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Sail Date: October 2009
Having previously enjoyed sailing on the Constellation in 2007,we were exited to return to a Ship and crew we just loved ..We are a couple in our early 50`s and LOVE to cruise.This was our 4th cruise on CELEBRITY and have previosly cruised ... Read More
Having previously enjoyed sailing on the Constellation in 2007,we were exited to return to a Ship and crew we just loved ..We are a couple in our early 50`s and LOVE to cruise.This was our 4th cruise on CELEBRITY and have previosly cruised with RCCL,Princess, and HAL. The Cruise Line failed to deliver our invitation to the Cruise Critic get together,so we missed this one (first time in 12 cruises). EMBARKATION: Cape Liberty-A little unorganized but once shuttle and loading began,things began to smoothen out.Was greeted with a glass of Champaigne but was not escorted anywhere but instructed to proceed to the Buffet.. Inside cabin was roomy and very clean.We met our cabin steward but hardly saw him the whole 13 days.He kept our room clean and tidy and we had no wants for anything as he resupplied articles as needed.. The Buffet was a little disappointing as there were several items served almost daily and the choices were minimal.Waffle and Omlette stations were Great.Staff did not assist many of the passengers who needed assist with trays and only 1 time was I offered a refill on my morning coffee in the 13 days..This was a BIG change from 2 yrs. previous.A big PLUS was the ICE CREAM bar with candy..Outdoor grill was very good and always seemed to be busy.Pizza station needs to offer better selection.There are meats other than Pepperoni.Sushi bar was good. The Dining Room food was fair at best (entree usually served warm at best)and most steak cuts were poor and some were actually Pot Roast.Heard several complaints about the Lobster,mine was OK..The waiter and assistant waiter were good and took care of most our needs.This is an area that needs to be improved upon.. Entertainment: This was probably the worse entertainment of any cruise we have been on,many being the same production shows we saw 2 yrs ago.Fair comedian.The movies very dated and not recent movies like the competition shows.The String Quartet and The Celebrity Band were both EXCELLENT. The Captains Party for returning cruisers was the BEST we have attended.4-5 types of food bars were set up and served several returning cruisers. Ports of call were excellent choices with the overnight in Quebec City being simply FANTASTIC. The ship overall is showing some signs of wear and we noticed SEVERAL weak spots in the floor and actually saw a gentleman fall due to these soft spots in the hallways. Staff was attentive but seemed reserved compared to our previous sailing.May have to do with the TIP prices being raised and NO LONGER able to auto adjust tips $$ down for poorer services rendered.You can still auto adjust $$ UP,just not lower the tips.We still enjoyed the staff and most worked very hard.. DISEMBARK: A mess..Hardly any Celebrity personel present to keep walkways and doorways unblocked or to assist with disabled. (Yes,there are ALWAYS those select few who cannot follow protocal and screws everything up by blocking the traffic walkways).We hired a car in advance to pick us up and we were at the airport in no time waiting to fly home. I am sure we will sail with Celebrity again in the future but they are slowly falling behind their competitors in SEVERAL areas.They need to take lessons from RCCL,which seem to have their Line in order.. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2009
Celebrity Constellation and Seven New England and Atlantic Canadian Ports Celebrity Constellation October 16 - October 30, 2009 New England and Atlantic Canada Executive Summary We visited Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, ... Read More
Celebrity Constellation and Seven New England and Atlantic Canadian Ports Celebrity Constellation October 16 - October 30, 2009 New England and Atlantic Canada Executive Summary We visited Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Quebec City, Quebec; Charlottetown, P.E.I.; Sydney, Nova Scotia; and Saint John, New Brunswick aboard Celebrity's Constellation. While the weather was not as nice as we had hoped, we were still very active at each port exploring the area and enjoying the local seafood. We were impressed with the ship and crew of Celebrity Constellation, and would like to return to these ports when the weather is nicer. Part I - Precruise A. Inception We chose Celebrity due to our prior experience. We chose Constellation because we have enjoyed all of Celebrity's ships and had not been on this ship yet. B. Cruise Critic Cruisecritic.com was once again very helpful in securing key information for all of our ports of call and getting to know some of our fellow travelers before the cruise. C. Choice of Route This was our first time cruising the North Atlantic seaboard, which allowed us to travel to 7 ports we had not cruised to before. We were hoping to see some pretty countryside and colorful trees on this late Autumn cruise. D. Choice of cabin We booked this cruise online less than 60 days before the cruise. We chose an inside guarantee, meaning we did not have a say in the actual cabin choice. In return we paid a lesser fare. We were assigned a Category 11 cabin on the Continental Deck --- lowest passenger deck. All of the inside cabins have 170 square feet of space. Our cabin (#2028) was reasonably spacious. E. Price We paid about $1150 per person ($82/day/person) including port fees and taxes (but not including airfare, tips and incidentals) for this 14 day cruise. Note: I only include price information because it was requested by fellow travelers following my previous reviews. Note: Celebrity Cruises makes it very clear now that they reserve the right "to impose a fuel supplement of up to $10 per guest per day on all guests if the price of West Texas Intermediate fuel exceeds $65.00 per barrel". Although it hovered over $70 in the two months before the cruise, we were not assessed this charge that could have cost us $280. F. Passports We brought our passports which we got several years ago. Hint: AAA members can get really good passport pictures for free at AAA offices. G. Insurance I insured the trip through Travelex, opting for their TraveLite product, which I concluded was a good choice due to: relative cost comparisons, ease of access and booking, good disclosures, excellent coverage for what I needed, and especially because their insurance is "primary", meaning that I do not have to involve any other insurance in the claims process. I had no interest in proprietary insurance offered by a travel agency or cruise companies because if either goes under your insurance is worthless and defeats the purpose. We bought the insurance within 14 days of our booking to assure there would be no questions about "existing medical conditions", although I am not aware we have any. Thankfully we never had a need for the insurance. H. Prebooking Excursions All of our port excursions were done privately, except one (and that one was not prebooked). We typically do not book any excursions with the ship. We find that the ship's excursions are pricey and crowded. We also find that well-researched private excursions let you see more and go more places. Our primary source of research is the Port of Call boards at CruiseCritic.com. I. Packing Packing hints came from this board. We packed for 3 Formal nights (suit and tie / fine dinner dress), and 11 Smart Casual nights (polo's and Dockers plus dress shirts and a dinner jacket, blouses and skirts), in addition to enough clothing to cover us for 14 days. Among the most helpful "extra items" we packed were battery powered alarm clock, shoe rack (we hang it on the wall and use it to hold all of our other items), rounded scissors, bottled water, cards, a digital camera, binoculars, highlighters, collapsible dirty clothes bag, insulated travel mugs, multiple outlet, and an 9-inch clip-on fan to keep air moving in the cabin. We also made fourteen 8x10 posters for our cabin door (one for each day, "If this is Sunday, it must be Boston!" and the like) and mentioning Cruise Critic in hopes that someone else on the boards would notice and strike up a conversation. (It worked!) The cabin doors are metal. We held up our signs with little magnets. Part II - Embarkation A. Cape Liberty in Newark, NJ Normally, we like to fly in one day early. While it adds some additional expense for hotel and meals, it does wonders for your stress level. This trip we opted to take the first direct flight out in the morning, leaving lots of time for any delays --- and indeed we were delayed about 2 hours. Upon arrival in Newark at 10:45am, we picked up our bags which were already waiting for us at baggage claim. This was impressive as it only took us 10 minutes to walk to the baggage claim from our gate. After collecting our bags we called Black Car Transportation to take us to the pier. We had made reservations about two weeks before our trip via their website BlackExecutiveCars.com (1-866-374-8530). Recommended! At the time of our trip, rates from Newark Airport to Cape Liberty Pier were as follows: 2 passengers = $45, 4 passengers = $50, 6 passengers = $60, and 8 passengers = $65. I didn't ask about 10 passengers, but they can carry up to ten in their van. Unlike a taxi, this included all bridges and tolls, and it was a little less expensive and more convenient that the bus transfers ($55 pp roundtrip) available through the cruise line. We were picked up in front of baggage claim within 5 minutes by Black Car Transportation and were at the port 30 minutes later. We arrived at the pier about 11:30am. We tipped the driver $5 and the baggage handlers $5 for 4 bags and proceeded into the building. B. Security Processing and Boarding We were in the terminal by 11:50am. Security was very quick and check-in went relatively smoothly. It helped that we completed all of our documentation online before we left home. We had our pictures taken twice: once for a debarkation souvenir opportunity and once to imprint our mugs electronically on our Sea Pass cruise cards for use on the ship and when leaving and returning to the ship. There is a large waiting area with chairs and tables. Elite members were allowed to board at 11:50am. All other passengers had to wait until their number (which was given to you upon arrival) was called. They started calling numbers at noon. When our number was called at 12:15pm we proceeded to a bus which took us to the ship where we walked across a ramp and boarded on Deck 1. We boarded Constellation and were greeted with a choice of champagne or orange juice. Rooms were ready so we went to our cabin first to drop off our carry-on baggage. The whole process from arrival at the pier to arrival in our cabin was just less than an hour. C. Explore The Cabin We were in cabin 2028, an interior category 11 cabin with 170 square feet. We were located near the forward stairwell in the center of the ship, on the Continental Deck - 2. Our interior cabin on this deck was accessed from the Starboard hallway. The cabin was extremely well laid out. Lots of drawers and enough room in the closets for our clothes. The bathroom has lots of room, storage, and a shower. There is a large mirror covering the entire far wall which helps create the illusion of extra spaciousness. Our cabin also had a desk and loveseat-sized couch/hide-a-bed. Hangers and robes were provided. Hint: you can secure additional wire hangers from your cabin attendant. The desk featured a number of informational brochures including Friday's event newsletter "Celebrity Today". Being Cruise Critic members, we received an invite to the following day's gathering. Our stateroom attendant did a wonderful job throughout our cruise. Of note, we found the inside cabins really easy to sleep in. Since there is no window, the room stays dark --- making it really easy to sleep late or take a nap any time of day. D. Tour of Ship and Search For Food We found sustenance in the Seaside Cafe on the Resort Deck - 10 for a buffet lunch. Hint: locate the Seaside Grill near the Riviera Pool for a grilled hamburger, or other daily special. While everyone else is in line at the buffet, you could be enjoying a great sandwich with no lines (the first day). The grill will get discovered by day two. There are two buffet lines on deck 10 with lots of hot meal and salad choices. Work your way aft and your find a pasta station, a pizza station, and a sandwich station. In the afternoon there is also an ice cream station (all ice cream is made on board). In the morning you'll find omelette stations, a poached egg station (get your poached eggs prepared 7 different ways) and a waffle and pancake station. At night, there is a sushi bar. Going forward on this deck, you'll find the Aqua Spa Cafe which features healthy meals at breakfast and lunch. There is no extra charge for any of the food on this deck. The ship is well laid out with ample sets of stairwells and elevators. We spent 2 hours exploring the ship. The Celebrity Theater on Constellation was the grandest entertainment venue we have ever seen. The seating spans three decks with excellent views from almost all of the seats. (The far seating on the left and right sides of the upper level have minor obstructions). E. Lifeboat Drill About 30 minutes prior to leaving port, we participated in the mandatory lifeboat drill. If you've never been through this drill, a loudspeaker announcement is made for all guests to report to your assigned muster station (as directed by the sign on the back of your cabin door). After waiting for all passengers to arrive, you are directed on the proper use of the vest, and then directed to your assigned lifeboats for additional instructions. You do not actually board the life boats. Interestingly, we did not have to actually wear the life jackets during this drill, which is a new policy welcomed by all. Your Sea Pass card now has your muster station printed on it and life jackets will now be available on the life boats. (Formerly, your muster station was printed on your life jacket). A final announcement will dismiss all passengers. The drill went smoothly and lasted about 20 minutes. F. Cruise Critic Sailaway Following the lifeboat drill, we donned our Mardi Gras beads and headed to the Bar at the Edge of the Earth on Deck 11 (Forward) to meet folks I had been talking to on the