Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by Kathleen J: Disappointment At Sea
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Disappointment At Sea
Our cruise to no where was a charter cruise to see Celebrity's new ship so that we will advertise it by word of mouth. My husband & I who have sailed quite often and have been on several Celebrity ships were excited to see this beautiful new ship with all its amenities and experience the best service they had to offer. Unfortunately they have a long way to go to offer the "best" in services. Let me start with the Ship design.
The Pool Area: I absolutely loved the new design out by the pool with the extra shaded area on the deck above the pool. The new seating areas with the wicker love seats and chairs are a very nice touch. There are large lounging beds spaced between all the regular lounge chairs and a hammock enclosed with sheer curtains that adds a romantic touch. Jacuzzis were nice, but did not work and the water was ice cold. I lied out by the pool for over 2 hours and not one waiter came and asked if I would like to order a drink!
The weather took a More drop in temperature, so we moved into the Solarium for warmth. Well the air temperature was very cool from the air conditioning; I could not even take off my cover-up and had to cover myself with a towel. I decided to go into the Jacuzzi in this area to warm up, only to find out that the heaters were not working either, and neither were the Jacuzzis outside by the pool. We located 3 workmen in the area, who were trying to fix the waterfall that wasn't working. They said they knew the Jacuzzis weren't working and could not figure out what was wrong. Then I over heard some women talking that were coming out of the Spa that the Sauna wasn't warm, it wasn't working. So I left the Solarium area. But I must say that the different types of sitting areas were very nice especially the large egg shaped lounging beds for two.
The Lawn Club Area; what a different touch to a ship. There is a grassed area for playing Bocce or Croquet, but due to cold weather and wind, no one was playing outdoors.
In this area is a demonstration of Glass Blowing put on by the Corning Company. It was extremely interesting to watch. Several shows where put on during the day. At the last show on the last night, they give away all the pieces that they had made, which were quite beautiful. Unfortunately that show was at 11:00pm and with the wind and cold temperature, we did not attend.
The Buffet area is beautiful, very open, lots of room with plenty of tables. Unlike other Celebrity ships that we experienced, this ship does not offer the serving trays to carry your plates and does not offer the personal service of someone who carries your tray and finds you a table to sit at. Large square plates, that were very heavy, had to be carried around several food stations. I expected a better variety of food offered, and I expected the hot foods to be hot which it never was. I wonder if the board of Health knows about this? Only the stir fry food because it was cooked to order and the pasta because it was warmed up just before giving it to you were hot. In fact, the plate got so hot carrying it, I had to run over to a counter to put it down or else I would have dropped it. I did burn myself carrying a cup of hot water for tea. When holding the mug by the handle, my ring finger was positioned against the cup. I did not want to drop the cup on the floor, so by the time I quickly ran to my table, my finger was quite red from the heat. By the time you walked around, had to find a table, and get your drink, you never stood a chance to eat food that was warm. There weren't any signs over the food telling you what it was. You did not know if you were getting a seafood item or a meat item. This limited me in tasting the foods. I couldn't find out where the silverware was & was told it was on the tables. When I looked around, some of the tables did have silverware wrapped in linen napkins on the table, yet there were plenty of tables that were cleared off that had no set ups. If you didn't get a seat that had the set-up it was awhile to get someone to get you some. Again, never did anyone come to our table to ask if we wanted to order a drink. Now this ship has bars in the Buffet area, so I guess they want you to go over and order your own drink. Again, less service for the increase in price that this ship will be offering.
Main Dining Room, well I just don't know where to start here. We were traveling with another couple. We asked to be assigned to the same seating (Early) and be assigned to the same table. We were assigned different dining times and the table numbers were different. When my husband went to the Maitre d'; this gentleman was quite rude, and told him that we would have to go to open seating on the lower floor of the dining room. So we went there for the first seating at 6:00 pm. The doors opened and it was a free for all. People pushing to run in and grab tables where ever they could, where was the service of being seated by someone? After finding a table, it was a while before anyone come and brought over a serving bowl with assorted bread (where was the personalized service of the server who walked around with a basket and asked what you would like?). We had to flag someone down to get water. Someone did come over to take our drink order, and that arrived in a timely matter. But after that, the timing was off. So much help were running around like chickens with no heads, yet no one was being served. They brought 3 meals and the 4th meal came out minutes later after everyone else had to start eating. The food was cool, borderline cold. I had ordered tenderloin of beef and veal. I asked for the beef to be medium, it was quite red (very rare) and the veal was not cooked all the way through. My husband ordered the Orange Roughy and he said it was delicious but cold. The waiter never came over to see if everything was OK. Then they started to clear the tables before everyone was finished & I still did not eat because the meat was raw! The food that our traveling companions ate was also cold. The coffee & dessert were great! It took so long to be served that the next seating that started at 8:30pm could not come into the dining room because people were just getting served their desserts. Then they turned on all the overhead lighting to tells up that we needed to speed up the eating, but what could they do to speed up the serving? We ordered a Specialty coffee from the waiter to get from the bar. He said they did not know how to make it & wanted to know what was in it. So we told him, and off he went to the bar. Now we are being served coffee, tea and dessert. We ask the waiter where is the Keokee Coffee? He tells us that he is getting it. Well, time past and we are now getting up from the table to leave & the waiter brings the Keokee Coffee; it is ice cold, we did not accept it since it was cold and we were now leaving.
The Stateroom, was a lovely room, a little more space than usual that it made it very comfortable. There was a sofa and small table in front of it, but the sofa was wedge so close to the closet door, it made it very difficult to open the door and hang clothing. The bathroom was wonderful. It had plenty of storage and added space to actually move around in it. The shower had sliding curved doors that enclosed you and prevented the water from going everywhere. We asked our cabin steward if were could get a pitcher of ice water. She told us that she did not have water; that we had to buy it at a bar. I told her that I did not want to purchase bottled water & a pitcher of water would be fine. She told us that she could not do that, but she would give us ice and we could get water from the sink in the bathroom. Again, where is this "service" we received on other Celebrity ships?? The 2nd night we never got any ice & when we called no one answered the phone in room service, so we called Guest Relations and expressed our displeasure with the service, they sent someone up with enough ice, I could have built an igloo. Was there some underlying message that they were trying to tell us?? I realized that we also never got any little chocolates on our pillows as in other cruises.
The gift shops had the usual items for sale. But since we were on a cruise to nowhere, there was a 3% sales tax that was added. Who gets that tax, is it actually paid to a state, if so, what state?
The Casino - it was great not having people smoke in the Casino! I don't like the electronic slot machines that don't pay back in coins. You print a receipt and then take it to the cashier. Also, how come I only got back $58 for my $60 winnings? The cashier told me that was what I got! Who got the other $2.00? It will be a few years before I would give this ship another chance. I was told all personnel were experienced and came from another ship, well, something is wrong with the service if it isn't inexperience! Also, I wish they would get new entertainment. The want you to be a steady customer; yet the entertainment is rotated among their ships and we see the same thing over and over again. What we saw this weekend, we saw last year on our Greek cruise with Celebrity. Kathy J-Lake Worth, FL Less
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Cabin review: Celebrity Solstice 7197
Great cabin, location was good 1/2 between two sets of elevators. Room larger than most and bathroom was also larger. Great design to cabin, plenty of storage space. Balcony was comfortable with small table & 2 chairs-good to sit at to eat. One side of closet was difficult to get to because sofa was wedged up close to closet door, but I would still give this cabin a great review