Firstly, the boarding procedure in Dubai was pathetic. We arrived early on day of boarding and being in a Concierge cabin expected prompt handling. The check in took over two hours standing for the understaffed to process us on to the ship.
Passports were collected and we were told that we would get them a bit later !.
Almost 5 hours after entering our cabin and still no luggage. Calls to the Guest relations desk proved futile-no clear explanation or answers.
We were forced as well as most of the other passengers to have our first dinner in the main dining room in whatever clothes we were wearing. Not a very inviting sight to begin our first evening on the Solstice.
A request to have our passports were met with misleading and dishonest answers.
Fact is, we were told that it was OK to go ashore in Dubai or the next port -Muscat,Oman without the passports. Tell that to the U.S. State Department or even the guest lectures on board the ship !
The morning of our arrival in Cochin,India a 45 minute wait to retrieve our passports began the day !
Again, after we boarded the ship in Cochin,passports were collected and we were told its OK to get off ship and tour in Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia.
On the last morning,before leaving the ship in Singapore,we had to line up again for the return.
Celebrity must be counting on the ignorance of its passengers,but I would hate to be involved in any emergency medical or legal hassle while off the ship and not have my U.S. passport with me !
I have traveled extensively for business and pleasure as well, and also have overseen of staff overseas assignments and never is anyone ever advised to walk around in a foreign country without a proper,original ( not a facsimile ) passport.
The communication skills of the Guest Relations staff as well as the Captain in these matters is disgraceful !
As respects the ship itself,Solstice seems to need a refreshing update in all areas. Decor is dated,faded and nondescript.. Food in MDR is fine for those whom the ability to order many dishes is the draw.Food very mediocre, and presentation is also boring. We ate one evening in the Silk Harvest and food, etc. just average. We opted out of trying the other specialty venues after this attempt at a more upscale experience.
Oceanview Cafe was what to expect in a buffet,cafeteria setting !
Outside pool area food -very 2nd rate..
Shows ,mostly were tacky and garish...
Cruise director,Paul was a throwback to the old snake salesman/huckster.
Pool area always jammed and volume of the music seemed more appropriate for an outdoor amateur rock show.!
Perhaps, it was this cruise, and the passenger make-up,but it was a very senior and uncouth bunch.
The only bright light for us were our cabin attendants and the wait staff in the restaurants.
Celebrity seems to be competing these days with Carnival and its customer base as opposed to an upscale passenger and will suffer in the end.
Next cruise will be on Azamara or Oceanic..One gets what one pays for !!