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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I selected this cruise for my annual summer vacation with my two grandchildren (both 6 years old). My grandson has Autism and I was searching for a vacation that would be appropriate for us all. I read that Celebrity Cruise had a Autism ... Read More
I selected this cruise for my annual summer vacation with my two grandchildren (both 6 years old). My grandson has Autism and I was searching for a vacation that would be appropriate for us all. I read that Celebrity Cruise had a Autism friendly program. I was excited to find out the details, so I contacted Celebrity direct and got the details. I was impressed that they were including a much ignored traveler and I booked the cruise the same day. I paid for two cabins and my grandchild were billed at the same rate as an adult. I won’t go into everything that was so “not” friendly about this cruise. But it started at boarding. It continued through the Muster drill and meal times were pathetic. Not only is this ship not Autism friendly. It really isn’t kid friendly. I went to guest relations to try to find a solution to standing in line for 30 minutes or more to feed two hungry six year olds. I was told that I could take my meals back to my stateroom. That wasn’t exactly true. The specialty restaurants will not accommodate you in any way. You have to eat the meal in the restaurant (with the exception of Sushi on Five).So we ended up eating in the buffet or room service for all 7 Days. We were able to order non- hot food from Sushi on Five ( most of their food was hot!) I refused to eat in a fancy restaurant and my grandchildren’s only options were hot dogs, pizza and an occasional hamburger. So we all ate the same foods. This was their vacation and it should have been special for them. We attempt to use their kids club. And after questioning the staff I learned that they have a “general” knowledge of Autism. The staff member complained that the parents with children afflicted Autism expected their children to have one on one supervision. That certainly wasn’t the case for me. I was looking for a safe place that the children could interact with their fellow shipmates. Not feeling comfortable with the staffs lack of training, we passed on that amenity. So to sum it up, I spent over $8,000 to eat hamburgers, pizza and hot dogs mainly in my cabin. But the highlight was the Alaskan scenery. I can best sum up this vacation as upscale camping. Nothing luxurious or special. I wouldn’t have been disappointed had they not misled me about their Autism program. There was no Autism program. This is pure marketing. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We absolutely loved this cruise. We thought we would do this cruise for our 50th anniversary but we just couldn’t wait. Embarkation went very smoothly and quickly. The ship was beautiful and never seemed crowded except for the buffet of ... Read More
We absolutely loved this cruise. We thought we would do this cruise for our 50th anniversary but we just couldn’t wait. Embarkation went very smoothly and quickly. The ship was beautiful and never seemed crowded except for the buffet of course. We sailed aqua class and are so glad we did. Our favorite restaurant on the ship was Blu. Such mouthwatering food and so many choices. We ate breakfast there everyday and dinner almost everyday. The service was unbelievable, someone there to take care of every need practically before you needed something. We learned a lot from the different speakers and the entertainment was great. We did all our excursions through the ship, the trolley in Ketchikan was the only thing that was less than stellar. We all enjoyed the lumberjack show although the line to get in was very long. Juneau was the second stop.The whale watch excursion was so exciting, we saw 5 whales one of them was just a baby. The Mendenhall glacier, was a sight to behold. It is sad how much the glaciers are melting. Next part was Skagway, we took the vintage rail to the White Pass Summit. It was great to hear about the gold rush. We learned amazing new things about it. Well, at least it was new to me. Our major disappointment was the helicopter to the glacier and the dogsled excursion, we got all dressed in our warm clothing and boots, went up in the helicopter, saw a smaller glacier on the way up, but we encountered dense fog and had to go back down. It was nothing that was anybody’s fault but it was to be the highlight of our trip. We were refunded in full, so I guess we can look at it as a free helicopter ride. We traveled with our best friends and we loved this cruise. It may be harsh, but I left off one star because the drinks did not measure up to other cruises we have been on. For example the Bloody Mary’s had no celery nothing but the mix and the alcohol. I tried margaritas at two different bars and they were both terrible. All in all the cruise was worth every penny and I would definitely go again! Our room Stewart “Devin” was great! He kept our room stocked and clean throughout our cruise. All of the crew would bend over backwards to help all cruisers. They always were smiling and had kind words for everyone. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I was very impressed with a lot of thing about Celebrity Solstice and very disappointed with other things. The shows were great, especially the Alaska shows. I was a little disappointed in the age of the ship but it wasn't dirty just ... Read More
