My wife and I booked a 12 day Med cruise on the Celebrity Solstice after enjoying our first cruise with Celebrity Constellation a year earlier but we found the Solstice was not nearly as good and many other passengers we talked to agreed that they preferred the Constellation.
We arrived at Barcelona dock at 11.30 and joined a massive queue despite having used the check-in on-line service. We were then told that due to an outbreak of illness on the previous voyage the ship was being cleaned throughout and we could not board immediately, bottles of water and sandwiches were provided during the wait which seemed intermidable, the actual check-in procedure was the longest we have ever experienced then a further wait in a holding area whilst we were ushered onto the ship in small groups, this was now 2.30pm and hoped we could finally go to our stateroom to recover from the long stand and crowded hassle but NO weand all 2,850 other passengers had to sit around if you could find a seat whilst the cleaning of the staterooms continued, finally at 5.30 pm we were allowed into our staterooms, fully 6 hours of uncomfortable standing and sitting around, what a start !
The stateroom was OK but nothing special and not as good a layout as on the Constellation which had more storeage space. The cabin stewards seemed OK and after a sizeable tip were very attentive all during the cruise.
Food on the Solstice was very good in the main dining room and our assigned waiters were firstclass, again a nice tip at the start ensured this ! Whilst the food and service was excellent we were situated one foot away from an American couple who, like so many Americans on board wre loud in the extreme, we had Nabraska rammed down our throats from 08.45 till 10.30. Incidentally we wonder why Americans never say please when asking for anything ? In the bar itg's just "beer" or "Scotch" and in the dining room select a dish without a please to the waiters, check it out and find it is true.
The shows on the ship were a disappointment and in some cases decidedly second he casino was massive but for most of the time underused as the cost of chips for blackjack and roulette were high, on the Constellation they had one hour from 10.00pm to 11.00pm when chips of 1 dollar could be staked, this was popular and drew many people into the casino who would probably not otherwise go, I thought this was a very good idea that would surely have gone down well on the sparsely occupied Solstice.
I don't smoke but talked to a number of passengers who did and complained that there was very,very few and very isolated places a smoker could indulge their habit yet the ship worked hard at selling cigarettes. I would advise any smokers considering a cruise to avoid the Solstice.
Using previous experiences on ships from other companies and using a score out of 10 I could give Solstice no more than 7 whilst I would give Constellation 9+.
Cabin was very good, facilities were firstclass, everything worked well. The bathroom was extremely well appointed with good facilities. Probably the best cabin we have experienced on any ship.