Category Archives: Europe

Port of Call Spotlight: Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy is one of the most iconic cities you can visit on a Mediterranean cruise. The scenery is gorgeous, many of the popular tourist sites are historical wonders, and the culture is alluring. Visiting Rome on a cruise can feel daunting, though, since the ship doesn’t dock right in Rome and it can be hard to narrow down exactly how you want to spend the day in such a large, vibrant city. Here is a breakdown of the top things you need to know about cruising to Rome, which will help ensure you have a fun and memorable time in port.

The Port for Rome: Civitavecchia

To visit Rome, your ship will actually pull into port in the city of Civitavecchia on the western coast of Italy. It is located about 50 miles northwest from Rome. To get to Rome from Civitavecchia, you can take a bus, train, or car rental. Depending where your ship docks, it can be a bit of a trek just to leave the port area to get to your transportation. A shore excursion that includes just transportation to and from Rome, or transportation plus a tour in the city is an easy and hassle-free way to get into Rome from your cruise ship.

Things to Do in Rome

If it’s your first time in Rome, here are a few things to see that you likely won’t want to miss:

Colosseum

Colosseum in Rome
Colosseum

The Colosseum is impressive to behold since it’s massive and still in fairly good condition considering it was built in the first century. The structure once housed gruesome gladiator battles as entertainment for the king and his subjects. The stories of the Colosseum are often fascinating to hear, and touring the Colosseum with a good guide can elevate your experience thanks to the expert knowledge you’ll receive compared to just wandering around the grounds on your own.

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is a large area dotted with many ancient buildings and ruins. It once served as the political center of ancient Rome. Within its borders you can see the well-preserved Arch of Constantine and the Tempo di Guilio Cesar, where Julius Caesar was cremated, plus many other important buildings from that era.

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain

This is one of the most beautiful fountains in Rome, located in a charming square (that is also adjacent to some delicious gelato shops). The baroque fountain depicts a scene featuring Neptune, the Roman god of the sea. According to legend, you will return to Rome someday if you throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain.

Vatican City

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City
St. Peter’s Basilica

Vatican City is a city-state located within Rome that serves as the headquarters for the Roman Catholic Church. The two most popular things to do in Vatican City are to visit St. Peter’s Basilica and tour the Vatican Museums, the highlight for the latter being the opportunity to see the famed ceiling of the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo.

Italian Coffee and Fashion

Cafe in Rome

While in Rome, you’ll also likely want a bit of leisure time to visit a café and sip one of Italy’s famous cappuccinos (which Italians typically only do in the morning, but hey – if it’s your only time in Rome and you aren’t able to order that cappuccino until the afternoon, go for it!). Rome also may not be as famous for style as the Italian city of Milan to the north, but it still has plenty of shopping boutiques and famous brand names lining its streets. Most shore excursions allow a bit of free time; if it’s important to you, just make sure the one you’re looking at has as much free time as you desire.

A Taste of Rome is a Celebrity Cruises shore excursion that visits all the above sites plus has free time.

Depending on your interests – or if it’s your second or subsequent time in Rome and you want to see some new sites from what’s above – you also may enjoy one of these unique activities while your ship is in port in Civitavecchia:

Bracciano Lake and Wine Tasting
Italian Countryside and Olive Oil Taste
River Rafting Down the Tiber
Behind the Scenes Vatican Tour
Rome Highlights with Colosseum Underground Tour

To book your cruise to Rome, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com and search for your ideal Mediterranean itinerary, or speak with your travel agent.

Port of Call Spotlight: Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece, is a vibrant metropolis city that is home to some of the world’s most amazing ancient wonders. During a Mediterranean cruise, you can marvel at these sights while in port in Athens. Here is what to expect when cruising to Athens and some tips on how to spend your day.

Where Your Ship Docks

When visiting Athens via cruise, your ship will dock in the city of Piraeus, which is only about seven miles from Athen’s top things to do. Piraeus has restaurants and shops, but you won’t want to spend much time there; the true allure of this port of call lies less than ten miles away.

Getting From Piraeus to Athens

Though you may have a bit of a hike to get to it depending where along the harbor your cruise ship docks, the metro station in Piraeus is quite doable to walk to, and from there it’s just a 20-minute metro ride into the city center of Athens. However, if you want to make things easier on yourself getting into Athens, consider a shore excursion. Celebrity Cruises has a large variety of excursions to do while in port in Athens, and you’ll be met by your tour guide right by the ship and taken into Athens on a comfortable, air-conditioned bus where you’ll begin exploring sites old and new.

Things to Do in Athens

Acropolis

The big must-do in Athens is the Acropolis, built in the 5th century. This is a large site with many ancient structures that you’d be wise to do on a guided tour. Unless you’re very knowledgeable in your Greek history, once you’re up there and standing amid the Parthenon and other structures, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re looking at. There isn’t much in terms of information boards and to fully appreciate walking around where Plato and Socrates did, you’ll want an expert regaling you with stories and facts while you wander the grounds.

Shore Excursion Ideas for Seeing the Acropolis: If you want some free time to explore Athens on your own, the Explore Athens and Ancient Acropolis excursion is just four hours and takes you to tour the Acropolis, plus you’ll see some other famous sites on your drive through Athens to get there. If you’d like your whole day to be effortlessly handled for you, check out the Taste of Athens shore excursion, a 7-hour excursion which visits the Acropolis and some of Athens other top sites.

