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

We were part of a group of 3 couples (family & friends) that decided to take this cruise together. We all were on Deck 10 and all had rooms with a veranda. Boarding & Departure - The boarding process was very smooth. I think ... Read More
We were part of a group of 3 couples (family & friends) that decided to take this cruise together. We all were on Deck 10 and all had rooms with a veranda. Boarding & Departure - The boarding process was very smooth. I think we arrived at the port around 11:00 am and after dropping off our luggage, proceeded into the terminal area for processing. The line moved along quickly, and we received our cruise card and had our picture taken. Waited in the holding area for about 15 min., then proceeded up the gangway into the ship. Once aboard, we proceeded to the Oceanview Cafe on Deck 14 to grab a bite to eat. Nice selection of food to choose from and then we headed out on deck for the departure. Stateroom - I think the rooms were available around 5:00 pm, so we headed to the room to unpack. The room was setup very nicely, with ample storage and lighting. The veranda contained a table and 2 chairs each with a footrest. During the entire week, I only had 2 complaints with the room and both were in the bathroom. The water spout in the sink extends out half the diameter of the sink which makes it difficult to splash water on your face using both hands. The other item is that the cold water is not cold. Basically room temperature, so it's not too enjoyable when brushing your teeth. The bed setup was great, and very comfortable. Dining - We opted for the scheduled dining in the Grand Epernay dining room. Our group chose the 8:30pm dining time, and it seemed to work out just fine. On the port days, the ship usually departed at 5pm or 6pm, so we didn't want to have to get back on the ship early in order to make the early dinner. The meals were fabulous. There were enough menu items to select from, so it was enjoyable for everyone in our group. Can't say enough good things about our waiter Eladio and his assistant Corina. They were so much fun to interact with that we always looked forward to seeing them each evening. We had 2 formal nights (Monday and Friday), so it was fun dressing up for those evenings. Entertainment - Since we opted for the late dinner, if we wanted to see a show, we had to catch the 7:00pm showing. I think we only saw a couple of shows, and they were very good. We opted more for getting together as a group before dinner at one of the many bars for drinks and conversation. Our favorite bar was the Martini Bar on Deck 4. Gede was our main server that we enjoyed. I think there were 3 Gede's at the bar, so I'm referring to the tall one with the big smile. One evening, we did catch the comedy show at 11:00pm and were really glad we did. We did not stop laughing for the entire show. Ship tour - The 3 guys in our group signed up for the "Inside Tour" of the ship. There is a $150 charge for the tour and it lasts around 3 hours and includes lunch with wine. They generally limit this to around 15 people, so if you are thinking about it, you need to sign-up early. It was well worth the money. They allow you to take pictures, but no video. We toured the Bridge, Engine Control room, Theatre backstage and dressing room, Heli-pad (the most forward point of the ship), Crew lounge area, Crew library, Kitchen prep area, Food storage areas, etc. It was a great tour. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Overall: I want to start by saying that we had a great trip. Celebrity has great service and the Solstice is a beautiful ship. There were a few problems, but I try to not let the problems ruin the vacation. It may sound like many ... Read More
Overall: I want to start by saying that we had a great trip. Celebrity has great service and the Solstice is a beautiful ship. There were a few problems, but I try to not let the problems ruin the vacation. It may sound like many problems when you read my review, but those were the only problems we experienced. A little background on me: this is my 8th cruise, 3rd with Celebrity. Other cruise line I've been on include NCL, RCL, and Princess. Décor: The Solstice is a fairly new ship, kept in good condition. I really like the décor, overall the colors are classic and elegant. NCL ships seem too bright and loud in comparison. The ship is well laid out, with 8 elevators in the center and 4 near the forward. Since there are only two locations for elevators, it can be a lot of walking depending on your room location. My family like to get some exercise after all the eating so did not mind the walking. There are many lounges to sit and relax and I never really felt very crowded no matter where I was. Room: My parents and I were booked in the Sky Suite at the Aft of the ship. The room is very large with a window and a large balcony. Since it is a corner balcony, we got both a view of the back and the side of the ship which was very nice. There were some soot visible on the deck of the balcony, but I think they wipe the chairs everyday because I never found the chairs to be dirty. My sister and her family stayed in the adjacent room which is a sunset verandah. First day on the ship, one of the staff told my sister that they are not in a suite and will not get the same amenity as us. We realize that and were ok with it, but we thought it was rather tactless for the staff to say that out loud. Since I am in the suite, we have a butler, which I found to be quite useless. The only things our butler did for us was to bring afternoon snacks and in-room breakfast if we ordered. We ordered in-room breakfast twice and both times certain things were forgotten. The first time, it was just a cup and some utensils. The second time, many items were left off, the butler told us it was because we ordered through the in-Room computer system via the TV. Anyways, we got annoyed and just went to the buffet for the rest of the week. I am not sure what else the butler is suppose to do, but for us he didn't seem to be useful or worth the extra tip. Our room attendants were very good and very friendly. Compared with NCL, I think NCL does better with the suite services and the concierge service. However, I do like Celebrity's room better. Food: We ate most of the breakfast and lunch in the Ocean View Buffet and most dinners in the Main Dining Room (Grand Epernay). Here are my comments: Breakfast Buffet: Due to a noro-virus breakout, we could not serve ourselves and had to be served by the staff. This turned out to be a disaster. Once someone else is serving, it just doesn't feel like a buffet anymore. The wait staff appeared to be tired and overworked so they were not very happy or attentive when serving. Often someone would say, "I just want a little of ..." and they would put a lot on the plate or vice versa. Long lines built up at the drink stations because there are only 2 to 3 staff per station. Breakfast food was good, but it was the same everyday, so it got boring by the end of the week. My mom really like omelets, but she thought the omelets made on the Solstice were not as good as other ships. The breads were really good, best I've had on ships. There were French toast, pancake, and waffles everyday which we enjoyed, with these really good cooked bananas. Lunch Buffet: Again, being served was a nuisance. I really enjoyed the Indian food on board, it tasted authentic to me. Lunch also lacked variety, there were nachos/tacos and the same grilled meats everyday. The salads were really good, but waiting on line to get someone to make it for you was annoying. The hamburger on board was excellent, best I've ever had on a cruise. We also had lunch one day at Bistro on the Five which was great. All the crepes we had were good and the service was excellent. Definitely worth visiting. Dinner: As mentioned before, we ate most of our meals in the MDR. We thought the food in the MDR was excellent. Again, one of the best we've had on cruises. Most food came in good temperature and was delicious. We had fixed time dining so we had the same waiters every night, which worked out really well. They got to know us and always prepared things the way we like. The waiters were really friendly and our sommelier was the most attentive I've ever experienced. He brought our unfinished bottle of wine from the night before without us asking. One night, I brought our complimentary bottle of sparkling wine down to the dining room and he immediately opened and poured it. He was really attentive and always kept our glass filled. We did have dinner one night at the Murano. I know many rave about the Murano, but for us it was rather disappointing. I had the lobster bisque to start which was delicious. Then I had an arugula salad with quail. The greens were not dressed so it was a little bland. The worse part was that I found a small hair in my salad! I told the waiter about it, he apologized in a joking manner saying how the chef was upset that he is losing his hair and offered no further consolation. (We were hoping for complimentary wine or something.) No one from the kitchen came out to apologize and neither did the Matre D come by to say anything. Being that the Murano is advertised as a top notch French restaurant, I was disappointed that they treated this matter in such an unprofessional manner. For entrée, I had the Petit Filet which I thought was a little tough, did