I've been meaning to write a review ever since we came back from our trip to the eastern mediterranean in July.... it's now December, but hey.. I'm doing it! I wanted to write this review to give either first time cruisers, or first time Greece/Italy excursionists some tips and feedback. I hope this helps!
1.) Celebrity cruise lines is insane! No really... insane. They must be! Because they work like dogs! Every single one of them must get insanely sick of smiling, catering, and giving to thousands of people every day. They're simply amazing!
2.) The Equinox was majestic! If I could picture what the Titanic was like (I know.. lovely. Don't curse it, Sarah), it must have looked like this boat. Gleaming, shining... amazing (I will say this word a hundred times)!
3.) I never once felt unsafe, or abandoned, I felt catered to while I was dining, while I was in my stateroom, anything! In fact, it was almost creepy how our stateroom attendant knew exactly when we had returned or departed, knew exactly when to leave that scrumptious chocolate on my pillow or shut/open the curtains! But ohhhh.. did we enjoy those chocolates!
4.) Buy Rick Steve's Greece tour guide. Download the free apps/audio tours. They are just as good if not better than the ones provided at the parks/tourist attractions... and for free!!
5.) Talk to people! Meet and mingle! Often times people are trying to do things on their own as well, and you can share a taxi fare or get to a destination quicker with more minds together!
6.) And with that said.. don't be afraid to wander out on your own! (Provided you are street smart about it!) Some of our BEST adventures were on our own.
7.) Carry as little valuables as you can through Europe. We heard far too many stories of people getting pick pocketed!
8.) Never, EVER book a trip to the mediterranean in the dead of summer (we learned this the hard way!), unless you LOVE the heat. First, the cost of the flight was more than the cruise itself! Prices are jacked up in the summer, it's Europe's biggest tourist season. Second, it was often 'record temperatures' in most of the areas we visited. You don't realize how close you are to Africa, until you've traveled to Greece/Turkey in the dead of summer!
Over all- the trip was amazing! Celebrity ruined it for us.... we will never be able to go on another cruise that will live up to our expectations! The food was divine. We never ate at a specialty restaurant because we felt like the MDR was above our expectations to begin with. We met awesome people. Although they try and sit you in the same area every night, you meet other people, but start to see familiar faces.
Sea days were ridiculous. Everyone saved chairs and hardly used them. They say they enforce the rules, but they don't.
Go to the shows! They were great! We were so skeptical at first!
And on a trip like this, do NOT get the drink package. We felt forced to drink to get our "money worth", when we barely had enough time to drink! We were off the boat from 9am-4pm, and all we wanted to do was nap by the pool! I enjoyed the specialty coffee store, and the drinks were yummy, but they definitely made out on us!
We paid for the transfer from the airport and back, it was easy and convenient, and after being awake for over 24 hours, it was mindless. No thinking involved! I wish we had gotten in a day early and checked out Rome, you do not see it at all otherwise.
Any questions, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope someone finds this helpful :) I did not list the names of tour companies we did privately, because I didn't organize them myself, but they were absolutely wonderful and trust worthy. Please let me know if you would like the names, I can get them! Each tour company, the head of the company met us at some point and shook our hands and asked if things were going well. It was great!