Celebrity Solstice - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Celebrity Solstice


Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 403 out of 500

Accommodation: 165 out of 200

Food: 297 out of 400

Service: 306 out of 400

Entertainment: 78 out of 100

Cruise: 299 out of 400

Overall Score: 1548 out of 2000

Celebrity Solstice Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 121,878

Lifestyle: Premium

Cruise Line: Celebrity Cruises

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9362530

Builder: Meyer Werft (Germany)

Original Cost: $641 million

Entered Service: Nov 2008

Registry: Malta

Length (ft/m): 1,033.4/315.0

Beam (ft/m): 120.7/36.8

Draft (ft/m): 27.2/8.3

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (67,200kW)/2 azimuthing pods

Passenger Decks: 14

Total Crew: 1,210

Passengers (lower beds): 2,852

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 42.7

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.3

Cabins (total): 1,426

Size Range (sq ft/m): 182.9-1,668.4/17.0-155.0

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 1,216

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 30

Wheelchair accessibility: Best

Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts

Elevators: 12

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 3

Hot Tubs (on deck): 6

Self-Service Launderette: No

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


Really elegant, understated decor in a premium setting

Overview. Celebrity Solstice is a sleek-looking ship, with two slim funnels.

The Ship. Celebrity Solstice has a steeply sloping stern, which includes a mega-yacht-style ducktail platform above the propulsion pods, and is quite attractive. The ship’s name is positioned directly under the navigation bridge and not forward on the bows (for space reasons), and the rounded bows accommodate a helicopter winch pad. An unusual feature is an outdoor grass area called the Lawn Club; it’s open to all, so you can go putting, play croquet or bocce ball, or have a picnic on the grass, and it’s a nice place to walk barefoot.

Several pool and water-play areas are positioned on Resort Deck: one within a glass-roofed solarium, a sports pool, a family pool, and a wet zone. The deck space around the two pools, however, isn’t large enough for the number of passengers carried.

The interior spaces are well designed, and the decor is elegant yet contemporary; most of the entertainment rooms are positioned forward, while dining venues are mostly located in the aft section of the ship.

There’s a wine bar with a sommelier; a pre-dinner cocktail lounge that reflects the jazz age of the 1930s and ’40s; a bar with the look of an ocean-going yacht; Quasar, a retro bar with large screens that create a nightly light show synchronized to music; and an observation lounge with a dance floor.

Celebrity’s signature Martini Bar carries over 100 varieties of vodka, as well as Martinis. There’s also a small alcove called Crush with an ice-filled table where you can participate in caviar and vodka tasting, or host a private party. It’s very noisy and congested, but can be a lot of fun.

A two-deck library is a delightful open-ended space, though books on the upper shelves are impossible to reach. The card room - located in the center of the ship, with no ocean view windows to distract players - is open and attracts noise from adjacent areas, so it’s useless as a serious card playing room. Fortunes Casino (non-smoking) has 16 gaming tables and 200 slot machines.

An innovative Hot Glass Show, housed in an outdoor studio on the open deck as part of the Lawn Club and created in collaboration with Corning Museum of Glass, includes demonstrations of glass-blowing. However, it’s a novelty, which may be why Celebrity Reflection and Celebrity Silhouette have replaced the glass show with an interactive Lawn Club Grill.

Public rooms include an Art Studio, for your artistic needs. Meanwhile The Alcoves are extra-cost ‘private’ Wi-Fi-equipped cabanas on deck, and cost $149 per day on sea days and $99 on port days.

Passenger niggles include lack of usable drawer space in cabins; inadequate children’s facilities and staff during school holidays; congestion when you exit the showlounge; and noise in the lobby when the Martini Bar is busy.

Gratuities are automatically charged to your onboard account.

Families. Play areas include the Fun Factory (for 3-12-year-olds, featuring Leapfrog Schoolhouse’s educational programs); and ‘X Club’ - a high-tech teens-only chill-out room with coffee bar and a night-time dance club.

Accommodation. From suite-grade Penthouse Suites to non-suite-grade interior cabins, the accommodation is practical and comfortable, and comes in numerous price grades, depending on size and location. In standard Interior and Ocean View cabins, there is little space between the bed and the wall, and usable drawer space is poor. So, if your budget allows, book a suite-category cabin for all the extra benefits - and a lot more drawer space.