not taste like filet mignon. My companions had the lobster which was prepared at tableside and the waiter forgot to add the butter in their lobster, but it still tasted very good. For dessert, we all had the soufflé, which were good, but could have been better. I thought it was a little undercooked. Overall, the experience at the Murano was pleasant, but I find the food to be similar to the MDR and the service to be even worse, so I felt that it's not worth the cover charge. Entertainment: I went to several shows, some were better than others. There's one that was similar to Cirque de Soleil which was pretty good. They had a jazz musician one night which I enjoyed. In addition to the main theatre, there were many musicians in the different lounges. I found most of the groups to be good and entertaining. I think I enjoy the smaller venues more than the large theatre performances. I also saw the glass show on board a couple times. They were really interesting. Something you just don't get to see often so it's definitely worth it to go to at least one show. Itinerary: This was my first time with this itinerary and I found it to be great. Grand Cayman had beautiful beaches, great snorkeling at Cozumel, and we got to see some Mayan Ruins at Costa Maya. My only complaint was that there really wasn't much you can do right at the pier besides shopping, no attractions are within walking distance, not even the beach. However, I know that is often the case, so it's not a big deal. One more comment: My sister had two young kids, and she did send the older one to the Day Camp on the ship. The staff for the kids program was great. My niece had a wonderful time there. The Solstice also has one of the best toddler play room we've ever seen. It was quite surprising to us since we didn't think Celebrity catered to kids, but after our experience, I would recommend Celebrity to families. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
My husband and I are both in our 30's (30 and 33)This was my first cruise experience ever so I don't have anything to compare it to. Although some things definitely did not go according to plan I was not as upset as those who ... Read More
My husband and I are both in our 30's (30 and 33)This was my first cruise experience ever so I don't have anything to compare it to. Although some things definitely did not go according to plan I was not as upset as those who knew better. But let me start from the begining: A few days before we were to set sail, I received an email from Celebrity Cruise line that the ship had an outbreak of the norovirus and that they were taking extra precautions to clean and disinfect the ship so boarding on sail date would be later than usual. That's fine, I didn't mind. They gave the option of rescheduling but I didn't want to cancel my vacation plans as this was my one and only big vacation for the year. So we fly in to Ft. Lauderdale the night before and stay at the Hyatt Place South near the airport. It had a free shuttle that picked us up and dropped us to the hotel. The hotel was a perfectly fine 3 star hotel- no complaints. Perfect for short stay the night before the cruise. In short walking distance were a couple of fast food places, KMart, BJ's Wholesale, etc. The morning of our sail date, the hotel offered a shuttle to the port for $8/person. I thought that was an okay deal. We arrived to a big snaking line coming out of the cruiseport building where our check-in was to take place. Again, not knowing any better I wasn't terribly upset about the wait- but after 1 hr and 45 minutes of slowly inching our way through the line I felt flush and my knees were hurting from the carry on bags I was holding. We finally made it through security then check in- Then we had to wait for access to the gangway. After making it through the gangway we had to wait until 6pm to get to our rooms. So our timeline was something like this: Check out of hotel at 12pm, shuttle picked us up at 1pm, the late check in was to begin at 2pm- so yes maybe a little our fault for being there too early but we really didn't have a choice, 1.45hrs in line, 20 minutes wait for gangway, then wait til 6pm to collapse on bed!. . .But before that! I was famished so we headed to the Oceanview Cafe for lunch. It was a MADHOUSE! People everywhere, no places to sit, I even saw one guy eating his food ON the buffet! We finally asked for help and a waiter found us two spots at a table full of people. So because of the previous norovirus buffets and drink stations at all times were on total lockdown and serving was done by the staff. I didn't mind that actually. It was a little like I read in another review- a lot of "Can I have some of that?. . .A little more please." etc., There was also no access to condiments, not even salt and pepper so I would ask for salt, this one server gave me one teeny tiny packet of salt. I asked for more, she gave me one more. I finally asked for several. You could also not touch the utensils- they were rolled in napkins and behind the buffet. This one server got mad at a guy for reaching and taking his own. I could see as the cruise went on that it was getting kind of taxing for the dining service crew. They would get short or frustrated with people wanting more of stuff or stuff that was not there. On the 2nd to last day, there was a line for waffles. They have two waffle irons that make 4 at a time and some people were asking for 4 total- so it was taking time. The lady serving that station was visibly upset when someone asked for more than 1 waffle. I think because it looked like her station was backing up and maybe she wasn't being efficient enough? So although I actually thought it added to the service to actually be served, I definitely witnessed 'attitudes' from the wait staff. But on some level I can understand I guess, the stress they were probably under was hard to always cover up. So you know- whatever. So other than the first day- there was always a little bit of a hectic feeling in the buffet area- a little disorganized, uncomfortable waiting in line for even just water, dirty dishes and empty tables not cleaned and ready for more people (several times we bussed our own tables to make room). It was all okay to me. I just didn't let it get to me- in the grand scheme of things it didn't seem like a big deal. . .As far as the food, I've always heard Celebrity has the best food- but my husband and I just found it to be- you know- good. Like any buffet in a nice hotel. Even the seated dining- just okay. We preferred not to dine in the specialty restaurants since we didn't care to spend any more money on food. We kept hearing they were fantastic though. Our stateroom was near the front of the ship on the left side- so each time we pulled in to port we had a prime view from our veranda. Absolutely unobstructed. My husband's first impression was he expected the room to be bigger but I thought it was perfect. The bathroom was actually nicer than I expected- with thoughtful cabinets and shelves for your toiletries. I liked the location of our room. I liked the fact I had to walk across the ship for food- a little bit extra "exercise". The overall feel was very relaxed. I would say it was probably 45% senior crowd, 40% 40's-50's, and 15% families or our age group and under. Not a lot of kids but I did see more than I expected- so I would imagine there would be more on the Xmas sailings. . .I wouldn't say there isn't a lot to do- maybe it was just hard to get our timings right. We missed a lot of the shows- they would mostly be at 7pm or 9pm. So after excursions all day at ports, coming back, taking showers, getting ready, having a cocktail, and having the 8:30 seating for dinner- we would miss both timings for the shows. We caught part of the comedian once and enjoyed his performance. All of our service staff- state room attendants, wait staff in dining room were really nice and friendly. I think I hit on mostly everything we did on the ship- I did not spend anytime in the pools- the one on deck was quite small and got kind of crowded. I did prefer to be in the climate controlled solarium area. More quiet spa feel. Overall we would definitely use Celebrity again. We really enjoyed our first experience. Mistakes or events happen and you have to adapt. I washed my hands frequently with warm water and soap and never got sick. (Used my elbows for elevator buttons and didn't use banisters anywhere). We might try Royal Caribbean as we've heard it has a younger feel. But we felt we made a good decision- the dress codes and the older crowd made it feel more "classy" if that makes sense. So I would definitely reccommend Celebrity and if you get on after (or even during) a virus outbreak- try to take everything with a grain of salt because it's all being done for your safety. I was careful and patient and had a great time! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Embarkation was a nightmare. You would think they had never done this before. We had received advance notice via e-mail saying that the boarding time was delayed until 2 pm as a result of a norovirus issue. However, we arrived at the ... Read More
