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Here is our 2 cents about our cruise on August 25th 2007. I am a 30 something housewife sailing with my 30 something hubby and our 4 year old daughter going from Venice to Barcelona. We booked our own air flying from SFO to London and stayed there a few days and then caught a cheap British Airways flight to Venice. Upon arrival, we took the bus to Venice and then bought a vaparetto pass for 72 hours and went to our hotel. We stayed at Locanda Art Deco. It was a great location for a decent price. Remember that in Europe most places charge you for the 3rd person even if they are a child, no be prepared. Some American chain don't, but then their prices tend to be higher... We spent 3 days in Venice and were busy every moment soaking up the sights and indulging in gelato. I thought 4 days to see Venice would have been perfect, there are too many churches, museums and general ambiance for just a day trip or 2, arrive early and enjoy! It's gorgeous without cars to worry about, your kids will love traveling by boat everywhere. We were very excited to transfer to our cruise portion of our trip. We went to the main vaparetto station and took a free shuttle bus to the ship. Unfortunately, although you normally can board at 1pm due to having a virus issue we weren't able to board so they could spend more time cleaning the ship.Staff asked you fill out a form if you had vomited or had diarrhea in the last few days and if you had, you were not allowed on board. There was one guy who somehow got on board and then was escorted off. Even with these precautions and constant cleaning there must have been many people who got sick during our cruise because they were extremely vigilant about the cleaning and kept using it as a reason why things were closed. Anyway, they provided an icky lunch in a paper bag, and had a free speed shuttle to St. Mark's Square and then had a service to check in small luggage and the closed at 6pm so you had to be back in time. There was a lot of grumbling, but they did try to accommodate people given the circumstance. Once we got on the ship we went to our room 3110, it was the best located room we've ever had, we shared only 1 wall with a neighbor and the other wall was with the purser office area which was always quiet. I honestly couldn't hear any sounds from any of the rooms around us for the whole trip. We were on floor three and we were exactly midship close to the elevators if we needed to go way up, but for dinner just had to walk 1 flight of stairs and walk a bit. I can't say enough about that location. The room was not the cleanest we've ever had, in fact our room steward was the worst one we've had, not sure if they were kept extra busy cleaning the common areas so they had less time to work on individual rooms. Anyway, the linens were nice, shampoo and lotion were available in the huge dispensers in the bathroom as well as q-tips, and cottonballs. I keep thinking that the virus issue affected our trip in many ways, and slanted our experience. None of the Jacuzzis were open the first day, and the library was closed the entire 12 night journey, but the real disappointment was that the kids pool (the only one!) was closed for all 12 nights! Had I known there would be no pool, slides or outside play area I would have seriously considered going on a different cruise, we were in between this one and the Emerald Princess anyway. I asked each day at the kids club and at the purser when the kids pool would open, and I was told, "there aren't enough kids to fill the pool, "it's too cold they won't get in anyway", "due to CDC recommendations and safety reasons they wouldn't be open." After a while I asked the guy in charge of kids club should I even ask anymore and he said no it would be closed for the whole trip. Bummer! It was the same for the outside slide/play area. Luckily somewhere in the middle of the cruise they opened the ball pit. They told me that our sailing was the first with few children so I think if there had been lots of children, they would have made it a priority, I was told everything was open the cruise prior to ours. This was the biggest disappointment of our trip! I disliked the lack of communication. If they truly had one issue why it couldn't be opened then say it, but the front desk staff would give a reason one day and say it should be open soon, then you go back and it's a different reason and check again. That said, the kids club staff was incredible. They were very attentive and kind. My daughter loved going there, there were 40 kids on board who bothered registering for kids club so that isn't very many compared to most. Just FYI you could leave your child 9-noon, 2-5 and 7-10 for free everyday. You could sign up for the other hours if need be for a fee. On sea days you could leave them all