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85 Celebrity Solstice Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Not exactly sure if I say any red sails but the words of Ulsterman Jimmy Kennedy seem appropriate for the a first cruise review by one of his countrymen. Chosen at random and in a rush we found ourselves on an Easyjet flight to ... Read More
Not exactly sure if I say any red sails but the words of Ulsterman Jimmy Kennedy seem appropriate for the a first cruise review by one of his countrymen. Chosen at random and in a rush we found ourselves on an Easyjet flight to Barcelona with less than a couple of hours to play with plunging headlong and blind into an experience I had only heard about from a few friends but which I had yearned for for many years. First of all lets get the complaints out of the way. 1. They made us get off the ship in Barcelona at the end of the cruise. OK enough of the moaning - what about the good points. How long have you got? I will try to keep it simple. Met at airport, whisked to ship, straight through registration, glass of 'bubbly' in foyer then straight to stateroom which was booked as 'guarantee' and came up trumps with Deck 6 centre aft and a glass of our own wine on the verandah as the sun set over the beautiful cliffside graveyard of Barcelona. We had stuck to the rules of two bottles of wine per stateroom until we passed through "check-in" and we allowed to purchase a further two bottles at the shops before boarding. To be honest they were 'plonk' and I soon wished I had'nt bothered. The next twelve days we had wall to wall sunshine - apart from a foggy entrance into Venice - and with the exception of the tender into Cannes we might as well have been sailing on a local pond such was the lack of movement on the ship. Those who responded to my pre-cruise paranoia will know that my main concern was 'drinks package or no drinks package?' I changed my mind at least four times and in the end decided to wait. Good decision. Not wishing to cast aspersions on those who did take the plunge but I reckon that in order to get full value from either the Classic or the Premium I would have been what is known in the Ulster venacular as 'permanently blocked' which means that while the ship might not have been rolling about I most certainly would have. As it was I was perfectly satified with the odd lunchtime glass of wine(when we were on board); the occasional pre-dinner tipple and a regular three large glasses with my dinner in the MDR. Coupled with an occasional 'premium' coffee I still finsihed quids in by the end of the voyage. As for the food ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, What can you say. We dined every evening in the MDR and could find no reason to consider any of the speciality alternatives. The food and service was magnificent. I had twelve different fish dishes and loved every-one. The starters allowed ample opportunity to experiment (frogs legs and snails for example)and the only problem with the desserts was having to choose. Having only been to Cannes before the other destinations were full of interest. While the excursions were expensive, as 'first timers' we did go for two of them to Rome and to Pompeii and the latter was well worth the money with an excellent guide who brought the whole visit to life. In Livorno we did our own thing and got a coach to Pisa with ample time to admire the area. Kotor, in Montenegro was amazing and all the more so as I had never heard of it before booking the cruise. Having said that the only way to see it in all its glory is to climb up to the Fortress. The estimated 90 mins accent does require a certain amount of basic fitness but the rewards are sensational. Dubrovnik was also stunningly beautiful but unlike other fortress cities where you might reflect on ancient battles centuries in the past it was alarming to realise that death and destruction was a fact of life here less than two decades ago and the evidence is still there for all to see. The 12 dollar return shuttle from the ship was more than value for money. Venice, despite the morning fog, was perhaps the highlight of the cruise. Forget the shuttle which takes you via the outer canal to near the centre, the best way to see the city is to walk. Five minutes from the ship to the 1 Euro elevated railway ride to the bus depot. Form there it is a delightful mile and a half (2.5k) to Plaza San MArco via the sadly heavily graffitied Rialto Bridge and a maze of facinating streets full of tiny speciality shops. One big disappointment is the Italian desire to charge for entry into places of worship and to deny photography of any kind (flash or no flash). Having spent nearly 20 years travelling the length and breadth of France visiting scores of beautiful churches which are only too glad to welcome worshippers or non worshippers I found this a strange Italian trait. Saint Mark's Square was 'mental' and I imagine the only time to really see it is about 6.00am! To be honest it is overhyped. The rest of the city is much more interesting and I said a little prayer of thanks to the inventor of digital photography as I filled up my 8gb memory card. As we only had a morning on day two we took a vaporetto from the bus depot down the Grand Canal - an experience in itself as it was rush hour and clearly the 'elf and safety' brigade have not yet reached Venice as I did not think it possible to squeeze so many people into such a small space. Tip - as you get on stop at the entrance and don't venture inside. Back to the ship. Everything was what I expected and then some. First class entertainment, wonderful service (thanks Madelyn for the wine advice), absolute cleanliness, great choice of activities (the Glass sculpture was wonderful - I just wish I could have afforded to bid for the finished products); and most amazing of all it was only on the very rare occasion that you had any idea of the number of people on board. All in all one of the most amazing experiences of my life and one which I cannot wait to repeat. The Canaary Isles beckon next October. I just hope that I was not spoilt by my Solstice experience. It will be hard to equal. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This was the 2nd time we were on this cruise as we had to curtail in May halfway through - this time we made it to the end and enjoyed every minute of it. We were in Aqua Class this time, basically because the cost was almost the same as ... Read More
This was the 2nd time we were on this cruise as we had to curtail in May halfway through - this time we made it to the end and enjoyed every minute of it. We were in Aqua Class this time, basically because the cost was almost the same as a Balcony Stateroom, and we enjoyed a number of nice benefits. We hardly ever compared our previous experience as being at the front on Deck 11 made it feel like we were on a totally different ship. I've read quite a few of the previous reviews and i honestly don't know where some of the people were coming from - this is a fantastic ship, with beautiful features and superb service everywhere, and we were royally entertained and serviced every day. We didn't want to get off the ship at all. We flew into Barcelona from Dublin very early in the morning but by 11.30 we were on board and relaxing awaiting our bags etc..i think at 2pm we got into our stateroom and the bags turned up not too long after that. we had signed up to the roll call meet up but we were very tired at this stage and gave it a miss. Solstice is a large ship, but has a much nicer design, in my opinion, to many of the other ships we saw docked in Livorno, Civitaveechia, Venice etc.. Our favourite place was the Cafe al Bacio and we fully made use of our drinks package there. we also loved the Persian Garden and relaxation room and i nodded off there once or twice. We hardly ever felt the movement of the ship at any time, and overall this ship is top notch. Our Stateroom was great, port views were excellent, and the facilities great. Aquaclass perks of iced tea drinks and afternoon canapes were totally wasted on us - who drinks that stuff? But we loved the shower!! And room service breakfast on the balcony is a real treat. We didn't do too many of the ship activities as we were on holiday! we used the gym a few times and Andrea also did a few of the classes - one was a bit much for her and had her in agony for a few days after!! For dining, we were in Blu. We had read all the fab reviews of this so we were expecting great things - however, we were a bit disappointed with dinner on the first 2 nights so we shifted back to the MDR. Then we alternated and suited ourselves. We grew to really like Blu, especially breakfast, but we found MDR to be more sociable and we talked easily to the tables beside us. Service everywhere was great - people who complain will always find fault but Celebrity know how to give first class service. Our room attendants weren't very chatty but they were professional and efficient and we have only praise for them. Also the dining room staff were also really good, and off course those at Cafe al Bacio. We thought the Entertainment was first class - "handsome" Alejandro, the cruise director, was really funny, and linked everything together so well in his unique style. All the shows were great but we enjoyed the Juggler/Comedian from the UK the best especially the unicycle sketch. The funniest event of all was the Dancing competition with the staff - it was hilarious and the creativity on show was really impressive. We did get sucked into some Spa treatments - am i going soft? They were good but Celebrity charges too much for this. They also charge too much for photos though we did get 2 of the best ones Our disembarkment went very smoothly and we made it home with no real issues of note. Overall, we had a great holiday, we were looked after so well and we are now planning our next cruise to the Baltic Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We began our European adventure with two precruise nights in Barcelona..one of our favorite cities. Embarkation was a breeze at around 1pm. We purchased 2 bottles of wine at the duty free shops prior to boarding the ship. No problems. ... Read More
