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Just home from Connie b2b


di T
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Back in  the uk after another great cruise on the Constellation.

We boarded the ship in Venice after a one night stay in Mestre, this was our 26 th cruise with Celebrity and our 7th on this ship! The first leg we visited Slovenia,Croatia, Montenegro,Malta,Sicily and Italy. Change over day was Civitavecchia this time we had to move rooms for the second cruise I had booked the second part after the first and this was a guarantee inside,which didn’t bother us as we have sailed in most class of stateroom and the price was good! 

Second leg we went to Portofino then south of France including Sete which was a first time for us and we finished up in Spain then Mallorca leaving the ship in Barcelona. 

Just on our experience we found service excellent as always, entertainment was good, food was a bit hit and miss though, speciality restaurants were great, Captains club perks were enjoyed and the itinerary on both cruises was fabulous. Roll on September to our next b2b on Connie!

So anyone who have been put off with some of the negative comments on this ship I wanted to say we really enjoyed ourselves.Dianne

 

 

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10 hours ago, cachouonacruise said:

Thanks for sharing and we agree. My wife and I recently finished a 10 night cruise on the Connie (May 21-31, Venice to Venice) and really enjoyed the experience.

Did you share your experience ? Looking for recent feedback on sailings from Venice to hear how it went. Going in August.

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1 hour ago, FLbeachbaby said:

Did you share your experience ? Looking for recent feedback on sailings from Venice to hear how it went. Going in August.

 

I did submit a detailed review on Cruise Critic but I am not sure it was posted. 

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Good to hear!  We will be on Connie in November 2019 on the 10-night from Venice to Rome.  Glad to hear it is in great shape! We were on her sister, the Infinity, in 2017, and also found her to be very fine as well.

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7 hours ago, cachouonacruise said:

I just verified and our review was posted. I hope the information provided will be helpful. This said, feel free to let me know, if you have any questions or concerns. 

Thank you, I just read your review !  Some questions then since you offered- Do you recall the earliest you could debark in Venice? Did the process go smoothly ? How did the tender process in Santorini go and other than a bottleneck did they ensure everyone made it through or is it a mad dash, also what time was all aboard in Santorini ? (I'm nervous about that one as we have private arrangements) How many ships were there and was it crazy getting on the island as well ? (Thinking about walking back down and cabling up early.) How did you board in Venice ? Taxi, people mover etc and how was embarkation ? Did you fly VCE and was the airport crazy with long lines ?

 

Thank you for any information. It is most appreciated.

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Di T ....we are doing the same B2B Venice - Barcelona next week.  We're only stumped on what to do in Sete, it will be Bastile day and too crowded to visit caracassone......so any suggestions appreciated. We'll probably just walk around Sete.

 

Sounds like your shipboard experience was good, pretty much what we expect....the food is always hit or miss, so we've come to expect that and we still always gain weight. 

 

As always, I'll be doing a "live from" thread, if anyone wants to follow and/or ask questions while we are on-board.

 

  

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4 minutes ago, ghstudio said:

Di T ....we are doing the same B2B Venice - Barcelona next week.  We're only stumped on what to do in Sete, it will be Bastile day and too crowded to visit caracassone......so any suggestions appreciated. We'll probably just walk around Sete.

 

Sounds like your shipboard experience was good, pretty much what we expect....the food is always hit or miss, so we've come to expect that and we still always gain weight. 

 

As always, I'll be doing a "live from" thread, if anyone wants to follow and/or ask questions while we are on-board.

 

  

I’m sure you will have a great time too! it’s a wonderful b2b one of the best in my opinion! We were not interested in the trip to Caracasssone as we have stayed there before, we actually enjoyed Sete as it was somewhere new for us! Very french and a fantastic market, there were tables set for lunch next to stalls selling the freshest seafood and beautiful local wines, we had lunch in there highly recommended!

We like to walk so it was right up our street. As I’ve said we are back on her in September for another b2b and we will also be doing something similar in June 2020 after the dry dock it will be nice to see her after the facelift! As long as the staff are as good we will be happy! Dianne

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23 hours ago, Mynki said:

Thanks for the post.

