Excellent staff - effective, warm, courteous. Ocean Liners Restaurant's "Wine Cellar" is one of a kind beautiful experience. Shows were much better than expected - don't miss!
Cruising the Saguenay Fjord was delightful, spectacular steep walls, autumn leaves, wildlife close-up.
Town of St. Martin on the Bay of Fundy was worth the field trip at low tide, great mud flats. Fine seafood chowder luncheon.
Best ship elevator banks at sea. Very fast and smooth!
Out of 21 cruises I have to say Celebrity has been the best cruise line. The Constellation is beautiful and the staff top notch. 13 days was such a restful vacation for us.
Our dining was out of this world. If you wanted to eat at the specialty restaurant, casual dining, buffet, or main dining room, they were all great.
The Shows were excellent. The special groups brought onboard to entertain us were all fantastic. One of the best things about our cruise was the staff. Not once did I meet someone in the hallway that didn't have a friendly face and a wonderful greeting. This means so much. It wasn't phoney and you had no problem understanding the foreign staff. English was not a problem for them. By the 3rd night in the lounge, the wait staff not only knew the drinks we had been drinking but also greeted us by our last night. That was so comendable for staff to take that little extra touch of kindness. By the end of the cruise you felt like you were leaving old friends. I will sail with Celebrity many more times.
Another attributeto Celebrity is embarkation and debarkation which went so smoothly. We were on the ship in less than 1 hour and off within 30 min. of our projected time slot. You can't beat that!
We flew out of New Orleans using a Celebrity Package since comparison airfares were much more due to the return city was not the same as the arrival city. We arrived in London Gatwick and were met by our previously arranged driver Steve Knibbs email@example.com and taken to Sir Christopher Wren Hotel in Windsor for a fee of $128.27 (exchange rate of $1.83/GBP). There are cheaper ways to do this, but with 6 pieces of luggage it seemed worth it.
We visited Windsor castle and toured around Windsor until departing the hotel by taxi to go to Heathrow Airport where we joined up with the Celebrity transfer to the ship in Dover, England on Sept. 7th. We had received e-tickets for the cruise which means we did not have any luggage tags. We had only one sample tag, but I made tags using a copy machine and laminated them for endurance. I was happy that I had done this as I turned my luggage over to a truck with several hundred other pieces of luggage in it. Surely the ones with luggage tags identifying them as going to a certain cabin wouldget there sooner than ones without tags. I would definitely recommend making your own luggage tags rather than depending on someone to find your luggage without a tag and have to use a cross reference to find out where it was suppose to be delivered. The instructions had stated that you would get tags at the pier to put on the suitcases. I am thankful I did not have to go and find my luggage at the pier to put a tag on it. I did here one gentleman asking a Celebrity agent where he could get tags to put on his luggage. I didn't stay around to find out how he came out.
We had been aboard the other Millennium class ships before and knew right where to go, so we grabbed our glass of champagne and headed to the room. We had cabin 7202 which was very comfortable and our friends had the inside cabin just across the hall. We visited on the veranda several times, but on a transatlantic crossing the veranda is not used that much.
As usual we had to get our dining reservations fixed. Celebrity always drops the ball on this one, and puts the strain on the dining room staff and the passengers to get fixed what they thought had already been arranged. Miami has a problem here. They have finally gotten the captain's club pre cruise specialty restaurant reservation problem fixed.
The San Marcos dining room is still as pretty as it was in 2002 and we really enjoyed our tablemates. The four of us always travel together but enjoy having others at our table and mix in so we can visit new people. We had a couple from New Jersey and a couple from England as our very nice tablemates.
I don't know what it is, but I always try to order the fish on the first night and it is always dry. Maybe hake is supposed to be dry. The rest of the time the fish was very good. Buffet dining topside was very good as well as the rest of the nights in the restaurant. The Ocean Liners specialty restaurant should not be missed and is something we always enjoy.
We sailed to LeHarve France, our first port, arriving on Sept. 8th, and our friends had made arrangements for a rental car which we picked up and set off. We got over the Honfleur bridge then headed for the coast road rather than to Caen. It was a pleasant drive and we stopped in a small town Trouville that was having a rather large festival and did some shopping.
We visited the Beaches of Normandy, Sword, Juneau, Gold, but did not get up to Omaha and Utah beaches. We did visit the Pegasus Bridge where gliders landed to capture this all important bridge. For our return trip to the ship we followed a tour bus for the best route back and that was a stroke of luck, since it would have taken us two more hours to find our way back. I don't think renting a car was a good idea here since even with maps one can get turned around. The highway markings were not familiar and that can make it difficult. It would be OK to just go to Honfleur but all the way to the Beaches is kind of far by rental car with many opportunities to make mistakes along the way.
Sept. 9th we sailed for Cork, Ireland, arriving at Ringaskiddy dock for Cork on Sept. 10th at 7:00 AM and departing at 6:00 PM.