We began our European adventure with two precruise nights in Barcelona..one of our favorite cities. Embarkation was a breeze at around 1pm. We purchased 2 bottles of wine at the duty free shops prior to boarding the ship. No problems. The cabin was ready around 2pm. We had CC on deck 10. Our steward, Ronald and his assistant Rommel, were excellent. We are low-key cruisers. We don't ask for much; no turn down service; no extra anything. We enjoy spending time in our cabin relaxing when we are not enjoying the ports of call. Did not eat in the main dining room once during the cruise. We frequently ordered from the dining room dinner menu and had it delivered to our cabin. We also used room service for breakfast. Each time, our food was delivered prompt and hot! We enjoyed all of the ports of call; although we had previously toured several of them. Venice, Montenegro and Dubrovnik were the ports new to us this cruise. We toured all the ports on our own, except for the Cinque Terre excursion from Livorno. We also did a post-cruise tour to Montserrat, which was also excellent. Although port intensive, we truly had a relaxing vacation. I can not comment on any of the shows on the ship, because we did not attend a single one! The staff was top notch; and the shore excursions were well organized. Highlights from the cruise included the sail-in/out of Venice; the 2:1 special on gelato (yum); the drink specials; the sail-in/out of Montenegro and Dubrovnik; and the wonderful staff. There were also several ports of call enrichment talks onboard that were very informative. We are Elite on Celebrity and we enjoyed the perks! The captain's club wine tasting was probably one of the best we have attended. The negative were the slow internet connection, but this is pretty typical. Will we sail Celebrity again??? ABSOLUTELY Will we do another European Cruise?? ABSOLUTELY Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Having cruised on/off since 1998, we booked this cruise as an end of season "chill out." Having been on the The Millennium which was great, we really expected great things from this '5 star' ship and the 'glossary ... Read More
Having cruised on/off since 1998, we booked this cruise as an end of season "chill out." Having been on the The Millennium which was great, we really expected great things from this '5 star' ship and the 'glossary seemed to deliver what we were looking for. Sadly, it wasn't to be.The state room was great then its downhill from here. The dining room experience was less than professional..cold plates,, plates handed to you. or served across the body or over shoulders.....the food was 'ok'... not a fine dining experience and the presentation was non existant..eg..a steak with 3 sprouts and 3 sliced carrots that had barely seen hot water..no flare, no finesse at all! The self service restaurant was mixed....but often the food was barely warm. Who wants cottage pie when its 75deg' outside!! About the ship, the staff were multi cultural and some had bare English. The photographic staff were loud and at the point of being 'intimidating!', having said that, there was some great staff and the accommodation staff were fantastic.The shore excursions were astronomical!$89 each to be dropped off in Florence! If you wanted a coffee other than ordinary...like espresso...there was a charge and there lies what I think the ship was about, extracting as many dollars from the client as possible, add on add on add on! There is a 15% charge on every drink etc and then the ship adds up to $15 EACH PER DAY gratuity. I worked out that if everyone paid it would make in the region of $250,000!!! for the 12 days. Seems that the clients are expected to pay the wages of Celebrity staff! Security was OTT, a woman even had a piece of cheese taken from her and forget taking your own wine aboard, they tell you it is forbidden!, its taken away till after the cruise, As was a small decorative cheese fork we bought. It was taken from us,it showed up on the X Ray and I had to open the perfectly wrapped gift to show them,I pointed out that if i wanted a weapon, I could get far more lethal weapon from the dining room but, nope..they took it. Worst cruise I have been on! Fortunately, we have been to all the destinations before so knew our way around. No thanks Celebrity, you just lost 2 clients! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We have recently cruised with both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Both ships carried well over 2500 passengers. Years ago we cruised the Eastern Mediterranean on a Greek ship which only held under 300 passengers and have also done a couple ... Read More
We have recently cruised with both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Both ships carried well over 2500 passengers. Years ago we cruised the Eastern Mediterranean on a Greek ship which only held under 300 passengers and have also done a couple of river cruises. The difference is very apparent. The larger ships provide indifferent service and basic restaurant food whilst smaller ships provide excellent food and knowledgeable staff. We will never use RC or Celebrity again. Our cruise with Celebrity Solstice in October 2012 was not a good on board experience. The stateroom was large and well laid out but the service in the restaurants was appalling. Whilst there was a reasonable selection on the menu, the food was always served on cold plates and we never had a hot meal. The service was so slow on occasions that we were too late for the shows and the Captain's Welcome Toast. Our meal time was 8:30pm and on the Captain's Welcome evening we didn't finish the meal till after 11:00pm so couldn't attend. When we didn't immediately leave after finishing the staff were extremely rude and made obvious moves to make us feel uncomfortable. We also bought a drinks package and were horrified that the assistant waiter kept pouring our bottle of wine into the glasses of the other passengers we were seated with. One evening we objected to this more than once but he still continued to do so. The other annoying feature was that we were constantly bombarded with staff attempting to sell products: photos; restaurants requiring extra payments; drinks packages; special offers in the shops; etc. etc. It seemed that Celebrity were only interested in fleecing us of as much money as they could. Overall we enjoyed our cruise simply because we visited such lovely locations. The embarkations and disembarkations were well organised for such a large number of passengers. It was just such a shame that the experience aboard left a lot to be desired. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We were on the sailing of 20th. September 2012. We are a professional couple who have cruised several times before. We had been staying in Madrid pre cruise and got the AVE Train to Barcelona on the day of the cruise. This was an ... Read More
We were on the sailing of 20th. September 2012. We are a professional couple who have cruised several times before. We had been staying in Madrid pre cruise and got the AVE Train to Barcelona on the day of the cruise. This was an amazing experience - 300kph with included meal and drinks. Taxi from station to port. We arrived at the Pier at around 2.30pm. Not many checking in and we had an allocated checkin being Aquaclass. Through in minutes. Cabin was of course ready and perfectly presented. Very spacious with a good sized balcony. Had a late lunch at the Aquaspa cafe. We ate every evening and several mornings at Blu save for one night. It is an excellent restaurant and relatively small. Service was exceptional. The wait staff including Adi, Luciano, John, Caesar, Yasim and others gave the highest degree of friendly service along with the sommeliers Leonardo and Margie. The food was very good just a bit lighter than usual which made it even better. We ate one night at Murano. You need to eat there but only once as the menu does not change. Again exceptional food and service. Lunch when onboard we ate at the Aqua Cafe. Ate one lunch in Bistro on Five. Not crowded and good food and service. We did not go to any entertainment but heard the shows were good. We enjoyed the three piece orchestra at the lounges/bars before dinner. Never crowded. We did not use any boat tours but had only private tours. In summary you would never know there were 3,000 passengers. There were plenty of empty spaces around the boat. Staff at every point gave excellent service. Disembarkation was a breeze. Put out our bags late the night before, had booked 7.30am departure. Walked straight off at that time. bags were arriving on carousel when we got there. We have cruised a number of times with different cruiselines and on smaller boats including Penthouse Class on Oceana. Overall we would rate this as our best cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Just returned from cruising for the 1st time with Celebrity and have to say...WOW. Pat my partner has cruised many times with many cruise lines, I have cruised several times with a few and Marg & Bryn our Co- Cruisers also have ... Read More
Just returned from cruising for the 1st time with Celebrity and have to say...WOW. Pat my partner has cruised many times with many cruise lines, I have cruised several times with a few and Marg & Bryn our Co- Cruisers also have cruised a few times with different lines but we all agreed that Celebrity have come out Tops. We have to admit that the queueing to get on board did leave a lot to be desired and we really feel they could have / should have made proper announcements over the PA system notifying everyone as to why the delays ( It took longer to get the few hundred metres from Quayside onto the ship than it took for us to get from our homes to Barcelona ) 2 1/2 hours to be precise but once on board it was well worth it. The cabins were more than suitable and ours were inside cabins, and everywhere we went was immaculate and so clean, in fact we found it hard to spot anything that suggested the ship was of any real age. The food in all restaurants was first class and even though we did dine at Silk, one of the speciality restaurants we enjoyed the main restaurant food so much that we never strayed again as there was no need to. Service was that of 5* plus and staff attention was also 2ND to none. Sergio our waiter, Kenrick the Pool butler, Erol the Ensemble bartender, Sheldon the martini bartender, Marden our cabin attendant were the people who made our holiday that so much better and you felt that they felt better because they were making you happy. The entertainment started off a little bit poorly and it was only after Dave Heenan the comedian that things really did improve and as for Mark DonohueHe really was Brilliant and his Fiddle rendition of Devil went down to Georgia truly was something else. The Cirque de Soleil act was brilliant and Daniel Bouchet was really only good with his last songs every time when he was finishing his act ( operatic songs )as the rest of his act was far, far too CHEESY. My only real criticism of Celebrity is ......Your trips are far, far too expensive as we found out, we had a coach trip around Malta booked through Celebrity and our friends did the same with a bus trip booked off the ship and was a quarter of our price. Also the price of the photographs were ridiculous ....19.99 dollars for a not particularly well taken photo when I have some on my camera which are much better and will only cost me £3 or 5 dollars at snappy snaps....if they reduced their prices to 9.99 dollars they would probably sell 10 times more and this is only what I heard from other passengers. These are only silly gripes we have with the cruise and NO way did they spoil our Holiday, because we also met some Lovely people on their ..namely Linda & Lou from Vancouver or if Linda likes...YEEHAA country....Pat, Joan, Judy and Hilary from Wurzel Land or the Terrible foursome..lol. Linda & Bill from Birmingham way ( get the drinks in Bill !!! ) Oh yeah and the crazy 2 Russian couples from LA and St Peters burg...PHEW. Well that's it folks and all we need to do now is to get saving. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We were celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary so chose a longer cruise in a different part of the world than we usually cruise. The flight over meant that we had gone without sleep for over 40 hours before boarding ship. Should have ... Read More
