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Sail Date: June 2011
First time on a cruise wasn't too sure what to expect buT OMG we were absolutley blown away. If you can appreciate the finer things in life and you adopt the whole ethos of what cruising is then this is the holiday for you. everything ... Read More
First time on a cruise wasn't too sure what to expect buT OMG we were absolutley blown away. If you can appreciate the finer things in life and you adopt the whole ethos of what cruising is then this is the holiday for you. everything about this cruise was fantastic, the ship was absolutley spotless, the food was out of this world and so was the service from all on board who were charged with making your holiday special. My husband and I travelled with two more couples, we all had a fantastic holiday each of us getting something different out of this cruise, but all of us were of the same opinion excellent. We went ashore in every port, and we booked a trip to Rome, that was very interesting if you are in to culture, but it's just nice to go and see it even if your not. The formal evenings were brilliant, you have to do this it's part of the experience, (for all you i'm not too sure it might be a bit too posh for me people) it's not it's what you make it for yourselves, it's very nice, we had a blast. We had an inside stateroom, I was a bit unsure about being in an inside cabin, but all that changed when we saw it, it was so comfortable they have thought of everything, and to be honest we did'nt spend a lot of time in the room other than to sleep and get ready to go off ship or out at night. We booked a drinks package to suit us and we found that it was the best thing to do for us, you have to weigh up what you think you might drink for the duration of your trip, don't forget this is five star so you will have five star prices. Celebrity were great with our party, one of whom became ill on the trip and could not drink alcohol, having seen the ship's doctor they allowed us to change one of the packages, and re-imbursed the difference for a soft drinks package with no fuss and bother. There is so much to do on the ship, you will never be bored, you can even walk on real grass, watch some beautiful sunsets, just chill, out and thats the name of the game here, chill,chill,chill and enjoy everything that cruising has to offer, can't wait for my next one, I could do this med cruise half a dozen times and see something different every time, it's amazing i'm a definate convert, maybe the Carribean will be next who knows. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
This was my 4th time on Solstice. It was the first vacation I have ever taken alone-I was a bit nervous, as all other cruises I have been on I have always been 'the other half'... little did I know how many people I would meet, ... Read More
This was my 4th time on Solstice. It was the first vacation I have ever taken alone-I was a bit nervous, as all other cruises I have been on I have always been 'the other half'... little did I know how many people I would meet, and the amount of fun I would have..I am 28, a chef, and am well travelled..oh yea, and single on a tight budget...haha-so this review could pertain or not to your situation..This itinerary is very port intensive--PLAN ON BEING BUSY! It is not like a Caribbean cruise where its sun and relaxation.. if you want to see the sights, you have to plan and structure your day accordingly..Last summer, I was on Century with someone else..same time of year, with a similar itinerary.. new stops for me were Venice, Kotor and Dubrovnik.. all beautiful. Let me point out some of the positives and negatives:Flying into Barcelona a day early is definately reccomended, no matter if you're travelling solo or with a group. It is good to have a decompression day after flying, and having the opportunity to see BCL is an added benefit-think of it as an extra port day..at your leisure :)I stayed in a 'hostel' type of hotel just for the night- it was cheap, and safe and clean. I spent most of my time exploring the city, and eating..and drinking.. so it was a cheap option to have just to leave your luggage and things, and a bed to sleep in for the night.. maybe not the best family option..but definately for a solo or couple that are adventurous Getting on the ship was seamless and not an issue- i boarded around noon time, and was in my room by 2 or so.. i just wandered, had a drink at the sunset bar and basked in the Spanish sun for a while. A little note on the 'drink card'- Definately worth it, if you plan on spending more than $50/day on drinks coffee's etc.. if you work out the math, and enjoy more than 3 drinks or glasses of wine/day..plus bottled water and special coffees...it's worth the money..and I definatley spent half of what I would have otherwise.. Sail-away was great..we had an organized CC sail away party at Sunset Bar as we pulled out of BCL, and had a lot of people show..it was a great way to meet everyone from the board and figure out who you want to avoid ! lolService on Solstice and Celebrity as a whole has always been top notch, however over the years as newer ships come out with Celebrity, I find they are taking their best employees and putting them on new ships.. not to say the service is lacking at all, but you can definately see the difference between the 'go above and beyond-ers' and the 'meeting guests expectations' employees... i have no complaints at all, though.Cabins are all spacious..i had a closer to aft cabin with balcony this time around..dont know if i would do it again..its far from everything.. the room steward (Zeko) was very detail oriented, and the room stayed impeccible. he was very attentive, and just great..I wasn't 'wowed' by the shows this time around, the entertatinment seemed mediocre..some were the same as in years past, some were different.. the first time I saw the Sostice shows they were amazing.. now they are just 'eh'.. Maybe another example of taking the best to the newest ships, I dont know..The ship band sucked, the guitarist was great..Acapella group was again 'eh'time to step it back up Celebrity! :)Quasar- sucked this time around, they need to promote it more! Good music, neat atmosphere.. DJ was THE WORST people person..had no personality and seemed 'bothered' by having to work..by the end it was fun, busy and hopping, but the first 10 days.. dead.. i did my best to get people in and dancing! Nice- I love EZE, lots of walking, but amazing views..simple to get to by bus..Naples- After Pisa, I did a wine country tour..definately the best time of the cruise..wine and olive oil tastings at different vineyards..small bites of local food here and there..eat a pizza, its the best in the world.Venice- incredible sail in, and sail away..best spot to view is the Lawn Club. GO TO HARRY'S BAR FOR BELLINIS. Very romantic city, not the best place to be alone :(Kotor- Amazing views from the ship, if you are Captains Club be sure to attend this sail away..front of the ship, helipad..an unmatched perspective.Dubrovnik- WALK THE WALL..very athletic..fyi. amazing views, 10 euros (BTW yes everywhere accepts EUROS, no need for KUNA)Pool- yes a bit overcrowded..always an alternative is the solstice deckFood- this was my first time eating int he Main Dining Room (Epernay) and it was fantastic. The amount of food they put out, and the quality is just a daunting task for any kitchen..and they do a really REALLY good job. Service was great, my table was UNFORGETTABLE. Ocean view was always good. I have been to all of the speciality restaurants before, and they all have their pro's and con's..you can read about others' points of view on other reviews..i am a bit biased, being a chef and all.. Overall, the S-Class never fails to exceed expectations.. It's not for everyone- It holds its own as a sophisticated, modern, twist on an already successful brand. Celebrity is in a league of their own, and for the price its a pretty damn good deal. Definately sailing again...where does the wind blow next? We will see..Cheers! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
My wife, three kids (ages 14, 11 and 9) just returned from a fabulous trip to Europe which highlighted a 12 day cruise on the Solstice.In addition to several cruises with the wife, it was our fourth cruise with our three kids (Princess, ... Read More
My wife, three kids (ages 14, 11 and 9) just returned from a fabulous trip to Europe which highlighted a 12 day cruise on the Solstice.In addition to several cruises with the wife, it was our fourth cruise with our three kids (Princess, NCL, 2 x Royal Caribbena). Without a doubt, regardless the line or ship, cruising is the most convenient way to travel with kids in Europe.As for the Solstice, it had some very good things and not so good.The good:- Best staterooms we have seen. Clean, spacious & well decorated. The in-cabin entertainment (TV) powered by Apple was tremendous. From ordering the next morning's breakfast (arrived like clockwork) to the wide selection of free movies you could watch at will. - Excellent food. Dining room was great, but was surprised by the variety at the more casual Ocean View Cafe. In addition to the typical buffet fare, different stations for pizza, pasta, Asian, Mexican, Indian food, sandwiches, salads & BBQ. - Kid's Club. My kids (especially the 9 and ll year old) couldn't get enough of the "Fun Factory". They'd rush thru dinner and skip desert to not miss a minute. - Service. Waiters, bar tenders and cabin crew were all extremely good. Not so good:- The pool area: extremely cramped and rather boring. With three "At Sea" days, much time was spent here and we were disappointed. So much of the ship's outdoor deck is used for the underutilized lawn; all pool lounge chairs (which there are not enough of) are crammed together, making it uncomfortably close (hard to get in to and you're sitting arm to arm with strangers next to you). There was absolutely no background music.- Lack of other outdoor fun. Once again, the ship's "Lawn Club" takes up so much space (and is hardly used), that there are none of the fun outdoor amenities that we have seen on similarly sized ships; no rock climbing, outdoor movies, pool slide, miniature golf, full-court basketball court, etc.Despite all the very good, I doubt I will take another cruise on the Solstice... especially with the kids. While they had a blast in the kid's club, the ships lack of funner outdoor amenities present on other ships of similar size would sway us away. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
My wife and I have traveled on several cruise lines and looked forward to traveling on Celebrity Solstice. We were excited to be going on a 12-day cruise in the Mediterranean departing from Barcelona. We made our arrangements using the ... Read More
My wife and I have traveled on several cruise lines and looked forward to traveling on Celebrity Solstice. We were excited to be going on a 12-day cruise in the Mediterranean departing from Barcelona. We made our arrangements using the Celebrity Cruise Line web site. Easy site to navigate. Having never been to the Mediterranean, we decided to spend a couple of extra days before the cruise in Barcelona. Recommended by Celebrity Cruise Lines, we used Choice Air for our flight arrangements. The initial flight itinerary they sent us was incomplete and it took two calls to Choice Air before we got a flight itinerary we could use. We stayed at the Hotel Barcelona Catedral in Barcelona. It was close to Las Ramblas and the Gothic District. Modern hotel with nice location, very acceptable accommodations, and helpful staff. Unfortunately, the breakfast buffet was very expensive (17 Euros per person).Embarkation/Debarkation and Shore Excursions on the Celebrity Solstice were the most efficient of all of the cruise lines we have been on. We had a room in Concierge Class with a balcony off the stern of the ship. Room was slightly smaller than similar class rooms on other cruise lines, but did have lots of storage and a nice bath room with shower. Ship staff were always available to answer any questions you had. Daily Newsletters kept you up to date. While the ship did have several specialty restaurants, we chose to use the informal buffet (Oceanview Cafe) the majority of our time. It had a good selection of food. We weren't lacking for food. The main dining room was very well appointed with friendly wait staff. The premium drink package had too many limitations and was not worth the money.Since relaxing on the ship was our main interest, we did not attend any of the shows. No matter where we were on the ship, ship staff were always ready to help with information. We attended the glass blowing demonstration, which is a special feature of Celebrity Solstice. It was very interesting and informative. We also attended several of the cooking demonstrations by the ship chefs. These were fun to watch. Overall, very enjoyable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
Celebrity Solstice 5/14-5/26/11We just returned from the 5/14/11 Celebrity Solstice 12-night Mediterranean cruise, from Barcelona-Barcelona.First - overall we had a wonderful time!Details:Ship Transfer - we chose to use Celebrity's ... Read More
Celebrity Solstice 5/14-5/26/11We just returned from the 5/14/11 Celebrity Solstice 12-night Mediterranean cruise, from Barcelona-Barcelona.First - overall we had a wonderful time!Details:Ship Transfer - we chose to use Celebrity's transfer service from BCN to the port. Very easy, when you exit customs, go right and the Celebrity staff are there to check you in. They'll take your luggage and when they have enough people, you board the bus for the port, drive-time is about 20 minutes. Luggage was delivered to our staterooms by 3pm.Embarkation - Once we got to the port, check-in was about 5 minutes. No lines to speak of, and very well organized. We had already done our express pass & entered our credit card information online. She handed us our Seapass cards and we went on.We got to the ship about 11:15, and boarding did not begin until 11:30. However, in the terminal they had tables set up for specialty dining, drink packages, and shore excursions. We signed up for the 3 restaurant plan and booked our times for formal nights. They give you you a card with the dates/times, but you also get a reminder at your stateroom the morning of your reservation. We had pre-paid the drink packages, so that was printed on our card (it says PALL). The woman we were traveling with bought hers at the terminal, and they put a sticker on hers.Once the ship was open, we boarded (maybe 10 minutes), and they were offering champagne or mimosas as you entered. There were boarding photo opportunities if you wanted, but very easy to walk past if you did not. We headed immediately to Bistro on 5 and had some lunch. I would HIGHLY recommend this, as the folks I spoke with who went to the buffet advised it was crowded and hard to find a seat. The food at Bistro was wonderful, we were the first people there, and the service was superb.StateroomStaterooms were open at 1:15pm. We were in room 1601 (Aquaclass, port side, hump cabin with large balcony) and the room was also very nice. Plenty of storage if you areorganized, and lots of room under the bed for luggage. Our stateroom attendant was Cyril, and he was always pleasant and helpful - he also got us priority tender tickets for our tender ports, we just had to ask. The balcony was fantastic and we loved hanging out there for sailaways and docking. LOVED the shower with body sprays, and access to the Persian