This was our second Celebrity cruise. We sailed last year on the Eclipse and this being in the same class, there were alot of similarities. The main difference being that the Hot Glass display is not on the top deck - something we enjoyed, especially when I won a lovely vase for free. There are more eating areas where cover charges apply on this boat than the Eclipse. Personally we think the Grand Cuvee restaurant supplies a very good standard of food, beautifully presented with attentive waiters. We prefer to eat there every evening if possible,mainly because I always seem to mound my plate up in the Oceanview cafe even when I set out with the best intentions. There is such a good choice of food that I can't help just "trying a little of that". Consequently my clothes feel tighter so Grand Cuvee for us and we always share a table - always nice to meet new people!
Check In was reasonably easy. The queue moved swiftly and the desks had opened earlier than expected so we only waited a few minutes before we were called to board. Later on board an announcement was made that our cabins were available.
We decided this time to attempt to do excursions ourselves. I'm waiting for a new hip operation and although have no problem walking I could not face having to keep up with a tour. When I need 5 minutes rest, I need it!!
Can not recommend enough Rick Steve's book "Mediterranean Cruise Ports". Full of really good tips on how to do things yourself, from his website we printed off maps (St Mark's Sq,Grand Canal, Coliseum, Forum, to name a few)plus downloaded, again for free, walking tour guides to our ipods (MP3 players). He gives spot-on advice as where to buy train, bus tickets, prices etc and where to get off. Saved us a fortune on organised trips and we never got lost. Could not have been easier. From now on I think we will always try to do things ourselves. I don't have a problem with Celebrity tours - they're convenient but not cheap. We just wanted the freedom and when we were in Rome in stifling heat it was nice just to decide we'd seen everything we wanted to and get the train back to port.
Entertainment was pretty good. We only missed one show - due to us chatting too long in the restaurant. The Cirque de Soleil themed show was excellent, some very talented specialty acts.
Sailing out of Venice was just magical, sailing back in just as lovely.
Kotor in Montenegro took our breath away - such fabulous scenery and so different to all the other ports of call. We tendered here and it was fairly busy getting off but no problem coming back.
We did one tour on the very last day which was a walking tour of Padua plus an airport transfer. We were off the ship by 8.30am and dropped off at Marco Polo at 12.30pm so didn't get a huge time in Padua. We didn't fly till late evening so on reflection should have taken the People Mover (1 euro) to the bus station, put our bags in the left luggage place, seen a bit more of Venice and then got the Airport Shuttle bus (every 20mins. Our feet/blisters just couldn't face too much walking.
A very nice ship, beautifully appointed, good food, comfy stateroom - You could not help but enjoy a holiday on this ship. We would definitely sail on it again!