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My husband and I were celebrating our 25th Anniversary, so this cruise was our gift to ourselves! It was wonderful overall. When cruising Celebrity, we always choose Aqua Class. We love Blu; it's wonderful having meals prepared just for yourselves and not a whole slew of people. We also love the fact that in Blu, one never has to dress for Formal Evenings. My husband hates dressing up! On the first evening, we took advantage of the half-price savings and dined at Murano. Sure it was excellent, but honestly, Blu was just as amazing each night, if not more-so. The itinerary was wonderful: Rome, Santorini, Istanbul (overnight!), Kusadasi, Mykonos, Athens, and Naples. My personal favorite port had to be Kusadasi. Ancient Ephasus was just amazing... especially the Theater and Terrace Houses. Service was super... staff always friendly, and for such an enormous boat, the crew was so organized at dealing with crowds both in disembarking at ports, sending folks onto shore excursions, etc. Very impressive organization. We didn't win it, but were delighted that Celebrity gave a free cruise away during Bingo at the end of the trip. Since this was a longer cruise, I indulged in some art-lessons in the on-board studio. It was GREAT! I'm no artist, but the Artist in Residence was patient, helpful, and really SHOWED you techniques. Thoroughly enjoyed that and got to bring home two souvenir pieces of art that I painted on my own! Only two complaints were regarding two Shore Excursions: Our Mykonos tour of the "Monastery" really wasn't worth the money. The tour made a short stop at a beach for photos and then to the Monastery, which was just a small Greek Orthodox Church. The village gave us some mezes, but the experience was unremarkable and I regretted not going to Delos instead. The second disappointment was our "Pompeii On Your Own" Tour. I have been there numerous times, but wanted to show it to my husband. Turns out, we mainly paid for our transportation to/from Pompeii from the port in Naples. They didn't even get our tickets for us in advance! When we arrived, we were told we had only 2 hrs. to visit the site (which is laughable anyway, since it's a huge archaeological park), and then we had to stand in line for THIRTY MINUTES to get our tickets. The rest of the trip was a fabulous dream come true, however.

Mediterranean MAGIC!

Celebrity Reflection Cruise Review by hyker1

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2015
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: AquaClass
My husband and I were celebrating our 25th Anniversary, so this cruise was our gift to ourselves! It was wonderful overall. When cruising Celebrity, we always choose Aqua Class. We love Blu; it's wonderful having meals prepared just for yourselves and not a whole slew of people. We also love the fact that in Blu, one never has to dress for Formal Evenings. My husband hates dressing up! On the first evening, we took advantage of the half-price savings and dined at Murano. Sure it was excellent, but honestly, Blu was just as amazing each night, if not more-so.

The itinerary was wonderful: Rome, Santorini, Istanbul (overnight!), Kusadasi, Mykonos, Athens, and Naples. My personal favorite port had to be Kusadasi. Ancient Ephasus was just amazing... especially the Theater and Terrace Houses.

Service was super... staff always friendly, and for such an enormous boat, the crew was so organized at dealing with crowds both in disembarking at ports, sending folks onto shore excursions, etc. Very impressive organization. We didn't win it, but were delighted that Celebrity gave a free cruise away during Bingo at the end of the trip.

Since this was a longer cruise, I indulged in some art-lessons in the on-board studio. It was GREAT! I'm no artist, but the Artist in Residence was patient, helpful, and really SHOWED you techniques. Thoroughly enjoyed that and got to bring home two souvenir pieces of art that I painted on my own!

Only two complaints were regarding two Shore Excursions: Our Mykonos tour of the "Monastery" really wasn't worth the money. The tour made a short stop at a beach for photos and then to the Monastery, which was just a small Greek Orthodox Church. The village gave us some mezes, but the experience was unremarkable and I regretted not going to Delos instead. The second disappointment was our "Pompeii On Your Own" Tour. I have been there numerous times, but wanted to show it to my husband. Turns out, we mainly paid for our transportation to/from Pompeii from the port in Naples. They didn't even get our tickets for us in advance! When we arrived, we were told we had only 2 hrs. to visit the site (which is laughable anyway, since it's a huge archaeological park), and then we had to stand in line for THIRTY MINUTES to get our tickets.

