Celebrity in Sept. 2016

Line: Celebrity
Ship: Celebrity Silhouette
8272 - Inside Stateroom
Destination: Mediterranean
Departs: September 15, 2016
Nights: 9

Route itinerary
itinerary itinerary

Cruise

This was our 21th cruise over the last 21 years. We deposited $900 with Costco in Oct. 2015 to reserve cabin 8272. Friends and family taking the same cruise are in cabin 8173 for Mike & Denny, cabin 9120 for Debbie & Octav. Our cruise rate total is $2,379.66 with tips and taxes included. ($1,479.66 due June, three months before). Our onboard Credit was $140 for our cabin.

Airfare and Hotels

In January 2016 Detroit to Rome airfare was selling for $1,599 per person on Delta. We booked non stop airfare going from Toronto to Rome for $745 per person on Alitalia (seems like Delta, Air France and Alitalia were alternating who was offering it at the time). Who knows why such a price difference but for a five hour drive to save $850 per person, it was a no brainer. Prices seemed to be bouncing, so we were glad we booked and locked in.

Lynn reserved a Best Western hotel by the Toronto airport that with one night stay will keep your car while you are gone for no charge. They also had a free shuttle to the airport, so we kept our car there and stayed the night we returned from the trip, as we returned late. Their rate was $145 Canadian (plus taxes and fees) which showed up as about $130.

As far as getting Euros, best thing to do is to get Euros from a ATM when you arrive, you won't pay a fee like you do if you exchange at home in advance. Just make sure it is a bank ATM as some ATMs that are not bank associated and give a bad exchange rate (one said it would charged $1.24 for every Euro, where the bank ATMs charged the current rate of $1.13). As you can tell it is good to know what the going exchange rate should be (both ways). I found a bank ATM at the airport so was able to get euros right away. I used my Capital One debit card and had confirmed in advance it would work, letting them know my travel plans. A lot of places or services in Italy wanted cash (even the tips), I believe so they don't have to pay 22% ValueAddedTax out of their pay.



Civitavecchia / Rome area

Arrived in Rome on Tuesday, 9/13. We had booked and verified with Civitavecchia Cab Service (bad), that they would charges 69 Euros to get us to our hotel in Civitacecchia but they did a bait and switch, telling us it would be 48 euros more (117 euros) or we would have to wait two hours for a shared shuttle. I think they thought they had us over a barrel but we told them NOT and took the train for 22 euros total for both of us to get to town and then caught a taxi for another 15 to get to our hotel. Luckily Lynn had backup plans, not wanting to only have one option when we arrived. We could also have rented a car, but the train was easy enough and many spoke english to help us know what train and where to transfer.

Lynn had booked through Booking.com Sunbay Park Hotel (Via Aurelia Sud, Km 68.750, 00053 Civitavecchia, Italy for 226 euro or about $250 for two nights, breakfast included) for the nights of Sept. 13th and 14th. We could have used a power converter, but luckily they had one they could lend us. We ate in their dinning room both nights as there was not a large selection of restaurants close by. Our hotel and room were charming, with great doors in our room opening out to look at the sea from the room and balcony. The hotel had nice saltwater swimming pools, good breakfast selections and a restaurant with good choices. Later in the afternoon our friends, Denise & Mike arrived.

On Wednesday we decided to take the train (22 euro for two, lets you ride all day) into Rome. We walked about 30 minutes to the train station and took the train into Rome for a day of strolling. Visits to The Spanish Steps (closed from the bottom up for rennovations), Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Had Gelato & Sorbet along the way and stopped for lunch at Ristorante 4 Colonne (Via della Posta Vecchia, 4, 00186 Roma, Italy), which was perfect for our much needed break and sit down before heading back to the train for Civitavecchia.

Rome by Train with 2016 Timetables

On Thursday we took a shuttle (5 euros per person) from the hotel to the port to board our ship, The Celebrity Silhouette. Debbi and Octav will be joining us for this cruise adventure in addition to Mike and Denise.


We took around 2,000 pictures on this trip. Below is the readers digest version...

Click on any picture once (or twice) to get a larger image

Sunbay Park Hotel

Sunbay Park Hotel view

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Venchi around corner from Patheon

Salerno (Naples), Amalfi, Italy

Friday, Sept. 16, 7 am - 6:30 pm

Friday we arrived in Salerno and along with Debbi & Octav met our driver, Anthony Buonocorea (buonocoreanthony@yahoo.it), for a day exploring the Amalfi Coast and the seaside towns of Ravello, Amalfi and Positano. We started our day filled with beautiful scenery at Ravello where we stood in the midst of this charming town and enjoyed the views looking out to the distance areas, viewed the Duomo and strolled through the stunning beauty of Villa Rufolo. As we left we stopped to visit a small family winery for some tasting (which also had wonderful olive oil)... Casa Vinacola Ettore Sammarco Ravello. Then on to enjoy the town of Amalfi, with it's charming streets, shops, fountains and Cathedral. We had a little bit of rain during this visit but was short lasting and didn't deter anything! Next, on to the Emerald Grotto, down into the Grotto and a little boat ride to view the stalactites before heading to lunch at the Hotel Locanda Diva Costa (Via Roma, 12, 84010 Praiano SA, Italy). We dined among the lemon trees and beautiful scenery before heading off to Positano. We were dropped off just before the entrance to town so we could get pictures of the beautiful approach. Had time for a little shopping and then hit the road for our ride back to the ship (with a brief stop for a fresh fig right off the tree, compliments of Anthony). The tour cost was per van, we had four and it cost us 90 euro per person (plus tip). A very beautiful full day!

