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This was my third cruise with the Celebrity Cruise lines and I will say from the start that it lived up to my every expectation, just as Celebrity has done on each of my previous two cruises. My husband and I booked our entire package through Celebrity via a travel agency. I highly recommend this to anyone who is planning on a similar trip. They took care of our flight to Barcelona, transfer to the hotel from the airport, the hotel stay, transfer from the hotel to the ship, transfer from the ship to the airport and the flight home. With all the other stress that goes into planning these trips; it was wonderful to have all of those important details taken care of by the travel company - especially knowing that if something went wrong we could count on them to help us out. It is probably a little more expensive to do it this way, but I still recommend it for the peace of mind if nothing else. We flew into Barcelona a day early so we could sample a bit of the local flavor rather than having to head straight for the ship. I am really glad we did. La Sagrada Familia, La Rambla and the Placa de Catalyna are not to be missed. The street performers at La Rambla were very entertaining. Note of caution, we did hear of someone who had their camera cut from their wrist while in Barcelona so keep a close eye on all belongings when you are in a crowd of people. La Rambla gets pretty packed so just be aware of what is going on around you. We stayed in the hotel Gran Havana and it was pretty nice. It was definitely well located as it was about halfway between La Sagrada Familia and La Rambla. We were able to walk everywhere and felt very safe even when we were out pretty late on our first night. We got to the ship fairly early on Sunday. They were having computer problems at the time and couldn't print out our seapass cards so one of the security guys walked a bunch of us on the ship and let us go so we could wander around and look at the ship while it was still pretty empty. I leave it to others to describe the actual ship itself, these vacations for us are more about the destination than the transportation, but I will say that it was beautiful and well kept and I couldn't complain about a single thing appearance-wise throughout the whole duration of the trip. We only had to wait an hour before our seapass cards were available and then we were able to drop our carry-on bags at the room. The rooms weren't supposed to be ready until 1, but I remember ours was available considerably before that. We did have to go back down and have our security pictures taken since we didn't have our cards when we boarded, but all in all I thought Celebrity handled the computer problems admirably. The room was pretty standard from our other cruises. We always get a plain inside stateroom for the simple fact that we spend so little time in it; I would rather use the extra money to buy souvenirs. There is plenty of room for our needs, though we did have a small table this time that was kind of nice to have even though it took up a good bit of extra floor space. My only complaint on this cruise was that there were no hooks on the walls as we have seen on other ships and part of the closet space was taken up by the safe which on other ships has always been tucked away behind the mirror. The closet space seemed smaller, but that may be because this trip was almost twice as long as any of the others we have every done and I can't pack light to save my life so we brought a LOT of clothes. My husband and I were on the young side for this cruise (I am 29 and he is 35) where the majority of the passengers were retirement age. Celebrity did their usual wonderful job of putting us at a dinner table with three other couples that were closer to our age than the average and I have to give them major props for this because we became good friends with all three of them and spent a lot of time with them during the port days. We ended the week with hugs and exchanging contact info so we can get in touch and visit each other. All of the service in every place we went on the ship was wonderful. Our dinner waiter Preston, his assistant Wilfredo and the bar waiter (whose name I never managed to catch) were WONDERFUL. We are more soda drinkers than we are alcohol drinkers (though we do our fair share of that too) so we bought the unlimited soda sticker on the first day and our bar attendant kept the glasses coming all through dinner and half the time they were already there by the time we sat down! They got to know our usual likes throughout the week and catered to us very specifically throughout the cruise. One of our table mates was such a chocolate nut that they even added chocolate sauce to her deserts a couple of times even when it wasn't mentioned on the desert menu at all. They were just wonderful. If one of us didn't seem too fond of a dish; be it the appetizer, soup or whatever - they were right there to replace it in no time and genuinely seemed happy if we were happy. They were an amazing group and I can't say enough good things about them. We spent a good number of our evenings in the Rendezvous Lounge listening to Karaoke which was always a hoot and having