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Sarah Clarke

Age: 43

Occupation:Bookseller

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Millennium

Sailing Date: August 15th, 2003

Itinerary: Western Mediterranean

About Us

I am Sarah Clarke, a 43 year Bookshop owner from Devon, UK. I went on our cruise with my husband, and two children aged 14 and 12.

Why choose Celebrity?

We have been on two previous cruises, both with P & O. The first was to the Atlantic Isles in 2001 aboard the Oriana, and the second was in 2002 to the Caribbean aboard the Arcadia. We enjoyed both these trips very much and thought we would plan another one in the school summer holidays, to visit some of the great cities of Europe. Having experienced the very British style of P & O, we decided to try an American line. We had originally made a booking with P&O Princess, for August 2003 for a selection of ports around the med, however, the Golden Princess was calling at two ports in Turkey and when the war broke out in Iraq in early 2003 we were not as keen to visit Turkey on an American ship. We then saw a newspaper advertisement for the Celebrity cruise for almost the same dates, and the same itinerary but leaving out Turkey and substituting Mykonos, Santorini, and Dubrovik. It was also an amazing price! We quickly obtained the Celebrity brochure and read all the cruise books we could find. Celebrity and the Millennium came out well and we went ahead and made the booking. We lost our deposit with Princess but still saved ourselves a large sum of money.

Who else went on this cruise?

There was an amazing variety of cruisers on this trip. Quite a few British, some Americans, and a selection of others from Europe, including many from France and Spain. In the restaurant we saw three tables of Chinese people and also a group of Jewish people dining together. Lots of families and children made for a lively atmosphere and in fact the only type of people we didn’t meet were many passengers in their 70s and 80s. Wisely they probably decided to go when the weather was cooler and the children were at school!

Impressions of the ship

The Millennium really is a beautiful ship and shows none of the signs of wear as did the two P & O ships of our previous cruises. Although there were over 2000 passengers on board at our time of sailing, and of course hundreds of children and teenagers, it rarely seemed crowded and only at the breakfast queue did things get a little hectic. We chose the cheapest inside cabin, on deck 2, as we felt (with true British spirit) that we would not be in the cabin very much as there would be so much to see and do. In fact our cabin, even with 4 of us sharing was perfectly comfortable and very well organized. There was plenty of cupboard space, particularly in the bathroom and we liked the amenities provided, water and ice twice a day, towels changed twice a day, bathrobes to use, and shampoo and body lotion. Our steward Mario from Romania, was cheerful and efficient. The location on deck 2 suited us very well, as it was near the gangplank for a speedy exit from the ship and situated around amidships had no noise from the lifts or service areas.

The size of the ship took a little getting used to and we needed our ship plans for the first few days. Plenty of staff to serve you in the many bars and on the reception and bank. We liked the way all the staff had their name and country of origin on their; name badge. Apparently there were staff from 50 countries. There was a good feeling of space, and few areas seemed to be crowded. The breakfast area on deck 10 was always fairly busy and on sea days you had to be up in position rather early if you wanted a sunbed by the pool. We found the Cova Café a good place for after dinner coffee and drinks, with a sophisticated atmosphere and usually the harpist or string quartet playing.

The spa area on deck 10 deserves a special mention. We had a guided tour on our first day and were shown all the treatment rooms and the gym. We didn’t use the gym but loved the spa pool and café. The pool was covered, large, and felt like a hot bath! You just lazed about for a while, and lay on some body shaped metal bars being pummeled by hot jets, then sat in the Jacuzzi which was slightly cooler. There was always space here even on sea days. No children in the pool either, which was a relief as the outdoor pool was certainly not relaxing with plenty of kids and teens enjoying themselves noisily. Spa café served drinks and healthy meals from 12 noon and again was never too busy. After you got out of the pool there were wooden steamer chairs facing out to sea to relax on. A really good experience, in fact so good that my husband went there every afternoon when we got back from our trips on port days and was most reluctant to come out! He also chose a reflexology and massage on one day and was impressed with the therapist, who seemed to be very knowledgeable. You could have any number of lovely treatments, and of course the usual hairdressers were there as well.

Food and Drink

The food on the Millennium was simply fabulous! We opted to take breakfast on Deck 10 where there was an amazing choice of hot and cold dishes. We particularly enjoyed the many varieties of fruit and our son grew rather fond of smoked salmon. Even our daughter was satisfied with American pancakes and yoghurt. On port days we often ate off the ship, but used the buffet lunch quite a few times. I would have a salad, my husband a hot dish, and the children hamburgers and chips. The quality of the food used was very high, and the variety imaginative. Celebrity seemed to make it easy to have whatever you wanted, when you wanted. If you came back from an excursion in the middle of the afternoon, there was still plenty available for lunch, as the hamburgers, pastas and pizzas were available right up to 6pm. Ice cream was available from 12-5 and tea, coffee, iced water, and some sort of juice, fruit punch or iced tea all day long. On P & O they only turned on the ice cream for one hour at a time and if you wanted anything other than tea and coffee you had to pay for it!

We opted for the early sitting in the Metropolitan Restaurant as we like to see some entertainment and were seated at a table for 4, on the lower area. Our waiter was Ioniel from Romania, and his assistant Alan from the Philippines. Our service was on the whole very good, but we soon found that the British way of turning up exactly on time was not the way for some of the other guests, as there were late arrivals up to 7 as a matter of course, and usually a few about 7.10. Our waiter had a lot to cope with explaining the menu to two large tables of Chinese guests and so we worked out that if we came in to dinner between 6.40 and 6.45 we still got our starter at the same time as if we arrived at 6.30 on the dot! The food served at dinner took the form of five courses, with the salad course in between the soup and the main a new one for us. We quickly grew to like this very much, and enjoyed many excellent meals, all presented beautifully and with enough variety on the menu to satisfy everyone. Our son is on a special diet (milk and egg free) and our waiter went to some trouble to enquire in the kitchen as to whether a particular food was suitable. Chips and plain food was always available for those who didn’t fancy anything on the menu. Although it was five courses, the meals were balanced well, and the portions not overlarge, so we managed to enjoy a pudding every night. The restaurant really excelled on formal nights, and dimmed the lights and put up atmospheric blinds over the windows. We were really pleased to attend the last formal night, with a baked Alaska parade from the waiters. Most diners kept to the dress code, and really dressed up on formal nights, although there was quite a wide interpretation of informal, ranging from t-shirts to jacket and tie, and on casual nights anything seemed to be ok.

We opted to take the ‘soda package’ for our children. For $4.75 a day you could get unlimited refills of what they call sodas, which meant coke, lemonade, ginger ale etc. We thought this had to be a saving, as cans of drink were $1.95 and single glasses $1.25, plus tax of course. They had a sticker put on their cruise card and just showed this when they wanted to order. It also saved on many more of those drinks chits, and also provided the odd drink for mum and dad! We found the wine prices in the restaurant a little pricey if you wanted anything beyond the basic but still managed to get through a few bottles!

The Olympic Restaurant

We booked a table here immediately we embarked on the ship and were told by the maitre’d that this was a good idea, as they had over 140 on the waiting list for tables on the cruise before. Dress in this restaurant was jacket required, although people we met did not bring a jacket and visited the Olympic several times, borrowing a jacket each time, which must have been kept specially for the purpose. As this was to be an anniversary dinner, we booked the children in at informal dining on deck 10, which seemed to be very popular. The Olympic charged a service charge of $25 dollars each so we hoped we would be in for a special treat. The setting was certainly beautiful with plenty of waiters to explain in minute detail the menu. Beside each food choice was a suggested wine which you could order by the glass. Cheapest ‘glass’ was $12! We made our choices which included a glass of champagne to start ($19.50 a glass) and the one glass of the $12 wine. We are clearly behind the times for pricing in the ‘fine dining’ stakes. The meal started well, and there was a great romantic atmosphere which included a serenade from a polish violinist at the table. They also presented us with a mini chocolate cake to celebrate our anniversary, which we thought was a nice touch. The waiters were of the confident ‘serve with a flourish’ type. However, I thought my main course of veal was rather dry and after ordering our inexpensive glasses of wine we did not see the sommelier again, not even to refill our water glasses, even though we had said we would like a glass of desert wine. They also brought our coffee with the desert, which we had asked them not too, and then left our table uncleared, so we had to push aside our plates. We left quietly, unnoticed by any of the staff… Obviously we should have said something at the time, but did not want to ruin our evening by complaining. So we concluded that for us this was a fairly good meal and we were glad we had gone for the experience but at nearly $100 we could have done better for the money. Others we met raved about the Olympic and said they had superlative service and the best food, so if you are on the Millennium, go and judge for yourself!

Entertainment

We love going to the theatre and thought Celebrity’s boast of the Millennium's theatre being one of the best on the seas certainly true from its appearance. Two decks high and good views from every seat we sat in. There were 3 production shows with the Celebrity Singers and Dancers which were enjoyable if predictable with songs from the Musicals being the main theme. The performers were of a very high standard but were let down by the producers on the last show. This we thought was a ‘We have a load of features on our stage and some really great costumes. Let’s put them all together in an extravaganza!’ At one stage the dancers appeared in a load of strange animal costumes, which after they had done one song, were whisked off their heads and hauled up into the lights. The other shows were varied and surprisingly good. I say surprisingly because we had gone along with an open mind to most of them and ended up having a really enjoyable evening. Best in our book was Samantha Jay, a multi instrumentalist from England, whose set ranged from classical to funky and got a well deserved standing ovation. We also caught the Neptunes, a four part acapella group on a couple of occasions – they were fun.

Also worth mentioning were the support acts who played in the various bars in the evenings. We loved the Enigma Quartet, a lively string group, and were fascinated by the beautiful music and wonderful harp of Margaret, the harpist.

On a couple of days there was wine tasting and wine talks by Brian Julyan, a chief examiner and Sommelier from England. We went along to meet him and found that he lives a couple of miles away from us, and that his wife, who we also met, is a customer of ours in our bookshop. It’s a small world! The wine tasting was for American wines, and with three large glasses of great wine for $8, made for a very merry evening indeed by the time we had drunk them. We enjoyed one of the wines so much that we ordered it the next evening in the restaurant.

Also coming under entertainment has to come the Port and Shopping Talks and guides. The guides were a brother and sister duo from Australia called Nuala and Dara. The talks were 90% shopping and 10% how to get to the shops with Nuala the queen of how to save you money by shopping in the Celebrity Recommended Stores. I have never seen anyone talk so fluently and for so long with drawing breath as Nuala – she really managed to put her all into every presentation! After her gallop through the shopping centers of every port Dara would have a few minutes telling you how to get into town using public transport at supposedly the cheapest and quickest way. He was a little optimistic shall we say, as the taxi fares always seemed to be higher and the walks back to the ship always a little longer… If you missed the talks they were on the TV all day, useful viewing when getting ready for dinner.

As already mentioned there were absolutely loads of children and teens on the ship and so there were clubs for all age groups ranging from 3-17. We persuaded our son to go along to the 13-17 meeting on the first night and thereafter he rarely made it back to the cabin before midnight! Not that many teens turned up but those that did all got along well and went to the late shows together and hung out in the music library. Our daughter found that at 12 ½ she was at the top end of her group and only went a couple of times but thought the leaders were good. They both went on the kids backstage tour of the theatre, and were amazed at the number of costumes, and said the performers showing them around were cool. They both wanted to see the show that night after the tour!

Ports of Call

Villefranche

This was our first proper day on the ship and so we planned to take it fairly easy. After taking an early buffet lunch we went ashore in the tender and as the boat grew nearer the small harbor the details of the pretty waterside and pink washed houses came into clear view. The town was lovely with lots of bars, shops and cafes and you could walk to a small beach along the harbor. After making a few provencal purchases and practicing our French which caused a few laughs we opted for a tour of Villefranche and up to Beaulieu on the land train. Everyone else must have gone for a siesta because there was hardly anyone about and only us and 3 others from the Millennium on the train. It lurched its way up the steep hill past a huge castle up to the top of the town where we were rewarded by a great view of the coast and out to sea. The driver was a fairly elderly French woman whose English accent was so bad it was easier to decipher her descriptions in French as we chugged along. After our early dinner on the ship we took the tender back into town to have a drink at one of the bar/restaurants recommended by the train driver. Such a change in atmosphere, lights twinkling and scores of people out eating and drinking or just promenading along the street and in the square. We sat outside with drinks and a crepe and were entertained by jugglers, acrobats, and violinists. This was obviously a town which came to light in the evening and we were so pleased to gone back in and experienced it. Had heard that the French can be unwelcoming but this wasn’t the case here!

