we have just returned from a cruise on the Constellation. I will start by saying we had a great holiday - the Constellation was a qualified success and I will share my observations below
We went Concierge Class which was worth it for Cabin selection and also embarcation. The fruit/Flowers/champagne/canapes are fine however the benefits are re the cabin and getting on ! Our cabin was mid ship with a balcony and it was lovely. It was very large, good balcony and very clean. There was loads of cupboard room and hangers in the wardrobe.
The Constellation itself is pretty vanilla in terms of cruise ships - everything is exactly where you would imagine it to be and it is clean - there are a couple of lounges midship that need some livening up as frankly they were dead space however generally it was as you would expect.
Our cruise took in Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Turkey and all but Italy were good ports. Italy we docked a good 1.5 hours drive from both More
Florence and Rome and we also docked in Catania in Sicily which was dirty and a poor choice of port. Guest relations services on board I would say were poor. They gave black and white maps for the Metro Line in Athens which is Red, Green. Blue and Yellow ! and suggested we use the 2 hop on hop off buses for Athens which would have cost 40 each where as a short walk to the Metro cost 2.80 each to get to the foot of the Acropolis. We generally did our own thing trip wise however we did take the Coach to Pompaii - this cost 18 each and we thought would give us 3 hours in Pompaii however when we got there we were told to be back at the coach in just 2 hours time and then we had to pay the 10 each to get into the site so all in all it was poor value.
The entertainment on board varied between cheesecake production shows with lovely smiling singers (all of whom could sing well) and some genuinely great entertainment - in particular the Man from Mars and the Acrobatic duo from Cirque stood out.
The standard of entertainment and food both started off great and fell away during our 10 days on board. The first few days were great however there is a particular issue with the food being at best warm and at worst cold. There are a number of pay extra restaurants on board which always looked pretty empty and the main restaurant the San Marco is a beast of a thing with downstairs set dining and upstairs freedom dining - the food varied little and was invariably cold. We sent back a number of things and in the end took to eating upstairs in the Ocean view Self Service restaurant
As for formal nights there are 2 - the first was a success - the food was good, the captain was charming and the guests by and large dressed up - the second was a disaster - the dress code was formal and many made the effort however ladies in jeans and flip flops and gents in open necked shirts without a jacket were also much in evidence - the food that night was ghastly - we eventually left our table having completed none of our dinner and moved up the stairs.
The staff can not be faulted for service. With the exception of a couple of girls in the spa speaking Patois to ensure that none of the guests knew what they were saying the staff were all polite and friendly and enjoyed speaking with the guests.
The last night of our cruise we were in Istanbul and there was a clear lack of energy in the ship. It was as if the cruise was already over which was a great disappointment. The final issue is for us a deal breaker - we were asked to disembark at 8.45 am for our transfer to the airport - we thought this was rather early but this was the last disembarkation time - our flight was not until 17.30 but we thought well, we will check our bags and just relax at the airport - when we got there we found it was not possible to check our bags until 2 hours before the flight so we had 5.5 hours landside to hang around in an airport with little seating (landside that is) - it was very stressful and I have to say I am disappointed that Celebrity did not offer to hold our luggage for the morning to allow us to go back into Istanbul until a point closer to our flight - we did ask and were met with a pretty short no.
We enjoyed our trip we would have to think very carefully about using Celebrity again - they have potential to do things really really well - they just focus on the wrong things - ie getting more money out of you by way of drinks, special dining, photographs/ shore excursions. As the cruise itself is not cheap they would do best to focus on getting the basics right and ensuring that the overall impression is a good one.
Happy to answer any specific questions and I hope this helps. Less
Celebrity Constellation Cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean