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The Demise of the Solstice Deck


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We consider ourselves very fortunate to have been on all of the S-class ships at least once and it's a design that has always ticked our boxes ever since we sailed on Equinox back in 2010. The Celebrity product has in most cases been the go-to brand because of our enjoyment of the ships and onboard environment.
I was initially pleased to hear after the launch of Edge that the S-class were to get refits to bring them into line with the newer brand image, what I hadn't realised until recently was that one of our favourite places on the ship was going to be off-limits after the refit. I'm talking about the Solstice Deck which under the Hoppenisation will become The Retreat Sundeck and only be available to passengers from the Retreat Suite Experience.
I for one will be very sorry to see this place removed from the Muggle areas of the ship and we will definitely miss it. I know nothing is perfect and I can't actually say I am a big fan of the sponge beds and mattresses because its the space for me that has been the attraction. It's away from the poolside noise, there is an element of privacy as you don't get loads of other passengers walking past, it's protected from the headwind and you can pretty much have a full 360-degree view outside the ship. Yes, it can get busy on sea days when the weather is good but we have always felt an affinity with the area, we have even found ourselves up there reading our books on windy days while all the beds all roped down.
There are no other external areas for us around the ship that offer this kind of environment and I fully understand why it's being revamped, its ideal for what they are wanting to do, sadly it means someone else's gain is our loss. I wouldn't dismiss the S-class as a never-again thing, it's just that the attraction for something we have enjoyed in the past is slowly being ebbed away, this being one example.
We don't have a bottomless pot of money to be able to afford a suite so I think in the future when cruising resumes we will end up looking elsewhere first. We have sailed on bigger ships and enjoyed the experience but for us, the S-class was a perfect size.

We still have one Celebrity cruise booked in 2022 which is on Solstice and I have read that the planned refits have been postponed so with a bit of luck we will get a Solstice Deck Swansong.

Glad to have got that off my chest!

2010-01-11 Celebrity Equinox Cruise (3).jpg

 

2012 Celebrity Silhouette Cruise(608).JPG

 

2012 Celebrity Silhouette Cruise(609).JPG

 

2014 Celebrity Reflection Cruise (119).JPG

 

Celebrity Solstice Cruise 2017 (304).JPG

 

Celebrity Solstice Cruise 2017 (1725).JPG

 

2016 Celebrity Eclipse Caribbean Cruise 2016 (296).JPG

Edited by Wansbrough
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Agree!  This was my favorite space to sit in the sun & read, for hours & hours, albeit a little (!) windy at times.  We were very disappointed & a little irritated when we boarded the Silhouette in February and learned it was now off limits.  

 

But they need people to fill the suites, and I guess the suitees need their perks.  Why those perks need to be in public areas of the ship, I don't know.  We have occasionally booked suites, but we mostly want them for the extra space, larger balcony, included beverages, stuff like that.

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I think your photos demonstrate why this underutilized space was repurposed to generate additional revenue.   Suite prices have gone through the roof and are selling well.  The additional amenities offered to suite people seem to be enhancing this profit center.

Edited by wrk2cruise
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13 minutes ago, wrk2cruise said:

I think your photos demonstrate why this underutilized space was repurposed to generate additional revenue.   Suite prices have gone through the roof and are selling well.  The additional amenities offered to suite people seem to be enhancing this profit center.

I hear what you say but my photos were selected specifically without people and at times when the rest of the ship was equally as quiet. To address this here are a couple with people.

 

 

2014 Celebrity Reflection Cruise (268).JPG

2014 Celebrity Reflection Cruise (997).JPG

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I guess I have the wrong idea in my mind.   I thought that part of the Sundeck was being utilized for the Retreat Suite Sun Deck.  Do we know for sure that the whole area is going to be only for suite guests?    

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7 minutes ago, Welland said:

I guess I have the wrong idea in my mind.   I thought that part of the Sundeck was being utilized for the Retreat Suite Sun Deck.  Do we know for sure that the whole area is going to be only for suite guests?    

 

This might answer your question.

 

 

 

 

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We have Millie booked for June 2021 and Silhouette booked for March 2022. To check out the refit. I also really liked the Solstice deck when not that many people new about it. I'm hoping that I will like the new suite areas. Celebrity is going to do what they want.

