Celebrity Constellation Review Amsterdam to Istanbul, September, 2011
24/01/2012 [now includes Drinks Package]
Master : Captain : Nikos Frantis previously staff captain prior to taking on current role, but has served on 7 Celebrity ships
Staff Captain : Dimitris Petras
Hotel Director : Julian Brakenbury, Newark UK
Cruise Director : Keith Cox previously 2001-2006 NCL Vice President of Passenger Programmes; best we have met to date great mingling with the guests and his staff clearly thought a lot about his managerial skills. We did nominate Keith as well exceeding our expectations, the first time ever we have nominated a Cruise Director, but whilst others have nevertheless been excellent he did have that little bit extra.
Executive Chef : Panagiotis Georgopoulos previously worked with Celebrity then Holland American as well as Royal Caribbean before rejoining Celebrity cruises; quite a character great for rapour with the guests.
Captain's Club Hostess was Tanuska D’Souza.
Constellation berthed at Piraeus, Greece 17/9/2011
Due to the severe weather in the area overnight our flight was delayed by 1 hours due to high winds, but not only that but so was Comstellation, some 4 hours late arriving into Amsterdam so even less time for the staff to turn it around so there were some inevitable delays getting from the airport to the ship, the pilot even had to board the ship via a helicopter. We assumed the delays at the airport were to stagger the arrivals at the ship check-in to help minimise long queues, but ours was relatively painless about 15/20 mins than longer then the inevitable first picture.
These photo's normally sell fot $19.95 but if the image is a good one of you then buy it within 48 hours of joining the ship and you should get it for $9.95
Then you enter the ship and are offered a glass of champagne or orange to drink and you see your first view of the Atrium.
View looking up
and then looking down
The distance covered from Amsterdam to Istanbul was 3,480 miles and the fuel costs were $1m.
Since the $100M upgrade in late 2010 the Constellation has been Soltazised with the addition of the Bistro on Five [portside] off the access to the Cellar Masters [starboard] on Deck 5 and now with a Tuscan Grill Restaurant on Deck 11 where there used to be TV's showing sports programmes and items of games gear to play with.
Our stateroom number was 9105 portside with the overhang. There was some noise from the sunbeds being moved and from the band when it was playing at the pool on Deck 10. We did have a support strut on the right of our balcony but few photographs were taken from here. It was Anabel and Gild who looked after us whislt Glenda was the one who delivered our tray every single morning on time and even managed to bring us coffee and rolls on the day of departure, which is not always possible so we nominated her as well exceeding our expectations.
The menu we had for breakfast in your Stateroom was much more extensive than we had in April when we were on Equinox. There was a press release a few months back saying the menu's were to be extended and if this is the case it now gives a very wide choice of options including Concierge Class Signature Dishes; Smoothies and Teasers but if my memory serves me correctly I have seen these optios before. On the eggs option there is now Poached and Boiled options, but I will look at this one again on our next cruise.
Our Stateroom in a bit of a state you couldn't move for flowers
The TV with fridge underneath and wardrobe to the left with the safe
Shows the fixed hair drier and the unit for tooth brush etc and the reflection in the mirror shows the towels
The toilet and wash hand basin with cupboards plus the nice shower with the removeable head and a washing line
The portable hair dryer locted in your mirrored wall unit which also had 2 115v [vertical pins]and 2 235v sockets [round pins]
Concierge Stateroom flowers Captains' Club Presentation flowers
Our 5 p.m. Canapés
The selection of drinks available in our bar fridge
What TV channels do you have:
Celebrity Life Today
Go / Investigation Discovery *
Bridge View/Weather Forecast
BBC Wolrd News
ESPN / OSN Sports 2 *
TNT / OSN First
CNN / OSN Cinema *
Cartoon / OSN Comedy *
Movie Channel **
Arts & Documentaries
CBS Eye on Celebrity
HLN / BBC Entertainment and this was Fools and Horses; past Episodes of Doctors; Coronation St; Eastenders; Emmerdale etc
* channels reception permitting
** The day I noted the channel info the film showing at 5:15 a.m.; 9.45 a.m. and 5.15 p.m. was You Again starring Kristin Bell; Jamie Lee Curtis & Sigourney Weaver Directed by Andy Fickman and lasting 105 mins and rate PG
There is a new programme accessed via you TV to check on your on board spending, this is much improved with the option to see last expenditure first or last.
The handle on the sliding door to access your balcony used to need to be turned through 180 degrees but the new one only requires a 90 degree turn.
