1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Celebrity Cruises
  4. Celebrity Solstice Review
  5. Celebrity Solstice Cruise Reviews

11 Celebrity Solstice Cruise Reviews for Group and Theme Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

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
Background - We are a married couple, ages 51 and 53. This is our 5th cruise and first on Celebrity. Embarkation - we rented a car in Tampa and drove to FLL Sunday morning. Found out the shuttles don't start running to the port ... Read More
Background - We are a married couple, ages 51 and 53. This is our 5th cruise and first on Celebrity. Embarkation - we rented a car in Tampa and drove to FLL Sunday morning. Found out the shuttles don't start running to the port until 11, so we had to wait about 45 mins at the airport. Once at the port, we found the procedure to be pretty good, we were on board before noon. Trying to find a table to eat lunch at was nearly impossible, I agree with most people that they don't have enough seating in the Oceanview. It was the same thing every meal we had there, unless you eat very early or very late, it is really difficult to get a seat. Room - we had a sunset verandah which connected to the one next to ours. Our friends were next to us, so we were able to close the main door and open our cabin doors to go between cabins. At night we just shut those doors for privacy. We also opened the balcony divider which was also nice to have the connecting balconies. The room itself was fine, I liked the big interactive TV and we had no problem with storage. We had the room steward unlock the mini bar and we used it for a fridge for our wine. Speaking of wine, I had no problem bringing aboard 2 magnums of wine in carry on and a 3L box of wine and 2 fifths of vodka in my checked luggage. Cocktail hour every night on the balcony! The bathroom was also very nice - loved the shower, but hated that stupid toilet paper holder. Great storage in the bathroom for all my wifes cosmetics and doo-dads. Food - We found the MDR food was just OK - was expecting better than Carnival, but it was just equal to. We also ate in Tuscan and Murano, my wife enjoyed Tuscan, but neither of us enjoyed Murano. We had the lobster which was small and not very good. The specialty restaurants we have dined in on Carnival and Costa have been much better than what we found on Celebrity. I was not at all impressed with the restaurants on Celebrity. We did enjoy the Oceanview. As others have stated, the problem there are the people flying every which way and constantly cutting in front of you. But the food was pretty good (if you could find a seat!) Breakfast and the Grand Buffet in the MDR were both excellent, probably the best food we had on the trip. Service - Our room steward was awesome, he was always there when we needed ice or wine glasses. My portable cooler was filled with ice each day, and we never saw him making up our room, but he always seemed to know when to do it without bothering us. Our dining room waiter was just OK, and we only saw the assistant waiter once. Our waiter always seemed rushed, never learned our names or preferences. Kind of disappointing since we were used to really good wait staff on Carnival. On the plus side, we had a really good Sommelier who got to know us quite well. Shows - The Solstice show was pretty good, we got up and left from the Welcome show and the Broadway show, but mostly because we were pretty tired and they really didn't grab us. The midnight comedian was not very good, I was expecting an R rated show and instead got a bunch of political jokes which really don't do it for me. The theater is tight with no room for waiters to go between rows to serve drinks (and no cocktail tables!) Other Activities - we did the "Around the World" wine tasting which was really good. Got to sample 12 different wines twice around! We also attended the Sushi making demo which was interesting and the Hot Glass show which was really good. Pools - we liked the main pool, it was really deep and FRESH water. However getting a chair was next to impossible, too many people reserving entire rows of chairs with no one around. We did notice the pool butler picking up towels off chairs with no one on them - hurray! We liked the Solarium, but never spent any time there. Bars - MARTINI BAR! Fantastic place to hang, we met all our friends here and loved the antics of the bar staff. We spent a little time at the Sunset bar and Oceanview bar, but that was about it. Ducked into the disco one night to see one girl dancing by herself - really dead most nights. Had some Mojitos at the Casino Bar, the barkeep there made some really good ones. Casino - TIGHT slots and lousy comps. Never won much outside of the first night. Carnival has a much better slot system that lets you take your money onto your seapass and go from machine to machine. They also comp much better, we got over $50 in comps on Carnival spending less money than on Celebrity who gave us a measly $10. I played cards on night and did better, nice dealers. Ports We really didn't plan to do much on shore for this trip, since for us it was all about the ship itself. - San Juan we went ashore and took a stroll to the fort - that was about it. St Maarten - rented a jeep from Best Deal Car Rentals, got it for $49 online before the cruise. We had an awesome time with it, drove around the entire island with stops at the Airport beach and a wonderful little beach on the French side called Friars Cove. Top down the whole day, we all got some sun and fun. We turned the jeep in at 5, and then took the ferry to Phillipsburg for some beer and shopping. Got a cab back to the ship at 7:30 for $10 for 4 people. Tortola - Walked around on shore, checked out the shops and went back to the ship. Labadee - Hung out on the ocean beach, drank Coronas and took a hike over to Dragon's Breath, which was pretty neat. Got soaked on the tender ride back to the boat! Debarkation - one word - FANTASTIC- we loved the way we could stay in our room and not listen to constant announcements. When our time was up, we went down to the theater and they sent us on our way within minutes. We found our luggage really fast and the lines through immigration were a breeze. There was a FLL rental car shuttle waiting for us which we hopped aboard right away. No lines for the rental car kiosks and we were on the road before 11am. Really nice job here. Overall Impressions - We loved the ship, it's style, class and features. Was not impressed with the dining room food or specialty restaurants, especially when compared to Carnival (believe it or not!) Service in the dining room was poor to fair, room steward was excellent. Would we do Celebrity again? Not sure. We have sailed 4 different lines now in 5 cruises and have to say that outside of the ship design and style, there was nothing really special that set Celebrity apart from the other cruises we have taken, except for the 40% price premium we paid. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
I left Michigan on Friday night, arrived in Ft. Lauderdale a little after midnight. Grabbed a taxi and arrived at the Ramada Inn Airport/Cruiseport about 1:00 am. This hotel is really quite nice and I wasn't disappointed at all. We ... Read More
I left Michigan on Friday night, arrived in Ft. Lauderdale a little after midnight. Grabbed a taxi and arrived at the Ramada Inn Airport/Cruiseport about 1:00 am. This hotel is really quite nice and I wasn't disappointed at all. We used their free shuttle to the ship on Sunday morning. We left the hotel around 11:45, dropped a handful of people at the Princess ship, the rest of us were on the Solstice. We arrived at the pier about 12:00, dropped our luggage with the porter and proceeded inside. This is the easiest embarkation process I've ever been through. With 60 check in windows, there was absolutely no waiting. It took about 5 minutes then we were on our way up to the ship. The ship is very, very pretty. Although it didn't "wow" me, I really liked the decor. We weren't able to go to our cabins right away, so we went up to the Oceanview Cafe to get something to eat. We were able to snag a table in the corner, then went in search of food. The Oceanview cafe is set up so there are duplicate stations on each side of the room. Then in the center are the breads and cheeses. I discovered this about the second day after walking around. The pizza is very good. The pasta wasn't so good, they don't drain it enough so you get lots of water on your plate. The ice creams and sorbets are excellent. We were able to go to our cabin about 2:30 to find our luggage had arrived. Our first impression of the stateroom was "small". I was used to Carnival's balcony cabins and thought these would be about the same, but they're a little smaller and have a lot less storage space. The closet is horrible to say the least. I hope they never use this design again. All I can say is it must have worked on paper. The bathroom is very spacious, the only drawback is no counter space. The shower is really nice. Loved the TV!!! The refrigerator actually kept everything COLD. I put a 6 pack of 7-UP in it and there was plenty of room for more. I had to keep going up to the cafe to get more ice as ours was always melted by the time I wanted a drink. The ice buckets hold about 2 cups of ice and it melts pretty fast for some reason. We ate in the main dining room every night. There were a couple nights that