1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Celebrity Cruises
  4. Celebrity Solstice Review
  5. Celebrity Solstice Cruise Reviews

10 Celebrity Solstice Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

This was the eighth cruise for my wife & I--Our third Med. cruise. Last on Ruby Princess in 2009. We last cruised Celebrity on Millenium in 2007 in Med & found it superior in many ways. Things we found good; The food in MDR was ... Read More
This was the eighth cruise for my wife & I--Our third Med. cruise. Last on Ruby Princess in 2009. We last cruised Celebrity on Millenium in 2007 in Med & found it superior in many ways. Things we found good; The food in MDR was very good every night & the service was equally good. On past cruises we have always eaten in Specialty restaurants but did not on Solstice because MDR was so good. Our room was quite comfortable & the shower was larger than previous cruises --greatly appreciated. Cabin stewards were top notch--really ecxellent. Oceanview cafee was very good but seemed to have the same food daily. But still very good. Many of the Public rooms were quite nice as were bars. Things we didn't like so much; Entertainment was almost NON existent. Certainly the worst I have encountered on any cruise. When the highlights of your cruise entertainment are the captain singing & playing guitar it says it all. We tendered in 3 ports & each tendered port there was a big problem leaving the ship. In some cases it took HOURS to leave the ship. I have tendered on other ships & They all seem to handle this problem better than Solstice.. Additionally, the system they use is quite unfair also. People who purchase excursions through Celebrity don't have the same problems leaving ship. Also on our cruise there were surprisingly a lot of very young children it seemed, & constantly running & jumping in pool & riding elevators up & down for fun. Security could have been a little better. My wife & I always considered Celebrity a notch above other lines but they need to improve . I hope the do improve--it will be better for all customers Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We recently completed a 12 day cruise to/from Barcelona. We were disappointed in: a. The number of children on board ... from various cruise reviews I expected a older group of passengers and a more ... Read More
We recently completed a 12 day cruise to/from Barcelona. We were disappointed in: a. The number of children on board ... from various cruise reviews I expected a older group of passengers and a more peaceful atmosphere. The ship was so large that we seemed to be waiting in line for everything. Getting a table and eating in the Ocean Cafe (the buffet) required a good deal of patience b. There were 3 ports which required tenders... which were so disorganized that it was torture to go ashore. c. Several ports (Venice, Rome, Florence) were far from the cities and no shuttles were provided. You had to pay additional for the excursions or shuttles, both of which involved a good deal of lining up and waiting. d. Although the advertised stop was Nice, we were tendered into Villefranche and had to arrange transportation to either Nice or Monaco. Same problem for Rome, Florence, etc. e. The ship advertised the latest time to return to the ship which I think discouraged people from making their own transportation arrangements .. the threat that if you missed the sailing, you would have to catch up with the ship at your own expenses. So people took the ship's shore excursions... and these excursion regularly got back to the ship after the posted deadline! f. We paid extra for Concierge class. Two of our group did not. We are of the opinion that the difference was not worth the extra cost. g. We had 3 days at sea. Two of them were in a row at the end of the cruise. It would have been preferable to space them out to allow passengers some rest in between ports..not on the way home. h. On the plus side, the cabins were roomy and comfortable. The food was good. We didn't try the specialty restaurants. i. The drink packages were ridiculously high. A bottle of liquor for the room is double other cruise lines. On the other hand, individual drinks were reasonably priced. j. Gratuities were charged on our account and added to individual drink orders, etc. However, it was clear that more was expected. Either leave the tipping to the discretion of the passengers or instruct staff that additional gratuities should not be accepted. k. It was a good thing that the cruise was only 12 days because we felt constantly bombarded with methods to extract more money from the passenger.. casino, spa, specialty drinks, shopping "sales", shore excursion pitches, bingo, etc.etc. l. Dinner seatings were 6:15 or 8:45 and neither were convenient. m. The entertainment in the evening was mediocre. The enrichment lectures were good but poorly advertised. n. Room service was great and a break from the "mob" scene o. There was a bridge room..but no one to organize, advertise or supervise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
