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We travelled to Miami with Virgin booked via Celebrity and managed to get seats on the Upper Deck by amending/confirming our booking online 24 hours prior to departure. The flight passed without incident and we passed through Customs within 15 minutes of arrival as by chance they opened a few more Customs booths as we walked into the hall, however we then waited over 45 minutes for our bags, we were the last to get on the bus heading towards Fort Lauderdale...not good. We stayed at the Hilton Marina. The room was fine, although perhaps not as clean as one would expect, a room service tray from the previous customer remained outside our door for the whole time we were there. The view of the bridge was fine but we could not see the Cruise Ships so clearly from the 4th floor. The luxury boats around the Hotel were fantastic and excited the senses as we anticipated our week on the Solstice. During the evening we took a walk along 17th Street and had a $9.99 Saturday Special at the Quarterdeck Seafood Bar, the atmosphere was excellent, as an added benefit they were showing British football on a few of the screens... Next morning following an enjoyable breakfast at the Hotel, we took a walk along the bridge and took several photos of the Solstice and other ships in dock pending our embarkation. The wind was a little lively but the view was excellent. At the time advised we went downstairs in readiness for collection and transit to the ship.....let the mayhem begin ! There were many, many people awaiting the appropriate time to be called forward for their respective bus/Cruise ship....it was nuts. Thankfully we had sorted our account from our room but we did not realise we had to get a ticket for our bus/ship, our tip is to sort your hotel account in the room get your bus ticket and go downstairs as early as possible for the 1st bus to the ship. Once we got to the dock, we experienced no further delay as for the first time we had booked Aqua and fortunately there was no line for embarkation. The Ship....the ship is exceptional !!! It maybe the oldest in the Solstice class but it was in very good condition, brilliant white and so clean. We took the lift to the buffet, which was full due to the high winds outside. We decided to eat at Bistro on 5, the food and service was very good and eventually we headed off to our room on level 11 and then down to sort out our internet requirements, their organisation was not so good and they should share the process once or twice to many rather than try to communicate individually and get 20 questions all at once. Muster Drill for Us was in the theatre, everybody was courteous and listened intently, a few chuckles at the various languages, but Celebrity made the point succinctly, things can and do happen...but our safety was paramount. Once muster drill was finished, off we headed to the Sailaway Bar on deck 14, the sun was fighting to come out albeit the wind was still lively, we positioned ourselves with our Welsh Flag in readiness to pass the Port Everglades webcam for our Family to see our departure out into the open seas....fortunately, we were picked up by the webcam and phones calls, texts from home ensued....we were there "live on the webcam" waving to invisible Family and tightly holding onto our blustery flag) but hey we were on our way...a fantastic sailaway experience ! First night in Blu was relaxing and following a few drinks and a little walk we were off to bed, unfortunately the wind was up and the sea lively, our stateroom, 1540 at the front of the Ship on the 11th level was "dancing around" to say the least...we struggled through the night with motion sickness and simply couldn`t face the sea (or breakfast) in the morning, so we headed off to mid ship, level 3 to get our balance and stop our heads from spinning...3 hours later ! We created our own schedule for each evening...a drink on level 3 or coffee at Al Bacio, off to the theatre for the entertainment and then onto Blu for our evening meal. The entertainment was excellent. We did not really bother on the Equinox but made the effort each evening this time and were glad we did. The US Comedian was good, the Juggler was excellent, the Neptunes an A Capello quartet were very good and the Solstice Team of singers and dancers were lively and very enthusiastic. The UK singer, Lindsay Hamilton was OK with a powerful voice although parts of her show were a little cheesy for Us.....sorry, no British loyalty here. The Captain also played his part.... Aqua Class and Blu were interesting. It is all about personal taste. Overall the food, quality and service in Blu was very, very good, however from our previous experience on the Equinox we found the MDR, coupled with the option of the Speciality restaurants, as good and in truth the variety broke up the monotony of Blu....our humble opinion. The Cruise was arranged as a means of relaxation with the intention of using the Ship more than the port intensive trip around of the Med last August. Our excursions were limited but our port visits were as follows : Grand Cayman - Quick walk around the town and a $5 pp shared Mini Bus onto Seven Mile Beach with fellow cruisers from Solstice, we sat together and had a relaxing few hours in the sun and sea with a beautiful view across to the 4 ships in Port that day, back to the ship and a few drinks on Solstice deck. Cozumel - the highlight of this day was arriving at Port docking next to Equinox, a memorable experience. The Port was kind of disappointing, quite small and the usual tourist items and jewellery shops, no character at all....we walked a mile or so down to a local bar for a drink and chill out watching the snorkelers, marvelling at the 2 imposing ships in Port. Roatan - Our experience of Roatan was most not what the majority of people would recognise and, in hindsight, we should have organised an excursion, many people said how beautiful the island was. However Coxen Hole was THE most intimidating tourist spot we have experienced in years of travelling. Period. Out of the Port to the right and onto the street with a yards, a number of men stood across the path/walkway, no effort to move and to pass them we had to walk out onto the busy road...we continued walking to shouts of "taxi, taxi, you wanna taxi" and onto "happy hour, come for happy hour drinks" drinks at 9.30 in the morning !? On we walked, when, as ridiculous as this sounds we were approached from behind by a boy who we "thought" was trying to get into our rucksack, we were spooked....he walked alongside us for a distance...he was not the issue, our concern was the others and the feeling in the town in general...a quick photo of the ship and we quickly turned around back to the Port area, down came the rain and back we go to the Ship, sad but true, but it was not a pleasant experience. We spent the rest of the day back on the ship and experienced Persian Gardens, the Spa area and enjoyed the freedom of the pool and the Lawn Club. This was our experience and we share it for others to be aware of the town. Costa Maya -- We pre-booked Maya Chan on feedback from CC and Tripadvisor. The bus trip was interesting, avoiding where possible, the pot holes in the track/roads, with a beautiful view of the Ship in port and the coastline and wildlife of Mexico. On arrival at Maya Chan we were given a welcome drink and located at the beachfront. The seagrass makes it a little messy, they work hard to clean it but they are fighting nature, it is what it is, natural beauty. In reality, for every 101 white sandy beaches you can visit around the world, there are only a handful of Maya Chan`s. We can only describe it as a quaint, rustic, beach front, chill out zone, with friendly Staff providing ample food & drink and fun, if you want it....Zach took us for a bike ride down the track and onto the beach where a local was using traditional techniques netfishing for sardines in the wine coloured water (where the fresh water from the cenote meets the sea water), a very natural, humbling experience...the point is, You will not get this at the 101 white sandy beaches around the world.... Back to the Ship and a sea day homeward bound for Fort Lauderdale. Arrival at FL and off the ship was pretty straightforward, queuing for Customs clearance was a struggle as was the 45 minute wait on the bus for the last passengers and transfer to the Sheraton Miami Airport and use of the day room organised by Celebrity. An enjoyable, albeit a little pricey few hours sat at the pool/bar area but still cheaper and better than sat at the airport !! Finally the Virgin flight back to Heathrow, amongst our fellow passengers.........only Richard Branson himself! He walked among us and at the end of the flight, thanked us (over the pa system) all for flying Virgin, a nice touch and what a finish to a wonderful week.

