The Game Changer: Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by Jim LaPia

Celebrity Solstice 5
Jim LaPia

Overall Member Rating

The Game Changer

Sail Date: November 2008
Destination: Cruise to Nowhere
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
I will start off by providing you with my ship experiences so that you can better understand my reasoning for rating this ship. I have sailed on Princess (golden class) 2 times, RCCL voyager class 12 times, RCCL Freedom Class 3 times and Celebrity Millennium Class 3 times.

My wife and I are between the ages of 45 to 52 and are very fit and enjoy good food and good night life (dancing late hours)and a good fitness center. With that said, let me state that of all our cruises, this ship surpassed all aspects of previous cruise experiences, that is the ship look, food and service was at the top 5+ rating.
The styling of this ship is very retro/south beach hip. Lots of light colors and wonderful lounges and open areas.

At 12:00 noon we enter onto the 5th deck and immediately notice a Bistro serving 24/7 wonderful healthy crepe's filled with well prepared veggies/chicken/Meats with excellent sauces. (all freshly made to order). Additionally the deserts at the Bistro were More excellent. On the same deck directly across from the Bistro is a cappuccino bar with fresh coffee and more deserts. Next to the cafe, was a gelato bar with fresh gelato and ice cream. We tried 1 chicken and pesto crepe , a flank steak and caramelized onion with blue cheese crepe and had some expresso, and gelato. All were magnificent. We then proceeded to visit the buffet (just to see the food display and layout). Well CCL did an excellent job of strategically placing stations which avoids lines from forming and the display and food quality were above those of the RCCL and Princess class and in line with the infinity and Millennium ships. However, the buffet stations were the best placed/ positioned of any buffet area on any ship we sailed.

We then proceeded to the fitness center which was smaller than the Voyager and Freedom class ships but bigger than the princess and infinity and Millennium class ships (nice machinery, cable,free weights and cardio options to satisfy those who choose to stay fit ... Then we proceeded to the Celebrity lounge on the upper deck which was absolutely perfect in color and style with furnishings again to be on the hip/retro south beach side.

Then we proceeded to the shops which had the nicest looking store fronts of any ship I have sailed and the shops were in area's where the ceiling heights were over 25 feet (great look). The bars and martini bars were excellent and the dining room was well appointed.

But now let me get to the best part of the ship (restaurant row) that is there are 4 specialty restaurants in a dedicated part of the ship with a grand entrance to each restaurant which is also where Michael is also located. There is also a dedicated fabulous bar in this area to service those who would like a drink before going to dinner. The 4 restaurants are Muranos, Tuscan, BLU and a Tia restaurant) I tried BLU and Murano's. We will start with BLU, the BLU restaurant is for AQUA SPA quests with a menu that changes nightly, the food and service here was much better than Princess speciality restaurants and RCCL Portofino's and Chops and in line with the Infinity USS united states and Olympia on the Millennium, however the seating and look and feel of the restaurant was again awesome. Then we ate at Murano's one night and my wife and I had the best meal we ever had in our entire life (land or sea and we ate in some fabulous restaurants in NYC and Las Vegas)The Service was amazing and even if you can imagine it being better than that of the USS unites States and the Olympia. The food preparation and flavors were beyond ones imagination. Also, the food in the main dining room for lunch and dinner far surpassed those of RCCL and Princess. (variety/service and taste)

Also, the pool area's were well appointed with cabana'a and very comfortable seating. A real special treat/surprise to us was the upper deck/ the lawn (real grass) for boci, golf and other fun activities. Also there was a glass blowing facility on the lawn where several times a day you had an opportunity to see how wonderful works of glass art are made. Another item that impressed us was the disco (I mean at 12:00 there were actually folks up and dancing where on many of our past CCL sailing it seemed that by 10:00 or so every evening most folks went to bed, where as on this ship most folks were out having even more fun. That were I get the reference to this is the game changer that is, you have the Celebrity service and food with a retro feel and the ability to draw a younger hipper crowd who demand great food and great service without sacrificing the feel an the look of what todays baby boomers are looking for.

Also, before I forget, let me tell you a little about the rooms. We had a balcony (typical size room, however the bathroom was bigger, including a bigger shower area with a closing door rather than a curtain. Also the desk and cabinet area had granite counters, with a real nice leather couch. In closing please feel free to email me to ask further questions and to provide you with pictures of my experience on board this great ship. I have over 300 pictures of every facet of this ship including the food plates for each and every meal we have. You will not be disappointed on this cruise ship. (ya the port of call are your typical) however, once your on this ship, you may not want to get off at the ports. Less

Published 11/25/08

Cabin review: bal7338

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Jim LaPia
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