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30 Celebrity Solstice Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

People both on and off the ship were so kind and helpful. Always smiling and wanting to know if you need something. You almost would have thought they were smoking something to be so gracious. Out of 30+ cruises we have been on, this is ... Read More
People both on and off the ship were so kind and helpful. Always smiling and wanting to know if you need something. You almost would have thought they were smoking something to be so gracious. Out of 30+ cruises we have been on, this is definitely the happiest crew and country I have been too. Maybe its in the water. We ate mostly in the buffet. It was very good. I will see if I can post some pics of the buffet. The cake seemed to be dry on every desert. They were not moist. This seemed to be a common problem. Breads and rolls were great and abundant. Tea and lemonade seemed to be different every day. They need a different brand of tea or something. Besides the tea's were weak and strong depending on the day you went. Everything else was great. Carving station, build your ceaser salad, Pasta Station, Indian curry area, salad station, ice cream station, fruit station, deli station, breads station, soup station and a few nights of caviar. Fine dinning - we ate there 3 three times. 1st, 3rd and lobster night. The lobster night we had the worst dining experience of our 30+ cruises. We were in a group of 50+ people. so we moved around to different tables. There were two waiters for the 6 tables of 10 we had. The first two nights we had a lady, Alexandria, I think. She was great handling 3 to 4 tables. The last night, lobster night, we had a male waiter. We sat at 6pm and did not get served until after 7:30. not getting drinks, getting wrong food served to people, having duplicate starters, coming to table with little sauce in bowl (took 5 min to refill in kitchen), and letting us watch everyone else eat and leave before we were served the main dish. More insulting was some tables were getting third portions of lobster. Reported it to guest services the next morning, someone called that evening (around 8) trying to get us to come that night. we ate already and I have a feeling in talking with people who were at the table the night before did not show up. This is probably why he called. very bad. Entertainment was better than average. Their production cast is very good. Of all their shows, only one was so so. It was also only about 15 min long where should have been 45 to 60 min. Guest services always seems to be a problem on ships the first few days and last few days. They had long lines but was helped by people walking around and taking care of the little things while in line. They need one more person doing this during peak times or categorize issues. Tenders were ok except for the port BAY OF ISLANDS. Our tender got lost in the fog. We found another tender #11 while trying to find the dock. I had downloaded the map on my phone and was watching were they were going. They were about 2 miles left of the port. They kept circling and search for a green and white buoys. My maps did not show the buoys or low water areas they were trying to navigate around. It was funny until the #11 boat almost hit our tender. If it was not for our tender driver putting it in reverse quickly we would have collided. They spent about 30 min lost until a white yacht type boat came by and they followed him the the port. Not really any long lines for tenders but they did try to pack us in pretty good on one of them coming back. We left the ship with our bags which was extremely quick. Started about 7am and was through customs and out the door by 7:30. All in all it was a great trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The ship was great the captain was fantastic was involved in lots atctivities The Cabin was great The service and staff was excellent The tenders to the ports was very bad we had to wait a very long time it's was to far away ... Read More
The ship was great the captain was fantastic was involved in lots atctivities The Cabin was great The service and staff was excellent The tenders to the ports was very bad we had to wait a very long time it's was to far away for the port Shore excursions very expensive but had a fantastic time Entertainment was not enough need to be more Didn't have a laundry place on the boat so a family can do there laundry The laundry offer was very expensive for everyone We travel as a big group of 20 Yes we will go again I was absolutely blown away with this company, I loved everything about them. The best part for me was the drinking package and service I received. The food was perfect. I loved the fresh salads, always fresh fruit, many choices for lunch and dinner. The desserts were beautifully presented by a very exuberant pastry chef Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Once again, Celebrity provided top quality, top service and a great experience. From cabin steward, Dominic to our wait staff Ian and Vincent to Debbi the Event Coordinator and Josef, the Concierge everyone was very professional; service ... Read More
Once again, Celebrity provided top quality, top service and a great experience. From cabin steward, Dominic to our wait staff Ian and Vincent to Debbi the Event Coordinator and Josef, the Concierge everyone was very professional; service oriented and provided excellent service. The main dining room: excellent service for our large group. Wait staff, Ian and Vincent were exemplary. From remembering each cruisers drink request to special requests for "back pillows" for shorter legged women; our menu selections were varied, from fish to filet to lobster. Great selection. Cafe au Bacio: Variety of coffees and pastries. Spa service: easy to make reservation and great service. Ice Bar/Martini bar: We met up with a bartender, Yodi, whom we had met on the Equinox two years prior. Bartenders were entertainers while serving a mass of cruisers each and every day! Stores/shops on board: Usual variety if merchandise, They were selling all Alaska items at discounted rate since we were headed towards Hawaii. Photos: Finally, they have stopped printing photos! The kios where you swipe your sea pass cards were easy to use and after viewing photos, you could delete those you did not want. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I've wanted to cruise Alaska since I saw a commercial showing Glacier Bay and featuring the same booming, echoing voice used by MONSTER monstermonster truck ads not so long ago. Recently, I came into a decent sum of money allowing me ... Read More
I've wanted to cruise Alaska since I saw a commercial showing Glacier Bay and featuring the same booming, echoing voice used by MONSTER monstermonster truck ads not so long ago. Recently, I came into a decent sum of money allowing me to sail. I chose Celebrity Solstice due to its September prices in Alaska as opposed to its itinerary. Next time I hit Alaska, I'll likely go via an M class ship and take a round-trip Hubbard at least as much for the glacier as for the extra sea day (assuming I take Celebrity). We flew into Seattle, and I wish I remembered the name of our hotel. Embarkation was uncomplicated and we didn't get there until around 12:30. I was as awed and impressed with the Solstice (still am) as I was the tray of mimosas and champagne offered by the crew when we entered the ship. We went on a tour and hit Luminae for lunch. EVERYTHING I tasted on the Solstice bordered on sublime or surpassed it. I hesitated to try the Crispy Pork Belly the first night, and I'm terrifically pleased that I did. It was perfectly cooked (and I know since, during my last cruise, it was not). I shopped in Juneau for a short time after going on a whale watching trip, coming away with the utter conviction that every single person who exists needs to go. Orcas have been my favorite sea dweller almost forever, having impressed me on documentary after documentary and thereby kicking out their competition, seahorses. Seeing tham skim the water, leap out right next to our catamaran had me feeling like a fangirl at a concert. I hope I behaved somewhat better than that. In any case, the shops seemed stripped of the bulk of their merchandise. I got what I came for, though. We asked to tour the bridge. Our butler told us to meet the others going on the tour at the ship's forward, I forget which floor. We waited awhile and followed a young man who had us wait awhile. As we stepped into the room, I noticed at least a dozen plumes on the water in front of us. The poor kid who was attempting to corral our group around his station was ignored by the lot of us as we immediately realized that the source of the plumes was a pod of some sort of whale, some said blue and others humpback -- I never found out. We watched them; hypnotized by their presence and numbers. When they swam past us, our bridge kid had what little part of our attention that we could provide. I can't tell you anything about what he said (although I tried to appear attentive throughout). As soon as we left, we all broke out in excited chatting about those whales and their startling numbers. I neglected to mention that the second dinner I had on the Solstice was in the Silk Harvest and there is where we experienced our first marine creature encounter and was, in this case, a dolphin. S/he rode the ship's waves in order to snatch fish thrown out there by our passing. You never grow jaded by encoutering wildlife. The final sea animal we saw was close to Victoria. That I actually saw a sea otter should have ticked this state off of my bucket list. TBH, I'm that much more interested and can't wait to go again. Alas, Alaska will have to wait until after we pass beyond the arctic circle and hopefully experience a few good midnight sunsets and see even more orcas, etc.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was our first cruise however others in our group were seasoned cruisers. The ship was great, the decor and the design was fantastic.First we stayed in a balcony room, 1091, which was good nothing to complain about. The food choices ... Read More
This was our first cruise however others in our group were seasoned cruisers. The ship was great, the decor and the design was fantastic.First we stayed in a balcony room, 1091, which was good nothing to complain about. The food choices were endless. We were on a Christmas cruise which was great, added to the feeling and atmosphere. The crew were great. Captain Tasos was amazing, he would mingle with passengers daily and eat at the restaurants on occasions. His humor was brilliant everyone waited with anticipation each day for his briefing which was informative but funny. All staff we crossed paths with were exceptional - no complaints.We had tips included in our fare however ended up tipping 6 special people who really looked after us and made us feel welcome. This was my first cruise and I was worried i would get bored at sea, far from it, i didn't want to get off, two more nights would have been perfect!!!!! The shows at night and during the day were great, a real variety. I went to things i thought i would never like such as a lady playing electric violin with a band with modern songs!!! I am hooked on cruises and was very impressed with Celebrity, will be travelling on the them again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Having cruised only once before with Royal Caribbean, we tried Celebrity Solstice because the timing suited and the ship got great reviews - deservedly! We booked through Vacationstogo.com - they were excellent! We booked an inside ... Read More
Having cruised only once before with Royal Caribbean, we tried Celebrity Solstice because the timing suited and the ship got great reviews - deservedly! We booked through Vacationstogo.com - they were excellent! We booked an inside stateroom because we only sleep in the stateroom and this was true of this cruise too. There was too much to do elsewhere. The shows at night were excellent with a wide variety of sensational acts. Some nights we would have 2 courses to get to the 7pm show then have desert in the Cafe. Other nights we would have the complete meal in the Dinging Room then go to the 9pm show. The food in the main dining room Grand Epernay was well above standard and then we spent one evening at Murano. Murano would equal any 5 star restaurant. Particularly if you are lucky enough to get Ibraham as your waiter. We selected fixed time dining on a table of 6 people so met 2 other couples and got on so well, we looked forward to dinner each evening (I hope they did too). This is not a ship to get bored in. There is everything from the well-stocked library across two levels to a range of bands and singers during the evening and night at various locations across the ship to guided behind-the-scenes tours of various aspects the ship to dancing and shows. There is also the specialty Corning Museum of Glass exhibitions of glass blowing daily which is absolutely fascinating to see. We did not book the ship's shore excursions preferring smaller more intimate tours we booked ourselves so can't comment on these. As members of Cruise Critic, we attended a morning tea hosted by the ship and attended by some of the senior crew where we had the chance to meet some really interesting Cruise Critic members and formed friendships from day 1. I would highly recommend the Celebrity Solstice. There were 2 staff members who were particularly good - Deborah from Guest Services and Ibraham from Murano. Celebrity should be extremely proud to have these staff. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We embarked at pier 91. Our car arrived at the port at 11:00 am but there was a long line of towncars so we were not able to get to the pier until 11:25. (Cabs get to bypass this line, so you may want to try that instead of a towncar.) ... Read More
