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Just back from Constellation repositioning Rome to Abu Dhabi

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We disembarked on Monday after 15 nights onboard. I'm not going to do a full review but just post some thoughts and happy to answer any questions as not that much seems to get posted about Constellation.

 

Overall we had a great time and loved this itinerary. We embarked in Rome, with stops in Sicily, Athens Jordan, Muscat, Dubai and Abu Dhabi where we disembarked after an overnight stay. We went to the Abu Dhabi grand prix for Qualifying and race day which was a fantastic experience for us as long time F1 fans. We bought our tickets and arranged transfers independently and for anyone doing this next year it was all very easy (and much cheaper) to do yourself.

 

We had been to all the ports before apart from Jordan so of course we had to visit Petra, this was our only organised excursion and we booked it with the ship. It was a long and tiring day but very well organised and worth experiencing.

 

We cruise on various lines but most regularly on RCL. We've done two previous Celebrity cruises (including one 11 years ago on Constellation) and based on those I've always thought that Celebrity had slightly better food and service than RCL, however based on this cruise I've changed my mind.

 

Dinner in the MDR is always one of my favourite parts of a cruise, we always ask for a large table on late seating and that is what we got this time too. We were on a table for 10, all very nice people, a mixture of nationalities that we got on well with. However the service was just so slow (and this is coming from a Brit who likes to take her time over dinner:)). Late seating was at 8.30 and we rarely got out of the dining room before 11, I don't know what the problem was as tables around us always seemed to be way ahead of us while we were sat around waiting for food that was usually only luke warm by the time it arrived. One night I asked our waiter if we could be a bit quicker as we wanted to go to the silent disco which started at 10, I think we eventually made it out by 10.40. I hoped he'd take the hint and speed up on other nights but he didn't. Towards the end of the cruise we twice got the speech about giving 10 on the survey, which always really annoys me, particularly this time as he was nowhere near a 10.

 

I know the quality of food has dropped over the years on all the mainstream cruise lines but this seemed particularly poor, very bland tasteless food all over the ship, almost impossible to get brown bread/rolls and extra veg anywhere. I'm not saying it was terrible and we went hungry, just not what I remembered Celebrity to be. Perhaps we were just unlucky and different waiters could have made such a difference.

 

OK now for some of the stuff that we really liked.

 

The silent disco has to be top of my list, the first time we've had this on a cruise ship and it was such good fun, we had 2 on a 15 night cruise and wish there had been more.

 

The production shows were great, a really talented cast of singers and dancers, better than most ships we've been on lately. We also loved the Phil Collins tribute act.

 

The house band Just In Time were fab, great to dance to late at night. Infact this trip was much more lively than our previous Celebrity cruises.

 

The cruise director Ian was good and we played daily Trivia with Emily and Jelena who both did a great job.

 

Our cabin steward Rhodora was excellent, very friendly and nothing was too much trouble for her, she even brought DH a kettle so he could make his early morning cuppa.

 

I'm sure I've missed out lots of things so ask away if you have any questions. Sorry I didn't keep any of the daily planners so can't post those.

 

Julie

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We are doing the reverse of this cruise in April. Sorry to hear about the dining issues. Glad we are in Aqua for this cruise.

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Thanks for your post about Constellation. I will be on her over Christmas and New Year. Disappointing your food experiences particularly the MDR. The shortcomings here are absolutely something I would have spoken to the Maitre d' about. There is no excuse for luke warm food. We are doing Select Dining on the trip and hope to have a better experience.

 

Phil

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Hi, We are doing a back to back on the Christmas cruise on the Constellation. On previous X Cruises the food offered has been exceptional but am quite disappointed to read that the food quality has really been downgraded. We are in an Aqua cabin and understood that a dedicated restaurant is available for this class. Anyone able to cheer me up and say it is going to be good???

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Hi Julie, we were on the two previous cruises we had select dinning and the food was mostly good! There were two nights in 19 when the food wasn't great the other 5 dinners we had in speciality restaurants. How was your weather? we have booked next November's Suez, we have enjoyed this itinerary this April so much we booked April & November lol. Dianne

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Hi Julie, we were on the two previous cruises we had select dinning and the food was mostly good! There were two nights in 19 when the food wasn't great the other 5 dinners we had in speciality restaurants. How was your weather? we have booked next November's Suez, we have enjoyed this itinerary this April so much we booked April & November lol. Dianne

Glad your food was better, I do think our problems was partly down to the wait staff. We ate once each in the speciality restaurants, Tuscan Grille was great, Qsine was good although not much atmosphere as it was nearly empty.

