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1,508 Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Family Cruise Reviews

Just returned from an amazing cruise on Sinfonia. I’ve cruised Celebrity, Scenic, Royal Caribbean and P&O and I can say MSC were fantastic. Food was absolutely delicious, the Italians know how to cook. I can only assume others have ... Read More
Just returned from an amazing cruise on Sinfonia. I’ve cruised Celebrity, Scenic, Royal Caribbean and P&O and I can say MSC were fantastic. Food was absolutely delicious, the Italians know how to cook. I can only assume others have killed their tastebuds if they didn’t like the food. Please ignore negative comments about the food, it’s simply not true. Yes the itinerary is tight but that is no surprise. Just line up and get in early for tender tickets so you are first off the ship and make the most of your time in each port. Santorini and Mykonos were both spectacular. Cabins were comfortable and roomy, I had an inside cabin. Staff were so friendly and helpful. I got calls to my cabin making sure I was happy with everything, Entertainment was fantastic too, good singers and guitarists in the lounges. Only negative was the fact you can’t get second cabin keys when you are a family sharing two cabins with children. This is very problematic and frustrating. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This cruise started from Venice and started out badly - the embarkation process was a nightmare. It took us just over 2 and a half hours of standing around with little assistance from MSC personnel. The food was not great either in our ... Read More
This cruise started from Venice and started out badly - the embarkation process was a nightmare. It took us just over 2 and a half hours of standing around with little assistance from MSC personnel. The food was not great either in our view - certainly in the main evening dining. It could have been better prepared, more spices and attention to the taste. I know the kitchens cook for 2000+ people ad it is not easy but that is their job and supposed expertise. I think certain extras were unfair such s paying for tenders at two of the ports. Plus silly things like ice cream - we hade a fantastica package with drinks but had to pay 3 Euros extra to get an ice cream cone One major concern for me was the way the itinerary was described. We were said to have one day at sea - between Split ad Santorini. And so we did. But the visit to Mykonos arrived at 8:00pm at night and left the immediate following morning a 3:00am - thereafter we sailed the whole day and the entire next morning before we got to Dubrovnik. I class this as two whole days at sea and I believe the itinerary description was carefully positioned as to not make this aspect evident. Some passengers had not appreciated this. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The embarking process was quick and smooth. The barman at the lagoona bar. Bagus was the best, always friendly and make us laugh. Our waiter at table 704 de oliviera was great. He treated us like royalty. All the ports except Barndisi ... Read More
The embarking process was quick and smooth. The barman at the lagoona bar. Bagus was the best, always friendly and make us laugh. Our waiter at table 704 de oliviera was great. He treated us like royalty. All the ports except Barndisi was great. There is nothing special to see. I would definitly do this cruise again. The musica staff is the best. Our room was located right in front of the ship and it was quite our cabin steward was very friendly and our room was spotless every time we return to the cabin. The food in the restaurants was great. I've tried all the food of which i could not pronounce the name of and believe me it exceeded my expectations every time. The entertainment staff was full of energy and makes us laugh a lot. Overall it was a great ship with a great crew . Well done guys Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The ship is nice and new. I do like the new ship design but I do not think that it is worth the extra dollars to take the Edge. The staff is nice. Our ports were rerouted due to weather. The rerouting of the ports caused chaos for ... Read More
The ship is nice and new. I do like the new ship design but I do not think that it is worth the extra dollars to take the Edge. The staff is nice. Our ports were rerouted due to weather. The rerouting of the ports caused chaos for the shore excursions staff. We had 3 Discovery Collection/Exclusive shore excursions, but were only able to take the one in Athens (which was very nice). The others were cancelled due to port rerrouting. For us the excursions are the highlight of the cruise. This is our 10th cruise overall and our 4th on Celebrity. The Santorini excursions were a hot chocolate mess in a flaming dumpster. Due to us being one of the last cruise ships in port many excursions were cancelled and others were very very negative experiences. I recommended the firing of our tour guide and the bus driver. Celebrity tried to make it up to us so I give them 2 stars instead of one. Celebrity also tried to save the excursions for its suite guests in Santorini. In Santorini shore excursions issued free cable car tickets to the many people who had their excursions cancelled. As a result the cable car lines were two hours long and as a result people were walking through the donkey poop. The shows were average in talent level and content, although the layout of the theater was better than the other Celebrity ships. We spent several hours on the magic carpet for a glass of wine. It is very windy out there while the ship is moving. It is convenient for tenders. The Fine Cut and Eden restaurants were very good. The Fine Cut restaurant was difficult to book on sea days. Eden had a menu that was good for our unique dietary requirements. La Petit had a nice projection show, but I preferred the menu choices of previous ships of steak or lobster. The menu choices in La Petit were not as good. The spa was also very nice but crowded on sea days. The embarkation process is very smooth. In fact embark/debark were the smoothest that I have seen to date. The silent disco was very good. I wish that the other cruise lines would adopt the concept. The photographers were very average. On some other lines the photographers take longer to get the perfect picture. Celebrity cruises used to be my favorite line, however the shore excursion debacle on this cruise has knocked their ratings down a notch or two in my eyes. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have sailed with Celebrity on numerous occasions over all classes of ships and wished to try The Edge. We are in our late 50s/60s and we were joined by my husband’s daughter and her husband in their 40s. Embarking the ship at ... Read More
We have sailed with Celebrity on numerous occasions over all classes of ships and wished to try The Edge. We are in our late 50s/60s and we were joined by my husband’s daughter and her husband in their 40s. Embarking the ship at Civitavecchia was very easy. Bags in, up the escalators, through security and staff with iPads to check you in standing in the main hall. Our daughter was able to change her credit card at the desk and we were off. As for the cabin, we were not in all honesty sure we were going to like the IV arrangement. We like a balcony. However, on this cruise, we loved it! We had extra space in the room, the privacy was good with no chance of faces around the screen. We slept with the blind part way down and with the bed near the balcony woke to lovely views. We could bring down the window as much as required to have fresh air and sun on our bed if facing the right way. Our stateroom attendant Joanna was excellent and very friendly. Dining. We loved the different restaurants on select dining. We booked them in advance and had no wait whatsoever. If we wanted to cancel, we did this on the App which we had pre loaded. The food and service was superb. Oceanview. Absolutely lovely. The food excellent and friendly staff. Martini bar. The staff great, especially Jonis. We are however lovers of the old set up with the ice bar. It was difficult to get a seat - anywhere. It was really the Passport bar, martini bar and crush in one. It is dramatic and the setting lovely, but our preference is the Solstice class. The pool was fabulous and very spacious. There is not much shade for those who want it however. The cabanas did not appeal to us at all. The carpet was lovely as tender aid, but I could not see the point of it as it was cold when at sea. Aesthetically it looked unpleasing! Subjective however. The cruise and ports were fabulous. Bad weather tested the Captain and her staff. They went above and beyond to deliver the cruise and the ports. Very well done - you all did great! Eden is a lovely space for a pre dinner drink. We did not eat there however. We did watch the show one night - it is ‘different’! We found this cruise to have a great many younger passengers. As a family everything worked well for us on our chosen entertainment. We do like a bit of a party scene and this is all worked well. We would happily return for another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I want to start this out by saying the ship is gorgeous and the staff is incredible. I appreciate everything Celebrity tried to do with this ship. To me, the ship lost some of it's charm though. The reason my wife and I chose this ... Read More
