This was an astounding cruise and an interesting mix of exotic ports and many days at sea. The embarkation process was smooth in Barcelona and we were quickly aboard. The cruise started well with a celebratory glass of champagne as we embarked. What we didn't know is that Celebrity allows passengers on board while entire corridors of staterooms are blocked off (this was a first in our many cruises). We were on board ship several hours before the announcement was made that the rooms were open. This left thousands of people roaming around with their carryon luggage trying to find a spot in the buffet or on the decks. Kind of messy and not the best first impression. The cruise took a turn for the worse when our luggage did not arrive by the time we sailed. We had already been aboard ship for 7 hours and had no idea where the luggage was hiding. Our cabin steward took me downstairs to the area where luggage is quarantined because there is a suspected forbidden item that requires security clearance. Our luggage was not there, wasn't on any list, no one knew anything, etc. Fortunately the bags arrived after we returned from supper. Our cabin steward said that he had received a call from his supervisor about the luggage, but the steward declined to give us details. Nothing was missing from the bags including the bottle of wine Celebrity allows per passenger and a corkscrew. Go figure. My anxiety level was running high because I wanted to complete the long job of putting everything away and getting a good nights sleep and that is a little hard to do when nothing has arrived yet. This glitch turned out to be our biggest issue on this cruise so all in all things went smoothly for us.
We really liked the service and attitudes of the crew. In 16 nights aboard ship we could probably count on two hands the number of times an individual crew member did not take time to greet us or talk to us, and that includes the officers. Our cabin steward Miguel was completely accommodating to our needs and we appreciated the fact that he delivered a pitcher of water and ice to our room twice a day, and clean glasses. We were probably easy passengers for him as we always kept our room picked up and we tried to minimize the work our steward needed to do but when we made rare extra requests they were always granted, including obtaining another mattress pad as the beds are hard on arthritic hips. We were lucky about this as on the day we asked for the extra pad someone else had decided he didn't want his. Normally there are not extra pads around.
The cabin on Celebrity Solstice was strange. We are used to a setup where the closet and shelves are located in the entryway. This closet was small and located next to one person's side of the bed. If my husband piled up a bunch of books or shoes next to his side of the bed I had to lean over sideways to try to get into the closet. Don't know what the designers were thinking when they came up with this. There is a lovely large storage space above the bed and the shelving situation in the bathroom is more than adequate so that made up for the closet inconvenience. The shower stall also has a closable door instead of the usual shower curtain and this was much appreciated. Our room was very far aft and so we had minimal traffic and noise outside the room. The balcony in this room (#7305) is also about 50% larger than others we have had. The down side was that because of the design of the ship it is not possible to look directly down into the water from the balcony, something we enjoy. We also had very loud neighbors who partied until bartime and then threw a mini party on their balcony every night. Sigh.