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Old December 14th, 2002, 11:02 PM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Not a review but some comments about the Constellation.

First of all, I don't know why this ship is referred to as the Flagship. She's not. Dining room food is poor right now, there's a new crew, and the ship itself is not as luxurious as the Millennium, though still furnished with high-quality materials and providing spaces of a premium ship. For instance, comparing Millennium to Constellation, look at the light fixtures in the Millie's Martini Bar and Restaurant and compare them to the Constellation. The Millie's gleam with cut crystal and the Connie's is just etched glass. look at the complexity of patterns in the carpets as another clue. No doubt for me the Millie is more suited, as a ship, to be the flagship.

Michel Roux was onboard. It's quite scary when the master chef is onboard and the food was of the abysmal quality in the dining room that this cruise provided. Buffet food, curiously, was the opposite. For the most part it was tasty and well prepared.

The Millennium class ships, in my opinion, are a HUGE step down from the wonderful Century class ships. Here are a few shortcomings I noticed about the class of ship.

Foyer: stairway is from the 1st to 2nd level, Cova is on the 3rd level of the foyer and to get to it from the 2nd level one must exit the foyer and go up nearby stairs.

Rendezvous Lounge and Champagne/Martini Bars: both rooms are thoroughfares. Both rooms have nooks at ends that are not utilized and don't really feel intimately separated from the rest of the lounges. If one is in the Champagne or Matini Bars, looks down into the dance floor on the Rendezvous and wants to dance they have to leave the Champagne/Martini Bar and then go down a nearby set of stairs. Since these rooms are so connected now why not have a stairway that connects the two of them?

No nightclub: this is a HUGE shortcoming of the ship that I just don't see mentioned enough. All of the older class ships had a Rendezvous Lounge usually featuring a duo, sitting in front of the restaurant. The nightclub was completely separate , with its own look and feel and dance floor and chances for another type of music and style of dancing or activity if one wasn't interested in the Rendezvous Lounge or preferred something different. THERE IS NONE ON THIS SHIP. This was a big part of my Celebrity cruises and I think the product and this alone is a huge problem I have with this class of ship.

The so called Promenade deck is wide but does not wraparound forward or aft. The non skid surface, despite being cleaned regularly, looks soiled and unattractive and not belonging on this class of ship. Go back to teak, Celebrity.

Cinema area: Seems wasteful, lots of underutilized meeting rooms.

Thellasotherapy pool: another huge step down. The thellasotherapy pool on the Century class felt special, not crowded, peaceful and relaxing. The thellasotherapy pool on this class is just an enclosed pool, and when the doors open the sounds of the band (which hardly ever played on this cruise) comes through. Now it is is crowded, noisy, and has a mass-market sense to it. Very poor excuse of a thellasotherapy pool and very bad idea to place it where it is and to make it the size it is.

Conservatory: who needs it? Just an obvious attempt at revenue enhancement that nobody was using on our cruise at least. It is near the noisy lido and the noisy pool yet it is advertised as being a quiet, aromatic, oasis. An absolute waste.

Michael's Club: too large, underutilized.

Shops: way too many of them. While they have an upscale appearance when the ship is sailing and they are open they are full of typical cruise junk. Unappealing juxtapositioning of cruise junk with the upscale shop look.

I didn't care for the observation lounge. One big room with too many seats. On the Century class ships there are many nice areas that are divided, one feels at least some intimacy in this room.

This big ship needs more lounges. It doesn't have many. It feels like a 55,000 ton ship with 36000 tons of revenue enhancements. It feels far more mass-market and commercial than the Century class or even the Horizon class.

Music and Activities:

This is the first cruise I've been on where I made no video of activities.

Too much recorded music and recorded music was very repetitious. Sitting in the Cova lounge for an hour I heard recorded piano music, the same seven songs played over and over, day after day after day. Musicians played for 45 minutes at a time, all at the same time in 4 areas, the Rendezvous, Cova, the pool, and Cova. All stopped the same time. The lounges were woefully lacking live music, soft, romantic music before early and late seating. From 6pm to 7:45 pm Rendezvous was dead, no music, hardly anyone in the place where on the Galaxy and Century at this time people were dancing in this area to live music on previous cruises.

