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Sail Date: November 2009
Just back from the 10 night sailing of the Constellation. We have sailed on over 18 cruises in the last 3 years, different cruise lines. We had high expectations of this ship as we had heard good things about it. The staff ... Read More
Just back from the 10 night sailing of the Constellation. We have sailed on over 18 cruises in the last 3 years, different cruise lines. We had high expectations of this ship as we had heard good things about it. The staff were very nice although a bit more formal than other ships. The food was excellent, especially the Sea Days Brunch. Loved the open spa area with the thalasotherapy pool. The spa food area was very limited in choice but the food available was excellent. We were disappointed with the Concierge class, the "upgraded" linens, towels etc. were no different than found on other cruise lines in regular staterooms. We did not find anything that was above and beyond and worth paying the extra for that we did. Our biggest disappointment though was that this ship is really showing her age, our room had the carpet replaced in just half of the room so we had half regular and half worn and faded carpet. The carpet on the balcony was worn with holes in it. Our friends stateroom's sofa had stains on it. Minor things but not what we expected. The demographics were definately of an older age group and the entertainment reflected this. I understand that the ship is going in for refurbishment, it should have went in a long time ago! It's tired and aging! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
Having previously enjoyed sailing on the Constellation in 2007,we were exited to return to a Ship and crew we just loved ..We are a couple in our early 50`s and LOVE to cruise.This was our 4th cruise on CELEBRITY and have previosly cruised ... Read More
Having previously enjoyed sailing on the Constellation in 2007,we were exited to return to a Ship and crew we just loved ..We are a couple in our early 50`s and LOVE to cruise.This was our 4th cruise on CELEBRITY and have previosly cruised with RCCL,Princess, and HAL. The Cruise Line failed to deliver our invitation to the Cruise Critic get together,so we missed this one (first time in 12 cruises). EMBARKATION: Cape Liberty-A little unorganized but once shuttle and loading began,things began to smoothen out.Was greeted with a glass of Champaigne but was not escorted anywhere but instructed to proceed to the Buffet.. Inside cabin was roomy and very clean.We met our cabin steward but hardly saw him the whole 13 days.He kept our room clean and tidy and we had no wants for anything as he resupplied articles as needed.. The Buffet was a little disappointing as there were several items served almost daily and the choices were minimal.Waffle and Omlette stations were Great.Staff did not assist many of the passengers who needed assist with trays and only 1 time was I offered a refill on my morning coffee in the 13 days..This was a BIG change from 2 yrs. previous.A big PLUS was the ICE CREAM bar with candy..Outdoor grill was very good and always seemed to be busy.Pizza station needs to offer better selection.There are meats other than Pepperoni.Sushi bar was good. The Dining Room food was fair at best (entree usually served warm at best)and most steak cuts were poor and some were actually Pot Roast.Heard several complaints about the Lobster,mine was OK..The waiter and assistant waiter were good and took care of most our needs.This is an area that needs to be improved upon.. Entertainment: This was probably the worse entertainment of any cruise we have been on,many being the same production shows we saw 2 yrs ago.Fair comedian.The movies very dated and not recent movies like the competition shows.The String Quartet and The Celebrity Band were both EXCELLENT. The Captains Party for returning cruisers was the BEST we have attended.4-5 types of food bars were set up and served several returning cruisers. Ports of call were excellent choices with the overnight in Quebec City being simply FANTASTIC. The ship overall is showing some signs of wear and we noticed SEVERAL weak spots in the floor and actually saw a gentleman fall due to these soft spots in the hallways. Staff was attentive but seemed reserved compared to our previous sailing.May have to do with the TIP prices being raised and NO LONGER able to auto adjust tips $$ down for poorer services rendered.You can still auto adjust $$ UP,just not lower the tips.We still enjoyed the staff and most worked very hard.. DISEMBARK: A mess..Hardly any Celebrity personel present to keep walkways and doorways unblocked or to assist with disabled. (Yes,there are ALWAYS those select few who cannot follow protocal and screws everything up by blocking the traffic walkways).We hired a car in advance to pick us up and we were at the airport in no time waiting to fly home. I am sure we will sail with Celebrity again in the future but they are slowly falling behind their competitors in SEVERAL areas.They need to take lessons from RCCL,which seem to have their Line in order.. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2009
Celebrity Constellation and Seven New England and Atlantic Canadian Ports Celebrity Constellation October 16 - October 30, 2009 New England and Atlantic Canada Executive Summary We visited Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, ... Read More
Celebrity Constellation and Seven New England and Atlantic Canadian Ports Celebrity Constellation October 16 - October 30, 2009 New England and Atlantic Canada Executive Summary We visited Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Quebec City, Quebec; Charlottetown, P.E.I.; Sydney, Nova Scotia; and Saint John, New Brunswick aboard Celebrity's Constellation. While the weather was not as nice as we had hoped, we were still very active at each port exploring the area and enjoying the local seafood. We were impressed with the ship and crew of Celebrity Constellation, and would like to return to these ports when the weather is nicer. Part I - Precruise A. Inception We chose Celebrity due to our prior experience. We chose Constellation because we have enjoyed all of Celebrity's ships and had not been on this ship yet. B. Cruise Critic Cruisecritic.com was once again very helpful in securing key information for all of our ports of call and getting to know some of our fellow travelers before the cruise. C. Choice of Route This was our first time cruising the North Atlantic seaboard, which allowed us to travel to 7 ports we had not cruised to before. We were hoping to see some pretty countryside and colorful trees on this late Autumn cruise. D. Choice of cabin We booked this cruise online less than 60 days before the cruise. We chose an inside guarantee, meaning we did not have a say in the actual cabin choice. In return we paid a lesser fare. We were assigned a Category 11 cabin on the Continental Deck --- lowest passenger deck. All of the inside cabins have 170 square feet of space. Our cabin (#2028) was reasonably spacious. E. Price We paid about $1150 per person ($82/day/person) including port fees and taxes (but not including airfare, tips and incidentals) for this 14 day cruise. Note: I only include price information because it was requested by fellow travelers following my previous reviews. Note: Celebrity Cruises makes it very clear now that they reserve the right "to impose a fuel supplement of up to $10 per guest per day on all guests if the price of West Texas Intermediate fuel exceeds $65.00 per barrel". Although it hovered over $70 in the two months before the cruise, we were not assessed this charge that could have cost us $280. F. Passports We brought our passports which we got several years ago. Hint: AAA members can get really good passport pictures for free at AAA offices. G. Insurance I insured the trip through Travelex, opting for their TraveLite product, which I concluded was a good choice due to: relative cost comparisons, ease of access and booking, good disclosures, excellent coverage for what I needed, and especially because their insurance is "primary", meaning that I do not have to involve any other insurance in the claims process. I had no interest in proprietary insurance offered by a travel agency or cruise companies because if either goes under your insurance is worthless and defeats the purpose. We bought the insurance within 14 days of our booking to assure there would be no questions about "existing medical conditions", although I am not aware we have any. Thankfully we never had a need for the insurance. H. Prebooking Excursions All of our port excursions were done privately, except one (and that one was not prebooked). We typically do not book any excursions with the ship. We find that the ship's excursions are pricey and crowded. We also find that well-researched private excursions let you see more and go more places. Our primary source of research is the Port of Call boards at CruiseCritic.com. I. Packing Packing hints came from this board. We packed for 3 Formal nights (suit and tie / fine dinner dress), and 11 Smart Casual nights (polo's and Dockers plus dress shirts and a dinner jacket, blouses and skirts), in addition to enough clothing to cover us for 14 days. Among the most helpful "extra items" we packed were battery powered alarm clock, shoe rack (we hang it on the wall and use it to hold all of our other items), rounded scissors, bottled water, cards, a digital camera, binoculars, highlighters, collapsible dirty clothes bag, insulated travel mugs, multiple outlet, and an 9-inch clip-on fan to keep air moving in the cabin. We also made fourteen 8x10 posters for our cabin door (one for each day, "If this is Sunday, it must be Boston!" and the like) and mentioning Cruise Critic in hopes that someone else on the boards would notice and strike up a conversation. (It worked!) The cabin doors are metal. We held up our signs with little magnets. Part II - Embarkation A. Cape Liberty in Newark, NJ Normally, we like to fly in one day early. While it adds some additional expense for hotel and meals, it does wonders for your stress level. This trip we opted to take the first direct flight out in the morning, leaving lots of time for any delays --- and indeed we were delayed about 2 hours. Upon arrival in Newark at 10:45am, we picked up our bags which were already waiting for us at baggage claim. This was impressive as it only took us 10 minutes to walk to the baggage claim from our gate. After collecting our bags we called Black Car Transportation to take us to the pier. We had made reservations about two weeks before our trip via their website BlackExecutiveCars.com (1-866-374-8530). Recommended! At the time of our trip, rates from Newark Airport to Cape Liberty Pier were as follows: 2 passengers = $45, 4 passengers = $50, 6 passengers = $60, and 8 passengers = $65. I didn't ask about 10 passengers, but they can carry up to ten in their van. Unlike a taxi, this included all bridges and tolls, and it was a little less expensive and more convenient that the bus transfers ($55 pp roundtrip) available through the cruise line. We were picked up in front of baggage claim within 5 minutes by Black Car Transportation and were at the port 30 minutes later. We arrived at the pier about 11:30am. We tipped the driver $5 and the baggage handlers $5 for 4 bags and proceeded into the building. B. Security Processing and Boarding We were in the terminal by 11:50am. Security was very quick and check-in went relatively smoothly. It helped that we completed all of our documentation online before we left home. We had our pictures taken twice: once for a debarkation souvenir opportunity and once to imprint our mugs electronically on our Sea Pass cruise cards for use on the ship and when leaving and returning to the ship. There is a large waiting area with chairs and tables. Elite members were allowed to board at 11:50am. All other passengers had to wait until their number (which was given to you upon arrival) was called. They started calling numbers at noon. When our number was called at 12:15pm we proceeded to a bus which took us to the ship where we walked across a ramp and boarded on Deck 1. We boarded Constellation and were greeted with a choice of champagne or orange juice. Rooms were ready so we went to our cabin first to drop off our carry-on baggage. The whole process from arrival at the pier to arrival in our cabin was just less than an hour. C. Explore The Cabin We were in cabin 2028, an interior category 11 cabin with 170 square feet. We were located near the forward stairwell in the center of the ship, on the Continental Deck - 2. Our interior cabin on this deck was accessed from the Starboard hallway. The cabin was extremely well laid out. Lots of drawers and enough room in the closets for our clothes. The bathroom has lots of room, storage, and a shower. There is a large mirror covering the entire far wall which helps create the illusion of extra spaciousness. Our cabin also had a desk and loveseat-sized couch/hide-a-bed. Hangers and robes were provided. Hint: you can secure additional wire hangers from your cabin attendant. The desk featured a number of informational brochures including Friday's event newsletter "Celebrity Today". Being Cruise Critic members, we received an invite to the following day's gathering. Our stateroom attendant did a wonderful job throughout our cruise. Of note, we found the inside cabins really easy to sleep in. Since there is no window, the room stays dark --- making it really easy to sleep late or take a nap any time of day. D. Tour of Ship and Search For Food We found sustenance in the Seaside Cafe on the Resort Deck - 10 for a buffet lunch. Hint: locate the Seaside Grill near the Riviera Pool for a grilled hamburger, or other daily special. While everyone else is in line at the buffet, you could be enjoying a great sandwich with no lines (the first day). The grill will get discovered by day two. There are two buffet lines on deck 10 with lots of hot meal and salad choices. Work your way aft and your find a pasta station, a pizza station, and a sandwich station. In the afternoon there is also an ice cream station (all ice cream is made on board). In the morning you'll find omelette stations, a poached egg station (get your poached eggs prepared 7 different ways) and a waffle and pancake station. At night, there is a sushi bar. Going forward on this deck, you'll find the Aqua Spa Cafe which features healthy meals at breakfast and lunch. There is no extra charge for any of the food on this deck. The ship is well laid out with ample sets of stairwells and elevators. We spent 2 hours exploring the ship. The Celebrity Theater on Constellation was the grandest entertainment venue we have ever seen. The seating spans three decks with excellent views from almost all of the seats. (The far seating on the left and right sides of the upper level have minor obstructions). E. Lifeboat Drill About 30 minutes prior to leaving port, we participated in the mandatory lifeboat drill. If you've never been through this drill, a loudspeaker announcement is made for all guests to report to your assigned muster station (as directed by the sign on the back of your cabin door). After waiting for all passengers to arrive, you are directed on the proper use of the vest, and then directed to your assigned lifeboats for additional instructions. You do not actually board the life boats. Interestingly, we did not have to actually wear the life jackets during this drill, which is a new policy welcomed by all. Your Sea Pass card now has your muster station printed on it and life jackets will now be available on the life boats. (Formerly, your muster station was printed on your life jacket). A final announcement will dismiss all passengers. The drill went smoothly and lasted about 20 minutes. F. Cruise Critic Sailaway Following the lifeboat drill, we donned our Mardi Gras beads and headed to the Bar at the Edge of the Earth on Deck 11 (Forward) to meet folks I had been talking to on the Cruise Critic message boards. The beaded necklaces were intended to help us spot one another. G. Dinner - 6:00pm First Seating We requested a large table as we enjoy meeting other passengers and sharing experiences. We were seated at a rectangular table for 10 in the upper level (Entertainment Deck - 5) of the San Marco Restaurant. Our server, assistant, and Maitre'd did a very good job throughout our cruise. Part III - Food! Celebrity has a good reputation for their cuisine. The meals generally met our expectations. There was good variety. Nice presentations at lunch and dinner. Our Maitre'd was very friendly and helpful. He sincerely wanted to make sure we let him know if there were any problems or special requests. Our table mates twice requested items never seen on the menu and the Maitre'd had them delivered to our table the following night. Meats were cooked to order. Yes, you could even order "medium rare". A. Always Available Each night we had a new menu of items we could select for dinner which included 4 appetizers, 3 soups, 2 salads, and 6 main entrees. The following items were available every night (even if they do not appear on the menu): shrimp cocktail, escargot, antipasto platter, French onion soup, lobster bisque, Caprese salad, Caesar salad, chicken breast, broiled salmon, NY Strip steak, apple pie, creme brule and NY cheesecake. Always available side dishes include baked potato, mashed potato, rice pilaf and an assortment of vegetables. B. The Best Breakfast Items Mixed berries, fresh fruits, Belgian waffles, smoked salmon, eggs benedict, pecan sticky buns, omelettes, banger sausages, and poached eggs. There is also a heavy brunch with lots of food stations in the San Marco Restaurant (Deck 4) on a couple of the sea days. Don't miss it! C. The Best Lunch Items The pizza, sandwich and salad bars in the Seaside Grill, fresh fruit from the Spa Cafe (Deck 10 - Forward/Amidships). D. The Best Appetizer All appetizers were well presented and among the best menu selections. We especially liked the lobster ravioli, escargot, shrimp cocktail, all of the items prepared with goat cheese, and the roasted vegetable crostini. On many days the selection was so appealing that we ordered 2 different appetizers to enjoy. E. The Best Soups If there was one area that did not live up to expectations, it was the soup. This is traditionally a strong suit. However we found the soups generally weak (stretched too thin with broth). The Hungarian Goulash, French Onion soup, Butternut Squash soup, and Wild Mushroom Bisque were outstanding. F. The Best EntrEes All of the Lamb and Veal dishes, Halibut, Grouper, and Orange Roughy, and