My wife and I are 41 and 40 respectively, both professionals, and have cruised six times with six different cruise lines prior to this 7 night Western Caribbean cruise. While we have traveled extensively, my wife now has an unfortunate mobility issue due to a chronic disease. This makes cruising a preferred method of travelling for us.
We flew into Miami International two days prior to embarkation and stayed at the highly rated Hampton Inn Blue Lagoon. This is an excellent hotel in a good location for those interested in a pre-cruise, affordable hotel. We rented a car and toured Miami and also drove north up the coast. A valuable tip is that if you rent a car, you can return the car to the rental center and hop on a free shuttle to the port.
Arriving at the port at about 11:45 AM, the embarkation process was by far the best of any of the cruise lines we've been on. Seamless, quick and easy. Probably only took about 15 minutes from the time we got off the shuttle to the time we were boarding the ship.
Once on the ship, we were stunned at how beautiful it was. Incredibly classy and upscale. Our first cruise was a number of years ago on a now defunct line known as Renaissance Cruises, and we thought that ship (known as the R-ships) was beautiful, but it wasn't even in the same league as this.
I'd read how Celebrity "hit it our of the park" with the Solstice Class ships, and that is so true. Well done Celebrity!
Our stateroom was #6266 (aft, starboard, obstructed view, balcony, Class 2C). It was very well designed, and quickly became home. Our only complaint about the cabin was the need for a bit more storage, but other than that, it was wonderful. Spacious, well designed, quiet, and very little obstruction in the balcony view.
Unlike many reviews on here, we felt the dining was fantastic. The food quality, presentation and variety was excellent. The service too was very good. Our only complaint about dining was the main dining room, Moonlight Sonata, which we felt was a bit crowded (more so than other lesser cruise lines even). For example, our table for two was less than a foot from another table of two, so we basically ended up eating with them every night.
We have to agree with many other reviews stating that the entertainment wasn't great, but if you're going on Celebrity for the entertainment, you haven't done your research. We were there for the food, service and ambiance. The qualification to my comments about the entertainment is that the "Cirque"-style show was simply awesome! As a couple that's been to Las Vegas 19 times, and been to many Cirque shows, this was equally good, if not better! We also like the string quartets, piano players and house band.
The service deserves its own paragraph. We ran into almost no concerns with the service, other than it being slightly slow at some of the bars (which is likely due to the number of passengers with the drink cards). It seemed to us that everyone was so accommodating and tried very hard to please the passengers.
Disembarkation was unbelievably easy. We ate breakfast, took the elevator to the disembarkation deck, they swiped our sea pass card, we walked off the ship, and into the taxi line. Done! It was literally that simple. We had a late airline flight, so that probably helped, but I would highly recommend this approach.
Overall, as you may have guessed, this was simply the best cruise we've ever been on (and it was our 3rd in under a year).
We highly recommend Celebrity, and the Solstice Class ships.