 

Can you elaborate on the food being "a bit hit and miss"?

The food wasn’t always as hot as it should be, I eat a lot of fish and found the offerings not as good as previous, but saying that on the first cruise they brought fresh mussels on board and cooked them in front of you in the lunch buffet, second cruise we had fresh seafood casserole cooked in the same way! Also while in Italy the specials were risotto and other regional dishes in the buffet. Food presentation was very good and salads lovely! We ate in Tuscan a few times and also Sushi on 5 a few times and we were happy with food quality and service in both.The grill in ocean view was the most disappointing almost every day fish was rockfish and it was poor, tried the grilled steak there and it was dry this is the place I usually enjoy, but hey hubby was happy with the curries which were varied and we didn’t go hungry😂 Dianne

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Thanks for the info on Sete...

 

We tend to avoid the buffets, so not a big issue.  When I do go, (my DW never goes) I pretty much stick to the indian, chinese, mexican sections or once or twice at breakfast, to fill my need for Herring and made to order lox eggs and onions🙂. Sushi on 5: maybe if I can negotiate an "all you can eat" price which they occasionally offer.  Tuscan: just never had a really good meal and we've tried multiple times...so we'll skip unless they offer a BOGO and then we'll think about it and probably still skip.  

 

Looking forward to the martini bar and I still remember where the gym is, so I won't accidentally walk anywhere near it.....

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2 hours ago, di T said:

The food wasn’t always as hot as it should be, I eat a lot of fish and found the offerings not as good as previous, but saying that on the first cruise they brought fresh mussels on board and cooked them in front of you in the lunch buffet, second cruise we had fresh seafood casserole cooked in the same way! Also while in Italy the specials were risotto and other regional dishes in the buffet. Food presentation was very good and salads lovely! We ate in Tuscan a few times and also Sushi on 5 a few times and we were happy with food quality and service in both.The grill in ocean view was the most disappointing almost every day fish was rockfish and it was poor, tried the grilled steak there and it was dry this is the place I usually enjoy, but hey hubby was happy with the curries which were varied and we didn’t go hungry😂 Dianne

Thanks for the reply. We sail on Connie later this year. Your comments are pretty similar to our experiences on Summit. I like the that they're serving regional dishes. 


As for the lukewarm food. Maybe it's due to the lines Greek heritage?  :classic_biggrin:

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On 6/21/2019 at 9:08 AM, di T said:

Back in  the uk after another great cruise on the Constellation.

 

 

 

What do you think was the rough breakdown of nationalities? And do people go more for the ports or for the ship, do you think?

 

We've been on one Med cruise, almost 20 years ago and enjoyed meeting people really from all over the world. That cruise was about half American and half European, mostly Spaniards as we left from Barcelona with a sprinkling of other countries. Many of the Spanish people were in big family or friend groups and they were treating this more like a Caribbean cruise, while the Americans were there to "see Europe". This made for an interesting atmosphere - half of the pax were dead tired all the time and deserted the MDR for the buffet and room service about day 2, the other half were hanging out by the pool, got dressed up to the nines every evening and went dancing, etc. It was fun to watch and different from any other cruise I've been on.

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3 hours ago, cangelmd said:

What do you think was the rough breakdown of nationalities? And do people go more for the ports or for the ship, do you think?

 

We've been on one Med cruise, almost 20 years ago and enjoyed meeting people really from all over the world. That cruise was about half American and half European, mostly Spaniards as we left from Barcelona with a sprinkling of other countries. Many of the Spanish people were in big family or friend groups and they were treating this more like a Caribbean cruise, while the Americans were there to "see Europe". This made for an interesting atmosphere - half of the pax were dead tired all the time and deserted the MDR for the buffet and room service about day 2, the other half were hanging out by the pool, got dressed up to the nines every evening and went dancing, etc. It was fun to watch and different from any other cruise I've been on.

