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
Celebrity Cruises is increasing its suggested gratuity by 50 cents per passenger/per day beginning on all bookings made on or after April 29 for all cruises that begin on or after the same day. The new suggested gratuity will be $12.00 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.
This was our first Celebrity cruise. We cruise often and have cruised with many of the other major cruise lines (Holland America, Princess, Norwegian, RC, Carnival). We did the CA Coastal repositioning cruise from Ensenada to Seattle. It is hard ...continue
The Solstice is a nice ship of that there is no doubt and our cabin (with veranda) was adequate if not exactly large, we have had bigger cabins on a cross channel ferry. Still that was not a big problem. The two big problems on this cruise were ...continue
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Embarcation started smoothly at San Diego Airport. Celebrity met us and directed us to buses and our bags were taken to trucks. I asked the representative if we needed our paperwork i.e. set & sail pass and was told no just needed credit card and ...continue