This is my continued post of my winter 2012 honeymoon cruise sailing to the eastern Caribbean aboard the Celebrity Solstice. If you just started reading, head back to the first post.
We are now on day 6 of the cruise. This day and the following are sea days prior to the dreaded end of vacation on day 8. Of course we started with room service breakfast. We actually had to eat our breakfast in the cabin because it was actually too warm & sunny to eat outside. On the return trip of the Eastern Caribbean the aft cabins get direct sunlight all morning. Because of the aft location of the balcony, there is little wind.
There was a lot to entertain you with on this sea day. To start, it was the day of Grand Buffet Brunch in the MDR (main dining room.) This is Celebrity’s replacement of the midnight buffet which is essentially now a thing of the past on most, if not all, cruise lines. You really had to search to know it was occurring. I knew to look for it, and our waiter may have told us about it, but I cannot be certain. There is one small line in the Celebrity Today in the dining section advertising the brunch. It really is not to be missed. The food was excellent, and the selection was extensive. They had it all. Brunch went from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you want to take pictures of the beautiful fruit carvings you will want to get there early. Tip- if you want to avoid crowds but still eat around lunchtime, get there a little before noon. They had it set up with salads, cheese, bread and desserts in the middle of the room. And on each side of the food area they had the ‘main courses’ laid out. There was a fresh stir fry station, an omelette station, a meat carving station, and a good mix of breakfast and lunch options. The bar offered a special of 2 mimosas for $6.00.
Activities that could have been chosen for the afternoon included: a presentation “Cook This, Not That”, an Oceans Ahead Presentation, and two Beyond the Podium Series. You seriously could have spent the afternoon in seminars. They also offered their infamous “Officers vs. Guests Pool Volleyball Challenge”.
Tonight was the final formal night of the cruise. I had filet mignon shish kabob. It was VERY good. As has been stated by other reviewers, the lobster in the MDR is not what they are known for. It is like a seafood trio, with only a small portion of actual lobster. The people at out table did not love it. Our waiter gave us the above pictured cake for celebrating our honeymoon on the cruise.
There was plenty to do in the evening of this 6th day of the cruise. The evening show was one of the broadway type performances, “Pulse”. It was great. They had a “Dessert Extravaganza” from 11:15 pm – 12:15 in the Sky Lounge. There was also a “Black & White 80’s Night deck Party” poolside from 10:30 pm – late. Finally, this was the last night of the comedian’s weekly performance of his show at 11 pm. The comedian for the week was Tony Daro. He was VERY FUNNY, and entertaining. Unfortunately some of the intoxicated guests were so obnoxious with their attempt to be a ‘part of the show’, that we eventually had to call it a night before his show was over. I wished that I had more energy to participate in more events this evening, but I cannot hang.
Day 7 of the cruise – the final full day – A day at Sea
As is with most cruises that I go on, the final day at sea had some cooler temperatures. I am not sure why this always seems to be. We did not let it get in our way of fun of course. We started our day with room service breakfast on the balcony. We lazed around in the morning, reading and just relaxing. Lunch was enjoyed in the MDR. Although this was a bit of a mistake. As a past Celebrity cruiser, and member of their Captain’s Club, our appreciation party was this day at 1:30 pm. Other lines that I had cruised with did their appreciation event in the evening serving limited and tiny appetizers and offering a few complimentary drinks. Celebrity goes over the top with their event. (The mistake in going to the MDR for an enjoyable lunch was that I was so completely stuffed because I ate more food at the event.) There was a fresh crepe dessert station, a sushi station, meat carving station, fruit station. It was IMPRESSIVE. Their drinks selection had something to satisfy any taste. They had about 8 alcoholic drinks to choose from, plus soda. A note to those attending, there is a dress code and they enforce it. No shorts was the big sticking point. They would also ask you to change if you were too casual. The official dress code was Smart Casual and above. The event should not be missed by repeat cruisers. If you are new to cruising Celebrity- make sure when you return home that you sign up to be a member of their Captain’s Club. There is no charge to join, but you have to sign up.
If you were not a member of the Captain’s Club, there was a variety of Celebrity Life Activities to choose from to occupy you during the day- a Beyond the Podium Enrichment Series, an Ocean’s Ahead presentation, a cooking class, etc. There was not a charge to attend these events.
Dinner on this last night included a turkey dinner option. I should have listened to our waiters grimace- it was not great. Probably fine, but not the same level of enjoyment that I had with the other meals on this cruise. However, there were SO many amazing appetizers to choose from that I was fully satisfied before the meal even came. I believe I had 3 or 4 appetizers. The fried goat cheese was the stand out! But all of my choices were great.
The show for the last night was “Ultimate Variety Show.” We missed this and instead opted to pack our bags as our cruise was ending the next morning. 😦
Day 8 – We hope you had fun, now GET OUT!
Well, the last morning of the cruise. As with all lines, you need to get up early and GET OUT. At least out of your cabin. Unfortunately there is no room service option of the last day. They did at least offer breakfast in the MDR, which started and ended early. We opted to eat in the Ocean View Cafe’. It was not as crowded as I expected it to be, but not as pleasant as breakfast in our cabin…
As you will read online, Celebrity does not have the embarkation system down pat. From reading cruise critic reviews after the cruise, they appeared to be severely behind schedule in debarkation. We had an 11:30 flight so we chose to carry off our luggage. I over-packed since I didn’t have to worry about luggage fees, and it was a bit of a pain carrying all our luggage off. The elevators were packed. In fact we waited 10 minutes just to get in an elevator with our luggage. The plan for people doing the self carry-off was to be in the 3rd floor of the MDR by 8:30. The line for self-disembark was LONG. You then had to carry your luggage down a flight of stairs to the 2nd floor. In my opinion, this was a mess. A long walk followed to the customs. And another long walk to the private car pick-up. The Fort Lauderdale airport is only 15 minutes away. We had no problem arriving at the airport the requisite 2 hours before the flight.
So, the cruise was over. Boo. But it was a great week! I liked the Celebrity line so much that I am actually going back on the Solstice for a Mediterranean cruise this spring!
If you have any questions that you would like me to answer in the follow-up post, feel free to post the question in a comment or email me. Happy Travels.