Subscribe today
Get Cruise Critic in your inbox
Your Ultimate Cruise Guide

Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by cworld4me: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Acropolis!


cworld4me
1 Review
Member Since 2009
2 Posts

Member Rating

Cabin 4.0
Dining 4.0
Embarkation 4.0
Enrichment Activities Not Rated
Entertainment 5.5
Family & Children Not Rated
Fitness & Recreation 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0
Rates Not Rated
Service 4.0
Shore Excursions 4.0
Value for Money 4.0

Compare Prices on Celebrity Solstice Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruises

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Acropolis!

Sail Date: July 2009
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)

A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum, oops wrong story. Well, we actually started our trip in Rome at a beautiful hotel called the Hotel Majestic. The hotel was wonderful and included an "American breakfast". Not really. European all the way with prociutto, baked cressants, sweet breads, eggs, fruit, yogurt and a choice of American or Italian coffee. You're kidding. Who would in their right mind would choose American coffee? Yuk I would highly recommend the Hotel Majestic and sitting  outside to enjoy breakfast!


Rome was hot but still beautiful! We walked all over the city enjoying the various fountains, coffee, gelato, pizza and of course the sights. We were picked up the second day by Pepe, a fabulous driver from Limoinrome who gave us a quick tour of Rome before heading out to Civitavecchia Port. Wow, we really enjoyed our time with Pepe. He showed something we will never forget: "The Keyhole to Rome". Incredible. You'll have to meet him and More ask to see it.

The Celebrity Solstice was beautiful. Extremely artsey ship. Our room was nice but I feel that after traveling on various cruise lines, the company scrimped on the ship's insulation between floors and rooms. We heard  a lot of noise above and next door to us. We even heard the phone ringing next door and loud Italian voices coming from next door daily.The food was good in the main dining room but not anything to write home about. The specialty restaurants, especially The Murano were outstanding. It was so outstanding, 5 star all the way, that we ate their twice. The ship's shows were spectacular, best I ever saw on cruise ships. 

The Greek Islands were nice but we enjoyed Turkey and the Amalfi Coast even more.We rented ATV's in Santorini and were advised to head to Oui. This is the most picturesque spot of Santorini. Well worth driving ATV's to see. It is true that the best time to photograph the Greek Islands are in the late afternoon. The sun reflects off the islands giving it a beautiful hue. Interesting, but Greek men in Santorini, Mykonos and Athens were quite grumpy and irritable (especially those in uniform). We didn't find this to be true about our Greek staff on the ship. As a matter of fact, the ship's captain was very funny.

We took Cruisecritic member's suggestions about Ekoltravel tours in Turkey and they were fabulous. I would highly recommend this company. The tour guides we had in Istanbul and Ephesus were great and so full of knowledge, patience and character.Ayzsequl Argaboglu showed us the sights in Istanbul for 2 days and we enjoyed her company and vast knowledge of her country and city. We highly recommend that you see the Dolmabace Palace which was more beautiful than the Topkaki Palace. Shopping in the Grand Bazaar was fun but not the highlight and yes, I love to shop. Going with a guide help matters as she was able to help negotiate. We took the ship's Turkish night club/dinner/show excursion. The food was unedible but the bellydancing made up for it. Be prepared to spend a lot of money on water and soda. The Turkish Baklava that our guide bought us was amazing! It made it all the way home and eaten a week later!

We were fortunate enough to see Ephesus, the showplace of Aegean archaeology with an archaeologist who Ekol gave us a tour guide. Bulent (Bill to us) Soysal was fabulous. What a way to see the ruins! I highly recommend paying alittle more to see the Terrace House. We had a authentic Turkish lunch in Selchuk followed by our very own fashion show in a Turkish Leather Factory/showroom. Turkish leather is gorgeous and 5 out of 6 of us came home with some treasures!We followed that us with a trip to see how silk is spun and more carpet demos. I suggest trying Turkish coffee for those coffee enthusiasts but I warn you, it doesn't taste like coffee...it's more like swallowing chewing tobacco. The Turkish apple tea offered was delightful! We spent the rest of the time at the Kusadasi Port which was beautiful. Our guide warned us to be aware of fakes in the bazaar.