the menu didn't inspire us so all of us ordered the New York Sirloin. We didn't realize we had all ordered the same thing until the waiter delivered 8 steaks to the table. Casual nights were very casual. People wore capris, slacks, skirts, verrry short jean skirts, sandals, flip flops, dockers, polo's, etc. Our guys wore jackets the first night, but never again, they felt out of place since they didn't see anyone else in them. Formal night was not as formal as I had anticipated. Very few tuxedo's and long gowns. Most men wore suits and the women wore short dresses or slacks. One elderly man had on a white dinner jacket with black bermuda shorts and knee high socks. Another gentleman wore his kilt. I noticed that the prices were very high in the stores on the ship. T-shirts were $40 for the plain gray pocket tee that said Celebrity Solstice on the pocket. Not many people were ever in the casino, machines and tables were always available. One girl in our group hit the $20,000 jackpot on a $5 machine. That was nice, she bought drinks for everyone at the passport bar that night. Debarkation was easy. Just go to the area at the time stated and you get off the ship in about 5 minutes. Our number (19) was called at 9:00 am and we were in a taxi on our way to the airport by 9:15. I enjoyed the cruise very much. If the group chose do cruise Celebrity again, I wouldn't hesitate to book. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Review of Celebrity Solstice 08 February to 15 February 2009 Fort Lauderdale, San Juan, St. Kitts, St Maarten, Fort Lauderdale This started out as a different cruise experience for us, flying to Florida for a seven night ... Read More
Review of Celebrity Solstice 08 February to 15 February 2009 Fort Lauderdale, San Juan, St. Kitts, St Maarten, Fort Lauderdale This started out as a different cruise experience for us, flying to Florida for a seven night cruise. The economics just did not make sense to us. Since we are both retired, time was not an issue. So, we decided maybe to add a bit of time at either end of the cruise. That "little bit of time" morphed into almost a week pre-cruise and almost two weeks post-cruise, as we followed a serpentine route around the flat state of Florida visiting friends and relatives. We won't bore you with the details of our visits (though we did not find them boring - but you had to be there), or the various ports, and will concentrate only on the cruise aspect. Embarkation: We left Naples, FL at about 10:00 AM and drove to Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL) to drop off the rental car. After turning in the car we were on the complimentary shuttle from the Rental Car center at FLL at 12:30 PM. We made a stop at Princess' terminal and then on to Celebrity's. After making sure the porter had all our luggage, we entered the terminal, did a quick walk-through the security screening and on to the Check-In Area. Absolutely no lines; by the time we walked around a few of the 'barriers' we were sent directly to a check-in agent. We were on board in our cabin by 1:15 PM, including our stop for the Welcome Aboard glass of Champagne (also the choice of OJ, or Mimosas). One of the crew asked our stateroom number and directed us to the correct bank of elevators. Unfortunately, he directed us to the wrong side of the ship - We assumed many of the crew were still on the learning curve. We gave the cabin a quick once-over, and decided to grab some lunch. On our way out, we met our charming Cabin Attendant, Aida. She provided us with a warm welcome and gave us a quick run-through of the different aspects of the cabin. After lunch, we met some friends that we were cruising with and chatted before exploring our "new home" (for the next seven nights). We did that until it was time for the mandatory Emergency Drill. On the Solstice, passengers report to various public areas for the drill - our station was the Dining Room. In the event of a real emergency we would meet there and be escorted to our lifeboat. We prefer this method. We had an informal "Meet and Greet" and then headed back to our cabin to unpack, before dinner. We passed on the Welcome Aboard Show. Cabin 8257: Our cabin was a Category 1A (mid-ship 'hump' Port Side), described in the literature as 192 square feet, but, to me, it felt tighter. The balcony is listed as 53 square feet, but ours was larger than that due to its location; there were two reclining chairs and a normal height round table (about 28 inch diameter). There are two basic designs for the balcony cabins; one has the bed closer to the balcony and the other has the bed closer to the hallway. At the foot of the bed area, there is a slight "bump out" to allow room to walk past the bed. Of course, that means