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134 Celebrity Solstice Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

I read the reviews about Solstice religiously before we left.  Also, my parents who are Elite members on Celebrity sailed the Solstice in December and were extremely disappointed.  So my husband and I boarded the ship with great ... Read More
I read the reviews about Solstice religiously before we left.  Also, my parents who are Elite members on Celebrity sailed the Solstice in December and were extremely disappointed.  So my husband and I boarded the ship with great anticipation-would we be disappointed as well?The answer is NO!  We absolutely loved the ship.  Yes, it has a more modern flair to it than other Celebrity ships but we didn't mind.  We loved the layout of the ship, it was so easy to get around.  We could tell that Celebrity is definitely attempting to attract a younger passenger demographic and it looks like it is working.  Also, even though the ship was full (we overheard when we checked in), we rarely if ever founded crowded places.  The Martini bar was very busy and we do wish they'd open the martini bar earlier in the day as it is a fun stop when walking around the ship.The Martini Bar and Quasar lounge were new and different and very enjoyable.  We loved the lawn and spent a lot of time there after we'd return to the ship from port.  It was a very relaxing place to be.  We were concerned about a little Italian bird that seemed to have found its way to the grass.  It kept looking for worms but it wasn't that kind of lawn!  We think the bird found its way off the ship in Greece and found real food.We also watched the glass blowing show which was very interesting.  They truly have professionals blowing and crafting the glass.  One of the guys used to work for Waterford in Ireland!  Great talent abound at this show and it's not to be missed!Our cabin was bigger than Millennium class ships by about 3 ft and boy, the 3 ft made the room seem so much bigger!  Our cabin was 7161 and our balcony was at an angle and maybe a tad larger than others because of the angle.  Our bed was closer to the balcony instead of closer to the door which I didn't think I'd like but both my husband and I loved it.  It was wonderful to be able to just turn our heads and see the ocean.  There was plenty of storage space for a 10 day cruise and I mean it when I say that.  No matter how hard we try, we always seem to pack too much but we found a place for everything.  Don't forget about the storage above the bed!  Our only complaint about our cabin was the safe.  Only a 2 year old would find it at the right height.  It was very low to the ground and we had to get on our hands and knees and really stick our heads in the safe to find what we needed.  I did forward this feedback to Celebrity that they should really raise the safe height to accommodate that of an average size adult on future Solstice class ships.The shows were very modern in the Solstice Theater and we enjoyed all of them.  Forgive me as I already forgot her name, but the female impersonator was excellent in her impersonations and the comedian (first name Troy) was absolutely hilarious and clean.  Our main complaint and we echo the sentiment of many others is the food.   In the Grand Epernay, the food was just pathetic and so unlike the other Celebrity ships we've sailed.  Dining on other Celebrity ships was an event that we always looked forward to every evening and it was not to be missed.  We opted out of eating in the MDR several nights and had no regrets.  We checked the menu and there wasn't anything on it what we wanted so missing dinner in the MDR was not a problem.  New menu options:  meatloaf and spaghetti.  PLEASE!  We are cruising to try new and different food that is a luxury to eat; NOT something we can easily make at home.  Our waiter did tell us that due to the larger size of Solstice, it just wouldn't be possible to have the same process in the galley.  I understand his point but the waiters are still delivering some sort of food and the quality in the MDR on the Solstice really, really needs to improve.  Being CC members, we toured the galley and it is definitely the biggest galley we've toured.  I think if Solstice makes it a priority, they can improve the quality of their food options with just a little effort.Speaking of food, the buffet food was delicious.  We ate there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at various times during our cruise.  We always felt there were enough options that we didn't even repeat our choices.  Maybe our expectations were less for the buffet but we were always satisfied with the food we chose.  It was tasty and the right temperature.  We also fell in love with their sushi which they begin to serve at 6 p.m. every night.  If you love sushi, don't miss it!We also ate at the burger/nacho/taco bar near by the pool deck and their food was also good.We tried all 3 of the specialty restaurants and here are our thoughts:Silk Harvest-every bite was delicious.  We misunderstood our sushi order though.  We chose 2 different kinds of sushi and our waiter asked if we wanted 4, 6, or 8.  We chose 8 because we thought that meant we'd get 4 of each kind but we received 8 of each kind.  We also ordered 3 large entrees but a smaller portion.  Our waiter kept saying he could bring us more but the portions were so big, we couldn't possibly finish any of them.  The food there was decadent and the "Asian fusion" Solstice is attempting works well.  My only complaint are the ants painted on the floor as you walk towards all of the specialty restaurants.  It always gave me the willies as I despise bugs and it wasn't appetizing to walk through EVER.  Please get rid of those ants Solstice.  Tuscan Grille-exceptional steaks.  I had the filet mignon, my husband had a ribeye.  Every bite was mouth watering and we savored every moment of our meal there.  From salad to dessert, each morsel was perfectly prepared.  