My favourite destination in the Mediterranean is Turkey and I thought that my next cruise through the Mediterranean would include ports of call in Turkey. This cruise was off my radar but a friend invited us to attend and we are so glad that we were able to enjoy the itinerary.
Weather was rainy and windy when we arrived in Barcelona 2 days pre-cruise. Our international flight was poor, so we were in rough shape to take in a walking tour of Barcelona the same afternoon, so we excused ourselves when the rain wouldn't let up. We took a half day tour of Barcelona on the day of embarkation offered by Spanish Day Tours and they conveniently dropped us off at the terminal. Very good tour, we needed a transfer to the terminal anyways and a few extra hours touring Barcelona before embarkation was a nice bonus! Embarkation was smooth and timely.
The ship is in excellent shape, nice layout and easy to orient yourself to the main venues. My favourite spots: Cafe el Bacio, great baristas and attentive servers. Moonlight Sonata, the main dining room - consistently excellent, cuts of meat prepared very well, seafood/fish tend to be a little overdone. Superb service and menu choices. Couldn't say no to their excellent desserts, maybe some of the best I have ever had. The Ocean View Cafe (buffet) layout was a little confusing, during peak times the crush of people made service slower and harder to move around and find a table. I had some issues about food handling by some passengers and the ship was very quick to acknowledge my concerns.
Captain Leo and Cruise Director Alejandro - very personable, very approachable and funny. Maybe the best Cruise Director we've ever had. You can check out his Facebook page. He just works plain hard to make his passengers happy and entertained. Main entertainment is quite good, better than other cruise lines that I have experienced recently.
Overall service is excellent and very staff are very friendly.
We booked mainly "free" walking tours in the ports of Spain. They on average were very good. John Lopez Gibraltar private van tour was excellent. Good private walking tour in Marseille. We booked Celebrity tours in Villefranche, Florence, Civitavecchia & Naples.
There were too many tours ending at the same time in Villefranche that overloaded the tenders. Of course, that's when the rain and winds picked up and there was not enough cover to wait for the next tender. Kudos to ship staff in trying to keep passengers comfortable. We knew that excursions offered by the ship tend to be quite crowded but that's the price to pay for convenience. That does affect the tour quality. We enjoyed the trip to the ruins of Herculaneum, the others were just poor to average at best.
It was an excellent cruise and vacation and I would be happy to sail on any future Celebrity sailings.
Starting to show some wear and tear, there should be more available storage. Not a big fan of the washroom fixtures, but everything worked fine. The interactive television lacked quality programming options - it usually is not a problem unless you are confined to the cabin. Very comfortable layout in a nice location of the ship. With such a port heavy itinerary, I think I would have been just as happy with an interior or ocean view cabin since we did not use the Veranda very much. The Veranda is a comfortable size.