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parrothead1

Constellation 3/5-3/12 Review (Looooong)

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Here is my review of the Constellation 3/5 trip we just returned from. Hopefully this will answer some questions you may have. If not, ask and I will try to answer them. This trip was with my DW (cruisebunny32) and our 4 1/2 year old son. We also traveled with our neighbors who had never cruised before and fellow poster desiro and DH who we met last year on another cruise.

 

Friday - Flew from Philly to San Juan at 7AM. Got to SJ around 11:30, gatherd bags and headed to the Marriott Stellars in the Condado area. Taxi was $20 with tip. Checked in, grabbed some much needed lunch and headed to the beach and pool to relax and wait for desiro and her DH to arrive. We ate that night at Tony Roma's across from the Wyndahm and headed to bed early since it was an early wake up that day. It was a great way to start off what was a GREAT week.

 

Saturday - Headed across the street to Starbucks and a little Gelato place for a small morning snack. Checked out and headed to the ship around 11:30. Again, took a taxi which was about $25 for 5 of us and all our luggage. It was great waking up and seeing the Constellation docked only a short distance away. We checked our bags, and checked in in a matter of minutes. We were greeted by the Kids Program rep Monica where she gave us a rundown on the program, and also gave our son (4 1/2) his muster station wrist band. BTW, he STILL has it on, and won't take if off. :D

 

We got onboard and headed to our Concierge Class cabin 9045 to drop off our bags. Our cabin was already cleaned, and Melvin our Stateroom Attendant told us to leave our bags, he was already done and waitng for us. We headed to the Cafe for lunch and then off to tour the ship. We sailed Millie two years ago, and found Connie to be the same layout and very, very nice. We were greeted by the Ocean Liners staff to see if we wanted reservations, which had already made. We told them that we sailed the Carnival Glory last year and ate in their speciatly resteraunt and told them it was no where near the Olympic and were looking forward to enjoying Ocean Liners. They made a comment that will stick with me forever "Welcome Home".

 

At 3:00, we headed to the Fun Factory for their 2 hour open house and sign our son in. We were greeted by Alyssa and she showed us around and our son didn't want to leave. He was hooked after trying out the ball pit. There were only 60 kids on our triip, of which 18 were toddlers. 14 were in the 3-6 Shipmates program. We signed him in, and they ask for contact info, allergy info and a password that you need to use when pick up your child. Once they get to know you and your child (1st day :) ) they don't ask, but it is nice to know that they are always looking out.

 

We got our luggage, unpacked and relaxed before meeting with our CC Roll Call group at the Martini Bar. Sudi was amazing. He put on a little show for our son and it was great. Try the sampling they offer on the first night. 5 sample martinis for 5.95, can't beat it. It was great finally meeting all our friends that we had been chatting with for months. I won't name there here, as I am afraid I'll forget someone, but they all know who they are!! We miss you guys!!!

 

Open seating for dinner, and then off to the muster drill. Dinner was kind of rushed as the staff needed to get us out and themselves out for the drill. Nothing that botherd us too much. Some people have said that they were slightly dissapointed with the San Marco resteraunt. We enjoyed it all. The food was very very good and always hot and fresh.

 

Sailaway was at 11PM and we headed off to bed after calling our folks (who are now on the Summit) to let them get a small taste.

 

Sunday - We ate in the cabin having our CC breakfast delivered. This was a very nice way to enjoy breakfast each day. Sailing into Casa De Capo we saw a Cost ship come into view, we later docked next to them. We had our CC Party at 10:30, and met some other folks and Edwin Rojas joined us for a while. It was a very nice gathering with coffee, tea and pastries. It was nince seeing Edwin again. He was our CD on the Millieneum 2 years ago. Edwin is a very outgoing and friendly and personable CD. We hope to see him again soon.

 

We did the Catalina Island Beach break here. It was a 40 min boat ride each way. When we docked, we were greeted with a rum drink and local music and dancers. We grabbed some chairs and umbrellas and sat back, and enjoyed the sun. Our son played on the beach and in the water for a while until late afternoon storm moved in, and forced everyone back to the boat. Just about everybody crammed in on the bottom of the boat so not to get soaked. We would up leaving abouot 30 min early and headed back. They have a small little bar and food service available. The servers were very friendly and no pushy people trying to sell you things. There are some folks who come by with their little things, but if just say no thanks, they move on.

