A great cruise made so in no small part by the friendly service of its staff. This was our second European cruise on the Constellation, and would strongly recommend the outstanding Scandinavian Russian itinerary. Great destinations with every city unique in its own way. St Petersburg was the focus of this cruise, and is a world treasure. We booked the two day with STB on the Internet after reading the numerous recommendations on the Cruise Critic boards. The guide was outstanding, and the group was limited to only 16 passengers and traveled in a Mercedes van. A savings of $130 from the cruise tour offering for the same two day tour. There were a number of at sea lectures by a US based history professor, which greatly enhanced the St Petersburg visit. The Siege of Leningrad, as it was known in WW II, caused the greatest destruction and the largest loss of life ever a modern city. One and a half million people starved to death. That's more than all the casualties suffered by the US, UK, and France combined! The sites in that city were quite intense, but our guide Alexander was very knowledgeable and accommodating to special requests. He carried an ipad with him to show us photographs of how each of the sites visited looked during the siege of Leningrad. If you are interested in this city's fascinating history it would take one week to do it justice.
Warnemunde (Rostock) was a delightful seaside town where many Germans have vacationed for generations. Some passengers took the tour to Berlin but 6 hours on trains seemed unreasonable for the short stay. Stockholm and Helsinki were also very stylish and strikingly beautiful cities. Amazingly clean and very green ecologically. Their usage of bicycles to commute was very remarkable. The Vasa museum in Stockholm is a must! Tallinn was the icing on the cake. A medieval walled town that was very walkable and charming.
Kudos to the Constellation's excellent chef for the daily fresh offerings that would be purchased at each port. Fresh seafood offerings including mussels and varieties of herring and other Scandinavian dishes that were served daily during port visits in the Ocean View Cafe with its excellent outdoor aft deck.
If you are a Royal Caribbean Diamond member, you will be disappointed by Celebrity's reciprocal Elite program. There was a two hour happy hour in the dark Michael's Pub venue with finger foods passed around every twenty minutes or so. There was also a limited offerings breakfast for Elite members in the Tuscan Grill. There was no all day concierge lounge or happy hour on the scale offered by Royal Caribbean ships with extensive buffet hot plate appetizers!
If you intend to eat at one of the Constellation's specialty restaurant venues, do yourself a favor and skip the Ocean Liner Restaurant. Good food and service, but no side dishes and overpriced at $45. Go for the Tuscan Grill. A much better deal at $35. We have dined in many specialty restaurants, and were taken aback a little by the Ocean Liner's limited offerings and steep price increase that simply could not be justified.
Entertainment was typical cruise fare, except for on unusual act named the Man from Mars. An Australian couple, that are truly unique, innovative and amazing to watch. A Cirque de Soleil level act.
A wonderful cruise with very good service to some must see European cities. You will not be disappointed by this itinerary!