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Sail Date: October 2012
This was the easiest embarkation procedure that I have ever experienced. It took no time at all. My first view of the interior of the ship was dazzling. My companion who had never sailed before was equally impressed. The cabin we had ... Read More
This was the easiest embarkation procedure that I have ever experienced. It took no time at all. My first view of the interior of the ship was dazzling. My companion who had never sailed before was equally impressed. The cabin we had was quite comfortable but could have used a few more drawers. We found ourselves leaving clothes on the sofa. The food was very good in the dining room and the buffet. We had select seating and I was very impressed with the smoothness of the operation and the service we received in the dining room. We did not partake in the specialty restaurants by choice. We did however enjoy lunch at Bistro on 5. To bad we didn't find it sooner, we would have eaten there more often. The entertainment was disappointing. I am not sure if it was the scheduling of the show or perhaps the early morning departures for tours that made it inconvenient to see a number of them. What I did see was only so-so. My experience with the shore excursions was to say the least bad. The excursion to Florence and the one in Rome left a lot to be desired. Prior excursions on the same cruise were better. A complaint to the shore excursion desk resulted in a credit to my account. I would have been better off arranging private tours as many other people did. I spoke to a number of people who felt the same way I did and also complained. The activities were sufficient. I have no idea why everything is done in the morning though. There are many people who like to sleep in and miss some morning activities as well as those who are having dinner and can't be at the 8:00 pm drawings in the jewelry shop. I was not at all impressed with the merchandise for sale on the ship. Leaving the ship on the last day was almost as smooth as getting on. The fact that no announcements were made as to which group was to disembark made it a little difficult, but once off we retrieved our luggage and were whisked away by bus to the airport. In closing let me say that having taken this trip on the Millennium 10 years ago this one was better. Even with the complaints it really didn't discourage me from sailing Celebrity again and again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We were 2 couples with 3 of us celebrating our 60th birthdays this year. We had sailed on Celebrity Silhouette last year on a Western Mediterranean and so decided to celebrate by doing an Eastern one on the Solstice this year. We were ... Read More
We were 2 couples with 3 of us celebrating our 60th birthdays this year. We had sailed on Celebrity Silhouette last year on a Western Mediterranean and so decided to celebrate by doing an Eastern one on the Solstice this year. We were not disappointed although we thought the Silhouette was a little nicer. We did like the added attraction on this ship of the hot glass blowing and attended about 5 of their shows. We liked the life's lessons shared by the captain each day and enjoyed Alejandro as the cruise director. The food was good, the entertainment okay, but the itinerary of ports was excellent. With the help of Cruise Critic members and other sources, advanced planning really paid off. Here are some highlights of what we did: BARCELONA - spent 3 days pre-cruise at Marina View B&B Great place to stay! We did the 2 tours offered by Runner Bean Walking Tours which we also highly recommend. We booked our tickets online for Sagrada Familia with a time of 30 minutes following the end of our Gaudi tour. That worked out well, as the line for tickets was at least a 2 hour wait. CANNES, FRANCE - rented a car from Hertz and drove to St. Paul de Vence and followed Rick Steve's driving tour through the Gordes area. LIVORNO, ITALY - rented a car with Sifracar and drove to San Gimignano and over to Volterra. Enjoyed very much the Tuscany area. ROME - took the train from port into Rome Walked to Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain (tossed in our coins) and Pantheon with stops for gelato (try Giolitti's and Grom). Booked ahead tickets for Le Domus Romane which is an excellent exhibit--one of the top attractions on Trip Advisor NAPLES - took the hydrofoil to Capri, and then rode in the open air taxi up to Anacapri where we walked around and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and weather.KOTOR,MONTENEGRO - hired Milo, the taxi driver recommended on Cruise Critic who met us at the port and took us on a 4 hour drive around Montenegro--very scenic VENICE - took the vaporetto to Burano, ate gelato at Grom's, and did the 2 hour Row Venice excursion with Jane which was one of the highlights of our cruise. Absolutely loved the sail in and out at this port! DUBROVNIK - took a 2 hour taxi panorama tour which included a drive to Cavtet. Ate lunch at the Komarda restaurant and walked the wall. Another wonderful day as they all were! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
Cabin 2137 Sky suite excellent space both inside and outside. Storage enough for 4 let alone a couple Bathroom full size with both rain shower and ordinary shower. including luxury toiletries. Little or no noise from Ocean View cafe ... Read More
Cabin 2137 Sky suite excellent space both inside and outside. Storage enough for 4 let alone a couple Bathroom full size with both rain shower and ordinary shower. including luxury toiletries. Little or no noise from Ocean View cafe above. Our butler was excellent nothing was to much bother from breakfast to afternoon tea to canapes in evening. Dinning Tuscan Grille food was excellent only one thing waiting staff were a little over powering. Silk Harvest on the other hand now there was an experience not to be missed,and the staff knew to let you enjoy the delights. Blu well that again first class. Bistro on five excellent for lunch. and the MDR well the staff was superb , food to a very high standard we sat at a table of 10 and made a lot of new friends. Persian Gardens a total experience not to be missed from the body scrub to the rain shower and hot beds relaxation personified. Drinks the Martini bar is the heart of the ship early evening and the Sky lounge for late night drinks. Entertainment some of the shows let the ship down but others were right up there with the best. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2012
We loved our family Mediterranean cruise on the Equinox in August 2011 so much, that we did it again this year! This time, a 12 night cruise out of Barcelona on the Solstice, with an overnight in Venice. There are five of us - my husband ... Read More
We loved our family Mediterranean cruise on the Equinox in August 2011 so much, that we did it again this year! This time, a 12 night cruise out of Barcelona on the Solstice, with an overnight in Venice. There are five of us - my husband and I and our three technically adult children, ages 22, 20 and 18. Our daughter has a physical disability, cerebral palsy, and although getting around Europe with a walker or wheelchair is not the easiest thing to do, the staff of Celebrity make the journey very easy. The Solstice Class of ships in particular, are extremely handicapped accessible. Her stateroom this cruise, and last summer on the Equinox, was expertly outfitted with mobility/usage aids, including an automatic door opener - all she had to do was insert her SeaPass card and the cabin door automatically opened - super convenient and promoted her independence. All public doors, including the public bathrooms, on the Solstice Class ships open automatically or have a button to push - NO heavy doors to pull open, none. The Millennium Class ships, however, cannot make that same claim - most of the public doors do not open automatically, none of the bathroom doors do, and some of the doors which go out onto the outside decks are not only extraordinarily heavy, but are quite narrow. This is important information, I believe, if you are traveling with an assistive mobility device - the Solstice Class ships are definitely fully accessible, in our experience, but not so the Millennium Class. We arrived in Barcelona 2 days before embarkation, allowing for one afternoon/evening of independent exploration and one full day of touring with Barcelona Day Tours. We stayed 2 nights at the Hotel Casa Camper, which we absolutely loved. It is in a fantastic vibrant central location of the city. Please refer to my TripAdvisor review for more extensive details. We booked a full day tour with Barcelona Day Tours, months in advance of our arrival. We were thrilled with their knowledge and expertise. We did a full day tour of Barcelona including a drive to Montserrat where we saw the Black Madonna at the basilica. From home, we reserved timed admission to La Sagrada Familia. Again, for more extensive details on our tour with Barcelona Day Tours, please refer to my TripAdvisor review, but the bottom line is that we had a fantastic all inclusive super informative fun day! We boarded the ship on August 3 and had several sea days before our first port of Dubrovnik, Croatia. Having sailed on the Equinox last year, the Solstice, although older, did not show it - she is a beautiful ship, super clean, extremely elegant, all up to Celebrity standards. Throughout the voyage, we engaged in lots of trivia games; my husband again became very familiar with all of the poker dealers; our boys frequented the gym and engaged in the ship's version of the Olympics games, the official version of which was being held concurrently in London; and we enjoyed the onboard professional entertainment thoroughly. I don't know where Celebrity finds the talent in their shows - the dancers, several in particular, are always exceptional, Dancing with the Stars calibre. The Cirque-du-Soleil-style show, the various musicals including Doug Cameron and funny men Paul Boland and Steve Rawlings, for which I would pay big money to see, the dance parties, the acappella group and the flamenco guitarist, the party band - there seems to be a standard formula that Celebrity has for it's entertainment - all acts are exceptional and entertaining. We loved our cruise director, Alejandro, who as all cruise directors on Celebrity do, had boundless energy and addressed all pursuits with ultimate enthusiasm. The food ranged from excellent to very good. We had the 2nd seating in the Grand Epernay dining room and were very pleased with our serving staff. Since there were five of us, we had two cabins, 7139 which is accessible for our daughter, and 7137. Our stateroom attendant was notably fantastic - responsive, friendly, efficient, effective - not to mention quite adept at towel art! We discovered on our last cruise that on shore excursion days, it is difficult to mobilize a family of 5 and have them totally ready to go by 8 or 8:30 am. We came up with the idea that we would be able to maintain our sanity much easier if we had breakfast in our cabins - to not attempt to go to the dining room or buffet. This allows us to have more time in the bathrooms, time to dress, etc, while eating at the same time - one of the kids could be in the bathroom at the same time one of them was eating, etc. So on most shore excursion days, we ordered in-cabin breakfast service, and found that our stateroom attendant was our food server! He did everything for us, our in-cabin food as well as our laundry! Once when we had to call him to come and lock the stocked-for-purchase refrigerator in the cabin that our kids had, he was actually in the laundry room at that moment, doing our laundry! Apparently, the attendants carry phones with them so that calls from their guests go directly to them - very efficient and excellent for the guests, continuity of care, so to speak. (We did not find that to be the case on the Summit, however.) One of the absolute highlights of a cruise on a Solstice Class ship is the wine and cheese party on the lawn, in the Lawn Club. There was only one on this cruise, I was hoping for two, but at least there was one. It was held during the sail away from Naples. There you are, on a blanket on the lawn - ACTUAL REAL GRASS - with pillows, and a small stool used as a table to hold your wine of choice as well as a gratis cheese and fruit tray - relaxing as the classical guitarist plays in the background, as the sun is setting over Naples, looking out at Mt. Vesuvius - and you wonder how can such a magical perfect experience be happening to you? And then there is the Sunset Bar, which is also on Deck 15, my favorite place on the ship, when there is no wine and cheese party on the lawn, that is. It is situated aft, with the ocean around you on 3 sides. The Lawn Club is just behind you, port and starboard. The fresh air envelops you, the sun shines or sets on you (unless you want to sit under the tent top), all as your friendly server who knows you after the first day, serves you your favorite libation. Heavenly! Sadly, the Millennium Class ships don't have a Lawn Club, and their Sunset Bar is really the Oceanview Bar, so it isn't quite the same. I wanted to mention that the Captain's Club event is very nice - the Captain and top officers are there to greet you, wine and cosmopolitan cocktails are served gratis, lovely food stations, as well as an award presentation to the person/couple with the highest number of Captain's Club points on that sailing. We were very lucky to have been playing trivia with this couple, from Belgium, the whole cruise, so we felt almost like part of their family when they were presented with their award. The higher the number of points you accumulate through frequent cruising with Celebrity, the more of these events that are available. On this cruise, we were still a "Classic" member, but the party, though technically the most basic, was anything but that. Celebrity rewards their loyal customers, and I have "Elite" in my sites! Our first port of call was Dubrovnik, Croatia, on August 6, 2012. We booked the shore excursion DU10 Highlights of Dubrovnik Riviera. The stop at the Konavoski Dvori Restaurant was a bit of a throwaway as we spent nearly all of our allotted time there waiting in a very long line for the bathroom. We managed to snap a few photos and eat a quick snack of local ham, cheese, bread, wine, which was very nice, but hurried. I do wish the bathroom situation there had been better, as it was a picturesque spot - an old mill next to the Ljuta River. Cavtat was a beautiful seaside village, very lovely, scenic, although for us, frankly the highlight of this excursion came after our children took the bus back to the ship, leaving my husband and I to explore Dubrovnik on our own. We