We arrived at Pier 91 at about 11:30 a.m. via our hotel shuttle. The port is definitely a busy place! Our luggage was handled the minute we got out of the shuttle. There wasn't much of a line at that time, so we were able to get into the main area where the check-in agents are almost immediately. Once there, the process was a tad chaotic as their check-in process took you to small tables instead of a larger desk like at the Port of Miami or San Juan. A bit crowded, but not too bad. We were on the ship in very little time and having drinks and lunch on Deck 14 at the Mast Bar.
An announcement was made at about 1:30 p.m. that staterooms were ready. My parents, friend and I stayed at Mast Bar for awhile and then headed to the room. My friend and I shared 7279 (port aft), which was extremely spacious and had a small balcony. In short...the room and beds were very comfortable and tastefully decorated in beige. Bathroom was also very large compared to other ships I had been on. Both the bathroom and the stateroom had a decent amount of closet and storage space. My parents' room was 3172 (inside, midship just by Passport Bar). Their room was only slightly smaller than ours, and they were extremely pleased
This ship is VERY nice. It is kept clean and tidy in all areas. The decor is very modern with lots of curtained off areas so that a small group can gather for a little privacy if they wish. Quasar night club is the best dance club I have seen on any ship. Solstice Theatre is beautiful even though the entertainment is nothing special. We very much liked the Grand Epernay dining room, but the Ocean View Cafe (buffet restaurant) on Deck 14 is extremely chaotic on port days as it is organized into a series of small food stations where everyone gets in everyone else's way. The coffee house is hands-down one of my favorite areas on the ship. Pool deck was also very nice and even got used as one day in Skagway was over 80 degrees!
Dining and Service
We were all extremely pleased with our service in the dining room, the only exception being our surly wine steward who provided decent service but just had a strange personality. Our servers were amazingly accommodating and pleasant, and our cocktail waitress, Timea, was one of the highlights of my trip. The food on Solstice is TOP NOTCH. I loved how there was a fixed dinner menu on the left of the menu and a nightly-changing menu on the right. On the fixed menu, I recommend the steak and French Onion Soup. My only complaint about food is that the scrambled eggs in the Ocean View cafe are consistently runny. The quality of the coffee house beverages was extremely good.
Side Note: We all had the classic drink package, which I felt was a wise investment. It was nice not having to worry about racking up a large drink bill as we have had on other cruises. I think we definitely drank our fill :)
To be honest, we only saw one of the production shows on the first night, and it just wasn't that good. We didn't go back to any of the others. Elsewhere in the ship the live entertainment was quite varied and decent. The highlight would have to be Full Tilt, a male quartet whose performances were amazing. We also enjoyed the band that played in the Grand Foyer and Sky Lounge and even attended a very risque comedy show.
Everyone agreed that Patty Honneke, our cruise director, was the worst cruise director we had ever experienced on a cruise. Other than her daily appearances on Celebrity Channel 2 on the TV and on the stage of the theatre, I saw Patty on the ship a grand total of ONE time. Most other cruise directors are out mingling with guests, but not Patty. In our one brief conversation with her she was extremely phony and clearly was not interested in even talking to us.
Tracy Arm cruising--there are no words for how beautiful this place is. From eagles to seals riding icebergs passing your ship, this scenic morning was one I will never forget. My parents came up to our balcony and we had plenty of room to enjoy together.
Solarium--the adults-only pool area(except for a couple of hours) is a beautiful area to get away from the rest of the passengers milling around by the pool.