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Swimmomof3

Post Cruise thoughts: AQ 1603

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I received a lot of helpful information on this site, and wanted to share a few post cruise thoughts. These are just my opins posted to be helpful (please don't slam me if you don't agree).

 

We took the Solstice Eastern Caribbean 8/08/10 cruise out of Fort Lauderdale. We have cruised Princess & Disney before with our children, and liked both of those trips. We are both in our early 40's, and are "foodies" and also into fitness. We took this one without the kids for a well-priced restful, luxury, romantic getaway. I feel like we got what we expected from this trip.

 

From the beginning we were impressed with our Celebrity experience. Getting on the ship was a breeze. We got there at 11:30 and were on the ship at 11:40 - slowed down only by the ship photographers. We brought two bottles of wine and a 12 pack of diet coke with us, but I think we could have brought more without them saying anything.

 

Our cabin was small but beautifully appointed. We had one of the cabins on an angle, with a larger balcony. 1605 and 1601 next to us definitely had larger balconies, but we wanted the bed by the bathroom. We had plenty of space, I cant imagine needing a bigger balcony. I loved the location of this room. We felt that our side of the ship had better views at the ports than the other side. I loved being on the angle. I loved being center ship, we had a really easy time getting everywhere - especially the pool, spa/fitness, and ocean cafe. We did not have a problem with noise.

 

The overhang: I was very worried about this before hand because of all the discussion on this site. I think its a non-issue. The overhang extends over the entire side of the boat and provides shade and relief from weather to all the cabins - regardless of where you are on the side. At least all the balconies I could see.

 

I used the balcony a ton. We drank our bottles of wine on it in the evenings. I frequently got breakfast or lunch at the ocean cafe and brought the food to eat on my balcony. Because we were so close, it was quicker than going to the dining rooms and nicer than eating in the cafe. It was just beautiful on the balcony - quiet and private. Sometimes I just sat out there to read or look at the ocean. That said, I cant understand why other people didnt seem to use theirs. I was out there a lot, and the only time I really saw other people using their balconies was when we were pulling out of ports.

 

Blu: We thought it was very nice. We definitely preferred the ambiance of a small restaurant to the large catering hall feel of the main diningroom. We were there to enjoy each other's company and wanted quiet dinners. Had we wanted a more boisterous evening meal, this was not the place. The waiters were all so nice, and the assistant dining room manager was really above and beyond helpful. We did not do any "extra" tipping until the last day.

I was very happy with almost all the food I had there. There was one night I did not like my appetizer or soup at all. I learned to say something right away, so that they could bring a replacement. I loved all the main dishes. I had: seared tuna, rack of lamb, lamb chops - salad, short ribs, lobster tail, and osso buco. I dont usually eat so much lamb, but those entrees appealed to me most, and they happen to prepare it well. I also thought the kitchen did very well with salads. The deserts were horrible IMHO. Everything had a weird fruit or was sugarfree or both. I wish they had one classic desert each night. I started asking them to track down chocolate cake for me (which they did). My mistake for not asking sooner. They accommodated all my requests cheerfully (eg. dressing or sauce on the side, shrimp cocktail, plates of steamed vegetables with dinner).

 

Murano: loved it. Great ambiance, great food, great wine steward, great service.

 

AQ: beyond Blu, we didnt think we would get so much benefit from AQ. We were wrong. We enjoyed all the little perks of our cabin and the AQ. I used the persian gardens and relaxation room everyday. Sometimes I would be the only person in persian gardens and it was amazingly restful. My husband spent more time in the adult pool area, but I found it very warm there.

 

Pool loungers: never had problem finding one.

 

Buffet cleanliness: excellent. Never saw anyone using fingers. Lots of staff to rotate food and help serve. I am always concerned with buffet cleanliness and usually chose not to eat a buffets - this one was great. Lots of choices. The only thing I would not eat was the sushi. I tried one piece, and I think they did something wrong with the rice (it was too solid). The fish was not good enough quality to remove from the sushi and eat as sashimi. I don't think it would make me sick, it just wasn't good.

 

Beverage plan: we didn't take it, and we didn't need it. We chose not to take it and let ourselves order drinks whenever we wanted them. We don't drink enough day after day to make it worthwhile. I was actually amazed at how low our roomcharges were. We checked every day to make sure they had our account posted correctly, but never had anything we needed to change.

