What can be said about a port-intensive cruise like the Celebrity western Med? It's seven days of some of the most exciting sights in the world. For the record, the itinerary consists of sailing out of Barcelona to Villefranche ... Read More
What can be said about a port-intensive cruise like the Celebrity western Med? It's seven days of some of the most exciting sights in the world. For the record, the itinerary consists of sailing out of Barcelona to Villefranche (Nice), Genoa, Livorno (Florence and Pisa), Civitavecchia (Rome) and Naples. This was our first European cruise and we most certainly will do this itinerary again. Too much to see and not enough time. Sensory overload!
ABOUT US: Married couple, mid-forties, no children and our 22nd cruise overall, our ninth with Celebrity. They have been our favorite line since our second cruise, but they better be careful or they may have some competition to that status. More on that later.
EMBARKATION: To be sure, this was the smoothest embarkation and debarkation we have ever encountered. Actually, it was almost too fast! I couldn't get my paperwork out of my bag fast enough to get from one point to the next and I was holding THEM up! Bravo to the port staff in Barcelona!
THE SHIP: Celebrity did an outstanding job with the refurbishment of the Constellation. She was squeaky clean and truly seemed like a brand new ship. Kudos to their refurb team for a job well done. It's hard to review the ship in great detail as we spend most of our time off of the ship. Loved the new wine cellar, Bistro on Five and the Tuscan Grille. Our stateroom was quite comfy, though my foot dangled off the end of the rounded corner of the bed (thanks to my 6-foot three frame).
PORTS: We spent two days in Barcelona before the cruise which was a great way to get used to the 6-hour time difference and to visit La Sagrada Familia. The temple is a true work of art and I am so glad we visited it. Barcelona was a nice city but they give you an attitude when you ask if they speak English. I usually got an abrupt "NO." I understand totally, but at the same time, I am trying to spend money in your country. You could be a little more helpful if you want my business. That's ok, there were other businesses who suffered through my lack of knowledge of their language and I had a great time.
First stop on the cruise was Villefranche. It was a very nice town and if the weather was better, we would have investigated more of it. We went to Monaco which was nice and I can now say I've been there, but that's about it.
Next was Genoa. We chose to visit Cinque Terre, which was beautiful, but there was no need to visit four of the five villages. Vernazza and Monterosso would have been plenty.
In Livorno, we chose to do both a tour of Pisa and the Tuscan Wine tour. We totally hated our tour guide in Pisa and a separate email will be sent to the tour company about her. The wine tour was great but not very exciting. If you go on this itinerary, get a ride to Pisa and spend the whole day there, period. That's all you need to do, no excursion necessary, unless you want a guide.
Rome was spectacular. We hired Romeinlimo (highly recommended) and toured the Coliseum and the Vatican. Again, too much to see and not enough time. Next time, we'll go straight to the Vatican and spend the day there.
In Naples, forget about seeing anything of the city. You don't want to. Dirty and pickpocket intensive. We chose an excursion to Sorrento (great choice) and a trip to Pompeii. We can now say that we've been to Pompeii, and it was fabulous, but tablemates of ours showed us pictures of their trip to Herculaneum. If you are into that sort of "ruins" thing, go there instead. Much better things to see and a more compact site than Pompeii. We will definitely check it out next time.
ENTERTAINMENT: Lots of great entertainment on board this cruise. The magician/comedian was the only "so-so" act of the cruise. We've seen him before and he's just ok, not great. The "Hi-C's" (or was it "Four C's"?) acapella group were AWESOME! The production shows were very good too. Better than I had thought they would be. The party band was good, the string ensemble quite lovely, and even the guy who just played guitar (can't remember his name) was quite good. He was especially good at his Irish and British folk songs that the Europeans on board really appreciated.
FOOD: This is where I have to raise an eyebrow. We had late seating in the dining room (since many of the excursions returned to the ship at 6pm), and many of our dishes had the look and taste of being "warmed up." It seemed like they made all of the food at 6 for the first seating, and kept the rest on warmers until late seating. One night (Thursday) I didn't like anything on the menu. This was truly a first for me. I have always been a big fan of the food on Celebrity, but this time we were not blown away at all. We dined in both the Tuscan Grille and the Ocean Liners, and both had impeccable food and quality, but I expect that kind of quality in the MDR! When it comes to specialty dining, I like having options like Japanese, Mexican, or Italian instead of the offerings on the Constellation. Also, the specialty options are too expensive. $35 per person before you even sit down, and then they start out by trying to upsell you to bottled or sparkling water. What was my $35 for? They need to slow down on all of the upsells in the specialty restaurants. As for the MDR, we were not as pleased as we normally are with Celebrity.
OVERALL: Where Celebrity gets us every time (except the food issue that I just mentioned) is their incredible professionalism. EVERY employee meets your eye and says hello to you. Many of the senior staff await your return to the ship following your excursion. For some reason, the other lines we have cruised just don't get this simple gesture. It makes us feel like they truly appreciate our business. We'll be back, but I hope they work on the food issue that we had. I'll say this much, no more late seating for us. Read Less