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

This is a review of our cruise on the Solstice from 4/25 - 5/2/10: My wife and I are in our sixties and have sailed ten times on Celebrity, Princess, NCL, Azamara and Holland. (Mostly on Celebrity & Princess) We arrived the night ... Read More
This is a review of our cruise on the Solstice from 4/25 - 5/2/10: My wife and I are in our sixties and have sailed ten times on Celebrity, Princess, NCL, Azamara and Holland. (Mostly on Celebrity & Princess) We arrived the night before the cruise and stayed at the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale At Port Everglades. Nice hotel (Priceline), not much else to say concerning we didn't there until 7pm. The next morning we got to the port around 10:45. We knew we were extra early, we had to wait a little, but we were still "on" the ship by 11:20am. Piece a cake! The ship was beautiful! An understated beautiful IMHO! Having heard from other reviews that the ship was showing her age; I did not see any areas that needed sprucing up. She was in great shape! The "Art" was another thing. I did not understand what Celebrity was trying to relay. But, I didn't take this cruise for the Art! Since this cruise had 4 Ports in a row (Out of the 7 days) I really did explore the ship as I usually do; just not enough time. But I/we made it a point to breeze through the ship the first day to see everything. The Solstice has some great areas for eating, drinking and being entertained. (More about this later) The food in the MDR was, IMHO, good. I was pleased with the selections, especially the expanded "every night menu." (Escargots, shrimp, fish, etc.,) The service was very good. Diaz and Eddie were our waiters. The brunch on the last sea day. Wow!! They had everything on those tables. All very hot and fresh! We were to Bistro on five as soon as we boarded. What a great place! We ended up eating there a number of times. We eat at all three specialty restaurants. Silk Harvest and Murano's were outstanding!!! (Food and service) Tuscan Grill was good, but only a notch above the MDR. (I had a Rib-eye that was about a half inch thick and very fatty) All three of these restaurants were decorated beautifully! The Oceanside buffet was also very good..... Great selections and never too crowded. What a great place to have your morning coffee and breakfast. On this cruise, we decided to try an Aft cabin for the first time. I know they are not as large as the Aft's on the M-class ships, but 1206 was perfect for us. What a great view while you are sailing. Especially at sail-a-ways!!! Keep in mind that the middle aft cabins are larger than the two on each side. The entertainment, as you have probably heard, was done by the seat of their pants! The first day the big 500 pound screen fell. Thank-God no was there to get hurt. So for the next few days Celebrity brought the entertainment to the Atrium and other public areas. It wasn't the ideal way to see the shows, but I thought Celebrity thought quickly on their feet and make to do what they had. "Some entertainment is better than no entertainment!" The cruise director, John Granthum (sp), was just OK! Pretty vanilla. Maybe it was because he was stressed out with all the stage problems. The singers were good, especially the lady from England and the two from another group. (Can't remember the name) They were especially entertaining in the final show called Rave. We didn't get the see the circus show, because we were at Murano's that night. (2 ½ hours) As far as ports; we have been to Grand Cayman and Cozumel before so we did the beach in both. (Mr. Santos in Cozumel) We did a Native Choice tour in Costa Maya, which was great. And we hired a driver in Roatan and saw the WHOLE Island including Punta Gorda! Don't bother taking the long drive to PG, nothing there! Disembarkation was a breeze!! We were off the ship 15 minutes after they called out number! Overall a very good cruise! I keep telling myself, where can you go and see the world; have good food, meet new friends, have something different to do everyday at a fair price! Now for "nick-picking" bullet points all IMHO: • TV sucked. 7 news channels and 2-3 regular channels • The ice at the Martini Bar melted half-way thru the night • Never saw any of the officers around the ship. Did we have a Captain? • No stairs or elevators at back of ship • Never saw CD walking around (Fixing stage?) • Ship was lax in leaving note for time changes • "We" didn't understand the Art around the ship • No cloths line in bathroom • What happened to putting the drink of the day in the Celebrity daily? • Not enough storage in cabin. Bedside should be drawers so things don't fall off That's all folks!!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We first cruised Solstice in April, 2009, which was exactly one year prior to this sailing. We were blown away, so decided to go with this ship again. It was a great cruise, but the ship has lost some of the attention to detail we ... Read More
We first cruised Solstice in April, 2009, which was exactly one year prior to this sailing. We were blown away, so decided to go with this ship again. It was a great cruise, but the ship has lost some of the attention to detail we experienced when she was brand new. We are a mid-30s couple. Embarkation and debarkation could not have been any easier. Solstice used the new Oasis terminal (Pier 18) at Port Everglades. This place is built to handle a lot of people, so using it with only half the Oasis numbers was a breeze. *I'll get the bad out of the way first. It's actually all pretty minor stuff. None of it was at the level of ruining a vacation. Balconies - I love the Solstice balconies. Unfortunately, they never cleaned the glass. On every single cruise I have been on, they cleaned the balconies at least once with the mechanical apparatus that goes down the side of the ship spraying fresh water on the glass. They didn't do it on my sailing and the salt build-up on the glass and railing was very heavy. It even started out that way, so I don't think they did it on the previous cruise either. In our last port, I had to use a wet pool towel to clean it as much as I could. Entertainment - Just prior to my sailing, the large movie screen in the main show theater came crashing down. Because of this, they moved the shows on the first 2 nights to the Grand Foyer. I can't blame them for the rigging failure in the theater and I grateful no one was hurt, but I do question why they would move the show to a foyer that is only 3 stories tall and has very limited space from where you could see them. In all, only about 100 people were able to actually see the entertainers, and most were standing. I would think Sky Lounge would have been a much better alternative. However, when the theater was finally fixed, the 2 production shows were a notch better than the norm. Unfortunately, there was no farewell show due to show rescheduling. Activities - I was bored at times. There was a lack of activities on the ship. The daily events schedule (Celebrity Today, I think?) was double, sometimes triple spaced because there was nothing on it. There is no doubt that my other favorite cruise line, Royal Caribbean, excels (by far) in this area. TV - The remote battery was held in by a piece of tape that kept falling off, and our internet keypad was broken. They had no extras. Elite Wine Tasting Benefit - I thought I would try this. I knew there wouldn't be any special wines. What made this bad was our fellow Select and Elite members. There were 3 or 4 tables at the end of the room that were so loud and obnoxious, we could not hear the host talking. It was very rude. *Ok, that's out of the way. On to the good. Service - Absolute top notch. Everyone was great. On my comment card, I gave special kudos to our waiter and assistant waiter (Shaikh and Ebru), martini bar waiter (Jeff), our room attendant (Josephino), and Sunset Bar bartender (AA). Yea, I do see the irony in a bartender named AA. ;) I could have gone on and on because everyone was very friendly and accommodating. Silk Harvest - I heard some gripes about this place, and I also heard Celebrity is doing away with it on new Solstice ships. I whole-heartedly disagree. We thought it was wonderful and wou8ld definitely book it again. Fellow guests - Other than what I already mentioned in the wine tasting event, this was an extremely well behaved and polite crowd. Your typical rude behavior, like poor elevator etiquette, was very far and few between. This sailing only had 11 kids on board. On formal nights, I could probably count on one hand how many people did not dress to suggestion. I love the formal atmosphere. Food - I thought the food was fantastic. I think it is great that guest favorites like shrimp cocktail, escargot, and caprese are on the menu every night. I also like how there was a featured appetizer every night that was from different specialty restaurants in the Celebrity fleet. Pier Service - The canopy, cold towels, drinks, and lounge chairs make you proud to be on this ship. We docked next to Carnival Imagination in Cozumel. The looks on their faces when they had to board their ship was priceless. Announcements - Almost none. Fantastic. Smoking - I am a non-smoker, so the smoking policy alone will draw me to Celebrity. It was so nice to sit on my balcony every evening while the wife was getting ready for dinner and not have to suck in other people's smoke. Nuff said there. Solarium - Of course, one family who claimed to "no speaky" (I discovered otherwise later) had to challenge the 16+ rule by bringing their crying, diaper cladded baby in to the pool. The pool butlers were quick to respond and send them packing. Additional signs were hung on all the glass doors leading to the Solarium. *Final Thoughts: I probably thought the Solstice lost some luster simply due to age. She's not brand new anymore and she's starting to show the signs of a ship that has a few miles. That being said, I would book this ship, or this ship class again in a heartbeat. The Western Caribbean is my least favorite route. I only booked this itinerary because I have never been to Roatan. I do not regret it. Roatan is gorgeous. We didn't even get off the ship at Grand Cayman. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
This was our 20th cruise, taken over our 40th Anniversary, using the Ship as our destination since we've taken other Western Caribbean itineraries in the past and weren't interested in swimming with the stingrays for the third ... Read More
