This was our first Celebrity cruise, having sailed three times in past on Royal Caribbean (RCCL) and once on Princess. We were originally booked for a cruise out of Boston on RCCL in September, but decided to cancel that when our favorite winery, St. Francis in Sonoma, advertised this wine cruise traveling to Alaska on the Celebrity Solstice in August. We had a fabulous cruise and are completely happy with our decision to switch vacation plans.
Knowing that Celebrity was the line "next in class" above RCCL, we did have high expectations for a luxury experience. But, other than REALLY appreciating the non-smoking environment and a nicer/bigger cabin bathroom, we certainly would not rate the line above RCCL. The service staff were excellent - friendly, attentive & customer-focused. We had a slight issue the first evening with our room steward not bringing ice, and the response from guest relations was overwhelming. They switched our room steward, delivered a bottle of wine and chocolate covered strawberries, and the head of customer relations came by our cabin to apologize in person. That was certainly much more than the situation warranted, but the immediate response showed an impressive emphasis on customer service.
We were not as impressed with quality and taste of food throughout the ship. The buffet had a wide selection, everything "looked" amazing, and I really like the set up with stations, but almost everything we ate was a disappointment. But, they did get the basics right with lots of cut up fruit, cartons of fresh milk, and the omelets freshly made were pretty good. Most of the time, I only ate a bite or two of dessert since the taste wasn't worth the calories. The food in the main dining room wasn't any better. As a matter of fact, when we did enjoy something - we were really surprised. But, I don't believe this is reflection on Celebrity overall, and would not stop me from booking another cruise with them. Princess had the best food in my cruise experiences, but I won't sail with them again because I don't like the ships. The food on RCCL has been mixed - some ships fabulous and some .not so. As long as we can get fresh fruit and decent vegetables, we don't place too much emphasis on food for our vacation experience. We did have a better experience during our St. Francis food and wine pairing in the Tuscan Grille, and dinner there on our last night. But still, certainly not a 4 or 5 star experience.
Much Larger balcony, slanted with forward facing view, bed by sliding door not by closet. No noise. Would recommend.