Missing:
a cappella group
roving musicians in dining room
harpist played only in Cova and in no other lounge
no Ballroom dance instruction (or any other type of dance instruction)

Also, one day there as an announcement, the usual bingo, art auctions, blah blah. Garbage, this isn't Celebrity and not acceptable.

There are a few positives. Ocean Liners service classy and relaxed and impecablly time. Menu varied. Wine carefully chosen to complement courses. Excellent music. Wonderful ambiance. Food was magnificent, tasty, delicate, all of the accolades we here of the food of Chef Roux were present in this cuisine.

Personable, generous, entertaining Captain--Ionnis Papanikolaou. Special Master. He invited my wife and I and a friend onboard to join him for dinner one night and took us onto the bridge twice.

Most of the staff were polite, professional, warmly greeting passengers.

Granville Baily.

Ship very clean.

End of positives.

Dining food and service. Can't comment on other's service. Unfortunately our waiter and assistant were awful. Missing silverware, missing orchids, mixing up menus, not taking the ladies orders first and serving them first. Maitre d was nonexistant except for one day. Food was sloppily presented, meats were mostly overcooked, sauces were not delicate and complex but tasted like bottled sauces. It was just slack, totally unlike the cruises I took on Celebrity in 1999, which both had excellent service. Service at the Captain's table was impeccable, but it should be for the whole dining room.

Millie class needs big changes, an obvious poor mixing of RCI style of layout forced into making a Celebrity ship. This isn't a proper Celebrity ship, I don't care how expensively furnished and attractive it may be. This needs fixing.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old December 15th, 2002, 01:24 AM
Trudi
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Gosh I was excited to going on my trip (Dec.28) but now I'm not sure. How were the rooms?
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Old December 15th, 2002, 06:48 AM
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Trudi - always take reviews with a grain of salt.....someone else could have been on the same cruise and come away with a completely different experience. For example, the review above states the Millie should be the flagship; well I was on the Millie and the Summit and thought everything about the Summit was far superior to that of the Millie......go figure! Do some more research and remember that your cruise is what you make of it.

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Old December 15th, 2002, 08:44 AM
cruznut6
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Although I've yet to sail the Constellation, I have sailed on all 3 Century-class ships, both Horizon and Zenith, and recently the Summit. We have always found the service, style and food superior and very consistent on all their ships. The Summit was just as consistent in these areas and is wonderful ship. I would agree that the food quality and number of choices isn't as good as when we first sailed Celebrity in 1994 (Horizon), it is still superior to the other 5 cruiselines we've sailed. With competition so fierce among all the cruiselines and cruise prices at all-time lows, cutting corners is how lines can still compete at a profit. Yes, there's more "nickel and diming" at times, but I don't think there's a better value available for the product you're receiving. I choose to concentrate on the overall experience and ignore the non-essential items. I look forward to booking with Celebrity again soon.

Regards...Bob
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Old December 15th, 2002, 09:27 AM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Folks, I'm a big fan of Celebrity. I will sail with them again. This was a substandard cruise. The Constellation may have been wonderful in Europe, much of the staff were changed over for this Caribbean voyage. The overall service on the ship was excellent, but not our dining service and througout this particular Constellation voyage repeaters, Captain's Club members, almost unanimously agreed that this was a pathetic example of a Celebrity cruise.

Regarding the ship I think once you look past the newness of it, it lacks intimacy. I don't understand a bigger ship with less lounges, I don't understand why almost half of a deck is devoted to shops, why the thellasotherapy pool is in such a poor location, etc. There is no doubt the ship is attractive with wonderful materials used, but the overall design of it stinks, IMO. RCI influence did not understand the "Celebrityness" of a cruise ship and has meddled too much on this class of ship.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 10:19 AM
jsea
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Default BE EXCITED!

Trudi,

My family and I have been on 2 sailings on Constellation and loved both of them. Constellation is our favorite ship hands-down. You will have a GREAT time, especially considering that you are on the New Year's cruise. (We are jealous.)

Furthermore, we found Constellation to be one of the finest ships afloat and found no real design flaws. Yes, there are some areas that could be improved (teak on the deck - but the rubber is for safety reasons), but all-in-all Constellation is an incredible vessel.

Food on our cruises was also very good.

Don't worry!
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Old December 15th, 2002, 10:20 AM
jsea
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Default Also...

It just goes to show you that different people see things different ways.

