Jump to content

Live Silhouette 29 Sep Med & Israel


Recommended Posts

Figured I'd post my review as it happens, because from past experience the review will never get written.

 

We've cruised Celebrity 5 times (counting this time) and Celebrity is our line of choice when we have to pay ourselves. First 3 times in Concierge class (for the cabin locations), last time in Aqua. This time just booked a Veranda to save money and see the difference. We booked this cruise mostly for the Israel ports. We hadn't been to Naples and wanted to stop there, but have been to Rome, Athens, and Mykonos previously.

 

Used Choice Air, getting a great deal, nearly half off from booking direct with the airline. Was able to sign in and get seat assignments. Flight was perfect and arrived a half hour early in Rome. Even got frequent flier miles for the flight despite the cheap price.

 

I'm not going to say much about Rome other than we arrived a day early, arranged private transfers, did a night golf cart tour, and had a two-hour driver in Rome the day of the cruise before heading to the port. Arrived about 12:30 where we were driven to the ship, walked straight in line without waiting (unlike the priority suite line which had a line) and were onboard in less than 10 minutes.

 

Some have commented about the constant selling, and right onboard even before we got to the elevators a girl was trying to sell drink packages, yelling out--drink as much as you want. Sounded a little odd, possibly because English likely isn't her native language and it made it sound that if your goal was to get good and drunk you could certainly do that. We went up to get something to eat and were asked about 3 more times if we wanted to purchase a drink package. (Haven't been approached at all now the second day, although I must admit we spent much of the time today away from people.)

 

Rooms were ready right at 1:00pm. Had a visit from the room steward, but had to ask about the extension cord and water for cpap machines despite emailing and filling out forms ahead of time. They arrived before dinner.

 

Room is on deck 6 forward, and we found out a 9:45 above the theater where a show called Junk was going on. We were too tired to attend, but could hear thumping and muffled music from below. I have two teenagers who are right below me at home, and this was not worse. They know to stop before 10 because I sleep early. This didn't keep me awake but my wife had a little trouble falling asleep. Tonight's a comedian so I don't expect to hear much noise.

 

Room has the couch first as you come in--first time for that and I think my wife likes that.

 

Internet

Signed up for Internet and 25% Captains Club discount applied automatically. Seems to be faster than what we got a few years ago off the S American coast. It used to be you could sign out of one device and sign in on a different device, but that didn't work for me this time. Good thing I didn't sign up on my phone first otherwise I'd be stuck and not typing this right now. Maybe you still can but I haven't had the energy to figure out if I can switch devices (kind of doubt it).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dining

We booked the Silhoutte specifically for the specialty dining. We did Aqua class last time and thought Blu was OK, but really wanted to try the specialty dining. Booked a veranda cabin and got on board credit which we used for specialty dining. Booked a 4 dinner package, but thought of maybe booking another 4. When their packages went on sale, we changed to an 8 night package. So cabin + specialty dining worked out to be much cheaper than Aqua class as our onboard credit covered most of the extra charges.

 

As soon as we got onboard I went to make reservations for each night. No problem getting any of my choices for all of my days, although was told Murano only had 6 pm on our second night, but that was OK because we always go early anyway.

 

First night--Lawn Club. Been wanting to try this ever since I heard of it. Was on the Reflection last year but didn't spend the extra to try it then so we came hungry. Really enjoyed the waiter, the view as the sun went down, just a little cool (we'll bring a jacket next time). Everything was good, although I'm not a foodie. Had the rib eye and while not prime it was sufficiently tasty. Only problem with the steaks is they were slightly "charred" on the outside which added a bitter taste. Glad I didn't get the filet as I doubt with it being thicker they could have gotten it done without adding too much char. Didn't want to cook myself and I suspect very few do that as they barely mentioned it and didn't push at all and no one took them up on the offer.

 

Finished up with the chocolate chip cookie and ice cream. First thing my wife said was "I'm glad we're not sharing". Overall a good meal, and I didn't leave as stuffed as I expected.

 

With the 8 night package, and spending 1 night off ship in Jerusalem, we will only be 3 nights at most in the main dining room. Thought about changing to select dining, but decided to keep our table and time. Just got back from our second night in the main dining room. Was surprised to see the left menu was all extra charges for drinks (don't remember that last time), and the 3 courses (starter, salad, main) was cut down to 2. Bread basket didn't seem to have the same assortment as previously, meal was OK but nothing spectacular. Service was OK, just a little slow getting started and I was hungry after walking all day. Really nothing impressive about the food; it does seem to be they are pushing the better quality you used to get to Blu and specialty dining. (Can't comment on Luminae as we don't pay suite prices.)

