As a Travel Consultant this was my first time sailing with Celebrity and I wanted to see how the other half lived. The Solstice is an impressive ship. Very glamorous and inviting. My wife and I ended up being upgraded two room categories to Concierge Class 3 due to a last minute discount that also gave us an onboard credit of $500.00. The checkin process for Concierge Class is flawless. Walked right up to the desk and within minutes walked upstairs to the lounge area where Concierge Class passengers were already getting on the ship. After eating lunch in the Oceanview Cafe we went to our room located on the aft section of the ship. A balcony with a full view of the ocean streaming behind us. Nice touches awaited in the room.....a bottle of complimentary champagne....real fresh flowers that were changed daily....and fresh fruit in the room each day. This is a standard balcony so don't expect anything larger should you book in this category. The champagne, flowers and fruit are nice touches and the fact that you can have a full breakfast from room service is an added plus since most cruise lines now only serve continental breakfast for room service. Eating on the balcony in your bath robe (also complimentary) is very enjoyable. Oh...and complimentary binoculars and a big umbrella, which came in very useful a couple of days due to rain.
On to the food. The Epernay Dining room is very elegant. I would suggest that you try and get into the middle open air section of the restaurant where it is a lot more roomy. My wife and I and our tablemates were stuck on the side around a corner, so we couldn't see anything in the middle. Luckily we had great dinner companions and great conversation during our cruise. Great food with fantastic selections. I never felt stuffed after dinner. The Oceanview Cafe is very well laid out. No congested areas like you find on Carnival. The food and desserts were well prepared and the staff kept tables cleared very quickly. My wife and I did not try any of the specialty restaurants. Can't seem to talk her into paying for food when she can get it for free. Most people I talked to had wonderful things to say about the specialty restaurants.
The entertainment was so so on this cruise. My wife and I love to ballroom dance and there wasn't much opportunity to do that. There was a latin hour in the Quasar disco each night, but the DJ seemed to prefer playing only salsa and marengue, which is fine, but there are other latin dances as well. The pool party after Cozumel also played the same music. The Filipino band was awesome, but unfortunately, the seemed to play in areas on the ship where there was not a lot of dancing room. The Sky Lounge is the biggest dance venue onboard, but is often very crowded and hot. Some of the other lounges included a piano player, jazz group and string quartet. Actually we enjoyed the piano player in Michael's Lounge who played a number of songs we could dance to. Too bad we discovered him on the last night of the cruise. The shows were your standard Hollywood-Las Vegas style razmataze. I've seen it all before on other cruise lines. It is very well produced but, unlike my wife, am completely bored with it. Only two comedians the entire cruise. One who did the same routine each night of the week, with a different crowd to pick on each evening.
I was quite surprised by the number of younger couples I saw onboard. There were also between 50-100 kids onboard, but you didn't seem to notice them much. I was taken aback by the lack of enforcement of the dress code. It states in the brochure that t-shirts, sandals and shorts are not allowed after 6 p.m., but I think that mainly pertains to the dining areas. However, I did see people with dressier t-shirts and jeans in the main dining room for dinner. Not what I expected on Celebrity. I can't understand some peoples aversion to getting a little dressed up for dinner.
Overall, I would say that cruising on Celebrity was a great experience and I will definitely sail with them again.