We had a pre arranged tour with 15 of us and it worked out well. We visited Cobb, Charles Fort and Kinsale in County Cork, where we had a wonderful lunch. We visited a museum that had exhibits of the Lusitania that sunk not too far from Cork. The town nestles between the hills and the shoreline on the estuary of the Bandon River.
Sept 11th we arrived in Belfast, Northern Ireland, still a part of England. We set out on a small tour with about 15 people (about $25/person) for the Giant's Causeway. This is a natural rock formation with many myths associated with it. We passed along the Antrim Coast road seeing several Glens. We visited the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge and did cross it. Very safe as long as there are no high winds. It does lead you to a rock that has some dangerous cliff edges. The path does have some unstable stepping areas. We visited a museum which depicted the exodus of Irish to the United States and elsewhere during the potato famine. There is a tribute to the Lusitania sinking.
While in Belfast, the captain of the vessel determined that the weather in Iceland would be too bad to off load passengers by tender and rather than wave to Iceland as we passed by, he decided to go to Vigo, Spain a city just north of Portugal.
As we sailed toward Vigo, we had a medical emergency and the captain announced that a helicopter cable evacuation would take place off the bow of the ship. The collapsible fences were lowered and two persons came aboard and then one left and the other went up with the basket carrying the patient. We later learned that the patient expired at the hospital.
Vigo, Spain is a port city located in the Province of Galicia. It has a very strong Celtic influence and is not visited by North Americans very often. We walked into town from the ship dock. This is a tiered city and walking up was somewhat tiring.
We set out from Vigo across the Atlantic for the six day run to NYC arriving past the Statue of Liberty about 5:30 AM. During the transit we enjoyed eating at the Ocean Liner's restaurant and had several afternoon performances of entertainers as well as night time performances. The casino was busy as usual. Computer classes in Photoshop were offered and were quite busy.
Arriving in NY we used the double deck Grayline tour busses to tour around the sites and also saw the show Lion King at the very pretty New Amsterdam Theater.
It was a good trip except for missing Iceland.
Pictures located at:
Joe Reynolds firstname.lastname@example.org
My wife and I took the Celebrity Constellation Scandinavian and Russian cruise to sample the eight countries on the itinerary, along with a pre-cruise stay in London. The pre-cruise experience, the ship, the ports and the logistics were all memorable experiences worth sharing. Perhaps our experiences can help others be better prepared to enjoy similar cruise opportunities. A few suggestions are included here to assist.
Pre-cruise Experience and Preparations.
We booked the Hilton London Metropole hotel through Celebrity to rest after our trans-Atlantic flight and to see a little of London. Warning: prices in the hotel for food are VERY EXPENSIVE. The Metropole hotel is very convenient to downtown London.
Suggestion: Take advantage of the "breakfast included" in the hotel rate but get out to local restaurants for lunch and dinner.unless you want $60 sandwiches and drinks for two for lunch.
Suggestion: Book a transfer from the airport to the hotel on the internet before you go. It is a 30 minute train ride from Gatwick and the pre-booking costs $77 for two using Hotel Link, a large operation. They escort you from the airport to the hotel.
We took the double decker traditional bustour of London. It has a tour escort. Many famous London sites, including a river cruise on the Thames, are included. A great opportunity to see the sights, get on and off the bus as you please to tour and eat. The double decker London bus is a fun experience in itself. The tour can be booked at the hotel, on line or at the tour stop.
We booked the hotel to Dover port transfer. It was a 1 ½ hour bus ride, efficiently run with two bus loads of fellow cruise passengers.
Suggestion: Book the transfer. Individual transportation is much more expensive and not as reliable.
Local currencies were a concern during our cruise planning. Not a worry! The dollar is widely accepted, along with credit cards.
Suggestion: Exchange a few dollars for British pounds to cover incidentals and tips in London. We also got a few Euros to use in Germany. The ship has an on-board bank for currency exchange.
Celebrity's Constellation deserves the number one ranking it received from Conde Nast for its class ship. The total of a number of small differences truly raised the ship experience to its award level. The color scheme ( highlighted with royal purple in many common areas), greetings and genuine friendliness by all crew members, the on-board bank, framed photographs ( a lot of them) lining the corridors in the cabin areas, robes in the cabins, food quality, internet café, on-time service ( including room service), shops, on-TV options including stock quotes, presence of supervisory personnel checking quality and customer satisfaction, special window screens in the dining room for formal nights, outside elevators at midship, tour organization and execution, and cleanliness.
The Oceanliners restaurant is worth a try. The décor and service were way above average and complemented the excellent food making it a special evening experience.
The ship's two level San Marcos dining room, highlighted by a two story window at the rear of the ship, along with its topside restaurants, grill and no-extra-charge ice cream bar provided all the food needed, There were also at least two "midnight buffets".
Suggestion: Establish a celebrity email address before you leave, share it with people who may have an important need ( $2 per email address) to contact you..and the ship will alert you when an email arrives.
The entertainment was varied and very good with the theater shows and entertainers as the centerpieces. The Constellation has a variety of lounges, enough to suit every taste.
