I have just returned from a 12 night Mediterranean cruise and I am now a cruise addict! It was probably the best holiday I have taken to date.
Our 12 night cruise started in Barcelona and then took us to Nice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Montenegro, Venice & Dubrovnik. We also had three days at sea which were great to recharge the batteries after all the sightseeing in the magnificent ports.
We cruised with Celebrity Cruises and the ship was the Solstice. This is a large ship and she can hold 2850 passengers and I believe the sailing we were on was almost full. The ship never felt busy and there are many different public areas, bars, restaurants on board so you always find plenty of space.
The food is exceptional and plentiful and there are 6 different restaurants on board and a creperie that serves the most delicious crepes. Included in the cost of the cruise is breakfast lunch and dinner. Dinner is served every evening in the main dining room or in the ocean view cafe which offers a more casual buffet dining experience. There are 3 a la carte restaurants where you can eat for a cover charge. We ate in the Tuscan Grille twice. This is an Italian Bistro style restaurant which is located at the back of the ship, we had a window table both times and the views were amazing. If you time it right you can be having your intimate dinner whilst watching the sun set as you cruise out of port. Very romantic!
There are many watering holes on the ship but my favourite and regular haunt was the Lawn Club which is located on the top deck of the ship. It is as it sounds and there is in fact a half acre of real grass on this deck which is surrounded by comfy wicker chairs. There is a bar at the lawn club and it is a great place to come back to after your day at port and sit out in the fresh air, drink in hand whilst the ship sets sail for the next port.
We tried our luck in the casino but trying was the best we could manage, it was however great fun and all part of the cruise experience.
Every evening there were two performances in the theatre, an early and a late show. We saw a variety of performances from singers to magicians to comedians. Every show we saw we thoroughly enjoyed and the standard was very high.
I was very impressed with our room. We stayed in a balcony stateroom and the size was much bigger than I had expected. Everything was very modern and the balcony was ideal. We had breakfast delivered to our room a few mornings and sat out on the balcony to eat.
I won't go into detail on every port that we visited as there are simply too many but the ones that really stood out for me were Nice, Montenegro & Dubrovnik.
I had never been to the South of France before so I wanted to see as much as I could. We did an escorted tour of Nice, Monaco & Monte Carlo. I witnessed the Ferraris and Lamborghinis whizzing around the casino square in Monte Carlo and took a walk through the ancient heart of Nice which is much more beautiful than I had imagined. The scenery surrounding the ship as we were coming into Montegero was out of this world. Mountains towered above us and I have never seen anything quite as stunning. The little town of Kotor in Montegro is where we headed when we disembarked. This ancient walled town is beautiful and we wandered for hours through the little cobblestone streets. I have never seen so many churches in one small town, there were too many to count! Dubrovnik is just as beautiful as Kotor, the Croatian scenery and quaint cobbled streets are mesmerising. In the city of Dubrovnik there are lots of little shops, restaurants and places to ease away a few hours.
Cruising is an excellent way to visit new places and certainly places that you might not have ventured to independently. I do not imagine that I would have chosen Montenegro as a place on my wish list of places to visit but was blown away by it.
I will definitely be cruising again.