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
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
Sail Date October 2009
Embarcation was efficient and well planed. Embarkation went very well. The staterooms were very pleasant and balcony of adequate size. But the soundproofing between the rooms was very bad indeed. Entertainment not as good as ... Read More
Embarcation was efficient and well planed. Embarkation went very well. The staterooms were very pleasant and balcony of adequate size. But the soundproofing between the rooms was very bad indeed. Entertainment not as good as the RCI ships. Breakfast always luke warm I asked why is the food always only warm, reply from one of the supervisors...if the heat is turned up the food will dry out and have to be thrown away!! MDR..Fantastic table of 8, but we all felt the food could be much improved - not 5*. Again only warm Food. Tables are to close together compaired with RCI. And staff are looking after to many tables. More staff needed to raise standards. Verdict; The service and food are not in any way 5* standard, more a high 3*. And is not worth the extra you are prepared to pay for a higher class of service. 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
This was our first ever cruise and we were told it was the very best. The price was high but as it was our 40th Wedding anniversary it was to be something special. Never done before. everyone said we would love it! The ship itself ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and we were told it was the very best. The price was high but as it was our 40th Wedding anniversary it was to be something special. Never done before. everyone said we would love it! The ship itself was magnificent at first sight. Breathtaking. The rooms: It was not what we expected for the price, clean but small, there was no light on the balcony so you couldn't sit and read after dark. On one change of bedding our sheets were ripped. Flowers in the room and bathroom were not changed and had died after a couple of days and got smelly. Cabin steward very good but didn't seems to notice flowers. The ship itself was magnificent in size but far too few sun beds for everyone to lay on whilst dodging the walkers racing around the deck. Sunbeds touched each other on the upper decks. But the cost of the drinks (which our travel agent told us were free if they were local drinks,we now know that she obviously meant tea,coffee and fruit juice) were very expensive, plus we didn't know that a 15% service charge was added EVERY TIME you ordered. In the restaurant the wine waiter recommended a wine but omitted to tell us it was $50 a bottle, plus the 15% of course, until we got the bill afterwards. A bit late then. Entertainment was mediocre. I would have thought that with a ship this big and the cost to passengers, that someone more well known could have been booked instead of the singers that kept trying to justify why they were there. The magician/illusionist was excellent as was the different points that some of the other entertainers played at in the different bars and walkways but they finished too early. Dancers were OK but nothing special. not in the same class as the ship portrays. Theatre comfortable and view was excellent. Restaurants. Top deck was just like any other "all in" hotel. Some of the waiters were on the whole sloppy and not very personable. Piles of empty plates seem not to cleared away as they stood talking together. Again not the standard expected. We bought the video. My advice is DONT BOTHER its a rip off. Ours even has people walking backwards and then speeds up to double speed. It didn't show the beautiful ship just a bit on how it was built not much on the interiors and they just added the few karaoke faces that had been on the ship that week. what a waste of money and very disappointing when we played it to our friends. shame on Celebrity, this wont sell your ship to others. We were also sold chips for our camera which didn't work..another $25 !! Being such a huge ship, why does it visit places like Santorini. With other ships already there plus our 3,000 passengers, we had to que up in the hot sun for well over an hour just to get on the chairlift or go against advice and get on the back of a dangerous and very smelly donkey. Many did and had rather nasty injuries afterwards being rammed against walls and one had a donkey fall on her. In Istanbul the ship wanted to charge $12 to get a coach to the main blue Mosque. We walked five minutes up the road and got on the brilliant new tram and paid $2.5 Take your time to check things like this out. The City was in Ramadan but the essence of the place was wonderful. Places to visit