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Sail Date: August 2012
We joined the Solstice on 27 August in Barcelona having travelled from Dublin with Aer Lingus for a 12 night cruise The transfer to the ship was also included (there was a little confusion at the airport to the coach getting all passengers ... Read More
We joined the Solstice on 27 August in Barcelona having travelled from Dublin with Aer Lingus for a 12 night cruise The transfer to the ship was also included (there was a little confusion at the airport to the coach getting all passengers together!) Smooth check in at port and as we have been on the Eclipse and the Equinox we were familiar with the layout of the ship This was a Mediterranean cruise and we had been to some of the ports previously so were looking forward to seeing some new places Rooms were available after 1pm and our bags arrived promptly We usually use Concierge Class but this time were on deck 8 cabin 8236 on the starboard side mid ship there was a pool of water on the balcony but our stateroom attendant said it was coming from higher decks when they were cleaning! Never had this before ! and it was only on our balcony ! We reported it( it never really went away during the cruise!) also the remote for the tv was held together with tape but guest services replaced it Our stateroom attendant was not as good as others we rarely saw him and he seemed reluctant to replace soap tissues etc or forms for room service until we asked also extra hangers were needed and we got the wire ones used for laundry We had noise from the tv and people in stateroom next door but following a call to guest relations it was stopped straight away The restaurant staff were excellent we opted for 2nd sitting at 8.45 table 432 on deck 4 We felt the food was not as good as the other Celebrity ships but the service was fine Wines as usual are very expensive on cruises The entertainment was good especially Fuse the violinists and the acrobats the dancers we felt were just average but Alessandro the cruise director was excellent and one of the best he was brilliant a great personality The itinerary was excellent but we felt that it would have been helpful to have landmarks etc pointed out as the only information was given when the captain made his announcements at 10am so we did not know what some of the islands etc were also there were 3 sea days with the last 2 days at sea it would have been better if these could have been split up We feel that the Eclipse and Equinox were better than the Solstice for service and entertainment but this is the oldest of the Solstice class so maybe that is why but it did not affect our enjoyment There was a long wait to get off at Villefranche we had a ticket 106 for the tender it was much quicker at Montenegro with no delays there We did two shore excursions one in Livorno a boat trip which was very interesting as we had been to Florence previously also an excellent one in Montenegro to the church of our Lady of the Rocks we also used the shuttle in Dubrovnic Our disembarkation was smooth and the transfer to airport good We did not visit Rome (been before and a very hot day !)but walked along the promenade in Civitaveccia where there are stony beaches and we had a pleasant day there also Livorno is worth a canal tour if not going to Florence as we had been before also We will definitely cruise with Celebrity again though maybe not on the Solstice Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
On the upside: Solstice is a beautiful ship and the crew are second to none, food was as good as could possibly be expected when catering for this number of people. The staterooms are roomy airy and the beds are very comfortable. On ... Read More
On the upside: Solstice is a beautiful ship and the crew are second to none, food was as good as could possibly be expected when catering for this number of people. The staterooms are roomy airy and the beds are very comfortable. On the downside: The size of the ship prevents it from coming alongside in some ports, this creates lengthy disembarkation times wasting valuable time. WiFi is stupidly expensive and very slow. The system has software bugs which means that a lot of time is wasted getting the account re-set. The TV and associated information systems were equally buggy. The cost of Spa treatments are prohibitive. We found being charged for transfers from the ship off the dock distasteful as we thought it should be included. Baggage was very slow getting to the cabin on the first day.As Brits we are not used to the culture of squeezing every penny out of the customer and we were very uncomfortable with the psychological games played on the last day trying to shame us into giving copious gratuities. Overall we had a great holiday but beware of the extras which mount up very quickly in transfers expensive drinks ($4 for a bottle of water) and of course the gratuitous gratuities. We will not be cruising on an American ship again as the constant money grabbing does leave a bad taste. The moral is go on a smaller less grand but equally comfortable British ship. I nearly forgot. The lifeboat drill was a shambles! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We had a wonderful cruise experience and the vacation of a lifetime on Celebrity Solstice. We traveled to Barcelona 3 days prior to departure and were very glad for the opportunity to overcome jet lag. I would strongly recommend against ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise experience and the vacation of a lifetime on Celebrity Solstice. We traveled to Barcelona 3 days prior to departure and were very glad for the opportunity to overcome jet lag. I would strongly recommend against flying in on the day of the departure- especially traveling East across 7 time zones. In Barcelona, we stayed at Casa de Marcelo, a very small, quaint hotel (probably off the books, considering the cash only requirement) where we had a large room by European standards, but had to share a bathroom. The location in the Barri Gotic, the breakfast and service and the price all made it a good value. I rented a road bike+ GPS from TerraDiversions and rode up the mountain to Tibidabo- a short, tough climb which was vey much worth the work. We were shown around Barcelona by our friends who live there (and came on the cruise with us), also visiting the beautiful beach town of Sitges. The superlatives: Embarkation and disembarkation were both quick and painless. Solstice is a beautiful boat. the food was outstanding- a true banquet every night in the main dining room meant that we never tried the specialty dining. Our waiter and his assistant, Shubert and Branson, were exceptionally friendly, quick, and helpful. There was a wide variety of good food available for breakfast and lunch- all hours, at the Ocaeanview Cafe. Our room was spacious and very well planned. Our room service was thorough but unobtrusive. The exercise area was large and complete- plenty of treadmills, cycles, machines and free weights. The few negatives: The coffee was atrocious, unless you want to pay $5 a cup for it. Amazing that an otherwise outstanding product could get something as easy as coffee so wrong! If not for the coffee, I would have rated the dining 5+. The entertainment was mediocre- except for the comedian-magician Rawlings, and the acrobats, both very good. The singers couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. We thoroughly enjoyed all our excursions, which we booked privately. All our guides were prompt, waiting for us when we left the boat in the morning, and returning in plenty of time in the afternoon. In Rome and Naples we used RomeInLimo, which lived up to the superlative reviews of other travelers. Alberto was our driver in Rome, and Carmine in Naples. Mauro was our extraordinary guide for the Vatican Museum. In Kusadasi, we were met by Sedat from Melitours- the agency recommended by Rick Steves. In Santorini, we took a catamaran cruise with Santorini sailing, which was very good. In Athens, Nikos Loukas was a driver-guide for a very good city tour. Guzi took us on a great tour of Malta. Maybe the most memorable evening was sitting on the lawn listening to 70's music and singing along with our friends. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
Last year had a wonderful cruise on Solstice to Venice, so this year it was to be the Greek Islands and Malta. Easy flight from Heathrow to Barcelona and another very good stay at the Hotel Pere IV. Embarkation was as last year, smooth and ... Read More
Last year had a wonderful cruise on Solstice to Venice, so this year it was to be the Greek Islands and Malta. Easy flight from Heathrow to Barcelona and another very good stay at the Hotel Pere IV. Embarkation was as last year, smooth and hassle free. Celebrity certainly have this nailed and I am still truly impressed that they manage it so seamlessly! Once on board we headed to Cafe Al Bacio for a celebratory Latte - they make superb ones - but this year no complementary pastries - the one thing my husband loved and constantly raved about. We soon headed to our Stateroom - no surprises - it was the same one as last year (our choice)! A super Stateroom, very quiet, spacious enough and I just love that bathroom - its a joy to have proper shower doors instead of the awful plastic curtains. Another little "slip" - no slippers this year! First hiccup came at dinner - we requested a table for 2 as my husband has a hearing problem and finds it embarrassing to constantly ask people to repeat what they say - last year it was no problem at all as the table of 2 next to us were a great young couple on their honeymoon and we soon bonded! To my husband's horror, we were shown to a table of 10! In fairness to Celebrity, it was soon corrected the following evening and we had our table for 2. Sadly no-one ever took the table next to us apart from 2 evenings, so it was a bit lonely!!!!The biggest moan for me was the pool. Last year the Pool Butlers were quite strict in removing towels from beds "reserved" - this year this was not the case. On sea days, when beds are always at a premium, some were reserved from 8.30 am until lunchtime before the occupants took up residence. I also saw three ladies reserve 3 beds in the sun and 3 in the shade! No effort was made to remove towels and this is sad because if they would be stricter, then people would not do it - as it is - they don't bother because they know no-one will remove their belongings. Secondly there were many children using the Adults Only pool and one lady had to constantly politely ask them to use the family pool as they blocked the steps and some of the more elderly guests found it difficult to enter the pool. Despite it being against regulations, toddlers were using the jacuzzi as a paddling pool and not being toilet trained, I leave it to your imagination. Again no effort was made to ask them politely to not do this. I know that other guests were complaining about this but for some reason, the pool staff seemed reluctant to enforce any sort of rules or regulations - shame really. Perhaps this was just a one off - I hope so.All in all though, it was another great cruise apart from the minor slippages above. I do hope Celebrity aren't taking "cut backs" too far and that they are moving from being a premium product. But would I recommend them - certainly and we'll do it all again next year if I can be sure that they will rectify the little niggles above. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
We sailed from barcelona, had good smoothe embarkation, as usual . celebrity is our favourite cruise line. this was our first time on a solstice class ship. we were aware that it carried more passengers, than other ships in the fleet on ... Read More
We sailed from barcelona, had good smoothe embarkation, as usual . celebrity is our favourite cruise line. this was our first time on a solstice class ship. we were aware that it carried more passengers, than other ships in the fleet on which we had sailed previousley. The ship is beautiful, everything about the decor was really great. The service was wonderful the cabin staff were excellent, the dining room staff the same, in fact every member of staff could not have been better. The food was not quite as good as we have experienced on other trips, but not bad. I thought that the old style of the self service restaurant was better than the islands. too much bustle. everyone wandering about without trays, looking for what they needed. this did not happen before. and there are still lines. The negatives were as follows. the lifeboat drill was carried out before we sailed as it should be, but it was held in michaels bar, we did not have to wear our lifejackets, which was ok for us, having done many drills, but for anyone who has not had to put their jacket on, was not a lot of good. there was a tv at one end of the bar, and we watched a video of the drill. but only a small percentage of the passengers, could see the tv, and were told that they could watch it in their cabins. we did not go out onto the deck, as we would have to in a real emergency, so it was not a very affective demonstration of a safe evacuation from the ship, if that were to become nessary. not good.not safe. On deck, there were too many loungers, in fact when you used one, there was no space between them, and meant that you could be too close to the people either side. There were no tables for drinks.It was very difficult to sit down, as there was not enough space to step between the loungers, so had to almost launch oneself onto the thing. Also there were hardly any chairs, for just sitting on. there were only about four or five tables outside the burger bar, with about four chairs to a table, but they were for people eating, not just for sitting on.It was the same by the pool. On the smokers there were a lot more chairs and tables than on the non smokers side. unfair. The entertainment programme, was not good. We go to seccond seating for dinner. On most evenings, we missed out because everything was perfect for first seating, diners, but most events took place whilst we were at dinner. Generally the shows were not bad but so short, just one act mostly. the main show ghost, has been shown on other ships, for quite a while, so we had seen that. Lots of the activities took place on deck 4 in the centre of the ship, with hardly any space for the ammount of people on the ship. so could be watched from above standing and looking down over the rails. I think that this ship should have had a proper entertainment loung with a real dance floor. The lawn club did nothing for my husband and i. It seems to be a complelte waste of space, with not enough sitting room. and when the grass is wet, cannot be used. i think that a small lawn would have been better, to us it was a wasted deck. the glass show was good. but that was the only attraction on that deck. hardly anyone played on the grass. its not the thing that you go to sea for surely. So i do not wish to go on any of these large ships, i loved all the others, constillation, mercury, infinity, galaxy These ships were all perfect. the whole feel of these was so good, the entertainment teams were so good catering for everyone. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