I was very impressed with a lot of thing about Celebrity Solstice and very disappointed with other things. The shows were great, especially the Alaska shows. I was a little disappointed in the age of the ship but it wasn't dirty just a little aged. The Ocean View Cafe was great if you were of Asian or Indian background or if you love their food. The American fare was poor. The food looked right but it definitely didn't taste right. The sauces for the pasta was runny, the eggs were runny, the hamburgers were burnt, and the selection was almost nonexistent. There were very few waiters/waitresses on the floor so you just had to make do with pushing used dishes out of the way. The main dining room was terrific. The food here was outstanding. Our service was slow (we don't drink) and we spent too much time waiting on our waiters to serve the food and take our dessert order. But the staff was extremely nice. Our cabin steward was the best. He worked very hard every day to make sure that everyone was happy and had everything needed, We just sailed on May 10, 2019, so our experience is fresh, The ship is well suited for couples. Of course, we sailed during the school year. Our excursions were through Viator instead of Celebrity. Other than almost missing our connection in Juneau, we didn't have any trouble finding our tour groups. The bus tour through the Yukon, in Skagway, with our tour guide Mike, was the best. We saw 2 bears, mountain goats, and a young moose. Our tour guide had sharp eyes and he was very entertaining. I believe anyone will enjoy this cruise and we are looking forward to our next one. The departing from the ship was extremely streamlined and it didn't take very long for everyone to be on dry land. The Celebrity excursions were the easiest to find since they were the first ones you came upon when docking. There were always other ship at port when were got to port so we were usually the farthest from the city. The other ships had mostly already unloaded their passengers when we first were let off the ship. Getting back on was a breeze. I brought two lanyards to hold our sea passes and we just had to show them when we boarded. Having the sea passes on the lanyards worked well for dining as well. We just showed them to the waiters and they used them to bring our sodas. The ship had a lot of things going on so you weren't bored at any time. We had to make time to go swimming and look around the ship. It was a wonderful experience and we had a great time (other than the fact that we brought our colds with us from home, but we found that the ships liquor store had things that you would normally buy in a pharmacy. Nail polish remover, cold meds, etc.) I recommend this ship and the experience to anyone wanting to discover Alaska! I no I don't have a reference point to compare this sailing to but I really enjoyed the experience. The captain came on loud speaker (outside the ship) he was Greek and a little hard to understand but he continued with the same message in a different way a few times so we were able to understand his message. 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
First cruise with Celebrity, had previously done 2 Alaskan cruises with HAL. We prefer a more sedate and classy vibe, but the reviews for the analogous HAL cruise ship were poor in comparison. In general I think this cruise is targeted ... Read More
First cruise with Celebrity, had previously done 2 Alaskan cruises with HAL. We prefer a more sedate and classy vibe, but the reviews for the analogous HAL cruise ship were poor in comparison. In general I think this cruise is targeted towards the livelier of the older crowd. Itinerary was fine. I would've preferred fewer cities and more nature. It's a bit of a tradeoff, though, since it'd be difficult to get rental cars. Didn't do any excursions, just went touring independently. Good: * Crew is excellent. They work so hard and really aim to please. My impression is that they're asked to do a lot. * Handicap accessibility and assistance. My dad is in a wheelchair, and we found no issues getting around or sitting anywhere. The crew were very accommodating. In particular, they were very helpful whenever we tendered. It can be tricky helping someone who can't really walk to step on and off a rocking tender boat, but the crew kept my dad safe at all times and just did a really commendable job. * Food overall. We didn't do any specialty dining. We did Oceanview Cafe buffet for breakfast and lunch. Excellent variety. Quality was good but I can see room for improvement there (some items were verging on stale). We usually did Grand Epernay for dinner, where the meals were higher quality than the buffet, as expected. We did Grand Epernay for lunch once, and it was quite good. * Entertainment overall. * Live music overall. * Gym was well-maintained. Equipment was abundant and clean. Not great: * The library. Maybe we've been spoiled by HAL, but on the Solstice it's just an extra space that was made into a library. Furnished decently enough, but it's small, and exposed to the atrium, meaning it's potentially noisy and with no outside views. Not a single ottoman here (or anywhere on the ship, for that matter, I don't think). No happily falling asleep on accident as you lean back in a comfy chair, reading a book, with the ocean in the background. * There are no quiet and unexposed public spaces on the ship with a view. * Two of the smoking areas are indoor-ish, on the 12th floor by the pools. * Music is constantly pumped everywhere, so you feel like you're always in a