Celebrity Constellation Cruise Review by aqrtprinter
- Sail Date: September 2014
- Destination: Europe - Black Sea
- Cabin Type: Sky Suite 1
After four and a half hours from the house to Gatwick by train. We had requested assistance at our local station which we discovered included Reading and Gatwick.
We stayed overnight at the Premier Hotel with dinner and breakfast included. We had stayed at the Premier on a previous trip and were satisfied. The food is very good. In the morning we had a short and easy walk from the hotel to the terminal.
We dropped our bags and having arranged assisted boarding we went to the waiting area. The assisted transfer to the boarding gate was efficient. We settled in on the Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 for the four hours flight to Ataturk airport Istanbul. The assisted boarding seemed to include a special meal!
The Hotel (at a cost of 30 euros ) had arranged a transfer and it worked well. We stayed at The Best Western Blue, The President Hotel. We arrived at the hotel at the at 7.30 local time a total time of nine and a half hours from the hotel in Gatwick. The President is a reliable modern hotel in the centre of the city, located near a tram stop. It is very much a transit stopover rather than a place to settle into. We stayed two nights. The Terrace Restaurant has a spectacular view and it also serves food. The waiter in the lobby café was wonderful. The hotel arranged a boat tour of the Bosphorus. It was a lovely sunny afternoon and the commentary was good. This was one of the highlights of the holiday. The day and a half in Istanbul refreshed our memory of our previous visit when on the Summit. We had a taxi from the hotel to the Constellation. (12 Euros) The transfer was easy given the dreadful stop start traffic.
Boarding the ship was quick and our Suite 6128 was not ready so we had lunch in the Oceanview buffet restaurant. We liked the selection of food and it became a preferred place to eat when we were on the move. We soon got into the suite and waited only a short while for our luggage. The room looked brighter than a standard stateroom and there was more room, though the layout didn’t appear to deliver more useful space. There was a bottle of bubbly which we don’t usually drink and eventually we got a bottle of still white wine. There was a small bunch of flowers and three pieces of fruit.
A pleasant surprise was we were able to use the Blu restaurant. The butler, a charming man from India, walked us to the restaurant. The Blu is a good restaurant and we had most of our evening meals there. We used the two complementary Speciality Restaurant visits. The Oceanliner was more of an occasion than the Tuscany. The coffee at the Tuscany was perfection. We went to the main dining room once but the service was slow. On previous cruises we had used the SPA healthy eating restaurant but people who might have eaten there seemed to be at the Blu. We went there twice and eventually only went to the Oceanview, sitting outside to see the sea go by.
The weather and the Black Sea ports were disappointing. People in the UK had better weather than we had. The ports we visited were a poor substitute for the Crimea. The weather was adverse and we had to divert from the island of Mykonos, Greece to Kusadasi, Turkey. We went on a tour to Ephesus by a Cruise Critic member. The trip to Ephesus was almost worth the cost of the whole holiday. The next day we went with another Cruise Critic group to Corinth. We had been there previously and it was not a special day. We then went to Mykonos where they have the windmills. If you have ever wondered why they have windmills in Mykonos… it’s the wind.
The ship has been ‘Solicised’ or ‘nickel and dimed’ so that things that were provided in the price are now chargeable. Charging for nearly everything has taken the edge off the feeling of ‘special’. Now we are sitting duck paying customers. Having said that being in a suite and also being Elite Captain’s Club members meant that we had freebies. Gratefully received! The final full production show was the best we’d seen on any of the previous cruises. Did we like everything? No, we didn’t, but there were enough things that satisfied us.
We took the ship’s transfer to the airport at a cost of $50. The flight to the UK was without a hitch (a short takeoff delay only.) We stayed at the Premier Inn and had what was the best evening meal of the holiday. Well done Premier Inn.
The cruise and its associated costs was value and ‘if only’ we’d had better weather and the Crimean ports.
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