Island Princess vs. Celebrity Constellation

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#1
Southern California
252 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
I have also posted this thread on the Celebrity Boards.

DH and I are looking into a 10/11 day Panama Canal cruise in March 2009. I've narrowed the choices to Celebrity Constellation and Island Princess. I like the itinerary better on the Island Princess, but we want to also enjoy the ship as we've been to most of the ports on both itineraries. I'd appreciate any comments or preferences you might have. Thanks in advance.
#2
3,738 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Originally posted by seafood
I have also posted this thread on the Celebrity Boards.

DH and I are looking into a 10/11 day Panama Canal cruise in March 2009. I've narrowed the choices to Celebrity Constellation and Island Princess. I like the itinerary better on the Island Princess, but we want to also enjoy the ship as we've been to most of the ports on both itineraries. I'd appreciate any comments or preferences you might have. Thanks in advance.
Hi. I have cruised on the sister ship to the Constellation, the Infinity. She's really a lovely ship, and friends of ours love the Constellation, too. I would have cruised on the Island Princess and was in fact booked on her when she first came out, but prior to the Island arriving in the U.S. we took a Star Princess cruise that was so smoky that we cancelled the Island Princess cruise and we haven't cruised on Princess since 2003, despite the fact that we are Platinum-level with Princess.

You might consider how important to you smoke or the lack thereof on a ship is. Starting October 1st, Celebrity ships will be for the most part, non-smoking (there is some smoking, but not in the cabins or on the balconies).
We want to enjoy our cabin and balcony and most other places onboard free of smoke, so we have chosen to cruise Celebrity and other cruise lines with highly restrictive smoking policies.

Several times a month I come over to the Princess board to see if there has been a positive change on Princess regarding the smokiness of the ships, but so far I have been repeatedly disappointed to read that Princess has done nothing. Despite any assurances you may read to the contrary on this board, I promise you that if you are a non-smoker and are bothered by the odor of smoke, you will be much more comfortable on Celebrity, which has better food, and overall service, by the way.
#3
San Pedro, CA
529 Posts
Joined May 2008
I have done the partial Panama Canal twice on the Coral Princess and am scheduled on the Island in November from Ft. Lauderdale to LA. The Coral is the sister ship to the Islan
d, and I very much like the size of the ship and her configuration. She never seems crowded even when she is full. I have been on Celebrity a few times, but I prefer Princess (maybe because I am an elite passenger, and love the perks). The ship is the perfect size for the canal, and the shore excursions are getting more diverse due to customer demand and additional options. I also believe the food is better on Princess. You couldn't do wrong on either line. I have however sworn off Jamaica because of the crime, dirt and pushiness of the locals in Ocho Rios. I would not go back since I have been there at least ten times. However, if you want a good tour, they have done a 4X4 back country tour to the plantations with a herbalist guide to introduce you to the local remedies. The only part I didn't like was the guide who put a huge spider on his head. The Dunns river falls is also ok if you have never done it, but stick with the group. However, that said, I went directly back to the ship. You can shop in other ports (although you can get blue mountain coffee near the ship).

I have also been warned not to get off the ship in Cartagena ( by a couple of nuns who lived there) but it should be ok with an organized tour. Neither Jamaica nor Colombia are really places you want to do on your own. In Costa Rica, I recommend a combination tour which includes a boat ride down the estuaries, the rain forest bucket tour and a nice lunch. The guides are excellent and the people are friendly. I prefer the west coast of Costa Rica, and we will be doing a tour on our own.

Aruba is great for snorkeling (beautiful water)and shopping, and Panama is so so, however there is a great train tour which will take you to the Pacific side. Also buy the "

The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870-1914 by David McCullough in paperback before you go as it is usually gone in the ship's store by the time you get to the canal, and you can get a used volume for as little as $11 on Amazon.

