Constellation Gallery
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Ship Gallery & Report (Page 1 - Constellation)

In 1989, the Greek family-owned Chandris Line formed Celebrity Cruises as a new premium brand concept and with their two new ships Horizon (1990) and Zenith (1992), established an outstanding reputation for cuisine and on-board service. Success led to the introduction of 3 new larger ships: Century (1995), Galaxy (1996) & Mercury (1997) but at this point, the Chandris family then sold its interest and Celebrity Cruises became part of the giant Royal Caribbean International.

RCI continued the expansion of this "mass-market premium brand" with the introduction of 4 even larger ships: Millennium (2000), Infinity (Mar 2001), Summit (Nov 2001) & finally Constellation (2002). They were the first to be powered by gas-turbines and were among the first ships to use the new "pod" propulsion system instead of conventional propellers. As such, there were a number of initial problems that upset many people's plans - not least our own in 2005, when our planned trip to Hawaii was scuppered at the last minute! See Infinity 2005 >>.

Consequently, the first ship of this class we would experience would be the youngest in the quartet.

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Constellation (entered service 2002)
90,228 grt; length 965ft; 1,950 passengers

(left) The fourth ship in the Millennium-class, Constellation as she was delivered in May 2002.
Page 2 (Millennium) >> Page 3 (Summit) >> Page 4 (Infinity) >>

(right) Following her colour-scheme change in 2004 and after subsequent rebranding with the suffix "Celebrity".
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Their initial flashy livery of royal blue and white with racy gold lines and red trim was the work of the mega-yacht designer, Jon Bannenburg. However, this was revised in 2004 in favour of a more simplified scheme. Later, following a company rebranding exercise, all ships were re-registered with the suffix "Celebrity" in front of their name - in case you were in any doubt!

The Baltic Capitals
14th - 28th June 2008

View the complete Log of this cruise >>

Boarding through the Grand Foyer, Photo by Gerry >> the first impressions are of space, comfort and quality. With understated style, the use of marble and wood finishes also adds class and elegance.

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Grand Foyer
from Deck 5
Cova Cafe
di Milano
Conference Centre Gorilla with Fish
(Angus Fairhurst)
Lobby Sculpture
Sun Deck

There is an extensive use of high quality artwork throughout the ship, including many sculptures Photo >> which are both "unusual" and striking. The layout of the public areas on Entertainment & Promenade Decks is fairly standard but flow is good and signage throughout the ship is excellent.

On-Board Accommodation
The Standard Outside Cabins (below left) are exactly that but they are spacious and well-appointed, with good quality fabrics and attractive wood finishes. The bathroom is functional with a good size shower (no bath!) but only limited storage space. However, in the cabin, there is plenty of storage space for clothes and nick-nacks; all the more so if like me, you have a cabin all to yourself! And little extras like a stocked fridge, umbrellas & robes and a free tote-bag are all standard here.

Show Picture Full Size Our cabin stewardess, Aida, was also a gem; with free canapes most nights, we could have done no better in Concierge-class!
Show Picture Full Size One evening, I was greeted by this delightful little dog she had made out of folded towels, for no reason other than to be nice to me!
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While Dad's Balcony Cabin Dad's Cabin Photo >> was the same as mine but with a small balcony, Peter & Lesley's Sky Suite (above right) was about 50% wider, with a more luxurious bathroom (with bath) and a large corner balcony, where we had the steward take this (rather good) Group Photograph >>

Entertainment Deck 5
Forward is the lavish 900-seat Celebrity Theatre which is 3 decks high and has excellent sight-lines. The production shows proved a bit of a mixture though, following the established pattern of "feathers and fans" and "remember the great..." themes. However, the sound & lighting systems are very good and the audience still applauds loudly at the usual "big finish". Stage Show Picture >>

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Celebrity Theater Emporium Cova Cafe di Milano Martini Bar

Moving aft, the Emporium is the speciality shopping area, with an array of designer-lable shops, while opening off the Grand Foyer is the Cova Cafe di Milano, which includes a Wine Bar & Pasticceria. Here you can sit and enjoy coffee or a glass of wine while watching people go by.

Aft of the Grand Foyer are the Champagne & Martini Bars, on either side of the ship but really one very pleasant lounge which became a regular 5pm haunt for our "Martini Sub-Committee"! Gerry's photo (right >>) shows the retro-look Gallery overlooking the dance-floor of the Rendez-Vous Lounge. Show Picture Full Size

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With its musicians' gallery and 2-deck high glass wall giving views of the sea, this seats 1,200 in uncrowded elegance. Our waiters, Gede & Eri, gave us excellent service here and the menus were what Celebrity has become famous for. Souvenir Menus: Farewell Dinner Menu >> & Last Night Menu >>
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Promenade Deck 4
Outside the lower-level of the Marco Polo Restaurant is the Rendez-Vous Lounge. Light and airy during the day, with pleasant views of the sea across the Promenade, it is very popular and busy in the evenings, when it can seem dark and a little claustrophobic. Somewhat alleviating this is the open gallery above the dance-floor to the Martini Bar above. It's a shame the quality of the dance-band is not matched by the size of the dance-floor which, as always on modern ships, is a bit small.

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Rendez-Vous Lounge Fortunes Casino
Art Deco murals
Michael's Club

Fortunes Casino is so much like a mini-Las Vegas that it's easy to miss the wonderful Art-Deco murals and column lighting decorations in the style of Lalique >>. Further forward is Michael's Club, originally a cigar lounge but now a cabaret night club, for which it seems particularly well-suited and successful. Indeed on our trip, entertainer Perry Grant regularly played here to a packed house.

