Wow!........the Constellation more than lived up to the great reviews we'd read! We just got back from a nine-day cruise out of Bayonne, N.J. to Labadee, San Juan, St. Maarten and Bermuda. We had 8-1/2 days of sunshine with only a half day of rain and fairly rough seas.Embarkation
We arrived in Bayonne at 11 a.m. and started boarding at a little after noon. It was easy and painless. You drop off your bags when you first arrive and then proceed to the parking area. The parking was $15 a day and very secure. A shuttle takes you to the terminal. This terminal has a nice inside waiting room with plenty of seats.
After boarding we explored the ship and then headed off to the buffet (rooms wouldn't be ready until about 1 p.m.). We had stateroom 3065 with a 48" porthole window (great unobstructed view). It was a super nice room, but the bed was on the firm side and pillows were flat and horrible (my only complaint on the room).
We went to see the Maitre 'D to see if we could have our dinner seating changed from late to early.He told us they'd let us know the next day (a card was delivered to our stateroom the following afternoon with a new table assignment).
There were only two formal nights on this cruise instead of the three that were listed. The second night was formal, so we got all gussied up and ate in the gorgeous San Marco dining room.Entertainment
The entertainment....was superb! The house band, Onyx, played by the pool most days and in the Bar at the Edge of the Earth (Deck 11). The ship's orchestra played Big Band music in the Rendezvous Lounge one night, there was a singer/piano player in Michael's Club every night, and the Mozart Duo also played in the Rendezvous Lounge every evening. The Cova Cafe had a string quartet most days.
Some of the highlights for us were the 50s/60s sock hop, country line dance party, masked ball, evening pool party with fruit buffet, and, of course, the Grande Buffet (more about that later).
During the sea days there were swing, Rhumba and Cha-Cha classes in the afternoon; we went to a couple of those.Casual Dining
One of the things that we really enjoyed, but I couldn't find out much about on the message boards, was the casual dining in the evening...we loved it! They set up one side of the buffet seating area in the evening for casual dining with tablecloths, flowers and fun waiters (these guys are the ones in training for the San Marco). We had the same waiter every night (Paul from Jamaica), and he was so much fun! Every evening we had a table for two, in front of a huge window with gorgeous views of the ocean and sunset. The menu consisted of a great bread basket, a choice of two appetizers, soup of the day, house or Caesar salad, six entrees (chicken, fish, barbecued spare ribs, mixed grill, etc...these changed every night but usually chicken and a fish was on the menu), baked potato or fries, and a choice from about four desserts. It was a nice alternative to the two-hour dinners in the formal dining room without sacrificing great service.
We didn't take any of the excursions so I can't comment on them.
Labadee was a nice surprise after reading all the horrid reports on Haiti. The tenders took us ashore and we were greeted by island music, a gorgeous beach, and beach attendants waiting to put a lounge chair wherever we desired. We learned that Celebrity had this whole area specifically developed for its cruise ships and it was really nice, clean and welcoming! The flea market was rather intrusive as the local craft-makers do everything but drag you into their cubicles to display their wares. They really get in your face and just don't want to let you pass on. But if you like to haggle on price, you'll have fun here as they keep dropping the price until you buy something. On the other end of the flea market is a craft area with fixed prices but no high-pressure sales.
San Juan: I don't have too much to say. We walked around and went in some shops but it was really hot and it was my least favorite stop.
St. Maarten was gorgeous -- everything I thought a Caribbean island would be! It has stunning beaches, upscale shopping and it's so clean! We took a bus for $3 each inland a ways and browsed the shops. Then we walked along the beach back to the ship.
Bermuda/Royal Navy Dockyard. For $12 a day you can ride any of the ferries or buses and it's a great deal! We took the ferry to Hamilton and walked around, then took the #7 bus back to the ship. What a great way to see the island! At the dockyard, we paid $10 each to go through the Maritime Museum and to see the dolphins (for $204 you could swim with the dolphins for 45 minutes...gulp!...too rich for my blood!).
I did ask several kids what they thought of the kids' program, and the teenagers weren't impressed......there didn't seem to be much for them to do.
Debarking was a breeze, customs was a snap and the shuttle takes you right over to the terminal.
We just returned from the Constellation's Baltic cruise, and it was outstanding. We booked over a year in advance, so we had plenty of time to plan, generate expectations and something to look forward too, of which we were not disappointed. The weather was almost perfect, just a little cool the first couple of days, but no rain for two weeks. We selected June to get ahead of the summer tourist season and for the weather, and could not have been more pleased. We arrived in Dover a day early to allow for the time adjustment and to avoid any possible flight issues, which needs to be considered when long distances to take a cruise. We stayed at the Castle Guest House (http://castle-guesthouse.co.uk/#), a delightful B&B owned and operated by Liz & Rod. We traveled to and from Dover from London with Steve Knibbs Dover Airport transfers ([email protected]), which proved to be very reliable and we very much enjoyed his service and conversations. We also spent the better part of our day touring Dover and had a great time, especially at the castle.
Boarding the Constellation was a breeze. We arrived atthe ship at 10:30, after just ten minutes in the terminal and we were on board. Celebrity seems to have this process down to perfection.
The ship is in immaculate condition, with everything extremely clean and polished. Having been on many Celebrity ships in the past, they seem to keep their ships in top condition. We had a balcony room on deck seven mid-ship, which was quite comfortable and adequate. Having traveled with our friends before, we get rooms on the opposite sides so we can take advantage of each others balcony for viewing opportunities and evening get togethers.
The food on board was simply the best we have ever had on any cruise, it was outstanding, along with the service. You have a choice of five entrees at each meal, and it was a hard decision on which to choose, quite often we would have to get an extra selection for the four of us to sample, and the same for the desserts. We did go to the Oceanliners specialty restaurant one night, and I would highly recommend it, the food and service were outstanding. The buffet selection for breakfast and luch was also quite good, both in selection and quality. The salad bar and Pasta station was open 24 hours a day, and you also could get hamburgers, etc. from noon until late in the evening.
Entertainment on the ship was also very good. We attended the shows every night and very much enjoyed them. Nick, the Cruise Director was the best that we have experienced, we could all use a shot of his enthusiasm.
The ports of call were the main reason we selected this cruise. However, we were a little disappointed that Celebrity changed the itinerary about two months before our cruise, and reduced our port times considerably, this is our only complaint. As an example, Gdansk was added to the itinerary and we only had about six hours in port, and the city is an hours drive away, it just didn't do it justice.
I'm not going to elaborate on every port, but each one was wonderful, especially Stockholm and St. Petersburg. Don't miss the sail into Stockholm, the three hours up the fjord is prettier than the inside passage to Alaska. We made our own arrangements in each port except Gdansk, were we took a ship's tour because of the time constraints and the distance. The trip to Berlin had some issues, as you can see below, in addition it is a very long and tiring day, and is not for the weary traveler.
In St. Petersburg we used Red October for a two day tour, and it was an outstanding two days, the highlight of our trip and one that we will remember forever. We had a great tour guide, whose English was impeccable and we were also joined by three other delightful couples who we connected with through Cruise Critic before the cruise. Red October's store is also a great place for souvenirs and gifts.
While our experiences of making our own shore arrangements have served us quite well over the years of travel and cruising, just a word to the wise, you can encounter problems. We initially booked a tour of Berlin for the four of us through Berlin Stadtfuehrungen Sightseeing Tours, however after connecting with others through Cruise Critic, who also booked with the same company, we cancelled our tour several months in advance to join with the other group. After arriving in Berlin following a 2-1/2 hour bus ride, the tour company then advised me that they did not accept my cancellation, despite my four e-mails to them, of which I showed them copies. They then held our group hostage and would not return us to the ship until I paid additional funds. This put a damper on what should have been a terrific day. We're now protesting the charges through our credit card company. Be careful who you book with, unfortunately their are company's who lack integrity.
The debarkation process at the end was as good as the boarding process. We were off the ship by 7:00, luggage was easy to find, and we were quickly on our way to London for more fun.
As I said at the beginning, this was an outstanding cruise, and I would highly recommend it to all. Now, to start planning our next journey.
A Disappointment. After all the good reviews and ratings I had seen concerning this ship, it did not live up to expectations.
The worst aspect of the cruise was the lack of activities. There were no audience participation events or game shows in the evening - the only things to do were to eat and go to the theatre. The entertainers were OK and the shows mixed (one very good but others poor). Dancing was very limited because there was only one very small dancefloor which was in a poor condition. The only large dancefloor on the ship is in the large lounge taken over by Cirque De Soleil - this was not used at all during the day and at night became the disco - the Cirque de Soleil 'Experience' is a bit of a non-event, just 5 people in costumes trying to interact with the passengers.
Also poor was the buffet. There was only pizza and pasta in the evening, and at breakfast and lunch it was far too disorganized, resulting in a lot of waiting in line - the buffet staff were not very good either.
The cruise directorand his assistant were noticeable by their absence, adding to the overall feeling of disinterest in the passengers.
The only things above average about the cruise were the restaurant service and the Thelassotherapy pool.
Other passengers who had sailed with Celebrity before told me that this cruise was not typical, but I will think twice before cruising with them again.
What an adventure! We are both in our early 50's. On this cruise we took my wife's 90 year old father with us. We have been on 9 previous cruises. We arrived in San Juan on the day of sailing. We had purchased Celebrity transfers from the airport to the cruise terminal. This was about the smoothest embarkation that we have had.
We got right on the ship. Our bags arrived in our cabin within an hour. We had a Concierge Class cabin, 8139. They do tell you that this is part of the Concierge service. We were handed a glass of either champagne or orange juice. We headed off to the buffet area for lunch. We have been told by cruise critic members that this was one of the bestships they have sailed on.
The ship is laid out nicely. My wife's reaction was that it was a letdown. We had sailed last year on the Jewel of the Seas in the Baltic, and she felt that the Jewel was much more elegant and "modern" looking and much more to her taste. After a few trips around, I found thatthe ship was very easy to navigate. The dining room and buffet areas are in the back and the Celebrity Theatre is up front. With the Casino and shops in the middle, we were all set. We did not visit many of the bars but found the Cova Cafe to be very interesting. You could always find the captain there in the afternoon. He told us he really enjoyed their coffee. We did have a chance to go to the hospital as my father in law came down with bronchitis. The staff there was very friendly. They took great care of him. I just think he enjoyed the young nurses. Just remember that it is on a cash only basis even with
the medical insurance with the cruise line. You need to pay all the money up front, then put your claim in for a refund. In port, you will be leaving from either deck 2 or 3 or both. I was disappointed in the game room since there were few games to play. The best room was the computer room on deck 4. It was always busy, but was open 24 hours. There is also a computer classroom on Deck 6 which you could also use. They hold classes on different subjects. We took a class on downloading your digital camera. At the end ofthe cruise, they would help you load your saved pictures onto a CD. I do want to mention that the casino was not overly busy. I did ok on the craps table as I had it to myself almost every evening. They had only one ping pong table. We really enjoyed playing here after dinner or in the morning.
This was a Concierge Class cabin. We only paid about $100USD over a regular one. It was larger and had some nice features. There were fresh flowers in the room (not changed the entire cruise) and bathroom (which were changed).
The towels are thicker compared to the Holiday Inn type towels you will get in the regular cabins. My wife felt that the rugs were getting threadbare and needed changing. She also said the mildew in the shower and bath could've been taken care of easily but wasn't. We were dissappointed with no towel animals. The cabin attendant, Luna, and her assistant George, were tremendous. They took care of everything we needed. They kept the cabin very clean. We always enjoyed talking with them although Luna was the most talkative.
She was always on top of things. Can't say enough about them. The balcony was very nice as the chairs had a nice pad on them. I didn't like the binoculars that were in the cabin. They did not work well. My father in law did not like the pull out couch. He hurt his back on it the first day. We were able to get him into another cabin the next day. It was an inside cabin. He still complained about that bed as being lumpy and slanting toward one side.
CRUISE CRITIC CONNECTIONS PARTY
It was very nice to finally meet everyone we have been writing to on the threads on Cruise Critic. We enjoyed the one on the Jewel and thought thiswould be the same. It was not. We were given an invitation to meet at Michael's Club on the first sea day in the morning. All they had for us was coffee. There was no representative from the ship talking to us. Only the cruise director was there for a very brief time. We only know this because the cruise director told us later he was there. On the Jewel we had pastries and there were drawings for prizes. I know this is not a big deal, but I felt it added to the enjoyment. We had a great turnout. I think we had over 40 show up. There was a group shot taken by the cruise photographer. When I questioned the Cruise Director why it was not a bigger celebration, he told me that it is not done that way on Celebrity.
We had a early problem in the main dining room We had asked for a window table for 4 when we booked 8 months earlier. We found our table to be in the center of the main dining room. I spoke to the assistant head waiter. He found me a window table right away on deck 5 (upper level). It was a great table. Our waiter was Ottoneil (from Guatemale)and the assistant was Made (from Bali). They were very good. Made always had a smile on his face and knew exactly what we wanted. I had bought a coke card (don't bother with this unless you buy alot of cokes). I had ordered a coke at each meal. We had one bar server always bring me two cokes at the beginning of the meal. The food at dinner we rated good to very good. I always enjoyed the different selections of soup and appetizers. We both finally settled on getting Ceasar salads every night. My father in law felt that the fish dishes were overcooked. Mine were ok. One night the steak was tuff and even the second one they sent out was worse. Other than that, the food was good. The desserts and breads were always the best. I think this was also true on the Jewel.
The buffet was a very clean enviornment. The servers all wore gloves. The buffet selections left alot to be desired. On several occasions, we could not find anything we liked. We ended up going for cheeseburgers,fries, and pizza which were good. I can tell you those were the best fries I have ever tasted on a ship. The ice cream bar was very good. Great flavors in sherbet. Room service was good, delivered when ordered. We tried it for breakfast one day and found the food was not hot. I tried the sushi bar a few nights. It was very good. Another problem I found was there was not a good selection of cereals(breakfast). Mainly bran cereals and corn flakes. A box of Cherios would've been a welcome change.
This is where Celebrity shines. All the staff we encountered were friendly and always willing to help. Even the captain was accessible. Anytime we asked for anything, we received it. One point we didn't like was the cruise director, Ed Rojas. He was very nice when you met him, but I felt he was extremely too low key. Kudo's to the computer staff. They were always willing to help you out. Ariel was extremely knowledgeable and was always available for you. The rest of the computer staff was equally helpful and took the time to work with you if you had a problem.
Since this was our first transatlantic, we didn't realize the significance of the many sea days. I didn't like them. After day two, I was relaxed enough and was looking for some land action. I think our next cruises will be more port intensive. There were not many activities on those days. We did have guest lecturers. Marlin Fitzwater was the best. He was humorous.
The others were dry. And all of them were republicans. We would like to see some diversity in this area. I do want to let you know that during the entire voyage, the seas were very smooth or slightly rolling. We avoided any potential storms as they sailed around them. Even the Bay of Biscay was calm.
Too many production shows and not enough comedians. We felt that this was a very weak area and geared to an older crowd. A few highlights were Elliot Finkel, a pianist and Paul Boland and Marlise Boland, a husband and wife team whose performance was very good. He did musical impressions and she was a singer. The Celebrity singers and dancers were very talented but how
many production shows can you see on a cruise?
Because we were Concierge Class, we were able to get off the ship early. We also were able to meet in the Cinema as the rest of the ship met in the Celebrity Theatre. They had danish and coffee for us there. When we got off, there were plenty of porters to help you load your luggage and bring it to the bus. It went very smoothly. The whole process took less than 30 minutes. Overall, I felt that this was a good ship with great service. While I would never do another transatlantic, I would probably sail on this ship again with a different itinerary.
This was our second cruise on Celebrity, travelling from NY to San Juan and back. The ship was great, the dining was really excellent, and so were the shows. The drinks are really expensive, I see no reason for this and so the bar bill really mounts up by the end of the trip even for very moderate drinking like a wine at the table and a G&T before dinner. The staff are totally excellent.
I would hesitate to travel from NY again as the ship was very cold until we reached the Caribbean. Ladies were wearing sweaters and outdoor clothes inside and by the end of the trip a lot of people had sore throats and colds. Even in the San Marco restaurant sweaters and cardigans were the norm, which is a shame.
The ports were all great, although we did not go on any specific trips, we prefer to find our own way around and to support the locals.
Recently returned from Constellation reposition from San Juan PR to Cape Liberty NJ. Had stateroom Concierge class on Panorama deck midship. So many pleasurable moments experienced by our family during cruise, thanks to wonderful staff and crew.
Embarkation in San Juan total time 10 minutes a breeze A+. Stateroom and sevice A+. Dining at San Marcos Restaurant service,food quality, and presentation A+.
I know now why Celebrity Cruise line especially Constellation has won the Conde Nast Traveler award as best ships in the world. Ports of call A. Everything from the moment we boarded to our disembarkation in New Jeresy could only be described as just right with impeccable service and attention that could certainly spoil anyone.
I could not complete this review without mentioning just a few of so many who orchestrated this unforgetable experience. Marta Arriaza stateroom attendant and her assistant. Santos Gomez-Head waiter San Marco Restaurant and his assistant, Bravo!. Lana from Words. Ronel Philander-Concierge. Christine-Aqua Spa. Gary and Bennett ship's security during port calls. Melissa-Customer Service Corporate. Senor Ramon Santos-Corporate. Many thanks to all of the Constellation. Looking forward to cruising again with Celebrity in the near future.
Itinerary: San Juan, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas
Cruise History: 2003 - 3 Day Carnival Cruise (Fantasy) out of Port Canaveral 2004 - 4 Day Carnival Cruise (Celebration) out of Jacksonville, Florida 2005 - 4 Day Carnival Cruise (Celebration) out of Jacksonville, Florida
Choosing Cruise: Work schedule finally allowed taking a week long cruise instead of the 3-4 days cruises. Wanted to take a cruise with another cruise line besides Carnival. Did extensive research on-line looking trying to determine which cruise to take.
Research showed 3 cruise lines going out of San Juan on week long cruises; Princess, RCL and Celebrity. T he reviews I read were not as good for Princess as RCL & Celebrity so decision came down to RCL & Celebrity. The cruise prices for RCL seems to be a lot higher than Celebrity. From all I read on Celebrity and the Constellation, it was highly rated, so I made my decision to go with Celebrity.
Purchasing Tickets. I was prepared to purchase through one of the cruise on-line retailers when discovered if you have a Discover Credit Card and make arrangement through their recommended travel agency, you receive a5% rebate on the ticket price (before taxes). I gave them a call and was quite satisfied with the finial ticket prices. Was cheaper than what my research showed from the on-line sites and in addition will get the 5% rebate.
In researching cruises also determine it was more cost effective and flight schedules were better to fly out of Orlando Airport instead of Jacksonville Florida or Savannah Georgia. Finally decided that could combine a visit to Disney World for one day, then fly out of Orlando airport to San Juan. Only 4 hour drive from residence in GA to Orlando.
Orlando Airport Parking in one of the satellite parking lots cost $7.00 a day. When checked on parking prior to trip, airport web pages show parking at $5.00 a day. Got to airport about 6 a.m. for a 8:15 flight. There were still big lines for people checking in baggage and going through security, but for the most part things went pretty smoothly.
San Juan Airport: Arrive at airport around 11:00 a.m. Claimed baggage and headed for ground transportation. When arriving at ground transportation, they have someone who will ask you where your going, how many people are traveling with you, and how many bags. They will then Fill out a sheet with the total cost which you will give to driver. For 3 people and 6 bags, we were charged $23.50. Trip to cruise port lasted around 30 minutes.
Embarkation: Went very smoothly especially if you have done the pre-check on-line and printed out your pass. We were checked in and on-board within 30 minutes.
THE CRUISE: Knew it was going to be a good cruise and had made the right decision to choose Celebrity when you a greeted on the ship with a glass of champagne and they assign someone to show you to your cabin.
FOOD: Food was great! Good variety. On lobster night, they bring a large lobster tail to you and they even remove it from the shell right at the table for you. We decided to make reservations for the OceanLiners restaurant. Glad we did. The meal was fantastic. After 2 hours of choreographed dining we could hardly get up. Seemed to be a 10 course meal to me and it was good. I did though make the mistake of accepting a glass of champagne at the start of our meal, thinking it was included in the extra $30.00 per person charge to dine in OceanLiners. Found out later the champagne was not included when saw a charge of $18.00 for a glass of champagne on my bill. All in all would highly recommend going to the OceanLiners Restaurant if you have not been before.