some of the steak offerings (Prime Rib, braised beef items, and the Tenderloins were all better than the NY Strip steak). G. The Best Desserts Fresh made ice creams (also available noon to 6:00pm in the Seaside Cafe), crème Brule, cherries jubilee, all cheesecakes, bananas Foster, apple pie, the chocolate cake served for birthdays, and baked Alaska on parade. The best ice creams included: cinnamon, blueberry, strawberry, butter pecan, peanut butter, pistachio, and the mango sherbet. H. Room Service You can order room service from a limited menu via your television. We didn't order anything from room service. I. Midnight Buffets There was one late night (11:30pm) buffet served at The Bar at the Edge of the Earth on Deck 11. We did not attend as we were too tired. J. Sushi Bar and Stir Fry Beautifully prepared (very fresh and chilled) sushi, and made to order stir fry, was available most nights from 5:30pm to 9:30pm in the Seaside Grill (located Aft on Deck 10) which they decorated with a Japanese restaurant theme. It is a winner. An opening time of 5:30pm better accommodates passengers with the Main Seating for Dinner. K. Cova Cafe Hint: Locate this early in your voyage. The Cova Cafe is located amidships on Deck 5. They are open 2 to 3 times a day. Croissants and danish from 8:30am to 10:30am most mornings, and in the afternoons (3:00pm to 5:00pm) they serve cookies and pastries. Some nights they serve tapas (traditional Spanish bites) from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. They offer fancy coffees and wines for sale. There is no additional charge for the food items. This is also one of the places you can pick up a "soda sticker". At a cost of $5.00/day (plus 15% gratuity) they will place a sticker on your sea card which entitles you to unlimited fountain sodas anywhere on the ship. A minor item: the foot long cinnamon twists found on some Celebrity ships was missing from the Cova Cafe on this voyage. (Bummer). L. Aqua Spa Cafe Hint: Locate this early in your voyage. Hidden forward/amidship in the Aqua Spa on Deck 10, they offer healthier offerings at breakfast and lunch. Be sure to stop by for a plate of fresh vegetables, tropical fruits, fruit muffins, and fruit tarts. M. Pizza, Pasta, and Salad There is a dedicated Pizza Bar and a dedicated Pasta Bar on the starboard side of the Seaside Cafe. Both are open noon to 11:00pm. The pizza bar features a daily special and over a dozen toppings if you wish to create your own which they will bake fresh for you. The pizza is quite good. The pasta bar features several sauces, mix-ins, and noodle selections. The salad bar (located on the port and starboard buffet lines is also open noon to 11:00pm. N. Ocean Liners - Constellation's Specialty Restaurant We enjoyed a meal in Ocean Liners one night to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary. This is really the only food on the ship for which there is an extra charge. The cover charge is $30 per person. For this, you are swept back in time to dine in the style of the transatlantic cruise ships of the mid-twentieth century. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Service is very high end --- as is the food. What you are paying for is a special dining experience that you won't soon forget. We enjoyed a delicious goat cheese souffle appetizer, lobster bisque, tenderloin filet (which my wife says was the best she has ever eaten), lobster tail, and for dessert we enjoyed a dark chocolate souffle. My wife also enjoyed an Aspen Coffee with dessert. Your bread plate and water glass never go empty. We were not bothered with picture taking opportunities, flowers, or given a hard sell on wine (although we did each order a house Merlot to enjoy with the meal). It was a very pleasant 2-hour dinning experience in a very fancy venue with great food and outstanding service. O. The Captain's Table We did not receive an invite to join the Captain for dinner. This is generally reserved for the more experienced cruisers. Although we now have 11 cruises behind us, we were but infants on this ship filled with longtime cruisers. We find that the longer itineraries and those that cruise while school is in session tend to bring out the elder and more experienced travelers. Part IV - Entertainment A. Movies Two movies are shown each day. These are relatively recent DVD releases. Most of the movies were shown in the Cinema on Plaza Deck 3. One movie was shown in the Celebrity Theater. Of interest, popcorn is not served. A batch of fresh popcorn would be a nice touch. B. Shows The Celebrity Theater spans 3 decks and is just beautiful. Seating is very comfortable and sight lines are very good. We have not seen a better theater in any of our prior voyages, although the Millenium's theater is comparable. The Celebrity Singers and Dancers performed three shows. We enjoyed the Spotlight Broadway and Celebrate the World productions best. Guest entertainers included comedian Fred Klett, ventriloquist Mark Merchant, singer Lelani Marrell, and energetic concert pianist Antonio Salci. We thought the most impressive show was the Aerialists/Adage Duo "Alex and Sally" who performed absolutely beautiful dance and aerial feats. C. Casino The Fortunes Casino on (Promenade Deck - 4) is filled with slot machines, one craps table, a roulette table, and a few poker and blackjack tables, and an electronic Texas Hold'em table. The casino was open while at sea. Closed while in ports. The casino is no longer a smoke-filled venue as Celebrity has prohibited smoking here. The upside is that I no longer avoided the casino. The downside is that I left some money on the craps table. D. Spa It is located Forward on the Resort Deck-10. We did not use the spa on this trip. E. Outdoor Pools and Hot tubs. The Seaside Pool saw little action on this chilly cruise, while the indoor hot tubs were reasonably active. F. Celebrity Orchestra and Other Ship Bands This ship has more talent than any other Celebrity ship we have sailed. The Celebrity Orchestra, Eugene Villarino (guitarist), Paradise String Quartet (classical strings), Sipra (the party band) were all very good. Our favorite group was an a cappella quintet called The Voice Males that primarily performed in The Bar at the Edge of the Earth on Deck 11. There were less that a dozen passengers in attendance on their first night, but as word spread their audience grew nightly to the point that they filled the room during the second week. Perry Grant, a flamboyant cabaret piano entertainer, performed nightly to standing room only crowds in Michael's Club on Deck 4. While he does engage his audience and has quite a following, it was not a show that we enjoyed. G. In-room TV There were several closed-circuit ship channels and sporadic satellite stations (namely ESPN, CNN, TNT, Discovery, a movie channel, and CBS "Eye on Celebrity") available on the TV in the cabin. You can also order room service and check your current account on the TV as well. Apparently Celebrity subscribes to a satellite service that works well in the Caribbean but not in northern latitudes. This was really disappointing as we had NO access to NFL football games or the Major League Baseball playoffs. H. Room Service You can order from morning to late night. We didn't order anything from room service. We have used room service on prior cruises. They don't just drop the order off at your door --- they come in and set it up for you. Be sure to tip! I. Sporting Events Big sporting events like NFL football games and the MLB Playoff Series were NOT available for viewing due to Celebrity's contract with a programming provider that has very poor satellite coverage. More often than not, we had 3 blacked out channels. ESPN was generally not available for any extended period of time. J. Activities There is no lack of things to do: movies, bingo, 4 trivia contests throughout the day, ping pong, darts, musical entertainment, shows, historical enrichment talks (which were all very interesting), culinary demonstrations, seminars, workshops, casino tournaments, cards, Mah Jong, and dancing to name a few. The activities staff was outstanding. The Activities Manager, Alejandro Tortorelli, is hilarious! His 5-minute taped daily activity briefings with another member of his 4-person staff on the closed circuit tv channel are laugh-out-loud gems not to be missed. Part V - Parties and Tours A. Cruise Critic Connections Party We signed up for the Cruise Critic party on the Celebrity web site. We received an email confirmation that a party would take place. An invitation to the party, set for 10:00am on Saturday (our first day at sea) in Michael's Club greeted us in our cabin upon arrival. At the appointed time we arrived at Michael's Club. In total, about 75 folks attended. A Cruise Critic member, who goes by the screen name "Grandma Rainbow", distributed really nice name tags that she had made for all the members who signed up. We had a great (albeit limited) time meeting and greeting other cruise critics. Light refreshments were provided. The Cruise Director, Joshua Riffe, and numerous officers including Captain Dimitris Manetas made an appearance. While I do think that Josh was one of the best Cruise Directors we have seen, we felt he monopolized the meeting (intentionally or unintentionally). He did a lot of good "Q and A", but left us with almost no time to ourselves to mingle. A picture opportunity emptied the room of most members. About 30 folks participated in a gift exchange that was well received. Coffee service was cut off early. It should have been made available for the duration of the meeting. B. Captain's Club Parties There is a party of some sort happening daily. These included a party for all Captain's Club Members which included a great ensemble performance by representatives of all the ship's entertainment, a party of Elite and Select Captain's Club Members, a Captain's Club Elegant Tea, a party celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, and others. We did not make all of the parties. The Captain's Club events were well attended and top notch. C. Captain's Club Wine Blending Seminar This is a really cool event which took place in the Ocean Liners Restaurant. The sommelier walks you through the finer points of wine tasting, then, with the help of six Kendall-Jackson white wines allows you to craft different blended wines. D. Cruise Critic Bridge Tour All of the Cruise Critic members that registered for the Cruise Critic Connections party, received an invite to tour the Bridge. This was the first time we've seen the Bridge. An officer explained the finer workings of the navigation controls and propulsion system and answered questions. This was a really neat experience. E. Captains Club Backstage Tour at the Celebrity Theater Due to a scheduling conflict, we were unable to attend this tour that takes you behind the scenes of the Celebrity Theater to view the dressing rooms, props and other backstage areas. It is surprising how much the talent can do with so little room at their disposal. Part VI - Health Concerns A. Smoking There was no smoking in the restaurants, show lounge, Michael's Club, library, casino, card room, hallways, elevators, inside any stateroom or on any stateroom veranda. "Cigarette smoking is permitted in designated indoor and outdoor areas of the ship, while cigar and pipe smoking will only be permitted in designated outdoor areas". Generally, smoking was permitted on the port side of The Bar at the Edge of the World, and outdoors on the port side. The air circulation in The Bar at the Edge of the World was generally poor. All it took was for one or two folks to light up and the air quickly became less than hospitable. A lot of passengers were upset about the smoking but there was nothing that could be done about it. This was unfortunate since a lot of functions (like trivia, dancing, and entertainment) occur in this wonderful venue. They had every right to smoke in The Bar at the Edge of the World, and unfortunately a few did. We did not observe anyone abusing the smoking privilege on the ship. B. Pools and Hot Tubs Only the indoor hot tubs and thalassotherapy pool were generally used. No problems were reported. C. General Cleanliness of the Ship In a word: impeccable. You could not take a stroll without witnessing some type of cleaning going on at all hours. The ship was constantly being cleaned: floors, walls, fixtures, everything! We did not witness any torn carpets or peeling paint. Constellation is really in good shape. D. Viruses To the best of our knowledge, there was no outbreak on our ship. Kudos to our fellow passengers and Celebrity personnel for their personal diligence. E. Seasickness We had rough seas on the first couple of days and especially rough seas on our last sea day. A few passengers had a problem with sea sickness. I alternated a patch behind my ears for the duration of the voyage. Despite that, I still had some queasiness on the rough days and walked like a drunk down the hallways as the ship pitched. My wife had no problems at all. Part VII - Ship Notes A. Ship's Crew We were very impressed with the ship and crew. Very friendly and competent. B. Our Stateroom Attendant He was very attentive. Kept the beds made and bathroom clean. Upon arrival we requested 36 wire hangers, and an a egg crate foam mattress pad for the bed. Both were handled promptly. We were asked on numerous occasions throughout the cruise if everything was okay and if we needed anything. (We didn't). C. The Shops Merchandise did not rotate very much. There was something on sale each day. The booze prices on the ship were generally attractive. There is a lot of space dedicated to shops on this ship. Most are very high end. D. Internet Service There is a good number of computers with internet access available on the ship. Due to the new Elite member benefit of 90 minutes of free interest access, the computers got a lot more access than we've seen on previous cruises. This benefit was well received. E. Kids Given that school is in session I don't think we saw more than 6 passengers under the age of 18 on this voyage. F. Dress Code About 15% of men in the Main Seating wore a tux on Formal nights. Most wore coat and tie. Did not see any major violation of the dress code in the dining room. G. Customs We went through customs in Newark upon our return. Basically just left the ship, picked up our baggage and spoke to a customs officer with no waiting. This was very fast. Part VIII - The Ports A. Boston, Massachusetts 8:00am to 6:00pm. We berthed at the Black Falcon Terminal in Boston. It not near anything. Taxi's are available. We booked online with the Old Towne Trolley Tour which has a special stop at pier (16A) when ships are in port. Adult tickets are $36 (or $32.50 online). This is the same tour company that runs the ship excursion except that excursion is a separate non-stop tour of the city. The guests taking that tour will be picked up at the cruise ship terminal. We booked their standard tour of the city which includes a free pass to the Old State House Museum as well as hop-on hop-off privileges throughout the day. They are suppose to pickup passengers at 16A about every 20 minutes throughout the day from 9am-5pm. We had especially bad weather in Boston. It was cold, windy, and raining (which eventually turned to snow). After 4 couples were left waiting awhile at 16A we called Old Towne Trolley and was informed they were not picking up at 16A that day. They directed us to another stop. This was not a good start. Once we did board the drivers were friendly and informative. Unfortunately, we couldn't see much as the rain and dark skies made viability difficult outside the trolley and the plastic window that kept the rain out of the trolley fogged up on the inside. Advice: I've taken this tour on a nice day and it's a good value. Skip this tour when the weather is bad. Directions to stop 16A: When you disembark you will go into the terminal and walk out Gate B. Turn left and follow the path until you exit the gated lot. Cross Black Falcon Avenue, follow a sidewalk running between a parking lot and a building and then cross Drydock Avenue. You should see a Dunkin Donuts directly in front of you. For reference, it's part of the Harbor Place Building. Turn left, cross Harbor Street, and go to the bus stop labeled "Drydock Avenue". This is stop 16A. They pick you up at that bus stop. It is a 5-8 minute walk. Note: Anyone can get on at this stop, whether you have a ticket or not, and everyone has to get off at stop #1. At stop #1, if you have an e-ticket, you will have to get it stamped for use as a regular ticket (for reboarding at stops); and if you don't have a ticket yet you can buy tickets at stop #1. If they aren't picking up at stop 16A, then keep walking past this bus stop to Summer Street. Turn right, cross the street, and walk about 3 blocks up Summer Street to the Westin. There is a bus stop right there on Summer Street (at the bottom of a bunch of marble steps leading up to the Westin) where the Trolley will pick you up. Officially this is their stop #16. After the extensive 90-minute tour that pointed out over 50 points of interest, we were dropped back off at stop #1 locatd outside the Boston Marriott Long Wharf. We ate lunch at Tia's, which is just around the corner (attached to the outside of the Marriott). It's a great spot for lunch, dinner, and drinks. We each enjoyed their lobster dinner special: two lobsters plus fries and cole slaw for $24.95 (or 1 for $12.95). This was the best steamed lobster we ate on this trip. It was so good, in fact, that we ate 7 lobsters for lunch, and loved every bit of it! After lunch we walked around the shops near Faneuil Hall and took in a free lecture within the Hall itself. After a while we caught the trolley back to the ship. This time they took us all the way to the terminal, which was nice. B. Portland, Maine 7:00am - 3:00pm. We berthed at Portland Ocean Gateway Terminal at 50 Commercial Street (near Franklin). It is an easy walk to town. We considered a narrated tour from Portland Discovery Tours (formerly Mainely Tours). They run a Land Tour and a Sea Tour. Cost is $18 pp or $33 pp for Land and Sea. Each runs 90 minutes. We opted instead for Portland's $5 "Peak At Portland Metro Bus", Route 8A Metro, with hop-on and hop-off privileges. The METRO typically provides "Peek at Portland" bus service to larger cruise ships with 1000 or more passengers. Self-guided tour maps can be found at the Greater Portland Landmarks site. The town's $5 Metro bus is a narrated route that runs through most of town. It goes past several landmarks and has stops close to the Shipyard Brewery, L.L. Bean Outlet Store, and the Museum of Art. We bought tickets