My husband and I had heard Celebrity Cruises is on par with Princess. Since we have cruised Princess so many times, both being Platinum and many of the ships are the same we thought a change was in order. We were really excited to try ... Read More
My husband and I had heard Celebrity Cruises is on par with Princess. Since we have cruised Princess so many times, both being Platinum and many of the ships are the same we thought a change was in order. We were really excited to try something new. Embarkation: Wow! We just walked on about 2:00 pm. However, no one showed us where our room was or indicated how to get there. The map we were given was a cut-a-way of all the decks that really didn't help. Our experience of how ships are laid out got us there. We also knew to head up to the buffet at the top deck. Room: Wow. again. The room was about the same size as a mini-suite on Princess. Our room was a balcony with an obstructed view. The obstructed view meant that we could not see all the way to the front and back of the ship. However, that wasn't a problem, in our opinion. In addition, the bathroom has a glass door enclosed shower. Both of us could get into the bathroom! Two of our three bags arrive. After two calls to the room steward and guest relations the third bag arrives about 8:00 pm. Shore Excursions: We signed up for four shore excursions for the first four days of the cruise. A change was made to the first excursion and we were notified of the change and sent the tickets to our room our first night. We arrive back to our room after a long day the first day and realize we don't have any other tickets for the next three days. (Did I mention we paid for these BEFORE we left for the trip?) Hubby calls the shore excursion desk and they send our tickets to us as REPRINTS after 10:00 pm since they are so busy. Hmm. What happened to the first prints? In fairness to the shore excursions, we felt the hefty prices we paid were well worth it. There is no way we would have seen Nice, Monaco, French Riviera, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Pompeii, Amalfi Coast in such a short a time although it was exhausting. Food on Board Hmm. This takes some thought since I want to be fair. The buffet upstairs was hit and miss. Sometimes it was good and sometimes pretty bad. We didn't know whether the food we chose would be hot, lukewarm or cold. I liked the layout but not the delivery. I saw a stir fry station with all the ingredients but no stir fry cook. I stood there but no one seemed interested in helping me. One night we got the meat balls, which were excellent. The next time we went there my husband said the meatballs were like they were just taken out of the refrigerator. If we wanted hot food at breakfast we had to stand in line and order our eggs specially cooked. After a few days, we gave up on the buffet. It seems a good choice too since the Norovirus problem. (See Norovirus heading.) The Dining Room at Lunch We tried this one day. The service was so bad that the table of two next to us left before ordering because they had waited so long just to be waited on. It took over an hour to receive our lunch. I had told my husband they had another five minutes before I walked. The waiter finally told us that it was the kitchen's fault. They didn't expect so many to eat there that day. It was the day we sailed out of Venice at 1:00 pm. The Grill My husband ordered a hamburger and fries on deck. Two men were working the grill. By the time the hamburger was made his fries and burger were cold. He described it like the three stooges were cooking it although it was only two people. The final day, I counted 27 people in line for the grill. The Dining Room We really enjoyed this, well, the service. The waiter and his assistant were excellent. I would describe the food as passable. Example: I ordered Mom's pork chop, chef's recommendation. It was a pork chop that was coated with shake n bake with a sweet sauce. You never knew what exactly you would be getting. Since I had already had an appetizer and a soup, it was no big deal. I will give the sous chef high marks. The soups were always excellent. Specialty Restaurants Tuscany Steak House Our travel agent had given us two dinners to a specialty restaurant. We chose the Tuscany Steak House. It is beautiful, overlooking the bow of the ship, about 12 foot above the wake in the very back. I ordered the fried calamari, Cesar salad, NY strip with crispy fried potato wedges and creme brulee. The Cesar dressing is made table side. The calamari batter had no salt. It was very bland. The Cesar salad was also unexciting. The lettuce was old and room temperature. The potato wedges were soggy like they had been cooked and stored under a heat lamp. The steak was good, Yay! The creme brulee was pretty in appearance but just so so. I am used to a very rich dessert. The waiter asked about the Cesar salad and I told him it was ordinary. He then proceeded to argue that all Cesar dressings are the same recipe. Knowing better, I didn't argue with him and said nothing about the rest of the meal. For crying out loud! Red Lobster has a better Cesar saIad. I'm just glad we didn't pay for it. On the TV on the ship the claim is made that the Tuscany will rival any 5 star restaurant in Europe. I say, "It will not." We resorted to the crepe restaurant for lunch the last three days at the end of the cruise. It was excellent and worth the $5 extra per person. The service and all the courses were excellent and HOT, when they should be! Also, we had breakfast in the Solarium on 12 which was very peaceful and enjoyable. Entertainment: To be fair, we were too tired much of the time because of our long days on excursions to attend the shows. We did enjoy the dance band and the DJ who played music since we are dancers. The DJ was especially cooperative in playing the music we wanted. Service: We had wonderful service in the main dining room at early sitting dinner from our waiter and his assistant. However, we never knew who the maitre'd was or who the head waiter was, if there was one. Service in the buffet was not so good. Tables were cleared slowly even when it was hard to find one during busy times. One had to seek out a waiter to buy a drink. At shows, no one approached us to buy a drink. Our room steward did an excellent job. The Norovirus: I cannot write this review without addressing this issue. It permeated the trip. Everywhere we went there were the hand sanitizers. This is a issue for me because I cannot tolerate the smell. It makes me very ill. I constantly had to dodge it. (Please be assured that I always washed my hands thoroughly.) However, why wait until the end of the cruise to serve passengers in the buffet when you had the virus on the previous cruise? There was a barricade set up to go into the shops , running the gauntlet of hand sanitizers. Obviously, I didn't go into the shops. My husband proposed buying stock in Purell as a joke. He asked a bathroom attendant how the crew were doing with the virus and he looked like a deer caught in headlights. He denied any of the crew had the illness. My husband then joked about the "disease ridden passengers". Isn't it interesting that the virus continues from cruise to cruise? Fortunately, we didn't get the dreaded virus even though we never got squirted with the disinfectant. I did research since the trip. I chose not to read any reviews before I went. The virus has really been a problem on this ship, hasn't it? Disembarkation What a free for all! I am used to Princess helping everyone get off the ship. Celebrity has virtually no one helping you find your luggage. My husband finally found the same piece of luggage that was missing the first night on the belt it was supposed to be on after 15 minutes. It appeared miraculously after all others were gone. Then we made our way to our transfer that we had paid $30 each to the airport. They loaded our luggage onto a transfer truck. Then they made us wait 30 minutes while they filled EVERY LAST SEAT on the bus! Then we arrived at the airport to find our luggage unattended on the curb. Then we missed a flight we could have caught if we had gotten there earlier because Delta cancelled our original flight. So we had an additional night in Barcelona, but that is another story. We bought a transfer from the cruise line so we would have a smooth transition to the airport. I talked to the young women in charge. She worked for the port, not for the cruise line. It cost us twice as much as a taxi to book through the cruise line. Another life lesson learned Conclusion: If you view the Celebrity Solstice as a floating hotel to get you to the ports in the Mediterranean you want to see with adequate meals, it is worth it. My husband and I don't regret the cruise. We would never have been to all the places in Europe. The pros outweigh the cons. The ship is not the important component of this cruise. We were wowed by the destinations. Our opinion is that the Celebrity Solstice is not equivalent to a Princess cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
I'm a....well, let's just say middle-aged...recently single mom who went on this cruise (Solstice, 12 Night Mediterranean from November 4-16, 2011) with my 22 year old son. We both love wandering around museums and old ruins, ... Read More
I'm a....well, let's just say middle-aged...recently single mom who went on this cruise (Solstice, 12 Night Mediterranean from November 4-16, 2011) with my 22 year old son. We both love wandering around museums and old ruins, and we both prefer cooler weather to hot weather, so this seemed like a great cruise for us! We have cruised before, but I have not been on a cruise in 6 or 7 years, and was last on a Mediterranean cruise in 2002. Naturally as a young person recently out of college and working at his first "real" job, my son was particularly interested in keeping costs down. I'm just cheap, so that works for me! One of the reasons we booked this cruise was the fantastic price for a guarantee balcony cabin. We wanted to keep organized shore excursions to a minimum, and so I did lots of research prior to the cruise on options for the ports. We had a wonderful time on the cruise and would do it again without question. We were overall very happy with the ship and Celebrity. Here are some details of our cruise: We flew in from our different home cities, meeting at JFK airport for our connecting flight to Barcelona, arriving at about 6:30 the morning of the cruise. The flight was fine and uneventful and on time. There was a minimal wait for passport control and luggage and the airport was very nice. Which was a good thing because we had to wait for almost 4 hours for our Barcelona City Tour/Transfer to start. We enjoyed the tour as much as possible in our sleep-deprived state and were dropped off at the ship at about 2:45. Embarkation was chaotic--there had been norovirus on the last sailing and due to the deep-cleaning needed they delayed embarkation. By the time we got to the ship and through the registration line we were able to walk right on, which was nice. However, cabins weren't ready yet (and ended up not being ready until shortly after 6 p.m.) so we parked ourselves on the comfy padded loungers in the Solarium, got some tasty and healthy lunch from the Aqua Spa Cafe, and promptly fell asleep. We were awakened several times by announcements in 3 languages that rooms were not ready yet and the crew was grateful for our patience. I'm sure the announcements were helpful for those who weren't trying to sleep! Of course, given the norovirus situation I think Celebrity handled it all as well as possible. The cleaning must have been effective because I heard and saw nothing to indicate that there was any sickness on our cruise. Our room was nice, and very well-designed, as was the whole ship, to make the most of every inch of space. We met our room steward but then rarely saw him during the cruise--he was obviously keeping track of when we left the cabin because he did a great job keeping it clean. LOVED the shower with a door after many previous Princess cruises where I was attacked by the shower curtain throughout each shower! We chose Select dining and appreciated the flexibility it offered us to eat at whatever time suited our schedule each day. Since there were only 2 of us and we always asked for the first available table of any size, we literally NEVER had to wait for a table to become available. We met many nice folks at dinner. The food was perfectly fine, although you never really knew from the menu description what a dish would actually be! All the ingredients listed were always present, but the way they were combined was often not what I had expected. No