This was our 20th cruise, taken over our 40th Anniversary, using the Ship as our destination since we've taken other Western Caribbean itineraries in the past and weren't interested in swimming with the stingrays for the third time or visiting Roatan or disembarking in the Cayman Islands again. We did take a tour to the Chacchoben Mayan ruins which we booked privately with Native Choice along with a group of other Cruise Critic Roll Call Members and enjoyed immensely. Take bug spray and sun tan lotion, wear cool clothes and a hat. We were lucky, we had cloud cover and the heat was bearable, otherwise it could have been a sweltering experience! Intelligent guide and fascinating historic site to visit. Highly recommend. Our first impression of the Solstice was very favorable, fast embarkation, friendly staff and a refreshing glass of champagne or orange juice offered by smiling crew. The ship itself is new and beautiful and contemporary in decor. There is easy walking access from dining-rooms and specialty restaurants to theater and great elevator availability from staterooms to all floors, including pool area and cafes. None of that varying levels with up and down stairs just to walk from one end of the ship to the other on the same floor. And no need to ever walk through a smokey and noisy Casino, another plus! We were in the perfect location mid-ship. Our balcony, which we enjoyed every afternoon for a couple of hours after leaving the Solarium, was very over sized being on the bump out portion of the ship. Here we had two of the most comfortable adjustable chairs with foot rests, and a convenient table for resting our drinks and books. The stateroom itself was a bit of a squeeze and the small closet inconveniently located and difficult to access with sliding panel doors right next to the bed that we constantly had to push one way or the other to find anything. I much prefer a real closet with opening doors and a hallway entry. Of course the trade off was having a larger bathroom with a really commodious shower. Being in AquaClass meant we could enjoy some additional perks: The Pharo Spa shower head and body jets were wonderful, as were the Spa body wash, shampoos and conditioners. There was even a shower bar to rest your foot for shaving legs! The Frette robes were a nice touch too. We had a bottle of chilled champagne in our room with a plate of fresh fruit that was refreshed as needed and two bottles of water replenished at no additional charge. Blu, the restaurant designated for AquaClass, was intimate and nestled among the other specialty restaurants and offered a limited but tasteful selection for dinner. The breakfast menu was adequate, but not always up to the mark. Bacon was never crisp or hot as requested and in fact, very fatty, eggs either overdone or undercooked. Toast never hot. By the fifth night, we discovered that we could easily order off the menu and they would bring offerings from the MDR if requested. Wish I had known that earlier since escargot, Caesar salad, shrimp cocktail, etc. would have been preferred to the very limited appetizers on Blu's menu. The entrees themselves were usually good, although on the last night, I asked for both the lamb shank and duck breast and thankful I did, as the lamb shank was tough and inedible. What we especially loved was the Solarium pool area, with lovely soft and meditative type music. This area is off limits to children under 16 and thankfully, we found that everyone complied as we never saw or heard any kids whatsoever during the entire week of blissful quiet. The Spa Cafe and the Spa itself were wonderful! My husband and I each had the Hot Stone Massages which were fantastic and worth every penny and later in the week, I enjoyed one of the Spa specials of an hour of exfoliation, back, foot and scalp massage and facial. We loved the Serenity Garden too with the heated beds and saunas. We were in there every day, enjoying the warmth on our backs and blessed quiet in unlimited access to AquaClass passengers. So all in all, we had a wonderful week of relaxation and reading. Our Anniversary night fell on the first formal night and we ate in the top rated specialty restaurant, Murano. We prepaid $70 for this privilege, but didn't regret it as the food was very good and the service was excellent. Not at all as pretentious and over the top as some of the other specialty restaurants on other ships which we unfortunately have experienced. Once we discovered that the Spa Cafe was open for breakfast, we ate there the balance of the week as the offerings were so fresh and innovative. Most of the time, we ate lunch there as well with the one exception of sampling Bistro on 5, the crepe restaurant which we enjoyed for a unique experience. China Harvest was fantastic, but entirely too much food and so much wasted. They served two people as if we were six! There was an additional cost for this specialty restaurant as well, but well worth the extra amount. It was all out of this world, but we waddled away, close to being uncomfortable with having overeaten. The ship decor itself, rather more contemporary than our usual subdued and traditional taste, grew on us and by the end, we found ourselves growing used to the spare look in the restaurants. By striking contrast, many of the public rooms all looked like an overstuffed private men's clubroom, huge over-sized chairs, and in the bar areas, dark walls and very dim lighting. And last but far from least, this is the first cruise in ten years where we were not in the Theater every night enjoying some form of wonderful entertainment. In fact, due to technical glitches on the first night, no one was and when finally, a show was put on midweek, it was merciful that my husband and I decided to pass since everyone said it was the worst thing they have ever seen in their lives.....amateurish and embarrassing. Many people actually got up from their seats and walked out, I was told. The one big production show, Pulse, which we finally attended on our last night at sea was really poor. A hodgepodge of loud noise, uneven singing, unmemorable numbers all senselessly jumbled together with second rate entertainers preening on stage. No star personalities to be found. It was a mess. Very surprising considering some of the very best shows we ever saw was on another Celebrity ship several years back, the Constellation. Oddly, where the other entertainment was to be found was way down on level two or three in the main center lobby requiring everyone to stand and listen on all the floors while leaning on the overlooking railings. Here we saw at various times and from a great distance an acapella group, a band with two talented female singers and a string quartet. Coming out of Blu in the evenings surrounding one of the many bars on board, there was a jazz combo alternating with the string quartet.....both excellent. So would we go back on a Celebrity cruise......you bet!! As long as that No Children Allowed Solarium stays in business, they'll get ours! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We began our cruise experiences back in early 2001 with Celebrity aboard the Summit on a 11 day Caribbean cruise. That cruise set the standard for us as first time cruisers. We then did several more on different Celebrity ships culminating ... Read More
We began our cruise experiences back in early 2001 with Celebrity aboard the Summit on a 11 day Caribbean cruise. That cruise set the standard for us as first time cruisers. We then did several more on different Celebrity ships culminating in a 14 day Baltic cruise on the Constellation. That was, and still is the highlight of our cruising experience. Since the Constellation we tried NCL and certainly enjoyed the laid back atmosphere, so much so, that we locked ourselves into a promotion that kept us away from Celebrity until this cruise on the Solstice. As the title of my review states, " Good to be Back" Embarkation: Although we are from Phoenix, AZ, we flew into Tampa a few days early to spend sometime with family. We drove down to Fort Lauderdale from Tampa on the day of the cruise, and after returning the rental car we arrived at the port around 10.30am, and we were on the ship by 11.20am, everything went very smoothly. We met up with friends of ours and went straight to the Bistro on 5 for lunch, that place was terrific, we went back there several times once the cruise was underway. Our cabins were ready by 1.30pm, and during that time we toured the ship and were amazed at its beauty. To be honest, to fully appreciate it you would need at least a 10 day cruise to do it all justice. Our cabin (7216) was midships on the starboard side, for my wife and I it was ideal, we had plenty of space for storage, and we certainly appreciated the bed being closer to the bathroom than the other way around. Our friends who also had a really lovely cabin in aft section of the ship, their bed was closer to the balcony and felt this layout was more difficult to navigate, especially when attempting to use the bathroom during the night. Another big plus was the nightlight in the bathroom which came on after the main lights were turned off. Dining: Starting with the Ocean-view Cafe, one of the major gripes I have had with other cruises, is the log jam during breakfast, not once did it ever appear crowed, and the food was plentiful and very good. We did eat a few nights in the MDR (Grand Epernay) and again the food was certainly better than we had got used too on NCL, our waiters Diaz and Eddy were also pretty good. The brunch in the MDR however is not to be missed on the last day at sea, we all thoroughly enjoyed it. We managed to eat at three of the specialty restaurants, the first being the Silk Harvest which was outstanding, followed by the Tuscan Grille and although good, did not come up to the level we first thought it might. The last one was "Murano's" and again this was another outstanding evening meal, certainly as good and if not better than the Silk Harvest.I have already mentioned Bistro on 5, very good!! especially the Crepes. Entertainment: Celebrity certainly had their problems with the theater, a 500 pound screen fell down during rehearsals, but thankfully no one was hurt. There was also a problem with the curtain which for a period of time refused to open. These issues made the theater out of bounds for a few days, so the entertainment was moved to the Central Atrium. Some will make a big deal about this, but you know, it made for a great atmosphere in that particular area of the ship. and even though it wasn't the ideal place for the main entertainment, much credit to Celebrity for coming up with plan B so quickly. All around the ship there were different types of entertainment, and as I said in the beginning, the cruise was not long enough to visit all the bars etc; and listen to the different music on show. Disembarkation was the best I have ever come across, given a color and a number, withing 15 minutes of the number being called we were off the ship and bags retrieved. Overall a wonderful ship, Celebrity its good to be back with you, and our next cruise will definitely be on one of their ships. Some nit-picking: The art on the ship left me cold and very puzzled, but that could be me as I am certainly not into art!! The cruise director was for me very disappointing, almost invisible, and lacking in charisma and personality. Some complained about the TV channels, too much news and not enough movies etc; not bothered myself. You can find fault with any cruise line if you really want too, overall though Celebrity was as good as I remember, can't wait to do another one. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Beautiful ship, comfortable stateroom, wonderful food, ok service, boring entertainment and activities. Aqua Spa "Relaxation Room" noisy, not relaxing. Persian Garden room noisy as well. Need to provide Quiet Please signs to ... Read More
Beautiful ship, comfortable stateroom, wonderful food, ok service, boring entertainment and activities. Aqua Spa "Relaxation Room" noisy, not relaxing. Persian Garden room noisy as well. Need to provide Quiet Please signs to remind folks AND SPA STAFF to shut the heck up. Check in for spa services should be relocated somewhere else other than the relaxation room. The showers in the spa did not provide wash cloths and other nice things like mouth wash, disposable combs etc. The showers could have been tidier. Don't go out of your way to book Aqua Class. Food was pretty darn good everywhere I went. Service was slow in Blu but the food was worth the wait. Murano had outstanding service and food ... best meal of the week! Silk Harvest provided generous portions and was a good opportunity to sample a number of sushi items and unfamiliar dishes. Service was very good. Main dining room had good service and food. Oceanview did a good job feeding a lot of folks all the time. The Mast Grill could have a larger offering of lunch items. The food and the beauty of the ship were it's strengths. The Glass show is not to missed and the lawn activities were nice but there was a lack of FUN ACTIVITIES/ENTERTAINMENT on this ship. The stores were all expensive ... do they all have to be high end? Our stateroom was very clean and comfortable. The robes in AquaClass were nice but too heavy weight. The daily water and tea was always welcome as was the fruit. The bottle of champagne on the 1st day was also a nice touch. All in all a nice cruise, job well done. Get the spa figured out, the entertainment up to speed and you will have a gem of a ship! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
This was our 14th cruise, second on Celebrity (previous was 9 years ago on Summit), with other cruises on Princess, RCCL, HAL and Carnival. The comments are based on my experiences and also on what others related to me. I apologize if it ... Read More
