October 2015 - Celebrity Constellation to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
After a brief visit to Turkey a few years back we wanted to go to Istanbul. The October Constellation trip was a good price performer in the off season. We even got the free tips package, which was also popular with the crew as these cannot be removed :) The embarkation was smooth and trouble free. We took the Havatas Airport Bus (13TL) and stayed at The Point Hotel in Taksim Square which was right at the bus drop off. We had the hotel call the cab in the morning to get to the ship. Note- negotiate cab fares up front- meters are ignored. This is a nice, well run ship. We marveled at the view of Istanbul before we left and wished to stay longer. We could find a decent beer (Leffe and an American Microbrew IPA) and the Captain was Greek and very entertaining and interesting. I was super cranky at the posted sign when I went to try to change to Anytime Dining (full don't bother) and the MDR food was OK - they have no idea how to make soup. The water for making tea was lukewarm as per legal requirements is a guess. We heard a lot of grumbling it was hard to find free food later in the afternoon or very late at night. We love the MDR vs. the buffet experience and the service was flawless. The highlight of the ship for us was the band- we like to ballroom dance. Kathleen and The Saints were in the aft lounge every night. The dance floor was a bit small but we made it work. There was a fabulous Euro DJ (Inferno) who played every night in the Martini Bar. Sadly you could not find him where there was a dance floor. No smoke was noticed anywhere :) They would open the helicopter pad for important sightseeing spots and you could chat with the Officers (the Housekeeping Director was a great resource for questions) - this was a nice touch. There was no piped in music in the library- yaa. This was our first time on Celebrity. They need a bigger variety of shore excursions at Kusadasi- we were less interested in ruins after 11 days. The ports were excellent- Corfu was just amazing for the forts and Greek lunch.