Cabin 8131 on the July 5 Sailing - Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom Veranda. Family of four. First time on Celebrity. 4th time to Alaska (twice on HA, once on RC).
Some things that aren't detailed in this review were average in our experience (embarkation, disembarkation, pool area). I will focus only on the highlights and the one unfortunate possible deal-breaker lowlight.
First, the highlights:
Loved the spacious cabin with very modern styling - including the bathroom. But the 3rd and 4th beds were a foam mattress on a sofa and a trundle bed which were not that comfortable. The main bed had a memory foam top which was ok but we still prefer the beds (linen, mattress and pillows) on HA. Veranda was great with comfy deck chairs and a small table.
We love the layout of this ship except that there are no staircases/elevators at the hallway ends - only towards the middle. Lawn, AquaSpa, Grand Foyer and Theater were outstanding areas. Sky Observation Lounge, Grand Epernay and Library were not well thought out (better on HA Westerdam).
Crew were among the best we have come across. Room steward (Mario), Main Dining Waiters (Rogelio and Baliram) and other staff (Kadek and Jayden to mention two) were very friendly and helpful.
We always look forward to the entertainment and activities on-board - and as mentioned by other reviewers, Brent Nixon was captivating with his presentations on whales, bears, etc. For us, the production shows, particularly Solstice The Show, were remarkable. The 60's Theme Show and 70's Theme Show were fun. Comedy and Magic shows were ok but not must-sees. I thoroughly enjoyed the watercolor art class with Amy; get to the first class early to get a good seat and a free kit!
Among the weak areas, only one is worth mentioning because it could be a deal breaker for some. To start on a high note, the buffet dining was pretty good. Breakfast options were as good as a 3-star breakfast-inclusive hotel (think Embassy Suites) - did enjoy the corn beef hash and eggs benedict. What's with the cheap yogurt? As with RC, the Indian cuisine was outstanding (except for the roti). Ice cream was excellent with No Sugar Added and Low Fat options available. Except for the lack of daily change in the offerings, the buffet dining was the place to get your food (surprise!?). Another high note is that dining service and ambiance in the Grand Epernay, Murano and Silk Harvest were great and as good as we have experienced on RC and HA; however, the food was consistently off-mark with expectations set much higher than was delivered. Most appetizer and main course dishes were just not good and the proteins (eg, lobster, steak, and veal chop) were especially off. My palate was disappointed over and over again. Just for reference, we ate at Elliots and the Nordstrom Grill pre-cruise in Seattle and I consider those "A" places. This ship's food was C- overall in comparison.
We are glad we used the Luggage Valet Service which let us choose when to disembark.
In sum, the Celebrity Solstice has several outstanding qualities that make for a great cruise experience, but you may find your eating experience forgettable.