On both cruises there was a good mix of nationalities which I do like, on the first we were invited one evening to a cocktail party with live music for all the Brits on board! Went out of curiosity it was really nice but have never come across this before.We found the age groups a lot younger on both cruises to what we are used to but that’s something I liked! Everything went on to after midnight, we have been on ships when 10.30 is bedtime😆Even though these are quite port intensive cruises people seem to be lively enough.Dianne

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6 hours ago, ghstudio said:

Thanks for the info on Sete...

 

We tend to avoid the buffets, so not a big issue.  When I do go, (my DW never goes) I pretty much stick to the indian, chinese, mexican sections or once or twice at breakfast, to fill my need for Herring and made to order lox eggs and onions🙂. Sushi on 5: maybe if I can negotiate an "all you can eat" price which they occasionally offer.  Tuscan: just never had a really good meal and we've tried multiple times...so we'll skip unless they offer a BOGO and then we'll think about it and probably still skip.  

 

Looking forward to the martini bar and I still remember where the gym is, so I won't accidentally walk anywhere near it.....

Haha, we just breakfast in the Captains club in Tuscan fresh fruit and brown toast! But we always get a big discount on the speciality restaurants, Hubby goes to the gym every morning for 2 hours as he does at home, I read and wander round the ship while he does😂Dianne

 

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8 hours ago, FLbeachbaby said:

Thank you, I just read your review !  Some questions then since you offered- Do you recall the earliest you could debark in Venice? Did the process go smoothly ? How did the tender process in Santorini go and other than a bottleneck did they ensure everyone made it through or is it a mad dash, also what time was all aboard in Santorini ? (I'm nervous about that one as we have private arrangements) How many ships were there d was it crazy getting on the island as well ? l ? (Thinking about walking back down and cabling up early.) How did you board in Venice ? Taxi, people mover etc and how was embarkation ? Did you fly VCE and was the airport crazy with long lines)

 

Hi FLbeachbay,

 

I will do my best to answer your questions, hoping the information will be helpful.

 

We arrived in Venice 2 days prior to the cruise by train from Naples (Napoli). 

 

We disembarked at the St-Lucia Train station and used the Vaporetto #2 to reach our hotel located near vaporetto station San Samuele. Our hotel was in fact a beautiful Bed and Breakfast beautifully located and named Ca dell Arte. Although we were carrying 4 suitcases ( two large and two small), we had no stairs to climb from the train station to the Bed and Breakfast. This said, the hotel did not have an elevator and I had to carry everything upstairs myself. The room was large and clean and so was the bathroom. (We even had a loft with a second bed.) We found breakfast to be excellent. The view from our room was a brick wall and the host was like a ghost. But everything was perfectly set up and we were within walking distance from everything.

 

From there, we did a dry run to reach Stazione Marittima the day before the cruise and purchased our round robin tickets on the People Mover. We also found a nice restaurant where the staff treated us really well near Piazzale Roma: The Rio Novo Restaurant.

 

The day of the cruise, we were assigned a boarding time of 10h30-11h00 Am (Concierge Class) so we took vaporetto #1 and the People Mover to reach the ship. It went very well. 

 

We arrived at the pier at 10hAM and boarding started may be around 10h35.  In no time, we were aboard the ship having a mimosa and I believe I was the first customer at Guest relation with a minor issue, promptly resolved. We then proceeded to the San Marco Restaurant to enjoy the CC lunch and the start of a beautiful cruise.

 

Santorini... The ship was scheduled to be in Santorini from 07h AM to 17h PM. We were 4 cruise ships in the bay of Santorini the same day. It was busy!

 

Unfortunately, to make matters worse, a power failure affected the small pittoresque town of Oia, negating the use of credit/debit cards until 10ham. We were told that up to 90% of cruise ships passengers were choosing Oia as a way to spend their day in Santorini. 

 

We had booked something different via the cruise line: Pyrgos Village with Mezes and Wines! The tour had the following benefits: a boat was waiting for us near our cruise ship, so we did not have to climb up to Fira. We disembarked at a smaller marina, where a bus was waiting for us. We were brought up to the town of Pyrgos to see the views and then to a restaurant to experience the Mezes and Wine. We did not see the postcard town of Oia, however we did see nice white buildings, some of which were churches with blue roofs.

