Celebrity Constellation Suez Canal Cruise
April 17, 2017 Sailing
||Flights PHX-LAX; LAX-AUH
||In flight (yes, all day) Arrive at 8 pm
||Board the Ship - Depart at 6 pm
||Muscat, Oman 7 am - 5 pm
||Aqaba, Jordan 10 am - 9 pm
||Suez Canal Passage - arrive at 11 pm
||Suez Canal Passage - depart at 1 pm
||Athens (Piraeus), Greece 6 am - 9 pm
||Katakolon, Greece 10 am - 6 pm
||Arrive in Rome, fly FCO-CLT; CLT-PHX
First step of a great trip is packing what you need and ONLY what you need. We would be gone 2 1/2 weeks but I plan on having laundry done. I am not going to pack that many clothes.
Clothing for the day
And of course clothing for dinner becuase I like to dress up.
In the end, we ended up with one checked bag and one carry on each.
So... flights from Phoenix to Abu Dhabi were expensive one way. It took a lot of work and research but finally, I put together two separate PNRs (tickets) that got us there affordably. I searched the Abu Dhabi airport incoming flights and found a direct one from LAX to AUH on Etihad airways for $450 per person one way. PHX-LAX-AUH one way cost almost $1,400. So, I bought a PHX-LAX ticket for $110 each, then a LAX - AUH ticket for $450 each. I was worried - if our first flight was late or cancelled, we were kinda out of luck but I paid with a credit card that has great trip insurance and a long layover between flights since we would have to collect our checked bags in LAX and walk to the International terminal to recheck bags. In the end, it all worked well and we made our flights!
First flight - phx - lax all bright and eager
Second flight lax - auh, not so bright anymore but it was a 16 hour flight.
On the Etihad flight, of course I did my research and selected two seats in the back of the plane where it narrows from 3 seats on a side to 2 seats on a side near the fuselage. We were served three meals during the flight (economy class). I ate, worked on my knitting and slept so the trip went by quickly for me.
Other photos from our flight
Once we landed, we did the "walk forever" to get through customs. They were very nice and the airport was very clean. I had pre arranged with our hotel to book a private transport which was wonderful! The driver was waiting for us, helped with our luggage and we were at the Hilton Cornish in no time. We checked in and went down to the hotel bar for a drink and a quick bite before we collapsed in bed. So... on the menu they had nachos. Yes, our very first night in Abu Dhabi and we ordered nachos to share. They were awesome nachos - so good I never got a photo. While eating nachos I realized my Iphone was missing. A quick trip to the front desk where I I told them I thought I left my phone in the car. They said they would check on it and sent us back to finish our dinner. They called the driver who brought the phone back and the desk clerk actually brought it to us in the hotel bar. Terry gave her a generous tip and asked her to give one to the driver as well. OK, I figured that was my one dumb ass moment of the trip, no more allowed.
I used points to book our Stay at the Hilton Cornish.
They left us a welcome gift of macaroons in our room.
Although I booked a regular room with points, as a Hilton Gold, they gave us access to the Executive lounge breafkast which was a small buffet. A photo of my breakfast and of course Terry had a coke with his breakfast.
After breakfast, we walked over to the hotel spa and beach club to our couples massage I had booked.
We were early so we sat on the beach (first ones there that morning). After our massage we came back to spend more time relaxing before boarding the ship. I would have loved to explore the town a bit but traveling had been a long ordeal and we were tired. The massages were amazing by the way!
We spent the morning on the beach, then went back to our room to pack and call a cab to head to the port for embarkation. The cruise terminal was very nice and we go through quickly and were onboard having lunch in no time.
So, this was the cruise we got sooooo lucky! We booked an ocean view room but when we checked our booking just 3 weeks before leaving, our room number had been changed. I looked up the new room number and it was an Aqua Class Room! I didn't complain at all. A few photos of our first Aqua class room. I always bring magentic hooks to use for my shawl and Terry's hats. I also bring chalkboard contact paper for the wall so I can see our schedule at a glance. Mor info on my cruise ship packing on this page.
Which meant this was the first cruise we could dine in the Aqua class restaurant called Blu. Our first dinner was mostly wonderful.
The goat cheese was my favorite appetizer of all Celebrity cruises!
Terry had the jicima salad which was also wonderful.
I ordered the squab and it was not so great. It was very tough and chewy. The waiter tried to warn me but I didn't listen. In the future, I take the wait staff recommendations much more seriously.
Terry's short ribs were excellent though.
Our desserts were good though!
I don't remember what we did that night but I do remember being excited about breakfast in Blu.
Honestly, all the smoothies just tasted like banana no matter what flavor you order so I gave up on them after a while, but my poached eggs were done to perfection!
Our first port of call was Muscat, Oman. We didn't make any plan other than walk off the ship and check out the souk. When leaving the ship, they handed us a sort of temporary permit to visit for a day. We turned them back in when we returned for the day.
We found the souk and were some of the first ones there. I spent a lot of time just wandering the Souk with Terry. We always felt welcome and people were very nice. Most vendors spoke at least some English. I have lots of photos of Muscat.
This is the walk from the ship to the Souk.
Apparently, tourists felt compelled to enter the Mosque during prayers to go sightseeing.
Shopping at the Souk
I bought a very nice pair of Silver earrings here.
I had a bit of currency left from the UAE so of course I used it to buy a scarf.
My souvenir shopping for the day,
- one shirt
- one scarf
- two pair of earings (one for me and one for our neighbor Sharon)
- two Christmas ornaments
So another wonderful dinner in Blu
I had the scallop appetizer and it was cooked perfectly! Terry had the Beet Salad. For entrees I had the risoto which again, was wonderful, while Terry chose the roasted chicken from the everyday menu. I took a photo of the dessert menu but I forgot to take pictures of dessert. Guess we ate them before thinking about it.
All followed by breakfast the next morning. This is where I discovered the museli in Blu is a lot better than elsewhere on the ship.
Love the little butter roses in Blu
After Muscat, we sailed from the Arabian Sea to the Red Sea and through Pirate Alley.
The days went from foggy to beautiful, along the way however we saw what appeared to be a ship adrift but may have just been floating, waiting for us. We did see this boat going from our ship to the other. We had a lot of extra security staff on board the ship and we did have to attend a pirate drill which was interesting. It was fun to sit on the balcony and watch the ships.
Link to page 2
Together with my husband, we dedicate our vacation time to cruising and exploring new parts of the world.