A Med cruise was on my bucket list for a number of years and we finally made it!
This was our 3rd Celebrity cruise but first on an S class ship. I was very impressed with the design features of the S class vs those on Infinity and Summit and also other lines. A beautiful ship and well maintained.
We arrived in Barcelona a day early to help with jet lag and spent the night at Hotel Curious which is a one star hotel just steps from Las Ramblas and La Boquiera market. Small room but with a nice view of a fairly quiet street. competitively priced and comfortable, kind of quirky in nature.
Embarkation was very smooth. We arrived just before noon and completed the process and were on board within 20-30 minutes. Rooms were not ready for an hour or two but this presented no problems. Upon embarking I realized that I had only brought about 1/2 enough of one of my medications. I went to guest relations and discussed options with a staff member (Rachelle). The best option was to have a family member Fed the meds to me at a port of call. Keep in mind that this problem was of my making and Celebrity had no responsibility. Rachelle took care of obtaining the port agent information, e-mail this to my family, and followed up diligently, leaving me messages daily or more as to the status and inquiring as to whether they could do anything else. The problem was resolved in the time frame expected. I also inquired a few days later about a missing on board credit and the guest relations rep again followed up very diligently and kept me advised of the status. It was very obvious that the goal of Equinox guest relations was to ensure a positive experience regardless of the details. I cannot express how impressed I was with the service and concern and can assure Celebrity that they are #1 on my list of cruise lines!
We did not use any ship shore excursions but either went on our own or with private tours arranged with others thru Cruise Critic.
Villefranche, France--We just wandered this town on our own and enjoyed the atmosphere and shops etc.
Florence, Italy--We did a private tour with Rome in Limo and enjoyed our driver, Riccardo, and the tour very much. He showed us all the major sites in Florence and we visited Accademia museum and viewed Michangelo's David. Very impressive. We then went Tuscany for a wine tasting and finished the day with a visit to Lucca which is a beautiful city. This would be on our short list to visit for a longer stay.
Rome, Italy-Again a private tour, this time with "Your Tour in Italy". Salvatore was our driver and very well spoken and knowledgable. We also had a guide for the Vatican Museum. The museum, St Peter's, and the Sistine Chapel were just amazing! Lunch at a small local restaurant and a whirlwind visit to all the major sites in Rome. Again a very busy day.
Naples, Italy--Another Rome in Limo tour. They do an outstanding job and cannot recommend them highly enough! We had a private guide for a 2 hour tour of Pompeii and while it was a downpour for most of the time we enjoyed it very much. We then did a drive along the Amalfi coast from Sorrento to Positano with lunch in Sorrento. A beautiful drive which I am sure would have been even better if not for the constant rain.
Kotor, Montenegro--We did this on our own and everyone we spoke to on board found this to be a very pleasant surprise. It is a quaint old worldly city with narrow winding streeting inside the old city walls.
Venice, Italy--Venice is beautiful and has an ambiance which is hard to describe despite the commercialism which abounds. It was a bonus to spend the night there. The trip into and out of Venice is beautiful as the ship sails right down the Grand Canal with great views of the city. Pictures do not do it justice.
Dubrovnik, Croatia--Again a bit of a surprise. We were told that much of the old walled city were damaged in the war of the early 90's but has been repaired/rebuilt. We found it beautiful and enjoyed wandering the town.
Dining was excellent throughout the ship. We chose Select dining and never made a reservation. We went to dinner each evening and said we would share and were seated almost immediately each time. We quickly did not have to give our cabin # or preference as the dining steward had everything memorized. We loved the gelato at Bistro on Five and found it to be as good or better than in Italy. Most breakfasts and lunches were taken at the Oceanview buffet given the port intensive nature of the cruise. Food was very good even if there was not many changes to the offerings day to day.
Entertainment was very good and several acts were outstanding. Much was non verbal given the mix of passengers languages. We only participated in a few Celebrity Life options but they were well attended and looked interesting. The Sin City comedy club had an excellent headliner and was great fun. Entertainment in the atrium each night was very good and it was a very lively and fun area.
Disembarkation was very efficient. We were given a point to gather for our departure time and then announcements were made only in that venue as to specific departure groups. Kudos to Celebrity for their policy on announcements throughout the cruise. Only important information is made in cabins which may have only happened 2-3 time in 12 days.
Summary--A great cruise on a beautiful ship with service as good or better than I have ever received in my previous 13 cruises.