 

We met Edic our waiter and Alina our Asst Waiter. Service was a little slow the first night as the table next to us was giving Edic a little bit of a hard time. He apologized to us, but we understood. After this, our service was OUTSTANDING the rest of the week. Alina could not have done anymore for our son. She was outstandng, and Edic would see "His little boy" with the children's menu right away. Our Wine Steward was there the first night, but got sick. That left the next guy having to serve over 45 tables. He was running around all week doing the best he could. I gave him a few extra dollars, knowing he was stressing out. He did the best he could under the circumstances.

 

Monday - At Sea We did nothing all day. Again, had breakfast in our cabin and our sone went to he Kids Program. This was the begining of the end. We never saw him the rest of the week except for dinner. DW and I went shopping in the onboard shops and made some small purchases. Spent time today by the pool and enjoyed the nice hot sun.

 

Family bingo was today with the Kids Program. My wife loved this. We played as a family, and when someone had bingo that had to stand up and do the Bingo Dance. I NEVER DANCE!! I HATE TO DANCE!! Guess who won and had to do the Bingo Dance one time - YUP - you guessed it ME! It also wound up on the Kids Video that was broadcast all over the ship and on the ship's TV's all day Friday!!! It was worth in and very fun.

 

This was formal night and the duck was by far the best I have ever had on a Celebrity Cruise.

 

Tuesday - Barbados Again, our little guy wanted to know when he could go to the Fun Factory. DW and I dropped him off and them we got off and did some walking around in the shops at the pier. Since she is pregant, she didn't want to go to far today. No big deal, we walked around, came back, grabbed some lunch and relaxed in the Aqu Spa area.

 

This was the night of the Select and Elite Captain's Club party in the Micheal's Club. We went and met Anna, the International Hostess. Captain Papanikalou came in a little later. My son wanted to meet the man "driving the ship". Anna took us over to him, and the Captain was joking around with my son, and said 'Tomorrow, you come see where I work". Anna took our name and cabin number and said an invite would be in our cabin the next day. This was really cool, getting a Bridge Tour? WOW! I couldn't wait until the next day.

 

This was Caribbean night. DW went and I took our son to bed since he missed his daily nap and was really tired. She had a really good time with the mellons on parade and the dancing.

 

Wednesday - Grenada We had a brief morning rain storm, and then sunshine all day. My wife and I decided to stay on the ship and just relax and treat it as a sea day. Our son hit the Fun Factory again, and we just relaxed in the Aqu Spa. He did join us for lunch today, and then back in the afternoon.

 

We got our invitation to the bridage at 4:30. Anna met us at 4:15. I figured it would be a small group of us, wrong. It was just the three of us. When we entered the bridge, I was in awe. The Captain came right over and took our son by the hand and brought him over to port side thruster station. He showed him how he moves the ship in and out of the pier. We sat right in front as we backed away and turned around. Amazing watching this from the bridge. As we got ready to leave about 45 min or so later, Captain Papanikalou took our son and put him in the Captain's chair. He showed him how to steer the ship. With the Captain's help, our son turned the ship 3 degrees to starboard!! I was amazed as I watched the bow just gracefully turn. I must say, this man is absolutely wonderful. He was so great with our son and us. We got pictures of our son and the Captain together in his seat. This was by far the most awesome experience I have ever had.

 

Our son went to the Kids Program for dinner tonight as my wife and I headed to Ocean Liners. On Saturday during our tour of the ship, we ran into an old friend. Savas from Hungary is one of the Matre D's there. He was our waiter 5 years before on the Century and we saw him again the following year there. He remembered us and put us specifically at his table. The serevice he provided us was BEYOND EXCELLENT!!! We also found out the his wife, the Asst. Matre D in San Marco, were ending their contracts in the next few weeks and heading home. They will return in May on the Millineum.