day, with the exception of meals. There was no fee 9am-10pm but they don't take the kids for any food. On port days no matter the time you dock they open 9-7pm and they take the kids to eat around noon and also around 5pm. There is a fee from 12-2 and 5-7 on those days. If you went on one of the ship's official excursions they made allowances and let you bring the kids earlier for the same hourly rate to match the hours of the tours. We weren't interested in the cruise tours, but once I explained our situation to Dave, the kids club manager he was able to take our daughter a bit earlier since he already had others coming. It seemed to be more of a favor instead of something they offer. Any extra or after hours were $6 per hour. There was in room private babysitting that you could arrange for a fee, but we did not use it. We opted for early dining at 6:15 and since kids club opened at 7pm it was perfect timing. Dining was a pleasure, we found the service to be excellent and the food delightful. All the traditionals were there, lobster, prime rib, roast lamb/turkey, bananas foster, crepes suzette, baked Alaska. We did not eat at the alternative restaurant, only the main dining each night. We were too tired to stay up for the Gala midnight buffet, but heard it was exceptional, most cruise lines don't do this anymore so it would have been a treat. You could order room service from the regular dining room menu and that was good except our room steward (who you were supposed to order from) forgot something everytime, one night he forgot the main entrEe! The lunch buffet had a good selection but moved slowly since the staff had to get our drinks for us and to serve us due to virus concerns. The homemade ice cream was REAL ice cream, none of that soft serve stuff and was very creamy, not gelato quality, but good. Dinner was limited at the buffet. They had a make your own pasta bar and salad bar and usually one theme item (Indian, Greek, etc.) For a proper meal you needed to order room service, go to your seating or to one of the alternative dining places. There was one other in between place close to the buffet that we didn't try. The food by the thassotherapy pool was good, but stopped serving somewhat early, not sure of the exact time, but one night I know we tried it and it was closed. The Greek food on deck at Santorini was exceptional and beautiful views enhanced the dining pleasure, don't miss that one! The shows were fairly standard for Celebrity. We appreciated the guest lecturers which really had a lot of information to add and made it uniquely different than a Caribbean cruise. One of the shows was all about imagination and they had mermaids, pirates, etc. There was an exceptional duo who used the ropes to swing around and perform ballet/rope stuff, not sure of the exact words for this!) We loved the saxophonist who played at the back of the ship and the pianist was a funny guy. Drinks were reasonable for a cruise, same pricing as I would expect for the Caribbean so with the exchange rate in Europe, I was feeling like they were a bargain. The coffee bar was a nice touch and it was close to where people play cards so it was a happening place, a few free food items but a charge for drinks even a regular coffee. Formal afternoon tea took place in Michael's. I never went but my hubby did and he said it was good, but it didn't happen every day. While there were few children on board, we were made to feel very welcome. People were sincerely warm and we felt very comfortable. There were notes daily reminding you of the proper behavior, making sure children were monitored, etc. As a parent, I've never seen so many of them before and I can say that this was a well behaved ship, fun but not a free for all. I've seen that before on Carnival and that was not for us. It seemed that there was miscommunication on this cruise, more than usual. At Dubrovnik we didn't tender where we normally would due to high winds/waves, but when we got there, 2 other ships were just arriving and were where we should have been. Because we weren't tendering in the normal place they had to coordinate shuttles to take us to old town which took a while to figure out. Unfortunately then the tenders were very off in schedule. The first couple tenders went off, but then they realized that in order to accommodate the tour groups they needed to send them all and then the people not going on a tour would have to wait. It was 2.5-3 hours later that those people not on a tour were able to get off. So if you got a tender ticket at 8:50, thinking they start at 9am, you didn't get off until almost noon! People were ticked to say the least and didn't appreciate the confusion. In Florence, we waited in the common areas for them to say we were able to get off, but I looked over to the side and saw people getting off so we went. I