Category Archives: Europe

Cruise Port Spotlight: Naples, Italy

Things to Do in Naples During Your Cruise

Naples, Italy is a unique cruise port since Naples itself is a huge draw for visitors to Italy, but Naples is also the gateway to several other popular tourist spots in Italy. When visiting this city during a cruise, you have the option of sticking around Naples and exploring the city or taking an excursion to charming, colorful towns, historic sites, and more.

Cruising into Naples

Your ship will arrive in Naples’s cruise port via the Gulf of Naples. The port of Naples is within walking distance to shopping and dining in Naples. Meaning you can book a shore excursion and still probably have time (depending on the length of your excursion) to run into town for some of that famous pizza before getting back on your ship.

Things to Do While in Port in Naples

Pizza in Naples
Pizza in Naples

Historic Center of Naples

Besides eating pizza, there are plenty of other things to do in Naples.

You can explore the sights and sounds of the pretty Old Town area, where you’ll find gorgeous cathedrals, bustling squares, street vendor shopping, and a cosmopolitan vibe.

Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius

Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius

If you’d like a day experiencing ancient history while in port in Naples, head to the ruins of Pompeii.

Pompeii is one of the great historic finds of the world. It is an ancient city that was remarkably preserved after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD and buried the town in ash. Today, you can tour Pompeii and see buildings and bodies seemingly preserved in time.

The Celebrity Priority Access: Amalfi Coast Motor Launch and Pompeii shore excursion gets you there effortlessly from your cruise ship. You’ll enjoy views of the Amalfi Coast from the water on a comfortable motor launch. You’ll then depart the boat for some land time in Amalfi before heading to the ruins of Pompeii.

Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast

If colorful towns intrigue you more than historic ruins, you can also take a motor launch shore excursion down the Amalfi Coast to the town of Sorrento and explore its cliffside buildings and cobblestoned streets overlooking the Gulf of Naples.

Another memorable shore excursion you can do along the Amalfi Coast is the Sorrento Gastronomy Discover and Private Dinner shore excursion, which is a special Chef’s Market Discoveries excursion. You’ll visit local markets and private family farms with a Celebrity Cruises chef and learn about the history of food and drinks (like limoncello) in the area. Then you’ll get a delicious lunch showcasing some of the ingredients you learned about. After lunch you’ll take a coach drive along the Amalfi Coast and a stop in the charming town of Positano. This excursion also includes an experience back on board the ship; you’ll get to have dinner with the chef and dine on an exquisite Italian cuisine using ingredients your chef picked up during the excursion.

Capri and the Blue Grotto

Celebrity Cruises in Capri, Italy
Boat ride around the island of Capri

The Italian island of Capri is easily accessible by ferry from Naples. It takes less than an hour to get across the bay and you’ll be greeted by a cute little harbor village called Marina Grande. Though there are shops and cafes in the harbor village, the real allure of Capri is beyond the harbor.

The most famous thing to do in Capri is visit the Blue Grotto. The Blue Grotto is a small cave in the side of the island that is only accessible by a row boat. You’ll typically take a catamaran or other motor boat to the entrance of the cave and then take turns going in the row boat to explore inside the cave. Once inside you’ll be amazed by the way the light plays on the water, casting the cave in a bright blue glow. Visits to the Blue Grotto often usually include a boat ride around the island, which has gorgeous scenery. A shore excursion to the Blue Grotto will arrange all the details in getting you there, making it easy for you.

While in Capri, you can also take the funicular up the side of the hill from Marina Grande and you’ll arrive in Capri Town, where there are gardens, high-end luxury shopping, and incredible sea and island views.

Cruise Itineraries that Visit Naples

Excited to book a cruise that has a port of call in Naples? Celebrity Cruises has many Mediterranean cruise itineraries that make stops  in Naples. The cruises often include ports of call at other popular destinations like Santorini, Greece; Athens, Greece; Rome, Italy; Florence, Italy; and others. To find the itinerary that is perfect for you, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.

 

Can’t Miss Beaches in the U.S. and Europe

Do It Here…Do It There: Top Beaches on the USA’s West Coast…Top Beaches in Europe

The west coast of the United States has the enviable position of bordering the Pacific Ocean. For many residents of the west coast, a day at the beach is just part of life. Visitors also usually make a jaunt to the beach a priority. These beaches along the west coast of the USA inspire wanderlust and are worth a drive to get to for residents and visitors alike. In today’s article, we’ve listed a collection of the top beaches on the west coast, and then — since your wanderlust will probably continue – the best beaches to visit during a cruise to Europe.