I want to start this out by saying the ship is gorgeous and the staff is incredible. I appreciate everything Celebrity tried to do with this ship. To me, the ship lost some of it's charm though. The reason my wife and I chose this cruise was partly due to it's itinerary, but mostly because we were on the Celebrity Soltice and were smitten hearing about this new amazing ship. The solstice, although an older ship, had some features that we really liked. We had access to the front and back of the ship for better views, everything was accessible, and the balcony outside the room was nice. The "infinite veranda" was kind of weird on the Edge, the window that goes up and down makes and awful screeching sound, and we didn't really use it. Also, everything was spread out on the Edge, and only the very exclusive top-end customers got access to the front of the ship. Also, everything that wasn't included (The spa, spin classes, drinks above the classic drink package) were almost double the price of the Solstice ship. The reason I gave it 4 stars was due to the incredible staff and the fact we were sailing around Europe. The intinerary was awesome, and the captain did a great job due to having to cancel 2 ports (bad weather) and finding us 2 different ports so we didn't have to just spend it out at sea. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We felt there was a lot of waiting in lines. But the guests were very rude, arrogant & pushy. And people invade your space. Waiting for a shuttle bus, for approx 200 people and only one arrived a fight broke out. There needs to be ... Read More
We felt there was a lot of waiting in lines. But the guests were very rude, arrogant & pushy. And people invade your space. Waiting for a shuttle bus, for approx 200 people and only one arrived a fight broke out. There needs to be more organisation. There is hardly any waiting staff around the pool & go to the bar you would die of thirst waiting to be served. The ship is clean, but in parts smells of an old working mans club due to smoke and stale beer .our room was clean , but it wasn’t very big & the shower was very small. The Buffett is the same every day. And you wait to be seated more waiting in line !! There is pizza & burgers too everyday . Our evening meal was very nice & the staff were so friendly. There are 3 main restaurants to dine at in the evening. You can only get to go to one. I found the reception staff rather in friendly and in dealing with an issue no apology given to me. The day you leave you can only eat until 9, we had a 5.30pm flight but taken off the ship at 10am & then told to take the shuttle to the airport as Venice was too far away to be able to visit! We spent 7 hours at the airport. Once the day arrived for you to leave they just want you off the ship. Oh we were shocked by how many people smoked on the ship & threw their butts overboard. A fire in the making !there is designated areas but it seems they ignore these. We reported one person as he was smoking off his balcony which is forbidden! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I have chosen the cruise by mistake. If you are interested in the short Mediterranean cruise from Venice select the Norwegian. MSC cruise was very badly scheduled - we had almost no time in Myconas, few hours in Santorini and a lot of time ... Read More
I have chosen the cruise by mistake. If you are interested in the short Mediterranean cruise from Venice select the Norwegian. MSC cruise was very badly scheduled - we had almost no time in Myconas, few hours in Santorini and a lot of time in the least interesting place, Ancona. The service was really bad, I had to ask for several simple thinks, like the safe repair, for days. All simple snacks and mineral water on board are very expensive, not free, like they are on other cruises. I have no complaints about the embarkation/disembarkation. Food, cabin and entertainment were good. If you want to see not the Croatia,s national parks, but the port cities, I would recommend to book the excursions on shore, because the ones from MSC are too expensive. You can easily explore Dubrovnik and Split on your own. The ship is clean, but dull without any beatification. I don’t recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The worst service we have ever received on more than 50 holidays. Bad food, bad service with no eye contact or a care for the customer and you pay for everything - literally nothing is added for the enjoyment of the customer. We were an ... Read More
The worst service we have ever received on more than 50 holidays. Bad food, bad service with no eye contact or a care for the customer and you pay for everything - literally nothing is added for the enjoyment of the customer. We were an inconvenience to the staff. The waiters could not be bothered to offer a service. We queued for half an hour- glad we didn’t get the drinks package-we would still be waiting to get value for money. You literally get sober waiting for another drink. There is a sewage smell throughout the walkway and cabins at times. The waiters are rude, the eating areas are not kept clean. There was blackouts which left the ship feeling hot and stuffy. Two people we were travelling with were feeling sick and there was engine issues which made the boat sway from side to side. We don’t mind rough seas, but this is a Mediterranean cruise. Our kids who normally love kids club, thought the entertainment was not great as they felt hot and cramped in the small space. The quality of air on this cruise is terrible. We felt hypoxic as there is a lack of oxygen. Safe your $ and choose a different cruise line. Unless you enjoy talking for hours on end about how bad a cruise you had. So glad we are getting off today. MSC Masters of the sea??? Perhaps Masters of Bad Service. It would remiss to not add that Natalia at Guest Services was excellent. The only person besides Adi our room attendant that know how to treat a customer. No one else deserves their positions. There are no leadership on this cruise. No team work. How MSC is in business is a mystery. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
It was on our bucket list to go on a cruise. Having chosen the MSC line and wanting to go on a cruise to include the Greek islands MSC seemed a good choice however from admission in them sun at 13.30 in Venice being treated as sheep at ... Read More
It was on our bucket list to go on a cruise. Having chosen the MSC line and wanting to go on a cruise to include the Greek islands MSC seemed a good choice however from admission in them sun at 13.30 in Venice being treated as sheep at the dock was a bad start. No greeting by happy staff. A muddle through check in and on to a shabby ship. Very run down. During our cruise every time we docked and got on board again was a total nightmare. Security staff never smiled or greeted guests with exception of I think SA staff. Total shambles. The rest were surly individuals. In the restaurants the majority of the staff initially appeared untrained and only at the end were getting into their stride. One night at about 23.30 and still having dinner, as the second sitting took a long time to serve, there was a fire alert after a few power failures. The staff all went into panic, not knowing what to do. No control and allowing guests to use the lifts and chaos reigned. Eventually the captain spoke and he too sounded in a panic. We were not able to visit Mykonos due to bad weather but no alternative was given or perhaps even some sort of small compensation for missing out on a port of call. Entertainment was repetitive. Very disappointing trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This is our 10 th cruise and first MSC we chose because of Split, Santorini and Venice and pricing. we had low expectations based on online reviews and we were impressed so much we will take another MSC in Carrebian in Decemeber 2019. ... Read More
This is our 10 th cruise and first MSC we chose because of Split, Santorini and Venice and pricing. we had low expectations based on online reviews and we were impressed so much we will take another MSC in Carrebian in Decemeber 2019. Francisco, the restaurant Manager, Herman Fernandis, the Chef and all Waiters in restaurant provided excellent service to our group of 20. Chef cooked a special dietary breakfast and dinner for 4 in our group that we would not have expected from other major cruise line. Even the cafeteria staff is excellent and maintain cleanliness. Mykonos was cancelled due to high winds considering safety- a right thing to do. Talented entertainment programs in the theater. Cabin size and cleanliness were better than some older ships in other cruise lines. Overall our entire group enjoyed the 7 night cruise and no one had any major complaint. Glad we selected this ship and did not pay much attention to bad reviews. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was honestly the worst cruise I’ve ever been on. It was truly awful. I had my two children with me as we couldn’t get away during the summer holidays due to work commitments. This cruise is not family friendly at all. ... Read More
