Traveling through the Eastern Mediterranean in style is something Celebrity Cruises is known for, and one of our top advisors Janna Gilbert was able to experience this magnificent region aboard the beautiful Celebrity Reflection. Read her recap of this incredible itinerary below:
This was my first cruise with Celebrity, and I was very impressed. The cruise was round-trip from Rome, and although I had been to Italy a couple times this was my first time in Istanbul and on the Greek Islands Mykonos and Santorini.
We really loved our hotel in Rome: The Majestic. I would recommend staying there since it is in a great centrally-located area between the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.
Of all the cities we saw, the highlight of the trip for me was Istanbul. We had a day and a half to explore the Bosphorus - the strait which joins the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea in Istanbul that separates the continents of Europe and Asia. The city is so beautiful and the food was great too. We even bought two rugs there and had them shipped home.
One of the most pleasant suprises throughout the trip were how friendly the people were, especially on the Greek Islands. On Mykonos we took a private car tour with a driver, and enjoyed the picturesque towns and shopping. We did the same thing in Santorini as well, exploring the beach towns and seeing the famous white-washed buildings. I think the most picturesque town we saw was Oia. After you dock in Fira, getting up to the town is fun because there is a big cable car that takes you to up the mountain (the other options are to ride a donkey or walk!).
Of course we stopped at The Acropolis in Athens. And the ruins in Ephesus were also amazing. Our guide took us to a local restaurant not frequented by tourists and we had fun trying all the different Turkish foods which thankfully the guide ordered for us. He explained all the different foods, which isn’t an experience you would have if traveling on a bus tour. I really enjoyed the kofte, a patty that can be made of potato, lamb or chicken and is served with pita bread. We also tried cherry juice mixed with carbonated water, which was refreshing and delicious!
We again took a private car tour in Positano, a village on the Amalfi Coast in Italy, and enjoyed limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Naples. Not only was the food we tried in port great, we also really enjoyed the options on board. Celebrity has some great specialty restaurants and the martini bar was always packed. I especially liked Qsine, a fun and funky restaurant with wild dishes from around the world and where you order via iPad.
Janna’s Tips for This Trip
- I would definitely recommend budgeting for some private guides if you can. It really changes the experience from having to pile into a bus with a large group, to a more customized, intimate experience. Guides often allow you to bypass lines, and help you find great local places on your own schedule.
- Istanbul is a place I would love to have spent more time, so I would recommend a pre- or post-cruise stay there if it is your port of embarkation or disembarkation.
- In Rome we used a service called Bob’s Limousines to transfer to and from the ship. This really saved us a lot when compared to the cruise line’s transfers. Be sure to consult your advisor when it comes to private guides, transfers etc. Often times we can find something that is more unique or saves you money!
Contact Janna about this vacation
- (888) 654-1954
- [email protected]