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114 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) to Caribbean - Western Celebrity Solstice Cruise Reviews

We are a couple in our 70's who love to travel. I am retired navy and my wife is a retired homemaker. I have been on 5 previous cruises, 1 sailing cruise on the schooner Mary Day out of Camden, Maine, 2 on Norwegian (Wind & Pearl) ... Read More
We are a couple in our 70's who love to travel. I am retired navy and my wife is a retired homemaker. I have been on 5 previous cruises, 1 sailing cruise on the schooner Mary Day out of Camden, Maine, 2 on Norwegian (Wind & Pearl) and 1 each on Royal Caribbean (Jewel of the Seas) and Grand Princess. Celebrity Solstice was by far the most beautiful ship I had sailed on. We traveled on Southwest Airlines from Dallas Love Field to Fort Lauderdale the day prior to the sailing date. We stayed in the Crown Royal hotel near the cruise terminal. On the day of the cruise we traveled from the Lauderdale International airport to the cruise pier via taxi and upon arrival at the pier were met by a porter to take care of the luggage and he complemented us on having our luggage tags on our bags which saved he and us time. Once in the terminal building we were whisk through check in about 15 minutes and were onboard in record time. Easiest check in ever for a cruise ship. We were issued our room cards and included was a map of the ship which helped in locating all the necessary places for initial boarding. Our stateroom was a balcony on deck 6 port side. Some of the staterooms on that deck had a limited view due to the tenders and lifeboats being outboard. Ours however was situated between two tender davits and the view was unobstructed. The bed was comfortable and there was ample storage room for all clothes and luggage. Life vests were stored under the bed but there was still room for our suitcases. The bathroom was spacious compared to others that we had experienced. The shower was especially nice and large by cruise ship standards. We read that the staterooms and bathrooms were all designed by 5 women who were experienced travelers and knew what was expected of passengers. Ships schematics were available at each elevator station and other places throughout the ship. There was no excuse for getting lost. As is usual with any ship the orientation of fore and aft took some getting used to but once mastered was easy to navigate. All public spaces were beautifully decorated and ample seating was always available throughout the ship. We chose early dining which was a 6:30 and initially we had a table for two but then a couple next to us decided to see if it was possible to join a group table. We were informed the next day that our table number had been changed and we joined a table of 6 couples which make the dining experience much more enjoyable. Service was impeccable and we were granted whatever we ask of the waiter. We participated in several onboard activities including Bocce on the lawn on deck 15. That was also the level on which the Corning Glass works of NY were being demonstrated by three very talented glass blowers. The process of watching a blob of molten glass become a beautiful Venetian vase, or a bowl, or even a fish was fascinating to watch. Each of the ships in the Solstice class has this exhibition onboard. OF course there were the usual onboard activities of trivia, bingo, a card room, library and casino. Staff and services were exceptional. We made use of the Guest Relations on the last day as sea due to a foul up on my part with the airline that we were to take to return to Dallas. The staff person on the deck allowed us to use the ship-to-shore phone and remedy our situation to the satisfaction of all concerned. Our room steward was exceptional in that he outdid himself to make us feel right at home. Entertainment was available throughout the ship during the day and of course in the evening. The staging of the shows was exceptional in that the aerial acts were outstanding and breathtaking in some respects. There were not as many off ship entertainers aboard the Solstice as had been on other ships. However the onboard stars were very good. Staging was exceptional and colorful. Of course many shore excursions were offered. We partook of two. One in Costa Maya where I took the one to the Mayan ruins of Chacchoben which entailed an hour bus ride to the ruins through swamps, jungle, and flatland to arrive at the destination. Our guide for this particular excursion was very knowledgeable giving us a detailed history of the Mayan people and the area. Then in Roatan we took the Jolly Roger Catamaran excursion for those snorkelers who were both beginner and advanced. Lunch was served onboard the cat and of course we got rained on which was no big deal. Included in this excursion was a trip to Gambalimba Park where we learned about pirates and crossed a swinging bridge and arrived at the Macaw exhibit and was told to watch our glasses and the button on top of ball caps as the Macaws liked to take those. Sure enough some buttons were lost. Next was on to the monkey exhibit where the monkeys had the run of the place. The little spider monkeys were the hit of the day. They were all over the place and people enjoyed holding and petting them. Of course all good things must come to an end and we sailed for Fort Lauderdale and upon arrival the disembarkation ordeal was a snap. I have never experiences such a smooth disembarkation with so many passengers. Overall the Celebrity Solstice was a very enjoyable experience and one that will be repeated I sure. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Let me start out by saying this was our very first cruise and we enjoyed it. We loved the ship (well most of it, later on that). We originally booked category 1C (not C1), but upgraded about a month before the cruise when the Aqua Class ... Read More
Let me start out by saying this was our very first cruise and we enjoyed it. We loved the ship (well most of it, later on that). We originally booked category 1C (not C1), but upgraded about a month before the cruise when the Aqua Class price dropped to about $110 more than what we paid for 1C. I'm glad we upgraded, we thoroughly enjoyed eating in Blu. We flew into FLL Sat, the day before sailing. We used Priceline and got a room at the Westin for $85. It was right on the beach strip about a mile walk from bars/dining/shopping. Embarkation was a breeze. We were on the ship at about 1 pm. Rooms were ready at about 1:30. We had read on this site that the buffet would be crowded and went with the recommendation to go straight to Bistro on 5, well worth the $5 charge. We had great crepes, paninis, soup, salad and dessert in a very quiet setting. Room dEcor was very nice. Had a bottle of sparkling wine, tea and ice waiting for us. Again, we had an AQ cabin, # 1650 on deck 11. No problem with noises from neighbors. Plenty of storage about the bed and underneath. Muster drill was interesting. We were crowded in the Ensemble Lounge and were told to be sure we could see the screen. We were early and had a seat with a view of the screen, but then as it got more crowded, there was standing room only right in front of us. My DH was very happy to catch football in our rooms on ESPN. He's a big Chicago Bears fan, and they played on Monday night. I got my nails done in the spa Monday morning. Very nice experience. One of the best mani/pedi's I've ever had! Too bad it didn't last with all the water activity. Celebrity skipped our first port, Grand Cayman, due to bad weather. Oh well, saved us money in the long run on the price of the excursion and shopping LOL. I had a looooong nap that day instead. Very relaxing day. Had room service for breakfast (very prompt). We booked an excursion with Nachi Cocum beach while in Cozumel, and dived with their dive master. We had a good time, the food was very good. We ate breakfast in the MDR (was ok, service was slow). We ate at the buffet for breakfast the next day and liked that better, although they need to improve the drink area somehow. Line for coffee was always long, and the area was messy. We booked an excursion with Maya Chan Beach while in Costa Maya. Another great choice, the food was excellent! Great hospitality and facilities. They even had free Wi Fi! That evening we ate dinner in the MDR with another couple we met. It was a little complicated since they had traditional seating and we were assigned to Blu, but they accommodated us right away with a table for 4 (we were at the 8:30 seating). Friday we booked diving with Bananarama Divers. Great outfit, they picked us up and dropped us back off. It was a rainy/cloudy day, but that didn't affect our diving. We were back on the ship well before 3. We went to the pool snack bar and had hotdogs & hamburgers. I liked the fries. I think with all of the fine dining we've had during the week, I was craving some "fast food". I bought some Pringles while in port and devoured them! Anyway, Friday was formal night. We ate lobster tail in Blu. Our server that week was really great (Billy from Jamaica). Even though the seating was open (could arrive whenever and sit wherever), we always asked to be seated in his area. He just about always brought a 3rd entrEe for us to try as well. We didn't catch too many shows (only 1). I wanted to on formal night, but we just listened to a string quartet instead. DH went to an Apple class (ipad). He said it was pretty basic (understanding that they do need to take everyone's ability & knowledge into account). We went to one of the "Beyond the Podium" talks on sea creatures. It was ok, we were mostly just shown pictures of fish from the deep for shock value. My only criticism of the ship has to be the pool area, and maybe the lawn club. The pool was very small, and didn't look "inviting" at all. It was a dingy aqua color, and standard shape. Didn't fit with the luxurious "5 star" look of the rest of the ship. I've seen comparable at a Holiday Inn. Even though it was small, there were only 2-4 people in it at any given time. With this being my first cruise, I expected something grander, especially for ships with warmer weather itineraries. Also, the lawn club was very underutilized. I'd see someone tossing bean bags every now and again, but most people just walked by it. They could use more hot tubs (or bigger hot tubs). They were pretty small, saw 8 people crammed into one. I know their legs had to be all on top of each other. Celebrity should think of redesigning these areas. The Hot Glass Show was probably the best entertainment (or infotainment might be a better word). We missed the raffle on the last day. I didn't notice the "pool lounge chair problem "too much. Again, we didn't hang out here, but when we did walk through a few times, I saw plenty of chairs. We didn't buy any beverage packages. We aren't regular drinkers and didn't want to waste money. It was a wise choice for us. We didn't even finish our 2 bottles of wine we brought on board. We were fine with lemonade and iced tea. We did go to the Molecular bar once. We both had 2 drinks at $12 each. Even though it wasn't happy hour, our bartender gave us a discount (very nice of her!). We used the Persian Garden once on the last sea day. We wish we had of visited earlier (I suggested it, but DH poo poo'd it). It was nice sitting in the herbal sauna. My DH's only criticisms are the lack of cheap Wi Fi, like maybe follow big hotels and offer it in a public area at least. And lack of a sports bar or any bar that showed football games (or American sports whatever the season). He was hoping to find some fellow fans. Disembarkation was quick. We ate breakfast in Blu one last time. We were off the boat right before 8 am and at our airport gate by 8:30 for our 11:15 flight. Overall, we loved our experience. Everyone we spoke to said we made a great choice in choosing Celebrity. If they are reading this, they should look at making improvements to their entertainment, pool/lawn club area, and maybe add some more activities other than gambling or ping pong (no offense to anyone who enjoys these activities,LOL). Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This was our fifth cruise with Celebrity, (two on Century, two on Summit) but our first with Solstice. It is a beautiful ship, no doubt about it. There were some things we missed from Summit but overall we were very pleased with this ship. ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise with Celebrity, (two on Century, two on Summit) but our first with Solstice. It is a beautiful ship, no doubt about it. There were some things we missed from Summit but overall we were very pleased with this ship. We arrived the day before and stayed at the Ramada Cruise Port. It's a rather inexpensive hotel that includes transfers from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the cruise-port the next day. I'm a believer in the theory that you can have a rather elegant vacation without spending a ton of money. Embarkation was very smooth and easy. The cruise-port itself is much nicer than Miami. Our room was ready about 1:30 pm. We had a veranda cabin 8247. Not Aqua Class or Concierge Class. The bathrooms are quite nice but I think there is less storage space in the room itself as compared to Summit. But it is a beautiful room with flat screen TV, and lovely color schemes. Now, lest you think I loved this ship 100%, there were some negatives for myself and my husband. First, when we got to our room I discovered that there was no pitcher of water with the ice bucket. When I asked the room attendant I was informed that, "you only get a pitcher of water on Millennium Class ships. On Solstice Class ships you have to buy your water". I was NOT a happy camper and voiced my dissatisfaction. The room attendant immediately arranged for my water which I had for the rest of the cruise. The muster drill was also pretty dreadful. On all our previous cruises the drills started in the theaters where people could be seated. On Solstice we were herded into an area where the cruise photographs are displayed. Forced to stand for 15-20 minutes in tight, hot quarters some older people looked like there were ready to pass out. I'm short and was unable to see the movie they were showing on the television screens about the muster drill itself. I also thought that the buffet on the first day was so packed that you could not find any place to sit and eat. Later on in the week it became easier to find a place to sit but that first day it was very difficult. We also missed the therapy pool that the Millennium Class ships have. We spent very little time in the Solarium on Summit. The pool there didn't seem very warm. I think that the food on Solstice was quite wonderful. We ate most nights in the MDR. My husband and I aren't big eaters and find the MDR meals to be quite filling. I'm sure that the specialty restaurants would be great it doesn't make much sense for us, with our small appetites, to eat there. As compared to Summit, Solstice food is 100% better. The service was fantastic, (as it always is on Celebrity). Some of the areas of the ship that we enjoyed were the Lawn Club and the Wine Cellar. We visited there each evening and took part in all their wine tastings throughout the week. It was amazing to me that this ship never seemed very big. Perhaps it was because our room was mid-ship and we never seemed to have to walk very far to get to anything. And except for that first day, the ship never seemed very crowded. One thing that was awesome on Solstice was the senior officers. They were all very approachable and very often quite funny. The last day at sea the officer, (including the Captain), took part in a water-volleyball game. It was hysterical. Something that most people may not know was that on our particular cruise a man jumped overboard at 1 in the morning in an attempt to commit suicide. The Captain turned the ship around on a dime, launched two small boats and rescued the jumper in the dark ocean. The jumper tried to fight off the security people who tried to pull him from the ocean, thus putting the security personnel lives at risk. In my opinion the crew and senior officers of Celebrity Solstice are all heroes. Overall I think that Solstice is a lovely ship and if you are looking for a great cruise this is the one to pick. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Embarkation: Incredible. Fast, friendly and efficient. Got at the cruise port at 11:40. Was onboard 20 minutes later. Wow. The Ship: From the moment Doug Parker and I walked onboard, the smiles were there! Went up to the Oceanview ... Read More
