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A compendium of thoughts - B2B on Constellation


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xtremely friendly and helpful crew.....always cheerful and go out of their way (in most cases) to make your cruise enjoyable....the ship is in soso condition....some areas are good so, others are bad so...some areas have seating that's well past it's prime.  The buffet lunch food was perhaps the best we've had on an M-class ship....the indian, asian, mexican areas are especially good.  Desserts look wonderful, but sometimes the experience doesn't live up the look. The cheese selection is better than our last cruises on Celebrity....as are soups.  If the sign says spicy, it is...not killer spicy, but spicy enough to be interesting.  The MDR has also improved...subjective, of course.  Yes, serving sliced turkey twice on a 7 day voyage shouldn't happen....and the everyday "NY strip steak" which I ordered one day should be used to resole shoes...but most everything else came out quite well done.  The fish, which is always difficult to get just right, was sometimes a bit overdone, but understandable.  We didn't need to return anything other than that shoe sole.  Select dining worked very well....we quickly got to know the lady handling guests with reservations (we always reserve every night at 7 before the cruise)....she was wonderful and put us the same section each night at our request (great waiter, asst and wine steward) and always managed to seat us next to a window.  

 

We don't go to most of the evening entertainment....there was a wonderful magician, and we caught a not wonderful singer (subjective of course)....we do not attend Celebrity ensemble shows....to be honest, we avoid them, based on many years of experience.  No string quartet or otherwise....bands and disk jockeys provide the music....in many cases the loud music. The cabin was perhaps the quietest we've ever had...no noise from neighbors, above, below...the only negatives were that the doors were missing hinge parts and one hinge wasn't even connected....it was fixed quickly when we mentioned the problems.  The plumbing mostly worked...stopped flushing a couple of times, but quickly restored.  One day it was difficult to get hot water in the shower.

 

We did not have everyone pushing us to upgrade to the premium package...we had classic.  I guess we were lucky....  Also had soft sell on specialty restaurants...the only one we ate at was Sushi which was actually quite good....well to be honest it was OK and nice for a change of pace. Fairly priced, had you not already paid for a meal. 

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But not all was positive....

 

The casino now pays 6:5 on blackjacks.....an annoyance.  As the cruise progressed there were a few passengers who knew most of the casino workers.  There were a number of raffles, selecting tickets to play against the officers, etc....and it struck me as "unusual" that these folks seem to always be one of the winners whose ticket was drawn.  Enough said on that topic.....

 

Bar service.....there were a few areas where there are problems....perhaps training, perhaps complacency, perhaps overworked.  The bars are not well stocked....they have the basics plus a few other things.  If you order something they don't have...the response is "we don't have that" rather than....I can get that but it may take a bit of time since I have to go to another bar.  One bar had no O'doul's non alcoholic beer...another ran out of Apperol.  Both are very basic items (we were sailing from Venice).  The only bar that had anything other than grey goose vodka (premium package) was the martini bar....but then there's the noise from the loud DJ music there, so it's hard to sit and quietly enjoy a better vodka.   Since i am a vodka (and bourbon) drinker, I wanted to try some different ones...my own taste test.  I wanted to compare stoli elit ($60 a bottle) to jewel of russia ($35 a bottle).  The bartender looked it up and found that if I wanted a drink of JOR, it would be an extra $25????? I later discussed with the bar manager who verified that it was in their system as $25 extra, but then agreed it was obviously an error since Jewel of Russia Ultimate ($90 a bottle) was shown as less expensive.  He agreed that it was covered by the premium package...couldn't change the system...but at least I did my comparison.

 

We have had a white wine on many cruises on our premium drink package (2nd cruise we were premium)...and we asked our wine steward for it....we go the deer in the headlights look.....after all, it's not on the preprinted list of drinks by the glass in the MDR.  He volunteered to check and came back with a bottle.  Then I discovered through another discussion with the bar folks that they have a non-alcoholic wine that my wife could drink.  Yes, the wine steward knew that was covered on the package, but said they only had red.  I asked him to find the white somewhere....and he returned with the head wine person who appologized and labelled the bottle for my wife for the rest of the cruise.....covered under the premium package.  Sometimes you just have to push.