We were celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary so chose a longer cruise in a different part of the world than we usually cruise. The flight over meant that we had gone without sleep for over 40 hours before boarding ship. Should have stayed in Barcelona overnight. The ship was lovely, the wait staff attentive, the drinks prices reasonable, our table mates delightful, and the food excellent. We were in a Suite and Captain Club Select so enjoyed many perks. There was a problem embarking. At the Duty Free Shop we bought two bottles of wine for our room. Two men at ship said we could not take them to our room. The brochure clearly states that we may. They finally let us go but we resented the hassle. We ate in MDR except for one night in Silk and one in Tuscany. They were both very good, but I am glad we didn't have to pay extra for them. We did have two lunches at the outside grill. Yummy hot dogs, burgers with grilled onions, and the best french fries ever. The Cafe upstairs may have good food but it is a zoo and very confusing. We attended several shows that were good. Our one complaint was the loudness. Perhaps it was our center front seats, but I heard complaints from others in other areas. We went to one of the Captain parties but skipped the second. Again, the music was so loud we could not visit with fellow passengers. Many left early for that reason. The last day we never received a Comment Card. Disembarking went very smoothly. It is not Celebrity's fault that our flight home out of JFK was cancelled after 3 hrs on runway and we spent the night with skimpy airline blanket and pillow. It just made us hesitant of crossing the sea gain. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We have been on 19 cruise and this was our second time on Solstice and our 6th Celebrity cruise. We decided to spend 2 days prior to the cruise at the Hotel Silken Las Rambla. The two days at the hotel gave us time to get into ... Read More
We have been on 19 cruise and this was our second time on Solstice and our 6th Celebrity cruise. We decided to spend 2 days prior to the cruise at the Hotel Silken Las Rambla. The two days at the hotel gave us time to get into 'holiday mode' and we were able to enjoy the delights that Barcelona has to offer. Embarkation was smooth and we were soon able to get our cabin in order. This time I had booked cabin 7354, it was starboard aft and had a slightly larger balcony thanks to it's irregular shape.The cabin was fine but on reflection I think I would have chosen the next floor up for a slightly better position. Having said that, the starboard side for this cruise was great! The stateroom and his attendant were excellent. The food both in the Oceanview Cafe and Main Dining Room was of excellent quality. We were on the Constellation at Christmas and I have to say that the food on the Solstice was by far superior. I think that the food had improved in quality and the service we received in the restaurant was wonderful. The 'brunch' buffet was amazing and was well worth attending even if you didn't eat anything! We are now Elite members with Celebrity so we were invited to a special social hour each evening at 'Michael's Club'.This was very well presented and gave us an opportunity to meet fellow cruisers over a pre dinner drink.We also attended another couple of 'Captains Club' events that were very enjoyable. The entertainment on the ship was good and this was definitely helped by the fact they had a brilliant cruise director called Alehanjdro from Argentina. He had lots of energy and really helped the ship 'rock'! The ports of call were great and we enjoyed getting off the ship and exploring, particulary Dubrovnik, Montenegro, Venice and Valletta. Our son who is 17 also travelled with us and thoroughly enjoyed the cruise too and met a good group of friends. I would definitely book another cruise aboard this friendly ship! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
My husband and I sailed on the Solstice out of Barcelona on August 27. We're in our late 20s--this was our eighth cruise but first time on Celebrity and in the Mediterranean. This was a port-intensive itinerary so at times we were ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the Solstice out of Barcelona on August 27. We're in our late 20s--this was our eighth cruise but first time on Celebrity and in the Mediterranean. This was a port-intensive itinerary so at times we were exhausted, but seeing so many amazing places was worth it. Overall, we had a wonderful cruise experience and would definitely sail on Celebrity again. We flew into Barcelona two days early and stayed at Hotel Jazz. It was a great value--excellent location, very clean and nice rooms, free internet. We got on the ship at about noon and embarkation was a breeze--there was no waiting at all, unlike most of our other cruises. We were in an Aqua Class Stateroom and loved it. The upgraded bathroom/shower was awesome and we went almost every day to the Persian Garden to enjoy the heated beds and steam room. It was never too crowded. Having bottled water, iced tea and a cheese plate delivered to our stateroom every day was also a nice perk. We received a complimentary bottle of champagne in our room the first day. The food in Blu (the specialty restaurant for Aqua Class guests) was excellent. We dined there almost every night and also went to breakfast there whenever we had time. Our only small complaint would be the service in Blu. The Maitre d' was wonderful, but the waiters and assistant waiters were good but not great. We dined at the Tuscan Grille one night and it was well worth it--amazing food, excellent service. We had lunch in Bistro on Five, which only has a $5 cover charge and is probably the best value on the ship! The ship's main buffet is the best one we've experienced on a cruise. The food was good and they had tons of options, and there was never once a line or difficulty finding a table. We went to about half of the big entertainment shows during the cruise and most of them were good, though a couple were just ok. The Cirque show is not to be missed and we also really enjoyed the Ringmasters (an a cappella group) who performed in various venues across the ship. In the ports we did a mix of Celebrity excursions, private excursions, and on-our-own tours. The private excursions we took with small groups found through Cruise Critic and they worked out great. We used Rome In Limo as well as See Amalfi Coast and we'd highly recommend both. Disembarking went smoothly until one of our bags went missing. It was a very stressful 90 minutes waiting for it as we had an international flight to catch and no one from Celebrity was around to help. We were just filing a claim and ready to leave it behind when it finally showed up. One thing I wished we'd known in advance: You can get Euros on board at the current Bank of America rate, with no fees. Back home (in Texas), even as Bank of America customers we had to pay a fee to exchange currency. Overall, this was a fantastic cruise experience and we'd sail on Celebrity again for sure--although I'm not sure they beat out Princess just yet as our favorite cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Background Info: This was my 25th cruise and our first cruise being Captain's Club Elite level on Celebrity. We both considered this cruise to be one of the best trips we have ever taken (on sea or land). It was quite simply ... Read More
Background Info: This was my 25th cruise and our first cruise being Captain's Club Elite level on Celebrity. We both considered this cruise to be one of the best trips we have ever taken (on sea or land). It was quite simply fantastic (albeit exhausting). Great itinerary, great ship, outstanding food and even better service. Simply put, this ship would be very, very hard to beat. Travel To Port of Embarkation: We stayed 2 nights in Barcelona pre-cruise and were very glad we did. I had not been in Barcelona for 20 years and our time was well spent doing the HOHO bus to all the major sights/attractions -- including Sagrada Familia. If you go to Sagrada Familia it is well worth the wait and price to go inside, especially to take the lifts to the top of the spires and take the long spiral staircase back down -- tremendous views and a totally unique experience. Pre-Cruise Hotel Info: We stayed at the Hilton Diagonal del Mar. If you are an HHonors club member it is worth staying here for the great concierge lounge on the 15th Floor with a great balcony and views of the city and the sea. It is however located a good distance away from the major tourist attractions - in a newer neighbourhood that doesn't hold much tourist appeal (but close to the beaches); so taking the Metro is involved (but you can also easily catch the HOHO bus from here as well). Would I stay there again? Probably not -- would stay in a more central location, but not disappointed in this hotel. We knew the pro/cons of the location when we booked it and we were pleased overall. Embarkation: Very smooth. Celebrity does this well. We arrived at the port around 1:30pm and there were no wait times at all. We were on the ship within about 10 to 15 minutes of arrival at the port. Couldn't have been easier. Stateroom: We chose Aqua Class stateroom 1676 which had an aft facing balcony on Deck 11. We really liked this cabin. Our room steward and his assistant were excellent, the room was kept spotlessly clean and we would definitely book it again. Would be nice if it was a little closer to a stairwell -- but we would definitely book this cabin again. Ship Info: Wow. This was our first time on an S-Class ship -- and I must say that we were VERY impressed. It will be hard to go back to the M-Class now...or to any other ship for that matter. The only thing I didn't like on this ship was the pool area -- it is a zoo. Don't believe anyone who tells you it is not. I realize I am probably alone in my opinion of the lawn club -- but I wish they would just rip it up and put some nice deck chairs up there instead....as it really was impossible to get a chair near the pool on sea days if you weren't up bright and early in the morning. The M-Class pools and sun decks are so much better. In fact, they are so much better that I might actually choose to sail on them in a hot weather itinerary instead of given a choice...but it would be a very tough call. I just absolutely hate fighting for deck chairs and feeling stacked on top of everyone else. This deck chair issue aside, we were very pleasantly surprised with the S-Class -- we found it hard to believe we were actually sailing on a much bigger ship as it was laid out so well and (other than when we were at the pools) we never encountered any crowding issues at all. Perhaps this was because we were eating in the smaller Blu Restaurant...so we didn't spend much time in the buffet at peak breakfast times etc....but we felt like we had the best of both worlds in Aqua Class -- a small ship feel with the amenities of a larger ship when you wanted it. Good job Celebrity! If only Princess could have achieved this on their Grand Class behemoths....although they do have much better pools! :) Dining: I can not rave enough about both the quality of the food and service we received in Blu. Having recently been on the solisticized Infinity in January -- we knew that Blu was going to be good -- but we had no idea it was going to be THAT good! This was the best food I've ever had on any ship -- including Azamara and Celebrity (before Royal Caribbean took over). If you can afford the extra to sail Aqua Class -- go for it. You will not regret it. If however the difference in price is substantial -- sail in a regular cabin and pay for the specialty restaurants. We ate in Blu every night except one (we chose to go to Silk Harvest one evening and wish we hadn't as it was very sub-par in comparison). There were very high marks from all on board for Murano and Tuscan Grille though -- so guess we chose the wrong specialty restaurant. Activities: I took significant advantage of both the jogging track and the fitness classes. Fitness instructors were great -- and loved the track as well. Due to the port-intensive itinerary, we quite simply didn't have time to do anything else! ;) Staff & Service: Best ever! This is a fantastic ship with an even better crew. Every expectation was exceeded. I don't think there could be a better crew at sea - at least I haven't encountered one yet! Entertainment: Didn't go to many shows -- not overly impressed with the ones we saw, but the cruise director was very good as were the activities staff on this ship. They did their best to keep everyone entertained and had a high level of energy. I do wish Celebrity had a more active night life....but again, due to the port-intensive nature of this cruise everyone was pretty exhausted. Shore Excursions: We booked our own private excursions for all the ports -- and were glad that we did. The priority tender tickets we received being Elite with Captain's Club came in very handy for getting off the ship early and meeting up with our tours. Disembarkation: Super fast and efficient. Really well organized. We were off the ship with our bags in hand by 8:30am. Couldn't have been easier. Summary: I simply can't rave enough about this ship. It was wonderful. I consider the cruise very close in comparison to our 18 night Azamara Quest cruise in Asia a few years ago -- and I thought no mainstream ship would ever be able to come close to that experience. Honestly, the Solstice was almost as good -- and was even better than Azamara in several aspects -- so we can't wait to cruise on another S-Class ship again in the near future. I am anxious to see what the Reflection will be like! Next up however will be the Xpedition to Galapagos for an entirely different cruising experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We boarded the ship in lovely Barcelona on 27th August. Check in was speedy enough process but delayed because our xpress passes had been unavailable, despite us having fully completed our online checking in with full details, including ... Read More
We boarded the ship in lovely Barcelona on 27th August. Check in was speedy enough process but delayed because our xpress passes had been unavailable, despite us having fully completed our online checking in with full details, including credit card information for sea pass accounts onboard. This is my second Celebrity cruise within a few months & same thing happened previously as well. Makes me wonder what is the point of going through it all online - only to have to repeat most of the process again at check in?! Also, what is the problem with Celebrity sending out the luggage tags requested pre cruise? Again for the second time in a few months, no luggage tags were ever received. You can get them at the port of course but it makes a bit of a nonsense out of the whole thing when they promise to send them-& then don't bother to! The ship itself is lovely and is extremely well maintained. Spotlessly clean throughout & a credit to the teams of hard working staff onboard. We were in a balcony cabin on deck 8 which was perfect for us as only other staterooms above & below us, so less noisy. We were on an early sitting -6.15pm- which worked out very well for us & meant the show time of 8.45pm were great. Well, apart from the times when they changed the timing of the shows that is! If it ain't broke....leave it alone Celebrity!! On the subject of the entertainment onboard. A mixed bag....the A Capella group...the Ringmasters were superb...on stage the first night and around the ship at various times & locations throughout the cruise. Amazingly talented group of 4 young Swedish guys. Also worthy of special mention is a superb vocalist called Philip Brown, he was first class & my husband & I agreed we have never heard a better rendition of Old Man River or Mr Bojangles. As good as the original singers! Superb! The Solstice singers & dancers were excellent also & we especially enjoyed the show where they performed their version of Riverdance & Broadway musicals. We did not really enjoy the Cirque de Soleil type show on the last night as much, very talented people but started to drag after 20 minutes or so. Too much of the acrobatic type stuff and not enough music or singing. Several people around us left half way through the show, which is never a nice thing to witness. The food in the Grand Epernay restaurant is excellent & service consistently good. Worthy of special mention here are Francisco & Sergio (not our main waiters but they both served us at lunch (open seating) & we agreed that we would have loved to have had either of them as our waiter in the evening at fixed seating dinner. Ours was good...not excellent. Another point here which I feel I should mention is that it is more than a bit unsettling, not to say ungracious on the part of the waiter concerned is that upon giving him an envelope with a gratuity in excess of $100, he felt it more important to urge us to mention him by name on our comment card, rather than to say thank you for the envelope. Am I right in thinking that tips are not mandatory or compulsory bur rather an acknowledgement/appreciation of services rendered? Same as with stateroom attendants, we left an envelope on our bed on last evening before we went for dinner at 6.15pm containing well in excess of the recommended tip amounts & yet no acknowledgement whatsoever. Envelope and extra gift had been taken but, unlike on our previous cruises when the room attendant came to say thank you, this time the was nothing whatsoever. Leaves a bit of a bad taste & is poor form in my opinion. Just some basic good manners & common courtesy would have been appreciated. Our fellow passengers were a mix of all nationalities in varying degrees, a lot of Spanish onboard, to such a large extent that Alejandro, the cruise director, had to make his announcements in the theatre in both English & Spanish every night. Also a significant number of North Americans as well as Brits & Scandinavians. A good mix of age groups as well, although fewer children than on previous cruises, probably due to school holidays now over. All in all a great cruise on a beautiful ship and with a superb itinerary. One thing I would say is that the shore excursions are vastly overpriced & a bit misleading for Celebrity to say there is nothing to see in Livorno (because they are selling tours to Florence!?!) when it is actually a lovely place and well worth seeing. We spent a wonderful day there & enjoyed a great boat trip where we learned a lot about the Medici family's influence in Livorno etc. Highly recommend Livorno as Florence tour is very tiring. The only thing I need add is that if you are reading this review before doing a cruise on lovely Solstice is...have a wonderful time and Bon voyage! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
This was our second Celebrity Med cruise in 2 years, last year we cruised the Eastern Med on the Equinox which set a very high bar for the Solstice to reach. We had two veranda staterooms, which were adjacent but not adjoining so we had ... Read More
This was our second Celebrity Med cruise in 2 years, last year we cruised the Eastern Med on the Equinox which set a very high bar for the Solstice to reach. We had two veranda staterooms, which were adjacent but not adjoining so we had the balcony divider removed which made it easy to move from stateroom to stateroom. The stateroom although outwardly clean had some attention to detail issues such as a little bit of mould around corners of the shower, nothing to get too upset about but something we didn't experience on the Equinox. The stateroom attendants also seemed to refuse to throw out such things as obviously finished Coke bottles etc. They were efficient but not as good as a couple of previous cruises. We noticed other issues such as public washrooms which had run out of towels and there didn't seem to be as many people cleaning the public spaces like we noticed on the Equinox. We also had an incident in the MDR where a kid had thrown up her supper nearby the entry where we were seated and it took about 15 minutes for someone to clean it up, pretty disgusting while you are eating. Again no major vacation ruining things just issues we noticed. In the MDR both our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent as was the food throughout the ship. Drink waiters and bartenders were also excellent throughout the ship. We ate at the Silk Harvest one night, very good food and service. Ship passengers were about 1/3 from the UK. 1/3 Spanish speaking and about a from North American, lots of kids. We met some great people mostly from the UK which made the cruise for us. Spanish people seem to stick with their own and (sorry for the stereotype) seem to be oblivious to those around them. Entertainment was good and not so good, the first theatre show was typical poor man's broadway type singing and dancing, the last couple of days were much better with some acrobatic performances and a cool magician who looked like the lead singer of Duran Duran. The "party" band's lead male singer had the ability to ruin just about any song, however the jazz trio and several of the solo artists were excellent. Ports: Rome -- we rented a car and drove around the countryside as we were in Rome last year. Naples -- took the hydrofoil to Capri, very easy to DIY. Kotor -- favourite stop, walked up the mountain to the old fort, quite a climb, then we wandered around the old town. People were very nice and it was inexpensive, we want to go back. Venice -- looks better from a distance but you have to go. Very crowded, we took the people mover the first day from the port and walked to Piazza San Marco. Very hot and some of the smells from the canals.....yikes. Second day we did the Dodge's palace, very interesting place. Dubrovnik -- a close second favourite stop. Don't take the Celebrity bus it's a rip off, take a taxi. We really liked our taxi driver so opted for the 50 euro tour which was great otherwise the drive to the old town is 10 euro. He took us all the way to the top of the mountain above the old town, then we wandered the old town which was very crowded as the Carnival Breeze was also in port. Malta -- made the mistake of taking a ship tour, the "4 x 4 Malta adventure". The vehicles did not appear to be 4 x 4's and the stops did not even require a 4 x 4 vehicle. Definitely