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

13 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) to Caribbean - Southern Celebrity Solstice Cruise Reviews

We were expecting an experience much classier than the Carnival, but were rather disappointed. We are going to give Celebrity another channce, as we had already booked on The Solstice for April, even before this Equinox December 2011 ... Read More
We were expecting an experience much classier than the Carnival, but were rather disappointed. We are going to give Celebrity another channce, as we had already booked on The Solstice for April, even before this Equinox December 2011 cruise, so hope some of these problems will not occur again.. Embarkation: Booarding was slightly delayed, as it was just off a repositioning cruise, and they had a bout with Noro Virus, and the ship also had to be inspected by customs. Very easy check-in, but probably because we were in concierge class, and they had a seperate check-in for concierge and suites. Welcome champagne and mimosas onboard. Were able to proceed to our room right away. Cabin: Here is where Celebrity excels. Cabins were lovely with big screen tvs, wonderful linens, and a roomy balcony with comfy furniture. Some say the storage space is limited, but we had no problem, and empty suitcases store under the bed. The bathroom is 2 die 4 for a cruise ship! Big enough for 2 people to dress, shower is great and roomy, thick towels. Fresh flowers the whole time we were there, also champagne awaited us on arrival with fresh fruit, which was brought every day. Very comfy and accessable cabin! Our steward was Ana Marie, and she was really nice, and kept the room clean and ice filled. Canapes served every afternoon, but they were not very good. Ordered cheese and crackers instead of the canapes, but that wasn't good either. Dining: We were expecting much better food, from what we had heard. Most of the food in the MDR was mediocre, except when we had filet mignons, which were excellent. Encountered a very rude assistant waiter one night, and changed our preference of where to sit. We had select dining. Reservations are recommended to avoid standing in line. The buffet was good and bad. I love the way it was laid out, but many times the food was cold, or bland. I would recommend the fajitas. On an 11 day cruise, though, the food became rather repititious. The menus don't change a whole lot. Sad to say, but the Carnival had better food, and also had 2 main dining rooms, as we always felt crowded next to people in the one MDR on the Equinox. Room service was ok. Breakfast room service was pretty good. Expanded menu for concierge. There was a good assortment of items to choose from. Excursions: All expensive!! In Costa Rica, we booked a trip that was advertised as an extensive tour by bus, boat and train. As we waited to board our tour, the weather was turning worse and worse. I assumed they would cancel it and we would receive a refund. No, we were sent on. (we found out that right after we left, they cancelled all the other tours, as ours should have been) The bus was the 1st part and we went on about a 40 minute ride stopping at a Banana Plant (Del Monte). Too bad of weather to see much. Then we came to a place where we were to board a boat for a river wildlife cruise. Some fruit was served here. They debated calling off the trip again and finally decided to take us on the river. You could not see a thing out of the boat because the plastic sides were down, and it was pouring rain. No wildlife seen. We thought, well, the train ride through the jungle will be nice, and maybe we will see wildlife on that. After the boat ride, though, we were told the train ride had been cancelled, and were immediately taken back to the ship. Tents the ship had set up had been all mangled by the storm that had gone through, and were thrown around. The tour guide said no refunds, because it was weather related. We went to the excursion desk and there were a lot of angry people, including us, wanting a refund. We ended up getting about 1/3 back after much arguing. We felt really cheated. We were so upset over this trip that we cancelled out expensive tour of the Panama Canal, because the weather was supposed to be just as bad. They argued, and argued, but finally let us cancel it and issued a refund. The Cartagena tour was ok, but WAY too rushed! Took a bus and saw a few sites but no time to enjoy. Entered the Old City and had the carraige rides, but not very long and no time to stop or shop. many needed to use a restroom and thry took us to a 1 potty room where we all lined up and spent anout 30 minutes of our little bit of time standing in line. Rushed back to the bus and back to the ship. Would have been nice, had it been leisurely. Decided to take another chance, and booked the stingray swim at Grand Cayman. They cancelled that, after we had taken tenders ashore. Do not know why. Could not get answers. We were talked into booking another, a tour and beach break, that SOUNDED good. HORRIBLE! First, taken to a place with overpriced stores for about 40 mins for "shopping", then to the "rum cake factory"..another "shopping" trip with buses pulling inand out of a miniscule parking area, constantly. AWFUL! Then to "Hell", which is another "shopping" opportunity and is a joke of a tourist trap! All of these places are not worth wasting time on, except to get tourists there for "buying" opportunities. Finally to the beach break which we had been told included lunch, a mixed drink, snorkel gear, and 3 hours at the beach. After arrival, we were told that no lunch was included after all, and no snorkel gear. The "drink" was koolaid (I assume) out of an orange cooler in a plastic cup. Snorkel gear was $10 per hour per person to rent (we didn't),but we were hungry so we SPLIT a hamburger, bought 1 drink, to split, and this was $36!! Could not wait for the bus to come take us back!! No refunds for this excursion! AVOID Celebritys excursions until they get some control over them, get better itineraries, and better tour guides. I will take my chances on private tours after this! It wouldn't take any effort to put Celebrities tours to shame! Entertainment: did not care for the cheesy acrobatic show, but the Broadway singing and dancing show was exceptional! The glass blowing show was fascinating. Enjoyed the solarium and the whirlpools. Like that they have towels always available! Casino: Not very exciting, would only open minimal, tables and betting minimums too high, which is silly. SOME gambling is better than NONE gambling, you would think. OTHER: DO not forget toothpaste, hairspray, etc. Cannot buy any on the ship! When you sign your charge tickets, rewrite the amount at the bottom and draw a line through the extra tip area, as we had some extra tips added, without us authorizing it. Going to try Celebrity once more and hope this time was just a bad time, after repositioning. Celebrity should certainly outdo Carnival, but they did not on this cruise, at considerably more money! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
The cruise was a popular one for young families and there were many children of all ages on board enjoying the pools, whirlpools and decks. Although, this meant that the pool deck was almost unusable during the day, it did add to the ... Read More
The cruise was a popular one for young families and there were many children of all ages on board enjoying the pools, whirlpools and decks. Although, this meant that the pool deck was almost unusable during the day, it did add to the Christmas spirit for what is Christmas without children. Part of the fun was watching them enjoy themselves with their parents, particularly at the shows. On the whole, they were very well behaved. There were also a lot of families with adult children reuniting from different parts of the world to celebrate the holidays together. The ship, already beautifully designed was stunningly decorated from top to bottom. Services were also held to celebrate Hanakah. It was very inspiring. We loved the understated elegance of the ship although we found the layout confusing and we kept having to consult the ship guide to orient ourselves. A great deal of effort was put into the smallest design detail and the artwork throughout the ship is impressive. The quality is evident. Our balcony cabin was nicely laid out and efficient although a bit of a letdown since our view was obstructed by the lifeboats attached to the deck below (we were not aware of this when we booked the room). There was also a utility door for the crew beneath us that would slam shut several times an hour until it was adjusted when we reported it to the guest relations staff. They offered us dinner at the specialty restaurant of our choice as a recompense for the inconvenience. A gesture we did not expect and we enjoyed a lovely meal at the Tuscany Grill on Christmas evening (the onion soup is to die for). In the main diningroom, the table we were first assigned was on deck 3, completely in the back next to a busing station. We asked to be reassigned to a table for two the following night and we got a lovely table next to a window which we enjoyed for the rest of the cruise. The food was a bit of a disappointment and hit and miss. The salads and soups were not very good but the steaks and lobsters were perfectly done. The quality of the desserts were also uneven. The Baked Alaska served on Christmas Eve was the most disappointing. The buffet was a cut above others we have experienced with quite a few stations offering made-to-order dishes. The choices were excellent and would please health-conscious eaters to gourmands. We participated in several wine-tasting events and enjoyed them immensely. The quality of the wines was quite good and the fees for the events reasonable. The Riedel wine-tasting was the best of the ones we attended but we were very upset by the fact that Canadian passengers were not warned that they would not have the same benefits as other participants if they wished to buy the glasses. The literature says that the cost of the course can be applied to the cost of the glasses and we had read from other reviews that it was worth it. However, on this cruise, they did not have the glasses on board and would have to ship them which would cost Canadians custom fees of $30 negating any benefits. The seas were rough and we experienced a