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Sail Date: November 2012
We sailed the Thanksgiving cruise on the Connie-my sister and me. She is not really enthused with cruising, but wanted to go to Europe. This was the last cruise on this itinerary. They were heading across the Atlantic after our trip. ... Read More
We sailed the Thanksgiving cruise on the Connie-my sister and me. She is not really enthused with cruising, but wanted to go to Europe. This was the last cruise on this itinerary. They were heading across the Atlantic after our trip. For one, the price on this cruise was a Bargain! First stop, Le Havre in northern France. The beaches of Normandy are, to me, a must see, along with the American cemetery and WW 2 museum. Since I had been there recently, we decided to take the train to Paris for an overnight. Easy train to St. Lazare, and a brisk tour of Paris. I have been there many times, but never tire of it. We took the night dinner river cruise on the Seine. Rodin museum, Eiffel Tower, general sightseeing and back to the ship by train. Quick 10 euro taxi ride to and from train station to pier. Bordeaux. What can I say!? Chateaux, wine. I relied heavily on prior review (Trisha-thanks!) for guide- Bordeaux Vertigo. Fabulous. Bilbao and the Rioja region was great. Used the ship tour which I usually don't because of cost, but this was reasonable and efficient. Bilbao was very interesting. The Guggenheim is the main attraction. I'd say the Frank Ghery building is the big attraction here. The art exhibits were pretty good. Frankly, I could have spent both days wandering the cobble stoned streets and feasting on penches (sp?) the local tapas. They are to die for, and the local wine is fabulous. Nothing like traditional Spanish tapas, they are Basque works of art. Vigo: very nice city to walk and shop. La port, we took a ship tour to a UNESCO world heritage city, sorry cant remember the name. Overall, loved the cruise and he ship. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
We have just returned from the Wine Immersive cruise on Celebrity Constellation,our first time with Celebrity. We received word a few days before sailing to say we could not board till after 2pm due to deep cleansing of ship.We were a ... Read More
We have just returned from the Wine Immersive cruise on Celebrity Constellation,our first time with Celebrity. We received word a few days before sailing to say we could not board till after 2pm due to deep cleansing of ship.We were a little disappointed at this but in fairness to the company they were doing it for the safety&comfort of the passengers.It had happened to us earlier this year on Independence of The Seas so we understand the reasoning behind a thorough cleansing. We had booked Concierge class so we were boarded very quickly,given a glass of bubbly as we got on deck and told we could not get into our cabin but to go and get something to eat.We went to Seaside grill and had something to eat and met with some of our fellow passengers.As the afternoon wore on we wanted to get settled in our cabin but this did'nt happen till 4-30pm,but we accepted that it was for our benefit. We were in 9077 just midship beyond the library,it was quite adequate for the time we would be spending in it!As others have said it needs a bit of TLC but apparently it is going in to dry dock for a bit of a makeover after the winter.Our Steward was Peter who did all he could to make our stay a good one.There were one or two hiccups as regard to extras we should have had,due in the main to the sanitation procedure.But after a few day's we had just about everything we were promised,we did have to speak to the housekeep supervisor Kaisha who was most apologetic.This all aside we were happy with accomodation,but the overhang above our balcony would have been a downside if we wanted to sunbathe.Saying that we did manage to sit out a few times which for November was a plus! We had 6pm seating in San Marco restaurant,requested a table for 6 persons at booking but it was set for 8.We were on our own the first night,second night we were joined by Jean&Don from USA lovely table companions!Then the next night we had Alan&Maureen from Liverpool very nice couple,we were eventually a table of 6.Our waiter was Elston and his assistant Nandan could not have been more accomodating.Nothing was too much trouble to them,if you did'nt like anything they would change it if you wanted more they would get it.We did'nt eat in any of the speciality venues as we were more than happy with what we got in San Marco.The food quality was superb,always something to tempt any appetite! The show's we saw were very good,there were some good artiste's Jon Courtnay was excellent,they gave him an extra spot on the last night which was a bonus.The young classical guitarist Adam Westcott did various spots around the ship he was superb! We did our own thing with regard to excursion's as I do think that the organised one's are a tad pricey(on most cruise's not just this one)but we did what we wanted and went ashore at all port's.I agree that the port's for Paris and Bordeaux are a little out of the way(!)but it did not seem to put off our American&Japanese passengers. We felt that there was plenty of space onboard to always find somewhere to sit or lounge even on sea day's.Although the ship was full it never seemed crowded,you did'nt have to fight your way through. Disembarking was as swift again as embarkation,no problem's encountered. All in all a lovely trip,cannot wait to go on the next one! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2012
I'll start at the beginning because that is a very good place to start. We had originally booked a transatlantic on Celebrity Equinox for November 25 but we had to scuttle those plans thanks to a condition I contracted called Charcot ... Read More
I'll start at the beginning because that is a very good place to start. We had originally booked a transatlantic on Celebrity Equinox for November 25 but we had to scuttle those plans thanks to a condition I contracted called Charcot Foot which resulted in four months in a cast and the prospect of life in a wheelchair. In mid-October I was given the good news that I could walk very limited steps and my orthopedic surgeon saw no reason that we couldn't get away for a little r&r while between medical appointments. That very evening we were scouring the websites to find a crossing that would fit into our timeframes. We ended up with our favourite line, Celebrity, and Concierge Class accommodation on the Connie that was less in money than a normal verandah. Ever conscious of the dollars being spent so close to Christmas, we found a most reasonable airfare with Icelandair and, a month later, we were on our way! I won't go into the trials of travelling with a wheelchair. For those impressions please visit the home page of www.barrier-freecruising.com. We arrived at Heathrow following a fourteen hour journey from Toronto to Boston to Reykjavik to London. Kind of long but, at $520pp, I'm not complaining. Because of a tight arrival time, and our luggage plus a wheelchair, I decided to surprise Barb by renting a car and driver for the trip to Southampton. He met us in the baggage area, loaded our cases and chair and soon we were on our way. We only made one stop during the ninety minute drive and our driver pointed out some of the landmarks along the way. There was a delay boarding the ship due to a shortage of ship's crew assigned to assist some of the special needs passengers but, despite this, the entire time spent from cab to shipboard was no more than thirty minutes. Having crossed the Atlantic the other direction in spring on Celebrity Eclipse, it was hard not to start comparing the two ship styles right away. The first was the Seaside Cafe where we went to get a nibble or three while waiting for the cabins to be prepared. I will mention right at the start that Constellation was still undergoing a strict health regime due to an outbreak of Norovirus on an earlier November outing. For the first five days of our cruise all food handling was done by the Celebrity staff right down to putting salt and pepper on your food in the dining room. It meant for slower lines in the cafe but Barb and I appreciated the situation and the ship's most cautious response. Some people actually enjoyed the additional pampering. Back to the Seaside Cafe. I immediately missed the 'food islands' concept on Eclipse and the other solstice ships. There was nothing wrong with the food. It was completely up to Celebrity standards but I think the idea of the separate serving areas makes for a much quicker flow from chaffing dish to tray to table to tummy. I did like the way some of the eating areas by the windows actually jutted over the sea and you could look down to the ocean below. We made our way to the cabin when it was announced they were ready. Celebrity advertises that Concierge Class includes fresh flowers, fruit and savouries in the room as well as upgraded bed linens, bath robes and a 'pillow menu'. The room itself appeared smaller than the same category on Eclipse but, according to the ships' deck plans, they are almost the same size. Could be the layout. Past CC reviews have referred to stains and other signs of age in their staterooms. I looked but I didn't see anything worth mentioning. I should state that we booked a C1 and not an accessible AC since these sell out very quickly due to the limited number available. I was able to fold the wheelchair and hobble around between bed and bath and Saline, our room steward, rustled up a shower stool for me. I get to try the AC category when Barb, her wheelchair-bound daughter and I re-board Eclipse again to head back across the pond in spring. Something was very wrong in the dining room on the first two nights. Orders were mixed up and, worst of all, on the second night out we waited almost an hour for our appetizers and another hour plus for our entrees to arrive. We, and the others at the table, were very upset by this and let Customer Service know. We learned a week into the cruise that our wait team had originally been assigned to five tables and not just the two that they would normally serve. We were further upset that no proper apology was made by the maitre d' and, in fact, he never once approached our table during the entire cruise. It appeared that he delegated his assistant maitre d' to deal with the complainers. The food was Celebrity good and we felt that, on Constellation, the portions were actually bigger than on Eclipse. We didn't try any of the specialty dining venues but the feedback from fellow travellers seemed to be all positive. Cruise Director Sue Denning and her staff seemed to have the pulse of the ocean going passengers and only missed the mark when it came to the deejays late at night. But then again, with the great food, ocean air, theatrical shows and a daytime of tours and events, who needs to stay up late anyway? The shows were some of the best I have seen at sea. The dance/singing troupe worked their hearts out and I really don't know how they did two shows a night. If one guest performer really stood out I would have to say it was Sean O'Shea. It has been a long time since I have watched such a high energy show. His sense of timing is impeccable and it was one show I hated to see come to an end. By the way, Sue and some of her entourage, including Perry Grant (like him or not) move to Eclipse later this winter and I wish she could bring that orchestra with her. As the kids say.. they are AWESOME! We did three shore excursions.. all on our own. In Le Havre we hired Patrice, a local cabbie who is proud of his town, his region and his car. We shared the cab for three hours with another passenger and drove all around the historic city and then to the stunning cliffs at Etretat. Total cost was 50Euros each with tip. In Lisbon (Lisboa) we teamed up with Johnny, a 24 year old cabbie whose family has been in the tourism business for decades and who, himself, studies tourism to obtain a degree. His English was excellent and he took the two of us through every side street of the old district, out to the Belem area, let us shop and take pictures whenever and wherever we wanted.. all for a total price of 80Euros, tip included. Our last stop was Tenerife in Spain's Canary Islands. Again we elected to do our own sightseeing and our driver was Alberto. Between his limited English and our fractured Spanish, we wound our way from Santa Cruz to Porto de la Cruz with the majestic Tede volcano dominating the scenery. He knew which stops would yield the best pictures. Altogether a nice three hours costing 80Euros. By the time we reached Tenerife the weather was already nice and warm.. for a pair of Canadians. It would take several days at sea for the southern Florida crowd to start to feel at home. How was the crossing? With only one five hour exception when we encountered some swells, it was smooth and steady as she goes. There was plenty, or little, to do during those eight days. Sherene made our visits to the shops enjoyable, the cooking demonstrations were as much fun as they were informative (maybe more), the strolling acapela group popped up everywhere and, as previously mentioned, the nighttime shows in the theatre were top notch. We didn't spend a lot of time on the upper decks by the pools or in the solarium, but instead made great use of our balcony.. me for laying back and snoozing while Barb work hard on finishing a Christmas stocking for one of her children. I fondly say that Barb cross-stitched her way across the Atlantic. We purchased our airport transfers while on the ship and disembarkation went very smoothly and soon we were at MIA waiting for our flight home. I would certainly sail on Celebrity Constellation again. Except for the usual high volume times, her elevators were never crowded, the hallways easy to negotiate (except next time I will bring a stroller.. too much carpeting for wheelchair users), the service was excellent and friendly and the food was Celebrity good. We are booked on Eclipse in the spring but, this time, in an accessible stateroom. Roll on April! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
Celebrate with Celebrity Constellation What a difference a year makes! Last Year's Transatlantic was on RCCL Navigator not so good. This year Constellation was a 9 out of 10 Hard to believe that they are part of the same RCCL ... Read More
Celebrate with Celebrity Constellation What a difference a year makes! Last Year's Transatlantic was on RCCL Navigator not so good. This year Constellation was a 9 out of 10 Hard to believe that they are part of the same RCCL family. The entire trip will have created fond memories. In Southampton we stayed at the Hotel Mercure very reasonable and only a 10 minute walk to the Pier. Boarding at 11:00 AM was slow so we went shopping at the excellent West Quay Mall came back at 2 PM boarding took only 10 minutes. Superlatives for all the restaurants, Gym was above average, I just wish that the dry sauna was turned on before 7AM when the gym was full. The ship personnel were always friendly. The Entertainers as well as Sue the cruise director were entirely appropriate for the demographics of this sailing. Every evening was enjoyable. The dress suggestions for Formal/Dress-up Dinners were well upheld even providing a Jacket for the men who didn't have one. We so appreciated the restraint in using the ship's Public address system to a minimum they assume appropriately that guests will & can read the daily activities newsletter. Diane Hedricks Zumba classes twice a day were SO appreciated by my Wife as well as the other 90 guests. Finally a word to the Stuffy/Elite 5% of our fellow passengers who felt that this was their exclusive private cruise,they would be happier chartering their own Boat next time, Especially the lady who insisted on turning down the music since it disturbed her ability to read in silence during the Zumba class in the Reflections lounge. Overall it must be obvious by this review that Celebrity Constellation is very high on our favorite Cruise ships list. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
Sixteenth cruise, six with Celebrity, first on Constellation, second no-fly departure from Southampton. Car to City Cruise Terminal using AP&H's efficient "Meet and Greet" car-parking service. Easy embarkation to outside ... Read More