complaints though--oh, alright, the salmon on the everyday menu was a little dry one night, and the done-ness of the beef dishes served often had little relationship to the done-ness requested. But we very much enjoyed the meals and service in the MDR. We ate in Tuscan Grille one night and enjoyed it a lot (even though it did cost extra and I'm cheap!) Every other dinner we ate in the MDR except the last formal night we didn't feel like dressing up so ate in the Oceanview--the food there was okay but would get boring if we ate there every night. Breakfast on each port day was via room service (it helped us wake up early and it was wonderful to enjoy it on the balcony--I HIGHLY recommend this!) Every day I wrote in a request for chocolate croissants and every day I got them! On sea days we ate in the dining room if we were up early enough, otherwise in the Oceanview. We ate a couple of lunches in the MDR but mostly ate in the Oceanview if on board at lunchtime. We'd been upgraded to Concierge Class so had the expanded room service breakfast menu. I never tried the smoothies due to bad reviews of them on Cruise Critic, but did enjoy many of the other options on the menu. (Probably worth mentioning that beyond a rose in the bathroom and a spray of flowers in a vase in the cabin, and the few extra items on the breakfast menu, we saw no advantages in Concierge Class. We finally opened the sparkling wine the last night of the cruise so we didn't waste it, but I"m not a fan of champagne so only choked down one glass. We saw no sign of the "pillow menu" although we didn't ask for it. We never opted to get the canapes as we were eating PLENTY without them. We did get in a slightly shorter line at embarkation but it maybe saved us 5 minutes there. Our cabin was in a fantastic location though--1048 so it was on a high deck but one with cabins above and below so quiet, very close to the elevators but again was still very quiet. And we did like the footstools on the balcony! But I would probably not pay extra for a CC room in future--although I was thrilled by the free upgrade to it!) We never tried Bistro on Five (next cruise!) or Cafe al Bacio, and we rarely ordered drinks so I can't comment too much on those, but the one umbrella drink we each had was delicious! I found the free coffee to be bearable, and I'd brought some Starbucks Via packets, so even though we are generally coffee snobs, we managed. We found all of the crew members to be helpful, friendly, etc. No complaints there. The only dissatisfier with the crew was when they announced that there was a transportation strike scheduled for Rome the day we were going to be there, and everyone should buy Celebrity shore excursions to avoid problems. As I'd been reading the port boards on Cruise Critic I was suspicious that all public transport would be on strike, especially when I found no mention of it on any of the news networks on the television. My son went down to ask if the regional trains between Civitavecchia and Rome would be on strike, and was told they would not, so we opted not to buy a Celebrity excursion. As it turned out, there was no strike at all except a partial one between 1-3 PM that was only for buses and metro in Rome itself, and we had no problems. Lots of people felt duped into buying a Celebrity excursion that day, though, and were not happy! We were very lucky with weather on the cruise. November can be pretty iffy, and we had our share of rain and thunderstorms, but they all seemed to happen on sea days while our port days were dry, cool and usually sunny. Anyone who was hoping to get a suntan laying out by the outdoor pool would have wished they had sailed earlier in the season, though. Florence was our first port, and we decided it was worth the expense to do Florence on Your Own rather than trying to mess with public transport in our jet-lagged state. I had gotten tickets for the Uffizi in advance, and had downloaded Rick Steves' podcasts for a walking tour of Florence and for the Uffizi, so we used those and had a great day. Our tour guide did a marvelous job of telling us about Florence and the area during the drive from the port, which made the ride go by quickly. Next up was Rome, where we took the train in (walked from the terminal to the train station, which was easy and took about 15 minutes) and then walked to St. Peter's (lots of signs plus you can see the dome from the train station so it would be hard to get lost!) and took the Scavi tour of the excavations beneath the cathedral, for which I'd gotten tickets in advance through the Vatican. It was a fantastic tour although anyone with claustrophobia might want to think twice--we wound our way through a lot of dim, low-ceilinged chambers that were kept very humid to preserve frescoes. After the tour we went out the door straight into St. Peter's itself, and spent some time touring there before walking back to the train station and taking the train back. I'd hoped to see the Pantheon too but we had slept in that morning and didn't have time. Next trip! Naples was the next day, and here our plan was to visit Herculaneum via public transport. It was relatively easy, following directions in Rick Steves' Mediterranean Cruise Ports book, although one of the buses referred to in the book apparently does not exist anymore (at least not on the same route) and there was a pickpocket on the bus--I felt a hand go into my pocket and quickly back out, but luckily he didn't get anything. Herculaneum was amazing, and having been there before in midsummer I absolutely loved the day there with very few other visitors on this cruise. The walk back uphill to the train station wasn't fun after walking all day, but was bearable. We did, however, get off at the main train station in Naples on the way back instead of the next, correct, stop. We then found our way to the station we should have gone to (on foot) but couldn't find the bus we were supposed to catch to go back to the port, so we started walking. It was dark, and with the crazy Naples traffic and the uncertainty over whether we were heading in the right direction it was quite an adventure! We made it back to the ship with 1/2 hour to spare, however, and I'm sure I burned off all the extra calories I ate that day! Would I do it on my own like that again? Absolutely. (If we hadn't gotten back to the ship in time I might answer differently!) Next day was our second sea day and we once again attended the hot glass show. We loved this show--and how cool is it to have this on a cruise ship? We went to quite a few of them, and my son even won a vase made during the show at a raffle towards the end of the cruise. Then, we had Crete. This was a port that I felt was kind of "bleh" before the cruise, not seeing any shore excursions of interest and not finding anything in Rick Steves' book that sounded interesting. We took the 1.5 Euro bus from the port into Chania, walked around the harbor (lovely place) and visited the archaeological museum--well worth the fee. Then we spent a bit of time perusing the shops in the marketplace (didn't buy anything, as usual) and walked back to the bus. On the way we found an open-air archaeological site that was interesting to read about--thank goodness most signs there and in the museum were in English as well as Greek! All in all it was a very nice relaxing day and now I want to move to Crete! Ephesus was next--rather, the port was Kusadasi but after a lot of dithering over whether to try the "do it ourself" route here, we signed up for a ship tour that included the Selcuk archaeological museum, a tour of Ephesus including the Terrace Houses, and a "roman style" lunch at a nice hotel afterwards where we were all made to wear togas and put wreaths on our heads! It was a very silly touch but the lunch was good and even though this was by far our most expensive tour ($119 each) we are very glad we did it. The tour also included the typical "carpet demonstration" and hard-sell but they did at least give us free drinks while we watched! I think this may have been our overall favorite port day. Ephesus and the Terrace Houses are absolute must-sees if you are going to port in Kusadasi! Athens was next and we had planned a do-it-ourself day taking the metro into town and visiting the Acropolis Museum since we'd both done the usual Athens sites in previous visits. However, we decided instead to sleep in and when we finally did get up decided to just stay on the ship and relax. I would have thought someone was crazy if they told me they did this, but I have no regrets--we needed the "day off"! Another sea day and then to our last port, Malta. I'd been there before but my son hadn't so he chose the itinerary for the day, and opted for a ship's tour that was to include a harbor cruise. Unfortunately the harbor cruise was canceled as it was quite a windy morning, so we had a bus-and-walking tour of various spots on the island. The tour had apparently looked like an easy day (although I seem to recall it was listed as "moderate activity level") and we had many elderly people on our tour--some with canes and crutches, and many who had trouble doing much walking. This sort of limited what our tour guide could do as we had to spend a lot of time waiting for people to catch up on the walking portions, and have several long pauses at public bathrooms as well. For that reason it was disappointing, but Malta itself is just gorgeous and the weather was nice so we enjoyed ourselves. Oddly even though there was a sea day prior to Malta, our 3rd formal night was the night of the day we'd spent in Malta. This was the night we ate in the Oceanview, to avoid having to dress up. We definitely had "cruise fatigue" by that point! One more sea day and we were back at Barcelona the next morning to disembark. Disembarkation went very smoothly except that Delta Airlines was checking people in for our flight at the port but had VERY few workers there so the line was quite long and slow-moving. We had plenty of time though to check in and drop our luggage off, then take a taxi to the airport and wait for our flight to board. I forgot to mention activities--we attended several glass shows and really liked them. We also went to several of the lectures about various topics related to the places we visited (one on the Knights of Malta, for example) and generally liked those. They were quite well-attended and those that were held in Celebrity Central were often standing room only. We also attended about half of the nightly shows in the big theater. I'm partial to Broadway-style singing and dancing type shows, and this cruise had only a few of them. Most of the shows were solo performers of one sort or another--a comedian, a magician, several different singers and instrumentalists. Those I saw I enjoyed, but with such a port-intensive cruise it seemed that many days the show didn't sound interesting enough to be worth the energy to go see! The cruise director, Lisa, is a fabulous singer and wowed us with performances several different times. She ought to do at least one song every night! Beyond that we didn't do much as far as organized activities, but a couple of folks who we ate dinner with said there were very few night-owls on the cruise (they were disappointed that almost nobody went to the nightclub!) As might be expected during the school year, there were very few children on this cruise. In fact, I'd say at least half the passengers were 75 or over. There were a decent number of working-age adults, although more at the older end of that range than the younger. Quite a number of international passengers--announcements were done in English, Spanish, and German, and I heard quite a few British, Irish and Scottish accents as well. Once I get over my jet-lag I'll start planning my next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Embarkation: There had been noro epidemic on prior cruise so our embarkation was later than normally. However when we arrived to pier around 13:00 we got to ship right away after check in. We got cabins 17:30. We were really tired after ... Read More