For example, we have also sailed on Galaxy and Mercury, but feel that Constellation is a much better ship than Century-class. So, it's really subjective.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 10:22 AM
jsea
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Default Re: Nightclub

There is a nightclub on the ship. It's called Reflections. It's the observation lounge to which you were referring on deck 11 (?) all the way forward.

At midnight it switched over from a dance lounge to a nightclub.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 10:25 AM
lysolqq
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Have taken 12 Celebrity cruises (among many others), including the Constellation transatlantic this fall, and "sub-standard" is not a word I would use to describe any one of them. Anyone booking a cruise that is a "first" - first sailing out of a new port included - would be well advised to expect some screw-ups. That being a given, keep in mind it's impossible to please everyone, especially those passengers who are intent on finding fault with someone or something, or their cruise is not complete. Some people are too rigid, too critical and set expectations too high for anyoone to reach. Relax and enjoy - that's what cruising is all about!
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Old December 15th, 2002, 11:10 AM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

This Constellation cruise was not the Constellation cruise folks that enjoyed the ship may have taken. Right now, there were very few Celebrity repeaters that found this cruise up to par. My expectations were based on what I received on the Galaxy and Century, concrete past experiences of 3 years ago. I expected to find musicians performing and not listening to repetitious recorded music. I expected to find dining food of fine presentation and taste, not dried out meats, unseasoned vegetables, uncreative sauces when they had them and sloppy presentation. I expected to hear jazz. I'll say this again, the Constellation and all of the Millie class ships lacks that lounge that the Galaxy, Century, Mercury, Horizon and Zenith have at the back of the ship where much of the "romance" of the ship takes place in the form of ballroom dancing and also more fun stuff like line dancing, congo lines, etc. It is also a very appropriate place for wine tasting. As much as anyone can praise this ship the Observation lounge, which really has the ambiance of a disco at night, doesn't substitute in any way for this lounge. Neither does the Rendezvous, which has always been a "walkthrough" type of lounge. This lounge, Savoy on Galaxy, Crystal on Century, Rainbow on Zenith, etc., is a very popular and populated area on these ships. There is no way Celebrity should have made a bigger ship and have gotton rid of this lounge, dance floor, entertainment venue. It is a big loss.

I've been defending Celebrity on many forums. I think I have realistic expectations of the line. I praised the Galaxy cruise in 99 and spoke very highly of the Century cruise as well. I speak highly of Celebrity ships and think they are some of the nicest ships for the price, but I think the Millennium class are the poorest designed ships for the Celebrity product of the fleet. The whole fiasco of charging for the thellasotherapy pool and the changing of Michael's club over into piano bars, the positioning of the galley 2 floors under the main dining room and not next to it resulting in various problems that the previous class did not have should give people a clue that Celebrity with RCI has made some design mistakes in this class.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 11:12 AM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Jsea,

What's better about the Millie class over the Century class?
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Old December 15th, 2002, 11:20 AM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Regarding the staterooms, I had an inside stateroom. It's nice enough. Same big shower, same clever use of storage areas. One problem, though, is the bed. I sailed on the Explorer of the Seas last year and noticed that this ship had a cot to sleep on, not a bed. Well, unfortunately, the same cot is on the inside stateroom of the Constellation as well. It's OK , but not as nice as the older beds.

Here are some other strange things about the cruise and I think it has more to do with the virus outbreak than Celebrity policies. Pads were moved from the loungers on the promenade deck and pool areas after 2 days. We were told that Celebrity suspended the selling of Cova chocolates and gifts 5 days into the cruise, but not why.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 12:08 PM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Regarding Summit vs. Millennium. The crews rotate ship to ship so it is very possible that one can go on the Summit and get a crew that was on the Millennium a few weeks later. I'm basing my assessment of the Millennium as the flagship on objective criteria. The beauty, the asthetic quality is subjective. However, I think if one looks at both of these ships you'll find that the Millennium uses higher-quality materials overall and it is the only one of the 4 to use that crystal lighting in the dining room which I feel makes the Millie's dining room the most elegant (from there they are crashingly boringly the same). Also, the Millennium is the ship to get the "brand transformation" upgrades before any of the other ships in the fleet.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 12:23 PM
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Default Re: Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

My husband & I just took a year of ballroom and latin dancing. Is there anywhere on the Constellation for us to dance? We're going In January and were really looking forward to dancing on this trip. I hope we didn't pick the wrong ship. Last year we were on the Dawn Princess and that ship had the "wheelehouse bar" to dance in. Isn't there a comparable lounge to that one?
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Old December 15th, 2002, 12:26 PM
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Benjamin... have to agree with you about the lack of a "more intimate" lounge on the Miillennium class ships. Thought the conversion of Michael's from a cigar bar to a piano bar might help address that.