 

We were then driven to Fira, where of course all cruise ship passengers had to find their way down to the shuttle boats to our respective cruise ships. 

 

Three options to go down:

 

The cable car (6 cabins at a time), very long and poorly planned line up ( up to 1 hour) going around the village main place, with people crossing the line up to either go in or out of stores or trying to reach the stairway. 

 

Go down the 610 steps stairway on the back of a donkey. (personally, I am not lucky with mounting animals, and therefore, this was not an option for me) .

 

Go down the 610 steps stairway on foot. (Which we did). It was not recommended by our guide and I now understand why. The stairway is a bit smelly... and slippery in spots. In addition, you have to pass inches behind parked donkeys, praying that they would not choose this moment to buck. Meanwhile, you also have to be alert for donkeys climbing or descending and get out of their ways, especially since some of the donkey drivers are cruise passengers like you and I and their animal control may not be up to par.

 

Actually, one passenger on our cruise broke an ankle or a leg, during the walk down from Santorini and it delayed the ship’s departure from the island for medical evacuation.

 

At the end of the stairway, a security officer from the port, was forcefully instructing us to form a single line, prior to pass the gate leading to the shuttles.

 

If I am not mistaken, the last tender leading back to the ship was at 16h15 but we were told to plan for 15h30...

 

All and all, although Santorini is indeed a beautiful island, I have not met or spoken to yet, on our cruise ship, to a single passenger who was excited about the experience. It’s just a bit too much over exploited. 

 

Back to Venice, we used the self debarkation process. If I am not mistaken, it began at 07h30 AM. There was a bit of a line up on Deck 1, but it went fairly well. We walked back to the People Mover and in no time, we were at Hotel Olimpia, located near Piazzale Roma, for a one night stay waiting for our flight the next day. (We loved the staff and service at the hotel, as well as the location). It was very easy to take a bus from Piazzale Roma to Venice Marco Polo Airport and we had a second opportunity to experience our Rio Novo Restaurant.

 

So I believe this should answer all your questions, please let me know if you need more information.

 

 

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1 hour ago, cachouonacruise said:

 

 

Hi FLbeachbay,

 

I will do my best to answer your questions, hoping the information will be helpful.

 

We arrived in Venice 2 days prior to the cruise by train from Naples (Napoli). 

 

We disembarked at the St-Lucia Train station and used the Vaporetto #2 to reach our hotel located near vaporetto station San Samuele. Our hotel was in fact a beautiful Bed and Breakfast beautifully located and named Ca dell Arte. Although we were carrying 4 suitcases ( two large and two small), we had no stairs to climb from the train station to the Bed and Breakfast. This said, the hotel did not have an elevator and I had to carry everything upstairs myself. The room was large and clean and so was the bathroom. (We even had a loft with a second bed.) We found breakfast to be excellent. The view from our room was a brick wall and the host was like a ghost. But everything was perfectly set up and we were within walking distance from everything.

 

From there, we did a dry run to reach Stazione Marittima the day before the cruise and purchased our round robin tickets on the People Mover. We also found a nice restaurant where the staff treated us really well near Piazzale Roma: The Rio Novo Restaurant.

 

The day of the cruise, we were assigned a boarding time of 10h30-11h00 Am (Concierge Class) so we took vaporetto #1 and the People Mover to reach the ship. It went very well. 

 

We arrived at the pier at 10hAM and boarding started may be around 10h35.  In no time, we were aboard the ship having a mimosa and I believe I was the first customer at Guest relation with a minor issue, promptly resolved. We then proceeded to the San Marco Restaurant to enjoy the CC lunch and the start of a beautiful cruise.

 

Santorini... The ship was scheduled to be in Santorini from 07h AM to 17h PM. We were 4 cruise ships in the bay of Santorini the same day. It was busy!

 

Unfortunately, to make matters worse, a power failure affected the small pittoresque town of Oia, negating the use of credit/debit cards until 10ham. We were told that up to 90% of cruise ships passengers were choosing Oia as a way to spend their day in Santorini. 

