Celebrity Constellation Cruise Review by suec12: wine immersion and more
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wine immersion and 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 More 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. Less
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