 

The weather was really nice, temps in the high teens and some showers in Italy and Greece but warm and sunny by the time we got to the canal. We had a couple of sea days with temps in the high 20s and a hot day in Muscat, Dubai and Abu Dhabi were a bit cooler, around the mid 20s.

 

Julie

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What was the experience of going through the Suez Canal like

Going through the canal was fabulous, I thought there was much more to see than the Panama canal and quite a different experience because there are no locks.

It took around 12 hours, when we went to bed around midnight we had stopped and were waiting with several other ships for the journey to begin. I think we entered the canal in the early hours, we got up around 7 and had just gone under the big bridge. We had an aft balcony so we had breakfast out there with a great view. The cultivated land and towns are all on one side for most of the way, the other side is just empty dessert.

 

We were in Concierge class and had an invite to the helipad around 10am, while we were up there we came into a big lake with a large town/city right up to the shore. Unfortunately there was no commentary which we had been expecting (someone told us that they has made an announcement early on that this was for security reasons). It would have been nice to know exactly what we were seeing, if we do it again I think I'd get a good detailed map beforehand to take.

 

We could see the ships ahead and behind us in the convoy, and sometimes on the narrow parts there were small local fishing boats right by us (it looked a bit dangerous for them but I guess they are used to it). At one point there was a little car ferry that timed its trip across between us and the ship behind us.

 

It was a really interesting 'sea' day and something we'd love to do again,

 

Julie

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Enjoyed the report Julie and looking forward to seeing you and Mark in Rome next year.:)

Hi Bob

Yes, less than a year to go now, can really start the countdown. We enjoyed this cruise but missed doing a TA this year.

 

Julie

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Thanks for your post about Constellation. I will be on her over Christmas and New Year. Disappointing your food experiences particularly the MDR. The shortcomings here are absolutely something I would have spoken to the Maitre d' about. There is no excuse for luke warm food. We are doing Select Dining on the trip and hope to have a better experience.

 

Phil

Just a word about Select Dining, the hostess at the entrance may well have changed, I hope so for your cruise, it was organised chaos in October for me. Frequently sent to tables not ready, too many guests and one night I went without dinner. I was not on my own lots of complaints.

My advice make sure you pre book your dining times.

It pains me to make these comments as I have always been a great X supporter. The one upside was Alexandra CC hostess who was very helpfull, but not over the top.

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It pains me to make these comments as I have always been a great X supporter. The one upside was Alexandra CC hostess who was very helpfull, but not over the top.

 

On our cruise we had 2 CC hostesses, Alexandra and Rose, both were very nice and helpful. Alexandra left at the end of our cruise (she has been promoted) and Rose was taking over as CC host for future cruises. I think she'll do a great job.

 

We didn't use select dining but spoke to quite a few people who did and it sounded very hit and miss as to whether it was a good experience or not.

 

Julie

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On our cruise we had 2 CC hostesses, Alexandra and Rose, both were very nice and helpful. Alexandra left at the end of our cruise (she has been promoted) and Rose was taking over as CC host for future cruises. I think she'll do a great job.

 

We didn't use select dining but spoke to quite a few people who did and it sounded very hit and miss as to whether it was a good experience or not.

 

Julie

 

Cant say I am particularly pleased to hear that Rose has left the Solstice and gone to the Constellation. Rose is a fabulous CC host and will be sorely missed on the Solstice.

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Just a word about Select Dining, the hostess at the entrance may well have changed, I hope so for your cruise, it was organised chaos in October for me. Frequently sent to tables not ready, too many guests and one night I went without dinner. I was not on my own lots of complaints.

My advice make sure you pre book your dining times.

It pains me to make these comments as I have always been a great X supporter. The one upside was Alexandra CC hostess who was very helpfull, but not over the top.

Thanks very much for that information. I’ll keep an eye on how things pan out and raise it up the line if necessary.

 

Phil

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We were on this Constellation re-positioning cruise and had an amazing time.

 

The weather was generally lovely and the ports of call were all accessible - except Petra which is a long drive, but well worth it.

