Cruising is back!  Celebrity Reflection cruise Review

Cruising is back! Celebrity Reflection cruise Review

Cruising is back! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know we went on a fantastic Celebrity cruise on the Reflection sailing the Eastern Med last month. We loved each port of call and were blown away by the history and scenic views. I didn’t really know what to expect since cruising resumed.

Overall experience and service

ocean cruising is back
pool deck on reflection
lobby on reflection
celebrity reflection docking in port of kotor

The staff on Reflection looked happy to be back sailing again and welcoming new cruisers. There were plenty of places to sit, relax and enjoy the cruise without being overcrowded. The ship was only 40% occupied, so now is the perfect time if you’re thinking of cruising.

Every day, our cabin room was kept clean and well-organized. We got chocolates placed on our pillows and turn-down service in the evening.

Another example of personalized service that we received was the bar staff remembering your special drinks in the Ensemble Lounge.

Our Stateroom

celebrity reflection ov veranda deck 8
balcony view-celebrity reflection
bathroom onboard celebrity relection
shower on celebrity

We stayed in a veranda suite with a balcony on the 8th deck facing the port side.  Our stateroom was spacious enough for two people, but I couldn’t imagine sharing with more. Two twin beds were combined into one king bed. There was plenty of storage in the closet, above the bed, and extra in the counter area.

The water was pretty calm most of the time except for our last sea day. On this particular day, the waves were about 3 meters high but not significant to cause seasickness. One thing we liked was sitting out on our balcony with a drink and watching the mid-night stars.

Reflection dining onboard

the porch-celebrity reflection dining
opus restaurant- celebrity relection main dining
lobster raviolli - tuscan grille
le petite chef-dining

There were a lot of options for dining onboard, from the specialty dining restaurants to the main dining Opus to the Oceanview Cafe (buffet) located at the back of the ship.  The main dining Opus Restaurant served a traditional menu with choices for appetizers, main course, and desserts!  Here, we ate only two meals because we just wanted to be casual and not put on pants or a dress some nights.

With our onboard credits, I purchased a 4-night specialty dining package before sailing.  We tried the Le Petite Chef the first night, an animation presentation.  Our second experience was the Tuscan Grille.  I can’t say my husband was impressed with their steak, but they did invite us back for another try after mentioning this.  The second time was a charm, so don’t be afraid to speak up.

Other restaurants we tried were The Porch and The Lawn Club Grill.  The Lawn Club would typically have you interact with the chef receiving grilling tips.  But not everything is back to normal in cruising yet.  Do order more appetizers if you plan on ordering the seafood tower.  In my opinion, it’s not enough for two people who love seafood.

Activities and events

bocce-lawn bowling
captain club thank you drink
reflection theatre entertainment

There is plenty of activities during the day, including the spa, two outdoor & one indoor pool with two jacuzzies, bocce, and lawn bowling. The theater at the front of the ship on deck 3 had nightly shows at 7 & 9 pm. We did enjoy the live entertainment one evening with fantastic singing and dancing.

Our favorite bars for an evening cocktail were the Martini Bar and Sunset bar. The staff at the Martini Bar mixed up a great Grey Goose martini and always had my Reisling wine nice and cool.

Those looking for a quieter time check out the Ensemble Lounge on deck 5. They had all sorts of entertainers playing musical instruments, from guitars to violins.

Towards the end of the cruise, we were invited as Captain’s Club members to join them for a thank-you cocktail. This area would generally be off-limits because it’s where the helicopter would land in an emergency.

Tour days


Each day we ventured off the ship to explore a new destination. Our first stop was in Dubrovnik, known for its distinctive old town. We visited the Fort Lovrijenac and walked along the 13th-century stone city walls.


Next was Kotor in Montenegro, a UNESCO site where we explored the old town and hiked halfway up the mountain to an old church. The viewpoints of the port were breathtaking, but it was not an easy climb as I never made it to the top.


Corfu port was busy with four cruise ships. Our day began with a walk to the old town, exploring the old fortress, and finishing lunch by the sea.  Many people were swimming and snorkeling in the turquoise waters below.  

