Having cruised Europe twice already in 2010 and 2011 (both times with Royal Caribbean - Adventure and Mariner), and having enjoyed it thoroughly, we were thrilled to book a 11 night cruise out of Venice in June 2013. Although we are Royal Caribbean loyalists, the cruise iteniery and the price made it impossible to resist Celebrity Silhouette's offer. 8 fantastic ports - Venice, Dubrovnik, Rome, Naples, Sicily, Malta, Kotor (what a gem this turned out to be) and Split along with 2 sea days made this a fabulous cruise. 11 nights for a fab price of $1100 per person all inclusive for a VERANDA stateroom was one of the best cruise deals we had ever received.
The cruise ship was smaller than the RC Adventure and Mariner, but just as beautiful. We missed the awesome promenade, but due to only 2 sea days, we were never bored. Also having a stateroom with a VERANDA, we loved spending time on the balcony as well. What fantastic views and brilliant wind in your hair while cruising.
The weather was hot for the first 8 days, and absolutely brilliant and cool on the last 3 days. June-July is perfect to cruise the med and we never had any rough seas.
Venice is easily accessible via the people mover. I just suggest travelers to study/ print out the map of the vaporetto (water taxis) that connect you to all great places to see. Murano and Burano are must see places (Burano is a longish ride away from Murano - 15 mins one way) and a full day ticket costs €20 which makes more sense than €6 per trip.
Dubrovnik is fantastic. You can get a cab at the port to take you to the old town for €10 one way. This was much better than paying $12 per person on the bus by celebrity cruises. One must go up the Dubrovnik cable car and get an awesome view of the entire city and coast! You will need to change currency at the port.
Rome was fabulous and since it was our 3rd trip here in 4 years, we decided to explore it on our own. We managed just fine, managed to fit in a Segway tour, the awesome Trevi fountain which has brought us back, the Spanish steps (spagna), some shopping with the wife, and a beautiful walk even the the sun was really beating down.
Naples - cruise excursion to Pompeii is a must. There is ALOT of walking on this tour and we were prepared for it since we did it in 2011. The guide was brilliant and we had a great time this time round as well. After the tour we wanted to see more of Naples so we went for a quick uphill walk to Toledo and we were blown away by the beautiful promenade, full of shops, old buildings, and an awesome coastline. We were so glad we went out instead of staying on the ship.
Catania,Sicily - cruise excursion to Mt. Etna was good but the short trip to Taormina was excellent. I cannot stress how 1 hour here just did notdo justice to this place. I could have easily spent a day in this little town, what a view of the Amalfi coast! The beauty of Europe really comes across from Taormina!
Valetta, Malta - managed to pack in quite a bit here. Segway on our own was tricky since there were plenty of slopes but awesome fun. Unfortunately the weather was absolutely horrendous, 30 degrees and humid meant walking in the heat was aweful, but the cosy lanes in this small city made it worth it. Don't kissing the merchants street, where you can easily spend a day, and the port was by far the most beautiful of all the European ports we've visited till date.
Kotor, Montenegro - this really was the gem of the cruise. Surrounded by mountains on ALL sides, clouds from the top, makes one feel like you are on another planet, in another world. One has to experience this place to believe it. A 2 minute walk away is the old town, which was so charming, and we could not help but just stare I'm awe at this magnificent beauty. Do not miss the sail out, it's an experience I will NEVER forget.
Split, Croatia - since the ship is tendered, the boats take you to port which is essentially at the foot of the huge promenade, churches, shops, bars. We walked down the streets and with the best weather (23 degrees and an overcast sky), we enjoyed the day in split.
The 2 sea days were also great fun. The activities team (especially Dan and Danielle) kept us entertained. The food in the ocean view was excellent, especially the breakfast. The brunch in the main dining room on the 2nd sea day was also a highlight. The shows were good, especially FRED the comedian who was BRILLIANT. The only bad service we ever had was by the sometimes RUDE staff in the casino. Our housekeeping staff was absolutely impeccable with their service, we thought this was an area where celebrity was better than Royal Caribbean.
If Celebrity cruises offers such brilliant deals again, I would certainly opt for it. I never thought I'd move away from Royal Caribbean, but Celebrity (part of the same family) certainly made us HUGE fans. Captain Dimitrios was fabulous. Charming (all the ladies loved him), and had a wicked sense of humor that kept us entertained all the time.
Next up - RC Independence of the Seas in June 2014, unless Celebrity managed to steal us away once again! 5/5 stars.