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Sail Date: November 2012
We expect a lot from Celebrity and they delivered. Connie, as the Constellation is affectionately called by her many afficianados, is well maintained and a pleasure to spend on for multiple days at sea. The Cruise Director's staff ... Read More
We expect a lot from Celebrity and they delivered. Connie, as the Constellation is affectionately called by her many afficianados, is well maintained and a pleasure to spend on for multiple days at sea. The Cruise Director's staff did an excellent job with the entertainment and activities, plenty to do for those who wanted to be busy but also many comfortable places for reading and relaxationn. The cuisine is above average for cruise lines; it's not Oceania but well about average, well prepared and varied Let's follow the outlinee: Getting to the ship: We flew to London a couple days early to reacquaint with that great city. Stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in Earl's Court. Not luxe, but adequate in a very costly city and convenient to the metro and buses. (HIghly recommend the Oyster Pass for transportation). Train from Waterloo to Southhampton is convenient and frequent, make reservations online in advance for best rates. We paid only 6 pounds per person for the trip. Taxi from Southhampton Central Station is only a couple of pounds and readily available. Boarding process was somewhat chaotic. Extensive security screening, long lines and slow. Once beyond security, check-in was not so troublesome. All in, it took about an hour from arrival at the port to boarding. Once on board, about 2 pm, cabins were not ready as the ship was once again doing deep cleaning to guard against recurrence of the norovirus that had reared its ugly head on a couple of prior cruises for Constellation. (Before going on, let me say there was no noro on this cruise to the best of my knowledge. Diligent handwashing and use of sanitizers, as well as "hands-off service at the Buffet and the dining room, seem to have worked.) Shortly after 3, announcement made that cabins were ready for occupancy. Cabin: We had a veranda (read balcony) cabin on deck 9 directly below the Seaside Cafe (read Buffet). We had seen commentary that these cabins were subject to noise disturbance in the night; we had no such problem and the overhang from the deck above made the veranda quite comfortable and weather proof Cabin seemed smaller that on some lines but was adequate. We were not sure the veranda would be useful on transatlantic but we used it daily for reading or just relaxing. We stayed busy enough that we did not have breakfast on the veranda but are sure it would have been a lovely experience. Shower was spacious, even for a large person like myself. Despite some commentary about Celebrity, shower gel is available but not part of the routine supply in the bathroom, just ask for it. Closet space was fully adequate. Only complaint:beds are hard, not a generous mattress on a hard platform. Potential cruisers looking for some real space might want to look at the Family Veranda cabins on the stern, they are fabulous. Cuisine: It is difficult to evaluate the cuisine on cruises these days. They all seem to get some things very right, and some not so right. On balance, Celebrity hits the mark more frequently than some of the others. perhaps just a teeny notch above RCI and more above NCL but in a close contest with HAL and Princess. We did not test the speciality dining rooms as the meals in the MDR were always more than acceptable (and Celebrity may have pushed the envelope just a tad too much with its cover charges for the speciality dining rooms). Menus in MDR were offered wide variety of well prepared meal, with only one repeat menu on a relatively long cruise. Service staff, at least for our table, was attentive, professional and appropriately friendly. (It may have helped that the lead waiter was Turkish and we were able to greet him and carry on rudimentary conversation in Turkish, nevertheless dinner was always a pleasant experience.) The Seaside Cafe offered excellent choices for breakfast ,including a station devoted to poached eggs and the range of dishes possible with poached eggs. (Great oat bran muffins too) The creperie ($5 cover charge per person) offers a reasonable and very attractive option for lunch. Activities: Not much to say here. I go overboard with Trivia. There were at least 4 opportunities per day, including progressive. But there was much more. Three speakers, one on golf, one on esoteric things like medieval alcohol and tattooing and one, the most popular, on famous criminal cases out of Los Angeles gave daily lectures on sea days. Culinary demonstrations involving a guest celebrity chef were well received and fun. Since this array will change on each and every cruise, the details are not important, just that Celebrity and the staff did a fine job of ensuring that the sea days were full of activities, with a range of subjects to appeal to most anyone. Entertainment: Classical pianist, entertaining violinist, three vocalists with superior talent, plus a resident cast that performed the compulsory production shows, and supporting it all a first class orchestra. Perhaps the best lineup of entertainment on any of our many cruises Ship Connie is well maintained. Celebrity ships are not up to HAL in terms of decor but Connie boasts lots of fine art and well decorated public space. We prefer the vast promenade on some of the RCI ships but space was never a problem on Connie, she seemed particularly roomy in all the public areas. Should mentiion here that the senior officers on board, up to and including the Captain, were seen throughout the ship, friendly and approachable. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
