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20 Celebrity Solstice Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Caribbean - Western from Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

My family of 6 cruises frequently to Caribbean and more recently European ports. After achieving Diamond status last year, we decided to try Celebrity again after 14 years of focusing on our (at the time) small children. We loved Royal ... Read More
My family of 6 cruises frequently to Caribbean and more recently European ports. After achieving Diamond status last year, we decided to try Celebrity again after 14 years of focusing on our (at the time) small children. We loved Royal Caribbean but were tiring of the same menu year after year; and we had enough bruises from the Flowrider for awhile :) Embarkation in Fort Lauderdale was easy, though we were not directed to the Elite line like we should have been and I jumped on it myself. This saved us a lot of time. Being Diamond members on Royal, Celebrity gives us the Elite status which is nice. After a delicious lunch in the Oceanview cafe we waited for a short while until the cabin announcement was made. We waited for the attendant to open up our balconies so we three could walk up and down (but beware, you can't lock your balcony door so your companions can come in and take your chocolate!). The connecting door is actually a foyer. The good thing is that all 4 of our cards open a common front door into a foyer, then 3 feet in are the two separate doors that are now unlocked and can be propped open. Anyone who books connecting cabins with children on Celebrity will know that even if you plan on keeping one cabin for the adults/parents and one for the children, an adult must be on the booking with a child in each cabin. This caused severe issues, I believe, for my husband's on board account, which was never properly linked to our Credit Card. After responding to multiple letters left on my stateroom door, and attempts to correct this by bringing my Credit Card to Guest Services, and phoning the number to the Purser's office; this failure on Celebrity's part to complete this transaction was very intrusive on our vacation time. The food was a welcome delicious change from the menu we had become accustomed to on the Royal Caribbean ships. Many of us appreciated the nightly steaks, filet mignon, chateaubriand, lobster, souffle, baked alaska, crepes, and other fine offerings not found on other lines lately. One night in the Tuscan Grill was an amazing treat of pasta and steaks enjoyed by all. The first sea day we booked the Champagne High Tea, a white glove service in the Murano dining room featuring dainty sandwiches and pastries, scones, and we were entertained by a trio of string players. The service was excellent and we were truly pampered. My children (ages 12&14) tell me they miss the pool deck of the Allure and the Freedom class ships. I agree, the pool deck is smaller, the pool is reminiscent of the tiny Disney boat pools, and the hot tubs are small as well. The Allure with its large cantilevered hot tubs cannot be beat. My son also couldn't find a sports bar on this ship, I did not either, as March Madness was winding to a close this sailing. They both enjoyed the teen club, Club X, and the other 115 children in their age group (Junior Teens, 12-15). The other issue is that when you have a soda package, you sometimes have to wait 5 or 10 minutes to get the actual soda, as the bars seem understaffed and busy making fancy umbrella drinks, of course. Couldn't there be an easier way to get a can of Coke from the fridge rather than wait for a bartender to make 2 daiquiris, 3 pina coladas, and chat up another customer? Seems to me a way to conserve soda. Our Dining room staff, Nebo and Sally was amazing, our sommelier Aneesh was awesome. He always had a great selection by the glass or bottle for us, and was not put out by requests from the bar either. We miss the sommelier on Royal, they have given that role to the assistant waiter and it is not the same. Aneesh would get us anything from anywhere, not just the wine cellar. The Elite club members have a nice cocktail hour 5-7 pm with passed hot canapes. Also appreciated by my mom was the espresso drinks available from 8-10 am at Michaels, and the priority tender tickets at Grand Cayman. We probably didn't need them anyway, but were good to have since we had a private boat tour booked for the day. Also 45 minutes of free internet per cabin. As others have noted, the sun loungers are in short supply on sea days. The adult only solarium was air conditioned and usually had some chaises opening up during the day. Maybe its the kids hogging the sun loungers on the pool deck then? I had 2 very nice massages in the Spa, and my husband and I used the gym 3 times to keep up our running for an upcoming half marathon. Even at 7 am, the gym is very hot along the windows with the treadmills. These are the first treadmills I have used with no personal fans built into the console. There are no staff that early to prop open doors or place a floor fan, either, so you are just very sweaty at 7 am. They had the usual selection of spinning and yoga classes, and a boot camp for additional fees. One night we stayed up for the comedy show and the night club, which was very nice. The Molecular Martini bar served creative beverages at 12 dollars a pop, allegedly nutritious, too! If you want a snack at 2 am you must use room service. No food in the buffets. Good things, food, wait staff service, elite features, connecting balconies, free in room movies, relaxing spa services Not so good, wait at the bar for soda, on board account screw up with accompanying harassment by the finance staff ruining my relaxed state of mind on the last day. And we did book another Celebrity cruise for next year whilst on board, taking advantage of a great On board booking credit deal of $400 per cabin on a 12 night Greece/Turkey cruise. Port updates; Grand Cayman, booked Captain Nick rib boat tour of Stingray City, starfish beach, lunch at Rum Point, snorkel on reef near Rum Point, and real estate tour of fancy seaside homes. Awesome and so nice to have our own boat tour! Cozumel, beach day at Naachi Cocum, super fun crowd there from the Carnival boat that entertained us, and kids drove jet skis and had a blast. Food was great as were drinks and swim up pool bar. Hot tub says adults only , but was visited by happy kids/teens too. Very crunchy beach with many shells that can pinch your feet, and some rumors of sand fleas but I didn't notice any. Costa Maya, we booked Mini Boat Blast through Shore Excursions, was a bus ride away at a private beach club, very friendly, the swim snorkeling was too vigorous for my parents, but they could have just snorkeled off the boats, the swim didn't really add much to the fish sightings. The boats are fun to drive and the water is beautiful. All you could drink from the beach bar, limited to Dos Equis beer, margaritas etc. This area is very secluded and quiet. Honduras, we booked a Viktor Bodden private tour and driver, he took us to the Bodden monkey zoo where we played with monkeys and other animals, then the West Bay beaches, which are a crowded hopping beach party all day long. The food here was good, fresh catch grilled, calamari, nachos, chicken wings, and local beer. Again, nice to have the private van for us so we could leave when ready. There was free internet, but we didn't bring our ipad. The beach has the warmest water of the trip and the softest sand, no sharp stones or shells to step on. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Celebrity Solstice Back-to-Back 1/8/12 (Western Caribbean) and 1/15/12 (Eastern) ABOUT US Married couple, 35/47, with a 2.5 year old son. Week 1 we cruised with 8 adult relatives; week 2 was just the two of us. I have to admit I was ... Read More
Celebrity Solstice Back-to-Back 1/8/12 (Western Caribbean) and 1/15/12 (Eastern) ABOUT US Married couple, 35/47, with a 2.5 year old son. Week 1 we cruised with 8 adult relatives; week 2 was just the two of us. I have to admit I was nervous about this cruise, even though I've been on so many great Celebrity cruises in the past. The ship had several recent outbreaks of noro virus, and there were a number of negative reviews posted in the weeks before our sailing. The good news is that I had nothing to worry about -- it was one of the best cruises ever, and 14 days was just right. EMBARKATION Best ever! Since the ship was in dry dock the week before our cruise, the ship was ready for boarding very early and there were no lines at all. Plus, we were able to get right to our cabins. CABIN We were in a S1 Sky Suite on the 7th deck. Previously we had sailed in a Celebrity Suite, which is considerably larger and has a separate bedroom area. So I was afraid that the SS might be a letdown. Wrong! I actually preferred the SS, because it is so much more open and airy than the CS. I loved having 2 exposures and the panoramic views from the balcony. Storage space, while lacking a walk-in closet, was more than adequate for the 3 of us. The only downside to the suite didn't become apparent until about day 10. That's when they seemed to have turned on the engine below our suite, and the vibration and humming were pretty bad. I believe that they have 4 engines, 2 aft and 2 fore, but they only need to run 1 at a time. So we were lucky the first 10 days, not so much the last 4 days. FOOD We all thought that the food in the buffet was much better and more varied than our recent RCL cruise. In fact, I thought it seemed better than our cruise on Equinox last year. The first week, we had dinner in the main dining room on 5 nights. We were given a great table, right in the middle of the main floor of the dining room. The service was as good as or better than ever. The food was mostly great, always the right temperature, and generally quite enjoyable. There was only 1 dish I regretted ordering, a pasta dish, and to be fair the waiter warned me not to get it. On one night we ate as a group in Silk Harvest, which was a lot of fun. The food is pretty average Asian fare, but we enjoyed the non-stop family style service (we just asked them to bring us a little of everything) and the cold sake was nice and intoxicating. We also ate as a group in the Tuscan Grille. For some reason I remember the food being a little better in the Grille on Equinox, but the service was terrific and everyone enjoyed their meals. I thought my steak was a little too salty, and the appetizers were not too inspiring. The second week, we didn't eat in the main dining room at all. We bought the 3 specialty restaurant package, plus we had 1 free dinner for being in a suite, we ate twice at Blu, and had one dinner on shore in San Juan. Murano was hands down our favorite; as good as anything I've had on land or sea. We also loved Blu, and would consider booking Aqua Class in the future to eat all my meals there. We had breakfast in Bistro on 5 one morning. They served crepes stuffed with eggs, cheese, etc., and we also indulged in a Nutella and banana crepe. Yum! It was a nice alternative to the hustle and bustle of the buffet. DRINKS We had the drink package on the first week, and liked it so much we got it on the 2nd week. I won't go into all the details, but I'm pretty sure we got our money's worth! We particularly enjoyed being able to pair different glasses of wine with each course at dinner, and we must have tried each brand of premium vodka that they had on the ship! We also enjoyed the coffee at Cafe Biaco. I don't usually have espresso drinks at home, but these were irresistible. SERVICE Our cabin service was just great. No complaints at all. The butler really came through for me when he was able to press my tuxedo shirt one hour after the laundry officially closed, on formal night. He delivered breakfast on time in the morning, and always asked throughout the day if we needed anything. Okay, here's one complaint: The breakfast served in the room was always cold. Always. I think it just takes too long for the food to get from the kitchen all the way up and back to our room. It was always right on time, so it's not as though it was being picked up late. Another complaint: I found the bar tenders to be a pretty unfriendly bunch of guys. We frequented the martini and pool bars, and none of them seemed to be happy to be there. In the martini bar, we noticed some conflict among the bartenders. They seemed to be more focused on their juggling and pouring skills (which were amazing) than their people skills. The pool bartenders just seemed grumpy most of the time. Could this be due to the drink packages we had? Meanwhile, most of the cocktail servers that roamed the floor were pretty friendly. But in the past we used to LOVE our bartenders, really got to know them, and thought they were the nicest people on the ship. Not anymore. On the other hand, the Guest Relations staff was the friendliest and most helpful