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8 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) to Cruise to Nowhere Celebrity Solstice Cruise Reviews

Solstice Naming Cruise Nov 14th to Nov 16 2008 We feel honored that Celebrity invited us to attend this very special event. We left early on Friday morning on a 3 hour drive to Port Everglades to board the Solstice at 11 am. The ... Read More
Solstice Naming Cruise Nov 14th to Nov 16 2008 We feel honored that Celebrity invited us to attend this very special event. We left early on Friday morning on a 3 hour drive to Port Everglades to board the Solstice at 11 am. The ship is everything I could have imagined and more. It is something to behold and must to seen in person to get the full effect. When we stepped on the Solstice we fell in love with it. We were given a deluxe ocean view veranda on the 9th Floor (9176) and it was stunning. Nothing like a new room with new furniture, sheets, towels etc. The room was very tastefully decorated and my wife thought the storage was more then adequate if you used all the provided areas including the overhead space above the beds. The showers on the Solstice have NO curtain but two lucite doors that each slide open in a semi circle. The shower space is 30% increased compared to the C or M class ships. It was a pleasure taking a shower in this cabin. The faucets and fixtures were very upscale and worked well. Each room has a nice refrigerator which has adequate storage. The food court was the best we have ever seen at sea. I cannot call it a buffet because that would not be doing it justice. Its a huge opened room with many dedicated areas of different cuisine, ie, Mexican, Sushi, Steaks and Potatoes, desserts, Pizza and Burgers, ice cream and the best low fat frozen yogurt (no charge), cheeses and crackers and much more. The Sea Bass on the first night was excellent but nothing bested our filet mignon at Tuscan Grill which is an Italian Steakhouse. All the Captains Club Members were invited to one of the Specialty Restaurants on Saturday night. The ship naming was very touching and I have attached some videos of the ceremony at the end of this review. The crew on the ship was excellent as expected and it was great to be in the company of Richard Fein (Chairman of RCL) Dan Hanarhan (CEO Celebrity) and Adam Goldstein (CEO Royal Caribbean). There was a question and answer session with these gentlemen on Saturday morning that was very interesting. I learned a great deal from this session. Simon and Nick Weir were the perfect hosts as Hotel Director and Cruise Director. It is great seeing friends like Simon and Nick. As I told Dan H, 80% of the reason we cruise with X is because of the outstanding people in his employ. When you have taken a few cruises and get to know the ship staff you feel like part of the Celebrity family. There was a show on both nights and they were excellent. Ghost of Broadway was the best show I have ever seen on a ship. The dancers and singers were incredible. Cannot wait to see the show again on a future cruise. This event was spectacular and I am very grateful to Celebrity for including us in it. I hope to do a lot more cruising on the Solstice in the near future. Link to Video and Pictures: http://good-times.webshots.com/album/568709023aLXIrE Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
I am not as experienced a cruiser as some on here, but I do have 5 cruises under my belt (so far). My experience has been confined to NCL, Royal Caribbean and now Celebrity. We booked the inaugural 2 night 'cruise to nowhere' ... Read More
I am not as experienced a cruiser as some on here, but I do have 5 cruises under my belt (so far). My experience has been confined to NCL, Royal Caribbean and now Celebrity. We booked the inaugural 2 night 'cruise to nowhere' on Celebrity Solstice out of Ft. Lauderdale. My travel partner lives in the area, so we had no hotel. As a little background, this 2-night cruise, while it was the maiden voyage, was a charter. The Solstice is, of course, brand new and the first of the Solstice-class ships from Celebrity. Knowing Celebrity's reputation for excellence, we were looking forward to this cruise very much. To summarize the more detailed review below, the ship is absolutely gorgeous. The service, unfortunately, did not live up to our expectations. First, the good/great: The ship is beautiful. I don't have all that much to add to the cruise-critic review or the previous member's reviews, but as far as the ship itself goes, everything that they said is true and more. My travel partner works as an interior designer and she could not stop talking about the creativity, quality and beauty of the interior spaces. Myself, with the exception of a couple of spaces that did not appeal to me, I found the interior of the ship to be visually stunning. In particular, the main dining room was light and airy. Missing was the often gaudy and over-busy decoration that is found in ship's dining rooms. Solstice's was a relaxing and engaging place to be. Other highlights for me were the Sky Lounge, Michael's Club and the Tuscan Restaurant. The decorative beam work on the ceiling of the Sky Lounge tied in beautifully with the structural form of the window frames, Michael's Club, although apparently not unique to this ship, is an elegantly comfortable space. The Tuscan Restaurant, with its 'tunnel' entrance is visually stunning. The only spaces I didn't like were the Quasar club, which seemed kitschy and not very inviting or functional, and the Care Baccio, which was just a matter of particular taste; the yellow/green theme was not appealing to me (however, the coffee and gelato were superb). These are, admittedly, just a matter of personal taste, and not really a criticism of the ship's design. You can't please everyone all of the time. The only other small criticism I have of the ship's design concerns the large Celebrity "X" on the outside of the ship. This "X" is rendered on the side of the ship by dark tinting of the glass on stateroom verandas. The "X" is very striking in the exterior view of the ship, but if you happen to be one of the unfortunate ones occupying one of the staterooms with the tinted veranda glass, your view of the ocean is impaired (the tinting is transparent, but very dark, so