Embarkation: There had been noro epidemic on prior cruise so our embarkation was later than normally. However when we arrived to pier around 13:00 we got to ship right away after check in. We got cabins 17:30. We were really tired after waiting so long but ofcourse it is better to be on clean ship so can't give any minus points for that. Public rooms: Very clean and well kept. Cabin: Cabin was really nice and our stateroom attendant worked well. However he had forget to place some things in cabin and we had to go to guest relations couple of times. That is why I am giving only 4 points. Celebrity Life: There was alot of all kind activities. However customer demographics was quite high on this cruise and it showed on program. Culinary activities and Hot glass show were really nice. Scrap booking, psycheledelic 60s parties, ballroom dancing etc. those didn't appeal to us at all. I was expecting for more modern activities and I think that Celebrity needs to do some changes to get younger customers. Couple really small things irritated me really much on the cruise. There were 55 nationalities on board and also lot of different religions. I can't understand why they had rememberance day ceremony and sabbath service on board. I think cruise line should be neutral for all national festitivies and religions. Dining: We tried room service, buffet, main dining room and special restaurants. Room service worked well and was always on time. Food was also hot which was nice. Buffet was quite chaotic. Salads were nice but food quality otherwise wasn't really high. Main dining room mainly served good food and also service was great. There were couple too pushy waiters providing their suggestions and repeating their names like parrots to be remembered. Menu's didn't seem to have any theme. I would like to have some sort of regional theme menu for every night. Couple of time we had to return the food to kitchen because it was uneatable (cooked over done). They also made couple mistakes with our beverage package and charged extra two times for both of us. Bistro on five: Was okey, not sure if it was actually worth trying. Murano: We had really high expectations and those were not met. Lobster was really great - else was average or a bit above. Tuscan Grille: We expected less but food was really nice. Portions were a bit too big but food was tasty and prepared well. Silk Harvest: Best resturant on the Solstice. Food was really really good and service perfect. We actually went there twice because liked it so much. Can redommend. Overall I would give 4 points but Murano was so big disappoinment that will give dining 3 points overall. They shouldn't also happen any billing mistakes. Entertainment: I think entertainment was focused for older demographics and that's why it was a bit miss for us. Steve Rawlings was really good and so was the Danish illusionist Martin Brock. We only went for few show's because weren't so interested in motown music or violinist. Other entertainers were Top Notch band, guitarist, accapella group and classic music trio. Top Notch was okey but everything else was for older croud again. Service: I think service was perfect till last morning. There was one of cruise director's staff on disembarkation waiting room and he was really rude to some people. He made remarks to people behind their back like "Well you are group 1 and you even shouldn't be here" etc. He could have behaved better. Shore excursions: Celebrity excursions were well done and guides were mainly good. In Athens we had worst guide ever. She propably was pretty new on guiding and also let some souvenir salesman inside our bus when leaving from port. That was weird experience. On Orvieto excursion food was terrible and on Chania vinyard visit we decided to skip the food because there was so much flies flying around in the open kitchen area where they had prepared the food. Rates: I think prices were okey. They weren't surely cheap but not expensive either. I think cruise experience was a quite good value on money spent. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Just recently returned from a 12-day Eastern Mediterranean trip, over all we had a great time. The Solstice staff were engaging and happy to make the stay on the ship as enjoyable as they can. We did not partake in the specialty ... Read More
Just recently returned from a 12-day Eastern Mediterranean trip, over all we had a great time. The Solstice staff were engaging and happy to make the stay on the ship as enjoyable as they can. We did not partake in the specialty restaurants but we heard that food there was great. We thoroughly enjoyed the food at the Grand - our dinner seating was at 6:15 pm, we were the fortunate ones as some people that were at the late seating were not happy at all. The staff at the restaurant was attentive and interested in how the food was - they were happy to get you a new entree if we were not satisfied with the dinner. The maitre de was great as we had to move tables third day in as we not satisfied with the location. There are plenty to do if you so chose, I loved the 'Glass Show' - gives you a better appreciation for glass making. The staff there was to demonstrate and educate - they had a lot of adversity to overcome - wind, rain, and since it was electric heating system they were frequently putting the glass they were making into the ovens in order to keep the glass at a steady temperature. The entertainment was first class; the live music was great especially Top Notch. The DJ; however, had a bit of a problem as he mixed up his British Invasion with his 80's. Our suite had a bit of a problem regulating its room temperature, found that the temperature dipped to cold in the middle of the night (the housekeeping staff was nice enough to bring me two blankets - really helped). Also, credo goes to the steward for coming to the room when I couldn't open the safe in the middle of the night and the purser, Nadine for her due diligence for getting us our onboard credit. We took advantage of express debarkation: it was a bit disorganized at first because everyone that wanted to leave early was all gathered in one area just outside the elevators where the theatre was located (front of the ship). The staff did not know what deck we were supposed to leave - until he had word from the captain. There was about a 15 minute wait and then we had to lug our luggage to the back end of the ship. That was the only glitch. Loads of taxis waiting at Barcelona, Spain. A nice gesture: whenever arriving from outing there was staff from Solsitce greeting you on the dock area and a place to sit if you wanted as well as beverages like hot chocolate, water, and juice were offered before going back onto the ship. Recommendations for this trip: I would like to have all informations regarding shore excursions including shuttles be on the website. Also, how far the dock yard is from the place of visit. All tour guides on excursions should have their patrons write their names and suite down, this helps identify who is missing. There were a couple times where there was a miscount and people that won't supposed to be on the excursion were counted thus accidentally leaving the people that were on that particular excursion out without a paddle so to speak. Overall, the cruise was great. I know it would have been nice to have had two days at sea at the end to rest up before heading home but one always have to keep in mind, learning to pace one self is a good thing. I didn't mind being exhausted as we had a 14 hour plane trip home - gave me plenty of time to catch up on my sleep. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
We recently returned from a 12 night cruise in the eastern Mediterranean where we visited a total of 8 ports. two of which where at best "marginal". Kotor and Dubrovnik where the the two. Shore excursions had obviously never ... Read More
We recently returned from a 12 night cruise in the eastern Mediterranean where we visited a total of 8 ports. two of which where at best "marginal". Kotor and Dubrovnik where the the two. Shore excursions had obviously never been on either of the two tours or they would have undoubtedly canceled them both and re-vamped them. Kotor was a long bus ride up a mountain side with no room for anyone to pass in either direction. The hairpin turns and hundreds of feet drop offs made the trip exteremly dangerous. certainly we would not recoomend it. We would recommend that someone re-look at this excursion. Dubrovnik. A really nice old town taht we would have liked to have spent more time in. but shore Excursions struck again and took everyone for a long bus ride to a quaint restaurant that served us a stale piece of bread topped with a piece of cheese and another piece of the same bread with something they called Ham but it was more like tongue to us. Hardly anybody (out of two bus loads) ate any of it. Upon returning to Dubrovnik, many people left the bus and told the driver they would take a taxi back to the ship as the bus tour left us with very little time in the town. Another tour that needs re-assessing. Arriving in Rome on All Saints Day, a Memorial Day Holiday and an annual Marathon Run that began and ended at St Peter's Square was perhaps the biggest faux pas. We couldn't get close to the Square nor the basilica. Everything else including The Vatican was closed. Finally Marseilles. Another long ride in a bus. Someone in Shore excursions must have at one time worked for greyhound or Trailways as just about every ship tour involved a long bus ride to the highest point to take a few pictures while everyone wanted to be on the ground in the city buying souvenirs. No more ship excursions for us. the Private Tours (of which we took four) we far better. Far better. Those we highly recommend. All in all the cruise was disappointing. the schedule was heavy, very little time to rest. A day or two at sea would have been very welcome. we did have two days at sea for the very beginning, but they were really need somewhere in the middle, to give folks a chance to catch their breath. celebrity themselves were perfect as usual the dining was excellent and cabin service very good. one comment for them. you could have done without the Glass blowing on the aft section of the ship and put the grill there out of the wind and gained more room. putting the grill on the Port side in the direct wind was not all that great. we didn't see a lot of people using it. Sincerely Terry Hensey. Soltice Oct 23rd. Venice and the Med. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
The cabin was comfortable, clean and well serviced. The C2 cabin "concierge" amenities only amounted to a bottle of champagne on arrival, and canapes to order in the afternoon. We had them a few times, but then got some bad ... Read More
The cabin was comfortable, clean and well serviced. The C2 cabin "concierge" amenities only amounted to a bottle of champagne on arrival, and canapes to order in the afternoon. We had them a few times, but then got some bad shrimp on one tray and never ordered them again. We never received a robe, or had any priority in embarkation or disembarkation. We were surprised that though all ages were represented in the guests on the cruise, that a very high majority were in the very senior age group, and seemed to remain very confused during most day to day activities. Being hit with food while navigating the buffet, waiting several minutes while people tried to figure out the drink dispenser,etc. was a common occurrence. True to form, many of the European guests did not observe what we are comfortable with as far as personal space and waiting in line- and there were many lines to wait in. We really enjoyed the Tuscan Grille both the good food and great service. The main dining room was too crowded, and the service was inconsistent ( for our "select" dining option)we don't enjoy taking 1.5 to 2 hours for dinner as a rule.. We got some good Martinis at the Martini Bar,and some too old gelato at the gelato bar. Room service breakfast orders were incorrect, and the food was always room temperature. We found that an order for beer or wine from room service might come from any bar on the ship, might be the correct temperature or not, and might come with glasses or not, despite specific request made during the order. Overall, a good experience for us that we will treasure was somewhat marred by the poorly conducted disembarkation. We had the earliest departing flight, and were put in group one, and assembled in the main dining room to await port clearance. When given the O.K. to proceed, we were behind all the other passengers who were exiting from the extreme forward Port side gangway- so we had literally hundreds of people who might have been in groups as high as 12- with flights in the afternoon, leaving the ship ahead of those of us who were in jeopardy of missing our airport transfer and flight. We made it, thank goodness- but it was in no way because of the positive actions of any Celebrity staff. Good ship, the Solstice- but the company needs to go a little further in insuring a problem free experience for the premium fares that are charged for a cruise like this. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
This was our second Celebrity cruise - we sailed on Eclipse last year. Initial impressions of Solstice were very good. Although a few years older than Eclipse she is in good shape and communal areas and cabins were clean and well ... Read More
This was our second Celebrity cruise - we sailed on Eclipse last year. Initial impressions of Solstice were very good. Although a few years older than Eclipse she is in good shape and communal areas and cabins were clean and well looked after. Boarding was relatively quick. We got the Celebrity transfer from the airport but the lady on the check in desk was less than helpful and was more concerned with moving onto the next customer than answering our questions. She was also hard to understand. Once on board it felt like coming home! Because the layout of the ship is the same as Eclipse we knew our way round and were some of the first in the Sunset bar for the long-awaited CC sail-away party. Cabins: We had adjoining cabins at the stern and they were amazing. We asked the steward to open up the entrance so we had one front door and also to swing back the balcony divider. This took him a day (and a few reminders) to arrange. Same with emptying the mini-bars and hosing the soot off the balconies. He did the ones either side but not ours until we asked.. No complaints with cabin cleanliness or layout and I spent a lot of time on the balcony sunbathing, reading or just watching the wake. Food: Buffet was very similar to the Eclipse last year - plenty of choice albeit the same food every day. The ice cream was fantastic. Loved the coffee, pastries, sandwiches and cakes from Cafe Al Bacio. MDR - Food better than Eclipse and on the whole very good. Only one occasion of 'pink' cooked pork which I gave up on when it came back the same second time. Our service here was exceptional and our waiter, Cyrel and sommelier Ivan were just great. They gave the best service we have ever had. Although we were on select dining we booked a table at the time we wanted in advance each day so that we could go to their area. Murano - service way OTT and uncomfortable. Husband felt very unwell after the lobster. Wouldn't go back Tuscan Grill - again service a bit too attentive but food excellent - our favourite speciality restaurant. Silk Harvest - food and service good but experience spoilt for us by being next to a table of very young children who ran amok. We were offered a free booking a few days later but the menu is very limited and our experience of the MDR was so good that we preferred to be there. Leisure faciitities and entertainment: Pool deck way too small for the number of passengers and we avoided it at all costs preferring the privacy of the