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  #61 (permalink)  
Old January 8th, 2003, 07:58 AM
Steve Prevost
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Default Re: Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Ben

We are looking forward to sailing on the Mercury next month and we've sailed on the Galaxy and Horizon. I've been reading your comments and the resposes with great interest. My question is this. Has anyone from Celebrity ever aknowleged your observations?

Steve
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  #62 (permalink)  
Old January 8th, 2003, 10:56 AM
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Benjamin, thank you.

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  #63 (permalink)  
Old January 8th, 2003, 06:07 PM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Steve,

The hotel manager at the repeaters club acknowledged that the bigger ship had less public lounges than the previous and smaller classes of ships. He was hesitant to comment on the food quality and some apparent cutbacks. He finally admitted that the food quality has been going down little by little from around 1995 to present and that there was work to do regarding "food and service". He said the Millennium ship had to have a lot of balconies and some compromises were made from the original plans.

I'll be writing Celebrity and the tone will be that I enjoy their product in the past and what I found on the Constellation, positive and negative. I have friends that used to know the CEO, Rick Sasso, and lots of Celebrity Captains and some of their management, but their management has changed.

Overall, perhaps, Celebrity, HAL and to some degree Princess used to cater to a somewhat discerning minority of cruise pax of middle to upper-middle incomes and now have broadened their products to a more middle of the road crowd and I think, have watered their products down. There's also the economic downturn to consider and the overbuilding of newbuilds. Celebrity may turn it around, it is just that there prices are too low and they are getting in a considerable amount of their customers based on price. The onboard add-ons are only bringing in but so much revenue.
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  #64 (permalink)  
Old January 8th, 2003, 08:58 PM
Sandi Frehmel-Heim
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Default Re: Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

My family was very disappointed with the Constillation-are avid Celebrity cruiser and felt let down. We weren't excited with the islands, but took a chance with the new ship. Service in the dining room was not up to Celebrity's standards. Heard they just resigned with Apollo caterers so maybe the old style of service will return!! Every night we had to ask for more rolls and water when the basket and our glasses were empty-might be minor to some, but we were not at a diner where some might find this OK. Our butler was wonderful as was our steward, but the dining room was poor. The spa did not compare to the Mercury's-it was so much smaller! Also, children were in the spa and whirlpools with no adult supervision and no staff members arrived even after several passengers complained on the phone. There are so may shipos out there that an unsatisfactory experience isn't necessary afor a second time-not willing to try this class of ship again-will go back to the Voyager class of RCCL!
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  #65 (permalink)  
Old January 8th, 2003, 09:17 PM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Note, Sandi was near our table and may have had the same waiter. I think she'll back me up when we say most of the Celebrity fans in our group found the cruise substandard. Some like the Constellation while others not as much or not really.

I'll add this, I was invited to dine at the Captain's table on the last formal night. Service was impeccable and what I'm used to on Celebrity. Food was considerably better presented but still not up to what I had previously.

I will try the Millennium. Why? It has a sports bar, it is a place that I may find interesting. Also, maybe the ships will be more acceptable with the piano bars. But cigar fans are frozen out, I don't like this. I hear they are moving to the sports bar. That's not a satisfactory solution, either. I'd like to sail on my favorite of this class of ships with perhaps music and musicians I like and with hopefully more of a "buzz" and more of a Celebrity lounge "cruise culture" to see if I feel any differently about them.
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  #66 (permalink)  
Old January 9th, 2003, 08:15 PM
Steve Prevost
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Default Re: Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Ben

Thanks for getting back to me, it's appreciated. Our cruise is in four weeks and we are looking forward to it very much. After all these comments I'll be looking at things a little differently now. I'm sure we'll enjoy oursleves regardless. I mean after all what's not to enjoy, coming from northern climes and being fortunate enough to be sailing around the Caribbean in February.

Steve
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  #67 (permalink)  
Old January 10th, 2003, 08:34 AM
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

I was on the Millennium in December and I can confirm that all indoor cigar smoking is now confined to the sports bar. My fiancÚ enjoys a good cigar and we were less than thrilled by the unsophisticated atmosphere of the sports bar. Michael's Club seems to be much more of a gentlemen's club/cigars-and-cognac ambiance, but such is the way it goes.
On the other hand, when there wasn't a big game on, the sports bar was not crowded and seemed more like an "intimate lounge." (Except for the blaring TVs.)

I loved my cruise on Millie and I hope you will enjoy it, too. To be fair, though, it was the only Celebrity cruise I've ever been on, so I couldn't compare it to their smaller ships.

Cheers,
Michelle B.



Post Edited (01-10-03 14:38)
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  #68 (permalink)  
Old January 10th, 2003, 01:30 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Okay, I have had it. I wasn't going to write, but feel like I must give my view on a few things for the people that are looking forward to their cruise on Constellation.