If we sail a Solstice ship again, we will make sure we have reservations here!Murano-things didn't start off great here.  I called CC to make reservations here before we boarded.  They said due to system issues, look for confirmation in our cabin once we board.  We received that confirmation for an 8 p.m. dinner time.  The night before our dinner in Murano, we received a confirmation card for 7:30 p.m.  We really wanted to see the comedian Troy whom I mentioned earlier and thought we could catch most of his act beginning at 7:15.  So I called to see why our reservation changed and there wasn't an explanation and the 8 p.m. time was full.  So we went at 7:30 and asked our waiter to rush the service because we wanted to catch Troy at 9 p.m. then.  Our waiter did his best to serve us quickly and I imagine we would have enjoyed our experience more if we gave the experience the time it deserved.  However, since they messed up our reservation, we didn't have much choice.  Every menu item in Murano is very rich.  We both enjoyed a salad and then a Cappucino Mushroom soup which really was to die for.  They say have a soup or salad because of how rich every course is but the choices looked so good, we had both.  We ordered filet mignon and it was prepared table side.  However, the gravy/sauce they used gave the filet a beef stew flavor and texture.  Don't mess with filet mignon Murano, it's the best piece of beef one can have all on its own.  I personally preferred the filet mignon in Tuscan Grille much more.  I think our waiter overhead me making the same comment to my husband and he offered me another entree but time was of the essence and I couldn't possibly have eaten another entree.  The service and attentiveness of the staff in all of the specialty restaurants was outstanding.  Our waiter in MDR was extraordinary as well.  He didn't prepare food, just delivered it.Shore excursions:  they have a new process to have you meet in a common area, usually the Solstice theater.  You are given a number for your bus that you are to wear and you wait for the staff to call the number and then proceed off the ship to meet your bus.  We really liked this process as it seems less congested then getting off the ship and they trying to find your shore excursion guide.Lastly, I want to add a note about embarkation and disembarkation.  Embarkation was chaotic.  We were on one of several buses that came directly from the airport to Solstice.  We were told we had to sit down and not stand anywhere (who wants to sit after being on a plane for 9 + hours?) and wait for our number to be called.  Meanwhile, the staff that checks you in would hold up all sorts of numbers that meant they were available not that they could help the number you were given and told to wait for.  It also didn't matter if you were CC or AQ, you had to sit and wait for your number.  It was a really irritating experience.  Let folks just stand in line, at least we know we're on our way. Disembarkation went perfectly.  We were again told where to meet on the ship and what time.  We were then ushered off the ship and luggage was easy to find. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Background This was our third cruise - first with Celebrity after cruising twice with RCCL. We both turned 50 this year and with children now grown up we seek much of a child free environment on our cruises, lots of daytime relaxation ... Read More
Background This was our third cruise - first with Celebrity after cruising twice with RCCL. We both turned 50 this year and with children now grown up we seek much of a child free environment on our cruises, lots of daytime relaxation and lively nights. I should also say that the ship is more important to us than the ports of call and the main draw on this cruise was being on a new ship with the added benefit of a great itinerary. Pre-cruise We stayed overnight at Hotel Traiano in Civitavecchia which was okay. We discovered her sister Hotel; the Bremante was much closer to the seafront area and would recommend this more if you don't like to walk too much. Transfer to the ship was complimentary and was pretty well booked up so you need to book it on arrival. Boarding Journey to the ship only took about 15 minutes and we were so excited to see the ship for the first time. No queues for check-in, we went right up to the AQ desk and within minutes were on our way through and on board by 12.30pm, very efficient. We got our glass of "champagne" on entry to the ship and made to feel very, very welcome right from the start. We were directed to the Oceanview Cafe as cabins were not going to be ready until around 1pm. Hand wash facilities were in operation with an attendant insisting everyone used the gel. We did hear people moaning during the cruise that they felt they were being treated like children but we observed people sneaking through without using the gel so it was really necessary. I think it is only considerate to your fellow passengers (and yourself) to ensure your hands are clean before using a self-service area. Cabins Just after 1pm an announcement told us cabins were now ready. We were off like a shot anxious to see what our AQ cabin had to offer. We loved it - not as big as the JS we had on Explorer but more than enough room for us and our belongings. I had read so much about this ship that I felt I knew everything about it and it was just as good as I expected, better in fact.... The photos of the cabins really don't do them justice. The multi-head shower in the bathroom was fantastic, our robes really thick and fluffy and the champagne on ice along with our fresh fruit and flowers added a real touch of luxury. We didn't like the iced tea at all and the canapEs were not worth bothering with (we only had them once). Our stateroom attendant Mario was excellent, he was so friendly but in a nice respectful way and so helpful. He got us extra coat hangers right away on request and as we didn't want to drink our champagne that day he put it on ice again later in the cruise and provided 4 champagne glasses for us