This was honestly the worst cruise I’ve ever been on. It was truly awful. I had my two children with me as we couldn’t get away during the summer holidays due to work commitments. This cruise is not family friendly at all. 1. Not once was the climbing wall open 2. The indoor pool bans kids between 2-5pm covering a good part of the hot part of the day. I pay the same amount of money as everyone else, I should have the access to the same facilities. 3. The kids food at the buffet was rock hard and quite frankly absolutely bogging. It had obviously been out for a very long time. On the final day you can expect no kids buffet. 4. The pool tiles are broken and one of them actually cut my sons foot.. it’s very obvious it’s about a foot wide. The staff are friendly but the entertainment is like butlins. It’s really loud, you can’t sit at the pool and have a conversation with someone without some game show rubbish or having to listen to some pub quiz. If butlins is your thing, this is for you. Also, as a footnote, I not only saw the cruise director speak to a member of staff like crap but also the deputy cruise director do the same.. uncomfortable. Much of the entertainment was awkward and just so over the top it was ridiculous. I witnessed bar staff being rude to kids when they were asking for things at the bar. Just no need. It was overall a really poor experience and despite cruising with TUI 7 times now I won’t be going with them again. I certainly would never recommend this for a family. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
From start to finish this cruise was for my wife and i was superb, the ship, the staff, the food, every aspect of the ship was very well managed, from the pool side to the very high class restaurants nothing was to much, the staff in all ... Read More
From start to finish this cruise was for my wife and i was superb, the ship, the staff, the food, every aspect of the ship was very well managed, from the pool side to the very high class restaurants nothing was to much, the staff in all the bars and restaurants could not do enough for you and were so pleasant, the cabin we had was very spacious clean and tidy, when we returned each night it was spotless, we will be going back for another cruise, no matter what time of day there was always a different activity going on around the ship, something for everyone no matter how old or young you are, from mini golf to rock climbing learning to dance to been in a choir, in the atrium every day there an artist performing, in the theatre there was always a great show to watch, so something for everyone. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We are a family of 4, been cruising for several years now. Was our first time on mein schiff 6 and definetely the last. The advertisments for this cruise show smiling people having a good time but none such person was in sight on this ... Read More
We are a family of 4, been cruising for several years now. Was our first time on mein schiff 6 and definetely the last. The advertisments for this cruise show smiling people having a good time but none such person was in sight on this cruise. In all our travel we have never experienced anything like that. During the whole week we were treated like rubbish by other passengers. Our son was even physically abused by an old man in the pool. He pushed him under the water and smashed him to the wall of the pool. All of this happened because a 10yr old boy splashed some water while swimming. By the way the man was over 1m away. When reported we were told that the man was pissed off. As if it is acceptable to physically and verbally abuse children. Cruise personnel were helpful and polite. Food choice was good. Hygiene excellent. Balcony cabin was small for 4 persons. Was always clean and ready. No entertainment during the day which made days at sea boring. Shore excursions were taken with maltese rep. Most passengers we met were selfless and arrogant, so to all people who would like a nice relaxing holiday for the family don't even try to consider going on a Mein schiff. Mein schiff is catered for german people only and not for any other nationality. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have travelled with MSC many times and have always been satisfied, however, when the service model changed recently it seems so has our opinion. The embarkation process was a complete joke, keeping people outside the terminal for hours ... Read More
We have travelled with MSC many times and have always been satisfied, however, when the service model changed recently it seems so has our opinion. The embarkation process was a complete joke, keeping people outside the terminal for hours in the blazing sun pushing heavy suitcases. From then on it went one way, down! As we had no choice but to pay the service charge we expected the service to be questionable and I am afraid we were right. I found some of the crew to be rude even though I am a gold member.. not that I expect preferential treatment but I do expect to be teated with respect.. This I have to say was not the case as the guy who serviced (ha ha) our cabin went into the wardrobe and moved my clothes. This absolutely was a no go for me so once again I complained. The Manhattan bar on deck 5 constantly served us corked wine with the waiters not sure what that meant, they clearly had not been trained before being placed behind the bar. Filthy tables in the buffet restaurant, food on the floor and old food piled high in the terrace area added to our disgust. The food in the evening was not great, served cold and beef not appearing on many occasions. The waiting time to embark and disembark was so bad and a constant battle that on the last day a fight broke out on deck 5. I have to say I was surprised it had not happened sooner. It was quiet frightening and we were pleased to finally get off the Sinfonia. Would we travel with this company again-absolutes not. This was my 19th cruise, the worst by far and was certainly not to be repeated. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Having sailed with lots of other cruise companies in the past, we were a bit apprehensive about booking this cruise but we loved it. It was a short 10-15minute journey from Corfu airport followed by an efficient check in. You had the ... Read More
Having sailed with lots of other cruise companies in the past, we were a bit apprehensive about booking this cruise but we loved it. It was a short 10-15minute journey from Corfu airport followed by an efficient check in. You had the option of a shuttle bus or 5minute walk to the ship. The itinerary was wonderful with several memorable sailing in & out of ports such as Kotor in Montenegro and Venice ( leaving at night was magical). We went on a cruise tour to the beautiful Krka waterfalls and also half day gondola tour. There were plenty of other tour options/activities available on the dockside. The staff on board were friendly, efficient and seemed genuinely happy. The Entertainment staff led by Katy were great and the Captain was a star! There was no heavy sales pressures and unless you wanted to, you weren’t harassed by ship photographers. There were various dining options to suit everyone. Yes, the ship is a bit tired looking but it didn’t affect the service you received. We were warned about the potential wait at Corfu airport when we departed and the process was managed as well as it could be. We would definitely sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
MSC were well priced and fitted in with the area we wanted to visit at the times we wanted to visit. The destinations were all fantastic and, without young children, this cruise would have been good... Problem is.....the kids club ... Read More
MSC were well priced and fitted in with the area we wanted to visit at the times we wanted to visit. The destinations were all fantastic and, without young children, this cruise would have been good... Problem is.....the kids club timetables aren't really co-operative with the already limited time on the destinations... IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, AND WANT TO USE THE KIDS CLUB, ENSURE YOU BOOK MSC'S OWN EXCURSIONS TO TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF KIDS CLUB they refused to let us pay extra to drop our children in early :-( we've two young children and were quite stressed when we discovered that kids club, most days won't take kids to lunch, most days start an hour or two AFTER the boat hits a destination most days finish a good time BEFORE the boat leaves a destination this hit us particularly hard at Dubrovnik and santorini where we only had 4-5 hours on-site, santorini in particular where we had to cut a private tour short Overall, the staff really were amazing, our cabin guy was superb, friendly, attentive and the children loved him. the downstairs 'my choice' restaurant was great. the buffet, not really that good we felt a little dissapointed overall, unloading of over 2000 passengers was quite a slow process there aren't any laundries on-board - though they do offer a 30 euro for 20 garments about halfway into the cruise... Lifts were 'naff' - extremely slow, or buttons missing / not working Boat is old, but well maintained top deck is very good, lots of pool space, great kids splash park but get up early to reserve a sun-lounger, and be prepared to fight to get your 'stolen' space back, they really should have a 'kids only' side to the pools as both shallow parts were jam packed with adults grumbling at kids having splashy fun! boat felt very crowded....it's a small-mid sized boat of 2,100 guests, but queue times for a table at brekky were 30min+ at peak.....the staff were fairly attentive though, just a shame to see so many people pushing in Part of the dissapointment was culture I guess, we certainly won't be using Italy as a starting point again, as there's minimal respect for personal space or queues, often resulting in a squashed child Would I use MSC Again - after hearing a few stories about their other larger boats, sure, they do sound great, would I go on a small boat like this again?, nope, too many people, too short a time at the destinations and too long to get on/off the boat Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This is an honest review from a Royal Caribbean Oasis Class enthusiast. Celebrity Edge is beautiful. There were 25 of us, 2 children, 2 seniors, 4 Gen Z, and the rest Millennial Boarding in Rome– disorganized, there was no sign ... Read More