 

For those in Aqua class and therefore eating in Blu - the Maitre d' is Laurence (a French lady) and she is fantastic: helpful, interested in you, she knows your name by the second time you go. Try to get on a table served by Elves - he has the driest sense of humour and is a real star.

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We were on this Constellation re-positioning cruise and had an amazing time.

 

The weather was generally lovely and the ports of call were all accessible - except Petra which is a long drive, but well worth it.

 

For those in Aqua class and therefore eating in Blu - the Maitre d' is Laurence (a French lady) and she is fantastic: helpful, interested in you, she knows your name by the second time you go. Try to get on a table served by Elves - he has the driest sense of humour and is a real star.

 

Good to hear that we have a great Maitre d'. Thanks for letting us know.

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Going through the canal was fabulous, I thought there was much more to see than the Panama canal and quite a different experience because there are no locks.

It took around 12 hours, when we went to bed around midnight we had stopped and were waiting with several other ships for the journey to begin. I think we entered the canal in the early hours, we got up around 7 and had just gone under the big bridge. We had an aft balcony so we had breakfast out there with a great view. The cultivated land and towns are all on one side for most of the way, the other side is just empty dessert.

 

We were in Concierge class and had an invite to the helipad around 10am, while we were up there we came into a big lake with a large town/city right up to the shore. Unfortunately there was no commentary which we had been expecting (someone told us that they has made an announcement early on that this was for security reasons). It would have been nice to know exactly what we were seeing, if we do it again I think I'd get a good detailed map beforehand to take.

 

We could see the ships ahead and behind us in the convoy, and sometimes on the narrow parts there were small local fishing boats right by us (it looked a bit dangerous for them but I guess they are used to it). At one point there was a little car ferry that timed its trip across between us and the ship behind us.

 

It was a really interesting 'sea' day and something we'd love to do again,

 

Julie

Which side of the ship is built up and which is the desert? Would you recommend a balcony cabin, as we usually go for inside?

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Which side of the ship is built up and which is the desert? Would you recommend a balcony cabin, as we usually go for inside?

 

Sailing South, desert is on port side. Starboard sailing North.

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Which side of the ship is built up and which is the desert? Would you recommend a balcony cabin, as we usually go for inside?

As above, for us the desert was on the Starboard, the developed land on the Port side.

 

If you have similar timings to us I would choose a balcony just because it was nice to wake up and immediately go outside to see what was going on. It was really nice to have breakfast out there and not be missing anything

 

Of course if you go up on deck the views are lovely too.

 

Julie

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On our cruise we had 2 CC hostesses, Alexandra and Rose, both were very nice and helpful. Alexandra left at the end of our cruise (she has been promoted) and Rose was taking over as CC host for future cruises. I think she'll do a great job.

 

We didn't use select dining but spoke to quite a few people who did and it sounded very hit and miss as to whether it was a good experience or not.

 

Julie

Julie, I know Alex was leaving in Abu Dhabi but I thought she was going home on leave and I was expecting to see her in April. If she has been promoted that's great for her but we will miss her on Connie

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The key to cruising the Suez Canal is to lower your expectations :D

We did the cruise from Adu Dhabi to Rome in April and had a great time

The canal itself after a couple hours is pretty boring, sand on one side and farmland on the other side , with a bridge and a number of ferries crossing it

The most interesting thing we saw was 5 black SUVs with 3 tomahawk helicopters following it

 

We did TA on the RCL from Baracelona to Tampa in Nov, talk about a disappointing cruise line

 

I really miss Celebrity after cruise

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Julie, I know Alex was leaving in Abu Dhabi but I thought she was going home on leave and I was expecting to see her in April. If she has been promoted that's great for her but we will miss her on Connie

I can't remember which ship she said she was moving to, I think either Reflection or Sillouhette

 

Julie

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Going through the canal was fabulous, I thought there was much more to see than the Panama canal and quite a different experience because there are no locks.

 

It took around 12 hours, when we went to bed around midnight we had stopped and were waiting with several other ships for the journey to begin. I think we entered the canal in the early hours, we got up around 7 and had just gone under the big bridge. We had an aft balcony so we had breakfast out there with a great view. The cultivated land and towns are all on one side for most of the way, the other side is just empty dessert.