so we could enjoy it with friends. We found the storage space more than adequate, the flat screen TV with music built in was really good and we found it fairly easy to operate. Our bed was ultra comfortable as were the pillows - our bed was right next to the balcony which I had hoped for. The balcony was not terribly big but well appointed; I liked the wooden decking and the wooden loungers. All in all I loved the cabin; it met all our needs and more. Public areas So much has been said about this ship so I will just focus on my favourites; as virtually everyone has reported, the standard of the furnishings and the range of comfortable seating / loungers all around the ship was beautiful; Relaxation Room - this is a fantastic place to lie and relax, very underused, I was often in on my own. Soft music, lovely scents, fresh juices and herbal teas complimentary, soft beds and nothing in front of you other than an expanse of ocean. Only problem is that spa staff use it as a waiting area for those getting treatments and this causes some disturbance. We did report it in feedback to Celebrity so I hope they change this as it is a real haven of tranquillity. Persian Gardens - I used this area twice, really enjoyable and great views out to sea. Solstice Deck - a great area for sunbathing on a double bed lounger, very comfortable and was never too crowded. Solarium - I LOVED what I call the clamshell beds, there are only around 8 of them so you need to up early to grab one or stay on board while others are ashore (we did on 2 days). They are made for sharing (but even better to have one to yourself) - lots of cushions to prop yourself up, with my i-pod and a book and my clamshell turned to face the sea I was in heaven, no way did it feel like I was on a ship with 3000 other people. I saw the hammocks and really wanted to use them but didn't get the chance, next time I will, they look great but you would need a hand to get on them to retain your dignity!! We spent a lot of time in the Solarium, didn't use the main pool area as this felt more tranquil but there always seemed to be some beds available if we had wanted to. The Lawn - we played bocce on the grass and really enjoyed it, hard to explain but it feels strangely comforting to have grass around on a ship, I personally really liked it and would not like to see it converted to more seating areas as some people have suggested, it adds yet another dimension to this ship. Martini Bar - our favourite hangout with our special order of a double flight of Martinis with our CC friends Audrey and Tim. The bartenders were great fun, very entertaining and friendly, they really looked like they were having a good time. It did get very busy just before the second dining time but that soon cleared; it was a nice lively area, a great place to socialise. Sky Observation lounge - we went to a Karaoke night up there and had a great time, I didn't really appreciate how beautiful the dEcor and furnishings were until I went back up in the daytime to take some photos. Celebrity has definitely gone the extra mile to make everywhere seem so upmarket and luxurious. Sunset Bar - right at the back of the ship this is a great place to sit for an afternoon tipple, again lovely seating and you can go directly up the stairway to get to the open seating area of the oceanview cafe to get a snack whenever. Downside of the sunset bar, smoking is allowed on one side and if when there were smokers there we really noticed the smell, it just seemed to blow everywhere. This is where CC members met for our Sailaway Party, complete with Mardi Gras beads. Ensemble Lounge - our Connexions party was held here and we had a great turnout of around 90 people. This is a very nice, more traditionally appointed area, very high quality but not as appealing to us. We definitely like the contemporary areas more, but the beauty of this ship is there is something and somewhere to suit all tastes. Restaurants Blu - being in AQ this was our appointed dining room and was a real bonus. Food and service were excellent and after going to Tuscan grill one evening we concluded that we preferred Blu. Paulo our waiter was first class and made us feel very special. Once we ordered additional potatoes and steamed veg, he offered them to us each evening. This is a beautiful restaurant, the rose theme and blue colour scheme is gorgeous. The rose wall is even more beautiful than in the pictures I have seen. The restaurant is not too big and this adds to the feeling of a very personal service. Main Dining Room - we went one evening out of curiosity and were accommodated no problem. The food and service were good and we really enjoyed our meal but not as special as Blu. We went to the Mother's Day brunch which was excellent; we had the most delicious fish and chips (real British style) and chocolate fountains with fresh strawberries, yummy. Murano - we had a beautiful Filet Mignon meal here with our sauce cooked at the table, a very nice experience and great service. We still felt that Blu was our favourite restaurant having been here and Tuscan Grill. Oceanview Cafe -we both thought the food here was excellent, lots of choice, we really like going up for afternoon tea around 4.00pm, lots of dainty sandwiches and bite sized cakes. They always had some sugar free deserts as well which felt a bit healthier. We always found we got seats no problem any time we went there. Ports of Call - not going to go into detail on these as my review is more about the ship, favourite port was Naples as we went to Capri, if you get the chance to go there, I highly recommend visiting Villa San Michelle at Anacapri. Istanbul was also very interesting especially our night out to Sultanas belly dancing club, attended by 38 of our CC friends (we organised this privately). Would recommend this if you are staying in port overnight. We asked for a stop off at the Blue Mosque on our way back to ship which they accommodated and what a sight seeing it all lit up at night. Santorini and Mykonos are simply beautiful, what more can I say. Kusadasi, great fun on a Jeep Safari / visit to Ephesus -very hot and dusty but worth it. Stayed on board at Athens as we had been before, great opportunity to get the Solstice deck almost to ourselves. Post Cruise We spent 2 nights at the Albergo del Senato in Rome, next door to the Pantheon. Excellent location where we spent our last night on the roof terrace having a nightcap with Joe and Melissa from CC looking out over Rome. A great end to a wonderful holiday. Overall We had a fantastic cruise; the ship was everything I had hoped for. Our CC group also contributed hugely to a great experience as there were so many friendly people who we met around the ship / in ports who quickly became like old friends. We sail on Equinox in February 2010 and I am so looking forward to sailing AQ again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
