Solstice juxtaposes bright sunlit colors, windows and skylights above with warm browns, tans, golds and reds in the carpets, furniture and wood trim below to warm up what might have otherwise been a stark decor. This stylistic stamp is most evident in the ship's cabins. Our comfortable 194-square-foot Deluxe Veranda cabin was carpeted in red and gold, with blond teak and walnut paneling and furniture. The couch and chairs were upholstered in cream leather, and the desk-cum-makeup table was topped with beige speckled marble. The balcony was, at 54 square feet, too small for anything more elaborate than sunbathing on one of the two webbed chaises or scenery watching. Between the two lounges was a teak-topped pedestal table.
Our bathroom was a pleasant surprise. We liked the curved acrylic shower door (in lieu of the oft maligned shower curtain) in specific, and the spaciousness and contemporary styling of the room in general. The quality ceramic tiles in varying shades of light browns gave the impression that the bathroom was custom-decorated, rather than prefab, as it no doubt was. We also gave high marks for storage space. Our only real beefs: a wall-mounted shaving or makeup mirror would have been nice, and the quality of the bath tissue, which was single ply and rough to the touch, was poor. Bath products, such as shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion, are provided.
Storage space was very good, with many nooks, crannies and cubbies to store stuff, in addition to the normal closet shelves and hanger bars. Other amenities are typical: robes, safes and refrigerator/mini-bars. Even in a cabin studded with high-tech electronics, the mini-bar accounting is handled by ticking off items on a usage list (thankfully) rather than by one of those automatic refrigerator sensor thingies.
The centerpiece of this room -- as well as those in all other categories -- is the large, LCD flat-screen television interfaced with a Mac mini computer, through which passengers can book reservations, services, and excursions; examine their accounts; check menus; and watch on-demand entertainment. The channel lineup includes everything from cartoons to classic TV to free movies (offered in two languages), a CBS sampler ("Eye on Celebrity"), cable travel, sports and news channels, ship information channels and multi-genre music channels. For those who left their laptops at home and still wish to access the Internet in-suite, they can do so using their stateroom's combination full keyboard and remote control. However, we found the system to be slow, clumsy and difficult to use, so if surfing the Web in your stateroom is a priority, bringing your own laptop still makes sense. As one might expect, the larger the cabin, the larger the screen. The minimum is 32 inches, increasing to 52 inches for the largest suites.
At the minimum end, basic inside cabins measure from 183 to 200 square feet, and represent 10 percent of inventory. Of the 1,279 cabins with ocean views (including suites), 1,205 have balconies -- a whopping 85 percent of total inventory, oceanview and inside combined. At the opposite extreme are the two Penthouse Suites, measuring 1,291 square feet with 389-square-foot balconies. These cabins offer floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, separate living room/dining room, baby grand piano, full bar, sofa queen sleeper, two 52-inch LCD TV's (the one in the living room has surround sound), full passenger bath, and a master bath with a whirlpool tub, shower stall with dual shower heads, double washbasins and even a 26-inch LCD TV. The verandah has a second whirlpool and lounge seating. The 44 Sky Suites represent the bulk of the suite inventory. They measure 300 square feet with 79-square-foot verandahs accessed through floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, and have two beds convertible to queen-size and bathrooms with a shower/tub combination and washbasin. The living room has a sofa queen sleeper, vanity and 40-inch LCD TV.
One step down from the Sky Suites are the 130 Aqua Class staterooms. This is an entirely new class and concept of accommodations for Celebrity. The footprint of these cabins is identical to that of Concierge, Sunset Veranda and Deluxe Ocean View staterooms (192 square feet/53-square-foot verandah). The difference is in privileges and amenities. Located on Deck 11 near the AquaSpa, these rooms include an expanded assemblage of spa-oriented cosmetics, gels and bath amenities; upgraded linens, including a selection from the "pillow menu"; Frette robes and slippers; complimentary bottled water; a daily carafe of flavor-infused iced tea; canapes; and access to an exclusive room service menu of salads, whole grains and healthy dining choices.
The bathroom features a five-head Hansgrohe invigorating "shower tower." As mentioned earlier, AquaSpa passengers have their own specialty restaurant, Blu, and complimentary use of the AquaSpa Relaxation Room and Persian Garden (described later), a value of about $100 per passenger based on a seven-night cruise. Lastly, a "spa concierge" is available to assist in booking treatments, providing product information, and offering recommendations from the wellness library.
Those in ConciergeClass staterooms will notice that, oddly, there's no dedicated concierge service provided (they can use the same passenger relations staff that's available to all). Still there are perks, such as nightly canapes, and complimentary welcome aboard Champagne. Other ConciergeClass upgrades are similar to aspects of AquaSpa cabins: Egyptian cotton oversized bath towels, Hansgrohe massaging showerhead and Frette robes. Shoeshine service is complimentary, as is use of a golf umbrella and binoculars. Priority treatment takes the form of priority check-in, luggage delivery, embarkation and debarkation. In 2012, Celebrity expanded the ConciergeClass services to include an exclusive pre-departure lounge with free coffee and juices.
Families can take advantage of 121 connecting staterooms and four Family Ocean View Staterooms with verandahs. These rooms measure a massive 575 square feet with one master bedroom plus a second bedroom (with a single twin bed) and sitting area with a sofa (convertible to trundle bed).
Solstice has 30 state-of-the-art wheelchair-accessible staterooms, covering a wide range of categories from Inside to Sky Suite. Eighty percent (24) are outside, and 20 of the 30 accessible cabins have accessible balconies. All accessible staterooms have additional square footage over their non-accessible counterparts and have 32-inch-wide automatic doors with sitting-level key card slots. Most accessible staterooms feature five-foot turning radiuses. Bathrooms have roll-in showers, ramped thresholds, and lowered fixtures. A service animal relief box is available on request. Suites feature the services of a butler, who will, among other chores, assist in the moving of heavy luggage as well as packing and unpacking.
Typical Aqua Class cabin. Comfortable bed and nice size veranda. Usually have flowers in the room but not this time. Usually have superior cabin service but far from it this time. Worst afternoon canapes we have ever had and worst steward. If our experience was the only...continue