It Was Hot Hot Hot!: Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by vinoblanco
Overall Member Rating
It Was Hot Hot Hot!
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Our hotel kicking- out time was 12 noon, so we asked them to call us a taxi to the port, knowing it was early for embarkation, but not wanting to wander the streets with luggage.
On arrival, our luggage was taken and we were shown where to check in. I couldn't believe how quickly we were checked in, there was no line at all for our deck. There was a slight delay at security but we were on board with champagne in hand by 12.40pm. Well done Celebrity.
First impressions, WOW, what a gorgeous ship, we weren't disappointed. Loved the glass elevators and never had long to wait for one, even on shore days. Of all the ships we've been on this was definately the nicest and easiest to find your way around.
We went to the Oceanview Cafe on deck 14 aft for lunch. I have to say that I usually steer clear of buffet type More restaurants, I like to have my food served to me. However, the buffet here is really very good. Well set out with clear signage. Whenever we used the cafe, we didn't encounter long lines at all and always managed to find a clean table. There is waiter service for drinks. Tea and coffee and juice are served at your table at breakfast. The variety and quality of food was very good.
Our stateroom was ready at 2pm and again, we were happy with it. We found the bed comfortable and liked the sliding door which meant we could leave it open a little at night for fresh air and to listen to the sea. The storage was ample. There was a vanity unit with 2 American style sockets and 1 European style.
After muster (which was tedious) we went to meet with other cruise critic members for the sail away party.
We had late dining in the MDR and had requested a table for 2, because, at the end of a long day, we enjoy, just to unwind and have a quiet meal together without having to make polite conversation with people we don't know very well. We were very disappointed overall with the main dining room. The tables were jammed far too close together so that you couldn't help being drawn in to conversations without being rude. We really liked our table neighbours, but, it wasn't what we wanted. I have to say though, that our waiters were very attentive, but we found the food to be often too cool to eat (with the exception of the onion soup which was scalding hot) and the whole thing just wasn't really to our taste.
Out of the 12 nights we dined elsewhere 5 times. Murano's is fantastic, not to be missed. We had 2 nights there together, then a further night with CC friends. All brilliant and well worth the supplement. Wouldn't it be nice if the MDR was like Murano's? Tuscan Grill had a lovely friendly ambience, we were given a window table at the rear of the ship and it was lovely. The food however, though nice, isn't a patch on authentic Italian, it just lacks that garlic, basil fresh herbs thing that Italian food has. Nontheless, we liked the restaurant and the service was very attentive.
Breakfasts. Well, what we enjoy most of all on a cruise is to enjoy a leisurely breakfast on our balcony, while wearing our bath robes and watching the world go by. We have to say that we were disappointed with the service and the quality of the room service breakfasts for our class of stateroom. I understand that if you pay more for a better "class" you have a bigger choice. The cooked food was terrible and barely warm. Cold croissants! We stopped asking for cooked food and just asked for cereal and danish. The danish were good. However, then they forgot to put water in the tea pot, or they forgot the cups. I say that if you can't do it well, don't offer to do it at all. They could learn from HAL, where even at a lowly level of stateroom, the balcony breakfasts were first class. We started to go to the buffet restaurant and if you got there early it was fine. One morning we went to The Bistro on 5. The service was very good, nice hot tea and coffee and we liked the fresh fruit, however, we found the scrambled egg, bacon and mushroom crepe very dry.
Entertainment. This is where people's priorities come into play, because we don't bother much with entertainment, although we did enjoy one band who played by the pool and sang Eagles songs and others like that. Some of our MDR table mates were rushing off to get a good seat for the show, we wandered in to a couple and watched for a few minutes, they were good, but it's not really our thing. We don't play the casinos either. We loved the martini bar for a pre dinner drink and enjoyed the company of others here. It's a great place and the Celebrity champagne is very good. We liked to go to the rear of the ship at 4pm for afternoon tea, an excellent selection of sweet and savoury and take it outside to join in the trivia quiz.
Another gripe, and I don't mean this to sound like continuous moaning because we had a great time overall, however, we hated the way there were too few sun loungers to go round on sea days and that they were so cramped together it was ridiculous. We witnessed sunbed wars on several occasions and even a fight. We tended to sunbathe early then go for a late lunch (removing our towels). After lunch if we wanted more sun we headed to the lawn deck where there was always space on the grass. Often we were happy just to go back to our balcony and read and relax. The weather was very hot and we got some wonderful sunsets.
I realise this is turning into a novel and I haven't yet touched on the wonderful ports we visited. Less
Port and Shore Excursions
We hadn't been to Crete before, however, the taxi drivers were on strike here as well so our options were limited.
Celebrity had put on a shuttle service from the port to Chania town centre for a few euros. Well worth it. From here we walked about 20 minutes to Neahora Beach, which was very nice. We got 2 sun loungers and a shade for 5 euros and spent a lot of the time swimming in the lovely clear sea.
We then had a wander around the old town, stopping for a drink before heading back for the shuttle bus to the ship.
The hotel was lovely and we were well looked after. The 30 euros included use of their very comfortable sun loungers and shades and use of a beach towel. The pool is gorgeous and there is a small private beach. We had a lovely lunch which was extra, there is also a spa.
A very relaxing day.
We were driven on to the beautiful Ravello, where we had a long leisurely lunch in a restaurant with views to die for.
A perfect day.
This meant we disembarked first and were taken by tender to the new port, then the ship carried on to the old port where the cable car is. It was all very well organised even though there were many coaches. The drive to the village was stunning and we loved the village itself, however, I would have liked more time to explore at leisure. The taxis were on strike in Greece at the time of our visit and we didn't fancy the bus.
After our visit to the village we were taken to a winery for wine tasting. We were given a small amount of 3 wines to taste and there was some bread, tomatoes, cheese and olives. We bought a bottle of wine and took it back to the ship.
We were then dropped off at the old port and given a ticket for the cable car. We had lunch at one of the cliff side restaurants over looking the volcano. Very hot here, but so beautiful. A short line for the cable car back to the ship but not significant.
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