balcony. Lawn - a great facility and location but unfortunately the vast majority of it was 'resting' and not open for use most of the cruise!! What a waste. Also the lawn games weren't left out for use most of the time which again was a shame as there is little else for families to do together, Maybe they should look at artificial grass if they can't maintain it in the heat? Hot Glass Show was awesome. Very entertaining and informative. Three great guys who are passionate about their craft and were actually interested in meeting and talking to the passengers. The shows were variable in quality. We really enjoyed the Illusionist, the Cirque de Soleil type show and the final show where Captain Gerry sang and played the guitar (rather well!). One-man show was dire. Shops were the usual range and we bought a few watches. Service was average and they succeeded in charging us twice for something. This meant a trip to Guest Relations to rectify. Bars: Service overall very good with the exception of the Sunset Bar where the bar staff looked really miserable. This was the same on the Eclipse last year! My husband was dismayed to find no decent bottled English beers (apparently the Spanish don't like them!). They were plentiful on Eclipse. Martini bar was fun and the place to be! Shore Excursions: We only did two Celebrity excursions. The gelato trip from Civi which was hilarious, although it wasn't meant to be and the family cable car tour in Dubrovnik which was good as it included a brief walking tour. Beware if you have very young children though as there are a lot of steep stone steps to climb down. Go inside the museum at the fortress at the top cable car station - it is very interesting. It does annoy me how Celebrity seem to be deliberately evasive about the alternatives to their own shuttles and tours. More information about the public transport options would be appreciated - we got most of our info in advance from the CC forums and our fellow roll-callers. At La Spezia the Guest Relations lady was very unhelpful but the Concierge was the opposite and printed me off a map to show how we could easily walk to the train station. Tender arrangements need looking at - huge delays in Kotor both getting off and getting on. Standing in a long queue in the blazing sun to get back to the ship not much fun. Long queues also for tender getting off at Villefranche. This meant that we missed the train we wanted to get to Monte Carlo and had to get the later 'train from hell' which was absolutely packed. Overall: A great cruise. It must have been because we have booked another one for next year! We met some lovely people (old friends and new) and the Solstice didn't disappoint. It is very easy to criticise and there were things that could undoubtedly be improved but overall a fantastic time. I must mention here the ship's Captain Gerry Larsson-Fedde whose announcements ('Hello, it's me again') amused us at 12 noon each day. A great sport he participated in guest/officer events, was available for photos on formal nights and performed on stage during the final show. The staff said what a great guy he is and I'm sure that under his leadership Solstice will only get better. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
This was the 3rd cruise for my partner and I having previously travelled with RCI, NCL and Disney. From the outset I would place Solstice in third place behind RCI and Disney (with Disney outclassing the other ships). My partner ... Read More
This was the 3rd cruise for my partner and I having previously travelled with RCI, NCL and Disney. From the outset I would place Solstice in third place behind RCI and Disney (with Disney outclassing the other ships). My partner and I are in our late 30's / early 40's and enjoy travelling, good food, a few drinks, shows and a good variety of entertainment. Travel to the port of Barcelona was easy as we live in the area, so a train and a taxi ride got us there by midday. Check in was superb. I think we were on board just 20 minutes after getting out of the cab! The entrance to the ship was by gangway on deck 4 by the Martini bar. When boarding other vessels there has been an immediate "Wow" factor. We did not feel this as the entry felt rather enclosed. The sparkling wine on boarding was a nice touch but we did have to battle through sales people for alternative dining, drinks packages and wine packages. We actually got caught with these people for 20 minutes and could have done without the hard sell so quickly. We had a walk round and first impressions were that Solstice is a beautiful ship with some stunning spaces and nicely presented artworks. Next stop was the Ocean View for a buffet lunch. Again the first impression was great with stations for Mexican, curries, BBQ, roasts, Chinese, pizza, pasta, salads and lots of desserts. We tried the curries and they were delicious. The staterooms were available when we finished lunch and we made our way to deck 8. The room was large and well laid out and spotlessly clean. There was loads of storage and the shower was unexpectedly large. After another walk around and Muster we made our way to the Sunset Bar for the CC first meet and greet. This was fun and it was satisfying to put some faces to some names. Subsequent to this we watched sail away and then got changed for dinner and popped in to the official CC meeting in Michael's club. We had second seating for dinner. Although we had requested a table for 6 we got a table for 2 at the back of the restaurant. What was odd was that there were 4 tables for 2 in a line with only about 2 inches between each table. The effect was of having a table for 8 where people were less inclined to chat and where we were all eating different courses at different times. The food in the MDR was ok. There were no dishes that stick in my memory and there was LOTS of red meat. It wasn't bad but just not great. We also had dinners in the 3 main alternative venues. Morano (stuffy, dark a bit pretentious and the lobster made me ill), Tuscan Grill (best views on the ship and the best food. Loved it all and left stuffed!) and Silk Harvest (asian inspired and ok). Tried Cafe Bacchio one day but thought the coffee was a bare pass and definitely not worth the $6 for the one I tried. Buffet was always reliable for breakfast and lunch, but the variety never changed. It was the same food every day and by day 6 I was bored of it. The Mast Grill had the burgers etc.., but these were not grilled to order as advertised and as with most things on the ship I would grade as ok. Also the service here was awful. Food was thrown on a plate and thrust at you. Every time I visited I had to give the plate back and ask for fires, or cheese etc..., it was never offered. Entertainment was the second biggest disappointment on the ship. It was truly awful and the worst I have experienced in cruising. Each night the same bands played (an acapella quartet, a jazz band, a pop band and a lounge singer). Same songs with each band moving round the ship periodically. It became very tedious very fast. Unfortunately the show lounge was equally uninspired. Just passable shows most of which I walked out of. Even the big Solstice show (meant to be Cirque style) was a let down. Some great performers but it felt like I was watching a 1980's seaside variety show. I had higher expectations. Service ship wide was good but very superficial. Lots of "hi, how are you today?" "Have you had a good day?" "did you enjoy......?" however nobody really wanted to hear an answer and in a lot of cases walked off before you could engage. Bars were generally good with a special word to the Martini bar where most nights were spent. The sundeck on sea days was absolutely brutal! Not enough space for the overcrowded ship (built for 2850 with over 3100 on our cruise). It was so bad on the first sea day that I did not sit out for the rest of the cruise on the open deck. It was also too loud as the deafening bands always seemed to be there, too many screaming kids and too many very rude people hogging sunbeds and pushing each other. Kids in general were not well controlled with large packs roaming the halls, especially on sea days. The highpoint of the ship for me was the Hot Glass Show. I can't praise these 3 men enough. Funny and very talented I went to at least 5 shows. Lawn club itself felt like wasted space and the lawn was resting for most of the trip so that further cut down on sun bathing space. We did not use shore excursions except for one question in Venice where they were quite rude. Guest relations managed to answer my question however and every time I needed to speak to them were professional and helpful. Ports were all interesting and we self toured. Kotor and Dubrovnik were the high points. As expected the Med in the summer is very crowded. Disembarkation was smooth and efficient. Overall the ship was so near to great and then kept missing the mark. Entertainment and food needed more variety. I am sure on a 7 day Caribbean trip you don't have time to tire of the same music and menu, but on a 12 day trip you need more. The main theatre also needs an overhaul. Please Celebrity look at your competition and put some effort into this area. Sundeck space was lovely to look at when empty but was like a war zone when full. MDR was tasty but not memorable. Finally a word about fellow cruisers. With the exception of the CC people we met (all of whom were lovely of course), the people on board were some of the rudest I have ever encountered (and I live in Spain where rudeness is almost a sport). They pushed and shoved, hogged sun beds, were very dismissive of staff that were always trying to help and completely unappreciative of the fact that apart from themselves 3099 other people had also paid to be on vacation and wanted to destress. I was so looking forward to this trip and had heard such fantastic things about Solstice. Maybe my expectations were too high. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
This was our first European cruise. Let me start with on board embarkment. How easy was that? We had the concierge class balcony room and were assured first on. We arrived at noon and were escorted directly to champagne and access to ... Read More
This was our first European cruise. Let me start with on board embarkment. How easy was that? We had the concierge class balcony room and were assured first on. We arrived at noon and were escorted directly to champagne and access to the ship wherever we wanted to go. We walked along many of the common area decks to the "buffet" area. This is no ordinary "buffet" There were many stations with many different types of food. Indian, Mexican, Italian, English, paninni sandwiches and more. Fancy desserts, ice cream (not ice milk). All of which were equally very good. We then toured on our own to see the specialty restaurants, took pictures while no one was there and went to see the ship stores. From regular everyday ship stores to fancy boutiques. Something for everyone. Onto our room for a wonderful surprise. Roomy, big bathroom, large deck with lounge chairs, big table, champagne and fruit. Bed was comfortable, room stewards were great!!! Solarium for 18 and over was great! small pool for just wading or small dips, nice fresh organic food(even though we are not very organic, it was good! Places to lay down, covered secluded areas and hot tubs. Soft music. RESTFUL. Standard pool area for everyone. Not loud. Only draw back was not enough seating for everyone. No kiddie pool which was needed. Days at sea consisted of kids at the pool. Dining room was very elegant and food was good, not great as we expected. Smaller portions were okay but needed to be hotter. Wait staff accommodating. The only specialty restaurant we ate at was the Tuscan Grille, You have to go. The food was out of this world!!Especially the steak(filet mignon) Service was second to none!! andy the view was outstanding. Even the Captains crew were very helpful and smiling. The coffee bar was great. Cappucinos everyday with free pastries was a nice place to sit and relax. The waiters were not pushy for drinks. If you wanted one, they would help you. No drink of the day, no sell, sell, sell. The drink package is worth it. We chose the premium package and did not over do it, it was worth not worrying about a bar bill at the end. We do have many comments about the ports of call but will have to complete another section for that. Disembarkement was slow even though we were suppose to be first off but we were able to get to our plane in plenty of time. We can only say that our expectations of this Celebrity ship were met and have decided this is now our the Solstice class of Celebrity is our cruise line of choice Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
I cruised with Celebrity Century many years ago and can remember the amazing food and service and sitting at the back of the ship looking out towards the past. The tranquility of the sound of the water going around the big propelers still ... Read More
