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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We have had a number of Celenrity Cruises this was the most disappointing. The positives - Luminae dining, cabin housekeeping and general level of service. The Sky Suite was spacious and service excellent but the noise from trolleys ... Read More
We have had a number of Celenrity Cruises this was the most disappointing. The positives - Luminae dining, cabin housekeeping and general level of service. The Sky Suite was spacious and service excellent but the noise from trolleys in the buffet restaurant directly above was intrusive - especially in early morning. Negatives- We saw no evidence of 'priority boarding' which is sold as part of the package. Our check in at Auckland, which was a shambles and left is standing on the gangway with all other passengers for over 20 minutes, set the scene for all other ports. We appreciate port restrictions where only one gangway ( which would sometimes only carry 5 at any one time) seemed to be a feature but no attempt was made to prioritise and there tended to be only one card reader in operation,which for a ship this size is ridiculous. We felt sorry for disabled passengers. Occasionally there were two bag screening machines but not very often. NOISE! Screaming music invaded almost every public space even the Lawn Club, which we associate with peace and calm. A number of other passengers asked for it to be turned off or turned down but it was systematically turned back up. So many of us complained especially in the Martini bar where a disco was thumping out mindlessly. Up selling was intrusive and infuriating. Celebrity clearly have a mandate to squeeze as much out of passengers as possible. This is even more evident in our bookin for next year ( which we will probably cancel). Gratuities are added to the total cost of the cruise and the customary service for those of us who have to fly to Florida, where flight times are not compatible with cruise times, were an overnight hotel pre cruise and day room on day of departure are now an extra the latter being totally unavailable. We have contacted Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
16 months in the planning of this trip. To be disappointed by the weather but at the end of the day no one can pre plan this aspect. We started our adventure by flying to hong Kong then flying to Auckland to join the ship. embarkation 10 ... Read More
16 months in the planning of this trip. To be disappointed by the weather but at the end of the day no one can pre plan this aspect. We started our adventure by flying to hong Kong then flying to Auckland to join the ship. embarkation 10 out of 10 Once on-board enjoyed superb lunch compliments of concierge class. Shown to our cabin biggest we have had so far. We have always chosen balcony but this was bigger than most. From then on could not fault anything. All the staff whom we met were so helpful and friendly at the same time being courteous and polite. The food was excellent in our opinion. The service in the restaurant was second to none. We went to 3 of the speciality restaurants of which silk was the best offering different food to the main dining room. If there was a niggle it would be the way they push these restaurants form day one only to find the price reduced a day or two later. I'd recommend that the other two restaurants serve the same food as in the main dining room but it is service you are paying extra for, therefore people should make their own decision when booking. We dined at the elements dining room most nights and all staff very polite and would like to thank camilo, dewi ne, Agnelo,and the other lady sommelier, sorry forgotten your name. Just a little footnote this wasn't the first time we have cruised with celebrity. We cruised last year on the millennium which was by far inferior to this one. Thank you millennium you have restored our faith in celebrity. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
The ship was great the captain was fantastic was involved in lots atctivities The Cabin was great The service and staff was excellent The tenders to the ports was very bad we had to wait a very long time it's was to far away ... Read More
The ship was great the captain was fantastic was involved in lots atctivities The Cabin was great The service and staff was excellent The tenders to the ports was very bad we had to wait a very long time it's was to far away for the port Shore excursions very expensive but had a fantastic time Entertainment was not enough need to be more Didn't have a laundry place on the boat so a family can do there laundry The laundry offer was very expensive for everyone We travel as a big group of 20 Yes we will go again I was absolutely blown away with this company, I loved everything about them. The best part for me was the drinking package and service I received. The food was perfect. I loved the fresh salads, always fresh fruit, many choices for lunch and dinner. The desserts were beautifully presented by a very exuberant pastry chef Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was our first time cruising with Celebrity and first time in Hawaii! Overall we really loved the cruise! We had five days at sea and loved the relaxing, slow paced days! We could be as busy or as not busy as we wanted... it was ... Read More
This was our first time cruising with Celebrity and first time in Hawaii! Overall we really loved the cruise! We had five days at sea and loved the relaxing, slow paced days! We could be as busy or as not busy as we wanted... it was wonderful! We loved exploring Hawaii and we thought doing that via a cruise was awesome! It was nice being able to spend at least a day or two in each place and take the time to see all we could. Each evening after exploring the islands we were excited to go back on the ship as it just felt like home! We loved that! We heard the food would be absolutely amazing on this ship and we didn't necessarily be the case. The food in the dining room was good, but not jaw dropping. We did love the buffet and thought the breakfast was amazing... fresh waffles with whipped cream? Yes, please! We missed having more "typical" foods in the buffet and dining room.. perhaps thats the point with a higher class ship, but we missed some of those comfort foods. Don't forget to try the free pastries and treats at Cafe El Bacio- they were amazing and I didn't learn about them until our cruise was almost complete. You cannot get those same pastries and tarts anywhere else on the ship. YUM! Don't miss out! Overall our service was amazing.. people were ready and willing to help whenever and wherever they could! The only place we had a bit spotty service was in the dining room. We had a different server every evening and some were great and some were not so great or friendly. I think they were just busy, but there was definitely a noticeable difference. We would definitely cruise on Celebrity again and had an AMAZING cruise, but don't think we will make Celebrity our go-to cruise line. Norwegian felt to be on a similar scale to use with more restaurant options! But we really did love this cruise! Hawaii was incredibly beautiful and we loved visiting many islands! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Me and my husband loves cruising. We've been all over the world, but this is the second celebrity cruise we've been to.. We embark and disembark with no trouble at all. We explored Ketchikan ourselves and ,did a tour in Juneau ... Read More
Me and my husband loves cruising. We've been all over the world, but this is the second celebrity cruise we've been to.. We embark and disembark with no trouble at all. We explored Ketchikan ourselves and ,did a tour in Juneau and Skagway. We enjoyed our tour especially the Mendenhall Glacier, amazing nature. The ship is clean and so classy, we watch the Tracy arm fjord at the sky lounge very comfortable. Our cabin is bigger than we've expected plus with the window very nice and clean. Thanks to Joaquim for making our stay easy . Our waiters at Epernay dining were so attentive, thanks to Jackie and the guy I forgot his name. table 144.oceanview is good. And thanks to the Tuscan grill crew, we really enjoyed our last night there. Activities and entertainment were good .the we love the music. Service is good, and the ports is ok. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
The whole boat was clean and very good looking. I couldn't walk 15 feet without a crew member smiling and politely greeting me. I loved the activities and shows. There is enough food onboard to feed an army, and the best part is that ... Read More
The whole boat was clean and very good looking. I couldn't walk 15 feet without a crew member smiling and politely greeting me. I loved the activities and shows. There is enough food onboard to feed an army, and the best part is that most of it is free of charge. There is so much onboard entertainment, you name it, from movies to comedy shows, they have it. I didn't participate in any, but there were numerous activities for the homosexual individuals. I loved the diversity on the ship, there were so many crew members from so many different countries. In the Ocean View buffet, there were so many different types of food from so many different countries. The cruise had an X-Club for the teens. Although it sounds lame, it was actually an amazing experience for my daughter. She went for the first few days and made friends. After making friends, they hung out everywhere on the ship. They could choose what activities they wanted to go to. The Ocean View cafe had amazing food choices, and the sky lounge had amazing views and an aesthetic appearance. The entire ship was so big and luxurious. I felt like royalty. The crew were all respectful and friendly. They lived to serve you. I would love to live on this cruise until I die. Everyone was so friendly. This was an amazing experience. I loved it!!! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We absolutely loved this cruise. The weather wasn't great at times but we still enjoyed it. We visited some awesome places... Bay of Islands is still beautiful, some sad moments travelling around Christchurch post the earthquakes, ... Read More
We absolutely loved this cruise. The weather wasn't great at times but we still enjoyed it. We visited some awesome places... Bay of Islands is still beautiful, some sad moments travelling around Christchurch post the earthquakes, certainly lots of waterfalls in the Milford Sound (they had 9.5 inches in the 24 hr period!) and some reflection time at Port Arthur, Tasmania. We met some fantastic people around the Ship. The staff certainly go above the call of duty! Captain Tasos was awesome and he provided a humorous update each morning and he held his spot in the Volleyball Pool competition. Ken Mills, larger than life CD was fun! Ketut, our room attendant, ensured our room was always in a pristine condition. We had some great evenings in Blu with front of house staff, David & Marcel. We had lots of laughs in Tuscan Grille with Radomir (try the Basil smash drinks!). We finished many nights off with the artistic, hardworking guys in the Martini Bar. Agus, Alin and Ari are a credit to Celebrity! We tried each of the speciality restaurants and Murano was our favourite, although they are all fantastic. The house band were ok? The silent disco is a must for everyone - it is so much fun! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
We have been on 18 cruises, having experienced Carnival, Norwegian, Royal, Princess and Celebrity. My experiences with both Princess and Celebrity were exceptional, and relative to the other cruise lines that we have experienced, both are ... Read More
