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Celebrity Constellation - Photo Review - March 26, 2015


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Our Background:


Mrs. Winks and I are back from a four night cruise on the Celebrity Constellation. Our sail date was Thursday, March 26th and the ports of call on this itinerary were Nassau, Bahamas and Key West, Florida. We are generally Loyal to Royal, where we are Diamond members. Yes, of course there were those several admittedly-meaningless flings on Princess (trust me; it didn’t mean anything!) but this was only our second cruise on the Celebrity line. Interestingly enough, it was also our second voyage on Constellation, as well. And while normally we would have chosen a different fleet member to explore, the 1-2-3 Go promotion was t-o-o-o tempting to ignore and this ship was the only one that played fair with our ability to get time off… so Constellation it had to be. The good news is, four nights later, we are still happy with that choice.


It being late March, things had finally started to warm up here in the Northeast U.S. We’re NYers who’d endured a rather brutal winter and we had booked this cruise at the height of the big chill. So I couldn’t help but be a little happy when the temperatures dipped again just as we began to pack in preparation of getting out of town for this voyage. Let’s face it, cruising the Bahamas is a heck of a lot more fun when your friends and family are back home freezing! Oh wait, is that a company secret? With the corollary being, no one wants to be cruising when the weather reports from home include the terms miraculous spring thaw and colorful tulip blooms! So while tossing 50 lb bags into the back of the SUV at 4:30 am in 15 degree weather doesn’t sound like much fun, trust me, I was warmed by the tingle called triumph that was glowing in my heart. Off we drove to our early morning flight.






I’m usually the worry wart and paranoid one when we travel. Will we be called to the bad boy room for binging on wine? Will this be a norovirus ship, that also loses engine power, has to stop to pick up Cuban refugees and also suffers a MOB? And what about those spring breakers we’ve all heard horror stories about? Etc, etc. So my congratulations have to go to Celebrity for successfully turning my wife into me – all with a single email. You know which one I’m talking about. The please arrive at the port at this exact time email. Well, actually, it was two emails and a text. But it did the trick. My normally skeptical wife was ready to change our travel plans - all based on an assumption that we wouldn’t be able to board the ship until our allotted time. Thanks to those official sounding emails and text from Celebrity.


Of course, being a paranoid worry wart, I’m much more active on Cruise Critic, so I’ve read the bizzillion forum responses that confirm this request is only a suggested time for arrival on the pier… not the rarely called upon 11th commandment of cruising. And while I entertained her concern for a while, to the point of suggesting we re-book our airline tickets (ha!), I actually had to back down and let her in on the secret when I caught her in the act of dialing our air carrier. Phew. Dodged a bullet on that one.




Like all good Cruise Critic members, we flew to Florida a day early to avoid any chance of being late for our sailing. (Told you I’m the paranoid one!) Fortunately, Mrs. Winks has a sister living in a big empty-nest house in Boca, so we had a cheap place to crash for the day. (Seriously, it only costs us the price of taking her and my brother-in-law out for dinner, which, after our bar bill, truth be told, might actually rival the cost of staying at the Port Everglades Hyatt… but this is more fun than a hotel bar, and there’s less chance of getting bed bugs, I think, so we go with it).


Thursday morning, despite my wife’s continued trepidation, and in full defiance of Celebrity’s suggested boarding time, we recklessly arranged to get dropped off at Port Everglades at 11 am, a full 3 hours early from Celebrity's suggested boarding time. Strangely enough, the guard posted at the pier security checkpoint waved our vehicle through, oblivious to our flagrant dismissal of Celebrity’s rules, and even the baggage porter didn’t care when my wife suggested maybe it was too early for him to take our luggage and maybe he should store it separately. Yes folks, I’m pleased to report that everything at embarkation went super smooth. The terminal was bustling, but not busy. Lines were short, we even had time to goof around with the port staff, and we boarded the Constellation by 11:30 am, stopping even for a little water refreshment at the stand that had been set up in the empty waiting area. (I love sharing a picture of it - above - because, for some cruisers, it’s still a mythical amenity of the boarding process).