When we sailed the Connie in Aug. the Rendezvous Bar was packed with dancers most every night, at least early in the evening. Much more so than on previous sailings of Summit and Millennium. Later at night the disco took over as the "action" spot.
They also had dance instruction there on several occassions.
On our sailing they had an excellent duo entertaining there, and they were the draw. On previous sailings, the entertainment wasn't as good.. thus, neither were the crowds.

In regard to your service issues (or lack thereof) in the dining room; did you notify anyone of your concerns? After day 2, I would have been talking to the Head Waiter or Maitre D.
We went through this once on a Carnival cruise. After the 2nd dinner, I voiced our concern to the restaurant manager, we got a new ass't waiter the next night, and service the remainder of the cruise was excellent.
On our recent cruise on Golden Princess, the service was less than stellar, and having PC dining, we voiced our concern, by trying different service teams. 5 different pairings, and no improvement <G>

Heck.. you had the Captain's ear on three seperate occassions. I'm sure he would have been very concerned by your remarks, and tried to remedy the situation.

On our trip on the Constellation, we had superb service, but that sailing had the "new build team" on it. Most of that crew had been together for the previous 3 years bringing out all the new ships. With no further new-builds on the calendar, they were being dispersed throughout the fleet.

Thank you for sharing your observations. Sorry to hear it was disappointing to you.

Regards,
Kuki

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Old December 15th, 2002, 12:50 PM
jsea
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Default What's better...

Here's what I think the M-class does better:

> Since the galley is now below the dining room you don't have to go "up-and-over" to get to the lower level of the dining room like you do on Century-class ships
> I prefer the decor overall of Millennium-class ships to Century-class ships
> The pool deck is better laid out on M-class ships --- I can't stand the pool deck on Mercury -- it is so garish (personal preference)
> I like the fact that you can get 190 sq. ft. staterooms on M-class ships - the extra space is nice
> In general, I just prefer to sail on newer ships because they have newer technology
> Even though the actual Thalassotherapy on M-class ships aren't as nice - I really, really like the set-up with the glass roof and the extra hot tubs. It's a very nice execution.
> I think the Celebrity Theater is nicer on M-class
> I love the glass elevators overlooking the sea --- very nice design

Here's what I think the C-class does better:

> I like the forward observation lounge / nightclub set-up better on Mercury and Galaxy -- the huge windows and multi-tiered levels are really nice

Both classes of ships are great, however, and I wouldn't hessitate to sail on either!
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Old December 15th, 2002, 02:48 PM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Jsea,

The only thing I find better on the Millie ships is the wonderful specialty dining rooms. Each have their own personality and our different yet all seem to have the same high level of service and quality of food.

The galley underneath the dining room is poor for the crew members, going down those escalators is not fun. For the dining room you don't have to go up and down on Century ships, if you use the aft elevators and Mercury and Galaxy have the aft foyer.

The standard staterooms are smaller on the Millie class, 170 sq ft vs. 172 on the Century class and Horizon class. Millie has more luxury cabins and more balcony cabins, I'll give it that.

Decor-wise, I just don't like the repetition and "stamped" nature of the Millie ships. They all have the same personality and can only try to differentiate themselves with colors and patterns with the exception of the specialty diner. The Century class ships use their own furnishings and often the public areas are laid out differently. Also lighting is different which makes a major difference in the mood of a room. I found nothing on the Millie class to equal the overall period feeling of the Savoy lounge on Galaxy or Crystal Room on Century. These rooms are on different levels, are partitioned into different areas so it has a "club within the club" feel, the level of the quality of the materials is the same (in fact the Millennium uses a pattern in the Platinum club from one of the couches in the Michael's Club of the Century and the Constellation uses the same blond wood veneers in her Martini/Champagne Club found in the Galaxy's Savoy Club) and the ceilings are IMO nicer on the Century ships in these rooms due to their wonderful chandeliers. Mercury has her own unique decor in the nightclub, totally different than any ship I can think of. Yes, these ships aren't as fancy, but that makes them more appealing and mature, IMO. They have a more sophisticated elegance than the more obvious type of elegance found in the MIllie class.