 

Looking forward to getting back to the Lawn Club as well as the other specialty dining venues.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Naples

Having been to Sorrento and Herculaneum, we spent the day in Naples. My wife likes to collect nativities, so the big agenda item was go to Via San Greggorio. Walked off the ship and had offers of taxis to tour the day, but when I told them I just needed to go downtown, and said No to their offer to drive me for the day downtown, they just smiled and walked off.

 

Just outside the port on the main road, off to the left is the place to book ferries to Capri and other places. There's a taxi stand there and they are happy to take you wherever you want to go.

 

Just let me say, of all the things I do when I travel--I hate taxis the worst!

 

I researched the "fixed prices" to specific points in Naples. We got in and to his credit he started the meter right off. When I said "tariffa predeterminada", he quoted me 13 despite the fact I knew it to be 9. Then his buddies told him it was 15, and despite pointing to the fare sheet hanging from his seat, he insisted that did not cover all of the downtown area, just one specific spot. I went back and told him OK, 13 and he agreed.

 

After waking downtown and being tired, we tried to catch a cab on the street. Took us a while to get someone, and we were just happy to be getting back to the ship. He didn't start the meter and I didn't ask. Within 2 blocks the wind moved the predetermined fare sheet a bit and he shifted it to the front, pretending to get it out of my way. I was curious what he'd charge. Back at the port he told me 15 which I paid, having not agreed to anything different beforehand. At least it seems they are consistent in their fixed pricing. Rather than trying to get the "right" or a "best" price, perhaps I won't try so hard and just pay what they ask. It still beat trying to sign up for a tour and paying their prices.

 

Accompanied my wife back to the ship, then went back out, walked to the metro, and for 1.10Euro went to the archaeological museum (what is technically an 11Euro taxi ride but would have probably cost me 20). Took the metro back, then walked up to Piazza del Publiscito for the view of Mt Vesuvius and a walk back to the ship.

 

It was a decent day in Naples despite having to take a taxi. Liked walking through the narrow streets, found a nice nativity (although a bit pricy and the price was higher the second time we went back to ask). I'm not a pizza fan and wasn't impressed, although not a foodie either. Gelato at Guy Odin was nice dark chocolate with cocoa chunks!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for writing this review. I am enjoying reading it. We have been to all the ports you are visiting. It is interesting to read a different point of view. Having been to Naples several times over the years, we have watched things steadily deteriorate to the point that we will not go again. Our last time, we were followed, harassed and cursed by beggars, sellers, migrants and street people of all types.

 

Only when we got deeper into the neighborhoods was there a break from this frenzy.

 

Perhaps your experience shows that the city may have been cleaned up and it may be possible to visit again.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Having been to Naples several times over the years, we have watched things steadily deteriorate to the point that we will not go again. Our last time, we were followed, harassed and cursed by beggars, sellers, migrants and street people of all types.

 

Only when we got deeper into the neighborhoods was there a break from this frenzy.

 

Perhaps your experience shows that the city may have been cleaned up and it may be possible to visit again.

 

I didn't notice anything unusual for a city center, although I tend to just ignore things and walk on past. But definitely sounds like it wasn't as bad as what you described. We barely saw a small part of what's in the city so I can't speak to everywhere, but didn't notice anything unusual in the places we went.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Shame you have had a bad experience in Naples. We (myself, wife and 20yr old Daughter) stayed in downtown Naples for 3 nights after a two week road and rail holiday. We had absolutely no problems day or night. Unfortunately I think though some less savoury characters rub their hands when they see white 100,000 ton mega ships cruising in to port so when I’m cruising I exit the ship and walk the opposite direction to throngs of cruisers walking into lair!!! Doesn’t always work mind you!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just finishing up a lazy first sea day doing what normally happens on the first few sea days--napping on the balcony. Not much to report as we tend to just relax. Went to a few port and informational speakers today--not really that informative but I research a lot before we leave so they're not likely to tell me something I don't already know!