I have ever experienced on a Celebrity cruise. I got to know them well over 14 days, and they were always cheerful and willing to help solve problems. ENTERTAINMENT Only saw part of one show, so I won't comment on the productions. However, I will say that I really enjoyed the addition of a live DJ on the pool deck and the generally more contemporary music that was played. It was much more fitting with the W Hotel style that the ship is known for than the music I remember that was played on prior cruises. PORTS We visited 4 ports the first week, and 3 the second. GRAND CAYMAN. We booked a private snorkeling and stingray city tour with Native Way water sports. The tour was a lot of fun, even though our captain wasn't terribly personable. COZUMEL. We went to one of the all-inclusive day resorts (Nochi Cocom). The food and drinks were good and the beach was nice and clean. Our group tried Mr. Soncho's on our last cruise, and the verdict was that Soncho's was better for food (all you can eat) and the drinks better ant Nochi (not watered down). ROATAN. We booked a private island tour through Bodden tours. The driver took us to the iguana and monkey zoos, and to a small seaside restaurant for lunch. The tour was okay, but next time I'd probably I'd probably just head to the beach. COSTA MAYA. This ended up being our favorite excursion. We booked a private tour to the nearby Mayan ruins with Native Way. The guide was excellent, and the tour included an authentic Mayan lunch in a small village. The food was great, and overall we found the tour to be very educational. SAN JUAN. The ship arrives in San Juan at 2:00 PM ship time, 3:00 PM SJ time, so it can get a little confusing since you stay on ship time. We did a Segway tour through Celebrity. First time on a Segway, and I would definitely do it again. At first it feels so awkward, but in a few minutes it is like something you were born doing. It's that intuitive. And really fun. ST MARTIN. We booked a mountain hike through Celebrity. Unfortunately due to rain it was cancelled, and they suggested the Tree Top Zip-line adventure at Loterie Farm. We agreed to give it a try -- big mistake! Unless you are a real dare devil with excellent balance and coordination, I would not recommend this excursion. Very little time is spent on zips; most of the time is spent maneuvering across a series of cables and slippery bridges from tree to tree. Instructions are minimal, and it really didn't feel safe at all. Many in our group loved it, but I found it pretty scary (I don't have great balance, although I'm in decent shape). Did I mention it was pouring rain, and that everything was very slippery when wet? ST THOMAS. We had booked a private sailing tour with Captain Pat, but cancelled since we had both come down with colds so we decided to take it easy. The sun came out around noon, so we made our way to Megan's Bay and had a nice afternoon at the beach. INSIDE ACCESS TOUR On the next to the last sea day, I took the Inside Access tour. It's a 3-hour behind the scenes tour of the ship, and it ends with a lovely lunch at Blu. We toured the bridge, the theater, the crew quarters, the storage facility, and (of course) the galley. I highly recommend it. They charge $150, most likely to keep the group small (just 5 of us participated). I justified the expense by not doing any spa treatments this cruise. And it was much more enjoyable than any of the spa treatments I've gotten, and they didn't try to sell me $100 worth of creams at the end. DEBARKATION #1 At the end of the first week, we were given the option of staying on the ship or spending some time in Fort Lauderdale. The information packet recommended the latter. They had no way of knowing that there would be a 1-hour wait to clear customs on that particular Sunday, but there we were stuck in the worst line I've ever been in. When we finally made it out, we jumped in a cab, did some shopping, and came back. Later we spoke with other B2B passengers who stayed on board, and they had a much better experience. Prior to leaving the ship, I went up to the buffet for a bite to eat, and it was really chaotic. By about 7:30 they started running out of plates and silverware. The orange just dispenser was empty. It's pretty obvious that they use a skeleton back-up crew in the café on debark/embark day. It's too bad, since it is the last impression many people will have. I remember they used to serve in-stateroom continental breakfast on debarkation day. That was much more civilized. DEBARKATION #2 Here's where it gets interesting. We participated in the luggage valet program, paying $20 per person to have up to 4 bags picked up from us at night and delivered directly to our airline. You don't see your bags again until you arrive in your destination airport. They also check you in, so you get your boarding pass the night before. It can't be any more convenient. I went up to the café extra early. This time there was orange juice and utensils, but they ran out of coffee! At 7 AM! Oh well, at least I was prepared for it this time. We were told to meet in Cellar Masters at 8:00 AM. At about 8:40, they announced that passengers participating in the luggage valet program could depart. So we made our way down to the gangway, excited to be on our way home to see our son. But when we dipped our sea passes into the machine, we didn't get the standard "thung!" sound. Instead, it went "ding ding ding!" like you would hear if you make it all the way to the top of the $20,000 Pyramid. We thought, did we win something? The guard asked us to step aside and told us we'd have to wait to be escorted off of the ship. He couldn't, or wouldn't, tell us why. Five minutes later another guard steps up, they whisper to each other, and the second guard says, "follow me, you need to have a discussion." Uh-oh. He leads us through the line, allowing us to cut in front of everyone. When we got to the terminal, we were led to a customs agent seated at a table. We look over to the side, and there are our bags along with a few other suit cases. What about the whole you-won't-see-your-bags-again thing? The agent asked us to pick out our bags and move them aside. He takes out some form, checks a box or something, and says, "Okay, you can go." Me: "Do you want our blue customs form?" Him: "Oh, yeah, thanks." Then we walked out of the building, having skipped all of the lines. We hopped in a cab, and I kid you not, we were at our terminal at 9:00 AM. Twenty minutes door-to-door. How's that for a great way to end a fantastic 14- day cruise? Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We have cruised more than twenty times on three different cruise lines, and this cruise was the worst one we have ever been on. We arrived at the pier via Taxi from our hotel before noon. A sign at the terminal said "return at ... Read More
We have cruised more than twenty times on three different cruise lines, and this cruise was the worst one we have ever been on. We arrived at the pier via Taxi from our hotel before noon. A sign at the terminal said "return at 2:00pm". We couldn't leave and return because we didn't have a car and we had no place to go. Apparently we need to check our email more than once a week because others said they received an email from Celebrity about the late boarding. We sat on a bench in the shade near the Holland America terminal for a while, then walked over to the Celebrity terminal and got in line. The line went nowhere fast and we ended up standing until about 3:00pm in both sunshine and rain showers. After waiting for more than 3 hours to check-in, we boarded the ship and then waited in the public areas while the rooms were "sanitized". We were told that the cabins would open at 5:00pm, but that was delayed until 6:00pm. Finally, more than 6 hours after we arrived at the pier we were in our cabin. The same could not be said for our luggage. They waived the dress code for dinner and moved both seatings back a half an hour. We waited in line to enter the main dining room because they were squirting Purell hand sanitizer on everyone that entered, causing quite a traffic jam. To say the least, it was a miserable first day. We understood the boarding delay, and assumed that once we were underway we would have the same cruise experience we have come to expect from Celebrity. We were wrong! Every day on the ship followed the same pattern. Enter the cafe for breakfast. Be assaulted by the Purell Guards, walk to the bacon and eggs station and stand in line, move to the bread station and stand in line again, move to the fruit station and stand in line again, move to the coffee station and stand in line again, circle the cafe 3 time searching for a place to sit, then eat cold bacon and eggs. They wouldn't allow the passengers to touch anything, so every part of every meal had to be handed to each passenger one at a time. Plates, utensils, food, condiments, drinks, etc. Go to the onboard shops, enter the first store, be assaulted by the Purell guard. Leave, enter the second store, be assaulted by the Purell guard, go to the third store, see the Purell guard, turn around and never return the remainder of the cruise. Enter the cafe for Lunch. Be assaulted by the Purell Guards, walk to the Salad station and stand in line, move to the hot food station and stand in line again, move to the drink station and stand in line again, circle the cafe 3 time searching for a place to sit, then eat cold food again. Go to the desert station, stand in line again. Enter the cafe for an afternoon ice cream. Be assaulted by the Purell Guards, and stand in line again. Go to the main dining room for dinner, and stand in line for the opportunity to be assaulted by the Purell guards again. Go to the theater, and you guessed it, stand in line and wait for your mega dose of Purell before you see the show. Day, after day, after day. It became apparent very early in the cruise that passenger service was not a priority. Ensuring that you had a memorable vacation was not a priority. Celebrity was only concerned with the virus and how it was effecting them as a company. Of course they said they were concerned for the health of their passengers, but they failed to remember that we had all paid for a vacation and expected a certain level of service during that vacation. We certainly didn't get the vacation we had come to expect from Celebrity. Housekeeping seemed to be overwhelmed or short staffed. We had to continually ask for towels, we had to take our own toilet paper off the carts in the hallway, and apparently no one was allowed to have an ice bucket in the room. Our mini fridge wasn't restocked once during the entire cruise. The guest entertainers were very good, but ships own singers and dancers were just a little better than the local High School talent show. One high spot, and the only reason I gave a rating of "2" instead of the "1" this cruise deserved was the food. The dinners were excellent. To top it all off, we were one of several passengers complaining at Guest relations that our onboard credits were not showing up on our accounts. Celebrity's first reply to my request for the missing onboard credits was "Do you have any proof that you were entitled to onboard credits?" I had the paperwork with me and presented the proof. The reply was "OK, the may take 48 hours to correct". Forty-eight hours later, I was told I'd have to contact my travel agent about the credit. I did. I've been home for a week and my agent is still trying to get me the credit I was due. Celebrity has fallen well short of our expectations. We are Elite members of the Captain's Club and we are looking at the other cruise lines for our next cruise. That is a shame and something that Celebrity should be concerned about. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
When booking a cruise, especially Celebrity Solstice, be sure it is not coming off a reposition cruise. The experience we had resulted from the required coast guard review in Ft. Lauderdale on 12/11/2011, the day of sailing. Further we ... Read More