This was our 14th cruise, second on Celebrity (previous was 9 years ago on Summit), with other cruises on Princess, RCCL, HAL and Carnival. The comments are based on my experiences and also on what others related to me. I apologize if it goes long, as I want to be thorough. This cruise was the first Western Caribbean for the Solstice. Embarkation: We arrived at the terminal at about 1:30PM, checked in, and were on board in about 10 minutes. One of the easiest check-ins. Check-in lines were arranged by the deck your cabin was on. When boarding the ship, we were greeted by staff handing out glasses of champagne and juice. Nice touch. (Note - 9 years ago we were greeted and a staff member took our carryons and escorted us to our cabin. Things change.) Cabin: We had a Category 1A balcony, deck 7 cabin, #7288, on the starboard aft diagonal to the hump. The cabin was smaller than we have had on other balcony cabins. The balcony was, indeed, huge - maybe 1 ½ times the normal balcony (cabins on the diagonals to the "hump" have larger balconies because of the arrangement of the cabins and diagonal rail). However, unless you plan on having a large party or have lounge chairs put there, the space is really not useful. The view forward was obstructed somewhat by the hump. Looking aft, the view was good, but overlooked the lifeboats. Similar cabins on deck 6 would have a problem as the lifeboats are stored right below them. Storage was barely adequate. Nightstands had no drawers, only three small shelves. Closet was perhaps five feet wide; the hanging section for longer garments only half that with the remaining half sufficient for shirts with the safe and some shelves underneath and a short shelf, perhaps six inches high, above. Two large storage bins with doors above the bed and some drawers in the tv stand/dresser unit complete the storage. Life jackets were under the bed (you don't bring them to the muster drill), but there is sufficient room for suitcases. The bed was the width of a king-size, but shorter (I'm tall and had to sleep somewhat diagonally) and was comfortable with the eggcrate mattress topper. The bath has a nice shower with hard-plastic clamshell doors; nice design. Many small drawers and cubbyholes for storing things. One very nice feature never before seen on a cruise ship - a nightlight in the bath that remains on when you turn off the light. While the room is near the elevators, it remained quiet. The Ship: I'm sure that many will disagree with me on this, but this is based on my experiences and observations. Your mileage may vary. While the ship has a simple elegance, it is, perhaps, too simple. There seemed to be a lack of character to it. Most of the lounges and bars were merely wider areas of the passages. The exceptions were the Sky Lounge, Michael's, and Quasar disco. Warning to ballroom dancers: there isn't a single good dance floor on the ship. Deck 15 has the lawn (real grass) that has been made much of. Initially, I was impressed. However, after a while I realized that it was mostly wasted space. A few people were playing bocce, croquet, and a couple other games, but mostly it was ignored. The walking/jogging track on Deck 14 is short - 8 times around for a mile. The Promenade Deck is also badly designed. It doesn't even go the full length of the ship, never mind around the ship, and the view is almost completely blocked by the lifeboats. We rarely saw anybody out there. The ship was quite stable when under way. Most of the time we couldn't even feel it moving. Only late on the next to last day and into the last sea day did it roll at all. However, it was enough to cause the tightrope walker to cancel that act in the show that night. I heard a few comments that the equipment in the gym was not in the best condition. Entertainment: We had The Case of the Troubled Theater. On the first day while leaving port, the motorized video screen, 850 lbs, crashed to the stage when the motor connection failed. Luckily, nobody was hurt, but it brought into question all the stage rigging. As a result, the welcome aboard show that night was moved to the Foyer. Several people at the CruiseCritic meet and greet questioned why the Foyer was used, where people had to stand around, instead of the Sky Lounge, which has a stage and chairs. No real answer given. The shows were switched around and the second night was a performance of Broadway songs by the ship's singers and the a capella group Metro Park in the Foyer since the stage couldn't be used. Following inspection of the stage by specialists flown in to Grand Cayman, the rigging was pronounced safe. The third night was the ventriloquist in front of the curtain. The fourth night was supposed to be the production show Pulse. However, the curtain refused to open. The show was postponed until 10:30 PM. It had opened just fine for rehearsals earlier that day, but at showtime it wouldn't open. The trouble, unrelated to the first incident, was finally traced to a failed computer server. It seems the curtain is computer-controlled (Toyota?) and, when the server failed, it generated an emergency signal that automatically closes the curtain. Once the server was replaced, the curtain worked fine. The two productions shows were quite good. Solstice - The Show is a Cirque du Soleil type show (but not associated with Cirque du Soleil). Spectacular! If you like Cirque du Soleil (we do), you'll like this show. Pulse was a song & dance production show similar to others, but was arranged in a running theme of music. Nicely done. For those who like the typical games around the pool, there were none. We also heard complaints about bingo (didn't go). No Caribbean band around the pool. Dancers: as I mentioned above, there are no good dance floors. Dancing was from 5 - 6PM on the marble floor in the Foyer to music played by a DJ. Sometimes the party band Sipra played pop music there (think Hustle). The only time the jazz group (Will Foraker Trio - quite good) played there, the photographers had taken over the Foyer for those all-important portraits. It seems Princess has better dance floors and bands than Celebrity. Movies: the movie theater is across the Solstice Central (a second foyer on Deck 4 near the theater entrance) from the Quasar disco. While watching a movie, the music from the disco is distracting. Timing of some of the entertainment was not good. While there were two lecturers on board, the times were random. Example - the lecture on the Mayans by Dr. Tom Ryan was given at 1:45PM while we were in port. Anyone on a tour missed it if they had wanted to go (we did). Also, more than once, Metro Park was performing in the Solstice Central when the theater let out. This caused a traffic problem as the only route out of the theater on Deck 4 led through the Solstice Central, which was packed with people. The best "performance" on board is the Hot Glass Show. We went to see it 3 times, as they made different things each time. Kudos to Celebrity for putting this on their ships. Note - at the end of the performances, some of the glass pieces from previous performances are raffled off. They are not allowed to sell them, so they give them away. In summary, comments elsewhere about the scarcity of entertainment on the Solstice seem to be true, especially in the evening. Food: What else do we go on a cruise for? First, let me say that the ice cream, real ice cream, in the Oceanview Cafe is truly excellent! They always had several flavors (favorites of mine were the mango-ginger, mango-passion fruit and pina colada). Usually they had a couple of flavors no-sugar-added. They also had soft-serve. Toppings of various types were available. The Oceanview Cafe, the buffet restaurant on the Solstice, had the usual selections for breakfast and a very good variety for lunches. Didn't try it for dinner. The arrangement is good, avoiding the lines found on other ships. There seemed to be plenty of seating, with seats outside at the stern, if desired. Available drinks were coffee, tea, iced tea, lemonade (very good, especially if mixed with the iced tea), fruit punch, and a guava and passion fruit punch. The coffee seemed to be better than most cruises. Tables were cleaned very quickly. The Grand Epernay dining room had a simple, elegant dEcor to match the ship. Service, while good, did not measure up to our first Celebrity experience. Not a single pepper mill in sight. The food was good, but limited in selection. Typical selections included perhaps four appetizers, two soups, a couple of salads, and maybe five entrEes. The "everyday" side of the menu included escargots, which were excellent. Lobster night is now down to a half lobster tail in a seafood medley. No seconds on lobster offered. No Baked Alaska parade. Note - don't wait for the last sea day to have breakfast in the Grand Epernay dining room. On that day, they don't open until 10:30AM for brunch. We did not partake of the specialty restaurants. However, we did peek in a couple of times and noted that there were vacant tables around 8PM. I didn't hear anything bad about them. Ports & Tours: Grand Cayman - this was the only port where we tendered in. Generally, ships contract with local tenders with larger boats in Grand Cayman. We did the Hell and Turtle Farm tour booked through the ship. There's more to the Turtle Farm than we thought. While the description isn't entirely clear, there is swimming and snorkeling available in a lagoon. We had about an hour and a half on our own to explore the Farm. Don't miss the shark feeding. They do something different - each shark is fed while being held by the trainer. This is done to get the shark used to humans so they can safely administer needed medications or take blood samples. While waiting for the tender back, we were treated to ice-cold washcloths and ice water or lemonade drinks. Cozumel - the jeep tour to Punta Sur was very interesting, even if it rained. There is a salt lagoon there where you can go kayaking...if you don't mind the 14 and 15 foot salt water crocodiles! Beautiful view from the lighthouse (lots of steps up). Costa Maya - the Native Choice tour of Chacchoben Ruins is a must. Our guide, Veronica, was very knowledgeable in the Mayan history, culture and religion. The group was small, and we got there before the large bus tours. Beautiful area. Excellent mahi-mahi burrito at the restaurant under the large palapa. The shops outside the port area are easily walked to and have better prices. Better yet, get your souvenirs at the shops at Chacchoben where all the money goes to the people there. Roatan - we booked the Gumbalimba Preservation Park tour through the ship. The description given for the tour is misleading. There are things NOT mentioned in the description: while listed as "moderate" activity level, it should specifically mention the cave you have to go through (could be a problem for some people), the numerous steep steps, and the narrow cable-suspended bridge you have to cross (actually, a lot of fun, but some may have a problem with the height). Also, you are NOT allowed to take any bags, backpacks, fanny packs, camera bags, pocketbooks, hats, sunglasses, water bottles and other loose objects. This is because the monkeys you may encounter will try to open and/or steal them. You don't find this out until you get to the park. Then, your choices are to leave your stuff in the open on a table under a palapa or rent a locker. Warning: the lockers have sharp edges. After your tour, you have as much free time as you want until the park closes or the ship leaves. To get back, you take any of the shuttle buses that runs every 20 - 30 minutes or so. There is swimming available at the beach or pool. Lunch is extra. When you return to the port, I would suggest doing your shopping in the area just outside the port. There are some interesting and beautiful hand-made things in the little booths along the street, and the prices are much better than in the shops in the port (example - lovely wooden bowl with lid: outside port $8, inside port $21). The people are friendly and not pushy. Disembarkation: Passengers were assigned colors and numbers and a waiting area. The process was relatively painless and quick, although the numbers called were running about 10 minutes behind schedule. The line for customs & immigration was relatively short. Summary: This was a good, but not great, cruise. Somewhat disappointing, considering our first cruise was on Celebrity and that was our "gold" standard. Then again, there have been many changes in the cruise industry over the last nine years. The RCCL influence over Celebrity is evident. All-in-all, I would place Celebrity after Princess and HAL, before RCCL, and well before Carnival. We would travel with Celebrity again, and are presently booked on the Equinox for November. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Celebrity Solstice - Western Caribbean April 25th -May 2nd. General Info: My wife and I (ages 57) and my brother and his wife (62) went on this cruise. This was our 12th cruise (3rd on X) and my brother's 6th. Pre-Cruise: Booked ... Read More