were all round the Blue Mosque area. We felt extremely safe walking around. You do have to pay to get into places of interest but they are all well worth the visit, especially the Harem. Athens: Argue and play the taxi drivers against each other for the cost for the day. Don't pay them till you have finished the day. Ours took us all around Athens telling us about the history and stopping at all the sights. Brilliant day. On our arrival back in Rome "Celebrity" had booked us into a hotel called The Empire Palace for some extra nights. Looking at some of the hotels that they had booked other guests into I think we got the best deal. One looked like it was a prison and was so far out of the town. I later heard that they had cold food, the place was dirty and smelly. Our hotel was not like the brochure. The wonderful looking terrace where we could dine had dirty plastic chairs and tables. The staff and in particular the head receptionist was arrogant and rude. Only the barman made any effort to make the group welcome. The rep disappeared pretty quickly as well and didn't come back. We had a room that we couldn't get into over 6 times! we had go go back to Reception each time and get some help. In the end they gave us a key! The room was good, although the food was extremely expensive and if you like decorated plates but no substance, this is the hotel for you. We have been to some of the best hotels in the world but this was dire. The waiting staff didn't know how to lay a basic table and we had to ask for cutlery and plates at breakfast. Restaurant was dull and dark. Why does celebrity use such second rate hotels where there are modern multi-chain ones that have a higher standard nearby? Overall we were extremely disappointed and feel totally let down by the Celebrity experience. Ask us if we would cruise with Celebrity again.... I doubt it. We heard so many complaining and saying other lines were better, not only for value but standards. It all ended up as "A disappointed dream." Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Solstice Review 17/08/09 Great Ship - Inconsistent Service One of the strange things that has been commented on before on Cruise Critic is that people on the same cruise can have vastly different experiences. I think a lot of this comes ... Read More
Solstice Review 17/08/09 Great Ship - Inconsistent Service One of the strange things that has been commented on before on Cruise Critic is that people on the same cruise can have vastly different experiences. I think a lot of this comes down to expectation and prior experience. I am writing this by way of warning because this review isn't from the point of view of a veteran mass market cruiser but rather someone new to cruising who is used to holidaying at resorts on land like the Aman Resorts in Asia, Sandy Lane in Barbados, Four Seasons anywhere, Stein Eriksen in Deer Valley... I will preface this review by saying that we had a really lovely family holiday aboard the Solstice. This was our second cruise, and our first with Celebrity (last year we sailed around Scandinavia on the RC Jewel of the Seas.) We had a really fabulous experience on our first cruise last year which led us to book aboard the Solstice. We booked with Celebrity on the basis that they seemed to offer a more luxurious, upmarket experience and were very excited about the new Solstice class of ships. The ship itself was certainly above and beyond our expectations - it is light, modern and luxurious. Sadly the service really lets the ship down, it is frustratingly inconsistent across venues and the staff ranged from very friendly to decidedly surly. The ship was completely full so Celebrity probably doesn't need any tips from me about how to run their business but in order to guarantee repeat customers I really think they need to focus on their staff management and training. Cabins: My cabin was great, a celebrity suite on deck 11 with an extra large balcony. Very comfortable with all the mod cons of a good hotel. My biggest tip to Celebrity here would be to remove the frosted glass between the living room and bedroom and replace it with clear glass and a blind. A few of the people in our group had the option to be in a Celebrity suite but preferred to stay in their sky suites because they didn't want to be in a bedroom which was essentially like an inside cabin. I really missed being able to see the sea from my bed - but all in all this issue is minor, I was very comfortable and well looked after by my cabin attendant. The Butler was pretty invisible but I get the impression this is only a perk if you have specific things for them to do. I didn't ask for anything and never ate in my room so the Butler service was close to nil, which suited me fine. I saw a Penthouse and a Royal suite both of which were very nicely appointed. Restaurants Murano: We arrived aboard thinking we would come here