 

     

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Excursions....we don't normally take ship excursions...if we want an excursion, we book it privately or perhaps with another couple of two from the roll calls.  In this case, we had more OBC than we could reasonably spend (unless I wanted to contribute it to the casino), so we took a couple.  We were a bit disappointed.  The first 4 hour tour returned, having seen all the sites, after 3 hours....well...we did see all the sites, so I guess I can't complain.  The guide made it very clear that he expected a tip...so much so that I put the 10 Euro note back in my pocket instead of into his hand.  The second excursion was to a pasta factory and a wine tasting...30 minutes between port...pasta...30 minutes to winery...30 minutes back to the ship.  Our guide sat on the bus with a microphone in her lap and said, at most 10 words...and those were along the line of "we are there".  Now i don't want the history of every tree on an excursion, but I think some description of the country, what we're seeing, maybe a little history is a reasonable expectation.  We were probably just unlucky in our guides/selections, but we'll think more before we book another celebrity excursion. 

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Alehandro is nuts....our Cruise Director....but I mean that in a positive way.  He is constantly on the go, constantly "up", at one point he was in the pool in a business suit....and then returned to lead a dance on the deck event.  He really does make a difference and I think he has and deserves a very positive following. He has two assistants who try to keep up with him and mostly do....the ship has a good vibe.  There are lots of officers walking around chatting with folks and just observing...and that's good.  We have been on ships where the officers seem to hide and it's not a good sign....there's something amiss and it generally shows....but that's not the constellation.

 

I forgot one other comment on the buffets.....you have to be careful when eating....when  you pick up the last bite from your plate, there is a hand reaching for that plate to clear the table.  I'm exaggerating, but they really do clean tables quickly and finding a table for a quick snack of steamed mussels (I do sneak into the buffet at time) is easy....you just don't see tables with dirty dishes. Cudo's to Celebrity for that positive change.

 

Ice cream remains very good.....oh, I guess I should mention that I had the worst cup of decafinated coffee in my life at a MDR breakfast...it was just terrible.  Since we have the drink packages, I live on decaf cappuccino...but I just got a fill up with the regular coffee thus my negative experience. The premium orange juice is no longer squeezed on-board, but it has gotten better....now actually worth ordering.  While speaking of breakfast, the elite breakfast is pre-plated, but we didn't have many elites eating in the tuscan grill.  Anywhere you find it, the smoked salmon is, as always, outstanding....if you see corned beef avoid it at all costs (personal opinion).

 

The internet is mostly OK.....impossible to do a useful video facetime, but fast enough for normal types of interaction....you don't want to update programs on the ship...just not fast enough.  The computers in the ilounge seem to be faster....which is where I am writing these posts.  It would take me weeks to type this much on my ipad :)

 

 

Edited by ghstudio
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a couple of suggestions that you might not know about.

 

You can ask for a vegetarian menu in restaurants...as well as a kids menu (some adults have been known to order the kids steak. You can mix and match between menus....last night I had the vegetarian indian spicy soup and an entree from the regular menu.

 

You can ask for "berries" for dessert and they will give you a bowl of whatever berries they have (it changes).

 

I forgot to talk about the celebrity application that celebrity suggests you load on your phone and gives you daily menus, events, and so on.   IMHO, it's not ready for prime time....it's a bit confusing due to the white return arrow sometimes being shown on a white background (tricky!!!) and all events are NOT shown.....several, including events recommended on the printed daily sheets are not on the application.  That makes it not so useful.

 

Don't even try to use messaging which is in the app. When you send a message to someone else on the cruise, they won't get any notification that there's an incoming message.  The only way they will know is if they look at the celebrity application and see a red blob on the upper right which indicates a message is waiting.  If they don't look, their phone is inactive or they are using the phone but not the X application, they will not see your message. 

 

If you have a tablet....the application "sort of" works...but the screens are designed for phones so you will get some strange screens with overlaid text and so on.  Officially, the application only supports phones.  Put all that together....it's just not a great application right now.  OTOH, you can find the menus for dinners during the cruise and that helps decide if you want to book a specialty restaurant.  It does have some useful features...just don't count on it to replace the printed daily events sheet.

