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18 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) to Transatlantic Celebrity Solstice Cruise Reviews

This was our second cruise, our first cruise last September was a 10-day cruise on the Queen Mary 2. The Solstice 14-day transatlantic cruise turned out very different from our intial expectations. Celebrity's sales pitches/brochures ... Read More
This was our second cruise, our first cruise last September was a 10-day cruise on the Queen Mary 2. The Solstice 14-day transatlantic cruise turned out very different from our intial expectations. Celebrity's sales pitches/brochures and passenger revues led us to form a high level of expectationson. Unfortunately the QM2 is a hard act to follow, which greatly influenced our views and opinions of the Celebrity Solstice. Net result of these expectations we believed that Solstice class ships would equal or ever better the QM2 augmented by the fact that Celebrity Solstice class ships are rated at 5.5-Stars vs. the Queen Mary 2 only 5-Stars. First the good news: - The Celebrity Solstice is VERY well maintained and well run ship. - It is kept spotlessly clean. - The service given by 99% of the staff was impeccable; most of the crew/staff went out of their way to please. - Though cabins are smaller on the Solstice class ships than on the Queen Mary 2 they are more nicely decorated. - The house keeping staff (cabin boy) would change towels twice a day, and he would constantly be keeping the cabin meticulous clean and tidy a far superior service than you would receive in most 5-star hotels - Food in the specialty restaurants was VERY good and the service and ambiance was spectacularly impressive. - Food presentation in the main dining room (MDR) always looked good and on about 7 occasions (both lunches/dinners) the food quality could be described as very good. - Daily & nightly entertainment was good. - The weather the whole way across the Atlantic was fantastic we only experienced two nights that could describe it as being slightly bumpy. - The lawn on the Solstice was one of the best-maintained lawns that we had ever seen. Would compare well with any bowling green in one of the top country sport clubs. - My wife and I both only gained 2 kilo's. Now for the bad news: - Celebrity over markets their cruise ship quality service and culinary prowess. Their marketing wording & picture brochures do not actually openly lie but their marketing message is greatly over exaggerated. (The problem with this is that it gives passengers a sense of disappointment and letdown when confronted with the reality of what is actually offered.) - Though the Solstice was very clean & well maintained there was none of the "WOW" factors of the Queen Mary 2. - When walking on board for the first time the impression was like entering a top of the line Holiday Inn hotel vs. a 5-Star Four Season or Hyatt hotel. Nice but no WOW factor. - Lots of chrome & glass stairs with modern contemporary decor. (We much prefer the quite luxurious opulence and elegance of Cunard.) - Solstice has much of an open plan concept though some might think this better than the distinctive & separate bars and public sections you find on the QM2. - I would have no qualms about going to sea in a category 1 or 2 hurricane on the QM2 but would not like to experience very rough seas on any Solstice class ship, they would pitch and roll like a bucking bronco (Ocean liner vs. cruise ship). - As previously stated food in the main dining room was generally well presented and looked attractive but the quality was poor (not the Chef's fault). - During the one and only brunch with all the ice carvings and fancy looking food displays (as previously stated the presentation was good but actual quality was generally poor) I asked one of the waiters at the fruit section if could I have some papaya as there were 9 big uncut papaya's on display. He's reply was very telling and it explained a lot of things: "No we do not have any cut papaya for brunch because it is too expensive". This went a long way of explaining why we were very disappointed with the food quality compared to our experience on the QM2. - Due to higher fuel costs and to protect their bottom line Celebrity must have cut the food budget quite drastically over the last while because they used to have a reputation for good food though I predict this good reputation is going to disappear. This is born out by Celebrity having gone through quite a few "Executive Chef's" over the last three years. The food challenge Celebrity has is that you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. No mater how much lipstick you put on the pig. By continually claiming you are serving "silk purses" is misleading that leads to passenger disappointment. Rather than go on bitching about the quality of the food in the MDR I must say we enjoyed the trans Atlantic cruise experience on the Solstice. Because the food factor is so important to us and the Solstice MDR experience has put our 14-day December Caribbean cruise on the Solstice Eclipse in doubt even though we havealready paid $2,130.84 for our air fair and cruise deposit. If we cancel before the full payment due date in September, we will have a penalty charge on the purchased airfares. We were going to purchase an "On Board Passage" for the $300 OBC but decided against doing so because of our uncertainty of cruising with Celebrity again. If we go on a cruise again we might try Holland America or Princes, or a trans Atlantic return from New York on the Queen Mary 2 if I can get a good price as Cunard tends to be a bit more expensive. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
We just returned from a 14 night transatlantic cruise on Solstice, from Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona. The Solstice is a beautiful ship, and we had high expectations based on other member reviews. Overall we were very well satisfied with ... Read More
We just returned from a 14 night transatlantic cruise on Solstice, from Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona. The Solstice is a beautiful ship, and we had high expectations based on other member reviews. Overall we were very well satisfied with the ship and the cruise; however, in our opinion, as "dazzling" as the Solstice may be, it still has some shortcomings. Note that dining, entertainment, activities, and service were not among them. The Oceanview Cafe has an excellent layout, and is designed to minimize long lines that slow you down. We had to wait at times for a specific pizza coming out of the oven, or a hot sandwich to be prepared, but dining options are varied and well spaced out. Finding a table at popular times can be dicey, but is manageable. Food quality and variety was very good. We had a table for 4 at the 8:30 dinner seating on Deck 4 in the Grand Epernay Dining Room. We were seated near the windows, and we had a more open feeling, than similar areas on Deck 3. Our servers were top notch - very responsive to our needs and wishes. They ensured that dishes were done properly, and they remembered our likes and dislikes. I feel there may always be some minor food quality issues, but overall the quality was excellent. We found the food and service to be good enough that we only ate in a Specialty Restaurant one night. I have to note that they also had lobster tails that were bigger than large prawns. Wonderful! I agree with the Cruise Critic's comments about Solstice having "one of the best interior architectural designs." They also said "passenger flow is excellent." I disagree with that as a general statement. The entertainment shows are spread throughout the ship as usual. However, they put on some popular shows in the Grand Foyer on Deck 3 and Celebrity Central on Deck 4. Sight lines and seating for the Grand Foyer, even with people hanging over the railings on Decks 4 & 5, are terrible. Noise levels near the Passport Bar, and people just passing through made it hard to hear. Celebrity Central is a small circular area that is a key Deck 4 passage way between the Solstice Theater, the Cinema, and the rest of the ship. People exiting shows in the theater walk right through the viewing/performing area, during performances. I feel Celebrity should consider changes in the entertainment venues and look at making better use of the Sky Lounge. There are adequate bars and lounges and the service and entertainment were very good. We liked the Ensemble Lounge the best. The servers were among the best we have had. Drink prices were normal. Dead times in the lounges were not too bad. Bars in the Grand Foyer area tended to be crowded and loud. Entertainment in the Celebrity Theater was overall very good. As usual, the band was outstanding. For the crossing, Celebrity did an excellent job of adding a number of highly interesting guest speakers. Good move. Internet service was terrible and room availability lacking due to number of Apple classes put on. When you could get in and get online, it was a rip-off because it was so slow, you burned minutes like crazy. They advised not trying from our rooms because it was so bad. Our Concierge cabin was the same size and layout as regular Veranda cabins. Amenities are nicer and those were enjoyed. Canapes were not to rave about, but we still enjoyed them. Expanded Room Service menu is a winner. Bathroom layout is very good, and the sliding doors on the shower, are significantly better than a shower curtain. The bad news is that storage space is very, very poor. Worst -- they gave up a lot of closet space for a wider entryway into the cabin. Second worst -- the small drawers, that required you to stuff clothes in them, which caused more wrinkles. There are two storage areas above the bed, which my wife could barely reach. It was disappointing. We did not use any of the Celebrity shore excursions, as they are too expensive and groups are too large. We used Hop On Hop Off tours in Tenerife and Lisbon, and Top Day Tours for Seville. Top Day Tours was excellent. Embarkation in Fort Lauderdale was smooth and quick. Being in a Concierge cabin helped with that as we had a separate check in line, but all paper work was handled effectively. In Barcelona we had an airport transfer with Celebrity and that worked well. Only problem was getting up before daylight to meet the time schedule. Overall it was a fun cruise, with smooth seas, and you can't beat the value of a Transatlantic cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