good deal of motion and vibration on the ship. I never did get my sea-legs. Many frequent cruisers commented that it was one of their roughest cruises. This was a bit surprising and we would have expected a ship of this size to ride more smoothly. We arrived late in San Juan, our first port of call due to the high seas and since it was already dark all excursions were cancelled. We did not venture far from the ship since it was raining and we were not familiar with the town. Our second port was St. Thomas which we enjoyed and after rapidly touring the area on board a safari bus we spent a couple of hours at Megan Beach. Unfortunately, we did not make several stops because there were so many other tour buses that there was not parking available. The excursion was very disappointing and not worth the money. We should have just paid a taxi to take us to the beach. That night, my husband had the misfortune of contracting what the medical staff judged to be the Norovirus and was quarantined to our cabin for two days. It took him another 2-3 days to fully recover from the experience so this really dampened our enjoyment of a portion of the cruise. He missed the next two ports of St. Maarten and St. Kitts. Of course I could not leave him alone for long so we did not visit those two ports. We did not eat or drink anything off of the ship so he contracted the virus on board. I have read the reviews of the Transatlantic crossing cruise and the previous pre-Christmas cruise and it seems that this virus was a serious problem on the Solstice. The support we received from the staff during the illness was inadequate and we were left more or less to fend for ourselves. Even the cleaning of the cabin was only done after repeated requests. We have yet to see how Celebrity will compensate us for this portion of our cruise. We found the entertainment on board to be very professional and enjoyed every show and activity we were able to attend. The crew were wonderful in participating in various activies and it was amazing how involved they became. All in all, we have a very positive memory of our cruise on board the ship and would do it again in a heartbeat. The shore excursions do need to be improved.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We did back to back cruises ( Princess Crown the first week and then the Solstice ) We thought the Crown Princess was great until we boarded the Solstice. My wife was in awe of the cabin. She loved the space and really liked the enclosed ... Read More
We did back to back cruises ( Princess Crown the first week and then the Solstice ) We thought the Crown Princess was great until we boarded the Solstice. My wife was in awe of the cabin. She loved the space and really liked the enclosed shower stalls. The veranda had lots of room and the reclining chairs were great. When our luggage arrived at our cabin, the wheel was broken. They took it for repairs but didn't have the parts. I had to fill out a form and am currently waiting but it sounds like they are looking after the problem. Our room was in a perfect spot to get to the pool/cafe/elevators. Our room was always cleaned when we went out and always had ice etc. We aren't real heavy drinkers but I bought the soda pop package and it worked out great. Unlike some other cruises, I could get diet coke in every bar or restaurant on the ship.( even in the theater but they add a $1.00 tip ) Disembarking the ship on our stops was a breeze since they have 2 stations to leave from. The entertainment on the ship was amazing. Our cruise directer (Lisa)did a great job and has a fantastic voice. She could have been the entertainment but their singers and dancers did a great job. We found the service to be a bit slow. They were quick to take drink orders but seemed put out if you asked for tea/coffee. They were also a little slow cleaning tables. I had the feeling that you were expected to get your own beverage. I asked Celebrity once I came back home and they stated that was not the case. We loved the adult pool and there were plenty of lounge chairs wherever you went. We loved the glass blowing and all the extra entertainment that went on all around the ship. All in all it was a great experience and would do it again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Let me first say that that this was our 1st (and probably our last) cruise with Celebrity. There was nothing wrong with the food or service. This review has more to do with ship and the premium to sail with Celebrity. ... Read More
Let me first say that that this was our 1st (and probably our last) cruise with Celebrity. There was nothing wrong with the food or service. This review has more to do with ship and the premium to sail with Celebrity. Embarking was fine as we were the only ones in the "Suite" check-in. Once on-board we began to see a single pattern to the design and ambiance. Everything is very polished, shiny and lit with trendy colours. Like pink & purple for the elevator directional lights. From the main dinning room looking to something out of Jane Fonda's Barbarella to the frosted bar top at the Martini Bar to the crushed ice at the vodka bar, it all looked too trendy. This design unfortunately got very tired and old looking during a short 7 night cruise. There were not enough different options. We enjoy variety, and it felt like after leaving the casualness of the pool bars, there wasn't anything in-between these " too hip to be cool" venues. Both RCL & NCL had pubs and places were you could feel comfortable in khakis and a button down. Solstice did have the sunset bar which was deck 15 aft, but it was always too windy as it was outside. We opted for the Classic Beverage package and after the 2nd day the bartenders started to realise that they weren't getting the 15% per drink every order so they slowed service . We found ourselves having to tip on top of the 15 grat we paid for the package to be served at a slow bar within 10 minutes. We like the adult only pools & solarium's but this one should have been called Senior Soup. The air & water temperatures were so uncomfortably hot that we didn't use them. Swimming in 95 degree water when it's 95 degrees is not refreshing. The zen music they piped through the entire area (change rooms and sauna as well) was irritating. To use the steam room you had to pay $99 for the week. As for the cabin. RCL's GS is perhaps the best use of space we've ever booked. Equivalent in size but much better use of the space. The CS had a separate bedroom and the bathroom was half the size. Balconies were shallow and smaller. At the end of our cruise,we found ourselves thinking was it worth the premium ? We decided that the extra $1100 over RCL was not. We say to anyone reading this, to each their own. These were just our observations. Perhaps we picked the wrong ship... Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
My wife and I like to cruise. We have been on a few with Royal Caribbean and with our kids on Disney. We have always had a great time and were looking for a fun get-a-way for us. We were planning to go on a "Freedom" class ship ... Read More
My wife and I like to cruise. We have been on a few with Royal Caribbean and with our kids on Disney. We have always had a great time and were looking for a fun get-a-way for us. We were planning to go on a "Freedom" class ship like we did last year. My parents took a Celebrity cruise and were impressed. We did our research and decided on the Solstice. The second you walk on board, you are greeted with class. The wine was a nice touch. We found the people to be very polite and willing to answer any questions that we had about the ship. The process of getting from the airport to the cruise terminal was the easiest we have ever had. We walked right up and were on the boat within 30 minutes of landing. Talk about easy! The ship is stunning. Our room was Aqua Class and well worth the upgrade. From the teas to the bottles of water let by our stateroom attendant, it was class from the start. The towels, sheets and pillows were wonderful. The best part of the room was the bathroom. The shower was big and the upgraded shower heads were a really nice touch. You will find little things like this that make you feel like your are living the high life. The drinks on board were fairly priced. We bought the premium package and were worried that it would be hard to justify what we were spending. But think about it, you are talking $50 per day. If you get an espresso, a speciality coffee, 2 glasses of wine with dinner, a drink at the molecular bar, a drink by the pool, a bottle of water and maybe a soda, you have hit your total. The selections of wines were impressive. The knowledge of the staff was also impressive. The process was easy. We loved the molecular bar! The bartender was awesome. He made the cruise for us. He went through the process of how they make the drinks and why you will not be hungover if you drink them. I tried his theory and he was right. I never felt bad after hanging out there. The other bars were nice too. We really enjoyed our time. The food was really good. By staying in Aqua Class, we had access to Blu. It was worth it. The menu was imaginative and very tasty! The service was impeccable. The only thing that was substandard was the dessert offerings. But then again, we were generally stuffed after dinner and would have passed! We did eat at 2 of the speciality restaurants: Murano and Tuscan Grille. The meal at Murano was the best I have ever had on a cruise ship. It is well worth the upgrade. The views at Tuscan Grille are spectacular but the food was average. The entertainment was good. The first show was called "Solstice" and it was cool. It was a Cirque type show. The Broadway show was good too. We went to the late night comedy and it was really funny. The only complaint there was not a lot to do after 10PM. If you didn't want to drink then you were pretty much done. They needed a jazz bar with dancing and maybe a karaoke place. They did Karaoke on the last night and it was packed. They should do it more. All in all we had a great time and I would recommend this to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
I met up the day before the cruise with my lady friend in Fort Lauderdale (fron California) at a Marriott Hotel during a downpour. The hotel had no heat in the lobby and the desk clerk had a parka and gloves on! We had a good time in spite ... Read More
