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Sail Date: September 2004
We booked our own transportation to the ship. Jet Blue was wonderful and we did take the bus to the Port Authority building but we did have to get a taxi to take us the rest of the way to where the ship was docked so it was a bit of a ... Read More
We booked our own transportation to the ship. Jet Blue was wonderful and we did take the bus to the Port Authority building but we did have to get a taxi to take us the rest of the way to where the ship was docked so it was a bit of a hassle. When we got to the the port it was the worst mess you would ever want to see. We got out of our taxi and people would just not move out of your way so we could get our bags out and get to the curb. Once we were taken care of with the ship checking our bags we did have to wait almost 2 hours to board the ship. We were on of the first passengers aboard and went right to the buffet lunch, and as always was the best. Our cabins were ready when we finished with lunch, and one of our bags had arrived, so we unpacked that one and the rest had come shortly there after. The ship was wonderful again (this was our second time on board). The only complaint I do have was with the TV -- it never got CNN all the time and the movies you have to pay for now and they aren't cheap. Their video of programs was the same old stuff for 13 days. So I suggest that if you want to take it easy in your cabin bring a DVD player and bring your own entertainment with you. The food and the service was the best, the shows were good and the entertainers were worth going to see, but the lectures were the worst. If you wanted to catch up on some sleep that was the place to be. Our dinners were excellent as was the waiter and bus boy, everything was perfect. But the open lunch and breakfast wasn't so good. The ports were beautiful, and getting on and off the ship was easy and hassle free. All and all this was another enjoyable trip and I'm home now booking another Celebrity cruise. Thank you so much to all the hard working people that made our vacation so much fun. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2004
There are many good reviews of the Constellation on the various boards but few on cruising to Canada/New England. We will touch on the Connie but mostly give our views on the 9/20 sailing. Sept 18 and 19.. A bad start! Our two day ... Read More
There are many good reviews of the Constellation on the various boards but few on cruising to Canada/New England. We will touch on the Connie but mostly give our views on the 9/20 sailing. Sept 18 and 19.. A bad start! Our two day pre-cruise to New York turned out to be a basically a one day trip because the remnants of the hurricane dumped tons of water on NY and LaGuardia was accepting limited flights. In short, we sat at Detroit Metro for 10 hours. We stayed at the Super 8 Hotel on 46th between 5th and 6th. The Waldorf it was not but we didn't pay Waldorf prices either. It suited our needs nicely. This was our first trip to NY and our impressions are crowded, sirens, horns, packed sidewalks and the best eye-popin deli sandwich we have ever had at the Stage. To sum up it was MAGNIFICENT. What a city! Sept 20.. Embarkation.. Unorganized chaos! Too long of story to go into. Once we got through security and found the proper line (on our own) things were fine. Champagne upon boarding and although cabins were not ready we were allowed to place our carry on pieces in the room. Then it was off to lunch in the Seaside cafe. More on the food later. Cabin 9034 was a beautiful balcony cabin forward on deck 9. Some people don't like the overhang,we loved it. The cabin though not as large as some on Holland or Princess was great. Lots of storage space and a nice shower. We were very happy for 11 days. Sailing.. If you have never sailed out of New York at dusk you have missed out on a sight you can never forget. Lights like diamonds from both sides of the Hudson. The decks become hushed as you slowly pass the Lady. YOU CANNOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF HER. God Bless America. Our trip has begun. Sept 21.. Newport R.I.. Sunny and cool. We had been to Newport before and did not tour. We tendered in a visited the shops and fed upon the atmosphere of this sailing mecca. We visited the church where President and Mrs Kennedy were married, had lunch, and returned to explore more of Connie. Passengers who did tour gave generally favorable reviews. Sept 22.. A beautiful sunny cool day. This morning we found the Aquaspa Cafe serving light breakfast and lunch. We ate there for the remainder of the cruise. If you don't like that type of food at least walk by and look at it. It was wonderful. Sept 23.. Sydney N.S. .. The morning very cold. Jackets and gloves. We have read posts were people have said "Stay on board, there is nothing there!" True, there is not much to Sydney. We have heard it is kind of a "courtesy" stop by some lines. It is an old mining town. But get of the ship and walk the town. It is only a few blocks long. Pop into some of the shops. Look into some of the historic churches. We enjoyed our time in Sydney. The tours received a mixed reaction. Sept 24.. Another sunny cool and wonderful day at sea. Sept 25 and 26.. Quebec City There is not enough room in the review to do justice to Quebec. We will keep it brief. Your first sight of Quebec as you come up the St Lawrence is the famous Chateau Frontenac towering over the city. Right across the street from the dock is "Lower Town" connected to the "Upper Town"by the 45 degree funicular ($1.25) or if you are healthy you can walk up. It is steep. All the tours met with enthusiastic comments. We took the morning "Countryside" tour. We visited St. Anne De Beaupre and Montmorency Falls. we stopped at an Inn for snacks and a great view fo fhe Falls. The Laurentians were stunning. At that high level they had already had frost The colors were brilliant. We spent the next day and a half exploring the city. Hundreds of shops and outdoor restaurants. Crowds of people everywhere enjoying the city. There are street performers on the boardwalk and parks. The weather was beautiful. Sunday we were in shorts. We spent time sitting on a bench outside the Frontenac enjoying the sun and watching the people. The view of Connie docked below will always be in our memories. We could go on forever about Quebec but will close with this. We had heard the people of French Quebec don't like the American tourist. We have never been treated better in ant port we have visited. Quebec, you can be proud ! On to the Saguenay. Sept 27..Cruising the Saguenay. God laid his hand on this day! The day was magnificent. A little cool but brilliant sunshine and blue skies with fleecy white clouds floating around. We cruised 20 miles of the fresh water river. We sailed to Trinity Bay at Cape Trinity. The cliffs at Cape Trinity and Cape Eternity rise as high as 1600 feet. At the entrance to Cape Trinity sits The Statue De Notre-Dame du Saguenay. The statue honors the Virgin Mary. She sits 1,100 feet above river. While viewing the statue the ship was very quiet. Over the speakers they played a beautiful rendition of Ave Maria. It was not hard to spot the tears. This was Captain Papanikolaou's first visit. He announced over the speaker that he would like to sit in the bay for while. A man who has been around the world yet he was so taken by the magnificence of this river. We saw a few White Beluga whales but did not see as much sea life as we had hoped. We cannot in words do justice to the Saguenay. You must sail it. Sept 28 .. Cruising.. Cloudy and cool. This was really the only time the seas got a little bumpy. Coming out of the Gulf of St. Lawrence into the Atlantic can be a little rough. Sept 29.. Halifax N.S. On our arrival to Halifax we were met by the Pipes and Drums. Scotland the Brave filled the morning air. For this Gordon Clansman it was a touch of old Scotland. We had also been to Halifax before and rather than tour we got a map from the tourist booth and set out on our own walking tour. The day was cloudy, windy and a little cool. The walk covers 3 or 4 miles. It takes you past some nice stores, through the Public Gardens (quite pretty), up to the fort then into downtown Halifax. We had a lunch of great crabcakes at McGelvies and then toured the Maritime Museum and the Titanic Exibit. We then returned to the pier, shopped the booths and learned of the history of Pier 21 where Connie was docked. Pier 21 is the "Ellis Island" of Canada. Our time in Halifax was too short. Sept 30 .. Set sail for New York. A few comments on Connie at this time: Food.. Very good but we will eat anything. It was no better or no worse than we have had on Holland or Princess. Our waiter Aker and his assistant Jose were outstanding. As usual we choose a table for two. We are not anti-social but we do eat dessert and do not linger at the table Entertainment. Many people do not attend shows, we do, all of them. The Cruise Director Derek Habraken was excellent. Very friendly and visible. He did a good job. The Monday show Batucada in our opinion was fair. We heard many negative comments. The three remaining production shows were excellent. We enjoyed each of them. The Coverdales, an Acapella Quartet sang at the shows and around the ship. Very good. We thought the comedian Janine Gardner was great. As with all comics some people thought she was smutty. To each his own. They had a very average magician and a gal with a good Broadway voice whose choice of music was suspect. The absolute highlite was Pearl Kaufman. She is being talked about on the Celebrity boards. The performers in the various venues were all good. Things we liked... Connie is a "no announcement" ship. How nice it was. Things We didn't like.. The last four nights were Formal..Informal.. Formal. Boo Hiss. Oct 1 .. Good morning Lady Liberty. Up the Hudson at sunrise. Silence on the decks. Were glad to be an American. Disembarkation.. Organized chaos. Celebrity sends a letter to your cabin telling you where to be at what time and you will disembark from there. Great system if people will let it work. Will they? Not a chance. Me first. Me first. Off the ship at 10:15, waited in taxi line 50 minutes, took a hour to get to LaGuardia and by time we cleared security had less than an hour for our 1:50 flight. Great cruise, great fellow passengers and New York New York.. What a wonderful town !! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2004
Embarkation- Went along very smoothly. They brought my wife and I right to the correct line and the process went smoothly except for getting thorough the scanners. They wanted me to remove my belt, hat, boots, and put my wife's cane ... Read More
Embarkation- Went along very smoothly. They brought my wife and I right to the correct line and the process went smoothly except for getting thorough the scanners. They wanted me to remove my belt, hat, boots, and put my wife's cane through it. Food- The most important thing on a cruise. You don't want to starve on a cruise. I've done that once and so has my wife. The Constellation has very good food. You have good choices and it's prepared very nicely. They also serve larger portions than most cruise lines. Room service gives you a nice variety to choose from. Better than many other cruise lines. Made to order waffles, and made to order omelettes. We had those on another cruise line, but Celebrity made it better. Entertainment- I didn't like it that much although my wife seemed to like it. Don Gavin, The Godfather of Comedy, was very good. I liked his show. They had Pearl Kaufman there, but except for the movie themes she played I didn't like her show. She did tell some interesting stories about some of the people she worked with and worked for. Gym- This cruise ship has a nice gym that I went to every morning. I may have taken some classes, except that most mornings was taken up when the classes were given. Ship- They didn't make a lot of announcements so it was relatively quiet. I got caught up with some badly needed rest. I enjoyed being able to do that. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2004
Out of 21 cruises, I have to say the Celebrity Constellation has been the best ship. I rate the ship high not just for its beauty but the entire staff and itinerary. The Fall foliage cruise is such a delight. The ports are quaint in Canada ... Read More
Out of 21 cruises, I have to say the Celebrity Constellation has been the best ship. I rate the ship high not just for its beauty but the entire staff and itinerary. The Fall foliage cruise is such a delight. The ports are quaint in Canada and the people so nice. The dining was top notch. Everything from the main dining room, casual dining, buffet or specialty was perfect. The selection of food was so good and everything was handled so efficiently. I especially enjoyed the afternoon teas. Celebrity even had 2 formal teas in the main dining room besides in the buffet area. The special late night buffets are not every nite but the ones they had were fantastic. Besides the regular dining menu, there is also a complete vegetarian menu to look at. You couldn't possibly miss a meal with all the good food offered. The shows and music onboard were fascinating. We especially liked the late night lounge were the live band Onyx performed. Celebrity also offers dance escorts in the lounges for single women, which I thought would be wonderful since so many women travel alone. The most special attribute that sets Celebrity above other cruises is the Staff. Every day you pass staff and always a warm hello, how are you and a great big smile. The command of English was far better on this ship than others we have been on. By the 3rd night, the wait staff in the lounges remembered your last name and what you had to drink the night before. I think that is commendable for as many people as they have to handle. This made our trip a lot more personable. We will definitely travel with Celebrity again. Our getting on and off the ship was done without a glitch. I have never gotten on or off as quickly. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2005
My wife and I (both in our mid-late 50, she more "mid" than I) sailed on the fall foliage cruise late September 2005. This was our third Celebrity cruise, although we also took two Chandris cruises in the early '90s. The ... Read More
My wife and I (both in our mid-late 50, she more "mid" than I) sailed on the fall foliage cruise late September 2005. This was our third Celebrity cruise, although we also took two Chandris cruises in the early '90s. The ship is in fine condition -- we couldn't find a single area of uncleanliness or deterioration. Early every morning I would go for a long walk and encounter multiple crew members scrubbing something or other. We booked a Sky Suite (#8117), the second cabin from the central elevators. It was a regular (non-handicapped) room, and we were amazed how much space we had. We took seven bags to the ship and had space for everything! That was a first for us! Suites come with butler service but I'm not sure what the advantage is over what the steward does in a regular room. Our butler did everything "by the book" and, as a result, seemed rather bland by being so professional. Butlers we have had in the past were much more personable and thus more enjoyable. This is not to say that this butler was bad, just not memorable by not letting his hair down a little. That points to an omnipresent flaw that we noted in the service -- the staff seemed to be hesitant to be friendly, but always professional. Some exceptions were our service team in the restaurant, Branko and Jose. Branko is a tall Eastern European and Jose is a rather short Central American, looking a little like Mutt and Jeff. On the first night we dined with them, we were introduced with "I'm Branko and this is my son, Jose." It set the tone for a casual, yet highly professional experience. We flew in the night before the trip and stayed in the Newark Airport Marriott hotel. It was more than adequate for our needs and quite convenient to the terminal. For an airport hotel, it was pretty good. The rooms were unbelievably quiet (and we were on the airport side) and reasonably clean. One warning though: the web site tells you to go to through the parking lot and wait at the curb for the hotel van. What they don't tell you is that when you leave the baggage area of Terminal A of EWR, you hit a small covered area that used to be a parking area until 9/11. So we walked to the far end of the regular parking lot and waited at the curb. No van. When we called, everybody got confused as to where we actually were. So we walked back to the terminal to seek a cab when we saw the van. The steak house in the lobby was quite good. The hotel was only about a five mile/fifteen minute cab ride to Port Liberty. Port Liberty was quite efficient. You get dropped off at curbside and a porter suddenly appears to whisk away your bags. You are directed inside, where you have to go through security (less than five minutes in line). Once through the line, there are lots of counters. Suite passengers and Captain's Club members were directed to a smaller room with three agents at the counter. The line seemed to move no faster than the regular lines, but they let you board immediately after getting through all the paperwork. We had completed the Express but our agent couldn't find our room keys, etc. As a result we waited about fifteen minutes while she looked around. All the time, it was in the right place, but she had overlooked it originally. Once we got our sea pass cards, we were directed to get our pictures taken for the security link to the sea pass card. The camera promptly broke and we had to wait in line with the "regular folks" to use their camera. Once that was done, we walked back to the VIP area and boarded immediately. From the upper decks of the ship you can get a good view of the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline. On cruises, we usually like to stay mostly to ourselves and avoid crowds. As a result, we always ask for (and usually get) a table for two. We often avoid the first night in the main dining room (San Marco Restaurant), since there might be open seating and we want to avoid sharing a table. Celebrity's policy is that ships that embark before 6 PM have regular, assigned seating and those that depart after 6 PM have open seating. Since we were supposed to leave at 6 PM, no one was quite sure what type of seating there would be that night (for the record it was assigned seating). Anyway, we decided to book the Ocean Liners Restaurant for the first night. HINT: It was great -- better than any specialty restaurant we had before. We were the only guests in the restaurant. They had told us that they had one other reservation but they were a no-show. We feared that the service would be overly attentive as the waiters would have nothing to do. That was not the case -- if anything, the staff was a little more relaxed than on typical nights, and we got to know them a little better. They also got to know us and recognized us whenever we met elsewhere on the ship. We scheduled two other trips to Ocean Liners during our two week cruise. HINT: on your third visit there, they have a special menu, including Chateaubriand for two and chocolate souffle -- easily the best meal on the cruise. On dining at San Marcos: we noted over the years that the dinner menu has become less imaginative and exciting. We first cruised on Celebrity about a year after Michael Roux first had input into the dining experience and enjoyed the slight edginess of the product. Now it has been toned down to appeal more to middle of the road tastes and we feel that there is a diminution in the quality as a result. This is not to say that anything is wrong. Everything is consistently good but there are less exceptional entrees on a less challenging menu. HINT: the lunch menus are slightly more "edgy." It seems that lunch is still Michael Roux' laboratory for culinary experimentation, and we appreciate it. In most ports of call, we prefer just to walk around, have a nice lunch, then head back to the ship. We scheduled two tours in advance and one of them was cancelled (Acadia National Park at Bar Harbor). It was just as well, as it was foggy and drizzly in Bar Harbor and most of the people who went to Acadia got shortchanged. Martha's Vineyard ended up being a waste. The Constellation used two of their lifeboats as tenders and things got backed up quickly -- both ways. Considering that this was only a five hour stay (8-1 on a Sunday), there was little to do and get back to the ship in time. While Celebrity had arranged a shuttle to downtown Boston from the cruise terminal, we took a cab and went to the far end of downtown and strolled the streets and Boston Common. Had a nice lunch at the Todd English restaurant in Fanuiel Hall -- we love seafood and were intent on sharing 1) Clam Chowder 2) Lobster Rolls 3) Streamed Clams and 4) Oysters as often as possible. We ordered virtually the same thing in all ports except Quebec. The best we had was at Geddy's in Bar Harbor, kind of a tourist trappy bar -- but the food was first rate, especially the Maine blueberry pie. We had rain in Halifax, where we decided to forgo a rental car in our quest to photograph fall foliage. Walked around downtown and took in two small maritime museums on the way back. Nothing special there. Quebec was billed as the centerpiece of our cruise and it was marvelous, despite a steady rain. We took the countryside tour and view some foliage (about 20% - it was to be a late autumn). We made dinner reservations with one of our Cruise Critic friends at Marie Clarisse, which came highly recommended. Much of Quebecois food is native game cooked with heavy savory sauces in a French style. The restaurant was in an old building and was rather dark and felt a little like a cave. The heavy sauces and unusual entrees were a little too edgy for our tastes. It was OK but not worth the raves. The next afternoon, we went into our second choice, Restaurante L’Initiale and found it to be the polar opposite of the previous night's dinner. Light, airy and decorated rather simply, L'Initiale's menu was in the same style as Marie Clarisse, but seemed to work a lot better as they minimized the sauces. After Quebec, we cruised to the Saguenay River. The Captain must have been in a hurry because he entered the river about 6 AM and it still was too dark to get a good view of the foliage. What we saw was quite pleasant, but would have been spectacular had we came a week or two later. By the time we got to the last port, Portland, we had pretty much gotten tired of touring. We left the ship via tender, walked around for a while, then re-boarded. Cruise ships are fantastic places when most of the passengers are in port. Crowds and lines are non-existent and some places, such as the spa, even offer discounts on their services. All in all, it was a memorable cruise -- the kind of cruise you take after you felt you've been there, done that-- with typical itineraries. Something we'd repeat again in a few years. Photos for this cruise are available at http://community.webshots.com/user/iggledoer Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
EMBARKATION: Went so smoothly, we had completed express pass on-line, but didn't even need it. We arrived at the Pier at Bayonne, NJ at approximately 2:00 and by 2:10 we were through the short line of CC passengers and on the ship. We ... Read More