Celebrity Solstice Cruise - Another Wonderful Experience

Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by cfamilywales

Trip Details
We travelled to Miami with Virgin booked via Celebrity and managed to get seats on the Upper Deck by amending/confirming our booking online 24 hours prior to departure.
The flight passed without incident and we passed through Customs within 15 minutes of arrival as by chance they opened a few more Customs booths as we walked into the hall, however we then waited over 45 minutes for our bags, we were the last to get on the bus heading towards Fort Lauderdale...not good.

We stayed at the Hilton Marina. The room was fine, although perhaps not as clean as one would expect, a room service tray from the previous customer remained outside our door for the whole time we were there. The view of the bridge was fine but we could not see the Cruise Ships so clearly from the 4th floor.
The luxury boats around the Hotel were fantastic and excited the senses as we anticipated our week on the Solstice.
During the evening we took a walk along 17th Street and had a $9.99 Saturday Special at the Quarterdeck Seafood Bar, the atmosphere was excellent, as an added benefit they were showing British football on a few of the screens...
Next morning following an enjoyable breakfast at the Hotel, we took a walk along the bridge and took several photos of the Solstice and other ships in dock pending our embarkation. The wind was a little lively but the view was excellent.
At the time advised we went downstairs in readiness for collection and transit to the ship.....let the mayhem begin ! There were many, many people awaiting the appropriate time to be called forward for their respective bus/Cruise ship....it was nuts. Thankfully we had sorted our account from our room but we did not realise we had to get a ticket for our bus/ship, our tip is to sort your hotel account in the room get your bus ticket and go downstairs as early as possible for the 1st bus to the ship. Once we got to the dock, we experienced no further delay as for the first time we had booked Aqua and fortunately there was no line for embarkation.

The Ship....the ship is exceptional !!! It maybe the oldest in the Solstice class but it was in very good condition, brilliant white and so clean. We took the lift to the buffet, which was full due to the high winds outside. We decided to eat at Bistro on 5, the food and service was very good and eventually we headed off to our room on level 11 and then down to sort out our internet requirements, their organisation was not so good and they should share the process once or twice to many rather than try to communicate individually and get 20 questions all at once.
Muster Drill for Us was in the theatre, everybody was courteous and listened intently, a few chuckles at the various languages, but Celebrity made the point succinctly, things can and do happen...but our safety was paramount.
Once muster drill was finished, off we headed to the Sailaway Bar on deck 14, the sun was fighting to come out albeit the wind was still lively, we positioned ourselves with our Welsh Flag in readiness to pass the Port Everglades webcam for our Family to see our departure out into the open seas....fortunately, we were picked up by the webcam and phones calls, texts from home ensued....we were there "live on the webcam" waving to invisible Family and tightly holding onto our blustery flag) but hey we were on our way...a fantastic sailaway experience !