did not live up to the brochure. We broke our own rule by taking a ship's excursion and should know better. Overall a great vacation and a great experience but the ship and service did not quite live up to the Equinox, it may be because some of the Celebrity novelty has worn off or we are used to newer ships, not sure, but we would definitely sail with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and the cruise itinerary was the primary reason. Embarkation at Barcelona was trouble free and we were soon on board exploring the ship whilst we waited for confirmation that ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and the cruise itinerary was the primary reason. Embarkation at Barcelona was trouble free and we were soon on board exploring the ship whilst we waited for confirmation that our cabin was ready. We booked cabin no. 1579 which was Aqua Class and we were suitably impressed with the size and the layout of the cabin, and were pleased that we had opted for the balcony. First impressions - The Solstice is a superb vessel and is a credit to the staff who pay particular attention to details, in particular the cleanliness of ALL areas of the ship was faultless. Ports of call - Included Barcelona, Dubrovnik, Venice, Split, Naples, Rome, Florence and Toulon. This Itinerary was the main reason that we chose this cruise. Restaurants - Cruising Aqua Class we already had exclusive access to the Blu restaurant on board, however upon embarkation we chose to purchase a speciality restaurant package that included a visit to Silk Harvest, Murano and Tuscan Grille. The food in all of the restaurants and cafes was superb and was always served with a smile. My only criticism was that not everybody abide by the dress code and we saw fellow cruisers in shorts and T shirts even in the speciality restaurants which was disappointing. Blu - This is the restaurant that we ate in the majority of the time and the menu choices and quality was of the highest standard as was the service from the minute we arrived, but you do need to request a pause between courses to allow your digestive system to rest! Silk Harvest - This is an Asian themed restaurant and again the quality and menu choices were plentiful. Murano - This is a restaurant for those special occasions, as the food is exquisite, but possibly a bit rich to visit too frequently! Tusacn Grille - Plenty of space here and probably one of the best Steaks that I've ever had. Main Dining Room - This is an enormous restaurant and despite the food being of great quality we found the service to be too rushed. Entertainment - Generally it was good and in particular the stage shows, the acapella singers and the jazz trio in the cocktail lounge were the pick of the acts. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
After many hours trying to plan a land trip to Italy, I finally took a friend's advice and booked a cruise with Celebrity. We have a 9 year old and wanted both a very nice ship that was also kid friendly. Celebrity delivered. ... Read More
After many hours trying to plan a land trip to Italy, I finally took a friend's advice and booked a cruise with Celebrity. We have a 9 year old and wanted both a very nice ship that was also kid friendly. Celebrity delivered. We flew in to Barcelona 4 days before the cruise and stayed at The Casa Fuster Hotel. It was perfect. Great location and the city of Barcelona is fabulous. We hooked up with other cruisers through cruise critic and went on a day excursion to Costa Brava and Girona through spanish-trails.com What a great day. Met new friends, and had one of the best, most affordable tours on our vacation. I can't say enough about Derek, our Guide. The whole Barcelona experience is unforgettable. The tapas bars: especially Catalana Creveseria were amazing as well as Moniel Gastronimic in the Borne district. Wonderful. Getting on and off the ship was very easy, no problems. The port in Barcelona is close to the airport and I was given the advice to not pay extra for transports, taxis are everywhere. So true and saved $75. each way. We were upgraded to concierge class and given a new room that was on a higher floor. All appreciated. The room was perfect. It had plenty of storage and is beautiful. Very clean as well. Kid's club was good for my son. We had an issue on the last night that was unfortunate, the Director could have- or rather SHOULD have handled much better, but other than that, it was a good experience. Meals were all good. Some better than others. Given the number of people they are preparing food for, they did a good job. We ate at all the specialty restaurants more than once. We enjoyed the more uncommon much more than the usual; the beef tartar was so good at Tuscan Grille, but the fried calamari was just average at best. The arugula salad was great, the ceasar salad was not. We chose select dining, which for us was perfect. You are so tired when you get in from a port that you may or may not need wind down time. General Port Advice: Make solid plans prior to getting on the ship. Internet is expensive and a bit slow on the ship. Do all of your homework prior to going. Utilize trip advisor to the fullest. Book excursions- we used RomeInLimo for the big 3- Naples, Rome and Florence and tell them your personality, what you like to do and what is important to you and ask them to match a driver to that. We had 2 Rock Star drivers and 1 just OK, not because he was just OK, but because he would have been more well suited with a bit older history buffs. Carmine in Naples created memories for us that we will have forever. He took us to an amazing restaurant on the Amalfi Coast and it was breathtaking! La Tagliata, what a day with RomeinLimo and Carmine! Make reservations in each Country if food is important to you prior to going. The good restaurants are booked and you can't just walk in. Get off the beaten path! Crowds can be overwhelming. Do the big attractions first thing in the morning and then go somewhere amazing for lunch or strolling & swimming and leisure for the afternoon. We swam everywhere possible which was great on warm days and the water was clean and beautiful. We brought towels and a change of clothes and enjoyed ourselves. Getting out of the crowds and having a personal experience will be where memories are made in my opinion. This would be my advice for everywhere but Rome. Rome is a beast, and you will spend the whole day seeing everything you can. A driver or ship excursion in these 3 places; Naples, Rome and Florence, I found critical. Otherwise, you can plan your own days and have fun without spending the extra on an excursion. The beverage package debate: This can be costly. I found it good for us to do the premium non-alcoholic bev package. We almost only drink red wine and they allowed us to bring a couple of great bottles on the ship. In addition, other than sea days, you are in a port, drinking wine with lunch, not on the ship. We bought a package for 5 dinners at specialty restaurants and that came with 5 bottles of wine. This for us was perfect. The spa was nice, got a massage and a manicure. Both very, very expensive. Bring your own polish girls unless you have a big budget! We did not see any shows. Speaking of budget, make sure and get euros before going. This trip was a 10 of 10. I look forward to going again some day. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
The whole experience was very professional and for the purposes of this review ,my comments reflect our thoughts on the ship and the facilities offered. Embarkation at the terminal was quick and efficient,our suitcases were taken by ... Read More
The whole experience was very professional and for the purposes of this review ,my comments reflect our thoughts on the ship and the facilities offered. Embarkation at the terminal was quick and efficient,our suitcases were taken by porters and we were advised they would be at our cabins shortly after we got on board.We were directed to our deck check in, in our case deck 7 and queued for a short time, Whilst queuing we filled in public health forms asking if we had suffered any stomach upsets or sore throats ,colds etc in the previous couple of days. This was handed in at check in.As we walked on board we were offered hand gel and a welcome aboard drink,we then headed off to the Ocean View Cafe on deck 14 for a buffet lunch.The buffet had superb selection,pizza,stir fry and salads and more.Throughout the cruise the Ocean View maintained this high standard of varied and well prepared foods and we enjoyed eating there. Tea,coffee and soft drinks were all available for free. We went to the Lawn Club on the top deck,for a cocktail and enjoyed the real grass area ,and relaxing.When we were advised our cabins were ready,we were amazed at how well laid out they were. We had adjoining cabins(7328-7326) and the attendant (Jose)arranged for the balcony partition to be removed and for us to have a double door,entrance and then our cabin door from the corridor. Throughout the ship, there were staff offering hand gel,there were also handgel dispensers available and it was comforting to see that Celebrity took health and safety very seriously. We opted for "select dining" and were lucky enough to have Sanjay and Tasha as our waiter/ess,so impressed were we by their service that we asked Khadine ,our restaurant hostess,if we could have them every night!! Khadine did everything to ensure that this happened ,and she must be commended on her ability to "juggle" passengers and table availability and still remain calm and friendly. The food was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and every night we tried things that we would not normally have at home.Our 8 year old son ate frogs legs and loved them! The menu was interesting and diverse,and never failed to please. We were lucky enough to have William as our sommelier and his advice on choosing wines was extensive and welcome.His manner made us feel comfortable in asking for advice,something which you cant always do at home. We took in a few shows whilst on board, the highlights being Bruce Parker,soul/reggae singer and Paul Boland the impressionist which were very good. The theme nights were good fun by the poolside and it was good to see Pete Baker (activity manager) and Alijandra Torterroli (cruise director) leading the fun. The resident band was ok,but they need to increase their repertoire.The acapella group from Sweden,"The Ringmasters" were excellent and they attracted lots of attention from the teenage girls on board. We used the fun factory kids club for our 8 year old and he loved it.There was an excellent staff/child ratio and the activities were age relevant.Sadly our 12 year old son felt out of place as there was a high percentage of Spanish kids,and he does not speak Spanish,so he did not avail of the teen club. The bars on board In our opinion the best bar on board was the Martini bar, our waiter Ray was very pleasant. The next bar we enjoyed was the Sky lounge as the views were amazing. Our only criticism levelled at the bars,on two for one promotions,service became very slow,we were not sure if that was deliberate. We went to bingo a few times and that was fun-dont worry it is definitely not fast! Finally ,we chose to extend our stay as we had a late flight from Barcelona. For $59,95 per adult and $29.95 per child we stayed on board until 3pm. We enjoyed complimentary drinks and cakes at Cafe Bachio and lunch at Bistro at 5. We swam in the pools and chilled out ,this was ideal for us. There was a film being shown ,but we lost interest and walked out (we were the only ones in there!!). Disembarkation was a bit muddled.Some of the security staff were not familiar with the concept of extended stay ,and this led to some delay-I am sure Celebrity will look into this. All in all, this was a superb holiday and has left us all with a lot of good memories . We would have no hesitation in recommending this cruise ship to anyone,as it does "go that extra mile" (no pun intended). Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