Embarkation was a nightmare. You would think they had never done this before. We had received advance notice via e-mail saying that the boarding time was delayed until 2 pm as a result of a norovirus issue. However, we arrived at the Fort Lauderdale port at 2 pm and stood in a line, outside, in the sun for 3 hours. It's clear from prior cruise reviews that this was not a new issue. They had experience with cleaning the ship due to the virus before, and should have had a contingency plan to make those waiting more comfortable - even rent folding chairs. There were many passengers with health issues and obvious ambulation challenges (using walkers and canes), but no one seemed to notice. They passed out water, but were insensitive to the extreme discomfort of the passengers waiting to board. I found this unacceptable. We had a confirmed reservation for early dining, confirmed by our travel agent, but when we boarded, we were told we had late dining. The guest services staff were unable to resolve this issue, despite our visiting the guest services desk in person four times. They said each time they would contact the dining staff, but never got back to us with a resolution. On day 3 of the cruise, I tried again, and finally was connected to someone in the dining room who did change our dining seating. Probably due to the embarkation problems we were never oriented to the cabin, (working the TV, lights) etc by the cabin steward, as has been our experience with other cruise lines. Despite these issues, the cruise line did not offer any perks, or amenities to offset the problems. Despite an earlier positive experience with an Alaska Celebrity cruise, we would think twice about choosing them again. On the positive side, The room was nice, veranda was spacious and the ship was gorgeous and well laid out. Service was good, but not exceptional. The Ocean View Cafe offered a wide variety of choices and was well designed to avoid waiting in line. We recommend both the Tuscan Grill and the Silk Harvest Specialty restaurants. Both the service and the food were excellent in both. Probably due to the norovirus problem, the ship's library was empty... imagine that, a library with no books! The Hot Glass show was wonderful! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
When booking a cruise, especially Celebrity Solstice, be sure it is not coming off a reposition cruise. The experience we had resulted from the required coast guard review in Ft. Lauderdale on 12/11/2011, the day of sailing. Further we ... Read More
When booking a cruise, especially Celebrity Solstice, be sure it is not coming off a reposition cruise. The experience we had resulted from the required coast guard review in Ft. Lauderdale on 12/11/2011, the day of sailing. Further we encountered an issue - virus outbreak on the previous cruise which resulted in a delay for boarding since they had to disinfect the ship. That was most appropriate. However, Celebrity dropped the ball big time when managing the boarding process. Elderly people stood, yes stood for 2 to 3 hours in line waiting to board and some were outside the terminal. All the announcements were "thank you for your understanding". Well what about providing seating for these people and some additional consideration. Further once aboard we were not allowed into our rooms until 6PM. Those who made it up to the buffet had no where to go - so they sat. The result was that the new arrivals who were waiting on line before had no place to sit and eat.The staff should have requested that people who have completed eating to move to other open areas to wait for the rooms to be available. Since this was not done the buffet area was like a scene in a crowded subway car during rush hour in NY. We finally got into our rooms at a little after 6PM. The next day we went to the library - NO BOOKS and there were none for the entire trip. The room was missing the normal information books about the ship and stuff. No cards in the card room and when we requested cards for several tables of bridge players, we were told "due to the situation there would be no cards". Well one of the bridge players went to customer service and requested 4 decks of cards and brought them to the 4 tables of players. Better service from a passenger then the crew members. At this point you should be getting the impression that I was no satisfied with the way Celebrity was handling the situation. The food in the dining room for diner was satisfactory; not as good as I remember on previous cruises. The Social Director was a non entity as was the rest of his staff. For those who like to have lunch in the dining room please note that when in port, the dining room is closed. The Customer Service desk crew members were very helpful and understood what customer service means. The crew members in the buffet were serving the passengers since we were not allowed to touch anything during the entire cruise because of the virus situation; therefore lines were long waiting to be served and there was no indication where the lines began. Passengers were commenting to each other that they are in the wrong place - "get in line no line cutting". Not very pleasant experience. The servers themselves in further training since they also had a negative attitude. I will not book a cruise that has just come from a repositioning cruise again and will think twice before cruising Celebrity. I have had wonderful experiences on Princess and Royal Caribbean lines. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Background Wife and I (both early 30s) did a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise on Solstice out of Ft Lauderdale for our honeymoon. Before the cruise we stayed at the Renaissance Port Everglades. Great deal for the money (
Background Wife and I (both early 30s) did a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise on Solstice out of Ft Lauderdale for our honeymoon. Before the cruise we stayed at the Renaissance Port Everglades. Great deal for the money ( Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This was our third cruise and the second with our boys. Previously one Celebrity/Infinity to Alaska '06, one RCL/Freedom of the Seas to Eastern Caribbean '10. Being active teens (12, 15, 17), we'd wanted something that ... Read More
This was our third cruise and the second with our boys. Previously one Celebrity/Infinity to Alaska '06, one RCL/Freedom of the Seas to Eastern Caribbean '10. Being active teens (12, 15, 17), we'd wanted something that they could enjoy but knew that the OTHER kids on the ship had as much or more to do with the end results. While they ended up happy with the trip, the FOS with the climbing wall/wave rider was probably a better choice for them. I suspect that on average it draws a more active teen to pair up with. The teen center also seemed a bit lack-luster and the boys didn't hang there nearly as much as on the FOS's equivalent. However, the trip was very nice. The ship is very tasteful (though the "Art Deco" main dining room is not to my taste - not as GRAND as the other ships we've been on). The public areas also seemed a bit disjointed having just done the FOS only 5 months earlier. Only serious complaint about the ship design is that the pools seemed VERY small for the ship's size. Clearly a lot of room was given up for the sake of the lawn area which was WAY LESS utilized. That meant the pools were PACKED with people except on port days. And I do mean PACKED at times. The "Aqua Spa" pool was open only to adults and in a shaded atrium (which held some of the air conditioned cooler air - a nice break from the complete outdoors of the main pools). So for US, the adult pool was quiet and relaxed. For party people or kids, the other pools were too small and not nearly as "fun" as the FOS pools. But the ship was clean, well maintained and functioned nicely. The cabins were very nice (Concierge deck 10 with balconies). Bathrooms a bit nicer layout than FOS (can't recall the Infinity well enough to compare) and the shower seemed a little bigger. The room was COMPLETELY acceptable and would work for entertaining up to two other adults if you wanted something private. Very few "out of the way" nooks and crannies. Most public area seating was pretty much in main walk-ways and you had to go inside the bars to have a public area (no issue with it, just not as much quiet solitude stuff if you wanted some privacy with your group). Most of the active stuff is towards the BACK of the ship - other than the spa and gym - so I'd recommend a spot back there and not up front. The staff was cordial and attentive. Celebrity has an automatic gratuity deduction for each passenger (our case - $12/day /person) which definitely adds up your bill, but then you should be doing something about like that anyway. I'd been a little concerned that it would make the staff less attentive since their gratuity was a fixed / guaranteed amount - especially the wait staff in the main dinning and the stateroom attendant. However, I'm pleased to say, the staff was still just as nice. Actually, I'd thought the waiters in the past were a bit overly syrupy/nice - working too hard for that big tip. This time they were just "cordial and attentive" and really up to our expectations. No complaints there. Dinning in the main dinning room was fine, but the tables and chairs are really packed in there. At the larger tables (we were at a 10 seater), the chairs are right up against each other. Pretty nice if that's the WORST thing to say for the main dinning, eh? Food varied between good and VERY good, not a lot of "excellent" and as mentioned by others, the lobster wasn't all that great. Other standouts were the cold soups (watermelon, pumpkin) and the pollenta. Very nice sauces most of the time