We have been on 18 cruises, having experienced Carnival, Norwegian, Royal, Princess and Celebrity. My experiences with both Princess and Celebrity were exceptional, and relative to the other cruise lines that we have experienced, both are by-far extraordinary! Recently, we cruised on Celebrity Solstice (4/3/2001), reserving a Concierge Veranda and the experience was nothing less than wonderful! The entire crew was attentive, courteous and tended to all of our needs. Their attention to detail was nothing short of incredible! The Officers were approachable, friendly and available to chat about any issue. Their staff was equally friendly, attentive and available. My cabin Stewart and her assistant were excellent, as was my waiter and his assistant. They never forgot anything, like our prior requests for soft drinks or extra towels, that we had requested on a previous night. As they are the personnel with whom we engage most often, their attention and service is most critical...they enhanced our experience! We were so impressed that we booked a future cruise certificate while on board. The food in the main dining room was fabulous! Their head chef is incredibly creative, and ensures that all food that is served is beyond expectation! The spaciousness on the ship was incredible, as on the first and last days, where we had our meals in the buffet area, we did not have to hassle looking for a table, as is often the case with other cruise lines. In addition, when requesting extra towels while on deck, we did not have to "sign out" for the towels...nice touch!!!Our experience was beyond excellent! We have chosen CELEBRITY as our cruiseline of choice for future cruising! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
My Cruise on the Solstice was on the March 6th to 13th sailing. It was a very good cruise. My mother is 74 sister is 48 and I'm 42 went. We drove down from Atlanta GA. 12 hour drive which later, we kind of wished we flew. My sister ... Read More
My Cruise on the Solstice was on the March 6th to 13th sailing. It was a very good cruise. My mother is 74 sister is 48 and I'm 42 went. We drove down from Atlanta GA. 12 hour drive which later, we kind of wished we flew. My sister got a deal thru Priceline for the Hyatt Regency right across the bridge from the Port Everglades for 75$. We woke up and we saw all the ships in the morning. The check in process went very smoothly, Celebrity was great, because my mother has a hurt ankle and they helped her in with a wheelchair and we boarded the ship by 1:30 probably a half hour total to get on the ship. The Champagne and mimosas was nice touch on entry, we really didn't have a chance to enjoy it because we had carryon luggage. We went straight to our room on 1027 and the room was very nice. The balcony view was great. We had a concierge cabin and it was on the front portion of the ship. We were able to make it work, they had room for luggage space, but during the voyage it was sometimes cramped for 3 people. For 2 it would have been perfect. I'm a 6 ft. 2 235 pound guy and when changing for dinner it was small. Why I would want to get a mini-suite if that type of party went again. As far as our steward Anil, he was great on the trip, very attentive for the whole trip. My mother and sister enjoyed the view and had some drinks. I went to the pool bar to get my drink package. I would recommend the drink packages wholeheartedly to anybody. If you don't drink a lot there's not much of a point, but it covers everything, Coffees, Beer. Mix drinks and all. It's a great deal and glad other cruise lines are going to start to offer it. The weather leaving FLL was rainy and stormy, wet more than anything. The boat was a little rocky that night which caused me and my mother to get a little seasick. The next morning I asked a bartender, was the boat a little rocky? He looked at me like I was an idiot, you're on a boat. I felt foolish. I have been on the Grand Princess and the Carnival Glory and it was less. Till I talked to a woman and sales clerk in the Solstice store who told if yes it was a little bumpy but that was probably going to be the worst of it. As far as the ship, the ship was very pretty and the 3 pools were nice. I liked the touch of the grass but I thought they could have done a better job of it, because they had a big middle area they could have used for Bocce ball or putting and put lawn chairs on the sides. The reason being, the Solstice you had to wake up in the morning and go stake out a chair on deck or by the pool, if you did not, you would be hunting for one the rest of the day, which I did not like. I have been on other ships the Grand Princess and you NEVER had to look for a deck chair. On the solstice it was very much so grab it and hold on tight. Which by design I thought they could have done a better job with as far as ship design. Now on the lower decks around the pools they had chairs you could lie in and read but not get any sun. As far as my other dislikes about it, the other things, which I thought they could have done a better job. After 1200 AM there's nothing to do, except Gamble or drink. I thought they could have had at least a midnight movie, some other alternative for people that don't want to drink and or gamble. Also that the pool closed at 9:30, which I have been on other cruise lines and they kept it open till a lot later. Also the jogging track was INSANE, I have been on other ships and the joggers were out of the way, on the Solstice, joggers are dodging people that are sunbathing and it seemed like an afterthought, it was bad for both the joggers and the sunbathers. They need to redesign the Solstice class add in another level and straighten the sunbathing and jogging areas out. I had read there was supposed to be first run movies; they had the Karate Kid and Facebook movie and the Prince of Persia. These are not first run movies. I was disappointed by this, at least change your literature to reflect on this. The shows they had on the Solstice that were good, particularly Karen Grainger was fantastic and the closing show, the Cruise director sang and she was unbelievable. As far as the restaurants, we ate mainly in the Ocean View cafe and the Epernay MDR. I read where another review where the person wrote, I was not expecting Ruth Chris quality but I was expecting better then Bob Evans or Ruby Tuesday quality. I knew he was talking about the Ocean View cafe, There were things there that were too die for, like, their Omelets and Waffles and Eggs Benedict, but other things like the bacon and scrambled eggs were something to be desired. But overall it was good. The Grand Epernay was always good, only 3 things we had there were not. My mother had the escargot and it was not good. I had the Shrimp cocktail and you could still tell the shrimp were frozen and the sand veins were in them. EEK :( Also on the last formal night we had the Lobster and it was overly well done. But there were other things like the Cod cakes; mashed potato soup and Veal Cordon Bleu were to die for. It was better to order from the right side of the menu then gets the stuff you could get any night. Especially the Chef specialties. I talked to many people on the ship and heard differing things of the other restaurants why we never went. My mother tried the Bistro on 5 and said it was great. As far as stops, Puerto Rico was great we took a tour thru old and new San Juan, the only thing I didn't like about it; it's kind of like coming home. It's Americanized. When we docked there was a CVS pharmacy right where we docked. St. Thomas was very beautiful and all the Jewelry Shopping you could stand. My favorite was St. Martin, it was the most that reminded you of the Caribbean, we stayed mainly on the Dutch side, the stores a lot of jewelry ones, but they had pretty much anything you wanted to do. My mother and I had some health problems which made where all we could really do was shop and walk around. I would have loved to have gone diving, but I couldn't get up for it. As far as Disembarkation it went very smoothly they had us meet in the theatre, then we were told to go, we had one bad moment, because my mother has a cane and the deck officer did not want to have a crew member help her in a wheel chair, but they ended up doing it. Going thru customs was about 30 minutes and I thought it went really quick. All in all I thought it was a great cruise and Celebrity did their best to take care of it. I had read about the Norovirus outbreaks on the ship, but they were constantly cleaning everywhere we were. Also they had crew members giving out hand sanitizer everywhere. They were doing their best to keep it under control, as far as us, we only had a couple of times and it was mainly from seasickness. My real complaints were with the design of the ship which might me take a different carrier and no nighttime activities besides drinking and gambling. As far as going on the Solstice or Celebrity again. I would if they had a cruise, I wanted to go on would be the reason if I took them again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
My husband and I booked relatively last-minute on the Solstice on the advice of our travel agent. She said we would enjoy the ship and concierge class and she was right. Having sailed last on the much larger Ruby Princess, we were pleased ... Read More
My husband and I booked relatively last-minute on the Solstice on the advice of our travel agent. She said we would enjoy the ship and concierge class and she was right. Having sailed last on the much larger Ruby Princess, we were pleased with the size and decor of the Solstice. I particularly liked the central atrium with the glass elevators.Our agent did advise us that the norovirus had been present on the previous sailing, and as a result we would have a later embarkation so they could sanitize the ship. I had read in the member reviews that Celebrity had taken all precautions following a January sailing norvirus outbreak and so I expected that they would do so again. I was extremely impressed with how they handled it, from having staff with hand-sanitizer on embarkation, and at each food service place. They were constantly wiping down handrails and sanitizing tables in the buffet and restaurants. Food was served to us in all areas until mid-week, when they returned to self-service in the buffets and returned the salt and pepper shakers to the table. Our stateroom was nicely appointed, with a decent sized balcony. I loved the shower in the bathroom as opposed to having to climb into a tub. One of the only things we didn't like about the stateroom was the sofa, which wasn't very comfortable. Having said that, we spent a lot of time on the balcony anyway so it wasn't a big deal. We had two great stateroom attendants. The food was excellent and the service attentive in the dining room, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They also had "normal" portion sizes, so that if you had a couple of courses you didn't feel like you were served too much food (as opposed to Princess who seemed to feel that each course had to be super-sized). We had a wonderful meal in the Tuscan Grill, and had the best seats right beside the floor to ceiling windows where we had a great view from the back of the ship. I was disappointed in the Asian Silk restaurant, and even sent one dish back. My husband thoroughly enjoyed his meal there, however. They did agree to remove my cover charge. For a couple of lunches we went to the Aquaspa Cafe. This was a real treat, as it's in the adults-only solarium by the spa, and features very healthy salads and small plates. We also had breakfast here on disembarkation day with only a few other people around. So peaceful. We had several spa treatments, and were pleased with the quality of the staff. The spa is run by the company that makes Elemis products, so expect to be sold to. But they aren't pushy and respect your right to say no thanks.Others have commented on the hot glass show and I echo that it's really worth seeing. The glass pieces are created by glass artisans who are graduates of schools of art or who have apprenticed with masters. Fascinating to watch!Overall we were very impressed with the Celebrity Solstice as a ship and for the professional and friendly staff. We will definitely try the ship again for another itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
This was my 14th cruise and my 9th on the Celebrity/Fantasy cruise line. My husband and daughter and I were in desperate need of a "decompression" week. We were greatly looking forward to this cruise for about 8 months. Have you ... Read More