This Celebrity cruise was our fifth but the first in the Mediterranean and it was great. We flew direct from Philadelphia and landed in Barcelona at 8:00 am and took the Celebrity shuttle at about 10:00 to the ship. We were registered in ... Read More
This Celebrity cruise was our fifth but the first in the Mediterranean and it was great. We flew direct from Philadelphia and landed in Barcelona at 8:00 am and took the Celebrity shuttle at about 10:00 to the ship. We were registered in 10 minutes and boarded at 11:00 am going straight to the Ocean Grill buffet for lunch. The rooms were ready about 2:00 pm and the luggage delivered about 5:00 pm. We selected the 6:15 dinning time and had great service with Gusti at table 229. When I asked him what one special dessert was but ordered another, he brought both.........he knew I wanted to try each one. The show that evening was run by Alejandro who was bilingual as the majority of cruisers were Spanish speaking. So we were at sea for two days, which was good as we adjusted to the 6 hour time difference. There were several talks about the Port by Lisi and Lenora Mill, from Geo Washington University about the artist Titian that were very helpful. We had a balcony on deck 8, which was good as we had cabins above and below us, so never much noise. It was 6 decks up to the 14th deck where the Ocean grill buffet was located. We generally ate breakfast and lunch here and found a lot of variety. Plenty to eat and good quality as they changed the dessert selections each day although they had pears only on the first day and the apples were just OK, not crisp. The dinner service was excellent and our waiter was always interested in taking care of us. He often made suggestions regarding the Ports and asked us what we liked. It is interesting on the next to last night they honor all the staff that work on the food and beverage and by recognizing them and when they asked the question who has the best waiter every table hooted and clapped and so that is an indication of great service. We had plenty of choices and every night had a chicken, dish, salmon or steak as the set menu and then usually 6 or 7 options for your entree. Many were unique and we enjoyed trying different foods we did not normally eat. One night we tried the Murano due to a free credit there and it was excellent and the service and food quality was above the main dining room, which was great anyway. The pool area outside was crowded on sea days but there was an indoor, air controlled pool area that generally had lounge chairs. It had a small pool and was relaxing. The shows were felt for the most part to be the best we had seen on a ship. Several that come to mind are Doug Cameron and his violin, Antonio Salchi with the grand piano and the Broadway show tunes. Ports: Dubrovnik They had a shuttle to take you into town for $12 round trip that made it easy to reach the city that was about 2 ½ miles away. It was welcome on the hot day we were there. We took the 8:30 am shuttle, as we wanted to walk the walls before it got crowded and hot and it worked out well. There is a ticket office just inside the gate where you buy your tickets for about 70KN ---they take credit cards but not Euros. Waling the walls opened up different views and we found ourselves taking pictures every few steps. There are some refreshment stands on the wall and even a free bathroom about half way around. We walked and got off near the cable car and took that to the top of the nearby mountain. Great view from on top. There is a rest there but we came down and walked on the main street to the Portun Rest. At Sigurate street for pizza and drinks and appreciated the AC. We also had some gelati on the street but it is not real ice cream but made with vegetable fat and so was only 1E. Go off the main street like on Old Puca street and look at the different shops and the art gallery that was bombed during the 1991 wart and see the damage that was done. It was in the 90s so we retreated back to the ship by early afternoon. Venice We arrived about 11:30 and sat up in the Sky Bar for a great view on the right side of the ship. We ate quickly and went off the ship at 1:00 pm and took the people mover (1E) each way to the Piazza where we bought the tickets for 36 hours for 25 E per person so we could use the Vaporriti or waterbus to unlimited locations including Murano where we went after connecting at St. Marc Square. (#2 to St Marc and 7 to Murano) very busy and packed with people at times but you do see the city. We walked around Murano after getting of at the lighthouse or I think Faro stop. NOTE many shops sell glass made in China so look for signs that say no glass from China. We walked the main street called Fond dei Vetrai. The glass blowers were not open as it was August so not actual glass blowing going on. We did find out the glass blowing was started by 5 families and we went to one shop owned by one of those families -- RAVANELLO. They had beautiful crosses and other Murano glass. We left here at 4:30 and headed over to St. Marc Square where we went up Rassa ST. looking for sandwich shops mentioned in Rick Steve's Guide I had on Italy. (highly recommend this book as well as his free download Aps on many locations). We ate at one he recommended but not happy with this recommendation "Verde" but did eat lukewarm pizza and hot ham and cheese sandwiches that was good. We walked into St. Marc square for a gelati break and did the Bell tower as the wait was only 5 minutes. After that we took the Vaporriti back to our ship. The next morning we were back at St. Marc's square taking the Vaporriti down the Grand Canal we went through the Dogge Palace that was incredible. We used the audio tour and it was worth it. Paintings were unbelievable. After this we waited for about 20 minutes to tour St. Marc's Basilica that contains the bones of Mark the Apostle. We walked over to the Rialto bridge and had lunch ( 2E cover charge for eating at the Grand Canal) We then want back to the ship taking #2 toward the Ferrovia ( train station). Highlights were the Dogge Palace, riding the Grand Canal, our Gondola ride and ST Marc's Square but will not miss the crowded streets and hot weather Split, Croatia We tendered in (no wait) and walked around this city rather than doing a guided tour. Cellar was interesting as was the Basilica built on the Mausoleum for the Emperor Diocletian (he and his wife were moved out of it to build the church) I purchased a watercolor from an artist and we walked out the eastern gate to a fruit and fish market and even into a supermarket where we bought some snacks with our credit card. We also bought some handmade bags for 22.5E bargained down from 30E just because that is all the E we had at the time. Naples we did the Amalfi Coast boat tour with Pompeii. Both were unique. The coast was beautiful and the boat ride a great way to see the unusual buildings hugging the cliffs. In Amalfi we toured the Basilica of St. Andrew with his bones recovered from Egypt and buried inside the church. The church was built on a hillside and it is so much larger inside than it looks. Take the tour if you go here. After lunch, we toured Pompeii and it is just hard to comprehend that way it was destroyed by the volcano ash and hot gas. Rome We did the 9-½ hour tour and it was packed and included lunch. Since it was over 1 hour away, we wanted to make sure we got back on ship. We did the Trevi fountain (another gelati stop) the Roman Forum, Coliseum, then lunch and then the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica. Plenty of pictures and memories and a very busy day. Plenty to see and not enough time but we did enjoy all the history and sights. Florence Our Celebrity sponsored tour guide was Anna Lisa and she was excellent. We took the waling tour for 2 hours and then on our own for 3 hours. The walking tour showed us what we might want to go back to and we did go back for the Domo Basilica to tour it after having lunch on the San Lorenzo Square at Rist. Finisterrae -- again what else pizza and soda. The domo was built with no scaffolding which was incredible as it took over 400 steps to reach the top. We purchased leather purses form the outdoor shops that line the street near the square. We checked out the Leather School behind the Basilica but found prices high and not worth the trip back there. Oh for gelati near the Domo try Guma -- all natural ingredients and great. We took many pictures and enjoyed walking the streets. Aix en Provence We took the tour that included a walking guided portion and then were on our own Isabel took us for 1 our and we saw the market on the main street, the fruit market, the old street, old theater and the Basilica where we saw a refurbished painting with the King and Queen kneeling before the Baby Jesus and the town of Aix in the background. I don't know how they can afford to keep up these massive churches but they must. Very small streets and shops and just a picturesque town......of course another Crème glace. Barcelona we took a tour after getting of the ship that lasted for 8 hours as we were leaving the next morning. We selected Barcelona Day tours based on the reviews in Trip Advisor. http://www.barcelonadaytours.com/ Our guide was Nardin and he was excellent. His background in architecture really added to our tour especially knowing a lot about the sites we visited. We did the Barcelona and Montserrat tour. Visited many interesting buildings, the Olympic village, the National gallery of Art, the SagradaFamilia Cathedral, the Basilica with the Black Madonna, Montjuic Castle overlooking the harbor and the Rambles. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Overall our family was delighted with our 12 day Mediterranean Venice cruise. On the plus side: Superb ship design, easy to get around. Rarely felt crowded (except at Ocean View on embarkation and Venice arrival) Superb (better than ... Read More
