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

We just got back from our 7th cruise—all have been on Royal Caribbean(5) and Celebrity (2). We love taking cruises as it is the best way for all of us to relax 110%. We counted down from 120 days as we were so excited. Thirteen of us ... Read More
We just got back from our 7th cruise—all have been on Royal Caribbean(5) and Celebrity (2). We love taking cruises as it is the best way for all of us to relax 110%. We counted down from 120 days as we were so excited. Thirteen of us from our family went. Overall, we had a good time— how can you not have a good time on a cruise ship? But, overall we were disappointed. Why? Mostly due to the low quality of service—something was just missing. We have become used to staff that bend over backwards to help and always have a smile or at least are polite. They may at times appear tired (they have tough jobs with no breaks!), but they are always positive and professional. Unfortunately, not on this cruise. We have never been snapped at so many times on a cruise by staff—at the pool, at the bar, ordering room service, delivering room service. As I have done on previous cruises, I tried to strike up multiple conversations with staff (i.e. what a pretty day) and several of them barely made eye contact, grumbled, and walked away. I have never seen anything like it. It was clear they were unhappy. We witnessed on more than one occasion pool butlers being chewed out in public by "bosses" watching over them. They looked beat down. It was tough to watch. The overall morale was very low. I could go on and on but I am guessing you get the picture. The final (rude) straw was during disembarkation we realized my husband had packed away his "sea pass" as well as our kids. I had mine. I walked up to the activity director who always came across as positive—initially she was positive when I walked up to her. However, when I told her what had happened, she turned sour and said "apologize to all the people behind you and get in line and deal with it" (at this point there was no one behind us). It really didn't take more than a few minutes to fix it and disembark—plus, there were 2 separate lines so others just exited through the other line. My husband and I stood there for a bit after getting off the ship asking "Did we hear what we think we just heard?" The other major disappointment was how un-kid friendly the ship was...they should just state "This cruise ship is not for kids". It was ridiculous. The kids program was poor (they even lost a 3 year old for a while). They have 3 pools on the ship but the inside one is adult only. That is fine but they also made one of the outside pools "Adult only". This leaves one 3 foot wading pool that is about 15 x 15 ft for >700 kids! What are kids supposed to do during the day? They don't shop, gamble, drink, sunbathe, play bingo...they swim! Why not make the "adult pool" outside a pool for kids above 10 during the summer months when more kids are on the ship? If adults want to be alone in the pool, they can go inside to the very nice pool area where kids are not allowed. The staff were often rude to the kids who were extremely well behaved. The one exception was our restaurant waiter who was great with the kids and served them first, etc. He was fantastic and it was a welcome change. As far as overall day to day service, our dining room waiter and room attendants were all excellent. We did miss the animals made out of towels and extra touches we got used to on Royal Caribbean, but our room was kept neat and the attendants were very polite. The food overall was just OK—we liked the Oceanview Cafe better than the restaurant (although the menu rarely changed), in general (that's a first). I love sorbets on ships with all the tropical fruit flavors—however, their sorbet was not good. It was clearly watered down. I did buy the gelato for $3 and it was delicious-tasted like the normal sorbet I remember, so they do know how to make sorbet. Clearly, they want you to pay for the good stuff. As for the stops—we enjoyed 2/4—Cozumel and Roatan were both wonderful. I will state up front we love the beaches and snorkeling (and do some shopping for local items). Costa Maya was a joke unless you wanted to see the ruins which were supposedly very nice. I don't think the ship should stop there-the place is still a mess from Hurricane Dean. Grand Cayman has unfortunately not recovered as far as the reefs from the major hurricane which hit is some years back. The ship was beautiful. We enjoyed the Cirque de Soleil like show a ton. Also, there was some very good entertainers at night. However, overall there was far less activity. No midnight buffets which appear to have been eliminated. No fruit or ice carvings as we have always had before. The little special touches were just plain missing. There were times the ship was almost completely shut down as far as entertainment during the late afternoon. No pool activities (they were too crowded even if you wanted them). They hid the "steel band" on another deck and had a terrible band play by the pool (but not playing reggae or any other music you associate with Caribbean music). What is a cruise in the Caribbean without a (full) steel band by the pool playing in the afternoons?? Their version of a "steel band" was one guy with a drum! There was a guitarist that was quite good and played in various locations on the ship. The best part of the entire ship were the glass blowing shows--they were a real treat. Dane, Chris, and Matt were superb both as glass blowers and narrators. Overall, we like the entertainment on Royal Caribbean much more—more relaxed and humorous and less stuffy. The staff are much nicer. Celebrity clearly caters to older cruisers, and doesn't hide once you get on the ship (which is too late!) that they are not a "kid-friendly ship". I'm not sure if we will ever sail on Celebrity again—if we do, it will be after our kids are over 18. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Intro- My wife's entire family and I just returned from a week on the Solstice. Eighteen of us in all. Ages ranged from a 1 1/2 year old to fifty somethings. Most were new to cruises and a bit leery. Not anymore! Embarkation- As ... Read More
Intro- My wife's entire family and I just returned from a week on the Solstice. Eighteen of us in all. Ages ranged from a 1 1/2 year old to fifty somethings. Most were new to cruises and a bit leery. Not anymore! Embarkation- As mentioned by many others, Celebrity has the embarkation process down to a science. Even though we were in Aqua Class and had priority, the time savings was not that great. Aqua Class does however have other advantages which I will expound upon later. All our staterooms were ready by 12:30PM which is an amazing feat considering the ship had just docked that morning. Public Rooms- I can not add much other than to say, the entire ship exudes class, just like the finest hotels and not like an over the top flashy designer. Comfortable and stylish! Art and music are alive on all decks most of the time which makes for a lively atmosphere. Dining- The number one area of contention. Being in Aqua Class, my wife and I were entitled to eat every breakfast and dinner in Blu. I can honestly not convey how amazed we were with every aspect of our dining experience. We had just cruised on the refurbished Celebrity Century in January where we at in Murano twice and considered it a great gourmand experience. Blu exceeded it by a great margin. From a tremendous gazpacho to a world class charred veal loin, every selection was delicious and beautifully displayed and the service from the wait staff, sommelier and maitre'd was truly first class. Wilmer was our server and was never wrong on his food recommendations. The sommelier was also right on with her selections. Seating only 125 persons max meant we could be finished in one hour or less and still meet our family in the MDR while they were just being served their entrees. The one time we did eat in the MDR for a family member's 50th, I ordered the Tournedos Rossini & Wild Mushroom Vol A vent and both were extremely good. Lunches @ the Oceanview cafe were also quite good. Entertainment- While not Las Vegas quality, the Solstice productions were quite good considering they were performed by members of the crew. Solstice The Show had a very talented acrobatic duo and other performers. Ghost Light was good. The other contracted acts were an illusionist and David Meyer who played the Xylo Synth. I know it sounds hokey but his renditions of classical and other familiar tunes was very lively and entertaining Enrichment- If one area was lacking it was this. The galley tour and the navigation tour were interesting, but guest speakers/educational presentations were lacking. The Hot Glass show, especially & night, was the highlight. Considering the clientele were well heeled and very wordly, I would expect more than just wine tastings on this class of ship. Overview- Nitpicking aside, I would still rate the Solstice as a fine ship, well run and a very friendly and accommodating crew. We never saw any open complaining amongst the staff. I really felt that the staff was genuine in its care of the passengers. Celebrity really screens well for attitude. Although some have complained, Aqua Class is worth the upcharge if for Blu only. The other amenities are nice, but to us not critical Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
My husband and I cruised out of Ft. Lauderdale on the Celebity Solstice on June 6th, two days shy of our 25th wedding anniversary. The ship was beautiful and the service was top notch. Our balcony stateroom was much better than expected, ... Read More
My husband and I cruised out of Ft. Lauderdale on the Celebity Solstice on June 6th, two days shy of our 25th wedding anniversary. The ship was beautiful and the service was top notch. Our balcony stateroom was much better than expected, had plenty of storage and a comfortable amount of room, at least for two people. We took our own bottled water and seltzer and were glad to have the seltzer, but bottled water was not necessary. The tour operators passed out water on every tour and we left a mostly full case of water on the boat. If we do a Celebrity cruise again, we would not take as many dressy clothes, since the dinner attire was more "requested" than "mandatory". May people showed up on formal night in golf shirts and we saw people shirtless in the buffet area every night. We, also, would never recommend the specialty restaurants, unless you are REALLY wanting a lot of privacy and pampering. The food was just as good in the main dining hall at no extra charge. And the spa was especially disappointing due to the fact that we were overcharged and got nothing short of a huge run-around from customer service when we tried to get a partial refund. The food was exemplary, though, and there was plenty to do on the ship, with three pools, an exercise room, free on-demand movies, a casino and shops, etc... Wish they had served biscuits with breakfast, had snack foods like popcorn and pretzels (for the nights we watched movies in our room) and self-serve ice machines so we didn't have to ask for ice every day, but those were minor inconveniences and we would definitely do it again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
My wife and I have been on Carnival and Princess. My sister and nephew just Carnival. We naturally often found ourselves comparing the experience to Carnival. Embarkation- Smooth and easy less than 15 mins to get on the boat. First ... Read More