When booking a cruise, especially Celebrity Solstice, be sure it is not coming off a reposition cruise. The experience we had resulted from the required coast guard review in Ft. Lauderdale on 12/11/2011, the day of sailing. Further we encountered an issue - virus outbreak on the previous cruise which resulted in a delay for boarding since they had to disinfect the ship. That was most appropriate. However, Celebrity dropped the ball big time when managing the boarding process. Elderly people stood, yes stood for 2 to 3 hours in line waiting to board and some were outside the terminal. All the announcements were "thank you for your understanding". Well what about providing seating for these people and some additional consideration. Further once aboard we were not allowed into our rooms until 6PM. Those who made it up to the buffet had no where to go - so they sat. The result was that the new arrivals who were waiting on line before had no place to sit and eat.The staff should have requested that people who have completed eating to move to other open areas to wait for the rooms to be available. Since this was not done the buffet area was like a scene in a crowded subway car during rush hour in NY. We finally got into our rooms at a little after 6PM. The next day we went to the library - NO BOOKS and there were none for the entire trip. The room was missing the normal information books about the ship and stuff. No cards in the card room and when we requested cards for several tables of bridge players, we were told "due to the situation there would be no cards". Well one of the bridge players went to customer service and requested 4 decks of cards and brought them to the 4 tables of players. Better service from a passenger then the crew members. At this point you should be getting the impression that I was no satisfied with the way Celebrity was handling the situation. The food in the dining room for diner was satisfactory; not as good as I remember on previous cruises. The Social Director was a non entity as was the rest of his staff. For those who like to have lunch in the dining room please note that when in port, the dining room is closed. The Customer Service desk crew members were very helpful and understood what customer service means. The crew members in the buffet were serving the passengers since we were not allowed to touch anything during the entire cruise because of the virus situation; therefore lines were long waiting to be served and there was no indication where the lines began. Passengers were commenting to each other that they are in the wrong place - "get in line no line cutting". Not very pleasant experience. The servers themselves in further training since they also had a negative attitude. I will not book a cruise that has just come from a repositioning cruise again and will think twice before cruising Celebrity. I have had wonderful experiences on Princess and Royal Caribbean lines. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Overall: I want to start by saying that we had a great trip. Celebrity has great service and the Solstice is a beautiful ship. There were a few problems, but I try to not let the problems ruin the vacation. It may sound like many ... Read More
Overall: I want to start by saying that we had a great trip. Celebrity has great service and the Solstice is a beautiful ship. There were a few problems, but I try to not let the problems ruin the vacation. It may sound like many problems when you read my review, but those were the only problems we experienced. A little background on me: this is my 8th cruise, 3rd with Celebrity. Other cruise line I've been on include NCL, RCL, and Princess. Décor: The Solstice is a fairly new ship, kept in good condition. I really like the décor, overall the colors are classic and elegant. NCL ships seem too bright and loud in comparison. The ship is well laid out, with 8 elevators in the center and 4 near the forward. Since there are only two locations for elevators, it can be a lot of walking depending on your room location. My family like to get some exercise after all the eating so did not mind the walking. There are many lounges to sit and relax and I never really felt very crowded no matter where I was. Room: My parents and I were booked in the Sky Suite at the Aft of the ship. The room is very large with a window and a large balcony. Since it is a corner balcony, we got both a view of the back and the side of the ship which was very nice. There were some soot visible on the deck of the balcony, but I think they wipe the chairs everyday because I never found the chairs to be dirty. My sister and her family stayed in the adjacent room which is a sunset verandah. First day on the ship, one of the staff told my sister that they are not in a suite and will not get the same amenity as us. We realize that and were ok with it, but we thought it was rather tactless for the staff to say that out loud. Since I am in the suite, we have a butler, which I found to be quite useless. The only things our butler did for us was to bring afternoon snacks and in-room breakfast if we ordered. We ordered in-room breakfast twice and both times certain things were forgotten. The first time, it was just a cup and some utensils. The second time, many items were left off, the butler told us it was because we ordered through the in-Room computer system via the TV. Anyways, we got annoyed and just went to the buffet for the rest of the week. I am not sure what else the butler is suppose to do, but for us he didn't seem to be useful or worth the extra tip. Our room attendants were very good and very friendly. Compared with NCL, I think NCL does better with the suite services and the concierge service. However, I do like Celebrity's room better. Food: We ate most of the breakfast and lunch in the Ocean View Buffet and most dinners in the Main Dining Room (Grand Epernay). Here are my comments: Breakfast Buffet: Due to a noro-virus breakout, we could not serve ourselves and had to be served by the staff. This turned out to be a disaster. Once someone else is serving, it just doesn't feel like a buffet anymore. The wait staff appeared to be tired and overworked so they were not very happy or attentive when serving. Often someone would say, "I just want a little of ..." and they would put a lot on the plate or vice versa. Long lines built up at the drink stations because there are only 2 to 3 staff per station. Breakfast food was good, but it was the same everyday, so it got boring by the end of the week. My mom really like omelets, but she thought the omelets made on the Solstice were not as good as other ships. The breads were really good, best I've had on ships. There were French toast, pancake, and waffles everyday which we enjoyed, with these really good cooked bananas. Lunch Buffet: Again, being served was a nuisance. I really enjoyed the Indian food on board, it tasted authentic to me. Lunch also lacked variety, there were nachos/tacos and the same grilled meats everyday. The salads were really good, but waiting on line to get someone to make it for you was annoying. The hamburger on board was excellent, best I've ever had on a cruise. We also had lunch one day at Bistro on the Five which was great. All the crepes we had were good and the service was excellent. Definitely worth visiting. Dinner: As mentioned before, we ate most of our meals in the MDR. We thought the food in the MDR was excellent. Again, one of the best we've had on cruises. Most food came in good temperature and was delicious. We had fixed time dining so we had the same waiters every night, which worked out really well. They got to know us and always prepared things the way we like. The waiters were really friendly and our sommelier was the most attentive I've ever experienced. He brought our unfinished bottle of wine from the night before without us asking. One night, I brought our complimentary bottle of sparkling wine down to the dining room and he immediately opened and poured it. He was really attentive and always kept our glass filled. We did have dinner one night at the Murano. I know many rave about the Murano, but for us it was rather disappointing. I had the lobster bisque to start which was delicious. Then I had an arugula salad with quail. The greens were not dressed so it was a little bland. The worse part was that I found a small hair in my salad! I told the waiter about it, he apologized in a joking manner saying how the chef was upset that he is losing his hair and offered no further consolation. (We were hoping for complimentary wine or something.) No one from the kitchen came out to apologize and neither did the Matre D come by to say anything. Being that the Murano is advertised as a top notch French restaurant, I was disappointed that they treated this matter in such an unprofessional manner. For entrée, I had the Petit Filet which I thought was a little tough, did not taste like filet mignon. My companions had the lobster which was prepared at tableside and the waiter forgot to add the butter in their lobster, but it still tasted very good. For dessert, we all had the soufflé, which were good, but could have been better. I thought it was a little undercooked. Overall, the experience at the Murano was pleasant, but I find the food to be similar to the MDR and the service to be even worse, so I felt that it's not worth the cover charge. Entertainment: I went to several shows, some were better than others. There's one that was similar to Cirque de Soleil which was pretty good. They had a jazz musician one night which I enjoyed. In addition to the main theatre, there were many musicians in the different lounges. I found most of the groups to be good and entertaining. I think I enjoy the smaller venues more than the large theatre performances. I also saw the glass show on board a couple times. They were really interesting. Something you just don't get to see often so it's definitely worth it to go to at least one show. Itinerary: This was my first time with this itinerary and I found it to be great. Grand Cayman had beautiful beaches, great snorkeling at Cozumel, and we got to see some Mayan Ruins at Costa Maya. My only complaint was that there really wasn't much you can do right at the pier besides shopping, no attractions are within walking distance, not even the beach. However, I know that is often the case, so it's not a big deal. One more comment: My sister had two young kids, and she did send the older one to the Day Camp on the ship. The staff for the kids program was great. My niece had a wonderful time there. The Solstice also has one of the best toddler play room we've ever seen. It was quite surprising to us since we didn't think Celebrity catered to kids, but after our experience, I would recommend Celebrity to families. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We had never cruised with Celebrity before so thought we would try them. Wow is all I can say. It was outstanding. We are a married couple in our mid fifty's and live in South Florida. We drove to the port which is only 40 minutes ... Read More
We had never cruised with Celebrity before so thought we would try them. Wow is all I can say. It was outstanding. We are a married couple in our mid fifty's and live in South Florida. We drove to the port which is only 40 minutes from where we live. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale around 11:00 am and after parking our car and walking about 2 blocks to the ship we dropped our luggage with the porters, tiped them and then started our check in process. We were very impressed with the way everything flowed so smoothly with the embarkation process. We checked into our "letter of last name" with absolutel no wait and then stood in line for about 10 minutes and that was only because the computers were down for the check in with your sign and sail card. Afer about 10 minutes we were on board. We got our champagne and then went immediatly to deck 14 and had a great lunch. We were on board by 11:30 am and got to check out our balcony room by 1:15 PM. We dropped our carryone luggage and then started to explore the ship. We then checked in with the restaurant staff to make sure we had a table for two with early seating and were assured that we did. We had our lifeboat drill at 3:30 PM and then were out on our balcony when we left the pier in Ft. Lauderdale for our 4:30 PM departure. We then changed for dinner as our bags arrived about 30 minutes before dinner, checked our table and had a fabuluous dinner. Our waiters were delighful and made the whole dining process wonderful. Everyone that we encountered in the dining room was very happy with their service and the food was the best we have ever had. Our first sea day was nice and we did the behind the scene tour of the galley and took some pictures. The ship is only about 2 years old and is in great shape. The only weat and tear that I could find was the balcony railings on the private balcony's in your staterooms need some new varnish but other than that it is being taken very good care of. We especially like the 1/2 acre of realy grass on the top deck. That was so cool. Our entire cruise experience was outstanding and the only complaint that I could find was that it took about 3 hrs. to disembarke in Grand Cayman because of the tendering. Other than that the coffee was a little strong but absolutely no other complaints. We enjoyed our ports in Grand Cayman, Cozumel and had great weather. In Costa Maya it rained and in Roatan it also rained. Once again a fabulous cruise with no complaints and just about everyone that we encountered ageed with us. We had lobster on our second formal night and on the first formal night we had filet mignon and all the food was great. A great selection every night. The week went way to fast and every morning we got room service and had danish and coffee on the balcony. I like the way they call you about 2 minutes before they delivery it so that we are awake we they deliver it. It was sort of a wake up service. We decided to do the self-disembarkation and it was very well organized. We were off the ship by 7:45 PM and home by 9:00 am. We would definitely recommend Celebrity and will definitely be crusing with them again. Our oversized balcony was a plus and the shower was great with glass closing doors. Perhaps in the Mediterrean. Happy Sailing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We left NE Ohio on Sunday Oct. 24th and arrived in Ft. Lauderdale around noon. A quick taxi ride to the port, an easy and efficient check-in, and we were on the spectacular Solstice by 1:15 pm. We are in our 50's and this was our ... Read More