 

Had a good dinner in Murano. Had been on the M class equivalent 3 or so times, so much of the menu was familiar and the experience much as expected. Service and food was good--the venison was better than I expected. Seems like they cut out a course from what I remember, although we finished much quicker than we ever had before (and that is a good thing, I don't need dinner to be a production). As they were bringing out the dishes and turning the plates just in the right direction and timing the removal of the covers, it reminded me when we first sailed Celebrity you could get that kind of attention in the main dining room. I remember they used to have plates with an X on the edge, and to annoy the waiter I'd turn it off center to watch him come back and put it back in the right spot. Again it seems the specialty restaurants are becoming what the main dining room used to be.

 

Still Celebrity gives us a predictable and comfortable experience, and on days like this just what I need--to be left alone mostly and relax.

 

While it's not something I care about much, we did have two interactions with officers today; once in the elevator someone pleasantly asked how things were going, and a second time we were photobombed by two officers as my wife and I were getting our picture taken. Staff is friendly and helpful, and our room steward is just as good if not better than any we had in Concierge or Aqua class. My wife asked for ice once, and now it's constantly refilled, and he must be a ninja with lightning speed and eyes everywhere as our room is always made up regardless of when we step out.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Looking forward to hearing about the Israel ports.

 

 

I hadn't seen much reported about Israel ports on this board, so I'll try to fill in the information I could never find. One more sea day then we'll be in Israel. We are spending the night in Jerusalem so it might be a few days before I get back to posting.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Israel

I like to plan down to the smallest detail because I don't want to be lost and controlled by circumstances and at the mercy of others. I had come up with a good plan for Israel--

Private driver on the first day. My wife has trouble walking and I wasn't sure we could keep up with a group. I also had a few things I wanted to see that many tour groups didn't go to.

Overnight in Jerusalem, so we could be up and into Bethlehem for the second day at 8 am for a tour of some monasteries, Jericho, and Bethlehem.

Biggest snag would be trying to get back to the ship on the second day. Figured I could take a taxi, but wasn't entirely sure best way to do it, so I had about 6 or 7 alternatives for how to do it.

 

At 8 am our ship pulled into the dock in Ashdod right on schedule. We were ready to get off as soon as the ship was cleared. Buses lined up outside the dock waiting. Then Israel intervened.

 

For the past several months, the handicapped citizens of Israel have been staging protests against low living payments from the government. They wanted to get at least minimum wage. They would show up somewhere in the morning, protest, block a road for a few hours, then go home. A few weeks ago a deal was struck with the largest groups that their pension would be increased, although not as much as they wanted, but they figured it was a good compromise.

 

A smaller group calling themselves the Handicapped Panthers weren't included in the negotiations and didn't agree to the terms. They chose to keep demonstrating. They just happened to pick Ashdod port on October 3, the very day we arrived in Ashdod. A small handful of people in wheelchairs blocked the gates of the port, letting no one in or out. As we were told, police did nothing because they didn't want to make the news being seen dragging people in wheelchairs away from their protests.

 

Consequently, buses that had been lined up on the docks early in the morning beat the protesters to the port. But everyone else, including private drivers and taxi drivers, couldn't get in. Traffic was backed up for quite a distance. About 20 bus loads of people on Celebrity tours got off and they found a back gate, unblocked, to get the buses out of the port. But they let no one else off the ship.

 

Eventually some smaller tour groups showed up (18 seat vans). We had a private driver, but had booked through an agency that ran some larger vans. We basically hitched a ride with them out of the port and to a gas station where our driver was waiting. In all, it took us nearly 3 hours to get off the ship and out of the port. Understandably, that was also 3 hours less touring time!

 

In spite of it all, that day worked out really good for us. We saw nearly everything we wanted to see, and really needed the private guide as my wife couldn't walk nearly as much as the tour bus groups did. We ended the day at our hotel shortly before 7 and settled in for the night.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Jerusalem

We had originally booked the driver/guide for part of the day in Jerusalem with an hour or two in Bethlehem. Later we decided to cancel the Bethlehem part on that first day and focus on Jerusalem sites. We are glad we did. Had we kept the Bethlehem portion, we would have had about 2 hours in Jerusalem before having to go to Bethlehem. As it was, we had about 6 1/2 hours in Jerusalem by the time we got there.