I cruised with Celebrity Century many years ago and can remember the amazing food and service and sitting at the back of the ship looking out towards the past. The tranquility of the sound of the water going around the big propelers still lives with me. Therefore we booked a Sunset veranda and we got plenty of the propeler sound which we loved, often sleeping with the door open. Breafast every morning on the veranda. Very nice whilst on the go to Rome, Florens, Venice, Dubrovnik and so on. We loved many things with the Soltice. At first it came across very cold with the atrium, almost naked greating us. When we got over that we where on a floating luxury hotel instead of a ship we did like it and most of all the SPA area with it's Solarium, SPA cafe and gym with classes. A bonus if you do want to get away and try to get in a slightly better shape. Food was excellent in the Main Restaurant and we never felt that we needed to book in anywhere else. It is a smart large restaurant and it does feel a bit special and not just like the cruise ship is feeding the hungry crowds. Chef Eddie is amazing and showed me and my husband the most memorable character of all the staff. He worked his socks of with his gentle homour and making everything look very easy. Cruise Director was also working overtime and I can just imagine what he looks like when he finally gets to his cabin. Or he might work 24/7?? Shows are pretty good and better standard that I expected. The 4 guys walking around singing A capella we could have done with out. Great idea but would have prefered if they could sing in tune and reach the notes. Tired voices I expect. Jazz trio was very good. It is such an well oiled machine that it leaves you with a feel that you are not special at all. Strange to write that really but there is nothing charming about Celebrity Solstice just very pro with Chef Eddie making up for everyones perfect smiles. I'm sure there are lot of nice people working on the ship and it shines through how grinding it is and that the company do slip when the staff texting friends and family at home. Especially the poor sods that works in the toilets can't hide there phones quick enough and a small thing like that just cracks the perfect fasad a bit and show that we are all human. What I didn't like about this cruise was to get an amazing massage and what I liked less was that before you have a change to open your eyes, the nice massage lady turns into Executive Sales Lady on a mission to clinch the deal. She held up different options to me 'which one do you want?' which one...this one or that one...? I felt I had no choice in saying no. I didn't book another massage when it left me stone cold on the hard sell. AND IF YOU ARE FROM ENGLANG THINKING ABOUT BUYING THE ELEMIS ALGE DETOX CAPSULES AND GET ASSURANCES OF HOW CHEAP THEY ARE ON BOARD. DON'T BUY THEM!!!! They are £230 cheaper in England!!!!! We did all the ports on our own steam and paid a fraction of the prices that Celebrity charges and it's nicer if you are so inclined. From what we heard other people was saying about the speciality restaurants, they served the same thing more or less than the main restaurant but just in a more intimate environment. Well we all have to get our kicks from somewhere. And as almost everyone else says, it gets VERY crowded in the pool area on sail days with no space at all to jump in and out of your sun beds so you better be friendly with your neighbours so they move an inch so you can get out if you didn't do all that gym classes you promised yourself to get the stamina to navigate safely out of some very tight spots! Have a great holiday! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
My wife, three kids (ages 14, 11 and 9) just returned from a fabulous trip to Europe which highlighted a 12 day cruise on the Solstice.In addition to several cruises with the wife, it was our fourth cruise with our three kids (Princess, ... Read More
My wife, three kids (ages 14, 11 and 9) just returned from a fabulous trip to Europe which highlighted a 12 day cruise on the Solstice.In addition to several cruises with the wife, it was our fourth cruise with our three kids (Princess, NCL, 2 x Royal Caribbena). Without a doubt, regardless the line or ship, cruising is the most convenient way to travel with kids in Europe.As for the Solstice, it had some very good things and not so good.The good:- Best staterooms we have seen. Clean, spacious & well decorated. The in-cabin entertainment (TV) powered by Apple was tremendous. From ordering the next morning's breakfast (arrived like clockwork) to the wide selection of free movies you could watch at will. - Excellent food. Dining room was great, but was surprised by the variety at the more casual Ocean View Cafe. In addition to the typical buffet fare, different stations for pizza, pasta, Asian, Mexican, Indian food, sandwiches, salads & BBQ. - Kid's Club. My kids (especially the 9 and ll year old) couldn't get enough of the "Fun Factory". They'd rush thru dinner and skip desert to not miss a minute. - Service. Waiters, bar tenders and cabin crew were all extremely good. Not so good:- The pool area: extremely cramped and rather boring. With three "At Sea" days, much time was spent here and we were disappointed. So much of the ship's outdoor deck is used for the underutilized lawn; all pool lounge chairs (which there are not enough of) are crammed together, making it uncomfortably close (hard to get in to and you're sitting arm to arm with strangers next to you). There was absolutely no background music.- Lack of other outdoor fun. Once again, the ship's "Lawn Club" takes up so much space (and is hardly used), that there are none of the fun outdoor amenities that we have seen on similarly sized ships; no rock climbing, outdoor movies, pool slide, miniature golf, full-court basketball court, etc.Despite all the very good, I doubt I will take another cruise on the Solstice... especially with the kids. While they had a blast in the kid's club, the ships lack of funner outdoor amenities present on other ships of similar size would sway us away. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
My wife and I have traveled on several cruise lines and looked forward to traveling on Celebrity Solstice. We were excited to be going on a 12-day cruise in the Mediterranean departing from Barcelona. We made our arrangements using the ... Read More
My wife and I have traveled on several cruise lines and looked forward to traveling on Celebrity Solstice. We were excited to be going on a 12-day cruise in the Mediterranean departing from Barcelona. We made our arrangements using the Celebrity Cruise Line web site. Easy site to navigate. Having never been to the Mediterranean, we decided to spend a couple of extra days before the cruise in Barcelona. Recommended by Celebrity Cruise Lines, we used Choice Air for our flight arrangements. The initial flight itinerary they sent us was incomplete and it took two calls to Choice Air before we got a flight itinerary we could use. We stayed at the Hotel Barcelona Catedral in Barcelona. It was close to Las Ramblas and the Gothic District. Modern hotel with nice location, very acceptable accommodations, and helpful staff. Unfortunately, the breakfast buffet was very expensive (17 Euros per person).Embarkation/Debarkation and Shore Excursions on the Celebrity Solstice were the most efficient of all of the cruise lines we have been on. We had a room in Concierge Class with a balcony off the stern of the ship. Room was slightly smaller than similar class rooms on other cruise lines, but did have lots of storage and a nice bath room with shower. Ship staff were always available to answer any questions you had. Daily Newsletters kept you up to date. While the ship did have several specialty restaurants, we chose to use the informal buffet (Oceanview Cafe) the majority of our time. It had a good selection of food. We weren't lacking for food. The main dining room was very well appointed with friendly wait staff. The premium drink package had too many limitations and was not worth the money.Since relaxing on the ship was our main interest, we did not attend any of the shows. No matter where we were on the ship, ship staff were always ready to help with information. We attended the glass blowing demonstration, which is a special feature of Celebrity Solstice. It was very interesting and informative. We also attended several of the cooking demonstrations by the ship chefs. These were fun to watch. Overall, very enjoyable cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2010
Embarkation This was very smooth and we wer eon the ship within 30 minutes of arriving. The ship I found it a departure from the norm. We had just travelled on Eurodam around the Caribbean and found it to be an excellent ship and its ... Read More
Embarkation This was very smooth and we wer eon the ship within 30 minutes of arriving. The ship I found it a departure from the norm. We had just travelled on Eurodam around the Caribbean and found it to be an excellent ship and its nautical heritage was obvious, you really felt like you were on a ship. Solstice is very contemporary and you feel like you are in a building that is a cross between a modern office block and a shopping mall. I think the central location of the elevators and the open plan environment gave me that feeling. I loved it. We had one of four family cabins on the ship. When we booked the fine detail of the cabin layout was not available as the ship was still being built. The second bedroom has no natural light and this made us nickname it "the cave". Although this was disappointing it gave my father in law his own separate and private space, which is a rare commodity on a ship unless you book a really expensive suite. The TV was so much more than a TV and we were impressed with the many things you could do on it. The room was large and very spacious, were were not crowded at all. I suppose this results from the cabin being on a corner of the ship. The furnishings and surface finishes were not very upmarket and looked quite cheap. Having just got off Eurodam the day before we embarked on Solstice gave us a good comparison. Eurodam furnishings and surface finishes were rich and inviting. Storage space was very inadequate and there were a number of walls that could have been used to mount wardrobes or other storage space. The balcony was rarely used as the wind was far too strong when the ship was underway. The two front facing windows were great as you could see where you were going and they gave lots of natural light. The roll away bed for my daughter was poor quality. The bathroom was excellent, plenty of space given it was on a ship. The cabin attendant was very helpful, no complaints. I did not like our location in the main dining room, it was on the upper level next to a window but on rectangular tables that were too close together. We did not feel like we were in the main dining room as we could not see the lower level and lost the ambiance of the magnificent ceiling displays. The ice bar was a popular meeting point but I felt it was too crowded. The alternative restaurants are all located at the rear of the ship and I felt you lost some feeling of exclusivity due to them being so close together, I preferred the spread out restaurant locations on Eurodam. The Bistro on Five is a good alternative restaurant and well priced at $5 a head and I was surprise it was not well patronised. I did not like the coffee shop coffee. The baristas need more training and there should be a choice of milks. Australians like 4% fat milk as it makes a better latte. The enclosed indoor pool area is fantastic for relaxing but I was annoyed at the selfish people who leave books on a seat to reserve it then walk away. The staff did not police this very well. I loved the sea days and would have liked more of them. As much as I enjoy the port visits, the sea days are very relaxing. I also enjoyed the evening entertainment, both the shows and also the musicians playing around the various bars. Very professional. The library was poor, very few books and over two levels it was difficult to go up and down. The library looks like it was designed as a pretty show piece for guests to see as they went up and down the lift. The library on the Eurodam is perfect, Celebrity should copy what HAL do. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
This was actually two cruises, back-to-back. First, 10 days in the Greek Isles, Italy and Turkey, then 13 days Civitavecchia to Ft. Lauderdale.So,lots of sightseeing on first leg, lots of sea days on the last. The ship itself is beautiful ... Read More
This was actually two cruises, back-to-back. First, 10 days in the Greek Isles, Italy and Turkey, then 13 days Civitavecchia to Ft. Lauderdale.So,lots of sightseeing on first leg, lots of sea days on the last. The ship itself is beautiful and well laid out. The Lawn Club and glass blowing seem at first to be wasteful, but they were actually well used and make a unique addition. The cabin seemed a bit small, but there was ample storage, even for a long voyage. The lighting scheme is not good, not geared for reading either on the sofa or in bed, and no way to separate the bed from the rest of the cabin so that one person can read while the other sleeps. On the other hand, we liked the night light in the bathroom, the larger shower, and the rain shower head. Flatscreen TV was also a welcome feature. The food in the main restaurant,Grand Epernay, as well as the buffet, Oceanview Cafe, was quite good. We weren't overwhelmed by the quality of waiters in Epernay, but that could have been luck of the draw.We did dine at the specialty restaurant ,Tuscan Grille, but the food and service really weren't much better than that in Grand Epernay, and surely not worth an extra $50.So,we made it a one time event. Like almost everyone we talked with, we think 6:00 PM is too early for dinner, and 8:30 is too late. We look forward to "My Time" dining on future Celebrity Cruises. The new Elite Captain's Club privileges were truly enjoyed and appreciated. The cocktail hour, with new friends we made there, became one of each day's highlights.The extras like free internet and laundry were also great added attractions. Thanks to Celebrity Cruises for them. The entertainment and "enrichment" were the low points of the ship. The singers and dancers were the weakest we have come across on a cruise ship, and the choreography and songs were "odd". Most of the individual performers were OK, but not great. The most enjoyable entertainment for us was Dave,the piano player in Michael's Lounge. Service was very good all around, with lots of smiles and greetings. Good crew! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
We travel often and rely on Cruise Critic for advice and suggestions so I want to provide as much information I can to assist others. We arrived in Rome a couple of days early and stayed at the Atlante Star Hotel. It was a nice hotel ... Read More