We left NE Ohio on Sunday Oct. 24th and arrived in Ft. Lauderdale around noon. A quick taxi ride to the port, an easy and efficient check-in, and we were on the spectacular Solstice by 1:15 pm. We are in our 50's and this was our 2nd Celebrity cruise, 4th overall cruise. Our expectations were high and we weren't disappointed. The ship is gorgeous, well appointed, and easy to navigate. This was the first balcony we ever had and LOVED it! Our cabin was very spacious, as was the balcony. Our friends were in the cabin next door and without asking, the steward opened the balcony so we could share the space! There is plenty of storage space with a large closet, 4 dresser drawers, and an enclosed shelf above the bed, with lots of room! The bathroom was the largest we've ever had on a cruise ship. We were unpacked in no time... as our luggage was waiting for us when we returned from the buffet. The crowd on the Solstice was a bit older than our last few cruise on RCCL, but not so old that it was granny central! There were very few children on the ship, probably due to school being in session. Overall, it was a very nice mix of people. There's plenty to do and we found that we didn't have to time to do everything that was offered. DO NOT MISS the Glass show on the top deck. Spencer, from NY, is a very, very talented artisan. The glass pieces that were blown onboard were stunning. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to settle in... uncrowded and relaxing. The library is one, as was the bar on the top deck, aft... The grass is very nice... and to walk barefoot through the grass in the middle of the ocean is an unforgettable experience. We had the first dinner seating and everything ran like clockwork. The staff is well trained & attentive. Our meals were delicious, with plenty of choices to entice and satisfy everyone's appetite. Head chef, Panos is a master in the kitchen and on the stage. On a sea day we attended the tour of the main kitchen and that was a splendid treat for anyone interested in cooking & eating! DO NOT MISS the rack of lamb on the first formal night. It was the best we've ever eaten. The Tuscan Grill offered us a very special, evening. Just don't ask for a side of anything because they will bring you full portions, making it almost impossible to move after dinner! Grand Cayman had plenty of excursions and we chose the Jeep adventure. Once it got started we enjoyed driving through the mangroves and along the coast. Please note that they no longer offer the stick shift option for a vehicle. Our favorite port was Costa Maya, closely followed by Roatan. We booked a Beach Break through costamaycruiseexcursions.com and had the most relaxing day we've ever experienced on a cruise. If you have the chance, go to Nohoch Kay Beach Club. Jaime is the owner and a wonderful host... they treated us like royalty . There were a number of crew members there for the day, relaxing. In Roatan we booked a private tour through roatancruiseexcursions.com and had a great time. If you can, ask for Syvonnie. She is a great tour guide and makes the tour very personalized. The views from the top of the island was spectacular. We were able to see both sides of the island from that point. Each time we returned to the ship we were greeted with glassed of ice water and cold, iced towels straight out of the cooler. That might not sound like much, but after a hot, humid excursion, they were most welcome and cooled us off quickly! It's little touches like this that makes a Celebrity passenger feel pampered and special. The entertainment was enjoyable. The performance by the cast of a cirque-like performance was the most unique show we've seen onboard. They are very talented. The Captain was very entertaining while delivering his 'reports' and we appreciated that they didn't pipe the announcements into the rooms as we docked. The final sea day, the Captain and officers met in the pool for a grudge volleyball match... alot of fun to watch. We rate this cruise at the best because the ship was great in every area. Our cabin was clean & spacious. The staff was attentive and friendly. The food was unbelievably good... The pool and hot tubs were great. We LOVED this ship, this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We are a couple in our 70's who love to travel. I am retired navy and my wife is a retired homemaker. I have been on 5 previous cruises, 1 sailing cruise on the schooner Mary Day out of Camden, Maine, 2 on Norwegian (Wind & Pearl) ... Read More
We are a couple in our 70's who love to travel. I am retired navy and my wife is a retired homemaker. I have been on 5 previous cruises, 1 sailing cruise on the schooner Mary Day out of Camden, Maine, 2 on Norwegian (Wind & Pearl) and 1 each on Royal Caribbean (Jewel of the Seas) and Grand Princess. Celebrity Solstice was by far the most beautiful ship I had sailed on. We traveled on Southwest Airlines from Dallas Love Field to Fort Lauderdale the day prior to the sailing date. We stayed in the Crown Royal hotel near the cruise terminal. On the day of the cruise we traveled from the Lauderdale International airport to the cruise pier via taxi and upon arrival at the pier were met by a porter to take care of the luggage and he complemented us on having our luggage tags on our bags which saved he and us time. Once in the terminal building we were whisk through check in about 15 minutes and were onboard in record time. Easiest check in ever for a cruise ship. We were issued our room cards and included was a map of the ship which helped in locating all the necessary places for initial boarding. Our stateroom was a balcony on deck 6 port side. Some of the staterooms on that deck had a limited view due to the tenders and lifeboats being outboard. Ours however was situated between two tender davits and the view was unobstructed. The bed was comfortable and there was ample storage room for all clothes and luggage. Life vests were stored under the bed but there was still room for our suitcases. The bathroom was spacious compared to others that we had experienced. The shower was especially nice and large by cruise ship standards. We read that the staterooms and bathrooms were all designed by 5 women who were experienced travelers and knew what was expected of passengers. Ships schematics were available at each elevator station and other places throughout the ship. There was no excuse for getting lost. As is usual with any ship the orientation of fore and aft took some getting used to but once mastered was easy to navigate. All public spaces were beautifully decorated and ample seating was always available throughout the ship. We chose early dining which was a 6:30 and initially we had a table for two but then a couple next to us decided to see if it was possible to join a group table. We were informed the next day that our table number had been changed and we joined a table of 6 couples which make the dining experience much more enjoyable. Service was impeccable and we were granted whatever we ask of the waiter. We participated in several onboard activities including Bocce on the lawn on deck 15. That was also the level on which the Corning Glass works of NY were being demonstrated by three very talented glass blowers. The process of watching a blob of molten glass become a beautiful Venetian vase, or a bowl, or even a fish was fascinating to watch. Each of the ships in the Solstice class has this exhibition onboard. OF course there were the usual onboard activities of trivia, bingo, a card room, library and casino. Staff and services were exceptional. We made use of the Guest Relations on the last day as sea due to a foul up on my part with the airline that we were to take to return to Dallas. The staff person on the deck allowed us to use the ship-to-shore phone and remedy our situation to the satisfaction of all concerned. Our room steward was exceptional in that he outdid himself to make us feel right at home. Entertainment was available throughout the ship during the day and of course in the evening. The staging of the shows was exceptional in that the aerial acts were outstanding and breathtaking in some respects. There were not as many off ship entertainers aboard the Solstice as had been on other ships. However the onboard stars were very good. Staging was exceptional and colorful. Of course many shore excursions were offered. We partook of two. One in Costa Maya where I took the one to the Mayan ruins of Chacchoben which entailed an hour bus ride to the ruins through swamps, jungle, and flatland to arrive at the destination. Our guide for this particular excursion was very knowledgeable giving us a detailed history of the Mayan people and the area. Then in Roatan we took the Jolly Roger Catamaran excursion for those snorkelers who were both beginner and advanced. Lunch was served onboard the cat and of course we got rained on which was no big deal. Included in this excursion was a trip to Gambalimba Park where we learned about pirates and crossed a swinging bridge and arrived at the Macaw exhibit and was told to watch our glasses and the button on top of ball caps as the Macaws liked to take those. Sure enough some buttons were lost. Next was on to the monkey exhibit where the monkeys had the run of the place. The little spider monkeys were the hit of the day. They were all over the place and people enjoyed holding and petting them. Of course all good things must come to an end and we sailed for Fort Lauderdale and upon arrival the disembarkation ordeal was a snap. I have never experiences such a smooth disembarkation with so many passengers. Overall the Celebrity Solstice was a very enjoyable experience and one that will be repeated I sure. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This was our fourth cruise but first on Celebrity. We had heard so many good things about the food and the ship. The ship is beautiful. Good things: Food quality and presentation in Oceanview cafe is very good; I liked having water, ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise but first on Celebrity. We had heard so many good things about the food and the ship. The ship is beautiful. Good things: Food quality and presentation in Oceanview cafe is very good; I liked having water, lemonade, ice tea, fruit punch and orange juice being available throughout the day. Being greeted with ice cold towels and cold drinks when returning to the ship was most welcome. So So.. The entertainment was ho hum..fairly predictable tributes to Broadway and Motown. The "cirque du soleil" shows were too mechanical...watching the performers attaching themselves to their harnesses lacked any element of surprise. Clearly at least one performer was scared of heights and "froze". Lindsay Hamilton had a beautiful voice as did the Cruise Director which he showed during a duet with her. The headlining comedian, James Stevenson III, was a bold choice given the predominantly white middle class audience. Why 7pm and 9pm shows? We prefer to have dinner at 8:30 and then go to the a 10:30 show.. The "club" comedian, Jimmy Dunne, did the same show for 3 nights. Poor Generally, the food was of a lesser quality than I would have expected. Service was sloppy and inattentive. On a number of occasions I had to pour my own wine, waiters never offered fresh ground pepper or offered Parmesan cheese with pasta dishes. Needs alot of work in order to be described as fine dining. Tendering in Cayman took way too long; it took over 90 minutes from being issued a tender number to reaching the island. Unacceptable. On embarkation, my son cut his foot on shards of glass on the balcony, When we informed the stateroom steward she said she was aware of it but hadn't have a chance to attend to it. We'd have waited the 10 minutes it took to clean-up the glass rather than start the holiday with a bleeding foot. Guest Services were sympathetic , they offered assistance setting up a doctors appointment but were swamped with complaints about cell phones plans (I know you need a maritime plan...) All in all, being on a cruise ship beats being at work but as my fourth cruise the Solstice is outside my top 3. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