discovered the most charming local jeweler inside the old city, inside the wall; here is their information - BENI, vi Toma Barisa, Od Puca 25. It was a family run store, the son, his wife, and the 'old man'. I found a pair of traditional Dubrovnik Puca/Kolarin earrings - round silver balls, fairly ornate but also simple at the same time. I wasn't happy with the length of the hook, so the 'old man' in his broken English with the help of his daughter-in-law, completely replaced the hooks, put in a chain - all very nice, and extremely reasonably priced. My husband and I then walked the entire wall of the old city, up and down, in blistering heat, but loved every minute, finding the views unparalleled. He and I then grabbed the Celebrity shuttle outside of the walls and returned to the ship on our own. That is something crucial to know about nearly all of the Celebrity excursions - usually, you don't need to return to the ship with your actual guide/bus - the ship nearly always runs shuttles to the key destinations and you can leave your shore excursion and return to the ship on your own - very handy! Our next stop was Venice, the city of cities! The sail into Venice was spectacular - the ship really played this up, as they should have, as there is nothing like it - to slowly sail in on the Grand Canal with St. Mark's Square RIGHT THERE, a stone's throw from the decks, really amazing! For over an hour on the dramatic approach to the city, theme music was broadcast throughout the ship and on the public outer decks, by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Boccelli to name a few, setting the mood very effectively. On Day 1 of our stay in Venice, we booked the shore excursion VE02, Doge's Palace, St. Mark's Cathedral & Glass Showroom. This was an excellent excursion, covering key highlights of the city. Our guide was very good. I would enjoy returning in order to spend more time in St. Mark's Cathedral. It is definitely a spot where you just want to sit, stay quiet, and simply take it in. The tour of the Doge's Palace was excellent. The glass showroom, eh, was ok - there was a quick demonstration then time to shop, and given the world renown reputation of Murano glass, something to see for sure, but not really our style. After the tour, we were free to return to the ship on our own. We used this opportunity to take a gondola ride. This, we recommend strongly, you must do on your own - do not do this as a shore excursion. We are a family of five, and the ship shore excursion price for a gondola ride for the 5 of us was approximately $100 per person!!! However, doing it on our own, that is how much we paid IN TOTAL for the 5 of us - a tremendous and overwhelming savings!! To get a gondola ride is very very easy. There are reputable stands all over. We went to one of the ubiquitous Paul & Shark Yachting stands - they operate nearly all of the gondolas in Venice! - and had a wonderful tour, approximately 45 minutes in length, very memorable. Someday, my husband and I will return and take a romantic gondola ride at night, just the two of us, with the sun setting, but this ride was a wonderful family experience, for sure! On Day 2 in Venice, our 3 kids stayed on board, according to plan, and my husband and I went on shore excursion VE06, Secret Venice Walking Tour. WOW, we loved this excursion!! Our tour guide was super engaging, very informed, and to see the sights of Venice on foot, venues that are far away from the fray of Piazza San Marco - definitely a highlight of our cruise! We HIGHLY recommend this excursion!! Everything that we saw was as detailed in the description, but after the walking tour, instead of returning immediately to the ship, we spent several hours on our own in the city. We feel so lucky to have been able to have had this magical experience of exploring Venice completely on our own (with a map!), truly an opportunity of a lifetime, at least the lifetime of yours truly. Based upon a port exploration talk given on board, we took the gondola "bus" across the Grand Canal from the San Marco District to explore the Artistic District or Dorsoduro, and simply fell in love with the area - few people, secluded, lovely. We loved discovering the gondola workshop, Squero san Trovaso (as seen by us on CBS Sunday Morning several years ago!) as well as enjoying some delicious gelato at Bar Laguna. We walked back to the San Marco District on the Academia Bridge, spanning the Grand Canal, and returned to the Solstice on the Celebrity water shuttle. Split, Croatia, was our next port of call, and we booked shore excursion AT06, Dalmatian Coastline & Village Life. The Solstice docked at sea and the ship's lifeboats acted as tenders - this was handled efficiently and effectively. We met our tour guide at the dock in Split, where he ultimately brought us through Split as well as Trogir. The palace of Emperor Diocletian now essentially encapsulates the modern city of 'old' Split, the old and the new seamlessly meshing together. We especially enjoyed the smaller town of Trogir, a World Unesco Heritate Site. The Cathedral of St. Lawrence, with the klapa singers in the square, was very memorable. I had 'visions of Rick Steves' with the klapa singers - very enjoyable! Our guide then took us to Jurlinovi Dvori in Draga-Primosten for a full lunch - amazing! Authentic, delicious, very local! The pork chops there were the best ever! All of the dishes were served family style by the 'lady of the house'. Very lovely. Naples was our next port of call. Since we had docked in Naples last year, August 2011, on the Equinox, and had seen SO VERY much on our shore excursion NP08, Exclusive Amalfi Coast, Positano, Sorrento & Pompeii, we decided to do Naples on our own this year. We decided to divide our family of 5 into 2 groups, my 20 year old son and I, and my husband with the other 2 kids. Since my daughter has a physical disability, my husband and she and our 18 year old son, decided to go into Naples with the wheelchair and do the Rick Steves self-guided walking tour of Naples which focuses on the Centro Storico/Spaccanapoli. As it turned out, from an accessible perspective, the whole area was frought with hazards - lots of construction was going on at the time, so many walkways were hard to pass. They took a cab from the port directly to the start of Spaccanapoli - the cab driver ignored all red lights and made the drive particularly exciting/terrifying for my 18 year old son, who would go to Naples again any time if he could have the same cab ride experience! The city itself, other than parts of the Centro Storico, was heavily graffiti-ed and in general, ill kept, full of loose garbage, dirty - very sad considering the historic nature of the area. They happily stumbled upon Scaturchio, patisserie and gelateria. The sfogliatelle, the clam shell-esque pastry, was warm, with a delicious lemon filling - exquisite! My 20 yr old son and I, in the divide and conquer plan of attack on Naples, went to Capri. Since Capri demands a higher level of physical agility, I knew that my daughter who needs a walker/wheelchair, would be far less able to negotiate many of the aspects of the island. My son and I took the 8:05am SNAV Hydrofoil from the dock at Naples to Capri, arriving in Capri at approximately 9am. Our plan was to go directly to the Blue Grotto but we learned that the chop was too high that day, as well as the next, and so the Blue Grotto was 'closed', much to our disappointment. So, we took the funicular to Capri Town and then the bus to Anacapri. We then directly accessed the Ski Lift to the top of Anacapri Mountain. This is a single seat chair lift with no lock or bar over your lap - something that here in the USA would never be approved, for obvious safety reasons! We were a bit freaked out with no locking mechanisms on the lap bar, as the chair lift goes on and on, a 12 minute ride, very very high, with the land well below your dangling feet, ending at the top awarding the hearty traveler with amazingly spectacular views of the entire island but particularly of the Faraglioni rocks, the iconic rock formations that are the symbol of Capri. We took the ski lift back down to Anacapri, explored Anacapri for some time enjoying the fresh granitas, then the bus back to Capri. The sights and scenes that are viewed from the bus themselves and from every vantage point on the island are spectacular, beautiful, not to be missed. In Capri Town, as I had mentioned earlier, we had wanted to go to the Blue Grotto, but since it was 'closed' due to high chop, we wandered around the dock area, not sure what to do but not willing to give up on our quest, looking a bit forlorn and disappointed, when we were approached by a hearty soul, a local fisherman who's t-shirt advertised himself as the Pizza Man, "Rent a Boat with the Pizza Man" - is what his shirt said. He looked super local, authentic, and he seemed to know everyone around (thus, I though, hmmm, he must be safe!). He asked us if we wanted to take a cruise in his fishing boat around the island and the long sublimated adventurer in me said, "YES! WHY NOT!!??" We negotiated a price, which actually means that I accepted without question the price that he quoted, and off my son and I went. I am so glad that we did! Though the Blue Grotto was off the list, we still saw fantastic scenic water sites, rock formations that were breathtaking, other less famous but stunningly beautiful grottos that he negotiated his boat into, plus, he took us through the Faraglioni rock formations! He even opened a bottle of white wine which the 3 of us shared, on our 80 minute journey. We have fantastic photos that Pizza Man took of us going through the rocks! He was a skilled tour guide, broken English but still able to get across his points, such an adventure, in his smallish fishing boat, just my son and I, an adventure never to be forgotten! I know I am using the word 'adventure' often, but truly, that's what it was! Our next port of call was Civitavecchia, the gateway to Rome. Since we spent nearly three days touring Rome last summer and enjoying it thoroughly, we decided to take an alternate non-Rome shore excursion, deciding on CV25 Olive Oil Tasting & Scenic Drive. We enjoyed this very much. We saw a good deal of Tuscany/Tarquinia/Piansano, and got a fantastic narrative from the tour guide as we proceeded along. We enjoyed the historical village of Tuscania but the highlight was the lunch at the Cerrosughero Estate, which is a working olive oil plantation, as well as an Inn, where many varieties of olive oil are produced on site. We were served a lovely lunch of several varieties of their olive oil, their own jams and honey, several hams, artichokes, salads, breads - very rustic, authentic, delicious. We sat on the outdoor grape-vine-enwrapped patio overlooking the estate, quite picturesque. We were there for a bit over an hour, and were given an opportunity to purchase the olive oil, but at no time was any pressure put on us to do so. We did buy some to take home with us, as the oil was outstanding, and also very reasonably priced. On the drive back to the ship, we saw several Roman aqueducts still in place along the roadside dating back to Emperor Trajan, very neat to see. Our next port of call was Florence. This was our first time in Florence, and we were rather devastated after we booked the cruise, to learn that we would be there on a Monday - the one day of the week when the two most notable major museums in Florence are closed, the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia. (WHY do these museums close once a week??? GRRRR!!!) What this meant is that we would not be able to see the actual "David" by Michelangelo nor Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" - two of the most iconic works of art anywhere, ever. I was seriously ready to cancel our plans for the cruise, but, luckily, sanity prevailed and though it is true that we did not get to go to these two museums, Florence is a huge gorgeous uber historical city unto itself, and along with Pisa, there was no shortage of things to do. Not to mention that though we didn't see the ORIGINAL "David", we saw umpteen life-size copies, including the one in Piazza della Signoria which is where the original stood for centuries, where Michelangelo intended it to be. The ship docks in Livorno, about 12 miles from Pisa. We did not book a ship shore excursion as we knew that we wanted to not only see as much of Florence as possible, but also to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa - myself and my 2 sons - and there was no shore excursion that combined both, for obvious reasons of time constraints. Therefore, months earlier, we booked a private excursion for the five of us through Tuscany Car Tours "www.tuscanycartours.com", and we are so thrilled that we did. Our driver/guide, Paolo Rigacci, picked us up at the Solstice at 8am for a 9 hour private tour. Paolo was very friendly, and very informative. He took us directly to Pisa (we had pre-booked our timed tickets to climb the tower); he parked very close. We spent probably two hours in Pisa, climbing, exploring, taking lots of the kitschy photos of us trying to prop up the tower. On our ride to Florence, Paolo continued his informative talk about the area - Tuscany - focusing in on wine production and classifications, knowing our interest in wine. In Florence, he took us first to Michelangelo Square which offers a breathtaking panorama of the city, including the famous Ponte Vecchio. Paolo made sure that we saw all of the major sites in the city, parking very close to them. Though we weren't able to go into many, as there is so much to see, we had time to walk around on our own and ultimately we were glad that the two major museums were closed. We got a fantastic thorough overview of the city itself, and next time we visit, as Florence will surely be an overlapping port of call on a future Celebrity cruise for us, we will visit specific museums. Paolo recommended a local authentic cafe for lunch which we absolutely loved - La Grotta Guelfa (please refer to my TripAdvisor review for more specifics.) We had a fantastic day in Florence and Pisa! Our next port of call was Toulon, France, where we decided to book the shore excursion TU03 Aix-en-Provence. Such a beautiful picture perfect postcard of a town! Our guide gave us an informative guided walking tour, leaving us plenty of time at the end to explore on our own. We happened to be in town while two markets were going on, a big clothing market and a farmer's and flower market. At the farmer's market, we purchased fresh peaches and fresh apple-pear cider. The cider was delicious but the peaches were extraordinary, ranking in our minds as the best peaches we have ever had along with the peaches from last summer's cruise on the Equinox, the peaches from the village of Sirince in Turkey. We definitely recommend this shore excursion as it provided an excellent trip into the countryside and a lovely visit to Aix. We had no interest in seeing Marseille, from our research, and we were very happy with our choice. An excellent cruise, and in our opinion, for our family, a Celebrity cruise is the best way to see Europe. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