This is an honest review from a Royal Caribbean Oasis Class enthusiast. Celebrity Edge is beautiful. There were 25 of us, 2 children, 2 seniors, 4 Gen Z, and the rest Millennial Boarding in Rome– disorganized, there was no sign where the Edge entrance was, we almost entered another ship. We were dropped off in one area, we had to drag our luggage from limo to drop off (outside the building) to the terminal, to a disorganized luggage check in. Then, we have to ask somebody to tell us where we could enter to check in. Once we were in, it was a breeze. First impression – very modern, did not get the AHH!!! that I was hoping for. Being used to the Oasis class and its grandeur, the ship looked very small. As you enter, there is a pictorial area, then the poured champagne, then you look for your cabin. The chandeliers looked classy, the decors modern. Eden was okay. There was some kind of incense smell at night that was disturbing. We left. Roof top garden, beautiful at night, very hot in the morning. Music – we did NOT find it too loud. Rooms – beautiful. LOVED the IV. No noise issue, no problem with blinds, always opened the balcony. At one time, there were 25 people having a drink in one IV, laughing and talking for half an hour, we never heard the sound outside the cabin. We were amazed. Bed was great, pillows were big and fluffy. Bathrooms – A BIG PLUS, towels need upgrade. Food – A plus, but we noticed a decline in the last three days of the cruise. We were assigned to Cosmopolitan, but have no issue with trying to get in the other three venues. We loved our Cosmo Waiter - Jonathan and Assistant Waiter-Belen. Book the Magic Carpet as you board. We cannot get a booking on the second day. We were planning to try the Specialty restaurants but cancelled and went back to Cosmo. Shrimps were small. Asked where we can get bigger shrimps and the waiter said, that is it!! Desserts were okay Oceanview was very nice, high ceiling and airy. Found it small and some days, one or two buffet counters are closed/empty. We loved the Pizza and the Pizza chef Ramesh. We visit him nightly for our last bite. He made special pizza on request from us. We were lucky to have met Head Sous Chef Jeff. He is in charge of the Specialty Restaurants aboard Edge. As we sat down for dinner Aug 26, our waiter said, “No Menu” tonite. We were surprised. Then came the specialty Filipino food from the kitchen. Chef Jeff made us a dinner we will forever remember!!! Thank you Chef!!! First Aid – my grandson had a bite that got infected. We took him to the First aid station. The doctor treated him and gave us the antibiotics – no charge. Thank you Doctor!! Entertainment and activities – for the seniors who only want to sit around and people watch, this is the ship. For the rest who wants to be active and busy, this is not the ship. There is nothing to do between 7:00am to dinner. The activities being offered are so,so and not challenging at all. In other words, boring. There were three groups of entertainers that were amazing..That’s it. Children Camp at sea – My grand son (8) and Grand daughter (5) got bored and went only once. My grandson was placed in a 6-9 (I believe) level and they were doing dinosaurs and coloring. He was so interested in doing robotics. We asked for him to be moved to the next level and they declined. Staff – A PLUS – our room steward KIMBERLE was an A plus – such a lovely guy, always smiling and accommodating. The EDGE staff made our cruise wonderful!! We chose this sailing for the Ports. We were not disappointed. Tenders – most of the time, the tenders used were from the local suppliers and not the Edge life boat- Semi awful. Only once I have heard that it was used. Most people in our group who used it said it was nice. FINALLY – We loved Edge, but because we always travel together, Edge is not the ship for our active members. And one more very important thing..if you do not have a drink package, there is only ONE place to get coffee (self serve) – you have to go to Oceanview. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The cruise experience is terrible on this ship with fun prohibited at every turn - one small pool for 3000 guests to fight over - pool marshals warn kids not to splash, just sit and be quiet NO FUN - on the disco the DJ asked that ... Read More
The cruise experience is terrible on this ship with fun prohibited at every turn - one small pool for 3000 guests to fight over - pool marshals warn kids not to splash, just sit and be quiet NO FUN - on the disco the DJ asked that no drinks be brought onto the dance floor NO FUN - casual events such as bingo and trivia are hard to come by, no prizes / swag to be won NO FUN restaurant staff are pleasant but seem rushed and service is slow theatre productions are hit or miss The ship uses powerful facial recognition on board which makes you feel like you are being spied on during your vacation. For example, I had an issue with my beverage package and the manager said he would get back to me. Later that evening as soon as I sat down for dinner he showed up to chat about my issue. Other crew I spoke with about various issues happen to run into me around the ship but it was too coincidental. Worst of all, I never asked for facial recognition to be used on me. This is why facebook is in hot water - because of the invasion of privacy and not notifying customers of the extent of the data collection and usage. The same with Celebrity. Only this time, it is not a free social media service but an overly expensive cruise operation. The cruise is not worth the money and I would not take my family on it again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Husband, son and I have been cruising for over 25 years. Ages are 63, 56 and 23. It is our favorite vacation thing to do. Started on Carnival (actually met my husband on the old Celebration) and moved on up from there. About eight ... Read More
Husband, son and I have been cruising for over 25 years. Ages are 63, 56 and 23. It is our favorite vacation thing to do. Started on Carnival (actually met my husband on the old Celebration) and moved on up from there. About eight years ago, we tried Celebrity and that was that. It became our favorite cruise line. So other than the occasional inexpensive three or four day trip to the Bahamas on Carnival or Royal Caribbean (we live in FL, so it's easy for us to just jump on), we stick to Celebrity. But this year, we decided to step up to one of the luxury lines and went with Regent Voyager Barcelona to Athens. We are going on Celebrity Edge this winter and considered it for this cruise, but when we added on the business air that came included with Regent, the prices were pretty much the same. So I'll just cut to the conclusion and if you want details, keep reading further. Regent is just lovely and we had a nice time, but it's back to Celebrity for us, unless we got some sort of insane deal on Regent. Very soon, Regent is going to have to figure out how to cater to a younger, more dynamic, well-heeled passenger, as their very elderly passenger base is not going to be around much longer. So here's our breakdown: Room- Regent wins. We were in 867, which is a Penthouse Suite B. It is very comparable to a Sky Suite on Celebrity, which is what we usually book. We loved it. Big walk in closet. Curtain that separates living room from bedroom at night (helpful if you have a third passenger, as we did). Bathroom had separate shower and bath. Great towels and toiletries. Tip: If you do have a passenger sleeping on the pull out couch, ask for a mattress reinforcer. Made a big difference. As others have noted, the balcony furniture is a little too big for the space. Food- For the MDR, Regent wins going away. Really good food. For pool grille, best hamburgers goes to Celebrity, ambiance goes to Regent. Buffet food was a tie, although Regent had less of a cattle call feel. Specialty restaurants food were a tie. In factoring cost effectiveness, we have to pay for specialty restaurants on Celebrity, but they are included with Regent. Regent does enforce the no jeans dress code in the dining room in the evening, which is pretty silly in this day and age. A man in a nice fitting pair of dark wash jeans with a collared shirt is a much better look than some of the stuff that we saw that technically fits the dress code. Drinks-Regent. However, we pretty much only drink wine and champagne, with an occasional martini or cosmo thrown in. The daily wines were perfectly acceptable and flowed freely. We did not feel pressure to buy more expensive bottles. All the bartenders we met were pleasant. No ubiquitous