A great holiday on a great ship
Europe - Western Mediterranean
This was the 2nd time we were on this cruise as we had to curtail in May halfway through - this time we made it to the end and enjoyed every minute of it.
We were in Aqua Class this time, basically because the cost was almost the same as a Balcony Stateroom, and we enjoyed a number of nice benefits. We hardly ever compared our previous experience as being at the front on Deck 11 made it feel like we were on a totally different ship.
I've read quite a few of the previous reviews and i honestly don't know where some of the people were coming from - this is a fantastic ship, with beautiful features and superb service everywhere, and we were royally entertained and serviced every day. We didn't want to get off the ship at all.
We flew into Barcelona from Dublin very early in the morning but by 11.30 we were on board and relaxing awaiting our bags etc..i think at 2pm we got into our stateroom and the bags turned up not too long after that. we had signed up to the roll call meet More
up but we were very tired at this stage and gave it a miss.
Solstice is a large ship, but has a much nicer design, in my opinion, to many of the other ships we saw docked in Livorno, Civitaveechia, Venice etc.. Our favourite place was the Cafe al Bacio and we fully made use of our drinks package there. we also loved the Persian Garden and relaxation room and i nodded off there once or twice. We hardly ever felt the movement of the ship at any time, and overall this ship is top notch.
Our Stateroom was great, port views were excellent, and the facilities great. Aquaclass perks of iced tea drinks and afternoon canapes were totally wasted on us - who drinks that stuff? But we loved the shower!! And room service breakfast on the balcony is a real treat.
We didn't do too many of the ship activities as we were on holiday! we used the gym a few times and Andrea also did a few of the classes - one was a bit much for her and had her in agony for a few days after!!
For dining, we were in Blu. We had read all the fab reviews of this so we were expecting great things - however, we were a bit disappointed with dinner on the first 2 nights so we shifted back to the MDR. Then we alternated and suited ourselves. We grew to really like Blu, especially breakfast, but we found MDR to be more sociable and we talked easily to the tables beside us.
Service everywhere was great - people who complain will always find fault but Celebrity know how to give first class service. Our room attendants weren't very chatty but they were professional and efficient and we have only praise for them. Also the dining room staff were also really good, and off course those at Cafe al Bacio.
We thought the Entertainment was first class - "handsome" Alejandro, the cruise director, was really funny, and linked everything together so well in his unique style. All the shows were great but we enjoyed the Juggler/Comedian from the UK the best especially the unicycle sketch. The funniest event of all was the Dancing competition with the staff - it was hilarious and the creativity on show was really impressive.
We did get sucked into some Spa treatments - am i going soft? They were good but Celebrity charges too much for this. They also charge too much for photos though we did get 2 of the best ones
Our disembarkment went very smoothly and we made it home with no real issues of note.
Overall, we had a great holiday, we were looked after so well and we are now planning our next cruise to the Baltic Less
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Cabin review: Celebrity Solstice 1515
This is a great stateroom. we got some great photos from our balcony particularly the sail in to Kotor and the sail out of Venice. it is in a quiet location, no noise above or below, the only noise came from next door who banged doors and must have been rearranging the furniture!
To get to the restaurants requires a fair bit of walking but we were fine with that and always enjoyed ambling back at our leisure. The Spa is very close and we enjoyed the Persian Gardens a number of times
The room has good storage, the cupboards above the bed are very reachable and hold quite a lot. The bed is massive and very comfortable.
The best part of all is the shower, and all the jets that spray out at you - i want one of these!
Port and Shore Excursions
Another beautiful place - the sail away sunset was beautiful.
we took the Celibrity tour to the cable car to save time. It was worth it, as we got some early morning spectacular views of the city. Andrea did the war museum but didn't have enough time to do it properly. Our guide then took us into the city and explained the recent and distant history - all very good.
we then walked the wall, taking our time and enjoying the experience - it was brilliant but again some of the steps were very steep so not for those with any walking difficulties.
its an easy city to walk about in, impossible to get lost in as its not that big really. After coffee, and shopping we got the shuttle bus back to the ship
We stayed on the boat.
