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Sail Date: October 2012
We've just returned from our first Celebrity cruise, which sailed from Southampton to Le Havre, Le Verdon (for Bordeaux), Bilboa, Vigo, and Porto. For background, we have cruised approximately 10 times before on a variety of ... Read More
We've just returned from our first Celebrity cruise, which sailed from Southampton to Le Havre, Le Verdon (for Bordeaux), Bilboa, Vigo, and Porto. For background, we have cruised approximately 10 times before on a variety of lines/ships, and booked this "last minute" for a relaxation holiday, as neither of us is particularly passionate about wine. We had been to a couple of the destinations before, and planned to do our own thing in each port rather than book on the organised excursions. Our initial impression was good - information arrived in good time, including the change of dock at Southampton, and despite being a late "guarantee" booking we were allocated our cabin number a couple of weeks prior to departure. We drove to the port and used a valet parking company for £93 for the 12 nights. The boarding process was a breeze and took less than 15 minutes and we were aboard at approx 1pm. We were surprised to find no-one around to show you to your cabin, but we found it easily and were very pleased with it. It was clean, spacious and had a very large porthole which made it light and airey. Altho' I had requested twin beds, it had been prepared as a double. However, our cabin steward(ess), who arrived within minutes of us, arranged for it to be disassembled whilst we were at lunch, and also cleared the mini-bar at our request to make way for our own drinks. Having unpacked our luggage which arrived within a quarter of an hour, and stowed it in the capacious wardrobes, and variety of drawers and cupboards, we headed for the buffet, Seaside Cafe, on deck 10. As we expected, since it was lunchtime on the first day, it was pretty chaotic, and it seemed that most of the 2000 passengers aboard must have descended simultaneously. Nonetheless we found a table to share, and did a scout of the food counters and were pleased by the variety on offer - Pizza, made to order pasta, Asian Delights, English favorites, Sandwiches, Salads etc. etc. plus a good selection of desserts and an ice-cream bar (I can wholeheartedly recommend the hot chocolate sauce....) It soon transpired that the main reason for the chaos (in my Opinion) was the layout of the food stations, and the fact that most of the food was seved to you rather than self-service. This led to queueing and to-ing and fro-ing. The best example of this is the Tea/Coffee station where you pick up a cup in the middle, go to one end for the coffee (assuming that there was some - often there wasn't), then you had to swerve around the person pouring their cold drink which was set between you and the milk, you then had to cross the corridor (a motorway of food gatherers!) to get sugar and a teaspoon, and cross back to put the used sugar sachet and used teaspoon in their respective recepticals. It's a small thing, but would be soooo easy to rectify and it must irritate many people each time they went for drinks. Breakfast the next day was even worse and it took me 25 minutes to gather the components of a cooked breakfast, fruit, and 2 coffees and 2 juices (the first 3 coffee stations I visited were empty, and when I pointed this out to an assistant he simply swapped the signs for the caffeinated and the de-caf and said there was plenty!!!! It drove me mad the number of times that the coffee and/or milk containers were empty when I was trying to get hot drinks, and I was surprised that they didn't seem to have anyone responsible for checking them on a regular basis. It also surprised me that there was only one day when a waiter was offering coffees or teas at the table at breakfast, on most ships we have been on this was a daily service. Dinner the first night was also a surprise, because having asked for a table for 2, and assuming that because this was in our booking documentation it had been assigned to us, we were shown to a table for 10. As it happened this turned out very well and we had some very interesting and entertaining evenings, but I would have preferred to have been told in advance that this would be the case. Why bother to ask you what you would prefer and then give you the absolute opposite? The food in the main dining room was, to my mind, variable. I had steaks a couple of times and they were really good, however other main courses reminded me of school dinners (and that is not a compliment). I was disappointed that a "luxury" cruise line didn't do more on the presentation of its food - it seemed singularly lacking in swirls, dustings, scattering and artistic smears, but maybe this was to encourage you to go "up market" with the pay extra restaurants? I thought, on the whole, that the food was a good "pub grub" standard but certainly not 5* restaurant. The formal nights were the most disappointing, with no real noteworthy dishes at the first 2. The last formal night had options of Lobster, Beef Wellington, and Quail (amongst others) which got me excited, but the reality was underwhelming - the lobster came with a mound of watery rice and even more watery broccoli and the Beef Wellington came with a distinctly soggy bottom. Another major gripe was that the MDR was not open for breakfast or lunch on any of the port days - so only available for 3 out of the 12 days. This meant little choice but to cope with the chaos of the buffet at breakfast. There seemed far fewer staff than we had on a comparable Princess cruise earlier in the year, and I wondered whether they had pared back to make these cruises more cost effective and that closing the MDR had been one of the casulties? We made up by eating afternoon tea, and some of the best warm scones to be found at sea! On the subject of staff, I know it's very subjective, but I found them a little down-spirited on this cruise, and wondered whether it was the effect of THAT DOCUMENTARY. Mostly we did have very good service , but there were a few occasions where they gave the impression that they couldn't really be bothered. To the lady in the sunshine cafe who bought me Jello when I really needed it - thank you very much and may you too be shown the kindness of strangers. To the person who chose to do nothing but recommend expensive and inappropriate ship services to a person in need of help, may you one day understand how it feels. And to the senior staff who I found so casually unhelpful and mis-informative in Le Verdon, I shall make my views known elsewhere.... On the plus side, we found the entertainment generally very good, particularly the production shows which were not far off West End standards. The musicians around the ship were varied and great, and the activities team were fun and professional in equal measure. I thought that there was something for everyone, and if shows weren't you thing then there was always the Cinema, or free and pay-per-view movies in the cabin. You could also spend your evenings in a variety of bars. We found that compared to UK land and ships prices the drinks were on the expensive side (probably 50% up on those of P&O, Thomsons etc, but comparable to Princess).As we don't drink much it doesn't really worry us, but we'd like to say a big thank you to those that do, and those that spend freely in the Casino and the Art Auctions because the cross subsidies help make it a very good value for money cruise for us. However, would I do it again.......on balance, probably not. The couple of bad experiences with senior staff and the underwhelming dining experiences are enough to make us want to spend our money elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
When we booked this cruise the information showed Bordeaux as one of the ports. When we received our confirmation, Le Verdon was shown in parentheses next to Bordeaux. When I checked to see what was going on, I was told that the ship was ... Read More
When we booked this cruise the information showed Bordeaux as one of the ports. When we received our confirmation, Le Verdon was shown in parentheses next to Bordeaux. When I checked to see what was going on, I was told that the ship was too large to actually dock in Bordeaux itself, so Le Verdon was the closest alternative. Le Verdon is quite a distance from Bordeaux and there is absolutely no taxi service, buses or trains to take you from the port into the city of Bordeaux from the dock area. Actually, Le Verdon is sort of a seaside wasteland, as there are only a few cargo containers sitting around on the dock and absolutely nothing else within sight. There apparently is a little village some walking distance away from the dock, but since it was not the summer season, everyone who made the trek there said that everything was closed. We ended up taking the $89pp round trip bus into Bordeaux, but did not use the return trip, as we had booked a private wine Chateaux tour the following day from Bordeaux with two other couples, and it included the trip back to the ship. Our first stop was Le Havre, which is quite a distance from Paris and can be reached by taking a train one's own. Le Havre itself is an has some virtues and is not far by train from other historic cities such as Rouen, etc. The ship offered a bus into what was billed as the city center in Le Havre, but suggested that the port itself was not safe to walk through, which we found to be absolutely untrue. We made the nice walk into the city to find the train station, for which there were signs all along the way. We ended up walking around the historic part of Le Havre the first day in port, and then joined up with another couple to rent a car and drove to Rouen and Honfleur. The car rental agency is not far from the dock area, so very doable. The passengers who took the $15 bus trip into the city center ended up being deposited at the port entrance, a 2 minute ride, but still not in the center of the city. People were lined up to take taxis too, but I am not aware of the cost. The information provided by the ship for these two ports was sadly lacking if you wanted to do anything on your own. It appeared that Celebrity just wanted to gouge passengers for their own tours, which were very expensive for what was offered. The information for the subsequent ports was more detailed, although not greatly, especially if one is a do it yourself traveler like ourselves. Most people we spoke with about the ports felt Celebrity seemed to be "patching together" a cruise that was added when they abandoned some earlier planned itineraries and that the tours were thus poorly planned and too expensive for what they involved. The ship itself seems a bit tired in some areas in spite of having been "Solsticized" not long ago. We heard that the ship is due for another remodel very soon, and it surely needs it. Part of the carpet trim near the floor in our cabin was missing and there was a layer of dust around the edges of the carpet that looked to have been there quite a while. There was black mold around the bottom of our shower, and several places where rust was clearly evident on the metal edges near doors, etc. While the crew seemed to be very helpful and friendly for the most part, the desk could have been a bit more responsive and friendly when we were asking about port options, etc. They acted a bit put upon. The concierge, on the other hand, was very helpful and understanding while still acting very friendly, even when we were complaining about the lack of port information. Our room steward seemed to be very overworked, and often gave us only one washcloth instead of two, but hurriedly came up with a second when asked. He also was quick to provide more hangars on our first day on board. Food was fairly good for the most part, although a bit repetitive, especially in the buffet. On a couple of occasions, the food in the main dining room was outstanding, especially the fillet and the rack of lamb. Desserts all were excellent and service was impeccable. Our waiter, assistant waiter and wine steward were all tip top in every way. The brunch in the main dining room was a bit of a disappointment. We felt breakfast in the buffet was just as good, or even better in many ways. The main pool on the ship is quite large and looked to be great for a lap swimmer like myself, but although I prefer colder water than others, it was way too cold for a swim. Was a huge disappointment for me, as swimming is my primary exercise and I was excited when I saw pictures of the pool online. The therapy pool indoors is too hot and not large enough for lap swimming. While we enjoyed ourselves on this cruise and had a great time meeting and making new friends on board, we probably will never sail with Celebrity again, as this was our second cruise with this line, and both were a bit disappointing for one reason or another. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We were not happy with the start of our cruise and on the second day complained to Guest Services. After that, the crew were very nice to us and the cruise line made our anniversary very nice. The entertainment at night was very bad on 5 ... Read More
We were not happy with the start of our cruise and on the second day complained to Guest Services. After that, the crew were very nice to us and the cruise line made our anniversary very nice. The entertainment at night was very bad on 5 nights out of 12 and the other nights was excellent. A water pipe burst on our floor and many of us were not happy with the way the problem was handled. We received a telephne apology for our specific complaint regarding the problem only after we came home. The ports of call were absolutely wonderful and very interesting. Unfortunately, one of our excursions was cancelled a half day beforehand due to lack of interest. Only 10 people signed up for it and they require 30 for a bus (they don't use vans). We were stuck because we were already on the boat and didn't have access to guide books, etc. to plan our own excursion to the places we wanted to see and it was too late to join an outside tour group. While I understand that any excursion can be cancelled due to lack of interest, I feel they waited too long to cancel this one. The art work on the ship is excellent, making it a beautiful ship even though it isn't new. We loved the Chihully chandelier and the head of the Photography was nice enough to take our picture under it. The Ocean Liners restaurant was worth the extra money. The Afternoon Tea wasn't really worth the extra money because I found out later that I could get scones, sandwiches, dessert and tea in the cafeteria for free. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
I have sailed w/Celebrity 5 times - 2x on Century, once on Solstice, once on Infinity to ANTARCTICA (don't miss this one...even though ship is old, this is the cruise of a lifetime!) and the Constellation. Of all the cruises- this was ... Read More
