We arrived in Barcelona a day before we boarded the Solstice, staying at the Silken Havana Hotel just a few blocks from Las Ramblas. The town is beautiful, clean & vibrant. We took the bus tour which was good but a bit pricey. It gave us a view of most of the top sites in town including Gaudi's Sagradi Familia, a must see. The hotel, recommended by Celebrity was well appointed & clean but the room very, very tiny. We stayed at the Renassiance near the airport our last day & could not have been happier. The room was large, clean & it had all the bells & whistles. Their restuarants were great & a bit pricey, but worth it. I's recommend it to all.
Our ship was clean, organized and the staff helpful. Ports of call were exciting & diverse but excursions less than we expected. Croatia & Montenegro were surprisingly beautiful, quaint & clean & locals were warm & charming. The highlight of the ship was the delicious meals, especially the dinners. Our wait staff were excellent & the menu selections were varied & delicious. Our cabin was large enough, the balcony large & the shower sooo good. The entertainment was good, with the variety shows our favorite. Our Cruise Director, Lisa, was cordial & maybe the best entertainer on board. She interacted with everyone on the ship. The Captain was very professional & pleasantly invisible. His daily updates were precise & brief & all ended with 'OUT'. Our cabin attendants were efficient & cordial. All staff personnel were helpful & courteous. Our only negative was our concerige, Raphael, who was non-existent for most of the cruise & totally useless when we asked for assistence once & was rudely told he could not do anything for us. Being in Concerige Class, we foolishly thought he would be somewhat helpful, but were we wrong. We did not allow this one incident to spoil our cruise & just ignored him after that. There was a health issue about 2/3 of the way through that sent the entire staff into clean-down mode, preventing anyone in the 14th deck food area to serve themselves. Not a big problem except the serving staff was not adequately staffed to handle this crisis efficiently. But, just a small bump in the seas. We ate at 2 spectacular restaurants.
In Venice Tratorria Modonna off the Rialto Bridge, & in Florence, Tratorria Bortolo, just minutes from Ponte Vecchio. Both were true Italian classics off the beaten track & both inexpensive. They were recommended to us by a native who lives & works in the USA & brings his clients to these places always. Our tour guides were good & experienced. We used Celebrity for all excursion except in Rome where we used Port Promotions, a hugh mistake. They did a poor job & did not follow the itenery they had published & we intend to lodge a complaint with them. Another dissapointment was a world renowned (?) bar in Venice, Harry's Bar, famous for their Bellinis. It was small, crowded, & the wait staff rude, discouteous & loud. The drinks were good but very expensive. We'll never return there & I suggest no one else go there in support of appropriate behavior. They refused to allow a woman who had ordered a drink at the bar & was in obvious back pain, to sit on a chair at a table for four with only two people sitting there after asking & receiving permission to sit there from those at the table. The woman, after being berated loudly by one of the waiters,quietly placed her unfinished drink on the bar & left. Shame on you, world reowned (?) Harry's Bar!
This is our second cruise on Celebrity & both have been great. They certainly know how to provide the ingredients for a wonderful vacation & we will use them again. They handled the 'bumps' in the sea with professionlism & efficency.