The Promenade is the emergency embarkation point for the boats and as a consequence is generous in size. It is also well-provided with sun-loungers which are given padded covers in the day-time. While not a "wrap-around" design because of the full-width Restaurant aft, it does have a forward walk-through but regrettably, this is now blocked-off and used for storage. Show Picture Full Size

Plaza Deck 3
The Grand Foyer on Deck 3 (Gerry's Photo below left) is the main passenger embarkation point and the location for the Purser's Desk and other administrative facilities. The Grand Staircase appears like translucent marble with a "helter-skelter" handrail but you would be ill-advised to slide down it! This grand setting is one of the backdrops for official group photographs. See our Formal Group Portrait >>

Show Picture Full Size Leading off the Grand Foyer the Conference Centre Photo >> includes a number of multi-purpose meeting rooms as well as a good-sized Cinema (see right). The projection system is digital, of course, but it's not bad and they showed movies here three times a day. Show Picture Full Size

Ocean Liners Restaurant
Also off the Grand Foyer on Plaza Deck 3 is the ship's speciality restaurant. Each of the ships in the fleet has a similar feature but each has a different theme; here on Constellation, the theme evokes the style of a-la-carte dining aboard ships in the 20's and the sophisticated Edwardian-style decor has as its focus, a number of original laquered panels >> from the French Liner Île de France, of 1927.

Show Picture Full Size Seating just 115, with its own galley and a cuisine designed by Michel Roux, there is no doubt that the quality of the food served here is outstanding.

Service was highly attentive, with many dishes flamboyantly finished and served at the table.
Menus: Starters >> Entrees >> Desserts >> Menu Exceptionnel >>

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At a cover charge of $30, it is recommended that everyone try this restaurant, if only for the experience. Indeed, for a charge of $50, you can enjoy the "Menu Exceptionnel", a gastronomic extravaganza of courses including chosen wines. Personally, I found the atmosphere surprisingly busy (perhaps there were too many "boisterous" groups that night!) and the service just a little too ingratiating for my taste. Nevertheless, it was wonderful meal and a memorable experience.

The Library ("Words") is located midships on Decks 8 & 9, its two levels connected by a spiral staircase. It's a clever use of space and you would think that its remote location would make it quiet and successful. Each level or "room" is a bit small though and, with the doors always propped open, disorganised book-shelves and no Librarian, for me it just didn't work. Show Picture Full Size

Resort Deck 10
If Constellation has another shortcoming, it is in the size of the aft Seaside Bar/Grill which is too small for the size of the ship and with insufficient shade or protection from the wind. However, the Seaside Cafe more than makes up for this. After you get used to the layout, which is large and spacious, you can take advantage of its extra features; as well as the usual array of salads and entrees, there is a Pizza Counter, multiple tea/coffee stations and a number of speciality counters, such as the Pasta Bar, Sushi Bar & The Deli - all of which I tried and with great success.

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Aft Seaside Bar/Grill Seaside Cafe The Deli
Seaside Cafe
Seaside Pool Oasis AquaSpa

Situated midships, the Seaside Pool is also large and well-stocked with sun-loungers. This part of any ship is usually my least favourite but here it seems to work quite well, even if, unlike most other parts of the ship, it does appear a bit of an "architectural jumble". You can get good hot-dogs and burgers at the Poolside Grill and there is also an Ice-Cream Bar - all free on Celebrity!

Show Picture Full Size Situated forward of the main Seaside Pool is the covered Oasis AquaSpa where the two Jacuzzis & "Thallassatherapy Pool" are inviting but the seating area gets too busy during the day and few take notice of the "please be quiet" signs! Nevertheless, I loved the sea-water pool early in the morning, with its novel "bubble-jet bars" to lie on! See also, the Fitness Suite >>

Sunrise Deck 11
Above the Pools is the jogging track and yet more sun-deck space, but this is completely exposed and with no protection from the wind. However, way forward, there is another protected sun-deck on Deck 12 where you are warned of "topless bathing" - not very popular in the Baltic!

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Sunrise Deck
Jogging Track
Sunrise Deck
Conservatory The Bar at the Edge of the Earth
as it is now, after remodelling

Up here there are 4 curious "pepper-pots", which serve no obvious purpose other than as lobbies but one of them holds a florist shop which is the focus for the Conservatory, an intriguing idea which is highly publicised but which turns out to be much smaller than you expect. Also, frequent windy intrusions from the doorways to the open deck can spoil the atmosphere. It is a shame because its Rattan chairs, plants and piano are otherwise an excellent concept.

Show Picture Full Size The Bar at the Edge of the Earth is a wonderful lounge up forward with a great view over the bows >> It has a good-sized dance-floor used for lessons in the day and as a disco in the evening. It's a fantastic room but it was remodelled a few years ago and it was much nicer in its original form.
(left) In its original form as the "Reflections Lounge". I think I prefer it the way it was!

Being the largest ship I have yet sailed on, the size of Constellation did not initially endear her to me. However, while she is not without her small faults, she is in fact a well-designed ship, well-run, with a happy crew and a friendly staff.

While perhaps not the most graceful of designs, where she scores above her competitors is in her cuisine and service, both of which we found to be excellent - even close to impeccable!

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In the 1990's, Celebrity Cruises established an outstanding reputation for its cuisine, particularly in the main dining rooms, with its formal presentation and service. It advertised itself as a "Premium Line" but after the Chandris family sold its interests in 1997 to Royal Caribbean, there were rationalisations and economies which were not well received. Happily though, these and other concerns have been successfully addressed and Constellation and her 3 sisters have established well-earned positions among the best cruise-ships in the World. Continued on Page 2 - Millennium >>

Total Mileage aboard
Celebrity Constellation: 3,204 n miles

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