This was my 9th cruise, third with Celebrity, and only my second transatlantic. I now consider myself thoroughly addicted to cruising in general, and longer duration repositionings/transatlantics in particular. I am ALWAYS looking for ... Read More
This was my 9th cruise, third with Celebrity, and only my second transatlantic. I now consider myself thoroughly addicted to cruising in general, and longer duration repositionings/transatlantics in particular. I am ALWAYS looking for interesting ports with historic significance and beautiful scenery, but the very relaxing pace of numerous sea days is also appealing. Being retired and of modest means, PRICING is ALWAYS a very important consideration. This cruise fit ALL of my requirements VERY nicely. I booked with my favorite online agency over five months in advance to assure necessary dates for my girlfriend's work schedule. I considered $609.00pp with $102.00pp for taxes to be an EXCELLENT rate for a 15 night cruise. The $150.00 OBC from the agency, along with the $250.00 OBC from rcl shareholder benefit made it OUTSTANDING. We drove the four hours from Fargo, ND to Minneapolis to hop our nonstop Delta flight to London Heathrow. We booked through Choice Air and considered the fare of $394.00pp to be outstanding as well. The seats were cramped as is usual in coach, but the food was fine and the service quite good. We landed early due to favorable winds and BREEZED through customs VERY quickly. Got a cab in SECONDS, and was at our hotel in 3 or 4 MINUTES! The Jury's Inn at Heathrow was a GREAT choice that allowed us to settle in quickly and relax after an all night flight. The facility was spotless, service was flawless, the room was quiet, the bathroom was perfect, and the beds were VERY comfortable. The Hatton Cross tube station (for sightseeing access to downtown London) was a 3-4 minute walk, and the 5 minute shuttle back to the terminal for the bus to Southampton was simple. Booking through Hotwire at $104.00, made it even BETTER! Sightseeing in London was rendered less than enjoyable due to the cold, wet, windy weather and any future trips there will be made earlier in the year! BRRRR! Wished we would have spent AT LEAST one or two extra nights.(next time!) We took the VERY reasonably priced National Express Bus from Heathrow to Southampton. The bus station inside the terminal is quite easy to find and there was a nice coffee shop that made the short wait for the bus comfortable and enjoyable. The bus itself was clean, the ride was comfortable and about an hour and a half long through pretty rural countryside with a short stop in Winchester. (Didn't get to see the Cathedral!) Took a cab from the bus stop to the Ibis Hotel in Southampton only to find out it was only 3 or 4 blocks away! The hotels, bus stop, cruise terminal, and downtown shopping/mall/eateries are ALL within an easy to walk 3-6 blocks from each other. VERY convenient, relaxing and enjoyable. Although the service was great, unfortunately, the Ibis is a VERY dated facility with cramped rooms that I would not choose again, even though it was fairly priced at $84.00. (Hotwire) The hotel front desk had a direct line to book the 3 minute cab to the port. We only had to wait 5 minutes. The Cabbie even made a quick stop at a food market to see if I could get a case of Coke to feed my sugar and caffeine addiction at a rate lower than $2.30 per can on the ship! I found out that cases of cans are very hard to find, so obviously I could NEVER live there! At the port, our pre-tagged luggage went DIRECTLY from the cab to the ship via porters. I only carried a book with the necessary documents folded inside. The ship was diligently fighting an outbreak of norovirus on the previous cruise so boarding was delayed and the lines to clear security were long and slow moving. As is usual, SOME people were outraged and indignant that they should have to wait SSOOO long. Get a grip folks, I hate to be the first person to burst your alternate reality bubble, but you are REALLY, SERIOUSLY, and TRULY... NOT THE ONLY PERSON ON THIS EARTH, and the planet does NOT revolve around YOU. After about 45 minutes in line for security, we were checked in less than 5 minutes later, and boarded about 20 minutes after that. The Constellation is a beautiful and quite comfortable work of marketing, art and engineering. Our inside room was well designed, efficiently laid out, and spotlessly clean. Smart use of mirrors in