Immersive Wine Cruise
Alan Curtis | June 5, 2017 | Celebrity Cruises | Celebrity Constellation
Constellation is now 10 years old but still looking and acting good. Weather dull on this cruise which made the two day stopover in several ports a bit boring. We like wine but the cost of a lot of the shore tours were prohibitively expensive (example, 3 1/2 hour trip from Vigo to a vineyard (free tastings) and back via a vantage point was $72 each. I would have struggled to pay more than ?20 each at home for something similar. Ours was one of the cheaper ones – some of the trips were in excess of $200 each! Another annoying habit – drinks on board were not cheap and every bill had 15% added as a tip (no option) – and every time the tab asked if we wanted to tip more for “special service”.
Restaurant food was generally very good (sittings at 6 p.m. and 8.30 p.m.)and the two speciality restaurants ($30 & $40 each extra) were excellent, especially Liners, but here some wines on the list were ?600 plus. The creperie restaurant also was excellent although service a little slow. The self-service buffet was usually very good also but on occasions difficult to find a seat.
Generally the evening shows were some of the best I have seen at sea, and the one put on by the ship’s own dancers was exceptionally well done.
Cabins were reasonable in size, they were quiet, and everything fitted in. beds very comfortable, and the cabin steward was very attentive and helpful.
All staff, officers and crew but two were very friendly, polite and helpful – one waiter and one wine waiter were clearly bored stiff and wished they were elsewhere, and it showed.
Embarkation was easy and disembarking was very efficient with no problems at all.
Would we go on Celebrity again (this was our third time)? Well, yes we would would but one or two things we would change. Firstly, go to a warm climate, or if going to say Norway or Iceland pick a cruise where the ship stayed in port for just one day. Second – opt out of the tipping programme when we board, and then tip individually according the service received ( the “standard” system tips five people automatically whether we saw them or not). I’ve heard that the ship don’t like this but will accommodate you if you persist. (It is not possible to opt out of the 15% added to drinks). Third – go for free dining times, then pick or choose each night according to how we felt – this might mean that we didn’t see the same table partners each night but no doubt this could be arranged between ourselves.
Generally most people enjoyed themselves – especially the Americans, who thought that London (before they embarked) and Paris (all-day trip costing well over ?200 each from Le Havre) were “wunnerful”.
It seems I have gone on quite a lot re costs and prices but we were not alone – this was the major gripe amongst all the passengers we spoke to.
Hope all this helps someone.
Be prepared to manage your expectations.
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