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Live from the Celebrity Constellation, 11/28-12/10/23.


VintageCheap
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LauraS
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Most of the time, what the industry calls a "Cruise Vacation" is called for.  I did a search for long cruises, 11/23, and then by price.  In my experience, the lines are pretty similar.  The frequent guest programs are useless, so once you get invited to the basic loyalty party, the rest of the perks are pretty boring.  The Constellation is a lovely ship, and we had fond memories of an amazing trip to the Med years ago.  

 

This 12 day run goes to some new countries and ports for us- Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica.    And requires only a short, cheap nonstop flight.  Is the right lunch or tour in a crowded, unwelcoming European port worth 4000 pounds of CO2 from jet fuel burned?  No. 

 

The recent negative reviews are a big draw for me.   And older, smaller ships are a plus.  Not a fan of lines, crowds or waiting.   Promenade decks, libraries, and some deck space are must haves.    Ships that have not been modernized - i.e. take out "useless" public spaces and add more cabins and extra charge features are more interesting to us. 

 

I see on Cruise Mapper the ship is docked.  We are in town, and have our luggage, passports and a shuttle reservation.  What can go wrong? 

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35 minutes ago, VintageCheap said:

Most of the time, what the industry calls a "Cruise Vacation" is called for.  I did a search for long cruises, 11/23, and then by price.  In my experience, the lines are pretty similar.  The frequent guest programs are useless, so once you get invited to the basic loyalty party, the rest of the perks are pretty boring.  The Constellation is a lovely ship, and we had fond memories of an amazing trip to the Med years ago.  

 

This 12 day run goes to some new countries and ports for us- Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica.    And requires only a short, cheap nonstop flight.  Is the right lunch or tour in a crowded, unwelcoming European port worth 4000 pounds of CO2 from jet fuel burned?  No. 

 

The recent negative reviews are a big draw for me.   And older, smaller ships are a plus.  Not a fan of lines, crowds or waiting.   Promenade decks, libraries, and some deck space are must haves.    Ships that have not been modernized - i.e. take out "useless" public spaces and add more cabins and extra charge features are more interesting to us. 

 

I see on Cruise Mapper the ship is docked.  We are in town, and have our luggage, passports and a shuttle reservation.  What can go wrong? 

all is good, we live close to the port and look forward to sailing on "connie" again today...1st time on her was 20 years ago and for many of the reasons that you stated, we like this size ship...Dont need water slides or other disney like features..just give me a ship that is comfortable and not huge..I know that the food will not be as good as in the past, but we will have a great cruise regardless.just blessed to be going....dress warm for sailaway the hi today is 60 and a northerly breeze....An adult beverage will help with the whole process......take care. 

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Thanks.  One thing we worked on - trying to find a hotel actually on the water in Tampa.  You can drive over to St Pete Beach certainly. There are a few hotels on the bay right by the airport on 60.  There is a Westin, Holiday Inn Express, and Doubletree.  You can walk to three beach theme restaurants.  There is a park or two and even a beach, Ben T Davis.  The Rusty Pelican was good.  Starting vacation early seems sensible.

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We did a 10 day out of Tampa on the Constellation last Christmas/New Years.
I thought the boat had character, and a great group of cruisers. My wife thought the ship was dated, and needed a renovation.  Food was good, service in both MDR/Pool deck good.  Had a wonderful New Year's Eve party on pool deck.
But, we're on Ascent in 13 days. Guess you can figure out who makes the ship selections now.

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1 hour ago, retired dude said:

all is good, we live close to the port and look forward to sailing on "connie" again today...1st time on her was 20 years ago and for many of the reasons that you stated, we like this size ship...Dont need water slides or other disney like features..just give me a ship that is comfortable and not huge..I know that the food will not be as good as in the past, but we will have a great cruise regardless.just blessed to be going....dress warm for sailaway the hi today is 60 and a northerly breeze....An adult beverage will help with the whole process......take care. 

We booked the Connie for the same reasons as you. We are on Beyond for December 22 and then on Connie for March 11. It will be quite a difference from what we understand. We've been on Reflection twice and loved it and are looking forward to checking out these other two classes. With all the positive reviews of the Beyond, I hope we aren't disappointed with Connie. 

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Which ports in EU are crowded, unwelcoming ? 
just did the Connie TA the only poet that was crowed was Nassau 

EU ports have a better vibe to them than any Caribbean port 

The ship is in good shape , a lot of the crew are new after the TA , as we we saw a lot of old crew  in the airport getting ready to fly home from Tampa 

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14 minutes ago, 2chiefs said:

We booked the Connie for the same reasons as you. We are on Beyond for December 22 and then on Connie for March 11. It will be quite a difference from what we understand. We've been on Reflection twice and loved it and are looking forward to checking out these other two classes. With all the positive reviews of the Beyond, I hope we aren't disappointed with Connie. 

connie is usually more layback than beyond and far less "yutes" which we love..You just have to remember that the connie is 25 years old and in some areas she shows it, but overall it is  still our idea of classic cruising..We also sail alot on the rccl radiance class  ships out of tampa for the same reasons...No flying, and smaller more comfortable relaxing ships.. We just avoid any cruising in the summer, spring break, xmas, thanks giving and during hurricaine season....we are on the reflection next april and look forward to it a great deal ...life is good,we wish you well.

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28 minutes ago, Ex-Airbalancer said:

Which ports in EU are crowded, unwelcoming

Make a list.  Barcelona and Venice to start.  The whole place also.  https://www.forbes.com/sites/ceciliarodriguez/2023/07/31/tourists-go-home-fed-up-with-over-tourism-european-hotspots-impose-bans-fines-taxes-and-traps/

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Look forward to your trip report. Last Celebrity ship I was on was the Constellation, a 12 day cruise out of Istanbul  in late October many years ago. One of my favorite cruises of all times. 

I love the M class ships even if they are now non glamour ships of Celebrity.

Been sailing on the Viking Ocean ships but I could be persuaded to try Celebrity again especially out of Tampa  for a nice winter getaway at a reasonable price.  

 

Edited by Azulann
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Got to the port at 10:50 and was onboard by 11:04.  DW forgot some steps in online check in which slowed us down.  Note they do observe/enforce arrival times.

 

The ship is in good condition.  The buffet was lovely.  The overall feel is classy vs cattle yard.   A big upgrade over NCL from earlier this year.  This time of year an older passenger demographic was observed.

 

Lunch was good.  Lots of Asian choices. The reported endless cutbacks were not at all evident.  I was just pinching myself - the decision to book another Celebrity cruise right after this one on impulse @249 pp - clever. 

 

One giggle.  The shuttle service owner at the Holiday Inn Express was selling round trip tickets.  I said we were picking up at Avis to drive to Miami.  He said it was eight blocks.  I gave him my best teenage eye roll.

 

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Edited by VintageCheap
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Thanks for posting. We usually sail HAL but enjoyed our two trips on the Constellation out of Tampa. (We only live 40 minutes away so nice and easy compared with FLL. Will be following along as we have neighbors (Retired Dude) on board with you. 

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3 hours ago, Azulann said:

Look forward to your trip report. Last Celebrity ship I was on was the Constellation, a 12 day cruise out of Istanbul  in late October many years ago. One of my favorite cruises of all times.

 

We were on that one.

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3 hours ago, Ex-Airbalancer said:

Which ports in EU are crowded, unwelcoming ? 
just did the Connie TA the only poet that was crowed was Nassau 

EU ports have a better vibe to them than any Caribbean port 

The ship is in good shape , a lot of the crew are new after the TA , as we we saw a lot of old crew  in the airport getting ready to fly home from Tampa 

each cruise port has its own unique vibe 

 

 each cruiser has their own tastes and preferences as well...

 

We prefer Tropical but enjoy most ports, some more appreciated than others...Nassau not among the ones we appreciate!

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2 hours ago, VintageCheap said:

We were on that one.

Maybe we met on board .‼️ I organized private tours in Istanbul and in Kusadasi for some on the roll call . We stayed four days after cruise in Istanbul . 

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My memory from the Sunset Bar was trying to find a beer aboard that was not a yukky mass market lager.  And how close the ferries and tour boats got to the ship.  And they let us up on the helo pad to sightsee. 

 

Waiting for the band to start.  We did get in recorded Tango.  The dance floor four aft is smaller than it looks.  But they still have one 🙂

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We got off the Connie on November 23 after spending 7 nights in a Concierge cabin (Adriatic) and 16 nights (TA) in a Sky Suite. We thoroughly enjoyed being in both rooms as well as eating in main dining and Luminae. The ship was in good shape. Some things are a little worn but didn't bother us at all. Food and entertainment were very good. 

We'll be sailing on her again in February for the Mardi Gras cruise.

Enjoy!!!!

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1 hour ago, STLCRUISIN said:

We got off the Connie on November 23 after spending 7 Food and entertainment were very good. 

We'll be sailing on her again in February for the Mardi Gras cruise.

Enjoy!!!!

Yep.  MDR Anytime found us a table for two at 5:45 which is unheard of in recent cruise history for us.  Dinner was speedy and good.  Note to self - Mambo lessons.  A five piece party band is inconsistent with all the reported cutbacks. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, STLCRUISIN said:

We got off the Connie on November 23 after spending 7 nights in a Concierge cabin (Adriatic) and 16 nights (TA) in a Sky Suite. We thoroughly enjoyed being in both rooms as well as eating in main dining and Luminae. The ship was in good shape. Some things are a little worn but didn't bother us at all. Food and entertainment were very good. 

We'll be sailing on her again in February for the Mardi Gras cruise.

Enjoy!!!!


Hi🤗

Sheila and Jim.

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The Lucky Band was nice later on four aft.  Note to self: Bossa Nova lessons.

 

I did see Jr officers and staff in the buffet and lounges.  This would contribute to a happy ship- the "software" of the guest experience.  Another line,  less well managed, missed a key 1000006914-01.thumb.jpeg.f325e2cde9ad32f7adf04ee5ea7c8c50.jpegmemo here. 

https://crew-center.com/ncl-restricts-privileges-staff-members-and-officers-less-2-stripes-its-not-just-benefits-its-our

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9 hours ago, hcat said:

each cruise port has its own unique vibe 

 

 each cruiser has their own tastes and preferences as well...

 

We prefer Tropical but enjoy most ports, some more appreciated than others...Nassau not among the ones we appreciate!

We are meeting soon with the manager of the newly renovated British Colonial Hotel in Nassau.  The soft open is Dec 10.  Beach passes again in early 2024.

 

https://www.britishcolonial.com/

 

 

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