 

 

 

We were in Concierge class and had an invite to the helipad around 10am, while we were up there we came into a big lake with a large town/city right up to the shore. Unfortunately there was no commentary which we had been expecting (someone told us that they has made an announcement early on that this was for security reasons). It would have been nice to know exactly what we were seeing, if we do it again I think I'd get a good detailed map beforehand to take.

 

 

 

We could see the ships ahead and behind us in the convoy, and sometimes on the narrow parts there were small local fishing boats right by us (it looked a bit dangerous for them but I guess they are used to it). At one point there was a little car ferry that timed its trip across between us and the ship behind us.

 

 

 

It was a really interesting 'sea' day and something we'd love to do again,

 

 

 

Julie

 

 

 

Sorry to hear there was no commentary. We did the reverse in April and they had both a commentary and a handout map to log times and notes.

 

If I recall it was MickeyLive. He was very active and entertaining.

 

 

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Going through the canal was fabulous, I thought there was much more to see than the Panama canal and quite a different experience because there are no locks.

The cultivated land and towns are all on one side for most of the way, the other side is just empty dessert.

 

 

Julie

 

thanks for your excellent review Julie. I note you refer to the cultivated land and towns on one side .. which side is that? We are also looking at Rome - Abu Dhabi direction so would like to be on the "best" side if possible

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Sailing South, desert is on port side. Starboard sailing North.

 

Ooops I should have read the whole thread.

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We disembarked on Monday after 15 nights onboard. I'm not going to do a full review but just post some thoughts and happy to answer any questions as not that much seems to get posted about Constellation.

 

 

 

Overall we had a great time and loved this itinerary. We embarked in Rome, with stops in Sicily, Athens Jordan, Muscat, Dubai and Abu Dhabi where we disembarked after an overnight stay. We went to the Abu Dhabi grand prix for Qualifying and race day which was a fantastic experience for us as long time F1 fans. We bought our tickets and arranged transfers independently and for anyone doing this next year it was all very easy (and much cheaper) to do yourself.

 

 

 

We had been to all the ports before apart from Jordan so of course we had to visit Petra, this was our only organised excursion and we booked it with the ship. It was a long and tiring day but very well organised and worth experiencing.

 

 

 

We cruise on various lines but most regularly on RCL. We've done two previous Celebrity cruises (including one 11 years ago on Constellation) and based on those I've always thought that Celebrity had slightly better food and service than RCL, however based on this cruise I've changed my mind.

 

 

 

Dinner in the MDR is always one of my favourite parts of a cruise, we always ask for a large table on late seating and that is what we got this time too. We were on a table for 10, all very nice people, a mixture of nationalities that we got on well with. However the service was just so slow (and this is coming from a Brit who likes to take her time over dinner:)). Late seating was at 8.30 and we rarely got out of the dining room before 11, I don't know what the problem was as tables around us always seemed to be way ahead of us while we were sat around waiting for food that was usually only luke warm by the time it arrived. One night I asked our waiter if we could be a bit quicker as we wanted to go to the silent disco which started at 10, I think we eventually made it out by 10.40. I hoped he'd take the hint and speed up on other nights but he didn't. Towards the end of the cruise we twice got the speech about giving 10 on the survey, which always really annoys me, particularly this time as he was nowhere near a 10.

 

 

 

I know the quality of food has dropped over the years on all the mainstream cruise lines but this seemed particularly poor, very bland tasteless food all over the ship, almost impossible to get brown bread/rolls and extra veg anywhere. I'm not saying it was terrible and we went hungry, just not what I remembered Celebrity to be. Perhaps we were just unlucky and different waiters could have made such a difference.

 

 

 

OK now for some of the stuff that we really liked.

 

 

 

The silent disco has to be top of my list, the first time we've had this on a cruise ship and it was such good fun, we had 2 on a 15 night cruise and wish there had been more.

 

 

 

The production shows were great, a really talented cast of singers and dancers, better than most ships we've been on lately. We also loved the Phil Collins tribute act.

 

 

 

The house band Just In Time were fab, great to dance to late at night. Infact this trip was much more lively than our previous Celebrity cruises.

 

 

 

The cruise director Ian was good and we played daily Trivia with Emily and Jelena who both did a great job.