 

We wanted to go to the Garden Tomb, which isn't on most tours. Our driver called on our way into Jerusalem and they said we could come at any time. We got there and few people were there. A volunteer there gave us a short tour and tried to explain things from a believer's point of view. It was quite and peaceful in the middle of the city.

 

Then it was into the old city. Parked the car, got some cash from an ATM, and started walking. Immediately, the sloping downward stairs were hard for my wife. The tour guide changed directions where we took a more level path to the church of the Nativity. We stopped for lunch (schwarma?) then walked through the Jewish quarter, past the Cardo, then coming around a corner to a great view of the temple mount. After visiting the western wall, my wife was struggling walking, so we took a taxi back to the car. Getting in the car we drove into the old city again, then parked at Mt Zion to see the various things there. Then we drove down to the Mt of Olives, up to the top for a good view over the city, then through Mei Sharim (sp ?). This is the start of Sukkot, and it was interesting to see the balconies of the apartment buildings decorated with "booths" for the celebration. We then walked through the Mahane Yehuda market, buying some fruit and bread which was all we had energy to get for dinner. We stayed overnight in the Abraham Hostel--our first "hostel" experience. Not bad for about $115 a night, private bedroom and bath, 2 free drinks, and breakfast in the morning.

 

Everything worked out as good as could be expected considering the late start. I'm sure many weren't as fortunate as we were in getting out of the port. We saw many of the most important things we wanted to see, and were able to pretty much do what we wanted to do. We were tired, a little frustrated by the end of the day, but things still went well despite not being in control of everything.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Palestine/West Bank

Whenever I travel, I try to get out of the city if I can. I always prefer the days I spend in the countryside more than the days spent in a city. When looking for what to do on our second day, I wanted to do something out of Jerusalem, something where I could see the countryside, and maybe see things many people don't get to see. We had considered Masada and Ein Gedi, but was concerned about my wife's walking ability, and it just didn't seem to fit. We found a private guide in Bethlehem who offered tours of some monasteries in the desert along with the standard Bethlehem sites. While some had said they were disapointed with Bethlehem, we still wanted to see it, and I liked the idea of combining other little seen places.

 

We got up, had breakfast in the hotel, checked out, then used the app Gett to order a taxi to the Bethlehem crossing checkpoint. The driver had no idea what a "checkpoint" was, but eventually understood we wanted to go to "the police" outside of Bethlehem, not into Bethlehem itself. We got to the checkpoint, which seemed mostly deserted, made our way through the building being barely waved on, then out the other side.

 

We were a bit late but our driver met us as we were coming down the ramp. It's always a great feeling arranging a guide you've never met, showing up in a foreign country, and then seeing them waiting for you. Much better than being alone and stranded! Hopped in the car and off we went through the winding streets of Bethlehem.

 

Our guide knew a lot and while I knew much of what he said, he taught me a few things. Did you know the Arabic name for the town where the Shepherd's fields are literally means "house of the shepherds who watch their flocks by night"?

 

We drove to St George's monastary--at least the overlook looking down in to the Kidron valley. As it's quite a hike, and there were surpisingly 3 bus loads of people there, we didn't bother walking down to the monastery. It's quite a site hanging on the cliffs.

 

Then on to Jericho. We stopped to look at the mount of Temptation. We had thought of doing the cable car, but once we got there it didn't seem that interesting. We went to Hadrian's temple (a ruined palace), then on to the Jordan River, one of two baptismal sites on the Jordan River.

 

On our way back we stopped to look at the Mar Saba monastery, then on to (one of two) shepherd's fields. Walking out our guide suggested an olive wood shop across the street (we had hoped to find a nativity set). We had plans to stop for a late lunch, but my wife's knees were really getting bad, so we did the church of the nativity, then a short stop at the milk grotto. Finally back to the checkpoint, through a maze of turnstiles and ramps, a short passport inspection, then caught a taxi back to the ship.

 

We had skipped lunch, so by the time we got back to the ship decided to switch one of our specialty dinners to tonight. Ate more than we should have at the Lawn club--steak and chocolate chip cookie--then time for bed and up early in the morning for a full day out of Haifa in the north of Israel.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ashdod Port

When we boarded in Rome, they collected our passports. On our first day at sea, we picked up our passports, the Israeli visa card, then proceeded to the immigration "interview". It consisted of "you are Don" and "OK".