I hope you have a wonderful time no matter which cruise you pick.
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SKELLIS
Elite Princess member with 29 Princess cruises 54 overall
last cruise: 10 day Southern Caribbean April 2010, next cruise, NewYork to San Juan October 2010.
#4
Lakewood, Ca
12,531 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
I've been on the Summit which is the same class ship as the Constellation and I've cruised on the Island Princess. I think the food is a touch better on Celebrity, but I loved both ships. The Island is the perfect size, IMHO. The one thing we prefer on Princess is the 24 hour buffet. Celebrity is limited on the times you can eat.

I don't think you can go wrong with either one. Enjoy your cruise.

Jill
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#7
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
3,322 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by gillianrose
Hi. I have cruised on the sister ship to the Constellation, the Infinity. She's really a lovely ship, and friends of ours love the Constellation, too. I would have cruised on the Island Princess and was in fact booked on her when she first came out, but prior to the Island arriving in the U.S. we took a Star Princess cruise that was so smoky that we cancelled the Island Princess cruise and we haven't cruised on Princess since 2003, despite the fact that we are Platinum-level with Princess.

You might consider how important to you smoke or the lack thereof on a ship is. Starting October 1st, Celebrity ships will be for the most part, non-smoking (there is some smoking, but not in the cabins or on the balconies).
We want to enjoy our cabin and balcony and most other places onboard free of smoke, so we have chosen to cruise Celebrity and other cruise lines with highly restrictive smoking policies.

Several times a month I come over to the Princess board to see if there has been a positive change on Princess regarding the smokiness of the ships, but so far I have been repeatedly disappointed to read that Princess has done nothing. Despite any assurances you may read to the contrary on this board, I promise you that if you are a non-smoker and are bothered by the odor of smoke, you will be much more comfortable on Celebrity, which has better food, and overall service, by the way.
Funny, because our experience was exactly the opposite. We found the smoke on Constellation (in March 2007) unbearable in the public areas (specifically the Bar at the End of the Earth, and the Martini/Champagne bar area). We have never been driven out of a bar on any Princess ship by the smoke, yet we found it unbearable on Constellation! Perhaps their smoking policy has changed since we were on board over a year ago.

However, I agree with everyone who has stated that the OP cannot go wrong with either ship.
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2016 - British Isles/Transatlantic (Caribbean Princess);2015 - Caribbean (Brilliance of the Seas); 2014 - Christmas Markets land trip (Paris, Munich, Salzburg, Vienna), 2014 - Panama Canal Full Transit (Island Princes) 2013 - Maiden TA Crossing (Royal Princess), 2013 - Caribbean (Ruby Princess); 2012 - Bermuda (HAL Veendam YUCK! ); 2012 - Hawaiian Islands (Sapphire Princess); 2011 - Canada/New England (Caribbean Princess); 2011 - Panama Canal Full Transit (Coral Princess); 2010 - Caribbean (Ruby Princess); 2010 - Transatlantic (Ft. Lauderdale to Copenhagen) (Star Princess); 2009 - Mexican Riviera (Sapphire Princess); 2009 - Coastal Vancouver to LA (Sapphire Princess); 2009 - Alaskan Sampler (Sapphire Princess); 2009 Caribbean (repositioning San Juan to NYC) (Caribbean Princess); 2008 - Mediterranean/Greek Isles (Grand Princess); 2007 - Caribbean (Crown Princess) 2007 - Southern Caribbean (Constellation) ; 2006 Grand Mediterranean (25th anniversary) (Grand Princess); 2005 - Eastern Caribbean (Caribbean Princess); 2004 First Mediterranean Cruise (Brilliance of the Seas) ; 2004 - Eastern Caribbean (Golden Princess); 2002 - Western Caribbean (Grand Princess); 1981 Honeymoon Caribbean cruise on the first Carnival cruise ship (Carnival)
#8
191 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
I have to agree. Our Celebrity cruise was like being in the smoking section of a resturant. All public areas were smokie. Princess does limit smoking, the Casino (what a shocker) is the worst, the rest of the ship is pretty smoke free with the exception of some parts of the Explorers and Wheel House lounge.