I met up the day before the cruise with my lady friend in Fort Lauderdale (fron California) at a Marriott Hotel during a downpour. The hotel had no heat in the lobby and the desk clerk had a parka and gloves on! We had a good time in spite of all that as our room had heat. We took a shuttle to the port, they were right on time and got us there just like clock-work. Boarding the Solstice was fairly good actually but we had priority boarding. We had a balcony cabin which was fairly typical of a balcony on the major cruise lines, except when you would open the balcony door a loud wind sound would occur which was odd and there was less storage area than on other lines. This was my 36th cruise and other than a trip down the Amazon on a 24 passenger riverboat it was my worst experience cruising. My card had been coded wrong; when I went to the (repeat passenger only) wine tasting the "guard lady" (who also worked in the cruise sales department) at the door started yelling at me threatening to charge me $10.00 if I wasn't a repeat passenger! According to her and the pursers office SHE was the only one who could fix this error however she was not in her office for the first 3 days of the cruise and seldom there after that, no help at the pursers office either so I missed 3 other events for past passengers which I had planned on going too. The staff seemed miserable except for the ones that got tips and you could hear the complaints as you walked around the ship, not many smiles on that crew! The entertainment was geared to those much older than me (58) however my roomie who is 70 didn't care for it either so I only stayed for one show in the theater, the circus show, it was good. Much of my dismay came from the fact I am a smoker, the smoking areas are few and far between; you can't even smoke in the casino or on your balcony. Some on-board were not told this and they were grumpy; we started a boycott of the Solstice swearing never to sail with her again lol. The ship was not very pretty, a lot of glass and steel and a cold (unhappy) feeling to it. Many passengers on this particular sailing were older folks, they seemed unhappy, full of special requests and generally in conflict with everything in life and thier surroundings, they expected perfection and when it didn't happen, complaints, complaints, complaints! The food was about the same as any cruise ship, at times it almost seemed like it was intended to drive you to the pay as you go eateries. There was one buffet in the dining room that was quite good, that was the only meal that made any kind of impression with me. The buffet upstairs was just ok, they shut down early at night and late nite snacks were dull and to be avoided unless you were starving. In trivia there were no prizes, they said it was for "enrichment." People didn't like that. The shop keepers were grumpy, have mercy if you get in their way! Fortunately I found some younger people to hang out with and we made our own fun up on deck just getting together, joking and having a drink or two; there was little fun provided by the ship that I could find. I was very disappointed in Celebrity and I never did find out what I paid the extra $300.00 or so over the other popular cruise lines. The ships tours (3, City-San Juan, The St. Kitts train and Everglades) were not very well organized and the Everglades tour should have been cancelled due to rain but was not; we didn't see a thing except torrential rains on that tour! I constently felt like I was steerage class, maybe it was my card coding, maybe I didn't fit the older profile of the average passenger, I'm not sure but I felt like I was odd (wo)man out on this tub! Good ship to avoid in my opinion.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
My roomie and I cruised on Jan. 10, 2010. 5 stars for embarkation. 4 stars for the beautiful ship. 0 stars for the ugly view of the glass elevators and the Atrium tiny area. 3 stars for food. Other cruiselines have better food than ... Read More
My roomie and I cruised on Jan. 10, 2010. 5 stars for embarkation. 4 stars for the beautiful ship. 0 stars for the ugly view of the glass elevators and the Atrium tiny area. 3 stars for food. Other cruiselines have better food than the Soltice. 5 stars for dinner service from my waiter and assist. 0 stars for us singles. They never had a Singles Meet and Mingle for us singles like Carnival cruise ship does. 0 stars for no religious services. 3 stars for the ship stores for shopping. They didn't have much to buy. I only bought a lanyard that I needed for my cabin card. I love to shop on cruise ships. 0 stars for not giving us Trivia players any gifts for winning. 0 stars for having lousy late night snacks at the buffet which was card-board pizza and other heavy foods. I like to eat jello but it was always suger free. I don't eat foods with fake sugars. 5 stars for married couple activities. The married couples had fun. 5 stars for a peaceful cruise. It was nice and quiet inside the ship. Out on deck was too windy at night. 0 stars for the value of the price I paid. Very lonely for us singles. Plus, the food wasn't extra special as I expected because I have cruised on Celebrity three times. 3 stars for breakfast and lunch service in the dinning room. It was terrible because the waiters are not trained to serve us the right way. I have cruised 47 times on 7 cruiselines since l973. I always have a good time on all cruise ships. It is just that the Soltice is over priced for what we get. They have gotten cheap on their food quality. It has nothing to do with it being a large ship. I have cruised on the new Carnival Splendor and I like their food a lot better than the Soltice. SORRY.... 0 Stars for the Everglades tour since it was raining and the boat had lots of leaks on the roof. I got soaking wet. I should have stayed on the tour bus. We only saw one alligator.... not worth the suffering and money I paid. The tour bus driver took out our luggage in the rain and we had to wait on the bus until all the luggage was out of the bus. I noticed some of my things inside my luggage was damp from the rain. Final words..... I said to my roomie during our cruise...."Lets wait until we get home to talk about our cruise since we were having a lousy time. I didn't want to make it worse for us by being all negative on the cruise ship. The people who live in Florida get the best last minute deals so I don't think they will complain because they pay a lower last minute rate. The worse part of me which is really petty to some people reading this.... but I totally disliked the dinning room chairs because they didn't have a way to hang my beautiful silk hand-bag on the side of my chair. I had to put it on the floor. I didn't like that. My roomie told me I needed to buy me a device where you can hang your hand-bag at a table. I need to buy that. Yes, I admit I am being petty but I was truly disappointed that Celebrity has gone down-hill overall. Sorry Celebrity. You need to improve. Luci Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We're a married couple in our 40's.  This was an Atlantis Events Charter cruise. We love to travel but have only been on 2 other cruises (both Atlantis Events Charters and on RCI). This was our first cruise on Celebrity.   We ... Read More
We're a married couple in our 40's.  This was an Atlantis Events Charter cruise. We love to travel but have only been on 2 other cruises (both Atlantis Events Charters and on RCI). This was our first cruise on Celebrity.   We flew in two days before our Sunday sailing and rented a car through Dollar.  At the counter the woman told us that we could return the car to the center nearest the port and that we could also get a shuttle to the port.    We stayed at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood.  We originally had reservations for the Westin Beach Resort in Ft. Lauderdale which was just opening however due to unfinished construction they offered to put us up at the Diplomat instead.  They did offer us a one night free stay at the Westin in Ft. Lauderdale when it opened.   The Westin Diplomat was a beautiful hotel and not too far from the port.  We had one of the few rooms in the hotel without a balcony which is located right next to the elevators.  Unfortunately, in the middle of the night you could hear the movement of the elevators.  Since we were only staying another night we didn't complain to the staff about it.  In the future, if we stayed here, we would ask for a different room.  Even though we rented a car, we ate dinner both nights at the hotel.  The first night we ate at a Bar/Grill type of restaurant affiliated with the hotel across the street.  There is a walkway above the road so you didn't have to deal with traffic.  The second night we ate at the Asian restaurant in the hotel and had a wonderful meal.  For a Saturday night it wasn't very busy. My biggest disappointment with the hotel was the gym facilities.  There were some machines and dumbbells but the area was not that big.  With a few people using the space it got very crowded and there's nearly no where to do a basic workout with the dumbbells.   On Sunday morning we checked out of the hotel at 11:45 and went to the port to drop off our luggage.  We just had to show ID at the gate to get to the ship.  After dropping off the luggage we went to a nearby Walgreens to get some water and odds and ends.  The rental return place was incredibly close to the port.  I would definitely rent with Dollar again.  The shuttle stopped at the Princess ship before dropping us off at the Solstice.   When we entered the terminal it looked like many people were sitting down waiting to get on the ship.  Since we were in Concierge Class we got to a line that was practically empty.  After checking in there was someone asking if we wanted to book any of the specialty restaurants for that night.  After we got our passes and took our first picture we went immediately on the ship, or at least we thought we were.  There were several long lines all converging into one to board the ship so we had to stand and wait which didn't seem too long.  We were on the ship in about 20 minutes with a glass of sparkling wine.   We went to our room to drop off the carry ons, put our stuff in the safe and headed up to the Oceanview, then to explore the ship.  I was so excited to be on this ship that I really didn't want to sit and eat.  