I have sailed w/Celebrity 5 times - 2x on Century, once on Solstice, once on Infinity to ANTARCTICA (don't miss this one...even though ship is old, this is the cruise of a lifetime!) and the Constellation. Of all the cruises- this was the worst. I'd NEVER want to do this again.Ice buckets - the large champagne bottle ones - were left in our room unless we asked him to remove it. With a small room & a large bucket...well you can show annoying it was having it there along w/fruit left over from the day before (he didn't get us fresh fruit unless we asked!). He didn't clean either. I dropped something under the desk and left it there to see if he was vacuuming and it stayed there for 2 days until I picked it up. Soap was never replenished...you get the idea. The Ocean Liners was good but way over the top. Just too much. Tuscan Grille was wonderful, after our surly waiter got over his attitude! The main dining room staff was great and the food OK. What do they put in that food though? I was so careful with what I ate - salads, broiled or grilled fish or chicken, baked potato and veggies. For dessert I only had the sorbet or FF Yogurt. We had room service breakfast almost every morning = poached eggs, english muffins and the WORST coffee I ever had in my life, and lunch was always from the salad bar buffet. Why do I tell you this? The above selections don't seem salty do they? Well...my ankles are still swollen and I've been home for 5 days! MISERABLE feeling! They must have salt in the water! The shore excursion desk was RUDE RUDE RUDE~and the excursions way to expensive for what they were. We enjoyed them all, but did feel ripped off as did everyone on our bus. The entertainment would receive a B from me. The Captain made NO attempt at giving us any information regarding where we were or what we were seeing (mostly nothing!) Compared to the Antarctica Cruise it was so disappointing. On that cruise, the Captain gave us a guided tour each and every day, and when seas permitted turned the ship so we could see and gasp at all the wonders passing by. I took a Northern TA summer on HAL. What a difference! This waS THE MOST DISAPPOINTING CRUISE/SHIP I HAVE EVER BEEN ON! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
At first : I'm a German Tour guide, so please excuse my English.. For me , it was the 7. time to go on these islands. For my group it has been first time. Time before we have been sailing with the Millenium of Celebrity Cruise lines. ... Read More
At first : I'm a German Tour guide, so please excuse my English.. For me , it was the 7. time to go on these islands. For my group it has been first time. Time before we have been sailing with the Millenium of Celebrity Cruise lines. So we thought, same company - sister ship - even "Solsticized" , so what ? But, that's what we thought... To make a long thing short: Embarkation was alright, even the extra waiting time for the extra cleaning of the ship, because of norovirus. We understood this. We knew that the luggage will take a time, to be on the cabin. So we went to the buffet at Deck 10, and had some drinks on the after Deck there. This is the best way to spend the time waiting. Others were looking around to discover the ship and it's facillitis. As I mentioned- it was not our first time. We do this professionell. The cabins were, as we expected them, an knew them from sister ship Millenium. With some exceptions.. Some beds seemed not to be freshly made. Things were missing on the cabin..like beach towels, bags. They Cabin Stewards gave us various answers: Only on request..or one night before first Island-tour, or even: there will be none.. ! After talking to guest relations, day by day they arrived in all of our 16 cabins. I was looking for the group coord. manager Cherry, but I only got her on the phone, or someone of the staff was talking to her like " she said I shall tell you.." So, I never saw her, during the first time of my first of 2 sailings with two groups!!! Only on 2. cruise ( I had a back to back ) I told the reception , that have to spek to her - face to face. Then she showed up ! OK..one time..I never saw her again after that. I'm a customer with 3 times Celebrity award of beeing the greatest seller of cruise trips in southern Germany, I think, I should not ask to see her - she should ask to see me ? Action on board: To be true - there was not really an action happening. Not for us. If you like playing bingo or go to the casino, or try to learn how to fix up a table with special napkins a.s.o. The Shows: They have been, as we know it from Celebrity - professionell and nice. Worth to go there. The Music... At first : I worked for radio and TV stations in Germany for 22 years as a on-air personal. The Music from tapes or Cd's running during the days , was almost horrible ! Some kind of chillin-music after having some drugs ? From outa-space! Or some Jazzmusic with people singing or playing a Sax or Trompete, seemed to be in a competition, who can reach the highest tune for the longest time.. Nerv killing! It almost made me and others agressive. That was the reason, why I left some places very early, to get out of reach. After I mentioned that to several people on board - they changed it ..a little! These music tapes and it's kind of music had nothing to do, with the average people being on that ship. Not the kind of people-not the age of them. The Bands: And again, I am used to that, what the Millenium had on Board, and they where excellent. On the constellation, I had the feeling, they ordered them via internet, without listening to them, and looking for the lowest price ! And believe me, that's what they really got. The Reggae Band looked like one, but the never played like one. If i would through some corn on some sheets with music notes on.. a blind chicken would more often pick a corn on the right tune, then this band does ! Awful ! The indonesian "Show-Band" had a quality to play on a beach bar, with no entry fees, but not on any kind of a ship. So, we decided not to listen to them , and leave, when they appear. The accapella Group : After beeing a group in this constellation, for only 5 month.. that was OK ! The repertoire could have been a little bigger, but OK The Guitarrmen and singer on the after deck: Nice to listen to him.. if you prefer not to talk to youre friends at the table. He almost made every job like beeing on a concert. The reason why he was playing there, should have been backround music ? Have a drink, talk with youre friends and guests, have some music in the back. This guy was that loud, that all kind of talking went out to screaming to youre partner on the table. It took some time and some comlaining to change that. Result of music entertainment on Board (except the theater!) : Forget it. Restaurants: The buffet at deck 10 was alright for breakfast. A little strange for us during lunch time! Much too much asian and indian food, where we sometimes where not able to find out, what the hell it is, they are serving there with these indian names. Germans are not that kind of people who load up the plate with "I don't know what it is, If I don't like it - through it away!" But standing in a row for a time, you better take what you know, instead trying all the wrong stuff. The buffet, following after closing time 2:30 afternoon, which started at 6 at night, was pretty poor. Some pastas with different sauces, the asian guy with some asian food , some sweets - thats it ! The sushi at the asian station must have been great, thats what sushi fans always tould me ! All whats left, was a grill and sandwich station at the top of the buffet. The deal here : Sandwiches or.. Chickenbreast - minute Steak - Steak of salm - pork chops. So far - so good ! But.. I'm shure, the staff here got told, how long a chickenbreat or all the other stuff has to be on a grill - thats it. Want some herb-butter on youre steak ? Don't have it ! Want some onions on youre steak ? Don't have it ! (don't even know that option) I asked them to put some fried onions on the steak They offered some raw ones.. No man.. I want you to to put these on the grill for 2 minutes , get them glassy to light brown.. put them on the steak, thats all ! Oh no sir, we can not do that. OK- forget it! The baked potatoe, could you please open it, to put some soure cream in there ? "you want me to.. what ? Ok forget it, put the soure cream on the side- i'm done. Pizza Station: open all day and deep in the night. Different pizza's some sidedishes. OK ! If you order italian food on that pasta station, you'll find a guy ( ok, he's chinese) in an all italian cook outfit. But do not ask him for the italian names of the food like "alio e olio" which is just pasta with garlic and olive oil, or to make it more worst "alio e olio al diavolo" which just means with hot spice, like peppers. He will not even have an idea, what the hell you talk about! OK - it is an american ship, they speak english (some still try to..) but don't you put a guy behind that station in an al italian outfit, that not even knows the basics of the original food names. On all other stations I get served the indian stuff with all indian names, where I dont know, is that the name of the indian cook or his food ? So I have to know - my fault if I don't. All in all the buffet on deck 10 ist good for breakfast, lunch. Poor for the night. San Marco Restaurant: Good Food - up to excellent, and nice waiters and assistance.. if you got the right ones ! Most of them are, some not My one, Helmi and his assitant Dino - they where a top team ! Outstanding ! When I was down there, I really fellt pampered with the best service I could get, and the best Food they had. For 8 people 3 different kind of steaks in 4 different kinds of cooking - rare, medium rare - medium done - well done- and they all came as ordered - always ! Respect ! 5 * for food and service! Extra Fee Restaurants : The "ocean liner" or "the tuscan grill" Some of my people tryed them, because of a special event like 25. anniversry , birthday a.s.o. They all came out happy - even after they paid a little more for drinks , and the extra fee. It's worth it, when you have to celebrate a special day or wnt someting special. The other special restaurants, we did not try - even after they offered them every day again and again... and again. If "solsticizing" means, to put more places with extra fees in there, man - this was the wrong way ! The average amount of people using this ( by having a included excellent food and service at the San Marco! ) was too low to get in the costs of the new buildings- my opinion. The after deck Bar : Nice to sit and meet. Smokers on left - non-smokers right side. Service OK , Music sometimes much too loud. Music from tapes.. 2 times they build up a table , nice decorated with an Ice Sculpture,a winebarrel and some bottles and glasses, and a variety choice of cheese. looked really nice ! Some people made photos of it, but no one really knows, what's it all about... OK ,I'm here to tell you ('cause no one elso will ever do).. You did have the chance to try some different wines (extra price !) by bottle or glass, to find youre favourite one, and have a cheese/crackers snack included ! But... nobody told you ! No waiter - no Winespecialist - no one ! The waiters never took the chance to sell this to you, they just ignored it. After 2 hours of standing there - untouched- they begann to put the cheese on little plates , and serve it to the people as a snack. Then they took the whole thing away again... They even did this, when we had a little storm comming up, and no one - except some smokers for a quick cigarette, was sitting there. Bad joke ? No - the truth ! I think there ar people who are watering the Flowers in a garden - meanwhile a heavy rainshower comes down- because it was on theire daily plan to do so. They left this bar open, even when the wind was that hard, that it blows youre head away, but closed the poolbar inside at same time. No one understood this, but even after we talked to the people in charge therefore.. nothing happend. Its like that - we always did that way - we always do so in the future, why proof it? Result for me and my 2 groups on Board : Celebrity : YES What a difference a ship makes.. Constellation : NO - not again ! The Constellation seems to be for relaxing older people only, who just like to lay on the pool ( some with earplugs, because of the loudness and the quality) and enjoy the food and the weather..play some bingo, name that tune or join the casino. Even a 60 year old woman (in a concierge Cabin) from New York said : This is God's waiting room.. But if so, they should make the cabins smaller, for the result, that the gangways have enough room then, to pass by two wheelchairs. I will not be missunderstood ! I have no problems with people in wheelchairs, while I had a time in one of them too ! But If you construct a ship and it's programm in this direction of users, then please, do it perfect! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Embarkation on 2/25 went smoothly, though could not go to stateroom until around 3:00 PM due to norovirus-induced cleaning. Dinner in the San Marco -- I indicated through early registration that wife had lactose sensitivity issue, but ... Read More
Embarkation on 2/25 went smoothly, though could not go to stateroom until around 3:00 PM due to norovirus-induced cleaning. Dinner in the San Marco -- I indicated through early registration that wife had lactose sensitivity issue, but dining room staff was unaware of this and did not get it straightened out until the following Tuesday (2/28). Meat was often dry and/or tough, and vegetables were often overcooked to the point of mushiness. Dinner swevice was slow and entrees were often cold. One night we tried the Seaside Cafe for dinner, but this was not an adequate substitute. Went to Ocean Liners twice for dinner (excellent food & service) and Tuscan Grille once (very good, but not quite as good as OL). Too bad we had to pay extra for a good-quality dinner! We found breakfast in the San Marco to be better than the buffet in the Seaside. However, 7:30 opening precluded use when early tours were scheduled, Lunches in the Seaside were very good, and we were often back from island tours before it closed at 2:30 P. I was not informed of the bucket of beer special (6 beers in a bucket of ice for price of 5) until Mar 4, with cruise over half over. On other cruises, this was publicized on the first day. Concierge C-3 room was nice, but true concierge service was lacking, and not well explained (better service in Veranda or Balcony-class rooms with other line). Luggage was left in hallway; not placed in room on bed on protective pad. No explanation was given for using TV to order room service, or how room fixtures work. We never did figure out what one dial on the wall was for. Hors d'oeuvres (canapes) were plain with little variety from day-to-day. Rose in room wilted first day because stem was not crushed. We did not receive our leather key holder or tote bag. The balcony was small but well furnished with two chairs & small table. The Entertainment was very good. The acapella group was excellent, as was the ventriloquist & Nosewothy (I laughed until tears came to my eyes). The Celebrity singers & dancers were also very good, and Perry Grant was good for an occasional changeup. Debarkation was lengthy with long lines -- Over an hour before we cleared the facility, then had to wait in line for a taxi. Other comments: 1) TV map did not show Phillipsburg St Maarten. 2) We found much better bang for the buck scheduling shore excursions or arranging taxi tours on our own. Celebrity excursions were over priced and in 2 of 3 cases, did not perform as expected (see Port Reviews). Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We have been on many cruises and most recently have done our last 4 cruises on Celebrity because we find that this company provides what we are looking for in a cruise holiday. Embarkation - a pleasant trouble free experience - no ... Read More