First night in Blu was relaxing and following a few drinks and a little walk we were off to bed, unfortunately the wind was up and the sea lively, our stateroom, 1540 at the front of the Ship on the 11th level was "dancing around" to say the least...we struggled through the night with motion sickness and simply couldn`t face the sea (or breakfast) in the morning, so we headed off to mid ship, level 3 to get our balance and stop our heads from spinning...3 hours later !
We created our own schedule for each evening...a drink on level 3 or coffee at Al Bacio, off to the theatre for the entertainment and then onto Blu for our evening meal.
The entertainment was excellent. We did not really bother on the Equinox but made the effort each evening this time and were glad we did. The US Comedian was good, the Juggler was excellent, the Neptunes an A Capello quartet were very good and the Solstice Team of singers and dancers were lively and very enthusiastic. The UK singer, Lindsay Hamilton was OK with a powerful voice although parts of her show were a little cheesy for Us.....sorry, no British loyalty here. The Captain also played his part....
Aqua Class and Blu were interesting. It is all about personal taste. Overall the food, quality and service in Blu was very, very good, however from our previous experience on the Equinox we found the MDR, coupled with the option of the Speciality restaurants, as good and in truth the variety broke up the monotony of Blu....our humble opinion.

The Cruise was arranged as a means of relaxation with the intention of using the Ship more than the port intensive trip around of the Med last August. Our excursions were limited but our port visits were as follows :

Grand Cayman - Quick walk around the town and a $5 pp shared Mini Bus onto Seven Mile Beach with fellow cruisers from Solstice, we sat together and had a relaxing few hours in the sun and sea with a beautiful view across to the 4 ships in Port that day, back to the ship and a few drinks on Solstice deck.

Cozumel - the highlight of this day was arriving at Port docking next to
Equinox, a memorable experience. The Port was kind of disappointing, quite small and the usual tourist items and jewellery shops, no character at all....we walked a mile or so down to a local bar for a drink and chill out watching the snorkelers, marvelling at the 2 imposing ships in Port.

Roatan - Our experience of Roatan was most not what the majority of people would recognise and, in hindsight, we should have organised an excursion, many people said how beautiful the island was. However Coxen Hole was THE most intimidating tourist spot we have experienced in years of travelling. Period.
Out of the Port to the right and onto the street with a yards, a number of men stood across the path/walkway, no effort to move and to pass them we had to walk out onto the busy road...we continued walking to shouts of "taxi, taxi, you wanna taxi" and onto "happy hour, come for happy hour drinks" drinks at 9.30 in the morning !? On we walked, when, as ridiculous as this sounds we were approached from behind by a boy who we "thought" was trying to get into our rucksack, we were spooked....he walked alongside us for a distance...he was not the issue, our concern was the others and the feeling in the town in general...a quick photo of the ship and we quickly turned around back to the Port area, down came the rain and back we go to the Ship, sad but true, but it was not a pleasant experience. We spent the rest of the day back on the ship and experienced Persian Gardens, the Spa area and enjoyed the freedom of the pool and the Lawn Club.
This was our experience and we share it for others to be aware of the town.

Costa Maya -- We pre-booked Maya Chan on feedback from CC and Tripadvisor. The bus trip was interesting, avoiding where possible, the pot holes in the track/roads, with a beautiful view of the Ship in port and the coastline and wildlife of Mexico.
On arrival at Maya Chan we were given a welcome drink and located at the beachfront. The seagrass makes it a little messy, they work hard to clean it but they are fighting nature, it is what it is, natural beauty. In reality, for every 101 white sandy beaches you can visit around the world, there are only a handful of Maya Chan`s.
We can only describe it as a quaint, rustic, beach front, chill out zone, with friendly Staff providing ample food & drink and fun, if you want it....Zach took us for a bike ride down the track and onto the beach where a local was using traditional techniques netfishing for sardines in the wine coloured water (where the fresh water from the cenote meets the sea water), a very natural, humbling experience...the point is, You will not get this at the 101 white sandy beaches around the world....

Back to the Ship and a sea day homeward bound for Fort Lauderdale.

Arrival at FL and off the ship was pretty straightforward, queuing for Customs clearance was a struggle as was the 45 minute wait on the bus for the last passengers and transfer to the Sheraton Miami Airport and use of the day room organised by Celebrity. An enjoyable, albeit a little pricey few hours sat at the pool/bar area but still cheaper and better than sat at the airport !!

Finally the Virgin flight back to Heathrow, amongst our fellow passengers.........only Richard Branson himself!
He walked among us and at the end of the flight, thanked us (over the pa system) all for flying Virgin, a nice touch and what a finish to a wonderful week.
cfamilywales’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

AquaClass
Cabin A2 1540
We stayed in stateroom 1540 on Level 11 as part of the AquaClass experience.
The room was clean, the facilities very good with plenty of storage, comfortable bed with nice pillows.
The shower and toilet facilities are excellent with ample space
We did experience excessive movement during the crossing to the Caribbean due to high winds, it affected us with motion sickness.
The room is not far from the escalators but we heard no noise
The balcony with view is fantastic.
The only issues we had were wearing of the rubber seal on the sliding door this did create a little wind noise and the dividing screen had a piece of paper to hold in position also to avoid knocking in the wind....minor points overall a very nice stateroom.
Penthouse Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins