I was doing some year-end cleanup today and came across my unpublished notes taken while we were onboard the Celebrity Solstice for our 2010 family spring cruise. The Celebrity Solstice represents my favorite total onboard experience from the sensational food and service to the high-quality entertainment. Below are notes, photos, and video that I took while onboard in April 2010.
Overall the entertainment on the ship was solid. The Celebrity Solstice Cruise Director, John Grantham hails from the USA and the comedic Greek Captain was always good for a few laughs.
Celebrity Solstice “The Show”
A Cirque style show was full of energy, talent, humor, and excitement. My 8 year old son loved it and my wife felt it was the best show she has seen at sea. If you are cruising on the Solstice, make sure you do not miss The Show.
The pianist, Pawel Pakora, drew a large crowd nightly in the Grand Foyer. On the Celebrity Solstice The music from the foyer can easily be heard from all of the public spaces that fill the 12 floors around the grand atrium elevator bank.
The Hot Glass Show:
I was aware of the Hot Glass show before going on the Celebrity Solstice. I was surprised by the number of shows they did during one sailing. It seemed like every time I turned around I met someone who won one of pieces of glass from the show. Corning only invites true glass blowing experts to be part of the show. The lead glass blower is considered to be one of the top 10 glass blowers in the world.
The Beer Package: Celebrity offers an all you can drink Liquor Package, Beer Package, or Frozen Drink Package. I bought the beer package which was about $32 per day and it included gratuities. So as long as I drank 5+ beers each day the package was cheaper than buying them separately. It was nice not stressing about my bar bill. I knew as long as all I ordered was beer that my Bar Bill would be $230 for the whole week. This was my first cruise with an all inclusive alcohol package and I will get it again on my next Celebrity Cruise.
The Bars and Lounges
Celebrity has always had a reputation for serving up some of the best cocktails at sea. They take the indulgence to the next level on the Solstice class ships with Crush adjacent to the Martini Ice Bar pairs caviar and vodka on a ice-filled table. The Sky Observation Lounge is a trendy hot spot with unbeatable views of the constellations. My favorite was enjoying a beer in the country club setting at The Patio on the Lawn as the sun sets over San Juan.
The Fun Factory, kids program.
My 8 year old son, Dylan enjoyed the Fun Factory. The Fun Factory allowed us to move him up to the 9 – 11 year old room because he was the oldest in the 6 – 8 room. My only complaint with the Celebrity Solstice design is the location of the Sports Court. It is at the very front of the ship on the 12th deck. With the wind it was next to impossible for them to hold the events planned for the sports court like dodgeball and basketball. Ideally the sports court would be blocked by the wind by being in the middle or the back of the ship. But the Solstice has the Solarium in the middle and the Lawn/Hot Glass Show toward the aft. I agree with their priorities and love the grass lawn…. Just don’t plan your day around the scheduled dodgeball tournament, it may not happen because of all the wind.
Similar to other brand new cruise ships, the Celebrity Solstice offers a state of the art workout facility was large and comfortable. The Gym has amazing views from almost all exercise stations and offered plenty of space to relax post workout.
Aqua Class Balcony Cabins:
We had a Sky Suite Cabin and did not get to experience the Blu specialty restaurant reserved for the Aqua Class Cabins. Everyone who we met staying in an Aqua Class Suite loved Blu and thought the amount of money to upgrade to the Aqua Class was well worth it.
We loved the Aft rear facing balcony and the extra living space of the Sky Suite. It was by far the best cabin that we have sailed in to this point in our cruising career. Our 8 year old son has ADHD. The extra space gave him more room to roam while we hung the cabin which helped make the time spend in the cabin a pleasant experience. It was our first cruise with a butler and it took us a couple of days to get a good feel for how to use the butler. You pay about $4 more per person per day in gratuities for the suite. We had breakfast special ordered each morning delivered at 8:30am by our butler. We also had 60 laundry items cleaned and folded prior to our final departure. Returning home with clean clothes was priceless! After experiencing the Celebrity Solstice Sky Suite for 7 days it will be tough cruising in a non-suite cabin. Here is a video taken while we were relaxing in the Sky Suite:
The Celebrity Solstice is leaving the Caribbean in May of 2011. With prices starting as low as $659 for 7-night vacations, it is my number 1 pick for the best value at sea. Check availability on 2011 Caribbean departures.