The Celebrity Cruise Lines' Celebrity Solstice is one of the most beautiful and innovative new large cruise ships launched in the past decade. The good news for cruisers is that she was the first of five in a series of ships to be built for Celebrity over the next several years.
I attended the Celebrity Solstice christening and two years later sailed the western Caribbean on the ship. My week on the Celebrity Solstice gave me plenty of time to dine in the restaurants, thoroughly explore the decks of the ship, and take over 100 photos, which are linked to the sections below.
The Celebrity Solstice cabins are comfortable and well-designed. The cabins are decorated in neutral colors, which provide a very relaxing atmosphere. The cabins also include double-doored connecting cabins and balconies for family cruisers, more spacious bathrooms with glass showers equipped with a foot rail for easy leg shaving, night light in the bath, individual reading lights at each nightstand, a shelf next to the bed for personal items, increased storage, and 32-inch flat-screen TVs in every cabin.
The only thing I missed in the cabin was a lighted magnifying makeup mirror.
The Solstice also includes 130 AquaClass cabins, which include many extra amenities that should appeal to those who like extra pampering.
Celebrity partnered with some of the world's best designers in the hospitality business to create the ten diverse restaurants onboard Celebrity Solstice. The vision of these designers is evident in the spectacular venues they created.
Four of the cover-charge specialty restaurants are grouped together aft on deck 5. One of these, Blu, is for the exclusive use of AquaClass passengers and those in suites. The other three specialty restaurants reflect a variety of dining options - Asian, Italian steakhouse, and Continental. All are excellent.
The Celebrity Solstice public areas are enhanced by 480 pieces of original art, most of which by well-known artists. The art director worked for three years to select the 4,750 pieces of art, totaling almost $6 million. According to the designers, the ship was to have an "edgy sensibility" that would appeal to more sophisticated cruisers who know what they want and like. I think they've succeeded.
The Celebrity Solstice also has the first glassblowing demonstration area at sea, in the middle of the Lawn Club.
You would expect a large cruise ship like the Solstice to have beautiful swimming pools, and this one has three. Two are outdoors--the family pool and the sports pool--and the third, the adults-only Solarium is indoors. The atmosphere is decidedly different at the Solarium. It is quiet, with luxurious lounges and a waterfall fountain that changes colors at night. The family pool has a fun fountain of its own, the Wet Zone.
This ship is ready for some warm weather cruising!
I especially liked the outdoor Sunset Bar, aft on the Lawn Club deck. It has terrific views of the ocean and serves up an excellent Eureka, the Lawn Club's signature cocktail.
Martini and vodka enthusiasts will enjoy the Martini Bar and Crush, and wine enthusiasts need to seek out Cellar Masters.
Past Celebrity cruisers will be glad to see old favorites like Michael's.
After my two cruises on the Celebrity Solstice, it is easy to understand why the ship is a big hit with vacationers. She sails the eastern and western Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale during the winter months and crosses the Atlantic to sail the Mediterranean out of Barcelona in the spring, summer, and fall. Wherever she cruises, the passengers are in for a wonderful large ship cruise experience!
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As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary cruise accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.