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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
4th cruise, 3rd with Celebrity, 2 others on smaller Constellation & Millenium. Value of cruise good but inclusions very expensive. Had balcony midships level 8, excellent. Internet usage $55US per day, Drink Packages ridiculous ... Read More
4th cruise, 3rd with Celebrity, 2 others on smaller Constellation & Millenium. Value of cruise good but inclusions very expensive. Had balcony midships level 8, excellent. Internet usage $55US per day, Drink Packages ridiculous prices as well. $25US corkage if you bought your own wine to dinner. (1 bottle per person allowed onboard first day). Food in main dining ok except for 2 nights when the choice was inedible. Ocean View cafe ok but again some of the meat dishes were a bit dry & unappetizing. Trying to find a seat at breakfast was a challenge. Solstice is getting a bit tired & needs a refit which is happening next year I think. Captain Tasos is THE best & he & his staff of many could not be faulted. Dining room staff were exceptional & really looked after you. Ports of Call on this itinerary were great, especially our sail through The Sounds. Much prefer to cruise on smaller ships. 2200 pax & 1200 staff just not as personal. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Last sailing of the season – 3 senior couples traveling together, 2 couples from Phoenix, 1 couple from WA state – our 4th cruise as a group of 6, 14 days, March/April 2019. GREATEST FEAR: Dread of the flight to AKL and the ... Read More
Last sailing of the season – 3 senior couples traveling together, 2 couples from Phoenix, 1 couple from WA state – our 4th cruise as a group of 6, 14 days, March/April 2019. GREATEST FEAR: Dread of the flight to AKL and the transport home from SYD. Into AKL we arrived 2 nights early – all on Hawaiian. One couple did PDX to HNL to AKL in one shot – the others did PHX to HNL, overnight, then HNL to AKL on day two. This gave us 2 non stops PHX to HNL 7 hours, then HNL to AKL 9 hours by leaving a day early. Though an inconvenience to go from airport to hotel then back using free hotel shuttle and free breakfast the 4 of us felt this was a great way to go. JET LAG ISSUES: Indeed for all of us – about 18 hours ahead of our normal time, plus while onboard we had 3 instances of setting the clock back 1 hr each time. We found we did not bounce back from this quickly and seemed tired for a week trying to adjust to the time change issues. Pricing to do this by Hawaiian was very good. TRANSPORT HOME: 1 couple left upon concluding the cruise, 3 flights, SYD to AKL, AKL to HNL, HNL to PDX. We all found air fares back to US from SYD very high with a saving by first going to AKL then home. Our 2nd couple in fear of 13 + hours non stop chose to cruise SYD to HNL on the Radiance, then fly home from HNL. Couple 3 braved the long non stop which was 12 hrs 35 mins SYD to SFO, then SW SFO to PHX (USED UAL FF MILES for the non stop and paid for the extra comfort seating, which we felt was a good idea). Couples 2&3 stayed 5 nights after disembarking to tour Sydney as 1st time visitors. We’ve come too far not to see Sydney !! EMBARKING – GETTING ABOARD: As we arrived into AKL at 10pm 2 nights prior to departure we chose to stay near the airport at a hotel with free airport transport. The other 4 chose to ride into the CBD after the flight and stayed 2 nights in the CBD. We decided to get to the ship via an Auckland City Tour just prior to loading. We used Skybus from the airport to get into the CBD, day of boarding, was quick, efficient and about $12 USD each. There we were picked up by the tour operator. The other 4 were added at their hotel and the 6 us had a 4 hour tour of Auckland with Auckland Scenic Tours, dropping us at conclusion with our luggage at the Solstice Pier. THE SHIP: Sept 2014, 4 of us had been on Solstice, 11 day Alaska sailing. Had been in dry dock since and was somewhat improved. Still very shiny, well cared for, public areas neat clean – it is like a floating palace it’s so nice. CREW: Had a change of Master’s mid cruise, never had this before. New one, Captain Tasos, was a ton of fun with his 10AM briefing - one favorite quote; “put the pedal to the metal”. Staff was very good, mostly friendly and helpful with a smile. PASSENGERS: Approximately 2900 + crew – 1/3rd US/Canada, 1/3 Aussie/NZ, and 1/3rd other countries. Few children, mostly a senior crowd but a good age mix. DINING: A very annoying situation here – we all booked over a year in advance and requested linked traditional early dining (6pm) with a table for six. All of us requested this and at times we were linked and at times the linkage would disappear. One week before leaving home I was told by Captain’s Club we were at a table for six, but I should check with the maître'd to be certain. 1st thing on boarding we checked and the link had again disappeared – 1 table of 4, 1 table of 2, not a table for six. We immediately went to the maitre’d who had an explanation of why this had happened but after being forceful and determined he agreed to seat us together the 1st night in MDR and would arrange for seating together the 2nd and subsequent night. That is what occurred but our permanent table assignment though for six was too noisy to hear one another during dinner. Why does a linkage for 6, set up in advance disappear? This should never have even been an issue and did not get us off to a good start on boarding so beware. Once a link occurs it should be impossible to tamper with this – this needs fixing. Our evening dining at our joint table was a very important part of the cruise. SERVICE AND FOOD QUALITY DIVERSITY: Some nights were okay – menu choices were not special many times; food quality was sometimes very good, other times not what we expected. Service was fine but the noisy table and food prep overshadowed everything else so we skipped the MDR the most times we ever had on this cruise as a result. Also – show times were 7pm and 9pm; with the 6pm dining we could not make the 7pm show so we dined at the Oceanview buffet at 6pm to make the 7pm showtime; not liking a show starting at 9pm normally. Too late for our needs and enjoyment. We did dine in one specialty restaurant, the Murano one night and found it to be a special experience, well worth the added cost. Otherwise most dining was in the buffet; we found their food better overall than the MDR so kept going back and we usually could hear each other as we dined together. Good service and usually tables available to select. We did have prime rib twice and lobster once in the MDR. PORTS AND ITINERARY: This was a winner – ports were outstanding, docked and departed on time, great weather but why an overnight in Tauranga? One day was enough. Nice balance of ports and sea days. TOURS: We normally stay away from the ship’s product assuming it will be on a big bus (55 people) and usually too expensive. We did tours in most stops but took only 2 Celebrity Tours, using OBC for that. Though convenient for pickup and return big bus it was but pricing for these 2 tours was acceptable too. Our private tours worked just fine and usually came with a smaller bus as well – never a problem getting back to the ship on time. I think my favorite port and tour was in Hobart, Tasmania – we took a Gray Line tour with Jim on a tram type car but this did involve a 10 minute walk from the pier after an involved immigration clearing as this was our 1st port into Australia. We all loved Tasmania and it was a good city to walk upon tour conclusion. THE EVENING SHOWS: As stated. Shows at 7pm and 9pm – never an issue getting a seat. Many production shows by Celebrity talent and orchestra; most were good and entertaining. Had some singers; a comedian my favorite was the Motown show by the OZ brothers; for them we dined in Oceanview at 6pm and attended the 7pm show. Was advertised as a Motown show but that was a 3rd of the music they performed. Also did 4 Seasons and other artists – well done guys. DISEMBARKING – GETTING FROM SHIP TO OUR SYDNEY HOTEL: Four of us stayed the 5 nights to see Sydney, staying at the Hyatt Regency Darling Harbor, near the ship docking pier. The four shared an SUV, along with all our bags and in 20 minutes or so were at the hotel – cost: $35 AUD total including a tip – hard to beat. SHIP ACTIVITIES: On those days not visiting a port we always did the trivia sessions and there were usually 3 per day. There were the usual exercise classes, information lectures and the crew selling various products. Also the retail area regularly had sales and offers and there were numerous upscale retail outlets on board. We found no trouble staying busy as we also enjoyed playing games as our group of six. PUBLIC AREAS: We found them to be clean and in great condition, we could usually find a quiet place to do our group game sessions. INTERNET CAFÉ: As stated having access to 180 complimentary minutes allowed us to avoid paying for internet use on board. Once docked it was usually easy to find free wi fi locally to stay caught up. Pricing was the usual outrageous number. CASINO: ENTIRELY NON SMOKING ALL THE TIME -The slots were not very generous but we certainly had seen worse on prior cruises and cruise lines. Enough of a variety to keep a gambler interested, also the usual blackjack, craps, roulette. TRIP HINTS CPAP BREATHING MACHINE – Suppose to use distilled water in the device – almost impossible to find in NZ/AUS. CAPTAIN’S CLUB – This was our 1st time at the elite level and the benefits we found were very nice to have, e.g., unlimited drinks in most bars between 5 and 7 pm most days. A free bag of laundry and 90 mins of free internet. NOTE: These benefits are per person, not per stateroom. We were thinking per stateroom until our room steward called this to our attention so we really had twice what we thought we had. POST CRUISE LAUNDRY: Arriving into Sydney with a lot of dirty laundry and plans to stay 5 days meant trying to address laundry needs. A coin laundry in the central city was not possible but we found a true gem for this problem. WASH ON THE ROCKS.COM.AU ON HICKSON ST. They are in the rocks area of the city and they pick up, do the laundry, fold it and deliver back to your hotel. They picked up before noon and by 6pm of the same day it was all done. We (the 2 couples) sent them 4 loads and for that the charge was $84.00 AUD. That includes pick up and return to the hotel – we were all so excited to have clean laundry done for us for this pricing and set us up for the balance of our trip. SYDNEY HOTEL RECOMMENDATION: Hyatt Regency, 161 Sussex near Darling Harbor. We opted for the “deluxe” room for our 5 nights. Rates were reasonable for Sydney, the hotel is beautiful and the Darling Harbor location a good location, felt safe and excellent location. Employees were friendly and helpful; received many helpful hits from Tony, Hyatt valet for 22 years re: things to see, do and where to dine. He is a treasure. Room was quiet, good bed and pillows, good for temperature control (note they use Celsius not F). A great choice for our needs. SUMMARY Overall would give the cruise and ship a 4.8 out of 5.0 due to the small very irritating items mentioned earlier. Celebrity does so many things well and we feel offers a superior, premier cruising product without requiring premium pricing to cruise. The six of us are booked in April on the Silhouette and all looking forward to that cruise. If Celebrity could just address these nagging problems I would not hesitate to give them a 5.0. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I want to point out that I have cruised with Celebrity before and have been quite happy but I was unimpressed with this cruise. A 14 night cruise should give you the opportunity to see and visit many interesting locations in New Zealand ... Read More