EMBARKATION: Went so smoothly, we had completed express pass on-line, but didn't even need it. We arrived at the Pier at Bayonne, NJ at approximately 2:00 and by 2:10 we were through the short line of CC passengers and on the ship. We had given our carry on luggage as well as our suitcases to the dockside porter so we didn't have to worry with any luggage once on board, went directly to Deck 10 for welcome buffet. Plenty of seats available and waiters to help carry your tray to a table. We didn't explore the ship, as we wanted to see our cabin and find our emergency station. ITINERARY: Celebrity seems to make a lot of changes to itinerary. I booked this cruise a year in advance, and in that time, they made three changes to the itinerary. When we boarded, there was yet another change to the itinerary, giving us all port days going Northbound, and three sea days coming back Southbound. It also made us arrive in Halifax a day later, and Quebec a day later, incurring rain at each port. Rather than sunshine if we had arrived the day earlier that we were originally scheduled. THE CABIN: Was so nice. I knew when I booked CC 6143 that it would be a little larger and have a huge balcony, and we were not disappointed. The cabin was at least double the regular balconies. There were two canvas covers. We could sit under the cover right by the door (approximately 4 ft), and still had another cover of about 6 ft. to the edge of the balcony. We were fully covered from the rain and the sun. It was quite cold on the balcony, the TV in the room said the temp was pretty consistently running a high of 55 and a low of 44, but with the rain and the wind, it seemed a lot colder. Only had breakfast on the balcony the first morning, it was just too cold out there to do it more. The cabin had at least an extra two feet over regular balcony cabins. We had two huge suitcases, two regular suitcases and three carry-ons, and had plenty of storage space. This is the first cruise I have been able to totally unpack the suitcases and have plenty of space to store everything. There were approximately 8 drawers in the closet that my friend used, then the desk had 4 huge shelves that I used. We each also had a two drawer nightstand. The suitcases didn't even have to go under the bed, they were stored at each end of the cabin (out of the walkway). We had fresh flowers everyday in a bud vase in the bathroom, and a row of 8 bud vases attached together in the main cabin. The bathrobes were thick and plush and we utilized them as we didn't pack our own. The only thing we didn't try was the various pillows. The ones we had on the bed were so good, we didn't feel the need to try any others. The bathroom and shower were larger than standard also. I could actually turn around in the shower. The whole layout of the cabin was well thought out and seemed even roomier than it was. Standard balcony cabin has 170 sq ft, CC balcony cabin has 191 sq ft, but it seemed much larger. DINING ROOM: The San Marco dining room was well decorated and we were lucky enough to have a table for 8 right by the aft windows. We had early seating, so usually had a beautiful view of the sunset as we sat down for dinner. Our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent. They saw to our every need. If (as on one occasion) I didn't care for my selection, he noticed that immediately and asked me if I would like something else. They promptly cleared away used plates and silverware and the beverages (whether it was water, iced tea or coffee) were replenished as soon as the glass was half empty. The Sommelier was promptly at our table after the first night when one of our dining companions ordered a bottle of wine, he was there promptly every night thereafter to see to our beverage needs. The only complaint we have on the food, was that it was a little too gourmet for us. We didn't really care for all the sauces and fancy food. They even made a mousse of the carrots, instead of just serving carrots. We only had lobster one night, which was a disappointment to my friend. She had been looking forward to more than one night, as we were in New England and thought lobster would be more readily available. We did not eat at the Specialty restaurant (Oceanliners) but did look in, and it was beautifully decorated as an "Old" Oceanliner would have been. We ate at the Poolside Grill for hamburgers twice, and they were fresh and very good. Not a thin pre-cooked burger, but a nice fat juicy patty, with mushrooms (if you wanted) and all the normal condiments. But it is outdoors, so it was cold out there too. We did receive canapes in our cabin at 5:00 each day, but didn't care for them so asked for cheese and crackers instead. We also had fresh fruit bowl in the cabin daily. We found we didn't like eating them before dinner, so asked the cabin attendant to leave them in the cabin, and we usually ate them as a before bedtime snack. ENTERTAINMENT: The on-board entertainment was fantastic. We went to the shows if we were not in port with a planned activity. The Celebrity Singers and Dancers were top notch. Couldn't tell they were not Broadway STARS. Their voices and presentation couldn't have been better. We had wanted to see a Broadway show and were disappointed that didn't work out, but once on-board and saw their first show (Broadway Medley), that took away the disappointment. Then we saw them twice more. They had a juggler, a keyboard musician, a pianist, and a West End Singer (from Britain) named Lindsay Hamilton. She was outstanding. She had starred in Evita and Les Miserables! so she sang hits from them as well as other songs. I had never heard of her, but others on-board had heard of her. I was so impressed, I bought her CD. Only one small complaint in this department, the movies in the Cinema were usually scheduled at the same time as the live shows, so you couldn't do both. Would also like to see more variety of movies in The Cinema. SHOPPING: Was excellent, both variety and pricewise. They were always having sales of 25%, 40% or 50% off. We made plenty of unplanned purchases on-board. Since being home, I have checked out the prices here for like items and while not quite the savings of 50%, we did save about 20% off of like item here. EXCURSIONS: This would be the only real disaster of the whole cruise. Boston and Portland went smoothly, with someone on the pier holding up signs for each tour. As you disembarked the ship, you looked for your tour and went to that person, then onto the coach. But there were no free shuttles from the cruise pier to downtown. Overall I thought it was well organized and all would be well. Unfortunately, not to be. We arrived in Bar Harbor (and because it was a tender port) chaos reigned. Everyone that had a tour planned was told to go to the Celebrity theater for tender tickets for disembarkation. The line wrapped continuously around and around. Nobody could find the end of the line, and there was only two people passing out tender numbers. Folks that had an early tour booked had to wait in the same line as those with later tours. They finally did announce if your tour time was approaching, to come to the front of the line, making some folks that had been waiting for a long time, frustrated. Tempers flared a little, and there were lots of comments on the lack of organization. Celebrity knew this was a tender port, and should have had a better handle on the disembarkation. Maybe only having the early tours report to the Celebrity theater at an earlier hour, then the later tours at a different hour. The tours themselves were great, and well worth the money Celebrity charged for the tour. I had thought when we reached Halifax and it was rainy, that the tour would be cancelled, but it wasn't. We went to Peggy's Cove to see the lighthouse, but with the wind and the rain, it was too dangerous to walk around on the rocks, so settled for lunch in the Sou'Wester restaurant (the only restaurant) which was packed, not only with our cruisers, but cruisers from another ship too. We felt for the fee charged, we didn't get the full effect of the tour. IN Saint John, I rented a car and we drove on our own. It was much nicer than being on a tour coach. We went where we wanted to go and did what we wanted to do. Finally Quebec! We arrived in the rain, and it continued to rain all day. We had signed up for a walking tour, and again thought sure it would be cancelled. No No! We started walking in the cold, wind, wet streets. The guide knew she had 22 in her group. The guide tried to take us where there was a little shelter to do her talking, but we gave up and separated from the tour (telling the guide we were doing so). We found a pharmacy and purchased some cold pills, as we were both feeling a little sore throat. Made our way to the funicular, and our tour was just arriving, so we rejoined the group, again telling the guide we were back. Made our way up the funicular to Upper Quebec for the carriage ride. Once again, the guide had us standing in the cold, wind and rain saying our carriages wouldn't be here for another half hour. Again, we told her we were going into a restaurant out of the rain to have a cup of hot tea. She said okay to meet her on the sidewalk by the statue at 12:00 for the carriage ride. We left the restaurant at 10 to 12 and stood on the sidewalk looking for her or the group. Nobody was around. A carriage driver came over and asked if we would like a carriage ride. We told him we had pre-paid for one, and was looking for our guide. He went to his boss, she came over and asked if she could help. She took out her cell phone and called someone, and finally found our guide. She came over and asked where we had been. She knew the numbers weren't quite right when she loaded the carriages 15 minutes early, but sent them anyway. She made a phone call and it was decided to let us take our carriage ride, even though everyone else was on their way back. We told her to go with the group, back to the ship. We would make our own way back to the ship. We had a delightful ride in the carriage with a really nice driver that spoke excellent English. The carriage was covered so we weren't getting wet, but it sure was cold even with two big blankets over us. When we arrived back at the square, his boss, France, was sooooo nice. She didn't think the other guide should have left us, so she offered to drive us back to the ship, even though it wasn't her tour. So we loaded into her vehicle, and on the way back she showed us many more interesting sights of Quebec. I asked about St. Anne's Basilica, and nothing to do, she said she would take us there. We absolutely had to see it. We weren't scheduled to go there on our tour, but ended up seeing it, and Mortmency Falls (SP?) and lots of fall foliage also. She was so friendly and such a good ambassador for Quebec, she made our stop there so much more enjoyable than it would have been. We would have left with a sour feeling had she not stepped in. Then she took us back to the ship and didn't want to take anything, even for her fuel. We did leave a $20 bill on the seat when we departed her vehicle. After all, if we had to pay for a tour to those places, it would have cost a lot more. We felt she had befriended us, and wanted us to really enjoy her city. But we wanted to show her how much we appreciated her generosity. Then we had booked a tour to the Sugar Shack for dinner and a show. It was an enjoyable venture, even in the rain. At least it was in a building. It was interesting to see how the Maple syrup water is collected from the trees, and processed, into syrup, butter and taffy. The show was local folk type music. They had folks from the tour join in and play the spoons, and there was a small square dance also. The food was outstanding. Typical lumberjack meal is what they called it. Back to the ship for departure. DISEMBARKATION: Went almost as smoothly as embarkation. We had been given a form to complete with our flight time, so once back in Bayonne, we had been given a letter telling us where to go to wait until our embarkation time. We had been assigned the theater, so went there at 9:00 for continental breakfast and to await our time of 11:00. Rather than like on other cruises, just waiting around in the lobby or open areas anywhere you could find. Once our time was called, it took may ten minutes to find our luggage and get to the pick-up area. Unfortunately I had pre-arranged a pickup for 12:00 so had to wait the 45 minutes for him to arrive. Then off too the airport for our flight home. OVERALL: The cruise was absolutely fantastic. While we did enjoy the cruise immensely, we did feel there was room for improvement, especially in the organization of shore excursions. Would we ever book Celebrity again? Probably not. For the difference in cost to NCL, we didn't see that big a difference in the product. I selected this particular cruise because it went to Quebec, whereas NCL didn't. Then to have the schedule changed so we arrived in the pouring rain, really put a damper on the Quebec excursions, thereby affecting my whole outlook at the cruise. And three days at sea, was just too much idle time for me. I was climbing the walls on Wednesday really ready to disembark on Thursday. The last four days really discolored the whole cruise for me. Wish Celebrity had left the schedule as it was, with a sea day between the ports rather than all three sea days at the end of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
NEW ENGLAND - CANADA CRUISE GTS CONSTELLATION SEPTEMBER 25 - OCTOBER 5, 2006 Introduction My name is Phil Haggerty and my wife is Edith Goble. I am a retired city attorney and Edith is a homemaker and former health services provider. ... Read More
NEW ENGLAND - CANADA CRUISE GTS CONSTELLATION SEPTEMBER 25 - OCTOBER 5, 2006 Introduction My name is Phil Haggerty and my wife is Edith Goble. I am a retired city attorney and Edith is a homemaker and former health services provider. We live in Phoenix, Arizona and this would be our 19th cruise. Our prior sailings have been on Carnival's Elation to the Mexican Riviera; on the now defunct Commodore Lines Enchanted Isle to the Caribbean for 11 days; a 7 day cruise, also in the Caribbean on Celebrity's Galaxy; followed by a marvelous cruise from Santiago to Buenos Aires on Mercury, another Celebrity vessel. We then did our Alaskan cruise on Sun Princess, followed by a third 7 day Caribbean trip aboard Norwegian Sun and a trans-canal on Celebrity's Infinity. We then sailed on Millennium for a Mediterranean cruise in May 2003, followed by a Baltic cruise tour on Regal Princess later that year. We then went to Hawaii for the first time on Infinity in November 2003 and did our first HAL on Veendam in the Caribbean the next spring. In March 2004 we took Galaxy from Baltimore to Rome, and returned to the Caribbean in October on Zaandam. In November 2004 we went back to the Mexican Riviera on Diamond Princess. We enjoyed our first Oceania experience on Insignia for a very different Amazon River cruise in March 2005, followed by a short repositioning cruise up the west coast from San Diego to Vancouver in May that year on our only Royal Caribbean ship to date, Radiance of the Seas. In November we spoiled ourselves on Crystal Serenity for eleven days on a Caribbean trip. In May 2006 we returned to Oceania; this time on Nautica for a cruise from Istanbul to Athens. From Insignia on, they have been reviewed on www.cruisecritic.com. Why This Cruse? Basically I wanted to do this cruise. Edith was uncertain due to her discomfort with cold weather; but I persuaded her that it would be worthwhile. These cruise are often sold as Fall Foliage trips; but since that depends on the weather, no one can count on spectacular leaf displays. In addition, we had never been to most of the stops. We also looked forward to returning to Celebrity whose ships have provided many memorable experiences. The Itinerary Never before have we suffered so much change or confusion in our itinerary. Our initial brochure plan called for four port days to start after departing Cape Liberty New Jersey - Boston, Portland, Bar Harbor and Halifax. This was to be followed by a sea day and then Quebec. Following a sea day which was called Saguenay River, we were to land at Sydney, Nova Scotia. Then we were to have two sea days before returning to New Jersey. In May we received a change of itinerary which called for the same initial days through the Saguenay River portion. Then this was to be followed by a sea day and after that, Saint John, New Brunswick. This was to lead to the final sea day prior to returning home. When we set sail however, we were told that the itinerary now started with five consecutive port days: Boston, Portland, Bar Harbor, Saint John, and Halifax, followed by one sea day, then Quebec, then Saguenay River cruising as the first of three sea days prior to disembarkation. We were not particularly happy to start a cruise with five port calls and ending with three sea days. The only advantage appeared to be avoiding some of the port cruise ship crowding that we faced with our modified second itinerary. Review Format - What is Covered, What is Not We stayed over in New York City for four days after the cruise, but will not cover that aspect of our trip. We do not gamble, so have little to say about the casino. We do not participate in trivia games, karaoke contests or the like. Nor are we bar experts. We took only one ship sponsored shore excursion, doing our own planning and booking as usual. Pre-Planning any Cruise This paragraph is Cruising 101, and experienced cruisers can skip it. But since I hear from newbies to cruising, I will include a few remarks. If you have questions about any ship or cruise line, you can get a review of most ships and cruise lines in the Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2006 Douglas Ward; Berlitz Publishing Co.; the Unofficial Guide to Cruises; 8th Edition; Kay Showker and Bob Sehlinger; Wiley Publishing Co. and Stern's Guide to Cruise Vacations 2006; Steven B. Stern, 13th ed. Pelican Publishing Co. You can find (or order) these at most large bookstores such as Borders or Barnes & Noble. New editions come out each year. All three of these books will also provide a wealth of detailed information on cruising. Since itineraries are subject to change, and not set much more than a year in advance, you should go to the cruise lines' websites to get the correct itineraries and dates. (Although, as we found out, these are not set in concrete, and change on occasions) You then can check with your travel agent to see the brochures which will give you a schematic of the ships' layouts and cabin locations. Cabin locations can be important, and early booking also gives you a wider choice. On some ships the design is such that verandas on upper decks look down onto portions of the verandas below; which might concern some people. Some of these problems are not obvious from the deck plans but are mentioned in the books cited above. You also might want to avoid a stateroom directly off the elevator/stair wells, as this area tends to be noisy . We usually try for a stateroom between two elevator/stair wells. We avoid being opposite the laundry, although on Celebrity ships, there are no laundries, anyway. In many cases you can order brochures directly from the cruise lines, but these brochures for the major lines cover separate specific destination areas, and not the entire cruise line repertory in one brochure. Small lines (like Crystal) with few ships are an exception. The pricing options vary widely. Every line has an early booking discount; many offer specials in the last days before sailing if you want to take a chance; and there are a variety of specials and package deals available through various travel agencies. No one recommends that you do your booking through the net; having your travel agent do the actual talking to the booking clerks is best; but the net can provide a lot of information. Some people make the itinerary the prime factor, some the cruise line or a specific ship, and others are controlled by time constraints and the availability of cruises within their budget range. Like many people, we consider the itinerary first, and then look at the cruise line and date options. Planning This Cruise Considering the fact that we had not visited any of these ports before, our planning for this cruise was comparatively relaxed. We arrived in Boston at 2:00 in the afternoon, and we felt that the Old Town Trolley; which cost the same when booked from the ship as on the net; would give us a decent look at the town. We looked at a few Casco Bay cruises in Portland, and booked one. We decided to rent a car to see Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor; rented a car in Saint John to go to Fundy National Park, considered a Harbor Hopper Tour in Halifax, and made no specific plans for Quebec at all. We did look up a few restaurants; but that was about it. Shipboard Accommodation Planning Once you have decided on the cruise line and itinerary, the next decision concerns the actual accommodations to be selected. The range here is again very large, from suites of more than 3000 square feet (how big is your house?) to standard cabins of about 180 square feet. Obviously the difference is price. These days the newer ships feature verandah cabins which make up almost half the cabins available. Then there are a variety of staterooms labeled suites; some of which, like Celebrity's sky suites are little more than larger cabins with added amenities and features such as butler service, access to spa facilities at a reduced rate, etc. Many people, like us, enjoy the outside access of a verandah, where you can sit on a small deck all your own and enjoy the sound and smell of the ocean for a better at sea experience. Others, including a travel agent I know, book the lowest cost inside cabin on the theory that they don't spend much time there, and they can enjoy the rest of the ship to the same extent as the people in the largest suite. Traditionally the higher decks are more costly for identical cabins. Very often the costlier suites are on the upper decks; the Millennium class ships of Celebrity being an exception with all its expensive suites being located on deck 6. Most cabins have only showers, and only very expensive suites have double sinks. Unless you bring an excessive amount of luggage, you will find that cabins, even the smallest, hold a large amount of clothing, toiletries, etc. Ships' architects have long mastered the art of squeezing the maximum amount of storage space out of every square foot of cabin area. Hotel architects could learn a lot by observing how ships utilize space. What about your bags? In most cases they will fit under the bed, but the ship will store them elsewhere if necessary. For this 11 day cruise we certainly did not need a suite. Clothes Planning Cruise lines may offer suggestions, and advice can be found in the books mentioned above. The season, the itinerary, the length of the cruise and the cruise line life style will be the major determining factors. I saw more black ties on Crystal than any other line, with Celebrity and Holland American next in order of formality. We did think on this cruise that there were fewer black ties than on prior Celebrity cruises. I always bring my tux (except on Oceania, which does not have formal nights). The weather and possible cold temperatures were our chief concerns. We had been to an Elderhostel for the second week of September in central Massachusetts, and it had been a little chilly at times. But the sea can be very different from inland locations. Edith is susceptible to the cold, while I am fairly impervious to the chill. I brought a rainproof light windbreaker and my Inverness cashmere sweater for layering, but never wore the sweater. We used a number of cotton twill or khaki pants, a couple of grey flannel pants and my all purpose Travel Smith basic blue blazer. We did have Celebrity do a couple of loads of laundry since we also had to have clothing for arrival in New Jersey the day before sailing and four days in New York so that this was really a 17 day trip. Edith has her packing down to a science, leaning heavily on soft fabrics that do not require ironing, and using interchangeable blouses, skirts and pants. We do make out careful and complete packing lists before we leave, starting them several weeks early so we do not have any last minute panics, and can pack the day before we leave. We still think we could cut down on the luggage a little though. Getting to the Ship and Back Home The next consideration is planning the route to and from the ports of embarkation and debarkation, which very well may not be the same city. All cruise lines offer to purchase air fare to and from the cruises for you. If they do so, they will normally include the transportation between the airport and the pier both ways. You can purchase your own air tickets, of course, and you may be able to buy transfers to and from the pier separately. If you are going round trip from the same city for departure and return; a common event for Caribbean and Mexican Riviera cruises, you can probably do better buying your own air tickets, especially if you are good at internet shopping. Your travel agent may be willing to help if you have bought the cruise from him or her, even though their commissions these days on air travel are virtually non-existent. If you are required to use open jaw flights; i.e. leaving from different cities for embarkation and debarkation, it is a little more complex to get any savings compared to the cruise lines, who can save money by block booking on major airlines. [For a good example of pre-cruise flight planning, read the review of our Celebrity Mercury cruise from Santiago to Buenos Aires in January 2002 on this website.] However you may end up with weird routings as we did on our Infinity Hawaii cruise (Phoenix to LA to San Diego!); because we felt we should use Celebrity in order to insure the right connections to the embarkation port of Ensenada. You can vary the departure dates, but the cruise line might charge extra for this service. Celebrity waives any deviation charges for cruisers who are members of its Captains Club. If you can do so, always provide extra time, and for safety's sake, an extra day in planning your air connection to the departure city. This is particularly true for us when we fly east to embark from an East Coast port since the time zone difference virtually requires either a red-eye flight or an overnight stay. In our case it was easy to arrange for a round trip to and from Newark Airport, which is fairly close to the Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal. Trip Insurance Finally, there is the issue of trip insurance. We recommend it, but suggest that you buy from one of the independent insurers rather than the cruise line. The basic reason is that insurance you buy from the cruise line only covers you for services supplied by them. If you fly independently, take off on shore excursions that you book yourself, or extend the trip before or after on your own, the cruise line insurance will not cover you. However, your own carrier will cover all events within the dates you specify. We have found a firm known as CSA to be responsive and reasonable. Incidentally, you do not have to insure for all the costs; but you can pick a figure you would settle for to cover the travel portion. In other words, you don't have to add the flight cost to the cruise cost because you would probably not lose both. The main point is that with any coverage