 

We were told we'd be docking right near the passenger terminal. I've been in and out the port now and have yet to see a passenger terminal. The dock is in an industrial area (not unlike some other ports we've been to). Containers create a walled off area where buses park right after you get off the ship. Buses used by Celebrity as well as private drivers come right up to the ship, and off you go. Supposedly there was a shuttle that takes you to the passenger terminal and also into town, but it wasn't running when we left because of the protests keeping anything from going in or out.

 

The day prior to docking I tried to find out where the shuttle bus stopped in Ashdod. The Sea Mall I was told, but no one could tell me where at the mall to catch the bus. We had planned to possibly take a taxi back to the Sea Mall to then catch the shuttle bus back to the ship. Perhaps the Sea Mall is not too big and not hard to find where the shuttle is, and there is a public bus station right across the street, so it might have stopped near there.

 

The second day in Israel is the eve of a holiday, Sukkot. Holidays start before sundown so people can get home. The Sea Mall closed at 4, so the last shuttle bus for the ship left the mall at 3:30 pm, with no more stops at the mall despite the ship being in port until 10 pm. After 3:30, you could walk through the gates of the port and catch the shuttle bus there back to the ship.

 

We had needed a taxi from Bethlehem back to Ashdod. Our Palestinian guide helped us talk to a taxi driver to explain we wanted to go to the port in Ashdod. We got to the gate, walked right through (a nice girl checked our passports and ship cards), and directly onto the shuttle bus that just happened to be waiting for us to leave for the ship.

 

If a passenger terminal exists with lines of taxis, we did not see it. On a normal day perhaps taxis for hire might have met us at the ship, or perhaps the shuttle would have dropped us off at the passenger terminal where there would have been taxis.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Taxis

Have I mentioned I hate taxis? One whole section needs to be devoted to taxis...

 

Our plans depended on us being able to get back to the ship our second day before it left Ashdod. Our driver the first day dropped us in Jerusalem, and our guide in Bethlehem couldn't normally go into Jerusalem to drive us, so we had to come up with an alternative way back to the ship. My plan was:

 

1. Find out if the ship had a shuttle into Ashdod (it did and it was free).

2. Find out where the shuttle picked you up in Ashdod (the Sea Mall, don't know where at the mall; or, on the second day at least at the port gates).

3. On our way out, see if we could book a taxi from the authorized taxis at the port in the passenger terminal. (we never made it to the passenger terminal)

4. On our way out, get the phone number for a taxi from the passenger terminal (see #3).

5. Research the prices from Jerusalem to Ashdod, hopefully seeing the official prices in the passenger terminal (see #3). However, the app Gett told me the official fare was 362 shekels, but there would be some doubt if I could get a taxi for that price.

6. See if there was a public bus to Ashdod. (there wasn't because buses stopped running at 3:30 on the eve of the holiday)

7. See if our guide in Bethlehem could line up a ride for us to the port. (He couldn't, except one company quoted him 680 shekels--we didn't even consider that as I didn't have that much cash)

8. Use the Gett app to book a taxi from the checkpoint when we got out.

9. If all else failed, try to find a taxi on the street.

 

Let's just say most of that failed...

 

The best advice I have is:

1. Use Gett. You can at least call a taxi. You can rate drivers so they are less likely to rip you off.

2. Don't get hung up on using the meter. Drivers hate to use them, and want to give you a set price. Most of the time the set price will be close to what they charge everyone. Yes it's higher than the meter, but that doesn't mean they are just trying to gouge the tourists.

3. Know what the common prices are, if you can.

4. Negotiate, but if they quote a good price, just shut up and pay it.

5. Sometimes you just have to pay the price, even if it isn't good. Get over it. Just pay it and forget about it.

 

In the old town, a drive from one gate to another gate cost us 50 shekels. That's high but apparently what they charge.

From Jerusalem to the Bethlehem checkpoint was 80 shekels. We were told that was a good deal. 100 was normal, and 150 if they take you all the way into Bethlehem.

From Bethlehem to Ashdod through Gett was 362 shekels. That's the official price. You can prepay using Gett, but we didn't try that. I expected to negotiate 420 shekels if I were lucky.

 

In the morning we used Gett to get a taxi to the checkpoint. That driver was eager to offer us other services, which we had to decline. But we got his number. When all our other options fell through, we had our Palestinian guide call him to explain what we wanted, where we wanted to go, and negotiate the price. He accepted the 360 price and we arranged to meet him at the checkpoint.