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the Acropolis...yes, I broke my toe on the ship simply catching my toe on a lounge chair on the pool deck. I still managed to climb the Acropolis though. I wasn't going to miss that. Be careful climbing as it is slippery in certain areas. But this was the highlight of our trip! Even with a broken toe. Wow! Breathtaking. The rest of Athens was interesting to see but just ok. Our driver was very negative about his city and the economics of their country. We enjoyed the best Greek lunch, Musaka, in the Platka area in a little Mom and Pop shop that we found on our own. I couldn't walk anymore after lunch but my friends told me the Platka was fun to shop and see.

The absolute highlight of this trip was the Amalfi Coast. We got picked up by Mario Giafalli, a true gentleman from Italylimouisine who delighted and entertained us as we drove the Amalfi Coast. We took his suggestion and drove the coast line first before we did Pompeii. Excellent idea as we had more time to enjoy the magnificent scenery and shop alittle in Positano, stop in Amalfi and lunch in Ravello. We then headed to Pompeii to enjoy the ruins there with a private guide. Our friends suggested not wasting time in Naples with our day and I'm glad to listen to their advise.

All in all, the trip was fabulous. The ship was beautiful with a few building flaws. The ship's spa was lovely. I enjoyed a Tai Pumice Message. My husband enjoyed his Sweedish messages.  The staff was lovely too.


Less

Read more Celebrity Solstice cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic's Celebrity Solstice Review >>

Cabin review: Celebrity Solstice Deluxe Oceanveiw Stateroom Vista Deck (8) 9276

The cabin was comfortable. The couch was a waste of space though. It becomes a piece of furniture to hold items. We acualIy moved the table to the balcony for more space. We loved the space of the bathroom. The nicest we've seen on any ship by far. The only problem we had with our cabin was that is was noisey. We could hear above and next door noises. It sounded like chairs were being moved above us or kids hopping around. The Italians next door to us came in loud and clear. We even heard the phone ringing next door. The balcony was great. We were portside on this trip and saw most of the ports that we came into from our balcony. The closet was adequate and we clearly had to ask for more hangars. My husband ended up using cubbies in the bathroom for storage. Nice storage space above the beds. The beds were very comfortable!

Port and Shore Excursions


Our 29 year old driver was extremely negative about Athens when we started asking about the people and culture. We had to ask him to be more positive while driving us around. With a broken toe, I climbed the Acropolis which I give a 5+. The Acropolis was as beautiful as Nia Vardolis described in her new movie "My Life In Ruins". Unbelievable to stand in history & beauty dating back to the 5th century! It's a must see. Be careful while climbing down as the marble can be slippery. Wear sneakers or rubber soles. We were fortunate enough to see the new Acropolis museum which opened 11 days before we got there. We were not impressed with Athens as it is a dirty, crowded city but still holds amazing ruins among a big city. We enjoyed our mom & pop restaurant we found in the Platka. Delicious musaka!!


We highly recommend using Ekol Travel to book tours in Istanbul. Istanbul is extremely crowded city with 15 million people living in it. Way too much traffic but having a private car was great to get in and out of traffic. The taxi cab drivers are quite brazen! Ayzsequl Argaboglu showed us the sights in Istanbul for 2 days and we enjoyed her company and vast knowledge of her country and city. We highly recommend that you see the Dolmabace Palace which was more beautiful than the Topkaki Palace and not on the ship's or Ekol's itinerary. I read alot about seeing the Harem in the Topkaki Palace which was not available to us due to construction. Our guide told us to see the Harem at the Dolmabace Palace instead. Viewing the 68 carat diamond at the Topkaki Palace blew me away! The Blue Mosque was beautiful. We had to take our shoes off and women had to wear shawls. Shopping in the Grand Bazaar was fun but not the highlight and yes, I love to shop. Going with a guide help matters as she was able to help negotiate. The carpet demos were interesting but everyone is trying to sell you their wares. Beautiful if you're in the market for a carpet. The turkish coffee is muddy chewing tobacco but the apple tea is delightful! I was surprised to see someone carrying a Starbuck's coffee cup. We took the ship's Turkish night club/dinner/show excursion to Kervansaray Restaurant. The food was unedible but the bellydancing made up for it. Be prepared to spend a lot of money on water and soda. The Turkish Baklava that our guide bought us was amazing! It made it all the way home and eaten a week later!