My wife and I have been on Carnival and Princess. My sister and nephew just Carnival. We naturally often found ourselves comparing the experience to Carnival. Embarkation- Smooth and easy less than 15 mins to get on the boat. First Impression- Handed champagne as I walked onboard. Man this ship is swanky. Nice art work. Even the bathrooms are uppity up. Never seen a Carnival boat like this. Cabin- These rooms were nice. Flat panels in the room. Free movies on the TV. Large shower. Cool sink. Modern decor throughout. Bed was pretty comfortable. Blows away any Carnival cabin Ive ever seen Buffet- Not impressed. Most items were bland and mediocre. Constant cutting. Carnival buffet was better in my opinion. Main Dining Room- Again swanky the tower of wine bottles was impressive. Great wait staff. At times the menu was too sophisticated for my taste ie Escargot, but always found something that appealed to me. Food quality was better than Carnival. Pools- Sweet Fresh water not salt. There are two pools in the middle of the ship. These pools as we later found out use the same filtration system. One was 3-4 feet the other was 5-6 feet. Posted signs stated kids were only allowed in the 3-4 ft pool, but they were everywhere. A little annoying that parents and Celebrity allow this, but not a big deal. The third pool was in an indoor section with AC no kids allowed. For the most part this area was quiet and kid free. The pool in this section was too cold for our taste though. One of the days at sea a kid had an accident around noon which resulted in the both outdoor pools being closed until past 6pm. This put a huge damper on the day. The whole reason we chose Celebrity was we figured their would be less children so it would be more relaxing. We felt as though Carnival would have handled the situation better. We liked the fact that the pools were fresh water, but the area was just too boring and over packed for us. We prefer the pool area on a Carnival boat. (may be partial due to the child's accident) Jacuzzis- Way too hot and humid to even think about it. They should fill one or two of them with water the same temperature as the pool when its this hot. On Board Events- There was bingo, trivia here or there, and nightly shows, but overall it just seemed like there wasnt much going on. Carnival deserves the name Fun Ship (I love winning those ship on a sticks). On Carnival we ofter go to 3-4 events on sea days on Celebrity it was 1 or 2 max. Cafe- The capuccino was great. The frozen/cold drinks not so much. It was really hot and humid every day so we preferred cooled drinks. I would give Carnival a slight edge here but not by much. The Grill- Dont know the place was never open when I went to get a burger/fries. We find ourselves wondering the ship late night, and were use to the grill being open late night. Carnival hands down. Room Service- We quickly learned that this was the only way to get food late night. You could order off the tv and it worked most the time this was pretty cool. Decent selection, but it does get old by the end. Celebrity hands down on this one. Purser/Guest Relations- We had 5 mischarges, and a noise complaint. Each of the mischarges were taken care of, but we had to follow up on several of them twice. When we complained about the noise beneath us the women at the desk said there is nothing below you. When I explained the theater is below us, but there is not a show at 4 pm she just had a dumb founded look on her face. She replied all rooms are full. We tried to explain that we dont want another room we just want to know why there is so much noise when there is not a show she again told us this is not possible. All pursar/guest relations are no fun. Disembarkation- horrible The terminal lost power so we waited 2 hrs on the ship. When they finally let us off people were cutting everywhere and there was no AC in the line for customs. Glad we finally got off Overall we liked how nice this ship and our stateroom. We were disappointed in the food quality of the buffet, lack of entertainment, and hours of operations of the bars and food spots. It was a good time, but I think next time I want to win a ship on a stick. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Thrilled to learn of the new drink packages available on Celebrity cruises, we purchased two premium packages during our 7 day cruise last week on the Solstice. Our premium packages were to include all individual drinks priced at $12 or ... Read More
Thrilled to learn of the new drink packages available on Celebrity cruises, we purchased two premium packages during our 7 day cruise last week on the Solstice. Our premium packages were to include all individual drinks priced at $12 or less. We were very surprised when checking our account that we were charged for two drinks priced at $11.44. Upon inquiry, Guest Relations informed me that the package did not include any drinks in collectible glasses even if they were priced at less than $12. Nowhere in any of the information presented to us did it say that these drinks were not included. At no time did the bartender tell us that these drinks were not included. Our receipt for the drinks did not indicate a charge for the drinks. Guest Relations contacted the head of bar services, Lisa, to request a refund on our behalf. Because we only wanted the drinks and not the glasses, we even offered to give the two glasses back to the cruise line. Unfortunately, Celebrity (Lisa) opted to demand $11.44 from an Elite Captain's Club member than to admit that they misrepresented their beverage package or possibly made a mistake. Lisa said that it was not the bartender's responsibility to inform us that the drinks wouldn't be included, nor was it Celebrity's responsibility to present the "fine print" involved with their packages. I tried unsuccessfully to reach the Captain's Club Hostess for three days while on-board, so I guess the next stop is to dispute the charges with my bank. What a shame. Hope the $11.44 was worth it Celebrity!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We took the June 6 sailing on the Solstice because we had not been on Celebrity in a long time, and based on others who sailed on Solstice I thought ok. Hm, well, as the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first ... Read More
We took the June 6 sailing on the Solstice because we had not been on Celebrity in a long time, and based on others who sailed on Solstice I thought ok. Hm, well, as the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, held true. Beautiful ship but cold, lacking the warmth and charm of Holland America ships. Check-in was decent, and on board rather quickly. HOWEVER, upon entering the hallway to our stateroom, the hallway smelled like a blocked sewer. Numerous complaints netted housekeeping putting carpet fresh on the rugs and "the smell will go away," it did not-the hallway stunk the entire trip. I quickly learned to avoid passing through the library on the port side to avoid the stench. Not sure if other passengers smelled it-if not they had no sense of smell. Muster or must-we Our location was in the Photo area-way,way too many people in a small, hot confined area. The crew person shouting at the passengers was totally useless-I was in the back of the line; could not see nor hear anything. then someone said - "watch the video." Of course it was un-viewable by 99% of us slobs standing for 45 minutes. Other passengers said they were in lounges, etc. Not a good idea to force passengers to stand for extended periods of time. That started off the trip on the wrong life boat and quickly sank the rest of the trip. OK - on to another topic. This was the 20th anniversary of Celebrity Cruise Lines and the Captain's Club "events" were pathetic. Who has a Captain's Club event with a cash bar? Rather, they should have just served iced tea or water. To sit in the lounge waiting for someone to cut the cake was a waste of time. Better to do something at dinner for EVERYONE. Entertainment - much better than other cruise lines - Royal Caribbean has ice skating shows-Celebrity had the Cirque-type shows which were spectacular. Cabin - Concierge -no real closet space; had to get on the floor to use the safe;sheltered balcony-great, however I could hear the passengers on either side talking when they were on their balconies. Decent size shower but no storage space. I did enjoy warm underwear because the refrigerator is part of the dresser. Way too much stuff in the fridg; asked to have it removed but it stayed the entire trip untouched. A bottle of some sparkling wine and less and great quality fruit were in the cabin; also you had to put out the "send me the canapes" card every day and be in the cabin to receive them; otherwise nothing arrived. Well, I opened the cover and laughed - 6 teeny, tiny "canapes," and it's a crime to call them that were on a huge dish. It would have been better to have a happy hour than receive them. Nice idea; big disappointment. Tipping - paid for tips in advance and tipped our cabin person extra for great service. Ports - Grand Cayman was HOT, HOT, HOT, loaded with 5 ships in port. Took a tour;gave up on shopping and went back to the ship. Way too many rude, inconsiderate tourists on the small streets Cozumel - only shopped at the flea market Costa Maya - nasty vendors who walk away from you while trying to purchase items. I dislike vendors shouting at me. Roatan - interesting and would consider seeing more. Food - generally decent-first nights meal was great-downhill after that in the main dining room. Enjoyed Tuscan Grill; Bistro was fair; buffet had the best breakfast around. Other meals were ok - but nothing special. No 24-hour buffet as on Princess. Disembarkation: Total nightmare due to the Port of Fort Lauderdale being without power due to storms. Celebrity made an announcement around 8AM informing passengers of the "problem," and it went downhill from there. Staff and crew were overwhelmed and ill-prepared for the event-inadequate communications from anyone. I saw staff yelling at disabled passengers - hey like it's the passengers fault. We FINALLY got off the ship at 12:30;stood in a long conga-line for almost another hour before we got out of the terminal only to be told "Oh, your transfer bus isn't coming because your ship was late," so we shared a cab to the airport for $10 a couple. No more "transfer" bus trips. Bottom line - although the price of the trip cam down and we got an upgrade and a credit; it will be a very long time before I thing about Celbrity again . They really nead to "get their act together." Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
My Wife and I are parents of 3 young children and we also are small business owners. Needless to say, we are VERY busy and try to enjoy one kid-free week a year to get away and relax. This cruise was our 6th cruise and our first with ... Read More
My Wife and I are parents of 3 young children and we also are small business owners. Needless to say, we are VERY busy and try to enjoy one kid-free week a year to get away and relax. This cruise was our 6th cruise and our first with Celebrity. All previous cruises were 5-7 day cruises with either Royal Caribbean or Carnival. While reading this forum before we left for our cruise I became a little concerned that it would be dull or boring and perhaps feel a little out of place for our age group. I am pleased to say that while it certainly was more mellow than our previous cruises, and there were MANY more older people on this cruise, it was not boring or dull. HOWEVER Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
My wife and I have taken eleven cruises, on Royal Carribbean, Carnival, Princess, and Holland America. This was our first cruise with Celebrity. First, the embarkation was as easy, quick, and effortless as we had read about in previous ... Read More
My wife and I have taken eleven cruises, on Royal Carribbean, Carnival, Princess, and Holland America. This was our first cruise with Celebrity. First, the embarkation was as easy, quick, and effortless as we had read about in previous reviews- about fifteen minutes (if that) from drop off to walking on the ship. Solstice itself isn't much to look at from the outside, but that is because of six full decks of balcony cabins! Inside- what a gorgeous ship! All the public areas were kept polished and cleaned, the decor was impressive and not as gaudy as on some other ships. The cabin was a typical ship cabin. Our cabin steward really came through- the first day of the cruise (we did back-to-back western and eastern itineraries) my wife, who had tendonitis in her knee, had a flare-up that was quite painful. The next day we were down in the medical center for treatment. It didn't take long for our steward to notice a need for ice packs, and he kept a steady stream of ice in plastic bags for her knee, without having to ask him for them. The food in the main dining room was incredible! The best we have ever had on a cruise ship! And the food in the buffet was just as good. It was amazing how all types of meats were tender and done to perfection. We ate in the Tuscan Grille, but the food there wasn't all that better than the main dining room. The service at the time we went was better (two servers) but they were only half full. The entertainment was as good as it gets on a ship- particularly Cirque type show and guest performer Antonio Salci. I agree with previuous reviews- not a kid friendly ship- caters mostly to adults. Staff was mostly friendly, cruise director was the most visible and active we have ever seen, as were the maitre'd in the dining room. Hot Glass show is not to be missed! Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
As a veteran of many Celebrity cruises, Ive come to expect things to be done the Celebrity way on all of their ships. The Solstice was a major disappointment. First, my luggage, packed that morning in my hotel, was destroyed. They took ... Read More