Acropolis Museum

Want to soak up even more Acropolis knowledge? Head to the Acropolis Museum after you leave the actual site of the Acropolis. Here you’ll see the actual statues of the women holding up the Erechtheion Temple at the Acropolis. (The ones displayed at the Acropolis are replicas.) You’ll also see many other statues and historical artifacts that have been found at the Acropolis during excavations.

Temple of the Olympian Zeus

Believed to have been constructed in the 2nd century, the Temple of the Olympian Zeus is still impressive to behold despite the fact that it’s number of columns have now dwindled to 15 of what was once over 100. Adding to its allure is the fact that it’s in the middle of a large park surrounded by busy roads. It’s like you’re stepping from bustling, modern society back in time the second you step through the gate to enter the park from the street.

Arch of Hadrian (also referred to as Hadrian’s Gate)

This arched structure dates back to the 2nd century and was constructed in honor of Hadrian visiting Athens. It signifies the gateway between the old and new towns of Athens. Look for the inscription on it and come to your own assumptions about what the words mean – scholars haven’t been able to ever come to a conclusion.

Plaka Neighborhood

Plaka is considered Athen’s “Old Town” and is chock-full of charming pathways, eclectic shops, and charming cafes with lovely outdoor seating. There are also historical sites sprinkled all around Plaka that you’ll come across so keep your eyes peeled for them.

If you love shopping, head to Monastiraki Flea Market, which is located adjacent to the Plaka neighborhood and has some great deals to be found.

These are just some of the many sites you can see in Athens. If you’re ready to book your Mediterranean cruise so you can explore this iconic city, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.

Excursions You Won’t Want to Miss During a Baltic Cruise

The Baltic Sea is an enclave of the Atlantic Ocean that boasts an enviable geographical location thanks to the many beautiful and exciting countries bordering its deep blue edges. The Baltic Sea is large enough that cruise ships can easily sail along it and these cruises take passengers to the countries of Scandinavia and northern Europe. On Celebrity Cruises, itineraries that sail along the Baltic Sea are often titled as Scandinavia and Russia cruises, though they typically visit other countries as well.

To find out just what you can do while in port during a cruise sailing the Baltic Sea, we’ve rounded up some of the best shore excursions to do in some of the Baltic’s most popular ports. For each city, one excursion is listed that gives you an overview tour of the city and its top sites, and then another excursion that is a bit more unique or specialized.

St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg, Russia is the second largest city in Russia and is known for its fascinating architecture (particularly the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood) and vibrant cultural activities ranging from art to ballet to music. Here are two shore excursions that will help you experience the sites, sounds, and culture of St. Petersburg.

Walking Tour and Visit to the Spilled Blood Church: If you want to see a broad range of St. Petersburg with an emphasis on the city’s famous church, then this is the tour for you. In addition to the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, you’ll get a tour of Mikhailovsky Castle and see some of St. Petersburg’s other top sites.

VIP Mariinsky Ballet and Backstage Pass: St. Petersburg is known for its ballet and this special shore excursion lets you fully experience what goes into a world-class ballet performance. You and a very limited number of others on the tour will get a tour of the backstage area, which is generally closed to the general public. You’ll then get the chance to watch an evening performance with newfound knowledge of the workings of the ballet and Mariinsky Theater.

Helsinki, Finland

With a happening design district, myriad of boutiques, and delicious food scene, Helsinki blends modern with history among its art-nouveau buildings and bustling city scene. Helsinki is also surrounded by beautiful scenery and you can explore the city and the countryside in different ways during a shore excursion; here are two to look into.

Finnish Countryside Home Visit and Helsinki Highlights: See some of Helsinki’s top sites from your comfortable coach transportation as you drive outside of town to a traditional Finnish farm village called Sipoo. Dating back to the 14th century, Sipoo is full of Finnish charm and you’ll get to experience it firsthand when a local family gives you a tour of their farm and explains the rural lifestyle in Finland.

Helsinki By Bike: Explore Helsinki like a local – via bicycle. And not just any bicycle; you’ll be cruising around Helsinki exploring sites on a Jopo, which is a gearless bicycle that became popular in Helsinki in the 1960s and ‘70s and is once again popular today. You’ll feel like one of the cool kids cruising around town on your Jopo.

Tallinn (Muuga), Estonia

Your ship will dock in the port of Muuga, the gateway to the alluring city of Tallinn, Estonia. Tallinn is off the radar of many European travelers and you’ll be glad you got the chance to visit this city as soon as you glimpse the terracotta-colored roofs of its historic Old Town, which is still amazingly preserved from when it served as a center for the Hanseatic League in the 13th century. Here are two shore excursions to consider for Tallinn.

Tallinn – City of Contrasts: This well thought out city tour gives you both a taste of Tallinn as it is today and how it was in centuries past. You’ll explore both the Old Town and suburbs of Tallinn during a combination of coach and walking tour. You’ll also visit Viimsi Open Air Museum and have a special coffee break during your excursion.

