My wife and I have traveled on several cruise lines and looked forward to traveling on Celebrity Solstice. We were excited to be going on a 12-day cruise in the Mediterranean departing from Barcelona. We made our arrangements using the Celebrity Cruise Line web site. Easy site to navigate.
Having never been to the Mediterranean, we decided to spend a couple of extra days before the cruise in Barcelona. Recommended by Celebrity Cruise Lines, we used Choice Air for our flight arrangements. The initial flight itinerary they sent us was incomplete and it took two calls to Choice Air before we got a flight itinerary we could use. We stayed at the Hotel Barcelona Catedral in Barcelona. It was close to Las Ramblas and the Gothic District. Modern hotel with nice location, very acceptable accommodations, and helpful staff. Unfortunately, the breakfast buffet was very expensive (17 Euros per person).
Embarkation/Debarkation and Shore Excursions on the Celebrity Solstice were the More
most efficient of all of the cruise lines we have been on. We had a room in Concierge Class with a balcony off the stern of the ship. Room was slightly smaller than similar class rooms on other cruise lines, but did have lots of storage and a nice bath room with shower. Ship staff were always available to answer any questions you had. Daily Newsletters kept you up to date.
While the ship did have several specialty restaurants, we chose to use the informal buffet (Oceanview Cafe) the majority of our time. It had a good selection of food. We weren't lacking for food. The main dining room was very well appointed with friendly wait staff. The premium drink package had too many limitations and was not worth the money.
Since relaxing on the ship was our main interest, we did not attend any of the shows. No matter where we were on the ship, ship staff were always ready to help with information. We attended the glass blowing demonstration, which is a special feature of Celebrity Solstice. It was very interesting and informative. We also attended several of the cooking demonstrations by the ship chefs. These were fun to watch. Overall, very enjoyable cruise. Less
Celebrity Solstice Cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean
Our next port of call was Kusadasi, Turkey. We took a bus tour to the exit of Ephesus. Aggressive vendors made the visit unpleasant. The scenery was beautiful with many ancient ruins as well a large roadside statue of the Virgin Mary.
We took a side tour to Sorrento when we got to Naples since the tour for Capri involved 5 miles of walking up and down hills and steps. Sorrento was a charming vacation town visited by the citizens of Naples on the weekends.
The tours in Rome and Naples required at least an hour's ride from the actual ports. So a good deal amount of tour time was lost traveling to and from the ports. You need to be careful about the level of physical effort required for the various tours and read their descriptions thoroughly. If you have trouble walking for any distance uphill and downhill, you would be well-advised to only take bus tours. Our Rome tour involved a good deal of walking and we were very tired by the time we got to the Vatican. Saint Peter's Basilica was awesome.
Our port of call in Santorini, Greece involved a bus ride to the village Oia and a visit to a local winery complete with snacks and a wine tasting. Then back to Fira for some shopping and a tram ride down to the port. It did take about an hour standing in the tram line before we could get a tram.