Overall our family was delighted with our 12 day Mediterranean Venice cruise. On the plus side: Superb ship design, easy to get around. Rarely felt crowded (except at Ocean View on embarkation and Venice arrival) Superb (better than Disney) kid's program at Fun Factory. Overall, friendly, accommodating staff, from officers to washroom attendants. Great itinerary. Superb meals at Murano and Silk Harvest (the latter great for families)and very good, but not great, meal at Tuscan Grill. Service in specialty restaurants consistently outstanding. Amazing variety and quality at Ocean View buffets. Cabin very well designed. Very comfortable bed and linens. Great photo gallery staff (we purchased all photos package before sailing, a great value). Wine tastings are a lot of fun and good value, especially Riedel workshop. The Corning hot glass show is exceptional and the Lawn Club a great innovation, super for families. Needs improvement: Grand Epernay main dining room food variety, quality and service very uneven: sometimes excellent, often disappointing, to our surprise. There is too much hard selling of dining, wine and spa packages. There is a fine line between gentle suggestions and rampant hucksterism. Entertainment is uneven, with the Broadway and acrobatics show being strong, other acts just so-so. We took two shore excursions with Celebrity: very good quality but overpriced. Suggest Romeinlimo in Italian ports and independent touring in ports like Villefranche and Split. Buy the Rick Steves Mediterranean ports guide an free audio tours. Huge price drops after final payment date quite frustrating: Celebrity needs to avoid giving disincentives to booking and paying early. Bottom line: Excellent cruise but main dining needs improvement. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
I was nervous about taking a cruise, I'm just not a cruise kinda person. BUT, with the prices coming down so low I thoght I'd give it a try I picked the Celebrity Solstice 12 Mediterranean Cruise. I then decided to go with the ... Read More
I was nervous about taking a cruise, I'm just not a cruise kinda person. BUT, with the prices coming down so low I thoght I'd give it a try I picked the Celebrity Solstice 12 Mediterranean Cruise. I then decided to go with the Aqua Class because I like the choice of times and smaller groups for dining. I had read other reviews that were negative about aqua class and was concerned with the complaints about noise. I am happy to say that Aqua class was well worth booking. The food offered in Blu restaurant was awesome. I'm a vegetarian and I had great choices of dinner with 4 courses offered every night, and they never repeated the same meal. The service was excellent, our serve person Proceso was so helpful and gave great advice as to what to order. Also the room was kept in perfect order by mario our room concierge. I had no noise problem. the only disappointment was the spa. I felt the massage prices were way to high at $195 for an hour. Also was really looking forward to yoga every day, and I thought what yoga they did offer, was really crowded and not with an experienced yoga teacher. Plus they charged for Yoga. But the overall experience was great. Shows were very good. The tours were crowded, so I would suggest trying to book your own tour if you like doing your own thing. Would I do it again. YES! would I book Aqua class again.YES!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
For our honeymoon hubby and I decided to splurge and have a decadent Mediterranean cruising experience and the Solstice delivered on almost every promise. Embarkation: Incredibly smooth and efficient. We organised a Celebrity Suite so ... Read More
For our honeymoon hubby and I decided to splurge and have a decadent Mediterranean cruising experience and the Solstice delivered on almost every promise. Embarkation: Incredibly smooth and efficient. We organised a Celebrity Suite so we had priority check-in which was smoothly handled. Once we boarded we were handed a glass of bubbly and decided to take advantage of the 20% embarkation day discount at the Speciality Restaurants and booked the Tuscan Grill for that evening. Not 5 minutes after we confirmed our booking did we hear the announcement that our rooms were ready. The Room: Through careful research on Cruise Critic, I booked a Celebrity Suite on the hump and we had an extra wide balcony. It was absolutely perfect as was everything in the room. We loved that we had two closets so that we could each have our own and the big lounge area to escape to when the crowds became too much. I also loved that we could store our suitcases under the bed. Our wonderful Butler, Jonathan, came and introduced himself shortly after our arrival. He was fantastic in every way, from delivering our breakfast on-time every morning to organising a picnic on the lawn. Food & Service: Our dinner at the Tuscan Grill was amazing. Great service, fantastic wine and a wonderful atmosphere. We were definitely spoiled. The next evening when we dined at the main dining room we were soo disappointed that we only ate there one more time during the trip. The service was appalling, the wine selection limited and the food selection boring. We ate a Murano and it was soo amazing that we booked in several times for dinner and their special high tea. Our waiter at Murano, and I'm embarrassed that I can't remember his name, was so lovely that we made sure to sit in his section each time we dined. We dined one evening at Blu which was lovely. I'm disappointed that we didn't make time to eat there again but we had a jam packed trip. We ate several times at Bistro on 5 which was cute and clever with great crepes. The Oceanview cafe was like a feeding trough and I was not inspired to eat there at all during the trip. We lunched at the Aquaspa cafe which was great, healthy and quick and the Grill which was good too. All the bars were fantastic but we LOVED the Sunset bar at the back of the ship. Ernesto our bartender really made our trip. He came up with amazing cocktails and was always friendly and happy. Entertainment: Woeful, absolutley woeful. The comedians were average at best. The Broadway review show and the Acrobat show was good. The musicians in the main lounge that you could here from the elevators sounded like bad karoke. The music in the ensemble lounge was always great. Quasar was a total washout. I don't think I could have ever been drunk enough to enjoy it and the Sky lounge had the same appalling bad that were in the main lounge. Excursions: We did Celebrity excursions in almost every port except Cannes. And for the most part they were great. I guess my only complaint which is something that Celebrity can't help are the other passengers. Some were woeful and complained about everything. It's the Mediterranean in summer so of course it's going to be hot. If you don't like the heat, then don't book the trip. Quick note that the guides for all our trips were utterly amazing. Conclusion: My only complaints about the trip were (1) the harassment of the photographers, No thanks means leave me alone! I had to tell one of the photographers to actually leave me alone after his repeated attempts to coerce me to take a photo. And my other complaint (2) was the constant upsell, get a manicure, and then be harassed to purchase the lotion. Have a massage, and then be harassed to purchase the oils. Eat dinner at Blu, and then be "invited" to try the 5 course degustation dinner at Tuscan Grill. It was never ending and really annoying. The trip to begin with was already a hefty sum of money and with the beverage package (premium well worth the expense), excursions and specialty restaurants you were shelling out a lot of cash. It's not necessary or appreciated to try to upsell at every turn. The cruise was wonderful, and we really enjoyed ourselves. Would we cruise Celebrity again, maybe. We found a lot of the other passengers really hard to take. We are an interracial couple from Australia and experienced racism from other passengers. We are planning our next cruising holiday but I think we will try one of the luxury cruising lines next time so that we can mingle with more worldly passengers. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Embarked at Barcelona (having stayed in the city for two days prior to cruise)a pain free, smooth process. Picked up a glass of champagne and wandered through the ship overwhelmed by the size and beauty of the Celebrity Solstice. What ... Read More
Embarked at Barcelona (having stayed in the city for two days prior to cruise)a pain free, smooth process. Picked up a glass of champagne and wandered through the ship overwhelmed by the size and beauty of the Celebrity Solstice. What followed was a truly fantastic 12 nights/13 days of bliss. The service was excellent, food fabulous, ship amazing. Cannot fault our first cruise at all. Thank you Celebrity! A brilliant Stateroom 8228. Lovely Balcony - not overlooked by anyone. Great uninterrupted views. Dining was an amazing experience. Waiters fabulous. Professional at all times. Food was amazing in all restaurants. Entertainment. Plenty of entertainment available to either take part in or not. If you want to relax you can or if you want to cram in as much activity you can. Something for everyone. The shows are great with two chances to see them each night. Something different every day. Staff: All staff on board are great. Professional, fun, helpful - even the Senior Captains and the Captain got involved in activities. Overall this was a fabulous holiday. For our first cruise it was perfect and will definitely sail again with Celebrity. Pure luxury! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We chose Celebrity Solstice for our Ruby Wedding Anniversary cruise because she was sailing to the right places (Nice, Rome, Naples, Venice) at the right price and on the right date. We booked our own B.A. flights and stayed overnight at ... Read More
We chose Celebrity Solstice for our Ruby Wedding Anniversary cruise because she was sailing to the right places (Nice, Rome, Naples, Venice) at the right price and on the right date. We booked our own B.A. flights and stayed overnight at Barcelona Airport Marriott Renaissance -a good hotel with shuttles to the Cruise Terminal. Check-in for the Solstice went smoothly until we read the sheet handed to us with our cruise cards . There had been an outbreak of noro-virus and we could re-schedule if we had health concerns but at our own expense. It may be expedient for Celebrity to warn people this way but for someone with heart problems (my wife), it really throws you. We tried to reach our doctor for advice but could'nt. If we had a Smart phone, we could have found out that Solstice has re-ocurring noro-virus problems and a passenger died in 2010 (Celebrity have recently settled the claim). However, blissfully unaware of this, we decided to risk the cruise. Access to staterooms was delayed until mid-afternoon for noro-virus cleaning but when we did get in, we were happy with the facilities. We had to go straight off to Lifeboat Drill but did'nt see a lifeboat or a lifebelt - just a video in the Theatre. We expected much more after the Costa Concordia sinking. The noro-virus precautions were very evident with hand lotion everywhere. When the Greek Captain made his morning and evening progress reports, he reminded us to keep washing our hands. It did rather spoil the dinner ambiance. We enjoyed our first few days. The ship and its facilities were very good including a Solarium which was a haven of peace. There were plenty of activities and the evening entertainment was varied and good. The decor and lay-out of dining facilities was welcoming but the quality of food was not as good as on previous Celebrity cruises. Staff were very efficient and friendly; our