This was the second year in a row that my wife and I chose a summer cruise in Europe. We wanted some beaches this year, and Celebrity had the best itinerary for us. In particular the fact that Venice was the start point was the top selling point
We flew into Venice on Thursday overnight into Friday and spent two glorious days at the Bosco Venezia. As advertised it was close to the main sites without being too crowded. I was surprised by the fact that the gondolas were so cheesy (our gondolier rudely informed us that they only sing in the movies and he seemed disinterested otherwise). Nevertheless it was a beautiful city with much to offer.
We embarked on Sunday. You must definitely use a water taxi to the port, as it was extremely easy and convenient. Embarkation was excellent , and the view leaving Venice was awesome.
As far as the ship was concerned, it was somewhat lesser than Royal Carribean in two areas. One was the lack of friendliness in the room stewards. We have always made friends with the stewards on prior RC sailings, but the steward was either very shy or not interested in interacting. The other issue was the constant badgering for jewelry sales almost everywhere you went. We also thought the $500 watch giveaway was fixed, as the person who picked the name picked her own relative.
There were many pluses as well. Two of the best shows I have ever seen on land or sea were the magician Gary Allan and the twisted pianist John Courtnay. They also had a comedian in the midnight show who used to open for George Carlin. In particular the activities manager Maria worked so hard and was the best I have seen at her particular job. We also had an inside cabin that was quite spacious and well designed in every way. The food was top notch and the buffet was well above average. The solarium was pleasant and there were many fine amenities throughout the ship.
We had four ports and only did one tour, that in Ephesus Turkey. The ruins were a sight to behold and quite incredible. If the tour had ended there, it would have been five stars. Unfortunately, the tour continued at a "theme park" that was merely an excuse to sell the tour operator's crap. We bagged out of the carpet making demonstration at the end, and we were told by others it was also used to peddle souvenirs.
Mykonos and Corfu were both excellent. We took a taxi to Paradise Beach in Mykonos, but we had to leave before the party started. We rented a car in Corfu and drove to two beaches on the other side of the island. They were world class. Dubrovnik was a nice little port town with beautiful views and easy walks. I strongly recommend not taking any beach tours as you can save a lot of money doing it yourself.
We disembarked in Venice and the transition was seamless. We are very glad we chose this cruise.