Our cruise began with a tour of northern Italy on our own. Rented a car and drove to Trieste and then to Ljubljana. Trieste had much to offer in sights to visit. Took the hop on hop off bus and visited the Castello Miramare built by the Arch Duke Maximilian. We highly recommend this visit and the bus tour which hits the city highlites.
Drove on to Ljubljana as this was one of the tours offered by the cruise line. We decided to take it on our own as the tour by the cruise line was very costly and the tour offered by the Line was very lengthy. Glad we did this on our own. Ljubljana was a disappointment to some degree. My wife and I enjoy historical sites and the old architecture. The city has a small historic area and can be seen in a very brief time. The old city is naturally along the river but it never was a large important location. There is a castle on the high prometory point affording a expansive view of the city and area. It is reachable by a funicular for 1 Eruo. It has a university and an artsy feel to it, but it is a very modern city of about 250,000. We did enjoy dinner at one of the hotels before driving to Venice.
We arrived in Venice to catch the ship. Spent some time in Venice which is one of the cities my wife really enjoys. The history of Venice is overwhelming and one visit to the city is not enough. Left Venice and sailed to Koper Slovenia. Unfortunately the weather turned nasty. Got caught in a rain storm. Koper did not have a lot to offer as it is basically a port industrial city for Slovenia.
The itinerary of this cruise was one of the reasons for our taking it. We sailed down the Adriatic Sea stopping in Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia and in Kotor in Montenegro. These were all beautiful cities with history dating to the Greek and Roman times. Kotor is a small town of about 13,000that is located in a fiord and surrounded by mountains. The sailing into the narrow passage is worth being up early when the ship arrives in port. The Old City of Kotor is one of the best preserved medieval towns in the Adriatic. The city is surrounded by an impressive wall and there are a great number of monuments of medieval architecture: churches, cathedrals, palaces and museums. You can do a self tour so save yourself the money and pass on the ships tour.
We then sailed to Ravenna, Italy which was a disappointment. Took a ship tour since the port is about 20 minutes from the city center. The city is large but according to our guide most of the city was ruined by the bombing of World War II. We visited the beautiful Sant'Apollinare in Classe, an imposing brick structure dating from the beginning of 6th century by order of Bishop Ursicinus. It was consecrated on May 9, 549 by Bishop Maximian and dedicated to Saint Apollinaris, first bishop of Ravenna and Classe. The Basilica is thus contemporary with the Basilica of San Vitale of Ravenna. In 856, the relics of Saint Apollinaris were transferred from the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe to the Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna. We also stopped by the Mausoleum of Teodorico, an ancient ruler who had the mausoleum built but does not rest there now.
The local economy booms with a big chemical industry, the discovery of offshore gas deposits, and the construction of a new ship canal. These are the things you see en route from the ship to the city center.
Sailed on to Bari Italy and then to Malta. From Malta we sailed to Sicily and then to Naples before ending at the port of Civitavecchia outside of Rome.
Well, the food on the cruise was good but not as good as what we've had on other Celebrity ships. The buffet had great selections and we liked the floor layout for convenience and ease of moving around to various offerings. Service through out the ship was excellent and the staff courteous and helpful at all times. The entertainment was okay. Maybe I'm getting to the point where it seems repetitious.
All of the ship facilities where well maintained. The exercise equipment was the latest and in excellent condition. There was ample shops on board with a good selection of high quality products if one is interested in shopping. The casino, according to my wife, was very stingy on their payouts.
I would like to mention that we originally booked a cabin with a balcony on deck 8 but made a change to deck 6. When we made the change, we believed that the cabin had an unobstructed view. We learned before sailing that the cabin had an obstruction (life boats). On discussing the issue with our booking agent, she stated that we would be saving a thousand dollars and would find the lifeboats would not be much of an obstruction. In any event, we could not change cabins because the ship was sold out. Well we have to give our agent a big thank you for the savings, because there really wasn't much of an obstruction. We would do it again.
We both agreed that this was an excellent cruise but the itinerary is definitely one that will tire you out. You will need a vacation in Tahiti to relax.