Celebrity Solstice - Western Caribbean April 25th -May 2nd. General Info: My wife and I (ages 57) and my brother and his wife (62) went on this cruise. This was our 12th cruise (3rd on X) and my brother's 6th. Pre-Cruise: Booked thru online agency and had a good experience. Drove to FL and stayed the evening before the cruise at the Spring Hill Suites by Marriott (Ft. Lauderdale Airport, Dania Beach). Good rate, free parking for duration of the cruise and free transport to port. They also arranged pick up after cruise for only $8 pp. Embarkation: The best of any of our previous 11 cruises. At the port by 11:00AM, checked in by 11:05, in the waiting lounge for a very short time and on board by 11:30. Cabins available at 1:00pm. Ship Observations: Wow, what a beautiful ship. Contemporary but very stylish and classy. All public areas were extremely nice and well thought-out with the possible exception of the Grand Epernay Dining Room. We did not really get what they were trying to accomplish with the design and color scheme. All white and cream colored with silver lighting fixtures. Some neon accent lighting that changes colors but just not very pretty when compared to the grand dining rooms on other X ships. Celebrity Theatre was very nice but this particular cruise had some real problems with the main show lounge that I will discuss later. Cabin: We had Cabin 8232 on the Vista Deck, starboard. This was a hump cabin with a standard size balcony. It was located right at the aft elevator lobby just across from the sliding glass doors that open/close automatically to help soundproofing from the elevator lobby. We loved the cabin and bathroom design. Very nicely decorated and really a lot of storage space. Comfortable beds and sofa. We were a little concerned with noise since the cabin was so close to the elevator lobby but it was not a problem and was very convenient. The balcony had very nice adjustable chairs and a good size teak table you could eat room service meals on. One note regarding port or starboard. We found that our starboard cabin was always facing the open water when in port. If you wish to have views of the city, you might prefer the port (left) side on the W. Caribbean route. Dining Room Food: We were a little concerned and expected a drop in food quality since our last X cruise on the Summit in 2005. NOT SO. The food in the MDR was BETTER than our cruise 5 years ago and the quantity was more substantial. Everything we had, except for a loaded baked potato, was excellent. Some highlights for me were the Escargot (every night), Chateau-Briand (sp?), Lamb, Fresh Fish and Caesar Salad with anchovies upon request. No one in our group experienced a bad meal. And, my brother and his wife who have cruised exclusively on Oceania in recent years, were very impressed. Oceanview Cafe Food: If you can't find something you like to eat here, you need help. Amazing selection of salads, hot foods, pizza, pasta, desserts, ethnic foods, ice cream, deli and about anything you could imagine. Specialty Dining: TUSCAN Grille - This is an area we were a little disappointed in. Perhaps I was expecting too much but we did not feel the food to be that much better than the MDR. I had the crab appetizer which was a real disappointment. It tasted like mashed potatoes with a little crab flavoring thrown in. I also had the Onion Soup. It was good but from comments on previous posts I was expecting a lighter soup. It seemed to be exactly like the French Onion Soup you could get each night in the MDR. The Caesar was also just like the one in the MDR although it was made table side. I selected the filet which was a very nice cut of meat but it was overdone and really not as good as the Chateau-Briand in the MDR. Everyone in our group had beef. We did love the Dark Chocolate fondue for dessert. Our waiter also brought the Kobe Meatballs for the table which were ok. Perhaps the best thing was the Eggplant that the table also shared. Again somewhat disappointed in the food although the service was excellent. Bistro on Five - We ate here once and wanted to more often. Loved the food and quite a deal for $5 pp. We had the Steak Panini and Mediterranean crepe which were excellent. The lentil soup was good. But the real stars were the dessert crepes. We had the Banana Nutella crepe which was amazing. The Italian crepe was also very good. Service: Cabin Steward - Our cabin steward (Cipriano from India) was excellent...efficient and unobtrusive. Our in-cabin safe did not work when we arrived and he had someone up and it was fixed within 5 minutes. When we needed a corkscrew and umbrella we had them within minutes. He was like a ghost...we rarely saw him but our cabin was always spotless when we returned and he was always around. Main Dining Room - A little rocky the first night but excellent after that. Our waiter was "Shake" from India. Not really talkative but very efficient and always brought us several things for the table if we asked. The assistant was Ebru, a lovely lady from Turkey. She was very personable and we really enjoyed her. One note on the dining room service. Even though service was excellent we could tell they were very busy with little time to visit like on past cruises. I assume they have more tables that they are responsible for now. Lounges / Bars - Good service and if we went once many remembered our name the next time. Wine Service - Had an excellent wine steward, Nenad from Serbia. He made excellent suggestions and usually one of the less expensive choices. Other Staff - We were disappointed that the captain was new after all of the great things we heard about the previous one. But, his job is for us to arrive safely and we did. John Grantham was the cruise director. He was okay but seemed to talk a lot about his former acting and stunt man career. He was great at the 50's trivia night and we had a blast. Entertainment: There were some real problems early during our cruise. Rigging had fallen in the main Celebrity Theatre and they were unable to have shows for the first 2 evenings until they could get someone from Chicago to meet the ship in Grand Cayman. They got this fixed and that evening the curtains would not open and they had to improvise again. The entertainment for the first couple of evenings was in the Atrium Foyer which was inconvenient and not a good place for viewing. We received a $50 onboard credit and assumed it was due to the shows being affected. The productions show we saw was just okay. Kind of like all of the others we have seen. The Solstice show was very good and worth going to. Considering the ship was in high seas with very high winds and was rocking it was impressive what they were able to do. We also had a couple of guest entertainers, an amazing ventriloquist named Ken Groves. Plus, a "Musical Impressionist" Greg London who was very entertaining and found out on this cruise he was getting a show in Vegas. The ships band Sipra was great!! They could play anything from the 50's through today's music and were always playing somewhere it seemed. The 70's night music was so much fun. Ports: Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Roatan, Honduras. Not much to do in these ports if you don't like water. We booked a wave runner excursion to Stingray City and Rum Point Beach in Cayman through a local company. It was great. Other ports just stayed near the port and shopped. Went into "downtown" Roatan and it was a very poor area and we did not stay long. Not much to see. Debarkation: Like embarkation, the best we have ever experienced. We were told to be in the MDR at 8:50. Off the ship by 9:00AM and had our bags within 5 minutes. On the bus back to the hotel by 9:20. They had their act together on this. Other Observations: Be aware that in Grand Cayman the ship time is one hour ahead of the local time. The wave runner trip we booked left at 11:00AM. However, we found out after we were ashore it was actually 12:00 ship time and the last tender was at 3:30. This was never mentioned in our Celebrity Today program and we felt it should have been because it is very important. We were very nervous but got back to the port a little before 3:00. The ship's time was changed that evening prior to our Cozumel stop. A suggestion to X is to change the ship time to match the evening before to match local time in G. Cayman. It would be very easy to see a clock while ashore showing 3:00 when ship time is actually 4:00. Very easy to miss the ship if you are not careful. Ship never felt crowded except for peak times in the Oceanview. However we were always able to find a place to sit and also find lounge chairs on the pool decks. Piped in music on board. VERY annoying. I had read this in previous posts but thought so what...no big deal. But it was everywhere and very loud. Don't get me wrong, I love loud music but this was kind of new-age music much of the time and just seemed out of place and intrusive. If you have music could some of it be Caribbean music?? But there were speakers everywhere that I could even hear over my IPOD earbuds. And it apparently was so loud in the gym you could not hear anything else. Fellow Passengers: Not many children and seemed to be an older crowd. Most dressed as suggested with a few in shorts in the MDR. Conclusion: Book this Ship! It was wonderful and I am now in a state of depression. It is an amazing feat to have such good, consistent food and service on a ship this size. Any questions feel free to ask. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
This was our 25th cruise for my wife and I and the 6th with Celebrity. Overall we had a very good cruise and enjoyed the ship very much. She is a very spacious and beautiful ship. We live in Central Florida and drove to Fort Lauderdale ... Read More