I want to point out that I have cruised with Celebrity before and have been quite happy but I was unimpressed with this cruise. A 14 night cruise should give you the opportunity to see and visit many interesting locations in New Zealand and Australia but this was not the case with this particular cruise. The cruise started in Auckland NZ which is a vey nice city to explore if you choose to book independent excursions. The shore excursions through Celebrity overall during this cruise was marginal. The overviews for the excisions did not actually explain how long some of the bus rides were to get to a destination. We had a 7 hour bus ride (3 1/2 to and 3 1/2 back to ship) in Akaroa NZ to go on a TransAlpine Train that was supposed to reach some of the Southern Alps and traverse through a gorge. We did go through the gorge but no real mountain views and the train ride was about 1 hour. That excursion was $349.00 per person... A very expensive bus ride... Most other excursions were ok but again beware of the bus rides to get to the destinations. If you have the means and opportunity to investigate private tours and their cost versus ship excursions my recommendation is to go on your own. We actually cancelled some excursions from the ship and found that the price for the private tours to the same destinations were comparable and more comfortable. Just a suggestion to do your homework before obligating yourself to a particular ship excursion. Celebrity does give you the opportunity to cancel prepaid excursions with 48 hour notice prior to the excursion date. Also note that there were 5 days of at sea. The Tasman Sea did get rough during a 2 day sea voyage to Tasmania for Milford Sound NZ. 18 foot waves one night. The Ship: Celebrity Solstice The ship we found to be very comfortable to walk around and explore. The drink package was good to get if you enjoy beer, wine, cocktails without wondering what the final cost would be if not using it. Premium package was good because it enabled you to get any specialty drinks (top shelf liquor) as well as any specialty coffee drinks from any part of the ship unlimitedly. The food from the main dining room was not exceptional. Portions were small in most cases and the variety of choices was limited. We did choose a 3 night specialty dining package to eat in some of their premium restaurants. We chose the Tuscan, the Murano and the Silk Harvest. We found the Asian Silk Harvest to be the best and the Murano just so so. Again you have to consider if the additional price to dine in their specialty restaurants is worth the investment. It was interesting and a bit annoying that when we were eating dinner in the main restaurant that someone always came over to give us information to book reservations in one of their specialty restaurants. The buffet dining room (Ocean View Cafe) was always crowded for breakfast and the selections very good. The lunches were very good as well. You can eat breakfast and lunch in the main dining rooms also. A bright spot was the entertainment on board. We went almost every night and enjoyed all of the programs. The Cabin: We booked a Concierge Room in the aft section of the ship (2142). Being in the back was very quiet and the view from the balcony exceptional. However the room was small and since we did bring 4 large luggage bags, it was hard to find room to store clothes. I kept clothes in my luggage bags under the bed that I could not find room to place in the cabin. Some of the draws in the cabin needed to be fixed due to age but will probably be redone when the ship gets some refurbishment at it's next dry dock. Service: Service for the most part was very good. I did have an issue with one on my white polo shirts that became back with a blue tint from the laundry but the ship did address the situation and issued a no charge for the entire laundry and did finally get the blue out of my shirt. Please note that there are specials in laundry that give you one price for all items the you can place in their bag for one price of $49 regular or dry cleaning (no ripping the bag) but ask them which day the specials are given. I spent $80 one day before we were informed of the discounted special day. I hope I gave you an informative review of the ship and it's destinations. Overall good cruise but I expected more from Celebrity to show case these countries that you usually only get a chance to visit once. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise for its itenenary, and the duration and of course the ship, we loved everything about the cruise, all the staff on board were excellent everywhere we went we encountered helpful, happy staff which added to our ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itenenary, and the duration and of course the ship, we loved everything about the cruise, all the staff on board were excellent everywhere we went we encountered helpful, happy staff which added to our enjoyment, the stand out staff for us were Edward, Arief, Rakesh, and Monwa in the Main dinning room were very efficient especially Rakesh who was excellent in finding the drinks my husband wanted at dinner time. All the specialty restaurants were great too except when we got the boniest fish Ever served to us in any restaurant ever was in Silk Harvest which was not enjoyable at all and when we brought it to their attention we got told “oh that’s how they serve it the Asian style” I know for sure no one would serve that kind of fish no matter what style. Elton our room person on deck 10 Concierge stateroom was so efficient in keeping our room fully stocked with toiletries and towels twice a day, the girls in Cafe Bacio gave us excellent service too with lovely smiles, we also received excellent service from Errol in the Gift Shop which kept us all coming back to shop. The shows are night were very enjoyable. The cruise director Lewis made sure everyone had something to choose to do everyday, our group of friends had a great time on this cruise. We enjoyed it so much we did a future cruise booking too. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, and in that respect, it delivered. We booked the Hilton on Princes Wharf for a 3-night pre-cruise stay in Auckland, and the ship was docked beside the hotel when we woke up on embarkation ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, and in that respect, it delivered. We booked the Hilton on Princes Wharf for a 3-night pre-cruise stay in Auckland, and the ship was docked beside the hotel when we woke up on embarkation day. Porters met us in the lobby and delivered our luggage to the ship, and from that point, everything went smoothly. We had pre-booked the Murano specialty dining room for the first evening's dinner. It was very nice and worth the extra cost, but there was an odd twist. My wife ordered a dessert which was prepared and flambeed table-side with great fanfare -- only to be rolled away quickly with a flippant "Now the real one will be delivered to you from the kitchen." We're still trying to figure out what happened ... Our first cruise was with Celebrity many years ago, and we were hoping for the same quality of food and beverage service as we had experienced before. Overall, I'd have to say that the main-dining-room food on this ship was good to very good, but not great. Several fellow passengers commented that the food served in the Oceanview Cafe was generally better in terms of variety and quality, even for dinner. Somewhat disappointing was the fact that we weren't able to access some dining venues, even for an extra fee, because we hadn't paid for one of the highest-price cabins. The major irritation, however, was during bar service, where our mid-range "classic" beverage package required as much as $4.50 extra per drink, depending on what bar we were in and what drink was ordered. The size of our drinks was actually smaller than the same drink in the "premium" package, as well, which was a great way to limit the amount of alcohol poured during busy bar times when the waiter might not get back to you for 15-20 minutes after you've finished your first drink. This "nickle-and- dime" approach will most likely prevent us from cruising with Celebrity again, as we've recently been accustomed to all-inclusive cruising, with no tricks to limit costs and squeeze more money from guests. Overall, we found New Zealand to be the most beautiful country we've ever visited, and Sydney is an amazing city -- perhaps the most vibrant we've visited. Our ship took us to many interesting ports, and we're glad we made the trip One highlight of our trip was the crew. Especially for such a large ship, this was the friendliest crew we've experienced in 9 cruises. Our cabin was the most spacious we've ever had, and it made a noticeable difference in our experience. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We had this cruise booked almost two years in advance, in order to secure an accessible room. We picked this cruise as we had previously cruised NZ but had a lot of ports cancelled, so we decided to try again as we had heard good things ... Read More
We had this cruise booked almost two years in advance, in order to secure an accessible room. We picked this cruise as we had previously cruised NZ but had a lot of ports cancelled, so we decided to try again as we had heard good things about Solstice. We had a fantastic time. It is the best cruise we have ever done. Embarkation - we stayed at the Quest on Queen in Auckland (very nice hotel, very handy to the port if you are just wanting to wheel your luggage down to the wharf). We had to book a taxi to take us to the ship and when the taxi arrived at the pier, he spoke to one of the baggage handlers who called for some assistance, and our bags were taken directly from the taxi to be loaded onto the ship. We were then directed inside to the wheelchair assistance area, and we then had a man push the wheelchair all the way past the lines of people right to the front of the queue. From there it was only a few minutes until we were on the ship. Our cabin was Aqua class stateroom 1526 on deck 11 and it was the best accessible cabin we have had on a ship to date. There is an automatic door so once you insert your card it swings open to allow the wheelchair to enter. There is a large entryway and enough room in the cabin for a wheelchair to pass between the desk and the beds to the balcony. There is a ramp from the cabin onto the balcony. The bathroom is huge with a shower chair and bars around the toilet. The only things we might criticise is that the toilet is not raised and the bed is almost a little too high to transfer in and out of the chair, but other than those two minor things which we worked around, the cabin was excellent. As to the state of the cabin itself, I thought it was in good condition. The beds were very comfortable (they have a squishy topper on the mattress). The wooden railing on the balcony was a bit rattly but you couldn't hear it with the door closed inside the cabin. The bathroom was in good condition as well but because there is nothing to stop the water, when the ship is rolling I did have to put down a towel around the shower so I didn't flood the bathroom with water. Our room steward was excellent, although we did keep surprising him by turning up when he was trying to clean, but he was very nice about it. As we were Aqua class we dined in Blu. The food was very good but the service was excellent. I was a little concerned that Blu might be too fancy for us but we found something to our tastes every night, and if we didn't, they had a back-up or two in the kitchen that they could bring out. Our waiters were hilarious and they greeted us like friends every night which made the whole restaurant experience that much more enjoyable. We had breakfast in the buffet only a few times because it was so hard to find somewhere to sit and it was just so crowded. On port days we had breakfast in our cabin so we could get an early start (there is no charge for room service on Celebrity). We had breakfast in Blu and it was very good as well. We had lunch in the buffet most days. If you arrived at the wrong time (i.e. between 12 and 1.30pm) it was almost impossible to find somewhere to sit. Thankfully they have helpers in the buffet who were able to take control of the wheelchair and find a seat for us. I thought the food in the buffet was the best I have had at a buffet at sea - every day there was something different to try. I especially loved the ice cream and the pasta station. We would often go in the afternoon and get ice cream or sorbet to take back to the room, it was delicious. We tried all three specialty restaurants (except the sushi place). Of the three Tuscan Grille was our favourite. The lobster rigatoni alfredo was to die for. We had dinner there the night we left Milford Sound and it was a very special experience to watch New Zealand