Unfortunately I suffered a fall a week prior to traveling, but was not going to let that stop us! Walking was going to be an issue, so we had to book tours that were rated "easy". Had walking not been an issue for me, all the ports were relatively easy to navigate and many people that we met did not book tours. Except for Germany and Russia, they traveled to the various sights on their own. With a guide book in hand and a map, it's relatively easy getting around all the ports of call we visited. When traveling next we will definitely book private tours or go on our own. The ship's shore excursions were okay, but generally overpriced. We used DENRUS for Berlin and St. Petersburg and they were both well worth it. And... they are much less than the Shore Excursions on the ship. In addition, Denrus had a limit of 30 people. Our Berlin tour had 6 people and St. Petersburg, my husband and I were the only ones - we had a private tour at a group rate price! In both cases we got to see all that was on the planned itinerary and we were asked, if time permits (which it did) we got to see/visit additional points of interest to us. This is the best way to tour countries that you have so little time in and so much to see. Plus with such a small group the interaction between us and the guide led to great conversations and insight into their country. Some of the ship excursions were good. We found they leave a little too much time for the "gift shop" or lunch when it's included. We'd rather spend the time at the places of interest than 1 1/2 hours at lunch.
As far as the Constellation...WOW. The ENTIRE staff, was so accommodating and gracious, it was such a pleasure and made it a true vacation delight. We were treated like "celebrities" from embarkation through departure, all went smoothly. Due to extreme weather conditions in Stockholm we were informed the night before our arrival there that we might not be able to get into port. Although the prospect of this was greatly disappointing, the weather cleared enough that Captain Pagonis guided us saftely into port. We had the pleasure of meeting him and the other officers of the ship and it was quite enjoyable. The employees were attentive to keeping the nanovirus in check-and we were contually offered Purel/wipes upon entering any of the dining areas. Our room attendants, Abelardo and Mariano, could not have been more attentive. Somehow Abelardo knew when I was coming down the hallway from a long day of sightseeing, or just returning to the room to rest, but he would appear at our cabin door and open it for me! We had the late seating and were joined by 2 other couples and had the most wonderful time each evening comparing notes on our adventures each day. One had special dietary concerns and the Maitre'D checked each evening that all was okay, not only with her, but with each of us. Our waiter, Rosairo and his assistant Vishay were terrific. After the first evening they knew our likes and dislikes and we didn't have to ask for anything. The ship was fully booked, and I think this impacts the waiters and assistants the most. They are the hardest workers especially as some people are just not easy to please, yet they keep smiling. Kudos to Rosairo and Vishay! We had Dinner one evening in the Ocean Liners Restaurant and it was fabulous. The entertainment was great. The productions and entertainment were enjoyable and it was a nice way to spend the rest of the evening with our table-mates.
It's the first time we encountered Perry Grant. We were told by some people we met before we got on the ship, that they had seen him previously on other cruises and were hoping he was on this one. They told us he was very entertaining and he did not disappoint! There were also 4 college guys, The High C's, an acapella group. We enjoyed listening to them each evening before going to dinner. The ship was easy to get around and even though the ship was filled to capacity, we never felt crowded. Lectures were enjoyable and informative. Unfortunately, we did have an issue with our room. We always book an inside room, as we are only in the room to sleep. Unfortunately, the room was below the kitchen on deck 10, and the noise from above made it was difficult for me to fall asleep and woke me early in the morning. At 6:30 am on our first morning on the ship I was at Guest Relations, reporting to Cesar Dimas of the situation. He assured me that he would inform the Guest Relations Manager, Janet David, and would get back to me. Later that morning Ms. David gave us an update on our situation and continued to check on us throughout our trip. Janet David is an amazing woman with the patience of a saint and I would nominate her for employee of the year, but we were informed that because of her position she is not eligible. She was professional, sincere and prompt in addressing our problem. I know for next time I travel, to bring a mild sleeping pill. My husband could sleep through anything, not me. Again, throughout the trip, Mrs. David was in communication with us to be sure we were happy and enjoying our cruise. We were offered another room a few days into the cruise when they were informed there was a cancellation (the ship was FULL). Although we decided not to take it, it was available to us throughout the cruise. We were offered a "perks" in compensation for our troubles and they were greatly appreciated. Whenever Cesar Dimas and Ante Jambrovic saw me pass by the their Guest Relations desk, I was greeted by name and ask if there was anything else they could do, how my day was, etc. How nice...Janet David ensured that we enjoyed a memorable and enjoyable vacation on the Celebrity-Constellation. We stopped by the future cruise office and booked an open reservation for another Celebrity Cruise before we left!