My husband and I went on our 2nd Celebrity cruise 27 August to 8 September 2012. Apart from Venice, where it rained on both occasions we have visited, the weather was perfect. It was a wonderful itinerary as all the ports were beautiful. ... Read More
My husband and I went on our 2nd Celebrity cruise 27 August to 8 September 2012. Apart from Venice, where it rained on both occasions we have visited, the weather was perfect. It was a wonderful itinerary as all the ports were beautiful. The Solstice is a very stable ship and even when we had storms on a couple of nights, I did not feel the ship moving. Our first time on Celebrity was the Constellation. Both are lovely ships and did not disappoint. The crew were excellent - friendly, polite and nothing was too much trouble. The ship was very clean and the whole ship deserved its 5 stars. We did notice some changes though, mainly with the food. We had 1st seating in the restaurant on a table of 10 and they were a good mix of really lovely people. The meat dishes were excellent and the steaks were huge and perfectly cooked. However, every night the vegetables were the same and the overall menu was quite limited. I wasn't really tempted by the desserts which were mostly the same each night. The buffet restaurant, although very good quality food, was also the same every day and very often most of the buffet areas were roped off and cleared away quite quickly, making choice even more limited. The other criticism is the entertainment. Once the show in the theatre was over there was very little else to do (everyone seemed to be complaining about this). There were plenty of bars but most were almost empty as there was little or no entertainment. If you decided to stay on the ship during the ports of call, again there was very little effort made by the entertainment crew. We had a drinks package, which we highly recommend, as the drinks were lovely. My husband had the premium package and I had the non-alcoholic package which meant he enjoyed the beer and working his way down the list of cocktails in the Molecular Bar and I could enjoy the speciality coffees and fresh orange juice. These packages definitely paid for themselves and are one of the reasons why we like to sail with Celebrity. The port excursions were very expensive and we did not use them, preferring to make our own arrangements. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Our cabin was ready as soon as we boarded and our suitcases arrived very quickly. On Celebrity Constellation there was an entertainer called Perry Grant who performed in Michael's Club and this lounge was packed every night. However, on the Solstice, Michael's Club was empty every time we passed by. I think the Solstice would benefit from someone like Perry Grant. I know that not everyone wants to be entertained but my husband and I do, and that is one of the reasons we like cruises, so we can enjoy the evening entertainment. If the Solstice had had a 'Perry Grant' it would have been perfect. We would definitely sail with Celebrity again but it would very much depend on the itinerary and the price. Another point before I finish, a lot of people were frustrated that although they had paid their tips at the time of booking their cruise, no envelopes were provided with vouchers, to give to the crew to show that these had been pre-paid, and we felt we had to give our waiters and cabin stewards 'extra' tips, making this very expensive. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
We joined the Solstice on 27 August in Barcelona having travelled from Dublin with Aer Lingus for a 12 night cruise The transfer to the ship was also included (there was a little confusion at the airport to the coach getting all passengers ... Read More
We joined the Solstice on 27 August in Barcelona having travelled from Dublin with Aer Lingus for a 12 night cruise The transfer to the ship was also included (there was a little confusion at the airport to the coach getting all passengers together!) Smooth check in at port and as we have been on the Eclipse and the Equinox we were familiar with the layout of the ship This was a Mediterranean cruise and we had been to some of the ports previously so were looking forward to seeing some new places Rooms were available after 1pm and our bags arrived promptly We usually use Concierge Class but this time were on deck 8 cabin 8236 on the starboard side mid ship there was a pool of water on the balcony but our stateroom attendant said it was coming from higher decks when they were cleaning! Never had this before ! and it was only on our balcony ! We reported it( it never really went away during the cruise!) also the remote for the tv was held together with tape but guest services replaced it Our stateroom attendant was not as good as others we rarely saw him and he seemed reluctant to replace soap tissues etc or forms for room service until we asked also extra hangers were needed and we got the wire ones used for laundry We had noise from the tv and people in stateroom next door but following a call to guest relations it was stopped straight away The restaurant staff were excellent we opted for 2nd sitting at 8.45 table 432 on deck 4 We felt the food was not as good as the other Celebrity ships but the service was fine Wines as usual are very expensive on cruises The entertainment was good especially Fuse the violinists and the acrobats the dancers we felt were just average but Alessandro the cruise director was excellent and one of the best he was brilliant a great personality The itinerary was excellent but we felt that it would have been helpful to have landmarks etc pointed out as the only information was given when the captain made his announcements at 10am so we did not know what some of the islands etc were also there were 3 sea days with the last 2 days at sea it would have been better if these could have been split up We feel that the Eclipse and Equinox were better than the Solstice for service and entertainment but this is the oldest of the Solstice class so maybe that is why but it did not affect our enjoyment There was a long wait to get off at Villefranche we had a ticket 106 for the tender it was much quicker at Montenegro with no delays there We did two shore excursions one in Livorno a boat trip which was very interesting as we had been to Florence previously also an excellent one in Montenegro to the church of our Lady of the Rocks we also used the shuttle in Dubrovnic Our disembarkation was smooth and the transfer to airport good We did not visit Rome (been before and a very hot day !)but walked along the promenade in Civitaveccia where there are stony beaches and we had a pleasant day there also Livorno is worth a canal tour if not going to Florence as we had been before also We will definitely cruise with Celebrity again though maybe not on the Solstice Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
We set off from Barcelona on Friday 3rd August, of course I like Barcelona I live here so no problems for me. We boarded about 11.30 12.00, no problems maybe we waited ten minutes. We went straight to the top deck to have a look around ... Read More
We set off from Barcelona on Friday 3rd August, of course I like Barcelona I live here so no problems for me. We boarded about 11.30 12.00, no problems maybe we waited ten minutes. We went straight to the top deck to have a look around and have a couple of beers and just chill out. We waited until the call came saying the rooms were ready and then we went to have a look at our cabins.. Our impression was good but the balcony was a bit smaller than our other two cruises but for the two of us it was big enough. First impressions of the boat were good, nothing negative there was plenty of room to move around the boat. The first two days were at sea days so it was time to relax. Of course it wasn't easy to get a lounger but I expected that problem. I made use of the gym, going to some spinning classes too, normally even if the gym was full you didn't have to wait long to get a machine. We were on select dinning and we were very happy with the meals, we didn't try the other Specialty Dining restaurants. I thought the main restaurant was good and the staff worked very hard but maybe the place was a little "cold" because of the decor but everyone has different tastes. We tried breakfast there one morning but we weren't impressed, too slow. We had breakfast in the cabin a couple of times, no problems and the Oceanview Cafe was good, we ate twice there in the evening for a change. The people we met were great, without a doubt they helped to make the cruise a fun time. Now the ports of call. Dubrovnik, very hot and a lot of people, try to get there early to avoid the queues and the crowds, a small tip there is less of a wait to walk the walls if you go in the entrance near the port. We also took a taxi for a private tour which cost us 50 Euro, try to find someone to share the cost, the driver was very good and he explained some history of the town. We didn't eat there we just had a beer, most places would take Euros or Dollars. Venice, we arrived early afternoon great views while the ship is going through Venice. We went into Venice with the ships shuttle, we went after 5 so it wasn't as hot and fewer people, we stayed for a few hours, a beautiful place but very very expensive. The following day we went back again and took in a museum and walked the streets, very crowed and hot. Try to go early to avoid the crowds and the heat. Split was next and a nice surprise when we got off the boat we took the tour bus (about 20 Euro) it took us around Split which isn't very big and that lasted about 45 minutes and then we had a guide to walk us through the ruins which was very good, we enjoyed it there, not too many people. Some people went to the beach, there are a couple of beaches within walking distance. Naples; here we did a private tour with APT tours, it was very good we went to Herculeum, Positano and Sorrento the guide was very good and I would have no problems working with this company again. A couple of negative points traffic but no one can control that and we were unable to catch the ferry back so that meant we had only a short time in Sorrento. We all had lunch there and maybe that was a mistake because we could have just bought a sandwich and saw more of Sorrento but no one was to blame for that it was our choice. Civtaveccia (Rome). We took the express train to Rome, it is run by smartcruisetours.com. No problems, the train station is about a ten minute walk from the shuttle drop off. In Rome we took an open tour bus run by the same company. We had lunch near the Spanish steps The Restaurant is called Life Via della Vite 28 a good restaurant. Livorno (Florence) here we just stayed on ship, we were very tired after Rome and we had already visited Florence before, it was good just to relax and of course the boat was very quiet. Toulon (France) here we had another tour booked this time with http://www.ssk.fr. Very good, not stressful like in Italy, we only did 6 hours because I felt this would be enough for the last day.This is what we did Aix en provence. Marseille Lunch to the Cassis. Here we didn't have a guide but the drivers were very helpful and explained things as we were in the van. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
This was our first cruise on one of the new Solstice class ships and we were really looking forward to it. The Solstice is certainly a great looking ship and even though it is 4 years old, I cannot say that I noticed its age anywhere ... Read More
This was our first cruise on one of the new Solstice class ships and we were really looking forward to it. The Solstice is certainly a great looking ship and even though it is 4 years old, I cannot say that I noticed its age anywhere that we came across. We were in an Aqua Class room, but as we were travelling with family we did not get a chance to experience the Blu dining room, we are back with Celebrity in October so we will get chance to try it then. The other 'benefit' of being Aqua Class was the use of the Persian Garden - this was a huge disappointment, very limited facilities, a sauna, steam, showers and some hot beds - no water or refreshments on other places to cool off, I would advise that Celebrity look at what NCL offer, a much better offering. We used the other speciality restaurants and enjoyed them all, it is very easy to overeat in them, we escpecially enjoyed Murano & Silk Harvest. The main dining room was very good and we would have been quite happy to eat there each night. We chose the other restaurants to avoid the formal nights in the main restaurant, although we saw plenty of people with just a smart shirt etc, so perhaps Celebrity are at last relaxing the rules! The Ocean View Cafe was a bit busy at times and probably not as good at other ships we have been on, but there was always plenty of food. The queue for the ice cream was always long, so it made it easier for me to resist the temptation! The gym was good, although some machines were past their best and the sauna in the changing room was next to useless, again no water etc. We were told that we would get vouchers for the staff tips at the end of the cruise, but when we queried it, we were told that they haven't issued them for 5 years! Fine, but please update your literature. The pre-dinner shows (we ate at the 2nd sitting) were badly timed and we went to very few, why have they changed this, after dinner shows are much better. the production shows we went to were very good, the guest entertainers were not worth rushing to see. Saling from Barcelona, there were a lot od Spanish onboard, and so they made over one of the lounges to Spanish music etc, one thing lacking was the evening entertainment, what they do have is centered around the centrum and the music is so loud you struggle to hold a conversation. Trying to get a sunbed on a sea day is a challenge, we gave up most days, people abuse it and the system they have struggles to work. Overall a nice cruise, despite my comments above, I will see if there is a difference on our next trip. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
This was my second time cruising the Mediterranean and my first time aboard Celebrity. The pricing seems too good to be true considering this cruise line was rated pretty highly. I have cruised on a good variety of cruise lines, even ... Read More
