Not Your Typical Celebrity Cruise: Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by WilliamGSchmidt

Celebrity Solstice 5
Member Since 2010

Overall Member Rating

Not Your Typical Celebrity Cruise

Sail Date: February 2010
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
This was our fourth cruise. Twice on Princess and our 2nd on Celebrity. We are in our early sixties and really enjoyed our last Celebrity cruise on the Summit through the Panama Canal in 2007. We enjoyed a more sophisticated and interesting group of travelers, and expected the same on the new Celebrity Solstice.

The Solstice is a beautiful ship that offers all the features of the Millennium Class plus more. My wife is in a wheelchair and we found a lot of accessibility built into the ship, negating the small ramps at the doors to the exterior decks and at the entrance to the bathrooms in the accessible staterooms. The accessible staterooms featured doors that opened and closed automatically, as did the doors to the public restrooms. The Solstice is the most impressive ship we have sailed on with it's 12 story Atrium, glass elevators, modern eclectic dining room, 2 story library, 3 story theater, Spa, and exceptional Deck Plans.

The food was excellent, but compared More to our past Celebrity cruise was a step below what we expected. All of the dishes were excellent and the level of service was what you would expect, but small signs of cost cutting were noticeable (such as the mixed seafood plate on the last formal night with prawns, scallops, and a very small lobster tail instead of the featured Lobster Tail dinner which we had on the Summit in 2007. The night we had Chateaubriand the pieces of meat were a different cut than any I have ever had (they looked more like pieces of flank steak). One night the Chef recommended Dinner entree was "Pork Chops". My wife and I ate in 2 of the Specialty Restaurants and were impressed with the Service and Food. The Silk Harvest Asian restaurant and the Italian Tuscan Grill were well worth the extra charge to eat there. The Fillet Mignon in the Tuscan Grill was 2 inches thick and the best piece of beef we have ever eaten. We had a table in the Tuscan Grill with windows that looked out the stern of the ship as we left St Maarten, and were also seated next to the windows in the Silk Harvest looking out the side of the ship as we left St Kitts. The food in the ship's buffet the "Oceanview Cafe" was outstanding and the best we have ever had on a cruise. Waiters were always standing by to assist my wife in her wheelchair, and we almost always got a table next to a window to enjoy the view as we ate. The only time we had trouble finding a seat was right after we embarked because everyone was ushered to the cafe to wait while the staterooms were being finished. We also experienced the same thing on the morning we disembarked.

The most striking thing about the ship and cruise were the mix of cruisers on board. The mix was what you would expect on a Carnival or Royal Caribbean cruise, they was not your typical Celebrity cruisers we remembered from the past. Many people ignored the dress code in the evening, and some were trying to eat in the cafe at lunch without a shirt. I am not sure if the depressed cruise market has made Celebrity more affordable to a broader range of people or if Celebrity is catering to a different market? My wife and I came away disappointed and so did other passengers we talked to who were expecting a more elegant cruise. Less

Published 02/17/10

Cabin review: 098164 Inside Stateroom

Great accessible stateroom with plenty of room and the best accessibility features we have experienced on any cruise ship. The free on-demand TV movies were an added bonus.

Read All Inside Stateroom (09) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

San Juan was a very bustling city we small sidewalks and cobble stone streets making it difficult to navigate a wheelchair. While the city has a lot of Old Town charm, we found it a bit disappointing and not what we expected. The shopping and restaurants were so-so, but we were impressed with the El Morro Fort and the Cathedral of San Juan which contains the crypt of Ponce de Leon.

Read 2977 San Juan Reviews

St Kitts city center is very small with some recently constructed shops, but the majority of the area has not seen any improvements and makes getting around difficult. Waste water flows in the gutters next to the sidewalks and across each intersection. We did not find anything remarkable to buy or sight-see so we went back to the cruise ship after about 20 minutes.

Read 1321 St. Kitts Reviews

St Maarten is billed as the place to shop in the Caribbean - that might be so if you are interested in Jewelry, Watches, or Liquor. Other than those items we did not find anything worth buying. The city center is more built up and robust than St Kitts, but still lacking with little to offer.

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