found out later that some people got off 45 minute earlier. Most days when you docked at 8, you weren't able to get off since they had to clear customs or whatever so it was closer to 9. On all the Caribbean cruises we've had you dock at 8, you are off close to 8am. If I had known about the one hour later I would have slept in a bit longer. Just lack of communication. I'm only going to provide a brief bit of info about the ports since so many others who have written a lot and I wanted to focus on the less written about the young child perspective. Venice: fabulous for kids, but lots of steps/bridges for strollers so get them to walk! Being able to just walk around without the worry of cars was fun, feed the pigeons, eat the gelato and kick around a soccer ball after hours with the locals. It was easy to find kid friendly food, no kids menus around, but lots of pizza and pasta. Rome: a short easy walk to the train station, but a longish train ride, watch out for people trying to HELP you buy a ticket, go to an office to buy it, you can also buy at newsagent. If you go all the way to Rome Termini you can go on the hop on/hop off buses which is free for the under 5 crowd and you don't have to worry so much about pick pockets, my daughter napped on my lap as we circled around Rome looking at buildings. If she was older we would have spent more time in museums, etc, but not this trip. On the way back at the port of Civitavecchia (sp?) there was a kiddie ride area that the under 6 crowd would enjoy, rides for around 1 Euro each that my daughter loved. Santorini: we rented a car from Damigos and he let us use a proper carseat (not a booster) for FREE. We drove all over the island and spent the most time at Oia, just hanging out, watching the sunset. My daughter liked all the steps, not for strollers, but lots of fun! Athens: very easy, but longer than I expected maybe 20 minutes to metro station. Easy with the stroller by the port, but had to check it at the Acropolis. The Acropolis site was nice to wander around and if you see Hercules beforehand, your kids will be extra excited! Naples: we only went to Pompeii and Herculaneum so we left our daughter on board. This would have not been stroller friendly in the slightest and very little shade so bring an umbrella. The train was easy to find and ride. If you have a good walker who is a bit older I think they would have enjoyed it, but the under 5 group would be likely to find it too long. Pompeii was impressively huge and was one of our highlights of the trip. Florence: we left our daughter on board since we wanted to spend time at the museums. Pitti Palace and lots of hiking around for us that day. I will warn you that we made a mistake here. I had thought it would be a $5 taxi ride to the train station, but it ended up being either $15 or $20 each way, of course you can share a cab because you pay per carload, not per person. If you can coordinate a group a van driver will take a group of 8 for $40 each to drive to Pisa for a bit, then to Florence and back. This is what we should have done since we wasted a LOT of time trying to get to the train station, waiting for the train and Pisa's train station is not that close to the leaning tower. Florence's trains are often late, in fact ours was 35 minutes late and when we arrived on the return we couldn't find a taxi to take us to the ship, that was a bit stressful while we waited for them to call more taxis. They also had rental car places there, not sure of the price but anything would have been quicker than that transfer to station, train ride, etc. Dubrovnik: we hiked the city walls and that is a definite NO with a stroller, but older kids would love it. It was a compact city, easy to see all the sights. Villefrance- easy with a stroller. Had lots of steps, but the way they were spaced, strollers were easy! They have an incredibly beautiful park perfect for the under 6 set right next to the palace. My daughter loved playing and I loved the views. Perfectly clean, safe and easy to travel by bus, even keeping the stroller fully open. Barcelona- great city for strolling/strollers. Most metro stops we used had escalators or elevators. Unusual architecture to see, squares to hang out in and outside restaurants with lots to look at. There were many little kids parks in the city as we wandered around that were gated off, with swings. Loved seeing Parc Guell with its fairytaleish type buildings and outside trails. Loved seeing the unusual Gaudi architecture. It looks very different from other European cities for this reason. We stayed there 3 days more and also went to Monestir de Monserrat which would be a great trip with kids. Pretty train ride to the country, very steep gondola ride and a mystical looking monastery at the top. Lots of hiking trails, most are stroller friendly, even dirt paths.