Sixteenth cruise, six with Celebrity, first on Constellation, second no-fly departure from Southampton. Car to City Cruise Terminal using AP&H's efficient "Meet and Greet" car-parking service. Easy embarkation to outside stateroom 2077deck 2 midships (to offset the Bay of Biscay) with the first item of luggage arriving within an hour and the other two within another thirty minutes. Met with Cruise Critic members at Seaside Aft bar on sail-away. We went to the Captain's party for Cruise Addicts members on first day at sea. After this we met only one CC member throughout the cruise. There were small unimportant differences on Constellation from the other Millenium Class ships we'd been on previously but none to alter the pleasure of being onboard. We used the AquaSpa for some breakfasts and lunches. Also used the Main dining room and the Seaside Buffet, mostly the quick serve pizza place. We also used the Elite Members breakfast facility. We used the Main dining room San Marco on a table for ten for the evening meal except the last evening when we went to the Ocean Liner's for a pre-birthday celebration. The variety of places to eat made for a more enjoyable experience. A major event was the outbreak of novovirus. Celebrity responded quickly and efficiently and contained the problem. It meant, however, self-service was replaced by the crew members pouring coffee etc. This was a nuisance as there were queues at coffee points. The innovation of tea and coffee facilities in the room solved some of the problem. The shore excursions were probably 20% too expensive and the Shuttle charges excessive with $15 for a day pass 2.5 km journey to Le Havre. We went to Bilboa by Shuttle on Tuesday because on Monday's the museums were shut and the hop-on-hop-off (HOHO) didn't run on Monday's -- except they have changed the rest day for the HOHO to Tuesday! Caught the Tour Bus outside the Tour Office at Vigo and the HOHO outside the docks gates at Oporto. Took the shuttle to Survac and Le Havre. The little tour train in Le Havre didn't show. Took a tour to Honfleur -- a very pretty place and worth seeing but the price of a short tour was high. Perhaps Celebrity should consider a better multiple offer than the one they have now. A better value package providing greater flexibility would be: "Any five trips, the cheapest one free." It would probably sell more trips. The price of the wine individually and as a package was also high and it seems that Celebrity now entices people to get on board with attractive prices but makes it up with over priced extras. We managed the cost by setting a maximum spend figure and staying within it. Overall the cruise met our expectations and we enjoyed the cruise. The staff at all levels, room, eating etc were as good as ever. The entertainment was varied and adequate. We'll go on another Celebrity Cruise. Internet: It is not possible to use a USB memory stick on the ship's computers. If you need to access specific text, send it to your normal email account as attachment file(s) before departure. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
Our Diary on a 12 Night Immersive Wine Cruise Celebrity Constellation October 1, 2012 Saturday, September 29~ Departed from our home. After 3 flights and 22 hours later we arrived at Heathrow International, on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ... Read More
Our Diary on a 12 Night Immersive Wine Cruise Celebrity Constellation October 1, 2012 Saturday, September 29~ Departed from our home. After 3 flights and 22 hours later we arrived at Heathrow International, on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Smithforairports was waiting for us along with the two couples we met on our Cruise Critics roll call who helped share the transfer cost to Southampton. Our cost to Southampton was 105.00 GBP split 3 ways in an 8 Seater minibus. The price per couple was around $57.00 USD. Additional notes: Smith's will take credit cards charging a 2.00 GBP additional fee. Since the airport exchange rates are the worst, this made perfect since to us until we were able to find an ATM. Meeting place for Smithsforairport was at the information desk in Heathrow just past baggage claim. Smithforairports e-mail address is bookings@smithsforairports.com Sunday, September 30th- It took about 90 minutes to travel from LHR to our hotel in Southampton. We pre-booked an internet special (non-refundable) at the Premier Inn West Quay for a 1 night stay. The hotel was new and it was voted #1 hotel in Southampton by Tripadvisors. It wasn't the Ritz Carlton by any means but for 39.00 GBP it was definitely worth it. The Premier Inn was conveniently located 5 minutes from the cruise port and in the city centre. Also, it was about an 8 minutes walk to the Red Lion Inn where we had planned to go for dinner that evening. The Red Lion Inn located at 55 High Street is the oldest ale house in the city. On Sunday they have specials on family style dinners which go very well with their locally made ales on tap! The Red Lion Inn claim to fame is their 20 plus ghosts! That's right, as per their website at http://theredlionsouthampton.com they boast 20 ghosts; all of them eager to make an appearance. Unfortunately we didn't see any ghostly aberrations. Hmmm, I guess they didn't get the memo from us requesting that we wanted them to make an appearance? Monday, October 1st~ We woke up to a 70% chance of rain and the weather outside did not disappoint. Just after 11:00 a.m. we left our hotel into a grey cold and driving rain. But that didn't dampen our spirits because this was it, the day we embark on our cruise ship the Celebrity Constellation, our home for the next 12 days. Embarkation went very smoothly; we were on board within 20 minutes. My first stop before heading to our stateroom was to visit the Maître d. Because of the uniqueness of this cruise itinerary, we were on a waitlist for Select dining since July. I guess everybody else on this cruise ship was thinking and doing the same thing, hence the waitlist! So the type A personality that I am, I was going to find the infamous Maitre d named Adam! But when we found where Adam was holding court, there was already a line that had formed with the same agenda. Finally it was my turn to speak and I gave him my reasons why we needed to go from early dining to Select. Adam looked at me and said, Madame, this is a totally sold out ship, but I'll put you on my hotlist for Select dining. So I thought my request for Select dining is going to happen between 12:00 and NEVER?! Oh well, we could always go through the buffet line the nights we come back late from our shore excursions, which were many! Now we were off to check out our stateroom, 9152, a guarantee Concierge Class Veranda. We've never have gone this route before, but what a deal this turned out to be! Waiting for us in our stateroom was a chilled bottle of champagne with two glasses, a large bowl of fruit, flowers, and chocolate covered strawberries. Yes, life is good especially with Celebrity! After finishing off 2 bottles of champagne with our dear friends and traveling companions, Mike and Mary Ann, who were also in guarantee Concierge Class, we were chatting about our up coming cruise when I looked out to see a very SUNNY balcony! This was a good thing, in fact this was AWESOME, because at 5:00 (after the muster drill) we had a Sail-A-Way get together at the Sunset Bar deck 10 for a little soiree of 99 people from our Cruise Critics roll call. By the way, guess who the hostess was....that would be me! Additional note: The taxis from the hotel to the cruise port were 5.00 GBP. Tuesday, October 2nd Le Havre & Paris- We decided since we haven't been to Paris for at least 30 years and Mike and Mary Ann haven't been since their honeymoon 40 years ago this had to be our #1 priority, an overnight stay in gay Paris! We bought roundtrip tickets from Le Havre to Paris for a non-stop train (no hassle of changing trains) with Rail Europe in advance for 4 people. The cost was $370.00 USD with an $18.00 shipping & handling fee which was included of in the price. We also pre-booked the Hotel Muguet in the 7th Arrondissement, a 5 minute walk to Rue Cler and 15 to 20 minute walk to the EiffelTower. Hotel Muguet was also a 5 minute walk from the metro train station Ecole) Militaire, which was very convenient especially going to and the from the St. Lazare Train Station. Hotel Muguet was adorable and the view from our bedroom window overlooked the golden dome of the Invalides, which was especially beautiful at night! With our carry-on bags in hand we checked into our hotel around 1:00 p.m. and dropped off our bags, then quickly departed to take a direct metro train (yellow line) down to Versailles for the afternoon. The entry fee on Tuesdays is 25 Euros, more than any other day of the week because of the music in the garden and probably because the Louvre is closed on Tuesday. Normally it is 18 Euros. The gardens of Versailles were breathtaking. You could easily spend 2 to 3 hours strolling through them. The Versailles is very comparable to the Peterhof in St. Petersburg, Russia and oddly enough the Peterhof is also known as the Russian Versailles. The display of wealth in both palaces is hard to imagine, I can see how the French & Russian people were just a little disenchanted with their rulers who definitely knew how to flaunt their riches! Wednesday, October 3rd ~ Paris, France ~ After meeting Mike and Mary Ann downstairs at 8:00 a.m. we decided to eat our breakfast at the most famous market street in Paris the Rue Cler. The Cafe du Marche was definitely the most popular amongst the locals and a great place to people watch. We ordered their breakfast special which consisted of orange juice, coffee, freshly baked croissant, and a ham & cheese omelet. The cost for per person was 10 Euros which was a real deal, especially in Paris! Our plan for the day was to buy passes on the Batobus which is a hop on, hop off panoramic glass enclosed boat on the SeineRiver. The Batobus stops at 8 stations; we bought a 1 day pass in front of the EiffelTower for 15 Euros per person. The stops included were as follows: The Eiffel Tower, Musee D Orsay, Saint German Des-Pres, Notre Dame, Jardin Des Plantes, Hotel De Ville, The Louvre, and the Champs-Elysees. Pick up was every 25 minutes; what a great way to see Paris especially on a very limited time schedule. The Batobus website is: www.batobus.com Train from Paris left on time at 4:50 p.m. arriving in Le Havre at 6:58 p.m. Taxis were supposed to be plentiful, especially when a train arrives. Unfortunately they weren't, we waited for at least 15 minutes in the pouring rain before we were able to secure one. Price to and from the cruise port to the train station was 10Euros. Additional note: The Hotel Muguet had a storage area for our luggage, which we used on the second day after checking out. We retrieved our bags from the hotel on way back to the St Lazare train station very convenient. After being gone over night to Paris we noticed we had several invitations on our bed and one was from Adam, the infamous Maître d. It said, Celebrity is pleased to inform you that you now have Select dining! So quit your whining!!...No, he didn't say that, but I'm sure he was thinking it ;D Thursday, October 4th Sea day ~ Awww yes, our first sea day and a much needed day of rest! This was also the day of Celebrity's Meet and Mingle, which was scheduled for 10:15 a.m. at the Reflections Lounge. As the roll call keeper, I was always checking the boards to see how many members to date had signed up for the get together. The day we left for the United Kingdom we had 132 reservations. I was concerned since I read from the other roll calls that Celebrity was not getting the invitations out to every stateroom. I even posted this before we left letting everyone know if they did not receive an invitation to contact the front desk. Unfortunately a number of people that were planning to attend did not receive their invitations, which was very disappointing since I went out of my way to speak to Roxanne, the lady in charge of Cruise Critics/Meet & Mingle functions on board the Constellation. She assured me that everyone would receive an invitation. On a positive note, the reception line at the Reflections Lounge was impressive, the captain and all the first officers along with the cruise director were all there for roll call Meet & Mingle. Additional note: This was our first formal night. The second was on Monday, October 8th leaving Bilbao, and third was Thursday, Oct. 11th our second sea day. Friday, October 5th Le Verdon (Bordeaux Day 1) ~ After many hours of researching for a Bordeaux wine tour, we finally felt we hit a home run with Bordeaux Vertigo! Bogdan Ghita, the general manager for Bordeaux Vertigo, was always quick to respond to my many e-mail requests. Bodgen writes and speaks excellent English so communicating with him on our wants and needs for our tour was made easy. His suggestions for Grand Cru Classé Châteaux in the Bordeaux region were better than we had anticipated. He was always very attentive to our group of 8 by answering our questions. Bogdan supplied us with bottled water, filtered and sparkling on both days which was a very nice touch! On our first day we visited 4 Châteaux with tastings in the Medoc region of Bordeaux, all them a Grand Cru Classé Châteaux. Lunch was at restaurant called Le Savoie in the MargauxVillage. The manager of Le Savoie set up a very nice banquet room for 16 guests. We had another tour group of 8 with Bordeaux Vertigo that joined us for lunch. It was fun to share our notes with them on the Châteaux that we had visited during the day. Drop off was at the Le Verdon docks at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, October 6th Le Verdon (Bordeaux Day 2) ~ Bogdan promptly picked us up at 8:30 a.m. We had another busy day in front us; this time we would be visiting the Pauillac & Saint-Julian appellations of Bordeaux for 3 tastings at Grand Cru Classé Châteaux The last Château, Château Lynch-Bags had a very nice square or hamlet with shops and eateries. Our group decided to pick-up a quick bite so we could head back to Marguax Village to Cave L Avant-Garde , a wine store which Bogdan suggested (just in case we didn't have enough wine back on the ship)! Drop off for today's wine adventure was at 3:30 p.m. On a final note: We will always fondly remember the 2012 harvest in the Bordeaux region, especially picking up more than a few bottles of wine from 7 different Châteaux. We can now say that 2012 was an excellent year for touring the beautiful countryside of Bordeaux especially with Bogdan as our guide! Their website is: www.bordeauxvertigo.com Additional notes: Contrary to what I have read on other roll calls, we never had any of the staff from the cruise ship confiscate our wine upon embarkation. We were able to take wine on board at every port. Sunday, October 7th- Bilbao/ Gexto, Spain ~ Joe and I went round and round on what to do in Bilbao for a Rioja wine tour. The tour companies we contacted were very expensive. Finally we negotiated a tour with Thabaca, which turned out to be a great itinerary and one of favorites in Europe! We met our driver at Bilbao port at 8:15 a.m. and proceeded to meet our tour guide, Elena, in Rioja. Elena was enthusiastic and more than willing to share her love and knowledge for Rioja countryside. We had a photo op at the famous Bodegas Ysios, conceived as a temple dedicated to wine, which became the pioneering signature winery in La Rioja. It set the trend for construction of avant-garde wineries. Its name, Ysios, pays homage to Isis and Osiris, two Egyptian gods closely related to the world of wines. Unfortunately because it was a Sunday it was closed! Ysios is spectacular Bodegas, even though we were unable do a wine tour! The next stop was at the Bodegas Carlos San Pedro. The San Pedro family has been producing wines in Laguardia, Rioja Alavesa for over 500 years! Most of the wineries in this area stored their wines in ancient caves which guarantee perfect temperature, humidity level, and darkness all year round. Adding to the medieval feel and surroundings was our wine tasting held inside a cave with just a few lights and candles. We were able to taste the wine directly from the tanks inside the caves. It was good, but his bottled wines revival any Bordeaux wine we had tasted so far! Carlos was a perfect host and his knowledge and love for his wine was evident! Our next stop was at Ostatu, a very picturesque winery! This is where you can really appreciate the Rioja region. It was breathtaking, especially during their harvest! Our hostess was Maria, the daughter of the Samaniego family, which has owned and managed the winery for over 500 years! Maria was a gracious hostess; her pride and knowledge of wine making was in her voice and eyes. For our wine tasting she took us to a beautiful patio area where two of the walls were enclosed by glass. The other walls and patio floor were in sandstone. Instead of having grout between the tiles of the floor, there was grass. In harmony with the color scheme were the red clusters of chilies peppers that hung on the sandstone walls, very classical Spanish! Maria came out with plates of different varieties of grapes that grew in their vineyard; they were delicious. Next, she came out with 3 different wines along with plates full of prosciutto on crusted bread. I later read in their brochure that they designed their tasting room, the Txoko Ostatu, to be the best atmosphere to share with friends and we could not agree more! Their wine was excellent and at very reasonable price! Lunch was on our own in the medieval Old Centre of Laguardia, which was an enchanting place to sight see, eat, and drink. It reminded us of Tallinn, Estonia which we also visited with Mike and Mary Ann. There were many outdoor cafes that served pintxos (tapas) with wine and beer at very reasonable prices. This was a great way to people watch while touring the village. Our next stop was at Marques de Riscal, the largest winery in Rioja (also known as The City of Wine). This winery has two very different designs and styles going on. The battle of old verses ultra contemporary. The rose colored and grey steel architecture curling around to symbolize a grape vine was not quite our style, but unique. To us it looked very commercial on the verge of being more like an industrial factory than hotel and winery. But the courtyard and wine tasting room were tastefully done and more traditional with local sandstone defining the old Spain, like a Spanish Missionary! On a positive note, the wines here were good. Additional notes on Rioja and Thabuca tours: The tour cost was 115.00 Euros per person, which included VAT, entrance fees, wine tastings, and an English speaking guide in a minibus that held 12. Tour duration was from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. All in all, we were very happy with Thabuca Tours, we would use them again in a heart beat if we our fortunate to return back to Spain! Monday, October 7th Bilbao/Gexto, Spain~ Day 2 in Bilbao- The weather in Gexto was gorgeous! So Joe and I chose to walk around the cruise port of Gexto especially since we had been on a treadmill for the last 6 days combined with an early departure time at 3:00 p.m.Gexto is a very clean port and seaside town with their beautiful promenade, marinas, shopping, and numerous restaurants to choose from, not to mention the stately mansions along the coastline. We returned to our stateroom around 1:00 p.m. to get ready for our next event, a blind wine tasting at Linda and Chris's penthouse! Not really, they had a Family Veranda on the aft! Linda & Chris were very gracious hosts, not only did they provide their beautiful stateroom but they also had yummy appetizers for us to enjoy. There were 6 couples in all and each brought a covered bottle of wine for the tasting. To make it even more enjoyable, we were blessed with perfect weather! A wonderful afternoon was had by all! Thanks again Linda & Chris! Tuesday, October 8thVigo, Spain ~ The Connie pulled into Vigo, Spain around 12:00 p.m. We could see from our balcony the beautiful palm tree lined promenade and shopping malls. After disembarking we walked toward the city centre passing by Principe Street, the most important shopping street in Vigo. We headed up the hill to the CastroPark which was quit a hike, but worth it. The park is well maintained with dirt paths for walkers and joggers that seem to run down toward a lookout point where the Atlantic Iron Age ruins are. After strolling down the hill we headed toward historical Old Quarters where we found a side street that has many outdoor cafes. We picked the Cafe Cerveceria Gril where all the locals and the Constellation entertainers were eating and drinking. We ordered calamari and beer; the café even had free Wi-Fi which was great since I had my I-Pad with me. I couldn't resist emailing a few family members and friends to say Hi, I'm in Vigo, Spain eating calamari and drinking a beer while typing you an e-mail Wish you were here!.....Click the send button done! Yes, life is good in Vigo! Wednesday, October 9thPorto, Portugal ~ This was our last port of call and our tour was with Lisbosightseeing.com. Our pick-up was at 7:45 a.m. and our driver/guide arrived in an 8 Seater Mercedes Benz minibus. Our first stop was at a small medieval town called Amarante, where a 16th Century monastery is located. Unfortunately we were not allowed to enter because they were having mass that morning. Our next stop was the famous MateusPalace in the municipality of Vila Real, Portugal. The 17th century Manor House is considered to be the most beautiful and emblematic baroque building in the country. Our group decided not to tour inside the palace, so we enjoyed walking through the beautiful palace gardens while taking pictures. This allowed us more time at the wine tasting room. We had 2 different kinds of tastings. The first was with 3 different wines for 1euro per person and our second tasting was with 2 port wines for 2euro per person. Mateus certainly has come a long way from the days that we drank their wine in our early 20's! Our next stop was in Régua, a pretty little town situated at the point where the right bank and left bank flow together into the DouroRiver. We stopped for lunch at an outside café on the river. Joe and I shared a pork dish and our waitress kept bringing out different kinds of vegetable dishes, bread baskets, along with 3 bottles of wine, a bottle of port, and finished off with a bottle of white brandy. It was a feast fit for a King for around 10 euro per person. Our next stop was at the Quinta do Tedo's wine estate, a very pretty family run winery situated on the upper banks of the DouroRiver. We tasted 3 different wines with no tasting fee. We all took naps on the way back to the ship. Additional notes on Lisbosightseeing: The Douro wine country tour cost was 360.00 Euros. This was for an 8 pax, which is about $115.00 USD per couple. This was paid up front via Pay Pal which was a leap of faith for all of us! The duration of the tour was from 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 pm. The tour price did not include wine tasting, entrance fees, or lunch. By the way, we also paid for our driver/guide's lunch. I guess this was expected and it is customary in Portugal?! Thursday & Friday October 11th and 12th Sea days- Well folks, we are coming to the end of our amazing 12 day Immersive Wine Cruise, and what a cruise it was! It was one our favorites, we loved the overnight stays in some of ports of call which gave us a chance to really immerse ourselves. It was historical, fast paced, and the people that we met on our tours were easy and FUN to be with! Thanks everyone who shared our tours, we had some great times and memories! On a final note we used Smithforairport for our transfer back to Heathrow. This time we had 4 couples with 12 large suitcases and many carry-on's. I don't know how our driver got all our suitcases in the minibus, but he did! The cost from the cruise port back to Heathrow International was 92.00 GBP for an 8 pax, which was around $40.00 USD per couple. I hope you find this informative. My husband doesn't understand why I do this, but I tell him I do it to help others plan their vacations. By the way, we love Celebrity, especially the staff and service. Always remember to embrace the moments in your life! Trish aka Animated-one Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
My partner (Troy) and I (Todd) just returned from our vacation that included the October 25th sailing of the Constellation. All I can say is that it was a cruise like no other. With all of the overnights, it seemed more like a voyage ... Read More
My partner (Troy) and I (Todd) just returned from our vacation that included the October 25th sailing of the Constellation. All I can say is that it was a cruise like no other. With all of the overnights, it seemed more like a voyage than a cruise, if that makes any sense. Passengers seemed very engrossed in seeing the ports and their time on land seemed to be the focus. Coming from the US, this itinerary was what I would call off the beaten track (not Med, not Baltic etc...) and it proved to be one of our best. Except for our first day at see, we were blessed with sunny days. A bit chilly at times but the sun made it bearable. EMBARKATION -- We flew in on the same flight as some other Cruise Critic members and were able to share a ride with them to Southampton using Smiths for Airports. Smiths was great! They were on time and got us there quickly and safely. Our flight arrived at 7:30am so we were at the port by 10:30am. I was surprised at the number of people already there checking in, but everything seemed to move quickly. We had the good fortune to book a suite so no waiting for us, not sure everyone else would agree that it moved quickly but it appeared to. The ship was not ready to board so we were given a number and we all went into a general waiting area. Not too long after they started calling numbers and we boarded. I'm not sure and really didn't care how long we waited as we were on vacation, enjoying the company of our new friends and excited about the cruise. We boarded and enjoyed lunch at the buffet and then waited for our rooms to be opened up which happened around 1pm. CABIN - We booked a suite guaranty and were fortunate enough to be upgraded to a Celebrity Suite. Add a kitchen and we could move in! The cabin had recently been redone when the ship was solsticized and it looked great. We had two flat screen TV's, an ipod/iphone dock, an old computer, a Bose Stereo system and lost or room. We used the ipod/iphone dock a lot to not only listen to our music but to charge our phones as well. Bed linens were nice (not wonderful but nice) and the Bulgari toiletries were great. I do still prefer the beds on HAL but we seemed to sleep just fine. We did have a butler but only used him to make some specialty restaurant reservations and for two lattes every morning. Our stewards were great and we always came back to a clean room with fresh towels. This was our first time as Elite and we loved the discounted pricing on the Internet package and also the laundry benefits. It says turn in laundry by 9am for next day delivery but we turned ours in around 1pm one day and still got it back the next day. A nice surprise as that was not what we were expecting. My only complaint would be to please not mix in the little hair conditioner bottles with the little body lotion bottles. I need readers for close up and they look exactly the same so boy did I get a surprise one day. I did separate them and put the hair stuff in the tub and body stuff by sink. My partner thought it was hilarious and it became a running joke. It got funnier when on the last day he yelled from the bathroom - Wow the lotion seems to so thin and going so much further today. Apparently our steward added a bunch of new bottles so you can guess what he did. We still laugh about that. SHIP - The ship is great! The size is nice and since we've been on the Constellation as well as the Millennium and Infinity before, so we knew exactly what to expect. We've also been on two Solstice class ships and did miss a few things like the relaxation room you can use prior to a massage and the buffet setup. There are also a few aspects that seem dated but none of those things affected our cruise. The deck plans and photos are online so I don't understand when people act surprised or disappointed in the layout etc... I also don't understand people who complain about an itinerary (um you booked it???) but that's another story. The solsticizing was done very tastefully and we thought the public rooms looked very nice. We love the thalassotherapy pool and hot tubs and used them quite often. The outdoor pools were never used but it was windy 50 degree weather in the Atlantic so that was no surprise. SERVICE -- This is unfortunately the one area that we thought was not up to the usual Celebrity standards. I wish I could say that the crew and service were wonderful but many seemed indifferent and robotic at times. An example is our waiter who gave us a little speech at the end of our meals telling us the next day's weather, dining times etc... If anyone made a comment like "how lovely" or "wow that's great", he would look a little miffed, seemed to completely throw him and it took a few seconds for him to recover and basically started at the beginning of his speech again. We learned not to interrupt so we could get through it. He was nice enough but didn't add anything to the dining experience and was basically just there to take the order. The bartenders seemed low on energy as well and it made for a less than festive atmosphere at the bars. There just didn't seem to be a feeling of "we're so glad you're here" that we've come to expect. Sorry Celebrity but this one was not up to par. Of course that wasn't everyone and there were others who were outstanding including the shore excursion rep we spoke with, the Captains Club team, the girl who took our drink orders in the MDR, our stewards and other various crew members we encountered. We did have an outbreak of the Norovirus on the 3rd or 4th day so it may have affected the crew's attitude with the additional work they needed to perform but the service was like this from day 1 so I don't know how much can be attributed to the outbreak. FOOD - The food we found to be generally quite good if not sometimes excellent. The buffet had the usual items and we thought it clever to make one side more American focused and the other side more UK focused. My only complaint about the buffet would be the amount of salt in the meat dishes. You can't possible need that much. Other than that we enjoyed most of the items we got from the buffet and found it to be quite typical of most of our cruises with carving stations, a mix of potato and vegetable dishes, pizza, sandwiches, salads and your standard little rectangular cruise ship deserts which I personally find pretty tasteless. Like on all buffets, on land or on sea, any item sitting for a while got a little dry. We've learned to eat avoid those items. It really is a double edged sword -- if you want the freshest food, you have to go when it's moving quickly and are the busiest times, go when it's quite and empty and chances are the food has been sitting there for a while. The MDR and specialty restaurants were where we found the food to be above average. Meats were seasoned correctly, tender and cooked to order. Side dishes were warm and not overcooked. We had dinner in the Tuscan Grill and I know I had the best Filet I have ever ordered anywhere. We also ate at Ocean Liners and again, the food was excellent. I had the Lamb Chops and it was a huge portion and cooked medium rare just as ordered. In the MDR, the prime rib and lamb shank were the standouts. So now on to the ports. LE VERDON/BORDEAUX -- Maybe it was the sunny weather but Le Verdon wasn't this horrible wasteland that I've read about in other reviews. Yes it was far outside of Bordeaux which was a shock at first and caused for some additional planning (thank you Cruise Critic members), but I just did my research and once on board, Celebrity did provide excellent information regarding transfer, train and ferry schedules. The view from the ship over the green marshes out to the countryside was quite nice I thought. The first day we took the transfer to Soulac sur Mer and then took the 2 hour train into Bordeaux. We found a 2 -3 hour bike tour of the city online and had a wonderful tour. In the Chartron district there was an antique street fair and merchants had tables set up displaying their pieces. Every now and then there would be a band playing and there were lots of interesting shops and restaurants. After our bike tour, we took the tram back over to this district to hang out and had an amazing afternoon. I would go back to Bordeaux in a minute. On the second day we opted for a ship's wine tour. Since we were leaving that day we thought it best as this would guarantee us getting back to the ship in time. We chose the Medoc Tour and were not disappointed. We visited two chateaus and both were beautiful and quite different. The drive to them was absolutely stunning and I was surprisingly glad that we were on a bus since we were sitting much higher than a car and it gave us a better viewpoint to see what was around. We had a family style lunch at the second chateau that consisted of fresh bread, pumpkin soup, veal stew with the chateau's white wine, white rice and a chocolate torte for dessert. The actual owner of the chateau greeted us and played host. She was very warm and friendly. We really enjoyed this port! BILBAO -- Love! Love! Loved this city! We were not sure what to expect but all of our friends who have visited have gone on and on about how wonderful it is and we watched the Rick Steves episode like 3 times but all I can say is that we loved this city. The way it sat on the river with the hills on each side, the way the old and new architecture blended together, the cleanliness and friendliness of the people all made for a wonderful time there. I found two walking tours online and we signed up for each. One was for the day and one ended up being during the evening. The best part was that they were both free!!! The one during the day was with Bilbao Walking Tours, lasted about an hour and a half and took us around the outside of the Guggenheim and around the downtown area. It was informative but boy did she move quickly. If you didn't hear her say Aaaaannnnnndddddd CONTINUE you would be left behind haha. The evening tour took us through old town and was with Bilbao Greeters. I cannot say enough about our tour guide Nuria. She is a truly special person and we wanted to take her home with us so we could hang out some more. Her knowledge and passion for everything Basque had us mesmerized. She spent three and a half hours with us and took us into buildings and showed us things we never would ever have known about and I'm sure were not on other tours (the public library, the opera house while a show was going on etc...). What she had to say about all the places we visited brought the city and it's people even more alive than before. After that we took the 11pm transfer bus back to the ship and hit the sack. On day two we took the transfer bus in and visited the Guggenheim. We enjoyed walking around and seeing the pieces we had seen in photos in person. We spent maybe 2 hours there, got some light lunch and then took the transfer bus back for our 3pm sailaway. VIGO -- Like I've read by many, unless you were going to Santiago de Compostela, there weren't a whole lot of options for tours or things to do and see. It was our only fully overcast port day and we ended up just walking around the town and then heading back to the ship. We thought about going to Santiago de Compostela but for us, after two days in Bordeaux and two days in Bilbao, we just weren't in the mood to sit on a bus for two hours each way to see a town with a cathedral. Everyone who went said they had a great time and loved it so please don't base any of your plans on our decision. PORTO -- Another great surprise! I had booked a 3 -- 4 hour walking tour that met at 9:30am and when we road through town it was raining and completely empty - no cars, no people - empty. We thought we were in for a dismal depressing day. What we didn't know was that it was a holiday and by noon the sun was shining and the whole city was out and about. Phew! We chose Bluedragon Tours and our guide was again amazing. We saw and learned all that my head could absorb. After the tour we ate at one of the restaurants along the river (up on level 2) and had a wonderful lunch. We then did something I don't think anyone else did, we took a cab to Museu Serralves. Troy found it online and it is Porto's museum of modern art located on the grounds of a huge art deco estate. There were no exhibits but being fans of art deco, we were really only there to see the villa and the grounds. We were so glad we went and took way too many photos. After that we took a taxi to the ship. Another great day! LE HAVRE/PARIS -- I've been to Paris once and Troy goes to Paris for work maybe twice a year (sympathy violins come in). Since in our 14 years we've never made it there together, we opted for the Paris On Your Own Overnight tour with Celebrity. Basically it was a transfer to the city the first day with a transfer back the next but was done very well. We thought about taking the train but this also seemed a good way to guarantee we would make it back to the ship in time. Again we had amazing weather and saw almost every touristy thing there was to see. On the first day the Opera House was closed due a matinee and Notre Dam was soooooo crowded we opted to save those for the next day. We saw on an Anthony Bourdain special a restaurant name Les Cocottes and decided that was where we would eat. We read that they open up at 7pm and to get there at 6:45pm as a line will begin to form then. We got there around 6:35pm and were the only ones there. Sure enough though, at 6:45pm people started coming up. The first group was a mix of Canadians and Americans who also saw the restaurant on the same show. At first I thought uh oh, maybe he owns this place and we've been suckered. But I remember all of the tripadvisor reviews we read and then all the locals started lining up. It was just as good as we thought it would be and were so happy we went. The two standouts were the rocket salad with sweet bacon and a poached egg and the langoustine ravioli with artichoke mousseline. For dessert we had waffles with chantilly cream with sides of caramel and chocolate sauce. After dinner we went to our 9:30pm appointment at the Eiffel Tower and took some beautiful photos. The next day we went to the Notre Dam and Opera House and did some shopping. After a stop at Laduree for some pastries and macarons, we headed to our meeting spot and took the bus back to the ship to pack and get ready for disembarkation. DISEMBARKATION -- Pretty straight forward really. We got up, got ready, went to our spot to wait and waited. They called our number, we got off the ship and collected our luggage. We were staying on for two nights in London so we grabbed a taxi to the train station and took in an express train to the Waterloo station. OVERALL -- We loved this cruise and for the ports would consider it one of our best. Even with the odd service vibe we still consider Celebrity our cruise line of choice and I'm already looking at the cruises they have for Asia. Happy sailing everyone! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me at tadiebold@msn.com. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
First let me tell you that we had a great time, we met some great people, ate some wonderful food on the ship and in ports (especially Tapas), and drank some of the best wine and beer I've every had. THE PORTS · Le Havre: $15 ... Read More
First let me tell you that we had a great time, we met some great people, ate some wonderful food on the ship and in ports (especially Tapas), and drank some of the best wine and beer I've every had. THE PORTS · Le Havre: $15 bus trip to get into the town; spent the morning at the open market, tasting food and buying bread and cheese to bring back to the ship. We LOVE the bread in Europe. Next day spent 2½ hours going to Paris and 2½ hours coming back. Folks, that's five hours of your day on a tour bus. Really? · La Verdon: Worst port ever. There was absolutely nothing in port; really, you were at Celebrity's beck and call. It was 2½ hours to Bordeaux or a transfer for $8 to a local town. Slulac (local town and only town) was cute, but it's a resort town and this time of year half of it was closed down. · Bilbo: Again, a $15 bus trip to get into town. The options were to wait for a free shuttle that held only 18 people or to share a taxi with another couple for 5 Euros each. I'd rather spend the money than wait in line for anything. The town was quaint and the people were nice. · Vigo: The ship was docked right in town, no bus ride needed. Today is Sunday so most everything was closed, but we still managed to find a cool outside bar for a wine and beer pick-me-up. · Porto: Free shuttle to the end of the pier, because no walking was allowed on this working pier. Lots of decently priced excursions: We did "EP15 Oporto City and River Cruise," and did some wine tasting, which was very enjoyable. THE SHIP Bathroom: The blow dryer in the bathroom got so hot holding it, I had to dry my hair in shifts. Smokers beware! Constellation is a NON-smoking ship. No smoking in the casino, nor on your own balcony. There are a very few small sections on the ship designated for smoking. Wi-Fi: Hubby says Constellation's Wi-Fi service is not up to par. Had to wait two days to download an email. Food: Quite good. I had osso bucco one night in the MDR and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Had the buffet for breakfast every morning. I think they need to arrange it better, getting everything together and eating it HOT was very difficult. Coffee area also needs better a layout. We never ate lunch on the ship because we were too busy eating and drinking in bars while we were out and about. We also tried the Tuscan Grill, where both food and service were excellent. Casino: Here the facilities show some age. The machines pay in quarters--when is the last time you saw that? But that did not keep me away. I was a regular customer. I heard they are refurbishing it next month. Entertainment: Excellent! We thoroughly enjoyed the Broadway shows, magician, juggler and the cruise director herself doing a one-woman show. She was great. I cannot forget the funniest piano player/singer and comedian Perry Grant. A must see... All in all, we had a great time. The only real frustration was that several of the ports of call required such long bus rides into towns of note. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
The main driver for choosing this cruise was to cruise with friends so they could try Celebrity. We were a group of 8. 2 had cruised celebrity many years previously and did not like the line due to poor time management, 2 are P&O ... Read More
The main driver for choosing this cruise was to cruise with friends so they could try Celebrity. We were a group of 8. 2 had cruised celebrity many years previously and did not like the line due to poor time management, 2 are P&O stalwarts and 2 had never cruised before. So for us the itinerary was to some degree secondary to the timing and the price, so we opted for the cheapest inside cabins which were fine, although 3 did suffer from noise from the adjoining maintenance corridor but Guest Relations were very quick to help with this. We all thought the food was excellent, I have read other reviews of this cruise criticising teh buffet.We never use the buffet normally, this time we did for lunch and breakfast because there were no queues, the food was fresh and hot and there were always plenty of empty tables. Streets ahead of P&O which we have most experience of. MDR experience was again excellent we chose Select dining and pre booked a time online for each night.We were allocated a wonderful table and as we were 8 together it seemed to suit them and us to keep the same table throughout.Service was super, 2 of the group had the wine package and the service to us and them was identical and very attentive, and the wait team worked really well together. We had one meal in Ocean Liners and that was worth the cover charge, especially as they were offering deals of varying sorts to fill it on odd days (we went on an odd day!) The ports were as we expected them to be having researched ahead of time. We opted for private tours or DIY and had a great time. Photos of the ship and the ports are on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/jobloor/sets/72157631851176778/ Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
My wife and I booked this cruise on Constellation as an escape from a very dreary summer. We had an ocean view cabin and considered it to be one of the best cruises we had taken. Embarkation was swift and we felt very welcome. Our cabin ... Read More
My wife and I booked this cruise on Constellation as an escape from a very dreary summer. We had an ocean view cabin and considered it to be one of the best cruises we had taken. Embarkation was swift and we felt very welcome. Our cabin was a good size and well positioned. We dined second sitting in the main dining room and did not feel tempted to try any of the other options the food was of a very high standard We took breakfast in the cafeteria and their was always a good choice. A particular favourite was the roast joint of ham or pork which was presented daily The entertainment was varied and of a high standard. A bonus was the nightly performance of Perry Grant in his lounge. This was the first time we had come across Perry and we hope it will not be the last. The fact that 3 times we stayed overnight in port proved to be a bonus as it gave us more time to do as we pleased We found the staff and crew were very pleasant and helpful. We can only say that the Celebrity experience is one that we would like to sample yet again they certainly set a high benchmark for the rest of the cruise community Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
This was my first time sailing with Celebrity. I had a really good time and the onboard staff were great. Cruise Critic was very informative before I left (a lot more helpful than the FAQ and pre cruise online customer service for ... Read More
This was my first time sailing with Celebrity. I had a really good time and the onboard staff were great. Cruise Critic was very informative before I left (a lot more helpful than the FAQ and pre cruise online customer service for celebrity) so I want to answer some of the questions people had before they sailed. We had a kettle in our room. Also had a handheld hair dryer in addition to the wall one in the bathroom. Robes but no slippers. Masses of shampoos etc, extra hangers upon request, wine glasses in room. We had anytime seating and could always show up (6 of us) and get a table right away in the dining room without a time reservation. Negative was that the hot tubs closed very early (between 8 and 9) and we often wanted to relax in them after dinner to recover from a day of walking - often in bad weather. also one side of the indoor therapy pool was broken for the entire trip so use of the jets was usually restricted to 5 minutes because of the number of people waiting for their turn. I was disappointed that there was an extra fee for exercise classes in the gym and there were no activities specifically aimed at singles. Took a wine tour with a company called Bordeaux Vertigo which I booked with them before I left and that was very enjoyable around the vineyards and a lot cheaper than the Celebrity tour (and more personal). I would recommend limiting it to six though because we were a little cramped in the van with 8 people. Celebrity offered $15 transport to Bilbao but we walked into the harbor and caught the metro train for a couple of euros which brought us right to the center. Then we took the finicular up to see the view of the town and walked to the Gugganheim and on to the old District. We met quite a few people in town who had taken the half day Celebrity bus tour and were very disappointed with it. We did not realize the ship docks 60 km from Bordeaux so we spent the second day at Soulac-sur-mer near Bordeaux - a bit boring but stop by the market (closes at 1-5pm) and grab a plastic liter of Grand Cru wine from their taps for only $4 !! Very nice wine and cannot beat the price... We were disappointed that Celebrity did not offer Happy Hour in any of the bars before dinner which is always a nice social time. the only offer they had was 50% off the 2nd martini between 9 and 10. However, they did not restrict us from bringing bottles of wine onboard to consume during the trip. I highly recommend the Celebrity trip to Giverney and Rouen. A bit pricey and a long day but Monet's Garden is amazing and Rouen makes England look new. It included a very good lunch and our guide was extemely informative about the area and the history during the long drive. Take zinc or airbourne. With a winter trip like this we were inside breathing recirculated air a lot and 3 out of 6 of us got very sick with chest infections and stomach disorders. :( The weather was totally unpredictable. Layering is the only way to go when you get off the ship but the ship itself was very warm most of the time. Lots of entertainment - comedy, singers, bands, dancers - in the showroom and the various bars. Lovely ice top martini bar. Several wine tastings offered on board. the Cruise Director is amazing - Sue. She remembers everyone's name and shows up everywhere to greet us. Disembarkation went like clockwork. I was in the last group and got a cab to the train station and got there by 10am. Much earlier than I expected. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
We planned on taking a fall 2012 trip with two other couples and this was trip that we could all agree on. Before the sailing I had a few hesitations but by the time we got off the ship there was no doubt that it was a wonderful sail. ... Read More
We planned on taking a fall 2012 trip with two other couples and this was trip that we could all agree on. Before the sailing I had a few hesitations but by the time we got off the ship there was no doubt that it was a wonderful sail. We arrived into London three days early - we stayed at the Sanctuary Hotel that we just loved. To get to the port we used the Megatrain which was a DEAL at 1 GBP per person. We arrived about 2, embarkation was easy, breezy - rooms were ready when we got on board. About 3 months before the sailing we had learned that the family verandas were available for general booking so we ended up in one of these with a huge aft balcony and extra sitting area. These are a deal if you can get one. There were two couches (that could be made into beds) in the sitting area and honestly they were TIRED - cushions warn and sprung but we still sat on them from time to time. Otherwise no complaints (in fact thrilled with) the room and our grand balcony. Our room stewards were great, always smiling, kept the room tidy and willing to bring ice and such. We were very pleased with the food on board - usually we ate at the buffet for breakfast and lunch, then in the MDR for dinner. Since we sailed from Southampton there were quite a number of British guests on board and this seemed to be reflected in some of the buffet choices. We had to laugh at the mashed peas found daily in the "gourmet foods" section! But there was a great selection in the buffets - I esp. liked the ethnic foods and makings for a big salad. We had select dining and we did think that some nights the service there suffered a bit. I wondered if the staff was undergoing some transition (the Reflection was just starting to sail)and maybe the S class ships have more of the "A team" on board. But after several nights we found a waiter that was very efficient and after that requested his section. I'm a fairly fussy eater, not a gourmet but always hoping for tasty bites, and I thought the food was very good. The escargot, french onion soup and creme brulee from the everyday menu were all excellent and could make a meal if nothing else was enticing. All the lamb and beef selections were of very good quality - the fish I tried was disappointing. We were contented and well fed enough in the MDR to not want to pay extra for the speciality restaurants. We were usually tired in the evening and did not go to any of the shows except Perry Grant on two occasions. Whatever else you may think of him, he is an entertainer and we have made numerous references to his shtick since we have been home. We did some trivia on the sea days and a wine tasting - there are plenty of activities to choose from. My pre-sail hesitations had to do mostly with the ports - I don't think any of them (except maybe Porto) were easy walk off the boat and enjoy an inexpensive day wandering around and cafe sitting, my preferred mode of European travel! We were sailing with two other couples and we all did research so we ended up with some very pleasant small group outings but it was a bit pricey. We had a driver to Santiago de Compostela (great day!), did San Sebastion (Bilbao) on our own (by the way the port of Gexto was lovely for the second day), Le Verdon, driver to St. Emillion and then in LeHarve we rented a car. The first day we saw the Bayeux tapestry (very interesting) and the D-Day beaches. The second day we went to Giverny (wonderful) and Rouen (a bust, everything closed on Sunday!). This itinerary gave us the opportunity to visit a part of Europe that is a bit out of the way from the main entry points and we enjoyed seeing places we will probably not find our way back to on future trips. Overall we were very pleased with the Constellation and Celebrity - we had recently sailed some higher priced lines and were concerned this might have spoiled us but Celebrity delivered a very good experience for much less money. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
We joined the ship at Southampton, having travelled down from lancashire, on the cruise connections coach. this was a very good start to the cruise, because it is so much easier than flying to a cruise port. We arrived about one ... Read More
We joined the ship at Southampton, having travelled down from lancashire, on the cruise connections coach. this was a very good start to the cruise, because it is so much easier than flying to a cruise port. We arrived about one o'clock, and embarkation was smooth. soon we were in our cabin, met Colin our stateroom assistant, who was most welcoming. the cabin was spotless, as usual with celebrity ships. We then had lunch, wandered arround the deck, and then got ready for emergency lifeboat drill. The drill took place in the theatre, which i think is OK, but i also think that we should go onto the actual deck, so that the experience of an actual emergency can be felt. people were talking and not taking much notice of instructions. a list of peoples room numbers were read out, there were a few, how foolish can they be. We have been on a few cruises, but there were people who have never been on a ship before, and i think that for these people alone, to stand and think and try on life-jackets is more educational than sitting in a warm theatre, with people laughing and not listening is not good. Dinner was as usual great, with a lovely table of eight. We soon became friends, and shared our daily experiences with them each evening. The service was great. good choices on the menu. During the cruise we ate in the cafe, for breakfast and lunch, and there again the food was good and service excellent. We sometimes had a burger of kebab on the outside deck, at lunch, while sitting in the sun. On this ship there are always plenty of sunbeds, and with plenty of space unlike the larger ships, when the beds are all squeezed together, and you are touching the person next to you. The pool towels were always taken care of by the pool butlers, and were lovely also there were blankets, the previous trip had been to the Balkans, but we had a couple of days, when they were most welcome. The entertainment on Constellation was very good, it had something for everyone, and the costumes were lovely. the entertainment manager Steve Gayda was very friendly and was always about the ship, and happy to say hello, which is so nice, and pleasant. All the Staff and Officers were extremely friendly and approachable, the Officers, were to be seen all over the ship, taking part in various competitions, all good fun the crews Celebrity's got talent show was very good as well. We are members of the Captains Club and the host Graeme Kelleher was the best. He was so wellcoming, and friendly with everybody. The events, were all very well organised. Thank you Graeme. This was the first wine trip, we ourselves are not wine drinkers, but went along fot the wonderful itinery. We didnt go on any organised excursions, but had a great time, adventuring in the wonderful ports of call. So all in all lovely ship, great crew, very relaxing what more could you ask for.Thank You Celebrity . Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
We found this itinerary interesting and the cruise turned out to be a winner. The itinerary included 3 overnight stops for Paris, Bordeaux & Bilbao and that allowed for additional time to enjoy the stops. The pace of the cruise ... Read More
We found this itinerary interesting and the cruise turned out to be a winner. The itinerary included 3 overnight stops for Paris, Bordeaux & Bilbao and that allowed for additional time to enjoy the stops. The pace of the cruise allowed for ample down time at sea to recharge, rest and burn off some of the extra calories that are a part of cruising. The weather wasn't the greatest as we had several days of rain including at sea. The cruise definitely had a wine theme but it was not overbearing and beer afficionados like myself could enjoy the experience equally as much. The food in the dining was good. We had dinner at each of the specialty restaurants. Both had excellent service. Tuscan Grill is worth the surcharge but I would not say the same about Ocean Liners as that is just average. The service was excellent throughout the trip and the guy doing bingo was worth the admission cost. The entertainment was pretty good. The Celebrity players hit a home run each show and there was good jazz in the lounges. The make up was about 50/50 American to European which I find enjoyable. There was no port option of Bordeaux so I am including my review in this section as that was definitely one of the highlights of the voyage. The trip includes an overnight stay at port. We elected to take the cruiseline bus tour into Bourdeaux but did not return. The bus dropped us off right in the heart of Bordeaux and we were walking distance to our hotel. We did a city tour on our own as they offer an audio guided trip through the city in English. The tour was about 1.5 hours and well worth it. From there we walked the town to a few churches and along the river. Dinner in Bordeaux was memorable as our hotel directed us to a little fish restaurant in town and there were no tourists. Bordeaux definitely does not get the tourists like Paris. Day 2 was private tour from Bordeaux through the wine country with a couple of stops for tasting and a vineyard tours. The wine country is absolutely gorgeous and we enjoyed the ride through the countryside and were dropped off right at the port by our guide. Be mindful that the port for Bordeaux is desolate so you can't just walk off the boat to stroll through town. If you don't do an excursion then you will need to rely on the ship activities. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
This is a fairly new concept for Celebrity, and overall I am very happy with our cruise. We began by spending three nights in London, staying at the Judd Hotel. The location was fantastic, being near subways, rail, and many sites we wanted ... Read More
This is a fairly new concept for Celebrity, and overall I am very happy with our cruise. We began by spending three nights in London, staying at the Judd Hotel. The location was fantastic, being near subways, rail, and many sites we wanted to visit. Also, many pubs and restaurants in the area. On the 19th, we traveled to Southhampton and boarded the Constellation, which has been "Solsticized." While it was updated and overall very lovely, I would go for the true Solstice ships the next time. Our stateroom was plenty large, tho the balcony was very small. As the weather was cool, it did not become a problem as we spent little time on it. The Wine Cellar had self-service wine stations, which were convenient, but I had expected they would change the wines frequently so that we could try many different labels. That did not happen. The itinerary was what drew us to this cruise, and it did not disappoint. We first had a sea day, which was welcome as we had been on the go nonstop in London. Our first port was Vigo, of which we got to see little (our own choice). We were picked up at the pier by Brendan of Guided Galicia and left for Santiago de Compostela. Our tour there was very enjoyable...Brendan was an excellent guide and we learned and saw so much. After touring the cathedral, the office for the pilgrim certification and some little shops we got back in the van and saw more of the countryside. We visited Lagar de Costa winery and met with Sophia, part of the family, and tasted several of their wines. Very good!! After buying some of the wine we headed out and saw more beautiful scenery. We then went to Cambarro, a harbor town that was very picturesque and had a delicious seafood and omelette luncheon (with local wine of course). Next was Oporto, Portugal, another beautiful hilly town. We toured the Cathedral, then went to the Calem Cave to learn about and taste port. From there we boarded a boat to take us for a tour on the Douro River. We saw very interesting architecture and also saw a bridge designed by Gustav Eiffel. I really fell in love with Porto. Back to Spain, Bilbao this time, we took a tour of the Basque country visiting a small fishing town plus the city of Guernika. Our guide was steeped in Basque culture and educated us in the importance of this area to democracy. That afternoon, upon returning to ship, we walked about 45 minutes along the harbor get to the shopping area in Gekxo. The next day we took the shuttle into Bilbao, another beautiful and progressive city. I could easily go back and spend a week there. We visited the Guggenheim Museum and loved walking in the city and just observing the buildings. Quite an impressive area! That night we ran into some heavy seas in the Bay of Biscay...I'm not a good sailor and the Constellation's movement ended my evening very early. The next day was much better and we were sailing to France. Our first port was Bordeaux. Actually the port is in Le Verdon, quite a ways out from anything, so we spent our two days here doing alot of bus riding. The first day we went to St. Emilion, a Medieval town with steep winding streets surrounded by acres of lush vineyards. On the way we passed many chateaux and vineyards. We did alot of walking in St. E, took a ton of pictures. I loved seeing the town and the surrounding area, but I think our guide was new. She didn't seem real comfortable with her English and was a little stand-offish.We reboarded the bus and drove a short way to a chateau and wine cave for a very lovely and delicious luncheon and wine tasting. It was a buffet with roasted meats, wonderful salads, cheeses, desserts and two or three bottles of wine. Made the long drive back to the ship very good for napping! The next morning we took the "Bordeaux on Your Own" excursion and had cafe and croissants on the square near the Grand Theatre. We walked about quite and bit before meeting our guide, Patricia, from Bordeaux Walking Tours. She is American but has lived several years in France. She studied architecture and her enthusiasm for that subject is contagious! We learned (and saw) so much with her. She also educated us on the city's mayor who has pulled Bordeaux into a thriving city with modern transportation and regulations for keeping the city's historical buildings restored and cleaned so that everything is a treat for the eyes. The riverfront that he developed is filled with gardens and an amazing reflection/bathing pond. I would love to go back to Bordeaux also and spend much more time! We sailed that afternoon for Le Havre. We had our last sea day and last formal night before reaching port. We never did see much of Le Havre, because we left the next morning for an excursion to Giverney and to Rouen. Giverney is home to Claude Monet's home/museum and gardens. We spent a couple hours here just soaking in the beautiful flower and water gardens. Sooooo gorgeous!! After, we drove a short distance to a restaurant in the countryside. It had been a millhouse and still had the water wheel working. We had a very lovely 3 course meal here with wine. We were impressed both with the beauty of the setting and the food served. Leaving here we drove to Rouen and saw where Joan of Arc was tried and burned at the stake, where the Black Plague victims were buried (80% of the population was wiped out in less than a week), a modern church dedicated to St. Joan. It is a city with both midieval buildings and new. The cathedral is impressive as are the city's many bridges. Leaving here we had another hour or so drive to return to the ship. The next morning we packed up and left the ship by taxi for the train station in Le Havre. (The ship would sail back to Southhamption the next day.) We traveled into Paris and checked into our hotel, Le Petit Paris in the Latin Quarter. We spent 4 nights there and loved this chic little boutique hotel. Our rooms were small but efficient and very comfortable. After four days of non-stop walking and tour (and eating and drinking) we finally left for Charles De Gaulle and flew home. We have fond memories of our time on ship. While I still prefer the larger Solstice ships I cannot fault any of the service or food we received on the Constellation. Our cabin attendant, Mathys, was very helpful and kept our room spotless. Our dining room servers, Moses and Olga, were fantastic. I feel the meals served on this cruise were some of the best we've ever had on ship. All in all, I highly recommend this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
My husband and I took this cruise to Scandinavia this past August 12 - 24. It was our first cruise, and generally, we enjoyed it very much. The accommodations were excellent, as well as the service. The entertainment was generally very ... Read More
My husband and I took this cruise to Scandinavia this past August 12 - 24. It was our first cruise, and generally, we enjoyed it very much. The accommodations were excellent, as well as the service. The entertainment was generally very good, and we especially appreciated the pre-disembarkation prep talks given by Linda; she was excellent! We personally could have done w/out the "Staffs' Got Talent" show, which I understand is a fixture on cruises; they didn't! Tops in the entertainment for us was the indomitable Perry Grant. Don't pay attention to those naysayers; they don't know what they're talking about. This guy's humor is a mite sophisticated, so if you don't get it...all I can say is, after my husband and I discovered his show in Michael's Club, we made sure to return for almost ALL of his shows. He is very talented and absolutely hysterical. When we disembarked in Amsterdam, and I spent 3 days listening to people speaking Dutch, I must have looked like a nut, because I kept cracking up remembering Perry's rendition of "speaking Dutch" (the Dutch passengers aboard were hysterical, too!). The only thing I was surprised about and disappointed with was the uneven quality of the food. I know the staff is preparing food for thousands of people, but I still expected the buffet to have better-tasting food. I mean, how difficult is it to make good-tasting bread? Or decent tuna fish salad? The food in the dining room and Tuscan Grille specialty restaurant was generally very good, but here again, I was disappointed with the desserts. They were generally just "OK," and sometimes not good at all. Really awful we're the chocolate chip cookies (the REAL ones), also not something you need Michelin stars to be able to execute well. And I was particularly disappointed w/some of the food prepared on Russian Night. While the coulibiac and Russian-style potato salad were pretty good, the hot borscht and beef stroganoff were inedible. I actually offered my easy and delicious hot borscht recipe to the head chef; he said he wanted it and his asst chef said they'd come to the dining room that night (the last) to look for me and get it, but they didn't. I felt bad that all those people had had such a wonderful time in St. Petersburg, but then weren't able to experience the simple but delicious pleasure of these Russian classics. The other thing I'd probably wish for is more shopping time (at least 2 hours) built into the tours. I also very much enjoyed Karen Dodd's nature presentations, but would have preferred the trivia sessions to be more general (geography, history, maybe about the ports of call), and they would have been more enjoyable if small prizes were given out after each session. And come on, it was SO ANNOYING that they kept trying to sell us stuff and that we didn't have free wi-FI, but from what I understand, this is typical of a cruise at this price range. I liked this port of call because it really looks like a medieval town (I'm a history buff; this may not be everyone's cup off tea), and the shopping is fabulous! A tour really isn't necessary; it's small enough for a self-guided tour. Ate lunch at Olde Hanse, where the servers wear medieval garb, and the place is only lit w/candles! The food was very good, too. Buy sweaters, natively-made linen wraps, etc. The prices are fair. And we were able to return to the ship when we were finished (well, if the truth be told, I wasn't finished, but would I ever have been?!) by shuttle bus. Tour guide was fabulous, saw the important sites, palaces, etc., and had oodles of time for shopping! The idea of see stuff, then hang out in the city center for a few hours and return on a shuttle bus is a terrific way to combine sightseeing and shopping; I would have liked ALL the tours to be this way. Tried traditional Danish smorgasbord; expensive but delicious! Talk about wonderful bread! Danish people exceptionally nice (pretty much everyone in every port of call was nice). Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
Our cruise of the Baltic was fantastic in almost every way. Celebrity still does a very good job compared to other cruise lines. The itinerary was perfect with 4 relaxing sea days. Departing out of Amsterdam was a breeze as we stayed at ... Read More
Our cruise of the Baltic was fantastic in almost every way. Celebrity still does a very good job compared to other cruise lines. The itinerary was perfect with 4 relaxing sea days. Departing out of Amsterdam was a breeze as we stayed at the Doubletree right next to the port and we had express check-in with C Class. Constellation is really in pretty good shape and we love this size ship. Could use a little attention to carpeting and paint in a few areas but overall still nice. We were in Concierge Class C1 with huge balcony and a bit of extra space so that was nice. Not sure if C Class was worth the extra $ as we tired of the evening canapes and could have lived without a couple of the other perks. Cabin was in good shape and our cabin staff was the best, probably helped by the fact that we were located in "suite land". Balconies could use a bit of attention including the furniture. Food on board was very good. We found the variety just about right for a 12 day cruise and we really enjoyed Bistro on 5. Staff was great, including in the Spa. The hot spa pool was great as well on this cool itinerary. (Showing a bit of wear though) We use select dining and were so pleased that they seated us immediately each time we went to the dining room. We didn't sample much of the entertainment on board but the Russian string trio and acapella group were both very good. We booked our own excursions including a private van in St Petersburg with 4 others from the ship. WELL WORTH the extra $. St Petersburg was the highlight of the trip. One down side was the laundry service. We had to send some clothes back to be pressed a second time and some whites came back pink. Not great for the price you pay for this convenience. Overall I'd recommend the Constellation to anyone and would do the same for Celebrity overall. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
We flew out of Toronto direct to Amsterdam, arriving at 7:00am. The cruise and flight was booked with Transat Holidays, and since they guarantee having passengers at the port in time for departure, or make arrangements to the next port of ... Read More
We flew out of Toronto direct to Amsterdam, arriving at 7:00am. The cruise and flight was booked with Transat Holidays, and since they guarantee having passengers at the port in time for departure, or make arrangements to the next port of call, we decided to arrive the day of departure. It took very little time to clear customs and retrieve our luggage. After some confusion we caught the train from Schipol Airport to Central Station. Since it was too early to go to the port, we walked a few blocks, dodged many bicycles, and had breakfast at Carla Cafe. After walking back to Central Station, we found the location of Tram 26 to take us to the port. Embarkation: We arrived at the cruise terminal at 10:30am, had our luggage taken from us,were given a health questionnaire to complete regarding any stomach flu or cold symptoms, and a #7 check-in card. We proceeded upstairs and sat around until they started registration @ 11:15am. We had completed our X-press Pass online months ago and found registration was very quick and efficient and were directed to the Seaside Cafe for lunch by 11:45am. The buffet has 5 duplicate areas of cheese,fruit,gourmet salads,hot entrees,vegetables,roast beef,pizzas,breads,& desserts. Since we were early there was no problem finding a table. The area was clean, & bright. The waiters were readily available to help with trays and efficiently cleaned the tables as they became vacant. After lunch we found comfortable padded wooden lounges on Deck 10 and relaxed until we could go to our cabins. It was sunny, but windy & cool and the wool blankets that were provided were appreciated. Cabin: At 1:00pm it was announced that the cabins were ready.We chose an inside on Continental Deck 2. It was small but well laid out. The wall of mirror behind the bed made it look larger, and it had lots of closet space,& good lighting in both the cabin & bathroom. The shower was larger than anticipated, and there was a clothesline and nightlight. Sally our room attendant checked to see if we were satisfied and promptly delivered the extension cord & distilled water we requested. Our luggage arrived @ 2:15pm, and we were almost unpacked before the emergency drill at 3:45pm. Our muster station was in the casino-it all went very smoothly, and most passengers paid close attention to the crew explaining the procedures. Dining: We chose early dining,6:00pm,San Marco Restaurant and had a table for 6. Our waiter(Bob-Indonesia) and assistant(Carlos-Honduras) were excellent. The left side of the menu was the same for the entire cruise:shrimp cocktail,escargot,French onion soup,Caesar salad,steak,chicken,salmon,creme brulee. The Menu du Jour was different for each of the 12 nights, and featured a delicious selection of appetizers,salads,fish,meats,poultry & desserts. We were told that we could mix & match from both sides, and this is what was often done. We all found the food at the very least good and more often very good to excellent, and therefore none of us felt the need to try the specialty restaurants. Of note was the perfectly cooked fish,& tender lamb, and variety of sorbets. On the first formal night (there were 3), 2 male passengers arrived in the main dining room dressed very casually. They were followed by the head waiter carrying jackets which they were required to put on. We had all but one of our breakfasts in the Seaside Cafe, and were pleased with the variety and freshness of the ingredients. We especially liked the made to order omelettes and waffles. There was a large variety of teas, and the coffee was good. Entertainment: There were two guest speakers onboard. Victoria Tennant, and Dr. Ed Lynch. They were both excellent and gave different perspectives of the Baltic/Russian region. We enjoyed the large musical productions starring the Celebrity Constellation Production Singers and Dancers,as well as guest entertainers:Nick Page who had starred as Jean Valjean in London's West End Les Mis.,Brooks Aehron, a concert pianist and wonderful entertainer who we had the pleasure of seeing twice, and Lindsay Hamilton,who put on a terrific one woman show. Each night before dinner we would have a drink at the Rendez-Vous bar and be entertained by different small bands&singers. There was always a small group of passengers who took advantage of this to do some dancing. The acapella group were very good, and many nights Michael's Club had Perry Grant entertaining. There was much more entertainment that we didn't frequent-I don't see how anyone could be bored or not find something to their taste. Ports: Our ports of call were Amsterdam,Warnemunde,Stockholm,Helsinki,St.Petersburg(2days),Tallin,&Copenhagen. We did each port on our own, except for a private tour in St. Petersburg(Alla Tours).Each port had much to see, and the time available allowed only a brief overview of each city. Unfortunately we also had rain several times. The weather was cool,so jackets,long pants and rain ponchos were necessary. We docked in Amsterdam at 5:00am.A form had been sent around earlier in the week asking for flight information, and the evening of our last full day a letter was left in the cabin indicating the place & time of our disembarkation. As we were staying in Amsterdam post-cruise, we didn't need to leave until 8:50am, and were allowed to take all our luggage with us, and proceed directly to the exit. The only glitch we encountered was a credit was owed to us (we had been paying our account in full in cash during the entire cruise), and we couldn't leave until guest relations refunded us the amount owing. We exited the ship @ 9:10am. Summary:This was an excellent cruise.We loved everything about the ship, and would definately sail with Celebrity again. All the staff we met were friendly but not intrusive;there was a great variety of food items to choose from at all times, & it was well prepared & fresh;even though the ship was full, it never seemed crowded; the public bathrooms were always clean,with no offensive smell,had cloth hand towels,and often had a staff member available to open the door upon leaving;a wide variety of entertainment available for all tastes. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2012
The Arctic Circle Itinerary goes almost as far north a cruise ship can go; we had only five ports of call and six sea days. The northest port of the itinerary is Longyearbyen, a small community located in the Svalvard Archipelago, the ... Read More
The Arctic Circle Itinerary goes almost as far north a cruise ship can go; we had only five ports of call and six sea days. The northest port of the itinerary is Longyearbyen, a small community located in the Svalvard Archipelago, the climate is moderate, and in summer the temperature is above the freezing point. Don't expect to see great glaciers or wildlife, as in an Alaska cruise, the ship does not navigate through ice fields or near icebergs. On the other side all the fjords we visited were spectacular. Embarkation was by far the slowest I have experienced. Security was the bottleneck. We arrived about noon at the ship terminal in Amsterdam, we received a card with a number, and we had to wait until our number was called. We got Nr. 12, and had to wait about two hours. After going through security it went fast. I packed two bottles of wine and, later in the room, I got a notice stating "Your luggage has been scanned and potentially questionable prohibited items have been noticed. Please proceed to Deck 1... for further inspection". Since two bottles of wine are allowed I could take my bag, but I noticed that liquors were confiscated to other passengers and they were going to be given back at the end of the cruise. There were a lot of European passengers, announcements were made in English, Dutch, German and Spanish. I guess the average age was around 60, few youngsters and almost no kids. We booked an oceaview cabin and we got an upgrade to a room with balcony. The cabins are nice and spacious with the usual amenities. There were not as many activities as in other cruise ships, and too many of them are directed to sell you something. A bridge tour was offered, but it cost $ 150.- USD (Lunch included). Entertainment at the Celebrity Theater was good, the best performances were offered at the formal nights. I would rate most of the food between standard and good, and only a few dishes very good. Even the lobster prepared at your table at the Ocean Liners was a little bit chewy (it was still very good). We choose select dining and the service was outstanding. I was impressed by one of the sommeliers, Ivan from Serbia, he gave us always the right advice about the choices on the wine chart, he remembered every choice we had made before and even our cabin number. We had dinner one night at Ocean Liners; it was really a good experience, worth every extra penny. If you make a reservation on embarkation day you get a 20% discount, but if you go next day to the culinary demonstration, you get 25%; as I stated before many of the activities are offered to sell something. In Leknes we were very lucky to have a sunny day, we really could appreciatte the turquoise sea with white sandy beaches. A group of CC members chartered a Bus in Leknes; unfortunately as I wanted to join, the bus was full. We decided to take the ship tour to a nearby Island and Nusfjord, it was not very expensive and it was very nice. Other shore excursions were really overpriced. In Longyearbyen we paid 169.- USD per person for a three hour hike, we were a group of almost 100 persons, and only three guides, (a half a mile bus transfer included). The guides must carry weapons to be used in the unlikely event of a life threatening polar bear attack. In fact the bears are looking for food on the other side of the island. Part of the hike was on snow, there were people that could not make it. We did not climb up to the summit, since we did not have time, if fact the ship sold a reduced version of the normal seven hours tour, but the view from the point we arrived was wonderful. After walking down the mountain we walked into the town. It is a small beautiful village. A bus transfer from Honningsvag to North Cape cost $ 100.