We sat at one of the tables at the back of the ship.  Unfortunately, the table was a very low, more like a cocktail table (not all of them were low, but it was the only one open on the back) so eating was a bit difficult.  It was the price to pay for eating outside with a crowded Oceanview.   After lunch we headed out to see the ship.  I must admit that I saw places that first day that I never got around to visiting the entire week (like the photo gallery but more on that later).   First of all, we loved the look and feel of the ship.  We checked out the lawn, which again, was probably the only time we went up there.  It was very quiet and looked to be a spot if you wanted peace and quiet. On the other hand, the pool area was quiet busy and everyone was hanging out and getting ready for a fabulous week.   The muster was held at 4:30 and was a bit of a bother.  Our rooms had to go to Muranos which ended up being very crowded.  It was probably hard for some of the people in the room to see the video.  The stairways were very crowded as people descended and did not appear to be all that orderly.   Our sail off was delayed because of the entertainer that Atlantis brought onboard for the first night.  We didn't sail out until the performer and her band were off the ship which occurred about 10:30 PM but that didn't stop us from enjoying the first night even if we were still docked.   Our first stop was at the Martini Bar, which was the busiest place on the ship the whole week.  The bartenders were great however service was slow because they really do put on a show every time they make a drink.  Its fun to watch and the drinks were delicious.  I got the Martini flight which left me slightly buzzed.   Dinner this night and the remaining nights were pretty much the same.  The food was good to excellent but nothing really stood out.  The food we had on RCI was similar however; I thought the desserts on RCI were better.  Dinner, like all Atlantis Charters were all open, there is no assigned seating time and I think that might have thrown off some of the people in the dining room since they couldn't quite grasp the concept of "joining" other groups.  Luckily the tables we sat at were always entertaining and the people we met were great.  In fact a couple we met towards the end of the cruise ended up becoming great friends.   Shows:  We didn't really get to see many of the typical cruise shows that Celebrity puts on.  We did see the last night show which was a revue of Broadway songs.  It was ok, typical cruise fare, although they did use a live orchestra but it had a lot of American Idol type singers (belters who could sing really well but lacked any acting talent)   Our favorite place to hang out during the day was at the Solarium.  I had read on CC that it was cold there but we never had a problem with the temp of the air.  The temp of the water in the hot tubs was another thing.  It was never hot but we still enjoyed it.  The solarium was also the place where the Aqua Spa Cafe was located.  I never ate here as the food never seemed that appetizing.  My husband ate here once because he liked the smaller portions and healthy choices.  The seating area is small here too.   We ate most of our lunches at the Oceanview Cafe.  Most of the food was the same from day to day however; they did change up some of the specialty food like the Asian area.  They had some delicious Spring rolls and shrimp in this area.  Breakfast was also pretty similar everyday.  Lots of choices and the food was very good.   Our stops were Labadee, Dominican Republic and Curacao.  Labadee was nice, I like the open air market (many people don't because of the aggressive sellers) however, if you keep walking on it is not a problem.  The food at lunch was typical labadee fare, however, the ribs were actually quite delicious and I could have eaten them all week.   We took the shuttle bus (that cost $7.00 r/t) when we got off in Dominican Republic.  It took you to an area with some shops and plant life.  We didn't find it all that interesting and heard that many of the shops at the second stop were closed (we didn't get off the bus and headed back to the ship).   Curacao was lovely.  I booked the SCUBA excursion online and was not disappointed.  It was a shore dive which I thought would be lousy but the sea life and plant life were amazing.  It was one of the best dives I have been on, two dives, 60 and 40 ft.  It did rain while we were docked in Curacao so we didn't get to walk around the area and shop.  Curacao did provide fireworks for us as we left that evening. It was splendid.   Our last two days at sea were somewhat relaxing and busy at the same time.  We took in all the parties that Atlantis offered yet still found time to relax and enjoy the pool and casino during the day.  We also had Chita Rivera performing on the ship.  She performed many of the numbers from her Broadway career.   Disembarking the ship was very quick.  We were off the ship by 8:30.  We were renting a car for the day because our flight out was at 3 and the rent a car companies at the airport offered a shuttle at the port however, we didn't wait for the shuttle and just took a cab.  It was only about $20 and we were there in 15 minutes.  There were plenty of cabs available too.  Our airline didn't allow people to check bags for their flights until 3 hours before the flight time so we had to load the luggage in the back of the car until we returned for our flight.  Friends who were also leaving later found that while they wouldn't take the luggage at the counters, if you did the skycaps they were taking the luggage.   All in all we loved the cruise and rebooked for the Atlantis Charter again next year, same time, same ship.  We love meeting the people that are aboard the charters since unlike the mainstream cruises, everyone is on the same vacation.   Of the three cruises we were on, this ship was by far the rockiest.  One night the ship was rocking so that we ended up taking a Dramamine before bed just to make sure we didn't get sick.  It was also one of the windiest ship decks we've been on.  If you were on the decks above the pool deck you were always getting whipped around. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale has this down .... Catering to the cruise industry the Airport has improved dramatically since we first started cruising 10 years ago. On Cruise Critic board recommendations, we stayed at the Renaissance ... Read More
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale has this down .... Catering to the cruise industry the Airport has improved dramatically since we first started cruising 10 years ago. On Cruise Critic board recommendations, we stayed at the Renaissance Plantation Hotel in Hollywood. With cruiser pricing incentives and free transport to the ship (not from the airport .... $35 cab ride), this is a small, beautiful hotel with good service, nice rooms and an attentive staff. Nice hotel restaurant and bar - a little pricey but this is a tough market and that they have a decent hotel eatery is unusual. I'd call this a budget Ritz-Carlton experience ... if this is your thing, save about 400 bucks per day here. We arrive a day early (Saturday for a Sunday Departure) and relax, make our own hotel and transfer arrangements and carry a few "Fives" to tip doormen, bellmen and baggage handlers .... not having to lift bags is something we like and have found its easier and more relaxing to make our own arrangements than take ship transfers. Celebrity, in my opinion, leads the industry in embarkation efficiency. We usually arrive 2 hours after earliest boarding time and avoid crowds. From car to cabin took about 10 minutes. Organize your embarkation materials, complete on-line forms and keep stuff accessible with passport/ticket holders around your neck. All of this helps to avoid the stress that accompanies any kind of traveling. Ship ...... spectacular. If you understand the state of the art engineering that is contained within the steel of this ship, you will agree. A big ship that has the intimate feel of the Century class Celebrity ships, it is without peer as a cruiser, all things considered. The dEcor is tasteful and nautical with dark color schemes where they are appropriate and bright ones where these fit best. It is, without question, a work of art in and of itself. Worth cruising aboard her just to appreciate what has been built. Public spaces: Nicely done, roomy, accessible, never had the feel that this is a sea-going vessel with 4000 souls on board. Cabin: We book an inside cabin on all of our cruses because we spend little time in it and spend the saving elsewhere on board. Others will feel confined in these cabins. The Deluxe offers a little more space. Layout is nicely executed and different than Century or Millennium class ships. Plenty of storage for bags under the bed. Hanging space adequate unless you have a lot of clothes ... we have learned to travel more efficiently after 14 cruises. I have a list that details what I need for 7, 10 or 14 day cruises, pull the right one up the day before leaving, assemble the goods and pack them. Pretty simple. Pack one of those folding dirty clothes bags ... it fits inside the closet and keeps dirty clothes organized in your cabin. Solstice has a state of the art information distribution system based on your in room TV. Get to know how it works and what this system does. Just a small amount of techno literacy will get you through it. If you can operate a remote, your good to go. There's also a key board for internet access ..... watch out, 65 cents a minute. The entire ship is WiFi capable. There is also a cell service that will uplink your cell signal to a satellite then down link it. Also pricey ... if you are a big cell phone user (we are not) and plan on calling home every day on your cell phone, check out how this works with Celebrity and how your cellular service will handle it before using it. Fitness: This is one of the reasons Ann and I cruise - to exercise together. Unfortunately, this has gotten harder and harder as the wellness programs have matured so that the fitness center is a profit center .... nothing is free anymore and I find it difficult to pay $20 for a spinning, yoga or pilates class. The group on Solstice does a "Boot Camp" that is probably too rigorous for most and cost $120 each for four sessions. My wife is a