Upon crossing the gangplank, our pre-cruise anxieties seemed to melt away - thanks to the equally mythical glasses of champagne welcoming us into the atrium of the ship. Of course, in retrospect, the champagne stop is purely a ploy to get you to drop your carry ons, and take in the carnival midway Celebrity’s so carefully set up to showcase beverage packages, specialty dining and even future cruise stations! It’s also a good ploy for making you forget the fact that you stateroom won’t be ready for another couple of hours… so there’s nothing else to do but start drinking!


But I had other concerns to address. Mrs. Winks, clearly maddened by the stress the suggested boarding time brouhaha had caused in her, (and mostly for having to admit I was right about the boarding time – and that it didn’t matter what they text you) my wife proceeded to gulp down her first glass of champagne and then dive bomb in for another… kamikaze style. I guess by her way of thinking, Celebrity owed her that second glass. But the steward / TSA agent supervising the champagne dole out wasn’t having any part of that. “One glass per person, PLEASE!” he shouted at her, slashing down his arm like a trained gestapo agent. No soup for you!


Feeling a tinge of sympathy for her (I know, it’s rare), I let her suck down the back swill from my glass and then directed her to the Specialty Dining booth. Yes, part of me resented the fact that their little ploy was working – here we were, stopping, pausing, and succumbing to their upsell, but my Cruise Critic encyclopedic recall reminded me that booking a specialty restaurant dinner for this evening, embarkation night, would yield us a 20% discount on the rate. So it was worth getting it reserved. We made an 8:30 pm reservation for the Tuscan Grille and it was also a choice we would not regret.




The atrium crowd was beginning to grow and the champagne guy kept shooting Mrs. Winks dirty looks, so we headed up to the pool deck to get back our bearings and tuck away all our no longer needed travel documents. (Me, of course, paranoid we would certainly lose the passports). We walked the upper decks and acted like what I guess homeless people must feel like when they stumble into the Ritz Carlton – inappropriately dressed and with no place to situate. It wasn’t long before, once again, armed with my database of Cruise Critic tips and a healthy on board credit (thanks to our travel agent and the 1-2-3 Go offer), I suggested to Mrs. Winks that we bypass the madness in Ocean Café buffet and fork over the 7 dollar a piece surcharge to enjoy a sane lunch at Bistro on Five which I knew was open on embarkation day.


It was a good choice. The food isn’t bad, even if the options are pretty limited (unless you’re really into crepes), but it was just nice to be able to find a quiet nook, away from the growing mass of onboarding refugees walking about aimlessly like the extras on Walking Dead. We had soup and panini’s… and a chocolate cake you can see Mrs. Winks making short work of in the pic above.




Oh, and did we mention this was a partially chartered cruise? Thanks to my paranoia, I was sure to check out our Cruise Critic roll call the day we booked this cruise. Of course, I was on the lookout for any indication this was a spring break booking, or a norovirus survivors reunion cruise, or one of those ‘70s hair band cult cruises. So I was surprised, and maybe a little relieved, to find out it was a partial charter for NY Jets football fans.


Yes, I deplore juice heads like the rest of us, but I figured if it’s a choice between another Top Chef charter or the NY Jets, I’ll take the lunkheads. They’re shy, basically just want to have a good time with their families, and don’t make a big deal about being there. One of the most refreshing things was to see them interact with their families and enjoying the cruise experience – something I overheard several of them say was their first time.

Above our some pictures of the Jets “takeover” of the cruise. But quite honestly, it was all pretty much low key. We were only kicked out of the Captain’s Club lounge once for one of their private events!


Up next, want to agitate a paranoid person? Book him in special handicap stateroom when he has no visible affliction (other than his paranoia) and let him know he could be re-assigned anytime a NY Jet (or other passenger) shows up with a torn ACL ligament or similar affliction.


Also to come… the Celebrity TODAY schedules for each day - plus our exploits in Nassau and Key West.

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The Carolina Panthers (or whatever they were, I dont watch NFL) were on Silhouette for the March 1st sailing.


They were in partying in Qusar on the last sea day night. I can now officially say I have partied with NFLer, all thought I didn't realize it at the time.

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You had me at the guy slapping down people wanting seconds and "norovirus reunion cruise." I remember being nearly tackled by a steward when I had the temerity to walk away with my champagne glass. "No..you cannot take the glass away!"


We board Constellation on Thursday for the transatlantic so seeing the pictures are really amping up the anticipation!