- since it was very foggy it was not worth the money nor the time. Even if the weather had been good, I don't think it is worth it unless you want to have a picture of yourself at the point, but who wants a picture at 71° (North Cape), if you have already been at 78° (Longyearbyen), I think the bird safari would have been a better option. I would have preferred an scenic cruise along Svalvard instead of going to Honningsvag. Molde is a larger town with more than 20,000 inhabitants, we just walked to the tourist information office and asked how to go to Varden, a panoramic point with a spectacular view of the fjord , it took us more than three hours (both ways) hiking through the woods but every step was worth of it. People on the ship that took the excursion were driven there by bus and they walked down. In Molde we noticed people trying to rent a car but they were all gone. Later we took the bus to the Atlantic Road, also highly recommended, extra rides were offered in order to fill the demand from the ship, and we paid the local fare, it was not cheap, but much less than the ship's tours. In Bergen we also hiked up to the mountain, but there is funicular for those not wanting to walk. The fish market is very interesting. Since the some of the towns are very small, it is difficult to find a choice there if you have not previously booked. For those taking a similar cruise I would advice to make previous arrangements by internet with the locals or to pay the expensive excursions onboard. Internet was, as nearly in every cruise ship, very expensive and slow. We bought a package just for checking and sending mails. We found free hotspots in every port of call. They are easy to detect, since there are a lot of tourists with tablets or PCs nearby. I always carried my smartphone, I could even use skype. I recommend the Arctic Circle Cruise as one of the great experiences of my life. If you are thinking about it hurry up, I have just read that Norway has approved new laws limiting the size of ships going to Svalvard This was my eighth cruise, but my first one with Celebrity, I give the Constellation a rating of 9.0 out of 10, there is room for improvements. I will sail with Celebrity again if I find an appealing itinerary. I have posted some videos in youtube: Leknes: http://youtu.be/Rs56URmqqyE Longyearbyen: http://youtu.be/Np55FXBddRI Honningsvag: http://youtu.be/ItoPhu8U9A8 More are following Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
The night before the cruise we stayed at the Airport Courtyard by Marriott. While the hotel was nice and offered free shuttle to the hotel from the airport and from the hotel to the port, it seemed to be located in the middle of nowhere. ... Read More
The night before the cruise we stayed at the Airport Courtyard by Marriott. While the hotel was nice and offered free shuttle to the hotel from the airport and from the hotel to the port, it seemed to be located in the middle of nowhere. We couldn't even find a place to buy a postcard. Embarkation was very smooth. When we got to our cabin we met our neighbors right away. It wasn't long before we met our stateroom attendant, Ovidio. He and his assistant did a great job in keeping the stateroom clean and providing us with ice and water throughout the cruise. The Constellation is our favorite ship and she was in ship-shape form. During the seven days at sea we were privileged to have some wonderful speakers on board. First among these was Professor David Hughes, a renowned astronomer from England. Next we had some great talks by former NFL-player turned astronaut, Leland Melvin. Both gentlemen were extremely personable and informative. Our sea days were jam-packed with fun things to do. We did have two rough days due to storms, but luckily we didn't feel any ill effects. Our first port was Ponta Delgada in the Azores. The shore excursion we picked was a jeep safari. The jeep was comfortable - only 5 in our jeep - and the guide took us through some amazing scenery. Actually, the Azores proved to be quite a pleasant surprise. The next port was Lisbon, Portugal, where we took a four hour city tour. Unfortunately our tour bus was too hot. We did enjoy the various stops we made. In Le Havre, France, we chose to take the excursion to the beaches of Normandy. This included a pleasant lunch at the Caen Memorial Museum. We were very moved. It was neat to see the White Cliffs of Dover when we docked. Here we took a tour of the Kentish countryside and stopped in Rye. It was fun to see people walking around and shopping and having tea. Our cruise director was Rich Clesen. He's probably one of the best we've had. You could see him everywhere around the ship and even out on the pier when people were going on their excursions. Our favorite entertainer, Perry Grant, was in top form with his great singing, piano-playing, and repartee. For the most part our dinners were very good. A couple of nights were near-misses, though. We enjoyed a couple of lunches and a breakfast at Bistro on 5 and highly recommend it. We also liked the Aqua Spa Cafe for breakfast. The disembarkation was very easy in Amsterdam. Celebrity took us to the airport via a bus and our bags were waiting curbside. The only bad thing was that our cruise was over. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
We have just returned from a two week vacation like none other. Two days in Amsterdam and 12 days on-board Celebrity Constellation touring the Baltic. We were told to pack for wet, cold weather - but we lucked out and had blue skies ... Read More
We have just returned from a two week vacation like none other. Two days in Amsterdam and 12 days on-board Celebrity Constellation touring the Baltic. We were told to pack for wet, cold weather - but we lucked out and had blue skies almost every day. The ship, although ten years old, was like an old friend returning for a nice long embrace. The ports-of-call gave an amazing overview of the Baltic region with their collective and individual histories. And we booked all shore excursions, save one, independently - which was terrific! Traveling in late May to a northern region can be tricky. I packed two pairs of tennis shoes in case one got wet in the rain. I packed an umbrella. I packed sweat shirts and long sleeve shirts. But none of that was necessary because it was gorgeous! Our day in Germany was 85 degrees and sunny - pack sun screen, which I forgot (unfortunately!). Stockholm, Helsinki, St Petersburg, and Tallinn were in the seventies with lots of sun. Only Denmark was overcast with occasional drizzle. My sun-kissed face is evidence of the amazing luck we had with Mother Nature! The Constellation was a joy. Returning to her after a long absence was the right thing to do. We had been cruising on Royal Caribbean, which always disappointed. But Celebrity is top notch, as far as we are concerned. The ship holds half the passengers of the larger ships in the industry, so it was a pleasant, non-crowded feel. And Celebrity food can not be beat! I even asked the Executive Chef if they were serving cinnamon ice cream (which I have only ever had on the Celebrity Millennium) which they were not. That and After Eight are our favrites ... So he had cinnamon and After Eight made every night for us ... double portions of both! The attention to detail, the genuine courtesy of the staff, and the calm demeanor of the entire ship makes it my favorite cruise to date. My only negative comment is the terrible casino on board. The slot machines have not been upgraded - so there are no electronic tickets. Coins are still used! It's unbearable if you are a slot player, like myself. And none of the machines payed. I have been on a lot of ships that don't pay very often. These machines didn't pay AT ALL. Very disappointing. The Baltic itinerary was perfect. There is so much history in that part of the world. We started with two days in Amsterdam - staying at The Times Hotel at Herengracht 137, reserved online at Booking.com. It was the perfect choice - great location, not fancy, affordable. You must see the Anne Frank House - but book in advance at their website to avoid hours in line. This museum is a slap in the face - a cold hard reminder of Nazi occupied Netherlands, and very emotional. And then the first port of the cruise was Warnemunde (Berlin) Germany, where we toured Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. This set the theme of our cruise: World War II devastation throughout Europe. Every city that we visited was part of the Nazi tapestry telling their individual perspectives and experiences. It was an enlightening experience. For Berlin, we booked our shore excursion through the ship. It was $325 per person to take a train to Sachsenhausen, then a bus to Berlin. A nice family-style lunch was included in Berlin, and several photo stops. And then a three-hour train ride back to Warnemunde and the ship. It's a long day - but absolutely worth it. We met friends in Stockholm - so that was a great day exploring the city (don't miss the Vasa Museum!). In Helsinki we booked a Hop-On Hop-Off Tour with City Discovery. It was comprehensive but not great. The pre-taped tour informed us that the Church in the Rock was closed for repair. Which, it turned out, was not true. That was a disappointment. In Saint Petersburg we booked with TJ Tours. This was truly a magnificent decision. The tour was 14 people (a manageable amount) in a Mercedes van. Everyone that we spoke to that was associated with the cruise industry told us that we must book Russia with the ship or we would not be able to get off the boat. THIS IS NOT TRUE. TJ Tours took care of everything. They sent us tickets in advance that were also our visas to get into the country. We got to see and tour everything that we wanted to see and tour - and we had dinner with a Russian family! (Highlight!) The two-day tour was $285 per person, including two great lunches; and the dinner was an additional $110 per person. Don't miss TJ Tours. (Fellow cruisers that had booked with ALLAH Tours told me that they were disappointed ...) I plan to write them a lengthy thank you letter. Tallinn, we booked another Hop-On Hop-Off with City Discovery - which was perfect. This is a port that you will want to explore on foot. Don't miss the yarn shops if you are a knitter! Copenhagen was the same - but it was chilly and wet - so we hopped onto the bus and stayed on until we were back at the boat! This is a vacation that I will remember a life time. Gorgeous weather on a relaxed ship visiting picturesque/historic regions of northern Europe. Celebrity pampered us with their cuisine (don't miss the backstage tour of the kitchen). Critics say that one day (or less in some places) in port is not enough to really see the area. And that's true, to some extent. I will definitely have to go back to Saint Petersburg to tour the Hermitage and the Winter Palace in depth. But it is a comprehensive starter tour for those of us who have never been to the region. And there is no better was to travel than a cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
We departed on May 5th from Ft. Lauderdale on the Celebrity Constellation. We gathered on the top deck waving to all and holding a sign that read "Cruise Critic Goes Dutch" since we were headed to Amsterdam. We had a great ... Read More
We departed on May 5th from Ft. Lauderdale on the Celebrity Constellation. We gathered on the top deck waving to all and holding a sign that read "Cruise Critic Goes Dutch" since we were headed to Amsterdam. We had a great group of people who had been in touch on Cruise Critic for almost a year and now finally were meeting and enjoying each other in person. The Ship is beautiful and in terrific shape. Except for Aqua Class which will be installed within the next six months, the refurbishing and solticizing of the ship made it look terrific. We were in Concierge Class and although there is a little larger space, with a few more amenities, don't really think it was worth the extra money. Fresh flowers, champagne and fruit upon arrival and canapes each afternoon. Next time a balcony cabin without the frills would be fine. Upon walking onto the ship, smiling faces of the staff greeted us with glasses of champagne and/or juice. The staff were amazing and wonderful. Each and every member on the ship was pleasant, helpful and ready to do whatever we asked of them. The food in the MDR was really good with a varied menu each and everyday. You could always find something to your liking. We asked for our food to be served temperature hot and it was seen to without question. Our waiter Andy and his assistant Dino were just perfect. Our cabin steward Ovido couldn't have been better. The ship had many activities to keep us busy and none if we so desired for rest and relaxation. The gym was the place to be each and every morning and the weather cooperated for most of the trip. We had two rocky sea days but not too bad. We ate at the Tuscan Grille the first night and although the staff tried to please, we were not impressed with this restaurant. Our experience at the Ocean Liners was more favorable and we really enjoyed the food and service at this restaurant. You pay a little more but it was worth it. Also had a lunch at the Bistro for an up charge but the crepes were divine. Discovered Perry Grant on this cruise and fell in love with him. What a talent he is. He made us laugh till our sides hurt and loved his singing all the old songs. He is a gold mine for the cruise line. we hope to catch him again on another cruise. The ports we stopped at were great. Azores, (Amazing Tours with Ricardo) was just spectacular, Lisbon,a beautiful city but hot the day we were there. LeHavre and took a tour through cruise line to Fecamp and Entretat, and finally a stop in Dover. Met some wonderful friends at the port and they took us to Canterbury for a wonderful day. We arrived in Amsterdam on May 20th and spent five days there. We will definitely be on another transatlantic in the future but Celebrity is the way to to. The best cruise line...out there bar none. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
I am Tikigal, Kimberly, and traveling with my Mom and Dad on yet another adventure, this time on the Celebrity Constellation, part of the Millennium Class of ships. This was by far, one of my best experiences in cruising, and the staff ... Read More