This was my 14th cruise and my 9th on the Celebrity/Fantasy cruise line. My husband and daughter and I were in desperate need of a "decompression" week. We were greatly looking forward to this cruise for about 8 months. Have you ever been looking forward to something so much that you just knew that it could never live up to your expectations? Well this one did.... it was everything and more. Where to start... We flew in on the day of departure to Miami and the bus ride was about 35 minutes to the pier. It was kind of annoying because the bus driver would "hint" about receiving a tip about every 1o minutes or so... Once at the pier, the embarkation was as good as people had described... quick and easy. We immediately went up to the buffet which was packed. This was a New England/ New York school vacation week and the ship was full (except unfortunately for the people from Europe who couldn't fly in.) The food was very good every time we ate there for lunch. We shared a table with a couple from Florida who we preceded to see quite regularly throughout the cruise. When the call was made we preceded to the cabin... it was on the 10th deck starboard side just at the start of the hump facing forward (cabin 1108). We were adjacent to the library, right near the elevators. It was a fantastic location and we could not believe how well the doors between the elevators and the cabins kept the noise from the foyer totally away. We had an extra large balcony and even though we faced forward there was not a wind problem at all. In our opinion, the port side is actually the better side to be located on when you do the Eastern Caribbean. The views while in port on the Starboard side were industrial. Although, when leaving port we (starboard side) had the better view of the islands. My daughter slept on a mattress on top of the sofa. She said that it was okay... not great but not bad. Our bed was harder than we like, but you find that wherever you go. We found the pillows were way too thin so our cabin attendant replaced them with isotonic pillows which did the trick for us. We then preceded to the kid's club. My daughter was originally put in the 9-11 year old group... but even though there were 7 kid's on board her age of 11.. none went to the Kid's club on the occasions that she went up there. She liked the activities that were planned for that age group, but didn't want to be with kid's in elementary school. She then met two other 6th graders in the pool who were 12 years old. We went up to the manager of the Club and asked if my daughter could join the older group. The manager was very nice and told us that they were concerned because 17 year olds may use the X Club and they were worried about an 11 year old in there with them. My daughter is the type of kid that will leave a situation if it is uncomfortable. We did take the manager's advice and have my daughter stay away from the "dating game" and "college night" activity. My daughter said that most of the kid's in the X-Club were between 12-14 years old with her and one other 11 year old. She said that there were about 15 kid's up there at night. She and her friends spent most of their time on sea days in the X club or at the pool. When you ask her what her favorite part of the ship was she says,"the X-Club." The ship is beautiful, clean, and well maintained. The art work is wonderful and the overall ambiance is top notch. The pool area was slamming on the sea days. Never had a problem finding a deck chair, but we are early risers and we also enjoy the pool area most when first seating is getting ready for dinner. On the first sea day we were able to get one of the "Cabanas" and really enjoyed that. The lawn club was great. Loved the grass and the atmosphere up there and on the Solstice Deck. Being that we are not sun worshipers we really appreciated all the shaded areas on the ship. Food... Really enjoyed the MDR. Our waiter and assistant were the best,yet. Could not ask for better service anywhere. From the waiters to the Maitre d. The food was very good, but a little salty (we never add salt when we cook, so that is just our opinion.) The Chateaubriand was the best I every ate anywhere. I myself am not a courageous person when it comes to dining, I know what I like... so the side of the menu which is available every night worked out great for me while my husband and daughter enjoyed trying new and different things every night. We went to the Tuscan Grille on the night we were in Puerto Rico. We were not impressed with the meal at all. I would say that this was the one disappointment on the cruise. My daughters veal parmigiana was really rather tasteless and my husbands and my Filet Mignons was tough and over cooked. The appetizers were presented well, but again not exceptional. The deserts were really good. My daughter still talks about the dark chocolate fondue. The wait staff were excellent but it was definitely no worth the extra $90 we paid. In fact, a couple days later my husband had the filet mignon in the MDR and he said it was 100X better. Bistro @ 5.... I guess we are spoiled because crepe's are not that unusual for us. The food was very good, but thought it wasn't worth the extra charge. Alternative Dining... went there one night so that my daughter could make it to something at the X Club. Was so unimpressed that even she opted to miss the activity and eat in MDR We had room service on two mornings. We had the extended room service menu. We really enjoyed eating on the veranda, but the food was cold by the time you got it and the smoothy was warm... very unappetizing. We would recommend only having a continental breakfast sent to your cabin. Besides, the buffet was great. I think I had Eggs Benedict at least 4 mornings... and my DH and DD loved the waffles. Except for the first day, never had a problem finding seating. Entertainment... We enjoyed the production shows. "Solstice the Show" was very good and the rest were typical cruise entertainment. Magician was kind of annoying and didn't see the the singer on board. We had late seating so it was difficult for us to get to the 7:00 show... we liked the pool area too much. We really enjoyed the Hot Glass Show. The three glass blowers have great chemistry and were very informative and also had a great sense of humor. We popped into the show on numerous occasions. Service... Everyone was so nice and pleasant. My DD and I had fun counting how many service personnel wished us a good morning or a good evening. In my college days it would have made for a great drinking game. Our room attendants could not have been better and were always smiling. This was the first cruise I have been on where the Cruise Director stopped and talked to us. The Captain actually strolled the decks. Everyone on board were wonderful. Disembarkation... We had a later flight, so our call off the ship was at 8:50. It worked out great. We had a leisurely breakfast and were called to leave about 10 minutes early. Our luggage was right where it was supposed to be and customs was a breeze. In Summary... it was obviously a wonderful vacation. Don't think I can ever go back to an inside room on the bottom most deck. The Solstice has ruined me forever. I envy all those about to go on a Solstice class ship and those who are thinking about it. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
My wife and I have completed 27 cruises (5 Princess, 5 NCL, 8 RCCL and 9 Celebrity) over the last 20 years. However, this was our first Celebrity cruise since a 2004 Mediterranean cruise on the Millenium (still our favorite cruise). Our ... Read More
My wife and I have completed 27 cruises (5 Princess, 5 NCL, 8 RCCL and 9 Celebrity) over the last 20 years. However, this was our first Celebrity cruise since a 2004 Mediterranean cruise on the Millenium (still our favorite cruise). Our choice of Solstice was based on the ship, not the itinerary. We've been to each of the ports multiple times but wanted to experience the Solstice class. The Solstice is now our favorite ship class. What we liked: • A simple, modern and beautiful ship design. • The Lawn Club and Patio on the Lawn. While grass is not a requirement for cruising, it provides a nice setting to walk on, sit on and sit alongside for a drink while leaving or entering ports. We liked it much more than we anticipated. (Still, its very odd to see it being mowed and watered.) • The atrium which extends from the 3rd deck to the top of the 15th deck. While common on some other cruise lines e.g., most RCCL ships, as far as I know this is the first Celebrity ship class to have one. An interesting note: when in the 15th deck elevator area, live music from the third deck was still loud and clear. • The best ship elevators we've ever experienced, especially in the atrium. They're glass enclosed and very fast. We never had to wait long for one to arrive. Another nice feature is a lit overhang outside each that turns from blue to red when an elevator is stopping on your floor. The lack of a third set of elevators wasn't as inconvenient as we had expected. • Very few public announcements i.e., the noon report from the Captain (every day) and port arrival and departure announcements. There were no announcements about the daily drink special, bingo, art auctions, etc. (However, see our dislikes below regarding music in public areas.) • Cabin bathrooms (non-suite) had plenty of storage space, modern "bowl-type sinks" and excellent clamshell door oblong showers which were the best we've ever experienced on a ship. • Good musical entertainment, specifically the Will Foraker Trio (jazz), Sipra (party band) and the Solstice theater "orchestra". • All recliners on the pool and sun decks had cloth covered sunpads. • A kids area (Wet Zone) with fountains on the pool deck that entertained young cruisers throughout the entire cruise. Even adults enjoyed walking through on occasion. • Select Dining - we had very good experiences. Reserving table times for each night prior to our cruise gave us a higher priority when we went to dinner. We rarely waited for a table for two and never for more than 3-5 minutes. • Celebrity service and food - because it had been six years since our last Celebrity cruise, we were concerned that service and food quality had declined. We found that the service and food on this cruise, while not quite up to previous Celebrity standards, were superior to the other cruise lines we've traveled with. • Well behaved children (all 640 of them). A customer service rep told us it was the first spring break cruise she had ever experienced during which there were no complaints about kids, including teens. While they were occasionally seen, they were never bothersome and seemed to be having a great time. • The Oceanview Cafe (buffet area) is very well designed, making it easy to move between food areas. (It took a while to get used to the fact that it's not on the pool deck as on most ships.) • Tuscan Grille - great location at the ship stern, very good food and service. • The casino was nothing special but the fact that one side of it was open to the shopping boulevard was unusual. It felt less like a confined space than all other ship casinos we've experienced. • Very entertainng "Solstice" show in the theater which was obviously influenced by Cirque du Soleil, a result of the previous (current?) relationship between CdS and Celebrity. Also interesting was the Pulse show, which was very high energy, at least for the first half. • Dining room someliers - this position has been done away with on many mass market cruise lines. They know a bit more about wines and provided a good service for bottle orders. • The Hot Glass Show - a nice event on a ship, especially at night. Easy to view with knowledgeable and personable artistes. • The Captain's easy going, self-deprecating style. Typical of his musings was his noon report on our approach to San Juan - "I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we're approaching the island on our starboard side. The bad news is that