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2 Celebrity Constellation Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Middle East from Athens (Piraeus)

I am a very, very experienced cruise traveler. I enjoyed this cruise, had a good time. There are some big BUT's though which unnerved me. Here my opinions, which will most likely resonate more with fellow Europeans: + Ship ... Read More
I am a very, very experienced cruise traveler. I enjoyed this cruise, had a good time. There are some big BUT's though which unnerved me. Here my opinions, which will most likely resonate more with fellow Europeans: + Ship beautiful, (if you like modern ship design, which I do), looking new. It did not look full, although it must have been at 90% of capacity. Except the pool deckchairs of course. Staff very good, dining staff exceptional (incl. remembering preferences and satisfying special wishes). Entertainment program very good (important on a cruise with many sea days). Guest lecturers were knowledgable and interesting. I like that they include also off-mainstream subjects, like cave exploration. Dining was good and variable at the dining rooms, no variety at the casual buffet any time of the day, and day after day the same items. Nothing to eat after 10pm. MINUS Cabins small relative to other cruise lines, but nothing was missing. I knew that from earlier cruises and was traveling solo anyway, so I had enough space. Nice touch: Night light in the bathroom. Only small tubes for generic shampoo, conditioner, body lotion. Constant music, too loud, everywhere. Including the main pool area, which is probably desired by the guests during a Carnival Caribbean cruise but not on this cruise with more mature passengers. Not one quiet place where you could read a book without having to order a drink or without loud music or with some sales event going on there (gym courses, wine tasting and selling, art selling, adult coloring class, bingo etc. etc). Library is a minimal room with 4 seats (on a 2000+ passengers' ship) burried in the interior, with probably less than 200 books. One thing I really disliked: There is an extensive and detailed "code of conduct" for passengers which lays out a regime I did not sign up for when I booked this cruise and foresees severe consequences at the sole discretion of the ship's management. I think common sense, courtesy and if necessary the applicable laws are more than enough. And body cams on security staff at all times, in addition to the omnipresent fixed video cameras, obvious and hidden. A person I had met (a young lady in her first trip ever outside her home country) was forcibly disembarked in Muscat, Oman for climbing over a reeling. Another major objection is the prices of side services, which Celebrity describes as "reasonable" in their website but they don't publish detailed pricelists anywhere. Here below I will compare prices with Holland America because I was on a HAL ship just one week before this cruise: -Many items included in the price with other cruise lines are charged here, and handsomely: Certain drinks at breakfast-juices, more than half of items listed in the room service menu and even for the free items a delivery charge of $4.50! -Pay per view movies in the cabin at $13.50 each, compare with the extensive free library of HAL on dvds AND one new movie daily at the movie theater (versus one big screen movie in 16 days on Celebrity). -Prices for drinks and beverages are outrageous: Why is a cappucino priced $7 incl. 18% gratuity and Holland America charges $4 incl. 15% gratuity? Is it so much better? Similar with wines and cocktails. Small plastic bottle of water $3.50+18% gratuity? A scoop of ice cream $4+18%? It is forbidden to bring even a glass of wine on board, for no other reason than to consume their own overpriced items. -Prices for laundry are outrageous too (no self laundry possibility on Celebrity): A bag of laundry at $49 on "one time special offer"? A 2 piece suite for $19? A pair of socks $3? Double the price of HAL? They clean double as good? -Internet package for 16 days $299? Or $23.50 for 1 hour? Prices for one device only! Again almost double the price of HAL for the same satellite service. -"Optional" but automatic gratuity $13.50 per person per day? (HAL $10.50 for no worse service). No adjustment of the amount is possible, either nothing or the full amount. -Shore excursions similar, but in this Celebrity is no worse than other cruise lines and critically the consumer has alternative options with local tour operators. -Specialty dining for a charge and spa services: I didn't try, cannot compare. - Shops on board: I compared prices for items I had earmarked earlier for purchase such as alcohol and certain perfumes with other duty free outlets (airports and airlines). Don't bother, Celebrity's "duty free" price is 20-30% more expensive at every single one. Seems to me they reduce the state tax and add the difference directly into their sales margin. -Shoe shine service as on HAL? Let alone complimentary? Not here! So this cruise was only a good value if you restricted yourself to the absolute minimum of consumption, did not drink wine, cocktails, coffee, did not watch movies, did not use laundry or internet and checked if your conduct fits Celebrity's regulations at all times. But if you consumed all of the above, you could easily spend on board 3-4 times more than the price for the cruise. Hmmm... Quite the cheap trick of "get them on board first and sell them every little thing or service expensive"... not my idea of relaxed vacation or fair pricing policy folks and counterproductive. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We booked this cruise very late and got an amazing last minute deal . We had been on the Connie only 2 cruises (see other review) prior to this one and had a great time. This was a different cruise in that it was a re-positioning cruise ... Read More