Yes, the Millie has more balconies. Makes these ships, like most new ships, look like floating motels, IMO.

Do the glass elevators function better? I think a bit because they are large. Otherwise, I found little appealing about them.

I still don't see how, functionally, the Millie class beats the Century class. Aesthetics are subjective.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 03:14 PM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Sorry, I don't know how to quote on this board.

Kuki wrote:
Benjamin... have to agree with you about the lack of a "more intimate" lounge on the Miillennium class ships. Thought the conversion of Michael's from a cigar bar to a piano bar might help address that.

Ben:
I asked about this and I've been told that Michael's Club will not have a dance floor. That's my beef, the ship needs more dance floors. A piano bar will be great, and the room is richly appointed, but if you want to dance what do you do?

Kuki:
When we sailed the Connie in Aug. the Rendezvous Bar was packed with dancers most every night, at least early in the evening. Much more so than on previous sailings of Summit and Millennium. Later at night the disco took over as the "action" spot.
They also had dance instruction there on several occassions.
On our sailing they had an excellent duo entertaining there, and they were the draw. On previous sailings, the entertainment wasn't as good.. thus, neither were the crowds.

Ben:
That's the problem with our Connie trip. Entertainment in the Rendezvous wasn't good and there's no alternative but to go foward and up to Reflections (or Cosmos, Constellation, etc.). I 'm looking at my old Century itinerary from Europe in 1999. Opus, the "party" band that does many styles of music played in the Crystal Room (which doesn't exist on the Millie class ships) from 10pm to 1 am. That's 3 hours of solid music. Nobody played more than 45 minutes on our cruise. Late night music in the Rendezvous was usually soft piano music (on a Caribbean cruise?) or nothing. Opus also did line dancing and other fun stuff and were interactive with folks in that lounge. Our band, Vibz, was very good, but after sailaway never interacted with the passengers. I don't think it was Vibz's fault, it seemed that was the case with all of the musicians. See my beef?

Kuki:
In regard to your service issues (or lack thereof) in the dining room; did you notify anyone of your concerns?

Ben:
Not really, though I told the future cruise consultant, and here's my mistake as I should have told the head honcho in the dining room. I also saw the hotel manager at the Captain's Club party (think day 2 or 3) and told him food and service was poor so far, but it didn't improve after that. Tom K. was with us and was very dissatisfied with food and service in the dining room and also told the hotel manager at the CC cocktails.

Kuki:
After day 2, I would have been talking to the Head Waiter or Maitre D.
We went through this once on a Carnival cruise. After the 2nd dinner, I voiced our concern to the restaurant manager, we got a new ass't waiter the next night, and service the remainder of the cruise was excellent.

Ben:
Duly noted. We should have been more vocal after day 2. We went to Ocean Liners on day 4 and dined with the Captain on day 5, we got a bit distracted.

Kuki:
Heck.. you had the Captain's ear on three seperate occassions. I'm sure he would have been very concerned by your remarks, and tried to remedy the situation.

Ben:
We were never alone with the Captain and the Captain was showing us the more nautical aspects of the Constellation. We also felt we would have to be respectful and delicate when bringing up shortcoming of service issues to the Captain and actually thought it would be better to discuss things with the hotel side of the ship rather than the Captain.

Kuki:
On our trip on the Constellation, we had superb service, but that sailing had the "new build team" on it. Most of that crew had been together for the previous 3 years bringing out all the new ships. With no further new-builds on the calendar, they were being dispersed throughout the fleet.

Ben:
Here's one thing that I want to make clear. I am absolutely positive that others have gone on the Constellation and had a stellar cruise with fine food and service in the dining room. As you mention, you had the "new build" team, we had their replacements. But I think the overall service on the ship was great, just not the dining room. Kuki, you know that I'm a Celebrity fan and defend them and talk them up on rtc. I have no interest in bashing the line. I'm relaying my honest assessment of a particular week on the Constellation, and I'm not saying that people should not go on the Constellation at all or that she's not capable of a fine cruise. I'm saying if you are used to the Century class, enjoy features and social areas of this ship, then Millie class may have shortcomings, especially if you are big on using the aft located lounge. I'm also saying that the scheduling of music on this ship *at the time of this sailing* was woefully lacking.