we're not sure that it's Puerto Rico..." The funniest captain of any of our cruises. Unfortunately, he is leaving the ship shortly (his replacement was already on board.) • Lifeboat drill - No one likes the mandatory lifeboat drill, but this one was held in public areas. As with most recent cruises, we weren't require to drag lifejackets to it. • Easy to use online services, including the ability to access the internet using the TV in your cabin and a small keyboard in the desk. In addition, the Online Celebrity computer room always had a technical person on-hand to help. • Onboard religious services, especially important during this cruise due to Passover and Easter. • Card room - while we didn't use it, we passed through it several times a day. There were always families playing games. • Cabin balconies that seem deeper than most, with two nice chairs and a tall snack table. • On some port days, French fries, onion rings and foil-wrapped hamburgers were put out on tables near the Mast Bar and the Mast Grill. This shortened the lines at the pool grill. • Free lemonade (and punch, coffee and tea) in the Oceanview Cafe. • Pizza, pasta and free ice cream served in the Oceanview Cafe from noon until 9pm each day. • The Solarium was adult only (16+ yrs) and the pool butlers politely kept it that way. Quiet, cool, relaxing. • Captain's Club Elite member benefits, especially coupons for 45 minutes of free internet time per passenger. What was disappointing: • Recorded music was always playing on the open decks and in many public areas. Sometimes it was appropriate, but is it really necessary at 8 in the morning and 8 in the evening - and all times in between? • Persian Garden - barely warm recliners, indifferent steam rooms. We were spoiled by a similar area on the NCL Gem during a Med cruise a few years ago. In addition to having a wonderful view over the bow of the ship, the Gem's Persian Garden equivalent had steam rooms and saunas that had windows to the outside, many very warm recliners and a T-pool almost identical to those on the Century, Galaxy and Mercury. • While the cabin bathrooms are well designed, there is very little counter space. • The Solarium was very nice but a warm water pool, like those on Millenium class ships, would have made it even better. • Small, lukewarm hot tubs with very low seating. These are the worst of any ship we've been on. • Captain's Club Elite member daily free wine and drink time between 4-6pm, no shorts allowed. An awkward time, especially for those with late dining and during days in port. We think the schedule is designed to discourage members from taking advantage of this benefit. • Dreadfully slow internet access speeds, even when the ship was in port. • High cost of photos, a common occurrence on most cruise lines. • Ports - Given the "commercialization" that's taken place in the last few years, Labadee was better than we had expected. Time in Tortola was too short, but sailing out of the BVI made for a great afternoon of island watching. Our arrival in San Juan was not until 2pm - half the day is gone. St. Martin was ok, but we were one of seven ships in port that day. The total passenger capacity of those seven ships was around 20,000. The port area and downtown were comfortably packed. • One hour clock time change (fall back) for Labadee. "Gain" an hour one day, lose it the next - a bit disruptive over a 24 hour period. Is this really necessary for an area in which passengers are confined under total control of the cruise line? • Jogging track - all ships have one and we enjoy using it for exercise. However, it would be best if runners avoided using it between 10am and 6pm, especially on sea days. This is an accident waiting to happen. • Windows on the pool deck provide cooling breezes on warm days. However, there was a placard on each pool deck window stating that they must be kept closed. This is the first ship we've been on that's discouraged passengers from opening the windows. Why? BTW, the port side cabins seemed to have the superior view for this itinerary. Overall, an excellent ship experience. We'll definitely cruise again on a Solstice class ship in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
Good first: Embarkation--quick and efficient; booked Aqua Class and we were among the first 50 to board. Room (AQ 1557) excellent proximity to SPA, Persian Gardens, and RELAXATION ROOM. We found the relaxation room to be great when ... Read More
Good first: Embarkation--quick and efficient; booked Aqua Class and we were among the first 50 to board. Room (AQ 1557) excellent proximity to SPA, Persian Gardens, and RELAXATION ROOM. We found the relaxation room to be great when pulling into port. Room shower was great! Loved the jets. Bed was firm, just okay. LOVED the balcony with overhang and it was a roomy, comfortable room experience. BLU! This made our cruise; it was small, service I believe was a "step above." Smaller portions were welcomed--as everything was of high quality. Solarium: we spent most of our time here; seemed undiscovered? Can't imagine why...we relaxed, read, slept, swam, hottubbed. Great quiet area to really let your guard down and enjoy the "peace" of the seas. Persian Gardens: loved the heated loungers, steam room--never hard to access as I had read on other reviews. Michael's Club: Excellent, relaxing, great music, great drinks. Decor makes this place, and its tucked away near specialties (murano is next door). Martini Bar: While I missed the intimacy of Martini on Century--this was quite nice and a favorite of our "cruise friends" Never too busy in the seated area and great service. Labadee: surprised but this was perhaps the best part of the vacation; we relaxed at barefoot beach and scored a cabana with our new cruise friends. Now...the "semi-bad" Aqua Class amenities seam to be hit-or-miss depending on your attendant. We didn't recieve the bag, slippers, or AQ face spray, foot spray, etc.... We asked about it, and our attendant "played dumb" until we asked the head of hotel services. Further, our attendant left his "supplies" in our room one night. Apologized, but just seemed a bit "off." Oh...day 1 our attendant introduced himself "Hi I am _____ and I'm human and we make mistakes." Not the way to start off a cruise. Entertainment...not so good; Circus show was the best and I would rate it C compared to a real cirque show. We new this going in...per other reviews so it wasn't a surprise. Murano: We were so excited after our experience on Century; this Murano didn't compare. I excused myself from the table for a minute just as my entree arrived. When I returned my wife informed me that they were "keeping it warm for me" 10 minutes later, I finally got the attention of our waiter...who "would get it right away." 10 minutes more, he informed me that they would re-prepare it. 20 minutes later (40 minutes after my wife's entree arrived, which is now cold) I got my entree. "The Chef wanted to redo it so you could enjoy it at the right temp." Well....what about my wife? Had to ask for the cheese course. Just not worth it this time around. Overall, great ship, not too big, and as far as spring break goes--yes, lots of kids, but no, not overwhelming. Pools outside were a bit more crazy mid-day...but hey...its spring break! Loved this ship and will sail it again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
Sailed on the Solstice week of 2/14 with two other couples with adjoining Aqua Class Cabins on forward port side of Penthouse Deck (Deck 11). The cost of this cruise for the Aqua Class cabin, which provided all of the additional amenities ... Read More
Sailed on the Solstice week of 2/14 with two other couples with adjoining Aqua Class Cabins on forward port side of Penthouse Deck (Deck 11). The cost of this cruise for the Aqua Class cabin, which provided all of the additional amenities received in Concierge Class with the added benefit of water and tea in the cabin, access to the Spa Relaxation Room and Persian Garden and the specialty restaurant BLU was well worth the modest additional cost,however; this was mainly due to the access to BLU. While Aqua Class did allow access to the spa services without the daily charge it was extremely difficult to gain access to the Persian Garden. The Persian Garden is basically a room with 7 tiled and heated lounge chairs along with a steam room and sauna room located on either side. While my finance and I were able to get into the room, our friends traveling with us were unable to access this room as it was usually full. The spa check-in area managed the number of people in the Persian Garden at any one time and would tell passengers wanting to enter that the would have to come back later if full. After our friends made numerous attempts to secure admittance, they were always denied access and told it was full. Crew working the Spa check-in did not want to create a waiting list even if if you were willing to stay close buy to the desk. They should have also monitored what was going on in the room as it appeared to be a common practice for people to let their friends/family in once they had procured entrance. In summary it was just poorly managed by the Spa crew. The spa treatments themselves were excellent but there were apparently too few nail polish colors to choose from with a manicure. The main reason to choose Aqua Class is to gain access to BLU. This was a quiet, relatively small dining area next to the other specialty restaurants that served good food in reasonable portions(without rich fattening sauces). We did migrate to the Murano one night for a special occasion but that was a fiasco. Our waiter questioned everyone on why they chose how to have their lobster prepared (broiled or steamed or thermidor)and was overall annoying. The food and service were fair and definitely not worth the additional money. Back to BLU... the service from the maitre'd to the server (Mildred) and her assistant was first class. There was one evening when we sat at a table for 6 in the front of the room (there are only two round tables of 6)where the service was poor. It was night and day compared to the service at the round table of 6 in the back of BLU. Two people at our table ordered Margarita specials and the server (who took the order) brought one frozen and one not frozen. In addition, an assistant brought an entree to the table and asked if anyone had ordered the dish. We said we did not, but he would wander around and actually came back and asked us two other times whether we had order the dish. Food outside of BLU at the Oceanview Cafe was fair while the pre embarkation lunch we had at Bistro on Five was quite good. It was definitely worth the $5 charge. The fast food at the pool grill was above average. We did order room service appetizers in the evening which were excellent. With regard to the Sommelier, after we had broke a pattern of ordering multiple bottles each evening by ordering just a glass or two for the table she seemed to become annoyed and her demeanor changed drastically. Overall wines were very reasonably priced. Service at all of the bars was good, but there were few crew members taking drink orders from passengers around the pools. The pool chairs do fill up early but the crew were removing passenger belongings that would be placed in chairs to "reserve" for extended periods of time. The wine bar Cellar Masters was very cozy and nice place to try various wines from all over the world. The bar hosts a very good wine tasting with a red and white selection from 6 different countries along with appetizers. It is reasonably priced and lasts one hour. While the average age on the ship was in mid-50's it would have been nice to hear some music from the 80's and 90's along with the 50's and 60's. This music would be repeated all day long with no variety. Entertainment on the ship outside of the Cirque to Soleil show and a very talented "Piano Man" named Will Foraker was not that great. The comedy show was a repeat each night. There should have been different performances during the week. The nightclub Quasar was a ghost town almost every night. The ship is very well