 

This was the night I hit for some nice money in the casino playing Let It Ride. I wound up winning almost $250. Not a big spender, but it made up for losing $40 on the second night.

 

Thursday - Antigua We and our friends desiro, took a cab for $5 a couple each way to Dickinson Bay. We tried to grab some beach chairs with no luck. If we had been a little earlier, we could have grabbed some. No big deal, we just sat on the Celebrity beach towels. We hung out there for a few hours, cooled down in the ocean every now and then and just relished in the fact that it was in the low 30's and windy and cold at home. After heading back to the ship, DW and I headed to Hemmingway's Cafe for some local lunch. The conch fritters were out of this world.

 

Today was also the Elite Members Galley Tour. I can tell you that the galley was so clean, that you could eat off the floor. It is truley amazing how these people feed 2000 people thousands of meals a day, day after day. We got to see them preparing all the deserts and candies, etc.. for the Grand Buffet that night. We also were treated to a glass of champagne with the head chef took us around. This tour also included the galley for Ocean Liners as well.

 

Last formal night and the Captain's Club party which was held in the Bar at the Edge of the Earth. Captain Papanikalou came in and said some words about the first time he stepped on a ship he was 4 and pointed to my son and brought him up on stage with him. He told he story of how he was my sons age and the ship he was on at 4 years old, he wound up being the Master of on it's 60th anniversary. He said our son reminded him of that journey. He also, along with our son, presented flowers and a certificate to a couple on their 20th Celebrity cruise. Our son got pictures with them all and was just a total ham. The Captain stayed with us for another 20 minutes or so after the party.

 

The lobster was very good, and of course I had to have the Prime Rib to make it a true surf and turf. :D Some of the lobsters at our table had small pieces that didn't seem to be fully cooked. We just cut them out and payed it no mind.

 

After being in the sun all day, all three of us headed to bed.

 

Friday - St. Thomas Again, Ryan had to go to the Fun Factory. I said to them that I felt guilty that he was there every day. I didn't want them to think that we were just pushing him off on them. They told us that a lot of kids once they get there, that's all they want to do when they meet new friends. Our son, who loves the beach and ocean, opted not to go with us in Antigua instead stay behind on the ship. These ladies and gentlemen in the Fun Facotry should be commended for the job they do. It seemed as if ALL the kids, no matter what age, had the times of their lives there.

 

So, DW and I headed out to shop. We both made some purchases. One that she really enjoyed was a nice diamond and pink sapphire ring I got for her. We also grabbed lunch while there. We ate in the little place where Cohen's Liquors is located at the entrance to Havensight.

 

Last night, how depressing. Especially when my folks called me on cell as we sailed away from St. Thomas. At the same time, they were sailing away from Ft. Lauderdale on the Summit. We packed pretty quickly and dumped 3 of our 4 bags outside before dinner. We dumped the last one right after dinner.

 

We bid farewell to Edic and Alina. Also, the Resteraunt Manger, Roulmeld, was our Matre D on my very first cruise on the Zenith in 1992. It was nice to see him again.

 

Saturday - San Juan The last morning. We were out of the cabin by 8:00 and said goodbye to Melvin. He was really great all week. We only saw him briefly each day in the hall or when he dropped off breakfast, but his service was EXCELLENT as well.

 

We saw Alina again Saturday morning and she just loved seeing our son again. I don't know who was more sad, her or our son, when we left. We hope to see her again next year. She will be on the Constellation next year as will we.

 

If you have a late flight, as we did, don't spend a ton of money on a day rate someplace if you don't have to. There is a place called Barachina in Old San Juan that will store your luggage for your for free. This allows you to shop, grab lunch (there is a bar/resteraunt here too). It is all secured, so you have no worries. We decided to head to the airport around 3:30. Good thing, there was a lot of traffic on the way.

 

We checked our bags, went through securtiy very quickly. Our flight departed the gate at 6:30, on schedule, however, we had some problems. As they attempted to start the engines, we lost power in the aircraft. It took them a while to fix the problem and people were very nervous at this point. The captain assured us it was okay and that this does happen from time to time. We ended up taking off a little over and hour later and got back to Philly only 40 minutes late. Not too bad considering it was a pretty bumpy ride home.

