1st impressions can be lasting ones: Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by snappleman

Celebrity Solstice 5
Member Since 2008
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1st impressions can be lasting ones

Sail Date: December 2009
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Our cruise agent billed this as a "President's" Cruise.There were about 90 in our group. We were 1st time cruisers on Celebrity so we could not compare it to other Celebrity cruises. We have , however, been on other cruises and lines.We flew down the night before and stayed at the Comfort Inn on Stirling Road in Hollywood, Florida. The hotel provided pick up at the airport and transportation the pier and a breakfast in the morning. Transportation to the pier on Sunday morning took longer than usual as prior to our stop, one of the passengers' luggage was offloaded by mistake at the wrong ship so it took about 20 minutes to straighten it out. We arrived at the Celebrity check in about 12;20pm. Once checked in, we noticed many passengers already waiting to board. About 1pm, we were informed that boarding has been delayed as the shop just arrived from Rome and needed a total inspection. Check in started about 1pm, but went slowly.

We finally made it aboard at 2pm. Room wasn't More ready so had to carry our carry-on to the lunch buffet. Finding a seat was quite difficult. By the time we got to the cabin, our luggage was there. Room seemed fairly spacious being that it was an inside cabin. The bedside tables were quite small. The closet was only floor length on 1 side. The night light in the bathroom was a nice touch. I prefer the handheld showers as it makes for easier rinsing in a small shower. The funniest thing in the bathroom involved the toiler paper holder. Due to its' arrangement, whenever we tried to dispense the paper, we pulled it off the holder. After doing this a number of times, we decided to just leave it off. Though there was no clothes line in the shower, there were some small hanger type artifacts upon which we could hang clothes or swimsuits for drying. The room safe was located somewhat low in the closes which made it a little difficult to access, especially as the week progressed as did my waistline. The phone in the room did not always respond well. When I lifted up the receiver, there would be no sound. The little button than controls this would not pop up all the way and one had to lift it up in order to activate the phone. I reported it to the room steward and a fix supposedly was done, but still the same problem. We found the staff and crew to be quite friendly throughout the cruise.

We elected for early seating at 6pm. Our group was seated together. We were at a table for 2 but seated next to a table of 4 from our group. The menu consisted of 2 pages: on the left were the choices available each evening, and on the left were the changing item for the evening. I was delighted to have escargot every evening. Our table steward had no qualms when I ordered 2 or 3 appetizers each evening and sometimes 2 desserts. Only 1 evening was there a delay in our food. The table beside us were on dessert and we were still awaiting our entree. Apparently, there was a delay in the kitchen. A word regarding this would have been appreciated. The assistant table steward, Alexandre, from Bulgaria was quite the sport. My wife and I are easy to please but I do like to joke around alot and try to make trouble. She wouldn't have it and kept me in my place. Our table steward, Nixon, from India, treated us well. I tried a couple of fish entrees, both prepared well; the lamb shank and the veal shank were also tasty. We generally ate breakfast in the Ocean View cafe. Food was plentiful and of good variety. I was somewhat concerned when I had read that there were no trays in the buffet area. This turned out not to be a problem. We drink decaf coffee which suited our tastes both in the Ocean View Cafe and in the dining room. The ice cream bar was one of my favorites. There were a number of choices available daily. We didn't eat at any of the 3 reservation restaurants but did eat at the Bistro on 5 where there is a $5 per person charge. Crepes are the main item here but there are also desserts and Panini and salads. I usually think of a crepe as about the size of a small pancake rolled up. Well, these crepes were huge. My wife and I probably should have split them instead of ordering each our own. We also had a Panini and a dessert crepe and I had a chocolate mousse dessert as well.

As for the evening entertainment, we did attend some but not all of the acts. The circus type show was the most entertaining one. The pianist was very good also. There was a late night comedian one evening. Many in the audience were laughing. It takes a lot though to make me laugh. We spent very little time in the casino, enough for me to lose some and my wife to win some on the slots. We just happened to be at the martini bar when the bartender performed one of his feats. It was quite the act and involved pouring 6 different martini samplers into glasses from 6 mixing containers. You have to see it as it is hard to explain how he did it. What we missed was a lounge in the evenings where a 3 or 4 piece band would play dancing type music. There were special dances some evening in the sunset lounge and the Quasar lounge which played loud, modern music.

Shore excursions: We did one on San Juan that visited the fort San Cristobal, and then various sights afterwards. We were suppose to start the tour at 2pm, but we were delayed in San Juan in getting approval to exit the ship and the tour didn't start till 3pm. The fort was the most interesting on the tour. After that, it seemed we were just driving around, sometimes getting hung up in traffic. It was late by the time we got to the end of the tour in Old San Juan, we we decided to go directly back to the ship instead of walking around. On St.Kitts were toured the island in a 4X4 army troop transport with padded seats. There were a couple of stops where pictures could be taken. We ended up at Cockelshell Beach. The day was somewhat cloudy so the water was not very clear for trying to take any pictures underwater. It even rained a little while there. On St.Martin, we did our own thing. Hired a taxi to take us to the ferry to Pinel Island. Taxi was $25 one way for the 2 of us.Took about 25 minutes to get there. Ferry was $7/person R/T.2 Chairs were $5/person and included an umbrella. There were bars/restaurants there in case you needed food. Water was clear and calm and the beach was nice.Did some snorkeling at the far end of the beach. We made arrangements for our taxi driver to pick us up and he was there on time.

I did find it somewhat odd that some of the performances were in the Grand Foyer. Somewhat amusing to me was that in the men's restrooms, above the urinals, were quotes made by supposedly famous people, mainly from the 1800's. Never saw that on a cruise ship before. Having fresh water in the ship's pools was great as I'm not a big fan of swimming in salt water. The indoor pool was nice for doing laps. While walking the upper deck one morning, with camera in hand, I couldn't help but laugh when I saw a crew member cutting grass(on the lawn deck). Just had to take a picture of this most unusual sight. I personally didn't have any use for the lawn. If I want grass, I'll stay on land somewhere. Others though, made use of the lawn for various games.

De-boarding went very well. We opted for the service where for $20/person, our luggage would be taken the night before and we only had to claim it at our home airport. Since we tend to pack heavy, this was worth every penny and I would hope other lines would offer this. Less

Published 01/04/10

Cabin review: 109320 Inside Stateroom

Inside cabin, somewhat roomy. Bathroom fairly roomy. Closet was only floor length on 1 side. Room safe was located somewhat low in the closet. HD TV in the room. Night light in the bathroom was useful.

Read All Inside Stateroom (10) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

The San Cristobal fort was interesting but beyond that, not much of interest.

Read 2978 San Juan Reviews

Took the 4X4 tour. Saw some interesting sights and had a couple photo stops. Ended up at Cockelshell beach. The day was windy and cloudy so snorkeling wasn't very good. Shops by the pier were plentiful.

Read 1321 St. Kitts Reviews

Spent a few hours at Pinel Island. Very nice beach and water and not very crowded considering there were 5 ships inport. Taxi ride took about 25 minutes to get there. The cost was $25. The ferry cost $7/person R/T. Chairs were $5/chair at the beach.

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