10 Must-Visit Beaches on the West Coast, USA

Mission Beach: This popular beach in San Diego has a bustling boardwalk and is even located right next to an amusement park. Ride the iconic wooden rollercoaster and then spread your beach towel out on the soft sand while you eat some take-out from one of the nearby restaurants. Whether you then wait an hour to go swimming in those tumbling Pacific waves is up to you!

Windansea Beach: Popular with locals, but sometimes unknown to tourists, Windansea Beach is a hidden gem in La Jolla, the northern most community of San Diego. It’s accented by large, long rocks that provide little alcoves for families and beach goers wanting a bit more privacy. The rocky coastline also isn’t as familiar of a sight in southern California and makes for beautiful views as well. Windansea Beach is also just a short jaunt to cafes, shops, and restaurants in the Bird Rock neighborhood of La Jolla.

Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach: Immediately west of artsy and classy Laguna Beach Village is this beach, which has an open sandy area flanked by cliffs on both sides. Head down behind the cliffs for more private beach lounging spots or stay where the action is in the open area and try your hand at some beach volleyball. Public restrooms and showers are right onsite and you’re a quick walk to food and drinks.

Huntington State Beach: If dreaming of southern California beaches conjures up images of the infamous tv show, Baywatch, then Huntington Beach is where you want to head. A long stretch of soft, pristine sand flanked by blue lifeguard towers hosts a bevy of sunbathers in the summer months. The waves are also ideal for body surfers and boogie boarders with certain areas being popular surf spots.

Santa Monica Beach: Famous for its pier which has an amusement park and restaurants on it, Santa Monica Beach provides both entertainment and relaxation on the sandy shores stretching north and south from the pier. It’s also in walking distance of Santa Monica’s ritzy downtown area.

El Matador Beach: Malibu is worth the drive up the LA coastline as it’s about where California’s beach scenery changes from sandy and flat to wild and rugged. Malibu has several beaches that have impressive rock formations jutting out of the water, but El Matador stands out due to a massively wide rock with a series of tunnels going through its base.

Santa Barbara Beach: Both long and wide, the main beach of Santa Barbara is sandy and perfect for a stroll any time of the day. Santa Barbara is the jewel of California’s central coast. While ambling along the beach, look toward the water for dazzling ocean views, and then turn your head the other way to be impressed by the mountainous skyline framing this pretty beach city.

Cannon Beach: California is most famous for its beaches, but don’t discount its Pacific Northwest neighbors, Oregon and Washington, especially if you head to Cannon Beach in Oregon. Cannon Beach is known for Haystack Rock, a massive triangular shaped rock formation that looms within the ocean close to shore. The beach itself is sandy and long, providing you with ample angles to get the perfect shot of Haystack Rock. Cannon Beach is also close to the town of the same name, which is full of charming side streets and ritzy boutiques and restaurants.

Bandon Beach: Though not quite as famous as Cannon Beach, a road trip through Oregon should also include a stop in the town of Bandon Beach and to its Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint, which includes a beach area you won’t want to miss. This beach is home to some cool rock formations; when the tide goes out you can explore around the rocks and also see if you can see the face within the rocks that gives this beach its name. The views surrounding Face Rock State Beach are also worth making it a priority to see, especially around sunset.

Shi Shi Beach: Continuing north into Washington, the hike to Shi Shi Beach is worth the exercise and will have your jaw drop due to both the powerful nature of the sea and the way the nearby Olympic forest (Shi Shi Beach is part of Olympic National Park) comes straight up to the shoreline. You can also get a permit to camp along Shi Shi Beach, making for an especially memorable beach going experience.

5 Must-Visit Beaches in Europe

Nice: The French Riviera is famous for its magnificent views of the Mediterranean and upscale beach vibe, and Nice encompasses all of that with its coastline. Nice also has a lovely, wide boardwalk that takes you alongside both the coastal views and Nice’s Old Town. The beaches of Nice are rocky so come prepared with beach shoes and to maybe pay for the day use to a beach chair.

Santorini Beach
Santorini’s Red Beach

Santorini Red Beach: Santorini’s volcanic past has created some visually striking beaches. While its several black beaches are neat to see, it’s Santorini’s Red Beach that usually strikes a lasting impression in visitor’s mind. You have to access the beach via a short trailhead that takes you over a pass from which you’ll see the cove of Red Beach stretching out magnificently below you. Make your way down the trail to the beach and sit on the red pebbly beach, created from lava rocks. Behind the beach, a red rock wall stretches into the sky, and lapping at the shores is the Mediterranean Sea in gorgeous turquoise and teal colors.

