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Age: 43


Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Celebrity Solstice

Sailing Date: 2010-05-23

Itinerary: Carribean

Overall, our cruise experience was quite positive. We had a group of 11 and all of us had an enjoyable time on the Celebrity Solstice. Staff were friendly and worked diligently for everyone on the cruise. The ship is elegant and is well upkept. Our cruise was sold out but the ship never felt really crowded. Food staff kept the lines moving at a good pace, wherever you were eating. A job well done by the crew of the Solstice!

For 6 dinners we were in the main dining hall. This included 2 formal nights. There is a menu that stays the same each night and another menu that changes every night. Most of us ordered from the menu that changes nightly. Either way, the food was of good quality. Do not expect it to be equivalent to fine dining level because it is not and not meant to be of that standard. Main dining hall food had good quality and variety.

We had a chance to try one of the specialty restaurants - the Murano. At $35 per person it was the most expensive of all the specialty restaurants and it was worth it. From the moment you step into the place to the service and food received, everything is of high quality and fine dining. Some dishes are cooked and served tableside. Staff are attentive. Lobster tail is recommended and can be ordered in three ways - thermidor, broiled, steamed.

The buffet cafe is well run as staff keep all food stations well stocked and the facilities are kept clean at all times. Food is fresh however, if you are looking for a late night bite, this area only serves sandwiches (mini-subs), pizza, fruit salad and various mixed salads.

If you are hungry and hankering for something more your alternative is room service. For late night craving, order from the TV as the menu there has a few more items compared to the printed menu in your cabin. Suggest the spaghetti bolognaise, chicken wings, shrimp cocktail, chocolate ganache, solstice burger,cookies and milk. Expect up to a 40 minute delivery time (we had room service 4 nights and averaged about 25-30 minutes with one time 40 minutes).

One last note - most of the food is made fresh from scratch. From the breads to the ice cream and desserts, this approach taken by Celebrity shows how committed they are to providing you a high quality and variety of food products. We were treated to fresh products everyday of our cruise - bread sticks, creme brulee, chocolate mousse and frozen yogourt just to name a few.

We had a veranda stateroom. It had ample space for 2 adults with a sitting area. You can stow away your luggage under the bed and there are plenty of drawers to store everything. The bathroom is large with a nice shower area with sliding doors - not curtains. Beds were very comfortable. The veranda is small but had 2 lounge chairs with a small table - enough for two to enjoy a small meal.

We had a concierge level stateroom which allowed you some nice little extras. Early embarkation and disembarkation. Welcome bottle of wine and fruit plate. Daily canapes. Use of umbrellas and binoculars. Expanded breakfast room service to include hot foods like cooked eggs. Nightly turn down service. A good amount of niceties for the extra money you pay for this level of service.

Solstice staff provide a wide variety of activities. There is a program for all age levels 19 years and younger however, due to the lack of people at most age levels it was basically kids under 10 that had a full program running during our 7 days. The teens group had some programs cancelled due to lack of numbers. Generally, there are activities for kids and teens however there are not many older kids and teens on the cruise.

For adults, there is a good variety of daily offerings - education speakers, hot glass blowing, fitness, spa, scrapbooking, wine/spirit tastings, golf putting and even lawn bowling. Of note the nightly shows in the theatre are of good quality. We had the Soltice singers and dancers - they did an very good job of entertaining us with song and dance each time they performed. There was a magic show that was enjoyable. There was also a comedian however if you have kids under 12 this may not be appropriate for them.

Overall, many things to do onboard and many things of good quality.

The cruise had 4 ports of call and I we had a chance to do a few land excursions. Some were good. Others were experiences that were not positive. Comments and complaints to excursion staff were met with some indifference and this was disappointing.

Georgetown, Grand Cayman Islands. We had an island highlights tour and were lucky to have all 11 of us in our own minibus. The tour guide was very informative and not only gave us historical information but also gave us insights into local tax rates, education and business.

Cozumel, Mexico. Some of us took a taxi to the downtown area where there was a map with recommended shops and places to go to. Not a bad excursion with safe places that are tourist filled and not off the beaten path. Some of us took the Discover Mexico Park excursion - a short taxi ride from the pier and about 2 hours long. A nice little place for you to learn about Mexican history. They also have 75 to 1 scale miniatures of the ruins and other landmarks of Mexico.

Costa Maya, Mexico. We took the 4 hour exursion to the Chacchoben ruins. Our guide was very informative and entertaining. He made sure that despite the fact that we were the 3rd bus out of the pier to the ruins, we arrived 2nd and were the first group to go through the ruins. This fast pace had it's advantages however, it also meant that we ended back on the ship 35 minutes earlier. We thought that the excursion itself was like a "must see" thing to do but the tour itself should have been closer to the 4 hour advertised time.

Roatan, Honduras. I will start off by saying that the two excursions that our group booked were negative experiences. The tour guide is a very important part of any excursion and the one for our island highlights tour was not very good. Our guide was young and the English was not good. It was almost as if all information given was from memory. Not much was told about history and the few questions asked about local information were not answered fully (for example education and weather). Part of this tour went to a small 3 storey mall that only had half the shops open as there was evident construction being done to a few shops. Also, we had a stop at a private home that operated as a small day spa. This American couple built a nice, large (by Honduran standards) home on top of a hill that gave us a great photographic opportunity. However the small souvenier stand and refreshment counter were bascially tourist traps. We felt this was a waste of time - half of our group engaged the owners in small talk and bought some liquid refreshments. We did not feel that this excursion was worth the time and did not offer much value. One excursion to avoid is the resort and lobster lunch. Some of us went to a resort beach and had a lobster lunch. The resort and beach itself was not very big. If the advertising made the place look high end, it is not. Some people got back on the bus and demanded to be brought back to the ship (they were brought back). The restaurant across the street from the beach is where you will have your lunch. It is not a buffet and the food is not even cooked at the restaurant. A person brings up your lunch in styrofoam boxes - luke warm. Many people that enjoyed the small beach area had sand flea bites - not a pleasant experience.

Generally, 3 out of 4 ports of call will offer you interesting excurisions and good experiences. From what our group experienced in Roatan, Honduras we would not recommend any land excursions here. The ship excursion staff basically told us the standards at this port of call are lower than the other ports of call. This might be a nicer way of saying that Honduras is a poorer country compared to Mexico and Grand Cayman Islands. Still, if the cruise company is advertising these land excursions they have some responsibility in making sure that some standards are kept - especially in the area of delivering what you are advertising.

Most defintely we will recommended the Solstice. It is a fabulous ship. Everything is well run, very clean and well upkept. An upscale, higher end ship. Again, the only negative experience that we had was with the excursions in the last port of call. This did not deter us from an otherwise good time on the Celebrity Solstice. We tried a bit of everything the ship had to offer and the only areas that we missed were the dance places, the Sky Lounge, the internet area and the place where you play cards. Compared to other ships, you will pay a bit more for the Solstice but it's worth it!

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