Port Everglades Cruise Terminal: The embarkation and debarkation process was quick and efficient. The security guards were a little overbearing, barking orders and reprimands, though. Overall, the process took about 15 minutes.
We were immediately escorted to our floor on the Solstice so that we could drop off our carry on bags and check out our cabins. The cabins were decorated in a soothing neutral palette, with ample, clever storage space. Very nicely laid out, attractive and clean. We had a mid-deck veranda, with 2 deck chairs and a table. Our wonderful steward, Odya, stopped by to introduce herself. She took very good care of us throughout our cruise.
Food service is excellent from the casual Oceanview Cafe which has an extensive breakfast and lunch buffet to the magnificent main dining room, The Grand Epernay. We were assigned to a table of 7, first seating. Our head waiter, Ernesto, was personable and knowledgeable about the menu. I ordered his recommendations, each night and was never disappointed.
I read so much brouhaha over formal night dress requirements, that we almost opted not to attend. We took a chance though, me in my LBD and my husband in his navy blazer and dress slacks, dress shirt and tie. We did not feel out of place at all. My estimate is that less than 20% of the men wore tuxes, 60% wore dark suits, with the remainder in blazers and sports coats. The women were a little flashier,some with long, elegant evening gowns, sparkly tops and evening pants, cocktail dresses and Sunday best dresses. We felt very comfortable and attended the second formal night, as well. There were a few men without jackets, who were stopped at the door. The maitre d' arranged 'loaner jackets' for them before they were allowed to enter.
The outdoor pool area was crowded on sea days, but there were plenty of lounge chairs to accommodate everyone, just not right next to the pool. I didn't notice the infamous 'chair hogs', so I'll assume that the pool butlers were vigilant about clearing up those 'saved' chairs for people who were actually present. Or maybe,they made the chair hogs walk the plank : )
The entertainment on the Solstice was excellent. We attended the after dinner shows in the Solstice theater every night and really enjoyed them. There were a nice variety of acrobatic, dance, musical and comedy acts there. And there were various performers around the ship, where you could stop and enjoy a dance or two or relax in a comfy chair and enjoy the music. And of course there are a casino, theme parties various lectures and demonstrations. The hot glass show was very interesting. There were plenty of activities to choose from, most listed in the 'dailies' that are delivered to your cabin each evening.
Unfortunately the weather was not good to us on this cruise (during hurricane season). But our cruise director, Lisa Richards, met the challenge of providing extra activities for those who did not care to venture out in the rain.