We were equally well looked after in the MDR of the San Marco table 452, with my wife having suffered a stroke a number of years ago Savio was always on hand to make sure she was seated properly and that any chopping up off food from time to time was done without even being asked.
Savio following the Baked Alaska parade Stefan waving a napkin about !!!
and that is why we nominated both Savio & Stefan as having well exceeding our expectations.
Given the $100m spent upgrading the ship some refer to it being Soltazised these are some of the changes we noticed:
Firstly the Reflections Lounge and our best barman who did excell in so many ways, Yesh with Christine.
also Anne & Christine
and now the changes in the Reflections lounge:
The roof style and the furnishings and carpets
The improved seats much better than we found on the Solstice class some once you sat in them you have great difficulty getting up from
The view of the stage from the piano sited on the starboard side of the ship
Now what can you expect to see in this lounge:
European Rock Ban Tribute with Party Band Great Ideas
Final Party Night Lets Rock until We Dock it
Latin Theme Party / Modern Line Dancing / Karaoke
XBox Kinect Bowling / Newly Weds and Not so Newlyweds
Memories at Sea Scrapbooking plus Golf Competition on days at sea [some days in the Rendez-Vous Lounge Deck 4]
Dance Classes : Modern Line Dancing/Tango/Swing
Trivia Quiz Music/TV Theme Tunes/Movies/
Dancing through the Decades with Party Band Great Ideas
The singer on the left in both these photographs is Becky and her parents Kath & Jack were on the cruise with us.
Captains' Club Celebration
We learnt that along with a couple from Virginia USA, we were the top cruisers and as normal presented to the Captain and both ladies receiving a bouquet of red roses, whilst we received a scroll. Both of us were dined in the Cruise Liners Speciality restaurant with a courtesy bottle of wine we on the Wednesday night and the Johnson's on the Thursday.
The entertainment that afternoon:
and that evening our meal in the Cruiser Liners Restaurant
and the meal, we opted for the Wild Forest Mushroom Cappuccionso with Glazed Shitake-Spiced Flan and Mushroom Biscotti and this was followed Dover Sole Veronique with Green Grapes au Beurre Noisetta with some other Chef's Special appestisers we really had enough and really couldn't force ourselves to have some of the very appetising sweets including Grand Marnier Souuffle with Mocha Cream sauce. In the morning I made a point of seeing Tanuska the Captains' Club Hostess to thank her for what was an excellent meal well presented.
Cost $40 per person plus 15% and an even more elegant menu where each course features a wine to compliment the food Cost $89 per person plus 15%
There is of course the Tuscan Grill on Deck 11 one of the new restaurants
I did find out that when in port instead of the usual cover charge of $30 pp they did offer a special price of $24 pp in both cases plus 15%
As this restaurant is located on Deck 11 the blinds are closed during the day due to the number of windows to help modify the temperature
And now back to the Reflections Lounge for the Chocoholics night
The craftsmans and some of their fantastic art
I find taking photographs of these beautiful ice sculptors is best done without using the flash as that kills the effect produced by the internal light.
Another new edition is the Martini Bar and Crush:
whilst it wasn't as extravagent as its equivalent on the Solstice Class ships it blended in well with the surroundings and was as popular, with the bar staff doing there usual tricks with the juggling of the bottles and the cocktail shakers.
The other new additions were Cellar Masters where the Group Expression Trio could be heard a if you look middle right you can just make out the Bistro on Five.
and an old favourite on every Celebrity ship is Michael's Club
were Perry Grant was a great hit here in the evenings
At this point some information bar opening times:
Cafe al Bacio
7 a.m. to 1 a.m.
5 p.m. to Midnight
Martini Bar & Crush
4 p.m. until late
7.30 p.m. to 1.00 a.m. [Piano Bar]
4 p.m. to late
4 p.m. to late
Seaside Pool Bar
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. *
7 a.m. to Midnight *
[ * Both subject weather permitting]
All lounges it was the FREE pour no measures were used. In the Reflection lounge lager was sold in the equivalent of our pint jugs at $5 plus 15%
Reflections Port side; Deck 10 port side swimming pool area; Deck 4 Mid-Ship & Sunset Bar Deck 11
San Marco MDR Deck 4/5 6 p.m. / 8.30 p.m. and Select Dining Deck 5 5.45 to 9.15 p.m.
Bistro on Five 6 p.m to 2 a.m.