the cabin (and everywhere else on the ship!) make the spaces look much larger. My only negative comments here are the rather worn and cheap looking "sofa" in the cabin and the old fashioned shower curtain in the bathroom. (Solstice class ships have taken care of both of these minor glitches, at a cost of going backwards in terms of cabin storage space.) Most public spaces are designed with rich dark woods to appear soothing, relaxed and cushy-comfortable. Rendezvous Lounge, Cellar Masters, the Main Dining Room and Michael's Club and even the Main Theatre. To me, it's a much different "feel" than the more contemporary chic-elegance of S class ships. Ocean Liners specialty restaurant is the equivalent of Murano on an S class and is every bit as impressive, delicious and enjoyable. Tuscan Grille has the same menu and service as S class ships, and is MY favorite, but the location on M class ships just can't compare. We got two for one deals in BOTH as the staff was trying to fill empty seats on nights that were NOT formal ones. The buffet is not quite as well laid out as S class ships but kept me VERY happy with omelets for breakfast and all of the Indian and Asian curries for lunch. 8 different flavors of home made ice cream each day also kept me smiling but I definitely noticed the disappearance of MY favorite flavor, cinnamon.(?) Bistro on Five was very nicely retrofitted and the Aqua Spa Cafe is standard. The gooddie case at Cafe Al Bacio is fun but not all that great. The venue is very relaxing overlooking the atrium as well as outside views, and the cappuccino flavored gelato is just WAYYY too good to be true! The "old" martini bar is now Cellar Masters and seems to waste a whole bunch of valuable square footage in the middle of deck 5 next to the Bistro, but is VERY comfortable. The "new" martini bar (and Crush)looks as if it were "cut and pasted" (quite nicely!) from any S class ship. Anybody who complains about drink prices there must have a MUCH higher tolerance for alcohol than I, 'cause the way those bartenders measure a pour is VERY generous! If you have a sweet tooth do yourself a favor and try the Almond Joy Martini, downright TASTY! Entertainment was pretty standard with an acapella group, a very fun party band that could play ANYTHING, a newly arrived Caribbean band, and the typical Main Theatre shows of Pianists, Violinists, Singers, Comedians and of course, the Ships own production company. Most shows were quite good, but some were just not my cup of tea. The Elvis Impersonator, Shaun O'Shea WAS pretty darn good! Our shore excursion to the Normandy Beaches from La Havre, was with Overlord Tours and was so far above and beyond mind boggling as to defy description. Absolutely unbelievable. Profound, inspirational, sobering, DO NOT MISS IT. Our shore excursion in Lisbon was "Pirates of the Cruiseships" with "We Hate Tourism Tours" An incredibly fun whirlwind tour of Lisbon, Sintra, Cascais, and Cabo de Roca. If you want to have fun and see as much as you can in the one day you have available, you just have to give these guys a try! Fantastic! This brings me to my ONLY serious complaint about the entire cruise. The music. The average age for longer cruises, and transatlantics in particular, range above 65. At 55, I was one of the 200 or 300 YOUNGEST guests on board and if I wasn't enjoying the the music, you can be CERTAIN that the VAST MAJORITY of those older than I, were quite probably not big fans of the contemporary techno beat CRAP that is constantly being played. EVERY SINGLE NIGHT as soon as the band stopped, the DJs would have the entire place CLEARED OUT by the 2nd or 3rd song. I watched crowds of 200 to 300 people evaporate down to groups of 15 to 30 in less than 10 minutes because of your inappropriate music. HEY! CELEBRITY! Your CUTOMERS are the people paying the bills and they want to hear THEIR music. NOT the music your 25 or 30 year old DJs are playing that quite literally, DRIVES your guests OUT of your lounges and AWAY from your bars EVERY SINGLE NIGHT! Your DJs don't know the music that they should be playing even exists! STOP IT! NOW! It's EASY! Get some CD collections from Time Life Music and make your customers happy! Did I mention that the music onboard was a SERIOUS complaint? (cleansing breath) Disembarkation was the simplest, fastest, and easiest I have ever experienced! We left our room at 8am when the announcement was made. We were in line for less than 5 minutes before swiping our cards. We were through customs in less than 10 minutes and on a rent a car shuttle less than 5 minutes after that! WOW! Overall a WONDERFUL experience for a fantastic price, BUT, please fix the music! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2012
I'll start at the beginning because that is a very good place to start. We had originally booked a transatlantic on Celebrity Equinox for November 25 but we had to scuttle those plans thanks to a condition I contracted called Charcot ... Read More