Cruise Critic message boards. The beaded necklaces were intended to help us spot one another. G. Dinner - 6:00pm First Seating We requested a large table as we enjoy meeting other passengers and sharing experiences. We were seated at a rectangular table for 10 in the upper level (Entertainment Deck - 5) of the San Marco Restaurant. Our server, assistant, and Maitre'd did a very good job throughout our cruise. Part III - Food! Celebrity has a good reputation for their cuisine. The meals generally met our expectations. There was good variety. Nice presentations at lunch and dinner. Our Maitre'd was very friendly and helpful. He sincerely wanted to make sure we let him know if there were any problems or special requests. Our table mates twice requested items never seen on the menu and the Maitre'd had them delivered to our table the following night. Meats were cooked to order. Yes, you could even order "medium rare". A. Always Available Each night we had a new menu of items we could select for dinner which included 4 appetizers, 3 soups, 2 salads, and 6 main entrees. The following items were available every night (even if they do not appear on the menu): shrimp cocktail, escargot, antipasto platter, French onion soup, lobster bisque, Caprese salad, Caesar salad, chicken breast, broiled salmon, NY Strip steak, apple pie, creme brule and NY cheesecake. Always available side dishes include baked potato, mashed potato, rice pilaf and an assortment of vegetables. B. The Best Breakfast Items Mixed berries, fresh fruits, Belgian waffles, smoked salmon, eggs benedict, pecan sticky buns, omelettes, banger sausages, and poached eggs. There is also a heavy brunch with lots of food stations in the San Marco Restaurant (Deck 4) on a couple of the sea days. Don't miss it! C. The Best Lunch Items The pizza, sandwich and salad bars in the Seaside Grill, fresh fruit from the Spa Cafe (Deck 10 - Forward/Amidships). D. The Best Appetizer All appetizers were well presented and among the best menu selections. We especially liked the lobster ravioli, escargot, shrimp cocktail, all of the items prepared with goat cheese, and the roasted vegetable crostini. On many days the selection was so appealing that we ordered 2 different appetizers to enjoy. E. The Best Soups If there was one area that did not live up to expectations, it was the soup. This is traditionally a strong suit. However we found the soups generally weak (stretched too thin with broth). The Hungarian Goulash, French Onion soup, Butternut Squash soup, and Wild Mushroom Bisque were outstanding. F. The Best EntrEes All of the Lamb and Veal dishes, Halibut, Grouper, and Orange Roughy, and some of the steak offerings (Prime Rib, braised beef items, and the Tenderloins were all better than the NY Strip steak). G. The Best Desserts Fresh made ice creams (also available noon to 6:00pm in the Seaside Cafe), crème Brule, cherries jubilee, all cheesecakes, bananas Foster, apple pie, the chocolate cake served for birthdays, and baked Alaska on parade. The best ice creams included: cinnamon, blueberry, strawberry, butter pecan, peanut butter, pistachio, and the mango sherbet. H. Room Service You can order room service from a limited menu via your television. We didn't order anything from room service. I. Midnight Buffets There was one late night (11:30pm) buffet served at The Bar at the Edge of the Earth on Deck 11. We did not attend as we were too tired. J. Sushi Bar and Stir Fry Beautifully prepared (very fresh and chilled) sushi, and made to order stir fry, was available most nights from 5:30pm to 9:30pm in the Seaside Grill (located Aft on Deck 10) which they decorated with a Japanese restaurant theme. It is a winner. An opening time of 5:30pm better accommodates passengers with the Main Seating for Dinner. K. Cova Cafe Hint: Locate this early in your voyage. The Cova Cafe is located amidships on Deck 5. They are open 2 to 3 times a day. Croissants and danish from 8:30am to 10:30am most mornings, and in the afternoons (3:00pm to 5:00pm) they serve cookies and pastries. Some nights they serve tapas (traditional Spanish bites) from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. They offer fancy coffees and wines for sale. There is no additional charge for the food items. This is also one of the places you can pick up a "soda sticker". At a cost of $5.00/day (plus 15% gratuity) they will place a sticker on your sea card which entitles you to unlimited fountain sodas anywhere on the ship. A minor item: the foot long cinnamon twists found on some Celebrity ships was missing from the Cova Cafe on this voyage. (Bummer). L. Aqua Spa Cafe Hint: Locate this early in your voyage. Hidden forward/amidship in the Aqua Spa on Deck 10, they offer healthier offerings at breakfast and lunch. Be sure to stop by for a plate of fresh vegetables, tropical fruits, fruit muffins, and fruit tarts. M. Pizza, Pasta, and Salad There is a dedicated Pizza Bar and a dedicated Pasta Bar on the starboard side of the Seaside Cafe. Both are open noon to 11:00pm. The pizza bar features a daily special and over a dozen toppings if you wish to create your own which they will bake fresh for you. The pizza is quite good. The pasta bar features several sauces, mix-ins, and noodle selections. The salad bar (located on the port and starboard buffet lines is also open noon to 11:00pm. N. Ocean Liners - Constellation's Specialty Restaurant We enjoyed a meal in Ocean Liners one night to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary. This is really the only food on the ship for which there is an extra charge. The cover charge is $30 per person. For this, you are swept back in time to dine in the style of the transatlantic cruise ships of the mid-twentieth century. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Service is very high end --- as is the food. What you are paying for is a special dining experience that you won't soon forget. We enjoyed a delicious goat cheese souffle appetizer, lobster bisque, tenderloin filet (which my wife says was the best she has ever eaten), lobster tail, and for dessert we enjoyed a dark chocolate souffle. My wife also enjoyed an Aspen Coffee with dessert. Your bread plate and water glass never go empty. We were not bothered with picture taking opportunities, flowers, or given a hard sell on wine (although we did each order a house Merlot to enjoy with the meal). It was a very pleasant 2-hour dinning experience in a very fancy venue with great food and outstanding service. O. The Captain's Table We did not receive an invite to join the Captain for dinner. This is generally reserved for the more experienced cruisers. Although we now have 11 cruises behind us, we were but infants on this ship filled with longtime cruisers. We find that the longer itineraries and those that cruise while school is in session tend to bring out the elder and more experienced travelers. Part IV - Entertainment A. Movies Two movies are shown each day. These are relatively recent DVD releases. Most of the movies were shown in the Cinema on Plaza Deck 3. One movie was shown in the Celebrity Theater. Of interest, popcorn is not served. A batch of fresh popcorn would be a nice touch. B. Shows The Celebrity Theater spans 3 decks and is just beautiful. Seating is very comfortable and sight lines are very good. We have not seen a better theater in any of our prior voyages, although the Millenium's theater is comparable. The Celebrity Singers and Dancers performed three shows. We enjoyed the Spotlight Broadway and Celebrate the World productions best. Guest entertainers included comedian Fred Klett, ventriloquist Mark Merchant, singer Lelani Marrell, and energetic concert pianist Antonio Salci. We thought the most impressive show was the Aerialists/Adage Duo "Alex and Sally" who performed absolutely beautiful dance and aerial feats. C. Casino The Fortunes Casino on (Promenade Deck - 4) is filled with slot machines, one craps table, a roulette table, and a few poker and blackjack tables, and an electronic Texas Hold'em table. The casino was open while at sea. Closed while in ports. The casino is no longer a smoke-filled venue as Celebrity has prohibited smoking here. The upside is that I no longer avoided the casino. The downside is that I left some money on the craps table. D. Spa It is located Forward on the Resort Deck-10. We did not use the spa on this trip. E. Outdoor Pools and Hot tubs. The Seaside Pool saw little action on this chilly cruise, while the indoor hot tubs were reasonably active. F. Celebrity Orchestra and Other Ship Bands This ship has more talent than any other Celebrity ship we have sailed. The Celebrity Orchestra, Eugene Villarino (guitarist), Paradise String Quartet (classical strings), Sipra (the party band) were all very good. Our favorite group was an a cappella quintet called The Voice Males that primarily performed in The Bar at the Edge of the Earth on Deck 11. There were less that a dozen passengers in attendance on their first night, but as word spread their audience grew nightly to the point that they filled the room during the second week. Perry Grant, a flamboyant cabaret piano entertainer, performed nightly to standing room only crowds in Michael's Club on Deck 4. While he does engage his audience and has quite a following, it was not a show that we enjoyed. G. In-room TV There were several closed-circuit ship channels and sporadic satellite stations (namely ESPN, CNN, TNT, Discovery, a movie channel, and CBS "Eye on Celebrity") available on the TV in the cabin. You can also order room service and check your current account on the TV as well. Apparently Celebrity subscribes to a satellite service that works well in the Caribbean but not in northern latitudes. This was really disappointing as we had NO access to NFL football games or the Major League Baseball playoffs. H. Room Service You can order from morning to late night. We didn't order anything from room service. We have used room service on prior cruises. They don't just drop the order off at your door --- they come in and set it up for you. Be sure to tip! I. Sporting Events Big sporting events like NFL football games and the MLB Playoff Series were NOT available for viewing due to Celebrity's contract with a programming provider that has very poor satellite coverage. More often than not, we had 3 blacked out channels. ESPN was generally not available for any extended period of time. J. Activities There is no lack of things to do: movies, bingo, 4 trivia contests throughout the day, ping pong, darts, musical entertainment, shows, historical enrichment talks (which were all very interesting), culinary demonstrations, seminars, workshops, casino tournaments, cards, Mah Jong, and dancing to name a few. The activities staff was outstanding. The Activities Manager, Alejandro Tortorelli, is hilarious! His 5-minute taped daily activity briefings with another member of his 4-person staff on the closed circuit tv channel are laugh-out-loud gems not to be missed. Part V - Parties and Tours A. Cruise Critic Connections Party We signed up for the Cruise Critic party on the Celebrity web site. We received an email confirmation that a party would take place. An invitation to the party, set for 10:00am on Saturday (our first day at sea) in Michael's Club greeted us in our cabin upon arrival. At the appointed time we arrived at Michael's Club. In total, about 75 folks attended. A Cruise Critic member, who goes by the screen name "Grandma Rainbow", distributed really nice name tags that she had made for all the members who signed up. We had a great (albeit limited) time meeting and greeting other cruise critics. Light refreshments were provided. The Cruise Director, Joshua Riffe, and numerous officers including Captain Dimitris Manetas made an appearance. While I do think that Josh was one of the best Cruise Directors we have seen, we felt he monopolized the meeting (intentionally or unintentionally). He did a lot of good "Q and A", but left us with almost no time to ourselves to mingle. A picture opportunity emptied the room of most members. About 30 folks participated in a gift exchange that was well received. Coffee service was cut off early. It should have been made available for the duration of the meeting. B. Captain's Club Parties There is a party of some sort happening daily. These included a party for all Captain's Club Members which included a great ensemble performance by representatives of all the ship's entertainment, a party of Elite and Select Captain's Club Members, a Captain's Club Elegant Tea, a party celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, and others. We did not make all of the parties. The Captain's Club events were well attended and top notch. C. Captain's Club Wine Blending Seminar This is a really cool event which took place in the Ocean Liners Restaurant. The sommelier walks you through the finer points of wine tasting, then, with the help of six Kendall-Jackson white wines allows you to craft different blended wines. D. Cruise Critic Bridge Tour All of the Cruise Critic members that registered for the Cruise Critic Connections party, received an invite to tour the Bridge. This was the first time we've seen the Bridge. An officer explained the finer workings of the navigation controls and propulsion system and answered questions. This was a really neat experience. E. Captains Club Backstage Tour at the Celebrity Theater Due to a scheduling conflict, we were unable to attend this tour that takes you behind the scenes of the Celebrity Theater to view the dressing rooms, props and other backstage areas. It is surprising how much the talent can do with so little room at their disposal. Part VI - Health Concerns A. Smoking There was no smoking in the restaurants, show lounge, Michael's Club, library, casino, card room, hallways, elevators, inside any stateroom or on any stateroom veranda. "Cigarette smoking is permitted in designated indoor and outdoor areas of the ship, while cigar and pipe smoking will only be permitted in designated outdoor areas". Generally, smoking was permitted on the port side of The Bar at the Edge of the World, and outdoors on the port side. The air circulation in The Bar at the Edge of the World was generally poor. All it took was for one or two folks to light up and the air quickly became less than hospitable. A lot of passengers were upset about the smoking but there was nothing that could be done about it. This was unfortunate since a lot of functions (like trivia, dancing, and entertainment) occur