This cruise is really all about the eight countries ( England, Norway, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Poland, Germany, Denmark ) the ship visits during the 14 day cruise. We booked at least one tour in every port and were pleased with the decision, principally because the tours provided excellent and very knowledgeable guides and provided access to places we could not have achieved any other way.
England: Take the London bus and river tour as I explained above. It was the only tour we booked locally, but we knew about the tour before traveling.
Norway: We took the "Norwegian Adventure" tour that included trips to the Viking Ship Museum ( several restored Viking ships), the Kon-Tiki Museum ( contains Thor Heyerdahl history and replica of the Kon-Tiki as well as the real Ra ships), the Maritime Museum ( a great 5 screen multi-media show on Norway's seashore activities). Sailing out of Oslo be prepared for photos as the ship sails under one of the highest bridges in the world.
Russia: The Constellation spent two full days in the St. Petersburg Port, perhaps the centerpiece port for the cruise. We took the full day "Grand St. Petersburg with Hermitage" tour the first day and "St. Catherine's Palace" tour on the second day. It was a great way to see the bustling port city, hear about its restoration after communism's fall, see for ourselves the levels of activities including traffic jams and experience the feeling of freedom residents feel. Lots of highlights..
. Hermitage Museum is a must for art and history buffs. The museum has millions of exhibits and would take days to tour. We saw, in a couple of hours, walls filled with very accessible works, LOTS of works, by DaVinci, Michaelangelo, Raphael, Rubens, VanDyke, Cezanne, Picasso, Van Gogh and countless others Suggestion: Be prepared for stairs and a grueling walk.
. St. Isaac's Cathedral, included on the tour is an awesome display of architecture, art and ornateness.
. St. Catherine's Palace is also huge, highlighted by the fact that it has been largely reconstructed after its destruction in WW II. A major feature of the palace is it's "Amber Room", a room with walls and pictures all made of different colors of amber. The entire palace and grounds are too big to appreciate without a visit. A special bonus of the tour was the bus ride to the palace which passed the front line where the Russians stopped the German advance on the city in WW II.
. St. Petersburg port is the largest and busiest port I have ever visited. There are hundreds of working port cranes, ships everywhere and a lot of action. It is worthy of a lot of photos.
. Astoria Hotel lunch was a big treat as part of the tour. A Russian lunch, complete with a taste of vodka and Russian entertainers was a lot of fun.
Souvenirs? There were Russian vendors at every stop with large selections. Dollars accepted.
Finland: The "City of Helsinki" tour gave us a great overview of this attractive, clean city with a busy downtown area. Several stops with the Rock Church, a unique church carved from solid rock with a copper dome, were included. We visited Senate square and a very impressive, domed Lutheran Cathedral. ( be prepared for a lot of steps to the cathedral)
Sweden: Stockholm is also a modern and very picturesque city, perhaps the most picturesque of all we visited because it is built on several islands; mixing water, old city, new city, parks and ships. The ship couldn't get into the Stockholm port because of weather so it anchored at Nynashamn, about a 45 minute bus ride south. This bonus gave us a ride through the beautiful, rich green countryside. We took the "Stockholm and Vassa Museum" tour. Great views of the city and time to see the real Vassa, a 17th century warship that sunk on its maiden voyage.
Poland: The ship docked in Gydania and we took a bus to Gdansk for the "Leisurely Gdansk Tour". A highlight was passing the Gdansk shipyard where the revolt against communism started. Poland was a special treat as we could see the ongoing recovery of the people and their appreciation of freedom.
The tour includes a shopping stop in a very nice area with a lot of shops and restaurants along the waterfront.. great opportunity to purchase amber and get nice photos.
Germany: The ship docked at Warnemunde, a very scenic port with a shops and a fishing fleet anchored walking distance from the ship.
Suggestion: Make time for a walk to the shops and the photo opportunities the area offers.
We took the "Molli Steam Train and Historic Mecklenburg" tour. The highlight was a 30 minute ride on a working steam train that services several towns in the area. Stopped in a small town for coffee and dessert at a local hotel.
A ride through the formerly East German country side and villages, with narration by the guide, showed the dramatic, positive results since German reunification.everything is new.
Denmark: Copenhagen is an overnight stay, from noon-to-noon. We took two tours: "City Sightseeing With Dragor Village" and "City of Copenhagen", similar tours but little overlapping. Copenhagen is a colorful city with its share of castles, statues and museums. The number of bicyclists is impressive. They are everywhere, in very large numbers. Dragor Village is an old village characterized by hundreds of small yellow homes with thatched roofs.
A stop was made on both tours at the "Little Mermaid" sculpture in the harbor.
Suggestion: The "Little Mermaid" sculpture is walking distance from the ship. There are also a lot of shops and restaurants across the street from the ship.
Celebrity planned and executed arrangements efficiently. Some examples:
. Boarding was easy. We were the only ship in Dover. After the ride from London we were on the ship in record time and having the first afternoon buffet lunch at lunch time. 5 to 10 minutes for the embarkation.
. Disembarkation was just as easy. There were a large number of people to guide us through the baggage ( with an attendant for each family) and to the bus to the airport.
. Airports are not near the port so transfers are needed. Booking through Celebrity buys insurance that you will get onboard.
. Tour booking may be done on line before the cruise. We did that and the tickets were waiting in our room. Tours do sell out so pre-booking works well. If you change your mind refunds are easy.
. Money exchange is easy because dollars work well ( as do Euros) in most, if not all the tourist areas and money exchange facilities are readily available, including a bank on the ship.
. Weather is a consideration in Scandinavia. Weather for us was generally very good, in the 60's for daily highs. Be prepared for stiff breezes.
Summary: A very nice cruise opportunity to visit countries and cities with centuries of history to see and share while staying in above average accommodations.
Our overall experience with this Christmas holiday cruise with the Constellation is a positive one. However, there is much room for improvement.
The good: 1) The ship is new, clean and quite beautiful. 2) The provision of bath-robes in the stateroom is a nice touch. 3) The public areas are clean, tidy and pleasant. 4) Terrycloth hand towels in public washrooms are a wonderful surprise. 5) The staff are, by and large, friendly and helpful. 6) There is ample closet space in the stateroom. 7) I thoroughly enjoyed the music by the harpist and the string quartet on the ship. 8) The food is good and of great variety. 9) Services are very good in general.
The bad: 1) The ship was full of youngsters (under 25), they were loud and sometimes quite unruly. This might be a result of the holiday season when these young people were not attending school.
2) I personally found the food to be a disappointment. Don't get me wrong, the food was quite good. But so many reviews spoke of how excellent the food was on board Celebrity cruises that I expected much more. There was goodvariety of food but they were simply not excellent.
3) The shows at night were so so. I went several nights to give it a try. They were quite boring. Despite the high level of noise produced by the shows on stage, I fell asleep.
4) The system of separate sommelier and wine steward in the dining room to handle passengers' drink orders is not working well. It takes far too long to be served and far too long for the drinks to arrive. More staff is needed to correct the situation.
5) The snorkelling shore excursions we took were poorly organized. We often waited for a long time to be taken to the destination. Once we were there, we did not have much time to spend on snorkelling. Last year, we were on Norwegian Sky during the Christmas holiday and took similar snorkelling excursions. It was so much better - fast, efficient, and very little time wasted. I think the difference is that Norwegian cruise line has its own dive/snorkel outfit on board the ship and is not relying on local dive/snorkel shops.
6) Immigration procedures for non U.S. citizens on the date we arrived at St. Thomas were pathetic, to say the least. We waited one hour and forty-five minutes to complete the required security check. We basically missed our excursions. Luckily, our U.S. friends waited for us on the shore and we were able to get on a private sail boat to join the departed group. Once again, when we were on Norwegian Sky last Christmas, the customs security check was conducted the night before, on the ship, and took less than fiften minutes. What a difference!
7) The most disappointing event on this trip occurred on the second night of our cruise. Our cabin was on deck 9 towards the front part of the ship. A disco was held in the front lounge on deck 11. The music was so loud that it kept us awake. We complained about the noise by 2:00 a.m. but no one did anything about it. I went up to the disco to request the noise be turned down at 3:45 a.m. and nothing was done. At 4:30 a.m., it was still at full blast. I spoke with several people and no one seemed to care. Not only was the music loud, there were also drunken young people hanging around, loud and obnoxious. It was not a pretty sight. I understand that people are on holiday. But 4:30 a.m. and rock and roll music in full blast. One final note, the saving grace in this unpleasant event was that we were moved to a quieter part of the ship and a slightly better stateroom the next day.
Over all, we had a good time. I hope that my next experience with Celebrity would be a better one.
Our first Celebrity sailing and a terrific one! The Connie is a beautiful ship, her decor is subtle yet elegant. Embarkation went smoothly and did our departure. Service was impecable, especially at the San Marco restaurant. Dinner Ocean Liners was very elegant and the atmosphere outstanding (as was the food).
The entertainment was superb, of excellent quality and professionalism. But for the noise above my cabin on deck 9, this was a magnificent cruise!
Just returned from our cruise on Celebrity's Constellation to the Southern Caribbean which included: Puerto Rico, St Criox, Barbados, St Lucia, Antigua, and St Thomas. This is our second cruise with Celebrity, and once again, the staff treated us like royalty. I can not say enough about Celebrity. The service: Asis our cabin attendant was amazing. I don't know where he hides, but as soon as we were close to our room, he would jump out from somewhere to open our door. We could leave for a few moments and come back to a clean room. We had clean towels at all times, and he even set up towel animal figures for my 2 year old son. If we ever needed anything, we could just pop our head out of our door, and there he was, ready to help. I am sure he had many other cabins to care for, but it felt as though he was reserved for just us.
