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Millennium - Penthouse Suite Mediterranean Review As promised, here is the review of our Millennium 12 night cruise from Venice to Barcelona in Penthouse Suite 6148 which embarked on 26th May. These are my/our personal thoughts and opinions and any criticisms made have absolutely no bearing on the overall experience; I have however tried to be as honest as possible regarding Millennium and the cruise in general We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this cruise and would not hesitate to book either Millennium or the PH Suite again. It is the most wonderful itinerary, which is sure to be an immense pleasure to anyone who loves cruising. I know the cultured amongst you will be aghast that there is no mention of visits to museums, famous monuments, sights etc. but for those of you that enjoy shopping, eating and not using public transport, then this is the review for you! Venice The cruise embarked at Venice and we decided to stay 2 nights prior to embarkation. We flew from London Heathrow direct to Venice on BMI. We arranged a private transfer from the airport through the Concierge at our hotel. At ¬130 it was quite expensive however we were pleasantly surprised at the service. We were met at the airport terminal by a chauffeured Mercedes which took us on a 20 minute drive to the main Venice car terminus. From here a private water taxi was waiting and took us directly to our hotel. When we arrived the weather was horrendous with torrential rain, however by booking the private transfer we were able to bypass everyone queuing in the rain. We were in our hotel room 90 minutes after landing, which is good going by anyones standards. We stayed at the Duodo Palace Hotel, which is very conveniently located just a 10 minute walk from San Marco and the Rialto Bridge. This is a small (38 bedrooms) comfortable, 600 year old former palace. The bedroom walls are adorned with Venetian fabrics and frescoed ceilings which are quite amazing. We booked a superior room which included breakfast. The staff were extremely gracious and made our stay very enjoyable. The first evening we ate in a restaurant that had been recommended  the Aqua Pazza  whilst the food was quite good, we would not recommend it. Over 90% of the diners were English speaking, however the menu was entirely in Italian. When asked the maitre-d was extremely irritated at having to translate and we ended up just having a pizza and sea bass, simply because we dare not ask for anything else to be translated. Nice food but the attitude of the staff spoilt the evening. The next morning we walked to the Rialto Bridge and explored the local market and shops. There is a very interesting fish market which takes place each morning between 7 am  12 noon on the opposite side of the canal. Whilst we had been adamant in advance that we were not going to hire a gondolier, we changed our minds and decided that we simply had to  it was ¬80 for a 40 minutes ride for the 2 of us. We actually thoroughly enjoyed the experience as you see parts of Venice that you simply cannot see on foot. We visited San Marco where I purchased some Murano glass beads  very expensive and I would recommend that you look elsewhere first We also bought some bird seed to feed the pigeons  quite an experience but dont do it if you are in the least way scared of birds. They really flock around you to get at the food. In the evening we went back to San Marco and decided to sit and have a drink whilst listening to the live music. However they add an additional charge of ¬4.50 per person just to listen to the music, which we considered outrageous considering they were charging ¬18.50 for a gin and tonic. The second evening we ate at Trattoria Alla Madonna which is located down a small side street about 100 yards from the Rialto Bridge. Reservations are a must as the place was full even at 7.30 pm. The meal was extremely good, our only complaint came at the end of the meal. Service was added to the bill of 15%, however the wait staff expected an additional tip on top of this. The waiter was very clearly annoyed when we only paid 15%, but we have always understood this percentage to be for service which includes the waiter. Embarkation We again arranged for a private water taxi to take us to the cruise terminal, which cost ¬70. We were collected from our hotel at 10.30 for the 20 minute sail to the terminal. It is a wonderful way to start your cruise and a real must as far as we are concerned for arriving at the cruise terminal in Venice. Our luggage was taken off us at the quay-side and we had literally a 200 yard walk to check-in Check-in was already open and we went directly to the Penthouse/Royal Suite check-in deck. I had already completely the online check-in documentation so this only took a few minutes. We were though surprised that this desk was being manned by a trainee who had to be shown every process. We were not greeted in any way and were not escorted onboard as has been reported previously on here. I was slightly disappointed at the initial reception we received, which really was non-existent. However, we were onboard for 11.30 and following lunch our suite was ready for 1.00 pm. Our luggage was delivered shortly after. Cruise Critics Party We arranged with Celebrity that the Cruise Critic party would be held in our suite as we set sail from Venice on the second evening. They set up a bar on the veranda and it was wonderful to meet everyone we had been talking to for all these months. The Ship Millennium is a wonderful ship and we would not hesitate to sail on her again. That said, some external areas are showing her age, particularly the pool area on deck 10 which was quite grubby in parts. The public areas such as the theatre, restaurants, bars etc. are in fabulous condition with new carpets & furnishings. There are minor areas showing wear and tear but they make no difference to the overall experience. It would be impossible to keep her looking brand new when you consider how many guests pass through. Penthouse Suite Firstly, this is truly a magnificent experience and one which we would love to repeat at some point in the future. During our first afternoon we were visited by our Butler, Ram Iver, the Assistant Head Housekeeper and the Head Housekeeper. A complementary bottle of champagne was on ice for us. Ram had 7 other suites to look after, but he truly made us feel like we were his