drinks. Seating was usually at a premium right after the second seating since there were usually a bunch of us from our dinner table trying to sit together, but we always managed to find a spot somewhere. On several nights we went up to the disco in Cosmos and danced had drinks. I guess because of the higher average age on this cruise, there weren't usually that many of us on the dance floor except on Latin night when it was packed. The staff in both places was wonderful and attentive without being overbearing. I never felt pushed to order anything, but if I did they were very quick. The ports were the reason we took this cruise, but as every person likes something else, I will just hit the highlights. In Villefranche we didn't take a tour at all and decided to just wing it. The train was a bit difficult to figure out, but we managed to get to Cannes and Nice before packing it in and spending the rest of the day wandering around Villefranche. Cannes was neat because the film festival was going on, Nice didn't do much for me, but I think that is because we got off at the wrong stop. If you want to go there, make sure you get off at the stop that takes you to the beach. We ended up in the city and it was just like any other city except we couldn't read the signs. Villefranche was actually the highlight of the day; it is an old fishing village and is just about as quaint and picturesque as they come. Loads of people raved about Eze (which can also be reached via train, just in the opposite direction of what we went) and I really wish we had gone there instead, though Villefranche was great. Next was Livorno. We took a ship tour to Florence and Pisa which was wonderful. Our guide was Ramona who was fantastic, but something of a practical joker so you weren't sure when she was being serious or not. She started out the tour in Italian and went on for about five minutes before anyone tried to stop her. She was just pulling our leg, but I would imagine she would have done the whole day that way just to see how long it took us to speak up! We walked around Florence with a tour guide. We had earpieces to hear the guide with, but to be honest we couldn't hear that well and just ended up meandering around on our own. This is fine, but keep an eye on your guide! It is very easy to get lost or end up in someone else's group accidentally (as we did, fortunately we figured it out before we got left!). After that we went to Pisa and got to go around on our own for a while. I highly recommend the ships tour for this stop since the trains are a bit iffy and this way you get to see Florence and Pisa in one day. It is quite a ride out there so going it on your own might be tempting fate. At least if the ships tour is late getting back, they wait for you! Rome (or Civitavecchia) and Naples were the two highlights of our trip. I found some folks on the cruisecritic.com roll call for these ports and planned a private tour with a company called Benvenuto Limos (benvenutolimos.com or info@benvenutolimos.com). I cannot say enough good things about this company. They were fantastic. I emailed back and forth with Giovanni who is also one of the guides. He was incredibly helpful in setting up which tours we would do and extremely patient with all of my endless questions. We had a driver named Fabrizio for our Rome tour who was personable and fun and treated us incredibly well. We had a great time and got to see most of the big sites in Rome with stops for lunch and gelato. He was a great guide and very informative and if you can ask for him personally for this trip, I recommend it. We got a bit turned around outside the Vatican where we were supposed to meet him, but he had planned ahead and given us a cell phone so we could call him if we got lost. Of course, we were lost so we couldn't tell him where we were, but my husband convinced one of the Swiss guards outside the Vatican to take the phone and explain to him where we were. He just seemed very relieved to get us back! Giovanni himself was our guide in Naples and again, he was just wonderful. He also was very funny and informative and made sure we saw some incredible sites. We had planned to see Pompeii and drive the Amalfi Coast during our day with him (a 2 hour guided tour at Pompeii is included in the tour we chose). We did the Amalfi Coast drive first and it was just breathtaking. Giovanni is from this area and you can tell he is proud of it, as he should be. It was incredible. I let him know that I was interested in purchasing a cameo so we made it a point to stop at a place that sold them (where I found one that I loved) and we also stopped at a place that made in-laid wood items where he got us a short demonstration and then some time to shop a bit (we all did, they were beautiful items). We stopped for lunch along the way at a delicious seafood restaurant and had some time to wander around at several other places where we stopped for great views. We did Pompeii on the way back to the ship and had a knowledgeable guide take us through some of the highlights (you would need days to see everything, it is huge). If you are going to either of these ports (as well as several others in Italy, check the website), I HIGHLY recommend using Benvenuto