one criticism was that some were too friendly and hence intrusive. On day 4, disaster struck; my wife broke her nose in the Theatre as the show ended. She stood up from her end of row seat, turned to the aisle and stepped forward - unaware there was a step down (her feet were obscuring the warning lights which were very close to the seat. She fell forward and broke her nose on an aisle step. The Medical Team were great but it took 4 hours to stabalise her because of high blood pressure. Lest you think alcohol played a part, she had one standard glass of wine all day. Next day I highlighted to the Safety Officer that all the Theatre seats exited into an aisle at the same ground level except for my wife's and 3 others where there was a step down with inadequate warnings. I said these seats were dangerous and should be removed so that there was adequate space for the person in the next seat to see the warning light. The Safety Officer promised to speak to Management and come back to me. My wife's face was so badly bruised that she avoided social contact as much as possible; we did'nt even get off the ship at Naples and Venice. We came close to flying home but had such nice dinner companions that we stuck it out. The penultimate day of the cruise was memorable. It was our Ruby Wedding Anniversary and my patience snapped. The Safety Office had not come back as promised and I made my feelings known at Guest Relations about a ship's officer who can't keep his word. Disembarkation at Barcelona went smoothly and we were glad to be going home. The Solstice was an excellant ship(apart from Theatre seating design) but Celebrity's food reputation is slipping - as is their attitude to safety based on our experience. As a footnote to the above, Celebrity deemed our experience to be worth £75 off a future cruise !!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Our cruise began with an easy check-in, which was wonderful after experiencing the Galveston zoo last February! Had room access by 1:30 following nice lunch at the buffet. We chose the open dining and liked it very much. We liked the ... Read More
Our cruise began with an easy check-in, which was wonderful after experiencing the Galveston zoo last February! Had room access by 1:30 following nice lunch at the buffet. We chose the open dining and liked it very much. We liked the layout of the ship because it never felt crowded. We prefer this to the open mall layout of Royal Caribbean. Service was effortless, prompt and courteous. We especially appreciated being greeted with icey towels and cold water after long, hot days in ports. The Solarium was terrific. Loved the comfort and the fact that towels are there for your use without having to be checked out, counted, etc. Along this line, Celebrity doesn't feel like a long encounter with a shopping network as Carnival does. You certainly can make purchases if you wish, but you are not hounded constantly by desperate people wishing to sell you stuff while you are on this ship. The itinerary was varied and enjoyable. Cannes is fine for just walking around. We took ship excursions to Florence, Rome, Naples and Venice, and all were excellent. We left the Venice excursion before return to ship so we could explore on our own. The next morning we took the people mover to the vaporetta stand and rode down the Grand Canal. Highlights of the cruise: Imperial Rome tour was very good and made me want to return to Rome to see more. Amalfi coastal drive is unbelievably beautiful. Kotor was unexpectedly lovely as a walled city, and the sailaway was stunning. Sailing through the Strait of Messina was noteworthy. We chose the open seating dining and found the food and service to be excellent. I appreciated the attention to detail, the courteousness of the crew, the calm demeanor of everyone we encountered and especially the rapid, well-executed disembarkation. In less than half an hour, we left our cabin, went to the dining room to await our appointment time, departed in a very small group, picked up our luggage on the carousel at the bottom of the escalator and got in our cab to go to the airport. We will sail Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
We had been recommended to try Celebrity cruises as we had travelled with many other cruise lines, doing well over 20 cruises in all parts of the world We chose this cruise as it was flying to Barcelona, thereby avoiding the North ... Read More
We had been recommended to try Celebrity cruises as we had travelled with many other cruise lines, doing well over 20 cruises in all parts of the world We chose this cruise as it was flying to Barcelona, thereby avoiding the North Atlantic weather, and for its interesting ports. I'm sure that many cruisers think the Solstice is wonderful, but it is not for us! The ship's design is such that apart from the excellent theatre there is no other large 'event' room. Other indoor events were held in the Foyer, a large multi-deck atrium, with little seating and a tiny dance floor. The Foyer was also open to the library and card room which made them unusable whenever the Foyer was in use. The open sundecks were overcrowded with sunbeds, but the 'Lawn Club' -- yes real grass -- took up a great deal of space and was hardly ever used. Also the jogging track passed right through the upper sundeck which proved hazardous as joggers pounded around at all times of the day, oblivious of others passengers. The 'Grand Epernay' restaurant was pleasant, but we were disappointed with the choice of food. A few basics such as steak, chicken and cheesecake were offered every day, but the rest of the food, although tempting on the menu, proved to be below the standard we are used to on other cruise ships. The chef's ideas of classic dishes were also suspect. I was offered blue cheese dressing with a Salade Nicoise and the traditional Baked Alaska was not baked at all, but had raw meringue that had been burnt black with a blow torch. The food buffet was at best fair, with little choice for such a large ship. If you left your table to get a second course or a drink everything, including personal belongings, was removed as though you had never been there. Passengers took to visiting the buffet in relays so that there was always one person at the table! One thing was great. The A Capella group 'The Neptunes' were brilliant and commanded a large audience whenever they performed, sad that they were never given a decent venue or time slot. This may be some peoples ideaof a great cruise, sadly it was not ours. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Our family of five (2 adults, 3 older children/teens) all had a wonderful time on our first-ever cruise. We all had a few concerns prior to this adventure (i.e. would we have enough room in the cabin? would we like the ship/itinerary? ... Read More
Our family of five (2 adults, 3 older children/teens) all had a wonderful time on our first-ever cruise. We all had a few concerns prior to this adventure (i.e. would we have enough room in the cabin? would we like the ship/itinerary? etc, etc), but by the end of the trip, we were all cruising converts. STATEROOM: We were very pleased with the Family Veranda stateroom. There was plenty of space for all of us and all of our luggage. Beds were very comfortable, and our attendant was kind. The only negative was that, with that location on the ship, there was a LOT of noise during docking on the mornings we came into ports (i.e. up at 5:30 with no alarm clock!). Note that the 2nd bedroom is very small...perfect for teens or children, but adults would not be happy in there. DINING: We took most of our meals in the Grand Epernay dining room. With the exception of a few mediocre salads, all of the meals were quite good. We enjoyed the variety of choices and the exceptionally attentive service. We chose the Select Dining feature and were glad we did (never had any problem being seated within 10 minutes). We did eat in the Oceanview Cafe for several breakfasts, lunches and snacks but preferred the Grand Epernay. Because we were traveling with our children we did not try any of the Specialty restaurants. PORTS/EXCURSIONS: We chose to visit the smaller ports (Split, Kotor) and Venice on our own but chose RomeInLimo (private 7 passenger van) for our shore excursions from other Italian ports (Naples, Civitavecchia, and Livorno). We thoroughly enjoyed our tours with this company and felt that it was a much more comfortable, easy, efficient way to see the sights. We took a Celebrity excursion bus from the port of Toulon (into Cassis) and discovered that we did not enjoy seeing the sights by tour bus (too hot, too slow). We were a bit worried about tendering into the small ports, but it was not too bad. The process was somewhat slow but well-organized. If you are in a hurry to get into port, I would recommend sending a family member to get in line for tickets as soon as the ship is docked. We were worried that we wouldn't have enough time to see the cities of Kotor and Split after our delayed departure from the boat, but there was plenty of time. OTHER ACTIVITIES ON BOARD: My husband, daughter and older son used the FITNESS facilities on a regular basis and were very pleased with them. The POOL/SUNDECK area was very nice but extremely crowded during sea days and later afternoons in port (my two complaints there: lots of all-day chair "saving," and I was surprised that glassware was allowed in the pool itself). Our three children all tried the KIDS AND TEEN CLUBS, and while my youngest thought it was just "OK," our teens became regular fixtures there every evening after dinner and made quite a few new friends. My daughter and I both used the SPA and thought it was quite nice...not amazing, but nice. My husband and I visited the CASINO and the SUNSET BAR at the LAWN CLUB on more than one occasion. The Lawn Club and Sunset Bar were my favorite areas for peace and quiet almost anytime of the day. The Casino staff was very welcoming and accommodating, but there is a lingering smoke odor there (assuming this is from previous years when smoking was allowed in there?) which kept our visits short. One of the main reasons we chose Celebrity was their restrictive policy regarding SMOKING, and we were pleased that smoke was really not a problem on this ship. It is allowed in a few areas, but they are fairly easy to avoid. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION: The embarkation process from Barcelona was simple and quick (probably 45 min total). Celebrity seems to do a good job in accommodating requests for disembarkation times, which I wish I would have known prior to the trip. Our return flight time was moved up to 12:30 pm, and I was concerned that we might not make it off the ship by 9 am in order to make it to the airport, so I changed our travel plans; however, this would not have been a problem. The whole process is very well-organized and efficient. We all thought it was a fantastic trip and look forward to doing something similar in the future. We would certainly choose Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Celebrity Solstice Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 5.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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