 

 

 

 

Edited by ghstudio
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Final comment, at least for now...and I started another thread on the topic....the shampoo...part of the upgraded toiletries in Concierge Class....is pretty much body wash...not shampoo.  Bring your own or plan to buy some real shampoo at your first port of call.

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ghstudio thanks for all of the thoughts and details.  Very balanced and helpful.  We went on Connie 2 years ago out of Venice and really our only complaint was the bar service.  Not sure why they can't get it up to good service like other Celebrity ships.

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We were going a B2B on the Silhouette.   We had the premium pack.  My wife asked for a Moscow Mule using Russian Standard.   The server came back and said it was a premium vodka and would cost $6 extra.     Never knew that to be a premium vodka.  She said no just use Grey Goose.  

 

We asked the bev manager why was Russian Standard such a premium.   He said he didn’t know but there will be changes on the next cruise as everything comes from the main office and that seems to be the standard answer for everything.  On the next cruise Russian Standard was included in the classic package along with other changes of things going from classic to premium and premium to classic.  

 

We had a CD and I think it was Alehandro or someone with a similar name.   There was a very loud DJ banging on the electric drums every night at the Martini Bar and very loud distorted noise blasting  throughout the ship over the speakers.  We asked the CD why was it always so loud and noisy and not like other cruises we been on.   He said he doesn’t have any control as it it controlled by the main office and they are going in a new direction.   I think it depends on the CD as we have sailed a few times with other CDs and it was never that bad.  

 

Happy cruising 🌊🚢🇺🇸🌅

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Thanks for your review.  Loved your comment about the deer in the headlights look from the bartenders--I have been on the receiving end of that many times.  Now that I know that non-alcoholic wines and champagne are actually available thanks to the wonderful sommelier I had in Luminae, I shall press my case.  Love Alejandro!  He is so much fun and has so much energy you can't help but have a good time when he's around.

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Thanks for the great review! We will be on Connie next summer after her refurb, so it will be interesting to see how she has been revolutionized.

 

Quick question...was your pasta excursion called the “Pasta Experience” out of La Spezia? It sounds a great deal shorter than the description in the cruise planner. 

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I love Alejandro too.  He was so much fun on our Antarctica cruise with "900 sea days" (according to him).

 

ghstudio, are you sure your tour wasn't "hosted"  as opposed to having a guide?  Usually it says somewhere in the tour description.  If the tour (not usually a tour but transfer to somewhere) has a host then they just seem to be there to make sure everyone knows where to meet the bus and then go looking for strays that don't manage to get back to the bus on time.   At least that's been my experience.  

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Thanks so much for your insights on your B2B on the Constellation! We board her in the morning for our B2B and reading your comments has us even more excited! We sailed on her two years ago and have been planning this B2B ever since! Safe & happy travels to you!

Dianne

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9 hours ago, AmberCascades said:

 

ghstudio, are you sure your tour wasn't "hosted"  as opposed to having a guide?  Usually it says somewhere in the tour description.  If the tour (not usually a tour but transfer to somewhere) has a host then they just seem to be there to make sure everyone knows where to meet the bus and then go looking for strays that don't manage to get back to the bus on time.   At least that's been my experience.  

That’s exactly the question I asked at the xcursion desk when we arrived back.  They didn’t know...the description didn’t differentiate!  My comment was that either way, one would think the person would say something about their country, what we are seeing and so on.  

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One more important item.  If you have any airborne allergies, bring whatever you take to relieve the symptoms.  Occasionally, I’m allergic to dust, dander and some flowers...never been tested, but I feel it in my eyes and sinuses.

 

My eyes have been itching terribly since getting on the ship and it’s everywhere, not just our cabin.  Eye drops don’t help...it’s not dry eyes.  Most likely, it’s something in the cleaning stuff they use.  Finding the cause isn’t really possible.....but just in case you too are allergic to whatever it is....bring enough medication to last the length of your cruise.

