We flew to Rome on Monday and spent three nights there. Then we were escorted to the Port of Rome for our ten day trip. The ship is so beautiful. It was the 11th cruise my husband and I have taken and this was the most beautiful ship of all. Our cabin had a balcony, which we have gotten use to inn the last 5 cruises. The staff was excellent. We had wonderful bathrobes waiting in our closet. The bathroom was large and every well accomadated. The nicest one we have found so far. The bed was very comfortable. Overall we loved this ship. The food was excellent. Reviews on this board had us worried about the food. But, it seems they have gotten a new chef from France recently and he did a wonderful job. Each night we were able to have escargot if we wanted it. We had duck, lobster, lamb, prime rib, etc. The portions were huge. The salads were very unique each evening. One thing, you did not get to eat in the dinning room at lunch. That was different for us. But, the buffett was the best I have ever seen. The selections were excellent and I am sure no one went hungry. For the first time ever I did not mind eating at the buffett.
The entertainment was no so good. The usual type of entertainment and nothing to rave about.
The ports were great. Ephesus was the main attraction. We chose a private tour for that as well and Athens. Used the ship's shore excursions for all other ports. The tours became a little of the same after a while. All of the Greek Islands were basically the same sites. They were beautiful, but after a while the ruins got to all run together in our minds. Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast were my favorite.
Things that were not as great as other ships...they seem to no longer make the little animals out of the towels for your room. I noticed this on the last two Princess cruises as well. The photos of you coming on the ship and off were poor. The gladiator and Roman had on tennis shoes. Who wants a picture with the Roman wearing tennis shoes? Not us. There was no meet the Captain personally. He was on the stage at the theatre and spoke to everyone as a group. What's up with that? It use to be so nice to get your picture taken with the captain. No more. And the champagne was awful with no appetizers like you usually have. It was not a party at all.
But, I don't want to be negative. The cruise was wonderful. The staff was excellent. The ship is just beautiful. I would go on it again. The ports were great. We had not been to any of them except Rome and Naples and even enjoyed repeating those. I would highly recommend the Solstice.
Balcony was smaller than on Princess. Only two chairs that did not recline. Bed was wonderful and huge. Bathroom was biggest we have ever had. The shower was a nice size with a glass door. Lots of storage in the bathroom. Not as much storage in the cabin as Princess or Royal Caribbean. The large suitcase had to be stored in the room by the balcony. Princess has a nice closet with shelves. There were no electrical plugs near the bed. I have a CPAP machine and I had to get an extension cord and have it cross the entire room to plug in. One in our party tripped on the cord in his room and had a black eye and busted nose and had to be treated each day for bandages.
We went early and did this port on our own. Our travel agent was with us on vacation. We stayed at the Hotel Gambrinus near the Trevi Fountain. We took a tour at night to see the monuments. We had tickets to see the Pope. took a bus to the Coliseum and booked a tour there. The food was excellent. Getting around was simple.
We took a shore excursion to this nice little village. It was very beautiful. A nice church in the town square. There was a trip up to the ruins. We had lunch there with great food and reasonable prices.
Personally I did not like Athens. It was a huge city with not alot to see. The Ackropolis was very hard to climb up to. I did not realize before how strenuous it was going to be. I would not go back there because of the size of the city.
We did not book a tour here. But some in our group did and said it was mostly more ruins like we had seen in Ephesus. We walked over to the village from the ship. It is a walled in city and you cross a mote to get in. The shopping was excellent here. I bought all sorts of linen table cloths and pillow covers. We were able to sit in the town square and people watch for a while. I really liked this town and the people were friendly.
This was a great port. Ephesus was wonderful. We booked a private tour for this one and well as Athens. The tour was so interesting. We visited the Blessed Mother's home, and the city of Ephesus and all of the ruins. It was a long tour and alot of walking. But, it was all very interesting. I would highly recommend this port.
This was a great port. You really felt like you were Greece and part of a movie. I liked it because it was on the seashore. We sat at an outdoor cafe for 2 hours just watching the water and the people walking around. Pedro the Pelican is an excellent "Mayor". The winding streets were unique. The windmills were interesting. We did some good shopping here for "evil eye" bracelets. This was my favorite Greek port. There were no tours for this port.
There was no room for the other two ports, Naples and Santorini. Naples we took a tour of the Amalphi Coast and Sorrento. Both beautiful towns. The winding roads and scenery was breathtaking. We had lunch included in our tour and it was a typical Italian lunch with delicious food.
Naples was where we were docked. We stopped at the cameo facotry and I got a pendant to match a ring I had bought there 32 years ago.