at a booth inside the protected pier area. At a welcome booth we were handed a "Maine Passport" which is a coupon book with discounts at many of the stores in the downtown region (including LL Bean's factory outlet). If you dock at the Visitor's Center, come out and turn left. You'll find a ticket booth and Metro stop about a block away. We took the Metro bus and got off at the L.L. Bean Outlet at 9:00am. This was a good sized store packed with clothing. (However I understand it pales in comparison to their flagship store in Freeport). We bought two "Mad Bomber" winter hats lined with rabbit fur. This turned out to be one of our best purchases on the cruise as there were very comfortable, kept us warm, and generated numerous complements at every port. We walked around town, which has lots of historic buildings scattered about, and then headed for The Portland Museum of Art (a AAA Gem) which opens at 10:00 --- but it was closed. It closes on Mondays after Columbus Day. So we hopped back on the Metro bus and got off close to the Shipyard Brewery for a tour. Tours are free and run on the hour starting at 11:00am. They also have an extensive gift shop. The tour consists of a 10-minute movie, a visit to the bottling floor, and finishes with a tasting of all of their beers and a couple of sodas. Their Eli's brand Root Beer, made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup, was really good. We bought a 4-pack to enjoy on the ship. The Maine Bear Cafe in town serves Eli's Root Beer on tap for under $2. We enjoyed a bowl of clam chowder and a lobster roll for lunch at Gilbert's Chowder House. I recommend the clam chowder. The lobster roll, while fresh and good, was dry. We prefer our lobster rolls moistened with mayonnaise and bits of celery and onion. Following lunch, we visited the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum. It's interesting for about 10 minutes unless you are a real enthusiast. It's worth the $2 price of admission. Ship Hint: be sure to be on the starboard side of the ship as you leave Portland. You will go right by Portland Head Light which is the oldest and among the most photographed lighthouses in the world. C. Halifax, Nova Scotia 10:00am - 6:00pm. We berthed at Pier 20which is the closest pier to town. It is easily walkable. Halifax offers a local FRED (Free Rides Everywhere Downtown) bus that runs from 10:30am - 5:00pm. It stops at the Cruise Ship Pavilion/Pier 21 on the :30/:10/:50 and at the Top of the Halifax Citadel on the :48/:28/:08. Frankly, we never saw the bus. It's easy to walk around town but it is a tough 30-minute walk up to the Citadel as it is mostly uphill all the way. We did it, as did many others, so don't let the hill dissuade you. Once inside the Citadel ($7.25 pp, AAA Gem) there were a number of very interesting demonstrations by members of the 78th Highlanders regiment in period uniforms. They discussed each piece of the uniform, fired weapons, and demonstrated cannon movement. A 50-minute movie on the history of Halifax was also worthwhile, as were the museum displays. You'll enjoy panoramic views from the top of the fort as well. Walking down from the Citadel was easy. We lunched at McKelvies (located directly across the street from the Maritime Museum). McKelvies is where you want to go to enjoy tender, buttery, melt in your mouth, Digby scallops, and lobster rolls (properly moistened with a little mayonnaise, and bits of celery and onion). It all goes down good with a Garrison Irish Red draft beer. This is where we enjoyed the best Digby scallops and lobster rolls on this cruise. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic ($8.50 pp, AAA Gem) has numerous ship related exhibits including the Titanic, sunken treasure, lighthouses, ship models, and other maritime artifacts. A short movie on the 1917 explosion in Halifax Harbour (the world's largest man-made explosion before Hiroshima) was very interesting. Hint: A short 10-minute walk from the ship is an Atlantic Super Store (grocery). Take a left on Terminal and a quick left on Hollis. You can't miss it. Good opportunity to pick up a 12-pack of your favorite soda (made with sugar instead of corn syrup), or other sundry items you may have forgotten to pack. D. Quebec City, Quebec 10:00am - Overnighter - 4:00pm. We berthed at the Quebec City Wharf #93 which is on the edge of Old Quebec. Easily walkable. Grab a seat in The Bar at the Edge of the Earth on Deck 11 to view the impressive approach to the city via the Saint-Laurent Seaway, berthing just below the imposing fortification defenses and Chateau Frontenac. We arrived about 11:00 am to 20-30 mph winds, rain, sleet, heavy snow and a 33-degree high. It was downright miserable, so we wasted no time and went for a walk, thankful for our rabbit-lined mad bomber hats we purchased at the L.L. Bean Outlet in Portland, Maine. We had originally intended to visit Montmorency Falls but saved it for our second day in hopes that the wether might improve. Quebec City's population speaks French. All the signage is also in French. We strolled the many shops in the lower city, with friendly greetings of "bonjour" upon entry at each, as we worked our way up to Chateau Frontenac --- a very impressive hotel and landmark that was built in the late 19th Century. It turned out to be our respite from the sandblasting sleet and cold. Once we warmed up we headed out for a tour of the Citadel. The Citadel (a AAA Gem) was built from 1820 to 1850 and contains over 25 buildings. It is a huge fortification and home to the governor-general. Since it is still an active military facility (the largest fortification in North America garrisoned by regular troops), guided tours are mandatory. We slogged our way through two inches of accumulated snow and heavy winds to the entrance where there is a small museum display. Continuing into the Citadel, we made our way to the tour office where we were greeted by a guide. We signed up for a tour ($10 pp), which turned out to be a private tour since apparently no one else was crazy enough to show up in this weather. The tour lasted about 75 minutes and included time in two museums on the site. The museums included dioramas, weapons, and artifacts on the many wars that occurred here and those overseas in which Canadians fought. Exiting the Citadel, we got some great winter pictures of the fortification walls, arches, and fairy tale like streets of the city. We woke up the second day to beautiful sunny skies. Having not noticed any local taxis at the pier on day one, we opted for a ship excursion to Sainte-Anne-De-Beaupre (St. Anne Basilica) and Montmorency Falls. It was a 3-hour morning tour for $56 pp, plus tip, including all entrance and parking fees. The bus ride out of the city gave us picturesque views of a snow-dusted country side as we made our way out to St. Anne Basilica. It's a huge complex. The church itself is stunningly beautiful, with its stained glass windows, archways, ornate columns, and mosaic ceilings. It houses two relics: an arm bone and another bone fragment from Saint Anne (Mary's mother, Jesus' "grandmother"). The main floor includes numerous alcoves dedicated to specific Saints for individual prayer. Doors and pews are carved. The entrance doors are adorned with embossed scenes --- two on each side of every door. The second stop on the tour was Montmorency Falls (a AAA Gem). The Falls are 270-feet high --- about 50% taller than Niagra Falls (though not nearly as wide). There is a vivisitorsenter at the bottom of the falls. A gondola ($8 pp) provides rides to the top and there is also a footpath with grueling stairs that will take you the long way around to the top as well. We opted for the bus ride to the top instead. There is a footbridge which spans the top of the Falls. And once agagainou have a choice as there are two routes to the bridge. The easiest route is to take the path above Montmorency Manor. The more scenic path, with a couple of stairways starts in front of the Manor. It's about the same distance either way. We opted for the easy route up and the scenic route back. Lots of good picture taking opportunities. Our tour guide was very good and provided us with great information. Upon our return to the ship I found several taxi van tours offering a similar tour for $41 pp for parties of 6. I would recommend this tour. After lunch we set out for the Farmers Market (Place du Marche du Vieux Port). The Farmers Market is the best place in town to buy maple syrup ($8 for a 524 ml can), maple butter, maple fudge, produce, seafood, wine, and other products de Quebec. It's a level 30-minute walk or take Quebec City's small white and blue electric bus called The Ecolobus It's free, and it's ideal for cruise ship passengers, as it starts its route right at the Ferry Terminal (which, depending ouuponhere your ship is docked, either right at, or within two blocks, of your ship). It runs every 20-minutes. You catch it at any regular bus stop along the route, which includes access to the upper town as well. We caught the Ecolobus next to the Ferry Terminal (it's a glass-enclosed bus stop at the corner of du Marche-Champlain and Dalhousie) and then walked back. E. Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island 8:00am - 6:00pm. We berthed at the Charlottetown pier which is on the edge of town. The cruise ship terminal is a long warehouse building with a few shops and free wi-fi. The town is easy to walk. We started our day at Founders Hall ($7, AAA Gem) about a block and a half from the ship. Pick up your $2-off coupon at the InfoCenter kiosk in the terminal. While 4 or 5 of the exhibits were out of service, the step back in time to follow the founding of the Confederation of Canada was very interesting. Founders Hall also has a Starbucks and free wi-fi. We walked around town and saw the Province House where delegates first discussed Canada's evolution, and visited Anne of Green Gables Chocolate Shop, near the corner of QuQueennd Richmond, for a free sample of their chocolate covered P.E.I. potato chips which you can watch them make right in the window. We then set out for local seafood. We lunched at Water-Prince Corner Shop at the corner of, you guessed it, Water and Prince. We enjoyed a dozen outstanding Malpeque oysters on the half-shell ($16.95) and a pot of Blue Mussels ($9.95). But we weren't done yet. We had to find a source for the famous P.E.I. lobsters as well. One block from the ship, right on the water, is a restaurant called Lobster on the Wharf. It's great if you want a sit down meal with all the trimmings and a price to match. The real prize is next door at MacKinnon's Lobster Pound. It's in the same building and owned by the same folks. As you approach the rerestaurantthe door to the right takes you into Lobster on the Wharf, while the door on the left takes you into MacKinnon's Lobster Pound. You can buy 1.00lb-1.25lb cooked and chilled whole P.E.I. lobsters for just $7.75 each and they will crack them for free (and give you a free plastic lobster pick to help get the meat out). We bought two, which they bagged for us, and walked over to the picnic table in the park next door. No need for drawn butter! The chilled lobster meat was the sweetest lobster we ate the entire cruise. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I have to go back! Back at Founders Hall, we caught a red double-decker bus ($20 pp) for a 1-hour narrated tour of Charlottetown. It's a worthwhile informative tour. F. Sydney, Nova Scotia 8:00am - 4:00pm. We berthed at the Sydney Marine Terminal located at the corner of York and Esplanade. You are in town. There really isn't much of note in the town itself. You've got to get out of town. Fortunately, they have good local bus service. We set our sights on The Miners' Museum (a AAA Gem) located in nearby Glace Bay. They are open 10:00am - 6:00pm and costs $6 pp + Mine Tour $6 pp. The bus stop is about 4 blocks from the pier. Take Esplanade to Dorchester to George. Wait at the glass-enclosed bus stop on Dorchester just short of George Street. Take the #1 Glace Bay bus at 9:00am. It may arrive early but it will wait and leave on the hour. The ride takes about 50 minutes. Once you arrive in Glace Bay, get off on Commercial (between Marconi and York, across the street from Tim Hortons). Walk downhill on Commercial St. Commercial becomes South after you cross over a stream. Continue on South St and turn left at Birkley St. The museum will be straight ahead, about 2 blocks. (Total walk is 1.1 km, which will take you about 20 minutes). You will see occasional signage. The Miners' Museum has a movie and exhibits on coal mining, methods, tools, and history. The real value in vivisitinghe museum is the tour, led by retired coal miners who share with you their coal mining experiences. You go underground into a 1932 'room and pillar' coal mine where you will see coal-lined walls and learn from a true insider about the mining methods and working conditions. He will share his stories with you as you enter one tunnel after another. The tour is advertised to last 20 minutes. Our 10-person tour lasted at least an hour. Highly recommended! Catch the return bus on Marconi Street, near where you arrived, at Noon or 1:00pm (and arrive 1 hour later). If you get back to the bus stop a little early, stop in at Tim Hortons for a fresh Krispy Kreme-style doughnut or muffin, and coffee or hot chocolate. Cost for the bus is $3.25pp 1 way (except Saturdays where all fares are just 1 Loonie). Discount bus fare books of $13.75 can be bought for $12.50 at any Shoppers Drug Mart store or Sydney Citizen Service Centre (320 Esplanade in Sydney 8:30am - 4:30pm). Allow a total of 6 hours for this excursion (1.5 hours for the bus and walk each way and 3 hours for the museum and mine tour). G. Saint John, New Brunswick (Bay of Fundy) 8:00am - 6:00pm. We berthed at the Marco Polo Terminal (formerly known as the Pugsley Terminal), which is literally right in town and close to the Harbour Passage Walking Trail. Upon arrival, women were presented a rose and men were given a lapel pin sosouvenir You can walk to Reversing Falls (no falls, really just rapids) along the Harbour Passage from the cruise area in about 50 minutes. If you get there while the tide is rising you'll see the river water running inland from the ocean. The rapids occur when the rising tide coming in is fighting the outflowing river water. Exit the pier and turn left. Follow the red sidewalk along Water Street until you see a Moose on your left. Turn left and walk towards, and then around along the boardwalk in front of, the Hilton. Once you clear the Hilton you'll see an entrance to the Harbour Passage with a sign overhead and the red sidewalk once again. FoFollowhis riverside trail until it dedead endsnder a bridge, then backtrack a little and follow the red concrete trail to the road. (Ignore all of the other forks you encounter along the way). Turn left and stay on the sidewalk next to the highway all the rest of the way. Don't worry that they failed to paint this sidewalk red. You will eventually get to the Reversing Falls lookout which once again will feature a Harbour Passage sign overhead and a red walkway. Most folks continue from here and cross over the bridge to the other side of the river for more impressive views. There are two rerestaurantsand one has a short movie you can view. There are a number of good lookout points as well as a dock for river tours. Across the parking lot is an elevated park with great views of the surrounding area. If you don't want to walk back, you can catch the #2 Bus back into town. Catch the bus at the corner of the parking lot, at the entrance, across from where the restaurants are. Bus fare is $2.50 pp and it runs every 20 minutes. The ride will take just 10 minutes. Get off at Barbours General Store, about 2 blocks from the ship. If you don't wish to walk at all, there may be a private shuttle boat called the Falls Shuttle Service and they go out to the falls and back for $4.00. Back in town we visited the New Brunswick Museum ($6.00, AAA Gem) in market square. This family museum has diaramas of logging operations, intensive shipbuilding exhibits, artifacts recovered from sunkin ships, art, whale and mastodon skeletons, a hall of stuffed birds, and children's discovery exhibits. Worthwhile. We ate lunch at Billy's Seafood Company located at the far end of City Mall on Charlotte Street across from Kings Square. We enjoyed a pint of Pump House Blueberry draft beer with our "Seafood Splash" which consisted of a 1.00lb lobster, 8 Digby scallops, 8 Grand Island clams, and a dozen P.E.I. Blue Mussels. It was a good sampler platter ($36). H. Days At Sea We had five days at sea, nicely spaced between ports. There was no lack of things to do on the ship. Sea Days actually provided nice rest spites and allowed us to get reenergized. It also helped pace the cruise. We slept in late. You can also eat, play games, attend art auctions, port shopping briefings (basically a way to kill time watching a talking advertisement), watch movies in the room, attend shows, eat, nap, blackjack tournament, slots tournament, midday snack, cards, pools, bars, eat, trivia contests, shuffleboard, ping-pong, paddle tennis, basketball, darts, read, chat with fellow passengers, eat, board games, Bingo, eat, rum tasting, shopping, gambling, exercise, movies, live entertainment... the list goes on! F. Ships in Port Visit CruiseCal.com or the links provided above to see which ships are likely to be in port during your cruise. Part IX - Tipping The service personnel on Celebrity receive meager wages and rely on your tips for income. While Celebrity says it is customary to offer gratuities to the ship's personnel who service you on the voyage, it really is expected, and it's something you should figure into your cruise budget. I say it's expected, but the ship's personnel work long hours to service you and the other passengers. They genuinely do everything they can to service your needs. The Celebrity guidelines total $322.00 per couple on an 14-day cruise. The tip guidelines break out as follows (per couple): Waiter $102.20, Waiter's Assistant $58.50, Assistant Maitre'd $28, Stateroom Attendant $98, and Assistant Chief Housekeeper $35. Here's a really handy Cruise Tip Calculator covering all major cruise lines. Early in the voyage, Celebrity gives you the option of charging all of the tips to your cruise account. You'll also tip for room service, bartenders (a 15% gratuity is already included in all bar drinks), the Sommelier (that wine guy or gal with the silver cup dangling from his neck), Spa Personnel (a 10% service charge is automatically included), baggage handlers, taxi drivers, tour drivers, and any other personnel who you wish to tip. Part X - Captain's Club If you have taken a previous voyage and are not a member of the Captain's Club, sign up. It's free. Benefits include a CC express line at Embarkation, priority Disembarkation, casino and spa discounts, cocktail parties, free entrance into the wine-tasting seminar, and a one cabin upgrade. New benefits for Select (5-9 cruises) and Elite (10 or more cruises) include laundry and internet discounts, and Elite also has access to the free Happy Hour drinks in Michael's Club. Some exclusions apply. Part XI - Disembarkation and Customs A. Disembarkation On the final sea day, rather than attend a disembarkation briefing in person, we were advised to watch a disembarkation video that played on a loop all day on a tv channel in our cabin. This worked great. Josh Riffe presented a very informative and easy to follow briefing. On the morning of disembarkation, a full buffet breakfast with all the trimmings was available in the Seaside Cafe on Deck 10. Earlier in the week everyone completed surveys which were used to prioritize passengers. Color-coded disembarkation luggage tags were issued to all cabins, and passengers were instructed to place the tags on their luggage and set them outside their cabin before going to bed. Clearly those folks needing to catch plane and train connections or who were on escorted tours in Newark and New York had high priority. Select and Elite members had good priority as well. Other Captain's Club members had priority within their color group. Disembarkation was scheduled to begin about 8:15am. All passengers were instructed to sit in specific public areas until their group color was called. Once off the ship, you clocked out with your sea pass card one last time, collected your bags from the terminal, showed your passports to customs personnel while declaring your purchases and exited the terminal. Bags were arranged by color for easy retrieval in the terminal. Unlike our arrival, we had no prearranged transportation back to the airport. Upon exiting the terminal, we walked to the extreme left of the open-air staging area to grab a taxi. They had a large number of 10-passenger taxi vans available. Cost per person is $14 plus tip. This was a relatively good value given the alternatives. 