Gardens was a huge bonus. Because our cruise was so port-intensive, and tours involved a LOT of walking, being able to lay on the stone beds and relax muscles was welcome.Muster drill was easy - we went to the dining room and watched a video, no lugging vests, no standing outside.The Celebrity/Cruise Critic party was at 8:30pm on the first day - no way we were going to make that, we were at dinner. We did have a group get-together at the Sunset Bar that was set up through our meet & greet, and that was fun.DiningBlu - Everyone says Blu is 'love it or hate it'. For us? We loved it. The food was wonderful, presentation was beautiful, and they were extremely accommodating. My husband has some severe food allergies, and is a bit picky, but we never heard the word 'no'. There was little he could eat or liked on the appetizer menu, but every night they got him a Caeser salad. Same for desserts - too many things with nuts. But after the first night they always had chocolate chip cookies for him. Unfortunately, I did not getmenu copies, and I'm sorry for that. Standouts for me were a summer roll appetizer we had one night and the filet mignon. I can't remember our waiter's name, but the assistant was Jorielee from the Phillipines, and the team was wonderful. The bottle of sparkling wine left in our room at embarkation was worth $28 against another bottle in Blu.Bistro on 5 - We ate here several times, and enjoyed it every time. Breakfast crepes were delicious!Buffet - Hit or miss. Some things were good, some were ok. Some vegetable dishes were bland and under-seasoned, which was a shame. But it's the buffet, and for what it was, it served. Lots of choices for ice creams and desserts. Seating, especially at breakfast and on sea days, was horrible. The big complaint here was the plates. They were always burning hot when you picked them up - no trays to help carry them.Gelato/Cafe Al Bacio - We were here pretty much every day. Traveling buddy loved the coffees, and I loved the teas (Vienna Cinnamon was my favorite). Great spot to hang out. The Gelato stand there has an upcharge, but the girl running it (Roberta) was without a doubt one of the highlights of our cruise. Always pleasant, very happy to help. She does push the Rum Raisin gelato pretty hard, though. It's her favorite.Mast Grill - Excellent burgers & hot dogs, good fries, and fantastic onion rings. You have to push for onion rings, though - every time we went, they wanted to limit you to a very small portion (like 5 or 6) unless you asked for more. Someone on a review I read complained of unmelted cheese, but asking them to melt it was absolutely no problem.Murano - This was our least favorite of the spcialties. The service was just ok, but the atmosphere was stuffy, which isn't us. Saving grace for me was the venison, which was perfect, and perfectly cooked. We wouldn't go again.Silk Harvest - Better atmosphere, food was very good - the ribs were great, I enjoyed the Pad Thai after I put lots of chili paste in it, it needed heat. I don't eat sushi, but the person we were with said it was very good (she had eel, spicy tuna, and something else I don't remember.) I didn't care for the wok beef, which tasted like it had been curried. Chicken fried rice was ok, but nothing special.Tuscan Grill - By far the best of the restaurants, and we would go again without question. The steaks were very good, as was everything else on the menu. The atmosphere was fun and the staff was very accommodating. Not a bad thing on the menu!Breads throughout the ship were uniformly delicious. Desserts were almost as uniformly disappointing and forgettable. We had a few good ones in Blu (I liked the Grand Marnier and chocolate dessert they had one night) but it was the exception.Shore Excursions/Leaving the shipWe did one Celebrity excursion, in Cannes. We went to Grasse (a perfume factory) and St-Paul-De-Vence, a medieval village. I had wanted to get away from Cannes due to it being the opening weekend of the film festival, and things were very crowded. The excursion staff was very nice, the Grasse factory was a big sales pitch. St-Paul-de-Vence was beautiful, and we spent a lot of time walking around the city.In Italy, we did all our tours with Rome In Limo, and I would HIGHLY recommend them.Getting on & off the ship, whether tendering or walk-off, was a breeze. Announcements of where to go and when to meet were clear, staff was on hand to make things go smoothly, and we never had any issues. Reboarding after being ashore was quick, there was always water, fruit punch, and cold towels available as you were waiting to get back in, as well as a small sitting area if needed, and a canopy if someone had to get out of the sun. I was very impressed with Celebrity in this area (and in almost all service areas).Bars/Lounges/etc.Celler Masters was wonderful, and the sommolier we saw most often (Stevan) was spot on for recommendations. We stopped there just about every night before dinner to pick up a glass to take with us.Martini Bar - We liked this area, and the Almond Joy martinis were often substituted for dessert. The waiters here got to know us, and knew what we wanted as soon as we sat down.Molecular Bar - Pretentious bartender made this area a dud, in our opinion. He was so full of himself (no idea what his name was - I believe he was from Australia or New Zealand), but he clearly thought he was the best thing since sliced bread. I overheard him at one point explaining to a group of passengers that HIS bar was like Bobby Flay's burgers - unique and wonderful - while every other bar on the ship was McDonald's. We were unimpressed with him and the drinks he was making.The biggest complaint I have about the cruise was trying to get a drink. Unless you walked up to the bar, finding a waiter circulating anywhere was a challenge - whether it was the buffet area, the pool area, or in a lounge area. They just didn't seem interested or motivated - and it didn't matter whether you were on a package or buying individually. I never once saw a waiter in the Solarium.EntertainmentWe did not do any shows, but we did watch the Hot Glass show one night. Very interesting and impressive to watch! We did a wine tasting on the lawn that was supposed to be at Sailaway in Venice, but we got held up and so just had to drink wine with no sailaway. It was horrible. The bands on deck were ok, but VERY loud. The captain's daily announcement was ALSO very loud, almost painfully so. We would be playing a game in the card room or trying to read in the library, and the band 9 decks down in the Atrium was so loud it was sometimes impossible to hear yourself think.Someone on our sailing decided to 'borrow' the 2 Scrabble sets for the entirety of the cruise, which I found incredibly rude. Someone else left a note in the card room one day asking them to please call so it could be shared, but my guess is that never happened. People, do NOT remove games from the game room - if you feel you need a certain game all to yourself for the length of your vacation, buy a travel version and bring it with you.Debarkation - Almost as easy as embarkation. Luggage tags & instructions were left in your room the 2nd to the last day, and on the last night, luggage had to be out in the hallway by 11pm. They were collecting constantly, and I know that our luggage was gone within 10 minutes of our putting it out. Before debarkation, we met in the dining room at 7:10am, and waited for them to call our number. We were in Group 11, and we were off the ship by 7:20.Again, no lines, no cattle call, very organized and calm. Our luggage was on the carousel in the terminal, and we were on a taxi to our hotel by 7:35am.There were 3 formal nights on our sailing. The first was on Night 2 - Cannes, the 2nd was on the first at-sea day, Night 6, and the 3rd was on the 2nd at-sea day, Night 11. There were plenty of dark suits & sport jackets, some tuxes, and cocktail dresses to gowns for the ladies.We did decide that 12 days is too long for us on a cruise, we were well ready to come home by the end. We also decided that if we ever want to cruise again, Celebrity is going to be the line of choice. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
We arrived in Barcelona on May 12 and stayed at the Hilton Diagonal. I will go onto the port review sections and post more detailed port review there. We took a cab to the cruise dock around 11 on May 14 and check in was very easy and ... Read More
We arrived in Barcelona on May 12 and stayed at the Hilton Diagonal. I will go onto the port review sections and post more detailed port review there. We took a cab to the cruise dock around 11 on May 14 and check in was very easy and quick. Because we were booked into Aqua Class, we planned to eat most meals in Blu, but I booked the three meal package for variety. We had also prepurchased the premium alcohol beverage packages. We ate lunch at the grill and started enjoying the beverage package while we waiting for the room to be ready! We found the ship very clean and elegant. Our cabin was very nice, functional but not elaborate. We had regular size, a little to the back of mid ship. It was quiet except for occasionally hearing some chair movement above us. We enjoyed the balcony the most when docking and just on sea days. We ate breakfast there on early port days too. Bathroom of the cabin was fine and the shower was great. We had plenty of storage, requested more hangers and got them easily. Pretty much anything we asked for was provided by our excellent cabin steward, Cyril. We ate at each restaurant on the ship and Blu was our hands down favorite. Jesse was our waiter and he was great. Erlich the sommelier was also very good at recommending wines. My only complaint about Blu was that one night we asked to be seated away from the windows because of some sun glare and we were in no mans land for a good while with no food or water or service. The food at Blu was SO good. I love trying different things and this was the place to do it. The portions were just the right size to be able to eat something from each course without being stuffed. My favorite things there were a lamb dish with lamb done 2 ways on the plate, the lobster, the coconut creme brulee, and the rum cake with caramel ice cream. Silk Harvest was our second favorite place. We didn't hate but didn't love Murano or Tuscan Grille. We almost never ate at the buffet except to get a snack or gelato. My husband ate at the Mast Grill and really enjoyed the bar and cigar smoking up top. For drinks, we frequented the Martini Bar. We liked the location and the crowd. The Molecular Bar had some great drinks--the Coming up Roses was fantastic. We also spent lots of time at the Cafe Bacio with frappes every day. I didn't care for the regular coffee on the ship and was very happy to find that with the Premium Beverage package we could get the specialty coffees at the Cafe Bacio or even at the bar as you go into the buffet area. We did not attend shows every night, but did enjoy the ones we saw. I attended the cooking shows and learned a lot and had fun there! The casino was fun--we did Cruise Critic slot pull and broke even. My husband fared better than me and enjoyed a couple of the tournaments. We made minimal use of the spa and Persian Gardens. We did have room service breakfast and it was quite good, but we liked eating in Blu when we had time. We only asked for the afternoon Aqua Cabin snacks a few days and they were fine. We thought the cruise was great and would go again in a minute. Celebrity is our favorite line due to the smoking policy (no smoke smelled on our balcony and no smoke in the casino!) and now the Aqua Class because of Blu. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
We were very impressed with the Solstice, which surprised us as we are smaller ship cruiser if we have a choice. This ship is very big and carries a lot of passengers but fells more like a small ship is the way the passengers congregate. ... Read More
We were very impressed with the Solstice, which surprised us as we are smaller ship cruiser if we have a choice. This ship is very big and carries a lot of passengers but fells more like a small ship is the way the passengers congregate. We truly liked the various lounges, pools and entertainment venue and never really felt crowded. The itinerary was outstanding for us as we like lots of ports and choices of activities. The only drawback is that there is no sea day until five days into the cruise. If you have been vacationing before you embark, as we were, then you are very tired and more than ready for that first sea day. The last two sea days are together so you just don't get a lot of rest on this itinerary but so what, right? Embarkation was pretty standard and we were allowed to board the ship around 11:00 but, since rooms were not ready, passengers were invited to use the lounges and buffet. We felt our verandah cabin was quite large, although, again, we usually sail smaller Celebrity ships (Galaxy, Century, Infinity, Azamara, etc.) Very comfortable beds and the bathroom is big with a great glass enclosure instead of a creeping shower curtain. Some cabins have the bed as you enter and the couch/desk near the verandah while others are reversed. There are pros and cons to both but no major issues. We did find the placement of the drawers and shelves to be strange as part of your clothes are in one part of the the room and part are in the other. Our cabin was in aft and, since this ship is so large, there is quite a walk to an elevator. Didn't bother us but heard folks whining a bit. The elevators and atrium are truly nice as there is entertainment and dancing each evening in the main area, rather than hidden away in a top floor lounge. Many people stopped on they way into dinner or the way out, as well as having most of the lounges/bars facing the atrium so music could be heard throughout. Made for nice times in the Martini Bar, Bistro on Five, shopping areas, coffee cafe etc. NOt such a good idea for the library that opens into the atrium but it has fewer books than most ships and we were too busy to care. Sitting outside to read is one of the pleasures of cruising. The crew were attentive and accessible and we felt well served. Dining staff, bar staff, etc. all greet you and pay attention to your preferences. The senior officers are truly around the ship. When we had the early sail into Kotor, an officer was up there chatting with those of us who wanted panorama pictures, rather than those from our balcony. The captain's announcements each day were informative and always ended with a joke. Both the captain and the cruise director performed in the theatre and I even talked with the captain when he came to make his own latte in the cafe. Food was very good. The buffet is a buffet and some things are good and some less so but food choices abound. The burger grill is very good on days when you are at sea or back from land. The Aqua spa cafe has interesting, healthy choices for breakfast and lunch - and always has the best whole fruit that doesn't always appear in the buffet. We had one lunch and two breakfast in the dining room and it was like having a private dining area. Most people don't want to sit down and take the time but the food is good and you end up controlling your portions a bit more. We loved the pannini/crepe place on five, even though we thought we wouldn't bother to pay $5 when there are lots of places to eat. TRY IT. Pananini's are great, salads and soup are very good and the dessert crepes are better than most desserts. You can order as much as