Embarkation: Incredible. Fast, friendly and efficient. Got at the cruise port at 11:40. Was onboard 20 minutes later. Wow. The Ship: From the moment Doug Parker and I walked onboard, the smiles were there! Went up to the Oceanview Cafe. Two words...Elbow Room...and LOTS of it. I asked a man behind one of the stations to explain the stations...and he stepped out and showed me around. Talk about a first impression! The cabin: Yeah...5 women helped designed the cabin...and it shows! Rounded corners..lots of space...Incredible...and yes ladies..a NICE powerful hairdryer and the leg rung for shaving your legs! The crew: Great people. From the Captain to the Cruise Director to EVERYONE. Wow. The food: Incredible. Great food in the specialty restaurants and the main dining room...and the huge wine rack in the dining room...Great Spaces and places: Loved Michael's lounge...be sure to visit it often! Entertainment: Great Leaving the ship: Fast and efficient Overview: The Solstice is incredible. See it for yourself...Oh...enjoyed meeting everyone from Cruise Critics onboard! Scott Lara Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Overall, the cruise was enjoyable....but there were a few areas that could use some improving. Food....it was excellent. We ate in the MDR each night, except for one visit to the Tuscan Grill. The service by Melisa and Igor was wonderful ... Read More
Overall, the cruise was enjoyable....but there were a few areas that could use some improving. Food....it was excellent. We ate in the MDR each night, except for one visit to the Tuscan Grill. The service by Melisa and Igor was wonderful and all of the menu choices were wonderful. We ate breakfast most days in the Oceanview Buffet. Only ate one lunch up there, but all meals there were very good. If you don't want to eat a lot and just want a small bite, the coffee cafe had great little sandwiches and mini desserts. The Tuscan Grill is not to be missed...food was outstanding! Chocolate fondue for dessert. Entertainment: This is the major area, that we were disappointed in. The production shows....Ghost Light....drab background..good singers, but the dancers appeared to be very young. The juggler was funny, but the singer who did famous singers was lacking. He tried to make it up with energy. All the other cruises we have been on, had amazing production shows...lots of backgrounds and costume changes...on this cruise, it was pretty blah. Activities: What activities? No games like the Marriage game, no other games but a few trivia contests. No extra entertainment shows like on Princess. We often found ourselves with little to do. I don't think a 60's party where you have to stand in a crowded stairway to see them perform on the steps is that entertaining. The show was only about 20 minutes as who wants to stand for that long in a crowd? We got the feeling this was a cruise for people who think they were too sophisticated for games. Accommodations...very nice, big bathroom. Ports: All OK, but didn't get to Grand Cayman as the sea was too rough. Overall, it was a good cruise, I just wish there had been more to do. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
My family has been enjoying cruise vacation for the last few years. This is the 1st time we cruise with Celebrity. We went on the Celebrity Solstice out of Ft. Lauderdale this time, the ports of call was Grand Cayman, Cozumel Mexico, Costa ... Read More
My family has been enjoying cruise vacation for the last few years. This is the 1st time we cruise with Celebrity. We went on the Celebrity Solstice out of Ft. Lauderdale this time, the ports of call was Grand Cayman, Cozumel Mexico, Costa Maya Mexico, Roatan Honduras. The ship is less than two years old and it was excellent. All public facilities were extremely clean, the staterooms were clean, the shows were very good it consist of comedians, dancers, singers etc. The food menu had a wide variety, buffet and gourmet (formal & smart casual dining). The ship's service was superior, staff was very attentive, they had a lot added services that the other cruise ships we experience didn't have. For example bathrobes, ice cold towels and fruit punch served while waiting to board the ship after an excursion out on port. We would definitely sail with Celebrity again. We sailed last week on an off season week which had it's good and bad. The cruise price was reasonable, my children join their kids club and made many new friends, the excursions that we book on land not with the cruise ship was extremely cheap, you can bargain with the local people. For example: I got an one hour beach/water front massage for only $20 USD. We rented a wave runner for two people at $35 USD for half an hour, my daughter went scuba diving for $90 for 2+ hours. Cabin was very clean. No the biggest cabin we experienced but comfortable. The lay out of the room and bathroom was nice. Sufficient storage space for 2 adults and 2 children. The large LCD TV is a big plus comparing to the small tube TVs we had with other ships. Balcony was nice size with two nice lounge chairs and small table. The location of our cabin has pros and cons. 1st the pros; The cabin is in the very front of the ship on deck 6, one floor above the main theater. That provided use easy access by walking one flight down to the main show each night. No need to wait for elevators. BTW, we don't hear the theater at all. Our kids use the Kids & Teen club facility and that is also in the very front of the ship. Easy access by taking the elevator straight up to deck 15. Now the con; since we are on deck 6 and very front of the ship, you will hear very loud noise when the ship anchoring at port each morning. It will not be an issue if you are a early raiser and up before the ship docks. Otherwise it will work like a ware up call every morning. The only compliant we have is that the passengers on the ship were mostly senior citizens. Which wasn't so bad because it made us slow down physically and mentally. Sometimes we try pack in so many things in our itinerary and we come back extremely tired. Celebrity cruises is known to attract more of the matured crowd that likes to get dressed up for dinner. We had two formal nights, tuxedos and all. We missed Earl, we traveled the western Caribbean, Earl hit Eastern Caribbean. In fact, other cruise ships that were scheduled to travel to the eastern ports were reroute to the western ports. I highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We never liked the crowds on larger cruise ships and have been using smaller vessels. The passenger count on our last five cruises ranged from 14 to 480. We heard that you didn't get the crowded feeling on the Solstice class ships and ... Read More
We never liked the crowds on larger cruise ships and have been using smaller vessels. The passenger count on our last five cruises ranged from 14 to 480. We heard that you didn't get the crowded feeling on the Solstice class ships and thought we'd give it a try. We sailed the Solstice Western Caribbean in a Sky Suite on deck 12. The cabin was 300 sq. ft. with plenty of storage space; at least ten large drawers, a desk drawer, two clothing cabinets that included shelves. The bathroom was well appointed including a rain shower head in a full bathtub. There was a simple hand held shower too. We prefer a handheld with multiple features that provide a more intense spray. Overall we'd rate the room a five. The only time we had a crowded feeling was right after the lifeboat drill when everyone was returning to their cabins. The pool area and the adults only solarium were not completely full on sea days. The theater always had seats and the piano bars were not full. The entertainment was excellent. The production numbers from the resident cast were clearly of Broadway quality and the "Cirque de Soleil" tribute was as good as the original. Lindsay Hamilton was outstanding, even though under the weather. The illusionist needed a smaller venue. It is hard to see card tricks past the first few rows in a 1400 seat auditorium. There was an enrichment program which normally we would enjoy, but the speakers did not capture our imagination. We ate in the buffet restaurant for breakfast and dinner. There were plenty of serving stations with a variety of items. There was never much of a line at any of them. The stir fry, Indian and Mexican stations had excellent tasty food that was served at the right temperature. We never made it to the hamburger grill on deck 15. We had select (open) seating in the main dining room option. We were able to wander in at any time we wanted and had options to sit at a table for two or larger. We found the food in the main dining room to be good, but not great. Service was good but sometimes we felt rushed. The wait staff were attentive, just the courses came one right after the other. That may be the price for doing open seating; turn the tables quickly. We ate in Murano, the continental specialty restaurant one night. The food a service was markedly better than the main dining room. We did not take any of the ship's tours and opted for local companies. We took Captain Crosby's catamaran to Stingray City on Grand Cayman. Very pleasant day. From Puerto de Maya we took Native Choice to the Chaccoban Mayan ruins. Went out in a small van and the guide gave us some history. He stayed with us for a tour of the ruins, so we had a small group. The groups were combined for a bus ride back to the ship. In Roatan we took a Victor Bodden private car tour for two. You could do whatever you wanted for the day. Roatan struck us as being like the British Virgins were in the 80s. Beautiful scenery and beaches and not very crowded. We were the only ship in but I gather in season there may be four or five boats. Not sure how the island will stand up under than onslaught. Bodden seems to be an agent for private contract drivers. Our driver Keijla was very nice and gave a good tour. The internet satellite connection was about the slowest I've had in a long time. Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze at every port. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
As a Travel Consultant this was my first time sailing with Celebrity and I wanted to see how the other half lived. The Solstice is an impressive ship. Very glamorous and inviting. My wife and I ended up being upgraded two room ... Read More
As a Travel Consultant this was my first time sailing with Celebrity and I wanted to see how the other half lived. The Solstice is an impressive ship. Very glamorous and inviting. My wife and I ended up being upgraded two room categories to Concierge Class 3 due to a last minute discount that also gave us an onboard credit of $500.00. The checkin process for Concierge Class is flawless. Walked right up to the desk and within minutes walked upstairs to the lounge area where Concierge Class passengers were already getting on the ship. After eating lunch in the Oceanview Cafe we went to our room located on the aft section of the ship. A balcony with a full view of the ocean streaming behind us. Nice touches awaited in the room.....a bottle of complimentary champagne....real fresh flowers that were changed daily....and fresh fruit in the room each day. This is a standard balcony so don't expect anything larger should you book in this category. The champagne, flowers and fruit are nice touches and the fact that you can have a full breakfast from room service is an added plus since most cruise lines now only serve continental breakfast for room service. Eating on the balcony in your bath robe (also complimentary) is very enjoyable. Oh...and complimentary binoculars and a big umbrella, which came in very useful a couple of days due to rain. On to the food. The Epernay Dining room is very elegant. I would suggest that you try and get into the middle open air section of the restaurant where it is a lot more roomy. My wife and I and our tablemates were stuck on the side around a corner, so we couldn't see anything in the middle. Luckily we had great dinner companions and great conversation during our cruise. Great food with fantastic selections. I never felt stuffed after dinner. The Oceanview Cafe is very well laid out. No congested areas like you find on Carnival. The food and desserts were well prepared and the staff kept tables cleared very quickly. My wife and I did not try any of the specialty restaurants. Can't seem to talk her into paying for food when she can get it for free. Most people I talked to had wonderful things to say about the specialty restaurants. The entertainment was so so on this cruise. My wife and I love to ballroom dance and there wasn't much opportunity to do that. There was a latin hour in the Quasar disco each night, but the DJ seemed to prefer playing only salsa and marengue, which is fine, but there are other latin dances as well. The pool party after Cozumel also played the same music. The Filipino band was awesome, but unfortunately, the seemed to play in areas on the ship where there was not a lot of dancing room. The Sky Lounge is the biggest dance venue onboard, but is often very crowded and hot. Some of the other lounges included a piano player, jazz group and string quartet. Actually we enjoyed the piano player in Michael's Lounge who played a number of songs we could dance to. Too bad we discovered him on the last night of the cruise. The shows were your standard Hollywood-Las Vegas style razmataze. I've seen it all before on other cruise lines. It is very well produced but, unlike my wife, am completely bored with it. Only two comedians the entire cruise. One who did the same routine each night of the week, with a different crowd to pick on each evening. I was quite surprised by the number of younger couples I saw onboard. There were also between 50-100 kids onboard, but you didn't seem to notice them much. I was taken aback by the lack of enforcement of the dress code. It states in the brochure that t-shirts, sandals and shorts are not allowed after 6 p.m., but I think that mainly pertains to the dining areas. However, I did see people with dressier t-shirts and jeans in the main dining room for dinner. Not what I expected on Celebrity. I can't understand some peoples aversion to getting a little dressed up for dinner. Overall, I would say that cruising on Celebrity was a great experience and I will definitely sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Have not been on a Celebrity cruise in a while as my husband and I pick the cruise based more on itinerary (finding it hard to get to new ports after so many Caribbean cruises!). After many years away, we both remembered quickly why it was ... Read More
