My Mediterranean Cruise Aboard the Celebrity Reflection

Rome Italy

Read Barb's review of her Med cruise aboard Celebrity Cruise Lines with stops in Santorini, Istanbul and Kusadasi, Turkey, Athens, Mykonos and Naples.

My Mediterranean Cruise Aboard the Celebrity Reflection

In October of 2014, to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, my husband and I went on a Mediterranean cruise aboard the Celebrity Reflection. The thought behind this choice was that we would see an area of the world where we hadn’t been before, we would have some sea days, so we could relax, and we would have good dining options. We also were looking forward to some other experiences that cruises usually offer, having breakfast delivered to our stateroom, so we could enjoy it on the balcony and finding a piano bar for dancing. We would get to see a number of sites and not have to pack and unpack every few days.

We had booked in early spring when a Celebrity Cruise promotion had come out offering two of the following free perks: drink package, prepaid gratuities and an onboard credit. This is similar to their all-inclusive packages they are offering to the Caribbean this winter from London or their European cruises next year. By choosing the beverage and the gratuities and having prepaid our shore excursions before travelling, our final account was only $77.00. It was nice not to have a large bill to settle at the end. I’m not convinced that you drink more if you have a beverage package it was just nice not to run that mental calculator in your head before asking for a beverage. Celebrity’s beverage package included all of the drinks we enjoy, from the frozen margaritas and cappuccinos to wine and beer. There was an option to upgrade the package to include more expensive drinks such as premium liquors, but we didn’t see the need.

We started our journey a few days earlier than the scheduled cruise so that we could see some of the sites in Rome. While we were there two nights, in hindsight we should have planned for at least one more day. On arrival we were met by a transfer company and delivered to our hotel. We had just enough time to change and then head out by taxi for our tour of the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel. We returned to the hotel before leaving again to catch a pre-booked dinner cruise. This was very enjoyable, kept us up and made getting over the jet lag pretty easy. Never go to bed early or have an afternoon nap after an overnight flight, your internal clock gets really messed up!

After another day of sight-seeing we took the train from Rome to Civitavecchia where the ship was moored. The rail option was pretty easy and the most economical option, except at the end of the journey it meant lugging suitcases down a set of stairs and going under the rail lines and back up another flight at the station. Be prepared!

The cruise itself was quite spectacular. We had stops in Santorini, Istanbul and Kusadasi, Turkey, Athens, Mykonos and Naples. My favorite stops were Mykonos and Kusadasi. Mykonos because it was a quaint seaside village and Kusadasi because we did an eight hour biblical tour of Ephesus. That was amazing! To walk where John had walked, and wrote his letters to the churches and to visit the place where he had built a home for Mary were remarkable. A chapel has been built on the site and we attended an outdoor mass that day. This was actually on the day of our anniversary, and we felt fortunate with the timing. Back on the ship we had a dinner reservation later that evening in the French specialty restaurant. Wow, chateaubriand and lobster tail! While a surcharge was required, for such a special occasion it was well worth it.

Celebrity seems to be lacking somewhat in having areas to dance, but we were able to find a few spots during the cruise. It wasn’t offered every night, in the centre foyer, at times they had other entertainers that were not conducive to slow dancing.

Being from Canada it is difficult to fathom the age of the sites we visited. We saw the coliseum where the lions fought the Christians, and the ruts in the road worn down by the chariots centuries ago in Pompeii. It was truly amazing. Coming home, we felt we had seen and done so much in the span of just two weeks. While most of our excursions were represented as strenuous, this seemed to be more of a matter of whether you could walk on the uneven, ancient roadways.

Going in mid October was perfect timing with the weather hovering between 16 to 20 degrees Celsius. It is not uncommon for the temperature to hit the mid- forties in the summer.

If this or any other cruise If this or any other cruise is on your bucket list or if you just want to find out more about the Celebrity “all inclusive” packages, give us a call at 519 472 3232.

Maybe you too want to plan that special anniversary get-away and we can help with that as well. We have been there and done that!

- Barb Westgate,Blowes Travel,  London Office

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