surly Jamaican bartender at the pool bar. And none of that annoying standing in line and having to produce your card. You ask for a drink, you get it. Lovely. Casino- Celebrity. At least on our sailing, the casino was dead, dead, dead. There were many times we were the only people in there. We are gamblers so we usually get offered significant discounts on future cruises after the pit boss sees our level of play. Regent offered us $1000 off any future sailings. Whoopee. Clientele- Regent. Everyone was super friendly and well traveled. Of course, this was a much smaller ship size. There is a significant 80+ clientele. The bulk of them were impressively active and friendly, but the experience and amenities they are looking for were quite different from ours. (Clientele can vary wildly sailing to sailing and I might be a little bitter about our last two on Celebrity. They were spring break cruises and Costco travel had sold the bulk of the reservations to a certain demographic that I won't specify.) Officer Visibility-Regent. I have never seen and met so many officers and been on a first name basis with them. Very impressive. Entertainment- For in house talent, Regent. For specialty acts, Celebrity. Pool- Chairs and amenities, Regent. Music, Celebrity. The piped in music at the Voyager pool was just excruciating. One more instrumental round of "The Girl from Impanema" anyone? Come on. They call it yacht rock for a reason. Please play it. Or reggae, mellow rock, current pop. Anything but what they played. Again, the elderly clientele seemed to like it. Shore excursions - tie. Shore excursions on both are such a crap shoot, whether you pay for them or they are included. We are reaching the point where we just want to book from outside companies. Internet-Celebrity. Regents was HORRIBLE. And we paid $100 for the upgrade! A deal breaker for us. My husband still has to work when he's on vacation and my son, well, he's 23. We gotta have decent internet. Service- ever so slight edge to Regent. We have had outstanding butlers and we have had indifferent butlers. There just doesn't seem to be any set standard on either ship. So our Regent butler was one of the indifferent ones. But everyone else was really good. Laundry-Regent. There is a passenger laundry room on every floor. While it's not particularly high end to do your own laundry on a cruise, it's certainly better than paying those insanely high fees. Cost-Celebrity. Except for the Edge, which is on a par with Regent. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Went on a family vacation August 2019 on jewel of the seas with Royal Caribbean. Spent 3 days in Rome, Italy before the cruise and to be honest that was my favourite part of our holiday. I would rate overall experience on the ship 3/5. ... Read More
Went on a family vacation August 2019 on jewel of the seas with Royal Caribbean. Spent 3 days in Rome, Italy before the cruise and to be honest that was my favourite part of our holiday. I would rate overall experience on the ship 3/5. Here are some of the pros and cons: Pros: •exceptionally friendly staff (especially during dining experiences, they always knew our names and usual orders) •food was delicious and plentiful •cabins were spacious and had a good layout •there were always activities going on throughout the day/evening (I highly recommend going the safari club for nightly karaoke) •staff was very welcoming and accommodating (especially our stateroom attendant) •there are lots of bars so it’s never a long wait for a drink •there are many seating areas throughout the ship so there’s always a place to sit •it was smooth and easy getting on/off the boat at the ports •beds/sheets were very comfortable •lots of elevators that are quick and efficient •the fitness center was exceptional. they have everything you need and there is lots of space. •tons of activities for kids as they have a “kids club” Cons •lots of wear and tear throughout the boat (very disappointing) •the solarium (adults only pool) closed very early at 845pm every night •the rooms and shared areas could have been cleaner as I did not find them overly clean •the main pool was closed in the day several times due to children contaminating it with bodily fluids •lots of games in the arcade were out of order or broken •windjammer cafe (the buffet) had limited seating lots of the days •some of the hallways had a old/unpleasant smell •rock climbing wall was only open for a few hours a day which was disappointing Overall I had a nice time on Jewel of the Seas, but would I choose this cruise again? No. Definitely needs some refurbishing and maintenance in the near future. I was very impressed with the staff and service aboard though. Great for families and children as there are many activities targeted towards a younger age. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our first time cruising with Celebrity having cruised many times previously with Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and once on MSC. We mainly chose this cruise for the ports visited as all the places sounded very interesting. ... Read More
This was our first time cruising with Celebrity having cruised many times previously with Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and once on MSC. We mainly chose this cruise for the ports visited as all the places sounded very interesting. The ship is definitely showing its age and is in need of some renovations but most common areas were clean and comfortable so that was fine. We liked how even though the ship was completely full, it never felt crowded as we never had trouble finding a table at the buffet, finding seats in the theatre or finding lounge chairs to bask in the sunshine which made our experience that much more relaxing. The only main negative came in the main dining room. We had open seating but the first two nights they gave us the same table and waiters. We are not ones to complain about restaurant service but he was one of the worst waiters we've had. Both nights he barely greeted or smiled at us and took forever just to give us the menus and water. Nor did he ever ask us if we wanted coffee or tea afterwards unlike all the other cruise waiters we have had previously. We were so unimpressed that we ended up eating at the buffet for dinner for the remaining nights. We actually enjoyed the food at the buffet and how they had themed food nights (eg. Greek night) so we didn't mind. The buffet staff were quite pleasant as well. Now for entertainment, they had a show each and every night and at two different times so you can more easily fit it into your schedule. I would say the entertainment was alright, nothing amazing but not bad either. They had a mixture of dancing, singing, a magician and several very talented musicians. Some shows we enjoyed more than others. Every night they also had live music at several places around the ship which was nice, we particularly liked Nick the guitarist. I did notice that on the sea day there wasn't enough activities to do around the ship so that day felt a little boring. Since we had not been to any of the ports on this cruise (Sicily, Malta, Argostoli, Dubrovnik, Koper) we booked the shore excursions package which included tours in all the places except Koper, but we booked an excursion for that separately. We liked all the excursions although they were pretty brutal in the heat as many of them involved quite a bit of walking. My favourites were Sicily (Lovely Taormina) and Malta (Seaside tours and local Delicacies). Dubrovnik was beautiful too but so overcrowded that it just took away from the experience. I would recommend going during school months to avoid the heat and crowds. Argostoli was nice but not a whole lot to see and in Koper we joined a tour to Ljubljana the capital city of Slovenia which was fun but felt a little rushed. We did enjoy our time in all the ports though. Overall, we had a good experience with our first cruise on Celebrity. The food, especially the buffet were quite good compared to past cruises and we liked the lack of crowds around the ship. I would cruise with them again if they have the right itinerary but wouldn't necessarily go out of my way to cruise with them. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Our family of 6 adults were very pleased with our cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas. First, in terms of any negativity I would acknowledge our cabin and some areas of the ship are a bit basic and jaded in appearance. The Windjammer can be ... Read More
Our family of 6 adults were very pleased with our cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas. First, in terms of any negativity I would acknowledge our cabin and some areas of the ship are a bit basic and jaded in appearance. The Windjammer can be very hectic and a little difficult to get seating but with patience and perseverance an enjoyable meal can be had. Very harsh, expensive and unfair that all persons in each cabin are obliged to purchase the same drink package. Overall though we were very satisfied with our choice of ship/cruise and had a marvellous holiday. Main Compliments; Standard of service; Excellent in all areas of the ship. The many staff we encountered were amazing. Restaurants - Quality of food and service exceptional. We opted for My Time dining in the evening in the main restaurant and this suited our needs and daily plans extremely well. We had the experience of being served at two different tables and at both the service was excellent. Mostly we were at a table being served by Eddie and Samson. These gents could not be bettered. Professional, humourous and friendly. Deck 9 Pool Area - great atmosphere and staff excellent. Entertainment- Very good. Some great shows in the theatre. Listening though to Alfonso play piano and tell jokes in the Schooner bar was our main choice most evenings. The mostly all girls band from the Philippines were also fabulous. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Our ninth cruise. First with Celebrity. Chosen for itinerary and because we like a new ship. Overall very enjoyable cruise and would cruise again on ship and with line. This is what we liked - and didn't. Overall impression ... Read More