We embarked at pier 91. Our car arrived at the port at 11:00 am but there was a long line of towncars so we were not able to get to the pier until 11:25. (Cabs get to bypass this line, so you may want to try that instead of a towncar.) Once we were through the port authority, getting onto the ship was extremely easy. All areas of the ship were very clean. We were happy with the food, service, and entertainment as well as the excursions. Our major disappointment on this ship had to do with the way the computer systems handled dining reservations and room accounts. We were on the "select dining" plan, meaning that we were able to reserve our dining time for each day. Out of the 6 nights that we reserved dining, 4 of our reservations were messed up and we were not able to eat at those times or had to split up our party. We also had problems with getting our e-documents before our cruise. We kept being told that there was a "glitch" in the system. Two of the rooms in our party didn't receive these documents until 2 days before the cruise. In addition to these problems, one of the rooms in our party was not given the $300 credit promised at booking. I had to spend 30 minutes of my time on the cruise on the phone with the people at celebrity who booked us because Guest Relations on the ship kept telling us that the room was not supposed to get the credit. Luckily this issue was able to be resolved and the room received the credit, however, it was very discouraging that they couldn't get it right in the first place. Celebrity's survey system was also messed up. We wanted to give kudos to some of the staff but one of our rooms was taken directly to the "Thank you for your input" link and the others weren't even able to give input on the ports because they didn't show the ports for our ship. All of that being said, the cruise itself was a pleasure and our group was very glad to have done this trip. I highly recommend a whale watching in Juneau and the glacial hike and train in Skagway. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Since I use reviews to make travel decisions, I need to get around to writing one... We went on a 12-day Cruise on Celebrity's Solstice from Sydney to Fiji because it was a seminar cruise with someone we like. If you love ... Read More
Since I use reviews to make travel decisions, I need to get around to writing one... We went on a 12-day Cruise on Celebrity's Solstice from Sydney to Fiji because it was a seminar cruise with someone we like. If you love cruises, you'll probably love this one, but for those of us who don't cruise often, I want to alert others to a few big disappointments: 1. There's cigarette smoke everywhere: Blowing into our stateroom from other balconies, swirling through the wind on the 2 pool decks (1/4 of which is reserved for outside smokers), and blowing all around the outside bars.... When I asked Guest Relations if they had any non-smoking cruises we could choose from, the reply was, "This IS a non-smoking cruise!" I thought she was kidding. Granted, when we told them our room was smokey, they sent an enforcer to catch our neighbors lighting up outside, who claimed they didn't know it wasn't allowed. You'd think they would put signs in the rooms... 2. Internet service is slower than slow. And it's expensive: $300 for the cruise. What they don't tell you is that it is nearly worthless. I thought it might be slow only in our stateroom, so I walked down to the Internet Room, and did a speed test on my computer. Download speed was 0.26mbps. That's 1/4 of 1 megabite!!! Quite the ripoff. 3.Extras: Shore Excursions are very expensive and not worth it. They make up for deals on the cruise price by up-charging for everything. Drinks are $11 - $15. The special restaurant upgrades are often the same food as the regular dining room, with more doting service. The good: New Caledonia was enchanting. Great snorkeling. We bought fins there and took masks from home. Cruise food was nice but nothing amazing. The cruise employees try hard to please, but overall, it's like being in Las Vegas. If you like that, you'll love this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We went with a group of 28 friends who all went to the same piano bar in Maryland for a reunion with out favorite entertainer. So we didn't pick the ship or the location. I've cruised 3 times before but on much smaller ships. ... Read More
We went with a group of 28 friends who all went to the same piano bar in Maryland for a reunion with out favorite entertainer. So we didn't pick the ship or the location. I've cruised 3 times before but on much smaller ships. The staff of the Solstice were all very well spoken and well groomed. And, they all seemed to have a sense of humor! The cruise director, was so accommodating to our group. Also enjoyed his on-ship TV show with the Activity Directory. That is actually very funny and lets you know what's going on in the ship that day like the "Egg Drop Challenge" which is a great group activity. Our cabin steward was very quick/thorough at cleaning our room. Loved the afternoon canapés, and towel animals. We ate in "Blu" for breakfast and dinner every day. The staff there including Fernando, the Maitre D', were very attentive. The food always good-to-great. Loved the off-menu availability of steaks/potatoes/caeser salad if you weren't in the mood for a featured entrée. Lunch at the buffet was typical, but the breads cheese selections were amazing. We always took lunch outside, it was so warm that week. The hotdogs and fries by the pool are epic! Glass blowers were very skilled and entertaining. I ended up booking our big shore excursions my self through the vendors, not Celebrity. They were marked as "sold out" three months prior to sailing. Sled Dogs on Herbert Glacier with Coastal Helicopters was one of the highlights of my life. I had no idea it be so fun. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
If it wasn't for seniors (60 and above ) half the fine restaurants in the USA would go out of business in a week. Also 1/2 the cruise ships would be scrapped within a year. Seniors have the money and the time to travel at any time of ... Read More
If it wasn't for seniors (60 and above ) half the fine restaurants in the USA would go out of business in a week. Also 1/2 the cruise ships would be scrapped within a year. Seniors have the money and the time to travel at any time of the year. We have been on 4 Celebrity cruises and have no complaints, food was good to excellent , cabin and room attendants were superb. Embarking ( 20 minutes at most) and disembarking (15 minutes or less) were well organized. Cruise was a cocktail cruise. They offered it to 130 people. It include 3 classes on making and tasting cocktails plus a 4 course Tuscan lunch with cocktail pairing. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Let me start by saying this site provided most of the research material on selecting a cruise line and itinerary for our first cruise experience. Many thanks to Members who gave honest and accurate feedback, making it an easy descision. ... Read More
Let me start by saying this site provided most of the research material on selecting a cruise line and itinerary for our first cruise experience. Many thanks to Members who gave honest and accurate feedback, making it an easy descision. We booked this thru Costco Travel and was part of the "Costco Wine Cruise" sponsored by Jordan Winery. They teamed-up to make this an over-the-top event. Wine tastings, wine pairing seminars, 4-course wine-paired private luncheon, etc for the lucky 100 to sign up for this. Definitely done first-class all the way by our host Chris Avery (Jordan's Nat'l Sales Director). Amazing ship, crew, and accommodations. Booked Aqua Class and was not disappointed. Definitely worth the upgrade. The staff and cuisine at our exclusive BLU restaurant made it worth the cost alone. Made you feel like you were at your own private club, serving breakfast and dinner. No seating issues, come when you want and get a table. Only ate at one other specialty restaurant the entire cruise (Murano French Classic), because they offered Aqua Class guests a 2 for 1 special the first night of the cruise ($45 add-on). Having their signature Lobster Murano flambed in congnac tableside was a real treat. Perfect weather with 75-85 degree days made us feel like we never left Southern California. Every shore excusion, venue, and guide made us feel like family and could not have worked out better. From Salmon fishing in Ketchikan, to Glacier Expeditions in Juneau, to Ziplining in Skagway (Grizzly Falls Zipline was a blast!), to Butchart Gardens in Victoria, this was simply the best vacation we have even been on....period. I will say that we met numerous "veteran" cruisers who had been on upwards of 10 cruises on 5 or 6 different cruise lines, and all commented that Celebrity was far and away the best ship with the best food...no question. If you ever get the chance to sail the Solstice, do yourself a favor and book it. Anyone making a negative comment about this cruise needs to get a life! Thanks Celebrity for the trip of a lifetime!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Embarkation Day was just as bad as we expected and then some. The lines were very long and no provisions were made for the elderly and mobility impaired. There was no food provided until you were on your assigned bus to Ensenada and no ... Read More
Embarkation Day was just as bad as we expected and then some. The lines were very long and no provisions were made for the elderly and mobility impaired. There was no food provided until you were on your assigned bus to Ensenada and no water available in the huge tent. The lack of water was a good thing because there were only two portable bathrooms with - surprise - long lines. The buses were in poor condition; dirty and we had broken seats. When we arrived in Ensenada there was another long line to get on the ship. I can't imagine the logistical nightmare Celebrity had trying to offload 2800 passengers and get them to San Diego and then get 2800 new passengers onboard. This cruise was advertised as a Wine Tour up the Pacific Coast. The price was right and the itinerary was great - after the Ensenada debacle. But to call it a wine tour was misleading. There were wine tastings and seminars onboard for a hefty fee and there were no stops with easy access to vineyards. We found the wine by the glass on the ship satisfactory but the recommended bottle selections were high priced and not even high scoring wines. The wine stewards were overworked in the dining room and lacking in knowledge even though they tried to be helpful. The entire crew seemed overworked but eager to please. Towards the end of the cruise it appeared that several crew members were ill. Our cabin stewards were diligent and hard working. If we asked for something, they got it for us. We have cruised with Celebrity before and we noticed once again that the senior officers were not engaged with the passengers. The long lines for everything were a turnoff and the lack of a pleasant, quiet place to relax, read or have a drink made our trip less than great. The noise level all over the ship was terrible. We did not try the Solarium because the weather was very cool but we have been told that was a relaxing spot. The food was adequate; quantity over quality in many cases. Room service was fine and the heads up call before delivery was great. The buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner had a variety of items but they were repeated almost every day. It was hard to find a cleared table and several times I juggled my plate and cup back to the cabin so I could sit down to eat. The MDR is beautiful but the lights are so dim that it is hard to read the menu. Hint:Take a small flashlight with you. Service was fine after I asked the waiter to take our orders as soon as we came in. We had the late seating and being from the East Coast it was almost midnight our tummytime when our entrees were arriving. We didn't try the overpriced 'special' restaurants but we enjoyed the specialty coffee shop and the Bistro on deck five. Entertainment was spotty. The production shows were good but the early show was so crowded you couldn't get a seat unless you came in 45 minutes early. The late show at 10;30 was too late for us but I heard that it wasn't ever crowded. Celebrity would do everyone a favor by having shows at 6 and 8:30. The band and singers in the Atrium were loud and you couldn't escape the noise easily. The lovely room at the top of the ship was taken over every night by the free cocktail hours for the Elite cruisers. We were told we could come in but they wouldn't serve us until the Elites were leaving. The view up there was beautiful but the furniture was peculiar and uncomfortable. Overall the Solstice is a beautiful ship. Our cabin was very clean but smaller than any veranda that we have ever had on our previous 45+ cruises. The closet is inadequate, drawer space minimal. The bathroom was pretty but the faucet was not well designed and it was tight quarters around the commode. Our balcony appeared to be cut off and could have been extended another 3-4 feet. There seemed to be a ledge under the ship's name right where our balcony ended. I would not cruise on a ship this size again but I would recommend Celebrity to a younger cruiser looking for a good value. There is a certain buzz around the ship and that seems to appeal the younger crowd. The 1-2-3 deal was a good promotion and most got their money's worth judging by the lines in the bars. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
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 ... Read More
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 passport, which I found out was wrong after getting bussed to a Sheraton hotel for processing along with thousands of other passengers. At the processing it was by room class so even being elite we end up in a 45 minute waiting line and then have a new girl with a lap top that never seemed to work take another 30 minutes to reenter everything I had entered online including swiping my credit card over 40 times before it seemed to be approved. (the next day I was summoned to pursor when to redo it all again). Then we massed together in a mob of 200 to run for box lunches and the buses to be transported to Ensenada and to go through immigration. Three hours later at 6 pm we boarded. Our bags arrived at 10 pm after open seating dinner at 8:30. Of course almost all entertainment was either delayed or rescheduled I guess since mostly we never found out until too late and were too exhausted to do much but hit the sack after getting notice we would have to through immigration again the next day in San Diego to get off the ship. The next day we waited for the ok to go ashore, finally after no announcements we were down to deck 4 and found lines with hundreds of people who like us received no announcement. After wasting all this time half of our time ashore was gone so just went to the USS Midway museum nearby (which was great)grabbed a soda and headed back to the ship.So we had wasted the better part of two days, everything we wanted to go like the welcome party and meet and greet was either cancelled or rescheduled and we missed them. As for the ship it was nice, clean and very concerned with sanitation as they had some prior norovirus problems I was told. The room steward Ronald and his assistant were exceptional, it seemed they were always working, but always willing to answer questions or be of service. The food in the MDR was very good though it seems the number options has dropped and only 4 or 5 entrees. We dined in the Tuscan Grille which was good in parts; my filet was great, my spouses blackend ribeye was tough and chewy sent back and replaced by one even worse. Desserts were pretty but bland. The buffet was very good particularly in the Morning for eggs, omelets and pancakes. The coffee bars and restaurants on 4 and 5 very good. The main problem with the cruise was there never seemed to be a place that wasn't jammed. All of the public areas near both elevator shafts always seemed full. Both floors of the library , the team earth floor, the internet room,the card room, the lounges, the bars, the guest services, excursions, everywhere you looked it was packed( atleast from 6 am to 10pm). Partly this was due to cool weather no one used the open air pool areas, bars, or lawn areas even the solarium was usually empty. And consequently the elevators were always running and waits were long. The other factor was it seemed everyone on board was 65 or older, active but not ones to partake of strenous activity or cool weather. We were told there were 600 Elite cruisers, but it seemed everyone I met was, and if not Elite they were Suite or Concierge Class.We have another cruise booked with Celebrity in the fall on the Summit going to Quebec from New Jersey which with 123 program and cooler weather looked to have the same clientel and weather which I probably will cancel after having been on this cruise. This wasn't a bad cruise it started very poorly and was very disorganized (like everyone was new to their jobs)but the crew seemed overwhelmed and proccupied. We will cruise with Celebrity again as it was our favorite line but we certainly will think a lot more about it Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We were part of a group of 3 couples (family & friends) that decided to take this cruise together. We all were on Deck 10 and all had rooms with a veranda. Boarding & Departure - The boarding process was very smooth. I think ... Read More