it's difficult to see through the glass when sitting on the veranda). This is a small thing, but just seemed to me to be one of the few places where design has compromised function. Apart from that, the staterooms were very nice. There was plenty of storage, the large flat-screen TV was a nice touch, and the bed was very comfortable. The room seemed a little bit larger than average, as was the bathroom. Entertainment of the ship was limited, but this was likely a result of the short nature of the cruise. There was a variety show that we did not attend, and a comedian that we did not get to see because there was no room left in the performance room. My main disappointments with this cruise were with the service, the food and activities. With regard to the service, we found the stateroom service to be just a little below the standards of attentiveness that we have experienced on other cruises. While the service was adequate, missing were the little touches that make a cruise special (mints on turndown, towel animals, etc.) The mini bar was empty when we arrived. It was filled the day after we arrived, but we were not allowed access to it. Our attendant told us the reason for this was that the mini-bar order/inventory forms had not yet been printed, but it seemed to us that the real reason was that they were stocking the mini-bar for the 7 night cruise that immediately followed ours, and they didn't want to have to restock it again before that cruise. We were invited by our attendant to go to the bar and get our own drinks. Room service was an unmitigated disaster. The first night, I waited on hold for 20 minutes. Eventually I hung up. We did manage to get through to them later for a late-night snack, but the order we received was not correct (the cheeseburger had no cheese, and instead of the bottle of cabernet sauvignon we ordered, we received chardonnay instead. We probably wouldn't have minded a swap of one red wine for another, but to swap a red for a white is not generally done. When we called back to return the wine, room service told us that we needed to get our stateroom attendant to correct their error. They wouldn't do it. The next day, we ordered a late-afternoon snack. It was promised in 30 minutes. When it had not arrived after 90 minutes, I called room service to inquire; again, they would not pick up the phone. After another 15 minutes on hold, I gave up. It required a call to the guest services to get through to room service. As I was speaking to them, the food arrived. We sent it back as we no longer wanted it, but did notice that the order was, again, not correct. The food was delivered by our stateroom attendant who told us that she had received the pick-up call from the kitchen only 10 minutes before. Clearly they have some bugs to work out with room service. The main dining room experience was also a disappointment, both the food and the service. The service was extremely slow. We ate there on both nights. The first one we were seated for over half an hour before the appetizer was delivered. The courses for me and my partner were delivered at widely different times, forcing one of us to let their food grow cold while waiting for the other to be served. The second night, we sat for an hour before the appetizer arrived. The main course was similarly delayed. The problem appeared to be not with the wait staff, who delivered the food from their stations as soon as it arrived. The problem seemed to be with the kitchen that was extremely slow delivering the plates to the waiters. The food itself was also a disappointment. The appetizers were good but not in any way exceptional. The soups were excellent, but the main courses were of low quality and poorly prepared. As an example, on the first night, we both ordered the same thing: tornados of beef and pork. I ordered my beef medium rare, my partner medium. Both of our dishes arrived the same: very well-done; dry and tough as shoe leather. They were also of only luke-warm temperature, apparently having sat in the kitchen for a while before arriving at the waiter's station. The aspect of the dining room experience that I disliked the most was one of policy not quality. The seating system that was used on this cruise was a hybrid between the traditional assigned seating and sister line Royal Caribbean's 'free-style' program. Unfortunately, Celebrity seems to have taken the disadvantages of each program and combined them. When we booked the cruise, we were asked what kind of table we would like to reserve (small table), but when we arrived at dinner the first night at the upper level entrance to the dining room, we were sent away because the upper level was only for those with a reserved table. When we explained that we thought we did have a reserved table, the host would not check and simply sent us downstairs where there was open seating. Besides one of the times on the cruise that we were made to feel like second-class citizens (more on that later), there were no small tables available downstairs. The advantages of assigned table / assigned time dining are that you have to opportunity to get to know your table-mates and you have the same waiters each night. The waiters get to know your particular likes and dislikes, and I have found that to be one of the pleasures of cruising. The disadvantage is the lack of flexibility: you have to eat at your assigned time. The advantage of free-style type cruising is that you have choices as to what and where you want to eat. Under Celebrity's system, you have no flexibility - you eat in the dining room at your assigned time, but you also eat with different people and have different waiters every night. It is true that Solstice does have specialty restaurants, but these were completely booked before we ever got on the ship, and we were given no opportunity to pre-book (this may not be Celebrity's fault, but rather the agency, as they were unable to deliver our cruise documents to us until the day before the cruise). Another issue that we found distasteful was that we were made on more than one occasion to feel like second-class passengers on the ship. The first time was, as I mentioned, being dismissed by the host who would not check on wither we had a reserved table as we believed, instead sending us downstairs to open dining