Livorno

Millennium docked here on a Sunday and as we had a big day in Rome planned for the next day, we opted to travel to Pisa on our own rather than make the longer trip to Florence. The ship docks in a large container port with nowhere really to walk to but does provide a shuttle bus into the centre of Livorno. This was our route to get us to the Leaning Tower. Ship’s shuttle bus to the centre of Livorno, buy bus tickets in the newspaper kiosk, bus to train station, train to Pisa (20 minutes), buy more bus tickets and enquire at tourist information at Pisa station which bus to catch, and then bus to the Campo dei Miracoli. The trip was a little longwinded but got us there in about an hour. Traveling to the Campo on the bus took us through some fairly ordinary streets with red roofs and normal looking buildings and then the bus dropped us just outside the square. You could tell you were there by the crowds of people and once we had got through the outer gate we were amazed by the sight of the Leaning Tower and Cathedral shining out in white marble. You can now go up the Tower but this cost 15 euros and when we enquired at 1.30 pm the earliest time available was 5pm so we went inside the Cathedral instead. Very large inside and a lot cooler as it was at least 90c outside. Afterwards, we amused ourselves taking silly photos of each other ‘holding up’ the leaning tower, had a brilliant ice cream and bought a few gifts from one of the many stalls set up around the edge of the square. We did not agree with another reviewer who thought Pisa was a waste of time and that the souvenirs were tacky – our leaning mug looks great on the mantelpiece. Repeated journey on the way back, but both buses and train were quite crowded, mostly with other passengers from the ship who had had the same idea. Just one word of warning about traveling on the train in Italy, having read my Lonely Planet Guide to Italy I was aware of this but many were not. There are 3 classes of train in Italy, and to travel on the intercity you have to pay a supplement which we had not paid as we had bought tickets and had been given the times on the way out for the local train. On the way back, the first train to Livorno was the intercity and we all got on despite seeing the guard and my protests that this was not a good idea. The guard did not come our way thankfully, but on chatting to a man from London on the return bus he told me that he had not bought a bus ticket and had got away with it. We called it quits after he admitted to being fined 8 euros per ticket on the train for not paying the supplement!

Civitavecchia

We really wanted to make the most of the opportunity of seeing Rome and had booked a private tour for the four of us over the internet with Portcompass (www.portcompass.com) at $109 dollars each. Our driver met us outside the ship at 8.30am and an hour later we started to see the sights. The traffic was very light and according to Roberto our driver this was because most of the Romans were on their holidays. We explored the Forum and the Coliseum in the morning and then went further into the city to see the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and the Pantheon. Roberto gave us explanations as were driving and he seemed to weave in and out of the back streets and suddenly pop out into somewhere interesting, even where there were no other cars in sight. We stopped at Piazza Navona for an al fresco pizza and great espressos and then went on to the Vatican Museum and ended the day in St Peters. Obviously in one day you can only get a snapshot of what there is to see but for the whole family this was the best day of our holiday and we are longing to return to Rome. The tour worked out brilliantly in that Roberto knew all the short cuts and would wait outside each attraction in the car so we felt we got the maximum time sightseeing in the least tiring way.

The dress code in St Peters was extremely strict, and no-one in shorts and vest tops or mini skirts was let in – male and female. Even ¾ length trousers were not acceptable for men. We had a big drama in that my husband had left the legs of his zip off trousers in the car and went back to get them, leaving the rest of us watching people being refused at the gates. Our son then announced he was going in by himself and would see us inside and pulled up his socks and pulled down his ¾ trousers so he was showing just two inches of leg in-between. Despite turning down another slightly older teenager dressed just like him minutes before he managed to sidle past and rushed into St Peters. When my husband returned with his trouser legs we too rushed in and turned right – big mistake. In our haste and looking for our son we had gone the wrong way and then compounded our mistake by buying tickets for the Cupola thinking they were to get into the church. We also bought the tickets without the lift which made us regret this mistake even further when it took us a long five minutes to climb up a long and winding stair and then found ourselves looking down into the church below. Fantastic view and also of the city from the rooftops outside but not quite what we intended! Of course when we finally got back down again we found our son back outside, saying he had spent the best ½ hour on his own looking round.

Naples

Took ships tour of ‘Hike up Mt Vesusvius and Excavations of Pompeii’. This tour was not for the fainthearted as the trek to the summit took 45 minutes and to start with was up a 45 degree slope on a cinder path. Rewarded by fascinating view of the crater and panoramic views of the bay of Naples. We had left early and were first up the volcano, even beating some of the guides, which was a good thing as by the time we came back down again, there were quite a few coming up, including women in high heels and even a couple with a baby in a pram and it was beginning to get extremely hot. Next we set off for Pompeii which by then (lunchtime) was absolutely baking. I had seen some Japanese tourists at Pisa with sunshades so had packed my umbrella for our daughter to use. Our guide, who really brought the site to life, also had a large umbrella so we didn’t feel silly and it really did help as there was hardly any shade. Pompeii was very busy so were glad we hadn’t attempted to get there on the train, although apparently the station was quite close. We bought a book with overlays at the site which showed how it is now and also how it was. Amazing place. Ship’s literature said there were no facilities on Mt Vesusvius or at Pompeii but there were toilets at both and at least 3 snack bars on the way up the volcano. We returned to the ship at about 2.30pm and decided against going into Naples, being by this time very hot, dusty and tired. Instead chilled out in the Aquaspa before the very good show with Samantha Jay in the evening.

