Summary: We couldn't be happier with our cruise on the Celebrity
Constellation and can't wait to go on another one.
Embarkation and Debarkation
- It really couldn't have been smoother. The "illness
symptoms I've had in the past week" questionnaire was
a bit daunting, but I guess it's required with the recent
virus outbreaks on cruise ships (including one the week we
traveled). It literally took 5 minutes. Once on the ship,
we were handed glasses of champagne and greeted by a white-gloved
steward who directed us to our cabin. Arrival and departure
in all ports was smooth and effortless, and the cold towels
when you return to the ship were a nice touch.
Our Cabin- Since
we got such a fantastic deal on this cruise from
ourvacationstore.com, we had opted for a deluxe stateroom
with a verandah (aka balcony). We also saved $$ by selecting
"run of the house" rather than selecting a specific
cabin when we made our reservation. We were on deck 6, port
side, and somewhat forward/mid ship. The decor was bright
and cheery - one whole wall of mirrors and the sliding glass
doors to the balcony certainly made it seem larger than it
was. I always hear people complaining about the size of staterooms
and bathroom facilities - if you are in your stateroom enough
to be bothered by these things, there is something wrong with
you :) Our cabin steward Cheryll was amazing - we never saw
her yet our room was straightened every single time we left.
No towels animals though.
Ship - This was our first time on
Celebrity Cruises, and the Constellation is one of their
newer ships (only a year old). Highlights of the ship include:
- Main Pool -
The saltwater pool was decent sized, and there were two
jacuzzi's and a smaller pool (presumably for children).
Even on the at-sea day, there was plenty of room in the
pool and plenty of chairs and towels available.
- Thalassotherapy Pool
- If you haven't been in one of these, I'll try to create
a visual since we didn't take any pictures. Think of a nicely
cooled two story tall solarium with glass walls and a glass
roof. The lounge furniture is dark teak and is surrounded
by a lot of green foliage. In addition to the sounds of
the bubbling water, there's background music playing sounds
of waves and birds. And there are no children - just "like
minded adults" (a Celebrity term). There are two salt
water hot tubs, and one very large salt water thalassotheray
pool. There's a section in the large pool with a built-in
lounge chair over the jets. From the spas and pool you can
see out the port and starboard side of the ship - providing
great views of the water and nearby islands. This place
SCREAMED relaxation. It was a very odd sensation to be in
the pool while the ship was moving, because the water in
the pool was sloshing back and forth as the ship rocked
from side to side. As a side note - this ship is so big
that we barely felt it move at all - but you could sure
feel it in the pool!
- Internet -
We were so excited to find that the ship had a 24-hour internet
cafe! Even though it was .75/minute, it was well worth the
convenience of not having to waste time searching ashore
and there was never a wait. The ship even offers Photoshop
seminars! Towards the end of the week, we discovered the
computer "lab" on Deck 3 - not sure what everyone
else used this place for, but we used it to upload pictures.
The ship also has three
webcams (bridge, internet cafe, and computer lab).
- Neat things we didn't
participate in: The library (Words) and music library
(Notes) looked ample and would you believe they even rent
Drinking, Dining, and Entertainment
- Seaside Cafe and Grill
- Located on Deck 10, the Seaside Cafe restaurant serves
buffet breakfast and lunch, not to mention ice cream all
day long. There's also a Seaside Grill which serves hamburgers,
hot-dogs, pizza, etc. We were leery of the buffet, because
the one on Carnival smelled like mildew and was overrun
with "junior cruisers". This was the complete
opposite. The buffet food was all decent quality, and there
was always someone waiting to carry your tray to the table
of your choice. There was plenty of nice air-conditioned
seating and the dining room spanned the entire width of
the ship offering great views off both sides. Since this
deck was at the widest part of the ship, there were neat
glass "portholes" placed sporadically near the
windows on the floor allowing you to look straight down
into the water. Since the Seaside Cafe is at the back of
the ship, there is also an outdoor seating area on the aft
- San Marco Dining Room
- The two-story San Marco dining room spans decks 4 and
5 in the aft of the ship. We ate here for dinner (main seating)
most nights and some breakfasts. We had a table for two
by the window :) The food was great, and the service was
better. Highlights include 5 nights of 5-course meals including
fantastic soups, lobster on Thanksgiving, and baked Alaska
(which is neither baked nor from Alaska).
