I left Michigan on Friday night, arrived in Ft. Lauderdale a little after midnight. Grabbed a taxi and arrived at the Ramada Inn Airport/Cruiseport about 1:00 am. This hotel is really quite nice and I wasn't disappointed at all. We used their free shuttle to the ship on Sunday morning.
We left the hotel around 11:45, dropped a handful of people at the Princess ship, the rest of us were on the Solstice. We arrived at the pier about 12:00, dropped our luggage with the porter and proceeded inside.
This is the easiest embarkation process I've ever been through. With 60 check in windows, there was absolutely no waiting. It took about 5 minutes then we were on our way up to the ship.
The ship is very, very pretty. Although it didn't "wow" me, I really liked the decor. We weren't able to go to our cabins right away, so we went up to the Oceanview Cafe to get something to eat. We were able to snag a table in the corner, then went in search of food.
The Oceanview cafe is set up so there are duplicate stations on each side of the room. Then in the center are the breads and cheeses. I discovered this about the second day after walking around. The pizza is very good. The pasta wasn't so good, they don't drain it enough so you get lots of water on your plate. The ice creams and sorbets are excellent.
We were able to go to our cabin about 2:30 to find our luggage had arrived. Our first impression of the stateroom was "small". I was used to Carnival's balcony cabins and thought these would be about the same, but they're a little smaller and have a lot less storage space.
The closet is horrible to say the least. I hope they never use this design again. All I can say is it must have worked on paper.
The bathroom is very spacious, the only drawback is no counter space. The shower is really nice.
Loved the TV!!!
The refrigerator actually kept everything COLD. I put a 6 pack of 7-UP in it and there was plenty of room for more. I had to keep going up to the cafe to get more ice as ours was always melted by the time I wanted a drink. The ice buckets hold about 2 cups of ice and it melts pretty fast for some reason.
We ate in the main dining room every night. There were a couple nights that the menu didn't inspire us so all of us ordered the New York Sirloin. We didn't realize we had all ordered the same thing until the waiter delivered 8 steaks to the table.
Casual nights were very casual. People wore capris, slacks, skirts, verrry short jean skirts, sandals, flip flops, dockers, polo's, etc. Our guys wore jackets the first night, but never again, they felt out of place since they didn't see anyone else in them.
Formal night was not as formal as I had anticipated. Very few tuxedo's and long gowns. Most men wore suits and the women wore short dresses or slacks. One elderly man had on a white dinner jacket with black bermuda shorts and knee high socks. Another gentleman wore his kilt.
I noticed that the prices were very high in the stores on the ship. T-shirts were $40 for the plain gray pocket tee that said Celebrity Solstice on the pocket.
Not many people were ever in the casino, machines and tables were always available. One girl in our group hit the $20,000 jackpot on a $5 machine. That was nice, she bought drinks for everyone at the passport bar that night.
Debarkation was easy. Just go to the area at the time stated and you get off the ship in about 5 minutes. Our number (19) was called at 9:00 am and we were in a taxi on our way to the airport by 9:15.
I enjoyed the cruise very much. If the group chose do cruise Celebrity again, I wouldn't hesitate to book.