Medieval Rakvere and Tallinn: Explore Old Town where you’ll see some of Tallinn’s best sites and make your way up to viewing platforms for stunning photo ops. Next you’ll travel to the ruins of Rakvere Castle, where you’ll learn more about Estonia during Medieval times, and and also get lunch and a vodka tasting in the castle’s courtyard.

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm has a gorgeous vantage point against the Baltic Sea, with its land spreading out over 14 islands. While in Stockholm, you can explore these different islands that make up the city and see both trendy shops and historic palaces and buildings. Here are two shore excursions that give you different views of Stockholm.

Stockholm Beauty by Land and Water: You’ll explore Stockholm both by foot and by boat on this shore excursion which takes you all over the city. Walk around Old Town, the shopping district, and Stockholm’s business district, before boarding a canal boat for a scenic cruise past lovely neighborhoods and urban gardens.

Historic Rooftop Tour: Elevate yourself and your experience in Stockholm with this adrenaline inducing shore excursion that lets you see Stockholm from new heights. You’ll start atop the Parliament Building, where you’ll be hooked into a safety harness that lets you safely walk along the rooftops of Stockholm, taking in incredible views. Once you’re back on solid ground, you’ll get a walking tour of Gamla Stan, one of Stockholm’s oldest and most beloved areas.

Berlin (Rostock), Germany

Rostock is a pretty port town with colorful buildings lining its streets. Though Rostock itself is visually appealing, the main allure of stopping in this port during a Baltic cruise is the chance to visit nearby Berlin. The journey is two hours by train or around two and half hours by bus, but it’s worth it to see the historic sites of Berlin. Here are two top shore excursions to check out for your time there.

Berlin from All Sides (By Train): This shore excursion swiftly takes you from Rostock to Berlin via a comfortable and scenic train ride through the German countryside. Once you’re in Berlin, you’ll explore some of the city’s most famous sites, including the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, and Checkpoint Charlie. In addition, you’ll partake in a river cruise and a traditional German lunch. (A similar shore excursion is also offered with a coach transportation option instead of train.)

Amazing Rostock with Microbrewery: Been to Berlin before? Then stay in Rostock! On this shore excursion you’ll get a tour of Rostock during which you’ll learn about historic universities and churches and see other sites Rostock is known for. During your tour, you’ll also stop at a microbrewery and hear how German beer is made and get to sample some brews.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is a thriving metropolis and port city that has a bit of everything for travelers, from an exciting food and beer scene to gorgeous buildings and parks to a thrilling history, that includes Vikings. Here are two shore excursions that will show you a broad range of all that Copenhagen has to offer.

City Sightseeing with Dragor Village: You’ll get nature and culture on this tour, which takes you on a tour to Copenhagen’s best sites, like the beautiful Tivoli Gardens and the home of the Royal family called Amalienborg Palace. In addition to city life, you’ll get to see a quieter side of the landscape around Copenhagen thanks to a visit to Dragor, a farming village that dates back to the 16th century.

Copenhagen by Kayak: Get your heart rate up with this fun way to explore Copenhagen. You’ll learn about the canals and waterways of Copenhagen and then get to hop in your kayak to explore them and the sights surrounding the waterways.

Oslo, Norway

In Oslo, you’ll be kissing the Baltic Sea good-bye as you enter the Skagerrak Strait, which connects to the North Sea. Though technically not on the Baltic Sea, Oslo is part of many Baltic Sea cruise itineraries so you’ll want to know what excursions you can do while in Oslo. Here are two top picks.

Oslo City Walk and Ice Bar: Experience the city first hand on a walking tour around some of its prominent areas with a knowledgeable guide. After your walk, you’ll get to cool down in Oslo’s Ice Bar where everything from the walls to the bartop to the chairs are made out of ice. Cool indeed.

Hadeland Glass Works and Viking Ships: Learn about Oslo’s culture and history during this unique shore excursion, during which you’ll tour the Viking Ship Museum and visit a glassblowing shop to watch glassblowers create their masterpieces. You’ll also see some of Oslo’s other major sites like Akershus Castle when driving through the city.

Your Scandinavia and Russia cruise itinerary through the Baltic Sea also may travel further into the North Sea, visiting ports of call such as Zeebrugge, Belgium; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Southampton, London. To see all of these thrilling Northern Europe cruise itineraries sailing along the Baltic Sea with Celebrity Cruises, click here.

 

Port of Call Spotlight: Dublin

Exciting news for those dreaming of traveling to Ireland! Celebrity Cruises will be offering a mini season out of Dublin, Ireland, in 2018. The Celebrity Eclipse will sail out of Dublin from April through June of 2018 and will be the first major cruise line in the world to homeport out of Dublin. To celebrate this momentous occasion, here is a Port of Call Spotlight highlighting five must-do things in Dublin. Skip to the bottom to learn more about the itineraries happening during this Dublin cruise mini season.

Trinity College’s Old Library and the Book of Kells

Books, books, and more books is what you’ll find at Trinity College’s incredible Old Library – and some impressive architecture. The arched frames and gilded accents make the library seem almost magical, but the reality is that this long, beautiful library is full of historical manuscripts and timeless books.

Adjacent to the library is the exhibit for the Book of Kells, a manuscript which dates back to the 8th century. You’ll walk through an information room that tells you about the history of the book before getting to a smaller room that houses this impressive piece of craftsmanship.

