A neighbor recommended the Solstice after cruising in May 2010. I will list the pros and cons as I experienced them in hope that this will help others. Pros's; -Best dinner we have had on a cruise to date-very good menu, very good service -Welcome champagne was a nice touch -Modern decor which many will like -Many bars,a "living room, old fashioned" feel to some, others very light and airy (sky lounge) -Decent shows (the last one was not very good) and the "Broadway" one was just fair -comfortable bedding -Beautiful spacious bathroom
Cons: -Constant noise all night. You could hear your neighbors talking , walking, flushing, opening the closet, and other noises. I asked others during the cruise if they experienced noise and they all said that their rooms were noisy. Every morning at about 6 Am there was a hammering heard. Either that or the upstairs neighbor was knocking on the door. This was enough to convince me never to cruise with this ship again. My kids heard the noises as well. The concierge gave us another room next to us for my son, but he was able to hear the upstairs neighbor as well from there. They did go upstairs to speak with the neighbor, but the noise continued nightly. I am surprised a ship such as this caliber would have such sound issues. -Atrium--I did not like this concept at all. There would be a band on the lower floor at the base of the stairs playing and for 3-4 floors above people would be leaning on the handrails looking down. This was in 2 areas. It made a lot of traffic in these areas. -Bar layouts- Rather than have separate rooms like other ships (Royal Caribbean for example), the bars were in walkways tucked in in many strange areas that were also near the railings by the atrium. It just seemed congested and lacked intimacy to have these bars so much a part of the general flow of traffic. The only room that was quiet and secluded was the sky lounge and they used this room for private parties and kids functions during the day...so just when you think you are relaxing there reading a book at the top of the ship, the kids are there with a talent contest. My guess is that they really have no other rooms...but why ruin the only place you can have solitude and look out at the ship on the water?? -Problem with lounge chairs- The average ages is older than most ships we have been on, and the only area that was shaded and inside (the inside pool area)had towels on the lounges all day with only 30% of people using them. That meant that others were saving lounges they would never use. They ought to enforce the "no saving" policy. That room was very humid anyway, so there really was no place inside that you can lounge and be in the shade in air conditioning.
-Costa Maya and Honduras- Very disappointing ports. The first is new with no shopping to speak of, and a small beach with water that was very dirty-Honduras-you have to pay 60-80.00 just to get to the beach and then the jet skis were went there to rent were all broken down.
Music- no island music, very contemporary or 70's -80's. You can tell they are going after a certain market. I like calypso or island music when I cruise. If you were not outside this would feel like a metropolitan hotel, not a cruise ship.
Without going into any more details, this cruise was very disappointing. There was nothing for my teens to do. The drinks were about 8.00 each. They are going for a certain clientele of which I do not fit into.
Royal Caribbean's Coco Bay Island was better than any of the ports we visited because it signifies why I want to cruise. To relax, have a great meal at the beach and enjoy the day. the relaxed atmosphere of RC did not compare to the "stiff" feeling of the Solstice..even the waiters are overdressed in suits and ties. No Hawaiian shirts there!