Just some background, i have been sailing Celebrity since 2000 or so and completely enjoy there product. I worked in the hospitality industry for 20 years running hotels so I know what goes on with crew and running a Hotel this size. This was my second cruise on the Solstice class and the silhouette shown brightly from crew to venue.
Embarkation Got to the port around noon was on ship by 12:30 was very easy and quick. Room of course was not ready so wandered around looking at the features and the venues.
My main priority when getting on was dealing with the specialty rest. I knew they had a package if you signed up for 3 or 5. This is not advertised that much but I did the 5 package and it was $139.00 pp. or $28.00 per rest. That being said it works much better then the $40.00 for individual restaurants. The package gives you 2 dinners in Tuscan and 1 each in Murano, Qsine, and Lawn Club Grill. I also signed up for the persian gardens package, my peaceful moments and relaxing time I set aside every day for myself. That was $199 I think.
Had a C2 room on deck 12. This is the first time I ever had a room this far in the rear and on the solstice ships I did not feel a thing. I usually am in the middle somewhere. Not an issue with me but could be with some is there are no stairs or elevators in the back and you have to walk to mid ship to get them. The walk never bothered me and it was nice and quiet in the back I never heard the Ocean grill above us at any time. I would definitely book there again. Inside the room the bathrooms are laid out great and so is the room. People complain about lack of space but we did not run into that problem after we noticed that there was a double row to hang things up in. Plus learning to not overpack and using the free laundry for being an elite helps. Our stateroom attendant, Bennie, was superb. Never really saw him except he was there when needed. Towels etc. Room was spotless and he even folded our clothes. As a caveat he was actually our stateroom attendant on the Mercury a few years ago. Small world it seems at times.
The food in Ocean Club Grill was good. Had many choices all the time for breakfast, I was very glad they did not have donuts everyday, The bread was great and all fresh. Lunch time same thing many choices to choose from. From salads, to paninins, pizza etc. Never had any issues with it. Was all made well and seasoned well. The Mast grill, Hot dogs and Hamburgers, was a mess the first few days....the line formed the wrong way and not enough staff. This was solved by day 4 or so I think. It was funny watching at times the Exec Chef Tomas up there flipping burgers. The food was fresh and tasty. Even with the lines they were never longer then 5 minutes. It was funny a few times watching the lines and seeing the Hotel manager walking by and calling and withen 5 minutes 3 more staff showed up. Main dining room was really good. I personally like that they have gone to smaller tables in a way. The 4 top we had was comfy. The decor in the room is very modern and nice. I do think the chairs are not the greatest for some. Lots of pillows where being used for backing. The food to me was really good and well seasoned. I never had a problem choosing and most of the time chose 2 apps and entrees. Food is subjective but the meals were all excelllent and some things I have noticed with Jaques van Stadem consulting now. The food is in better proportions in dining room and the presentation has been raised a notch. Different plates are used to serve different foods etc. Use to be all round plates now you have mutiple sizes and just the presentation overall is more pleasing. The staff was excellent and never had any problems.
The venue is outstanding location. Back ship great view and lots of food. The two times there it was outstanding. Everything from the antipasto to the deserts. Service was outstanding and on top of everything and trust me dont worry about going hungry. You can get more. If your up for a challenge get the veal loin. It is excellent and well a bit to big.
you have to try this. Its a different type of meal and the food was excellent. There were some we didnt like but we just did not eat it. Cerviche is squired taste and not all liked it. I personally love the stuff so had no problem. The filet was cut with fork tender. The fish and chip was some of the best I have had. It was a playful take on serving food and it works. They serve your food in not normal courses but i guess in a tapas kind of way. Would called uncle about 1/2 way through our choices and it was stopped...lol.
Elegant incredible service and food outstanding. More formal/traditional and really requisite.
Lawn Club Grill
My favorite I think but all had plusses. just outdoor bbq kicked up a notch. The chocolate chip cookie desert is not to be missed. The supposibly 12oz rib eye I had (closer to 18oz) was tender and so good. The filets where excellent and the kabobs outstanding. The flatbread was fun learning to flip it up in air and made nice and crispy in there pizza oven.
I did the wine dinner $95.00. this was fun...I have done these before on ships and at different rest. its amazing how much wine and food is enhanced with pairings like these and trust me you are not just getting a sip. I had plenty of wine. Cellar masters is a great venue. You can try different wines by the glass or just 1 oz. This is a great idea and love it. Cafe Biaco, coffee shop had great product. Personally I fell in love with the Tea Forte product they had. It was fun going there, the staff every morning knew what I was having by day 3. I used it heavily. I had signed up for the premium non alcohol package and used it up. Was funny looking at my bill showing all the swipes of 0 recorded.
Pool deck its a pool deck. Crowded but not as bad as some ships I have seen. never really had problems getting chairs. The activities overall are as much as you make them. Personally im good with great service, good food, and a comfy chase lounge. That was whet i got.
Crew and officers are outstanding on this cruise. They were highly visible and approachable.
The islands I had been to all many times and each has there good points. Personally shopping St Maartin is the best, with ST Kitts coming very close just because of a place we always go to on it. Got good deals and enjoyed the free beer. Beaches always hit and they were clean warm and fun. Didn't do any excursions so cant comment.
Overall cruise was above my already high expectations from Celebrity. Ship never seemed crowded except for the one bad sea day and then the dining rooms and interior of ship had lots of people around but it still was not so bad. Crew was outstanding.