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Anthony our guide for the day

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Emerald Grotto stop, no big deal to me

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Hotel Costa Diva for lunch

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Messina, Sicily, Italy

Saturday, Sept. 17, 7 am - 4:00 pm

Saturday we arrived in Messina, Sicily and along with Octav & Debbi took the train, then a taxi to Taormina, a beautiful hilltop town. We strolled the streets and shops and then visited the ancient Greek Theatre (Via del Teatro Greco, 1, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy) and took in the awe of the spectacular views. Next, off by cable car to go down to Isola Bella for a visit to the beautiful beach.


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Sea day and Marseille, France

Sunday Sept. 18 sea day, Monday Sept. 19 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

Sunday sea day. We did workouts in the gym to help burn some of the calories from the too much food I was helping myself to. From Caesar salads with anchovies all the way through creme brulee for me. Lynn was much better eating a vegan diet and was happy with the choices that were made to order.

Monday on to Marseille where we negotiated a taxi driver and cab for the day to make stops for us throughout Provence. All three couples were on this trip, I don't remember the cost but think it was around 140 euros per couple.

First stop Aix-en-Provence for a few hours of strolling and taking in the beauty of all he fountains and street views. Then on to Avignon and a stroll through the 14th century area of the Papal residency. Much beauty and charm down the many streets that twist and turn and make it easy to get lost within (as we did!). The area of the Palais des Papes and the surrounding gardens and courtyards/squares were incredible. Next a drive through St. Remy en route to Les Baux with it's spectacular position in the Alpilles mountains, set atop a rocky outcrop that is crowned with a ruined castle overlooking the plains to the south and with it's spectacular scenery in it's Alpillies Natural Regional Park. Strolled through the beautiful village (http://www.lesbauxdeprovence.com/en) and shops before making our way back to the ship.

Click on any picture for a larger image or to play a movie

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Nice (Villefranche-Sur-Mer), France

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

We were on to the area of Nice, docking in Villefranche. We took a cab with Debbi & Octav up to the hilltop village of Eze to enjoy the breathtaking community and views from the Botanical Garden (a little extra cost, maybe 6 euros a person). Then took the bus to Nice where we hopped on the Tram to the Cathedral area of town, strolled through the beautiful park, Promenade du Paillon (with it's statue of David and children's playground), the Old Town with it's shops and open air markets with openings leading to the sea/beach area with its Promenade des Anglais. While walking to find our way back to the transportation to the port we encountered the memorial to the victims of the Nice Beach terror attack in a park across from the Promenade. A short bus ride back to Villefrance and a little strolling before heading back to the ship. We picked up a bottle of wine and Lynn bought a oil coated cloth tablecloth.



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Ajaccio, Corsica, France

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Wednesday on to Ajaccio Corsica for a day of strolling through the town open air market, walking up the streets to view the historical sights, including the Napoleon statue (this was his hometown). Did some shopping near the pier along a street that went a long way with shops on each side (Lynn got a dress made in Italy and was altered for her, a sparkly t=shirt and I bought a E-MCorsicca t-shirt)) lunch back on the boat and then back out for a bus ride along the road of the beaches. Once back the the town area we went down to the local area beach, Saint Francois for a bit before heading back for our sail away.


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Sea day and La Spezia / Florence / Pisa (Livorno), Italy

Thursday and Friday, Sept. 23, 7:00 am - 7:00 pm

Thursday sea day. We again started our day with a work out. Luckily we were able to sleep in a bit and started our day a little later.

Friday docked at La Spezia and walked with Debbi & Octav to the train station for our journey to the magnificent Cinque Terre. We arrived in Monterosso and dipped our feet in the beach before strolling the town. Next our journey on the trail between Monterosso and Vernazza, which is about 2 miles up and down through the hills between the towns and takes almost 2 hours traveling on this often narrow and uneasy footing pathway. There was a man midway in a craggy little opening selling fresh squeezed orange juice... a much appreciated surprise! The views from the trail were spectacular from our high above perspective and coming into Vernazza was amazing with all it's beauty to behold. Stopped for lunch and strolled the town before taking the train on the Manarola and then Riomaggiore for more exploring of the beauty of these towns. Train back to La Spezia and took a cab back to the ship.


Click on any picture for a larger image or to play a movie

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catching train to Manarola

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Manarola catching train to Riomaggiore

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Back to Rome

Saturday, Sept. 24, 5:00 am

Up early to and needed to be out of the rooms by 7 a.m. so we decided to be group 13 and get off by 8:30 so we could find our shuttle to the airport. Lynn had pre-booked on a bus from the cruise port to Fiumicino Airport provided by CIVITATOURS +39 346 2177803: SmartCruiseTours by ABLE Worldwide Inc. 20 Euro each, 40 Euro total. The airport was about 1 hour away.


My Celebrity Silhouette review

-nice decor
-nice open hallways
-quiet rooms
-larger than our normal inside room, average to larger sized bath
-buffet had good layout, and never seemed too crowded. Sometimes headed to the aft for the view, but ate every dinner with friends and family in the dinning room at night
-as normal harder to find chairs during sea days, but we found some areas to relax in the quiet and shade when needed
-relaxed dress to chic choices, I wore a tie but did not pack a sport coats
-nonpay food was adequate to good to me, with a lot of choices
-OK entertainment but we were generally in bed early and only went to one Beatles show


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