This being our first time on a Cruise Line other than Princess we were just plain amazed at the beauty of the ship inside and out.
We did not have to participate in the bus adventure from San Diego to Ensenada to embark. We came into Ensenada on a Princess ship and then just walked across the pier to board the Solstice. Everyone that came from San Diego on the buses had their Sea Pass Cards already, but it only took about 10 min. for someone to take our information that the ramp and go make up our cards. We were onboard in about 15 min. from disembarking the Princess ship.
With the lovely ship we were expecting great service, but that was not to be. The staff were efficient and did greet everyone, but it was robotic. We did see the Glass Blowing show, but there are not enough seats for everyone. The show was well done and explained in laymans terms. The Theater Shows were better than Princess with the Cirque style show above and beyond anything we expected to see at sea. Having the two level theater seating is a big plus. Having grown up on the West Coast and done other coatal cruises we did not take any of the tours offered. The Tender operation into Santa Barbara went very smoothly, good job.
Our Veranda stateroom with the extra bed was a little tight at times, but the larger bath than on Princess with the glass shower and shower foot rest were pluses. The closet is much smaller with less storage space and I could not understand the cages under the beds just taking up space.
The food was better than on Princess, but with a 10 person table being so long and thing one might as well sit at a 4 person table. The round 8 person tables were perfect for conversing. Service was good at all our meals. The buffet was very large and nice, but I do prefer the servers coming around with all the beverages and then serving them at the table. Then also having cups and silverware already on the table. Just get your plate of food and everything else is taken care of on Princess. We did not try any of the Speciality Restaurants as we deemed them too expensive.
Some of the venues for events were too small or just not designed to be multi-purpose. Bingo was way overpriced and in too small of a space with no where to put down your cards. Ping Pong in a main thourough fare area, come on. I just missed hitting a lady in the face as I was going for a ball. Good for spectator viewing, but not for playing a tournament.
The Martini bar was a great place if they would only turn down the Techno music.