The food was amazing. I don't know how they make a profit. The buffet is open morning until night. Even if the main stations are closed, they always serve pasta, pizza, and salad. I am a vegetarian and very picky and I had no problem finding food. The main dining was nice although we were usually tired from the excursions and opted for the buffet. We tried Silk Harvest, which was nice and Tuscana Grille, which was our favorite.
There's so much to do on board that we felt guilty sleeping because we wanted to try it all. The hot glass show is very cool. Two out of three performances we saw were also really entertaining. We liked the history lectures and my husband liked his bocce ball lessons. The martini bar is also a lot of fun. The pool area is also great. My only complaint is that they keep the common areas, including the solarium, freezing! Bring a sweater along. Internet also costs a fortune, even the package deals. It was expensive for my husband to stay connected to his office.
Our room on the seventh floor was perfect. The bathroom was surprisingly spacious and a lot of room to store your personal items. The bed was comfortable. Ours was right next to the veranda, which we liked. Some rooms the bed is in the middle of the room instead and the tv is near the veranda. Our friends had that setup and liked it as well. We had a ton of luggage (big suitcases too) and many souvenirs and between the closet, under the bed, and over the bed everything fit. Drawer space however was severely lacking, probably to be expected with a cruise, and I ended up half living out of one of my suitcases. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze you just insert your ship id card into the machine and are free to go.
We decided to go to the Connections Party and I'm so glad we did. We ended up meeting another couple from our city and had a great time with them on board and plan to keep in touch.
Overall we had an amazing time. Wish we were back on the ship! We look forward to cruising again with Celebrity.
I am going to write the Amalfi/Pompeii review here since there is not enough room in the port reviews section. We booked it through the ship and it was wonderful. We loved our tour guide, she was warm and very funny. The Amalfi Coast is beautiful and very scenic but the narrow roads 800 feet up in the air with another bus trying to squeeze by was a little crazy but definitely worth it. We stopped in a beautiful little town by the sea called Amalfi. It was nice but they gave us almost two hours of free time, which was too much. The lunch was great and they were very accommodating to special dietary requests. Pompeii was great too. Definitely go into the ancient brothel.
We wanted a half day tour of Alexandria the second day so hired a private tour with Ramses. They were great! A lot of people were too nervous to leave the ship the second day, as were we because we have never traveled in this part of the world and didn't know what to expect, and Egypt is very poor and Alexandria definitely is third world. We are so glad we did not cancel because it turned out to be one of our favorite days of the cruise. We felt very safe. Rasha, our tour guide from Ramses, was there on time, had an air-conditioned van waiting for us, and was extremely knowledgeable. We started our tour by going to Qait Bey Fort. This was one of our highlights. The children and teenagers were very excited to see Americans. They were trying to sneak photos of us on there camera phone and follow us. Our tour guide offered to make them leave us alone but we were equally curious. We asked her to ask them if we could take a photo with them and they were so happy. Wanting to blend in (a joke with light blond hair) I had brought a head scarf. The girls helped me tie it in Egyptian fashion (the photos of that are great!) and we took photos with them and the boys next wanted their turn. We went to five countries on this cruise and the Egyptian people were by far the warmest we encountered. We asked our tour guide if she would mind stopping at the library just for a photo and she was very accommodating. I also suggest visiting the palace and gardens, which were beautiful. Since it is a Muslim country we thought we'd better not be too affectionate in public and as I said I brought a head scarf. But Rasha laughed and said it wasn't necessary, Egypt is not strict like that with tourists. We hope to go back to Egypt again in a few years as there is so much to see and we loved the people.
Here's how our day went: We got on the bus and start driving...right past Megiddo! I brought this to Yehuda's attention and he announced that since some of the people were on his tour of Jerusalem yesterday (we were not) they had decided to skip Megiddo and go to a church in Nazareth instead. I told him that was not really fair since all of the people were not there yesterday to vote and asked if we could please take another vote. He impatiently told us that since we just drove past Megiddo it was too late. Why didn't he tell us about this itinerary change when we got on the bus? However, not wanting to ruin the trip for our fellow passengers we decided that we would just go up to him at the next stop and figure out how to get to Megiddo on our own.
The bus stopped in Nazareth and let everyone off. My husband went up to Yehuda and said, "Look we are really disappointed that we are not going to Megiddo as scheduled as that was the primary thing we wanted to see during the Haifa port."
Before he could continue on to ask if there was a cab around, Yehuda raised his voice and started shouting that they took a vote yesterday and there's is nothing he can do, and that we will get our money's worth! By this time our fellow cruisers were starting to crowd around, he was certainly making a scene. He went from calm to loud and angry in about 10 seconds. Luckily many of them were sympathetic to our situation and would have also liked to see Megiddo.
My husband said, "We won't be getting our money's worth since we won't see what we came to see, but it's not about the money at this point. We want to see Megiddo can you call one of the other guides to meet us there or help us find a cab?"
Yehuda, again with attitude told us we can try to go catch the bus and the driver may be able to help us and then walked off. The bus had taken off the moment it dropped us off, there was no way we could catch it, and he did not offer to call it for us.
We had a very uneventful trip to the church. We then went to the Sea of Galilee, which was beautiful. However, he picked a restaurant to eat at where in order to sit you had to pay $20/head for the food (which was terrible). Many people were not happy about this as that was the only shaded seating.
We stopped at the Jordan River, which was also beautiful and a great photo spot.
Then on to Akko. Somehow, this supposedly experienced tour guide did not realize it was the last day of the three day celebration following Ramadan. All of the cruise tour companies knew to go in the morning because it gets crowded. We were stuck in traffic for so long because of Yehuda's poor planning that our tour of Akko was brief and we had to skip the Baha'i gardens because we otherwise may not have made it to the ship in time. This also angered us. It was a terrible mismanagement of our time. If he had planned ahead like the other tour companies for the Arab holiday, we could have gone in the morning before it was crowded and we would have been able to see the Baha'i gardens, a must for a first timer to Haifa.
Because of Yehuda Guy's nasty attitude and poor planning of the day, we would not recommend this tour guide. The Haifa area however, was beautiful and is filled with history. Would love to go back with a better tour guide.
He was not able to give us too many facts, and those that he did give were hard to understand. The buffet lunch was nice. We then went to Rachel's Tomb, which is a joke. Whoever designed this tour needs to take it off the itinerary. It is not where she's buried. It is just a white room with a lot of people praying and it is in a police zone of the country and getting the bus in and out ate up precious time.
We were not left a lot of time to see the Western Wall. But it definitely was a highlight. We had to rush from there so we could see the Cardo for literally 5 minutes. I would have loved to spend more time there as well instead of Rachel's Tomb.