This was our third cruise and the second with our boys. Previously one Celebrity/Infinity to Alaska '06, one RCL/Freedom of the Seas to Eastern Caribbean '10. Being active teens (12, 15, 17), we'd wanted something that ... Read More
This was our third cruise and the second with our boys. Previously one Celebrity/Infinity to Alaska '06, one RCL/Freedom of the Seas to Eastern Caribbean '10. Being active teens (12, 15, 17), we'd wanted something that they could enjoy but knew that the OTHER kids on the ship had as much or more to do with the end results. While they ended up happy with the trip, the FOS with the climbing wall/wave rider was probably a better choice for them. I suspect that on average it draws a more active teen to pair up with. The teen center also seemed a bit lack-luster and the boys didn't hang there nearly as much as on the FOS's equivalent. However, the trip was very nice. The ship is very tasteful (though the "Art Deco" main dining room is not to my taste - not as GRAND as the other ships we've been on). The public areas also seemed a bit disjointed having just done the FOS only 5 months earlier. Only serious complaint about the ship design is that the pools seemed VERY small for the ship's size. Clearly a lot of room was given up for the sake of the lawn area which was WAY LESS utilized. That meant the pools were PACKED with people except on port days. And I do mean PACKED at times. The "Aqua Spa" pool was open only to adults and in a shaded atrium (which held some of the air conditioned cooler air - a nice break from the complete outdoors of the main pools). So for US, the adult pool was quiet and relaxed. For party people or kids, the other pools were too small and not nearly as "fun" as the FOS pools. But the ship was clean, well maintained and functioned nicely. The cabins were very nice (Concierge deck 10 with balconies). Bathrooms a bit nicer layout than FOS (can't recall the Infinity well enough to compare) and the shower seemed a little bigger. The room was COMPLETELY acceptable and would work for entertaining up to two other adults if you wanted something private. Very few "out of the way" nooks and crannies. Most public area seating was pretty much in main walk-ways and you had to go inside the bars to have a public area (no issue with it, just not as much quiet solitude stuff if you wanted some privacy with your group). Most of the active stuff is towards the BACK of the ship - other than the spa and gym - so I'd recommend a spot back there and not up front. The staff was cordial and attentive. Celebrity has an automatic gratuity deduction for each passenger (our case - $12/day /person) which definitely adds up your bill, but then you should be doing something about like that anyway. I'd been a little concerned that it would make the staff less attentive since their gratuity was a fixed / guaranteed amount - especially the wait staff in the main dinning and the stateroom attendant. However, I'm pleased to say, the staff was still just as nice. Actually, I'd thought the waiters in the past were a bit overly syrupy/nice - working too hard for that big tip. This time they were just "cordial and attentive" and really up to our expectations. No complaints there. Dinning in the main dinning room was fine, but the tables and chairs are really packed in there. At the larger tables (we were at a 10 seater), the chairs are right up against each other. Pretty nice if that's the WORST thing to say for the main dinning, eh? Food varied between good and VERY good, not a lot of "excellent" and as mentioned by others, the lobster wasn't all that great. Other standouts were the cold soups (watermelon, pumpkin) and the pollenta. Very nice sauces most of the time and the meat cuts were almost always very good. The dessert consistency was a little mixed, but most were pretty good. We dinned at Murano's one night. A disappointment compared to the specialty on Infinity. The goat cheese souffle was incredible, but the rest was "only" very good. Biggest complaint was there were so MANY wait staff, you had the impression that people were constantly running around the room. Or maybe the tables were closer together here? The other patrons were also quite a bit more, um, animated than I'd expect at a formal dinning venue, but that's not a reflection on Murano's. We did the pre-selected menu with the wine pairing. They were happy to sub out one or two of the food choices and tried to match the wine for the sub well, but it was an extra $108 for the wine pairing - a little stiff if you're not really into wines (better to just get a bottle or two of something you KNOW you like perhaps?). We like different wines, so the variety was nice and they served a full glass with each course, so you didn't really feel cheated on it. Oceanside Cafe for regular meals was completely acceptable and a notch above RCL/FOS to us. While it was usually pretty crowded, we always managed to find a table. Great variety and they were always very quick to refill anything that ran low - even near the end of the meal session. We also used the Lido Deck Grill for burgers when we returned to the ship having missed lunch - we thought they were fine (though the hot dogs were not very good). Martini Bar was really good and the "flight" at $15 for a sample of 6 different martini's was great. DEFINITELY worth doing even if you're not a martini fan. We're not "show fans" but the Curque De Soleil style show was VERY good (though the hulu hoop thing at the beginning almost had us walk out thinking "that's all there is?" - wait as it gets better). However, it does fill up very fast, so arrive early. And we saw a lot of people saving seats (a no-no that sadly wasn't enforced). Glass shows were very interesting. But the ones later in the cruise were FAR less crowded, so don't feel like you have to go on the first day - it was PACKED then. We did the soda package for the boys (worth it just to save the hassle of paying for the drinks) and the alcohol package for us (not worth it unless you can handle a LOT of drinking (and we thought WE could handle it, nope - just too much at 5 per day for SEVEN STRAIGHT DAYS)). Be warned that any rooms at the back of the ship have very little privacy on their balconies - the higher the deck, the worse it is. The top deck of suites (11?) has about half the balcony in FULL VIEW of the people in the cafe above. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
A neighbor recommended the Solstice after cruising in May 2010. I will list the pros and cons as I experienced them in hope that this will help others. Pros's; -Best dinner we have had on a cruise to date-very good menu, very good ... Read More
A neighbor recommended the Solstice after cruising in May 2010. I will list the pros and cons as I experienced them in hope that this will help others. Pros's; -Best dinner we have had on a cruise to date-very good menu, very good service -Welcome champagne was a nice touch -Modern decor which many will like -Many bars,a "living room, old fashioned" feel to some, others very light and airy (sky lounge) -Decent shows (the last one was not very good) and the "Broadway" one was just fair -comfortable bedding -Beautiful spacious bathroom Cons: -Constant noise all night. You could hear your neighbors talking , walking, flushing, opening the closet, and other noises. I asked others during the cruise if they experienced noise and they all said that their rooms were noisy. Every morning at about 6 Am there was a hammering heard. Either that or the upstairs neighbor was knocking on the door. This was enough to convince me never to cruise with this ship again. My kids heard the noises as well. The concierge gave us another room next to us for my son, but he was able to hear the upstairs neighbor as well from there. They did go upstairs to speak with the neighbor, but the noise continued nightly. I am surprised a ship such as this caliber would have such sound issues. -Atrium--I did not like this concept at all. There would be a band on the lower floor at the base of the stairs playing and for 3-4 floors above people would be leaning on the handrails looking down. This was in 2 areas. It made a lot of traffic in these areas. -Bar layouts- Rather than have separate rooms like other ships (Royal Caribbean for example), the bars were in walkways tucked in in many strange areas that were also near the railings by the atrium. It just seemed congested and lacked intimacy to have these bars so much a part of the general flow of traffic. The only room that was quiet and secluded was the sky lounge and they used this room for private parties and kids functions during the day...so just when you think you are relaxing there reading a book at the top of the ship, the kids are there with a talent contest. My guess is that they really have no other rooms...but why ruin the only place you can have solitude and look out at the ship on the water?? -Problem with lounge chairs- The average ages is older than most ships we have been on, and the only area that was shaded and inside (the inside pool area)had towels on the lounges all day with only 30% of people using them. That meant that others were saving lounges they would never use. They ought to enforce the "no saving" policy. That room was very humid anyway, so there really was no place inside that you can lounge and be in the shade in air conditioning. -Costa Maya and Honduras- Very disappointing ports. The first is new with no shopping to speak of, and a small beach with water that was very dirty-Honduras-you have to pay 60-80.00 just to get to the beach and then the jet skis were went there to rent were all broken down. Music- no island music, very contemporary or 70's -80's. You can tell they are going after a certain market. I like calypso or island music when I cruise. If you were not outside this would feel like a metropolitan hotel, not a cruise ship. Without going into any more details, this cruise was very disappointing. There was nothing for my teens to do. The drinks were about 8.00 each. They are going for a certain clientele of which I do not fit into. Royal Caribbean's Coco Bay Island was better than any of the ports we visited because it signifies why I want to cruise. To relax, have a great meal at the beach and enjoy the day. the relaxed atmosphere of RC did not compare to the "stiff" feeling of the Solstice..even the waiters are overdressed in suits and ties. No Hawaiian shirts there! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We really enjoyed this cruise. The ship was great. Service was just outstanding & we have never felt more welcomed by the crew on any of our 30 cruises. Embarkation was never easier. They use the new cruise terminal that is used for ... Read More
We really enjoyed this cruise. The ship was great. Service was just outstanding & we have never felt more welcomed by the crew on any of our 30 cruises. Embarkation was never easier. They use the new cruise terminal that is used for RCCL's Oasis of the Seas which makes for a fast processing & an abundance of space. Best terminal we have ever used. The ship was just outstanding. Only disappointment was the small outdoor pools which are over crowded on sea days. The Corning glass show was better than I thought it would be which shouldn't be missed. They even give away the glass that they make in raffles at the show. The grass area was interesting but we thought this space could have been better used, The ship was spotless with public rooms very comfortable. The martini bar was always crowded at night with the bartenders putting on a great show of drink making. Food was very good. We thought the Oceanview Cafe was better than other ships. Not outstanding but very good. We especially like the outdoor area at the Oceanview Bar where we ate almost every meal during the day. Dining was also very good. We used anytime dining which we enjoy as 6 pm is to early & 8:30 is to late for us. Service was outstanding. Room was very nice. Comfortable beds & well designed bathrooms. The veranda had the most comfortable chairs we have had as they aren't the typical plastic chairs, rather nylon mesh sitting surfaces which also recline. The 42" flat screen was nice if you find time to use it. We were mid ship at the elevators which was great as the elevator area opens up to the atrium. No noise issues. Ports were good. At Costa Maya we rented a golf cart, wife has mobility issues, so we drove around the very small town & checked out the beaches. Unfortunately Costa Maya hasn't developed as the Mexican government had hoped so be prepared for a rather impoverished condition in the town. The cruise port is well run with attractive grounds & a variety of shops & bars, Roatan is about as rural Caribbean as you can get today. The new port terminal is very good & has improved since we were there in Feb., better organized. We didn't take any tours on this trip but those that we talked enjoyed their stay here. Disembarkation was as good as embarkation. Fast, no lines & off the ship at 7:45 am. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we checked if they had any openings for the eastbound trip. No space so we promised ourselves that it wouldn't be long before we booked again very soon with Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
