We understood Celebrity Cruises to be an upscale cruise line. The cruise price certainly reflects this hype. We found the quality of the food and evening entertainment below our expectations. Frankly, our meals on all other cruise lines tasted better. For the first several days, the food was served barely warm. This improved after we asked the wait staff to ensure our food was hot. The description of the dishes on the menu sometimes differed from the actual dish. We found this confusing, and unfortunately, the actual dishes weren't as tasty as the menu descriptions implied. The breads and pastries were excellent. The single brunch they served was wonderful, beautifully presented, and tasty; in general, the entrees, soups, salads, and desserts just fair. The specialty restaurant we patronized (Murano) was lovely and the wait staff were very welcoming, but service was a bit slow. The food there, with the exception of the entree was very good. The entrees we had were actually pretty bad. The lobster was dry and tough. Most insulting of all however, is Celebrity's practice of charging for expresso in the dining room. We found this practice throughout the cruise. We were appalled to learn there were charges for many activities like yoga, and the big deal made over the glass show was not warranted. We also found the practice of charging 15% gratuity on literally everything insulting as well. Just one example is for items in the stateroom's mini bar. Also, charging customers for gelato and crepes and for internet service which most hotels and campgrounds offer for free was a downer. Bingo was $60 for 30 game cards, no computers. Then if you played 3 times they gave you loyality pricing which consisted of them raising the price to $70 on the last game of the cruise but giving it to you for the regular price of $60. Again, very insulting.
The evening entainment on every other cruise line we've sailed on was better than on Celebrity. The singers on the first "big" show were forced and the costumes cheesy. The entertainment didn't improve. On the other hand, the singers and entertainers in the lounges and throughout the ship were great. Other excellent parts of the cruise included the wine tastings, and the elegant tea. The Solstice is a beautiful ship and our accommodations were super. Our room had a veranda which was very nice. The cruise however, ended on a sour note: The staff had the "express walk offs" assemble on deck 4 with all of our luggage, then we had to disembark on deck 5. This was utterly stupid, potentially dangerous, and inconsiderate. In general, their disembarkation process was lousy. We weren't able to have breakfast before leaving either. They should follow the process used by Norwegian.
The service was the best thing about the cruise along with the folks we met.
The final insult was our cruise charges. We reviewed our hard copy statement before leaving the ship; it matched the statement we reviewed on line in our stateroom. We agreed with these charges. However, after we returned home and reviewed the amount charged to our credit card, we found they increased the amount by $11. We're currently attempting to resolve this, but this action has really disgusted us. We suspect we'll be forced to pay it. This is really unprofessional, but something we've come to expect from a cruise line whose practice is to "nickel and dime" their customers to death.