shopping mall. I found this to be less than classy. There are likely some areas where there is no music, but I remember far more places where music seemed inappropriate. For example, I remember being in the Sky Lounge (a confusing space in itself - more on that later) on the morning of entering Milford Sound, before sunrise, and for some reason Eye of the Tiger and some other song with "sex pot" in the lyrics were playing loudly. Just really conflicted with the mood you would expect so early in the morning, which should be serene, peaceful, to be gently introduced to the splendor of nature. * Or maybe it was just the choice of music. In general the music aesthetic was as if you put "Lisa Loeb - Stay" into Pandora. Why not some classical instead? * There are way too many bars on this ship, especially in the nicer parts of the ship. I wonder how the friends of Bill W feel about that. Anyway, if there's a nice space, there's a high probability that there's a bar in it to take it down a few notches. Examples: Sky Lounge and the Lawn Club. This ties back to confusing spaces. Sky Lounge is a potentially relaxing part of the ship, yet there's a bar and dance floor in it, effectively removing the relaxation potential. * Lots of up-selling. It's easy to decline but I found this to be tacky, and felt bad for the crew who have to do it. * Port information is not given along with the daily infosheet. You have to visit Guest Relations to get the port's infosheet. It's too easy to take a cynical view of why this is done. * Very expensive laundry service, whereas it's a non-issue on HAL. What we ended up doing was dropping off our laundry at Mall Drycleaning in Wellington (day 8 or 9 of cruise - we had another destination after the end of the cruise) on Johnston St, then picking it up at the end of the day before boarding. It was about 30 NZD for straight wash-dry-fold of about 4 large reusable shopping bags' worth of clothes. That's compared to 50 USD for one small bag on the Solstice only about 4 or 5 days into the cruise. Quibbles: * Not enough turnover on the pizza in Oceanview Cafe led to oftentimes surprising staleness. * Guest Relations crew should feel more OK to say when they don't know something but that they'll try to find the answer we're looking for. * I think it would be OK to call "music trivia" what it really is, which is "name that tune". * There were oftentimes typos and grammatical errors in the daily infosheet. There were also a lot of fluff sales-y phrases, where simple, accurate descriptions would be better. * There was some issue with linking expense accounts to each person in our party. Online, I had assigned everyone in my family to my credit card, but I still had to go to Guest Relations to swipe my card to associate it to each person. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I chose this cruise because the medical centre has dialysis machines and my wife has kidney failure. However at the last minute she was unable to travel. Celebrity Cruises insisted that I pay the fare for a single person travelling in the ... Read More
I chose this cruise because the medical centre has dialysis machines and my wife has kidney failure. However at the last minute she was unable to travel. Celebrity Cruises insisted that I pay the fare for a single person travelling in the cabin although the dialysis company did refund some of the cost of dialysis and a small portion of the additional cost that dialysis patients and their partners are forced to pay by Celebrity. The cost is very high as Celebrity charges a premium for dialysis patients and their accompanying partners in adding to the cost of dialysis. In the traumatic circumstances I had hoped that Celebrity would only charge the cost for the cabin but they insisted on the cost for a single person travelling in this cabin class. This is a huge ship with some thousands of people on board. I had a premium cabin which I thought entitled me to priority but it certainly didn't work out like that. The designated restaurant was poor with second rate food. I normally ate in the restaurant of other classes which had a much better selection of dishes and better service. There was nothing particularly attractive or special about the so-called "special" class for which I paid and many of the advertised benefits did not materialise. Most of the passengers seemed intent on sitting at the numerous bars or in the casino or shopping in the many, many overpriced shops onboard. If that is your idea of a holiday then this will suit you. The elevators are constantly packed and it takes forever to get between decks on the ship. There are children everywhere, the pool facilities are overwhelmed with children, and the other facilities are taken up by groups traveling together. I found this cruise a most unpleasant experience, extremely highly priced for what you receive and I certainly would not recommend it to anyone who was interested in the sights of Alaska. The priority seemed to be ship board partying rather than Alaska as a destination. Others on board who made comments to me similarly decided they would not cruise again. I would not choose such a cruise again nor have I found Celebrity Cruises at all responsive to my needs, concerns, or particular situation. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Hawaii Celebrity Solstice review April 29 - May 11, 2018 We had a enjoyable cruise despite some bumps along the road. We embarked in Honolulu. The lines were short but the woman we had checking us in just couldn't get it ... Read More