room seating. The second time was in the restaurant Blu. This restaurant is, apparently, reserved for only Aqua class passengers. We walked into Blu late at night, just to see it. At the time we walked in, it was near closing, and in fact was empty of diners (so, you know, there was no risk of the hoity-toity being offended by our plebian presence). We just wanted to have a look because it is a visually stunning restaurant. We were informed by the host that this restaurant was not for us. In principle, I guess I don't have a problem with a line offering premium services to higher paying customers, but I also don't think this should be done in such a way as to alienate your other customers. The restaurant is physically freely accessible and inviting. I would suggest that they could adopt a model more like they do with the private Persian Lounge. Put it out of sight, were the mainstream cruisers are not subjected to being told that they are second-class and not welcome. It made me wary of walking into other places on the ship for fear of being similarly rebuffed. As a final comment there are two reasons that I will not be anxious to take another Celebrity cruise. The first is that it did not live up to my expectations as a premium product. I think that the food and service was actually better on all of the four previous cruises I've taken. Because of this, I felt that there was no reason to bear the premium cost of a Celebrity cruise. Now, in defense of the line, I heard it said that ours was not a 'real' Celebrity cruise, being a special charter. But I paid as much for it as I would have a 'real' cruise, the ship and the crew were from Celebrity and therefore representing the line, and they certainly were not shy about trying to sell future cruises on board. Secondly, the atmosphere on the ship was lacking in (for lack of a better term) fun. The musicians stopped playing early, most of the venues were deserted by 11:00-ish. We were the only ones in the Sky Lounge (the last bar open) after 11:30. There was little in the way of dancing or any other activity going on in the evenings. Perhaps it was was the demographic of the passengers, or the fact that the ship was only about ¾ booked. Perhaps it was the lack of any of the organized evening activities one often finds on cruises (e.g. karaoke, piano bar, games). A cruise-director was not seen or heard from at any time on this cruise. Honestly, I don't think I can blame this on Celebrity, they can't force the passengers to have fun, but it is nonetheless a factor in my feelings about taking a future cruise with them So in summary, we found the Solstice to be an absolutely gorgeous ship, but lacking in the quality of food and service, and perhaps also lacking a little soul. I hope that these negatives might just reflect start-up pains and will be overcome. I'll keep an eye on future reviews to see if I should consider giving them another chance in the future, but for now, I'm sticking with their sister line RCCL where my experiences have been much more positive. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
I want to start out by saying this was my first Celebrity cruise. I normally just cruise RCCL(44 credits with them)..and I will say I was VERY impressed. Friday got there around 11.......checked in and had my pic taken right at the ... Read More
I want to start out by saying this was my first Celebrity cruise. I normally just cruise RCCL(44 credits with them)..and I will say I was VERY impressed. Friday got there around 11.......checked in and had my pic taken right at the counter (for my seapass)..that was different....... Got on the ship and was greeted by a line of employees, all wearing white gloves!! They help you with your carryons/luggage and walk you to your cabin..............oh yea, they also offer champagne/mimosas as you board........... Went to my cabin........it was a balcony cabin(category 1Bcabin # 9109)..........very pretty decor, but not set up very functionally........closet space was VERY limited.......and the beds were very close together. Maybe 6 inches.......wouldn't be a problem if the bed was together as one, but traveling with a friend, its kinda close.....plus its right next to the closet and only one person at a time can access it........ The flat screen TV on the wall was nice........its over the desk area so if you want to watch it while in bed, you can pull it over and slant it towards you.......... The bathroom was very nice..........lots of storage but not much counter space......but it was fine for me..........had some toiletries(lotion,shampoo,conditioner,qtips,cotton balls, shower cap).....waffle robes...... Balcony had two chairs and round table on it.......deck was wooden...... Did see other cabin categories( Celebrity suite # 1237).......Concierge Class(#1231).....AquaClass(#1602).....SkySuite(#2120)...Sunset Veranda(#7317)......Deluxe Oceanview(#7286).......and inside accessible(# 8164) Went exploring and hit the Oceanview cafe first for some lunch....AMAZING is all I can say........more choices than I have ever seen.....pastas,salads,sandwiches,pizzas,Mexican food, a Churasso(Brazilian) station and sooooooooo much more..............and the desserts.......WOW!!! Not your average cookies and pudding..... After eating, I went walking around more to check it all out (not sure I even have seen it all now)..... AquaSpa is very nice...heated lounge chairs, spa treatment rooms, specialty restaurant(Blu),etc......the AquaSpa cabins are located right there, so you don't have far to go........the one AquaSpa cabin I saw was exactly like my balcony cabin that was on deck 9..... The Lawn Club is really unique......I saw people playing croquet,golf,bocce ball (which glow at night).........Not sure how well, the grass will hold up after a few sailings though. You can already see where it is worn........... The Corning Glass shop and demo is right there as well........saw a demo on Saturday night and it was impressive. They had raffles and gave away some pieces, but they wont be selling any of what they make. They will display some/get rid of the rest...... In the 2 days onboard, I did manage to visit a few bars.........My favorite was the Sunset Bar..