 

We had booked something different via the cruise line: Pyrgos Village with Mezes and Wines! The tour had the following benefits: a boat was waiting for us near our cruise ship, so we did not have to climb up to Fira. We disembarked at a smaller marina, where a bus was waiting for us. We were brought up to the town of Pyrgos to see the views and then to a restaurant to experience the Mezes and Wine. We did not see the postcard town of Oia, however we did see nice white buildings, some of which were churches with blue roofs.

 

We were then driven to Fira, where of course all cruise ship passengers had to find their way down to the shuttle boats to our respective cruise ships. 

 

Three options to go down:

 

The cable car (6 cabins at a time), very long and poorly planned line up ( up to 1 hour) going around the village main place, with people crossing the line up to either go in or out of stores or trying to reach the stairway. 

 

Go down the 610 steps stairway on the back of a donkey. (personally, I am not lucky with mounting animals, and therefore, this was not an option for me) .

 

Go down the 610 steps stairway on foot. (Which we did). It was not recommended by our guide and I now understand why. The stairway is a bit smelly... and slippery in spots. In addition, you have to pass inches behind parked donkeys, praying that they would not choose this moment to buck. Meanwhile, you also have to be alert for donkeys climbing or descending and get out of their ways, especially since some of the donkey drivers are cruise passengers like you and I and their animal control may not be up to par.

 

Actually, one passenger on our cruise broke an ankle or a leg, during the walk down from Santorini and it delayed the ship’s departure from the island for medical evacuation.

 

At the end of the stairway, a security officer from the port, was forcefully instructing us to form a single line, prior to pass the gate leading to the shuttles.

 

If I am not mistaken, the last tender leading back to the ship was at 16h15 but we were told to plan for 15h30...

 

All and all, although Santorini is indeed a beautiful island, I have not met or spoken to yet, on our cruise ship, to a single passenger who was excited about the experience. It’s just a bit too much over exploited. 

 

Back to Venice, we used the self debarkation process. If I am not mistaken, it began at 07h30 AM. There was a bit of a line up on Deck 1, but it went fairly well. We walked back to the People Mover and in no time, we were at Hotel Olimpia, located near Piazzale Roma, for a one night stay waiting for our flight the next day. (We loved the staff and service at the hotel, as well as the location). It was very easy to take a bus from Piazzale Roma to Venice Marco Polo Airport and we had a second opportunity to experience our Rio Novo Restaurant.

 

So I believe this should answer all your questions, please let me know if you need more information.

 

 

So helpful ! I really really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. Thank you so much.

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We were on the same cruise. With regards to Santorini, yes there were 4 ships in port, which is really not ok.

I don't know who makes the decision on how many ships are allowed in daily, but it ruins the experience somewhat, especially if you are unprepared.

 

We had a private tour picking us up at the top of the cable car at 8am, so my husband was 2nd in line for tender tickets early in the morning, which meant we were on the 1st tender and the 2nd cable car.  Our tour then went directly to Oia, which we enjoyed immensely with very small crowds, on our way out of Oia 30 minutes later the crowd was shoulder to shoulder flowing in.

 

We then spent the day driving around the island with many uncrowded stops, a wine tasting and a delightful lunch in a waterside local restaurant, chosen by our driver.

 

Our return to ship was via the steps. We arrived back in Fria at around 2.30, even though all aboard was 4.30, as we knew there would be a line for the cable car, however we never did see where the end of that line was, it snaked away around the laneways, so we decided to take the steps. Tempers were flaring with people in the line trying to stop us walking through to the steps as they thought we were jumping the queue!

 

I really enjoyed the walk down the steps, we were not in any hurry, so we took it very slowly and carefully, but I also heard someone had been hurt and our departure was delayed as their belongings were packed, we saw suitcases being offloaded onto a small boat shortly before we finally sailed away.

 

You can plan well for getting up the top early, or on a ship tour, but it seems everyone is dropped at the top to navigate their own way down. So if it is a busy day, plan for a long wait in the cable car line or a slow careful walk down the stairs (my pick).

 

It also helped that of the 4 ships in port that day, we were the first there, so we beat the crowds going up.

 

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