Food on the Celebrity Solstice...High expectations...

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean in calmer waters.
This is our third Celebrity cruise of 10 cruises since January 3, 2013.  From past experience we feel comfortable stating that Celebrity is our favorite cruise line for several reasons:

1.  Service:  There is one staff member for every two passengers, making service over the top.  Each time, we pass by an employee they smile and say hello, from the cabin stewards to the captain.

2. Cleanliness and general condition:  No other cruise line we’ve experienced has this high level of perfection in maintaining every area of the ship, from the spotless common restrooms to the lounges and dining areas.

3.  No pressure to purchase extras:  Many cruise lines have photographers constantly harassing the passengers to have their photos taken, others pestering for attendance at art auctions and others annoyingly promoting spa services.  The sales staff in the myriad shops are respectful don’t try to make a sale unless asked for help.  We appreciate this.

All of these desserts in the Bacio Bar are included in the fare., no purchase necessary.  However, there is a charge for specialty coffees also available in this area.  Oddly, Tom wasn't interested in anything in this case.
4.  The amenities:  Larger bathroom and showers, larger balconies and larger
cabins in this category. Robes are included in balcony cabins as well as shampoo, conditioner and body lotion as opposed to cheap gels for hair and body. There are more areas where one can snack at no cost although specialty coffees and drinks are an extra charge. And, the desserts in the cases are included at no extra cost (those shown in photos).

5.  Parties are included for loyalty members (we’ve attended two so far) which include better quality cocktails and beverage options and upscale appetizers.

6.  Food: The food is of a higher quality including more menu choices and variety each evening in the dining room. 
No charge for a piece (or two) of this lovely strawberry cake.
As our readers are well aware, my way of eating can be tricky for staff to manage.  With literally a few thousand diners to feed each evening in the main dining rooms, its hard for us to believe the special care given to my dietary needs. 

Natasha, one of the dining room managers, has paid such special attention to me, its almost embarrassing how often she checks to ensure I am happy during each evening at dinner.
I ended up ordering a second serving of this fabulous Pistachio Duck Terrine. 
For breakfast each day, we dine in the Oceanview buffet, an enormous buffet to accommodate everyone’s tastes and desires.  Each morning, I order three fresh eggs over medium made to order and pile my plate with smoked salmon, bacon, cucumber slices, cream cheese, capers and sautéed mushrooms, a satisfying meal that holds me all day until our usual 8 pm dinner.

For dinner, we dine in the Epernay Main Dining Room for those that choose “My Time” dining at whatever time we prefer.  For us, a late dinner is ideal since we’re often still full from breakfast.  Since many passenger eat at the earlier seating starting at 5:30 pm, our later dining results in a less busy, more relaxed environment.
Tom's escargot was green due to the use of spinach in the buttery sauce.  If I told him the green was spinach, he probably wouldn't eat it.  Here goes.
We always request a shared table for no less than six away from the kitchen (too much commotion near the kitchen doors).  This has worked out perfectly over the past five nights, each time resulting in meeting no less than four new people.  This couldn’t be more enjoyable.

Have they got my food right so far?  Without a doubt, they haven’t given me a single item on my plate that I am unable to eat. Has the food been good for most of the meals?  Overall, yes.  Although there’s been a bit of inconsistency in taste, portions and variety.  Am I complaining?  Not at all.
My dinner consisted of salmon and steamed vegetables which with the addition of a side dish of Hollandaise sauce was fine.
Without flour laden sauces, some of the meat portions have been dry and let’s face it, steamed veggies leave lots to be desired.  But, they’ve made homemade salad dressing for me each night that are delicious, that I often keep after eating my salad, for dipping the otherwise dry protein. 

Plus, they’ve been making Hollandaise sauce for me, the authentic, from scratch recipe that I am able to eat:  egg yolks, real butter, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt.  This adds a fabulous flavor to anything on my plate, keeping in mind my diet consists of almost 80% fat and almost no carbs. (I know. 

Its hard to believe I never gain an ounce eating this way.  But, fat doesn’t make one gain weight.  (Its the combination of carbs, fat, starch and sugar that  are the culprits).

Overall, I am very happy with the attention and care both the waiters and lovely Natasha have paid to my diet. At least on this cruise, I haven’t still been hungry after dinner, when they freely provide me with adequate portions.

Tom, on the other hand, able to eat whatever he likes (yes, gaining weight on cruises), has enjoyed his food on this ship, a considerable step above our recent Royal Caribbean cruise with more options, more flavor and more unique dishes. 

Is the food as good as on our first cruise on the smaller Celebrity Century?  No, but, he’s more than satisfied.  Although, we never eat lunch, Tom may occasionally have an ice cream cone which is available at no cost in the Oceanview café.
Tom's dinner of Beef Cheeks over Parsnip Puree, Carrots, Broccoli and Demi Glace Sauce which he found to be excellent.
As for cocktails, Tom orders Brandy and Sprite on the rocks at a usual cost of US $9.20 including tip.  Our cruise fare included gratuities for all staff but, we’ve found that he is served a “better” cocktail by adding a tip to each check.  On most nights, Tom doesn’t order more than two cocktails.  

I rarely order a beverage for which there’s an additional charge, other than an occasional sparking water. On the worst of the rough seas nights, I ordered two club sodas with lime, each at US $3, in an effort to settle my queasiness which along with eating, seemed to help the cause. 

We brought along several bags of raw nuts, none of which I’ve yet to open having no room for anything after dinner.  After an 8 am breakfast this morning and it now after 6 pm as I write this, I’m still full from breakfast, wondering how I’ll be able to eat dinner. 

But, then, when one is on a cruise, one is less inclined to miss more than one meal per day, considering that meals are included in the fare. I’m sure that by the time, my special meal is in front of me, close to 9 pm, I’ll eat most of which I’ve been served.

The lively conversations at dinner with new people each night, only adds to the enjoyment of dining and ultimately in cruising in general.

In one more day, we’ll arrive in the Hawaiian Islands.  We’re as excited as we could be!

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Photo from one year ago today, September 28, 2013:

Due to a high risk of crime in Kenya, the house we rented was enclosed by an iron fence and guarded 24 hours a day inside the fence and also at the entrance gate to the group of homes.  Overall, we felt safe but many horrific crimes occurred in Kenya while we were there.  For details of this date, please click here.

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