This cruise was our third TA, and the best so far!! We had a great experience, but would like to see a few changes! Our cabin was wonderful (with one major flaw, to describe later), the food was "so-so", and the crew were all FANTASTIC!! We would definitely do this again, and will hopefully plan another TA in the near future!! I have read some feel TA's to be full of elderly, but I am almost 60 and I do NOT feel elderly!! I HOPE to give a review that would help you to decide if this would be for you, and one that would help others to book the Solstice!!
THE SHIP: The ship was beautiful!! I have nothing negative to say about the ship!! I really enjoy the Solstice class of ships, and feel THE SOLSTICE is much better than THE ECLIPSE, and hope to travel on her again one day!!
THE CABIN: We just loved our S1 cabin!! It had so much room, we couldn't believe we were on a ship! We really enjoyed the AFT view from this room, and the bed was super comfortable!! We had plenty of storage space, and the very large balcony was enjoyed every day!!! We have one VERY NEGATIVE thing to say about this room, NOT the S1 cabin. IT WAS VERY NOISY FROM ABOVE!! The chairs above us, being dragged and moved constantly, was something I would like to see Celebrity CHANGE!! We were awoken every morning from the noise, and even at midnight when we had hoped to have a quiet evening, the noise again!! Celebrity needs to change this...NOW!!! It would be easy for them to add plastic or rubber to the legs of the chairs above, and this noise would be gone!!! After all the chairs are a part of the beautiful AFT view of the Oceanview Cafe. Please change this!!! This room is so romantic and beautiful and roomy!! This cabin is perfect in every way, minus the noise!! If you ever get a chance to get one of the S1 cabins...grab it!! You will not be sorry you did, just not so happy with the noise if you are on deck 12!!!
THE FOOD: This is one thing I realize all the ships have changed! The food in the specialty restaurants was AMAZING!! We LOVED the Murano and the Tuscan Grille! We felt the quality of the food in the MDR was just AVERAGE and the food in the specialty restaurants was WAY ABOVE AVERAGE!! It reminds me of the food we used to get on all the cruise ships! But, with the cost of fuel etc., I realize the companies have had to change something to be more profitable, and the quality of the food is where Celebrity has made the change. I miss the wonderful meals we would have nightly on each and every ship for the first 10 years we cruised, but in the last 5 years I feel the quality is NOT there!! So, we decided to try the specialty restaurants, and we were NOT disappointed!!!! There we found the food we used to have on our cruises. Every bite was delicious, and the service was equally fantastic!! So, for us, on our next cruise, we will eat in the specialty restaurants when we want a WONDERFUL meal!! This cruise we had very interesting and fun table mates, so even with the very average food served in the MDR, we loved eating in the MDR for the company!!! In review...the food in the MDR was just AVERAGE, but the service was TOP NOTCH(thanks Henry and Zemni), and the food and service in TUSCAN AND MURANO was EXCELLENT!!!
THE ENTERTAINMENT: I found this year's entertainment very good! Except for a few things I didn't enjoy, I thought MOST of the entertainment was fun and interesting! All of the Celebrity Life cooking shows, and the OCEANS talks and the entertainment with the Solstice's crew were all wonderful!!! We were both surprised and entertained very much!! Thanks to the Solstice Crew for all of their involvement with the passengers!!! We really enjoyed the enrichment series offered this TA also.
THE BISTRO AND CAFE BACIO:...these two places on deck 5 are both wonderful!! If you are lucky enough to find yourself on a solstice class ship, be sure and visit The Bistro and Cafe Bacio!! I think the crepe's were wonderful and the service was great too!! Having afternoon tea or latte at Cafe Bacio was something I did too much!! I sure had a lot of charges for the Cafe Bacio on our final bill!!! Don't forget to visit these two fantastic venue's on deck 5!!! There are minor charges for lunch on 5 at the Bistro, but very worth it!! I have Celiac's disease and they even offered a gluten free crepe!!
SPECIAL DIETERS: I have celiac disease, so I am gluten free. I have had some not so great experiences on misc ships, but on the Solstice I only had one bad experience! I was very happy with my choices and the taste of all my gluten free meals!!! Thank you Celebrity!!!
