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KEEPING CONNIE "SHIP SHAPE"


Celebrity Constellation is a BIG ship! At almost 1,000 feet long and more than 100 feet wide, her 12 decks house more than 1,000 staterooms, numerous bars and lounges, five dining areas, a full-size theater, a spa and several other public areas. When the ship is full, as it almost always is, more than 2,100 passengers occupy the accommodations while an international crew of more than 1,000 work to make the cruise experience an enjoyable one.

But what happens when the inevitable occurs? A light bulbs burns out, a toilet won't flush, a pipe might start to leak in the middle of the night or, perish the thought, a beer tap may stop dispensing.

Catastrophic? No. An annoyance? Yes.

Celebrity puts a lot into ensuring guest satisfaction with their product. And that goes beyond the dining experience, theatrical presentations, comfortable cabins and interesting itineraries. The ship itself is the destination and it should live up to the promise of a satisfying cruise experience.

The man responsible for overseeing the well-being of Celebrity Constellation as it relates to every area that passengers come in contact with is Charis Kostetsos, the ship's Accommodations Maintenance Manager. He reports to his immediate superior, Staff Captain Christos Trifyllis, the second-in-command of this Millenium Class vessel.

I sat down with both men recently in Café Al Bacio as the ship lay at anchor off the picturesque Greek island of Santorini. The atmosphere was relaxed, the cappuccino was hot and, as with all of the staff we encountered on 'Connie', the two men talked enthusiastically about their work.

Christos (it seems everyone is on a first name basis onboard) grew up in Athens and graduated the Marine Academy in 1994 then spent the next two years in the Greek Navy.

After four years on tankers and cargo vessels, he joined Celebrity Cruises as a 2nd Officer in 2000. He was promoted to Staff Captain in 2010. He has served in various roles on five different ships in the fleet working his way up to his present rank.
Christos Trifyllis
Christos Trifyllis - Staff Captain

Charis Kostetsos
Charis Kostetsos
Accommodation Maintenance Manager
Charis graduated naval school in his Greek homeland in 1992 and spent his first few years at sea on a refrigeration cargo ship, served in the army then joined Celebrity in 1994.

He is from a seafaring family. His grandfather was in the Greek Navy in World War 2 and his father and siblings also spent their lives at sea.

It is amazing to learn that Charis keeps everything under control with a team of only 14 people. This includes plumbers, electricians, upholsterers, joiners and deck fitters. Although he works a basic 13 hour day, his phone is always at his side and, in reality, he is on call 24/7 handling a myriad of problems. The work can be as simple as changing a light bulb or as demanding as re-carpeting an area in a lounge while most passengers are ashore. The ship's stores are always stocked with the spare items that may be required in anticipation of any maintenance that may be required.

In addition to fixing broken components there are the very sophisticated systems onboard that feed the requirements of the floating resort. As an example, due to the design of today's cruise ships the toilet system cannot work simply by gravity as do the ones in our homes on shore. Celebrity Constellation relies on a high powered vacuum system to handle its waste requirements. To put it delicately, you close the lid, push the button and.. away it goes! A sophisticated monitoring program ensures that, should the wrong thing be flushed into the system, the problem area can be immediately pinpointed and the crew can remove it. And what, you may ask, shows up most regularly as the main nuisance? Underwear. . Big Underwear!

Heat exchangers on the ship's boilers warm the water to keep the ship heated and it is continually circulating ensuring instant and constant hot water. Although drinking water is taken on at major ports during a cruise, the ship is also equipped with desalinators and reverse osmosis systems that change sea water into clear and clean water that is used throughout the ship.

Celebrity Constellation
Celebrity Constellation
Finally we touch upon how the immense amount of garbage is dealt with. Christos points out that the garbage is separated as part of Celebrity's Save The Waves program. There are two incinerators onboard and some of the waste is dealt with this way.

"Nothing is thrown away, overboard, at all," he says. "Our Environmental Officer is responsible for this and, if we can't deal with it onboard, when we get into port we offload it. There is one port we visit in Sweden that takes as much food waste as we can give it because they have a very big facility that uses it to produce energy."

Our time together was almost over. The cappuccino cups were empty and each man had answered at least two phone calls during our short time together. We briefly chatted about how approachable the entire ship's staff is, from the folks doing the cleaning right up to Captain Tasos himself. It was apparent that Charis and Christos enjoyed their jobs and talking to others about their work and how it all comes together to make for an enjoyable cruise experience. We bumped into each other several more times before the cruise ended and hope to see each other again on the very “Ship Shape” Celebrity Constellation.

Bob Rice
Barrier-FreeCruising.com

FOR A COMPLETE PHOTO CALLERY OF CELEBRITY CONSTELLATION CLICK HERE
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