Arrived in Barcelona 2 days early, took taxi to Hotel, stayed in Hotel Barcelona Universal on Ave Paralelo, short walk to Las Ramblas, HOHO bus and metro. We would stay there again. Barcelona has so much to see: took metro to Segrada Familia, absolutey Guadi. Line to get in is long but moves, Buy ticket in advance on internet and bypass line. I heard that at bank across the street from church you can use pc to purchase ticket (not sure which one or if is true) instead of waiting in line. We went on HOHO bus Turistic which took us all over giving a general overall view of all Barcelona. Sampled tapas at Gimlet few blocks from Hotel, standing room only at counter and table, staff and food was great. Walk Las Ramblas and sat at cafe with sangria and took in atmosphere,people watching you see all different types. Watch you belongings because the pickpockets are watching them also.
Took taxi to port for embarkment. We did online check-in prior so check-in on Celebrity Solstice was quick and we boarded by 1200hrs. Cabin was very comfortable and cabin steward very help full tracking down our luggage when it did not show up. First night, attended first time cruse critic introduction at Michael club, meet other cruise critic members and tried to find out how cruise critic works. Maybe 50 members attended and some other new members voiced similar concerns about web site navigation. We did not try the specialty dinning because we had dinner every night at main dinning room with a fantastic table of guest, we lucked out. Waiter staff was attentive and provided good service and overall the food was very good. thanks Yoto, Unto and Carlos. I wanted to mention the mixologist staff at the Martini Bar for the service and show that they performed each and every night especially Gusti, Sheldon, Ket, and Petur.
Villefrance- tender to port and took train to Nice, went to Flower market and outdoor cafes the strolled along the promenade des Anglais along the beach. Maybe we should of taking train in other direction towards Monaco, but we didn't.
Livorno - (Florence and PIsa) took self guided ship tour by bus which was good and provided information and maps of what we would see in Pisa and Florence, also a place for restroom and water. Saw leaning towering Pisa and statue of David in Florence.
Civitavecchia (Rome) took private tour with other cruise critics members that was looking for 2 other to complete their group ( found post on Community bulletin board near guest relations). IT was the best, while we did not get to see the vatican and sistine chapel (both closed on that sunday). We had a nonstop Romeinlimo 9 hour tour of "Highlights of Rome" in one day. We will need to back on another trip and spend more time. Exhausted and tired after all day excursions. need a sea day or another day in rome
Salerno (Naples)-explored on own, saw town and beautiful Amalfi coast.
Dubrovnik- took ships shuttle and walk town wall and looked in shops
Venice-took ships audio tour of the Doge Palace, St. Marks Basilica (NO BACKPACKS ALLOWED) which also allowed admission to other art museums in area. we purchased 12 hour valparettos HOHO pass and did just that seeing the rest of Venice. I would of liked to have spent a full day in Venice, with arrival in afternoon, sites and shops begin to close after 2100hrs. Went to Harrys bar for bloody mary very, very expensive but went for the experience and then had dinner. Took Valparettos around all of Venice at night what a beautifull trip. Sailing out of Venice with the Italian snow covered alps in background was a great picture to remember.
Kotor- hiked up old city wall to top great view and you could sees ruins on other side on fortifications. ITs a LONG strenuous hike up and rough on leg Joints coming down, be careful.
AT LAST TWO DAYS AT SEA TO UNWIND. LAY AT POOL AND JUST RELAX.
DISEMBARKATION- WE DID EXPRESS DEPARTURE and walked off with our luggage, very quick. We shared taxi to airport with others with baggage surcharge and tip 22 euros.