This is my fourth Cruise. 1st was Carnival to Mexico, 2nd was Windstar to Western Med, 3rd was Windstar to Costa Rica, and now this trip to the Eastern Med on Solstices. My first impression was Wow, big ship. The ship is big, and ... Read More
This is my fourth Cruise. 1st was Carnival to Mexico, 2nd was Windstar to Western Med, 3rd was Windstar to Costa Rica, and now this trip to the Eastern Med on Solstices. My first impression was Wow, big ship. The ship is big, and comfortable. Most of the staff were very nice. The Glass blowing by Corning was outstanding. But... It's not Windstar or Carnival. In both cases OUTSTANDING food. This trip, the food in the main dining room was less then good. Broccoli way over cooked, lousy steak, dry over cooked chicken. Don't get me started on the Salmon. The sauces were over salted or too rich, or just bad. OK so the food was not their main selling point. The interesting thing was the quality of the food in the Ocean View Cafeteria was way better, and much better tasting. When I asked the Brown suited gentleman that was in charge of our section about the food, he got very upset, and said that we were not aloud to complain. I'm sorry, say what? I spoke to customer care, and were very surprised to learn such a rule had been implemented by one of their staff members. As for the other restaurants, it got very expensive, very quickly. At $30 per person, and then add drinks (4 people) it's not something I was interested in especially after both my Windstar experiences and Carnival. The term nicked and dimed comes to mind for the other things. A bottle of beer is $5.75, Coke or Diet Coke was expensive too. But they made a deal for that, For $6+ a day you could buy a cup that would be refilled as much as you liked at any bar. On an 11 day cruise that's $66 worth of Soda pop. Understand, once you buy the cup, you are charged automatically, whether you use it or not. As for the things to do, The glass blowing is very interesting and is a must see. On the other hand the onboard entertainment was painfully BAD!!! That trumpet player must go, he never found the note he was looking for. The dancing was somewhere between silly and stupid. I don't play bingo, so that sort of ends the things to do.The automatic tipping $11.95 a day, means the staff is not busting their butts for the tip.Now to some of you reading this, you might be writing me off as someone who just complains, about everything, because I enjoy complaining. Yes, I know people like that. This is not the case. Though I do not have tons of experience, the people I went with did. Including the Queen Mary II. They too, made the same observations. Indulge me in one more example. The tour I had signed up for was to be for 3:15 min, Starting at 2:45pm and ending at 6pm. OK... They put us in the Solstices forward theater stage area, were the people on stage were cracking jokes and talking. All the while you relies that the tour is almost half over and your still waiting. The every three min this guy comes by trying to sell you a bottle of water for $4.50. The first twenty times you tell him no thank you, does not change his enthusiasm to sell you very over priced water. At 3:45 they start telling us to get ready to go, another 15 min later, we go. So the three hour tour was about 1.5 hours. No refund, no "I'm sorry", no free water. Just an attitude of what do you want me to do about it. I know it's a new ship (first trip was Oct 08) and this was it's first trip in the Med. The GPS in the room was still set to Florida, Why. It's really seamed like nobody was in charge, or the people in charge were over their heads.  Am I just spoiled by the Windstar experience, and this was a normal cruise. Everything I mentioned was "Normal". I hope that's not the case. The Mexico trip was fantastic, the pool and jacuccis were open late, so after you been on shore all day, you get back to the ship, Eat, then relax, drink, swim if you like. The food was outstanding. The people making up the rooms were fun and clever. Did I mention the food was very good.Then Windstar, what can I say... Outstanding food, crazy fun stuff to do, Beach BBQ's swimming off the dive platform. Hang out on the bridge with the Capt. Anytime day or night (except when docking), Kitchen tours, cooking demonstrations and lessons.Something is missing from the Solstice and I would guess it's in the management area. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
On all the essential categories the Solstice scores an A.  The food and specialty restaurants were excellent.  The service from the highest to lowest crew members, was great.  We did not meet one crew member with a negative attitude.  ... Read More