My family has been enjoying cruise vacation for the last few years. This is the 1st time we cruise with Celebrity. We went on the Celebrity Solstice out of Ft. Lauderdale this time, the ports of call was Grand Cayman, Cozumel Mexico, Costa ... Read More
My family has been enjoying cruise vacation for the last few years. This is the 1st time we cruise with Celebrity. We went on the Celebrity Solstice out of Ft. Lauderdale this time, the ports of call was Grand Cayman, Cozumel Mexico, Costa Maya Mexico, Roatan Honduras. The ship is less than two years old and it was excellent. All public facilities were extremely clean, the staterooms were clean, the shows were very good it consist of comedians, dancers, singers etc. The food menu had a wide variety, buffet and gourmet (formal & smart casual dining). The ship's service was superior, staff was very attentive, they had a lot added services that the other cruise ships we experience didn't have. For example bathrobes, ice cold towels and fruit punch served while waiting to board the ship after an excursion out on port. We would definitely sail with Celebrity again. We sailed last week on an off season week which had it's good and bad. The cruise price was reasonable, my children join their kids club and made many new friends, the excursions that we book on land not with the cruise ship was extremely cheap, you can bargain with the local people. For example: I got an one hour beach/water front massage for only $20 USD. We rented a wave runner for two people at $35 USD for half an hour, my daughter went scuba diving for $90 for 2+ hours. Cabin was very clean. No the biggest cabin we experienced but comfortable. The lay out of the room and bathroom was nice. Sufficient storage space for 2 adults and 2 children. The large LCD TV is a big plus comparing to the small tube TVs we had with other ships. Balcony was nice size with two nice lounge chairs and small table. The location of our cabin has pros and cons. 1st the pros; The cabin is in the very front of the ship on deck 6, one floor above the main theater. That provided use easy access by walking one flight down to the main show each night. No need to wait for elevators. BTW, we don't hear the theater at all. Our kids use the Kids & Teen club facility and that is also in the very front of the ship. Easy access by taking the elevator straight up to deck 15. Now the con; since we are on deck 6 and very front of the ship, you will hear very loud noise when the ship anchoring at port each morning. It will not be an issue if you are a early raiser and up before the ship docks. Otherwise it will work like a ware up call every morning. The only compliant we have is that the passengers on the ship were mostly senior citizens. Which wasn't so bad because it made us slow down physically and mentally. Sometimes we try pack in so many things in our itinerary and we come back extremely tired. Celebrity cruises is known to attract more of the matured crowd that likes to get dressed up for dinner. We had two formal nights, tuxedos and all. We missed Earl, we traveled the western Caribbean, Earl hit Eastern Caribbean. In fact, other cruise ships that were scheduled to travel to the eastern ports were reroute to the western ports. I highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
This was my 25th cruise, and second on Solstice. I am a 50-year-old woman, and I traveled with my husband (24th cruise), 2 daughters (age 12, 20th cruise & age 16, 22nd cruise) and my mom (35th cruise). We were on the Solstice in ... Read More
This was my 25th cruise, and second on Solstice. I am a 50-year-old woman, and I traveled with my husband (24th cruise), 2 daughters (age 12, 20th cruise & age 16, 22nd cruise) and my mom (35th cruise). We were on the Solstice in March/April for the Easter break. We have traveled on Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian, RCCL and Holland America, and we enjoy Holland America and Celebrity the best. We are from Long Island, NY and we flew to Ft. Lauderdale on Southwest Airlines from Islip MacArthur Airport. It's a great airport and I recommend anyone from NYC and Long Island to use it because it's a breeze to get on a plane there. At the Fort Lauderdale Airport, it was easy to hail a cab (a minivan for 5) and we were at the pier in 5 minutes. I love the way you can see the ships at the pier from the airport window -- for those of you who don't know, it's that close! Check-in was easy -- although the older woman who checked us in didn't seem to know what she was doing. We had some problems related to her paperwork that we discovered later on, but it was nothing a trip to the front desk could not resolve. I think we appreciated the beauty of this ship even more this time. It is a beautiful ship, the most beautiful we've been on. The veranda stateroom we had was a good size and we felt there was enough space. For those of you who are expecting towel animals, there are none because of the line's "Save the Waves" program. What is interesting, however, are the fancy chocolates you get at night on the pillow -- not your ordinary mints, these are ginger & passion flower or chamomile & raspberry, for example. Good stuff! The beds are really comfortable, too. Here is a tip I discovered if you need to know where you going on the ship. Whenever you get off the elevator you will see a glass sculpture of a ship with descriptions of the venues on each floor. Well, the sculpture is actually oriented in the direction the ship is pointing, so if you want to go forward, you go in the direction of the sculpture's bow. Dining on this ship was fantastic. We ate in the Grand Epernay main dining room every night and our waitstaff, Ivan from Croatia and Santana from Goa, India, were so good we tipped them extra at the end of the cruise. Santana knew we enjoyed the bread sticks (the bread variety is really good!) and he was always at the ready with extra bread sticks. The ship now has a new menu, and it is even better than the menu we had in April. Meals are all beautifully presented and delicious. The desserts are very, very good too. No free capuccino or espresso on Celebrity anymore, though. We didn't have dinner at any of the alternative restaurants you have to pay for because the food was that excellent in the main dining room. The breakfast buffet in the Oceanview Cafe on Deck 14 is HUGE! From herring and smoked salmon to flavored cream cheeses, 5 types of eggs benedict to baked bananas in honey, Asian breakfast to English breakfast, it's all there and it is amazing. Lunch, too -- what an assortment! The only thing I would complain about is that it is really hard to reach the back row of the salad bar unless you have really long arms. Here's another tip for you if you'd like to avoid the breakfast or lunch crowds. Eat at the Aqua Spa Cafe on Deck 12. How do I even describe this food? Interesting, exotic, flavorful -- and healthy. There are about 10 types of organic rolls and muffins with flavors like orange & ginger, tomato basil and carrot, along with tasty fruit spreads. You can get a delicious spinach mushroom egg white omelet for breakfast or cold salmon for lunch with exotic sorbets like rhubarb or celery or pepper. In the background you have relaxing new-agey music. I love eating there and I would urge you to try it. The gelateria on Deck 5 is a great place to get a tasty cone or cup, and yes, it is worth the $3. And please say hello to Francisco who serves you. He is so sweet and loves to talk to people. Also, I recommend that you go to the Bistro on 5 during your cruise for crepes. They are really, really good You can get bruschetta, soup, dessert and as many crepes as you want for your $5. Service was wonderful all throughout the ship. I've read posts saying that some crew members don't smile. They do, when you engage them in conversation, and especially if you speak their language. We especially appreciated the icy towels and cold drinks available when we returned to the ship at every port. The activities on the ship were not one of its strongest points. The man who spoke about the history of the Maya was a bit boring, and most of the jewelry or health-related talks all are connected with them selling you something. They have a really beautiful gym with a lot of equipment. My girls went to the X Club (kids' club) at times and had fun. They give out free kids' T-shirts the last night -- even if your kids never go -- there's another tip for you. We enjoyed the entertainment even more this time. The a capella group was entertaining. The three production shows were great and showed how hard the singers, dancers and band really work. We really paid close attention to the Cirque de Soleil show this time -- how do they hang from their neck or their heel, or balance on blocks on a moving ship??? We especially enjoyed the 2 specialty acts, comedian James Stephens III, who is a brilliant, super-talented and generous entertainer; and Lindsay Hamilton, from London's West End, who sang beautifully while acknowledging that she was also a busy "mum." The Cruise Director, Paul Baya, was very accessible and entertaining. In fact, the cast was also accessible -- the ship makes it a point for an entertainer to stand at the door and say good night as you exit the theater. The ship's party band was brimming with energy and were really excellent. The only criticism I have about the entertainment is the lack of a rollicking piano bar on board. There is a lounge (Michael's Club) where an older gent plays the piano but this is quiet background music. There's not a lot to do after 11 pm. Celebrity, are you listening? Piano bar! The ports were great but HOT!!! In Grand Cayman we headed to 7-mile beach. There were 2 Carnival ships in that day so it was crowded, but we spent every minute in the water. In Cozumel, we were too sunburnt to go back to the beach, so we shopped right at the port. Just to let you know, you have to bargain. And if you have teens on your gift list, the pocketbooks made from recycled wrappers are fun and a bargain ($12 for a shoulder bag). In Costa Maya, my husband, older daughter and I took a shore excursion to the Chacchoben Mayan ruins. We really enjoyed it, and our guide, Diana was excellent. If you do go, there's climbing involved, it's hot and bring bug spray. Also, we bargained for souvenirs at the pier, and you have to get used to everyone beckoning you to enter their stall. Finally, in Roatan, we took a taxi to West Bay beach. We got a nice spot in front of the Thirsty Turtle restaurant and Bananarama dive center. My daughters and I went on a really cool 20-minute banana boat ride for $15 each, and the homemade chips and salsa and hot fried plantains from the restaurant were great. In Roatan, too, the vendors came up to us on the beach and we did buy from them, even though we weren't supposed to. After the beach, our driver (who came back for us) took us to a wonderful gift shop in the Plaza Mar shopping center that had a lot of nice souvenirs. Ask to be driven there because it is not where the tourists usually go. Disembarkation was very easy -- no waiting, they call you, and you leave... with sadness. This was a terrific cruise on a beautiful ship. I hope this review helps you, whether you've already booked the Solstice or are thinking about going. You will have a great time! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Have not been on a Celebrity cruise in a while as my husband and I pick the cruise based more on itinerary (finding it hard to get to new ports after so many Caribbean cruises!). After many years away, we both remembered quickly why it was ... Read More