Our ninth cruise. First with Celebrity. Chosen for itinerary and because we like a new ship. Overall very enjoyable cruise and would cruise again on ship and with line. This is what we liked - and didn't. Overall impression of ship. Really impressive. New. Obviously. Modern and stylish. A clear and consistent design and theme which we liked. Grand Plaza buzzy. Restaurant decor pleasing. Eden is a really nice (and we found surprisingly quiet) space - a bit under-used if anything. Theatre particularly impressive. State of the art backdrops and staging. One or two smaller quieter bars wouldn't have gone amiss. Food offer Generally good in both main and speciality restaurants though with possible exception of Eden the SR didn't justify cover charge. Entrees - beef dishes in particular - really very good indeed. Service helpful and attentive. Desserts however lacked imagination throughout cruise... Breakfast buffet good but disappointed by repetitive lunchtime offer (not as good or varied as P and O for example). Entertainment Have read some less than positive reviews but we enjoyed it. Varied and catered for all passengers and tastes. Later shows busy but always found a seat. Production shows quite good and production values and staging very good. Guest entertainers were better than on our previous half dozen cruises and a mile ahead of the awful offer on our last NCL cruise. Pool and Resort Decks. Busy pool area but always found a sun bed (for the whole family). Sufficient bar service. Rooftop Garden and Sunset Bar great spaces for sailaway and into evening. Cabin We were deck 12 concierge class. Best bathroom yet in cabin of similar grade. Liked spacious cabin and information system easy to use. 'edge' balcony however is a waste of time. Preferred traditional arrangement. A gimmick too far? And although we got a deal... So more or less free... Not sure the brochure supplement for CC is warranted. Embarkation etc Was the smoothest of any ship we've ever been on. On-boarding took 5 minutes. Yes. 5. Disembarkation smooth. In port whether at pier or tender getting on and off really quick. The ship has its own tenders which double as lifeboats and they're great. So that was nearly all positive and to be clear we really enjoyed our cruise. But there is room for improvement : 1. Constant upselling of drinks packages for first 2 days. Really annoying. We drink a reasonable amount on holiday but really unless you are on board the ship during the day (we weren't from 9-3 except on sea days) you won't get value from a package. We calculated we SAVED about 500 from NOT buying them. But hey if they're included in a deal, enjoy. 2. Entertainment offer in Eden. Is bizarre. It doesn't work. Vaguely embarrassing. 3. Infinite Balconies. Well I guess it's too late to fix now... But they're pointless. 4. So is the magic carpet... Gimmick. 5. The Cabanas. At around a thousand dollars a day no wonder they're empty. But they use up deck space and obstruct views other passengers would enjoy. I saw about six in use during the whole cruise. And in the afternoon... You could just park yourself in unused ones.. Free. Celebrity... Either re-price or redesign the space? 6. Internet - the packages are simply extortionate. That's it folks. Notwithstanding above it was a great cruise. And the staff - all of them from cabin steward.. Waiting staff.... Bars... Casino... Really friendly and with a caring attitude. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I traveled on the August 15 – 25, 2019 roundtrip voyage of the Constellation from Venice with stops in Dubrovnik, Crete, Mykonos, Athens, Rhodes, Santorini, and Katakolon. I was with my wife and 2 teenage sons (14 and 16) in an ... Read More
I traveled on the August 15 – 25, 2019 roundtrip voyage of the Constellation from Venice with stops in Dubrovnik, Crete, Mykonos, Athens, Rhodes, Santorini, and Katakolon. I was with my wife and 2 teenage sons (14 and 16) in an Oceanview cabin (i.e., 7004). This was the 17th cruise for my wife and me, all of them with Celebrity or Royal Caribbean. All of our other trips have been in the Caribbean or to Bermuda, but this very excellent port intensive Greek Islands cruise caught my eye because it went to so many locations in Greece. It was a really great trip overall, and we loved it. We spent almost 3 weeks prior to the cruise traveling around Italy (to Rome, Capri, Pompeii, Tivoli, Tuscany, and Venice) by train and by car. As fun and amazing as that was, we were looking forward to getting on board the ship. THE CABIN We’ve always had balconies before (except for an inside cabin on a last minute trip to Bermuda), but a balcony was going to add $2500 to the total price, and this was already our most expensive cruise and vacation, so we decided to try an Oceanview. While we obviously would have preferred a balcony, I could not justify the price and this worked out fine. This cabin had 2 upper Pullman bunks and was at the very front of the ship. The location was very convenient and the seas were smooth, so it worked out from that perspective. But, we were awoken several mornings at about 5:30 am by sounds of the ship we hadn’t heard in our other cabin locations. One morning, it sounded like an anchor was being lowered (even though I don’t think that’s what it was) and a few other mornings I think it was an outside door just below the bridge that was also accompanied by a warning bell. It wasn’t super major, but getting awoken early like that was annoying enough that I would avoid this cabin and the immediate location in the future. Our cabin attendant kept the cabin fresh and spotless and was helpful when we asked for ice and a corkscrew. THE SHIP The Constellation is a beautiful ship in great shape. I had read a few reviews that suggested there were areas of wear and tear, but the reviewers must have been on a different ship than us. Celebrity does a first rate job keeping their ships in top shape. While the Solstice class is our favorite class, we are happy with the M-class and would definitely sail on the Connie again, particularly if the itinerary were as great as this one. The overall vibe feels classy to us, from the décor, the other passengers, amenities, and the friendliness of the crew. I understand the ship is slated for an upgrade in the spring, although I think it is beautiful as-is. THE X-CLUB The X-Club for teenagers in the Fun Factory was a huge plus for us. Our sons spent a lot of time there and were busy with a variety of offered activities along with a friendly and engaging staff. They also made friends with a nice group of teenage boys from Spain, France, Ireland, and New Jersey who also participated in the X-Club activities. We liked how they were able to meet and become friends with kids from other countries. Their positive experience with the X-Club was a huge boon for my wife and me, because it allowed us to spend time together alone while they were having fun. If you have teens the same age, I would encourage them to go to the meet-and-greet the first night when everyone is new. Even though RCCL is known for being more youth-friendly, my sons have always said that they prefer the X-Club experience to RCCL (which is usually more crowded and more of a factory in their opinion). In fact, they said that if a ship has a Flowrider, they would prefer the ship (i.e., RCCL) hands down on that basis alone. But if there is no Flowrider, they prefer Celebrity hands down. My oldest son turns 17 next year, which is a shame, because he will age out of the X-Club, and we will probably go back to the ships with Flowriders and other similar activities. I really wish there were a way for the X-Club to have activities for the 18 – 21 age set. THE CREW The Crew was universally great and friendly. They all work so hard, many of them are young, and most of them are far from home. I tipped our cabin attendant extra and gave envelopes to some of the staff in the nightly Captain’s Club cocktail party in the Reflections lounge and in the X-Club. We really appreciated the great service all around. THE MAIN DINING ROOM The MDR experience on all of our cruises, whether with Celebrity or RCCL, have gone down in recent years. I’ve read of other people on the boards commenting on the same thing, but the staffing cuts that Celebrity and RCCL have made to MDR staff feel painfully obvious to us. The staff are clearly required to service more passengers than in prior years, which causes dinner to drag out way too long (even though the number of courses have been cut as have showy desserts the waiters would set aflame table-side, like Cherries Jubilee, Baked Alaska and Crepes with Bananas Flambé). On a human