Having cruised many times with Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean I have always wanted to try out Celebrity Cruises on one of their Solstice Class ships. I had spent an overnight on the Celebrity Silhouette for an agent visit when the ship first came out and was so impressed I vowed to give them a try!
I sailed out from Rome on a 10 night Western Mediterranean Cruise in mid September. A question I get asked a lot is regarding weather at this time of year in the Mediterranean, we all like a bit of sunshine when we go away! I am pleased to say we had fantastic sunshine in all but 1 port of call, which was Livorno on the last day. It was extremely windy in Livorno and as we had taken a tour to Florence the weather there was rain with some thunder and lightening which was quite exciting and didn’t detract from our day sightseeing!
I had a balcony cabin on board the ship ( 2B grade ) located mid ship on deck 6. One reservation I had was the actual position of the cabin being opposite the lifts area. I thought there may have been a lot of noice from the entertainment in the atrium in the evening or people coming to and from their cabins. It turned out I had nothing to worry about! No noise heard at all from fellow cruisers either early in the morning or evening and although some noise could be heard early evening from the entertainment this finished at a reasonable time so didnt affect sleeping! I actually really liked this position as the cabin was easily accessible to the lifts making it quick to nip back if need be. I would definitely book another cabin in the same position.
One stand out point I loved about the bathroom in the cabin was there was no horrible shower curtain, Hooray! There is a curved glass shower screen making the area feel much larger and with no curtain sticking to you every time you move it is so much more enjoyable to take a shower! I also love the addition of the foot rest in the shower for us ladies as it makes it much easier for us to do our legs.
The staff and crew on board that I came in to contact with were all very friendly and helpful and our captain was the best I have ever had on a cruise. He was relatively young I would say for a captain, probably mid 40’s, and was Greek. His sea day announcements were so funny and he was frequently walking around the ship chatting to guests and having photos taken. He even got involved in some of the pool side games on sea days and also took part in a game show as part of the evening entertainment. I have never experienced this before from a captain and he really was one of the highlights for me on the cruise.
All of the public lounges/bars were well kept and clean, the same goes for the restauarants. Speaking of restaurants, I went to all but one of the speciality restaurants and can highly recommend paying the cover charge or taking the speciality dining package which I did. Below is a little review for each of the ones I visited;
Murano – This is the french style restaurant on board and is a relatively intimate restaurant with fantastic service! I ordered the loster tail which to my surprise was cooked for me table side. Our waiter explained how he was going to cook it and the flavours involved and also asked if I wanted to exclude enything that wasn’t to my taste. I chose the mixed mini deserts so I could try a little of everything and this did not disappoint. Needless to say I came out of the restaurant very full and satisfied! I have to say, this was probably my favourite of the specialty restaurants.
Qsine – For something a little different to the norm, Qsine is the place to go! You select your choices from an Ipad and it is recommended to have 5 choices, based on 2 people dining. There is so much to choose from we found it difficult to narrow down so ended up ordering 7 dishes! Very greedy I know and we really did struggle as the portions are bigger than you expect! The deserts were also something a little different, my fiance went for the cupcakes and it came with icing in piping bags to decorate yourself and different toppings so you could make your own cupcake masterpiece which was so much fun.
Tuscan Grill – I would say this is the biggest of the speciality restaurants and commands fantastic views across the back of the ship. This is the Italian Steakhouse on board featuring lots of steaks with additonal pasta and seafood dishes. My fillet steak was cooked to perfection and the accompaniments ( vegetables, sauces and pototoes of your choosing ) were also great.
In the main restaurant we opted for ‘Select dining’ so we could go to the restaurant anytime between 6pm and 9.30pm. I always choose this option when I cruise as I prefer the flexibility of it. There was always plenty of choice on the menu and the service was great. The portion sizes were perfect as I do sometimes find with other lines that the portions are so big that it can be a little over facing at times but with Celebrity the size was just right, meaning you could come out of the restaurant fulfilled but not ridiculously full. I did see some fellow cruisers ordering 2 main courses and I don’t know how they managed to fit it all in!
The Ocean View cafe and the Aqua Spa cafe were also excellent for breakfast, lunch and snacks. I enjoyed the smoothies at the Aqua Spa cafe and they had lots of healthy salad options and fruit pots which is right up my street. Of course there were busy preiods in the Ocean View cafe but due to the size of it, including a huge outdoor area at the back of the ship, there was never a problem finding a table. As expected the choice in here was amazing, I loved the eggs benedict station for breakfast and for lunch there was a pannini station making fresh to order and the same for pizza and pasta. I couldn’t fault it.
Entertainment wise, there was a great choice every evening. The main shows were varied and the singers and dancers on board are excellent! I went to ‘Celebrity Rox’ which was a pool side party featuring the house D.J playing Rock songs from across the ages and also the ships singers and dancers who got everyone involved in their performance and some of them even ended up in the pool as part of the act! Great fun evening.
During the day time there were various quizes, dance classes and games for those who wanted to take part.
The Lawn Club was one of my favourite areas to have a late afternoon drink and watch sail away. This area is at the back of the ship on deck 14 and has lawns on either side where you can play boules or just grab a blanket and relax in the sunshine. There is also a lawned area in the middle which features the ‘Alcoves’ which you can rent for the day giving you a private cabana with picnic lunch from one of the speciality restaurants of your choosing and also bottled water.
I could carry on but I think I have touched on the main points. I thouroughly enjoyed my first Celebrity Cruise and im sure it wont be the last!
*Other ships with in the Solstice Class include: Celebrity Solstice, Equinox, Eclipse, Silhouette, Reflection
If I can help you with any Celebrity Cruise booking please give me a call on 0161 7982506.
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