Pro tip: wear water shoes as there are many sea urchins visible on the rocks


Our first temples of discovery were at Olympia in Greece. The archaeological site was impressive- a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience ancient Greek ruins.  We used the ships transfer only service, which was $49 each for 4 hours.  Entrance fees are not included, but luck was on our side as it was National Museum Day.


Our second to last stop was in Messina, Sicily. Here, we took a guided excursion to Taormina to see the castle ruins and ancient theatre in Messina. The theatre is a must-see that is still used today for performances. Seats range from 50 to 150 euros each.


Lastly, we did a pre-booked tour of Taste of Sorrento and Pompeii with Celebrity. Our guide was very knowledgeable about Pompeii.

Pro tip: visit Pompeii after 1:30 pm because there’s a nice breeze. In the morning, it can be pretty hot.

Reach out if you’d like us to help plan your next cruise.

Spectacular Ocean Cruises: Spotlight on Italy, Malta & Greece

Spectacular Ocean Cruises: Spotlight on Italy, Malta & Greece

It is beyond time to re-entering our world and expanding your horizons once again. What’s old is new again and what’s new is spectacular. Upscale cruises in the Mediterranean reveal the wonders of Italy, Malta, Greece, and beyond. We can arrange one-of-a-kind personal tours and shore excursions that enhance your visit in unimaginable ways in each of these decadent destinations. Here are some of our favorite sights and activities in the magical locales of Italy, Malta & Greece.


Mount Vesuvius- Italy

Rome: Here, experience a rich culture and history in a land that feels as old as time.  From the ancient Colosseum to the marvelous ceilings of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel to the delightful trattorias and craftsperson shops that line the winding, cobblestoned streets and piazzas.  So go behind the scenes at the Vatican with a licensed guide.  For example, there will be a chance to learn about such places as the Vatican Radio Station, the Vatican Emeritus House, the Fontana dell’Aquilone.

Sicily: Best of all, revel in the natural beauty of Messina on the slopes of the Peloritani Mountains. The ruins of the Santa Maria Alemanna Church and the artifacts displayed in the Romanesque and Norman Duomo will fascinate you.
Walk to the rim of the Silvestri Spent Craters to see remnants of both ancient and more recent eruptions.
Finish off your day with a visit to the charming town of Taormina for lunch.   Don’t miss the Greek Theater before you leave.

Read more:  Tuscany for foodies

Naples: With Mount Vesuvius as a formidable backdrop, explore 2,800-year-old Naples. Equally important are archaeological sites and landmarks, from the Museo Archeologico Nazionale with its Egyptian and Graeco-Roman artifacts to a revealing underground tour.  Afterward, tour the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Amalfi Coast, famous for its wine, olive oil, and cheese. Alongside a chef, you’ll learn about the production of limoncello, mozzarella cheese, and more, followed by a chef-hosted meal.

Florence: Marvel at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and sip your way through Tuscany. Take in the Renaissance influences from Brunelleschi’s red cathedral dome on the Piazza del Duomo to the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo.
Spend a fashion-forward afternoon on a tour of the Ferragamo Museum, the Gucci Museum, and Santa Croce Square.



Mdina- Malta

Valletta: Immerse yourself in the striking cultural hub of Valletta and its Baroque art, museums, and historic sites. All surrounded by the sparkling Mediterranean. St. John’s Co-Cathedral, built-in 1650, and the bustling outdoor cafes and wine bars of the Grand Harbor define this European capital of culture. Sign up for a market tour, where you can admire the fresh, local produce and sample the region’s flavors, from bigilla bean paste and sun-dried tomatoes to peppered goat cheese and Maltese wines. 

Mdina: Visit the area’s medieval churches, cathedrals, palaces, the Blue Grotto, and Marsaxlokk Village. Continue to the Mdina Glass Factory to watch glass-blowing demonstrations. Shop for treasures at the Gold Market. Here you’ll find local jewelry and lace. 