level, it also makes me uncomfortable to see human beings pressed to work as hard as they do in the MDR. I don’t fault the MDR staff at all – this is a management issue at the bean counter level. Please increase the MDR staff, Celebrity and RCCL. It used to be a positive experience for us, but has turned into a negative. We chose to eat up in the Oceanview Café for more than half of our dinners (we ate in the MDR only 4 times on the 10 night cruise and it used to be something we looked forward to). THE FOOD Overworked MDR staff notwithstanding, this was some of the best food we have had on any cruise in a number of years. The menus were interesting, the food was fresh, and all of the increased choices up at the Oceanview Café for dinner (they serve Beef Wellington up there the same night it was served in the MDR) really made the food a big plus for us, and I don’t usually get excited about cruise ship food. Loved the omelets in the morning and Indian food choices. We also enjoyed the lunch at the spa café near the Thalassotherapy pool. They had small plates with dishes like salmon salad, tuna salad, cold soba noodles, lentil salad, small spinach salads, etc. I wondered if Celebrity increased the per-passenger food budget because this cruise was so much more expensive than our Caribbean cruises and the passengers seemed to be a bit posher and not overwhelmingly American. Or maybe it was because the ship’s head chef, Singh Deoraj, was so great. Whatever it was, the food was terrific over all. THE PORTS Venice This was my third time to Venice. It was magical when I came in the 80s and then again in the 90s (in the spring). But, I felt it was very, very crowded this time everywhere we walked, on the vaporettos, etc. We spent 3 nights here before the cruise and while it definitely was special for me, the crowds and the heat rubbed the magic off. We ended up going over to Murano, Burano, and Torcello, which I highly recommend if you have the time. They are reachable by vaporetto rides (I think Burano and Torcello were about 45 minutes away by boat). Torcello in particular was small, quaint, charming and had some restaurants that looked very nice albeit a bit pricey. We had the vaporetto pass that was 30 euros per person for 2 days of unlimited use and thought it was a pretty good value if you took more than 2 round trips per day, even if it was rather expensive overall in my opinion. Our hotel was a few blocks to the East of the train station, so it was a pretty easy 15 minute walk to the people mover. I should say it was easy for us – we had to drag our suitcases over rough stones and over a bridge, which would be difficult for some people. If you are staying in Venice either before or after your cruise, you will have to make plans to get your luggage to your hotel, so think about it in advance. The People Mover (i.e., a mono-rail from the edge of Venice to the Cruise Port) was 1.5 euros per person and was pretty easy and convenient to use, though I ended up having to pay twice for one of my tickets and so did a woman who was there at the same time. We had purchased our tickets at the machine, but then the scanner said they were invalid even though her husband’s ticket worked and so did the 3 tickets for the rest of my family. There was no attendant, we just had to buy new ones. It’s possible my ticket was too close to the scanner when I scanned one of the tickets of my family members. A minor annoyance, so just be careful. The sail-away from Venice is a stunning trip down the canal from the cruise port, past Piazza San Marco, the Lido, and out to the Adriatic. Make sure you don’t miss it. It was really spectacular. Dubrovnik We took a taxi from the cruise port to the gates of the walled city. The taxi was 14 euros and was a posted and fixed rate. We arrived in the afternoon and had been concerned the crowds would make the walking of the wall too crowded, but it was really OK. We did that, although I must say you must be very mobile and steady on your feet or else it will be dangerous for you (more on that below). We were interested in going swimming afterwards and wore our swimsuits under our shorts. It turns out there is a rocky outcropping on the outside of the walled gates (just exit near the aquarium and walk around the bend). It wasn’t fancy, but was super convenient and there were showers. I would have lingered and kept jumping in and maybe get a cold beer from a vendor, but, alas, the family had had enough and wanted to go back to the ship. It was a really nice day. Crete We took a taxi from the ship to the center of the old town (I think it was a fixed rate of 10 euros) and walked around the town and the port, which was very pretty and charming. We continued walking about 20 minutes and ended up at a local beach, Nea Chora Beach, which is in a residential neighborhood. At first I didn’t think it was anything special, but we ended up having a really nice time here. It was a friendly, local, low key vibe. 2 chairs and an umbrella (along with use of the bathroom at the restaurant that managed the chairs) was only 6 euros total, for both. The water was warm and the beach sandy. We ordered food from the restaurant, and I was really impressed with how fresh, good, and inexpensive it was. Fresh octopus, fresh sardines (which are normally not appealing to me), calamari, grape leaves, etc. and a cold beer and a carafe of wine all came to 27 euros. As I said, it wasn’t the prettiest beach in my opinion, because it was in a residential neighborhood. But, that said, we had a lot of fun, I liked the food, convenience, price, and the vibe and would go back again. We walked about 20 minutes back to the town and grabbed a cab (which was actually a bit hard to find). Next time, I would ask the restaurant to help call a cab, which I assume would be about 15 euros back to the ship from this distance. Mykonos I wasn’t fully sure what to do here and had been worried about crowds and whether the beaches might be *too* interesting to my teenage sons. We ended up getting a day pass to the St. John Beach Resort (just search for them online and “info@” email address on their website). It was stunning and one of the highlights of the cruise. I highly recommend it, and this might have been our favorite day of the cruise. I had hesitated because it was 100 euros per person, but that included transportation from the ship, a spectacular breakfast buffet (take my word for it – don’t eat breakfast on the ship – eat it here, it was that great), a thick towel, a big lunch (I had grilled calamari that was incredible), and use of the chaise longues by the pool or down by the beach (which was narrow, but had a fun dock you could jump off of). The hotel was so deluxe, I had thought they might treat us differently because we were day passers from a cruise ship, but they could not have been friendlier and we felt very welcome. Even though it was more money than I might have wanted to spend, I thought the value was terrific. The kids stayed on board, and it was a really special day for my wife and me. I would definitely do this again. They only sell 12 day passes. We met 6 other nice people from our ship who were doing the same thing, and I know everyone loved it. Incidentally, this was listed as a tender port, but we docked instead. Athens The last time I was in Athens was in the winter when I was in college with my parents. Going in the summer, with heat in the high 90s, and a lot more tourists, was different, but still great. We hopped in a cab from the port and had him take us to the Acropolis. It was a fixed fare of 25 euros and took about 20 or 25 minutes. It was spectacular, and I loved it, the heat notwithstanding (although the heat was overwhelming to some – more below). After a few hours there, we walked down through the plaka and got some food at an outdoor café, which was a little pricey given it was a touristy neighborhood, but it was pretty and we enjoyed it nonetheless. I wanted to go to the Agora, but everyone else was melting after all of the hours of walking, and we took a taxi back to the ship from the Plaka. Rhodes The ship docked at a pier right next to the walled old town, so it was an easy walk if you are reasonably mobile and steady on your feet. We walked through the old town and went to the castle, which is a Mussolini-era reconstruction that was pretty good. But, after seeing so much history over the previous month in Italy, I wasn’t super impressed walking through a reconstruction. After that, we walked about 30 minutes to Elli Beach, which was a local beach that had chair rentals, some of the clearest water I have seen anywhere, and a large, broad, nice pebbly beach. Yes, it was crowded and there were hotels behind it, but the beach was nice if you got on a decent part of it. We didn’t rent chairs, but if I had to do it all over again, I would have gone to Elli Beach straight away (an easy 15 minute cab ride) and got some decent chairs and an umbrella at one of the establishments that was nicer than the one we plopped our towels in front of. I would spend the morning at the beach before it got too crowded and then walk around the old town and get something to eat there. Santorini We loved, loved Santorini – but with a few important caveats. This was a tender port that was scheduled to have approximately 5 ships in port that day (and none the next day!). The cruise staff implored everyone to get up early and get on the earliest