On all the essential categories the Solstice scores an A.  The food and specialty restaurants were excellent.  The service from the highest to lowest crew members, was great.  We did not meet one crew member with a negative attitude.  The decor of the ship is beautiful, and we have been on many ships with at least 15 cruises to date.  Although there were close to 3,000 people on our cruise, it never seemed crowded.  We enjoyed this vacation as much as any cruise we have ever taken.Although I would recommend this ship to anyone, I do have two concerns.  First, the Solstice has done away with a prominode deck that often circles a ship.  Many older guests love to make use of this feature as it brings you up close to the sea in a peaceful walking or reading environment.  What has replaced it is a running track on an upper deck where people are also trying to walk, for relaxation and\or to get to a different part of the ship.  It is a very active zone dividing other parts of the ship.  This area is also near the pool.  Together this makes a mixed venue that I believe is very unsafe and is trying to cater to walkers and runners.  It just doesn't work. Second, Celebrity had a fine program on all ships to encourage the booking of a new cruise, (an advantage for the cruise line and the guest).  You would have made a down payment of $200 and received an on board credit based on the days of the cruise.  You were allowed to switch from one cruise to another if you were unsure of your original cruise choice, at the time of this special booking.  In unbelievable corporate short sightedness Celebrity recently changed the rules.  Now if you changed your ship booking, the down payment jumps from $200 to $900.  Inspite of the hard work of many many crew members as cited above, the poor judgement of management gets a grade of F. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Embarkation was pretty easy, no stress, or fuss, very quick and soon we were on board and exploring this beautiful lady of the seas. The state room was smaller than I expected, after being informed that Solstice staterooms in Aqua class ... Read More
Embarkation was pretty easy, no stress, or fuss, very quick and soon we were on board and exploring this beautiful lady of the seas. The state room was smaller than I expected, after being informed that Solstice staterooms in Aqua class were much larger than normal. The problem is, the foot of the bed has this rounded portion which has nothing to do with the  comfort of the bed, it just takes up more space. The balcony also was an odd shape, very deep  and being on the corner makes it impossible to stand against the rail as the wind is always too strong. other than that the  bedroom is fine, bed extremely comfortable and nice fluffy pillows.Food.Dining was a nice experience, except, I may have misunderstood about where we would be dining, when I booked Main sitting I expected to be seated in the main dining room and that Blu's was an alternative to Grand Epernay not that Blu's was where we would be seated for all our meals. I must comment on our wait staff in Blu's, Pawal Novak; was exceptional in every way.The food imy opinion was average, breakfast was a disappointment, eggs over cooked, and I preferred after the first day to eat breakfast in the Oceans buffet where there was a huge selection of averything and eggs cooked any way you desired.Shows in the theatreEntertainment was average, the Cruise director did his best to keep things rolling along but sometimes was a bit boring.The ShipIs very big, rarely seemed crowded except around the pool deck, there was never any time when you could go to the pool deck and not find dozens od items left sitting on loungers " keeping" places for people, even though it had been stated that this was not to be done. although I would have liked to use the pool there was no opportunity to do so, unless I wanted to swim during the dinner hours.ComparisonsCompared to RC's Brilliance of the seas, Solstice is much more futuristic, almost minimalistic. the Centrum is a great disappointment, it's blah! when you look down on the centrum from a high floor on Brilliance you see a beautiful  glow of color, and classic elegance, on Solstic you see an odd shape holding a tree?  very dull. Although I know cleanliness was a must while the swine flu scare was going on. and of course at any time where touching food is involved, to be constantly told time and time again by a young crew member the use sanitizing gells provided at the entrance to the Oceans buffet was a bit much,  being treated like naughty children was how my husband put it. when, if we wanted to use a different entrance than the main one we would not have been accosted by the crew memberBars.... The Martini Bar is a MUST  The waiters are full of fun, and very talented when it comes to mixing drinks. the other drinking areas around the ship are all very good. There is plenty to do if you want to party and plenty of nice places to just have a quiet nightcap before bed.Around the ship. At any given time you can always find a spot to have a quiet nap or read a book, and you can also find plenty to keep you busy on sea days, there is a huge amount to do if you want to keep busy. In all Celebrity Solstice is a big handsome modernistic ship. if you want the classical look stick to Royal Caribbean.Ports of call Santorini.Be prepared if you decide to walk down the steep cliff path, it's hard walking covered with Donkey poop and very steep with cobbled street. the ride up or down on a donkey is hazardous to say the least. and the cable car is the best way to go up or down. Santorini is not for the faint at heart, lots of up and down hill walking. you cann rent a cart for half a day for $40. but be warned the roads are full of inexperienced people riding scooters. and there seems to be no rules of the road when driving.Mykonos. pretty much the same as Santorini, very pretty place, lots of tourists nd it's all about getting you to part with you hard earned dollar. so be warnedIstanbull. Huge city, very busy, book a tour with Ekol travel, great guides, reasonable prices. good shopping lots of bargaining to be done to get a good deal on just about everything. wonderful sightseeing to be done. a must on any cruise.Athens. Once again a great place for sightseeing, be prepared for a long hard hike up the hill to the Acropollis but well worth it. make sure you wear comfortable  shoes for the walking around Athens.Capri. I could not believe how busy it was there. I expected a sleepy fishing village not a bustling high priced high fashion center, with millions of people everywhere, I was greatly disapointed. The bus ride up to the village  was littl more then a death ride up a mountain, people are squeezed into a small bus until there is no room to breath and then MORE people are allowed on the bus. not a pleasant experience and the ride up and down the hill is scary.Last time I was in Naples we rented a car, went to Pompii, drove the whole area an had a wonderful day,  and wish we had done the same again.OverallThe cruise was  a good experience we met some wonderful new friends. and had a great time overall. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