you get theft insurance, baggage loss, baggage delay and health coverage. You can even get pre-existing health condition coverage if you buy a higher priced policy as soon as you book the cruise. Talk to your travel agent about various policies that are available since they are commissionable also. It is worth it for peace of mind. Having said all that, it probably does not apply with as much force for Alaska and Hawaii cruises, since you are in the United States and both Medicare and your own health insurance will be available. So, since we would be entirely in the US or Canada, and were not taking any complicated excursions, we did not buy insurance for this cruise. If you are a dedicated shopper, you can go to www.insuremytrip.com and come up with a wide range of comparisons, as well as choices of coverage. Just for an example, on our Oceania cruise last May aboard Nautica from Istanbul to Athens, with many private shore excursions; we opted for trip cancellation of $2000.00 and trip interruption of $3000.00 per person; travel delay of $1,000 pp (max 150.00 pp per day), baggage delay - $200-$400; baggage and personal effects loss or damage - $1,000-$2,000 (how much is your camera worth) rental car collision waiver damage - $25,000; medical or dental expense - $50,000.00; air flight accident - $100,000-$200,000; emergency medical evacuation - $250,000 and Identity Theft Insurance - $20,000. The cost for both of us was a total of $276.00. For traveling to the Middle East for 15 days, this seemed reasonable. Getting There and On board As noted, we flew to Newark Airport the day before. This is not a user friendly facility, and we had a problem going around on the air train before we found the right location for our hotel van pick-up. The airport phone to call the hotel did not work, and we were glad we had our cell phones handy to call. We stayed at a Hampton Inn; a two star hotel which was okay for one night. It has no restaurant, but the Doubletree next door did, so we had a late dinner. The hotel only provided a van to the cruise port at 4:00 P.M., so, since this would be running close to a 5:00 P.M. sailaway time, and meant hanging around the hotel all day, we called a cab. A casual breakfast was provided, and we boarded our cab at noon. The 25 minute trip went partly by freeway and cost us $45.00 plus $3.80 in tolls. Since we were sailing Concierge Class we bypassed the main line, and checked in using the Express Pass in about three minutes, took the short shuttle down the pier to the ship and were on board by 12:50. This had to be one of the fastest and best boarding experiences of all. Of course, some of the speed was wasted when we were advised on boarding that the cabin might not be ready, so we should have lunch. Fortunately we were not lugging much hand baggage, and we had planned to eat immediately anyway, so this was not a serious problem. Our Stateroom We elected for a Concierge Veranda cabin on Deck 9, No. 9097. It is slightly larger than a standard veranda cabin which provides a slightly larger seating area, The walls featured light blond wood with beige textured wallpaper, and a light green patterned carpet. The bedspread was peach colored and the green and peach motive was reflected in the bathroom towels and rug, changing from sea green one day to peach the next. The seating area had a two seat sofa and small cocktail table. The desk arrangement opposite the sofa had a large mirror, a faux marble desk top, side cabinets and side lights next to the mirror. We were provided with a few pieces of personalized stationary, as well as a bottle of champagne, chilled in its ice bucket, which remained untouched for the rest of the cruise. We finally put it out on the veranda table to get it out of the way. The veranda had a rubberized composition deck, two chairs with loose seating pads fitted over vinyl straps, and a small table. The veranda light was centered overhead and pointed directly down so that light from adjoining verandas did not intrude. There is a large mirror opposite the bed and a refrigerator next to that with the TV on top. There was no shelf above the TV which was the only example of wasted space. The closet had three sections, two with full length space and one with 6 drawers and a safe, but still some hanging space for shirts. The bathroom had a shower with a curtain that was well designed to control the water, and a Hansgrohe® massaging showerhead. The sink was faux marble, the floor was tiled and the walls painted with a slightly textured effect. As usual, there was plenty of space for all our toiletries. Celebrity supplies fairly decent soaps, conditioners and shampoos. There was a fixed hairdryer on the bathroom wall and a separate hand held dryer (with inadequate wattage and controls) which could be plugged into a socket next to the desk. I brought my own travel dryer and used that exclusively. A single light switch by the door controlled all the overhead lights, and there was a switch on the wall next to the bed which also controlled these lights. There were two table lamps on nights stands on either side of the bed. There was one piece of art work above the sofa. There was a thermostat control which seemed to have some effect when we turned it up after the first night. The ceilings are interesting. They appear to be composed of painted wood, glossy white panels running the width of the cabin. These panels are about ten inches wide, separated by recesses about 1 to 2 inches wide and an inch or so deep. This creates a subtle but pleasantly decorative effect. Deck 9 is directly beneath the overhang of Deck ten, which extends out past the veranda for about five feet. I would expect that on some very sunny cruises this would result in nice shade at times. The Rest of The Ship By 2006 standards, Constellation, at 91,000 tons, is only a medium sized vessel. But since its passenger complement is normally 1950, the cubic feet per passenger ratio is 46.66, very good indeed. The public areas are generally spacious, and there is little crowding except at the theater after shows, and sometimes at the buffet. Deck 12 is the Sports deck, reached only from the outside via stairs from Deck 11. Forward there is an observation area with windows to protect one from the breezes, but otherwise open. It is also stated to be a topless bathing location. Due to our northern itinerary, I never expected this to be used for that purpose but in fact it was taken advantage of at least once. Aft on Deck 12 is a sports court with an almost full length basketball court and a volley ball net. This did not appear to attract anyone. Deck 11 has the Bar at the Edge of the Earth forward. This venue was decorated in an unusual style, which can best be called Harem dEcor. The seats were covered with white cloth. There were a few round ottomans, and sofas with stylized legs. The most unusual feature was the set up at the forward end of this room. There were what can only be described as beds without headboards, covered with spreads and several loose pillows. Each of these units was separated from its neighbor by tent-like fabrics on each side, but open to the front where it looked out over the sea, and the rear which faced to the rest of the room. About eight of these ran across the front, although there was room for normal seating in the forward port and starboard sections. In addition there was a bar, a normal dance floor with a small band stand was used for late dancing followed by a still later Disc Jockey each evening. Aft of this lounge portside was a small room for teenagers. On the starboard side there was a small foyer leading out to the walking and jogging path around the ship. This foyer was dominated by a striking Dale Chihuly glass chandelier in that artist's customarily vivid oranges and yellows. At the main elevator bank of deck 11, after you came in from the walking/jogging track was the golf simulator one side and the Conservatory and flower shop on the other side, a very pleasant area. The aft end of Deck 11 contained the shipmates fun factory and video arcade, which was reached only by the aft elevators, or by walking on the outside of Deck 11. Deck 10 starts with the gym and Aqua Spa treatment and beautification rooms. Then, through the doors, you arrive at the covered Thalassotherapy Pool area and the Aqua Spa buffet. Aft of this is the main pool area and then one enters into the buffet. Decks 9, 8, 7 and 6 are largely staterooms. Deck 9 also houses the top floor of the Library, and the bridge. Deck 8 has the entrance and main floor to the Library. Deck 7 houses the acupuncture salon and Deck 6 the Computer at Sea classroom. Deck 5 starts with the balcony of the Celebrity Theater forward, followed aft by the shopping area, quaintly called The Emporium. Aft of these shops is a small art auction area and then the Grand Foyer area containing the Cova Cafe Milano, with its attendant coffee bar on one side and pastry service area on the other. The center of this foyer area is the atrium open to Deck 3 below. Opposite the elevators is the card room. Aft of this is a lounge, called the Champagne Lounge on the port side and the Martini Lounge on the starboard side for no apparent reason. Aft of this is the upper floor of the two story main Dining Room. Deck 4 forward contains the main loge and orchestra seating of the theater. Aft of this is the photo shop and Michael's Club, a small enclosed lounge; originally designed as a cigar room, but now simply a small bar which can be set aside for special functions. Next is the casino, which leads back to the atrium above the Grand Foyer and the other Online Computer Center. Aft of that is the Rendezvous Lounge with its dance floor, and then the lower entrance to the main Dining Room. Deck 3 has cabins forward of the Grand Foyer, which contains the Guest Relations front desk, the Concierge, future cruise sales office, the bank and the Excursion desk, as well as a seating area. Aft of that is the Ocean Liners Specialty Restaurant on the port side. The Starboard and center area contains four small meeting rooms and the Cinema and Conference Center. Deck 2 has more cabins and Deck 1 the Medical Center. There are three elevator groups. The main elevators are the glass enclosed ones on the port side. These elevators and their lobby form an egg shape, with the lobby in the center and two curved wall elevators facing forward and two facing aft, one of which in each pair looks out over the side of the ship. The main stair wells are in the center of the ship as are the forward and aft stairs and elevators. The art in the stair wells is different from any other of the M class ships. The back of the wells are cherry wood, divided into two sections with an open section in the middle and slightly curved as each section approaches the center. Each of these center sections has one lighted art object, or plant. This provides a minimalist effect compared to the more common use of large paintings in these locations. Not that there is an absence of art elsewhere around the ship, and some of it is very good. As always, the walls along the staterooms have small framed paintings or photographs on all decks, not just the upper high end decks. The cherry wood decor runs throughout the ship, along with blue print carpeting, glass and stainless steel. The furnishings in the buffet are especially nice for this area, with faux marble top tables, and two distinct seating areas with different flooring and slightly different seating. The lounges in the Thalassotherapy Pool area are especially comfortable with very thick pads. The regular deck chairs in the pool area are also well padded and comfortable. There are a number of spots around the ship with chairs for simply sitting and reading or relaxing. Since, as I noted, the per passenger space ratio is over 46, there is never a crowded feeling on board, while at the same time, it is usually easy to get around and find what you are looking for. The ship was launched in 2002 and is the newest of Celebrity's M class ships. Although it is only 4 years old, it looked as though there had been some refurbishment already. I certainly believe that the Bar at the Edge of the Earth is a newly decorated venue. Dining As noted, the main dining room is a two story affair, with a grand staircase leading down from Deck 5 to Deck 4, although of course , most people opted for the normal elevators and stairs. The food in the main dining room is excellent as on all Celebrity ships. This was our 7th Celebrity cruise, but the most recent one prior to this was in May 2004, so it had been over two years. I believe that there have been some menu changes. As before, there is always a recommended selection and a lighter selection. Edith was provided with a separate vegetarian menu. Celebrity takes a lot of pride in their vegetable selection, which is always a good sign that the kitchen cares. Our two immediately prior cruises had been on Oceania and Crystal. Oceania is about the same level as Celebrity, and Crystal cannot be matched. But Celebrity does an excellent job. Edith thought that the vegetarian dishes were somewhat bland, and mentioned it to our waiter. After that they were seasoned more appropriately and she enjoyed them. Our waiter was Recep from Turkey, and his assistant Jose from Honduras. As always on Celebrity, they were very efficient, but still had time to chat and take care of us individually. There are two main points about Celebrity dining. The first is that they do not pre-serve the meals. That is, the meals are not prepared until the order is received from the waiter. This means that everything is fresh and hot, although it did result in a small delay one night because of the large number of orders for one particular item which had to be cooked to order. This however is the price you are willing to pay for well prepared food; since that is what happens in a real restaurant. The second feature is that the waiters and assistants are assigned so that they are not terribly rushed and have time to establish some rapport with their table guests. We have always found this most pleasant, and only Crystal accomplishes this also. The buffet had some occasional glitches, like the two mornings where it seemed impossible to get coffee. Edith also complained that mushrooms were not always available for breakfast (they are served only at the omelet station), and sometimes she had trouble finding plain yogurt. One some days the potatoes were good, but on others they were too heavily salted. I could always get hot toasted bagels, however. We never had to wait too long in line, but at times finding a table was not easy. Pizza is always available, and sushi at night until 10:00 P.M. We wished that the sushi bar stayed open longer as it was not always possible to get there on time after the show. The ice cream station was open from noon until 10:00 P.M. There also was a salad bar and pasta station set up in the buffet and open from noon until 1:00 A.M. There are two spots labeled Seaside Grill. One is aft of the main buffet area, next to the aft open air terrace. This served waffles and pancakes at breakfast and soup and sandwiches from noon to 3:00 P.M. The other Seaside Grill was in the pool area forward of the buffet on Deck 10, and served hot dogs, hamburgers and other grilled food from noon to 7:00. There also was the Aqua Spa Cafe which featured not only light and healthy breakfasts, but healthy choice dining all day until 8:00 P.M. The selections at breakfast were fairly standard, and a pretty good range was offered at lunch. I try to avoid heavy lunches, and was always able to find a very tasty piece of chicken done in a variety of styles, which suited me perfectly. As I noted, the buffet seating area is quite attractive, and Celebrity provides real china and cloth napkins, as well as a waiter to carry your tray if you want or need it. Sailaway Day The mandatory lifeboat drill was held at 4:15 with sailaway at 5:00 P.M. Celebrity does not keep track of each passenger for this drill, in contrast to some other cruise lines; but since not everyone was on board by that time anyway, it made no difference. I grew up in New York City and was familiar with its magnificent harbor, and the Statue of Liberty, clearly visible from our pier. But I had never sailed under the Verrazano Bridge. Even though it was largely a cloudy day, we had a slight break as we sailed out and a brief sunset over Staten Island. Looking back on the City from past the bridge is a spectacular sight, and many of us were on the upper decks to see and photograph it. We were later told that there was 10 meters clearance under the bridge, but it looked closer than that. We always choose main, or early, dining since we are not night owls. If we had late dining we would not get out of the evening show until about midnight. We also always ask for a larger table, and on this cruise had a table for six, which really is nice for conversation. Our table companions were Bob and Carol from Georgia and John and Mary from Connecticut. We were a very compatible and companionable group. After dinner we went to the first night show; the usual smaller production event. The team consists of 6 guys and 9 girls. The Cruise Director, Derek Habraken, is from Toronto. He seems pretty straightforward. The seas were running a little, but we enjoy the motion and think it helps us to sleep, so we had no complaints. Boston He weather was cloudy, but not cold. We sailed into the harbor in the afternoon, docking at 2:00. We had a nice view of the city, and an excellent view of planes landing at Logan Field to the starboard and our pier, the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, portside. Celebrity provided small. but handy, guides with a map, for each of our stops. I had also obtained a AAA map of the city prior to leaving, and try to do this for all US (and Canadian) stops. We had already booked the Old Town Trolley Tour, which at $26.00 per person was actually lower than the price on land and about the same as the internet price. The handling of the land tours was very poor however. Everyone was supposed to go to the theater where their tours would be called and then they were to proceed to the stage to get their tags and follow their leaders to the appropriate bus. However the Trolley Tour group was told simply to wait, but not where to wait or what to wait for. An additional problem was that the lady making the announcements had a distinct accent which did not lend to clarity over the loudspeaker. We finally just went out to the pier to ask, and were told to wait behind some buses, inhaling diesel fumes, until our trolleys arrived. This was not a well managed operation. Once on board however, the tour proved to be quite pleasant and informative. Boston is an old city, somewhat European with its narrow streets and hodgepodge of architecture, new and old. Many of the older Georgian style homes around Boston Common are very attractive and the Back Bay area is a delight. The main sacred spot for Bostonians, Fenway Park, is ugly, industrial; very small and jammed into the middle of a shabby commercial neighborhood, with little apparent parking available. It is a far cry from today's stadium standards of huge jazzy buildings set out in open areas and surrounded by acres and acres of parking lots. However, I have never heard of any talk about replacing the Fens. I was surprised by the width of the Charles River, which we crossed as part of the tour. The drive along the basin gives an excellent view of the city skyline. Boston has a lot to offer in the way of cultural places and activities, however the traffic is terrible and the Big Dig continues to add to an already bad problem. He tour dropped us off at the Quincy Market, which was very much a tourist venue, so we grabbed a cab back to the pier for about $10.00 plus tip compared to $8.00 per person on the shuttle from the same location. Mary and Tom did not make dinner since they had a longer tour. The show was an entertaining juggler and we made the sushi bar before retiring. Sailaway was at 11:00 P.M. Portland Portland in a pleasant small city, well laid out and easy to find your way around, although it is a trifle hilly. It also has been struggling economically for a while, with some recent signs of improvement, but still there are a number of vacant business locations. For example, several guide books had recommended a spot called the Portland Market. When we got there it was virtually closed with a sign saying that most of the businesses had relocated and that no one knew what was going to happen with the building. The Portland Art Museum is a delightful place, in a newly designed I.M. Pie building with a very good collection of French Impressionist and American artists. The LL Bean Portland outlet was disappointing, but after all, the headquarters and main store is located in Freeport, about 15 miles out of town and the subject of its own tour. We noted that the drivers in Portland are very polite. After a nice, but not spectacular lunch at a restaurant on one of the piers, we took a Lighthouse Tour of Casco Bay with Eagle Tours for $11.50 per person Senior rate. It was a beautifully clear day and a very enjoyable, if somewhat breezy, trip. The Bay is quite large and has about nine lighthouses, some still operating. As we pulled back into the dock we were greeted by several friendly harbor seals. This was the first formal night followed by introduction of the Captain and senior officers in the theater. The show which followed was based on Broadway tunes, and very well done. There are several good voices in this troupe. Bar Harbor This is a very small town, renowned primarily for Acadia National Park, but also containing some very attractive homes from the late 1800s when it was a favorite summer spot for wealthy New Yorkers and Bostonians. We used our Concierge Class status to get on the first tender. We arranged to rent a car here, and this proved a trifle complicated. The only two rental agencies are located in the small airport in Trenton, about 15 miles away. We chose Enterprise because they will pick up their renters, but, although we had asked for an 8:30 pickup, it was 9:15 when our van arrived to take us to the airport. Norwegian Dawn was in the harbor with us. Despite the initial delay we had plenty of time to tour this most attractive park. We used our Golden Passport to enter without charge. This has proved a great help in the past also, and is highly recommended for all over age 65. As in Portland, the weather was wonderful, although a tad breezy to say the least at the top of Cadillac Mountain. We left the park for lunch at a small town called Northeast Harbor, although it is southwest of the Park. We ate at a very rustic spot called the Docksider Restaurant which provided a fresh lobster roll containing, at my request, only lobster and no mayonnaise. It was on our way back from lunch that we went up the mountain. The view is almost 360° and includes a marvelous prospect of the town with the two cruise ships at anchor. The show that night was somewhat unusual. It consisted of a lady named Pearl Kaufman. She is a lady of a certain age who had a lengthy Hollywood career playing piano background music for over 100 films, and acting as music editor and director for many others. Her background was fascinating and she was of course, an excellent pianist. Unfortunately the show was miked, including the back up orchestra, which made the total ensemble too loud. She did not need amplification and neither did the band. Saint John We goofed on our car rental arrangements by not locating a rental agency near the dock, so we had to take a $10.00 (Canadian) taxi ride to the rental agency. We then proceeded directly north to Fundy National Park; about an hour and a half trip. The first 45 miles were on an excellent freeway, and the balance on a good road through beautiful fall foliage scenery. The road leads straight through the park to a town called Alma directly north. There we saw this magnificent tidal mud flat beach area, stretching out almost 2/3 of a mile into the bay. We evidently had arrived at extreme low tide. The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world. We walked all the way out to the edge of the bay. And then came back. This was about 11:15 and the Tidewater Restaurant at the edge of the flats would not open until noon, so we drove back into the park for a while. We then returned for lunch in time to watch the tide come in and cover all the area where we had previously been walking clear up to the restaurant. This was very impressive. We then returned to Saint John, once again enjoying the scenery. The rental agency drove us back to the ship and we were on board by 3:00 P.M. We decided to use the heated Thalassotherapy pool, and enjoyed it as always. The weather was warm enough for a number of people to enjoy the poolside lounge chairs, although only the Jacuzzis were in use since the main pool uses sea water and it was much too cold for swimming. We went to Ocean Liners for dinner. Celebrity has raised its specialty restaurant price from $20.00 to $30.00 per person since we last sailed on Infinity in 2003. (Galaxy, the ship we sailed on for our 2004 cruise, does not have a specialty restaurant, only the M class ships do.) While the food is excellent and the service superb, I do not think that it is worth the extra money. Perhaps I was influenced by the fact that we rushed dinner a little in order to make the show. We were anxious to do this because the entertainer was Lindsey Hamilton, whom we had greatly