Staff. All the staff was great. Everyone greets you when you pass them in the halls, leave the dining areas. Our serving staff could not have been better. Our table # was 450. Waiterâ?Ts name was Michael (From India) and his assistant was Chavez. The Asst Maitreâ?~d was fabulous and really made the dining experiences a delight. His name is Lorenzo and if you are on the Constellation I would highly recommend asking to be seated in his area. He had a wonderful personality and always came by for a chat during the evening meals. He told us he had been with Celebrity for 10 years and had started out as a busboy.PORTS:
Dominican Republic. Took the Eco Water Tour. Road in some high speed boat to a mangrove swamp and boarded a dug out canoe and cruised around the mangroves. Was quite peaceful
Grenada. Took the Spice tour which lasted around 8 hours, including lunch. Spent a lot of time in bus climbing the narrow winding roads. More than once I though our bus would not make it up the steep inclines but they did without problems. Went to a Run Distillery which was real interesting. They have a waterwheel they use to cruse the sugar cane to make the rum. They even let you try a sip of 150 proof rum. A sip is about all you can handle. Said the proof is so high, it cannot be exported off of Granada. Barbados. Took a tour of bird sanctuary that had been set up to preserve one of the last mangrove sanctuaries in Barbados. Was really enjoyable.
St Kitts. We were scheduled to take the small gauge railroad tour of St. Kitts. Our tour was scheduled to leave at 1:15 pm. around 1:00 pm we were notified that they were experiencing some mechanical problem with the trains and we would be delayed around 15-30 minutes. An hour later they started to board the buses. We sat on the hot buses for it seems another 30 minutes when they came an told us we were ready to go, but in order to make sure we got back in time for the ships departure, they would take us half way around the island on the train, then we would get back on the buses for the other half. When we were told this, half of the folks on the bus including us decided to skip the tour and get refunds which Celebrity credited to our bill.
St. Thomas. We took the Blackbeard Castle tour. Once we made it up to the castle, we were informed that Black Beard really didnâ?Tt have any association with the structure. It had been rename this long ago to take advantage of tourism. Did have a nice walk down from the castle and view some of the other structures that had been built by the Europeans when they first came to the island. The end of the tour ended in the main shopping district and we were told we were on our own to get back to the ship. Taxies are everywhere though and cost $4.00 per trip. Since we were able to view the cruise ship from the shopping areas thought it would be a nice walk back. It was nice walking along the water front but a lot longer that it looks. Wish had taken the taxi, but made it back ok otherwise.
On-Ship Entertainment. The singers and dancers on the Celebrity were the best we have ever seen. Really did enjoy the Cirque du Soleil show. The female lead singer for the show was one of the best singers I have heard in a long time. Just a wonderful voice.
End of cruise. Our last night in the dining room our tablemates had brought one of their friends with them. While we were introducing ourselves, come to find out their friend was the female lead singer from the Cirque du Soleil show! We started to talk and I mentioned how much I enjoyed her singing and wish she had a CD out. To my surprise she said she did have one out and they were being sold in the Cirque du Soleil store on the ship. This was a CD she had personally made and all the songs were sung in Spanish. (Sheâ?Ts from Canada) Here name is: Francine Poitras. After diner, I went and purchased her CD. Later on that evening, we saw her in one of the lounges and mentioned we had purchased her CD. She asked if we would like for her to sign they CD which she did and even wrote a very nice note to us. That really was a nice way to end a fabulous cruise.
Embarkation. We were off the ship by 9:30 am and picked up bags and through Customs in 45 minutes. Taxies are readily available and made it to the airport without any problems.
Final Thoughts. Just a great cruise. Celebrity and the Constellation are first class. Lorenzo our Asst Maitre'd was fantasic. Noticed next cruising season, the Constellation with be embarking from Fort Lauderdale, Florida so may have to take advantage of this. Really want to take the Baltic cruise out of London on the Constellation though.
Our vacation on the Celebrity Constellation was the best! We had booked this trip in October 2005. Our travel agent, Melissa, from American Express was wonderful! We highly suggest booking your trip with her (800-297-5627 x4318). This was my 4th cruise and my husband’s 3rd cruise. Our flight on Continental to San Juan, Puerto Rico was great! We took a taxi to the Pan American pier (we didn’t have a transfer to the ship) – this took about 15 - 20 minutes. We were in awe to see the ship for the first time. What a spectacular view! Getting on the ship was no problem at all. There were minimal lines which moved very quickly. The whole embarkation process was extremely organized.
