Day 1 2nd August 2012
Crown Plaza Manchester Airport
We love to stay at a hotel and parking the night before we fly and have used the Crown Plaza at Manchester airport often. The service was excellent as usual and it all went smoothly.
Day 2 3rd August
Thomson flight to Rome and coach to Civit, Join ship
Up early as flight at 6.40am and had to be there 3hrs prior due to Celebrity booking Thomson Airways flight and no booking ref or pre-check-in were available. Unfortunately this was a disaster, the aircraft was on stand at the gate, however, just before boarding we were told that it had a tech. Fault and we would be using a standby aircraft [we were told later by a crew member that that aircraft was needed by Gatwick and that was reason for the change!] also in the interest of speed we would have no food or drink onboard the standby aircraft . We were bussed to the plane out on the tarmac and waited a while for engine warming and checks, eventually we left the stand and taxied to the runway, the pilot then announced a tech. Fault and returned to the stand. We waited, crew members told us it was only a bulb, but we could see the aeroloins being extended and returned many times! Eventually the pilot said it was fixed but as we had taxied out and back we had now to refuel. We took off on this rubbish plane, with panels missing and parts of the chairs missing 3hrs late!!
Rome airport thro' customs ok, then to the baggage collection, OMG 1hr before everybodys luggage started to come thro'. We now were getting late to join the ship, so a frantic high speed coach drive to Civit. Arrived at the ship just in time for muster drill, went to the correct place gave our names and sat down for 30min video, the muster station manager then started his roll call, the first three he called weren't there so he gave up!!
Not a great start to the Holiday!!
However, the ship was beautiful and we had a balcony on the bump 6234, the decor and quality of everything on board was fantastic! We decided to have dinner on 2nd sitting 9pm on a table for 8 people, we arrived and found only 2 others at the table, a lovely American couple from Florida and we had a great evening enjoying one of the best meals I have ever had on a cruise ship [over 30 cruises]
Day 3 4th August
We had pre-booked an excursion to a beach in Sicily which Celebrity told us had now been cancelled by the operator, so they refunded the cost and we stayed onboard and enjoyed the ship. Luxury sunbeds, free ice cream [from 11am] no pushy waiters, a large adult only pool, this ship is quality!
Day 4 5th August
Day at sea
We had room service for breakfast, excellent a full menu of hot and cold food [unusual] they called to say it was coming and called later to ask if it was ok[excellent service]
All the usual onboard activities for a day at sea and the usual crowding on sun decks, deck Butlers, Yes I did say Butlers, did remove towels that had been used to reserve sunbeds for over 30mins [nice to see], we found a nice spot on the Solstice deck and enjoyed the sun [we've not seen much of it in the UK this year], the burgers for lunch from the deck grill were the best we've ever tasted!! [more quality] Free soft drinks from the grill area as well! One gripe, the ice cream was in the Ocean view cafe, which meant you had to cover up to get an ice cream [its on deck on RCCI and Princess]
Dinner that evening we were joined by an Irish gent on his own, a great guy with a great sense of humour and another English couple who had booked anytime dining didn't like waiting so they moved to 2nd sitting with us, this brought the table to seven so we asked the waiter to reduce the table size so we could talk to everyone easier, which they did the following night [great attention to detail] again a fabulous meal, the standby menu is the best ever, with shrimp cocktail, escargots, apple pie and steak as a option every night.
Day 5 6th August
We have been to Athens many times before so we stayed onboard and enjoyed the ship and the sun.
We don't often do shows, just the shops onboard then dinner, however we were informed that the ship was progressively closing the shops one day at a time on this cruise for refurbishment and were a little disappointed, they made up for this by having a REAL sale [people that have cruised before will know what I mean by REAL] by each of the shops the day before it closed! There were some great bargains
Day 6 7th August
One of our favourite ports of call, we went to the local beach a short walk to the left of the ship, hired a sunbed and enjoyed a swim in the Med and a few too many beers with a couple we had met on the ship. Then shopping in Kusadasi, something I love to do! This can be hassle but I love to barter with the Turks so we had a great time. There is an excellent duty free shop on the dock in Kusadasi [the only one out of the EU on this trip] then back to the ship and its fantastic service.
Day 7 8th August
In Rhodes we had an excursion with the ship to a Falaraki beach hotel, it was 5* German and excellent, great facilities, large pool and beach front. Then back to the ship for lunch, the buffet is the best, cleanest and has the best choice I have ever seen and never seemed busy, awesome!! Then back to Rhodes town just a short walk from the dock, the town is beautiful, again we have been many times before and stayed in a hotel for 2weeks before now, but it's a lovely place to shop and have a drink to take in the local atmosphere That evening we found the Sky observation lounge that has half price cocktails between 7pm an 8pm every night $6-$8 each so $7ish for both of us +15% of course but still a relative bargain. [Our friends from the Northeast joined us most nights] It was a fantastic bar with views of the sunset and comfy chairs and a lovely atmosphere [so good]
Day 8 9th August
Another trip from Celebrity to Elia beach a lovely spot with quality sunbeds beautiful views, calm seas excellent bar and restaurant, spent the morning relaxing and swimming in the Med! A bit of fun telling the ladies around us that it was nudist at the far end, then watching them a slope of with their cameras one by one and come back laughing saying it wasn't worth it! The bus from the trip gave us the option of going to the town or back to the ship [which saved us the $7 shuttle charge] which we did, Mykonos town is a beautiful place, we went to little Venice on the front, saw the famous pelican, did some shopping, pics. of the windmills and the usual drink [as expensive as St Marks square in Venice, if you've been there] Then free shuttle back to the ship and the usual cocktails followed by the wonderful meal
Day 9 10th August
Tender to the dock [well organised as we were the first ship in] This is an awesome place fabulous views, we took the chair lift up to Thira, did the shops then met a guy from the Dominican Republic with his family [he was on the Silversea ship] and spent a pleasant afternoon talking to him and sharing a meal and couple of bottles of Rose' We walked down the donkey track back to the dock, not something I recommend, although we have done it before due to the chairlift wait, then tender back to the ship and our usual evening with great new friends
Day 10 11th August
Excellent day, spending time on a great ship with new friends in great surroundings
Day 11 12th August
Sunday today, most people taking trips but we have been here many times and opted to just do the shops on the dockside [the only ones open] the wife bought some lovely Italian dresses for our upcoming Caribbean cruise.
Day 12 13th August
Rome, Thomson flight to Manchester, collect car and home
Disembarkation was early 6.45am breakfast 6am, well organised, coach direct to airport, easy check-in although a long wait. No problem with luggage etc. Thomson flight 30mins late refreshments were very expensive and aircraft very old!
Back at Manchester courtesy bus to Hotel, collect car and drive home.
This was a fantastic ship, quality in every way, staff are brilliant, officers chatty. The ship and all areas were immaculate,fantastic mood lighting all around the ship at night, you had small iced towels to cool you down on the deck during the day and when returning to the ship, the public loos had small individual towels to dry your hands, not the usual paper, free soft drinks, free ice cream, fabulous food quality and choice, all the little things to make you feel special.
We will return!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!