This was our first cruise, and this ship could not have suited us more, so happy with our choice of ship.
Embarkation was faster, easier, and smoother than I ever anticipated it would be, even if Port Everglades feels like a warehouse. It took us about 10 minutes from the time the hotel shuttle dropped us off to the time we walked on board the ship, where we were greeted with glasses of champagne and mimosas. There was a general fun, party-ish atmosphere in the main lobby. We arrived about 1:15, and our rooms were ready in less than 30 minutes. The Sailaway Sizzle was one of my favorite things of the whole cruise-the ship blew its horn at an apartment building by the port, and the residents waved, yelled, waved flags, and blew air horns in return. A DJ played music and the house dancers performed.
The room was fine. I have nothing to compare it to, other than a hotel room, but I thought it was well-appointed, and slightly larger than I expected. It had loads of storage, like every little nook and cranny was used for storage. The shower was good, and the bed had a nice memory-foam mattress, real comfy.
We were mostly pleased with the food. My husband is a chef, so he is more critical than most, but the food in the buffet, and the main dining area, was very good, with one exception. The fish special one night was awful, so tough I could barely cut it with a knife and fork. Our waiter promptly replaced it with another item. We chose select dining, never made a reservation, and never waited more than 5 minutes for a table. We did not eat in any of the extra-fee venues, and were OK with that. Frankly, the menus weren't too appealing.
The public areas were lovely, with plenty of lounges for relaxing and listening to different kinds of music, from a string trio to Latin music to a lively DJ. You could party it up if you wanted, or you could enjoy a drink and some quiet conversation.
The shows were just OK. The entertainers were talented, but I found the shows campy and amateurish. The guest entertainers were better, and the best show by far was "The Liars Club", with the captain, cruise director and another officer making up hilarious definitions of obscure words. We also enjoyed the tour of the galley, and Captain Tasos' talk on how the Solstice was built. We also went to the movie poster trivia contest, and I won 2 luggage tags, and was the first passenger to get all 40 questions correct.
Getting on and off the ship at our ports of Key West and Cozumel was easy and fast. We were the only ship in port in Key West, so it wasn't too busy in town, but there were a total of 5 ships in Cozumel.
We saw only about 2 dozen children on board, if that, and that was fine by me. I did not want to be surrounded by kids, and it was also very easy to dine at a table for 2. I work at a theme park, and it was nice to not have to talk to thousands of strangers.
We had perfect weather and for most of our time on board, could barely tell the ship was moving,until about 3 hours before we docked in Lauderdale, where we rocked quite a bit.
Disembarkation was as easy as arriving-in and out in no time with little waiting. The hotel shuttle was already outside, and 30 minutes from the time we left the ship we were on our way home.
My biggest complaint was lack of chairs by the pool. If you did not stake out a seat, chair, or table by 9 AM, you were out of luck unless you wanted to be on deck 12 in the bright blazing sun. Because of this, I never did go to the pool except for zumba on our sea days. Deck 4 was nice and quiet and always had seats, plus shade, but if you wanted to pop in the hot tub or take a dip in the pool, it is a long way from deck 4 to deck 10.
We had such a great time, and we are already talking about going to the Mediterranean next year. I hope it is on Celebrity.