only guests. Nothing we asked for was a problem and he went out of his way to help us whenever he could as far as anticipating what our requirements would be. If you are lucky enough to have Ram as your Butler on any sailing, he will certainly look after you well. We were served afternoon tea in our suite at approximately 3.30 pm each day by Ram, he would bring a huge trolley laden with the most delicious pastries and sandwiches from which we could choose. Obviously a selection of what was available in the buffet area. At 5.00 pm we were served canapes each day. Ram made us up two separate plates each day, as DH adores shellfish but I am allergic. We had breakfast served in our suite every morning. On the days where the weather was good we ate at the outside table which was a wonderful start to the day. There were several beautiful flower arrangements in the suite, these were not changed throughout the cruise, but quite honestly, they did not need to be and still looked reasonably fresh at the end of the cruise. Foyer  the foyer is absolutely beautiful with gorgeous mosaic tiles, there is a security camera for the exterior door. Lounge/Dining Room  the dining table seats 10 for a sit down dinner, this is however probably the maximum it could seat. Furnishings were very comfortable, although some were showing signs of wear. The wood paneling had also obviously suffered from water damage at some point. The entertainment system comprised of a plasma TV, surround sound, DVD and VCR players. The DVD play is obviously US format and we could not therefore bring any films from home. There are no DVDs available onboard, and although there is a video library, most of the films were quite old. Satellite is available but the channels onboard are fairly limited. The baby grand piano was quite fun, however even at the lowest volume it was too loud to talk and we felt it could be quite intrusive for the next door cabin. There was one self-playing CD provided. Computer laptop and printer provided in the lounge  the rate is the same as the internet cafe at 75c per minute. Butler's Pantry - American style fridge/freezer, with built in water/ice dispenser. Microwave and lots of glass wear etc. 2 bottles of complementary alcohol were provided, which Ram changed for gin and peach schnapps. Top shelf of fridge was stocked with soda and tonic water which were complementary however all other drinks in the fridge were charged as per a normal mini bar. We did however request large bottles of diet coke and these were provided free of charge. Each day a new plate of fresh fruit and cheeses were put into the fridge for our consumption. Guest Bathroom  Quite large, nicely presented, includes additional shower Master Bedroom  very comfortable bed with the best cotton sheets I have ever experienced. We were quite happy with the feather pillows provided therefore we did not request the pillow menu. There is a huge amount of closet space, which even I couldnt fill ! We were not offered any assistance with the unpacking/packing  I didnt really want any help anyway, although it is stated on Celebritys website as a perk of the PS. There is a plasma TV in the bedroom but no DVD. One word of warning  maintenance use the stairwell on the deck to access the window cleaning equipment for the Metropolitan restaurant. The first morning, I opened the bedroom curtains and saw someone walking by  they did however only use this access twice during the cruise to our knowledge. Bathroom  Gorgeous large bathroom, although showing some signs of wear and tear but nothing major. Towels were not particularly soft or large as reported on here, but there were plenty of them. The shower was wonderful, very high pressure and hot. Jacuzzi was rather temperamental and did keep switching off stating it had a malfunction, it was nice though to sit in on a cloudy afternoon, there is a TV on the wall by the Jacuzzi but we did not use it. Dressing Area  Again lots of closet space with a large dressing table  the lighting is quite bad though in here for doing make-up etc. There is a small 4 digit safe located in one of the closets. Balcony  This is where the PS really comes into its own and makes the whole experience so worthwhile  words really cannot describe how wonderful this area is. There is a variety of comfortable furniture, dining table & outdoor Jacuzzi. On a hot day we simply ran the Jacuzzi full of cold water and just jumped in there when we needed to cool off from the sun. Metropolitan Restaurant We were seated on a table of 10 at second seating and had some extremely good evenings in the restaurant. We were extremely fortunate to have excellent table mates, now friends. Our waiter was very good and the food was to Celebritys normal high standard. Olympic Restaurant Firstly, this restaurant is an absolute must, even if it is only the once, and it is well worth the additional $30 pp. They also offer a Menu Exceptional which is a 6 course meal (you choose from the normal menu) however different fine wines are served with each course. The additional fee for this is $27.95 pp on top of the $30. We had the great pleasure of dining at Michel Rouxs restaurant The Waterside Inn a few weeks prior and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the meal in the Olympic compared very favourably in terms of food and service. Casual Dining Buffet Generally the food was quite good, but I would not say it was fantastic. I do though appreciate how hard it must be to keep so much food fresh and still tasty. The daily roasts though were dry and tough. Pool Grill I only used this once as I really fancied a burger and fries for lunch  they were awesome and I am sure the kids would flock to here. Spa/Salon This is the only area that I really felt I could complain about. I found the reception staff (at least those few I dealt with) to be rude and abrasive. After two very bad experiences with the Spa Reception staff, I actually cancelled all the treatments I had booked for the entire cruise. I also complained to the Main Reception but never heard anything back from anyone. Entertainment The only show we attended was Bob Arno Pickpocket  this was wonderfully entertaining but also an enlightening show. As well as the usual entertainment, he tried to explain to the audience how pick-pockets actually work, going as far as showing a film of thieves in action in major cities throughout the world. The main reason we did not see any more shows was