Background information: My name is Olivia, i am 18, and am currently in my first year at University studying Law.
I live in East Yorkshire/Lincolnshire, and this was my 4th cruise; 1st on Celebrity. This cruise was the first time i was too old to use the kids club!
I went on this cruise with my 15 year old sister and my parents
Pre Cruise hotel: Embassy Suites, Fort Lauderdale
Before i went on this cruise, i tried and failed to find a review of a solstice class ship from the mind of a teenager, so may this be the first (and not the last!)
As we live in the UK, we had to endure a long flight to actually get to the ship. On the last Caribbean cruise i went on, Princess chartered a flight from Manchester to San Juan (where the cruise started). So we were quite disappointed when we found out that we had just been placed on whatever flights were available to Miami. The flights were with American Airlines, from Manchester, via Chicago to Miami. We had a 5 hour wait in Chicago, but as out first flight was delayed an hour and a half, and the time it took us to get through customs, we had just the right amount of time to get some food and a coffee.
We were very impressed with the pre-cruise hotel Celebrity had put us up in. We stayed at the Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale. Although the decor was slightly dated, each room was a huge suite with a dining table, sofa, separate bedroom and bathroom. Breakfast in the morning was great with a nice choice of fresh fruit, bagels, cook-to-order omelettes, hot food and a selection of pastries. The hotel is also conveniently placed within a 5 minute walk of a Publix, which was great to pick up last minute suncream and some wine to take on board.
The transfer to the ship was very smooth for us, but apparently we had got lucky. The coach company had sent a mini bus early which 15 of us managed to get on, but the main transport arrived at the hotel 45 minutes later. This meant we managed to join the queue at the check in which although was large, was bigger when we had got to the front!
Embarkation onto the ship:
Once we had checked in, we had to wait about 20 minutes in a queue that winded through every square inch of the building, and then we were onboard!
After he had picked up our orange juice/champagne we did our own thing -as opposed to being herded up to the buffet- and went and had a drink in the Sunset Bar at the back of the ship. First thing i noticed which kind of segregated my age group: The range of non-alcoholic cocktails. On the menu, there were only 2 or 3 as opposed to around 20-30 alcoholic ones. However, as the cruise went on, the bartenders were more than happy to make up drinks for you.
At around 1.30pm the staterooms were ready. I was very impressed with the cabins on this ship. They had a very modern feel to them, with light wood and plenty of lights (8 in the stateroom alone- not including the bathroom). The 32" tv was great, which was powered by Apple TV. It had lots of great on-demand movies, and you could order room service from the TV which was a nice touch! The bathroom was great- lots of storage space (unlike the bedroom) and a shower with proper sliding doors instead of a curtain! As we had a connecting stateroom, the room steward was happy to open up the divider between our parents cabin and our cabin!
We ate in the Moonlight Sonata Dining Room every night, and with the exception of the first night, we sat on the same table every night which was a nice touch, as the waiters remembered our drinks orders, and were happy to bring us food that wasn't on the menu.
Every breakfast and lunch, we ate in the Oceanview cafe, which i found to be fantastic. Great choice of fresh fruit, hot foods and breads in the morning, and an overwhelming selection of hot and cold foods at lunch time.( i loved the caesar salad with the crispy bacon bits!!!) Some days we also grabbed a burger or hotdog from the Mast Grill, which were great.
Whilst the ship was in port, there was no trouble getting sun beds, and the pool was always almost empty. However, on sea days, you could not go for a swim, it was more of a "dip". My parents had to get up at 7am to make sure we got 4 sunbeds together in the spot we wanted. The spa pool was a lovely place to go when it got too hot out on deck, as it was air conditioned and the pool was always pretty empty.
Age range on board:
We found that the average age onboard the ship was 65. There were mobility scooters zipping into the lifts, and even an assistance dog on board (who went around in a pram). I often found myself wondering what to do on sea days, as my 15 year old sister went off to teen zone, and i often got a bit bored. However, i came on the holiday to relax, and a relaxing time i had! We decided that the average age was quite high due to American's not getting a 2 week spring break, and because UK Easter holidays were at different times around the country. Im sure on a cruise from Southampton in the summer, it would have been a different ship altogether!
We found the entertainment on board to be very good. From the Beatles tribute band who were FANTASTIC, to the amazing dance shows which featured some acrobatics, and even to Perry Grant, who by the end of the cruise we managed to appreciate. (You really do have to go in open minded!)
You really cannot fault the service onboard the ship. Everyone you walked past was smiling and wishing you a good day, the waiters were always happy to help, and the bartenders who often remembered your drinks. Our room steward was fantastic, and was always making towel animals and leaving us little poems he had written and had printed onto special card.
Wifi: I was depending on the wifi to do some University work, however, i tried it out in the ilounge, and it really is not worth the price they are charging! I just ended up searching for wifi at each port.
My family and i would not hesitate to rebook with Celebrity, especially on the Solstice class ship. They really are beautiful, and the food and service is great. However, the ship would benefit with a 18-21's meet up, which i noticed they did have on Princess.