(aft near the Lawn Club)........very nice location to watch the sun go down (this is where we had our sailaway)..........another favorite was the Martini Ice Bar........the counters are actually frosted over with ice. The bartenders so their Tom Cruise impression (juggling bottles) and are quite entertaining. They have a martini tasting, where you get a flight of 6 flavors. Good way to see what you like best... Enjoyed the teas,coffees,pastries from Cafe al Bacio,,,,,,,,,,and had some crepes at Bistro on Five........didn't have any gelato at Gelateria,but they had several choices that all looked good......... You wont go hungry on this ship..........as I mentioned the Oceanview Cafe has many, many choices. Then there is the mast Grill (deck 14 midship) which had burgers, hot dogs, nacho fixings and more).........The beautiful Grand Epernay Restaurant (decks 3 and 4).....then there are the specialty restaurants...........Murano(contemporary French),Silk Harvest(Asian), and Tuscan Grille (Italian Steakhouse)......I got to eat at Tuscan Grille and 2 days later, I am still full..........it was wonderful.........I had calamari,a argula Goat cheese salad, mixed grill(lamp chop, veal, chicken, Italian sausage all on rigatoni)........for dessert, I had chocolate fondue with strawberries, bananas, pineapple,marshmallows,brownie).........SINFUL!! Some very nice shops and the typical souvenir shops........casino looked OK, even though I didn't spend too much time (or money) there........ Quasar (disco on deck 5) was hopping every night.......Sky(deck 14) had wonderful views overlooking the seas............... Did not go to any shows.......not much time to see it all in 2 days......... The highlight of the weekend was the naming/christening ceremony. It took place Friday night at 4:30pm.It was held in the Solstice Theatre(decks 4 and 5).....started with a fanfare of bagpipe players then the orchestra then played A. Beautiful Day (by U2)..... A French Horn fanfare then played and in walked the Godmother procession (including the godmother and the VIPs) The Godmother is Professor Sharon Smith.She is the first scientist to be a godmother. She holds many degrees and is a biologist oceanographer. She has survived cancer twice. She is truly the perfect pick for this position. After blessings by a rabbi and the seaman's pastor, they played the Greek and American National anthems. Richard Fain spoke then it was time for the actual christening. The Godmother cut a red ribbon which went thru out the ship and ended up at the top deck where a bottle of champagne was attached to it. The bottle then swung across, hitting the ship and thereby christening it. There is so much to see and do and like I mentioned, did not have time to do it all.........hope to book it (or one of the others in the class that are upcoming) someday......... Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
We booked 2 balcony rooms...one for us and one for our teen aged grandsons who had never cruised before. The ship was truly beautiful...sophisticated elegance is how I would describe it's design and interior. Our staterooms were ... Read More
We booked 2 balcony rooms...one for us and one for our teen aged grandsons who had never cruised before. The ship was truly beautiful...sophisticated elegance is how I would describe it's design and interior. Our staterooms were supposed to be adjoining but were not so we had to change room keys at guest relations as they would book one adult with one child in each room per their rules. The room was large enough for my wheelchair and oxygen concentrator. The bathroom was roomy with a curved glass shower door so you could even bend over to wash your feet without getting water all over the floor. Our room stewardess finally brought a small container for ice at 4 PM and the next night she didn't give us any at all. Room service was very slow...the boys ordered cookies and milk and they brought warm milk so they put it in the refrigerator. The buffet lunch was very good the first day on arrival but the next day's breakfast was cold, coffee tasted really bad and the orange juice was watered down. We had to take silverware off another table and get our own drinks as none of the attendants bothered to help us. Dinner in the main dining room was very slow and the food was not hot. We had reservations and they knew I was disabled but I had to walk all the way to the back of the room to our table. I was expecting to have some bottled water and cans of soda in our room but we had to drink water from the bathroom sink. The worst part of our cruise was that there was NO SMOKING on the balcony or anywhere but a few outdoor areas...The port side of the deck 5 had some chairs and ashtrays with a view of the life boats and the port side of the Mast Bar had standing room only most of the time. We were not told about the smoking when we booked the cruise. To top it off, I forgot to pack cigarettes for my husband! We thought we could buy them on board at the liquor store but because it was a 2 day cruise no cigarettes or alcohol were sold. One of the other passengers heard of my husband's plight and gave him 2 packs. The entertainment was very good both nights especially the Solstice aerial circus the second night. The comedian didn't come on til 11:45 so we missed him both nights. We enjoyed the jazz trio in the Ensemble Lounge both nights. We have traveled Celebrity twice before but the service, food and attitude of the employees was not up to par. There was no comment card in the room to tell them what they were doing right or wrong. I did not feel welcome like I have on other cruises. It was a lot of money for 2 days. I think we will stick to Princess and Royal Caribbean from now on. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Celebrity Solstice Review It could be argued that the new Celebrity Solstice is the prettiest ship at sea. I doubt that you would find many who would not agree. But there are a whole lot of steps along the way that make Solstice ... Read More
