The Ship: Connie is our favorite ship, this is our 3rd time on her. She is as lovely as last year, very comfortable and we know our way on her. The public areas are magnificent, the San Marco restaurant is as wonderful as ever.
The Cabin: We booked our 8054 last year’s cabin. It seemed like we left it 2 weeks before. The beds were comfortable, the balcony was great, even though it was a little chilly this time to sit in it a lot. The wardrobe was large enough for the too many cloths we packed. The shower was big and the water pressure was good. The TV had a selection of movies to buy plus a few Celebrity channels but there was no list of programs.
The Itinerary Dover, Oslo, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Dover.
Oslo In Oslo we took a shore excursion called: “Fjord Cruise & Norwegian Folk Museum “. The boat was a very beautiful and old sailing boat. There were tables and chairs and people could get free coffee and tea. Most of the seats were on deck but there were some inside. As it was very cold and windy we preferred to sit inside. The scenery was beautiful. After the cruise, we visited the Norwegian Folk Museum. It has very interesting old houses, some of them we entered. It was very dark inside and difficult to enter and exit and we were told it was built that way in order to protect the house from uninvited guests. Afterwards the bus took us to see the ski jump. We enjoyed this shore excursion, the guide was very good.
St. Petersburg We booked with Red October 2 half-day tours after reading so much about them on the Internet. The first day to the Hermitage and the second day to Catherine Palace in Pushkin. Upon arrival to the Constellation, there was a letter from Celebrity regarding disembarking in St. Petersburg for passengers who did not take a Celebrity shore excursion. It said to inform them in advance about our plans and to come to Reflections Nightclub before our own tour, in order to receive a number for disembarkation. We did inform them about our tours but we did not go to Reflections because we saw that we can leave the ship. When we exited there were two lines to the immigration offices. It took 20 minutes to pass it. Afterwards we searched for Red October sign and found the guide and driver. The car was a Mercedes. We drove to St. Petersburg and saw most of the famous landmarks of the city. We arrived at the Hermitage. The guide let us in without any lines (we paid for early entrance). We wanted to see the middle floor.
The Hermitage is very beautiful but we felt we could have enjoyed it a lot more if we did not have to be dragged after the guide who kept us standing sometimes for 10 minutes near a single picture or statue, that sometimes we were not very interested in and talking too much about it. On our correspondence with Red October we asked for 1 hour in the Hermitage, he was not informed about it and after a very tiring hour, we told him that. He was offended, and asked us why didn’t we tell him that at the start. Afterwards he showed us some much more interesting rooms (what we wanted to see from the start). As we paid $5 for 1 camera, we thought it was allowed to take photos. It supposed to be allowed but after a few photos, in most rooms the guards kept shouting not Flash and even when we took photos without flash they kept shouting. So eventually we gave it up. The tour was an hour and a half or something. We felt that if we went alone we could have seen what we wanted a lot better. After the Hermitage, we went to pay for the day at the Red October shop, which took a lot of time, and they wanted us to buy things.
On the second day we drove to Pushkin. We arrived at Catherine Palace. The building is beautiful. We also had an early entrance, so did most of the people from Costa Cruise (2 ships in the port). The palace is magnificent! Since it is not as large as the Hermitage, an hour there was adequate to enjoy the place in spite of our guide. Here it was easier to take photos. Afterwards we saw the gardens and drove back to St. Petersburg in order to pay for this day.
St. Petersburg is a beautiful city, we thought that Red October would make it easier for us but they didn’t because we didn’t have the freedom to choose exactly what we wanted to see.
Helsinki We didn’t go to any shore excursion in Helsinki, since we were too tired from St. Petersburg.
Stockholm We took the Waterways Of Stockholm. It was a lovely 2-hour cruise. We saw how beautiful Stockholm is from the sea. The boat was a closed one and the guide was very good.
Copenhagen We booked our limo (the same one as last year) and drove outside Copenhagen to Frederiksborg slot. The countryside is lovely and different from the city of Copenhagen. Our driver was wonderful. The castle is lovely. Now we appreciated the fact that we were on our own. We saw the beautiful rooms at our pace and skipped the uninteresting ones. We enjoyed the castle very much and bought some lovely souvenirs there.
The Food We had a table in a great location at the San Marco. Since we knew most of the dishes it was very easy to decide what to eat. Today there is the fantastic Mocha cake, or today is the Calvados apple and so on. The food is so wonderful that just thinking about it makes us want to come back. Our waiters were wonderful and we almost never waited for the next course.
The Seaside caf? was good but not half as good as the San Marco. We ordered Pizza a few times, which was great.
At the Cova Caf? We drank cappuccino that was excellent. I wish Celebrity would eventually make the Cova a smoke free environment next time we’re there.
The Entertainment The Celebrity Dancers and Singers gave 4 shows. We saw 3 of them that were very good. Amongst others there were: Classic Pianist Brooks Aehron, comedy impressionist Scott Record who was great. The Celebrity Theatre is magnificent and we always sat at the same place.
We won $ 14 at the casino. It was very crowded and we saw people lose hundreds of dollars there. We sometimes play the Slots and go after we win.
It was a wonderful cruise and it went by too fast. We will surely return to the Constellation in the future.