We too prefer Princess, but you can't go wrong with either line. Enjoy your trip.
#9
3,738 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Originally posted by sunviking82
I have to agree. Our Celebrity cruise was like being in the smoking section of a resturant.
Hmmm, maybe you were in the smoking area?!!! (Port side is currently smoking on Celebrity, on deck and in public areas, and there will be a whole lot less smoke on Celebrity starting October 1, 2008. YAY!) The Rendezvous Lounge on Celebrity did indeed get stinky/smoky during evening entertainment like karaoke.



Smoking section of a restaurant???

You must be talking about the dark ages.

Restaurants everywhere we have been (ON AND OFF SHIP) have been smoke-free for no less than a decade or longer.
#10
San Francisco Bay Area
6,728 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Loved the Island so much --- or would suggest Celebrity overwhelmingly! I don't think you could go wrong with either of these two!!
Think it might come down to the personal choice dining vs traditional dining for you.
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Cruise Raider
#11
Suburb of Chicago
1,846 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Originally posted by skellis
I have done the partial Panama Canal twice on the Coral Princess and am scheduled on the Island in November from Ft. Lauderdale to LA. The Coral is the sister ship to the Islan
d, and I very much like the size of the ship and her configuration. She never seems crowded even when she is full. I have been on Celebrity a few times, but I prefer Princess (maybe because I am an elite passenger, and love the perks). The ship is the perfect size for the canal, and the shore excursions are getting more diverse due to customer demand and additional options. I also believe the food is better on Princess. You couldn't do wrong on either line. I have however sworn off Jamaica because of the crime, dirt and pushiness of the locals in Ocho Rios. I would not go back since I have been there at least ten times. However, if you want a good tour, they have done a 4X4 back country tour to the plantations with a herbalist guide to introduce you to the local remedies. The only part I didn't like was the guide who put a huge spider on his head. The Dunns river falls is also ok if you have never done it, but stick with the group. However, that said, I went directly back to the ship. You can shop in other ports (although you can get blue mountain coffee near the ship).

I have also been warned not to get off the ship in Cartagena ( by a couple of nuns who lived there) but it should be ok with an organized tour. Neither Jamaica nor Colombia are really places you want to do on your own. In Costa Rica, I recommend a combination tour which includes a boat ride down the estuaries, the rain forest bucket tour and a nice lunch. The guides are excellent and the people are friendly. I prefer the west coast of Costa Rica, and we will be doing a tour on our own.

Aruba is great for snorkeling (beautiful water)and shopping, and Panama is so so, however there is a great train tour which will take you to the Pacific side. Also buy the "

The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870-1914 by David McCullough in paperback before you go as it is usually gone in the ship's store by the time you get to the canal, and you can get a used volume for as little as $11 on Amazon.

I hope you have a wonderful time no matter which cruise you pick.
We will be on the Island in Feb. Is this tour you recommended offered by Princess? Thank you. Larry
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2002 RCL Splendour of the Seas, western Med.
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2006 Tahitian Princess, French Polynesia
2007 Star Princess, the Baltic
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#12
Calabasas, CA, USA
11,674 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
My two cents:

Either ship should provide you with a great cruise...
They are similarly sized ships with similar numbers of passengers--both should be very spacious...

I personally prefer Celebrity overall and absolutely LOVE the Constellation (We've sailed on her three times now and also on her sister ships Millennium and Summit)...In fact, we were just on her in July...I think the food and service is simply outstanding...

But, there's nothing wrong with the Island either...never had many complaints about food and service on Princess...and "food" is usually just a question of personal taste...

But, I do want to add a little perspective on the "Smoking issue"...
First, the amount of smoking on most ships is often not ship-related, but itinerary-related...Smoking seems to be more popular in some parts of the world...in some cultures...than others...Go on a cruise with a lot of Europeans or Asians on board, you're likely to see more smokers...Cruise out of California--where a large number of passengers are Californians--then there will be little smoking...That said, Celebrity DID recently change their smoking policy, severely limiting where one can smoke on their ships--including no smoking in your cabin...This has been an issue with smokers--many of whom have flocked to other lines...