Have not been on a Celebrity cruise in a while as my husband and I pick the cruise based more on itinerary (finding it hard to get to new ports after so many Caribbean cruises!). After many years away, we both remembered quickly why it was our favorite line. Even my kids, boys 15 and 11, were impressed from the second we got on board. The decor, service, and food were definitely an upgrade from their previous Princess cruises. My older son never wanted to miss a night in the dining room as their food was so good. On previous cruises, he was happy to hit the buffet, though we can't comment on the buffet at night as we never ate there. For breakfast and lunch it was fantastic.It would be hard for anyone not to find something to eat. The poolside restaurants also had good lunch options. We ate at 2 of the upcharge restaurants and they were quite good, but the food is great in the dining room. We did anytime dining and had very little wait for a table if any. The bars, especially the wine and ice bars, were a cut above the rest. Something we had never seen before was a beverage card that included liquor and wine. We bought one, and even though my husband could only get one drink at a time, 5 minutes later he could get a second one for me. Saved us a lot of money even at $50 a day! It also included bottled water which we got every day as we left the ship. Although we were cruising the Caribbean, I am a shade person. I had no issue at all finding chairs in the shade by the pool. Small pools as usual. Not too many activities which I liked but my kids wanted more. Great music every day. Also spent many days watching the glass blowing on the top deck. Hugely talented artists! Must go see them at least once. At the end of the week they raffle off all their work. While the kids club was nicely set up, my kids did not rush there as they have in past cruises. Other than that there was not much for them to do on board. They still had fun, but not as much as we did. Excursions worked out pretty well though the vendors in Grand Cayman need nicer buses and boats. We like to snorkel as much as we can and did in almost every port. Rented a car in Cozumel to explore ourselves. Costa Maya is a very small port with little to do, but the snorkeling was great. More is being built there. Roatan was great- MUST go see the monkeys. They let you hold the babies which are adorable. Great photo op. Forgot to mention the evening entertainment. We don't usually go to the shows, but did several nights on this ship. They were fantastic! Nice mix of entertainment. Overall, Mom and Dad LOVED it. Kids would want to try Royal Caribbean instead, which we would probably do. Next cruise is NCL in Hawaii and we are a bit concerned.......after Celebrity we are spoiled! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
This was my 25th cruise, and second on Solstice. I am a 50-year-old woman, and I traveled with my husband (24th cruise), 2 daughters (age 12, 20th cruise & age 16, 22nd cruise) and my mom (35th cruise). We were on the Solstice in ... Read More
This was my 25th cruise, and second on Solstice. I am a 50-year-old woman, and I traveled with my husband (24th cruise), 2 daughters (age 12, 20th cruise & age 16, 22nd cruise) and my mom (35th cruise). We were on the Solstice in March/April for the Easter break. We have traveled on Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian, RCCL and Holland America, and we enjoy Holland America and Celebrity the best. We are from Long Island, NY and we flew to Ft. Lauderdale on Southwest Airlines from Islip MacArthur Airport. It's a great airport and I recommend anyone from NYC and Long Island to use it because it's a breeze to get on a plane there. At the Fort Lauderdale Airport, it was easy to hail a cab (a minivan for 5) and we were at the pier in 5 minutes. I love the way you can see the ships at the pier from the airport window -- for those of you who don't know, it's that close! Check-in was easy -- although the older woman who checked us in didn't seem to know what she was doing. We had some problems related to her paperwork that we discovered later on, but it was nothing a trip to the front desk could not resolve. I think we appreciated the beauty of this ship even more this time. It is a beautiful ship, the most beautiful we've been on. The veranda stateroom we had was a good size and we felt there was enough space. For those of you who are expecting towel animals, there are none because of the line's "Save the Waves" program. What is interesting, however, are the fancy chocolates you get at night on the pillow -- not your ordinary mints, these are ginger & passion flower or chamomile & raspberry, for example. Good stuff! The beds are really comfortable, too. Here is a tip I discovered if you need to know where you going on the ship. Whenever you get off the elevator you will see a glass sculpture of a ship with descriptions of the venues on each floor. Well, the sculpture is actually oriented in the direction the ship is pointing, so if you want to go forward, you go in the direction of the sculpture's bow. Dining on this ship was fantastic. We ate in the Grand Epernay main dining room every night and our waitstaff, Ivan from Croatia and Santana from Goa, India, were so good we tipped them extra at the end of the cruise. Santana knew we enjoyed the bread sticks (the bread variety is really good!) and he was always at the ready with extra bread sticks. The ship now has a new menu, and it is even better than the menu we had in April. Meals are all beautifully presented and delicious. The desserts are very, very good too. No free capuccino or espresso on Celebrity anymore, though. We didn't have dinner at any of the alternative restaurants you have to pay for because the food was that excellent in the main dining room. The breakfast buffet in the Oceanview Cafe on Deck 14 is HUGE! From herring and smoked salmon to flavored cream cheeses, 5 types of eggs benedict to baked bananas in honey, Asian breakfast to English breakfast, it's all there and it is amazing. Lunch, too -- what an assortment! The only thing I would complain about is that it is really hard to reach the back row of the salad bar unless you have really long arms. Here's another tip for you if you'd like to avoid the breakfast or lunch crowds. Eat at the Aqua Spa Cafe on Deck 12. How do I even describe this food? Interesting, exotic, flavorful -- and healthy. There are about 10 types of organic rolls and muffins with flavors like orange & ginger, tomato basil and carrot, along with tasty fruit spreads. You can get a delicious spinach mushroom egg white omelet for breakfast or cold salmon for lunch with exotic sorbets like rhubarb or celery or pepper. In the background you have relaxing new-agey music. I love eating there and I would urge you to try it. The gelateria on Deck 5 is a great place to get a tasty cone or cup, and yes, it is worth the $3. And please say hello to Francisco who serves you. He is so sweet and loves to talk to people. Also, I recommend that you go to the Bistro on 5 during your cruise for crepes. They are really, really good You can get bruschetta, soup, dessert and as many crepes as you want for your $5. Service was wonderful all throughout the ship. I've read posts saying that some crew members don't smile. They do, when you engage them in conversation, and especially if you speak their language. We especially appreciated the icy towels and cold drinks available when we returned to the ship at every port. The activities on the ship were not one of its strongest points. The man who spoke about the history of the Maya was a bit boring, and most of the jewelry or health-related talks all are connected with them selling you something. They have a really beautiful gym with a lot of equipment. My girls went to the X Club (kids' club) at times and had fun. They give out free kids' T-shirts the last night -- even if your kids never go -- there's another tip for you. We enjoyed the entertainment even more this time. The a capella group was entertaining. The three production shows were great and showed how hard the singers, dancers and band really work. We really paid close attention to the Cirque de Soleil show this time -- how do they hang from their neck or their heel, or balance on blocks on a moving ship??? We especially enjoyed the 2 specialty acts, comedian James Stephens III, who is a brilliant, super-talented and generous entertainer; and Lindsay Hamilton, from London's West End, who sang beautifully while acknowledging that she was also a busy "mum." The Cruise Director, Paul Baya, was very accessible and entertaining. In fact, the cast was also accessible -- the ship makes it a point for an entertainer to stand at the door and say good night as you exit the theater. The ship's party band was brimming with energy and were really excellent. The only criticism I have about the entertainment is the lack of a rollicking piano bar on board. There is a lounge (Michael's Club) where an older gent plays the piano but this is quiet background music. There's not a lot to do after 11 pm. Celebrity, are you listening? Piano bar! The ports were great but HOT!!! In Grand Cayman we headed to 7-mile beach. There were 2 Carnival ships in that day so it was crowded, but we spent every minute in the water. In Cozumel, we were too sunburnt to go back to the beach, so we shopped right at the port. Just to let you know, you have to bargain. And if you have teens on your gift list, the pocketbooks made from recycled wrappers are fun and a bargain ($12 for a shoulder bag). In Costa Maya, my husband, older daughter and I took a shore excursion to the Chacchoben Mayan ruins. We really enjoyed it, and our guide, Diana was excellent. If you do go, there's climbing involved, it's hot and bring bug spray. Also, we bargained for souvenirs at the pier, and you have to get used to everyone beckoning you to enter their stall. Finally, in Roatan, we took a taxi to West Bay beach. We got a nice spot in front of the Thirsty Turtle restaurant and Bananarama dive center. My daughters and I went on a really cool 20-minute banana boat ride for $15 each, and the homemade chips and salsa and hot fried plantains from the restaurant were great. In Roatan, too, the vendors came up to us on the beach and we did buy from them, even though we weren't supposed to. After the beach, our driver (who came back for us) took us to a wonderful gift shop in the Plaza Mar shopping center that had a lot of nice souvenirs. Ask to be driven there because it is not where the tourists usually go. Disembarkation was very easy -- no waiting, they call you, and you leave... with sadness. This was a terrific cruise on a beautiful ship. I hope this review helps you, whether you've already booked the Solstice or are thinking about going. You will have a great time! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Background Information: Our travel agent has been wanting to go on Celebrity Solstice ever since it came out. Once we decided that we wanted to go on a cruise in the summer she said forgot about the ports and go for the ship. She told us ... Read More
Background Information: Our travel agent has been wanting to go on Celebrity Solstice ever since it came out. Once we decided that we wanted to go on a cruise in the summer she said forgot about the ports and go for the ship. She told us you should go on Celebrity Solstice and maybe I will go with you! We chose it and got the penthouse suite and a celebrity suite. Getting to the ship: We arrived FLL at 10:14am. The driver we know in Florida picked us up and brought us straight to Port Everglades after getting our bags. Embarkation: We arrived at the port around 11. Within 10 minutes we were checked in and getting our picture taken. I think since we were suite guests the check in went much quicker. Due to the early embarkation process the staterooms werent ready which we understand but atleast we didn't have to wait in the terminal until 1:30pm to board. Overall...the smoothest embarkation yet. The ship was amazing at first sight just from the outside. Once we got on the ship and saw the inside it was a major wow factor. This is the most beautiful ship yet. For almost 2 years old it looks like it was the first cruise aboard it. We were greeted with champagne or mimosa which was very nice. We didn't pay attention to the announcements and went right to the stateroom. Penthouse Suite: A gorgeous suite with dining room, piano, good sized living room, seperate bathroom & closet, bar, huge TVs and bathroom, and a good sized deck. Definitely worth the money. Room Staff- The butler, Albino...the worst one yet. He was Indian which wasn't why he was the worst..it was the fact that he didnt speak very good English. Also he looked as if it was painful for him to be nice. The stateroom attendant was Rosa Tejada. The best one we have had on all the ships we have been on. So nice and so accomadating. Food: Oceanview Cafe- Best buffet on any other ship. Did not like the breakfast buffet as much but still had a good variety of food. The Lunch and Dinner selections were really good! This was better than the dining room. Grand Epernay Dining Room- Wait staff were excellent and so nice. The menus however were not good. The food was always really not good and not up to the standards as RCL is. Disappointment. Tuscan Grille- Amazing..thats the only word =) Silk Harvest- Ate that in the room..still very good. Murano- Didn't have but the menu was not appealing to us at least. Gelato was good. Bistro was a waste of space. Ship Info: There were over 4,000 people on the ship and it really shows it. The Cruise Director, Paul Baya, was boring until we heard him at the Not so Newleywed Game Show. The activities director is Maria Kelly, she is with out a doubt the best person ever. She is so nice and was so fun at bingo. We became good friends with her through out the cruise. She was just wonderful. Will miss her....! ='(. The cruise directors staff was half good and half bad. The good ones were Justin, Tanika, and Raul. We did not like Kristine or Sage. Entertainment & Activies: Some shows were fair. Pulse was a stupid show which should be replaced with another broadway style show like Ghostlight. Solstice the Show was pointless. I like cirque de soleil but this was average. Ghostlight was the best show! All the songs were so good. Will always remember that one. Didn't go to the others but heard good reviews about David Meyer but other than that, fair shows. Bingo- The Best all thanks to Maria!!! Trivia- Good or bad depended on the person who did it. Everything to sum up was wonderful. A great first experience on Celebrity. We will definitely return. The best cruise line so far after going on RCL, NCL, Princess, Crystal, & Holland America. Crystal is right up there though with Celebrity!! The ship is imaculate. You should definitely cruise on it or the other Solstice Class Ships but since I was on Solstice and it was good you should definitly do the original and go Solstice. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
AMAZING! That's my husband and my experience on the Solstice! And i will "pooh-pooh" all the people who say it doesn't matter what room you stay in! Our suite was luxurious and the amenities were outstanding. If I could ... Read More