Celebrity Millennium - Western Mediterranean

Celebrity Millennium Cruise Review by Califonria Cruiser

Trip Details
Here is our 2 cents about our cruise on August 25th 2007.
I am a 30 something housewife sailing with my 30 something hubby and our 4 year old daughter going from Venice to Barcelona.
We booked our own air flying from SFO to London and stayed there a few days and then caught a cheap British Airways flight to Venice. Upon arrival, we took the bus to Venice and then bought a vaparetto pass for 72 hours and went to our hotel. We stayed at Locanda Art Deco. It was a great location for a decent price. Remember that in Europe most places charge you for the 3rd person even if they are a child, no be prepared. Some American chain don't, but then their prices tend to be higher... We spent 3 days in Venice and were busy every moment soaking up the sights and indulging in gelato. I thought 4 days to see Venice would have been perfect, there are too many churches, museums and general ambiance for just a day trip or 2, arrive early and enjoy! It's gorgeous without cars to worry about, your kids will love traveling by boat everywhere.
We were very excited to transfer to our cruise portion of our trip. We went to the main vaparetto station and took a free shuttle bus to the ship. Unfortunately, although you normally can board at 1pm due to having a virus issue we weren't able to board so they could spend more time cleaning the ship.Staff asked you fill out a form if you had vomited or had diarrhea in the last few days and if you had, you were not allowed on board. There was one guy who somehow got on board and then was escorted off. Even with these precautions and constant cleaning there must have been many people who got sick during our cruise because they were extremely vigilant about the cleaning and kept using it as a reason why things were closed. Anyway, they provided an icky lunch in a paper bag, and had a free speed shuttle to St. Mark's Square and then had a service to check in small luggage and the closed at 6pm so you had to be back in time. There was a lot of grumbling, but they did try to accommodate people given the circumstance.
Once we got on the ship we went to our room 3110, it was the best located room we've ever had, we shared only 1 wall with a neighbor and the other wall was with the purser office area which was always quiet. I honestly couldn't hear any sounds from any of the rooms around us for the whole trip. We were on floor three and we were exactly midship close to the elevators if we needed to go way up, but for dinner just had to walk 1 flight of stairs and walk a bit. I can't say enough about that location. The room was not the cleanest we've ever had, in fact our room steward was the worst one we've had, not sure if they were kept extra busy cleaning the common areas so they had less time to work on individual rooms. Anyway, the linens were nice, shampoo and lotion were available in the huge dispensers in the bathroom as well as q-tips, and cottonballs.
I keep thinking that the virus issue affected our trip in many ways, and slanted our experience. None of the Jacuzzis were open the first day, and the library was closed the entire 12 night journey, but the real disappointment was that the kids pool (the only one!) was closed for all 12 nights! Had I known there would be no pool, slides or outside play area I would have seriously considered going on a different cruise, we were in between this one and the Emerald Princess anyway. I asked each day at the kids club and at the purser when the kids pool would open, and I was told, "there aren't enough kids to fill the pool, "it's too cold they won't get in anyway", "due to CDC recommendations and safety reasons they wouldn't be open." After a while I asked the guy in charge of kids club should I even ask anymore and he said no it would be closed for the whole trip. Bummer! It was the same for the outside slide/play area. Luckily somewhere in the middle of the cruise they opened the ball pit. They told me that our sailing was the first with few children so I think if there had been lots of children, they would have made it a priority, I was told everything was open the cruise prior to ours. This was the biggest disappointment of our trip! I disliked the lack of communication. If they truly had one issue why it couldn't be opened then say it, but the front desk staff would give a reason one day and say it should be open soon, then you go back and it's a different reason and check again.