Celebrity Solstice Review It could be argued that the new Celebrity Solstice is the prettiest ship at sea. I doubt that you would find many who would not agree. But there are a whole lot of steps along the way that make Solstice unique. Celebrity has done a great job focusing on the total cruise experience and beyond. It seems that new builds these days all have a flashy signature feature that sets them apart from others. Solstice is no exception. The big one here is the Lawn Club. Located high up on deck 15, Celebrity has grown an expanse of short golf green-like grass about the size of a football field. Ok maybe more like a large backyard but it sure seems like a huge space in person. It's something you just don't expect to see on a ship and nothing can quite prepare you for the experience. Home to picnics, various "yard" games, and even private parties, the Lawn Club comes complete with its own shop, cafe and bar. If this were a Carnival ship they would call this the "Fun Deck" because it also houses the Fun Factory Kids club, a basketball court, Video Arcade and another unique experience, the Hot Glass show, where professional gaffers craft works of art right before your eyes. But this is nothing you will find on a Carnival ship or any other brand for that matter. These unique experiences have been really well done in a unique signature way that will prove to set Solstice apart from even her sister ships that will follow. It all comes down to ground level where what they do directly impacts the guest experience. As with so many other successful ideas it is the details that make the difference. Bartenders that can open a bottle of beer tossed in the air, Pool Butlers actually paying attention to guests and anticipating their needs, as well as very well educated crew members who know their jobs well, make the difference. Someone was paying attention here when they designed how this was going to go. Often overlooked while an organization struggles to cover the bases, Celebrity not only covers but blows the bases away, creating an experience like no other. It is as though someone said, "Ok, design a ship, but make it the very best one you can possibly make it. Spare no expense. Leave nothing out. Dream up new features. And make it all very user-friendly". Take for example, the live tree growing in the middle of the ship. Yes I said live tree. Make that "huge live tree". It's not enough to have it; the crew all knows details about how it was planted, lives and will grow six decks high eventually. The crew does not hesitate to approach the casual viewer to let them know all about it too. I think this is one of the most unique parts of the onboard experience. The crew here really goes out of its way to enrich the experience. It is as though not only the needs but the unexpected desires of guests have been not only anticipated but are constantly brought to their attention. The staterooms are a great example of this. A quick glance would leave one with the impression that these are nicely appointed but nothing unique. Further examination though reveals many innovative features. In the bathroom, for example, a low level illuminating light is on constantly to lead the way in the dark. A huge flat-screen television boasting a nice selection of movies, internet access, ordering for room service and more swivels away from the wall enabling it to be positioned just right for viewing anywhere in the cabin. 15% larger than most Celebrity staterooms on other ships, these offer a very nice space you may not want to leave. But leave you will as you explore areas of the ship that flow seamlessly from one to the other. Arguably the largest selection of shopping at sea, the "Shops on the Boulevard" flow into the largely non-smoking casino which is an extension of an assortment of lounges, and an area known as the "Entertainment Court". Aptly named, the Entertainment Court features a central space where live music emanates into the surrounding areas very nicely, tying them all together. While other cruise lines seem to be cutting back on live entertainment, Celebrity has taken a few steps back in time and brought back a wide variety of talent. Case in point; on deck entertainment. I was on deck enjoying a leisurely afternoon one day, steps away from food and bar service, an indoor pool should the weather turn bad, and the an assortment of lounge chairs, hammocks, and private areas. As the stage was out of sight, it took me a while to realize that the enjoyable and thoughtful music I was hearing was not prerecorded but a live five piece band. Later, when their set was over, a different band came to play, followed by a solo guitar player and then others. This theme was repeated many times over throughout the voyage. A string quartet filled the atrium area, a jazz trio played in one of the lounges, and a full band played in the showroom, even a piano player in unexpected areas at unconventional times made for a rich experience. Dining options also added to this deep, enriching theme. In addition to the stunning single main room, Grand Epernay, dining options are plentiful. The Aquaspa cafe offering refreshing spa cuisine as well as the always open Bistro on Five with Crepes and Sandwiches in a casual setting. The Mast Grill I enjoyed while on deck was only steps away from the signature Oceanview Cafe, a scatter-style buffet with an assortment of stations well-suited to most any taste. Specialty dining with a nominal cover charge was not limited to just one or two offerings. Murano, a sophisticated dining experience featuring European style service and wines from around the world is a headliner. Silk Harvest, featuring the exotic tastes of Asia in a casual, family-style setting is very popular. The Tuscan Grille offers a sophisticated steakhouse with and Italian accent and robust wine list. Finally "Blu" has private dining for AquaClass guests only featuring clean, modern cuisine from the old and new world. The Aqua class area of the ship offers some of the most well appointed staterooms on board too. But more than just extra features like a superb shower and upgraded amenities, the whole AquaSpa area of the ship is unique unto itself. This area anchors a "Wellness" theme featuring a full service spa enhanced by the solarium and a quiet renewing space called the Persian Garden as well as medi-spa, salon and fitness center. The whole Wellness concept extends to other areas of the ship as well. All staterooms and verandahs, for example, are non-smoking. A bold move on the part of Celebrity, this idea came directly from guest requests and comments. There are adequate but largely removed areas for smokers but the Celebrity