This was our second cruise on the Solstice and it is one of our favorite ships.
I must say up front that this was the worst embarkation I've ever encountered. We arrived at the port around 12:30 pm. The lines were extremely long. It took well over an hour to board. Part of the problem may have been that instead of passing out the medical questionnaire ahead of checking in, you filled it out at the check-in desk. Other than that, I don't know why it took so long.
Once on board, we were able to go directly to our stateroom, deck 6 forward. We immediately met our room steward, Derry, who took excellent care of us during our stay. Our room was your typical balcony room, small, but comfortable. We had a problem with the TV having a distorted screen. We called 3 or 4 times during the week, but could never get it corrected. Occasionally, when entering our stateroom, we smelled an offensive odor such as sewer. We were easily able to control our room temperature. The shower maintained a perfect water temperature. There was plenty of storage space.
We pre-purchased the premium beverage package which included all of our drinks, from water and specialty coffee to cocktails and wines for about $55.00 per day. We went to the Martini Bar at 5:00 for cocktails every day. They provided snacks to have with your drinks. Dewa took excellent care of us. All of the bartenders put on a wonderful show.
Unfortunately, the ice bar was not working. The only other down side, was that one evening a group of four came to the bar from the pool in their bath robes, sat down and ordered drinks. Talk about inappropriate dress, especially after 5:00 pm.
We booked Celebrity Select Dining so we could dine when we wanted to. All of our meals in the dining room as well as the specialty restaurants were wonderful. We especially liked the Tuscan Grille. Some standouts were the Escargot, Lobster, and Beef Wellington in the dining room. We had the Chateaubriand for Two at Murano which was excellent. At Tuscan Grille, we particularly liked the Carpaccio di Bisteca & Pulpetti and Spaghetti alla Bolognese. At Bistro on Five, we liked the Cowboy Crepe, Mediterranean Crepe, the Steak Panini, and French Crepe. We don't care for buffets, so ate most of our breakfast and lunch meals in the dining room. The Eggs Benedict, Omelets, and Smoked Salmon Platter were our top choices for breakfast. We did eat at the buffet twice for breakfast and it was good.
We went to two shows during the week. The first was a Broadway show which was excellent. The Celebrity singers and dancers are very talented. The other show was on the last day of the cruise and featured a sampling of all the entertainment throughout the week. It was very good as well.
There was always something to do while on board. There were several art auctions which we like to attend. The art gallery did a presentation on the life of Thomas Kinkade which was very informative. We went to an Iron Chef Cook off which was fun. They have a Taste of the Solstice where you can sample food from around the ship. Of course they have the port talks, wine tastings, martini tastings, bingo, trivia, lawn games, hot glass show, etc. The casino is very small. During the week they print how much the slots have paid out in the newsletter, but they never say how much they've taken in. I lost at the slots, but my husband won at the tables.
You can monitor your spending account on your TV and it's a good idea to do that. Our biggest complaint was that we were supposed to receive $100 on-board spending credit which we could never get straightened out with guest relations. We were continually told they were checking into the problem. Since returning home, we've contacted our travel agent and they are trying to work it out for us. We had a charge on our bill that wasn't ours and we were double charged for the Bistro on Five. Both of those were resolved, but we had to point them out.
The only ship excursion we took was the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan. The show was very good and worth the price of the $35.00 ticket. We had to tender in Juneau. We arrived a little after 1:00 pm. You had to get a tender ticket to get off. They tendered people with scheduled shore excursions first. By the time our tender number was called it was 3:40 pm. There really wasn't anything we wanted to do there as we had been to Juneau before, so we opted to stay on board. People were still just boarding tenders at 4:00 pm. I'm not sure why it was taking so long.
Disembarkation was smooth. We didn't know what to expect after the embarkation process, but it went well. We were staying overnight in Seattle, so we were close to the end of getting off. The taxi line was extremely long. We were told it would take 30-45 minutes to get a taxi, so we opted to hire a private car which was quick and cost about the same as a taxi, maybe $10.00 more.