Well, it took me long enough but had a few facts, memories, items, etc. from our Oct 3 Solstice cruise. So, in no particular order, here goes:
First off, really liked the ship. Very classy yet modern. We have done mostly RCCL and found the ship, to no one here's surprise I'm sure, to be a little more upscale. And on the RCCL comaparison subject, we did note that the activities leaned more towards the entertainment, vs. the dancing etc. In fact, the Quasar club was virtually, heck, not virtually, actually, empty pretty much the whole week. If you like to get out and dance, club, etc, this is not the ship for you. We did find the entertainment to be pretty good, contrary to what you read about Celebrity. But I'd say that with a qualification. While some of the singing/dancing, aerial acts, etc, were very good, they tended to overuse them. By that, I mean that you saw the same things show to show to show. The music/dancing would change but the you kept seeing the aerialists. Now they were good but you couldn't get away from the impression that Celebrity felt that since they had paid for and installed all that equipment, they were going to use it at every show. Got pretty monotonous. Plus, they had this one guy who was a mime of sorts. He was pretty good at what he did, but he was in every show, and there was WAY too much of him. It got to the point that when he would come on, you could hear people around you saying '"not this guy again", followed by, "is he ever gonna stop" because his parts were waaay too long. And I'll be honest, we are pretty easy when it comes to shows, so the fact these parts stuck out to us was pretty eye opening. The cruise director, on the other hand, was great. Her name was Lisa Richard. She was very personable, and an incredible singer. Of course we later discovered that was because her background was in musical theatre, having been in the cast of a Mama Mia production. She was really good.
Some of the activities were pretty good also. They do a cooking competition between 2 of the ships chefs, with assistants from the audience. Pretty funny. Plus the head chef is up there and he is also very funny. In fact, we saw more of him during the week than we have ever seen of a head chef. Very personable. But, I started to think that he was putting himself in the line of fire. I can't tell you how many times I heard people complaining to him about some small inconsequential item that they seemed to think rose to the level of a capital offense. In fact, a bunch of our group would just listen to this and laugh outloud it got so ridiculous. But he was really good with even those people. The captain was also very funny. His bit when introducing the crew was hilarious. I won't spoil it in case anyone is going on Solstice soon but trust me, he has this stiff, but funny delivery that is something. They also have a crew water volleyball game in the pool one day which, on our sailing, was the bridge staff vs. (if I remember correctly) the hotel staff, most in their uniform shirts, or at least their epaulets. The capt. had a uniform shirt with eapulets, and the sleeves cut off, and he entered the pool by doing a flip off the railing. A little more athletic than you'd expect from a captain. The game was really fun to watch.
The pools were, not surprisingly, pretty small, but still nice. The solarium was pretty nice. We wanted to see if they would enforce the adult only policy but as it turned out, there were hardly any kids/teens the ship anyway. We had breakfast there a few days. It was good quality but we couldn't help but compare it to the Solarium breakfast we had in December on Oasis, and the Solstice one had less than a quarter of the choices. So we were a little disappointed there, but again, what they did have was good. The cabin was nice, pretty much a standard balcony cabin you'd find on RCCL/Celebrity. Big screen TV was very nice though. They had really comfortable chairs on the balcony. Made it a joy to sit out there. One thing we did notice, and pass along for future cruisers is to be careful what you put in the drawers. The storage area is next to the cabinet with the minibar/fridge and that thing is throwing off some heat. So, we always had toasty warm socks and underwear every day. But if you did not know this, and put your little nightly pillow chocolates in there, it would probably not be pretty as there is way more than enough heat to melt chocolate. So, just be aware of that.
One last thing we noted, you do feel a little more motion on this ship, for the sea conditions. More so than we have on other ships of similar size. It's not terrible, but it is noticeable. But then again, that never bothers me as I've spent entire days at sea fishing where my feet were off the deck more than on it. We had a great cruise. Never made it to St. Maarten due to weather and instead went to Montego Bay. So a little unscheduled adventure was fun. That's pretty much all I had jotted down. Great ship.
Yeah, It's been pretty interesting tracking it the last few weeks. it's like a type of 'see the caribbean' tour. And yep, not your typical Captain. We thought he seemed younger than your standard issue. Then I saw the pics of the new Captain on Allure. In some pics it looks like he might still have his drivers learning permit.