This was our 25th cruise for my wife and I and the 6th with Celebrity. Overall we had a very good cruise and enjoyed the ship very much. She is a very spacious and beautiful ship. We live in Central Florida and drove to Fort Lauderdale the day before. We met friends who flew in from NY and stayed overnight at the Cambria Suites in Dania Beach. Received a great rate of $71 per room. This is a fairly new all suite hotel. The rooms were clean and modern (2 flat panel TV's). Compared to other all suite hotels I thought the rooms were a bit on the small side. The furniture did not look like it would hold up to normal use for too long. For the price for one night it was a good deal. They do offer a stay, park and cruise package but it costs more. Opted to park my car at the port ($105 for the week) as it cost less than the higher price on 2 rooms. We drove to the pier around 11AM. The ship was at pier 18. Drove up to the terminal, dropped off the luggage with the porters, continued about 50 yards to the parking lot (outside parking), parked the car (plenty of spaces) and was in the terminal in 10 minutes. Security and check-in was a breeze. We were on the ship by noon and were greeted with glasses of Champagne. Cabins are not available until after 1PM so we spent a little time touring the ship. Lunch was available in several locations, not just the Oceanview Cafe. We opted for lunch at the Mast Grill. Shortly after 1PM we headed for our cabin. Our Cabin (C3) 1071 was very comfortable and the bathroom was the largest we have ever had. Storage was adequate. There could have been a little more room for hanging clothes. The bedding, towels, robes and amenities were outstanding. Our Cabin Steward "Anil" was terrific. We did have a problem with cigarette smoke on the balcony. Several times while sitting on the balcony we smelled smoke. So did our friends who were in 1067. I complained to Anil and he told us he thought it was coming from down below where people are allowed to smoke. Could this be coming from the promenade deck? The expanded breakfast, room service, menu in the concierge cabins was very nice. We had breakfast on our balcony 3 times. We ordered with the door hanger and every time it was delivered promptly. The food was hot and well prepared. One time we did not get everything we ordered but we did not have time to pursue the missing item. One afternoon we ordered room service on the TV. We never received a confirmation of the order. After 50 minutes of waiting we left the cabin for an activity. When we returned the food was in our room. Seems like it took a real long time for this service. On this cruise we had "Dining Select". The food was very good and the choices outstanding. The service was a little less than I was expecting. We were served promptly and efficiently. But, there was very little interaction by the wait staff. I would sum up the service as being "Robotic". I have experienced "My Time" dinning on 2 RCCI cruises, liked it very much and feel it was better managed. All the staff, from the Greeter, Maitre D', Waiters and Assistant Waiters were very personable. This was not the case on the Solstice. The one exception was the Sommelier Conrad. He was Great! He visited our table several times every evening with lively banter. There was a problem with the entertainment early in the cruise. We were told an 800 pound screen had fallen in the main Celebrity Theatre and they were unable to have shows until it was checked out. There was no show in the Theater the first 2 evenings. People were flown in from Chicago and met the ship in Grand Cayman. They got this fixed and that evening the curtains would not open and they had to improvise again. The entertainment the first two evenings was in the Atrium Foyer which was inconvenient and not a good place for viewing. Very few people could see the entertainers. The Sky Lounge would have been a better alternative as it would have accommodated a lot more people. The variety of the onboard music was outstanding. Sipra and Metropark were super. The Solstice production show during rough seas was amazing. The Corning Hot Glass Shows were a highlight of the cruise. The 3 men did a tremendous job making and explaining the creation of glass pieces. The Cruise Director, John Grantham was very personable. I really appreciated him attending the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle Party. It was a good opportunity for everyone there to ask questions and discuss some of the things that were happening on the ship. The Captains Club Party was the best I have ever attended. The Carving, Sushi, Crape and Fruit Stations were Exceptional! The Select and Elite party was a disappointment after the wonderful Captains Club Party. It was the usual drink service and very little involvement from the Captain or the Cruise staff. The High Tea for the Elite Members was very nicely presented with great service. But, there was NO interaction with anyone from the Captain or cruise staff. You were seated, served food and tea and that was it! Thirty minutes later it was over and everyone left without anyone saying anything. Monday was a sea day. We did the International Wine Tasting and enjoyed it very much. We ordered several of the wines we tasted at dinner during the cruise. Tuesday's port call was Grand Cayman. The ship tendered here. We received priority tender passes and were able to board a tender without wait. Spent the day on a taxi tour and walking around Georgetown. Wednesday's port call was Cozumel. Planned to visit Chankanaab Marine Park. Weather in the morning was threatening so we opted out at the last minute. It did rain on and off all morning. We spent the day walking around the shops downtown. Thursday's port call was Costa Maya. Did the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins Extreme tour with NaturesChoice Tours. I learned of this tour through the Cruise Critic web site. This was an outstanding tour and I would highly recommend the company. I booked the tour on line with a $15 per person deposit. Received a voucher for transportation from the pier to their office. We easily found the shuttle at the pier exit. There were many people who booked this and other tours that were shuttled to NaturesChoice Office which was across town. Once there everyone was given colored wrist bands to identify their tour and we were loaded up in 10 passenger vans. It was about an hour ride to Chacchoben. Our guide was very knowledgeable and he led us on a walking tour of the ruins. After about 2+ hours at the ruins we were taken to the Laguna Maya Resort. This was a very small private resort located on a Lagoon. We were given lunch with Margaritas and then spent the next few hours kayaking and swimming in the Lagoon. They had cabanas with lounge chairs if you just wanted to sit back and relax. Total cost was $75. Friday's port call was Roatan, Honduras. We did the ships "Roatan's Venice and Islands Culture Tour". We were taken by van to Yubu where we sat under a thatched roof pavilion where 6 dancers performed for about 10 minutes. Then a 2 minute demonstration of making banak bread. Then a Island History lesson that never happened. At each stop was a tip box. Too many tip boxes not enough content. Then 15 minutes for the gift shop. We were then driven to Jonesville for the motorized boat ride through the mangroves. The boat was actually a dory that sat 4 people. It seemed very unsafe, particularly boarding, we were given a seat cushion for a life preserver, there was no cover from the sun, crossed an open bay with ship wakes that were rough for this narrow small dory and there was no explanation of anything we were seeing. We stopped at a open market, where local people were selling crafts and shells on the return to the ship. It was nice seeing the Island but I could not recommend this tour to anyone. Saturday was another sea day. We spent time at the Hot Glass show. Our friends did win a piece of the glass that was made at a previous show. Did the Riedel Wine Glass Tasting. It was very interesting. It was amazing how the different wines changed in smell and taste based on the size and shape of the glass. Disembarkation was very easy. We were in no rush. When I filled out the disembarkation form I requested 9:30AM. Our luggage tags were for the group at 9:30AM. We punched out with our seapass cards one last time and proceeded off the ship. Had to wait in a short line before we were allowed access to the luggage. Porters were readily available. Obtained a porter who picked up all our bags and then waited at the Customs and Immigration line about 15 minutes. The porter took our bags all the way to the parking lot. We were on our way shortly after 10 AM. Overall this was a very enjoyable cruise on a very beautiful ship. I would definitely consider cruising again on this ship. I did have some problems with my bill and "On Board Account". When I booked this cruise on January 31, 2010, Celebrity was offering a promotion of $200 onboard credit. This never appeared on the "On Board Account". I inquired at "Guest Services" and was told they had no record of it. Guest Services contacted the main office and notified me a day later that the main office had no record of the credit. It is a bit unsettling that a promotion is offered which enticed us to book this cruise and then find it not provided. Upon return I contacted my TA. He had the confirmation documentation of the OBC and went to battle with Celebrity. After a week I received the credit to my credit card. This, to me, is a good reason to use a TA when booking a cruise. When there is a problem you have someone who can go to battle for you and has the contacts and experience to get to the right people. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We have cruised a total of 4 times in the past, three with Celebrity and once with Royal Caribbean. We are in our early 40's (43 & 41) we did not travel with anyone else on this voyage. We live in Atlanta and decided to drive to ... Read More
We have cruised a total of 4 times in the past, three with Celebrity and once with Royal Caribbean. We are in our early 40's (43 & 41) we did not travel with anyone else on this voyage. We live in Atlanta and decided to drive to the port, this took about 10 hours with minimal stops, we drove down the day before boarding and stayed at the Holiday Inn on Sheridan street , it is about 6 miles from the port, We paid $149 for a package that included parking for the week, transportation to the port (not from - they charge extra for that) and breakfast. The hotel is new and very clean, the room was adequate and the breakfast was typical buffet fare. I would stay here again in the same situation. As I said earlier they do not pick you up at the port when you return, they will offer to set up a service to pick you up for $12 per person. This is a shuttle type service that can leave you standing at the port waiting for your car. We decided to take a cab, which are plentiful at the port when you arrive and it cost $22.20 without tip. Embarkation - We arrived at the port around 11:30 - handed our bags to the porter, went in the terminal and walked right up to the special Aqua Class check in and 5 minutes later were on our way to the ship! After the ubiquitous arrival photo we were on board. Our rooms were not ready until 1PM, but we were prepared for that so we went to the buffet and had lunch and then toured the ship. We had our bathing suits and could have laid by the pool, but we figured we had plenty of time for that so we went exploring. The Ship - This is a beautiful ship, the artwork displayed through out is awesome and adds to the decor of the ship. The ship is well laid out and flows easily, my only criticism of the ships layout is the large space set aside for the library and the card and computer rooms. I don't personally use these spaces while on board and it seems like the space could be better utilized. Having said that I love that the Casino is off to the side so you don't ever have to walk through it if you don't want to. The shops are on two levels and flow nicely from one to the other and offer sidewalk sales every night so there are different things to look at. The bars are my favorite part and our two favorites were Quasar and the Molecular Bar. Quasar is a night club atmosphere, if you grew up during the 80's and 90's you will love this place! There is plenty of room for dancing here, although not ballroom dancing. There is limited space for ballroom dancing on the ship, which only matters if this is important to you. Molecular Bar is a unique bar where the drinks are really amazing! They are not cheap at $12 each but are large and well worth it, just watching and listening to Anna the bartender makes the drinks worth the money, she is fun. This bar was not heavily patronized, it seems to me the same 6-7 couples were the only ones here every night. I think that is because the drinks are pricy and not what people are used to, but well worth the visit. The food - The ship has several different choices of places to eat. We were booked in Aquaclass so our dining room was the Blu restaurant. Blu was very good, although not what we expected. We expected lighter spa type cuisine, however, this was not what it was, they did have some lighter choices than the main restaurant but most of the choices were similar to what you got in the main dining room. We did not try any of the other specialty restaurants (Tuscan grill, Murano and Silk Harvest) we did eat at the Bistro on 5 several times and it is well worth the $5 service charge. The Main Buffet was disappointing to say the least. We were not happy with the choices here