Celebrity Cruise Lines - Cruisemates Reader's Cruise Reviews
Celebrity Cruises

Constellation
by Sharon
British Isles & Ireland
June 22, 2002

We sailed on the British Isles/Scandanavian cruise on 6/22/02. Celebrity has much to be proud of with this ship -- it is beautiful inside and out. We went to several ports (mostly in Norway) where our arrival was huge news. Hundreds of people came out to greet us with smiles and local bands, etc. Very fun. The food and dining service was superb. We were in a Sky Suite with 3 people and the size was fine (not roomy though). Having a butler was fun, but not necessary. The point of this review, though, is to provide some advice that I wish I'd had before cruising. While we have no real regrets, I'm not sure that we will cruise on Celebrity again. Here's why:

1) My husband was in the middle of business deal and we absolutely needed internet access -- after several phone calls to confirm availability, we decided to upgrade to a suite "because they all have computers and printers and there's no connectivity problems" (advice from the Captain's Club). Bottom line -- there was no computer in our suite and we had to waste several hours trying to get a laptop (never did get a printer and the internet worked only about half the time). One time charge of $100 or $.50 a minute. According to the staff onboard, the Connect-at-Sea package has never worked right and so they don't even offer it now. Staff on land should have known this. Just the first of many things promised that were not delivered or were delivered only at significant cost -- both time and money.

2) Stateroom. We were given a diagram of the suite and it included a bathtub -- important consideration for me because of a bad back. Bottom line was that our cabin was "handicapped accessible" so it contained only a shower -- plus the layout of the room was different than pictured -- space in the living area was compromised for a larger, more accessible shower. We spent an extra $1800 to upgrade to the suite and we did so for the computer, the layout, and the bathtub. Disappointed on all counts.

3)Entertainment. For the most part, very mediocre. Also not much by way of activities. We have had a greater range of activities on much smaller ships.

4) Shore excursions. This was the first time that the ship took this itinerary and it showed. The shore excursions were inconsistent at best. Overall, we definitely were not satisfied with the quality of the trips we took. Very expensive for what was delivered.

5) Laundry and Work-out Facilities/Spa. My husband and son work out every day -- this is one of the reasons we chose the Constellation. While the facilities at the gym were great, it was very crowded on sea days and the time limits for machines (20 minutes and sign-ups required) were not the best. Our biggest complaint though is that so many services were extra (see next comment). Half of their classes -- including spinning and Pilates were $10 a session. That can really add up on a two week cruise. Because of the work-outs, we had to do two sets of laundry (what would fit in one to 2 loads each time) and the charge was OVER $225 dollars. We had no choice on this -- no self serve facilities are available and we could not stand the odor! Plus we were not in port long enough to want to waste our day with this, but the cost was exhorbitant.

6) Nickle and diming. We felt assaulted by all of the extra charges and various ways to maximize their return on investment. The wine and drinks were way overpriced ($9.50 for a glass of wine), as were the spa services ($109 for a 50 minute massage). 15% gratuities were added on to everything, even an empty plastic mug that my husband bought to carry coffee around. Bingo was more a racket than I've ever seen. 50 - 100 people would play (at 10-20 dollars a person) and the prizes for the winners were under $100 each. You can say that many of the charges we incurred were of our own choosing, and we agree, but we have NEVER incurred the kind of expenses that we did on this trip and our buying habits are consistent. The expenses came close to the cost of the cruise, making it by far the most expensive trip we've ever taken. The charge for soft drinks is $4.75 per day per child. That's alot, particularly since they can't be used in the dining rooms.

7)Tipping. Our "bill" for tips was over $650. That's on top of the 15% gratuity for each drink and spa service. It genuinely bothers me when people complain about tipping, because that is the last place I would cut back, BUT I fear that some of the staff may have suffered because people felt so nickled and dimed during the cruise -- and took it out on the wrong people. We did not, but I overheard some real complaints.

We were not happy cruisers. Hope this helps. Sharon