enjoyed on Mercury going around Cape Horn in January 2002. She had sung several leading roles, including Evita on London's West End, and is a truly fine singer with an excellent show routine. She had married since we had seen her and flashed pictures of her nine month old daughter on the theater screen as part of her routine. When I went back to the theater entrance on Deck 4 after the show, I mentioned our Mercury cruise. She replied that it was on that cruise that she met her husband. The next day I saw the family. With Pearl Kaufman acting as proxy grandmother, in the Cove Cafe, and we chatted some more. In any event, she sang Don't Cry For Me, Argentina again, so Edith was happy. Halifax Here the weather turned. No rain but very cloudy, windy and cold. We had planned on the Harbor Hopper Tour; an excursion which uses an amphibious vehicle like the WWII DUKW, to drive around town and then off the dock and into the harbor. The office was closed, and I thought everything was cancelled, although I did see it driving around town later. I do not think it ever went into the water because of the wind and rough water. Halifax had built some covered walkways at the second story level, allowing people to get around parts of the downtown area out of the weather. We took a portion of it to a mall where Edith bought some local wine. We had a good lunch on board. Despite the sign on the Library, it did not open until the evening. We did enjoy the string quartet however. We decided to skip the entertainment after dinner and read in our room. That night, after we sailed, there was rain and some rough seas. Sea Day After five port days we enjoyed our first sea day. The sky was clear, but the seas still were a little choppy. There were problems with some of the coffee and juice machines in the buffet, and the door to the rear deck was opened for repairs, which made that part of the buffet very cold. Later, our Cruise Connection group enjoyed a tour of the bridge. The young second officer gave us a lot of information. There was another ship about three miles ahead of us, and he told us a great deal of information about it which was obtained by satellite communication. He also noted that all the equipment on the bridge and all the operation manuals were written in English, although the ship was built in Germany and all the navigation officers on the bridge were Greek. As on Infinity and Galaxy, and I believe all other Celebrity vessels, there was a lovely Greek religious ikon above the bridge. Unfortunately this conflicted with one of the Enrichment Series Lectures on the Saguenay River and Fjord. In the early afternoon there was a short, but pleasant performance by Pearl Kaufman followed at 4:00 by a formal afternoon tea and then a Captain's Club gathering in the Bar at the Edge of the Earth. There are now so many Captain's Club members that they are going to have to move these meetings to the theater. The entertainment was a production show which was pretty good. We managed to get some sushi before the bar closed. Quebec Despite the weather, cold, windy and later, rainy, we could see that this is really an extremely attractive city. The captain had turned the ship around before docking, so we had a great view of the Hotel Chateaux de Frontenac out of our balcony. We were docked right next to the old town below the heights, so it was easy to walk everywhere. There also was a covered gangway to the pier building so we could avoid some of the wind on debarking. After walking through the old town we took the funicular up to the square in from of the Hotel Frontenac. Even though it was Sunday, most of the stores were open. We walked along the promenade overlooking the St. Lawrence about a quarter mile until we came to the Citadel, a fort built in the 1800s to guard against the expected American invasions. [Well - we did attack Canada unsuccessfully in the War of 1812.] After walking around the outside we found the entrance. We did not want to take a formal tour, but simply pay our $7.00 (Senior) admission and see for ourselves. After walking for a little way on the grounds we were approached and told that since the Citadel is still an active military post of the Canadian Army, we could only travel in a tour group, so we acquiesced, and followed along dutifully. The tour took about an hour and was quite interesting, although chilly, especially on the battlements overlooking the river. The 22d Regiment posted there is the only unit in the Canadian Army in which French is the official language. The museum had photos and the official citations of the regiment's three Victoria Cross awardees, all of whom had French names. The west end of the Citadel overlooks the Plains of Abraham (which actually has a lot of trees now, where the British General Wolfe defeated the French General Montcalm in 1759 to establish the British rule of Canada. We returned to Constellation for lunch and even though it was raining, went back to the city in the afternoon. The old central city is not very large, and quite European in appearance. For example, there is a street, Rue St. Ursiline, not far from the center of town which has at least 20 small hotels leading directly off the sidewalk. These were more than pensions, but clearly could have had no more than 15-20 rooms each. There also were a number of restaurants which looked quite appealing. We got back to the Hotel Frontenac about 3:00 and walked through its marvelous Grand Hotel lobby. I asked the concierge if there was a place we could have tea, and she directed me to the lounge and said to go to the room on the right. We followed her directions and found ourselves in a small room with windows overlooking the promenade and the river. A waiter was just clearing a window side table for two and we sat down and ordered tea and a fruit plate. The tea was excellent, the fruit fresh, the service first class and the view, despite the weather, marvelous. Altogether this was a most successful venture, all for a cost of $20.00 Canadian! The hotel was quite busy. I stopped to look at the menu for the main dining room (all in French of course), and noted that you could order caribou for dinner! We returned to the ship with the belief that Quebec is a delightful city and should be revisited. We did not choose to see the show with the Xylophonist, and also skipped the White Masquerade Party which started at 10:45 P.M. Saguenay River Cruising The St. Lawrence River runs in a Northeast direction from Quebec on its route to the sea. 120 miles from the city the Saguenay river empties into it. This river, which flows from the Northwest, travels through a 800 foot deep glacier caused trough, which has the effect of creating a fjord, with steep banks as it approaches the St. Lawrence. It is also a snow fed very cold fresh water river. It is possible for even as large a vessel as Constellation to sail up the Saguenay Fjord for what the ship's newsletter said was 20 miles to see some spectacular fall scenery, sailing to within a hundred yards or less from the shore. On the way out, where the fresh water meets the partially salt St. Lawrence, there is abundant sea life and whales. We were fortunate to see a few blue whales, and I understand early risers saw some white Beluga whales on the way in also. We were back out into the main river about noon and the rest of the trip was, in effect, all sea days. I attended the geology lecture in the afternoon, which was well done and very well attended. It was followed by another formal tea. That night we enjoyed the final production number, which had very spectacular costumes. Sea Days The next day was the first of two quiet sea days. I attended a very good lecture on the Bay of Fundy, which came a little late as the result of the change of schedule. The show this night was A Taste of Cirque de Soleil, and was in fact a short version of some of that organizations famous routines. With the exception of one act which was pretty much the same as one of the regular production show acts, it was a true Cirque presentation. We have seen a number of their full scale shows and always find them entrancing and sometimes amazing. This was also the Grand Midnight Buffet night, but we did not attend, having done this on a few prior Celebrity cruises. The following day was also quiet, with the usual debarkation talk. The farewell show presented Lindsey Hamilton again, to our enjoyment, and the xylophonist, who was fine for the short length of his part of the show. Debarkation Since we were staying on in New York, and thus had no flight connections to make, we received a color tag which indicted late departure. This was fine since it enabled us to have a decent breakfast. We left the ship shortly after 10:00 and contacted our hired car from Carmel Auto, to take us to our midtown hotel. The total cost was $6.00 for the car; $6.00 for the tunnel and a tip; which seemed very reasonable. The debarkation area at Cape Liberty is a little hectic with a large number of cars pulling in to one area. The buses are in a separate spot, so I imagine those people had little problem. The Entertainment This cruise had some of the best entertainment we have enjoyed. There were four production nights, plus the Cirque de Soleil, two nights with Lindsey Hamilton, one with Pearl Kaufman, and the entertaining juggler, Charlie Peachock. We also enjoyed the string quartet, although we occasionally had difficulty coordinating their appearances with our free time. There also was the Mozart Duo who played extremely danceable music in the Rendezvous Room prior to dinner each night. There also was an excellent guitarist, who did not play enough. There was a pretty good run of movies on the cabin TV if you were able to figure out the times, and there were scheduled movies in the theater each day. The lectures were good, although there might have been a few more; or repeats for those who missed one or more the first time around. Perhaps not under the heading of entertainment, Edith took advantage of the acupuncturist for a three visit treatment, which she enjoyed. This was a very popular offering as the salon seemed to be busy at all times when it was open. The Crew and Service As always, the service was excellent and the crew very friendly. Our cabin attendant, Marta, was quite pleasant and answered all requests promptly, except that we could not persuade her to remove the champagne and its bucket. The front desk and concierge were always cheerful and helpful, and Celebrity has a bank which was handy for obtaining small bills on departure for cab and hotel tips. Edith found one waitress in the buffet who was from Germany, and they had a fine time conversing in German. All the cabin attendants who we would see in the hallways were certain to smile and say hello. We did not see very many officers around the ship but did see the captain once passing through and smiling at the passengers. Overall Impression Celebrity runs a first class operation. This is a cruise everyone should take, just as everyone should take an Alaskan cruise. The port stops are very attractive; there is no language barrier, [the people of Quebec really do speak and understand English, although they like to use French] and if you want to use Canadian cash, it is very easy to obtain. We never felt that we were being hustled or targeted as tourists; unlike the impression one gets in much of the Caribbean. If you wish to make arrangements for excursions in advance, it is very easy to do. If you like sea days, there were four plus a half day due to the afternoon arrival in Boston. While the order of ports was not great, this was largely due to geography. We would have enjoyed Halifax more if the weather had been better, and the same was true of Quebec; but there is no way to control or guarantee this. We very much enjoyed our table companions and, as noted, thought the entertainment was generally excellent. Sailing out of New York Harbor in itself is a marvelous experience that everyone should include in their memory. The ship, like all Celebrity ships we have sailed on, was kept meticulously clean and defined ship-shape. We think the slightly larger size cabin and additional amenities made concierge class worth the small difference in price, and have booked this same class of stateroom for our upcoming Hawaii round trip in April on Infinity. Before that cruise however, we will sail on Xpedition in the Galapagos Islands, and this will definitely be a different kind of trip. We have just heard that Celebrity has purchased one of the former Renaissance ships from Pullmantur, a Spanish cruise line. This is the sister of Oceania's three vessels, Regatta, Insignia and Nautica; 680 passenger 30,000 ton ships. We hope that Celebrity will use this elegant and conveniently sized ship on some more adventuresome cruises, and not just the same old Caribbean junkets now sailed by Zenith, which will be sold as part of the deal. Bon Voyage! Phil & Edith Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
This was our first cruise with Celebrity's Constellation. We have cruised approximately 10 times mostly with Princess and Holland America so we know what we want and like. We travelled with 8 friends from our home state which made ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Celebrity's Constellation. We have cruised approximately 10 times mostly with Princess and Holland America so we know what we want and like. We travelled with 8 friends from our home state which made both sea days and port days enjoyable. Hotel: We stayed at the Jersey City Hyatt which we found on the internet and would highly recommend . See http://jerseycity.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp The Hyatt had a fantastic view of the NYC skyline, wonderful king bed (and bedding) and a subway train 30 steps from the hotel for a $2.00 four minute ride to the World Trade Center. We stayed at the Hyatt for three nites and since I was over 62 our room rates was only $119 per nite plus tax! Our younger travelers suddenly wished they were older since their rate was much higher, but still a good bargain compared to rooms in NYC. The Hyatt has an excellent restaurant (Vue) also overlooking the Hudson, the NYC skyline and the Statue of Liberty to the south. A cab ride to the hotel from Newark was only $42 including toll charge which we shared with two other fellow travelers. Embarkation: Was very smooth if you arrive after 3 PM. We had no lines, problems and sailed right thru. We were excited to see the ship as we had heard so much about her. On boarding we were given a glass of champagne but were not escorted by a steward to our stateroom as we had been on other lines. This was not a problem since we were given a map of the ship and our stateroom was on the 3rd level next to the Guest Relations department and only a few steps. The Constellation is fairly well laid out having been built in France in 2002. Interior colors and materials were not traditional in that they were avantgard, minimalist and somewhat 'modern'. Some art work was not all that appealing but this was not significant or bothersome but the ship had good wall materials, copper etc that was appealing. One problem was the ship must have been built in sections as there were may deck/floor dips and inclines that one must watch out for, especially coming out of the San Marco restaurant on level 4 portside. The floor drops off several inches and could cause a fall if one is not prepared. There are many signs saying "Watch your step" through out the ship; however these little inclines and steep ramps should be repaired by Celebrity and not just signed. Our stateroom was small with low ceilings and just adequate. We had a large 3' porthole (unopening). The bathroom was small with a long but narrow shower that was adequate but our water controls in the shower did not always seem to work correctly. The bed was comfortable but the pillows and sheets (including bedspreads) were 'tired' and needed replacing. The mattress was thin and the bed close to the floor. On other lines we have been on the beds and bedding have all be replaced since 2005 on ships that were built in 2004. One of our friends had stateroom 8166 with a large deck (230 degree view) and sitting room that was otherwise similar to our room. We had all of our predinner cocktail parties in their room and had plenty of space for the 10. Their bedding and bathroom was the same as ours five decks below. On rough sea days their room rocked and swayed a bit. They paid $800 more each for their stateroom than we did, a premium for a large deck in Fall weather. Activities were very good with good speakers on various and interesting subjects. Theater three was packed to standing room only for all speakers we observed. A Doctor of Naturopathy and Herbalist Thomas Anstett had 4 one hour talks and was very informative. Bingo cards were $30 for a six cards. The prizes were small although they gave out a lot of raffled items the best being a Sky Suite for the rest of the trip that had my attention due to the size of our room. I lost the Suite but won a luggage tag on the next drawing. The final bingo game was disappointing since the grand prize was only $2500 for an 11 day cruise. We are used to a $5k jackpot on 7 day cruise. Celebrity needs to share some winnings as they made over $10k per day and paid back very little. Service on the ship was 5+ in the dining room and by all ship personnel and stateroom stewards. The crew remembered and used your name after the first day. Korey our wine steward was excellent as were our servers Kurt and Julius in the dining room. This was the best part of the cruise, that is, the service and was clearly better than on other lines. Entertainment was also 5+ with great floor shows by the singers, dancers and individual performers. All were excellent and better than other lines. We especially liked the ventriloquist from Jamaica who was a hoot. None better, we laughed till our sides hurt. Also we also enjoyed Perry Grant's piano stylings in Michael's Club, he was a cross between Victor Borge and Liberace. Shore excursions we avoided due to the fact we have been to most the ports. In Boston we took a $6 one way bus right off the ship to Fanuel Market (recommended) and did the Freedom Walk on our own. Quincy's market is an excellent spot for lunch with the best looking food we've ever seen (ship included). We ate at the Oyster House on the Freedom Walk which was very good as well. We had the usual lobster roll and chowder both were excellent. President Kennedy had his own booth in the Oyster House which is a must see, although it looked just like the other booths. One could also eat in the Italian section of Boston on the Freedom walk before the North Church as there are many good Italian restaurants there with garden like settings and many window seats. In Bar Harbor since it was small and we had been there before we just walked around town visited the Bar Harbor Inn where we stayed before although they don't serve lunch. We had lunch at Jette's on main street about 100 feet up the street from the landing which was very good and recommended. Halifax is an interesting but rainy city. We took the Hop On Hop off bus by Gray Line (not recommended) since it was $40 per person and one can easily walk around town. A must see is the Maritime Museum about a 5 minute walk straight down the shore. There they have the entire Titanic story and other lore of WW II shipping etc. Very interesting. There are good restaurants in Halifax on the shore and mid-city as well. You may want to see the Citadel on the hill, but since it was raining we didn't even get off the bus. We only rode the bus one-half of its circular route, got off at the Maritime Museum and walked back to the ship in a drizzle. Quebec City was probably the highlight port on our trip. Although hilly one can walk from the ship around the old downtown and see all the French shops, art stalls, old buildings, restaurants (French recommended: Le Petit Coin Latin at 8 Rue Ste-Ursule and La Cremaillere at 73 Rue St-Stanislas). Also the big hotel the Fontelac on the hill is a must see as is the Citadel nearby all within walking distance. Portland Maine was the brick city as all buildings after 1903 and the fire were built with brick. There is a hop on hop off bus there too for only $5 for all day. One can walk downtown easily from the ship but since it was windy and cool we sprung for the bus and found it a short ride but better deal than the Halifax bus. LL Bean downtown on Commerce street is a good place to buy your outdoor clothing needs if you have room in your luggage. Gilberts restaurant one block from the ship is good but get there early as there is always a big line after 11:30 AM for the lobster rolls and chowder. We are at the floating restaurant, old ferry, Dimillo's at 25 Long Wharf (recommended) as the appetizers and chowders were complimentary in the bar which had a great view of the harbor and boats and the docks. We had two drinks and lunch (free) for only $15. Casino: Very nice with very good and friendly dealers. There are slot and 21 tournaments several times during the cruise. I was second in the 21 tournament and won $280 even though I have never played 21 at any casino! Only cost $25 to enter so the tournaments are entertaining and fun even if you haven't gambled before. The casino claimed they paid out slot machine winnings of over $500k after 9 days into the cruise! Some of our friends won substantial sums in the casino mostly on the slot machines. Since we had 5 sea days we spent a lot of time in the casino and got to know all the dealers by name who all seemed to hope we would win and when we didn't you could see it on their faces as we only tipped when we won. We only saw one child on the ship and there weren't any activities for young people that we were aware off, but I am sure there is something. We liked the absence of a lot of children and found the average age to be at least 65 on this trip. The lounges were very nice and located all around the ship. We liked the Champagne and Martini Bars and the lower Rendezvous Bar for sitting and conversation. Drink prices were not cheap but fairly reasonable. The frozen Margarita was very good and recommended. Waiters like to pour your martini glass full to the top making them hard to drink without spilling. Asking them not pour a full glass didn't seem to help, they poured to the top anyway. Crow's Nest bar on level 11 was comfortable and a good place to view the whales and scenery while underway. It is strangely decorated with several beds with screens at one end reminding one of a brothel. I think the beds are a leftover from the Circus Solei act that may not perform there anymore although they did perform notably to SRO audience one nite but for only for 10 minutes after a 25 minute clown act. Therapy Pool: Clearly the best part of the ship was this area on level 10 forward. This is a warm salt water pool with lounges in the water and a small restaurant/buffet line adjoining featuring health food and drinks. There is good music and health food here. The area is covered so therefore is always warm and hospitable. Very relaxing area with an invigorating warm pool. Food: Was the most disappointing part of our trip. We heard food was very good on Celebrity, however, the bread, cookies and some desserts were old and stale tasting. Celebrity's pastry/bread chef must have been replaced with the lines' buying these items on shore? Or do they only prepare these items once for every cruise? One in four dinners was good, but the rest were disappointing as the food was never hot only just luke warm, probably since we ate on level 4 and the food is brought up by the waiters on two escalators from level 2! I estimated the food had to be carried by our wait staff over 300 feet from the kitchen to our table! Ocean Liners Restaurant ($30 per person) is recommended as the all the items there and the service were superb although the service often was intrusive and slightly overbearing. Pizza was ok, but often not hot or available. Sushi bar was very good, but no offer of shrimp or some raw fish normally found in sushi bars. Buffet lines were ok, but not up to other lines, food choices seemed to be limited and not that well prepared or appealing. Seating in buffet was good in rear of ship but below average in front of buffet. Tip in restaurant: Ask waiter for double portion of meat, especially red meat, lamb chops, steak, as this paid off and I obtained a better and larger piece of meat. Steaks were normally 1/2 inch thick; whereas if you asked for a double order the meat was better, juicier, etc. I was surprised Celebrity charges $3+ for fresh orange juice and lattes at meals or in the buffet. Wine was fairly priced and our wine server Korey was fun and helpful. We always left him a big tip over the automatic 15% tip added to the bill. Tipping: Celebrity recommends $11 per day and allows you to accept this or reject this amount. If you want to leave an envelop with a tip this is also provided at the end of the cruise. Unfortunately many passengers don't leave any tips for anyone. I think it is preferable to automatically deduct the usual $10 per day from one's account as other lines do. This is a fairer system and covers all the service staff and if one wants to opt out he can. Celebrities policy seemed to be confused and totally up the the customer and therefore flawed in my mind. Many passengers I talked to just failed to do a tip for various reasons, deadlines, misunderstandings, numerous and different communications, etc. Never did these passengers object to the service rendered. Service was very good and above average and the servers are paid very little by the cruise line and depend on their tips as many have families far off in Turkey, etc. We left the recommended tip amount which was put on our account and also left a small tip for those we felt did a good job during the cruise. Disembarkation: We wanted to go to NYC before our flight left and took a cab back to Jersey City and the subway at the Hyatt at 9 AM. One of our fellow travelers felt there was not enough time to go with us and opted to go to the airport at 10 AM since his flight left at 5 PM. His bus to the airport mistakenly took the wrong exit ended up in the Holland Tunnel and went to NYC anyway. He got to the airport after 1 PM. Several people on that bus missed their flights! There was some confusion on leaving the ship after we left therefore I would urge getting off early. Here's how to do it: on your notice several days before disembarkation to the purser/hotel staff request a pickup at the pier at 9 AM or whenever you want off. They will put you in the first group leaving and when you get to your bag (one of 4000 and all black) you will find it and be on your way before the hoard arrives. The cab lines were poorly organized and didn't flow smoothly even though we got the first cab to Jersey City. Disembarkation is something few cruise lines have figured out. The best was HAL where you stayed in your room till called then proceeded to the lobby area. We were off their ship in 5 minutes and in our car headed home. Overall: Great service, entertainment and therapy pool. Poor food, bingo and ship construction. I wouldn't take this trip again or use Celebrity again until they refurbish their staterooms, offer fresh bread, cookies and desserts and improve their food alot. Holland America has better prices and all the above except maybe entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
