The Solstice is an immaculately clean ship with several interesting areas, especially its spa area and covered pool, and its grassy area on the top deck. The Corning Glass Works demonstrations were terrific. Our Aqua class cabin was small, but well laid out. Bed was comfortable. Storage area adequate. Washroom with shower was small but had storage cubbies to spare. Balcony was decent size with comfortable chairs. Fair choice of free movies available on demand on the flat screen TV in the cabin, but this number of choices should have been expanded for such a long cruise. Not a great selection of television programming. Some very good live entertainment in the theatres each evening. However, no movies shown in the available theatre areas. Long cruises need more daily activity choices.
There are lots of elevators, so moving around on the ship was very easy and the ship never felt crowded in spite of holding almost 3,000 passengers. Dining rooms were attractive. We enjoyed the small, simple Aqua class dining room, but thought the specialty dining rooms were lack-lustre with uninspiring menus. Not worth the extra money. While menu items in all the diningrooms seemed to include strange combinations of foods, servers were very willing to adapt a menu item to our liking It was often difficult for us to find anything we recognized or wanted. We often resorted to the always-available French onion soup and Caesar salad. Desserts were generally quite ordinary. We did enjoy the small, specialty crepe restaurant, even though the menu and hours were limited. The buffet had a good selection of things to eat, but it was difficult to find a table at peak meal hours. Drinks were expensive and watered down. We needed to specify the brand of liquor we wanted to ensure a decent cocktail - and then the cost escalated. Staff was the best we have encountered on any ship, attentive, flexible, accommodating, polite and friendly. Tendering was well organized and tender boats quite comfortable. There were usually ample lounge chairs available on the pool deck.
However, Celebrity has some very annoying practices. Canned music in every area of the ship. Very few quiet places to be found. Often the music for one area blended with the music from the adjacent area - really irritating. Almost impossible to find a quiet place with a comfy sofa or chair to sit and read. The central "lobby" guest services area of the ship is incredibly small and there was almost always some activity going on in this area - dance classes or egg dropping, etc., making it difficult to get through. Overlooking this central area is the "library" which was a complete joke. First of all, there are very few books in this library. Many of those on the stacks are on shelves far too high for anyone to reach. Open to, and overlooking, the central "lobby", the library area is very noisy. In spite of this being a long cruise with many days at sea, Celebrity did not hire a bridge director for organized bridge lessons or games. The card room consisted of about five tables again open to, and overlooking, the noisy central "lobby". Entirely unconducive to a quiet game of cards. Internet connectivity is extremely expensive, even if purchased in packages. Celebrity likes to push its photographs, onboard shopping deals and art sales, but they are not too obtrusive. For Canadians, its daily newspaper was disappointing. The news was often U.S. news or unimportant, trivial happenings.
This was our first - and probably last - Celebrity cruise. At every turn we were reminded that there is a definite class structure on board Celebrity ships. The elite cruisers were feted every day with special breakfast areas, free afternoon cocktails, preferential tendering areas, roped off reserved areas in the theatre, etc., etc. After a while we felt like steerage class passengers. We have never been made to feel that way on Oceania, so we think we will probably avoid future Celebrity cruises.