I just wanted to drop a few notes on our recent cruise on the Celebrity Solstice. This was an 11 night Mediterranean Cruise departing and returning through Rome. Most of what I want to mention are the private tours and transportation but ... Read More
I just wanted to drop a few notes on our recent cruise on the Celebrity Solstice. This was an 11 night Mediterranean Cruise departing and returning through Rome. Most of what I want to mention are the private tours and transportation but also a few comments on the Solstice. Previously we have cruised 4 times on Princess. Overally I would say we enjoyed Celebrity as much as Princess although there were a few differences. On Princess we really enjoy the anytime dining which is not available on Celebrity. Overall though it was not a big deal as we enjoyed visiting with the same servers night after night. The one thing we did miss was not having any laundry facilities on board. It would be nice to be able to do some laundry on board with Celebrity but alas there are no washer/dryers. However, all in all if you plan right it is not that big of an issue. We had 2 cabins, 7237 and 7239 which are both balcony. Our teenagers were in one room and we were in the other. Overall the cabins were fine. We only had 1 "issue" which was closet size and positioning. My wife thought the closets were a bit smaller than expected and a little difficult to maneuver around. Overall though we were very happy with our cabins.We had hear quite a bit about the grass area on top of the ship. From our perspective we really liked the grass area. There were activities such as Bocce and Croquet. When you are at home you can play those games, but who really does? We had a lot of fun on the sea days playing a few games like these. By the way, our kids are 17/19 and they too had a lot of fun with these. Alos on top was the Corning Glass Show where they created glass bowls, figures etc. My wife and daughter must have seen about 7 shows, I saw 2. They are very interesting to see. The food was good, service was great, layout of the cruise was spectacular! A mention too about our ship captai,. All I know is he was Greek and named Demetrious. He was the most personable and engaging Captain I have ever heard speak and could probably be a comedian if he wanted. All I can say is if you sail on a ship and he is the Captain dont miss any announcements - they were a gem!A few comments on private tours and transportations.Rome - we used Italy Cab. http://www.italycab.com/  We had a special need in Rome which was going from our hotel in town to the aiport to pick up our son who flew in a couple days after us. In addition to that we used them to pick us up at the port and get us back to the airport. Overall they were excellent. They were on time, professional, courteous and the pricing was very fair. Istanbul - we used Ekol Travel for our private tour. http://www.ekoltravel.com/ We were very happy with their guide, service, delivery, etc. The price included a driver and a guide. I would recommend them.Ephesus (Kusadasi) - again we used Ekol Travel. Once again, excellent. This time I would specifically mention our guides name is Mustafa Orkan Kulak. His direct e mail is orkankulak@hotmail.com All I can say is he was the best guide we had during our trip. Intelligent, Courtous, speaks very good English, Considerate of the time and our needs and just an overall nice person who wants you to enjoy their tour. Athens - we used http://www.athenstaxi.com/ You will see much written about them and the principals name is Paul. They too were excellent. We had on of his sons and orur friends had one of his other sons. Our driver was very professional, courteous, excellent English and just an overall nice person. We enjoyed him very much. You may need a guide at the Acropolis because Athens Taxi is not a licensed guide. If you do get a guide I recommend you ask the guide to give you a 5 minute overview. I say this so you can decide before you pay whether you will like the guide or not and whether their delivery is what you expect. Our guide was not very good. She spoke too fast, felt like she was preaching to us and her delivery left much to be improved on. So, if I do it again, try the guide on before buying.Naples - we used http://www.tourofitaly.com/. Again, these are drivers and not tour guides. We had the father Giovanni. Overall our experience was good. I would use them again. He reommened a guide for us at Pompeii - actually he called him in advance. I dont recall the guides name but we were very happy with him. We did the Pompeii tour early in the morning in jus under 2 hours. If you use Giovanni I would say to ask him to set up a guide for you because he will want to make sure you are happy. The other thing he did which was kind of nice ( we had 6 on the tour) was to provide us 6 bottles of red wine. There was a lot of his advertising on it but we found it was kind of a nice touch. We also visited Santorini and Mykonos. We did not plan anything special there although we did do the Donkey ride to the to the top of the hill to get to town. It is an interesting experience! Overall we had a really nice time on thise cruise and we woudl cruise on Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Celebrity Solstice...Wow!  This ship was fabulous as was the professionalism and friendliness of their staff.  My husband and I had never been on a cruise preferring to fly into our ports of destinations thinking ships would be too ... Read More
