Getting on board was fine for my wife and me. We followed advice from previous reviews to try to show up early and be on one of the early buses from the San Diego cruise terminal to Ensenada. Calling the Celebrity phone line, the call center agent said check-in would start 12 noon. We showed up a little after 10:30 am and check-in had started already. We eventually boarded the ship by 2:30.
Waiting on the bus in the Ensenada parking lot took 30 minutes since they were queuing buses and only loading people onto the ship 2 buses at a time. From talking with other passengers, some people did not board until after dinner.
Generally, food was okay to very good. Regarding the main dining room, dishes like the home style pork chop on the first night was about Marie Calendar's level and later on the week, the rib eye was almost Ruth Chris' level. Consistency is probably an issue depending when your order gets picked up on the queue line. For example the Chocolate Lava dessert was served twice in the week with the first time being excellent, and the second time being a little dry and cold. And the fish is, of course, hit or miss with it being perfectly cooked or overcooked. Portion sizes can be un-expectantly on the large size. Beware if you order any lamb shank because a Flintstones-sized leg will be dropped in front of you.
My main criticism on the Main Dining Room is that it doesn't seem that much bigger than the main dining rooms of the Millennium class vessels, despite the Solstice class having a larger passenger capacity. As consequence, most of the Table for Two’s are only an inch away from each other which make them seem like six person table tops. I feel that couples may as well as opt for the larger tables because the person who is inches away from you is more likely to carry on a conversation, rather than Table for Two person who is trying to avoid eye contact.
About the canapés for Concierge Class, it seemed like there were some budget cuts from when we last sailed on the Infinity. The canapés consisted mostly of tortilla chips, humus, and seasoned olives.
The three main productions were pretty standard for Celebrity: the Broadway revue show, the eclectic song/dance show, and the Cirque du Solei type show. The Broadway one was called Ghost Light and the plot device used to bring together such varied songs as We Want to Live in America and Defying Gravity is that the cast and crew of a closing theater are reminiscing their favorite acts. Because of the large attendance we couldn't get to see the eclectic song/dance show but I did catch the beginning where the homage to Stomp led into the Bugle Boy from Company B. As far as Solstice: The Show, which is the Cirque du Solei type show...you can either feel that this is an incredible show of sights, sounds, and celebration of the human body...or you can say that I've already seen the real show in Vegas.
The ship is clean and from the Kohler-like fixtures in the restrooms to the bright paneling on the walls, you really do get the sensation of Modern Luxury. There are also plenty of places to plant yourself for reading, playing cards, or sunbathing. The pools had enough deck chairs that I didn't notice any towel reserving chair hogs.
I have to give kudos to the Activity Staff here because I ran out of space on my comment card. Thank you to Michael, Von, Chris and Tanika for being excellent hosts. You encouraged guest to participate with your welcoming (but unobtrusive) personalities.
As far as actual activities, the ship had a very good mix of Trivia, Xbox Kinect, Table Tennis, Egg Drop/Paper airplane/Karaoke Contests, and Scrapbooking. On this trip, there was no Pictionary or Water Coloring. On top of the usual luggage tag, lanyard, and pen prizes, Billboard magazine sponsored some of the music trivia, so guests were able to win music download cards.
Because we had to leave early, we carried our own luggage and left the ship before the regular 8:30 am disembarkation. It was a direct walk-off for us with the only thing for us to do was the final swipe of our Seapass card.
I feel if you read the message boards and reviews ahead of time, you can make the most out of your cruise vacation. There are some noteworthy things about cruising or Celebrity cruising, but I'm not going to be the spoiler. :)