Nice video of the Equinox suite sun deck. Yes it needs more shade. Glad to see more chairs with armrests. I'm disappointed that they removed the outdoor shower. It gets hot on the Solstice deck.

Edited by bigbenboys
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49 minutes ago, bigbenboys said:

We have Millie booked for June 2021 and Silhouette booked for March 2022. To check out the refit. I also really liked the Solstice deck when not that many people new about it. I'm hoping that I will like the new suite areas. Celebrity is going to do what they want.

Nice video of the Equinox suite sun deck. Yes it needs more shade. Glad to see more chairs with armrests. I'm disappointed that they removed the outdoor shower. It gets hot on the Solstice deck.

 

 

The new lounge chair in the retreat area are wonderful!! Super comfortable. We used to use it in the past and am happy about the change when in a suite.

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Well, up to everyone.

Taking away public space to give to suites, Not on my time nor my $.

Celebrity is the worst offender for reducing public space.

Take the suite $ and the very limiting Luminae food, and move upwards, much better product and more inclusive and more public.

Celebrity - not on my $.

 

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1 hour ago, Doubt It said:

Well, up to everyone.

Taking away public space to give to suites, Not on my time nor my $.

Celebrity is the worst offender for reducing public space.

Take the suite $ and the very limiting Luminae food, and move upwards, much better product and more inclusive and more public.

Celebrity - not on my $.

 

 

So ... this is a thumbs down, right?

 

😉

 

- Joel

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8 hours ago, wrk2cruise said:

I think your photos demonstrate why this underutilized space was repurposed to generate additional revenue.   Suite prices have gone through the roof and are selling well.  The additional amenities offered to suite people seem to be enhancing this profit center.

 

Exactly. Whenever I visited that deck on any of my S-class cruises it was always empty or near empty even on sea days. Same with the Sky Lounge. I know there are some diehard fans of these spaces but on the whole they are underutilized. Celebrity had to do a cost benefit analysis, i.e. would the money they would generate from bookings from suites due to adding amenities like the Retreat Sundeck offset the potential loss of customers who stop cruising with them because of the removal of an underutilized common area space. I think we know what the answer was.

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So, in order to please the bean counters, Celebrity have taken away, in your opinions an underutilised space to provide suite passengers with their own outside deck area to increase profit. Okay, lets run with that and look at the other end of the scale. Because there is less public space, the ship then becomes less desibarble to normal passengers and the many standard cabins don't sell as well, these then end end up going at a reduced rate so they don't sail empty. Swings and roundabouts.....

 

Celebrity are trying keep up with the Joneses and should concentrate on what they were doing well at. By all means introduce Retreat area on the new builds but leave the older ships alone. The other lines that have this ship within a ship environment have usually had it there since the launch, MSC, NCL and I believe Princess as well.

 

If it ain't broke don't fix it!!!

 

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Taking away space that was not used.  So in general will place the suite guests up there which in turn opens up more space for the regular balconies, Can run it many ways.  Honestly in my 12-13 cruises on S class ships I only wandered up there once or twice.  Was always empty.  People Im sure use it but it can be argued multiple ways 1)taking away space for guests and also adding space since taking shifting suite guests from the common areas to an inclusive area.  i doubt they will have any trouble filling cabins, well corona is whole different discussion but in this move I see it as a net win for both suites and regular cabins overall.  

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2 hours ago, bikerunner said:

Taking away space that was not used.  So in general will place the suite guests up there which in turn opens up more space for the regular balconies, Can run it many ways.  Honestly in my 12-13 cruises on S class ships I only wandered up there once or twice.  Was always empty.  People Im sure use it but it can be argued multiple ways 1)taking away space for guests and also adding space since taking shifting suite guests from the common areas to an inclusive area.  i doubt they will have any trouble filling cabins, well corona is whole different discussion but in this move I see it as a net win for both suites and regular cabins overall.  

 

Exactly. 

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We've enjoyed that area from time to time, as well, but not all that often.  But, I completely understand why Celebrity has done this and can even appreciate it.  I can enjoy just about anywhere I sit my butt down on a ship so, I won't really feel it's impact.  

