By Steve Faber, Cruise Critic contributor; updated By Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
Celebrity Solstice Overview
On Celebrity Solstice, the first of a new class of five vessels to be launched through 2012, Celebrity has created a dynamic new cruise ship. In many cases, a cruise line's "new class" often means just a larger, or slightly tweaked, version of a previous design. At 122,000 tons, Solstice has the size credentials, being the largest Celebrity ship ever launched, but there's much more to this vessel, and to the sisters that have since followed, such as Equinox and Eclipse.
Solstice has one of the best interior architecture designs we've ever seen, and passenger flow is excellent. While the ship's passenger-to-space ratio is standard for the industry, we never felt crowded and never experienced a single long line. On our completely full sailing the ship felt half-empty. Solstice is also an extremely easy ship to navigate, even for first-time cruisers. Everything is clustered: all the entertainment is forward; the food is aft; and -- insiders are quick to point out -- the money (casino, reception, shops) is in the middle. Even the specialty restaurants are all clustered on a single deck (Deck 5).
Solstice's style blossoms from the root of its name, "sol," meaning "sun." Even the casino chips bear images of the sun, a different stylistic representation on each denomination. And the sun plays an important role for the ship, from powering the 216 solar panels that contribute -- although to a minor extent -- to the ship's electrical grid, to nurturing what is perhaps the most unique feature of this, or any other, ship: a full half-acre of lush living grass. Called the Lawn Club, this area features bocce courts, a putting course and the Hot Glass Show, where passengers can delight in seeing the creation of complex works of glass art from basic raw materials to the finished objects.
Other "green" innovations include improvements in hull design and coatings, which boost fuel efficiency, and the use of eco-friendly refrigerants and lighting.
Celebrity Solstice Fellow Passengers
The typical Celebrity passenger is mid-50's, traveling as a couple, sophisticated and appreciative of the better things in life. The majority are from the United States, but that balance, as well as the ratio of couples to families with kids may shift between the Caribbean and European seasons.
Celebrity Solstice Dress Code
The two levels of dress on Solstice are smart casual and formal. Two formal nights take place on a seven-night cruise. A large percentage of men opt for the tuxedo route.
Celebrity Solstice Gratuity
Tips aren't included in the cruise fare, but suggested gratuities are automatically added to your onboard account at a rate of $12 per person/per day, if you're in a standard cabin; $12.50 per person/per day, if you're in a Concierge Class or AquaClass; and $15.50 per person/per day, for passengers in suites. If you would like to adjust the gratuities, you can make do so through the Guest Relations desk. A 15 percent charge is added automatically to all beverage and minibar purchases as well as spa and salon purchases. You can't remove these gratuities but can add to them.
We are a Kiwi couple in our late 40's who wanted to try a cruise to see if it was for us. And we had a wonderful time on the Solstice. I booked this trip as a Christmas present/surprise for my husband. I decided that I wanted us to have a nice ...continue
April 2014 Tardustraveller
We have only previously done a small ship cruise (sadly no longer trading) which we were thoroughly spoiled for ratio of staff to guest. So with 2,850 guests sailing out of Sydney on April 3rd 2014 for South Pacific Cruise we weren't expected too ...continue
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We had a wonderful time. The ship was beautiful. food delicious, activities plentiful, the entertainment enjoyable, cabin comfortable, service great, and days on shore and at sea almost perfect. We wish we were on board again!