My wife and I are experienced cruisers (about 18-19 thus far, and include all the mainstream cruise lines).
We were looking forward to this trip, as we had never been to Hawaii, and are getting older, making the long flight from the east coast more taxing.
Overall, we certainly had a very good time. The ship is elegant, in an understated way; lots of chrome, glass, and neutral colors. The Solstice was immaculate, and staff were busy cleaning glass, etc., everywhere.
There were some disappointments, however, and while each was rather small as an issue, they did add up.
First, the staff person registering us upon embarkation did not know what she was doing, unable to run my wife's passport through, (though we had done the pre-embarcation weeks before, on-line)-requiring additional help to process us, and even then my wife's name was inverted, with her middle name being on the cruise pass-which caused us delays later as her ID then did not match the name on the pass.
We both observed that used plates at the upstairs buffet were not cleared in a timely manner, and wait staff in the dining room did not serve with the expected aplomb-i.e.- water glasses not refilled, mistakes made as to who ordered what, and at one point, an assistant waiter had each of three persons at our table check our tea bags, as he did not know which type of tea was given to whom. Again, not a big deal, but not what we had come to expect from Celebrity.
The food was good-some main courses in the dining room were excellent, which some others had lovely presentation but were short of content-3 brussel sprouts halves, serving as the vegetable. The lunch buffet had many choices, from Oriental, to a pasta station, carved meat, etc.
We were considering ordering one of the photos taken of us on the first formal night, but the photo taken by the ship photographer captured a woman in the corner, essentially ruining this as something we would want as a keepsake. When I asked the photo staff about whether she could be cropped out, he said, "yes", but there would be an additional charge for this service. I said this is surprising, given that their photographer was responsible for the picture, but he essentially said, then don't purchase it. Entertainment was very good. The production shows showed much imagination, and the Cruise Director, Alejandro, was great-a charming guy, not at all obnoxious as some others have been.
Our cabin steward was spot-on. She changed the ice in our ice bucket twice daily, alerted us about time changes, and seemed interested in us having a good cruise experience.
I suspect that Celebrity, while initially having upscale aspirations, has slipped back to the pack-the Royal Caribbean pack. I do not rule out future cruises with the line but will take a harder look at the price before selecting them.
Finally, Hawaii was absolutely beautiful. While the cruise gave us a limited time to see the islands, a big plus for us was not having to take inter-island flights, or pack and then unpack.
I highly recommend this trip. As there was only one day there (an overnight would have been nicer), I had set upon this one-having previously met someone from that island, recommending that drive. Being transported is the way to go-do not even think of driving it yourself-it is incredibly winding, and has many bridges, which are one lane, meaning that one or the other direction can go at one time. The driver will have a white-knuckle experience and will miss most of the scenery. Actually, the road from Hana was more hair raising, as it bordered sheer cliffs. The scenery was magnificent.