Celebrity Solstice...Wow!  This ship was fabulous as was the professionalism and friendliness of their staff.  My husband and I had never been on a cruise preferring to fly into our ports of destinations thinking ships would be too boring.  We were so wrong!  The Solstice had so many dinner, dancing and event options we could barely keep up.  The entertainment was great and we loved the ship's nighttime shows along with many of the educational classes. The ports of call were well chosen and their access to trains, the metro and bus stop were good though one or two were a half mile or so from where the ship docked.  We good walkers so this was fine for us.  W are also very independent liking to be on our own in port not caring for the large crowds on the ship tours.  We did take two ship tours to see what they were like.  The tour to Delos Island we thought terrific but the one to Pompeii was cut short by first stopping an hour and 20 minutes at cameo factory which left us little time in Pompeii.  All in all, we usually walked, rode trains or the metro and otherwise went independent to utilize our days more fully.Turkey was our favorite port of call both in Istanbul and Kusadasi.  Istanbul was an easy access over the foot bridge to the city.  In Kusadasi we hired a private company called, 'ekol travel', and they exceeded our expectations.  We were met promptly at the ship by a professional and friendly gentleman working for ekol travel named Metin.  He had a large sign clearly printed with our name on it which was a relief.  This tour was to Ephesus, Didyma and Miletos and timed to be away from the large crowds which we appreciated not speaking Turkish.  Metin spoke English quite well making it easy to understand him.  This was a relief as our Greek guide had been difficult to understand.  We felt he and his driver Ferit represented 'ekol travel' expertly with a comfortable, luxurious van that was air conditioned to which we are grateful as it was very hot for us.  We come from the north so the cool air was refreshing.  Also, Metin was quite knowledgeable.  We especially loved his information on the sites, the local dieties and habits of these ancient people.  .  Once again we must express our appreciation for the Celebrity Solstice ship and crew.  We heard from many seasoned cruiser onboard that had cruising 10-20 times that it was the best ship they'd been on too.  We can't wait to sign on again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Why do so many cruises start from Rome? Directect air access from Manchester is only available on Jet2 and they start back from Rome in the a.m. which combined with the trek from Civitavecchia to Da Vinci Airport means the check-in time ... Read More
Why do so many cruises start from Rome? Directect air access from Manchester is only available on Jet2 and they start back from Rome in the a.m. which combined with the trek from Civitavecchia to Da Vinci Airport means the check-in time would be hard to guarantee. British Airways don't have direct flights to most of Europe from the North - and we don't want to suffer Heathrow any more so despite a fairly unhappy experience with K.L.M. last year we accepted Celebritys' suggestion of Lufthansa via Munich which turned out fine - all four flights were on time and the luggage was on the carousel. Celebity started well by not only greeting us at Rome but providing trolleys for the luggage - only the most meticulous holiday planner would have brought a Euro for the trolley. As others have reported check-in was astonishingly rapid and our first impression of the ship ---- we were impressed! Our Concierge Class Cabin was not as large as its title implied but was perfectly adequate and well designed. The balcony (because of this cabins' location) seemed larger than most and was well protected from the breeze when at sea. The safety drill was shambolic because of problems with the P.A. system - but for the first time ever we didn't have to wear the Life Jackets. Tables for two are not as rare on Solstice as on most other ships - but 6.15 is too early for dinner, and 8.30 (actually nearer 9.0 p.m.) doesn't leave much time before bed so we look forward to the new open sitting policy (which we enjoyed on Princess). However the Dining Room is the best looking of any ship we have sailed on. We ate here every night except for one visit to the Murano Restaurant - don't know why it has an Italian name because it aims to be French -and it was really good. The steak in the Surf & Turf was incredible, and the lobster was far above the usual cruise ship tasteless offering. We had some excellent meals in the M.D.R.,and the service was first-class. the only downside was the wine - we don't mind paying the ripoff wine markups (much) but it would be nice if the wine was in the same upmarket region as the prices- most of the bottles we tried were of a very poor standard. The Oceanview Cafeteria was well planned,the food was good,and we never had a problem finding a table -top marks to Celebrity again. Entertainment :- the Solo acts - two singers & a violinist were topnotch,the "Broadway"show was O.K. but we have seen better. Where was the mandatory cruise ship comedian? In Michaels Club the Dan Hodge show was well worth a visit - we made several. We have cruised over 25 times and we both rate this as one of the very best - particularly as we got a super deal on the cabin! Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
We have been on 28 cruises over the past 15 years and recently completed a two week cruise/trip to Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Upon arrival at Leonardo Di Vinci airport ( which is located some 30 to 45 minutes drive from Rome, depending on ... Read More
