My new husband and I (we got married in St. Thomas on this cruise!) sailed on the Solstice at the beginning of May. It was a wonderful trip. We travelled with my parents who are normally Carnival cruisers and I've sailed with various cruise lines prior to this trip.
We stayed at the Il Lugano hotel in Fort Lauderdale pre cruise - about 30USD taxi fare from the airport. Beautiful hotel with wonderful staff! In order to get to the ship we used the free shuttle within 5 miles to meet my parents at the Best Western Oakland Park just a few mins away and got a shuttle for 20USD along with them. The Best Western came with free shuttle service from the airport and back to the ship for guests and full breakfast! We did see the pool and it was quite large! Definitely a great value for pre-cruisers.
Embarkation at the dock was smooth and easy.
Our cabin on deck 10 was beautiful as far as staterooms go with the balcony having a couple of chairs with foot stools and a table big enough to eat breakfast on! The added touch of fresh flowers and plusher towels that came with the concierge class was quite nice. PS. Don't stay on deck 3 - my parents had an oceanview room complimented by lots of machinery and other noise from below....
The food was great! We ate...alot - everywhere from the spa cafe to the buffet to room service to the Tuscan Grill and the Harvest Silk restaurant. The Oceanview Cafe allowed for great people flow and tons of selection! For me gluten free is important and there was always gluten free bread to be found along with many options that were gluten free + there were lots of crew around to ask questions about ingredients. I was told there was gluten free pasta available although I didn't look for it.
Gluten free dining in the main dining room and specialty restaurants was quite easy. I pre-ordered the night before for all the dining options and at the Harvest Silk restaurant they judged as we placed the order. The waiters in all the restaurants we dined at were great!
I enjoyed the musicians in the various bars and lounges throughout the ship but the theatre shows were just ok. I haven't seen anything that compares to a trip on the Norwegian Sun in 2001.
The ship is very large and even with all the staterooms sold out it didn't seem crowded. Seemed like there was always lots of crew around keeping things in tip top shape. They all seemed happy and always willing to help. What a bunch of comedians too!
My mom and I had hair and makeup done at the spa for my wedding - did have to bring my own makeup - but we were pretty happy :) My mom had several spa treatments and loved them all - she's an avid spa go-er and was quite pleased.
Our only real complaint was the lack of good strong filtered coffee. There is a coffee bar on board for purchasing espresso drinks but their regular supposed filtered coffee/mixture really was pretty awful most days!
Overall the cruise was wonderful. We all loved it and the ports we visited. We didn't take in any ship sold tours and only wandered San Juan and St. Maarten. St. Thomas we had arranged for transportation to Magens Bay for our wedding and enjoyed the beach afterward.
Can't wait to sail again!