 

Final thoughts -

This was an oustanding week. We had said that this would be our last cruise for a while since our second child is due in June. Well.......that changed on Monday when we met Humberto. We booked the Constellation for 3/4/06. Next year they are doing alternating intineraries. This one that we did, and the one that we are doing (St. Marteen, Domicia, St. Lucia, Margaritta Island and Aruba).

 

If anyone has specific questions, ask away. I will try to answer them for you. We cannot wait to get back on the Constellation again next year.

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Thank you parrothead. I enjoyed your review and I am looking forward to some R&R aboard the Connie in April.

 

Please tell me a little more about Barachina and where you left your luggage. Is this a well-known fact that the cruise ship will tell you about? How did you get there? Walkable from pier (Pan American, I am assuming)?

 

Would you say that you were rushed getting back for your return flight? My flight is slated to leave at 5:45 and I was wondering how long it took to get to the airport and get through security.

 

I'm sure I will ask more questions in the future... thanks again for the review!

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The Barachina is noted in the San Juan shopping guide on Constellation. It is noted that this is free. The room was pretty full of bags when we got there, but still had room for more. The Conceirge mentioned it as well as the CD during his disembarkation talk.

 

We never felt rushed going through the airport. We checked our bags outside, placed them on the security ramp for TSA to scan them and headed in. We probably could have hung out for another 30 min a Barachina and still had plenty of time. For a 5:45 flight, I would want to be on my way from Barachina to the airport by 2:45 - 3:00 the latest. San Juan is pretty crowded and takes a little while to get out of town.

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Forgot - You need to take a taxi from the ship to Barachina. You can't walk there. It cost me $15, but I also had 3 people too. It is about a 15 or 20 min ride from the ship to town.

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thank you for the wonderful review, it was very nice to read as we will have your cabin in december! can you please elaborate a little on the cabin, balcony, amenities? and i know this is silly but what colors it is decorated in? any pictures you might post later would be much appreciated also! glad you had a great time! :D

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How do you compare the Constellation with the Millennium? We are looking forward to sailing on the Milli in 3 weeks, we only have the Mercury to compare her to.

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Am planning to sail on the Connie April 9 also leaving from philly . Do you know if there is a Celebrity rep at the airport with ground transportation or how far is the cruise ship pier from the airport? Also I am thinking of going solo(My husband can't get off from work, and my daughter is still in school) Did you notice any other solo passengers(not single and looking)? I've never cruised solo before, but always thought it wouldn't be too bad since you can sit with people at dinner and have entertainment on the ship. We have beeen on the Millie before and loved it!! Thanks

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I'll try to answer all that I can...

 

albertiger - The cabin is 191 sq ft. There was three of us, and plenty of storage. 9045 is CC Class, and there are fresh flowers on the desk and in the bathroom. You get different towels, a lot heavier - real nice. There are two small umbrellas and also a golf umbrella. Also CC has binoculars in each cabin. You get a full breakfast menu that is served on a tablecloth outside on your veranda. The veranda is nice sized. You get a round table, two chairs with cushions and a small table as well. The main color scheme throughout the ship seems to be a light green. It is actually very nice.

 

lakelodge - The two ships are basically the same. The only differences that I could see are colors and different artwork. The other difference, the Constellation, along with Summit, converted the bar/disco on Deck 11 forward to The Bar at the Edge of the Earth for Cirque De Sole. Infinity and Millieneum has not. Also, Millieneum has the Olymic Resteraunt vs. Ocean Liners on Constellation. Ocean Liners has floor tiles, wood panels and pictures from the Isle De France whereas Millieneum has panels and such from the RMS Olympic.

 

gourmetgal - I believe if you have purchases transfers from the cruise line to get from the airport to the ship, therer should be reps when you land. If you did not purchase them, then you need to arrange your own transportation to the ship. I do know there were some single passangers on board. I can't give too much more info than that. If you need a few shipmates/cabinmates, let me and my DW know, we would love to go back. We still could use another week on Constellation!! :D

 

Hope this answers all your questions.

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