Our ages: 51 and 44 Total number of previous cruises: About 15 or so Our number of previous "Celebrity Cruises": 4 (Galaxy X 2 and Millennium X 2) Cruise: Celebrity Solstice March 28, 2010 Caribbean Cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale Stateroom 8269 Vista Deck - Category 1B
Embarkation out of Ft. Lauderdale was among the best organized and easiest of all cruises we have been on. From the time we arrived at the terminal to the time we were aboard ship was only about 15 minutes. Always make sure all your documents are completed online well before the cruise. They couldn't improve this process if they wanted to. Waiting on board at the entrance were white gloved attendants with champagne and mimosas. A nice touch that we have not seen in a while.
The food on Solstice, as is generally the case on Celebrity, is a cut above the average cruise fare. For those that have been cruising a long time, you already know it is not as good as the "old days", but it was still very good. Specifically:
Buffet - Nicely laid out, excellent selections, good quality, especially at the carving stations. The fresh fruit could have been a little better in both selection and quality. Great coffee in fresh brew machines...
Grand Eperny Dining Room - We did the Celebrity Select Dining Option whereby we made individual reservations before the trip. We felt this gave us the greatest flexibility, as well as availability for a table for two. We're not into the routine "where are you from" kind of dinner chit-chat, so we like to dine alone. Worked like a charm....most nights we were seated immediately and on one occasion had to wait maybe 5 minutes for a table to be cleared.
Specialty Restaurant Silk Harvest - OK, but nothing to write home about. The apps were great, but the entrees were bland and unexciting.
Specialty Restaurant Grand Tuscan - Very good Italian (and we're both Italian, so we are fairly particular). I had a very tender and flavorful Osso Bucco. We had a table at the very back of the ship with a beautiful view of the waves behind the boat at sunset.
Specialty Restaurant Murano - The best of the three. Excellent service provided by Alan and Marko! The lobster bisque was to die for and the surf and turf was excellent. The mass produced lobster in the main dining room was not so great, but this made up for it.
Overall Service on the ship was excellent. Just about every staff member had a smile on their face and wanted to help you. We think this was largely due to their captain, whose name escapes me, but he was the best. Very funny, very personable, and always had a story or a comment about something or other. One staff member told us he treats them very nicely and does not act like "a boss".
Entertainment was your typical cruise fare. We only went to two theater shows and while they were different, they still felt like the usual cruise productions for the most part. The circus acts were good, but not if you have seen similar\, but higher quality shows in New York or Vegas. Good, not great.
Disembarkation was just as easy, if not easier than embarkation. We chose the Xpress Departure Service whereby you carry off your own bags. You are first ones off the ship, which we like (when it's over, it's over...time to go!). We were off the ship within 10 minutes of leaving our stateroom and through Customs 5 minutes later. Zoom...
Overall, a fantastic cruise. A great ship, good itinerary, very good food, nice crew, and great weather. What more could you ask for?