This was our first cruise. We had picked Celebrity because it was the upper end of the market and therefore the quality was likely to be higher. This should have been a faultless experience, but it really wasn't.
Arriving at the embarkation dock, we were given a ticket with a 'Y' written on it. I asked how long before we would get to the desk and told 25 minutes. After an hour, i queried it, and was given an 'S'! If I had just sat quietly we would have without doubt been another two hours. Totally unacceptable.
The stateroom, 7215 was fine. Acceptably clean, but I'd rather not have had kids fingerprints all over the patio door. Stateroom attendant, Emmanuel, was a nice chap. However, when I ordered a bottle of wine and a bucket of ice, to enjoy as we sailed down the Grand Canal, only a bucket of ice arrived. Soon sorted, but a bit amateurish.
There were continual little hiccups throughout the voyage. The Casino Bar is now known as "One Bucket Bar" after I went looking for a bucket of ice and asked the bartender to help. "I've only got one bucket" rather than "Give me a few minutes and I will have that sorted for you sir". What ever happened to legendary American service? I ended up purloining a bucket from Cellar Masters and raiding the Vodka Bar for ice.
And the upselling! This was diabolical. The packages are too complex, and too expensive for what you get. You are already paying top dollar so why does this go on. The drink package scam is a killer. You would have to be borderline alcoholic to make it pay. the classic package is $49/ day PLUS 15% gratuity. So that is $350 EACH if you are a couple. We took two bottles of good champagne with us, then had a bottle of reasonable wine every night, a couple or three good sessions on the martinis and our total bill was $337 including gratuities (and there were a few premium coffees in there too). That is about £200.00 all in. There is ample juices, decent filter coffee and chilled water to keep you going through the day.
Food was pretty good overall. Certainly couldn't see any real point in upgrading to premium restaurants. The Ocean View Cafe did great buffet style lunches and breakfasts.
Tip: don't bother with stateroom breakfasts. The mediocrity was a real issue. Make the effort and go upstairs!
There was too much selling going on. there is an 'Art House' on board, selling paintings. I stumbled across an auction in progress. I refuse to believe that there was a genuine sale of a 'piece of art' at over $10,000 whilst I was watching. all very odd.
And if you want to sell premium watches and Jewellery - for goodness sake put the ticket price where I can see it. I might want to barter in a souk, but not feel like I'm being sized up to see what I might pay. The British won't play that game. And why carry Breitling and Omega, then peddle tat like Coifmann on the same floor - at vastly improbable prices!
Don't be fleeced by the taxis or tours. Get a ticket from the little booth on the road out of the port and for 4 euros buy a 24 hr rover ticket! X80 takes you to within striking distance of the Acropolis. 12 Euros gets you in. Been there, seen it, done it. Back on the bus with no drama. Athens is a stifling, congested city, but the bus gets you through the worst.
We just got off the boat, walked through town and found the Marina Restaurant. Free wifi and sunbed, just buy your drinks. A nice day in the sun off the ship
An incredible, dramatic sail up to Kotor, along something akin to a fjord. The port itself is slightly tardy, and not helped by what almost looks like a bombed out hotel at the head of the channel. But get into the charming old walled city, around a few gift shops and into the cheap and personable bars for a couple of drinks and some wifi, and all is good. I'd call there again
Big disappointment. Looks lovely from the sea. Donkey torture on the right, massive queues for cable cars on the left. Once up to the top, the 'Shop front' is lovely. Very picturesque with shops and restaurants. Five or six streets back it is a busy, congested dustbowl.
If you are sailing from Venice, TRY TO AVOID MARCO POLO AIRPORT, especially for departure. It cannot cope in July. Probably the worst I have ever experienced.
We did regret not doing an overnight there before departure.
Sailing out of the Grand Canal with some light opera playing on the ships tannoy was a real highlight. 122,000 tonnes gliding along those waters was something to be cherished.