former dancer and fitness instructor ... no way, she said. Regardless there are plenty of ellipticals, weights and treadmills to handle those that want to keep the pounds off or continue a fitness program. Dinning ..... wow! A huge range of opportunities that would meet the needs of any type of dinning preference among passengers. There are four specialty restaurants (Silk - Asian, Blu - American casual, Morano - haute cuisine, Tuscan - Italian grill ....all with varying covers from $30 each at Morano). There is also a fifth casual dining area that charges a $5 cover and serves Crepe specialties ... very nice. Food quality was a cut above even Celebrity standards, which, again, are, in my opinion, the best in the mid-range cruise industry (e.g., Celebrity, RCL, Princess, MSC, Costa, et. al.). Buffets are nicely executed with a wide selection of high quality dishes. One of the delights of our cruising is sampling the very good on board wine selections. We are not wine connoisseurs by any stretch and work hard to find wine for under $15, preferably under $10. We have found plenty of very good wines in this price range. Expect to pay from $25 to just under $40 for such a wine on board. Use the Sommelier's (wine stewards). Tell them what you like and they will find it even if it's not listed. If you have never done this and like wine ... even casually, sign up for the Reidle Wine tasting ... we did this aboard Galaxy in the Mediterranean in September. Its pricey at $87 each but you get $125 worth of different wine glasses - four each (shipped to you by voucher after the cruise). One can make a $15 bottle of wine taste like it cost 4 times that. The flavors and taste of whites are particularly enhanced by the correct glass ware. Reds will be much more fragrant and tasty too. Sounds stuffy but, I'm tellen ya ... do it and then ask for Reidel glass ware service from your Sommelier at dinner. They hide it but its there. Morano uses it for their standard table service. Shows: This was the best group of performers we have seen during any of our 14 cruises. These are not Vegas style shows but rather a mix of Broadway productions and Cirque' style shows. Extremely well done with excellent choreography, dance execution and musicality. Very entertaining. The Solstice theater is stunning with good sight lines from any seat. I thought the best way to view these particular shows was from the upper, wing (not centered) seats. Martini bar: Go to YouTube and search "Solstice Martini Bar." You will see what the three bartenders do. Then make sure you visit in person. You will meet lots of nice folks here who get pretty chatty after a Solstice Martini. Fun! Ports ..... this itinerary is perfect for us as we have cruised the Caribbean extensively, done some tours and now "do our own thing." San Juan, PR, St. Kitts and St. Martin were the only ports. Four sea days. We like this. Others may not. Touring in the ports is so customer dependent that I'll not speak much to this. My advice is to look at both the ships tours and private tours, read the Cruise Critic Message boards and select what interests you based on poster comments. Ship tours have their pluses and minuses. So do the privately arranged tours. On a fly, we signed up for the ship sponsored Bacardi tour (not the city and Bacardi tour). $28 per person. Turned out to be very interesting. I have a new appreciation for Bacardi rums. Staff: The Captain is quite young but he must be very, very good. There was something a little different about the entire staff with regard to effort to please guests. I believe this comes from the top ..... well done, sir. Debarkation: Celebrity has changed this again leading the industry in efficiency. Bags outside your cabin by 11PM as usual. You will be assigned a departure number and time with a meeting place. No more "out of the cabin by 8AM." Dine leisurely until 9AM in the restaurant or 9:30 at the Ocean Cafe Buffet. Back to your cabin for last minute prep then assemble at your designated spot at the designated time (don't go early, you'll just wait ... go right on time or a little late and you'll walk right off). Your bags are arranged by the same number you were assigned for debarking. There are no more than maybe 30 passengers per number so, its much easier to find your bags than before this change. Customs was very quick. We assembled at 9:40, were told to debark on arrival and were standing on the curb waiting for pick-up at 10PM. Amazing. Side note: Port debarkation was as efficient as final debarkation. Celebrity has obviously paid attention to those customer questionnaires we fill out. Overall ... exceeded expectations ... but that's what X is all about. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Before I start a cruise review I always like to get a feel for who is writing the review. With this in mind my review is coming from a 27 year old male who went alone but shared a cabin on the Celebrity Solstice's FIRST charter ... Read More
Before I start a cruise review I always like to get a feel for who is writing the review. With this in mind my review is coming from a 27 year old male who went alone but shared a cabin on the Celebrity Solstice's FIRST charter cruise. The review that follows is an in-depth look at the Solstice and the entertainment of the cruise. My pre-cruise stay was at the Days Inn Oakland Park. While this hotel was a steal online there was a reason for it that was not readily advertised. It was by active train tracks and while the room itself was clean and the staff friendly, the constant noise all night kept waking me up and it wasn't a good night's sleep. If you can sleep through a freight train then this is the right hotel for you. Embarkation was not quite as smooth as it could have been. I think this was attributable to a mix up between Celebrity and the charter company. Arriving at the recommended time by Atlantis only caused more waiting although some of it had to do with people who didn't have their paperwork properly completed. By the time I cleared the check-in line boarding of the vessel had begun and the throngs of people in the waiting area when I arrived were now gone. This overwhelmed the staff onboard that didn't have enough champagne ready and I missed a glass of bubbly. No biggie though but it was a nice touch that others received. I'm not sure if this is standard practice for all Celebrity or just our charter but it is similar to NCL's Freestyle 2.0 initiative. Once onboard I headed to the stateroom to dump off the carry-on bag and get something to eat. By this time it was going towards 2:30PM and I was starving. I headed up to the Oceanview Cafe on the Lido Deck for some lunch. The setup of the buffet is very functional because it is the action station concept as opposed to the straight line buffet so you could pick and choose what you wanted. The only problem was the salad station was always backward. The lettuce would be in the center and the toppings on the left and then on the right was the salad dressing so the line formed to the right of the lettuce and the people who fixed their salads had to cut across the line to get the dressing. Food selection was ok - not great but it's a buffet so I don't expect excellence here. However, the food nearly everywhere onboard was disappointing in the quality that went into preparation. Presentation was excellent but the cooking of it seemed very hit or miss - mostly miss in the Oceanview Cafe. One other point about this venue outside of its bright dEcor is the bar along the windows that is at horizon level. Whoever designed this space didn't actually visualize what views you'd get when looking out the window. You'd either have to bend down or in my case being tall crane your neck to see the horizon. After finishing a late lunch at the Oceanview it was off to explore the ship with friends who I had intended to surprise later that day on the cruise who saw me first! We headed forward on the Lido Deck past the pool area where the wet zone fountains were working. Impressive show but another waste of deck space on this cruise during the day and during the night for our particular sailing. Further forward was the Solarium which housed the in-door pool and exquisite dEcor. It was a nice place to escape the hot sun with a stark contrast that a jacket or towel needed to be worn because the air conditioning was far too cold in this area unless you were in direct sunlight and that was very hard to come by. Going even further forward was the Sky Lounge at the very front of the ship. This venue served as the indoor nightclub venue and was very nicely decorated. It had plenty of loungers and places to hang out but the dance floor was not big enough to accommodate a large crowd without being packed in like a sardine. Something with the ship's power system caused a problem the first night out and the power went dead to the light system and sound system that was brought onboard. It was resolved later that night and the party went on. The fitness center below the Sky Lounge was always a popular place. Lines for gym equipment were quite frequent and for cardio equipment that it made visiting the gym too much of a hassle so I just opted for the stairs whenever possible. The gym was pretty large and probably wouldn't have been that intensely busy if it were a standard cruise. There were plenty of classes offered including cycling and ab attacks but I could never get myself up in time for any of the classes I wanted to attend. Working our way down to the Entertainment Deck from the forward elevator bank we discovered the balcony section of the Solstice Theater. The first thing we realized was that there were seats that were obstructed by poles and that we'd have to get there early to get good seating which was on the floor of the theater (Deck 3). If you like to shop there are two floors of boutiques onboard starting with the Galleria Boutiques on the Entertainment Deck (5) on the starboard side and on the Shops on the Boulevard on Promenade Deck (4) portside. The boutiques themselves were quite pricey for merchandise ranging from Solstice gear to anything else. It was cheaper to buy off the ship in ports. The funniest thing I found in the shops was on Deck 4 in the Solstice signature collection area. While looking at the magnets I discovered that one which had the ship's name on it actually had a picture of a Grand-class PRINCESS