I flew Continental to and from Puerto Rico. The flight going down there was wonderful, polite and professional flight attendants, wet towels handed out, headsets provided. Coming back one flight attendant was flirting with a young girl, another was snotty and rushed through annoncement and curt with everyone onboard, another was completely incompetent. We were told we would have to pay $5 to use headsets, which the pilot later overruled. We were given no towels. Same company, same type of aircraft, one week later. This is what I'm saying about Celebrity. They've done way better and on this cruise, there were too many areas of slippage and unprofessional behavior as well as cutbacks in music provided for me to rate this cruise highly.

Kuki:
Thank you for sharing your observations. Sorry to hear it was disappointing to you.

Ben:
You get a turkey cruise every once in a while. Celebrity has been good to me until this point. I'm not giving up on the line, but I'm concerned about some issues and I'm not impressed with their latest 4 ships, though I think they'll be OK if and when some of the revenue centers are turned into intimate spaces some time in the future. Michael's is step one.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 03:29 PM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Suz,

Constellation has 2 dance floors. The Rendezvous lounge has a dancefloor, but it is a different sort of space than the Wheelhouse bars. The Century ships, Century, Galaxy, and Mercury, as well as the smaller Horizon ships, Horizon and Zenith, all have wonderful nightclubs in their sterns often offering music for Latin and Ballroom type of dancing. These do not exist on the Millennium class ships. The Millie, and only the Millie so far, has had her cigar bar changed into a piano bar and it offers a rich ambiance. However, I've been told it does not have a dance floor. Perhaps, though, resourceful people make space in an area for dancing. These ships have "period" appointed "Platinum" clubs but, unfortunately, IMO, these clubs have a hole in the middle of them to overlook the Rendezvous Club and offer no opportunities to dance to the music played one deck below (Platinum is positioned directly over the Rendezvous). There's no space to dance here even if you wanted to.

There is one more option, the observation lounge on top of the ship forward. It is a huge room with huge windows surrounding it, and has more of the feel of an upscale disco than the more intimate feel found in the Wheelhouse Bars on Princess ships.

I think Celebrity made a huge mistake only offering 2 dance floors on their 91,000 tons ships. This is a line that many enjoy for ballroom dancing. Personally, I think Constellation isn't a great ship for dancing, I'd go with the Century class of Celebrity ship for this activity.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 07:47 PM
Trudi
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Default Re: Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Thanks for all the feedback , I know I'll have a great time.
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Old December 16th, 2002, 08:18 AM
David Starkey
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

I have long maintained that the Century class ships on Celebrity are"better" than the larger sisters. Glad you agree.
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Old December 16th, 2002, 01:06 PM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

David,

Nobody has provided any objective reasons on how the Millie class function any better than the Century class. Here's the few things I have to offer.

1. better passenger space ratio
2. more balcony cabins and upgraded cabins
3. excellent signage
4. the big one--the specialty restaurants offer food, service, intimacy, and luxury environment above the standards of any dining offeredon the Century class ships
5. somewhat nicer pool areas
6. sports deck

Another stupid thing about the Millie class ships is that they lack writing tables in the library that I forgot to mention in my original post.

Century class ships are designed and executed to be Celebrity styled cruises by Celebrity Cruises. Millie class ships are designed within a RCI Radiance class framework and obviously some areas were "repurposed" in an attempt to fit Celebrity. Look past the newness and prettiness of the Millie class and it is very obvious.
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old December 16th, 2002, 08:29 PM
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Default Re: Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

As one who adores both classes of vessel, I need to add just my two cents.

I think to a large extent Mr. Smith's comments are anecdotal, particularly with reference to service levels in the dining room (why he didn't do something about that, as Kuki has noted, is beyond me), are reflections of personal taste (to which he is certainly entitled) when he refers to the space devoted to the Conservatory (I think it is one of the charming little spots on those vessels) or the tastiness of the food and sauces, or the buffet fare, or the absence of a Rendezvous Lounge outside the dining room (I always found them noisy and just an impediment to movement in the area) and tend, until the very last post, to fail to note some of the less than perfect features of the Century class vessels.

As Mr. Smith knows, the Century was the last vessel whose interior design and decorating were products of the fine taste of Mrs. John Chandris (a bit on the Galaxy, too, I believe). Time marches on and when I look at some of the other new builds I think that Celebrity has done well with the Millennium class.