It was never more evident to us than when we arrived the advantage of having booked a Suite as the lines were long and people were complaining of how long they were waiting to get on the ship when we arrived. We asked if there was a ... Read More
It was never more evident to us than when we arrived the advantage of having booked a Suite as the lines were long and people were complaining of how long they were waiting to get on the ship when we arrived. We asked if there was a special line for those in a suite and were taken to a different area. Our embarkation was very swift and efficient. We were quickly escorted to our "suite" which was clearly NOT what we anticipated. We had booked a sky suite for our eleven day cruise to New England and Canada, wanting what the brochure promised: a bathtub, lounge chair, sofabed, walk-in closet and bathtub - what we got was a handicap sky suite with a large entry way and a very large shower, two hard-back chairs and a concierge and hotel manager that didn't care. that reflected the kind of service that we received from most of the ship's officers. the ship is extremely well-maintained and there are people working tirelessly to keep it immaculate - the public area is very clear and appealing. the cost of the shore excursions were priced at a fair rate and although we heard complaints, we didn't use the excursions, but did look through them. our stateroom was very well taken care of. we were surprised that although our category cost $2000 more than concierge, we did not receive the fresh flowers daily that the concierge level received and waited five hours for our "butler" to deliver a vase for the flowers we purchased ourselves while in port. the entertainment was excellent and having cirque performers on the ship was a real treat. although celebrity tours their excellence of service, the only place we found service to be very good was in the dining room. we found the buffet staff to be surly and the hotel director to be pompous, arrogant and disinterested. there were many people on the ship in wheel chairs/ with walkers, canes, etc. and they seemed to be able to get around very comfortably. if there were young children on board, they were either extremely well behaved, dined early, or were very well entertained, as we were rarely aware of any. although there was a priest on the ship and daily "friends of bill w" meetings, we were told "no" when asked if we could have a small space to have a memorial (yizkor) service during sukkot because "...jewish people may have one service a week and that is on friday night...as that is the policy of celebrity cruises." we made this request the first day of our cruise (nine days before meeting this space - we have since been in touch with mr. richard fain of celebrity cruises who maintains that this is the cruise line's policy unless arrangements are made prior to sailing. the disembarkation went very smoothly. we had heard wonderful things about celebrity from family and friends. this was our 19th cruise, having been on carnival, crystal, royal caribbean, holland america, and oceania, and we have never found that we have received such poor value. joanie pechenik Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
Our first Celebrity cruise, but we've sailed RCCL and HAL several times. Embarkation at Port Liberty was mass disorganized chaos beginning with the transfer bus driver who lost his way at the port on the drive from Newark Airport and ... Read More
Our first Celebrity cruise, but we've sailed RCCL and HAL several times. Embarkation at Port Liberty was mass disorganized chaos beginning with the transfer bus driver who lost his way at the port on the drive from Newark Airport and who then tried to tell all of us that we had to pay $3 per bag to get our luggage to the ship. After waiting more than 30 minutes, someone came over and pointed the way to walk from the bus to the terminal more than a quarter mile while dodging oncoming foot traffic trying to get to the buses with their luggage. Please note, there were at least 30 wheelchair-bound embarking passengers trying to navigate this obstacle course. The terminal appeared to be a warehouse abandoned from the Revolutionary War. The line to get to the desk employees moved fairly smoothly once you realized that ducking under the ropes was a lot faster than walking back and forth half the length of the warehouse just to please the people who had set out the ropes. After seeing the desk employees we proceeded into the other half of the warehouse to wait for the bus that would deliver us to the ship...no one had thought to give the persons announcing the arrival/departure of buses either a bull horn or a loudspeaker and the announcer ladies all suffered from terminal laryngitis making it almost impossible to know when your assigned number bus was ready to take you to the ship. This was a complete opposite at debarkation which was smoother than silk! The Constellation is a beautiful ship, immaculate to a fault. Champagne upon stepping aboard and elevators dedicated to getting passengers to the buffet rather than luggage to the staterooms. Our balcony cabin was large enough for me and my wife provided that she inhaled when I exhaled. We are neither large nor obese, just average sized. There was sufficient storage space for our clothes and empty luggage. The balcony allowed us breathing room, the shower was spacious enough so that it was unnecessary to soap the walls in order to scrub your sides or back. Our stateroom attendant kept the room and bath area exceptionally clean and with fresh towels at least 3 times each day. She and her assistant knew us by name after the first day and always greeted us by name when we saw them in the hallways. Food service was the finest we have experienced in all our travels! The main dining room food itself was average at best, at times on a par with Denny's/Shoney's, at other times very good. Prime Rib, chateaubriand, filet mignon and rack of lamb were exceptional, lobster and haddock appeared to have been frozen for service during the First World War and nuked to the consistency of Air Jordans. Napoleons and strudel desserts were laughably poor but chocolate desserts were well prepared and tasty. Ice cream was a decent alternative. Breakfast waffles were made to order and delicious, likewise with omelets; the light lunches at the Aqua Spa were perfection. We did not eat in the dining room for either breakfast or lunch. I did however have hot fresh pizza a couple of times when my wife wasn't watching and it was as good as any I'd ever eaten. The library is the best I've ever seen on any ship or at any resort hotel! The Persian Garden at the Spa was well worth the cost and the Thalassotherapy pool was amazingly peaceful and exhilarating when the waves were active. We went to every show and they were very good. The Celebrity singers and dancers keep things lively, the "guest" pianist and magician/comedian were entertaining, the London West End Theatre songstress was over-the-top excellent and the 1/2 hour Cirque de Soliel aerial was utterly unbelievable! I cannot comment on shore excursions as we "do our own thing". The ports were as expected, quite nice allowing us to wander; the weather was sunny perfection everywhere but Quebec where we had windy, drizzly, cool temperatures as might well be expected in October. The Saguenay River cruise was foggy, rainy and whale-less but nonetheless fascinating. All in all our dinner tablemates and the entire staff of the ship made the cruise enjoyable and we booked another Celebrity cruise while aboard the Constellation...hopefully we'll have better embarkation facilities and personnel for the Millenium. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
This was our first trip on Celebrity. It was a mini family reunion with six of us traveling together. The port boarding area was well organized and went very quickly. Although the dock area is very old and tattered looking. As a quick over ... Read More
This was our first trip on Celebrity. It was a mini family reunion with six of us traveling together. The port boarding area was well organized and went very quickly. Although the dock area is very old and tattered looking. As a quick over all we were satisfied with one major exception. We booked a Sky Suite on the ship, and for the dollars spent, the cabin size is smaller than the same type cabin on the Princess Dawn. The problem for my husband, who is 6'4" was the shower/tub combo....HE DID NOT FIT!!!! He could not stand upright in the shower. I am 5'6" and there was only about 4-5 inches of head room. We spoke to everyone we could think of on the ship about this problem but to no avail. It is like "their little secret"....and not a nice one. We have contacted our travel agent who is getting no where with their Celebrity rep. We think that for the $7500 cost of the suite, that Celebrity should be able to do something for us....like a small credit on a future cruise would make us feel somewhat better. But, with the attitude we have seen, cruising with Celebrity will not be an option!! The food on board was good some nights, and average to poor on others. Had it not been for our exceptional wait staff, we would have been bored to tears! The cold soups in the main dining room were wonderfully prepared. We always look forward to the night lobster is served. We were informed that it was not Maine lobster...and it had been previously frozen and then boiled to the consistency of a hockey puck@! The entertainment on board was outstanding!! This was the best we have seen on any of our other cruises. The singers & dancers were exceptional and certainly Broadway quality. The ship "rides" so very well with great stabilizers that make for smooth sailing. Our butler and housekeeping staff were unbelievable! They made the trip for us. The linens were very nice and the bed and pillows very comfortable. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
This was our first cruise on Celebrity, and let me say that although I did not actively participate in the Cruise Critic Roll Call, I did read all their posts and got a lot of great tips from the other passengers' posts that were also ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Celebrity, and let me say that although I did not actively participate in the Cruise Critic Roll Call, I did read all their posts and got a lot of great tips from the other passengers' posts that were also booked on this sailing. Specially Judy & Rod. It was a delight meeting them during the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet. I'm glad I signed up. The Constellation is smaller and older compared to the other vessels I have sailed, but there is a lot of character and elegance about her. Both the exterior and interior are beautifully designed and decorated. I particularly enjoyed the Cova Cafe on the 5th deck where Sasha, Jelkow & Sanya welcomed us every morning with an Espresso and a chocolate. We don't know whether it was Sasha, Jelkow & Sanya, or that delicious chocolate that accompanied our Espresso, that kept my husband and I going back for more! We think both. Definitely both. The cabin was of perfect size. We had an incredible amount of storage space and our 4 luggage bags fit easily under our beds. The balcony was very comfortable and spacious, as well as the bathroom. We were attended by Ninfa and Ravi who were the nicest two you would want to meet. They did an outstanding job with our room and were just wonderful. Like these individuals, there were so many who made our cruise so enjoyable. The itinerary was perfect! We couldn't ask for better weather in Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax, Quebec City or Portland! Sure it was a little cold, but being from South Florida, it was exactly what we were looking forward to. We were so lucky to be there in the peak of the fall foliage! The colors were unlike anything we had seen before! New England was everything we expected and more! The excursions provided by Celebrity were outstanding. We were not disappointed with any of them. We were especially impressed with our full day tour of Quebec City! Our travel guide, Marie was exceptional! Ah! Quebec! Ooh la la! What a city! We definitely plan to go back to Quebec City and spend a few days. The Saguenay River passage was also very beautiful, and it would have been even better had it not been so foggy that day. I believe it was the only day that wasn't crisp and sunny. The tour of the Bridge by Thazos (I'm not sure if I spelled it right, but he was the second officer onboard) was very interesting. He's 23 years old, and he did an incredible job at keeping all of us focused on his explanation of the navigational aspects of the ship, and answering all the questions about the Rolls Royce engine and the pod system. Then dolphins decided to show up and ruined it all! My husband and I were amazed how everyone just left that officer standing to look at dolphins swimming next to the bow! How rude! But then again, we see dolphins all the time here at home. It was certainly a great treat for my husband who enjoys navigating our little vessel at home. I hope it doesn't give him any ideas about upgrading our boat! I would much rather spend it on a cruise! The dining room served up wonderful gourmet meals, but the Oceanliner was exceptional. Kate, the Harpist played beautifully while we enjoyed our delicious meal. I highly recommend the goat cheese soufflE as an appetizer. It is absolutely marvelous! We dined there twice during the cruise. I had a little bit of a problem the first few days. My husband usually depends on me to guide him for lunch venues and activities. I didn't keep my activity sheet handy and was either late for lunch or early for dinner. Forget about activities! When I would remember what was happening, it was too late. I missed it! Every time we arrived at the Windjammer, it was too late for lunch or too early for dinner. Of course, by the time we wanted dinner, it became too late again. For the sake of my marriage and my cruise, I decided to keep the activity sheet in my pocket at all times. I have to tell you I didn't enjoy that. I would have rather the announcements to tell us what was going on. On this ship, there are none. The only difference in the cruises that we have taken in the past is that the average age onboard was about 70. My husband and I are not close to this average yet. On other cruises, we slept when we got home. On this cruise we slept and slept and slept throughout the cruise! I learned to take naps on this cruise. It was a ghost town after 11 pm! Except of course for the Chocolate Buffet night! Also, on previous cruises, passengers (including myself) concentrate on their drinks. On this cruise they concentrate on their books. I have never seen so many people reading together in one space for 11 days in my life! No wonder they have 3 floors of library on this ship! As for me, I was too busy keeping track of my activity sheet to drink. All kidding aside, this was a beautiful cruise and we enjoyed every minute of it! Canada/New England is a wonderful itinerary and should be sailed in the fall by everyone. Our thanks to the wonderful staff onboard who made our stay so pleasant! Special thanks to Cruise Critics, a phenomenal source for cruising! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
New England/Canada on the Constellation from Bayonne NJ - Oct 16th, 2006 Background - We are in our late 50s and this is our 9th cruise. Forgive me for the trivial details. As you will see, my husband and I like to do the ports on our ... Read More
New England/Canada on the Constellation from Bayonne NJ - Oct 16th, 2006 Background - We are in our late 50s and this is our 9th cruise. Forgive me for the trivial details. As you will see, my husband and I like to do the ports on our own and I had a hard time finding any reviews from people who had done the ports on their own. So I've added a lot of detail. Embarkation - We live in NJ about half an hour from the cruise ship terminal so we took a limo. We were dropped off at 12:30. There were only a few people ahead of us on line, although arrivals were in full swing. We got our cruise cards and proceeded to a large waiting area where they offered us water and punch. We proceeded to a shuttle bus to take us to the ship. (I took a 24"l piece of wheeled luggage as a carry on and we had no problem taking this on the shuttle either way). At the ship we were offered juice and champagne. We were told the buffet was open. We were not escorted to our room, but to tell you the truth, I would rather find the room myself then have to wait on line for an escort. As we stepped on the elevator at 1:00 there was an announcement on the loud speaker informing everyone on the ship that the cabins were now open. Our cabin - When we got to the room there was a strong but pleasant smell. My husband is allergic to many perfumes/flowers. Our cabin attendant told us he had just done a good cleaning of the room and it was the cleaning solution. When we returned later Allan said he had recleaned the room and bathroom with water to try to get rid of the smell. The smell was gone by bedtime. This was just a small sample of the impeccable service we received from our cabin stewards. We were in cabin 9017, all the way in the front on the inside. Even though it was an inside cabin our stewards made us feel like king and queen. Since much has been written about the upkeep of the ship, I was concerned with what I would find. I would like to say that I was very happy with the condition of the ship and the cabin. It looked like they had recarpeted all the common areas of the ship. In our room, while the carpeting was worn, I think that was partially from cleaning, because the worn look extended all the way to the wall and into the corners. (I looked for you). I was delighted to have a medium weight blanket with a duvet cover. The white duvet cover smelled nice and clean. We asked Allan for 2 down pillows and they were on our bed the first night. The bed was nice and soft. It had 2 thick mattress pads on it. Whether that is standard or a previous room occupant requested this, I had no complaints. I slept well the whole cruise. We were under the fitness center, but we never heard anything. Nor did we ever hear a sound from the cabins on either side of us, even though it was a connecting cabin. Food - We were fortunate to have main seating for dinner. We had wonderful tablemates and a table on the forth floor near the doors where we could hear ourselves talk. Last year we had a table near the Captains table where we could not hear ourselves think. The food was similar to previous years and I cannot understand how some people cannot find something to their liking. The beef always came properly cooked. The leg of lamb and veal that my husband ordered were so tender, I will try to remember to order these on my next cruise. As usual, there was one night with filet mignon and one night with lobster. My husband had fish many nights. While he did not care for the potato that comes with the fish, he ordered a baked potato. I could find no difference in the food or service between this cruise and my previous 3 cruises on Celebrity. We ate breakfast most mornings in the buffet and a few times in the dining room. There are so many choices in the buffet, including a waffle/pancake bar and omelet stations, it was hard to keep from overeating. At one of our breakfasts we ate with a couple that complained about the hangers in the closet. Now that is getting picky. We are not big lunch eaters. As I do at home, I usually had a salad for lunch. I tried not to gain weight (I was successful). A few times, when I wanted something more, I chose something healthy from the poolside cafe. Day One - We proceeded to have a light lunch, unpack, muster, and sail away with our cruise critic friends at the mast bar. It was beautiful weather and we had a wonderful view of the NY skyline and the Statue of Liberty. We sailed under the Verazanno Narrow Bridge. We enjoyed dinner with our tablemates. I always try to learn something from more experienced cruisers, and we were happy to listen to and share stories of the many places everyone had visited. There was more than enough to keep conversation going for an 11 day cruise. Entertainment - The theatre is extremely comfortable. We went to the main show every night. The shows were similar to those we've seen in the two previous years. We enjoy the production shows as well as all the featured performers and comedians. I think Celebrity did a good job with the entertainers that they chose for this cruise. I don't know if this was special for this cruise, but there was a small Cirque show. The performers got on at Quebec. The show was EXCELLENT. It is amazing that they can do such intricate balancing while the ship moved. Activities - This is the one area were we felt the cruise was lacking. I haven't been on a cruise with 5 sea days before and this was a cruise with 5 sea days in the fall. RCI has to know that sitting outside by the pool is not an option because of the time of year. What a bad decision on Celebrity's part not to have a bridge director. We went to play bridge and the large group of players were grumbling. Note to Celebrity: sending a staff member to hand out cards is not the same as having a duplicate game. I also have to find fault with the movies. Because of a lack of anything else to do I went to 3 afternoon movies and I loved them. The seats in the cinema are comfortable. Some people complained about the age of the movies because they had already seen them on HBO. My complaint was that they had to repeat these movies during the cruise because they did not even have enough movies to have unique movies each sea days. I probably would have gone to a few more movies, since I rarely go to movies at home and this is a treat. While we do not watch tv in the cabin, there were a lot of complaints about them showing the same Bonanza shows repeatedly. The activity sheet was filled with activities that are there to sell you something. I usually don't mind these, but this was a cruise with 5 days at sea. How many times does Celebrity think I will go to the fitness center and see the same lecture (different names) about detox. FYI, I won a metabolism test. It was a 2 minute test and the same 20 minute detox lecture, only this time instead of trying to sell you the metabolism test, they tried to sell some overpriced algae pills. If I had paid the $33 for the metabolism test I would have been very annoyed. I've often gone to the art auction just to hear the art lectures. Even the art auctions on this cruise lacked a lecturer. (If they had lectures it was not in the activity sheet). The library on Connie is wonderful and has a nice variety of books and magazines. I read 3 books on this cruise, a record for me. We spent many hours relaxing by the indoor pool reading. There were no chair hogs on our cruise and we always seemed to be able to find a lounge chair. This was a surprise to me since it was too cold to sit at the outside pool. All this being said about the activities, we managed to find things to do and had a marvelous time. The lack of activities causes me to rate an otherwise excellent cruise as a very good cruise. Ports - We did all the ports on our own and had an excellent time. Mother Nature blessed us with cool, dry weather. Before I left I checked weather.com and many days predicted showers. To all of the out of towners, showers in NJ mean there will probably be a short period of light rain sometime during the day. As you will see from my port review, that is exactly what we got in a