Have not been on a Celebrity cruise in a while as my husband and I pick the cruise based more on itinerary (finding it hard to get to new ports after so many Caribbean cruises!). After many years away, we both remembered quickly why it was our favorite line. Even my kids, boys 15 and 11, were impressed from the second we got on board. The decor, service, and food were definitely an upgrade from their previous Princess cruises. My older son never wanted to miss a night in the dining room as their food was so good. On previous cruises, he was happy to hit the buffet, though we can't comment on the buffet at night as we never ate there. For breakfast and lunch it was fantastic.It would be hard for anyone not to find something to eat. The poolside restaurants also had good lunch options. We ate at 2 of the upcharge restaurants and they were quite good, but the food is great in the dining room. We did anytime dining and had very little wait for a table if any. The bars, especially the wine and ice bars, were a cut above the rest. Something we had never seen before was a beverage card that included liquor and wine. We bought one, and even though my husband could only get one drink at a time, 5 minutes later he could get a second one for me. Saved us a lot of money even at $50 a day! It also included bottled water which we got every day as we left the ship. Although we were cruising the Caribbean, I am a shade person. I had no issue at all finding chairs in the shade by the pool. Small pools as usual. Not too many activities which I liked but my kids wanted more. Great music every day. Also spent many days watching the glass blowing on the top deck. Hugely talented artists! Must go see them at least once. At the end of the week they raffle off all their work. While the kids club was nicely set up, my kids did not rush there as they have in past cruises. Other than that there was not much for them to do on board. They still had fun, but not as much as we did. Excursions worked out pretty well though the vendors in Grand Cayman need nicer buses and boats. We like to snorkel as much as we can and did in almost every port. Rented a car in Cozumel to explore ourselves. Costa Maya is a very small port with little to do, but the snorkeling was great. More is being built there. Roatan was great- MUST go see the monkeys. They let you hold the babies which are adorable. Great photo op. Forgot to mention the evening entertainment. We don't usually go to the shows, but did several nights on this ship. They were fantastic! Nice mix of entertainment. Overall, Mom and Dad LOVED it. Kids would want to try Royal Caribbean instead, which we would probably do. Next cruise is NCL in Hawaii and we are a bit concerned.......after Celebrity we are spoiled! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We just got back from our 7th cruise—all have been on Royal Caribbean(5) and Celebrity (2). We love taking cruises as it is the best way for all of us to relax 110%. We counted down from 120 days as we were so excited. Thirteen of us ... Read More
We just got back from our 7th cruise—all have been on Royal Caribbean(5) and Celebrity (2). We love taking cruises as it is the best way for all of us to relax 110%. We counted down from 120 days as we were so excited. Thirteen of us from our family went. Overall, we had a good time— how can you not have a good time on a cruise ship? But, overall we were disappointed. Why? Mostly due to the low quality of service—something was just missing. We have become used to staff that bend over backwards to help and always have a smile or at least are polite. They may at times appear tired (they have tough jobs with no breaks!), but they are always positive and professional. Unfortunately, not on this cruise. We have never been snapped at so many times on a cruise by staff—at the pool, at the bar, ordering room service, delivering room service. As I have done on previous cruises, I tried to strike up multiple conversations with staff (i.e. what a pretty day) and several of them barely made eye contact, grumbled, and walked away. I have never seen anything like it. It was clear they were unhappy. We witnessed on more than one occasion pool butlers being chewed out in public by "bosses" watching over them. They looked beat down. It was tough to watch. The overall morale was very low. I could go on and on but I am guessing you get the picture. The final (rude) straw was during disembarkation we realized my husband had packed away his "sea pass" as well as our kids. I had mine. I walked up to the activity director who always came across as positive—initially she was positive when I walked up to her. However, when I told her what had happened, she turned sour and said "apologize to all the people behind you and get in line and deal with it" (at this point there was no one behind us). It really didn't take more than a few minutes to fix it and disembark—plus, there were 2 separate lines so others just exited through the other line. My husband and I stood there for a bit after getting off the ship asking "Did we hear what we think we just heard?" The other major disappointment was how un-kid friendly the ship was...they should just state "This cruise ship is not for kids". It was ridiculous. The kids program was poor (they even lost a 3 year old for a while). They have 3 pools on the ship but the inside one is adult only. That is fine but they also made one of the outside pools "Adult only". This leaves one 3 foot wading pool that is about 15 x 15 ft for >700 kids! What are kids supposed to do during the day? They don't shop, gamble, drink, sunbathe, play bingo...they swim! Why not make the "adult pool" outside a pool for kids above 10 during the summer months when more kids are on the ship? If adults want to be alone in the pool, they can go inside to the very nice pool area where kids are not allowed. The staff were often rude to the kids who were extremely well behaved. The one exception was our restaurant waiter who was great with the kids and served them first, etc. He was fantastic and it was a welcome change. As far as overall day to day service, our dining room waiter and room attendants were all excellent. We did miss the animals made out of towels and extra touches we got used to on Royal Caribbean, but our room was kept neat and the attendants were very polite. The food overall was just OK—we liked the Oceanview Cafe better than the restaurant (although the menu rarely changed), in general (that's a first). I love sorbets on ships with all the tropical fruit flavors—however, their sorbet was not good. It was clearly watered down. I did buy the gelato for $3 and it was delicious-tasted like the normal sorbet I remember, so they do know how to make sorbet. Clearly, they want you to pay for the good stuff. As for the stops—we enjoyed 2/4—Cozumel and Roatan were both wonderful. I will state up front we love the beaches and snorkeling (and do some shopping for local items). Costa Maya was a joke unless you wanted to see the ruins which were supposedly very nice. I don't think the ship should stop there-the place is still a mess from Hurricane Dean. Grand Cayman has unfortunately not recovered as far as the reefs from the major hurricane which hit is some years back. The ship was beautiful. We enjoyed the Cirque de Soleil like show a ton. Also, there was some very good entertainers at night. However, overall there was far less activity. No midnight buffets which appear to have been eliminated. No fruit or ice carvings as we have always had before. The little special touches were just plain missing. There were times the ship was almost completely shut down as far as entertainment during the late afternoon. No pool activities (they were too crowded even if you wanted them). They hid the "steel band" on another deck and had a terrible band play by the pool (but not playing reggae or any other music you associate with Caribbean music). What is a cruise in the Caribbean without a (full) steel band by the pool playing in the afternoons?? Their version of a "steel band" was one guy with a drum! There was a guitarist that was quite good and played in various locations on the ship. The best part of the entire ship were the glass blowing shows--they were a real treat. Dane, Chris, and Matt were superb both as glass blowers and narrators. Overall, we like the entertainment on Royal Caribbean much more—more relaxed and humorous and less stuffy. The staff are much nicer. Celebrity clearly caters to older cruisers, and doesn't hide once you get on the ship (which is too late!) that they are not a "kid-friendly ship". I'm not sure if we will ever sail on Celebrity again—if we do, it will be after our kids are over 18. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Intro- My wife's entire family and I just returned from a week on the Solstice. Eighteen of us in all. Ages ranged from a 1 1/2 year old to fifty somethings. Most were new to cruises and a bit leery. Not anymore! Embarkation- As ... Read More
Intro- My wife's entire family and I just returned from a week on the Solstice. Eighteen of us in all. Ages ranged from a 1 1/2 year old to fifty somethings. Most were new to cruises and a bit leery. Not anymore! Embarkation- As mentioned by many others, Celebrity has the embarkation process down to a science. Even though we were in Aqua Class and had priority, the time savings was not that great. Aqua Class does however have other advantages which I will expound upon later. All our staterooms were ready by 12:30PM which is an amazing feat considering the ship had just docked that morning. Public Rooms- I can not add much other than to say, the entire ship exudes class, just like the finest hotels and not like an over the top flashy designer. Comfortable and stylish! Art and music are alive on all decks most of the time which makes for a lively atmosphere. Dining- The number one area of contention. Being in Aqua Class, my wife and I were entitled to eat every breakfast and dinner in Blu. I can honestly not convey how amazed we were with every aspect of our dining experience. We had just cruised on the refurbished Celebrity Century in January where we at in Murano twice and considered it a great gourmand experience. Blu exceeded it by a great margin. From a tremendous gazpacho to a world class charred veal loin, every selection was delicious and beautifully displayed and the service from the wait staff, sommelier and maitre'd was truly first class. Wilmer was our server and was never wrong on his food recommendations. The sommelier was also right on with her selections. Seating only 125 persons max meant we could be finished in one hour or less and still meet our family in the MDR while they were just being served their entrees. The one time we did eat in the MDR for a family member's 50th, I ordered the Tournedos Rossini & Wild Mushroom Vol A vent and both were extremely good. Lunches @ the Oceanview cafe were also quite good. Entertainment- While not Las Vegas quality, the Solstice productions were quite good considering they were performed by members of the crew. Solstice The Show had a very talented acrobatic duo and other performers. Ghost Light was good. The other contracted acts were an illusionist and David Meyer who played the Xylo Synth. I know it sounds hokey but his renditions of classical and other familiar tunes was very lively and entertaining Enrichment- If one area was lacking it was this. The galley tour and the navigation tour were interesting, but guest speakers/educational presentations were lacking. The Hot Glass show, especially & night, was the highlight. Considering the clientele were well heeled and very wordly, I would expect more than just wine tastings on this class of ship. Overview- Nitpicking aside, I would still rate the Solstice as a fine ship, well run and a very friendly and accommodating crew. We never saw any open complaining amongst the staff. I really felt that the staff was genuine in its care of the passengers. Celebrity really screens well for attitude. Although some have complained, Aqua Class is worth the upcharge if for Blu only. The other amenities are nice, but to us not critical Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
My wife and I have been on Carnival and Princess. My sister and nephew just Carnival. We naturally often found ourselves comparing the experience to Carnival. Embarkation- Smooth and easy less than 15 mins to get on the boat. First ... Read More