Mykonos Paradise Beach: The Greek island of Mykonos is home to many beaches, but Paradise Beach stands out thanks to its party vibe and cove-like nature ambiance. Plus, wade out into the warm, clear water and you’ll soon come to an underwater rock wall that just barely breaks the surface. It will make for some instagrammable “walking on water” pictures.

Costa del Sol, Spain: The coastal area west of Malaga, Spain stretches for miles with sandy beaches. Take your pick for one to relax at and soak up the Mediterranean sunshine and sea views. Bring a towel or find a beach lounge chair to rent for the day and then take breaks from the sand to wander into town for some seafood and sangria or a refreshing ice cream cone.

Playa Sa Caleta, Ibiza: The island of Ibiza, Spain is known for its party atmosphere, but if you want some tranquility while on the island head to Playa Sa Caleta. This sandy beach is tucked away behind some rocky cliffs and surrounded by green hills and teal water ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

Which beach do you want to head to first? Celebrity Cruises has itineraries that stop nearby all these destinations. Find your perfect itinerary at CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.

Cruise Port of Call Spotlight: Malaga, Spain

Malaga isn’t as well known as some of Spain’s other hot spots, but you don’t want to overlook this cruise port located on Spain’s southern coast that is an ideal starting point for exploring the Andalusia region of Spain. Not only is the city of Malaga adjacent to the Costa del Sol stretch of coastline with its gorgeous beaches, but it is also in close proximity to some of Spain’s most desirable attractions.

The Port of Malaga

Before we get into all those sites, here’s what you need to know about arriving in port in Malaga.

The cruise port is modern and is less than two miles from the city center. Cruise ships anchor for the day on the Eastern dock. You can easily walk to the city center from the cruise port or take a shuttle that drops you off in Plaza de la Marina, a large and pretty square located in the city center. Another option is to sign up for a Malaga shore excursion through the cruise line, which takes some of the hassle out of your day.

What to During a Malaga Port of Call

If you’re in a beach mood, take a taxi or excursion if offered to one of Malaga’s sandy beaches. You can also walk along the main boulevard of Costa del Sol for some seafood and souvenir shopping.

If you’re curious about the actual city of Malaga, the Malaga City Tour shore excursion is a great way to spend your day. You’ll learn what makes this Phoenician founded city great. The origins of Malaga date back to the 8th century and during your tour of the city you’ll learn about its history and gothic and renaissance influences plus see its best sites, including the birthplace of Pablo Picasso.

If you’d rather explore one of Spain’s other iconic sites or charming villages, you’re still in an ideal port to do so. Two of the most popular excursions outside the city of Malaga are to Alhambra Palace or the village of Mijas.

Alhambra Palace is one of Spain’s most popular sites to visit for travelers and for good reason – the 14th century palace is a Moorish architecture marvel. Upon arriving at this UNESCO World Heritage Site you’ll first be awed by the cupolas and ornate décor on the outside of the palace buildings. Inside, you’ll be mesmerized by mosaics, latticework, wood-carved ceilings, and a variety of artwork. The gardens are also impressive to walk around and feature flowers and fountains amid a series of scenic pathways.

Visit Alhambra Palace on a shore excursion and get the added bonus of hearing about its history from a local guide.

Mijas is home to cobblestoned terraces and whitewashed buildings situated 1,280 feet above sea level. From Mijas you’ll be able to see panoramic views of the sea and surrounding countryside. On the Village of Mijas shore excursion you’ll be escorted through the village with a knowledgeable guide who will tell you the vast history of the village and escort you the best historic sites and viewpoints in the area.

Cruise Itineraries that Visit Malaga

Celebrity Cruises ship sailing a Mediterranean itinerary.

When looking for a Celebrity Cruises sailing that visits Malaga, look for Mediterranean itineraries that focus on the western side of the Mediterranean Sea. Some options coming up include:

Best of Western Mediterranean: An 11-night itinerary on board the Celebrity Reflection that sails roundtrip from Rome, Italy and visits Gibraltar, United Kingdom; Malaga, Spain; Cartagena, Spain; Ibiza, Spain; Barcelona, Spain (with an overnight there!); Nice, France; and Florence, Italy.

Western Mediterranean Cruise: A 12-night cruise that focuses on Spain, France, and Italy. The sailing departs from Barcelona, Spain and travels to Valencia, Spain; Alicante, Spain; Gibraltar, United Kingdom; Malaga, Spain; Provence, France; Nice, France; Florence, Italy; Rome, Italy; and Naples, Italy, before returning to Barcelona. There are also a couple of days at sea which give you an opportunity to relax and explore the gorgeous Celebrity Eclipse you’ll be sailing on.