I would say that overall this cruise on Celebrity Solstice was good. It was not great but there was very little that was outright bad. Maybe I should start at the beginning. We booked our trip before the first of the year and paid what we ... Read More
I would say that overall this cruise on Celebrity Solstice was good. It was not great but there was very little that was outright bad. Maybe I should start at the beginning. We booked our trip before the first of the year and paid what we considered a fair price about $100 a nite. For that price point we had high expectations. After the Costa Concordia trouble prices were falling like crazy. The message board had many posters telling of great finds on price. That is all fine, many different prices are paid for seats on planes, rooms in hotels, etc... but the guy paying full fair still expects great service. The boarding procedure was OK the building was barn like and warm but we got through fairly quick. We liked the layout of the cabin and the bath was very good. Unfortunately we were right below the buffet and it got noisy late at night and early morning as service changes. We were happy with the service. Waiters and cabin attendants were awesome. Food in MDR was tolerable. We ate at Tuscan Grill and it was very bad. We could not get satisfaction from the Management or the concierge. That was to bad. During the 2nd week a 2 for 1 deals were announced due to lack of business. We loved the enrichment speakers, they were great. The main show Crice Du sole was creepy with animal like costumes and acrobats suspended on ropes over the seats(odd). The entertainment director went by a single name Esmeralda, or something, was off putting. She was always on the TV doing disingenuous interviews, gets old early. The whole experience was OK I was hoping for so much more... Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Almost everything about the cruise was wonderful, but the cabin itself was one of the worst ever... JUST the cabin was awful, not the bath which was excellent. First of all, the cabins are so narrow that, with the beds arranged as they ... Read More
Almost everything about the cruise was wonderful, but the cabin itself was one of the worst ever... JUST the cabin was awful, not the bath which was excellent. First of all, the cabins are so narrow that, with the beds arranged as they are, it is very difficult to get from one end of the cabin to the other. One literally has to shuffle to pass the bed - VERY poor design, all in an attempt to cram in as many balcony cabins as possible. And, don't try to access the very small closet without lots of trouble, since the closet is only inches from the side of the bed. And if your partner is sleeping, forget it because he/she will be awakened as you fumble to gain access to the closet. And, who was the genius who put the largest storage over the bed head. Does one stand on the bed for full access, or not use that precious space, or travel with limited clothing? Really poor design.... All cabin designers should be forced to spend 2 weeks or longer in the cabins that they design and fit, and not pay them until they go through what we deal with. I don't need more space, as I spend little time in the cabin except to sleep and dress... What I do need is a design fit for humans; maybe get the bathroom designer to do the cabins, as the bath designs are wonderful.... Note: Cadiz, Spain is one of the BEST ports ever. It has not been used much in the past, but I promise that you will love, love, love the city... Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Background: I consider myself an experienced cruiser, and have sailed most of the world. While my favorite line is Crystal, I like to cruise more than I can afford with them and have also sailed with Windstar, Silversea, RCI, Cunard, HAL, ... Read More
Background: I consider myself an experienced cruiser, and have sailed most of the world. While my favorite line is Crystal, I like to cruise more than I can afford with them and have also sailed with Windstar, Silversea, RCI, Cunard, HAL, and now Celebrity. While the cruise was very pleasant, I am unlikely to return to Celebrity. I saw little reason to choose it over other cruise lines and several reasons to go elsewhere. This itinerary was essentially 2 cruises in 1. The first week to Tenerife was essentially a classic Transatlantic with 7 consecutive days at sea. The second week was more typical of a cruise with 4 ports in 6 days. Hotel Info: Pre-cruise: I spent 3 nights at the Hyatt Pier 66. The hotel is nice but not exceptional (especially for the price). The hotel overlooks the harbor but the 17th street causeway was near the limit of my field of view. There was a tower with an observation point which should have had great harbor views but most guests were not permitted access there while I was present. I think any of several hotels on 17th Street West of the causeway would have been better choices. Post-cruise: In Barcelona, I stayed post cruise at the Barcelona Center Hotel. I was very happy with both the hotel and the location. Ship: The Solstice was built in 2008. and is one of the largest ships I have sailed. At 2850 passengers it is my largest in passenger capacity and her 122,000 tons is my second largest after QM2. It was clean and well maintained. Activities: There was a full schedule of activities, generally adult oriented, on sea days. According to the Cruise Director, this was the first voyage for "Celebrity Life Plus", with a variety of lectures she called unprecedented in the cruise industry, and she constantly reminded us of that throughout the voyage. We actually had 3 presenters, while on my last QM2 voyage there were 4. The Smithsonian Journeys speaker, a newspaper reporter talking about the space program was the weakest of the 3 and was only fair. A second talking about show business I considered good. The best of the 3 was retired NBA Steve Javie. I am not a basketball fan but his presentations were informative, interesting, and entertaining. He was excellent. One difference I noted between Celebrity and Cunard was that the end of cruise evaluation asked us to individually rate each of the presenters while the Solstice evaluation called only for the Celebrity Life program as a whole. Service: The service in Blu was excellent, attentive, and personal. Service in the remainder of the ship was good and professional, but not special, very typical of a mainstream line. Travel To Port of Embarkation: I traveled by train from Washington to Ft. Lauderdale. The train ran 3 hours late but was very comfortable and pleasant. I stayed 3 nights at the Hyatt Pier 66. It was a very nice hotel but I was expected much more of a view of the port than I saw. Stateroom: My Aqua stateroom was comfortable and well laid out. Dining: I was in Blu for this cruise. The service there was excellent and the food quality was generally excellent although the selection was somewhat limited and the French Toast was gooey. I would rate Blu overall at roughly the same quality as Cunard's Britannia Club (1st premium level). I had 1 dinner and 2 lunches in the main dining room. Overall I thought that experience was within the range expected of mainstream cruise lines, roughly the equivalent of HAL R-class and regular Britannia. The lido was well organized but the food uninspiring. I did not dine in any of the specialty restaurants. Entertainment: There is a strong influence on this ship on acrobatic activity. This to me distracted somewhat from the natural talents of the excellent cast. The cast did 3 production shows with outside entertainers other nights, mostly excellent with a few exceptions. Disembarkation: I had booked a half day tour with Barcelona Day tours with an 8:30 meeting time, and requested an 8am departure from the ship. The announcement that the ship had been cleared I think came about 7, and I went to deck 4 Epernay dining room to await departure. The call came about 7:50, pretty close to the expected time. Summary: This was my 12th transatlantic voyage and 12th best. I tend to prefer smaller ships but not uniformly. I'm sure if this had been my first cruise I'd have been blown away, but my overall impression was great frills with mediocre basics. I enjoyed this cruise but found little to recommend Celebrity over it's competitors and several significant disadvantages. The positives: 1. Having the cabin wired for internet was an improvement over relying on wifi (although the link is still satellite). 2. Choice air is the best cruise air in the business. The negatives: 1. Vista lounge closed to all but Captain's Club Elite 5+ hours every day. In the entire time of the westbound crossing I never once had the opportunity to watch a sunrise from a sheltered location. I was supposed to be a customer, not a pledge at a college fraternity and have never felt as much as a second class citizen. RCI (at least on Enchantment) does these things either in the unused level of the dining room or half of the Viking Crown Lounge, rarely if ever closing off the entire observation lounge. 2. A tiny, poorly stocked, and completely unstaffed library, much less than anything I've encountered on HAL, Cunard, or even Windstar's tiny ships. 3. A "port lecturer" who was nothing but a shill for the ships excursions and recommended shops. 4. The miserable "jogging track". Much worse than most anything I've encountered yet: A. The understandable: I don't expect the 122,000 Solstice to match the 150,000 ton QM2. Worse than the Crystal (half the size) ships, but hey, they're luxury ships, and I expect more. B. The less understandable: Worse than HAL's R and S Class ships and Prinsendam (mainstream ships half the size or less) C. The downright shameful: RCI's ships are not well equipped for walking but Solstice is worse than either the 90,000 ton Jewel of the Seas or the 80,000 ton Enchantment of the Seas. Worse than the 15,000 ton Wind Surf. Come on! 3 of the ports are under the ports section of the review. Malaga was not listed as an option: I spent the day about 45 minutes east of Malaga in the small village of Nerja. The caves of Nerja were discovered in 1959 by several farm boys, and were quickly developed as a tourist attraction. There are 5 large chambers totaling 2 miles in length but only 3 are open to the public. The spaces run from very small to some rooms that were likely 100 feet tall and perhaps 80 feet wide. The first of the rooms are about 20 feet below the surface with other rooms much deeper. The description said "strenuous" with "more than 100 steps", likely something of an understatement. After I started counting I climbed 150 steps and probably a total near 250 (another 250 down), so everybody got a pretty decent workout. There was sufficient (artificial) light to see the many calcium formations but the lights were not really good for photography. At one point some of the columns were at a strange angle due to an ancient earthquake. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
As a retired Naval Aviator who spent far too much time on ships at sea in my younger days, I NEVER thought cruising would become my favorite form of vacationing. I became a fan (OK an ADDICT!) 36 hours into my first five day west coast ... Read More
As a retired Naval Aviator who spent far too much time on ships at sea in my younger days, I NEVER thought cruising would become my favorite form of vacationing. I became a fan (OK an ADDICT!) 36 hours into my first five day west coast repositioning. This was my eighth cruise, second with Celebrity, first on a Solstice class ship, and first transatlantic experience. I think I am a somewhat atypical cruiser, concerned first and foremost with pricing, and will book any itinerary that provides a favorable cost benefit analysis. (I almost never pay more than $50.00/day base rate) I don't require, am not impressed by, or interested in, ostentatious accommodations, I am never in my room for any other reason than sleeping, or getting ready to leave again, so I only book an inside cabin. I thought $599.00 per person for this 14 night transatlantic cruise with Celebrity fit my requirements QUITE nicely, and booked with my favorite online agency in mid February. I flew Airtran out of Minneapolis to Ft Lauderdale with a short layover in Atlanta. It was a typical flight in today's world of budget air travel, twenty bucks for the checked bag brought the total to under $200.00 I stayed at the Ramada Inn Ft Lauderdale Airport/Cruise Terminal. Definitely NOT a luxury resort, but it was clean and comfortable with a free shuttle from the airport and another free shuttle to the cruise terminal. Never used the pool or the bar, but the front desk was friendly, fast, and efficient and the free continental breakfast was just fine. Arrived at the pier just about 1145 after a 10 to 15 minute ride from the hotel. Already had Celebrity tags on both bags so strolled through the security line in less than 10 minutes. Waited in a check in line for 10 to 15 minutes before getting to the counter. Having checked in online before leaving home, the actual time at the counter was 3 or 4 minutes, most of which was taken by the rep having to walk down to a central point to get the room cards. After spending 60 seconds for the embarkation photo, we were on board by 1215. I keep reading horror story critiques from people complaining about the awful conditions and wait times for check in? Am I REALLY THAT lucky or are there an awful lot of spoiled rotten/incompetent whiners out there? From the outside, the Solstice is a stunningly beautiful work of science, technology, design, engineering, and decor. If you have any knowledge of the physics and chemistry of metals in a salt water environment you would appreciate just how difficult this is to achieve. "Jaw dropping," "amazing," "impressive," "incredible," and "awesome," are all appropriate descriptions. From the inside, the Solstice is a stunningly beautiful work of science, technology, design, engineering, and decor. If you have any knowledge of the physics and chemistry of any and all materials in a high traffic, constant use environment you would appreciate just how difficult this is to achieve. "Jaw dropping," "amazing," "impressive," "incredible," and "awesome," are all appropriate descriptions. The entire ship is absolutely beautiful but I think the high points are the theatre, Tuscan Grille, Michael's Club, indoor pool, and main dining room. If I ever sail on a Solstice class ship again I will request the same type room in or near the same location. (deck 3, starboard side forward) Never any noise or traffic, but less than 30 seconds to the central hub of activity. The cruise critic group on board had a "cabin crawl" that allowed us to see all classes of accommodations with the exception of the penthouse suite and all were great. The ONLY negative comment I can think of, (which was also voiced by quite a few others) was a shortage of closet space. The service by our room steward was flawless from day one and we left him an extra tip. The food and dining areas were all fantastic. From the separate stations instead of long lines in the buffet, (pay particular attention to the Asian curries) to the incredible views from the Tuscan Grille, and the truly elegant surroundings of Murano. We had select dining because we enjoy the flexibility of dining whenever we want, and the option of meeting new people every night. We prefer tables for six over either smaller or larger groups and never waited more than 90 seconds to be seated. There was exactly ONE incident of anything less than fantastic service when an assistant waiter was a little curt wile handing out menus. Again, I keep reading horror story critiques about bad food and poor service. Could it just possibly be, that it's not the food or service that is lacking but the level of civility and decency of some spoiled rotten and unpleasable cruisers? Due to a blatant oversight on our part, we never even made it to the Bistro for some of the desert crepes we heard so much about, but you HAVE to try the lobster and desert souffles in Murano, the coconut curry duck in Silk, and the ENTIRE MENUE in Tuscan Grille. (OK at least the fillet along with the scallops and shrimp) Ports of call and excursions were all fantastic and would require a book to detail. We chose the volcano park on Tennerife and the limestone caves in Malaga with Celebrity and both were extremely interesting and well worth the price. We booked full day tours to Seville from Cadiz, and Girona/Figueres from Barcelona with Spain Day Tours, and both were excellent. If you are a little more adventurous and informal, not requiring luxury transport, check out "we hate tourism tours" in Lisbon for a whirlwind, one of a kind ride. We didn't use the medical facilities or any child care/ kid's program services but did take a look at them. There were only 19 people under the age of 18 on this cruise! I am not a wine or beer person so can't comment on those aspects but if you like martinis... you have GOT to check out the 6 mini martini sampler for 17 bucks at the martini bar on deck 4. WOW!!! Best deal going on the ship! One pear, one apple, one raspberry, one sunrise, one watermelon, and one classic. They will pour your brand of choice if you ask, and even substitute one flavor of your choice for one in the lineup that you may not like... and the artistry of the preparation and the pour... you just HAVE to see it! And then there is the CHOCOLATE martini (industrial strength) served at the passport bar on deck 3... DON'T MISS IT. Disembarking... rolled our own luggage and walked off when we were ready, about 745. No muss, No fuss, less than 10 minutes to stamp your passport and meeting up with the buss tour less than 5 minutes after that. How can it get any easier? What am I missing... or am I just that lucky? Once again I read horror stories and can't help but think maybe it's a problem with a lack of cheese to go with all the w(h)ine out there??? Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
without repeating at nausea in a variety of phrases the above, the ship did not meet expectations and seems to be poorly managed without an understanding regarding customer satisfaction and working in the service industry; co-incidentally, ... Read More
