Our 3rd Celebrity Cruise and 2nd time on the Solstice. Flew in the night before. Boarding was on time, rapid and painless. Excellent cabin on the hump with a very large balcony. Great, efficient service by our room steward throughout the cruise. Ate in the MDR on all nights in the late seating. Again, great service by our waiter and assistant waiter with professional and efficient service. Food quality varied with some great dishes and some just average.
Many more young children on board, almost certainly because it was a holiday cruise. The cruise line never enforced the adults only rule for one of the outdoor pools so we generally stayed in the covered pool area which was quiet.
Got to meet the new ship's master, Captain Gerry, during a sail away bridge tour offered during this cruise for $75.00. Captain Gerry had joined the ship this cruise, but has been Master of several other S class ships. For the bridge tour about 20 of us came on the bridge before sail away from St. Maarten, got to watch the Master brief the officers and then got to watch the Staff Captain maneuver the ship out of port. The ship's master spent 45 minutes with us answering questions about the ship and Celebrity. A great experience.
The on board musical groups, including the ship's orchestra, were generally excellent. The specialty acts ranged from a great juggler, to a really terrible singer/mimic. The only comedian on board was there for one night at 12 MN.
During the "liar's club" ship activity the Staff Captain revealed himself as an excellent "straight man" comedian. The ship's Master played his guitar and sang during the last night show and had a great voice.
We were late getting into San Juan and arrived a dusk due to high winds. We toured on our own in San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Martin and had a great time. We took the ship sponsored Zip Line tour in St. Kitts and I highly recommend it.
The Solstice has had problems with gastroenteritis/noro virus outbreaks this year. During the cruise immediately preceding ours, the ship was on "lock down" and guests could not touch utensils in the Buffet. We had no such restrictions on our cruise.
Unfortunately during the last night of the cruise (Christmas Day), one of my family members developed severe GI distress. I was informed by the responding nurse practitioner that there had been an outbreak of many cases of GI distress that night, and that 3 separate medical teams were responding throughout the ship. Needless to say this made disembarkation particularly difficult.
I wonder if the latest GI outbreak was due to noro virus or food poisoning. In any case this seems to be a recurring problem on the ship and needs to be dealt with.