Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by 10isgirl
This was my 11th cruise and Celebrity blew me away with their spectacular service and beautiful ship. We arrived in Rome at 8:30 am on the day of the cruise. We took Celebrity's "Transfer and Panoramic Tour" for $129/person. This was a great way to see Rome. The tour started at 10:30 am. The Tour of Rome was about two hours. They dropped us off at the Vatican to walk around for 1 hour. Then it was 1 ½ hours to the port. We were at the ship at 3pm. The guide was knowledgeable as we drove around Rome and she explained what we were seeing. SICILY: We were in Sicily on a Saturday. The shops were closed from 1-4pm. We slept in and got off the ship about 1pm and walked around the city. It was a neat city but would have been neater if everything was open. I recommend getting to the Fatalani Church where the mechanical figures perform at 11:45 am. If you miss it(like we did), they do a mini performance every 15 minutes. You can also climb to the top of the clock tower for a small fee. Many people went to a town called Taormina which is a resort town and everything stays open. People said it was a neat town and was what you thought Sicily would be like. ATHENS: We walked to the metro which took 35-40 minutes walking fast. The day we docked in Athens we were at the far boat slip. Princess cruise lines was docked about 15 minutes closer to the Metro. We are in our early 30's and are in shape. I would not recommend doing this! If you do, here is how to get there. Walk out of the port and turn left. Follow the sidewalk along the water side and walk for 40 minutes and you will see a pedestrian bridge that you walk up to go across the street. Once you cross the bridge you are at the metro station on your left. The ticket cost $1Euro to get to the Acropolis. The ride is 25 minutes. Get off at Monastiraki. Once you exit the train station turn right. You will see some ruins off to your left and you will walk up a hill. You will think you are walking through a quiet neighborhood but you are on your way to the Acropolis. The streets will wind but you will end up at the entrance. It takes about 10-15 minutes of uphill walking. The entrance fee is $12 Euro. I heard you could take a taxi to the Acropolis for $20 euro. This would allow you to get there before the bus tours and you won't be as tired! After visiting the Acropolis we walked down to some other ruins, Olympic Stadium, Parliament(guards change at noon ...you can have your picture with them). We walked through the Plaka which is across from Parliament. There you will find many shops and restaurants. MYKONOS: We took the ship's transfer option to the town ($10 unlimited use). If you walk it would take you about 45 minutes because it is a couple of miles away. There is no sidewalk so it is very dangerous to walk it. While in town we walked around the many windy narrow streets. You will find many shops and eateries. If you follow the shoreline you will walk through the area called Little Venice (restaurants on the water) and will see the windmills. We took the city bus $1.40 Euro to Paradise Beach. The bus stop is at the far end of the shops. Ask where it is. The streets are too confusing to be able to tell you where it is. The beach is 20 minutes away. It is nice if you want to see a beach and layout. There are options to rent chairs or you can lie out on a towel for free. There are jet skis you can rent. There are snacks/drinks available. The bus comes about every 30 minutes. There is a line and you have to be aggressive to get on the bus. TURKEY: We took the Ephesus Deluxe tour through www.helloephesus.com. It was $60 USD/person due at the end of the tour. We had 11 people on the tour to get that rate. The tour took us to Ephesus, terrace homes(cruise tour does not go in them), House of Virgin Mary, tomb of St. John, Turkish lunch(delicious), museum, and tour of carpet factory. The guide was nice but I don't know how accurate his information was. He walked with us through Ephesus for 2 ½ hours and spoke about what we saw. I noticed the other tour guides had a badge on but ours did not. A similar tour on the ship would cost you hundreds of dollars. I would recommend using this company. All entrance fees were included and the delicious lunch. RHODES: We walked around the old city on our own. If you walk off the ship and stay on the sidewalk on the water side and walk 20 minutes you will run into a beautiful beach. It is hidden behind some restaurants. On your way you will pass a church and what looks like a sailing/yacht club. There are chairs to rent or you can lie out on your towel for free. There is a diving platform you can swim out to that has three levels to dive from. We saw the cruise activity staff and dancers there spending some free time on the beach. So you can ask them how to get there! SANTORINI: We took the donkey up the hill to Fira. This was $5 Euro each. It takes 30 minutes. At the end of the ride you can buy your picture for $5 Euro. There are 588 steps to the top of Fira. It would take you awhile to walk it. We walked around the town and then caught a city bus to Oia for $1.40 Euro. The bus comes every 30 minutes and the bus ride is 30 minutes. Oia is more expensive than Fira for shopping and eating. There are beautiful views but it is more narrow windy roads with shops and eateries. It was easy to take the bus each way. A similar tour on the ship was $52/person to get to and from Oia. NAPLES: We took AP Tours #4. Driver met us at port and took us to Pompeii. We were there right when the gates opened 8:30am. It cost $11 Euro to get into Pompeii. We rented the walking tour earpiece machine for $6 Euro. I would recommend paying extra for a human guide through the tour company. We would have learned a lot more. We spent two hours in Pompeii. It is a bunch of ruins but was interesting to see. The guide then took us to Positano where we had one hour to walk around. Then we went to Sorrento where we had two hours to walk around. He showed us a good pizza restaurant where our group decided to have lunch. Sorrento and Positano are tourist towns with shops and eateries. Along the way our guide stopped twice so we could take pictures of the Amalfi Coast. He took us to the ferry station in Sorrento and purchased our ticket to Naples Port. We boarded the Ferry at 4:25 to return to Naples at 5pm. It was a neat perspective instead of having him drive us back to the port along the same route we had already driven. The tour cost $60 Euro + $11 Euro Pompeii + $11 Euro Ferry ride=82 Euro each with a group of 8. You pay at the end of the tour. A similar tour on the ship was $345/person. I highly recommend this company. DISEMBARKATION: You can get off the ship with your luggage at 6am. We got off at 7am and carried our luggage. We had arranged a taxi with another couple through Rome Cabs for $130 Euro. The ship charges $90/person for the airport transfer. The taxi ride took less than one hour to get to the airport. The driver dropped us at the international terminal. THIS IS NOT WHERE YOU CHECK IN. We had to ride a bus to another terminal where the flights for Detroit, Atlanta, and New York check in. Then you go through security and take another shuttle back to the original terminal. This process takes about 1-1 1/2 hours. We had a 10:40 am flight and we were at our gate at 9:15 am.
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