My wife and I have gone on cruises with all the mid level cruiselines. What we have figured out is that Celebrity is for us. We do not have children, we're professionals, active, enjoy fine dining and the decorum required. It's kind of like our country club, proper dress, attitude, yet still relaxed. The clientele on Celebrity is not like Carnival, but not as stuffy as Crystal. It's a upper middle income and beyond crowd. For someone who doesn't own a suit and likes wearing a t-shirt and getting drunk at the pool, Celebrity is not for you.
The cruise was the first time we got a suite. It was about twice the price of a Concierge Class cabin. Our cabin was on the top cabin level, at the rear corner. This was roomy, comfortable bed, full bathtub & a XL balcony with chaise lounges and a table with chairs. Butler service comes with all suite cabins. Check before you cruise to take advantage of all the amenities. If you take advantage of the butler service, the cabin is worth every nickel.
The Solstice is an awesome cruise ship. I have been on all the other mega ships, and this one is by far the best. The layout is great, everything is easy to get to. The specialty restaurants are all very good, Bistro on 5 is the $5 bargain. The main dining room had very good food with excellent service. The buffet was a typical buffet, too much food that was above average. The workout facilities are better than other ships we have been on, not crowded due to older folks on the ship. The pool areas are like all pool areas on cruise ships, overcrowded and busy. Being from AZ, we get plenty of sun and pooltime.The flipside of that is that there is a lawn area that is awesome. This area is underutilized. Never to busy with the Sunset Bar at the rear. My wife and I spent time here everyday.
What did I really enjoy the most about this cruise you may ask? The atmosphere! It was relaxing, active, sophisticated & simply enjoyable. From the breakfast brought to our room with cuppucinos with Irish Whiskey, to the relaxing lunch at Bistro on 5. Before dinner drinks at The Martini Bar, then dinner at the Tuscan Grill, after that drinks at the Molecular Bar. You have to understand, that sophisticated cruising doesn't come cheap. If you don't want to spend money, you still can have a great time, just spoil the with a good attitude with a friendly hello - don't treat them as the help. If you know how to properly tip - grease the squeakly wheel once you arrive. $50 for the butler, $40 for the room attendant, $40 to the bar you will frequent and a few $20's to the other bar, $50 & $20 to the Maitre'D &assistant, $50 & $20 to the waiter and busses. So about $300 in tips the first day insured us of never waiting in line, best seating in the house, generous pours. The crew knew my wife and I by our fist names and bent over backwards for us. I figured this extra tip was worth it's weight in gold.
Embarkation - easy as long as you are there early or late.
Public Areas - classy and room to move around.
Cabin - Great bed, comfy linens, like new.
Fitness - rarely crowded with good classes.
Spa - pricey, but everything $$ at a spa.
Rates - all extras cost $, nothing was too out of line, cheaper than Vegas.
Dining - Great specialty restaurants, great main dining, above average buffet.
Entertainment - I enjoyed it, I am easily pleased.
Service - absolutely excellent!
Shore Excursions - pricey, but worth it for the peace of mind.
Value - Best bargain for this range of cruiselines.
Overall - Best cruiselines for those looking for a sophisticated crowd and few children.