In a nutshell, this cruise was near perfect in every respect EXCEPT for shore excursions. Celebrity needs to take a good hard look at how it trains and staffs it shore excursions team, and how it executes tender days.
We chose this as our first cruise because of the outstanding price on this pseudo-positioning cruise. For the price of an inside cabin, we got a partially obstructed verandah stateroom (6287), albeit probably the least lovely verandah room on the ship. However, with a classic beverages package and $300 onboard credit included, it was still a steal.
Make no mistake - this is a gorgeous and tastefully appointed ship. From the large and extremely well-equipped gym, which we used every day, to the luxurious 'basic category' Grand Epernay restaurant, this ship exudes quality. While I'm at it, the Solstice is an exceptional seakeeper. We barely felt any motion at all in our 14 days of cruising. Perversely enough, I was a bit disappointed - I wanted to get some sea legs!
This is an odd cabin. In a nutshell, I would gladly take it again if I got the same deal we got this time, but would be rather disappointed if I had paid the full 2C price for it.
The interior of the cabin is identical to most other verandah cabins, although smelling of cigarette smoke, which our lovely cabin attendant tried on two occasions to remove, with only partial success. Apart from the smoky smell, there was nothing to complain about - the room was well maintained, comfortable and of a standard befitting a premium brand.
The oddness, however, begins outside. The partial verandah obstruction is in the form of a ladder from the roof of the Blu restaurant, which extends out from the verandahs of all the cabins aft of us, down to deck five below. This ladder was used on several occasions by crew, especially for maintenance on shore days. It was a bit disconcerting the first time we saw a crew member casually glance into our room as they crested the ladder. On one memorable occasion I had to dissuade some slightly tipsy fellow passengers from climbing up from deck five onto our verandah! Celebrity really should put some form of locking mechanism on the base of this ladder, since it is accessible from a public area.
There were banging and knocking noises - possibly emanating from the Blu restaurant immediately below us - until 2-2:30 am on most mornings. While not very loud, they would be enough to affect a very light sleeper. There were some very loud knocking noises - like somebody banging on a pipe nearby- during business hours on several days. It needs to be said that these noises were probably more noticeable because the ship is otherwise extremely quiet - there is almost no engine noise or transmitted vibration. I don't know how the ship's designers did it!
All in all, this cabin delivered more than we were entitled to expect for the price, and I would gladly take it again on the same deal. However, I would definitely think twice about paying the full Category 2C price, and would probably insist on a 2C cabin further forward.