and the meat cuts were almost always very good. The dessert consistency was a little mixed, but most were pretty good. We dinned at Murano's one night. A disappointment compared to the specialty on Infinity. The goat cheese souffle was incredible, but the rest was "only" very good. Biggest complaint was there were so MANY wait staff, you had the impression that people were constantly running around the room. Or maybe the tables were closer together here? The other patrons were also quite a bit more, um, animated than I'd expect at a formal dinning venue, but that's not a reflection on Murano's. We did the pre-selected menu with the wine pairing. They were happy to sub out one or two of the food choices and tried to match the wine for the sub well, but it was an extra $108 for the wine pairing - a little stiff if you're not really into wines (better to just get a bottle or two of something you KNOW you like perhaps?). We like different wines, so the variety was nice and they served a full glass with each course, so you didn't really feel cheated on it. Oceanside Cafe for regular meals was completely acceptable and a notch above RCL/FOS to us. While it was usually pretty crowded, we always managed to find a table. Great variety and they were always very quick to refill anything that ran low - even near the end of the meal session. We also used the Lido Deck Grill for burgers when we returned to the ship having missed lunch - we thought they were fine (though the hot dogs were not very good). Martini Bar was really good and the "flight" at $15 for a sample of 6 different martini's was great. DEFINITELY worth doing even if you're not a martini fan. We're not "show fans" but the Curque De Soleil style show was VERY good (though the hulu hoop thing at the beginning almost had us walk out thinking "that's all there is?" - wait as it gets better). However, it does fill up very fast, so arrive early. And we saw a lot of people saving seats (a no-no that sadly wasn't enforced). Glass shows were very interesting. But the ones later in the cruise were FAR less crowded, so don't feel like you have to go on the first day - it was PACKED then. We did the soda package for the boys (worth it just to save the hassle of paying for the drinks) and the alcohol package for us (not worth it unless you can handle a LOT of drinking (and we thought WE could handle it, nope - just too much at 5 per day for SEVEN STRAIGHT DAYS)). Be warned that any rooms at the back of the ship have very little privacy on their balconies - the higher the deck, the worse it is. The top deck of suites (11?) has about half the balcony in FULL VIEW of the people in the cafe above. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
A neighbor recommended the Solstice after cruising in May 2010. I will list the pros and cons as I experienced them in hope that this will help others. Pros's; -Best dinner we have had on a cruise to date-very good menu, very good ... Read More
A neighbor recommended the Solstice after cruising in May 2010. I will list the pros and cons as I experienced them in hope that this will help others. Pros's; -Best dinner we have had on a cruise to date-very good menu, very good service -Welcome champagne was a nice touch -Modern decor which many will like -Many bars,a "living room, old fashioned" feel to some, others very light and airy (sky lounge) -Decent shows (the last one was not very good) and the "Broadway" one was just fair -comfortable bedding -Beautiful spacious bathroom Cons: -Constant noise all night. You could hear your neighbors talking , walking, flushing, opening the closet, and other noises. I asked others during the cruise if they experienced noise and they all said that their rooms were noisy. Every morning at about 6 Am there was a hammering heard. Either that or the upstairs neighbor was knocking on the door. This was enough to convince me never to cruise with this ship again. My kids heard the noises as well. The concierge gave us another room next to us for my son, but he was able to hear the upstairs neighbor as well from there. They did go upstairs to speak with the neighbor, but the noise continued nightly. I am surprised a ship such as this caliber would have such sound issues. -Atrium--I did not like this concept at all. There would be a band on the lower floor at the base of the stairs playing and for 3-4 floors above people would be leaning on the handrails looking down. This was in 2 areas. It made a lot of traffic in these areas. -Bar layouts- Rather than have separate rooms like other ships (Royal Caribbean for example), the bars were in walkways tucked in in many strange areas that were also near the railings by the atrium. It just seemed congested and lacked intimacy to have these bars so much a part of the general flow of traffic. The only room that was quiet and secluded was the sky lounge and they used this room for private parties and kids functions during the day...so just when you think you are relaxing there reading a book at the top of the ship, the kids are there with a talent contest. My guess is that they really have no other rooms...but why ruin the only place you can have solitude and look out at the ship on the water?? -Problem with lounge chairs- The average ages is older than most ships we have been on, and the only area that was shaded and inside (the inside pool area)had towels on the lounges all day with only 30% of people using them. That meant that others were saving lounges they would never use. They ought to enforce the "no saving" policy. That room was very humid anyway, so there really was no place inside that you can lounge and be in the shade in air conditioning. -Costa Maya and Honduras- Very disappointing ports. The first is new with no shopping to speak of, and a small beach with water that was very dirty-Honduras-you have to pay 60-80.00 just to get to the beach and then the jet skis were went there to rent were all broken down. Music- no island music, very contemporary or 70's -80's. You can tell they are going after a certain market. I like calypso or island music when I cruise. If you were not outside this would feel like a metropolitan hotel, not a cruise ship. Without going into any more details, this cruise was very disappointing. There was nothing for my teens to do. The drinks were about 8.00 each. They are going for a certain clientele of which I do not fit into. Royal Caribbean's Coco Bay Island was better than any of the ports we visited because it signifies why I want to cruise. To relax, have a great meal at the beach and enjoy the day. the relaxed atmosphere of RC did not compare to the "stiff" feeling of the Solstice..even the waiters are overdressed in suits and ties. No Hawaiian shirts there! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We just got off the Celebrity Solstice and had an amazing time! We have been on 3 cruises prior to sailing on the Solstice but also traveled with 2 new cruisers on this trip. Embarkation: We arrived at the port in Ft Lauderdale at ... Read More
We just got off the Celebrity Solstice and had an amazing time! We have been on 3 cruises prior to sailing on the Solstice but also traveled with 2 new cruisers on this trip. Embarkation: We arrived at the port in Ft Lauderdale at around 1 PM. As we live in Ft. Lauderdale, we used an off-site parking area, Air and Sea Parking, which provided great, quick shuttle service and a less expensive means for parking compared to the port ($56 vs $105). Embarkation was swift and organized; there were numerous workers who were helpful in guiding us to the correct spots and we were able to easily get bag tags (as we had changed our room at the last minute and needed new ones). We were on the ship exploring within 15 minutes of arriving at the port. Our rooms were ready immediately and our luggage arrived nearly 1 hour later. Overall Ship Appearance: Our first impression of the ship was that it was beautiful and elegant. We have found that the decor on many ships is a bit gaudy; however, the Solstice is beautiful in its simplicity, which we greatly appreciated. Aqua Class Staterooms: We made a last minute change to Aqua Class to ensure that we could eat at Blu with our cruise partners who had booked Aqua Class room for extra spa amenities. The room space and balcony size were similar to the cruises we have experienced before; however, we were extremely impressed with the size of the bathroom. It was larger than any cruise bathroom we have ever seen and never felt the usual dread and claustrophobia of being the bathroom! The shower was also very nice. One of our favorite parts of Aqua Class was the powerful shower head and full body jets. I may need to make an addition at home! We also received a bottle of champagne, a bowl of fruit every morning, an option for different pillows (they don't make it easy to find it but its in the book with the room service menu) We did not use this option nor did we order the afternoon canapes offered to Aqua Class. Dining: Blu: The most appealing part about Aqua Class is dining at Blu (aside from the shower head). We were expecting to eat most nights in the Grand Epernay as it looked so beautiful in the pictures; however, Blu offered the freedom to eat whenever you'd like, with freshly prepared dishes and without the large crowds. We did not need to make reservations and we walked in right after the early show, which we enjoyed as we didn't have to wait a half hour for the 830 PM dining. A