Constellation - Northern Europe: Celebrity Constellation Cruise Review by harry m
Overall Member Rating
Constellation - Northern Europe
Destination: Baltic Sea
OPINION marks out of 10
EMBARKATION -- Smooth but lost luggage 7. SHIP -- Excellently presented and stable 8. STATEROOM 9030 -- Needs sagging bed replacing and new soft furnishings + larger towels 6. CABIN STAFF -- VERY GOOD 8. MARCO-POLO RESTAURANT -- V Good but tasteless, dry fish, friendly waiters anxious to please 7. OCEAN GRILL -- V Good with good helpful staff 8. OCEAN LINERS RESTAURANT -- High Class ambience. First class food and perfect staff 9. COVA CAFÉ & BAR -- Relaxing place to be with good staff 8. EDGE OF THE WORLD- BAR -- Tranquil observation lounge by day. Great Club at night. 7. MICHAELS CLUB -- Excellent Gentlemans Club Bar with a wow of a camp singer - pianist 9. CELEBRITY THEATRE -- First Class show with professional entertainers and very well managed 9. RENDEZVOUS LOUNGE AND CHAMPAGNE & MARTINI BARS -- Good atmosphere with More attentive staff with occasional lapses 8. SHOPS -- Trash goods at Harrods prices 3. POOL AND DECKS -- Roomy and attractive with enough sun-beds (in cool weather) 8. DISEMBARKATION -- (Not debarkation) Smooth 8.
JOURNEY TO THE SHIP -- Booked a car parking company called REVON off the web and they turned out to be a shoestring company. The car was parked in a dirt open-air compound and I was transferred to the ship in one of a set of clapped-out minibuses with ripped dirty seats. Not in the league of a high standard cruise. Never mind CAR OK.
DOVER (England) -- Massive and beautiful ship and the embarkation was very smooth and we were soon in our stateroom awaiting the delivery of our luggage. It took three hours and a visit to Customer services to winkle it out and then I had to manhandle it a long way to our new home. After the 6 hour early morning drive - most unpleasant.
This was our first trip on the Constellation (third on Celebrity ships) so we explored the ship and called in for an appetising lunch in the Ocean Cafe.
The first evening we were the last to arrive at our allotted table of ten and immediately felt at-home with our new friends-to-be. Four American and six British, We were all very relaxed and cheerful in each others company. Throughout the voyage we felt privileged to be with such great people.
The two days at sea were slightly choppy but only to be expected through the North Sea. The Constellation dealt with the waves with ease. Once in the Baltic all was calm.
STOCKHOLM (Sweden) -- Our first port of call it was unsurprisingly chilly. It is a city of regal old buildings, which are well-loved and Scandinavian thoroughness shows. A good glimpse of this major city but as it was a National Holiday it seemed deserted.
HELSINKI (Finland) -- The ship seemed to glade above the calm sea through wonderful low-lying fiords with hundreds of small islands where the well heeled have their very attractive summer residences. The city seemed cold in character to match the temperature a minority of good older buildings amongst a majority modern unremarkable ones.
ST PETERSBURG (Russia) -- The ship docked in a container port and here we had arranged with a private tour company Danrus to take us to magnificent places over two very full days. Our guide was a lovely Russian girl who was very knowledgeable and seemed to get us to the front of all lines, with authority, at the palaces churches and museums. First our old bus took us through residential areas of un-cared-for dusty streets and blocks of flats to the immensely opulent Peterhof Palace. Passing through immaculately manicured parkland to a view of the yellow-ochre edifice with three intricately formed towers topped by gold-leafed typical Russian pinnacles, across a small lake. Once inside we were watched by elderly ladies with severe countenances, with many eyes (reminiscent of KGB spies), who kept us in line through the place, as though we were sheep being controlled by collies. Off with the shoes and on with plastic slippers- to skate along passageways, in and out of huge utterly magnificent halls dripping with wealth. Woe-betide anyone who leaned on walls to rest or even steady themselves. Then, out into the grounds on the maritime side to see glorious fountains and spectacular waterfalls leading to the sea by a canal between a colonnade of massive trees, all guarded by gold-leaf clad statues and gold covered vases. Then Russian Lunch at a restaurant in the surrounding parkland.
Back in the city we visited several tremendously rich churches whilst becoming even more aware of the lack of pride taken by the inhabitants. The poor living quarters seemed neglected as the window were unclean, the walls unpainted and the cars covered in grime. Then at the end of our first day in St Petersburg we went back to our great ship.