My wife and I have been on Carnival and Princess. My sister and nephew just Carnival. We naturally often found ourselves comparing the experience to Carnival. Embarkation- Smooth and easy less than 15 mins to get on the boat. First Impression- Handed champagne as I walked onboard. Man this ship is swanky. Nice art work. Even the bathrooms are uppity up. Never seen a Carnival boat like this. Cabin- These rooms were nice. Flat panels in the room. Free movies on the TV. Large shower. Cool sink. Modern decor throughout. Bed was pretty comfortable. Blows away any Carnival cabin Ive ever seen Buffet- Not impressed. Most items were bland and mediocre. Constant cutting. Carnival buffet was better in my opinion. Main Dining Room- Again swanky the tower of wine bottles was impressive. Great wait staff. At times the menu was too sophisticated for my taste ie Escargot, but always found something that appealed to me. Food quality was better than Carnival. Pools- Sweet Fresh water not salt. There are two pools in the middle of the ship. These pools as we later found out use the same filtration system. One was 3-4 feet the other was 5-6 feet. Posted signs stated kids were only allowed in the 3-4 ft pool, but they were everywhere. A little annoying that parents and Celebrity allow this, but not a big deal. The third pool was in an indoor section with AC no kids allowed. For the most part this area was quiet and kid free. The pool in this section was too cold for our taste though. One of the days at sea a kid had an accident around noon which resulted in the both outdoor pools being closed until past 6pm. This put a huge damper on the day. The whole reason we chose Celebrity was we figured their would be less children so it would be more relaxing. We felt as though Carnival would have handled the situation better. We liked the fact that the pools were fresh water, but the area was just too boring and over packed for us. We prefer the pool area on a Carnival boat. (may be partial due to the child's accident) Jacuzzis- Way too hot and humid to even think about it. They should fill one or two of them with water the same temperature as the pool when its this hot. On Board Events- There was bingo, trivia here or there, and nightly shows, but overall it just seemed like there wasnt much going on. Carnival deserves the name Fun Ship (I love winning those ship on a sticks). On Carnival we ofter go to 3-4 events on sea days on Celebrity it was 1 or 2 max. Cafe- The capuccino was great. The frozen/cold drinks not so much. It was really hot and humid every day so we preferred cooled drinks. I would give Carnival a slight edge here but not by much. The Grill- Dont know the place was never open when I went to get a burger/fries. We find ourselves wondering the ship late night, and were use to the grill being open late night. Carnival hands down. Room Service- We quickly learned that this was the only way to get food late night. You could order off the tv and it worked most the time this was pretty cool. Decent selection, but it does get old by the end. Celebrity hands down on this one. Purser/Guest Relations- We had 5 mischarges, and a noise complaint. Each of the mischarges were taken care of, but we had to follow up on several of them twice. When we complained about the noise beneath us the women at the desk said there is nothing below you. When I explained the theater is below us, but there is not a show at 4 pm she just had a dumb founded look on her face. She replied all rooms are full. We tried to explain that we dont want another room we just want to know why there is so much noise when there is not a show she again told us this is not possible. All pursar/guest relations are no fun. Disembarkation- horrible The terminal lost power so we waited 2 hrs on the ship. When they finally let us off people were cutting everywhere and there was no AC in the line for customs. Glad we finally got off Overall we liked how nice this ship and our stateroom. We were disappointed in the food quality of the buffet, lack of entertainment, and hours of operations of the bars and food spots. It was a good time, but I think next time I want to win a ship on a stick. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Thrilled to learn of the new drink packages available on Celebrity cruises, we purchased two premium packages during our 7 day cruise last week on the Solstice. Our premium packages were to include all individual drinks priced at $12 or ... Read More
Thrilled to learn of the new drink packages available on Celebrity cruises, we purchased two premium packages during our 7 day cruise last week on the Solstice. Our premium packages were to include all individual drinks priced at $12 or less. We were very surprised when checking our account that we were charged for two drinks priced at $11.44. Upon inquiry, Guest Relations informed me that the package did not include any drinks in collectible glasses even if they were priced at less than $12. Nowhere in any of the information presented to us did it say that these drinks were not included. At no time did the bartender tell us that these drinks were not included. Our receipt for the drinks did not indicate a charge for the drinks. Guest Relations contacted the head of bar services, Lisa, to request a refund on our behalf. Because we only wanted the drinks and not the glasses, we even offered to give the two glasses back to the cruise line. Unfortunately, Celebrity (Lisa) opted to demand $11.44 from an Elite Captain's Club member than to admit that they misrepresented their beverage package or possibly made a mistake. Lisa said that it was not the bartender's responsibility to inform us that the drinks wouldn't be included, nor was it Celebrity's responsibility to present the "fine print" involved with their packages. I tried unsuccessfully to reach the Captain's Club Hostess for three days while on-board, so I guess the next stop is to dispute the charges with my bank. What a shame. Hope the $11.44 was worth it Celebrity!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We have cruised Royal Caribbean on six previous occasions with an inside cabin. This was our first Celebrity Cruise and we decided upon our first Veranda cabin since there was a great price (55 and over) on Concierge class cabins. We ... Read More
We have cruised Royal Caribbean on six previous occasions with an inside cabin. This was our first Celebrity Cruise and we decided upon our first Veranda cabin since there was a great price (55 and over) on Concierge class cabins. We flew Southwest in from our home near Baltimore early the day before and got a room at the Ft Lauderdale Hilton Marina. The cost of a cab from the airport was about $16 plus tip. This hotel is nice but a little dated. The room was fine, being clean and with a most important attribute: a comfortable bed. The hotel is next to the cruise port at a marina and is surrounded by all types of boats and yachts. It is really neat walking out the hotel door along the piers and seeing this. The hotel is also on one of the stops for the Ft Lauderdale water taxi. For $15 a person (cash only) you get to hop on and off the taxi all day at its many stops and visit many spots in Ft Lauderdale. We enjoyed the day doing this. Woke up the next morning and we could see the Solstice from the hotel. Check out was at 11AM and a short 5 min taxi ride later we were at the terminal (about $7.00 plus tip). Embarkation was a breeze. We were able to get our sea pass cards immediately and then waited upstairs in the terminal till about 1PM when boarding began. Aqua Class passengers were first followed by the Concierge Class (that was us). We were greeted with a welcome on board from the smiling crew and a complementary glass of champagne or Mimosa. Our cabin was not ready so we went to the Oceanview Cafe for some lunch (More on the food later). Our cabin (1048) was ready about 2 PM and our luggage arrived between 4 and 5 PM. We arrived to fresh flowers, sparkling wine and fresh fruit. Every evening a small plate of hors D'ouvres was delivered prior to dinner, another nice touch. The 190 sq feet or so was plenty large for us. The LCD TV was great and we watched some programs while getting ready for dinner or bed. We also used it to check our spending account on the ship. The bathroom had large soft bath towels (Egyptian) and a larger shower than we has been used to in inner cabins. We loved the curved acrylic shower door in lieu of the shower curtains we have had on Royal Caribbean ships. This cabin is located behind a jutting out of the ship's structure so the Veranda during sailing had no wind issues. There was a small table and 2 comfortable chairs with foot stools on the Veranda. We had no issues with cigarette or cigar smoke on the Veranda from any of the surrounding staterooms. Our cabin attendants were excellent. The ship is just great and has a little something for just about any adult. The Library was chocked full of many books if you wanted something to read. The glass blowing exhibitions daily are great. There was a card room that I noticed was used by a number of passengers for bridge and other games. There was a theater showing films. We did not go there and we thought it odd that most of the films were shown at night when there were other options. There were plenty of places for drinking from the Cellar Masters Room for wine appreciation (including auto dispense wine machines) to other various bars. The casino seemed to have enough tables (2 roulette, 1 craps, 3-4 blackjack, 2 automated Poker, 1-2 Three Card Poker and 1 baccarat) for the size of the ship. Too many of the tables however had $10 or above limits and not enough $5 tables for my taste (I did win $35 the last night at blackjack ? ). There were plenty of slot machines and to tempt one into playing, the Daily Paper had a running count of how much money was paid out on the cruise in the casino. My guess is most of that money was lost back to the casino ?. They did not however tell one the take by the casino. The Internet Cafe had plenty of laptop work stations. Unfortunately, coverage was sporadic and slow. We could not get into our home internet email for some reason so I had to open a Gmail internet email account as we were conducting some business with our daughter and needed to be in touch with her. I would just as soon not have to spend the money on the internet with such spotty, slow service and at a discounted $.60 a minute the cost adds up quickly. We ate at the Oceanview Cafe for Breakfast and lunch most days. Breakfast had everything one would want; eggs Benedict in various country forms, eggs cooked to order, omelets cooked to order, fruit, yogurt, bacon, sausage, ham, bagels, English muffins and more. For lunch you could step up to and fill your plate from a great salad bar, pasta/pizza, Indian, Asian or American grill and sandwich stations. There were cheese, bread, ice cream and deserts galore along with hot food/carving stations. I cannot resist GOOD food and the 8 pounds I put on in the 7 days of this cruise showed it. Overlooking the pool was the Mast Grill where one could get hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, wings and fries or onion rings. A few of the afternoons we tried the fries, onion rings, wings and dogs and all were excellent. For dinner we ate in the Epernay Dining room at a table for 8. At 58, we were the youngest couple, but we thoroughly enjoyed our older table mates company. The food was good and our waiting staff was competent but both were nothing spectacular. We never saw the Head Waiter for our section of the Dining Room. Two evenings we opted for the Tuscan Grill and Murano. Both nights the food and service were just spectacular. Is it worth the $30-35 fee? I would say a resounding "YES". My wife's surf and turf in Murano was just exceptional and my lamb chop was delicious. We did the initial wine tasting on the 1st day. For $20.00 each, we were able to sample 12 wines from various regions of the world. The sommeliers at the 6 stations dispensing the wines were very informative. We loved this. We were going to do the the Riedel workshop, but my wife became ill and we had to cancel. Entertainment on board after dinner in the Solstice Theater we enjoyed. The Circ Du Sole shows while not up to Las Vegas Standards were still good. If you have never heard Hyperion Knight you are missing out on a great showman. His piano playing was nothing short of spectacular along with his explanation of the lives of some of the great composers' music he was playing and how their lives played into the music. The cruise director John Grantham was fantastic. He was a former actor and stuntman. He had a show one day that he showed old clips of himself performing stunts and acting. He then had a question and answer session for about 45 minutes with the audience that was very interesting. This is a must see. The Solstice deck was our preferred sunbathing spot. The solarium was great, and the pool and hot tubs were less crowded. The main outdoor pool area was always crowded, so we did not really use that area. We also liked that you did not have to sign out towels. As for the weather, sunny but really windy the entire cruise. Many of the water related tours were cancelled at Costa Maya due to the high winds and rough seas. Despite the wind, the seas were only 4-8 feet I would say worst case and the ship was steady and solid as a rock. You could tell very little swaying. The ports, Grand Cayman we had visited on our 1st sailing on Royal Caribbean back in 1997. We took an island tour that lasted 4 hours (did not go to Hell) and then my wife went to work shopping (my accounts went all to hell). In Cozumel, another island tour, this time pushing merchandise. This did make a stop at Discover Mexico. The best things about this place were the scale models of many of the fine buildings throughout Mexico. At Puerto Costa Maya we opted to skip the tours, visit the shops at the port and then spend the day relaxing at the pool. Finally at Roatan, Honduras we had another island tour that my wife had to skip due to a mild case of Montezuma's revenge. This was probably my favorite stop. While the people were dirt poor and you really felt sorry for them, the island itself and beaches were really beautiful. In summary, the Celebrity crew and the Solstice ship were great. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and will definitely go back for another Celebrity sailing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
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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