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This was a cruise for my 27-year old daughter and myself (50+ mom). We have crusied before in the Carribean and have also been to Europe several times, but not on a cruise. In fact, I have really enjoyed traveling thru Europe by train and have been on trips thru Italy, France and Spain. Quite a few of the places we were to visit on this cruise we had visited before, which played a part in our choice of excursions in port. But my daughter wanted to do something different this year and a cruise it was to be. We have cruised Celebrity, HAL, RCCL and Costa before; Celebrity being the line we like best. When we decided to book the cruise I liked the itinerary - I had never been to Greece and have recently heard alot about Dubrovnik, so the ports offerred some old favorites along with a few new places. We actually booked somewhat at the last minute (at least by our usual planning standards). About a month and a half before the sail date we booked an inside cabin over the internet, then about a week or so later I decided to upgrade to a "Verandah Guarantee" cabin. Boy did that work out for us! We ended up on a verandah in Concierge Class at the back of the boat - 7212 - it was fantastic. The largest cabin I have ever been in (it was handicap accessible) and the balcony was just HUGE. I am so glad I decided to spend the bucks to do that upgrade. I loved the little extras that came with the CC cabin - fresh flowers, afternoon nibbles, priority tendering and also it helped put us in the late dinner seating which was great for a European cruise. Gave me time to take a nap, then sit out on the balcony, sip some wine and then go to dinner! Here are some general observations - then I will cover the ports. We like the food on Celebrity - we live in Atlanta so we are used to good restaurants. I have also spent a lot of time on my other European trips enjoying the local cuisine....a vacation is alot about food to me. Now I don't necessarily like the very highbrow gourmet food...but well prepared foods with good ingredients. I would rate the Celebrity food good or very good. As others have said, listen to what your waiter tells you is good that evening; the items I had that I would say were mediocre were those not suggested by the waiter (but he was always willing to then bring me a second item that I should have ordered in the first place!) We had some very nice fish, my daughter likes beef and it was usually very good with tastey sauces. We like the dining room experience and we were fortunate to have some great table mates. Another family with a daughter the same age as my daughter and a single woman...in fact we enjoyed our table so much we never ate away from the table on any nite except the one that was "open seating" - the nite we were in Santorini. We always think about going to the specialty restaurant, but in the end decide against it - the food in the dining room is definately very good - why pay more? But I must admit I did miss some of my usual European vacation foods - as good as the food was, it was not the same as what we usually eat on the land in Italy, France or Spain. Our shipboard activities are limited! We like to sun, I usually walk several miles on the track, my daughter went to the gym...we do not go for the entertainment so I have no comments on the shows. We went to Karaoke one night and it was pitiful, but maybe everyone was tuckered out from the land excursions. The passengers were definitley older than on a Carribean cruise. Very few my daughters age - except a few honeymoon couples. But I must say, even though the crowd was a bit older, they loved to dance! The rendezvous lounge was always buzzing before dinner. I think they had a guest professor on board our trip providing some musical entertainment and maybe lectures. They also had an art historian that gave talks on Italian and Spanish art on sea days - I very much enjoyed those! Ports - we flew in one nite eary to Barcelona, stayed on a hotel right on Las Ramblas. I love Barcelona, would have loved to stay longer! If you have never been to Barcelona before, it would be good to do the Hop on - Hop off bus...it will cover most of the highlights of this amazing city. Villefrance - we walked around the city and out towards Cap Ferrat as we have stayed in Nice and toured the general area before. Nice beach in Villefrance....had a wonderful scallop risotto in Cosmos reaturant near the waterfront in the old city. Livorno - we bought the ship's transfers here....waste of money. Didn't take you to the train station. We ended up getting a taxi at the port to go directly to the train. We did a trip on our own to Lucca where we rented bikes and explored the ramparts....great day! Cittavecchi - again bought the ships transfers. Here the taxis could not come to the ship (that I could tell) but maybe here was a free shuttle bus. It was way too long to walk in tho. It was very confusing and frustrating to me the different port situations. The ship did not always give clear and helpful instructions on how to do the ports on your own. If you don't plan to do ship excursions try to find out ahead of time (by posting on the boards I guess) about how to get from the dock to a point where you can do your own thing. Several of the docks were a long ways and in very pedestrian unfriendly areas from where you needed to be). Anyway at this port we went into Rome on our own as we have been there and done the main tourist things previously. But if you have not this is definitely a place to buy a ship excursion if you want to maximize your time on the land. Naples - WOW - I knew Naples was chaotic as we have come thru it before on the way to Capri. I planned to go to the Archeological museum on my own and then do a "Rick Steve's walk" around the city. None of the taxis at the dock would take me to the museum - wanted to score full day trips to Pompeii! I did eventually get one across the street - got to the museum - they would not sell me a ticket without correct change! Eventually got my bill changed by buying a phone card and went to the museum which I ended up enjoying a lot. Also stopped by a local grocery store to restock my in room wine bar - the store was as chaotic and crowded as the rest of the city! The Amalfi coast is much more enjoyable than the city - do yourself a favor and splurge on a car and driver for this shore excursion. Santorini - took a taxi to Kalmata (something like that!) beach. This was another great day! Beach is black pebbles - tough on the feet but a great place to sun worship. And here is the best part....there were very nice chaise lounges and umbrellas for FREE FREE FREE. In France we have had to pay 15 Euros each for similar set ups, so we were happy to have a value day on the beach. Ate at a beachside restaurant - the view was better than the food (I was looking forward to my Greek tasties) but the wine was cheap and pleasant so overall the day was a winner. Athens - I had gotten info from the internet as to how to get from the port to the city but it didn't work for me. First of all it was VERY HOT at 10am. I exited the boat thru a confusing complex crowded with many people heading to the Greek ferries to be met by an aggressive swarm of taxi drivers. I attempted to find the metro, but again the area was very pedestrian unfriendly. I headed back to the boat! That evening our table mates told us they had taken a taxi to town (25 Euros) and the metro back. The young woman said the walk from the metro to the boat was a "deathmarch" - fairly long and very hot. Well, I'll see Athens another time! Dubrovnik - WOW - drop dead gorgeous. I would love to return to this city and spend some leisurely time there and along the coast. We did not get any of the local currency - had our credit card and Euros - however to walk the walls you need the local money. Oh well...next time. Went to lunch at a restuarant suggested by a shopowner - mostly locals and some crew from the ship there. I decided I wanted sea food - so I ordered a grilled fish. It came on a plate with head, tail, bone in......I looked expectantly at the waiter, then I realized I AM NOT ON THE SHIP!!! I did manage to debone and enjoy it but they sure do spoil you onboard, don't they? Venice - did not purchase the ship's shuttle tickets, but it was a bit of a walk to Piazza Romale. We wanted to walk to locate our hotel when we were not dragging our bags. The shuttle goes to St. Marks. Venice was VERY crowded - try to get away from the crowds after you have seen St. Marks. There are nice places to eat on the Zattarere where you can watch a lot of the boats buzzing by and be away from the throngs. I must admit the ship sailing into Venice was great (tho I know these big ships must be part of the high water problem!!) They play opera as the ship sails in - I started crying - it was just such a LIFE IS GREAT moment! My daughter was apalled! The next day when we disembarked, lo and behold there was a free shuttle bus to Piazza Romale where you can connect to a bus that takes you to the airport. We stayed an extra night in Venice - it is so amazing! I am weary of this report! To summarize - we enjoyed this trip very much but I missed being on the land in Europe. It was great to just unpack one time and visit so many great places, and the access in from the ports was frustrating at times. If you spend the money for the ship excursions it would make it a lot less hassel in most of the ports. The vacation was just a little too much on the boat for me - tho don't get me wrong I like the ship. Perhaps the food quality has gone down a bit but it is still good. My daughter loves the sushi, I like the salmon in the aquaspa. The buffet, pasta, grill options for lunch were not always fabulous, but there were always tastey morsels to be found. One day there was some grilled shrimp that were great! The service and crew were wonderful (that is one aspect that wins it over the land in Europe where at times the service is bit surly or unfriendly!) I wish Celebrity spent a few bucks on fresh flowers - the artifical arrangements looked tired. Feel free to email me any questions you might have. This is a great itinerary - if this is your first trip to Europe it will give you many ideas of where you want to go in the future and spend more time on the land! Bon voyage! SueC12

Millennium - Eastern Mediterranean

Celebrity Millennium Cruise Review by SueC12

Trip Details
This was a cruise for my 27-year old daughter and myself (50+ mom). We have crusied before in the Carribean and have also been to Europe several times, but not on a cruise. In fact, I have really enjoyed traveling thru Europe by train and have been on trips thru Italy, France and Spain. Quite a few of the places we were to visit on this cruise we had visited before, which played a part in our choice of excursions in port. But my daughter wanted to do something different this year and a cruise it was to be. We have cruised Celebrity, HAL, RCCL and Costa before; Celebrity being the line we like best. When we decided to book the cruise I liked the itinerary - I had never been to Greece and have recently heard alot about Dubrovnik, so the ports offerred some old favorites along with a few new places.
We actually booked somewhat at the last minute (at least by our usual planning standards). About a month and a half before the sail date we booked an inside cabin over the internet, then about a week or so later I decided to upgrade to a "Verandah Guarantee" cabin. Boy did that work out for us! We ended up on a verandah in Concierge Class at the back of the boat - 7212 - it was fantastic. The largest cabin I have ever been in (it was handicap accessible) and the balcony was just HUGE. I am so glad I decided to spend the bucks to do that upgrade. I loved the little extras that came with the CC cabin - fresh flowers, afternoon nibbles, priority tendering and also it helped put us in the late dinner seating which was great for a European cruise. Gave me time to take a nap, then sit out on the balcony, sip some wine and then go to dinner!
Here are some general observations - then I will cover the ports. We like the food on Celebrity - we live in Atlanta so we are used to good restaurants. I have also spent a lot of time on my other European trips enjoying the local cuisine....a vacation is alot about food to me. Now I don't necessarily like the very highbrow gourmet food...but well prepared foods with good ingredients. I would rate the Celebrity food good or very good. As others have said, listen to what your waiter tells you is good that evening; the items I had that I would say were mediocre were those not suggested by the waiter (but he was always willing to then bring me a second item that I should have ordered in the first place!) We had some very nice fish, my daughter likes beef and it was usually very good with tastey sauces. We like the dining room experience and we were fortunate to have some great table mates. Another family with a daughter the same age as my daughter and a single woman...in fact we enjoyed our table so much we never ate away from the table on any nite except the one that was "open seating" - the nite we were in Santorini. We always think about going to the specialty restaurant, but in the end decide against it - the food in the dining room is definately very good - why pay more? But I must admit I did miss some of my usual European vacation foods - as good as the food was, it was not the same as what we usually eat on the land in Italy, France or Spain.
Our shipboard activities are limited! We like to sun, I usually walk several miles on the track, my daughter went to the gym...we do not go for the entertainment so I have no comments on the shows. We went to Karaoke one night and it was pitiful, but maybe everyone was tuckered out from the land excursions. The passengers were definitley older than on a Carribean cruise. Very few my daughters age - except a few honeymoon couples. But I must say, even though the crowd was a bit older, they loved to dance! The rendezvous lounge was always buzzing before dinner. I think they had a guest professor on board our trip providing some musical entertainment and maybe lectures. They also had an art historian that gave talks on Italian and Spanish art on sea days - I very much enjoyed those!
Ports - we flew in one nite eary to Barcelona, stayed on a hotel right on Las Ramblas. I love Barcelona, would have loved to stay longer! If you have never been to Barcelona before, it would be good to do the Hop on - Hop off bus...it will cover most of the highlights of this amazing city. Villefrance - we walked around the city and out towards Cap Ferrat as we have stayed in Nice and toured the general area before. Nice beach in Villefrance....had a wonderful scallop risotto in Cosmos reaturant near the waterfront in the old city. Livorno - we bought the ship's transfers here....waste of money. Didn't take you to the train station. We ended up getting a taxi at the port to go directly to the train. We did a trip on our own to Lucca where we rented bikes and explored the ramparts....great day! Cittavecchi - again bought the ships transfers. Here the taxis could not come to the ship (that I could tell) but maybe here was a free shuttle bus. It was way too long to walk in tho. It was very confusing and frustrating to me the different port situations. The ship did not always give clear and helpful instructions on how to do the ports on your own. If you don't plan to do ship excursions try to find out ahead of time (by posting on the boards I guess) about how to get from the dock to a point where you can do your own thing. Several of the docks were a long ways and in very pedestrian unfriendly areas from where you needed to be). Anyway at this port we went into Rome on our own as we have been there and done the main tourist things previously. But if you have not this is definitely a place to buy a ship excursion if you want to maximize your time on the land.