 

It was a little wierd when we got there. He met us, then walked us to another car (not his taxi). We had a hard time understanding him, but apparently the taxi was his father's. He said something about meeting his father, and we got in his car and off we went. We ended up at a big mall, where we got into the taxi with his father driving and we were off to Ashdod.

 

I tracked him the whole time to see where we were going. He asked what address in Ashdod and I said "the ship port". I wasn't sure he knew what "port" was. I googled port in Arabic, but saw he was using Hebrew and switched to Hebrew. Eventually I saw he had punched in the Hebrew word for port on his phone and knew we were going to the right place.

 

We got there and I paid him 400 because they waited for us, it was the eve of a holiday and possibly should have cost us more, and we were just glad to be back at the port without any problems. He was really appreciative and they both seemed very honest.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Haifa

We pulled into Haifa port early in the morning and luckily no protests! Haifa is a simple port--a passenger terminal, tour guides a short distance away, and the city right there. Because of the holiday, the city seemed deserted, although we didn't stay there as we boarded a small van and were off to Galilee. Along with probably half the rest of the ship it seemed. There were a lot of people everywhere, and it seemed that most tours probably did about the same thing, regardless of what they were called. Loads of tour buses besides from our ship as well.

 

We saw: Nazareth church of the annunciation, church of the multiplication (loaves and fishes), Capernaum, Jordan River baptismal site, Mt of Beatitudes. Stopped for lunch where they served St Peter's fish (or chicken if you liked).

 

Odd thing about Galilee--everywhere quoted dollars. And if you wanted to pay in shekels, the exchange rate you got meant you paid more than if you'd paid in dollars (4 to 1 rate, not near the actual 3.5 to 1).

 

In spite of the number of buses, Galilee didn't seem that crowded. Being in the countryside, it seemed less rushed and packed than Jerusalem. Views from the Mt of Beatitudes were beautiful--they have done a good job making that a pretty place to stop. We thought the baptismal site and the lunch too touristy.

 

We made it back to the ship just in time, then waited in a traffic line to get back into the port (everyone coming back at the same time). Easy entry back into the passenger terminal, although the line for the VAT tax refund was long. We spoke to someone at dinner that made it on board after the 5:30 time because she was standing in the tax refund line (not sure I would have taken that chance). We pulled out of port a little late because obviously many didn't make it back exactly on time.

 

Our three days in Israel are over, and we're sure looking forward to a day at sea to rest. We packed a lot into those 3 days, seeming to rush here and there. We've now seen Israel as a tourist, but I'm not sure it was quite the religious or spiritual experience it might have been. We saw the sights, but seemed to be mostly focused on hitting as much as we could. Lots of churches built at all the key biblical locations, often more than one church close to each other with "competing" sites. Only few places looked like they might have back in Biblical times (some sites in Galilee being largely the exception). We are glad we came, but if we return we'd probably look at doing things differently.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mykonos

Arrived at Mykonos at 8am. We didn't have anything planned, just walking around town. A few things about Mykonos:

 

FINALLY we docked with the main exit at the back of the ship nearest the port exit. (Less walking) For many this is not a big deal, but when we have to walk from the front of the ship to the back, then back to the front of the ship to get out of the port, that's a good deal of walking for those who have trouble walking.

 

Free shuttle bus to the old town. However, the shuttle bus drops you across the bay, so there's still some walking to get to the main part of town. Not a big distance, but again if walking is a problem, you have to deal with it.

 

There is less walking if you take the water taxi from the new port to the old town. Ramps on the water taxi to get on and off so pretty simple (easier than the stairs getting on and off the bus). 2 Euro each way.

 

After walking a bit in town, my wife went back to the ship and I hopped the ferry to Delos. 20 Euro round trip for the ferry, and 12 Euro entrance. You can also pay 10 Euro to join a tour group right there as you get off. So for 42 Euro you can essentially do what the bus tour does. Just avoid the early morning as the ferry is packed. I hopped on the 11:30 ferry, then came back on the 3:00 one. It's was possible to do 11:30 across and the 1:30 back even with a 1 hour guided tour (although not enough time to climb to the top in just an hour and a half). Only 72 degrees with a good breeze so not as hot as it might have been. There is a bathroom on the island next to the shop selling drinks.

