We have cruised on Norwegian Cruise Lines once and on the Celebrity Millenium,twice in Concierge Class Staterooms. We have enjoyed all of our cruises but our experience on Solstice was one of the best
All went very smoothly. We arrived for our cruise and our first embarkation was a breeze. We were on the ship before noon and found a nice place on Deck 12 to relax and wait for our cabin. This was the only day that we ate lunch at the Oceanview Cafe and it was fine.
The Solstice is elegantly contemporary. I like the open area in the middle where you could listen to the band below from all floors. Yet, with the glass sliding doors encasing that area with the elevators, the cabins near the elevators were very quiet. The tree hanging from midair was impressive and we enjoyed the lawn area very much. We watched the glass blowing a couple of times. They did very informative presentations. The best time to watch this is when it's dark out! I liked the distinct differences in the pool areas. If you were more in the party mood there were plenty of lounge chairs in the outside pool area and you could choose between sun & shade. There were many hours filled with live music or interactive games. You could hear the music on either the 12 or 14th deck. The track was on the 14th deck. While there are plenty of lounge chairs for everyone, having them on both sides of the track caused many traffic jams while people were exercising. In the long run, I would rather not fight for a lounge chair. After the first couple of days, I used stairs, or did more walking in port and forgot about the track. My preference for the pool most days was in the Solarium. There is a more relaxing spa mood there and there were always plenty of seats. We enjoyed the hot tubs, both inside and out.
Part of the reason we enjoyed our trip is that we splurged for a Celebrity Suite. We had a separate bedroom from the living room and more closet space that you can imagine! I also loved the shower in the tub! We had Cabin 1110 which has an awesome veranda which we used a lot! We will definitely get a suite again occasionally, but I think we will try the Aqua Class Stateroom next time. One of the best things about being in a suite is taking advantage of Elite Captain's Club benefits. It will be awhile before we earn that status.
Actually the food was excellent!
The Ocean View Cafe was much more open than the "cafeteria style" dining that we have experienced on other cruises. No matter where you eat, this is not going to be the best food by our standards, so we only ate here for lunch the first day and for one morning with our friends.
Grand Epernay main dining room was a mix. The food was very good, but the menu was not terribly inventive. I hope that others had better service than our table. Our head waiter never learned our names. My husband & I typically have sparkling water for dinner and every night that we ate there we had to ask. By the second night they should bring it automatically. We had a table of 10 at a table that would have been better suited for 8 however we enjoyed all of our tablemates. We had to move to this table because even though our reservations said that we were paired with some friends when we got on ship we realized they had put us at different tables.
Murano Fabulous!!! We ate here with our free dinner reservation from our suite. Our friends ate with us for her birthday. Everything was excellent and the service was exquisite!
Blu Aqua Class passengers have priority, but suites passengers can eat here with availability. We had no problem getting in. We used room service for breakfast at the beginning of the week which was good, but we really enjoyed breakfast here the last 3 mornings. We decided to try it for Friday (2nd formal night and our friends were comfortable with other tablemates). It was so excellent that we went back the last night. This is why I think we could downgrade, but only to Aqua Class.
It must be difficult to come up with entertainment to make everyone happy! We went to a backstage tour and learned that the visiting acts are planned by the demographics of the passengers that have booked each week. That makes since. The three main shows are Solstice (an amazing Cirque du Soleil type show), Ghostlight (a variety of Broadway tunes) and Pulse (??? I'm sorry, but I just didn't get it. The clapping part in the middle killed the show.) Make sure you get there early enough to sit in the balcony for Solstice. You can see amazing talent. As far as the bands and other acts, they were hit and miss. Some people loved acts that we weren't crazy about, but we enjoyed others that I'm sure they didn't like. We loved Tony Daro like a lot of people (Celebrity Central was standing room only most nights.) We liked Neil Austin, our friends didn't. We sought out Anton Marlokov in different lounges, but were not crazy about Voyage Strings, even though we like classical music. Actually, Voyage Stings was the only act that we were disappointed with.
There are certain times that we would still use the ship to reserve excursions but this time we did not. Grand Cayman: We stayed on ship. Blissful! Cozumel: For $10 less than Ship Tee time, we got Tee Time, Rental Clubs, a 6 Titleist balls each and Course book at Cozumel Country Club. $15 cab fee, $9 back to Los Cinco Soles. We ate at Ponchos Backyard, then shopped our way back to ship. Roatan Kevin from Christophers Tours took us around the island. We ended with THE BEST SNORKELING EVER!. Just 4 of us went out with a guide in a row boat with motor. Our snorkeling experience was like in pictures! Amazing! Costa Maya: We went to Maya Chan. My husband doesn't like beaches and he wants to go on a cruise to Costa Maya next year just so we can go back. It was that good!