cruise ship on it. I don't know if anyone noticed it but a friend I made onboard didn't. Make sure you're actually getting a souvenir of the ship you are on when you're purchasing magnets. Back on the Entertainment Deck (5) going aft was the Art Gallery area. It was very functional and brightly lit and showcasing all different works of art that would later be for sale at the art auction that was held in the Sky Lounge during the day. This area actually had it's own bar which had some neat decorations including one vase that seemed to get a lot of people's attention. I'll let future cruisers figure out which one I'm talking about. Heading further aft was the Cafe al Bacio. This cafe had every type of drink you could want that was coffee related but only had a limited selection of teas and none of them were in latte form. Since I'm allergic to coffee this venue was not very functional for me but the string band playing there was great to listen to with a glass of hot tea from the buffet upstairs. Bistro on Five is also in this area. This restaurant was too far out of the way for after the parties ended on the pool deck and the Oceanview Cafe was closed. I never got to dine there but the dEcor was nice and contemporary to fit in with the rest of the ship. Going aft was Michael's Club which reminded me of an elegant ocean liner hangout. Sadly I didn't get to enjoy this venue during the cruise outside of taking the picture and exploring the initial day. Next door was the specialty restaurant Murano. This restaurant seemed very small and very intimate. The dEcor was faux wood accentuated by inviting chairs. The menu seemed to offer a huge selection but I didn't dine here on this cruise because it turned out to be a popular venue each night and booked up quickly. In the aft end of the deck were Tuscan Grille and the exclusive Blu restaurant. Both of these restaurants I ate in. Tuscan Grille's dEcor was very dimly lit with candlelight at the tables and serving a mixture of Italian, seafood and steak cuisine. It was a less intimate but still romantic dining venue than Murano and it also had a view of the ship's wake. Blu is the restaurant with the most interesting dEcor onboard including the impressive roses on the walls. The dEcor here is far lighter with the presence of blue and white being the major colors used. The menu in Blu was entirely organic and hosted many different creations and for a nominal service charge of $5 per person non-Aqua class guests on our cruise could dine there (keep in mind this was a charter). Down to deck 4, the Promenade Deck, where the balcony of the two story Grand Epernay was. This restaurant didn't look as bad as the pictures made it seem. The purple helped off set the otherwise white and steel sterile environment that reminded me of a hospital. The chandelier and the wine cellar also added some elegance to a room that really lacked eye pleasing dEcor. This was the least favorite space on the ship for me. Cellar Masters and the Martini Bar were mid-ship. Both were haunts on this cruise and great social meeting spots either for the singles gatherings (wine bar) or just to meet random new people (Martini Bar). The Martini Bar's chilled bar was very neat and the frost on the bar was fun to play with while waiting for friends to show up. The bartenders at this bar were extraordinary and the bar waiter from Croatia worked this area frequently. Going forward was Fortune's Casino. I don't gamble so this place had little to do for me but it was a haunt of two people I knew on the cruise, my roommate and a friend. Since it was non-smoking my friend spent less time there than usual but I appreciated the smoke-free atmosphere. The staff in there was nice to me considering I never once gambled the entire cruise but would lurk there in a rare dull moment to watch a friend or the roommate lose money. My friend hit a $6,000 slot but my roommate said the payouts were lousy so it definitely was hit or miss. The entertainment court is further forward and consists of Celebrity Central which is like a mini-theater venue and Quasar - Solstice's regular nightclub venue. For some events it was obnoxiously small and for others it was perfect depending on the entertainment booked in there. No matter who was in there the air conditioning never seemed to work as it was always hot in there. Quasar was a small Jetson-type nightclub. It was used for after hours a few times during the cruise and I don't believe the charter company put equipment in this area but the bass could be heard all the way up to deck 7 where our room was in the wee early hours of the morning. It didn't keep me awake but it did annoy my roommate. Not sure if this is just unique to our sailing but worthy of note. On Deck 3 was the Grand Foyer with the Guest Relations Desk. The walls behind guest relations light up at night and during the day the drapes are opened to allow natural light in. It's a very well decorated area and only adds to the beauty of the central atrium area which spans three full decks. On the opposite end of the Guest relations was the Passport Bar and this is where Matt Yee setup shop for his show most nights. THE STATEROOM My stateroom was 7173 and my stateroom attendants were Loudres and Felipe. Both were from the Philippines and both gave excellent service and accommodated any small requests that I had. I made it a point to help them out by letting them know when the stateroom was empty so they could come in and clean or would tell them to come down and clean it while relaxing on the balcony. Both were very friendly and I gave them extras like the free duffel bag the charter guests get as well as a tip and a good write up in the Celebrity cruise questionnaire. The stateroom itself was in excellent condition. Everything was still very new and very clean. The beds were very comfortable but the sofa was harder than a rock! Sitting on that thing for more than a half hour hurt!! The bathroom was extra spacious compared to most other ships I've sailed on. The shower was larger and the doors made sure no water seeped out. Plenty of storage space within the bathroom to put two people's toiletries and trust me there was a ton of them! This was definitely designed with us in mind! THE SERVICE As mentioned previously the stateroom stewardess and steward were fantastic. Service all over was phenomenal from the Guest Relations desk where a nice lady helped me work out a solution to the problem of a suddenly canceled excursion and changing larger bills into smaller ones for tips ashore. A call down to guest relations fixed some mini-bar charges on my account that belonged to my roommate without me having to venture down there and doing it in person. Each time every person was more than happy to deal with you. Casino staff was friendly although trying to get me to play frequently. They did learn to appreciate the watching mentality and greeted me warmly each time I came in looking for either my roommate or one of my friends (they knew who both were)! Boutique staff was kind and very helpful, especially when it came down to choosing which type of lip balm to buy since they had two different types (who knew there was a difference but there was)! Bar staff were always incredibly nice when you actually ordered from a bar. Service at the poolside bars was hit or miss during the larger deck parties but that was due to sheer volume of orders they were dealing with and never-ending lines. It was amazing that in four different places you could pay four different prices for the same item such as a Red Bull or water. Since my bar bill was lower than expected I didn't say anything but thought some consistency there might be helpful in the future. Dining room staff was hit or miss. If you told the waiter in Grand Epernay you were speed dining you could get out of there eating a full meal within 45 minutes. If you didn't you were stuck there for up to 1.5 hours and the larger tables you sat at the longer it took. I think the service issue had something to do with the kitchen being overwhelmed during peak times with the open seating dining concept. Other times I think it was just that the waiter had so far to walk between the station and the table that it took forever for a larger table to get served so everyone could eat together. I was stunned to find an old friend who switched cruise lines from Norwegian to Celebrity. Nalan, a young lady from Turkey, was working in Oceanview Cafe in the AM when I saw her and she was also working in Blu Restaurant. Through our connection in Blu we dined there the night the ship was in Curacao and most people were ashore. She provided the same excellent service I remembered from her on the 12-day Egypt/Med cruise on the NCL Jewel in 2007. ENTERTAINMENT This section will be done in a chronological format based on the events that I experienced onboard starting with Day 1 - Fort Lauderdale and ending on Day 7 - Last Sea Day. Day 1 - Ft Lauderdale - Embarkation was delayed so the Muster station drill approached fast at 4:30PM. The video shown during this drill was exceptionally funny as the people seemed more robotic than animated. Once this was over it was up to the pool deck for our Welcome Aboard Cocktail Party. It would have been the bon voyage party but we weren't leaving until 10:30PM. It was still fun and a great way to meet some new people. From there it was down to the singles mingle at Quasar. The nightclub was a bit dark and the music a little loud to really talk with anyone but it helped to get you out there as a single. My roommate and I went back to the room and dressed for dinner but decided to catch the early Kimberley Locke showing and go to dinner afterward. Not knowing who Kimberley Locke was made it intriguing and she definitely had an incredible voice and it was well worth the delayed departure to experience her in concert. At 10:30PM we pulled out of Fort Lauderdale and had a party up on deck. The people in the condo towers were still awake and gave us a wonderful send off as usual and it was interesting to leave so late. After this it was off to the nightclub in Sky which was insanely hot and packed. When the music started getting really good something happened with the power and everything went off, music and lights too. While the problem did get eventually fixed from what I heard I decided to retire for the evening. Day 2 - At Sea - Nice lazy day by the pool in