Hawaii Celebrity Solstice review April 29 - May 11, 2018 We had a enjoyable cruise despite some bumps along the road. We embarked in Honolulu. The lines were short but the woman we had checking us in just couldn't get it together. We stood waiting for her to check us in. It took 30 minutes. We were not happy with that but couldn't do anything about it. Finally, we got on board. They were giving out Champagne and mimosas as we boarded. The ship looked great. It shined and sparkled. The rooms were not ready yet. So we found some lunch and then found a comfortable place to wait. We had the Classic beverage package and enjoyed some drinks while waiting. We booked a handicapped accessible cabin on deck 11 Aqua class. I use a scooter to get around as I have muscular dystrophy. The cabin was barren as usual for handicapped cabins but did not have enough storage. We had only one closet and only 4 small drawers. The balcony had a lovely built in ramp to get out to the balcony. We had two chairs and loved having matching foot stools for each. We spent may hours out on that balcony. The door to our room was automatic which was wonderful for me. It is so hard to drive my scooter and open the door at the same time. I found the whole ship to be wonderfully accessible. All the doors were automatic all around the ship. I was able to get everywhere. Waiting on elevators after shows were awful. I would wait for my turn however able bodied people wouldn't let me get in the elevator. By the time I was able to get to elevator door it was full of able bodied people. I would have to wait and wait. Most of the time I would have to travel to the back of the ship just to find an elevator. Then had to travel back to the front of the ship where our cabin was. I would have loved to travel the stairs but my disability makes it impossible. We booked no excursions thru the ship. We booked them on shore. Much cheaper and just as good as ship excursions. Since we were in Aqua class we were able to eat in the Blu restaurant. It was open for breakfast and dinner each day. We went to breakfast there a few times, however, I like waffles and Blu didn't serve waffles at breakfast. The buffet did serve waffles so we preferred to eat there. The buffet was quicker too. The buffet food was delicious. Two lunches in the buffet they had fish and chips which were wonderful. We ate all our dinners in Blu. The food was good. The waiters were very nice and knowledgable about the menu and food. I liked having a cosmopolitan at dinner. After 3 days the wine waitress in Blu would recognize me and would always bring me my cosmopolitan with out me even having to ask. This made me feel so special. I went to all the shows. I was always entertained. My favorite shows are usually production shows but I found these productions shows to be lacking. I enjoyed all the game shows. The newly wed game and liar liar were hilarious. All the comedians were funny and clean. We experienced an earthquake in Hilo. We were on the ship at the time. The whole ship shook while we were at the pier. It was quite the adventure. Not for one man. I went down to guest relations to find a man yelling at the poor guest relations attendant. Earlier in the day he went on a ship excursion to the Volcano. He wanted a full refund. He couldn't understand how Celebrity would take passengers to a place that had earthquakes and that Celebrity should have known a earthquake was going to happen. I had to laugh. I don't even think all those specialists with all their expensive equipment knew that an earthquake was going to happen. I don't know if he got a refund or not. Getting a bar drink during the day was next to impossible. We would go to the pool bar to find one bartender trying to get drinks for 10 people in line. This was a daily thing. However, at the show room at night it was super easy to get a drink. The bar waiters were abundant. We had the classic drink package and liked it. The only drinks I couldn't get were at the martini bar. It worked for wine, beer and drinks of the day. I spent most of my money at the spa. I do not get the popularity of the Persian Garden. It was included in our Aqua class cabin. Lovely view but those tile chairs are hard and uncomfortable. I got two massages which were wonderful but expensive. I also got a facial. I was not told to buy this cream and that cream. No hard sell. Actually no sell at all. I really liked that. I also got my teeth whitened. It worked really well. I went 7 shades lighter. I was happy at the time but it sure doesn't last very long. I am now home and my teeth look the same as they did before the whitening. Next is the horrible problem we had in our cabin. Bugs. We found 7 in total. 3 we found in our bed. They were not bed bugs. I was told they got in thru our balcony. We did not leave our balcony doors open. Only when we went in and out. This really was a problem. I have been on over 27 cruises and I have never had bugs in my cabin before. Despite the bugs, and the earthquake we really enjoyed our Celebrity cruise and still believe that there is no such thing as a bad cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
OH NO, DON’T GO! CRUISE FROM HELL! GOT SICK! PROFITS OVER PASSENGERS! Celebrity Solstice Alaska Cruise. Embarkation, guest services & excursions were horrible. (1.) Embarkation day was a nightmare. 3 ships in port. Arrived at 11:30 ... Read More