in this wonderful venue. They had every right to smoke in The Bar at the Edge of the World, and unfortunately a few did. We did not observe anyone abusing the smoking privilege on the ship. B. Pools and Hot Tubs Only the indoor hot tubs and thalassotherapy pool were generally used. No problems were reported. C. General Cleanliness of the Ship In a word: impeccable. You could not take a stroll without witnessing some type of cleaning going on at all hours. The ship was constantly being cleaned: floors, walls, fixtures, everything! We did not witness any torn carpets or peeling paint. Constellation is really in good shape. D. Viruses To the best of our knowledge, there was no outbreak on our ship. Kudos to our fellow passengers and Celebrity personnel for their personal diligence. E. Seasickness We had rough seas on the first couple of days and especially rough seas on our last sea day. A few passengers had a problem with sea sickness. I alternated a patch behind my ears for the duration of the voyage. Despite that, I still had some queasiness on the rough days and walked like a drunk down the hallways as the ship pitched. My wife had no problems at all. Part VII - Ship Notes A. Ship's Crew We were very impressed with the ship and crew. Very friendly and competent. B. Our Stateroom Attendant He was very attentive. Kept the beds made and bathroom clean. Upon arrival we requested 36 wire hangers, and an a egg crate foam mattress pad for the bed. Both were handled promptly. We were asked on numerous occasions throughout the cruise if everything was okay and if we needed anything. (We didn't). C. The Shops Merchandise did not rotate very much. There was something on sale each day. The booze prices on the ship were generally attractive. There is a lot of space dedicated to shops on this ship. Most are very high end. D. Internet Service There is a good number of computers with internet access available on the ship. Due to the new Elite member benefit of 90 minutes of free interest access, the computers got a lot more access than we've seen on previous cruises. This benefit was well received. E. Kids Given that school is in session I don't think we saw more than 6 passengers under the age of 18 on this voyage. F. Dress Code About 15% of men in the Main Seating wore a tux on Formal nights. Most wore coat and tie. Did not see any major violation of the dress code in the dining room. G. Customs We went through customs in Newark upon our return. Basically just left the ship, picked up our baggage and spoke to a customs officer with no waiting. This was very fast. Part VIII - The Ports A. Boston, Massachusetts 8:00am to 6:00pm. We berthed at the Black Falcon Terminal in Boston. It not near anything. Taxi's are available. We booked online with the Old Towne Trolley Tour which has a special stop at pier (16A) when ships are in port. Adult tickets are $36 (or $32.50 online). This is the same tour company that runs the ship excursion except that excursion is a separate non-stop tour of the city. The guests taking that tour will be picked up at the cruise ship terminal. We booked their standard tour of the city which includes a free pass to the Old State House Museum as well as hop-on hop-off privileges throughout the day. They are suppose to pickup passengers at 16A about every 20 minutes throughout the day from 9am-5pm. We had especially bad weather in Boston. It was cold, windy, and raining (which eventually turned to snow). After 4 couples were left waiting awhile at 16A we called Old Towne Trolley and was informed they were not picking up at 16A that day. They directed us to another stop. This was not a good start. Once we did board the drivers were friendly and informative. Unfortunately, we couldn't see much as the rain and dark skies made viability difficult outside the trolley and the plastic window that kept the rain out of the trolley fogged up on the inside. Advice: I've taken this tour on a nice day and it's a good value. Skip this tour when the weather is bad. Directions to stop 16A: When you disembark you will go into the terminal and walk out Gate B. Turn left and follow the path until you exit the gated lot. Cross Black Falcon Avenue, follow a sidewalk running between a parking lot and a building and then cross Drydock Avenue. You should see a Dunkin Donuts directly in front of you. For reference, it's part of the Harbor Place Building. Turn left, cross Harbor Street, and go to the bus stop labeled "Drydock Avenue". This is stop 16A. They pick you up at that bus stop. It is a 5-8 minute walk. Note: Anyone can get on at this stop, whether you have a ticket or not, and everyone has to get off at stop #1. At stop #1, if you have an e-ticket, you will have to get it stamped for use as a regular ticket (for reboarding at stops); and if you don't have a ticket yet you can buy tickets at stop #1. If they aren't picking up at stop 16A, then keep walking past this bus stop to Summer Street. Turn right, cross the street, and walk about 3 blocks up Summer Street to the Westin. There is a bus stop right there on Summer Street (at the bottom of a bunch of marble steps leading up to the Westin) where the Trolley will pick you up. Officially this is their stop #16. After the extensive 90-minute tour that pointed out over 50 points of interest, we were dropped back off at stop #1 locatd outside the Boston Marriott Long Wharf. We ate lunch at Tia's, which is just around the corner (attached to the outside of the Marriott). It's a great spot for lunch, dinner, and drinks. We each enjoyed their lobster dinner special: two lobsters plus fries and cole slaw for $24.95 (or 1 for $12.95). This was the best steamed lobster we ate on this trip. It was so good, in fact, that we ate 7 lobsters for lunch, and loved every bit of it! After lunch we walked around the shops near Faneuil Hall and took in a free lecture within the Hall itself. After a while we caught the trolley back to the ship. This time they took us all the way to the terminal, which was nice. B. Portland, Maine 7:00am - 3:00pm. We berthed at Portland Ocean Gateway Terminal at 50 Commercial Street (near Franklin). It is an easy walk to town. We considered a narrated tour from Portland Discovery Tours (formerly Mainely Tours). They run a Land Tour and a Sea Tour. Cost is $18 pp or $33 pp for Land and Sea. Each runs 90 minutes. We opted instead for Portland's $5 "Peak At Portland Metro Bus", Route 8A Metro, with hop-on and hop-off privileges. The METRO typically provides "Peek at Portland" bus service to larger cruise ships with 1000 or more passengers. Self-guided tour maps can be found at the Greater Portland Landmarks site. The town's $5 Metro bus is a narrated route that runs through most of town. It goes past several landmarks and has stops close to the Shipyard Brewery, L.L. Bean Outlet Store, and the Museum of Art. We bought tickets at a booth inside the protected pier area. At a welcome booth we were handed a "Maine Passport" which is a coupon book with discounts at many of the stores in the downtown region (including LL Bean's factory outlet). If you dock at the Visitor's Center, come out and turn left. You'll find a ticket booth and Metro stop about a block away. We took the Metro bus and got off at the L.L. Bean Outlet at 9:00am. This was a good sized store packed with clothing. (However I understand it pales in comparison to their flagship store in Freeport). We bought two "Mad Bomber" winter hats lined with rabbit fur. This turned out to be one of our best purchases on the cruise as there were very comfortable, kept us warm, and generated numerous complements at every port. We walked around town, which has lots of historic buildings scattered about, and then headed for The Portland Museum of Art (a AAA Gem) which opens at 10:00 --- but it was closed. It closes on Mondays after Columbus Day. So we hopped back on the Metro bus and got off close to the Shipyard Brewery for a tour. Tours are free and run on the hour starting at 11:00am. They also have an extensive gift shop. The tour consists of a 10-minute movie, a visit to the bottling floor, and finishes with a tasting of all of their beers and a couple of sodas. Their Eli's brand Root Beer, made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup, was really good. We bought a 4-pack to enjoy on the ship. The Maine Bear Cafe in town serves Eli's Root Beer on tap for under $2. We enjoyed a bowl of clam chowder and a lobster roll for lunch at Gilbert's Chowder House. I recommend the clam chowder. The lobster roll, while fresh and good, was dry. We prefer our lobster rolls moistened with mayonnaise and bits of celery and onion. Following lunch, we visited the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum. It's interesting for about 10 minutes unless you are a real enthusiast. It's worth the $2 price of admission. Ship Hint: be sure to be on the starboard side of the ship as you leave Portland. You will go right by Portland Head Light which is the oldest and among the most photographed lighthouses in the world. C. Halifax, Nova Scotia 10:00am - 6:00pm. We berthed at Pier 20which is the closest pier to town. It is easily walkable. Halifax offers a local FRED (Free Rides Everywhere Downtown) bus that runs from 10:30am - 5:00pm. It stops at the Cruise Ship Pavilion/Pier 21 on the :30/:10/:50 and at the Top of the Halifax Citadel on the :48/:28/:08. Frankly, we never saw the bus. It's easy to walk around town but it is a tough 30-minute walk up to the Citadel as it is mostly uphill all the way. We did it, as did many others, so don't let the hill dissuade you. Once inside the Citadel ($7.25 pp, AAA Gem) there were a number of very interesting demonstrations by members of the 78th Highlanders regiment in period uniforms. They discussed each piece of the uniform, fired weapons, and demonstrated cannon movement. A 50-minute movie on the history of Halifax was also worthwhile, as were the museum displays. You'll enjoy panoramic views from the top of the fort as well. Walking down from the Citadel was easy. We lunched at McKelvies (located directly across the street from the Maritime Museum). McKelvies is where you want to go to enjoy tender, buttery, melt in your mouth, Digby scallops, and lobster rolls (properly moistened with a little mayonnaise, and bits of celery and onion). It all goes down good with a Garrison Irish Red draft beer. This is where we enjoyed the best Digby scallops and lobster rolls on this cruise. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic ($8.50 pp, AAA Gem) has numerous ship related exhibits including the Titanic, sunken treasure, lighthouses, ship models, and other maritime artifacts. A short movie on the 1917 explosion in Halifax Harbour (the world's largest man-made explosion before Hiroshima) was very interesting. Hint: A short 10-minute walk from the ship is an Atlantic Super Store (grocery). Take a left on Terminal and a quick left on Hollis. You can't miss it. Good opportunity to pick up a 12-pack of your favorite soda (made with sugar instead of corn syrup), or other sundry items you may have forgotten to pack. D. Quebec City, Quebec 10:00am - Overnighter - 4:00pm. We berthed at the Quebec City Wharf #93 which is on the edge of Old Quebec. Easily walkable. Grab a seat in The Bar at the Edge of the Earth on Deck 11 to view the impressive approach to the city via the Saint-Laurent Seaway, berthing just below the imposing fortification defenses and Chateau Frontenac. We arrived about 11:00 am to 20-30 mph winds, rain, sleet, heavy snow and a 33-degree high. It was downright miserable, so we wasted no time and went for a walk, thankful for our rabbit-lined mad bomber hats we purchased at the L.L. Bean Outlet in Portland, Maine. We had originally intended to visit Montmorency Falls but saved it for our second day in hopes that the wether might improve. Quebec City's population speaks French. All the signage is also in French. We strolled the many shops in the lower city, with friendly greetings of "bonjour" upon entry at each, as we worked our way up to Chateau Frontenac --- a very impressive hotel and landmark that was built in the late 19th Century. It turned out to be our respite from the sandblasting sleet and cold. Once we warmed up we headed out for a tour of the Citadel. The Citadel (a AAA Gem) was built from 1820 to 1850 and contains over 25 buildings. It is a huge fortification and home to the governor-general. Since it is still an active military facility (the largest fortification in North America garrisoned by regular troops), guided tours are mandatory. We slogged our way through two inches of accumulated snow and heavy winds to the entrance where there is a small museum display. Continuing into the Citadel, we made our way to the tour office where we were greeted by a guide. We signed up for a tour ($10 pp), which turned out to be a private tour since apparently no one else was crazy enough to show up in this weather. The tour lasted about 75 minutes and included time in two museums on the site. The museums included dioramas, weapons, and artifacts on the many wars that occurred here and those overseas in which Canadians fought. Exiting the Citadel, we got some great winter pictures of the fortification walls, arches, and fairy tale like streets of the city. We woke up the second day to beautiful sunny skies. Having not noticed any local taxis at the pier on day one, we opted for a ship excursion to Sainte-Anne-De-Beaupre (St. Anne Basilica) and Montmorency Falls. It was a 3-hour morning tour for $56 pp, plus tip, including all entrance and parking fees. The bus ride out of the city gave us picturesque views of a snow-dusted country side as we made our way out to St. Anne Basilica. It's a huge complex. The church itself is stunningly beautiful, with its stained glass windows, archways, ornate columns, and mosaic ceilings. It houses two relics: an arm bone and another bone fragment from Saint Anne (Mary's mother, Jesus' "grandmother"). The main floor includes numerous alcoves dedicated to specific Saints for individual prayer. Doors and pews are carved. The entrance doors are adorned with embossed scenes --- two on each side of every door. The second stop on the tour was Montmorency Falls (a AAA Gem). The Falls are 270-feet high --- about 50% taller than Niagra Falls (though not nearly as wide). There is a vivisitorsenter at the bottom of the falls. A gondola ($8 pp) provides rides to the top and there is also a footpath with grueling stairs that will take you the long way around to the top as well. We opted for the bus ride to the top instead. There is a footbridge which spans the top of the Falls. And once agagainou have a choice as there are two routes to the bridge. The easiest route is to take the path above Montmorency Manor. The more scenic path, with a couple of stairways starts in front of the Manor. It's about the same distance either way. We opted for the easy route up and the scenic route back. Lots of good picture taking opportunities. Our tour guide was very good and provided us with great information. Upon our return to the ship I found several taxi van tours offering a similar tour for $41 pp for parties of 6. I would recommend this tour. After lunch we set out for the Farmers Market (Place du Marche du Vieux Port). The Farmers Market is the best place in town to buy maple syrup ($8 for a 524 ml can), maple butter, maple fudge, produce, seafood, wine, and other products de Quebec. It's a level 30-minute walk or take Quebec City's small white and blue electric bus called The Ecolobus It's free, and it's ideal for cruise ship passengers, as it starts its route right at the Ferry Terminal (which, depending ouuponhere your ship is docked, either right at, or within two blocks, of your ship). It runs every 20-minutes. You catch it at any regular bus stop along the route, which includes access to the upper town as well. We caught the Ecolobus next to the Ferry Terminal (it's a glass-enclosed bus stop at the corner of du Marche-Champlain and Dalhousie) and then walked back. E. Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island 8:00am - 6:00pm. We berthed at the Charlottetown pier which is on the edge of town. The cruise ship terminal is a long warehouse building with a few shops and free wi-fi. The town is easy to walk. We started our day at Founders Hall ($7, AAA Gem) about a block and a half from the ship. Pick up your $2-off coupon at the InfoCenter kiosk in the terminal. While 4 or 5 of the exhibits were out of service, the step back in time to follow the founding of the Confederation of Canada was very interesting. Founders Hall also has a Starbucks and free wi-fi. We walked around town and saw the Province House where delegates first discussed Canada's evolution, and visited Anne of Green Gables Chocolate Shop, near the corner of QuQueennd Richmond, for a free sample of their chocolate covered P.E.I. potato chips which you can watch them make right in the window. We then set out for local seafood. We lunched at Water-Prince Corner Shop at the corner of, you guessed it, Water and Prince. We enjoyed a dozen outstanding Malpeque oysters on the half-shell ($16.95) and a pot of Blue Mussels ($9.95). But we weren't done yet. We had to find a source for the famous P.E.I. lobsters as well. One block from the ship, right on the water, is a restaurant called Lobster on the Wharf. It's great if you want a sit down meal with all the trimmings and a price to match. The real prize is next door at MacKinnon's Lobster Pound. It's in the same building and owned by the same folks. As you approach the rerestaurantthe door to the right takes you into Lobster on the Wharf, while the door on the left takes you into MacKinnon's Lobster Pound. You can buy 1.00lb-1.25lb cooked and chilled whole P.E.I. lobsters for just $7.75 each and they will crack them for free (and give you a free plastic lobster pick to help get the meat out). We bought two, which they bagged for us, and walked over to the picnic table in the park next door. No need for drawn butter! The chilled lobster meat was the sweetest lobster we ate the entire cruise. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I have to go back! Back at Founders Hall, we caught a red double-decker bus ($20 pp) for a 1-hour narrated tour of Charlottetown. It's a worthwhile informative tour. F. Sydney, Nova Scotia 8:00am - 4:00pm. We berthed at the Sydney Marine Terminal located at the corner of York and Esplanade. You are in town. There really isn't much of note in the town itself. You've got to get out of town. Fortunately, they have good local bus service. We set our sights on The Miners' Museum (a AAA Gem) located in nearby Glace Bay. They are open 10:00am - 6:00pm and costs $6 pp + Mine Tour $6 pp. The bus stop is about 4 blocks from the pier. Take Esplanade to Dorchester to George. Wait at the glass-enclosed bus stop on Dorchester just short of George Street. Take the #1 Glace Bay bus at 9:00am. It may arrive early but it will wait and leave on the hour. The ride takes about 50 minutes. Once you arrive in Glace Bay, get off on Commercial (between Marconi and York, across the street from Tim Hortons). Walk downhill on Commercial St. Commercial becomes South after you cross over a stream. Continue on South St and turn left at Birkley St. The museum will be straight ahead, about 2 blocks. (Total walk is 1.1 km, which will take you about 20 minutes). You will see occasional signage. The Miners' Museum has a movie and exhibits on coal mining, methods, tools, and history. The real value in vivisitinghe museum is the tour, led by retired coal miners who share with you their coal mining experiences. You go underground into a 1932 'room and pillar' coal mine where you will see coal-lined walls and learn from a true insider about the mining methods and working conditions. He will share his stories with you as you enter one tunnel after another. The tour is advertised to last 20 minutes. Our 10-person tour lasted at least an hour. Highly recommended! Catch the return bus on Marconi Street, near where you arrived, at Noon or 1:00pm (and arrive 1 hour later). If you get back to the bus stop a little early, stop in at Tim Hortons for a fresh Krispy Kreme-style doughnut or muffin, and coffee or hot chocolate. Cost for the bus is $3.25pp 1 way (except Saturdays where all fares are just 1 Loonie). Discount bus fare books of $13.75 can be bought for $12.50 at any Shoppers Drug Mart store or Sydney Citizen Service Centre (320 Esplanade in Sydney 8:30am - 4:30pm). Allow a total of 6 hours for this excursion (1.5 hours for the bus and walk each way and 3 hours for the museum and mine tour). G. Saint John, New Brunswick (Bay of Fundy) 8:00am - 6:00pm. We berthed at the Marco Polo Terminal (formerly known as the Pugsley Terminal), which is literally right in town and close to the Harbour Passage Walking Trail. Upon arrival, women were presented a rose and men were given a lapel pin sosouvenir You can walk to Reversing Falls (no falls, really just rapids) along the Harbour Passage from the cruise area in about 50 minutes. If you get there while the tide is rising you'll see the river water running inland from the ocean. The rapids occur when the rising tide coming in is fighting the outflowing river water. Exit the pier and turn left. Follow the red sidewalk along Water Street until you see a Moose on your left. Turn left and walk towards, and then around along the boardwalk in front of, the Hilton. Once you clear the Hilton you'll see an entrance to the Harbour Passage with a sign overhead and the red sidewalk once again. FoFollowhis riverside trail until it dedead endsnder a bridge, then backtrack a little and follow the red concrete trail to the road. (Ignore all of the other forks you encounter along the way). Turn left and stay on the sidewalk next to the highway all the rest of the way. Don't worry that they failed to paint this sidewalk red. You will eventually get to the Reversing Falls lookout which once again will feature a Harbour Passage sign overhead and a red walkway. Most folks continue from here and cross over the bridge to the other side of the river for more impressive views. There are two rerestaurantsand one has a short movie you can view. There are a number of good lookout points as well as a dock for river tours. Across the parking lot is an elevated park with great views of the surrounding area. If you don't want to walk back, you can catch the #2 Bus back into town. Catch the bus at the corner of the parking lot, at the entrance, across from where the restaurants are. Bus fare is $2.50 pp and it runs every 20 minutes. The ride will take just 10 minutes. Get off at Barbours General Store, about 2 blocks from the ship. If you don't wish to walk at all, there may be a private shuttle boat called the Falls Shuttle Service and they go out to the falls and back for $4.00. Back in town we visited the New Brunswick Museum ($6.00, AAA Gem) in market square. This family museum has diaramas of logging operations, intensive shipbuilding exhibits, artifacts recovered from sunkin ships, art, whale and mastodon skeletons, a hall of stuffed birds, and children's discovery exhibits. Worthwhile. We ate lunch at Billy's Seafood Company located at the far end of City Mall on Charlotte Street across from Kings Square. We enjoyed a pint of Pump House Blueberry draft beer with our "Seafood Splash" which consisted of a 1.00lb lobster, 8 Digby scallops, 8 Grand Island clams, and a dozen P.E.I. Blue Mussels. It was a good sampler platter ($36). H. Days At Sea We had five days at sea, nicely spaced between ports. There was no lack of things to do on the ship. Sea Days actually provided nice rest spites and allowed us to get reenergized. It also helped pace the cruise. We slept in late. You can also eat, play games, attend art auctions, port shopping briefings (basically a way to kill time watching a talking advertisement), watch movies in the room, attend shows, eat, nap, blackjack tournament, slots tournament, midday snack, cards, pools, bars, eat, trivia contests, shuffleboard, ping-pong, paddle tennis, basketball, darts, read, chat with fellow passengers, eat, board games, Bingo, eat, rum tasting, shopping, gambling, exercise, movies, live entertainment... the list goes on! F. Ships in Port Visit CruiseCal.com or the links provided above to see which ships are likely to be in port during your cruise. Part IX - Tipping The service personnel on Celebrity receive meager wages and rely on your tips for income. While Celebrity says it is customary to offer gratuities to the ship's personnel who service you on the voyage, it really is expected, and it's something you should figure into your cruise budget. I say it's expected, but the ship's personnel work long hours to service you and the other passengers. They genuinely do everything they can to service your needs. The Celebrity guidelines total $322.00 per couple on an 14-day cruise. The tip guidelines break out as follows (per couple): Waiter $102.20, Waiter's Assistant $58.50, Assistant Maitre'd $28, Stateroom Attendant $98, and Assistant Chief Housekeeper $35. Here's a really handy Cruise Tip Calculator covering all major cruise lines. Early in the voyage, Celebrity gives you the option of charging all of the tips to your cruise account. You'll also tip for room service, bartenders (a 15% gratuity is already included in all bar drinks), the Sommelier (that wine guy or gal with the silver cup dangling from his neck), Spa Personnel (a 10% service charge is automatically included), baggage handlers, taxi drivers, tour drivers, and any other personnel who you wish to tip. Part X - Captain's Club If you have taken a previous voyage and are not a member of the Captain's Club, sign up. It's free. Benefits include a CC express line at Embarkation, priority Disembarkation, casino and spa discounts, cocktail parties, free entrance into the wine-tasting seminar, and a one cabin upgrade. New benefits for Select (5-9 cruises) and Elite (10 or more cruises) include laundry and internet discounts, and Elite also has access to the free Happy Hour drinks in Michael's Club. Some exclusions apply. Part XI - Disembarkation and Customs A. Disembarkation On the final sea day, rather than attend a disembarkation briefing in person, we were advised to watch a disembarkation video that played on a loop all day on a tv channel in our cabin. This worked great. Josh Riffe presented a very informative and easy to follow briefing. On the morning of disembarkation, a full buffet breakfast with all the trimmings was available in the Seaside Cafe on Deck 10. Earlier in the week everyone completed surveys which were used to prioritize passengers. Color-coded disembarkation luggage tags were issued to all cabins, and passengers were instructed to place the tags on their luggage and set them outside their cabin before going to bed. Clearly those folks needing to catch plane and train connections or who were on escorted tours in Newark and New York had high priority. Select and Elite members had good priority as well. Other Captain's Club members had priority within their color group. Disembarkation was scheduled to begin about 8:15am. All passengers were instructed to sit in specific public areas until their group color was called. Once off the ship, you clocked out with your sea pass card one last time, collected your bags from the terminal, showed your passports to customs personnel while declaring your purchases and exited the terminal. Bags were arranged by color for easy retrieval in the terminal. Unlike our arrival, we had no prearranged transportation back to the airport. Upon exiting the terminal, we walked to the extreme left of the open-air staging area to grab a taxi. They had a large number of 10-passenger taxi vans available. Cost per person is $14 plus tip. This was a relatively good value given the alternatives. 20 minutes later we were at the airport. B. Customs According to the U.S. Canadian Embassy, each U.S. citizen traveling to Canada is permitted $800 worth of Duty Free goods including 1 liter of alcohol per person. Smokers are limited to 200 previously exported cigarettes and 100 cigars. All you needed to do was to declare the total value. Anything greater had to be itemized (declared) and a duty paid. Part XII - Praises and Gripes A. Praises Constellation's personnel are very attentive, friendly and helpful. The food was very good. The ship is very well laid out, clean and in very good shape. The Captain's Club events were very good, and the ship's entertainment is excellent. My wife wanted me to give kudos for the larger coffee cups Constellation uses in stark contrast to the small mugs we've seen on previous cruises. We received a big red rose and a nice note of congratulations welcoming us to "Elite" status beginning with our next cruise. The newly expanded non-smoking policy was very much appreciated. B. Gripes We certainly didn't have much to gripe about, although if you got any group of folks together, similar themes emerged: 1. The photos were very professional and creative. The price of the photos was outrageous. I still don't understand the mentality of taking tons of pictures of passengers and then expecting us to pay $10 to $20 for each. We won't. 2. Smoking in The Bar at The Edge of The Earth. Great venue. Too bad a single smoker or two can ruin the air for the majority of passengers. 3. Poor satellite TV service. We missed the MLB playoffs. 4. An occasional faint sewage smell in our bathroom. Never lasted all day. 5. Heavy chorine shock on or about October 26. The entire water supply, from the bathrooms to the drinking water took on a very heavy smell of chorine. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