This was my second time cruising the Mediterranean and my first time aboard Celebrity. The pricing seems too good to be true considering this cruise line was rated pretty highly. I have cruised on a good variety of cruise lines, even including 3 luxury class cruises as well as more family oriented low end cruises, so I had a pretty good idea what of what I was looking for. This Celebrity cruise met and exceeded pretty much all of those expectations. The ship is pretty big with plenty of ammenitis, but the public areas never felt overly crowded. The ship itself was beautiful, clean and very well maintained. We lucked out on our cabin assignment by getting a wheelchair accessible room which is bigger then a normal room. Service on board was spectacular and I loved the dinners in the main dining room. Lunch and breakfast buffets were pretty good. We did dine in the Asian style specialty restaurant (Silk Harvest) and I found the food to be mediocre. Entertainment on board was typical cruise fare and I found it to be a mixed bag. The ports of call were excellent, although we had already visited about half of them. In the summer these ports are all very crowded and hot. After about half a day! we were always ready to head back to the ship. Overall, our cruise experience with Celebrity was fantastic. I fully expect to cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We've just arrived home after a 2 month journey through Europe hence the delay in posting a review of our cruising experience! The last time Mr A found himself cruising its was as a travel agent in the mid 90's on a ... Read More
We've just arrived home after a 2 month journey through Europe hence the delay in posting a review of our cruising experience! The last time Mr A found himself cruising its was as a travel agent in the mid 90's on a 'famil' (a free trip) on board a dodgy ship between DRW and SIN. For Mrs R it was even earlier - migrating with family to the States as a three year old in the late 60's. Fair to say memories of what to expect were somewhat hazy! Add to the mix we were travelling with Miss J, a three and half year old who had just been stimulated with 5 days at Disneyland Paris. After considerable research on these and other forums we selected a Celebrity cruise out of BCN over others based on the premium experience it offered. However there was apprehension about what the cruise might offer a 3.5 y.o. as the forums were generally silent on the experience of families travelling with young children, particularly through the Mediterranean. Would the kids club meet expectations? On a cruise that geared towards the 40-60 y.o. empty nesters would there be enough kids on board for Miss J to befriend? What a surprise. Whilst there were less than 100 kids onboard Miss J had a ball. Shy and very reluctant at first, a visit the kids club became a firm favourite. This was helped by the warm friendly greetings of the youth counsellors and the small number in her age group. The waiting staff in the grand dining room treated Miss J like a princess, engaging with her and bringing her out of her shell. The many, many friendly interactions with a host of the ship's staff made a firm impression on Miss J and she would excitedly recount the people she had engaged with during the day. Speaking to another parent, an seasoned cruiser travelling with an 8 year old, we were surprised to learn their child enjoyed and preferred the Celebrity Solstice over the Disney cruises. The 8 year old like the Celebrity Solstice because there was less children on board, an uncrowded kids club and it was easier for the young one to make friends. For us the dining experience, the pool, after dinner shows, a well appointed stateroom cleaned and serviced twice a day and the kids club all exceeded expectations. On the issue of shore excursions a travel agent reminded me of the power of the internet. A little research before departure saw us book private tours (e.g bike tour through Rome, guide with car in Naples). These memorable tours better suited what we wanted to experience rather than large group generic offerings of the cruise company. Post holiday we play this little game with Miss J, asking her 'from the following three travel experiences which one was your favourite?' The Celebrity Cruise is at the top narrowly pipping other highlights such as Disneyland Paris, climbing the Eiffel Tower, Legoland Germany, and sledding on snow in Switzerland. That says something about how much she really enjoyed her cruising experience! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
Well...I looked forward to a vacation like this for years....this was our 30th cruise...but never been to europe before...mostly carribbean, puerto rico, st. john, etc...did an alaskan and a panama canal one...and mexican riveria...we our ... Read More
Well...I looked forward to a vacation like this for years....this was our 30th cruise...but never been to europe before...mostly carribbean, puerto rico, st. john, etc...did an alaskan and a panama canal one...and mexican riveria...we our vip on carnival....a few rcc....a few ncl....one holland american....one princess...first time on celebrity...We booked everything including airfare with celebrity...we chose our excursions ahead of time. We are from the Tampa Bay area....so we flew from Tampa to Atlanta and then on to Barcelona...we left Tampa about 1:30 and arrived in Spain around 8:30 am...day of cruise...my one regret is that we didn't get to see much of Barcelona...the airport...and the port....If I were to do it again...i would probably stay a few days later and enjoy this city as well. embarkation went very smootly..we had transfers from airport to the ship...got into line and on ship right away...rooms were not ready till 1:30...so we went on deck and ate lunch. CABIN:...remarkable..we had a balcony room....the bathroom was the largest we have ever had...more compartments to fill then any other ship....huge shower....it was great...I was a bit concerned with closets at first....there were only two..and we are use to 3 to 4....after deciding where to put things....we also discovered that the room had 5 drawers near the desk....and also above the bed was more storage...so....putting everything away for a 12 night trip was no problem. The room had a very large safe and easy to operate...Beds were comfortable and soft..and our room steward, Duvor was excellent. FOOD: we had late seating...and on this boat that was 8:45...if I had to do this again, I would have chose earlier. When we got back from long excursions.....we just wanted to shower, eat and go to bed!...so earlier would have been better....When we did eat in the main dining hall...it was lovely...great steaks! Service was fantastic....we ate once in the Tuscany...they offered a 20% discount and we took them up on it.....It was Fabulous..had a filet mignon....My friends went to Silk Harvest...and I ordered room service that night....they said they enjoyed it....Room service had a wide menu...i got some chicken wings and quesodias....we also ordered breakfast a few times in the room. The one disappointing food item would be the cafeteria...buffet...at first...it was fantastic...until you found out that it really didn't change the 12 days we were at sea. Some nights we were tired from the excursions..that we would eat in here...and they had the same food..day in...day out....we are use to the buffet changing....matter of fact..the Allure...has the same menu in the buffet as it does in the Restaurant.....we loved that! Don't miss the pasta bar...it was the best....they do offer several sorbet's and ice cream....desserts were abundant and some of the best.... Casino....one word...SMALL...we enjoy going to the casino after dinner and play the penny slots....not much of a variety here...only good thing..NO SMOKING....it was nice Shops are a little strange in the fact that they are on both floors 4 and 5....we didn't frequent much of floor 5...so we missed those shops most of the time...they did have a 75% sale off of there logo merchandise.... SHOWS:....ummmm...how do i say this....BORING!...this is where it really fell down...singers that can't really sing...the only night I enjoyed was a 70's party..were they got dressed up and played songs from that era...other than that.....we entertained ourselves playing cards, casino, reading...etc.... EXCUrSIONS:...one word...WOW...being that this was a first time for all of us..there were 2 couples...we were in awe of everything..... SPLIT croatia...lovely...very clean...went to see a sculptures house, museum and shopping district....very clean and lovely.... Venice:...one word...BREATHTAKING...I kept saying to myself..am I really here?....just a beautiful city with lovely people...lots of bakeries...and gelato on every corner. KOTOR, montenegro....I have to admit I never heard of this place before..its a country that was formed from the breakup of Yugoslavia....well...this was a lovely surprise...I loved it soooo much, I wouldn't mind living there...very friendly....clean...old city...one of the best Naples:....we took a tour of a vineyard here...it was lovely...had pizza and enjoyed the bakery...beautiful monuments...statues...etc. ROME:...busy city....but lovely old world culture abounds.....trevi fountain...vatican...st peters basilica....just breathtaking FLorence:....lovely....went on a ten hour tour and it was just great Toulon...we opted for a tour of Marsielle...this was a little disappointing...we went to the famous churn onto of the mountain.....the guide did not go in with us...so we had to guess at what we were looking at...In Italy...all the guides went in and described everything to us...then there was sooooo much traffic....they gave us an hour in the city to shop...really..an hour?.....much more time was needed on this excursion.... Disebarkation went as smoothly as the beginning..... all in all this was a lovely vacation.....Not sure if I would Immediately book on Celebrity again.....our favorite is still Carnival , with RCCL ALLure in second place Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
On the upside: Solstice is a beautiful ship and the crew are second to none, food was as good as could possibly be expected when catering for this number of people. The staterooms are roomy airy and the beds are very comfortable. On ... Read More
On the upside: Solstice is a beautiful ship and the crew are second to none, food was as good as could possibly be expected when catering for this number of people. The staterooms are roomy airy and the beds are very comfortable. On the downside: The size of the ship prevents it from coming alongside in some ports, this creates lengthy disembarkation times wasting valuable time. WiFi is stupidly expensive and very slow. The system has software bugs which means that a lot of time is wasted getting the account re-set. The TV and associated information systems were equally buggy. The cost of Spa treatments are prohibitive. We found being charged for transfers from the ship off the dock distasteful as we thought it should be included. Baggage was very slow getting to the cabin on the first day.As Brits we are not used to the culture of squeezing every penny out of the customer and we were very uncomfortable with the psychological games played on the last day trying to shame us into giving copious gratuities. Overall we had a great holiday but beware of the extras which mount up very quickly in transfers expensive drinks ($4 for a bottle of water) and of course the gratuitous gratuities. We will not be cruising on an American ship again as the constant money grabbing does leave a bad taste. The moral is go on a smaller less grand but equally comfortable British ship. I nearly forgot. The lifeboat drill was a shambles! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We have just completed a 12-night cruise of the Mediterranean on the Celebrity Solstice. We enjoyed it enough to sign up for another Celebrity cruise on-board. The Celebrity Solstice is not the absolute top of the line in cruise ships, ... Read More
We have just completed a 12-night cruise of the Mediterranean on the Celebrity Solstice. We enjoyed it enough to sign up for another Celebrity cruise on-board. The Celebrity Solstice is not the absolute top of the line in cruise ships, but it does provide value for money. We had a Concierge veranda stateroom. The stateroom was functional, the bathroom was a reasonable size, and the balcony provided room for the two of us to stretch out watch the waves go by. Our attendants were pleasant and helpful, although we didn't require much beyond the standard things. The only criticism I would have is that Celebrity has chosen an Apple network to drive the stateroom TV communications and I am not sure it is up to the task. The signal would tend to freeze up. Not a big deal for us -- we didn't watch it much anyway. We chose the fixed time dinner option. For us the early sitting suited us well -- we had a number of early start shore excursions and were not interested in partying all night. We were fortunate in our dinner companions, and having dinner with them became a fun part of the cruise. The food in the main dining room was good. The dinner menu had two sides to it. The left side never changed and provided some basic standbys such as NY Strip Steak. The right side was different every evening. I like to try things I have not eaten before, so I almost always ended up choosing from the right side. Things were not always perfect, some folks at our table had trouble getting a steak the way they wanted it and the fish on one occasion was dry. However, the wait staff fell over themselves in getting the problems corrected. We didn't eat at any of the specialty restaurants because we were happy dining in the main dining room. Breakfast and lunch we took in the cafeteria style Ocean View Cafe. Plenty of good choices to pick from. We never had a problem finding a table either, which can sometimes be a problem in those environments. We had signed up for Celebrity shore excursions for five of the seven ports we visited. We were happy with all of them. Generally the shore excursions were well organized; you checked in at the main theatre, they gave you a numbered batch and called each excursion by number. The tour guide and the bus displayed the number prominently so even in the mad crush of the Acropolis it was easy to follow. There was a different show every night. A resident production cast put on three different production shows. There were five guest artists and the remaining four shows were variety shows featuring the production cast and guest artists. The quality was good -- not great -- but certainly enjoyable. The humor would sometimes get a bit edgy. This didn't worry me, but there were some folks at our dinner table that