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Ken Abshier

Age: 50

Occupation:Technical

Number of Cruises: 9

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Constellation

Sailing Date: April 26th, 2003

Itinerary: TransAtlantic

This was our 9th cruise, 2nd on Celebrity, we have sailed on Princess (1), NCL (1), Holland America (1) and Royal Caribbean (4).

This was our 3rd TransAtlantic and if you love sea days, this is the way to go. I would suggest doing the Fall crossing because of the time changes, you gain 6 hours instead of losing 6 hours, it makes a difference, we have done both.

The Constellation is a beautiful ship, we were on the Millennium about 1 1/2 years ago and they are almost identical except for some color changes.

We left from Puerto Rico, embarkation was a snap, there were about 10 Celebrity people waiting and no one in line, we were on the ship in a matter of minutes. Had to make a quick stop at the liquor store first.

A very nice feature is if you be sure to put your Celebrity luggage tags on your luggage, you don't have to claim them at the airport, just get on the bus and head for the ship. A little scary, but we have done this before and so far all our luggage has made it.

The ship left right on time and we headed for St. Thomas, nice place, been there at least 3 other times. Many, many, many jewelry stores and decent prices on liquor.
We then went on to St. Maarten, nice place, been there at least 3 other times. Many, many, many jewelry stores, better prices on liquor. Head for the beaches, have a drink, and save some money.

We then had 5 fantastic days at sea, very unusual for a TransAtlantic crossing. Sunny every day, calm seas. We took the Northern route a few years ago in the same time frame and the weather was rotten, stay with the Southern route.

When we finally saw land again we were in Funchal Madeira. Been there before also, beautiful island. Fun just to walk around and soak in the atmosphere, visit the wine shop and try some local food. We always try local food everywhere we go and so far have been very lucky not to have any adverse reactions.

After another day at sea we made a stop in Lisbon, Portugal. Very much like Funchal. Again we just walked around and took in the sights and had a bite to eat. The weather was beautiful, sunny and warm.

Two more days at sea, the weather is now starting to change, not bad, but not sunbathing weather.

Next stop, Le Havre, France. Again, we stayed in Le Havre, nice little town, plenty of cafes and things to do there. We were about 3 hours from Paris by bus, the people who took tours said they felt very rushed. We have been to Paris before, that's why we decided to just stay in the local area.

Next day we were in Harwich, England and had to leave. A two hour bus ride to the airport and a 5 hour wait for our flight, and then an 8 hour flight home. We hate those last days.

Entertainment was much better than on the Millennium, two of the entertainers were the same, fortunately one of them was worth seeing a second time. The production shows were great. One of the two comedians was very good.

Late night entertainment was fun, usual stuff, 50's night, disco night, Newlywed not so Newlywed show. Several Elvis sightings.

Food was very good, variety was good, service was perfect. Breakfast and lunch in the dining room was OK, we usually hit the buffet for that. They did have nade to order pasta everyday for lunch near the rear of the ship. Pizza on the other side with a pre-made pasta dish. In the morning they made fresh eggs and omelets back there.

Our cabin was Category 1A, 191 sq. ft. with a balcony. The cabin was very nice and decorated with nice bright colors. The balcony was a bit small compared to others we have had. Our room steward and his assistant were fantastic.

Ocean Liner's dining room was a disappointment. We paid an extra $25 per person for what was supposed to be a relaxing 2 1/2 dinner. We were done in 1 hour and 45 minutes. The wait staff moves so fast you feel like you are in the middle of an ant hill. I had steak diane, which is typically served with Filet Mignon, they used a strip steak. It was OK, but not that great. Darlene had the fish, which she said was excellent. We ordered a bottle of wine which we were barely able to finish because of being rushed. We did comment to the head waiter and we were invited back as their guests, but we declined this offer. We just weren't that impressed with it. We are from the Chicago area, and have been to some of the finest restaurants here and Ocean Liner's doesn't come close.

Celebrity has a real nice feature regarding announcements. On sea days they only have one announcement at noon, that's it. No bingo, no art auction, no passenger talent show no .... Read your daily paper to know what is going on, it's great.

Great cruise line, I wouldn't hesitate going on them again.

We have two more cruises booked this year, both on Royal Caribbean, we already did one on Royal Caribbean in January, this is our year for cruising.

Life is too short to be stuck on land.

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