This was our second cruise with Celebrity, having cruised on Summit 2 years ago through the Panama Canal. We had flown from Australia to join the Constellation for this much awaited cruise and had high expectations given our previous ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Celebrity, having cruised on Summit 2 years ago through the Panama Canal. We had flown from Australia to join the Constellation for this much awaited cruise and had high expectations given our previous experience. We had a Concierge class cabin on Deck 8, much quieter than those on deck 9, under the pool deck. Wonderful cabin staff and cabin was clean and well looked after during out occupation. Embarkation was fine at Bayonne Cruise terminal, even though by the time we got there after 1.30pm, there were large queues even in the priority boarding areas, it only took 30 minutes before we were onboard and enjoying our glass of champagne. We were escorted to our cabin as we had brought our luggage on board with us, as we had no luggage tags, and the luggage attendant at the cruise port were overrun and didnt have any either. Our cabin was available immediately and we unpacked and then found our table seating time was for 6pm, too early for us, so we went down to midships, where the San Marco Manager was able to put us with a table of 10 for the 8.30 pm seating with no problems. After this we had lunch from the buffet, caesar salad with fried southern chicken ( a bit dry) and then a delicious mango sorbet. The range of ice creams and sorbets available this trip was wonderful. We left port finally at 6.30pm and went to the 7pm show, highlights of what was to come. Acapella choir, the Voice Males and the Celebrity Band and singers and dancers, all fantastic. This was one of the highlights of this trip as we found nearly all the entertainment first class, the best we have seen on board any ship and this was our 7th cruise. Dining in San Marco that night was very good, crab and avocado salad, lamb shank with couscous and then creme brulee, all tasty and tender. However, over the 2 weeks, we found the food quality, taste and choice were very hit and miss. Our table waiter would try and guide us to the best choices, but when we decided outside his recommendations, most times we were very disappointed. Food came cool to lukewarm at best on cold plates most nights. Soup one night was wonderful and inedible a few nights later (either far too salty or cold). We thoroughly enjoyed the duck dish, the oysters with spinach and Parmesan (could be offered more than once a trip) Dover sole with shrimp mousse quenelles, but the steaks and some of the fish were inedible, tough and overcooked. The last formal night when lobster was on the menu, our waiters recommendation was for Mamma's home style pork chops!!!! No one chose them and we all wished we had, as the lobster was the worst we have ever tasted on board a ship, minute in size and largely inedible. A real let down on our final formal night - and this along the coast that serves up the best lobster at the cheapest prices that we have ever seen. We ate lobster and clam chowder every lunch time off the boat as it was such good value for money compared to Australian seafood prices. We ate breakfast and most lunches at sea in Aqua Spa Cafe and loved it. Its choice of light, tasty but healthy lunches were delicious. Breakfast too was very good, but could have been a little more diverse, with some extra things added over the 2 weeks rather than offering the same fare daily. Wait staff here were wonderful and very kind to guests, one introducing us to another guest from Australia, who was travelling on her own. We struck up a great friendship and enjoyed comparing notes after drinks each evening before dinner or at lunch time. Our experience in the Ocean Liners restaurant was mixed. The food was really awe inspiring. Here we had a really wonderful lobster, choosing the scallop/salmon/prawn trio then Maine lobster bisque, both exquisite appetizers. Mains we both had surf and turf, a tender beautifully cooked filet mignon with a large lobster tail, then chocolate and grand marnier souffles for dessert. 5 stars for the food. The only criticism we had this time was we felt rushed and we had asked to have our courses served with decent intervals between (25 minutes), but even then the food came too early for us, making what should have been a long, slow evening meal of true enjoyment a very rushed and hurried affair. This is because they take the dessert order when you order your entree, thus leaving little room for space between courses, especially when cooking something like souffles. Go back to the old way of doing things in these restaurants, a long slow dining experience is what most of us are looking for, not a quick stuff you silly and get out parade! Overall we really enjoyed the cruise and the ship, our only concerns were the food quality which has seriously deteriorated since our least Celebrity experience. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
We are a retired couple, usually traveling with another couple. We have sailed with NCL, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Celebrity. Embarkation at Cape Liberty, Bayonne, NJ was fantastic. We arrived slightly after 11 ... Read More
We are a retired couple, usually traveling with another couple. We have sailed with NCL, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Celebrity. Embarkation at Cape Liberty, Bayonne, NJ was fantastic. We arrived slightly after 11 am and after a short wait, we were welcomed aboard w/ champagne and looking for lunch in the Seaside Cafe. Selection and service were good and we were soon checking out our stateroom. Luggage arrived throughout the afternoon and we were pleasantly surprised when the mandatory lifeboat drill did NOT require life jackets!Cabin 7114 is situated mid-ship, not too near elevators, with no cabins across from it; in other words, quiet w/ easy access to everything. The balcony is equipped with 2 chairs and is 2 floors above the life boats which we looked down on. Storage is adequate, but I missed a drawer in the desk because that is usually my make-up area. Hint: we use suction cup hooks on mirrors for hats, storage bags, etc. This is our first cruise to try 1st seating for dinner, but after dinners that finished at 10:30 on our last (Holland America) cruise, we made the switch. So, 6pm found us in the San Marco Dining Room where we were delighted to find our table for 8 and two delightful couples from NJ. Our Waiter, Jorge, and Assistant Waiter, Andres, began right away to learn our preferences and try to keep us happy. They were good at their jobs; we were impressed that Andres remembered drink choices and did not have to ask again. Food: We ate in the San Marco every night except 2 and in the Seaside Cafe for all breakfasts and lunches unless we were ashore or there was a brunch in the San Marco (these were GREAT). Overall, the food was good, but some of our group and others we talked to agreed that the nightly offerings had an unusual (some said European) flair. Thankfully there is a "classic" menu from which one could order any night and we chose items from this menu frequently. When I did stray to the other menu, I was quite often disappointed; items like Shrimp Scampi which had 3 very tough shrimp, rice not done and pureed vegetable were not to my taste. My husband, a beef eater, had several beef dishes that were tough or not cooked to order. It is our opinion that the quality of beef in the main dining room has suffered since the specialty restaurants appeared. We have eaten in a specialty restaurant and it was wonderful, but we are not willing to spend extra every night and don't believe we should have to. Seaside Cafe had great choices for breakfast and lunch. Any type of breakfast food could be found, cooked to order or quick pick up. The only sad note here was the coffee which was (to our taste) not drinkable as it came from the urn. We found that a mix of 1/3 decaf, 1/3 regular, and 1/3 hot water gave us something we could drink. We saw many others adding water and even saw waiters adding water to the coffee they were serving through the dining room. Our complaints seemed to fall on deaf ears. Lunch choices ran from hot foods to a great deli whose chicken salad, egg salad and hot soups were great lunch fare. The only burger we ate from the grill was cold; a disappointment because we usually love the grill items. The 'Casual Dining by Reservation' did not live up to it's billing. We found that they have one menu for the entire cruise! Also, the 'classic menu' from the dining room was not available as we had understood (we were told this was a recent change). Entertainment: Something for everyone! The Celebrity Theater brought us some very enjoyable shows. The productions were well done, costumes great, and our only complaint here is that the volume was way to high! There were the usual orchestra, a classical guitarist, a pianist, comedians, and some combinations. Acts that stood out were Alex & Sally, an Adage Duo, and an A Capella group, The Voice Males. The party band, Sipra was especially good. We attended several enrichment talks and enjoyed them. We are not fans of the art auctions and usually prefer to find a quiet spot for reading when there is time to relax. All employees of the cruise line were efficient, friendly and always trying to please. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
I have cruised for fifty years on many ships, the first being a cruise from NYC to Scandinavia on the STATENDAM in 1958. Over the years many other cruises followed on a variety of ships including the MICHAELANGELO, CRISTOFORO COLUMBO, ... Read More
I have cruised for fifty years on many ships, the first being a cruise from NYC to Scandinavia on the STATENDAM in 1958. Over the years many other cruises followed on a variety of ships including the MICHAELANGELO, CRISTOFORO COLUMBO, ROYAL VIKING SEA and STAR, GRIPSHOLM, QE 2, MARIPOSA, MAASDAM and CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS. I have endured rough seas including a hurricane while on the GRIPSHOLM. I've never felt a concern for safety until I boarded the CONSTELLATION for a thirteen day cruise from Port Liberty, NJ to New England and Canada. With only a 26 foot draught and eleven passenger decks, including one which extends over the side of the ship, the CONSTELLATION is top-heavy. In even moderate seas the ship bobs like a tin can on the ocean with neither a pitch or roll, but a "waddle and jerk". The early morning of October 29 saw the CONSTELLATION encounter a low pressure system of the coast of Maine resulting in a steady wind of 60MPH. The CONSTELLATION did not react at all well, slamming and jerking far more than any other ship I have sailed. Apparently the high profile and shallow draught of the CONSTELLATION offered an inviting target for the wind. A naval architect that was on board described the CONSTELLATION as riding like an RV on water. He said he would feel safer on the North Atlantic in his sailboat than on the CONSTELLATION. That pretty much says it all. The embarkation at Port Liberty went very smoothly. We were able to board shortly after noon and enjoy lunch while waiting for our stateroom to be readied. The room was large and pleasant and throughout the voyage well- attended by our steward and his assistant. In spite of having written confirmation from Celebrity that we would be assigned a table for two in the main sitting, we were given a table for six and told that no change could be made. Apparently the ship was full with every cabin occupied, but I was surprised that the written confirmation meant nothing. The dining experience on the CONSTELLATION was adequate. Food was what would be expected and the service was friendly if a bit harried by having to serve such a large number of people. Formal nights on the CONSTELLATION would be semi-formal on the QE 2. The enrichment program was meager, but included an estate attorney from New Jersey who presented four outstanding programs on living trusts, probate and insurance trusts which drew standing room only crowds to a relatively small theater. Why the ship's staff didn't move them to a larger facility when their popularity became apparent is still a mystery. The cruise was worth taking if only for his excellent presentations. I've found art auctions on other ships to be intrusive. On the CONSTELLATION they were EXTREMELY intrusive. On the first day at sea we wanted to read in the lounge and enjoy the sea views out the windows. Not possible. The curtains were drawn hours before the art auction and the lounge was filled with what was called "art". Apparently these art auctions are held at sea so as to be out of any legal jurisdiction. It is an annoying feature of cruising today that should be eliminated for the benefit of the vast majority of passengers who have no interest in the trash that is offered. We enjoyed the ports of call, especially Charlottetown, PEI and Quebec City. Both cities lend themselves to walking which we enjoyed. We took none of the shore excursions offered by the cruise line, but heard mixed reviews, as could be expected with a large number offered at most ports. The entertainment was not impressive, especially when audience members threw articles of clothing on the stage after a rather ordinary performance by a singer-piano player. Disembarkation went as smoothly as embarkation, especially considering the large number of passengers and baggage involved. If not for the above mentioned concern about the top-heaviness of the CONSTELLATION, I would give this cruise on the CONSTELLATION three stars. I don't plan future cruises on the CONSTELLATION, but will search for ships providing more stability at sea. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2008
