Lovely ship but poor service, food and entertainment: Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by Suzanne Freedman

Celebrity Solstice 3
Suzanne Freedman

Overall Member Rating

Lovely ship but poor service, food and entertainment

Sail Date: November 2011
Destination: Transatlantic
Embarkation: Barcelona
Embarkation - interminable and made to wait on quayside huts with minimal refreshments due to deep cleaning procedures because of norovirus.

Cabins - very nice and relatively spacious

Dining room. As single lady travellers we wanted to sit with other single travellers but this took 3 nights to get the matre d' to get organised. We were then put with a table of mainly gay men who were busy flirting with each other. My friend told me princess had organised this whole area via a pre cruise questionnaire about seating preferences. How simple this would have been! We then requested that we sit on our own as there are absolutely no arrangements for single travellers. When we asked what single get togethers were organised, the guest relations referred us to a sign that said singles met in a particular bar every evening. I can confirm there were no single travellers in that bar, and as Celebrity did not provide a host for introductions, not much chance of meeting them More even if they were there! Oh and there was also a sign about bridge playing too, but we learned that that's all celebrity do, i.e. put up a sign and then say they cater for certain groups when they patently do not!

Food: average and below average. The Tuscan restaurant had a lovely setting but very poor food. Steak was over seasoned and so salty that it burned my mouth. Crème brulee was unsubtly over sweet and I left both courses unfinished.
The dining room food was OK when we were seated on our own but the food was dried out and lukewarm when we sat with a group.
The lunchtime buffet varied from average to poor and food was repeated ad nauseum.

Entertainment: Variety show was good and cirque Du soleil group, but they only appeared once. The magician, comedian and singer were very poor.

Bridge. As this was a transatlantic cruise with 6 plus days at sea, we expected some arrangements for bridge playing. But approx 100 irate bridge players could not fit into a tiny dark cramped "card room". After many complaints we were firstly given a too small room with inadequate tables and then eventually one of our number suggested an underused restaurant with enough seating and the correctly shaped tables. However there was no bridge director on board, due apparently to a "corporate decision" so two lady bridge players volunteered to run a duplicate tournament in the afternoons. We were lucky to have them! Well done Celebrity, for making sure none of these 100 bridge enthusiasts will ever go on your transatlantic voyage again.

Poor staff.
The guest relations staff were unhelpful and gave us confusing information. we approached them to enquire about disembarkation vouchers to take us from the port to Miami airport. The girl looked at our details on the computer and said no arrangements made and we needed vouchers. We had no vouchers. We booked a package from Celebrity via Iglu travel agents and understood everything was included. We would have to phone Iglu in London she said to find out what was going on. When I demurred at the cost of such a call, she said we could have a complimentary phone call. This call took about an hour of our time to make, (due to the fact that the staff had not a clue how to make international calls), only for Iglu to tell us everything was indeed included. We went back to Guest Relations where the same girl magically found our details and concurred everything was included. We complained to the manager, Christian, who was appalled that we had been asked to call London ourselves and asked if he could give us a bottle of wine to make up for our trouble. Well no, we would like a meal in the speciality restaurant please. I'm sorry he says, they are all full. Actually when we phoned we could have any time we wanted said the matre d'. The next day the manager phones us back to say he can't get to the bottom of what actually happened and the girl involved was denying any part in the fiasco. He said he was crediting the cost of the travel vouchers, all $14.50 each to our bill and that was the end of the matter as far as he was concerned. (We had already confirmed that they were included anyway hadn't we????) After all this, when we got to the bus, we were not on the list for the airport, and still had no vouchers, but luckily the driver let us on anyway because we were obviously a bit distressed by the thought of missing our plane back to the UK.

This is all so different from the seamless well organised transfers we have experienced on Azamara and Princess. All in all very poor, both from staff and management. Less

Published 12/18/11

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Suzanne Freedman
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