OH NO, DON’T GO! CRUISE FROM HELL! GOT SICK! PROFITS OVER PASSENGERS! Celebrity Solstice Alaska Cruise. Embarkation, guest services & excursions were horrible. (1.) Embarkation day was a nightmare. 3 ships in port. Arrived at 11:30 a.m. Didn’t board ship for many hrs. Totally disorganized. Port reps stated no Celebrity reps to assist. Check-in counter’s credit card machine malfunctioned. Waited longer. Took hrs. Then instructed to go to another room & wait for our number to be called. Then directed to another room. 100’s of passengers in back and forth lines. Port reps reminded us 3 ships were in port. I asked “Why don’t you have 2 ships in port on one day & the 3rd another day”. Celebrity contracts with the port, we pay port fees, makes Celebrity responsible. Celebrity reps should be present & assist it’s passengers without giving full authority to the port. During the week, embarkation stories were common topic amongst passengers. Elderly woman complained that she waited in line for hrs. & was refused food for her diabetic husband. (2.) Specialty dining discount offer in room. Discount in specialty restaurants if prepaid on the 1st day of cruise, could be used any night of cruise. Called to confirm with guest services. Was told it was valid on 1st night only. Asked to speak with Neal, the manager. Guest services rep asked what it was regarding. When I said “I preferred to speak with the manager,” she rudely said “What do you think this is a bloody hotel”. Guest service staff were patronizing figureheads who lack authority to make decisions. (3.) Booked the ship’s 1st log cutting show & totem pole excursion in Ketchikan. Met early in the morning. 5 ships in port that day so had to tender in. Were delayed & missed our scheduled log show returning hours later. Delayed us so that 2nd excursion group was on time & saw the show before us. 2 1/2 hr. excursion became 5 1/2hrs. Returned to ship for lunch just as food was put away. Day was chaotic, not fun & frustrating. (4.) Began to feel ill on the last day of the cruise. Arrived home sick (vomiting, diarrhea, & developed a rash). Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Chose the cruise because of its Itinerary. Celebrity Sandards have fallen very quickly if this ship is an indication of Fleet wide. Library had no more than 200 books most of which were in German. Food Quality and Quantity have also ... Read More
Chose the cruise because of its Itinerary. Celebrity Sandards have fallen very quickly if this ship is an indication of Fleet wide. Library had no more than 200 books most of which were in German. Food Quality and Quantity have also fallen. Where we used to receive 6 shrimp in a shrimp cocktail there are now 4. One night I ordered a steak Diane and it appeared on my plate less than one quarter of an inch thick. Likewise a Salmon filet with no more than 3 bites in total. My biggest complaint however is the use of the atrium area on deck 3 and 4 for very loud activities like dance classes/exercise classes and general dance sessions. This excessive nois affects people seeking quiet enjoyment to read play games, work on the internet or just have a coffee or a drink in one of the bars. Despite numerous complaints to Cruise direcrtor staff and Celebrity Captains Club hostess it continued unabated throughout the cruise. The Observation lounge is the proper place for dancing and dance l;essons while the Gymnasium needs to be used for exxercise classes. This is the first time I have not taken advantage of the Future cruise program as I could not find anything with sufficient incentive for booking on board and after this cruise I am not sure i will be sailing Celeberity in the future. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I've wanted to cruise Alaska since I saw a commercial showing Glacier Bay and featuring the same booming, echoing voice used by MONSTER monstermonster truck ads not so long ago. Recently, I came into a decent sum of money allowing me ... Read More
I've wanted to cruise Alaska since I saw a commercial showing Glacier Bay and featuring the same booming, echoing voice used by MONSTER monstermonster truck ads not so long ago. Recently, I came into a decent sum of money allowing me to sail. I chose Celebrity Solstice due to its September prices in Alaska as opposed to its itinerary. Next time I hit Alaska, I'll likely go via an M class ship and take a round-trip Hubbard at least as much for the glacier as for the extra sea day (assuming I take Celebrity). We flew into Seattle, and I wish I remembered the name of our hotel. Embarkation was uncomplicated and we didn't get there until around 12:30. I was as awed and impressed with the Solstice (still am) as I was the tray of mimosas and champagne offered by the crew when we entered the ship. We went on a tour and hit Luminae for lunch. EVERYTHING I tasted on the Solstice bordered on sublime or surpassed it. I hesitated to try the Crispy Pork Belly the first night, and I'm terrifically pleased that I did. It was perfectly cooked (and I know since, during my last cruise, it was not). I shopped in Juneau for a short time after going on a whale watching trip, coming away with the utter conviction that every single person who exists needs to go. Orcas have been my favorite sea dweller almost forever, having impressed me on documentary after documentary and thereby kicking out their competition, seahorses. Seeing tham skim the water, leap out right next to our catamaran had me feeling like a fangirl at a concert. I hope I behaved somewhat better than that. In any case, the shops seemed stripped of the bulk of their merchandise. I got what I came for, though. We asked to tour the