We booked this cruise very late and got an amazing last minute deal . We had been on the Connie only 2 cruises (see other review) prior to this one and had a great time. This was a different cruise in that it was a re-positioning cruise and so was primarily sea days (5 in a row at one point) whereas on our other cruise we had 6 port days in a row. The main thing that did not change was the service, it would be understandable after so many sea days for the wait and bar staff to be exhausted but their service levels never wavered. So impressive. Embarkation was quick and we quickly settled by the pool and had a great day waiting for the late departure. The ship is definitely older than the 2 others ships we have taken (Equinox and HAL Koningsdam) but it is still in reasonably good shape. The outside windows were very dirty on both cruises but all other areas were clean. We feel that there is much more space on this ship relative to the others we have sailed except in the MDR which feels incredibly packed. We had an OV cabin (3017), this was our first non verandah cabin. I prefer having a verandah but did not miss it as much as I though we would, we were rarely in our cabin. The strange thing was we only had a single doona placed sideways in the cover which we didn't notice until we went to bed very late on first night. We told the attendant the next day and he said" I noticed that but wasn't sure why" ... why not just replace it????This cabin did feel more worn than our previous one on deck 7 and the exhaust fan in the bathroom did not work and the a/c did not seem as efficient. Our attendant also was not as good, regularly left pillows on the floor, dirty rags in the cabin and forgot to restock toiletries. Overall it felt like you were treated worse on level 3 than 7. Noise was not a problem even though our door faced the lift well. Dining - on this cruise we bought the 3 restaurant specialty dining package. There is no doubt the food is of a better quality than that served in the MDR. The prices for the restaurants are very high but there was no limit on how much you could order. Tuscan grill had great quality produce but we did not care for the sauces they felt sweet relative to real Italian cuisine. The layout of the restaurant makes it feel cramped compared to on Equinox. Service was good. Oceanliners - much better sauces. Loved the dining space, very nautical and very spacious. Service was friendly but not polished for what they are trying to portray. Good overall experience. Sushi 5 - on the package you could order as you like which made it very good value as normally a la carte pricing. We ate more than 3 times what would have been provided under the package price. Good food but lack of hot asian dishes. Restaurant was virtually empty. MDR - the 2 tops are too close together and may as well be shared 4's. Can make it a little uncomfortable if you want a private evening. Eventually the maitre d fixed this and gave us a 4 seater just for the 2 of us - made it much more relaxing. Our sommelier was superb. Our waiters were busy but very good. As on the last cruise the food improved the longer the cruise went. Buffet - easy to find tables compared to other ships. Good range of food but quality is a bit basic. Entertainment - superb. The productions shows were the same but the performance level had improved even more. All the guest entertainers were superb and very varied (most passengers and us included did not quite understand what the Chili Gold show was supposed to be - but the only disappointment). Plus they often did matinee performances. The lounge acts were also good. There was so much in the way of activities - dance classes; colouring classes; at least 3 lectures; more trivia than you could fit in etc. Our only wish is that the lectures had been more staggered as we are late risers on cruises. They really increased the amount of activities in accordance with the amount of sea days - there was no way you could be bored. I would like to see a few more complimentary gym classes though. Oh and there were several dance parties and silent disco as well ... we partied ourselves to a standstill. Service - first class. Again easily the best we have experienced on a cruise ship. The bar staff in particular the waiters at the bars are first rate - serious kudos. Guest relations were friendlier than we normally find them and were quick to get back to us. The only issue I have with the service was that our big issue from the last cruise was not addressed by head office before we departed for this cruise yet they acknowledged we were cruising again so I thought I might have heard from someone onboard given we had returned to the same ship and head office knew we were but no one addressed it or us ... strange. The few ports there were were very good. Chania is very cute; Petra is outstanding; Muscat interesting except that it was a Friday and Abu Dhabi is ok. However there was ZERO information about these later ports, I know the ship hasn't sailed there before but surely the company has done some research on this??? Disembarkation was easy but we were the last off the ship. In summary - this was a really fun and relaxing cruise with great activities and service. The cabin was average and some of the food could be better but at the price we paid we have to give it a 5 star rating. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Celebrity Constellation Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 5.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 5.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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