20 minutes later we were at the airport. B. Customs According to the U.S. Canadian Embassy, each U.S. citizen traveling to Canada is permitted $800 worth of Duty Free goods including 1 liter of alcohol per person. Smokers are limited to 200 previously exported cigarettes and 100 cigars. All you needed to do was to declare the total value. Anything greater had to be itemized (declared) and a duty paid. Part XII - Praises and Gripes A. Praises Constellation's personnel are very attentive, friendly and helpful. The food was very good. The ship is very well laid out, clean and in very good shape. The Captain's Club events were very good, and the ship's entertainment is excellent. My wife wanted me to give kudos for the larger coffee cups Constellation uses in stark contrast to the small mugs we've seen on previous cruises. We received a big red rose and a nice note of congratulations welcoming us to "Elite" status beginning with our next cruise. The newly expanded non-smoking policy was very much appreciated. B. Gripes We certainly didn't have much to gripe about, although if you got any group of folks together, similar themes emerged: 1. The photos were very professional and creative. The price of the photos was outrageous. I still don't understand the mentality of taking tons of pictures of passengers and then expecting us to pay $10 to $20 for each. We won't. 2. Smoking in The Bar at The Edge of The Earth. Great venue. Too bad a single smoker or two can ruin the air for the majority of passengers. 3. Poor satellite TV service. We missed the MLB playoffs. 4. An occasional faint sewage smell in our bathroom. Never lasted all day. 5. Heavy chorine shock on or about October 26. The entire water supply, from the bathrooms to the drinking water took on a very heavy smell of chorine. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
We are a retired couple, usually traveling with another couple. We have sailed with NCL, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Celebrity. Embarkation at Cape Liberty, Bayonne, NJ was fantastic. We arrived slightly after 11 ... Read More
We are a retired couple, usually traveling with another couple. We have sailed with NCL, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Celebrity. Embarkation at Cape Liberty, Bayonne, NJ was fantastic. We arrived slightly after 11 am and after a short wait, we were welcomed aboard w/ champagne and looking for lunch in the Seaside Cafe. Selection and service were good and we were soon checking out our stateroom. Luggage arrived throughout the afternoon and we were pleasantly surprised when the mandatory lifeboat drill did NOT require life jackets!Cabin 7114 is situated mid-ship, not too near elevators, with no cabins across from it; in other words, quiet w/ easy access to everything. The balcony is equipped with 2 chairs and is 2 floors above the life boats which we looked down on. Storage is adequate, but I missed a drawer in the desk because that is usually my make-up area. Hint: we use suction cup hooks on mirrors for hats, storage bags, etc. This is our first cruise to try 1st seating for dinner, but after dinners that finished at 10:30 on our last (Holland America) cruise, we made the switch. So, 6pm found us in the San Marco Dining Room where we were delighted to find our table for 8 and two delightful couples from NJ. Our Waiter, Jorge, and Assistant Waiter, Andres, began right away to learn our preferences and try to keep us happy. They were good at their jobs; we were impressed that Andres remembered drink choices and did not have to ask again. Food: We ate in the San Marco every night except 2 and in the Seaside Cafe for all breakfasts and lunches unless we were ashore or there was a brunch in the San Marco (these were GREAT). Overall, the food was good, but some of our group and others we talked to agreed that the nightly offerings had an unusual (some said European) flair. Thankfully there is a "classic" menu from which one could order any night and we chose items from this menu frequently. When I did stray to the other menu, I was quite often disappointed; items like Shrimp Scampi which had 3 very tough shrimp, rice not done and pureed vegetable were not to my taste. My husband, a beef eater, had several beef dishes that were tough or not cooked to order. It is our opinion that the quality of beef in the main dining room has suffered since the specialty restaurants appeared. We have eaten in a specialty restaurant and it was wonderful, but we are not willing to spend extra every night and don't believe we should have to. Seaside Cafe had great choices for breakfast and lunch. Any type of breakfast food could be found, cooked to order or quick pick up. The only sad note here was the coffee which was (to our taste) not drinkable as it came from the urn. We found that a mix of 1/3 decaf, 1/3 regular, and 1/3 hot water gave us something we could drink. We saw many others adding water and even saw waiters adding water to the coffee they were serving through the dining room. Our complaints seemed to fall on deaf ears. Lunch choices ran from hot foods to a great deli whose chicken salad, egg salad and hot soups were great lunch fare. The only burger we ate from the grill was cold; a disappointment because we usually love the grill items. The 'Casual Dining by Reservation' did not live up to it's billing. We found that they have one menu for the entire cruise! Also, the 'classic menu' from the dining room was not available as we had understood (we were told this was a recent change). Entertainment: Something for everyone! The Celebrity Theater brought us some very enjoyable shows. The productions were well done, costumes great, and our only complaint here is that the volume was way to high! There were the usual orchestra, a classical guitarist, a pianist, comedians, and some combinations. Acts that stood out were Alex & Sally, an Adage Duo, and an A Capella group, The Voice Males. The party band, Sipra was especially good. We attended several enrichment talks and enjoyed them. We are not fans of the art auctions and usually prefer to find a quiet spot for reading when there is time to relax. All employees of the cruise line were efficient, friendly and always trying to please. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
I have cruised for fifty years on many ships, the first being a cruise from NYC to Scandinavia on the STATENDAM in 1958. Over the years many other cruises followed on a variety of ships including the MICHAELANGELO, CRISTOFORO COLUMBO, ... Read More
I have cruised for fifty years on many ships, the first being a cruise from NYC to Scandinavia on the STATENDAM in 1958. Over the years many other cruises followed on a variety of ships including the MICHAELANGELO, CRISTOFORO COLUMBO, ROYAL VIKING SEA and STAR, GRIPSHOLM, QE 2, MARIPOSA, MAASDAM and CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS. I have endured rough seas including a hurricane while on the GRIPSHOLM. I've never felt a concern for safety until I boarded the CONSTELLATION for a thirteen day cruise from Port Liberty, NJ to New England and Canada. With only a 26 foot draught and eleven passenger decks, including one which extends over the side of the ship, the CONSTELLATION is top-heavy. In even moderate seas the ship bobs like a tin can on the ocean with neither a pitch or roll, but a "waddle and jerk". The early morning of October 29 saw the CONSTELLATION encounter a low pressure system of the coast of Maine resulting in a steady wind of 60MPH. The CONSTELLATION did not react at all well, slamming and jerking far more than any other ship I have sailed. Apparently the high profile and shallow draught of the CONSTELLATION offered an inviting target for the wind. A naval architect that was on board described the CONSTELLATION as riding like an RV on water. He said he would feel safer on the North Atlantic in his sailboat than on the CONSTELLATION. That pretty much says it all. The embarkation at Port Liberty went very smoothly. We were able to board shortly after noon and enjoy lunch while waiting for our stateroom to be readied. The room was large and pleasant and throughout the voyage well- attended by our steward and his assistant. In spite of having written confirmation from Celebrity that we would be assigned a table for two in the main sitting, we were given a table for six and told that no change could be made. Apparently the ship was full with every cabin occupied, but I was surprised that the written confirmation meant nothing. The dining experience on the CONSTELLATION was adequate. Food was what would be expected and the service was friendly if a bit harried by having to serve such a large number of people. Formal nights on the CONSTELLATION would be semi-formal on the QE 2. The enrichment program was meager, but included an estate attorney from New Jersey who presented four outstanding programs on living trusts, probate and insurance trusts which drew standing room only crowds to a relatively small theater. Why the ship's staff didn't move them to a larger facility when their popularity became apparent is still a mystery. The cruise was worth taking if only for his excellent presentations. I've found art auctions on other ships to be intrusive. On the CONSTELLATION they were EXTREMELY intrusive. On the first day at sea we wanted to read in the lounge and enjoy the sea views out the windows. Not possible. The curtains were drawn hours before the art auction and the lounge was filled with what was called "art". Apparently these art auctions are held at sea so as to be out of any legal jurisdiction. It is an annoying feature of cruising today that should be eliminated for the benefit of the vast majority of passengers who have no interest in the trash that is offered. We enjoyed the ports of call, especially Charlottetown, PEI and Quebec City. Both cities lend themselves to walking which we enjoyed. We took none of the shore excursions offered by the cruise line, but heard mixed reviews, as could be expected with a large number offered at most ports. The entertainment was not impressive, especially when audience members threw articles of clothing on the stage after a rather ordinary performance by a singer-piano player. Disembarkation went as smoothly as embarkation, especially considering the large number of passengers and baggage involved. If not for the above mentioned concern about the top-heaviness of the CONSTELLATION, I would give this cruise on the CONSTELLATION three stars. I don't plan future cruises on the CONSTELLATION, but will search for ships providing more stability at sea. Read Less
The
Sail Date: October 2008
The Constellation is definitely worthy of its # 1 rating in Conde' Nast Traveler, from the time I boarded the ship till I left I was impressed and my faith in Celebrity renewed. I had been on The Mercury back in March (see my review I ... Read More
The Constellation is definitely worthy of its # 1 rating in Conde' Nast Traveler, from the time I boarded the ship till I left I was impressed and my faith in Celebrity renewed. I had been on The Mercury back in March (see my review I understand it has been fixed) and came away with a very bad taste, however The Connie certainly made those feelings just a foggy memory. Boarding at Cape Liberty was the smoothest I had ever seen, from the time I stepped out of my cab till I was on the ship was less than 30 minutes. After my glass of "bubbly" I was on my way to my stateroom on deck 8. Having sailed on The Summit, sister ship, I know all the shortcuts and the layout of the ship. The Constellation was in fine shape, oh to be sure there were a few signs of wear here and there, but the entire cruise the maintenance staff was very visible painting, cleaning etc. My cabin, inside, was fine spacious with lots of storage space always is great shape and well attended to by the cabin staff. Dining on the ship was as expected, excellent with several new items on the and a good variety each and every night. I did notice that Celebrity had cut back from 4 to 3 shrimp in the shrimp cocktail, but that was easily solved by ordering two, which after the first night my waiter made sure that I had two each night in addition to another appetizer. Celebrity also has cut back on the number of dessert offerings, which is fine with me as I do not really care for the extremely sweet desserts, HOWEVER their cheesecake was outstanding. One thing Celebrity does well is beef, I had beef dishes several nights and they were extremely good and done as I prefer. As usual Celebrity had a variety of soup offerings, I still pass on the chilled soups, but the cream soups were excellent. The buffet offerings were varied and some better than others, personal taste, but I noted that breakfast now has Traditional American and English sides, I was quite pleased to see Eggs Benedict on the buffet line. I usually vary between the eggs (omelet) made to order, regular buffet, and the waffle station, this trip was no exception. The only down side I saw was coffee, it was terrible in the buffet but excellent in the dining room. I heard that Celebrity was trying out a new blend, I hope they ditch that. A bit disappointing to me was the beverage dispensers, several were broken, but I assume that they came with the ship and were going to be replaced. I did note several times during my cruise a person with a "Cruise Critic" tee shirt, now I had to wonder if this person was trying for special treatment or what, I felt that it was in poor taste. The entertainment was for the most part very good with the production numbers done extremely well and the Celebrity Orch. did a fine job with some very difficult pieces. One night they were even on stage in a production number causing me to give them a big thumbs up! I did walk out on one show, however, that being Perry Grant when he played in the Celebrity Theatre. I felt that he was trying to do a Liberace imitation and did not have the talent to pull it off. One other single act was Judy Kolba, she was very funny and got the audience involved in her show. One thing she did that was extremely funny was when a gentleman came into the show late, she did an instant fast forward replay of her show to that point, it had the audience rolling in the aisles. The cruise was excellent, the ship very nice and the crew friendly and helpful. The "Connie" is a must sail! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
Constellation 10/30/08 - 11/10/08 Vista Deck Balcony #7171 This was a family cruise (sisters, brothers, cousins) of 13 adults. We took the Celebrity bus from Boston to Bayonne. A great way to go to New York, the only ... Read More
Constellation 10/30/08 - 11/10/08 Vista Deck Balcony #7171 This was a family cruise (sisters, brothers, cousins) of 13 adults. We took the Celebrity bus from Boston to Bayonne. A great way to go to New York, the only disappointment was that bus driver was over 2 hours late (which made for a somewhat upsetting start, (seeing that we were told to be at South Station by 7:am, and the bus would leave at 7:30am.)It didn't show up till 9:30am. The only thing that kept us feeling "safe" is that Celebrity HAS to wait for you if they are the ones who booked the bus. When we called Celebrity at 8:am they told us not to worry, the bus was on it's way. Good news was we had the whole bus to ourselves. Embarkation: We arrived in Bayonne ~2:45pm, and there were NO lines at all. We were on board in 15 minutes. We immediately went to our rooms. I had room 7171 Aft. balcony. I picked this room after reviewing the layout of the ship, this balcony was a larger one and we loved it. The room was a great location, near the aft elevators. (Always a short wait for the elevators) We found the room to be very clean, and a comfortable size. Bathroom was your typical ship size w/a small shower. Lots of closet space and our luggage fit perfectly under the beds. Ship: The Connie is a very clean ship, with a great crew. Not as pretty as the Millennium, but a nice ship. Service & Crew: Perfect! Every day my room was cleaned twice, nice fresh towels, ice in the bucket, bed made before I came back from breakfast, no matter where you go the ship is sparkling clean. A perfect 10! Thank you all for a wonderful cruise! Entertainment: Perry, Perry, Perry! We just loved Perry Grant. I'm so happy he was on our cruise. We heard lots about him, (from Cruise Critic) and especially the ladies in our group found him to be a GREAT entertainer. I love the songs he sings, (the real oldies) and in-between songs, he's hysterical! We laughed so much, he brought tears to our eyes! WE LOVE YOU PERRY! I only hope we can join you again someday! Itinerary: We stopped in Bermuda for 2 days. HEAVEN!!!! I love stopping in Bermuda. The weather was perfect and we went to our favorite beach (Horseshoe Bay) The water temperature was just right! Next stop was St. Maarten, and took a taxi to Orient Beach, another perfect day. Aruba was our 3rd stop and we booked a snorkeling trip thru Celebrity. Our last stop was suppose to be Labadee, but due to problems there, we went to Nassau instead. Although it rained, we hopped into a van and went to Atlantis. That is one grand hotel, if you've never been there, it's worth the cab ride. Food: The food at the buffet and dining room was excellent. We ate one night at the specialty restaurant and were disappointed. Several of us had the lobster, and each one complained that it was too salty...I mean so salty the lobster was tasteless. Others had the steak and it was good but nothing to rave about. All 13 of us all shared the same somewhat disappointed feelings about the food there. I will say that the service was excellent though. Coffee: I still haven't found a cruise line that makes a good cup of coffee! I brought my plastic melitta cone w/filters, along with a fresh bag of my favorite coffee, and was glad I did! Disembarkation: Very organized. Once our color code was called we were off the ship, grabbing our luggage, and in the taxi within 1/2 hr. Nice trip! Celebrity is still a great line. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