 

 

 

Our cabin steward Rhodora was excellent, very friendly and nothing was too much trouble for her, she even brought DH a kettle so he could make his early morning cuppa.

 

 

 

I'm sure I've missed out lots of things so ask away if you have any questions. Sorry I didn't keep any of the daily planners so can't post those.

 

 

 

Julie

 

 

 

Thank you for this review - I’m on the 2018 itinerary and like you did already have our Grand Prix tickets, I’m interested to know how you made it in time for qualifying (which starts at 17:00 after ship docks at 16:00 - were timings similar to your cruise)? Were there queues at immigration?

 

Thank you in advance!

 

Aimee

 

 

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Thank you for this review - I’m on the 2018 itinerary and like you did already have our Grand Prix tickets, I’m interested to know how you made it in time for qualifying (which starts at 17:00 after ship docks at 16:00 - were timings similar to your cruise)? Were there queues at immigration?

 

Thank you in advance!

 

Aimee

 

 

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Last year they changed the itinerary around this time so we were docked in Dubai on Qualifying day. We docked around midday and a few of us on the roll call arranged a minibus to drive us to Abu Dhabi which worked out well. We didn't sail until midnight so had plenty of time to see qualifying and get back to the ship, we did miss the concert though.

Are you in Abu Dhabi both days, I think that is what happened in 2016? If you are Elite or above it's worth talking to the CC hostess onboard as she ensured our whole group was in the first group to disembark which saved us a lot of time before the queues had built up. It takes around 30 minutes to drive from the Abu Dhabi terminal to the circuit in a taxi.

 

Julie

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Hi Julie,,

 

We are take the exact same repositioning cruise from Rome to Abu Dhabi the November (Nov 11 - 26).

You mentioned that you arranged transfers independently and that for anyone doing this next year it was all very easy (and much cheaper) to do yourself.

We have the same idea of arranging independent transfer from Abu Dhabi to Dubai for flights home - can you tell me what "shuttle" or transfer service/company did you use???? I presume Celebrity also provide

airport transfer but at much higher price!!!

 

Any recommendation on what to see in Abu Dhabi &/or Dubai. Is hop-on hop-off bus a good option??

Your input will be appreciated.

 

Thanks

 

Steve C

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Hi Julie,,

 

We are take the exact same repositioning cruise from Rome to Abu Dhabi the November (Nov 11 - 26).

You mentioned that you arranged transfers independently and that for anyone doing this next year it was all very easy (and much cheaper) to do yourself.

We have the same idea of arranging independent transfer from Abu Dhabi to Dubai for flights home - can you tell me what "shuttle" or transfer service/company did you use???? I presume Celebrity also provide

airport transfer but at much higher price!!!

 

Any recommendation on what to see in Abu Dhabi &/or Dubai. Is hop-on hop-off bus a good option??

Your input will be appreciated.

 

Thanks

 

Steve C

Hi Steve,

 

I'm sorry I can't remember the details of the company from last year as someone else on the roll call actually booked it. I remember lots of people on the ship organised transfers from the ship to Dubai airport and you might find some info from our roll call from last year so I'll add a link. Unfortunately there are a lot of pages to read through but there was also plenty of info about the various ports.

 

We didn't do much sightseeing in Dubai/Abu Dhabi this trip but we had been to both before. Never done the hop on/off in Abu Dhabi but have done it in Dubai. If you only have one day I wouldn't really recommend it as the traffic in Dubai is terrible and you spend a lot of time just sitting on the bus stuck. If you have 2 or 3 days it might be better because you can spread the routes out over a few days and will have time to hop on and off to see things. Taxis are relatively cheap and we find it better to decide where we want to go and get a taxi directly there. The taxi drivers tend to know the back routes and save a lot of time. Our driver in Abu Dhabi took us through a shopping mall car park to avoid queues getting to the F1 circuit!

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2412894

roll call link.

 

Julie

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Hi Julie,,

 

We are take the exact same repositioning cruise from Rome to Abu Dhabi the November (Nov 11 - 26).

You mentioned that you arranged transfers independently and that for anyone doing this next year it was all very easy (and much cheaper) to do yourself.

We have the same idea of arranging independent transfer from Abu Dhabi to Dubai for flights home - can you tell me what "shuttle" or transfer service/company did you use???? I presume Celebrity also provide

airport transfer but at much higher price!!!