- Ocean Liners
- The last night of the cruise we opted to dine at Ocean
Liners, which is the specialty restaurant. WOW. The service
was quite possibly the best we've ever had. Highlights of
the meal include the mobile champagne trolly, lobster soup,
rack of lamb en-croute, and a full cheese course. This restaurant
is best when paired with the walking track on deck 11 :)
- Michael's Club
- the private club where everyone is a member??? I still
don't understand this oxymoron-of-a-slogan :) Michael's
Club had varying entertainment, including a few pianists
and an acapella group. Nice if you're looking for something
other than the discotheque.
- Martini and Champagne
Bar - The Martini Bar on deck 5 quickly became our
favorite hangout. Sudi, the shaker-throwing, magic trick
wielding bartender was quite entertaining. He also mixes
a MEAN martini, substituting any juice with flavored vodka!
The highlight was the Martini tasting event on the first
night. For $5 each, we received 5 generous sample sized
martinis: gin (yuck), vodka (yuck), lemon (yum), apple (yum),
and raspberry (yum). These bars were open to the Rendezvous
Lounge on Deck 4. Apres-dinner a band called "Touch
of Class" played everything from "Strangers in
the Night" to "Tequila".
- Celebrity Theater
- The theater spanned decks 4 and 5 in the bow of the ship.
The entertainment was definitely better than on Carnival,
but was still of the typical shipboard variety - Vegas-style
revue, comedian, etc.
- Reflections Nightclub
- Located on the 11th floor at the front of the ship,
the "disco" on Constellation was either deserted
or packed. They alternated between a band (Prodigy, who
also played poolside during the day) and a DJ.
- Casino - Granted,
we're not gamblers, but we did spend a few hours in the
casino. It wasn't as large as the one on the Carnival ship
(which is surprising since this ship is three times the
Southern Caribbean Itinerary
- St. Maarten - Note
to self: this is the danger of not meticulously researching
destinations prior to arrival.
When we arrived in St. Maarten, we stopped at the visitors
center at the pier. They provided us with a map, and we
noticed a Kodak icon at Orient Beach so we decided to go
there. Note #2: we later realized that this meant that Kodak
products are SOLD at this location. The taxi system in St.
Maarten is very organized - there are signs with the names
of various places, and the rates are fixed. Three minutes
later we were squished in a cab with a dozen other people
headed for Orient Beach. The cab cost <$> to take
us from Phillipsburg (on the Dutch side) to Orient Beach
(on the French side). The hilly ride took us through the
typical island countryside - would have liked to stop and
photograph the cows and egrets but the other passengers
might have objected.
We arrived at Orient Beach and decided to rent lounges and
an umbrella (pretty much in the center of the crescent that
is Orient Beach). Once settled, we noticed the...lack of
clothing on beachwalkers. Apparently, Orient Beach is home
to a "naturist
resort" but we thought it was like elsewhere where
they stick (no pun intended) to themselves. NOPE - they
wander among the rest of us. And much of what we saw can
be summed up as "bad naked". But Orient Beach
is breathtaking, the sand powdered-sugary, and the water
warm and calm. Perfect!
DISCLAIMER: Andy can not confirm or deny any of the previously
mentioned events because he "was very interested in
the book he was reading".
- St. Lucia-St.
Lucia was such a pleasant surprise. We (and two other couples)
hired a boat for a day tour from Castries (where the ship
docked) south to Soufriere. Highlights include scenic Marigot
Bay, beach time at Anse
Chastenet resort, and a visit to "the waterfall".
- Barbados -
Barbados was a bit of a disappointment. We hired a driver
for a half day tour of the island. We went looking for this
man that we had seen three years ago (painting boats on
the beach) but apparently he had died. Then we went to the
reserve to look for monkeys, but didn't see one single
primate! Bathsheba was as beautiful as the last time we
visited. Our driver ("fat man") felt bad about
the lack of monkeys at the reserve, so he took us this man's
(Poison's) house to see his monkeys (we kid you not, he
had two monkeys in his front yard).
- Antigua -
Supposedly Antigua has 365 beaches, but we didn't see any
of them because the weather was bad!
- St. Thomas
- We've been to St. Thomas several times and headed for
St. John this trip. WOW - what a perfect day. We took the
ferry from Red Hook (St. Thomas) to St John, and then spent
the day at Cinnamon
Beach. Donkeys on the beach