we boarded Constellation 9th June and looking forward to several new excursions we had arranged for this cruise.
We met our fellow Cruise Critic members as we sailed out of Rome, only a small group but very friendly.
First stop Livorno, we joined a small group and went to Cinque Terre, wow, great day out, 1.5 hrs drive got us to Portovenere and from there the ferry to Manorola, the villages all picture postcard and hugged the coastline with the exception of Corniglia which is not accessible from the sea only by road or train as it is high up on the hills we took the train from Manorola to Veranazza, word of warning please get on the correct train. We didnt but realised and got off at the next stop and waited for the correct one. From there we had a ride with the guide to Corniglia, lunch and explored the town. We had a very good guide in Nicolo Scovenno who we do recommend. After Corniglia we had a 1.5 hrs drive back and called in at Pisa to see the Field of Miracles (the Tower) for those who had never been before. Back to ship, very tiring day but a very special tour, worth the effort. Word of warning, the villages are steep and it is strenuous to reach the carparks/train stations etc.
Day 2 Portofino, still suffering the effects of the previous day, we settled for a stroll around Portofino, very picturesque and worth a visit.
Sea Day, rest and relaxation
Villefranche, Having been here many times we wanted something different to do and had read about Villa Effrusi, this turned out to be a great morning and well worth the visit. The villa belonged to the Rothschild family and was built around 1890 but now open to the public. There is a electronic guide for each room and is worth getting, all we did was leave a passport copy which was returned when we took back the devices. the gardens are spectacular and the musical fountains worth watching. it cost 15 euros each to get in. Use the 81 bus or a taxi which is expensive.
Toulon we took another private group tour to the Lavendar Fields and Aix en Provence.
We were just 1 week too soon for the full bloom of the lavender but the coloured haze you got the gist of what was to come, and Aix is lovely old town centre.
Sete we took a ships tour to Nimes and Pont Du Gard. Wow the old aqueduct is truly amazing and the walk around the old part of Nimes to see the roman ruins well worth the effort.
Sea Day feet up and relaxation
Valencia - shuttle bus into town and wandered following a map, this is another old town and worth the effort to see.
Palma - shuttle again and a leisurely wander around town. We have holidayed here before so relaxing day really no need to go further than town.
Constellation is still a lovely lady, well maintained and very clean. The crew are extremely friendly and helpful. Our cabin Aqua 2 grade was very well kept with best cabin steward we have had.
The entertainment was not to our liking, The shows we had seen several times so did not bother and the guest artists sorry but did walk out
Now for the worst part of the cruise, the food in Blu. We have never eaten so much from the MDR menu which we had brought through on several occasions and my dearest husband has never had the roast chicken as many times as on this cruise. he did try the salmon which was raw in the middle, as opposed to the pheasant which was tough and overcooked and must have been chased around the deck a few times before it was cooked.
I did try the duck with cherry sauce but unfortunately it arrived still quacking. My ultra sharp knife could not make any inroads into cutting it either, there was more blood than cherry sauce. My main course that night was a bowl of minestrone soup from the MDR. the chef on his walk around simply shrugged. when he was complimented on the soup he had to admit he did not cook that!!
We were not alone in finding Blu a big disappointment on this cruise. The waiters however were amazing.
Having been on Constellation several times we know that the kitchen can do better than they did on this cruise.
Fingers crossed for September as we are going back for round 2
Clean comfortable and well maintained.
tiring but amazing day out
visited the lavendar fields and Aix en Provence, worth the journey out.
if you love roman history, please book this tour.
shuttle into town, follow the map worth the effort.