 

Any recommendation on what to see in Abu Dhabi &/or Dubai. Is hop-on hop-off bus a good option??

Your input will be appreciated.

 

Thanks

 

Steve C

 

We took the same cruise but in reverse this year. We spent 4 days in Abu Dhabi and had a great time. You can see lots of photos from our visit there as well as links to the tour companies and transfers we used in our review on our website that is linked to in my signature. Be sure to spend a few days there at the end of the cruise. It is an amazing place.

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We took the same cruise but in reverse this year. We spent 4 days in Abu Dhabi and had a great time. You can see lots of photos from our visit there as well as links to the tour companies and transfers we used in our review on our website that is linked to in my signature. Be sure to spend a few days there at the end of the cruise. It is an amazing place.
Thanks for the wonderful review. We are doing the same cruise in April next year. Beautiful photos and very informative.

 

Jean

 

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We disembarked on Monday after 15 nights onboard. I'm not going to do a full review but just post some thoughts and happy to answer any questions as not that much seems to get posted about Constellation.

 

Overall we had a great time and loved this itinerary. We embarked in Rome, with stops in Sicily, Athens Jordan, Muscat, Dubai and Abu Dhabi where we disembarked after an overnight stay. We went to the Abu Dhabi grand prix for Qualifying and race day which was a fantastic experience for us as long time F1 fans. We bought our tickets and arranged transfers independently and for anyone doing this next year it was all very easy (and much cheaper) to do yourself.

 

We had been to all the ports before apart from Jordan so of course we had to visit Petra, this was our only organised excursion and we booked it with the ship. It was a long and tiring day but very well organised and worth experiencing.

 

We cruise on various lines but most regularly on RCL. We've done two previous Celebrity cruises (including one 11 years ago on Constellation) and based on those I've always thought that Celebrity had slightly better food and service than RCL, however based on this cruise I've changed my mind.

 

Dinner in the MDR is always one of my favourite parts of a cruise, we always ask for a large table on late seating and that is what we got this time too. We were on a table for 10, all very nice people, a mixture of nationalities that we got on well with. However the service was just so slow (and this is coming from a Brit who likes to take her time over dinner:)). Late seating was at 8.30 and we rarely got out of the dining room before 11, I don't know what the problem was as tables around us always seemed to be way ahead of us while we were sat around waiting for food that was usually only luke warm by the time it arrived. One night I asked our waiter if we could be a bit quicker as we wanted to go to the silent disco which started at 10, I think we eventually made it out by 10.40. I hoped he'd take the hint and speed up on other nights but he didn't. Towards the end of the cruise we twice got the speech about giving 10 on the survey, which always really annoys me, particularly this time as he was nowhere near a 10.

 

I know the quality of food has dropped over the years on all the mainstream cruise lines but this seemed particularly poor, very bland tasteless food all over the ship, almost impossible to get brown bread/rolls and extra veg anywhere. I'm not saying it was terrible and we went hungry, just not what I remembered Celebrity to be. Perhaps we were just unlucky and different waiters could have made such a difference.

 

OK now for some of the stuff that we really liked.

 

The silent disco has to be top of my list, the first time we've had this on a cruise ship and it was such good fun, we had 2 on a 15 night cruise and wish there had been more.

 

The production shows were great, a really talented cast of singers and dancers, better than most ships we've been on lately. We also loved the Phil Collins tribute act.

 

The house band Just In Time were fab, great to dance to late at night. Infact this trip was much more lively than our previous Celebrity cruises.

 

The cruise director Ian was good and we played daily Trivia with Emily and Jelena who both did a great job.

 

Our cabin steward Rhodora was excellent, very friendly and nothing was too much trouble for her, she even brought DH a kettle so he could make his early morning cuppa.

 

I'm sure I've missed out lots of things so ask away if you have any questions. Sorry I didn't keep any of the daily planners so can't post those.

 

Julie

 

Thanks, Julie, for your great review! Just found it and enjoyed it, as I will be on the November 2018 Rome to Abu Dhabi cruise and also have an aft cabin. I am glad to hear that you felt the Suez was more enjoyable than the Panama Canal--I have done the Panama Canal and enjoyed it with the locks, but looking forward to the desert scenes. I've traveled in the Middle East before and look forward to going back to Oman and Jordan!

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