Fantastic First Ever Cruise: Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by Loreto1028

Celebrity Solstice 5
Member Since 2011
260 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Fantastic First Ever Cruise

Sail Date: September 2011
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
We are still not quite sure we are cruise people, but we had a terrific time.

Embarkation - smooth as can be. We arrived at the port about 11:45am and there was no one in any of the lines, so we pretty much were on the ship within minutes of arriving. Headed up to the Oceanview Aft Bar and soaked up some sun until the lunch buffet opened and the staterooms were ready.

Stateroom - Our Sky Suite was quite lovely and spacious. We didn`t come close to filling the closet or the drawers. And the bathroom....huge! The large balcony and the extra large round window were also great to have, although at times we couldn`t sit on the balcony because it was just to hot in the full sun. The mornings and evenings were spectacular though - watching the sun come up or go down was amazing.

Dining - We had Select dining, which was perfect for us as the early seating was too early and the late was too late. We usually arrived between 7 - 7:30pm and never had to wait for a More table for 2. Most nights, we had the same sommelier, who always arrived with our prosecco and two glasses and when dinner was served always appeared to pour the appropriate wine. The food was very good, and plentiful, and I found myself ordering the sugar-free desserts which were really good (and came with a little less guilt).

For breakfast we found ourselves having the yogurt parfait at the Aqua Spa Cafe most mornings. Tried room service a few times, but always went back to the parfait.

Lunch was in port for most of the days, but for the few sea days we tried both the Oceanview Buffet and the Mast Grill. The buffet has many options and there is definitely something for everyone, where the Mast Grill is burgers and fries.

The Oceanview puts out a sushi bar at 5:30pm which we would select a few items and take to our room to enjoy while we were getting ready for dinner.

Speciality Restaurants - We tried all three speciality restaurants and I would say Tuscan Grill was our favourite. All three had very good food and fantastic service.

Activities - We didn't really part take in many of the ship's activities. We tried a few of the shows and they were okay, but I think it really depends what you are used to. Many people thought the shows were second to none. The Hot Glass Show is a definite must see and we did go to that a few times. The music throughout the ship was great though, whether it be by the pool or in the grand foyer the music was lively and appropriate for the venue.

Port/Shore Excursions - Of the 7 ports we went to, we did 2 private tours and 2 ship tours. I would never do another ship tour! They were extremely unorganized and we really felt like cattle - and them were more expensive that the private tours that we did. The private tour companies, Dream Tours in Villefranche and AP Tours in Naples were both amazing. The drivers were extremely knowledgeable and very personable, and we could tailor our day on the fly. We did use the ship's shuttle service in Venice and Dubrovnik and would do that again. It's funny, of all the places we went on this trip, I would only go back to Barcelona and the Amalfi Coast. I never thought I would say that about Venice, but it was just to crowded. Dubrovnik was beautiful, but am not sure what else there is to see that we haven't already seen.

Service - With the exception of one sommelier in the main dining room (who we had twice and he was equally grumpy both times), the crew was fantastic. Our stateroom was always spotless, and we can find no complaints about the ship.

Aqua Spa - We did manage to use the fitness facility about four times and with the exception of a few of the treadmills being out of service, everything was in great shape. The area was more crowded than I was expecting, but we never had to wait for a machine. Did visit the spa for a massage, which was great, but couldn't have done without the sales pitch afterward. It really took away from the whole spa experience and kept me from going back for another treatment.

Regrets - Believe it or not, we wished we had let the ship's photographer take more photos of us. The photos they took, all turned out great and we ended up purchasing all of them. I wish we had taken a photo at each port, because that would be a great way to look back on the trip.

All in all it was a fantastic trip, and have just booked another Celebrity cruise to Alaska with my mother and two sisters. So although I'm still not sure I'm a cruise person, I'm going to give it another try to find out. Less

Published 10/06/11

Cabin review: S19299 Sky Suite

Quiet location, great balcony, huge closets, ton's of storage, great bathroom. Would certainly book this cabin again.

Read All Sky Suite (S1) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Wow, what a beautiful area. We took the ship's shuttle into town early, and were among the first on the wall of the Old City. Only advice we would give is go early. By the time we were half way around the wall, we looked back there were so many people on the wall that it would be hard to get a good photo. The wall is one way which is perfect, especially if you are early. After the wall, which took us a couple of hours, went to the Dubravka restaurant and had some delightful white wine and some excellent calamari. Wandered around a bit more, then back to the ship. A very good day, but it was so hot, after doing the wall, we couldn't imagine spending anymore time in the sun.

We did the Celebrity's Cinque Terre tour out of Livorno. Fantastic scenery, although is is a very long day. 1 1/2 hour bus ride to arrive and then lots of walking uphill, downhill and many stairs. The best part of all the walking was we were famished by dinner time and I think this was the only day I actually finished all my dinner. These little towns are amazing - completely worth the trip, although there were (I think) at least 5 ships in port, so it was a very crowded day. Would prefer to do this as a private tour, but this one was much more expensive as private over the ships tour.

A dissappointment. We were really looking forward to the Ship's Speedboat tour to the Blue Cave and it was terrible. The day started with everyone filling the theatre and the shore excursion staff was so disorganized that they mixed up the tours and the stickers they had given people. Needless to say it took some time to sort all of that out and the tours all started late. We got on the speedboat and off they went, no narrative along the way, they just drove us to the blue cave, where they only give us about 10 - 15 minutes then it was back on the boat. We then went to this little beach and they tried to cut the tour short by about an hour. When someone complained, a phone call was made and we had the full tour length. The restaurant they took us to for our "free" drink was terrible. We ordered some food and it took forever, and when we reminded the waiter, he brough us a very cold order of food. Back into the speed boat and back to the ship, once again with no narrative along the way. Would not recommend this tour - waste of money.
Read 455 Kotor Reviews

Best Day Ever! We had a Private Tour through AP Tours with some new friends met on Cruise Critics. The Amalfi Coast is amazing and we can't wait to go back, but I have to say our tour guide made the day extra special. We started the day driving through the Amalfi Coast with some photo opportunity stops along the way, a nice long stop in Positano where we walked down to the beach and then did a bit of shopping (amazing linen). We stopped at a very picturesque restaurant,Fattoria la Tagliata, for lunch and didn't want to leave. Spend a bit more time wandering around Sorrento, and then we took the ferry back to the Naples dock. This was by far out favourite port of the cruise.

Read 1161 Naples Reviews

We just wandered around the port of Civitavecchia. Wasn't too exciting, but nice to have a down day in a very port intensive cruise.

What an amazing city. Venice should be on everyone's list! But, after seeing it, I'm not sure I need to rush back. It's beautiful and full of history, but so crowded! We did Doges Palace and wandered through the streets. Took the vaporetta up the grand canal and back. Sat is St. Marks Square and had a bottle of Prosecco while listing to the music. A truly wonderful day.

Read 1128 Venice Reviews

Had a private tour through Dream Tours. We were a group of 8 and had a fantastic day touring through Nice, Eze, St. Paul de Vence and Monaco. Our driver was very knowledgeable and worked with us to create a day to remember. The private tour through the perfume factory was a highlight and I don't wear perfume.

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Member Since 2011
260 Forum Posts
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