DO NOT BE CONCERNED. I don't know what these people are used to, but myself and my husband, my in laws, and my parents sailed on the 2nd sailing from San Juan, on 11/23, Thanksgiving week and couldn't have had better service, a more beautiful ship, etc.

Myself and my husband have also sailed on Mercury and Millennium, both when they were new. My in-laws have sailed on Mercury prior also. We had as good or better service and amenities on Connie as on the other 2 ships. Our waiter and busboy were the best, we never needed to ask for a single thing, and ice tea was on the table when we sat down every nite, after ordering it the first nite. As always, Celebrity does not crowd their ships, and even with a full ship on a sea day, there are plenty of large areas to be alone in. I don't know what all the talk about "not enough lounges" is. What is it with you people? How many lounges do you need? And whoever said the spa was smaller than Mercury - wrong - the 4 Millennium class ships have the largest spas at sea - Mercury does not have the Thalassotherapy pool that the other 4 have - it is BIG - and on Millie and Connie, it's 18 and up, and is almost always very quiet in there. We have never had children in that pool, they aren't allowed.

Our Vista deck verandah cabins were very comfortable and our cabin steward was great. Take advantage of the complimentary 24 hour room service, which was always on time or even early.

When you board the ship, they walk you to your cabin. I understand that is not done on RCCL or Holland America. A very nice touch, I think.

Chairs were plentiful at the pools and were not being "saved" like they were last year on Millie, I think they are making sure that doesn't happen, they said they were policing that and they must have been.

As you can see, we had no complaints, and we are prior cruisers with Celebrity on their larger ships. We would not take a chance of sailing on another line, after having such great trips with Celebrity. I can't imagine better service on another similarly priced line.
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  #69 (permalink)  
Old January 14th, 2003, 12:16 AM
golf1832
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Let me see-----what were the things that Mr. Smith didn't like about the Constellation?.

(1)-Bad design--poor layout
(2)-Lousy food
(3)-Lousy service
(4)-Too many shops
(5)-Lousy bed
(6)-Lousy thallostherapy (sp?) pool
(7)-Not enough dance floors
(8)-etc.

What did I miss? He must have had a terrible time.

We 'll go on the Constellation anyway. We're not so picky. Was very pleased with the Millennium on our cruise to the Baltic and Russia.
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  #70 (permalink)  
Old January 14th, 2003, 05:54 AM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Golf,

These are per our cruise and NOT necessarily the case with all or even most Constellation cruisers:

*Lousy dining food, buffet food was good.
*Lousy service only in the dining room and only at our table. We sat at the Captain's table one night and had superb service. Many people on this cruise may have had excellent dining room service that were at different tables and had different wait staff. Service in public areas was up to Celebrity standards.

I met a wonderful Captain I've been wanting to meet for years and wonderful staff member in Granville Baily that I've been wanting to meet for years. I didn't have a terrible time, I was more disappointed and bored with the trip than having a bad time.

The rest are ship specific. Substandard is used in the context of previous Celebrity cruises. If this was my first Celebrity cruise I would not be very high on the line. Thankfully it wasn't. I won't apologize whatsoever for expecting a lot more from Celebrity than this cruise and ship offered because they've established that they can do much more. And I'll pay more for it if Celebrity raises their prices to get back to a level where they can offer more. Celebrity should not be a budget line and they are currently.
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  #71 (permalink)  
Old January 16th, 2003, 07:15 PM
Frank
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Default Re: Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

>I was more disappointed and bored with the trip than having a bad time.<

That line says a lot to me. When someone gets bored with cruising, maybe they've just had it too good. I have never been bored on a cruise. If I couldn't find anything to do, which is unlikely, I'd be happy to just sit back and enjoy the scenery or read a good book.

I think you've graduated to another level and should be booking with Silver Seas or some other all inclusive line. They seem to have snob appeal.
Frank-in-CA
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  #72 (permalink)  
Old January 17th, 2003, 01:03 PM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Frank,

Enjoy what scenery at from 10:30 pm to 1:00 pm? Why should I pay thousands of dollars for a cruise and read a book?

Is it too much to ask for a cruise line to provide live music in more than one lounge at night? It's not that I've cruised to much or that I'm interested in Sliverseas. I just ask that Celebrity do what they've done in the past. Provide a reasonable amount of ambiance, music, and crew to passenger interaction. I'm not interested in the casino or shows after 10:00, nor was I interested in the disco (or you could call it a nightclub, it's not what I meant by a nightclub). I was interested in having something going on in Rendezvous, the only other choice for music and dancing, and more often than not, Rendezvous and the upstairs Martini/Champagne Club were dead on this ship on the Dec. 7 cruise.

I was disappointed with this cruise compared to two other Celebrity cruises, which I've said over and over and over and I pointed out exactly what they had and what this one lacked. It was boring too often, I don't back down from that and it was the fault of Celebrity on this particular cruise, not mine.
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  #73 (permalink)  
Old January 19th, 2003, 12:44 PM
Richard Stock
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Benjamin,

I would like to thank you for your thoughtfull analysis of the Millennium class ships. My wife and I have cruised 12 times, ( twice with Celebrity ). We are cruising on the Galaxy on April 18th, 2003. I am facinated by the cruise product in all segments of the industry, and read as much as I can, although I still have a great deal to learn. You remind me a bit of Douglass Ward in the specificity of your remarks. What I have never read is a thoughtful inventory of the "evolving product" within a line or in the context of the industry as a whole. We have sailed on Carnival, HAL, RCI, and Princess, and I sense a certain" homogenity "of the cruise industry, despite each line's attempt to differentiate it's product for a ever-growing market share. I, for one, hope you publish. The industry would benefit greatly.

Sincerely yours,

Richard Stock
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  #74 (permalink)  
Old January 20th, 2003, 02:56 PM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Richard,

I very much appreciate your remarks and feel encouraged by them. I hope to make constructive criticism and not criticism for criticism's sake. I think the current homogenization across the cruise industry is by design and hope that something changes this trend and tha the industry goes back to having personality and special qualities in their products.
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  #75 (permalink)  
Old January 26th, 2003, 08:31 PM
mia
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

I have to agree with your assessment of the "Millenium" class. We took our first Celebrity cruise in about '94 aboard the "Horizon" & it was wonderful. I booked the "Millenium" for my mom's 70th b-day. She is beautiful but the trip was just average. Celebrity had been special. This was a huge disappointment, especially in the food & service department. Average cruise at a very high price. Not worth the money I paid.
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  #76 (permalink)  
Old January 27th, 2003, 01:11 AM
MR DOOWOP
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

HI KUKI..........As usual; I always look to you for your obvious cruise knowledge which never fails to amaze me. My wife & I sailed on the Norwegian Sun in November, 2002 & are considering booking a 7 day Southern Caribbean Cruise on the Celebrity Constellation out of San Juan on 11/29/03-12/06/03. My wife loves the idea of the 5 port itinerary ( St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Barbados, Antigua & St. Thomas ). The " best price " that I have been quoted is $ 550. per person ( inc. port charges ) for an inside stateroom ( brochure price= $1,810) which is probably a category 12 ( 170 sq. foot ) which is fine by me. I have been quoted an additional 16-20% discount on that price by a Travel Agency ( which I had dealt with previously ) which is offering me the discount as a result of a prior ' attempted booking snafu ' where I had been misquoted a price.So.......my question(s) to you are: 1 ) Would you recommend the above Cruise Ship & itinerary ? ......2 ) Is there a " Cruisemate Cruise " planned for the above Cruise ? and, if so, How would I go about joining the Cruise and comparing the Cruise Prices ?.........Lastly, 3) Since I would need Air Fare from the New York City/ Long Island area..........How would you recommend that I book my Air Fare ? ( By myself, through CruiseMates or as an ' add-on ' through Celebrity ?? Thanks Again...Donald Kuhlman
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  #77 (permalink)  
Old January 27th, 2003, 06:33 PM
Janet Collick
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Default Royal Caribbean or Celebrity?

Has anyone anything good to say about the Constellation? We were booked on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Radiance of the Seas and had to switch to Celebrity Cruises Constellation because a family death messed up our timeing. Now I am really worried about our booking. What is with this? Are we in for a lousy trip? Has anyone cruised on the Radiance of the Seas and Constellation and can compare them for me?
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  #78 (permalink)  
Old January 27th, 2003, 07:26 PM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Janet,

Sorry to hear of the death in your family. Cruise reviews:

1) represent specific cruise dates at specific times. Cruises have off weeks and sometimes certain conditions onboard a cruise ship can impact a certain cruise.

2) are like movie reviews. People have different tastes. Some like different styles of cruise and even people who like the same line and ship like them for different reasons. Whatever I bring up in my assessment is my opinion and what happened on my cruise

3) Most reviews of Constellation are very positive. This site, cruisemates, Cruise-addicts.com, cruisecritic's board and other review sites have cruisers with very positive opinions about this ship and the cruise they had aboard her. She has excited and completely satisfied far more than she has disappointed.