I'll start at the beginning because that is a very good place to start. We had originally booked a transatlantic on Celebrity Equinox for November 25 but we had to scuttle those plans thanks to a condition I contracted called Charcot Foot which resulted in four months in a cast and the prospect of life in a wheelchair. In mid-October I was given the good news that I could walk very limited steps and my orthopedic surgeon saw no reason that we couldn't get away for a little r&r while between medical appointments. That very evening we were scouring the websites to find a crossing that would fit into our timeframes. We ended up with our favourite line, Celebrity, and Concierge Class accommodation on the Connie that was less in money than a normal verandah. Ever conscious of the dollars being spent so close to Christmas, we found a most reasonable airfare with Icelandair and, a month later, we were on our way! I won't go into the trials of travelling with a wheelchair. For those impressions please visit the home page of www.barrier-freecruising.com. We arrived at Heathrow following a fourteen hour journey from Toronto to Boston to Reykjavik to London. Kind of long but, at $520pp, I'm not complaining. Because of a tight arrival time, and our luggage plus a wheelchair, I decided to surprise Barb by renting a car and driver for the trip to Southampton. He met us in the baggage area, loaded our cases and chair and soon we were on our way. We only made one stop during the ninety minute drive and our driver pointed out some of the landmarks along the way. There was a delay boarding the ship due to a shortage of ship's crew assigned to assist some of the special needs passengers but, despite this, the entire time spent from cab to shipboard was no more than thirty minutes. Having crossed the Atlantic the other direction in spring on Celebrity Eclipse, it was hard not to start comparing the two ship styles right away. The first was the Seaside Cafe where we went to get a nibble or three while waiting for the cabins to be prepared. I will mention right at the start that Constellation was still undergoing a strict health regime due to an outbreak of Norovirus on an earlier November outing. For the first five days of our cruise all food handling was done by the Celebrity staff right down to putting salt and pepper on your food in the dining room. It meant for slower lines in the cafe but Barb and I appreciated the situation and the ship's most cautious response. Some people actually enjoyed the additional pampering. Back to the Seaside Cafe. I immediately missed the 'food islands' concept on Eclipse and the other solstice ships. There was nothing wrong with the food. It was completely up to Celebrity standards but I think the idea of the separate serving areas makes for a much quicker flow from chaffing dish to tray to table to tummy. I did like the way some of the eating areas by the windows actually jutted over the sea and you could look down to the ocean below. We made our way to the cabin when it was announced they were ready. Celebrity advertises that Concierge Class includes fresh flowers, fruit and savouries in the room as well as upgraded bed linens, bath robes and a 'pillow menu'. The room itself appeared smaller than the same category on Eclipse but, according to the ships' deck plans, they are almost the same size. Could be the layout. Past CC reviews have referred to stains and other signs of age in their staterooms. I looked but I didn't see anything worth mentioning. I should state that we booked a C1 and not an accessible AC since these sell out very quickly due to the limited number available. I was able to fold the wheelchair and hobble around between bed and bath and Saline, our room steward, rustled up a shower stool for me. I get to try the AC category when Barb, her wheelchair-bound daughter and I re-board Eclipse again to head back across the pond in spring. Something was very wrong in the dining room on the first two nights. Orders were mixed up and, worst of all, on the second night out we waited almost an hour for our appetizers and another hour plus for our entrees to arrive. We, and the others at the table, were very upset by this and let Customer Service know. We learned a week into the cruise that our wait team had originally been assigned to five tables and not just the two that they would normally serve. We were further upset that no proper apology was made by the maitre d' and, in fact, he never once approached our table during the entire cruise. It appeared that he delegated his assistant maitre d' to deal with the complainers. The food was Celebrity good and we felt that, on Constellation, the portions were actually bigger than on Eclipse. We didn't try any of the specialty dining venues but the feedback from fellow travellers seemed to be all positive. Cruise Director Sue Denning and her staff seemed to have the pulse of the ocean going passengers and only missed the mark when it came to the deejays late at night. But then again, with the great food, ocean air, theatrical shows and a daytime of tours and events, who needs to stay up late anyway? The shows were some of the best I have seen at sea. The dance/singing troupe worked their hearts out and I really don't know how they did two shows a