Review- 12 Night Black Sea cruise- Celebrity Constellation
Black Sea cruising is usually offered in a limited time period. Since cruise itinerary is my most important criteria for cruise selection and the Celebrity Constellation filled the bill, I booked myself and several good friends (a total of 6 brave souls). In this writing, I will briefly review the ship, list the ports and include a few details of our pre and post cruise adventures.
I have sailed the Infinity which is a sister ship to the Constellation, so I pretty much knew what to expect. We arrived in Istanbul two days prior to cruising to see the town, which is not enough time for a newcomer to Istanbul. We booked our stay at the Erboy Hotel; following the cruise we flew to Bucharest.
On cruise departure day, due to the amount of luggage, our party of six flagged two taxis from our hotel (Erboy – more on that superb hotel later) and following a short drive to the port, we were at the dock. Embarkation in Istanbul was a painless process.
Cabins: We stayed in a variety of cabins, and there were no complaints. For me personally, my room steward was one of the best I have ever had – attention to detail was his motto. Loved the interactive TV, but the dinner menus need to be listed.
Dining: All but two of our dinners were eaten at the MDR. No complaints; in general the food was good and tasty. I did order one special Indian dish one evening, and it was delivered following a very long wait due to a little miscommunication. The two nights we chose not to eat in the MDR, we were at the Ocean View buffet which was a nice break, as the buffet offered a nice variety of choices and more flexibility in dinner time and dress. When not in port, I grabbed lunch at the buffet – many choices for lunch but lacking the quality I was looking for.
Entertainment: the Broadway type show productions by a new British troupe were excellent and I loved the magic show; the other shows I walked out on. The featured house band “Emily and the Nightcaps” was very good but the “lifetime” activities were not often enough and many nights I walked around aimlessly looking for some fun activities but not finding much if anything.
Ports of Call: Istanbul, Burgas (Bulgaria), Varna (Bulgaria), Constanta (Romania), Trabzon (Turkey), Sinop (Turkey), Mykonos (Greece), Athens, and Kusadasi (Turkey) – with ports like this, I could not pass this up. (In my blog; I detail what we did in each port and include all contact information).
Disembarkation: A total nightmare. Turkish customs seems to want to check everyone even though you have been through customs before boarding, and you will go through customs once again before departing the country. The lines were endless and the taxis outside the terminal were a rip-off, so we opted for the tram to drop off bags at the Erboy Hotel while we spent more time in Istanbul before our flight.
Additional comments: If you are an ‘Elite’ Captain’s Club member (which I was), you are offered the opportunity to have breakfast at the Ocean Liner restaurant, and free evening cocktails during a limited time are also available at Reflections lounge deck 11. The amenities were fine but not as good as RCL.
Overall: Great itinerary made the cruise a go, but overall I am disappointed in the Celebrity product; seems to be a lot of hoopla over nothing. The one thing that Celebrity does well is put together great itineraries, which does mean I will keep coming back.