Solstice 1/31 - 2/7: The good and bad: Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by Ray_Ray

Celebrity Solstice 3
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Solstice 1/31 - 2/7: The good and bad

Sail Date: January 2010
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
- WHAT'S HOT - Solstice Public Areas Solstice Staterooms Exceptional service (Uger, Caetano, Paulo, Rosa, Gusti, Igor, Mariana) Solstice art collection Hot Glass Show The Martini Bar Murano Tuscan Grille Galleria Tastings aka The Molecular Bar Ports - San Juan, St Maarten, Tortola, Labadee

- WHAT'S NOT SO HOT- Entertainment: Seriously lacking Activities: Snooze-A-Palooza

What's HOT on Solstice:

Public Areas - This is a beautiful ship. The Lawn Club is a great place to relax and provides the perfect spot to enjoy a cool drink or a game of Bocce ball. The Barefoot Sail Away party in Tortola is a must! Sky is a beautiful bar that looks like many trendy bars one would find in SoBe.

Staterooms - Caetano and Paulo were outstanding attendants. The room was well appointed and we enjoyed the in-room entertainment system.

Service - service on the Solstice is very good. Ugar, our MDR waiter was fantastic! He appeared to be very rushed at times More but he was attentive and never missed a beat the entire week.

Solstice art collection - The art on this ship is absolutely incredible. Seek out the original Matisse and Picasso. The art on display alone would be worth taking this cruise for.

Hot Glass Show - This was pretty amazing and no two shows were alike. I recommend you see this at night, the colors are more vibrant.

The Martini Bar - Our favorite watering hole on the Solstice. Rosa, Gusti, and Igor are the heart and soul of the coolest bar (literally) on the ship. Thanks again guys, you're the best in the business!

Murano and Tuscan Grille - The food on Solstice will not disappoint. It is one of the main reasons we selected this ship. The specialty restaurants are well worth the upcharge and should not to be missed if you cruise on the Solstice.

Galleria Tastings - the Molecular Bar has the most healthy and unusual drink menu you will find, ANYWHERE! We discovered this bar late in the cruise and quite honestly wished we would have spent more time here. The drinks are deliciously unreal. Have Mariana whip up a Dragon Fly or South Of The Rio. The most unforgettable drinks you'll ever have!

Ports - San Juan is fun, riding the trolleys in old San Juan is highly recommended. St Maarten has great beaches and good duty free shopping. Although Tortola is only a 1/2 day, the ride out of the BVI is spectacular up on the Lawn Club. If Tortola were a full day you would miss all of the views and scenery departing BVI. Labadee is beautiful and the beaches are very nice.

Entertainment - We found the Solstice entertainment to be inconsistent. The wife and I are in our mid 40's and we enjoy dancing and live music, especially (preferably) TOP 50 current hits. The Solstice simply doesn't deliver at all in this area. Overall most performances, live music, and dancing (even in Quasar) will appeal to the older crowd. Music impressionist Greg London, think Vegas and Danny Gans, was very funny. Cirque de Sole inspired 'Solstice: The Show' was also very good but that is where it ended for us. If you're in the 65+ demographic you will enjoy the lounge acts of Dan Hodge, Epithani: Party Band, and the Brian Elwood trio. If you like Joan Rivers and find her brand of humor funny, you'll love comedian Brad Zimmerman. Cruise Director John Grantham does a fine job at hosting the 70's, 60's, and 50's trivia and parties. Considering the average age of PAX on this cruise, they might want to consider hosting a 40's trivia night and party with sounds from the big band era. My parents and Grandparents would've enjoyed most Solstice entertainment.

Activities - the Lawn Club is very cool. I learned how to play Bocce and enjoyed it. Other than that, much like the entertainment, onboard activities were designed for the older PAX. If you're in the 65+ demographic you'll enjoy Solstice days at sea. Napkin folding, bingo, Magic with Stuart, scrap booking, perfume sampling, and endless trivia should provide hours of excitement. If you like doing nothing, you'll find nirvana on Solstice. By the last sea day I was ready to get off this boat. There are tons of sedentary activities (trivia, bingo, ect), too many to list here. If you like lectures, below is the lecture / speaker schedule from last week's Solstice cruise (your Slowstice cruise may vary).