didn't care for it. In addition to the shows there were various musical acts that would perform in different parts of the ship at different times. Most passengers seemed to have at least one they would make a point of listening to -- depending more on style than ability. There were enough other activities that we never got bored. We only paid extra for one -- a wine tasting. Well, if you discount drinking and gambling. One of the families at our dinner table had a 10 -- year old son. They purposefully chose a cruise with a more limited kids program because they thought that would suit him better. He certainly seemed to enjoy himself. Formal nights were not super-formal. I had rented a tux because I didn't want to be lugging a tux or suit to Europe with me. Probably about half of the men wore tuxes, close to half wore a suit, and there was a smattering of guys that couldn't be bothered to do either. For our next cruise I will probably take a suit. I don't know how full the cruise was -- they always seemed to be space, we never felt crowded. All in all, a good experience and we are ready to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We had a wonderful cruise experience and the vacation of a lifetime on Celebrity Solstice. We traveled to Barcelona 3 days prior to departure and were very glad for the opportunity to overcome jet lag. I would strongly recommend against ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise experience and the vacation of a lifetime on Celebrity Solstice. We traveled to Barcelona 3 days prior to departure and were very glad for the opportunity to overcome jet lag. I would strongly recommend against flying in on the day of the departure- especially traveling East across 7 time zones. In Barcelona, we stayed at Casa de Marcelo, a very small, quaint hotel (probably off the books, considering the cash only requirement) where we had a large room by European standards, but had to share a bathroom. The location in the Barri Gotic, the breakfast and service and the price all made it a good value. I rented a road bike+ GPS from TerraDiversions and rode up the mountain to Tibidabo- a short, tough climb which was vey much worth the work. We were shown around Barcelona by our friends who live there (and came on the cruise with us), also visiting the beautiful beach town of Sitges. The superlatives: Embarkation and disembarkation were both quick and painless. Solstice is a beautiful boat. the food was outstanding- a true banquet every night in the main dining room meant that we never tried the specialty dining. Our waiter and his assistant, Shubert and Branson, were exceptionally friendly, quick, and helpful. There was a wide variety of good food available for breakfast and lunch- all hours, at the Ocaeanview Cafe. Our room was spacious and very well planned. Our room service was thorough but unobtrusive. The exercise area was large and complete- plenty of treadmills, cycles, machines and free weights. The few negatives: The coffee was atrocious, unless you want to pay $5 a cup for it. Amazing that an otherwise outstanding product could get something as easy as coffee so wrong! If not for the coffee, I would have rated the dining 5+. The entertainment was mediocre- except for the comedian-magician Rawlings, and the acrobats, both very good. The singers couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. We thoroughly enjoyed all our excursions, which we booked privately. All our guides were prompt, waiting for us when we left the boat in the morning, and returning in plenty of time in the afternoon. In Rome and Naples we used RomeInLimo, which lived up to the superlative reviews of other travelers. Alberto was our driver in Rome, and Carmine in Naples. Mauro was our extraordinary guide for the Vatican Museum. In Kusadasi, we were met by Sedat from Melitours- the agency recommended by Rick Steves. In Santorini, we took a catamaran cruise with Santorini sailing, which was very good. In Athens, Nikos Loukas was a driver-guide for a very good city tour. Guzi took us on a great tour of Malta. Maybe the most memorable evening was sitting on the lawn listening to 70's music and singing along with our friends. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
My husband, my 25 year old son and myself thoroughly enjoyed our time on the Celebrity Solstice. Upon check-in we were upgraded to a Royal Suite which was like a nice one bedroom apartment. The Master bedroom and bathroom were spacious ... Read More
My husband, my 25 year old son and myself thoroughly enjoyed our time on the Celebrity Solstice. Upon check-in we were upgraded to a Royal Suite which was like a nice one bedroom apartment. The Master bedroom and bathroom were spacious and extremely comfortable and always clean. The suite included a full master bath with two sinks, a hot tub and a large separate shower. There was a second half bath near the kitchen and dining area. The large living room included a sofa bed and a shorter sofa with tables and a 52 inch t.v. The master bedroom had a 42 inch t.v. (unfortunately the Apple interface didn't work...couldn't access the Navigation and the Internet was extremely slow. This may be to being at sea...we didn't really watch t.v as there was so much to do on the ship and on the excursions. But faster Internet is needed as it was our only way to communicate with our friends and family in the U.S.) Our suite came with a large balcony which included another hot tub, chaise lounge, two chairs and a table. It was wonderful...some days we didn't want to leave our suite. Please see the photos on the celebrity website for details...very accurate photos. The Royal suite entitles you to Butler service and Jonathan our butler was excellent; always helpful and attentive but careful not to disturb us. Theresa our housekeeper was equally competent and seemed genuinely happy to serve us. All of the facilities on board were clean, sanitized and shined. The food was excellent as were the servers in the Grand Dining Room; Dragon and Annya were the best. I liked being waited on without feeling awkward and they knew how to make us comfortable. We also ate at the Tuscan and the Murano; two of their specialty restaurants. The lobster flam beau, cooked at your table was the best lobster that I've ever had...my son and husband loved their petite filet mignon. There was always plenty of food, actually I think the entrees could be half the size, but I doubt if many would agree with me as people like their meals. The chef did visit our table and asked for suggestions and explained to us that the menu is International cuisine...yes, but with a definite French influence...no complaints there. The chocolate souffle and the goat cheese souffle were superb.(Not significant, but some passengers wondered where the popcorn was...I wanted a grilled cheese sand which and chicken noodle soup and never saw either one. Maybe you can order them but I didn't try.)I've cruised before and by far Celebrity does it best. Their service is unbeatable for a cruise ship...the staff doesn't seem tired or annoyed with all the passengers as I've experienced on other cruise ships. They are all friendly and respectful...just amazing in terms of their training and attitude. My son commented that he wished we had that kind of service in our home town. The cleanliness is also impressive given that there are almost 3,000 passengers on board; much cleaner than any hotel I've ever frequented. I truly wish I was still on board...I miss my Royal Suite and meals. Now back to reality. P.S. The ship excursions were very informative and worth the money. All of the tour guides were knowledgeable and kind. Thank you Celebrity for the best trip my family has ever experienced. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
Our cruise on the Celebrity Solstice was by far the best cruise my husband and I have taken. The ship is gorgeous. Our suite was large with more than enough room to store the ridiculous amount of items we brought. Even though the ship ... Read More
Our cruise on the Celebrity Solstice was by far the best cruise my husband and I have taken. The ship is gorgeous. Our suite was large with more than enough room to store the ridiculous amount of items we brought. Even though the ship had upwards of 2,000 passengers, I never felt crowded. There were more than enough chaises around the pool, seats at the shows, tables at the largest casino I have ever seen at sea and never a long wait for an elevator. The staff made us feel special. Any time we were in need of a staff member, they were there in a NY minute. Having breakfast served every morning on the veranda by our butler, Dominick, was a fantasy come true. We always had a bowl of fresh fruit and fresh flowers in our room. Every day at 4:30 Dominick would deliver hor doerves, sandwiches, desserts to our room. This was wonderful as we chose the late dinner. The food was excellent. The regular dining was special. I cannot think of one meal or item that was disappointing. It was all great. We also dined at 2 specialty restaurants Murano's and Tuscan Grill. Those dinners were special and the service was spectacular. The only thing I did not care for was the entertainment. When I first heard the performers who played the lounges and around the pool, I thought they were wonderful...but after Day 5, I was bored with the same acts over and over again. Also, I am not a Cirque de Soleil fan, and many of the shows featured that type of entertainment. The best performer on the ship was Mario (I cannot remember his last name, sorry Mario). Mario plays a mean guitar and has a wonderfully entertaining way with the audience. I could have watched him every night without getting bored. He performed at 2 of the shows. I loved all the ports except Naples. This was my second time there and the second time I was robbed. Be aware. I was texting and my phone was ripped out of my hands by a thief who was sitting on the back of a scooter. He was able to make a quick get-away.To sum it up, the next time I book a cruise, it will be on Celebrity. I am their #1 Fan. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
Last year had a wonderful cruise on Solstice to Venice, so this year it was to be the Greek Islands and Malta. Easy flight from Heathrow to Barcelona and another very good stay at the Hotel Pere IV. Embarkation was as last year, smooth and ... Read More
Last year had a wonderful cruise on Solstice to Venice, so this year it was to be the Greek Islands and Malta. Easy flight from Heathrow to Barcelona and another very good stay at the Hotel Pere IV. Embarkation was as last year, smooth and hassle free. Celebrity certainly have this nailed and I am still truly impressed that they manage it so seamlessly! Once on board we headed to Cafe Al Bacio for a celebratory Latte - they make superb ones - but this year no complementary pastries - the one thing my husband loved and constantly raved about. We soon headed to our Stateroom - no surprises - it was the same one as last year (our choice)! A super Stateroom, very quiet, spacious enough and I just love that bathroom - its a joy to have proper shower doors instead of the awful plastic curtains. Another little "slip" - no slippers this year! First hiccup came at dinner - we requested a table for 2 as my husband has a hearing problem and finds it embarrassing to constantly ask people to repeat what they say - last year it was no problem at all as the table of 2 next to us were a great young couple on their honeymoon and we soon bonded! To my husband's horror, we were shown to a table of 10! In fairness to Celebrity, it was soon corrected the following evening and we had our table for 2. Sadly no-one ever took the table next to us apart from 2 evenings, so it was a bit lonely!!!!The biggest moan for me was the pool. Last year the Pool Butlers were quite strict in removing towels from beds "reserved" - this year this was not the case. On sea days, when beds are always at a premium, some were reserved from 8.30 am until lunchtime before the occupants took up residence. I also saw three ladies reserve 3 beds in the sun and 3 in the shade! No effort was made to remove towels and this is sad because if they would be stricter, then people would not do it - as it is - they don't bother because they know no-one will remove their belongings. Secondly there were many children using the Adults Only pool and one lady had to constantly politely ask them to use the family pool as they blocked the steps and some of the more elderly guests found it difficult to enter the pool. Despite it being against regulations, toddlers were using the jacuzzi as a paddling pool and not being toilet trained, I leave it to your imagination. Again no effort was made to ask them politely to not do this. I know that other guests were complaining about this but for some reason, the pool staff seemed reluctant to enforce any sort of rules or regulations - shame really. Perhaps this was just a one off - I hope so.All in all though, it was another great cruise apart from the minor slippages above. I do hope Celebrity aren't taking "cut backs" too far and that they are moving from being a premium product. But would I recommend them - certainly and we'll do it all again next year if I can be sure that they will rectify the little niggles above. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We have just completed our first-ever cruise. We chose a Greek Isles vacation with Celebrity Cruises and sailed on the Solstice from Barcelona. Service was impeccable from embarkation to disembarkation. Guest Services was responsive and ... Read More