Dublin Castle

Those who want to learn more about Ireland’s history and the country’s road to independence will want to spend some time at Dublin Castle. In addition to being home to luxurious State Apartments and museums housing Irish artifacts and other remnants of Irish history, Dublin Castle also has the remains of a Viking fort and a symbolic Statue of Lady Justice on its premises. Dublin Castle was also the site where Michael Collins ceremoniously took the keys to Ireland. An excellent way to learn about the history located within this site is to take a guided tour there.

Hint: You can easily tour booth the Book of Kells and Dublin Castle on the aptly named Dublin Castle and Book of Kells shore excursion.

St. Stephen’s Green

St. Stephen’s Green is a 22-acre park located in the heart of Dublin’s city center. It has gorgeous walking trails winding through large trees and around scenic ponds. Park benches and sculptures of historic figures like James Joyce dot the park and provide a peaceful ambiance for a leisurely stroll or conversation with travel partners away from the hustle and bustle of the city. When you’re done at the park, you can exit to the north where you’ll be right across from Grafton Street, one of Dublin’s main shopping streets.

Guinness Storehouse

You can’t go to Dublin without seeing Guinness everywhere. The country’s famous stout is crafted to perfection in its Dublin-based St James’ Gate Brewery, and you can find out more about how this beloved beer is made at the nearby Guinness Storehouse.

The Guinness Storehouse isn’t just a tutorial on beer making, though. There are also special beer tasting experiences, culinary options, and live music happening throughout the day. A highlight of most people’s visit, however, is visiting the Gravity Bar on the top level for a pint of Guinness and 360-degree views of Dublin.

Temple Bar

This lively area of Dublin is the place to head for nightlife, and is a fun place to spend the evening if you have an overnight in Dublin. However, visiting during the day will also give you an opportunity to see the character of the colorful buildings and the chance to grab a pint in one of its many pubs without battling the masses for a seat.

The pubs of Temple Bar often host live music so check if there are shows happening while you’ll be there. A pint of Guinness and some Irish music is a quintessential and memorable way to spend some time in Ireland!

Feeling overwhelmed by all the sight-seeing options in Dublin? Make it easy on yourself and sign up for the Dublin Walking Tour and Pub shore excursion, during which you’ll get to see the historic and nature sides of Dublin plus enjoy a pint of frothy Guinness.

Dublin Cruise Itineraries

Cruise itineraries out of Dublin will include a 10-night Ireland and Iceland sailing calling at Belfast, Northern Ireland; Reykjavik, Iceland; Akureyri, Iceland; Lerwick/Shetland, Scotland; and Cork, Ireland. There will also be an 8-night Norwegian Fjords itinerary offered during the mini-season.

In Dublin, Celebrity Cruises will be offering a brand new Celebrity City Stay. Guests can opt to start their vacation a little earlier and enjoy three nights in a luxury hotel, enriching fully-guided tours, and a farewell dinner on their last night in the city before embarking on their cruise vacation.

To book your 2018 Dublin homeport cruise or other Celebrity Cruises vacation the makes a port of call in Dublin, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.

4 Reasons to Book a Cruise to Europe in 2017

Thinking of visiting Europe this year? Here’s why you most definitely should book that trip and why a cruise is the way to visit the beautiful and diverse continent of Europe in 2017.

Overnight Time in Some of Europe’s Top Ports

Burano, Italy
Burano, Italy near Venice

Cruising around Europe is one of the most relaxing ways to explore a variety of European countries in one trip. Only unpack once and enjoy entertainment and a luxuriously appointed stateroom while you travel between cities. And while spending the day in some of the most intriguing cities in Europe is wonderful, some travelers are also curious to see the nightlife. That’s where Celebrity Cruises’ overnight ports come in.

Experience the dynamic vibe that Europe offers after night falls – visit a wine bar, eat dinner at a local diner, go dancing, walk around and see your favorite sites illuminated against the night sky. Then head back to the ship to sleep in your comfortable bed before waking up to explore more in the morning before your ship departs. Whatever you do during your night in port, you’ll be glad you got to experience this other view of European culture and that your Celebrity cruise made it so easy to do so. To browse Europe cruise itineraries and see which port cities have overnights, click here.

Hot Countries in Europe for 2017

Lisbon, Portugal: A hot city to visit in Europe in 2017
Lisbon, Portugal

“Hot” as in countries that travelers in the know are clamoring to go to in 2017. A cruise will take you to some of these:

Lisbon, Portugal: Lonely Planet named Lisbon as one of the top 10 cities to visit in 2017, a big reason for which is its museums like the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian and Museu Colecção Berardo.

Finland: Pretty much all the travel publications are touting 2017 as the year to go to Finland since 2017 is Finland’s centenary and the country will be celebrating with festive events throughout the year. Neighbors Sweden and Norway also made Conde Nast Traveler’s 2017 list along with Finland. (Hint: you can visit all three on a Baltic cruise with Celebrity Cruises!)

Athens, Greece: Conde Nast Traveler named Athens as one of its top 17 places to go in 2017 because of the city’s recent revitalization in modern arts facilities, such as the state of the art Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, where you’ll find the National Library of Greece, the National Opera, and a beautiful park that happens to be Athens’ largest. The National Museum of Art also recently reopened.