you like for one price but they bring everything in courses so it is hot and you can all eat at the same time - rather than having someone off at a buffet station. The only specialty restaurant we went to was the Tuscan Grille and it was wonderful. IT has the best location on the ship with beautiful windows all across the back so select a sail away time (as we did for Dubrovnik) and it is heaven. A crew member told us to order the steaks but ask for the pasta as side dishes (they are listed as entrees) and we did - made for a lot of food but great choices. Eat lightly through the antipasti, maybe skip either soup or salad, then get the pasta sides and desserts after your steak. Wonderful. We had been to Murano's before and find the food very good but just too stuffy an atmosphere for our taste. Entertainment was very good with something for everyone. Loved "Metro Park", the accapella group that performs in different venues each evening. They had a real following and tended to draw a crowd, with in the atrium or the entertainment court. The final show, "Solstice, the show" is a Cirque de Soleil type show that is pretty outstanding to be presented on a moving ship. The three specialty performers got different reactions but were overall good. They are unlikely to be the same on subsequent voyages. The ship's entertainers were some of the best we have seen so, if you like shows, you should try most of them. During formal nights, the shows were at 8:45 and 10:45. On other nights, they were at 7:15 and 9:15. As we were frequently tired from shore activities, there were times we just ate at the Bistro on Five or the buffet and then went to the early show. Celebrity Select dining was full when we requested it - probably because they were so many ports on this itinerary and sail away was frequently 7:00 or later. Since we found late dining too late - we like to get an early start at ports - we chose early seating and it was fine. They were pretty flexible about coming in on time and many people would wander in half an hour late. But we found our desire to be safely back on ship got us there early enough to allow us to make early seating anyway. The fitness center was not crowded, even early in the morning, and well outfitted. They had a notice to limit treadmill/elliptical use to 20 minutes when it was crowded but we never had to do that as they did not fill up so were were able to get our 4 miles or other workouts in. The "track" outside was short and it crowded up easily with different paces so it was hard to run there - plus people used the loungers later in the morning, making it impossible to get around. We do not do ship's tours so I cannot speak to them. The itinerary allowed for lots of options, though. Since we had been to Rome and Florence, we rented cars and went elsewhere for those ports. Went to Cinque Terra and hiked all five villages and went to Orvieto and Civita - both absolutely wonderful trips and driving in Italy was fun. Dubrovnik and Kotor were easily done on your own. Other than thoroughly exploring the old towns and eating great food, we hIked the fort in Kotor and went by ferry to a nature preserve/swimming area in Dubrovnik. Venice was just outstanding and loved having an overnight. It made it so special. We got vaparetto passes for two days and, in addition to lots of walking, we went up and down the Grand Canal many time as well as to the church that sits across from San Marco square. Regarding transportation, Celebrity offers an $8 shuttle in Livorno that will take you back and forth to the city square. We did not use it as we had rented a car that was delivered right to the dock for us. There was a $12 shuttle in Dubrovnik that is pretty much a necessity as you really can't walk to the old town, but it was convenient and we got an early start on walking the walls. CAUTION: This is the only port where the guards check for a picture ID before letting the shuttle out of the port. Some folks had brought only copies of their passport and had to get off and walk back. Our drivers licenses were sufficient, though. In Venice, there is a water shuttle for $18 for one day or $36 for both. It travels only back and forth from the ship and San Marco Square but that worked well for most people. The just explored from there. Since we took the vaparetto's instead, we paid $18 euros for a two day pass and could ride any of the vaparettos but you do need to walk about 1 mile to Piazzola Roma to catch them and they can be crowded during "rush hour". However, riding up and down the Grand Canal is a great overview to the palaces and sights. Up to you. Overall, we were pleased that such a large ship broke up the public areas so it "lived" smaller and more personally. There were some areas we saw but never got to explore because this was such a port intensive cruise. In a different itinerary, it might feel different. But we would definitely sail the Solstice again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
For our first Mediterranean cruise (and our honeymoon!), we could not have asked for anything to be better. The food all across Europe was amazing. The wine was fabulous. Celebrity does a fabulous job, from the service we received in our ... Read More
For our first Mediterranean cruise (and our honeymoon!), we could not have asked for anything to be better. The food all across Europe was amazing. The wine was fabulous. Celebrity does a fabulous job, from the service we received in our suite to the welcoming atmosphere we felt by the captain and senior staff. As a ship the Solstice is beautiful. We found it to be clean, warm, elegant and well-laid out. We had booked this cruise early (at least 9 months in advance). I don't know that we got a very good rate then, but since it was our honeymoon we were ok with it. One month before the cruise, I happened to see a Celebrity sale offering a Guarantee Suite for about $250 more/pp. Our travel agent thought this would be a good value for us and a nice touch. She couldn't have been more right!!! Our room was gorgeous. Service was first-rate. We even had a doorbell! The last night of the cruise, we invited some friends up to share some wine and our butler hooked us up with a platter of shrimp cocktail and another of meat/cheese/crackers. We had breakfast each day in our cabin, the food was great. The itinerary was perfect, as we had a nice blend of ports and things to do, but also a few days at sea to enjoy the ship. Am I gushing yet?? :)So there were a couple things I would do to improve. First, we had Select dining. Love the option of eating when we want to. And we made some great friends by sitting with other people on a couple nights and the others by ourselves. However, the service was somewhat lacking or slow. It simply looked like too many people dining and not enough staff, as it took almost 15 minutes for us to even see the Somelier most nights. Everyone was friendly, just wasn't prompt or attentive as it could have been. Also was disappointed to see that shrimp, crab & lobster were hardly ever served and a sirloin steak was a regular entree rather than a NY Strip or Ribeye, something with a little flavor. This is not the cruise to take if you are looking for significant nightlife. We didn't stay out most nights, but the few we did we found bars closing down at 11:30pm with tons of people still there and bands stopping when people were just starting going. The venues were all very nice, just the programming schedule was a little off. They certainly would have made a lot more money had they stayed open, so I'm not sure why they would close up that early.That's it for the improvements needed - back to the good stuff. Having a suite afforded us Elite level Captain's Club benefits. What a great way to celebrate your honeymoon. I'm sure we looked out of place, in our mid 30s, walking into the daily happy hour with everyone 60+ that had most likely cruised their way into that level. We enjoyed free cappucinos in Michael's Club several mornings and took full advantage of free laundry, etc. The biggest perk though - an invitation to the Captain's table one night for dinner. We ate with the Staff Captain and Chief Safety Officer, along with 3 other couples. What a fine evening, finished off with a nice photo of our table and group. Later in the week we were priveleged to visit the bridge as well.Other things we like - the gym was well appointed and not overly crowded. My wife enjoyed the solarium area, though the hot tubs need to be hotter than 96 degrees. The casino was nice and big, never too crowded, and the staff were great. As this is my first review, I will leave it at that. We had never cruised with Celebrity before (Carnival, Norwegian & Holland America) and they have made two new fans for life. I can't say we'll never cruise another line again, but overall we were very impressed with the ship and the cruise line and will certainly be on it again! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
This was our 17th cruise and as usual we enjoyed. We have already been to all the ports so we did not schedule any tours. Made arrangements at several ports for a taxi that took us to places that we preferred from previous cruises. We went ... Read More
This was our 17th cruise and as usual we enjoyed. We have already been to all the ports so we did not schedule any tours. Made arrangements at several ports for a taxi that took us to places that we preferred from previous cruises. We went to Positano at the Naples Port by taxi. We took the train in to Rome on our own. Had a taxi tour Mdina at Malta. Taxi to Plaka in Athens. Santorini, Mykonos & Kusadasi we just stayed in the port town and enjoyed coffee and lunch while shopping. Much more relaxed cruise as we were not rushing around trying to see everything. We were in Concierge class so enjoyed some perks such as the fresh squeezed orange juice and broad breakfast menu for room service. Room and balcony were same size as regular cabins. Cabin service was not exceptional. Would not book this class ( extra cost) however, we book so late that there was no guarantee of having a non-obstructed view. Food in main dining room seemed a little disappointing. We had some tough meat and less choice. Feel like the ships have lowered their food standards in the dining room. Perhaps better in the "pay extra" dining rooms. Did not go to the specialty dining rooms. Thought the buffet on level 14 was always pretty good for lunch. Had a good selection of pastas, pizza, salads, etc. Never could go hungry. Cafe al Bacio on deck 5 was nice for some good coffee and yummy snacks, cookies and desserts. Rooms were nice. Storage seems a little lacking - need to use the above the bed storage which is a little difficult to reach. The bathroom is very nice - great shower. Lighting in the room is nice with night light for bathroom. Enjoyed balcony (great weather) and very private. Nice t.v. with movies. Went to some shows - not to impressive. Enjoyed Jon Courtenay - great entertainer - plays piano & sings. He was outstanding and got a standing ovation. Husband used the spa for massages - pretty good but expensive. We booked this cruise last minute. We good a great price for this cruise. We did enjoy it! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2010
Embarkation This was very smooth and we wer eon the ship within 30 minutes of arriving. The ship I found it a departure from the norm. We had just travelled on Eurodam around the Caribbean and found it to be an excellent ship and its ... Read More
Embarkation This was very smooth and we wer eon the ship within 30 minutes of arriving. The ship I found it a departure from the norm. We had just travelled on Eurodam around the Caribbean and found it to be an excellent ship and its nautical heritage was obvious, you really felt like you were on a ship. Solstice is very contemporary and you feel like you are in a building that is a cross between a modern office block and a shopping mall. I think the central location of the elevators and the open plan environment gave me that feeling. I loved it. We had one of four family cabins on the ship. When we booked the fine detail of the cabin layout was not available as the ship was still being built. The second bedroom has no natural light and this made us nickname it "the cave". Although this was disappointing it gave my father in law his own separate and private space, which is a rare commodity on a ship unless you book a really expensive suite. The TV was so much more than a TV and we were impressed with the many things you could do on it. The room was large and very spacious, were were not crowded at all. I suppose this results from the cabin being on a corner of the ship. The furnishings and surface finishes were not very upmarket and looked quite cheap. Having just got off Eurodam the day before we embarked on Solstice gave us a good comparison. Eurodam furnishings and surface finishes were rich and inviting. Storage space was very inadequate and there were a number of walls that could have been used to mount wardrobes or other storage space. The balcony was rarely used as the wind was far too strong when the ship was underway. The two front facing windows were great as you could see where you were going and they gave lots of natural light. The roll away bed for my daughter was poor quality. The bathroom was excellent, plenty of space given it was on a ship. The cabin attendant was very helpful, no complaints. I did not like our location in the main dining room, it was on the upper level next to a window but on rectangular tables that were too close together. We did not feel like we were in the main dining room as we could not see the lower level and lost the ambiance of the magnificent ceiling displays. The ice bar was a popular meeting point but I felt it was too crowded. The alternative restaurants are all located at the rear of the ship and I felt you lost some feeling of exclusivity due to them being so close together, I preferred the spread out restaurant locations on Eurodam. The Bistro on Five is a good alternative restaurant and well priced at $5 a head and I was surprise it was not well patronised. I did not like the coffee shop coffee. The baristas need more training and there should be a choice of milks. Australians like 4% fat milk as it makes a better latte. The enclosed indoor pool area is fantastic for relaxing but I was annoyed at the selfish people who leave books on a seat to reserve it then walk away. The staff did not police this very well. I loved the sea days and would have liked more of them. As much as I enjoy the port visits, the sea days are very relaxing. I also enjoyed the evening entertainment, both the shows and also the musicians playing around the various bars. Very professional. The library was poor, very few books and over two levels it was difficult to go up and down. The library looks like it was designed as a pretty show piece for guests to see as they went up and down the lift. The library on the Eurodam is perfect, Celebrity should copy what HAL do. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
Myself and DM sailed on the Solstice on Feb 21st, and we both have nothing but god things to say! We have sailed Carnival and RCI a number of times, and this was our first Celebrity cruise. Right from the beginning it was obvious that X is ... Read More