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Our Cabin Door


Take a good look at the picture above and then step into the mind of this poor cruising soul who suffers extreme bouts with OCD and paranoia - no matter what crazy combination of prescription strength lithium and the unlimited beverage package he’s taken. Gaze upon this picture, it’s of our cabin door, and then enter my world.


About 3 weeks earlier, our travel agent booked us this stateroom, 7212, a handicap accessible Concierge Class room at the aft of the ship. He assured us he’d done us a real solid with this choice, since it featured more square footage than the typical veranda room and was a great steal given the 1-2-3 Go promotion. The real bonus, it also had a very generous balcony, something Mrs. Winks kills for.


When I questioned him about the requirement that occupants suffer from some sort of devastating mobility issue, he scoffed and said that yes, if someone with mobility issue booked the cruise this late in the game and requested the room, we might get bumped. But he boasted this had never happened in any such booking he had ever made. Hint, this is never something you say to assuage a paranoid person.




Stateroom #7212 – Concierge Class – Aft Cabin


So as you can imagine, all week long, I kept expecting some burly member of the Celebrity Security Staff to appear at our cabin door demanding that we re-locate our belongings. Worst of all for me, I’d never see him coming, as the halls were teaming with myriad burly guys, most of whom were Jets players. Every time I exited the room, I wasn’t sure if the massive goon bearing down on me was a security staffer or simply a former Jets linebacker making his way back to his perfectly legal, non-handicapped, cabin.


And of course, I knew something was coming. It would be some deserving passenger, maybe one who’d missed his flight to Fort Lauderdale because of hopelessly deficient ADA airline regulations, who had been airlifted to meet the ship - using his super premium trip insurance policy that afforded such conveyence. Then he and his wheelchair - and maybe a security guard - or just a Jets player he had paid off - would come lay rightful claim to this accessible stateroom that me and Mrs Winks had now fallen in love with. And we would be rudely escorted down to some holding pen, thrown into the claustrophobic cell with a gang of angry spring break drunkards and some poindextery guy they caught card-counting in the casino, while our room steward haphazardly packed all our garments and transferred them to (gasp) an inside cabin - with an obstructed view - from which we'd enjoy the rest of our cruise. No afternoon canapes for you!




The Bathroom Facilities


None of this happened, of course. But there was no convincing me that it couldn’t have. Nonetheless we quickly settled into our spacious and totally livable balcony room. It easily beat the woefully mis-designed Owners Suite on the Regal Princess we sailed on several months back and it only really fell short with the awkwardness of having no proper shower stall in the bathroom. Depending on how severely the ship was rocking while you were showering, water could be coating the entire lavatory floor.


Two other things bugged me about the cabin. There were red emergency pull chords hanging from every wall in the cabin (you can see one in the picture above) - presumably for a handicapped guest to use in case of a fall or similar accident. But one was located right next to the toilet… and I had visions of reaching out to steady myself during a late night drunken pee and pulling the chord by mistake. Thus prompting the ship’s EMS crew and the Captain himself to come running, only to discover I had not fallen and, in fact, had full use of all my limbs. And how mortifying would that be?


The second thing? There was only one life jacket in our cabin… seriously! And it was located high on the closet shelf where even I had trouble accessing it… how was the rightful occupant of the room supposed to reach it? And why only one? This seemed to be in clear violation of maritime law, so I feebly postulated that if they tried to nail me on my stateroom eligibility, I would drop a dime and narc them out to the nearest US Coast Guard cutter or worse, the hospital-ship chasers over at Cruise Bruise dot com! I may be paranoid, but I'm not unprepared!




The Balcony


One of the room’s finest features was its extended balcony that had more than enough room for 2 deck recliners and a breakfast table for four. It’s true that with these aft cabins the ocean view can get a little monotonous; it’s always that of the ship’s wake. But I soon realized if I turned the television just right, and stuck my head halfway out the balcony door, I could tune into the bridge-cam channel and monitor both the fore and aft of the ship simultaneously. Trust me, this came in quite handy the sea day afternoon I was convinced ISIS was going to try to board our vessel. This was during our day at sea, when we were cruising at a snail’s pace - a whopping 5 knots - because the next port, Key West, was hardly 100 miles away. At this speed we were sitting ducks for them!! And yes, I needed a neck massage after all that switching attention from the bridge cam to the live aft view while fretting about my lateral blind spot... but if it's one thing I've learned; the price of vigilance never comes cheap.