As a veteran of many Celebrity cruises, Ive come to expect things to be done the Celebrity way on all of their ships. The Solstice was a major disappointment. First, my luggage, packed that morning in my hotel, was destroyed. They took it to see if they could fix the crushed supports. I asked about it on the 3-6 days on the cruise and got the same answer-its at the upholsterers, I will personally check on it,etc. I didn't get an answer until in frustration at 11pm and we had left our last port and chance of buying new, I told the Guest Relations rep I would leave the ship with my stuff in 2 large garbage bags telling everyone what had happened. At 8 am, my cabin steward(THE BEST) came with his supervisor, my broken bag and apologies for what I already suspected. I understand traveling risks, but I just need a copy of the form to claim it on my travel insurance. I explained that to the supervisor along with the bluff that I was meeting with the captain that afternoon and Guest Relations was on my hit list for causing me anxiety over wondering HOW Id get through Customs with a Hefty bag. Long story short, I got a new case and I'm thankful, but I felt I earned it over the way they strung me along for 6 days. Second- food The main dining room is way to small and poorly laid out. We were a mere 6 inches from the next table!! No kidding! Our waiter was great, but his assistant was slow. Ronny the wine steward saved the day by keeping me in Chablis. They have a new McCelebrity( stuff they serve anytime) menu in addition to the daily specials which weren't that special. Tuscan Grill is where its at for great food. Murano was exceptional as well if you can get a reservation. Pass on the Asian. Ewww. Third- service I NEVER had to wait on a drink, towel or the time on any other ship. Solstice has drink packages, but you have to do it yourself. Get out of your sun chair and walk to the bar. Not just for alcohol, but water and sodas. Only one time did I see an adequate number of service people. The pool area is small and woefully understaffed. Ive never seen so many adults in one pool in my life. Just nasty knowing everyone is sweating like a mule like you. The other small pool was for the kids and crowded to the point of being unsafe. Paul, the activities host, is just plain rude. He walked past us after a performance and we asked the name of the clowning performer (Adam- another gem!) and he looked at us and said, "I don't have time. I have to close a show." I guess the shock registered on our faces at his rudeness and he stopped, smiled and said "Adam. Read his bio on the boards." I'm still not over being yelled at. Especially by someone who did such a poor job of activities on the ship. Be ready to be bored unless you gamble. Fourth- Smoking I include this for the people who like to smoke on the balcony. Forget it. Its a 250 fine and possible debarkation. There are cameras everywhere so believe it. I have no problem with designated areas, but the smokers complain that there are 3 on the ship with the lounge area being in the corner in the dark behind a stage. fifth- debarkation A NIGHTMARE. Plan on at least 2 hours in line for 2800 people. In conclusion,if you remember the grand service, beautifully presented food,smiling personnel of Celebrity, smile. Solstice signals the end of the Celebrity tradition. I for one am saddened and actively seeking a new cruise line that wants my money and is willing to treat me like a Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Let me start with a little background. My dad (71) and me (29) go on a holiday every single year. The last couple of years we have been on various cruises and I hope we can keep doing that for the next 30 years although my dad doubts if ... Read More
Let me start with a little background. My dad (71) and me (29) go on a holiday every single year. The last couple of years we have been on various cruises and I hope we can keep doing that for the next 30 years although my dad doubts if that will happen. ? We are experienced travellers. We live near Amsterdam in the Netherlands. We have also cruised with Royal Clipper (beautiful ship, luxurious suites but unfortunately inedible food on our voyage), Oceania (nice ships, smallish but well appointed suites, friendly service and fabulous food). I have also sailed on Carnival with my girlfriend (just good value for money). This was our first time on Celebrity. Although there is no real comparison between Oceania and Celebrity size wise, they do both seem to offer a high end cruise experience for somewhat more affordable prices that the 'real' premium liners. The price for our Celebrity Suite on Celebrity Solstice was roughly the same as for a Penthouse Suite on Oceania sailing during the same period. I did find that Oceania offers a more personal and much more luxurious experience, but our Celebrity Suite on the Solstice was more beautiful, spacious, had a great lay out with a separate bedroom and had better amenities. Since the Solstice is so much bigger than the ships of Oceania, Celebrity does offer far more options, entertainment, bars and restaurants. The food in the speciality restaurants on Celebrity was as good as the ones on Oceania and the quality of the food in the main dining room was even better on Celebrity. The dEcor, atmosphere and especially the food quality of the Ocean View Cafe on the Solstice was unfortunately not comparable to that of Oceania. We were greatly disappointed with this venue on board. For now I will stop the comparison and just tell you about our trip. Pre cruise documents I was a little surprised that our cruise documents just were emailed. No booklet, nothing personal, no luggage tags just a conformation email telling me to print everything and fill in all necessary information online. That wasn't personal nor did make us feel very special. We did like the options to book the speciality restaurants on-line. Travel Since we live in the Netherlands we flew in to Miami via London 2 days before the cruise. We were in the middle of yet again a BA strike, which forced us to spend 2 days in Fort Lauderdale instead of 1. I got a great deal on a hotel and we stayed at the Ritz Carlton Beach Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. This is a beautiful hotel and the fantastic rooms pleasantly surprised us. This hotel has the WOW factor. I can highly recommend staying here. Embarkation On embarkation day we took a cab to the pier and were amazed by the quick check-in. We were cleared and on the ship within 40 minutes. We came in through the forward entrance and not in the main lobby. Although it went really fast it doesn't give you a nice impression like walking in the main lobby. We went up to the Ocean View Cafe and that gave us quite a shock. It was overcrowded with dirty plates everywhere, it was slippery, people were forced to eat while standing and it was extremely hot. Although the food variety was fantastic the quality was that of a cheap NYC or Vegas all you can eat buffet where they keep the food warm for hours. I feared for the worst about our all-new Celebrity experience but quickly found out that there were also many positive things. Room When we were aloud to go to our cabins we went out to see our suite. We stayed in CS 1615 and it has an even larger balcony do to its location just behind the 'hump'. The cabin itself was very nice indeed. We were impressed by the quality and use of materials. The room attendants had forgotten to separate the beds and the entertainment system wasn't working properly but after our butler introduced himself he quickly made sure that everything was taken care off. The beds were reasonably comfortable, the bathroom nice although smaller than expected with two doors, one from the seating area and one from the bedroom there was also a nice size walk-in closet. The seating area had a couch; there was fresh fruit, a bottle of sparkling wine (no real champagne) and some cruise information. On the balcony we had a table with to chairs and one very comfortable padded chaise. There was more than enough room for two of those but unfortunately they provided only one. The afternoon canapEs aren't very tasty. Our butler was friendly but nothing special. He brought our breakfast every day and that was good. The room was kept clean and the fruit replaced every day. Muster Drill This was the most disorganised drill I have ever experienced. Our designated location was the Murano restaurant. It was overcrowded. People where directed to corners where there was just not enough room. People got irritated because they couldn't sit or stand. There was only one screen that showed a presentation. Do to the lay-out of the restaurant most people couldn't see the screen from their location. Some passengers were sitting on the floor playing with their Ipad or listing to music during the entire process. It doesn't seem to be an improvement over the 'old school' method. It goes faster, it's clear for everybody and is much more efficient. Public Areas We liked the modern and contemporary feel of the public areas. Some were very nice like the boutiques; Michael's club, the lawn club and the art galleries. Some lacked just a good atmosphere like the Martini Bar (to white), Observation Lounge (to clean looking and empty most of the time) and did I mention the Ocean View Cafe. ? The entrance to the ensemble lounge which you have to pass to get to the speciality restaurants is so dark that people were using flashlights to make sure they didn't fall or bumped in to somebody else. I understand that everything looks nicer when the lights are a little dimmed but this was just way to dark. The bartenders did a great job making delicious cocktails and the crew throughout the vessel were friendly. Main Restaurant We choose select dining and liked the quality of the food in the main restaurant although service was rushed. The fist night we were in and out of the restaurant in less than 40 minutes. That's just to fast for a 4 or 5-course meal. Speciality restaurants We really liked all the speciality restaurants. Murano, although the name is Italian, serves French cuisine in a beautiful atmosphere. They prepare dishes tableside and the quality is excellent. Service is also very good and personal without going over the top. Tuscan Grill serves a variety of nicely prepared dishes. Quality of the meat was excellent. Try the fish soup it very tasty. Service and atmosphere were also really good. Silk Harvest offers great sushi and other very tasty Asian inspired cuisine. The have nice sake and special beers. All in all a very good dining experience. Ocean view cafe like I said we didn't like this venue at all. Great variety of food stations but it lacked quality, it didn't look tempting and the restaurant itself just gives a cheap feel even with the great views. Pools The pools were to crowded on sea days. We enjoyed the Adults Only solarium and the food there is really good. Entertainment Music and the theatre shows all were pretty good. Don't miss the glass blowing show. The guys are really good at their jobs and do a great job entertaining everybody. Ports of Call Grand Cayman Just very busy with 4 other ships tendering people. Nice for shopping or a quick visit to the beach but nothing spectacular. Cozumel We drove around the island in a rented jeep. It's fun and nice for the sea views and white beaches. Costa Maya This didn't impress us at all. It felt like a big mall just designed for cruise passengers. It probably is. Roatan Beautiful island that is still very natural and pure. We took a taxi that drove us around the island. The views are fantastic and the people all were very friendly. I hope this doesn't get to be the new cruise ship hangout and that they can keep it as picturesque as it is now. Disembarkation Now for the really ugly part of this review. My father had wheelchair assistance to get off the ship. We were in the Ensemble lounge at the requested time. An announcement was made there was a power failure in the terminal building and that we could not disembark. We than waited for more than 1,5 hours until the announcement was made that the first group of people could get off the ship. People who needed assistance were also moved out. My father was with the second group and then it all went wrong. A superior called Valetta came along shouting to our assistant and told him, no ordered him to stop. He could not bring us down and he had to wait for her approval before preceding any further. She didn't give any explanation and disappeared. We stood there in the middle of the art gallery for over 20 minutes. Other people in wheelchairs came along and they could pass since the supervisor wasn't there anymore. I tried talking to several people and finally somebody higher in rank told us there was no need for us to wait. So the guy who assisted my dad was happy to bring us down. After a few meters Valetta came running towards us. She started shouting again and we were stopped just a few steps from our previous position. I tried to talk to her but she was now busy shouting to other people in the same line and other assistants helping people in wheelchairs. She got in to several heated arguments with various passengers including me. After a few minutes the higher-ranking crewmember passed by telling all of us we had to get off the ship now. They had to clean the ship and new passengers were already waiting. We proceeded to the exit. Once inside the terminal building the situation deteriorated. There was almost no lighting in the terminal building, the a/c wasn't working and there were hundreds of people waiting in lines. There were only 6 immigration officers handling the 2800 passengers getting off the ship. From these 6 officers 5 were directed to US Citizens and only one for Non US Citizens. The lines were roughly the same length and it was extremely hot. I saw a girl who fainted and a woman who had to throw up. The process took hours and hours causing most people to miss their flights. Celebrity representatives were present in the terminal but were not helpful or friendly. They did not provide us with water, even when requested by people who got sick. Passengers who tried to talk with them or ask them for water or a towel were just ignored or told they could not do anything for us. I tried it myself but without any luck. Instead of getting of the ship and in a cab at around 08:30 it was almost 14:00 before we finally left the building. I do understand that a power failure can happen and that immigration officials aren't working for Celebrity so that we had bad luck. I don't understand that there was no generator or back-up system. The fact that Celebrity employees ignoring basic needs like water for people who were forced to stand in lines for hours is just unacceptable. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
