Thursday, February 22, 2024

Celebrity Constellation Cruise Review - February 22, 2024


Celebrity Constellation Cruise Review - February 22, 2024
Just the Facts:
Ship: Celebrity Constellation- 2002 - Weight: 90,940 tons - Capacity: 2,170 passengers 
Captain: Morfis Passalis (Greece), Hotel Director: Cameron Robertson (Scotland),  Cruise Director: Sue Denning (UK)
Ports: Tampa, USA - New Orleans USA - Roatan, Honduras - Belize City, Belize - Cozumel, Mexico

I’m cruising as a solo on this 9-day cruise, unique as we call on NOLA before heading south to the Western Caribbean. This is my first cruise on the 
Celebrity Constellation (Connie), only my 3rd cruise on Celebrity, and my 207th cruise overall.  They do honor my D+ status from Royal Caribbean as an Elite on this sailing. Always nice to sail a new (to me) ship...especially from my new home port of Tampa.
Thursday, February 22, 2024  / Embarkation 
I woke at about 7:30 am and finished packing for today’s cruise. I had a Lyft ride scheduled for 9:45 am and he came 15 minutes early but I was ready. Quick ride to the Florida Aquarium and I walked over to the cruise port (#2) arriving at 10:20 am well ahead of boarding. No lines at security or check-in and soon waiting for boarding to begin. They were late starting but still on the ship by 11:15 am. I dropped my carry-on bag in my cabin on deck 2 then went upstairs to the buffet, not busy at all as the Main dining room was also open for lunch on embarkation day. I had Roast Turkey from the Carving Station, Veal Scallopene, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Waldorf Salad, and a selection of various small desserts including Bread Pudding. Very good and has a nice view of Tampa. The weather has turned out very nice and sunny too. A good start to the day and cruise. I went to my muster station on deck 4 then to the Cafe al Bracio on deck 5 not for coffee but a Diet Coca-Cola…I like their large chairs and view. I was able to log into my WiFi account and monitor the Market on this great up day and start this blog review until the cabins officially opened. You are allowed to drop your bags and pick up your Cabin card until the cabin is cleared usually by 1:30 pm. I set up my cabin and had plenty of room for hanging and also lots of storage areas. I will have to carefully open all the cabinets and drawers to ensure I have everything on the final day. The cabin may be the largest interior space I have had on a ship and I actually like the location even though it is on the lower deck. It is very convenient to the aft elevators. After watching Sail Away from Deck 11, I had a beer ($11+) at about 5:00 pm at Cellar Masters (the wine bar). I’m really looking forward to the Elite Happy Hour from 5:00-7:00 pm beginning tomorrow as drinks are very dear on the ship. I did a walkabout and stopped at the Captain's Club on deck 3 for a list of Elite benefits. My dinner is at 8:30 in the San Marco Restaurant (MDR) and I’m at an 8-top solo table…we had four at dinner tonight. The menu was good and I ordered: a Beet Salad, Escargot, The featured Prime Rib entree, and Rum Raisin ice creme for dessert. It was good. The table service was excellent. Another walkabout the ship before retiring at about 10:30. It was an easy embarkation day on the Connie.

