The Ship is beautiful, classy and well laid out as mentioned many times before. The buffet area was a bit of a bun fight on occasion and on sea days the ship was busy but most of the time it never seemed too crowded anywhere and it was easy to enjoy quiet times on much of the ship. The lawn was well kept and we found it great to walk, sit, drink and play on it. Staterooms We had a c.c room right at the back of the ship, 1676, which was a little tight for 2 plus an untidy 13 year old but very comfortable and well appointed, the bathrooms are spacious with a good large power shower and lots of room for 'stuff' . One word of warning! The back balconies are great for relaxing (no soot noticed) but one evening we returned to find vomit all over the balcony. My wife lost the urge for our late night drinks al fresco after this. Guest Relations failed miserably when I reported this. Service On the whole service was very good. Our room attendant Deniz worked unobtrusively and catered to all our wishes. Our waiters in the Grand Eperney were magnificent! Imade and Imade, collectively known as Eminem were so charming and friendly but very professional, remembering our previous requests and likes and ensuring we never had to ask again for them on following mealtimes. The kids and teens were looked after so well that they looked forward to dining there every night. The sommelier, Mihaela, was an absolute peach, professional, charming, knowledgeable and pretty to boot! There were great drinks to be had in a few of the bars, the Martini bar and the Ensemble Lounge in particular were memorable though a martini too many and you wouldn't even remember what day it was. Particularly disappointing were the drinks in the Theatre, we had badly made ones, some with wrong ingredients, some sickly sweet and once so late in coming that the show had finished! don't worry though , the martini bar is just outside and we quickly learned to bring one with us to the shows Shows/music The Solstice 'cirque style' show was great and the 'Starring you' guest talent competition was obviously a lot of fun because..well it starred us, the guests! Note to Entertainments Officer - I'm not sure if having 2 violin based shows is a good idea, hearing The devil went down to Georgia, Riverdance, and Popera's greatest hits more than once is too much for anybody in a 10 day period. Some great musicians were to be heard around the ship, hats off in particular to cheeky young accapella quartet Soul'd Out with great vocal arrangements of Creedence and Neil Diamond in that 50's do wop style. A swinging piano trio cropped up around the ship, augmented by hip young(ish) vocalist Victor in the Ensemble Lounge coming on like Mel Torme, Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennet rolled into one - excellent. A mention must be made of the piped music and pool D.J also, it is difficult but I believe Celebrity have got it just right with cool jazz, soul, ballads and R&B, laid back but not too commercial and cheesy as can happen when trying to cater for a large cross section of people. The D.J managed to play contemporary chilled out House music with broad appeal too; as someone who finds most of that 4/4 techno club music mind numbingly dull I enjoyed sizzling out on the deck with the music and sunshine! Food The buffet was a bit 'samey' with little imagination or variety but the quality of ingredients were very decent. Coffee was an improvement on last years Sea Princess voyage but still dire! A big plus was the thirst quenching and not too sweet still lemonade available around the clock. We dined on the second sitting and had good, sometimes excellent food most of the time however a couple of times the food was a little tepid served on cold plates, you could see the waiters are aware that there is a service issue from the kitchen side of things, come on chef, sort it out, you know it can be done! The last formal evening's dinner was disappointing with cold unappetizing food and a crap menu. Again, you can see the waiters fire fighting, bringing extra dishes to taste and entertaining the kids and such but bad is bad I'm afraid. Speciality Dining We dined in Murano, the French fine dining restaurant for an extra 30 bucks a head. I really don't know anywhere you can have a classic and impeccable dining experience like this without blowing a really serious amount of money. Putting aside the food, which was beautiful - whole Dover sole, properly boned tableside, gorgeous snail tortellini and the best soufflE I've eaten in years, so often these days they are twice baked and taste like flavoured omelette soufflEs now I have stopped ordering them in restaurants. If you really loved something they are happy to bring you another portion, as they are elsewhere but without another 100 