Embarkation was quite easy. The longest line was going thru security. We arrived around noon, and it probably took no more than an hour before we were on the ship. They were just allowing boarding when we got to the waiting area. Of course, as is Celebrity style, we were offered a glass of champagne upon boarding. In the past, there was always someone to meet you and take you to your room, not the case. We were on our own. They were, however, making announcements not to go to your room yet, as it may not be ready. This, of course, led to overcrowding in the public areas. We did go to our room, however, and it was ready.
The room we choose was perfect. It was in the most perfect location, right by the elevators. We only had to go up or down, and we were always right were we needed to be. It made the ship seem smaller, because we did very little walking. I love the way the Solstice door entries are done. They are set back off the hallways, and are in pairs. There were no inside rooms in our area, so we had no rooms across from us. We never ran into anyone in the halls. I found the room to be quite spacious, and loved the bed. The bathroom was wonderful. Although the counter space was very narrow, there was quite a bit of storage, and you did not need the counter space for storage. The shower was wonderful, no shower curtain, but doors instead. Our room was on the angle, so we had a bigger than normal balcony. If I was to do it all over again, I would choose the room next door, which would be 8252, because it was the first room on the hump, and they were able to see the full length of the ship and see what was up ahead. We were not able to see forward, only backward. The balconies, however, were the most private I have ever seen. You cannot see above or below, or your neighbors. We were able to see down the side of the ship, only because we were on the angle.
The ship itself was very nice. I would not say it had that WOW factor, because it was not glitzy or glamorous in anyway, but very classy, and subdued. No real flashy colors, or designs. I did enjoy the ship tremendously, and will be spoiled in many ways to other ships not of its design. The ever controversial grass on the top deck, was being changed out in many areas as we boarded. Therefore, it tells me they are having difficulty keeping it nice looking. It was very different having the grass, and most times we were up on the top deck, the grass was being used for boucee or golf putting.
We enjoyed the fact that there were no announcements every 5 minutes. I actually forgot that bingo existed!
As far as activities on the ship, there were very few. No activities on sea days at the pool at all, which surprised me. This was a very quiet, low key cruise. I found the age to be varied, however. Probably more seniors. They did, however have the band playing, Top Secret, which also played in the Sky Lounge. There were quite good, and I enjoyed them. They put on a 50's, 60's night in the Sky Lounge, which also was were the Sweet night was held. I thought that was a strange place to have have food set up. But it worked out just fine, because the Sky is very large.
I was extremely disappointed in the entertainment in the theater. The Solstice dance group was ok for singing and dancing, but they had the most horrible costumes I have ever seen. The also were about the only entertainment the ship had, so it got old fast. They did have a comedian that played in the Comedy Central, however, he put on the same show night after night. He never had any new material. I felt Celebrity was really lacking in the area, and not up to their usually high quality entertainment.
The food, as hoped and expected, was excellent. Yes the portions were smaller, but was does it matter when you can have all you can eat anyway! Our dining experience was excellent. We did eat in two of the Specialty Restaurants, the Silk and the Tuscan Grille. Both restaurants were excellent and I highly recommend both.
Gone are the midnight buffets. Prices for tipping have gone up, and they add tax and tip to everything you do.