We've been fortunate to have a great cruise experience on each of our 3 cruises. However, Celebrity seemed to offer a high class of service and provided a much more relaxed experience that either Royal or Disney. Maybe it's just because we are getting older and aren't looking for a party on our vacations? But even our 11 year old son thought that this cruise topped them all.
The ship was tastfully done and had the feel of a high quality hotel and resort. Although the ship was full, the ship was always clean and there was never a feeling that we had just shared a space with thousands of people.
All of the food was great and we highly recommend Murano, the French inspired restaurant, for a date night without the kids. The was food was fantastic and the service was out of this world. We've had some great meals in Seattle (Campagne, the Metropolitan Grill, etc) but even they could learn a thing about service compared to Murano.
For kids, our son liked being able to check himself in and out of the kids club and didn't feel as restricted as his did on Royal. I had a chance to talk to one of the kids club staff and she was very patient. Most of the kids were well behaved but there were a few that needed some discipline for their over the top behaviors. Still, the staff handled them kindly and my son managed to stay clear of them. He also made some friends from the UK, which I thought was cool.
Some of the things we all really appreciated compared to our other cruises were:
1. The pool scene was civilized- no fighting over chairs. And unlike Royal, you didn't need to check out a towel and be threatened with a fine if you didn't return it.
2. When returning to the ship from a day in port, they had cool drinks and iced towels waiting for quests. The Carnival Cruise crowd actually had people reaching across a fence to get a drink and towel from the Celebrity staff. Since it was so hot, some of the Celebrity workers helped out a Carnival family who had a kid that seemed to really be uncomfortable with the heat.
3. The stateroom had better storage than our last ship, the Freedom of the Seas. The room rivals what we had on the Disney Wonder.
4. We loved stopping in Roatan and Costa Maya. Be careful if you use your credit card on Roatan- our number was used after we left the island. The fraud dept. at Visa caught it but it was suprising to find out that someone has used our card # for thousands of dollars at a resort on the island. Still, Roatan was a great place and we hated to leave it.
A little criticism...
1. While the guest entertainers were pretty good, the Stars of Celebrity and Espiranza the Cruise Director were a little corny. It must be hard to stay fresh given the rigorous performance schedule they must have. We enjoyed the shows but felt that the traditional evening shows were better on our other cruises.
2. Drinks for grown ups were expensive. Maggie, our wine steward, helped steer us to a good selection each night but it wasn't cheap. The martini bar and drinks at the Molecular bar were great and we probably should have opted for the premium drink package instead of paying ala carte. We didn't over indulge but when you add up a $5 beer at the pool with wine and an evening cocktail for $11 a pop, it did add up.
3. Our ship is leaving the Caribbean... The Soltice has been re-located and won't be in the Caribbean anymore:(
Overall, Celebrity gets an A for overall quality.