 

Fitness center: lots of equipment, but still always crowded. Short waits frequently for the equipment. If you want to do a spinning/pilates/yoga class, make sure to stop by the fitness center to sign up as soon as you get on the ship. The classes all filled and went to waitlists. I took pilates, it wasnt really pilates, but it was still exercise.

 

Final thoughts - we had a very lovely adult trip. We walked quickly through the main pool area, which looked like Jones Beach to me. Packed with people, lots of music and noise. Since we ate at Blu, spent time on our balcony and the adult pool and the relaxation room/spa, we had a very quiet romantic vacation. Had we come with our children, I am sure we would have had an entirely different view of the experience.

 

I will happily answer any questions.

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Until late last year we had most of our recent cruises on Royal so were quite pleased with our re-introduction to Celebrity. For a child-less, romantic, luxury cruise in AQ, it can't be beat. I'm also pleased to note that the prices for AQ cabins have come down a bit in recent months. So glad to hear that you took full advantage of the AQ amenities, we intend to do the same in Jan. when we board the Eclipse. Sometimes it truly is all about the ship!

 

 

Happy cruising....Joanne

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Thanks for the review. DH and I are (both early 40s) booked the same cruise for Dec. We chose AQ for similar reasons, relaxation, spa, romance. We also use our balcony a lot!

 

We originally booked 1610 but I am such a light sleeper (too light) and every little bump wakes me. My very first cruise on Royal, we were in a JS and there was so much noise from above... SO much noise. So we decided to switch our AQ room to below other suites. Not as large a balcony but I'm fine with that. Now saying all that, you stated noise was not a problem... is that because it didn't both you or was there simply no noise?

 

We are looking so forward to this cruise and your review increased my excitement. I can't wait to experience Blu... I don't have a sweet tooth so I'm not concerned with the deserts, but the Tuna, Osso Bucco, lamb chops and short ribs sound divine!!

 

Did you have any spa treatments? Dh and I usually have two massages each per cruise and I'll do an additional treatment such as a facial or body wrap...

 

Cheers,

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Avigirl-

 

I am not a super light sleeper, so I may not be the best person to ask about noise. The only time I noticed any noise coming from above was in the afternoon. However, it was pretty muffled. I tend to doubt that there was much noise in the mornings since the pool area was pretty empty early on. If quiet is very important to you though you should stay with your room and not take a chance. One consideration is also what is near your cabin. We were near the library, so we had very little hall noise which I appreciated.

 

I did not do any spa treatments. I really wanted to but we were trying to keep our costs low this trip. The spa looked great. Watch for deals on board - they run quite a few specials. The first day they offered 20% off if you booked 3 treatments.

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Can you fill me in a little bit about Blu? If you're sailing in the Aqua Class category, can you request late seating? I like a set time for dinner. I'm a vegetarain so will this be a problem in Blu? Thanks so much.

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Swimmomof3... I just noticed your are from Cleveland... dh and I often fly over for lunch at Brasa Brazilian Restaurant. Yum! :)

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Can you fill me in a little bit about Blu? If you're sailing in the Aqua Class category, can you request late seating? I like a set time for dinner. I'm a vegetarain so will this be a problem in Blu? Thanks so much.

Blu is open seating. You show up, and they seat you. We tended to go sometime between 8 and 9 and never had more than a minute wait. We usually sat near the window at a two person table. When you sign up for seating just request a time (early or late) but it totally doesn't matter what you request.

 

Blu is great for vegetarians, they always had vegetarian options. They are also very accommodating - I love veggies and frequently requested a side of vegetables even though it wasn't on the menu. I really liked their salads also. You could also look at the various sides for the different dishes and ask them to bring you any of those that sound appealing.

 

If you like a particular server, let them know. They like to seat you with the same server (it increases the odds that you will leave additional tip, plus they will get to know your preferences).

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Great review, thanks for posting!! Fiance and I usually do suites onboard Celebrity, this cruise on the Solstice we have a Celebrity suite with a big balcony, I, like you, plan on spending lots and lots of time on that balcony :)

 

We are looking to book an AQ for a holy land cruise next year, and I'm so glad to hear your opinion on being on that level I was afraid it would be noisy, but it doesn't seem like it will be bad at all!

