Celebrity Constellation Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Second Mate

7+ cruises


Helpful Votes

3 out of 5

A Cruise Review: The Connie Anew

Sail Date: December 13, 2014

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Balcony

You never forget your first cruise. Like your first kiss, the memory sweetly lingers.

It’s those warm fuzzies that drew us back to Celebrity’s Constellation in December—eight years after she introduced us to a whole new way to travel.

But those were the days of midnight buffets and chocolates on our pillow. They’re long gone and the Constellation is a different place, run by the same—but yet a very different—cruise line.

The Ship: Wearing the Years Well

The Constellation has held up very nicely since its 2002 inauguration. Its upgrade and “Solsticization” in 2013 brought new beds to the cabins, refreshed carpeting throughout, new restaurants, bars and more. It’s a handsome ship, with a commanding marble staircase dominating the Grand Foyer on Deck 3.

One of the ship’s highlights is at the very back of Deck 10, what I call the “Teak Deck” for its upgraded picnic furniture (officially, it’s the “Sunset Bar”). The little patio, like most of the ship (including rooms and balconies), is now smoke-free, enabling all of us to enjoy the view of the stern’s wake without wheezing.

The ship is compact and easy to get around; we had the layout down in a day. Its relative smallness at 91,000 tons gave it an intimate feel, which, after many trips on larger vessels, was a nice change of pace.

The Entertainment: Mixing It Up

There’s been a big change in the daytime activities. Where once there were guest speakers, there are now “Life Enhancement” lectures on health and fitness. “Enhance Your Life Through Exercise” and “Happy Feet for Healthy Life” were some of the offerings.

There are also more pool and game show activities, as the cruise line works to appeal to younger cruisers. An officer vs. guest pool volleyball game made its debut on this trip, joining the usual “Newlywed Game” takeoff, “Battle of the Sexes” and “Liar’s Club,” which—a first for us—featured the ship’s captain on the panel.

Evening entertainment was good quality, albeit standard fare—Broadway-style shows, a comedian, violinist, magician and singer. Off-stage entertainment ran the gamut, from folk music to classical to rock and salsa.

The Food: A Turn Toward Ordinary

Alas, from this foodie’s perspective, quality was sacrificed for quantity. When we first took the Connie, the three-star Michelin winner Michel Roux was running the show and each meal in the main dining room was a gastronomical high. Today, the food is plain at best. Entrees ranged from good (there was a nice crispy breaded pork chop and decent tenderloin) to poor (one steak had a very strange consistency). Desserts are merely ordinary. Instead of the rich and decadent “Opera” pastry I enjoyed on Princess, for example, the Constellation serves up chocolate layer cake.

The ship’s buffet, the Oceanview Café, runs until 9:30 p.m. at dinner, but compared to buffets on competing lines, seems an afterthought. There are some nice features, such as made-to-order grilling (choice of steak, salmon, chicken and pork), stir-fry and pasta, good pizza and an ice cream bar with syrup and candy toppings. But the desserts seldom varied from puddings or cupcakes.

On the other hand, the breakfast and lunch buffets offered a huge variety. (Although sorely missing was the array of fabulous rolls we once looked forward to.)

The Extras: A Few Still Remain

Some of what earned Celebrity the reputation of a premier cruise line is still there—the welcome champagne at embarkation, iced towels greeting you after a hot day at port, but we find it a changed cruise line, and the Constellation, a changed ship.

Those sailing on the Constellation for the first time will enjoy a smaller ship experience, quality entertainment and a crew eager to please. In short, a good cruise, but not a spectacular one.

--Musing About Cruising, http://musingaboutcruising.blogspot.com

Cruise Photos

Ship Quality
The ship is in very good shape and features a commanding marble staircase in its Grand Foyer. It's compact and intimate in feel.
Food and Dining
The food quality is vastly changed since we first sailed on the Connie in 2006; alas, it has not been an improvement. We found it merely ordinary and not as good as Princess or even Royal Caribbean.
Cabin / Stateroom
We had one of the quietest rooms we've ever had on a ship. And the Constellation has a slew of storage space--much more than RCI's Allure of the Seas, for example. There are six deep drawers in the closet, cabinets on both sides of the desk, night tables with two closed drawers, and other nooks and crannies for storing stuff.
Service and Staff
Overall, we found the staff helpful and eager to please. While our room steward never came to meet us when we embarked, his service was adequate.
Decent quality but the usual Broadway-style productions, a singer, violist, magician and comedian.
Children's Programs Can't comment, as we didn't bring children.
Onboard Activities
We were sad to see that the guest lecturers we once enjoyed on the Constellation are now gone, replaced with more typical activities, such as pool games, contests, and health and fitness presentaitons (think acupuncture and aromatherapy).
Destinations and Excursions
This was the reason we took the Constellation--kudos to Celebrity for going where no one else goes and putting St. Barts on the itinerary. It was a big effort for them--they had to use the ships tenders, and it was a slow process. But so worth it. St. Croix was another not-very-visited island on our stops.
Labadee (Cruiseline Private Island)
We've been here before and it's marvelous. The water is clear, the foliage is tropical and the shopping's fun. Alas, this trip it rained all day.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
One of my favorite ports and this year, I found it better than ever. It was colorful, vibrant, an interesting mix of European and Caribbean ar chitecture, and best of all, everything's walkable.
Frederiksted, St. Croix, U.S.V.I.
We were the only ship on this sleepy island and enjoyed the pristine water (with full conch shells on the beach!) and slow pace. There aren't many tourist shops, though, and not surprisingly, prices were high.
Gustavia, St. Barthelemy
This was a terrific treat. A compact, picturesque harbor with so many gigantic yaghts, it looked like a boatyard. French is both the language and way of life here, and it had the feel of the French Riveria, complete with outdoor cafes, chic shops and pastry. You can leave your wallet onboard the ship, though, as a garden-variety refrigerator magnet will set you back nearly $10.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Fabulous port that is not only very attractive but also offers a ton to do. The waterfront is filled with colorful and tropical foliage, a beach, affordable restaurants and bars, and the shopping is varied and has some of the best prices of the Caribbbean islands.


The AquaSpa Café, located in the area of the Solarium, is a hidden gem. This tiny café, which is only open for breakfast and lunch, is oriented toward more healthy fare, and serves (at no cost) made-to-order salmon, Atlantic Char and tuna. It's a great alternative to the MDR and Oceanview Café.

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