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Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,157 Reviews

Identity Crisis

Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by pamelap0420

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jun 2009
  • Destination: the Eastern Mediterranean

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.

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