Celebrity Constellation, Part 13 Day 12, Friday November 20, Sea Day
Ahhh....another relaxing day at sea. We started off the day with Morning Trivia, never winning since the first week, but we kept trying!
At 10:00 in the Celebrity Theatre, guests were invited to a "Life at Sea" talk, hosted by the Cruise Director, the Captain and some of the crew responsible for guest relations (Hotel Manager, Food and Beverage Manager, etc.)
We thought it would be a good opportunity to learn a little more about life at sea from those who live it every day, but it turned out to be a poorly - attended question and answer period, mostly dominated by one man who wanted to air his displeasure about everything on his cruise so far.
The Hotel Manager quite politely offered to meet with the man privately after the talk and address any issues he might have.
Otherwise, there was not much interesting information given, and once again we were disappointed in the lack of participation from passengers.
As I said before, maybe it was because so many of them were many-time repeat passengers and they had seen-all and done-all before.
On this morning, we finally got around to visiting the Aqua Spa, and the beautiful Thallassotherapy Pool, highly recommended by one of our group members.
We had passed through several times, but never actually tried the pool or enjoyed the calm, relaxing atmosphere.
This is a covered, and temeprature controlled open, airy spot, with palm trees, tables, chairs, and beautiful teak loungers. Unfotunately, only some of those loungers had comfortable cushions, and I soon found that without one, it was darned uncomfortable!
The pool itself was surprisingly hot - I thought it was just jets like a hot tub, I didn't realize the water was hot too until I got in!
There was a spot on each side with roller bars to pull yourself up on for a therapeutic massage along with the strong jets of water shooting across your body. There was also a little waterfall, which was not only therapeutic, but aesthetically pleasing as well.
Next to the Thalassotherapy Pool was the Aqua Spa Cafe, where they served a light lunch of salads with fixings, bread sticks and rolls, and iced tea or juices, and there was plenty of room to eat at the nearby tables. All this for no extra fee!
It was a nice relaxing morning in the Aqua Spa, and because there were gradual steps and a hand rail into the pool, James was even able to go in up to his bathing suit without getting his cast wet.
At 1:45 we made our way to 50's and 60's Name That Tune Trivia in Cinema 3 with our favourite host, Carl. It was a rip-roaring time, with everybody singing along, Carl dancing and making jokes, and James taped the whole thing so we enjoyed it all over again when we got home!
James did some more taping around the ship that afternoon, while I soaked up as much sun as I could store to last me through the winter.....
At 4:15 we honoured our Concierge Class invitation to a Special Afternoon Tea in the San Marco Dining Room.
This was a very nice affair, with tables all done up and lots of servers offering tea sandwiches, petit fours, scones with jam and cream and of course, hot pots of tea.
We were quite impressed with the wonderful afternoon tea and very glad we attended.
Despite having filled our tummies at Tea between 4:00 and 5:00, we were ready for dinner by 8:30.
Once again, it was excellent; a Chicken Kiev for me and a Beef Wellington for James went over very well.
The entertainment on this evening was a little different.
Held in the Bar at the Edge of the Earth, it was a dance competition called "Everbody Dance Now!", pairing guests who liked to dance, with one of the professional Celebrity dancers.
The Dance Floor in the Bar
The entertainment staff served as judges, and although the dancers were quite good and entertaining, the judging was quite hokey and went on way too long.
It was good fun for anyone who enjoys Dancing With The Stars, and it was followed by a 50's & 60's Dance Party with the live band Sipra.
The entertainment staff were dressed in 50's and 60's costumes and participated by dancing with the guests, good fun and better participation than I'd seen most of the cruise.
My only complaint on this evening is that the Bar at the Edge of the Earth is a smoking bar, and after awhile it got unbearable for me and we had to leave, but for once we did manage to stay out till midnight!
Celebrity Constellation, Part 14
Day 13 Saturday, November 21, At Sea
Our last sea day (*sniff*) before returning to Miami.
We started off the day a little differently by attending the Crew Talent Show in the Celebrity Theatre.
There, we endured a singing DJ, a singing server, a singing barman and waiter from Peru who played the panpipes (he was quite good actually!)
Then, the entertainment staff manager Alejandro, who I thought had not been a stellar crew member for the whole cruise, redeemed himself by choosing 4 audience members to help him with a performance.
They returned to the stage a short while later dressed as the Village People, and proceeded to put on one of the most hilarious performances of YMCA I've ever seen! This was another one I was glad we got on tape, it was great to see it again when we got home.
The rest of our last sea day was spent alternately sunning, swimming, photographing, videotaping, packing, and fitting in the 70's name That Tune and the Afternoon Trivia, where it was sad to say goodbye to Carl. He told us on the last day that the next cruise would be his last on the Constellation, that he had been promoted to work on the new Equinox in December. Many of the Trivia buffs promised to see him on his next ship!
For our last evening onboard, we had decided to book the Ocean Liners specialty restaurant again, based on our wonderful experience a few nights ago.
This 2nd experience couldn't have been further from the 1st. It was a disaster!
To begin with, we ordered a bottle of wine from the Somelier, and when our glasses were empty, no-one came to refill them. We had observed previously that the Ocean Liners staff were very attentive to this sort of thing, no so this time.
We finally had to ask a waiter to refill our wine and he looked confused and called the Somelier who apparently thought that we had only ordered 1 glass each, and had to go back and fetch the bottle.
Next, my appetizer, a Phyllo Wrapped Anjou Pear was awful, I just couldn't eat it. Our waiter offered to get me something else, but I declined, wanting to save room to enjoy my filet mignon.
I had ordered my filet mignon medium-well, and James had ordered his with his Surf & Turf, very well done, but when they arrived, the orders were reversed (served to the wrong person) and the waiters were horrified when we had to correct them.
My meat was fine, but James' "well-done" was pink and bleeding and he had to ask the waiter to return it and have it cooked to well-done.
It was a good 15 minutes wait, in which time I finished my entire meal, then waited some more.
When his meal finally returned, the filet mignon was cremated, it was black and shrunken, and he couldn't even cut it with his steak knife.
When he tried the lobster, it too had been overcooked to the consistency of rubber and he couldn't cut that either.
By this time, he was upset and no longer hungry. He made a polite complaint to the waiter that the food was inedible, and of course he was offered another meal. However, since I'd already finished mine and James was no longer hungry, he declined.
The waiter informed the Maitre 'D who came over and listened politely to his complaint, then offered to take his meal off the bill.
We thought this was satisfactory, and proceeded to order dessert.
We both ordered the Grand Marnier Chocolate Souffle, based on the recommendation of our tablemates on our previous visit, but we were disappointed it was not as good as we had anticipated. In fact I think we had better dessert in the main dining room throughout the cruise.
Tea, which we had ordered at the same time as the dessert to be served with the dessert, did not arrive until long after we had finished what we could of the souffle.
Needless to say we were quite disappointed with both the food and the service, and it put a damper on our last-night celebration.
However, when we asked for the bill prior to leaving, the Maitre 'D came over again and explained he had "taken care of it" - all of it, both meals plus the bottle of wine, and informed us with many apologies, that he had "had a word with the chef".
We departed, very impressed that the matter was dealt with so efficiently and generously, even more so when the Maitre 'D followed us out to the elevator with the half bottle of leftover wine!
Tomorrow....disembarkation procedures and last thoughts about the Constellation.....
Celebrity Constellation, Part 15, Conclusion Debarkation, Miami, November 22
The Crystal Serenity in Miami
Debarkation from the Constellation on this last morning in Miami, was calm, quiet, civilized and most efficient.
At 7:30 a.m. we were invited to Cinema 3 for a Continental Breakfast (coffee, tea, danish and croissants) while we sat in comfortable seats and watched CNN news on the big screen.
Periodically a crew member would enter and call luggage tag colours, and people left in groups to their "stations".
Our station was the comfortable Rendez-Vous Lounge, where we had a short wait until our colour tag was called and we proceeded in an orderly fashion to the exit. We were off the ship by 8:30 a.m.!
The baggage claim area was different from any I had previously seen; there were carousels like at the airport, divided according to the colour of luggage tags. You just had to find your colour and wait for your luggage to roll off the carousel - so much nicer than battling the crowds to find your suitcases in rows and rows of others.
The final exit and customs was quick, but waiting for a taxi took about 20 minutes, it was very busy. We were not taking a shuttle to the airport on this trip, having to stay one more night in Miami for a flight the next day.
If we ever do this again, I will make sure we pre-book some excursion or at least book a hotel close to some activity or even shopping, as we spent a very long, boring day at a hotel far away from everything.
In conclusion, our cruise on the Constellation was good, but not great.
The positives were the food, the service, the cleanliness of the ship, the friendliness of the staff, and the itinerary, which covered 7 islands and 2 sets of 2 sea days, before and after.
I like my sea days, but I also particularly like the islands of St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Aruba and Curacao, and wouldn't hesitate to visit any of them again in the future.
The negatives, at least for us, were the complete lack of atmosphere, the "oomph" or the energy as my husband put it. Some entertainment was good, but most of it was either not of interest or poorly attended.
There just didn't seem to be much night life on the Constellation, and we found the same thing on another Celebrity ship, the Century, a few years ago.
However, in general, the Constellation was a beautiful ship, tastefully decorated and featuring some beautiful and some strange artwork throughout, including the interesting “hole in the floor” of the Seaside Café where you could watch the water under the ship:
the mysterious gorilla carrying a fish on the pool deck:
and this strange and colourful blown glass hanging fixture just outside the Bar at the Edge of the Earth:
Speaking of the Bar, it is supposed to be undergoing a complete renovation when the Constellation goes into dry dock in April, to rid it of it's rather strange Cirque de Soleil look and restore it to it's former beauty.
We did enjoy our cruise on the Connie, and would recommend it to those who prefer a quieter, laid back cruising atmosphere, combined with good taste and elegance - and great food!
Glad to see you and James enjoyed most things about your cruise on Constellation. She is one of my favorites, even with that "Bar at the end of the earth" fiasco.
I think alot of your comments regarding the entertainment are a result of being a longer voyage- draws a more elderly crowd- quite port intensive, so they're in bed earlier. And that also explains some of the lack of participation.
The entertainment is geared towards the passengers onboard, or at least what they think the've learned as the "norm" for these cruises, in terms of what the passengers will want.
I agree with your last point Kuki, that the activities are geared toward the passenger age group - at least that's what entertainment staff assured us.
In fact, we were told that this particular sailing was a "younger crowd" and so we enjoyed 50's, 60's 70's and 80's Name That Tune Trivia. Whereas, on the next voyage through the Panama Canal, they were expecting a much older crowd, so it was back to the 30's and 40's.
I think we were told the average age onboard was low 70's, so I can't imagine what an "older crowd" comprises of!!