Mediterranean Cruise Vacation with Royal Carribean Celebrity

Italy Sicily      Greece Crete     Athens     Turkey Ephesus    Turkey Miletus

Looking out from bedroom balcony
My wife likes hiking, but I would enjoy watching sunset on a beach, relaxing the moment.  So, we compromised on taking cruise vacation, and would join interesting local expeditions.  We decided to pay a little more to get a balcony room, and another little more to have the flexibility to dine at the exclusive restaurants on the ship.  Reason? We did not expect to be able to have this kind of cruise vacation often, and most importantly, very unlikely to do cruise vacation on Mediterranean Sea again.  It turned out that the additional luxury we received was worth the the extra cost.  For example, every morning was a fresh morning with sun rising view and listening to the sea-wind gently breezing by.

Morning balcony view of Sicily
"Arabian" night ...

During Night, Mediterranean Sea was pitch-dark.  The ship was cruising slowly.  Although I knew we were somewhere in Mediterranean Sea with lands not far away, there was only the sounds of ocean waves and occasionally airplane lights far above in the sky.  The darkness coupled with the monotonous ocean wave sound made nights awfully strange.  My feeling swinged between a safe sense and an unsafe sense;  somehow I recalled the Titanic movie.  Sea is merciless if one falls into it. We could not stay too late because most local expeditions started at 7:30 am the following morning, and were required to return to the cruise ship by 5 pm latest.

Dining Hall
Dining inside the cruise were buffet-style; it was all-you-can-eat style.   The food quality and restaurant service were well above-average.  The cruise required passengers to dress-up when dining at the dining hall for dinner.  We brought suit and evening gown for exactly those occasions.  (Regarding lunch, passengers could opt to dine in the cafeteria instead.)  Every dining was a full-course meal with a variety of choices.  Anyone was welcome to try all choices, provided no food was wasted.  Wine would cost extra.  The $20 extra that we pre-paid for each meal allowed us to dine with the ocean view and even more choices of entrees.  In a regular restaurant, those meal would easily fetch $50 per person.   There was a couple times I was not able to finish the food, because lunch was only several hours earlier and typically my appetite was high in the morning, not during the evening time.

In Europe, there is a joke that beer is more expensive than water. It is true.  We made a mistake of not bringing a hiking bag with water container.  During each expedition, we would buy a few bottled water which averaged 3 euro a bottle.  We would always talked about how much water we wasted in U.S, and became more environmentally-conscious.

Inside the Ship
The cruise ship inside was built like a shopping mall.  The ship offered a range of entertainment inside without charging extra, for example, ice-skating, movie theater, theatrical shows, with the top deck equipped with swimming pools, mini-golf, basketball court.  Passengers represented people from over +20 countries, as the ship captain shared in the first day of our trip.  There were plenty of events opened for participation during any single day.  One can opt to stay inside the cruise ship during the entire vacation; it was not required for passenger to join local expedition.  Most passengers came as a family vacation with kids and elders.  It makes sense because cruise ship's facility and services are particularly useful to them.  Local expeditions costed an average of $50 per person per expedition.  The popular ones were always full early.  We booked the Athen Parthenon expedition as soon as the registration was made available.

Mediterranean Cruise Vacation
We have an excellent experience with Celebrity Cruise and the local expeditions.  Alaska Cruise is high in our vacation list.  My wife already joined Alaska Cruise Vacation once (yup, without me, with her buddy), and she insisted that it is worth a second visit.  It must be very good. 

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