Gozo:  Lounge on the red-sand beaches of idyllic Gozo. Small coves and sheltered beaches make sublime swimming spots with countless pathways for hiking through the countryside. Just a short ferry ride from Malta and is known as the legendary Calypso Isle from Homer’s Odyssey.
Private excursions to the island can introduce you to prehistoric temples and the fortified citadel before a lovely lunch at a locally owned restaurant.


corfu-Greece-pantokrator view

Santorini: Whitewashed Santorini is the epitome of opulence and romance in Greece, where the views only get better with every turn. Set against an azure sea, the terraced homes and windmills encircle a vast caldera, speaking to the island’s volcanic past. Sail on the caldera to Volcano Island, Hot Springs, and the private bay of Saint Nikolas. Of course, take time to indulge in the excellent wines. 

Athens: Relive ancient history, drama, poetry, and philosophy in Athens, where heady sightseeing days bring you to the Parthenon, the Acropolis, original Athenian neighborhoods, and more. Take a Greek “safari” to Mount Parnitha National Park, home to red deer, foxes, and many bird species in a landscape emblematic of the Alps. 

Corfu: Wander the same island where Poseidon is said to have honeymooned. After a guided walk, a professional chef will lead you through a cooking lesson complete with a five-course meal. Later enjoy some of the world’s most entrancing beaches and the allure of Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

From antiquity to avant-garde, Italy, Greece, and Malta are a treasure chest of marvelous European experiences. Let’s chat about how to get you there on an epic luxury cruise.

The Best Cruises for Seniors

The Best Cruises for Seniors

Are you a senior over the age of 60? Have you been waiting – too long – to take a life-changing cruise vacation? It’s time to set sail! Consider adding one of these seniors cruises to your bucket list for a trip to fabulous destinations around the world. Here are the best cruises for seniors with a serious case of wanderlust.

Missing Family? Choose a Multigenerational Cruise

multigen families on cruises with sseniors

Photo credit:  Celebrity Cruises [kids playing bocce in garden club]


Forget the Zoom chats. Pull everyone together for a trip they’ll remember forever, from the youngest grandchild to you, the proud matriarch or patriarch of your adorable family.

Choose the destination. Let other family members weigh in, and pick a cruise line that offers many activities for all ages (most do). While parents lounge at the pool or in the spa, kids can head to special areas just for them.

Everyone can come together for the best experiences for families, including fantastic dining or theatrical performances every evening.  As for the shore experiences, there’s nothing like sharing the joy of discovering new places together. 

Have a Few Weeks? We Have the Cruise for You

Oudong monastery in Cambodia

Photo credit:  AmaWaterways [visiting the Oudong Monastery in Cambodia]


During your earlier working years, it wasn’t as easy to jet off for two or three weeks at a time.   And certainly no more than that.  Now that you have the luxury of time, you can sail away for, well, as long as you like.

Use these bonus days to journey to a place you haven’t seen before, or maybe hadn’t even considered – southeast Asia, the Arabian Sea, Suez Canal, the Middle East, South and Central America, or French Polynesia.

On these longer departures, you’ll have more days to relax at sea and enjoy the ship’s amenities.   As well as more ports to visit, helping you truly feel the authenticity of a region instead of quickly sailing in and out.

Upgrade Your Stateroom Experience 

iconic suite with balcony

Photo credit:  Celebrity Cruise [iconic suite with balcony, category 1C]

When was the last time you cruised? Welcome to a whole new world at sea. When you’re spending days on the water between destinations, take advantage of today’s ships and their sophisticated, modern amenities and design. No longer will you have to stay in a small, frill-less stateroom, with all of your meals pre-dictated and a limited amount of shipboard entertainment.

As a senior who cruises, treat yourself and travel like never before in incredible suites with huge windows overlooking the ocean, expansive terraces, perhaps even a private plunge pool. Stay in exclusive sections of the ship that act as a “hotel-within-a-ship” with their own concierge service, gathering spaces, and restaurants.

Learn Something New and Enjoy Limitless Entertainment

limitless entertainment onboard cruises

Photo credit:  Celebrity Cruises [entertainment onboard the ship]


As we said, the shipboard experience of the past decades is no longer. Today’s ships are proud of their haute cuisine, world-class spas, educational opportunities – from wine tasting classes to workshops with Nat Geo photographers – and show-stopping entertainment.  

For those seeking cultural enrichment, there are cruises with locally influenced cooking classes and history lectures. There is specialty dining, Oprah’s Book Club meetings, BBC Earth presentations, golf lessons by PGA instructors, art and bridge lessons, and more. If you like, consider a themed itinerary, perhaps a theater-centric sailing or food and wine voyage. 


