The purpose of this trip was to decompress and spend time together. It didn't matter where we were going; I just wanted to be pampered and fed. Overall, the Solstice accomplished the mission. The ship was beautiful and clean. This was our second trip with Celebrity and our preferred line over Royal Caribbean and Carnival.
We spent the night before in town to avoid airport madness the same day as embarkation, always advised. Unfortunately, we followed the instructions in our Celebrity guest booklet that said to arrive for check-in at 1:30. We arrived about 1, and upon check-in we were told to join the AQ reception, oh wait, that just ended...at 1:30. I would have thought that would have been in our booklet. Oh well, now we know. It was nice that we had our check-in own line, almost; it merged with the handicap line. Still, faster than the other line. Luggage took a bit longer to arrive than in the past.
The Aqua Class perks aren't really as I hoped. We still love Celebrity, but were a little disappointed with some of the AQ advertised amenities.
Here's my experience with each "perk":
Blu Restaurant - Only available for AQ. You do not make reservations, but we were always seated promptly; however, we are early eaters (6 ish). The food was great. I have simple tastes, give me a quality pizza (not the kind you find on a buffet) or a real hamburger and fries and I'm perfectly fine. I was not sure how I'd do with this upscale healthy menu - I loved it. Each day I tried things I normally wouldn't. The bread assortment was great and my favorite was the cheese soufflE. I could have had that as an appetizer every night; sadly, it was only available the first night. The entrees were well prepared and tasty, too. It was just the right amount of food; we never left feeling terrible like you can after a meal in the MDR or the buffet. We also ate breakfast here a couple times. The food just seemed fresher, but you need to have the time for the wait. Blu would be my reason for picking AQ again if the price and room location are right compared to concierge class.
Aromatherapy selection. It was sandalwood - I hate that smell. When I inquired about the "selection" I was told there were no other choices, so we had them remove the fragrance. No benefit.
A pillow menu - um, no. There was no menu in the room and upon first inquiry I was told there wasn't anything else. After two nights of sleeping on terrible, flat pillows, I called the desk. They sent the supervisor. He had to do some digging, but about 30 minutes later he returned with a wonderful memory foam pillow and also a big body pillow. Finally, a good nights sleep. Not sure this is really specific to AQ. I suspect if you asked early enough for a different pillow in any class, and spoke to the right person, you could get one.
Daily delivery of bottled water and teas -Their policy, apparently, is two bottles of water per room per day. When we asked if they could do more, they did step up and provide a few more. The daily delivery of tea was also a bit odd. There was no flavor choice, but they left a carafe of fruit flavored tea in the room. It was only refreshed when it was empty. For us, this meant a couple days with the same carafe in our room. When there was a flavor we didn't like, we emptied it in the sink in the morning. No real benefit, I can just as easily bring on my own bottled water and live without tea.
Personal Spa Concierge - one person tucked away for AC guests to use, still had a line. Regular booking area just as easily available if you go there early. No real benefit.
Plush robes and slippers. Robes were nice. Slippers were handy, not plush. Still a plus.
Enhanced personal care products. Okay, sure, they were lovely.
Unlimited access to the Persian Garden and Relaxation room - Enjoyed the warm benches in the garden, but it wasn't relaxing with the sound of the doors opening and closing all the time. The relaxation room was less than; some people couldn't help themselves and were chatting, the lemon water was empty, and the room was dirty/sandy? No real benefit.
Itinerary is in port reviews.
We enjoyed our at sea days tremendously. No real agenda, just relaxation.
The shopping talk - It is always the same. They're pushing their stores for their profit. I don't think any port store should be "trusted." I just don't like this part of the process. Sure, buy a t-shirt and maybe a local trinket, but stay away from the expensive stuff unless you really now exactly what it is you're looking for/at and the value.
There were a couple of history talks that my husband enjoyed, being a history buff. I found them okay considering I'm not a history buff.
The glass blowing is just amazing, although the bench seating is somewhat uncomfortable. We missed the first and last shows, but made it a priority to get to the others. We also went to the meet the artist time, which we never do - they were that good.
The evening theater shows. They were an entertaining way to spend the evening. The theater definitely fills up though, so if you have more than two, arrive early.
Debarkation: terrible. It isn't all their fault, people get so pushy, don't follow their times, and curtsey goes out the window. We seriously almost saw a fist fight over cutting in line. Sadly, second time with Celebrity, and for the second time, they ruined a suitcase/broke the wheel when taking it off the ship.