We were fairly nervous first time cruisers who decided to take a shorter (8 night) cruise to test our sea legs. Based on a recommendation from a friend, we were incredibly happy we chose to cruise on Celebrity Solstice. The ship is truly beautiful with wonderful appointments and I've never experienced such amazing customer service from every staff member we encountered. Maybe this is usual service on a cruise? We can't be sure but we certainly noticed the difference after disembarking and re-entering the real world.
The main dining room is a marvel of logistics. Each night there was a different (if limited) a la carte choice. The food was good but not great. But, considering the huge size of the dining room, I'm amazed that they managed to provide even good food. I would highly recommend (actually, you're completely mad if you skimp here!) booking for the specialty restaurants. We went to Murano (French) and Tuscan Grill (Itallian). Both were truly exceptional and worth every extra penny spent.
I thoroughly enjoyed most of the shows in the evenings. Only one wasn't to my taste. There was plenty on offer from the usual bingo and trivia to the more exotic eg an excellent glass blowing exhibition.
Apparently, there were about 180 kids on board. The kids' club must have been great because I hardly noticed them!
Well, considering this ship is trying to attract a more upmarket crowd, the average age of cruisers is likely to be middle aged and above (yep, that includes me.) My only real whinge is that all of the chairs every where seemed incredibly low. For those with dodgy knees and back (me again!), I found it incredibly difficult to get out of them. I also met many others who had the same complaint.
My only other negative cannot be blamed on Celebrity. I'm embarrassed to admin many Australians are very ugly travellers. Seriously, did you really need to be slurping on a stubbie of beer at 8.30 in the morning? It's a shame that the loud and appallingly drunk Australians are the ones you really notice......because we also met some lovely people on the cruise. It's just that the drunk ones are more obvious.
Will we cruise again?
Yes, I think so. Although, we'll more likely consider European or north American with more port stops for future.
OK, the cabins are small.....we expected that. But they're very cleverly fitted out with enough storage and good bathrooms. I'd read many forums outlining the shortfalls of many cruise cabins but didn't experience any on Solstice. My only mistake was to book Concierge class. The evening canapes were very ordinary and we stopped ordering them. In future, I'd still book a balcony (which was surprisingly generous in size) but on a lower deck. More money for specialty restaurants!
No shore excursion taken.
No shore excursion taken.