We have been on 28 cruises over the past 15 years and recently completed a two week cruise/trip to Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Upon arrival at Leonardo Di Vinci airport ( which is located some 30 to 45 minutes drive from Rome, depending on traffic and 1 hour or more from the port) we were met by our hotel shuttle driver. Rather than stay in Rome, we elected to stay one night at the Hotel Bramante, located near our departure port at Civitavecchia. The Hotel Bramante is a nice, moderately priced (E150.00 per night) clean hotel. The beds were really hard but we were only staying one night and after our long flight from the southwestern USA, they were a welcome sight. The cost of the hotel's shuttle service was E140.00 and well worth it. This was far cheaper than a taxi and because we were a group of six adults the actual cost was a mere E47.00 per couple (E23.50 per person) and the shuttle was able to hold all 12 pieces of our luggage as well. Try putting that in a European Taxi! Once we had rested for a few hours we walked into Civitavecchia for dinner. We had pre-arranged to meet (for the first time) a group of up to twenty of our "Cruise Critic" friends at a wonderful ristorante and pizzeria called "Aqua". We were greeted by the owner and escorted to his large outside covered terrace which was a lovely setting. Aqua had a wonderful Italian wine list (we took 2 bottles on-board ship with us), outdoor dining, and an authentic 350 year old wood burning brick oven. If you like thin crust pizza, you will LOVE this pizza. Our cruise aboard Celebrity Solstice was everything a cruise should be and more. The cabins, the food, the service, the entertainment, the spa, and the public areas were all superlative. We stayed in the aqua class which gave us an upgraded shower and upgraded bath products in our cabin. We also had our own private dining room called Blu and unlimited access to the Persian garden, fitness area and relaxation room. Personally we did not feel that this class was really an upgrade from Celebrity's concierge class and we would not pay extra for this class in the future. Our dining room, Blu, had its' own menu (different from the ship's main dining menu) which offered a leaner menu with smaller portions which were sometimes quite exotic. This forced us to try some things that we probably would not have otherwise tried. Although the food was good, it really didn't suit us, especially my 'meat and potatoes" husband. The specialty dining venues were exceptionally good and really worth the extra charge. I would recommend the Silk Harvest and the Tuscan Grill especially. The ship sponsored tours were, with one exception, excellent and really worth the money. The very best were the Messina (Sicily) Wine and Mt. Etna tour (MY08), the Athens & Cape Sounion with lunch tour (PR03), the Best of Epheses tour (KD04) and the Amalfi Drive and Pompeii tour (NP04). we do not recommend the Village of Oia and Santorini Island tour (SO01) as it was just a bus trip to Oia and a gondola ride ticket back down to the port. These things you could do on your own for a lot less. The village of Oia is worth seeing, however. At the end of our cruise we planned an extra day and night in Italy so that we could see Rome. After researching all of our options for hotels in Rome or near the airport, transportation from the port in Civitavecchia to the hotel and transportation to the airport for a 10:00am flight the following day, meals, and sightseeing in Rome we made the best vacation decision we have ever made. We hired a private tour operator, www.rome-tours.org. Filippo (the owner of the company) picked all six of us up in a nice Mercedes van at the dock in Civitavecchia on the morning of our arrival. He then transported us and all of our luggage to our hotel, the Hotel Club Isola Sacra in Fiumicino which is near the airport. This hotel was clean, moderately priced at E132.00 per night which included the price of the shuttle to the airport the next morning and we would recommend it for a short one or two night stay. The beds and pillows were like bricks and the staff was not very helpful or welcoming and only understood English when it suited them. Filippo, our tour guide, waited while we checked in and deposited all of our luggage. At 11:00am we were all on our way to Rome, which is about a 30 to 45 minute drive depending on traffic from our hotel in Fiumicino. Because of a special Roman Tour Operators license that allows small vehicles to enter the city of Rome, Filippo was able to drive us right up to "the entrance" of many of the magnificent sights of Rome. Our guide was both very knowledgeable and very personable and he spoke excellent English. In one day we toured the Colosseum (with no waiting in line for tickets), th Forum, The Trevi Fountain (both in the day and again at night), ate some really good pizza, toured the Pantheon, Navona and St Peter's Square, The villa Borgase Gardens, The Spanish Steps, the highest spot in Rome (which gave you a fabulous view of the entire city), and lastly ate a fabulous 4 course Italian dinner at Cesare's Ristorante before being returned to our hotel in Fiumincino at 10:00pm. To say the very least, our day and night in Rome was the highlight of our entire trip and would you believe??? It only cost E100.00 each plus the cost of our meals and entry tickets. If you are traveling with a small group of 2 to 8 people "rome-tours.org" is absolutely the way to see Rome. They are also an excellent dock to airport or dock to hotel option from Civitavecchia. This is especially true if you are traveling with a small group as most taxi services (if you are able to find any) are much more expensive and can not accommodate more than 3 people per vehicle (plus the driver) and a very small amount of luggage. If you are interested I believe that "rome-tours.org" also offers excursions to other parts of Italy as well. If you want to have a great Eastern Mediterranean cruise this is the one! Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
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

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