Myself and DM sailed on the Solstice on Feb 21st, and we both have nothing but god things to say! We have sailed Carnival and RCI a number of times, and this was our first Celebrity cruise. Right from the beginning it was obvious that X is a step above the aforementioned mass market lines. I am 24 and DM is 52, and I was a bit concerned about the demographics of the ship. I though maybe I would be bored and there wouldn't be anyone my age. More about that later. Embarkation - We have sailed a few times out of Port Everglades and this was the easiest embarkation we've ever had. The Solstice sails out of the new Oasis terminal so it is well equipped to handle twice as many people. From the time we got to the terminal (around 12:30) to the time we were on the ship was not more than 20 minutes, if that. Our rooms were ready at 1, and after dropping off our carry on bags, we went for lunch and did some exploring to orient ourselves with the important amenities. Our luggage arrived between 4 and 5, during the emergency drill. Cabin - We were in cabin 1604 on the Penthouse deck. As it was "hump" room, we did have a larger balcony, however it is a forward facing balcony so it did get quite windy. The bed was near the window, we didn't really have a preference, but I will agree that the sofa could have been a bit shorter (we didn't use it at all) to give more access to the closet. As well, the above-bed cabinets were great, but had we been 3 people in a room, there wouldn't have been nearly enough space. The Aqua Class shower was pretty good, and the glass doors were really nice. Plenty of storage space in the washroom, even for two women. Food - We ate in Blu 3 nights, MDR 2 nights, Silk Harvest, and Tuscan Grille. I thought Aqua Class was worth it just for Blu, the food was definitely better, the best meals we had the whole week were there. Silk Harvest was OK, the sushi was great, but they neglected to tell us that it was "family style" so 4 of us ended up with enough food for 16 people. Tuscan Grille was very good and the view is incredible. MDR was pretty good, definitely better than Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Service was impeccable, if we ever made an alteration to a dish it was always perfect, and everyone was very nice. The Oceanview Cafe (Lido buffet) was quite good, breakfast had TONS of options, and the pasta station was fantastic. I also has lunch one day at the Bistro on 5 and my Mediterranean crepe was delicious and well worth the $5. I did not try the Mast Grill but it looked very good. Entertainment - Best we've had on a cruise so far. The Solstice Show was amazing, the acrobatics and performers were great. Adam Trent, the magician, was also great, very entertaining and his family was travelling on our cruise so we met him in the nightclub one night and he's a great guy. I was a bit bored with the showtunes production, but every other show was great. There were theme nights and parties (70s night, 60s night, Poolside Latin Dance Party, etc) which were all fun. We really enjoyed Will Foraker, the pianist, and Metro Park, the a cappella group. We saw the comedian who was very amusing, and joined in on trivia and some other activities. I can definitely say I was never bored. Other guests - This was an older crowd, as was expected based on the cruise line and time of year. There were a lot of wheelchairs and walkers. A small handful of children. As a 24 year old, I was definitely concerned that I would be in bed at 10 pm, bored. Turns out I was terribly mistaken. There was a small group of us in our early 20s, (about 15 of us) which was just fine with me. We closed up the club every night and had a great time. Also, because we were such a small group, we were able to get to know each other better and I'm sure we'll stay in touch. For the most part, everyone was very nice. There are always exceptions (such as the lady who was not impressed when we inquired why her and her husband required 3 pool chairs for two people), but said exceptions were few and far between. Ports of Call - Meh. San Juan has a lot of history and I REALLY wanted to do the Segway tour, but it was sold out before we even got on the ship. We ended up doing the old and new city tour and it was just alright. We could have walked around on our own and been equally as satisfied. St Kitts is really stunning, but a number of shore excursions were cancelled due to wind and sea conditions. We walked around the port and admired the scenery, then got back on the ship. St. Maarten we took the water taxi to town ($6 return) and shopped. Nothing incredibly exciting. Miscellaneous - I bought the beer package ($241 for 7 days) and essentially drank for free for the last 3 days. It was well worth it, I never had to sign for drinks and didn't have to be concerned about racking up crazy bar tabs. We brought wine on board but didn't end up drinking all of it. I brought a 1.75 L bottle of wine and my mom brought two 750 mL , and it was more than we needed. I know that a few of the other people I spoke to also brought liquor on board and didn't have a problem with it. I had heard some comments that Celebrity created the Aqua Class as a way to sell the undesirable rooms on board and I can't say I disagree with this. The AQ rooms are located directly beneath the pool and it was definitely not quiet, especially the night of the Latin pool party. DM and I really didn't use the Persian Garden or relaxation room, as they were often crowded and not terribly relaxing. We also asked our (wonderful) stateroom attendant to stop bringing the canapEs, as they were not very appetizing. We went to the buffet when they started serving sushi and brought it back to our room instead. Well I suppose that is all for now, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
We travel often and rely on Cruise Critic for advice and suggestions so I want to provide as much information I can to assist others. We arrived in Rome a couple of days early and stayed at the Atlante Star Hotel. It was a nice hotel ... Read More
We travel often and rely on Cruise Critic for advice and suggestions so I want to provide as much information I can to assist others. We arrived in Rome a couple of days early and stayed at the Atlante Star Hotel. It was a nice hotel with free shuttle from the airport. Neither of us ever sleep on the plane so it was nice to be picked up by the hotel. The only problem was we had to wait about an hour for the shuttle bus. Hotel was nice, close to the Vatican and the breakfast buffet was excellent. We travel often and always carry on so we walked on cruise day across St. Peters Square and took the train from Roma St. Pietro Station to the port. It was probably a mile or so walk from the hotel to the train station. We followed the instructions from CC and after leaving the Civit. Station walked about ¾ mile to the Port. (Thank you to all the CC contributors for directions) It was a very easy journey and the cost of the train trip was about 8 euros each. A bus picks you up at the port entrance and transfers you to the ship. We arrived at the port at 1:15 boarded about 1:30 and upon entering the ship they announced the cabins were ready. Nice surprise! Our cabin was 1603 (Aqua Spa) and had a bump out cabin that was nice. It made the deck a little larger because of the angle and we could see forward all the way to the bridge. It was a nice view looking forward as we had breakfast in the morning. We ate breakfast every day on our veranda, which was nice. You can also order off the main dining room menu at night if you ask your room attendant for a copy of the evening's menu. They bring it to your room when it is available and then after 6:30 pm we called Room Service and placed the order. The meal usually arrived about 7:30 pm brought to you by the room steward. Other nights we ate in BLU. This is the Aqua Spa level dining room. It probably holds about 120 people; on most nights there were more empty seats than full ones. It was pleasant and had good food in slightly smaller portions. Also, there was not the meat and potatoes kind of meals and not extravagant desserts. On a couple of occasions the waiters dropped off an extra entrEe for us to share. For example, one night I had a steak, my wife a pasta dinner and they came by and dropped off lamb chops for us to share. We never asked for this, but we saw them do it quite a bit at other tables as well. It was a nice touch and gave us the chance to sample more kinds of meals. They also surprised us with a nice Happy Honeymoon Chocolate Cake which was a pleasant surprise. The 10-day Eastern Med. Cruise is port intensive and gives you plenty of opportunity to see many fine ports. We especially loved Santorini, Pompeii and Ephesus. We had been to Mykonos and Athens before but walked different directions to see different things. The ports included: Messina, Ephesus, Naples/Pompeii, Mykonos, Athens, Rhodes, and Santorini. The ship is beautiful; the service was great for us. We enjoyed the meals, did not stay for long at the shows, and played a long time in the casino for about $20 each. We never won any big slot machine jackpots, but were able to play for a long time on a little money when the mood hit us. The machines kept us playing even if we did not win anything major. We also really enjoyed the glass show and won a beautiful bowl in their raffle. After the cruise we went back to the port and took the train. Departing at Roma St. Pietro we were able to miss all the chaos at the Termini Station. We stayed at the Starhotels Michelangelo, which is only about 500 yards from the station. This was a good location for us because we wanted to focus our visit at the Vatican and the hotel is only a couple of blocks away. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
We flew to Rome on Monday and spent three nights there. Then we were escorted to the Port of Rome for our ten day trip. The ship is so beautiful. It was the 11th cruise my husband and I have taken and this was the most beautiful ship of ... Read More
We flew to Rome on Monday and spent three nights there. Then we were escorted to the Port of Rome for our ten day trip. The ship is so beautiful. It was the 11th cruise my husband and I have taken and this was the most beautiful ship of all. Our cabin had a balcony, which we have gotten use to inn the last 5 cruises. The staff was excellent. We had wonderful bathrobes waiting in our closet. The bathroom was large and every well accomadated. The nicest one we have found so far. The bed was very comfortable. Overall we loved this ship. The food was excellent. Reviews on this board had us worried about the food. But, it seems they have gotten a new chef from France recently and he did a wonderful job. Each night we were able to have escargot if we wanted it. We had duck, lobster, lamb, prime rib, etc. The portions were huge. The salads were very unique each evening. One thing, you did not get to eat in the dinning room at lunch. That was different for us. But, the buffett was the best I have ever seen. The selections were excellent and I am sure no one went hungry. For the first time ever I did not mind eating at the buffett. The entertainment was no so good. The usual type of entertainment and nothing to rave about. The ports were great. Ephesus was the main attraction. We chose a private tour for that as well and Athens. Used the ship's shore excursions for all other ports. The tours became a little of the same after a while. All of the Greek Islands were basically the same sites. They were beautiful, but after a while the ruins got to all run together in our minds. Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast were my favorite. Things that were not as great as other ships...they seem to no longer make the little animals out of the towels for your room. I noticed this on the last two Princess cruises as well. The photos of you coming on the ship and off were poor. The gladiator and Roman had on tennis shoes. Who wants a picture with the Roman wearing tennis shoes? Not us. There was no meet the Captain personally. He was on the stage at the theatre and spoke to everyone as a group. What's up with that? It use to be so nice to get your picture taken with the captain. No more. And the champagne was awful with no appetizers like you usually have. It was not a party at all. But, I don't want to be negative. The cruise was wonderful. The staff was excellent. The ship is just beautiful. I would go on it again. The ports were great. We had not been to any of them except Rome and Naples and even enjoyed repeating those. I would highly recommend the Solstice. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
This was actually two cruises, back-to-back. First, 10 days in the Greek Isles, Italy and Turkey, then 13 days Civitavecchia to Ft. Lauderdale.So,lots of sightseeing on first leg, lots of sea days on the last. The ship itself is beautiful ... Read More
This was actually two cruises, back-to-back. First, 10 days in the Greek Isles, Italy and Turkey, then 13 days Civitavecchia to Ft. Lauderdale.So,lots of sightseeing on first leg, lots of sea days on the last. The ship itself is beautiful and well laid out. The Lawn Club and glass blowing seem at first to be wasteful, but they were actually well used and make a unique addition. The cabin seemed a bit small, but there was ample storage, even for a long voyage. The lighting scheme is not good, not geared for reading either on the sofa or in bed, and no way to separate the bed from the rest of the cabin so that one person can read while the other sleeps. On the other hand, we liked the night light in the bathroom, the larger shower, and the rain shower head. Flatscreen TV was also a welcome feature. The food in the main restaurant,Grand Epernay, as well as the buffet, Oceanview Cafe, was quite good. We weren't overwhelmed by the quality of waiters in Epernay, but that could have been luck of the draw.We did dine at the specialty restaurant ,Tuscan Grille, but the food and service really weren't much better than that in Grand Epernay, and surely not worth an extra $50.So,we made it a one time event. Like almost everyone we talked with, we think 6:00 PM is too early for dinner, and 8:30 is too late. We look forward to "My Time" dining on future Celebrity Cruises. The new Elite Captain's Club privileges were truly enjoyed and appreciated. The cocktail hour, with new friends we made there, became one of each day's highlights.The extras like free internet and laundry were also great added attractions. Thanks to Celebrity Cruises for them. The entertainment and "enrichment" were the low points of the ship. The singers and dancers were the weakest we have come across on a cruise ship, and the choreography and songs were "odd". Most of the individual performers were OK, but not great. The most enjoyable entertainment for us was Dave,the piano player in Michael's Lounge. Service was very good all around, with lots of smiles and greetings. Good crew! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
We were a party of 4, two elderly seasoned cruisers and two 40 something first time cruisers. We were in a spa cabin which was disappointingly small. Very little drawer or hanging space. If your cabin is in the centre of the spa deck the ... Read More