Limos. They made these two stops the highlight of our entire vacation. The price for six of us to share a van with one driver was 600 Euros and when you break down all that we got to do and see and the personal attention that we got, it was very competitive with the tours that the ship was offering. They are also well aware of what happens if they don't get you back to the ship on time so they are very careful to schedule everything so as to get you back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. On Mykonos we took a shore excursion to Delos, which if I am not mistaken is the only excursion available at this port. It is an island of ruins and well worth the trip. We had a tour guide that walked us through the ruins explaining things as we went, but mostly we just enjoyed wandering. The only people on the island were the tour groups from the ship so it was relatively uncrowded and it was a beautiful day to boot. A trip well worth taking. We did stop in Mykonos and had souvlaki and gyros at one of the little cafes before going back to the ship. Santorini was an interesting stop. You leave the boat and then have to get to Fira by foot, donkey or cable car. Word of warning; if you are not in pretty good shape – do NOT walk! The four of us that went are all regular exercisers and we wondered if we were going to make it. Some places smell rather strongly of donkey and if you aren’t careful you might get run over if the donkeys pass you on their way back down. They move pretty fast. They do wear bells though so if you do walk and you hear the bells coming from above you – get to the inside of the path! They tend to swing wide so you won’t have any trouble if you stay on the inside. We didn’t do that and practically got trampled, fun! The town itself was really neat. It was all cobblestoned walkways and narrow alleys. There are some great shops. I bought a sterling silver ‘greek line’ necklace and earrings for 35 Euro. I suggest doing what we did and just wandering around on your own. It is pretty hard to get lost here unless you take the bus into Oia on the other side of the island (I understand that the prices are better there since it isn’t quite so touristy, but Fira wasn’t bad). Athens was probably the least favorite of all of our stops, but that isn’t saying much since we really loved pretty much every place we went. We took a ship’s excursion to the Acropolis and got to see the Olympic stadium, but that was about it. The rest of the trip was really just big city. Though to be completely forthcoming, we did fall fast asleep on the bus so they may have shown us amazing things that we just slept through. Going to the Acropolis was well worth the price of the excursion though. It was rather awe inspiring to be standing in front of something that is 2500 years old. There is a saying that Europeans think 100 miles is a long way and Americans think 100 years is a long time. There is something to be said for that. It is hard to wrap your mind around something that has existed for that long when your own country hasn’t even been around for 10% of that! Dubrovnik was something of a pleasant surprise. We weren’t sure what to expect and really didn’t have high expectations, but we ended up loving it. The ship provides bus service right to the gates of the city. It is pretty cheap (I think less than 3 euros per person) to walk the wall of the city. It goes about a mile and is a great way to spend the afternoon. There are great views of the ocean as well as the city itself. There is a maritime museum about halfway around that we stopped in more for the AC than anything else. I was hoping to see info about the building of the wall and the recent civil war, but there really wasn’t much about either of those there. Cars inside the city walls are rare to nonexistent – it is definitely a pedestrian type of place. We came down off the wall for shopping and lunch. This is a tourist paradise. Dubrovnik has seized Capitalism by both horns and gone full bore. Everyone we dealt with was extremely nice and spoke excellent English, the food was wonderful, the prices were good – I would definitely suggest this itinerary if for no other reason than to check this port out. I definite highlight! Keep in mind that they have their own unit of currency; the kuna (I think 10 kuna = 1.50 euro or thereabouts) so the prices listed are not always in euros though we used them without problem everywhere we went. They happily did the currency conversion for us and usually had no problem making change in euros. Venice was a beautiful as I had heard it would be. The sail into the city isn’t to be missed. I can never keep port and starboard straight, but just be on the front of the boat on the right hand side of the ship. If you have a balcony on that side or know someone who does, take advantage of it. It is almost a 2 hour process and it gets hot; especially since everyone else is up on the main decks doing the same thing. The city goes by pretty much underneath you so a good view is easy to come by. We were on one of the top decks though and the wind shield got in the way of a lot of the pictures we wanted to take. St Marks is easy to see as are Doges Palace and the Bridge of Sighs if you are on the right