Day 1, Meet Your Celebrity Life Guides Day 2, first day at sea, Let's Dance - Cha Cha Day 3, Celebrity Life - Combating Diabetes, Arthritis, and Osteoporosis. Day 4, Celebrity Life - How to decorate a birthday cake. Day 5, Burn Fat Faster, Art of Napkin Folding, Increasing your Metabolism Day 6, last sea day, Memories at Sea - Scrapbooking, Intro to Botox, Lets Dance - Cultural Day 7, Chef Cook Off, Lets Dance - Tango, Memories at sea - Scrapbooking

**A word of caution to BINGO fans on the Solstice, beware of the $5000 BINGO JACKPOT game, this is very misleading! Save your money and spend it elsewhere. You'll hear the hype and announcement for the big jackpot. They won't tell you the rules to winning until after you've bought your BINGO card (and started the actual game), you have to have ALL of the numbers for the entire card, AND (here's the kicker)...they're only going to draw 46 numbers for the big prize. Needless to say, 46 numbers were called, nobody won. They kept playing and the winning card won about $200. Whatta rip off, they should disclose games rules upfront. They didn't and there was a feeling by many that we had been flim-flammed because this wasn't disclosed until after cards were purchased. **

What's NOT HOT on the Solstice:

- MDR -

We dined in a few specialty restaurants and they were very good, the MDR? Not so much. On a scale from 1 - 10 I would rank food in the MDR a 6.5. Out of the five nights we dined there, only two were worth noting.

- Entertainment -

If you're in the 30 - 60 yr demographic, you may struggle with much of what the Solstice offers. As mentioned earlier, impressionist Greg London and the Solstice circus show are very good...but that's it.

Unless you transport to the Solstice from another dimension in time, say 1981, you won't find any current music played live on this ship. The only rock band you'll find on the Solstice is 'Epithani: Party Band'. The Epithani: Party Band is in dire need of an epiphany. Bluntly stated, they play the same tired songs (covers from the 60's & 70's) that you can find any band playing in any bar, anywhere, on any given night. If you like your music current, you probably will not like this band. We saw Epithini: Party Band play one set and then we left. Live entertainment on this ship is seriously anemic for the young to middle age demographic. There wasn't any entertainment onboard that I or the DW would ever seek out on land or sea. If you're scheduled to sail on this boat and own an i-Pod, bring it!

Celebrity, please get a good cover band that plays the TOP 50 current songs. Put them poolside for a few nights and in Sky Lounge a few nights.

- Activities -

If Celebrity Life is about REMs and sleep patterns, they've hit a grand slam. Like the entertainment, Solstice is seriously lacking in this area as well. What happened to the Tequila tasting that was advertised in Celebrity Life on your website? It was there before the cruise, now its gone!?! You have a 55 Million dollar art collection, you should have guided tours no less than 2-3X per day. Scheduled activities, especially sea days were actually Snooze-A-Palooza Daze at Sea.

Dancing They did a nice job with Latin dancing by the pool on one night. A huge crowd participated and this activity was a hit! With such a positive turn out, why would they do this only one night on a one week cruise!?!

Poolside Was the decision to have Metro Park: A Cappella perform Doo Wop sounds by the pool suppose to create party atmosphere or put everyone to sleep? Is this Celebrity Life? At least ½ the folks around the pool and solarium were napping. The pool deck's general vibe was flatlining, they need to have more activities by the pool during the day and night.

Celebrity can take this cruise from GOOD to GREAT. Offer more Latin dance lessons, you should know that nobody does the Cha Cha and Waltz anymore. Host more events poolside. Have adult oriented events and games so your guests will have a good time. You're in the Caribbean for a week fer cripes sake, get a Caribbean band out there and make a party and have some fun.

General Overview

We enjoyed most aspects of this cruise. We would've preferred current music and better activities. I did briefly express these concerns with Cruise Director John Grantham and he did say Celebrity was slowly targeting a 'younger' crowd. I'm glad we went but I don't think we would do the Solstice again. Maybe this cruise is better in the summer. We're considering a cruise to Bermuda on Summit next year but I'm not sure after last week. I'll read the Summit cruise reviews this summer before making a final decision.

There are many travel options on the market and Celebrity will need to score better on entertainment and activities. If not, I guess we can try Celebrity again in about 25 years when we're old enough. If this is Celebrity Life, it was really designed for my grandparents. Not that there is anything wrong with that, maybe Celebrity is NOT 'designed for me' after all. Less

Published 02/16/10

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