Croatia: Conde Nast Traveler also said you should get yourself to the Croatian coast in 2017, and for good reason. Tourism continues to increase in the country, but it’s still relatively calm compared to its neighbor across the Adriatic: Italy. Cruise to Dubrovnik and Split and admire Croatia’s incredible beauty.

Malaga, Spain: Malaga is located along the southern coast of Spain and is known for its long, gorgeous beaches. But its Malaga’s museums that landed it on Travel and Leisure’s Best Places to Travel in 2017 list. From Picasso to private collections and more, the museum scene in Malaga is exciting, interesting, and growing.

Signature Cruises: Unique European Itineraries

Place de la Concorde in Paris
Place de la Concorde in Paris

Celebrity Cruises offers Signature Cruises every year that take place around special events and there are some exciting ones coming up in Europe in 2017, particularly if you’re a sports fan.

The French Open: Sail from Southampton, England, on June 4, 2017 and visit Paris (during your overnight in the port of Le Havre) right in time for the French Open where you can attend tennis matches and soak in the atmosphere. You’ll also visit St. Peter Port in the Channel Islands; Cherbourg, France; Zeebrugge, Belgium; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Glasgow, Scotland; Liverpool, England; Dublin, Ireland; and Cork, Ireland, before returning to Southampton.

The British Open: On the British Isles and the Open cruise itinerary departing July 18, 2017, you’ll depart from Amsterdam, Netherlands, and visit the Channel Islands; Liverpool, England; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Dublin, Ireland; Cork, Ireland; and Zeebrugge, Belgium. While in port in Liverpool (where you’ll stay overnight), you can travel north to Southport to take in some of the golf excitement happening at the British Open. During your cruise you can also schedule tee times on golf greens located in the cities you’ll be visiting.

Edinburgh Military Tattoo: Travel around the British Isles on this cruise that features a stop in Edinburgh during the famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo festival. This cruise itinerary, which departs August 11, 2017, from Amsterdam, also visits Inverness, Scotland; Liverpool, England; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Cork, Ireland; Zeebrugge, Belgium; and Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Good Exchange Rate

Celebrity Equinox in Santorini
Santorini, Greece

Need one more reason to travel to Europe in 2017 besides awesome destinations? The exchange rate for the Euro and other European currencies have been trending well against the dollar. Take advantage of your time in port by doing some souvenir shopping or picking up the latest European fashions, or treat yourself to a decadent lunch or exquisite glass of wine while in port and know you’re getting a pretty good deal on it compared to what your dollar would have paid for a few years ago.

To book your European cruise, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.

Shore Excursions You Can’t Miss During a Mediterranean Cruise

Ready to start planning your Mediterranean cruise itinerary? Here are the shore excursions you can’t miss doing during a Mediterranean cruise.

Beach Time

There are so many beautiful and historic sites to see and things to do around the Mediterranean, that the beach may actually become an afterthought during your cruise. Make sure to make time for beach lounging on at least one port of call though, since experiencing the sun chairs and ambiance along with swimming in clear, salty water is a quintessential Mediterranean pastime. Be sure to pack water shoes, though, as most beaches in the Mediterranean are rocky instead of sandy. Celebrity Cruises provides shore excursions to beaches, some of which also stop at lookout points or historic sites on the way to and from the beach. Some examples include:

Beach Transfer in Corsica
Beach Transfer in Mykonos
Italian Beach and Pisa

Wine Tasting

Learn more about wine around the world on a wine related shore excursion.

The Mediterranean is home to some incredible wine regions. From well-known wine wonderlands like Provence and Tuscany to smaller, under-the-radar vineyards in Santorini and Croatia, there is no shortage of wineries to visit while sailing around the Mediterranean Sea. Make visiting those wineries easier by booking a wine tasting shore excursion. Here are some examples:

Dalmatian Coastline and Wine Tasting
Wine Tasting in Tuscany
Santorini’s Wine Culture

Active Adventures

Experience the nature side of the Mediterranean by getting right into it. Go hiking through woods and along coastal paths, set off on small sailboats around islands, go kayaking in search of wildlife and beaches, take off biking, and more. Here are some of the adventurous shore excursions you can do in port:

Croatian Adventure in Dubrovnik
Lucca by Bike
Volcano Hike in Santorini

Foodie Fun

Love trying foods around the world? Then you’ll love a food-focused shore excursion. Choose an excursion that takes you on a tour of some of the best eateries in a city, during which a guide will explain the cultural significance of what you’re eating. You can also do special dinners while in port, where you eat in someone’s home or at a special historic site. In addition, select cruise itineraries include Chef Market Discoveries with the chef on board; you go around the city with the chef to look for ingredients and learn about the local cuisine. These shore excursions often include cooking lessons and tastings as well and even a special dinner back on board the ship. Here are a couple you can do:

Santorini: Culinary Journey to Canava Village and Private Dinner
Venice: Rialto Market, Chocolatier, and Private Dinner

Historic City Tours

Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, Spain

The Mediterranean is home to some breathtaking cities that have a deep, varied history. Learn about that history more in-depth by taking part in a shore excursion while in port. Your expert guide will lead you to the top sites of the city while regaling you with historic tales and how it plays a part in the city today. Some city tours include:

Athens City Sights
Architecture and More in Barcelona
Ancient Split and Game of Thrones Experience
A Taste of Florence

Celebrity Exclusives

Celebrity Exclusives are special, unique shore excursions you can do around the world that show you a different side of a destination. In the Mediterranean, you can go truffle hunting, traverse the sky in a hot air balloon, drive a Ferrari, and more. See all Celebrity Exclusives here.