We were a party of 4, two elderly seasoned cruisers and two 40 something first time cruisers. We were in a spa cabin which was disappointingly small. Very little drawer or hanging space. If your cabin is in the centre of the spa deck the top deck will hang over your balcony and keep out the sun. There was just nowhere to sit quietly on this ship. Everywhere there was loud music playing even in the library. The adults only covered pool should be free of music as most people using this pool are reading or sleeping. Santorini was a disaster. We waited 3 hours to board the tender and then gave up as it was dark by this time. Although I was at the tender desk by opening time (9a.m.) we had to wait for firstly the tour people to go, then a large Asian group and then a large American group who all got preferential treatment. The tours were poor value for money. Too much time is given to seeing the "carpet shop". Our travelling companions did not book any tours and fared much better than we did. They hired a car in Mykonos and Ephesus, walked to the Mosque area in Istanbul and took the metro from the port of Piraeus to the Acropolis which cost only a few Euros. Spa cabin guests eat in the Blu Restaurant. The food there was only passable. Soups were good also the steaks but generally the food was way down on the list of ships we have been on. Service was rushed. The waiters seemed to be rushing all the time and the wine waitress often did not come to take our order until we were eating the main course. We ate only once in the Murano restaurant which was well below standard and cannot compare with say Ted English on a Queen Victoria. As seasoned cruisers this cruise was way down on our list of enjoyable holidays but our two travelling companions thought it was fantastic, so perhaps it is more suitable for the under 40's. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
When debating what to do for our honeymoon, my wife (DW) and I had different ideas. She wanted to relax and I wanted to see Europe. The original plan was to tour Italy or Europe for 2 weeks traveling from city to city by train. We received ... Read More
When debating what to do for our honeymoon, my wife (DW) and I had different ideas. She wanted to relax and I wanted to see Europe. The original plan was to tour Italy or Europe for 2 weeks traveling from city to city by train. We received a cruise postcard in the mail randomly and began researching a cruise. This piqued our interest and we chose Celebrity Solstice based on its itinerary, amenities, and good reviews on Cruise Critic. The cruise departed 2 days after our wedding which allowed us to arrive in Rome on the morning of the cruise, take a Celebrity panoramic tour around the city, and arrive at the ship with time to spare. Getting to Civitavecchia can be a hassle or expensive after a long flight. We decided that the panoramic tour was the best value even though we were worn out after the flight. An espresso upon arrival helped to perk us up. Aqua Class and Concierge Class have separate check-in desks at the port which made checking in very easy. We were very impressed at how spacious and pleasant the cabin was. Though we don't have any other cabin experience, the room was new, the veranda was especially spacious for two people, closet and storage space was more than sufficient, and the bathroom was larger than the one in my first studio apartment. I am a fan of the Hansgrohe bath fixtures and the shower in Aqua Class is refreshing with a rainfall showerhead and 6 jets on a shower panel. The water can be sprayed in different combinations and the shower head can also be adjusted for height. After the cruise we stayed at the Rome InterContinental and I immediately missed the shower on the Solstice. What we liked about the cruise ship: 1. Molecule Bar and its friendly, talented bartenders Liljiana and Daniel. This bar is located on deck 5 in front of the art gallery area. We visted this bar for pre-dinner drinks nightly. They specialize in specialty, balanced, cocktails using freshly squeezed juices and modern techniques. There are 12 cocktails on the menu and I tried every one of them. My favorite was the Tanned Russian and a close second was the Melon Felon. DW enjoyed the Coming up Roses and the Dragonfly (topped with liquid nitrogen for both drama and chilling). This bar was quiet as other passengers seemed either slow to discover it or reluctant to spend $12/drink. Towards the end of the cruise, I switched to Grolsch as one can only handle so much fruitiness. 2. Blu, dining room for Aqua Class passengers only, and our servers Mildred and Myo Ko. Service was exceptionally prompt and more courteous than can be found in most fine restaurants. Simply prepared entrees were much better than when the kitchen attemped adventure. The biggest miss was the lobster with some sort of orange sauce. The lamb and the steak options were always tasty. 3. Eric the Port and Shopping Director. We started watching his presentations on channel 4 and then realized we could view them in person. He was very enthusiastic about the ports and the goods that could be purchased. Eric said that everyone on the cruise would buy a Turkish carpet. I thought this could not be true. We surprised ourselves by buying one at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and 2 in a store in Kusadesi. They really are well made and at prices much better than what could be found in the U.S. I also enjoyed the negotiating game that the rug dealers encourage. 4. The fitness room on deck 12. This room does not seem to get much coverage on any sites, but it is more than sufficient to continue a fitness routine on vacation. There was a good amount of cardio equipment and I never had to wait to use a piece of equipment. The cardio equipment also offers a great view. At the front of the fitness room there is a deck above the of the ship that is barely used. This a great place to be for enjoying the passing scenery and serenity at sea. 5. Our stateroom attendants, Yolanda and Mohammed, were fantastic and always friendly and speedy. Celebrity does a great job of training its people in hospitality or hiring well-suited people. What we did not enjoy about the cruise: 1. Fellow passengers who forget or never knew manners. The Oceanview Cafe on deck 14 is a prime location for rudeness and animal-like behavior. Meals in this room should be avoided. A woman pushed me away from the pastry area with a forearm to the mid-back and no mention of the words pardon or excuse me. The food is prepared for thousands of overeaters. I cannot understand why people load up mountains of average-at-best food onto their plates. As a positive, at the back of the dining room there is a nice outside area with table at the aft of the ship. If you can, stay out of there or visit early in the morning for coffee and cereal. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
The Solstice is a big, beauty kept spotlessly clean by a staff who must be hung and quartered if they don't smile and greet every guest at every possible moment. The cabin was bright, airy, very functional, comfortable and quiet. ... Read More
The Solstice is a big, beauty kept spotlessly clean by a staff who must be hung and quartered if they don't smile and greet every guest at every possible moment. The cabin was bright, airy, very functional, comfortable and quiet. Couldn't ask for more. Balcony was terrif. Can't imagine cruising without one. Public spaces were beautiful, clean and inviting with no crowding, no hassles, no aggravation. Food in buffet was good, but not outstanding. Breads and other baked goods are mediocre at best. Expected variety in dining room to vary regionally based on where we were (Greece, Italy, Turkey), but it never happened. It should. Food quality was good, though. Upgrade restaurant, Murano, was excellent, went twice. Didn't try others since no one we talked to raved about them. Entertainment was average, at best, but our 2000 new friends provided loads of entertainment. All veteran cruisers we spoke with concurred the entertainment was poor. Very diverse crowd, from many nations. No one was particularly obnoxious and most were a pleasure to be around. Solstice seems to have no draw for those under 40 though, and that's a shame. Departing ship at ports was poorly handled by ship crew when tendering and led to problems. Some people didn't get off the ship until mid-afternoon and there were injuries from falls while boarding the tenders. More in ports section, below. Re the ship. Top deck has grass. Our fave spot. Putting green had grass, but not cut to putt on. Bocce area was great fun. Good bar. Really nice place to hang out. Pool deck was really nice, indoor, outdoor, both lovely. Bars all over the ship and all are beauties and comfy. Ship seems to have been designed for wide-bodies-all chairs were ample and comfy. Library is really just a nap room. There are few books and no effort made to provide anything current, no magazines, no newspapers, no travel books, no novels. It's just a pretty room. Shops were nicely stocked and prices seemed reasonable. Casino was pleasant, not crowded and another well-designed room. Concierge class was supposed to get shoe shines-never offered. Supposed to get pillow choices, never offered. Don't believe we got anything extra (except a bottle of champagne) for paying extra for Concierge class. Service: Cabin steward was okay, not great. Did keep the room clean but the attitude seemed lacking. Waiters in dining room were good, efficient and always brought more than asked for, instantly. Ship concierge was marvelous. Didn't take any ship excursions, but feedback from others was not good. Never heard a positive review of ship's excursions. Some told us Solstice was one of the best ever, ship-wise, but lacked entertainment and activities other ships offer. As for us rookie cruisers, we were very pleased. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
We hoped to start the cruise stress-free by arriving at Civitavecchia's Hotel Bramante two nights before embarking and it worked. We were collected promptly by a Bramante van driver upon arrival at Rome Airport. The Hotel is ... Read More
We hoped to start the cruise stress-free by arriving at Civitavecchia's Hotel Bramante two nights before embarking and it worked. We were collected promptly by a Bramante van driver upon arrival at Rome Airport. The Hotel is newly-renovated, comfortable and the English-speaking staff is very helpful. A good buffet breakfast (just ask if you want cappuccino or latte instead of American) is the only meal available. The Hotel recommended the Ideale Restaurant, a short walk away, for an excellent seafood and fresh pasta dinner overlooking the sea. It's a half-hour walk or Euro 10 taxi ride to the train station downtown, where we got our Euro 9 pp "BIRG" roundtrip tickets into Rome. Even on Sunday morning, trains were quite frequent and after 45 minutes ride we got off at St Peter's Station and joined the throngs in the Vatican City. BIRG tickets include free travel on Rome public transport but a fine day encouraged us to walk over to the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps etc before catching an afternoon train back to Civitavecchia. EMBARKATION: The Bramante provides a free shuttle service to the ship at hourly intervals. We chose the 11:40 shuttle and Celebrity's service at the dock was so swift that we were on board in a few minutes. THE SHIP: Awesomely huge, striking dEcor throughout the public areas, 12-storey atrium with tree suspended in the center and ample number of glass-sided elevators to serve the 3000- odd passengers. The Library is visible from the elevators, looks cute but in fact is largely for decoration as the collection of books is dismal: seemingly random $1:00 bargains from The Strand Bookstore. Many shelves are out of reach and sofas are placed so they block access even to some one could reach. I suggest a professional librarian be put in charge to select books and organize their placement. The touted ½ acre lawn is lovely and we enjoyed a round of putting. I question, however, whether the novelty of it justifies the inevitable reduction in usable deck space. I haven't examined the deck plans side-by-side but my impression is that the jogging track is shorter than on the Milennium class ships and in general outdoor space is more crowded. We were in a Sky Suite, an extra-large cabin but "Suite" is a misnomer leading one to expect separated spaces as in a hotel. Our butler Idel and steward Lucas provided impeccable service, always with a pleasant word or useful suggestion about the events of the day. Grand Epernay, the main dining room, is attractively decorated but the tables are very close together. We had a table for two. It was easier to talk to the Canadian lady beside me than with my companion across the table. The distance problem is further aggravated by poor chair design. OK to relax in, they aren't upright enough to be comfortable for dining. DINING: The food in Epernay was excellent, plenty of choices and every night something new to try. We always started with escargots that arrived piping hot. Our waiters Andre and Paul were attentive and sommelier Randi was helpful and knows his wines. Bistro on Five was an ideal venue for a different lunch on sea days. Recommended are the daily soups, paninis and, of course, the signature crepes. Recommended also are two specialty restaurants. We booked weeks in advance, as advised on these Boards, to ensure getting the day and time we preferred. Memorable at Toscana (Italian) was the antipasto, veal and sea bass. Murano (French despite the name) had a fabulous goat cheese soufflE starter, lobster bisque, lemon sole, succulent venison, and scrumptious grand marnier soufflE. In both restaurants the service was wonderful and wine selection extensive. Buffets on Deck 14 offered an amazing variety of well-cooked and attractively presented dishes. Imagine six variations on Eggs Benedict! English breakfasts included favorites such as fried bread, English-style bacon, black pudding, the only disappointment being the tasteless sausages. We enjoyed the Indian foods and couldn't end lunch without a tasty ice cream. The layout of food stations was well-conceived so as to keep the traffic moving. Our only horrible eating experience on the ship was a pre-cooked, reheated hamburger with cold slice of cheese at the Mast Bar. ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT: We enjoyed the most recent James Bond movie and some of the entertainers in the Theatre, particularly a Scottish girl who sings and plays the violin and singer Lindsay Hamilton. Good as she is, Lindsay performed on three of the five Celebrity cruises we have taken, so for us her show wasn't all new and we question whether Celebrity needs to expand their pool of talent. Two disappointments: we had heard that Celebrity was committed on 10+ day cruises to at least one classical music performer in the theatre. Not this time. The other surprise was that there were no Enrichment Series lectures on the historical and archeological sites we were to visit. We expected to arrive at each port fully briefed as we did, for instance, on Celebrity Infinity in South America. PORTS OF CALL: Disembarking and tendering went very smoothly in each port in spite of the number of passengers. On this cruise we took no Celebrity shore excursions, preferring to join other CC Members on private tours or strike out on our own. At Santorini, we opted for the cable car up the cliffs to the town rather than a donkey ride or hike and had no delays up or down. We wandered around charming Mikonos and were back on board after two or three hours, like most passengers. As there is so much more to see in Istanbul, we question why the ship delays departure till midnight and as a result doesn't reach Istanbul till after noon the next day. In Istanbul and Ephesus we joined CC folk in vans of six or eight with an Ekol guide and driver. Istanbul appears very "do-able" on your own if time is not an issue as the main sights are not far apart. However, our highly educated Ekol guide Mehmet ensured we made optimum use of our two half days. We wasted no time between sites and his commentary was illuminating and entertaining. It would be tough to do Ephesus on your own. Our Ekol guide Ilkay Candar got us in to the House of the Virgin first then on to Ephesus without delay and his commentary was essential to understanding what we saw. Afterwards he arranged for us a typical Turkish lunch on a terrace overlooking the centre of Sirince village. Having visited Athens before, we could be relaxed about sight-seeing. We walked out of the port in Piraeus and caught a local number 040 bus to Parliament Square/Plaka for one Euro each! Took an hour but we heard that the excursion buses were no quicker and we had a chance to watch regular Athenians heading for work. The new Acropolis Museum (free entry for EU citizens over age 65) is well worth a visit. We had visited Pompei and Amalfi coast before so opted to stay in much-maligned Naples. Noise, graffiti, poverty and frenzied traffic, for sure, but it's a fascinatingly different city with a vibrant personality and lots more to see than can be fitted into one day. We walked to the first official taxi rank outside the port and for E15 rode up to Capodimonte. I was unaware that I'd left my backpack in the taxi till, hearing shouts from behind, I saw our driver scampering after us to return it. Unexpected kindness and honesty in a city noted for petty crime! In a beautiful parkland setting, the Museo contains an extraordinary collection of European paintings, Goya, Titian, Raphael, El Greco etc, well displayed and virtually nobody but local children on school field trips to enjoy them.The churches and monuments like the Palazzo near the port are also well worth visiting. IN SUM:A memorable cruise in style and comfort to delightfully varied ports. The crew did a great job and all our cotacts with them were cordial and professional, including charming Melanie in the travel sales office, who helped us choose our next cruise -- on Azamara Journey. We are keen to compare our experience with one of the largest passenger ships afloat with life on a ship a quarter the size! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