I am Tikigal, Kimberly, and traveling with my Mom and Dad on yet another adventure, this time on the Celebrity Constellation, part of the Millennium Class of ships. This was by far, one of my best experiences in cruising, and the staff made the trip over the top and perfect! May 5th: Met up with Graeme Kelleher,(from South Africa) our Captain's Club Host and met Captain Peppas, who we already love, as We sailed with them both last year, and found the two of them to be very entertaining hosts and so knowledgeable, each in their own area of expertise. The life boat drill was excellent for a change, where this time things were quite serious, since we were going transatlantic! We had an accessible suite for this trip in a Sky Suite ( dad is 92). Day 2: We finally met our friends Roger and Jacqueline from Belgium. My mother and father really hit it off with them last year, and it was nice to be reunited again. Toured the ship and went to a Wine Masters event featuring South African wine at the Tuscan Grill demonstration. We decided to have dinner there on one of the nights. The dinner show was packed, so be sure to get there early. We ate in San Marcos (main dining room). Day 3: I am eating berries, and no bread, and trying to loose weight. Ha!. Learned how to play Texas Hold-em. I went to a lecture on Port del Gado in Azores, and we had a Captains Club party that was so packed, you had to get there early. Here the frequent Elite cruises (over 10 credits) gather for complimentary cocktails nightly. The best part, isn't it? And of course, making new friends. Day 4: Went to Ocean Liners Restaurant, which is their specialty restaurant. The food is incredible in that restaurant. Also during the day, went to a wine appreciation seminar, and a pink luncheon put on by a member of the Cruise Critic group we signed up with. Everyone was in pink, and we raised $400.00 for Breast Cancer. The waite staff served us a beautiful lunch with baby quail, Hawaiian salad, and cute little pink desserts of all types. There was an interesting watch sale going on, and lots of jewelry to buy. We have a hoot nightly in the Captains Club, and sometimes, they brought in entertainment for us. Day 5: Oh, a big sea day with swells of over 20 feet by noon. We will be in for a Royal Ride today! The San Marcos Restaurant was serving crepes for lunch, Yummy. Today was scrapbooking, cabin Crawl (touring rooms with cruise critics, I put this on), gym workouts, Captains Club party at Reflections and then dinner. The piano player was Elliot Finkle and he had 4 standing ovations. Day 6: We are in the middle of the Sargasso Sea with waves at 26 feet and winds at 65 mph. We are 2 days out from land at Ponta Delgado which is North of Funchal and Tenerife by 1 day. Today was Music trivia and I won on the 60's music. More scrapbooking, and then to this crazy idea of Celebrity's, Olympic X games competition. It was so much fun. We played golf on deck 11 (Reflections) and boy was in rough trying to putt around the bar, and down to the dance floor. Later we went to a line dance class and watch the movie "The Help". Also, tonight late, was Liars Club, it was packed, because the main show in the theatre was cancelled due to high winds. Liars club, is where the officers tell lies, and we have to guess, who is telling the truth. Of course, we, as passengers are always fooled. It was great fun on a high seas night. Day 7:Good old Dramamine, knocked me out, and I slept until noon. The seas were pretty rough yesterday and last night. I went to a Solo Travelers Luncheon, that was fun, where I met a judge who knew my attorney. Small world. There is a show, "The land of Make Believe" that was done incredibly well. Don't miss this show, if you haven't seen it yet. The Celebrity cast and dancers do a great job. Of course, what would traveling transatlantic be without Perry Grant? He has a huge following of fans, that sail Constellation, just because he is on board. Day 8:Mothers day is today,and we have arrived in the Azores. I attended a local Mass and the streets were lined in flowers for a procession in town. There was modern line dance classes later in the day, and this island is known for Pineapple, San Georges Cheese, Canchee wine, and port. Alexandra Gemgerrey from the Gift shop on board was so nice. She always was anxious to see what we bought in town. Day 9: Choppy day at sea. Workout in the gym and continue eating healthy, made me feel so much more active and less tired. I keep playing Olympic Golf hoping to do well. Our friends received a large bouquet of flowers during Captains Club celebration today I Reflections,for having the most cruises (130 or so, more than I can fathom).Ate dinner at the Tuscan Grill this evening- one of their Specialty restaurants. Maurico was our waiter, and the service was good. We had crab cakes, goat cheese cannelloni, wrapped in zucchini, lobster linguini, diver scallops, shrimp scampi. First time trying Pastat chocolate gelato. Yum.Day 10 Grand Buffett for Brunch was superb! Enjoyed meeting the Staff Captain (he looks like George Clooney) and Nikolas Vatianos, the Safety Officer, also a Captain in his own right. Tonight we had 14-18 foot seas. A gorgeous steak for dinner- The crew is gracious in every way. Captain Nikolas Vatianos, Safety officer was fun to get to know on board. I did not know before tonight that the Master of the Vessel, which is Captain Peppas, will have many captains in their own right underneath him, also qualified to run the ship, so I feel extra safe on board with this crew. Rich Clesen was our cruise director, and always went out of his way to meet each and every one of his in Elite. There were hundreds of Elite Captain's Club members on board, as this is one of their annual treks, to take the Constellation Transatlantic each year, and enjoy the music of Perry who performed in the lounge. He did an extra special treat the last night before Amsterdam, he was so popular, he headlined the closing act. Day 12 went to LeHavre, France to do some shopping and enjoyed a French Restaurant in town. It was a cold and rainy day, bring your raincoats! Day 13, Sailed past the white cliffs of Dover-spectacular, and Dover Castle. Now we are bound for Amsterdam, our last stop. We have enjoyed our Sky Suite, and I have enjoyed two fabulous weeks at sea with my parents. We are getting ready to do our Back to Back (B2B). Day 14: Sailed through so many locks, so early in the morning, too bad,I wish it was later, so I could have enjoyed them more. Lots of windmills, everywhere, what a sight! There was a lot of fog as well. We are moving to a balcony room for the next segment of the journey- Amsterdam to Russia. Especially enjoyed Manuel Frageso, who was in charge of golf on board the Constellation, had a fabulous adventure course set up for us to play each day, and I got third place. Fun, fun, fun and thank you to all the staff! Great time! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
This was our 2d cruise with Celebrity; we had been on Connie's sister ship Millenium 2 years ago for an Alaska cruise, so the layout of this ship was very familiar. We spent 2 days in Amsterdan before the cruise; we stayed at the ... Read More
This was our 2d cruise with Celebrity; we had been on Connie's sister ship Millenium 2 years ago for an Alaska cruise, so the layout of this ship was very familiar. We spent 2 days in Amsterdan before the cruise; we stayed at the Marriott near Leidseplein--great location, close to canals, many restaurants, museums and parks. Embarkation was easy, although there was a slight mixup. Because we were in concierge class, we were supposed to be in boarding area #1; but no one asked when we arrived at the terminal, so we were given a number 7. After about 30 minutes, we noticed some people were boarding, so I asked a Celebrity employee when we could board. She noted we were given the wrong boarding area number, gave us #1 cards, and we zipped right on through. We went to the lounge and had snacks while others were still waiting in the terminal; a nice perk for being in CC class. Our cabin was ready early, although our checked bags didn't arrive for a few more hours. We had lived out of our carry-ons while at the Marriott, so we had some things with us. We met Ovidio, our cabin steward. He was very pleasant, always greeted us with a smile and asked if he could do anything for us. Although this ship had recently been "solsticized", the only change we noted in the cabin was color and fabric of the furniture. Everything else was identical to the Millenium we sailed on 2 years earlier. As others have noted, there were areas on the ship that could have been spruced up, e.g. rust spots on our balcony, although while in port, painters were painting the outside of the ship (but they told me that balconies were not on their painting list). The housekeeping was very good, the public areas were always clean, including the public restrooms. The only place where things weren't immediately cleaned up was in the Seaside Cafe (the cafeteria style dining room, mostly used for breakfast and lunch). Because it was often so crowded and so hard to find a table, when we found one just vacated, we'd clean if off ourselves. If a staffer walked by, we could hand him/her the dirty trays of the previous table occupants. We chose Select Dining, as we hadn't loved the fixed seating on our previous cruise. We loved Select Dining! We could go when we wanted, we could make reservations, we could choose to eat by ourselves or at a shared table. And for a 12 night cruise, it was a great way to constantly meet new people and share new stories, tips and backgrounds. My only regret was that we didn't get the email addresses of some folks from Canada and New Zealand that we hit it off with. Although we left Amsterdam in the rain, the next day at sea was nice, and for the next 9 days, we had sunshine and unusually warm weather for May. Even our various guides said that we must have brought this great weather. Our last port was Copenhagen and it was drizzly and cool there and the last day at sea was rough; there were signs posted on the glass doors to not open them or attempt to go out on the deck. We wholeheartedly obeyed! We booked all our excursions through Celebrity's website and had wonderful, knowledgeable guides. Our only snag was on our 1st day in Russia; by the time Celebrity told us to go out and through immigration (the only port where you must bring your passport and immigration card left in the cabin), our tour bus had left! Luckily, there was another bus assigned to the same type of tour, so they put us on that one. We were ready to go early; Celebrity should have known how long Russian immigration took and planned accordingly. I won't give a port report, so I'll just say that all 6 ports had something wonderful to visit or experience; we did Old Town Tallinn and Copenhagen on our own and that worked out too. Also, you should plan on spending a few days in Amsterdam, I'd suggest prior to the cruise, as you may be too tired to walk all over Amsterdam, as we did. (and watch out for those bicycles--when you think you're on the sidewalk, you may actually be in a bike lane). Regarding disembarkation, I actually filed a concern/complaint with Celebrity. We were invited in writing to "special disembarkation" because we were in concierge class. It was in the movie theater rather than in the large theater--it was supposed to be less hectic and with a continental breakfast. Although we arrived there a half hour before we were asked to come, there was no food left and we were told there would not be any more food put out. So we left on the shuttle for the airport with no food at all. The people in the "lesser" cabins could actually have gotten a light breakfast in the Seaside. Overall, this was a wonderful cruise, wonderful experience and wonderful vacation. It was fun and educational and yes, exhausting. We'd do it again in a heartbeat! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
We booked Cabin 9129, C3 level at an EXTREMELY excellent rate and we were not disappointed by the Constellation, ports of call, quality of our room, food quality, level or service......well, what can I say except that we have already ... Read More
We booked Cabin 9129, C3 level at an EXTREMELY excellent rate and we were not disappointed by the Constellation, ports of call, quality of our room, food quality, level or service......well, what can I say except that we have already booked a 2013 cruise on the Equinox (or second on that ship and our third cruise with Celebrity!). My partner and I live in Southern California, are in our mid to late 60's, enjoy traveling, good food combined with good service and so far Celebrity has consistently delivered! We were a little hesitant booking on the Constellation, due to her age and size, but no fear, she is a great ship! The Constellation reminded us of a Art Deco decor, reminiscent of the Queen Mary here in Long Beach, CA where we live. The warm wood tones, the understated colors and the general ambiance is VERY inviting, providing a very relaxing tone to our general experience the 15 fantastic days and nights on this ship. Our Cabin: Very spacious, clean, with plenty of storage, comfortable furniture-an excellent home away from home! Room Attendants: Extremely friendly, attentive and never intrusive. Our clean room, bedding and towel magically appeared when we returned. Whenever we requested something a little extra, it was graciously provided. We asked is we could have shrimp cocktails provided instead of the "usual" Hors D'oeuvres, extra wine glasses and Hors D'oeuvres for guests we were having in our cabin....never a problem! Food Quality: We had late dining at 8:30. Main dining room food quality was if we were eating at a fine restaurant in Los Angles with service to match. Our two waiters, Juan and Javier were just amazing! Always providing extra desserts, and any little extra we would ask for. I LOVE dessert and ice cream and Celebrity has never failed to provide a high quality and diversity of either! Premium Restaurants: We had three meals at the Oceans as I am very fond of French and Continental food. NEVER a disappointment! We reserved our first night there at $40/person and after telling our waiters at our Main Dining room what a wonderful time we had, they offered us a "special" of $20/person and took good advantage of the excellent price for two other nights! Loved the table side service with the only Flambe, open flame, service on the ship! I love Foie gras they served and after the first dinner there, they always served me a double portion! How could you NOT love that kind of service for THAT price! The waiters were as good as any we have had in Beverly Hills, but with no attitude! Dinner was not only prepared to perfection, but our waiters make it fun and relaxing. We always had the table for the evening and never rushed with our dinner. I only wish what the menu would have changed, but on the other hand, how can you not enjoy, lobster, filet, rack of lamb, venison, turbot, and sea scallops prepared tableside on a menu? Our last meal there, our waiter prepared Steak Diane, tableside for us, which was not on the menu! Buffett: There were two Grand Buffets served during our sailing and Celebrity never fails to deliver with the quality, diversity, beauty of presentation (the ice sculptures and the chocolate sculptures were wonderful!). I have been to only one other buffet sytle presentation that rivals Celebrity's and that is the Martinique in Oakbrook, Illinois. General Buffett: Overall, the food is of a better-than-average quality. I found the pizza to be exceptional as well as the diversity of desserts and ice creams to be EXCEPTIONAL. Some of the specialty areas such as the Panini's and sandwich stations to be very good as well! The hamburger/hotdog cafe poolside was very good. Sometimes you need to have a really good hamburger and the pool grill delivered! Entertainment: Very high quality of performers, musicians, and cabaret performances. "Discovered" Perry Grant and had many fun evening in Michaels. You either like him or not, but judging from the standing room only crowds for both of his performances each evening and range of ages of attendees, he does have a very strong following! Bar and Drinks: I find that Celebrity does not over-charge for drinks, which they easily can do with a "captured" ship clientele. My partner drinks Grey Goose Martini and the $10 charge for that at the Martini Bar is VERY reasonable! Can't get a GG Martini for that price at a home bar/restaurant! Waiter and bar staff most attentive and professional and were there to make sure you enjoyed yourself and you were made to feel special. Shore Excursions: We book only one shore excursion. Most of our excursions we booked ourselves online but the one that we book with the ship was an excellent value for the price. It was just a lot shorter excursion than what we would have received if we booked on-line, but the places that we visited and the transportation was first class! Officers: All were very attentive, always asking if we were having a god time and if there was anything they could do to make our stay even more enjoyable. Amazing Captain! Cruise Director Rich was always around the ship making sure everyone is enjoying their experience. Embarkation: Since we had an early flight, we self-embarked, with no delay either leaving the ship or going through customs. MUCH faster leaving the ship than coming on board! Overall Impressions: First of all the value for the dollar that we received for this trip was AMAZING! We booked this trip, with a C3 level room for $128/night/person AND $100 shipboard credit! I don't know what you can find that kind of value with the level of accommodations and service we receive with Celebrity! We were on the Celebrity for 15 days and there was only one meal/desert (being VERY picky and subjective, mind you!) that did not rise to the usual level of Celebrity quality and that was a Crepe Suzette we had in the main dining room that was too sweet for my taste. We have already book another Celebrity cruise, "11 Night Ultimate Caribbean Cruise" on the Equinox, March 4th, 2013. We are SERIOUSLY considering another Celebrity cruise, "15 Night Westbound Panama Canal Cruise" on the Century, February 4th, 2014. If our scheduling and budget will allow it, I am sure that Celebrity will again deliver an AMAZING experience for the two of us! Read Less
Celebrity Constellation Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 5.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 5.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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