Curiously, Mr. Smith did not mention what I consider to be their major fault... from the outside, I think, and have oft stated in these premises, that they are ugly ducklings. No smooth lines at all... a horrific disjointed and unpleasing look to them. Inside... they are swans!



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Old December 16th, 2002, 09:22 PM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Ernie,

There isn't an absence of a Rendezvous lounge outside of the dining room on the Millie ships. There is an absence of the aft located lounge, a major activity venue on the Century and Horizon class ships, on the Millie ship. The Rendezvous Lounge has now the Martini Champagne Bar that's turned into something of a walkthrough lounge placed above it with an overlook placed over the Rendezvous's dance floor and this area is essentially tied to the Rendezvous and not an independent area with its own activities or music. That's fact, not opinion. I don't like it that much. That's an opinion.

There's nothing anecdotal about the lack of a staircase in the foyer to get from the 2nd to 3rd level, lack of writing tables in the library, 2 dancefloors on the whole ship, missing independent of the Rendzvous lounge, and Celebrity admits itself that the Thellasotherapy pool style and placement were a mistake and Michael's Club doesn't work and is too big on this class of ship.

Some things are opinion but I don't see how anyone can not say that the large amount of shops are not a revenue enhancement area. I can not see how anyone can say that the Conservatory, selling flowers, is not a revenue enhancement area. My point of it is this. Celebrity claims it is a peaceful oasis to go to. How can it be where it is placed? It is right near the lido and right near the main pool. These are not quiet areas. For this purpose it is best placed on the Millennium in a front glass enclosure where it is far away from noisy areas and not near the lido and main pool area as it is in the Infinity, Summit, and Constellation. On the Millie I may like it. Also I like that the Millie has a Sports Bar where the Conservatories are on her sisters.

I state clearly that the dining room service is the fault of the waiter and assistant at our table and only our table. Service on the Constellation would have been excellent for my wife and me if we had maybe the waiter and assistant serving at the table next to us. The assistant Maitre D came once to our table, don't know how often he visited other tables. Other assitant Maitre d's may have been more present at other tables.

The interior design and decorating were done by AMK, Birch Coffey, Shelton Mindel, and other firms that design for Celebrity for both classes of ships. As far as I know Ms. Chandris selects the art. My problem is not decoration. My problem is the layout of the lounges, the amount of lounges per the size of the ship, the lack of different sections in the lounges. I also don't like that the promenade doesn't wrap forward or aft where it fully encircles the Radiance of the Seas. At least on the Century ships it wraps aft.

I think the ships are ugly on the outside but that's aesthetics and that's subjective. The beauty of the interiors of any of these ships are subjective. Their functions can be stated objectively. How they are partitioned can also be described.

I think Celebrity knew how to design their own ships and needed no help from RCI. I think, looking right now at HAL's Zuiderdam, that lines sharing hulls does not work. The amount of Carnival Legend in this ship is depressing. HAL designs the best ships for HAL and they need their own hull, and Celebrity designed the best cruise ships for Celebrity and they need their own hulls, IMO. That's my argument.
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Old December 17th, 2002, 07:54 AM
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Default Re: Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Well... I stand (sit) corrected on the Rendezvous Lounges. You are quite right there, but I still don't like them. I still don't know why you did not do something about the service at your table. As to the rest of your comments, I think to a large extent they remain matters of opinion, to which you are clearly entitled.

With respect to your Zuiderdam and Holland America comments, I'm reminded of the remarks often cited by Carnival's (sorry) President...


"If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got". I think the marketplace was running way ahead of HAL and while I love their ships personally, it was becoming increasingly difficult for them to attract their share of the large numbers of first time cruisers... particularly the younger age groups. With Celebrity and Princess offering many more of the popular veranda cabins at very attractive prices, HAL needed to make a move, in my opinion, even if it diverted them from tradition.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

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Old December 17th, 2002, 11:41 PM
Frank
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We also felt that the Constellation was the best ship we ever sailed on. We found the food and service to rival Crystal and the ship even better than anything Crystal floats. As you said, everyone has different tastes. This was our 13th cruise, first on Celebrity and we were impressed.
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Old December 17th, 2002, 11:44 PM
Frank
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Default Re: Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Benjamin Smith wrote:

> Folks, I'm a big fan of Celebrity. I will sail with them
> again. This was a substandard cruise. The Constellation may
> have been wonderful in Europe, much of the staff were changed
> over for this Caribbean voyage.