without repeating at nausea in a variety of phrases the above, the ship did not meet expectations and seems to be poorly managed without an understanding regarding customer satisfaction and working in the service industry; co-incidentally, someone asked the kitchen chef where they buy their salmon, he appeared dumfounded upon this question, someone in the executive line up prompted him with 'the Atlantic' and another lined up officer fed him 'Alaska', so the concluding summery answer was 'the Salmon is all Atlantic Salmon and we get it from Alaska' ......;nonetheless, we did indeed arrive in Barcelona; thanks to the aid of the automatic pilot .....??? the Solarium turned out to be a big disappointment for many passengers who had expected - based on the term Solarium, and on previous experience with the Millennium ships, that the Solstice Solarium pool would be heated to a comfortable temperature as well. No-one expected the supposedly superior ship Solstice would revert to an unheated, thus ice-cold Solarium pool.The dinner buffet was boringly repetitive with very basic choices lacking flavor and sophistication in an unpleasant atmosphere with uninterested attendants avoiding eye contact to circumvent being asked to serve water or drinks ....or clear some of the used dishes ....... looking back to the variety of cruise lines and their individual ships on which we enjoyed an all around pleasant cruise, meeting or exceeding expectations, it appears that the management of the individual ship, more than the cruise line itself, is responsible in creating the experience their company promises and advertises.While the Solstice is a wonderful vessel, the executive officers / crew certainly lacks doing justice to the ship and its passengers. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Just finished a wonderful 13 day Transatlantic crossing on Celebrity Solstice (departed Fort Lauderdale May 1, 2011 arrived Barcelona, Spain on May 14, 2011).I was in cabin 7276, starboard side unobstructed, non-Concierge class balcony ... Read More
Just finished a wonderful 13 day Transatlantic crossing on Celebrity Solstice (departed Fort Lauderdale May 1, 2011 arrived Barcelona, Spain on May 14, 2011).I was in cabin 7276, starboard side unobstructed, non-Concierge class balcony classified as category 2A. This was a great cabin. Being midships right over the stabilizers meant I experienced much less ship motion than my friends in cabins at the bow of the ship, high up (deck 12) in Aqua Class, or in Sky Suites at the very stern of the ship. The crossing itself was not rocky at all. In fact on several days the ocean looked like a lake with an almost glassy smooth surface. But we did have some days with typical deep ocean swells and I slept very well unlike people in some cabins on higher decks or at either end of the ship. Sometimes you can feel the stabilizers push the ship against the swell, and it is a rather re-assuring feeling.Cabin 7276 sleeps 5 people: two twin beds (which I had made up into one big bed), then one bed that can drop from the ceiling, then the couch, then the trundle bed under the couch. It can be joined with cabin 7274 for a family configuration of adjoining rooms with a common door to the hallway.This cabin is right at the middle of the giant X seen on the side of the ship. Some people call this the "bump" section of the ship. The Bump really consists of 2 cabins with angled larger balconies, then 10 cabins all in a row, then another 2 cabins with angled larger balconies. The lifeboats end/begin after the cabins with angled balconies. Cabin 7276 is almost right in the middle of the row of 10 cabins and has a flat fronted balcony with a clear view over the promenade on Deck 5 below, and looks directly out to sea. Cabins on the Solstice alternate in configuration of the bed being either closer to the balcony or the restroom. The beds in Cabin 7276 are closer to the bathroom with the desk area right next to the balcony door.Although close to the elevators which ride through a giant chimney that channels sound up the atrium to all decks, there is a wall between the elevator lobby and the hallway to this cabin and thus 7276 is a really quiet cabin. Because the Team Earth "living room" is right on this floor it is a great place for friends and family to meet/gather on port days before leaving the ship together. The proximity to the aft stairs means that it is very easy to get to the Oceanview Cafe on Deck 14 (there is no deck 13 on this ship). There is ample storage - but not alot of hanging space in this cabin. The bathroom is large with lots of shelves and drawers for storage. The shower is very nice and big enough for two people at once. You can also use the cupboards above the bed as well as the storage space above the mini fridge to store items.I have traveled Concierge class before but I did not miss those amenities in this cabin at all. As far as I could tell, the square footage between the cabins in Aqua class, Concierge class and A1 were exactly the same. Aqua class rooms, however, had two shower heads (one from above, one from below) that was sorta cool. I got to eat in Blu a couple of times. The reviews on it were mixed. People who tended to want a more insular experience liked Blu. Others who liked to mix more did not like it as much. The food was not noticably better.Overall, the Solstice was fantastic. You'll love it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
My traveling companion and I are university professors looking for a relaxing, yet stimulating way to recover from a hectic and stressful academic year. We had cruised together several times before on the Solstice, and the Holland America ... Read More
My traveling companion and I are university professors looking for a relaxing, yet stimulating way to recover from a hectic and stressful academic year. We had cruised together several times before on the Solstice, and the Holland America and Princess lines. We've traveled to the Caribbean and the Baltic and I have cruised Alaska. We have been interested in the Mediterranean but we also wanted the experience of numerous lazy days at sea. The Celebrity Solstice's 13 day voyage from Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona with port days in the Azores, Lisbon, Cadiz and Malaga was a perfect blend of both. We rented a car and drove to Fort Lauderdale from our homes in Jacksonville the day before the sailing. Spent the night nearby and dropped the car off in mid-morning and took cab to the ship. Check-in was rapid and easy and in a very short time were were on deck with our champagne. This was our second time on the Solstice, so it was like coming home. We wandered about, had something to eat and checked out our stateroom. Here is where we encountered a huge disappointment. We had chosen 1551 on the Penthouse Deck in the Aqua Class area on the port side. We wanted the same cabin, 1533, that we enjoyed last summer in the Western Caribbean, but it was unavailable when I booked. Looking at the deck plan, I thought 1551 would be fine. Little did I know that the view from our veranda was partially blocked by a large structure that is used for cleaning boat, or so I was told. Also there is a wide overhang from the deck above that renders the cabin in this section dark. We didn't really like the cabin, but figured we would make the best of it. After talking about it for awhile, we decided I would call guest relations to see if anything could be done about it. I was politely told that the cruise was fully booked and nothing comparable was available for us, but to check back once the ship sailed to see if anyone failed to board. We thought the chance of us getting to move was not likely, so we decided to put it out of our minds and headed for one our favorite spots, the Martini Bar. There we reunited with some of our favorite bartenders from last summer's cruise and started meeting fellow shipmates. The Martini Bar is the perfect place to people watch. In no time, we were caught up with the excitement of leaving on a transatlantic voyage. Off we went to the lifeboat drill. In an elevator, we happened to strike up with an officer of the ship who was job was to be an international host. We asked what that entailed and he told us it involved public relations. Since I teach public relations courses, we chatted about that a bit. He asked us how everything was so far, we said it was wonderful and we were excited, but the cabin in Aqua was a disappointment. We briefly told him about our problem. He said he would look into it and then we parted. After the ship sailed, we made our way to the guest relations desk that was packed with people who had issues. We waited our turn, but overheard people upset about this or that or with questions. There was a sign that said no upgrades were available. We were in good spirits, so we greeted the representative with a smile and repeated our story that we initially told a representative when we called earlier. Much to our surprise one of the other representatives overheard us and said she was working on something. She asked us to wait to the side. In just a few moments she came up with a couple of alternatives. One was to move us to another cabin on the Penthouse Deck, but that fell through when it was learned that the guests missed the ship and would be meeting it in the Azores. The other was to give us a veranda cabin on the Panorama Deck with all of the Aqua Class amenities (except the spa shower) included. She showed us the cabin; the view was unobstructed and we agreed. In minutes our bags were brought to us plus the champagne, the foot stools from the deck the flowers and the bath amenities. We were impressed how eager the staff was to make us happy. I am not sure if the serendipitous meeting with the international host or the fact we were on our second cruise with Celebrity had anything to do with it, but we were surprised we were accommodated so quickly and pleasantly. Now I know how the ship is designed and will do more research on this site to find our which cabins to avoid. The rest of the cruise was exactly what we hoped: relaxing yet stimulating. We made use of the Celebrity Life programs, taking painting and computer courses. The level of instruction from the painting teacher and the computer instructor was excellent. We loved the ports. The excursions in the Azores, Portugal and to Seville and Granada were well organized and informative. We saw a good amount of Spain and Portugal and the guides were top-notched. A back up do to a labor demonstration at the port in Malaga, put some cruisers in a foul mood. Bus tours from several ships all seemed to arrive at once and created a huge line of passengers at port security. People were grumbling and some even tried to cut in line. A few people were a bit hostile to line jumpers. We took it all in stride and after less than an hour were were on ship. It wasn't a big deal to us. It is always amazing to me how much some people who are supposed to be on vacation complain. I am sure they create a challenge for the staff, who seem very well trained to deal with troublesome guests. We certainly don't think of ourselves as troublesome guests, but we did have one issue that marred the experience a bit. The maitre d of Murano lost his temper with us one evening over a rather minor situation. It was very out of character with the restaurant. We were going to let it go, until some of the people we met on the ship told us that someone in authority needed to know what happened. I was going to put it on the comment card, but decided to tell guest services directly because it was a rather involved story. The guest services representative said I should tell the ship's restaurant manager. I was reluctant because I didn't want it to be blown out of proportion. It was the end of the evening when the event occurred and perhaps the maitre d d was just having a bad day. She insisted and set up a meeting and I told my story. He listened attentively and said the maitre d was incorrect to lose his temper. He thanked me for my comments and said the employee would need additional coaching. I still felt bad for complaining. The entire experience on the ship was so wonderful, I didn't want this one issue to take greater precedent than it deserved. Overall, I was very impressed how the issue was treated. I believe the Celebrity Solstice staff does what it can to make the shipboard experience has pleasant and memorable as humanly possible. It was nearing 9 Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Fl ti Miami and stayed in Springhill Suites near Miami airport. Less expensive than flying into Ft Lauderdaleand. We used Joshua Limo to take us to the port the next day. We have used them before and they a great. With three in a limo ... Read More
Fl ti Miami and stayed in Springhill Suites near Miami airport. Less expensive than flying into Ft Lauderdaleand. We used Joshua Limo to take us to the port the next day. We have used them before and they a great. With three in a limo it's less than a taxi, more comfortable and makes a nice start to the irip.Boarding the ship couldn't have been easier. Celebrity has this perfected. He little touches like a glass of champagne or OJ just let's you know that this will be a great cruise.We specifically chose the sailing to Barcelona because my niece wanted to see Lisbon, Portugal as well as Spain and this was her first trip to Europe. We also loved Aquaclass and wanted to sail in Aquaclass again.The room was ready for us and our bags arrived quickly. We were unpacked and settled before we knew it. The buffet was a pleasant place for lunch and everyone did whatever they could to make the boarding and cruise special. Our cabin steward was efficient and helpful and the Aquaclass concierge ma every effort to help with what ever we wanted.The crossing went faster than we expected and we quickly fell into a routine of going to the gym and spa, eating, enjoying the shows and the casino. The gym was overcrowded at the beginning of the cruise but as the cruise progressed people lost interest and there were sufficient machines available. Some people complained that passengers did not adhere to the 20 minute limit but I had no problems. There wasn't a lot of help or supervision to help those new to the machines so novices were on their own. I think that could be improved.Dinners at Blu, the Aquaclass restaurant were usually quite good. My objection might be that there was too much pork on the menu, but I always found an alternative. We dined at Tuscan one night and the food was excellent albeit too much. Our experience in Silk Harvest was not as satisfactory. While the sushi course was good, the main courses were poor examples of Asian cuisine. I suggest that if they cannot improve it, they should change it into something else, like a nice tapas bar. We did not try Murano but everyone who did gave it rave reviews. The buffet and deck restaurants provided nice alternative food choices that were quite tasty.Shore excursions: It took Celebrity a long time to get shore excursions posted to their website. Quick aside, I think the Princess website is far better than Celbrity's. We opted to use Celebrity for the Azores and that excursion to Furnas Valley was very nice. We used Spain Day Tours/Top Day Tours for tours from Cadiz to Seville and Malage to Granada and Greyline Tours for Lisbonand Sintra(Penya Palace). We were very satisfied wi what we saw on all the tours but enjoyed the smaller group aspect of the other tours. We also heard that the Celebrity Lisbon tour concentrated on shopping and we are glad we missed that. Our tour guides were knowledgeable and answered all our questions. If I have one complaint, it was that we ren't told that there are extra admission charges on the Cadiz to Seville tour. However, I would use them again.Entertainment was a mixed review. The a capella group was fantastic. A few of the entertainers were as well. The real surprise was that our captain appeared in two of the shows and has a great singi voice! I also want to say that our captain was the best of any on any of the cruises we have taken. He was out and around the ship, talking with passengers, at the shows, and even in the water volleyball game between crew and pasasengers. He really added a excellent human face to the cruise line and that attitude was evident with all the other senior officers as well. Congratulations, Celebrity! Job well donePonta Delgada: Very tidy, enjoyable port with nice buildings and a good place to radar back into land after 6 days at sea Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
First, let me explain that we are a retired couple living in south Florida and that this was our 71st cruise. Last year our first Transatlantic was the Celebrity Equinox eastbound to Rome in April 2010 and we loved it so much that we ... Read More
First, let me explain that we are a retired couple living in south Florida and that this was our 71st cruise. Last year our first Transatlantic was the Celebrity Equinox eastbound to Rome in April 2010 and we loved it so much that we decided to try in again, this time on the Celebrity Solstice to Barcelona. We couldn't have had a better time on each cruise! We found the service, food, entertainment, ports and Beyond the Podium speakers on the Sostice to be excellent. We have sailed on each of the 3 ships (Solstice, Equinox and Eclipse) in this class and find the ships to be elegant. The design is simple, the look is upscale and yet is extremely functional and well thought out. We particularly like that the casinos on this class are always smoke free. The entertainment was first rate each night with one exception...the magician, who really was not at the same skill level as each of the other acts. The last of the 3 production shows "Solstice" was especially wonderful with the acrobatics interplaying with the singing and dancing. We were really surprised and impressed to see the Captain singing and playing the guitar on 2 occasions. He also participated in a cooking competition with the Cruise Director and was often seen around with ship talking with the voyagers. All of this really added to the wonderful experience of this journey. We were also fascinated by the at-sea day talks given by Nigel West on syping and counterintelligence. His breadth of knowledge and skill in presenting each talk without notes or visuals and yet capturing the audience was truly impressive. We enjoyed this cruise so much and we're now booked on the Celebrity Ecplise westbound Transatlantic this October. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We flew to FLL and stayed at Motel8 near the airport. Not a luxury hotel, mind you, but clean, cheap and they had a shuttle from the airport and to the dock. Also they were within walking distance to a liquor store, which is important to ... Read More
We flew to FLL and stayed at Motel8 near the airport. Not a luxury hotel, mind you, but clean, cheap and they had a shuttle from the airport and to the dock. Also they were within walking distance to a liquor store, which is important to those who know why! Very convenient.Check in next morning was a breeze. We were in cabin 6248 (obstructed balcony) and found that the obstruction was just a life boat underneath the railing. It only obstructed the view straight down, not the view of the ocean.The cabin was very nice and well equipped. The only annoyance was the closet which was very poorly designed. Sliding doors which didn't slide very well, and hinges that cut off your fingers if you didn't pay attention.Other than that, this was the most beautiful ship we've been on. The dEcor is modern, and we never felt crowded. The food was good, and the wine list extensive - with many wines in the $25 to 35 range. Service was flawless. The breakfast and lunch offerings at the buffet were extensive, but dinner at the buffet was rather limited. We did not use the specialty restaurants because we were unable to secure a reservation at a time suitable to us.Entertainment was of typical cruise ship quality, and the lectures offered were very interesting.If there is any room for improvement, it's in the IT area. Internet access is more cumbersome and fragile than on other ships. And since we're talking IT, how about fixing your web site, Celebrity, so I don't have to enter all my personals every time I log on. Also, why do you still mail luggage stickers when most other lines let you print them at home? Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We took a May transatlantic cruise from Fort Lauderdale ending up in Barcelona with a relaxing 6 straight days at sea. The passengers were mostly experienced 50+ couples with few children or younger people. Most of the passengers I spoke ... Read More