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I agree 100% with the OP and I have always said I will never cruise S class again to be denied access to areas I enjoyed many times. The ironic thing is that the Suite guests don't like it - too exposed, too hot, no showers, too windy etc etc.

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31 minutes ago, BigAl94 said:

I agree 100% with the OP and I have always said I will never cruise S class again to be denied access to areas I enjoyed many times. The ironic thing is that the Suite guests don't like it - too exposed, too hot, no showers, too windy etc etc.

Yes, the irony is that suite guests don't seem too thrilled with it either.  I cant afford suites often, but the last time I did and was able to use the Retreat deck (on Equinox) there were very few people there.  I know the Equinox was not fully redone so it was not quite as nice as the  fully renovated ships, but still.  

 

I confess I am not ready to quit Celebrity (after 50 cruises) but I don't like their bending over backwards for suite guests in recent years (and that holds true even when I book one!).  I don't mind them adding perks for suite guests, who pay alot of $$.  But I don't like when they take away public spaces for only certain classes of people.  Used to love Michaels Club - now that is off limits.  Used to spend time on what is now the Retreat Deck especially on Alaska cruises or sailing in and out of ports - now that is off limits.  Love the Sky Lounge - now on some ships some of that is off limits.    My particular pet peeve (admittedly a small one, but it really bugs me) is the red carpet boarding at ports. I can't tell you how much I HATE that.  When I do sail in a suite I refuse to use it just on principal.  I don't feel like I'm a more special or better person because I booked a suite and that is what that carpet says to me - let the peons stand there sweating in the sun just because I paid a bit more money.  No way!

 

 

Edited by phoenix_dream
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1 hour ago, phoenix_dream said:

Yes, the irony is that suite guests don't seem too thrilled with it either.  I cant afford suites often, but the last time I did and was able to use the Retreat deck (on Equinox) there were very few people there.  I know the Equinox was not fully redone so it was not quite as nice as the  fully renovated ships, but still.  

 

I confess I am not ready to quit Celebrity (after 50 cruises) but I don't like their bending over backwards for suite guests in recent years (and that holds true even when I book one!).  I don't mind them adding perks for suite guests, who pay alot of $$.  But I don't like when they take away public spaces for only certain classes of people.  Used to love Michaels Club - now that is off limits.  Used to spend time on what is now the Retreat Deck especially on Alaska cruises or sailing in and out of ports - now that is off limits.  Love the Sky Lounge - now on some ships some of that is off limits.    My particular pet peeve (admittedly a small one, but it really bugs me) is the red carpet boarding at ports. I can't tell you how much I HATE that.  When I do sail in a suite I refuse to use it just on principal.  I don't feel like I'm a more special or better person because I booked a suite and that is what that carpet says to me - let the peons stand there sweating in the sun just because I paid a bit more money.  No way!

 

 

phoenix_dream - Agree totally with your comment.

 

Hence why Ieft Celebrity and went to the premium lines where every guest can pretty much go everywhere. What I see Celebrity doing is eliminating the ship experience and creating an insular, segregated Vegas hotel experience focused only on revenue generation.  That is not a ship experience.

 

I will not purchase that. While I can afford suites, not on Celebrity with the heavy, limited food in Luminae.  Too many other better options on the seas - like in a real ship with vistas of the ocean and plenty of open places to view the ocean (can't beat the QM2).

 

To each their own though.

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20 hours ago, Doubt It said:

Well, up to everyone.

Taking away public space to give to suites, Not on my time nor my $.

Celebrity is the worst offender for reducing public space.

Take the suite $ and the very limiting Luminae food, and move upwards, much better product and more inclusive and more public.

Celebrity - not on my $.

 

If your meaning is to cruise Regent or Silversea you very well could be right. We have tried Azamara, ship was to small. But my biggest issue is the dresscode of the higher end cruise lines. I like country casual. What I do like about Luminae is you do have more choices. You can order off the MDR or Luminae menu (except Edge class). Yes food is very limited in Luminae on the Edge.  