To book your Celebrity Cruises Mediterranean cruise, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.

Port of Call Spotlight: Venice, Italy

Venice is often one of the most anticipated ports of call for cruisers lucky enough to be stopping there on a Mediterranean cruise. With streets made of water and quaint gondolas plus beautiful architecture and views, this unique city is on the bucket list of pretty much every traveler. With such a powerful reputation that precedes it long before you ever arrive, you want to make sure you’re prepared to enjoy every minute of your day in gorgeous Venice. Here’s what you need to know about visiting Venice during your cruise.

Getting Into Venice from the Ship

Celebrity Cruises Ship in Venice
Celebrity Cruises Ship in Venice

You won’t dock right in the center of quintessential Venice, i.e. the car-free land of water streets. You’ll dock just outside that area in the cruise terminal that is also close to Venice’s only parking lot (those driving to Venice need to leave their car somewhere, after all), and from there, you have a few options to get into the center of Venice and to its main sites. Shore excursions are the most hassle-free way to get into Venice as transportation will be arranged for you and you’ll be led to where you need to be directly from the ship. There is also a public water bus, called a vaporetto, that can take you into the heart of Venice, which you can catch from walking to the S. Marta stop.

If your cruise is beginning in Venice, as many Celebrity Cruises Mediterranean itineraries do, you can extend your vacation with a City Stay. The City Stay in Venice program through Celebrity Cruises arranges an amazing getaway in Venice before your ship departs and includes transportation to the ship once your stay in Venice is done.

Can’t-Miss Venice

Here are the iconic things to see and do that you can’t miss while in Venice.

St. Mark’s Square: Basilicas, Palaces & More

St. Mark's Basilica, located in Venice's St. Mark's Square
St. Mark’s Basilica, located in Venice’s St. Mark’s Square

St. Mark’s Square is Venice’s most famous site (besides perhaps the gondolas) and it has a lot going on in it. The most commanding view is St. Mark’s Basilica, which juts up magnificently on one side of the square. You can tour inside and even go up to the roof for a birds-eye view of the square. And speaking of birds, you’ll see a lot of them – pigeons, that is – while at St. Mark’s Square. The pigeons make for a fun photo op if you don’t mind frolicking with birds.

St. Mark's Square at Night
St. Mark’s Square and Doge’s Palace

Doge’s Palace is also located in St. Mark’s Square and runs perpendicular to St. Mark’s Basilica. The palace dates back to the 12th century and was where the Doge of Venice lived (the Doge used to be the leader of the Republic of Venice). It also once housed a prison.

The Architecturally Impressive Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs is located over the Rio di Palazzo behind Doge’s Palace (which it’s connected to) and is a beautiful bridge in a setting that is striking to behold. The bridge is made of gleaming white limestone with intricate motifs and carvings in the façade.

A Charming Gondola Ride

Gondola ride in Venice with Celebrity Cruises

A gondola ride is a classic way to see the sights of Venice and experience the winding waterways firsthand. A standard gondola ride is 40 minutes long and you may want to seek out a gondolier who will sing during your ride to make it even more memorable.

Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal

The Grand Canal with Rialto Bridge in the background in Venice.
The Grand Canal with Rialto Bridge in the background.

One of the most famous sights along the wide Grand Canal of Venice is the stately Rialto Bridge. You can walk across it or take a vaporetto underneath.

Murano and Burano

Burano, Italy
Burano

These two little islands are a short boat ride away from Venice, Murano is known for its artistic ambiance, mainly derived from the glass blowing and creations you’ll encounter while there. Burano is famous for its colorful buildings and delicate lace creations.

Venice’s Delectable Gelato

In a country known for gelato, Venice makes some of the best. Get a cone with a few scoops of the creamy, cold, delicious goodness, and enjoy it while you take in a canal view or St. Mark’s Square.

The Alleyways of Venice

Do some exploring in Venice down side alleyways and over tiny canals.
Do some exploring in Venice down side alleyways and over tiny canals.

Part of Venice’s charm comes from simply exploring the narrow little side alleys of Venice. Follow the cobblestoned streets past terracotta colored buildings and stumble upon alcoves and tiny bridges and charming canals that are off the beaten path. Just make sure you don’t get too lost – you’ll need to catch your ship later!

Venice Shore Excursions

Venice Shore Excursions

For those who feel a bit overwhelmed by the zigzagging, water-filled chaos of Venice, Celebrity Cruises makes it easy for you.

Take the Secret Venice Walking Tour around historic squares and out-of-the-way alleys while also seeing some of the top sites with a knowledgeable guide who will give you an insider’s perspective on Venice.

Will your cruise be in Venice until nighttime? Take the Evening Gondola Serenade excursion through the lovely waterways of Venice while accompanied by an Italian singer and accordionist.

