Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by coasterschick: First Cruise for us....
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First Cruise for us....
Our family of 6 (2 grandparents, 2 parents and 2 teen age kids) had a fabulous time on Solstice while traveling the Mediterranean. We were worried about what all of us could do together and separate on this cruise and Solstice was the answer. While my in-laws are seasoned cruisers, we had never thought about taking a cruise...ever. This was truly a vacation to remember that met all of our needs plus some. If you are looking for a vacation that could be a great balance for varying age ranges, this itinerary and ship are it!
We won't duplicate what others have written positively or negatively. Things we found in addition to share are as follows:
1. Our kids really enjoyed the teen programming and friends that they met from all over the world. I am sure some adults on the cruise were not as happy to see the larger number of kids on this cruise, but we did not find the kids to be rude or disrespectful when we "accidentally" ran into them More (other teens) on deck. It was great to see the kids all interacting and learning how to find their sealegs of proper socializing. Too boot, Solstice is also great to find privacy almost at any turn.....it is an amazingly designed ship.
2. We found the sea days rather perplexing as with most cruisers for the lack of consideration by seat hogs but in addition thought people who left their used towels on the chairs without intention of returning even more rude. You did not know if chairs were open or not without bothering the people relaxing next to them.
3. We really enjoyed the Solarium for adult lounging, the hot tub a little cooler than US standards..but you could stay in longer! We really loved the clam shell round lounger chairs too! Most of the time the security assisted the under 16 youth away from the area after the first day.
4. We greatly enjoyed meeting back up before dinner each night on our veranda for cocktails/mocktails when we could. We brought over 2 chairs from my in-laws room and sat on the veranda each night to talk about our daily excursion experiences.
5. We loved our veranda room and found it not as bad as everyone said with 4 people sharing the room. I guess since we're newbies to cruising we did not notice the difficulty in sharing sleeping arrangements. Plus we have a sailboat and are very efficient in our space usage in general! The pullman and couch made a great bunkbed situation for our kids to share at night and stored nicely each morning per the room attendants. After all, how much room do you really need at night? I must say it did force our kids to keep their stuff organized and neat daily!
6. We took advantage of the $29.00 coupon for laundry and that probably saved us some space issues by reducing our clothing needs for 10 days on a cruise and 6 days post cruise in Rome.
7. We did a mixture of on our own, private and Celebrity tours. When used the public and taxi transportation at the ports we found them to be easy to use. By using a taxi and metro in Athens, we saved a bunch in time and saw the Acropolis with virtually 100 people max in the morning! Can't say that about my in-laws and their Celebrity tour who were there about 10am. The best for us to recommend is to do your research and plan your excursions based on your personal needs. My in-laws were more likely to take the Celebrity tours. They did the Taoromina in Sicily, Athens bus tour, Santorni wine tour, Delos tour in Mykonos...all were 4 hour tours and they raved about them with the exception of Athens. We talked them into 2 private tours in Naples and Kusadasi that were absolutely unforgetable. They were actually better for my father in-law who struggles to keep up due to his knees and "pre-cruise" unplanned hernia surgery! The private tour bus was great for easily picking him up at the entrance of a site and sometimes half the price at the cruise tour. The tour guides were informative and locals to the area. Again, absolutely incredible excursions all around.
8. If you are in a large traveling group, don't be afraid to do separate port excursions. It made for great conversations to hear what different options we experienced upon meeting up post excursion. The lawn area became another of our favorite areas to watch Solstice leave port when all 6 of us wanted to chat and share!
9. We had an early dinner seating per my in-laws request. I found it to be a little too early for me as that the pools were closed each night before we finished dinner (8pm). If we had a longer day in the port, we rushed to get to dinner at 6:15, especially for the formal nights where we wanted to look our best. I guess both dinner seatings have their pros and cons. If you like to swim and relax....it does make it hard to get it all in on a port intensive cruise like the Mediterranean. I think the only time we enjoyed a louging pre-dinner dinner was when we skipped our 6:15 dinner and ate at the buffet, which BTW was really good option each time we ate there. The kids loved the waffles for breakfast and the ice cream any time of course!
10. Our last point to share, if you are going all this way to see the sites..don't hold back. Plan to spend a little money on this trip to do it right. Document it with pictures, notes, nice souvenirs and great conversations.
This was a trip we won't easily forget and it will be difficult to top in future vacations. Celebrity did a great job keeping us happy. They were not perfect, but then again none of us are. I have to say that when we did have a concern, they addressed it quickly and if needed, corrected within minutes of being brought to their attention. All staff seemed eager to please and helpful. Less
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Cabin review: Celebrity Solstice 9171
Great balcony; could hear your neighbors at night if you were soundly asleep without tv on; exterior door would not secure shut. A few times, we woke up to having our door slightly ajar when we swore our door was shut at night! Wish we had more hangers for our closet as we had 4 people in our room to hang our formal and dining attire in. Not a lot of room for shoes either.....TV with in room movies was great for an early night in room. I liked seeing the interactive shop for our cruise photos. Made the last night at sea easier to pick photos from the cruise to buy.
Port and Shore Excursions
We went on the Peloritani trail tour with Celebrity. Since it was our first day in a port on our first ever cruise, we decided to play it safe with the cruise ship tour option. Our guides were great and we really enjoyed the trek through the trails in the Peloritani. Many on the tour with us were not thrilled with the tour as it was simply a nice easy hike on a trail that you could probably take in the US....us on the other hand really enjoyed speaking with our guides, learning about the history and the culture in Messina and Sicily. One of our guides actually picked up locally made sandwiches for our lunch and we ate at a "boy scouting" camp picnic area that he grew up going to. They had some of the local kids camping there and they really enjoyed chatting and practicing their English with us. We all shared a common love of the outdoors and the beautiful game of "Football". My husband taped the interaction with the kids unannounced to me. Some of the other tour people were rude to Lily, our main guide. The guides made every effort to show us "their Messina/Sicily". Unfortunately they showed poorly upon us as Americans. I think they expected mountainous treks through lovely trails that exceeded all known to mankind. The behaved like ungrateful Americans.....their behavior towards the tour guides was appalling.
Good cruise but very different
We loved The Soltice