That said, the kids club staff was incredible. They were very attentive and kind. My daughter loved going there, there were 40 kids on board who bothered registering for kids club so that isn't very many compared to most. Just FYI you could leave your child 9-noon, 2-5 and 7-10 for free everyday. You could sign up for the other hours if need be for a fee. On sea days you could leave them all day, with the exception of meals. There was no fee 9am-10pm but they don't take the kids for any food. On port days no matter the time you dock they open 9-7pm and they take the kids to eat around noon and also around 5pm. There is a fee from 12-2 and 5-7 on those days. If you went on one of the ship's official excursions they made allowances and let you bring the kids earlier for the same hourly rate to match the hours of the tours. We weren't interested in the cruise tours, but once I explained our situation to Dave, the kids club manager he was able to take our daughter a bit earlier since he already had others coming. It seemed to be more of a favor instead of something they offer. Any extra or after hours were $6 per hour. There was in room private babysitting that you could arrange for a fee, but we did not use it.
We opted for early dining at 6:15 and since kids club opened at 7pm it was perfect timing. Dining was a pleasure, we found the service to be excellent and the food delightful. All the traditionals were there, lobster, prime rib, roast lamb/turkey, bananas foster, crepes suzette, baked Alaska. We did not eat at the alternative restaurant, only the main dining each night. We were too tired to stay up for the Gala midnight buffet, but heard it was exceptional, most cruise lines don't do this anymore so it would have been a treat. You could order room service from the regular dining room menu and that was good except our room steward (who you were supposed to order from) forgot something everytime, one night he forgot the main entrEe! The lunch buffet had a good selection but moved slowly since the staff had to get our drinks for us and to serve us due to virus concerns. The homemade ice cream was REAL ice cream, none of that soft serve stuff and was very creamy, not gelato quality, but good. Dinner was limited at the buffet. They had a make your own pasta bar and salad bar and usually one theme item (Indian, Greek, etc.) For a proper meal you needed to order room service, go to your seating or to one of the alternative dining places. There was one other in between place close to the buffet that we didn't try. The food by the thassotherapy pool was good, but stopped serving somewhat early, not sure of the exact time, but one night I know we tried it and it was closed. The Greek food on deck at Santorini was exceptional and beautiful views enhanced the dining pleasure, don't miss that one!
The shows were fairly standard for Celebrity. We appreciated the guest lecturers which really had a lot of information to add and made it uniquely different than a Caribbean cruise. One of the shows was all about imagination and they had mermaids, pirates, etc. There was an exceptional duo who used the ropes to swing around and perform ballet/rope stuff, not sure of the exact words for this!) We loved the saxophonist who played at the back of the ship and the pianist was a funny guy.
Drinks were reasonable for a cruise, same pricing as I would expect for the Caribbean so with the exchange rate in Europe, I was feeling like they were a bargain. The coffee bar was a nice touch and it was close to where people play cards so it was a happening place, a few free food items but a charge for drinks even a regular coffee. Formal afternoon tea took place in Michael's. I never went but my hubby did and he said it was good, but it didn't happen every day.
While there were few children on board, we were made to feel very welcome. People were sincerely warm and we felt very comfortable. There were notes daily reminding you of the proper behavior, making sure children were monitored, etc. As a parent, I've never seen so many of them before and I can say that this was a well behaved ship, fun but not a free for all. I've seen that before on Carnival and that was not for us.
It seemed that there was miscommunication on this cruise, more than usual. At Dubrovnik we didn't tender where we normally would due to high winds/waves, but when we got there, 2 other ships were just arriving and were where we should have been. Because we weren't tendering in the normal place they had to coordinate shuttles to take us to old town which took a while to figure out. Unfortunately then the tenders were very off in schedule. The first couple tenders went off, but then they realized that in order to accommodate the tour groups they needed to send them all and then the people not going on a tour would have to wait. It was 2.5-3 hours later that those people not on a tour were able to get off. So if you got a tender ticket at 8:50, thinking they start at 9am, you didn't get off until almost noon! People were ticked to say the least and didn't appreciate the confusion. In Florence, we waited in the common areas for them to say we were able to get off, but I looked over to the side and saw people getting off so we went. I found out later that some people got off 45 minute earlier. Most days when you docked at 8, you weren't able to get off since they had to clear customs or whatever so it was closer to 9. On all the Caribbean cruises we've had you dock at 8, you are off close to 8am. If I had known about the one hour later I would have slept in a bit longer. Just lack of communication.