tender you can. We listened to them, and you should, too. We were lucky enough to get on the first tender and in the first cable car up the mountain. Tickets for the cable car were 6 euros each and we were lucky again that there was no line yet and we were up to the top at about 7:30 am (a hard feat for us to corral the whole family to do this!). We had decided to go to Oia on our own and grabbed the first taxi we found, which was easy because none of the swarms had arrived yet. It was 35 euros for an approximately 30 minute cab ride to Oia (which I think we may have been overcharged – I think the official rate, if there is one, is 30 euros, which is what it cost on the way back. I didn’t care – I was just happy to get one.) Incidentally, you can take a donkey ride up for 6 euros per person, but the crew staff advised people not to, both for safety reasons (the donkeys sometimes slip) and for animal cruelty reasons. I, for one, could never do it. Oia was empty when we got there at 8 am and stunningly beautiful. We had it to ourselves for 20 minutes and then the first buses started to arrive and it steadily became more and more crowded. We walked around for 4 hours or so and stopped for some incredible Greek pastries, Greek coffee, and an incredible view at a bakery/café called Skiza that was on the main pedestrian drag. It was a little pricey, partly because Santorini has a 25% city tax, but the view and food was amazing. It was a nice way to get away from the crowds, which had now descended upon Oia, rest our tired feet, and enjoy the view. By now, it was very hot and crowded and the narrow streets were packed. I actually ended up getting separated for a tense 30 minutes from my family after getting stuck behind people taking photographs that I didn’t want to interrupt (but politely would next time). The square was packed, too. There was a woman from the ship who had fallen (a man had stepped on her ankle, I had heard) sitting, injured, on a bench and later was in wheelchair on the ship (more on injuries, below). We walked a few blocks away and tried to get a cab, which was now impossible, so we walked for about 15 minutes to the other side of the town and were able to get a taxi for 30 euros back to Fira. We walked around and took some stunning photographs there, but by now had been off the ship for about 7 hours. We wanted to take the cable car down, but no dice – the line was at least 2 hours long so we opted to walk down. We are fit, so it was doable, but people were slipping (including us) all over the place, because some of the stones are shiny obsidian and there is a lot of donkey dung. It took us 30 minutes and while not difficult for us, I know it was difficult for others and it would be impossible and dangerous if you had any mobility issues. I think some of the ship’s tours that go by bus to Oia go to a different tender stop and then get a bus ride that picks them up right at the water without having to navigate the cable car mess. If you are going to Oia and don’t think you can get off very early like we did and go by cab, I would probably consider that. I know some people who took the public bus were furious that they were so jammed with passengers they felt it was dangerous, so make sure you allow plenty of time for whatever you do. As I said, Oia and Fira and our overall visit to Santorini was a highlight for us, but only because we were up very early and were able to avoid some of the mobs and we were able to walk down the mountain, albeit reluctantly, instead of taking the cable car down. Some people had no choice but to wait in the sun for a couple of hours. One woman on our return tender had waited for 1.5 hours in line and finally gave up and walked down, and was very hot and unhappy. We also so people arguing about others cutting in line. When there are this many cruise ships in port at once, I really think a better system would be ideal for everyone, both from safety and efficiency perspectives. While this was a really great day for us overall, I can see how this stop could easily be a bad one for some people, so please plan ahead. Katakolon (Olympia) This was our last stop, and we were feeling a little sad by now. There is a small train that runs from Katakolon to Olympia every 2 hours or so for 10 euros per person roundtrip. I knew my kids would think the train was fun, which was one of the reasons we chose it. It was also a pretty 45 minute ride through the countryside. We were off the ship at 9:00 and the train left at 10, so there was a little bit of a wait. You can search for information online about it – it is easy to find. After you arrive in Olympia, it is an easy 10 minute walk from the train station are the remains of ancient Olympia, which we really enjoyed walking around even though it was nearly 100 degrees. In fact, it was so hot that the Hellenic Red Cross very generously was handing out free bottles of water. I would have liked to have stayed a little longer, but we needed to get on the 1:10 train back because the next one was not until 3:30, which was cutting it too close. There are a number of waterfront cafes on the way back to the pier. I would have liked to have stopped for a bit for a cold beer or glass of wine and Greek seafood like we had in Crete, but we ended up getting back on board to have lunch. Incidentally, it was a VERY long walk from the ship to where the buses, taxi, and town were. If walking is an issue for you, please check into it in advance. If I had to do this stop all over, I might have gone by bus or taxi to Olympia, which probably would have given us an hour head start over the train even though the train was a nice way to travel and the kids liked it. If we had done that, it think it would have given us enough time to swim at a local beach for an hour or 2, which I would have liked to have done and it would have given some more time in Olympia (I could have used another hour there at least). I had my eye on Agios Andreas, a nearby beach as a possibility that I believe was accessible by a little trolley bus, but it wasn’t meant to be. Sea Day The last day of the trip was a sea day, and we spent most of it on lounge chairs by the Thalassotherapy pool. We had had trouble getting seats there on other parts of the trip, so we were happy finally to spend some time there. DISEMBARKATION Our flight back to New York left at 11:05, which had me a little nervous. We did the baggage walk-off, which was scheduled for 7:40 am. They actually started letting people off at 7:20 a.m. We were out of the customs building by about 7:30 and grabbed a taxi right away. It was 45 euros and we were at the airport in less than 20 minutes. We checked in and were through check-in and customs by 8:20, which gave us plenty of time. You would think we would have eaten enough by now after a vacation in Italy and a cruise, but there was a café near the gate that sold really nice sandwiches for about 5 or 6 euros each and cappuccinos. I couldn’t pass up the cappuccino, but wished I had bought sandwiches for us. The flight was 9 hours and they didn’t serve lunch until 1:00 or so and then there was only a greasy warm sandwich served an hour before landing. I would have preferred the nice sandwich from the airport J SOME GENERAL TIPS It can be hard to find free bathrooms, so make sure you have a handful of euro coins in case you need to go. I googled “bathrooms near me” on my phone, which was very helpful in terms of guiding us to the nearest one on several occasions. If you have a child under 18, many (but not all) venues are free, so make sure you ask, because it is not always posted. Importantly, many of the places require photo ID, so we had our passports with us when we got off. If you are between 18 and 25, there are usually heavily discounted rates, but you need to have proof of age and your school ID. Italy and Greece use the Euro, which was convenient for us. We used credit cards mostly, but had some cash for taxis, bathrooms, and bottles of water. In Dubrovnik, we used Euros for the taxi, but I don’t believe the Euro is taken everywhere in Croatia. *SAFETY* *Please* be careful on this itinerary in the summer if you have any mobility issues at all (or even if you don’t). I’m not trying to be melodramatic, but I have never seen more people injured on a vacation ever. At the Colosseum in Rome before the trip, a woman collapsed in the heat and fell to the floor while in the ticket line. Another woman fell down some stairs and cut her knee pretty bad. A lot of roads and walkways in the old towns are paved with small rocks that are uneven and slippery. We saw a woman from the ship who tripped and fell in Rhodes and her face was black and blue days later (and her glasses broken). An older woman passed out and was getting medical attention by paramedics at the Acropolis. There was the woman who had her ankle stepped on in Santorini and ended up in a wheelchair. We saw a woman on our flight home from the cruise who was in a wheelchair and her leg in a fresh cast, so we assumed she had fallen somewhere. We saw at least 5 or 6 people fall on the steps down the hill in Santorini when they couldn’t get a cable car and had to walk down. I’m not saying don’t go – but please be VERY careful! Also, make sure you drink a lot of water! This was a trip of a lifetime for us, and we really loved it! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019

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