 

I really enjoyed Delos. Few people there by the time we got there, and you can pretty much walk wherever you want between the ruins, over the ruins, down little alleyways. Only a few places with mosaics roped off. Great views from the top of the mountain and while it's a little steep in some places, it's not a long nor a difficult hike. I don't usually go with a guide as I like to "discover" things on my own and go at my own pace taking pictures. I don't remember much of what they say anyway.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tuscan

There was a thread a while back about the Tuscan not living up to some expectations. We found the service good, the main entree was a little slow coming out, but the quality good. We liked Tuscan better than Murano because it seemed like there were more choices. And while I really enjoy the Lawn Club, if I were looking for variety I think Tuscan gives you more variety than the Lawn Club. We'll be going back tomorrow.

 

QSine

We'd done QSine before a few years ago and have 2 nights booked this cruise. We only eat just the two of us, and it did seem some portions were smaller, the right size for 2 people. We had 6 different items and 3 desserts between us. Lobster escargot was something we hadn't tried before.

 

Food was interesting and good, and we're back for our second night tonight. But I can't see eating there as much as other places. Good for a change and for variety, maybe better with a group (but we don't do groups).

 

We have an 8 meal dining package, and for a 12 night cruise with one night spent off the ship in Jerusalem, that leaves us only at most 3 nights in the MDR. I've probably eaten too much with all the specialty dining, but I haven't once felt like the food wasn't of good quality or well prepared. Had prime rib in the MDR the other night and that was good as well, although many of their other choices just didn't seem enticing. We might on our last sea day try the Lawn Club burgers for lunch and then just the buffet for dinner.

 

Overall it seems the specialty dining is fuller than I expected, even though we tend to go right at 6 there seem to be about 6-8 other couples with more by the time we leave. BTW, the upselling for drink packages pretty much ended the first day, and I've only been asked once about buying a night at a specialty dining place. Not sure if there are discounts being offered (on our last cruise I asked a few times and got no discounts at all available). We got a good deal on the 8 dinner package so that worked out well for us.

Edited by dszrew
Link to post
Share on other sites

And while I'm on the topic of food, I've always frankly been disappointed in Celebrity's chocolate desserts. They seem to use the same chocolate mousse as the base for everything and don't really vary much from that. We noticed the chocolate tombstone in QSine is exactly the same as the chocolate dessert in Tuscan (only much bigger). It was that way on our first Celebrity cruise and hasn't really changed much.

 

However, I think the other night we finally had the best chocolate dessert ever on any of our Celebrity cruises. In the Oceanview Cafe they had what they called a chocolate brownie, like a cheesecake in size but essentially a somewhat undercooked brownie. It was cold (and would have been better hot with some ice cream on top) but was a thick and chewy chocolaty slice. They should add a new choice in the Lawn Club--chocolate brownie instead of the chocolate chip cookie.

Link to post
Share on other sites
They should add a new choice in the Lawn Club--chocolate brownie instead of the chocolate chip cookie.

 

Well, I know a lot of folks that will completely disagree with this statement. :cool:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Enjoying your review. On the subject of desserts, let me suggest you go to Cafe al Bacio. There is a different pastry chef there than the MDR and the desserts are a thousand times better than the cakes and pastries in the MDR!! For those unfamiliar with Celebrity the desserts and morning pastries at Cafe al Bacio are free of charge. You do not need to purchase a coffee to enjoy them, either there or to go.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, I know a lot of folks that will completely disagree with this statement. :cool:

 

You're right, that should be "in addition to" the chocolate chip cookie. That is the best dessert on the ship.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Enjoying your review. On the subject of desserts, let me suggest you go to Cafe al Bacio. There is a different pastry chef there than the MDR and the desserts are a thousand times better than the cakes and pastries in the MDR!! For those unfamiliar with Celebrity the desserts and morning pastries at Cafe al Bacio are free of charge. You do not need to purchase a coffee to enjoy them, either there or to go.

 

Yes those are better. We often skip the MDR desserts and just go there. But they don't really do chocolate any better. There is a chocolate torte pie type thing that's OK, but would be better served not quite so cold (hard). But overall Celebrity doesn't do chocolate as well as chocolate deserves.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Azamara - We are back with New Greece Voyages
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with Barbara Muckermann, CMO Silversea Cruises
      • ICYM Our Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Explore the Remote World with Hurtigruten!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...