When we were on Constellation--in Europe--in July, we noticed very little smoking...
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#13
San Pedro, CA
529 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by jacketwatch
We will be on the Island in Feb. Is this tour you recommended offered by Princess? Thank you. Larry
Yes, the Panama canal tour was but is not listed on the itineraries available with Princess. We did our own arrangements for Puerta Caldera so we could go to Carrera Biological reserve, because of the abundant wildlife (macaws, monkeys, sloths etc) and because it isn't hurried or crowded, and the company we used ten years ago was great.
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SKELLIS
Elite Princess member with 29 Princess cruises 54 overall
last cruise: 10 day Southern Caribbean April 2010, next cruise, NewYork to San Juan October 2010.
#14
Rocklin, California
40 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
DH and I did the 15 day Panama Canal cruise on board the Island Pricess October 2007. We both loved the ship, the itineray and the people on board. The service was excellent, and the entertainment was very good. We had a balcany on Caribe. You can not go wrong on the Island.
#15
West Yorkshire UK
3,150 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
We have sailed Island, Coral and Millenium and it's a very close call as to which is best.
Cabin - if you are booking just a balcony then Celebrity with a its 2 seater sofa would be my choice, but the big Caribe deck balconies on Princess are very tempting.
Deck space - has to be Island Princess which has much more and better sun lounger spaces.
Food - not much to choose between them, maybe Celebrity by a nose.
Dining room service - probably Celebrity, our only traditional experience on Princess was on the Tahitian Princess and it was certainly inferior to our Millenium cruise.
Entertainment - again Celebrity was better, not much to choose between the ships company shows but Celebrities "celebrity" entertainers were much better, and the lounge groups were also of a much higher standard than we have seen on Princess.
Quality of Ship - here Princess would come top, we felt that Millenium was in need of a facelift, whereas Princess ships tend to be looked after better, and Princess ships seem to have more "wow" factor than Celebrity.
Whichever you choose enjoy a great cruise.
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Future cruises --- Sept 2017 - RCI Navigator OTS - Canaries & N Africa.,Feb 2018 Ventura - Caribbean & USA., June 2018 Ventura - W. Med. Sept 2018 Azura - CanariesJan 2019 Ventura - Caribbean
Previous Cruises
March 92 - Carnival's Carnivale - Bahamas . October 97 - Thomson's Emerald, Med. Nov 2000 - Superstar Gemini, Straits of Malacca. Jan 2004 - Coral Princess - Panama-Carib. June 2005 - Island Princess - Alaska. Jan 2006 - P&O Arcadia - East/southern Carib. Feb 2007 - Celebrity Millenium - Eastern Carib. June 2007 - Tahitian Princess - Honolulu to Papeete. Feb 2008 - Sapphire Princess - Sydney to Auckland. Sept 2008 Emerald Princess - Mediterranean. March 2009 - Coral Princess - Panama Canal. Feb 2010 Celebrity Solstice - Eastern Caribbean . Aug 2011 P&O Azura- Canaries. June 2012 P&O Ventura Iceland & Fjords. Sept 2012 Celebrity Eclipse - Western Med; Apr 2013 P&O Azura Western Med. June 2013 Celebrity Eclipse - Baltic. Oct 2013 P&O Azura - Central Med. May 2014 Emerald Princess N. Spain & France. Sept. 2014 Celebrity Eclipse-Canaries & Azores, Apr 2015 P&O Britannia - W Med. June 2015 Celebrity Eclipse - Iceland & Fjords. Sept 2015 Celebrity Eclipse - Canaries & Azores. Jan 2016 P&O Ventura - No Fly Caribbean. Jun 2016 Eclipse - Baltic. Aug 2016 - Britannia Fjords, May 2017 - Azura W. Med.