Get the gist? There are many options for the mature adult seeking a memorable, culturally enriching, and pampering cruise experience. Many cruise lines can accommodate limited mobility issues. And most offer activities and shore excursions catering to seniors and families, depending on who’s in your group. What sounds right to you?  Let’s chat about the best bucket list cruise for a senior and make it happen.

How to Choose the Best Cruise Stateroom

How to Choose the Best Cruise Stateroom

Congratulations! You’re going on a cruise for your long-awaited, well-deserved vacation. First – perhaps the most important question: Which cruise ship stateroom I should choose? Now come the fun choices: What will you do onboard? Should you book a spa treatment? Do you need to make any dinner reservations? Which shore excursions should you go on? While it might seem mind-boggling, I’m here to help you wade through the decisions so that you have the most spectacular experience possible.


Decide How You’ll Spend Your Time?

cruise stateroom with balcony

 Photo courtesy:  [Celebrity Cruises] suite on Apex ship

Stateroom selection on a cruise can influence your entire vacation – if you let it. Perhaps you know you won’t be spending much time there, and it doesn’t matter if it’s the smallest, most tucked-away room on the ship. That’s OK. And we can chat about all the other amazing experiences you’ve going to have onboard.

However, if you are looking forward to peaceful ocean views from your private balcony, plush bedding, and luxurious amenities, you should spend more time selecting your cruise stateroom. Here are a few things to consider.

1.  Your Stateroom Category

inside stateroom cat 10 on celebrity cruises

Photo courtesy: [Celebrity Cruises] Inside stateroom view

First things first, your category of room. An inside stateroom is just that, inside. You won’t have any windows in these interior rooms, but if you’re looking for a lower-cost option or, like the traveler I described above, are all about the pool, dining, entertainment, and excursions, this is a practical choice.

Some ships have started using “virtual” balconies in their inside staterooms, using real-time imagery of the sea and the port you’re visiting onto a high-definition display screen.

ocean view category f royal caribbean

Photo courtesy: [Royal Caribbean] ocean view room

Oceanview staterooms allow for water views, but not at the highest price point. The windows are smaller than they might be in a veranda (or balcony) room. They’re usually larger than the interior rooms, some even with a sofabed.

veranda for dining on Azamara

Photo courtesy [Azamara] guests enjoy a meal on veranda

veranda stateroom ups the ante with a private outdoor balcony. There’s enough room to sit and drink your coffee as the world wakes up over the ocean or sip wine as the sun sets on the horizon in the evening. It’s a serene space to call your own, away from the hustle and bustle of the ship.

two bedroom family suite living space on RCI

Photo courtesy: [Royal Caribbean] Two bedroom family room, living area

From here, we move into suites, which really go above and beyond, depending on the cruise line. You may have concierge-staffed staterooms with a dedicated staff member to assist with everything from dining time preferences to afternoon snacks. There are staterooms close to the spa on some ships, with spa amenities in the room. Some luxury cruise lines have created a hotel-within-a-cruise-ship feel, with exclusive staterooms, lounge areas, restaurants, and even pools just for those guests.

2.   Location Matters

retreat sun deck on celebrity

Photo courtesy:  [Celebrity Cruises] Retreat Sun Deck view

Now, let’s get a bit more specific. You’ve chosen the best level of stateroom – where on the ship should it be located? Do you get seasick? Consider a lower, more central room. The very front and back rooms on the higher levels will roll and sway the most.

Think about your room’s distance from the entertainment and pool deck. Would you like to get to the action pretty quickly in the morning? Or not have a long walk back to your room after dinner? Or, would you prefer the distance and the more peaceful ambiance that brings with it?

3.  Stateroom Amenities

cruise stateroom-penthouse suite

Photo courtesy:  [Royal Caribbean] Penthouse Suite bathroom view

In your stateroom, how much do you want to be pampered? If you’re hoping for a bit of luxury on vacation, like a jetted tub, extra-plush linens, bathrobes, priority disembarkation in your ports of call, etc., opt for an upper-level suite category. Again, spa-specific staterooms will come with extra wellness touches, such as yoga mats, specialty bath products, and healthier room-service menus.