Mykonos

Ship reached here at 1pm and a heavy swell made for a slow transfer to the harbor in the ship’s tenders. We waited for approx ½ an hour in the theatre before being called and it was a very bumpy crossing but only took 5 minutes. Busy harbor with lots of ferries and two other cruise ships later on in the afternoon. Mykonos town was easy to walk around, with lots of what the shopping guide Nuala called ‘high-end’ shops, and was very picturesque with most of the buildings being painted blue and white. I had fancied a gold ring as a souvenir of our cruise and purchased a gold love knot design in one of the recommended stores, Giorgios. They were most generous with their discount, and reduced it by 1/3 from the original price. There was a strong wind blowing all the time we were there, which reduced the feeling of heat considerably, but got a little too much at times. There was an area of the town containing a number of windmills and one of the locals told us this wind had been blowing for a few days, so it seemed to be a feature of the island. After a good look around the town we opted for an early dinner in the Pelican Restaurant in the centre, and then walked back down to the harbor to have drinks and coffee and to admire the pelicans which are the island’s mascots. We tried Ouzo just to see what it was like as one of the cafés was promoting it. We won’t be having it again!

Santorini

Millennium was anchored just offshore and to reach the town of Fira, the island’s capital you had to tender ashore and then make your way up a massive cliff. There were three ways to do this, by cable car, to walk (1/2hour) or to ride a ‘donkey’. We bravely opted for the donkeys and went through an archway to find a string of rather large mules, which easily looked capable of carrying a full weight. We all got on, our son on a very large one, our daughter on a quiet looking grey (thank goodness), my husband on a rather a mean looking one, and mine was smaller than the rest. The Greek mule owner then leapt onto one of his own and we all started up the hill. We quickly found out that you could not steer the mule as there were no reins, you just had to hang on to a metal bar on the top of the saddle. It was a great laugh and we all made it up safely but not without a few incidents as the mules had a few tricks which included seeing which one could go in front and also seeing how close they could go to the wall! Don’t try this going down, it could be more than exciting … Fira town was pedestrianised for the most part but was still packed with visitors. We looked around for a bit and then made our way to the bus station to try and catch a bus for Oia on the other end of the island. The bus station was too crowded so we opted for a taxi instead and after a wait of about 15 minutes at the taxi rank near the bus station one came along and we drove off to Oia. The trip took about 20 minutes and cost 10 euros. Amazing views as we drove along the top of Santorini, at one point you could see the sea on both sides of the road. We turned down the taxi drivers suggestion to wait for us for 1 hour and then take us back to Fira (50 euros) and told him we would chance it on the bus. Oia was so quiet compared to Fira and also was perched on top of the cliff. After exploring we found a family type café and had a snack lunch, typical items on the menu included a plate of Greek specialties for 5 euros. Easy to catch the bus back, less than 4 euros for the four of us. Back in Fira we opted to take the cable car back down to the harbor side, and then the tender back to the ship. We thought overall that it was well worth making the effort to go to the other end of the island and visit Oia, as it was such a contrast, and so peaceful.

Athens

We took a taxi from the ship direct to the Acropolis at 8.50 am. This cost us 32 euros which was over double the rate quoted by Dara the transport expert. We did check to see whether the meter was on, which it was, but concluded we must have been on a special tourist rate. Others were charged 8 euros just to go to Piraeus metro station, whereas a crew member was charged only 2 euros. Forgot about expense as were glad to be at the Acropolis by 9.30am as like Rome, the traffic was very light. We were just ahead of all the ships tours and found both the Parthenon and the museum on the site well worth visiting. After having a drink in a tiny snack bar in the road parallel to the Acropolis we walked to Syntagma Square for the changing of the guard. There were only two guards on duty and one sergeant but at 12.30 exactly they began to parade up and down doing their ‘funny walk’ and kept us all entertained for about 20 minutes. The Plaka was only about 5 minutes walk away so we made out way there and had lunch outside. The Plaka was full of shops with friendly shopkeepers which encouraged us to make a few purchases. In two of the shops they seemed keen to barter and offered us the goods at a cheaper price than on the tag. At 3pm we made our way to the metro station which was just outside the Plaka only to find that the line to Piraeus was closed until 4pm. A handwritten sign told us to go to a bus stop in a certain street and catch the bus. This we did and all piled on a bus crowded with backpackers and set off through the back streets only to find ourselves in a bus station about 10 minutes later. The driver told us to follow the people and we found ourselves in another metro station which we realized was further down the line. Bought tickets for 70c each and soon reached Piraeus. Having met a couple from London on the metro we thought we would walk back to the ship as they knew the way. The walk took at least 20 minutes and at one point we had to cross a major road where the pedestrian crossing gave us only 5 seconds to cross! Millennium of course was in the furthest bay. We found Athens perfectly possible to do on your own, but would have been completely lost without good map purchased before we went.