We have been on many cruises and most recently have done our last 4 cruises on Celebrity because we find that this company provides what we are looking for in a cruise holiday. Embarkation - a pleasant trouble free experience - no complaints here. Cabin - we were in a C2 cabin 9038 which I chose due to the irregular shaped balcony. It was a lovely cabin and the extra room on the balcony was fantastic, we had lunch there several times. The overhang is large but didn't bother us in anyway. The Cabin Steward and his assistant were very friendly and kept everything spic and span. Food - Unfortunately in the MDR we were not impressed (we were on Select Dining) The service was not very efficient, a lot of waiting on some nights between courses, and also the quality of the food was not the standard we have enjoyed on previous cruises (our last one being in the summer on the Equinox). We did eat in the Tuscan Grille and Ocean Liners, both were substantially better than the MDR and the service and food was excellent. We also ate in the Creperie on Deck 5 some nights and this too was a much more enjoyable experience - unfortunately the menu choice was rather limited. The food in the Sunset Grille was fine for breakfast and lunch but awful at dinner in the evening (hardly any choice - pasta or pizza it seemed every night). The layout of the cafe is much nicer on the Equinox too. I think the Christmas dinner in the MDR was the most disappointing for me, about the only edible thing on the plate was some turkey breast - perhaps the Americans don't really 'do' Christmas dinner. Entertainment - there were a few highlights. Perry Grant was entertaining in Michael's club (the Piano bar), one of the production shows was good and the Christmas show was nice. Unfortunately our 17 year old son and his 18 year old cousin were with us and this provided a problem which Celebrity seemed less than efficient at solving. Our son wanted to spend time with his cousin in the evenings, the place to go was the nightclub 'Reflections', unfortunately at 11.30pm they would tell anyone under 18 to leave. This meant our son came back to the cabin early and missed spending time with his older cousin. We did ask if the rules could be relaxed but although we were told someone would get back to us, nobody did. We were upset to find out from other parents that their children under 18 had managed to avoid being ID'd and were able to stay late at the club. We did complain again to the cruise director and she apologised and amazingly for the last 2 days of the cruise suddenly no one was told to leave the nightclub ... we did ask for this much earlier in the cruise and it is such a pity that we had to wait until the last 2 nights of a 14 night cruise for something to be done .. a shame for us Celebrity fans because our son ended up unhappy and saying it was 'his worst cruise ever'. Overall- our holiday was OK and we did enjoy the ports we visited and the staff on board (particularly the cabin staff and those in the speciality restaurants) were really friendly. We have been on the Constellation before but will not choose the ship again because we prefer the Solstice Class more. I don't like being negative about things and I have to say I did meet some lovely people on board but we would not sail on Constellation again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Of the over twenty cruises we have taken since 2000 (including 8 on Celebrity and 2 on Azamara), this was probably our least favorite. We experienced a marked decline in the quality of food and service since sailing on the Constellation ... Read More
Of the over twenty cruises we have taken since 2000 (including 8 on Celebrity and 2 on Azamara), this was probably our least favorite. We experienced a marked decline in the quality of food and service since sailing on the Constellation in 2002. Upon boarding, we usually head for the library to find reading material - the selection of books available was very limited and the volumes were old and in shabby condition. One of our favorite memories of the Constellation was the time spent over a pre-dinner drink in the popular Martini Bar outside the Marco Polo restaurant. Alas when the Constellation was remodeled, the bar was moved to a very narrow, public corridor with little atmosphere. The apple martini too had changed: the waiter brought a cloudy concoction to our table, without a shaker and with sugar on the glass rim. When asked about the change we were told that Celebrity was now adhering to the Royal Caribbean model. Fortunately we found better martinis served in other bars on the ship. Gone too were the marvellous pastries that Celebrity used to be know for. Most of the desserts (other than those in the specialty restaurants) now appear interchangeable and mousse-like in texture. The first (and last) ice cream we had in the Seaside buffet area was vanilla ice cream that had crystallized. In order to get a good tasting ice cream we had to pay over $3 at the Gelateria. One highlight that stood out in a positive way was the excellent breakfast poached egg station where they served poached eggs plain or as variations on the classic Eggs Benedict. The breakfast bacon too was nicely crisp. For dinner we chose to eat five times in the speciality restaurants. The price had increased significantly over other cruises, but the food there was much superior. The main dining room food was mediocre with many lapses in service, notably one occasion where one of the six people at our table was served the entrée only after everyone else had finished dessert. Even with the choice of fine dining there were several minor snafus, including at our last meal in the Ocean Liners where the half bottle of wine we previously had corked at the Tuscan Grille could not be located. Perhaps our favorite memory of this cruise will be the experience provided by the consummate entertainer, Perry Grant in the piano bar, Michael's Club. The club was packed every night for both performances and people waited in line outside to gain entry. Sadly we found out that this too will be coming to an end as Royal Caribbean is phasing out piano bars after 2013. Celebrity still holds an attraction for us because of the loyalty program where Elite members are offered a number of options including two hours each evening with free cocktails/hors d'oeuvres served in the Reflections lounge, a continental breakfast with various coffees every morning in the Ocean Liners, and priority embarkation and disembarkation services. But recently other cruise lines have offered us a better overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
This time around we elected to spend a night prior to, and following the cruise at a hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, so the embarkation/disembarkation process did not particularly concern us. We found out from other Cruise Critics that there was ... Read More
This time around we elected to spend a night prior to, and following the cruise at a hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, so the embarkation/disembarkation process did not particularly concern us. We found out from other Cruise Critics that there was likely going to be a delay in getting into the cabins due to more thorough cleaning and disinfecting process(due to recent outbreaks of Norovirus on the ship), so avoided the early rush and 'sailed through' fairly easily. Our cabin became available at 2 p.m. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of our luggage. We finally contacted the front desk at 5 p.m. and were told the suitcases were delayed 'in the hold' and we were to go downstairs and open our suitcases for inspection. We each brought a 1 l. bottle of wine (as allowed) in the suitcases, and since the shape of the bottles was visible on the x-rays, the "content" had to be checked out. We passed the inspection and were allowed to take our suitcases (including the wine) up to our cabin. We were not particularly impressed with the cleanliness of our cabin - the mirrors and balcony doors remained dirty and streaked throughout the cruise. The fresh flowers were lovely, but by the end of the cruise they were allowed to wilt and the 'dead' stems just stayed in the vase without being even removed. Similarly, for the last 3 days of our cruise our fruit was no longer replenished or changed and we had the pleasure of having two decayed apples sitting decoratively in a fruit bowl on the coffee table . I think we were most disappointed in the quality of food in the main dining room. Not only are the cuts of meat 'well below par', but we found we were no longer able to get our usual "bowl of mixed berries" (our alternate to the dessert menu we frequently requested during our previous two cruises on Connie). This time we were told they were not available because it was 'specialty request'. In addition, the service has deteriorated since the last cruise in terms of the wait time between the courses, as well as lack of attentiveness of the servers. We were wondering why we had to request refills on our water or coffee when this would have been done automatically in the previous years. Needless to say, we were happy to enjoy two blissful dinners at Ocean Liners and one at Tuscany. On the positive note, the entertainment appeared improved over our last cruise and there appeared to be plenty of lounging chairs by the pool. We also enjoyed the wide variety of excursions at each of the ports and took advantage of them. We particularly enjoyed "Boss Adventures" (St. Thomas)and their underwater scooters. Overall, we think it's time to say good bye to Constellation and try a different ship. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
A friend and I took the Holy Land Cruise on the Celebrity Constellation that boarded in Istanbul on November 6, 2011 and disembarked in Barcelona on November 20, 2011. Generally speaking, we found the condition of the ship and our ... Read More
A friend and I took the Holy Land Cruise on the Celebrity Constellation that boarded in Istanbul on November 6, 2011 and disembarked in Barcelona on November 20, 2011. Generally speaking, we found the condition of the ship and our cabin to be quite acceptable. We also met a host of interesting people, had many good times and made several new friends. Further, we found the destinations visited to be generally enjoyable and memorable. The possible exceptions were Athens, Greece and Marmaris, Turkey -â€" the former too big, chaotic and dirty and the latter too nondescript and lacking in historic consequence -â€" which were the questionable destinations that Celebrity selected to replace Alexandria on the original itinerary (which arguably they should never have dropped in the first place). The biggest problem with the cruise was the outbreak of the norovirus on board the Constellation and the diminished cruise experience that resulted. First, it appeared that the severity of the outbreak was routinely and intentionally understated and minimized by all senior employees of Celebrity Cruises aboard the Constellation. However, for those on board, it became quickly clear that far more passengers were affected by the virus than Celebrity personnel would have us believe. This lack of transparency, in and of itself, constituted serious neglect on the part of Celebrity Cruises, especially when one considers the number of elderly people that were aboard. Second, the presence of the norovirus on board led to a host of decisions by Celebrity Cruises that diminished the overall experience: 1) the closure of various facilities, such as the library, secondary service stations, certain bars, etc.; 2) the removal of various articles such as salt and pepper shakers in the restaurants or throw cushions and glasses in the staterooms; 3) the refusal to allow people to serve themselves in the buffet restaurant -â€" which offered remarkably bland and lukewarm food -â€" leading to intolerable and irritating delays in getting even a simple cup of coffee; 4) the obsessive-compulsive tendency to virtually douse passengers in hand sanitizer; and 5) the requirement for front line staff to do double- or triple-duty to help keep the ship clean which left them clearly tired and eroded their ability to provide top-notch service. To name a few. Added to this was the disagreeable and increasing tendency by Celebrity Cruises to charge for virtually anything and everything. Telephone and internet charges were exorbitant, as were the prices associated with the annoying photo-taking racket that every cruise line engages in, not to mention the extra-charge alternative restaurants that are popping up on cruise ships everywhere. One can add to this the inflated prices for shore excursions and forced shopping stops at overpriced, Celebrity-sanctioned stores. Even more irritating were the little things, such as applying a fee to mail stamped post cards, charging for a simple soda on board or not providing free bottled water to persons leaving the ship to explore independently or go on ship-booked excursions. Celebrity Cruises is clearly taking nickel-and-diming to an unacceptable extreme, especially for a supposedly upscale cruise line. All of this made for an overall experience was underwhelming and disappointing, especially for a supposedly 5 star cruise line that markets itself as being a cut above its mainstream competitors. As such, I and my friend would be hard-pressed to recommend Celebrity Cruises to any friends or family, and we would be disinclined to book another Celebrity voyage in the future. Indeed, we believe that the line should financially compensate every passenger in some fashion for a cruise that, both because of and apart from the norovirus outbreak, manifestly failed to live up to the quality and expectations promoted by Celebrity Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
We had many problems on this cruise. Most were caused by the front office of Celebrity. Evidently 400+ people were sick on the previous cruise so "high sanitation" was in effect. Some of the passengers were notified by the ... Read More