The rest of the trip was a fabulous dream come true, however.
hyker1’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

AquaClass
Cabin A2
More spacious Aqua Class stateroom than on other ships in the line. Bathroom was especially nice. My husband loved the above-bed storage.
Penthouse Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Acropolis
    Again, the crowds were horrendous and we used the transmitters so we could hear our guide on the Acropolis Tour. However, this guide KNEW HER STUFF! Maria was awesome and despite the huge throngs of people bumping into each other atop the Acropolis, she made the experience very rewarding. She also worked in ample free-time which I greatly appreciated. We used it to buy some Lemon Ice (Mmmmm!) and get my husband a t-shirt.
    View All 330 Acropolis Reviews
  • City Tour
    Basically, it was a bus tour in a crowded city. Sadly, this was the one area Maria lacked as far as dialogue. She pointed things out, but didn't divulge in much history behind those things.
    View All 154 City Tour Reviews
  • Temple of Poseidon
    The drive to Cape Sounion is longer than I expected... about an hour and a half. However, the views are fantastic and it was great getting out of the crowded city and see some of the Attic landscape. Maria again, was very good about describing and interpreting sights along the way. Cape Sounion was very impressive. I highly recommend this tour. It takes you out and away from the zillions of people scrambling over one another. At Cape Sounion, the Temple of Poseidon isn't crowded at all. There are lovely bathroom facilities, a restaurant to grab a snack or something to drink, and the views of the Aegean are magnificent!
    View All 35 Temple of Poseidon Reviews
  • Blue Mosque
    Women must dress modest and cover their heads. Lines were long the entire time in Istanbul and I thought our group was way too large.
    View All 76 Blue Mosque Reviews
  • Bosphorus Cruise
    This was such a wonderful way to end the day. Relaxing... some people actually fell asleep on it! I was too busy taking photos. Lasted an hour and a half, and was really worth it.
    View All 29 Bosphorus Cruise Reviews
  • City Tour
    Interesting, but I prefer smaller groups. Had to use the ear transmitter to hear the guide. The units were good and worked well, but the crowds in general lowered my enjoyment level. I mean the streets and sites we visited were absolutely PACKED with people.
    View All 52 City Tour Reviews
  • Grand Bazaar
    The cruise lines don't do tourists any favors. Prices really are jacked for cruise passengers. My advice is NOT to shop in the cruise-line recommended stores. Carry cash and buy elsewhere. The bargaining process is fun and the store owners truly have a charm all their own in the interaction with potential buyers. It's a great experience.
    View All 63 Grand Bazaar Reviews
  • Hagia Sofia
    Fabulous! However, the crowds are once again an issue. This was one site where I was thankful for the electronic guide transmitter, though. Our guide did a great job explaining the rich history of the Hagia Sophia.
    View All 62 Hagia Sofia Reviews
  • Spice Market
    We didn't buy much but took LOTS of photos! It's a colorful, fascinating place loaded with intriguing wares. Ladies, check out the gorgeous linens.
    View All 25 Spice Market Reviews
  • Topkapi Walking Tour
    The lunch at the Palace was truly OUTSTANDING, but they don't have adequate bathroom stalls. Plan ahead and be sure you're ready to wait in a LONG line to use the facilities! Sad to say, again the crowds were a serious issue. Guide told us up front we wouldn't be able to see the Palace Jewel Collection, due to the long lines and there not being enough time. I think they should limit numbers of people on these tours so it's more enjoyable. Like anything else, early-birds will get the worm if they sign up for the tours EARLY!
    View All 38 Topkapi Walking Tour Reviews
  • Underground Cistern
    This was actually my favorite thing about the Istanbul tour. It's mysterious and unique. Really a fascinating site.
    View All 29 Underground Cistern Reviews
  • Basilica of St. John
    The Basilica was fascinating, but our guide gave some serious misinformation regarding some of the surrounding area. He seemed to pride himself on his knowledge of ancient history, but he was not as intelligent as he wanted to come across. The Basilica is actually more of a Forum type space surrounding what was once the ancient Church. Definitely worth a visit, especially for Christians interested in the Apostles.