few of the nights we had to wait for a table as many others also came directly from the show but never more than a couple of minutes. We felt that Blu was more beautiful in person than it is depicted in many pictures. We also very much enjoyed the Matre'd, who was always very warm and friendly. Our criticism of Blu would be that the service was not very prompt. The staff was very friendly but we all felt that more servers and sommeliers were needed. We often ordered our meals before we ever were able to order our wine because the sommelier was so backed up at other tables. The food was wonderful and you could clearly taste the difference in its fresh preparation as opposed to food that has been sitting under a heat lamp. We enjoyed most of our meals, with a few exceptions. The lobster (served on the second formal night) was a bit overcooked and the breakfast left something to be desired. The fruit was not very fresh and the food was generally average. Overall, however, we were very pleased with Blu and heard many "this is the best I've ever had" comments. The best idea is to follow their recommendations because they were spot-on for every meal. Also, If they serve short ribs, you do not want to miss it!! Grand Epernay/Celebrity Select Dining: We ate at Grand Epernay one night. The dining room is beautiful and modern; however, the service and food were both lacking. We came about a half hour later than our dining time (as we were told we could) and the food had clearly sat for quite some time. The lobster bisque was fishy and neither were eaten. The service was also rushed and we felt that we were being shoved out the door. We learned from our waiter at Blu that Select Dining is not a great choice as the servers are always rushing. I suggest that you do not select the celebrity select dining option and also that you arrive on time. This was our mistake I believe. Tuscan Grill We ate at the Tuscan Grill on the fourth night and had a wonderful meal. The thing to eat is meat. Everyone enjoyed their meat dishes; however, the Alfredo was not a great choice. We were happy with our decision to upgrade as it was a very different taste than Blu. Buffet We didn't eat here except for lunch on the last day. The best part about the buffet is that it opens up to an outside lunch area on the aft side of the ship which made for a beautiful view. We often grabbed drinks at the upstairs bar of the Oceanview Cafe to enjoy the outdoor area. Bars Our favorite bar was the Martini Bar, even though we don't particularly enjoy martinis. We loved to watch the bartenders perform, juggling martini shakers and pouring martini towers. You should check this out! The Sky Lounge is also beautiful and relaxing. Pool Area The pool area was very nice and elegant. The Solarium was peaceful, beautiful, and spacious; it was very popular and we spent most of our time by the outdoor pool. Our biggest criticism was that the poolside service was lacking, there were hardly any poolside waiters. Entertainment This is one area that Solstice needs to work on. We found that there were not many activities and the ones we were interested in attending were often in the early afternoon when we were off of the boat. The shows were good but not outstanding overall. Our favorite show was the Cirque-like show which was very impressive, don't miss this show! We found the illusionist to be the most disappointing. The on-board music was also very nice, we found regular, live music in nearly every area we spent time in. Premium Drinking Package The best part of this package was that it eliminated the worry of building up an exorbitant bill. We were able to order any drink under 12 dollars, including coffee, water, soda, and any other liquid you can imagine. We likely came out about even but it was nice to avoid the worry. Our only critique was that we could not order bottles of wine despite their large selections. We would definitely do this again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
A week away, in the sun, and away from my family obligations...of course I had a good time! Enjoyed one week cruise on Celebrity Solstice. Very clean ship with good signage, excellent service and good food. Bread, cookies, and fresh ... Read More
A week away, in the sun, and away from my family obligations...of course I had a good time! Enjoyed one week cruise on Celebrity Solstice. Very clean ship with good signage, excellent service and good food. Bread, cookies, and fresh fruit were excellent in the Ocean View Cafe. Dinners in the dining room were hit and miss, but waiter and assistant waiter (the wonderful Stasha) were eager to please. Entertainment and the cruise director (Paul) were lacking. Attended the Newlywed Game, Hot Glass Show, the Cirque style show, and a few other musical type shows, the 70's Dance Party and Karaoke. Not enough seating in the showroom and shows were only 45 mins. long. Hardly worth the effort to get there! Only one galley tour. Overslept that first morning and it was never offered again. Of course, when I mentioned a second tour to Cruise Director, Paul, he couldn't be bothered. Cabin was niece st of any ship that I have been on. Prior cruises include two Carnival Ships, one Royal Caribbean and one Norwegian (worst food ever was on Norwegian Sun). Comfortable beds, well designed bathroom with lots of storage and plenty of storage in room. We had a problem with our room safe and security immediately came and opened it for us. Elevators were pretty fast and I didn't take the steps as much as I planned since the elevators were efficient. Employees were always saying Hi or Good Morning when I passed. Dress code was pretty much anything goes. I was dressed extremely casually, my friend was not. We were both made to feel welcome regardless of our attire. Extremely fast embarkation. We were to assemble in the dining room at 9:30 a.m. to disembark. We stayed in our cabin until 9:20 a.m. Arrived in the dining room and shortly thereafter left the ship. Customs was a breeze--easier than any other time I have left the country. Never had to use my i.d. to get on and off the ship. Just used my SeaPass card. When you first arrive they take a photo of you and that photo is stored in the ship's computer. When you insert your SeaPass, your photo shows up and the security employee will refer you to by your first name and wish you a good day. Found security officers to be very pleasant as well. It rained at least a little bit every day of the cruise and I got used to getting soaking wet! Took the $2.50 public mini bus to the beach in Grand Cayman. Went to Nachi CoCom in Cozumel and enjoyed the pretty beach and good service at this all inclusive resort. Loved the Ruins and Lagoon Tour with The Native Choice in Costa Maya. Costa Maya is still recovering from the hurricane and the destruction of all of these trees on the way to and from the ship is evident. Wish I had allocated more time in Mahahual and gotten there a bit earlier in the day. Looked like a fun beach with shopping and activities--oh well...next time. In Roatan, walked around Coxen Hole and even checked out the local grocery store. The worst selection of produce I have ever seen. People in the street approached me wanting to take me on a taxi tour. They weren't aggressive, just persistent and you need to be good at saying no. I am. Enjoyed the wonderful snorkeling at Tabyana Beach and the kayaks. Not many children and college students on this cruise which I liked. Most people were older and educated. Unlike Carnival, there wasn't a beer bong in sight!! Would try Celebrity again, but not Solstice. Ship's pools were too small, lawn area was a waste of space and not enough activities even for this old lady of 45. If you want an affordable, quiet and relaxing vacation on the water with good food and good service then this Cruise is for you. Bring lots of books and your I-Pod as you will need to amuse yourself. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
For our third cruise, we chose Celebrity because we heard the food was much better than Princess and some other lines. I don't consider us picky but perhaps we are. My husband and I are both 52 yrs old and we travelled with our 20 ... Read More