We had many problems on this cruise. Most were caused by the front office of Celebrity. Evidently 400+ people were sick on the previous cruise so "high sanitation" was in effect. Some of the passengers were notified by the cruise line 2 days before that the ship would leave later than normal and there was a big case of noro on board. They were given the option to take transfer to a cruise at a later date. Unfortunately we were not notified so we were sceptical about taking our pregnant daughter with us and probably would have opted for another cruise. Embarkation was a mess. They did not let us on the ship until late in the afternoon and then could not get into our cabins until after 6 p.m. Supposedly all cabins had been totally sanitized yet we found dust in ours. The library was closed the entire cruise. Ironically we dined with a doctor who specialized in infectious disease. He told us that there was no way that the virus could be spread on books. Many of their company imposed high sanitation procedures only made it inconvenient for the passengers and meant nothing to the spread of the virus. It was a 13 day cruise and the dining staff made no attempt to learn our names. On previous cruises they knew our names after 3 or 4 days. Full service was not given to us until the 3rd day. Concierge embarkation/disembarkation meant nothing. Very poor information given out about anything. The ship was nice, the cabin was good. Entertainment fair. The staff very friendly but not interested in your name. We would think twice about taking Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
This was our 10th cruise overall and third cruise with Celebrity. The previous two were on Century and Millenium. We feel that the overall quality of the Celebirty line has been diminishing over the years. This time the embarkation was ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise overall and third cruise with Celebrity. The previous two were on Century and Millenium. We feel that the overall quality of the Celebirty line has been diminishing over the years. This time the embarkation was nothing short of a complete failure and consisted of long delays, poor communincation and a dismissive attitude towards passengers. Obviously this was affected by the previous norovirus outbreak. However, communication during embarkation was poor and we got on the ship well after 4 pm. There was no usual champagne welcome that we previously experienced on Celebrity, and the cabins were available only after 5. The Cons: The food was bland and tastless, particularily the dinners. There was nothing memorable or out of the ordinary. We didn't go to any of the specialty restaurants so I can't comment on those. At our first Celebrity cruise in 2005 on Century, they stressed their desire to uphold the highest of standards for their food and thus did not want to focus on relying on speciality restaurants. Clearly, this philosophy did not last. In regards to food, Celebrity has become undistinguishable from other cruise lines. In the buffet, long lines were common and there was a long wait during dinner. Communication throughout the ship was also poor. The tv rarely and inaccurately updated the forecast so we did not know what the weather would be like. This was especially important in regards to the waves. In prior cruises the TV always displayed the heights of waves. The Pros: We liked the destination, entertainment, and our room steward did an excellent job. Any requests that we had were immediately addressed. As far as the entertainment went, we particularly enjoyed Perry Grant, the classical Arabesque trio and the evening theatre shows. Our port in the Madera islands ended up being cancelled due to a strike in Portugal, and we appreciated that the ship quickly changed the port to Gibraltar rather than spending another day at sea. Gibraltar ended up being a terrific port to visit. Also, we enjoyed our dinner company. This was a highlight of our day. Overall, it was a good experience, but Celebrity is no longer a high priority when it comes to choosing a cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
To put things in perspective: We paid relatively very little for this 13 night TA (some $900 p.p. for a Concierge class balcony cabin) so we tried to adjust our expectations accordingly. Unfortunately, Celebrity managed to deliver a ... Read More
To put things in perspective: We paid relatively very little for this 13 night TA (some $900 p.p. for a Concierge class balcony cabin) so we tried to adjust our expectations accordingly. Unfortunately, Celebrity managed to deliver a product which, on balance, fell below even that reduced level. First impressions do tend to color the nature of one's judgment and embarkation in Barcelona was an utter fiasco, the worst we've ever encountered. We had to wait on the pier for over four hours and, in spite of being Concierge Class and Captain's Club elite status, which ought to count for something, were put in the very last embarkation group. When we finally complained about this, we were given a totally dismissive answer, being told that, as we were not suite passengers, we should'nt complain. We eventually discovered that the delay was the result of the ship undergoing a complete sanitizing procedure due to the novovirus which had taken hold on the vessel for the last several voyages. If there had been an announcement explaining the circumstances this might have engendered more patience among the waiting passengers (force majeure cannot, after all, be argued with) but Celebrity kept stubbornly mum. Once aboard, after noting that the usual Celebrity welcoming ceremonies were being dispensed with, we were told that the cabins would not be ready for occupancy for another three hours. Everyone managed to cope with this additional delay, even though it meant that the first night's dinner became more of an informal occasion than one might have expected. Once in our cabin, we noted with pleasure that the on Constellation, unlike on the new ships, the Concierge Class cabins are in fact noticeably bigger, allowing room for a full sized couch instead of the cramped love seat that one finds in the run of the mill cabins. Indeed, we were extremely pleased with the cabin and with the faultless and invariably cheerful service provided by our steward, Amat. As for the other Concierge class amenities, fresh fruit, a small plate of canapes brought around daily in mid afternoon, a bottle of undistinguished bubbly provided at embarkation, they were hardly worth the extra money and in the ongoing debate on these boards on Concierge vs. Aqua Class on the big ships I would come down strongly in favor of the latter. On board, the anti novovirus campaign which had been shrouded in secrecy before we boarded, was omnipresent. At every doorway crew members were stationed with spray bottles of disinfectant for one's hands. At the buffet noone was allowed to help himself to anything, all foods, breads, drinks were dispensed by crew members, at peak times at least half the tables had signs on them announcing they were unavailable because they awaited sanitizing. Even though this occasioned some delays this was fine with us, we are all in favor of combatting infection. What we objected to was that although the casino and all the shops, certainly notorious venues of infection, (one may disinfect the chips, the cards, the merchandise, but the first time any of these are handled by a passenger they once more become a potential source of infection) the library, which unlike the former venues is not a revenue producer, was kept closed throughout the voyage. Complaints about this elicited, at first, vague promises that it would open soon, later airy dismissals. It was evident to us that Celebrity's position was a completely cynical one: there were not enough passengers seriously interested in obtaining books to justify the expense and trouble of santizing the library. All this could have been avoided if Celebrity had posted a notice on its web site ahead of time that the library would be closed so that one could bring one's own reading matter aboard(this was known, as it was closed throughout the first half of the Back to Back) but, God forbid, such an announcement could have had a negative effect on last minute bookings. Even so, the sanitizing campaign was unsuccessful: in spite of the Captain's confident pronouncement that "we are winning the battle" a substantial proportion of the passengers came down with some sort of gastro-intestinal or respiratory infection, or both. Our major source of compaint, however, was the quality of the food on offer. The fare at the buffet, while as varied as ever, was simply not as good to our taste. The room service menu, except at breakfast, was extremely limited and not well prepared (on the day we took sick I recall a mini steak which was both incredibly tough an thoroughly overcooked). But it was the main dining room which had declined most steeply from the level we had experienced on Constellation five years and three years ago. I would say the gamut was from good (I recall an eminently satisfactory veal cutlet and a nicely prepared, if oversalted, veal liver) to mediocre (most of the entrees, including all fish, which were invariably tasteless, most of them having simply been boiled in water) to outright bad, including all steaks, which were without exception tough, inferior quality meat, and a truly disastrous lobster which was served on the last formal night. This consisted of cut up, previously boiled chunks of meat, mixed with potatoes and a vile sauce and inserted in a half shell to give one the impression that one was being served the real thing. This had no business on the table of any cruise line, much less one that claims to be well above the average. A further complaint is that at the time at which we booked, six months ahead of the cruise, we requested a table for two and were assured that this would be forthcoming. When we went to the main dining room we were seated at a table for six and, upon speaking to the maitre d'hotel, were informed that there was simply no table for two free. We ate at the specialty restaurant, Ocean Liners, one evening. There the food was truly excellent, I had a memorable lamb saddle. So, the moral is, if one wishes to eat well one has to dine there every evening. However, the cost is now $40 p.p., in addition to a cover charge of $10 p.p.(plus 15% service charge). Over a thirteen night cruise this increases the price by $1,595 for two, never mind that the less expensive wines available in the main dining room are not on offer there. I have come to the conclusion that, if the total cost rises up into that range, I would be better served to throw in a few hundred dollars more and book on one of the premium lines (Azamara, Oceania) or on those luxury lines that, occasionally, offer an affordable TA voyage (Seabourne, Sea Dream). What did we like about the crossing: As I've mentioned already, our cabin was more than satisfactory, large enough for two with ample storage space. The evening entertainment, for the most part, was excellent. We very much enjoyed the very talented classical pianist and the equally good Irish soprano, as well as the highly professional dancers and musicians. The one ship's excursion we booked, the bus trip to Teneriffe's National Park, was eminently worthwhile, with a truly startling landscape upon arrival and, for once, it wasn't egregiously overpriced. And, the Captain's Club amenities constituted a real bonus. It was a pleasure to get a whole week's laundry from our pre cruise trip through Spain done for free and the 90 minute free Internet access p.p. was more than adequate to our needs. Although we aren't morning drinkers and consequently didn't partake of the Bloody Marys, Mimosas and Champagne on offer, we very much enjoyed the breakfasts in the Ocean Liners, with the specialty coffees made with much better tasting coffee than was available in the other dining venues and unlimited quantities of truly excellent smoked salmon and delicious almond croissants. The complimentary cocktail hour was truly welcome. Perhaps, as my Charming Dinner Companion who is a wine drinker, remarked, the quality of the wines being passed around might have been a tad better, but I had no complaint whatsoever about the quality of the Scotch and our table companions, who are Martini drinkers, informed us that those, as well, were excellent. And my CDC was extremely pleased with the complimentary water color classes and dance lessons as well as with the hair cut she got in the spa. Over all, then, a mixed bag. It may well be that on the regular cruises, which are more expensive, the food is better. But we take exclusively TA cruises, generally two a year, and for me that was the deal breaker. I look forward to our Azamara TA in the Spring, in the hope that my judgment will turn out to be correct. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
My wife and I have sailed with Celebrity 15 or 20 times. In fact,for good quality at a reasonable cost, they have been our favorate.That was until a few weeks ago. At that time, we sailed on the Constellation from Istanbul, Turkey. ... Read More
My wife and I have sailed with Celebrity 15 or 20 times. In fact,for good quality at a reasonable cost, they have been our favorate.That was until a few weeks ago. At that time, we sailed on the Constellation from Istanbul, Turkey. Check-in at the pier was as poorly conducted as we have ever encountered. (leaving the ship, last day, was fine) First, the good news.The ship itself is new and well maintained. The staff and crew were wonderful, as was the entertainment, for the most part. The bad news is that dinners onboard were well below average. In the past, this was a Celebrity strong point. They seem to be "cutting corners" and it shows. An example, a few folks in our group ordered coconut shrimp. Plain old regular shrimp arrived, no coconut breading included. When this was questioned, we were told that the clear sauce over the shrimp had a coconut flavor. The fish served was not good, salmon excepted. Meats were not up to past Celebrity standards. One meal selection was so over-salted that everyone sent it back. Another negative was that on this cruise to Greece and Turkey, not once did the ship play Greek or Turkish music. In fact, they refused to when asked. We were told that headquarters dictated what music was to be played and they could not change. Nor was there any greek or Turkish entertainment. The captain homself told me that he did not think passengers wanted to enjoy local The average age of the passengers was about 60 years old and the pool entertainment was usually loud,music, was the type a 15 year old would listen to, and loud! On the other hand, in the gym, spa music was playing instaed of peppy music. I could go on but the point I am trying to make is that, at least as I see it,a quality line has dropped a notch or two, especially in the food area.Cost-cutting seems to be rearing it's ugly head. Too bad! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
Positives were we had fruit baskets refreshed daily & champagne on arrival. But the express embarkation was nonexistent & we waited in line with everyone else. The entire process seemed poorly run. At the end of the cruise ... Read More