To book your Mediterranean cruise that stops in Malaga, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.

Italian Dreaming: Top Shore Excursions in Italy

Italy is one of the countries on a Mediterranean cruise that people dream about visiting. A cruise makes it easy to visit several of Italy’s most popular destinations all on one trip. Here are some of the most loved ports to visit and excellent shore excursions to do while visiting these beloved Italian ports.

Portofino: The Jewel of Italy’s Northern Coast

The harbor hugging town of Portofino is iconic for its candy colored beauty. But soaking in the views isn’t all there is to do there. On the Portofino, Rapallo, and St. Margherita: the Three Pearls of Paradise Gulf shore excursion you will visit a castle, historic church, delicious café, three different town centers each with its own charm, and incredible scenic viewpoints.

Another place to head while in Portofino is the Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This small coastal area gets its name from the five tiny towns that dot it as Cinque Terre means Five Lands. Each of the five towns has its own ambiance and unique look and layout. You can visit the five towns via car, but most people start in Riomaggiore, the southern most town, and hike or take the train to each of the next four towns. Those who don’t want to deal with crowds and logistics can opt for the convenient Cinque Terre shore excursion that escorts you to the towns via coach, boat, and foot.

Venice: Explore the City Built on Water

Venice Shore Excursions

Part of the allure of Venice is getting lost in its myriad of streets. For cruise passengers on a strict timeframe, wandering aimlessly may not be the smartest way to spend your day in Venice. That’s where the Secret Venice Walking Tour shore excursion comes in. You’ll be escorted down alluring side streets and through hidden passages as you explore lesser visited plazas and sites before making your way to the famous Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, and St. Mark’s Square.

If arts and crafts are more your thing, head to the nearby islands of Murano and Burano. The rhythmic names are home to some impressive art forms. In Murano you’ll find skilled glass blowers doing demonstrations and selling their wares. The famous Murano glass makes for a great souvenir and you can find creations of the glass that range from jewelry to vases to even clocks. In Burano, you’ll learn about the history of lace making in the area and can shop for some beautiful lace pieces, while also exploring Burano’s colorful streets.

And no visit to Venice would be complete without a gondola ride. Take in the sights of Venice as you drift along its waterways while being sung to on the Evening Gondola Serenade shore excursion.

Naples: Port of Call for Beauty and Ancient Worlds

Capri, Italy Shore Excursions

There are so many places you can visit while your ship is docked in Naples since it’s close to favorite destinations like the Amalfi Coast, the island of Capri, and the ancient site of Pompeii.

If you can’t make up your mind which to visit while in port, see them all on the Capri, Sorrento, and Pompeii shore excursion. You’ll take a boat ride to Capri where you’ll board the funicular to head up the island’s hillside to Capri Town to explore and shop. You’ll then head back to the mainland and be escorted on a drive down the Amalfi Coast to gorgeous Sorrento, a famous resort town of pink and orange hued buildings seemingly stacked on top of each other along the side of a hill overlooking the Bay of Naples. Next, you’ll be taken to Pompeii where you’ll learn about the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that preserved this city in ash thousands of years ago.

Livorno: Gateway to Famous Architecture and a Famous Countryside

When you’re in port in Livorno, you are within easy driving distance to Florence and Pisa. Experience both the Renaissance vibe of Florence’s architecture and the famous tower of Pisa on the Exclusive Pisa and Florence shore excursion.

If country ambiance is more your thing, spend your time in port in Livorno amid the beauty of Tuscany on the Tuscan Countryside San Gimignano and Volterra shore excursion. You’ll get the chance to visit these hilltop towns and take in the medieval architecture and sites of San Gimignano and see the beautiful Palazzo dei Priori in Volterra. During the shore excursion you’ll also get the opportunity to visit a local farmhouse to try some Tuscan cuisine.

Rome: Can’t Miss Historical Sites

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

You’ll arrive for your time in Rome in the city of Civitavecchia, which is the gateway port to Rome for cruisers. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s hard to see a lot of Rome’s main sites in a day as well since there are so many of them! Still, those who want to maximize their time in the city and see as much as possible will be impressed with the Exclusive, Best of Rome shore excursion. You’ll visit the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.

Which shore excursion would you most want to go on? You can do so on a European cruise with Celebrity Cruises. Visit www.CelebrityCruises.com to find your perfect itinerary or speak with your travel agent.

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.