We just returned from a 7-night Eastern Caribbean sailing on Celebrity Solstice during the busy Spring Break period. While we are seasoned cruise passengers, this was our first cruise with Celebrity. Our experience was a bit of a mixed bag with the following pros and cons:
The Solstice is a beautiful, new ship - we really enjoyed the comfortable public spaces, lovely interiors and distinctive appointments Celebrity also really deserves kudos for their food and entertainment. We mostly ate in the MDR, less frequently in Oceanview Cafe and once in Bistro on Five (a wonderful spot) and, honestly, we enjoyed everything that was served. There were a few dishes we didn't care for but, overall, we thought that the food was great to excellent (order the sea bass and Momma's pork chop and you WON'T be disappointed). The entertainment was also topnotch - from the ship's performers to the special guest performers to the live musicians (some of the best we've ever heard at sea - especially Cheek-to-Cheek and party band Headliners). We also loved the Corning Museum Glass Blowing exhibitions - so educational and fascinating to watch.
Embarkation and disembarkation were both quite unpleasant - super long lines and inefficient procedures. This was a surprise to us b/c we always make it a rule to embark and disembark as late as possible to avoid any lines or delays. Despite our plan, it still took us 45 mins. to check-in/arrive on-board and 1 hour to disembark and clear customs on this sailing. Once we received our complimentary glass of champagne and boarded the Solstice, we were a bit put off that there was absolutely no one to greet us or direct us to our cabin. As first-time Celebrity pax, this would have been greatly appreciated. Almost immediately, however, we were accosted by a crew member to purchase the specialty dining package. We managed to escape the strong oversell, find the elevators and locate our cabin, which was long and narrow, but well-appointed. We ran upstairs to the buffet (an absolute zoo - always overcrowded, poor layout, no wait service for beverages, etc.) for a quick bite before muster. We were supposed to set sail at 4:30 p.m. but we left much later than this - not sure why. Our biggest complaint is regarding the ship's crew - aside from our waiter and asst. waiter - we found them to be polite but unfriendly and, in some cases, downright unaccommodating. We'd heard so much about Celebrity's friendly and customer-focused crew in advance of our cruise that we were shocked and disappointed to find that this wasn't our experience. We tried to reason that maybe this was due to the overwhelming number of children on-board this sailing (the crew seemed a bit frazzled by them at times) but their customer-service training should prepare them for any type of situation.