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Bob Dunbar

Age: 63

Occupation:Retired Master Mariner

Number of Cruises: 15

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Constellation

Sailing Date: 2015-04-9

Itinerary: Transatlantic

Fantastic Transatlantic Cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Rome.

More than adequate food in the MDR without being exceptional. The buffet was again more than adequate but a little repetitive when doing a 14 day cruise.. Having dined in the speciality outlets once a few years back, found no need to use again.

Cabin was exactly as expected, a mid size balcony stateroom, which is ideal for 2 adults.

Good entertainment and activities.

Tours were too expensive when booked through Celebrity

This was our 7th TA with Celebrity and RCL and beyond a shadow of a doubt, it was by far the best cruise we have experienced in over 15 years of cruising. It met and exceeded all our expectations in all ways.

Cruise was booked through www.CRUISE.co.uk and the flights directly with BA, travelling from the Edinburgh to Miami via London. We arrived in the US some 36 hours prior to departure JIC. Note: Clearing immigration and customs in Miami was a nightmare, horrendous queues (lines) caused I suspect due to insufficient staff on duty. (We were told that this was the result cut backs by the current US administration, much like the UK with our almost non-existent border control officers.)

My wife and I boarded the ship at our allotted time of 12:30hrs with minimal fuss or delay and the staterooms were ready by 13:15hrs. Our suitcases arrived some 30 minutes later which was a bonus. (Stateroom No.7086)

The obligatory safety drill was held at 16:15hrs at our muster station in the theatre. This was a very well controlled drill and we could clearly see and hear the information being given, unlike RCL where it is held on the open deck and in the squash, only those at the front can see what is happening.

We opted for the open dining and pre-booked for 18:30hrs., this give us ample time for a relaxed pre-dinner drink and sufficient time to catch the 21:00hrs show in the theatre. We were told by the very helpful staff that we could arrive 15 minutes before or after the booked time with no issues. We did not dine in either the Tuscan Grill or Ocean Liners having done so previously we find no real need to do so again. This despite the repeated and mildly annoying attempts by cruise line staff to get us to book up for a meal¦(Just a bit OTT in their efforts to drum up custom for the high number of empty tables we noticed in both outlets on many evenings.)

The entertainment provided was exceptional on this cruise. As were the entrainment director Alejandro from Argentina and his entire staff. The decision was apparently taken, to cater more for the age profile of the passengers on board. To this end, a number of the more normal late night entertainments and additional matinee performances by the visiting guest artists were time shifted 15:00hrs. What a very clever and so easy to implement. This change to the normal cruise routine, proved to be very popular and the majority of the afternoon events were performed to full houses. Very special mention has to be given to the UK singer Jayne Curry from Manchester, she was phenomenal and performed her socks off throughout the cruise. The Beyond the Podium speakers were also very good especially in giving valuable and insightful port information. (And not just the location of the nearest Diamonds International or other store outlets as occurs all too frequently with RCL) There were literally so many daily activities it was a case of which ones to miss out, in order to attend the ones we wanted to see or take part in.

Cruise Staff: They were simply great all round, from the highly visible and very friendly Captain Kostas to the cleaners who do such a magnificent job working tirelessly ensuring the ship looks bright and clean each and every morning. Our stateroom attendant was fantastic, being both very efficient and friendly without going OTT.

There were no issues with sun bed hogging especially when the temperature dropped to 20C mid Atlantic. However there were one or two minor squabbles in the theatre with people trying to reserve seating for other friends or family, especially at the very busy 21:00hrs show, this despite repeated PA announcements not to do so.

The ports of call were all OK. Having previously visited all the ports, we simply walked ashore and enjoyed the atmosphere in Funchal, Gibraltar and Alicante. Taking lots of pictures, purchasing the odd souvenir and enjoying the great weather was the extent of our excursions ashore. All ports were fairly easily accessed by walking for 15 -20 minutes. (Free shuttle in Alicante)

On board photography and Art Auctions are my two personal dislikes. The photos because they are not of particularity outstanding quality and they are now far too expensive. The art auctions because they take up valuable seating space within the ship (especially during adverse weather) and appear not to be, that well attended. In addition, Celebrity make a great hoo-ha about being environmentally friendly even to the extent of asking us not to change our towels on a daily basis. Well how about the waste of quality white paper used in the printing of the hundreds of pictures which are not purchased or indeed the volumes of unsolicited promotional flyers of the various sales and art auctions that arrive in the staterooms on a daily basis. There has to be a more environmentally efficient way of achieving the promotion required for such things by Celebrity, without the need to waste reams paper within their fleet of vessels!

Departing the ship was a breeze, we left at 07:00hrs., picked up our bags in the terminal walked past customs with a nod of the head and were in our pre-booked taxi and on the way to the airport at 07:15hrs. (Could not have been easier)

All in all it was a fabulous cruise with calm good weather as an added bonus, very nice company on-board a truly relaxing holiday. We are now already counting down to our Autumn TA, from Barcelona to Tampa on the Vision of the Seas.

(Editors note: I think OTT means 'over the top')

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