For our third cruise, we chose Celebrity because we heard the food was much better than Princess and some other lines. I don't consider us picky but perhaps we are. My husband and I are both 52 yrs old and we travelled with our 20 year old son departing Ft. Lauderdale on July 4, 2010. We booked the Family View Veranda Suite #8107. I can assure you, that the ship is beautiful and well kept. The embarkation and disembarkation procedures were excellent. We got to the pier at 10:30 and were processed quickly to a waiting area where I believe we waited for perhaps 30-40 minutes. Service on board was nothing but exceptional from our room stewards, food servers, shop personnel, etc. Firstly, the family suite was more than adequate. The master bedroom was huge. The bathroom layout and storage redesign was extremely well done. I carry a lot of assorted sundries, medications, creams, lotions, etc. and there was room to spare. That was a pleasant surprise. AND you could actually turn around in the shower. A superbly designed bath area compared to other ships. My son's room had bunks and an individually controlled thermostat - important to him because my husband and I love air conditioning and he is always cold! The only negative I can say about the room is that the furnishings in the living room area were uncomfortable and sparse. Perhaps that was done on purpose but more comfortable chairs and sofa would have been nice. The Solstice theater is beautiful. We heard raves about the Cirque de Soleil type show but we weren't particularly impressed. I think we just aren't Cirque fans. We did love the Broadway Ghost light show where the dancers and singers did a wonderful job with songs from West Side Story, Miss Saigon, My Fair Lady, Rent and Hairspray. It was a lot of fun. I love Broadway and thought the performers did a great job. We also saw part of the Magician/Illusionist's act...also so/so. I did a 100 minute seaweed wrap and massage at the spa with a massage therapist named Rachelle from the Philippines. It was the BEST treatment I ever had and Rachelle was superb! Ask for her!! Now for the food.....really and truly disappointing. The Ocean view buffet was so sub par compared to the Crown Princess. Rarely, did the menu change and it seemed like the buffet closed earlier and earlier every night. They had the essentials but what I would call "cheap food"....pizzas, bread, lunch meat, salads, etc. For lunch, I loved the Indian curries but how many people want spicy? Some days they had sushi but it was poor man's California rolls, generic wrapped in seaweed...with no roe on it. Pre Made sushi for sure. Plenty of hot pasta....again very cheap to make. We never saw shrimp, scallops or crab claws on the buffet like we did on some other lines...and I thought Celebrity was known for its food! Now on to the Grand Epernay. I can say that I enjoyed this restaurant. One side of the menu remains constant and the other changes every night. Some of the really good entrees I had were veal osso bucco, lamb shank, a sliced filet with morelle mushroom sauce and believe it or not excellent spaghetti and meatballs that put my Italian grandmother's to shame AND they made the pasta al dente like I asked for. The only thing I fault the Grand Epernay for was the uninspired desserts. I am a chocolate lover....I don't think I saw chocolate mousse on the menu once. The desserts were truly sub par and all the little pastries tired and tasteless. The Select Dining option was great...we were seated VERY quickly every night and the servers most attentive. Had to try Murano after reading the blogs on this site. What a waste! They foamed everything..it was disgusting. Like I'm talking blowing foam on top of everything I had that night...very nouvelle pretentious type cuisine...which would be ok if it was taste tempting. We started with an amuse bouche that was one escargot in a bearnaise or hollandaise type sauce that was oh so bland. The two ingredients simply did not go together. Also why would you serve that as a teaser appetizer when escargots are on the menu? Our server raved about the lobster bisque. My husband I both thought it was terrible. Supposedly, the chef boils the stock for hours. The soup arrives with a very small spinach timbale in your soup cup that also has maybe two small pieces of lobster in it and then they bring a small teapot with the broth in and pour it over and foam it. Really horrible....I've had MUCH better lobster bisque at my local diner. I then had the shrimp and scallops risotto. Let me just say, I am the QUEEN of risotto makers. Well to my surprise the risotto was fairly decent BUT they put it in a little ramekin and blew foam on top of it! What is it with this foam??? The rest of the dish was just OK. My son did have excellent venison and my hubby said his lobster was better than the lobster he had the one formal night at the Grand Epernay. Skip Murano and stay with the Grand Eparnay. The biggest mistake Soltice's designers probably made were with the pool areas. WAY to small for the number of passengers. The outdoor adult pool was filthy with stuff floating on the bottom every day and kids kept swimming in it because the kiddie pool was too crowded. Sometimes the pool attendants chased kids out but most of the time they didn't. We much preferred the indoor pool simply because of the crowds. In my opinion, they should have abandoned the lawn club and put another pool up on the top deck...plus the grass is always "resting" and you can't use half the lawn area anyway. A truly big mistake when designing this boat in my opinion. The ports of call were ok. Best two spots were Cayman and Roatan. I'll write about my off shore excursions in another blog since I booked them all myself and not through the ship. I did unfortunately, have to use the ship's hospital the last day at sea. They thought I had norovirus. They hydrated me with IV and gave me some injections that knocked me out for 12 hours....which I needed because I was really sick. Kudos to the medical staff...I felt horrible bothering the nurse at 1 a.m. in the morning and then she had to page the doctor at 3:30 a.m. because my condition got worse. Both were very professional and it is good to know you are in good hands should something like that unfortunately arise. In conclusion, a truly beautiful ship but much could be improved at the buffet. Also, my husband and son were in tuxes for the formal night and I would say LESS than half the ship passengers were tuxes. This is a custom that is truly falling to the wayside. But again, great cabin and services aboard the ship...a truly elegant vessel. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
My wife and I have been on Carnival and Princess. My sister and nephew just Carnival. We naturally often found ourselves comparing the experience to Carnival. Embarkation- Smooth and easy less than 15 mins to get on the boat. First ... Read More
My wife and I have been on Carnival and Princess. My sister and nephew just Carnival. We naturally often found ourselves comparing the experience to Carnival. Embarkation- Smooth and easy less than 15 mins to get on the boat. First Impression- Handed champagne as I walked onboard. Man this ship is swanky. Nice art work. Even the bathrooms are uppity up. Never seen a Carnival boat like this. Cabin- These rooms were nice. Flat panels in the room. Free movies on the TV. Large shower. Cool sink. Modern decor throughout. Bed was pretty comfortable. Blows away any Carnival cabin Ive ever seen Buffet- Not impressed. Most items were bland and mediocre. Constant cutting. Carnival buffet was better in my opinion. Main Dining Room- Again swanky the tower of wine bottles was impressive. Great wait staff. At times the menu was too sophisticated for my taste ie Escargot, but always found something that appealed to me. Food quality was better than Carnival. Pools- Sweet Fresh water not salt. There are two pools in the middle of the ship. These pools as we later found out use the same filtration system. One was 3-4 feet the other was 5-6 feet. Posted signs stated kids were only allowed in the 3-4 ft pool, but they were everywhere. A little annoying that parents and Celebrity allow this, but not a big deal. The third pool was in an indoor section with AC no kids allowed. For the most part this area was quiet and kid free. The pool in this section was too cold for our taste though. One of the days at sea a kid had an accident around noon which resulted in the both outdoor pools being closed until past 6pm. This put a huge damper on the day. The whole reason we chose Celebrity was we figured their would be less children so it would be more relaxing. We felt as though Carnival would have handled the situation better. We liked the fact that the pools were fresh water, but the area was just too boring and over packed for us. We prefer the pool area on a Carnival boat. (may be partial due to the child's accident) Jacuzzis- Way too hot and humid to even think about it. They should fill one or two of them with water the same temperature as the pool when its this hot. On Board Events- There was bingo, trivia here or there, and nightly shows, but overall it just seemed like there wasnt much going on. Carnival deserves the name Fun Ship (I love winning those ship on a sticks). On Carnival we ofter go to 3-4 events on sea days on Celebrity it was 1 or 2 max. Cafe- The capuccino was great. The frozen/cold drinks not so much. It was really hot and humid every day so we preferred cooled drinks. I would give Carnival a slight edge here but not by much. The Grill- Dont know the place was never open when I went to get a burger/fries. We find ourselves wondering the ship late night, and were use to the grill being open late night. Carnival hands down. Room Service- We quickly learned that this was the only way to get food late night. You could order off the tv and it worked most the time this was pretty cool. Decent selection, but it does get old by the end. Celebrity hands down on this one. Purser/Guest Relations- We had 5 mischarges, and a noise complaint. Each of the mischarges were taken care of, but we had to follow up on several of them twice. When we complained about the noise beneath us the women at the desk said there is nothing below you. When I explained the theater is below us, but there is not a show at 4 pm she just had a dumb founded look on her face. She replied all rooms are full. We tried to explain that we dont want another room we just want to know why there is so much noise when there is not a show she again told us this is not possible. All pursar/guest relations are no fun. Disembarkation- horrible The terminal lost power so we waited 2 hrs on the ship. When they finally let us off people were cutting everywhere and there was no AC in the line for customs. Glad we finally got off Overall we liked how nice this ship and our stateroom. We were disappointed in the food quality of the buffet, lack of entertainment, and hours of operations of the bars and food spots. It was a good time, but I think next time I want to win a ship on a stick. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Let me start with a little background. My dad (71) and me (29) go on a holiday every single year. The last couple of years we have been on various cruises and I hope we can keep doing that for the next 30 years although my dad doubts if ... Read More