Learn about glass artistry and more on the Murano Glassworks, San Giorgio and Gondola Ride shore excursion, which includes a visit to a local glass showroom.

On the Walk Through Venice Up to St. Mark’s Square shore excursion you’ll walk through the heart of Venice past historic sites and gorgeous architecture until you end up in the middle of St. Mark’s Square. You’ll have free time after the walk to further explore the sights of the square and surrounding area.

To book your Mediterranean cruise that includes a visit to the port of Venice, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.

Do It Here, Then Do It There: Two Famous Bridges to Visit

Love some great views and engineering masterpieces? Head to these iconic bridges, one close to home in California and another farther away in England.

Do It Here: the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California
Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Photo courtesy of Tom Hilton via Flickr.

A popular thing to do when visiting California’s Bay Area is seeing the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The red bridge gleams brilliantly against the blue sky and water…or hovers faintly and mysteriously in the thick gray fog that often hangs over the city. Whether you can see the entire bridge in all its glory or just pops of red through clouds, it’s a must-see while in San Francisco and if you have a car you should drive across it. Here are two other great ways to experience the Golden Gate Bridge while in San Francisco.

Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge: If you’re feeling adventurous, walk across the Golden Gate Bridge instead of driving. Next to the multiple driving lanes and whizzing cars is a cordoned off walking path. Bring a windproof jacket even on a warm day as the breeze across the bridge can be harsh and chilly. The walk will be a little under four miles long if you park at the south or north end and walk all the way to the other end and back. For a shorter walk, just walk to the nearest tower and back.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area: If you drive across the bridge from downtown San Francisco, be sure to pull off into Golden Gate National Recreational Area and park by the Vista Point for an impressive view of not only the bridge, but also the San Francisco skyline across the bay.

Do It There: Tower Bridge in London

Tower Bridge in London
Tower Bridge in London

Across the Atlantic, there’s another iconic bridge with two towers and a memorable exterior: the Tower Bridge in London.

Built over 120 years ago, the Tower Bridge gets its name because the two vertical posts flanking the bridge look just like a tower you might see as part of a castle. While visiting the bridge, you can actually go inside these towers and see exhibits and do tours, including the historic Victorian Engine Rooms, rotating “Art at the Bridge” series, and an engineering tour. Sometimes morning yoga classes are even offered in the walkway. The elevated walkway also just got a new makeover with a dramatic glass floor that gives you a potentially heart-pounding look at the cars whizzing by you below.

Another near thing to see while visiting Tower Bridge is the lifting of its roadways, which was and still is considered to be an engineering marvel. The design of the bridge enables cars to pass over the river while also being able to still let ships sail through to the Pool of London docks when the roadways are up. You can find out scheduled lift times for the Tower Bridge here. 

Cruise to Golden Gate Bridge and Tower London Bridge

Ready to experience the Golden Gate Bridge and the Tower London Bridge? You can visit both via a Celebrity cruise! You can sail to San Francisco on one of Celebrity Cruises’ Alaska or Pacific Coastal itineraries that stop in the California port city, and then sail to London on a Europe cruise through the Baltic Sea. Find out more at www.CelebrityCruises.com.

Why Summer is the Perfect Time to Cruise to Europe

Trying to figure out your summer vacation plans? Or want to go to Europe, but feel overwhelmed by the planning logistics of such an endeavor? Consider a relaxing, entertaining, and culturally rich cruise. Here’s why summer is the perfect time to cruise to Europe.

The Weather

Summer in the Greek Isles
Summer in the Greek Isles

This is a big one. The weather during the summer months is sunny and warm. You’ll get to soak up that lovely Mediterranean or Baltic sun while exploring a variety of different ports. Summer in Europe can also tip into the hot category. If you’re in Europe during a heat wave, you’ll be glad you have your air-conditioned stateroom to get back to at the end of the day since many hotels in Europe don’t have air conditioning.

More Action and Activities

Wine tasting in Santorini.
Wine tasting shore excursion in Santorini.

Many of the towns and cities by cruise ports in Europe come alive during the summer months with festivals and summer markets. In addition, restaurants and other businesses that close during the winter now fling their doors open in welcome.

The Whole Family Can Come

Family Fun Onboard and in Port During a Europe Summer Cruise
Family Fun Onboard and in Port During a Europe Summer Cruise

Make your vacation a family affair by going in the summer when kids are often out of school. A cruise is a great, stress-free way to show your children the art, history, and wonder of Europe since there are many shore excursions and activities onboard tailored to children and teens.

You’ll also be able to introduce your family to many different countries, but not have the hassle of figuring out transportation in between – the ship has that easily handled while you simply enjoy quality time together in the evenings onboard.

Transportation Between Countries

Celebrity ship in Dubrovnik
Celebrity Cruises Ship in Croatia

Country hopping can be part of the fun of going to Europe. There are so many different cultures and languages all within such close proximity to each other, making it easy to experience several even if you don’t have a ton of vacation time.

However, getting between these countries can sometimes be frustrating and expensive – even if you don’t have kids in tow like mentioned above – because of the many tourists vying for plane and train seats, and the inevitable worker strikes that often happen in summer, or other unforeseen circumstances.

With a cruise, you unpack once and know your ship is waiting for you to effortlessly transport you to your next port of call (usually overnight) while you enjoy the summer sea breeze while sipping a glass of wine on your balcony or the ship deck, and then sleep in a comfortable bed.