We have just completed our first-ever cruise. We chose a Greek Isles vacation with Celebrity Cruises and sailed on the Solstice from Barcelona. Service was impeccable from embarkation to disembarkation. Guest Services was responsive and handled any issues quickly and efficiently. Our room steward was so responsive to our needs that we hardly saw him, but definitely knew when he had serviced the room - from ice always being available to turn-down each evening. The ocean-view cabin had more than enough room for two, especially with the luggage fitting under the bed and in the overhead storage. Our MDR waiters were very attentive and provided some of the most excellent service we have experienced anywhere. Once officers and crew got to know us, they would engage us by name and ask how things were, even when we saw them in port! The food was wonderful and the MDR menus exciting. I have a severe allergy to all seafood, and once our maitre d' in the MDR was informed, he and the food service staff took very good care of me, letting me choose from the next evening's menu ahead of time and letting me know if any item had any hidden seafood ingredients (i.e. a soup I ordered the night before was actually made with fish stock - I was told at dinner the next evening and given the opportunity to choose another item BEFORE it came to the table). The selection in the Oceanview Cafe was varied and well-prepared, ranging from made-to-order omelets to specialties such as blood sausage, jerk chicken and a curried food station. We were so pleased with the quality of the food in the MDR and Cafe that we didn't feel the need to dine in any of the specialty restaurants. The evening entertainment in the main theater wasn't really what we preferred, but we did like the cirque-type show called "Solstice." The theme parties were fun, and we thoroughly enjoyed the string trio and ship orchestra (we're classical musicians). There was PLENTY to do on the ship in the evening and on sea days, including the Corning glass-blowing show, various classes and the optional "behind the scenes" ship tours. There was plenty of time to visit the ports of call and still enjoy some time on the ship before setting sail each evening. I'm sure there may have been something I missed in this cruise review. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have about our itinerary, the ship or the Solstice Greek Isles cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
12 Night MedCruise on Solstice May 2012 Perspective: We are both 50ish ;). We have cruised 25 or so times mainly on main stream cruises, and did cruise once on Crystal. We favor value for the buck and cruising off season away from ... Read More
12 Night MedCruise on Solstice May 2012 Perspective: We are both 50ish ;). We have cruised 25 or so times mainly on main stream cruises, and did cruise once on Crystal. We favor value for the buck and cruising off season away from school holidays. Usually we cruise just to be on a ship and enjoy a relaxing vacation. This cruise it was about the ports. Pre-Cruise: We purchased a roundtrip ticket on AA to Barcelona. AA did just fine. We arrived 3 days early for sightseeing in Barcelona. We used the Aeroport bus service because one of the drops in Barcelona was only a few hundred yards from our hotel. This works great and saves money if your hotel is close by; otherwise a taxi may be the best bet. The first day of arrival was mainly used to adjust to the time and to revisit many of the sites that we have toured before in Barcelona. The full day of sight seeing was for Plau Guell and Parc de Ciutat. We used the T10 Metro ticket. Embarkation: Our hotel had an 11:00 am checkout time. Checked out then and pulled luggage to taxi stand. Taxi was quick and easy to port. We paid €25 for service from Plaza Catalouana to the port with 5 bags, this may have been a bit high but close enough. Porter met us at taxi for checked bags; he provided luggage tags. We went straight in to port security which was a breeze, no mention of the bottles of wine that we had in our checked luggage. No lines anywhere. We then did the Celebrity check in. Since we are Select there were no lines. We got a letter informing us that the ship was doing extra cleaning for norovirus and that we would be a bit delayed getting to rooms but the sailing would not be delayed. We were called shortly after 1 to board. Cabin: We had an inside cabin. We booked a guarantee inside. We were assigned aft on deck 8. The room was large, probably one of the 200 square foot ones and layed out very well. Very nice for the times we order room service. Loved the decorating scheme and the bathroom layout. There were two easy chairs and one desk chair, no loveseat. Bed was comfortable with pillowtop and duvet. Hanging closet was small but adequate. One of the best inside cabins we have ever enjoyed. Safe was large and worked fine. Our AC dial was labled with red and blue arrows to show temperature adjustment. We adjusted it quite often since our weather varied from hot to cold and rainy. Cabin was serviced twice daily. It was very clean with very little wear noticeable. Three cute towel animals. Our attendants were very efficient and friendly; small communication problem but all was worked out. Overall Service: Excellent. Food: Beverages - We carried on bottled water both at embarcation and from port visits. We carried on wine. There is a corkage fee of $25. After late days in port we had room service one night and enjoyed our carried on wine with no corkage fee. Since Celebrity allows ordering from the MDR at night this was a delightful experinece. The food from the nightly menu including the always available New York strip steak. It was excellent. Wine list was varied and offered at good price points. Celebrity still has sommeliers. Our sommelier was good and added to our dining experience. For Breakfast, we did room service three days. There was the call telling us they were on their way and then the delivery. All breakfast items were as ordered. We ordered before the hot breakfast started at 6:30am on early port days from the contintenal breakfast menu and the always available menu. The Oceanview Cafe was the best buffet we have experienced on mass market lines. Large selections. Most stations were nice and hot, a few not so much. For breakfast, they prepare eggs and omelettes to order. Lots of meat, potatoes, fruit, and cereals. For lunch, there is a good variety, a hot service line, salads, pasta, pizza, curries and stirfries. There are tea type foods in the PM followed by sushi in the late afternoon. All presented nicely. Handmade ice cream was excellent. Aqua Spa Cafe ( no extra charge for food) was excellent as well. We only had lunch there. We ordered the salmon or tuna several times. We also had the salads. We ordered a carafe (355 ml) of wine for our lunch at around $11.00. Seating is limited. We could normally get a seat and sometimes shared a table which is a great way to meet others. For dinner, we had the late seating in the Grand Epernay Dining Room. We thought the room was beatiful and took time to look at the wine tower. We were seated at a table for two. Service was excellent and professional. Waiter always shared the chef's recommendation as well as his own. Everything that was the waiter's recommendation was indeed excellent. Celebrity shines in their traditional approach to dinner. They still have formal nights and dinner served by courses. Most nights we had an appetizer, soup or salad (sometimes both), entrees and desserts with coffee. Many times added extra items such as an extra appetizer or entree and the waiter served it seamlessly into the flow of our meal. One advantage of being at a table for two. Some stand outs in the dining room were -- Escargots returned to the always available menu, the beef dishes especially the New York Strip steak were very good (on most lines we avoid steak), the duck a la orange, lamb chops, lobster, and risottos. We enjoyed the salads and the handmade dressings. They are better than any other lines. We did not try the specialty restaurants. No need; the dining room was excellent. Entertainment: We enjoyed the different small ensemble musicians throughout the ship. On sea days they play in many places several times of day. For example, we enjoyed the flamenco guitarist at the Sunset Bar next to the lawn on afternoon. There was also a jazz ensemble and classical trio. In addition they have a great cover band, Intenze. There is a DJ that plays various kinds of dance music including ballroom maybe for the European market. Several nights they have special parties that feature the band and the dancers from the showroom. Some of the parties are held in the Sky Lounge and some in the Atrium. Our favorite was the 60s party held in the atrium, the showroom staff had great costumes and choreography. Totally unique and enjoyble, people watched from many levels all around the atrium. There were several parties of this magnitude. There are many bars with very good and varied atmospheres. Happy hours are offered daily. There are events called Celebrity life. Some include interaction with the ship's officers and staff. These events were a great success. The lectures were also well attended. Sometimes the venues were too small for the number of participants. There was a nightly show in the showroom each night at two times for the two dining times. Sometimes the early show was for late dining and others the show was after dinner. The shows were similar to the ones on other major lines. We enjoyed them. The main pool area and the solarium are very beautiful areas. Nicer than most ships. But they do get very crowded on sea days. Every seat will be saved or have a body in them around 10 in the morning on a sea day. Staff did not remove items obviously saving chairs, but some passengers did. The running track is a nightmare on sea days. It is on the level above the main pool. Anytime from 7AM to 7PM it is crowded with wanderers and even loungers who have no concept that others are trying to use it for exercise. The gym is nice. Good variety of equipment. Occasionally crowded on sea days, but that always happens when everyone wants to exercise at the same time. Wait awhile and it's almost empty. Did not use the for-pay services in the spa area. The locker/changing room, showers, and sauna are very nice and don't get crowded. The Lawn Club and Glass Blowing area is a unique feature of the Solstice. We enjoyed this area very much. There was laid back entertainment like the glass blowing shows, putting contest, bocchi ball, and music. Plus the aft views were fantastic. We vote for leaving the area as is and not upgrading to revenue generating venues like on Solstice's sister ships. The internet room and staff were very nice. Very patient explaining that the onboard service is not broadband and slower than what most of us are used to. They even warned us the one day that the service was not working right because of bad weather which saved us sitting down and experiencing it ourselves. We used it to check email and to get an airline boarding pass. The Casino is attractive; but was not very busy on this port intensive cruise. They have the usual arcade games plus a real blackjack table where they deal about 6 decks deep into an 8 deck shoe, $6 minimum bet. They have some of the popular slots. They did a few promotions including playing blackjack with the Celebrity staff. Ports of Call: Started in Barcelona which makes a good embarcation port. The airport is not far from the city and there are several transportation options depending on your budget -- trains, buses, and taxis. The pros and cons of each are discussed on the ports of calls page. Each time we visit Barcelona we visit a Gaudi site, this time it was Plau Guell which had been closed for restoration on our previous visits. Great way to spend a half day. Naples -- Port area is run down. We visited Pompeii on our own following the advice given here on Cruise Critic in the ports of call boards. Very easy, affordable, and worthwhile. Venice -- We overnighted in Venice. The first day had great weather and the second had very bad. We purchased the 24hr valporetto pass for €20 each which made it one of the more expensive DIY ports that we visited. Definitely enjoyed cruising the grand canal. St. Mark's square gets very crowded. Recommend a short visit there and spend more time at some of the other sites in Venice or just walking, browzing, and riding the valporetto. Dubrovnik -- We did a city walk inside the walls which we enjoyed. We walked in the morning then ate on the ship and rested a bit. Then went back out for the afternoon. Celebrity offered a shuttle pass for $12 each which worked great with no waits. Rome -- Again using the advice from the Cruise Critic boards, we toured on our own. Took the train (BIRG ticket) for €9 each that provided train, metro, and bus transportation for the day. We focused on the Coliseum, Palatine, Forum, a few churches (beaurtiful art and no entry charge), Piazza Navona and Piazza Venizia. La Spezia - This port is sometimes listed as Florence but it is about 1 and ½ drive from Florence with no direct train service. We hired a private tour for Lucca and Florence. Since we had lots of rain, having a private tour allowed for us to enjoy the sites and stay relatively dry by adjusting the day to fit the elements. Ajaccio, Corisa -- Another day of just walking inside the city. Saw the statues of Napoleon who was born here. Rained most of the afternoon. Toulon -- Similar to La Spezia, this port is a bit hard to get to many sites from. Takes awhile to even get to mass transport like trains and not a lot of direct cities are served. We opted for a Celebrity tour to Marseille, Sanary Sur Mar, and Cassis. Weather did not cooperate in the morning with pouring rain, the afternoon was very nice. Tour was a good value. Disembarkation: We had a fairly early flight at 11:20 am. We booked the Celebrity transfer. It was well organized and went as scheduled. We were to leave the theater at 7:45 which we did, collected luggage, dropped luggage on a truck for transferring, boarded a separate bus for transport, and we checked in for our flight a little under 2 hours early. Turns out there were plenty of taxis and a taxi would have been as easy and quicker. Summary: This was a very port intensive cruise and we tried to pace ourselves. We saw as much as our poor feet would allow but still could visit each port several more times. Visiting the ports was the highlight of the trip. The cruise experience itself was also one of the best we have had in 25 or so curises. Celebrity has a winner in the Solstice class ships. They offer the newer features of cruising plus the traditional features. We currently will look at the Solstice class first for our next cruise which says it all ?. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
We sailed from barcelona, had good smoothe embarkation, as usual . celebrity is our favourite cruise line. this was our first time on a solstice class ship. we were aware that it carried more passengers, than other ships in the fleet on ... Read More