We travel often and rely on Cruise Critic for advice and suggestions so I want to provide as much information I can to assist others. We arrived in Rome a couple of days early and stayed at the Atlante Star Hotel. It was a nice hotel with free shuttle from the airport. Neither of us ever sleep on the plane so it was nice to be picked up by the hotel. The only problem was we had to wait about an hour for the shuttle bus. Hotel was nice, close to the Vatican and the breakfast buffet was excellent. We travel often and always carry on so we walked on cruise day across St. Peters Square and took the train from Roma St. Pietro Station to the port. It was probably a mile or so walk from the hotel to the train station. We followed the instructions from CC and after leaving the Civit. Station walked about ¾ mile to the Port. (Thank you to all the CC contributors for directions) It was a very easy journey and the cost of the train trip was about 8 euros each. A bus picks you up at the port entrance and transfers you to the ship. We arrived at the port at 1:15 boarded about 1:30 and upon entering the ship they announced the cabins were ready. Nice surprise! Our cabin was 1603 (Aqua Spa) and had a bump out cabin that was nice. It made the deck a little larger because of the angle and we could see forward all the way to the bridge. It was a nice view looking forward as we had breakfast in the morning. We ate breakfast every day on our veranda, which was nice. You can also order off the main dining room menu at night if you ask your room attendant for a copy of the evening's menu. They bring it to your room when it is available and then after 6:30 pm we called Room Service and placed the order. The meal usually arrived about 7:30 pm brought to you by the room steward. Other nights we ate in BLU. This is the Aqua Spa level dining room. It probably holds about 120 people; on most nights there were more empty seats than full ones. It was pleasant and had good food in slightly smaller portions. Also, there was not the meat and potatoes kind of meals and not extravagant desserts. On a couple of occasions the waiters dropped off an extra entrEe for us to share. For example, one night I had a steak, my wife a pasta dinner and they came by and dropped off lamb chops for us to share. We never asked for this, but we saw them do it quite a bit at other tables as well. It was a nice touch and gave us the chance to sample more kinds of meals. They also surprised us with a nice Happy Honeymoon Chocolate Cake which was a pleasant surprise. The 10-day Eastern Med. Cruise is port intensive and gives you plenty of opportunity to see many fine ports. We especially loved Santorini, Pompeii and Ephesus. We had been to Mykonos and Athens before but walked different directions to see different things. The ports included: Messina, Ephesus, Naples/Pompeii, Mykonos, Athens, Rhodes, and Santorini. The ship is beautiful; the service was great for us. We enjoyed the meals, did not stay for long at the shows, and played a long time in the casino for about $20 each. We never won any big slot machine jackpots, but were able to play for a long time on a little money when the mood hit us. The machines kept us playing even if we did not win anything major. We also really enjoyed the glass show and won a beautiful bowl in their raffle. After the cruise we went back to the port and took the train. Departing at Roma St. Pietro we were able to miss all the chaos at the Termini Station. We stayed at the Starhotels Michelangelo, which is only about 500 yards from the station. This was a good location for us because we wanted to focus our visit at the Vatican and the hotel is only a couple of blocks away. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. All our Celebrity Solstice employees went over and above to make our trip a good one without exception. We were on the 7th floor with a balcony room which was very comfortable. We did not book any ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. All our Celebrity Solstice employees went over and above to make our trip a good one without exception. We were on the 7th floor with a balcony room which was very comfortable. We did not book any excursions with the ship which turned out just fine. In Messina, we walked past all of the taxi drivers and thought we might want to take the open double decker bus for a look at Messina. While walking through the square, we met Mario Astone, who turned out to be our favorite guide on the whole cruise. He had a van for six (the number in our group) and drove us up to Taormina in 30-40 minutes. We loved Taormina and our trip there with Mario who was so much fun. He dropped us off at the gates and askedus when we wanted him to take us back to Messina. We walked a few streets of Taormina and then went to the ancient ampi-theatre, which was cool and had great views. On the way back, Mario took us to a few "Wow spots" for cool pictures. We had a great day. In Mykonos and Rhodes, we walked through town and headed to the beach (via local bus in Mykonos). In Rhodes we walked (20 mins or so) and had a good time. In Athens, we took the local train to the Acropolis which was easy and clean (and cheap. Ephesus was the only spot in which you need a private guide or to sign up for the ship excursion (if you don't mind big groups). The cost for a private guide for six was about the same as the ship excursion cost. On Santorini, we loved Oia. After looking around the town, we found a cool pool bar where we spent the afternoon. All we had to do was pay for food or drinks and the swimming and shade umbrellas were free. This was a super spot on east side with a beautiful sea view. The local bus to Oia and back to Fira was crowded. Leave enough time to get back and down the hill without taking the trail down. Getting to and from Rome to the port, we didn't have that much luggage (2 roller bags each) and opted to take the local train. We have traveled in Italy before and find the local trains interesting,and much less expensive. From Rome to the port, it costs 4.50 Euro apiece. A money belt or secure place for valuables is a good ideas whenever on a local train in Rome or Naples. Getting to the airport on the morning of disembarkation was easy. We bought tickets at 8 Am at Civitavecchia train station after walking off the ship around 7:40. We were checked in at the airport and already to the gate by 10:30 Am (which included a 20-min transfer in Trastevere .. 1 stop after St Peters and 2 stops before the Termini in Rome). Good Cruise!! Celbrity Solstice manages everything carefully to ensure great service and efficient getting on and off the ship. They also have plenty of hand sanitizer thus making it a healthier cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum, oops wrong story. Well, we actually started our trip in Rome at a beautiful hotel called the Hotel Majestic. The hotel was wonderful and included an "American breakfast". Not ... Read More
A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum, oops wrong story. Well, we actually started our trip in Rome at a beautiful hotel called the Hotel Majestic. The hotel was wonderful and included an "American breakfast". Not really. European all the way with prociutto, baked cressants, sweet breads, eggs, fruit, yogurt and a choice of American or Italian coffee. You're kidding. Who would in their right mind would choose American coffee? Yuk I would highly recommend the Hotel Majestic and sitting  outside to enjoy breakfast! Rome was hot but still beautiful! We walked all over the city enjoying the various fountains, coffee, gelato, pizza and of course the sights. We were picked up the second day by Pepe, a fabulous driver from Limoinrome who gave us a quick tour of Rome before heading out to Civitavecchia Port. Wow, we really enjoyed our time with Pepe. He showed something we will never forget: "The Keyhole to Rome". Incredible. You'll have to meet him and ask to see it. The Celebrity Solstice was beautiful. Extremely artsey ship. Our room was nice but I feel that after traveling on various cruise lines, the company scrimped on the ship's insulation between floors and rooms. We heard  a lot of noise above and next door to us. We even heard the phone ringing next door and loud Italian voices coming from next door daily.The food was good in the main dining room but not anything to write home about. The specialty restaurants, especially The Murano were outstanding. It was so outstanding, 5 star all the way, that we ate their twice. The ship's shows were spectacular, best I ever saw on cruise ships.  The Greek Islands were nice but we enjoyed Turkey and the Amalfi Coast even more.We rented ATV's in Santorini and were advised to head to Oui. This is the most picturesque spot of Santorini. Well worth driving ATV's to see. It is true that the best time to photograph the Greek Islands are in the late afternoon. The sun reflects off the islands giving it a beautiful hue. Interesting, but Greek men in Santorini, Mykonos and Athens were quite grumpy and irritable (especially those in uniform). We didn't find this to be true about our Greek staff on the ship. As a matter of fact, the ship's captain was very funny. We took Cruisecritic member's suggestions about Ekoltravel tours in Turkey and they were fabulous. I would highly recommend this company. The tour guides we had in Istanbul and Ephesus were great and so full of knowledge, patience and character.Ayzsequl Argaboglu showed us the sights in Istanbul for 2 days and we enjoyed her company and vast knowledge of her country and city. We highly recommend that you see the Dolmabace Palace which was more beautiful than the Topkaki Palace. Shopping in the Grand Bazaar was fun but not the highlight and yes, I love to shop. Going with a guide help matters as she was able to help negotiate. We took the ship's Turkish night club/dinner/show excursion. The food was unedible but the bellydancing made up for it. Be prepared to spend a lot of money on water and soda. The Turkish Baklava that our guide bought us was amazing! It made it all the way home and eaten a week later! We were fortunate enough to see Ephesus, the showplace of Aegean archaeology with an archaeologist who Ekol gave us a tour guide. Bulent (Bill to us) Soysal was fabulous. What a way to see the ruins! I highly recommend paying alittle more to see the Terrace House. We had a authentic Turkish lunch in Selchuk followed by our very own fashion show in a Turkish Leather Factory/showroom. Turkish leather is gorgeous and 5 out of 6 of us came home with some treasures!We followed that us with a trip to see how silk is spun and more carpet demos. I suggest trying Turkish coffee for those coffee enthusiasts but I warn you, it doesn't taste like coffee...it's more like swallowing chewing tobacco. The Turkish apple tea offered was delightful! We spent the rest of the time at the Kusadasi Port which was beautiful. Our guide warned us to be aware of fakes in the bazaar. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the Acropolis...yes, I broke my toe on the ship simply catching my toe on a lounge chair on the pool deck. I still managed to climb the Acropolis though. I wasn't going to miss that. Be careful climbing as it is slippery in certain areas. But this was the highlight of our trip! Even with a broken toe. Wow! Breathtaking. The rest of Athens was interesting to see but just ok. Our driver was very negative about his city and the economics of their country. We enjoyed the best Greek lunch, Musaka, in the Platka area in a little Mom and Pop shop that we found on our own. I couldn't walk anymore after lunch but my friends told me the Platka was fun to shop and see. The absolute highlight of this trip was the Amalfi Coast. We got picked up by Mario Giafalli, a true gentleman from Italylimouisine who delighted and entertained us as we drove the Amalfi Coast. We took his suggestion and drove the coast line first before we did Pompeii. Excellent idea as we had more time to enjoy the magnificent scenery and shop alittle in Positano, stop in Amalfi and lunch in Ravello. We then headed to Pompeii to enjoy the ruins there with a private guide. Our friends suggested not wasting time in Naples with our day and I'm glad to listen to their advise. All in all, the trip was fabulous. The ship was beautiful with a few building flaws. The ship's spa was lovely. I enjoyed a Tai Pumice Message. My husband enjoyed his Sweedish messages.  The staff was lovely too. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
Background: This would be my fourth cruise but first with Celebrity. Both my parents have been on 10 or more cruises and have sailed Celebrity before.We flew into Rome on July 5 to catch up on sleep before riding to Civitavecchia on July 6 ... Read More
