How do Celebrity’s Solstice-class vessels compare to luxury cruise lines where the price point is at least twice as much? Read the Avid Cruiser’s report this week during a Caribbean voyage on Celebrity Solstice.
Back in November of 2008, I wrote Celebrity’s Newest Ship Breaks The Mold. Clearly, Celebrity Solstice left a good impression on me and many others.
This week, I’m back on Celebrity Solstice, taking a second look at what a friend of mine calls, “Crystal Light.” She’s referring not to the powdered sugar-free beverage but rather to Celebrity’s competitive positioning against luxury operator Crystal Cruises.
She posits that Celebrity is a formidable contender to Crystal in some areas, namely staterooms, cuisine and other ship-board offerings. That’s quite a claim, especially considering that Celebrity’s price point is about half of Crystal’s.
Are Celebrity’s Solstice-class vessels nipping at the heels of their luxury competitors? I don’t plan to a blow-by-blow comparison, but this week, I will take a look at some of the good — and not-so-good, if warranted — on Celebrity Solstice.
First impressions are the same as last time I was on board: Solstice is an exceptionally tasteful ship in both design and on-board offerings.
Public areas are gorgeous, restaurants are both numerous (with as many as 10 dining venues, depending on how you count – five have cover charges) and impressive. Staterooms are comfortable and well-designed. Mine, 8253, has a deep balcony, thanks to its positioning in the mid-ship curve.
How will Celebrity Solstice shake out by the end of the week? Of course, purists know that Celebrity can’t compete in several areas against the luxury players:
- With a capacity of more than 2,800 guests, a single Solstice-class vessel has more capacity than the entire fleets of most, if not all, of the luxury players.
- On the smaller luxury lines, staff frequently address guests by their names. Not so on larger vessels, such as those in the Solstice class.
- With the exception of Crystal, luxury lines are all-inclusive, meaning that a check will not be shoved under your nose to sign for soft drinks, specialty coffees and alcoholic beverages. On Celebrity, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice your penmanship. Crystal skirts the all-inclusive issue by providing an As You Wish Credit. See More For Your Money? Crystal Cruises Onboard Credit: How Does It Compare To The All-Inclusive?
Stay tuned this week for more on Solstice. Meantime, I welcome your questions and comments.