We took a May transatlantic cruise from Fort Lauderdale ending up in Barcelona with a relaxing 6 straight days at sea. The passengers were mostly experienced 50+ couples with few children or younger people. Most of the passengers I spoke with were staying in Europe at least for a few days after the cruise. The cost of a transatlantic cruise compares favorably with business class airfare and approaches coach fares.The ship is beautiful and the cabins very nice especially the enclosed showers. There are apparently lounge chairs for many thousands on the outdoor decks so there was never a problem finding an empty one. The abilities and attitude of the service staff was the best I've experienced in over 10 other cruises.Food was pretty good in the main dining room with exceptionally good service. I'm in the habit of tipping my cabin and dining room servers as I go along, I find it can't hurt. The lunch area has individual service islands which improve traffic flow greatly in my opinion. There was always a large choice of items from salads, pizza and pasta (available almost anytime) to sandwiches, carved meats, Indian, Mexican, hot dishes, etc. The fanciest dining option the Murano was very good, the Tuscan grill average and the Asian Silk Road poor.The on board entertainment was typical although the jazz trio was great. Port stops and tours were also typical.Embarkation at Fort Lauderdale was very quick. Barcelona port was a zoo apparently because 4 large ships arrived at the same time. I would advise pre-booking a port pickup if you are arriving in Barcelona.The bottom line is I enjoyed the cruise so much I booked the October return journey. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This was one of our favorite cruises! The May transatlantic was very relaxing, intellectually stimulating and entertaining. Seas were mostly smooth, perhaps one day of moderate rolling. The crew was outstanding in all aspects, from the ... Read More
This was one of our favorite cruises! The May transatlantic was very relaxing, intellectually stimulating and entertaining. Seas were mostly smooth, perhaps one day of moderate rolling. The crew was outstanding in all aspects, from the Guest Relations Desk, especially Galyna and Marie, the Documentation Officer to the wait staff in Blu. I don't think we have encountered a better staff at sea. Aquaclass and Stateroom 1640: We were on the starboard side and received morning sun. However, I think next time I might book Port side to get the sunset instead. We had a large overhang so had to go out on deck if we wanted any sun during the day. Our stateroom attendant Clifton from Goa did a fine job and really made an effort to keep us happy. We had some problems with the pillows and he found some that were more acceptable. He even brought the cheese plate without requesting it which was appreciated. Loved the shower with the jets. I also liked the ice tea that was brought everyday. This was the first time we had the bed by the balcony. Prior to that we always had the bed near the bath. I like both configurations but with the bed by the balcony you can see the ocean without having to get out of bed. Blu: The food was very good. The best part for us was the smaller, elegant dining room. The wait staff was excellent but made recommendations that I was not sure if they told to make or they actually liked those specific dishes. Probably the former. The vegetable dishes and risotto were yummy. I also had a great duck salad. Some of the misses were the crispy beef tartar (nothing crispy about the beef and it looked like catfood) and the salty sea bass. However, if you don't like something it is very easy to order another dish. The head maitre'd, Czyna (sp?) and Stan the assistant could not have been more professional and personable. They knew we liked sitting next to the window and most of the time made an effort to seat us at table there. We only had breakfast at Blu once and it was good but we liked the Oceanview for more variety. Entertainment: It was surprisingly very good on this cruise. Nicola Loud, Paul Baker and Diane Cousins were all terrific performers. The Captain even did an impromptu surprise performance one night before we reached the Azores. He has a great voice and also can cook as he participated in the cooking challenge. The speaker series was well done. Nigel West was a delight to listen to on espionage and counter intelligence. His sessions were packed and it was always great to see him sashay on stage in his white trousers and navy jacket. He was also an excellent speaker and is a wealth of information. Wifi: The Internet worked very well on both our Ipod Touch and Ipad. However, the Ipad had a looping problem that needed to be resolved to get the Internet to work correctly. The Internet speed was very fast and probably the best of any cruise I have taken. We took advantage of the Captains Club discount and probably used more minutes than I would normally because of all the sea days. Fitness Center: This was our second Solstice cruise but I used the gym much more on this cruise. In the morning most of the treadmills were taken. I brought my own headphones and liked using the personal TV to get me thru my workout. I think this is one of my favorite gyms at sea. Spa: I had 3 treatments and also used the thermal loungers in the Persian Garden. Stacie who did the facials was very good. I also had a leg treatment that was ok but would not do it again. I booked one treatment in advance online but it was apparent they had a lot of openings so it was not necessary. I thought on a Transatlantic the spa would be busier. Ports: We did the 4X4 Drive Safari in Ponta Delgada, Azores. It was a lot of fun. We had great weather. Sun and some clouds and could appreciate the beauty of the island. We went to Sete Ciudades and saw the two lakes. We also stopped in town and got to walk around for 20 minutes or so. Then we took some back roads and went up very high and could see for miles. It was a shear drop on one side so quite the adventure! Had a nice lunch at Talisman Hotel. Walked back to port and around the Sol del Mar shopping center. Lots of stores open even on a Sunday. Next stop was Lisbon and as we had not been here before did a city tour on our own. Took a taxi to Liberdade for shopping. Saw the San Justa elevator and then walked to Rua de Carmo for a few other shops. Bought a few things at the Muji store and then had delicious gelato at Santini. Took a taxi to Jeronimos Monastery which was very beautiful and easy to walk around. We then made our way to the Discoveries Monument and the Torre del Belem. Managed to get a taxi at Torre Belem with a pit stop at the Antiga Confecteria for the tarts. Worth the stop. Cadiz: We had been to Malaga and Barcelona before so decided in advance to disembark the ship in Cadiz and spent 2 nights in Seville. The disembarkation was delayed as they needed some extra time docking. They finished docking around 12:30 pm and we proceeded off the ship and took a quick taxi ride to the train station. It was 1 hr 45 min to Seville but the trains are slower and adequate. It was a 20 minute taxi ride Hotel Casa 1800. Went that afternoon to the Alcazar and I was so glad we did! It was cooler in the later afternoon and also not crowded. The Alcazar was amazing. I think I was more impressed with it than the Alhambra in Granada. We spent the rest of our time shopping and eating. The Robles restaurants were excellent. Palma de Mallorca: Although this port was not on the ship's itinerary, thought I would mention that we enjoyed our time (3 nights) here. We flew Air Berlin from Seville to Palma. A short and pleasant flight. Palma is large but we also made our way out to Soller and Porto Portals. Absolutely loved the entire cruise and look forward to future Celebrity cruises. The combination of a beautiful ship, fantastic staff, excellent food, interesting lectures and good ports made this one of our favorite cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
For years when asked by friends - which cruise line should we sail on? - I answered Celebrity, which is the only cruise line I sail on.  olstice Transatlantic to Rome. The ship was beautiful, the rooms good size, transfers to Rome, ... Read More