frequently but ate here only once on our first night aboard. Sadly the whole experience comes off as a parody of what one might expect from a Michelin starred restaurant on shore. Instead of attentive and polite the service tends to come off as greasy and obsequious. By way of background we all adore French food and have been lucky enough to eat at many very fine French restaurants in Europe and America - with this in mind the food is only just ok, but tends towards being stodgy and overwrought- the soufflEs were sadly sagging by the time they reached the table. The management staff went out of their way on a number of occasions to let us know that we were very lucky to be given a table because they were so busy - suffice to say that in good restaurants the key is making the customer feel the exact opposite, they they are pleased and delighted to have you as a guest regardless of how busy they might be. In short, the management staff at Murano have a great deal to learn about top class service, the snob factor they try to bring to the experience is almost comedically out of place at sea. Tuscan Grille: We ate here many times during the course of the cruise - the food is tasty and the service friendly. The restaurant managers were always very welcoming and charming but the basic level of table service was poor. Glasses would go unfilled, plates uncleared, all while 4 or 5 waiters would be working our table at once. It seemed that the staff had very limited training in the basics of efficient restaurant service. Orders were frequently taken wrongly or forgotten altogether, of course we're on holiday so we're pretty relaxed about all these sorts of details but they are worth pointing out in a review. The food is nice, the pastas are tasty, and the steaks competently cooked but certainly nothing you probably can't have at your local neighbourhood Italian. Silk Harvest: The manager at Silk Harvest was really great and always went out of his way to get us a table - but again the table service suffered from the same slightly amateurish problems as the other restaurants, but the food was always quick and tasty - the sushi was lovely and fresh. Oceanview Cafe: As far as buffet food goes it is very hard to fault the Oceanview, everything seems fresh and tasty, plenty of choice all day. The crowds can be a little aggressive at breakfast but all in all this venue does exactly what it should do, and it does it very well. Grand Epernay: We ate here twice and both times the food was good and the service friendly. The first time was at the captain's table which we all thoroughly enjoyed and the second time was towards the end of the cruise at our own table. The food here isn't haute cuisine, but it is prepared in a way that probably appeals to the broadest audience. I had Chateaubriand one night and pork chop the other and both were good. I had a middle course of soup one night which was pretty closely related to something you would probably find in a tin at your local supermarket but still all absolutely fine. We found all the napkin waving, light flashing, drum banging, Auld Lang Syne singing on the last formal night to be absolutely totally bizarre. It was like being in a TGI Fridays or something and again really totally destroyed any illusion of sophistication that had been carefully created by the dEcor and dress code. Although again, while we found it odd one or two of the tables around us seemed to enjoy it, so it might just be that we are totally out of step with the demographic and routines of cruising. Quasar + Martini+ Sky : The design elements of Quasar are cool but the space itself doesn't really work, it is an awkward corridor of a room and there is no natural flow between the bar and dancefloor. Conversely Sky is a really fabulous room but is sadly underutilized. There were a lot of Spanish speakers on our cruise and the DJ in Quasar played almost exclusively Spanish language pop music which was a bit disappointing and as a result really alienated a lot of English speakers we spoke to, who went once but didn't go back. Consequently the crowd was largely the same core of very young Spanish speakers every night. The DJ became friendly with them and had a clipboard to get all their facebook details on the last night... sometimes becoming overly friendly with a small group of passengers can affect the ability of staff to cater to a wider audience. The bartenders in Quasar were decidedly unfriendly and a cash tip really had to be laid down in order to guarantee any kind of consistent service. We found this to be an ongoing problem, I understand that for a lot of the barstaff their livelihood depends on tips but they really need to work on the basic upfront levels of politeness and friendliness. We spoke to some Australian people on the cruise who commented that they found many of the staff throughout the boat to be surly unless engaged