AMAZING! That's my husband and my experience on the Solstice! And i will "pooh-pooh" all the people who say it doesn't matter what room you stay in! Our suite was luxurious and the amenities were outstanding. If I could describe one reason to cruise, above all others, it was the ability to totally relax - not to worry about time constraints, airplane schedules, loud neighbors, or all those other things one puts up with on land vacations. I don't think we have slept better in years. Two minutes on the veranda and ZZZZZZZ. Our room was immaculate and looked as though it had never been used. The linens were plush and the sheets divine. Located in the closet and drawers were two different sized umbrellas for rain, a pair of binoculars which we used daily, a lighted makeup mirror (10X magnification), two hairdryers (I guess his and hers) and fresh fruit was provided each day as well as tea and snacks in the afternoon. Ordering room service via TV at midnight and receiving a wonderfully cooked hamburger was a real treat! We spent quite a bit of time getting to know the ship and eating at pretty much every chance we got. The food at the Silk Harvest Specialty restaurant - OMG! Did I ever think I would try rice soaked in squid ink? NO - but it was probably the BEST thing I ate the entire week. The staff were superb - they gave great respect to the food and making sure that this was a wonderful experience for us. As for the staff on the entire cruise - we could not have asked for more. Everyone was wonderful and extremely customer service oriented. My straight iron broke and i was in dire need. Our Port buying specialist advised me where on Cozumel I could buy a new one. Thanks goodness! All our excursions went well - we loved our guide on the Cayman's. The Rum, visiting the city of Hell - it was all very special and none of it boring. The thrill of ocean travel and experiencing something new was part of the thrill. We fell in love with cruising and hope to continue this tradition. Visit the Everglades while in Lauderdale - Airboating is a fun experience. Just loved spending the week with my husband, stressless and in love with cruising. Disembarking - from our suite to our Lauderdale hotel room - 40 minutes. Who could ask for more? Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We really enjoyed this cruise. The ship was great. Service was just outstanding & we have never felt more welcomed by the crew on any of our 30 cruises. Embarkation was never easier. They use the new cruise terminal that is used for ... Read More
We really enjoyed this cruise. The ship was great. Service was just outstanding & we have never felt more welcomed by the crew on any of our 30 cruises. Embarkation was never easier. They use the new cruise terminal that is used for RCCL's Oasis of the Seas which makes for a fast processing & an abundance of space. Best terminal we have ever used. The ship was just outstanding. Only disappointment was the small outdoor pools which are over crowded on sea days. The Corning glass show was better than I thought it would be which shouldn't be missed. They even give away the glass that they make in raffles at the show. The grass area was interesting but we thought this space could have been better used, The ship was spotless with public rooms very comfortable. The martini bar was always crowded at night with the bartenders putting on a great show of drink making. Food was very good. We thought the Oceanview Cafe was better than other ships. Not outstanding but very good. We especially like the outdoor area at the Oceanview Bar where we ate almost every meal during the day. Dining was also very good. We used anytime dining which we enjoy as 6 pm is to early & 8:30 is to late for us. Service was outstanding. Room was very nice. Comfortable beds & well designed bathrooms. The veranda had the most comfortable chairs we have had as they aren't the typical plastic chairs, rather nylon mesh sitting surfaces which also recline. The 42" flat screen was nice if you find time to use it. We were mid ship at the elevators which was great as the elevator area opens up to the atrium. No noise issues. Ports were good. At Costa Maya we rented a golf cart, wife has mobility issues, so we drove around the very small town & checked out the beaches. Unfortunately Costa Maya hasn't developed as the Mexican government had hoped so be prepared for a rather impoverished condition in the town. The cruise port is well run with attractive grounds & a variety of shops & bars, Roatan is about as rural Caribbean as you can get today. The new port terminal is very good & has improved since we were there in Feb., better organized. We didn't take any tours on this trip but those that we talked enjoyed their stay here. Disembarkation was as good as embarkation. Fast, no lines & off the ship at 7:45 am. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we checked if they had any openings for the eastbound trip. No space so we promised ourselves that it wouldn't be long before we booked again very soon with Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
This was our third cruise and the second with our boys. Previously one Celebrity/Infinity to Alaska '06, one RCL/Freedom of the Seas to Eastern Caribbean '10. Being active teens (12, 15, 17), we'd wanted something that ... Read More
This was our third cruise and the second with our boys. Previously one Celebrity/Infinity to Alaska '06, one RCL/Freedom of the Seas to Eastern Caribbean '10. Being active teens (12, 15, 17), we'd wanted something that they could enjoy but knew that the OTHER kids on the ship had as much or more to do with the end results. While they ended up happy with the trip, the FOS with the climbing wall/wave rider was probably a better choice for them. I suspect that on average it draws a more active teen to pair up with. The teen center also seemed a bit lack-luster and the boys didn't hang there nearly as much as on the FOS's equivalent. However, the trip was very nice. The ship is very tasteful (though the "Art Deco" main dining room is not to my taste - not as GRAND as the other ships we've been on). The public areas also seemed a bit disjointed having just done the FOS only 5 months earlier. Only serious complaint about the ship design is that the pools seemed VERY small for the ship's size. Clearly a lot of room was given up for the sake of the lawn area which was WAY LESS utilized. That meant the pools were PACKED with people except on port days. And I do mean PACKED at times. The "Aqua Spa" pool was open only to adults and in a shaded atrium (which held some of the air conditioned cooler air - a nice break from the complete outdoors of the main pools). So for US, the adult pool was quiet and relaxed. For party people or kids, the other pools were too small and not nearly as "fun" as the FOS pools. But the ship was clean, well maintained and functioned nicely. The cabins were very nice (Concierge deck 10 with balconies). Bathrooms a bit nicer layout than FOS (can't recall the Infinity well enough to compare) and the shower seemed a little bigger. The room was COMPLETELY acceptable and would work for entertaining up to two other adults if you wanted something private. Very few "out of the way" nooks and crannies. Most public area seating was pretty much in main walk-ways and you had to go inside the bars to have a public area (no issue with it, just not as much quiet solitude stuff if you wanted some privacy with your group). Most of the active stuff is towards the BACK of the ship - other than the spa and gym - so I'd recommend a spot back there and not up front. The staff was cordial and attentive. Celebrity has an automatic gratuity deduction for each passenger (our case - $12/day /person) which definitely adds up your bill, but then you should be doing something about like that anyway. I'd been a little concerned that it would make the staff less attentive since their gratuity was a fixed / guaranteed amount - especially the wait staff in the main dinning and the stateroom attendant. However, I'm pleased to say, the staff was still just as nice. Actually, I'd thought the waiters in the past were a bit overly syrupy/nice - working too hard for that big tip. This time they were just "cordial and attentive" and really up to our expectations. No complaints there. Dinning in the main dinning room was fine, but the tables and chairs are really packed in there. At the larger tables (we were at a 10 seater), the chairs are right up against each other. Pretty nice if that's the WORST thing to say for the main dinning, eh? Food varied between good and VERY good, not a lot of "excellent" and as mentioned by others, the lobster wasn't all that great. Other standouts were the cold soups (watermelon, pumpkin) and the pollenta. Very nice sauces most of the time and the meat cuts were almost always very good. The dessert consistency was a little mixed, but most were pretty good. We dinned at Murano's one night. A disappointment compared to the specialty on Infinity. The goat cheese souffle was incredible, but the rest was "only" very good. Biggest complaint was there were so MANY wait staff, you had the impression that people were constantly running around the room. Or maybe the tables were closer together here? The other patrons were also quite a bit more, um, animated than I'd expect at a formal dinning venue, but that's not a reflection on Murano's. We did the pre-selected menu with the wine pairing. They were happy to sub out one or two of the food choices and tried to match the wine for the sub well, but it was an extra $108 for the wine pairing - a little stiff if you're not really into wines (better to just get a bottle or two of something you KNOW you like perhaps?). We like different wines, so the variety was nice and they served a full glass with each course, so you didn't really feel cheated on it. Oceanside Cafe for regular meals was completely acceptable and a notch above RCL/FOS to us. While it was usually pretty crowded, we always managed to find a table. Great variety and they were always very quick to refill anything that ran low - even near the end of the meal session. We also used the Lido Deck Grill for burgers when we returned to the ship having missed lunch - we thought they were fine (though the hot dogs were not very good). Martini Bar was really good and the "flight" at $15 for a sample of 6 different martini's was great. DEFINITELY worth doing even if you're not a martini fan. We're not "show fans" but the Curque De Soleil style show was VERY good (though the hulu hoop thing at the beginning almost had us walk out thinking "that's all there is?" - wait as it gets better). However, it does fill up very fast, so arrive early. And we saw a lot of people saving seats (a no-no that sadly wasn't enforced). Glass shows were very interesting. But the ones later in the cruise were FAR less crowded, so don't feel like you have to go on the first day - it was PACKED then. We did the soda package for the boys (worth it just to save the hassle of paying for the drinks) and the alcohol package for us (not worth it unless you can handle a LOT of drinking (and we thought WE could handle it, nope - just too much at 5 per day for SEVEN STRAIGHT DAYS)). Be warned that any rooms at the back of the ship have very little privacy on their balconies - the higher the deck, the worse it is. The top deck of suites (11?) has about half the balcony in FULL VIEW of the people in the cafe above. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
A neighbor recommended the Solstice after cruising in May 2010. I will list the pros and cons as I experienced them in hope that this will help others. Pros's; -Best dinner we have had on a cruise to date-very good menu, very good ... Read More
A neighbor recommended the Solstice after cruising in May 2010. I will list the pros and cons as I experienced them in hope that this will help others. Pros's; -Best dinner we have had on a cruise to date-very good menu, very good service -Welcome champagne was a nice touch -Modern decor which many will like -Many bars,a "living room, old fashioned" feel to some, others very light and airy (sky lounge) -Decent shows (the last one was not very good) and the "Broadway" one was just fair -comfortable bedding -Beautiful spacious bathroom Cons: -Constant noise all night. You could hear your neighbors talking , walking, flushing, opening the closet, and other noises. I asked others during the cruise if they experienced noise and they all said that their rooms were noisy. Every morning at about 6 Am there was a hammering heard. Either that or the upstairs neighbor was knocking on the door. This was enough to convince me never to cruise with this ship again. My kids heard the noises as well. The concierge gave us another room next to us for my son, but he was able to hear the upstairs neighbor as well from there. They did go upstairs to speak with the neighbor, but the noise continued nightly. I am surprised a ship such as this caliber would have such sound issues. -Atrium--I did not like this concept at all. There would be a band on the lower floor at the base of the stairs playing and for 3-4 floors above people would be leaning on the handrails looking down. This was in 2 areas. It made a lot of traffic in these areas. -Bar layouts- Rather than have separate rooms like other ships (Royal Caribbean for example), the bars were in walkways tucked in in many strange areas that were also near the railings by the atrium. It just seemed congested and lacked intimacy to have these bars so much a part of the general flow of traffic. The only room that was quiet and secluded was the sky lounge and they used this room for private parties and kids functions during the day...so just when you think you are relaxing there reading a book at the top of the ship, the kids are there with a talent contest. My guess is that they really have no other rooms...but why ruin the only place you can have solitude and look out at the ship on the water?? -Problem with lounge chairs- The average ages is older than most ships we have been on, and the only area that was shaded and inside (the inside pool area)had towels on the lounges all day with only 30% of people using them. That meant that others were saving lounges they would never use. They ought to enforce the "no saving" policy. That room was very humid anyway, so there really was no place inside that you can lounge and be in the shade in air conditioning. -Costa Maya and Honduras- Very disappointing ports. The first is new with no shopping to speak of, and a small beach with water that was very dirty-Honduras-you have to pay 60-80.00 just to get to the beach and then the jet skis were went there to rent were all broken down. Music- no island music, very contemporary or 70's -80's. You can tell they are going after a certain market. I like calypso or island music when I cruise. If you were not outside this would feel like a metropolitan hotel, not a cruise ship. Without going into any more details, this cruise was very disappointing. There was nothing for my teens to do. The drinks were about 8.00 each. They are going for a certain clientele of which I do not fit into. Royal Caribbean's Coco Bay Island was better than any of the ports we visited because it signifies why I want to cruise. To relax, have a great meal at the beach and enjoy the day. the relaxed atmosphere of RC did not compare to the "stiff" feeling of the Solstice..even the waiters are overdressed in suits and ties. No Hawaiian shirts there! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We wish we had done a back to back, Celebrity is top notch. We can't complain about much, the food was excellent, the shows entertaining, staff was so nice-accommodating, cabin was tight but doable with ample storage and the weather ... Read More