is really trying hard to make a statement as part of the whole experience. Smoking is restricted to a small area of the casino, slots only. The whole feel of it all reminded me of when restaurants had smoking and non smoking sections before turning all non-smoking. I suspect that Celebrity will be the first line to pull off the entirely non-smoking concept, once tried but failed by Carnival's Paradise several years ago. To me, the extent that Celebrity is willing to go with the smoking issue is a great example of the direction they are going with this ship and the experience it elicits. A great diversion from real life is the hallmark of a cruise. Celebrity, through the unique features of this ship, also gives you something to take home with you. Whereas the end of the cruise often meant the end of the experience, Solstice leaves the door open, allowing one to take home the feel of it all. If you are one of the lucky ones who has fully embraced all that a cruise has to offer you may have felt renewed and maybe even a bit changed by the end of the voyage. The Solstice experience allows you to not only be changed, but to do something with that change once you return to real life. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
I will start off by providing you with my ship experiences so that you can better understand my reasoning for rating this ship. I have sailed on Princess (golden class) 2 times, RCCL voyager class 12 times, RCCL Freedom Class 3 times and ... Read More
I will start off by providing you with my ship experiences so that you can better understand my reasoning for rating this ship. I have sailed on Princess (golden class) 2 times, RCCL voyager class 12 times, RCCL Freedom Class 3 times and Celebrity Millennium Class 3 times. My wife and I are between the ages of 45 to 52 and are very fit and enjoy good food and good night life (dancing late hours)and a good fitness center. With that said, let me state that of all our cruises, this ship surpassed all aspects of previous cruise experiences, that is the ship look, food and service was at the top 5+ rating. The styling of this ship is very retro/south beach hip. Lots of light colors and wonderful lounges and open areas.At 12:00 noon we enter onto the 5th deck and immediately notice a Bistro serving 24/7 wonderful healthy crepe's filled with well prepared veggies/chicken/Meats with excellent sauces. (all freshly made to order). Additionally the deserts at the Bistro were excellent. On the same deck directly across from the Bistro is a cappuccino bar with fresh coffee and more deserts. Next to the cafe, was a gelato bar with fresh gelato and ice cream. We tried 1 chicken and pesto crepe , a flank steak and caramelized onion with blue cheese crepe and had some expresso, and gelato. All were magnificent. We then proceeded to visit the buffet (just to see the food display and layout). Well CCL did an excellent job of strategically placing stations which avoids lines from forming and the display and food quality were above those of the RCCL and Princess class and in line with the infinity and Millennium ships. However, the buffet stations were the best placed/ positioned of any buffet area on any ship we sailed. We then proceeded to the fitness center which was smaller than the Voyager and Freedom class ships but bigger than the princess and infinity and Millennium class ships (nice machinery, cable,free weights and cardio options to satisfy those who choose to stay fit ... Then we proceeded to the Celebrity lounge on the upper deck which was absolutely perfect in color and style with furnishings again to be on the hip/retro south beach side. Then we proceeded to the shops which had the nicest looking store fronts of any ship I have sailed and the shops were in area's where the ceiling heights were over 25 feet (great look). The bars and martini bars were excellent and the dining room was well appointed. But now let me get to the best part of the ship (restaurant row) that is there are 4 specialty restaurants in a dedicated part of the ship with a grand entrance to each restaurant which is also where Michael is also located. There is also a dedicated fabulous bar in this area to service those who would like a drink before going to dinner. The 4 restaurants are Muranos, Tuscan, BLU and a Tia restaurant) I tried BLU and Murano's. We will start with BLU, the BLU restaurant is for AQUA SPA quests with a menu that changes nightly, the food and service here was much better than Princess speciality restaurants and RCCL Portofino's and Chops and in line with the Infinity USS united states and Olympia on the Millennium, however the seating and look and feel of the restaurant was again awesome. Then we ate at Murano's one night and my wife and I had the best meal we ever had in our entire life (land or sea and we ate in some fabulous restaurants in NYC and Las Vegas)The Service was amazing and even if you can imagine it being better than that of the USS unites States and the Olympia. The food preparation and flavors were beyond ones imagination. Also, the food in the main dining room for lunch and dinner far surpassed those of RCCL and Princess. (variety/service and taste) Also, the pool area's were well appointed with cabana'a and very comfortable seating. A real special treat/surprise to us was the upper deck/ the lawn (real grass) for boci, golf and other fun activities. Also there was a glass blowing facility on the lawn where several times a day you had an opportunity to see how wonderful works of glass art are made. Another item that impressed us was the disco (I mean at 12:00 there were actually folks up and dancing where on many of our past CCL sailing it seemed that by 10:00 or so every evening most folks went to bed, where as on this ship most folks were out having even more fun. That were I get the reference to this is the game changer that is, you have the Celebrity service and food with a retro feel and the ability to draw a younger hipper crowd who demand great food and great service without sacrificing the feel an the look of what todays baby boomers are looking for. Also, before I forget, let me tell you a little about the rooms. We had a balcony (typical size room, however the bathroom was bigger, including a bigger shower area with a closing door rather than a curtain. Also the desk and cabinet area had granite counters, with a real nice leather couch. In closing please feel free to email me to ask further questions and to provide you with pictures of my experience on board this great ship. I have over 300 pictures of every facet of this ship including the food plates for each and every meal we have. You will not be disappointed on this cruise ship. (ya the port of call are your typical) however, once your on this ship, you may not want to get off at the ports. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