As soon as we boarded the ship, we were greeted with champagne and taken to our stateroom. A lunch buffet was awaiting us on the 10th floor deck. We had a midship cabin (#8098) with a balcony. What a clean and beautiful room! Melissa had suggested an 8th floor cabin which was insulated from the noise on the 10th floor (where the pool entertainment was). She definitely made theright decision. Our cabin was bright and well appointed with plenty of storage. The mattress was extremely comfortable. We were even able to leave the sliding door open when the air conditioning was on. The CC class extras were just as they stated and made all the difference (padded deck chairs, fresh fruit, appetizers at 5 PM daily, terrycloth bathrobes, fresh flowers and more were extra touches that we thoroughly enjoyed). The port views were great from the side of the ship we were on. We loved to sit on the balcony and watch us pull into the new ports each day. We also enjoyed the mail in the door slot each day telling us of daily activities. Our cabin steward, Caetano, was excellent! He attended to our every need.
The ship was immaculate! We enjoyed the layout of this ship much better than the Celebrity Galaxy. We also enjoyed the art throughout the ship. My husband enjoyed the Seaside Grill at the back of the ship. It was cigar friendly in the evenings. We enjoyed the internet café greatly – we loved to be able to communicate with our family and friends. The conservatory is beautiful and peaceful. I loved the jogging track on the 11th deck – I walked a few mornings and loved the views! The glass elevators were the best we ever experienced. They were super quiet and fast and the views were wonderful! We never felt like there were over 2,000 people on this ship.
The food on the ship was excellent. We loved the breakfast and lunch buffets in the Seaside Café. The aqua spa cuisine was unbelievable! We had the early seating in the dining room for dinner. The food was great! Our waiter, Marcin, and assistant waiter, Antonio, were great! James, our bar maid, always had a smile on his face! We didn’t get to try the Ocean Liners restaurant but we heard that the food is very good.
We did not do any of the excursions. We visited the Southern Caribbean. Our 1st stop was in the Dominican Republic. We took the free shuttle to the marina. We basically just walked around – since it was a Sunday, everything was closed. Our next day we were at sea. Our 2nd stop was in Grenada. We walked off the ship into a poor village and got right back on the ship. Our 3rd stop was in Barbados. We took a taxi with 2 other women to a public beach and swam for a few hours. Our 4th stop was in St. Kitts. We took a taxi to a public beach and again swam for a few hours. Our last stop was in St. Thomas. We ended up taking a taxi to the Red Hook ferry which brought us to St. John. This was our favorite stop. We took an open taxi to Trunk Bay and I cannot tell you how unbelievable this beach is.
The pools on the ship were very nice. They never seemed overcrowded. There were lots of padded lounge chairs and towels for the guests. There were 4 freshwater whirlpools – my husband loved the whirlpools! Even on the sea day, the pools and whirlpools never seemed overcrowded.
The entertainment on the ship was top notch! Perry Grant (the lounge pianist) was great! Very entertaining! The violinists in the Cova Café were superb! The shows in the theater were great too!
We loved the entire experience for the week. The staff and itinerary made us feel special. It was relaxing, interesting and just the right feeling of being pampered. We loved Julie the librarian. Everyone was so helpful! On our day at sea, we were given a bridge tour (we had asked about this) and found it to be very enjoyable. The captain and his staff did a great job with explaining the behind the scenes experience especially with the state of the art engines that have almost 0 percent emissions. The ship also has a soda package – you pay $40 for the week for unlimited soda which was a great idea.
We think you would be hard pressed to find any criticisms with any aspect of your week on the Constellation. It was a great trip! We spoke to people on the Princess lines at some of the ports and found out they had many criticisms with their ships (ex: the Princess cruises weren’t given pool towels). Many small details on the Constellation contributed to a very good trip. I credit Celebrity and the Constellation staff for this. Our experience on this ship make it difficult for us to choose another ship or another cruise line in fear that it won’t be just as good.
On the last night of our trip, we placed our luggage in the hallway by midnight. We had received papers telling us about what to expect for disembarkation in the morning and where we needed to gather. On our last morning, we got up early and left our cabin by 8:30 AM. We had a wonderful buffet breakfast and loved the view next to the window. We had to meet in an assigned public area (we were in the theater) – this was based on flight times. They called the “grey” group (which was us) and then we disembarked the ship. Taxis were awaiting you as you leave the ship (but we had a transfer back to the airport). The whole process took very little time and was extremely organized!
We are looking forward to our next cruise in January 2007 which will be sailing in the Western Caribbean. We are very excited to be sailing on this wonderful ship once again!