This was our sixth cruise overall and our third on Celebrity, the last two being on the Summit. This was the first time we had traveled with two other couples. Each of those couples had done one other cruise, one with Celebrity and the ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise overall and our third on Celebrity, the last two being on the Summit. This was the first time we had traveled with two other couples. Each of those couples had done one other cruise, one with Celebrity and the other on an RCL ship. While I still believe Celebrity is at the top of the heap, it appeared to me that they are letting the little things slip through the cracks and this has caused a slight degradation of their services. Embarkation at Cape Liberty was the best experience we have had with Celebrity. While the facility itself is nothing to write home about, the efficiency made boarding easy. From the time we got to the pier until the time we were on board was no more than 30 minutes. Once on board we noticed the first of several small declines in standards. The greeters were doing their job and nothing more. The champagne and mimosas were handed to us in a business like manner with instructions not to take the glasses out of the area. The gang plank was on deck one and that is not conducive to a party atmosphere and that could have been one of the problems. Next we traveled to deck ten for some refreshments. The food was good and the boat drinks were cold so it was easy to get into the sailing mindset after that. After our customary beer at the bar at the back of the boat we headed to our cabins. Unfortunately our luggage didn't arrive until well after we set sail even though we were in concierge class. When we walked into the cabin we immediately noticed a box of zip lock bags stashed next to the TV, apparently left from the previous occupants. That did not seem like something we would have seen before on Celebrity. Our cabin steward and his assistant were friendly and business like. For the most part they did what we asked of them. On our first morning I asked for a pot of coffee and was told by the steward that if I wanted coffee before eight-thirty I should order it from room service. Again, we never heard something like that on our previous Celebrity cruises. On the good side for the steward, he brought us sliced fresh fruit every day along with the basket of fruit that is customary and when he saw we were not eating the hours-devours he started bringing us cheese and crackers instead and they were great. I would rate the food very good to excellent as I only had one meal that I considered average. (My wife thought the food was good to very good.) The buffets, grill, pizza, pasta and stir fry stations were all well above average. The specialty restaurant remains a real treat and five of those in our group believe it was worth the price. (The other considered it her biggest disappointment of the cruise.) The coffee remains awful. The destinations (Bermuda, St. Maarten, Aruba and Nassau) were all enjoyable. (Nassau was substituted for Labadee when a hurricane was in the vicinity of Haiti.) We did an OUTSTANDING snorkeling excursion in Aruba when we went on the sailing ship Mi Dushi. The snorkeling, entertainment, food and open bar were well beyond what we thought they would be and we HIGHLY recommend this excursion. The entertainment was good with a wide variety of choices. The big star of the ship is Perry Grant who plays in Michael's Club almost every night. He has a cult-like following and it is very difficult to get in to see him. We were there for about five minutes one night and I decided quickly that I would not be one of his followers, but I was in the minority. There was a Jimmy Buffet type singer who played at the bar on the back of the boat and other small venues throughout the ship that was much more to my liking. I thought the Broadway Review was as good or better then past shows, but my wife did not enjoy it as much as the previous shows we have seen. The ship is clean and well maintained. However, another small change I noticed was in the men's public restrooms. On our previous cruises there were always cloth towels available to dry your hands. On this cruise the cloth towels were there sometimes, but more often then not paper was the standard. There were hand cleansing stations set up throughout the ship as well as people offering to dispense hand sanitizer manually. However, I did not see one person cleaning the handrails on the stairs at any time during the trip, something that was constantly going on during our previous cruises. (I am certain major cleaning operations were being done during early morning hours as the ship did not appear dirty in any way.) It appeared to me that many of the staff was worn out. While they were all friendly and professional, they did not display the eagerness to ensure this was going to be a memorable trip for the passengers. My guess is, and it is only a guess, that as the economy slows some passengers are saving money by reducing their tips to the staff. If that is the case the more business like attitude of the staff members would be justified. Disembarkation at Fort Lauderdale was the best experience I have had on any Celebrity cruise. We had a comfortable place to wait and we were called at almost the exact time we were scheduled to be called. We took taxis to the airport and that proved to be much more efficient and less expensive then using the Celebrity transfers. Overall this was a great cruise and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an enjoyable time, but without any cultural enlightenment. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
This was our first cruise. Since we live in NJ close to Cape Liberty, we took a taxi to the port. It was very convenient. We were dropped off and on our way to check in within minutes. The check in process was flawless and we were on the ... Read More
This was our first cruise. Since we live in NJ close to Cape Liberty, we took a taxi to the port. It was very convenient. We were dropped off and on our way to check in within minutes. The check in process was flawless and we were on the ship within minutes. Our bags were waiting for us in our room as we were coming in to clean up for dinner. We thought the food was awful. Everything was very bland. They had the same foods offered over and over. The Chinese food area of the buffet did not even offer chinese food. The pizza was one of the worst I've ever had. The pasta was okay. The hours of the buffet were very inconvenient. It seems as if every time we were hungry, the buffet was closing. There was no other dinner option besides the main San Marco dining room and casual dining. You had to decide by 2:00 PM if you wanted casual dining because the casual dining required a reservation. We did not like the food in the San Marco restaurant either. The selection was bad. Soups were watery and bland. You needed a magnifying glass to find the meal on your plate. Both our waiter and assistant waiter had attitudes, and were no where to be found. I had to beg nightly for a glass of iced tea even though other tables had their tea and lemonade waiting for them when they arrived for the evening. The evening entertainment was just okay. Nothing to write the farm about. The formal nights were extremely over-rated. Honestly it was no big deal. I was told that evening gowns and tuxes were the norm. Most men wore suits. One man wore sweat pants with a stripe down the side and a wrinkled blazer. Nothing was said to him as he wore the same thing for all 3 formal nights. Women wore a range from gowns and all types of dresses down to black pants and a sparkly blouse. My biggest advice to all of the first time cruisers worrying about formal night is wear what you feel most comfortable in. They do not stand out side the dining room inspecting people as they go in! The Thermo Pool was also nothing noticeable. It was a luke warm salty pool. I was expecting much more. The ship activities were horrible. It was like a floating retirement home. Cards, ping pong, board games, puzzles. They offered 30 minutes of Nintendo Wii a day then the machine was whisked away because the kids area needed it back. That was about it. My group was bored to tears on at sea days. The television in the rooms is about as bad as it gets. If you love sitting on cramped buses all day, you will love the excursions. Hours on a bus broken up by 5 minute picture stops! What a good time that was! The bright spot of the entire cruise was the housekeeping staff. Our stateroom assistant was about as great as they come. He cleaned our room very well. As soon as we left, he was in and out again with the beds made and the bathroom towels changed. He went out of his way to open our stateroom door for us when he saw us coming. Overall, I would never sail on Celebrity again. I feel I did not get anything close to what I paid for. The service was okay. The food was poor. I paid a lot of money to be bored for 2 weeks. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
We've cruised Celebrity once before and have cruised on RCCL, HAL, NCL, MSC and Cunard. On this trip we took Amtrak from Jacksonville, FL to Newark, NJ. The trip was 20 hours from 5pm to 11 am. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Hotel ... Read More
We've cruised Celebrity once before and have cruised on RCCL, HAL, NCL, MSC and Cunard. On this trip we took Amtrak from Jacksonville, FL to Newark, NJ. The trip was 20 hours from 5pm to 11 am. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Jersey City, NJ which was an easy local train trip from the Amtrak stop. We just stepped out of Amtrak over right across from us was the local PATH train. The hotel was about 20 feet from the PATH stop. The hotel has a fantastic view of Manhattan and is safe to walk around. We paid $50 with tip from the hotel to the ship. Embarkation was quick, dropped off bags to Longshoreman and got through the check-in line. We waited about 10 minutes and then they started boarding the buses to the Constellation. On board (at 12:20pm) we received a drink and an invite for lunch in the Seaside cafe. We had confirmed from Celebrity and our travel agent for first seating, but there was no seating card in our room. We had to wait in line for the Maitre d' and we ended up with second seating. Never had that happen before! Our stateroom attendants were fantastic, very personable and caring. Very clean room, always asked if we needed anything. We had an inside cabin and never heard our neighbors or any ships noise. One of the quietest cabins ever. Beds are so much more comfortable than before. We enjoy a coffee or tea and the pastries at Cova Cafe. Many mornings I'd be there instead of with the crush at the Seaside Grill. Also went to breakfast in the San Marco Dining room. Met some interesting folks there and service was fantastic. The food was good also. We like the Trivia games, the enrichment lectures, listening to music and even went to the disco one night. I liked the Library's custom of just taking and returning books without signing in and out. Very easy. We had one shore excursion in Bar Harbor, ME - a bike ride on the carriage roads of Acadia National Park. Moderately strenuous. My knees are still killing me! Dining: The menu is more limited than a previous Celebrity cruise, I miss the cheese and cracker plate, although when I asked for cheese and fruit, I got that. Our table had the best waiter and assistant, Stephan and Sumantra. Stephan always gave us a rundown on what was good that night and since it was second seating, what the guests had commented about the food from first seating. Food is excellent and variety is nice. The one night I had shrimp cocktail, I had only two shrimp! - If we didn't like the entrEe after ordering, Stephan was more than happy to replace it. Entertainment: For the overnight in Quebec, Celebrity brought in a local dance group and they were marvelous. For second seating sometimes the show was before dinner, sometimes after dinner. Always something going on in the disco. The band Top Notch was terrific. Quebec City was our favorite. The people of Quebec were very polite, very friendly and bilingual. The staff in the shops were wonderful. My husband bought a pair of trousers and their English was perfect. No problems taking American cash, traveler's cheques or credit cards. Debarkation went well. If only people wouldn't congregate at the entrances... Another $50 for a taxi from the pier to the Amtrak station. Wonderful cruise with a fantastic staff. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
We have cruised with Celebrity on at least 10 occasions. We have also cruised with HAL, Cunard, Radisson, Windstar, Star Clipper, and NCL. This was our first cruise to Canada and our first from Cape Liberty. We live in Maryland and ... Read More
We have cruised with Celebrity on at least 10 occasions. We have also cruised with HAL, Cunard, Radisson, Windstar, Star Clipper, and NCL. This was our first cruise to Canada and our first from Cape Liberty. We live in Maryland and decided to take the train to Newark. It was a very comfortable and less stressful way of getting to the ship. We had no worries about weight of luggage, security, flight delays, etc. The cab ride was $40 from Penn Station and we were able to board at 11:30. We dropped our carry on at the cabin and had lunch. By the time we made a trip to the Library for some books, our bags had arrived. The table we were given for the second seating was as requested and was in a great spot. The number of selections for dinner were somewhat smaller than last year but the quality of the fish and meat was much better than on last year's cruise. There was always the choice of Shrimp Cocktail (3 shrimp, you could ask for more), Ceasar Salad, Salmon, Strip Steak, if you didn't like anything else on the menu. The Aqua Spa Cafe was great in the morning for breakfast and for lunch with lighter selections. The individually cooked entrees at lunch were a real treat and the kitchen is the same one used for the Ocean Liner Specialty Restaurant. The Asian area on the larger buffet is a great addition as you can get a stir fry made on the spot. They also had some interesting Thai, Indian, Philippine cuisine as well as Chinese. Pasta, Pizza, Asian including Sushi were available in the evening in addition to the "reservation only" casual dining. We had some rough weather, especially for this ship, but she seemed to handle it well. The Captain seemed to plan it so the roughest of the weather hit us while we were in bed. The worse being the 80 knot winds and 25 ft. seas early on the morning on 10/29. Didn't seem to keep too many people down as the passages and buffet lines were still crowded. The decks were closed during much of our at-sea time because of the rough or windy or icy weather. This was the last trip of the season to Canada so we should have expected the cold but some folks said they even saw snow falling on the deck! The ship has been kept up beautifully. The very pleasant crew is constantly cleaning when they are not serving you or asking if you need anything. The Hotel Manager is from Denmark and she must be doing something right to keep all of these people so happy! The cruise was a great value because of the low late season pricing. We were the last ship calling in most of the Canadian ports so even the ports were holding sales for our benefit. The tours we took through the ship were run by pleasant knowledgeable people eager to share their town or island with us. One even told us about the happenings in the different houses in her village. Of course entertainment on this ship was dominated for us by Perry Grant. He has always been a special favorite on this ship. At least he was in the large theater twice on this cruise, once in the Rendevous Lounge and almost every night in Michael's Club. It is very difficult to get a seat in Michael's Club when he performs and his "groupies" swarm over you when you get up to go to dinner. He is very funny and he has a wonderful voice. I feel sorry for the passengers who did not discover him, but then, there was limited seating in the small club. Many passengers refuse to book a cruise unless they are assured he will be on board. Some even had tee shirts proclaiming "I love Perry!". He does make the evenings on the Constellation! It was a wonderful cruise with great food, friendly staff, and a beautiful ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
Please enter your review. This was our 15th cruise overall and the first on Celebrity. Embarkation was smooth and flawless. Friendly, efficient staff at check-in. The stated "express luggage delivery" of Concierge Class cabins ... Read More