We wish we had done a back to back, Celebrity is top notch. We can't complain about much, the food was excellent, the shows entertaining, staff was so nice-accommodating, cabin was tight but doable with ample storage and the weather was 95% perfect. EMBARKATION-We got to the pier early. We were hell bent on scoring a good parking space and we did. We were steps away from check-in and even closer from where we exited the day we returned. We did all our own luggage, it was painless. PUBLIC ROOMS-The ship is easy to navigate. There was never a problem getting a seat at the shows, a machine in the casino (payout was typical, I guess it's all about knowing when to cash out and walk away), a table at the buffet or a last minute shore excursion. The public rest rooms were immaculate. CABIN-As said before, we felt our cabin was a bit tight but the bathroom was one of the largest we've had in a very long time. It was a great location, quiet with easy access to stairs, elevators, Internet, library, etc. Beds were very comfortable and linens were wonderful. RECREATION AND FITNESS-The gym was state-of-the-art but way too small for a ship this size. We managed to get a piece of equipment the first sea day and when we were finished, every single machine was taken including the areas to stretch and work out with weights. We were in port for the next 4 days so we didn't even attempt to go back and blew it off the last sea day as well so it's being judged by the one-time visit. There are signs limiting you to 20 minute workouts but didn't notice one person paying attention and it's obviously not enforced. FOOD- We headed to the buffet on embarkation day and we had the first of many build-your-own pasta lunches. They had several different pastas with a huge selection of add-ins and a few different sauces. You build it, they toss it in a fry pan so it's hot and fresh. We had breakfast at the buffet several times as well, everything we tried was very good. We both especially loved the french toast. We had no problems getting a table at breakfast or lunch and never encountered any lines. We tried all three specialty restaurants and the Bistro on Five which serves crepes and paninis. While all of the places were very good, we favored some over others. We did like the The Bistro so much we returned. The tables in the main dining room were way too close for our liking and glad we didn't eat there often even though we felt the food was far better then most other cruises we've been on. We don't think anyone will be disappointed with the selections offered on this ship. Try not to miss the brunch on your first sea day. It was wonderful. Cabin service was limited to the door menu and used more as a wake up call with coffee and juice. ENTERTAINMENT-The shows each night were a step above what we've seen on cruises lately. We're originally from NY so we know Broadway vs. cruise ship. We were pleasantly surprised by the caliber of talent on board. There had an illusionist who was pretty good and mixed in the 7 nights they had 3 production shows which they're now taking to new levels with Cirque du Soleil type aerial acts. We also saw an amazing talent performing classical music, on a xylo-synthesizer, at the speed of light. A super group of 4 young guys that did A cappella, Jersey Boys and Motown performed 2 nights, opening and closing, but you could catch them all around the ship at different times. There was something going on all over all the time. Some of the other things we did were the Hot Glass Show put on by Corning. It was great but like the name, it was HOT even if you managed to get a seat in the shade. We also did a back stage and galley tour, both were enlightening. SERVICE-Typically good everywhere we went. Staff was engaging, personable and certainly nicer then either of us could ever be 24/7. SHORE EXCURSIONS-We did 3 of the 4 ports on-our-own. We only booked one through the cruise line and it was fine. We do feel most of the cruise offerings are over priced. They buy in bulk, it should be less or at least competitive. PORTS.. GRAND CAYMAN-We did Atlantis submarine at this port. We went down over 100 feet, it was the only way these chickens were going to ever see what's down there as neither of us do water related anything. It was interesting, saw a lot of fish, coral, reefs, etc. It was $84 pre-booked on the Internet and $105 from Celebrity. It's an easy 5 minute walk from where the ship docks. The water was beautiful, the typical Caribbean blue. COZUMEL-Cozumel brought another first for us, we para-sailed. It was amazing! It's not easy to take off or land but we did it, a bit clumsily, but no broken bones. This was the only excursion through the ship. It was $50 on-your-own, $84 through Celebrity. We had no idea you could get this walking distance from the ship thus our reason for booking with the score excursion desk. COSTA MAYA-MAYA CHAN-an all-inclusive day resort. It was only about a 10 minute ride but because the roads are so poor it takes more like 20+. This was a little piece of heaven, one of the best kept secrets of this island and the bargain of the century. Once you get there, you're escorted to your private 8X10 thatched hut with a bed/chaise, pillows and reclining Adirondack chairs. During the morning, they bring around fresh fruit followed by their signature drink, chips with salsa and guacamole and free flowing booze, anything you want from beer, mai-tai's, Bailey's, soda, bottled water, etc. Lunch is a buffet-all you can eat fajitas with the trimmings. They're made fresh by a local grilling seasoned chicken, steak and fish. They were DELICIOUS. They have kayak's for your use (encourage races), snorkeling equipment and water chairs. They also have bikes and will escort you on a 2 mile ride. They offer scuba diving for an extra charge as well as massages which we jumped on. It was as good as you get anywhere else for multiple times the price. It was right on the beach under a burlap tarp, $45 for an hour. This all-inclusive was $49 PP which paid for the transportation, food, drinks, equipment- all but the massage. We we did leave a tip in the Love Box at the bar. What an amazing day! We're going back to Costa Maya in January, we'll definitely be returning to Maya Chan. www.mayachanbeach.com or reservations@mayachanbeach.com ROATAN-We had a private taxi tour with Rony's Tours who we found on-line here with great reviews. We contacted him via the Internet and he personally did the tour in his air-conditioned van. He did exactly as we asked, just to see the island with some photo stops and tons of information about their economy, education, prices, etc. Rony worked for Celebrity Cruise lines for 4 years so he knows the ropes and his English is great. ronyroatan@yahoo.com or www.ronystours.com He was wonderful! We were so pleased overall that we bought into the max of future cruises the last sea day. Your allowed 3 per cabin and with this you get certificates for family/friends as well. Our biggest complaint was that it went far to fast. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Background Information: DH and I are in our 40's and have cruised frequently (26 total) mostly on Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. Cuisine and service are among our top priorities, and we think that Celebrity is tops in ... Read More
Background Information: DH and I are in our 40's and have cruised frequently (26 total) mostly on Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. Cuisine and service are among our top priorities, and we think that Celebrity is tops in these areas among mainstream cruise lines. We have previously cruised on Horizon-, Century- and Millennium-class ships on Celebrity, but this was our first experience with the Solstice class. Embarkation: We flew to FLL on Sunday morning and arrived at the pier around 11:30. The new facility (built for Oasis of the Seas) is gigantic and sparkling clean and new. There was a separate line for Aqua Class, and we were checked in quickly and directed upstairs to wait briefly while they boarded Suite guests. By 11:50, we were on the ship and on our way to Bistro on Five for lunch! Cabins were ready just after 1:00. Ship Info: The Solstice is stunning! I can't possibly describe her in way that will do her justice. The public spaces are sleek, sophisticated and elegantly appointed. Even though she is a large ship, there was excellent traffic flow and few areas of over-crowding. We thought that the Atrium was beautiful and really appreciated there being 8 glass elevators offering great views. Although we both agreed that the Solstice is a visually pleasing and well-designed ship, DH and I differ on whether it is our new favorite. He found it to be a bit too big and prefers the smaller M-class ships. I thought that the extra amenities afforded by the larger size outweighed the negatives. The only two areas that felt very crowded to me were the theater and the pool area, particularly on sea days. Perhaps when the M-class ships are "Solsticized," we will find the perfect ship for both of us! Service: Our room steward, Jose, was by far the best we have had on any cruise. He really acted more like a butler than a cabin steward. For instance, when DH told him that he needed to be off the boat early in Grand Cayman to meet up with his dive group, Jose said no worries and produced a VIP Priority Tender ticket. All of our requests were handled promptly and efficiently. Service in Blu was also excellent, and our favorite waiters there were Igor and Andreja. In fact, service was great everywhere on the ship! The staff members were pleasant and greeted passengers warmly. I witnessed a couple of incidents of "passengers behaving badly" and was very impressed with the professionalism and composure of the staff getting the abuse. Port & Shore Excursions: Ports were Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Costa Maya and Roatan. We tendered in Grand Cayman, and were docked in other ports. In Cozumel, we were docked at the pier that is about 3 miles from the downtown area. We are scuba divers and dove in every port, so I can't comment much on other options for this trip. The highlight for me was Maya Chan resort in Costa Maya. We would highly recommend Maya Chan as an excellent option for a beach day. It is a property owned and operated by an American family who wanted to create an ideal day trip for cruise passengers. The all-inclusive daily price ($49 pp for us, since we had created a large group from our Roll Call) includes transportation to the property, open bar and delicious lunch, and water activities like snorkeling and kayaking. They arranged for a local dive operator to pick us up at their beach for our dives. They require advance reservations and limit the number of people on the property each day. Stateroom: This is another point where DH and I agree to disagree. I loved Aqua Class and Blu so much that I would be happy to sail on Solstice-class ships from now on. He still prefers the extra room in a Sky Suite. I would highly recommend the Aqua Class cabins located on deck 11 aft. They are under other cabins, rather than the pool and spa areas. We had absolutely no noise issues. Our stateroom (1626) was very nicely decorated, with comfortable furniture on the balcony. The flat screen TV was great and swiveled for good viewing from the couch or the bed. Our cabin was configured with the bed near the bathroom, and this was preferable to us, as it afforded easy access to the balcony. The amenities provided in the Aqua Class cabin were very nice. The Hydro-Minerale products are so good that I left my own shampoo and conditioner at home this time. The shower enclosure was the best we've had in a non-Suite stateroom, and the special Aqua-Class shower was nice, a handheld "rain"-type faucet above, with additional jets on the wall for the lower half of the body. There is no hairdryer in the bathroom, but there is a regular one in the cabinet next to the desk/dressing table. Storage was adequate, but the closet is a bit awkward. Bedding was very nice, but we missed our king-sized pillows from home. Having bottled water available was very convenient, but we didn't make use of the tea. I used the Persian Garden and Relaxation Room a couple of times and enjoyed them, but would not book Aqua Class just for these amenities. Over the course of the cruise, I had a massage and a manicure. The massage therapist pushed products aggressively, but the nail tech backed off when I told her I was all stocked up at home. Dining: This is such a subjective area ~ it is hard to know what is important to others. DH and I would probably consider ourselves "foodies," but also have no problem digging into a pizza or hamburger! My main aversion on cruises is chaos of the buffet area, so I did not eat in the Oceanview Cafe at all this cruise. To me, dining in Blu was the very best part of Aqua Class. It is a lovely room (seating only 132) and is much quieter than the Grand Epernay dining room. There are mostly tables for 2, and after the first night, they told us to come anytime we liked each evening. It is definitely NOT spa cuisine, but did seem much lighter and more elegantly prepared than the offerings at Grand Epernay. The service was great ~ after a few days in such a small venue, we felt like we knew most of the waitstaff. For the first time ever, we were invited to dine at the Captain's Table this cruise. We were hosted by the Hotel Director and her Assistant. It was a very special evening, and we enjoyed our dinner companions very much. Although it was a wonderful experience, I must admit wondering what they were serving in Blu that evening! Since we had to be up and off the ship early in port, we ate breakfast in the Aqua Spa Cafe most days. Their yogurt and fruit parfaits were great, and there was also a nice selection of fruit, cereal and yogurt. It was a perfect choice for a light breakfast. We did have breakfast in Blu a couple of mornings and loved their parfaits even more! Nothing tastes better to us after diving than a cheeseburger, fries and cold beer, so we enjoyed the Mast Grill on our days in port. In addition to burgers and hot dogs, they offered tortilla chips with nacho fixings ~ cheese, guacamole, salsa, chili, etc. We ate in Bistro on Five twice. Although we enjoyed their paninis, we thought the crepes were outstanding! As others have said, the dessert crepe with Nutella and bananas is not to be missed. Activities/Entertainment: By far, the best activity was our Sailaway Party with our Cruise Critic Roll Call friends! In the months preceding the cruise, the Roll Call grew to 110+. Although we didn't get to meet everyone, it was great to meet so many of those with whom we had been eagerly anticipating our cruise. It is always fun to feel like you "know" people onboard, and we enjoyed spending time with several of the couples throughout the cruise. This is our second cruise in a row that there have been problems with people getting their invites to the Cruise Critic Connections party sponsored by Celebrity. Although there were over 80 people registered, only about 30 showed up at the party, which was held on the first Sea Day (Monday) at 10:45 am. The Cruise Director, Paul Baya, expressed disappointment that so few had shown up. We learned later that this was because many had not received an invitation! Other ship staff in attendance were the Hotel Director, the Assistant Hotel Director, the Food and Beverage Manager and the Chief Housekeeper. We are not big show people, but had heard great things about the Cirque-style show, which was the first formal night (Monday). Unfortunately, we lingered too long over martinis and dinner and didn't make it to the theater until about 10 minutes before the show was to begin. There wasn't a seat anywhere, even in the balcony. We tried to stand and watch for a few minutes, but that wasn't so comfortable in high heels! We realize that it was our own fault for not getting there earlier, just keep this in mind if it is important to you to see the shows. Other activities that we enjoyed were the trivia contests, Chef Challenge show, Captain's Club Select/Elite wine tasting, theme dance parties, and putting on the lawn. Miscellaneous: Children: There were over 500+ children on this