Pictured left to right outside the new store are: Paul Hardwick, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Director of Retail; Emma Bailey, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Tutti Taylor, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Councillor Candy Vaughan, Mayor of Eastbourne; Trevor Ridler, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Business Development Manager; and Shirley Waters, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents..
Lucy Peacock, assistant manager at our Norwich Travel Agents inside Jarrold’s, spent four nights on board Celebrity Solstice. here is what she got up to…
Destination: Rome to Barcelona
Operator/Host: Celebrity Cruises
(Hotel names/Ship name): Celebrity Solstice
Duration: 4 Nights
We used Classical Touch’s chauffeur service to travel to Stansted, which was superb. We arrived on-time and it was an extremely comfortable vehicle.
We flew out with Ryanair, which was on-time and comfortable, whilst our return flight was with easyJet. On our return journey, we flew into Southend and I must say that I was very impressed with the airport. It is quite small but very efficient, quick and easy. It also has a train station directly outside if you need links to London or anywhere else in the south-east.
The Celebrity Solstice was just simply amazing. The one thing which stood out to me was the cleanliness, as because everything was so well maintained and kept, it seemed as if it was a brand new ship. The cabin was spacious with two single beds, which of course can be made into a double if you wish. It had a picture window, a small sofa and a coffee table, which was nice as it meant we had somewhere to sit and relax whilst we were in the cabin, other than sitting on your bed.
The TV was a flat screen with a good selection of channels and music, and you could also access your onboard account, order room service and play re-runs of the onboard shows, all from the screen in front of you. The bathroom was spacious, clean and modern and my favourite aspect was the little ledge in the shower, which apparently is made especially for ladies so they have somewhere to rest their leg whilst shaving; excellent Idea!
Being a cruise, we had all of our meals included, and obviously, all onboard facilities such as the pool areas, gyms, lounges, library, onboard shows and bars are included also. We spent the first day in the classroom onboard, with two excellent trainers, who held some very interactive and informative seminars for us to take part in. Throughout the day, we did various exercises which involved us looking around the ship and really getting to know the unique selling points of a celebrity cruise.
During the trip, we also had many exclusive tours included such as a private tour of the galley kitchen, where the head chef gave us an excellent tour of where they worked and prepared their 5* cuisine which they serve onboard. Celebrity are renowned for their amazing food; something which they truly lived up to.
We also had a tour of the bridge and met the captain as well as his little boy who was travelling onboard at the time. One evening before performances started we had a fully guided backstage tour of the theatre.
On the 3rd day, we had a day to ourselves whilst we were docked in Ajaccio, Corsica. We were docked right next to the main town square, so once we had exited the security of the ship we enjoyed the atmosphere in port by looking around the local market, having a nice coffee and watching the world go by.
On this evening we all decided to try the ‘Silk Harvest‘ restaurant. There is a cover charge to this of $25, but I must say this was more than worthy of every cent. The food was absolutely amazing and it just kept coming and coming.
The whole cruise experience was actually my favourite aspect. This was the first cruise which I had ever taken, and just the general atmosphere on board, made by the staff and the group which we were with, created a really enjoyable trip.
We were able to enjoy the little things, such as sitting up on deck on a sun-lounger, people watching, whilst a guitarist plays in the background.
Other highlights included: enjoying pre-dinner drinks in the martini ice bar, the leisurely dinners which we took in the large glitzy dining room and making our own entertainment within the show lounge as a group after dinner. All of these small aspects contributed to making the trip a truly unique and unforgettable first cruise.
I would say the only downside to Celebrity would be the entertainment. On a couple of the evenings, the entertainment was very mellow, with just a piano player in the extremely large theatre area. I was expecting more dancing and singing style productions, or comedians and bands.
I would not hesitate to recommend Celebrity to anyone for several reasons. The service on board is second to none, so I would be confident that you would get extremely well looked after; all staff always went above and beyond.
The quality of everything on board the ship is of such a high standard; I truly believe that Celebrity Cruises offer real value for money.
Must see? Martini Ice Bar
Must do? Picnic on the real grass lawn
Must try? A crepe in ‘Bistro on Five’
If you would like to sail away on a Celebrity cruise, just like Lucy, then call us today or drop in at your local Fred Olsen Travel shop. We have stores in Ipswich, Norwich, Felixstowe and many other places around East Anglia and the south coast.