This was our third cruise on Celebrity Cruise Line and our third cruise on the Constellation. This is the second most cruise line we travel on. We live in Staten Island only 13.5 miles from the cruiseport. Embarkation-This went very ... Read More
This was our third cruise on Celebrity Cruise Line and our third cruise on the Constellation. This is the second most cruise line we travel on. We live in Staten Island only 13.5 miles from the cruiseport. Embarkation-This went very smoothly. Got there processed in then they put us on a bus and we went right to the ship. Got on and dropped off carry-on luggage to the stateroom. Dining-The food was its usual far above most cruise lines. It was very good to excellent. My wife really likes the waffles and could hardly wait to have them. The wait staff was very good in the dining room and buffet. Our Assistant Maitre 'D Miss Lorita really outdid herself. Our waiter Jesus (pronounced Hezeus),he wanted to make sure we knew that, and Celvin were very good at what they did. When they worked in the buffet were very cordial as well. The grill provides a good afternoon lunch place and you could sit outdoors weather permitting. Ocean Liners: The specialty restaurant. It was very good eating there. They give the dining experience a special atmosphere and a certain ambiance. If you have a special occasion: birthday, anniversary, or anything else it is well worth celebrating here. We saw a new found friend Gary, a regular at the casino, and his wife in there. It was his anniversary too. Entertainment-Most of the shows I've seen before. A few I haven't. Most of the shows I've seen already I left. Some of the I didn't see I stayed for and they weren't bad. I was hoping to see Don Gavin. He was very funny, but, didn't work the cruise we were on this time. My wife liked Judy Kolba. Room Service- Not as fast as they were in the past. However,they far exceeded what RCCL could do. This may be due to the fact that many of the people on the crew were new to the ship. Ship Activities- My wife and I enjoy playing Bingo and I certainly enjoyed playing table tennis. The veterans meetings were good. I am a veteran and enjoy meeting other veterans. I am proud of my service. I bumped into Cruise Director's staff people and hoped I helped to create a good environment on the ship so everyone could have a good time. There were plenty of activities to keep everyone busy, provided that was what you wanted to do. I also noticed many people sitting in a lounge and reading. Enrichment: Went to some of the discussions. Found out a bit more about Benedict Arnold and the history of cruise ships. The history of NYC was a bit off. If anyone tries to find the Intrepid Museum downtown they will look long and hard before they realize that it isn't downtown like the speaker said. It is next to pier 88 at midtown. Don't walk from pier 17 to the Empire State Building. It takes too long. Benedict Arnold got wounded in his leg at the Battle of Saratogo. Stateroom- Not as large as on one other line, but, it was okay. My wife also likes the bedding on another line, but, said this was acceptable. Balcony was nice. Provided a nice place to go without a lot of people around. Casino: Saved this one for it's own category. I love Casinos and on a cruise ship it is a central focal point. Some of the dealers came up to me and reintroduced themselves as they said they knew me from a prior cruise. The people that played at the craps table were for the most part very nice folks. There is something about a craps table that unites players. Tried to help create a good gambling venue. The Ports of Call: Portland: Walked around Portland in the morning and went to Kennebunkport in the afternoon. Good afternoon tour and nice being back in Portland. Prince Edward Island: Religious Holy Day for me so I didn't go on PEI. My wife said tour was good and she enjoyed it. The PEI jelly she bought is very good. Quebec City: Took Countryside Tour in morning and walked around town in afternoon. My wife was aching so much she never left ship on second day. Found good gelato place in the Little Italy section of town. Halifax: My home away from home. Been here more than anyother place by cruise ship. It changed somewhat. They now have a ferry terminal and moved Cows Ice Cream. Didn't get to Nova Scotia Hotel/Casino. Found Tim Horton coffee shop, in Ferry Terminal. Took Pub Tour in afternoon. It was fun. Bar Harbor: (pronounced Baa-ha-ba) Went on shore excursion to Acadia National Park. That was nice and got some good pictures. My wife enjoyed that tour although she never got off the bus at any of the stops. Went on a walk in Baa ha ba in the afternoon. We had a good lunch at a local place then went to look in the shops. My wife really liked the soft serve blueberry ice cream and the heated blueberry pie with whipped cream we had. Enrichment: Disembarkation- Went a lot smoother than the last two times. They had a handicapped lounge and actually escorted handicapped passengers off the ship. A lot better than the last two cruises. Disembarkation went much smoother. At most ports-of-call we saw people we knew from the Constellation. We exchanged greetings with most and adventures at the port-of-call. Also, some adventures that occurred on the ship as well. It was a good vacation which we enjoyed very much. The ship was excellent and we look forward to another vacation again on the Constellation in the not too distant future. Read Less
The
Sail Date: October 2008
The Constellation is definitely worthy of its # 1 rating in Conde' Nast Traveler, from the time I boarded the ship till I left I was impressed and my faith in Celebrity renewed. I had been on The Mercury back in March (see my review I ... Read More
The Constellation is definitely worthy of its # 1 rating in Conde' Nast Traveler, from the time I boarded the ship till I left I was impressed and my faith in Celebrity renewed. I had been on The Mercury back in March (see my review I understand it has been fixed) and came away with a very bad taste, however The Connie certainly made those feelings just a foggy memory. Boarding at Cape Liberty was the smoothest I had ever seen, from the time I stepped out of my cab till I was on the ship was less than 30 minutes. After my glass of "bubbly" I was on my way to my stateroom on deck 8. Having sailed on The Summit, sister ship, I know all the shortcuts and the layout of the ship. The Constellation was in fine shape, oh to be sure there were a few signs of wear here and there, but the entire cruise the maintenance staff was very visible painting, cleaning etc. My cabin, inside, was fine spacious with lots of storage space always is great shape and well attended to by the cabin staff. Dining on the ship was as expected, excellent with several new items on the and a good variety each and every night. I did notice that Celebrity had cut back from 4 to 3 shrimp in the shrimp cocktail, but that was easily solved by ordering two, which after the first night my waiter made sure that I had two each night in addition to another appetizer. Celebrity also has cut back on the number of dessert offerings, which is fine with me as I do not really care for the extremely sweet desserts, HOWEVER their cheesecake was outstanding. One thing Celebrity does well is beef, I had beef dishes several nights and they were extremely good and done as I prefer. As usual Celebrity had a variety of soup offerings, I still pass on the chilled soups, but the cream soups were excellent. The buffet offerings were varied and some better than others, personal taste, but I noted that breakfast now has Traditional American and English sides, I was quite pleased to see Eggs Benedict on the buffet line. I usually vary between the eggs (omelet) made to order, regular buffet, and the waffle station, this trip was no exception. The only down side I saw was coffee, it was terrible in the buffet but excellent in the dining room. I heard that Celebrity was trying out a new blend, I hope they ditch that. A bit disappointing to me was the beverage dispensers, several were broken, but I assume that they came with the ship and were going to be replaced. I did note several times during my cruise a person with a "Cruise Critic" tee shirt, now I had to wonder if this person was trying for special treatment or what, I felt that it was in poor taste. The entertainment was for the most part very good with the production numbers done extremely well and the Celebrity Orch. did a fine job with some very difficult pieces. One night they were even on stage in a production number causing me to give them a big thumbs up! I did walk out on one show, however, that being Perry Grant when he played in the Celebrity Theatre. I felt that he was trying to do a Liberace imitation and did not have the talent to pull it off. One other single act was Judy Kolba, she was very funny and got the audience involved in her show. One thing she did that was extremely funny was when a gentleman came into the show late, she did an instant fast forward replay of her show to that point, it had the audience rolling in the aisles. The cruise was excellent, the ship very nice and the crew friendly and helpful. The "Connie" is a must sail! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
Let me start by saying that this is probably our 15th cruise but first to a non-caribbean destination. It was also our first time on a Celebrity ship & we were very pleased. We were by far the youngest couple on the ship (40yrs old). ... Read More
Let me start by saying that this is probably our 15th cruise but first to a non-caribbean destination. It was also our first time on a Celebrity ship & we were very pleased. We were by far the youngest couple on the ship (40yrs old). The average age was probably 70yrs old. We didn't mind. It was a nice change from the young college kids on our spring break cruises. Details about the ship: Very clean, nice open areas for sitting and reading, nice cabins. It was our first time to have an inside room and we were very happy. There was plenty of storage & a decent size shower compared to other ships. We've cruised with Disney, Princess, Carnival & Royal Caribbean and this ship was every bit as good if not better than all of the above (other than Disney...no one beats Disney at anything). The food was very good. Our waiter, Jimmy Carter from India (that's his real first name), was fantastic. The Oceanliner Restaurant was expensive & not any better than the regular dining room. The atmosphere was very elegant though. If you want a romantic dinner this would be great. The only complaint we had with dining was that the wine Sommeliers? would come by EVERY night to try to sign you up for a wine event of some kind. They should advertise outside but not bother people while they are trying to enjoy their dinner. Since it was colder weather we didn't use the outside much. The pool looked nice. We did use the indoor pool a few times. There were always a lot of people there. The ship has a really nice gym. We used it several times & there was never a problem getting a particular machine. Moving on to entertainment. We enjoyed all of the shows. The comedian was excellent and the broadway show was really good. We also enjoyed the guy who plays a xylophone type instrument with four mallets (not sure the correct word) at one time. He was amazing. There was also a wonderful pianist two nights. Our favorite entertainer was Perry Grant. He was normally in Michaels lounge (TOO SMALL). He NEEDS a bigger room. The little bar was always standing room only. The night he was in the big theatre he almost filled it. Even though we are only 40ish we really enjoyed his Frank Sinatra-type music. I would like to see him play a few newer songs like 70's or later....just a few. Don't want to ruin his routine. I forgot to mention their enrichment series. My husband went to an estate planning seminar (3 part series). He found it very helpful & informative. Now for the best part...excursions. We did not book any excursions through the ship. We find we get better service & have a whole car to ourselves for the same price. I'll try to give as much info about who we used at each port. Our first stop was Bar Harbor, Maine. It was beautiful. What a quaint town. We took a tour of Acadia National Park. It is fantastic in October. Lots of color. You can book a tour online with Ollie's Trollies. It is located right at the port so no need for a cab. After the tour of Acadia National Park we walked around a bit & stopped for lunch at THE THIRSTY WHALE. YOU WILL NOT FIND A BETTER LOBSTER ROLL ANYWHERE. We tried several others in different places & none were as good as the Thirsty Whale. They use a buttery toasted bun...yummy! Our next stop was Prince Edward Island. Our tour guide was Wonda. He is originally from Ethiopia but has lived on Prince Edward Island for many years. He gives a great tour. It's $50/per hour & we spent about 3-4 hours touring around the island. His number is 902/367-1516. P.E.I is probably the cleanest place you will ever visit. They only started allowing aluminum cans six months ago. They didn't want to dirty up their beautiful piece of paradise. We saw the Anne of Green Gables house, beautiful beaches, old churches, and beautiful scenery. Next we went to Quebec City for two days. It was like we stepped off the boat and into France. 95% of the population speaks french. We just picked up a cab right off the ship(TaxiCoop- Clark was great). He took us to Montmorency Falls (twice as tall as Niagara Falls-not as wide). Then we went to Il de Orleans (island across the river). Beautiful place. You can only own a home there if you are a direct descendant from the original islanders. Next we walked around Old Quebec City and had lunch at Aux Anciens Canadian. It's the oldest house in Quebec City. It's very good & authentic food for Quebec City. The second day we did a walking tour of Old Quebec City with Mike(www.toursvoirquebec.com). We learned a lot about the history of this great city. You must walk around the Chateau Fontenac. It is gorgeous. We had lunch at the Golden Pig...really good! Our next stop was Syndey, Nova Scotia. Another Beautiful city. We took a taxi tour to the Alexander Graham Bell museum. We learned a lot. His summer home is still there in Baddeck. His grandchildren live there. We had lobster at Joe's Warehouse. It was yummy! Our next stop was Halifax, NS. Our first rainy day. Eric Calnen is a fantastic guide (eric.calnen@ns.sympatico.ca). He took us to see Peggy's Cove (most photographed lighthouse in the world). We toured the Maritime Museum which has much information about the Titanic since it sank 700miles from Halifax. There is a cemetery there with many of the bodies from the Titanic. All of the headstones are lined in such a way that it forms the front of a ship & is facing the direction the Titanic was facing when it sunk. Pretty moving and sad site. Our last stop was St.Johns, New Brunswik. It was raining. Good thing we did the reverse falls on the Bay of Fundy because we were already wet. THIS IS A MUST. The water changes current during the day. The water from the ocean is always fighting the water from the bay. We were there at high-tide when the water flows backwards. It causes little rapids all over the places. You jump into a speed boat & go right into the rapids and get SOAKED!!! The drivers are hilarious & really get into soaking you. It is a lot of fun & there isn't much else to do in St. Johns. Highly recommend doing this tour. On our way back to the ship we stopped and bought two rock pencil holders from Gary Kingsley. He takes photos of you with the rocks to put in an album. He makes the coolest things out of rocks collected from the beaches & surrounding areas of St. Johns. I highly recommend these for a souvenir. He is very reasonable & a really nice guy. Well that's it. It was a fantastic journey. Coming from Texas we were happy to get to the cooler weather. We loved the Celebrity Constellation & would definitely cruise on it again. Hope this is helpful. Cynthia S Austin, TX Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