side. St marks square is fantastic for shopping. If you want anything made of Murano glass and don’t want to actually go to the island; this is a great place to get it (getting to Murano is REALLY easy. If you don’t want to book the excursion through the ship, there are representatives from the glass factory at the pier practically begging you to take a free shuttle out there for a demonstration.) I know of one couple who took the Murano/Burano tour through the ship and really enjoyed it. St Marks is also the place to buy a cameo as there are literally thousands of them available. I was a bit annoyed to find the exact same cameo I got in Florence for almost 30 euros less than what I paid for it, but oh well. If you do want one – wait for Venice! Another fun thing to do is to buy corn from the vendors in the square and feed the pigeons. They land all over you trying to get to it. This makes for some really entertaining photos! We did book a shore excursion through the ship in Venice to take the ‘Gondola Serenade’. Do not, I repeat DO NOT book this tour through Celebrity unless they have changed vendors by the time you take the trip. We actually filed a formal complaint about this tour because it was SO bad. The cost was $105 per person and you could easily get a gondola ride on your own at any one of a dozen places for about the same price. They put four people in a two person gondola so that my husband and I ended up having to sit on foot stools the whole time facing each other knee to knee (very romantic!) while the other couple in the boat sat in the seats. The gondoliers were smoking and drinking beer and it really was the most unpleasant, uncomfortable experience I can remember having on vacation. It was so bad we were laughing out loud the whole time about how ridiculous it was. The worst part was we kept passing other gondolas with only two people in them and they all seemed to be having a great time. Celebrity is usually very good about the excursions that they offer so they may well have changed vendors if they get enough complaints, but definitely check first! So I have a tendency to babble even when I type so this is probably information overload. The bottom line is this was a fantastic cruise, Celebrity is a top notch company and I would recommend this itinerary, this boat and these excursions (EXCEPT the gondola ride!) to anyone and everyone looking to have an unforgettable vacation. Bon Voyage!

Millennium - Eastern Mediterranean

Celebrity Millennium Cruise Review by AHOKIECRUISER

Trip Details
This was my third cruise with the Celebrity Cruise lines and I will say from the start that it lived up to my every expectation, just as Celebrity has done on each of my previous two cruises.
My husband and I booked our entire package through Celebrity via a travel agency. I highly recommend this to anyone who is planning on a similar trip. They took care of our flight to Barcelona, transfer to the hotel from the airport, the hotel stay, transfer from the hotel to the ship, transfer from the ship to the airport and the flight home. With all the other stress that goes into planning these trips; it was wonderful to have all of those important details taken care of by the travel company - especially knowing that if something went wrong we could count on them to help us out. It is probably a little more expensive to do it this way, but I still recommend it for the peace of mind if nothing else.
We flew into Barcelona a day early so we could sample a bit of the local flavor rather than having to head straight for the ship. I am really glad we did. La Sagrada Familia, La Rambla and the Placa de Catalyna are not to be missed. The street performers at La Rambla were very entertaining. Note of caution, we did hear of someone who had their camera cut from their wrist while in Barcelona so keep a close eye on all belongings when you are in a crowd of people. La Rambla gets pretty packed so just be aware of what is going on around you.
We stayed in the hotel Gran Havana and it was pretty nice. It was definitely well located as it was about halfway between La Sagrada Familia and La Rambla. We were able to walk everywhere and felt very safe even when we were out pretty late on our first night. We got to the ship fairly early on Sunday. They were having computer problems at the time and couldn't print out our seapass cards so one of the security guys walked a bunch of us on the ship and let us go so we could wander around and look at the ship while it was still pretty empty. I leave it to others to describe the actual ship itself, these vacations for us are more about the destination than the transportation, but I will say that it was beautiful and well kept and I couldn't complain about a single thing appearance-wise throughout the whole duration of the trip. We only had to wait an hour before our seapass cards were available and then we were able to drop our carry-on bags at the room. The rooms weren't supposed to be ready until 1, but I remember ours was available considerably before that. We did have to go back down and have our security pictures taken since we didn't have our cards when we boarded, but all in all I thought Celebrity handled the computer problems admirably.