Positives were we had fruit baskets refreshed daily & champagne on arrival. But the express embarkation was nonexistent & we waited in line with everyone else. The entire process seemed poorly run. At the end of the cruise disembarkation was very smooth - as promised. Room steward was polite but there was no sense of urgency on getting our room cleaned in the morning. Unfortunately our room was right across the hall from the service entrance & the door slammed all thru the day & up until 10 p.m. We discussed getting it fixed with both our steward & the concierge but to no avail. It was not fixed during our 12 days. The food service was okay & the food was very good overall with the exception of steak & prime rib which both was very disappointing, overcooked & grisley. The phone in our room didn't function correctly. If I wanted a wake up call I had to go down stairs to the desk since they would not pick up any calls. The entertainment was well received & talented singers/dancers. But the management of the ship seemed disjointed. The smells in the casino was so offending (sewage)I would not go to play the machines. The spa was nice - very pricey. We have sailed twice on the Infinity happily, but I would not go back on the Constellation. However, the ports of call were very good. If you choose to stop at St. Petersburg we used www.tour-petersburg.com with wonderful results. Tim was a great guide who I would recommend. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
Well, there is good news and bad news.First, the good news: the crew on the Constellation was the friendliest of any cruise we have been on. They always greeted us and were helpful in promptly providing assistance when requested. Sue, ... Read More
Well, there is good news and bad news.First, the good news: the crew on the Constellation was the friendliest of any cruise we have been on. They always greeted us and were helpful in promptly providing assistance when requested. Sue, the cruise director, and entertainer Perry were excellent. Many of the crew members often were hard to communicate with because of their limited English skills, but a little patience solved any problems. The entertainment was generally good, about what one would expect. It was so pleasant not to have a cruise director that constantly made often-trivial announcements over the public address system (this happened on our last HA cruise). Embarkation and dis-embarkation procedures were a breeze, best we have ever experienced.Food: a mixed bag. The beef, as reported by previous cruisers, was of mixed quality. Sometimes o.k., other times very tough. We found the pizza, which others have said they liked, quite tasteless. And the veal cordon bleu served one night was unlike any such dish I have ever seen or tasted, but other passengers seemed o.k. with it. Overall I would say the cuisine was a bit below "cruise average."Dress code: what dress code? All but three nights were listed as "smart casual." Very casual would describe what actually was worn, especially by men. At night, we dined on the fourth deck, early fixed seating. The rush to enter the dining room at 6 p.m. reminded me of visiting New York City and watching the 5 p.m. mob rush toward the subways. Suits and sport coats were rare, collared sports shirts common, and frequently some men wore the type of T-shirts you would expect to see on a beach. On the formal nights, I estimate fewer than 10 percent of the men wore tuxedos (I quit that years ago). Maybe since this was a repositioning cruise it was more casual. But more likely the baggage fees being imposed by the airlines are continuing to accelerate the trend toward more casual clothing.Our FV cabin, 7199, was fine, and the 242-square-foot balcony was wonderful, although cool weather often prevented us from fully enjoying it. Our cabin attendants were cheerful, prompt and helpful. The ports: average. Renting a car in Cherbourg and visit the D-Day beaches and American cemetery was the highlight for me. I wish the Azores stop had been in scenic Madeira instead of Ponta Delgada. Lisbon was interesting, and although the stop in Dover didn't allow time to visit London, it was a nice little town with friendly residents. We don't like tours but we did book the see-Paris-on-your-own bus tour from LeHave; it was a bit rushed but this was unavoidable because of the distance involved. (I had asked the tour desk twice if there would be a rest stop on the 2.5 hour bus trip to Paris, and was told both times yes, there would be. There wasn't. But to our surprise, the bus did have a toilet.) The low value of the American dollar was dramatically illustrated by the on-shore prices everywhere we went. For example, my wife found a Guess purse in Holland priced at nearly three times what it sells for in the U.S.Now the bad. There were perhaps more than the normal cruise aggravations, such as an awful mattress, a sliding glass door that Arnold Schwarzenegger would struggle to open and close, loose tile in the shower, shower tiles that were mildewed, a TV that quit working, and a few others. Most of these were promptly fixed when we reported them. But the really disgusting thing was a toilet that repeatedly would not flush. This happened on at least seven occasions. The plumber told us aft cabins on decks 7, 8 and 9 were affected, apparently because passengers kept ignoring the written notice to flush only toilet paper (not Kleenex-type tissues and other stuff) in the toilet. (As one previous poster has described it, the toilet paper is "molecular-thin," an accurate description. Reminds me of what was provided in most European hotels in the 1950s). The plumber did his best but the problem kept occurring. I suggested to him that perhaps he should bring a bed and sleep nearby in the hall rather than having to make repeated trips to fix the problems. Obviously some people will just ignore the instructions on what to and not to flush, so why Celebrity doesn't take this into account in design of the plumbing system is a mystery to us. We had never have had such a continuing problem on any other cruise ship. This kept us from rating the cruise higher. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
I have mixed feelings about this cruise. I wanted to like it so much but with the issues that I had to deal with from the start we not reassuring. From the beginning, embarkation was an absolute nightmare. I stood in line to get ... Read More
I have mixed feelings about this cruise. I wanted to like it so much but with the issues that I had to deal with from the start we not reassuring. From the beginning, embarkation was an absolute nightmare. I stood in line to get through security and then I waited in another line to check in. The woman who checked me in was obviously not born here and her English was atrocious. In fact, I was so confused with what she wanted from me that the moment I got my seapass card, I walked away, not caring about what else she had to offer. After this, I waited in another line to take my picture for the seapass card. Finally, there was a snaking line going through the terminal onto the ship. The moment I got on the ship after all those lines, I shot back the free champagne they gave me. Before going to lunch, we wanted to get a drink. When I ordered drink they said it was not included in my package and told me if I wanted the drink, I would have to upgrade my package or pay for the drink. This was my first encounter with Guest Services, who while helpful, gave me attitude. I ended up upgrading my package and it cost me almost $100. Let me continue by stating I had to return to guest four more times after this. Each experience was interesting. One guy was extremely rude, I saw the same woman twice, and the last woman I met was extremely nice to me. Honestly, if you must go to Guest Services, you are playing a game of chance and if you get lucky, you will find the only woman who didn't give me any issues. After fixing the drink issues and then getting a drink, we headed to lunch. On the first day, you have to deal with the "rush" of people trying to get food and find a seat but the days following, it became easy to get food and find a place to sit. Food on the ship was exquisite. I loved going to dinner in the main dining room every night and the food selection was off the charts. They had amazing food like Braised Lamb in Phyllo, Pan-Roasted Branzino and Beef Tournedos. The Oceanview cafe was really nice. The food selection seemed a little limited in comparison to other line I have been on but it was nice to have action station where I could get a bowl of Bolognese or have a piece of fish grilled to my liking. I didn't try any of the specialty restaurants on board so I cannot comment on them. I consistently went to Cafe al Bacio multiple times a day because it was included in my drink package. They have a lovely lounge area where I could sit with my grandmother and have a beverage while looking out at the ocean. The food on the ship was excellent and was the best I have ever had on a cruise line. Our Balcony Cabin was nothing entirely special. The beds were very comfortable and I slept very well during the cruise. The TV was spotty when we used it to look at our accounts. There is plenty of storage for clothing and our suitcases fit right under the beds. Nice little sitting area. Bathroom is a little on the small side but the shower is the biggest I have ever encountered on a cruise and there were real toiletries like a hotel instead of that one cleans all dispenser in the shower on other lines. The balcony was generous with two comfortable chairs that were put good use. The outside of the ship (including our balcony) is showing its age. They need to repaint the ship and clean the glass on the balcony. The service we received on this ship (aside from guest services) was very good. Our room attendant Alfredo and his assistant Brian were extremely efficient when they cleaned our rooms and they even folded up our clothes and placed them on the beds and such. The turndown service was a little depressing because there was no towel animals. However, they did leave chocolates on the pillows every night but it couldn't replicate the joy of finding a cute towel animal holding tomorrow cruise guide. Both Alfredo and Brain were very nice in the hallway but something tells me they didn't remember our names like past attendants have. Food service around the ship was amazing as well. If you have the pleasure of having Nataliia as your assistant waiter in the San Marco Room on Deck 5, you're in for a treat. She was an absolute joy to have as our waiter and made dining that much more enjoyable. Our actual waiter, Miller, was nice but we rarely saw him and he wasn't very personable when he came over to the table. The bars around the ship provided prompt service but sometimes they didnt seem on top of their game. Entertainment on the ship was generally good. I did see every show that was offered on the cruise and they were up to the standards of other lines. The cruise director was very annoying. He was way too upbeat about everything and by the end of the cruise, I was done with him. I could only imagine how the people on the transatlantic before us dealt with him. As far as shipboard activities go, this ship has the same generic events that every other cruise line has. I didn't do bingo on this cruise because it was very expensive ($39) and I just didn't see the value. I did do a tour of the galley and the ocean liners restaurant which was really interesting for the hour that it lasted. It was also a free event. During the day at sea and after a long day in Key West and Nassau, it was nice to relax in the therapy pool that was in the solarium. The regular pools on the lido deck were nice as well. One pool was shallow (4ft) and another pool was deep (5.5-7ft). They really didn't have as many events as I thought they would but I was nice to just relax. We travelled to two ports on this cruise: Nassau and Key West Nassau: I normally do not leave the ship but because this was my grandmother's first time in the Bahamas, we went on a little adventure. To the John Watlings Rum Factory and the Queens Staircase. The Queens Staircase is worth the visit if you have never been before. You can walk there from the port and there is a historian and guide at the bottom of the staircase who gives and free tour (just remember to tip him, he's actually a really nice guy. I gave him $10 because he also drove us back to the port in his car for free.) The rum factory is not worth the visit. It was a scene for one of the James Bond Movies but aside from that, I really wasn't that interesting and the rum was strong. Key West: We had to be taxied back and forth from the ship to Mallory Sq. because the ship was docked at the Navy Pier. Also, I must say that the best street in Key West is not Duval St but Whitehead St. Did the Ernest Hemingway House, Southernmost point and Mallory Sq. I have been there several time and normally end up chilling at the each but because I was with someone who had never been, we did a mock version of Key West's greatest attractions. Disembarkation was just as bad as embarkation. More lines and more waiting. Would I go on another Celebrity cruise? Maybe, and that depends on a lot of factors. However, this experience was especially strange because while I did have several issues, I did have a lot of fun which I guess is what counts. I know my opinion isn't much but if you can find the right itinerary and price, it worth giving this line a try. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
I have been on cruises with three other cruise lines, and this was my first cruise with Celebrity. I was not disappointed by the ship and the cruise, but I was not really impressed either. We had an Oceanview cabin. I liked the large ... Read More
I have been on cruises with three other cruise lines, and this was my first cruise with Celebrity. I was not disappointed by the ship and the cruise, but I was not really impressed either. We had an Oceanview cabin. I liked the large window. I did not like that there was a connecting door to the next cabin, and we could hear every little noise our neighbor made. We were pretty underwhelmed by the buffet. It was the least exciting of any ship I've been on. The lunch and dinner buffet mostly served the same food, and it was the same small selection every single day and night. They really push their specialty restaurants that cost more money. Every time you turn around on the ship, someone is trying to sell you a dinner reservation. The food in their main dining room is absolutely excellent. I was never let down by my meal. I would not recommend their shore excursions. They were a huge rip off. Every one was super rushed, packed with people, and way too expensive. The only shore excursions I was happy with on our trip were ones that we booked with outside parties. I would suggest doing your research ahead of time and booking your own tours through local companies. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