Naples - WOW - I knew Naples was chaotic as we have come thru it before on the way to Capri. I planned to go to the Archeological museum on my own and then do a "Rick Steve's walk" around the city. None of the taxis at the dock would take me to the museum - wanted to score full day trips to Pompeii! I did eventually get one across the street - got to the museum - they would not sell me a ticket without correct change! Eventually got my bill changed by buying a phone card and went to the museum which I ended up enjoying a lot. Also stopped by a local grocery store to restock my in room wine bar - the store was as chaotic and crowded as the rest of the city! The Amalfi coast is much more enjoyable than the city - do yourself a favor and splurge on a car and driver for this shore excursion.
Santorini - took a taxi to Kalmata (something like that!) beach. This was another great day! Beach is black pebbles - tough on the feet but a great place to sun worship. And here is the best part....there were very nice chaise lounges and umbrellas for FREE FREE FREE. In France we have had to pay 15 Euros each for similar set ups, so we were happy to have a value day on the beach. Ate at a beachside restaurant - the view was better than the food (I was looking forward to my Greek tasties) but the wine was cheap and pleasant so overall the day was a winner.
Athens - I had gotten info from the internet as to how to get from the port to the city but it didn't work for me. First of all it was VERY HOT at 10am. I exited the boat thru a confusing complex crowded with many people heading to the Greek ferries to be met by an aggressive swarm of taxi drivers. I attempted to find the metro, but again the area was very pedestrian unfriendly. I headed back to the boat! That evening our table mates told us they had taken a taxi to town (25 Euros) and the metro back. The young woman said the walk from the metro to the boat was a "deathmarch" - fairly long and very hot. Well, I'll see Athens another time!
Dubrovnik - WOW - drop dead gorgeous. I would love to return to this city and spend some leisurely time there and along the coast. We did not get any of the local currency - had our credit card and Euros - however to walk the walls you need the local money. Oh well...next time. Went to lunch at a restuarant suggested by a shopowner - mostly locals and some crew from the ship there. I decided I wanted sea food - so I ordered a grilled fish. It came on a plate with head, tail, bone in......I looked expectantly at the waiter, then I realized I AM NOT ON THE SHIP!!! I did manage to debone and enjoy it but they sure do spoil you onboard, don't they?
Venice - did not purchase the ship's shuttle tickets, but it was a bit of a walk to Piazza Romale. We wanted to walk to locate our hotel when we were not dragging our bags. The shuttle goes to St. Marks. Venice was VERY crowded - try to get away from the crowds after you have seen St. Marks. There are nice places to eat on the Zattarere where you can watch a lot of the boats buzzing by and be away from the throngs. I must admit the ship sailing into Venice was great (tho I know these big ships must be part of the high water problem!!) They play opera as the ship sails in - I started crying - it was just such a LIFE IS GREAT moment! My daughter was apalled! The next day when we disembarked, lo and behold there was a free shuttle bus to Piazza Romale where you can connect to a bus that takes you to the airport. We stayed an extra night in Venice - it is so amazing!
I am weary of this report! To summarize - we enjoyed this trip very much but I missed being on the land in Europe. It was great to just unpack one time and visit so many great places, and the access in from the ports was frustrating at times. If you spend the money for the ship excursions it would make it a lot less hassel in most of the ports. The vacation was just a little too much on the boat for me - tho don't get me wrong I like the ship. Perhaps the food quality has gone down a bit but it is still good. My daughter loves the sushi, I like the salmon in the aquaspa. The buffet, pasta, grill options for lunch were not always fabulous, but there were always tastey morsels to be found. One day there was some grilled shrimp that were great! The service and crew were wonderful (that is one aspect that wins it over the land in Europe where at times the service is bit surly or unfriendly!) I wish Celebrity spent a few bucks on fresh flowers - the artifical arrangements looked tired. Feel free to email me any questions you might have. This is a great itinerary - if this is your first trip to Europe it will give you many ideas of where you want to go in the future and spend more time on the land! Bon voyage! SueC12
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