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Welcome to Barcelona! Just wondering how fast you were able to complete the turnaround day documentation and process. Our turnaround is when we have a Celebrity fulll day tour to Rome,  so curious how they expedite the process. Safe travels back home..

 

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9 hours ago, ghstudio said:

That’s exactly the question I asked at the xcursion desk when we arrived back.  They didn’t know...the description didn’t differentiate!  My comment was that either way, one would think the person would say something about their country, what we are seeing and so on.  

That would definitely be disappointing.  The few times we've taken a "wherever on your own" type thing, it's usually just been a Celebrity staff member and they may not know much about the area.  If there's a guide, they often use someone local on the bigger Celebrity coaches and they talk about their country.  We are taking an approximately 2 hours each way "on your own" transfer next month.  It would be nice if someone said something about the area at some point over those 4 hours.  :)

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you for the review..informative and fun to read..

A shame about the desserts...how were the breads?

 

When we sail on Connie after the refurb , hope we have a less energetic CD and no drum banging!

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On 7/17/2019 at 11:34 PM, ghstudio said:

One more important item.  If you have any airborne allergies, bring whatever you take to relieve the symptoms.  Occasionally, I’m allergic to dust, dander and some flowers...never been tested, but I feel it in my eyes and sinuses.

 

My eyes have been itching terribly since getting on the ship and it’s everywhere, not just our cabin.  Eye drops don’t help...it’s not dry eyes.  Most likely, it’s something in the cleaning stuff they use.  Finding the cause isn’t really possible.....but just in case you too are allergic to whatever it is....bring enough medication to last the length of your cruise.

Thank you for all this great information on the Constellation.  I've been following along for quite some time for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, 6 of us will be on the Constellation in June 2020 for 10 nights RT from Venice through the Greek Islands and found what you've passed along very helpful.  Secondly, all 6 of us hail from Naples and are wondering where in SWFL you live?  Thanks for all the valuable knowledge you've given us.

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16 hours ago, DENIE said:

Thanks for the review...we will be on Connie in 77 days for our 10-night Venice to Rome cruise.  Eager to compare to our 2 previous experiences with Celebrity - both were terrific.

 

Are you on the November 8 cruise? If so, see you there. Be sure to join the rollcall if you haven’t already.

 

i was on Connie last October and found the food in the MDR to be outstanding overall. Indian food in the buffet always very good too. 

 

I agree that the crew is outstanding but hope we have a buffet in Tuscan Grille Captains Club breakfast. Don’t like the plated breakfasts.

 

I much prefer the smaller M class ships.

Edited by ptrpanpens
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3 hours ago, ptrpanpens said:

 

Are you on the November 8 cruise? If so, see you there. Be sure to join the rollcall if you haven’t already.

 

i was on Connie last October and found the food in the MDR to be outstanding overall. Indian food in the buffet always very good too. 

 

I agree that the crew is outstanding but hope we have a buffet in Tuscan Grille Captains Club breakfast. Don’t like the plated breakfasts.

 

I much prefer the smaller M class ships.

Hi ptrpanpens!!

 

Yes, we are on the November 8 sailing.  My wife and I are from Scottsdale, AZ, and are traveling with our dear Phoenix friends, who are cruising for the first time.  I did join the roll call, and check in on it now and then.

 

Glad to hear your experience on Connie was great....ours was on the Infinity and Silhouette, and now the Constellation, and then the Reflection in 2020. 

 

See you on board!  Down to about 73 days! 😀

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28 minutes ago, DENIE said:

Hi ptrpanpens!!

 

Yes, we are on the November 8 sailing.  My wife and I are from Scottsdale, AZ, and are traveling with our dear Phoenix friends, who are cruising for the first time.  I did join the roll call, and check in on it now and then.

 

Glad to hear your experience on Connie was great....ours was on the Infinity and Silhouette, and now the Constellation, and then the Reflection in 2020. 

 

See you on board!  Down to about 73 days! 😀

 

Looking forward to meeting you all. I have taken a similar cruise in 2013 and loved it so doing a repeat.

 

anne

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