My husband and I went on our 2nd Celebrity cruise 27 August to 8 September 2012. Apart from Venice, where it rained on both occasions we have visited, the weather was perfect. It was a wonderful itinerary as all the ports were beautiful. The Solstice is a very stable ship and even when we had storms on a couple of nights, I did not feel the ship moving. Our first time on Celebrity was the Constellation. Both are lovely ships and did not disappoint.
The crew were excellent - friendly, polite and nothing was too much trouble. The ship was very clean and the whole ship deserved its 5 stars. We did notice some changes though, mainly with the food. We had 1st seating in the restaurant on a table of 10 and they were a good mix of really lovely people. The meat dishes were excellent and the steaks were huge and perfectly cooked. However, every night the vegetables were the same and the overall menu was quite limited. I wasn't really tempted by the desserts which were mostly the same each night. The buffet restaurant, although very good quality food, was also the same every day and very often most of the buffet areas were roped off and cleared away quite quickly, making choice even more limited.
The other criticism is the entertainment. Once the show in the theatre was over there was very little else to do (everyone seemed to be complaining about this). There were plenty of bars but most were almost empty as there was little or no entertainment. If you decided to stay on the ship during the ports of call, again there was very little effort made by the entertainment crew.
We had a drinks package, which we highly recommend, as the drinks were lovely. My husband had the premium package and I had the non-alcoholic package which meant he enjoyed the beer and working his way down the list of cocktails in the Molecular Bar and I could enjoy the speciality coffees and fresh orange juice. These packages definitely paid for themselves and are one of the reasons why we like to sail with Celebrity. The port excursions were very expensive and we did not use them, preferring to make our own arrangements. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Our cabin was ready as soon as we boarded and our suitcases arrived very quickly. On Celebrity Constellation there was an entertainer called Perry Grant who performed in Michael's Club and this lounge was packed every night. However, on the Solstice, Michael's Club was empty every time we passed by. I think the Solstice would benefit from someone like Perry Grant. I know that not everyone wants to be entertained but my husband and I do, and that is one of the reasons we like cruises, so we can enjoy the evening entertainment. If the Solstice had had a 'Perry Grant' it would have been perfect. We would definitely sail with Celebrity again but it would very much depend on the itinerary and the price. Another point before I finish, a lot of people were frustrated that although they had paid their tips at the time of booking their cruise, no envelopes were provided with vouchers, to give to the crew to show that these had been pre-paid, and we felt we had to give our waiters and cabin stewards 'extra' tips, making this very expensive.