The Barcelona-Barcelona itinerary on the Solstice is a beautiful sailing experience with many interesting ports of call. The ship is elegant and, although, large, surprisingly uncrowded. The central rotunda with a glass elevator system allows a wonderful view of all decks and helps to orient passengers. The only crowded location is the pool area on sea days. However, there is a quiet, relaxing area on the 15th deck aft called the Lawn Club that offers great views and comfortable seating.
The service on the Solstice is exceptional. Our room steward, Edwin, seemed to always know when we were out of our cabin, when we would return, and any special items we liked in our cabin. He often had the door ajar and was waiting to greet us when we returned to our cabin.
The entertainment was also quite good, and the Captain and Cruise Director were both competent and talented. Both were singers who performed with the ship's cast.
We were very impressed with the Select Dining option for dinner. This service is limited to a few hundred guests (first come/first served) and allows you to make reservations in the dining room at the time of your choice each evening.
We never had any difficulty getting a reservation at the time we preferred. The food was quite good with lots of variety, and, for the most part, the service was excellent. The one complaint that I would mention is the Sommelier staff. They were quite consistently pretentious and consistently recommended more expensive wine, regardless of what they were asked. In addition, the corkage fee policy was both exorbitant and inflexible. We generally dined with another couple and purchased a $40+ bottle of wine each evening. In addition, we attended a fee-based wine tasting on board. On the final evening of the cruise, we brought a bottle of wine that we had purchased at a winery on a shore excursion to share with our table mates. In spite of all the wine we had purchased, the Sommelier insisted that the corkage fee was $25--no exceptions. We spoke to both the Head Sommelier and the Maitre di, and the answer was the same. A couple at the table next to us had been given a bottle of wine by the ship's hotel division, and, again, they were told that the fee would be $25 since it came "from the hotel's budget, not the dining budget." I can certainly understand the purpose of the policy; however, other cruiselines (Princess in particular) we have sailed with charged a $10 fee and often waived it for guests who routinely purchased wine. Needless to say, we bought no wine that evening, took the wine back to our cabin with four wine glasses and enjoyed it during the show.