Let me start with a little background. My dad (71) and me (29) go on a holiday every single year. The last couple of years we have been on various cruises and I hope we can keep doing that for the next 30 years although my dad doubts if that will happen. ? We are experienced travellers. We live near Amsterdam in the Netherlands. We have also cruised with Royal Clipper (beautiful ship, luxurious suites but unfortunately inedible food on our voyage), Oceania (nice ships, smallish but well appointed suites, friendly service and fabulous food). I have also sailed on Carnival with my girlfriend (just good value for money). This was our first time on Celebrity. Although there is no real comparison between Oceania and Celebrity size wise, they do both seem to offer a high end cruise experience for somewhat more affordable prices that the 'real' premium liners. The price for our Celebrity Suite on Celebrity Solstice was roughly the same as for a Penthouse Suite on Oceania sailing during the same period. I did find that Oceania offers a more personal and much more luxurious experience, but our Celebrity Suite on the Solstice was more beautiful, spacious, had a great lay out with a separate bedroom and had better amenities. Since the Solstice is so much bigger than the ships of Oceania, Celebrity does offer far more options, entertainment, bars and restaurants. The food in the speciality restaurants on Celebrity was as good as the ones on Oceania and the quality of the food in the main dining room was even better on Celebrity. The dEcor, atmosphere and especially the food quality of the Ocean View Cafe on the Solstice was unfortunately not comparable to that of Oceania. We were greatly disappointed with this venue on board. For now I will stop the comparison and just tell you about our trip. Pre cruise documents I was a little surprised that our cruise documents just were emailed. No booklet, nothing personal, no luggage tags just a conformation email telling me to print everything and fill in all necessary information online. That wasn't personal nor did make us feel very special. We did like the options to book the speciality restaurants on-line. Travel Since we live in the Netherlands we flew in to Miami via London 2 days before the cruise. We were in the middle of yet again a BA strike, which forced us to spend 2 days in Fort Lauderdale instead of 1. I got a great deal on a hotel and we stayed at the Ritz Carlton Beach Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. This is a beautiful hotel and the fantastic rooms pleasantly surprised us. This hotel has the WOW factor. I can highly recommend staying here. Embarkation On embarkation day we took a cab to the pier and were amazed by the quick check-in. We were cleared and on the ship within 40 minutes. We came in through the forward entrance and not in the main lobby. Although it went really fast it doesn't give you a nice impression like walking in the main lobby. We went up to the Ocean View Cafe and that gave us quite a shock. It was overcrowded with dirty plates everywhere, it was slippery, people were forced to eat while standing and it was extremely hot. Although the food variety was fantastic the quality was that of a cheap NYC or Vegas all you can eat buffet where they keep the food warm for hours. I feared for the worst about our all-new Celebrity experience but quickly found out that there were also many positive things. Room When we were aloud to go to our cabins we went out to see our suite. We stayed in CS 1615 and it has an even larger balcony do to its location just behind the 'hump'. The cabin itself was very nice indeed. We were impressed by the quality and use of materials. The room attendants had forgotten to separate the beds and the entertainment system wasn't working properly but after our butler introduced himself he quickly made sure that everything was taken care off. The beds were reasonably comfortable, the bathroom nice although smaller than expected with two doors, one from the seating area and one from the bedroom there was also a nice size walk-in closet. The seating area had a couch; there was fresh fruit, a bottle of sparkling wine (no real champagne) and some cruise information. On the balcony we had a table with to chairs and one very comfortable padded chaise. There was more than enough room for two of those but unfortunately they provided only one. The afternoon canapEs aren't very tasty. Our butler was friendly but nothing special. He brought our breakfast every day and that was good. The room was kept clean and the fruit replaced every day. Muster Drill This was the most disorganised drill I have ever experienced. Our designated location was the Murano restaurant. It was overcrowded. People where directed to corners where there was just not enough room. People got irritated because they couldn't sit or stand. There was only one screen that showed a presentation. Do to the lay-out of the restaurant most people couldn't see the screen from their location. Some passengers were sitting on the floor playing with their Ipad or listing to music during the entire process. It doesn't seem to be an improvement over the 'old school' method. It goes faster, it's clear for everybody and is much more efficient. Public Areas We liked the modern and contemporary feel of the public areas. Some were very nice like the boutiques; Michael's club, the lawn club and the art galleries. Some lacked just a good atmosphere like the Martini Bar (to white), Observation Lounge (to clean looking and empty most of the time) and did I mention the Ocean View Cafe. ? The entrance to the ensemble lounge which you have to pass to get to the speciality restaurants is so dark that people were using flashlights to make sure they didn't fall or bumped in to somebody else. I understand that everything looks nicer when the lights are a little dimmed but this was just way to dark. The bartenders did a great job making delicious cocktails and the crew throughout the vessel were friendly. Main Restaurant We choose select dining and liked the quality of the food in the main restaurant although service was rushed. The fist night we were in and out of the restaurant in less than 40 minutes. That's just to fast for a 4 or 5-course meal. Speciality restaurants We really liked all the speciality restaurants. Murano, although the name is Italian, serves French cuisine in a beautiful atmosphere. They prepare dishes tableside and the quality is excellent. Service is also very good and personal without going over the top. Tuscan Grill serves a variety of nicely prepared dishes. Quality of the meat was excellent. Try the fish soup it very tasty. Service and atmosphere were also really good. Silk Harvest offers great sushi and other very tasty Asian inspired cuisine. The have nice sake and special beers. All in all a very good dining experience. Ocean view cafe like I said we didn't like this venue at all. Great variety of food stations but it lacked quality, it didn't look tempting and the restaurant itself just gives a cheap feel even with the great views. Pools The pools were to crowded on sea days. We enjoyed the Adults Only solarium and the food there is really good. Entertainment Music and the theatre shows all were pretty good. Don't miss the glass blowing show. The guys are really good at their jobs and do a great job entertaining everybody. Ports of Call Grand Cayman Just very busy with 4 other ships tendering people. Nice for shopping or a quick visit to the beach but nothing spectacular. Cozumel We drove around the island in a rented jeep. It's fun and nice for the sea views and white beaches. Costa Maya This didn't impress us at all. It felt like a big mall just designed for cruise passengers. It probably is. Roatan Beautiful island that is still very natural and pure. We took a taxi that drove us around the island. The views are fantastic and the people all were very friendly. I hope this doesn't get to be the new cruise ship hangout and that they can keep it as picturesque as it is now. Disembarkation Now for the really ugly part of this review. My father had wheelchair assistance to get off the ship. We were in the Ensemble lounge at the requested time. An announcement was made there was a power failure in the terminal building and that we could not disembark. We than waited for more than 1,5 hours until the announcement was made that the first group of people could get off the ship. People who needed assistance were also moved out. My father was with the second group and then it all went wrong. A superior called Valetta came along shouting to our assistant and told him, no ordered him to stop. He could not bring us down and he had to wait for her approval before preceding any further. She didn't give any explanation and disappeared. We