SHOPS ON THE SHIP: I feel the shops need a make-over!! It was hard to find anything to bring home for friends or for grandchildren!! The choices were NOT what I like to see on a ship! I feel a $20,000 watch or a $50,000 ring is NOT what most cruisers are looking for!!!
THE CASINO: I was one of the lucky ones, but I didn't see a lot of winning machines, but maybe I was just there when most of the machines were cold! We did a "SLOT PULL" (THANKS, GEORGE!), and this machine, chosen by the staff of the casino, was so cold it was almost frozen!!!
THE SERVICE: I found the service on this ship to be top notch!!!!! We were both greeted with kindness at every step!! I thought the service on this ship was the best I have experienced in many years!! Our room attendants were wonderful (THANK ILYIA, MEREAH AND JACK!!), and every person I encountered (except for one guy who worked in the ice cream area on 14)went above what was expected from them at all times! I could not be more happy with the way we were treated on this ship!!! What I feel I need to apologize for some of the passengers!! Some of them were very rude to the staff of Celebrity!!! I can't believe why some of them felt it was OK to yell or scold a server or any worker!!! They are there to give us all a wonderful vacation, and they do not make enough to be treated like dogs as some of you treated them!! The lady I saw TWICE yelling at a worker up on 14, needs to take a break and treat people like human beings!!! I feel sorry for anyone who came across your rude and disgusting mannerisms!!! I hope you know who you are.... and CHANGE NOW!!!!!
HOTEL IN BARCELONA PRE-CRUISE: We stayed at Hotel Inglaterra. This hotel was perfect in every way! We just loved it and would stay there again if we are so lucky to begin another cruise in Barcelona! Barcelona is one of our very favorite ports and hope to visit this wonderful town again one day!!!!!!!!
EMBARKATION: You will probably read many negative accounts about this because it was a bit of a problem to get on this ship. BUT, for us, we think Celebrity did a great job considering the problem with Noro Virus on the cruise before ours. Celebrity had to delay boarding almost 3 hours because they had to completely disinfect the entire ship before we were to board. Celebrity offered all of us drinks, chips, protein bars etc., and I THINK DID A GREAT JOB getting us on this ship!! The delay was to try and keep the Noro Virus at bay, and was for all of our safety!! I personally thank them for handling it so well!! We were excited to get on the ship, do we arrived early, and found out we had about 3 hours to wait! So we just wandered around and munched on goodies and waited our turn. When our turn was announced, off we went, and when we finally got into our room there was all of our luggage too!! We just ate lunch with a few fellow CC'ers at the Bistro on 5, and our lunch was fantastic!! Before you knew it, it was announced and our room was ready! I thought the embarkation was done very well!!
DEBARKATION: Now this is where I will NOT give Celebrity a good mark!! They could have handled this much better!! This was a disaster!!! For all of you who were cutting in line and running over our toes with your overloaded suitcases, and you know who you are, you needed to take a chill pill!! We were all trying to get to the airports, and your rudeness and pushiness did not help ANY of us or the situation!!! Celebrity, you need to set up a better way to disembark!!!! I give Celebrity a 1 out of 10 when it comes to debarkation!!!
CRUISE CRITIC: We just love Cruise Critic!! What a great way to meet people BEFORE the cruise begins, and a great way to make friends!! We had a very active thread, and we met many wonderful and exciting new friends!! Thanks to Bart and Bobby, George and MaryBeth for all your hard work! We enjoyed the daily countdowns too! We hope to meet up with some of you again one day!
All in all we had a great time, and realize not everything was perfect, but we like to see the good and enjoy what we can! We LOVE to cruise, and feel the Solstice is one beautiful ship and its crew is beautiful as well!! You can tell on this ship, it starts at the top! The captain and his crew did a great job!!! We loved the S1 cabin and hope to have it again, just on decks 6-11 and NOT on deck 12!! The Cruise Critic friends we made were fun and interesting and a TA is perfect for us! I realize it is not perfect for all of us cruisers, but with 6 days at sea, my husband could not be bothered with his job, and he could really rest, and that is one reason why we go on a cruise!! The ports were great, but we wish there was at least one more! Maybe, next time!! We look forward to another cruise next year and we hope to meet up with some of you again!!
Dave and Mardi