My husband and I joined the cruise late because of bad weather, so we joined at the the first port of call, St Thomas. The embarkation was great, very quick and very personal once we contacted a member of the crew (the Cruise Director, who ... Read More
My husband and I joined the cruise late because of bad weather, so we joined at the the first port of call, St Thomas. The embarkation was great, very quick and very personal once we contacted a member of the crew (the Cruise Director, who was great - very efficient and helpful). Boat very good - pleasant cabin, attractive public areas, clean and nicely decorated for Christmas. Lots of places to lie in the sunshine although those in the shade were at a premium!! Staff excellent - helpful and very friendly everywhere. Customer Relations were particularly good - never had to wait to speak to someone and issues resolved quickly and efficiently. Itinerary good - we enjoyed every stop. We took ship's tours in 3 ports and they were good -reasonably priced, well organised, and covered what was promised in tour description. Lovely pool - unusually, big enough to swim - most cruise ships have pools only big enough for a dip and to cool off. Also, a wonderful thalassotherapy pool, with targetted jets of water and wonderful side areas to lie on the jets - really fabulous. Entertainment generally good and varied - 2 excellent comedy singers, comedy magician and juggler all good. We did not see the crew shows - not our kind of thing. Otherwise very little in the way of talks or enrichment - just lots of trivia quizzes. Library seemed poor - but we did get on late so we might have missed the best contents!! The only real downside was the food which was not up to the usual Celebrity standard. At dinner, some of the offerings were very odd - a good example was the duck served with French toast - that didn't work well, as you might expect. Also, some of the dishes were poor, with very few of them good to excellent. We sent back 1 or more dishes uneaten at about 75% of meals - normally we would never send anything back. The restaurant staff were great - very concerned when something wasn't up to standard, which was often. The main restaurant was never open for lunch on land days and never offered afternoon tea - which meant often that the buffet was the only option. Also, the food in the buffet was OK but not at all special. My husband enjoyed the Asian food but it was too spicy for me. I was trying to eat lightly, to avoid adding weight, and that was very difficult. The worst food was in the pool grill - my hamburger was just a grease sandwich!!!! The saving grace was the Aquaspa cafe which did excellent low-calorie and tasty breakfasts and lunches. Celebrity need to get their act together - I was talking to passengers on another Celebrity boat in December and they also said the food was poor - not sure if it is cheap ingredients or poor menus and recipes to blame Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Good old Connie - the first Celebrity ship Alison and I ever went on and also the one where I proposed marriage to her 5 years ago. In case you're interested, I proposed in that circular tiled bit in the Ocean Liners Speciality ... Read More
Good old Connie - the first Celebrity ship Alison and I ever went on and also the one where I proposed marriage to her 5 years ago. In case you're interested, I proposed in that circular tiled bit in the Ocean Liners Speciality Restaurant (sorry, my many USA friends, we have an extra I in the word), down on one knee with everyone watching. I can recommend the extra celebrity status it gives you in the elevators when men look at you and think, "you're a braver man than I" or possibly "you wimp" and their female partners look at you and think "I wish my husband was that romantic". Anyway, I digress. We've been on Connie twice since and sadly noted a gradual degradation in all kinds of things. Certainly there are fewer staff these days - on our first cruise you couldn't walk into a corridor without a chain of room stewards wishing you good morning and opening doors for you. That first cruise we had a line of waiters in the Seaview Restaurant waiting to carry our trays to a table. No more melon carving in Seaview, either, tch! And so on. It's easy to understand some of the cuts, though Celebrity's constant quest to work towards molecular-thin toilet paper eludes me, (the idea of that little luxury awaiting us makes coming home almost worthwhile) and you can be either disappointed or amazed by others. Some can be put down to sensible cuts so as to keep prices reasonable, while at the opposite end many look mean and penny-pinching. For example we had no ice tongs in our ice-bucket; did we just have an unlucky stateroom or is this part of the new policy? Can Noro survive low temperatures and be passed on cube to cube? There have also been some changes in attitudes and procedures, some welcome, others not. The indignity and inconvenience of (yet another) lifeboat drill has been reduced, such that we didn't have to wear our lifebelts to the drill any more. Disappointing in a way, because some evil inner me, watching a crowd of people making their way up and down staircases with their vision almost totally obscured by two polystyrene building bricks stuck to their chests like Picasso's version Dolly Parton impressionist, wanted one to miss his or her footing so that everyone went crashing down like one of those kids' domino games. An aside here - Alison is a confidant woman generally - she can even read maps, guys, so it amazes me that she is always unable to gauge her sense of direction on a moving cruise ship. Considering we've been on all the Millennium class ships several times each - Summit, Constellation, Infinity andThe Millennium Falcon (though I admit the layout of the last one is a bit different), she still comes out of elevators and turns the wrong way; not randomly, I mean usually the wrong way. She's OK when we're in port, but at sea, forget it. If Alison had been navigating for Chris Columbus, the Americas would never have been discovered. But we thought we'd found a solution: by leaving tiny trails of steamed rice from the Asian Delights section of the Seaview we could follow them back to the stateroom. (It has to be rice; we tried cous-cous once but it assumed we were Greek and led us to the Officers' quarters.) Anyway, this time it didn't work at all. Our assistant cabin steward Leroy spent most of his time wielding a simply huge vacuum cleaner along the corridors and in the cabins, so our poor grains of rice stood no chance. In fact the suction was so strong it would pick up nearly anything in the region. There was a panic on one of the sea days when a couple from Deck 6 were thought to have gone overboard, only to be discovered later in Leroy's cleaner. That J Edgar Hoover has a lot to answer for. There were a few odd disappearances actually. One young lady disappeared in Aruba - she was part of the gangway photographic team and melted away while dressed as a furry dolphin. Then there was the couple who spent the entire cruse in the forward elevators because he insisted, "this is our floor" and she insisted "no it's not". We offered them our trail of rice tip but they were too busy arguing. While I'm on the subject of arguing, why are some guests so rude to the waiting staff? They're human beings just like anyone else, and a polite "please" and "thank you" works wonders. Instead some guests seem to believe they are some kind of pond life who are there to be abused. If people took the stance of being more pleasant to one another there'd be a lot less violence in this world. Most of the problems seem to stem from language difficulties. Well, sorry to tell you, rude guests, that the solution of a language misunderstanding is not to repeat the question many decibels louder. I'd warrant that all these waiters' English - their second language after all - is considerably better than your Turkish, Hungarian, Greek, etc., etc. Consider yourselves admonished. The dress code has been relaxed. We have formal and anything else. Even formal is not rigorously enforced. I'm aware the whole dress code thing has been debated long and hard on these boards and I certainly don't want to reopen that little can of worms, but if it came to a vote I'd be on the side of "let's all dress up and be very civil and chivalrous to each other a couple of times". As I said, this gradual degradation was a bit depressing and seemed to have infected the staff as well as the guests. On one ill-fated cruise (I can't remember which ship) we hardly saw our room steward at all. Alison - far more attentive to these boards than I am - reported debates about things that had been dropped and things that had been added and things that hovered between the two, mostly about the main restaurant menu. Well, I'm pleased to report that things seem to have bottomed out and - dare I say it - are on the up. The new Tuscan Grill is a nice place to eat, with staff attitudes to match any Ocean Liners (et al) in the fleet. And that Tuscan Onion Soup - like French Onion Soup but much richer and more hearty, could become a serious rival for the iconic Goat's Cheese Souffle in Ocean Liners, if a little more clumsy and "main course". Ocean Liners, too, is performing very nicely thank you. A personal taste thing here, but I don't like the piped pastry cage they've added atop the aforementioned Goat's Cheese Souffle as if the thing has suddenly got attitude and is likely to leap out of the bowl and grab you round the throat. I assume it's an attempt to distance itself from the Roux lineage in some way, but it's clumsy and unnecessary and, in my opinion, doesn't go. We ate in Ocean Liners twice and this dish on the second visit was much more like the original, raising a slight question over consistency. I'd heard the cloches and the reveal "ta-da" had been dropped, but it was there for us. Personally, not being a chocoholic, I'm glad to see a bit more variety on the dessert menu. We really were treated royally in Ocean Liners, partly, perhaps, because the maitre d' recognised us from our last cruise on Solstice, where he was maitre d' of the Blu restaurant. By way of example, we elected not to have cheese (because we were full) and were invited back "any time" to have some cheese with them, perhaps after we'd dined in the main restaurant. The first visit we had filet mignon, but when we said we had booked a second visit we were promised (and served with) a Porterhouse steak that had obviously not put up much of a fight in its last few moments, being tender enough to fall apart at the mere mention of the word "knife". The food in the Tuscan Grill is interesting, too, though I somehow feel that as I'm paying a premium and there's a good quality steak on the menu, I would somehow be getting less value for money had I chosen one of their alternatives such as Pasta Bolognaise. We felt that the menu in the main restaurant was not as good as it used to be, without really being able to remember why. The reportedly dropped New York Strip on the everyday menu was definitely there, though when you've had an Ocean Liners' Porterhouse the night before you can definitely appreciate what is meant by "cheaper cuts". There were two occasions when we felt there was nothing on the menu we really fancied at all, one of which resulted in a hasty call to the Tuscan Grill. Then there's the "English Delight" area of the buffet - it's like Asian Delights said with a different accent. Oh, dear. Oh, dear, dear. If Celebrity have this as a view of typical English fare then we Brits are in a bad way. Sure, we have fish and chips over here. (Sorry, my USA friends, but chips are big chunky sticks of deep fried potatoes, not crispy slices. We had the word first, so live with it, OK? Just teasing .) When we have fish and chips as a meal in the UK, we're talking about a low cost (and frequently low quality unless you search around) substantial meal. I'm talking S-U-B-S-T-A-N-T-I-A-L here. Some of the fish we get (usually cod or haddock) are big enough to drag a trawler down had they not been deep fried in a batter made with added beer. They overlap both ends of a dining plate. Not this kids' portion fish nuggest X were serving up. As for the chips, an average portion needs to have enough cholesterol to bring down a healthy young elephant, not the five chips most people seemed to get. The traditional accompaniment is mushy peas, which are processed peas with lashings of green food colouring cooked until they give up any definable shape - much as diners do when finished with a typical portion of UK F&C. The sorry substitutes provided by X may be well intended, but they miss the target by a good few nautical miles. As for the pies... please! If you asked anyone in England these days what traditional English food includes, you'd be faced with a whole smorgasbord of ideas (no, that was a metaphor - Swedish food is one of a few examples of things we haven't claimed as national dishes). For sure roast beef and Yorkshire pudding would be in there somewhere. But keep trying, Celeb. Moving outside, I know it's the Caribbean and I know it fits the mood, but surely there's only so much Steel Drum music you can take, and the bizarre experience of having left the snowy, Christmas-card vista of December England to be faced with carols on a steel drum was irritating. We christened the pool deck Tin Can Alley. All these comments are personal taste, of course, but who chose the music for the public areas? Looking at the demographic, it was far too modern and far too abstract for general taste. Maybe Celebrity are trying to get rid of us old coffin-dodgers and attract a younger set? The worst was the new Martini Bar, where this odd music was so loud you could not have a sensible conversation - and yes that does matter before the third kicks in. It's completely killed the "old" martini bar (now a wine bar), where we never saw more than three or four people at any time of day. It's a shame in many ways - I well remember spending a very enjoyable evening while our martini barman performed sleight of hand magic in front of our eyes while we got steadily blitzed on vodka. The staff in the new bar can toss glasses, shakers and bottles till the cows come home, but after a while it gets a bit tiresome. And they were not exactly friendly either. In complete contrast, I move back to the main restaurant. We like fixed seating because it gives you a chance to build a relationship with the table waiters, and ours - Gusti and Sinista - were superb. Our table number was 481, a reverse of the gent on a nearby table who on lobsternight rather overdid it, to the extent we called him one ate four. In the past I've almost begrudged gratuities to assistant maitres d' because - apart from an occasional "is everything OK?" we'd hardly see them. What a difference this time! We had a female maitre d' (a maitrisse d'?) whose name I very nearly didn't manage to get, mainly because she moved so fast her badge was a constant blur. But I eventually found out her name is Melissa. She was everywhere, attending to everyone's needs and - amazingly - still very much in touch