My wife's 70th birthday celebration cruise: Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by frdon70

Celebrity Solstice 5
Member Since 2010

Overall Member Rating

My wife's 70th birthday celebration cruise

Sail Date: May 2011
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
After a long travel day/night from Portland, Oregon to Amsterdam, then to Barcelona, we spent the night before the cruise at the Diagonal Hotel. A reasonably good experience, but far from the best. (We were not aware that Celebrity's "Choice Air," made our flights any smoother, etc)

The next morning we were transferred quickly to the Celebrity Solstice, with the boarding procedure going pretty smoothly.

We found our Veranda Cabin delightful --whoever planned it had to have a degree in architecture --quite an improvement over the similar cabin we had aboard the Constellation. The best cabin of our five cruises.

The cabin steward and his assistant were okay, but nothing special. At times they were lacking in energy and enthusiasm ---perhaps overworked. The steward was excited that he would see his family after this cruise!

The layout of the ship is excellent -- with it easy to find our way. However, somehow we seniors kept getting confused on our deck More nine, when it came to the numerical orders of cabins. (Must have been senior moments)

As on the Constellation, we loved the Aqua Spa Cafe, for its delicious,but very healthy menu.

The dining room food was again excellent, with our head waiter and his assistant excellent. However, the wine steward was a real pest, high pressure. The Wine Tower or Wall loomed close to our table, and the wine guys were ever busy making money for Celebrity!

We had requested a table of six at the early dinner. That's what we got, only we were the only people at our table! The friendly mother and daughter at the next table, also primarily by themselves, requested we all be seated together, but to no avail. (I'm thinking Celebrity Solstice has so many different eating choices and specialty restaurants, that they really need to rethink the way they seat people in the traditional dining room)

Entertainment at the nightly Theater Show was overall the best we've experienced, with great variety. Once the shows began we were not pestered by waiters pushing drinks, as on previous cruises. A welcomed change!

We are a retired clergyman and nurse, so we did not have the money to try the specialty restaurants, especially after our $3,000 plus airfare took up 38% of our total expenditures.

I'll cover the shore excursions under the space allotted, but say here that the organization was hassle-free and well planned.

Getting off the ship, we experienced the usual crew attitude, "we're through with this group, let's hope they get off soon, so we can get ready for the next bunch coming on later today." As usual, they stood there, not particularly concerned about the passengers getting off the ship and on their flights home. Less

Published 06/20/11

Cabin review: 2A9237 Deluxe Veranda

We found our cabin and balcony to be excellent ---only distraction is we could here the band way down on the third deck atrium too late into the night. More than enough storage space, the bed very comfortable --balcony a good size, bathroom great, with roomy shower - and folding doors instead of a curtain. TV system very helpful and clear.

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Port and Shore Excursions

This was the only disappointing excursion, due in part to our tour guide, who spent the majority of time complaining over and over how terrible life was in present day Athens and Greece.

Of course, we were deeply moved by the Acropolis and Parthenon, but the very quick, not even slowing down by the other important places, was disturbing. Athens and Greece are not presently pleasant places to visit. In Greece, go to the Islands.

Our guide was again great, as we journeyed into the Turkish countryside, first to the final home of the Blessed Mother Mary and the beloved disciple. Long lines, but a cool shade - a beautiful spot, complete with a fountain of holy water. Then, on to the excavated ruins of the formerly metropolitan city of Ephesus, where St. Paul preached in the theater and barely escaped with his life. Fascinating site, just as good as Pompeii ---with a special show appearance by "Cleopatra, Mark Anthony, a bevy of lovely maidens, tough gladiators, and Roman soldiers." The one minus of this day was the hour of hard sell and pressure at a carpet factory, which was only mentioned on the agenda as a seemingly short presentation.

Read 614 Kusadasi Reviews

I'm going to insert Malta here, because I don't want to leave such an exotic, historically fascinating excursion out. Our guide, Anna, was excellent - and even handled very well and very loud, disgruntled cruise passenger, who obviously had not bothered to read the tour description. Valleta, then Mdina ---the buildings looking like a medieval movie set. The people friendly and helpful, and, as our ship left the harbor, cheering us on. A band greeted us as we disembarked, a symbol of Maltese hospitality, which we also observed, with shoes on the steps on a Catholic Church, while Muslim immigrants were worshiping inside. It's hard to put into words the varied and fascinating history of this island nation, but to say SEE THIS PLACE.

Time in Sorrento, a town of 10,000 south of Naples, at a nearby farm to see the olive oil and cheese-making, then on the Pompeii, and the wonder of what's been uncovered, and still is being discovered. Another top-notch, sensitive and knowledgeable guide. We got a food sense of everyday Italian life in a small town and rural setting. I recommend this to cruisers who want something refreshingly different.

Read 1173 Naples Reviews

Considering the long drive to and from the cruise dock, and that it was a warm, late Spring, busy Saturday ----this was a positive experience. "A Taste of Rome," was our excursion's title, and a good taste it was. An excellent young lady guide! The tops ---knowledgeable, polite, sensitive to the needs of older and handicapped persons. We were overwhelmed by the Colosseum, Vatican City, St.Peter's, and other well-known sites.

Another excellent guide, over an enchanting, fascinating Isle. Beautiful day, perfect weather, one good view of sea after another. A stop at the local winery for tasting and snacks. Our captain was able to dock at a new location, where buses quickly took us up and onto the island. However, the one drawback to this excursion ----more than an hour waiting in line of the cable car to descend downward to the main port. A hot, sun-filled wait, with fellow tourists cheating their way in front of us.

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