laid out and easy to navigate about. There was little motion on the ship, even with a 40 mph headwind one night that was kicking up the seas. The Aqua Class cabins on the Penthouse deck were also well designed with great bathrooms for a space with less than 200 SF space and a decent size balcony. (All of the ship's non suite baths have a shower with a curved door and the Aqua Class cabins have showers with upgraded shower heads.) The cabin attendants took down the barriers between our cabin and the cabins of the two other couples traveling with us which made the space very roomy and a great place to have cocktails and appetizers before dinner. A caution about the Aqua Class cabin balcony locations....unless you want a balcony with an extended overhang from the Resort Deck above with obtrusive poles blocking you vision and creating an effect that you are in a cave, book a cabin forward of the the forward elevator lobby where there is no overhang. We realized this when we booked our trip after reviewing the outside of the ship on Youtube. Youtube also provides some very good views on the Solstice's cabins. These forward Aqua Class cabins also provide quick access to the pool areas and spa as they are just one deck up. With Aqua Class you receive Evian water each day. We had asked our cabin attendant to make sure there was always a couple bottles at all times (bottles were relatively small). He generally was able to meet this request but some days he did not. When their supervisor had asked us if everything was to our satisfaction we said we would like to always have some water bottles in the cabin. The supervisor indicated that he knew our attendant was bringing more than two bottles a day and that he was not supposed to be doing this. This came across as rather unprofessional as we were made to feel that were were asking our attendant to do something that was against the rules. The cruise line stresses that in the spa class that you receive bottled water but it is not clearly disclosed that the amount you receive is limited. Asking for four or even six of these bottles a day for two passengers was not really excessive and should not be an issue. Both cabin attendants were very attentive and strived to please all of their passengers. Overall the Solstice is a very well designed ship and the Aqua Class cabins are a very good value given their ship location and access to the restaurant BLU. If you are looking for a less hectic cruise on a larger recently commissioned ship with excellent staterooms and good food choices Solstice is your ship. If you want a superior dining experience select an Aqua Class cabin. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
Myself and DM sailed on the Solstice on Feb 21st, and we both have nothing but god things to say! We have sailed Carnival and RCI a number of times, and this was our first Celebrity cruise. Right from the beginning it was obvious that X is ... Read More
Myself and DM sailed on the Solstice on Feb 21st, and we both have nothing but god things to say! We have sailed Carnival and RCI a number of times, and this was our first Celebrity cruise. Right from the beginning it was obvious that X is a step above the aforementioned mass market lines. I am 24 and DM is 52, and I was a bit concerned about the demographics of the ship. I though maybe I would be bored and there wouldn't be anyone my age. More about that later. Embarkation - We have sailed a few times out of Port Everglades and this was the easiest embarkation we've ever had. The Solstice sails out of the new Oasis terminal so it is well equipped to handle twice as many people. From the time we got to the terminal (around 12:30) to the time we were on the ship was not more than 20 minutes, if that. Our rooms were ready at 1, and after dropping off our carry on bags, we went for lunch and did some exploring to orient ourselves with the important amenities. Our luggage arrived between 4 and 5, during the emergency drill. Cabin - We were in cabin 1604 on the Penthouse deck. As it was "hump" room, we did have a larger balcony, however it is a forward facing balcony so it did get quite windy. The bed was near the window, we didn't really have a preference, but I will agree that the sofa could have been a bit shorter (we didn't use it at all) to give more access to the closet. As well, the above-bed cabinets were great, but had we been 3 people in a room, there wouldn't have been nearly enough space. The Aqua Class shower was pretty good, and the glass doors were really nice. Plenty of storage space in the washroom, even for two women. Food - We ate in Blu 3 nights, MDR 2 nights, Silk Harvest, and Tuscan Grille. I thought Aqua Class was worth it just for Blu, the food was definitely better, the best meals we had the whole week were there. Silk Harvest was OK, the sushi was great, but they neglected to tell us that it was "family style" so 4 of us ended up with enough food for 16 people. Tuscan Grille was very good and the view is incredible. MDR was pretty good, definitely better than Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Service was impeccable, if we ever made an alteration to a dish it was always perfect, and everyone was very nice. The Oceanview Cafe (Lido buffet) was quite good, breakfast had TONS of options, and the pasta station was fantastic. I also has lunch one day at the Bistro on 5 and my Mediterranean crepe was delicious and well worth the $5. I did not try the Mast Grill but it looked very good. Entertainment - Best we've had on a cruise so far. The Solstice Show was amazing, the acrobatics and performers were great. Adam Trent, the magician, was also great, very entertaining and his family was travelling on our cruise so we met him in the nightclub one night and he's a great guy. I was a bit bored with the showtunes production, but every other show was great. There were theme nights and parties (70s night, 60s night, Poolside Latin Dance Party, etc) which were all fun. We really enjoyed Will Foraker, the pianist, and Metro Park, the a cappella group. We saw the comedian who was very amusing, and joined in on trivia and some other activities. I can definitely say I was never bored. Other guests - This was an older crowd, as was expected based on the cruise line and time of year. There were a lot of wheelchairs and walkers. A small handful of children. As a 24 year old, I was definitely concerned that I would be in bed at 10 pm, bored. Turns out I was terribly mistaken. There was a small group of us in our early 20s, (about 15 of us) which was just fine with me. We closed up the club every night and had a great time. Also, because we were such a small group, we were able to get to know each other better and I'm sure we'll stay in touch. For the most part, everyone was very nice. There are always exceptions (such as the lady who was not impressed when we inquired why her and her husband required 3 pool chairs for two people), but said exceptions were few and far between. Ports of Call - Meh. San Juan has a lot of history and I REALLY wanted to do the Segway tour, but it was sold out before we even got on the ship. We ended up doing the old and new city tour and it was just alright. We could have walked around on our own and been equally as satisfied. St Kitts is really stunning, but a number of shore excursions were cancelled due to wind and sea conditions. We walked around the port and admired the scenery, then got back on the ship. St. Maarten we took the water taxi to town ($6 return) and shopped. Nothing incredibly exciting. Miscellaneous - I bought the beer package ($241 for 7 days) and essentially drank for free for the last 3 days. It was well worth it, I never had to sign for drinks and didn't have to be concerned about racking up crazy bar tabs. We brought wine on board but didn't end up drinking all of it. I brought a 1.75 L bottle of wine and my mom brought two 750 mL , and it was more than we needed. I know that a few of the other people I spoke to also brought liquor on board and didn't have a problem with it. I had heard some comments that Celebrity created the Aqua Class as a way to sell the undesirable rooms on board and I can't say I disagree with this. The AQ rooms are located directly beneath the pool and it was definitely not quiet, especially the night of the Latin pool party. DM and I really didn't use the Persian Garden or relaxation room, as they were often crowded and not terribly relaxing. We also asked our (wonderful) stateroom attendant to stop bringing the canapEs, as they were not very appetizing. We went to the buffet when they started serving sushi and brought it back to our room instead. Well I suppose that is all for now, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
This cruise celebrated our 30th anniversary and we found a wonderful experience on the Solstice. From the the moment we walked onto the ship, we were greeted with champagne and smiles and we got a warm and enchanted feeling of what was to ... Read More
This cruise celebrated our 30th anniversary and we found a wonderful experience on the Solstice. From the the moment we walked onto the ship, we were greeted with champagne and smiles and we got a warm and enchanted feeling of what was to come. This was our 4th cruise, first on Celebrity. Our other cruises were on Carnival ships. Although we loved the decor, we missed the dramatic lobby's that Carnival ships are noted for. Immediately we were encouraged to go up to the Lido deck for some lunch, as our rooms would not be ready for a few hours. Everything was fresh, new and extremely clean! The staff was friendly. The food was outstanding and the selection was very nice. There was an elderly man slicing the roast beef, who quickly became my new friend. He greeted me each day carving meat for me. The Solstice serves different flavors of ice cream, in addition to soft serve, and always had a line of excited cruisers trying to try new flavors. Our room was in the aft of the ship and the balcony seemed larger because off from the edge of the railing was the very large extension from the restaurant just below us. At no time did we hear noise from any direction. The only inconvenience would be the layer of soot that developed on the balcony from the smokestacks. I put 4 fresh pool towels down daily - one on each chair, one on the small table and one on the balcony floor so I never stepped on the balcony and tracked soot into the room. I learned it the hard way by getting soot on my feet and on my clothes. I took advantage of the balcony, but the soot annoyed my husband. He preferred going up to the top of the ship or to the pool to relax. Our dinner table was upstairs (center of the room) one table over from the railing. We found our waiter Ita (I think that's his name) and his helper Ati very funny and outstanding. They took very good care of us, greeted us by name and always brought us 2 desserts each night. I always tried something new, but loved their creme brule! My husband tried 2 entres most nights and videoed everything...They did napkin and magic tricks most nights for the children next to us that made it extra special. We did our own shore excursions on the trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2009
We live in Michigan and the winters are very cold. I hate cold. When I booked this cruise I didn't give much thought to how many children might be on board. There were quite a few. Location Many have complained about the lack of ... Read More
