We chose this cruise primarily on the basis of late summer sunshine, relatively close to home but avoiding the canaries like the plague.
Consequently Turkey and Greece seemed to hit the spot. We chose Club flights as a bit of an indulgance, concierge class (C3), select dining,and paid tips in advance.
In short the BA Club Euope outbund flight was a huge disapointment and simply not worth the additional money. Fortunately on the homeward leg BA were short of a plane so rerouted a 767, complete with club world seats and these were superb. However this was a bonus and not what we should have had.
This was our second time on the Constellation so we knew what to expect, or thought we did. Our first trip in the Caribbean (southern exotic) blew us away.
First the Lows:
We did not realise however that the crew would hardly be the same and to be quite frank the level of service provided by the Jamacan state room attendants fell far far short of the level we hads experienced from Charlie our Philpino superstar. Our 8 oclock tea arrived somewhere between 0700 and 0815, without tea on 4 occasions, lemon on 2 and a variety of milks -sometimes none (despite specifying semi skimmed) on several occasions. This may seem petty to some but to us it starts our day, and the service is what we had paid for. Once would have been excusable but it became a joke at the end.
We opted for a couple of spa treatments. What a mistake. The service was amateur and incredibly expensive. $100 each for the 40 minutes treatment. A great shame as my wife had had a great hot stone massage in the Caribbean.
There were a couple of small but noticeable reductions in quality. For example the desserts were not presented daily in the restaurent but ordered via the menu. Again this may sound petty but it represented economies in service. There were plenty of staff around, however most spent time chating to each other and walking around without being attentive and serviing at the tables...particularly in the cellar masters bar.
The self service restaurent lacked the attention of the table staff we have experienced before, and once again the staff were present but relatively poorly managed, and lacking in interest.
Thankfully the cruise director Sue was on holiday so we did not have to suffer her brash, "Butlins" approach to entertainment which only served to cheapen the whole experience. Her replacement was acceptable but tended towards an Amercan hi de hi manager.
Now the Highs.
We try to avoid school holidays as we have done the family holiday bit, and prefer to get away from children on holiday. Celebrity seems to fit our needs in this respect, in fact although we are both 50+ we were in the youngest 5% of the guys on board.
The entertainment. The shows are generally quite good but I have to say.....
Thank heavans for Perry Grant in Micheals Bar,(and his support staff Randy and Tutti!) He is by far the most consistent entertainer Celebrity have. There is no wonder he attracts such a following. His humour is clean, simple and funny. His ability behind the piano is tremendous, and above all his connection to the vast majority of the ships passengers was unquestioned. If on your first visit it seems quiet, keep on in there, the experience grows as the ships voyage continues. There were some however that moved on, but it was their loss. They would not have raised a smile even if the cruise was free.
The food in the main restaurent was of a consistent quality, and a standard that would have been in place in a high qulaity hotel. Quite amazing when you consider the volume that is put out per day. Similarly the choice in the self service restaurents was very acceptable.
The Tuscan grill was well worth a visit and the cover charge. The attention to detail and service level excellent.
Thankfully Celebrity have chosen to use mattress toppers, and the linen appeared new. this made a great differnece to the overall quality of the room.
We do not do organised excursions but make our own way if we fancy going on shore. Unless there is something unbelievable that would not normally be available to shore visitors then I recommend you make your own way. Invariably you can do an excursion for around 10% of the Celebrity charge. That said, if you enjoy having everything done for you and money is no object the tours are well organised.
Having said all that on the last day rather than spend 6 hours at the airport we had a variety of choices. Say on board with restricted space/lunch areas, and delay getting off. At 100 dollars for the two of us it seemed expensive an exploitational, a shore excursion (choice of 2 depending on departuure time.80 dollars or 120 dollars. No lunch just a cooach and guide. We took the on that we were advise would get us ti the airport with 2 hours to spare.(Club longe available.) What a rip off. The tour consisted of dropping off at the spice market 10 mins from the ship, and ushered to a shop we assumed to be owned by a relative of the guide, and onto a carpet presentation. Wow, did it take time to escape from this! Despite being promoted as a tour to the Grand Bazaar the guide seemed more interested in securing her commission than actually attending tom anyone who didnt wish to stay. A very expensive way to ensure that you stayed connected to your luggage and they dropped you at the airpot, 2 hours before the gate opened.
We go on holidays to sleep, eat, chill, relax, in that order. Celebrity ticks our box simply as we enjoy our own company and having full room service and a cabin large enough to enjoy the balcony, sunshine etc allows us to do this. Similarly there is plenty of company out there if you need it. wE are hoping that the blips in the service were down to individuals poor performance and not a reflection on the overall service capability of clebrity.