Celebrity Solstice

Reviewed by: Jane Burrows – Travel Specialist     

Date: 14 Jan 2018

Cruise line and ship: Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Solstice

Size of ship: 317 meters in length – 122,000 grt

Passenger capacity: 2,850    Year built: 2008

Year refurbished/revitalised: 2016

Where the ship cruises: Alaska, Pacific, South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia

Currency onboard: USD

Main features/highlights: The Lawn Club at the top of the ship is an unusual feature only on the Solstice class. Featuring real grass, this area often hosts lawn games or picnics. The Persian Garden is the onboard spa facility which is large, airy and included for AquaClass guests. Those who love shopping will find a large shopping area set apart from main lounge areas and includes labels such as Tiffany & Co. The Martini Bar and Crush features a clever ice covered bar so your drinks don’t get warm and up to 100 different brands of Vodka.

Most suited to: 30 – 70 year olds wanting a modern experience with exceptional food and luxurious surroundings.

Atmosphere: Vibrant yet calm and relaxing. The ship is so spacious and nowhere seemed to be crowded. With three pools there are plenty of sun lounges and spaces to sit on deck with several bars meaning you never have to go far or wait long for a drink.

Encounters with service staff: Very friendly and helpful

Staterooms: During our inspection, we didn’t view the staterooms as embarkation had started.

Dining Rooms: We had lunch in the Grand Epernay Dining Room – absolutely lovely food and the service was exceptional.  We also saw Blu which is exclusively for AquaClass passengers. This dining venue offers healthy options and has a lovely atmosphere and decor.

Entertainment: As this was just an inspection we didn’t see any entertainment though there was a three piece band playing in the atrium which already had people dancing!

Activities: The ship isn’t big on big bells and whistles. There is a great Jogging Track and a choice of several swimming pools including an adults only pool which is under cover.

Family facilities: We didn’t view the family facilities however all ages are catered to in different ages groups. The facilities are cleverly set apart from other adult areas so that the kids have their own space.

Inclusions: Dining in the main dining room is included however there are several extra tariff restaurants. Drinks are not included however Celebrity Cruises often have deals available that include a beverage package, WiFi or onboard credit. Blu restaurant is included for Aqua Class and the new Luminae Restaurant is included for suite guests.

Exclusions: Specialty restaurants, beverages, gratuities, shore excursions, laundry and all items of a personal nature. Note that generally gratuities can be included in your fare and deals often include beverages or more.

Self service laundry: No however the ship offers a paid laundry and dry cleaning facility. 

Insider tips: Remember to take a power adaptor as the ship has US style plugs. The ship does have formal nights however leave your tuxedo at home. A nice suit or little black dress will go a long way. Also – remember things like sunscreen – it’s expensive onboard and overseas! Don’t eat to much before going onboard – there are so many fantastic places to try so you will be eating a lot!

Royal Caribbean – Harmony of the Seas

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International

Size of ship and passenger capacity: 226,000GRT and carries 5479 passengers

Year Built: 2016

Where the ship cruises: Europe and the Caribbean

Currency onboard: USD

Two completely separate gangways were in operation, which made for a smooth embarkation and disembarkation process.


Main features: We were impressed by the amazing array of artwork all over the ship. The Bionic Bar featuring robotic bartenders was also great – program in your drink order and the robots will pour and serve it to you! This a grown-up cruise ship! Basically she has more of everything plus some exciting new things.

Most suited to: Everyone. There is something to suit every style of passenger and age group.

Atmosphere: Harmony of the Seas is a stylish ship with a great layout of precincts or ‘neighbourhoods’ offering various activities.

Encounters with Service Staff: Smiling, laughing, welcoming. It may be what the manual says but the staff all played their parts superbly and were helpful and informative.

Staterooms: Our mini suite was fully appointed with safe, tea and coffee making facilities and a flat-screen TV.


Dining options: Silks Restaurant (main dining) on decks 4 and 5 was plush and felt like a speciality dining venue with well presented mainstream meal options. Chops Grille (surcharge applies) on deck 8 served great crab cakes and superb filet mignon. The hot dogs were disappointing so stick to the large range of snacks such as paninis available from the deck 8 Park Cafe. The freshly made salads and pizzas at Sorrento’s Pizzas on deck 5 also kept us full in between meal times.
Entertainment: A highlight for us was the standard of the shows… in a word outstanding! ‘Grease’ & the ice spectacular ‘Journey in time 1887’ were both of world-class standard. They are brand new to Royal Caribbean yet they were polished and professional.

Activities: The ship has three large pools and 10 whirlpools, an adults-only Solarium and several areas to lounge around. We travelled on a cruise that was only at 50% capacity and whilst there were some scattered empty loungers, it may not be as easy to find one when the ship is full! In saying that, there were lots of entertainment precincts around the ship so passengers were well dispersed. There are also two rock climbing walls, two surf simulators, ice skating rink, zipline and live music scattered all around the ship, so there is no lack of entertainment!

Family Facilities: This is definitely a kid-friendly ship, with kids club, waterslides and of course the ‘Abyss’ – the world’s tallest slide at sea.

Inclusions: Meals (except specialty dining), entertainment and activities.

Exclusions: Drinks, specialty restaurants, shore excursions and spa treatments.

Self Service Laundry: Self-service laundry facilities are not available onboard, but there is a full laundry and dry cleaning service (fee applies).

Insiders Tips: The ship is equipped with North American standard, 110 volts AC and standard European 220/230 volts AC outlets. Dress code onboard was very casual except for more formal dining outlets, where guests naturally dress up. You really need longer than 7 nights to explore the entire ship and the destinations you’ll visit on the way, so consider booking a back to back cruise to experience it all!