We live in Michigan and the winters are very cold. I hate cold. When I booked this cruise I didn't give much thought to how many children might be on board. There were quite a few. Location Many have complained about the lack of elevators on this ship. We were half way between the forward and middle elevators and usually used the middle elevators which will get you just about anywhere. If you don't like walking put yourself back by the middle elevators. And there is no noise by the elevators or stairs. They have put a wall and sliding door between the cabin hallways and the elevator area. The elevators were fast and would change light colors when they arrived. Great idea. Cabin We had a balcony cabin. Love my balcony. No better place to enjoy my cup of coffee in the morning. Our bed was by the closet near the bathroom. I liked this layout. There was room to get into the closet and I could sit on the bed when using the safe which is situated quite low in the closet. My hubby and I both thought there was ample closet space and the drawer room is just scattered around the cabin abit. Don't forget the overhead drawer space over the bed, kept alot of things there and still had room. My sister and I will be on Equinox for a 14 day TA in November and I am not worried about storage space at all. Love the bathroom, drawer room was fine, lots of room, shower is great, except that you can see yourself in all your glory in the mirror while showering(would suggest frosting the glass a little). There is nightlight in the bathroom, yeah! The waterjug has been removed in the cabin, just ice and glasses. We bought bottled water before boarding. And the frig actually keeps things COLD. We asked our room steward, Anil, who did a wonderful job, to take out some of the things in the frig and had room for our water and wine. The beds are very comfortable, I thought the couch was comfy too. It becomes the sofa bed and a trundle pulls out under for a fourth. Though we didn't check it out. Nice hairdryer in the vanity drawer. The flat screen TV's very nice, you can turn them toward the bed or sofa. Interactive TV keyboard did not work well in our room. Perhaps it was just us. Dining We did room service most mornings, very prompt and good. Did go up twice to have the WAFFLES!! The Oceanview Cafe is laid out in food stations, virtually no lines and you can walk around and pick out what you like. Food was good, often better than the dining room. Had difficulty finding seats at times. We did not try any of the specialty restaurants. I did try the gelato and it is wonderful. The Cafe Al Bacio takes the place of the Cova Cafe on the M class ships, we were disappointed in the coffee there. The MDR is beautiful but not as spacious as I thought it would be. Many tables are tucked away under the second level. The food was not as good as on the M class ships. Smaller portions, less choice. The soup and salad area is together and the salad dressings are already chosen for you. No more Celebrity dressing! On the positive you can have creme brulee every night if you wish. The aqua spa cafe was smaller and not situated well, with less choices. Pool This is where we noticed all the children. On our sea days the kids were in the smaller pool and for some reason the other pool was netted off. Parents pulled their chairs right up to the edge of the pool so it was difficult to get in and out. I only tried once. The chair hogs were out as usual. We had great difficulty finding chairs. We searched hi and low, front and back and finally gave up and went back to our cabin and sat on the balcony. The Solarium was no better, it was full and alot of people in the pool. I suspect because that second outdoor pool was closed. The Lawn It is really pretty and a very relaxing place to sit. We liked the Sunset Bar area and sat there and read and sea gazed. Smoking is allowed there so you have to watch where you sit. Lots of comfy sofas and chairs thru out the ship. Entertainment We liked the production shows. The balcony seemed to be the best place to sit to view the aerial activities. Enjoyed a backstage tour this time. We have enjoyed the Rendevous lounge on M Class, often stopping for a cocktail and a few dances before dinner, they didn't have this on Solstice. There was a band and limited dancing in the atrium by the pursers desk. Not the same. Oceans four was on the cruise, an acapella group, they were very good. Atrium I forgot to mention the live tree growing in the atrium elevator area. We loved it. It sounded silly when we heard about it, but it is really interesting and adds to the decor. Overall the Solstice is a beautiful ship, has it's pros and cons and I am anxious to sail her sister ship Equinox with my sister in November. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
For starters, let me say that we had a genuinely good time on Solstice. The ship is absolutely beautiful, tasteful and comfortable. That said, there is always room for improvement - on any cruise. And there was some obvious oversights and ... Read More
For starters, let me say that we had a genuinely good time on Solstice. The ship is absolutely beautiful, tasteful and comfortable. That said, there is always room for improvement - on any cruise. And there was some obvious oversights and a few things that left us scratching our heads. Here are my specific comments: DESIGN AND DECOR: This is probably the most attractive cruise ship we've been on. It's obvious that a lot of time and attention was put into the design of the public spaces and it shows. Unlike a lot of cruise ships, there's nothing garish or tacky. Celebrity apparently hired some top designers and it's evident every place you go. STAFF: In general, all of the staff on Solstice were extremely polite and deferential. We were always greeted with a smile. Perhaps the only exception was Guest Relations who were always polite, but a bit "frosty". DINING: The food and service in the dining room was the most disappointing aspect of our cruise, certainly not what we expect from Celebrity. By and large, the level was more consistent with RCCL than the Celebrity of old. We were a larger group, and we waited a long time for everything: wine service, bread, meals, etc. Despite complaining to our Maitre-D, they simply didn't seem to be able to get their act together. There were a number of meals where they just wasn't anything interesting on the menu - and we're all "foodies". Similarly, the Oceanview Cafe - apart from breakfast - was not particularly impressive. The selection was fairly limited, and a lot of foods were over-cooked and left out too long. Even the traditional sushi at 6:00 was very limited compare to other Celebrity ships. On the other hand, the specialty restaurants were a different story. We ate at Silk Harvest (Asian), Tuscan Grill (steak) and Bistro on 5 (crepes). All of them were excellent, as was the service. At the Tuscan Grill, I had to send all 3 steaks back because they were overcooked. The staff was extremely apologetic and brought them back correctly, while offering to bring us anything else we wanted in the meantime. We didn't try Murano and Blu is for Aqua-class guests only. But the conclusion we reached is that Celebrity's one-time dedication to high-class cuisine has been refocused on the optional restaurants. Evidently, driving additional revenue is more important than keeping mainstream customers happy. ROOMS: Our verandah stateroom was very comfortable and fairly spacious for a standard room. We had only a couple of quibbles. First, we found the storage space to be rather skimpy and awkwardly laid out. There is a space over the bed, but it consists of just two large lockers. There is no shelving. There is a small dresser but it is quite small - just 5 little drawers. Instead of a proper night table with drawers, there was a tiny 3-tiered shelf on either side of the bed. The closet is small and too close to the bed. Second, although the bathroom is quite comfortable, the toiler roller was very awkwardly placed and the roll kept falling off onto the floor. And raspberries to Celebrity for using the cheapest, sandpaper-like toilet tissue. CASINO: The casino is quite large, but slot machines predominate. By late evening, it was almost impossible to get a seat at a $5 blackjack table (there were only 2). In the meantime, only about 20-30% of the slots were in use. It would be worthwhile for Celebrity to think about ripping out a few slots, and adding more tables. FITNESS CENTER / SPA: We used the fitness center every morning. It is a very nice facility, located forward on deck 12. But on sea days, it was very difficult to find an available treadmill and there were only three weight benches. The treadmills are all placed along the starboard side of the ship, which was a bit disconcerting whenever we encountered rough seas. Facing forward would probably have been much more comfortable. Finally, for a gym, the room was probably a few degrees too warm. We had a couple of spa treatments as well. The facilities are beautiful - worthy of the finest salons and spas, and both the quality of the treatments and of the staff was top-notch. As usual, the prices were steep, but in that respect Solstice is no different from any other cruise ship. PORTS / SHORE EXCURSIONS: Ours was a fairly standard Eastern Caribbean cruise. The ports were: San Juan, St Maarten, Tortola and Labadee. We've been to most of these before. If you've seen the Caribbean, you'll know that there's nothing particularly exciting about any of it, although it's all very pretty. We were actually quite impressed with the natural beauty of Labadee. We didn't do any of the shore excursions. CHECK-IN / CHECK-OUT: Both were extremely orderly and uncrowded. We spent almost no time waiting. Bravo, Celebrity! WHAT WE DISLIKED: The main dining room experience. Long waits for elevators most of the time. Occasional congestion in some corridors and public areas. WHAT WE LIKED: The beautiful, magnificent public spaces were always eye-popping. The specialty restaurants (at least the ones we tried) were excellent. In particular, the Bistro on Deck 5 was a delicious bargain - highly recommended. There was entertainment everywhere - not just in the main showroom. And most of it was excellent. We particularly loved Ocean's Four - the acappella group. The attitude of staff was both friendly and professional. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
Embarkation was quite easy. The longest line was going thru security. We arrived around noon, and it probably took no more than an hour before we were on the ship. They were just allowing boarding when we got to the waiting area. Of ... Read More
Embarkation was quite easy. The longest line was going thru security. We arrived around noon, and it probably took no more than an hour before we were on the ship. They were just allowing boarding when we got to the waiting area. Of course, as is Celebrity style, we were offered a glass of champagne upon boarding. In the past, there was always someone to meet you and take you to your room, not the case. We were on our own. They were, however, making announcements not to go to your room yet, as it may not be ready. This, of course, led to overcrowding in the public areas. We did go to our room, however, and it was ready. The room we choose was perfect. It was in the most perfect location, right by the elevators. We only had to go up or down, and we were always right were we needed to be. It made the ship seem smaller, because we did very little walking. I love the way the Solstice door entries are done. They are set back off the hallways, and are in pairs. There were no inside rooms in our area, so we had no rooms across from us. We never ran into anyone in the halls. I found the room to be quite spacious, and loved the bed. The bathroom was wonderful. Although the counter space was very narrow, there was quite a bit of storage, and you did not need the counter space for storage. The shower was wonderful, no shower curtain, but doors instead. Our room was on the angle, so we had a bigger than normal balcony. If I was to do it all over again, I would choose the room next door, which would be 8252, because it was the first room on the hump, and they were able to see the full length of the ship and see what was up ahead. We were not able to see forward, only backward. The balconies, however, were the most private I have ever seen. You cannot see above or below, or your neighbors. We were able to see down the side of the ship, only because we were on the angle. The ship itself was very nice. I would not say it had that WOW factor, because it was not glitzy or glamorous in anyway, but very classy, and subdued. No real flashy colors, or designs. I did enjoy the ship tremendously, and will be spoiled in