Background: This would be my fourth cruise but first with Celebrity. Both my parents have been on 10 or more cruises and have sailed Celebrity before.We flew into Rome on July 5 to catch up on sleep before riding to Civitavecchia on July 6 to board the Solstice. We took a train from Termini Station to Civitavecchia and it was alot cheaper than taking a cab. However, the air conditioning was minimal, but there were many people on the train that were boarding the ship like us- so it was easy to make some friends!Embarkation: We arrived around 2:30 and it was like a zoo! It was quick and only took about 30 minutes to get your cards and start embarking the ship- make sure all your paper work is filled out and credit cards are verified for your sea pass acount- makes it so much quicker when in the line. Our bags were even at our door when we arrived at the cabin! very fast service!Ship Info: The ship is BEAUTIFUL and HUGE. It makes all the other cruise ships look sooo little. We stayed on the 8th floor in the aft and it was the smoothest ride I have ever felt on a ship. There was only one day I felt a little nauseous and that was because of a storm that was off the coast. Otherwise, you can not even tell your moving. The public spaces are well lit and very clean. There are a lot of bars on the ship. The Lawn Club was interesting- personally not as exciting as it was made out to be- but none the less..very different than what could be found on any other ship. The Martini Bar was ALWAYS busy but it was so much fun to watch the bartenders make drinks. TJ is the best and is absolutely hysterical. I would reccoment the Martini Flight for about 18 dollars- you can sample 6 different martinis. The Casino was always busy at the late hours. There is only one 6 dollar minimum blackjack table- which was normally always crowded. However, it was the most fun to play. Be careful about who you are playing with though. Being that you can be 18 to get into the Casino, some of the players had NO idea how to play the game how you are supposed to and in essence can really mess up a hand or two. The slot machines never seemed to pay out well- at least for me- so I stuck with Blackjack and actually did pretty well! :)The Shows- Celebrity has never been known for its shows and I can somewhat see why. The shows were not awful by any means but not that appealing to me. There was a broadway style show- the talent is amazing! However, most of the broadway songs, I did not know. The comedian was funny and there is a Cirq Du Solei Show which was a lot of fun too. It really just depends what you like in a show. Some of them are a little cheesy but the preformers are well trained and very talented! Dining- My family and I mostly ate in the main dining room at the 6:15 seating. Alot of the seats are open because most people eat in the late seating. There were alot of Europeans and alot of people from South America so they always ate later. You could tell the Americans/families were the ones that went to the early dinner- haha but overall, it was usually always busy. The food was ok- not fantastic but still had some really good entrees. I ate steak alot because the menu was not very diverse but it was still good. The food was never hot but I never had to bring it back to the kitchen to heat it back up. The wine list was really extensive and had some good choices and the sommielier was a help. The cafe' up on deck on 14 was good. There was the same food there during lunch and all, but there is sushi offered during dinner times, which was very good!We never went to any specialty restaraunts but from what I heard- you should make reservations ahead of time because it can be hard to get a table once you are on the ship. Nightlife: There was a lot of younger kids on the ship- which really suprised me. The Kids Club was usually busy- you would see them all walking around together at various times during the day. The Kids Club is closed while in port however- so sometimes the kids could be a little out of hand. The 18 and up crowd usually partied at Quasar, which was the resident club on the ship. It usually didnt get busy until about 12 and would stay open until the wee hours. Also the Martini bar is a hangout for younger adults to mid 30s and the Sky Lounge was so much fun. I really reccomend the Karaoke nights and the bands are SENSATIONAL. Disembarkation: We were literally the 2nd family off the ship and were fortunate enough to grab a taxi. All the luggage is stored according to the tags you are given at departure so it was not too hard finding them. There are only about 20 cabs in all of Civitavecchia so you need to get a hold of one as soon as you get off the ship or try and find someone to share rides with. Celebrity charges 90 a person for an airport transfer-which is RIDICULOUS..we got lucky and only payed around 180 euros to get to the airport and Rome- and that was for four people. So if you are with a family- def recomment a cab. if you are just 1 or 2 people- id suck it up and pay the transport fee because its the same price as the taxi- and at least your guaranteed Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2009
My wife and I have been regular cruisers with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean.  We typically like their ships, the itineraries, concierge class and the service.We recently took a 10 day cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean which started in ... Read More
My wife and I have been regular cruisers with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean.  We typically like their ships, the itineraries, concierge class and the service.We recently took a 10 day cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean which started in Rome.  It was the outset of this trip that caused us the most grief and I hope we can save others from the same predicament.  We purchased the transfers from Celebrity to/from the pier in Civitavecchia, Italy.  Celebrity personnel met us at the airport and we were going to carry on small bags onto the bus when a Celebrity rep told us there was no storage for small bags on the bus.  Therefore, we had to put cabin tags on the small bags and Celebrity transported them directly to the ship and then to our cabin.  We checked our bags with Celebrity around 9:30AM.At 3PM all but one of our bags was delivered to our cabin.  The last bag ended up showing up 30 minutes later.  When my wife opened it she could tell it was ransacked.  Items were opened (but not stolen), but we found that our camera had been stolen.  They left the camera bag and instruction booklet.  My wife immediately went down to Guest Relations who made her fill out a "Personal Property Report".  When she was leaving the Guest Relations desk she ran into some people we met on the same bus from the Rome airport.  They were standing in line to also file a theft report.  Seems they had a laptop computer and other items stolen.In retrospect, I wish we would have arranged transportation to/from the pier other than what was offered by Celebrity.  Transportation where our bags would not have left our sight.  Looking back on it I have to say it was a little odd that the Celebrity rep at the airport told us there was no room on the bus for small carry on bags.  The buses had storage underneath and we could have very easily stored them there, but the rep did not tell us this.  Perhaps the Celebrity reps were in on the whole theft scheme?Our suggestion to you is to arrange your own transportation that is NOT through Celebrity.  Make sure you have control of your bags.  If you choose to take Celebrity transportation to/from the airport make sure you refuse for them to take your smaller carry on bags.  Tell them that you want it stored under the bus.  This might save you the same aggravation that we went through.  Consequently, we have no photos of this wonderful cruise. And, it seemed as if Guest Relations on the ship could give a shxt about the theft.  We had to ask for a signed copy of the Personal Property Report four times before we received one.  This whole situation caused my wife and I to decide that we will no longer sail Celebrity or Royal Caribbean Cruises.  We like the product, but we don't like the way they treated frequent customers, therefore, we'll take our business elsewhere.The Solstice was a very nice ship.  It was carrying more than 3000 passengers on our trip, but you could never tell it.  The only time you knew it was crowded was on "at sea" days and it was very difficult to get a lounge chair outside.I have to agree with other reviews that the food was not as good as previous Celebrity cruises that we've taken, but it was certainly acceptable.  The menus are the things that have become strange like serving meat loaf and spaghetti & meatballs.  But there are all kinds of other options if you don't want to eat in the dining room.  For example, you can have the same menu as the dining room delivered to your cabin if you want to eat there.  Just give them enough notice on what you want and the time you want it delivered.  You can eat in the Oceanview Cafe on deck 14 which offers a good variety of food choices.  Or, you can pay extra money to eat at one of the 4 "cover charge" restaurants that are onboard.  Trust me, you won't go hungry.Our concierge class cabin (2107) was on deck 12 and it was in a great location.  Our cabin attendant was outstanding as usual, we always had fresh fruit in our cabin and snacks prior to dinner each night.  I think they've upgraded the mattresses in concierge class along with the bath towels.  We had a very large veranda and the cabin was plenty large. They did a great job in sound proofing the cabins, too.We found the entertainment to be good, but realize that Celebrity was never known for outstanding entertainment.  I read some other reviews about the entertainment being poor, but we found it to be good.  There are lots of things going on throughout the day if you want to take advantage of it ... or ... you can just kick back and relax.The Lawn Club on the top deck was fascinating.  You're able to play Bocchi ball, ring toss or practice your putting skills.  The glass blowing show is up there, as well, and that proved to be one of the most popular things onboard.All in all, it's a gorgeous ship and lots of places for you to explore once you're onboard. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
We sailed 26 June on an Eastern Mediterranean cruise.  I did a load of research, and this was my 5th cruise.  I have sailed Princess, Carnival (twice), Disney, and now Celebrity.  The website promised a sublime experience peace, ... Read More
We sailed 26 June on an Eastern Mediterranean cruise.  I did a load of research, and this was my 5th cruise.  I have sailed Princess, Carnival (twice), Disney, and now Celebrity.  The website promised a sublime experience peace, relaxation, and luxury at fair prices.We started off on the wrong foot when our party of 8 was broken up into two tables.  My friend and her parents who I haven't seen in ages were forced to sit at a separate table.  I barely got a chance to see them at all during the cruise.  We weren't the only ones there was a line a mile long on the first day with people complaining about the same thing.  We also learned that Celebrity had opened up it's last cabins at ridiculous prices and therefore there were a lot of folks on board who didn't really fit the demographic that I believe Celebrity is trying to pursue.In reality, it was difficult to tell Celebrity apart from Carnival. The public spaces and design of the ship are stunning, but our cruise was simply overrun with children of all ages.  Kids ran wild in the pool area crowding the spas, jumping off of pool lounge chairs, and running.  At one time I witnessed a toddler eating his lunch while sitting in the pool-the tortilla chips falling to the bottom of the water.  When I complained to guest services I was told that no one really patrols the area and that it is the guest's responsibility to call in any bothersome activity (!).The food was good, not great.  The did a terrific job of cooking my steaks absolutely perfectly each time, but because the menu was so dull I ended up eating steak at least 5 times out of 10.  Some of the entrees were very tasty but nothing remarkable.  The dining room service was spotty at best.  Some tables were served efficiently, some not.  In general the dining room was not run wellour poor waiters looked like they were running a marathon during the entire service it made me nervous just to watch them.  Again, not the relaxing vacation I had dreamed of.And finally, the music in the public areas was excruciatingly loud live bands and club music, particularly on 'sea days' that you could not get away from unless you retreated to your cabin.  Thank goodness I had a balcony which was lovely.  But even in the evenings where you'd expect maybe some jazz or more mellow music, you were subjected to the "thump thump thump" of the club music.  There are 4 restaurants on board which charge a supplement (anywhere from $5 per person to $35 per person).  I personally despise this.  I would rather pay the extra $350 per person over the 10 days than have to wonder what I am missing obviously the food in the main dining room isn't as good as the restaurant cuisine.  With a 3 year old it would have been tough to do and on principle I refused to visit.  I was told that the food was excellent my question was then, "why can't the food in the dining room be like that?"  Or, if the quality of the food depends on serving lower volumes (which I suspect it does), then offer me the opportunity to visit these restaurants a couple of times during the cruise, and charge me for it. In general there was a nickle and dime atmosphere everything from the spa trying to upsell me or get me to buy their products, to the tacky display of gold necklaces sold by the inch poolside, the day we were at sea.Some staff were friendly and jovial, others looked quite unhappy.  Very spotty service. Instructions on any number of things (embarking, disembarking, luggage, etc).  We often didn't know what to do.The Oceanside buffet was fantastic.  I have to say that they did a wonderful job with variety and freshness.  The entertainment was also top notch.The final blow was dealt shortly after disembarking when we discovered that one of our bags were missing.  I was particularly upset because it was a smaller pullman which we could have easily taken ourselves and had seen others doing.  This was not made clear to us, and now we are without our bag (still).In closing, the cruise was OK but I can't help but feel that Celebrity has a long way to please folks like me who expect serenity, luxury, and service and who are willing to pay for it.  I thought that my search for the perfect cruise would be over with this vacation, but now I know I still have a long way to search. Read Less
Celebrity Solstice Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 4.5 0.0
Entertainment 4.5 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 5.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.5 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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