Ivica our waiter was also excellent, as well was our waiter assistance and sommelier. My son did not like to sit for more than 40 minutes at a stretch,so my husband was often away from our table. Ivica would take my husband's course and exchange it for a fresh one if he felt too much time had passed. He was very attentive to us, especially to my son. I don't know how many tables he was in charge of, but we felt as though we were his only one. I have to mention another waitress who we remembered from the Millennium, which we sailed last year. Samena came to visit us every night even though we were not at her table. She was extremely nice and always gave special attention to my son, which we all really appreciated. The entire staff was extremely nice, always smiling, and it just made the entire atmosphere wonderful. The Food: We ate in the main dining room every night with one exception. We got a babysitter for my son (with whom we were very pleased) and treated ourselves to the Ocean Liner. It is not to be missed! For appetizer, I had the goat cheese souffle. It was amazing. Now I am not a real goat cheese fan, but this souffle was out of this world. I had seen others rave about it, and I am glad I tried it. My husband had the lobster bisque which he enjoyed, although he told me after tasting the souffle that he wished he had gotten it. For entree we both had the Sea Bass. It was good, not outstanding, but definitely good. For dessert, I had the Grand Mariner souffle and my husband had the chocolate souffle, we also both got the sampler. Pure decadence. I have to push the chocolate souffle. That in itself was well worth the trip! They also gave my husband a side scoop of vanilla ice cream, which put this dessert over the top! The service and food in the main dining room is excellent, and I could not have imagined being more pampered than the service we received in the main dining, but at Ocean Liners I felt like I was a movie star or something. Honestly, you will not find better service ANYWHERE. I live in the NYC area, where have some of the best restaurants in the world....we are not easily impressed. The service at Ocean Liners definitely did just that. Dining here was one of the highlights of our trip. They also have casual dining, which we only took advantage of the night my son was dining alone. We got him pizza and pasta and ate outside on the Aft deck listening to music while watching the sun set. We tried some of the pasta, and it was delicious. Sometimes we would get an after dinner sushi snack, which was always fresh and good. I can't forget to mention the Spa dining. Excellent. We ate here every day for lunch. Never a line, very healthly and tasty meals. We never ate at the buffet lunch. I realized by the end of the cruise that they also served breakfast. Next time, we'll be visiting the Spa for breakfast as well. The Ship: If you have traveled on the Millennium, it is basically the same exact ship except the Constellation does not have the Sports Bar. We were told it was very expensive to have the big screen TVs getting all of the games on satellite. I don't think they had enough traffic through there to warrant having another one on Constellation. Instead, they have a larger conservatory which housed lots of plants and flowers. As the Millennium, the ship is beautiful and tastefully decorated. It also has an expansive art collection. It was a main "disco", plus a champagne bar, martini bar, and lounge. It also has a movie theatre, which we never went to and a large theatre for shows. Plenty to do. They had an area for kids which included a small pool and some climbing/slide equipment. My son used it the day we were out at sea, but not the baby pool. The waves in it were too much since we were traveling. He was too young to use the inside play area. Children must be 3 years old and potty trained. Next year we'll use the "camp" services. They even watch the children until 1am on formal nights for free. Great deal! Our Room:
We went with the "cheap seats" again. Our room was an Ocean View room without a balcony on the 2nd floor. It was perfect. We were afraid to get a balcony because I had visions of my son getting out on it in the middle of the night and falling off the boat. Paranoid, I'm sure, but I wasn't taking any chances. If we did not take our son, I would have loved to have had one to have breakfast or drinks out on. The room we had (2115) was mid-ship and we were very happy with it. It had plenty of storage and my son slept on the pull out couch. It pulled out into a twin bed. It did get a little crowded when the couch was pulled out, but we really were only in our cabins to sleep and change clothes. The one nice thing about the cruise is, no matter what type of room you had, you were treated first class all the way. I compare it to the treatment I had on my wedding day--it felt as though we were very special. Entertainment: We sent to the lounge prior to having dinner and I have to say a huge thank you to Karen and Carl the lounge singers. They are the nicest people and were so nice to my son. He loved dancing to their music, and at one point they gave him a maraca to play during their act. They were fun to watch. We only saw a few shows in the theatre. We saw a piano player...Finkel, who was extremely talented. We also saw a magician who my son enjoyed. He was okay. We heard the comedian was good, but we missed him. Grand Buffet: Don't miss the Grand Buffet display. It is on the last formal night and it is a site to be seen! I notice that on this cruise there were only 2 midnight buffets: one sherbert display in the beginning of the week, and then the Grand Buffet. However, there is food available 24/7. Islands: We had seen PR last cruise, so we basically stayed on the ship when we got there. Our first stop was St Criox and since we had to be back on the ship by 2:45pm, we decided to spend the day by the pool. I heard the snorkeling was excellent (which we couldn't do with the baby) but otherwise it was not worth getting off the ship for.
St Lucia: Absolutely beautiful. Lush, green, tropical, the Pitons are amazing. We went to Marigot Bay, which had fantastic views, but the beach (sand) itself was not very nice. We heard if we traveled further away near the Pitons, there was a beautiful black sand beach. We'll try that next time. We took a water taxi which cost us $50 round trip. We could have probably talked them down. Barbados: We went to a beach club called the "Boatyard". It is extremely close to the port, and a lot of the crew goes there. You get a beach chair/umbrella and $5 worth of tokens to use at their restaurant/bar for $10. You also have use of their "iceburg" climbing rock in the middle of the ocean and their ocean trampalines. Volleyball is there too. We had the most fun here. Antiqua: We went to Hawk's Bill. It was a $30 round trip taxi ride (usually the taxi drivers like to come back for you so they make the money both ways). You have use of a hotel's amenties which includes a pool. You only have to pay for a beach chair if you want it ($5). I think this was the prettiest beach of all the islands. St Thomas: We went to Megan's Bay. It is listed as one of the top 10 beaches in the world. In my husband's opinion, it was the prettiest that we visited. It is only $6 per person for a taxi there, and $3 to get on the beach. It is another $5 for a beach chair and you can also rent a float for the day. This beach is a little crowded, but if you walk down a little, it becomes less crowded. There is a restaurant, rest rooms, and showers there. The water is really calm and perfect for lounging out in the ocean on the float. Traveling with Toddlers: My son was very easy to travel with. I highly recommend getting the late seating instead of the main. We had the main and I did this thinking my son needed to eat earlier. Had I planned better, I would have realized we could have fed him at the casual dining room earlier in the night and he would be asleep by the time we had dinner. He could have been next to us asleep in his stroller. Plus, since he slept on the beach until around 4pm or so, he was ready to run around by the time 6pm came. I also recommend bringing some type of shelter if going to the beach. We had brought a little half tent which was very portable and easy to put up. You can't always find a place under a palm tree to shade your child, and not every beach provided umbrellas. My son would sleep nicely in the half tent and we didn't have to worry about him burning. You don't have to bring toys. The children's area let's you sign out a toy box full of sand toys, books, and lots of fun things. My son enjoyed playing with everything. Last Day Advice: We had to get off the ship by 10:30am on Saturday, yet our fight was not until 6PM. We had no plans on how to spend those hours in between. At the baggage claim in Newark we ran into a family from our cruise, and what they did was rent a hotel room in Puerto Rico for the day with another couple. I am kicking myself for not doing that. This way, you have a place to store your luggage, a shower, and a bed for naps. Plus the use of their facilities. We'll definitely do this next time. Stats on us: married couple in mid-30's traveling with a 2 year old.
I am a young cruiser that recently went on the Constellation with my family and it was the best cruise that I've been on so far (3 in total including Crystal Symphony and Celebrity cruise - Century). We went as a group of 10 and boarded at Dover. I must say that my first impressions were not that great at the port, the ship although big in size looked slightly tacky; Service was slow and when we finally got all our room cards they had printed all the titles wrong! My grandpa ended up being a Mrs. and I was apparently married already.
But once I boarded the ship I felt much better, the staff were friendly and free champagne was offered, things were looking up. There is so much to tell about it but it would take all day so I've broken it down to the main things that people normally want to know about from a cruise:
Cabins: We had an Oceanview room and I found that there was more than enough space for everything. Personally I didn't spend that much time in the room anyway so it didn'tmatter. Although we were very lucky to win the top prize in the raffle and won a free upgrade to a suite half way through the cruise! So my grandparents moved there.
The Penthouse (may be important you never know!): My friend happened to be staying in one of the two penthouse suites onboard so we often went there just to relax and even made use of the piano in there! It was really nice and the balcony and hot tub was just amazing. It even had some gym equipment. If I ever went on a cruise and stayed in the penthouse suite I would never need to leave it!
Food- Main dining room: The food in the main dining room was better than everyone expected. Normally my family are quite critical of food as most of them are into the culinary business but they were most impressed. We were especially impressed by the speciality restaurant Oceanliners. It takes 3 hours but the food is definately worth it. I think that the desserts were definately some of the best I've ever tasted although there was one problem with it that we were so full after the first 4courses of the meal!
-Other food on the ship: All of it was great. The fries and burgers, the buffets, even the sushi was quite good. And you know what, don't be fooled by food being served in the spa, it's not all just healthy! There are some really really nice fruit tarts there. And I can't forget to mention the suberb display of the midnight buffet! Not only did everything look fabulously made and decorated, it also tasted amazing! I must have gone through 10 different types of desserts....maybe more.
Entertainment: I was impressed with most of the shows that they did, especially the dancers, the singers were fantastic, Lighthouse I think that's what they were called. The only one that was pretty bad was the comedian, actually he was terrible and me and my friends were sitting near the front so got stuck there pretending to smile and laugh at his jokes when he looked our way.
The casino wasn't exactly buzzing with people but it was a fair amount each night and it filled up on formal nights because everyone wanted to go and show off their evening wear. They had kareoke on formal nights as well which was always a good laugh.
Reflections nightclub I was actually quite annoyed with. The place was huge but they hardly let anyone in there! Some old couples would go in after dinner maybe have a few dances until 10.30 and after 11 they don't let anyone under 18 in even if there is no one in there even if we just want to dance or sit down and listen to some music. In the end the 20 something year olds who were also friends with some of the older teens would go in for a bit and end up going to the teen center and dancing in there because there was no one in Reflections! So basically there were hardly any places to go to if you wanted to dance or listen to music by about 11.
