This was our fifth cruise with Celebrity, (two on Century, two on Summit) but our first with Solstice. It is a beautiful ship, no doubt about it. There were some things we missed from Summit but overall we were very pleased with this ship.
We arrived the day before and stayed at the Ramada Cruise Port. It's a rather inexpensive hotel that includes transfers from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the cruise-port the next day. I'm a believer in the theory that you can have a rather elegant vacation without spending a ton of money. Embarkation was very smooth and easy. The cruise-port itself is much nicer than Miami. Our room was ready about 1:30 pm. We had a veranda cabin 8247. Not Aqua Class or Concierge Class. The bathrooms are quite nice but I think there is less storage space in the room itself as compared to Summit. But it is a beautiful room with flat screen TV, and lovely color schemes.
Now, lest you think I loved this ship 100%, there were some negatives for myself and my husband. First, when we got to our room I discovered that there was no pitcher of water with the ice bucket. When I asked the room attendant I was informed that, "you only get a pitcher of water on Millennium Class ships. On Solstice Class ships you have to buy your water". I was NOT a happy camper and voiced my dissatisfaction. The room attendant immediately arranged for my water which I had for the rest of the cruise. The muster drill was also pretty dreadful. On all our previous cruises the drills started in the theaters where people could be seated. On Solstice we were herded into an area where the cruise photographs are displayed. Forced to stand for 15-20 minutes in tight, hot quarters some older people looked like there were ready to pass out. I'm short and was unable to see the movie they were showing on the television screens about the muster drill itself. I also thought that the buffet on the first day was so packed that you could not find any place to sit and eat. Later on in the week it became easier to find a place to sit but that first day it was very difficult. We also missed the therapy pool that the Millennium Class ships have. We spent very little time in the Solarium on Summit. The pool there didn't seem very warm.
I think that the food on Solstice was quite wonderful. We ate most nights in the MDR. My husband and I aren't big eaters and find the MDR meals to be quite filling. I'm sure that the specialty restaurants would be great it doesn't make much sense for us, with our small appetites, to eat there. As compared to Summit, Solstice food is 100% better. The service was fantastic, (as it always is on Celebrity).
Some of the areas of the ship that we enjoyed were the Lawn Club and the Wine Cellar. We visited there each evening and took part in all their wine tastings throughout the week. It was amazing to me that this ship never seemed very big. Perhaps it was because our room was mid-ship and we never seemed to have to walk very far to get to anything. And except for that first day, the ship never seemed very crowded.
One thing that was awesome on Solstice was the senior officers. They were all very approachable and very often quite funny. The last day at sea the officer, (including the Captain), took part in a water-volleyball game. It was hysterical. Something that most people may not know was that on our particular cruise a man jumped overboard at 1 in the morning in an attempt to commit suicide. The Captain turned the ship around on a dime, launched two small boats and rescued the jumper in the dark ocean. The jumper tried to fight off the security people who tried to pull him from the ocean, thus putting the security personnel lives at risk. In my opinion the crew and senior officers of Celebrity Solstice are all heroes.
Overall I think that Solstice is a lovely ship and if you are looking for a great cruise this is the one to pick.