Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by Goldenco: A Pretty Great Time on the Solstice
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A Pretty Great Time on the Solstice
We did a B2B, with this being the 1st part and then around New Zealand for the 2nd. We stayed in the same cabin. This was about our 14th cruise, most of them with Celebrity, and we have about 6 other ones in the future all with Celebrity. When you find a good thing, why take on more risk? We are Elite members which helps. We also got the drink package as part of a promotion, and it was nice to have, although the drinks we got at the Elite social hours would have sufficed.
The fitness center had almost all of the equipment we have at the one near our home, but several of the treadmills were not working and the touchscreens were very difficult to use. A few of the weight machines needed repair, although they were useful. They provided plenty of towels and wipes. It was relatively crowded in the 10:00 a.m. time frame, but I always got a machine. A real annoyance is the music from the aerobics/spin area. The areas are only slightly separated and the sound system is not divided More (bad design), so when they pump the music up, it's hard to hear from your iPod, etc. Very distracting. Also, the woman who appears to be head of the fitness area was not friendly. It was if she had a chip on her shoulder; Celebrity needs to take a look at that. She was about the only crew member who was not friendly.
While we are discussing negatives, we have eaten in Blu on the past several cruises and loved it. However, the layout of the tables on this ship was different and was very congested in my mind. I think because there is such a demand for Blu and limited space, they squeezed too many tables into the room. We even got two letters from Blu asking us to come at particular times (as in 2 hours from when we normally eat). The first night in Blu, the sommelier argued with me and would continuously interrupt me, and then when I complained to the Maitre d', he was arrogant. Since I don't need that on a cruise, we left and ate the rest of the time in the MDR, Grand Epernay. We had a great time there, and met lots of interesting folks. Several of our future bookings are in Aqua Class, and because of our experience in Blu, I will probably change cabin categories so we are not paying for a service we don't use.
In the MDR, Grand Epernay, the service was excellent. The Maitre d' for the any-time dining was fantastic, knowing us by name and placing us at great tables. The wait staff was terrific, and the two sommoliers we had were top notch. The food was fine (I am not a gastronome). The lobster and prime rib were larger than normally provided on a cruise.
We don't usually go to the shows, but my wife went to one Broadway type show and loved it, and others really enjoyed the shows.
The TV reception was very good and it was a good sized flat screen. And they finally had Fox news on, so I had a news channel that I could watch.
The ship was extremely clean, and there were always crew members cleaning, washing, and taking care of anything amiss. All (most) of the crew members were very pleasant and appeared to be happy, with clean, pressed outfits as appropriate.
Embarkation was a snap for us, and debarkation after the 2nd leg was also a snap. Very well planned out. Also, we had heard horror stories about people on B2B's going thru painful experiences in changing seapasses, etc. from the 2st cruise to the next, but ours was very well planned and executed. As painless as one can imagine. They even had a pre-meeting to let us know the plan.
The Oceanview Cafe became pretty crowded at about 1:00, so we found it much better to go there a little after 12:00; much less crowded. as much as Celebrity tries, there are still people sitting at a table reading their books long after they've finished eating.
Without going into detail, the ports we stopped at were a disappointment for both my wife and I, and several Celebrity tours we took were marginal, although probably as good as they could arrange with the options they have. At least we can check these islands off our list. Less
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