cruise. While they were generally well-behaved, there were some instances of bad behavior. There were Security officers stationed around the pool, who were generally effective in keeping the kids out of the adult areas. (One of the two outdoor pools and the indoor Solarium area were designated for adults only.) I witnessed one mother defying the Security officer's request for her daughter to vacate the Solarium area, because she didn't think it was fair to limit 500 children onboard to only one of the pools. I have to admit having mixed feelings on this topic ~ just as I should have known there would be lots of kids on a summer sailing, I would think that a parent would have done their research, too. While Celebrity welcomes families, it certainly does not cater to them as RCL and Disney do. I am NOT anti-kid by any means. DD is now 17 and has been cruising with us since she was 5. However, when she was younger, we made sure to choose ships that would offer activities and facilities appropriate for her age and interests. Bars: Cellar Masters was our favorite spot for a pre-dinner glass of wine. They offered a nice cheese selection each evening, which patrons of the Martini Bar across the way also enjoyed. Although we never made it there ourselves, many of our CC friends raved about the Molecular Bar (Dragonfly and Lucky Cat were their most frequent recommendations.) It was interesting that different bars had different stock. For instance, the pool bar did not have Mount Gay Rum, but the Mast Bar one deck above did. It didn't take long to figure out who had what we were in the mood for. Drink Package: Both of us purchased the Premium Alcohol package prior to the cruise. It was printed on our SeaPass card, and there was only one occasion when the server failed to notice it and charged us for the drink. (When we pointed out the package, he quickly reversed the transaction.) We never experienced any hesitation on the part of the servers to serve us. In fact, bartenders were very receptive and made recommendations of choices within our $12 limit. My favorite sailaway order was for a "Margarita on the rocks with the best Tequila you have that this card will buy me." (In most cases, that was Silver Patron.) Although we haven't done the math to see if we "broke even," it was a really great way to turn a cruise into a truly all-inclusive vacation. We loved not having to even think about ordering a drink (or specialty coffee, Coke or bottled water), since we had already paid for it. We enjoyed a nice selection of wines by the glass with dinner. Disembarkation: We had an 11:15 am flight from FLL, so we were placed in one of the early groups, Green #2, with a projected disembarkation time of 7:45. Our group met in the upper level of Grand Epernay and was called to proceed to the gangway at 7:43. Our luggage was easily located, we sailed through Customs to a taxi, and were checking in at the airport at 8:06. We could not have asked for a more painless disembarkation! Summary: DH and I do agree that this was one of our favorite cruises ever ~ great new friends, beautiful ship, delicious food, and wonderful service. If you have any specific questions, please email me at mrs.tiki@gmail.com. (Sorry, I don't have copies of the dailies or menus, but these have been posted on the Celebrity board.) Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
I went with my girlfriend on the 8/1/10-8/8/10 sailing to the western Caribbean on the Celebrity Solstice, the first ship in the Solstice class. I sailed Celebrity many years ago on the Horizon and wasn't impressed. I was reluctant to ... Read More
I went with my girlfriend on the 8/1/10-8/8/10 sailing to the western Caribbean on the Celebrity Solstice, the first ship in the Solstice class. I sailed Celebrity many years ago on the Horizon and wasn't impressed. I was reluctant to try them again, but based on a recommendation I took the plunge. I was not disappointed. Just some background first. I am 29 and have been on roughly 10 cruises (Celebrity, RCCL, Carnival, Princess and Norwegian). Up until now my favorite line was RCCL -- now it's a tie between RCCL & the beautiful Celebrity line. Our cruise was a 7 nighter to Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Costa Maya & Roatan. I'll break down the review into different categories: Embarkation: Smooth as can be. I arrived in FLL at about 11:30. Checking in was seamless. You are greeted on board by champagne. Not a bad touch! Room: I was in an oceanview balcony room (8114). After seeing the room I was shocked to see that it was covered in chocolate and dirt. Apparently, there were terrible kids staying in the room before us. It was an utter mess. I was so angry and upset. I talked to the room steward and he was right on top of it. They crew was very apologetic. We gave him a few hours to take care of it and sure enough it was fixed up nicely. I wasn't pleased at first, but do understand that those guys work their butts off and had about 25 rooms to clean in 2 hours. The people in there before us were so dirty. Other than that, we loved our room. It had plenty of storage and a nice balcony to boot. I have stayed in many rooms and this was probably the nicest (unless you deal with suite level, which I have never seen). Food: The food was for the most part very good to excellent. Tip: Don't miss the first sea day's brunch. I sadly skipped it and went to breakfast instead. Then I walked around and saw the brunch and was disappointed I missed eating there. Definitely check it out. My girlfriend and I chose the select dining, meaning we could eat dinner anytime between 5:45 - 9:30. The food itself was very, very tasty. Some of the cold soups were too sweet, but most things were fantastic. I was also very impressed that they had escargot EVERY night (on the anytime menu). And yes, I had escargot 7 days straight! The presentation was very high quality and the service was generally A-OK. One night was slow (half hour before we even placed the order), but that was because the dining room got slammed at the same time. I do feel like if I had chosen the specific dining times I would have gotten closer to the waiter/bus boy, but we did appreciate the flexibility in timing. The buffet (Oceanview cafe) was superb. I honestly have never seen such a well organized buffet on a cruise ship. There were so many choices with generally very good quality food. They had, for example, several different types of eggs benedict every day. I was a little disappointed that the food remained the same (for breakfast at least), but it was so varied that I didn't get tired of it. I didn't eat there ever for lunch or dinner, but did walk around and see the food. It looked very good. I also really enjoyed the ice cream you could get almost all day long. There was a bit of a line, but it was worth it to have that option. Yum! I didn't order room service but it was available on the tv 24 hours a day. Bistro on 5: This is one of the specialty restaurants. It was $5 pp. They had mainly crepes and paninis. We enjoyed the food. I was a bit ambitious and ordered 2 crepes, not realizing they were huge and very filling. If you aren't opposed to the idea of paying for food when there is unlimited around you, it's worth a try for a different pace. It was good, although I recommend only ordering one! They are unique, big and filling. Murano: This is the place that I have literally thought about for days how to write up. It's not cheap -- about $35 extra pp. It is the fanciest restaurant I've ever been to. It's high-end French cuisine. Murano is THE restaurant aboard the Solstice. The service at the Murano is top notch. They make you feel like kings and queens. The presentation of the food is outstanding. I've never seen some of the things they do. All this being said, the Murano was the worst dining experience I had on Solstice. I'll explain why: The food was prepared in a way that my girlfriend and I weren't used to. Everything had a lot of foam. For instance, my GF ordered rissoto and we couldn't even see the rice! There was just ... foam. We both ordered the lobster bisque. It was very good, but something about it filled us up. I'm a big eater, but after eating that I was done. I had about two bites of my lobster and was finished. It was so disappointing. Between the wine and the restaurant I spent a fair bit of money on the Murano. We came away from it not eating much, felt very full and uncomfortable, and were shaking our heads about the whole experience. If you don't mind paying extra for a specialty restaurant and want to experience VERY high-end cuisine it's worth a try. But be aware that the presentation and preparation is probably something you aren't used to. Thankfully I didn't get sick from Murano, but didn't eat for many hours afterwards. Sadly, I was a little let down, despite what I had being very good. Entertainment: The entertainment on the ship was very good. I really enjoyed the band, the iTones (a'cappella group), the glass blowing (excellent addition to the ship), the cirque-type show, the Broadway show, David Meyer (he played this instrument called the zenosynth -- unique and brilliant), and more. The staff/entertainers were very friendly, as I approached them during our cruise. Also the comedian was hysterical. The ship is definitely geared towards a slightly older crowd (no belly flop contest for instance), but my girlfriend and I (both in our mid to upper 20's) definitely had things to do. Also I must say that I've never had such a funny captain and executive head chef. The captain kept saying that he was Greek and the chef was really approachable and good humored. He is a genius, going to culinary school at age 12. The ship: I really enjoyed the solarium. It's a nice enclosed area with cabanas and a fountain. There was also a healthy eating area in there which was very good. They didn't have much food, but it was good, hit the spot, and another change of pace from the big buffets and filling dinners. As mentioned before, the glass blowing was awesome. My girlfriend even won a piece at the end of the show. Here's a tip: go to the last glass blowing day/time. For us it was 3-5 pm on the last sea day. At the end they raffle away some of the pieces. Good luck! The ship at first seemed small, but there were a lot more areas once you dug around some. Since our cruise was so port intensive, I found that there wasn't enough time to do things, rather than being bored. Overall impressions: We loved our time aboard the Solstice. If you are looking for non-stop craziness and a younger crowd check out Carnival. Otherwise, if you value high-quality food and entertainment and want a beautiful (but not over-the-top) ship, the Solstice-class is one heck of a choice. I highly recommend. My port reviews follow. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Since we are local to the South Florida area we drove to the port and left our car there. The rate is $15 per day (which is not bad considering a cab from the port to the Miami-Dade area can be $50 each way. The embarkation process was ... Read More
Since we are local to the South Florida area we drove to the port and left our car there. The rate is $15 per day (which is not bad considering a cab from the port to the Miami-Dade area can be $50 each way. The embarkation process was the best we have experienced. We arrived at 1:00pm... walked into the terminal and were onboard by 1:15pm and were able to go straight to our cabins. There was the traditional mimosa available as you boarded the ship. Our stateroom included a balcony and was rather spacious. Our stateroom attendant was excellent (Jose from India) and would definitely recommend him. The breakfast and lunch service at the Ocean View cafe was just right. The food was great and there was constant service brining you coffee or drinks as needed. The dining room service and food was excellent every night. Our waiters (Jorge and Elias -both from Honduras) went above and beyond every evening. We booked our shore excursions through the ship and enjoyed them all. We highly recommend a visit to the Gumbolimbo Park in Roatan. This wonderful nature preserve rescues capuccin monkeys and nurses them back to health. The monkeys are very sociable and come up to you and give you hugs and kisses. There is also a beautiful beach and a suspension bridge (which is quite fun if you wobble side to side). The ship has the usual amenities that you expect on a cruise (shopping, pools, spa, shows etc...) all were great. My only comment is that the internet service is really expensive (0.65 per minute) and very slow... also they block Skype from being used. The disembarkation process was not as great as the embarkation process. The computer system for customs went down and we had to wait longer than usual to get off the ship. Also the lines in the terminal to clear customs were much longer than what I have been accustomed to at other ports. Overall we had a great experience on the Solstice and are anxiously looking forward to our next Celebrity cruise next summer. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We just got off the Celebrity Solstice and had an amazing time! We have been on 3 cruises prior to sailing on the Solstice but also traveled with 2 new cruisers on this trip. Embarkation: We arrived at the port in Ft Lauderdale at ... Read More
We just got off the Celebrity Solstice and had an amazing time! We have been on 3 cruises prior to sailing on the Solstice but also traveled with 2 new cruisers on this trip. Embarkation: We arrived at the port in Ft Lauderdale at around 1 PM. As we live in Ft. Lauderdale, we used an off-site parking area, Air and Sea Parking, which provided great, quick shuttle service and a less expensive means for parking compared to the port ($56 vs $105). Embarkation was swift and organized; there were numerous workers who were helpful in guiding us to the correct spots and we were able to easily get bag tags (as we had changed our room at the last minute and needed new ones). We were on the ship exploring within 15 minutes of arriving at the port. Our rooms were ready immediately and our luggage arrived nearly 1 hour later. Overall Ship Appearance: Our first impression of the ship was that it was beautiful and elegant. We have found that the decor on many ships is a bit gaudy; however, the Solstice is beautiful in its simplicity, which we greatly appreciated. Aqua Class Staterooms: We made a last minute change to Aqua Class to ensure that we could eat at Blu with our cruise partners who had booked Aqua Class room for extra spa amenities. The room space and balcony size were similar to the cruises we have experienced before; however, we were extremely impressed with the size of the bathroom. It was larger than any cruise bathroom we have ever seen and never felt the usual dread and claustrophobia of being the bathroom! The shower was also very nice. One of our favorite parts of Aqua Class was the powerful shower head and full body jets. I may need to make an addition at home! We also received a bottle of champagne, a bowl of fruit every morning, an option for different pillows (they don't make it easy to find it but its in the book with the room service menu) We did not use this option nor did we order the afternoon canapes offered to Aqua Class. Dining: Blu: The most appealing part about Aqua Class is dining at Blu (aside from the shower head). We were expecting to eat most nights in the Grand Epernay as it looked so beautiful in the pictures; however, Blu offered the freedom to eat whenever you'd like, with freshly prepared dishes and without the large crowds. We did not need to make reservations and we walked in right after the early show, which we enjoyed as we didn't have to wait a