This was our fourth cruise. Twice on Princess and our 2nd on Celebrity. We are in our early sixties and really enjoyed our last Celebrity cruise on the Summit through the Panama Canal in 2007. We enjoyed a more sophisticated and interesting group of travelers, and expected the same on the new Celebrity Solstice.
The Solstice is a beautiful ship that offers all the features of the Millennium Class plus more. My wife is in a wheelchair and we found a lot of accessibility built into the ship, negating the small ramps at the doors to the exterior decks and at the entrance to the bathrooms in the accessible staterooms. The accessible staterooms featured doors that opened and closed automatically, as did the doors to the public restrooms. The Solstice is the most impressive ship we have sailed on with it's 12 story Atrium, glass elevators, modern eclectic dining room, 2 story library, 3 story theater, Spa, and exceptional Deck Plans.
The food was excellent, but compared to our past Celebrity cruise was a step below what we expected. All of the dishes were excellent and the level of service was what you would expect, but small signs of cost cutting were noticeable (such as the mixed seafood plate on the last formal night with prawns, scallops, and a very small lobster tail instead of the featured Lobster Tail dinner which we had on the Summit in 2007. The night we had Chateaubriand the pieces of meat were a different cut than any I have ever had (they looked more like pieces of flank steak). One night the Chef recommended Dinner entree was "Pork Chops". My wife and I ate in 2 of the Specialty Restaurants and were impressed with the Service and Food. The Silk Harvest Asian restaurant and the Italian Tuscan Grill were well worth the extra charge to eat there. The Fillet Mignon in the Tuscan Grill was 2 inches thick and the best piece of beef we have ever eaten. We had a table in the Tuscan Grill with windows that looked out the stern of the ship as we left St Maarten, and were also seated next to the windows in the Silk Harvest looking out the side of the ship as we left St Kitts. The food in the ship's buffet the "Oceanview Cafe" was outstanding and the best we have ever had on a cruise. Waiters were always standing by to assist my wife in her wheelchair, and we almost always got a table next to a window to enjoy the view as we ate. The only time we had trouble finding a seat was right after we embarked because everyone was ushered to the cafe to wait while the staterooms were being finished. We also experienced the same thing on the morning we disembarked.
The most striking thing about the ship and cruise were the mix of cruisers on board. The mix was what you would expect on a Carnival or Royal Caribbean cruise, they was not your typical Celebrity cruisers we remembered from the past. Many people ignored the dress code in the evening, and some were trying to eat in the cafe at lunch without a shirt. I am not sure if the depressed cruise market has made Celebrity more affordable to a broader range of people or if Celebrity is catering to a different market? My wife and I came away disappointed and so did other passengers we talked to who were expecting a more elegant cruise.