The first of Celebrity Cruises' Solstice-class ships, Celebrity Solstice arrived in 2008 with many of the features that have now become hallmarks of the cruise line: world-class art, multiple specialty restaurants and a real lawn on the top deck. The 2,850-passenger ship has continued to expand its appeal by adding its suite restaurant, Luminae, and homeporting part of the year in Australia. Read on for our five best tips for a Celebrity Solstice cruise.
Tip 1: Plot Your Meals
There's no shortage of places to eat on Solstice, with four specialty restaurants -- Murano, Silk Harvest, Tuscan Grill and Bistro on Five -- plus a main restaurant and buffet. If you're not sure when to splurge, ask your waiter in the main dining room for a copy of the next night's menu. That way, you won't miss out on your favorite dishes; we're partial to Top Chef night, held in the main dining room once per sailing.
Tip 2: Seek Out Free Food
If you're looking for a snack midday, the obvious choices are the Oceanview Cafe buffet and the Aqua Spa Cafe. If you'd like other options, here's a tip: the Martini Bar will put out snacks if you ask, and the cakes and pastries in Cafe al Bacio are also complimentary. (You will pay extra for specialty coffee drinks, however.)
Tip 3: Enjoy Some Peace and Quiet
In general, Celebrity ships are quieter than those run by Carnival, Norwegian or Royal Caribbean. But if you really want a reading nook where you won't be bothered, head to the Sky Observation Lounge forward on Deck 10. Although the bar comes alive at night with live music and DJs, it's blissfully quiet during the day, allowing you to enjoy the view from the floor-to-ceiling windows without interruption.
Tip 4: Take an Art Tour
Celebrity prides itself on its art collection, and you'll find unusual pieces throughout Celebrity Solstice. Guest services has iPads you can borrow to take a guided tour and find out more about each work.
Tip 5: Don't Miss the Hot Glass Show
Designed by the Corning Museum of Glass, the Hot Glass Show -- where artists create glass works of art in front of a live audience -- draws more of a crowd than some of Solstice's evening events in the theater. Go early to get a seat for this outdoor event, held in a studio on the ship's Lawn Club. Don't worry if the temperatures are chilly; the ship provides fleece blankets when it's cold out.