with her staff, who all seemed to adore her. I don't think I've ever seen anyone work as hard at anything; in the end we christened her "Superwoman". Not only did she listen to viewpoints, she acted on them too. And got results. One evening Alison politely mentioned that there were seldom enough cereal bowls available in Seaview in the mornings (yes, Melissa works up there too). She made a note and by the morning the problem had disappeared. Watch out for this lady. That reminds me of a joke - what's the definition of a mistress? Answer, something between a Mister and a Mattress. What happened to art auctions, that's what I want to know? Well, actually, I don't want to know. In previous cruises we fell under a weighty barrage of announcements and leaflets for art auctions for which we had no interest. This time, almost nothing. Maybe it's a cost saving issue, but, in my view, a good one. Which brings me nicely to the daily papers. X are trying to save money, and also have a worthy "green" image, both laudable initiatives. So why print so much? OK, some people want paper copies but why not put the whole thing on the TV system and at least cut down on some of the paper - make it "by request" or something? After all, the data must be on computer format to be able to produce the paper copies in the first place, so it must be an easy step to load it onto the TV system. And while we're at it, why not be really helpful and put the main restaurant menu up there too? Possibly because the TV system, in our stateroom anyway, was not good. As in bad. The menu channel was always there so you could get at the interactive stuff, but on all the other channels, including such "local" items as the bridge camera and the GPS map, it as often as not said "Weak or no signal". Surely in these high tech days of digital TV and at a time when all the stateroom TVs have been replaced by flat screen versions, X could do better. In my view, they should get the cable people back in. Get a good TV system that works, put the right data on it and while you're at it make Internet available (cable or wireless, who cares?) in every stateroom. Hotels can do it, so why not ships? There, moans over. Weighing everything up, things look quite rosy. A few grey areas such as those above and the always deserted "Bistro on Five" to iron out (and some of the furnishings are looking decidedly dated) and things are on the mend, restoring my faith in the place where I proposed to my gorgeous wife. Before I go, I have been considering the plight of both passengers and cruise line in these difficult financial times. I have come up with a few sure fire cost-saving or fund-raising ideas I'd like to share with you. 1. Radar. Have you seen that radar thing atop the ship? It goes round and round all day long. But, when you consider the ship's motion, and allowing for a few shuffles when docking, we're either going forward or we're stationary in a port. Not much to collide with in a port, so the most relevant use of the radar is when we're going forward, right? So why have it rotating all those 360 degrees when the 20 or so directly in front of us would probably suffice? We don't need to keep looking behind us and spending all that extra electricity rotating the radar thingy in unneeded directions. Not only that, but my idea would be safer. I mean, the way things are now, something could suddenly appear in front of us when the radar's still watching where we've been, obviously expecting a rear-ender from a captain who's not watching where he's going. 2. Ropes. When we stop at a port, lots of men (maybe even a few ladies) throw lots of heavy and expensive ropes to other men and women ashore to keep the ship still while we all get on and off. No problem with that: the last thing we need is for someone to trip because of movement from the tide. And there's the ensuing law suit to worry about, too. But what about the health and safety aspects of it all? Heavy (wet) ropes and a trip hazard if ever there was. I have a solution. Instead of those big tyres (tires) they have on the dockside, why not fit huge suction cups? All the captain would have to do is sidle the ship to the dock and hey! We're held fast! Get the picture? No ropes needed at all. No bad backs from the weight and no falls from trips. OK, it would need someone to insert a fingernail under each corner to release the suction before we could leave, but surely that's less effort than hurling those heavy ropes around? And I'm sure the engineers could come up with a small and portable tool a bit like the things they use to scrape crumbs off the dining table. 3. Fuel saving. Now you've probably observed that we frequently go into ports following other cruise ships. Because of my suggestion above - and you'll have to admire the "fit" of this - why not get a tow!? We've all of a sudden got lots of spare ropes so we could sneak up behind a Carnival ship and wrap one of our ropes round that funny shaped funnel thing they have - let's be honest, they're so busy having parties on Carnival ships they'd never notice. Think of the fuel savings, which, of course, Celebrity would pass on directly to guests as onboard credit, as they do with all cost savings. Hell, I'm on a roll now... 4. Binoculars. CC cabins have binoculars, yes? But surely the nautical tradition (I've watched Mutiny on the Bounty) is for telescopes. One eye. (You can see where this is going, right?) Cut the binoculars in half down the middle and they'll go twice as far. No, I don't mean they'll see twice as far, I mean twice the number of cabins can have them. 5. Hot-bedding. We all want cheaper cruises, yes? But the cost of running the ship doesn't come down, does it? More beds would mean the cost per guest could be reduced. But we don't want them to cram more cabins in because we like enough space to leave the occasional bit of skin intact on our knee-caps when getting past the end of the bed. But I've discovered there are lots of beds that aren't normally used. Deck 1 midships - the hospital! Now I know what you're going to say - we need those beds in case someone comes down with a nasty disease, like malnutrition. I've thought of that one. The plan is this - let additional "budget passengers" have the hospital beds for a low cost - there are no balconies so it would have to be reasonably cheap. Elite passengers wouldn't benefit from an automatic upgrade, so there's no change there either. If nobody's sick, nobody moves, but as soon as someone in a regular stateroom falls ill, they swap beds with someone in the hospital area. That way the sick get treated and the lucky cheapskate guest gets a balcony or even the chance of a Penthouse Suite, assuming the rich get sick too. There we have it. No additional crowding, more passengers, lower cost per passenger and everyone's happy. It also has social benefits, when Mrs Smith, whose husband strains his arm on a slot machine, suddenly finds herself with a new friend from Deck 1 to share her cabin. 6. Staff. On a similar line, we all know the staff work up to 16 hours a day, bless them. But turning that round, they are only asleep a maximum of 8 hours a day. Which means with some careful work plans put into place, we could do more hot-bedding. Cunning, eh? I realise a simple eight-hour shift may be mathematically neat, but would be impractical. My suggestion is for 20 minute overlaps. Crew member A goes to bed at, say, 10pm and should be asleep by 10.15 at the latest, after which time he can be removed from the bed and stood in a corner, making room for Crew member B to take over the bed. Considering vertical people take up less floor area than horizontal ones, the potential for saving beds is immense. 7. TV Sets. Nice to see the high-tech TV screens being used now. It's improved the picture quality, especially that helpful GPS "we are here" channel. My suggestion here is that we make these TVs a bit more interactive, such that people who are so inclined and have the finances to take it up can buy time slots on that channel and use their remotes to steer the big ship round all those cute little islands, losing points if they happen to get too close and get snagged by a huge rubber suction cup. They pay for the time, and this reduces costs elsewhere. Another brilliant idea, I'm sure you'll agree. I even have a product name - X Box. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
When we got to the ship at about 12:30, there was no "priority" embarkation -- we were lined up for customs outside the terminal .....loooong line up. Disembarkation was "unorganized" and again, there was no ... Read More
When we got to the ship at about 12:30, there was no "priority" embarkation -- we were lined up for customs outside the terminal .....loooong line up. Disembarkation was "unorganized" and again, there was no "priority" disembarkation. We have sailed on the Summit in 2004, and comparing to that, the food and service was not that great. In the buffet in the morning, not once this cruise did any one offer us coffee at our table -- eventhough it wasn't even busy some mornings. Noone was there to help with our trays either, but that's OK, we're quite capable of doing that ourselves. The coffee was not hot at all, but most days it was very strong -- I liked it, but my DH didn't. Good thing they had Taster's Choice packets, so I could make him a nice cup of coffee in the mornings. On the last couple of days, there was no more iced tea or pineapples! The buffet food was not that great...pizza totally sucked! It was soggy/limpy. The scrambled eggs at breakfast were absolutely horrible...runny and wet! In the MDR, we had Select Dining, and made reservations online before hand...reservations did not mean anything! You were sat at the table as you showed up...sometimes it was at least 1/2 hour wait. The waiters were a little confused, the head waiter doing the assistant waiter's job sometimes if he forgot to bring/do something. Half lobster and cheap cuts of meat and rubbery skin on the grilled chicken breast. Sometimes we had to wait quite a long time for things we had ordered. There was pork belly and Momma's pork chops on the formal night menus. I had ordered eggplant ratatouille on the last formal night, and so did a lot of ladies close to our table, and 5 minutes after ordering, I was told that they don't have this dish, and I could have a Portobello dish instead. Then when we had dessert and ordered our coffees (which were much better in the MDR than the buffet), we were told that they had run out of cream. The desserts were not very good like before...the pastry was dry/hard usually. Baked Alaskan was not flaming either for us. Our room steward was really good, no complaints there. Daily h'ordeures (sp?) were a nice treat, and the flowers and chocolates on the pillow in the evenings. There was the champagne on ice when we got there, which we ended up giving away to a nice couple we met on the ship, since we don't drink alcohol. We asked the steward if we can trade it in for something non-alcoholic, but were told that they've stopped doing that since too many people were asking for trades. On Decks 10 and 11, we saw plates and glasses and cups on the floors not picked up very quickly (some were there for a day!) The Thelasotherapy pool was ok, until I noticed how dirty it was! I blew bubbles with my mouth and noticed the "brown" film on top of the water. I came out "gagging" and never went back in there after that. That whole area was where all the older people were hanging out (which we had a lot on this ship), and the smell around that pool wasn't very "fresh". On Sea Days, there were no activities by the pool...no ice carvings, line dancing, good band.... Only a solo steel drummer/singer for a couple of hours in the afternoons...same guy every day! The shows in the theater were also "cheesy". Jugglers, comedians, violinist, High C's.... Only 2 half decent shows in total for 2 weeks! It was very loud -- bad speaker system?? On the last formal evening, they were "heavy duty cleaning" all the decks, starting at about 8 pm!! Deck 10 port side and Deck 4 port side -- big noisy machines with lots of water spraying everywhere -- remember, this is formal night, and we're dressed up in our bests! This was very wrong of them to do at that time! The last day, when I went to The Emporium (the shops), there was a watch sale!!! This started at 10 am, and there were lots of people standing around and waiting for them to take the tarp off so they can buy these watches that were valued at "up to $100" now going for $19. Some people started peaking before, and were told not to do that...meanwhile, they had lots more boxes under the tables too!! I got out of there before it started.....didn't want to get hurt. We had also booked a time with the "Future Cruise" so we could get our OBC for the next cruise...but only booked "open passage" since we weren't sure if we wanted to come back on this cruise (great itineary but not that great of a ship) or on a newer ship like the Eclipse (not that great itineary but at least it's a brand new ship). The person that saw us, was not very "enthused". He didn't say anything, only answered our questions as short as possible. We both felt like that about him. He just didn't want to be behind that desk. There were some really nice people on this ship, and that's what was really nice. Would we sail on Constellation again? Probably not... Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
First, let me say that overall the service was excellent-no complaints. Our room steward Dennis was probably the best we have ever had. And our waiter Nicola was excellent as well though his assistant was mediocre at best. The Concierge ... Read More
First, let me say that overall the service was excellent-no complaints. Our room steward Dennis was probably the best we have ever had. And our waiter Nicola was excellent as well though his assistant was mediocre at best. The Concierge and Guest Relations crew members were excellent and tried to help me when I asked why I did not receive a RCL Shareholder benefit as I had on previous cruises. I have now sold the RCL stock. The embarkation was horrible 2 1/2 hours for everyone regardless of loyalty level. The last time we left on a cruise from FTL it was the same, too many ships, too many people, and way too many hangups with computers etc. And debarkation was chaotic and poorly organized everyone standing in elevators and stairwells from deck 1 to deck 10. A poor start and a poor end tarnished may fond memories of the cruise. The entertainment and entertainers were very good. Perry Grant was great and the shows the crew put on were outstanding. The quartets and dance bands were very popular with the mostly older passengers onboard this cruise. The basic problem we had was that lots of the little things Celebrity did to become our favorite seem to have fallen down or disappeared. The Maitre'D sat us at an 8 top with a nice couple from Florida on their first cruise and another nice couple from England travelling around the world that we had nothing in common with. The food was always cold and overcooked, it seemed like the second service got leftovers from the first service that were reheated i.e. limp veggies, rock hard baked potatoes, well done steaks ordered rare. Our table ate from the left side of the menu at least half the time. There were very few steaks on menu except for tough the stringy sirloin and NY strip. What happened to the Filets, Chateaubriand and Prime Ribs. And No Lobster Tails except for the tiny Florida ones in the seafood melange on formal night? I guess you do have to pay extra now to get good meals, though we did go to the Tuscan one night and had a good filet mignon but the rest of the meal was not very good; so we cancelled all our future reservations at Ocean Liners and Bistro. Buffet was generally good although no one seems to carry trays or refresh drinks there anymore. It is a shame that food seems to have suffered so much more effort seems to be put into making it look pretty and artsy at the expense of taste and value. Though I do love escargot and onion soup and ice cream having it almost every dinner does take something away from it. We finally made Elite and will cruise with Celebrity again, having met many nice people and formed many pleasant memories, but it does seem that the Celebrity that we came to enjoy and look forward to is not there anymore. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