stood there in the middle of the art gallery for over 20 minutes. Other people in wheelchairs came along and they could pass since the supervisor wasn't there anymore. I tried talking to several people and finally somebody higher in rank told us there was no need for us to wait. So the guy who assisted my dad was happy to bring us down. After a few meters Valetta came running towards us. She started shouting again and we were stopped just a few steps from our previous position. I tried to talk to her but she was now busy shouting to other people in the same line and other assistants helping people in wheelchairs. She got in to several heated arguments with various passengers including me. After a few minutes the higher-ranking crewmember passed by telling all of us we had to get off the ship now. They had to clean the ship and new passengers were already waiting. We proceeded to the exit. Once inside the terminal building the situation deteriorated. There was almost no lighting in the terminal building, the a/c wasn't working and there were hundreds of people waiting in lines. There were only 6 immigration officers handling the 2800 passengers getting off the ship. From these 6 officers 5 were directed to US Citizens and only one for Non US Citizens. The lines were roughly the same length and it was extremely hot. I saw a girl who fainted and a woman who had to throw up. The process took hours and hours causing most people to miss their flights. Celebrity representatives were present in the terminal but were not helpful or friendly. They did not provide us with water, even when requested by people who got sick. Passengers who tried to talk with them or ask them for water or a towel were just ignored or told they could not do anything for us. I tried it myself but without any luck. Instead of getting of the ship and in a cab at around 08:30 it was almost 14:00 before we finally left the building. I do understand that a power failure can happen and that immigration officials aren't working for Celebrity so that we had bad luck. I don't understand that there was no generator or back-up system. The fact that Celebrity employees ignoring basic needs like water for people who were forced to stand in lines for hours is just unacceptable. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
My wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise on Solstice. We are very experience cruisers, really enjoy just getting away, and are not demanding people, so we can have a good time on any ship. ... Read More
My wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise on Solstice. We are very experience cruisers, really enjoy just getting away, and are not demanding people, so we can have a good time on any ship. For us, our Solstice cruise was very average. This was our third Celebrity cruise; the first two were on their Millennium-class ships. Let me start with the positives first: The ship is ultra-modern and quite beautiful. Our verandah cabin was high on the 9th deck. The bathroom and shower were especially large. The shower has a rounded door and there was a great deal of room inside - more than I have ever seen on any ship. The entire staff, from every functional area was extremely polite and helpful. The ship was very clean, hand sanitizers were available all over the ship, and I never smelled any "funky" smells as is the case on some other ships. Overall the cruise experience was good, but there were some things we did not like so we will not cruise on Solstice again. The other Celebrity ships we have cruised on had about 1,800 passengers, while the Solstice carries about 2,800. I've been on other ships that are even larger, but on the Solstice, we often felt crowded. Chairs in the main dining room were too close so the wait staff had to do a dance to squeeze by chairs. Many of the public areas were always overcrowded in the evening. There were long lines queued up to get off the ship at the ports. It was difficult finding a seat in the breakfast and lunch buffet areas. The main outdoor pool area was always overcrowded. Dining: Generally good. The Oceanview Cafe (buffet) had a nice assortment of American, Indian, Mexican, and Chinese stations. While the choices did not differ much day-to-day, the quality was good, and you could order custom dishes from the chefs at each station. The food in the main dining room was also good - typical cruise ship fare. There were several specialty restaurants. The Murano was billed as their top restaurant featuring French food. We went once, and the food was excellent, however it was very heavy and not at all what you think of for French food, yet it was definitely worth the surcharge. Silk Harvest was their Asian specialty restaurant. It was also excellent, kind of a PF Chang experience. We were booked into the Tuscan Italian specialty restaurant, but some cruisers said their experience at Tuscan was poor, so we changed our reservation and went to Silk Harvest a second time. While some areas of the ship were overcrowded, some areas of the ship were like ghost towns. Both times we went to Silk Harvest, we were one of only 3 or 4 tables. I never saw anyone in Cafe Bacio any time I walked through, and their wine cellar bar was lightly used, while just outside the common areas were jammed, and the Martini bar down the hall was standing room only. The much advertised grassy lawn on the top deck is nice to look at, but hardly used. An upper deck pool might have been a better use of that deck. I expect Celebrity will make some changes to this ship's configuration to distribute the crowds better into the areas that were not frequented. Entertainment: Very disappointing. The concert pianist was OK. The circus act was good. The singer/comedian was awful - very few laughs from the audience, many groans, and light applause. Celebrity really could improve in this department, but budget cuts probably limit the level of entertainer that they can attract. The roving a cappella group was the lone exception. They were great, but because they sang in the overcrowded public areas, most people had to stand to enjoy their shows. Cabins: Good. I mentioned above how nice the bathroom was. The mattresses seemed to be foam and very comfortable. The pillows were bad. My very smart wife brought her pillow from home... wish I had done that. Our room had the bed near the sliding verandah door. We liked that. The only place to sit in the cabin was on a small sofa, which was not very comfortable so we watched TV mostly while lying in bed. The vanity area was fine. There was a large flat screen HDTV. There were very few channels, and the CNN/ESPN feeds were international and not U.S., so I saw lots of rugby and cricket scores, but not many baseball or basketball scores. The verandah was average size, and the two chairs were very comfortable for just sitting and staring at the sea. Ports: No problems. Went shopping in Grand Cayman. Walked around Cozumel for an hour then went back to the ship to enjoy the ship's pool without the crowds. Went on a ruins tour in Costa Maya, but went with Native Tours instead of the ship - this company was highly recommended online and they did not disappoint - fascinating tour. Finally, we had excellent snorkeling at the last stop, Roatan. We took the ship's Tabyana Beach & Snorkel tour with lunch: nice beach with a small reef just a couple of hundred feet off the beach, so the snorkeling was easy and the reef fish were plentiful. For the included lunch at the beach, go for the BBQ chicken or a hot dog; the hamburgers were cooked well beyond their useful life. It was a good cruise, just not a great cruise. I think we will go back to Holland America for our fall cruise, and when Celebrity beckons again, we will book on a smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We recently cruised with Celebrity on the Solstice in the Western Caribbean. Wonderful trip. This was our third Celebrity cruise. Last year we were with another line and while it was good, it did not meet the quality and little touches ... Read More
We recently cruised with Celebrity on the Solstice in the Western Caribbean. Wonderful trip. This was our third Celebrity cruise. Last year we were with another line and while it was good, it did not meet the quality and little touches that Celebrity provides. Ship - Solstice is beautiful. Does not feel like a city at sea. Very clean. Smooth sailing but the weather was fine too. Sufficient elevators. Food - very good. We ate breakfast in the Oceanview Cafe and the food was fresh and service good. Lunch was in various locations on ship and good as well. Dinner was in the main dining room - second sitting. Very good. Others at our table seemed to feel the same. Wait service was excellent. Cabin - larger than I expected or was used to on other ships. Kept very clean. We did not seek room service. Close to elevators which was convenient. Shows - good. Better than on other cruises we have taken and thoroughly enjoyable. Check in - very quick. Overall - loved the ship; great time with dinner companions. We will be staying with Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
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
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
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
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
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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