grow smaller and smaller behind us. We tried the seafood fiesta at Silk Harvest which was good (but costs extra, and you can only book once on board). We tried the lobster at Murano and it was delicious. I don't have any complaints about the specialty restaurants. I had read bad reviews about them but we thought they were excellent. Next time I would wait until I was on board before booking, as you could get the restaurants cheaper on board, and they were always trying to offer us deals. Re the drinks packages - we had onboard credit (about $350AUD worth) so we didn't bother buying drinks packages, as neither of us drink alcohol. The non-alcoholic package is $22 a day per person. It averaged out that we would not have spent enough on board to warrant buying the drinks package (we averaged about $15 per day each, on port days we might've only spent about $8 each, some days we spent nothing). In saying that, we are booked again on Solstice in 2021 and we received two perks with our booking, so we are both getting a drinks package. Why? Because the amount of times I was asked why I didn't have a drinks package, how it will work out better for me if I have one, and the amount of huffing and puffing from the bartenders was so unbelievably frustrating that it is just easier to have a damn drinks package. I don't know how many times, and to how many different people, I explained that we are not spending enough per day to warrant it - they just don't understand. I know they are meant to push it on you but it was really annoying. Honestly, my biggest overall complaint is that I found the bar service at every single bar I went to absolutely terrible. Maybe they care if you're buying cocktails and you've got a drinks package, but other than that, they just want you gone. And just trying to get noticed to place an order was an ordeal in itself, especially at the pool bar. I didn't have any problems with the table service at the Sky Lounge - that was excellent. Other people may have had an easier time but by the end I was dreading having to order anything at a bar. The other thing we didn't buy that I wished we had bought was an internet package, but it was just so expensive that I didn't really think I could justify having it. Thankfully it is our second perk for our 2021 cruise, so I won't have to worry about it next time. We didn't see all of the shows. We saw the Buddy Holly show, Nikki Bennett (awful, just awful), the Motown tribute show and then a few of the Celebrity productions. I didn't really enjoy the shows but it seemed like I was in the minority there, as there were a lot of standing ovations. We went to Captain Tasos' talk about the building of Solstice and it was standing room only for good reason - it was absolutely fantastic and a highlight of the trip. I wondered what all the fuss about Captain Tasos was until I got on board - the hype is worth it. He is hilarious. I participated almost exclusively in trivia and had a great time doing so. The entertainment staff were very friendly and it was a lot of fun. I spent a lot of time in the Sky Lounge; it was my favourite part of the ship. We never did make it up to watch the glass blowing - it was too cold to be out on deck most of the time, but I will definitely go for a look when we're back on in 2021. We also didn't make it to any movies - they play the movies up on the grassed area but again it was too cold and I wasn't really interested. For the most part (bar service aside), I found the service on the ship to be above and beyond what we were expecting. The staff were unbelievably helpful, attentive and friendly. We had assistance every single time we were getting on or off the ship - usually an army of men to help push the wheelchair up and down the ramp. If there was a long walk (for example in Tauranga and Dunedin), one would often walk the wheelchair about half of the distance for me. The wheelchair was a fast pass in itself - we bypassed the queues getting off the ship in Tasmania, were straight off and through customs before the rest of the passengers had even gotten off the ship. In Akaroa they have a stair-lift to carry the wheelchair down to the tender boat, and they helped us on and off the boat. The staff were really wonderful and they are a big reason why we decided to book again for 2021. We booked this cruise for the itinerary and unlike the last time we cruised NZ, we were able to make it into every single port. I love Auckland and I think it's a beautiful city. In Tauranga we rented a car through Rite Price Rentals (highly recommend them) and drove ourselves to Rotorua and Waiotapou, and the next day up north to a small town on the coast called Bowentown. In Wellington we booked a private tour with a driver who took us all around the city; it was fantastic. In Akaroa we simply went ashore and did some shopping. In Dunedin we booked another private tour with Good Company Tours, did a city tour, a tour of Olveston House and then a train ride (some disappointment there for us as it turned out the train wasn't wheelchair accessible and we couldn't go, but other than that the tour was very good). In Hobart we met a friend and wandered around the city and in Melbourne I got off the ship for a few hours to do some shopping. The highlight of the ports were the sounds - we had unbelievable weather, blue skies and sunshine. I was able to stand out on the helipad for our entrance into Dusky Sound in the early morning which was wonderful. We saw dolphins in Doubtful Sound and seals in Dusky Sound. In Milford Sound the captain took us right up to the big waterfall and did a 360 turn - it was spectacular. Other thoughts on the ship: It really does cater to an older crowd which suits me just fine, even though I'm only in my 30s. There were a lot more Americans than I was expecting. There were hardly any kids - I think I saw less than 20 the entire time, which again, suits me just fine. I was a lot more comfortable on this ship with an older crowd than I was on Explorer of the Seas with a much younger crowd. As such the entertainment, activities and trivia are all geared towards an older crowd, which might bother some people but it didn't really worry me. I think the ship itself is really nice - very clean. The bathrooms have attendants so they are kept really neat and tidy. I didn't get sick on board but my mother picked up a cough in the last couple of days. I didn't hear about anyone getting gastro or anything like that. I usually pick up a cold but thankfully I managed to avoid it this time. There are probably a few things that need doing up but honestly, it's the second best ship I've ever been on and I really don't have any complaints about the ship itself. We got roped into "lunch with the captain" which was actually $90 to sit with a bunch of people we didn't know and make awkward conversation, and meet the Captain for two minutes at the start. So that was disappointing, but even though we didn't complain about it to anyone, we ended up getting a second free lunch at Tuscan Grille for the last day. And the hostess from Blu was really apologetic about it, but we definitely didn't complain so I have no idea why they thought we were upset. Anyway, the free lunch was really good. I think the shops are a bit... ridiculous, but I guess it's a fancy ship so they sell fancy things. We went to a couple of the sales and bought some cheap jewellery, and I did get some cheap t-shirts for my friends back home. We didn't bother with the art auction as they are a waste of time. We also didn't bother with bingo as it seemed really expensive. If I had known when we were on board that we were going to book again a few days after we got off I would've booked through Future Cruises, but I guess I will next time. This two week cruise with Celebrity has turned me into a convert - I think this may be my favourite cruise line now. Honestly, I may have some complaints about the bar service but overall this was the best cruise we have ever done, hands down, and I can't wait to sail on Solstice again in 2021. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We joined four friends for one of those life time trips. We always wanted to cruise and see NZ..so we did both with Celebrity. Also to revisit a special place..Australia. Booked this 14 day cruise. Ship was Celebrity Solice. Does ... Read More
We joined four friends for one of those life time trips. We always wanted to cruise and see NZ..so we did both with Celebrity. Also to revisit a special place..Australia. Booked this 14 day cruise. Ship was Celebrity Solice. Does to Auckland for cruise launch. Boarded after a day exploring Auckland (which we explored before)had hired a private tour..Wonderful Boarding went quickly....this process was very well done by Celebrity. As we were watching leaving Auckland..We decided to eat in Ocean View Cafe. This was my first day and we loved the view. But then...food. Was so bland... over cooked, lots of bad deserts. This first impression did not change throughout trip. Poor food all around except hotdogs and hamburgers at an outside grill. Very disappointed..but no weight gain... Service great, outings good. Rooms good. Very poor condition for hallways, and veranda furnishings. Broken curtains, torn bath towels..then no fair shake for a gay couple on being in stage..Very concerning. Told Cruise person all this on ship in Future Cruise dept. Have not received any communication from them on a review of our concerns. Probably done with Celebrity. Will cruise again though! Thx for reading. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Found the cruise relaxing staff were very helpful. Didn't enjoy the meals tried twice in the restaurant on Deck 3 or 4. Because we don;t consume alcohol and don't put on airs down to earth couple didn't really feel welcomed ... Read More
Found the cruise relaxing staff were very helpful. Didn't enjoy the meals tried twice in the restaurant on Deck 3 or 4. Because we don;t consume alcohol and don't put on airs down to earth couple didn't really feel welcomed there. After that experience used the Ocienveiw Cafe for all our meals and the Mast Grille nice presented food. Enjoyed the show put on most nights in the Solstice Theatre pity they were only a hour long. Enjoyed the outdoor movies pity they repeated them over and over especially The Black Panther and Skycraper. Enjojed watching the girls on deck 15 working with the glass very pleasant and customer looked happy with their items. Bands that played were good normally listened to them in the library. Really not a lot to do at night if you don't gamble or drink. The ship looked nice and clean Indra did a good job making and tiding our room. A few issues with wind blowing thru the door at night whistling, broken tiolet seat cracked T.V. losing signal when watching it otherwise okay.Choose excursions thru the ship 1st not to be left behind and 2nd not to indated by the locals if going ashore. Went on the Nausori Farmers Market Drive hard to hear the person talking as microphone kept cutting in and out. The third excursion I didn't do due to illness which was spreading thru-out the ship coughing, sneezing runny nose and sore throat, as no opening windows in our room think it was spread by the air conditioning.Older couple early 60's no children. Yes we have booked again for same trip 2021 with a room at back of ship with opening balcony hopefully to prevent illness. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This is my second cruise with hubby (both 50 yr olds) and our first one was on Solstice also 2 years ago. Our first cruise was perfect and so it was inevitable that we would be comparing both cruises and that the second one wouldn't ... Read More
