When booking a cruise, especially Celebrity Solstice, be sure it is not coming off a reposition cruise. The experience we had resulted from the required coast guard review in Ft. Lauderdale on 12/11/2011, the day of sailing. Further we encountered an issue - virus outbreak on the previous cruise which resulted in a delay for boarding since they had to disinfect the ship. That was most appropriate. However, Celebrity dropped the ball big time when managing the boarding process. Elderly people stood, yes stood for 2 to 3 hours in line waiting to board and some were outside the terminal. All the announcements were "thank you for your understanding". Well what about providing seating for these people and some additional consideration. Further once aboard we were not allowed into our rooms until 6PM. Those who made it up to the buffet had no where to go - so they sat. The result was that the new arrivals who were waiting on line before had no place to sit and eat.The staff should have requested that people who have completed eating to move to other open areas to wait for the rooms to be available. Since this was not done the buffet area was like a scene in a crowded subway car during rush hour in NY.
We finally got into our rooms at a little after 6PM. The next day we went to the library - NO BOOKS and there were none for the entire trip. The room was missing the normal information books about the ship and stuff. No cards in the card room and when we requested cards for several tables of bridge players, we were told "due to the situation there would be no cards". Well one of the bridge players went to customer service and requested 4 decks of cards and brought them to the 4 tables of players. Better service from a passenger then the crew members. At this point you should be getting the impression that I was no satisfied with the way Celebrity was handling the situation.
The food in the dining room for diner was satisfactory; not as good as I remember on previous cruises. The Social Director was a non entity as was the rest of his staff. For those who like to have lunch in the dining room please note that when in port, the dining room is closed. The Customer Service desk crew members were very helpful and understood what customer service means.
The crew members in the buffet were serving the passengers since we were not allowed to touch anything during the entire cruise because of the virus situation; therefore lines were long waiting to be served and there was no indication where the lines began. Passengers were commenting to each other that they are in the wrong place - "get in line no line cutting". Not very pleasant experience. The servers themselves in further training since they also had a negative attitude. I will not book a cruise that has just come from a repositioning cruise again and will think twice before cruising Celebrity. I have had wonderful experiences on Princess and Royal Caribbean lines.