When we first announced the Best of the French Islands, Part Deux on board the Celebrity Constellation for February of 2015 the first question we had was what does 50 Million Dollars worth of “Solsticization” get us? The only way to truly answer that question was to send a few of our staff on board to check it out firsthand and give her the ol’ white glove test.
Tom and I were the lucky two chosen to go. He is writing his report and I’d like to share some of my experiences and highlights from the cruise as well.
My first impression was “Baby got back!” as the ship has a very squared off appearance in the rear, but when I entered the Atrium on embarkation that impression was quickly followed by “Wow!”. The three story Atrium with it’s grand staircase as a centerpiece, was alive with music spun by a D.J. on the second level. After all the hassle of travel and grabbing a cab to the port, it was really nice to be greeted with smiles from the staff and our choice of champagne, Mimosas or orange juice. I began to remember why we love Celebrity.
The picture above is in Michael’s Club and yes, those are white gloves. Pictured below are the Grand Staircase in the Atrium and some nudes I found in the Casino. Of course there will be lots more nudes in the Casino on our cruise!
The last cruise we had with Celebrity was the first French Islands cruise and it proved to be a passenger favorite. It was sold out and had a long waiting list so it seemed a no-brainer to charter with Celebrity again and re-visit some of those nude friendly islands on this newly renovated ship. The French Islands, Part Deux cruise set for February of 2015 has been popular and selling well, and after touring the ship and experiencing the many amenities and improvements I know it’s going to be a passenger favorite too.
Passengers always ask whether the cruise ship will have enough deck chairs to accommodate a sun-loving bunch like us, so I made note of how many were available and I know we’re going to be fine on this ship. The Main Pool area on Deck 10 is particularly lovely with four hot tubs as well as two cool water pools perfect for water-volleyball or just chilling out with your naked friends. There are comfy shaded areas, large padded sun beds scattered about, and a fun statue of a gorilla catching a fish.
There is also plenty of entertainment around the pool including free Zumba classes, a popular D.J. spinning tunes, and lots of live music provided by bands and a singer-songwriter guitar player.
If you’re in the mood to relax after a long day of travel or sightseeing, the AquaSpa has a soothing area called the Persian Garden with heated stone chairs, Turkish sauna, and aromatherapy. You can get a cruise pass and make reservations to use it, but folks booked in the Aqua Class cabins have complimentary access. That’s pretty nice.
The Aqua Class cabins also have exclusive access to the Mediterranean-themed “Blu” specialty restaurant. Don’t tell anyone, but we knew someone, who knew someone, who knew someone who managed to sneak us into Blu and we can attest it’s delicious and almost guilt free dining.
One of my favorite areas of the ship was the Thelassotherapy Pool in the Solarium. It’s filled with warm salt water in the main pool area and I floated like a cork! There are two areas to lounge on either side that have jets bubbling away through openings in rounded metal slats and it feels like floating in champagne. There are also two hot tubs on either side, one with a handicapped access chair that will lift a wheelchair bound passenger into the tub. The whole area is enclosed in glass so I enjoyed the pool even while it was raining outside one afternoon. Best of all, there is no fee for this lovely area like there was for the similar Hydro Pool experience on the Holland America ship this February. Everyone can enjoy it!
I also love the statue of the reclining nude at the Solarium pool. She seems so happy in all her naked glory, and isn’t that what it’s all about?
The ship had beautifully fresh carpeting, furnishings, and decor. Every place you visited beckoned you to relax and unwind and stay awhile. My cabin decor was also relaxing with a full wall of mirrors that gave the impression of more square footage. The bedding and pillows were comfortable and I really liked the piece of art glass with ambient light behind it that acted as a nightlight in the bathroom.
There are bits of art stashed all around in unexpected places, like the Chihuly glass piece pictured here. It’s right outside the Reflections Lounge on Deck 11. It’s just one of many examples of the art and photography you’ll see as you wander the ship.
And speaking of the Reflections lounge, it’s a great space at the top of the ship with a great view for sail away out the front windows, a bandstand for live music, and a large round metal dance floor perfect for dancing the night away.
There is a place hidden on the upper deck all the way forward that is not even noted on the deck plan. You have to take the outside staircase from Deck 11. It will be a great place for quiet sunbathing away from the activity around the main pool. Shhh! Don’t let anyone know about it and it will be all yours!