due to the time. The shows for late seating were at 11pm, by which time we were ready to call it a night. We really would much prefer to be able to see a show and have a drink before dinner. Tipping When charging drinks etc onboard an additional line before the total amount payable has now been added which indicates it is for an additional tip for outstanding service. Personally we felt that this is a bit much when a service charge of 15% is already levied. We had pre-paid our tips, however we did pay several individuals, such as our butler and stateroom attendant, a far greater amount as they had given us exemplary service. Photography As part of a suite package you have included a private portrait sitting, in a location of your choosing. We decided to have a session with Black Label Photography, this is a new service, which is clearly being run as a concession and not by Celebrity themselves. Apparently the normal fee for this sitting is $50, however, I suspect that this would be refunded against any purchase. The photo session itself was very enjoyable and lasted almost an hour. We were invited back the following evening to view the photos on a wide-screen TV in the form of a slide show, with over 50 images to choose from. The photos are however extremely expensive with the cheapest package being $495. They will not give you the prices until after the viewing and they give a very hard sell, assuming that you will definitely purchase. We really, really did not want to spend so much money on photographs, however, we absolutely loved them and after much deliberation decided to purchase the cheapest package, which included six 8x10 prints and one 11 x 14. These are printed in the US onto high quality photocard and sent to your home address by FedEx within approximately 6 weeks. My advice  dont do the sitting unless you want some new photographs  otherwise you will love the result but spend a fortune! Weather It was fairly typical for Europe in late Spring. The majority of days were good, with temperatures rising to the late 70s / low 80s. We did however have about 3/4 days which were quite cool with some quite heavy rains which lasted more or less all day. We were lucky with the sea conditions  most of the time you could hardly tell we were moving. This seems fairly typical for the Med at this time of year. Venice Continued  first night casual, second informal A shuttle bus was still available to San Marco and the note from Celebrity Today states A shuttle service will be available from the pier. Tickets can be purchased on the pier at a price of $8.00 for a day ticket. As we had already seen much of Venice, we spent the first 24 hours just enjoying our suite. As we did not sail until the next day, and many passengers had not yet joined the ship, open seating was observed in the main dining room the first night. The safety drill was held at 4.30pm on the 2nd evening, just before we set sail. Dubrovnik  Tender  Formal There were three other ships in port that day which led to operational difficulties for the tenders. The Port Authority would only allow one tender per ship, which meant some people had to wait 3 hours for a tender. We were lucky as we got a priority tender pass and were able to get straight onto the next tender. Dubrovnik is a beautiful place, however due to the 3 cruise ships, it was extremely busy with tourists. All the shops accepted Euros, however if you want to go walk the city walls you must pay in the local currency of Kuna. That evening we were invited to the Captains Table for dinner. We felt extremely honoured as the Captain only personally dines in the Metropolitan once per cruise and all other dinners are hosted by another officer of the ship. It was a wonderful opportunity and I felt even more privileged as I was seated to the Captains right during dinner. Interestingly, the other 4 couples were all celebrating a special wedding anniversary and this was why they were invited. We had a most wonderful evening and were given a complementary photograph of the evening. Santorini  Tender  Casual Santorini is probably the most beautiful of all the Greek islands we have visited. The town itself is situated on a hill-top overlooking the sea. The only access is by cable car, donkey or on foot. We chose the cable car, which even if you are afraid of heights, literally took 2 minutes. The views are spectacular. The narrow cobbled streets are lined with the usual tourist shops, jewelers, restaurants etc. but it is a very pretty town. Comfortable non-slip shoes are a must as the cobbles are very smooth and you could easily slip. A camera is essential as the views from the top are amazing. DH walked back down so that he could take some more photographs. The walk down only took him approximately 20 minutes, however he said even his knees were aching from all the steps. One relatively young lady on the tender had started to walk up to the town as she was afraid of the cable car and the donkeys. She said after about 1/6th of the way she gave up and turned around. Walking up should only be contemplated if you are extremely fit. As we did not sail until 11pm open seating took place again in the Metropolitan dining room, with a Greek buffet being served on deck 10, by the pool, which is what we opted for. The buffet was excellent. Athens  Docked  Informal We are visiting Athens in July and we therefore decided to just go into the city centre to do some shopping at Plaka. We decided to take a taxi, however the majority of drivers outside the terminal were only interested in selling a tour for the day, or waiting until you finish shopping at ¬30 per hour. We found a taxi who would take us for ¬30 however for the first time ever (to our knowledge!), we were completely ripped off. DH handed the driver a ¬50 note at the end of the journey asking if he had change, the driver responded by saying but the fare is ¬30 and he was holding a ¬10 note. We assumed that we had incorrectly given him a wrong note and gave him an additional ¬20. When he had sped off, DH checked his wallet and realised he had originally given him a ¬50 note. Therefore the journey actually cost us ¬70 !!! We all think that we would not fall for something so simple, but it was done so smoothly we did not realise until it was took late. We also think that if we had realised in time and challenged him, he could have turned nasty and we were in a small deserted street by this time. To make matters worse, the