Solstice Cruisers Beware!
Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
My wife and I have been regular cruisers with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. We typically like their ships, the itineraries, concierge class and the service.
We recently took a 10 day cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean which started in Rome. It was the outset of this trip that caused us the most grief and I hope we can save others from the same predicament. We purchased the transfers from Celebrity to/from the pier in Civitavecchia, Italy. Celebrity personnel met us at the airport and we were going to carry on small bags onto the bus when a Celebrity rep told us there was no storage for small bags on the bus. Therefore, we had to put cabin tags on the small bags and Celebrity transported them directly to the ship and then to our cabin. We checked our bags with Celebrity around More
At 3PM all but one of our bags was delivered to our cabin. The last bag ended up showing up 30 minutes later. When my wife opened it she could tell it was ransacked. Items were opened (but not stolen), but we found that our camera had been stolen. They left the camera bag and instruction booklet. My wife immediately went down to Guest Relations who made her fill out a "Personal Property Report". When she was leaving the Guest Relations desk she ran into some people we met on the same bus from the Rome airport. They were standing in line to also file a theft report. Seems they had a laptop computer and other items stolen.
In retrospect, I wish we would have arranged transportation to/from the pier other than what was offered by Celebrity. Transportation where our bags would not have left our sight. Looking back on it I have to say it was a little odd that the Celebrity rep at the airport told us there was no room on the bus for small carry on bags. The buses had storage underneath and we could have very easily stored them there, but the rep did not tell us this. Perhaps the Celebrity reps were in on the whole theft scheme?
Our suggestion to you is to arrange your own transportation that is NOT through Celebrity. Make sure you have control of your bags. If you choose to take Celebrity transportation to/from the airport make sure you refuse for them to take your smaller carry on bags. Tell them that you want it stored under the bus. This might save you the same aggravation that we went through.
Consequently, we have no photos of this wonderful cruise. And, it seemed as if Guest Relations on the ship could give a shxt about the theft. We had to ask for a signed copy of the Personal Property Report four times before we received one. This whole situation caused my wife and I to decide that we will no longer sail Celebrity or Royal Caribbean Cruises. We like the product, but we don't like the way they treated frequent customers, therefore, we'll take our business elsewhere.
The Solstice was a very nice ship. It was carrying more than 3000 passengers on our trip, but you could never tell it. The only time you knew it was crowded was on "at sea" days and it was very difficult to get a lounge chair outside.
I have to agree with other reviews that the food was not as good as previous Celebrity cruises that we've taken, but it was certainly acceptable. The menus are the things that have become strange like serving meat loaf and spaghetti & meatballs. But there are all kinds of other options if you don't want to eat in the dining room. For example, you can have the same menu as the dining room delivered to your cabin if you want to eat there. Just give them enough notice on what you want and the time you want it delivered. You can eat in the Oceanview Cafe on deck 14 which offers a good variety of food choices. Or, you can pay extra money to eat at one of the 4 "cover charge" restaurants that are onboard. Trust me, you won't go hungry.
Our concierge class cabin (2107) was on deck 12 and it was in a great location. Our cabin attendant was outstanding as usual, we always had fresh fruit in our cabin and snacks prior to dinner each night. I think they've upgraded the mattresses in concierge class along with the bath towels. We had a very large veranda and the cabin was plenty large. They did a great job in sound proofing the cabins, too.
We found the entertainment to be good, but realize that Celebrity was never known for outstanding entertainment. I read some other reviews about the entertainment being poor, but we found it to be good. There are lots of things going on throughout the day if you want to take advantage of it ... or ... you can just kick back and relax.
The Lawn Club on the top deck was fascinating. You're able to play Bocchi ball, ring toss or practice your putting skills. The glass blowing show is up there, as well, and that proved to be one of the most popular things onboard.
All in all, it's a gorgeous ship and lots of places for you to explore once you're onboard.
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Port and Shore Excursions
This was our favorite port on this cruise. We traveled into the mountains to see how Turks lived in their local villages. Beautiful countryside and extremely friendly people. The western side of Turkey is very agricultural.
A historic Italian city that was dirty and smelly. It is in a good location if you want to travel to the Amalfi coast, the Isle of Capri and other locations.
A large island in the Aegean Sea. Old Rhodes is very historic and it is a walled city. Many shops and restaurants to choose from. Very friendly people.
This was our favorite island stop on our cruise. A beautiful island, quaint shops, narrow streets and some outstanding views from the city of Oia.