half hour for the 830 PM dining. A few of the nights we had to wait for a table as many others also came directly from the show but never more than a couple of minutes. We felt that Blu was more beautiful in person than it is depicted in many pictures. We also very much enjoyed the Matre'd, who was always very warm and friendly. Our criticism of Blu would be that the service was not very prompt. The staff was very friendly but we all felt that more servers and sommeliers were needed. We often ordered our meals before we ever were able to order our wine because the sommelier was so backed up at other tables. The food was wonderful and you could clearly taste the difference in its fresh preparation as opposed to food that has been sitting under a heat lamp. We enjoyed most of our meals, with a few exceptions. The lobster (served on the second formal night) was a bit overcooked and the breakfast left something to be desired. The fruit was not very fresh and the food was generally average. Overall, however, we were very pleased with Blu and heard many "this is the best I've ever had" comments. The best idea is to follow their recommendations because they were spot-on for every meal. Also, If they serve short ribs, you do not want to miss it!! Grand Epernay/Celebrity Select Dining: We ate at Grand Epernay one night. The dining room is beautiful and modern; however, the service and food were both lacking. We came about a half hour later than our dining time (as we were told we could) and the food had clearly sat for quite some time. The lobster bisque was fishy and neither were eaten. The service was also rushed and we felt that we were being shoved out the door. We learned from our waiter at Blu that Select Dining is not a great choice as the servers are always rushing. I suggest that you do not select the celebrity select dining option and also that you arrive on time. This was our mistake I believe. Tuscan Grill We ate at the Tuscan Grill on the fourth night and had a wonderful meal. The thing to eat is meat. Everyone enjoyed their meat dishes; however, the Alfredo was not a great choice. We were happy with our decision to upgrade as it was a very different taste than Blu. Buffet We didn't eat here except for lunch on the last day. The best part about the buffet is that it opens up to an outside lunch area on the aft side of the ship which made for a beautiful view. We often grabbed drinks at the upstairs bar of the Oceanview Cafe to enjoy the outdoor area. Bars Our favorite bar was the Martini Bar, even though we don't particularly enjoy martinis. We loved to watch the bartenders perform, juggling martini shakers and pouring martini towers. You should check this out! The Sky Lounge is also beautiful and relaxing. Pool Area The pool area was very nice and elegant. The Solarium was peaceful, beautiful, and spacious; it was very popular and we spent most of our time by the outdoor pool. Our biggest criticism was that the poolside service was lacking, there were hardly any poolside waiters. Entertainment This is one area that Solstice needs to work on. We found that there were not many activities and the ones we were interested in attending were often in the early afternoon when we were off of the boat. The shows were good but not outstanding overall. Our favorite show was the Cirque-like show which was very impressive, don't miss this show! We found the illusionist to be the most disappointing. The on-board music was also very nice, we found regular, live music in nearly every area we spent time in. Premium Drinking Package The best part of this package was that it eliminated the worry of building up an exorbitant bill. We were able to order any drink under 12 dollars, including coffee, water, soda, and any other liquid you can imagine. We likely came out about even but it was nice to avoid the worry. Our only critique was that we could not order bottles of wine despite their large selections. We would definitely do this again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
CELEBRITY SOLSTICE Western Caribbean Cruise August 1-8, 2010 By Mary & Vincent Finelli Last January we cruised on the Solstice with Capt. Dimitrios Kafetzis and had a memorable cruise. We booked the Solstice again in order to ... Read More
CELEBRITY SOLSTICE Western Caribbean Cruise August 1-8, 2010 By Mary & Vincent Finelli Last January we cruised on the Solstice with Capt. Dimitrios Kafetzis and had a memorable cruise. We booked the Solstice again in order to experience the new Aqua Class cruising. Since we published a review on the Solstice in January, we will refer readers to that review on this web site for a deck-by-deck description of this gorgeous ship and focus this review on the delights of cruising in Aqua Class. We had a warm welcome aboard and the week proved to be equally enjoyable. EMBARKATION On Sunday morning, with light traffic on I-95, it took us less than half an hour to travel from our home in Boca Raton to the ship in Ft. Lauderdale, where the embarkation process was so smooth that we were on board in 15 minutes. Alas, the staterooms were not yet ready, so we proceeded to the Ocean View Cafe` for lunch. At 1:00 pm, while we were eating, the announcement was made that our cabins were ready. SHIP OVERVIEW Under the supervision of Hotel Director Sue Richardson, the ship is kept in excellent condition: Solstice is less than two years old and looks just as new and sparkling as the day she left the Meyer Werft shipyard - just celestial as she was on our first cruise. The Solstice (2008) is the first of a class, the ship's dimension are 122,000 gross tons; 1,033 ft. long; beam is 121 ft. and a draft of only 27 ft. Celebrity's next two ships in this class are the Equinox (2009) and the Eclipse (2010), in cookie cutter fashion, and the Silhouette (2011) is in the works. Guest capacity is 2,850 and her crew numbers 1,200. There are 130 staterooms in the Aqua Class which are identical to the deluxe ocean view cabins with veranda (194 sq. ft. with an 54 sq. ft. veranda and 299 sq. ft. with 80 sq. ft. veranda for the wheelchair accessible cabins). Some of the features in the Aqua Class cabin are queen size beds, 32"LCD TV, wireless internet access and a table with two reclining chairs on the balcony. Special amenities in these rooms include the following: Complimentary dining in the Blu Restaurant (clean cuisine, spa style food); upgraded bathroom amenities; plush robes and slippers; oversized towels and contour pillows; sound and aromatics for relaxing: complimentary Italian Spring Water; Carafes of infused teas daily; daily canapes; available full breakfast in room service; daily breakfast in the Blu restaurant from 7 to 9 am and finally Concierge Services! Waiting in our stateroom were a bottle of French Brut Champagne, chilling in an ice bucket, and fresh flowers. SERVICE & FOOD Service on board any vessel takes its cue from the Captain and Dimitrios is a friendly and outgoing Greek! All week we had marvelous service and were aware that he made passenger and crew safety a priority on the ship. Aqua Class is aimed toward a healthy life style and dining in Blu was always interesting. For years we have been grumbling that ship portions were always too large --- Blu has achieved perfection in portion sizes. We always felt satisfied after dining, but not bloated. The dEcor of Blu is lovely: windows to the sea provide a terrific backdrop, overhead a gorgeous chandelier, in crystal and cobalt blue, evokes thoughts of Santorini and the Greek Isles. The chargers and plates were uniquely shaped and in whites glass and cobalt blue as were the water tumblers. The whole effect is understated beauty. We asked the Maitre d' Dariusz Chowaniec if we could have the same waiters each evening -- Wilmer Castillo and Santos Ramirez because they were so wonderful. They were prompt and remembered all our likes (i.e., lemon wedges for Mary). We had an excellent sommelier, appropriately named Napa, and every evening assistant Maitre d' Marjan welcomed us. Dinner at Blu Restaurant was always a pleasant and relaxing event. Appetizers: Seafood ceviche, empanadas, baked goat's cheese, soft shelled crabs, beef carpaccio, lump crab martini, etc. Soups: Chilled sweet pea with crab and toasted almonds, tortilla soup, spicy roasted plantain and corn soup, etc. Salads: Endive, Blu Caesar salad, Boston bibb and arugula, Shaved fennel and blood orange emulsion, etc. Entrees: Broiled Atlantic salmon, roasted chicken breast, NY strip, braised lamb shank with couscous and glazed carrots, etc. Desserts were tiny and light and included crème brulee, a variety of fresh sorbets like mangoes and ginger, etc. Many desserts were mysterious and surprising. We also highly recommend the upscale Tuscan Grill restaurant, where we ate and were very happy with the gorgeous veal chop and the delightful ginger snap tulip cup filled with wild berries and mascarpone cream for dessert. Vincent noted that wherever he ordered meat entrees (fillet Mignon, New York strip, veal chop or prime rib) from the Grand Epernay to the Tuscan Grill and the Ocean View Cafe`, they were the best at sea. Perhaps our loveliest meal was with Captain Dimitrios on the first formal night in the Grand Epernay dining room. He is a wonderful story teller and he regaled the table with parenthood tales. The very democratic captain used the dining room menu as his table menu. Excellent! Yet, we did notice a difference between this cuisine under Executive Chef Mischa Graafman and that of Executive Chef Mikael Tochetto on our last Solstice cruise. Chef Tochetto used a superb mix of French and Italian cuisine, while Chef Graafman's cuisine has overtones of Holland America and Indonesian spices. As the Latin maxim says: "De gustibus non est disputandum (no disputing about taste)". We met many officers who were always courteous and friendly, especially the Food and Beverage Manager Michael Bramlett, who was everywhere and his work was evident. CABIN Wheelchair accessible cabin #1538 is spacious and just like the one we described in the January Solstice review. The nicest thing about it is the automatic door opener and the huge bathroom. Mary had a fall in the bathroom and four stewards including John our steward and Roman and two others plus Medical Assistant Alistair all rushed to help and still the bathroom was not crowded. Alistair took us to the Hospital Facility on Deck 2 where Dr. Cosmopoulos(?) was wonderful and caring; he took x-rays and wrapped the knee. All gratis! The facility and the Doctor were terrific. ENTERTAINMENT Cruise Director Paul Baya has an excellent voice. He did a rousing rendition of "Stand by Me" at the Elite Cocktail Party. We especially enjoyed the Sipra Band and the two girl singers: Janisa and Maricel, and the male vocalist Bryan Allan. The Tony Viviano Quartet in the Ensemble Lounge did a lovely job on our favorite "Green Sleeves". The Solstice singers and dancers produced peppy shows and the Solstice Band provided excellent entertainment. There is plenty to do on board and even educational courses, one can play Bocce on the lawn on Deck 15. Get out there! PORTS OF CALL Day 1: Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale FL Depart: 4:30pm. Day 2: At Sea. Day 3: Georgetown, Grand Cayman Arrive: 9:00am Depart: 4:00pm Day 4: Cozumel, Mexico Arrive: 9:00am Depart: 6:00pm Day 5: Costa Maya, Mexico Arrive: 8:00am Depart: 6:00pm Day 6: Roatan, Honduras Arrive: 8:00am Depart: 5:00pm Day 7: At Sea. Day 8: Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, FL Arrive 7:00am. DEBARKATION The debarkation process went very smoothly. After our breakfast in the restaurant Blu, we returned to our cabin and waited for a crew member that the Associate Hotel Director Sheldon Thompson had arranged to help us. We are both disabled and need assistance, even though Mary has a motorized wheelchair and Vincent has a scooter, we also use a walker for short distances. This time Vincent's scooter broke down on one of the ramps exiting the ship and, fortunately, the attendant that was accompanying us helped to bring the scooter down. Thanks again to the crew for being always helpful and courteous. By 10 am we were back home in Boca Raton. CONCLUSION Even though we have done many Caribbean cruises, this was our first done in August. We usually prefer to cruise the Caribbean during the fall and winter months, when the chances for tropical storms and tempestuous seas are low, but to our surprise the weather this time was great. Vincent enjoyed the view from our starboard balcony, especially the colorful sunsets and the sighting of Venus, as bright as ever, during the evening in the western skies. The only evidence of storms during this trip were the lightning seen from our balcony in the distant cloudy horizon, so distant that no thundering sound followed the flash of lightning. Captain Dimitrios Kafetzis must have kept us away from the storms. We had the pleasure of seeing again this friendly captain who remembered us from the previous cruise and invited us for dinner at the Captain's table. Thank you, Captain! We are getting ready for another cruise on Emerald Princess, Aug. 15th, only a week away, then on Liberty of the Seas, Sept. 6th, on Norwegian Epic, Oct. 2nd and on Crown Princess, Nov. 6th. We have not booked one for December yet. Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
This was our fourth cruise but first on Celebrity. We had heard so many good things about the food and the ship. The ship is beautiful. Good things: Food quality and presentation in Oceanview cafe is very good; I liked having water, ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise but first on Celebrity. We had heard so many good things about the food and the ship. The ship is beautiful. Good things: Food quality and presentation in Oceanview cafe is very good; I liked having water, lemonade, ice tea, fruit punch and orange juice being available throughout the day. Being greeted with ice cold towels and cold drinks when returning to the ship was most welcome. So So.. The entertainment was ho hum..fairly predictable tributes to Broadway and Motown. The "cirque du soleil" shows were too mechanical...watching the performers attaching themselves to their harnesses lacked any element of surprise. Clearly at least one performer was scared of heights and "froze". Lindsay Hamilton had a beautiful voice as did the Cruise Director which he showed during a duet with her. The headlining comedian, James Stevenson III, was a bold choice given the predominantly white middle class audience. Why 7pm and 9pm shows? We prefer to have dinner at 8:30 and then go to the a 10:30 show.. The "club" comedian, Jimmy Dunne, did the same show for 3 nights. Poor Generally, the food was of a lesser quality than I would have expected. Service was sloppy and inattentive. On a number of occasions I had to pour my own wine, waiters never offered fresh ground pepper or offered Parmesan cheese with pasta dishes. Needs alot of work in order to be described as fine dining. Tendering in Cayman took way too long; it took over 90 minutes from being issued a tender number to reaching the island. Unacceptable. On embarkation, my son cut his foot on shards of glass on the balcony, When we informed the stateroom steward she said she was aware of it but hadn't have a chance to attend to it. We'd have waited the 10 minutes it took to clean-up the glass rather than start the holiday with a bleeding foot. Guest Services were sympathetic , they offered assistance setting up a doctors appointment but were swamped with complaints about cell phones plans (I know you need a maritime plan...) All in all, being on a cruise ship beats being at work but as my fourth cruise the Solstice is outside my top 3. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