Ocean Liners A La Carte Deck 3 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Tuscan Grille Deck 11 Times vary
Cocktail Specials, some examples:
Aperol Spritz, : Prosecco, Aperol, Splash of Soda
Grapefruit Blush : Absolut Ruby, Red Vodka, Fresh Lemon Juice, Pink Grapefruit Juice, Simple Syrup
Bali Hai : Malibu; Coconut Rum; Chambord Liqueur; Island Oasis Passion fruit
Alluring Apertivo : Hendricks Gin; vAperol; Pink Grapefruit Juice
Rosemary Pear Lemonade : Grey Goose La Poire Vodka; Fresh Lemon Juice;
Simple Syrup; Rosemary Sprig & Splash soda
Now the Cafe al Baco
and some of the delicious pastries, yummy
and entertaining you here were:
Jefferson Ang Guitar/Vocalist and the Expression Trio [Classical Music]
What else is there to see and do:
Rendez-Vous Deck 4
De Rissio Quartet
Cooking Demonstration with Executive Chef Panos
Brian Waker Trivia; Ineractive Video Trivia
Learn to decorate a birthday cake
Hereafter [Drama PG-13]
The Town [Thriller – R]
Just Go with It [Comedy PG-13]
The Tourist [Action PG-13]
Rabbit Hole [Drama PG-13]
The Maiden Heist [Comedy PG-13]
Family Movie: Gnomes & Juliet screened 8/10 p.m.[No other info]
Unknown [Drama PG-13]
The Adjustment Bureau [Romance PG-13]
Made in Dagenham [Comedy – R]
Some where repeate
Every Day mainly Cinema Deck 3 $5,000 Mega Jackpots and more
IT Events (there was a small fee for these classes)
Digital Cameras Q&A
Download images & Organise
Ipad Tips and Tricks
Introduction to Adope Photoshop I & II & III
Some where repeated
The wi-fi was limited with the best reception on Deck 6 at the IT Desk or down on Deck 3 Reception area or where the Cafe al Baco is. There was no effective wi-fi in the staterooms.
My bundle gave me $0.42 per minute [£0.29]
Whilst on the subject of IT this was the first cruise I had a Blackberry curve mobile phone with me and but accident really I found I could receive and send emails for FREE, whilst calls and texts would have cost.
now back to some fun eating at the Burger and Hot Dog on Deck 10
and the kids favourite
from 12 to 7 p.m. on Deck 4
and more from outside as the Officers and Executive Chef lay on a Oktoberfest
Executive Chef, Panagiotis hard at work
and not fogetting the other chef's
and what else can be seen around the ship on of the most popular by the pool ones was the water polo matches initially the Hotel Staff vs the Marines who went on to win that narrowly then the final.
the Guests vs the Marines which the Guests on 2 matches to 1 with the final match seeing the Marines being beaten by 16 to 9 points. The Guests are the team at the far end of the pool. Just to make sure there was fair play the Captain watched over the match, but witihin reason it was great fun watching.
Well for the Marines more guests on the next cruise to beat !!!!
Again here in the Casino a range of activities involving the Guests and the Officers some of which included:
Texas Hold’em Tournaments; Officer’s Poker Qualifying Round; Blackjack Touranments as well as Ready, Steady Spin
Some of the talks and seminars around the ship:
Dr Candace Weddie “Piety & Pilgrimage in the Medieval West”
Dr Mitch Rotenberg “”The Magical Fantastic Life Around Deap Sea Vents
How to resize, Firm up and Aid Arthritis
Ten Years Younger in ten minutes
Restore your Youthful Skin
Detox for Health, Energy & Weight Loss
Hanging from the ceiling Deck 11 just beside it on the wall
God of wine !!
Warning about bringing alcohol back onto the ship, it is retained and given back to you the night before you leave the ship
Fish anyone Real cool man
Everyone ashore So the shops are all closed
Library Downstairs Deck 8 Upstairs Deck 9
Any books removed can be signed out on a book on Deck 8
Panel by each left
Agua Spa treatment rooms left and right as well as the hair salon
Shuttle bus Cherbourg and a fire drill including divers
The shuttle buses at Zeebrugge and Cherbourg were free and in the case of Zeebrugge your were dropped off at Blankenberge Railway station a journey of appox 15 mins whilst in Cherbourg the drop of point was the Tourism Office.
In the case of Gibraltar it is just a 20 minute walk into the centre or one of the small minibus taxis who were charging 3 euros per person (single).
QM2 A beautiful 4 master
As the sun sets on our Constellation cruise it will rise again when we join Celebrity's latest ship Silhouette in the spring.
This review is web based and may change from time to time when new information comes to light.