Our Amer. Air. flight from New York was on time & arrived in Barcelona around 9:00 a.m. Celebrity had a rep. at Barcelona airport who was able to sign us up for transfer to the pier for $30 pp without a reservation.
Embarkation went quickly and smoothly, we were able to board the ship around 12:00 noon. Weather was a bit chilly but dry and sunny. Luggage was in our cabin by 2:30 p.m.
After a nap to get over jet lag we toured the ship and ate lunch in the buffet on deck 10 and then enjoyed sail away music. With respect to dinners, since this is a very hectic cruise, Early seating at 6:00 was too early since the ship was in port til 7:00 and many of the excursions didn't end until 6:30 pm. Late seating was 8:45 which was too late since we were getting up early every morning for an excursion tour. We opted to utilize select dining which worked out wonderful for us. We had dinner every day we were in port around 7:30 and got seated right away. We chose to eat with others since we like to meet new people and the service was just as good as previous cruisings when we had set meal times. Food selections not as top notch as on previous Celebrity cruises, a bit of a disappointment, although service still top notch.
The shows were good, especially Broadway and Around the World. Didn't really like the hypnotist. We didn't know the singer Ms. Hamilton, she was OK. We ended up catching Perry Grant in Michael's Club, very funny and entertaining, this made up for the lack of a good comic. We caught 3 of his performances.
Excursions, pricey but definitely worth the money
The guides were all very professional and informative, I had to narrow down my photos to 425, so we saw quite a lot in a week.
Historical Florence - Acaddemia Museum/lunch very good
Rome - Eternal City - Vatican and Coliseum/lunch was so-so
Naples/Salerno - Sorrento and Pompeii - loved the visit to the farm for mozz. cheese and Sorrento was gorgeous.
Barcelona - Barcelona city tour the city center drop off (worked our great and gave us a nice 4 hour overview of the city).
Villefranche - we took train to Monaco and walked around port town
Genoa - we took mini-tour on tram right off the tender and then the Aquarium, very good pizza here
The cabin was a little tight for space but decorated nice and wonderful cabin steward. Not great views from balcony since most ports we docked in were ugly industrial areas.
After the city tour in Barcelona, we walked 1 block to our hotel. The Meridien Barcelona is a fantastic choice. It's the only 5 star rated on Las Ramblas, exciting place to stay (a little like mardi gras). Very modern, clean and wonderful, courteous staff. There's a computer room for guests on the lower level with printer access so I printed out my boarding pass in advance for the flight home, a nice bonus. Multitude of restaurants right on Las Ramblas, mostly good.
Overall, this was a wonderful cruise since we wanted to see Italy and we were pressed for time. At the end of each day, it was nice to have the staff greet us back on board with hot chocolate. You will definitely need good walking shoes and we needed a couple of days rest after returning home, but it was definitely a great experience.