We spent a couple days before our cruise playing golf and staying at Doral Resort and Spa. This facility has just been purchased by Donald Trump and will be refurbished, but it was great for two golfers who had this on their bucket list. We rented a car from Hertz, which leads me to my first tip. If you are renting, Hertz has a car return right at the port in the Crowne Plaza hotel parking ramp. They then provide a free shuttle right to your ship. This is much easier than dealing with returning a rental to the airport and then taking a cab to the pier.
Embarkation: This went very smoothly, with only a slight delay due to extra cleaning. You can still hand carry two bottles of wine per stateroom, which provides you with wine to have on your balcony before going to dinner in a very peaceful, quiet environment.
Ship: The ship is beautiful. It is large, but easy to navigate once you figure out which direction it is headed! I did miss the two story windows in the dining room of the Millenium class, but Solstice has a lot of clean lines and pleasing neutral colors to provide a modern look.
Shows: We attended all of the shows. I can't believe people would criticize these shows. These people are singing and dancing their hearts out. The entertainment is diverse and just seems to be getting better. Solstice has a very multifunctional stage which they utilize very well for special affects.
Ports: We golfed at three of the ports--Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Roatan. It was fun to golf with iguanas and crocodiles! Don't shoot for score, just enjoy the scenery and challenge of the island courses. My favorite--Roatan. This is a developing resort, and a fairly contrived course, but just fun and challenging with one island green.
SOOOO worth it: Vallet luggage service is very worth the $20 per person charge. You basically check in on the cruise ship like the airport, and the night before they deliver luggage tags, boarding passes, and vallet tags to your stateroom. You put your luggage out, and pick it up at your home destination. Slick! Also worth it is dining at the specialty restaurants. We ate at Murano, Bristro on five, and Tuscan Grille. If you are watching costs and have to pick, Tuscan Grille was my favorite. The reason is the beautiful views out the back of the ship, which I had missed. Bistro on Five was very relationship-building. The food was fantastic, and the waiters enjoy chatting with you in a relaxed environment.
Celebrity continues to win our business for many reasons; their attentive staff is fantastic, and the food is always good for about a three-pound gain in a week!
Disembarkation: This took about 20 minutes. Can't beat that!