Just got back from Solstice on 3/29/09 (well 3 weeks ago), how time flies.
Several gifted writers have posted their detailed impressions of the new Solstice so I will spare you that. The quality and design of the ship (with the exception of the lifeboat obstructed view fiasco) was excellent. As was the food and service. I was really glad to be back on Celebrity.
I would like to share a few surprises and nice touches I experienced on this trip.
We were a group of 8, all related. Seven seniors, and my 38 year old niece. Our cabins were 9153, 9143, 9141 and 9139. We were between two decks of cabins and there was no noise at all. This far forward we had an uninterrupted view down to the water. My brother and I and our wives had adjacent cabins, and the steward offered to unlock the dividers between the two balconies. This was a partial removal which really gave us a good sized terrace, while retaining some privacy. (nice touch #1.)
On our first night in the MDR, one of our party informed the waiter that she was allergic to garlic. Before the meal was over, the assistant Maitre D came over with the next day's dinner menu, and asked my sister-in-law to choose her meal for the next night so that he could insure that it did not contain garlic. This procedure was followed every evening for the balance of the trip (very nice touch #2)
As for surprises, while I was reviewing the features of this new ship prior to booking, I was struck by the incongruity of a lawn on the roof, and a glass blowing demonstration on a ship. Certainly not deal breakers but ho-hum. Was I wrong.
First, the Corning glass presentation blew me away (sorry for the bad pun). There was an elegance and grace, in the movements of the gifted artisans, who performed a sort of "dance" with glowing molten glass. They performed in a very small space with only shorts, t-shirts and sneakers for protection. There was no room for error and they always had to be aware of the location of their partner as the glowing mass of colored glass was swung around, heated and reheated, smoothed and inflated, and finally coerced into a thing of beauty. IMO the best show on the ship.
Secondly, the grass really worked. In a subtle way it provided an extra dimension of style to an already beautiful ship. It was not far from the rows of lounges packed together sardine like, but it was quiet and spacious on the surprisingly expansive turf. It sure beats the climbing walls, artificial surf and waterslides found elsewhere.
My next cruise will definitely be on a Solstice class ship.