This was our first cruise. Since we live in NJ close to Cape Liberty, we took a taxi to the port. It was very convenient. We were dropped off and on our way to check in within minutes. The check in process was flawless and we were on the ... Read More
This was our first cruise. Since we live in NJ close to Cape Liberty, we took a taxi to the port. It was very convenient. We were dropped off and on our way to check in within minutes. The check in process was flawless and we were on the ship within minutes. Our bags were waiting for us in our room as we were coming in to clean up for dinner. We thought the food was awful. Everything was very bland. They had the same foods offered over and over. The Chinese food area of the buffet did not even offer chinese food. The pizza was one of the worst I've ever had. The pasta was okay. The hours of the buffet were very inconvenient. It seems as if every time we were hungry, the buffet was closing. There was no other dinner option besides the main San Marco dining room and casual dining. You had to decide by 2:00 PM if you wanted casual dining because the casual dining required a reservation. We did not like the food in the San Marco restaurant either. The selection was bad. Soups were watery and bland. You needed a magnifying glass to find the meal on your plate. Both our waiter and assistant waiter had attitudes, and were no where to be found. I had to beg nightly for a glass of iced tea even though other tables had their tea and lemonade waiting for them when they arrived for the evening. The evening entertainment was just okay. Nothing to write the farm about. The formal nights were extremely over-rated. Honestly it was no big deal. I was told that evening gowns and tuxes were the norm. Most men wore suits. One man wore sweat pants with a stripe down the side and a wrinkled blazer. Nothing was said to him as he wore the same thing for all 3 formal nights. Women wore a range from gowns and all types of dresses down to black pants and a sparkly blouse. My biggest advice to all of the first time cruisers worrying about formal night is wear what you feel most comfortable in. They do not stand out side the dining room inspecting people as they go in! The Thermo Pool was also nothing noticeable. It was a luke warm salty pool. I was expecting much more. The ship activities were horrible. It was like a floating retirement home. Cards, ping pong, board games, puzzles. They offered 30 minutes of Nintendo Wii a day then the machine was whisked away because the kids area needed it back. That was about it. My group was bored to tears on at sea days. The television in the rooms is about as bad as it gets. If you love sitting on cramped buses all day, you will love the excursions. Hours on a bus broken up by 5 minute picture stops! What a good time that was! The bright spot of the entire cruise was the housekeeping staff. Our stateroom assistant was about as great as they come. He cleaned our room very well. As soon as we left, he was in and out again with the beds made and the bathroom towels changed. He went out of his way to open our stateroom door for us when he saw us coming. Overall, I would never sail on Celebrity again. I feel I did not get anything close to what I paid for. The service was okay. The food was poor. I paid a lot of money to be bored for 2 weeks. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
We've cruised Celebrity once before and have cruised on RCCL, HAL, NCL, MSC and Cunard. On this trip we took Amtrak from Jacksonville, FL to Newark, NJ. The trip was 20 hours from 5pm to 11 am. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Hotel ... Read More
We've cruised Celebrity once before and have cruised on RCCL, HAL, NCL, MSC and Cunard. On this trip we took Amtrak from Jacksonville, FL to Newark, NJ. The trip was 20 hours from 5pm to 11 am. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Jersey City, NJ which was an easy local train trip from the Amtrak stop. We just stepped out of Amtrak over right across from us was the local PATH train. The hotel was about 20 feet from the PATH stop. The hotel has a fantastic view of Manhattan and is safe to walk around. We paid $50 with tip from the hotel to the ship. Embarkation was quick, dropped off bags to Longshoreman and got through the check-in line. We waited about 10 minutes and then they started boarding the buses to the Constellation. On board (at 12:20pm) we received a drink and an invite for lunch in the Seaside cafe. We had confirmed from Celebrity and our travel agent for first seating, but there was no seating card in our room. We had to wait in line for the Maitre d' and we ended up with second seating. Never had that happen before! Our stateroom attendants were fantastic, very personable and caring. Very clean room, always asked if we needed anything. We had an inside cabin and never heard our neighbors or any ships noise. One of the quietest cabins ever. Beds are so much more comfortable than before. We enjoy a coffee or tea and the pastries at Cova Cafe. Many mornings I'd be there instead of with the crush at the Seaside Grill. Also went to breakfast in the San Marco Dining room. Met some interesting folks there and service was fantastic. The food was good also. We like the Trivia games, the enrichment lectures, listening to music and even went to the disco one night. I liked the Library's custom of just taking and returning books without signing in and out. Very easy. We had one shore excursion in Bar Harbor, ME - a bike ride on the carriage roads of Acadia National Park. Moderately strenuous. My knees are still killing me! Dining: The menu is more limited than a previous Celebrity cruise, I miss the cheese and cracker plate, although when I asked for cheese and fruit, I got that. Our table had the best waiter and assistant, Stephan and Sumantra. Stephan always gave us a rundown on what was good that night and since it was second seating, what the guests had commented about the food from first seating. Food is excellent and variety is nice. The one night I had shrimp cocktail, I had only two shrimp! - If we didn't like the entrEe after ordering, Stephan was more than happy to replace it. Entertainment: For the overnight in Quebec, Celebrity brought in a local dance group and they were marvelous. For second seating sometimes the show was before dinner, sometimes after dinner. Always something going on in the disco. The band Top Notch was terrific. Quebec City was our favorite. The people of Quebec were very polite, very friendly and bilingual. The staff in the shops were wonderful. My husband bought a pair of trousers and their English was perfect. No problems taking American cash, traveler's cheques or credit cards. Debarkation went well. If only people wouldn't congregate at the entrances... Another $50 for a taxi from the pier to the Amtrak station. Wonderful cruise with a fantastic staff. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
We have cruised with Celebrity on at least 10 occasions. We have also cruised with HAL, Cunard, Radisson, Windstar, Star Clipper, and NCL. This was our first cruise to Canada and our first from Cape Liberty. We live in Maryland and ... Read More
We have cruised with Celebrity on at least 10 occasions. We have also cruised with HAL, Cunard, Radisson, Windstar, Star Clipper, and NCL. This was our first cruise to Canada and our first from Cape Liberty. We live in Maryland and decided to take the train to Newark. It was a very comfortable and less stressful way of getting to the ship. We had no worries about weight of luggage, security, flight delays, etc. The cab ride was $40 from Penn Station and we were able to board at 11:30. We dropped our carry on at the cabin and had lunch. By the time we made a trip to the Library for some books, our bags had arrived. The table we were given for the second seating was as requested and was in a great spot. The number of selections for dinner were somewhat smaller than last year but the quality of the fish and meat was much better than on last year's cruise. There was always the choice of Shrimp Cocktail (3 shrimp, you could ask for more), Ceasar Salad, Salmon, Strip Steak, if you didn't like anything else on the menu. The Aqua Spa Cafe was great in the morning for breakfast and for lunch with lighter selections. The individually cooked entrees at lunch were a real treat and the kitchen is the same one used for the Ocean Liner Specialty Restaurant. The Asian area on the larger buffet is a great addition as you can get a stir fry made on the spot. They also had some interesting Thai, Indian, Philippine cuisine as well as Chinese. Pasta, Pizza, Asian including Sushi were available in the evening in addition to the "reservation only" casual dining. We had some rough weather, especially for this ship, but she seemed to handle it well. The Captain seemed to plan it so the roughest of the weather hit us while we were in bed. The worse being the 80 knot winds and 25 ft. seas early on the morning on 10/29. Didn't seem to keep too many people down as the passages and buffet lines were still crowded. The decks were closed during much of our at-sea time because of the rough or windy or icy weather. This was the last trip of the season to Canada so we should have expected the cold but some folks said they even saw snow falling on the deck! The ship has been kept up beautifully. The very pleasant crew is constantly cleaning when they are not serving you or asking if you need anything. The Hotel Manager is from Denmark and she must be doing something right to keep all of these people so happy! The cruise was a great value because of the low late season pricing. We were the last ship calling in most of the Canadian ports so even the ports were holding sales for our benefit. The tours we took through the ship were run by pleasant knowledgeable people eager to share their town or island with us. One even told us about the happenings in the different houses in her village. Of course entertainment on this ship was dominated for us by Perry Grant. He has always been a special favorite on this ship. At least he was in the large theater twice on this cruise, once in the Rendevous Lounge and almost every night in Michael's Club. It is very difficult to get a seat in Michael's Club when he performs and his "groupies" swarm over you when you get up to go to dinner. He is very funny and he has a wonderful voice. I feel sorry for the passengers who did not discover him, but then, there was limited seating in the small club. Many passengers refuse to book a cruise unless they are assured he will be on board. Some even had tee shirts proclaiming "I love Perry!". He does make the evenings on the Constellation! It was a wonderful cruise with great food, friendly staff, and a beautiful ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
Boarding and departing Cape Liberty was GREAT! I think the constant charges on board for everything was beyond all my expectations after Princess and Carnival cruises. The biggest pet peeve was a $104 tour and on picking up a bottle of ... Read More
Boarding and departing Cape Liberty was GREAT! I think the constant charges on board for everything was beyond all my expectations after Princess and Carnival cruises. The biggest pet peeve was a $104 tour and on picking up a bottle of water before leaving I was told that will be $4. After paying $5000 in addition to 2@$104 for the tours, Celebrity could afford the 1 bottle of water. The Ocean Liner dining at $30 per person above and beyond was not used as the menu was the same for 13 days and nothing that I desired on the menu. The service was Great in the stateroom and main dining room and could not say enough for the above and beyond service. Bingo games were extremely expensive with $29,95, $49.95 and $69.95 games. Seas were rough and No outside activities could be utilized on this cruise. Movies were not up to date and unless you wanted to bid on what they called art you were out of luck, but many high end shops to purchase numerous expensive items. Main dining was adequate but not like I have experienced on other cruises. Selection of dining items was very limited and heard many complaints about not being up to par with other cruises. I would not take this trip or ship again! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
Pre Cruise- We came in a day early and stayed at the comfort suites in Elizabeth. Perfect for a night to sleep. Embarkation. The worst in 20 cruises we arrived at 11:00 and did not get on the ship until 2:30. Nobody knew the ... Read More
