Left Norfolk, Virginia and connected in Philadelphia for our overnight flight to Madrid, Spain. We took the pre-cruise tour to Madrid and Barcelona. Our tour guide in both places was wonderful. We stayed in 2 different hotels. One in Madrid was a classy hotel with wonderful food in the morning. We loved Madrid (not so much the graffiti). Seeing the Palace de Royale and the Prado made this part of the trip. We were in Madrid for 2 nights and then left by hi-speed train to Barcelona. We also saw Flamenco dancers and had a real special dinner dockside in Barcelona. We arrived at the pier by about 11:30AM and went through check-in very quickly. Since we were in a celebrity suite, we were shown to our suite immediately. We met some of our group in the cafe. Up to this point all went well.
All of the places that we visited were great, if expensive. We were constantly surprised at how dirty some of the places were (especially Naples and Istanbul). It was funny having to pay to use the restrooms (Athens) and not finding locked doors or toilet paper. We learned rather quickly about the prices in Italy. We sat down in a street cafe in Florence and ordered a soup, small pizza, coffee and a bottle of water that set us back almost 40 euro. We did love all the places that we saw, and loved Venice the most. We disembarked in Venice and stayed a few extra days at the Monaco & Grand Canal Hotel. Well worth the money and they too served a wonderful complimentary breakfast each morning. Loved all the places to shop in Venice. We allowed the concierge in the hotel to make our arrangements for a lovely gondola ride. The only glitch in Venice, was the fact that our luggage did not arrive from the port for hours. We left all of our things at the pier and were told that the water taxi was right behind us. Our itinerary included Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Turkey.
Our suite was a great size, not as big a bathroom as I would have liked. Bigger bathrooms aboard Holland America and Royal Caribbean in the same class. The idea of having a butler was great. Manuel was our butler and he looked after our every need. He realized that my husband enjoyed the sushi and every night he brought him a plate. My biggest complaint was about the food. The specialty restaurant was fabulous (we ate there twice), but the regular food was way below the standards we had become accustomed to. Service in the cafe was so so. I finally found it just easier to always have the chicken salad for lunch and the pasta for dinner in the cafe. The Main Dining rooms food was just OK. The one time that the food was great was a Saturday Brunch. I remarked to our butler about where was that food and he just smiled. We only ate in the Main Dining room 5 times out of 14. By the end of the cruise many people came down with some type of virus. We felt that we should have been notified BEFORE we saw people wearing masks and being told that we could no longer serve ourselves. 3 of the couples that were in our group were actually quarantined.
We had the celebrity suite and it was spacious in the living area. A little tight in the bedroom and bathroom. The side of the tub is so high if you are short, it needed a stool to get in to and out.
Loved it! Loved the vibe here but not the street crime. Had great food and drink in Barcelona
Loved going to the town of Eze and seeing Monaco and where Princess Grace lived and died. If I could afford I would live on the French Riviera (smile)
Naples is so dirty. My husband did climb Mt. Vesuvius, and took a tour of Pompeii.
Loved everything that we saw in Florence and the crowded streets. Had great pizza.
Again, pretty dirty but accessible by train to most attractions. Do not pay for a car/or cab here, use the train. Make sure to wear good shoes as there is a lot to see.
Again, dirty but good things to see. We were caught in the middle of a bike race, so we stayed on the bus way too long. We then also saw Mykonos, Istanbul, Croatia and Venice. great bargains in Croatia and Istanbul. Very mush shocked at how all the people that we met in Europe were so aware of our new President (Obama). We actually had traveled before the election and they were so happy that President Bush was leaving office.