Spring Solstice: Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by Patrick McAuley

Celebrity Solstice 5
Patrick McAuley

Overall Member Rating

Spring Solstice

Sail Date: May 2010
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
This was our sixth cruise with the RCCI Group and it did not disappoint in any way. We were travelling with Steve, the 'Best Man' at our wedding 24 years ago and his wife Carole, who were first time cruisers.

Coming from the UK, we always stay additional nights in the area, prior to departure in case of delays, cancellations etc (the 'ash cloud' for example!!)This time we stayed at Il Lugano in Fort Lauderdale, a wonderful hotel with mega friendly staff. Although a little way out, it is on the water taxi route so getting around was no problem ($15 all day and you can get on and off whenever/wherever you want).

On to the cruise. Embarkation was swift and easy. Less than fifteen minutes after receiving our sea pass cards, we were greeted on board by a smiling member of crew offering a complimentary glass of Champagne or orange juice. We had all opted for the 'all inclusive' drinks package and this proved a 'winner' since it meant that there were no shocks in the More account on the final morning. (You can check your account either at the Purser's desk or the television in your stateroom at any time during the voyage.) This was the first voyage where Celebrity had tried this idea so I don't know if they will continue.

The ship was spacious, and although completely full, did not give the impression of overcrowding as there was lots of space around the pools and bars. The food in the main restaurant was good, served with a minimum amount of fuss and timely - no long delays between courses. One evening we ate in 'Muranos' - probably the best meal I have ever had in terms of quality, service and the attention of the staff and the choice of wines was on a par with any Michelin rated Restaurant.

We had balcony cabins, midships on deck 8, along side each other and were able to have the dividing partition opened so that we had one large balcony on which we could all sit and watch the nights go by, sipping our evening cocktails. The cabins were very spacious with room under the bed for suitcases, more locker space and doors that opened outwards. The stateroom attendants were excellent, with evening turn down service, chocolates on the pillow and of course the obligatory monkey/elephant/swan etc towel arrangement. Overall the crew were very attentive, without being obtrusive, and extremely helpful.

Only one minor area of complaint. The entertainment was not as good as some of the other RCI ships that we have been on, but it did not spoil the whole experience.

We had 3 stops - San Juan, St Thomas and St Marteen which Sally and I had been to before but obviously our friends hadn't. All of the stops provided something different and even for us, returning, we still found something new that we had not seen or done on prior trips. The ice cold towels and cold drinks along side the ship on your return to the ship after visiting the islands were a nice touch and very welcoming. Overall, from initially booking the holiday right to the very end when we spent another week in Florida after the cruise, it was a totally enjoyable experience and one we shall certainly repeat, as will our friends, who are now hooked on cruising. Less

Published 07/04/10

Cabin review: 07 Ocean View

As stated, the new improved layout of the cabins have increased the available space for suitcases (under the bed,) increased overhead locker space above the bed, doors that open outwards so that there is no chance of being trapped between the outer door and the bathroom door. We were midships on deck 8 on 'the hump' so we had a slightly larger balcony (Grade 'A1') and by having the partition opened between our two cabins had a very large sitting area outside. The balcony furniture was very comfortable and looked as if it had all recently been renewed. Sally and Pat McAuley

Read All Ocean View (07) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Last time we were there it rained all day (nothing RCI could do about that!!!). This time the weather was fantastic. We took the fort and Bacardi trips and both were extremely enjoyable. We also had time to stroll round the old town (due to the ship leaving in the evening) and ate in a very nice local restaurant, where the food and drink was good and reasonably priced.

Read 2979 San Juan Reviews

Possibly Sally's, and my, favorite island. We didn't take any organised trips, just got a taxi from outside the port and went to the other side of the island where we had lunch. On returning to port, we visited some bars and shops, where as usual, jewellery was haggled over and eventually purchased. St Marteen, along with Barbados, are two islands we never tire of visiting and we hope to be back soon.

We all went on the Champagne catamaran to St John and went snorkeling. The trip was very good, but we only had about 40 minutes snorkeling when we got there. I know that they make two trips per day but longer time on the beach/snorkeling would have improved the day. In the afternoon we visited some of the places we had been to on previous visits and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the friendly locals.

Read 4002 St. Thomas Reviews

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Patrick McAuley
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