This website has been a valuable resourse for me. I thought that I would take the time to document my experience with the cruise that we just returned from last week.
The biggest complaint that I have is that Celebrity is allowed to change
port destinations AFTER you have booked your cruise. Celebrity changed our schedule to the point that about 20 hours of port time was eliminated including one of the ports.
If you can get to London the day before the departure day, I would encourage you to do so. My sister arrived in London on the morning of the cruise. Her plane was delayed 1 1/2 hours from Chicago. Celebrity was suppose to be waiting for her at the airport to transfer her down to
Dover. She finally tracked down a Celebrity representative to locate her bus. There was a major accident on the highway to Dover. This again was a major delay. The Celebrity bus arrived 4 MINUTES before the cut off at 4:00 pm of allowing passenger on the ship! A little too close for comfort. It was not Celebrity's fault my sister's plane was late, but planes being delayed is pretty common. Celebrity did not
appear to be prepared for this situation.
The Celebrity reputation for outstanding service & food is to be applauded. There is a wide variety of food to select from. You have many options to dine. We throughly enjoyed the food at their specialty restaurant, Ocean Liners. Well worth the extra fee of $29.00. The "butterfly presentation" of this dining area is a nice touch. (Butterfly presentation is where the waiters surround the table and present the main course at the same time."
I enjoyed the food at the AquaSpa/pool area. This area had a healthier choice of food items. My husband enjoyed the hamburgers in the main pool area. When we ate at the main Dining Room, the food choices were excellent.
Shore Excursions - Poland. This is a country that is still struggling
to regain their freedom. We saw many areas with graffiti filled buildings. The Constellation only stops here twice a year. I wish that we had gone to the originally planned destination port in Sweden.
Russia - Thanks to the past reviews on this website, I found out about Red October. I highly recommend Red October Excursions. You can tailor your tour pretty much anyway you want with them. We had a group of 40. If you have only 2 in your group, they will try to get you with a larger group.
Estonia & Finland - Very quaint countries. Enjoyed these ports. It's nice to go on a trip where you do not see a McDonalds or mall at every corner.
Stockolm - Enjoyed sailing into the Stockholm area. The Ice Bar is a very commercial gimmick, but fun. I would not recommend the city Celebrity excursion. You spent most of the time stuck in traffic.
Norway - Beautiful port, but you do not arrive until 2:30 pm! Enjoyed the Celebrity excursion, but it was a tough to see everything in such a short amount of time. The good news is that it does not get
dark until about 10:00 pm in the summer months.
Ok, so I have another complaint. We were lucky to have beautiful weather, but the cruise prior to us was cold and rainy. According to rumor, a high percentage of the guest and crew members got sick. Within a few days, a very high percentage of our ship's guests got sick as well. The lines were long everyday in the medical facility. The doctor blamed in on the change in weather. I had to miss our shore excursion to Berlin due to being sick.
Also, make sure you call your credit card company to inform them that you will using your credit card in these countries. You also need to bring more than one credit card. Even though we called the credit card company, they still denied us at a restaurant in London. It was a bit embarrassing in front of our group of friends. The same card worked before and after this restaurant experience.
Be prepared for sea sickness on the North Sea. This was the first time I have gotten sea sick in three cruises. Several of us got pretty sick when the starting rocking on the North Sea. We were fine once we got into the Baltic Sea.
Please do not be an "Ugly American" to the people in these countries!
We had a mother and a 20 daughter traveling in our group. The mother was constantly making demands on the tour guide. At the end of the tour, the daughter actually apologized for her mother's behavior!
I will say that after spending the day in bed being sick while my husband was gone all day in Berlin, it was a nice surprise to get a phone call from guest services to see if I needed anything since they
knew I had not left the room all day. I greatly appreciated their phone call.