We had been to Florence and Pisa in May so decided we would rest up for the big tour days ahead. However, we loved both Florence and Pisa last time round and did a Celebrity tour so that we could maximise our time in the places.
The sail in and out of Kotor is spectacular. At some points the ship is very close to the mountains on either side which are extremely steep.
It was windy during the sail in so there weren't many seeking to get the tender early. However, once the sun came up, the wind calmed down and it was a lovely day.
We walked the walls - cost â‚¬3 each - and there are 1355 steps apparantly, but it was worth it for the views and the exercise. Many from the ship did this, mostly at an easy pace, but its not for someone with bad kness or ankles. Coming down, a snake slithered out in front of me, it was about 2.5 feet long. It went down a few step before veering left and disappearing into the undergrowth - Andrea speeded up after that!!
when we got to the bottom, the town had filled up with people from the ship and was very busy. we browsed around for a bit before returning to the ship and some serious sun bathing.
Naples gives you so many options - Pompei, Capri, Sorrento, the city itself, but this time we went to the Amalfi Coast on another private tour set up via the cruise critic roll call. It was set up by Lena and everything went perfectly, we had a fabulous day. We saw some breathtaking scenary of mountains and the coast, visting Ravello, Amalfi, Positano, and finally Sorrento. We had a late lunch in Sorrento and almost an hour for shopping and wandering before getting the ferry back to Naples.
Being in a small mini-bus meant we got to meet nice people for the first time and shared the experience together. Our guide also stopped at all the key places for photographs and told us all the history and backgrounds. I had considered hiring a car to do this tour but i wouldn't recommend it as in some towns there is just nowhere to park at all.
Rome has become one of our favourite cities.
This time we shared a tour created by Sue with 6 others, through Share a shore excursion in Italy. This was our first venture into a private tour via a Cruise Critic roll call and it was excellent. Our driver was very knowledgable and very entertaining. Getting into the Colosseum was a first for us and memorable. we also had a 2hr guide for the Vatican who took us through the Museum, Sistene Chapel and St Peter's.
It was a long day but well worth it and a value for money experience indeed
Burano is a beautiful place, all the different colours of the house is so unusual, and then you have the boats and canals instead of roads. We went to see a lace making demo but just wandering around the streets and sidewalks was the best part of all.
We really enjoyed doing the Doge's Palace, the Bridge of Sighs and the prison on our own and at our own pace. every room was spectacular, and the large room was incredible.
we also wandered about the streets and virtually got lost but just follow the crowds, they seem to know what they are doing.
we also loved the music on St Marks Square, so unusual to see this outside restaurants
We took a Gondola ride at the Rialto Bridge - Andrea said we had to do it as it was part of the experience. i'd say its way over rated, and over priced , we paid â‚¬100, but we got nice photos.
Boat trip to Murano was great. Passed st. marks square on the way and got more photos. Got a great demo on glass making, similar to the one on the ship, and then bought some of the glass to take home. We wandered around for 15 mins and then it was off to Burano
This time instead of going to Nice we went to Monaco.
Tendering was very smooth and we just walked up the hill to the top of the town to get the #100 bus. Unfortunately, all the buses were jam packed but after a 15 min wait we managed to get on the 2nd one that came. It was â‚¬1 single fare, so very cheap
In Monaco, we got off at the Palace stop, walked up the hill and just made it for the changing of the guard - not as good as Buckingham Palace but along the same lines. We walked the nearby streets, visited the Aquarium, The Cathedral, and other buildings before gently strolling down to the harbour to take pictures and visualise the F1 Grand Prix. Next we walked up the F1 hill to the Casino, had a wee nosey, before walking through the garden to the bus stop and back to Villefranche. Again the bus was very full but this time the conductor made sure were were packed in properly - we both got seats which was a blessing.
Back at Villefranche we strolled gently through the shops and stalls to the terminal where there was 20 mins of free wifi, and then back to the boat.