For years when asked by friends - which cruise line should we sail on? - I answered Celebrity, which is the only cruise line I sail on.  olstice Transatlantic to Rome. The ship was beautiful, the rooms good size, transfers to Rome, embarkation and disembarkation flawless and the entertainment was above average. So much for the pleasantries.  The dining room experience was terrible.  Food was bland, and lukewarm, not up to the quality of Celebrity.  The menu had Kobe meatloaf one night and spaghetti and meatballs another night at "dinner".  Food was either rare or well done when ordered medium.  Waiters no longer provide fresh ground pepper and the sour cream was offered fifteen minutes after the baked potatoes were delivered.  I tried to get coffee with the meal but it was too hard.   The waiters seemed scared of the matre'd staff.  The elegant tea looked beautiful but service was so poor you couldn't enjoy it. Sanitation needs work; dishes and silverware were at times soiled.  One morning I watched as the buffet workers moved a cart of clean  bowls from the dishwashing area to the buffet.  One bowl fell off and landed upside down.  The worker put the bowl back with the clean and continued on, unsat! The islands in the cafe buffet were great, no long lines.  The lack of trays made for multiple trips where you must get drinks and salad or soup before the entrEe or the food would be cold.  Food was seldom hot due to electric heaters vice the old steam tables.   Room service was horrendous.  The first order didn't show up.  I called and they acknowledged they had the order and would deliver it, fifteen minutes late.  The second time, all the food was cold, eggs, hash browns, and french toast.  Two nights we had friends join us in the evening and I ordered snacks and drinks for four.  Each time they brought an order for two, two glasses and two napkins with silverware. The theater's rows are too tight.  Seats were broken, two in one night and the lack of tables is a step down.  The art auction area is too small and the auction company personnel were not friendly - go back to Park West! The consignee was also unfriendly and useless.  The ship refused to honor the no saving of chairs by the pools.  Chairs would sit for hours with a shirt or book on them but no one using them. Get rid of the grass, people looked at it once and never went back. The glass show was excellent. The timing of Elite members events i.e. (senior officer's party) were normally in the morning, 11:15 A.M.  This is too early, especially when losing an hour most days. We haven't decided if we will sail on Celebrity again.  Maybe once the Soltice bad taste is out of our mouths.    Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
This was our 21th cruise, but the first on Celebrity. We are a Norwegian couple who previous have sailed with Costa, NCL, RCCL and some minor European Cruise Lines. As it was our first cruise with a Premium Line, we had very high ... Read More
This was our 21th cruise, but the first on Celebrity. We are a Norwegian couple who previous have sailed with Costa, NCL, RCCL and some minor European Cruise Lines. As it was our first cruise with a Premium Line, we had very high expectations to this Transatlantic cruise with Solstice. Pre-cruise: We flew into FLL two days before the cruise. We stayed at the Marriott Hollywood Beach Hotel. The hotel is very nice, and it is situated right on the sea front, but we missed some interesting shops and nice restaurants to be established in the neighbourhood.   Embarkation - That went very quickly.  Because we are Platinum Members in RCCL´s Crown & Anchor Society, we also enrolled before the cruise, to membership in the Celebrity Select Captain´s Club. But as we could observe, this membership was of no particular importance this time. Everybody came on board quickly. The Ship: The Solstice is a very nice ship, and in addition we have never experienced a so pleasant crew. Cabin info- We had booked an aft. balcony cabin on deck 9. It was an excellent cabin. One comment though, toilet paperholder useless. Kept paper on the counter. Our cabin attendant could have been more attentive, but our cabin was most of the time being looked after in a proper way. Dining - We had late dining at 8:30 pm. Before the cruise started, we had asked for a table for 2. And opposite to RCCL, it was a relatively adequate number of tables for 2. The Grand Epernay Dinning room has another design and dEcor for a Main Dinning room, than we have experienced on a cruise ship before. The food for dinner was very well presented and also very good, best ever for us in a Main Dinning room. Unfortunately, we were disappointed with the waiter service. Our 2 waiters were friendly enough, and we believe they did their very best, but they always seemed rushed. E.g. - no time to offer salt and pepper, and no time to clean the table between the main course and the dessert. This is the first time we ever have experienced so busy waiters on a cruiseship, and on a Premium Line Ship too!! However, we had a very attentive Sommelier. But to be fair, we also observed PAX who had a satisfactory service from their waiters. The Oceanview cafe had great food for breakfast and lunch. We especially liked the outdoor tables.   We did not eat at the speciality restaurants on this cruise, but they looked very nice. Public areas - pleasing. We also felt that the public areas were very well appointed. However, we have one comment - the Lawn. It is nice to look at, but we do not think it is a rational use of the outdoor space on the Solstice. We will also point out that there often were long waits for elevators. The Bars: Nice - we were particularly fond of the Sky Observation Lounge at the top of the ship, with fabulous views from comfortable chairs - great for a pre-dinner drink. The Martini Bar is also a "must". Entertainment - we did not think the shows were anything special. Itinerary - excellent. A fine mix of 8 relaxing seadays and 7 interesting ports to explore. Disembarkation - very smooth. No real crowds while waiting to leave, and very easy to find luggage. Unfortunately, we really disliked the very expensive price you had to pay on board for a shuttle bus, from the Port to the Airport. Overall - We enjoyed the Ship, the food and the itinerary. It was a relaxing atmosphere on board. We also appreciated the fact that there was not an announcement every 15 minutes. However, as said before - we were really disappointed with our waiter service, that was fare from being perfect. We wonder if the Grand Epernay Dinning room, on a general basis is understaffed? Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: This was my 17th cruise and DH 13th cruise. 4th on Celebrity. Have also sailed Princess 1 time, and Carnival 12 times.   DH (55) and I (52) were celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary on the cruise.   ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: This was my 17th cruise and DH 13th cruise. 4th on Celebrity. Have also sailed Princess 1 time, and Carnival 12 times.   DH (55) and I (52) were celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary on the cruise.   PRE-CRUISE: We flew into FLL 1 day early arriving on 4/18, with the ship sailing on 4/19, Sunday. We stayed at the Springhill Suites, a Marriott property (actual address is Dania Beach, FL) that has free shuttle service from airport to hotel and free shuttle service in the morning to the port. The hotel is very nice, every room is a suite.  Very clean, with room for all those pieces of luggage you have for cruising. They have a free full breakfast from 6:30 am to 10:30 am the morning before you leave for the port.  This is very organized and there is something for everyone.  They shuttle people in 30-minute time frames.  You tell them what time you want to go the evening you check in.  This went flawlessly and was at the port at 11:00 a.m. Embarkation went very quickly.  We are Elite Captain Club members, so we were the first group on the ship. Went directly to a waiting agent and within two minutes had our sea passes and were directed on board. Up the gangway, and handed a glass of champagne!  Let the party begin!!! We headed to our balcony cabin to leave off our carry on luggage, as cabins wouldn't be ready until 1 p.m.  They let us leave our bags inside.  Then headed to spa to make appointments for our treatments for the entire cruise.  This took less than 10 minutes.  Very organized.  Then we went to the see the maitre d' to make reservations for the Tuscan Grill.  We then went to the dining area to see where our dining table was located in the dining room.  We had a table for 10, which we were very pleased with.   CABIN INFO - We had the standard balcony cabin.  Our bed was positioned closest to the closet, with couch by the sliding balcony doors.  Plenty of room for two people, however it would be a tight fit if you had 3 or 4 people in this size cabin.  Storage was a little less than we are used to on this ship.  15 nights is a long cruise, and storage could have been provided better for these ships that are designed to travel longer itineraries.  We made do.  They have added storage above the bed with lift doors.  However I am only 5"6" and could only access these from the side.  DH had to put stuff up and get stuff down.  Not enough drawer space to suit me either.  Seems there was much more on the other Celebrity ships, but we made do.  Nice new design in bathroom area.  Glass doors on shower in a dome style closure, for maximum room.  Added footrest for shaving legs as well... nice touch.  Water pressure was excellent and water temp awesome!  New design for the sinks as well... different but I got used to it.  Lots of bathroom storage, which was nice.  Made use of every shelf and cubby.  Toilet paper holder useless.... Just kept paper on counter.  Nice desk area.  I took the tray from the bathroom and put it at the mirror with all my makeup in it.  Was nice to sit and get ready for your day or evening there, as I would open the sliding door and enjoy listening to the ocean.  Let me add that the bed was SO comfortable.  It was heaven to sleep in!!!  King size with plenty of room for both DH and myself.  The couch is another story.  Not comfortable to sit on at all!  Useless in my opinion, however it did become a storage area for backpack, jackets, packages, misc. overload area!  Nice touch with the flat screen TV's.  Nice to have a refrigerator in the room as well.  Came in handy for those late night cocktail cravings!!  The light system is a challenge.  We still couldn't figure out which one to push to have them work correctly.  A little frustrating at times, especially nighttime for potty breaks... usually ended up turning all on, when you didn't want to!  But made do... they should leave instructions on how to operate them!  LOL!  Closet area small and difficult to get to with bed so close.  Not very deep as well.  