the shade to do some homework and relax making new friends. At 1PM was Project Runway and the always funny Malcolm hosted the event which showcased creativity of a few teams onboard with whatever they could find in 30 seconds on the pool deck and grab as well as three sheets which they could do anything too. While they were designing their costumes the boutiques put on a fashion show of things you could buy onboard. It was an amusing way to pass the time. The BooFont sisters left something to be desired during their performance. I had no idea who they were but this was the first time I saw them and they weren't entertaining or on key so I skipped their shows completely. Later in the early evening was the first t-dance. Camouflage was the attire and as usual this is the first BIG party of the cruise. It is also where I met friends I hope to keep in touch with and sail again for years to come. That night was the comedy showcase. Each entertainer was amusing and had individual shows throughout the cruise which I never got to see. Whoops! Day 3 - Labadee, Haiti - Not too much going on this day because everyone was ashore in the sun. The evening's entertainment consisted of two Friends of Bill W meetings (someone didn't proofread the final copy of Celebrity Today) and ironically a Friends of Dorothy gathering!!! Ha ha!! I caught the Hot Glass Show as well as Celebrity's production of Solstice which was incredible! It was a Cirque-style show with amazing acrobatics and incredible use of the entire theater including ceiling apparatus to come out over the audience. Very well done by the Celebrity dance troupe and technical team. It was another early to bed night as the 80's party was before my time in music. Day 4 - Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic - A nice late morning arrival into Casa de Campo allowed for sleeping in. Watched the ship pull in from the Oceanview Cafe and then forward on the Sun Deck. Went ashore and took the shore excursion that visited Altos de Chavon and the Mississippi River Boat cruise. Ruben, our tour guide, was not very helpful when we were at the Altos de Chavon. He spun us on our own after showing us the meeting spot and we had over an hour to kill. If shopping is not your thing then maybe you want to skip this stop all together or better yet just take a taxi and go on your own as a couple of guys I met from DC did. We arrived back to the ship in time to freshen up for the Classic Disco t-dance and our castoff from DR. The staff lined the pier to wave us off which was very nice of them. It was off to dinner after trying to find my roommate in his outfit without success. Later it was Miss Ritchfield 1981's turn at the spotlight in the theater and she was funny as always. Her recorded grass cutting both during the day and at night (looped on a special channel) were hilarious to watch. She always keeps things fresh. This night was the first big open deck party night at the pool. Brazil was a new party this time around and the attire was Sao Paulo or beach. I chose beach and danced the night away until the music stopped at 4:45AM and moved to the after hours down in Quasar. Day 5 - Willemstead, Curacao - Thankfully we arrived late at 1PM so we had plenty of time to sleep in or at least I did. The roommate was up and at the gym already competing for the elliptical. We cleared customs later than expected but this was probably attributable to the ambitious itinerary we had. Either way it was off to the "Curacao Experience". My other tour had been canceled so this I booked which was similar with a stop at a local artist's house who was very welcoming and definitely loved his work. His work is showcased in China - ask him about it. He's very humbled if you ask about his artwork off the island. (His name escapes me at the moment). Next stop was the Hato Caves. Since this is a commercial cave there were limited spaces where you could take pictures. The tour guide was very informative and once again very friendly. The last stop was the slavery museum. A lady with a heavy Curacao brogue gave us a very long one hour tour of the entire museum. By the time the tour completed and we were returning to the ship most of the shops were closing (at 6PM). No shopping to be had here which was a tragedy because the locals missed out on a lot of money. That night two parties were held in honor of our arrival. One the charter company knew about which was on Punda a little walking distance from the ship and the other was at the fort very close to the ship which was docked at the mega pier. I wanted to support the locals for their fireworks show later on so I went to the party. When it started at 6PM to 7PM it wasn't really spectacular so I made haste back to the ship and met up with the roommate and saw Pulse! This was another Celebrity show and once again it was phenomenal work by the dance troupe. I don't know the African-American woman's name but she had the best voice out of all of the singers and she really shined that night. As we pulled away at 11PM Curacao shot off some fireworks. They were very pretty and it was very nice of Curacao to be so gay friendly. I danced for a short while at the 90's Divas party and then accompanied my roommate to Matt Yee's "The Remake of Divas Live." Through his performance I somehow managed to drink a little too much and paid for it with a slight hangover the next morning. It has something to do with "oui, oui oui, oui oui, mmm". Ha ha! Day 6 - At Sea - Woke up fashionably late and had brunch in the main dining room. Same selection you could find in the Oceanview Cafe most days with the exception of the lunch food at one table. At 1PM it was time for yet more hilarious pool games once again organized and put on by Malcolm. Time for a disco nap!! Tonight's the big night! Woke up later and went to the Tuscan Grille for an 8:30PM reservation in my White Party attire with my roommate and his date and my date. The service was slow enough to put us right up to the late show of Chita Rivera who was our special guest star for this cruise. I went to her show and since I'm young and had no clue that she was, I lasted three songs before leaving to finish getting ready for the party. This was the night to go all out for costumes and dancing! It started at 11PM and didn't move to after hours until around 7AM. It was still going until 9:30AM when it finally ended in Sky Lounge. I managed to out dance the other two guys who said I was old for leaving at 4:45AM during the Brazil party earlier in the week!! Day 7 - At Sea - Well it was 9:30AM when the music stopped. Not sure what to do. Didn't feel like eating more like sleeping but thanks to Red Bull I couldn't get to sleep right away so I took care of some onboard stuff. Back to the room to sleep the day away and get packed to go home! In the late afternoon was the final t-dance of the cruise Splash! What a perfect way to end the cruise with complimentary cocktails for 1 hour and music spun by Manny Lehman. It was the last dance with all the new friends I made because after dinner and Ghost Light's the most phenomenal production show of them all it was back to the room to throw the luggage outside the door and get into bed. DISEMBARKATION It flowed very smoothly as the walk-offs went first and I was the third group off. Luggage was still being taken ashore by porters from the ship when I disembarked at 8:05AM. It was hideously early considering my flight wasn't until 1:45PM. I realize they have to get the rooms ready for the next cruise but this is the earliest I've ever been off a ship in Fort Lauderdale. Purchased the onboard transfer to the airport and it was very convenient right outside the terminal and off to the airport to sit around and wait for the flight. In conclusion, the Celebrity Solstice ship itself was a ship designed to be contemporary while keeping old school charm. She definitely lives up to this and her intricate areas that can be explored by the mid-ship elevator banks such as Team Earth which was on my floor made the exploration of her that much more entertaining. When the ship entertains you by itself without the crew that says a lot. With the exception of the dEcor of the Grand Epernay and the wasted space of the Lawn Club, this ship is definitely worth sailing on again. I do hope to try out Atlantis again next year if scheduling permits. The primary Atlantis entertainers were mixed in my opinion. Kimberley Locke was fantastic but a more all around age appropriate guest star for later in the cruise might have been more helpful to pack the house. The comedians seemed funny but they were always up against an even more incredible deck party with incredible lights by Guy Smith and as always the incredible laser show provided by Kyle Garner. Without all this entertainment I do believe the Solstice would be an excellent ship to sail on. I would recommend the Solstice for anyone either gay or straight on a gay or straight cruise! Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
I have very little to add to the previous reviews about the new Celebrity Solstice. This was our 4th cruise with Celebrity and unfortunately it turned out to be my least favorite. The ship itself can only be described as stunning. Our ... Read More