Pre Cruise- We came in a day early and stayed at the comfort suites in Elizabeth. Perfect for a night to sleep. Embarkation. The worst in 20 cruises we arrived at 11:00 and did not get on the ship until 2:30. Nobody knew the reason for the delay and they had nothing to drink in the terminal. Grade D Cabin A family view on the aft was great what a awesome balcony and the sofa pull out with an eggcrate was comfortable. Shower had the dreaded curtain and poor bath products like RCCL. Overall grade a B Food This is where the mark was really missed I can tell you that this food was sub par. The buffet was a disgrace with the exception of the pasta to order. Oh those waffles I love were always raw on the inside. I once asked nicely if he could cook it a little more for me and he rolled his eyes at me. I found out that this was a problem many were having. Dining room it was our waiters first cruise but I loved him bless his heart he tried! Entrees for the most part were decent. Soups and salads were poor. overall food C- I gained 1 LB in 12 days so that was a plus. Spa what a bummer I love to spend my sea days there the T pool was so cold that we used it twice the jets were out of order. When I inquired at the spa I was told that if my muscles were sore they had some great massage specials. The Spa cafe had the best food you must try it YUMMY. Grade spa D Spa cafe A+ Ports were great I had car rentals set up in each port and that was the way to go..Halifax was a nightmare But overall we were lucky with weather. Service...This is where celebrity used to shine I would put them dead even with RCCL now. Except the entertainment is better on RCCL. I feel this is the new age of cruising I may have to cut back to one a year and do crystal I hate to do that because I really am not that picky but the food and lack of attention to detail really did make my experience less then stellar. We Paid 7,400 for three of us so it is not like they are giving these cruises away. I just felt that I was not given my moneys worth. for 616$ a hotel and good restaurants would have been a better value. Will I cruise again in order to choose celebrity they will have to give me a really good rate. I am back to Princess in January so we will see. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
Of the eight cruises we have taken, the one on the Infinity, sister ship to the Constellation, was one of the best. This experience, with the opportunity of seeing Quebec for two days and to see some fall color, led us to Constellation. ... Read More
Of the eight cruises we have taken, the one on the Infinity, sister ship to the Constellation, was one of the best. This experience, with the opportunity of seeing Quebec for two days and to see some fall color, led us to Constellation. On paper, it looked perfect. We flew from New Orleans nonstop to Newark a day early since we could not determine the exact nature of Celebrity's air program as to getting us to the ship on time. It is a very long and confusing way (with luggage) from the arrival gate to the levels where you catch the train to the main terminal then to the cab stand. The Hilton Hotel Airport is lovely and the restaurant unexpectedly good, but the Starbucks is only open in the mornings. This and most other airport hotels sit far from anything else. They did have an airport shuttle at no cost. Sailing day, we eagerly loaded up our gear and headed for the ship around 10:00. We caught a taxi and had been told that the fare would be $30.00, but they failed to tell us that this was per person for a total of $60.00. The cab driver told us many interesting things about the area, almost a tour itself. We arrived at the terminal, which looks out over the river, including Manhattan and the Statute of Liberty, without any problems. There were signs all around the terminal stating that loading would begin at 11:00, so we thought we would not have long to wait. We checked in and received a card showing that we would load fourth on buses. From the terminal to the ship is a long haul and all are required to ride the bus. No one loaded until after 1 and Celebrity personnel never said a word as to the delay. No food or water was provided in the waiting area. We later heard from other passengers who had come from Europe on the ship that it docked late, information that should have been shared with incoming passengers by Guest Relations. Once we got on board the ship, we were offered wine or juice and invited to lunch in the Seaside Restaurant. Rooms were not ready, so we journeyed on up to have a bite to eat. After lunch, we went to our room and met our room steward, Miguel, who took such good care of us for the entire trip. Our room was small, as we had expected for an inside, but with good storage. We really enjoyed the Thalassotherapy Pool. This pool is a must do; it's a salt water pool that is great and totally relaxing with areas to recline on as the jets message your entire body. It was tepid instead of warm the first day we tried it and the hot tub was warm, not hot, but that was corrected later in the cruise. During the entire cruise, the entertainment was among the better we have seen. The singers and dancers and the production shows were superb, the comic Fred Klett far above the usual cruise ship comedian, the magician outstanding, the Australian singer just such an artist. All were great. After a sea day, we made our first stop at Portland, Maine. This City was a total surprise to us, the people so friendly and helpful. There were many things to see within walking distance of the ship and the hop on - hop off bus is very convenient. After another sea day, next stop was on Prince Edward Island. A most charming place, we rented a car, drove through the countryside, and had a nice lunch at a small town cafe way back in the woods. Toured the National Park on the north side of the Island, but stayed away from Green Gables to avoid the crowds. Upon our return to the ship, we were dropped off at the north door of a rather long building. Upon entering, we found that the line began at the south end of the building, so we made our way to the end of the line. No problems, everyone stood in the same line, no break-ins or priorities. I point this out because you will find out that later Celebrity wholly failed to provide crowd control. Sea day and next on our ports was Quebec. We had looked forward to this for a long time and it was not a disappointment. We took the all day tour and recommend it. The bus drove around the walled part of the City, the plains and most of the northern area. The tour guide was great and most knowledgeable. At one of our stops, an amusing and informative skit was given by locals portraying Generals Wolfe and Montcalm as they planned their actions. Lunch was at a small restaurant on Île d'OrlEans where the food was only so-so, chicken breast with no choice of entrees. We also drove around the island and visited an early home, where local period-dressed players showed the house, tools and furniture and the manner of preparing food. Another stop, the spectacular Montmorency Falls, are not to be missed. After the all day tour on the bus, we came back to the old town and walked around it. It was great! It seemed that all of the bus tours returned at the same time, each with around 50 people on board, so that the line was quite long. This in itself presented no problem; but while we stood in line, people who had walked into town were taken to the front of the line and given priority boarding as they returned. I complained to the security guards who were handling the matter, and to say that they were indifferent would be an understatement. When we got to the gangplank, I again complained to the ship officer in charge, but her response was that she was too busy at that time to do anything, and that I should go to Guest Relations. I did so, and was told to submit my complaint in writing. This I did, but again got no response. On the last day of the cruise, late in the afternoon and after we had reported this on our comment card and asked for a copy, a brief response to the initial complaint was slipped under our door; this appeared to be boiler plate and in all likelihood the same note was given to others. I leave Constellation with the idea that no one really cared what I thought. The solution to these problems is so simple: if you have one line, everyone should get in that line. If for any reason it is determined that two lines are necessary, then there must be two entries. Otherwise someone will become angry and in this case it was me. Sea day and then came Halifax. When we arrived, we tried to dock, and after several efforts, the ship abandoned these efforts. An announcement was made that because the wind was so high, the ship could not dock, and that we would anchor and tender in. You would think that anyone who thinks straight would wonder at the safety of a small tender in the same wind that is too great for the ship. We did not and we really rocked and rolled to shore and on our return. The worst and most fearful part of the debarkation and reloading was a free-floating, wildly pitching dock where we landed and then had to walk 25 to 50 yards to land. There were no guard rails and no one to hold onto. Later shipboard rumor, true or false, was that some other ships came in out of the weather and took Constellation's berth. Rumor also says that the other ships were given all the tour buses and that none were available to take Constellation passengers. I know that few buses were around where we docked. Another sea day and off to Bar Harbor. On the way we had a disastrously executed immigration processing. Each stateroom was given a time to report card to the Bar at the End of the World. When we arrived, the line had formed on the port side of the ship and wound around several times to the starboard side. We, like good citizens, took our place at the end of the line. When the doors opened and processing began, others were entering the line from the elevators, from the entry on the port side and up the stairs. No ship crew were in sight to control the process in the hallway, even after a phone call to complain to Guest Relations. People began yelling and cursing one another, with numerous threats, still no ship crew appeared. There was some pushing and shoving. We took pictures of this mob scene. We Marines calls this type of congregation a "cluster", and if you saw the movie Heartbreak Ridge, with Clint Eastwood, you know the meaning. Some who had been among the first to arrive were among the last to enter the room for processing. Once in, we dropped a card at one desk, walked across the room and showed another, all within 30 seconds. On the trip across the room, a ship's officer was standing there advising us to watch our step. Why had he not been out in the hall where there was actual danger of a riot? NOT ONE PERSON EVER CHECKED THOSE CARDS TO SEE IF THE PERSON WHO WAS THERE WAS SCHEDULED AT THAT TIME. Finally, debarkation was well organized and went smoothly. We had a nonstop flight back to New Orleans at 8:00 that night. When we finally got through the security, we determined to just stay at the airport, read and, fortunately, there were plenty of TVs to watch the football games, a long wait. There were plenty of food options available including a Ben & Jerry's ice cream parlor. IN SUMMARY: THE GOOD: 1) Our room steward, Miguel, and his assistant, Carlos. 2) Our waiter in the dining room, Odewa, and his assistant, Mags, consistently cheerful and friendly without ever being overbearing. Odewa went out of his way to send items to our stateroom when we didn't feel up to coming to dinner (once for each of us. 3) The excellent music available in the various lounges. 4) The entertainment in the theater. 5) Easily accomplished car rental. In Charlottetown, Hertz deducted our taxi fare to the airport from our rental and provided transportation back to the dock; in Halifax, Hertz was in easy walking distance, and in Bar Harbor Enterprise had a shuttle waiting at the dock and back later. THE SO-SO: 1) Food selections and quality, which were clearly a step or three down from our previous Celebrity experience. The soups in particular were a disappointment, most being watery and lacking flavor. Both shrimp cocktail and steak have been removed from the alternate menu, although apparently available upon request. 2) Service in the buffet. There seem to be many fewer personnel there, with some trying to cover several food stations and delays in busing tables in the more popular areas. THE BAD: 1) Dearth of information to passengers. 2)TV channels.The few entertainment programs ran over and over throughout the 12 days, and there was scarce news coverage. Information about weather, seas, etc., was often not updated, i.e., showing the 6am temperature the same as the predicted high for the area. No dining room menu (useful for planning one's evening) was available on TV. Shows, even the production shows, were not broadcast. It appeared that most of the channels were taken up trying to sell something. 3) Food from the dining room menu is supposed to be available from room service during dining room hours. A call to room service got us the reply that this was impossible, but as stated above, Odewa accomplished "the impossible". 4) Time required to deliver room service. 5) The wine stewards, who got to be a nuisance at dinner and on more than one occasion had someone else's wine at our table. THE UGLY: 1) That mob scene at immigration check. 2) The dangerous tender and unstable dock at Halifax. 3) Others being given priority in a long line because they had not taken a ship's shore excursion at Quebec. 4) Failure by ship's personnel to respond to complaints. We should be remembering how beautiful and enjoyable Quebec was, how good the entertainment was. Instead, we think that we paid for an upscale experience that was not. Absent some indications that changes have been made, we will not use Celebrity again. We are sending this to Corporate Guest Relations along with a copy of our comment card given at the ship. 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
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
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: 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
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
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
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
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
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 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
Celebrity Constellation Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 5.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 5.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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