4.  Special Considerations

Sailing with family? Now, many cruise lines offer family-friendly accommodations with your kiddos in mind. Next door, there may be an alcove with bunk beds or a connecting cabin. It might be a larger suite, with a separate room for the kids. There are even some massive two-floor suites out there these days, with all the bells and whistles. Going solo? Some cruise lines offer small studio cabins with a full-size bed and a window, although it may look out into the corridor.

What sounds enticing to you? Let’s look together at the cruise line you’re sailing and peruse their options. We’ll find the best cruise stateroom to call your own, keeping you comfortable, while also providing the extras you really do deserve on vacation!

Craving a Cruise? Spectacular Sailings in 2023

Craving a Cruise? Spectacular Sailings in 2023

Looking for extravagance? We don’t blame you. After the year (two?) we’ve had, everyone deserves a no-worries, all-frills cruise vacation. As another year unfolds and uncertainty still rules the day, we look farther ahead to 2023. With plenty of time to plan, your cruise can be just as you’ve always imagined.   The bucket-list destination, the right stateroom or suite, the perfect shore excursions, and delightful travel companions. Dream big and carve out time for one of these spectacular sailings in 2023 – all they need is you!  

Spectacular Sailings for 2023

Ocean Collection Sailings

tortola-sailing incredible British Isles

Take a grand European journey aboard Crystal Symphony or Crystal Serenity, with more than 70 all-inclusive cruises to 216 ports of call in 92 countries on six continents. From the Black Sea to the British Isles, the 2023 Ocean Collection includes stunning opportunities to delve deep into the stories and scenery of Europe.

Voyage Collection

stockholm-Sweden old town

View of Sweden Old Town

Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) is all about unveiling the awe of Europe with its 2022-23 Voyage Collection Debut. Their exciting itineraries will sail to new ports of call and longtime favorites, offering fascinating perspectives and revealing lush countryside, snowy mountains, and captivating cities. Consider “Baltic Pleasures” in summer 2023, sailing from London to Stockholm, with chances to discover Copenhagen, Gdansk, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, and more. 

European Ocean Sailings

Viking Star infinity pool

Photo:  Viking [Infinity pool on the Star]

Viking the leader in European river cruises unveils an iconic selection of European ocean sailings in 2023. Extend your cruise experience beyond the typical week and spend 29 days sailing the Mediterranean aboard the 930-guest Viking Sky. This epic voyage combines the best of the western Med, Italy, the Adriatic, and Greece. You’ll stay overnight in Barcelona, Venice, Athens, and Istanbul for rich cultural immersion. 

Oceania Cruises

spectacular sailings - sailing Baltic Sea with Oceania

Photo:  Oceania Cruises – Grand Voyage

Explore exciting and historic cities along the Baltic Sea and Atlantic Ocean coastline when you join Oceania Cruises in 2023. The Marina and Riviera spend the summer sailing the British Isles, Ireland, the fjords of Norway, and the capitals of the Baltics. Or, choose sun-splashed ports like St. Tropez, Portofino, Positano, and Patmos. 

Read more:  Tips for a terrific first trip to Ireland

                        Travel Guide to Positano


Enriching Experiences on the Rivers

spectacular sailings - Avalon Envision

Photo:  Avalon Waterways  [sailing on the Envision]

Avalon wants to help you reunite and rekindle your love of travel, leading you to enriching experiences in ancient historic sites, through winding cobblestone alleys, and along gorgeous rivers. Explore new people and places, cultures, customs, and cuisines through their 2023 offerings, including the rare haunts of Budapest, the castles of Germany, the classics of Vienna, and the treasures of the DanubeRhine, Seine, Saone, Moselle, and Main rivers.


spectacular sailings 2023- tauck

Tauck: Focus your magical Mediterranean vacation with Tauck, which offers land tours and small-ship cruises designed to help you discover the contrast between old and new in treasured lands. Sail the storied rivers of Europe on Tauck’s custom-designed riverboats. Or, discover the best of Europe by sea through the UK and Ireland, the Adriatic and Dalmatian Coast, Greece and the Aegean, Iceland, Sicily, Spain, and more. 