Check-in process: It was fast but staff was not really friendly. I have asked a general question and she said to go at the guests relations desk and turn her back to get rid of me. There was no one behind me waiting on the elite line for ... Read More
Check-in process: It was fast but staff was not really friendly. I have asked a general question and she said to go at the guests relations desk and turn her back to get rid of me. There was no one behind me waiting on the elite line for check-in. What a nice way to start a cruise. I have wait near (for at least 30 minutes) to see if she acts the same to other or it was just me. I finally realize that she did the same to another couple. I find it so rude for a big cruise line to serve customer (especially we are repeat cruisers and it was the first time it happens). Guest relations desks on the day at embarkation: Staff was friendly but are not able to answer any of our questions about excursions, credit on board etc... All I got as an answer was ``your travel agent should advised you `` and I can't see it. Finally, on my room stateroom TV, all the details appears and it was clear. I should not asked the questions. I would expect that staff could be a better help but he seems not wanting to answer. That was my second contact after the check-in. From there, I am not feeling comfortable at all asking any questions since I find there is no use anyway. I would expect just a little service from Celebrity cruise line (this was a big disappointment and for all my party also: we booked in total 4 rooms all bacony ). Stateroom staff: He was very friendly and helpful. He always had a smile. Therefore, we were 3 in our rooms but for the two first days, he only put 2 towels for us to shower. All these details attention, I would expect staff to have this information about guests... and he did not even notice until the 3rd day, I have to mention that we are 3 in the room and need more towels. Moreover, we always put a card in front of the room every morning to not disturb but our stateroom staff does not seem to understand not to bother us in the morning. He always knock when boat dock at around 08:00AM. We are on vacations and want to rest. This again, I have to tell staff on the third day (since I cannot handle beeing disturb at every morning) that if he is in a hurry in the morning, he can skip our room. He can come back at night only. It never happens to us before that so many incident on the same cruise. The fruit we received on our room were not as great also. An apple is not good to eat and I have to throw it on the garbage myself. I am wondering if it was fruit from the week before that was recycled to welcome us on our first day. I can go on with many more facts but it would be a long list. So everyone that are on celebrity cruise should be prepare for this. We were on conciege class so we expect a little bit service since we have to pay more gratuities for but it was not the case. Food/service on dining room and buffet: The only thing we are please with is the service we got from the dining room. That is why we tip them a lot since we appreciate the service. Our waiter and assistant waiter did a great job. The food was ok since it is salty on every plates. We have the impression to eat salt but this is ok since we manage to eat salade and entrees instead of main meal. There is no service at all at the buffet on the 3 first days and it was difficult to find a place to seat for breakfast without dirty plates pilling. After a few days, we got use to that. On board activities: Activities are minimum and it is not for all ages. The main activities are Bingo, cooking, some dance class and exercice class. It was not as fun as royal carribeen, holland america or carnival cruise lines but this is ok since we are at ports almost everyday. Entertainment at night: It was good and there is a variety. The specialty coffee, the gelato and all extra were very good. Overall, our party of 9 people were very disapointed by this cruise and all the service. We read a lot of good comments on cruise critics this is the reason why we booked for the cruise. I guess we were unlucky. I would not recommend the cruise for people who wants to have hun and who want kindness and helpful staffs. The price you pay is not worth it. You better book with Carnival or NCL or RCCL etc. which is cheaper but at least, you have service. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
Our second cruise with Celebrity began with a pre cruise 2 day stay in Barcelona using a Celebrity pre-cruise package which was at an average mid-town hotel (Gran Hotel Havanna - a Silken chain. Terribly over-priced ($300+/day), it was ... Read More
Our second cruise with Celebrity began with a pre cruise 2 day stay in Barcelona using a Celebrity pre-cruise package which was at an average mid-town hotel (Gran Hotel Havanna - a Silken chain. Terribly over-priced ($300+/day), it was clean, well-staffed, and included a substantial buffet breakfast. The room was small with no where to place two pieces of luggage except on a desk and side table. The rooftop pool was cold and the sauna could only be turned on by the front desk. A fitness center was available off-site for 15 euro/day!A transfer to the cruise ship was included. After sightseeing for two days, we embarked on the Constellation in a 400sq. ft. suite with a separate bedroom and floor to ceiling wall of windows ( partially obstructed by a service ladder-not mentioned in Celebrity's description of the suite). The amenities listed a DVD player ( missing and unable to be attached to the TV's)The TV's (42")were wall mounted. Also included in the suite was a sitting area, dining area, bath with shower/jacuzzi combo, dual sinks, refrigerator and ample closet and drawer space. A computer was also in the suite. Whether the free 90 minutes per person was included in suite or our membership in Captain's Club ( free after two cruises with Celebrity)made us elegible for the service was not clear. Also included with our suite was free soft drinks and well liquor which did not include beer??? Also included was admission and free beer, cocktails, and appetizers in Michael's Club from 4-6PM daily. All of these were great ammenities. Food was about average. The buffet breakfast and lunches were good in the Seaside Buffet but had a limited dinner. The San Marco dining room food ranged from poor to good. The ambiance and service were about average for cruises. It also had a relatively small menu. A specialty dining room Ocean Liner with an extra fee ( 1 free with our suite)was great!! I'd recommend the Venison and Lobster. For me, the speed and variety of a dinner buffet, beats the fanfare of the main dining room. I can't eat ambiance!! The two formal nights should also be eliminated. The ship had 3 pools - not long enough for lap swimmers- clean and heated with six jacuzzis. One was a therapy pool under a dome. The fitness center was adequate and staffed except 6 - 7 AM and 10 - 11PM. But,it was closed on the day of departure!! The Persian Garden - extra fee - has a Turkish bath, aroma steam room, and relaxation area which I used free with coupons included in our package, otherwise, the free sauna worked very well. The casino was average but failed to have any amenities for frequent gamblers. The entertainment was poor to average. Because of poor weather and the fact that we already were worn out on Italy from previous visits, we only used one Celebrity sponsored excursion to Pompeii out of Naples which was reasonably priced but had a poor English- speaking guide. Overall, the cruise was enjoyable but not memorable. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
BACKGROUND: We are a 40-something couple who like cruising and have done about eight cruises, most of Celebrity M-Class but have also done a couple of RCCL cruises. We've discovered that we like Suites and that it changes the way we ... Read More
BACKGROUND: We are a 40-something couple who like cruising and have done about eight cruises, most of Celebrity M-Class but have also done a couple of RCCL cruises. We've discovered that we like Suites and that it changes the way we cruise; it's good to have more space and to have a bath at sea. We decided to do a Western Med itinerary this time as it's only a couple of hours away for us UK-based people. TRAVEL TO PORT: Out Travel Agent organised flights from Leeds Bradford Airport to Barcelona on Jet2. The flight was fine (better than Easyjet and Ryanair but no frills). We arrived on time around 1pm and waited in a huge crowd at passport control (hey, it's Spain) but were out of the airport at about 2pm. We walked straight to a taxi to the port. Charge was about 36 Euro. EMBARKATION: Very straightforward. Luggage porters met our taxi and took our luggage, we entered the terminal building and into the non-existent line for suite check-in. After check-in we were directed to a desk where we were offered a complimentary meal at either Ocean Liners or Tuscan Grill - offer was for the first night only. We selected Ocean Liners and organised a 9pm reservation. We also purchased soda cards and went to board the ship. The welcome wasn't very pro-active and whilst we were met no-one actually offered to escort us to our stateroom. STATEROOM: We booked a Suite Guarantee and were allocated 6102, a Sky Suite next to the Celebrity Suite on the starboard side. This is marked on the website as having a smaller verandah which is semi-private. Both statements are technically true although if it is smaller it's by a very small amount; it's not like the triangular verandahs on decks 8 and 9 above it - there are two loungers out there and plenty of room. It IS semi-private in that the occupants of the Celebrity Suite next door can see onto the balcony from one of their windows. They cannot see into your stateroom but you can see into theirs so it was more of an issue for them than for us. The suite was very pleasant; unfortunately we had a number of issues. It was dusty everywhere (we wondered if it hadn't been used the previous cruise), there was a hair in the bath (ugh), glasses were dirty and the ventilation grill behind the door was on the floor; not a great start. I went down to Guest Relations and they sent an Asst Chief Housekeeper who agreed it was unacceptable and promised it would be put right and not recur. Our Stateroom Attendant (Erwan) looked a bit scared each time I encountered him after that. We experienced two butlers during the cruise - our original butler wasn't great; the dirty glasses were apparently his responsibility, as was more dust on the table. Also we returned to the stateroom on day 2 to discover a tissue in the middle of our bed; the butler left it apparently. We were offered a replacement butler and we allocated Richard, the Head Butler who was wonderful and we had no further butler-related issues. SHIP: The ship is in excellent condition after its refurbishment earlier this year. DINING: Our first food was in Bistro on 5 on the first afternoon. Excellent service and good food - the Dark Chocolate Mousse dessert is to die for. Our first night dinner in Ocean Liners was excellent. The service is a little 'theatrical' but the food was good and we enjoyed the meal. We dined in the MDR for most of the cruise. Food in the MDR was just OK, nothing particularly bad but nothing memorable either. We ate a couple of lunches in the Seaside Cafe; again it was OK; fish chips and mushy peas were good. We also ate in Tuscan Grill one night; again excellent service and food. For us we preferred Tuscan Grill t Ocean Liners. Room service food was OK, although we had one order with cold (not even tepid, cold) fries. ACTIVITIES: This was a port-intensive itinerary (5 ports in 7 days) so there wasn't a lot going on. There was a couple of trivias a day which we enjoyed and managed to win a couple of times. SERVICE: Overall it was inconsistent. Where it was good (Bistro on 5, Specialty Restaurants) it was very good. When it wasn't it could be non-existent (we waited for 15 minutes in Rendez-Vous one evening and no-one came near, let alone took our drinks order). In the MDR our waiter was OK but his assistant thought nothing of barging between people mid-conversation. Bar service in the MDR was also poor; I drink a lot of soda - normally it's not a problem - let the bar waiter no to keep one supplied. That worked for about half an hour then nothing. Meanwhile the sommelier was fawning over our tablemates who were buying wine...not good enough. We had a couple of issues in the MDR over the week; dirty water glasses on multiple occasions, incorrect drinks orders and at breakfast pieces of salmon and green pepper in corned beef hash; a good job I wasn't allergic. ENTERTAINMENT: 'Broadway-style' shows aren't our scene so I cannot comment on the production shows. Best entertainment was a Swedish Choir made up of guests - they were superb and got a standing ovation for their performance which included soloists and finished with a medley of Abba songs. DISEMBARKATION: Very smooth. We were asked to meet in Ocean Liners at 8.20am. We went there to be told all colours and been called and we could leave at our leisure. We walked off the ship, picked up our luggage and were directed to a transfer bus to the airport. Whole thing took about 10 minutes. SUMMARY We enjoyed this cruise but were concerned about Celebrity's attention to detail. We had a poor start but service did improve after I spoke with various levels of management on the ship. We enjoyed the ports and the specialty restaurants. The Sky Suite was a pleasant space to spend time. Would we cruise with Celebrity again? Probably... 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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