Friday, February 23, 2024 / at Sea 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. We turned our clocks back one hour overnight so I was actually awake at 6:30 am. I went to the MDR for breakfast as it’s a tradition for me on the first full day and I always order the same items. I ordered: Hot Milk, Fruit plate, Eggs Benedict, Hash browns Bacon, and uniquely Canadian Bacon as well. It was all very good as was the service and the fellow guests at our shared window table. The ship has StarLink so very good WiFi throughout the ship. I used it to do business the rest of the morning. At about 1:00 pm I went to the Pool Deck Grill and had a hamburger and fries. It was just OK. I then stopped for a bowl of Rum Raisin ice creme and went to the aft deck to watch the wake. I found a nice table and enjoyed the view and sun for about an hour. I did a walkabout, easy to do on a smaller ship and guests were enjoying the sea day. This was dress Chic night for dinner perhaps the formal evening but unsure. I was at Cellar Masters for Happy Hour just after 5:00 pm to enjoy my complimentary Cosmopolitan cocktails. A table mate by chance joined me later. I went to the Theater for the production show: Soundtrack at 7:00 pm and scored a center row two seat with no seat in front of me, perfect for photographs. I was surprised by the large number of singers and dancers in the cast…it was a big show. Also very enjoyable one of the best I have seen since pre-covid days on MSC. I would see this show again. Dinner tonight was good, I ordered the Escargot, a double Shrimp Cocktail, the Steak Diane entree, and a dessert sampler. It was good and the same four guests attended. Our service was again excellent by our waiter Arta and his assistant Witness. I retired after dinner. It was a restful and nice sea day.
Saturday, February 24, 2024 / New Orleans, Louisiana 
Smooth seas overnight and you could feel it when we entered the Mississippi River. At 6:00 am we had a ship-wide emergency announcement from the Captain asking for any guests with O-negative blood to report to the Medical Center. He made an additional (non emergency) announcement at 8:00 am after arrival. The river channel was cleared for the emergency and we arrived 1.5 hours ahead of our scheduled 9:30 arrival. The guest was stable and transferred to an awaiting ambulance. TIP: I leave my TV on the ship information channel overnight so that I can monitor announcements. That is usually the channel that shows the ship's course and location. We all heard the 6:00 am, but I would not have heard the 8:00 am announcement as it went to public areas and not cabins. So up early to update this blog. I left the ship at about 9:30 and walked to the National World War II Museum only 15 minutes away. It was much larger than I anticipated and stayed for three + hours. I saw two feature movies, one in 4D although seems 3D to me…impressive nonetheless. The exhibits were very informative and thorough. The WWII aircraft were impressive. Afterward, I walked to Mothers Restaurant arriving at about 1:40 pm just after the noon rush but still busy. I had a full Ferdie Special and a cup of Crawfish Etouffie. It was dear but very good. I then walked to the Hotel Monteleone and stopped at the Carousel Bar, it was packed. In fact, there were more tourists in NOLA than I have seen outside of Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest. I then walked through the French Quarter passing many old haunts such as Brennan’s, Antoines, Court of Two Sisters, Tujagues (Ain’t dere no mo), Cafe du Monde (lines a block long), and Jackson Square. I did get my beignets at the Cafe Du Monde in the Riverside on the walk back to the cruise pier. I also saw the Carnival Valor sailing away downriver. I made it back to the ship at about 5:00 pm. I took a break and then went up to the Sunset Bar located far aft on deck 10 to watch the sunset and then the lights of NOLA. Nice live music began at sundown, very pleasant and enjoyable. Drinking happy hour Coca-Colas also taking some back to the cabin. The Sunset may become my bar of choice for the rest of the cruise. I’m not doing the MDR for dinner as I’ve had enough to eat today. After an evening walkabout I retired to the cabin. A great day in NOLA.

Sunday, February 25, 2024 / at Sea

Smooth river and seas overnight as we sailed south on the Mississippi and into the Gulf of Mexico at about 5:00 am. Since I skipped dinner last night I was looking forward to breakfast. I ate soon after the MDR opened and my waiter was Arta so good service. I ordered Hot Milk, a Fruit Plate, three eggs over easy (perfect), Hash Browns, American & British Bacon, and Toast…all were very good. I did a walkabout as I hadn’t really visited deck 4 … nice public spaces and access to the outer boat deck. I went up to Deck 5 and listened to the Oklahoma Sooners early softball game, they won their 66th in a row 8-0. I noticed the sign at the San Marco MDR about lunch being served on Deck 4 so went down to the main level for lunch just getting in before they closed at 1:30. I had a great two-top far aft at the big aft windows. I ordered the Pasta Bolognese as a starter, the Pork Loin entree, and the Cinnamon Ice Creme for dessert. It was very good and I was lucky with the timing. After lunch I returned to the cabin to listen to the end of the second game of Oklahoma Softball I’ve been following the softball team for several years now, only missing a few games. Yes, they won the 2nd Game 9-0 so 67 in a row and 14-0 this season. Again, the Starlink streaming works great on the Constellation. At about 5:00 pm I went up to the Sunset Bar for a beautiful sunset and a couple of cocktails. I then changed for dinner and stopped at Cellar Masters for Cosmopolitans. Elite guests have a 5:00-7:00 pm window for Happy Hour drinks. I then went to the Celebrity Theater for the production show: Broadway Cabaret. It features the 6 lead production singers doing notable Broadway show tunes (photo). Very talented group. The Celebrity Show Band is quite good as well. It’s now rare to find a live band in a production show on a cruise ship. Dinner and service tonight were very good, I ordered: the Escargot, Pasta Fagioli Soup, Wedge the Salad, Steak & Chips entree, and Peach Clafoutis for dessert. A short walkabout of the ship including deck 4 outer boat deck before retiring. It was a good sea day and the first time I actually ate all three meals in the MDR on the same day in many years.