bridge. Our butler told us to meet the others going on the tour at the ship's forward, I forget which floor. We waited awhile and followed a young man who had us wait awhile. As we stepped into the room, I noticed at least a dozen plumes on the water in front of us. The poor kid who was attempting to corral our group around his station was ignored by the lot of us as we immediately realized that the source of the plumes was a pod of some sort of whale, some said blue and others humpback -- I never found out. We watched them; hypnotized by their presence and numbers. When they swam past us, our bridge kid had what little part of our attention that we could provide. I can't tell you anything about what he said (although I tried to appear attentive throughout). As soon as we left, we all broke out in excited chatting about those whales and their startling numbers. I neglected to mention that the second dinner I had on the Solstice was in the Silk Harvest and there is where we experienced our first marine creature encounter and was, in this case, a dolphin. S/he rode the ship's waves in order to snatch fish thrown out there by our passing. You never grow jaded by encoutering wildlife. The final sea animal we saw was close to Victoria. That I actually saw a sea otter should have ticked this state off of my bucket list. TBH, I'm that much more interested and can't wait to go again. Alas, Alaska will have to wait until after we pass beyond the arctic circle and hopefully experience a few good midnight sunsets and see even more orcas, etc.. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I planned this cruise last October (2016) as an 80th Birthday Surprise Gift to my Mom. I specifically chose this cruise because of the roundtrip in/out of Seattle and the itinerary. As I had booked a suite, I knew my Mom would appreciate ... Read More
I planned this cruise last October (2016) as an 80th Birthday Surprise Gift to my Mom. I specifically chose this cruise because of the roundtrip in/out of Seattle and the itinerary. As I had booked a suite, I knew my Mom would appreciate the beautiful balcony as she likes to rest and the extra time At Sea and Cruising the Fjords and Inside Passage would give her a great cabin experience! I picked 2 excursions specifically for her, the White pass Railroad in Skagway and the Buchart Gardens in Victoria. Unfortunately, our Skagway stop was cancelled due to a mud/rockslide the morning we were to arrive. The diversion to Icy Strait Point was nice, but my mom, husband and I were all greatly disappointed, as the train ride was what she was most looking forward to during the entire planning. Hoonah is not very wheelchair-friendly, and the Tendering is extra difficult. The beautiful weather in Ketchikan was a huge plus, and we enjoyed the tram up the hill and the shopping there. We were also happy that our Victoria Butchart Gardens tour went as planned, although it would have been nice to have more time in the Gardens. We also missed the Tracy Arm Fjord and Sawyer's Glacier due to weather, but the alternative was breathtaking, and a bonus for my husband and I, as we had already cruised the Tracy Arm. Having sailed on the Solstice last December for the New Zealand/Australia 14-day, my husband and I noticed a huge difference with this Captain and Officers. We did not see them as much as we did last year--Capt. Tazos was Fantastic, and he and his Officers were constantly interacting with the passengers! I also noticed that the Solstice had some odor problems, specifically in the Casino Bar area and other public areas...perhaps due to the high humidity of Alaska VS New Zealand?? The Hot Glass Show was fascinating, as always! Seeing that artist Cat Burns was again on this ship was a Huge Bonus!! Her infectious laughter and dynamic personality is what drew us to the Hot Glass Show last December, and the Show again became our favorite entertainment onboard! This was our first time in a Suite and it was very nice. My favorite? A Bubble Bath at Sea!! The larger balcony and receiving all 4 "Perks" is a definite Plus! As I mentioned before, this cruise was all planned for my 80 year old Mom. While Dominic, our Room Steward, always made the room nice, I was disappointed that he did not change a dirty sheet on Mom's sofa bed that occured the first night. (It took 2 days until a clean one appeared.) I had also specifically requested that we have the ice bucket filled every morning and evening, and that was only done twice. Jose, our Butler, very nicely provided bottles of water for us, which meant we did not have to bring our own from a Bar with our Beverage Package. Overall, however, the suite was a nice change from our normal Concierge Balcony cabin, and we may consider booking it again, if the price is right. We give this cruise an 8 out of 10 because of the unexpected (and we do understand, unavoidable) port changes, the presence of odors on more than one occasion and general lack of good entertainment (other than the Glass Show!) The Positives of this cruise, as always, are your Staff and Crewmembers... Specifically Alex in the Cafe Bacio and Michael's Club, Vi in the Luminae Dining Room and Cat with the Corning Glass Show! These folks are what keep us coming back! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We had friends who did this cruise and it was recommended highly by them. We enjoyed the informative talks before the land days. The captain did a fantastic job piloting through Tracey Arm and getting us up close to the glacier. We ... Read More
