Wonderous Last Days on our Tran-Atlantic Solstice Cruise

The last few days of the cruise found me having a wonderful time and my kids hogging the laptop in order complete their home work, so here I am a week later finally reporting about the final days of the cruise.

Day 4 Atlantic Crossing
On our 4th day of the crossing we found our selves once again at the Lawn Club and the Hot Glass show. This has been my husband and son’s favorite location on the ship. They would often head up there in the morning to play some bocce ball and then stay for the Corning Museum of Glass Hot Glass Show. In today’s show one of the the gaffers made a clown. This was one of the most interesting pieces we’ve seen made because of the intricacy and the detail involved in putting the clown together. At one point she flattened out a pieces of glass to make the clown’s jacket and there was lots of excitement as it fell on the floor of the glass factory. However she was able to invoke the “five second rule” and pick up the piece with her tools and quickly attach it to her clown piece. In the evening, the guys went to another glass blowing demonstration. The night show, under the lights was slightly less attended due to the conflict with the early seating dinner crowd. This was also the first show where one of the artists actually failed in making their glass and broke it during the process. This was a 30 years experienced glass blowing gaffer. He wasn’t too upset and it explained that working on the glass show for Celebrity was a unique opportunity for them to try new things, to experiment and sort of practice for when they were making pieces for commission or for sale. He said if he had been paying for the studio, the glass, the assistants, etc, he would have been more upset. He said he knows what he did wrong and would improve it the next time. By the time Celebrity has the glass blowing demonstrations on 5 or 6 ships, they will have 60 or 70 glass blowers lined up to support the cruises and demonstrations. The concept is quite popular with the glass making artist community.

Dinner was another big hit on all parts. The food in the main dining room has really been outstanding. We mentioned to the waiter how much we like traditional dining and eating in the main dining room and he reassured us that Celebrity is committed to the concept of great food and service in the ship’s main dining room. He said that most Celebrity customers like traditional dining and that the food in service there is still important to Celebrity.

After dinner, Celebrity had its “Starring You” awards night. This show was slightly different than last year’s award show in that they gave a joke telling award and did not have ball room dancing. The joke contest had been held on a previous day and the showed videos of the top three jokes before awarding one of the the “Best” certificate. They did not have ball room dancing because of the risers that made the surface of the stage a little difficult to navigate. Like last year they gave a photography award for the best photo take during the cruise, and they also gave a super model award to one of the ladies who had participated in the ship’s boutique fashion show. I was back for another singing performance, but came in second to a very good singer whom had also performed at Karaoke. (I am working to get my video up here on the sight, as requested by one of our readers.) I sang “Cabaret” and had a great time, but with a second place finish I have and excuse to take another cruise and try again for a first place finish.

After the show we enjoyed the “Starring You Reception” where they had the party band playing great live music and a delicious chocolate buffet. This was a great way to cap off our 4th day of the Atlantic crossing.

Day 5, Atlantic Crossing
Day five of our crossing was spent simply relaxing on the ship. We found ourselves once again taking in the Hot Glass show and enjoying the lawn club. The rest of the ship was also a buzz with music and activities that included a Beatles Quiz, Scrap booking, Bingo, a Captain Cook lecture, Dance lessons, classical music, and a Chef’s Cooking show. The highlight of the day was enjoying our final formal night in the evening. The girls had to the room to ourselves to get ready as the guys were still at the 5:00-7:00 Hot Glass show. Ever since the first show they attended whey they gaffers made “You Design It” piece for my daughter, my son has been attending hoping that he will win a piece in the raffle. The unique piece Brenna made this night was a set of “Head Phones” sculpted in glass.

Dinner was again spectacular with filet mignon for three of us and a short rib lasagna for my daughter. After dinner they introduced the kitchen and dinning room staff to a rousing round of applause and then had a “Parade of Waiters” (sans Baked Alaska). After the parade the waiters took the desert order and even though it hadn’t been paraded through the dining room, we all still choose the Baked Alaska.

The after dinner show was the cirque style show “Solstice”, it was very good and probably what Celebrity had envisioned years ago when they had their short lived venture with Cirque du Solie. The acrobatics and other circus style acts were fabulous, though I have to admit that after a long day, big dinner and several glasses of wine, the repetitive music had me nodding off a couple of times. I think I’ll have to make sure I have a nap on every formal night from now on. My favorite part of the show was “physical comedian” (ie circus clown/acrobat with out all the clown make-up) named Dizzy. He had been featured in the previous shows, but tonight he got to show off his acrobatics in the German Wheel and some “twirling” with one of those big frame cubes. After the late show, it was time for bed and a good rest before the last day full day of the cruise.

Day 6, Atlantic Crossing
Today marked our last full day on the ship, and while the boys went to the Hot Glass Shows, even in the rain, all day long in hopes of winning a glass piece, I decided to attend some of the more traditional cruise activities. I started the day in one of the lounges with a a movie quotes trivia contest. The activities staff member read movie quotes and the teams had to try to either identify the movie or the actor. I teamed up with two strangers and we ended up tying for first place. That meant that we got a raffle ticket for a special drawing of for a hot glass piece that afternoon. In the afternoon I attended a classical piano concert, not that unusual for a cruise, but the afternoon time of day was a nice treat when the weather was not conducive to sitting pool side. The virtuoso pianist Hyperion Knight, (yes his real name) performed a concert in a way that made it accessible to those who were not experts at classical music. He would talk a bit about the piece, Chopin’s Polonaise for example, and then play a bit of each of the themes of the piece explaining their meaning and basis. He would then play the piece through to allow the audience to listen again as it was meant to be played. The show was about thirty-five minutes and highly entertaining. The rest of the afternoon was spent packing up my suitcases. I did take a few minutes to attend the game winner’s glass raffle, but didn’t win a piece.

The evening meant another Hot Glass Show for the guys and myself and a fun evening in the fun factory for my daughter. The glass show was moved from a 7 pm start to a 5 pm start so that it wouldn’t conflict with the early dinner seating. One of the gaffers had noticed that my son had attended nearly every show. He had a surprise for him in the form of a glass paperweight he had made the day before from a few colored scraps and some clear glass. After the gaffers finished their pieces a little early they had the last raffle of the cruise and my son finally won an additional piece. He selected a beautiful vase that we had seen them make the day before.

The last evening of the cruise we also continued our traditional of having our state room, waiters and dining room staff sign our huge world atlas. We started bringing this atlas along when we were first started cruising with our kids. We have the staff sign it on the page with their home town. We’ve had waiters and state room attendants from all of the world, and many that have been with Celebrity for years. I think the two Assistant Maitre’de’s and the Hotel Manager had the most fun looking at the atlas because they recognized so many of the names in the book from previous cruises. One of the assistant maitre’de’s had already signed it on our Mercury Mexico cruise and the Cellar Master has signed it just last year on the Summit. We always try to have the waiters share a little bit about where they are from with the kids. Its kind of like sneaking in a mini geography lessons.

It was off to bed soon so that we could be up in time for our scheduled 8:45 disembarkation.

Disembarkation Day
It was a bit hard to say good bye to the lovely Celebrity Solstice. With everything being nearly perfect, we had what was probably our overall best cruising experience. With so many things to do (or not) we really felt that the Celebrity “hit it out of the park” with this lovely ship, its food and service. Disembarkation went very smoothly. We did not have the long delays like we had in San Jaun and exited the ship on time. The only hiccup was that the tag had come off one of our bags and we had to find it in the un-tagged luggage area. That only took a minute, so it really wasn’t a problem. The terminal also seemed to have plenty of staff in place to handle the pass ports and security checks as we passed through immigration. Once we were in the exit area we only had to wait outside for the shuttle bus to pick us up and take us to the hotel. This was definitely a cruise, ship and experience that I would recommend to others.