Monday, February 26, 2024 / at Sea 

Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. At about 9:00 a.m. I went up one deck to Qzine where they serve a light Continental Breakfast Buffet for Elite guests. I had Hot Milk, a Bloody Mary, a variety of fresh fruit, and Danish. It was nice and the Captain came through and stopped at every table. Nice. Later he made his daily 9:45 am announcements saying we had just left the Gulf of Mexico and sailed into the Caribbean…Cuba on our starboard and Mexico on our port side. A beautiful day today too, the warmer weather is most welcome. At noon I went to the San Marco MDR for lunch. I ordered: the Nicoise Salad as a starter, the BBQ Rib entree, and a very nice Orange Panna Cotta for dessert. So nice to have good dining service and tablecloths at a midday meal. I went up to the large Reflections Lounge on deck 11 forward to just enjoy the great view. They had music, trivia, and bingo at the time I was up there relaxing. I picked up ice on the way back to the cabin for my Coca-Cola and movie time. I watched: The Beach (2000) with a young Leonardo DiCaprio, I had never seen it…it was good. I went up to the Sunset Bar to watch the sunset and take some photos. Anthony and Made took care of me with an interesting Beach-themed cocktail and some cokes for later. The show this evening was a Magician, but I’m not into magic so I watched the Guest lecturer's presentation from this morning on the Cabin TV. The subject was the lost Titanic Baby and how the identity was determined from DNA. He is very good and I’ll try to catch his next presentation on the last sea day. We had three at dinner tonight. I ordered: the Escargot, Broccoli Soup, the Chicken entree (pass), and a very nice Cherries Jubilee for dessert. Witness was our primary waiter tonight. I wanted to see a late Motown show in the Reflections lounge, but retired…I’m now at that age where 10:30-11:00 pm shows are not quite as appealing. It was another nice sea day on the Connie. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024 / Isla Roatan, Honduras 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. We arrived early as scheduled and we were cleared by 7:15 am. We are docked at Coxen Hole. I was on the very first regularly scheduled cruise ship to have docked here in the 1980s on a Texaribbean cruise on NCL out of Houston’s Barbers Cut. I have returned guessing 40+ times since and have witnessed all the changes over the years. A natural beautiful island and rare in the fact that cruise ships have improved the condition of the locals and the island itself. I went to Qzine again for breakfast as it’s so convent…Danish and assorted fruits with hot milk. I relaxed all morning then went for lunch in the buffet at about noon. I had Linguine & Meatballs from the Pasta Station with a green salad. After lunch, I went off the ship and noticed that they are building a huge swimming pool (photo) at the port area, which would be good for people who didn’t want to leave the port area. I went into Coxen Hole and it’s changed with more local vendors. I found the no-name bar (a local bar) out over the water and enjoyed Salva Vida beer, I could get three for the price of one beer on the ship plus WiFi so I spent my afternoon there. It was fun. I was back on board before 5:00 pm. I went up to the Sunset Bar with some Pizza for a light snack. The mountains on the island blocked the sunset but sailing away was nice…Made prepared my frozen concoction and served it in my silicon glass so it was a relaxing evening. I changed before dinner (no shorts in MDR) and we had all four solos attending. Tonight I ordered: the Spiced Louisiana Gumbo, a Shrimp Cocktail, Escargot, the Chicken Cordon Bleu entree, and a Pana Cotta for dessert. The entree was excellent and again great service. I retired after dinner as it was a long and enjoyable port day.
Wednesday, February 28, 2024 / Isla Roatan, Honduras 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. We were anchored off the reef outside Belize City by 7:00 am and Tenders began soon afterward. I plan to stay on board the ship as I have visited here many times. Use the search query in this blog for information on my on-shore Belize adventures. Just before they closed at 9:00 am I went to the MDR for breakfast. Arte was my waiter and I again had a two-top at the aft windows, I could see Carnival and Royal Caribbean ships at anchor. I ordered a nice breakfast: a Fruit Plate, Hot Milk, Danish, Eggs Benedict, Hash Browns, with English (2) and American Bacon. Excellent. My cabin was made up when I returned so very efficient all around. I took time doing some business then went on a walkabout ending up at the Deli Section of the buffet on deck 10. I passed it on the way to the Sunset Bar and decided to stop…they have a great setup with pre-made sandwiches or made-to-order, including steak. I did have to get a sample while there. After my walkabout, I had movie time. I highly recommend Fisherman’s Friend’s a true story about a singing group from Cornwall. I went to Sunset Bar and watched us sail away from Belize and enjoy some cocktails made by Made (maw-dee). I watched the group Waves in the Rendezvous Lounge before going to dinner in the San Marco Dining Room. Tonight I ordered the Escargot a la Bourguignonne, Creamy Smoked Tomato Bisque, Beef Wellington, Broiled Lobster Tail, and Baked Alaska, all very good. I retired after dinner as I needed to rest for Cozumel. It was a beautiful day for a call at Belize.
Thursday, February 29, 2024 / Isla Cozumel, Mexico 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. The Captain woke me with an arrival announcement at about 8:45 am and soon we were cleared. We also change our time back to Eastern Time overnight.  I skipped breakfast as I wanted to arrive at Del Mar Latino by 10:00 am. I was off the ship at about 9:40 am and a casual stroll to the club arriving right on time. I staked out my lounger for the day and Jassy (jazzy) was my server for the day. She has cut her hair so a different look…she is the best server here too. I started with Coca-Cola Light and Coconut Shrimp for breakfast…nice. I did bring my beach glass so more ice as I like it. Quick dip in the pool to cool off from the walk and then did some business. I’m unable to use two devices on the ship but here I can use two…I need that for some secure business transactions. I started with Guacamole with Pico de Gallo…it was very good and soon I was on to Mojitos. Food all day has been very good, I ordered: Chicken Tacos, Coconut Shrimp x2, Shrimp Cocktail, Nachos, Coconut Ice Creme, and more. The Jubilee must have left early as by 2:15 pm there were only a dozen people and by 3:00 pm only five guests left at the club. Good for me and the other four. I casually walked back to the ship arriving back by 5:00 although embarking wasn't until 6:30 pm. After cleaning up I went to the Sunset Bar to watch our sail away and have a Made special. It was a very nice evening. The late dining has really worked well for me this cruise, especially with the 5-7:00 pm complimentary Elite Happy Hour and 7:00 pm showtimes. We had three for dinner tonight and the menu was interesting, I ordered: Classic Cesar Salad, Escargot, the Beef Bourguignonne entree, and Bananas Foster for dessert. I did do a short walkabout before retiring. It was a great day in Cozumel.