All in all, cabin 7212 was one of the best ones we’ve stayed in. To me it was better than a mini-suite and rivalled the spaciousness of a full suite. That said, some full suites didn’t give us a balcony this spacious. So it was really a nice place to stay… that is, if you can suffer the guilt and angst of being in a room reserved for mobility challenged guest.


One other draw back… the cabin is located directly across from the room attendant’s service door and you do hear them opening and closing (and sometimes slamming) it throughout the room servicing hours. I’ve never been in a cabin where noise has been an issue, but this was a first for us. Not a big deal and by no means a deal breaker… it’s a great room. But you do have to put up with the constant in and out of that service door… carts and all.




Sailing Out of Fort Lauderdale


After a painfully brutal muster – a large number of people didn’t show up and were repeatedly called – we were finally free to begin truly enjoying our short cruise. We raced back up to our cabin, happy to find no one had occupied it in our absence, and quickly unpacked our bags, plugged in our clip strips and met our room steward, the delightful Carolina.


Right on schedule, we pulled out of the terminal 4 berth at Port Everglades, passing by the impressive rear end of the Caribbean Princess as we did.




Bon Voyage!


It was time to pop the cork on the bottle of Celebrity vintage champagne our travel agent had graciously ordered for our stateroom - along with an accompanying note saying “Here’s hoping you don’t get the boot!” His humor fell flat with me. But we were underway and ready to spend a few days in cruise land… the best place to be!


Next up... our shore excursion in Nassau. What's more relaxing than visiting a port that's security status was jacked up to "Critical" by the US State Department just days prior to our sailing! What, me worry?

Edited by WinksCruises
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We got 7212 on a Panama Canal 15 day cruise on Infinity and it was assigned to us by Celebrity due to a earlier cabin assignment mistake by them. Celebrity stepped up and for us it was a great cabin. Good news for us too was we realized the mistake by Celebrity 15 months out!


Not sure how Celebrity allowed you to get cabin. Your big risk, IMHO, would be with little time left before the cruise you do get bumped and there are no other aft facing CC cabins. That would play on my paranoia! Talk about sweating it out.


Looks like a great start to your review!



Thanks and I love your perspective! :)

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I am thoroughly enjoying your review... both informative and amusing! :)


We are booked on the Connie next Spring and my in-laws have the same cabin one deck up - so it's great to have the pictures to show them. (And they qualify for the accessible cabin and so will not need to suffer the bouts of paranoia that plagued you on your cruise! :rolleyes:)


We actually have all 4 of the (non FV) aft cabins on deck 8 - and would love it if we could open up the partitions to have one super huge family balcony - but alas, it is not to be. :(

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Love your review, your pictures and your slightly paranoid speculation. :D


You have provided a great view of inside of the aft balconies.

We will be in one on the Sky deck on our next Connie cruise!:D

Look forward to the next installment.

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Thanks for taking the time to wade through all this nonsense and for leaving your thoughts and comments.


Those of you with upcoming cruises on Connie are justified in being excited. She's a great ship. And those of you getting a chuckle out of the sorry state of my mental health, just know that the NSA - and that anonymous Celebrity Cruise Line member that contributes here - are both reading these posts, taking down notes and your usernames no doubt. So who's the paranoid one now! Aha!


Okay, let me interuppt the narrative thread for a moment and post the Day One Celebrity TODAY issue from the March 26th sailing - as well as a couple of other information flyers, before I suffer a computer crash or my scanner breaks down or the Cruise Critic admins lock this thread because they don't condone the mad ramblings of a CC member who'd be so flip about traveling in a special needs room. ('cause you know at least one of these things is gonna happen!)














Mrs. Winks and I will be back later with more accounts of the ship and our day avoiding gangs of knife wielding thugs in downtown Nassau.


Edited by WinksCruises
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Really enjoying your review so far! :) Great photos, thank you. We're going on Connie for the first time this summer, and have an accessible balcony cabin booked (I am disabled so at least won't be panicking about whether we'll get bumped :D) - it's quite difficult to find photos of accessible cabins so THANK YOU! :)


Looking forward to your next post. :)

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Oh thank goodness, you posted Spanner14 (see above). Finally... someone for whom this mindless drivel might have some actual use!