We were part of a group of 3 couples (family & friends) that decided to take this cruise together. We all were on Deck 10 and all had rooms with a veranda. Boarding & Departure - The boarding process was very smooth. I think we arrived at the port around 11:00 am and after dropping off our luggage, proceeded into the terminal area for processing. The line moved along quickly, and we received our cruise card and had our picture taken. Waited in the holding area for about 15 min., then proceeded up the gangway into the ship. Once aboard, we proceeded to the Oceanview Cafe on Deck 14 to grab a bite to eat. Nice selection of food to choose from and then we headed out on deck for the departure. Stateroom - I think the rooms were available around 5:00 pm, so we headed to the room to unpack. The room was setup very nicely, with ample storage and lighting. The veranda contained a table and 2 chairs each with a footrest. During the entire week, I only had 2 complaints with the room and both were in the bathroom. The water spout in the sink extends out half the diameter of the sink which makes it difficult to splash water on your face using both hands. The other item is that the cold water is not cold. Basically room temperature, so it's not too enjoyable when brushing your teeth. The bed setup was great, and very comfortable. Dining - We opted for the scheduled dining in the Grand Epernay dining room. Our group chose the 8:30pm dining time, and it seemed to work out just fine. On the port days, the ship usually departed at 5pm or 6pm, so we didn't want to have to get back on the ship early in order to make the early dinner. The meals were fabulous. There were enough menu items to select from, so it was enjoyable for everyone in our group. Can't say enough good things about our waiter Eladio and his assistant Corina. They were so much fun to interact with that we always looked forward to seeing them each evening. We had 2 formal nights (Monday and Friday), so it was fun dressing up for those evenings. Entertainment - Since we opted for the late dinner, if we wanted to see a show, we had to catch the 7:00pm showing. I think we only saw a couple of shows, and they were very good. We opted more for getting together as a group before dinner at one of the many bars for drinks and conversation. Our favorite bar was the Martini Bar on Deck 4. Gede was our main server that we enjoyed. I think there were 3 Gede's at the bar, so I'm referring to the tall one with the big smile. One evening, we did catch the comedy show at 11:00pm and were really glad we did. We did not stop laughing for the entire show. Ship tour - The 3 guys in our group signed up for the "Inside Tour" of the ship. There is a $150 charge for the tour and it lasts around 3 hours and includes lunch with wine. They generally limit this to around 15 people, so if you are thinking about it, you need to sign-up early. It was well worth the money. They allow you to take pictures, but no video. We toured the Bridge, Engine Control room, Theatre backstage and dressing room, Heli-pad (the most forward point of the ship), Crew lounge area, Crew library, Kitchen prep area, Food storage areas, etc. It was a great tour. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Although we had done Transatlantic crossings twice on Cunard (each direction) we had never done a Cruise Transatlantic. But, we love the Solstice class ships and it was a great offer and itinerary from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale, with ... Read More
Although we had done Transatlantic crossings twice on Cunard (each direction) we had never done a Cruise Transatlantic. But, we love the Solstice class ships and it was a great offer and itinerary from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale, with some interesting ports along the way. Our cabin was the typical Solstice balcony cabin, no wasted space, but certainly comfortable with a better than adequate bathroom. We were a party of four, with two single woman friends joining my husband and me. We had decided this was a good time to try the anytime seating for dinner and the first night ate in the area set aside. It was not a good experience, with the servers rushing around, people coming and going throughout the meal and it was crowded. Our server tried her very best but we just weren't satisfied with the experience. We asked to change and were given an excellent table in the MDR, with a great wait team and pleasant location. Since we had already visited most of the Ports we didn't take any excursions but all the ports were easily accessible for walks or hop-on bus tours and the port days were enjoyable. Punta Delgada, in the Azores was new to all of us so we took a sightseeing and wine tasting excursion. Parts of it were fascinating and lovely; the wine tasting was more amusing then enlightening and we had time to stroll along the wharf area before we had to board. Our favorite place on the Solstice was the Hot Glass Studio. We loved the shows and didn't miss a single one. The talent and exuberance of the artists was terrific and we were thrilled to purchase a piece at the charity auction on the last day. We are looking forward to our next Transatlantic on the Equinox April 16. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We sailed on the Nov. 16 cruise out of Barcelona. There were 9 in our group of friends, several of whom had never cruised before. Impressions of the ship: Sleek and sophisticated, but felt like an ultra-modern hotel rather than a ... Read More
We sailed on the Nov. 16 cruise out of Barcelona. There were 9 in our group of friends, several of whom had never cruised before. Impressions of the ship: Sleek and sophisticated, but felt like an ultra-modern hotel rather than a ship. I didn't particularly care for the layout - the atrium felt small and crowded, the shops were spread out on two decks and never appeared to have anyone in them. The Sky Lounge had filmy curtains that hung above most of the booths. This blocked the view out to sea, which to me is the purpose of a room like this. The oceanview cafe was always SO crowded, it was extremely difficult to find a seat at lunchtime. In fact, one day we gave up and took our plates back to our room. I guess it was just too much steel, glass, and modern art for me. Beautiful to be sure, but just didn't have a warm, welcoming feel to me. Staff: We had the best room attendants we have ever had on any ship, by far! They were Pius and Lakeram, and they were so consistently wonderful I can't say enough good things about them. MDR attendants were also very good - even the maitre d' was very helpful. The activity director must have changed with our sailing, as we had a male (Stewart) and I'd read that there was a female director on prior cruises. He was OK, not great. Cabin: We had 6292, a balcony towards the aft, and it was terrific. From 6288 on back, the balconies are about 3 feet deeper than normal. The cabin layout was very comfy, loved the sofa and the large flat-screen TV. The bathroom was beautiful, very high-end with tons of storage space for toiletries. Entertainment: We saw nearly all of the shows and thought they were excellent. The ship's orchestra is really fabulous, the singers and dancers in the production shows were extremely talented. We also enjoyed the solo-performer shows in the theater. Topnotch, the party band, was also great - those two girl singers are incredible! Food: We ate dinner in the MDR all but 2 nights and liked most of the offerings, although some of the menu items were just downright strange. They seemed to put sauce on nearly everything, even the "lobster" on the 2nd formal night. It was a small crustacean called a "rock lobster" and it came drowned in an orange sauce. Where was the drawn butter?! The beef was generally tender. I liked the burgers and fries in the Mast Grill, wish it would stay open later than 6 PM. Overall, the food was good, just a little too fancy for us. At least we didn't gain weight, so that's a good thing. Itinerary: Barcelona, Cannes (subsituted last minute for Villefranche as their pier was damaged in a storm), Livorno, Civitavecchia, Naples, Durbovnik, Venice (overnight), Kotor and 3 sea days. LOVED every single port, the sail-ins to Venice and Kotor were nothing short of amazing as was sailing through the Straits of Messina. We had been to Florence, Rome and Venice on previous land-based trips but still enjoyed them immensely. We did private tours for Pisa/Florence and Pompeii/Amalfi Coast, the rest on our own. Weather: Boy, did we luck out! It was rainy and cool in Barcelona when we arrived, but mostly sunny, low to mid 60's in Cannes, Florence, Rome, Naples and Kotor. We had afternoon rain in Dubrovnik, and sunny but cool (low to mid 50's) in Venice. Our last day at sea, it got to 70 and felt wonderful. Seas were SO calm, 1 -3 feet - unbelievable! It was perfect. Overall, we had a fantastic time. The Solstice delivered us to all of our destinations safely and comfortably. While it is not my favorite ship, I would happily sail her again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
CELEBRITY SOLSTICE SEPT 29 2011 BARCELONA TO VENICE WE LOVED THE ADVENTURE!! Captain Yannis Berdos, Master of the Vessel I flew in to Barcelona from Florida. The departure from the airport to the ship was not complicated at ... Read More
CELEBRITY SOLSTICE SEPT 29 2011 BARCELONA TO VENICE WE LOVED THE ADVENTURE!! Captain Yannis Berdos, Master of the Vessel I flew in to Barcelona from Florida. The departure from the airport to the ship was not complicated at all. . If you paid Celebrity to collect your luggage, they will wait until they fill a bus, and then transport you to the ship. If you are an independent traveler, You get your luggage, and hail a cab. I prefer not to wait. You can also team up with other shipmates you may meet in the terminal building and split the price of a van or cab. The cabs are lined up out front; ready to whisk you away to either downtown or straight to the ship, and the trip takes approximately 20 minutes. I came the day before to relax from the international trip, staying at the Hilton del Mar Diagnonal, close to the water, and to be more accustomed to the time zone of our ship. It was well worth the extra day, as I was not exhausted, fully rested, and ready to start a well anticipated adventure of a lifetime. At 11:15, I checked in, receiving my Sea Pass card, and at 11:45, I had been through Duty Free for wine and pictures (predeparture). I am Elite on Celebrity, which means there are plenty of add on activities complimentary from Celebrity that will keep even the easily bored occupied! But the true BONUS was that we booked through Costco Travel, and were on a wine cruise as well, so we had plenty of wine tastings, wine tours ashore, and culinary experiences as part of our package. Shortly after setting sail, we had a private wine tasting from Chateau St. Michelle, private delicious wines, and then off to a Senior Officers party for the suites. We bought tickets early for the shore excursions to Venice, and then went immediately to a Cruise Critic's party in Michael's club, where about 70 of us gathered. We met Princess, the events coordinator and also Giorgio De Pietro, who was very funny. He was the Food and Beverage Manager aboard from Napoli, Italy. We organized a room crawl for later on that week with the cruise critic group, after our initial Meet and Greet in Michaels Club, arranged by the ship. Our trip went from Barcelona, to Nice, Florence/Pisa Rome, Naples, Dubrovnik, Venice, Kotor, and back to Barcelona. Old town Dubrovnik was beautiful and we had a guided walk through Old Town, including a walk from Ploce Gate to the Market Place. You can walk the city wall up above, if you are feeling adventurous. Nice: We took the train to Nice, which is easy from the ship and takes about 10 minutes on the train. We bought beautiful flowers at the flower market, only open until noon, so you need to hurry a little in the morning. The market is down by the water, and about a 10 minute walk through town to the water's edge. Livorno: Went wine tasting at Varramista Winery (owners of Fiat). Then on to a beautiful dinner for formal night hosted by the master of the vessel, Captain Berdos. He is lots of fun, and entertained all the guests. It is so nice to have a personable captain who really takes such an interest in all the passengers and makes us feel so comfortable. He speaks very good English, and is a Greek captain. The Solarium Pool: A beautiful swimming pool which is indoors, and heated, yet offers peeks of sunlight thru the glass ceiling and rafters. They have Wii bowling on board which was really fun to play, and line dancing in the afternoon. Naples Italy: A must to get off the ship, and I took the tour to Pompeii, one of the most remarkable experiences of my life, and to see the ancient city, just imagining how life must have been before the volcano erupted at Mount Vesuvius. On board the ship, the Oceanview Cafe has a fabulous Mediterrean stir fry. Captains Club was at the sky Observation Lounge and Dinner in the specialty restaurant of Morano's Murano's Restaurant Maitre d' Hotel: Angei Dimitrov. Both very friendly and attentive to the needs of all the guests. Their goat cheese soufflé is not to be missed, nor the Hazelnut Rack of lamb, scallops wellington, Murano lobster and chocolate soufflé. Murano's menu is incredible. The chef de rang will also do tableside cooking and includes filleting the Dover Sole, or making a fabulous cognac flambéed warm lobster tail dish made with a fabulous