driver had dropped us a good 30 minutes walk from Plaka. We wandered round the local shops, however we were very disappointed and felt they were over priced. We were told by the taxi drivers at the terminal that it would be impossible to get a taxi back and even if we did it would cost ¬80. However we easily hailed a cabin within 5 minutes and the cost back was ¬25. At Sea - Formal Naples  Dock  Casual Everyone warned us that you have to be extremely vigilant in Naples as it is the pick-pocket capital of the world. Hence we removed all our jewelery and took nothing of value with us. We decided to go shopping to Via Toledo, which is the main shopping district. We took a taxi from the port which cost ¬10. A word of warning, the taxi drivers all tried to tell us the shops were closed and we should take a tour instead  guess what, they were all open, albeit not until 11am. We enjoyed a couple of hours of very good and reasonable shopping and decided to walk back to the ship, which although involved taking our lives in our hands crossing the road, only took approximately 20 minutes. We could of course have walked there in the morning if we had realised it was so close. That evening we hosted a private dinner party in our suite for our table mates. Our butler worked tirelessly all day to ensure that we had a superb evening. Ram normally went off duty at 9pm, however he stayed until almost midnight. Even then it was only at my insistence that he clear the table so he could retire for the night  bear in mind he was back on at 6am the next day. Civitavecchia  docked  Casual As we are visiting Rome next month we again decided to have a quiet day and explore Civitavecchia. The cost of the shuttle bus from the ship to the pier entrance was $8 pp for a day pass. The main street of Corso Centocelle is very pretty, although there is not much to see and shopping is very limited and expensive. Worth a stroll out for a couple of hours. I suspect it could be busier with more happening later in the season. After lunch, the wind was quite brisk, so we decided that the pool area on deck 10 would be more sheltered than our balcony. A very nice touch was that blankets were provided as well as towels (yes, it was that cold!) Livorno  docked  Informal/Formal We had booked Florence on your Own with Celebrity, which is simply a coach ride to and from Florence. You can of course use public transport, however Florence is a good 90 minute drive from the port and the Italians do have a habit of going on strike at no notice! I took the attitude that if we were on a ships excursion which was late back they wouldnt leave without us, so it was worth paying the extra few bucks for peace of mind. On route to Florence the coach stopped at a leather factory outlet/manufacturer. Whilst some of the goods were quite nice, I would not recommend buying from there as you will find much better quality at a better price in Florence itself. We were left in Florence and had approximately 5 hours on our own. It is a beautiful town, very easy to navigate and easily done on foot. As it was a public holiday that weekend, and also a Sunday, not all the shops were open, however the vast majority had opened by 12 noon. San Lorenzo market is quite good, with most of the stall holders having shops immediately behind the stall. We ended up buying a leather jacket each and a fur coat for me. Do shop around though if you are interested in leather as quality varies considerably. You can get a leather jacket for ¬80, but to get a beautiful soft calves leather jacket expect to pay closer to ¬300. Before we left Florence the coach drove around the outskirts of the city where we had some wonderful views and passed some incredible properties. That evening was informal/formal however we were so exhausted we decided to stay in our suite for dinner. Ram brought us that evenings menu from the Metropolitan and we were able to request dinner at whatever time we required. Villefranche  Tender  Casual We have spent several weeks in this area of France and had not intended to go ashore, however the weather was not great, so we decided to go into Nice. A taxi from the pier was ¬35 which is quite expensive as it is only a 10-15 minute drive, this does however seem to be the going rate. The one place you really should visit is Eze, it is a beautiful small town between Nice and Monaco. The walk to the top of the old town is quite a hike but the views from the top are spectacular. Monaco is also well worth a visit, completely different from any other place in the Med and about the only place in the world where every other car is either a Ferrari or Porsche. Barcelona We arrived in Barcelona at 2pm the day before the cruise ended. Having visited Barcelona extensively in the past, we decided to enjoy our last day onboard and not leave the ship. Disembarkation We were able to leave the ship at whatever time we wished without having to go to the Theatre and wait for our number to be called. We left our suite at 7.45 (almost in tears!) and were in our taxi on the way to the airport by 8.10. We used Angelina Garcia angietaxi33@yahoo.com and the cost was ¬40 from the port to the airport. We had booked a return flight with Easyjet from Barcelona to London Luton, which departed at 10.55 am, ideal time for leaving this cruise. We had a marvellous cruise and would love to be able to repeat the experience. Hope I havent bored everyone too much and please feel free to ask any questions

Millennium - Western Mediterranean

Celebrity Millennium Cruise Review by cavkc

Trip Details
Millennium - Penthouse Suite Mediterranean Review
As promised, here is the review of our Millennium 12 night cruise from Venice to Barcelona in Penthouse Suite 6148 which embarked on 26th May. These are my/our personal thoughts and opinions and any criticisms made have absolutely no bearing on the overall experience; I have however tried to be as honest as possible regarding Millennium and the cruise in general
We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this cruise and would not hesitate to book either Millennium or the PH Suite again. It is the most wonderful itinerary, which is sure to be an immense pleasure to anyone who loves cruising. I know the cultured amongst you will be aghast that there is no mention of visits to museums, famous monuments, sights etc. but for those of you that enjoy shopping, eating and not using public transport, then this is the review for you!