This was my 25th cruise and I was happy to share it with my husband and several friends. Most of my cruises have been on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, but I have also sailed on NCL, Princess, MSC, and several cruise lines that no longer ... Read More
This was my 25th cruise and I was happy to share it with my husband and several friends. Most of my cruises have been on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, but I have also sailed on NCL, Princess, MSC, and several cruise lines that no longer exist. Embarkation Embarkation was perfect. We arrived at the pier at noon and were on board Solstice a few minutes later with no wait. The buffet was crowded with diners since it had been open from 11.30. Fortunate for us, since we were a group of six, one of our friends managed to snag an empty table and we each went off to check out the offerings in the buffet. Just after 1:00 they announced that the cabins were ready and about an hour later our bags arrived. Cabin Our Aqua Class cabin was very attractive and filled with many nice touches. On the bed were our Captains Club coupons and a bag with little aromatic spa goodies such as facial mist and lip balm and a pair of spa slippers. I loved the look of the new cabins, and especially liked the bathroom with the sliding shower doors. After unpacking, though, I agreed with those who don't like the storage design. The closet door was too close to my side of the bed, the safe takes up room inside the closet, the shelves next to the bed were small and open (on the other ships these were regular drawers you could use to store some clothes) and the storage shelves are all the way over by the desk near the balcony doors - not convenient for dressing at all. The drawers are also too shallow and there aren't enough of them. There is more storage space above the bed, but for short people like me, that isn't very convenient. By angling the bathroom there is a greater sense of space in the entryway, but I would rather have had a narrow entrance and the closet in the usual spot. (Note: After the initial whining on my part, we enjoyed our lovely cabin for our 11 day cruise and managed to get dressed several times each day without incident!) I thought the balcony chairs with ottomans were a nice addition and were quite comfortable. The towels in the bathroom were beautiful and very soft and the bedding was also luxurious in feel and very attractive. I also liked the leather (or leather look) of the couch and the desk chair - very sleek and modern. Our cabin attendant, Sanjay, came by to introduce himself on the first afternoon while we were unpacking. We asked for an extra towel and a few extra hangers. He quickly brought the towel and many more hangers than we needed. On this and every other occasion, cabin service was excellent. In Aqua Class we had a pitcher of flavored ice tea and bottles of water which are complimentary and were re-supplied each day. We also had a fruit basket, flowers, and champagne in an ice bucket, all of which came with the cabin, and all of which (with the exception of the champagne) were replenished regularly. In addition, I should mention a few other terrific features of the new cabin bathrooms. The shelves are now recessed and have glass doors so there is plenty of excellent storage in the bathroom. The new showers are wonderful... powerful spray from the overhead nozzle and extra water jets to squirt you from several directions... a really nice addition. The Ship I thought the ship was gorgeous. All of the design elements so many cruisers have mentioned turned out to be stunning in person. We spent much of the time admiring the look of the Solstice and the many new ideas incorporated into it. I especially loved the look of the two-story library and the tree that is suspended in the atrium space outside of it.... spectacular! The Solarium was my favorite public area on the ship - lovely blue, cushioned lounges and a lap-style indoor pool. At one end there's huge trellis with a wall of fuchsia flowers... stunning! I also thought the Spa area with gorgeous tiles in the Ladies Dressing Room and the Persian Gardens were very attractive. Each bar and lounge has its own look and ambience. Again, how many superlatives can I use to describe this ship? Another favorite area for me was the coffee lounge area with the stunning and unusual green chairs and sofas. Finally, a word needs to be said about the public bathrooms. One day I actually took a photograph of one of the Ladies Rooms, because they are so attractive... really amazing! I am told the Men's Rooms have the same design, which includes dark wood and unusual deep basins with what looks like etched glass, but is probably some sort of synthetic. Celebrity is still providing real linen towels with which to wipe your hands and has matrons monitoring the high traffic bathrooms. Someone told me about a men's room with gorgeous picture windows looking out to sea, but I can't personally vouch for that. Since my husband never notices a thing, it's possible he was in there, but if so, he didn't provide any confirmation. New and Improved Captain's Club Just before we sailed, Celebrity rolled out its new Captain's Club Program, and I was very happy to see that there are now significant "perks" for Elite cruisers. I love the new CC coupon for the discount on the computer package - finally a significant perk for CC along with the new laundry coupons (one free bag) and one free item dry cleaned. There is now a CC Club card for use in the Captain's Club Lounge in Michael's Club for CC Elite and (on our sailing also Suite guests, but apparently it varies) from 4-6 (with Continental Breakfast in the morning, too). We loved the Concierge Lounge on RCCL, and had high hopes that this would be as nice. On the first day we had to show our special white cards to the barman. There was a list of cocktails (not sure if they made cocktails other than those on the list), but they did have beer for DH. They had two little trays of hors d'oeuvres on the bar... a far cry from the really terrific spread on RCCL, but it was nice that they put out something. What I especially liked is that there were some lovely people there and we enjoyed chatting with them. The CC hostess, Daniella, was excellent and I enjoyed interacting with her all week. She was very good at keeping us informed and handled the situation very well when someone passed out in the CC lounge (and he was up and around by the next day so that was good news, too). Dining After a less than wow first night in Blu, I became a Blu aficionado and loved the food, the service, and the dining experience we had there at night for dinner and in the morning for breakfast. Whether it was a dinner of Corn Fritters, Waldorf Salad, Roast Beef served rare, and Crepes Suzette, or another dinner that started with an appetizer of Escargot and Spaetzle, followed by a Greek Salad and then Osso Bucco wrapped in Prosciutto capped off by Chocolate Cake with Grand Marnier, I loved eating in Blu. Stand-out dishes included Halibut, which was wrapped in Brik pastry accompanied by a Lobster and Corn Chowder base, the Pureed Cauliflower, special-order Profiteroles, Rack of Lamb served with Lamb Shank in a potato crust, and the Short Ribs. Our waiter, Krassimir, was wonderful and we were so well taken care of by the entire Blu staff (including Lorita, Dejan, Emilia, and even Kirk and Mildred - who were not our waiters, but became our friends), that it was difficult to leave Solstice and return to real life! The brunch in the Main Dining Room was nicely done and our lunch in the MDR was also fine, but because the buffet was so terrific, we ate most of our lunches there. This buffet is the best I've ever seen at sea. Everything I ate was delicious and I especially enjoyed the Asian selections. Most days I ate several Curries, Noodles, Roti, Dal, Raita, and whatever items were on offer such as Samosas, Dumplings, Mee Krob, and Spring Rolls. The Buffet choices included: Hot dishes, Barbecue selections, and stations for Mexican food, Indian curries, Carving, Asian Stir Fry, Pastas with sauces, Salad Bar, Sandwiches, Pizza, Burgers and Hot Dogs (the latter two served outside), and, of course desserts and ice cream. As is usual for Celebrity, service in the buffet was excellent. We used room service a few times for breakfast. The call and the food were on time on both occasions and the orders were correct. Entertainment There was some sort of entertainment in the theater every night, sometimes before our late-seating dinner (7:00 p.m. show) and sometimes after. Of the three production shows, the best by far was the last - a "Cirque-light" show called "Solstice," with gymnastics, juggling and aerial acrobatics. We also enjoyed a trumpeter named Gary Guthman, and a comedian and song impressionist named James Stephens III. The various musical groups around the ship were excellent. Since we are a cappella fans, we especially appreciated the group on board (despite their hokey name) "Soul'd Out." I did manage to catch the Hot Glass Show on the last day and enjoyed the opportunity to watch real artisans at work and to listen to the running commentary on what they were doing... quite interesting. My husband would have liked some scholarly enrichment. On offer was some sort of film director, but this was a cruise to the Ancient World and an art historian, archeologist, or historian would have been a much better choice. Itinerary We took this cruise for two reasons - Solstice and the itinerary. A great itinerary combined with mild and mostly sunny mid-November weather combined to deliver a wonderful vacation. Athens, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Mykonos, and Naples are great cruise ports. The one issue I had with this cruise regarding itinerary was the choice by Celebrity to arrive in the Santorini caldera at 2 p.m. on a November afternoon. Given that this was a day on which the sun was scheduled to set at 4:47, getting there at this hour was most unfortunate. Because we had priority tendering (and yes, that was a mess!), we were able to get off the ship quickly and over to Oia while it was still daylight. Most fellow passengers missed Santorini (and its terrific views) in daylight and got drenched when a rainstorm moved in just as the sun set. While the rain couldn't be helped, the schedule should have gotten us there earlier in the day or Celebrity should have substituted another port. The ports themselves, are, of course, all wonderful and we thoroughly enjoyed each of them (separate reports are posted in the Ports section). Fellow Cruisers There was a great mix of people on this ship. In addition to Americans from many different states, there were quite a few Asians and Europeans along with Canadians. I don't think I've ever sailed on a ship filled with nicer people. Fellow cruisers were extremely polite (with the exception of priority tendering where it was more or less "every man for himself") and very friendly. Debarkation I really like the way Celebrity does debarkation. We got up in a leisurely way, went to breakfast, and then grabbed our carry-on bags and left the ship in a totally relaxed way. The one problem was that two of our traveling companions found no suitcases in the luggage area. Although our experience was excellent, theirs was horrible so I need to describe what happened. Two pieces of their luggage vanished into thin air - put out the night before and missing in the cruise shed. Were they stolen on the ship... lost somewhere... or stolen from the pier? We'll never know, but they had to do a huge amount of paperwork for both Celebrity and the insurance company. Fortunately, they had bought an excellent insurance policy, so they will receive reimbursement soon (we hope!) Areas In Need of Improvement In addition to the problem with the stop at Santorini, getting onto the ships' servers was often a problem. Although I loved the WIFI in the room and all over the ship, I didn't love getting a "try again in a few minutes" message over and over and over. I usually enjoy eating in the Spa Cafe, but on this ship the offerings were disappointing. I don't know if it's because the space seemed to be smaller or because not all the items available were out (and if so maybe more signage would help?), but we only ate there once and then skipped it for every other meal... much better choices were available elsewhere. The Persian Gardens Spa area didn't seem to be functioning as well as it should. The first time I visited (in the late afternoon)the entire system had shut down and needed to be re-started (cold couches and no steam in the steam room!). On other occasions the couches didn't feel very warm. Over-all Impressions This was our first cruise in Aqua Class and our first on Solstice. On both counts, this was a winner. We loved Aqua Class, loved Blu, and loved Solstice. I'm looking forward to sailing on this ship again in June and to getting to know Equinox and Eclipse. With a few minor glitches, this was a terrific cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
hubbie and i, both in 50's, flew b.a. LHR to rome as part of a celebrity package.at rome airport celebrity staff clearly indentified themselves immediately, we were on the transfer coach within 15 mins of getting off plane. boarded ... Read More
