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Celebrity Solstice: What to do, avoid and sign up for?

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Aug 7th, 2009, 11:54 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 39
Celebrity Solstice: What to do, avoid and sign up for?

Would you be so kind, if you have cruised on this ship, to offer your thoughts?

Traveling in September to the Med, and will be accompanying two family members: one in her 90's. Would like to get some head's ups on what you know and what to sign up for in advance on this ship or for excursions.

Also, got any tips on getting to and from the port from Rome... and what to bring aboard that the ship doesn't offer.

Grazie!
LongLegs is offline  
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Aug 8th, 2009, 07:45 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 235
We are also cruising with Celebrity Solstice in October.
If you are traveling with Seniors, I would recommend the
ship excursion, and choosing them before the departure.
We are hiring a chauffeur with a minivan, we are 4 adults,
to go from Rome to Civitavecchia, because the price is less
than what Celebrity is offering.
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Aug 16th, 2009, 05:03 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 16
We are going in September as well and have arranged with Romecabs for transportation between the ship and airport. As MNPAGES suggested, I might stay with the ship excursions as they are rated as to how much walking or climbing is involved. Which sailing in September are you on?
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Aug 16th, 2009, 09:12 AM
  #4
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Akkkk, need info on this ship.... as we are leaving soon. Nobody seems to know .... DO U?

Excursions? Restaurants? Entertainment? Tips and recommendations, please... THANKS!
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Sep 27th, 2009, 05:04 PM
  #5
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Join Date: Aug 2009
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Hi Fodorites, here's the scoop on the Solstice. Just returned, 12 days, and offer these observations:

1. BIG ship but nicely arranged on 14 decks. Easy to get around. Clean, good crew, services was excellent, nothing awful. Would I go again. NO. Read on.

2. I'm not a big ship cruiser, as I've known and can confirm. Those large banquet rooms and large crowds around the pool deck is not relaxing and makes me feel like I'm at a convention. The ship, while relatively new, is like a giant Hyatt Regency afloat, combined with a shopping center and Las Vegas style gambling casino/shopping mall. Nicely done, mind you, but big, for me equals too much. I prefer the Regent Line. Why? Read on.

3. Nickel and Dime You. Everything costs more. Nothing is included. The Internet is 65 cents a minute. Bottle of water, $4. A beer, $5. Plus there's an automatic 15% gratuity added plus more if you so choose. You want a gelato, that's $4. You want a photo, that's $10. You want, you pay. A yoga class is $12. Plus the prices for wine, massage, etc., is top dollar. Oh, you are a captive audience and they know it. Feels cheesy to me. Movies on the TV are either free or $10.

4. No washing machine or dryer on board. You want something washed, it's $5 and up. No place to store your suitcases, other than under your bed... no storage. Towels are plentiful, but a bit scratchy. Room stewards, mostly Filipino are fantastic. Entertainment is pretty sad. The magician was good. The main show, "Solstice" was highly promoted, and was odd and annoying.

5. Food was plentiful and for the most part, good. Not great as in WOW. Fo example, if you expect Caprese salad (mozzarella buffalo, tomatoes, basil) you'll get mozzarella, not the sweet ripe tomatoes, okay olive oil) and you eat it saying, well, it's not great, but good.

6. Concierge is okay, but not particularly organized to give you very specific information. Want general stuff, okay. The excursion people are informed, but are there to sell you. If you want tips, you are out of luck. The ships newspaper is designed to get you to (for example) shop at the ships stores on shore. Maps are incomplete. For example, when you get dropped off by tender at Santorini, you go up the cable car or by donkey to the town. The town is okay, but mostly touristy shops. If you want to see all those beautiful pictures you have seen on postcards of Santorini, then you need to go to the town of Oia. To get there by taxi is $80 or by bus, $2. Same road. Nobody tells you this on the ship. We loved this little town, but it took 1 hour to figure out this option ... that's typical of what the ship does NOT do to help passengers in advance. They are into generalities and pitching Turkish carpet buying, not helping you experience the locality.

Overall, this ship is equivalent to a Marriott Hotel or a nice Hyatt, as mentioned. Nothing that would make it stellar, or make me want to recommend it. But nothing that was horrible, either. As a friend said, for the money, you got upper middle not upper crust.

Hope this helps someone ...
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