Please enter your review. This was our 15th cruise overall and the first on Celebrity. Embarkation was smooth and flawless. Friendly, efficient staff at check-in. The stated "express luggage delivery" of Concierge Class cabins was anything but. We boarded by 11:50 AM and the luggage was delivered well after 4 PM. Our cabin was well attended and the little extras of Concierge Class were a nice touch. Our cabin attendant Thomas was professional and always there to assist and open the cabin door if he saw you coming. We felt that the food in the San Marco dining room was excellent overall. Our waiter Savio and his assistant Celvin were outstanding. Always pleasant, knowledgeable and doting over us. After the first night they both knew our particular tastes and preferences. We had requested a table for two but found ourselves at a table set for six but with only one other couple. Really nice folks, but on average 15 minutes late each evening. This was somewhat disruptive, resulting in our being served last in the circle of tables of our waiter. The food was really good and cooked exactly as requested. Surf and Turf was great, as was the Filet Mignon and Chateau Briand. Deserts were really unimaginative and bland. Assistant Maitre'd Christian stopped at table each and every night, a nice touch rarely experienced on any prior cruise. Pleasant and engaging personality. We have no complaints about the many buffet offerings. Lemonade, fruit punch and iced tea available on deck ten 24hrs a day. Ice cream was always available up to 9 PM DAILY AND WITH NO CHARGE, which you rarely see on other cruise ships. Concierge Class room service was outstanding. We had breakfast three times utilizing this venue. Terrific. We loved the size of this ship, not too big and not too small. There were the usual lounge hogs and nothing done about it. I walked on deck 11 at 6:30 AM daily and there they were, setting up their towels for the day. Sad that this is permitted on all cruise lines. Entertainment was typical of most cruises, with a comedian/juggler sure to drop something in his act. Seminars by acupuncturist husband and wife team was uninformative and was, in my opinion just these two individuals shilling for their onboard services. They would like you to believe that they could cure just about anything while you were on this cruise. Another thing we appreciated was the minimum of announcements over the loudspeakers. Once daily the captain would update us as to the progress of the voyage , followed by the usual cruise director announcements. That was it, a nice change from the norm. We totally enjoyed the days at sea. We took two excursions. The Bermuda one was informative, with a pleasant entertaining guide. The excursion on St Marten was a disaster. The guide barely spoke English. Seemed like someone who was contacted at the last minute as a fill in. Boring and unintelligible. We were dumped in a parking lot in Marigot for 40 minutes , with no instruction or direction. Fortunately we had been there before and knew how to get to the better shops area. Enroute back to the ship our "view" of Orient Beach was from about a mile away. Sad, since on a prior Holland America cruise we were taken right to the beach for a short stop and photo session. Our stop in Aruba was as expected, a good experience with lots to do. Our Haiti visit was cancelled for whatever reason and Nassau substituted. Too bad. We would have liked to have experienced Haiti, but such is life. Nassau was Nassau, this being our fourth visit there. This may sound at times like a negative review but is not really. Surely, some of our expectations were not met but overall we thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and would love to sail the Constellation again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
Boarding and departing Cape Liberty was GREAT! I think the constant charges on board for everything was beyond all my expectations after Princess and Carnival cruises. The biggest pet peeve was a $104 tour and on picking up a bottle of ... Read More
Boarding and departing Cape Liberty was GREAT! I think the constant charges on board for everything was beyond all my expectations after Princess and Carnival cruises. The biggest pet peeve was a $104 tour and on picking up a bottle of water before leaving I was told that will be $4. After paying $5000 in addition to 2@$104 for the tours, Celebrity could afford the 1 bottle of water. The Ocean Liner dining at $30 per person above and beyond was not used as the menu was the same for 13 days and nothing that I desired on the menu. The service was Great in the stateroom and main dining room and could not say enough for the above and beyond service. Bingo games were extremely expensive with $29,95, $49.95 and $69.95 games. Seas were rough and No outside activities could be utilized on this cruise. Movies were not up to date and unless you wanted to bid on what they called art you were out of luck, but many high end shops to purchase numerous expensive items. Main dining was adequate but not like I have experienced on other cruises. Selection of dining items was very limited and heard many complaints about not being up to par with other cruises. I would not take this trip or ship again! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
Embarkation. My husband drove me to Cape Liberty. My sister arrived about the same time I did and my other sister was pulling into the pier. We all met outside and went inside to check in. There were only a couple of passengers ahead ... Read More
Embarkation. My husband drove me to Cape Liberty. My sister arrived about the same time I did and my other sister was pulling into the pier. We all met outside and went inside to check in. There were only a couple of passengers ahead of us so it went very quickly. Once we were set, we boarded the bus right away and off to the ship we went. We received our welcome champagne and went straight to our staterooms, they weren't quite ready but our stateroom attendant, Anil told us we could put our carry-ons in the closet. We then went straight to the buffet. By the time we were done lunch our staterooms were ready. We unpacked and walked around the ship. Sea Days. We were very lucky and had great weather. Our sea days were spent by the pool. Yes, there were chair hogs but there were alot of chairs to go around. The Party Band, Top Notch, was very good, they had great voices but they did not play caribbean music. Most of their songs were oldies. When on a caribbean cruise I like to hear caribbean music. One day at the pool they started playing Christmas music. Not the band, the DJ. Give me a break, it's not even Thanksgiving yet! Other people complained also and the music was changed. However, still no caribbean music. I think they bought a Bob Marley CD in Aruba because from Aruba on they played the same Bob Marley CD from sun-up to sun-down. Yikes!!! The coffee on the ship was horrendous, it was by far the worst coffee I have ever tasted. I am not a coffee snob but this was the worst. I couldn't wait to get to a port so I could have a decent cup. The breakfast and lunch buffet was good and always had a large selection to choose from. Dinner was very good but I do think the food is a step lower from before. They are giving smaller portions but I thought that was good because this time I could have an appetizer, soup, salad, entree and dessert and nothing was wasted. We also ate in Ocean Liners and the food and service was exceptional. I would recommend this to everyone. I wish I could have eaten there every night! The ship itself is in very good condition. It was easy to find your way around. There were many pieces of art throughout the ship. Every night before dinner we would meet at the Martini Bar. Ely was our bartender everynight throughout the cruise, he was fantastic. Gabriel, the bar manager would visit with us each night too. We have known him from other cruises we have taken and he too is outstanding. Even though I have complained about the coffee and music we still all had a great time. Smoking. For all you smokers out there, by now you know that you cannot smoke in your stateroom or on the verandah. There are 4 smoking spots on the ship. The port side on the pool deck, the port side of the casino, the port side in the Bar at the Edge and port side aft on deck 10. These areas are just filled with smokers. I personally don't think it is enough areas for the amount of smokers that were on the ship. There was never enough seating for everyone who smokes. Hopefully, Celebrity will tweak their smoking areas. Dress Code. Most people did adhere to the dress code on the ship. Of course with over 2,000 people you always have someone who does not. We did see some passengers in shorts in the dining room at diner. We were on an 11 night cruise and according to the Celebrity website and the book they send you with your docs, it stated 2 formal nights. NOT! Once we boarded we found out that there were 3 formal nights! My brother in law went down to Guest Relations and complained and they told him "Rules are Rules!" Okay! We get that, but don't tell us once we are onboard that rules are rules and now you have 3 formal nights. Needless to say they cleaned his Tux for free! So be prepared! I also read on several threads about people walking around in their robes. Oh yeah, there were many! They were wearing their robes to the pool in the Buffet and even on Caribbean night a woman came to the party in her nightgown and robe! Tacky, Tacky, Tacky! Please.....leave your robe in your stateroom. Bermuda. We docked at the Dockyard in Bermuda and were there for 2 days. We purchased 2 day bus passes which were good for the ferry also. We took the bus to Horseshoe Bay but it was too chilly to go swimming, we took some pictures then took another bus into Hamilton. Hamilton is filled with stores and was nice to walk around but it is very, very expensive in Bermuda. We were going to jump on the ferry back to the Dockyard but we would have had to wait over an hour so we decided to take the bus back. It took well over an hour to get back to the ship. As we were getting off the bus the ferry was just pulling in. Bermuda is a beautiful island, it is clean and very well kept. I enjoyed walking around the Dockyard and going in the different stores. The second day, I met up with some other cruise critic passengers and we walked to the glass beach. It is about a mile from the Dockyard. In Bermuda there are no sidewalks, so walking along the roads is somewhat dangerous. The glass beach is very small but littered with tons of sea glass, the water was crystal clear, I wish I would have taken my snorkel gear with me. I collected a bag full of sea glass then we walked back to the Dockyard. I met up with my sister at the Snorkel Park. It is very nice here too but the water was on the cold side. St Maarten. We decided to take a tour on our own here so we went with Bernard Tours. We had John as our tour guide. He was fantastic. It was a 6 hour tour around the island. We had several photo stops along the way, which were beautiful. We stopped at Sunset Bar and watched an airplane land right over our heads. We then went to the French side and stopped in Marigot and walked around town for a little while then went to Orient Beach. Since we were all adults he took us right next door from the nudist beach. WOW, did we see some sights! The water was clear and warm, we spent about an hour and half there. Very nice! We then headed back to Philipsburg for some shopping. The stores close at 6 so we didn't have a lot of time to shop but managed to pick up some jewelry, t-shirts and of course taste the Guavaberry liquor. We had about on hour then John took us back to the ship. Great time in St. Maarten. Aruba. I love Aruba! This trip we decided to do the Mi Dushi tour through Celebrity. A bus picked us up at the ship and took us to a dock about 15 minutes away, we boarded a ferry which took us over to the Mi Dushi. We snorkeled at the Antilla wreck, it was a little rough out there but fun all the same. We then made 2 other stops, I believe it was Arashi reef and then Malmok Beach. Great snorkeling at both places. After everyone boarded the sailboat they then had the rope swing. My sister did it and said it was fun, I just took pictures. After the rope swing we had a BBQ lunch on the boat. Very good. It was also open bar, so everyone was very happy. We took our time sailing back to the pier and the bus took us back to the ship. We then went into town made a quick stop at Iguana Joe's, had a great cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts and did some souvenir shopping. Another great day! Labadee. We were supposed to spend the day in Labadee but because of a labor dispute with the workers they did not feel it safe enough to stop so instead we went to Nassau. Nassau. I have been here several times and it was ok. We would have liked to have gone to Atlantis but today was not a very nice day. It was cloudy with passing showers so we just walked around town. Walked through the straw market and of course bought purses. Made a stop at Senor Frogs and then just walked around town and in and out of all the shops. Bought more souvenirs then back to the ship. Disembarkation. We were supposed to go to the theater at 8:50. They started calling people at about 9:10 to disembark. Our flight was at 11:10 so I was getting a little nervous. There were several other cruise ships docked also. We left the ship at around 9:15, found our luggage and made our way outside, we did not have any transportation booked but got a van right away and were whisked off to the airport. The airport was crowded but the lines moved quickly. We only had about a half hour wait till we started to board the plane. So all in all it did go rather smoothly. The Solstice and the Ruby Princess were docked in Ft. Lauderdale so we managed to get a few pictures of each. Both are beautiful ships. Hopefully some day I will sail on them. Well, this is the end of my review, I hope it helps anyone out there about to board the Constellation. My motto is "There are no bad vacations as long as your on a cruise ship." Until next time.................... Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
Pre Cruise- We came in a day early and stayed at the comfort suites in Elizabeth. Perfect for a night to sleep. Embarkation. The worst in 20 cruises we arrived at 11:00 and did not get on the ship until 2:30. Nobody knew the ... Read More
Pre Cruise- We came in a day early and stayed at the comfort suites in Elizabeth. Perfect for a night to sleep. Embarkation. The worst in 20 cruises we arrived at 11:00 and did not get on the ship until 2:30. Nobody knew the reason for the delay and they had nothing to drink in the terminal. Grade D Cabin A family view on the aft was great what a awesome balcony and the sofa pull out with an eggcrate was comfortable. Shower had the dreaded curtain and poor bath products like RCCL. Overall grade a B Food This is where the mark was really missed I can tell you that this food was sub par. The buffet was a disgrace with the exception of the pasta to order. Oh those waffles I love were always raw on the inside. I once asked nicely if he could cook it a little more for me and he rolled his eyes at me. I found out that this was a problem many were having. Dining room it was our waiters first cruise but I loved him bless his heart he tried! Entrees for the most part were decent. Soups and salads were poor. overall food C- I gained 1 LB in 12 days so that was a plus. Spa what a bummer I love to spend my sea days there the T pool was so cold that we used it twice the jets were out of order. When I inquired at the spa I was told that if my muscles were sore they had some great massage specials. The Spa cafe had the best food you must try it YUMMY. Grade spa D Spa cafe A+ Ports were great I had car rentals set up in each port and that was the way to go..Halifax was a nightmare But overall we were lucky with weather. Service...This is where celebrity used to shine I would put them dead even with RCCL now. Except the entertainment is better on RCCL. I feel this is the new age of cruising I may have to cut back to one a year and do crystal I hate to do that because I really am not that picky but the food and lack of attention to detail really did make my experience less then stellar. We Paid 7,400 for three of us so it is not like they are giving these cruises away. I just felt that I was not given my moneys worth. for 616$ a hotel and good restaurants would have been a better value. Will I cruise again in order to choose celebrity they will have to give me a really good rate. I am back to Princess in January so we will see. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
Of the eight cruises we have taken, the one on the Infinity, sister ship to the Constellation, was one of the best. This experience, with the opportunity of seeing Quebec for two days and to see some fall color, led us to Constellation. ... Read More