This is my second cruise with hubby (both 50 yr olds) and our first one was on Solstice also 2 years ago. Our first cruise was perfect and so it was inevitable that we would be comparing both cruises and that the second one wouldn't be as good as the first. Celebrity have the embarkation/disembarkation process down pat and we can't fault them on that at all. Even at Princess Wharf Auckland where it is so small and could be utter chaos, everything was good and moved quickly. We had stayed at the Sebel Quay West the night before which I recommend as it is a lovely hotel and an easy walk with luggage down to the wharf. The ship is as lovely as ever and looked after well although you can see some minor things showing some wear and tear. The best thing about Celebrity is the staff - they are all friendly and helpful. As with the last cruise, the only staff member to not acknowledge us as we walked by everyday was the Captains Club hostess. This itinerary seemed to attract an older age group - a lot of baby boomers on this cruise and more then half were New Zealanders. We seemed to find this age group to be really rude - always needing to be first in line for everything, and would push in front of you to grab something (with their hands) in the buffet. We noticed on a few occassions some were really rude to the bartenders - was terrible to see and was no need for it. Poor bartenders have to work so hard to keep us thirsty aussies and kiwis satisfied as it is without having to deal with people who think they are entitled. I thought there might not be much nightlife because of the older crowd but a lot of them liked to party. The Full Moon party, and silent discos were pretty popular. The sea days were pretty quiet with not too many activities which was disappointing. We ended up going to the afternoon trivia most days to fill in some time - even though we are really bad at it. Luckily the bartenders there were the best on the ship- in particular Eric and Nevil. Last cruise we spent a lot of time at the outdoor bars - Sunset and Mast but they've changed the rules and they are now smoking bars so we didn't go there much at all. Sunset bar is only supposed to be smoking on port side but this doesn't seem to get enforced. While we were sitting at the centre of the bar, a woman was standing directly behind us smoking while ordering a drink. Bit of a deal breaker unfortunately for us when the best bars are now off limits for the non smokers. The food is still good but probably not as good as the first cruise. The quality has dropped a bit in the buffet eg used to be able to get different varieties of bacon but now only thin stuff that was cooked in the oven making it hard. There isn't as much variety either. The food in the main restaurant is tasty. The bread basket is dangerously good. The portion sizes are small on some things but you can order more. We found it is difficult to get a drink there if you don't drink wine. Went one night without being asked at all if we wanted a drink. And another night we had to ask. We went to Silk Harvest once - good food but the restaurant is a bit too dark and it was very stuffy. Tuscan Grille is a lovely place to have a good meal before it gets dark so you can see the views. Service was good, they were probably a bit too attentive if anything as there was always someone asking us how the food was, do we need anything else etc. Pretty sad but one thing I was looking forward to was the $10 watch sale. They don't have it anymore. Luckily nothing else grabbed me, including the casino so didn't have to spend much costly US$. Missed hearing Captain Tasos's daily announcements this time- Captain Taramas doesn't have the same character and isn't seen as much around the ship. The ports were interesting to see. We didn't do any Celebrity excursions as they all seemed too expensive. In hindsight it might have been better to go with Celebrity - it would have saved us having to deal with some undesirables in all of the ports who see cruisers coming and want to rip them off. The entertainment was good mostly - pity the production shows are the same ones we saw over 2 years ago. The singers seemed more suitable for musicals - they weren't really cut out for Rock City. The impressionist seemed to be popular with the older people but wasn't to my taste. Magician was good but all the tricks were shown on a screen that made everything look blurry so was difficult to watch. Couldn't fault our cabin - had a balcony on the hump on the Portside. If this itinerary is repeated exactly, I would recommend staying on the Starboard side. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We choose this cruise because the last Solstice trip (to Sth Pacific) the average age was around 60, still way older than us but ok. This time is very around mid 80s and most people were not mobile. Getting around the ship was very ... Read More
We choose this cruise because the last Solstice trip (to Sth Pacific) the average age was around 60, still way older than us but ok. This time is very around mid 80s and most people were not mobile. Getting around the ship was very frustrating and the music on board was obviously to cater for them - 30s and 40's (which my husband and I can't stand). We don't have children (by choice, they annoy me); so it was good that there weren't too many to be seen or heard. The ports were mostly good but I would get rid of Lautoka and Suva and try and use a beautiful outer Fijian island. I've been to Fiji a few times and the ports are not a true reflection of the beauty of the Fiji. We both really enjoyed Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga - we did shore trips in each location but not through the ship. We did the Oolala trip, with the ship, in Lautoka and it was terrible - I went two years ago and everything has changed for the worse. It was overcrowded, mean and the food was inedible. The entertainment was generally ok, if geared towards very old people. The dining was good but portion sizes are very small. I'm a size 8 and I had to eat 2nd dinner in the buffet some night as I was still starving. One of the guys (a professor) giving talks was so boring and his material very old. Surely they can find people who are actually interested in their material and pass that on to the cruises. Cost for gym classes is a bit expensive at $17US Why is the spa so expensive? I would love to have treatments but not at twice the price of Australia. The shops are ridiculous - LV and Tiffany - seriously???? why not have nice brands that your target market can afford. Get rid of the stupid art show - just have nice stuff around the ship to admire (not to purchase) Based on this cruise, we have decided to cruise again in about 20 years time - unless Celebrity really do something to encourage a younger (but Childfree) market. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This is not a luxury five star ship whatever the travel agents claim, not now. It was back in 2008 when it was launched, but its been worked hard since then. Its evident when you embark through its nice white hull and enter its interior ... Read More
This is not a luxury five star ship whatever the travel agents claim, not now. It was back in 2008 when it was launched, but its been worked hard since then. Its evident when you embark through its nice white hull and enter its interior that its tired and overdue for a refit. We did venture up to the buffet on the first day and were surprised it was a serve yourself affair (a known novivirus risk) and the carpet was badly food stained and furniture chipped and stained. We never went up again. The food in the main dining room was good though, and our table staff were excellent, but the stained drapes and furnishings were similarly in need of attention.We went to most of the shows which were pretty average Broadway type shows, although we did have a good comedian one evening. We had pre-dinner drinks most evenings at the ice bar where the bar staff (and some of the guests) were always entertaining. The other bars offer a more relaxed experience with faster service though. We got off the ship at every stop and found them interesting and worth a visit, especially if the weathers good. Overall we had the impression they are only attending to basic maintenance and cleaning on the Solstice leading up to its refit next year. Avoid this ship until after its refit, or in the meantime there are other better alternatives like Princess or Holland America. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We have been cruising since 1986 and truly have enjoyed most experiences. We chose this cruise as a B2B since we had not been to this part of the world and it was a long flight from the states. We booked an Aqua spa class cabin (first ... Read More
We have been cruising since 1986 and truly have enjoyed most experiences. We chose this cruise as a B2B since we had not been to this part of the world and it was a long flight from the states. We booked an Aqua spa class cabin (first time) and was not disappointed. The cabin located on deck 11, was small but adequate. The Blu restaurant was excellent and worth the cost of the room itself. From the hostess to the waiters and the sommeliers, the experience was exceptional. Food was perfectly presented, in nice small portions and prepared as requested. Seating was well staged with mostly paired tables but just close enough if you wanted to carry on a conversation with your neighbor. I'm afraid I will never go back to the main dining room. We also ate in Tuscan and Murano. Food was good and plentiful but not worth the cost unless you can get a discount. The cafe (buffet) was also a good experience as the food and layout made it easy to see the offerings and find what you were looking for. However, on seas days you could not find a place to seat let alone a table as people camped out for many hours at a time playing cards, grazing, playing on their tablets and phones killing time. We frequented the Martini bar and Cafe al Bacio utilizing our premium drink package. Love the specialized coffees and variations in martinis. Prices however are outrageous if you don't have that package. We purchased 9 ship tours and 3 private tours. All tours met or exceeded our expectations except for the ship's "taste of Barossa." On that tour the wineries were not prepared for 45 people at one time. On the other tours, the animals many times were the stars of the tours especially the Koalas, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, seals and penguins. The seas by luck were mainly calm even in the Tasmanian sea. Weather in ports for February and March was 70's (expected and packed for hotter) and mainly clear except for Sydney where it rained off and on both times we were there. As mentioned in earlier reviews the ship is looking worn. Although beautifully designed, much of the furniture is thread bear and needs replacing. This includes most public areas especially the chairs. Again as mentioned in earlier reviews, there was a significant amount of rust showing in the upper superstructure. Not what I am accustomed to on a Celebrity ship. Lastly the things that will make me think twice before booking another Celebrity cruise with sea days. The constant promoting of the specialty restaurants, wine purchases, drink packages, spa packages and "pay to play" promotions (wine tastings for example) from morning to night around every corner of the ship was awful. A real turnoff to most passengers. You could not escape it especially on sea days. I can not stress enough how hard they tried to sell these products. But the most disappointing thing I found on the cruise was how Celebrity has gutted the "activities staff" and the activities they provide. The CD talked a good game each day but was mostly missing in action. His recently promoted assistant tried his best to provide some form of sea day activities, but with what appears to be no budget, offered little. Celebrity's program is pay to play or entertain yourself. My idea of sea day activities does not include making paper airplanes for an hour to challenge for 10 seconds an officer, making an egg drop contraption or a "boat" out of ship garbage (referred to by Celebrity as recyclables) or waiting an hour to hit a golf ball one time in the foyer to an "X" taped to the floor. Cost for these activities to Celebrity = $0.00. The hot glass program and outside movies to me were non-existent. Overall we still had a great time, but with many ways to spend your travel dollars these days, I will think long and hard before making my next booking. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
For background, we (my wife and I), have been cruising since 2012, our first and third cruises were with Celebrity, and had anyone asked us since that time, we would have recommended them as our favourite cruise line. We have also cruised ... Read More
