Number of Cruises: 33
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: July 1st, 2006
Constellation Cruise Review
The 2 week Baltic cruise can
be exciting and a bit demanding. There is a port-of-call every day except the
first and last day.
Celebrity transfers to and from London and Heathrow were handled smoothly. Embarkation and disembarkation were well organized both went very well.
Celebrity’s Constellation is a ship that is beautiful and well maintained. The staff was consistently friendly and always greeted us with a smile and greeting. These are perhaps small issues for some, but they do make for a pleasant cruise when staff members are so attentive.
We were in stateroom 9199 which is listed as a family suite. It is at the rear of the ship and has plenty of room for 3 or 4 people. The veranda is very large and quite comfortable. One word of caution, directly above on deck 10 is the outside dining area with heavy wooden tables and chairs that are constantly being moved from morning to night as people sit at this tables. The noise can become annoying, especially if you’re trying to sleep.
The internet service is excellent with 2 locations and plenty of computers. Lessons are also available on how to use different programs. There is also assistance available during scheduled hours if you need help.
The shows were well done and should not be missed. Individual speakers and performers change with each cruise, but the group shows are professional staged.
Perry Grant performs in Michael’s Lounge and packs the space every night. He is entertaining and has an extensive repertoire of songs.
The food, without exception, was very good. There are plenty of choices each day with specialty lunches and dinners when in port to complement the country you are visiting. Dinning room service was professional and without fault. Drinks were remembered after the first night and there was always a friendly atmosphere at dinner.
Unfortunately, the ship does not have launderette facilities for passengers. It does have laundry and dry cleaner service available for a per item charge. For cruises of 2 weeks it can become a bit expensive to send out laundry.
As part of a group of 75 people our travel agent organized shore excursions with a company call PortTrips International, in all ports except St. Petersburg where she used Red October. Both companies provided excellent service with knowledgeable and friendly tour guides at half the price of Celebrity’s excursions; highly recommended if available.
We have been to Stockholm, Helsinki, Oslo and Copenhagen before so we knew enough about these cities to do a quick tour to refresh our memories then strike out on our own.
Tallinn, Estonia was a gem and a really pleasant surprise. The Old Town was filled with scenic old buildings, quaint shops and coffee houses and friendly people. This turned out to one of my favorite ports.
Klaipeda, Lithuania still shows signs from years under Soviet rule.
St. Petersburg, Russia was an interesting experience. We were docked for 2 days and each day we were out early to experience the museums and palaces. There is plenty to see and experience and it is recommended that you do so as part of a group. I agree completely with this statement. We were warned on several occasions not to wear jewelry or take valuables and keep our wallets and purses close. After awhile you begin to feel everyone on the street is out to get you, but nothing of the sort ever happened. Using common sense and staying with the guide proved to be a safe and enjoyable experience. Very few people speak English in St. Petersburg so going out on your own could lead to difficulties.
I was told that one elderly couple was on tour was stopped and questions for about an hour by the police for taking unauthorized pictures. I’m not really sure why the third degree when it was obvious that they were with a tour group from the ship, but this is the type of situation you don’t want to get into traveling along.
Gdansk is a bus ride from the port. The city is old and interesting with lots of shopping available.
Warnemunde, Germany was the port-of-call, but most people went to Berlin for the day. Those that stayed behind went to Warnemunde and Rostock and reported them to be beautiful resort towns with cafés to relax at during their visit. The trip to Berlin takes about 3 hours and is certainly worth it if you have never been there before. The tour takes you around the city to all the sites from the war and occupation. The drive through the countryside is beautiful and very relaxing. Some people on Celebrity’s excursion took the train, which took about the same time as our PortTrips International bus trip.
If you’re interested in amber wait until you get to Gdansk or Tallinn. Both cities have beautifully worked amber jewelry. Gdansk has the most shops with the greatest variety of jewelry of all the stops. The prices are not cheap, but the quality of the workmanship and designs are the best. Tallinn also had beautifully worked jewelry in the stores in the Old Town. St. Petersburg surprisingly did not offer the best prices, variety or finely worked pieces, and the prices were high and varied wildly for 2 items that appeared almost identical.