many ways to other ships not of its design. The ever controversial grass on the top deck, was being changed out in many areas as we boarded. Therefore, it tells me they are having difficulty keeping it nice looking. It was very different having the grass, and most times we were up on the top deck, the grass was being used for boucee or golf putting. We enjoyed the fact that there were no announcements every 5 minutes. I actually forgot that bingo existed! As far as activities on the ship, there were very few. No activities on sea days at the pool at all, which surprised me. This was a very quiet, low key cruise. I found the age to be varied, however. Probably more seniors. They did, however have the band playing, Top Secret, which also played in the Sky Lounge. There were quite good, and I enjoyed them. They put on a 50's, 60's night in the Sky Lounge, which also was were the Sweet night was held. I thought that was a strange place to have have food set up. But it worked out just fine, because the Sky is very large. I was extremely disappointed in the entertainment in the theater. The Solstice dance group was ok for singing and dancing, but they had the most horrible costumes I have ever seen. The also were about the only entertainment the ship had, so it got old fast. They did have a comedian that played in the Comedy Central, however, he put on the same show night after night. He never had any new material. I felt Celebrity was really lacking in the area, and not up to their usually high quality entertainment. The food, as hoped and expected, was excellent. Yes the portions were smaller, but was does it matter when you can have all you can eat anyway! Our dining experience was excellent. We did eat in two of the Specialty Restaurants, the Silk and the Tuscan Grille. Both restaurants were excellent and I highly recommend both. Gone are the midnight buffets. Prices for tipping have gone up, and they add tax and tip to everything you do. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
Celebrity Solstice Spring Break Cruise 3/22/09-3/29/09 About us-we are in our mid 40's traveling with two daughters 14 & 10 years old who are experienced cruisers. This is our third sailing on Celebrity & We have sailed on ... Read More
Celebrity Solstice Spring Break Cruise 3/22/09-3/29/09 About us-we are in our mid 40's traveling with two daughters 14 & 10 years old who are experienced cruisers. This is our third sailing on Celebrity & We have sailed on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines four times. This is the largest ship we have ever sailed on. flight& Hotel- Southwest 1171 from Midway Chicago to Ft. Lauderdale, FL a pleasant flight that arrived on time.We took the free hotel shuttle to Holiday Inn Express 1500 SE Causeway. Clean hotel but showing it's age. (ROOM 307) This was basically a inexpensive no frills pre cruise hotel for us. The Room has no view, & no pool, but at $180.00/night which included a free shuttle from airport to hotel saving us $15.00-$20.00 & saving another $30.00) on free shuttle to cruise port & all taxes included. Throw in free continental breakfast it's a great family value. Within Walking distance of shops and restaurants. We ate at the nearby bimini boatyard where we had some good casual but (expensive) food & cocktails. Walking out across the 17st bridge offers great views of the port & cruise ships. Ship-Celebrity SOLSTICE is our new favorite ship! From the moment we stepped aboard and were handed complimentary champagne we were treated like royalty. We found the solstice to be elegant and classy, all The public areas were filled with beautiful modern art pieces. Beautiful furnitures in leathers & canvases. We enjoyed all the little private areas, cabanas, covered hammocks, comfy overstuffed couches & chairs everywhere which makes This ship a readers paradise. We Loved the pool area & cabanas. The lawn club was surreal and beautiful. The sunset bar was an amazing spot morning or night to gaze aimlessly into Solstice's wake. Cabin-we had cabin 7344 which we loved. Decorated flawlessly. The beds were very comfortable, our 14 year old slept on the leather couch which turned into a comfortable bed and had a lower drawer/pull out bed where our 10 year old slept. Our first balcony in seven cruises and we used it more than I thought we would. Relaxing out there Having breakfast, coffee, ice cream, or cocktails. Enjoyed the Great views and minimal wind. Very Nice loungers & table on each balcony. A little bit of sunshine in the later afternoon.The larger bathroom, shower & storage were more nice. The in cabin flat screen tv is excellent. For tv, music or tracking all things aboard Solstice. The cabin has Plenty of storage for myself and three girls . having the bed higher creates a lot more storage, we had five large suitcases under bed. The overhead is a huge plus too. Restaurants & food- we enjoyed each meal in the Grand epernay restaurant. served masterfully by our waiter aurtur0 from the Philippines & assisted by anna from bulgaria. We opted for some offering of Fresh seafood each evening & were not disappointed! The shrimp, the oysters, lobster, & escargot were wonderful. No problem ordering several appetizers , entrees, or the grand desserts. The prime rib & ribeye steaks were tender & cooked perfectly. We also enjoyed all the chilled soup selections. Our children had chocolate milk ready for them the moment we sat down. Arturo & anna took special care to see that our children were happy with & enjoyed their meal choices. Our awesome Cruise Critic table mates made the week's dining experience much more memorable & fun. Ocean view cafe- we liked the layout and quickly figured out where our favorites were, the clean lines and casual elegance shined. We Never had any trouble finding seating inside or out. They had Excellent offerings & many choices. I personally liked the burrito/fajita sElections. The fresh omelette & waffle stations were a family am fav. Afternoons had us coming in for soft serve & hand dip't ice creams & toppings like m&m's, the girls favorite. We had no trouble w/out trays. Also Found the coffee to be quite good.Mast grill- family favorites included the grilled chicken breasts, guacamole and freshly made tortilla chips.Cafe albacio-the chocolate frapacinos were very good but not as good as starbucks. Room service-very quick & efficient service but we don't give their pizzas very high marks.Bars- the martini bar was our favorite and such great fun. The bartenders rosa & peter were amazing showman & are our new favorites! They also made a couple of beautiful non-alcoholic drinks for our young daughters. They too were made to feel like they belonged. That was something we noticed throughout the ship. We new celebrity isn't exactly designed for kids. but several instances we noted the ships staff as well as our new critic friends made an extra effort to include them. pool and bar-the fresh water pools were warm and uncrowded until the last sea day. The pool bar staff was very attentive, "my guy"vin-roy from jamaica always made sure we had a cold red stripe or fruity concoction in hand. He was also great about getting our kids cokes and juice (we bought the pop card) When buying buckets of red stripe we received one free beer each time we bought four. Lawn club- a very unique spot to play some bocce ball, putt on the greens, or simply relax in the wonderful comfy furniture everywhere around the top deck area. I do think that the grass area is a bit large & that more lounge chair seating might be better used for part of that area. Walking barefoot on grass on a cruise ship is pretty cool. (Especially early am)hot glass show-one of the most amazing things we have ever seen aboard a cruise ship. Don, carl, & brenna from the corning museum were not only talented artists but explained the process wonderfully. My children (one a budding artist) were so into this previously unseen craft! We saw five different shows between the four of us, each one a little bit different. Congrats to celebrity on this out of the box idea. It works & works well! Fun factory-our ten year old went to it a few times. She had fun playing bingo, played arcade games, & got to actually draw a design to be created at their own private hot glass show. As always We found the kids club staff most kind & caring.Cru con cruise outlet-we spoke with johna and changed our original independent internet booking to her agency and received additional onboard credit $. This after we had paid in full! This credit due to the helpful and observant cruise critic members sharing information on our board. Johna is professional, quick and reliable, we will not hesitate to use here again in the future. Cruise critic-through the efforts of many fun members we had a website/photo blog, as to help us become acquainted . Only our 3rd experience with cruise critic and this one was by far the biggest and best group yet. The different and unique individuals were each so interesting to meet & see throughout the ship and on the islands. We had an informal get together at sail away where we all brought mardi gras beads to wear. And a cruise critic member brought some special genuine louisiana mardi gras beads to share with the group. The cabin crawl set up by one cc member was also a personal highlight. the generosity of a couple welcoming us all to a party in their presidential suite needs to be mentioned. Many of these people we hope are our new lifelong friends.Casino-we did nothing but donate to the ship all week so not really fond memories were made here. We did enjoy the personality of our favorite blackjack dealer alex even though he wasn't overly kind to us!Solstice theatre-we enjoyed the singing and dancing shows but we especially enjoyed "the show". Thanks to a cc friends recommendation that we sit in the first rowof the balcony where the performers are at eye level during the cirque de sol e performance.Service-our room steward arnel-from the Philippines was one of our favorite in all of seven sailings. Always cheerful and smiling as most all of the solstice staff. In my opinion celebrity's service sets the industry standard.Ports- san juan-we have visited several times yet still found some different things to do this time in port. We had visited Del Morro Fort in the past so this time we hiked up to & around Castillo Sa Cristobal castle. It's striking architecture & atlantic ocean vistas are not to be missed! We took a brief tour of don q rum, tried several samples & of course & bought some rum! St.Kitts-we spent the day with royston stevens. Toured Brimstone fortress for breath taking views, got to hold a tame baby green monkey, & spent most of the day snorkeling at South Friars beach. Highlights include seeing an octopus, a spiny lobster, & holding a sea spider. Eek! St.Maarten-took capt. Alan's snorkel and mudbath tour. Even though the seas were quite choppy we had a wonderful day with them. Highlights include an up close & personal moment with a small hawksbill sea turtle, seeing many numerous reef fishes, & swimming with a school of squid. Disembarkation-was smooth until we got through the cruise ship terminal and tried getting a taxi ride back to the ft. lauderdale airport. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 4:30Pm so we had quite a long stay in a most uncomfortable, over crowded airport. this cruise was one of my favorites partially because of the great people we met & grew to know through our on line board & experiences on Solstice together. Sincerely, Snorkel Dawg, Mrs. Snorkeldawg & the Snorkel Pups Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
Celebrity Solstice 22 March 2009 Once again the "Mac-o-meter" is on, and everything will be rated on a 10 point scale, with 10 being superior. Anything that needs improvement will be in a red font. Notice that this complete ... Read More
