Originally posted by meeresbesucher:
i´m from germany and i look for somebody how booked the same trip with the galaxy departs 6 oct 06 from rome.
our flight is landing at 2pm. is there anybody how is landing at this time, so we can take a taxi to civitavecchia?! how much it s costs?
we can also take the train but we have not so much time.
is there anybody how took this cruise in summer 2006 for some interesting informations about the oldness of the ship and some other informations.
so i´m very lucky to see some of you on this cruise.
with best regards
meeresbesucher -) in german for "guest of the seas" :-)
We just returned from the Sept.04 Galaxy sailing to the Eastern Mediterranean. Our flight arrived in Rome at approx. 2 PM ( like you say yours will do) and our travel agent booked a 1 way private driver trip to the Galaxy in Civitavecchia, which I would not recommend because it was so expensive to do so. Nor would I recommend that you take the train to Civitavecchia because the town is very dangerous and it is an unpleasant walk through a scary neighborhood from the train station to where the ships are actually docked. I would highly recommend taking the Celebrity transfer service - it's reasonable ( comparatively speaking) and Celebrity staff will take you by the hand ( almost literally as I saw it while we waited for our luggage to get off Lufthansa)from the point you arrive in Rome airport to when they get you and your luggage on the bus to get you to the Galaxy all safe and sound.
As for the Galaxy itself, our stateroom was clean and neat with a a nice big oceanview window - 8th floor, non smoking section, sort of close to the library and not too far from the elevators. I have nothing to complain about except for a minor inconvenience ie. the fact that the shaver plug in the bathroom did not work and could not be easily repaired so my husband had to buy disposable razors,no big deal. Also, ladies,if you want to bring your own hair dryer to use in the state room proper rather than using the ship's hair dryer, be sure your hair dryer is not more powerful than 1500 Watts ( some of the newest "ionic" ones are 1875 watts) because the stateroom plugs only support 1500 watt electrical items maximum.
We took the Summit to Alaska a few years ago in its first year of navigation and though the Summit was admittedly newer and shinier and bigger, our family found the Galaxy to be just fine.
As for food, perhaps the Summit was a tad bit better than the Galaxy mainly because of the variety of dining room "experiences" that the Summit offered ( bigger ship, ergo a few more places to choose from eg. private high end cuisine dining room for an extra $25 per day as I recall). The Orion Room on the Galaxy was good and if you did not like a dish, the waiter brought you a substitute of your choice in a hurry so as to keep up with your dining table mates' courses. If you like wine with your meals, buy it by the bottle rather than by the glass - saves you some money because by the glass adds up quickly.
I wish Celebrity would offer open dining like some other ships, but they don't and that's that and you know it going in. One exception - the Orion Room was open seating for lunch, which was a pleasant and quieter change to the buffet cast of thousands lunch dining offered by the Grill Room. We used the Orion Room for lunch on our 3 at sea days. Something to note: for the Mediterranean sailing, the later dining time is somewhat later than the one we experienced on our Alaska cruise, so keep that in mind when you book yourself for Main dining or Late dining ( 6:15 PM and 8:45 PM. respectively). We assigned ourselves to late dining initially but after the first night we asked the maitre d' to change us to early dining, which he happily did, and this earlier time suited us much better.
As for ports of call, our initial intinerary included Istanbul and Ephesus, but due to political unrest, we were assigned Dubrovnik and Messina as substitute ports of call. Dubrovnik was excellent - by far our favorite port of call and you can do it without a tour guide. Ditto for Rhodes. Rhodes seemed to be the most reasonable of all the ports for buying trinkets/jewelry/clothes/gifts to take back home.
Keep in mind though, that at tendered ports of call, Celebrity charges you $6 for the boat transfer to land and it appeared to me that the tour people usually get off the boat first and there's no charge for tender because it's included in the price of the tour. Perhaps a small thing to consider but it eases the stress levels of waiting for your tender number to be called if you're part of a tour group being taken by hand ( or so it seemed) off the Galaxy.
Back to itineraries... for Mykonos, we took the Delos island Greek ruins tour and it was fantastic!!!! Also, because Delos is a gov't run archaeological site, its hours of being open to the public are limited - 3 pm being the closure time, but the Galaxy docked at 2 PM, and our tour guide said we were very lucky because Celebrity paid the Greek gov'r extra $ to allow us to visit Delos after hours when only Celebrity tourists were there without the usual huge size of crowds there. The down side is that we has almost no time left to visit Mykonos itself except for an hour or two after our return from the island of Delos.
Santorini is beautiful - we took a tour but I think you could do the town proper on your own. Our tour guide was great so I can't complain and we got to visit a winery with stunning views!
As for Athens - we took a Celebrity tour of the Parthenon and Acropolis and unfortunately there were a couple of cruise ships in port so there were massive numbers of people at the same place at the same time. The port of Piraeus is about 45-60 minutes outside of Athens proper, so you spend time on a bus just getting to the Acropolis. There's nothing to see or do in Piraeus, by the way. So for Athens, I would definitely recommend booking in advance a private tour to go to places other than just the Acropolis. Some people on the boat did so and their visit to Athens' historic points of interest was much more satisfying and less tiring than ours even though ours was supposedly "shorter" in duration.
Regarding Messina, that's another port of call ( like Athens) that you need to book a tour either through Celebrity or through a private company - the ship docks in a nasty neighborhood so don't try to wander around on your own. We took a short Celebrity tour of Taormina - too short IMO, but it was our choice at the time to have a short tour - Taormina is a beautiful and historic town in the mountains - but the tour left little free time to explore the town, because it's a 45 minute drive to and from the dock area. So in retrospect, "short tour" was not the desirable option. Our dinner table companions took the Celebrity winery tour in Messina and raved about it. So I'd recommend that one based on their experience or booking a private tour of Taormina as our other table mates did, which they loved.
Regarding Naples - we did the strenuous ( and it definitely was so) hike of Vesuvias and Pompeii. Pompeii was great ( the Roman version of Delos ruins). Vesuvias was so so - it's not like visiting the volcanic region of the Big Island of Hawaii. At Vesuvias you see a crater and some steam - for me, not too memorable. People who took tours to the island of Capri or tours driving along the Amalfi Coast were exceedingly happy with their choices ( and not so tired and dusty as we were who did the hikes). I'd say in retrospect, I'd do EITHER the Delos Greek ruins tour in Mykonos OR the Pompeii Roman ruins tour in Naples but I would not do both - by doing one of them frees up your time to visit other's city sights instead... perhaps Delos over Pompeii because there's more to see and do in Naples than in Mykonos...maybe that would be my choice in hindsight.
However, I'm sure you will enjoy your Eastern Mediterranean itinerary whatever you choose to do.