hubbie and i, both in 50's, flew b.a. LHR to rome as part of a celebrity package.at rome airport celebrity staff clearly indentified themselves immediately, we were on the transfer coach within 15 mins of getting off plane. boarded ship immediately on arrival at port. impressed with transfer / embarkation. ship is gorgeous, sooo comfortable, clean, pleasant staff. balcony cabin very nice.great weather throughout trip (amazing, as end of november). we didn't have a lot of spending money so didn't get the most out of the ports, but it didn't matter because we loved the ship so much we didn't want to get off! the solstice sun deck was our favourite spot with soft chairs and beds and quiet. no uncontrolled kids on this trip that we saw, unlike other trips we've been on, bliss. indoor solarium area was a nice place to relax later in the afternoon when it got cool outside. lots of choices for food, we ate in MDR 5/6 nights, buffet a few nights, and the lovely bistro on 5 one evening, aqua spa cafe offered a limited choice for breakfast and lunch, had a great brunch in the MDR one day, room service very good. captains welcome and captains club party were nice ( free booze ). entertainment was ok. we went to the main theatre (lovely room) each night, but only the solstice show really impressed us, not much alternative entertainment offered once show finished.sky lounge was very nice, but not much atmosphere up there. most people seemed to make an effort to look smart in the evenings, which we liked, a few were determined to show as much flesh as possible in the buffet, which caused me to change seats, as they certainly didn't enhance the appetite! disembarkation came around far too quickly, but was very efficient, off ship and on transfer coach within a few minutes. only downside of trip was total chaos at rome airport, check in desks were not clearly marked, people were in the wrong queue for over an hour, then sent to another queue. security area was not marked, when we did find the queue for it, it was right in the middle of other check in desks,with people not knowing which line to get in, nobody around to direct or help. but fabulous trip on fabulous ship, not cheap, but worth every penny. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
SUMMARY - Wonderful Eastern Mediterranean itinerary, nice ship, but a terrible dining room experience means we probably won't be sailing Celebrity again. Four years ago Celebrity lived up to it's "Deluxe" brand, but not ... Read More
SUMMARY - Wonderful Eastern Mediterranean itinerary, nice ship, but a terrible dining room experience means we probably won't be sailing Celebrity again. Four years ago Celebrity lived up to it's "Deluxe" brand, but not this time. We've tried four different lines, looking for our personal sweet-spot of price/value: 1) Celebrity Century Aug 2005: Was very happy, but since was our first, was still comparing. 2) Golden Princess Aug 2006: Generally happy with, but buffet food was bad. 3) Azamara Journey Aug 2007: Was very happy, but not more than Celebrity to justify the higher cost. 4) Regent Seven Seas Navigator Jan 2009: Was extremely happy, but not in line with significantly higher price. ... and thus we had settled on Celebrity as "our" cruise line (or so we thought), when we booked on 5) Celebrity Solstice Oct 2009, Eastern Mediterrean EMBARKATION was very smooth. Was on the ship 12 minutes after walking in the door of the building. DEMOGRAPHIC - Since we're now empty-nesters and travelled outside of school breaks, this cruise had *very* few children, like 4. Some elderly folks, but not so many. Most were aged like us, mid-40's or so. I appreciate Celebrity's geographically diverse passengers: lots of Spanish, French, Brits, Scots, Irish, Germans, Canadians in addition to the Americans. SHIP though the largest we've sailed on at 2800 passengers, didn't feel "too big". It was also very quiet and smooth sailing. SHIP DECOR is pre-dominately modern rather than stately. The dining room is all white plastic and chrome. The epitome is the Quasar discotheque. Imagine The Jetsons, Austin Powers, and a 60's Mod designer have a head-on collision. To be fair, we didn't do the nightlife there, but it's appearance was more funny/ironic/silly than inviting. The decor exception is the Ensemble lounge outside the specialty restaurants. That is refined and stately. Wish we'd found that sooner. Listening to the string quartet in there with cocktails was sublime. ELEVATORS are in only two locations: eight at mid-aft, and four at mid-forward. At first I thought this was a mistake rather than the more usual three locations. However, having eight elevators at the embarkation/debarkation point for the gangway or tenders meant that the usually crowded beginning and ending of port days was mostly a non-event in getting between the port and your stateroom. Hint: when returning from shore, go past the first four elevators where 20 people are waiting, and go to the second set of four where only two people are waiting. STATEROOMS were a very pleasant surprise (we had both a veranda, and an inside). At first glance it appeared to be lacking storage space since there were not closets along the hall to the door. But there were lots of shelves, closets and drawers that everything had a place with space left over. And the room had a more open and airy feel. The beds were "to die for" comfortable with moderate firmness and an eggshell foam pad on top. The bathroom was bigger and more comfortable, with lots of storage. I really liked the lighted light switch and dim lights inside to make a middle-of-the-night trip there comforting without having to turn on the bright lights. The main room lights also dimmed to provide a more subdued mood at night. In my room, I only heard an occasional muffled cough from next door. But in my wife's inside room, she became more familiar with the next door couple's intimate behaviors than she cared to. The room stewards were fantastic. ENTERTAINMENT was OK, though not something we care a lot about. The Pulse show with Cirque-de-Soleil -like acrobatic performances was good, but none of the acts were particularly impressive. The comedian was British, with his repertoire limited to British cultural humor (a lot went right over my head), or downright mean, or old jokes I've heard before (though he was an amazing operatic singer and guitarist). We saw just those two shows. SPECIALTY RESTAURANT MURANO was fantastic, well worth the extra money. The service was amazing, and the food very good (the "turf" filet was excellent, with the "surf" lobster tail bland like frozen-shipped-across-the-globe lobster tails tend to be, the goat cheese souffle also excellent). With Celebrity Century's Sabatini's experience four years ago as one of my top two dining experiences ever, I was not disappointed with Murano. We didn't try the other restaurants based on mediocre reviews and our high standards of Asian cuisine. BISTRO ON 5 was OK. The crepes-only menu was satisfactory for a night we couldn't get to the dining room, but not worth visiting it a second time. It was always nearly empty. OCEANVIEW BUFFET was OK. A nice selection of dishes prepared acceptably. The food selection on the islands was duplicated a lot, but not consistently. Scrambled eggs were several places, but pork sausages only one place, cutting through the made-to-order omelette line. The traffic flow was a bit chaotic, dodging other people in multiple trips since no trays. I don't understand that decision; do they think we won't notice it's a buffet? The sushi was disappointing since we're used to excellent sushi. The juice dispensers did seem to be empty frequently. The ice cream was good and welcome. What happened to the service in the buffet? I recall waiters waiting to take your drink orders and help you find a table. The tables were cleared quickly enough, just no "service" to speak of. MAIN DINING ROOM FOOD was extremely disappointing. Four years ago I was impressed at *every* meal we had in the Celebrity Century MDR. I particularly enjoyed ordering the "Chef's Recommendation" lineup from night to night as it was uniformly excellent, and a fun experience in trying new dishes. That tradition is gone. Quality ranged from Good (Veal Cordon Bleu, Chilean sea bass, a couple of other fish dishes) to Average (pasta and meatballs) to Bad (Sirloin Oscar that was indescribably tough). In several instances it seemed they had a translation problem from the chef to the menu writer: Seafood fettucine alfredo that came in a marinara sauce, Asian salad with pine nuts that came with peanuts, "fully loaded" baked potato that came with 1/2" diameter cheese/butter mix ball, steak with sauteed mushrooms where the latter were nowhere to be found... And even I know that you don't cut a sirloin 2" thick like a tenderloin or it ends up tough, that an Asian salad is more than 1/4 head of large cabbage leaves, one pepper strip and eight peanuts, that an alfredo is a cream sauce and that lobster should be served with melted butter. The food was delivered lukewarm, but never so bad we had to send it back. The desserts were average. Since food quality is the most important cruise differentiator to me, we probably won't be sailing Celebrity again. MAIN DINING ROOM SERVICE was terrible. First off, I'm pretty sure that we asked to be seated with other people, as we enjoy meeting other people. On Celebrity Century four years ago I was extremely impressed at how well they selected our table mates: three families of native English speakers with teenagers. But this time we ended up with a table for two. Ronald from Philly...pines (his joke) was an excellent waiter, even though we had him only the first night. Then we switched to a table for ten. The new waiter (don't know his name as he never introduced himself in 8 nights at his table) was over his head in service expectations at a a fine dining venue. 5 minutes after sitting down he was on you for your order with no explanation of the night's dishes or recommendations. After the terrible Sirloin Oscar, he said it was that way every cruise . I sure would have liked to know that before ordering it. Steak knives had to be requested with every steak dish every night (except for the last night). Even though I ordered wine every night, the sommelier had to be summoned every night (except for the last night), and the bar steward had to be summoned for drinks every night (except the last night). Coincidence? or might it be the cruise evaluation turned in that night? One night it took 50 minutes from first requesting the sommelier, having the waiter forget, multiple attempts at flagging down the sommelier, ordering the wine, having the sommelier forget, until we finally got two glasses of house "by the glass" wine... Really! SHORE EXCURSIONS were nearly all excellent. We signed up for a Celebrity shore excursion in every port we could. There were no Mykonos tours listed, though some people had one that day?? Antonio on the MY20 Peloritani Mountain Hiking in Messina, Rashid on the KD16 Turkish Towns and Villages in Kusadasi and Constantina on the RH01 Historic Rhodes Walking Tour were particularly outstanding guides. The guide in Naples for the Pompeii Exploration was good, though her accent was thick and hard to understand. Other people said this about other guides in Naples also. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
My wife and I enjoyed the Celbrity Solctice from Oct 19 - 30. Here are some comments: Embarkation - incredibly smooth. Took 5 minutes at the most. We were on-board before 12pm and were escorted up to the buffet on deck 14. We then ... Read More
My wife and I enjoyed the Celbrity Solctice from Oct 19 - 30. Here are some comments: Embarkation - incredibly smooth. Took 5 minutes at the most. We were on-board before 12pm and were escorted up to the buffet on deck 14. We then toured the ship, and our room was ready at about 2pm. The ship - amazing! The Solstice is beautiful from top to bottom. Our aqua class cabin was very well laid out. It was more spacious than I expected. The balcony was large, the bathroom was very functional, and the interactive TV was fantastic. The bed was very comfortable and the leather couch is a nice touch. Public spaces on board - also amazing. I should start off by saying that the ship is kept extremely clean. There are always people washing things such as railings and windows. I also appreciated that fact that there were staff at the entrance to every restaurant to dispense hand sanitizer. All of the public spaces are stunning. From the casino and theatre to the restaurants and top decks, there has been alot of work put into the design of the Solstice, and it shows. Staff - extremly friendly. 5 stars all around. Food - As an Aqua class passenger, we ate most of our dinners and several breakfasts at Blu. Blu was truly one of the best parts of the cruise. The food was incredible every single night. All of the courses were presented as works of art. Service was excellent. We ate one of our lunches at the main dining room, and it was average. Also dined at Murano and Silk Harvest. Both of them were good, but I think that Blu was truly our best dining experience onboard. Ports - this is an area that Celebrity could work on. We arrived at Santorini at 2pm. I had lined up early that morning to receive tender ticket # 1. When it came time to leave the ship, they asked for tickets # 1 and 2, which turned into a disaster. Passengers were pushing to try to get to the front of the line. People with tender tickets as high as 28 somehow got let to the front. People were yelling at eachother. The staff should have only asked for tender ticket # 1, and should have been checking the tickets. This really needs to be improved. Same thing happened with a ship excurion in Istanbul, where they asked everyone to meet in the theatre. Other ports seemed to be organized a bit better. The actual visits to Santorini, Mykynos, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Athens, and Naples were wonderful. Shows - we only went to 2 shows. One was a variety singing and dancing show, which was OK. The other was the Solstice show on the last formal night - this one is worth going to see. I have seen Cirque De Solei before, and Solstice the show was just as good, if not better since you are so close to the front. We also attended the hot glass show which was interesting. Embarkation - I think it took 5 minutes to get off the boat and collect our luggage. All in all, this was a fantastic holiday. The upgrade the aqua class was worth it for Blu alone, and the persian gardens were also enjoyable. We will very likely cruise with celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
My husband and I booked the cruise with Celebrity after several referrals from friends who have sailed with them before, one of whom sailed almost the same itinerary on a different ship last year. We booked the cruise for our honeymoon! ... Read More
