Before we left the ship, and again yesterday in answer to a call inquiring about our recent Solstice experience, I expressed our disappointment with the Cabin staff and the overall cleanliness of the cabin. I cited incidents when Cabin staff could have done their job better and been helpful. In contrast, our wait staff worked hard to provide service to several tables, and promptly replaced several dinners our table returned because the actuality did not live up to the menu description. For example, two people at our table returned the rock lobster, not at all pacified by the Head Waiter's implausible tale that Maine waters could not supply enough lobster to provide for all Celebrity's guests. Too bad he wasn't prepared enough to realize that in his audience, were four State of Mainers.
Having gotten these complaints off my chest, I'll now address the root of our disappointment with Celebrity. The staff aboard the Solstice was generally, cold, indifferent and at times totally unresponsive.
My husband was in the early stages of recovery from serious surgery resulting in a long hospitalization, so we decided to celebrate our holiday with a cruise, and chose the well recommended Celebrity Line. I was exhausted from long hours of worry and patient care and what we thought we needed was a little warmth, friendliness and pampering. We've never lacked for these on other other cruises so the incidents I'll describe aboard Solstice really surprised us.
First, though, I'm not of a mind that it is the responsibility of guests to spend their precious time aboard filing complaints about staff to ship's personnel. I anticipate that the ship's policies manage staff oversight. Might I suggest that better than distribute an assumed gratuity statement mid-week, why not a service questionnaire? With a mid cruise review, Celebrity's guest complaints could be promptly addressed by those in positions of authority. When I have guests, I try to anticipate their every need and am constantly on the lookout for ways I can make their stay pleasant and comfortable. I felt insulted by the ship's representatives persistent reminders that we should have made our complaints known at the time of incidents and am insulted by yesterday's paltry offer for our disappointing cruise of a $75.00 on board credit to be applied to a previously booked l3 day Transatlantic, aboard a Celebrity ship.
Though, we were promised a wheel chair for my husband at embarkation, there were far too few for the number of people who needed them. This meant a long wait, even though we preregistered on-line. No one apologized for the shortage of wheelchairs or the wait. We were just marshaled to some chairs and told we'd be seen to in order.
When our luggage arrived, the room service captain knocked, introduced himself and started to leave with our luggage half in and half out of the door. I had to ask that he place the heavy suitcase on the bed, and he did so with obvious reluctance.
One night we we felt too ill and tired to go to the dining room. The room service captain answered our call for ice and water but didn't even show sufficient interest to inquire as to why we weren't leaving the room, or ask if there was anything else that could be done for us.
We were already at the exit ramp at St. Thomas, when my husband inquired about umbrellas. It was raining quite hard. We were told that we'd find the Celebrity umbrellas many were carrying off the ship in our cabin closet. My husband returned to the cabin but not finding one, asked our Cabin Steward. He replied that there weren't any on Deck #3 and sent him to the service desk. The service person bluntly told him that there weren't enough umbrellas to go around, so none were distributed on our deck. She made no apology, and would have dismissed him with that explanation, but my husband insisted that we needed an umbrella, so she lent him personal property and specified that it be returned.
On one day, between noon and 1 p.m., I stood with others in line at the cafeteria drink station. A young woman appeared with a mop, set up yellow boards between the line and the machines and unapologetically shooed us over to a station across the room.
On our second day aboard, I mistakenly got off the elevator on the wrong deck and naturally was having a problem finding my destination. Finally, frustrated, I stopped to ask directions of some ship personnel. I would not have minded a little ribbing, but their response left me feeling stupid and incompetent.
One night I visited the shops aboard. There were no other customers in the liquor store and three young men talking near the check out. No one approached and offered to help me locate an item, and I received only one word answers to my questions, with no helpful suggestions. I bought nothing.
All around us, people were complaining at disembarkation. Some elevators were designated to go only to certain floors but there was no signage. Again communication was poor and the staff seemed out of patience and responded brusquely to guests.
For awhile, I entertained the idea that perhaps staff weren't very well treated by management on Celebrity Line, but I learned directly from an employee that that wasn't the case. I found the atmosphere aboard The Solstice, stressful, producing the opposite result from that we sought. Never mind telling us how wonderful and superior you are Celebrity! Put your money where your mouth is. Impress your guests, especially first timers to your line.