Interested in planning and discovering some spectacular sailings? I can help with that. Get in touch

Mediterranean Moments:  Which Voyage Is Right For You?

Mediterranean Moments: Which Voyage Is Right For You?

When you think of European cruises – sparkling seas, sleepy fishing villages, vibrant coastal cities – the most likely destination to fit the bill is the dreamy Mediterranean. This storied sea offers it all, depending on which portion of it you visit, from Europe to Northern Africa to the Middle East. How does one decide, then, which is the correct itinerary for you in the Med? Let’s look at the two main regions and what treasures each holds.

Cruising the Western Mediterranean

ta-pinu-church in Gozo-Med cruise

[Ta Pinu church in Gozo, Malta]

In general, the route stretches from Agadir, Morocco, and the Canary Islands to the western coast of Italy. Additionally, you might be able to visit Corsica, Lipari, and Malta. Of course, a popular destination for travelers seeking white-sand beaches, remarkable architecture, rich culture and history, and a pleasing blend of small towns and big cities. With that popularity comes a huge variety of cruise choices for you. Included ports are Gibraltar, Barcelona, Marseille, Monaco, and Civitavecchia.

Vatican - Behind the Scenes

[Photo:  Celebrity Cruises]  Stunning views behind the Vatican

Additionally, US citizens who wish to fly shorter distances to their embarkation point should consider the Western Mediterranean. These are the most-visited ports are: 

•France: Cannes, Le Havre, Marseille, Nice
• Gibraltar: Gibraltar
• Italy: Livorno, Palermo, Rome (Civitavecchia), Savona
• Malta: Valetta
• Monaco: Monte Carlo
• Morocco: Agadir, Casablanca
• Portugal: Funchal, Lisbon, Portimao
• Spain: Barcelona, Cadiz (Seville), Ibiza, Lanzarote (Canary Islands), Las Palmas, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife (Canary Islands), Valencia, Vigo

Eastern Mediterranean Cruises

Dubrovnik-Eastern Mediterranean

[Photo:  Celebrity] Stunning views from Croatia hilltop

Here is the perfect option for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path voyage experience. Embarking from Rome, Istanbul, and Piraeus (Athens), many cruises here take you to Egypt, Israel, Croatia, and North Africa. From Alexandria and Port Said, guests can visit Cairo and take flight-seeing tours of the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. 

Known for its temperate weather and calm seas, it is ideal for cruising. That said, you can also choose the Greek Isles and ports in the Adriatic Sea. Newer itineraries combine the Adriatic with the Black Sea, including Romania, Bulgaria, and Ukraine.

Santorini-Greek Island

[Photo:  Celebrity cruises-Apex] Sailing around the Greek Islands

Most-visited ports on Eastern Mediterranean cruises are:

• Croatia: Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar
• Cyprus: Limassol
• Egypt: Alexandria
• Greece: Athens (Piraeus), Corfu, Delphi, Katakolon, Mykonos, Rhodes, Thira
• Israel: Ashdod
• Italy: Ancona, Bari, Capri, Messina, Naples, Rome, Sorrento, Venice
• Montenegro: Kotor
• Turkey: Istanbul, Izmir, Kusadasi

Venice Italy

[Photo:  Celebrity Cruises] Small boat in Venice Canal

Which voyage is right for you?

Once you’ve chosen Western or Eastern, the question becomes, what can you see and do during your cruise?

Whet your appetite with these ideas for shore excursions 


  • Touring Rome and its Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, and Sistine Chapel
  • Exploring dazzling Renaissance Florence and visiting the Galleria dell’ Accademia to see Michelangelo’s “David”
  • Taking a private journey along the Amalfi Coast, starting in Naples and continuing on to Sorrento and Pompeii
  • Riding a motor-assisted bike through the lavender fields of Provence
  • Dining on an exquisite meal in Paris 
  • Sunning on a secluded beach in Corfu
  • Walking among the ancient ruins of Athens 
  • Witnessing the art and architecture of Moorish and modern Barcelona, the Alhambra Palace and the Gardens in Grenada
  • Tour the Rock of Gibraltar and sip a spot of tea 
  • And more! 

Ready to experience the magical Mediterranean? Schedule a free consultation and let’s chat.