday weekend, which meant lots of Mexican families were there. Still it did not feel overcrowded. It was a wonderful day.

Puntarenas, Costa Rica afforded us a chance to go on an Eco-Cruise on the Tarcoles River. The boat captain jumped out and fed the crocodiles. That was pretty exciting. We also saw dozens of birds. I would recommend this to anyone.

Read 204 Acapulco Reviews

The only tender port of call on this trip. Tender was smooth and on time. We took the Pirate Sailing ship out to the Lands End arches and to go whale watching. The family-owned ship was a blast. Great views but the whales were not cooperative. It was a bit late in the season for them. Still we had a great time. When we got back, we opted to walk around the entire harbor area to get to the tender in order to get a view of everything. We did not do any shopping or eating, but there would have been plenty of opportunity to do so if we had been interested.

We had planned not to go to this port because we were afraid. On the ship, the shore excursion folks made it seem so interesting that we booked a three hour bus tour. We were very glad we did. This was a highlight of the trip for us. The fort, the old walled city, the new city, everything was just extremely interesting. Our guide was very knowledgeable and spoke excellent English. As in Mexico, there were many vendors asking you to buy things from them everywhere. Mostly they took a polite "no" as the final word. Only a few continued to follow us asking repeatedly for us to buy. We don't really have a problem with this. Unemployment is high and people have to make a living. Some of our fellow travelers bought things now and then. They all seemed happy with what they bought. I don't think anyone felt threatened or upset by the constant vendors.

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Member Since 2010
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