The missus always wanted to visit India so this cruise itinerary gave us an ideal opportunity to experience India and ‘test the waters’ as such.
We’ve sailed on many ships on different lines and only once prior had we sailed with Celebrity on the Equinox and we have fond memories of a classy ship with great food. On that, the Constellation didn’t disappoint. The food was really good and the crew were probably some of the best and happiest we’ve seen. Couldn’t fault them or the food in our opinion. The ship is much older than the Equinox and less modern so can’t compete in that regard but it was kept in pretty good shape. We had an Aqua Class balcony cabin that was nice and comfortable and the public areas were all clean and in good order also.
As we were Aqua Class, we had access to the Blu restaurant which was really good, quiet and relaxed and we could go whenever we wanted as there weren’t any set dining times for Blu. The menu is supposed to be a little bit healthier with less emphasis on rich sauces but sometimes, you crave a decadent meal and we occasionally opted for choices on the main menu from San Marco next door.
The Oceanview Cafe buffet had really nice options and we had breakfast and lunch from here plus the occasional evening meal when we wanted something simpler. Overall, we rated the Oceanview Cafe compared to most buffets on ships.
Where the Constellation was let down was in the entertainment provided. The theatre shows were poor, comedian wasn’t overly funny, guest singers were mediocre but more let down by the support of a poor house/backing band. Same with the bands playing around the pool....dull and boring and one had a singer that could clear the pool deck of passengers. The entertainment was the biggest let down really and doesn’t even come close compared to entertainment we’ve had on NCL cruises. I do wonder if the entertainment director is looking at his passenger demographics and concluding, wrongly, that they like music circa 20 years before their time. It was the biggest dispointment for us.
As for the itinerary, the India stops were great and kinda what I expected, but not what the missus had in her mind. She watched tv shows with Joanna Lumley visiting tranquil lakes with floating palm fronds and people meditating. What we got was busy and bustling streets and a crazy traffic system that whilst completely chaotic to us with drivers pulling out without looking, driving on the wrong side of the road, stopping randomly, pedestrians wandering about and overtaking when it didn’t seem like a good idea to....somehow just worked. You can get tuk tuks in Cochin and Mangalore quite easily and cheaply to see the local sites and generally just experience typical living in India. We took a taxi to a beach in Goa as the beaches were further away so a long Tuk Tuk ride didn’t seem the best idea. In that, the beach was beautiful and we took a dip in the Arabian Sea. There aren’t any Tuk Tuk’s in Mumbai (Bombay) so again, we took a taxi but this was also cheap and way, way cheaper than the ships tours.
Oman was a surprise as we didn’t know what to expect but it was immaculately clean and quiet. We took a taxi for a tour to different places. Abu Dhabi and Dubai were also clean with luxury hotels and big fancy buildings everywhere but to be honest, it didn’t do anything for us. We’re glad we’ve seen it but we wouldn’t rush back. Just seemed really expensive for food and shopping, whilst in amazing malls, is more expensive than the UK so not sure what the attraction is but that’s just our opinion.
All in all, we really enjoyed our trip as we pretty much do all our holidays as it’s new experiences. I wouldn’t rush back on the the Connie, or any Millennium class ship to be honest. But I wouldn’t avoid it either. We accept that if we want to travel further afield in the world, we can’t expect it to be on the newest and bestest ships in any cruise fleet. The itinerary and the crew made this a holiday to remember.
Clean, comfortable. As you’d expect really. Only downside is that deck 9 is the highest cabin deck and sits just below a huge overhang of the deck above so it was shaded a lot and only really got any sun when the sun was low down on the horizon when rising or setting.
Clean, lovely hotels (we stayed in one for a couple of days prior to our cruise), fast and reasonable priced taxis. Dining out is expensive as are the malls.
Really clean, quiet, smooth roads, amazing hotels. Quite a surprise to be honest as we hadn’t done any research. We took a taxi for circa 4-5 hours and went to some places as recommended to the other couple we shared with and that cost us $160. If you’re not up for a taxi ride, there’s a Souk within walking distance of the port and that’s a nice way to spend a few hours.
Better than we thought. We had a female taxi driver who is part of a company that has 10 taxis and drivers, all female. We paid circa $110 for 4 of us on a city tour that lasted most of the day. We took the driver with us to lunch at a fabulous restaurant. Amazing food.
Took a taxi to Colva beach. Circa 50/55 minutes to get there. $80 odd for 4 of us return and the driver stayed and waited for us. Lovely beach but we’ve been told there are many others and people we spoke to said the beaches they visited were way cheaper than the food and drink on offer at the one we went to, but we liked it all the same. Do some research before you go. Calangute Beach was recommended by a crew member but that’s approx 1hr 20mins from the port.
Was ok.....saw some temples and markets but this city was bigger and we didn’t enjoy it as much probably in part due to the Tuk Tuk driver. He told us it’ll be 2000 rupees for 4 stops at different sites and circa 500 rupees for any extra stops, which is fine. But it seemed like his attitude was the quicker we hit these stops, the more he could try and encourage us to take more and the quicker he got paid. He drove like a lunatic but the whole experience felt rushed. When you exit the port gates, the drivers swarm on you so have an idea of what you want to see before you go and try and get an idea of price before you commit to a driver be it taxi or Tuk Tuk.
Busy, dirty, funny, crazy. Take a Tuk Tuk from the port and you effectively get a driver and tour guide in one for buttons. Typical tour for 4 hours plus is circa 1000 - 1500 rupees (£11 - £16). We had a driver called Sidyad (I think that’s how you spell it) and he was brilliant. Wished I had tipped him more as he was a genuine and lovely guy.
Similar to Abu Dhabi but busier. Burj Khalifa is a must see. If you want to go up to one of the viewing platforms, pre book it. We went and they had no availablity to the 124/125th floors so we shelled out £220 for two of us to the VIP 148th floor. We did it as we weren’t sure if we would ever go back so didn’t want to miss the experience.