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Great review, thanks for posting!! Fiance and I usually do suites onboard Celebrity, this cruise on the Solstice we have a Celebrity suite with a big balcony, I, like you, plan on spending lots and lots of time on that balcony :)

 

We are looking to book an AQ for a holy land cruise next year, and I'm so glad to hear your opinion on being on that level I was afraid it would be noisy, but it doesn't seem like it will be bad at all!

 

What I really appreciated was how quiet it was in the mornings. We slept in everyday. We were definitely woken up early every morning on our other cruises - especially on port days. I really liked the limited number of announcements on Solstice. Also, we could barely hear the announcements, if I wanted to know what the captain was saying, I opened the door to my cabin. I think the low number of children on our floor also kept the noise down. No one running or yelling in the halls.

 

If you are average in noise sensitivity, it will not be a problem at all.

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Blu is open seating. You show up, and they seat you. We tended to go sometime between 8 and 9 and never had more than a minute wait. We usually sat near the window at a two person table. When you sign up for seating just request a time (early or late) but it totally doesn't matter what you request.

 

Blu is great for vegetarians, they always had vegetarian options. They are also very accommodating - I love veggies and frequently requested a side of vegetables even though it wasn't on the menu. I really liked their salads also. You could also look at the various sides for the different dishes and ask them to bring you any of those that sound appealing.

 

If you like a particular server, let them know. They like to seat you with the same server (it increases the odds that you will leave additional tip, plus they will get to know your preferences).

Thanks so much! Are we allowed to also dine in the MDR?

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Celebrity- I believe that you can dine in the MDR, but we never did. We tested out the MDR for lunch one day. The food was about the same quality as we had in Blu, but the service and atmosphere were not. We enjoyed the more intimate setting of Blu, and to our opinion, the superior service. When you are trying to get a server's attention, it is just easier in the smaller setting. But, we found everyone, everywhere to be very willing to help if asked. We did not encounter poor service anywhere on the ship.

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Celebrity- I have one more thought for you. There is a small spa cafe in the adult pool area. They have a small salad bar, and a few small plates of different dishes (varies by day), and a fruit desert bar. It would be great for a vegetarian light lunch. We found it the first day. We had planned to eat as frequently suggested on this site at bistro on 5. We were checking out the pool area, and saw that the spa cafe was available. It was a nice way to start the cruise eating by the tables by the pool. Quick and easy.

My husband who spent a lot of time at the adult pool really liked it since he could quickly and easily get healthy food and bring it back to his lounger there.

I have to admit, that I didn't like it quite as much as he did - maybe too healthy for me? I had a great salad, but then sometimes was still looking for a little something else...

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Celebrity- I have one more thought for you. There is a small spa cafe in the adult pool area. They have a small salad bar, and a few small plates of different dishes (varies by day), and a fruit desert bar. It would be great for a vegetarian light lunch. We found it the first day. We had planned to eat as frequently suggested on this site at bistro on 5. We were checking out the pool area, and saw that the spa cafe was available. It was a nice way to start the cruise eating by the tables by the pool. Quick and easy.

My husband who spent a lot of time at the adult pool really liked it since he could quickly and easily get healthy food and bring it back to his lounger there.

I have to admit, that I didn't like it quite as much as he did - maybe too healthy for me? I had a great salad, but then sometimes was still looking for a little something else...

Thanks so much! I was on the Millie in 2001 & they had the same thing. Will definitely take advantage of that.

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I received a lot of helpful information on this site, and wanted to share a few post cruise thoughts. These are just my opins posted to be helpful (please don't slam me if you don't agree).

 

We took the Solstice Eastern Caribbean 8/08/10 cruise out of Fort Lauderdale. We have cruised Princess & Disney before with our children, and liked both of those trips. We are both in our early 40's, and are "foodies" and also into fitness. We took this one without the kids for a well-priced restful, luxury, romantic getaway. I feel like we got what we expected from this trip.

 

From the beginning we were impressed with our Celebrity experience. Getting on the ship was a breeze. We got there at 11:30 and were on the ship at 11:40 - slowed down only by the ship photographers. We brought two bottles of wine and a 12 pack of diet coke with us, but I think we could have brought more without them saying anything.