HOTEL: As we live in Florida, we drove to arrive on Sat. instead of Sun. We stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn in Hollywood, which offered free parking, breakfast coupons and transportation to the Port. The plan suited our needs. The room ... Read More
HOTEL: As we live in Florida, we drove to arrive on Sat. instead of Sun. We stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn in Hollywood, which offered free parking, breakfast coupons and transportation to the Port. The plan suited our needs. The room was large and clean, with microwave, compact refrigerator and coffee maker. EMBARKATION: A porter from Celebrity met us at the drop off point and made sure we had all the required documents. He then escorted us to the check-in station. We never saw our luggage again until it was at our cabin door. Once on the ship, we were given our customery drink and went about the ship to get our bearings and marvel at the ship and its various venues. We opted for Bistro on Five for lunch to avoid the noise and confusion of buffet lines. What a pleasure to dine there! We quickly learned the choices were very good, but very large. On our next visit (breakfast), we split orders. The staff and Mildred, the hostess/waitress, were very accommodating. SHIP INFORMATION: We toured most of the venues. The Oceanview buffet was arranged nicely and generally had no long lines as on previous cruises. There was a nice mixture of ethnic foods. We spent some time at the Martini Bar. The bartenders were excellent showmen. The frosted bar was unique, to keep drinks cold. Alex, at the bar, found and wrapped 4 of the special martini glasses for us - nice souvenirs. We were pleased with the layout of the ship. STATEROOM: Our stateroom was close to the aft elevators. It was nicely appointed with a large screen TV that had many options including an expanded music menu. The bath was very nice with a curved glass enclosed shower. Drawer and closet space could have been expanded, but we made do. Our attendents, Maria Elena and Mark, were very accommodating and kept us supplied with fresh fruit and cold water. DINING: The Mast Grill continues to have excellent burgers. The Oceanview buffet is improved with the new layout. The various ethnic dishes were very good. The Sea Day buffet was excellent, with prime ribe being served at one station. It was well organized. We had dinner one evening in the Murano, one of the specialty restaurants and had excellent food and service, thanks to Jordan and Henriett Gal. (only names we remembered) We remembered Henriett from the Olympic special restaurant on the Millie in 2008. We had an eight top in the MDR with all cruisers being Select or Elite status. We graded the MDR as fair to good. Almost every night some dinners were sent back. The most obvious was the second formal (Lobster) night. The lobster was soft and mushy and all were sent back. The last night's menu was ugh! It was hard to choose - nothing appealed to us. The chicken was dry, halibut not tasty and steaks not done well. Credit should be given to our waiter Marvin and his assistant, who tried very hard to please everyone. Conrad, our wine steward, was excellent. We enjoyed his singing and casual remarks and jokes. SERVICE: Service was excellent throughout the ship. We were always greeted with a smile and hello. Muzaine, the coffee steward in the Oceanview was outstanding and very jovial to everyone as he filled coffee cups. PORTS/EXCURSIONS: We wanted to see changes in Grand Cayman after 20 years. Glad we were there many times in the 70's and 80's. Took a 2 hr. tour of the island. Most of the time was spent in Hell and at the rum cake shop. Lots of standing around and not seeing the island. Mexico is Mexico - took no tours. Two hr. tour of Roatan was interesting and informative. We used Bodden tours which was tailored to our desires. DISEMBARKATION: What a breeze! Reported to our assigned area at 7:55 a.m. Off the ship within minutes, cleared customes, got a cab to the hotel, picked up the car and were home in Sebring (153 miles) by noon. SUMMARY: Of our 3 cruises, the MDR menu, food and service on the Solstice was no comparison to the Connie in Oct., 2009, and not as good as on the Millie in 2008. Would never do summer again in the Caribbean: too hot and too many kids running around. Dress code was not enforced in the MDR, even on formal nights. Shorts, jeans (not designer), sleeveless T's, sloppy clothing were very evident. Iaho, the Asst. Maitre'D, explained to us that it was a problem - the guests claimed they were never informed of the ship's dress code and others expressed that they did not care about the code, they were going to their table dressed as they please. We did not let it bother us. It probably would have if I sat across from a hairy armpit! Our table had many laughs and a good time. Yes, we will sail again: March 26, 2011, on the Connie! Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We are a husband and wife in our late forties. It was our ninth and tenth cruise as we did a back to back sailing. Previously, we have sailed Holland America, Norwegian, Carnival and Princess Cruise Lines. Our Western and Eastern Caribbean ... Read More
We are a husband and wife in our late forties. It was our ninth and tenth cruise as we did a back to back sailing. Previously, we have sailed Holland America, Norwegian, Carnival and Princess Cruise Lines. Our Western and Eastern Caribbean cruises on the Celebrity Solstice 06/13/2010 and 06/20/2010 were "Excellent". We were fortunate to have sunshine and relatively calm seas the entire two weeks. Having RCCL (Royal Caribbean Cruise Line) shares, we were able to take advantage of two On Board Credits of $100 for each 7 day cruise with Celebrity. The OBC was easily obtained after final payment was made. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before and stayed at the Hilton Marina. It is a good location, with included breakfast and welcome cocktail. The water taxi was just out front, which makes it easy to get anywhere you need to go. A few blocks from the hotel is a Publix grocery, that we also took advantage of for stocking up on supplies. The embarkation process was as to be expected with a few thousand passengers waiting to board. Our room #1503 Aqua Class was wonderful. A balcony room, with chilled champagne, always fresh fruit daily, soft robes with slippers, a large interactive LCD monitor, fresh herbal tea daily. It was clean, adequate and very quiet. Our cabin steward was outstanding with his service, and always interested in polite conversation. Being Aqua Class, the specialty restaurant Blu was our main dining room. It was a very quiet and intimate place away from the crowds. A great window table was always readily available for us. The food was fantastic and the service was always top notch. On two special evenings we dined at the Murano and the Silk Harvest Restaurants. The food and service were excellent. We usually don't enjoy buffets, with the crowds, so we try to stay away from them as much as possible. With that being said, the food choices were excellent and the overall lay out of the buffet was excellent. Also being Aqua Class, we enjoyed free use of the Persian Garden with its steam sauna, dry sauna and ceramic hot beds. This was one of the reasons we booked Aqua Class. There were many shows every evening, catering to various tastes. We attended several shows which were very entertaining. The Hot Glass Show was a very pleasant surprise, and we both obtained our "Living the Celebrity Life T Shirts" attending the Celebrity Life activities. We were always in the gym at opening time of 6:00am using their well equipped facility. We also enjoyed running on the outside track in the morning and using the pools for swimming laps before the crowds arrived later in the mornings. We have been to all these ports several times before so we were looking for new things to do or things that we enjoyed again. In San Juan We did a walking tour on our own of the old forts and the free trolley ride again. Also we loved the free wi-fi at the pier, that I accessed from my balcony on the ship. In St Thomas We took a ship's excursion to St Johns on a power catamaran and snorkelled which was lots of fun. Then we took a taxi into town for some shopping. DW loves the knock off designer purses. In St Martin We took a taxi and did an island tour. We were very unimpressed. It is a very touristy island and not to our taste. In Grand Cayman We went ashore with our snorkel gear and snorkelled the wreck of the Cali, and Eden Rock. We didn't spend a dime. The snorkelling was good. In Cozumel We booked a snorkel tour with EagleRay Divers again. We took a dive boat out and snorkelled three different reefs. We love going to Cozumel and this was our third time with ERD. In Costa Maya We headed out past the touristy pier to the town of Mahajual. We enjoyed the beach and the atmosphere. We hired a young man to take us out to the reef in his fishing boat for snorkelling. Later we enjoyed beach time with free loungers, free tequila, great fish tacos, guacamole and cheap cervezas. It was perfect. In Roatan We did a private snorkelling tour, which is not to be missed in Roatan. Great reefs and aquatic life, but the tour was cut a little short by the presents of unfriendly aquatic life. Great adventure though!! Disembarkation was amongst the easiest we've experienced, even being non-US citizens. We kept our luggage and walked right off the ship during self-disembarkation. We were off the ship by 8:00am right after breakfast, in a taxi and straight to FLL for our flight home. The port in Ft Lauderdale is a wonderful area from which to sail. Summary - We loved this Cruise line. The layout of the Solstice is well thought out. The added amenities of the Aqua Class made for a really wonderful vacation. The added attention from the Maitre d', to the wait staff, room stewards, to all of the staff members, really made for a pleasant experience. By attending the CC meetings on the two cruises it was made clear from the beginning, by the cruise director, that if you had any issues, just make them clear to the proper staff and Celebrity would do their best to resolve them. I believe that to be true. If you do not have a wonderful cruise on this ship, it's your own fault. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
From the description you might assume that any old cruise would do but we consider ourselves discerning travelers as I travel for business over 150 nights per year and when we travel together we stay in places like the Four Seasons and ... Read More
From the description you might assume that any old cruise would do but we consider ourselves discerning travelers as I travel for business over 150 nights per year and when we travel together we stay in places like the Four Seasons and Renaissance. For the past four years our vacations have been limited to three day trips to large cities usually in conjunction with a business trip. This year we made up our minds that we would take an extended, relaxing vacation. After much research we selected Celebrity Solstice in late May. The itinerary was not that important to us as we have traveled to most places in the Caribbean so we settled on the Western route since we have never been to Roatan or Costa Maya. Our goals were relaxation, great meals, invigorating surroundings and forgetting about work and the rigor of our lives for a week. By even the most exacting standards all goals were exceeded. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before embarkation and made a smooth transfer to the Hyatt Place for an overnight stay. Walked to a nice dinner then purchased two bottles of wine to bring on board the hotel has a good location and transfers included with the comfortable room. On Sunday from the time we left the hotel until we were on board was about 45 minutes. The process could not have been more efficient. Once on board we explored the ship until our cabin was ready at 1pm. The cabin was on deck 11 near the middle of the ship with a great veranda and a super bathroom. The bed, close to queen size, was very comfortable. At 2:30pm our luggage arrived and once everything was stowed we went back out to explore some more of the ship. Our departure was on time as was everything else during the week and we were off. Everything on the ship was very neat and clean with nothing out of place. Tucked away everywhere are art installations large and small that give the ship an air of something that everyone could take pride in being a part of which contributes to the passengers not littering and the staff really caring about their surroundings. The level of service everywhere on the ship is truly outstanding. We purchased the premium non-alcohol package and had no issues with charges or service and usually gave the folks an extra dollar on the check. Every member of the staff we met was helpful and very engaging. I spoke with a pool butler about the Jamaican soccer team in the World Cup and discussed the virtues of a warm climate merlot versus that of a cool climate merlot with the sommelier at the wine room. We ate in Blu most nights except for one night in Murano and another night when we just wanted a simple dinner and ate in the Oceanview Cafe. Murano was a combination of classy dEcor, good menu and superlative service to yield a two hour dining experience beyond compare. We made one mistake in Murano by telling the waiter we could not decide on dessert so they brought one of each item. It was nice to able to sample the items but a bit embarrassing to have all of that dessert on the table. Lunch every day was at Oceanview sitting outdoors aft. The lunch selections are extensive and good. The best part is you completely control the portion size and menu. Blu has a great menu that offers a little lighter cuisine but not quite a true spa menu. The service is great and the view is very nice. Expect to have a four course dinner that consists of very nice portions. We did not leave the table feeling too full. On one night, a couple sitting at the table next to us ordered multiple entrees and even asked for an item from the main dining room. They ate everything put in front of them including wine and soft drinks. Since our goal was relaxation we decided to stay on the ship during our stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel. The ship emptied out by about 2/3 on those days but there were still plenty of organized activities for those so inclined. We spent our days by pool, on our veranda and in the Persian Garden. The Persian Garden is a room in the spa complex that has both wet and dry saunas and heated stone loungers that melt away any stiffness. If you need to cool off there are two cooling drench showers with settings for Spring Rain and Jungle Rain. We did get off the ship in Costa Maya heading to the Maya Chan beach retreat. In Roatan we took a privately booked tour to visit a few specific sites on the island. In both places we could not have asked for a better experience and highly recommend Maya Chan and Bodden tours. Disembarkation was quick and smooth with an elapsed time of 40 minutes from leaving the ship to entering a cab. The process seems to take longer due to the fact you have been catered to all week then you have to claim your luggage and clear customs through a long line. Customs is a quick, perfunctory process if you have a passport. There is some discussion as to the necessity of a passport but travel is easier with a passport. Highs - Cellar Masters, food anywhere on the ship, Blu, Persian Garden, Aqua Class cabins, service and great attitude from everyone we met, musicians around the ship Lows - Photography Services for poor pictures and disappearing shots, evening shows Areas to improve - Have a lounge for folks departing on afternoon flights Do Not Miss - Molecular Bar, Cellar Masters, Persian Garden Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
This was my fifth cruise over the last 5 years.... Three with Royal Caribbean, which until now, I was impressed with... and one on Norweigan Cruise Line, upon which I have vowed never to cruise again! This cruise was a 25th Anniversary ... Read More
This was my fifth cruise over the last 5 years.... Three with Royal Caribbean, which until now, I was impressed with... and one on Norweigan Cruise Line, upon which I have vowed never to cruise again! This cruise was a 25th Anniversary celebration for my wife and I. It started with a surprise for my wife... I had a stretch limo pick us up and take us to the port... From the moment we stepped into the limo, until disembarkation back at Ft. Lauderdale, we absolutely felt like celebrities... Embarkation was swift, curtious and easy. I would say from the moment we walked into the building at the port, we were on the ship in less than 15 minutes... (we arrived at 12:30). By the time we found the elevator, our room was already accessible. This is definately a class outfit all the way! The room was immaculate... PLENTY of storage if you looked... Being able to store the suitcases under the bed was wonderfull. (even my rather large pullman fit with ease!) Tastefully decorated and more than comfortable, this room was better than I expected. The veranda was spacious and the chairs were very comfortable. The Television (although we didnt spend a lot of time watching it) was very nice and had a great selection of channels (and some good FREE on demand movies...). The room steward was amazing... the room was always clean when we returned from wherever, and we hardly ever saw him! (unless we called him...). On the day of our Anniversary, we found fresh flowers in a vase (we didn't order them)... that was a really nice touch! The one specialty resteraunt we tried was Bistro on Five. If you go on this ship, don't miss this! The five dollar per person fee was more than a bargain! The service was wonderfull and so were the crepes! The dining room and the buffet were good reasons to not even want the other specialty resteraunts... The food was amazing! There was nothing that we had that I could find fault with. Room service was prompt, and always perfect! (By the way... no limited menu through 5am! Our ship was filled to capacity, yet never once did we find any area we went overcrowded. We NEVER had to search for a seat, or a lounge chair or anything! Bravo Celebrity! The entertainment was great to spectacular! There were more things to do than time to do them. There was not a single employee that did not have a smile and a warm greeting! Even embarkation was smooth and easy. And although it is a simple thing, the cold water and iced towels upon return from the ports was a wonderfull experience! Funny, I didn't seem to see that at the "Walmart of the Seas" Celebrity ships! :) Celebrity, you have proved to be my new favorite! I will DEFINATELY be cruising with you again! Eastern Caribbean next???? Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We have cruised Royal Caribbean on six previous occasions with an inside cabin. This was our first Celebrity Cruise and we decided upon our first Veranda cabin since there was a great price (55 and over) on Concierge class cabins. We ... Read More
We have cruised Royal Caribbean on six previous occasions with an inside cabin. This was our first Celebrity Cruise and we decided upon our first Veranda cabin since there was a great price (55 and over) on Concierge class cabins. We flew Southwest in from our home near Baltimore early the day before and got a room at the Ft Lauderdale Hilton Marina. The cost of a cab from the airport was about $16 plus tip. This hotel is nice but a little dated. The room was fine, being clean and with a most important attribute: a comfortable bed. The hotel is next to the cruise port at a marina and is surrounded by all types of boats and yachts. It is really neat walking out the hotel door along the piers and seeing this. The hotel is also on one of the stops for the Ft Lauderdale water taxi. For $15 a person (cash only) you get to hop on and off the taxi all day at its many stops and visit many spots in Ft Lauderdale. We enjoyed the day doing this. Woke up the next morning and we could see the Solstice from the hotel. Check out was at 11AM and a short 5 min taxi ride later we were at the terminal (about $7.00 plus tip). Embarkation was a breeze. We were able to get our sea pass cards immediately and then waited upstairs in the terminal till about 1PM when boarding began. Aqua Class passengers were first followed by the Concierge Class (that was us). We were greeted with a welcome on board from the smiling crew and a complementary glass of champagne or Mimosa. Our cabin was not ready so we went to the Oceanview Cafe for some lunch (More on the food later). Our cabin (1048) was ready about 2 PM and our luggage arrived between 4 and 5 PM. We arrived to fresh flowers, sparkling wine and fresh fruit. Every evening a small plate of hors D'ouvres was delivered prior to dinner, another nice touch. The 190 sq feet or so was plenty large for us. The LCD TV was great and we watched some programs while getting ready for dinner or bed. We also used it to check our spending account on the ship. The bathroom had large soft bath towels (Egyptian) and a larger shower than we has been used to in inner cabins. We loved the curved acrylic shower door in lieu of the shower curtains we have had on Royal Caribbean ships. This cabin is located behind a jutting out of the ship's structure so the Veranda during sailing had no wind issues. There was a small table and 2 comfortable chairs with foot stools on the Veranda. We had no issues with cigarette or cigar smoke on the Veranda from any of the surrounding staterooms. Our cabin attendants were excellent. The ship is just great and has a little something for just about any adult. The Library was chocked full of many books if you wanted something to read. The glass blowing exhibitions daily are great. There was a card room that I noticed was used by a number of passengers for bridge and other games. There was a theater showing films. We did not go there and we thought it odd that most of the films were shown at night when there were other options. There were plenty of places for drinking from the Cellar Masters Room for wine appreciation (including auto dispense wine machines) to other various bars. The casino seemed to have enough tables (2 roulette, 1 craps, 3-4 blackjack, 2 automated Poker, 1-2 Three Card Poker and 1 baccarat) for the size of the ship. Too many of the tables however had $10 or above limits and not enough $5 tables for my taste (I did win $35 the last night at blackjack ? ). There were plenty of slot machines and to tempt one into playing, the Daily Paper had a running count of how much money was paid out on the cruise in the casino. My guess is most of that money was lost back to the casino ?. They did not however tell one the take by the casino. The Internet Cafe had plenty of laptop work stations. Unfortunately, coverage was sporadic and slow. We could not get into our home internet email for some reason so I had to open a Gmail internet email account as we were conducting some business with our daughter and needed to be in touch with her. I would just as soon not have to spend the money on the internet with such spotty, slow service and at a discounted $.60 a minute the cost adds up quickly. We ate at the Oceanview Cafe for Breakfast and lunch most days. Breakfast had everything one would want; eggs Benedict in various country forms, eggs cooked to order, omelets cooked to order, fruit, yogurt, bacon, sausage, ham, bagels, English muffins and more. For lunch you could step up to and fill your plate from a great salad bar, pasta/pizza, Indian, Asian or American grill and sandwich stations. There were cheese, bread, ice cream and deserts galore along with hot food/carving stations. I cannot resist GOOD food and the 8 pounds I put on in the 7 days of this cruise showed it. Overlooking the pool was the Mast Grill where one could get hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, wings and fries or onion rings. A few of the afternoons we tried the fries, onion rings, wings and dogs and all were excellent. For dinner we ate in the Epernay Dining room at a table for 8. At 58, we were the youngest couple, but we thoroughly enjoyed our older table mates company. The food was good and our waiting staff was competent but both were nothing spectacular. We never saw the Head Waiter for our section of the Dining Room. Two evenings we opted for the Tuscan Grill and Murano. Both nights the food and service were just spectacular. Is it worth the $30-35 fee? I would say a resounding "YES". My wife's surf and turf in Murano was just exceptional and my lamb chop was delicious. We did the initial wine tasting on the 1st day. For $20.00 each, we were able to sample 12 wines from various regions of the world. The sommeliers at the 6 stations dispensing the wines were very informative. We loved this. We were going to do the the Riedel workshop, but my wife became ill and we had to cancel. Entertainment on board after dinner in the Solstice Theater we enjoyed. The Circ Du Sole shows while not up to Las Vegas Standards were still good. If you have never heard Hyperion Knight you are missing out on a great showman. His piano playing was nothing short of spectacular along with his explanation of the lives of some of the great composers' music he was playing and how their lives played into the music. The cruise director John Grantham was fantastic. He was a former actor and stuntman. He had a show one day that he showed old clips of himself performing stunts and acting. He then had a question and answer session for about 45 minutes with the audience that was very interesting. This is a must see. The Solstice deck was our preferred sunbathing spot. The solarium was great, and the pool and hot tubs were less crowded. The main outdoor pool area was always crowded, so we did not really use that area. We also liked that you did not have to sign out towels. As for the weather, sunny but really windy the entire cruise. Many of the water related tours were cancelled at Costa Maya due to the high winds and rough seas. Despite the wind, the seas were only 4-8 feet I would say worst case and the ship was steady and solid as a rock. You could tell very little swaying. The ports, Grand Cayman we had visited on our 1st sailing on Royal Caribbean back in 1997. We took an island tour that lasted 4 hours (did not go to Hell) and then my wife went to work shopping (my accounts went all to hell). In Cozumel, another island tour, this time pushing merchandise. This did make a stop at Discover Mexico. The best things about this place were the scale models of many of the fine buildings throughout Mexico. At Puerto Costa Maya we opted to skip the tours, visit the shops at the port and then spend the day relaxing at the pool. Finally at Roatan, Honduras we had another island tour that my wife had to skip due to a mild case of Montezuma's revenge. This was probably my favorite stop. While the people were dirt poor and you really felt sorry for them, the island itself and beaches were really beautiful. In summary, the Celebrity crew and the Solstice ship were great. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and will definitely go back for another Celebrity sailing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
we are 2 busy, active married 50 year olds from the Philadelphia suburbs who enjoy splurging and love the beach and snorkeling. we chose this cruise over a land vacation because of the ports, and price for an aqua class cabin. flew down a ... Read More
we are 2 busy, active married 50 year olds from the Philadelphia suburbs who enjoy splurging and love the beach and snorkeling. we chose this cruise over a land vacation because of the ports, and price for an aqua class cabin. flew down a day early and we were glad we did, 1st off, PHL intl is notorious for canceling/delaying for any reason, glad we did as there was a family of 10 next to us at the baggage carousel and 8 of them were finding out they would get their luggage in 2 days at the first port (they were leaving on another ship, departing in a couple hours) I WOULD DIE, sw handed them each a toothbrush kit and sent them on their way, another reason to fly in early, stayed at the new fairfield inn and suites by marriott, pd around 100$ total, hotel was adequate at best and where free shuttle took us to shop led ALOT to be desired. hightailed it out of there at 10am sunday, got on ship within an hour, champagne and mimosas, had a swimsuit in carry on, changed. laid by pool, got lunch, room ready by 1, had AQ 1604, hump cabin, tended to be noisy as it was under pool, needed to have some areas re-cleaned upon arrival, I was not impressed with steward the whole time, he emptied fridge and brought water, never re-filled iced tea the whole time, rarely vacuumed, I am an extremely neat person and since he never had to pick up in my room more time should have been spent cleaning and dusting. The ship is Fabulous!!!!!!! lots of music, yes there is a steel drum band by the pool, enjoyed persian gardens would never have paid 99 pp for it if I wasn't in AQ ate in Blu every night, the portions were just right, I'm not a big eater and yes it was healthy fare, if you are a person who likes fast food type fare or chain restaurants you may not like it. we LOVED the hot glass shows, didnt care for the what we saw of the other shows which was not much since the 3 times we stopped by, we left, DH doesn't drink so we didn't really check out the bars, although I did have a martini in the molecular bar and thought it was just ok and not worth 12$, the internet is slow and I never even bothered with getting my laptop out of the safe, used internet cafe's as I figured wired was maybe faster than wireless, had ATT cell service most of the time, texted more than called, bought a package thru ATT for 100 outgoing texts for 10$, incoming were free if you have an unlimited text package normally, did stingray city and snorkeling with Dexter's in GC, did a Celebrity excursion over to Playa del Carmen for Xcaret in Cozumel, booked Maya Chan in Costa Maya, service was great not impressed at all with the beach there, in Roatan we just left the port and got an "island tour" and then they took us to Mayan Princess hotel beach, don't go to that beach very crowded, saw the hot glass guys at Island Pearl beach and realized we should have gone there, snorkeling all the way to the left on the beach at West Bay was the best we have ever seen ANYWHERE, didn't do any shopping anywhere as that's not our thing. the gym was nice, the TV channel selection was horrible, the cold towels and water upon return from an excursion were nice, the crowd was better than I expected although some people's lack of good taste never ceases to amaze me the cabin was very nice and we found the storage adequate, we brought a tux and gowns and dressed well every evening, tried not to use the elevators, that's all I can think of, we had a great time and will surely use a new Celebrity ship again Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
My wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise on Solstice. We are very experience cruisers, really enjoy just getting away, and are not demanding people, so we can have a good time on any ship. ... Read More
My wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise on Solstice. We are very experience cruisers, really enjoy just getting away, and are not demanding people, so we can have a good time on any ship. For us, our Solstice cruise was very average. This was our third Celebrity cruise; the first two were on their Millennium-class ships. Let me start with the positives first: The ship is ultra-modern and quite beautiful. Our verandah cabin was high on the 9th deck. The bathroom and shower were especially large. The shower has a rounded door and there was a great deal of room inside - more than I have ever seen on any ship. The entire staff, from every functional area was extremely polite and helpful. The ship was very clean, hand sanitizers were available all over the ship, and I never smelled any "funky" smells as is the case on some other ships. Overall the cruise experience was good, but there were some things we did not like so we will not cruise on Solstice again. The other Celebrity ships we have cruised on had about 1,800 passengers, while the Solstice carries about 2,800. I've been on other ships that are even larger, but on the Solstice, we often felt crowded. Chairs in the main dining room were too close so the wait staff had to do a dance to squeeze by chairs. Many of the public areas were always overcrowded in the evening. There were long lines queued up to get off the ship at the ports. It was difficult finding a seat in the breakfast and lunch buffet areas. The main outdoor pool area was always overcrowded. Dining: Generally good. The Oceanview Cafe (buffet) had a nice assortment of American, Indian, Mexican, and Chinese stations. While the choices did not differ much day-to-day, the quality was good, and you could order custom dishes from the chefs at each station. The food in the main dining room was also good - typical cruise ship fare. There were several specialty restaurants. The Murano was billed as their top restaurant featuring French food. We went once, and the food was excellent, however it was very heavy and not at all what you think of for French food, yet it was definitely worth the surcharge. Silk Harvest was their Asian specialty restaurant. It was also excellent, kind of a PF Chang experience. We were booked into the Tuscan Italian specialty restaurant, but some cruisers said their experience at Tuscan was poor, so we changed our reservation and went to Silk Harvest a second time. While some areas of the ship were overcrowded, some areas of the ship were like ghost towns. Both times we went to Silk Harvest, we were one of only 3 or 4 tables. I never saw anyone in Cafe Bacio any time I walked through, and their wine cellar bar was lightly used, while just outside the common areas were jammed, and the Martini bar down the hall was standing room only. The much advertised grassy lawn on the top deck is nice to look at, but hardly used. An upper deck pool might have been a better use of that deck. I expect Celebrity will make some changes to this ship's configuration to distribute the crowds better into the areas that were not frequented. Entertainment: Very disappointing. The concert pianist was OK. The circus act was good. The singer/comedian was awful - very few laughs from the audience, many groans, and light applause. Celebrity really could improve in this department, but budget cuts probably limit the level of entertainer that they can attract. The roving a cappella group was the lone exception. They were great, but because they sang in the overcrowded public areas, most people had to stand to enjoy their shows. Cabins: Good. I mentioned above how nice the bathroom was. The mattresses seemed to be foam and very comfortable. The pillows were bad. My very smart wife brought her pillow from home... wish I had done that. Our room had the bed near the sliding verandah door. We liked that. The only place to sit in the cabin was on a small sofa, which was not very comfortable so we watched TV mostly while lying in bed. The vanity area was fine. There was a large flat screen HDTV. There were very few channels, and the CNN/ESPN feeds were international and not U.S., so I saw lots of rugby and cricket scores, but not many baseball or basketball scores. The verandah was average size, and the two chairs were very comfortable for just sitting and staring at the sea. Ports: No problems. Went shopping in Grand Cayman. Walked around Cozumel for an hour then went back to the ship to enjoy the ship's pool without the crowds. Went on a ruins tour in Costa Maya, but went with Native Tours instead of the ship - this company was highly recommended online and they did not disappoint - fascinating tour. Finally, we had excellent snorkeling at the last stop, Roatan. We took the ship's Tabyana Beach & Snorkel tour with lunch: nice beach with a small reef just a couple of hundred feet off the beach, so the snorkeling was easy and the reef fish were plentiful. For the included lunch at the beach, go for the BBQ chicken or a hot dog; the hamburgers were cooked well beyond their useful life. It was a good cruise, just not a great cruise. I think we will go back to Holland America for our fall cruise, and when Celebrity beckons again, we will book on a smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We have been on over 25 cruise ships, all types of itinerary, all levels of cabin locations. We have been loyal Princess passengers for the past twenty years, but after the line was purchased by Carnival we have noticed a continued ... Read More
We have been on over 25 cruise ships, all types of itinerary, all levels of cabin locations. We have been loyal Princess passengers for the past twenty years, but after the line was purchased by Carnival we have noticed a continued downward spiral of service and quality of food. This is our second Celebrity cruise in 2010. Spending 5 nights on the Century in January enticed us to book another and join friends who decided on this May 23rd cruise. Friends had booked Concierge Class on deck 10. When we contacted our agency, Celebrity (or the agency) was upgrading to Aqua Class without additional charge. Cabin 1503, Penthouse deck, was one of the few cabins available and the location will be discussed later. Embarking the ship was quite easy and efficient. The welcome glass of champagne was great but where were the officers to greet and extend directions to your cabin? The four of us made a couple of circles before figuring out which way to proceed. Our cabin proved to be everything Celebrity promised, but when meeting out cabin steward, expected amenities were not mentioned. Never was a pillow selection offered. The rose in the bathroom was never brought. Ronnie's English was clear and understood, when it suited him. He was neglectful in replenishing spa products. Does Celebrity ration them? On the whole, he was one of the best we've had on any ship. BUT, the cabin never got on the cold side. Even after a call to guest services, the cabin's dial never left the very cold setting. Never did we leave lights on, which conducts heat. The shower tower is nice. The flatscreen is great since it articulates. The stocked mini-fridge was emptied so we could place the complimentary bottles of Italian Spring Water and the wine we brought on board. The ship is quite contemporary in design and our feeling is that it will become dated quickly. But, the ship is gorgeous and there is much to be appreciated. The lounges are comfortable and diverse. The martini bar is fun, but the bartenders are more inclined to put on a show than serve drinks. The Sunset Bar was our favorite place for a cocktail. But after dressing for dinner, the wind on the fantail prevented us from going there as much as we may have. Sky Bar is a huge lounge with not adequate seating. Why Celebrity chose to hold some activities there are questionable. Ensemble Lounge is nice to enjoy light jazz. Celebrity prides itself on having the best food service on the mega-cruise ships. We never ate in an alternative, upcharge dining room. Having Aqua Class, we were entitled to dining in Blu. But our friends were in Select, so we chose to join them. We did have one breakfast in Blu, but it was ordinary. Dinner entree selections did not look better than what the Epernay offered. After discussion with our next-cabin-mate, we didn't miss anything great in Blu. In fact, the food in the Epernay was excellent every evening. We had a fabulous waiter, Wilson, and wine sommelier, Eva. Each night they provided wonderful suggestions and service. On lobster night, I only wanted lobster, no scallops or shrimp. That's what I got! Plus great asparagus, upon request. The oysters rockefeller and frog's legs were excellent. The Oceanview Grill is the buffet food service and it is most diverse. Better than any ship we've been on, bar none! But as the end of the cruise got closer, we noticed the temperature of most food to be only slightly warm. Celebrity 7 night cruises have two formal nights. We decided to bring the tuxs and long gowns since we were celebrating our friends 25th wedding anniversary. Other evening the ladies had dress slacks with a nice top, the guys in Tommy Bahama shirts and slacks. Each evening we were OVERDRESSED! If a cruise line says it strictly enforces the dress code (no shorts, sandals, holes in jeans, etc, then it should enforce!!! One evening the table of 6 next to us, the young woman had the shortest of short holey jean shorts and flip flops. Guys had tee-shirts and shorts on. WHY WERE THEY ALLOWED IN THE DINING ROOM? The dining captain seats all passengers. So, even though guest services states the dress code is strictly enforced, this is not true. The common areas of the ship seemed crowded compared to other ships of the same size we have cruised. The pool lounges were packed, so our veranda was used a lot. It's a great size to stretch out on the adjustable lounges and ottoman. Nice table, too. But cabin 1503 is under the gym area. During the night, we were awoken by banging. Maybe weights were being dropped. One morning after I completed a workout, I heard awful noise behind me. It proved to be over our cabin and a Celebrity trainer was opening machines dropping them on the floor. More consideration is needed by the employees. While on this subject, the crew needs to be refreshed to yield for passengers while in the dining areas. Can't tell you how many times I had to stop for a crew member as they cut in front of me. The ports I'm not going to bother to mention. Been to all of them, they all look the same. We cruise for the cruising experience, unless we are in Europe, do the Panama Canal or a transatlantic. We chose to carry off our luggage the morning we left the ship. This is a great option for those who are able. You don't have to worry about closing and placing luggage outside the night before, and can place all you desire where you want the last morning. There were long lines leaving the ship and going through customs, but this is the nature of all cruises. We will cruise Celebrity again, but will leave the formal wear at home. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Recently sailed on May 23 to the Western Caribbean on the Celebrity Solstice. We live in Hollywood, Florida, just 10 minutes from the port so getting there was a breeze. Check-in was quick and easy, the best so far. Got to the port around ... Read More
Recently sailed on May 23 to the Western Caribbean on the Celebrity Solstice. We live in Hollywood, Florida, just 10 minutes from the port so getting there was a breeze. Check-in was quick and easy, the best so far. Got to the port around 11:45 and was on the ship by 12:15. Went right to the Bistro on Five for lunch, which was much better than fighting the crowds at the buffet. Cabin: Balcony cabin was a good size with a surprisingly fair amount of storage space. Three of us shared the cabin and there was more than enough room. Good size bathroom and shower doors are a good replacement for the old shower curtains. Our cabin steward Paul was just OK. We used the couch instead of the upper berth for the third person which worked out OK after trying two different mattresses. However keep in mind once they make up the couch into a bed, you cannot use the couch for the rest of your cruise. Food: Food in the main dining room was fine. Wasn't expecting gourmet cuisine so was not disappointed. Had the first seating and service was good. Also tried Tuscan Grille (disappointing), Murano (excellent) and Silk Harvest (average). Entertainment: Entertainment in the theaters was a dissapointment, however the entertainment around the ship (singers, piano players, bands, etc) was very good. The glass blowing show is a must-see. The lawn club is a nice change and it was fun to go up and play some lawn games as long as you could do it in the shade. My only real complaint: When disembarking we were told to go to the Solstice Theater and wait until our number was called. We went there and waited a half hour until we were called to leave the ship. As soon as I checked out and got across the gangway I remembered that I had left a bag in the theater. Not more than five minutes could have passed. They would not let me back on board to retrieve the bag and would not send anyone to get it for me. "Fill out a lost luggage report" was all I was told over and over. I filled out the report but nothing was ever returned to me. While I know it was my fault for forgetting the bag, I got the feeling from Celebrity that once I was off the ship I was no longer a concern and all customer service was left on the ship. Not a good way to leave a repeat customer feeling. All my purchases from the various ports were in the bag, so I guess I'm lucky it was nothing more. Would I sail Solstice again? Yes! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
This was our first cruise so it was important to us that we got it right. I'm pleased to say that over-all we think we did. Consistent service though is important - and you'll see from my review that Celebrity just miss the ... Read More
This was our first cruise so it was important to us that we got it right. I'm pleased to say that over-all we think we did. Consistent service though is important - and you'll see from my review that Celebrity just miss the mark on this. Even so, we're doing it again on Solstice and can't wait!For our first cruise we decided to book Solstice Aqua Class - well worth it! From the start:We boarded in Fort Lauderdale. Not a bad experience - especially for first time passengers. Well done Celebrity - you made this part easy for first timers :-)The room:The Aqua Class room and the facilities / services offered were fantastic - well worth the extra investment.Shows:Generally great. Especially the mini 'cirque'. Dining:Dining was great. We only went to the buffet food hall once. Because we were Aqua class we had exclusive dining in Blu. Excellent!!!In fact both Blu and Murano restaurants were superb. The wait staff were so friendly and accommodating. Nothing was ever a problem.Aqua Spa:The Aqua Spa facilities were 'good'. The spa staff and treatments were not so great. We had one spa treatment early on in the cruise - and decided we'd not have another. Shame for them because we spent the equivalent of the Aqua Class Room cruise cost on other on-board activities (Dr Ernesto should be pleased!) and most certainly would have gone back for more spa treatments if we thought it worth our while. For the price bracket they are charging - they need to raise the bar, substantially.Excursions:Excursions were 'OK' - but VERY expensive for what you got. Maybe out of Celebrity's control? The excursions personnel were reasonably 'OK' - but not memorable.Onboard ambiance of the Solstice:As this was our first cruise, we can't compare with other ships. But we were impressed. Loved the spaciousness of the layout.The fitness / gym guru (Alan):Awesome. Informative, educational. Great 'up-sell' Alan :-) $$$Disembarking:Good experience. And sad to leave the boat.Head Office Service:After sales follow up and customer service is poor.So - now we're Captains Club members - what does this really mean? Not a heck of a lot when it come to loyalty recognition and service it seems.I've had a read of other reviews about Celebrity's head office customer service. They seem consistently bad. And I'm afraid that's my experience as well. The delay in replying to e-mails (5 days or more!) - perhaps under staffed?? Their inability to comprehend the questions being asked. They don't even know the level of service they should be offering to Captains Club members and specifically those for our next cruise (the reservation details were provided) - or perhaps their web site is inaccurate?? Disappointing for Celebrity because this aspect really does let the side down. Whoever has this area of Celebrity as their responsibility - please take note of the complaints and for goodness sake, do something about it.Over-all:So - bottom line is that service needs to be consistent. Unfortunately Celebrity hasn't got this right. But.... the good news is that the level of good service (on-board) outweighs the poor service (head office).Even though I'm as frustrated as heck (as is my travel agent) trying to organise on-board activities for our second cruise for my partners 40th birthday (also Solstice) we're still looking forward to our cruise later this year. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
My girlfriend and I selected Celebrity after looking at several of the reviews on Celebrity Cruise Line. Overall, we had a positive experience, but had to re-assess our expectations early in our cruise. E is 30, I am 43. Both of us had ... Read More
My girlfriend and I selected Celebrity after looking at several of the reviews on Celebrity Cruise Line. Overall, we had a positive experience, but had to re-assess our expectations early in our cruise. E is 30, I am 43. Both of us had been on several cruises prior to this voyage and were looking forward to more of an upscale cruising experience. After looking through several websites and talking with Celebrity personnel online, we felt the Solstice would offer less of a complete "party" atmosphere, with higher end food, service and room accommodations. Through our research we selected a travel agency that offered us onboard ship credit and gratuities included in our package BOARDING: Boarding the ship was a very easy process with friendly staff. Dropping off bags took less than 5 minutes and there were no lines to check in. Celebrity's website and 1-800# staff really do assist you in pre-boarding to make the "onboarding" experience, simple. The cruise line does not "push" with the obligatory onboard photo and we were on the ship within minutes. SHIP DESIGN: The ship is very nice and easy to get around. Neither too big nor too small. The dining room is quite nice with a modern, European feel. The Oceanview Cafe is more of a "cafeteria" experience, providing a great alternative for days when you are in port. Bars are plenty and the Casino is not the center focus of a deck. All areas are very clean. ROOM ACCOMMODATIONS: We had a balcony cabin. We really enjoyed the view and the light. Great service (Muriel). The room was perfect. ENTERTAINMENT: Unfortunately on this cruise, we found most of the entertainment targeted for an older age group. There were multiple 50s nights and 60s nights with trivia events and dancing focused on this time period. The piano player was very good. There was a 4 piece string quartet, a comedian (which we heard from another couple was poor), an acoustic guitar player (playing songs from the 60s and early 70s), and the ship's band, Sipra, who were very good and versatile (best entertainment on the ship if you were born in the late 60s and later). All evening entertainment was directed towards an older generation, with poolside music being the only opportunity to hear more current songs. The Sky Lounge was relegated to karaoke nights and ballroom dancing, often quiet after 11pm. We never saw anyone in the Quasar disco after the first night. One night our choices were the piano player, an acoustic guitarist (playing songs from the early 70s) and the four string quartet (needless to say we went to bed early). The Martini Bar is a bright spot, offering a nice area for people to mingle, playing dance music. The drinks are slightly higher priced than in the other areas and after the third day, all the bartender's tricks of spinning bottles and pouring drinks for multiple glasses gets familiar and not worth the $3.00 premium/drink. On the 6th day of the cruise we spoke with the Guest Relation desk.. There was a helpful senior person who informed us the current Cruise Director prefers entertainment geared for 50-70s time period. It would have been nice to know this prior. PORTS OF CALL/SHORE EXCURSIONS: We did not select this cruise for the ports of call and focused on beach activities. Grand Cayman was very nice. I had been there two times prior. We shopped for a short while then headed to the beach. The ship over-promotes jewelry shopping and it is best for the non-savvy shopper to do their research on the vendor. We thought it a bit humorous and were not looking for jewelry. Cozumel was Cozumel and most are familiar with this port. We selected an excursion to a private island (Isla Passion). The tour promotes a voyage by catamaran, a private island and nice food. The "catamaran" is a dual hulled metal tender. The island is very windy and subject to wind advisories (which tourists are not made aware of and tourists are informed to stay within a close area from where they are dropped off. We found out their are small crocodiles on one side of the island. Costa Maya was hit by a Class 5 Hurricane Dean in 2007. The devastation is still evident and the cruise line should reconsider this port of call. The beach we went to in Costa Maya had nice accommodations, but the beach still had litter and left over debris from the storm. Roatan was our last stop and is an incredible island-well worth the trip and we would go their independently again. The islanders are friendly and non-pushy. We selected the Tabayana Beach Break tour which had an incredible beach, white sand and star fish. We even fed fish in the shallow water. A very nice stop. Overall the shore excursions we felt were fair at best, with relatively poorly informed desk attendants. The cruise focuses heavily on shopping related events. FOOD/BAR: The food was standard cruise fare. Good. Neither great nor poor. Seating was a bit challenging in the Oceanview Cafe and getting coffee/juice could be slightly overcrowded. Drinks had very little alcohol in them with and very sweet (pina coladas, etc). We did not drink much at all due to this as most drinks were heavy on the "mixers." OVERALL: It was great having time off but we would have selected another cruise line if we knew the focus was going to be for a different age group. The ship's voyage had an older age group and at times, we felt our entertainment choices were highly limited and went to bed earlier. We changed our dinner seating to the later selection and ended up sitting with another younger couple. They had similar experiences. We also noticed multiple colored room cards onboard. Celebrity favors their frequent cruisers (gold, platinum, and blue cards) and we noticed our room always faced the water and never the dock.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
After reading all the reviews and trolling the boards for information on the Solstice, I booked a trip for DW and myself. We have previously sailed 3 princess cruises. 2 of those were before Carnival bought them out. We decided that it ... Read More
After reading all the reviews and trolling the boards for information on the Solstice, I booked a trip for DW and myself. We have previously sailed 3 princess cruises. 2 of those were before Carnival bought them out. We decided that it might be time to try a different brand. We had always gotten balconies, and most of the other Celebrity ships were not as balcony friendly as other cruise lines had become. Of course, that has changed with the Solstice line of ships. So we flew into Ft Lauderdale on the date of sail. Stopped by the liquor store, picked up the 2 bottles of wine we were allowed to bring on board, then went to the pier. Embarkation was incredibly smooth. Took 5 minutes at most. We boarded at about 12pm, which was about an hour before we were told we would be able to. We ate at Bistro on 5, which was very nice, and a very reasonable price. Then once the rooms were ready, we dropped our back packs/carry on bags in the room, then explored the rest of the ship. It was a very nice lay out. We never really had to walk thru areas were we felt they were trying to overly push us to buy products. Room: After an hour or 2, we went back to our room. It was an Aqua Class Accessible room. We did not need it, but they put us in it 4 weeks before sailing, since no one had taken it. At the end of the cruise, we looked in a regular AC room, and the it was smaller, but it did have a nicer bathroom (shower, sink, etc). The balcony was very very nice. Aqua and Concierge rooms get the foot rest, to make your chairs more like lounge chairs. We spent a lot of time out there. The flowers were nice also. I am not sure, but I believe the towels in our room were supposed to be better than regular rooms. I do know that they were huge. Food: We at in the Blu Dining room 5 nights. It was very nice, and I think service was probably better than the MDR, but I am not sure. Some of the food was a little healthier (no fattening sauces), but it was still good food. Instead of healthier, it might be better to say that the food was not as bad for you. As I mentioned earlier, we at at Bistro on 5, and for the $5 per person, it is worth it. We also ate at the Tuscan Grille. Very Nice. In regards to Blue, I will say that even though it was nicer, on a 7 day cruise, I probably would not pay more than $50 per person to have Aqua over Concierge. Room service choices were better than my prior princess cruises. Also, the food arrived hot. However, I am not sure if Celebrity has always had a bigger menu, or if this is a recent change. Ports: The ports were nice. But we had been to Cozumel and Grand Cayman twice. We did swim with the dolphins in Cozumel. We also went to Maya Chan in Costa Maya. It was very windy, but it was still a great time. I would recommend it to anyone. Didn't do anything but shop in Roatan. The people on the street are over bearing, trying to get you to go an island tour. Overall, I would say that this was the best ship I have ever been on. Oh, we are not big on the entertainment at sea, but the Cirque type show was great. The only negative was that the pools were divided in a way that made them very small. But that was a minor issue. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We recently cruised with Celebrity on the Solstice in the Western Caribbean. Wonderful trip. This was our third Celebrity cruise. Last year we were with another line and while it was good, it did not meet the quality and little touches ... Read More
We recently cruised with Celebrity on the Solstice in the Western Caribbean. Wonderful trip. This was our third Celebrity cruise. Last year we were with another line and while it was good, it did not meet the quality and little touches that Celebrity provides. Ship - Solstice is beautiful. Does not feel like a city at sea. Very clean. Smooth sailing but the weather was fine too. Sufficient elevators. Food - very good. We ate breakfast in the Oceanview Cafe and the food was fresh and service good. Lunch was in various locations on ship and good as well. Dinner was in the main dining room - second sitting. Very good. Others at our table seemed to feel the same. Wait service was excellent. Cabin - larger than I expected or was used to on other ships. Kept very clean. We did not seek room service. Close to elevators which was convenient. Shows - good. Better than on other cruises we have taken and thoroughly enjoyable. Check in - very quick. Overall - loved the ship; great time with dinner companions. We will be staying with Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
I had a wonderful time aboard the Celebrity Solstice from May 23 to May 30 (Western Caribbean). I have cruised on a wide variety of lines (Celebrity, Crystal, Cunard, Holland America, NCL, Princess and Royal Caribbean), but this was my ... Read More
I had a wonderful time aboard the Celebrity Solstice from May 23 to May 30 (Western Caribbean). I have cruised on a wide variety of lines (Celebrity, Crystal, Cunard, Holland America, NCL, Princess and Royal Caribbean), but this was my first time on a Solstice-class ship. I absolutely loved this ship! This is the most beautiful and well-designed ship that I have ever cruised aboard. I am in my mid-40s and have been taking cruises since I was a small child. I try to take two or three cruises a year. Pre-cruise / embarkation: I flew down a day early and stayed at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six. This is a wonderful hotel to spend a night before a cruise. I had a room in the tower (14th floor) that had an excellent view of the cruise ships. I watched the Carnival Freedom and Grandeur of the Seas depart, but the Oasis of the Seas sailed a few hours late (apparently, they were doing some work on the ship). I took a taxi to the ship at noon on Sunday. Embarkation was a breeze. There were no lines. I was greeted on the ship by waiters with champagne. The staterooms were not yet ready and I had lunch at the Bistro on Five. As soon as I was finished eating, the staterooms were ready. Dining: I had dinner in the Grand Epernay on six nights (second seating at 8:30). This room is stunning. On the first night, I was assigned to a table that did not have a good view of the room. I requested to change to a table in the center of room. My request was granted and I was assigned to a table (No. 238) with a perfect view of the restaurant. The food and service were excellent. I particularly enjoyed the brunch during the first sea day. On Wednesday night, I had dinner in the Tuscan Grille. This room had very attentive service and the food was outstanding. I usually had lunch in the Oceanview Cafe. This room is well-designed and features many different food islands. This prevents long lines. The food was great and there was a wide variety. In particular, I liked the salad bar, desserts and ice cream. On two days, I had lunch in the Bistro on Five. This is a nice venue with some lighter food options and great service. Entertainment: I attended the main show every evening. For late seating guests, the shows were held pre-dinner (7:00) on six of the nights and post dinner on Monday night (11:00 with a Welcome Aboard Toast at 10:45). I enjoyed the entertainment each evening. There were three production shows: Solstice - The Show, Ghost Light - The Spirit of Broadway, and Pulse. My favorite was Solstice - The Show (a Cirque du Soleil type show). I also enjoyed the Groove Interactive Theme Party that was held in the Grand Foyer on Tuesday night. Stateroom: I was in a standard outside stateroom on Deck 3 (3122). I was very impressed with the design of this cabin. The bathroom was spacious and had excellent storage space. Also, this cabin had a great location: Near the Grand Foyer, Grand Epernay and Solstice Theatre. Of course, it was far from the pools and Oceanview Cafe. I tried to take the stairs (for the exercise), but the eight glass elevators were efficient (and offered great views). Ports: In Grand Cayman, I did the Island Highlights Tour. My guide was not good and I would not recommend this tour. In Cozumel, I went ashore for an hour or two, but spent most of the day on the ship. I have been to this port many times and have done all of the major tours. In Costa Maya, I did the Costa Maya Town Highlights and Beach Break (nice tour). I was impressed with the facilities at the port (pools, shopping, etc.). In Roatan, I did the Roatan Island Tour and Highlights. This was my favorite tour during this cruise. Captain's Club events: There were many excellent events for repeat passengers throughout the cruise (I am an Elite member). For example, there was a nightly cocktail hour, Elite Elegant Tea in the Tuscan Grille (on Tuesday), Senior Officers' Cocktail Party, and Backstage Tour. Also, there was a Captain's Club Celebration for all Captain's Club Members on the last sea day. This was held from 1:30 to 3:00 in the Sly Lounge and featured drinks, entertainment, and food stations (fresh fruit, crepes, carved meat, and sushi). This was a very nice party. In addition, I received many coupons (including 90 complimentary Internet minutes). Debarkation: Smooth and well-organized. Only one negative: There were a lot of problems with the ship's Internet connection. Hopefully, this will be resolved soon. Summary: This was an outstanding cruise! I highly recommend the Solstice-class ships. I will certainly be sailing on them in the future. Please let me know if you have questions. I have copies of the Celebrity Program for each day. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Embarkation a breeze, welcomed with champagne and into our room, Penthouse deck same level as the Aqua Spa...the room was great, nice size bathroom and balcony. Lots of space everywhere and the shower was spacious and nice. Great Ship, ... Read More
Embarkation a breeze, welcomed with champagne and into our room, Penthouse deck same level as the Aqua Spa...the room was great, nice size bathroom and balcony. Lots of space everywhere and the shower was spacious and nice. Great Ship, elegant but casual because of being on Aqua Class ate at Blue breakfast every day which was awsome, and for dinner ate at Murano "the best" (worth the $35.00) Silk Harvest which was superb food and ambiance (at only $25.00)and Tuscan Grill which was very good for $30.00)and I have to mention Bistro on Five that for only $5.00 you had great Paninis, crepes and salads !!! On embarkation day we ate there and came back at least 3 times for lunch...the Buffet lunch up on the Cafe was really good with several options (Stir fry, Mexican, Indian, Italian, soups and salads) and mnay stations, never crowded !! The ship itself is beautiful, many bars to choose,comfortable chairs everywere and the pool and spa area very nice, enjoyed very much the solarium area, gym and the Persian Gardens. The shows were very nice every night, specially the first night with the Cirque d solei tyoe show was awsome and also the glass factory show not to be missed. The ports of call fortunately enough had great weather so it made it extra special with clear and serene waters. Over all a great cruise and thumbs up for all the crew which made this cruise a memorable one!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Celebrity Solstice Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 5.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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