Celebrity Solstice 22 March 2009 Once again the "Mac-o-meter" is on, and everything will be rated on a 10 point scale, with 10 being superior. Anything that needs improvement will be in a red font. Notice that this complete lack of an introduction indicates this will be one guy's review, sans flowery descriptions. Pre-cruise Hotel Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood. This is a five star place got it cheap on Priceline. What can I say one of the best places to stay in the Ft Lauderdale area. We also stayed here post-cruise for two additional nights. We got great rooms. The pool complex is outstanding, and the service is top notch. We didn't have a rental car this time. Lauren and I love to walk, and we found everything we need in less than a 25 minute walk. In addition, we used the local bus system (Yikes, middle class people on the bus!!) and traveled all over the area from the Aventura Mall to the Galleria and Las Olas in Ft Lauderdale. The bus day pass is $3 , but the show is free! Hotel and local area = 9.1 Embarkation Headed over to Pier #18 around noon. Cab fare w/tip $36. Unloaded the luggage and whipped out the markers and filled in the Baggage Tags using the online tag as a guide. Tipped the bag guys and headed into the Terminal Building. We passed through security and were seated in a holding area for about 10 minutes. (Extra points for the attractive young lady who organized this holding zone; she was articulate, professional and fun!) Off to the Captain's Club Elite line for check in. From the time we exited the cab to the time we stepped on the ship = maybe 30 minutes. Over-all experience = 9.3 Cabin Lauren and I cruise three or four times a year, so we usually go for an inside cabin to keep this addiction affordable. We don't spend much time in our cabin, so this is a pretty low priority for us. Our Solstice cabin was outstanding. Largest cabin we have had. Great bed and beddings, with additional storage above the head board. We didn't find the clothing closet to be a problem plenty of room for everything we had. The inside cabin didn't have the couch everyone talks about, just two chairs near the entrance. The back of cabin was so large we had several feet of extra space around the bed area. The bathroom was amazing! Great shower and the solid sliding door is perfect. The storage areas are well thought out, and the sink is very cool (not very practical, but a nice design feature). Huge bonus points for the large, flat screen interactive TV!! Great selection of free movies and all the interactive features were very helpful. Major improvement for Celebrity. Alrick and Tek were our Cabin stewards. They were the best fast, stealthy and always there when we needed something. One of the best crews we've had in 31 cruises. I'm a science guy, and in seven days I never really figured out how to work the cross selection switches that control all the cabin's lights. Not really a problem you just need a short class in their operation maybe a 90 minute class after the lifeboat drill. Cabin = 9.6 Ship Design Let me first just state "The Solstice is our new favorite ship." Wow, I can't think of any other design out there that even comes close to this grand ship. We loved just about every inch of this ship! Sure, a nice wrap around promenade deck would have been a huge improvement, but there was enough teakwood deck space to provide some nice flying fish spotting. The 14 story open atrium with the glass elevators is a nice touch, similar to what people rave about on Royal Caribbean ships. Deck five on this ship is the best deck at sea, and it includes many of the dining options on the ship. The half acre of grass on the upper deck is visually stunning and does give this area a peaceful uncrowned feel. The size is a bit over the top, and I'm sure with time we will see them reduce this area by at least 50%. In the Caribbean all of the deck space is being used as people jockey for a space to catch some rays. We always found a nice spot, but it did require some looking. Shame on the chair hogs, as they were out in force early every morning. The deck guys didn't really curb this selfish action, however, many of the passengers (way to go Kirk!!) did a nice job of collecting and stacking items left on chairs more than 30 minutes. Would you like to join the underground hog patrol? While I'm on the pet peeve thing it would be nice if people would collect their towels and deposit them so others know their chairs are now available. The Hot Glass show is a big hit, and I was surprised at how mesmerizing the whole process can be. Make sure you make it up there during the evening hours! Bars, bars, bars they are everywhere and people seemed to flock to them. The martini bar was a real hit. The three tier theatre is on par with other Celebrity ships and provides a great venue for a variety of activities. Solstice's art collection is true to their modern eclectic roots, and we spent a great deal of time wandering around the ship and talking about individual pieces. There are only twelve elevators on the ship four forward and eight in the atrium bank. If you are the least bit mobile this is not a problem. A ship this large requires some walking, so for some this could be an issue. Anything that gets our sedentary population moving is a good thing in my book. Nice gym area (a bit crowded) and I hope the spa is a money maker for Celebrity, as it takes up a whole lot of space. Ship Design = 9.2 Food Here is one area where I really disagree with many vintage cruisers of Celebrity (our first Celebrity cruise was back in 1993). The food is wonderful all over the ship! The main dining room cuisine was outstanding, and we enjoyed every meal. We are foodies only from the stand point of enjoying small amounts of quality ingredients, well prepared, and presented by professionals. Celebrity is very good at this and is improving all the time. Raul and Jose were our serving team, and they really made our dining experience special. The tables for two in the Grand Epernay are abundant; however, many are jammed together so close that you can't escape the activities of the adjoining tables. Our first night we had a lady next to us who was loud, whiney and couldn't let go of her mono-issue of the evening. Not a problem, as the Assistant Maitre'd helped us make a table change for the next evening. The Tuscan Grill is not to be missed! Superior cuisine with a bit less pretentious feel compared to Muranos and the alternative restaurants of the Millennium class ships. The portions were huge, so be prepared to eat. Speaking of Muranos, we loved our experience and would recommend that everyone to spend at least one evening in this fine dining venue. We missed Silk Harvest this time, but we wanted to save something for our next cruise. In addition, the cuisine was so good in the main dining room it was hard to give up an evening. We would also like to try Blu some time as the menu looked like something we would enjoy. We made two visits to the Bistro of Five what a great idea! Great service, and wonderful crepes worth every penny of the $5 up charge. Check out the Cafe al Bacio, across from the Gelateria and of course the Aqua Spa Cafe offered up some really healthy mid-day treats. The OceanView area is the best designed buffet at sea. The large area of food stations creates a crowd flow that is hard to explain, but it works. All the standards are there, pasta station, waffle station (YUM), Asian station, dessert station, sandwich station, etc. I'm not a fan of allowing passengers to serve themselves, but it does work on this ship because there are no trays so you don't see the feeding frenzy that can occur on other lines (Royal Caribbean). Many people see the lack of trays as a negative, but I think it is a must with this design. Speaking of design not enough seating in this area. We always found a place to sit, but you had to be willing to walk around a bit and ask to join others at their table. There is an outside area, and we spent some great time out there enjoying our breakfast. Food = 9.6 Entertainment Our production show "tank" is kind of full after 31 cruises, but I must say they were a little different and fresh on the Solstice. You get the Cirque influence with people flying over the crowd and aerials on stage, but it's still a production show. We did enjoy the a cappella group, Ocean's Four and the Steel drum guy was great. There was a four piece string group that was excellent and appeared all over the ship. The pool band was fine. Major lack of alternative acts and comedians on this ship. The only comedian seemed to only do very late night shows, so we never saw him. Didn't spend any time in the casino, although it looked very nice. We did make it to some of the Trivia events and had a great time. The cruise staff was pleasant and professional. Entertainment = 8.2 Itinerary This three port Caribbean itinerary is lame, but there is not much you can do with seven days. This has always been a weak part of Celebrity's game plan. We usually do 10+ day cruises, and the Equinox will address this issue. The alternate four port cruise seems better. Can't wait until Cuba becomes available! We've been to all these ports multiple times, and we usually find some different to do every visit. We did make the best of our short stop in San Juan Lauren brought a couple of inexpensive kites from home, and we walked over to the grassy area at the entrance to El Moro and spent an hour or so flying. The conditions are usually perfect for kite flying, and we noticed people doing this during our last visit to Puerto Rico. After an hour or so of this activity we looked for some kids leaving El Moro and gave our kites to them. St Kitts was also a return visit for us, and we had planned a beach day at Cockelshell. The weather in the morning was a bit iffy, so we decided to walk around town a while and wait out the weather. Things improved by mid-day, but we decided to just return to the ship and spend the day on deck. The forward area had these great wicker loungers, so we spent a wonderful afternoon sunning on deck. In St Martin, we headed over to the taxi stand and spent a day at Orient Beach. The weather was perfect, and we had great company with some fellow Cruise Critic folks from the ship. Overall Itinerary = 7.6 Auto Tip System With so many dining options and workers with multiple roles, it makes total sense for Celebrity to go to this type of system. We only saw our dining room staff three nights during the cruise, but of course they were in the Ocean View breakfast and lunch. The staff in the Tuscan Grill works the Bistro on Five and Murano people were set up in the Aqua Spa Cafe. The auto tip system worked well, and we always bring personal thank you cards from home in which we can add additional cash for the outstanding service we received (which, as usual, was from just about everyone on board). Hurrah for Celebrity for getting this right! Auto Tips = 10 Disembarkation Since we are Elite members of the Captain's Club we headed up to the Sky Lounge after a casual breakfast. We were just headed back to the Westin Diplomat, so we were not in a New York hurry to disembark. At 8:45 we were given the okay to leave by the Captain's Club hostess ,so off we went. For a ship of 2,850 people we couldn't believe the lack of crowds and how easy the whole process turned out to be. No line at deck five, and we found our luggage a couple of minutes after leaving the ship. There was only one couple in front of us at customs. They didn't even look at our passports. From the Sky Lounge to the Taxi stand was about ten minutes total. By far, the easiest process of disembarkation we have experienced. Disembarkation = 10 This was the second part of a back to back Cruise Critic Cruise, and we met some wonderful people from these boards. The group was so large we didn't really get to meet everyone, which felt strange. Special thanks to Host Joe, Lisa and Ed, George and Joyce, Ken and Carol, and everyone else who organized so many events for the Cruise Critic gang! We are looking forward to many cruises on Celebrity's new Solstice class of ships! If you have any specific questions feel free to ask. As Always, Enjoy! Kel Read Less
Celebrity Solstice Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 5.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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