This cruise was our second with Celebrity but our first on a Solstice class ship.
Embarkation- We arrived at about 11.15 and had to wait for about 20 minutes to drop off our cases before parking up across the road and walking into the terminal. We boarded about 15 mins later with ease. After a little welcome drink we chose to take a walk around the ship. We like to find everything and take some ship pictures at the beginning.
Steteroom- Our room was ready at about 1pm. It was a lovely room overlooking the back of the ship with a nice balcony. It had plenty of space to store everything, even in the bathroom. We loved the shower, the interactive TV and the decor.
Ship interior- Well what to say, if you like traditional ships stay away. We loved the very modern contemporary interior. lots of very cool and modern artwork. The Martini Bar has a very modern decor, the main dining room is all whites and creams with a great wine tower, the Sky Lounge is also lots of whites and creams. You get the picture.
Pools etc. - As the weather wasn't suitable for sunbathing we only used the outdoor pool and jacuzzi a couple of times but the pool was warm and both were great and very quiet. The solarium pool did get very busy on sea days and also the pool is very shallow. I love the different types of beds and hammocks etc available.
Drinking- We had the premium drinks package. This was about $60 per day and gave you unlimited drinks upto a value of $13.75. So was it worth it, well somedays yes and others no. With posh coffees in Bacio at about $5, beers and spirits with mixer at around $5-$7, cocktails in the bars and martinis at about Â£12 and cocktails in Melecular bar at $ 13.75, wine by the glass ranging from $7 - $ 13 you can figure out how much you're likely to drink of these drinks and figure it out. We figure about 4 cocktails and two coffee a day should brake about even. Of course if you don't drink the fancy cocktails the just go for the classic alcohol package.
Bars- We liked Ensamble lounge for a pre dinner drink, dark and subtle lighting and live music from jazz to classical. A more traditional cruise lounge atmosphere. We liked The Martini Bar for the Martinis, the supercool decor ( especially the iced bar) and the cool chill out music. We loved the Melecular bar for their Funky cocktails with strange ingredients. However we did feel that due to it's location it lacked atmosphere a bit but this was made up for by the amazing staff their. The Sky Lounge has the great views and a wide range of music with a cool contemporary surrounding. They do have live entertainment in the Grand Foyer which was really noisy and did retract the atmosphere in the Martini bar and the calm Bacio Cafe, so we chose to go to them when there wasn't live music playing. Bacio cafe does great coffees and cakes but with the cool weather this was sometimes very busy and difficult to get a seat, if so get a coffee to go and find somewhere else to sit. I would like to have had a drink in the outside bars but not with our weather, maybe next time i'll go somewhere warmer.
Food- Oceanview cafe, Great buffet breakfast, very busy to get a seat but once you've got one there's no long queues due to it's island layout. Lunch was also pretty busy but dinner was always quiet. All the food was very good for a buffet. The main dinning room was good. We were on Select dining and the first night was a nightmare ( quite normal apparently ) but every other night was fine. We waited about 5 mins for a table of two, take note that between 7 and 8 are the busiest times so go earlier or later. If you are happy to share a table then it didn't seem to be a problem. The service could be a little slow to get started but was fine after that. The food was always good.Tuscan Grill, Fantastic service and great food. Arguably the best fillet minion i've ever had. Morano, fine dining at its best. Great service and amazing food. A real treat if you're not used to this type of dining, Wonderful Venison. Quisine, think comfort food with a really quirky twist. Burgers, chinese, indian, tacos, steak and much more. Make your own menu and it's all about sharing. If you're in a group of newly made friends then it's great fun.
Entertainment- This was great, Lisa the cruise director was brilliant. The shows that we watched were very good. Eclipse. the show was great, if you like Cirque de Soleil style shows. The dancing and singing cast were pretty good, some better than others but that's always the case. As i mentioned before the music played in the grand foyer in the evening was to noisy, and i'm not an old fart, but it ruined the atmosphere in the surrounding areas. Also if i'd been in a room near the atrium i'm sure you could here it in your room, don't go to bed until after midnight. The hot glass show was great fun to watch and we did watch a few. They even have a raffle or two, try not to get too annoyed when people turn up at the end just to get a raffle ticket and then win. We did.
Excursions- OK, we all know that if you do the cruise excursions you pay way over the odds for the convenience. We did the Flam railway, you can do it yourself for half the price. The ticket office is a 2 min walk from the ship and very easy to do. The only thing you don't get is the cold waffles with strawberry jam and sour cream, nicer than they sound. Also the public carriage had a lot fewer people than the ones reserved for the cruise tours. We went Kayaking in Geiranger which was fun and quite hard work, not for the delicate. We had to wait quite a lot for the slower ones to catch up. Could have gone further otherwise. You can rent them yourself, only 5 mins walk from dock but you won't be escorted and i don't know how far down the fjord you can go but again it's a fair bit cheaper. Bergen and Oslo are very easy to do yourself. Oslo has a hop on hop off bus which takes you to all the good parts of the city,and is right outside the ship, including the museums. This is much cheaper and more flexible than the tours we saw walking around in their little groups.
Quite frankly we loved the cruise and really loved the ship. I think we're hooked on Solstice class now.