St Petersburg day two was to be a treat as we went to the magnificent Hermitage Museum , which overloaded us with awe as Peterhof did. Visits to the Peter & Paul Fortress, St Isaacs Cathedral, Yusupov Palace, the Church of the Spilt Blood culminated in a Canal and River Cruise which went from the Fortress through the Centre of the city giving us a superb aspect which was unseen from the streets. At noon the boat stopped in the centre of the river to await a body-shaking boom from the salute of the cannon at the Fortress. Al in all our impression of the city is that the legacy of magnificence is not matched by the present-day Russia. Denrus served us well on both days.
TALLIN (Estonia) -- A beautiful city with friendly people, which has been tastefully restored, again with beautiful Churches and public building, matched this time by the present-day Estonians. The weather was kind and warmer than St Petersburg.
KLAIPEDIA (Lithuania) -- We are still mystified why this town was chosen by Celebrity as there is very little of interest.
GDANSK (Poland) -- Wandering out into the dockyard where the ship was docked we bargained with a taxi driver to take us into the city about 10 miles away. The very helpful Polish driver told us that he had spent some time recently working on a Fish Farm in Oban Scotland. When he returned he went for a few days to Belarus were conditions appalled him and gave him a huge culture shock. The Polish houses are far superior to the ones we saw in St Petersburg and it is obvious that there is National Pride. The City of Gdansk, extensively bombed during WW2 has been meticulously restored to become an excellent example of how things can be achieved if the will is there. The main square has a cafe society feel and all the buildings reek with history. Our willing driver was waiting for us two hours later and took us to see Lach Walesas house and to a Cathedral in time for an organ recital. Elegant seaside towns were on our route back to the ship and the whole visit gave us a happy feeling.
ROSTOCK (Germany) -- Moored in a dockyard again we found ourselves on the coast some miles fro the city of Rostock and got an expensive ships transfer into the town. A typically German small town, with neat old buildings and a large central square, with pavement cafes. On the advice of a delightful waitress in the Ocean Liners Speciality Restaurant on ship we were told to go to Warnermunde, which was our original destination for the cruise. We caught a tram to the station and a train to Warnemunde and this was very worthwhile. It is a very picturesque civilised holiday resort clustered around the river mouth. Another very pleasant sunny day.
COPENHAGEN (Denmark) -- Although sunny, the weather in this city was chilly. A short drive on the expensive transfer bus took us into this majestic City. We caught a hop-on hop-off tour bus and got a good general feel of the city then went for a drink and prawn sandwich in one of the pavement cafes along the river. The price of the sandwich was mind-blowing. It is a town of large traditional typically Scandinavian grandeur.
OSLO (Norway) -- We had been expecting to cruise through tall fiords from the sea into Oslo but this was not to be. The ship once more seemed to hover above the glass-like water as the captain maneuvered between many islands reminiscent of the Helsinki approach. The islands were greater in altitude but not high. The scenery for the four-hour approach was beautiful. This time we moored close to the city centre at the side of a castle. This time we found a city tour bus alongside the ship and paid our dues. The guide thought of himself as a comedian and made funny comments as we walked through the castle grounds then through the city to a very large impressive park with fantastic carved stone sculptures of clusters of people depicting life from birth to death. Then, on to a Viking Museum before returning to the ship.
DOVER (England) -- Returning to Dover after a day at sea, there was the line of scrap busses ready to take us to our car in a dockside carpark.
The entire experience was great. The passengers on board were very friendly and happy and particularly our table Bob & Pat, Alan & Monique, Lou & Bonnie and Alex & Moya couldnt have been better company if we had taken them with us. What a superb time we had. We also became friends with a like minded couple- Hui & Toni who we met at the Elegant Tea. The Captain runs a fine ship and it is generally well maintained at a high standard. It must be said however that Celebrity seem to be keeping the cruise prices low by taking-advantage of the captive audience with high prices for the wine & drinks. Also the shore transfers are now being charged for, which is petty. Our Itinerary said we were calling in at Warnemunde and Gdansk yet we had to pay to get there when we docked miles away! If they dont actually go to the places on their itinerary, the least they can do is take you there by free bus. If you dont purposely say you are giving tips yourself they enforce them by adding them, uninvited, to your bill. Still, even all this said if the onboard account is added to the cruise cost it is still good value for our money. Less
Cabin review: 2a9030
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