I'm thinking you will be very pleasantly surprised by the differences. Begin with room size, the rooms on this class of Celebrity ship are probably 50% larger than a similar category on Oceana. We travelled on Ocean Princess just before she was transferred to P&O and had a very nice cruise, but it did not compare favorably in any catagory to Celebrity.
Enjoy your cruise.
I totally agree with papa Bill. You have made a good category choice for your Baltics cruise. You will have white glove service and little special extra's that will spoil you for a fair price. They have a Sommalier and wine tasting for one. Don't miss a soothing moment in the Thallostherapy Pool at no additional cost. There are nooks and crannies galore just to relax the days away. Lounges will be varied and entertainment is usually very deversified. Food and Service is top notce. Staff members aim to please but not to entertain. You can order full meal roomservice during regular dining room hours; nice if you return late from a tour.
We will be taking that same cruise only earlier - embarking on May 8th. It will be our second cruise on the Constellation. This will be our 15th cruise but we feel that the Constellation is one of the nicest ships overall. As the others have mentioned, you'll see little touches from your documentation through your disembarkation that make it a notch above others in this category.
We are booked on the same cruise leaving May 22nd, 2004. We were on the Millenium in June and loved it. The Constellation is the newer sister ship to the Millenium.
Your accomodations should be very comfortable. You can expect great food and service. You can find on the celebrity web site information on all of their shore excursions for the Baltic ports. I would suggest you go to cruise critic and go into their boards, they have one that is a review of ports. You can select the Northern Baltic ports and find lots of reviews with great tips on things to see and do at each port.
It sounds like one can easily get around and see the highlights without taking an organized shore excursion for most every port except St. Petersburg. We have plenty of time to do our homework before the cruise next summer. The planning is half of the fun.
Glad to hear you like Constellation so much--we are booked for a Fall cruise in "04--10 days to New England & Canada---was a bit leery of the modern color schemes but the itin was what we wanted on NON mega sized ship...& we got a nice cabin booking so far ahead!
I like the size of the Constellation. It is large enough to have very nice amenities and common areas but not so large as to be overwhelming. I am not interested in a 4,000 passenger ship with rock wall climbing and ice rinks.
Frank took the words right out of my mouth. We have been on 2 of NCL's 2000ish ships and anything from about 1800 to about 2100 is perfect. These ships are small enough to run into people from one day to the next and big enough to offer a variety of activities without the mega ship feeling. We have never had any desire to go on ships with buffet lines out the deck and back again or ice skate on a ship. If I want to ice skate I will go to the near by rink. On the other hand I don't know where that is. Happy cruisin, NMNita
Glad that this topic came up as my wife, daughter and I are considering the Baltic cruise next year.
My additional question(s) is this: some of the more expensive cabins (cat 1A & 1B) for three people are connected to the cabin next door - can this be a problem with noise from your neighbours? The slightly less expensive cabins, though not much, have either an upper berth or a sofa bed for the third person, does this limit the room available in your cabin by much? One further query, we could go for one of the larger family cabins facing over the rear/aft of the ship - are these cabins a good idea?
The definition of "megaship" is changing through time. I regard any ship over 70,000 tons as a megaship. For me the Constellation definitely is a megaship at 91,000 tons. It's passenger space ratio is very good if it carries between 1950 and 2100 pax. It really doesn't feel so large because there isn't much in it for its size. It doesn't feel intimate in the least, it just isn't designed to feel this way. For me the Millennium ships are the most inefficient large ships offering the least amount of variety in their public areas for ships this size (very poor number and variety of areas, public rooms, deck space compared to Carnival's Spirit class, NCL Dawn, HAL's Vista, etc.)
As for the modern color schemes, I regarded the colors and interior of this ship as overdone for Celebrity. Not as rich and deep as other Celebrity ships, but it is a typical Millennium ship, they don't differ much. The Constellation is attractive enough, but won't be considered as one of Celebrity's more memorable ships. It has a fairly tropical feel with pastel colors used quite a bit. I've been aboard most Celebrity ships and like the Constellation least of all of them. In the Millennium class, it is the first ship, the Millennium, that is the most Celebrity like in terms of deep colors and richness of presentation.
As for the ship with the ice skating rink, I've sailed aboard an RCI Voyager class ship. The ice skating rink is on a lower deck and you don't even have to notice it if you don't want to. The ship is way oversized and over contented for what I want in a ship but the ice skating rink and rock climbing wall are overstated by people who've not sailed aboard this class of ship. They aren't major parts of the ship. The major part of the ship is a mallish area connecting to centrums (atria) called the Royal Promenade. The Voyager class doesn't carry 4000 people, it carries around 3500 or so and has a PSR almost as good as Celebrity's Mllennium class ships.
You have experiences that I don't have because one Carnival sailing was more than enough for me. I doubt I'll ever set foot on another. If you consider the Constellation to be overdone, they were nothing like the gaudiness I experienced on Carnival. The Constellation colors were bright but they seemed to work where as Carnival seemed like what one might expect in a bordello. We've done most of our sailing on Princess because of their prices and itineraries and have gone on RCCL, Carnival and Crystal only once. We liked the Constellation and feel that it is the best of any ship we've ever sailed on. In fact, we liked it so much that we are doing the Eastern European version this May. This time we are trying their new Concierge class. To each his own, I guess.
Connecting cabins can definitely be noisier, and usually are. I prefer ships where it is nearly impossible to be assigned to a cabin which adjoins another. I was shocked to see that the Coral and Island Princess have adjoining balcony ca bins. I like to book guarantee cabins for the price, but I don't want a cabin which has a door to another.
