Embarkation: As you may know our cruise was delayed due to extra cleaning on the ship because of the norovirus. Celebrity handled this well and we took the complimentary shuttle back into town and went to Rembrandt's house which was a neat experience as there was also an etching demonstration in his workshop. We got back to the ship around 4pm and waited until our cabin was ready.
Ship: We had not been on a Celebrity cruise before. We have sailed on the Voyager class on RCI. We definitely liked the smaller number of passengers on the Constellation. I did miss the Promenade as there was not a similar area on this ship. Initially the ship did not seem that full but by the end a lot of the lounges were full.
Cabin: We were in a C1 Cabin. The first few days were frustrating as everything had been removed from the cabins due to the virus. We felt it was like pulling teeth asking for things that should have been there: champagne, robes, Captain's Club coupons. We had a TV More
remote that was not working and we had to ask for our deck to be cleaned as there was debris from dry dock. The deck chairs were dirty and old. However, the carpet in the cabin looked new and the bedding was great. Eventually, things settled into a normal pattern and our stateroom attendant was excellent.
Service: On the whole this was great. The only exception was our wine steward who seemed to have issues. I was very impressed with the way the staff at guest relations kept their cool.
Food: Beef was very good and desserts were excellent. Some of the fish dishes were disappointing. We enjoyed the Seaside Cafe with stir-fry and pasta to order. CanapEs in Concierge Class were dreadful.
Entertainment: We enjoyed the entertainment more than I had expected. We had a Russian group who came on in St. Petersburg and did traditional singing and dancing. Also Live Wire who were a Celtic group. We went to Michael's Club several times to see Perry Grant - we loved Perry - he is a great entertainer.
Ports: We did our own thing in Warnemunde (thanks Heinbloed for your great directions to Rostock), Tallinn and Copenhagen. We took 2 of Celebrity's shore excursions and they were excellent. We took a "Day in Stockholm" which gave us a very good overview of the city, tour of city hall, Vasa Museum, and walking tour of the Old Town. Our guide was Annika and she was very good. In Helsinki we took a tour of Porvoo and Helsinki Highlights. It also included lunch at the distillery at Kiala Manor which is a working farm. We enjoyed the opportunity to see outside the city as it was a nice day and our guide Ann Marie was also exceptional. In St. Petersburg we had a 2-day tour with Alla which was fantastic.
Disembarkation at Ports: This was really excellent and much better than our experience on RCI. We were expecting a mob scene at St. Petersburg (this came later at the Russian Bazaar on the ship!). We had an independent tour arranged through Alla Tours. We were asked to register our tour which we did. We were told to be in the Rendezvous lounge at 7:15 am and would be escorted off the ship. We got there at 7am and were told by the few people there that is was OK to leave. There was no line and we walked straight through immigration with no problem.
Conclusion: The trip was one of a lifetime. I think late May is unpredictable weather wise but I personally would not want to tour the highlights of St. Petersburg in the heat of the summer. I did get rather sick of the constant purell and my hands were very dry by the end of the cruise. However,we did stay well and the ship was kept spotless. Would I go on Celebrity again? Depends on itinerary and price but I would not pay extra for concierge class again. Thanks to CruiseCritic for all the tips. Less