For background, we (my wife and I), have been cruising since 2012, our first and third cruises were with Celebrity, and had anyone asked us since that time, we would have recommended them as our favourite cruise line. We have also cruised with HAL, RCL, NCL and Princess. Unfortunately, we can no longer say that after our last outing on the Solstice. The Staff The staff are still top notch. Our stateroom attendant was excellent (best to date), the Martini Bar crew are still excellent fun, and the activities staff and main dining room staff were also very good. Nothing to fault here. The Ship The ship is starting to show its age a bit, but it is still pretty good considering its been cruising for over a decade. It could use a freshening up, but it’s still fine. There were noise issues, however, in a number of the cabins. A fellow trivia team mate, and former merchant mariner, suggested air conditioning ducts were probably loosening in their brackets, causing intermittent clanging noises. Presumably this is something that would have to be addressed in dry dock. The balcony door also caused quite a racket when exposed to moderate winds, but leaving it unlocked helped with that issue (at least for us). The Seaview Cafe So many cruise lines focus on getting quantity out there and often the food is cool when it should be hot and/or variety is lacking. The Solstice is still above average on this front, in my opinion. Main Dining Room This is where the Solstice is failing, badly. This is not just our opinion, but something echoed by many other passengers. The issue is not with the staff, however, who were excellent, in our experience, but rather the food variety and quality. Variety was generally lacking as we saw many repeat dishes over the 16 day cruise. In addition, the chefs seemed to have a fixation with cold soups and smothering seafood dishes with tomato-based sauces. We looked forward to the lobster tail on the second last day, but it was basted with an unknown seasoning which completely ruined the dish. Dessert pastries were generally OK, but hardly spectacular. When asked why local fare wasn’t used (Blue mana crabs are in season in Australia), it was suggested such meals would only be in the speciality dining rooms. Speciality dining We didn’t – the prices are becoming quite ridiculous. Activities Meh best describes this. After having a lot of fun on the Norwegian Breakaway, where we almost had to jog from event to event, 3 hour gaps in the Solstice activities simply don’t cut it. Some nights there were mini game shows, which were reasonably fun, but for the rest it was trivia and name that tune. The activities crew were good, but they were hampered by lack of numbers and props/facilities. The stand out for us was a guest lecturer (Bill Lee) covering theoretical physics. My advice to Celebrity: You were never the go to for bells and whistles activities and entertainment. Get your food sorted out, at the very least, or you’ll find those staterooms progressively harder to fill. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
INTRO My wife and I went on a 16-night cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice out of Auckland, NZ with ports of call in New Zealand (Tauranga, Napier, Picton, Wellington) and Australia (Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth). We spent three ... Read More
INTRO My wife and I went on a 16-night cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice out of Auckland, NZ with ports of call in New Zealand (Tauranga, Napier, Picton, Wellington) and Australia (Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth). We spent three days in Auckland before boarding the ship. One funny thing happened while we were in Auckland. The first day we had lunch at the Harbourside Ocean Bar and Grill in the old ferry building – a great place for lunch BTW. We had some questions about the menu, and at one point the waiter asked me if I liked oysters. I was tired from the flight from the States; my hearing isn’t what it used to be; and I had not had a chance to acclimate myself to the Kiwi accent; because I would have sworn he asked me if I liked horses! Sigh. REVIEW Ship I am not going to say much about the Solstice because it has been reviewed so many times before. Furthermore, the Solstice has consistently won Cruiser’s Choice Awards year after year, with Cruisers and Cruise Critic Editors each rating the Solstice 5.0 on a 5.0 scale. What I will say is that ship was large, but it still had a very intimate feel, which is probably due to the outstanding crew on the Solstice. Everyone was incredibly friendly and hospitable. We found that the crew would go out of their way to take care of whatever requests or needs we had, some before we even voiced them. One of the things we really enjoyed was the Hollywood Hot Glass’ workshops on the Lawn Deck (Deck 15) where you can create a glass piece of your own coloring and choosing. There are a number of different things you can make, e.g., a flower, heart, vase, tumbler, ruffle bowl and ornament). I would have preferred to make a ruffle bowl, but we didn’t have enough room in our suitcase or any way to protect the glass. So we made really cool paperweights. Smile. I highly recommend taking a glassblowing class (or two), but plan ahead by bringing some bubble wrap and leaving a little extra room on your suitcase. The other thing I really enjoyed was looking at the fine art on the Solstice (owned by Celebrity, not the auction). I noticed some of the artwork in pictures of the Edge, so I paid particular attention to the paintings and sculptures on the Solstice. It really enhanced my appreciation of the ship. Dining The food onboard the Solstice was excellent. The main dining room for suite-class passengers is Luminae. The food there was excellent and the service was second to none. The Maître D' in Luminae (Dimitri) set the tone for Luminae. He always greeted us as though we were long lost friends he was happy to see again. He made us feel welcomed and right at home every time we entered the restaurant. Our waiter (Chitra) paid attention to our likes and dislikes, and made it a point to recommend things that we would like. I didn’t particularly care for the sausages they served there. I preferred the sausages in the Oceanview Café, so Chitra made sure Luminae had the sausages I liked for breakfast every day. One evening, Chitra served a special dessert. It was a chocolate sphere. She poured a flaming hot liquor over the top of the sphere that melted the chocolate revealing some vanilla ice cream. I asked if they could make that dessert another evening so I could take a video of the presentation. Chitra and the chef were more than happy to make that happen. The assistant waiter (Natalie) couldn’t have been friendlier. We always enjoyed talking to her. The wine steward (Juris) made great selections for us. In the one or two instances we didn’t particularly care for the wine he selected, he made some alternate suggestions, which were excellent. We also ate at several specialty restaurants Murano, the Tuscan Grille and Sushi on Five. I loved them all, but Sushi on Five was my favorite. Kudos to the F&B director (Mihai) and restaurant manager (Mazy) for their outstanding work in creating a five-star experience in every venue on the Solstice. Entertainment I have to give a shout out to the cruise director (Lewis). The entertainment aboard the Solstice was outstanding. It included acts such as Peter Cousins, an actor who performed in such musicals as Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables; Keith Scott, an outstanding voice actor, impressionist and comedian; and, Matt Mcgurk, an award-winning magician and illusionist. Two of our favorite acts were (1) the Beatnix, a Beatles tribute band, and (2) the Lighthouse String Duo (with Lia on the electric violin and Alina on the electric cello). Both acts connected well with audiences. If you are interested in checking out the latter act, which was pretty unique, you can visit their Facebook page at .) We looked for performances throughout the cruise and were never disappointed. Another great show was the aerial acrobatic show entitled “Euphoria” by the French Cirque Les Farfadais & Co. that Celebrity saved until the end of the cruise. Euphoria was a combination of acrobatics, silk dance and aerial rings that rivaled Cirque du Soleil in every way and left us amazed and awed by their skills. We would be thrilled to see any of these acts again on future Celebrity cruises. Service From the moment we checked in and all throughout the service onboard the was exceptional. This was the first time we had a butler. I wasn’t sure why I needed a butler, but I quickly found out how valuable he was. We were invited to dinner one evening, and I needed a shirt pressed right away. Our butler (Anu) took care of that and had the shirt back to me within the hour. We also had a bottle of champagne that I wanted sent to the dining room to be chilled for dinner, and Anu took care of that as well. It was a nice luxury to be able to enjoy the cruise and not take the time to work on the logistics of something like that. We also found the Michael’s Club Concierge (Olga) extremely professional, competent and helpful. I asked Olga if I could get a list of lectures and shows for the cruise (so I could better plan our evenings). She would have had the list back to me the next day, but it was not to her liking because It only listed the names of each act. She sent the list back and asked that they add a description of each act. I also asked if Olga could arrange for someone from future cruises to meet me in Michael’s Club to book a future cruise, which she did. Even if there was a lot going on in Michael’s Club, Olga never appeared distracted as she welcomed guests and answered questions. The suite manager (Anastasia) was fantastic. You could tell that she was all about providing the best guest service possible in the way she regularly checked in with us and the way related to others on her team. She really looked after us. PORTS & SHORE EXCURSIONS We enjoyed all of the ports-of-call, but I will only highlight four: two in New Zealand and two in Australia. Tauranga, NZ Our first stop was Tauranga, NZ where we visited the Māori (pron MOU•ree, not may•OR•ee) village of Whakarewarewa in Rotorua, which was a lot of fun. (The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand.) After touring the village, the Māori served lunch and put on a show. The Māori villagers like to have fun with you by presenting the name of their village as one word: Tewhakarewarewatangaoteopetauaawahiao. It seems overwhelming, right? It really isn’t. If you break that word down into its component parts, it is actually “Te Whakarewarewa Tanga, O Te Ope Taua A Wahiao,” which means “gathering place for the war parties of the Wahiao.” If you want to have a little fun with the Māori, you can learn how to pronounce the name of the village before you go. When they ask if anyone can pronounce the name of their village, you can surprise them by sounding like the Māori. They will definitely not expect it. Here is how the Māori pronounce the name of their village: http://alturl.com/abr3f. Napier, NZ We were lucky to be in Napier (pron NAY•pee•er) during the weekend of the year they held their Hot Rod & Classic Car Festival, one of several Art Deco Festivals held every year celebrating the classic Art Deco period of the 1920’ and 30’s. (For more about the festival and events throughout the year see their website at . Much of Napier was destroyed by an earthquake in 1931 and many of the buildings were rebuilt in the (Art Deco) style of that period. It was fun to walk around the town and to see many of the locals (flappers and dappers) dressing in period garb for the occasion. If you want to join in the fun, stop by Napier Antiques and Jewelry store at 65 Tennyson St. in Napier. They had a wide variety of styles for men and women from which to choose. People there also displayed beautifully restored antique cars and old motorcycles. A band played music in the square. Several dance troupes performed in the town square. All in all it was a lot of fun. Sydney, AUS Bridge climb or Pylon? A number of passengers on the cruise opted to climb the “coat hanger (Sydney Harbour Bridge). The cost is AUD $263 – $403 per person (USD $186 - $285 per person). That’s USD $372 - $570 per couple! The climb takes 3 ½ hours and you have to wear a suit that others have worn before. (I have no idea how often the clean the suits, but it didn’t appeal to me one way or the other.) We spent a fraction of that and chose to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon. The cost of climbing the Pylon is AUD $15 per person (USD $10.63pp). That’s only $22 per couple! There is an interesting historical exhibit on the climb up, and we had virtually the same view of famous Sydney Harbour Opera House as those who spent a whole lot more money and time. That left us plenty of free time to grab lunch at the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar, which was located at 1 East Circular Quay just down from the Opera House across the way from the Circular Quay and Overseas Passenger Terminal. It had a great view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour. The food was excellent. I ordered BBQ’d shrimp (what else?) and my wife ordered seafood linguini. We also had a surprise visit by some parakeets. We mentioned that to the waiter, and he said they loved the sugar. Who doesn’t? Adelaide, AUS We visited the Cleland Wildlife Conservation Park in Adelaide where we saw a Tasmanian devil, kangaroos, koalas, emus, geese, various birds and more. It was too hot that day to hold a koala, but we were able to pet a couple of kangaroos. My one regret is that we did not purchase food to feed the animals, primarily because I didn’t want to throw food at the animals, but what I didn’t know is that some of the animals, like the kangaroos, and I am guessing the koalas as well, would eat out of your hand. It might have been fun. CONCLUSION Pros Celebrity’s Solstice is a beautiful ship. Great food, service, and entertainment. An outgoing and professional staff who genuinely cared about you and who went out of their way to make sure you wanted for nothing. Cons I really don’t have any cons other than recommending those with mobility issues booking rooms closer to the elevators, which are located amidship. Value The value for what we received was excellent. I heartedly recommend Celebrity Cruise Line and the Solstice. You will not be disappointed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary which was great. We had never been to this part of the world or had been on a Celebrity ship. The cabin was clean and pretty spacious but it did need a bit of a refurb especially the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary which was great. We had never been to this part of the world or had been on a Celebrity ship. The cabin was clean and pretty spacious but it did need a bit of a refurb especially the curtains.The food in the Oceanview Cafe was great and there was a wide choice to choose from. Zeljko Cickovic the Maitre D’ in the cafe was so friendly and always stopped to chat with us. However, in the restaurant the food was good but we felt there wasn’t much of a choice. The entertainment was ok however, the show put on by the Celebrity dancers and singers were very good. The daily activities was ok, not as good as P&O cruises. The crew were very friendly and some would always chat to us when we saw them. One of the Officers Stelios always made time to chat to us , he seemed a lovely genuine man. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This was our first time on Celebrity, we are RCCL people, which own celebrity. Embarkation was OK no issue at all, the ship looked good but you can see some areas are tired and in need of some work but that is not a big issue. From ... Read More
This was our first time on Celebrity, we are RCCL people, which own celebrity. Embarkation was OK no issue at all, the ship looked good but you can see some areas are tired and in need of some work but that is not a big issue. From the minute we got on board we were endlessly pounded with first, drinks packages, then were ever we went it was specialty restaurants. I felt they were hiding at every corner, breakfast , lunch before entering dining room and leaving dining room , it just never stopped. Then when going to the gym you had to run the gauntlet of massages etc etc. I want to pass on a tip, you can offer specialty restaurants but when you ask around $40-$50 US, then the food needs to be rather special and sorry, it was not. Drinks on all cruise lines are out of control and crazy expensive, $6US for a ordinary coffee UP to $15 US for a cocktail and $11-15 US for wine really is too much. which includes an 18% gratuity .For us poor Aussies add at least 25%+ to get Aussie pricing We booked a concierge cabin and we thought it was good value with the extras you got. Our cabin was a bit smaller than we were used to, with not as much storage space but a slightly larger bathroom I thought the service on the ship was great however for some reason, the staff do not appear happy. The food in the dining room was mostly good although became repetitive. I thought the Buffet selection was ordinary and not a great variety. Entertainment was generally Ok, I have a thought, do not expect good entertainment and if you get it then it is a great bonus. I was happy with most of the entertainment I did notice there were a lot of bars on board but not much to do like, mini golf etc. If you did not follow the daily activities then there was not much else. The top deck was covered in lawn which was different but frankly, useless and the glass blowing for me was a little boring. The adds say Premium cruising and I did expect to get the wow factor but generally speaking it was very little difference to any other of the 300 nights I have been on ships Cruising has become like " lamb to the slaughter", they just try and extract every dollar possible. I would not personally, go on Celebrity again and I hope other cruise lines are not pounding you with upselling otherwise I will stop going. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We have had a number of Celenrity Cruises this was the most disappointing. The positives - Luminae dining, cabin housekeeping and general level of service. The Sky Suite was spacious and service excellent but the noise from trolleys ... Read More
We have had a number of Celenrity Cruises this was the most disappointing. The positives - Luminae dining, cabin housekeeping and general level of service. The Sky Suite was spacious and service excellent but the noise from trolleys in the buffet restaurant directly above was intrusive - especially in early morning. Negatives- We saw no evidence of 'priority boarding' which is sold as part of the package. Our check in at Auckland, which was a shambles and left is standing on the gangway with all other passengers for over 20 minutes, set the scene for all other ports. We appreciate port restrictions where only one gangway ( which would sometimes only carry 5 at any one time) seemed to be a feature but no attempt was made to prioritise and there tended to be only one card reader in operation,which for a ship this size is ridiculous. We felt sorry for disabled passengers. Occasionally there were two bag screening machines but not very often. NOISE! Screaming music invaded almost every public space even the Lawn Club, which we associate with peace and calm. A number of other passengers asked for it to be turned off or turned down but it was systematically turned back up. So many of us complained especially in the Martini bar where a disco was thumping out mindlessly. Up selling was intrusive and infuriating. Celebrity clearly have a mandate to squeeze as much out of passengers as possible. This is even more evident in our bookin for next year ( which we will probably cancel). Gratuities are added to the total cost of the cruise and the customary service for those of us who have to fly to Florida, where flight times are not compatible with cruise times, were an overnight hotel pre cruise and day room on day of departure are now an extra the latter being totally unavailable. We have contacted Celebrity. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Bucket list to see Australia. Embarkation and disembarking are the worst part of any cruise. This was no different, although clearing the ship of that large a number of passengers and preparing for the arriving passengers in 4 to 5 hours ... Read More
Bucket list to see Australia. Embarkation and disembarking are the worst part of any cruise. This was no different, although clearing the ship of that large a number of passengers and preparing for the arriving passengers in 4 to 5 hours is a difficult task. The crew was fantastic in every department. They actually appeared to be happy to serve you. The food was well prepared but the selection was small. It seems they want you to use the buffet or pay for one of the specialty restaurants. My main complaint is the constant up selling. I researched to find the cruise I wanted along with the type cabin and extra packages. I bought the classic drink package and was constantly receiving emails trying to get me to upgrade. At least twice a day on the cruise I was approached about booking specialty dining. Everything now seems to be geared toward getting you to spend every cent you have in the shops and restaurants. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Chose this cruise because it was hubby’s bucket list trip to go to Australia and I wanted to go to NZ. Solstice is showing her age a bit...things are just looking a little worn...some holes in our cabin drapes, chairs in the public ... Read More
Chose this cruise because it was hubby’s bucket list trip to go to Australia and I wanted to go to NZ. Solstice is showing her age a bit...things are just looking a little worn...some holes in our cabin drapes, chairs in the public areas are a worn...that type of thing. If you look passed all those types of things then Solstice is still a beautiful ship. Food this time out for me was a bit of a disappointment. Had to send one dinner in the MDR back all together. There was a good mix of choices. They were free with the lobster on the night they served it which hubby was quite happy with. Staff were marvellous, Joaquim our cabin attendant was very good with our request to get the night light in the bathroom fixed and sorting out a different appie plate for us in the afternoon. He was very helpful and pleasant and attentive to all our needs. Martini Bar staff were lovely too. Thank you Alin! MDR staff were wonderful although I gave them such a bad tim*e trying to get them to stop calling me madam...had fun though. Entertainment wasn’t an attraction for us...we previewed the early show after dinner to see if it was something we wanted to see. Over a 16 night sailing I think we only took in maybe 4 shows. There were special ABBA or Queen music nights in Sky Lounge we attended instead. Ports were all good. Excursions for the most part were good. Some narratives were better than others. The Adelaide excursion we went on the commentator sort of stammered and repeated himself. The sound system on the bus wasn’t working right or he wasn’t talking loud enough but half the bus couldn’t hear him. I was quite surprised by the number of people with walking/travelling aides on this cruise. I know I am not a spring chicken but I found it frustrating trying to move freely sometimes because of the number of people with scooters etc. I understand now that the longer the cruise the more chance you have of that happening. So if you are young and want more action.....think on. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
My wife and I have been on 55 cruises, the shortest 11 days, the longest 28 days. We have sailed with NCL, Holland America, Princess, Azamara and Celebrity. On Celebrity we are Elite Plus members with 2000 points. Our most recent cruise ... Read More
My wife and I have been on 55 cruises, the shortest 11 days, the longest 28 days. We have sailed with NCL, Holland America, Princess, Azamara and Celebrity. On Celebrity we are Elite Plus members with 2000 points. Our most recent cruise was a back to back on Celebrity Solstice. Here are the pros and cons.  The pros: Friendly Crew and excellent service though out the ship. Good meals. Nice casino. Wi-Fi is good. The daily get together for Captain's Club members in the Sky Lounge was very enjoyable. The music played at the pool wasn't deafening. The cons: Because the backs lounge chairs in the Solarium can only be raised about 45 degrees and we found them too uncomfortalbe to just sit and read. The ship is starting to get a "tired" look. I noticed a lot of rust. Maybe Celebrity should attend to the fleet before more building new ships. Unrelated pet peeves:: Cruisers who come to breakfast for the gym or track wearing their sweat soaked work out attire. They obviously don't have any respect of their fellow travels. Maybe a security guard should be posted at the entrances and deny them entry. This happens on all the ships. Cruisers who linger chatting or reading after breakfast and lunch while others are searching for a table. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We love the fellow travelers on celebrity cruises, especially on longer cruises. The food is very good, entertainment is fair compared to Royal Caribbean, and there is a decent amount of night life. The smaller groups of musicians are ... Read More
We love the fellow travelers on celebrity cruises, especially on longer cruises. The food is very good, entertainment is fair compared to Royal Caribbean, and there is a decent amount of night life. The smaller groups of musicians are excellent in the side venues. The main theater entertainment could really use some improvement. The pool areas are only crowded on sea days, but between the solarium and outer decks is large, so you can usually find a comfortable spot. The abundance of towels is wonderful, and unlike Royal Caribbean, you don't have to show your card as they seem to ration towels like old war era Soviet union lines for toilet paper. One thing that has changed is the switch from the Corning glass blowing exhibits on the long club. Now, under new management, there's a do it yourself with instruction, which charges a fee. Also, try and book tours on your own as the ship charges a premium for variable quality tours. This is true for most lines it seems. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
You either love cruising or you hate it, and we are one of those couples who absolutely love it! You unpack once and if you find a place you really like, you can come back to it later. We try to take at least one cruise every year. The ... Read More
You either love cruising or you hate it, and we are one of those couples who absolutely love it! You unpack once and if you find a place you really like, you can come back to it later. We try to take at least one cruise every year. The New Zealand cruise we booked two years out while on board the Celebrity Eclipse (a sister ship) for two weeks in the Caribbean. We decided it was time to go check out what everyone had been raving about. The itinerary was fantastic, 14 nights Auckland to Sydney on our favorite class of ship. We'd been through the Panama Canal, Canada, Alaska, Iceland, Europe, and so on. Being from California we were really dreading the long flight to Auckland, and we wavered back and forth the entire two years. Oh my gosh...we are so glad we forged ahead! We flew direct from LAX to Auckland, and then after spending time in Australia, flew direct from Sydney to LAX. The flight really is not all that bad. I started my research about New Zealand about nine months out, and while researching I fell in love before we even got there. To top it off, we got super lucky. Our Cruise Critic thread was quite active, and we had a really great couple who set up an offsite page we could all access for an abundance of information. We could add private tour info to this, and also post info along the way as needed (before, along the cruise, and after the cruise). They kept it (and all of us) organized. A big shout out of thanks to Tom & Barbara! We arrived in New Zealand a day ahead (not early enough in my opinion). At least two days would have been better. After researching Taxis vs. Uber vs SuperShuttle, I opted for prearranging the SuperShuttle to take us from the airport to our hotel. It could not have been easier! Prepaid conversion cost us $36.40 US from airport to Hilton Hotel. Yes, it might have taken us ten minutes longer than Uber, but the upside was seeing a couple hotels along the way and meeting others who would be on the ship with us. We are social (heck, you have to be a bit social to cruise, right?), so we didn't feel the need for a private taxi or Uber. We stayed at the Hilton Auckland Princess Wharf for its location and membership in their loyalty program. We could walk along the waterfront, to shops and the sky tower. Since we only had the one day in Auckland, we chose to ride the Hop On Hop Off to get an overview of the area. There are two companies that do this, so check them both out. I researched them ahead of time, and my preference was the "Auckland Explorer Bus" as they had better reviews, and the ferry trip to Devonport was included. I can't give the Hilton Hotel enough Kudos! The location is awesome; rooms were modern; staff was friendly; restaurant and bar on site was good. It is literally right where the ship docks, and in the morning when it is time to turn your luggage over to the porters and check in for the cruise, you only have to walk out of the lobby and turn left, walk about fifty feet and you are there! January 17, 2019 - The day is finally here! We had a nice leisurely breakfast, walked around the corner to a couple of shops to pick up a couple of gifts. Grabbed our bags from the hotel, dropped the luggage to the porters at 11:30 and got in line. Check in for the Celebrity Solstice went smooth. It seemed the lines were moving along fairly fast. We only waited about ten minutes. Once we boarded, we did not want to disembark. We had a full day ahead of us. We had opted for a Sky Suite (Aft 2155) celebrating our 38th Anniversary and wanted to meet up with the Michael's Club Concierge, our Butler, dine for lunch in Luminae, unpack, check out the ship, muster drill, and get ready for our Cruise Critic group Sail away. For us the Solstice class is the perfect size ship. It has a nice selection of restaurants, bars, and quiet space to just hang out and read a book if you so choose. The spa is a nice size, and if you choose to go to the gym it is located in the front of the ship with plenty of windows to look out and enjoy the scenery. Some ships can be so dreary, and Celebrity does a fantastic job at bringing the light in. The artwork throughout the ship is always interesting and fun to look at. We’ve tried all the different staterooms along the way. It just depends on budget and needs. We tend to opt for balconies, and since Celebrity introduced the Aqua Class, we have been quite happy with that. Splurging for the Suite was a real treat. We were spoiled with our Butler bringing us our morning Lattes, tea and scones in the afternoon, escorting us to our show seats on formal evenings, etc. etc. etc. Michaels Lounge was an extra special enhancement. I won’t even go in to detail on that, but one huge perk is tendering days, the concierge escorted us to the front of the line for disembarking. Luminae’s dining experience was superb. By far the best meals, and the best service we’ve had on Celebrity. Our favorite spots to hang out on the ship are Café Al Bacio, the Martini Bar, Grand Foyer for Entertainment, Sunset Bar and Lawn Club, Solarium, Sky Observation Lounge, and if we are looking for something light to eat, we love the Spa Café. A couple of times we grabbed a burger and fries on the upper deck by the pool and just enjoyed some sunshine and people watching. The entertainment was especially good this cruise with the Celebrity Singer & Dancers, and variety of entertainers on board. We were really excited to see the daily entertainment throughout the ship included two girls Alina & Lia, known as the “Lighthouse String Duo” (one plays the violin, the other the cello). We had seen them before on a New Years Eve Cruise. They are talented musicians who play classical and popular music on their electric strings. Their energy is captivating! January 18 - Oh my gosh. The weather is fantastic! Our arrival into the Bay of Islands brought us calm waters and blue skies with beautiful poofy clouds. I don’t think I’ve seen such beautiful green rolling hills and valleys. Beautiful blue water. The coastline is dotted with islands .... wow ! Everything is spotless!!! Cute rural towns. I’m in love! I’m dying to put my feet in the water to check the temperature! Today’s excursion was a ship excursion “Glow Worm Caves & Te Waimate” We went to see the glow worms at the Kawiti Cavern, along with an afternoon tea at Te Waimate Mission House. Unfortunate that we are unable to take photographs of the glow worms, as they do not allow it. But .... wow it was super cool! A must do if in the area. The aft stateroom is paying off right now as we pull out. Today, February 19 had to be one of our best excursions ever! We arrived in Tauranga, NZ at 8:00 AM and joined the tour arranged by a fellow Cruise Critic member with Carolyn & Terry (husband/wife team) of Custom Day Tours. Our van had five couples from Cruise Critic. Terry (our guide) stopped along the way for us to watch the river rafters coming down Kaituna River. Then we were off to Rotarua. We see an active geothermal area (Te Puia) which includes 2 of 8 spontaneous geysers in the world, bubbling mud pools, a Maori welcome, and lunch & much more!!!! Then we were on our way to the Redwood Forest and a Kiwi fruit orchard for tasting. Pictures can’t even tell the story. What a fantastic day. Back to our stateroom to enjoy the sail away jet skiis were riding the wake as we left port. Glory our Butler had delivered a beautiful platter of cheeses and prosciutto along with a bottle of wine on ice. Nice! Our first Sea Day was busy starting with the Cruise Critic get together in Cellar Masters. One of the best groups we’ve connected with over the years. We attended a private glass blowing show for Suite guests by the new company Celebrity has onboard (they took over Corning’s spot). Tonight is our first of three Evening Chic nights. In Wellington I arranged a small group tour for 13 of us. It was a six hour driving tour with Michelle that would have many stops and photo ops along the way, including lunch at a funky very busy whimsical restaurant along the waterfront. We rode the famous cable car, went up to Mount Victoria for stunning views, saw the Parliament building, Weta Cave - Home of Lord of the Rings, Art Deco Roxy, Old St Paul’s Cathedral, and the incredible Te Papa Museum! Yes, Wellington topped Tauranga!!!! Wow! As we pulled in to the Port of Picton we were treated to the beautiful scenery and waters of Queen Charlotte Sound. Our excursion was a ship tour “Explore Marlborough Wineries by Bike’. Great exercise and visited three wineries. The last one Mahi being the best! We had a fabulous lunch of baked salmon, warm potato salad, and a cold corn salad served by their chef Marcia. Yum! The Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays of this Marlborough region are so flavorful. Mahi even had a fantastic Pinot Noir. This was such the great day! Akaroa! What can I say? It just kept getting better and better. We love the Countryside of New Zealand. The Akaroa hills remind us a lot of the rolling hillsides as you drive through Cambria to the coast in the spring time, or Santa Ynez if the hills were green all year and dotted with pine trees here and there. The homes along the coast are modern architecture, and the homes walking up into the neighborhoods are a bit more modest but modern wooden with metal roofs. Flowers are incredible!!! The trees and flowers are what we have in Santa Barbara, but more vibrant in color and healthier!!!! It’s peaceful. The climate is dryer than ours which surprised us. Used more lotion. Great for the hair ...... lol. In all of our travels we think this is that special spot! Wish it wasn’t so far from family. Could we bring a piece of New Zealand home with us? Including their government! Safest Country in the World!! Today we were doing our own thing. We walked along the seashore to the Light House (something we have a thing for), and then weaved our way through the neighborhoods up to the Giants House. Oh my gosh. We highly recommend “The Giants House”! It is not anything like it sounds. Be sure to look it up online. It is something you can do on your own, and we highly recommend you do so you are not rushed for time. We shared a light lunch up there (egg salad sandwich, crust was cut off cut in quarters and delicious fresh lemonade). Afterwards we walked back down the hill to town and did some shopping along the waterfront before returning to the ship by tender. Dunedin - Really a beautiful arrival into the channel. We chose the ship tour “Scottish Experience, Castle & Brewery”. The unexpected bonus to this tour was stopping at the famous Dunedin Rail Station on the way to the Brewery for a photo op. We toured the 141 year old Speight’s Brewery and tasted fabulous beer! Toured New Zealand’s only Castle, the Larnach Castle. Along the way our guide pointed out many highlights and shared many interesting historical facts about Dunedin. Beautiful countryside again!! Great tour, but really wish we had more time at the Castle. Too much time was spent on lunch at the Castle, and not enough time to explore the beautiful gardens! Cruising the Fjords – Wow….what a day! Our arrival to Dusky Sound was a welcome sight off our aft balcony. Then on to Doubtful Sound. The best of all was Milford Sound. It was stunning! We were invited to the Heliport for this portion of cruising the Sounds. The Captain pulled up close to waterfalls, and later did a 360 degree turn on the cruise out of the fjord. For that portion we went back to our stateroom to enjoy the waterfalls super up close!! Photos….photos….photos! Sea Day was a Lazy Day We took a Backstage tour of the Production shows put on by four of the cast members. Attended a fabulous concert by the two girls Alina and Lia. Another Sea Day – this one was fun and a bit busy. We attended a fabulous talk about the Antarctic, then a Bridge Tour so different than what we experienced before. The afternoon the Solstice theatre was standing room only for an impressionist from Australia. He was so da## funny. Later we went again to listen to our favorite girls on the strings!!”Lighthouse String Duo”. For those of you who like “duelling banjos” or “duelling pianos” these two girls take it to a whole new level !!!!!! Day 1 in Hobart Tasmania Australia we first went through Immigration process prior to exploring the city. Even though the line for immigration was very long and we were standing outside for a good portion of the time (wear a jacket, as it is cold!!!), the process was fairly quick. We decided to do the Hop On Hop Off Bus for a 90 minute narrated tour of the highlights but did get off at the botanical gardens. The Japanese Gardens were absolutely beautiful. The botanical gardens are free and it was a holiday so there were many families with children having picnics throughout the park areas. The Hop On Hop Off is just a short walk from where the ship docks. Easy to do on your own. In the evening we had a ship excursion called “An Evening With the Devils”. It was an after hours tour of Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. We were able to feed the kangaroos and pet a Koala, and see all sorts of other animals. We also got to see the Tasmanian Devil!!!! Day 2 in Hobart we got up early. Glory, our Butler delivered breakfast to our stateroom as we had an early excursion to Port Arthur, one of Australia’s most notorious penal colonies developed in the 1830’s. I’d say this is a must do in Hobart, especially if you have an overnight. We chose to do this as a ship excursion on the second day as we knew we’d have to be back on board early and figured “let them be responsible for getting us back on time”. Worked out perfectly. We packed in a lot while in Hobart. January 30 - Last Day at Sea – Lots to do on the daily schedule. Lots of goodbyes to be said. My hubby attended a cooking class where one of the chef’s prepared alligator and kangaroo in the fry pan using butter, olive oil and lemon. We met with a Cruise Vacations Associate, and booked two more cruises. We will miss tossing our towels on the floor morning and night; having our bed made for us daily with chocolates on our pillow every night; scrumptious meals served to us with smiles; nonstop entertainment......but when we wake tomorrow we shall be sailing into the magnificent Sydney Harbour and setting our sights on the world famous Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge! According to Captain Tasos, we should be arriving into port about 5:15am. January 31 - We’ve arrived in Sydney. Set our alarm for 5:00 am so we’d be up and dressed for the arrival into the magnificent Sydney Harbour. Wow! What a sight it was. The skyline is spectacular. Like no other. Disembarkation went off without a hitch. Our bags were easily spotted. The lines to exit went fast. The only hiccup we had was at the very end after disembarkation. We needed a taxi to take us to our hotel in Sydney. There were no taxis, and there was a long line waiting for one. When we asked for help, we were directed to walk straight up the street and cross the street to where there would be another taxi pick up area. We were wheeling two bags each. This was not an easy task. We could not find the spot she told us to go, and it turned into a total fiasco. We walked for blocks. We should have stayed in the taxi line at the port (or, in hind sight I should have prearranged transportation). I had no idea it was going to be that difficult to get to the hotel that was only one mile away. We have never had a problem getting a taxi in a port on departure. But, best cruise ever!!!!!!! Ship was beautiful, and clean. Captain, and all the staff were friendly, helpful and fun. The entertainment was fantastic! The dining was fabulous. We tried them all, except Silk Harvest. Murano was very good, Luminae the favorite of course. Ports of Call were absolutely the best. As said.....Perfect Destination, Exceeded our Expectations! Thank you Celebrity. We love New Zealand! This is definitely a place we would like to go back to and spend more time. Note: Since we’ve been home, he’s been preparing most of our fish, chicken and steak over a propane flame like the chef (but outside) instead of our barbecue. Oh my gosh, its so much more flavorful, and moist! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We paid an awful lot of money for the cruise. Even when you have a cabin with a balcony you have to pay extra to have an unobscured view (a balcony without a lifeboat outside). The cabin was remarkably small and cramped. Despite the ... Read More
We paid an awful lot of money for the cruise. Even when you have a cabin with a balcony you have to pay extra to have an unobscured view (a balcony without a lifeboat outside). The cabin was remarkably small and cramped. Despite the already high cost we still had the extra expense of over £200 for wi-fi. The vast majority of hotels these days offer free wi-fi and what is a cruise ship but a floating hotel. Every day we were pestered by staff with offers to upgrade/buy/get extra and it was a real nuisance. They really try to squeeze every penny out of you and ultimately it left a pretty sour taste and spoiled what was otherwise a nice holiday. There were upsides however as the staff were really hardworking and pleasant plus the food was very good, which was pleasantly surprising bearing in mind the amount of people that were being served simultaneously. We probably won't cruise again after this experience and could not recommend it to friends or family. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
going around new zealand was wonderful watching as depart was so cool! we enjoyed ourselves so much, we got spoiled rotten by the staff ,the Elton jack show was amazing , Picton and Akaroa are gorgeous, the food was Excellent not to ... Read More
going around new zealand was wonderful watching as depart was so cool! we enjoyed ourselves so much, we got spoiled rotten by the staff ,the Elton jack show was amazing , Picton and Akaroa are gorgeous, the food was Excellent not to forget the amazing, Joseph, Jay Jay, Thia and Victoria the made our experience triple! the last night was tough, the whole ride was very smooth, except for some bumps every now and then. the cabin was very nice with an amazing view everyday, the creme brûlées were spectacular, just everything was bliss, many thanks to all the amazing staff that made the cruise AMAZING! and of course to the amazing, hilarious captain that made me and my family laugh, i am just so grateful for the experience and i wish it never ended. D: The James Family #2 sorry for any constant words this was written by an eleven year old that just woke up. :) Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Our group of 6 chose this cruise as a reunion cruise. Previously we met and became cruise buddies 6 years ago when cruising on the Millenium through Asia and this was the first time as a group we had been together. The 6 of us had a ... Read More
Our group of 6 chose this cruise as a reunion cruise. Previously we met and became cruise buddies 6 years ago when cruising on the Millenium through Asia and this was the first time as a group we had been together. The 6 of us had a fabulous time together but it had nothing to do with the quality of the ship. Firstly, while the ship in public areas is quite stylish and clean the cabins were not. We had splurged and got a suite. It was spacious but upon embarkation my first experience was to lift the toilet seat lid and discover the previous guest's faeces was still on the toilet seat. So I got the wonderful job of using my hand sanitiser and anti- bacterial wipes to clean the seat and after this 'lovely' welcome was dubious about the standard of cleaniness so after the cabin steward had finished I always wiped the seat and then with separate handwipe of course tap handles! Our butler and steward were lovely people but it was extremely obvious they were tired and over worked. We didn't ask them for much because we could see how exhausted they were. Our butler was fantastic and every morning brought us cappuccinos and breakfast. We are late risers and it was clear that he appreciated that! Most of the staff on board though appeared exhausted and tired and jaded. Smiles for most were forced and there was an obvious feeling of discontentment. This of course was when you could find staff. The ship certainly does not have the staff ratio to guests it claims. No pool service, no Lawn Club service, bars were understaffed and our friends staying in an Ocean view catergory didn't see the cabin steward until the third day of the cruise and only after they had seen the supervisor 'accidentally in passing' were they able to follow this up. Their steward went 'missing' several times so for clean towels they sometimes needed to get pool towels to shower with. Friends in Aqua class also experienced dissatisfaction with their steward as well. The food on board was though fantastic! But the drinks service in the main dining room was particularly slow and not tailored to personal tastes, instead it seemed to be the Sommelier recommending the same wine every night she wanted to get rid of the infamous 'Elegance' Chardonnay. Thankfully it was drinkable but not fine dining worthy. Specialty restaurants are expensive. Silk Harvest was good and Murano too, who doesn't like Lobster cooked table side? The buffet always had sensational food. If you are in suite class the Michaels Club is fantastic, however Luminere didn't impress at all. Limited choices and repeated choices during the 10 days didn't entice us. Between the main dining room food and the buffet you don't really need anything else. The entertainment was not impressive overall. Rock City was enjoyable but overall,the entertainment was sub standard when you consider other ships/cruise lines have shows like Burn the Floor in the past. Despite these negatives we had a great time! We had many enjoyable meals together and great conversations. Ports were great but there was a lack of information. For example the Terracotta Warriors are on display at the Wellington Museum yet this wasn't made apparent to guests. I want to make a comparison between suite products and value for money. We have sailed on the P and 0 Pacific Aria suite product and it was a better standard and value for money product than Celebrity this time. We have also sailed in the suite products on NCL Jewel and the NCL Epic. NCL is a far superior luxurious experience and at a better price. Overall we had nice time but I'd prefer to give my cruise dollars to NCL when booking a suite in future. Read Less
Celebrity Solstice Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 5.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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