Norway and Baltics back to back.
Celebrity has a priced options approach with a constant on board up sell which can be aggressive at times. When booking, spend time figuring out what’s important and whether it’s included in your package. One gets what they pay for.
Evaluate the drink package when offered the first day, how much & what you expect to consume and whether the specific beverage or brand will be included in the package. Perhaps wander the bars and venues to look at menus in deciding. Alternately, pay as you go. Either way, check your bill daily to make sure charges are correctly directed. We were not unique in having to challenge charges misdirected to our account, the explanation given was some cruisers do not sign receipts or cabin numbers are entered in error.
I was impressed with the Oceanview Café staffs' ability to remain calm, provide a high level of service and a wide ranging selection. This is a heavily used venue as it becomes the common space and day dining area for many. As early risers, we shared the space with a handful of people anytime between 5:30am and 8:00, then the ship wakes up and the space becomes frantic.
Ship day lunches are a similar experience. At noon one can find a table and by 1pm, the space is crowded. Any chaos is generally the result of passenger behavior.
We used select seated dining room for most dinners and were pleased with the choices and service. On those nights when the menu or a 90 minute meal didn’t appeal, we moved upstairs. Others routinely do. Sushi is extremely popular. At the stern end of the café, a grill offers fish, beef or chicken to order and does a fine job.
Loved the croissants, disliked the repeating café easy listening r&b music. (early morning fjord sail ins and luther vandross.)
Formal night is dressier at late seating with a few tuxes. Early formal seating is generally men in suits although some men did not bring jackets and defined formal as a colored shirt & tie. Women varied from sparkly scarf to cocktail dress, many opting for sea-worthy dressy sandals.
The July 8-20, 2014 baltic trip passenger list including quite a few kids. Summer schedules invite families that have the time and budget to spend two weeks in an expensive area of Europe and chose Celebrity over Disney. The kid zone programs were popular.
The abrasive cruise director stated the Baltic trip had more “energy” than the June 20-July 8 (cruise director’s description) “rocks and bird poop” Norway trip. Given that one itinerary is cities and the other fjords, isn't it reasonable the groups would have different personalities? The cultural mix was distinctly different on each trip. As “line up” US Americans, we had a problem with the push style queuing in the common areas of the Norway cruise. The Baltic cultural mix was more relaxed and genial.
Norway was gorgeous and we had long days to view sail in / out & enjoy port life. The Baltics, with excellent port choices, was shared with multiple ships which was workable.
We enjoyed watching the world cup with an international audience when the satellite signal permitted, would have enjoyed a larger venue and other activities related to the cup and re-play of late night games the next day….bet bar sales would have benefited too.
The directors of hospitality, housekeeping and food service each do a fine job of directing the layers of staff. Public areas are cleaned constantly.
Internet is slow , unreliable and expensive, cruisers line up with staff at port wi-fi hot spots.
The constellation is emphasizing accessibility of senior staff with a reoccurring theme of “young!” implying fresh and energetic but also meant “inexperienced!” at times.
The Captain is a highly visible extrovert appearing in comedy skits, talks and picture ops, all popular. While safety is mentioned, given the Costa and Celebration fiascos, I prefer experienced and skilled. The hard working behind the scenes navigator and staff captain are earning their pay.
Entertainment is mixed and appropriate for this size ship. A few talented choreographed splashy shows, cruise-ship single acts and young performers early in their careers.
The June 20 embark was poorly organized with under-trained clerks, but the July 8 on and off and July 20 end of sail went well. Cabins are to be cleared by 8am the final day and public bathrooms closed shortly after. Early breakfast is available.
Daily port on and off is run smoothly and the security group do a fine job.
We booked three shore excursions with both good and bad experiences. An older bus in poor mechanical shape in Russia should not have been used for an all day tour. St. Petersburg day 2 was a completely different experience, good bus, guide & group.
Celebrity must accept the well prepared traveler and the internet are here to stay. Even the concierge uses internet sourced materials. Perhaps a program or package for the active and independent traveler?
Celebrity is a mid-priced cruise line, the constellation a smaller ship in today’s market with good port choices which is the reason we booked a cruise. Overall we are satisfied.