This was our second cruise on Celebrity but my husband's and my 10th and 12th cruises, respectively. We have always cruised with friends and/or family in groups ranging from 6 to 18; this time it was just us and another couple.
Were were pleased with our Concierge Class stateroom, which had a spacious bathroom with an excellent shower, and plenty of room for our toiletries. One minor quibble with the flat feather pillows, but that was rectified after requesting a foam pillow from our stateroom attendant--in fact, he brought me TWO pillows, which was perfect and allowed me to sleep comfortably for the rest of the cruise.
We had an excellent experience at the early seating in the main dining room, with a really wonderful waiter (Pacheco), assistant waiter (Joseph), and sommelier (Milan). They were attentive, friendly, and welcoming every night. I noted that another passenger on this cruise said that the service for dinner was too slow for that reviewer's taste, and our waiter did ask us early in the cruise how we liked the pacing of our meal...was it too slow, or did we prefer a leisurely pace? We responded that we were fine with a leisurely dining experience and indeed, we were frequently among the last to leave the dining room (which was fine with us). We enjoyed all our meals and my husband was pleased as the food is an important part of the cruise experience for him!
As mentioned in another review, the itinerary was reversed some months before our cruise, but we actually preferred that because the two sea days at the start gave us time to recover from our jet lag traveling from the West Coast to Barcelona and boarding the ship just hours after our arrival.
We did all shore excursions through Celebrity and overall found them to be a good value. The walking tour of the city wall in Old Dubrovnik was very interesting if a bit strenuous (but we knew that ahead of time). Even in late October with 65 degree weather we were a bit tired at the end; I can't imagine what it would be like to do that in 90+ degree weather in the summer.
We found Kotor to be...underwhelming. Perhaps because we had just seen the historic old town of Dubrovnik, this seemed to be much of the same but not as picturesque. The sail in through the Bay of Kotor was pretty, though.
I wish we had had a longer stop in Venice...2 pm on Sunday through 1 pm Monday was not quite long enough to enjoy the city. We will definitely go back. We did a tour on Sunday but Monday took ourselves back via the People Mover from the dock, then the ferry/bus to the Rialto Bridge. A great way to see how the locals travel to and from work in Venice and offered great views of the Grand Canal.
The wine tasting excursion from Livorno was a bit disappointing. We have done a LOT of wine tasting in California, and the experience was very different on this tour. There was no discussion of explanation of the wines we were tasting, and no tasting notes provided--just a list of the wines and their prices to purchase. The setting was lovely, though, and the scenery on the drive was colorful as the grapevines were turning gold and red.
The tour of Pompeii was awesome--very interesting, quite amazing how much is preserved--although you should be aware that the artifacts (pots, jars, bones, etc.) are all in a museum in Naples and NOT at the actual architectural site in Pompeii. So try to visit the museum in Pompeii if you want to see that.
We missed our all-day excursion to Rome as I caught a cold and was miserable; a 10-hour day (with 2-hour bus ride) would have finished me for the rest of the cruise. We were able to get a refund on our shore excursion tickets by visiting the ship's infirmary and seeing the doctor, who gave me a "note" saying I was unable to take the excursion that day. The shore excursion desk promptly refunded our $$ which was great. There was a charge to see the doctor which I have submitted to health insurance and hopefully will be refunded.
We stayed one extra day in Barcelona which, unfortunately, was rainy all day. We stayed at the Gran Havana Hotel (through Celebrity) and had a spacious, contemporary room with a great view and a good location. We walked to Sagrada Familia in the rain and spent several hours touring it with the individual recorded self-guided tour (highly recommended). That evening we had paella at a family-owned restaurant recommended by the concierge and just a few blocks walking distance from the hotel. It was a great meal and very reasonably priced: Ca La Nuri (www.calanuri.es).
We felt that all the crew was friendly, attentive, and helpful throughout the cruise. Overall, an excellent experience and one of our best cruises yet.