in an activity which involved an upsell or a tip which was something that our party of 11 also consistently found. I agree in tipping for good service but (chicken and egg) the good service has to be forthcoming in order to warrant a tip... I understand that it is probably a very difficult life on board ship, but its really not the customer's fault. The Martini bar was a great venue for a pre/post-dinner drinks and the staff there really set an excellent example. Carlito always served us quickly and efficiently and went out of his way to make our experience a good one. Consequently we always went out of our way to make sure he was generously tipped. Celebrity really need to set the bar higher and spend more time auditing the behaviour of their staff. The good service here highlighted in many ways how patchy the service was elsewhere. The only downside is probably the music which is too loud and a terrible Euro/techno mix from about 1999. One time when we were in the bar alone we asked them to turn it down enough so we could have a conversation and our waiter very apologetically told us that management wouldn't allow them to turn the music down. By the pool was the same, bad pop music played much too loud. It's a little as though someone at Celebrity thinks that very loud music played by the pool (and everywhere else) creates a party atmosphere. In reality it just creates noise pollution and inhibits conversation. I'm 28 and used to nightclub environments so I can only imagine how annoying this must be for older passengers. Those used to real four and five star service will probably come away decidedly disappointed. If what you are looking for is huge amounts of food, huge numbers of people, huge cocktails and loud 'party' music piped throughout the ship then you will undoubtedly come away happy. I would recommend the Solstice, but with the important caveat that the overall experience is more Holiday Inn than Four Seasons. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
My husband and I are 40ish and have done cruises on various Celebrity, Cunard, Star and NCL ships. We flew into Rome 2 days early and stayed at the Sheraton. Not a new hotel, but with very warm service, great breakfast and with a good ... Read More
My husband and I are 40ish and have done cruises on various Celebrity, Cunard, Star and NCL ships. We flew into Rome 2 days early and stayed at the Sheraton. Not a new hotel, but with very warm service, great breakfast and with a good shuttle service into town. Transfer to and from the port was no problem. We had booked a "Rome Taxi" transfer at EUR130 each way. They were punctual, very helpful and cars were well maintained and new. We reached the dock at around 12 and boarding was extremely quick. We were on the ship in less than 5 minutes. The Ship: If you like rich wood paneling, lush carpeting, thick table clothes and fine China, you should cruise on the Millennium series of ships. If you like white plastic, aircraft cabin like mood lighting, sterile China and tiled flooring, you would like Solstice. The little wood on board, or actually "faux wood paneling", at the Sky Observation Lounge entrance was already severely blistering and falling off the walls. Negotiating the long walk from the front cabins to the aft Blu dining room was also treacherous, since much of it is through tiled areas. Very unlike Millie where a girl can safely walk her high heels through lush carpet on the way to the dining room. The ship only has 2 elevator banks, again unlike Millie class that has 3. The waits for the lifts were incredible long and very annoying. The Lawn Club was nice, but all of it had been declared a smoking zone. Also, the outside area of the buffet was much smaller. We had next to no chance to sit outside, which was one of our favorite spots on the Millie ships. None of the pools appeared significantly bigger either, yet you have 1,000 more passengers on board. On sea days, it was very, very difficult to secure seats on deck, let alone a recliner. There were babies in the pool and Jacuzzi (even in the Aqua Spa). One promptly emptied its gut into the Jacuzzi, right next to us. Kids were jumping into the pools from the Jacuzzis above with no regard what or whom they would hit at the bottom. We were disappointed that dozens of staff were hawking drinks, yet none were assigned to ensure basic pool safety, let alone enforce Celebrity rules such as "nobody under 16 in the Aqua Spa pool or Jacuzzis". In short, Solstice feels a lot more crammed than Millie class ships. Although Solstice has a few more gimmicks, such as its Lawn Club, none of the facilities that really matter are missing from Millie. Solstice is a very generic looking ship, with little character of its own. It is undoubtedly designed to be easily sold to another line in a couple of years. The Cabin : - Great storage spaces. Wardrobe access a little awkward