We are great fans of cruising on Celebrity ships (Elite captains club members) and we took the opportunity to try out the new Solstice for a 2-night cruise. Embarkation at Ft lauderdale was SLOW; the staff seemed untrained and unclear ... Read More
We are great fans of cruising on Celebrity ships (Elite captains club members) and we took the opportunity to try out the new Solstice for a 2-night cruise. Embarkation at Ft lauderdale was SLOW; the staff seemed untrained and unclear as to how to enter our data into their computer even though we had completed the "Express" process prior to Embarkation. Lunch in the cafeteria was an adventure in finding where everything could be found. The quality and variety of food was very good and the decor was interesting. We spent the afternoon exploring the ship and our summary is that we were most impressed with the design and execution of this large ship. It does not seem so big because of the clever design. The cabin was pleasant with a small well-designed bathroom. We found the closet space to be limited. The 1/2 acre of grass was different but already showing signs of wear. We watched the glass blowing demonstration at the "Corning museum of glass' and found it excellent. The master glass blower "Annette" is a true professional. Dinner in the main restaurant was a big disappointment. Both nights I was given food other than that which i had ordered; it was also half-cold. On the second night I asked to speak to the Maitre'd to complain; after repeating my request 3 times, and waiting over 20 minutes he showed up and gave different explanations for his delay and for my food being unsatisfactory. The wait staff were unfriendly and resented my complaint. Other diners around us told us that they had the same experiences. This is the worst experience we have ever had in a Celebrity restaurant. This was the first Celebrity cruise on which we were not asked to complete a "comments" card before departure. The message seemed to be that the cruise line did not want our comments, so I went to Guest Relations and asked to make a comment. I was given a post-card sized form to complete and on submitting it I saw that it was added to a large pile of other cards. The evening show named "Solstice" was truly a new experience. We would recommend that everybody who travels on Solstice should see this show. Disembarkation was quick and easy. Overall a great ship that was spoilt for us by poor service at Embarkation and in the restaurant. What a pity Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Our cruise to no where was a charter cruise to see Celebrity's new ship so that we will advertise it by word of mouth. My husband & I who have sailed quite often and have been on several Celebrity ships were excited to see this ... Read More
Our cruise to no where was a charter cruise to see Celebrity's new ship so that we will advertise it by word of mouth. My husband & I who have sailed quite often and have been on several Celebrity ships were excited to see this beautiful new ship with all its amenities and experience the best service they had to offer. Unfortunately they have a long way to go to offer the "best" in services. Let me start with the Ship design. The Pool Area: I absolutely loved the new design out by the pool with the extra shaded area on the deck above the pool. The new seating areas with the wicker love seats and chairs are a very nice touch. There are large lounging beds spaced between all the regular lounge chairs and a hammock enclosed with sheer curtains that adds a romantic touch. Jacuzzis were nice, but did not work and the water was ice cold. I lied out by the pool for over 2 hours and not one waiter came and asked if I would like to order a drink! The weather took a drop in temperature, so we moved into the Solarium for warmth. Well the air temperature was very cool from the air conditioning; I could not even take off my cover-up and had to cover myself with a towel. I decided to go into the Jacuzzi in this area to warm up, only to find out that the heaters were not working either, and neither were the Jacuzzis outside by the pool. We located 3 workmen in the area, who were trying to fix the waterfall that wasn't working. They said they knew the Jacuzzis weren't working and could not figure out what was wrong. Then I over heard some women talking that were coming out of the Spa that the Sauna wasn't warm, it wasn't working. So I left the Solarium area. But I must say that the different types of sitting areas were very nice especially the large egg shaped lounging beds for two. The Lawn Club Area; what a different touch to a ship. There is a grassed area for playing Bocce or Croquet, but due to cold weather and wind, no one was playing outdoors. In this area is a demonstration of Glass Blowing put on by the Corning Company. It was extremely interesting to watch. Several shows where put on during the day. At the last show on the last night, they give away all the pieces that they had made, which were quite beautiful. Unfortunately that show was at 11:00pm and with the wind and cold temperature, we did not attend. The Buffet area is beautiful, very open, lots of room with plenty of tables. Unlike other Celebrity ships that we experienced, this ship does not offer the serving trays to carry your plates and does not offer the personal service of someone who carries your tray and finds you a table to sit at. Large square plates, that were very heavy, had to be carried around several food stations. I expected a better variety of food offered, and I expected the hot foods to be hot which it never was. I wonder if the board of Health knows about this? Only the stir fry food because it was cooked to order and the pasta because it was