The room was pretty standard from our other cruises. We always get a plain inside stateroom for the simple fact that we spend so little time in it; I would rather use the extra money to buy souvenirs. There is plenty of room for our needs, though we did have a small table this time that was kind of nice to have even though it took up a good bit of extra floor space. My only complaint on this cruise was that there were no hooks on the walls as we have seen on other ships and part of the closet space was taken up by the safe which on other ships has always been tucked away behind the mirror. The closet space seemed smaller, but that may be because this trip was almost twice as long as any of the others we have every done and I can't pack light to save my life so we brought a LOT of clothes.
My husband and I were on the young side for this cruise (I am 29 and he is 35) where the majority of the passengers were retirement age. Celebrity did their usual wonderful job of putting us at a dinner table with three other couples that were closer to our age than the average and I have to give them major props for this because we became good friends with all three of them and spent a lot of time with them during the port days. We ended the week with hugs and exchanging contact info so we can get in touch and visit each other.
All of the service in every place we went on the ship was wonderful. Our dinner waiter Preston, his assistant Wilfredo and the bar waiter (whose name I never managed to catch) were WONDERFUL. We are more soda drinkers than we are alcohol drinkers (though we do our fair share of that too) so we bought the unlimited soda sticker on the first day and our bar attendant kept the glasses coming all through dinner and half the time they were already there by the time we sat down! They got to know our usual likes throughout the week and catered to us very specifically throughout the cruise. One of our table mates was such a chocolate nut that they even added chocolate sauce to her deserts a couple of times even when it wasn't mentioned on the desert menu at all. They were just wonderful. If one of us didn't seem too fond of a dish; be it the appetizer, soup or whatever - they were right there to replace it in no time and genuinely seemed happy if we were happy. They were an amazing group and I can't say enough good things about them.
We spent a good number of our evenings in the Rendezvous Lounge listening to Karaoke which was always a hoot and having drinks. Seating was usually at a premium right after the second seating since there were usually a bunch of us from our dinner table trying to sit together, but we always managed to find a spot somewhere. On several nights we went up to the disco in Cosmos and danced had drinks. I guess because of the higher average age on this cruise, there weren't usually that many of us on the dance floor except on Latin night when it was packed. The staff in both places was wonderful and attentive without being overbearing. I never felt pushed to order anything, but if I did they were very quick.
The ports were the reason we took this cruise, but as every person likes something else, I will just hit the highlights. In Villefranche we didn't take a tour at all and decided to just wing it. The train was a bit difficult to figure out, but we managed to get to Cannes and Nice before packing it in and spending the rest of the day wandering around Villefranche. Cannes was neat because the film festival was going on, Nice didn't do much for me, but I think that is because we got off at the wrong stop. If you want to go there, make sure you get off at the stop that takes you to the beach. We ended up in the city and it was just like any other city except we couldn't read the signs. Villefranche was actually the highlight of the day; it is an old fishing village and is just about as quaint and picturesque as they come. Loads of people raved about Eze (which can also be reached via train, just in the opposite direction of what we went) and I really wish we had gone there instead, though Villefranche was great.
Next was Livorno. We took a ship tour to Florence and Pisa which was wonderful. Our guide was Ramona who was fantastic, but something of a practical joker so you weren't sure when she was being serious or not. She started out the tour in Italian and went on for about five minutes before anyone tried to stop her. She was just pulling our leg, but I would imagine she would have done the whole day that way just to see how long it took us to speak up! We walked around Florence with a tour guide. We had earpieces to hear the guide with, but to be honest we couldn't hear that well and just ended up meandering around on our own. This is fine, but keep an eye on your guide! It is very easy to get lost or end up in someone else's group accidentally (as we did, fortunately we figured it out before we got left!). After that we went to Pisa and got to go around on our own for a while. I highly recommend the ships tour for this stop since the trains are a bit iffy and this way you get to see Florence and Pisa in one day. It is quite a ride out there so going it on your own might be tempting fate. At least if the ships tour is late getting back, they wait for you!