My husband and I booked the cruise with Celebrity after several referrals from friends who have sailed with them before, one of whom sailed almost the same itinerary on a different ship last year. We booked the cruise for our honeymoon! This was only my 2nd cruise and my husband's 1st and he advised me that I had set the bar high by taking him on the Solstice! We are both 29 years old, and I would say two of what seemed like 20 people on the ship that were under 30 and weren't traveling with their parents ;) I thought this was great though, as I was certainly not looking for a party cruise and we met a lot of very nice people with a wealth of knowledge on the subject of marriage! We flew into Rome a few days before the cruise and checked into the Best Western Art Deco hotel on via Palestro close to the Roma Termini. This hotel was recommended to me by my travel agent and was quite excellent. Clean, safe, in a great location to see the sights, it had towel warmers, free wi-fi and included breakfast. Rome is a beautiful city and we saw as many sights as possible in the two days we had. A small suggestion: if you are buying souvenirs (as I did outside the Colosseum), HAGGLE with the guy or you'll end up paying 36 Euros for a medium-sized plaster statue of Venus like I did :) Ah well, we learn as we go, yes? We decided to take the train from the airport to the Termini (the train station is inside the airport), and also from the Termini to the port of Civitavecchia (CHEE-VEE-TA-VEK-EEE-AH). It was very inexpensive - I think it cost 9.10 Euros total for both of us to get to Civitavecchia, which was about an hour away from the Termini. Once at the pier, the embarkation process was very fast; we arrived at about 4pm and the ship was scheduled to sail at 6 and we were the only people embarking at that moment and I'd be surprised if it took more than 5 minutes before we were walking up the gangway! The Solstice is a beautiful ship; it is very clean and the decor is visually stimulating. The Lawn Club on the top deck was very nice; for someone like myself who is still trying to get accustomed to not seeing any land for lengthy periods of time, it is helpful to walk barefoot in some grass to get you through the sea days :) I did not watch the glass blowing show, as I have seen similar shows before in life in Venice as well as crystal blowing in Halifax. My husband watched one and said it was very interesting. I thought the service was excellent on the Solstice; everyone was always very willing to help and we always felt welcome wherever we went. I must say I was a little put off by some of the reviews I had read before leaving. I had already booked the cruise and so you can imagine my concern when I read about how Celebrity's service has gone downhill, and how some people would never sail with them again blah blah...well perhaps these people should sail exclusively with Cunard from now on, because I'm not sure what all the fuss was about! The only thing that we had a "problem" with, was that I had pre-booked a romance day package, which was to include special breakfast in the stateroom, a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, special robes and slippers and a reservation at one of the specialty restaurants as well as rose petals on the bed at turn-down (hee hee). The only thing they do not mention, is that you need to specify to your stateroom attendant if you want the breakfast ON the romance package day, or the following morning as you have to fill out a special breakfast card the night before. I can tell you, that little detail did not ruin my cruise :) It just seemed as though many of the older passengers had nothing good to say about anything, and as a result, the cruise line's reputation suffered. Most of the people on board were happy though! We ate in the Grand Eparnay dining room every night except for three nights where we had reservations for specialty restaurants. I am a very picky eater and I must say that I was very happy with the meal choices. They have what I like to call the "Safety Menu" available every night, with items like Caesar salad, french onion soup, NY strip steak, glazed herb chicken & mashed, creme brulEe and NY cheesecake etc. for the nights where you weren't feeling adventurous. Otherwise one could expect to see oysters, lamb, frog's legs, filet mignon, lobster ravioli, veal, venison etc etc...the right side of the menu was different every night. Other restaurants and bars we frequented, were the sunset bar at the back of the boat - great views! Bistro on Five was totally worth the 5 dollar a person cover charge (drinks extra of course) as their crepes were AMAZING! I couldn't get past the "Italian", it's the only one I tried as it was so good! Crepe filled with bananas and topped with a squeezed pattern of nutella and crushed green pistachios with whipped cream and raspberry sauce on the side...to die for! We tried the Martini Bar once and I really wish we went more often as the flair-bartending was amazing and the martinis were excellent (I had the French, it's my favourite :)), but there is SO MUCH to do and see on the ship I feel like we will have to sail on the Solstice again, perhaps for our two year anniversary as it will be in the Caribbean as of this spring for 3 or 4 years one of the crew members was telling me. We also went to the Sky bar a couple of times for events that were occurring there (late night dessert buffet etc.) and it was very nice, right at the front of the ship. We spent many late mornings/early afternoons in Cafe al Bacio, as my husband is a coffee person and he really loved their cappuccinos. I would have caffe lattes or darjeeling tea and chocolate chip cookies (I may have a sweet tooth). We also had drinks in the Ensemble lounge while waiting for dinner reservations. The Oceanview Cafe (buffet) was excellent. They had your usual pizza etc. but you could also make your own fajitas and there was an "Indian Curries" section. I can't speak for their dinner selection as we were always in the Grand Eparnay or a specialty restaurant. We went to the Mast Bar once for lunch and had burgers and hot dogs with onion rings and fries as it was nice and sunny outside that day. We tried two of the specialty restaurants, the Tuscan Grill and Murano. We went to Murano twice it was so good! I found the specialty restaurants pricey ($55 per person extra for Tuscan and $65 per person extra for Murano) compared to other cruises (as advised by my parents), but they were very nice and QUIET and relaxing. If you end up with a bottle of wine, as we did often, you could end up spending over $200 extra with tip for your meal. The food at Murano is considered "French Contemporary", and the meat was a much better quality than what you get in the Grand Eparnay...not that you notice at all until you can compare! I had filet mignon as well as lobster, and considering I don't eat seafood (I was trying to be adventurous) it was very tasty! You also get sorbet to cleanse your pallet before your entree, so if you are more accustomed to fine dining, then Murano will find you in familiar territory. Tuscan Grill was also excellent, again the meat was much more tender and that night was after the martini bar if I recall, and I couldn't decide between steak or spaghetti and so I got both :| (yes, you can order more than one entree if you like)...I have actually never been that full in my life and learned my lesson! They also had an excellent dark chocolate fondue for dessert with fruits and marshmallows etc. Other services/activities we participated in: my husband played in a couple of Hold 'Em tournaments (video poker though) and won one of them. I shopped a little bit; the boutiques are pricey and the shops were more mainstream. They often had "sidewalk sales" with various things, watches, pashminas etc. I had my first hot stone massage in the Aqua Spa - FANTASTIC! I think I've formed a new habit with that one. We did not attend any of the nightly shows unfortunately...as it was our honeymoon we really treasured spending time outside on the decks with cocktails during the evenings, or even playing cribbage in the card room. We heard from people who sat around us at dinner that the shows were quite good. Our stateroom was lovely, WAY bigger than the one I stayed in on the Pride of Aloha on NCL back in 2007 (which is more of what you expect on a cruise ship - tiny rooms). Plenty of space, with a nice couch and flat screen TV, the veranda was just lovely with a constant view of the sapphire waters of the Mediterranean and prime views of coming into and leaving ports. The bathroom was great as well, lots of drawers and it was always warm. The beds were very comfortable - I slept like a log. I found I spent a reasonable amount of time in the stateroom as I did not feel cramped at all (doing my nails, watching the History Channel etc.). There was only one half-day from Athens to Naples where it was rough and I found myself in bed for 5 or 6 hours during the day as I was quite ill (even after taking gravol and buying sea bands), but luckily by dinner I was okay. All in all a fantastic trip of a lifetime! I would definitely recommend it to anyone; the Mediterranean is a beautiful area full of ancient history and rich culture and Celebrity made it a most memorable honeymoon for us :) Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
The Ship: What can I say? It's great. We did a Med cruise 2 years ago w/RC Brilliance of the Seas and I thought this ship, the service, the food, etc. were all better (even though I did like the Brilliance). We were in Aqua Class ... Read More
The Ship: What can I say? It's great. We did a Med cruise 2 years ago w/RC Brilliance of the Seas and I thought this ship, the service, the food, etc. were all better (even though I did like the Brilliance). We were in Aqua Class and got to eat at Blu every night. The food there was excellent and because it is somewhat healthier (but still filling)...we didn't gain quite as much weight on this vacation as I was expecting to. Originally, we booked AQ because of the spa and spa amentities, but we ended up likely it mostly for Blu! The spa itself was over-rated if you ask me. The Ports: Rome- We had several days in Rome before the cruise and loved every second of it. We had a full day private tour with Fabrizio Melaragno of All Around Italy Tours. We'd had him as our driver for the Amalfi Coast 2 years ago but we were with a group of other people. This time it was just the 2 of us with him and I can't say enough good things about him. He is really enthusiastic, wants you to know all about Rome, very hard working, etc. My husband wanted an Italian suit and he stayed late in the day with us to make sure we were happy! We also used his company for our transfers from hotel to port, port to airport, etc. He had originally said he would send his driver to get us the last day, but since he considered us friends, he came personally to get us. Again, can't say enough. Sicily- one of my least favorites. Wanted to take the bus to Taormina but by the time we found the station, not enough time to go there and back. Mykonos- great day! Rented an ATV-perfect way to explore the whole island. We saw a ton and even had time for the beach. Athens- We booked a private tour w/Jordan. Jordan sent his associate, Nikolas, to drive us since he was personally booked. Nikolas was great. Had an authentic Greek lunch, saw all the good sites and he took us to get olive oil for cheap at a local grocery store (we had mentioned wanting to bring some home). Kusadasi- One of our favorite ports. Ephesus is amazing. The Terrace Houses are worth it! Booked a private tour w/Ekol Travel, our guide Hakan was fantastic-ask for him! He came with us back in the port later that day and helped bargain w/a local to get us a carpet we really liked. He must have spent an extra hour w/us, helping us buy turkish tea, etc. We did the jeep safari tour and Hakan guided and then our driver was great too. They picked local fruit off the trees (figs, grapes, chestnuts, etc.). Rhodes, Greece- Just walked around the old town. Went back to the ship early afternoon. Santorini- Beautiful! Rented another ATV, saw a lot of the island. Went to a winery. Walked around Oia for a while. Naples- Took the ferry to Sorrento. Sorrento is pretty neat...but the weather wasn't very good so we didn't stay too long. Overall, a great cruise and a fantastic ship. The staff is all very attentive and knowledgeable and the ports were very cool. Would definitely cruise w/Celebrity again (hopefully sometime soon!). Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
CELEBRITY SOLSTICE NOT AS WONDERFUL AS THE FIRST TIME AROUND We just returned from a 10 night, Rome-Greece-Turkey-Greece-Rome cruise on the Solstice. We booked this trip way back in August of 2008, and when the ... Read More
CELEBRITY SOLSTICE NOT AS WONDERFUL AS THE FIRST TIME AROUND We just returned from a 10 night, Rome-Greece-Turkey-Greece-Rome cruise on the Solstice. We booked this trip way back in August of 2008, and when the opportunity arose to be able to take a 7 day Caribbean trip on the Solstice in March of 2009, we jumped at it. THAT trip was spectacular...the ship, the staff, the entertainment, even the food (on most days) were way above expectations. We compared this cruise to a "Lexus experience". As we were completing this Caribbean cruise and complementing various crew members and managers, we learned to our chagrin that most all of the top people were leaving the Solstice in May to go the newer Celebrity Equinox. We were assured that the cruise line would be replacing these excellent employees with similarly trained employees. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Upon boarding the Solstice for the Mediterranean cruise, we almost immediately felt that something was "Different". Among our disappointments were: Main dining room food was, at best, fair. Shrimp cocktails were listed on the menu as containing Jumbo shrimp, but turned out to use much smaller shrimp than the last time. The cheesecake dessert was without a doubt the worst attempt at cheesecake we had EVER experienced. It had no cheesecake taste at all, and appeared to have been baked about the same time we were on the ship before - in March !! The waiters, who had been exemplary in March, seemed overwhelmed. They had little, if any time, to "chat" and to be able to permit ambiance to flow. The entertainment was, for the most part, pathetic. The dancers were out on sync, almost like a bad high school musical. The "Solstice Orchestra" reminded me of a burlesque band in a seedy downtown joint from the '50s. The drummer had no finesse at all, and the brass section never did hit the same notes at the same time. Embarrassing and painful to observe!! The "Soul'd Out" a capella quartet was pretty lame - the one baby faced "singer" (?) could have cracked crystal (sorry, Ella Fitzgerald). The internet facility was simply the worst we ever experienced on any ship—anywhere. I am aware that satellite internet is not the fastest delivery method, but how about 9 minutes to print a one page boarding pass??? (at 65 cents a minute!!)) That's only if you could even got logged on in the first place!! Ridiculous. On the petty side, when leaving the ship, you could buy water and soft drinks for all the departing land tours, but only if you agreed to a 15% service charge. For what??? And the elevators were programmed very poorly. We experienced long waits at almost every time of day. On the plus side, Cruise Director Dru Pavlov, whom we sailed with twice before, gave his usual "10" effort to everything he does. Too bad that he too has now (this week) left the Solstice. The land tours were Great...fairly priced, and led by experienced guides. Bottom line... The Solstice experience had slid from "Lexus" level to "Jeep" level....reliable for the most part, but nothing exceptional. We have cruised 7 times in the past three years - our advice - if you're "Meat and Potatoes" people, the Solstice is fine. If you like some sophistication and the pampered feeling that you are cared about, go with the 700 passenger ships of Oceania or Azamara Celebrity's upscale cousin. 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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