On November 14th, Celebrity Solstice set sail on its quick three day inaugural cruise and ship naming around the Fort Lauderdale waters. We were among the approximately 1500 people lucky enough to be invited on board.
I never thought cruises were something we would enjoy. We imagined them to be merely an eating feast, but boy were we proven wrong during the Celebrity Solstice inaugural cruise. We are sure that we have been spoiled by the amazing time we had on this fabulous ship. We learned that there were plenty of things to keep one busy and entertained. In addition to the amazing food and beverage choices, there are a host of activities like basketball, lawn sports, game arcades, plays, circus performances, comedy shows, shopping, classes, dancing, reading in the beautiful library, swimming, sun bathing and more.
If you want to use a computer, the media room or your own cabin have access to the internet. You can wander the ship, meet interesting people at the pool, the bars, everywhere or you can just keep to yourself. We saw so much in the short three day cruise but there’s a lot more that we did not have time to see. The only negative part of the entire trip was the need to leave after only three days. Days that whet our appetite for hopefully, many more cruises in the future. Here is what we experienced:
We flew from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale and as soon as we arrived, the trip became a fairytale as a limo service was waiting at the airport, the driver with a sign in hand with the name Cortez. We were whisked off for an overnight stay at the nearby Hilton. After plenty of rest, we got picked up to go to port for the Naming of the Cruise and Ceremony for the Celebrity Solstice.
We boarded the ship and were in awe of its magnificence. Being novices, we couldn’t compare it to any other experiences on any other ships, however, we talked to many seasoned travelers and their unanimous opinion was that the Celebrity Solstice was at the top of their list of the finest ships they had ever sailed. And how exciting that the Solstice is the first of five ships that will be built for Celebrity over the next several years.
Our cabins were classy and spacious, yet lacked room for storage especially for a couple on a week or longer cruise. They were decorated in neutral colors which provide a very relaxing atmosphere. The welcoming kit featured teeth-whitening, slippers, spa amenities, bottled water and shower gel. The light dimmers were great as they set the mood for a couple's retreat. The 32-inch flat-screen TV was another perk with special programming for a dedicated television channel which displayed the name(s) of the guest(s). Also the television programming included music. The European-style bedding tempted us, but with all the activities awaiting us, we were off to continue our adventure.
Some cabins included double-door connecting suites with balconies, more spacious bathrooms with glass showers equipped with a foot rail. At each nighstand you have individual reading and a shelf next to the bed for personal items. Our cabin had most of these amenities.
Celebrity has invested over $5 million in the artwork on the Celebrity Solstice and each and everywhere you step reveals the creative amazing hard work that was put into this beautiful vessel.
Famished we headed to the Oceanview Café, a lavish cafeteria providing a large array of meats, ethnic foods, large varieties of salads and condiments, desserts that tempted our sweet tooth: pecan pie, crème brulée, chocolate cupcakes and lots more. After eating we decided to head for the game arcade for some fun.
One would think the game arcade is just for kids, and that’s true, kids of all ages! We had a blast racing cars, playing air hockey and lots of other fun games. After all this we decided to get another bite at the Bistro on Five before going to the comedy show.
The Bistro on Five served just about everything. This restaurant had mouth-watering crisp salads, freshly made crepes, delectable pastries. After eating we went to the comedy show at the Celebrity Central where we spent the evening laughing until our bellies ached. The Celebrity Central also provided performances from live music to classic films.
After a long day, we went back to our cabin, took in the moonlight and fell soundly asleep as the gentle ocean rocked us to sleep.
After a wonderful night's rest, we took a stroll around deck and to the beautiful swimming pools. The Solarium, an indoor lap pool for adults was our favorite especially at night when the beautiful fountain slowly changes colors. This lovely pool has a cascading waterfall for its background that continuously changes color. The two outdoor pools, family pool and sports pool, feature musical entertainment and relaxation under a canopy which was opened from sunup to sundown. Next to the family pool is a fun fountain for children named the Wet Zone. While the kids are playing in the Wet Zone fountain, adults were enjoying the lounge area atop the ship on the Solstice Deck. There are also great sun beds for those wanting a tan.
Next was the Celebrity Solstice Christening Ceremony. Every cruise ship names a Godmother to bestow blessings and good will in the hope that all who sail aboard the cruise ship will always return to harbour safe and sound. Sharon L. Smith was the chosen one for the prestigious role ( read about the Solstice Christening Ceremony here).
The Lawn Club provided outdoor activities: putting, bocce and croquet on the first turf lawn cruise ship. Their remarkable art gallery presents collections from all genres. Gambling is another activity at Fortunes Casino.
Seeking a book and a comfy couch? Their two story library more than accommodates the avid reader. The library is also great for an intimate seating area, rendezvous with friends or just to sit and take a break. With the ship's internet café, Online@Celebrity, family and friends were but a mouse click away.
We watched the demonstration at the Hot Glass Show, unique to the Celebrity Solstice. This show was presented by the Corning Museum of Glass and Celebrity Solstice. We watched as the glass blowers heated the glass and worked the pieces into delicate works of art.
If you are interested in being pampered, try the AquaSpa or Persian Garden.
We had dinner at the Silk Harvest Restaurant, a fabulous Asian restaurant. The meal was one of our favorites. We did not have time to eat at most of the other wonderful restaurants and are really looking forward to doing so in the future.
Later that evening, we attended a media cocktail party in the Solarium with Celebrity’ s executives and PR team. We raised our glasses to the new vessel and were on our way to the Solstice T heatre.
If you love theatre, the Solstice provides shows that will blow your mind. The European performances included vocalists, physical comedy, acrobatic and aerial renditions and many more eye-popping acts. After this we were exhausted and decided to return to our room, but before that, we went out on the deck and took in the breathtaking moonlight over the ocean.
As regulars now, we went back to the Oceanview Cafe which was the most convenient dining on the ship. To quench our thirst, we searched out The Sunset Bar and had ourselves some margaritas.
Here are some interesting facts about Celebrity Solstice: 85% of the staterooms are equipped with a private veranda. This is the first cruise with a Hot Glass Show and Lawn Club. The three productions created specifically for Celebrity Solstice: Celebrity Central, Solstice and Equinox. There are more than ten restaurants on board - Grand Epernay Dining Room, Blu, Tuscan Grille, Silk Harvest, Murano, Bistro on Five, Café al Bacio & Gelateria, AquaSpa Café, Mast Bar & Grill and Oceanview Café & Bar. New venues including Crush, Cellar Masters, Ensemble Lounge, Passport Bar, Quasar, Galleria Tastings, Sky Observation Lounge and Celebrity Central.
If you love to shop, there are 18 retail venues. Upcoming cruises include: Best of Europe, Ancient Empires, Transatlantic, Ultimate Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean and Eastern Mediterranean.
We have determined that taking a cruise is something that everyone should experience. With the food, drinks, fun, relaxation and entertainment as well as the opportunity to meet interesting people from all over the world. On one ship you can have the best of all worlds while getting back in touch with ones self, your friends, loved ones and Mother Nature in her beautiful home on the sea. It was indeed three memorable days on the Celebrity Solstice.
Book your cruise today and coast your chosen waves at Celebrity Solstice.