That may make the difference. Our European cruise was excellent. They probably have a less experienced and lower paid staff in the Caribbean because of all the competition.
Frank-in-CA
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Old December 17th, 2002, 11:48 PM
Frank
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Default Re: Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Benjamin Smith wrote:

> The whole fiasco of charging for the thellasotherapy pool

They charged for the Thalasotherapy pool? The didn't on our cruise this past Sept-October that round tripped out of Barcelona. When did they start doing that?
Frank-in-CA
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Old December 18th, 2002, 06:10 AM
Benjamin Smith
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Default Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Frank, they didn't charge for the Thallasotherapy pool. The fiasco I refer to is that this area was crowded and overrun with children to the point where Celebrity temporarily charged for the T-pool a while ago but this did not go over well with pax. They *do* charge for it on the Century-class ships and it has a totally different feel on these ships as it is quiet, exclusive feeling, and very relaxing.

Regarding the Connie in Europe I'm sure it had Celebrity's A crew in the dining room and perhaps a different head chef. Service everywhere else was up to Celebrity standards and as good as I got on the Galaxy or Europe.

Frank, you don't have the vantage point of sailing aboard the Galaxy or Century. I don't know how much you are into the lounge aspect of cruising. I spend much of my time in the Savoy and Crystal rooms on these ships. That's where much of the romance and charm and fun were, in these lounges. The Constellation, I'm sorry to say, simply has no lounge like this and I find this inexcusable on a ship that's, what 15 to 20 percent larger than the Century ships. I also find a lack of intimacy on these big ships. The lounges on the Century and Galaxy are separated by use of railings, sections, to me this is good design. All good designers I know separate large spaces into smaller conversational areas. Take a look at all of the lounges on the Century and Horizon class ships you'll find different levels for different sections, and smaller areas to break up large rooms. This makes a HUGE difference. The Rendezvous on the Constellation was broken up OK. The Martini/Champagne bar was completely flat, all on one level, and there really wasn't enough contrast in that room to make for intimate nooks despite the areas near the bar and in the forward section of the lounge. Revelations had slight teiring but on the Mercury, Galaxy, Century the disco area is separated from other areas making for a room that doesn't seem so large and somewhat overwhelming. You have different sections to enjoy.

I just don't see why these ships need so many shops, what's with all of the meeting rooms? why is Michael's Club so large? And also I think Constellation has a somewhat glossy and glitzy feel to her. I like the Millennium better because she has the more mature, sober approach to her. She's quieter in decor, her patterns are more subtle. I find Constellation to have too much gold leaf and too much brass, I like Celebrity ships because they take it easy on the gold highlights. I also did not like the pattern of the carpet in the Cova, found it certainly to be Celebrity's weakest and did not help provide a calming atmosphere. Usually I find Celebrity to use creative flooring adding a certain punch to the room. This punch was too strong, IMO. I think Connie may be the weakest of the 4 ships and since these ships are absolute cookie cutters, on just like the other in major areas, totally unlike the unique spaces of the Century class, I find this class not to be as special as it should have been.

So, I urge you to try a Galaxy or Mercury or older Celebrity ship and see how Celebrity designed a ship without RCI input and how it works. While I don't know if you'll like these ships more than Constellation you should find them more intimate with another MAJOR dance/social/entertainment venue, more small spaces to enjoy, and not so much wasted space as you have on the Constellation and other Millennium class ships.
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Old December 18th, 2002, 07:56 AM
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Default Re: Re: Back from Constellation--substandard cruise

Ben... the meeting rooms...I meant to address that earlier. Conventions and meetings at sea are a major source of revenue to the lines... we just came off one on the MOS in November. They also serve as a great introduction to cruising for many whose first cruise experience comes as a result of their need to attend the respective event at sea. With the consistent 85% satisfaction figure of first time cruisers feeling it is a good value and wanting to do it again, it is a great means of attracting new people to cruising which works to all our benefit.

Older ships had very limited meeting space (including the MOS). Newer builds now generally include a well equipped convention center with meeting rooms, audio visual aids and so forth. The presence of these large meetings at sea, and the revenue they produce for the lines, helps keep cruise prices down and affordable. Convention and meeting business is important to all lines, across the board.

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