Celebrity Constellation Cruise Review by phillytraveler29: Great cruise with fabulous ports
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Great cruise with fabulous ports
My husband and I and another couple just returned from the 12 day cruise of the Baltic ports. We had a great time and very much enjoyed our cruise and Celebrity.
By way of background, we last cruised on Celebrity Equinox in the Mediterranean. In researching for the Baltic tour, we chose Celebrity over other premium lines like Oceana and Seaborne primarily based on itinerary (Celebrity went to exactly the ports we wanted to go to) and price. We also were upgraded to Aqua Class, which we found to be very worthwhile. Our room was a little more spacious and we had a fantastic shower. And the balcony was perfect.
Celebrity generally does the logistics well, particularly for such a large ship. It was very easy to get on and off the ship at the ports and the initial embarkation process was easy and quick. Our only gripe -- elevators were slow and erratic at times.
The Constellation is not as deluxe and beautiful as the Equinox, and doesn't have some of the very More nice spaces we loved in the Equinox, like the large sunset cafe. However, it was comfortable and well maintained. In Aqua class, we had access to the Blu private restaurant, which was excellent. We could eat at our convenience ( on 2 occasions we had to wait -- we had drinks nearby and they came and to us when a table was ready) and the food was generally very good. The appetizers and salads were outstanding -- main courses were a little more uneven but generally very good. And the service was generally attentive. On the whole, we thought Aqua Class was worthwhile for the upgraded room and the access to BLu.
As for the other food choices, I agree with some reviewers that the Oceanside Grill could be crowded and unpleasant at times. We agree with some if these observations, but think that Oceanside is not much different from any high volume buffet in any cruise line and we thought the food was generally good. During port days we generally ate lunch on shore, so we really only used Oceanside for breakfast. I highly recommend the poached egg station -- I only found it on the last few days! The egg florentine was excellent.
I have read other negative reviews of things like shows, etc. Let me say from the outset -- we did not go to the shows, we did not shop in the onboard boutiques, go to casinos etc. etc. What was important to us was the ports. We loved the ports. The time spent is generally adequate, though I would have liked more time in Stockholm (and Berlin -- (this is by no mean a sufficient time to visit a city like Berlin, but it is not intended to be)
For the most part we did not use the Celebrity tours. In St Petersburg, we arranged a private tour for 4 people through a Alla Travel. We had a minivan with a driver and a guide for two days. It was excellent and the fee we paid for our very private tour was just slightly more than the two day tour offered by Celebrity (where we would have been stuck on a bus with a large group ). Russian passport control was -- shall we say- thorough. But we were treated no differently than those taking the Celebrity tours.
We also took the Alla bus tour to Berlin. I had mixed feelings about taking the Berlin tour but in the end I think it was worthwhile. But I truly believe that if you want to visit a city like Berlin! this isn't the best way to see it.
In Tallinn, we took the free " student" tour recommended by Rick Steves. It was completely adequate and our student guide was charming and informative. Tallinn is very manageable and there is no néed to take a Celebity tour. Shopping hint -- if you want to buy amber jewelry, Tallinn May be your best bet. The prices and choices were better than I saw elsewhere -- but since Tallinn was the first stop I didn't realize that. People in Helsinki told us that they went shopping in Tallinn!
Otherwise, we thought the Hop on hOp off buses were very adequate for all of the ports. We took them in Helsinki and Copenhagen. Also, we arrived in Amsterdam early and took the hop on, hop off canal tour there -- also worthwhile. In Stockholm, we took the tour offered by Celebrity and wished we had taken the Hop on Hop Off bus there as well. However, the Celebrity tour in Stockholm was handled well from a logistically sense.
Back on the ship, we did enjoy the martini bar and the amazing bartenders! and the entertainer named Lady Sax! But our main focus was the fabulous ports.
Bottom line - ports are great, Aqua Class was great, Blu was great. An enjoyable cruise. Less
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