few ports. My husband and I love to walk and experience the ambiance of the port cities. Someday when we are not able to walk for hours we will take the excursions. But for now, I find getting out of a tour bus with 40 people and standing listening to a tour guide tedious. I find it harder to stand still in one place for 10 minutes than to walk for an hour. Boston - Our first stop was Boston. We are earlybirds and since I slept like a log on this cruise we were up bright and early. We had breakfast in the buffet, went to our cabin for our coats and umbrellas (Celebrity provides 2 umbrellas in the stateroom) and headed out. There is a Celebrity shuttle - $8 one way to Quincy Market and $12 round trip. We weren't planning on the shuttle because we did not know if we would end our tour at Quincy Market. As it turns out the shuttle starts at 9:30 and it was 8:30 when we got off the ship. This made our decision to take the Silverline bus a no brainer. We walked through the terminal and out to the road. We headed to the left as directed on these boards. There were 2 Silverline buses across the street about 1000 feet away. They left before we got there. But we knew where the bus stop was and we sat down on a bench in front of the building to wait. It was only a 10 minute wait. By then we were joined by 2 other couples. The bus cost is $1.25. We did not have exact change but we put in 3 dollar bills and we got a voucher for the .50. Have the exact change, since it was difficult to redeem the 50 cents in the machines for the return trip. The bus takes you right into South Station so you do not have to pay another fare to use the subway. We asked how to get to Boston Commons. The bus driver told us to take the Red Line Inbound for 2 stops to the Park St. station. It was simple to follow the signs in the station to get to the Red Line Inbound. We had a map of the subway system I had printed from a book from our library. We were able to see what the last stop was on the red line in the direction we were going. For those of you not familiar with subways, the directions in the subway station are often marked with the last stop of the train. This is the first time I had heard the route called inbound or outbound. But when the train arrived in about 2 minutes, it had the last stop of the train in the window and off we went. 2 stops later we were at the visitor center at Boston Commons. We picked up some brochures. The other couples opted for a walking tour with a costumed guide that was starting outside the visitor center that cost $12 each. We had a detailed description of the Freedom Trail and all the points of interest along the way. It was too early to tour the State House, so we continued on our way. We spent a good amount of time in the cemetery. There are many plaques to read around the cemetery that point out the stones of many well known historical figures. Other stops on the Freedom Trail were the Fruenaul Hall (an indoor market), the Holocaust Memorial, a walk through the Italian section of Boston, a tour of Paul Revere's House ($4 each) and the old North Church were we sat and heard about Paul Revere and the church and decided what to do next. Our choice was to continue on across the river to the Constitution, or head back to Quincy Market, the free tour from in front of the Hall and the tour of the State House. We chose the latter. Quincy market is one giant food court. We got drinks and sat for a few minutes. There are 2 additional long buildings on each side of the center Quincy market bldg. with additional shopping. Most of the shops seemed to be the same as in all the malls in NJ and we decided to skip the shopping. I thought there was a free tour from in front of Fruenall Hall. There are lots of benches so we waited near a sign that said meeting place but no one showed up, so we continued on. We went into the visitor center. That is where the tours now start. But the next tour was in half an hour and we chose not to wait. We watched a slide show about Boston History, and headed out to the State House. The free 30 minute State House Tour was well worth the trip back. It is a beautiful building with a gorgeous stained glass ceiling, statues, portraits, and the usual history. We then headed across the park and retraced our steps to the ship. Red Line Outbound, follow signs to Silverline bus to the waterfront. We told the driver where we wanted to get off and he obliged us. It was the same stop we had gotten on. Total cost for bus, tour, drinks $16. If I had to do it over I would have the address and times of the start of the free tour. I had seen the info many times, but I did not have it with me on the trip. Hint: Have an alternate plan for a rainy day. We had a plan for the museums we would like to see and how to get there. Luckily, it only showered for about 10 minutes. Bar Harbor - We had booked the 10:00 Oli's Trolly Tour to Acadia Park over the internet. They did not require a credit card deposit. I was a little concerned about getting off the ship in time since this was a tender port, but there wasn't even a line to get off. We headed down to the theatre as soon as we were ready. We got a ticket for tender 3 and proceeded to the tender. There was another tender at the center of the ship that must have been loading tours, they had a pretty steady stream of traffic. At 9:00 we were in Bar Harbor. There is a building on the dock where they were selling tours. We purchased our tickets to Oli's Trolly. (We had made reservations over the internet). They had added a 10:30 tour that was not listed on their website. We were the only ship in port that day, and the local buses to Acadia Park no longer ran. We walked to the right along the water and took in the houses and the boats. Then we headed to the tour bus. It was an excellent 2.5 hour tour that made 3, 15 minute stops at Cadillac Mountain, Thunder Hole and Jorden(?) Pond House. This was plenty of time to use the bathrooms and take pictures. The narration was continuous. We were very happy with this tour. After the tour we walked down some of the side streets. We had copied a walking tour from a travel book from the library. There are numerous quaint bed and breakfasts. If you like to look at this type of architecture you will like this walk. There were also a few tiny museums, but we skipped these. One was an Indian museum and the other was a whale museum. We headed back towards the ship and walked along the water in the other direction (turn right facing ship). This was a peaceful walk between the houses and the water. At the end of a long walk, there is a path that leads you back to the street. We used instinct and turned right at the street. This eventually took us back to Main Street. I was too tired to shop and I rarely shop on cruises, but as it turned out this looked like the best sale shopping of the trip. A majority of the stores had sale signs in the windows. We returned to the ship for a few hours of relaxation before dinner. Halifax - We had been to Halifax twice before. We had done the Peggy's Cove tour and the Citadel (on our own). We didn't make any plans ahead of time. This turned out to be an overcast day and it rained for a short time. The weather took the tall ship tour (that I had been interested in) off of my to do list. We walked out of the terminal and looked for the free FRED bus stop. We did not see it. It turns out it is slightly to your right on the perpendicular street as you exit the terminal. Look for a long green flag sign on a pole. The bus runs only once every 40 minutes so it is not a very good hop on hop off bus. However, I was hoping to catch it at least once during the day and do the entire route tour. We walked along the harbor to the visitor center. Just as we got there it started to rain, so we spent about 15 minutes browsing through brochures and looking at them while resting on the bench. The maritime museum was nearby, but we've been to several maritime museums before, as well as the Titanic Exhibit at the San Francisco maritime museum and my husband did not want to do this again. What we did want to do again was the tour of the Parliament building. We remember having a tour about 5 years ago. Unfortunately, the tour is now self guided and they have a museum room where we spent some time. We then headed across the street to the church. We looked around and saw one bus load after another of tour groups enter and leave. We went to a shopping area where we saw glass being blown. We found the FRED bus stop by the Maritime Museum, but we gave up waiting after about 10 minutes and headed back towards the ship. We walked around a brewery shopping center. They have tours of the brewery for $16 Canadian dollars. Just as we came out, we saw the FRED bus taking off from across the street. Well now we knew what it looked like. The buses are green like the signs. By now we were almost back to the ship. The terminal building is filled with booth after booth selling tourist type items. We took a short rest on the ship and came back out to the terminal building to look around. There is an information booth in the terminal building and we asked about the Fred bus. They knew exactly when the next bus would come and voila, we finally got our ride around town. This is not a narrated tour, strictly a hop on hop off bus. The driver waited for a few minutes at the Citadel to give people a chance to take pictures. Because this bus runs so infrequently, it is a very unreliable method of transportation. We saw a woman with two children getting off at the Maritime Museum and asking about the bus schedule. Because of the late time in the afternoon, we were very concerned that she did not have time to see the museum, wait for the bus to return, and finish the rest of the 40 minute loop. We hoped she caught a taxi back to the ship. There is also an Ellis Island type museum attached to the terminal building. We had visited this on one of our previous stops in Halifax and it was interesting and worth the stop. Quebec - Quebec is a wonderful city. We were in the buffet area as we docked. You see the wonderful Hotel in the old city overlooking the port. It was a chilly day and we bundled up with hats, gloves and scarves. But the sun was out and we were happy for that. We decided to do the old city first, and walked a few blocks to the funicular. We spent hours just walking around in the upper city. We walked for a short time along the wall and looked down at the harbor. We then entered the upper city. We decided to save a visit to the Hotel for later, but somehow we never got there. We went to the Visitor Center where they were selling tours. The only tour that interested me was to the falls, but there were only comprehensive tours that included the falls. Since it was chilly, we decided to skip this. As it turned out, people who took the ships tours that included the falls were not allowed to walk on the bridge because of time limitations. We followed a walking tour we had gotten from a tour book from the library. The architecture is just fascinating. The one site we would have like to visit was the barracks and museum which were closed on Sunday. Everything else appeared to be open. We visited a little museum where they reenacted the battles. We went upstairs looking at the exhibits. But when we saw the theatre with a reenactment that looked like they would be using toy soldiers, we decided to skip that. We also just missed the IMAX movie and we decided not to wait. Fortunately, every building in Quebec was interesting and we did not feel like we were missing anything. We walked down a small street which was lined with art vendors. We then walked down to the lower village which has lots of touristy stores. The shopping area has wonderful ambiance and it was fun to walk down the street and take pictures. We returned to the ship for an hour rest. Then we headed out again, this time to do some antique window shopping. On the way back, we wandered into a courtyard and found ourselves in the Museum of Civilization. That had been one of the places on our things to do if it rained list. The person at the desk enticed us to come in with half price tickets since it was an hour before closing. We spent an hour in the museum. It was not nearly as interesting as being out on the street. It was now 5 o'clock. We returned to the shopping street to take some pictures as daylight faded and the stores lit up. Then we headed back to the ship for dinner and show. Cruising the Saguney River - I'm an early riser. I left some clothes out so I could slip out early if I was up before my husband. Right on schedule, I woke up at 6 o'clock. So I slipped out only to realize it is pitch black at 6 o'clock. I should have known that. Not only was it dark, but once it got light out it was very foggy. So that morning was pretty much a bust as far as scenery. But we spent a relaxing morning reading on a deck chair and chatting with our fellow cruisers. Portland - The last stop was Portland. Since we had to go through immigration, they gave us a time to come down to leave the ship. They gave us a time of 11:30. Way too late for me. So we went down at 9:00. There were already long lines. We got on line and waited. Once immigration got there, the lines moved at a steady pace. I am guessing we were off the ship by 10:00. There was a $5.00 hop-on-hop off bus at the entrance to the terminal. We had a walking route mapped out. We decided to go to Victoria Mansion, and we wanted to get there before the excursions. We walked past a statue of John Ford and plaques commemorating the movies he had directed. We got to the Mansion and had a private tour with one other couple. Halfway through our tour, the bus groups arrived. They got their tours in groups of 40. This was a very interesting tour with a lot of rooms to see and a lot to hear about. We headed to the center of town. We visited the LL Bean outlet store like everyone else on the cruise ship. We then went to the Longfellow house. The tour here was very interesting. It was more interesting than I thought it would be. The tour price included the entrance fee to the history museum next door. We spent 15 minutes here, rested for a while and headed back to the ship. We walked back to the ship a different way than we came, and stopped in some stores on the way back. Debarkation was smooth and right on schedule. We found our luggage and called the limo for pickup. He arrived about 5 minutes later. We sadly said goodbye. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
Embarkation: We arrived at Cape Liberty around 1130 am. I was actually quite surprised at just how makeshift the cruise terminal was. As compared to the facilities in Red Hook or even New York City, it seemed almost as though they took an ... Read More
Embarkation: We arrived at Cape Liberty around 1130 am. I was actually quite surprised at just how makeshift the cruise terminal was. As compared to the facilities in Red Hook or even New York City, it seemed almost as though they took an old cargo terminal (which is what I believe they did), put up some new signs and created a cruise terminal. In any case, check-in procedures were handled with a minimum of effort and before long, we were directed to the waiting area to await embarkation. Being physically challenged, I was put on one of the first buses to the ship. Incidentally, the staff at Cape Liberty handled the embarkation needs of special needs passengers well. My only observation is that, not being a wheelchair user, but having requested one at embarkation, there was a short wait once we got to the ship for them to escort us aboard. Once this was sorted out however, it was smooth sailing for the next two weeks. Upon boarding, we were told that the staterooms would not be ready until about 1:30pm, so we proceeded to Deck 10 for lunch. While the embarkation buffet consisted of most of the usual selections, the quality was definitely, several cuts above average. Another thing which seemed to set this first meal apart, was Celebrity's attention to detail. Not only were the trays lined with linen napkins, but there were ample staff members to assist with carrying trays. Stateroom - Initially upon getting my cabin assignment, I was concerned at the location, Deck 9 forward. However, upon entering cabin 9018 my concerns dissipated. The cabin was very comfortable, with the beds configured as twins as requested. I did notice however, that closet space was not as abundant as on the Crown Princess, which I sailed on earlier this year. However, our cabin steward, Allan, quickly offered to store our empty suitcases for us to give us more room in the cabin. Also, as I am mobility impaired (I walk with crutches and braces, however have never found the need to request an accessible cabin), I require a stool for the shower. Here again, Allan quick complied with my request, as well as making sure that our cabin was well kept and our needs met for the rest of the voyage. Having seen our home for the next two weeks, it was now time to go explore! Public Areas - My first impression in seeing the public spaces on board Constellation, is that they are elegant and understated, with less of the flash and glitz found on other lines. One of our first orders of business was to try to change our dining room seating. We had initially been given late seating, but as we do not like eating dinner late, asked to be switched to early seating. A quick visit to the Rendez-Vous Lounge was all it took to deal with this. Again, the general impression I got was that the staff took pride in providing service which was effortless and unassuming. With this taken care of we went to make reservations at The Ocean Liners Restaurant for one evening later in the voyage. We then walked around for a while trying to familiarize ourselves with various lounges and public spaces. My first impression was that Constellation was indeed a well planned out ship whose public spaces and passenger flow allowed one to quickly become comfortable. Next we returned to our stateroom to see if our luggage had arrived, which indeed it had. After some unpacking, it was time to proceed to the Celebrity Theatre for the muster drill. Here again, the staff of the Constellation excelled, quickly directing us to the section toward the entrance of the theatre which is reserved for physically challenged guests, thus alleviating the need for climbing down stairs. Surprisingly, when it was time to go out on deck to where the boats would actually be lowered in the event of an emergency, we were directed by a staff member to return to our cabin, as they said it was not necessary for us to stand out on deck. This being the case, we returned to our stateroom to dress for dinner. Dining: The first night of any cruise can be intimidating in terms of meeting the people who will be your dining companions for the rest of the trip. Upon entering the beautiful San Marco Dining Room, my trepidation was almost immediately relieved. We were greeted warmly by our servers, Bernard and Pauline, two of the best, most professional wait staff I have ever had on any cruise. Not only was no request too small, but they always provided menu suggestions which were right on the money. As for our tablemates, sometimes you just get lucky, and in this case we couldn't have been luckier! We immediately hit it off with June and John from Scotland, and Betty, Caroline and Kay from England. Over the next two weeks, we would share many travel stories and laughs and hopefully we will stay in touch for a long time to come. In terms of quality, the food was consistently excellent. Standout dishes included the rack of lamb, veal chop and the osso buco, but truthfully , I cannot say that we had a dinner which wasa disappointing (and we like well prepared food and eat out a lot at home). Breakfasts and lunches we mostly ate at the buffet and found the daily offerings there to be quite good. I especially enjoyed the waffles at breakfast and the pasta at lunch. I did feel that Princess and Royal Caribbean had an edge when it came to pizza, but to me, that was a small detail. Our one dinner in Ocean Liners, was what I would imagine dining was like on the great ships of yesteryear, was a very fancy affair. We shared this meal with our tablemates from the dining room John and June and had a very pleasant experience. Standout dishes included the goat cheese souffle, the lobster and scallop entree and of course, the chocolate souffle for dessert. Activities: I am a huge trivia fan, so I really enjoyed participating the various contests offered. The cruise director's staff did an excellent job of getting everyone involved. One standout for me was the Battle of the Sexes, in which the guys were pitted against the gals for a battle of wits. Suffice it to say, the fur flew a few times and a good time was had by all. Entertainment: The nighttime entertainment was on a whole very good. However, I did not feel that the production shows were quite up to the level of Royal Caribbean or Disney. Standouts were Elliott Finkle and Dominique Ava. But on a whole all of the nighttime entertainment was of a very high caliber. After the shows, we generally headed to Michael's club to hear the musical stylings and comedic antics of Perry Grant. While we found him to be very entertaining and funny, I understand that he is not everyone's cup of tea. Note to Celebrity, on future newbuilds, make Michael's Pub, a larger space with more seating, as getting a seat was a problem most nights. Ports: The itinerary provided an interesting mix and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the weather was much warmer than expected on our late September sailing. Newport - As my mother's cousin lives about an hour from Newport we did not do any excursion here. She met us when we disembarked and drove us around on our own self guided tour. Later we some shopping and then caught what we thought was the last tender back to the ship. Bar Harbor - Here we took a half day excursion to Acadia National Park which provided us with some beautiful views and amazing scenery. Upon returning to the pier area, we had lunch in town and did some shopping. Quebec City - As this was a long port call we had many options. The first day, we took a full day tour of Old and New Quebec, which provided us with an amazing overview of all that Quebec has to offer. The only downside to the tour was lunch at a local restaurant which consisted of rubber chicken, however this was to me a minor detail. The tour ended with a visit to beautiful Montmorency Falls. The next day, we spent the entire day walking around Old Quebec with our new friends, John and June. As the gangway was quite long and steep I asked to use one of the ships wheelchairs to disembark. Not only did the staff of the Constellation comply with my request, but a staff member wheeled me off the ship and halfway into town! Halifax - We took a half day tour to Peggy's Cove. Along the way our guide provided us with the history of the area as well as tales of the sinking of the Titanic and how many of its passengers are buried in Halifax, and also of the tragic crash of Swissair 111 and how the people of Halifax rallied to assist in the recovery efforts. Portland - This was a very special port call for me, as I had arranged to meet my best friend from first grade, who now lives in Maine. We spent the first part of the morning walking around town and then my friend picked us up and drove us a short distance outside Portland to a little seafood restaurant, where we ate lunch alfresco, with the ocean so close you could almost touch it. I have never had such sweet lobster in all my life! Boston - We started the day with a two hour city tour, which thankfully was by motorcoach as, for the first time this trip the weather turned misty and rainy. Later, we met up with John and June at Quincy Market and did some last minute shopping. Then it was back to the Constellation for lunch. Disembarkation: As usual, a very early morning. We decided to meet John and June in the San Marco for breakfast as we wanted one more meal of being pampered by Bernard. However, at the last minute, he was needed upstairs so we just enjoyed one last breakfast with our new friends. We then proceeded to Rendez-Vous lounge to await disembarkation. Once ashore, we found our luggage fairly quickly and proceeded through customs and found our car service waiting for us. In conclusion, while this was my first sailing with Celebrity, it will most certainly not be my last. Hats off to Celebrity and the staff and crew of the Constellation for a memorable voyage and a job well done!!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
CONSTELLATION 10 OCT 07 We decided to book a 'special' cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, so the Constellation came to mind as we had sailed with her in 2006 through the Baltic ports. Our agent said that ... Read More
