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Constellation, Celebrity Cruises
Stylish and upmarket, Celebrity Cruise Lines has raised its "fabulous" quotient with its new series of Millennium ships. Although the 2,032 passenger Constellation, the company's latest, has plenty of bells and whistles (a multimillion-dollar art collection, impressive glass elevators, and a soaring conservatory decorated by famed floral designer Emilio Robba), the ship's designers were also inspired by the traditional stylistic elements of cruising and used dark woods, gleaming accents, and historic memorabilia in some of the public spaces. The ship sails to Europe, Canada, and the Caribbean.
The Ocean Liners restaurant evokes the "make-an-entrance" dining rooms of a bygone era, with wall panels from the famed 1920s luxury liner Ile de France, a recessed dome ceiling, a mosaic floor, and a baby grand piano. Michel Roux, the highly touted French master chef behind England's Waterside Inn restaurant, consults on all menu and wine decisions onboard Constellation, as well as the rest of the Celebrity fleet. (His eatery on terra firma, located outside London, has received three-star Michelin ratings for the past 20 years.) Though he updates the menu every six months, certain dishes always appear by popular request. These include sole poached in Sauternes, coq au vin, and upside-down apple tan.
Celebrity attracts a younger crowd than comparably priced lines such as Crystal. Constellation is also popular with extended families and groups of friends.
The staterooms are comfortable, though somewhat small. Celebrity recently introduced a "Concierge Class," with slightly larger cabins than the ocean-view veranda suites. They offer amenities such as welcome Champagne, daily fruit and hors d'oeuvres, fresh flowers, a pillow menu, personalized stationery, VIP invitations, and preference for embarking, disembarking, luggage delivery, dining, and shore excursions.
Dublin, with its cozy pubs and charming, cobbled streets, is one of the highlights of the British Isles cruise. Guests can opt to tour the Guinness factory or divide their time between Trinity College, home to the ninth-century Book of Kells (one of Ireland's most renowned handwritten medieval manuscripts), and the lavish castle.
Good to Know:
Constellation has a Cirque du Soleil troupe in residence; though there is no staged show, guests are invited to mingle each night with playful Cirque characters at the "Bar at the Edge of the Earth" (known during the day as Reflections Lounge).
To book, call 800-647-2251 or go to www.celebrity.com.
Seven-night sailings from $1,070 per person.