Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by Loreto1028: Fantastic First Ever Cruise
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Fantastic First Ever Cruise
We are still not quite sure we are cruise people, but we had a terrific time.
Embarkation - smooth as can be. We arrived at the port about 11:45am and there was no one in any of the lines, so we pretty much were on the ship within minutes of arriving. Headed up to the Oceanview Aft Bar and soaked up some sun until the lunch buffet opened and the staterooms were ready.
Stateroom - Our Sky Suite was quite lovely and spacious. We didn`t come close to filling the closet or the drawers. And the bathroom....huge! The large balcony and the extra large round window were also great to have, although at times we couldn`t sit on the balcony because it was just to hot in the full sun. The mornings and evenings were spectacular though - watching the sun come up or go down was amazing.
Dining - We had Select dining, which was perfect for us as the early seating was too early and the late was too late. We usually arrived between 7 - 7:30pm and never had to wait for a More table for 2. Most nights, we had the same sommelier, who always arrived with our prosecco and two glasses and when dinner was served always appeared to pour the appropriate wine. The food was very good, and plentiful, and I found myself ordering the sugar-free desserts which were really good (and came with a little less guilt).
For breakfast we found ourselves having the yogurt parfait at the Aqua Spa Cafe most mornings. Tried room service a few times, but always went back to the parfait.
Lunch was in port for most of the days, but for the few sea days we tried both the Oceanview Buffet and the Mast Grill. The buffet has many options and there is definitely something for everyone, where the Mast Grill is burgers and fries.
The Oceanview puts out a sushi bar at 5:30pm which we would select a few items and take to our room to enjoy while we were getting ready for dinner.
Speciality Restaurants - We tried all three speciality restaurants and I would say Tuscan Grill was our favourite. All three had very good food and fantastic service.
Activities - We didn't really part take in many of the ship's activities. We tried a few of the shows and they were okay, but I think it really depends what you are used to. Many people thought the shows were second to none. The Hot Glass Show is a definite must see and we did go to that a few times. The music throughout the ship was great though, whether it be by the pool or in the grand foyer the music was lively and appropriate for the venue.
Port/Shore Excursions - Of the 7 ports we went to, we did 2 private tours and 2 ship tours. I would never do another ship tour! They were extremely unorganized and we really felt like cattle - and them were more expensive that the private tours that we did. The private tour companies, Dream Tours in Villefranche and AP Tours in Naples were both amazing. The drivers were extremely knowledgeable and very personable, and we could tailor our day on the fly. We did use the ship's shuttle service in Venice and Dubrovnik and would do that again. It's funny, of all the places we went on this trip, I would only go back to Barcelona and the Amalfi Coast. I never thought I would say that about Venice, but it was just to crowded. Dubrovnik was beautiful, but am not sure what else there is to see that we haven't already seen.
Service - With the exception of one sommelier in the main dining room (who we had twice and he was equally grumpy both times), the crew was fantastic. Our stateroom was always spotless, and we can find no complaints about the ship.
Aqua Spa - We did manage to use the fitness facility about four times and with the exception of a few of the treadmills being out of service, everything was in great shape. The area was more crowded than I was expecting, but we never had to wait for a machine. Did visit the spa for a massage, which was great, but couldn't have done without the sales pitch afterward. It really took away from the whole spa experience and kept me from going back for another treatment.
Regrets - Believe it or not, we wished we had let the ship's photographer take more photos of us. The photos they took, all turned out great and we ended up purchasing all of them. I wish we had taken a photo at each port, because that would be a great way to look back on the trip.
All in all it was a fantastic trip, and have just booked another Celebrity cruise to Alaska with my mother and two sisters. So although I'm still not sure I'm a cruise person, I'm going to give it another try to find out. Less
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