 

Our cabin was small but beautifully appointed. We had one of the cabins on an angle, with a larger balcony. 1605 and 1601 next to us definitely had larger balconies, but we wanted the bed by the bathroom. We had plenty of space, I cant imagine needing a bigger balcony. I loved the location of this room. We felt that our side of the ship had better views at the ports than the other side. I loved being on the angle. I loved being center ship, we had a really easy time getting everywhere - especially the pool, spa/fitness, and ocean cafe. We did not have a problem with noise.

 

The overhang: I was very worried about this before hand because of all the discussion on this site. I think its a non-issue. The overhang extends over the entire side of the boat and provides shade and relief from weather to all the cabins - regardless of where you are on the side. At least all the balconies I could see.

 

I used the balcony a ton. We drank our bottles of wine on it in the evenings. I frequently got breakfast or lunch at the ocean cafe and brought the food to eat on my balcony. Because we were so close, it was quicker than going to the dining rooms and nicer than eating in the cafe. It was just beautiful on the balcony - quiet and private. Sometimes I just sat out there to read or look at the ocean. That said, I cant understand why other people didnt seem to use theirs. I was out there a lot, and the only time I really saw other people using their balconies was when we were pulling out of ports.

 

Blu: We thought it was very nice. We definitely preferred the ambiance of a small restaurant to the large catering hall feel of the main diningroom. We were there to enjoy each other's company and wanted quiet dinners. Had we wanted a more boisterous evening meal, this was not the place. The waiters were all so nice, and the assistant dining room manager was really above and beyond helpful. We did not do any "extra" tipping until the last day.

I was very happy with almost all the food I had there. There was one night I did not like my appetizer or soup at all. I learned to say something right away, so that they could bring a replacement. I loved all the main dishes. I had: seared tuna, rack of lamb, lamb chops - salad, short ribs, lobster tail, and osso buco. I dont usually eat so much lamb, but those entrees appealed to me most, and they happen to prepare it well. I also thought the kitchen did very well with salads. The deserts were horrible IMHO. Everything had a weird fruit or was sugarfree or both. I wish they had one classic desert each night. I started asking them to track down chocolate cake for me (which they did). My mistake for not asking sooner. They accommodated all my requests cheerfully (eg. dressing or sauce on the side, shrimp cocktail, plates of steamed vegetables with dinner).

 

Murano: loved it. Great ambiance, great food, great wine steward, great service.

 

AQ: beyond Blu, we didnt think we would get so much benefit from AQ. We were wrong. We enjoyed all the little perks of our cabin and the AQ. I used the persian gardens and relaxation room everyday. Sometimes I would be the only person in persian gardens and it was amazingly restful. My husband spent more time in the adult pool area, but I found it very warm there.

 

Pool loungers: never had problem finding one.

 

Buffet cleanliness: excellent. Never saw anyone using fingers. Lots of staff to rotate food and help serve. I am always concerned with buffet cleanliness and usually chose not to eat a buffets - this one was great. Lots of choices. The only thing I would not eat was the sushi. I tried one piece, and I think they did something wrong with the rice (it was too solid). The fish was not good enough quality to remove from the sushi and eat as sashimi. I don't think it would make me sick, it just wasn't good.

 

Beverage plan: we didn't take it, and we didn't need it. We chose not to take it and let ourselves order drinks whenever we wanted them. We don't drink enough day after day to make it worthwhile. I was actually amazed at how low our roomcharges were. We checked every day to make sure they had our account posted correctly, but never had anything we needed to change.

 

Fitness center: lots of equipment, but still always crowded. Short waits frequently for the equipment. If you want to do a spinning/pilates/yoga class, make sure to stop by the fitness center to sign up as soon as you get on the ship. The classes all filled and went to waitlists. I took pilates, it wasnt really pilates, but it was still exercise.

 

Final thoughts - we had a very lovely adult trip. We walked quickly through the main pool area, which looked like Jones Beach to me. Packed with people, lots of music and noise. Since we ate at Blu, spent time on our balcony and the adult pool and the relaxation room/spa, we had a very quiet romantic vacation. Had we come with our children, I am sure we would have had an entirely different view of the experience.

 

I will happily answer any questions.

 

Hi,

Solstice is a beautiful ship. we had 1603 in 6/2009 & booked it agin for 6/2011. Thank you for keeping it neat & clean :)

Carole

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Swimmomof3....thank you for posting about the AQ cabin, we have 1601 booked for News Years Eve cruise , our first "X" cruise. Cannot wait to be reading and relaxing on this balcony :D

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