Embarkation. All went perfectly from arriving at Rome airport to being in our stateroom.
Ports. All very nice but very tiresome when you get the same old shops selling the same old things in nearly every port, We did the Turkish Towns and Villiages which was a very nice excursion and also the Corinthian Canal trip which was again very good, Mykanos was a nightmare with 3 ships in port and about 5000 people milling around such small streets but a lovely place all the same as was Santoirini which was again busy with only 2 ships in god knows what it's like when more ships are in port, at least one hour queing for cable car to top.Scicily, Peraus,Naples, all very dirty and graffiti everywhere but most cities these days are like this.
Dining Experience. Although the food in the Epernay was in the most good quality we found it was constantly cold or at best warm, we as a table of 8 repeatedly told the waiters who did take meals away and return them when hot but often other table mates had finished there course and then had to wait for others to finish before next course was brought, compred to previous cruises on RCI our waiters were too quiet had no interaction with them apart from taking our order and putting it on the table, no recommendations re menu items on any nights from either waiter or his assistant, we saw the maitre d once on first night and once night before we left, just in time for her to be in our minds for her tips is my guess or am i a sinic, We ate in the Murano twice and it was very good and the food was hot which was a nice bonus, the goats cheese suffle was amazing and the surf and turf excellent, we didn't try the others but were told Tuscan grille was very good also.Seaview Cafe was also ok with something for everyone, you won,t starve.
Cabin; This was on deck 7 with a balcony and was very good, i like the interactive tv. Our maid was called Maria from the Phillipines and was the best we have ever had, cabin was immaculate everyday and nothing too much trouble.
The ship; Although i do prefer the classic style of RCI ships compared to the very contemorary style of solstice she was still a very beutifull ship.On sea days the usual towels on sunbeds was abundant all over the top decks from 7am onwards so nothing new here.I personaly think the Lawns on the top deck are a complete waste and just a gimmick, i never saw anyone using it and more sunbeds or another pool in it's place to alleviate the sunbed issue would be better use of the space but it's not a great issue.
Entertainment. Well what can i say, absoloutely appauling shows in the Solstice theater, the singers and dancers came nowhere near any shows on the 4 RCI ships and considering they are part of the same company i was very supprised, other entertainment throughout the ship was in my opinion better and we really enjoyed most of them, had some good nights in the Martini and passport bars and a special mention should go to Paul [Bob Marley]Blackwood and Antinio in the Passport bar for making our evenings very special.
Overview; After 4 previous cruises on Brilliance,Jewel,Explorer & Navigator of the Seas and speaking to seasoned cruisers maybe i was expecting too much, we were told Celebrity was a notch up from RCI and the food was out this world, sevice etc outstanding, well in my opinion it didn't come close to the Brilliance which was my fav ship and i,m going on her again in march from Dubai.
Maybe the credit crunch has meant a cutback in quality, i.e 4 courses instead of 5 at meal times, poor entertainment, will i sail celebrity again, maybe but probaly on a millenium class and not solstice. This was a pesonal view and i,m sure others had a fantastic service from all onboard and i was unlucky but we still had a fantastic cruise and look fwd to the next one.Out, Dave,Not Greek[those who have sailed will understand this.