Read 258 Istanbul Reviews

We took a private tour with Ekol when we docked in Kusadasi. We were fortunate enough to see Ephesus, the showplace of Aegean archaeology with an archaeologist who Ekol gave us a tour guide. Bulent (Bill to us) Soysal was fabulous. What a way to see the ruins! I highly recommend paying alittle more to see the Terrace House. For those picture enthusiast's, keep an eye on your traveling companions. I lost my group for 10 minutes while taking pictures and panicked as the area was extremely crowded and I couldn't find them. I highly recommend carrying a cell for this reason! We had an authentic Turkish "kebab" lunch in Selchuk followed by our very own fashion show in a Turkish Leather Factory/showroom. Turkish leather is gorgeous and 5 out of 6 of us came home with some treasures !We followed that us with a trip to see how silk is spun and more carpet demos. I suggest trying Turkish coffee for those coffee enthusiast but at your own risk! The Turkish apple tea offered was delightful! We spent the rest of the time at the Kusadasi Port which was beautiful. Our guide warned us to be aware of fakes in the bazaar. Kusadasi is a beautiful resort town with gorgeous beaches and one of the country's main holiday destinations.

Read 361 Kusadasi Reviews

We took the ship's tour to Delos. The ruins were interesting to see but it was so hot and we went extremely early. We encountered mean Delos employees in the musuem/gift shop. The tour was long and hot and my least favorite ruins on the trip. We had lunch back in Mykonos near the water which was good. If you ask for suvlakki, be prepared to eat it differently than in America. The suvlakki is served like a salad with pita on the side. My friend and I walked around the shops along the shoreline. Gold is beautiful in Greece but pricey now. Sandals are nice but not meant for big feet (over 9 is hard to find).

Read 378 Mykonos Reviews

(5.5)
Amalfi Coast The absolute highlight of this trip was the Amalfi Coast. We got picked up by Mario Giafalli, a true gentleman from Italylimouisine who delighted and entertained us as we drove the Amalfi Coast. We took his suggestion and drove the coast line first before we did Pompeii. Excellent idea as we had more time to enjoy the magnificent scenery and shop alittle in Positano, stop in Amalfi and lunch in Ravello. We then headed to Pompeii to enjoy the ruins there with a private guide. Pompeii was one of my favorite ruins on this trip and should not be missed. You should definately watch your step in the ruins. Our friends suggested not wasting time in Naples with our day and I'm glad to listen to their advise.

Read 646 Naples Reviews

We loved exploring Santorini on ATV's from Alex at Rent A Moto. We were all a little hesitant about renting them but ended enjoying ourselves immensely. We were told to visit Oia which is a beautiful fishing community situated at the northern tip of the island. It is gorgeous and probably filmed in movies. For those of you who saw "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants", this is the town. Highly recommend seeing. Take pictures in the late afternoon when the sun hits the island and gives off a golden hue. We enjoyed walking around Santorini before taking the cable cars down. I could smell the donkeys walking through the city before we actually saw them coming. The brave ones take the donkeys up from the bottom of the island.

Thank You For Signing Up!

Please Note: To ensure delivery of your free e-letters, please add news@cruisecritic.com to your address book.
We're committed to protecting your privacy and will not rent or sell your e-mail address. By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.