My husband and I went for our 18th Wedding Anniversary- this was THE best cruise we have ever been on (sans. children or parents!)
Arrived in Rome 1 day pre-cruise. Stayed at the StarHotels Metropole. Short walk to the trains- and everything else! Gorgeous room (they upgraded us for our anniversary) I booked via Orbitz and rate was reasonable- CLEAN, FREE BREAKFAST- very nice- I would recommend it highly and go back!
To and from Civitavecchia we hired Transfer Italy Rome www.transferitalyrome.com
Owner Antonio Cagnoli, was as nice as could be. We felt very special in their leather-lined cars (Audi and Mercedes) that sped past the other traffic. $120 Euros TOTAL, pay after you get the service! They also have vans for larger groups I emailed them and was VERY pleased not having to release our credit card #!!!
We arrived around 1:00 pm- no waiting- no need for Concierge line--- but quick, smooth and efficient!
We had a LARGE veranda- where the room abutted next to a very large suite-- and we enjoyed breakfast, coffee, 1 dinner, wine, picture taking as often as we could! Plenty of space, cubes for stashing items. I brought an 'over-the-door' hangar for the bathroom door for items: sunblock, first aid kit, misc. etc... and we COULD have done without. Our stateroom attendant RICHARD was very helpful, nice, and kept our room ship-shape even when we were on the move!
Beautiful. Very Clean. EVERY staff member we met would say hello, good morning! There was always someone cleaning. It was just beautiful.
I have never been a 'buffet' person- but the Oceanview Cafe was CLEAN, open 24 hrs and always had something to offer. My husband LOVED it! We had breakfast there all except 2 days, and a couple of lunches... and late night snacks for my husband. Don't let anyone tell you the food was not good. I have a few extra LBS to loose after this trip!
OPUS: We ate in the MDR all except 2 nights. REMI has a quiet corner section on the forth floor. Charming, professional and very accommodating- we asked for his section every subsequent meal. Anything he recommended was just exquisite!
Tuscan Grille: 1 night we dined in the Specialty Restaurant the Tuscan Grille. OMG. We sat next to the back window- and ate SOOO much. The service, food, wine, everything was just lovely. Alex was our server and very attentive to us, since it was our official 'Anniversary' dinner.
Sicily- we did the cruise Transfer to Taormina. It was great- guided information on the bus ride there, and then we were on our own for 3 hours. Quaint town on a hillside- uphill, steps, rocky but it is what one expects for an Italian town. Gorgeous gardens, and the Greek Theatre- still in use today had spectacular views. Very enjoyable 1/2 day. Returned to ship and rested on the sundeck (15 our favorite- 1 flight above the pool, a bit quieter).
Athens- we did the cruise 1/2 day Athens Sightseeing & Acropolis walking tour- lots of steps and people but very informative and beautiful. Parthenon was just amazing. Great tour guide! Returned to ship and napped/rested on deck 15 in the sun. Whew...
Turkey-Kusadasi- we did the cruise 1/2 day tour Ultimate Ephasus. RECOMMEND HIGHLY! This tour includes the Terrace Houses- and the entire tour was very informative and mind blowing to think 45 years ago the majority of these terrace houses were under dirt! Our guide in the Terrace houses worked there 45 years- and co-authored a book EPHASUS that we purchased. Great memento. Enjoyed this very much! Had to do a carpet presentation but it was informative. Vendors are aggressive on walk back to ship... so we returned to ship for a nap. Too tired for sun/ people!!
Rhodes- we did our own exploration of the old walled city and it was amazing! Very nice shops, dined on Greek food on second floor of a quaint restaurant outside-- and it was delicious! Excuse my spelling- but Tazaki, grape leaves, gyros- yummy!!!! We were not expecting Rhodes to be so charming and lovely!
Santorini- JUST BEAUTIFUL!! We did this on our own, when we exited the ships tender walk to the LEFT, we located a water taxi to OIA (say EE-YA). (15 Euros each for water taxi, bus ride uphill to OIA, AND bus back to FIRA, town above where the ship tenders are) OMG I LOVED OIA. Very clean, quaint town atop the northernmost point of Santorini. Gorgeous views, shops, hotels-- it was just beautiful. I could go back there. Lots of steps, steep slopes but the views were phenomenal. Bus to Fira- churches, views, great food.. then we enjoyed lunch at a multi-level restoranti near the top of the gondola, which we took down to the tender. Heard from others how smelly the donkey's are, so we avoided them.
Mykonos- We opted for a day of semi-rest. I had emailed the Hotel Saint John to pick us up at the Ship's dock ( yes, we docked instead of tendered- it was nice)
For $70 Euros each, transport to/from hotel, champagne, breakfast and lunch (or massage and breakfast), use of sunbeds by swimming pools or beach, Jacuzzi, gym, shower) It felt like we were 'the rich and famous'. Just beautiful charming resort- infinity pools with fountains. We swam in the clear, gorgeous sea water-- it was very very nice. RECOMMEND this! www.saintjohn.gr I emailed about a day pass- and we were there ALL day. The return trip bus will also drop you off to wander in Mykonos Town if you wish.
Naples- at the last minute we decided to do the cruise Transfer to Pompeii. We wandered the ruins on our own, and 'overheard' some of the English speaking tours whenever we could. It is HUGE!!!! Amazing to see Mount Vesuvius overhead and think of these people. Upon return to ship to wandered a bit, and had PIZZA ( of course) took in the city sites, people laying on the 'large course-sand' by the water. Actually very large ROCKS, people laid their towels and swam-- not a 'beach' that we know of but interesting and it looked refreshing.
We had EARLY departure the next morning, 6:15 and carried our own bags off the ship to catch our flight back. It was just a WONDERFUL TRIP!
Recommend Celebrity- and the Reflection to all!