CONSTELLATION 10 OCT 07 We decided to book a 'special' cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, so the Constellation came to mind as we had sailed with her in 2006 through the Baltic ports. Our agent said that Celebrity usually provide little extras for such an occasion but that they needed a copy of our Marriage Certificate for authentication. We booked and sent the certificate. The Itinerary was very interesting: - New York; Newport; Portland; Bar Harbour; Halifax; Quebec; Saguenay River; Charlottetown; Boston; New York. Celebrity arranged the flight with Continental, the pre-cruise night at the Sheraton Newark Airport and the dayroom at Daintree, post cruise. Our flight from Manchester UK to Newark with Continental was good but the Sheraton was a let-down as the room seemed tired, with a smoke detector hanging by it's wires from the wall and a bathroom door that didn't close. The public areas were being refurbished and this reduced the facilities. Nowhere near worthy of 5 star cruise clients. Embarkation was a superbly smooth operation and we were soon in the comfort of our Concierge stateroom, which was excellently presented and had a good balcony. As we sailed out of Liberty Cruise Port the rain was lashing down but we in luxury and 'cared not a jot'. The rain had cleared by our arrival in Newport and the beautiful little town was excellent. Portland didn't seem to have a lot to offer but then, it was raining hard and very windy. As we progressed the weather improved and became colder but the sun came out. Rather than bore you we summarize by saying--- We had a great, memorable time in the rest of the ports of call. The Quebec and Boston being the most enjoyable ones. Throughout the cruise we found all the staff highly competent and friendly. Our Stateroom (8112) attendant Andrew, from Goa, was perfect in the way he did his job with efficiency and reserve. Our Waiter on table 433, Marius from Rumania was exceptionally proficient, accommodating and very friendly without being over familiar. Apart from the Ocean Liners restaurant, which is definitely five-star in the ambience, presentation, food, and service, we found the food in the other catering areas lacking in flavor and variation. During Breakfast and Lunchtimes the casual Dining on deck ten aft always seemed to be a tense scramble for the food and tables. The entertainment was poor in relation to other cruises we have been on before (15) and even on the same ship on the Baltic. The shows and dancers were very professional and the costumes and scenery, including lighting, inventive, but we only had these on 2 nights, the orchestra was very talented and versatile. The other acts we below par and the type that normally appear between acts. The entertainers in the Bars and Lounges were unimpressive. Perry in Michael's Club is fascinating with his 'over-the-top' repartee and songs but is maybe worthy of a larger venue because his popularity which makes getting a seat virtually impossible. The Bar At The End Of the Earth (level 11) was about 2-star standard and shabby. The Photographers were far too intrusive and pushy, which was reminiscent of Timeshare Salesmen. In the Computer Class on level six was a very tranquil, knowledgeable Tutor, Isabelle from the Philippines who was charming and modest. On our Wedding Anniversary day Celebrity delivered an inexpensive bottle of Asti Spumanti sparkling wine to our cabin, which was surprising and underwhelming, particularly with their early request for our marriage proof! We did enjoy our special day very much however in Charlottetown for several hours and a meal in Ocean Liners contributed to the occasion. At disembarkation there was again an efficient, smooth dockside operation but unfortunately one of our cases was dropped overboard into the drink along with another four. The Daintree Newark Airport Hotel was much better than the Sheraton and our flight home from Newark was as good as an overnight 6 hour flight could be. Lesson learned Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2007
This is a review adjusted after reconsideration a few months later CONSTELLATION 10 OCT 07 We decided to book a 'special' cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, so the Constellation came to mind as we had sailed with ... Read More
This is a review adjusted after reconsideration a few months later CONSTELLATION 10 OCT 07 We decided to book a 'special' cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, so the Constellation came to mind as we had sailed with her in 2006 through the Baltic ports. Our agent, Cruiseline, said that Celebrity usually provide little extras for such an occasion but that they needed a copy of our Marriage Certificate for authentication. We booked and sent the certificate. The Itinerary was very interesting: - New York; Newport; Portland; Bar Harbour; Halifax; Quebec; Saguenay River; Charlottetown; Boston; New York. Celebrity arranged the flight with Continental, the pre-cruise night at the Sheraton Newark Airport and the dayroom at Daintree, post cruise. Our flight from Manchester UK to Newark with Continental was good but the Sheraton was a let-down as the room seemed tired, with a smoke detector hanging by it's wires from the wall and a bathroom door that didn't close. The public areas were being refurbished and this reduced the facilities. Nowhere near suitable for 5 star cruise clients. Embarkation was a superbly smooth operation and we were soon in the comfort of our Concierge stateroom, which was excellently presented and had a good balcony. As we sailed out of Liberty Cruise Port the rain was lashing down but we in luxury and 'cared not a jot'. The rain had cleared by our arrival in Newport and the beautiful little town was excellent. Portland didn't seem to have a lot to offer but then, it was raining hard and very windy. As we progressed the weather improved and became colder but the sun came out. Rather than bore you I summarize by saying--- We had a great, memorable time in the rest of the ports of call. Quebec and Boston and Newport being the most enjoyable. Throughout the cruise we found all the staff highly competent and friendly. Our Stateroom (8112) attendant Andrew, from Goa, was perfect in the way he did his job with efficiency and reserve. Our Waiter on table 433, Marius from Rumania was exceptionally proficient, accommodating and very friendly without being over familiar. Apart from the Ocean Liners restaurant, which is definitely five-star in the ambience, presentation, food, and service, we found the food in the other catering areas lacking in flavor and variation. During Breakfast and Lunchtimes the casual Dining on deck ten aft always seemed to be a tense scramble for the food and tables. The entertainment was poor in relation to other cruises we have been on before (15) and even on the same ship on the Baltic. The shows and dancers were very professional and the costumes and scenery, including lighting, inventive, but we only had these on 2 nights, the orchestra was very talented and versatile. The other acts we below par and the type that normally appear between acts. The entertainers in the Bars and Lounges were unimpressive. Perry in Michael's Club is fascinating with his 'over-the-top' repartee and songs but is maybe worthy of a larger venue because his popularity which makes getting a seat virtually impossible. The Bar At The End Of the Earth (level 11) was about 2-star standard and shabby. Midway through the cruise the brilliant chrome surfaces throughout the ship were wiped over with what appeared to be dirty cloths, which left a dried globular effect. The general glitzy 'five star' rating was destroyed. Surly there is a more aesthetic solution! The self-service food began to be served by the staff in all restaurants and they started pushing the hand sterilization wipes onto us. The Library was locked. We gathered (were not informed) that there was a virus aboard, hence the mess. This made is aware of the ship's general ambience and we realized that a major proportion of passengers seemed to be old, using walking sticks, zimmer frames or wheelchairs. The cruise had the feel of a Care Home. I have lots of sympathy for people in that situation but it's not exactly conducive to the image expected on a luxury five-star cruise. The Photographers were far too intrusive and pushy, which was reminiscent of Timeshare Sales tactics. The addition of 15% service charge and Tax on everything, except breathing, seemed a way of Celebrity extracting more money out of passengers who had already paid and couldn't argue. Rip off. In the Computer Class on level six was a very tranquil, knowledgeable Tutor, Isabelle from the Philippines who was charming and modest. The internet charges are appalling. On our Wedding Anniversary day Celebrity delivered an inexpensive bottle of Asti Spumanti sparkling wine, donated to our cabin, which was surprising and underwhelming, particularly with their early request for proof of our marriage! We did enjoy our special day very much however in Charlottetown for several hours and a meal in Ocean Liners contributed to the occasion. At disembarkation there was again an efficient, smooth dockside operation but unfortunately one of our cases was one of four that they managed to tip overboard into the drink. The Daintree Newark Airport Hotel was much better than the Sheraton but still shabby and our flight home from Newark was as good as an overnight 6 hour flight could be. Lesson learned Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
We arrived at Newark a day early and spent the night at the Marriott, great hotel. Next day, we took a shuttle ($14 p.p.)to Port Liberty for embarkation. From the airport to cabin was 45 minutes! We had cabin 6144 and loved it. Huge ... Read More
We arrived at Newark a day early and spent the night at the Marriott, great hotel. Next day, we took a shuttle ($14 p.p.)to Port Liberty for embarkation. From the airport to cabin was 45 minutes! We had cabin 6144 and loved it. Huge balcony and a wonderful guy named Seby watching over us the entire trip. He brought us sandwiches and cheese platters every day at 430pm and kept the room spotless. The Connie looked exactly as she did in January, clean and well maintained. The staff everywhere bent over backwards to make us feel welcome, so the trip started out well. We passed the Statue of Liberty on the way out but did not get too close. We ate at a table for 8, all very friendly people about the same age group. The food on the cruise was WONDERFUL, a huge improvement from January. We were told the executive chef from the Infinity was now on board. Our waiter, Savas, was a real pro. Nothing got by him and he watched over us like a mother hen. Often, he brought extra vegetables and desserts. We were invited to the Captain Papanikilauo's table the 2nd night of the cruise. He is amazing, funny and warm and just so friendly. We had a great time and he invited all of us up to the bridge for a tour. We also met Jennifer Prince, the Captain's Club Hostess. She, too, was extremely friendly and warm. We stopped by to say hello often during the cruise. Our ports of call were as follows: Newport, did the mansion tours, easy to navigate on the shuttles, beautiful town. Portland, rained all day but had a great time at the Museum of Art and lobsta at J"s on the pier. Bar Harbour, great little town to walk and shop, took the tour to Acadia on Olies Trolleys. Halifax, docked close to town, walked to Maritime Museum (great)and they have a free shuttle named FRED, lots of shops. Quebec City, incredible, must see town! We were there two days, there is so much to see, the Fortenay Hotel and Old Town. WOW! Then on to the Saguenay River, where we saw beluga, fin and mieke whales and a fabulous viewing of the statue of Mary, accompanied by Ave Maria by three singing artists. The Captain made sure everybody saw her by turning the ship in a full circle! Then on to Charlottetown, P.E.I., where many people went on the Anne of Green Gables Tour. We have friends there so we took a private tour with them, it is a really beautiful place. Last stop was Boston, on game 7 day of the playoffs! We took the subway from south station and walked the Freedom Trail then shopped on Newbury Street in Beacon Hill. Finally home (sob) but had a fabulous time. Only bad thing was the virus that reared its' ugly head after Bar Harbour and promptly spread. The crew washed down everything for the last 5 days of the cruise. Overall, this was the best Celebrity cruise we have taken. I am an elite member, so I have taken a few...not to mention many other cruise lines. Celebrity continues to shine in so many areas, we are going back soon on Azamara on a Med. itinerary. I would be happy to share the answers I know to any questions. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
This was our tenth cruise. Travel to and from the port of embarkation via United Airlines from Seattle was on time and the luggage made it both directions. The ship was ready for boarding at 1:00PM and the entire boarding process took ... Read More
This was our tenth cruise. Travel to and from the port of embarkation via United Airlines from Seattle was on time and the luggage made it both directions. The ship was ready for boarding at 1:00PM and the entire boarding process took about fifteen minutes. The ship was very clean and the cabin steward and his assistant were the best we have ever encountered. We did not use any of the ship excursions as our travel agent took the same cruise a year ago and suggested great alternatives. We had the second dining seating and were not pleased with the food selections, quality, or service (the food was usually only warm, not hot). Sometimes even the soup was cold! Midway through the cruise we discovered the evening casual dining option. This meal is served on deck 10 aft on the port side. You must call for a reservation daily, they only take a very few guests. You give a minimum two dollar tip per guest to the servers and order off a menu. The food was excellent, hot and the service was great. If you have the second seating your show is sometimes at 11:00 PM (three times during the cruise), a little late for most of the guests. We were not pleased with most of the shows in the Celebrity Theater. One night they had a technical glitch and had to cancel the entire show, another night they showed a movie in the Celebrity Theater (after showing the same movie for two days in the Cinema). We considered the shows to be third rate at best, silly, immature, loaded with body function and bathroom humor. In thirteen nights there were three shows worth seeing, a magician, a great ventriloquist and two gymnasts / ballet dancers. The music at the various venues was very good. The final five days of the cruise the ship was under a "Norwalk Virus Alert". This made eating the breakfast and lunch buffet a real challenge. Demarcation was poorly handled! In an effort to empty the staterooms early, everyone was herded into their demarcation location at the same time. The ship was without CNN most of the trip! They had a lame excuse about the ships stack obstructing the antenna; I can't believe that they only had one satellite antenna. We have a Motor Home and are able to get CNN anywhere in the US or Canada!. This was a big issue because we had many guests from California and the fires were raging. They certainly were able to connect you to the internet 100 percent of the time(at a hefty price). On a one to ten scale we would rate this cruise at about a six. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
We have a long history of cruising & boating. I was introduced to cruising by my grandparents & then went over to spend my Jr Yr in Italy on the Cristoforo Columbo, a voyage marked by so much turbulence that people were crying out ... Read More
We have a long history of cruising & boating. I was introduced to cruising by my grandparents & then went over to spend my Jr Yr in Italy on the Cristoforo Columbo, a voyage marked by so much turbulence that people were crying out "remember the Andria Doria". Part of our honeymoon was spent on two different (that part was unplanned) Italian line ships to Istanbul, Cyprus, Beirut & Egypt. And we took one of the old mail ships up the coast of Norway over 20 years ago. And then we've cruised on the more conventional ships: a couple of HAL, NCL & this year a wonderful first experience on Oceania's Nautica. We have 2 long cruises planned for '08, one on Oceania. As a break before the intensity of the Holidays we decided to try Celebrity. We had heard good things & were not up to the hassle of flying-or rather airports. Embarking was relatively easy-some delays due to norovirus cleaning-but pleasant enough.Our cabin was a definite "wow" (FV7202). It had a long hallway into a bedroom & large sitting area (obviously intended for a family of 4-5) & because of its configuration & location there was no hallway or other noise. The cabin had an extremely large deck with chaises, chairs & tables-with oodles of room left over. The closets & storage were, consequently, lavish for 2 people. Our stewards were just OK. On 1 occasion dirty pillowcases were left in the room. The cakes of soap were never changed-& since I had some in my luggage I didn't bother asking. Towel distribution was stingy...no extra washclothes or largetowels as we've grown accustomed to on other lines. Some of the towels were on the threadbare side. I read the brochure about saving the ocean...probably single ply bath tissue would be more effective. Speaking of threadbare, we were surprised to note that carpet seams were unraveling in several spots on the ship including the foyer in front of the elevators on Deck #7. Most of the food in the Dining Room was quite good. The soups were certainly an exception. They were cold, unseasoned & institutional. The desserts, for the most part were uninspired & what one would find in large commercial buffet restaurants on shore. This cruise may have been a training session for some of the wait staff. The first night we were on the 5th floor seated behind the Maitre'D's podium & the service galley. A location known as "Siberia" in NYC eateries, all it lacked was immediate access to a constant flow of restroom traffic. At any rate, we were privy to a steady stream of passengers irate about the service or insisting on different tables, different waiters etc. Hardly the quiet table for 2 that we had faxed in as our request! Our waiters were pleasant enough, if rarely in attendance. I had a steak knife on my bread & butter plate, the wrong meals were served service for food &drinks was abysmally drawn out & bungling (although the staff was pleasant) rather than gracious, leisurely dining. Alex, the Maitre'D was extremely accommodating to everyone & he was lovely to us. The following evening we found ourselves moved to the 4th floor (deck)-table #488 I think & he came by numerous times throughout the trip to check up on us.Our waiter, "Putra &"Casper" were top-notch professionals on a par with the wait staff at the finest NYC restaurants. Putra noticed that we had enjoyed the escargot & took it upon himself to order it for us several times after that. And after the first meal with them we found a plate of sliced lemons, hot green tea & an iced tea waiting for us at every dinner. Both were generous with their recommendations. The main Dining Room was closed for lunch most days in port. Ordinarily, on other ships this wouldn't be an issue. However, the 10th floor "buffet" is more akin to a large institutional cafeteria with an ocean view. Substantial "mulling about" is required to assay the lay of the land. And then there is no wait staff easily accessible from whom to order drinks. I heard one passenger's request greeted with "you'll have to wait" & another who was told " I'll get to it but it'll be awhile". And it was. Hardly the hallmarks of a high class operation. The Sushi bar was well run & a great place for cocktail hour. The buffet breakfast is also available on the 10th floor & serves breakfast later than the main Dining Room. The waffles are, as advertised, wonderful. The gentleman who mans the custom omelet station seems to delight in each of his creations. However, there is only one person manning a station-& only 2 omelets can be made at a time. We've been on ships a third the size that have 4 burners going. And, peculiarly, there could be a crowd of folks waiting-behind staff personnel, using the same small operation rather than having their own station & this added to the congestion. We've not encountered this set-up on other lines. Bizarre. We planned all our shore excursions & had no problem with the tenders although we did hear some grumbling. Perhaps it depended on the excursions.The people manning the customer service desk were very nice.Tripto Acadia Natl Park was headed by a woman named "Heather" who had worked for the Natl Parks Dept. She was super. I think about 2 dozen other passengers from the ship also utilized this company. It was a block from the ship & cost $25-or $20 with a discount coupon, AAA card etc. The trip to Prince Edward Island was called off due to inclement weather. It would have been gracious for the cruise line to offer passengers a free cocktail or a free pay-for-view film in the cabin since there was no refund of port taxes. This was a missed opportunity & casts a company as ordinary rather than exceptional. We looked forward to the "razzle-dazzle" entertainment that large lines provide...& were underwhelmed. The productions were too loud, there were equipment breakdowns & sophomoric & amateurish is the only way to describe some of the offerings. A notable exception was the singer, raconteur & entertainer Perry Grant. He was consistently super. The idea of the setting-a Pub- was perfect, designed to maintain the illusion of intimacy. His popularity, however, overwhelmed the facility with the result that folks were packed in. There was standing room only with overflow into the halls. The card game room-nice enough although three of the recessed light were out for several days-but half the size of ships that accommodate half to a third the capacity of the Constellation. Card Room seemed something of a misnomer since there were never cards available. Even though Bridge was noted on the daily schedule it was necessary to call down every time to have cards delivered. There was no pitcher of iced tea or water as on other lines & when people complained that the room had non-bridge players during that time making it unavailable for those who had arrived to play who then either left or huddled around small bar table elsewhere the answer was amazing: one could contact Headquarters in Miami on return to inform them . This was a seemingly pat refrain often repeated in response to the most mundane issues. I guess that a staff's willingness & ability to be proactive about matters effecting passenger enjoyment flows from the top & is also the hallmark of a great rather than ordinary company. We heard that phrase when someone complained on a "formal" night about a passenger who arrived in shorts (Bermudas) & a tee shirt & another who came in chinos & a flannel shirt (no tie). Now I know that it's a hassle to pack fancy duds when you have to fly-& if you don't want to "get with the program" then dine in one of the more casual venues. The literature and the daily bulletin ask that you comply so as not to disturb the "ambiance". It then falls on the staff at the door to gently remind erring passengers to comply-or to dine elsewhere on the ship. Similarly, there were complaints about toddlers in the Thallassotherapy pool, despite signs to the contrary-and people were saying that they were told to contact Miami when they returned. As a business woman I know that this response is alienating & counts on people not bothering to follow through . On the other hand one reason they may not follow through is because they've decided to take their business elsewhere... We always have a good time (at the very least). The trip was Okay-some aspects, our cabin, folks we met big plusses. However, I suspect that we'll not choose to go on Celebrity again (although we've heard that some of the line's ships are better) because this seems like a "settle"-good but not great & not nearly as good as other ship experiences we've had. Of course this could change if they offer a knock-out itinerary that we can't get elsewhere...and i think we'd try a line we hadn't been on before we'd return to Celebrity. Our last trip which was on Oceania had it all over this one when it came to food, service & attitude. On the other hand they didn't have Perry Grant... Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
This is our third cruise with Celebrity. We were overall pleased with the experience. Embarkation was terrible. 20 minute bus ride turned to 2 hours as we could not get off till other busses unloaded. When it was our turn the luggage had ... Read More
This is our third cruise with Celebrity. We were overall pleased with the experience. Embarkation was terrible. 20 minute bus ride turned to 2 hours as we could not get off till other busses unloaded. When it was our turn the luggage had to come off first then we had to identify the luggage, even thought we just id the luggage when we boarded the bus from the hotel. Food was good, entertainment was good. Cabin steward was the best we have ever had. Waiter was ok, not very chatty or interactive as we have had in the past. Asst waiter was very good. Waiter either overlooked our travelling companion's order or delivered the wrong order. Wine steward was just terrible. When he charged wrong to our account he never acknowledged nor apologized and if we had not caught the error we would have been charged for a duplicate bottle of wine and another person's drink. Officer's were very unfriendly and only responded if you spoke first and then it was a curt response and the captain never acknowledged hello's. Ports were the best we have every seen and we have been on 10 plus cruises. New England and Canada were wonderful. Our experience the previous year on the sister ship Infinity was much better than this experience, at least with the cruise staff. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
