We chose this cruise based on the ports of call and length of the cruise and booked it over a year in advance. We went with family - for them it was their first cruise while it was our 7th (but first with Celebrity). We had been told Celebrity was the best for cross generational travel and were very excited to be sharing it with our adult kids.
What we found was that it was not an upscale cruise line...rather average. Many things were great but there were lots of misses and room for improvement. The check in process was smooth and went quickly, but getting our luggage took forever - like until dinner time (our kids got theirs right away). We ordered early room service (7am) the next day as we had an early tour booked and our food never showed up before we had to leave at 8am. So we didn't try that again! We had problems with our laundry service and also plumbing issues in the bathroom which sent gross black particles up through the shower drain and onto the bathroom floor. They did fix it the next day but it did put a damper on our enjoyment of our veranda cabin.
The other complains have to do with constantly trying to get you to upgrade your drinks package, internet, specialty dining, and shore excursions. We had booked all but one port for private excursions at less than the cost of the hordes of bus tours provided buy the cruise line. And we did resent having to pay for a bus to take us into the port - after paying what we did for the cruise itself. We felt that it was constant bombardment to part with our money. Shopping on board was mediocre at best. We decided against booking another cruise with them while on board but would rather consider our options later this year or next.
The good things were the talented shows each evening, our wonderful servers in the dining room who made us feel special and took time to visit with us and get to know our preferences. Kudos to them! Meals were basically quite good but we did have some misses in the dining room on several occasions. Our one special dinner in the Tuscan Grill was absolutely fabulous (food and service both). Guess it was worth paying for the upcharge for one special night.
We enjoyed all the ports of call, with the exception of Zadar which we walked through in about an hour and ended up returning to the ship on the bus we had to pay for. The tendering worked quite well too and we loved having the ice water and iced towels to cool off with when returning from the hot ports.
We talked to several other cruise critic/returning Captains Club members who shared their disappointment with Celebrity this time (like one couple was even downgraded as they oversold their cabin type).
We took an 8 hour private tour with a car and driver to Pompeii, the Amalfi coast and Positano - long but excellent.
Again we had a car and driver for an 8 hour private tour which was just top notch. We got to see all the major sights in Athens, have a wonderful greek meal in a non-tourist area, and have time for a bit of shopping before heading back to the port.
Would have given this an excellent except for the huge, long line waiting to take the cable car back to port (and this was 2 hours early). It took us over 1.5 hour of waiting in the hot sunshine to get back down from Fira - which the boat option that took us over to the port of Oia had a return option. We LOVED Oia.
Really just enjoyed poking around this town, seeing the windmills, shopping and soaking up the Greek sunshine.
Except for the sea organ, there is very little to see or do in Zadar. We also did not like having to pay for the bus to take us into town and drop us off - then we were back on ship in 2 hours after totally walking around the little old town area. Could be skipped as a port.
We took a hop on bus tour out of the port to Piran which was inexpensive, informative and fun - but we got caught in a horrendous downpour, unprepared so ended up not seeing as much of Piran as we would have liked (instead having a coffee in a little cafe to wait out the rain).