your next door neighbor has a corresponding "bump-in", but it all evens out. Where you neighbors have a "bump-out" at the foot of their bed you have a "bump-in". The "bump-in is across from the seating area, behind the TV, refrigerator, drawer storage space and desk. In the version of the cabin we had (bed closer to the balcony), it is somewhat awkward to access half of the closet space, due to placement of the sofa. Speaking of closet space, there is not a lot of it, especially for long garments. Also, the depths of the closets are too shallow to hang a sport coat with out hanging it on a slight diagonal. One half of the closet area has only a short space for hanging clothes above a couple of shelves and the safe. The location of the safe is in this shelf area of the closet, about knee-cap height (I thought this placement as strange and awkward). The amount of drawer storage was less than we are accustomed to (we do not pack light). There is a large cupboard like space above the headboard of the bed; it measures about 18-20 inches from the ceiling and is the width of the queen size bed. There are two doors, hinged at the top. There are no shelves in these cupboards, and anyone under about six feet in height would have trouble accessing the full contents without climbing onto the bed. The cabin attendant used about half this space for storing the bed throw and the decorative pillows when they were not on the bed. The presence of an oval shaped coffee table in front of the sofa made walking about in the cabin a bit of a challenge. One other difference was that the cabin doors open out into the hallway alcove, instead of into the cabin. That took some getting used to - day four, I was still trying to pull the door open to exit the cabin and/or push it open when entering the cabin. The bathroom was well designed, with a larger than average sized shower - Ray appreciated that. Another nice feature about the shower was the placement of a bar diagonally across one corner about 12-14 inches above floor level. This was convenient for washing, or shaving, legs. Overall, both floor space and storage space in the bathroom seemed above average. One downer was the placement of the toilet tissue dispenser - it was tucked away somewhat out of sight, but awkward to reach. One very nice feature of the bathroom was the night light. Even with the light switch for the bathroom tuned off, there remains a low level light constantly on, located in the bank of lights above the sink. We found the bedding very comfortable, and thought the pillows were a bit too soft, but that is a personal preference. We were informed that other pillow options were available, but chose not to pursue that, since they were not uncomfortable. The clearance beneath the beds should be ample for all but the largest of suitcases. There is a large (32 inch) Samsung LCD TV in each room, with the standard cruise ship line-up of programming, and Interactive functions for checking on-board account, ordering shore excursions, wine, and room service. The TV is mounted on the wall, with an articulating arm that allows viewing from various areas of the cabin; sofa, bed, or balcony. The sofa, which can be used for a single bed, we found somewhat uncomfortable for sitting, could not imagine sleeping on it. One last item on the cabin, we discerned a somewhat considerable wind noise from the balcony, when the ship was underway at cruising speed. This may be due to the location of the balcony, at further most point out from the side of the ship on the hump, facing forward. It was not unbearable, more of a nuisance factor. A very light sleeper might find this problematic, but it did not keep us awake, but it was noticeable. Grand Epernay Restaurant: This is the main dining venue and is located on Decks 3 and 4. Breakfast and Lunch are open seating: Breakfast on Deck 3 only and Lunch on Deck 4 only. We tried both Breakfast and Lunch here on two different occasions. We were impressed with the service and did not feel 'deserted' once the initial serving was delivered as often seems to happen in dining rooms when in "open seating" mode. Our service at dinner time was very professional and capable, not outstanding but certainly nothing to complain about. We found the menu choices varied and appealing, and tasty. We had no complaints about the food, or the service. Celebrity still uses wine stewards in the Dining Room. Due to the small number of these stewards, service can be spotty at times (economics always seems to rear its head). We are not fans of the wait-staff trying to put on musical extravaganzas during dinner - there are other venues for that. We did have the "customary" O Solo Mio, and a special rendition on the last night of That's Amore. However, the