next to the bed. - Don't expect more space. We could not detect any size difference versus Millie CC cabins. - Solstice has only fabric covered balcony furniture. These are not steady and we tipped over backwards twice when we were in the reclined position. Quite dangerous. Millie class has much better, padded balcony furniture. - Sound proving on Solstice is bad. Could hear music from deck above and every word of our neighbors. - A lot of kids in AQ class on this sailing. Very noisy!! - Also several chain smokers who smoked inside their AQ cabins. Staff were unable to get them under control. - In short, AQ may not give you the Zen like Spa peace and quiet you anticipated The Dining Rooms: Since we were booked in AQ class, we enjoyed meals at Blu. Service at the Blu was very personalized and friendly. The breakfast was outstanding and is not to be missed. However, we felt that dinners were hit and miss. Many days, dishes were simply bland. For example, a pork cutlet was served with no sauce, a piece of broccoli and no seasoning on the meat either. Yet, a couple of nights later, we enjoyed the most delicious Filet Mignon ever. The only constant in this inconsistency were the deserts, which were disappointing. Ice creams dominated the desert menu every evening. Why are there not more baked deserts on the menu? Murano was a beautiful space, with great food. Certainly worth the extra USD30. Great meal, which was just a little rushed. If was full most evenings and staff had to get their table politely but firmly ready for later seatings. MDR was our choice for a couple of lunches. The food never disappointed. In fact, the pastas were very good and we felt that food was better than Blu after a couple of meals. We do miss the panorama windows that were the main feature of Celebrity's other ships. The MDR on these is always located at the back. In terms of decor, the MDR was the most underwhelming of any ship we have been on. The wine tower is simply not much to stare at. The Buffet cannot be recommended. Layout is poor and passenger flow even worse. There is no pattern to what stations repeat what foods (and believe me, there is a lot of repetition) and no intuitive way of navigating the many cooking islands. At most meal times, it's a zoo and a chaotic gridlock. To make matter worse, we really were annoyed with the "no tray" policy. Try balancing a plate of food, your napkin with cutlery (no spoons, so you have to pick these up separately as well) and a drink through a hungry crowd. Absolutely disappointing compared with the lovely buffets we have enjoyed on other ships. Food was unimaginative, only the Pizza and mid-afternoon Ice Cream can be recommended. Drink machines were frequently out of order and/or flooding the floors and tables were not cleaned in a timely manner. Many items ran out, with long periods of no replacement (plates, salad sauces etc.) Avoid this venue altogether if you can! The Entertainment Another area of disappointment. We saw iBroadway on Millennium recently. Much better than anything on offer on Solstice. Its Broadway show featured songs none of us had ever heard. The "Stars Of Solstice" were not as talented as their Millennium counterparts and there seemed to be an emphasis on screaming with vibrato rather than singing. There was a good Celtic Duet and also a very enjoyable celebrity impersonator on board. Both of these outclassed the Stars of Solstice completely. The Cirque De Soleil type show featured some great acrobatic work. However, the Stars of Solstice were once again woven into the storyline of this performance - it would have been better without them. Lastly, we have to echo the comment made in other review on music. There was simply no quiet place on the boat. Every public space had various types of music doodling away at volumes that were far too high and unpleasant. We have never been fans of pool bands, and the Solstice one was not something we enjoyed. Problem is there is really nowhere to get away from the noise on this ship. Coupled with the bad sound proofing, we could even hear the gym music from the gym's balcony above our cabin blaring all day. Solstice, tone down the volume in all your public areas please. We are not deaf!! Verdict : this cruise offered a great itinerary, which we enjoyed. However, the ship is sterile and too crowded. It does not feel as lush or luxurious as its Millennium class sisters. Passenger movement, especially waiting for the lifts, was a major nuisance and we would not choose Solstice class again. Back to Millennium class for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
This was my first mega-ship experience, after 4 prior cruises on mid-to large size ships with Royal Caribbean and Carnival. In general, Solstice is beautiful with modern decor and well designed to manage the number of passengers - ... Read More