bucks on the bill! Oh yes, putting aside the food, the ambience is refined and elegant and the service is outstanding, both cheeky and professional at the same time, and drinking a favourite wine in the correct glass is a joyful experience. I predict this place will start to appear in the guides soon though I don't know how Michelin will stretch to sending their inspectors on a cruise! We also dined at Silk Harvest, the Asian Fusion restaurant that carries a 20 dollar surcharge. It is a great room and dining there is fun with the sharing plates, you can order the whole menu if you like but I wouldn't recommend it! My wife cannot eat rice and they were happy to make a large plate of sashimi for us, Tuna, shrimp, eel, tilapia and salmon. Unfortunately the fish was all a little flaccid and the rest of the food was just so so. I would not return to a restaurant serving this food back home in Blighty, it was more cheap noodle joint or chop suey house than 'upscale Asian Fusion' Ports The ports of call on this 10 night cruise were Civitavecchia, Messina, Athens Mykonos, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Santorini, Naples, then back to Civitavecchia. We really enjoyed the itinerary of this cruise and these were our personal highlights; Mykonos What a funky little Greek Island, the people were friendly and we spent half a day lounging on the beach in the Town centre and being whipped by the coarse sand and ferocious wind - very nice and cheaper than the exfoliating massage on board. I sneaked off for a chicken giro that I had been pining for. Kusadasi Another great place to wander around, we planned on Ephesus but it was just too damn hot to be wandering around ruins after touring the furnace that was Athens. The girls went mad in the shops, terrorising the young Turks and giving them a taste of their own medicine 'You have no nice bags, why? These are cheap, not good quality, do you have a cousin' we laughed a lot and I bought a suit as the sea air seemed to have shrunk everything I had brought with me. A Turkish bath and massage was had by all (and a couple more kebabs). Santorini Wow! Dramatic scenery or what! After a trip up the cable car and a wander around town the 7 of us hired a boat to take us around the sites. I wish we had found Stathis and his boat 'Anemos' earlier. For a couple of euros more per person than the big boats which were choc full of people we had this amazing boat to ourselves with the charming Stathis at the helm. After a trip along the coast and a visit to the Caldera we were lucky enough to get to the hot springs without another soul in sight, we had a half hour lolling in the murky yellow hot water and as we swam back to our boat 3 more big boat loads arrived and about 200 people threw themselves in the sea heading towards us, we felt privileged to have had it to ourselves, a delightful trip You can find Stathis down on the waterfront and his number is 22860 22932 or 6937 199 033. We asked him for a restaurant recommendation and spent the rest of the afternoon eating grilled fish and drinking beer with a view. An outstanding day. Napoli I overheard someone on board saying they had walked into Naples and found it lacklustre so returned to the ship. Oh dear, they never discovered why Naples was first stop on the itinerary of every Gentleman and Lady's Grand European Tour back in the day, why they say 'see Naples and die' or why it was once the most visited place in Europe after London and Paris. The architecture is magnificent and the views of the bay, well they really are to die for! If you do not want to take the ships afternoon tour which my Italian Aunt did and proclaimed excellent you can take the open topped tourist bus that we took (family ticket 66 euros for 2 adults and 3 kids up to 18), the recorded commentary through headphones is interesting and do make sure you do the coastal route as 4 different routes are available. It was hotter than July and I also learned patience is indeed a virtue. A fabulous plate of spaghetti vongole in a backstreet trattoria ended a magical day. For anyone wanting a trip to Herculaneum the local ferry takes 10 minutes and costs 3.5 euros, it departs at 9.10 but give yourself time to buy a ticket from the office right on the dock by the cruise terminal. There are a couple of ferries back in the P.M but you can also get the local train. I never knew it was so close by sea; cheap too; I shall try not to miss it next time! Conclusion There were 11 of us on the cruise ranging from 7 to 70 and we all enjoyed it and felt well catered for. I would probably not cruise on Solstice again - I now know that I prefer a smaller ship as it is easier to bump into people more than once but I shall look forward to sailing on another smaller class Celebrity ship in the future.