Service and Crew: The service was excellent, I don't think you could as for better. Everyone was really friendly and I made friends with one or two of them! Such as the dealer in the casino and the guitarist. The waiters were all really good at their job too, they carried about 20big main course dishes on one tray! I held my breath for them every time they walked past. But no accidents ever happened, maybe its just a show and they're empty? I doubt it though it was just very impressive. The crew were from all over Hungary, Canada, and I remember there was one from Turkey and I always ordered drinks from him because he was particularly good looking! And the drink was really nice too of course, highly recommend you try the strawberry bliss.
People aboard: There was a fair share of older couples but then there were also quite a lot of families with children. There were quite a lot of teens and early 20 year olds. I made a lot of friends that I am still in contact with now. During sea days we would be around deck 10 relaxing in the hot tubs or playing ping pong, and on occassions we would go to the gym to make ourselves feel a little bit better about eating non stop! The majority of people were American and there were lots of Spanish people, some Puerto Ricans and some English and Asian.
Most people have stories to tell about how they shared their tables with people who didn't speak the same language or something like tha but we never got to do that because we had such a big group of us, so it was just a table for the 10 of us. I wouldn't have minded either way, it would have been interesting to share. I do recommend that you have late seating if you like to be involved with more activities though because you feel you have much more time before and people have to wait for friends who have late seating to do something after anyway.
Overall this was an amazing cruise I had a great time. If the review sounds slightly negative I don't intend to leave people with that impression. It's probably because I have so many positive things to write that I can't fit those on! The positives definately outweigh the negatives though and this is one ship I recommend everyone to take.
We traveled on Celebrity's Constellation for a two-week Baltic cruise starting on July 5, 2003. The ship was great. We enjoyed the food and atmosphere. We didn't attend much of the entertainment, so I can't say much about it. The singing group Lighthouse was wonderful. The only shows we saw were the Broadway song and dance shows, which were fine. The service was very good. The room steward, Oliver, and the waiter, Marius, took very good care of us.
We explored most of the ports on our own and had a great time. If you want to do the ports on your own, you must do a lot of research and have good guidebooks. Don't count on the ship to provide any information to help you tour. Take a good guidebook and write ahead or check on the Internet for information on the ports. We used Rick Steve's Scandinavian book and website. We also used the CruiseMates website.
Celebrity provided a free shuttle in almost every port. When they didn't, it was because the sights were too far for a shuttle or they were within walking distance. Gdynia and Warnemunde were the onlyports without shuttles. We did not do a lot of shopping anywhere. We used ATMs in every port except St. Petersburg, where the vendors all took dollars.
We purchased our air from the cruise line. We flew United and SAS over and British Airways back. SAS was much nicer than British Airways. We got into Stockholm a couple of days early and stayed over in London a couple of days after. We did not stay in the cruise line's hotels. English was spoken everywhere we went. We had no problem communicating.
We started from Stockholm. We boarded on Saturday but the ship didn't leave until Sunday. Unfortunately, the shuttles stopped at 5 p.m., so to go into town on Saturday evening you had to take a taxi; it was too far to walk. The tourist information center in Stockholm was in a temporary location, so we had a little trouble finding it. We ended up at the visitors' bureau at the train station. We bought the Stockholm Card and then took the hop-on bus tour. Both worked very well for us. We saw the Vasa Museum, the Nordic Museum, Skansen, the Royal Palace, and walked through Gamla Stan. I liked Skansen best. The cruise out of Stockholm through the archipelago is beautiful.
The first port was Riga, Latvia. It was the first time Celebrity had stopped there. The local bus company provided maps when we got off the bus. We chanced onto a wreath-laying ceremony at their Freedom Monument. (I believe it was the 10-year anniversary of their legislature.) We also walked around the town. We went to their market, which was amazing. It is in the old zeppelin hangers and there are stands that sell everything from fish, meat, vegetables and baked goods to canned goods. Not many tourists found it, but it was worth the walk. I bought some amber jewelry. (No, I haven't checked to make sure it's real, but it's pretty and I like it.) We really enjoyed Riga. It was clean and vibrant. There was lots of building and renovation going on.
Next stop was Helsinki, which was more touristy. It also has a market, but it is aimed at least partially at tourists. There were arts and crafts, food, and produce. We bought some wonderful strawberries. Some of the tourist items could be bought at Stockman's Department store for less. Stockman's has a nice souvenir section. We did a walking tour of some of the historical sights.
We spent the next two days in St. Petersburg, the one port where we took the ship's excursions. We did not have visas. We took a bus overview of the city, a tour of the gardens at Peterhof, a night cruise of the canals, and a tour of the outlying palaces. They were all fine, except the boat tour, which did not go well. St. Petersburg is a very interesting city. Some of the buildings have been renovated and are beautiful. Others are very dilapidated. There was not much building going on. Lots of street vendors at every stop sold the same souvenirs. The ship sold some of the same things after we left St. Petersburg. I would think about hiring a guide and car if I came again. It doesn't seem like a very easy city to do on your own.