We had friends who did this cruise and it was recommended highly by them. We enjoyed the informative talks before the land days. The captain did a fantastic job piloting through Tracey Arm and getting us up close to the glacier. We enjoyed our shore excursions in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway. We booked with local vendors for private taxi tours in Ketchikan and Juneau and took the White Pass Railway in Skagway. Food & service in the specialty restaurants was impeccable for the two nights we ate there. We ate in the main dining room using select dining times two nights and it was fine but not outstanding. The other nights we ate in the Oceanview Cafe and enjoyed the wide variety of options and the views. We bypassed the drink packages - as neither of us drink that much that we needed the drink package. Still managed to have as much wine and beer as was desired. The fitness classes were great - but you need to sign up early. Read Less
40 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Just back from our trip to Alaska on the Solstice and I wanted to share our experience here because so many of the posts I read before our trip were helpful to me! Our family of 5 (DH in his 50s, me in my 40s, 2 kids in their early ... Read More
Just back from our trip to Alaska on the Solstice and I wanted to share our experience here because so many of the posts I read before our trip were helpful to me! Our family of 5 (DH in his 50s, me in my 40s, 2 kids in their early 20s and 1 who is 16) sailed from Seattle on June 9. This trip renewed my hope for cruising. Our only previous cruise--several years ago on Royal Caribbean--was such an unpleasant experience I swore I'd never take another one. On that cruise, we were treated rudely at every turn,forced to sit with a family that didn't speak to us for days at meals, and pushed to buy, buy, buy from the minute we boarded to the moment we got off. On the Solstice, none of those issues came into play. We had a fantastic time and I'd go again tomorrow if I could! Here's a summary of the main points: EMBARKATION: Traffic into and out of Seattle's port is slow going at any time during the day because of the narrow road in /out, but even with that we left our hotel at 10:45 and were on the ship by 12:15. It was all fairly painless and efficient. Be sure to book your transportation in advance and to get your carrier to commit to a pick-up time in advance. There were many guests at our hotel who were just realizing over breakfast that the shuttle was already full until 1:00. NOTE for travelers with disabilities: We brought my son's mobility scooter all the way from Florida only to have it break down on our first day in Seattle. I read about Scootaround.com on these boards and called them the afternoon before our embarkation and they were amazing. I rented a scooter over the phone and it was in the cabin when we arrived and we left it there when we departed. It cost $175 for the week and there was no charge to have it delivered directly to the ship. The scooter was a snug fit in the cabin (not an accessible cabin), but we had no issues with getting it through the doors. It was stable and rugged enough to use in all the ports--highly recommended means of mobility if you are able to get on/off the ship without it (wheelchair service was readily available for both) CABIN: See below for description. We booked 2 C1 concierge rooms, but we did not pay extra for them over the cost of balcony rooms. I got the upgrade to a C2 when cabin prices briefly dropped. As many other reviewers have mentioned, I would definitely not pay extra for this category, but it was nice to have the small perks that came with it at no extra cost. Tip: Bring your own binoculars--the ones that come with these rooms are better than nothing, but they're tiny and not good quality. Also bring a power strip and extra hangers! SHIP: It's beautiful! Clean, classy, laid out in a way that is easy to figure out and remember. Our favorite places on board were the Sunset Bar on deck 15 aft (though sometimes it got too smoky for us), the Sky Lounge on deck 14 forward (perfect place to curl up with a book or just look out the window at the beautiful scenery), the Ensemble Bar (deck 5 aft) for late night drinks, and our own balconies! The one shortcoming is the elevators, which seemed quite slow and sometimes got jammed up when we were arriving in or departing from ports. SERVICE: The service on the Solstice was outstanding. Everyone aims to please and they are overall efficient, accommodating, cheerful and kind. There was a push during the first couple days to get guests to upgrade their drink packages, but other than that the sales efforts were mostly unobtrusive. A lot of little things contributed to the sense we had that we were in good hands--the consistent good cheer and helpfulness of our stateroom attendant, the cocktail waitress who learned my name on the first day and always seemed to be around when I needed something, the crew members who were so quick to help guide my son on his scooter on and off the ship at the ports, the bottles of water crew members were sometimes handing out as we disembarked and the hot chocolate they were waiting with when we came back. The only real exception to the rule was the acupuncturist/masseuse my husband encountered in the spa who took multiple phone calls DURING his treatment--the whole appointment was a disaster and we would NOT recommend the spa at all. DINING AND DRINKS: We booked a package that included the classic drink package