Dijon-cream. At sea day: Had our wine tasting at Tuscan Grill paired with cheese and prosciutto. We participated in a cruise critic room crawl in where we visited other cruise critics rooms, and saw inside rooms, outside rooms, family veranda suites, sky suites, concierge, and handicapped rooms. I found this to be one of the most information adventures with cruise critic, because for future cruises, we knew exactly what type of room we really wanted to book. Croatia: A wonderful country to explore. We took the bus and went up into the mountains of Croatia to go wine tasting, and have first hand tastes of homemade cheeses and prosciutto, followed by incredible homemade wines. The wines of Croatia are excellent! Our maitre'd is Czaka, and Asst is Emil. The sommelier was named Serjan in the Tuscan grill that is very knowledgeable and friendly. Dubrovnik: A world Heritage site preserved by Unisco. After the 1991 war which Serbia bombed the ancient town, much restoration had to occur. We found the city fascinating, and were able to do some nice shopping as well as getting involved in the history of the town. Venice, Italy: We took a ferry shuttle at 2:00 pm, shortly after docking. Venice was very hot (85F). You could buy Murano glass, jewelry made from the same, have fabulous gelatos, shop to your heart's content, or simple ride the gondola. We found the town to be less crowded in the evening, as many shipmates return in the late afternoon. I believe really the time to see Venice is in the evening, without the crowds of people. Next time I will know more. The ship had hosted a fabulous party on the heliport, featuring music of Andréa Bocelli and Sarah Brightman. It was awesome. The food in Blu restaurant if you are in Aqua class or a suite is simply the best. I highly recommend booking this class on the solstice ships for the most rewarding experience while cruising. Kotor, Montenegro: Took a tour by bus over large mountains to a beautiful home with homemade wines and food. An incredible experience. Many homes were damaged or abandoned from recent earthquakes, and there was a lot of remodeling and building taking place. Since we were tendered at port, it was nice to take the small boats back to the ship. We saw a large clipper ship in a small cove while we were there. Captains Club was great as usual. Our internet café was run by officer randy Palamis. I was impressed with his complete and total interest in each and every passenger. Tuscan Grille: Maitre de' Hotel: Marius Borcila. On the menu is slow braised ground beef veal, Kobe meatballs, pan friend veal cutlet, Colorado lamb chops, veal chops, fietto Mignon, rib eye, salmon and other dishes. Yummy! Each of the ports was special, but it was really the crew that made our trip so memorable. We were really impressed with the service on board, from guest relations to the Ocean View Cafe, to the spa. A special friendly crew. My thanks for all their hard work, as it will last in my memories for years to come. By Tikigal: Check out my slide show of the Solstice coming up soon of Crew and Passengers for Sept 2011. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Upon arrival at BCN, there is no customs & immigration to clear, just have your passport stamped, no questions asked ( kind of scary, they let anyone into the country ) We stayed 1 night PRE at the Radisson Barcelona airport. ... Read More
Upon arrival at BCN, there is no customs & immigration to clear, just have your passport stamped, no questions asked ( kind of scary, they let anyone into the country ) We stayed 1 night PRE at the Radisson Barcelona airport. There was no mention of an airport shuttle on their website or confirmation but upon arriving at the hotel, I overheard a conversation that the shuttle runs every 30 mins. We took a taxi there. Driver said it would be minimum 20 euros ( a gouge, but what can you do ). The check out time is 12 noon which means rooms aren't available until after that time. They actually tell you 4 pm and highly recommend you taking their shuttle to La Rambla ( which we did ). We walked around the Port Vell area which has a large shopping center. It's the only place open on Sundays in addition to the souvenir shops. Then we walked along the seawall. They have bicycles to use for free. It's called BCING. The HOHO bus is also very popular here but we didn't use it. The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel ( which you can include in your rate ). It's a buffet with hot & cold items. Then at 11 am, we took their shuttle for 10 euros per person. Arrived at the terminal at 11:30 am and were onboard by 11:45 am. They have shopping in the cruise terminal. You can also sign up for Specialty Dining Packages. 3 for $ 79 ( a good deal ). Staterooms are available at 1:30 pm. Lifeboat drill is at 4:15 pm. No need to wear lifejackets. The Master was Captain Gerry Larsson-Feddie and his officers are very interactive with the guests. The 8% Spanish VAT is added to all purchases while the ship is within 12 miles of territorial Spanish waters and while calling in Spanish ports. 1st seating is 6:15 pm, 2nd seating is 8:45 pm, SELECT dining is 6:15 - 9:45 pm. For fixed seating, you can enter the dining room up to 30 mins past your seating time. For this cruise, Blu was open seating ( due to the long port days ) Topless sunbathing is available on deck 16. Sep 06 - Villefranche (Nice), France Tender tickets can be obtained from the Entertainment court, deck 4 from 8:30 am. Last tender returning to the ship is at 7:15 pm. We took an all day tour here to Nice, Grasse ( to a parfrumerie ), Cannes ( including lunch ) and a visit to Saint-Paul de Vence ( a village where the locals live ). If you are staying onboard, there's activities throughout the day. Sep 07 - Livorno ( Florence/Pisa ), Italy They have a shuttle to city center - continuous service to Via Cogorano ( Piazza Grande ). Journey time is approx 10 - 15 mins. Hours of operation 7:30 am to 6 pm. Cost of day pass ticket is $ 8 USD. Shuttle to train station - one departure at 8:25 am and returning from the train station at 5 pm. $ 18 USD. We took a private tour here to Florence and Pisa. At the Piazza Santa Croce, you could spend a lot of time & money buying leather goods. At the piazza where David's statue is and the Pont de Vecchio, there are throngs of people. Very easy to get separated from your group. In Pisa, there are lots of cute t-shirts & knock off Le Sportsac bags. Tonight at dinner, I was actually falling asleep. The Maitre'd every night says 'Please remind me of your stateroom number' which is highly annoying because AQ guests pay 10% more for their cruise. May be if he asked for our names, he could remember us. It's a smaller dining room. I expect the dining room staff to know my name by the 3rd night. I had high expectations of Blu because several of my friends raved about how great it was. Frankly, I didn't think the food was that great & the desserts weren't very imaginative. We also ate at Tuscan Grille, Murano and Silk Harvest. The food at TG was ok, Murano was good but I didn't like the waiter hovering in the corner, waiting for us to finish our food. Silk Harvest was the best value. The chef came out to speak with all the guests. Between the 2 of us, we ordered 2 appies and 2 entrees. Then the waiter suggested to order one more entree, which we did. Then he suggested ordering one more entree. I said' I have a small appetite, that's enough ! " ( and it was more than enough ) Sep 08 - Civitavecchia ( Rome ), Italy A free shuttle service runs from the ship to the gate entrance to Civitavecchia from 7 am to 6 pm every 20 - 25 mins. Walking to the port gate takes approx 30 mins. Taxis are available from the port gate only. Here we did an all day tour to Trevi Fountain, Colosseum and St Peter's Basilica. Beware of the cobblestones, they can be slippery. I fell outside St Peters, hit my head on the sidewalk. Thankfully, no bleeding, broken bones or smashed glasses. Sep 09 - at sea Highlights - Galley tour, scrapbooking ( free ) Sep 10 - Naples, Italy Here we did an all-day tour of Sorrento + Amalfi drive including lunch; very picturesque. Sep 11 - Dubrovnik, Croatia Highlight: Dancing with the Stripes Ballroom Dance Competition ( similar to Dancing with the Stars ). You dance with the ship's officers. One of my friends came in 1st place & won a bottle of champagne. Shuttle to Dubrovnik Old Town $ 12 USD to Pile Square ( entrance of Old Town ) from 7 am - 4 pm every 15 - 20mins. Travel time is 15 - 20 mins depending on traffic. They will tell you to bring photo identification with you ashore. No one checks it. The reason is that you cannot leave the country unless you have photo ID. I overheard someone saying they brought their drivers license. But if you were detained, you wouldn't be able to board a plane with a drivers license. You'd need a passport. Dubrovnik was really hot 84*F/29*C. People were complaining about the heat. Of course, these people weren't wearing sunglasses, a hat or carrying an umbrella for shade or having any water to drink. It's 630 steps to walk the wall. You can also walk it inside to escape the heat. Here we did an all-day tour of Dubrovnik with the Cable Car including lunch. Great view of the city but nothing much else to do up there. There is a restaurant. Had lunch at a restaurant by the sea. Sep 12 - Venice, Italy ( overnight ) Sail in to Venice, a pretty sight. Don't miss this ! Highlight - Senior Officers vs Guests Poker Challenge Shuttle boat to St Mark's Square $22 for a 1 day pass, $ 36 for a 2 day pass Drop off point: St Mark's Square. Guests must be able to maneuver 2 sets of bridges to reach the main square. Guests who require wheelchair accessibility are asked to contact Guest Relations for transportation information. Last boat from the drop off point going back to the ship is at 11:45 pm. The gangway is open 24 hours while in Venice. Alternative public transportation options are available from the pier. The glass jewellery that you see onboard the ship is very expensive. You can buy it here at much better prices. It's not available in St Mark's Square but in the side streets at actual stores, not kiosks. Here we took the 'Secrets of Venice' tour. It is a walking tour with a refreshment break of coffee, juice, or water. Our tour guide ended the tour at the break but it was actually supposed to end at St Mark's Square. So be sure to speak up if they try to pull this on you. The tour was ok but the sound on the headsets kept breaking up. Maybe because we were walking in the side streets, there wasn't much reception ? The shuttle point is in front of Londra Palace hotel, 2 bridges from St Mark's Square. We stayed onboard the 2nd day in Venice. Ate in the Oceanview Cafe for lunch & diner and noticed that the same items are repeated at dinner. Sep 14 - Kotor, Montenegro Tender tickets are required to go ashore. Last tender from ashore leaves at 5:45 pm. Here we took the Highlights of Kotor with Cuisine. We drive all the way up the mountain on a single lane road with 25 hairpin turns. The view is fantastic but the faint of heart should take the aisle seat. At the refreshment stop, there are some beautiful hand-knitted items. A coat was only 30 euros. For lunch, we stopped at Konak restaurant. This was the best meal ashore by far. Slow-cooked beef brisket with wine/water, soup, salad and cake ( no time for coffee ) Then we visited Budvha and the Royal Family's residence. Very interesting. Then onto Kotor and the walled city. Sep 15 - at sea Highlights - Officers vs Guests Pool Volleyball Challenge, Hot Glass Auction, Celebrity Showtime 'Solstice, the Show' ( fabulous, better than Cirque du Soleil, you cannot sit in the seats covered with an X ), Brunch at Sea Sep 16 - at sea For anyone with dietary needs eg vegan, gluten free etc; the onus is on the guest to review the menu with the Assistant Maitre'd the day before. My vegan friends said they cruised with Celebrity 3 years ago & there was a vegan menu. Now it's no longer available so they couldn't be vegans on this cruise. They had to be vegetarian. No disembarkation talk. It's on the tv on channel 2. Luggage needs to be outside your stateroom by 11 pm. If you have prepaid gratuities, it's automatically distributed; they no longer have vouchers for you to give. If you purchased any alcohol, it has to be packed in your checked luggage. For Canadians, once you arrive in Canada; if you have a connecting flight, you have to retrieve your luggage, transfer the alcohol to your checked luggage before dropping it off for the connecting flight. Otherwise, when you go through domestic security screening, the alcohol will be confiscated ( due to the no liquids rule ). Saw this happen to my friends. They lost a bottle of limoncello. Sep 17 - Barcelona, Spain Breakfast: AquaSpa Cafe 7 - 8 am, Blu 6:30 - 8 am, Grand Epernay 6:30 - 8 am, Oceanview Cafe 6 - 8 am. Arrival at 6 am. Express Walk Off at 6:30 am. It's all very efficient. You walk down the gangway to the terminal where your luggage is going around on carousels. Walk outside to shuttles or taxis ( lots of taxis ) The cruise line shuttle is $ 30 USD per person. A taxi is approx 34 euros to the airport. At the airport, if you have already done online check in, there is a separate counter at the end for bag drop off only. Then, go through security screening, passport control ( they just stamp your passport ) and to the gate. They don't make boarding announcements, so pay attention to the boarding time. For Air Canada, we had to walk down a flight of stairs to take a bus out to the tarmac. Air Canada has gotten really cheap now. You get one meal and one snack ( eg lg muffin with no substance or a wrap with a hard crust ). Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This ship reflects Celebrity's usual strengths: excellent food; a mature, stylish focus; low-key on-board experience. The big surprise was the extraordinary cuisine related to Aqua class' Blu restaurant. Aqua class passengers are ... Read More
This ship reflects Celebrity's usual strengths: excellent food; a mature, stylish focus; low-key on-board experience. The big surprise was the extraordinary cuisine related to Aqua class' Blu restaurant. Aqua class passengers are assigned to this restaurant (although they can still go to the main dining room). The cuisine in Blu is on a level of gourmet specialty restaurants and the service is impeccable -- the staff offered to make me a custom specific dinner based on my desired dishes. I cannot figure out why the designers spent so much space on the much touted lawn; if you wanted to experience lawns, why you would be on a ship? The pools and related facilities are fairly standard (which mean classy). But there are no salt water pools or the delightful Thelasapools from the earlier Celebrity models (a major disappointment). The rooms are similar to other Celebrity ships although the bathrooms deserve particular note: the design is greatly improved and the use of the small space actually makes the bathroom experience pleasurable. Aqua class has showers with multiple jets, a nice touch. The programming was typical Celebrity: light on itinerary-based on-board enrichment programs; lots of group games; fully produced shows (on this cruise, the performances and staging was at considerably lower level than previous shows experiences); good specialty acts. The new art auction provider appears to have less of a stock of diverse and interesting arts making the auctions end up with little to no bidding. The design and cuisine in the buffet dining area was very good. The massive line problem has been entirely eliminated by multiple serving areas. As usual, the pastries were the weak link in Celebrity's cuisine. However, the balance of the buffet foods are very good for this style of dining. Embark and disembark were efficient and pleasant. While the ship has 2,800 passengers, you never feel crowded or are even aware of the number of people on board, even in the large assembly areas (dining, shows, etc.) Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
On our trip it was my parents and brothers, my husband's parents, my husband and our four and nine-year-old daughters. After reading previous reviews I was worried that my girls would be bored on the ship; I actually think they ... Read More
On our trip it was my parents and brothers, my husband's parents, my husband and our four and nine-year-old daughters. After reading previous reviews I was worried that my girls would be bored on the ship; I actually think they enjoyed the cruise more than anyone else! Living in Florida, we drove and used Park-N-Go. They were quick and efficient. Tip: print an online coupon; it is only $6.99/day to park. The driver removed the bags from our car, drove us to the dock and handed our bags to the porter. Embarkation was quick and efficient. Once onboard we went to the buffet with everybody else (crowded, go to Aqua Spa Cafe). The food was good, with plenty of choices even the pickiest of eaters could find something they liked. My nine-year-old enjoyed the pasta bar and the ice cream. Room: Traveling with a rather rambunctious four-year-old, we opted for an ocean view room on the third deck so we did not have to fret with her on the verandah. The room was well appointed with was plenty of storage for a week's worth of clothes for the four of us. The nice thing about being on the third deck is we were close to the MDR, Casino, elevators, shops and shows. Food: Everyone on our trip had a different experience with the food; it comes down to what you eat. Just about everything I had in the MDR was good, sometimes even exceptional. The pan seared steak was my favorite as well as the spring rolls. My children loved everything and ate just about everything, so did my husband. I was not a fan of the buffet. There were some good choices there, but by day 6, I was ready for a change. The only specialty restaurant we tried was Bistro on 5. The food and service were both great- if you like crepes (my husband would only eat a salad). The gelato on 5 was excellent and I heard wonderful reviews about both Murano and Tuscan Grill. Entertainment: The only really good show was their Cirque performance; all the other shows were not up to par with other ships. This is one area where Celebrity needs to improve. Singers were off key, dancers off step, and the impressionist was so terrible the audience was laughing out of pity. I did go to the cooking show which was very entertaining and also did a wine seminar, also very good. Water volleyball on the last day and the hot glass show are not to be missed. My husband and I enjoyed karaoke and comedy shows; the boys also enjoyed poker tournaments on sea days (perfect time for a nap in to Solarium). We took full advantage of the ship, even the lawn club. It was one of the least used spaces but had multiple games to play. My brothers, kids, husband and I spent two hours up there on night playing a very competitive cornhole game. You can also practice your putting skills in real grass! Fun Factory (kids): My girls LOVED the programs. The staff kept the kids entertained and wanting to go back each day. It made my vacation much more enjoyable because they wanted to be there. My older daughter went on scavenger hunts, built a boat, had a Casino Royal night and made many friends. My younger daughter had very age appropriate activities including a Pirate Parade that was cute. Parents don't fret, there were over 400 children on our cruise and the kids had more fun than the parents. Service: Our room attendant was wonderful. The MDR staff was very attentive, especially to the children. On Thanksgiving, my mother was ill and unable to leave her room; the waiter sent a full turkey dinner up to her so she would not miss out. The bartender on Deck 3 as well as the Sommeliers in the Wine Cellar were wonderful; the rest of the bar staff were not so great. Don't bother purchasing a beverage package because with our without it, you won't get served without waiting a long time- or just go the Deck 3 before dinner. Favorites/Must do: 1. Take a nap in the Solarium (on a wicker canopy if you can snag one); 2. Eat Gelato; 3. Watch the sunset from the lawn club; 4. Go to the LAST glass show of the cruise (possible free stuff); 5. Eat at a specialty restaurant; 6. See the Cirque show; 7. Take a wine class; 8. RELAX. Ports: San Juan- If you're going to the Bacardi Factory, haggle with a taxi driver or take the ferry. St. Maarten- Go to downtown- very pretty. St. Thomas- Skip the taxi. If you're traveling with more than three people, it is cheaper to rent a car (rentals right next to the dock)and go around yourself. We took amazing pictures and visited beautiful beaches for a fraction of the cost of a taxi! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
My family just got off the Solstice (Eastern Caribbean - San Juan/St. Thomas and St. Maarten). This was our fourth Celebrity cruise, but our first on the Solstice class and we all agreed that this was the nicest ship we have sailed. We ... Read More
My family just got off the Solstice (Eastern Caribbean - San Juan/St. Thomas and St. Maarten). This was our fourth Celebrity cruise, but our first on the Solstice class and we all agreed that this was the nicest ship we have sailed. We have cruised on Celebrity, Princess (7 times) and Holland America (4 times) and we thought the Solstice was elegant, entertaining and just plain fun. As a bit of background, My wife and I are in our mid 40's. We have a soon to be 6 year old. My mother joined us, along with my sister/brother in-law and their two sons (7 and 11). My 11 year old nephew is significantly disabled (brain tumor survivor). My mother and father have done 5 round the world cruises with Holland, along with many other cruises all over the globe. My sister has also cruised many times. In short, we are a cruise lovin' family. All of us thought this ship was simply wonderful. PRE-CRUISE HOTEL We flew into Ft. Lauderdale on the 16th and had $80 rooms (through Priceline) at the Westin Ft. Lauderdale Beach Resort. Great hotel at a great price. It was right on the beach. The pool was heated perfectly and the kids had a great time. EMBARKATION My wife, son and I took a cab over to the Solstice at about 11:00 a.m. on Sunday and flew through embarkation. We were early and there were no lines. We had a Concierge Class cabin (1042) and we hung out for about 15 minutes waiting for boarding to begin. My son played in the play ground area they have at the Oasis/Allure pier and loved it. It will be a shame when the Solstice has to give up this pier in December when the Allure comes out as it makes for easy embarkation. On a side note, my mother, sister and her family, did not get to the ship until about noon, and their embarkation was quite slow (long lines, poorly trained individual at check-in), but they made it safely on board. CABIN We had a Concierge 3 class cabin (1042 - Sky Deck). Loved the location (right before the indent towards the front of the ship). The cabin was fine in size for the three of us. Enjoyed the decor, the flat screen tv with swivel wall mount, on-demand, satellite and pay per view tv choices, along with the access to photos, account balance, menus (including room service). Loved the shower stall in the bathroom. Shower has sliding doors that are much better than a shower curtain. Best cruise ship shower ever. I have noticed others complain about the toilet paper roll holder and it is as poorly designed as they state. Based on its position and design, the toilet paper slides off all the time. Very funny actually. In our cabin the bed was next to the closet, which is smaller than others we have had on other ships/cruise lines. It is also a little awkward because of how close it is to the bed, but we had more than enough room in our cabin for clothes for all three of us (there is storage above the bed that came in very handy, drawers by vanity and storage in the bathroom). If you are doing B2B cruises it could be a bit of a challenge for storage, but I would recommend bringing less and sending out some laundry. The balcony is pretty standard, but we did book for next year on the Eclipse and booked Cabin 1075, which has a huge balcony. SHIP The ship is in lovely condition. It is well manicured and spotless. The Epernay Dining room is very modern, but still classy and elegant. The Solstice Theater is big, but well designed. There are a couple of spots where poles could obscure the view, but generally not a bad seat in the house. The OceanView cafe has nice selections. I will say that it was crazy busy on embarkation day and also the last day at sea (we had some bad weather). We had to hunt for seats on more than one occassion during breakfast, but overall the food was quite good. We were amazed that for a ship its size that it was very easy to get around. It feels like the vast majority of the activities are based in the middle of the ship, so there are no long walks down hallways to get from one place to another. Our son loved the kid's club (Fun Factory). The counselors were great. He made friends with many kids on board. Great activities. There were 88 kids (under 18) on board. I know this is much less than during summer vacation time period. We felt like the kids were always kept busy and had great activities. The proof is in the pudding. When asked what his favorite part of the cruise was he answers "Kid's Club". The pool was really nice. They have a 3' - 4' pool for families that was wonderful for all the kids to play in. It was deep enough that they could actually swim, but nice for parents not to have to hover as it was not too deep. The second 1/2 of the outdoor pool was 5 1/2' - 6 1/2'. Our son was welcome in that pool too, which is something that I think may change in summers. I think if there are 500 kids on board during the summer that it would be cruel and unusual punishment to limit them to the family pool as this would not be big enough to accomodate even 50 kids at a time. During fall break, however, the family pool was perfect. There is nice piped in music at the pool, along with cool steel drums, acapella perfomers, bands, during the day. The music at the pool and all over the ship for that matter, was wonderful. The casino (a favorite spot) is very nice; however, the minimum bet is $10 on most tables, which is unusual for a cruise ship. I spoke with a few of the casino staff and they confirmed that the higher minimum keeps people away. In addition, I will state that the only crew members who we found to be a little cold were in the casino. The poker manager was wonderful, but generally the dealers at the table games were not engaging at all. I promise this had nothing to do with my winning/losing. They have two electronic poker tables, which I don't mind at all, but the rake is outrageous (10% of each pot up to $50 max). This is the highest rake I have ever seen on an electronic table on board ship. With that said, the poker manager always gave out a free drink every night and could not have been nicer. We like to play Let it Ride with the Three Card Poker bonus, but they didn't have this combo on the ship. Not a big deal, but it was the first time this table was not on a cruise ship we have sailed on in a few years. DINING As I said above we found the buffet to be quite good (considering it is a buffet). There were many choices, most of which were quite tasty. The Grand Epernay Dining room really had a nice menu with wonderful choices every night. We were amazed that they offered Lobster Bisque and Escargot on the every day menu. The meatball/pasta dish on the last night really is worth having. The only thing I was disappointed in was the lobster on the second formal night. It was a very small tail and is served with a scallop and shrimp risotto. The scallop was quite good, but the shrimp were a bit pathetic and the risotto was not good at all. Other than this once dish, the rest of my meals in the dining room really were exceptional and I give it very high marks. The Asian Specialty Restaurant was a nice surprise. We went there the night we were in San Juan and it was great. It is family style, and in short, they bring out the entire menu to your table. There must be 8 appetizers (Asian Ribs are amazing ) followed by a round of sushi which was quite good (we love sushi so I wont tell you it was the best ever, but still enjoyed it), and then you have about 8 more entrees brought to you family style (orange chicken was delicious). I have never thought asian restaurants have good deserts and this one was no different, but after all the food we ate I had no room for dessert anyway. Murano was the highlight of our trip from a food perspective. I started with the foie gras which was amazing. It had a great seer with sea salt over the top and literally melted in your mouth. It has a nice counterpoint with a phyllo dough stuffed with duck confit next to it that was equally delicious. I ordered the filet with peppercorn sauce for my entree and it was fantastic. In hindsight I would have had the surf and turf duo with lobster and filet, but held off as lobster night was the following night. For dessert my wife and I shared the bite sized dessert sampler (6 small cups). Some were great, some were interesting, but as a group it made for a good finish to the meal. The service in Murano was exceptional, as it was throughout the ship. Room Service We only ordered room service one night and it was great. There were a lot of choices on the tv room service menu. I have found that other cruise lines are providing a very limited selection for delivery to your room, but this was not the case on the Solstice. Our food was delivered on time and very hot, which I found impressive. PORTS We have been to all of the ports (San Juan/St. Thomas and St. Maarten) many times. we didn't get off the ship in San Juan as our son was simply loving the pool that day and we had a dinner reservation at the asian restaurant at 6:30 (in port from 2:00p.m. to 10:00 p.m.). Since we have walked the old town many times we simply elected to let him enjoy his time in the pool. The pool