My DH tux shoulder width was wider than the depth of closet.  Poor design.  Safe is low, but could sit on bed to operate it.  Cozy overall but the design dept. should have given this area a little more thought, in my opinion.  Cabin steward could have been a bit more attentive.  Always needed ice, he never replaced my purchased soda in refrigerator, always had to call him for another one.  Didn't see him much. DINING - We had late dining at 8:30 pm.  We have always preferred late seating, as it really does allow for a full day of relaxing or any activities you want to do.  We had a table for 10 to start with.  One huge surprise was that our waiter was a waiter we had on the Infinity back in 2005!  We were so excited to see him.  He is excellent, and we had the best table ever!  We were able to add 2 more people to our table making it a table for 12, as they used armless chairs from the cafe to accommodate us!  This was awesome.  The maitre d' was awesome to arrange with for us.  Table 414 will forever be the best table in the dining room!!  We had so much fun and met such nice people.  Our waiter brought extra veggies every night.  Spinach, green beans, broccoli, and asparagus.  He catered to our every need.  His personality was what made this such an enjoyable time.  Food was excellent.  The variety was exceptional.  Five stars for sure!! Breakfast was good also in the Oceanview buffet. Great choices for lunch, with a great salad bar and sandwich station, as well as a stir fry, Mexican station and grill station every day. Also pizza and pasta available every day.  The design of the Cafe is very nice, as you don't have long wait lines anywhere, do to the many stations they have.  Food choice was excellent.  Kept very clean and fresh. FORMAL NIGHTS: More than usual, on this ship, which I believe was loaded with Celebrity veterans, people dressed appropriately on formal nights. Best dressed ship ever!!  Glad to see that Celebrity enforces the formal evenings, as other lines do not. CAFE AL BACCIO- Charming and a nice location.  Had a latte daily and enjoyed the area of sitting and quiet reading.   TUSCAN GRILLE - we ate here on Thursday evening the first week of our sailing. It was just okay.  Our reservations were at 6:30 pm, and there were not a lot of people there at this time.  The wait staff was good, however they could have given us a little more privacy.   They kept socializing with us, and we were looking forward to enjoying each other, not chatting with them.  My DH had the filet mignon, which was totally overcooked.  I had the lamb, which was okay.  We could have sent it back, but then I would be eating with out him, and then watching him eat when his steak returned.  So we just made do.  One nice touch was we asked them to have our picture taken, and they called and had a photographer come up to take our picture.  That was nice as we choose one of the picture she took to bring home.  We sat at the back of restaurant, overlooking the ocean and the wake of the ship.  Beautiful sunset... too bad we shared it with our waiter and not ourselves!  LOL!  He just won't take a hint!  PORT & SHORE EXCURSIONS - I had booked all our excursions prior to sailing, online.  We loved all of them.  This was our first crossing so there was a lot to see and do.  We called this cruise our "Information Overload" cruise!  Amazed at all the places we visited.  We enjoy booking with Celebrity for our tours, as it ensures you making it back on the ship by the necessary time frames. POOL AREAS - We enjoyed the covered pool area, as it was windy and cold crossing the Atlantic.  This area was never really that crowded and we enjoyed swimming laps and just relaxing poolside.  It would have been nice to see some drink servers come by occasionally, but never did see any.  PUBLIC AREAS - The Solstice quickly became our favorite ship. We felt the public areas were very well appointed and never felt crowded. We especially liked the Sunset bar and the Oceanview bar at the back of the ship. We found these areas to be very nice for late night meetings. CASINO: Very nice but nothing really different than other ship casinos.  Larger than most with plenty of room to walk around when people are sitting and playing slot machines. ENTERTAINMENT - only made it to one show, the cirque type show, and while interesting, not really my cup of tea. The celebrity orchestra did do a couple of big band type shows during cocktail hour and they were great, as was the a cappella group and the string group. DISEMBARKATION - Very smooth. No real crowds while waiting to leave, and easy to find luggage. Sailed through customs to a waiting limo, and off we went to Rome, for 3 additional days.  SUMMARY - This was a great cruise on a very beautiful ship.  We had read quite a number of reviews that indicated finding lounge chairs on deck would be an issue as well, and we just never had any issues with that. Can't wait to sail Celebrity and the Solstice again!  If you are considering which ship to sail.... Think no longer... the choice should be the Solstice.... She is a beauty!!!  Looking forward to her on another destination! Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
My wife and I have just returned from a fabulous 15 night transatlantic cruise (Fort Lauderdale to Rome) on the new Celebrity Solstice. The cruise was fantastic and the ship awesome! The ship is big but doesn't feel that big when you ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from a fabulous 15 night transatlantic cruise (Fort Lauderdale to Rome) on the new Celebrity Solstice. The cruise was fantastic and the ship awesome! The ship is big but doesn't feel that big when you are on save for the very long walk from cabin 7344 at the back of the ship to the Theatre at the front but we considered this good exercise!   We flew out to Fort Lauderdale from the UK and spent 3 nights pre cruise at the Bahia Mar on Fort Lauderdale Beach. We had a nice room in the tower block with marina and sea views. We felt that the hotel (whilst not a luxury resort) gives good value for money and the location is excellent being linked by a walkway to the beach and near to the water taxi stop.   We took a taxi from the hotel to the cruise terminal ($10 including tip) arriving early at about 11.15. Check-in was a breeze and completed in no time. We then progressed to a seating area where a super efficient lady kept us all well informed on progress with embarkation. Being Captains Club Select members we were seated in a separate area. We were on the ship by 12 noon welcomed with glasses of champagne and since the rooms were not ready we settled down into two of the fabulous comfy chairs that abound on this ship.   There have been so many reports on this ship and in line with almost everyone we thought the ship was stunning - we loved all the bars - the Martini bar being a particular favorite with the juggling bartenders - not to be missed. Sky atop the ship is a large light and airy space with fabulous views from wonderful chairs - great for a pre-dinner drink. The Passport Bar is a nice new addition in the Grand Foyer and the Ensemble Lounge and Bar is great for drinks before dining in the speciality restaurants. We tried them all.   The food - we loved it. The food in the Grand Epernay Restaurant was fantastic but in my view aimed at the more discerning palate and therefore probably giving rise to some of the adverse comments on this site. For example one night I had duck served on a delicious risotto - probably not appealing to the burger and fries brigade if you get my drift. We also dined in Muranos and Tuscan grill both of which were excellent. We visited the Bistro on 5 - once at lunch time and once in the evening - its great - super crepes and very good value for the $5 cover charge. The selection of food in the Ocean View Cafe is excellent. We enjoyed the coffee in the Ocean View Cafe and felt it was better than on most other ships that we have sailed on - it didn't however stop us going to the Cafe al Bacio for Cappuccinos' and the delicious cakes on offer.  We had breakfast in the Aqua Spa Cafe but they don't have the selection which we had on Celebrity Century although the poached eggs were superb.   Whilst the ship has a completely new look the feel is still very much Celebrity and the service was outstanding from everyone. Our stateroom attendant Maria and her assistant Birad were outstandingly good. On the subject of staterooms they are very nice and the shower rooms are excellent a huge improvement.   The entertainment for the most part was good; we particularly enjoyed the 3 production shows. The musicians move around the ship and we enjoyed the Solstice Orchestra playing big band style in the Grand Foyer where they have dancing on selected nights - another new touch which we liked.   The Cruise Director Drew was excellent and just the right guy for the more upmarket cruise which Celebrity provide - none of the silly games which we have come to dislike on Royal Caribbean. I must make mention of the Captain who took over the ship from this cruise. His name is Captain Dimitris Kafetzis, Greek and he is the most entertaining fun captain that we have ever sailed with.   A couple of days into the cruise we were given a form to complete for any areas which Solstice and her team need to address. No reply was required from these 2 English people who were delighted with everything; we can't wait for our trip on Eclipse next year. The disembarkation was probably the best which we have experienced the only bad thing about it was the fact that we were going home. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Celebrity Solstice Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 5.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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