Dubrovnik

Took the shuttle bus to the city walls after breakfast, about 20 minutes in fairly heavy traffic to get there. Changed 45 euros for kuna at the bank opposite where the bus dropped us. ATMs also in this area. Once inside the city we made our way to the wall and walked the whole circumference. We saw a number of passengers from the ship who must have been on a tour, but you could very easily do this on your own. Beautiful city and extremely well kept. The city was heavily bombed in the 1990s and has been extensively rebuilt. Boiling hot on top of the wall and by the time we had walked all the way round we were quite tired so with the help of the ship’s map this time we set off to look for a restaurant I had seen reviewed in the Sunday Telegraph. This was a pizzeria, Mea Culpa, on Za Rokom. When we found it, a little away from the main street, the Stradum, every table was taken, even though those on neighboring restaurants were not. We waited for a free table and ordered 2 pizzas between the four of us, taking our cue from diners already seated. It was certainly worth the wait, the pizzas were huge and delicious and the bill with two drinks each came to 146 kuna. This was an amazing bargain and worked out (I think) to less than 20 euros. Unfortunately the War Memorial, with photos of people killed in the fighting in the 1990s was shut, as we would have liked to have seen it. We made our way back to the ship about 3pm and did not need to change any money back as it was all spent. However, the whole day including entrance to the wall, lunch, extra drinks, and a couple of souvenirs, came to the 45 euros we had changed in the morning.

Lovely sailaway at 5pm before our dinner in the Olympic Restaurant.

Venice

Don’t miss the sail in to Venice, we were up on deck about one hour before we were due to arrive, along with half the ship. Although the ship docks at the Statione Maritima, we sailed right past St Marks Square and the Grand Canal and had a wonderful view. We had been to Venice a few times before so knew our way around quite well but the children had not been before. The ship provided a vaporetto transfer down to St Marks Square so after an early lunch we set off to explore. St Marks was very crowded but as you would expect the crowds soon thinned out only 5 minutes walk away. Our afternoon’s walk included a visit to the Friari church, which contained some beautiful paintings and sculptures and stopping for gifts from the stalls on the Rialto Bridge. We took an early dinner near the station right on the Grand Canal, being too tired to walk back to the ship, and then travelled all the way back down the Grand Canal on the No 1 vaporetto, which was a great way to see a lot without further walking. The light was just beginning to fade when we started and by the time we reached the final stop, it was almost dark and the lights were gleaming out over the water, a magical time and a different way to view Venice. The next morning was disembarkation day which presented us with a bit of a problem. Our flight out of Venice was at 6.45pm and Celebrity’s solution to this was to transfer us to the airport at 8.30am, leaving a wait of about 9 hours. Having spent some time researching alternative transfers the previous day and knowing that we could not leave any luggage at the airport, we left our luggage in the cruise terminal until 4pm, when we took a taxi to the airport. We were not at all happy with this arrangement, as this left us over 50 euros out of pocket, and we had a transfer arranged with Celebrity. We have written to complain and are waiting to see if they will refund us. Not wishing to spend our last day sitting in the airport, we made the most of our early exit from Millenium and catching the shutt

le down to St Marks Square again, were ready for another day at 9.30 am. This was the best time to beat the queue and see the Basilica in St Marks and we also found that there was a ban on backpacks and large bags in the Cathedral. This worked to our advantage, as once we had deposited our bags in the free lockers round the corner, we were given priority passes into the Basilica, bypassing the queue. It’s worth spending a few euros to go up onto the balcony as the views are great. Also great were the views from the Campinile which was our next stop. After that we made our way to a quieter part for lunch as the crowds were beginning to build up. We were all sad on our final journey back to the ship to reclaim our bags – it had been a fantastic holiday.

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