warmed up just before giving it to you were hot. In fact, the plate got so hot carrying it, I had to run over to a counter to put it down or else I would have dropped it. I did burn myself carrying a cup of hot water for tea. When holding the mug by the handle, my ring finger was positioned against the cup. I did not want to drop the cup on the floor, so by the time I quickly ran to my table, my finger was quite red from the heat. By the time you walked around, had to find a table, and get your drink, you never stood a chance to eat food that was warm. There weren't any signs over the food telling you what it was. You did not know if you were getting a seafood item or a meat item. This limited me in tasting the foods. I couldn't find out where the silverware was & was told it was on the tables. When I looked around, some of the tables did have silverware wrapped in linen napkins on the table, yet there were plenty of tables that were cleared off that had no set ups. If you didn't get a seat that had the set-up it was awhile to get someone to get you some. Again, never did anyone come to our table to ask if we wanted to order a drink. Now this ship has bars in the Buffet area, so I guess they want you to go over and order your own drink. Again, less service for the increase in price that this ship will be offering. Main Dining Room, well I just don't know where to start here. We were traveling with another couple. We asked to be assigned to the same seating (Early) and be assigned to the same table. We were assigned different dining times and the table numbers were different. When my husband went to the Maitre d'; this gentleman was quite rude, and told him that we would have to go to open seating on the lower floor of the dining room. So we went there for the first seating at 6:00 pm. The doors opened and it was a free for all. People pushing to run in and grab tables where ever they could, where was the service of being seated by someone? After finding a table, it was a while before anyone come and brought over a serving bowl with assorted bread (where was the personalized service of the server who walked around with a basket and asked what you would like?). We had to flag someone down to get water. Someone did come over to take our drink order, and that arrived in a timely matter. But after that, the timing was off. So much help were running around like chickens with no heads, yet no one was being served. They brought 3 meals and the 4th meal came out minutes later after everyone else had to start eating. The food was cool, borderline cold. I had ordered tenderloin of beef and veal. I asked for the beef to be medium, it was quite red (very rare) and the veal was not cooked all the way through. My husband ordered the Orange Roughy and he said it was delicious but cold. The waiter never came over to see if everything was OK. Then they started to clear the tables before everyone was finished & I still did not eat because the meat was raw! The food that our traveling companions ate was also cold. The coffee & dessert were great! It took so long to be served that the next seating that started at 8:30pm could not come into the dining room because people were just getting served their desserts. Then they turned on all the overhead lighting to tells up that we needed to speed up the eating, but what could they do to speed up the serving? We ordered a Specialty coffee from the waiter to get from the bar. He said they did not know how to make it & wanted to know what was in it. So we told him, and off he went to the bar. Now we are being served coffee, tea and dessert. We ask the waiter where is the Keokee Coffee? He tells us that he is getting it. Well, time past and we are now getting up from the table to leave & the waiter brings the Keokee Coffee; it is ice cold, we did not accept it since it was cold and we were now leaving. The Stateroom, was a lovely room, a little more space than usual that it made it very comfortable. There was a sofa and small table in front of it, but the sofa was wedge so close to the closet door, it made it very difficult to open the door and hang clothing. The bathroom was wonderful. It had plenty of storage and added space to actually move around in it. The shower had sliding curved doors that enclosed you and prevented the water from going everywhere. We asked our cabin steward if were could get a pitcher of ice water. She told us that she did not have water; that we had to buy it at a bar. I told her that I did not want to purchase bottled water & a pitcher of water would be fine. She told us that she could not do that, but she would give us ice and we could get water from the sink in the bathroom. Again, where is this "service" we received on other Celebrity ships?? The 2nd night we never got any ice & when we called no one answered the phone in room service, so we called Guest Relations and expressed our displeasure with the service, they sent someone up with enough ice, I could have built an igloo. Was there some underlying message that they were trying to tell us?? I realized that we also never got any little chocolates on our pillows as in other cruises. The gift shops had the usual items for sale. But since we were on a cruise to nowhere, there was a 3% sales tax that was added. Who gets that tax, is it actually paid to a state, if so, what state? The Casino - it was great not having people smoke in the Casino! I don't like the electronic slot machines that don't pay back in coins. You print a receipt and then take it to the cashier. Also, how come I only got back $58 for my $60 winnings? The cashier told me that was what I got! Who got the other $2.00? It will be a few years before I would give this ship another chance. I was told all personnel were experienced and came from another ship, well, something is wrong with the service if it isn't inexperience! Also, I wish they would get new entertainment. The want you to be a steady customer; yet the entertainment is rotated among their ships and we see the same thing over and over again. What we saw this weekend, we saw last year on our Greek cruise with Celebrity. Kathy J-Lake Worth, FL Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
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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