All in all this 12 day Mediterranean cruise was wonderful. Embarkation in Venice was quite simple. We took a water taxi from our hotel, the Duodo Palace to the ship. As you get off the taxi, you put your luggage right on a conveyor belt that virtually extends into the water. Check in at about 1PM was fast with no hassle. Celebrity provides its passengers with a free shuttle boat to San Marco Square and it is right next door to the vaporetto stop. We used the shuttle on Monday and Tuesday.
The ship is very clean but you can definitely see it can use some sprucing up. The furniture is somewhat threadbare in spots. The shower could use a grouting. The carpeting also could be replaced. However, the ship is spotless. Our cabin which is was a standard outside was fine. There was plenty of storage space and the closets were quite adequate. Our cabin steward, Gleno was excellent. He was never in our way and we would leave and he would enter.
The food is of excellent quality. However, the menus could be more varied. You could see this is a standard menu, fleetwide. No longer are there special menus for the specific ports of call. Service in the dining room was excellent. Our waiter, Angel, was very accommodating and quite friendly. Service in the dining room for breakfast was also quick and efficient. We never went to the dining room for lunch. The breakfast buffets had many choices, with an omelet station and pancake and waffle station. Lunch had many choices at the buffet, including a pasta station, pizza station, sandwich station and your usual lunch specialties. There was also hamburgers and hot dogs by the pool. I have to say though Princess does have better food.
Entertainment is your usual cruise fare. Because of the port intensity, it really did not matter. There was also a heatwave in Europe which led to even more exhaustion on the part of the passengers. Except for the first production show which highlighted Broadway musicals and the Newlywed Game, the shows were poorly attended.
The ports of call are excellent. We were on our own in Venice which was pretty easy to get around even though you get lost all the time. Celebrity provided a free bus to the center of Dubrovnik which was easy to do on your own. It is an old walled city but not that much to see, except the beautiful Adriatic. Please note, we were six adults so the use of guides was quite reasonable. We used a guide, Rania for a half day tour of Athens. There was a public transit strike with demonstrations on that day but she managed to navigate around the city and we were able to see the highlights including the Parthenon. She was excellent. In Santorini, we were on our own. The views were breathtaking. If you like jewelry, this is the place for you. In both Naples and Rome we used Sorrentolimo. In Naples we had Gennaro, who took us along the amazing Amalfi Coast and then on to Pompei where he arranged a two hour tour with a guide. In Rome, we had Salvatore of Sorrentolimo who also had to navigate through closed streets. He got us into the Colisseum through the Roman Forum gate and there was no waiting for tickets. He was open to suggestions on what we wanted to see and accommodated us. Both Gennaro and Salvatore are drivers. In Florence, we used Paola Migliorni, who is a licensed guide. She took us to Pisa and then on to Florence where she virtually drove onto every square like she owned the city. In Villefranche we used Sylvie DiCristo, a licensed guide, who was so charming and lovely. It was like touring the French Riviera with your new friend.
Disembarkation in Barcelona was quite easy for us. The ship comes in the night before so the unloading of the luggage begins very early in the morning. We were off the ship by 8:30AM. There were very long lines for taxis as the Splendor had come in as well. We used taxiinternacion (Angie) and her driver was waiting for us with a sign. We just walked past everyone and there was a van with a small u-haul attached for the luggage and off we were.
Due to the heat and the numbers of ports we were exhausted. However, it is a trip of a lifetime because of all the great experiences and sights that you see. Millenium was an excellent means of doing everything.