I have very little to add to the previous reviews about the new Celebrity Solstice. This was our 4th cruise with Celebrity and unfortunately it turned out to be my least favorite. The ship itself can only be described as stunning. Our Aqua Class cabin was very nice but we were never offered a choice of pillows. We did like the comfy furniture on our balcony and ordered and received promptly, coffee every morning. While we are in our early 60's the passengers on this cruise seemed to be more elderly than any of our other cruises. This may be just the cruise for them but for the active adult there is very little to do on the ship outside of the fitness center. After watching the glass blowing show, which BTW is quite fascinating I found myself trying to find some sort of entertainment. I wasn't really interested in napkin folding or cake decorating. Since we had previously been to two of the ports we weren't interested in the shore excursions. I guess I didn't understand that we were "permanently" assigned to the Blu restaurant. While some nights the food was outstanding,other nights nothing appealed to us from appetizer to dessert so we ate in the buffet. I agree that the food is upscale but it was difficult to find silverware sometimes. I loved the ice cream bar - Yumm! But back to the Blu restaurant. If you are a meat and potato type person this restaurant is not the one for you. We did enjoy the Silk Harvest and the service was excellent. Bistro on Five needs to work to improve their wait staff. The food was very good but the service left something to be desired with the staff being very inattentive. Most of the shops were well out of my price range and left me wondering who buys these expensive items on board. Each time when we walked past the high end boutique shops they were pretty empty. The cruise line promotes their "star" diamond in their advertising but I had a hard time even spotting this so called star cut when shown a pendant. Some of the entertainment was quite entertaining but we were disappointed in the big Broadway production number. We were expecting more familiar tunes. I ask you how many members of such a mature audience were familiar with the songs and story line of "Rent?" Where was "Phantom of the Opera" and other such classics I ask. I had real issues with the traffic flow out of the theater. The design and placement of the chairs outside the theater block the flow plus quite a few people would stop to listen to the singing group further slowing down the exit. My very last comment about the experience would be the ship is beautiful but we were bored. So overall the ship is beautiful with many unique features but we were bored. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
This would be our twelfth cruise together - Celebrity, RCL and Carnival. We are in our mid 50's. This had to be our worst cruise ever. We are very easy going but what they did to us was beyond belief. I just don't want to ... Read More
This would be our twelfth cruise together - Celebrity, RCL and Carnival. We are in our mid 50's. This had to be our worst cruise ever. We are very easy going but what they did to us was beyond belief. I just don't want to cruise with Celebrity anymore. I have developed painful knees, and walk with a cane. We were fortunate enough to pick a room on the 9th floor that was two steps from the elevator, and because there wasn't three sets of elevators on this class of ship - normally forward, aft and midship, we felt we were very fortunate. The room we selected was room 9231. When we checked in, they had 'upgraded' us - to Concierge class, on the 12th floor, two blocks from the elevator, almost to aft, to room 1242. We had a bottle of chilled champagne in our room when we arrived - we don't drink. We gave the bottle to the room steward. The walking to and from our room did me in and I came home with both extreme knee and foot pain. It was too much for me and I don't feel I would have suffered as much in the original room we picked. Also, we were directly below the Oceanview cafe and bar and all night long they cleaned or did something because we could hear carts being moved and containers being dropped and it was very noisy. We usually sleep like babies when we cruise but not this time. DO NOT book a room on this floor near the aft if you need quiet at night - you will not get it. The other two problems were the overhang over the balcony on this level is extended and therefore your balcony does not get any sun; my husband had to go out to the pool deck to get some sun, and the motion felt on this ship was significant and many people were ill the first two days. We have been in rough seas before but have never been tossed around in bed like we were on this ship. For the first time ever in my cruising experience, by the second night I was quite scared. After we reached San Juan, the motion situation calmed down and was much better. We did complain to guest relations after our first night, and asked to be moved - they said there was nothing they could do - Head Office had 'upgraded' some Captain Club members so that they could sell off the cheaper rooms, and as it was a full ship they was nowhere we could move to. They also mentioned we were the seventh family to complain that morning. We wrote to the Hotel Director, whose assistant called us and virtually said the same thing. Celebrity did not care about the extra walking that I would have to do to get to my 'upgraded' room, and all the other inconveniences. While Celebrity Solstice is a beautiful ship, and service in the rooms and dining experience are second to none, our dream vacation was marred by the location of our room and the nocturnal activities that occurred on the floor above us - we came home very tired and for myself in a lot of pain. My husband said we paid Celebrity to torture us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
Background Information: My spouse and I have cruised multiple times on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, NCL, Crystal, and Radisson/Regent. We have traveled extensively in Europe and Asia. We sailed on the inaugural 7 day sailing of the Solstice ... Read More
Background Information: My spouse and I have cruised multiple times on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, NCL, Crystal, and Radisson/Regent. We have traveled extensively in Europe and Asia. We sailed on the inaugural 7 day sailing of the Solstice out of Ft. Lauderdale to the S. Caribbean. Hotel Info: Prior to departure, we stayed at the Hyatt Pier 66 which was nice and convenient. Ship Info: This was the Solstice's first real cruise - it is a brand new ship. Prior voyages were practice 1-2 days journeys out to sea and back with no destination. Everything on the ship is clean and new. There are many high-end touches. The ship had many spaces to relax each with plenty of private seating and completely different atmospheres. We particularly like the dark lounge located just outside the specialty restaurants - it had soft jazz and a charmingly witty bartender named Brian. The martini bar was always packed and loud. The theater and casino were large and impressive. There were some irritants which hopefully will be resolved for future sailings. To list a few: 1) There was a very strong sewer smell on floors 2-10 from the main elevators to the back of the ship. This occurred on several days and was shocking and quite unpleasant. 2) Drink glasses in the theater were quite large and uncomfortable to hold. There were drink holders in the arms of the seats but unfortunately, the diameter of the glasses was too large for the drink holders. Since the wait staff was slow about picking up empty glasses, we ended up holding these large empty glasses for entire performances. 3) On a rotating basis, there were always two of the eight main elevators "out of service" for cleaning. This reduction in elevators was frustrating during rush periods (meals and on-shore embarkations) The constant cleaning seemed to needed due to a large live bush which is suspended in the atrium over the glass elevators. The bush dropped a significant amount of leaves on the elevators. IMHO, Celebrity should "lose the bush" and replace it with artwork or an artificial tree. 4) Suites are located next to the elevators so noise is a constant factor for suite dwellers - do not plan to sleep late in these rooms. A neighbor referred to his "Royal Suite" as a "Royal Pain". 5) Internet service "dropped" every time I used it - usually in the midst of my finalizing an E-Mail message. On the first night and second day of the cruise, the Internet service didn't work at all. 6) Several times, Orange Juice ran out during buffet breakfast and ice cream ran out during every buffet lunch. Service: Over all, we found the service (guest relations, bar staff, room stewards) to be quite average. It seemed to take a long time for bus people to clear tables in the bar and dining areas. Bartenders never offered to provide second/third drinks unless you asked, and sometimes it took awhile to get their attention even if no other customers were around. Shore Excursions: Like most Caribbean cruises, the shore excursions were limited to two main categories - Shopping or Water Sports. Solstice's excursions were no different from other similar cruise lines. Stateroom: Nice, clean, well appointed. The bathroom was very nice compared to older ships. The room and balcony were small but well designed. We found the bed to be uncomfortable - our backs and shoulders began hurting after the third day. The balconies have removable walls between them so guests with adjoining rooms can merge their balconies. During our cruise, we were never able to use our balcony because several of our neighbors were in a large group and they "merged their individual balconies into one large party area. They used their merged balcony constantly for smoking, drinking, and loud partying from morning until late at night. Smoking is not suppose to be permitted on the balconies, but this didn't stop our neighbors. Since smoking is officially banned in most areas of the ship, illegal smoking on private balconies seemed to be the only convenient way for smokers to indulge their habit. Dining: We found our dinner service to be very professional and prompt. We never waited or wanted for anything. The menus were nice but not always well executed. On the other hand, Breakfast and Lunch servers never smiled or seemed to like their jobs. Breakfast and Lunch food was very average and almost identical from day to day. We tried the specialty restaurants which all required an additional up-charge. All three restaurants were attractive but we didn't feel the food was worth the extra money. The restaurants didn't come close to the service and taste offered on higher end cruise lines and comparable land restaurants. If you like "real" Asian food, you will be disappointed with Silk Harvest, the Asian restaurant. The food is American with Asian inspiration. Entertainment: We found the cruise director, we think his name was Wier, to be annoying. He clearly liked center stage and the sound of his voice. His announcements were shockingly blunt (e.g. "please remember to booze when you cruise so you spend more money - we need the money") Disembarkation: Very fast and efficient. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Celebrity Solstice Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 5.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

Find a Celebrity Solstice Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click