and the stuff we did choose was not very good. The Gelateria was excellent and very reasonably priced. I love ice cream and the ice cream in the buffet was always overly frozen with ice crystals and tasted old. The Gelateria by comparison only cost $3 dollars for a two scoop cone and was excellent! The Gelato was phenomenal and you could get many toppings placed on your cone and the waffle cones and cups are made right there in the Gelateria. The Ports - This was the Solstice's first trip to the Western Caribbean and the ports went from excellent to extremely poor. The only problem with the larger ship is it cannot go into the smaller ports, so it is limited in its destinations. I will give overall impressions on each port and the excursions we booked. Grand Cayman - This was our second trip here and we should have booked an excursion. If you want to shop for jewelry or liquor, this is the port for you, if you like to shop for hand made local stuff or just wander around and get a flavor for local culture, then you will not like this port. Book an excursion to a beach or something while here. This was also the only port where we were tendered and not docked. Cozumel, Mexico - Cozumel was a fun port, we took the Mexican Cuisine workshop and enjoyed it allot. The "Chef" Luis is hilarious and fun. The meal we cooked was simple and we did not learn much about Mexican cooking but had a good time. During the "class" they bring you multiple drinks and tell jokes to make it fun and interesting. The best part of the excursion is that it is held at Playa Mia beach park which is very nice and you can stay and lay at the beach and get free drinks the rest of the day. The class ends about 12:30 and gives plenty of time for hanging out. We then went into the "town" of Cozumel and did some shopping. We walked back to the ship which is about three miles and worth if it you don't mind sweating! Costa Maya, Mexico - As my wife described this port - it is like a rest stop on the New Jersey turnpike! There is nothing here - there is a contrived port area with some shopping and a Hard Rock Cafe. We had booked an excursion - the Bike and Kayak adventure that was cancelled due to rain and high seas. There is nothing near the port - you can rent a golf cart or buggy and go into the "Town" but that is all there is to do. Book an excursion here, preferably one not contingent on the weather. Roatan, Honduras - As others have said, and is true, the ship docks here on the wrong side of the island, the west bay side is nicer. However, if you are adventurous and want to buy some local art this is a great location. Yes the people in the little "shops" are poor but are very friendly, they want you to be happy and will negotiate pricing on their items. We booked a tour to the Gumbalimba park, it is a very nice park, they do have parrots and monkeys as advertised - however not as much as you would like. Three things they don't tell you on the ship about this excursion, 1) take or wear your bathing suit, there is a nice pool and beach here and you will have time to enjoy them, 2) the tour can be hard on mobility challenged people, you have to climb some steep steps and cross a rope bridge and, 3) the tour does not automatically take you back to the ship, their policy is the bus does not leave until there are at least 20 people ready to go back, so be prepared to wait. After our excursion we went for a walk in the shopping area outside the port and had lunch at a restaurant called Taste of Paradise. It does not look like much but is very good, it was recommended to us by a local ex-patriot and I am recommending it to you as well. Make sure to buy some local pottery and possibly a new wooden salad bowl while here, they are excellent deals! Disembarkation - Extremely easy and trouble free, they assign you a number and call it when it is your time. You go out and your luggage is readily available and after a quick jaunt through customs, you are home free! Although we had a fantastic time, there are a few criticisms I would like to address here. The biggest is that it appears the personal level of service we loved about Celebrity on previous cruises is gone. Our stateroom attendant appeared twice a day, in the AM to make the bed and give us new towels and in the evening to turn down the bed. There were several days where we showered in the AM, left the room for an excursion, pool etc. and came back around 2-3 to shower again for a late lunch and then back at 6-7 to get ready for dinner, unfortunately the room was not attended to during the day so we would have to re-use the towels all day - not really a big deal but they don't dry really quick and we would have liked dry towels. In the past it seemed like the attendant was always waiting outside your room for you to leave because it would be cleaned often. We were booked into the Aqua class category. We were under the impression that the "Relaxation Lounge" on deck 11 was for Aqua class guests only - it is not, anyone can use it. We also thought we would get ice tea every day, we did, but it was so watered down as to be undrinkable. The Blu restaurant which is the Aqua Class dining room is good - but not good enough for the upgrade to aqua class and neither is the access to the Persian Garden which we used twice for a total of maybe a hour. We will stick with a regular verandah stateroom on our next visit to the Solstice. We were also disappointed in several other areas that are minor but worth mentioning. In the aforementioned card room or library, there should be a coffee/tea service set up for people using the space, you see people all the time going to the buffet for coffee, it would have been nice to either have a service set up there or have waiters periodically check to see if anyone there wants something. Another minor detail - the specialty restaurants are aft on deck 5, many women wear high heels to dinner, especially on formal nights. The ladies room is out of the restaurants, through a long foyer type area, through a bar to mid-ship. The mens room in contrast is much closer. They should have been together. Another not so minor detail was the entertainment. The first two nights the theater was broken and all shows were in the main foyer area, this was not large enough for most to attend. Once the theater was opened, the entertainment left a little to be desired. I likened the entertainment to Pocono's style. If you have ever been to the Pocono's you will know what I mean, suffice to say, make your own entertainment! Overall, the Solstice is a fantastic ship! It is modern and beautiful with many great amenities. The only time we ever felt crowded is when we were at the pool deck while the ship was at sea. And even then we were able to get deck chairs. We will be sailing again on the Solstice or one of her sister ships as soon as we can! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We had a wonderful week cruising with Celebrity Solstice. Recently we have noticed other cruise lines have cut standards - no free drinks (even juices), charging for every single extra, however minor. However, Celebrity have still ... Read More
We had a wonderful week cruising with Celebrity Solstice. Recently we have noticed other cruise lines have cut standards - no free drinks (even juices), charging for every single extra, however minor. However, Celebrity have still maintained old standards. We felt welcomed, even feted from the first moment -easy quick check-in, free glass of champagne on boarding the ship. The staff were friendly, welcoming and helpful throughout - if you had a problem, they were eager and quick to sort it out. For example, I could not find a chair in the shade (as opposed to a sunbed) and the pool staff found one and even moved it for me. The restaurant staff in the Select Dining area were funny and charming throughout. Even though we had paid tips in advance, the service was as good as if the staff were working for tips - they just wanted the customers to be happy. The cabin was one of the lowest cost available and was excellent - lots of room, well equipped, with the biggest shower we have seen in any cruise ship. Usually you can't turn round in the shower but in this one there was lots of room. Big comfortable bed and lots of room to move around and sit. Bathrobes provided without having to ask. Just great in every way. Lots of space and places to sit in public rooms and on deck, including comfortable chairs as well as sunbeds (no good for me because I have sciatica!!) Mast Bar serving burgers etc very clean and nicely presented - on many ships the grill areas are a bit untidy but not on this ship. Buffet restaurant quite spacious and used proper crockery, not plastic plates and cups - much better than most cruise lines! Lots of excellent free extras - free juices and lemonade available all day as well as iced water, tea and coffee. Free ice creams available most of the day, in lovely flavours with toppings so you could make your own sundae. Entertainment excellent with musicians playing all round the ship. Sipra played excellent old pop music covers near the pool, there was a barbershop quartet who were great, good pianist and classical group. Best of all was Will Foraker, a young jazz pianist with a jazz trio who played world class jazz and blues numbers - as good as I have heard anywhere, on or off a ship!! Altogether, we cannot speak too highly of this ship - strongly recommend to anyone looking for a relaxed easy time on board. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
My husband & I just returned from the April 25th sailing on the solstice to the Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Costa Maya and Roatan, Honduras. This was our first Celebrity Cruise, having cruised before on Princess and Carnival. The first ... Read More
My husband & I just returned from the April 25th sailing on the solstice to the Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Costa Maya and Roatan, Honduras. This was our first Celebrity Cruise, having cruised before on Princess and Carnival. The first cruise was Princess about 6 years ago and I was thoroughly pleased with this cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. The food, entertainment and service was excellent. The Carnival cruise was alittle less glamorous, however was quite adequate, not gourmet, but everything was good and the entertainment was fun. They had a late show, following the latest dinner seating and we really enjoyed going from dinner to the show and since my husband and I are nite owls that was a real plus. The shows were fun and very entertaining. Not true on the Celebrity, I'll tell you about that later. We were raising the bar a bit on this cruise, expecting Celebrity to be a step above, both Princess and Carnival. We were a bit disappointed. We had booked kind of late and the only cabins that were available mid ship were concierge class, We paid about $1000/PP and had a $150 on board ship credit through our travel agent. With CC we were supposed to get a pillow menu (choices on what kind of pillows you wanted) a bottle of champagne and fresh fruit, an expanded room service menu, plush robes, bigger towels and daily canapes in the afternoon. The upcharge was about $100 per person. I don't really know if it was worth it. The champagne was on the room service menu for about $25 and the fruit although nice was really not necessary as there was so much fruit onboard in the buffet. We never got the pillow menu, the robes were nice, but unnecessary, and I guess the room service was nice, but again, more food, how much food can you eat. The canapes sounded fancy, but after the third day were tiresome, as they were the same just about every day. So no I do not recommend the CC. The best part of the cruise was the food. It was a bit better than our cruise on Princess in 2004 and a definetely a step above Carnival. Although the food was not bad on Carnival. We ate most breakfasts in the buffet, and all of our dinners in the main dining room. Ate one lunch and brunch in the main dining room and the rest of the lunches were off the ship. We found the buffet to be fairly good, lots of choices and you could definelty find something