Number of Cruises: 6
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: June 19th, 2004
This cruise was our 6th, we have cruised other oporators such as Costa Cruises, but found that Celebrity Cruises was much better. I use a wheelchair 99% of the time and that is an important factor for us. We booked cabin 8176 which is an out side cabin (rear of the ship) and a designed disabled cabin. out of 100 the cabin was 97 .. meeting most of my needs, the bathroom has large and easy to move a wheelchair in and out of and to use the shower (no bath). The cabin had more than enogh room to turnt he wheelchair round. Well appointed with the usual cabin features.. this time we had 24 hour room service from the interactive tv.. worked 98% of the time. The veranda was 18' by 15' and had 3 sun beds, 2 chairs and a table and still had bags of room for the wheelchair. A small ramp was provided to get from the cabin out and up on to the veranda (slight lip through the sliding doors.
The ship is wheelchair friendly as the company claims it to be. First time I have found that to be the case, one small gripe was the access from the rear lifts on deck 11 to the out side deck the door was heavy to open and had a high lip, only one on the ship lile it. The rest were automatic doors and are easy to open.
The ship was impressive, but not grand.. For a grand hallway see Costa Lines Atlantica.. This ship had a stair case and the lifts on the side instead of in the hall way. The ship had well appointed public rooms, plenty of seating... the ship was full, but never seemed crowded. The only hassle was getting off the ship in ports (sam for all cruise ships).. 4 lifts to the disembarcation deck.. always full. The ship had all the usual amenities expected including the expensive film shop (make sure you have plenty of spare film).. the shops otherwise were good and not to over the top in price.
Food? out of 10, I would say 9.. the ship had the special dining experiance for $60 for the two of us in Ocean Liners.. the food out of this world, as was the service and the actual dining room..recommend this, but watch out for the wine bill... $169 for one meal and that was a glass per course.. but the food was well worth it, we went twice.
Buffet meals were Ok, much the same each day, and had the annoying practice of closing early and not being open in the evening if you did not want formal dining. There was an informal area, but you had to book and pay an extra $2 each to use the area. .. but there was always somewhere to eat.
So much to say about the ship, but to cut it down I would say value for money and no major moans, now that is a first for me.
Ports of call:
Dover (UK) to Le Harve (France)...was of space.. Sunday everything closed.. just used as a jumping off point for you yanks and your visit to the French war sites and Paris. Good distance from town, but free shuttle bus. The at Sae for a day... plenty to do next port was Oslo (Norway) moored up right in the town, interesting place (had last seen it 30 years before - lots of changes) plenty of excursions (expensive). Next port of call was Copenhagen (Denamrk).. new cruise terminal area, lots of tourist (rip off) shops, not far from the little mermaid and walkable (pushable in wheelchair) to the royal palace. Tivoli Gardens looked very sad (last seen 30 years back)..poor mans disney. Again a rip off. half hour from ship port by coach (heavy traffic in Copenhagen) day and evenings. Lots to see. but out of town excursions not of value.... next port was Rostock... a real let down. We tied up in a cargo dock, miles from town and had a free shuttle bus to town... should have moored in warmunden, but as we were to big and another ship got in before us we ended up in the cargo dock. The town was any town anywhere in Europe..sad and not interesting.. took a taxi under the river to the town of Warmunden and that was not cheap. Most disappointing port of call on the trip and used as a jumping off point for Berlin (lots of maons about the trips as it took from 7 a.m to 10 p.m (the ship sailed late)).. we then were at sea again for a day, again lots to do on board. Next port was Gydina in Poland.. good excursions and interesting place, plus a visit to Gadanske.. nice mer to buy and great glass.. time was to short..get some local money for toilets as they rip you off at a $1 a time when the local currancy is about 25c.. nice place, lots to see, recommended... next port of call was Tallin in Estonia, great place, plenty to see and do, a real 1st in my book, would love to go back some day..only free from Russia 10 years and they have made giant leaps, they make you wanted. Highly recommended especially the old town and the cobbled streets. Go free shuttle transfers to the port (not really working distance).. next we have Helsinki (Finland)..what can I say that is nice about this sterile place... if you want to see the 1952 Olympic stadium then that is about it.. not a place I would recommend..just a city... Next we went to St Petersburg... get ready this was supposed to be the highlight of the cruise. We obtained our own visas (recommended).. we got off the ship and lined up for an hour to get past the passport control.. he took 3 minutes to stamp passports and that was for those that had a visa.. those that went on tours did not have a visa, but then they could not go where they wanted. We were warned of the Mafi taxi in the port... normal taxis not allowed in the port.. the normal fare from the docks (yes we were in the cargo dock again, but with 5 other cruise ships...) is $10.00 they will take US$ cash or Euros.. the Mafia taxis wanted $30... the ship did warn us off them.. we took the dockyard bus (remeber I am in a wheelchair).. no problems 7 bus stops and you reach the dock gates.. again you ahve to go through passport control and customs.. very old gate and very old miserable building, and even more miserable faced guards and people.. many hanging about by the exit, did not feel very safe. We then tried to get a licenced taxi.. Joke that is.. we walker a mile found a hotel and they called one from St Petersburg (6kms) he took 45 minutes to arrive. On our sightseeing trip around St Petersburg we say only 6 taxis all day.. chap at $50 incuding a $20 tip.. we hired him for the next day and that cost us $200 including taking us shopping and to Peterhof and waiting for us.. again included $20 tip. Great palce to see, just asham that the people are so miserable. Recommend the shop Red October (locals not allowed in) good prices, good engish spoken, free sample of vodca and cavier (cavier cheap) good quality goods and not a rip of for a change.. take US$ cash Euros cash or credit cards, and you pay in rubles and they convert it and yes it was correct when it hit my bank in the UK. Last port of call was Stockholm, had plenty of pre conceptions about this city..would love to visit again, especially the WASA warshop, great place, need a good half day, one hour on a coach is not enough.. nice city lots to do. The gem is the arrival by sea, took 5 hours to get down to the city through the islands, that was a treat, very attactive and very close some of them are to the ship...
We were there in the summer and had the white nights, did not get dar until midnight then it was just gray and by 3.30 the sun was up again.. the sun went down about 11.30 from Norway to when we got to Stockholm.. we flew back to the UK from Stockholm.. airport some way from town, so a transfer from teh ship is a must (cruise ended in Stockholm).. the ship again was in a cargo dock miles from town.
All told it was worth the money, the ship was great and the places on the whole were OK with exception of Rostock and Leharve. Boarding the ship was easy, disembarcation was the usual hassle, but then that is all cruise ships. recommended to you..any questions do e mail me.