We have have been traveling a fair bit for the past few decades. India and Sri Lanka have always been part of our to-go list but only wanted to do it on a cruise because we did not want to stay locally. Imagine our delight when we found this route.
We have been to the other places included - Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman but we still joined a couple of the tours to revisit these wonderful places.
Celebrity Constellation is a very tidy ship. The staff on board including our cabin steward made sure it was kept immaculate. Not once did I see plates or rubbish stacked anywhere. The ship is old but you will be surprised that we never saw any rust or dilapidated flooring, walls etc. Furniture - in the public and dining places were all in very good condition.
The biggest downfall of this cruise were the shore excursions. The choices they gave were basically not interesting - just driving around the cities, having a few stops for pictures and a bit of shopping in the local filthy markets. The descriptions of the tours are not well prepared and often misleading. India is a place where people in their 50s visit. They let you walk and walk in the afternoon but they dont say that in the description of the tours. I was in two tours where guests complained to the guide why we have been walking for over 2 hours and worse, walking around in circles in those crowded streets. My husband and I thought it was just us having a whinge privately until we actually heard a couple of the other guests call the attention of the guides.
Also, the places they chose to offer more often than not had no historical significance or mildly put, just useless and not interesting for the ordinary traveler. I have heard of other stories where they sent them to filthy plantation sites that did not even have any water.
My husband and I think those who prepared and selected the tours on offer did not take their job seriously. I think they just came up with the list without even visiting or trying out these tours themselves.
The experience we had with these tours have forced us to re-evaluate our future bookings with Celebrity. We compared the shore excursions being offered by other cruiseliners from the same port. Unfortunately, we found out that Celebrity does offer the poorest type of shore excursions for the other ports of our future cruises. People go on a cruise to see things and not just stay in the cabins. Hence, shore excursions are important.
Another thing, we did not like in Celebrity Constellation is the limited number of places to dine. It was a 15 day cruise. Obviously, you cannot expect us to dine at the Blu ( for Aqua Class passengers) the whole time. They only had the main dining room ( San Marco), the Oceanview Buffet and the 3 specialty restaurants, the Tuscan Grill ( never changed its menu) , QSine ( food is truly horrible here) and the SUshi place. I have been used to ships with having at least 8 restaurants on offer. It is not the ship's fault but I think it is worth mentioning in order to avoid disappointment.
The Oceanview buffet is were 90% of the passengers have their lunch. Choices are abundant but they seem to taste the same and are often cold. There were days when the food was actually great.
The Entertainment is another disappointment. We thought the performers were auditioning for a job when the ship docked.
The Cabin was okay except for the fact that the ship only had 5 movies on offer and was played on rotation. Hence by Day 6 you will have the video on Day 1 on offer again. You can opt to rent a movie. With Princess and Norwegian, if you are in this cabin class ( which is one step lower than the suites) you get a wide selection of movies. You can forget the TV unless you can stand 16 days of Fox News.
In summary, you need to really do your research when joining a cruise of this type. It was not the worst cruise we ever were on BUT it could have been heaps better if our host pointed us to the right direction in order to see the better side of what India has to offer.
The service we received from everyone from the cabin attendant, the restaurants, room service, stores, guest service, etc is one of the best we have experienced in a cruise liner.
Cabin was immaculately kept by Jayson our room steward. We had issues when he was on his break because his back up, Fernando, would not clean our cabins. We called the attention of Jayson and that was sorted out.
Jayson did a very good job in making sure our cabin was spotless and well stocked with the bathroom supplies.
EMbarkation was great and orderly. Our bags were received quickly.
The only tour that was great. We have been to Dubai in the past but never to the top of Burj Khalifa. QUeues everywhere, as epxected.
Just went around by ourselves. We have been there before.
Coach drove around in circles. Commentary was good. Had a stop at Oberoi for morning tea.
Coach drove around in circles even showing us the ugly parts of Cochin.
Sites were wonderful but the guide took us on a walking tour when the tour description didnt state that walking for 2 hours was to happen. Very crowded spots and unsafe for tourists.
Phuket has always been wonderful.