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Actually we were in a suite on the equinox last March.  We also have been on the edge.  I must say the partially edgefication of the equinox suite deck was of no value. First, the deck has no water feature.  The edge suite deck has a nice albeit small, pool.  The edge suite deck also has a great bar that serves a lunch , the menu is limited but available.  
 

it really isn’t a perk for suite guests currently.  It is hot, windy and mostly sunny.  Imo not a perk for suite guests.  When a person books a suite they pay at least 3 times as much the guest who book regular cabins.  I believe this allows those guest who book more cost effective cabins to book and enjoy most of the ships ambiance at a discounted rate. The “suite deck” isn’t a true perk.  I also noticed many empty seats on the sunny deck above the pool

Edited by Cruise a holic
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6 hours ago, phoenix_dream said:

 I confess I am not ready to quit Celebrity (after 50 cruises) but I don't like their bending over backwards for suite guests in recent years (and that holds true even when I book one!).  I don't mind them adding perks for suite guests, who pay alot of $$.  But I don't like when they take away public spaces for only certain classes of people.  Used to love Michaels Club - now that is off limits.  Used to spend time on what is now the Retreat Deck especially on Alaska cruises or sailing in and out of ports - now that is off limits.  Love the Sky Lounge - now on some ships some of that is off limits.    My particular pet peeve (admittedly a small one, but it really bugs me) is the red carpet boarding at ports. I can't tell you how much I HATE that.  When I do sail in a suite I refuse to use it just on principal.  I don't feel like I'm a more special or better person because I booked a suite and that is what that carpet says to me - let the peons stand there sweating in the sun just because I paid a bit more money.  No way!

 

I totally agree with you. Celebrity has gone more and more towards this "caste system" in recent years. We don't have 50 cruises but we do have almost 30 and after we do Flora next summer, we are done and moving on. I know in those 50 you have done the canal at least once. Remember getting up and going to the bow on those top decks or in the Sky Lounge to view the lock crossings? Well in 2021 Edge is going to do an in-and-out on the canal (not a full crossing) and unless you are in a suite, you have NO front-facing view. That is nuts. Not only did they take away the Solstice Deck, they took away the Sky Lounge...a VERY used place by everyone.

 

We are gone to Viking Ocean. So many other great things they don't have and so many they do. A little more expensive but less than most suites on X. No kids, no casino, no photographers, no art auctions, no smoking, no upselling in the spa, casual dress, free shore excursion in every port, larger staterooms, all balconies, a nice size ship (960 guests—big enough to be able to move around but small enough to get into some ports that the big ships can't).

 

Best thing is that once you are on board, there is NO difference between being in the cheapest stateroom and the most expensive suite. Well, maybe but they are things that don't restrict others (like having an extra FREE reservation for the specialty restaurants or getting their FREE minibar updated daily instead of every other day or being able to book shore excursions a few days before others) but that's it. You can go wherever you want on the ship and eat in any dining room (although you may need a reservation to eat in the FREE specialty restaurants). 

 

Jim

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2 hours ago, bigbenboys said:

If your meaning is to cruise Regent or Silversea you very well could be right. We have tried Azamara, ship was to small. But my biggest issue is the dresscode of the higher end cruise lines. I like country casual. What I do like about Luminae is you do have more choices. You can order off the MDR or Luminae menu (except Edge class). Yes food is very limited in Luminae on the Edge.  

 

Check out Viking Ocean. No dress code and a bigger ship than Azamara. See my post above.

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4 hours ago, DrKoob said:

 

I totally agree with you. Celebrity has gone more and more towards this "caste system" in recent years. We don't have 50 cruises but we do have almost 30 and after we do Flora next summer, we are done and moving on. I know in those 50 you have done the canal at least once. Remember getting up and going to the bow on those top decks or in the Sky Lounge to view the lock crossings? Well in 2021 Edge is going to do an in-and-out on the canal (not a full crossing) and unless you are in a suite, you have NO front-facing view. That is nuts. Not only did they take away the Solstice Deck, they took away the Sky Lounge...a VERY used place by everyone.

 

 

 

The Edge has the least public views of any cruise ship I have been on.  I can't imagine them running it through the Panama Canal.  The removal of the Sky Lounge was a huge minus.  The Edge removed most of the quiet places on the ship.  Now suites may be better for views, but I prefer inside views vs outside views.  I am looking at other premium lines...  Edgeification is a downgrade unless you are in a suite.

 

 

Edited by NMTraveller
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