First let me say that we are not big time cruisers & did not choose this cruise for the ship. We looked at the itinerary & it fit in well with our pre-cruise travels by leaving Amsterdam on a Friday.
The ship is beautiful & brand new, so what's to complain about? Although physically the ship is ready, there were some techinal issues,confusion about policy with the staff, & very busy elevators. Certainly not a deal breaker & expected by us as this was the crews first group of passengers. Also very wet & rainy weather throughout this cruise put additional pressure on all the indoor public areas.( very crowded at times) The only sunny & nice day was the last at sea Saturday October 20th 2012. At this time time the outdoor areas filled fast & gave an oppertunity to explore the entire ship. This vessel offers many amenities, unfortunately we choose not to use them.( personal choice)
Embarkation: Just okay. Seems people were excited to get on board & arrived early. The process was smooth but could have gone faster. Once onboard we were greeted warmly & proceeded to our stateroom to drop off the carry-on lugguage & begin exploring the ship.
Cabin: Larger than I remember & laid out well. Did not get to use our veranda much due to the weather. It was standard size with a table & 2 chairs. The bathroom is great with a round enclosed shower. Lots of room with plenty of hot water & pressure.
Housekeeping: Just plain excellent. We had the best cabin attendant & always available to ensure your needs. Always had a nice bucket of ice waiting for us at 4;30pm each day.
Dining Room: Nicely appointed. The food was good & some meals excellent. Again we had an exceptional waiter who knew our needs & also provided great subjections. This really helped to make our trip better.
Entertainment Very subjective. Thought the 2 production were just okay. The other entertainment kinda what you would expect. Did not feel like there was any special for this inaugural sailing. The theatre is very nice & seemed to have enough seats for everyone. (maybe they enlarged it on this vessel)
Activities: Although there is a full list of things to do on sea days, nothing was that exciting. We found few things of interest for us. We did notice the game room was busy most of the time & the library is beautiful. Again these days were very crowded becuase of the weather conditions. I did notice what I thought to be a lack of live music in the public areas throuthout the day. Futher only counted 3 pianos on the entire ship. Of course they sat idle most of the time. It was also curious how the cruise director made such a big deal about inaugural sailing,you are the first customers/passengers on this sailing,a unique experience, yet nothing special was done. There was no gift for purchase or otherwise from Celebrity for this sailing. Many passengers were very disappointed.(it would have nice to have something to remember this event from the ship)
Excursions: We did 4 ship & 1 private shore excursion on this sailing. Again alot of people to move, however Celebrity did a good job. Somewhat disappointed with all the excursions. Bad weather played a large role, umbrellas everywhere,one really bad local guide,nowhere to shop as stores were closed at the end of the tour due to Spanish Siesta,& few oppertunities to try the local cusine. My poor picture taking skills are really noticable because of the conditions. Finally the Celebrity tours we were on provided no headsets.Everyone tried to huddle around the guide to hear the information.(how do you get close with 25 plus people & umbreallas in your way?) For the high costs of these trips, Celebrity should have done a better job with their guides & vendors.
Summary: The ship is great & the crew/staff tried really hard to make all the passengers happy. For us it was just too many people & alot pushing & shoving. (you know who you are) There was a good mix of people, Europeans,North Americans,Asians,Great Britain & Australians. This made for us lively conversations & a good exchange of ideas. One problem we encountered was in Cellar Masters The machines were not working properly at all times. Therefore unable to get your choice of wine by the glass without assistance. Many times no one was in the Cellar to help. We purchased a $100 wine card & ended up using 50% of it. Often forced to go to bar & purchase their limited choices.(kinda defeats the purpose Cellar Masters).Will we go on another solistice ship? Unlikely. The overall experience was good, however we will be more careful in choosing our next Celebrity Cruise.