I have sailed on NCL, Holland America and Carnival and will be sailing with Celebrity
for the first time this January. I enjoyed all of our cruises so far; each cruise line
has its own personality and style. I enjoyed Carnival's funkiness and sense of fun.
The Inspiration's promendade was done with music as a theme and with cozy
seats done in a music notes motif in wood tones was very attractive. Then on
another Carnival ship we were on, I forget which, I enjoyed one lounge that had
seats designed to look like hands- very neat! Then there is another lounge with
an Ancient Egypt theme-- fun! And on the older ships, what about those old
cars in the lobby! With a sense of humor, Carnival can be so much fun! Then
I also enjoyed the classic elegance of Holland America and felt so spoiled with
their service! NCL- who can forget the lovely Norway! Cruise lines are kind of like
people- if you accept those personalities as they are, then you'll most like will
have a good time! We would definitely return to any one of the cruise lines we've
done so far! We also plan to try Princess and Royal Caribbean eventually!
I haven't sailed aboard Carnival and I never will. I find their ships to be horrid, gaudy, and the most unpleasant things to be aboard. I toured the Legend and Paradise, and found both horrible, but the Legend more horrible. I've sailed RCI, HAL, Celebrity, and NCL. I rate Celebrity and HAL just about equal and higher than RCI and NCL in overall quality.
I think if one were to take out the atrium and the decor and furnishings and look at the layout, the Carnival Spirit class are OK. What I don't like about the Constellation and the other Millennium ships is the lack of intimate sized lounges, fewer lounges than their considerably smaller and smallest ships, the Horizon and Zenith, and they are the only ships that I can think of where the promenade deck doesn't wrap around at least the back of the ship. I enjoy lower deck spaces and these ships disappoint. I enjoy a choice in lounges and here's where the Millennium ships disappoint. I think the Rendezvous and upper Martini Bar are the same area since they are tied together by whatever music is playing, have the same layout, and even share much of the same furnishings. On the Century, you can go to the Rendezvous and hear a duo and dance if you'd like and go to the Crystal Room and hear something totally different and dance to something totally different in a totally different type of atmosphere than in the Rendezvous and I find it a huge mistake that Celebrity took away this option on their newer, bigger ship. You can also go to the observation lounge on the Century for a dance floor and ambiance as you can on the Millennium ship with their forward facing lounges, but the Century, and especially Galaxy and Mercury have better delineated areas, more distinctive spaces carved out rather than feeling like one huge area with tiering.
Millennium ships aren't terrible. They flow well, they are plushly appointed, they have fine passenger space ratio, they have the specialty restaurants and improved buffet area along with more cabin options. But, they also lack a lot of Celebrity features that previous generation ships have and they are bigger. And they aren't daring and innovative, like the Century class ships were. They aren't individual ships, either (you've seen one, you've seen them all very much unlike Galaxy vs. Mercury vs. Century). That's where they are very disappointing and underwhelming to me. I really looked forward to the Millennium thinking it would be a trendsetter and the Millennium class would continue Celebrity's understated, bold, and daring lead of the Century class yet the Millennium class is more of a follow-the-trend type of product. That's why I don't care for the class along with the general layout of the ships.
Here's what happened to me on the Constellation. The "A" crew that was on the ship when it was getting rave reviews was disbursed to the rest of the fleet by the time I sailed abord her. Therefore, the ship had some "A" crew, but other less competent crew. I did not get the level of service in the dining room (actually our wait staff was pathetic), level of cuisine (excellent 2 nights, abysmal 4 nights), and just general product delivery that earlier sailors aboard the Connie got. That's what we all have to beware of. The new ships often get the best crews but that doesn't last. I, however, think that if one gets the same crew that the best Celebrity cruise is delivered on a Century class ship and can't be duplicated on a Millennium class ship. The one perhaps big advantage that the Millie ship has is the specialty restaurant. I can't find the listening library or the plant shop to be a big call to these ships.
I don't mean to discourage anyone. But I don't recommend getting hopes up too high in the age of cheap cruising. I don't expect much out of any of the major cruise lines in the soft economy, and feel I lucked out if a future cruise happens to be a fine cruise. Cruising is, right now, even on premium lines, a cheap vacation.
>The new ships often get the best crews but that doesn't last. I, however, think that if one gets the same crew that the best Celebrity cruise is delivered on a Century class ship and can't be duplicated on a Millennium class ship. The one perhaps big advantage that the Millie ship has is the specialty restaurant.<
Maybe I was lucky and got the "A" crew when we sailed on the Constellation last September. Actually, the only thing I didn't like about the Constellation was their specialty restaurant. Besides being overpriced at $25, there was less of a choice of entrees and what we had was no better than what we received in the dining room. Service was the only difference with wait staff falling all over you. In fact, it was overbearing when one can't take a sip of water without it being immediately refreshed.
I really hope we get as good a crew as we experienced before. Maybe we had the "A" crew and that proves they really can do it if they try. Hopefully, by snagging some folks from Crystal that they mean to try.
Back to you questions about connecting rooms and 3rd persons using sofa bed or bunk. We happen to have connecting rooms on NCLs Sky in January. There diffenently was a little more noise from the cabin next to us, the good thing: the young couple were not the stay up til 3am noisey type. I still prefer to have a room without connecting doors. The bunk or the sofa bed will not interfer much with space as they will only be visible when your steward makes up the room at night. I think I would prefer the bunk.