This cruise was our 10th cruise in nine years, and our second on Celebrity. The itinerary was excellent, and the weather was good except for one day. Celebrity works very hard to assure its guest of a good experience. The cabin staff and ... Read More
This cruise was our 10th cruise in nine years, and our second on Celebrity. The itinerary was excellent, and the weather was good except for one day. Celebrity works very hard to assure its guest of a good experience. The cabin staff and dining staff was outstanding. A lot of the usual activities were offered...with the usual terrible jokes at Bingo and over-active young ladies playing cutesy until it made you gag. The ship has an indoor pool...but we missed the reversible cover over the large pool area..particularly with 59 degree daily temperatures. The majority of shows were good. We would rate dinner meals B+ and the breakfast and lunch offerings..C-. The kitchen produced the worst soup I have ever had on a cruise i.e. 'Old time vegetable soup' with pureed vegetables, corn chowder...milky with no flavoring, asparagus soup...watery and no body, etc,etc,I almost forgot..tomato and vegetable pureed. We never saw a true slice of cake or pie....all were baked on sheet pans and sliced in squares. Never had a cruise run out of orange juice and iced tea before the cruise ended. All the room called suites....are so small one one person can pass between the bed and the wall. A real ripoff. They brag that their staff is from all over the world...but never mention that less than 40% can speak English. Goodbye Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
Third sailing with Celebrity, 2nd on Constellation. First experience with Cape Liberty. Looks like a war zone. Port Authority of NY/NJ supplied the oldest buses for the short trip to the ship from the check in desk. Buses do not have steps ... Read More
Third sailing with Celebrity, 2nd on Constellation. First experience with Cape Liberty. Looks like a war zone. Port Authority of NY/NJ supplied the oldest buses for the short trip to the ship from the check in desk. Buses do not have steps that descend (unless you are on the handicapped bus) so getting on and off is like climbing Mt. Everest with all your gear. Worst part of the whole experience is the boarding and leaving via Cape Liberty. Outside cabin for 3 adults doesn't give you a whole lot of space when the folding couch is opened. Still nursing all the black & blues from that couch! Cabin attendant was right on the mark with any requests we made. The one and only time we used Room Service was a disaster. We had to call after 1/2 hr. only to find that they "lost" our order. When it arrived, the individual pizzas were barely cooked, the coffee was like mud -- just horrible. Never again did we do Room Service! Buffet area was good for breakfast and lunch. First days of the cruise we were in "lockdown" due to some ill passengers who were confined to their cabins. Nothing was on the tables and everything was served to us. Sanitary wipes and Purell were in abundance throughout the ship. Every precaution was taken by the crew to prevent the spread of an outbreak during the voyage. Ports were good. Not many passengers took ship tours as we found out why in Quebec. Received a 20% rebate on a tour of the Quebec and the Falls because a total of 10 minutes were spent at the Falls! City tour portion was excellent but we arrived 10 minutes prior to closing at the Falls and had to cross a live railroad crossing that the tour guide never mentioned. No time to do anything but look up at the Falls. Capt. rode out the remains of Noel in Portland, ME harbor overnight thereby missing PEI and keeping us out of the open water with over 55 mph winds and heavy rain. No matter what show was in the main theatre, the room was never filled. Only 2 production shows during the 13 nights. Perry Grant continues to be the biggest draw on the ship. Michael's Club is filled every night. Perry should have a featured spot one night in the main show room. Cruise staff tried hard to make the voyage pleasant -- Cacie, Ryan are both exceptional. Some discrepancies with how individual staff members play some of the trivia games -- some make up their own rules and some do not give out any prizes to the winners. Our waiter Tony from the Philippines was excellent and always told us what first sitting didn't like. As long we chose according to his recommendations, the food was excellent. Soups were all put through a blender and didn't have any body to them except for the Minestrone. Pasta dishes were excellent. We ordered a plate of veggies every night to share with the table. Shrimp cocktail was available for the asking every night. Desserts were BAD! Worse on any ship. Overall, good trip with the exception of Cape Liberty. Something more passenger friendly needs to be done there. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
This is a review of our recent cruise on the Celebrity Constellation. We had done 15 cruises up until this one, none on Celebrity, and 2/3 of them on Holland-America, so this review is written from the point-of-view of a frequent HAL ... Read More
This is a review of our recent cruise on the Celebrity Constellation. We had done 15 cruises up until this one, none on Celebrity, and 2/3 of them on Holland-America, so this review is written from the point-of-view of a frequent HAL cruiser. Ship: The ship was very beautiful and immaculately maintained. Although it was the largest (passenger capacity) we have been on to date, it never felt crowded. The show lounge was excellent, with excellent sightlines both on the main level and on the balcony level, except for a very few seats obstructed by pillars. The casino, as usual, was way too smoky, made worse by the fact that you had no choice but to walk through the casino to get from one end of that deck to the other (without going up/down to a different deck to bypass it). The casino was large and well-equipped, probably the best we've seen on a ship. And you could charge chips to your shipboard account up to a very generous limit. We found that the noise from the late-night disco carried down the front staircase for 5 decks, and we wondered if it would be an annoyance to passengers in the verandah cabins near the stairwells. The internet area had lots of terminals, but we found the connection time painfully slow a number of times, and we gave up a couple of times. It was a pleasant change to not be hearing announcements all day long about activities, etc. They kept announcements to a bare minimum, and the silence was appreciated. If you want to know when an activity is on, look in your daily program! There were too many formal and informal nights on this cruise, considering the number of port days we had. They even had an informal night on the night we stayed over in Quebec City, which I found particularly strange. One very annoying thing: Whereas we found the ship's service staff in the dining rooms, lounges, cabin stewards, etc. to be exemplary, the ships officers were often the opposite. A number of times, while walking down the corridor on our cabin deck, we encountered officers coming the other way... and they would NOT move over, even to the point of maintaining their 2-abreast stance and forcing the passengers to squeeze against the walls. This was a noticeably different "culture" than we have ever seen before on the 4 other cruise lines we have tried. We were NOT impressed! Cabin: Our cabin, a category 6 Ocean view on Plaza deck was nice, but not outstanding. And at 170 square feet, it was fully 14% smaller than the equivalent cabin on HAL's Ryndam. What we did notice was how quiet it was in the cabin. Whether that was due to better soundproofing or unusually considerate neighbors, or both, we don't know. We found the cabin very warm (in October & November on the North Atlantic coast!) and difficult to get the temperature where we wanted it. Strangely, in spite of that, I found that the heat/air system blew cool air down directly on my head, neck and shoulders when I was in bed. And the foot of the bed had a strange curved shape which, as a tall guy, I found less than ideal. We also found the TV placement difficult to watch except from the bed. Food & Beverages: The food.... well, let's be generous and call it inconsistent. I tried roast beef and steak a number of times: it was either exquisitely prepared, or tougher than an army boot (about 50/50). One night I had fettucini alfredo with chicken and my wife had beef sirloin tips: there were a number of chicken rib bones in my alfredo, and my wife's beef was so tough she couldn't cut it. When we complained to out assistant maitre d', he apologized profusely and told me the head chef or food and beverage manager would contact me about our displeasure with that meal... nobody ever did. (Oh, this same assistant maitre d' set off the dining room sprinklers on a formal night while preparing a flambe dessert, but that's another story.) The dining room service was pretty good, but we've had better; again, "inconsistent" would be the correct term. The service in the Seaside Grill was exemplary. But why, oh why, do they not post menus at the entrance to the Seaside Grill? We were concerned, having been assigned to late seating, that we would get too hungry by the time 2nd seating took place, but there were anumber of places on the ship where you could get food in the late afternoon... never a problem. And the pizzas were superb! And the maitre d' was very accommodating in getting us reassigned to early seating without fuss and very quickly. A big annoyance was the LOUD music in the dining room. I don't know how loud it was for diners close to the live music (which we found often inappropriate for a formal dining room), but in our location, they blasted the music in, obliterating any conversation. Bar service was excellent, and the drinks were well-prepared, a far cry above HAL, but I was staggered that they did not offer Canadian beer on a Canada/New England cruise. They could have at least put the excellent Alexander Keith's on their menu, as it is brewed right in Nova Scotia. Events and Activities: There were a number of events scheduled to commence at 5:00 p.m. Great for late seating passengers, but impossible for main seating diners to attend. Very strange. The ship's song & dance cast were absolutely the best we have ever seen, but we only saw them on the first 2 nights. The rumor was that they had come down with some kind of "bug" and were quarantined. The other entertainment was excellent. Showtime in the Celebrity Theater was often VERY late for main seating diners. Activities staff: A couple were very good, 2 or 3 others were pretty useless. It was a running joke during trivia contests that they weren't even literate enough to read & pronounce the clues properly. Then when they showed up with Jamaican music for a line-dancing class... Tender service was very well-coordinated. Itinerary: Was excellent, even though we never got to see Charlottetown due to high winds from Hurricane Noel. The information and maps about the ports of call were next to useless.... very disappointing. Miscellaneous: Check-in was incredibly slow, even though we arrived at a good time and had done the on-line check-in. The rumor was that there had been a problem on the previous cruise with influenza or Norwalk or similar, and the delay was due to them disinfecting the whole ship. Immigration process (at least for Canadians) at Portland was poorly run: The member of the activities staff was pretty clueless when it came to coordinating it so that passengers were processed in the order they arrived. He even allowed the last couple of passengers to jump the line in front of those who had been waiting 45 minutes or more. He damn near had a revolt on his hands when he waved some entertainers through ahead of everyone else. The way I see it, the entertainers are no different from the ship's staff, and they should NOT get priority over the paying passengers. The American passengers had different complaints about their immigration process. Basically, it seems that none of the passengers were happy with the way immigration was handled. Strange, because HAL handled it so logically on the 10 HAL cruises we have been on. Checkout/disembarkation was quick, but I found it bizarre that we were assigned a disembarkation time of close to 10:30 a.m. when we had our car waiting in the terminal parking lot. They corrected it quickly, but what were they thinking? On the whole, based solely on our experiences with this cruise, we would not sail with Celebrity again unless they had a very unique itinerary. However, a number of frequent Celebrity repeaters assured us that what we had experienced was NOT up to Celebrity's standards, and they encouraged us to try again. So we booked a Mediterranean cruise while on board and we'll give them one more chance to meet our expectations based on our HAL and Orient Lines experiences. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
This was our sixth cruise with Celebrity, and we'd been on Constellation once before to the Baltic. It is starting to show her age, but is generally in good shape, and upkeep is continually being done, as they were varnishing the ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise with Celebrity, and we'd been on Constellation once before to the Baltic. It is starting to show her age, but is generally in good shape, and upkeep is continually being done, as they were varnishing the balcony railings on this trip. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. We flew into the Newark airport the day ahead as a precaution (we missed the ship once and don't want that to happen again.) The embarkation process was one of the poorest we've experienced. As we found out later, the ship arrived late from its transatlantic crossing. However, if they had informed us of what was going on, there would have been far fewer grumblings. Also, since this was the first of three sailings out of Bayonne, New Jersey, I believe many of those checking us in were inexperienced. We were aboard by 2:00, went to our cabin, and then to lunch, and the usual life boat drill. You just have to get it over with! We were at the main seating for dinner at a table for six and had, by far, our poorest waiter, ever. His name is Roberto. He had no personality, was slow, unhelpful, and sometimes downright rude, despite the fact that he only had 3 tables of six, and several nights one table was empty. Perhaps they were escaping the lousy service? We did the alternative casual dining one evening, but found that to be quite slow, too. The assistant waiter, Edwin, was far superior. Our stateroom attendant and assistant, Manuel and Heru, were excellent and very accommodating and friendly. Ports of Call At Canadian ports remember to take both your sea pass and some form of photo ID. You will need it to get through the Canadian control point before getting back into the pier area. A driver's license will work just fine. We usually do a mixture of ship sponsored excursions and our own. Portland, Maine - There is a hop on hop off bus right at dockside that for $5 will take you around the old part of the city. We rode around to get a feel for the area and then got off part way through and walked around. There are many small shops and eating places. There is an L.L.Bean outlet, and I saw many people coming back to the ship with shopping bags from there. Lobster rolls are also a popular thing, and we priced them - too expensive, we felt, at up to $18. We heard from others later that the ones they had were actually more of a lobster salad made with lots of mayo. Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island - We did the countryside tour here and had one of the best guides ever. The tour itself was nothing so great, but we prefer to see things out of the city area, so it suited us. We drove to see the long bridge connecting the island to the mainland and had a couple of other stops. One stop was mainly for shopping and to use the restrooms. It was an appropriate stop. There was much talk of the impending hurricane. Many boats were being taken out of the water and taken to protected areas. There is a large building right at the pier that has several stalls of people selling mostly local items. It looks like they plan to have more little shops, as there is a lot of empty space. It was here that the ship had another problem where people would have been happier with an explanation. As the tide was going out, the gangway they were using needed to be moved. For some reason, they had a great deal of trouble getting the new gangway in place. In fact, it took them about an hour. As bus tours were coming back, the line to get aboard keep growing and growing. There was no one that came to tell us what was going on, and there were lots of unhappy people. We next had a day at sea and during that time our path crossed around and ahead of the hurricane, so we only experienced a rainy sea day. Quebec City - Was probably the highlight of the trip. We were here overnight and to the next afternoon, so had plenty of time to explore. The first morning we took a tour to Montmorency Falls and Manor, the Sugar Shack, and a driving tour out of town a bit to see the beautiful colors of the trees. Very near the pier is a quaint shopping area with lots of tourists. There are frequent benches and a small park area where you could just sit and watch the action. Here is also where you will find the funicular - a type of outside elevator where, for $2, you can ride up the steep hill to the rest of the Old Town. Of course, you could also walk up the approximately 375 steps! We walked through the Hotel Frontenac, a beautiful old hotel. From this area there are lots of things that you can walk to and then either walk down the steps or take the funicular back down. On the second day, I just stayed on board while my husband took a long city bus trip to the Harley Davidson shop to the far west of the city. French is the main language spoken, but he found everyone to be very helpful. For about $5 he was able to make the round trip versus a taxi ride estimated to cost about $50 roundtrip. He transferred at the public library, so made that a stop and went in to use the free internet access. (It's very pricey on board the ship.) Halifax, Nova Scotia - This day started off with the expectation of docking about 10 a.m. However, between the small dock space we were allocated and the strong wind, the captain was advised to anchor and use the tenders, instead. This delayed disembarking here, so we decided to go to the cinema and watch the movie to pass the time until things calmed down. By the time the movie was over, most people had gone ashore that wanted to, but the wind had increased and the skies looked very threatening. My husband, the adventurer, went ashore. I stayed warm and dry aboard. Onshore he found a FRED bus (Free Ride Everyday Downtown) and was able to explore the city - and stay dry. He also went to the Maritime Museum and learned more about the huge explosion that rocked the city and about the Titanic. Bar Harbor, Maine - is a very picturesque little town. This is a tender port, but it goes smoothly. There are tours offered just as you get off the tender, but if you walk up the hill a few blocks to the city green you can catch one of several free buses that take different routes, mostly through parts of Acadia National Park. We took the one that went to Sand Beach and Thunder Hole - a beautiful route. It is another hop on and off bus. We made several stops to pick up people that had gone part way and were continuing on their way. You will end up back at the city green and can choose another trip, if you wish. I finally had a lobster roll here. We went into a small shop, and I asked what they put in their roll. They said just lobster, mayo, and lettuce, so I asked for one with a small amount of mayo. It was $12 here. It came with chips, so we shared this as a snack. Our disembarkation back at Port Liberty, Bayonne, went smoothly, but what an ugly port! We had heard that this cruise out of New York City or Boston is nicer. Entertainment There were 3 shows put on by the Celebrity Singers and Dancers, and all were well done. We had seen them on a cruise earlier this year, but that didn't matter to us. We enjoyed a comedian, Fred Klett, and a guitarist, Mario D'Andrea - both excellent and very entertaining. Peter Grant appeared nightly in Michael's Club and did an hour long afternoon show one day. You can read more about Peter Grant on other sites. We didn't learn about him until the cruise was half over, but he fills Michael's Club every time, and it is hard to even get into the place. We managed to catch two performances the last evening. Try to put him on your schedule right away. Another entertainer was a comedian/magician, Carl Andrews, who was only mediocre, a singer; Donald Cant the "Australian Phantom of the Opera", who we had heard before, and we passed on going to the concert pianist. We heard from some who enjoy that type of music that he was very good, just not to our tastes. There are several choices of pre and post dinner musical entertainment all around the ship. Try to sample several. The library on Constellation is very poor - from the lighting to the book selection. Each morning you can pick up the crossword puzzle and Sudoku here. Make sure that you read the daily schedule of events so you don't miss anything. (I always take along a highlighter to mark the things I'm interested in.) There was no midnight grand buffet, but that is fine as so much food seemed to go to waste. It seems like it was replaced, somewhat, by a brunch. It was on a Sunday from about 10 - 2, and had some of the same type of ice sculptures and decorative foods. There was also a high tea offered. The only drawback with that is the timing. It's in the late afternoon, so if you eat at the main seating for dinner, the times are close together. The meals in the main dining room seem to be of poorer quality and choice. The portions are smaller, and that's fine, especially since you can ask for more than one of any course. The 'traditional' lobster night offers only a half of a lobster tail with one scallop and one shrimp. My husband and a table mate each ordered two of those entrees. The desserts look nice, but don't have much taste. In the buffet on deck 10 there are lots of choices, so make sure you check things out. There's the usual meal line, pastas, salad bar, Asian, sandwich, and burger lines, as well as the offerings in the spa area. I got a pedicure and was satisfied. The spa services are expensive. One of the more annoying things was the Park West art auction promotions. Every night there was literature about some upcoming sale. It also seemed that Celebrity was pushing the sales of more things than on previous cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
In Jan.2007 we booked our first Celebrity cruise in Florida on the Millennium,we were so impressed we booked a cruise on Celebrity's Constellation from Dover ,Eng to St Petersburg,Russia. So this year for our 50th Anniversary we we ... Read More
In Jan.2007 we booked our first Celebrity cruise in Florida on the Millennium,we were so impressed we booked a cruise on Celebrity's Constellation from Dover ,Eng to St Petersburg,Russia. So this year for our 50th Anniversary we we booked the New England-Canada Cruise. I let you know this so you will understand we were not first timers to these Celebrity Ships.   Our first problem was not Celebritys fault,they were late docking from their transition cruise from Europe,because of that we did not get on the ship till 3:30 and as we were traveling all day we were hungry no sooner than us getting our food the had their life raft drill which you had to attend,alas we we went still hungry. The first we notice is that the ship is showing its age and also there seemed to be a definitely downsizing of its personnel since our last trip.This was very noticeable in the Lido Grill . Two items at the Lido Grill that stand out,our ice machine in the area we ate in was out of order the whole trip,also at that station the ice tea dispenser was not working.At the grill the toaster was inoperable the whole trip and you had to go over to the other side. The furniture in the cabin was showing its wear and age,the sofa had a large noticeable tear. The Menu did not seem to have many choices in the high end,the worst being that on the night we had lobster the potion of lobster could not have been more than 2 ounces with a shrimp and one scallop.thank god two of our tours had lobster lunch. But the one place that sold me on the ship two years ago was a disaster,the Aqua Spa Pool.the pool was luke warm when it should have been very warm , the hot tub was warm when it should have been hot,the jets in the pool never worked the whole 12 days and when we complained at the Spa and the Customer Relations desk it was like talking to a wall they all blamed someone else,but it was never corrected,The only way too make a statement was to cancel my massages after my first one and by the way the Spas prices were way over price. The crew on the ship were great but it was obvious there were a lot of new crew members and a lot less than on previous trips.We were so disappointed as two of our family went with us to celebrate our anniversary and they were disapointed.Just a downer will I sail on Celebrity again maybe after a few years but were are definitely going back to Holland American for our next cruise. Read Less
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