Two couples from Australia, mid 50's. Only one of the four had been on a cruise holiday previously.
Selected a Celebrity Mediterranean cruise based on recommendations from friends and on Cruise Critic. The requirement was that nobody wanted to feel "trapped" on the ship so the port heavy itinerary was selected.
It was certainly all go, with one port after another and only two sea days to recuperate but the holiday lived up to expectations in all respects.
Flights to Europe from Australia usually take 24 hours so it is no picnic. In this instance there was a delay which stretched the trip to 48 hours with two overnight hotel stays. There was an upgrade to business class for the last leg which was some consolation for the day lost in Barcelona.
Barcelona itself was a revelation and fortunately we still had three days at the Barcelona Renaissance Hotel to explore the city before boarding the ship. Restaurants including the fabulous 41 degree experience were a highlight.
Boarding as Concierge Class went smoothly with some line skipping and as the ship had just come from dry dock cabins were immediately available.
Excellent service from Cabin Steward started immediately with him sorting out an issue with the tuxedo hire arranged beforehand.
Cabin 1407 facing rear was great, plenty of storage, comfortable and a spectacular view from the balcony. We did have the ajoining balconies opened up for our afternoon canapes (arranged by the aforementioned cabin steward)
We took full advantage of the many bars on board, in particular the martini bar, the molecular bar, the gastro bar and the sunset bar. But even in 12 days we didn't get to drink at every bar on the ship. Taking advantage of the classic beverage package from the 123 go promotion we upgraded to the premium package at reasonable cost and never had to worry about charges for any drinks. (except being charged $ 8.50 towards the cost of a $ 21.00 bottle of Belgian strawberry beer at the gastro bar on one occasion)
We ate in the main dining room on most nights and it was excellent fun, with the interactions with the familiar waitstaff adding to our enjoyment of the meal. We also ate in the specialty restaurants, murano, tuscan grill, and silk harvest and found them each being worth the extra cost. Murano being the pick.
We also enjoyed the food at the gastro pub as well as at bistro on five.
With all that eating and drinking we didn't get around to seeing much of the entertainment on board but did enjoy hearing the music from different combos throughout the voyage.
For the excursions again we mixed it up. Some ship excursions, some arranged through cruise critic roll call and some we just made our own way. Segway trip through Rome was a blast and a wine tasting tour out of Dubrovnik was a revelation, the beautiful countryside matched with friendly people and great wine and food.
The arrival at Venice to disembark was also spectacular. I would never have believed that we were actually going to sail down the grand canal in that 16 story hotel prior to an overnight stay in Venice.
As we had an afternoon flight from Venice the next day we took the option of a ships excursion for the morning which ended in an airport transfer together with our luggage. Hassle free but a little slow paced after all the hectic travels of the preceding days.
Overall we had a great time with our existing friends and with new friends we meet through the roll call. Great service on a fabulous ship with more amenities and amusements than we could sample in the 12 days.