I was recently able to take a Mediterranean cruise vacation with my family aboard the Celebrity Cruises ship The Sotisce. We flew Air Canada direct both ways to and from Barcelona, and utilised transfers purchased directly from the cruise line. Service was both great and efficient in both directions, really making our vacation much more relaxing, by eliminating possible areas of stress.
We stayed in a Balcony stateroom, which was approximately 191 square feet, including the balcony. To be honest the room was a little small, as we were four people, but we made do and the cabin stewards really made our stay much more enjoyable.
The food on-board The Sotisce was amazing. The waitstaff went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure we were happy. The Breakfast and lunch buffets had lots of variety and I considered it to be very good. In addition to the usual lunch buffets there was also the ‘BBQ Grill’ by the pool, which offered hotdogs, hamburgers, and fries for those of us that just wanted to relax poolside. For dinner the main dining room service and food was above my expectations, so much so that I did not feel the need to visit any of the specialty restaurants during the entire trip.
There was a wide array of activities to do aboard the ship, so many that I was unable to experience them all, however those that I did experience were certainly up to my expectations and provided a fun and enjoyable experience. Thankfully there was a very good children’s programme, which my kids – ages 12 and 8 – both enjoyed. Aboard the Sotisce you could choose to do as much or as little as you wanted, from Aerobics classes to watching the hot glass blowing, or wine tasting.
I was very pleased with every aspect of the ship, which I found very friendly and well organized. It was always clean, and the staff was aiming to please at every possible opportunity.
Our first port of call was Barcelona, though regrettably we did not see very much, we just had time to transfer from the airport to the ship. Our next port thought provided a much different experience: Cannes, France was beautiful. I was able to enjoy a wine tour, and visit the Casino; while it was much smaller than I imagined it was very grand and an enjoyable place to visit.
For Florence I had booked tours by Tuscany to take us to Pisa, and then to the city to do some shopping. The market in Florence is wonderful, with everything from high end to discount shopping and everything in between. Both cities’ architecture was superb and were truly wonderful places to visit.
Our next stop was Rome, where we did a private tour of the Coliseum. It was well worth it to avoid the seemingly endless lines that Italy’s most famous landmark is notorious for. While in Rome we also visited the Trevi Fountain and had a great lunch in the heart of the city.
Once we reached Naples, our next stop, we did a private tour of Pompeii. Though there is a considerable amount of walking during this ½ day tour it is certainly worth it to look at this ancient city, frozen in time by the ash of an ancient volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. My kids loved this stop the most out of all of ours, and I have to admit: it is pretty interesting.
However my favourite port by far was Montenegro – of 007 Casino Royal fame – where we had an excursion to Jaz Beach.
All things considered we had a great experience both on the boat, and visiting these beautiful countries. Europe is a great place for a family vacation – especially the Mediterranean – and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun week that perfectly combines relaxation and exploration.