area was great on our port days as it was very quiet and we made a point of getting back to the ship early to let him/us enjoy some time relaxing/swimming (you figure out who did the relaxing and who did the swimming). We did some shopping in St. Thomas and went to the beach in St. Maarten. We have previously done the America's Cup Regatta in St. Maarten and loved it, but chose a fun day on the beach this time. STAFF Other than the mention above about the casino staff, the staff on board was really wonderful. Everyone was pleasant, caring and attentive. Our cabin attendant (Antonio) was rarely seen, but the room was made up beautifully every day. Our waiters (Brad and Dave) attended to our every need. It was a little harder getting a drink by the pool than on some other ships, but trust me when I say we never went thirsty. The captain, as many others have noted, should be a stand up comedian. He truly missed his calling. He looks like John Turturro, and has a great dry sense of humor. His daily noon announcements were not to be missed. Heck he challenged the passengers to a game of pool volleyball with his staff and showed up to play in a downpore, after announcing that anyone who was interested in tasting defeat should show up. ENTERTAINMENT In summary, there is great music on board the ship. We enjoyed the Solstice show (Cirque De Soleil style). The "broadway review" was a bit cheesy/amateurish for our taste, but to each his own. I heard the comic juggler was awful (a lot of drops), but can't tell you we saw the show. Throughout the ship there are performers everywhere and they were really good. The acappella group was funny and entertaining, the steel drums by the pool were awesome. Our son loved the Adagio String quartet (he danced to them in the foyer by himself). The strings have a concert on the grass (picnic blankets and tea lights laid out by the staff) that is beautiful. The Hot Glass Show is as cool as others have described. It was informative, fun and entertaining. AREAS TO IMPROVE There is really no where around the pool to put your used plates/glasses. I would like to see reduced minimum bets in casino as we are there for fun and this would make the casino more accessible to everyone. Lobster night was a bit of a disappointment. CONCLUSION As you can tell we loved the ship. We loved it so much we signed up for the Eclipse next Thanksgiving. I promise I am not a shill for Celebrity, but I can tell you that the Solstice class is our favorite ship amongst all that we have sailed. I couldn't recommend it more. I know some feel that Celebrity is not for families, but having been on board with a 6 year old and having talked to many of the families of other young kids, all the kids all agreed this was their favorite ship. They enjoyed the counselors, the activities, the pool, and yes, even the fancy restaurants. My nephew has been on multiple RCL ships, including the Navigator and Independence and he told his parents he liked this ship better. I think sometimes having 500+ kids in a kids program can be a little too much for them. Hope this was helpful. If you have any other questions let me know. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
First off let me say that I have been a fan of Celebrity's Milleninum Class ships since my first cruise in 2006. My last Celebrity cruise was on The Constellation, so the Solstice had a LOT to live up to. The Solstice, the first of ... Read More
First off let me say that I have been a fan of Celebrity's Milleninum Class ships since my first cruise in 2006. My last Celebrity cruise was on The Constellation, so the Solstice had a LOT to live up to. The Solstice, the first of this class, is a great ship, well designed sort of like the Milleninum Class on steroids! Before I talk about the cruise let me throw a few barbs at US Airways, one of my favorite targets. As usual US Air managed to jamb even a red eye flight to the brim, the Airbus 321 is not the most comfortable of aircraft, the flight crew was however nice, but not overly so. Being packed into US Air's incredible shrinking seats is NEVER a good experience but when one hopes to grab a few winks, it is even worse. My route through Charlotte, was not my first choice as it adds about 1-1/2 hours to the trip, but I wanted to avoid an overnight in Ft Lauderdale. After this trip, if I NEVER go through Charlotte it will be too soon. The distance between gates was quite extensive and the moving walkway was OUT OF SERVICE! Had I known I would have asked for assistance as I have knee problems. The cruise was a 7 night Eastern Caribbean, well not exactly my favorite itinerary, even though I had only done a part of it before, but as they say "a bad day at sea is better than a good day at work." Boarding in Ft Lauderdale was quick, being on the ship within 20 minutes of arrival at the pier. The one fluke in boarding is that cabin's would not be ready until about 1:30PM meaning that I had to slug my luggage around with me at the buffet area. I have been spoiled by Princess who will let you take your luggage to your cabin even if it isn't ready. Well anyway, there was an attendant in the buffet are that did help me by carrying my plate. Oh yes, did I mention that Celebrity no longer has trays in the buffet? As a replacement they have various size square plates meaning that if you want more than a main entrEe, such as a salad you need to make multiple trips. I did meet some very nice people in the buffet and we took turns watching luggage and holding the table as we each in turn went for additional items. I would hope that Celebrity might figure out how to accommodate passengers with carry ons either letting them drop them off at the room OR having a secure area. Celebrity, PLEASE BRING BACK THE TRAYS! After lunch the cabins still were not available so I went to my deck and hung out in the Internet Cafe until the announcement was made that the cabins were ready. The cabin was as nice as the Milleninum Class ships, but with a bigger bathroom, however the extra bathroom space comes with a price. Celebrity has shrunken the closet space and moved it to the stateroom end of the bathroom with the closet doors facing the room. Since I was traveling alone this trip, I had plenty of space using the closet and the extra drawer space. I learned that there is also some additional storage space over the bed, but I did not use it and I really don't think it was all that handy. The layout of the bathroom has given a much larger shower with sliding doors, very nice, my one fault is that it had a fixed shower head, I like the hand showers much better. The commode was wedged in between the shower and the vanity area, not all that roomy. The sink is a raised design with a long faucet, I did hear a couple of people complaining that it got in the road. The bathroom has a decent amount of shelf space and a couple of drawers as well. My cabin on deck 6 was directly above the Solstice Theater, and there were times I could hear music but it was not a major problem. On to the cruise: The first two days out of Ft Lauderdale were rough, not as bad as some days I have spent at sea, but with all the tropical storms and hurricanes around it made things a bit choppy. The ports of call for this cruise were San Juan, Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas. And Philipsburg, St Maarten, I can't tell you anything about these ports as I stayed on the ship in all port days. For me it was just too hot and humid to consider a shore excursion. I went out on my balcony to take some pictures and had to wait several minutes for my camera lens to unfog. To me, being on the ship is the HIGH point, of the trip, the cabin steward were exceptional and the food in both the dining room and the Oceanview Cafe was good. I did note that there are certain times when the Oceanview does completely close. All my evening meals, late dining, were eaten in the Grand Epernay Restaurant, there I had a fantastic Waiter and asst. waiter and an Asst Maitre' De who were friendly and very efficient. Celebrity 's menu is pretty diverse but if the main menu doesn't suit you, the left side of the menu has a good variety of items available at every meal. On board there are three specialty restaurants available at an extra cost, the Tuscan Grille, Silk Harvest, & Murano. I did dine at Tuscan one night and had the Veal Parmiggiana, it was fabulous! A large portion served over Linguine actually more than I could eat, especially after consuming some of the fantastic breads before dinner. Entertainment on board was good with the Solstice Orchestra one of the best and the Great Ideas Party band, the West Side Strings, Kelly Broadway Quartet, and individual artists all very good. The activities staff, headed by Maria, (who was finishing her contract) all seemed very capable and a good sense of humor. One of the most fun times I have had on a cruise ship was the 60's night held in the Grand Foyer! This venue, right next to the Passport Lounge is a great place and Maria and crew had the ship rockin' with lots of great music, I was tired and hoarse after the party! Celebrity is putting the Grand Foyer to good use with musicians appearing especially during the cocktail hours and after dinner a definite thumbs up for this! The Solstice is easy to navigate, good signage and an adequate number of elevators most going to every deck unlike some other ships. Other high points on the Solstice are the Adults Only Solarium with Pool Butlers, the Lawn Club, and of course the Hot Glass Show from Corning Glass. I also attended the Cooking Challenge hosted by Chef Panagiotis, who has a great sense of humor and was very accessible on the ship as I saw him most every day. Other nice things on the Solstice were "On Demand" free movies on your stateroom TV, the Movie Theater at Celebrity Central on Deck 4, The Solstice Theater, (beautiful with a great sound system) and Captain Dimitrios' daily announcements with a great touch of humor! In all this was a great cruise, Celebrity has done a good job with the Solstice class ships. Departure was smooth and seamless, one glitch I could not locate may bag, but I received instant help and was soon on my way. My return was on Southwest Airlines through Tampa WHAT A DIFFERENCE! Great planes and exceptional crews and not a killer walking distance between gates! Well done Southwest! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Ok I wanted to start posting my review of our recent cruise I organized to Celebrate my Moms 60th Birthday Background on most in group. 99% Canadian from Toronto area, Most have cruise on various lines only a couple of people were cruise ... Read More
Ok I wanted to start posting my review of our recent cruise I organized to Celebrate my Moms 60th Birthday Background on most in group. 99% Canadian from Toronto area, Most have cruise on various lines only a couple of people were cruise virgins. Overall impressions WOW the staff out did them selves at every turn...Details like remembering our names, providing requests at dinner, special treatment at all the bars, and developing special long lasting friendships with more staff then ever. Although my wife and I are treated really special due to past sailing's and building relationships with key staffers...everyone else in our group was taken care of with or without us around!!!! The ship is the most current when it comes to Clean lines and design details... I am not sure why I had to listen to a 70 year old women complain about the ships decor for 5 minutes next to us in the buffet area!!1 GET OVER IT! gone are the days of the boring dark wood traditional ships! its about time a cruise line creates ships with a boutique feel rather then grand waisted space atriums!!! (princess) No brass to be seen and so many great Art pieces all around the ship to wonder around and look at. The Main dining room was also a piece of art in itself! 100% Loved every space Food. Some of the best we have ever had in a main dinning room on a cruise ship. NOW, I will say at times pasta could come cold etc, but honestly how many people are they serving? and at our tables alone trying to serve large amount all at the same time, some things must be forgiven! I would rather have slightly overcooked pasta when I have a witer providing all the asparagus and special orders that I wish ( some lines say NO to most of our requests) Stand out dishes Sea Bass, Some of the Deserts were also great not basic American style crap we can have anywhere, but great pastry and Sorbet Options. Tuscan Grill, The Maitre D Srdjan knew us from previous sailings and took care of our 4 tables of 12-15 at each more then we could ask! The food was 100 times better the Princess Crown Grill and or Royal's Chops...The artistic approach to the menu was also welcomed at every turn. The Creme brule with the POP rocks was fun, the waiter even brought our table 2 bowls of the Pop rocks as a side cause we all laughed so much. Service amazing and setting comfortable and trendy all at the same time. Murano What can I say I had 2 tables fo friends all who have only sailed Princess and Carnival and each was blown away by the food and service for the small charge. Fabio the restaurant Manager for the Solstice once again dropped by to ensure my wife and I and our guests had anything we needed! TOP NOTCH way to go Celebrity! The room itself was intimate and romantic with all attention to detail flawless. Ocean Cafe ( buffet) SALAD options and toppings galore...After sailing on the Caribbean Princess with a disaster Buffet this past August it was great to have a clean organized buffet option once again. Yes the food repeats through out the week, But it was all good including the Sushi as a small snack every day before late seating. The sugar free "sugar cookies" were also very good. Breakfast was also well done here, the amount of fresh fruit and healthy options was outstanding. The fun playful options on many classic Breakfast menu items such as Pizza was yummy!! Pool side grill The best Turkey Burger I have ever had at sea! Room service Creme brule on the room service menu?? awesome! the best options of any ship I have sailed including past Celebrity ships. Advacado Wraps YUM YUM. Bistro on FIVE Our favorite spot! went 3 times...so worth it especially on the first day compared to the mad rush at the buffet when boarding in Fort Lauderdale. While waiting once 5 minutes for a seat I hear people complaining they had to pay the 5.00 cover charge, ummm its the same price of a Latte at Starbucks GET OVER IT ( I felt like saying this a few times to people on this cruise, esp when on vacation they complain about money!) The crepes were so good and the Chicken Panini was sooooooo good! Service was top notch, only suggestion is it would be nice to have outside cafe style seating as part of the Bistro The Lawn Club Ok this a point of interest to me so I will express how we feel about this feature. LOVED the Lawn Club... So many people say put more chairs to sun on.....or this and that. To be honest thats not what ships need more of. Every day when we would head up there I would see 3 generations of Family Playing Bocce and Croquet or relaxing up there! this is real family time, and it felt like a summer afternoon relaxing in the Muskoka's or the backyard. I really feel Celebrity got it right! Its about the experience and the reflection time everyone needs. Its was a wonderful spot to have a drink or play some games with friends, its not about tanning, pool bands, beer guzzling, or chair hogging !!!!! it was about a relaxing comfortable space to share and use with you significant other, family and friends. Since coming home we have missed this spot on the ship, if you want hot tubs, sunning chairs, and buckets of beers head to the pool deck or another cruise ship! the entire feel of the Solstice class is not that, this makes it Special in our books Service. I have never felt more special or important on a cruise. My wife and I have made a few X friendships with Hotel directors and other staff over the past few years, but in no way have we sailed 50 plus times as some have. In all honesty they went above and beyond on the Solstice! From the Restaurant Manager Fabio making sure both of us and our group were happy, to even sending our Maitre D to find us on the pool deck and inquire about meeting us for a Latte! Truly special. Hotel Director Sue, had her hands full with the 200 guest 1 million dollar wedding happening on our ship that week, but made time to invite us for some wine in the Wine bar! Honestly more then expected! Our Waiter Murat was outstanding, every night took such good care our our tables and my mothers and family. 1 day while sitting by the pool he appeared carrying a tray with personally made Ice Cream Parfaits for all of us, WOW that was a nice touch! On the night when we had dinner with the Asst Hotel Director Jaime Murat ensured that we would have our side of Asparagus sent down! these details mean so much on a large ship in our opinion. The Martini Bar staff said hello to me by Name every time I walked by even at 3 am in the wee hours of the morning. Every where we went with the only exception being the rude DJ constentine ( who we have run into before) the SOlstice staff was exceptional in so many ways, I have other examples but to many small things to write! ( one last one) I was in line to pay a 4.55 balance on my room account the last night it was after midnight and the line was long, the Captin's Club hostess saw us standing there and came over for a chat, she then helped take us aside and quickly ensure the payment would be added and we left! When we had an issue with the ZIP line in Labadee with the way the guide spoke to the Haitians I left a small note at the front desk. The next day I was invited to have a coffee with the Shore desk Manager and this was really nice and made me feel more valued. Unlike another Line we recently sailed when they never seemed to care and had the say attitude as the person in the situation we had reported. Overall when it comes to service I find the thank you cards we write at the end of each sailing go much further then we ever thought. The personal emails between sailing's to communicate when we will be aboard again are special also. Life is much easier to go through when you make friends and or approach people in a positive manner Stateroom We had an aft Concierge Class and the mess from the smoke did happen over night, but would be hosed down early morning. I wish they would create awnings for these staterooms since the view is worth it. The balconies opened up to connect with our friends and family on our floor over 7 across The interior was great I have been on the Solstice before and I am aware they are fixing the closet issues on the Eclipse etc. The Washroom was large then any we have had when comparing Balcony rooms on a cruise ship Large with more storage then Millennium class, Caribbean Princess, Radiance class etc. We really did miss our sky suite but the private wedding group had them all blocked. The room service selection was good and prompt. The Tv was awesome, just wish we could figure out how to make the songs play on random or in a series rather then play the same song over and over. The stateroom was attentive and good at his job, and we had no issues with noise or service. After being home now for over a month our friends and family sill keep talking about our Solstice cruise and although for most it was not a first cruise, so many were blown away by the ship and staff! we really do miss the Solstice I am not kidding! HAHA We have booked the Century for May and Equinox this coming July and with the group we head back onto the Summit Next march, yet not as many this time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We boarded the ship on January 31, after spending the night at the Hilton Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale. The day before, we flew in from Houston, Texas. Many in our group had been upgraded to Concierge Class by our travel agent, and ... Read More
We boarded the ship on January 31, after spending the night at the Hilton Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale. The day before, we flew in from Houston, Texas. Many in our group had been upgraded to Concierge Class by our travel agent, and boarding the Solstice was the easiest embarkation ever. We dropped our luggage off from the cab, tipped the handler, and quickly went through the checkpoints to walk right on. No lines at all. It was about 1:00 PM. We could have had lunch on board, but we chose to have a brunch at Casablanca, a nice outdoor restaurant close to the Hilton. I want to state right off that this cruise seemed different because we were going to Labadee, Haiti. Could we still have a fun time and not feel guilty, given the devastating earthquake of January 12? We had been to Labadee the year prior on Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas. Initially, the international news media had played up controversy on the subject of Labadee. Though no longer a hot topic, I was interested in exploring my own inner feelings. I planned to stay out of the casino on this trip so that I would have lots of cash to tip the Haitians and purchase their merchandise. To ease my own guilt about having fun on a luxury cruise? Perhaps, but more than anything, it seemed the right thing to do. Watching the news, my heart really went out to those who were suffering. I was glad to learn that Royal Caribbean and Celebrity were not changing ports and would continue excursions to their private peninsula as well as making lots of donations. I couldn't imagine the effect of cancelling this port on the lives of Haitians that depend on the ships for their livelihoods. Although Port-au-Prince is quite a distance from Labadee, many who work there have relatives that were affected. Exploring the Solstice for the first time was exciting. I had to check out the real grass on the top deck, and we saw the Corning Hot Glass Museum. This is an elegant ship and different from any we had ever experienced (Royal Caribbean, Princess, Norwegian, Carnival). It was like being in a Ritz Carlton versus a Hyatt Regency or Holiday Inn. Nevertheless, we were part of a large group with our trade association, and some members onboard stated that they missed the large grand foyers and shops of the RC ships we had cruised on the prior two years. We never made time to see the Glass Blowing Demonstration, but those in our group who did, loved it. Some went to see it a second time. Our room was wonderful and had fresh fruit and Champaign waiting for us. We checked in as part of our trade group and mingled with our industry friends. Dinner that evening was in the main dinning room, 6:00 seating. We stayed with this arrangement every evening to be with our group. It's a great way to exchange ideas and get to know one another on a personal level; something we don't have time to do at our regular, super-busy trade show. Although we had brought five suitcases, we had no trouble finding room for all our clothing and belongings, with room to spare. Some of the nooks take some exploring to find, so don't get frustrated if at first you don't think there's enough room. That evening we went to the Captain's Reception and show. Captain Dimitris Kafetzis has quite a sense of humor. I was sitting by the mother of one of the professional singers. This was her first time to see her daughter perform on this ship. Her daughter told her that Captain Dimitris is consistently like that, friendly and funny, but competent and professional. The chairs in the Solstice Theater are comfortable and even have ventilation coming from the back of each chair in front. The next morning we had our first industry workshop at 8:30. Then we had lunch and informal meetings the rest of the afternoon, followed by group cocktail hour at 5:00 and dinner at 6:00. Then off to a show. It was an impersonator named Greg London, and I enjoyed it. I heard some people complaining that he wasn't as good as Danny Gans. So? I gave him a standing ovation, as did most of the crowd. The next day, my wife and I had time to attend a ballroom dance lesson by dancers Leanne and Larry. They were extremely good and patient instructors; we've taken lots of lessons before. We learned some cool waltz moves. By getting there early, we met a passenger who was also an instructor and he graciously taught us some things as well. I wish we had time to go to other onboard dance lessons, but we were always in meetings with our trade organization. We arrived in San Juan that afternoon and had a fun, self-guided tour of the San Cristobal fort. Coming into San Juan offers spectacular scenery if the weather is good. Be on deck for that arrival! I got some great shots for my YouTube video of this cruise. The next day, my wife and I had a wonderful time in St. Maarten driving the Scoot Coupes, St. Maarten Beach Fun Mobile Tour (SMA2). These cars are quite thrilling. We drove all the way to Orient Beach, which is always gorgeous, and back to Philipsburg. That evening, we enjoyed a Latin dance show on deck called Sizzle with the dancers out by the pool. After a song or two, they picked guests to dance with them. My wife was selected. Again, more great video! She danced with one of the guys for about 20 minutes, and then still had some energy left to dance with me. This was a special part of the cruise for us. We laugh when watching the video of my wife dancing with a pro. Let me say at this point that although this was the best cruise we've ever done (out of about 12 or so), all cruises are special to us in different ways. We're pretty easy going, not "high maintenance" at all, and things that some guests find atrocious (poor service for example) don't seem to bother us. The reason I mention that here is because any cruise is what you make of it. So much is going on simultaneously and there are so many different shore excursions to select from. One person in our group, after seeing my YouTube video, said that she and her husband want to follow us next time because we do fun things and they did boring things. I did not hear any complaints of poor service from anyone on this cruise, except that someone said their in-room breakfast was late one morning. We always eat breakfast from the buffet. One other complaint was that the day after the Tortola stop, a helicopter was filming the Solstice much of the afternoon at sea, often up close. I heard one guest say that she complained about it to the concierge and had trouble getting any kind of answer. An announcement about what was going on by the cruise director would have been nice. Still, my wife and I weren't that bothered by it. We were on Celebrity and they made us feel like true celebrities by filming us... again and again. I doubt you'll have to worry about that, though, if you go on a cruise aboard the Solstice because believe me, they got plenty of footage! And speaking of Tortola, many of our group put together our own tour of The Baths of Virgin Gorda. Again, I got more spectacular video, and this was a great team building exercise for our group. The Baths are a must-see if you go to Tortola, although be careful with the listed shore excursion because it apparently involves some lengthy and strenuous swimming. You might want to book your own excursion in advance like we did. While on this excursion, I met a friendly guy wearing a Cruise Critic t-shirt. He said he is a frequent contributor, and that's how I learned about Cruise Critic. The entertainment was great on the ship. We enjoyed the a cappella quartet—Metro Park, impersonator Greg London, the dancers, the band, and the singers. My wife did go to sleep during the Solstice show, which is a kind of Cirque du Soleil style production. Parts of it were a little slow, although the aerial acrobatics were amazing. Just because something is amazing doesn't mean it is entertaining. In general, circus acts along with jugglers and magicians—we tend to not like those as well as other kinds of entertainment. For Labadee, Haiti we had booked the Malfini Beach excursion. After the earthquake in Port-au-Prince, I thought about cancelling and just shopping and giving tips, but I figured that the crew for this tour could use the money as well. We were really glad we went. Only about 18 guests sailed to this really remote and gorgeous beach with crystal clear water. It was the most relaxing part of the cruise. As you might expecet, our tour guide, Alain, was bombarded with questions about the earthquake by the passengers. His mother, brother, and sister were all in Port-au-Prince on January 12. They were okay but some other friends and cousins did not fare as well. Alain readily agreed to let me interview him for a YouTube video to explain his thoughts on whether it is wrong for tourists to have fun in Labadee so soon after an enormous disaster. Can you have a good time without guilt? He had some interesting things to say. Anyway, we had a wonderful time in Labadee. Some of the people in our group did the zip line and raved about it. To sum it all up, this was the best cruise we have taken. The Celebrity Solstice is the most beautiful ship we have been on. We loved the ports, the entertainment, and the food in the main dining room. And those dancers! Wow. Disembarkation was super easy as well. For my video of this cruise, visit: http://www.youtube.com/richardjcaudle#p/a/u/0/vJguqMY3dHU Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Embarkation: A+. We arrived via bus at the terminal at 12:15. By 12:45, all 44 passengers were checked in and on the ship. Embarkation is very well run with so many open windows that there were virtually no lines. Upon entrance to the ... Read More
Embarkation: A+. We arrived via bus at the terminal at 12:15. By 12:45, all 44 passengers were checked in and on the ship. Embarkation is very well run with so many open windows that there were virtually no lines. Upon entrance to the ship, we were given a glass of champagne or a mimosa. Ship: B+. This ship is a beauty. It is elegant with subdued tones and warm, rich colors. The public areas were for the most part laid out very well. We liked the fact that the Entertainment and Promenade Decks comprised of most of the entertainment and alternate dining venues. It was convenient having all on two decks. The theater was lovely but there are quite a few seats that are obstructed by pillars. In addition, there were just not enough seats to accommodate all of the passengers who wanted to see the early show. Why cruise lines don't make enough seats in a theater to accommodate at least half of the passengers is beyond me. During the lifeboat drill we asked the Celebrity employees how many passengers the theater held and was told 1600 with the entire back area filled with people who were standing. While that would seem to be more than half of the passengers, the reality of several hundred people standing to watch a show is not viable. The only complaint our group had with the ship layout was the fact that there are no aft elevators. It was a very long walk for passengers who had rooms toward the back of the ship. The Lawn Club showed signs of wear. While this looks neat on the ship, it is really wasted space. While there were a few bocce, golf and croquet tournaments on the ship, when these activities were not taking place, we didn't note anyone partaking in these sports on their own. The space could better be utilized for additional seating for the Hot Glass Show or for lounge chairs, as the pool area loungers were always packed during sea days. Cabins: A We had an inside cabin on deck 8 - 8188. The cabin was very spacious, on a par with some balcony cabins we've experienced on other lines. The bed was in the center of the room with plenty of room to walk around. Our luggage fit under the bed easily. There were two chairs in the cabin, a small table and a desk with two small nightstands. Our only issue was that there were not enough drawers - only 5 small drawers next to the desk. The closet was also small, but we surprisingly had enough room for our hanging clothes. But the lack of drawers required we put much of our clothing in the cabinet over the bed, which was a bit difficult to reach. The bathroom was also spacious with glass doors in the shower and plenty of storage space. The sink was a bit inconvenient as water splashed on the vanity and floor when you washed. The bar in the shower for leg shaving was a great addition, but was a bit high for the older ladies to get their foot on. We did miss a clothes line in the shower for hanging wet bathing suits - it took two days for our suits to dry hanging on hooks. We loved the flat screen tv. But we hated the lack of channels. Besides two CNN channels and two ESPN channels, there was little else to watch besides the many ship channels. Thank goodness there were Free Movies on Demand, as that was a life saver. The interactive features were a little tricky to use. We tried accessing the internet with the keyboard in the room but the mouse was impossible to work and we ended up using the Internet Cafe when we needed to check e-mail. Food: B We ate breakfast and lunch most days in the Oceanview Cafe. The buffet is set up very well, with stations holding various related items. The set up eliminated long lines at the entrance to the cafe. There were the usual lines for cooked to order eggs in the morning and hamburgers, steaks and hot dogs in the afternoon. The waffles were excellent, as was the veggie pizza. The ice cream selections change daily and were very good. There were Asian selections daily for lunch and standard pasta and many different salads. What I found to be missing were sandwiches. There was a station that had cold cuts and tuna, etc. with bread where you can make your own sandwiches, but I have enjoyed having pannini's and small pre-made sandwiches on other ships at the buffet. We did eat here one night and I was very disappointed. Most of the stations were closed and what was available was again pizza, pasta, pre-cooked steaks, salads. On other lines, the buffet at night mirrored what was being served in the dining rooms, but not here. Grand Epernay Dining Room: We ate four nights in the main dining room. We were at table 135. Our group of 44 dined together at six tables and Celebrity did a great job of assigning the tables together. Food reviews are very subjective. Having traveled on Celebrity when the Executive Chef was Michel Roux and having found the food at that time to be superb, we were disappointed in the food on this ship. That said, we didn't starve, but were simply not as pleased as we thought we would be with the food. The first night I had the lamb shank which was very good. I am also a great fan of the cold fruit soups and they were very good. But the rest of the nights, I found myself ordering the always available steak, as nothing struck me as particularly interesting. Now trust me - we didn't starve, but we didn't think that there was anything that stood out enough for me on the menus that sounded interesting. Even the desserts were so-so. We ate one night at Silk Harvest. The food and service were very good. The sushi was excellent with some interesting choices. They brought plenty of dishes out and all were very good. We also ate in the Bistro on Five and thought the food was very good here as well and again, great service. One of us had a crepe and one had a paninni and the server told us we could order several items if we wanted, but we just couldn't eat that much. We had a dessert crepe that was also very good. We ate some of the free pastries at Cafe Bacio and they were good as was the gelato at the Gelateria. However, once we found the free ice cream in the buffet every day, we didn't feel the need to pay for gelato anymore. Pools and Spa: A - Mid-ship found two pools, the Family pool and Sports pool as well as a wet zone that was never turned on along with four hot tubs. At the front was the Solstice pool with two hot tubs. On sea days as usual the chairs around the pool were always filled by chair hogs that leave their items and never sit on the chair. Just once I'd like to see a cruise line with the guts to tell Pool Attendants to remove items after an hour of no one sitting on the chair. We found we enjoyed the Solstice pool - it was slightly quieter since no one under 16 was permitted and it was inside away from the wind. They do keep the room a little too cold - many were bundled under towels because the air conditioning was too cold. My wife made an appointment for a manicure at the salon on Thursday. Even though no one was having a manicure when she arrived she still had to sit and wait 10 minutes before being taken. The girl who did the manicure was very nice; she had a pleasant conversation and a decent manicure. Entertainment: C+ This is one area that I, as well as many of the others in our group, felt Celebrity has really cut back on. Celebrity doesn't have Headline Acts anymore. The majority of nightly shows in the Main Theater were done by the production singers and dancers. Perhaps because we live near New York City and go to Broadway Shows all the time, I am a bit jaded about these production shows at sea. They were okay, but just okay. The singers were good, but not terrific. I got tired of seeing the same faces each night. On the night in St. Martin, there was no show at all, just a movie ( Iron Man which I had already seen in theaters last summer). I wholeheartedly recommend Solstice, the Show. It was very well done - not as good as an actual Cirque show, but considering that these are the same kids that do the production show, they did a fantastic job. The first nights show featured Oceans Four, an acapella group that sang during the week at night in various areas on the ship. Their first song was barbershop quarter and I cringed, but then they did some Frank Valli and the 4 Seasons and others and were better. The Broadway style show on the second night was okay, but again - because I go to Broadway Shows all the time, I compare to that and probably shouldn't. The night they had a featured xylophonist, I couldn't stay more than 10 minutes. The guy was good, but not good enough for a 45 minute show - it was interminable. If Celebrity is looking to satisfy the over 70 crowd - well, this is great entertainment. If they are looking for a younger [passenger - this isn't going to cut it. The Cruise Director himself was also a bit subdued. He had a joke each night at the theater. But he was not one of those bouncy, overly enthusiastic guys who continually tells you to applaud, applaud, applaud. His staff was pretty good - the girls that were at the golf and bocce tournaments were good as was his assistants at the Newlywed show. I will say that the Celebrity Orchestra was great. They played in the foyer a couple of times and were terrific. I could have listened to a whole show of them only - why didn't Celebrity think of that? In room entertainment - I liked the music channels on the interactive TV., the free On Demand Movies (which I wish had a larger selection) but the regular TV. channels were awful. CNN didn't even show the weather temperatures from back home or any of the islands we went to. Cruise lines need a little more mainstream TV. Two of the passengers in our group caught norovirus and were stuck in their room for 24 and 48 hours and almost went insane from the awful TV. choices. Service: I will break out service in three areas - room stewards, food service and Customer Service Desk. Dining Service: B. The service in the Grand Epernay Dining room on the first two nights was chaotic. It got a bit better after night 4, when we spoke to the Maitre 'D. We were with a group of 44 people spread out over 6 tables with four different servers. Celebrity did a fantastic job of keeping the group together. We were in tables 123- 135 on deck three near a window. Our table was 135 and our servers did not serve the other tables in our group. Celebrity waiters tend to like to wait for their entire group of tables to be seated before taking orders. The first night, we sat for 15 minutes before our Head Waiter came over to take our orders. The other tables had already ordered. We ordered drinks from someone else, and then a woman came over to take another drink order. Why two people for drink orders? It took over 20 minutes to get our drinks (and this went on every night), until the Maitre 'D happened to be talking to us at our table and asked how the service was and we told him that we had already been waiting 15 minutes for our drink and still they hadn't come. Even HE couldn't find the guy who took our drink order. After that, we ordered from the woman server and our drinks were delivered in less than 10 minutes. If you wanted iced tea, even ANOTHER person had to take that order and we waited 15 minutes for that as well. The service was so nondescript in the dining room that I don't even remember the name of our Head Waiter. Throughout the cruise, the dining room service was slow, but did get better that last two nights of the cruise. It was not the quality of service we experienced previously on Celebrity. I will say that the Maitre 'D was very good. We had some issues with birthdays and anniversaries that were supposed to have been delivered that didn't happen. I spoke to the Maitre 'D and he took care of making sure that these were celebrated. We ate in Silk Harvest and Bistro on Five and the service in both of these restaurants were excellent. The quality of the service here is what brought my overall rating to a B. Room Steward : B. Our room steward was good, not exceptional. I noticed on the first day that the bathroom floor was dirty - there was hair in the corners of the floor. The rest of the bathroom was fine, but the dirty floor was a turnoff. We had a bottle of champagne in our room, and he brought ice for the first two days, but we didn't open it and the ice never reappeared after the first two days. What we did like was that the room steward was very unobtrusive - we rarely saw him and he did a decent job with the rest of the cleaning. I did have to ask him to bring us a dry cleaning bag - there was none in our room and we usually do use this service at least once on a cruise. Customer Service Desk: D . Because we were leading a group, we did have to use the Customer Service Desk a few times for requests. The people at the desk were very unfriendly and condescending. I have never seen a group of people who seemed to not like the jobs they were doing. Every one of them tried to brush off my requests and it seemed that I was bothering them. Two of our group went to the ship Dr. and were quarantined to their room for 24 and 48 hours. The ship Dr. told them they could have free room service, free pay per view movies, and free soda during the time they were quarantined. They were told differently by room service - only one free soda, they could not order what was being served in the dining rooms, etc. They called the Customer Service desk and were told that was the way it was. We tried to get answers for them and were brushed off as well. Once they got out of their quarantined status, they went to the CS desk too and were brusquely dismissed by the Customer Service person when they asked to have the auto tip removed so they could tip accordingly, since their room steward was the only one permitted in their room during the time they were quarantined. They became outraged and finally were permitted to speak to the head of Customer Service, who, when he sat down with them, told them that they WERE given incorrect information from room service the first people they spoke to in CS and that they should have been allowed to receive what was served in the dining rooms and they should have had soft drinks at no cost. They suffered unduly for 48 hours because of misinformation and the lack of assistance by Customer Service. I will say service in other areas of the ship - the buffet, ice cream counters, etc. was very good. We also had an event coordinator for our group who was outstanding; from the cocktail party we had to getting our group disembarked at the same time when they received varying disembarkation numbers. She was the one who did what Customer Service should have done. Disembarkation: A+. We got up and ate breakfast in the dining room, then went back to out room and retrieved our carryon and headed to the Theater to our waiting area at 8:20. We were there merely 20 minutes when our number was called. We found our luggage immediately and headed to our bus for the transfer to the airport. Overall rating: B++ We enjoyed the cruise very much and so did our group. We did like the ship and would recommend it. Their Customer Service Desk needs some improvement and they need to get their act together in the dining room and perhaps do a little better with Entertainment. But none of these were deal breakers or would prevent us from sailing on the Solstice again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Celebrity Solstice Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 5.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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