serenade on the last night was due to the fact that it was Valentines Day and each woman received a red rose from their waiter. The room itself is basically white, but on different evenings there are fiber optic color ribbons that create different lighting patterns. Opposite the Grand Staircase of the dining room there is a large two deck high steel and glass tower which is actually a temperature controlled wine storage area, holding over 2,500 bottles of wine. Specialty Dining: There are three specialty restaurants aboard the Solstice, each with their own cover charge: Murano ($30.00) Contemporary French Cuisine; Silk Harvest ($20.00) Asian Cuisine; Tuscan Grille ($25.00) Italian Steakhouse. We did not try any of these venues but friends of ours who had tried them all were very pleased, especially if one stayed within the restaurant's specialty. There is also another specialty restaurant, Blu (No Cover Charge), which is reserved for passengers booked in the Aqua Class staterooms, and for guests in Suites, if there is available space. We did visit each of these venues and thought they were all very well designed our and appointed; all are located on Deck 5, Aft. Other Food Venues: Bistro on Five ($5.00 cover) a Creperie; open 8:00 AM to 12:30 AM. Gelateria (Deck 5), serving Italian Gelato (expensive) open 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM Mast Grill (Deck 14 midship), serving grilled specialties (ribs, wings, hot dogs, hamburgers) plus salads; open 11:30 AM to 6:00 PM GREAT STOP Oceanview Cafe: Located on Deck 14 aft, this is the primary buffet area for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is Coffee, tea and juice available 24 hours a day. This also the venue for the Ice Cream Bar (no charge) usually serving about 10 varieties of fresh made hard ice cream, 3-4 sorbets, low-fat soft serve, with/without toppings; all served on cones or in dishes. There are also pasta and pizza stations which like the ice cream bar are open Noon to 9:30 PM. This is also where Afternoon Tea is served from 4:00 to 5:00 PM; Late snacks are available here form 9:30 PM to 1:00 AM. Like most venues of this sort, seating can be problematic at certain times. Ray found the layout somewhat difficult to comprehend, especially with the various food placements at breakfast; lunch item placement was a bit easier to follow. Bars & Lounges: There is no shortage of venues (thirteen, at various times) where one can find a drink, many of quite striking design. No, we did not try them all, but did visit each one, at least once. Lounge service was adequate to very good; drink quality was very good, and little snack bites were frequently available. Our favorite haunt was Cellar Masters (Deck 4 midship) which not surprisingly is a wine bar. They offer wine flights (4 samples) differentiated by wine regions. As each sample is poured the waiter will explain the wine's characteristics and sometimes its history. They also have over forty wines by the glass, or bottle. They also offer a self-service wine bar. You purchase a card for, whatever amount you wish, when you wish a glass of wine you merely insert the card into one of the two the dispensers (one with eight whites, one with eight reds) place your glass (trays of clean glasses by each dispenser) under the pour spout for your choice of the wine you wish and select the amount of the pour (three sizes) push a button to dispense. These dispensers are available 24 hours a day. Thanks to the capable ministrations of Ruben and Hassan, this quickly became our place to go for pre-dinner drinks and people watching, as attested to by the balance on our Sea Pass card. Entertainment: It was not difficult to find something going on about the ship, at almost anytime. The performers, which moved to different venues at different times, included: The Modern Jazz Ensemble; Inspiration Strings (quartet); Piano Performer; The Solstice Quartet (modern); A Cappella Group (Ocean's Four); Steel Pan Virtuoso; Top Secret (dance band); Guitarist. These were in addition to the Solstice Orchestra. There were three production shows, a singer, two variety shows, and no ship's entertainment due to our late sailing from Puerto Rico. There were movies most afternoons, and a series of enrichment lectures. Of course, there were Bingo opportunities and Art Auctions (if they can be considered Entertainment). Miscellaneous: Solstice brags about two exclusive venues aboard this ship. One is the Hot Glass Show (in conjunction with Corning Glass), which was offered twice a day and one Special Late Night show (when we were in Puerto Rico). The other unique venue is The Lawn Club (Deck 15) the first live grass lawn at sea. We think the jury is still out on whether or not this will be successful. We noted many areas that were worn down to dirt, and some that have already been re-sodded. The area did not seem to get that much use. Overall Perceptions: The ship is beautiful; everything is still new and seems to work as designed (except maybe the real grass). There were crew members constantly cleaning, keeping things looking pristine. There is an interesting tree growing in the main elevator area. What makes it interesting is that it is suspended three decks above the main lobby and reaches up to Deck 10. All the crew that we met seemed happy and friendly. Embarkation and Disembarkation was well organized and went very well. We enjoyed this cruise very much, but are not ready to book again, just yet. While the cabin was not unbearable, for this seven night cruise, we are not sure how we would feel about it for a longer cruise, which we tend to book more often. If you have further questions, send them along and we will attempt to answer them. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Our group gathered in Ft. Lauderdale the night of 21st. Two couples were already in Florida in the Keys ahead (lucky them!). We were all so very excited to get to the Solstice! The anticipation over the last year - and hours of ... Read More
Our group gathered in Ft. Lauderdale the night of 21st. Two couples were already in Florida in the Keys ahead (lucky them!). We were all so very excited to get to the Solstice! The anticipation over the last year - and hours of reading/watching the progress thru Cruise Critic was fun! Embarkation was a breeze, loved the touch with the champagne welcome. This ship blew us away with her beauty. So many lovely touches - art, selection of chairs, the public areas were wonderful. We were on on Vista deck. People are picky - these cabins are great. No issues at all. We had a terrific cruise, great weather, fun people to be around... Food - loved the buffet. Great selection, always fresh. Sorbet and ice cream to die for! What a great treat. The brunch was wonderful, really enjoyed it, but did most of the ship know about it? I know that Celebrity touts the fact that they don't have announcements, however, we feel this should have been at least given some status in the news! Main dining - Food was usually a hit. Service? Boy, were we expecting more. We waited and waited and waited. We are a group of 10 - but have traveled on other ships and never had these issues. Never had "our drink" waiting for us like others. I always had to ask for my after dinner coffee. Never felt like we were special to anyone. Tuscan Grill - food was fine. Again - very, very slow service. No "extra" touch anywhere. We couldn't believe it?! Maybe bad night, wrong waitress, but not a special dinner feeling. Surprised that desserts were just "fair" everywhere on the ship - nothing blew our skirts up! ha ha.. Bistro on Five - LOVED this for lunch! Great crepes - again - we were there for 2 1/2 hours. Food took forever to be delivered. We loved the martini bar - service, drinks, everything top notch! What a fun hangout! Excursions - we only did one through the ship - in St. Kitts. It was very disappointing. We were on an "overflow" catamaran for the Fan-ta-sea. Many issues and I did complain when we returned. I got the standard "form letter". Pretty much - too bad for you. $230 for a $50 trip. We did our own sunset sail in St. Martin through Random Wind and it was outstanding. Wish we had done the whole day! I walked daily and found that the placement of the jogging track was not great. I was okay at 6 AM, but by 7:30 or so the breakfast people overtook the area and made it impossible to walk/jog/exercise. Maybe an announcement or class on etiquette would help. It was the little things on this cruise that were missing. I feel that the Solstice does not have her "personality" yet. We did not feel "special" anywhere. The spa was a total disappointment...one of my joys on a cruise. I asked for help and was told to "go down those stairs and you should find it". We never found anyone that wanted to go out of their way (except the martini bar waiters!). I agree with a previous reviewer - a little bland and boring!) Heard about the sorbet by the pool....they ran out three chairs before us. My opinion is that if you know you don't have enough - don't start. We ran out of tissues on Thursday - instead got a stack of bar napkins - seriously? It is the little things. We had a great time being together in the sun. Would we cruise Celebrity again? For the right price and itinerary, sure. Would we seek Celebrity out? Not so much. Read Less
Sail Date January 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

Find a Celebrity Solstice Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click