More Itineraries

Sail to Copenhagen and other ports during a Scandinavian and Russian cruise.
Sail to Copenhagen and Other Ports During a Baltic Cruise

You won’t find many Baltic cruises in the winter and Mediterranean cruise itinerary options are also more limited so sail around Europe in the summer when you can find your dream itinerary thanks to more port of call options to choose from.

There are some amazing shore excursions offered on summer cruises, too, like seeing the castles of Denmark via a private helicopter ride or taking a high-speed train from St. Petersburg to Moscow where you can see the colorful St. Basil’s Cathedral.

Find Your Perfect Summer Cruise

If this all sounds pretty wonderful, you’re in luck – there are still last minute cruises available to Europe this summer. You can check out all the itineraries at www.CelebrityCruises.com, including the President’s Cruise onboard the Celebrity Silhouette that departs June 7.

If you sail on the President’s Cruise, you will visit different Baltic capital ports of call alongside Celebrity Cruises President Lisa Lutoff-Perlo while also getting the opportunity to partake in special President Cruise activities like the Mariinsky Gala Event.

There’s a reason why Travel Weekly readers recently named Celebrity Cruises as the “Best Cruise Line in Europe” for the 6th consecutive year in a row. Find out for yourself why by sailing through Europe this summer.

What European Cruise Port Should You Visit?

Find out what Europe cruise port you’ll enjoy cruising to based off of your favorite west coast city.

Love Portland? Cruise to Barcelona, Spain

Keep Portland weird, they say? Well, in Barcelona you’ll find some weird architecture. Ok, it’s not so much weird as amazing thanks to the architectural genius of the late Antoni Gaudi, but you’ll see some buildings and one very famous cathedral (the still being built Sagrada Familia) in Barcelona unlike any others you’ve come across. Like Portland’s culinary-rich Richmond neighborhood and proximity to lush forests, Barcelona also has a myriad of restaurants and mesmerizing natural sites to see, from the many tapas bars on La Rambla to the Montserrat rocks a short distance from the city center.

The interior of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
The interior of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Love San Diego? Cruise to Malaga, Spain

Though not quite as world-famous as its Barcelona neighbor to the north (similar to San Diego compared to LA), Malaga, Spain, has a Spanish charm and ambiance all its own – mostly thanks to its gorgeous beaches. Like the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego, the city of Malaga has a vibrant downtown area. Stretching out from the city center are miles upon miles of sandy beaches. Resorts and small beach neighborhoods dot the coastal landscape as waves from the Mediterranean sea crash upon the shoreline.

Love Los Angeles? Cruise to Cannes, France

Not only is Cannes home to a famous film festival, it also has the upscale yet laidback prestige that Los Angeles is known for. Cannes also has beaches and boardwalks bordering bistros and gourmet restaurants. You can find a variety of high-end shopping down La Croisette. Though Cannes doesn’t have LA’s sprawl, you’re still in driving distance of a variety of different types of neighborhoods and scenery. Just like from LA you can access the hiking trails and wine tasting rooms of Malibu or high-end country life of Calabasas, in Cannes you can drive a short distance to the vineyards of Provence or the promenade of Nice.

Love San Francisco? Cruise to Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal

Hilly San Francisco and its charming cable cars has a counterpoint in Lisbon thanks to the Portuguese city’s bright yellow tram that zigzags visitors up and down hills through the city. In San Francisco you can head to Golden Gate Park for panoramic views while in Lisbon, the best viewpoint is from the ruins of St. George’s Castle. San Francisco has a variety of eclectic neighborhoods, ranging from Chinatown to Fisherman’s Wharf. You’ll find a variety of neighborhoods in Lisbon, too, with the most popular one to seek out being the medieval, meandering, cobblestoned Alfama District, which is also a popular area to find some of the local Fado music performances.

Love Seattle? Cruise to Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden

Seattle has a marvelously scenic location thanks to being sandwiched between the salt water inlet of the Puget Sound and fresh water of massive Lake Washington. Seattle is also surrounded by many islands that are a short ferry ride away, ranging from wooded Bainbridge Island to the orca-habited San Juan Islands. If you love the way that water is entwined with the city of Seattle, you’ll also like Stockholm, a beautiful, stately city situated across 14 islands on an archipelago in the Baltic Sea. Stockholm has a bustling Old Town area with colorful medieval buildings and other historical sites. You can also explore the more natural side of the city by taking a boat around the islands and visiting Stockholm’s numerous gardens and parks.

Love Las Vegas? Cruise to Monaco

Ok, Las Vegas isn’t technically on the coast, but it’s close enough to be in driving distance of most of the cities listed so far. If you love Vegas getaways due to the glitz and gambling, you’ll love visiting Monaco. This tiny European principality is home to a glamorous casino plus gorgeous beaches and boulevards. If you enjoy Vegas entertainment, time your cruise to arrive in Monaco during the Monaco Grand Prix – you’ll get a fantastic show of cars and probably some prime viewing of the rich and famous.

Ready to book your cruise to one of these ports? Celebrity Cruises has a variety of itineraries that visits all of them. Visit www.CelebrityCruises.com to find out which one is best for you.