When you've been to a destination multiple times, you can still find something new and refreshing when you add a different port city and travel by way of cruise. Join CP Travel Ambassador Carmen Palogruto as he takes us to the Mediterranean countries of Greece, Italy, Croatia and Montenegro on the Celebrity Reflection.
What specific cities and /or countries did you visit? Italy, Croatia, Montenegro and Greece
What was your favorite memory from this trip? This cruise was a birthday cruise for myself and I was fortunate to share the experience with my sister JoAnn. A highlight memory was being able to visit Messina, Italy as this is where our paternal grandmother was born and raised. We smiled and started saying 'Grandmom walked here!' as we explored the area. It was truly a great experience to share.
Top excursions and landmarks/sites to visit: Having been to Europe a good number of times, this was my first time experiencing a cruise on the Mediterranean. Being able to visit both Croatia and Montenegro were nothing short of amazing. Both are beautiful ports of call that we loved seeing. Personally Montenegro was my favorite. We got up early with a cup of coffee in hand to watch from the top deck of ship as sailed in the stunningly beautiful port of Kotor. The mountains and fjords that welcome you to town are a true example of natural beauty which must be seen in person to be fully appreciated. Once onshore in Kotor, we ventured into Old Town and set off a somewhat challenging hike to the fortress and the Castle of San Giovanni. 1,350 steps up and we were rewarded with amazing views of the Bay of Kotor.
Were there any standout restaurants or foodie must-haves on this trip? Naples. Pizza. Need I say more? Our final port of call was Naples where we enjoyed some of the best pizza in the world. We dined at Trattoria Pizzeria Fratelli and it was wonderful. I must also mention that our Best of Olympia tour with winery and oil vineyard plantation visit was a great day. After a visit to the birthplace of the Olympics we enjoyed excellent food, great wine, the sun and traditional Greek dancing at a family-run winery. It was a perfect day.
How would you describe the people and culture of this destination? Any interesting cultural lessons? The diversity of Europe is so evident when you sail the Mediterranean. Each country has its unique attributes. A common thread through all of them is the pride and love which the local have of their homelands, one which they go out of their way to share with guests. While the languages may vary in Italy, Greece, Croatia and Montenegro, the warmth and hospitality of its people are consistent.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about this destination? I was blown away by the vast natural beauty of Croatia and Montenegro. I cannot say it enough. If you've been there you know. If you haven't, let's get you there.
Top 5 Tips and recommendations for this trip:
- Plan your excursions before you leave: Popular ones do sell-out.
- Embrace the language. Hello, thank you and please in local languages go far.
- Bring coins. Most European restrooms charge a small fee to be used. Having local coins in hand makes those situations easier.
- Consider shoulder season. We traveled in May before the summer crowds and the weather and amount of travelers onboard were perfect.
- Bring a portable charger for your phone. You will take more photos and videos that you thought you would and don't want to miss out.
Did you travel via cruise ship? If so, please describe the experience and some of the standout features that you ere excited about. Yes. We sailed on the lovely Celebrity Reflection. Attentive staff, amazing dining and a beautifully appointed ship made for an excellent home-base to go back to each afternoon. Enjoy the top deck on sail-aways from port and be sure to experience Le Petite Chef dining at least once. It is the most fun you will have at dinner.
What makes this destination a must-see in your opinion? Europe's Mediterranean countries have so much to offer. Italy is on the top of so many travelers bucket lists and some itineraries allow you the chance to see multiple Italian cities easily. And though I am repeating myself, Croatia and Montenegro must be seen. They are truly amazing.
Additional thoughts and insights? Consider a Mediterranean cruise. With Eastern, Western and other itineraries, the options are varied for a great experience. Unpack once and enjoy!
To book your next Mediterranean cruise and visit gorgeous landmarks and unpack only once, contact your local Cruise Planners travel advisor today!