Embarkation was a breeze however unknown to us they had mixed myself up with my six year old daughter on our cruise cards. This was discovered at our first port when I tried to get back on the ship and they wanted to know where my child was. I did a split second panic and said well she had better be in the kids club where I had signed her in to. We realised the mistake and took steps to fix this up. We made three attempts but this was never sorted out properly and throughout the cruise they sent dining information to my 6 year old and charged her bottles of wine and when we crossed the equator they even sent a letter to my daughter and my husband as a couple. Minor gripe I suppose but frustrating after we had been to customer relations to sort this out. Actually minor gripes all built up to create a disappointing service experience for us. Things like we were told we would be called and no call occurred. We ordered things and they never arrived (in room service and in the main dining room). Staff were apathetic more than a few times and customer relations often couldn't seem to come up with simple information.
Other cons for us included an extremely rude female staff member at the future cruise office who I am amazed works in sales at all after leaving us feeling unwelcome and a burden to her time.
The design of the main pool is something we wondered on as when there was any wind it seemed to act like a mini wind tunnel this made it unpleasant to be there while it was windy. However when it was hot it was nice to always catch the breeze. We also felt that the Grill closed too earlier and clearly could not keep up with demand as there was often a long cue to get a burger here, it seemed too small for the purpose and closed at 6pm. The buffet all but closed at 9:30 pm as the selection after this time was really poor. This was frustrating as often the last show would finish at 10pm and we would feel like some supper.
We were not overly impressed with the food on this cruise and I was never wowed in the dining room, it was adequate/nice though. The ship had a large outbreak of norovirus and our daughter was quarantined in our cabin, which meant we all missed a port. I feel like this really isn't the ships fault but then I have read subsequently that this is an ongoing problem for the Solstice. After the outbreak passengers were served food and drinks, library books and games were locked away, perfume testers were removed and every 50 metres there was someone shoving hand sanitiser at you. Even the salt and pepper shakers were taken off the table in the dining room. I have cruised before and heard this happens and thought it a good idea however on this cruise there were not enough staff at the food bays and there were lines at each bay so by the time you got all your food half of it was cold. The wait for a coffee or water at times was ridiculous and breakfast was a joke when you had toast at one station with a long line and eggs at another with another long line by the time you have your food you just think scrap the coffee everything will be cold. They also closed half of the bays in the buffet so the selection shrunk considerably. Staff were probably mirroring some frustration shown by passengers but the level of service definitely dropped even further.
Speaking of customer service we attended the medical centre and encountered a rude abrupt nurse, we were pretty frustrated at this point as we haven't experienced so many negative interactions while cruising before and we aren't generally hard to please people or complainers. Thankfully the doctor was great which was reassuring.
There are many lovely things about this ship and it wouldn't be fair not to mention them. Tuscan Grill was wonderful. The sky lounge is a beautiful place to be in and watch the ocean. The entertainment was slightly better than we have encountered on Princess. Also hands down the stateroom was better in our opinion than we have had on Princess and we also felt Celebrity were more organised in the way they tendered than Princess. Well that was until we hit Lahaina (Maui). We were given a card asking us to go down to immigration processing in the dining room at 11:30am. We were upset as we had a car booked in Maui for the morning and had planned to drive up the coast for the day, we spoke to customer relations who suggested we go down at 9:30am. We were hopeful that we could still make the most of the time onshore. We went down to the dining room at 9:30 and the line stretched the entire length of the ship, I am not kidding the end of the line was in the theatre. People in the line said that it had been like this for a long time and people were still waiting after getting in line at 7am. The people on celebrity shore excursions were pushed through first but even some of these people missed out on their tours. I couldn't justify making my six year old stand in a line for four hours so we went and had a swim and some lunch. We approached the line at one thirty and the line was still in the casino. Around an hour later we were near the front of the line when an announcement came over the ship asking all remaining passengers to come into the line now as the line was short. There was an astonished gasp at this insensitive announcement from those remaining in the huge line through the casino. I guess in all honesty it was shorter than three hours earlier. We were processed and on our tender at 3pm. Needless to say it was too late to get our car and drive up the coast and our days plans were spoilt. Celebrity staff blamed US Customs and said they had missed a flight to the ship, and then we heard that there had been a mix up with dates. Either way staff conceded that this is a bad port to come into the states to and it always happens. I am not impressed with this excuse. Celebrity should have informed passengers that this would occur so appropriate arrangements could be made. We might have booked an evening Luau or a later tour. We were lucky that we had not paid for our rental car there were plenty of others who had or who missed their paid excursions. I think it's dishonest of Celebrity knowing this occurs every time they enter here as a first US port and not telling passengers in advance. I think this was the last straw of many and although we had many wonderful moments as a family we won't be putting our precious holiday cash towards Celebrity again and I am cancelling a future cruise I have booked with them and we will book with Princess instead.