Rome (or Civitavecchia) and Naples were the two highlights of our trip. I found some folks on the cruisecritic.com roll call for these ports and planned a private tour with a company called Benvenuto Limos (benvenutolimos.com or info@benvenutolimos.com). I cannot say enough good things about this company. They were fantastic. I emailed back and forth with Giovanni who is also one of the guides. He was incredibly helpful in setting up which tours we would do and extremely patient with all of my endless questions. We had a driver named Fabrizio for our Rome tour who was personable and fun and treated us incredibly well. We had a great time and got to see most of the big sites in Rome with stops for lunch and gelato. He was a great guide and very informative and if you can ask for him personally for this trip, I recommend it. We got a bit turned around outside the Vatican where we were supposed to meet him, but he had planned ahead and given us a cell phone so we could call him if we got lost. Of course, we were lost so we couldn't tell him where we were, but my husband convinced one of the Swiss guards outside the Vatican to take the phone and explain to him where we were. He just seemed very relieved to get us back!
Giovanni himself was our guide in Naples and again, he was just wonderful. He also was very funny and informative and made sure we saw some incredible sites. We had planned to see Pompeii and drive the Amalfi Coast during our day with him (a 2 hour guided tour at Pompeii is included in the tour we chose). We did the Amalfi Coast drive first and it was just breathtaking. Giovanni is from this area and you can tell he is proud of it, as he should be. It was incredible. I let him know that I was interested in purchasing a cameo so we made it a point to stop at a place that sold them (where I found one that I loved) and we also stopped at a place that made in-laid wood items where he got us a short demonstration and then some time to shop a bit (we all did, they were beautiful items). We stopped for lunch along the way at a delicious seafood restaurant and had some time to wander around at several other places where we stopped for great views. We did Pompeii on the way back to the ship and had a knowledgeable guide take us through some of the highlights (you would need days to see everything, it is huge).
If you are going to either of these ports (as well as several others in Italy, check the website), I HIGHLY recommend using Benvenuto Limos. They made these two stops the highlight of our entire vacation. The price for six of us to share a van with one driver was 600 Euros and when you break down all that we got to do and see and the personal attention that we got, it was very competitive with the tours that the ship was offering. They are also well aware of what happens if they don't get you back to the ship on time so they are very careful to schedule everything so as to get you back to the ship with plenty of time to spare.
On Mykonos we took a shore excursion to Delos, which if I am not mistaken is the only excursion available at this port. It is an island of ruins and well worth the trip. We had a tour guide that walked us through the ruins explaining things as we went, but mostly we just enjoyed wandering. The only people on the island were the tour groups from the ship so it was relatively uncrowded and it was a beautiful day to boot. A trip well worth taking. We did stop in Mykonos and had souvlaki and gyros at one of the little cafes before going back to the ship.
Santorini was an interesting stop. You leave the boat and then have to get to Fira by foot, donkey or cable car. Word of warning; if you are not in pretty good shape – do NOT walk! The four of us that went are all regular exercisers and we wondered if we were going to make it. Some places smell rather strongly of donkey and if you aren’t careful you might get run over if the donkeys pass you on their way back down. They move pretty fast. They do wear bells though so if you do walk and you hear the bells coming from above you – get to the inside of the path! They tend to swing wide so you won’t have any trouble if you stay on the inside. We didn’t do that and practically got trampled, fun! The town itself was really neat. It was all cobblestoned walkways and narrow alleys. There are some great shops. I bought a sterling silver ‘greek line’ necklace and earrings for 35 Euro. I suggest doing what we did and just wandering around on your own. It is pretty hard to get lost here unless you take the bus into Oia on the other side of the island (I understand that the prices are better there since it isn’t quite so touristy, but Fira wasn’t bad).