You're right, these rooms probably don't get the coverage they should. Photags like me aren't supposed to be in them! So it just makes sense to post a few more shots of the room - for you and other cruisers here who might benefit from seeing them.



Shower stall


Two great things about the shower... 1) the hand-wand shower head. You usually don't see these in less than suite level rooms, right? My original fear was the shower-head would be mounted too low... but this one was fully adjustable and could reach 6 feet high. 2) the folding chair. Mrs Winks said it was perfect when it came time to groom her legs and wonders why all showers don't come with them! I didn't need to, but I'm sure the seat would come in handy on all those hangover mornings where even standing in the cold shower takes herculean resolve!


Also, I found it silly to have a towel mat for this layout. There's essentially no lip separating the shower from the main floor, so water gets all over the floor. It's fine, the several drains make easy work of it. But the towel mat just ends up getting soaked, well before you "step out" to use it.



The commode


I did find it odd that there was no box holder for the facial tissue. The phone next to the toilet is a plus... but as I mentioned before, I had nothing but dread for the emergency call cable hanging nearby.


Also the flushing button was typical... not sure why there isn't a friendlier version for those who can't manage to push it (as I did some mornings!)





There's the aforementioned single(!) life preserver - hanging out on the top shelf out of the reach of all of us! Still can't figure out what that's all about, but forgot to ask our room steward for an explanation.


Also, the rod for hanging your wardrobe items was attached to a hinge so the entire bar could be lowered (see the arrows).


You can see the umbrella that the room comes with, lower left. That and a pair of cheapo binoculars come as Concierge Level perks.



Room safe


The room safe was an old style metallic clunker. It was a little larger than the versions we've been seeing lately, able to hold our both our tablets and DSLR camera bodies. It used a touch pad pin code to open/close.




On the lower right, you can see the ramp that bridges the lip between the cabin and balcony. And at the cabin door, there was only the tiniest of lips, which left a healthy gap at the bottom of the door - which might explain why you could hear so much noise from the service door in the hallway.


Other amenities of the room that I can recall.

  • The room had a doorbell.
  • There was also a button to open the door automatically from the inside.
  • The sitting room love seat pulled out into a single mattress bed.
  • And the bathroom mirror was actually slanted forward, favoring optimum viewing from a lower vantage point.


Hope that's of help. It's a great room. But just remember, even as accessible rooms go, it's a unique aft area one, and Concierge Level, so other accessible rooms elsewhere on the ship may differ.


Yikes, Mrs Winks and I have to go out for dinner - We're suffering from having to cook and clean after ourselves all week! So I won't get to our Nassau adventures 'til tomorrow (Saturday). But hopefully someone else will have posted a more readable and less worrisome review of this ship by then and you guys can abandon this one. Just don't fight over the single life preserver.


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VERY surprised to see that you have a formal night on a 4 day cruise!! Seems a bit silly to me.....

Not only was there a formal night, they held it on our first day, which was a port day!


Both Mrs. Winks and I thought it would have made more sense to hold it the night of our day at sea.... allowing more primping time, more time to get pressing done etc.

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NO! You can't go to dinner! I leave tomorrow and want to hear more now. Oh wait, I booked a RS with the new amenities to include unlimited internet. OK, you can go eat in peace, I can follow along while on the ship.. ;-) I'll take a deep breath and go finish packing.

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I am really enjoying your review and your wonderful and crazy sense of humour....


I am also very pleased with all the pics of the HC suite.... I am booked in a sky suite HC room on Infinity next year and love seeing what we may enjoy IF we actually get to travel (mobility being a huge issue right now).


Hope you enjoyed your supper... now hurry and keep up the posts.... :D

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I am really enjoying your review and your wonderful and crazy sense of humour....


I am also very pleased with all the pics of the HC suite.... I am booked in a sky suite HC room on Infinity next year and love seeing what we may enjoy IF we actually get to travel (mobility being a huge issue right now).


Hope you enjoyed your supper... now hurry and keep up the posts.... :D


The OP pictures are of an accessible C1 aft stateroom, not a Sky suite.;)

the C1's have a huge balcony on the aft on all the M class ships.

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