Review of our Celebrity Solstice Cruise by Al Kruzins

The Winner Takes it All is most appropriate for this incredible class of ship. Awesome Cruise Director, Lisa Richard sang this ABBA/.Mama Mia song at the finale show. Best Cruise Director we have experienced, not a traditional Cruise Director background, senior Manager at Toshiba, with a love for theatre, toured and played in Vegas with Mama Mia, before joining Celebrity (X). One of the few female Cruise Directors at sea.

Captain Gerry Larsson-Fedde, also was one of the best (a Norwegian) with an excellent command of English, great humour (It’s only me!) and even surprised everyone with a song/guitar rendition of “Brown-eyed girl” at the final show. Don’t miss this show, even though everyone has to pack.

Captain Gerry and Lisa are on vacation for 2 months, May/June 2011, I think but returning in July to Europe.

General Comments

Best ship we have ever sailed. Excellent Celebrity service, food quality, food presentation, friendly greeting by officers and staff, easy ship layout, solarium, spa was great.

Officers were visibly present throughout the ship and you don’t always see that. No heavy sales pitches or announcements.
Celebrity has hit a home run with the Solstice class, you must sail this. Princess, NCL and Carnival can’t come close. Royal Caribbean is close in many features though and our next favourite.

Best suited for mid-50’s age group, but a very good children’s program in place., People who appreciate great dining/presentation will enjoy this.

Royal Caribbean and Carnival have more activities with climbing walls, wave riders, ice rink, slides but you can’t go wrong with Celebrity.

Features

X has introduced drink packages, most other lines have not. Classic pack is $39/day plus 15% gratuity, includes waters, smoothies, special. Coffees, pop, beer/water up to $5 and wine/alcohol up to $8. Many people chose this, a good option, we did not. Other packages also available.

Dining and Wine/Dine packages also offered with good wine selection.

They had several drink specials, 3 days I think, buy one get one free from 4-5 pm, How about a yummy mudslide or sex on the ship(beach!)

We love the fact that there is no smoking in all rooms and balconies (just like Royal Carib) we did have to report some people a few times, as smoke blew into our balcony several times, Security was prompt and they were warned, third time they would be fined $250.

Real grass lawn club on Deck 15, playing bocce ball etc, besides Corning Hot Glass blowing show. They had string quartet concerts, acoustic etc on the grass, wine/cheese in lawn area, very nice, something you won’t find on any ship.

Embarkation, disembarkation was very good. We opted for walk off disembarkation, seems many others did as well, we waited 45 min.

Room

Nice linens, beds comfortable, roomy shower ( we had a Balcony 2B, Deck 6 midship- all balconies, concierge and aqua class are the same size-more amenities with the latter two though) Nice touch, night light in Solstice class bathrooms, leg shaving bar for the ladies, flat panel tv’s powered by Apple, got 14 channels (Apple computers in the iLounge)

For those of you who don’t know, there are no clocks in any ship stateroom (only on the phone), so bring your own clock, also most don’t have night lights (bring your own on other ships), we used earplugs, fan noise not high, but we like it quiet. Good size balcony with quality furniture with see through balcony railing.

Entertainment

Various additional artists performed in Deck 3 and 4 atrium open areas (good use of space) and throughout the ship. Acoustic guitar (Jana Seale) , string quartet (Adagio strings), jazz (Cheek to Cheek quartet), A Cappella quartet (Metro Park).

Great Celebrity Life lectures, Captain’s ship navigation, recycling talk, improve comedy workshop (Nancy Howland Walker) , humour (Rich Ceisler-very late adult shows except for last night), body health, detox, dance, trivia etc.

Shows: Ghostlight-Spirit of Broadway (great songs), David Meyer (xylosynthesizer-amazing), Tony Pace-vocals/impersonator-excellent, The Show (acrobatic/Cirque –unique) Pulse (up tempo, active music/dance-interesting) and finale, (variety show of previous and the big finish with Captain and Lisa)

Past Captain’s Club had great events, wine tasting, backstage tours, officer party etc.

Dining

Grand Epernay, main dining was outstanding, our waiter/assistant were efficient. Last formal night has lobster tail. They offered some specialty dining appetizers on certain days.

Food quality, temperature, great desserts, great everyday food options (shrimp cocktail, escargot, Caesar salad, salmon, steak etc- available everyday)

We went to buffet for breakfast (after workout, great equipment, quite busy in the am) and lunch, did not use dining room for those meals but others did.

Tuscan Grill- best dining experience almost ever on land or sea (well worth $30 each) on deck 5, way aft, picture window, wake view with sunset- Italian flavor, presentation/food quality over the top. Saw Murano and Silk Harvest, menus looked good, others had positive view, Blu-healthy dining for AquaClass or Suite guests only ( we heard very good, but some though it was too healthy and came for main dining)

Had great lunch at Bistro on Five (crepes soups/salads, for only $5 each) AquaSpa café (free, very healthy lunch).

Other

We used Premier parking in Fort Lauderdale, $48 incl tax for the week, had to switch lots and delays in pick-up, but priced right.

One of the best vacations ever on a fantastic ship.