Venice
The cruise embarked at Venice and we decided to stay 2 nights prior to embarkation. We flew from London Heathrow direct to Venice on BMI.
We arranged a private transfer from the airport through the Concierge at our hotel. At ¬130 it was quite expensive however we were pleasantly surprised at the service. We were met at the airport terminal by a chauffeured Mercedes which took us on a 20 minute drive to the main Venice car terminus. From here a private water taxi was waiting and took us directly to our hotel. When we arrived the weather was horrendous with torrential rain, however by booking the private transfer we were able to bypass everyone queuing in the rain. We were in our hotel room 90 minutes after landing, which is good going by anyones standards.
We stayed at the Duodo Palace Hotel, which is very conveniently located just a 10 minute walk from San Marco and the Rialto Bridge. This is a small (38 bedrooms) comfortable, 600 year old former palace. The bedroom walls are adorned with Venetian fabrics and frescoed ceilings which are quite amazing. We booked a superior room which included breakfast. The staff were extremely gracious and made our stay very enjoyable.
The first evening we ate in a restaurant that had been recommended  the Aqua Pazza  whilst the food was quite good, we would not recommend it. Over 90% of the diners were English speaking, however the menu was entirely in Italian. When asked the maitre-d was extremely irritated at having to translate and we ended up just having a pizza and sea bass, simply because we dare not ask for anything else to be translated. Nice food but the attitude of the staff spoilt the evening.
The next morning we walked to the Rialto Bridge and explored the local market and shops. There is a very interesting fish market which takes place each morning between 7 am  12 noon on the opposite side of the canal.
Whilst we had been adamant in advance that we were not going to hire a gondolier, we changed our minds and decided that we simply had to  it was ¬80 for a 40 minutes ride for the 2 of us. We actually thoroughly enjoyed the experience as you see parts of Venice that you simply cannot see on foot.
We visited San Marco where I purchased some Murano glass beads  very expensive and I would recommend that you look elsewhere first
We also bought some bird seed to feed the pigeons  quite an experience but dont do it if you are in the least way scared of birds. They really flock around you to get at the food.
In the evening we went back to San Marco and decided to sit and have a drink whilst listening to the live music. However they add an additional charge of ¬4.50 per person just to listen to the music, which we considered outrageous considering they were charging ¬18.50 for a gin and tonic.
The second evening we ate at Trattoria Alla Madonna which is located down a small side street about 100 yards from the Rialto Bridge. Reservations are a must as the place was full even at 7.30 pm. The meal was extremely good, our only complaint came at the end of the meal. Service was added to the bill of 15%, however the wait staff expected an additional tip on top of this. The waiter was very clearly annoyed when we only paid 15%, but we have always understood this percentage to be for service which includes the waiter.
Embarkation
We again arranged for a private water taxi to take us to the cruise terminal, which cost ¬70. We were collected from our hotel at 10.30 for the 20 minute sail to the terminal. It is a wonderful way to start your cruise and a real must as far as we are concerned for arriving at the cruise terminal in Venice. Our luggage was taken off us at the quay-side and we had literally a 200 yard walk to check-in
Check-in was already open and we went directly to the Penthouse/Royal Suite check-in deck. I had already completely the online check-in documentation so this only took a few minutes. We were though surprised that this desk was being manned by a trainee who had to be shown every process. We were not greeted in any way and were not escorted onboard as has been reported previously on here. I was slightly disappointed at the initial reception we received, which really was non-existent.
However, we were onboard for 11.30 and following lunch our suite was ready for 1.00 pm. Our luggage was delivered shortly after.
Cruise Critics Party
We arranged with Celebrity that the Cruise Critic party would be held in our suite as we set sail from Venice on the second evening. They set up a bar on the veranda and it was wonderful to meet everyone we had been talking to for all these months. The Ship
Millennium is a wonderful ship and we would not hesitate to sail on her again. That said, some external areas are showing her age, particularly the pool area on deck 10 which was quite grubby in parts.
The public areas such as the theatre, restaurants, bars etc. are in fabulous condition with new carpets & furnishings.
There are minor areas showing wear and tear but they make no difference to the overall experience. It would be impossible to keep her looking brand new when you consider how many guests pass through.
Penthouse Suite
Firstly, this is truly a magnificent experience and one which we would love to repeat at some point in the future.
During our first afternoon we were visited by our Butler, Ram Iver, the Assistant Head Housekeeper and the Head Housekeeper. A complementary bottle of champagne was on ice for us.
Ram had 7 other suites to look after, but he truly made us feel like we were his only guests. Nothing we asked for was a problem and he went out of his way to help us whenever he could as far as anticipating what our requirements would be. If you are lucky enough to have Ram as your Butler on any sailing, he will certainly look after you well.
We were served afternoon tea in our suite at approximately 3.30 pm each day by Ram, he would bring a huge trolley laden with the most delicious pastries and sandwiches from which we could choose. Obviously a selection of what was available in the buffet area.
At 5.00 pm we were served canapes each day. Ram made us up two separate plates each day, as DH adores shellfish but I am allergic.
We had breakfast served in our suite every morning. On the days where the weather was good we ate at the outside table which was a wonderful start to the day.
There were several beautiful flower arrangements in the suite, these were not changed throughout the cruise, but quite honestly, they did not need to be and still looked reasonably fresh at the end of the cruise.
Foyer  the foyer is absolutely beautiful with gorgeous mosaic tiles, there is a security camera for the exterior door.
Lounge/Dining Room  the dining table seats 10 for a sit down dinner, this is however probably the maximum it could seat. Furnishings were very comfortable, although some were showing signs of wear. The wood paneling had also obviously suffered from water damage at some point.
The entertainment system comprised of a plasma TV, surround sound, DVD and VCR players. The DVD play is obviously US format and we could not therefore bring any films from home. There are no DVDs available onboard, and although there is a video library, most of the films were quite old. Satellite is available but the channels onboard are fairly limited.
The baby grand piano was quite fun, however even at the lowest volume it was too loud to talk and we felt it could be quite intrusive for the next door cabin. There was one self-playing CD provided.
Computer laptop and printer provided in the lounge  the rate is the same as the internet cafe at 75c per minute.
Butler's Pantry - American style fridge/freezer, with built in water/ice dispenser. Microwave and lots of glass wear etc. 2 bottles of complementary alcohol were provided, which Ram changed for gin and peach schnapps. Top shelf of fridge was stocked with soda and tonic water which were complementary however all other drinks in the fridge were charged as per a normal mini bar. We did however request large bottles of diet coke and these were provided free of charge. Each day a new plate of fresh fruit and cheeses were put into the fridge for our consumption.
Guest Bathroom  Quite large, nicely presented, includes additional shower
Master Bedroom  very comfortable bed with the best cotton sheets I have ever experienced. We were quite happy with the feather pillows provided therefore we did not request the pillow menu. There is a huge amount of closet space, which even I couldnt fill !
We were not offered any assistance with the unpacking/packing  I didnt really want any help anyway, although it is stated on Celebritys website as a perk of the PS.
There is a plasma TV in the bedroom but no DVD.
One word of warning  maintenance use the stairwell on the deck to access the window cleaning equipment for the Metropolitan restaurant. The first morning, I opened the bedroom curtains and saw someone walking by  they did however only use this access twice during the cruise to our knowledge.
Bathroom  Gorgeous large bathroom, although showing some signs of wear and tear but nothing major. Towels were not particularly soft or large as reported on here, but there were plenty of them. The shower was wonderful, very high pressure and hot. Jacuzzi was rather temperamental and did keep switching off stating it had a malfunction, it was nice though to sit in on a cloudy afternoon, there is a TV on the wall by the Jacuzzi but we did not use it.
Dressing Area  Again lots of closet space with a large dressing table  the lighting is quite bad though in here for doing make-up etc. There is a small 4 digit safe located in one of the closets.
Balcony  This is where the PS really comes into its own and makes the whole experience so worthwhile  words really cannot describe how wonderful this area is. There is a variety of comfortable furniture, dining table & outdoor Jacuzzi. On a hot day we simply ran the Jacuzzi full of cold water and just jumped in there when we needed to cool off from the sun.
Metropolitan Restaurant
We were seated on a table of 10 at second seating and had some extremely good evenings in the restaurant. We were extremely fortunate to have excellent table mates, now friends. Our waiter was very good and the food was to Celebritys normal high standard.
Olympic Restaurant
Firstly, this restaurant is an absolute must, even if it is only the once, and it is well worth the additional $30 pp. They also offer a Menu Exceptional which is a 6 course meal (you choose from the normal menu) however different fine wines are served with each course. The additional fee for this is $27.95 pp on top of the $30.
We had the great pleasure of dining at Michel Rouxs restaurant The Waterside Inn a few weeks prior and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the meal in the Olympic compared very favourably in terms of food and service.
Casual Dining Buffet
Generally the food was quite good, but I would not say it was fantastic. I do though appreciate how hard it must be to keep so much food fresh and still tasty. The daily roasts though were dry and tough.
Pool Grill
I only used this once as I really fancied a burger and fries for lunch  they were awesome and I am sure the kids would flock to here.
Spa/Salon
This is the only area that I really felt I could complain about. I found the reception staff (at least those few I dealt with) to be rude and abrasive.
After two very bad experiences with the Spa Reception staff, I actually cancelled all the treatments I had booked for the entire cruise. I also complained to the Main Reception but never heard anything back from anyone.
Entertainment
The only show we attended was Bob Arno Pickpocket  this was wonderfully entertaining but also an enlightening show. As well as the usual entertainment, he tried to explain to the audience how pick-pockets actually work, going as far as showing a film of thieves in action in major cities throughout the world.
The main reason we did not see any more shows was due to the time. The shows for late seating were at 11pm, by which time we were ready to call it a night. We really would much prefer to be able to see a show and have a drink before dinner.
Tipping
When charging drinks etc onboard an additional line before the total amount payable has now been added which indicates it is for an additional tip for outstanding service. Personally we felt that this is a bit much when a service charge of 15% is already levied.
We had pre-paid our tips, however we did pay several individuals, such as our butler and stateroom attendant, a far greater amount as they had given us exemplary service.
Photography
As part of a suite package you have included a private portrait sitting, in a location of your choosing. We decided to have a session with Black Label Photography, this is a new service, which is clearly being run as a concession and not by Celebrity themselves.
Apparently the normal fee for this sitting is $50, however, I suspect that this would be refunded against any purchase. The photo session itself was very enjoyable and lasted almost an hour. We were invited back the following evening to view the photos on a wide-screen TV in the form of a slide show, with over 50 images to choose from.
The photos are however extremely expensive with the cheapest package being $495. They will not give you the prices until after the viewing and they give a very hard sell, assuming that you will definitely purchase.
We really, really did not want to spend so much money on photographs, however, we absolutely loved them and after much deliberation decided to purchase the cheapest package, which included six 8x10 prints and one 11 x 14. These are printed in the US onto high quality photocard and sent to your home address by FedEx within approximately 6 weeks.
My advice  dont do the sitting unless you want some new photographs  otherwise you will love the result but spend a fortune!
Weather
It was fairly typical for Europe in late Spring. The majority of days were good, with temperatures rising to the late 70s / low 80s. We did however have about 3/4 days which were quite cool with some quite heavy rains which lasted more or less all day.
We were lucky with the sea conditions  most of the time you could hardly tell we were moving. This seems fairly typical for the Med at this time of year. Venice Continued  first night casual, second informal
A shuttle bus was still available to San Marco and the note from Celebrity Today states A shuttle service will be available from the pier. Tickets can be purchased on the pier at a price of $8.00 for a day ticket. As we had already seen much of Venice, we spent the first 24 hours just enjoying our suite.
As we did not sail until the next day, and many passengers had not yet joined the ship, open seating was observed in the main dining room the first night.
The safety drill was held at 4.30pm on the 2nd evening, just before we set sail.
Dubrovnik  Tender  Formal
There were three other ships in port that day which led to operational difficulties for the tenders. The Port Authority would only allow one tender per ship, which meant some people had to wait 3 hours for a tender. We were lucky as we got a priority tender pass and were able to get straight onto the next tender.
Dubrovnik is a beautiful place, however due to the 3 cruise ships, it was extremely busy with tourists. All the shops accepted Euros, however if you want to go walk the city walls you must pay in the local currency of Kuna.
That evening we were invited to the Captains Table for dinner. We felt extremely honoured as the Captain only personally dines in the Metropolitan once per cruise and all other dinners are hosted by another officer of the ship. It was a wonderful opportunity and I felt even more privileged as I was seated to the Captains right during dinner. Interestingly, the other 4 couples were all celebrating a special wedding anniversary and this was why they were invited. We had a most wonderful evening and were given a complementary photograph of the evening.
Santorini  Tender  Casual
Santorini is probably the most beautiful of all the Greek islands we have visited. The town itself is situated on a hill-top overlooking the sea. The only access is by cable car, donkey or on foot. We chose the cable car, which even if you are afraid of heights, literally took 2 minutes. The views are spectacular.
The narrow cobbled streets are lined with the usual tourist shops, jewelers, restaurants etc. but it is a very pretty town. Comfortable non-slip shoes are a must as the cobbles are very smooth and you could easily slip. A camera is essential as the views from the top are amazing.
DH walked back down so that he could take some more photographs. The walk down only took him approximately 20 minutes, however he said even his knees were aching from all the steps. One relatively young lady on the tender had started to walk up to the town as she was afraid of the cable car and the donkeys. She said after about 1/6th of the way she gave up and turned around. Walking up should only be contemplated if you are extremely fit.
As we did not sail until 11pm open seating took place again in the Metropolitan dining room, with a Greek buffet being served on deck 10, by the pool, which is what we opted for. The buffet was excellent.
Athens  Docked  Informal
We are visiting Athens in July and we therefore decided to just go into the city centre to do some shopping at Plaka.
We decided to take a taxi, however the majority of drivers outside the terminal were only interested in selling a tour for the day, or waiting until you finish shopping at ¬30 per hour. We found a taxi who would take us for ¬30 however for the first time ever (to our knowledge!), we were completely ripped off. DH handed the driver a ¬50 note at the end of the journey asking if he had change, the driver responded by saying but the fare is ¬30 and he was holding a ¬10 note. We assumed that we had incorrectly given him a wrong note and gave him an additional ¬20. When he had sped off, DH checked his wallet and realised he had originally given him a ¬50 note. Therefore the journey actually cost us ¬70 !!!
We all think that we would not fall for something so simple, but it was done so smoothly we did not realise until it was took late. We also think that if we had realised in time and challenged him, he could have turned nasty and we were in a small deserted street by this time. To make matters worse, the driver had dropped us a good 30 minutes walk from Plaka.
We wandered round the local shops, however we were very disappointed and felt they were over priced.
We were told by the taxi drivers at the terminal that it would be impossible to get a taxi back and even if we did it would cost ¬80. However we easily hailed a cabin within 5 minutes and the cost back was ¬25.
At Sea - Formal
Naples  Dock  Casual
Everyone warned us that you have to be extremely vigilant in Naples as it is the pick-pocket capital of the world. Hence we removed all our jewelery and took nothing of value with us.
We decided to go shopping to Via Toledo, which is the main shopping district. We took a taxi from the port which cost ¬10. A word of warning, the taxi drivers all tried to tell us the shops were closed and we should take a tour instead  guess what, they were all open, albeit not until 11am.
We enjoyed a couple of hours of very good and reasonable shopping and decided to walk back to the ship, which although involved taking our lives in our hands crossing the road, only took approximately 20 minutes. We could of course have walked there in the morning if we had realised it was so close.
That evening we hosted a private dinner party in our suite for our table mates. Our butler worked tirelessly all day to ensure that we had a superb evening. Ram normally went off duty at 9pm, however he stayed until almost midnight. Even then it was only at my insistence that he clear the table so he could retire for the night  bear in mind he was back on at 6am the next day.
Civitavecchia  docked  Casual
As we are visiting Rome next month we again decided to have a quiet day and explore Civitavecchia. The cost of the shuttle bus from the ship to the pier entrance was $8 pp for a day pass.
The main street of Corso Centocelle is very pretty, although there is not much to see and shopping is very limited and expensive. Worth a stroll out for a couple of hours. I suspect it could be busier with more happening later in the season.
After lunch, the wind was quite brisk, so we decided that the pool area on deck 10 would be more sheltered than our balcony. A very nice touch was that blankets were provided as well as towels (yes, it was that cold!)
Livorno  docked  Informal/Formal
We had booked Florence on your Own with Celebrity, which is simply a coach ride to and from Florence. You can of course use public transport, however Florence is a good 90 minute drive from the port and the Italians do have a habit of going on strike at no notice! I took the attitude that if we were on a ships excursion which was late back they wouldnt leave without us, so it was worth paying the extra few bucks for peace of mind.
On route to Florence the coach stopped at a leather factory outlet/manufacturer. Whilst some of the goods were quite nice, I would not recommend buying from there as you will find much better quality at a better price in Florence itself.
We were left in Florence and had approximately 5 hours on our own. It is a beautiful town, very easy to navigate and easily done on foot. As it was a public holiday that weekend, and also a Sunday, not all the shops were open, however the vast majority had opened by 12 noon.
San Lorenzo market is quite good, with most of the stall holders having shops immediately behind the stall.
We ended up buying a leather jacket each and a fur coat for me. Do shop around though if you are interested in leather as quality varies considerably. You can get a leather jacket for ¬80, but to get a beautiful soft calves leather jacket expect to pay closer to ¬300.
Before we left Florence the coach drove around the outskirts of the city where we had some wonderful views and passed some incredible properties.
That evening was informal/formal however we were so exhausted we decided to stay in our suite for dinner. Ram brought us that evenings menu from the Metropolitan and we were able to request dinner at whatever time we required.
Villefranche  Tender  Casual
We have spent several weeks in this area of France and had not intended to go ashore, however the weather was not great, so we decided to go into Nice. A taxi from the pier was ¬35 which is quite expensive as it is only a 10-15 minute drive, this does however seem to be the going rate.
The one place you really should visit is Eze, it is a beautiful small town between Nice and Monaco. The walk to the top of the old town is quite a hike but the views from the top are spectacular.
Monaco is also well worth a visit, completely different from any other place in the Med and about the only place in the world where every other car is either a Ferrari or Porsche.
Barcelona
We arrived in Barcelona at 2pm the day before the cruise ended. Having visited Barcelona extensively in the past, we decided to enjoy our last day onboard and not leave the ship.
Disembarkation
We were able to leave the ship at whatever time we wished without having to go to the Theatre and wait for our number to be called. We left our suite at 7.45 (almost in tears!) and were in our taxi on the way to the airport by 8.10. We used Angelina Garcia angietaxi33@yahoo.com and the cost was ¬40 from the port to the airport.
We had booked a return flight with Easyjet from Barcelona to London Luton, which departed at 10.55 am, ideal time for leaving this cruise.
We had a marvellous cruise and would love to be able to repeat the experience. Hope I havent bored everyone too much and please feel free to ask any questions
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