I'm only going to provide a brief bit of info about the ports since so many others who have written a lot and I wanted to focus on the less written about the young child perspective.
Venice: fabulous for kids, but lots of steps/bridges for strollers so get them to walk! Being able to just walk around without the worry of cars was fun, feed the pigeons, eat the gelato and kick around a soccer ball after hours with the locals. It was easy to find kid friendly food, no kids menus around, but lots of pizza and pasta.
Rome: a short easy walk to the train station, but a longish train ride, watch out for people trying to HELP you buy a ticket, go to an office to buy it, you can also buy at newsagent. If you go all the way to Rome Termini you can go on the hop on/hop off buses which is free for the under 5 crowd and you don't have to worry so much about pick pockets, my daughter napped on my lap as we circled around Rome looking at buildings. If she was older we would have spent more time in museums, etc, but not this trip. On the way back at the port of Civitavecchia (sp?) there was a kiddie ride area that the under 6 crowd would enjoy, rides for around 1 Euro each that my daughter loved.
Santorini: we rented a car from Damigos and he let us use a proper carseat (not a booster) for FREE. We drove all over the island and spent the most time at Oia, just hanging out, watching the sunset. My daughter liked all the steps, not for strollers, but lots of fun!
Athens: very easy, but longer than I expected maybe 20 minutes to metro station. Easy with the stroller by the port, but had to check it at the Acropolis. The Acropolis site was nice to wander around and if you see Hercules beforehand, your kids will be extra excited!
Naples: we only went to Pompeii and Herculaneum so we left our daughter on board. This would have not been stroller friendly in the slightest and very little shade so bring an umbrella. The train was easy to find and ride. If you have a good walker who is a bit older I think they would have enjoyed it, but the under 5 group would be likely to find it too long. Pompeii was impressively huge and was one of our highlights of the trip.
Florence: we left our daughter on board since we wanted to spend time at the museums. Pitti Palace and lots of hiking around for us that day. I will warn you that we made a mistake here. I had thought it would be a $5 taxi ride to the train station, but it ended up being either $15 or $20 each way, of course you can share a cab because you pay per carload, not per person. If you can coordinate a group a van driver will take a group of 8 for $40 each to drive to Pisa for a bit, then to Florence and back. This is what we should have done since we wasted a LOT of time trying to get to the train station, waiting for the train and Pisa's train station is not that close to the leaning tower. Florence's trains are often late, in fact ours was 35 minutes late and when we arrived on the return we couldn't find a taxi to take us to the ship, that was a bit stressful while we waited for them to call more taxis. They also had rental car places there, not sure of the price but anything would have been quicker than that transfer to station, train ride, etc.
Dubrovnik: we hiked the city walls and that is a definite NO with a stroller, but older kids would love it. It was a compact city, easy to see all the sights.
Villefrance- easy with a stroller. Had lots of steps, but the way they were spaced, strollers were easy! They have an incredibly beautiful park perfect for the under 6 set right next to the palace. My daughter loved playing and I loved the views. Perfectly clean, safe and easy to travel by bus, even keeping the stroller fully open.
Barcelona- great city for strolling/strollers. Most metro stops we used had escalators or elevators. Unusual architecture to see, squares to hang out in and outside restaurants with lots to look at. There were many little kids parks in the city as we wandered around that were gated off, with swings. Loved seeing Parc Guell with its fairytaleish type buildings and outside trails. Loved seeing the unusual Gaudi architecture. It looks very different from other European cities for this reason. We stayed there 3 days more and also went to Monestir de Monserrat which would be a great trip with kids. Pretty train ride to the country, very steep gondola ride and a mystical looking monastery at the top. Lots of hiking trails, most are stroller friendly, even dirt paths.
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