to satisfy you. The main dining room was excellent. We found no reason to go the upcharge restaurants. The menu each nice had the left side offering standards that were available everynite, the right side had nitely specials. The standards were things like shrimp cocktail( the shrimp were like 30-50 ct, a bit dissappointing) french onion soup, escargot(which my husband said were delicious), steak, fish, pasta and NY style cheesecake. The right side of the menu changed nitely and you would find things like lamb chops which my husband said were excellent, fillet, lobster (which was a large lobster tail served over risotto along with 2 large shrimp and two large scallops-- few people ordered seconds which I had seen on other cruises)They also offered interesting soups, some of which were fruit soups. We did go and check out the specialty restaurants, looked at their menus and decor, but saw no reason to go there and pay the upcharge. The murano restaurant was like $50/pp and the cheapest wine was $100 per bottle, totalling $200 per couple. Although we both enjoy Asian food, Silk's menu did not excite us. The Steak house had an excellent view if you went on the early side, however our dining companions who did go, said it was not worth the upcharge. All in all, the food at the main dining room was excellent and we were very happy with it. Now on to the entertainment. This was our biggest dissappointment! The rigging on the stage broke and luckily no one was hurt. However the entertainment that we were subjected to for the firt 4 nites was really lacking. They had singers and musical groups entertain in the main foyer, however the only way to see them was to lean over the railings. Not very relaxing or satisfying. On the fifth nite they had a show in the theatre, however the stage curtain would not open, however no stage would have helped the preformance. It consisted of " Simply Adam" who was a dufis, who tripped over his own feet and attempted to be funny and also juggle, which was just TERRIBLE if not painful. I was ready to see tomatoes being thrown from the audience and although that didn't happen if was really not at all entertaining. He was followed by a so called comedian, who make "old people jokes" that were not funny, but sad and considering that the crowd was quite old a bit insulting. My husband and I are in our early 50's and we eventually walked out choosing our cabin as a better choice. Finally on Thursday we were treated to an actual proformance, a musical impressionist who was actually very good. Friday brought the Cirque Du Sole copy, which was pretty good if you like that kind of thing, however " Simply Adam horned in with his annoying "humor". Even the other entertainers appeared to be annoyed with him. They really need to get rid of him. The last nite was the Solstice show, and that was nice, a general variety show, dancing, singing some acrobatics. But out of 7 nites only 3 nites were acceptable in our opinion. The only compensation offered for this fiasco, was a lame comment thanking us for our patience for the "hiccup" that the ship experienced by the cruise director, who was also a dissappointment. He talked alot about his days in Hollywood as a stunt man. Moving on, the ports--- Our first was Grand Cayman, the beaches are beautiful there and if you love to snorkel or dive, this is a great place. My husband & I found it rather commercialized, "Margaritaville and chain restaurants, expensive prices. Not our cup of tea. The next day was Cozumel-- my sister had told me about a place called Nochi cocum, which is a beach resort. They give you a three course lunch, all the delicious drinks, beers, shots you want and the beach is beautiful. They have lounge chairs, palapas. a beautiful pool with swim up bar and very friendly service. We thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the fajitas, which were not the norm, but really extraordiary, and fresh fish. They offered dessert, but we had no room. As we were leaving the bartender even asked me if I wanted a pina colada to go. That's awesome! Costa Maya-- We also had a great day there. Costa Maya experienced a hurricane about three years ago, so there is alot of rubble, however they are rebuilding. We went to the Malacon by the beach. There are alot of restaurants and bars that have tables and palapas on the beach. They let you use them as long as you buy a few drinks or food. We went to a restaurant down near the end by the pier that was great. Beers were $2, drinks $4 and we had a shrimp and an octopus taco that were really good. They were $2 each. They also offered very reasonable massages, right on the beach. We also went to a place called 100% Agave, which was a street back from the malecon. We had heard that alot of the cruise crew went there and figured it couldn't be all bad. It was great. We were each offered a free cocktail because we told him that Fernando had sent us. We ordered a pork taco plate which we thought we would split and another couple drinks and the owner came out with chips and a unique salsa, and two pork taco plates. Everything was delicious and we actually had no trouble finishing both plates. We finally asked for the bill and to our surprise it was $11.00. Then the owner came back with two blue after dinner shots which were some sort of delicious liquor. Wow all for $11.00. After that we walked awhile more on the malecon and listened to a man playing the guitar and then went back to the ship. Next stop -- Roatan, Honduras. This was our favorite stop. We liked it so much because it was not all commercialized. No Margaritaville's, no chain restaurants, just local people. Everyone was very nice. We went on a taxi ride in a very nice mini bus with three other couples. Our taxi driver was very nice. He gave us alittle tour of the island stopping at the "View restaurant" which unfortunately was closed due to repairs however the gift shop was still open and of course the view was still there and it was breath taking. Then he took us to a small zoo, admission was like $5 each and was definitely worth it. They had small monkeys, local mini deer, beautiful birds and we were allowed right in their cages. I had monkey in my arms, and a beautiful exotic bird on my hand. The guide was very informative and told us about the local animal life and alot about the island. Then he took us to West beach and dropped us off at "Bananarama" which is a bar and restaurant resort that has lockers and is right on the beach, there are places to shower, change your clothes and they had fresh coconuts and drinks and food. We did not choose to eat there, but went for a walk down the beach and stopped at a very nice hotel. Had a few drinks and went snorkeling. It was wonderful, you could just wade out about 10 or 15 feet and there was a coral reef, we saw yellow and blue fish, squid and beautiful coral. Excellent. Then we went back toward the port and ate at a local restaurant. My husband had a local delicacy there and it was very relaxing. Then back to the ship. That nite we had a really rough nite. " The boat was a rockin" We fortunately did not get sea sick, however we felt as though we were drunk. Walking was a real experience. Anyway, all in all, we had a good time. The food was good, the service was good, just the entertainment was lacking. The cabin was nice and we did enjoy our balcony. I would definitely cruise again. Maybe next time I will try Princess again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
This review is for the Celebrity Solstice for the 1-3-2010 and 1-10-2010 sailings. By W John Johnston. Since I am Disabled, I had checked into reserving a Wheelchair stateroom, but decided against it since I only have to use a cane. Even ... Read More
This review is for the Celebrity Solstice for the 1-3-2010 and 1-10-2010 sailings. By W John Johnston. Since I am Disabled, I had checked into reserving a Wheelchair stateroom, but decided against it since I only have to use a cane. Even though the wheelchair stateroom would have given us more room, the AquaClass space was larger than a normal stateroom on other ships. Including the veranda. When I made the reservation, I looked at the available staterooms and selections that were available for both cruises and selected one that was available for both cruises so we would not even have to pack and move between the Back to Back cruises. Before the cruise I contacted Celebrity about getting a shower seat put in the cabin for me. This was acknowledged, but none was there when we arrived. Our Room Steward (Serio) greeted us by name when we went to our room upon boarding, and when I asked about the shower seat, he immediately went and brought two so I could pick the one I liked best. He also greeted us by name during both cruises every time he saw us. In AquaClass, there is a bottle of Champagne in your room when you sail, two half liter bottles of water, an urn of Tea and a bowl of fruit every day. ( The oranges, apples, and grapes were fine, but the bananas were black in large areas, and the pears were rock hard but the ones we got the first week ripened by the second week) There is a mini bar refrigerator in the room that we used to keep things cold in. Being AquaClass, we had free run of the Persian Garden which consisted of a few heated tile/cement beds, a sauna, and a steam room . That's it. Everything else is available to everyone. The literature makes it appear that the Solarium and the relaxation room are only for AquaClass. Not so, they are available for every one. In AquaClass during the first cruise, We ate our evening meals in Blu at an assigned table for two that was 6 inches from another table for two, in a grouping of 5 tables. No one ever sat at the other 3 tables. Blue was never more than half full for the entire cruise. After a couple of meals, We would go look at the Grand Epernay menu and since all meals are prepared in the same Galley, we could order from that menu when we tired of the Blu menu. The second cruise we opted out of Blu so we could have an assigned table in the main dining room. The second cruise is when Celebrity went to "select" dining which means that you do not have to have assigned seating and you will be seated at an available table in the main dining room. You can also be seated in Blu if you are AquaClass. The Tuscan Grill, Silk Harvest, Murano, Blu, and The Bistro on Five are all Specialty restaurants and there is an added per person charge. In the Ocean View Cafe and Bar (the Buffet Area), there are no trays to carry food with, but I did not have a problem with that. All I had to do was walk into the area and someone would walk up to carry whatever I wanted, go to all the food areas, and then to our table. Waiters were always roaming with water and coffee and would go for a refill of whatever else you might be drinking. The AquaSpa Cafe was at the indoor Solarium and had healthy food items for lunch. Yogurt, Salads, etc. The Mast Bar and Grill was a great place to get a lunch. It is located on the upper Pool deck and has Hot Dogs, Bratwurst, Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers, Nachos, Chili, Hot Wings, French fries, and Onion Rings just to name the most obvious. They also have sodas, beer, and the bar has all the other beverages. The one thing missing was a place to sit down. They had five 24 inch round tables with 3 chairs at each table. If you did not have a lounge chair around the pool, you had to stand and eat or carry your lunch to find a place to eat it. The lifeboat drill was different in the respect that we did not need lifejackets on, or have to go outside (It was cold outside). Everyone went to 'A' muster station. On other ships, the crew checked off your name on a muster sheet when you arrived at your muster station. This time, nothing. On the second cruise we went to the theater Muster station by accident and stayed so I did not have to stand during the drill, and no one was the wiser. The AquaClass stateroom was roomy and you could recline the veranda deck chair and relax with room to spare. When we ordered Room Service Breakfast it was served on the dot at he time it was requested, and everything was piping hot. The bed is listed