Friday, March 1st, 2024 / at Sea 

Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. At about 9:00 am. I went up to Qzine for the Elite Continental Breakfast. I had Hot Milk, Danish, and Assorted Fruits. Very convenient for me just a few feet from my cabin. My goal for our final sea day is to pack, watch two OU softball games, and get a Celebrity Future Cruise certificate. I did some business and did some packing in the morning then went up to the Buffet for some very nice Fish & Chips, I lucked out as they brought out a fresh batch just as I got to the top of the line for them. Patience had its virtue. I ate outside on the aft deck…very enjoyable. I then a walkabout and stopped for the Futures Desk on deck 5, not waiting at all for a desk to open and very soon I had my Future cruise certificate paid for and a new Celebrity credit card. I took ice back to the cabin to enjoy Coca-Cola for the softball game. The Starlink on board makes it so easy to stream sports or movies…even in an interior on deck 2. The first game was very exciting and the first played in the new Love’s Field, OU won in the bottom of the 7th 9-7. I went up to the Sunset Bar between games for my final Cocktails. I went to the Theater for the final feature production ROCK by the full cast of performers. It was weaker than the first two, but they were one singer short too. I was able to keep track of the 2nd Softball Game and watched the ending as OU won 8-0 in 5 innings. Final dinner tonight and it was good. I ordered: a Cobb Salad, Escargot, Prime Rib of Beef, Chicken Chiquita, and a Sticky Toffee Pudding & a Blackberry-Ainse Glace for desserts. I did enjoy my three dining companions…all very different…but enjoyable company. I retired to the cabin to pack and prepare for debarkation tomorrow.


Saturday, March 2nd, 2024 / Debarkation

They had a Helicopter evacuation during the night off the coast of Naples FL so we were within the Telephone range off Sarasota from midnight. We docked as scheduled at about 6:30 a.m. Not as many guests did the self-walk off debarkation so it was very easy. I went down to Deck 4 and the MDR with my bag for a full breakfast at about 6:50 am, Afterward I proceeded to walk off the ship…no lies, no crowd at all. I walked over to the Florida Aquarium and requested a Lyft ride. I was picked up within 8 minutes ($54.99). I was home before 9:00 am Easy morning.


I had 2183 and was leery of the location until I boarded and then I liked the location…and excellent for port days. Large space and a large bathroom for an interior. Lots of storage. Neutral colors, no seating other than a chair at the vanity/desk, but a nice portable table that will go over the bed if needed. I like the Pillow situation, you receive one firm and one soft pillow (MSC does the same). The BR has a nightlight…always useful. Downside: Lots of doors slamming from the door into the crew area cabins.

Dining / Food 

The meals in the MDR are very good, and the service and settings are wonderful. I love the tablecloths. The wait staff Arta and Witness were excellent, very pleased with the service. The buffet food was good to very good. Favorites: Carving Station, Pasta Station, Deli Section, and Salad Bar. I did not do a specialty restaurant.


Highlights of the Cruise

Port Day in New Orleans

Production Shows in theater

Port Day in Cozumel

Service and food in the San Marco restaurant

Sunset Bar


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