About 90 percent of the accommodation is in outside-view cabins. Of these, 85 percent have a balcony, and, due to the ship’s slender width, there are few interior cabins. There are four suite-grade categories: Royal Suite, Celebrity Suite, Sky Suite, and Penthouse Suite.

All grades of accommodation include: twin beds convertible to a queen-size bed, sitting area, vanity desk with hairdryer, but almost no drawer space. Also standard in all cabins: 32-inch flat-screen TVs (larger screens in suites), Wi-Fi Internet access (for a fee), premium bedding. Although the closets have good hanging space, storage space is limited. The bathroom is small, with a shower, toilet, and tiny washbasin, and there’s no retractable clothesline.

Some 130 AquaSpa-class cabins share the relaxation room of the AquaSpa itself, incorporate select spa elements into the cabins, and allow for specialized access to the AquaSpa’s Thermal Relaxation Room and Persian Garden (with aromatherapy/steam rooms) on the same deck. Features include: a choice of four pillows (conformance, body, goose, Isotonic); express luggage delivery; shoeshine; Frette bathrobes; dining and seating preferences in dining venues; and early embarkation and disembarkation. In suite-grade accommodation there is more space, larger balconies and bathrooms, and more personal amenities. Occupants also get assigned seating at the exclusive 130-seat Restaurant Blu.

Other accommodation grades are Veranda Class, Sunset Veranda Class, Concierge Class, Family Ocean View with veranda, Deluxe Ocean View with veranda, Standard Ocean View, and Standard Interior cabins.

Cabins 1551-1597 on the port side and 1556-1602 on the starboard side on Penthouse Deck (Deck 11) suffer from ‘aircraft carrier’ syndrome because they are directly under the huge overhanging Resort Deck. They have little exposure to sun or light, and thick supporting struts ruin the view from these cabins, which are otherwise pleasantly fitted out.

Dining. Grand Epernay, the principal dining room that’s included in the cruise price, is located towards the aft of the ship, and has ocean views on both sides. The design is stunning and contemporary; however, the almost-backless tub-style chairs are not comfortable. At the forward end, a two-deck high wine tower provides a stunning focal point. The food is disappointing; the decreased quality is all too obvious to repeat Celebrity passengers.

Other dining options. Murano is an extra-cost, reservations-required venue offering high-quality traditional dining with a French flair and fine table settings.

Blu is a 130-seat specialty restaurant designated for occupants of AquaClass cabins. The room has pleasing (but rather cold) blue decor. The ambience is cool.

The Tuscan Grille, an extra-cost, reservations-required venue, serves Kobe beef and premium quality steaks.

Silk Harvest is a Southeast Asian extra-cost dining venue serving unmemorable pan-Asian fusion cuisine.

Bistro on Five (Deck 5, that is) is for coffee, cakes, crêpes, pastries, and more. It gets busy at times and the serving counter is small, so it’s a congested area.

Café al Bacio & Gelateria is a small coffeehouse serving Lavazza Italian coffee, situated on one side of the main lobby; lines quickly form at peak times.

Oceanview Café and Grill is the expansive, tray-less, casual self-serve buffet venue. It has a number of food ‘islands’ rather than those awful straight buffet counters. The signage is reasonable, but condiments are hard to find.

The AquaSpa Café is for light, healthier options (solarium fare), but the selections need improvement.

Entertainment. The 1,115-seat Solstice Theater, the main showlounge, stages three circus-themed production shows. Colorful theme nights are held in the Observation Lounge. The 200-seat Celebrity Central hosts comedy, cooking demonstrations, enrichment lectures, and feature films. Quasar is a high-pulse, high-volume nightclub. An Entertainment Court showcases street performers, psychics, and caricaturists, and is in the center of the ship. The Ensemble Lounge is a big-band-era cocktail lounge with live jazz, next to the Murano restaurant.

Spa/Fitness. The large Canton Ranch SpaClub at Sea is laid out over two decks. A large fitness center includes kinesis (pulleys against gravity) workout equipment, plus all the familiar muscle-pumping cardio-vascular machinery. An extra-cost, unisex thermal suite features several steam and shower mist rooms with fragrances such as chamomile, eucalyptus, and mint, and a glacial ice fountain, plus a calming relaxation area with heated tiled beds, and an acupuncture center.