as a Queen size when the two are mated, but We have a queen size bed at home, and the stateroom bed was much larger. If it is not a King Size, it is not far off. It was extremely comfortable and we had three different types and sizes of pillows to use. The amenities in our bathroom were outstanding. Cotton Balls, Q-tips, Soap, Shampoo, Conditioner, Hair Moose (?), Hand Lotion, etc. The tissues were thin but adequate if you used three at the same time when you blew your nose. The retractable clothesline in the shower on the other cruise ships has been eliminated. Wet bathing suits must be placed on a veranda deck chair to dry. One problem with the bathroom was the sink. The spout extended halfway into the bowl and was in the way whenever you tried to use the sink. It was pretty, but not functional at all. The Shower was fantastic. There were 5 torso spray heads and one overhead spray. You could select overhead only, torso only or both torso and overhead. The center of the control was for temperature so it was just right when you turned on the water. There is a lot of storage space (modular closet, large safe, drawers, cabinets). We had three Pullman suitcases and there was room for everything. There is ample space under the bed for suitcase storage also. We sent a bag of clothes to the laundry and everything came back clean and neatly folded. Slacks were pressed and the dress shirts were lightly starched and ironed. The cost was about $23 and change. The room TV did not work correctly when I tried to display our position during the second week (a minor thing) and then quit altogether. I called customer service and the re-booted my unit and then it worked fine. It was great for keeping tabs on our account an spending. In the Spa I had a Deep Tissue and Muscle Massage and a Swedish Massage while Mar opted for the Swedish Massage and a Facial during the cruises. All were fantastic. The In-Port prices are less than At Sea prices and since the number of people wanting a massage is less, Natasha spent over an hour and a half with me on each of my sessions. The internet room had about 40 terminals, and if you were Elite, you get 90 free minutes each of air time. Otherwise for about $30, you can, purchase time. There is someone there at certain times to assist you if you need help. The hot tubs seemed cold, and everyone I talked to said the same thing. I went down to customer relations and complained that the water was too cold. The next day I received a message that they follow some health code that specifies the water be no hotter than 99 degrees. Today I did some investigating and it appears that 102 is the optimum, and 104 is the maximum temperature not 99. The stage shows were great. It is amazing what they can accomplish at sea. In the theater, you should try to get there a little early or you might find yourself in the back third of the theater with a 24 inch column in front of you. There are 6 of them obscuring ones vision. As far as music on the ship, We were greatly disappointed. The times and type of music was disappointing compared to the other Celebrity ships we have cruised on. Ballroom dancing was almost non existent. There is no Rendezvous Lounge to meet . Have a cocktail and dance with friends before or after dinner. There was a DJ that played danceable music, but never at the same time each day. Sometimes at 5:45 sometimes at 7:30 to 8:30 pm sometimes at 10:00 pm. One never knew when. In trying to use the public restrooms, they all had handicapped door opener buttons. I found two on the entire ship that worked. The other doors had to be pulled open to go in. I reported three on the first cruise and they were still inoperable at the end of the second cruise. There was No Carnival Night with the party band. The one night the party band was to play at poolside, they did not show up. There was NO Grand Midnight Buffet. There was No Watermelon Parade. There was NO Chocolate Buffet. There were NO after dinner mints upon leaving the dining rooms. There is NO enforcement of dress code. Wear anything you want, anytime you want, anywhere you want At the Captain's Party, the invitations said Smart Casual. (Slacks, Shirt with collar) It specifically said NO JEANS OR SHORTS. At the door were senior officers greeting everyone, but they still allowed at least one guy I saw that had a tee shirt and shorts to enter. On Formal night in Blu, I was the only guy in a tux, with one other guy in a white dinner jacket and a handful of dark suits. The remainder of the men were in sport shirts, some with jeans, and one guy in flip flops. The dress code could have been enforced by telling them that their attire was suitable for dining in the Ocean View Cafe on formal night. On the Summit I finished the books I took along for the cruise/tour and went to the library to see what there was to read. There was about a dozen or more books by Stuart Woods. I figured if someone stocked that many books by one author, I could give him a try. He is one of my favorite authors now. On the Solstice, the library needs attention. It is a confusing mess starting on the 10th deck with some of the bookshelves going to the 11th deck and no way to get up to them. Fortunes Casino had all the games of chance that are normally found on large cruise ships. Why they increase their minimum bet from $5.00 to $10.00 in the evening is beyond me. I know why Las Vegas and Atlantic City do it, but not why a cruise ship does it. I like to start each session at the tables with a $5.00 bet. Before the session is over, my bets are usually $25.00. I normally like to play on formal nights and usually have a Vodka Martini, Shaken, not Stirred while I am playing. It's a Bond thing I guess. I won about $400 for this cruise. Anytime I Come out ahead I am happy, and I am always happy. All in all, they were good cruises. NOT GREAT but good. I took pictures of the Menus in Blu and Grand Epernay if anyone would like to see them. If there is anything that anyone would like more information about, let me know. W John Johnston Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Embarkation & dis-embarkation was a breeze,very well organized with very little fuss or formality. 'Champagne' welcome was a good start, however luggage was delivered late about 5pm but we were allowed into our cabins at ... Read More
Embarkation & dis-embarkation was a breeze,very well organized with very little fuss or formality. 'Champagne' welcome was a good start, however luggage was delivered late about 5pm but we were allowed into our cabins at about 1pm. The cabins were smaller than expected but the bathroom and veranda were larger which was a big plus. The wardrobe space was very limited. Wouldn't advise taking a lot of clothes which need hanging. We had the steward remove the bath robes (they are really not needed in the Caribbean and take up a lot of room) and had the 'fridge' emptied to make room for our own 'goodies'. Whoever designed the cabins should have used less space for the entrance foyer, and put the extra into the cabin. The "rounded Bed" was good because it allowed for more room to navigate around. The veranda door was the best, easily opened and closed. The food was very good on the whole, not quite the quality of meat and fish we expected. We only tried the one speciality restaurant Murano, which was a great experience with absolute impeccable service. The entertainment was good with the exception of the artist who did a children's mime show for an adult audience, which really didn't go down too well. I think he was put in at the last minute, however they could have put in the ACapella group or the singers they had available who were first class, as were the two production shows. The ports of call are what you make of them yourselves, each person has their own preferences. Our favourite was Roatan, the Iguana Farm & Mangrove Tunnel tour which we arranged ourselves on landing..Celebrity did not have this one advertised, as it is a bit primitive. All in all it was a great cruise with super amenities on this beautiful ship and many great activities, and the best of all virtually no unnecessary announcements at all times of the day. Would recommend it to anyone. The cruise director John was excellent as were his staff. In fact all the staff were very good, helpful and well trained. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
This was our first cruise on the Solstice although we have done other Celebrity cruises and are now in "Elite" status which turned out to be very nice. We stayed overnight as usual at the Embassy Suites where we always enjoy the ... Read More
This was our first cruise on the Solstice although we have done other Celebrity cruises and are now in "Elite" status which turned out to be very nice. We stayed overnight as usual at the Embassy Suites where we always enjoy the pool, managers' nightly snacks and drinks and the ease of taking their $7 shuttle to the pier. although we both use canes for distance we made the mistake of not requesting a wheelchair for my spouse. Check in went very smoothly but here was a 3 ramp climb up to the ship. If you are at all impaired get a wheelchair went to check in!!! Also get one for disembarkation. It took us 1/2 to get off the bait ;porters were not allowed to jump the line!Sine the boat i large it is a good idea ,if impaired, to print our deck plans before you go; the little map you get at check in is not adequate. There are only 2 sets of elevators but once you use them it is easier to get to aft or forward with less walking. Our room ws ready at 1pm when we arrived. We like the back of the boat( yes it is a hike) and had concierge service. The chilled champagne and fruit were waiting for us. Lunch in the Mast cafe was very good with many stations and choices. Coffee as usual on cruises was awful. "Elite " status came with many nice perks. Free Internet minutes, continental breakfast in Michael's Club every morning and free drinks in the Sky Lounge every evening, a very nice Captain;s lunch and entertainment, free laundry service and discounts at the spa. This is not really a boat for kids although they did have the 15th front Deck for them. The family pool is small as is the adult pool next to it. Both were usually mobbed. The Aqua Spa pool lacks the usual bars with bubbles and the overhead showers. It was also cold . The Persian Garden was crowded and not a pretty as on Summit. The dining room is lovely , all silver and white and anytime dining was fine. We did eat most eves. in the buffet and also tried the Bistro which is Oriental decor and serves crepes which was a nice change. The sofa in the cabin is leather and not very comfortable. The beds have frette linens and lots of comfy pillows.The shower in the bathroom has curved doors which made it easy to use.The wash basin is too small to rinse things out so plan to send out laundry or pack a lot. Our stewards were very hard working and managed our requests efficiently. The production shows were good especially the "cirque du Soleil "type. The entertainment has improved over the years. There is a very funny entertainer named Adam who is part of the production shows as well as the gymnasts who are truly amazing. The jazz band ,Itones pianist and guitar player were also very good. The ship is very sophisticated with a 15 floor atrium showcasing the grand stairway.library and a beautiful mangrove tree growing out of a red floral container. There are easy toreade diagrams at each floor to indicate the attractions on that floor. This boat also has the most shopping on a cruise ship but don't try to find a magazine! The library is beautiful but had a very poor selection of books-disappointing. The celebrity life program offered 4-5 programs each sea day on a variety of topics. It is a beautiful boat and a definite change. For those of us wobbly seniors a Millenium class boat is probably a better cjoic but as always Celebrity is good value and a great cruising experience Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Celebrity Solstice Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 5.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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