I love new ships but the 'Corporation' has messed this ship up. Embarkation was average but the staff in Rome gave me misleading information about customs. I wish they would tell me if they don't know.
There were good parts. The room steward was one of the best we have had on our 38th cruise. The buffet always had good breakfasts and their lunches were pretty good as well. The ports in Sardinia and Mallorca were excellent. Lindsey Hamilton was excellent as usual in the one exception to the rule.
However, the rest was a shock on a 'premium' ship as they constantly reminded us. The rest of the entertainment was mediocre to bad. The casino was nearly empty (who decided that poker starts at 10:30 pm ?) even with 6 sea days. The pool deck was so poorly maintained that people were noticing cups and beer bottles they left out at 5 pm were still there at 1 am.
I've been on the Solstice 2 years ago cruising west to east so I know the design of this ship is odd. Only 4 forward elevators and 8 in the midships make for a lot of missed elevators and climbing stairs at dinner and after shows. No third bank on a ship with 2700 people? The semi circle end of the bed is great if you 5'4" or less but the room is so narrow you couldn't get to the balcony without the curve in the bed. Closet space? Half of that on a 'normal' ship. Deck 15 and the questionable expenditure on the Lawn Club which was roped off presumably for the people renting these silly Cabanas at $149 a day. I saw just one couple there the entire cruise. I only had one shore excursion and that was outside of Lisbon. Who sends a tours to a Royal Summer Palace on Wednesday when the only day of the week its closed is Wednesday?
The biggest disappointment was the MDR. I didn't have a decent meal until day 4 and then the portion of sole would have left my cat wanting more. Tough lamb, raw orange roughy (sent back of course) was raw, awful lobster and the appetisers were minisule. When does 4 medium shrimp count as shrimp cocktail? The desserts were heavy, the ice cream was full of ice crystals and the coffee was bitter.
The maitre d' was really off his game. It was so dark in our area on the 4th deck that people actually brought flashlights to read the menus after the sun went down. The lights were put up late in the cruise to a round of cheers from the passengers only to go down again 15 seconds later to a round of boos. You would think they would get it. You also feel nickled and dimed on this ship more than I have in a long time. $5+ lattes and $30 or $40 extra for dinner on deck 5. With the MDR this bad, why not?
Finally debarkation was a nightmare as described by a previous critic. As express walkoff for 7:30, I noticed NO crew in sight to help with the chaos. If I left my bags out, I too would have missed my plane home.
All in all, this was the 1st cruise I have ever taken that I wish I could get off before it was over. I was bored and frustrated throughout. Not a good way to spend your money.