Athens was probably the least favorite of all of our stops, but that isn’t saying much since we really loved pretty much every place we went. We took a ship’s excursion to the Acropolis and got to see the Olympic stadium, but that was about it. The rest of the trip was really just big city. Though to be completely forthcoming, we did fall fast asleep on the bus so they may have shown us amazing things that we just slept through. Going to the Acropolis was well worth the price of the excursion though. It was rather awe inspiring to be standing in front of something that is 2500 years old. There is a saying that Europeans think 100 miles is a long way and Americans think 100 years is a long time. There is something to be said for that. It is hard to wrap your mind around something that has existed for that long when your own country hasn’t even been around for 10% of that!
Dubrovnik was something of a pleasant surprise. We weren’t sure what to expect and really didn’t have high expectations, but we ended up loving it. The ship provides bus service right to the gates of the city. It is pretty cheap (I think less than 3 euros per person) to walk the wall of the city. It goes about a mile and is a great way to spend the afternoon. There are great views of the ocean as well as the city itself. There is a maritime museum about halfway around that we stopped in more for the AC than anything else. I was hoping to see info about the building of the wall and the recent civil war, but there really wasn’t much about either of those there. Cars inside the city walls are rare to nonexistent – it is definitely a pedestrian type of place. We came down off the wall for shopping and lunch. This is a tourist paradise. Dubrovnik has seized Capitalism by both horns and gone full bore. Everyone we dealt with was extremely nice and spoke excellent English, the food was wonderful, the prices were good – I would definitely suggest this itinerary if for no other reason than to check this port out. I definite highlight! Keep in mind that they have their own unit of currency; the kuna (I think 10 kuna = 1.50 euro or thereabouts) so the prices listed are not always in euros though we used them without problem everywhere we went. They happily did the currency conversion for us and usually had no problem making change in euros.
Venice was a beautiful as I had heard it would be. The sail into the city isn’t to be missed. I can never keep port and starboard straight, but just be on the front of the boat on the right hand side of the ship. If you have a balcony on that side or know someone who does, take advantage of it. It is almost a 2 hour process and it gets hot; especially since everyone else is up on the main decks doing the same thing. The city goes by pretty much underneath you so a good view is easy to come by. We were on one of the top decks though and the wind shield got in the way of a lot of the pictures we wanted to take. St Marks is easy to see as are Doges Palace and the Bridge of Sighs if you are on the right side. St marks square is fantastic for shopping. If you want anything made of Murano glass and don’t want to actually go to the island; this is a great place to get it (getting to Murano is REALLY easy. If you don’t want to book the excursion through the ship, there are representatives from the glass factory at the pier practically begging you to take a free shuttle out there for a demonstration.) I know of one couple who took the Murano/Burano tour through the ship and really enjoyed it. St Marks is also the place to buy a cameo as there are literally thousands of them available. I was a bit annoyed to find the exact same cameo I got in Florence for almost 30 euros less than what I paid for it, but oh well. If you do want one – wait for Venice! Another fun thing to do is to buy corn from the vendors in the square and feed the pigeons. They land all over you trying to get to it. This makes for some really entertaining photos! We did book a shore excursion through the ship in Venice to take the ‘Gondola Serenade’. Do not, I repeat DO NOT book this tour through Celebrity unless they have changed vendors by the time you take the trip. We actually filed a formal complaint about this tour because it was SO bad. The cost was $105 per person and you could easily get a gondola ride on your own at any one of a dozen places for about the same price. They put four people in a two person gondola so that my husband and I ended up having to sit on foot stools the whole time facing each other knee to knee (very romantic!) while the other couple in the boat sat in the seats. The gondoliers were smoking and drinking beer and it really was the most unpleasant, uncomfortable experience I can remember having on vacation. It was so bad we were laughing out loud the whole time about how ridiculous it was. The worst part was we kept passing other gondolas with only two people in them and they all seemed to be having a great time. Celebrity is usually very good about the excursions that they offer so they may well have changed vendors if they get enough complaints, but definitely check first!
So I have a tendency to babble even when I type so this is probably information overload. The bottom line is this was a fantastic cruise, Celebrity is a top notch company and I would recommend this itinerary, this boat and these excursions (EXCEPT the gondola ride!) to anyone and everyone looking to have an unforgettable vacation. Bon Voyage!
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