First of all I have to say that without Cruise Critic I don't know how anyone can prepare for a cruise. The information that you find on the boards is invaluable. All our private excursions were booked using the suggestions of people ... Read More
First of all I have to say that without Cruise Critic I don't know how anyone can prepare for a cruise. The information that you find on the boards is invaluable. All our private excursions were booked using the suggestions of people that posted on the boards. That said, we were so prepared for the cruise and had a fabulous time. We hired private transportation at every port including a boat in Grand Cayman for the swimming with the sting ray excursion. It was well worth it as there were 8 of us and we had our captain and mate helping us all the way getting the sting rays to cooperate for the perfect pictures! All the other boats and excursions that came in were jam packed with people and it was way too crowded for us. We then went snorkeling on our own and to the starfish beach. Great time. In Cozumel, Costa Maya and Roatan we did the same thing, hired a private van. The cost is not much more and it really made our day excursions soooo much better. In Roatan especially we hired a driver from Victor Bodden and visited his home where he has a monkey preserve, don't miss it. However, zip lined at a more difficult zip line rather than the one at his house which they have no problem with. After that the driver took us to the West End Beach which has the BEST snorkeling we have ever done since it is the second largest living reef in the world. Hardly anyone from the ship was here. We had a wonderful lunch at Infinity resort and just walked out to snorkel, a virtual aquarium and an absolute not to miss experience. We are from Florida and do the islands often but this was like nothing we had ever seen. In Cozumel we went to the tequila factory and had a blast with our private driver and also went to Coconuts....fun!!!!In Costa May we went to the ruins, forgot the name but it is the farther ones, one starts with a Dz something. Again, being private and not with a large group was fun and a lot faster. The boat itself was great. We had four "kids" with us ranging in age from 18-26 and we are in our 50s and all had a blast although if your 20 something "kids" are looking to meet others in their age group, there weren't many. We ate at Murano's the second to the last night and we had already booked Silk for the last. Had we known how good Muranos was, we would have eaten there more. Tuscan Grill was great too but if you are prone to a bit of sea sickness as my daughter was, this is not the place for you. Lots of movement. Didn't bother anyone else though. We had room service breakfast in our rooms every day because we did not want to fight for a table at the buffet. Quite crowded, although delicious. Twice I went to the buffet and brought down food to the room as well and ate on the balcony;wonderful and it was OK with the staff. Food was very good in the main dining room and applaud Celebrity for insisting on long pants for gentlemen although I caught the maitre d "suggesting" to a couple of guys in shorts that, if asked, they should just say they hadn't received their luggage, which I thought was not right. Either you have the rule or you don't. Our service was great by all; wait staff, room staff, etc. Everyone was very friendly. The only comment is that the bars close too early. There should be one place left open after 1:00 should guests wish to continue having fun. Karaoke was a blast on the upper deck and should have been open till 2. In the wine tasting bas the "by the glass or ounce" machine NEVER worked the entire time, which was disappointing since we were looking forward to tasting some of the wines shown. Also, the cappuccino machine was not working in the main dining room on any night we dined there (4 nights) or that's what we were told and I love a cup after dinner. The only negative comments we heard was about the early closings and that the entertainment was amateurish. We had Greg Brady THAT Greg Brady from the Brady Bunch! No comment. However, the comic Ryan Hamilton (I think that's his name) was really funny. Big "shows" were less than adequate,very disappointing and almost comical, however. The classical, piano player in Michael's, the girl singer in the bar and other small groups that played throughout the ship were good. All in all we had a great time!! Can't wait to go again on another cruise and I will NEVER book without checking with fellow Cruise Critics, thanks to you all!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
A week away, in the sun, and away from my family obligations...of course I had a good time! Enjoyed one week cruise on Celebrity Solstice. Very clean ship with good signage, excellent service and good food. Bread, cookies, and fresh ... Read More
A week away, in the sun, and away from my family obligations...of course I had a good time! Enjoyed one week cruise on Celebrity Solstice. Very clean ship with good signage, excellent service and good food. Bread, cookies, and fresh fruit were excellent in the Ocean View Cafe. Dinners in the dining room were hit and miss, but waiter and assistant waiter (the wonderful Stasha) were eager to please. Entertainment and the cruise director (Paul) were lacking. Attended the Newlywed Game, Hot Glass Show, the Cirque style show, and a few other musical type shows, the 70's Dance Party and Karaoke. Not enough seating in the showroom and shows were only 45 mins. long. Hardly worth the effort to get there! Only one galley tour. Overslept that first morning and it was never offered again. Of course, when I mentioned a second tour to Cruise Director, Paul, he couldn't be bothered. Cabin was niece st of any ship that I have been on. Prior cruises include two Carnival Ships, one Royal Caribbean and one Norwegian (worst food ever was on Norwegian Sun). Comfortable beds, well designed bathroom with lots of storage and plenty of storage in room. We had a problem with our room safe and security immediately came and opened it for us. Elevators were pretty fast and I didn't take the steps as much as I planned since the elevators were efficient. Employees were always saying Hi or Good Morning when I passed. Dress code was pretty much anything goes. I was dressed extremely casually, my friend was not. We were both made to feel welcome regardless of our attire. Extremely fast embarkation. We were to assemble in the dining room at 9:30 a.m. to disembark. We stayed in our cabin until 9:20 a.m. Arrived in the dining room and shortly thereafter left the ship. Customs was a breeze--easier than any other time I have left the country. Never had to use my i.d. to get on and off the ship. Just used my SeaPass card. When you first arrive they take a photo of you and that photo is stored in the ship's computer. When you insert your SeaPass, your photo shows up and the security employee will refer you to by your first name and wish you a good day. Found security officers to be very pleasant as well. It rained at least a little bit every day of the cruise and I got used to getting soaking wet! Took the $2.50 public mini bus to the beach in Grand Cayman. Went to Nachi CoCom in Cozumel and enjoyed the pretty beach and good service at this all inclusive resort. Loved the Ruins and Lagoon Tour with The Native Choice in Costa Maya. Costa Maya is still recovering from the hurricane and the destruction of all of these trees on the way to and from the ship is evident. Wish I had allocated more time in Mahahual and gotten there a bit earlier in the day. Looked like a fun beach with shopping and activities--oh well...next time. In Roatan, walked around Coxen Hole and even checked out the local grocery store. The worst selection of produce I have ever seen. People in the street approached me wanting to take me on a taxi tour. They weren't aggressive, just persistent and you need to be good at saying no. I am. Enjoyed the wonderful snorkeling at Tabyana Beach and the kayaks. Not many children and college students on this cruise which I liked. Most people were older and educated. Unlike Carnival, there wasn't a beer bong in sight!! Would try Celebrity again, but not Solstice. Ship's pools were too small, lawn area was a waste of space and not enough activities even for this old lady of 45. If you want an affordable, quiet and relaxing vacation on the water with good food and good service then this Cruise is for you. Bring lots of books and your I-Pod as you will need to amuse yourself. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
For our third cruise, we chose Celebrity because we heard the food was much better than Princess and some other lines. I don't consider us picky but perhaps we are. My husband and I are both 52 yrs old and we travelled with our 20 ... Read More
For our third cruise, we chose Celebrity because we heard the food was much better than Princess and some other lines. I don't consider us picky but perhaps we are. My husband and I are both 52 yrs old and we travelled with our 20 year old son departing Ft. Lauderdale on July 4, 2010. We booked the Family View Veranda Suite #8107. I can assure you, that the ship is beautiful and well kept. The embarkation and disembarkation procedures were excellent. We got to the pier at 10:30 and were processed quickly to a waiting area where I believe we waited for perhaps 30-40 minutes. Service on board was nothing but exceptional from our room stewards, food servers, shop personnel, etc. Firstly, the family suite was more than adequate. The master bedroom was huge. The bathroom layout and storage redesign was extremely well done. I carry a lot of assorted sundries, medications, creams, lotions, etc. and there was room to spare. That was a pleasant surprise. AND you could actually turn around in the shower. A superbly designed bath area compared to other ships. My son's room had bunks and an individually controlled thermostat - important to him because my husband and I love air conditioning and he is always cold! The only negative I can say about the room is that the furnishings in the living room area were uncomfortable and sparse. Perhaps that was done on purpose but more comfortable chairs and sofa would have been nice. The Solstice theater is beautiful. We heard raves about the Cirque de Soleil type show but we weren't particularly impressed. I think we just aren't Cirque fans. We did love the Broadway Ghost light show where the dancers and singers did a wonderful job with songs from West Side Story, Miss Saigon, My Fair Lady, Rent and Hairspray. It was a lot of fun. I love Broadway and thought the performers did a great job. We also saw part of the Magician/Illusionist's act...also so/so. I did a 100 minute seaweed wrap and massage at the spa with a massage therapist named Rachelle from the Philippines. It was the BEST treatment I ever had and Rachelle was superb! Ask for her!! Now for the food.....really and truly disappointing. The Ocean view buffet was so sub par compared to the Crown Princess. Rarely, did the menu change and it seemed like the buffet closed earlier and earlier every night. They had the essentials but what I would call "cheap food"....pizzas, bread, lunch meat, salads, etc. For lunch, I loved the Indian curries but how many people want spicy? Some days they had sushi but it was poor man's California rolls, generic wrapped in seaweed...with no roe on it. Pre Made sushi for sure. Plenty of hot pasta....again very cheap to make. We never saw shrimp, scallops or crab claws on the buffet like we did on some other lines...and I thought Celebrity was known for its food! Now on to the Grand Epernay. I can say that I enjoyed this restaurant. One side of the menu remains constant and the other changes every night. Some of the really good entrees I had were veal osso bucco, lamb shank, a sliced filet with morelle mushroom sauce and believe it or not excellent spaghetti and meatballs that put my Italian grandmother's to shame AND they made the pasta al dente like I asked for. The only thing I fault the Grand Epernay for was the uninspired desserts. I am a chocolate lover....I don't think I saw chocolate mousse on the menu once. The desserts were truly sub par and all the little pastries tired and tasteless. The Select Dining option was great...we were seated VERY quickly every night and the servers most attentive. Had to try Murano after reading the blogs on this site. What a waste! They foamed everything..it was disgusting. Like I'm talking blowing foam on top of everything I had that night...very nouvelle pretentious type cuisine...which would be ok if it was taste tempting. We started with an amuse bouche that was one escargot in a bearnaise or hollandaise type sauce that was oh so bland. The two ingredients simply did not go together. Also why would you serve that as a teaser appetizer when escargots are on the menu? Our server raved about the lobster bisque. My husband I both thought it was terrible. Supposedly, the chef boils the stock for hours. The soup arrives with a very small spinach timbale in your soup cup that also has maybe two small pieces of lobster in it and then they bring a small teapot with the broth in and pour it over and foam it. Really horrible....I've had MUCH better lobster bisque at my local diner. I then had the shrimp and scallops risotto. Let me just say, I am the QUEEN of risotto makers. Well to my surprise the risotto was fairly decent BUT they put it in a little ramekin and blew foam on top of it! What is it with this foam??? The rest of the dish was just OK. My son did have excellent venison and my hubby said his lobster was better than the lobster he had the one formal night at the Grand Epernay. Skip Murano and stay with the Grand Eparnay. The biggest mistake Soltice's designers probably made were with the pool areas. WAY to small for the number of passengers. The outdoor adult pool was filthy with stuff floating on the bottom every day and kids kept swimming in it because the kiddie pool was too crowded. Sometimes the pool attendants chased kids out but most of the time they didn't. We much preferred the indoor pool simply because of the crowds. In my opinion, they should have abandoned the lawn club and put another pool up on the top deck...plus the grass is always "resting" and you can't use half the lawn area anyway. A truly big mistake when designing this boat in my opinion. The ports of call were ok. Best two spots were Cayman and Roatan. I'll write about my off shore excursions in another blog since I booked them all myself and not through the ship. I did unfortunately, have to use the ship's hospital the last day at sea. They thought I had norovirus. They hydrated me with IV and gave me some injections that knocked me out for 12 hours....which I needed because I was really sick. Kudos to the medical staff...I felt horrible bothering the nurse at 1 a.m. in the morning and then she had to page the doctor at 3:30 a.m. because my condition got worse. Both were very professional and it is good to know you are in good hands should something like that unfortunately arise. In conclusion, a truly beautiful ship but much could be improved at the buffet. Also, my husband and son were in tuxes for the formal night and I would say LESS than half the ship passengers were tuxes. This is a custom that is truly falling to the wayside. But again, great cabin and services aboard the ship...a truly elegant vessel. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Celebrity Solstice Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 5.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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