We are Elite members ( 12 cruises with Celebrity) and it was our first time cruising the Baltic Sea. We had a bit of apprehension because of all the hoopla about the Norovirus but fortunately after a delayed embarkation all the traces were gone and after a few days of extra precautions everything was back to normal to our delight.
We stayed a few days in Amsterdam at the Moevenpick Hotel on the wharf which is very convenient, the price is reasonable ($200 a night), everything is wonderful but do not expect a friendly staff, they just cannot smile! As you probably know the Constellation has just been refurbished and is a beauty. As we cruised a few months ago on the Equinox, I was wondering how it would compare but I just loved it. The convenience of the Millenium class ship cannot be surpassed and the size is just perfect. The only thing that the Equinox has more of are the bars which we do not use much: the dancing floor is better ( at the rendez-vous), the boutiques are better laid out, it is not as crowded around the pool and the Celebrity theater just looks great.
Our inside cabin was not as nice as on the Equinox but it was as convenient as ever and we hardly spend any time there, my husband did miss the multiple movies in the room which the Equinox offers. He is a movie buff and with all the enrichment talks the Cinema is hardly ever dedicated to a movie and the ones chosen were 2 years old. We also miss the card room which has disappeared in the new lay-out, bridge is definitely gone forever...
The food was great especially the Tuscan Grill and the service was great there. However I feel that the service in the dining room used to be as great as we have now in the speciality restaurants, in the MDR we never saw our Maitre D. and our server was just decent. The food was excellent and plentiful as always, the buffet needs to add variety each day, it seems always the same ! But the pizza and pasta sections were great as always.
The activities on board have evolved a lot over the years, it is really into the enrichment program which is great but it is not for everybody. We really enjoyed it especially the talks of the naturalist Don Enright and also the series with the naval officers that gave us insights : environment, the engines, etc. The cruise director, Allan King did a wonderful job as always, he is very present everywhere and the Captain Nicholas Pagonis is really the star and the master of the ship: he enjoys every minute of the cruise and knows what to say to make the guest feel special.
As Elite members we enjoyed many perks : cruising the Swedish archipelago on the helipad was just wonderful and our happy hour at Michael's Club was just a delight made possible by the excellent staff there especially Randy, he made everyone feel special. It wasn't our first cruise as Elite members but it was the first time we really saw the advantage. The entertainment was very good to excellent, we also had local entertainment while in Russia. The ports were well chosen and the sea very calm so it all made for a wonderful cruise !