Of the eight cruises we have taken, the one on the Infinity, sister ship to the Constellation, was one of the best. This experience, with the opportunity of seeing Quebec for two days and to see some fall color, led us to Constellation. On paper, it looked perfect. We flew from New Orleans nonstop to Newark a day early since we could not determine the exact nature of Celebrity's air program as to getting us to the ship on time. It is a very long and confusing way (with luggage) from the arrival gate to the levels where you catch the train to the main terminal then to the cab stand. The Hilton Hotel Airport is lovely and the restaurant unexpectedly good, but the Starbucks is only open in the mornings. This and most other airport hotels sit far from anything else. They did have an airport shuttle at no cost. Sailing day, we eagerly loaded up our gear and headed for the ship around 10:00. We caught a taxi and had been told that the fare would be $30.00, but they failed to tell us that this was per person for a total of $60.00. The cab driver told us many interesting things about the area, almost a tour itself. We arrived at the terminal, which looks out over the river, including Manhattan and the Statute of Liberty, without any problems. There were signs all around the terminal stating that loading would begin at 11:00, so we thought we would not have long to wait. We checked in and received a card showing that we would load fourth on buses. From the terminal to the ship is a long haul and all are required to ride the bus. No one loaded until after 1 and Celebrity personnel never said a word as to the delay. No food or water was provided in the waiting area. We later heard from other passengers who had come from Europe on the ship that it docked late, information that should have been shared with incoming passengers by Guest Relations. Once we got on board the ship, we were offered wine or juice and invited to lunch in the Seaside Restaurant. Rooms were not ready, so we journeyed on up to have a bite to eat. After lunch, we went to our room and met our room steward, Miguel, who took such good care of us for the entire trip. Our room was small, as we had expected for an inside, but with good storage. We really enjoyed the Thalassotherapy Pool. This pool is a must do; it's a salt water pool that is great and totally relaxing with areas to recline on as the jets message your entire body. It was tepid instead of warm the first day we tried it and the hot tub was warm, not hot, but that was corrected later in the cruise. During the entire cruise, the entertainment was among the better we have seen. The singers and dancers and the production shows were superb, the comic Fred Klett far above the usual cruise ship comedian, the magician outstanding, the Australian singer just such an artist. All were great. After a sea day, we made our first stop at Portland, Maine. This City was a total surprise to us, the people so friendly and helpful. There were many things to see within walking distance of the ship and the hop on - hop off bus is very convenient. After another sea day, next stop was on Prince Edward Island. A most charming place, we rented a car, drove through the countryside, and had a nice lunch at a small town cafe way back in the woods. Toured the National Park on the north side of the Island, but stayed away from Green Gables to avoid the crowds. Upon our return to the ship, we were dropped off at the north door of a rather long building. Upon entering, we found that the line began at the south end of the building, so we made our way to the end of the line. No problems, everyone stood in the same line, no break-ins or priorities. I point this out because you will find out that later Celebrity wholly failed to provide crowd control. Sea day and next on our ports was Quebec. We had looked forward to this for a long time and it was not a disappointment. We took the all day tour and recommend it. The bus drove around the walled part of the City, the plains and most of the northern area. The tour guide was great and most knowledgeable. At one of our stops, an amusing and informative skit was given by locals portraying Generals Wolfe and Montcalm as they planned their actions. Lunch was at a small restaurant on Île d'OrlEans where the food was only so-so, chicken breast with no choice of entrees. We also drove around the island and visited an early home, where local period-dressed players showed the house, tools and furniture and the manner of preparing food. Another stop, the spectacular Montmorency Falls, are not to be missed. After the all day tour on the bus, we came back to the old town and walked around it. It was great! It seemed that all of the bus tours returned at the same time, each with around 50 people on board, so that the line was quite long. This in itself presented no problem; but while we stood in line, people who had walked into town were taken to the front of the line and given priority boarding as they returned. I complained to the security guards who were handling the matter, and to say that they were indifferent would be an understatement. When we got to the gangplank, I again complained to the ship officer in charge, but her response was that she was too busy at that time to do anything, and that I should go to Guest Relations. I did so, and was told to submit my complaint in writing. This I did, but again got no response. On the last day of the cruise, late in the afternoon and after we had reported this on our comment card and asked for a copy, a brief response to the initial complaint was slipped under our door; this appeared to be boiler plate and in all likelihood the same note was given to others. I leave Constellation with the idea that no one really cared what I thought. The solution to these problems is so simple: if you have one line, everyone should get in that line. If for any reason it is determined that two lines are necessary, then there must be two entries. Otherwise someone will become angry and in this case it was me. Sea day and then came Halifax. When we arrived, we tried to dock, and after several efforts, the ship abandoned these efforts. An announcement was made that because the wind was so high, the ship could not dock, and that we would anchor and tender in. You would think that anyone who thinks straight would wonder at the safety of a small tender in the same wind that is too great for the ship. We did not and we really rocked and rolled to shore and on our return. The worst and most fearful part of the debarkation and reloading was a free-floating, wildly pitching dock where we landed and then had to walk 25 to 50 yards to land. There were no guard rails and no one to hold onto. Later shipboard rumor, true or false, was that some other ships came in out of the weather and took Constellation's berth. Rumor also says that the other ships were given all the tour buses and that none were available to take Constellation passengers. I know that few buses were around where we docked. Another sea day and off to Bar Harbor. On the way we had a disastrously executed immigration processing. Each stateroom was given a time to report card to the Bar at the End of the World. When we arrived, the line had formed on the port side of the ship and wound around several times to the starboard side. We, like good citizens, took our place at the end of the line. When the doors opened and processing began, others were entering the line from the elevators, from the entry on the port side and up the stairs. No ship crew were in sight to control the process in the hallway, even after a phone call to complain to Guest Relations. People began yelling and cursing one another, with numerous threats, still no ship crew appeared. There was some pushing and shoving. We took pictures of this mob scene. We Marines calls this type of congregation a "cluster", and if you saw the movie Heartbreak Ridge, with Clint Eastwood, you know the meaning. Some who had been among the first to arrive were among the last to enter the room for processing. Once in, we dropped a card at one desk, walked across the room and showed another, all within 30 seconds. On the trip across the room, a ship's officer was standing there advising us to watch our step. Why had he not been out in the hall where there was actual danger of a riot? NOT ONE PERSON EVER CHECKED THOSE CARDS TO SEE IF THE PERSON WHO WAS THERE WAS SCHEDULED AT THAT TIME. Finally, debarkation was well organized and went smoothly. We had a nonstop flight back to New Orleans at 8:00 that night. When we finally got through the security, we determined to just stay at the airport, read and, fortunately, there were plenty of TVs to watch the football games, a long wait. There were plenty of food options available including a Ben & Jerry's ice cream parlor. IN SUMMARY: THE GOOD: 1) Our room steward, Miguel, and his assistant, Carlos. 2) Our waiter in the dining room, Odewa, and his assistant, Mags, consistently cheerful and friendly without ever being overbearing. Odewa went out of his way to send items to our stateroom when we didn't feel up to coming to dinner (once for each of us. 3) The excellent music available in the various lounges. 4) The entertainment in the theater. 5) Easily accomplished car rental. In Charlottetown, Hertz deducted our taxi fare to the airport from our rental and provided transportation back to the dock; in Halifax, Hertz was in easy walking distance, and in Bar Harbor Enterprise had a shuttle waiting at the dock and back later. THE SO-SO: 1) Food selections and quality, which were clearly a step or three down from our previous Celebrity experience. The soups in particular were a disappointment, most being watery and lacking flavor. Both shrimp cocktail and steak have been removed from the alternate menu, although apparently available upon request. 2) Service in the buffet. There seem to be many fewer personnel there, with some trying to cover several food stations and delays in busing tables in the more popular areas. THE BAD: 1) Dearth of information to passengers. 2)TV channels.The few entertainment programs ran over and over throughout the 12 days, and there was scarce news coverage. Information about weather, seas, etc., was often not updated, i.e., showing the 6am temperature the same as the predicted high for the area. No dining room menu (useful for planning one's evening) was available on TV. Shows, even the production shows, were not broadcast. It appeared that most of the channels were taken up trying to sell something. 3) Food from the dining room menu is supposed to be available from room service during dining room hours. A call to room service got us the reply that this was impossible, but as stated above, Odewa accomplished "the impossible". 4) Time required to deliver room service. 5) The wine stewards, who got to be a nuisance at dinner and on more than one occasion had someone else's wine at our table. THE UGLY: 1) That mob scene at immigration check. 2) The dangerous tender and unstable dock at Halifax. 3) Others being given priority in a long line because they had not taken a ship's shore excursion at Quebec. 4) Failure by ship's personnel to respond to complaints. We should be remembering how beautiful and enjoyable Quebec was, how good the entertainment was. Instead, we think that we paid for an upscale experience that was not. Absent some indications that changes have been made, we will not use Celebrity again. We are sending this to Corporate Guest Relations along with a copy of our comment card given at the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
In Jan.2007 we booked our first Celebrity cruise in Florida on the Millennium,we were so impressed we booked a cruise on Celebrity's Constellation from Dover ,Eng to St Petersburg,Russia. So this year for our 50th Anniversary we we ... Read More
In Jan.2007 we booked our first Celebrity cruise in Florida on the Millennium,we were so impressed we booked a cruise on Celebrity's Constellation from Dover ,Eng to St Petersburg,Russia. So this year for our 50th Anniversary we we booked the New England-Canada Cruise. I let you know this so you will understand we were not first timers to these Celebrity Ships.   Our first problem was not Celebritys fault,they were late docking from their transition cruise from Europe,because of that we did not get on the ship till 3:30 and as we were traveling all day we were hungry no sooner than us getting our food the had their life raft drill which you had to attend,alas we we went still hungry. The first we notice is that the ship is showing its age and also there seemed to be a definitely downsizing of its personnel since our last trip.This was very noticeable in the Lido Grill . Two items at the Lido Grill that stand out,our ice machine in the area we ate in was out of order the whole trip,also at that station the ice tea dispenser was not working.At the grill the toaster was inoperable the whole trip and you had to go over to the other side. The furniture in the cabin was showing its wear and age,the sofa had a large noticeable tear. The Menu did not seem to have many choices in the high end,the worst being that on the night we had lobster the potion of lobster could not have been more than 2 ounces with a shrimp and one scallop.thank god two of our tours had lobster lunch. But the one place that sold me on the ship two years ago was a disaster,the Aqua Spa Pool.the pool was luke warm when it should have been very warm , the hot tub was warm when it should have been hot,the jets in the pool never worked the whole 12 days and when we complained at the Spa and the Customer Relations desk it was like talking to a wall they all blamed someone else,but it was never corrected,The only way too make a statement was to cancel my massages after my first one and by the way the Spas prices were way over price. The crew on the ship were great but it was obvious there were a lot of new crew members and a lot less than on previous trips.We were so disappointed as two of our family went with us to celebrate our anniversary and they were disapointed.Just a downer will I sail on Celebrity again maybe after a few years but were are definitely going back to Holland American for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2007
This was our fourth cruise, our first on Celebrity. We are "itinerary" cruisers, and we booked this cruise because we had never been to any of the ports: Bermuda, St. Maarten, Aruba and Curacao. We also booked this cruise because ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise, our first on Celebrity. We are "itinerary" cruisers, and we booked this cruise because we had never been to any of the ports: Bermuda, St. Maarten, Aruba and Curacao. We also booked this cruise because of the "hype" about Celebrity. Conde Nast Traveler rates Celebrity #5 in Large Ships, above Holland America (#6), Princess (#8), and Royal Caribbean (#9). Why, I have no idea, but more about that later. We flew from Tampa to Newark at 7:00 a.m. on the day of the cruise. No flight problems, and we had arranged with another Cruise Critic couple to share a van to the port. Arrived at Cape Liberty around 11:00, checked in very easily, and waited till noon to embark. We were pleased to find our stateroom ready to occupy, and satisfied with our balcony cabin. The staterooms on the Constellation are a tad tinier than on some of the other ships we have been on, but we loved the shower--the biggest we have had. You could actually bend over to pick up the soap! After checking out our cabin, we walked around the ship. The Constellation decor is interesting, to say the least. We have decided that the decorator was either drunk or on drugs, because we saw some of the ugliest art ever. Nothing had any kind of theme, unless bizarre is a new fad! After our amusing tour, we went up to the Seaside Cafe to get some lunch. I had fettuccini alfredo and Max had roast beef. My pasta was watery and tasteless, and the roast beef was very average. Unfortunately, this was an omen of things to come. Dining in the San Marco dining room was an exercise in futility. We had one decent meal--lamb chops--but the rest of the time the food was fair to poor. Soups were like dishwater, and everything was bland. Because these chefs are cooking for close to 2,000 people, we don't expect gourmet--but a little flavor would be helpful! Burgers and hot dogs at the pool were fine, as was breakfast. We did dine at Ocean Liners, and I am happy to say it truly is a 5 star restaurant. Worth every penny of the $60 it cost us. Service on Celebrity Constellation is another subject. Those kids bend over backwards to help in any way they can. They're friendly, polite, and always trying to please. Same goes for the rest of the staff: John, the Cruise Director, all the activities people--everyone was delightful. Entertainment on board was excellent. My only complaint would be that there weren't enough shows scheduled before the 8:30p.m. seating. Since we didn't leave the dining room till after 10:00 (yes, we're gluttons for punishment--went every night but two!), the only shows available were at 10:45. We're in our sixties and enjoy staying out late occasionally, but not nightly. I will say, however, that the ventriloquist (I think his name was Patrick Murray)and his puppet, Matilda, are worth staying up for! Overall, our cruise was a good one. Ports were wonderful, staff was top notch, accommodations were good. Just one problem: if you plan to eat, brown bag it!! I'm still puzzled about the Conde Nast survey--I think Celebrity is stuffing the ballot box! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2007
We are both in our mid 40's and very active. We enjoyed the gym, but it was somewhat limited. This ship caters to a somewhat older crowd so it's a little low key as compared to a Carnival cruise. Not a great ship for kids or ... Read More
We are both in our mid 40's and very active. We enjoyed the gym, but it was somewhat limited. This ship caters to a somewhat older crowd so it's a little low key as compared to a Carnival cruise. Not a great ship for kids or teens. For adults it is very relaxing. We paid for the spa which we really enjoyed, but once we joined the spa we felt a little squeezed to buy massages, facials, etc. You can eat to the point of exploding. The food was above average, but not excellent. The ship is very nice, but if you have been on a few cruises, its similar to other large ships. The big negative is "The Savvy Shopper Book" Its a rip off for $25. Unless you plan on buying expensive jewelry and can use a discount, DONT BUY IT. The free stuff they tell you your going to get from stores is junk. Also, think before you buy the cruise review DVD. Its more of advertisement than a cruise review. Unless you think your in the DVD, don't buy it, its $40. The best part ! The staff. Excellent service ! Very clean ! Our cabin steward Jose and his assistant were very accommodating and always had a smile on their face's. Our waiter Schake and his assistant Fendi were also excellent. We really looked forward to dinner every night just to see the staff and sit with our new friends. Cruise director John Howell and the staff of recreation people were super ! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2007
Embarkation out of Cape Liberty proceeded without problems beginning at 12 noon. The Constellation is a large ship carrying approx 2000 passengers and congestion was minimal. We have cruised 30+ times on various cruise lines,Celebrity ... Read More
Embarkation out of Cape Liberty proceeded without problems beginning at 12 noon. The Constellation is a large ship carrying approx 2000 passengers and congestion was minimal. We have cruised 30+ times on various cruise lines,Celebrity being our our favorite; however, lacking somewhat in the food department since our last cruise with them. The ship is magnificently laid out and directions front and aft were instructive. The sculptures were strange, but interesting. Elevators were always swift no matter the time of day. The activities for the day were nicely arranged with lots of trivia for those so inclined. The self improvement classes were informative and I especially found the Culinary class, headed by the Executive Chief, intelligently presented. The cabin is large enough for 2 people, ample drawer and closet space. The bathroom is quite right and serves its purpose. The cabin steward, Camilio, was available most of the day for any queries and for our personal needs. On one particular night I was sick and he helped getting my room service quickly sent to my cabin. I appreciated that personal touch. Entertainment was generic as far as the Las Vegas productions were performed, but Matilda, Don Sherman and the female singer (name forgotten) were excellent and entertaining. Of particular noteworthy enjoyment was Perry Grant in Michael's Pub. Once we found out about him, I couldn't keep my wife away. He is very talented and has a world of aura and charisma. We made a point of seeing him perform every night, capping off a wonderful night. Disembarkation was handled efficiently and without mishap. How often does one retrieve their luggage together and intact!!! PS: The only major negative note was the quality of the dinner meals. I especially look forward to the "cold" soups, but they were lacking every night in taste and flavor.Whatever happened to that strawberry soup??? What a disappointment. Not creamy, but watery. Appetizers were varied as well as the salads, entrees and desserts. The morning menu needs an update.....boring. The same menu everyday. The buffet was more interesting, but when you look forward to waiter service in the dining room, it makes you wonder where their priorities are. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2007
To start with, we are two 60 yr olds traveling with our 37 yr old daughter. We usually travel one big cruise in the fall with her and two short ones in the winter and spring by ourselves. We booked into the Hyatt on the Hudson and ... Read More
To start with, we are two 60 yr olds traveling with our 37 yr old daughter. We usually travel one big cruise in the fall with her and two short ones in the winter and spring by ourselves. We booked into the Hyatt on the Hudson and guaranteed our booking with credit card. When we arrived at about 8PM, they had given away our room and sent us to Sequoias (?) where we did not enjoy the night. No restaurant, swimming pool or gym. A big step down in our estimate. Anyway, the next day we returned to our original hotel and got our room. We traveled into NY to Ground Zero, and then on to the Battery Park and the Statute of Liberty ride. It was really great to see everything. On Sunday night, we met up with several of our cruise critic buddies and had drinks. Monday - Embarkation went very smoothly. We boarded about noon and went up to the 10th deck for lunch. About 12:30 we were in our room and very soon after, our luggage arrived. Dinner mates were very nice and we all enjoyed our evenings there. Every night before dinner, a gang met in the Martini Bar, where I was introduced to my first martini, and second one and so on.... Tuesday - We met with cruise critic members (about 130) about 11:00 AM in the Bar at the End of the Earth and had a gift exchange and everyone met and interacted. John (Cruise Director) was there and he was very funny. Afterwards, we all did a cabin crawl of the various staterooms, ending in our room. After that, we all had lunch together and relaxed the rest of the day in our various ways. Wednesday - We were at Bermuda and everyone went their own way.....and also on Thursday till 3:00 or so. Thursday & Friday were sea days. Friday, we had a party for a lot of the cruise critic members and it passed quickly. Saturday - St Maarten was jewelry shopping day and that night, everyone showed off their finery. Lots of fun, but exhausting. Sunday - another sea day. Monday - Aruba - more running around and shopping. Not as great as St. Maarten, though. Tuesday - Curacao(?) We had booked a cooking tour where we got to actually cook up a Caribbean lunch and eat it, with wine, of course. Wednesday & Thursday were sea days again. During that time we had several get-togethers in various cabins and on Thursday night we got rid of all the extra booze we had acquired during the cruise. BIG PARTY! Friday, of course, they made us get off the ship. We tried to hide in the closet, but the butler swept us out. He He The ship was very clean and everyone was most helpful. The only problem we had was the DVD player in our room did not work the whole time....hopefully they put in a new one by now. We went to a few trivia activities and I took a power point class and a movie making class. Very informative. The Service was excellent - I have no complaints with that. The stateroom was always clean and neat, except when we were dressing. Ha Ha In summary, I can say we had a wonderful time. Debarkation was very easy and we were off by 9:12 and at the airport by 10:00. We happened to see a few of our cc friends there and passed a few minutes with them. On the airplane and off to Nassau, where we spent a nice weekend relaxing. We got home on Sunday night about 5:30 PM and are ready to go again - SOON. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
This is a review of our recent cruise on the Celebrity Constellation. We had done 15 cruises up until this one, none on Celebrity, and 2/3 of them on Holland-America, so this review is written from the point-of-view of a frequent HAL ... Read More
This is a review of our recent cruise on the Celebrity Constellation. We had done 15 cruises up until this one, none on Celebrity, and 2/3 of them on Holland-America, so this review is written from the point-of-view of a frequent HAL cruiser. Ship: The ship was very beautiful and immaculately maintained. Although it was the largest (passenger capacity) we have been on to date, it never felt crowded. The show lounge was excellent, with excellent sightlines both on the main level and on the balcony level, except for a very few seats obstructed by pillars. The casino, as usual, was way too smoky, made worse by the fact that you had no choice but to walk through the casino to get from one end of that deck to the other (without going up/down to a different deck to bypass it). The casino was large and well-equipped, probably the best we've seen on a ship. And you could charge chips to your shipboard account up to a very generous limit. We found that the noise from the late-night disco carried down the front staircase for 5 decks, and we wondered if it would be an annoyance to passengers in the verandah cabins near the stairwells. The internet area had lots of terminals, but we found the connection time painfully slow a number of times, and we gave up a couple of times. It was a pleasant change to not be hearing announcements all day long about activities, etc. They kept announcements to a bare minimum, and the silence was appreciated. If you want to know when an activity is on, look in your daily program! There were too many formal and informal nights on this cruise, considering the number of port days we had. They even had an informal night on the night we stayed over in Quebec City, which I found particularly strange. One very annoying thing: Whereas we found the ship's service staff in the dining rooms, lounges, cabin stewards, etc. to be exemplary, the ships officers were often the opposite. A number of times, while walking down the corridor on our cabin deck, we encountered officers coming the other way... and they would NOT move over, even to the point of maintaining their 2-abreast stance and forcing the passengers to squeeze against the walls. This was a noticeably different "culture" than we have ever seen before on the 4 other cruise lines we have tried. We were NOT impressed! Cabin: Our cabin, a category 6 Ocean view on Plaza deck was nice, but not outstanding. And at 170 square feet, it was fully 14% smaller than the equivalent cabin on HAL's Ryndam. What we did notice was how quiet it was in the cabin. Whether that was due to better soundproofing or unusually considerate neighbors, or both, we don't know. We found the cabin very warm (in October & November on the North Atlantic coast!) and difficult to get the temperature where we wanted it. Strangely, in spite of that, I found that the heat/air system blew cool air down directly on my head, neck and shoulders when I was in bed. And the foot of the bed had a strange curved shape which, as a tall guy, I found less than ideal. We also found the TV placement difficult to watch except from the bed. Food & Beverages: The food.... well, let's be generous and call it inconsistent. I tried roast beef and steak a number of times: it was either exquisitely prepared, or tougher than an army boot (about 50/50). One night I had fettucini alfredo with chicken and my wife had beef sirloin tips: there were a number of chicken rib bones in my alfredo, and my wife's beef was so tough she couldn't cut it. When we complained to out assistant maitre d', he apologized profusely and told me the head chef or food and beverage manager would contact me about our displeasure with that meal... nobody ever did. (Oh, this same assistant maitre d' set off the dining room sprinklers on a formal night while preparing a flambe dessert, but that's another story.) The dining room service was pretty good, but we've had better; again, "inconsistent" would be the correct term. The service in the Seaside Grill was exemplary. But why, oh why, do they not post menus at the entrance to the Seaside Grill? We were concerned, having been assigned to late seating, that we would get too hungry by the time 2nd seating took place, but there were anumber of places on the ship where you could get food in the late afternoon... never a problem. And the pizzas were superb! And the maitre d' was very accommodating in getting us reassigned to early seating without fuss and very quickly. A big annoyance was the LOUD music in the dining room. I don't know how loud it was for diners close to the live music (which we found often inappropriate for a formal dining room), but in our location, they blasted the music in, obliterating any conversation. Bar service was excellent, and the drinks were well-prepared, a far cry above HAL, but I was staggered that they did not offer Canadian beer on a Canada/New England cruise. They could have at least put the excellent Alexander Keith's on their menu, as it is brewed right in Nova Scotia. Events and Activities: There were a number of events scheduled to commence at 5:00 p.m. Great for late seating passengers, but impossible for main seating diners to attend. Very strange. The ship's song & dance cast were absolutely the best we have ever seen, but we only saw them on the first 2 nights. The rumor was that they had come down with some kind of "bug" and were quarantined. The other entertainment was excellent. Showtime in the Celebrity Theater was often VERY late for main seating diners. Activities staff: A couple were very good, 2 or 3 others were pretty useless. It was a running joke during trivia contests that they weren't even literate enough to read & pronounce the clues properly. Then when they showed up with Jamaican music for a line-dancing class... Tender service was very well-coordinated. Itinerary: Was excellent, even though we never got to see Charlottetown due to high winds from Hurricane Noel. The information and maps about the ports of call were next to useless.... very disappointing. Miscellaneous: Check-in was incredibly slow, even though we arrived at a good time and had done the on-line check-in. The rumor was that there had been a problem on the previous cruise with influenza or Norwalk or similar, and the delay was due to them disinfecting the whole ship. Immigration process (at least for Canadians) at Portland was poorly run: The member of the activities staff was pretty clueless when it came to coordinating it so that passengers were processed in the order they arrived. He even allowed the last couple of passengers to jump the line in front of those who had been waiting 45 minutes or more. He damn near had a revolt on his hands when he waved some entertainers through ahead of everyone else. The way I see it, the entertainers are no different from the ship's staff, and they should NOT get priority over the paying passengers. The American passengers had different complaints about their immigration process. Basically, it seems that none of the passengers were happy with the way immigration was handled. Strange, because HAL handled it so logically on the 10 HAL cruises we have been on. Checkout/disembarkation was quick, but I found it bizarre that we were assigned a disembarkation time of close to 10:30 a.m. when we had our car waiting in the terminal parking lot. They corrected it quickly, but what were they thinking? On the whole, based solely on our experiences with this cruise, we would not sail with Celebrity again unless they had a very unique itinerary. However, a number of frequent Celebrity repeaters assured us that what we had experienced was NOT up to Celebrity's standards, and they encouraged us to try again. So we booked a Mediterranean cruise while on board and we'll give them one more chance to meet our expectations based on our HAL and Orient Lines experiences. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
This was our tenth cruise. Travel to and from the port of embarkation via United Airlines from Seattle was on time and the luggage made it both directions. The ship was ready for boarding at 1:00PM and the entire boarding process took ... Read More
This was our tenth cruise. Travel to and from the port of embarkation via United Airlines from Seattle was on time and the luggage made it both directions. The ship was ready for boarding at 1:00PM and the entire boarding process took about fifteen minutes. The ship was very clean and the cabin steward and his assistant were the best we have ever encountered. We did not use any of the ship excursions as our travel agent took the same cruise a year ago and suggested great alternatives. We had the second dining seating and were not pleased with the food selections, quality, or service (the food was usually only warm, not hot). Sometimes even the soup was cold! Midway through the cruise we discovered the evening casual dining option. This meal is served on deck 10 aft on the port side. You must call for a reservation daily, they only take a very few guests. You give a minimum two dollar tip per guest to the servers and order off a menu. The food was excellent, hot and the service was great. If you have the second seating your show is sometimes at 11:00 PM (three times during the cruise), a little late for most of the guests. We were not pleased with most of the shows in the Celebrity Theater. One night they had a technical glitch and had to cancel the entire show, another night they showed a movie in the Celebrity Theater (after showing the same movie for two days in the Cinema). We considered the shows to be third rate at best, silly, immature, loaded with body function and bathroom humor. In thirteen nights there were three shows worth seeing, a magician, a great ventriloquist and two gymnasts / ballet dancers. The music at the various venues was very good. The final five days of the cruise the ship was under a "Norwalk Virus Alert". This made eating the breakfast and lunch buffet a real challenge. Demarcation was poorly handled! In an effort to empty the staterooms early, everyone was herded into their demarcation location at the same time. The ship was without CNN most of the trip! They had a lame excuse about the ships stack obstructing the antenna; I can't believe that they only had one satellite antenna. We have a Motor Home and are able to get CNN anywhere in the US or Canada!. This was a big issue because we had many guests from California and the fires were raging. They certainly were able to connect you to the internet 100 percent of the time(at a hefty price). On a one to ten scale we would rate this cruise at about a six. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
This cruise was our 10th cruise in nine years, and our second on Celebrity. The itinerary was excellent, and the weather was good except for one day. Celebrity works very hard to assure its guest of a good experience. The cabin staff and ... Read More
This cruise was our 10th cruise in nine years, and our second on Celebrity. The itinerary was excellent, and the weather was good except for one day. Celebrity works very hard to assure its guest of a good experience. The cabin staff and dining staff was outstanding. A lot of the usual activities were offered...with the usual terrible jokes at Bingo and over-active young ladies playing cutesy until it made you gag. The ship has an indoor pool...but we missed the reversible cover over the large pool area..particularly with 59 degree daily temperatures. The majority of shows were good. We would rate dinner meals B+ and the breakfast and lunch offerings..C-. The kitchen produced the worst soup I have ever had on a cruise i.e. 'Old time vegetable soup' with pureed vegetables, corn chowder...milky with no flavoring, asparagus soup...watery and no body, etc,etc,I almost forgot..tomato and vegetable pureed. We never saw a true slice of cake or pie....all were baked on sheet pans and sliced in squares. Never had a cruise run out of orange juice and iced tea before the cruise ended. All the room called suites....are so small one one person can pass between the bed and the wall. A real ripoff. They brag that their staff is from all over the world...but never mention that less than 40% can speak English. Goodbye Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
This is our third cruise with Celebrity. We were overall pleased with the experience. Embarkation was terrible. 20 minute bus ride turned to 2 hours as we could not get off till other busses unloaded. When it was our turn the luggage had ... Read More
This is our third cruise with Celebrity. We were overall pleased with the experience. Embarkation was terrible. 20 minute bus ride turned to 2 hours as we could not get off till other busses unloaded. When it was our turn the luggage had to come off first then we had to identify the luggage, even thought we just id the luggage when we boarded the bus from the hotel. Food was good, entertainment was good. Cabin steward was the best we have ever had. Waiter was ok, not very chatty or interactive as we have had in the past. Asst waiter was very good. Waiter either overlooked our travelling companion's order or delivered the wrong order. Wine steward was just terrible. When he charged wrong to our account he never acknowledged nor apologized and if we had not caught the error we would have been charged for a duplicate bottle of wine and another person's drink. Officer's were very unfriendly and only responded if you spoke first and then it was a curt response and the captain never acknowledged hello's. Ports were the best we have every seen and we have been on 10 plus cruises. New England and Canada were wonderful. Our experience the previous year on the sister ship Infinity was much better than this experience, at least with the cruise staff. Read Less
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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