Celebrity Constellation Cruise Review by PetB
- Sail Date: January 2018
- Destination: Asia
- Cabin Type: Aqua Class Balcony
Embarkation: Singaporean efficiency at its best.
KO SAMUI: Tenders take passengers from the ship to the wharf at the town of Ko Samui. From there you can get a taxi to take you to either Fisherman's Village or one of the other beach resorts on the North coast of the island. We paid THB 3,000 and were taken to Fisherman's village, shown around, collected at the agreed time and driven back to the ship with time to spare, At the village we swam in the ocean, ate a fantastic Thai meal and drank cold beers an cocktails in a restaurant right on the beach, and had a pedicure. All of these were ridiculously cheap. The whole afternoon came in at about A$150 considerably cheaper than anything offered by the ship.
BANGKOK/LAEMCHABANG: The ship stops at LAEMCHABANG which is some distance from Bangkok. Although the ship was there for two nights the excursions offered were same day trips or overnight for one night. We organised two nights in a Bangkok hotel and utilised a shore excursion to get into town and arranged a transfer back to the ship through our hotel. This gave us relatively easy access to Kanchanaburi / River Kwai sites. Again we noted that making our own arrangements saved us a lot of money compared to what the ship was charging.
NHA TRANG: Visit cancelled due to weather. Safety first so no complaints from us.
HUE/DANANG(CHAN MAY): We visited Hoi An with a group from the cruise that we put together on the wharf. Again this was far cheaper than any excursion offered by the ship.
HO CHI MINH(PHU MY): We went on an excursion sold by the ship (Taste of HCMC?). Very enjoyable. Professionally hosted and included great lunch plus visits to the history museum, reunification palace, the sea god temple, lacquerware factory and a fantastic buffet lunch.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: The places we visited other than Ko Samui are industrial ports. There is very limited shopping in terminal buildings. Unless you have a keen interest in shipping containers and heavy infrastructure you will want to travel some distance. Thailand and Vietnam are both developing countries. The roads are not as good as we might be used to, traffic can be chaotic, not everyone speaks English, places can have more than one name and one name can refer to more than one place. You could easily get lost and not find your way back to the ship. BUT the people, scenery and food are all fantastic.
Excursions sold by the ship tend to be expensive, but the vehicles seem to be high quality and the guides speak passable (or better) English (which wasn't always the case with other arrangements). You also have peace of mind with the shore excursions - you're late they wait.
DINING: We traveled in Aqua class and ate most of our meals in BLU - very enjoyable. We also dined at Qsine and Tuscan Grille. Both of these provided excellent meals and service and are well worth the surcharge (more so if you don't have access to Blu / Luminae etc). When we were onboard for lunch we grabbed a burger at the mast grill.
ANNOYANCES: Very hard to get a lounge near the pool. Fellow passengers would get up early and reserve same (paperback or towel etc) and then not use them. Hard to get a table near the mast grill for the same reasons. However these things are minor.
DISEMBARK: again Singapore efficiency meant it all went like clockwork. We availed ourselves of a shore excursion / drop off at the airport. Given the cost of taxis from the city to Changi Airport this was good value.
OVERALL: Had a great time and would highly recommend this cruise to anyone who is prepared to accept that it is different. It's an adventure in a world that is unfortunately sterilised and homogenised to a degree where things like this don't generally happen.
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