Ok I wanted to start posting my review of our recent cruise I organized to Celebrate my Moms 60th Birthday
Background on most in group. 99% Canadian from Toronto area, Most have cruise on various lines only a couple of people were cruise virgins.
Overall impressions WOW the staff out did them selves at every turn...Details like remembering our names, providing requests at dinner, special treatment at all the bars, and developing special long lasting friendships with more staff then ever. Although my wife and I are treated really special due to past sailing's and building relationships with key staffers...everyone else in our group was taken care of with or without us around!!!!
The ship is the most current when it comes to Clean lines and design details... I am not sure why I had to listen to a 70 year old women complain about the ships decor for 5 minutes next to us in the buffet area!!1 GET OVER IT! gone are the days of the boring dark wood traditional ships! its about time a cruise line creates ships with a boutique feel rather then grand waisted space atriums!!! (princess)
No brass to be seen and so many great Art pieces all around the ship to wonder around and look at. The Main dining room was also a piece of art in itself! 100% Loved every space
Some of the best we have ever had in a main dinning room on a cruise ship. NOW, I will say at times pasta could come cold etc, but honestly how many people are they serving? and at our tables alone trying to serve large amount all at the same time, some things must be forgiven! I would rather have slightly overcooked pasta when I have a witer providing all the asparagus and special orders that I wish ( some lines say NO to most of our requests) Stand out dishes Sea Bass, Some of the Deserts were also great not basic American style crap we can have anywhere, but great pastry and Sorbet Options.
The Maitre D Srdjan knew us from previous sailings and took care of our 4 tables of 12-15 at each more then we could ask! The food was 100 times better the Princess Crown Grill and or Royal's Chops...The artistic approach to the menu was also welcomed at every turn. The Creme brule with the POP rocks was fun, the waiter even brought our table 2 bowls of the Pop rocks as a side cause we all laughed so much. Service amazing and setting comfortable and trendy all at the same time.
What can I say I had 2 tables fo friends all who have only sailed Princess and Carnival and each was blown away by the food and service for the small charge. Fabio the restaurant Manager for the Solstice once again dropped by to ensure my wife and I and our guests had anything we needed! TOP NOTCH way to go Celebrity!
The room itself was intimate and romantic with all attention to detail flawless.
Ocean Cafe ( buffet)
SALAD options and toppings galore...After sailing on the Caribbean Princess with a disaster Buffet this past August it was great to have a clean organized buffet option once again. Yes the food repeats through out the week, But it was all good including the Sushi as a small snack every day before late seating. The sugar free "sugar cookies" were also very good. Breakfast was also well done here, the amount of fresh fruit and healthy options was outstanding. The fun playful options on many classic Breakfast menu items such as Pizza was yummy!!
Pool side grill
The best Turkey Burger I have ever had at sea!
Room service Creme brule on the room service menu?? awesome! the best options of any ship I have sailed including past Celebrity ships. Advacado Wraps YUM YUM.
Bistro on FIVE
Our favorite spot! went 3 times...so worth it especially on the first day compared to the mad rush at the buffet when boarding in Fort Lauderdale. While waiting once 5 minutes for a seat I hear people complaining they had to pay the 5.00 cover charge, ummm its the same price of a Latte at Starbucks GET OVER IT ( I felt like saying this a few times to people on this cruise, esp when on vacation they complain about money!) The crepes were so good and the Chicken Panini was sooooooo good! Service was top notch, only suggestion is it would be nice to have outside cafe style seating as part of the Bistro
The Lawn Club
Ok this a point of interest to me so I will express how we feel about this feature.
LOVED the Lawn Club...
So many people say put more chairs to sun on.....or this and that. To be honest thats not what ships need more of. Every day when we would head up there I would see 3 generations of Family Playing Bocce and Croquet or relaxing up there! this is real family time, and it felt like a summer afternoon relaxing in the Muskoka's or the backyard.
I really feel Celebrity got it right! Its about the experience and the reflection time everyone needs. Its was a wonderful spot to have a drink or play some games with friends, its not about tanning, pool bands, beer guzzling, or chair hogging !!!!! it was about a relaxing comfortable space to share and use with you significant other, family and friends. Since coming home we have missed this spot on the ship, if you want hot tubs, sunning chairs, and buckets of beers head to the pool deck or another cruise ship! the entire feel of the Solstice class is not that, this makes it Special in our books
I have never felt more special or important on a cruise. My wife and I have made a few X friendships with Hotel directors and other staff over the past few years, but in no way have we sailed 50 plus times as some have. In all honesty they went above and beyond on the Solstice! From the Restaurant Manager Fabio making sure both of us and our group were happy, to even sending our Maitre D to find us on the pool deck and inquire about meeting us for a Latte! Truly special.
Hotel Director Sue, had her hands full with the 200 guest 1 million dollar wedding happening on our ship that week, but made time to invite us for some wine in the Wine bar! Honestly more then expected!
Our Waiter Murat was outstanding, every night took such good care our our tables and my mothers and family. 1 day while sitting by the pool he appeared carrying a tray with personally made Ice Cream Parfaits for all of us, WOW that was a nice touch!
On the night when we had dinner with the Asst Hotel Director Jaime Murat ensured that we would have our side of Asparagus sent down! these details mean so much on a large ship in our opinion.
The Martini Bar staff said hello to me by Name every time I walked by even at 3 am in the wee hours of the morning. Every where we went with the only exception being the rude DJ constentine ( who we have run into before) the SOlstice staff was exceptional in so many ways, I have other examples but to many small things to write!
( one last one) I was in line to pay a 4.55 balance on my room account the last night it was after midnight and the line was long, the Captin's Club hostess saw us standing there and came over for a chat, she then helped take us aside and quickly ensure the payment would be added and we left!
When we had an issue with the ZIP line in Labadee with the way the guide spoke to the Haitians I left a small note at the front desk. The next day I was invited to have a coffee with the Shore desk Manager and this was really nice and made me feel more valued. Unlike another Line we recently sailed when they never seemed to care and had the say attitude as the person in the situation we had reported.
Overall when it comes to service I find the thank you cards we write at the end of each sailing go much further then we ever thought. The personal emails between sailing's to communicate when we will be aboard again are special also. Life is much easier to go through when you make friends and or approach people in a positive manner
We had an aft Concierge Class and the mess from the smoke did happen over night, but would be hosed down early morning. I wish they would create awnings for these staterooms since the view is worth it. The balconies opened up to connect with our friends and family on our floor over 7 across
The interior was great I have been on the Solstice before and I am aware they are fixing the closet issues on the Eclipse etc. The Washroom was large then any we have had when comparing Balcony rooms on a cruise ship Large with more storage then Millennium class, Caribbean Princess, Radiance class etc. We really did miss our sky suite but the private wedding group had them all blocked.
The room service selection was good and prompt. The Tv was awesome, just wish we could figure out how to make the songs play on random or in a series rather then play the same song over and over. The stateroom was attentive and good at his job, and we had no issues with noise or service.
After being home now for over a month our friends and family sill keep talking about our Solstice cruise and although for most it was not a first cruise, so many were blown away by the ship and staff! we really do miss the Solstice I am not kidding! HAHA We have booked the Century for May and Equinox this coming July and with the group we head back onto the Summit Next march, yet not as many this time.