My wife & I are not unfamiliar with cruising; perhaps 10 times on the more common lines; Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian from ports of New York City and South Florida and this time the Celebrity Solstice. Leaving Fort Lauderdale February 6th, The Norovirus alert was in place as we were reassured every concern to correct the problem was in place. Before departing, cancellations were available and preps on the boat were professional. We decided to go ahead as well, knowing the boat may be cleaner than the usual go round. Working around the precautions for 2 days, we had noticed the buffet staff were serving individuals rather than the passengers taken their own, this was nice to see and appreciated as it should be the standard. The ship is designed very simply and easy to get around especially for its size and beauty. Dinners are expected as alike for a cruise and the entertainment is on par; Caters to a more adult environment.
The most terrible flaw is the Deck 14 lounge area, this Deck 14 is the sunning area on deck above the pool area of deck 12; Deck 13 does not exist on this ship...??? Deck 14 accommodates most of the sunning passenger, packed 2000 plus arm to arm... Because of this layout, my wife and I expectantly were not able to get a space by late morning, early afternoon, every lounge chair was taken and nothing else to be found. We spent our time getting familiar with the ships exterior and noticed on deck 15 aft, that there was nearly a half of acre of grass being grown to please whoever for minimal lawn games. Not anyone was doing anything with this Great Lawn except walking around it... In Saint Thomas, while most passengers were ashore , we were relaxing around the Deck 14 extremely comfortable with out anyone so near. Captain Burdos and his wife were making their rounds as I explained that the Grass area is doing practically zero on deck 15 and could easily accommodate 500 passengers to take some of the pressure off the more common area of Deck 14.. He accepted my constructive criticism and wished us an enjoyable stay; NICE FELLOW.... Because of this silly basic design flaw on this beautiful ship, we will never sail again on the Celebrity Solstice until they remove the sign that says "KEEP OFF THE GRASS"...