We then went to Tallinn, Estonia, a medieval city. We did a walking tour around the historical sights. The market here is definitely touristy. It looks a lot like a Renaissance Festival; the vendors are even in costume. There are some interesting galleries, if you get off the main streets.
The next day was at sea. We needed the break. We went to the wine tasting for Captain's Club Members, which was fun, and to the formal tea.
We docked in Gdynia, Poland for tours into Gdansk. We were there on a weekend and the local people were out for their holidays. There is an amusement park and you can walk into town. We happened on a very moving memorial plaque for Sept. 11. The market here was touristy, but for Polish tourists. It looked a little like Panama City, FL. We walked into town, but we didn't have any information on what we were seeing. Try the waffles with cherries and cream! There's not a whole lot to see in Gdynia. I would make the effort to get into Gdansk.
We docked in Warnemunde for tours to Rostock. The ship docked right at the train station so there weren't any shuttles. We took the train into Rostock. It was very easy to do. Rostock is another medieval city. We walked around and saw the historical sights. The market here mostly sold food, and we had a great jelly donut (Berliner). We also had some very good food at a local restaurant. Warnemunde is a beach resort. The beach is right outside of town and was packed. There are lots of shops and restaurants.
We had two days in Copenhagen. The shuttle took us right into downtown, and we did Rick Steve's walking tour. The shuttle stopped at 5 p.m., so if you want to go into town in the evening you need to take a cab or buy the ship excursion to Tivoli, which is basically just a shuttle. We did walk back from town, but it was a long walk. The ship docked near the Little Mermaid. We had smorrebrod at Hviids Viinstube. The archaeological museum of the foundations of the castle was interesting. We also went to the National Museum. The next day we went to Christianshaven and Rosenborg Castle. We had some great pastry. After leaving port we saw a tall ship in full sail.
Our last port was Oslo, Norway. The fjords are beautiful. We took the ferry over to the Viking Ship Museum and the Norwegian Folk Museum, which were both very interesting. In the afternoon we did a walking tour through the historical parts of town. The ship docked right next to an old fort.
We had another day at sea and then docked in Dover. Disembarkation went very well. We used the ship transfer to Victoria bus station and walked to our B&B from there.
We had a great time. Let me know if I can answer any questions.
My family and I just returned from the sailing on 19 April. We had a wonderful time. My husband and I were in a balcony room, which we enjoyed immensely. My teenagers were in an inside room down the hall.
We went to San Juan the day before, so arrived at the ship around 1:00 p.m. I think we were on the ship 45 minutes later. I've only been on 3 cruises, but this was the most efficient of them all. There was a lot of security, i.e., personnel checking picture ID's and documents. We checked out our rooms, had lunch on the ship, then walked into Old San Juan. by the time my husband got back at 4:00 the luggage had arrived.
All 4 of us had a great time. I cannot say enough about the politeness of the Celebrity staff. The food was very good -- always beautifully presented. We did eat at Oceanliners one night, with our children..age 18 and 16. They were very impressed with the service. -- just like at home -- :) Our dinner was exquisite, with the grand finale of a Chocolate souffle. Thatalone is worth going back for. Other food available -- the pool "lite cuisine" excellent. The traditional hamburger grill. The Seaside Cafe at lunch had certain theme days, i.e., Mexican, that were a big hit with the kids. The Ice Cream bar was excellent, as was the Pizza Station in the back of the Seaside Cafe. As you can see, all of us had more than enough choices.
Entertainment: I had read a lot of reviews, some of which said that Celebrity's Entertainment was their weak spot. I thought it was great. I will also say I am easy to entertain. If someone will get up on a stage and sing to me, I think that's as good as it gets. The Magic Show and Comedienne were good, the singing and dancing professional. The Josh Hanlon Band was a delight to listen to. Pamela Blake, a former Broadway Star did a show one evening. I didn't stay up late enough to go to the other bars, but heard very favorable comments.
Ports of Call: First day in the Dominican we went over to the beach. Lots of people, but very organized. We got there late, but the staff on the beach found us chairs and a spot in the sun/shade..whatever we wanted. Yes, we did tip. We stayed on the ship that evening, since our vacation last year was at Casa de Campo and we had seen that. In the other ports we did our own thing. Renting a cab in Barbados. For $80 we got a whole tour of the island, did Harrison's Cave and Malibu Beach. We enjoyed the ship in St. Lucia. There isn't much to do in the town -- this would have been a good day to book an excursion thru the ship. In Antigua we again rented a cab and went to the beach.
This was Easter week. There were plenty of kids on board. The one day at sea the pool was packed, and yes, people were saving chairs starting at 0700, and not showing up for them until 1100. Annoying but predictable. What I did like about Celebrity is the lack of announcements every 30 min. There was plenty to do if one wanted to be kept busy the whole cruise. We will definitely book on Celebrity again.