We recently took the Celebrity Equinox from Rome for an Eastern Mediterranean cruise. We booked everything independently. We spent three days in Rome before our cruise. We used the train from Termini Station to the port (€4.50 each) with two large suitcases and one piece of handbaggage each. On arrival at the port there is about a ten minute walk (taxis didn't seem to want to take us) to the Port Entrance where each ship has a shuttle bus to take you to the checkin area. No real problem. Check in was quick and we were in our cabin by about 1300.
CABIN - we were in cabin 9292 and were very pleased with it. Ample storage and bathroom well thought out. We had a very nice attendant who looked after us well. No complaints.
BREAKFAST - we chose to have breakfast on Deck 12 - the healthy option. This was very good. On one morning we had breakfast delivered to our room as we had an early start. A mistake I think - no knives, only a very small pot of hot water for the tea and not everything requested was delivered. They did opt to put it right but as we were pushed for time we passed on that.
DINING - we chose Select Dining which worked really well for us. We were able to sit with different people every evening which was very interesting. Food generally good but not exceptional. Service generally good but on our last night it was very slow and the food was only luke warm. Coffee was not offered. On two occasions we chose to eat in the buffet as we were not particularly hungry - we really enjoyed this and found the selection to be good. We dined in MURANO once - exceptional service and food, and in TUSCAN GRILL once. Tuscan Grill was very disappointing. We were ushered to our seats, given wine and water and then had to wait for 25 mins before my husband called someone. Apparently they had forgotten about us - not very impressed. Food good but not as good as Murano and when we left the Maitre D was at the exit looking at the computer and did not even acknowledge us leaving. We may have been unlucky but will certainly not go again.
DESTINATIONS - we normally do not take the ship excursions as first of all they are very expensive and secondly we don't like to be in large groups.
MESSINA - due to the timings we did on this occasion book the ship ON YOUR OWN tour to Taormina. A coach took us there and we were left for about two and a half hours to do our own thing, then met again to be taken back to the ship. Our guide was excellent and she gave us a map of Taormina. This worked fine for us - we walked as far as the Greek Theatre (there is an entry fee unless you are over 60 - take a photo copy of your passport as evidence) - well worth a visit - and on our way back we had plenty of time to have some lunch. When we got back to Messina we crossed the road from the port and saw the Cathedral and Clock Tower.
PIREUS - we did not bother going into Athens as we had both been there a number of times before and had already seen the Acropolis, Plaka etc. We took the port shuttle bus to Terminal A and then we saw advertised a Tourist Train for Pireus (€5 each). We took this and got off at the first stop - a lovely square with shops and cafes - we were looking for an Internet Cafe and en route discovered the Marina. We sat down at a cafe and had some orange juice and admired the view. We explored Pireus - not too much to see but it was nice.
All in All we loved the itinerary and can't wait to go on our next cruise and we would certainly recommend this itinerary.