We sailed from barcelona, had good smoothe embarkation, as usual . celebrity is our favourite cruise line. this was our first time on a solstice class ship. we were aware that it carried more passengers, than other ships in the fleet on which we had sailed previousley. The ship is beautiful, everything about the decor was really great. The service was wonderful the cabin staff were excellent, the dining room staff the same, in fact every member of staff could not have been better. The food was not quite as good as we have experienced on other trips, but not bad. I thought that the old style of the self service restaurant was better than the islands. too much bustle. everyone wandering about without trays, looking for what they needed. this did not happen before. and there are still lines. The negatives were as follows. the lifeboat drill was carried out before we sailed as it should be, but it was held in michaels bar, we did not have to wear our lifejackets, which was ok for us, having done many drills, but for anyone who has not had to put their jacket on, was not a lot of good. there was a tv at one end of the bar, and we watched a video of the drill. but only a small percentage of the passengers, could see the tv, and were told that they could watch it in their cabins. we did not go out onto the deck, as we would have to in a real emergency, so it was not a very affective demonstration of a safe evacuation from the ship, if that were to become nessary. not good.not safe. On deck, there were too many loungers, in fact when you used one, there was no space between them, and meant that you could be too close to the people either side. There were no tables for drinks.It was very difficult to sit down, as there was not enough space to step between the loungers, so had to almost launch oneself onto the thing. Also there were hardly any chairs, for just sitting on. there were only about four or five tables outside the burger bar, with about four chairs to a table, but they were for people eating, not just for sitting on.It was the same by the pool. On the smokers there were a lot more chairs and tables than on the non smokers side. unfair. The entertainment programme, was not good. We go to seccond seating for dinner. On most evenings, we missed out because everything was perfect for first seating, diners, but most events took place whilst we were at dinner. Generally the shows were not bad but so short, just one act mostly. the main show ghost, has been shown on other ships, for quite a while, so we had seen that. Lots of the activities took place on deck 4 in the centre of the ship, with hardly any space for the ammount of people on the ship. so could be watched from above standing and looking down over the rails. I think that this ship should have had a proper entertainment loung with a real dance floor. The lawn club did nothing for my husband and i. It seems to be a complelte waste of space, with not enough sitting room. and when the grass is wet, cannot be used. i think that a small lawn would have been better, to us it was a wasted deck. the glass show was good. but that was the only attraction on that deck. hardly anyone played on the grass. its not the thing that you go to sea for surely. So i do not wish to go on any of these large ships, i loved all the others, constillation, mercury, infinity, galaxy These ships were all perfect. the whole feel of these was so good, the entertainment teams were so good catering for everyone. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
My husband and I had heard Celebrity Cruises is on par with Princess. Since we have cruised Princess so many times, both being Platinum and many of the ships are the same we thought a change was in order. We were really excited to try ... Read More
My husband and I had heard Celebrity Cruises is on par with Princess. Since we have cruised Princess so many times, both being Platinum and many of the ships are the same we thought a change was in order. We were really excited to try something new. Embarkation: Wow! We just walked on about 2:00 pm. However, no one showed us where our room was or indicated how to get there. The map we were given was a cut-a-way of all the decks that really didn't help. Our experience of how ships are laid out got us there. We also knew to head up to the buffet at the top deck. Room: Wow. again. The room was about the same size as a mini-suite on Princess. Our room was a balcony with an obstructed view. The obstructed view meant that we could not see all the way to the front and back of the ship. However, that wasn't a problem, in our opinion. In addition, the bathroom has a glass door enclosed shower. Both of us could get into the bathroom! Two of our three bags arrive. After two calls to the room steward and guest relations the third bag arrives about 8:00 pm. Shore Excursions: We signed up for four shore excursions for the first four days of the cruise. A change was made to the first excursion and we were notified of the change and sent the tickets to our room our first night. We arrive back to our room after a long day the first day and realize we don't have any other tickets for the next three days. (Did I mention we paid for these BEFORE we left for the trip?) Hubby calls the shore excursion desk and they send our tickets to us as REPRINTS after 10:00 pm since they are so busy. Hmm. What happened to the first prints? In fairness to the shore excursions, we felt the hefty prices we paid were well worth it. There is no way we would have seen Nice, Monaco, French Riviera, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Pompeii, Amalfi Coast in such a short a time although it was exhausting. Food on Board Hmm. This takes some thought since I want to be fair. The buffet upstairs was hit and miss. Sometimes it was good and sometimes pretty bad. We didn't know whether the food we chose would be hot, lukewarm or cold. I liked the layout but not the delivery. I saw a stir fry station with all the ingredients but no stir fry cook. I stood there but no one seemed interested in helping me. One night we got the meat balls, which were excellent. The next time we went there my husband said the meatballs were like they were just taken out of the refrigerator. If we wanted hot food at breakfast we had to stand in line and order our eggs specially cooked. After a few days, we gave up on the buffet. It seems a good choice too since the Norovirus problem. (See Norovirus heading.) The Dining Room at Lunch We tried this one day. The service was so bad that the table of two next to us left before ordering because they had waited so long just to be waited on. It took over an hour to receive our lunch. I had told my husband they had another five minutes before I walked. The waiter finally told us that it was the kitchen's fault. They didn't expect so many to eat there that day. It was the day we sailed out of Venice at 1:00 pm. The Grill My husband ordered a hamburger and fries on deck. Two men were working the grill. By the time the hamburger was made his fries and burger were cold. He described it like the three stooges were cooking it although it was only two people. The final day, I counted 27 people in line for the grill. The Dining Room We really enjoyed this, well, the service. The waiter and his assistant were excellent. I would describe the food as passable. Example: I ordered Mom's pork chop, chef's recommendation. It was a pork chop that was coated with shake n bake with a sweet sauce. You never knew what exactly you would be getting. Since I had already had an appetizer and a soup, it was no big deal. I will give the sous chef high marks. The soups were always excellent. Specialty Restaurants Tuscany Steak House Our travel agent had given us two dinners to a specialty restaurant. We chose the Tuscany Steak House. It is beautiful, overlooking the bow of the ship, about 12 foot above the wake in the very back. I ordered the fried calamari, Cesar salad, NY strip with crispy fried potato wedges and creme brulee. The Cesar dressing is made table side. The calamari batter had no salt. It was very bland. The Cesar salad was also unexciting. The lettuce was old and room temperature. The potato wedges were soggy like they had been cooked and stored under a heat lamp. The steak was good, Yay! The creme brulee was pretty in appearance but just so so. I am used to a very rich dessert. The waiter asked about the Cesar salad and I told him it was ordinary. He then proceeded to argue that all Cesar dressings are the same recipe. Knowing better, I didn't argue with him and said nothing about the rest of the meal. For crying out loud! Red Lobster has a better Cesar saIad. I'm just glad we didn't pay for it. On the TV on the ship the claim is made that the Tuscany will rival any 5 star restaurant in Europe. I say, "It will not." We resorted to the crepe restaurant for lunch the last three days at the end of the cruise. It was excellent and worth the $5 extra per person. The service and all the courses were excellent and HOT, when they should be! Also, we had breakfast in the Solarium on 12 which was very peaceful and enjoyable. Entertainment: To be fair, we were too tired much of the time because of our long days on excursions to attend the shows. We did enjoy the dance band and the DJ who played music since we are dancers. The DJ was especially cooperative in playing the music we wanted. Service: We had wonderful service in the main dining room at early sitting dinner from our waiter and his assistant. However, we never knew who the maitre'd was or who the head waiter was, if there was one. Service in the buffet was not so good. Tables were cleared slowly even when it was hard to find one during busy times. One had to seek out a waiter to buy a drink. At shows, no one approached us to buy a drink. Our room steward did an excellent job. The Norovirus: I cannot write this review without addressing this issue. It permeated the trip. Everywhere we went there were the hand sanitizers. This is a issue for me because I cannot tolerate the smell. It makes me very ill. I constantly had to dodge it. (Please be assured that I always washed my hands thoroughly.) However, why wait until the end of the cruise to serve passengers in the buffet when you had the virus on the previous cruise? There was a barricade set up to go into the shops , running the gauntlet of hand sanitizers. Obviously, I didn't go into the shops. My husband proposed buying stock in Purell as a joke. He asked a bathroom attendant how the crew were doing with the virus and he looked like a deer caught in headlights. He denied any of the crew had the illness. My husband then joked about the "disease ridden passengers". Isn't it interesting that the virus continues from cruise to cruise? Fortunately, we didn't get the dreaded virus even though we never got squirted with the disinfectant. I did research since the trip. I chose not to read any reviews before I went. The virus has really been a problem on this ship, hasn't it? Disembarkation What a free for all! I am used to Princess helping everyone get off the ship. Celebrity has virtually no one helping you find your luggage. My husband finally found the same piece of luggage that was missing the first night on the belt it was supposed to be on after 15 minutes. It appeared miraculously after all others were gone. Then we made our way to our transfer that we had paid $30 each to the airport. They loaded our luggage onto a transfer truck. Then they made us wait 30 minutes while they filled EVERY LAST SEAT on the bus! Then we arrived at the airport to find our luggage unattended on the curb. Then we missed a flight we could have caught if we had gotten there earlier because Delta cancelled our original flight. So we had an additional night in Barcelona, but that is another story. We bought a transfer from the cruise line so we would have a smooth transition to the airport. I talked to the young women in charge. She worked for the port, not for the cruise line. It cost us twice as much as a taxi to book through the cruise line. Another life lesson learned Conclusion: If you view the Celebrity Solstice as a floating hotel to get you to the ports in the Mediterranean you want to see with adequate meals, it is worth it. My husband and I don't regret the cruise. We would never have been to all the places in Europe. The pros outweigh the cons. The ship is not the important component of this cruise. We were wowed by the destinations. Our opinion is that the Celebrity Solstice is not equivalent to a Princess cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
We flew into rainy Barcelona the day of the cruise and started off by having our debit card "eaten" by the ATM machine in the airport. Luckily, we were able to use a credit card to take a taxi to the ship, but were unable to ... Read More
We flew into rainy Barcelona the day of the cruise and started off by having our debit card "eaten" by the ATM machine in the airport. Luckily, we were able to use a credit card to take a taxi to the ship, but were unable to board due to the previous cruise having a massive outbreak of norovirus. We availed ourselves of the free Celebrity shuttle to Las Ramblas in order to try to figure out our money issues. Long story short, I couldn't buy a phone card with dollars or a credit card (they only take euros) and I couldn't make a toll-free call to the bank to find out what the problem was without a phone card. After spending two hours in the pouring rain trying different pay phones and ATM's we finally found an ATM that would accept another card I happened to have with me, even though we hadn't called them to preauthorize a foreign transaction. Whew, that was stressful. We went back to the place where the shuttle dropped us off (and where they told us to go) for a ride back to the ship, only to see every other shuttle but Celebrity there. After another 20 minutes in a downpour, we noticed a Celebrity bus driving on the other side of the parking lot and chased it to the far corner in order to grab a ride. The fun continued once onboard the ship,as we were told it would be another couple of hours before we would be allowed into our rooms, since the crew needed to sanitize the rooms thoroughly because of the norovirus. All the public spaces were packed, and we finally found seats in the casino where we slept on the blackjack tables until about 6:00 pm when we finally were let into the rooms. We used the next (rainy) day at sea to recover from our jet lag and that night we had quite a storm. The boat was really rocking and rolling, and we were mid-ship! The thunder and lightning went on for hours. The next day in Florence our guide told us that they had torrential flooding in Genoa and three people had died. Florence was overcast but we never really had rain again for the rest of the cruise. We had a brisk, cloudy day in Athens, but the rest of the ports had temperate, mostly sunny weather. The first four or five days of the cruise the crew had to serve us everything, to prevent any further outbreak of norovirus. It's a huge pain, for the crew and passengers alike. You can't even put your cream in your coffee or grab a napkin, they have to do EVERYTHING for you. It diminishes the eating experience, to be sure, but is a necessary evil. After five days they went back to self-service in the Ocean view and it must have worked. I didn't hear of anyone getting sick. Overall the cruise was wonderful. A very nice mix of port days and sea days. We did seven ports last year on a 10 (as opposed to a 12) day cruise and it wasn't nearly as relaxing. We booked all our shore excursions in small groups through Cruise critic roll call and it all went very well. We used Rome