This morning was a very early start as I was booked on a very early flight from London Gatwick to Barcelona. After deciding to stay in an airport hotel over-night, I awoke at 3am, got ready and caught a taxi to the South Terminal.
After checking in, it was straight through to the airside departures lounge were I grabbed some snacks for the flight and had a delicious cinnamon Danish for my breakfast.
The flight with Monarch was smooth, embarkation was simple and because I was sitting a few rows from the front of the aircraft, I was one of the first off.
Upon arrival at Barcelona Airport, the weather was humid, yet very hazy, however later in the day this soon cleared to make way for a beautiful sunny day. After collecting my luggage, I was greeted by a Celebrity Cruises representative who directed me to the porters who took the luggage directly to the ship whilst I boarded a motor coach for the 20 minute ride to the port.
As we neared the Port of Barcelona, I could immediately spot the iconic X on the forward funnel knowing that the Celebrity Solstice was just moments away!
Check In at the port was again hassle free, with a minimal wait and all in all, within 20 minutes I was taking the elevator up to deck fourteen aboard the beautiful Solstice!
The Celebrity Solstice is the older sister to the Celebrity Eclipse, which I sailed on a couple of times a few years back. The ships are virtually identical with the exception of the Silk Harvest aboard the Solstice being replaced by Qsine on the Eclipse.
Upon boarding, we were told staterooms would not be ready until 1330, so it was rude not to follow everyone else straight up to the buffet for lunch! The Oceanview Cafe on deck fourteen, aft - is the main buffet venue aboard and features indoor and outdoor seating. In my personal opinion it is one of the best designed buffets at sea. Featuring the "island" concept, this mostly eliminates those dreaded straight lines for the buffet and the notorious pushing and shoving that accompanies it.
For lunch I decided to have a freshly made ham roll with a pasta salad, followed by a cookie or two!
After lunch, I decided to sit outside in the sunshine until staterooms were ready.
Shortly before 1330, staterooms were ready so I headed down to deck eight and walked to the very back of the ship to my sky suite #8345.
The suite was lovely and featured a large porthole and a wrap around balcony which offered a dual aspect view of both the aft of the ship and the port side.
After unpacking etc, it was time for the mandatory muster drill, which took place shortly before sailing. After the drill, it was straight up to the top of the ship to watch us sail out of Barcelona, past the Mariner of the Seas, Holland America's Noordam and the Costa Magica.
For dinner, I had opted for the traditional dining option at 2045. My table was fortunately located in the middle of the Grand Epernay restaurant, therefore I had no trouble finding it.
I had a delicious fruit medley for starters, followed by chicken breast and baked potato and to finish, one of the best Apple Pies I had ever had.
After dinner, it was getting late and after a very long day, I decided to go to sleep.