After a long travel day/night from Portland, Oregon to Amsterdam, then to Barcelona, we spent the night before the cruise at the Diagonal Hotel. A reasonably good experience, but far from the best. (We were not aware that Celebrity's "Choice Air," made our flights any smoother, etc)
The next morning we were transferred quickly to the Celebrity Solstice, with the boarding procedure going pretty smoothly.
We found our Veranda Cabin delightful --whoever planned it had to have a degree in architecture --quite an improvement over the similar cabin we had aboard the Constellation. The best cabin of our five cruises.
The cabin steward and his assistant were okay, but nothing special. At times they were lacking in energy and enthusiasm ---perhaps overworked. The steward was excited that he would see his family after this cruise!
The layout of the ship is excellent -- with it easy to find our way. However, somehow we seniors kept getting confused on our deck nine, when it came to the numerical orders of cabins. (Must have been senior moments)
As on the Constellation, we loved the Aqua Spa Cafe, for its delicious,but very healthy menu.
The dining room food was again excellent, with our head waiter and his assistant excellent. However, the wine steward was a real pest, high pressure. The Wine Tower or Wall loomed close to our table, and the wine guys were ever busy making money for Celebrity!
We had requested a table of six at the early dinner. That's what we got, only we were the only people at our table! The friendly mother and daughter at the next table, also primarily by themselves, requested we all be seated together, but to no avail. (I'm thinking Celebrity Solstice has so many different eating choices and specialty restaurants, that they really need to rethink the way they seat people in the traditional dining room)
Entertainment at the nightly Theater Show was overall the best we've experienced, with great variety. Once the shows began we were not pestered by waiters pushing drinks, as on previous cruises. A welcomed change!
We are a retired clergyman and nurse, so we did not have the money to try the specialty restaurants, especially after our $3,000 plus airfare took up 38% of our total expenditures.
I'll cover the shore excursions under the space allotted, but say here that the organization was hassle-free and well planned.
Getting off the ship, we experienced the usual crew attitude, "we're through with this group, let's hope they get off soon, so we can get ready for the next bunch coming on later today." As usual, they stood there, not particularly concerned about the passengers getting off the ship and on their flights home.