This was my first mega-ship experience, after 4 prior cruises on mid-to large size ships with Royal Caribbean and Carnival. In general, Solstice is beautiful with modern decor and well designed to manage the number of passengers - except for the pool areas, which were quite crowded on sea days and full of kids. Forget looking for a deck chair after 8 am.I am in my mid-40s, and traveled with my parents, also veteran cruisers, and we all felt that Celebrity missed badly with food in the main dining room. Also, we were not able to be seated with the rest of our party of 8, even though we had booked the cruise 6 months in advance; at embarkation, I discovered that I had been assigned a table separate from my parents and the rest of our party. I was able to get a table for 4 seated with them, but unsuccessful in resolving the request to be seated with the others. The best they could do was to have us seated on the same side of the upper dining room floor, which wasn't much, considering there was a wall between us. Our service in the main dining room was excellent, we received our food first and from our vantage point in the far corner were able to see that it took quite some time to serve the rest of the room. Some offerings were good, but most fell into the average category; portions were adequate. The number of entrees, appetizers, and desserts was limited compared with previous cruise experiences, and not in keeping with Celebrity's positioning as a "premium" cruise line. For instance, meat loaf was on the menu one night, and chicken fettucini another. Not exactly special fare!  Filet showed up once, although strip steak was available every day. The wine list was extensive, although prices tended to be high, I was able to find some good values from Italy and with less familiar varietals. We enjoyed the food in the Oceanview Cafe and were able to quickly figure out when the most crowded times were and managed to avoid them. We also ate at Murano one night and that was the best meal of the trip, but it was an extra $30 per person upcharge. The best value came from Bistro on Five, at $5 per person. The crepes and salads were fresh and tasty.Our cabin was Concierge Class, and on deck 11 aft. It was quiet at night, but noisy during the day as it bordered a hallway lined with service cabinets for the room attendents. You could tell when they came on duty each morning between 6 and 7am. Our room attendents were fast and efficient. Disappointingly, we had a problem with items being removed from the minibar when we were absent from the room. I complained twice with Guest Relations and asked to have the minibar locked, with no response and a total of ~$23 charged to my account by the end of the cruise. Our cabin door was difficult to close and you had to pull hard from the outside to lock it - twice during the trip we came back to the cabin to find it ajar. No personal items were missing but we were very careful to use the safe and ensure all valuables were locked away. The only advantage to Concierge Class that I could see was room location, being on a high deck and away from the atrium staircases. The afternoon canapes were a CC item, but one that I wouldn't recommend. Our veranda was slightly larger as we had the last cabin before the stern, which was nice, but it had a partially obstructed view to the rear. The spa was totally disappointing. The staff seemed rushed and the treatments I had (pedicure, facial, massage) were treated as an opportunity for them to do hard selling to buy more expensive options and products. Not the relaxing experience I was expecting, and overall, not worth the prices charged. I hope Aqua Class guests received better service. One bright spot was the Corning Glass show - definitely a must-see. Get there early for a good seat. The Lawn Club seemed a waste of deck space. And we hated the fact that a smoking section was located on Deck 12 just prior to the Solarium entrance on the AquaSpa Cafe side. Smoke floated into the Solarium and made it difficult to reach the "healthy alternative eating" at the Cafe (which was suprising good, but too small and hours of operation limited).Entertainment was modest. The Broadway review on the first formal night was nicely done. Public areas and the many bars were thoughtfully designed. We enjoyed Michael's Club and the Passport Lounge for pre or post dinner drinks. The Martini bar was always crowded ($10 each). Drinks were inconsistent, some evenings well made, other times not. Finally, the reason we chose this cruise was the number of ports and price paid. We enjoyed our trip and had a great time seeing the sights, and did a mix of ship tours and independent. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Celebrity Solstice Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 5.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

Find a Celebrity Solstice Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click