My cruise *was* a discounted cruise. I saw recently dailies from a friend's Millennium cruise and it was full of dance lessons, interesting lectures, musicians played for a long time in lounges and more often than on my cruise, the things that I complain about that were missing on my cruise and it was obvious that there was far more going on with their cruise than mine. I also think that my being in a group of people spooked Celebrity and affected our dining room service. I don't think this is the cruise most on the Constellation with excellent reviews reported experience. I think I just went on an unfortunate week.

Radiance and Constellation are similar sizes, Constellation carries fewer people, is the more luxurious of the two though Radiance may be the prettier, depending on personal tastes. Connie has bigger staterooms. The physical ships are different in style inside, Celebrity is more understated and elegant, RCI's more glass, brass, and tropical look and feel.

There's a difference in cruise style with RCI and Celebrity. Celebrity is more dressy, more formal, less entertaining, less active. Celebrity has few announcements, no towel animals, no singing waiters, no toga parties, the sort of fun and festive things that RCI has. Celebrity has martini bars and plant conservatories on their newer ships and is a quieter line. But Celebrity has nightlife, karaoke, art auctions, and many other cruise staples. The shows are good, the casino lively, there's are 50s-80s nights, etc. It is just the Celebrity ship tends to be quieter than the RCI ship.

Celebrity ships are kept well, very clean, I think cleaner than RCI's. When done right Celebrity's food is considerably better than RCI's and the service style is more polished. RCI excels at varied entertainment and a bit more creative activities. The ships have a more active theme, especially the big Voyager ships.

Go on the cruise with an open mind and I don't think you should expect Celebrity to be a super premium line with the greatest food or service. At this point the line is going through some changes and all of the cruise lines, RCI included, are experiencing uneven service and food. HAL has lots of negative feedback on their new ship. Prices are down due to the soft economy and I think it is affecting the quality of the cruises lately. Hopefully, Celebrity will provide for you a cruise you find very satisfying. Nobody can predict what you will get and I wouldn't put much stock in what someone experienced on this ship a few months ago, a few weeks ago, or even a fairly recent cruise.

Hope you have a wonderful cruise and please come back and tell us about it.
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  #79 (permalink)  
Old January 28th, 2003, 08:20 AM
Thsreb1
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

We just got back from the 1-11-03 sailing of the Constellation. While I don't think it was a bad cruise, it wasn't the best one we have ever been on. The food in the main dining room was good, not that much better than other lines on which we've been. The Ocean Liners meal was fun and we enjoyed that very much. The entertainment on board met with different views from our group. One couple enjoyed it very much, the rest of us didn't care for the shows. The lack of small lounges/with soft music was missed. I think, for us anyway, a smaller cruise ship is more enjoyable.

The service was fine. The crew we came in contact with, was very nice. However, they didn't appear to desire to visit as much as some crews on other ships. All in all a very nice cruise, but again for us, we will do one of the smaller ships next time out.
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  #80 (permalink)  
Old January 28th, 2003, 11:02 AM
SLICK
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Default Re: Royal Caribbean or Celebrity?

For whatever it is worth my husband and I went on the Constellation January 18th sailing and had a wonderful time. The ship is beautiful, the food was very good (the Ocean Liners Restaurant is a must), the crew was very friendly especially our cabin steward. Some of the shows were very good and one of the shows (the last formal night) was not very good. The duo in the Rendevous Lounge (Karen & Carl) were very good. Hint - don't try to go there just before the 8:30 seating because the hordes who can't wait to get into the dining room have the place packed. Go to one of their other shows. A good place to hang out before the 8:30 seating is the Champagne Bar. If you get the opportunity to try the Persian Garden in the Spa area you should try it. For $99.00 for the week you have unlimited use of the area. We are first time cruisers so maybe we are just easy to please.
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  #81 (permalink)  
Old January 28th, 2003, 05:01 PM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Thsreb1,

Constellation will get a smallish lounge with music when her Michael's Club is turned into a piano bar. Millennium has a sports bar where the Constellation's Conservatory is and at least it is another lounge and a pretty nice size and adding music is possible. The Century ships don't have small lounges either, but the partitioning of them makes them more cozy than the newer class of ships. The Horizon class are the coziest.
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  #82 (permalink)  
Old February 2nd, 2003, 02:51 PM
dick stein
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

I have 5 cruise on Celebrity and have yet to have a bad meal in the main dining room. I am book on the spring transatlantic on this ship and do not expect a bad time or meal. If you don't like Celebrity, try Crystal, or Seven Sea you will pay double but the food is better. Celebrity has the best food is this price range. I have 13 cruises on Princess, 5 on HAL, one on Orient, 2 on RCCL and 3 on NCL. so I speak from experience.
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  #83 (permalink)  
Old February 3rd, 2003, 11:39 AM
LovetheSea
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Having been on the Mercury four times and the Infinity and Millennium, I can see your point on a LOT of things you said. Sometimes NEW is NOT always better.
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