    View All 26 Basilica of St. John Reviews
  • Celsus Library
    I'd studied the Library of Celsus in Roman archaeology and always wanted to see it. It's stunning. I was also interested in the impressive Arch beside it, dating from Augustan times. Our guide was clueless about the Arch and offered very little information on it. He'd obviously only studied certain parts of the city/site and didn't know much about a lot of what was actually there. I found that very disappointing.
    View All 22 Celsus Library Reviews
  • Ephesus
    Had it not been for the ridiculous dining/entertainment experience, I would have given this part of the excursion a five-star rating. The tour was supposed to be focusing on ROMAN Ephesus. Well, the lunch (I guess) was supposed to be imitating a Roman meal. It was way hokey. Servers were in tunics, and the place where we ate had obviously been built specifically to accommodate tourists. Then we had to sit through a truly BAD "entertainment" of farcical gladiator combat. If only lunch could have been a bag-lunch on the archaeological site, with a guide who truly had STUDIED the site's history and knew what he/she was talking about! As much as I absolutely LOVED Ephesus, the guide and lunch experience was a real low point. Lastly, we were all practically forced to sit through yet ANOTHER Persian Carpet demonstration so they could try and sell us some. Again, time taken AWAY from the reason I signed up for the tour........ to see EPHESUS!
    View All 242 Ephesus Reviews
  • Terrace Houses
    Best part of my day in Ephesus. Fortunately, there were well-placed placards describing the site and they were in English, since our guide was truly clueless and by that time, most of the people on the tour KNEW that! If you go to Ephesus, don't miss these Terrace Houses. The wall-paintings and mosaics are phenomenal. There appears to be an extra charge/ticket required to enter the Terrace House area. Since it's pretty far into the site, be sure to inquire about the necessary admission if you choose to do Ephesus on your own... which I'd urge you to do! I think they have the hand-held units for self-guided tours.
    View All 46 Terrace Houses Reviews
  • Panagia Tourliani Monastery
    There just wasn't much to this little monastery. We briefly went to a restaurant for mezes, which were just so-so. The bus made one beach stop for photos. That was IT. Very disappointing tour. The guide was pleasant but didn't go out of her way to show us anything. I guess I should've signed up for Delos.
    View All 8 Panagia Tourliani Monastery Reviews
  • Herculaneum
    Our guide was AWESOME! He knew Herculaneum's history and obviously spent time studying recent developments of the site. Herculaneum is a smaller site than Pompeii, so in my opinion, it's the best one to visit in one day, when there are only half-day tours of each place. Definitely got our money's worth. My husband thought it was great and we got blessed with cooler weather, too!
    View All 76 Herculaneum Reviews
  • Pompeii Walking Tour
    Granted, I knew it would only be a half day. We did the "Pompeii On Your Own" tour. I'd been to the site previously several times and knew my way around. Turns out, we were only given TWO HOURS at a site that really requires several days of exploring. Sure, it was supposed to be a half day, but only TWO HOURS? Then, we find out we have to purchase tickets. This means that the money we paid at the get-go was basically just for our transport to/from the dock. I was furious! We had to spend 30 minutes waiting in line for tickets. And... yep. The site was so packed it was absolutely ridiculous. Crawling with people. Well, by the time we got in, my husband just wanted out of the crowd, so I took him to Villa of the Mysteries, which is so removed from the rest of Pompeii, no tour groups bother to go there. Too bad for them! It's the coolest thing in Pompeii. So instead of giving this tour a "terrible", I'm giving it a "Poor", since we redeemed the experience somewhat ourselves by using our very little time there so well. My advice... go to Herculaneum. And I still question why the Archaeological Museum wasn't even an option on our cruise. I found that VERY disappointing.
    View All 452 Pompeii Walking Tour Reviews
  • Oia Village
    Loved Oia, but didn't have enough time there. Guide only gave us like an hour and fifteen minutes. I felt rushed and frustrated that I couldn't take more time to look around. The tour was very interesting, but I'd prefer more time in Oia!
    View All 213 Oia Village Reviews