The entertainment on board was wonderful. They had big shows in the Celebrity Theater that included song and dance numbers in musical reviews like “iHollywood” that centered around theme songs from movies. Each show featured aerial artists dancing in the air on silks, and adding to the variety of entertainment were full length shows by a comedian as well as a Magician/Illusionist production that featured a contortionist as part of the act.
I really enjoyed the Daily Ship’s News they had playing on the TV each day talking about the events happening around the ship. The very cute Cruise Director said it would be no problem to call it the Naked News while we’re on board. Not that he’s going to get naked, but a girl can imagine can’t she?
The picture above is in San Marcos, which is the main restaurant, and yes that is Escargot on Tom’s plate. The food was really good and the service was stellar, however what blew me away was the view out of the large windows facing aft.
New to the ship are the Cafe al Bacio, and the old world style Gelateria. If you love specialty coffee and Italian Gelato (and who doesn’t!) this will be your favorite spot on the ship. The whole area has a Continental feeling to it as you can lounge in comfortable chairs with cafe tables and watch the world go by as you savor your Cappuccino or Gelato.
The Bistro on Five is also new and is a charming specialty restaurant with a mere $5 up charge to enjoy a light meal of crepes, salad and soup anytime between noon and midnight, or some days even 8AM to midnight. It’s a great choice for those of you who play all day and don’t want to commit to a lengthy meal before you’re off to play some more.
The Ocean Liners specialty restaurant is a throwback to the wood and brass seafaring style of yesteryear, but the food is cutting edge. For dinner I had the lobster cooked table-side with choices of toppings. It was delicious but the best was the lobster they offered as part of a special lunch on the last day of the cruise. It was a poached-in-butter (but-please-don’t-drench-it-in-butter!) lobster. It was perfection in both texture and flavor. A tart with mixed berries, frozen yogurt, caramelized sugar crust, and dark chocolate swirl rounded out the meal and left a lasting memory. The up charge for this restaurant was $45 per person for dinner, and a $25 per person charge for the special lunch.
My favorite specialty restaurant is the Tuscan Grille… OMG good! Located at the top of the ship, it has beautiful light and a relaxed, upscale ambience. The tuna appetizer was something to write home about, but the filet mignon entree was the best. It was the perfect size and exactly medium rare like I ordered. There is a reasonable up-charge of $35 per person and completely worth it. Tom has a standing reservation for the duration of our cruise in February.
I also loved the Ice Topped Martini Bar. It’s a really “cool” meeting place on Deck 4 midship, with icy cold Martinis, lively bartenders, and a frosty surface on the bar you can doodle on while you savor every drop of your delicious drink. You can choose anything you like from a Cosmopolitan to a classic shaken-not-stirred James Bond Martini. If you can’t find me at the Bare Necessities Hospitality Desk, in costume at the theme nights, or running around the ship on errands, look for me here. I have a standing reservation on the last bar stool starboard.
After living in San Francisco for fourteen years I have become quite the wine lover and I really appreciated the chance to do wine tastings of several unusual and rare bottles of wine as part of the Cellar Masters state-of-the-art Enomatic wine-by-the-glass dispensing system. With a simple swipe of my SeaPass card, I chose wine directly from the bottle in a 1-ounce, 2.5-ounce or 5-ounce portion. Sommeliers were available for questions and it was a great way to sample great wine.
Michael’s Club has a classic exclusive men’s club feel to it and indeed I enjoyed a brandy nightcap there once, but it’s anything but stuffy. The evening I visited had a singer-guitarist-pianist-comedian leading live Karoake! It’s great fun and I haven’t even mentioned the amazing international beer selection and the charming wood and brass decor, with overstuffed sofas and marble fireplace.
I know that I’ve probably missed mentioning something wonderful, but the nice thing about a Blog is I can always come back and embellish at a later date. It’s the same way I feel about the ship. Our nine day cruise in February 2015 may not be enough time to experience everything on board so I’m really excited that we chartered her again for 2016. I can go back and take in everything that I missed the first time.
Tom and I wish you all could have been there with us during our cruise but we hope after reading this you’re now looking forward even more to experiencing this wonderful ship with us in February, with the added highlight of being able to enjoy her au natural!
If you haven’t already booked a cruise on board this ship for 2015 or 2016 don’t wait, cabins are going fast!bare.tiltedchaircreative.com/dev
Until next time… yours naturally,
Celebrity Constellation Site Inspection
March 22 – 27, 201
More doodling below… yes, it’s a nude reclining on her front!