We live in Michigan and the winters are very cold. I hate cold. When I booked this cruise I didn't give much thought to how many children might be on board. There were quite a few. Location Many have complained about the lack of elevators on this ship. We were half way between the forward and middle elevators and usually used the middle elevators which will get you just about anywhere. If you don't like walking put yourself back by the middle elevators. And there is no noise by the elevators or stairs. They have put a wall and sliding door between the cabin hallways and the elevator area. The elevators were fast and would change light colors when they arrived. Great idea.
Cabin We had a balcony cabin. Love my balcony. No better place to enjoy my cup of coffee in the morning. Our bed was by the closet near the bathroom. I liked this layout. There was room to get into the closet and I could sit on the bed when using the safe which is situated quite low in the closet. My hubby and I both thought there was ample closet space and the drawer room is just scattered around the cabin abit. Don't forget the overhead drawer space over the bed, kept alot of things there and still had room. My sister and I will be on Equinox for a 14 day TA in November and I am not worried about storage space at all. Love the bathroom, drawer room was fine, lots of room, shower is great, except that you can see yourself in all your glory in the mirror while showering(would suggest frosting the glass a little). There is nightlight in the bathroom, yeah! The waterjug has been removed in the cabin, just ice and glasses. We bought bottled water before boarding. And the frig actually keeps things COLD. We asked our room steward, Anil, who did a wonderful job, to take out some of the things in the frig and had room for our water and wine. The beds are very comfortable, I thought the couch was comfy too. It becomes the sofa bed and a trundle pulls out under for a fourth. Though we didn't check it out. Nice hairdryer in the vanity drawer. The flat screen TV's very nice, you can turn them toward the bed or sofa. Interactive TV keyboard did not work well in our room. Perhaps it was just us.
Dining We did room service most mornings, very prompt and good. Did go up twice to have the WAFFLES!! The Oceanview Cafe is laid out in food stations, virtually no lines and you can walk around and pick out what you like. Food was good, often better than the dining room. Had difficulty finding seats at times. We did not try any of the specialty restaurants. I did try the gelato and it is wonderful. The Cafe Al Bacio takes the place of the Cova Cafe on the M class ships, we were disappointed in the coffee there. The MDR is beautiful but not as spacious as I thought it would be. Many tables are tucked away under the second level. The food was not as good as on the M class ships. Smaller portions, less choice. The soup and salad area is together and the salad dressings are already chosen for you. No more Celebrity dressing! On the positive you can have creme brulee every night if you wish. The aqua spa cafe was smaller and not situated well, with less choices.
Pool This is where we noticed all the children. On our sea days the kids were in the smaller pool and for some reason the other pool was netted off. Parents pulled their chairs right up to the edge of the pool so it was difficult to get in and out. I only tried once. The chair hogs were out as usual. We had great difficulty finding chairs. We searched hi and low, front and back and finally gave up and went back to our cabin and sat on the balcony. The Solarium was no better, it was full and alot of people in the pool. I suspect because that second outdoor pool was closed. The Lawn It is really pretty and a very relaxing place to sit. We liked the Sunset Bar area and sat there and read and sea gazed. Smoking is allowed there so you have to watch where you sit. Lots of comfy sofas and chairs thru out the ship.
Entertainment We liked the production shows. The balcony seemed to be the best place to sit to view the aerial activities. Enjoyed a backstage tour this time. We have enjoyed the Rendevous lounge on M Class, often stopping for a cocktail and a few dances before dinner, they didn't have this on Solstice. There was a band and limited dancing in the atrium by the pursers desk. Not the same. Oceans four was on the cruise, an acapella group, they were very good.
Atrium I forgot to mention the live tree growing in the atrium elevator area. We loved it. It sounded silly when we heard about it, but it is really interesting and adds to the decor. Overall the Solstice is a beautiful ship, has it's pros and cons and I am anxious to sail her sister ship Equinox with my sister in November.