I am a history fan; I have long wanted to see Greece. This cruise was a great way to scratch the surface. Departing from Venice was an amazing bonus. Cruising down the canal past the city of Venice was incredible and really a great ... Read More
I am a history fan; I have long wanted to see Greece. This cruise was a great way to scratch the surface. Departing from Venice was an amazing bonus. Cruising down the canal past the city of Venice was incredible and really a great selling point for this specific cruise.
Celebrity sold us on their service last January while on board Silhouette. Don't misunderstand Celebrity Constellation is not Silhouette, but it is Celebrity. Celebrity service is far better than any of the other 4 cruise lines we have cruised on. Yes, Constellation is 17 years old, but once you get onboard I just did not see the age. She looked far better than many newer ships (except Silhouette) we've been on.
For us being able to get around ship quickly is important. I think the date of the selection was critical to our experience. As grandparents to 3 boys, we love children; however, we go on vacation to recharge and enjoy ourselves. With this cruise beginning on August 28th, there were few children onboard. We did not have to listen to children running up and down the passageways outside our cabin. Perfect for sleeping late.
Our cabin was amidships near the elevators. Perfect for getting to deck 10, quickly. We never had to wait more than 1-2 minutes for an elevator. We lived the fact that we could review our onboard account from our cabin television, daily.
We had pretty big plans while ashore, so we did not plan late nights aboard. This does not mean we did not go to the evening shows. I wish I had taken notes on the entertainers who came aboard, but... In any event, we really enjoyed Lorraine Brown and the fact that she performed an evening show and a matinee several days later was great. We did enjoy the onboard singers and dancers. The aerialists were especially good. I believe one show was too much, Elyria (not sure I've spelled it correctly); we found the subject matter offensive/borderline offensive.
Ports of Call
3 Sea Days - well needed days to rest
1. Katakolon - Ancient Olympia, shore excursion, interesting, but now I've done it; I won't do it again.
2. Santorini - Wow!!! You anchor in the caldera and the view is amazing. I've read other reviews of complaints about long lines for the cable cars. We never waited longer than one cycle of the cable cars. Walk or ride the donkeys if you want, imho, the smell of donkey urine and feces are a take away from a good cruise (although for some probably great for a good laugh, but not me). We visited Oia, got the Blue Dome shots, and walked as far as you could go. The road to Oia is interesting. Back to Thira (Fira) for quick tour and back to ship for a long, quiet nap.
3. Piraeus (Athens) - 2-days here. The port is 20-30 minutes from downtown Athens. Day 1 - Instead of touring our first day, we took a ferry to the island of Poros (where my brother-in-law grew up). If you get the opportunity, go to Poros. We only spent 4 hours there (ferry trip is about 2 hours round trip), but with the help of my sister's in-laws we had a great opportunity to see the island from a more personal perspective. This island is beautiful. I would come back to Greece just for this! After returning to the ship, we took the Metro to the Athens Plaka district and proceeded to get quite lost. No matter, we walked up to the Acropolis just as the sun was setting and then got lost in the Plaka district. IT was late when we returned to the ship. Day 2 - we had an Athens City Tour with add-on Acropolis tour with Shore Excursions Group. As enough people did not book the trip, four of us were given a virtual private tour of Athens - Perfect!
4. Mykonos - another beautiful location. We were off the ship early for our personal walking tour of Mykonos town. Love it, until later in the morning as the crowds began to build. The windmills and Little Venice are short walks from the tender dock Have lunch or coffee in little Venice, you might meet the local mascot, a pelican walked through the sidewalk cafe as we finished up.
5. Corfu - So many choices for tours, but did not want the long tours out into the island. There is so much history right in Corfu town. We took the shuttle to the terminal and walked out and caught the Hop on-Hop off bus. Corfu town is a small town with small streets and was quite crowded early making for a 20-30 minute ride to Kanoni. At Kanoni, get off and walk 300-400 feet to see and visit Mouse Island (beautiful view) Just across the channel, from Mouse Island, are views of what many believe looks like Capri. Here, you will also view aircraft landing at the island's only airport. BTW, the boat ride to Mouse Island cost 5 Euros round trip for 2; 5-10 minute ride. We left Kanoni and went to the Old Fortress, very impressive; especially when you consider when it was built. If you're up for it walk to the top - it is a long haul, sometimes made worse by people stopping to take photos on the narrow steps. Take your photos from the top, you won't miss anything.
Service and Crew
The ships crew are amazing. We were always warmly greeted by the crew everywhere we went onboard. Our San Marco dining room servers: Waiter - Widastra, Asst Waiter - Ram, & Sommelier - Susana were wonderfully friendly and warm. In 15 cruises, we have to say they were the best we've ever had. Thank you so much for that. We ate in the Tuscan Grille & can only say, "what's not to enjoy here?" The Tuscan staff were amazing hovering just out of view, but always available in an instant when something was needed. Great!
In all of our previous cruises, we probably never had more than a shallow hello from the ships officers. Constellation was vastly different. We were always greeted by ship's officers, including the captain, saying hello, asking how our day was, how we were enjoying the cruise, and if we needed anything to let them know. We experienced this everyday. This is our first experience where our cruise director had anything to say other than a nod or simple hello. On Constellation, the Cruise Director Rich (sorry I did not make note of your last name, but won't ever forget your first name), was amazing. He was everywhere talking with guests. He greeted us as we boarded and he was there to wish us well when we departed at 0745. Thanks, Rich.
This type of service is indicative of great management and leadership at the top. From my perspective, that is the Captain. I've been on several other cruises and never had this personal service. Thank you, sir!
This is only my second Celebrity experience but embarking and disembarking have never been better on any other cruise line I've been on. Because this cruise was sold out, embarking was expected to be timely. We received a text and email indicating what time we would arrive for embarking. We paid no attention to this and boarded, as we were ready. Within a few minutes, we had our photos taken and were onboard. Disembarking went just as well. Unbelievably, we packed only carry-on luggage (took advantage of ships laundry) for 2-weeks in Italy and Greece. When it was time to leave, we left our cabin, early (we had an early train to Rome to catch) waited no more than 10-15 minutes and we were off and on our journey to Rome. Read Less