in Limo in Florence and Naples and they delivered a great experience in both places. We did Chania, Crete and Valetta, Malta on our own, definitely the way to go. We had been to Kusadasi (Ephesus) and Athens before so we did the Turkish bath in Kusadasi (awesome experience) and a countryside tour to Corinth, Mycenae and Napfplion with Jordan Daioglou who met us at the port in Pireaus. We really enjoyed that too. We ended up staying on board in Rome, since they told us there would be a public transport strike and we had planned to use the train (as we had been there before too). Turns out the strike was limited to the buses and only for a few hours. The Celebrity service, as always, was top-notch. Granted, the first five days were a bit trying and I did observe the occasional crew member snapping at a passenger who tried to help themselves to a spoon or a piece of food. As I said, it was stressful for all of us. We chose select dining and it worked beautifully. Some nights we ate alone, others we joined a group, but we never had to wait for more than a couple minutes to be seated. The waiters were all so friendly. Even though we were given different sections to sit in, our previous waiters would stop by and say hello. The food was definitely good, but not outstanding. The quality is fine, but most of it is predictable and bland. It is meant to cater to older, perhaps less sophisticated diners. Very few dishes had the intensity or variety of flavor that I expect from decent restaurants in the U.S. I would love to see more ethnic food and food that features the regional specialties of the areas we are visiting. One other thing I noticed is that the coffee on board has really improved. They use actual ground coffee now (I assume they used liquid coffee syrup before) and I could really tell the difference. We went to a couple of shows and two port lectures and they were fine, but nothing exceptional. In general, we found our fellow passengers to be friendly, interesting and well-travelled. There was a nice mix of nationalities and we always enjoyed our mealtime conversations. Oceanview was often crowded (everyone seemed to be on the same schedule) and tablesharing was usually a necessity, but as I said, it was fun to meet and talk with other passengers. We met several couples that we hit it off with and met up with them throughout the cruise for drinks or meals etc... We didn't spend much time on the balcony as it was a little chilly, but did enjoy using the hot tubs in the pool area almost every day. Others commented that they hadn't thought to bring a bathingsuit in November, but we were really glad we did. I noticed that the ship security didn't object when passengers brought on a bottle of local wine or limoncello on port days. I really appreciated that. They were much stricter on our last Med cruise on the Equinox, not sure why. Also, the port of Barcelona has a duty free shop after security, and I was able to bring on several bottles of cava with no problem. Disembarkation was smooth, as always, and we spent three days post-cruise in Barcelona. What a fabulous city. We had a wonderful time there and can't wait to visit more of Spain in the future. We stayed in a cute Bed and Breakfast (Casa de Marcelo) in the Borne district. It was a wonderful location and very interesting neighborhood with lots of fabulous restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
We flew into Barcelona on Nov. 14th after a 7 hr. layover in JFK. We started at 6:45 am from West Palm Beach, FL on JetBlue which was a great flight and then transferred to American for Barcelona. We used the train outside the JFK ... Read More
We flew into Barcelona on Nov. 14th after a 7 hr. layover in JFK. We started at 6:45 am from West Palm Beach, FL on JetBlue which was a great flight and then transferred to American for Barcelona. We used the train outside the JFK airport to go from terminal 5 to terminal 8 and had to go back through secruity but were at our gate within 1 1/2. We landed in Barcelona at 7:10 am went through Customs, got a cab at went to the W Barcelona immediately. We were immediately upgraded to an oceanview on floor 5 and allowed to check in. We were very happy with our stay at the W Barcelona and we got a great price on Priceline.com for $180.00 when I bid for it. I really did not expect to get it. It was raining in Barcelona so we decided to sleep for a few hrs. and see how the weather was. We awoke about 1:00PM and it was raining hard so decided to just stay at the hotel and eat in the bar. It was $62.00 for two hamburgers and 4 diet cokes. But it was good and convenient. We went back to sleep and then checked out the next morning, got a cab to the port for 30 euros and checked in and was on board by 11:00 am. We went to the buffet and ate and started exploring the Solstice. We had taken a cruise the previous year on the Solstice so looked around a bit and at 1:30 PM went to our cabin. About an hr. later we got all of our luggage and proceeded to hang up and put away all of our clothes and store the empty luggage under the bed. We had the lifeboat drill at 4:30 PM and then at 5:00 PM sailed out of Barcelona harbor. We had Celebrity Select Dining so every night we were at the doors at 6:00 PM to request a table for two by the window when possible. They accomodated us almost every night. The food was very good and the service was excellent also. I could not find anything to complain about on the cruise. We are very happy with Celebrity and they are now our #1 cruiseline. We arrived at every port on time but we did have to change the first port from Nice, France to Cannes, France because of damage to the docks from two weeks previous. We did three private tours in Florence, Rome and Naples with RomeinLimo and they were all excellent. We always got back on time. We just walked around Cannes, France and had sunny weather, private excursion in Florence, Rome and Naples, in Dubrovnik we took the ships tour of the family cablecar ride to the top and it is well worth it with a short walk through the walled city. This was the only port that it rained, other than Barcelona. In Venice we took the public water transportation (can't remember the name)to St. Mark's Square and walked around a little and then went back to the ship. The next morning we walked around for a couple of hours and then prepared for the sailaway in Venice which is spectacular. Took alot of pictures sailing in and out of the Grand Canal in Venice. We then went to Kotor Montenegro and the sail in through the fjords was spectacular. Get your cameras ready for that one. We had sunny weather in all ports except Dubrovnik. It was great. We took the ship's excursion of the Montenegro hightlights with cuisine and was not that happy with it. It was too much riding in the bus to get a few pictures of the ship in the fjord down below and then it was all back country and nothing to see. We did have a great lunch of veal prepared by a local restaurant and that proved to be the highlight of this excursion. By the time we got back it was already dark so we just went back to the ship. We met alot of nice people and did the private excursions with fellow cruise critic members which really made the cruise great. All in all this has to be one of our best cruises ever with Rome being our favorite stop of all. The Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Collesium, Trevi Fountain were great. In Florience the Leaning Tower of Piza was great and in Naples the private tour that we had of Pompeii was outstanding and the Amalfi Coast was beautiful. Thanks to Celebrity for another great cruise. We will be back. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
It does rain in Spain. Our pre-cruise 3 days of Barcelona was very wet. Stayed in Eric Voelkel suites which was great for our group of 4. We reached the ship by blue bus (2 Euros). The ship was cleaned over and over again because of all ... Read More
It does rain in Spain. Our pre-cruise 3 days of Barcelona was very wet. Stayed in Eric Voelkel suites which was great for our group of 4. We reached the ship by blue bus (2 Euros). The ship was cleaned over and over again because of all the previous illnesses. We were able to get into our cabin by 2PM. We were in concierge and the cabin was very nice and roomy. Lots of Storage space. Large shower. We met with cruise critic folks on embarkation on deck 14. Nice to meet and greet. However the connections party that we signed up for did not happen. We were told that that was on embarkation. I did contact the cruise director asking if this was a change in policy. To my surprise we found an invitation in our cabin for a cruise critic get together the next morning. It was however not well attended by the staff. Too bad!!! Our first stop Villefranche was cancelled because of the port beeing damaged but we were never informed. Many passengers got emails and advanced information. Our ports of Cannes, Livorno, Civitavechia, Neaples, Dubrovnick, Venice and Kotor were wonderful. We never do ships tours and were able to secure private Taxis or local transportation in most ports for the 4 of us. The ship is still nice but getting older. The library was a huge disappointment because the shelves were bare and not what we were used to from other celebrity cruises.The staff of the Solstice were without exceptions outstanding as was the food. All our meals were served nicely and tasted wonderful. We had early seating which makes it difficult to see a show if you are an early riser. My next cruise we will take select dining and try to see more shows. The ones we saw were very good. Unfortunately the 4 of us got respiratory illnesses but that was far better than all the viruses on board. Half through the cruise the self service buffet on deck 14 was changed to staff serving. I had to go to the doctors office but was told that the consultation was $125. I ended up purchasing Sudafed at .60 cents a pill at the coast of $15. Everywhere we went guests were sick. While the staff dispensed sanitizer and cleaned the ship endlessly.In Barcelona all B2B had to get off the ship for further cleaning.Please go prepared. All in all we enjoyed our cruise and enjoyed the ages and nationalities of the guests on board. The ship never felt crowded even though it was sold out. Disembarkation was the fastest we have ever seen and done very well. We even added on a day in Barcelona before returning and this time the sun shined on us. Now we look forward to our next adventure. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
We have just arrived home from the Celebrity Solstice after 12 days in the Med from the 4th November 2011. Embarkation: Due to the fact that they had about 100 cases of Noravirus on the previous cruise Celebrity decided to have a deep ... Read More
We have just arrived home from the Celebrity Solstice after 12 days in the Med from the 4th November 2011. Embarkation: Due to the fact that they had about 100 cases of Noravirus on the previous cruise Celebrity decided to have a deep clean of the ship which meant that they could not let us on the until 3pm and we could not get into our stateroom until 5.30pm, in fact we were so late that muster drill was left until 10 o'clock the following morning (god knows what would have happened if they had a problem that night) The deep clean worked because we had no problems during the whole 12 days. Stateroom: I still think that the Solstice class ships have the best rooms and the Stateroom attendant and his assistant were fantastic. Main Restaurant: We were a party of four and had a two other people with us on the table we all got on very well and had a good time. The food was top quality and the service was also excellent Sanjay and his assistant very efficient and attentive but not overpowering. We heard some people complaining that the food was cold but we never had that problem in fact one of our party burned their mouth on the soup. Murano's: We had dinner in Murano's one night and found the quality of the food and service to be excellent but not sure it was worth the extra cost when the main dinning room food was so good but it is nice to have a change of venue for one night. Ocean View Restaurant: Due to the problems of Noravirus on the previous Cruise the staff had to serve you for the first 3 days but after that everything went back to normal, if I had a problem it was that the ship did not give us reasons for their actions or how long it would go on for I had to ask on two occasion how long the the loss of self service would continue. First day at sea was wet ALL day but we spent the day in the indoor pool and had a good time. Second day: We were in Livorno and decided not to go to Florence as we had been there a few times before and got the shuttle bus ($8each) into the town and had a look around not much there but we enjoyed the day. Third day: Civitavecchia, we had been to Rome a few times and again decided to get the shuttle bus (free)into the town we found a great open air Market and the town has a great beach promenade I would recommend a visit to this town. Fourth Day: Naples, We did Pompeii and had a good day, it helps if you have a good guide which we did. day five: Crete, We had a taxi to show us round some of the island again a good day and we liked the island. day six: Turkey, we did shopping and looked round the town checked out the carpet shop we love the Turkish people very friendly. Day seven: Day at sea weather was good. day eight: Athens, very cold windy and a bad guide on our tour of the city, best forgotten. Day nine: Day at sea weather average. Day ten: Malta, got a taxi round part of Malta, it was well worth a visit In fact we have decided to to visit the island some time in the near future. Day eleven: Day at sea day twelve: Disembarkation: As our flight was early we decided to carry off our own luggage, we got a 6.30am slot but left the ship at 7.20 with no problems at all, very smooth. We had a great cruise weather was very average but it was November. Complaints... The brunch was moved from the main Restaurant to the Ocean view cafe BIG mistake it lost it's whole class and hope it doesn't happen again. CD and her whole staff were first class Zac had a great sense of humour (CD had a great voice) I hope Celebrity never get rid of the Orchestra's on their ships they add something special to the entertainment. Entertainers were OK I will leave it at that. Overall I would recommend this ship. by the way Errol in the passport bar was great. Read Less
Celebrity Solstice Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 4.5 0.0
Entertainment 4.5 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 5.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.5 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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