night. If one guest performer really stood out I would have to say it was Sean O'Shea. It has been a long time since I have watched such a high energy show. His sense of timing is impeccable and it was one show I hated to see come to an end. By the way, Sue and some of her entourage, including Perry Grant (like him or not) move to Eclipse later this winter and I wish she could bring that orchestra with her. As the kids say.. they are AWESOME! We did three shore excursions.. all on our own. In Le Havre we hired Patrice, a local cabbie who is proud of his town, his region and his car. We shared the cab for three hours with another passenger and drove all around the historic city and then to the stunning cliffs at Etretat. Total cost was 50Euros each with tip. In Lisbon (Lisboa) we teamed up with Johnny, a 24 year old cabbie whose family has been in the tourism business for decades and who, himself, studies tourism to obtain a degree. His English was excellent and he took the two of us through every side street of the old district, out to the Belem area, let us shop and take pictures whenever and wherever we wanted.. all for a total price of 80Euros, tip included. Our last stop was Tenerife in Spain's Canary Islands. Again we elected to do our own sightseeing and our driver was Alberto. Between his limited English and our fractured Spanish, we wound our way from Santa Cruz to Porto de la Cruz with the majestic Tede volcano dominating the scenery. He knew which stops would yield the best pictures. Altogether a nice three hours costing 80Euros. By the time we reached Tenerife the weather was already nice and warm.. for a pair of Canadians. It would take several days at sea for the southern Florida crowd to start to feel at home. How was the crossing? With only one five hour exception when we encountered some swells, it was smooth and steady as she goes. There was plenty, or little, to do during those eight days. Sherene made our visits to the shops enjoyable, the cooking demonstrations were as much fun as they were informative (maybe more), the strolling acapela group popped up everywhere and, as previously mentioned, the nighttime shows in the theatre were top notch. We didn't spend a lot of time on the upper decks by the pools or in the solarium, but instead made great use of our balcony.. me for laying back and snoozing while Barb work hard on finishing a Christmas stocking for one of her children. I fondly say that Barb cross-stitched her way across the Atlantic. We purchased our airport transfers while on the ship and disembarkation went very smoothly and soon we were at MIA waiting for our flight home. I would certainly sail on Celebrity Constellation again. Except for the usual high volume times, her elevators were never crowded, the hallways easy to negotiate (except next time I will bring a stroller.. too much carpeting for wheelchair users), the service was excellent and friendly and the food was Celebrity good. We are booked on Eclipse in the spring but, this time, in an accessible stateroom. Roll on April! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
Celebrate with Celebrity Constellation What a difference a year makes! Last Year's Transatlantic was on RCCL Navigator not so good. This year Constellation was a 9 out of 10 Hard to believe that they are part of the same RCCL ... Read More
Celebrate with Celebrity Constellation What a difference a year makes! Last Year's Transatlantic was on RCCL Navigator not so good. This year Constellation was a 9 out of 10 Hard to believe that they are part of the same RCCL family. The entire trip will have created fond memories. In Southampton we stayed at the Hotel Mercure very reasonable and only a 10 minute walk to the Pier. Boarding at 11:00 AM was slow so we went shopping at the excellent West Quay Mall came back at 2 PM boarding took only 10 minutes. Superlatives for all the restaurants, Gym was above average, I just wish that the dry sauna was turned on before 7AM when the gym was full. The ship personnel were always friendly. The Entertainers as well as Sue the cruise director were entirely appropriate for the demographics of this sailing. Every evening was enjoyable. The dress suggestions for Formal/Dress-up Dinners were well upheld even providing a Jacket for the men who didn't have one. We so appreciated the restraint in using the ship's Public address system to a minimum they assume appropriately that guests will & can read the daily activities newsletter. Diane Hedricks Zumba classes twice a day were SO appreciated by my Wife as well as the other 90 guests. Finally a word to the Stuffy/Elite 5% of our fellow passengers who felt that this was their exclusive private cruise,they would be happier chartering their own Boat next time, Especially the lady who insisted on turning down the music since it disturbed her ability to read in silence during the Zumba class in the Reflections lounge. Overall it must be obvious by this review that Celebrity Constellation is very high on our favorite Cruise ships list. 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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