for the 4 of us who are of age and a soda/water/coffee package for my 16-year-old son. We also received $300 onboard credit per stateroom. I can't say enough about how easy this made things. I am not a big drinker, but it was wonderful to be able to order wine with dinner or a drink at the show or at sailaway with no hassle. It was also great to have that onboard credit. It eliminated any stress of worrying about how much we might spend on the ship. We honestly had everything we wanted (I even converted some of the OBC to slot credit in the casino) and ended up with just a few dollars charged to our credit card in the end. My husband upgraded his drink package to premium, but the classic was fine for the rest of us. It's worth noting that contrary to some of the older reviews I'd read, Celebrity does have the capability now to charge you the difference between the cost of the drink you ordered and the one covered by your package. The only thing I was wanting that wasn't in my package was Bailey's in my coffee, but it turned out to be only a dollar upcharge. There are menus on most of the bars that help you identify which drinks are included in your package, but if you're not sure, ask your bartender--they know. Most mixed drinks are included with the classic package, but if you call your liquor (rather than taking the speed rack booze) you may get an upcharge. We had flex dining and this was a mixed bag. I thought this meant you can eat whenever you like, but that's not exactly true. Everyone wants to eat between 6:30 and 8, so we could only make reservations for before 6 or after 8. That said, when we did show up and agree to wait for a table, we never waited more than about 30 minutes. We were given a beeper and sat in the martini bar, so it was pretty painless. We had a different waiter team almost every night, but they were all friendly and capable. There was a bit of a language problem with a couple of the assistant waiters, but not enough to cause any serious issues. Every dinner menu included a handful of staples that appeared every day (on our cruise they included Caesar salad, French onion soup, sirloin steak, and grilled salmon) as well as a number of items that change each day. My daughter is a vegetarian and did not have any difficulty finding things to eat. The food was good but not great. We had hoped for crab legs (it was Alaska, after all), but they never served them. They did have lobster on the second formal night and it was wonderful. Dress code was obviously flexible. We saw the full range from jeans and polo shirts to ball gowns. Lots of people did go all out for the formal nights, which gave the whole ship a festive feel. We were limited in how much luggage we could squeeze into our car and on the plane, so I opted for a simple black dress for both formal nights and wore it with different sweaters/wraps/jewelry to dress it up. I was not out of place as underdressed or overdressed. We ate most of our lunches and breakfast at the buffet (or took breakfast food from there back to our cabins). The pizza was better than expected and there was always something decent to eat, but it's a buffet, so don't expect gourmet food. If you get a chance, go one day between 4 and 5 for the afternoon tea--they have finger sandwiches and biscuits and cookies and fresh fruit--it's lovely. I wish we'd discovered it earlier in our cruise! Even though there is a ton of variety to choose from, foods are not very well labelled--and the key designed to indicate which dishes were vegetarian was never filled out. So it was a bit of a guessing game. For lunch you can also go to the Mast Grill. They make burgers (including veggie burgers) and hot dogs with different toppings (like sauteed mushrooms and onions) that seemed better than a lot of the buffet fare. We did not go to any of the specialty restaurants, but we did enjoy Cafe al Baccio for coffee and sometimes pastries in the afternoon. If you have a sweet tooth, note that the desserts in the case at this location are included with your cruise fare (though the coffees are not) and many of those desserts are a big step up from the mostly-whipped-cream confections on the buffet! I made a habit of leaving lunch and walking down the stairs to the Cafe's counter to get dessert :) Room service: I love the idea of room service, but in practice it was more hassle than going up to the buffet to make a plate and bringing it back. We ordered room service for 2 breakfasts and one dinner during the trip, and none of the orders was accurate on arrival. They do make pretty good burgers, sandwiches and fries--handy if you happen to have a 16-year-old with a bottomless appetite like we do! They also seemed willing to accommodate requests for items that are not on the menu (I asked for onion soup from the dining room) but it takes extra time. ENTERTAINMENT: The Solstice has a lot going on every day! We went to several of the nightly shows in the theater. The Rock program and Broken Strings were a little cheesy (would it kill them to throw in a little plot between all those songs strung together?), but the singers, dancers and acrobats are pretty talented. The shows typically run under an hour, so if you can easily see the 7 pm show and then make it to the dining room for a meal at 8 or 8:15. The singers' best show of the week was hands down their Thursday afternoon performance of show tunes. It was clear that this was their wheelhouse, whereas the other shows feel somewhat forced--like they're rushing through them and trying too hard to belt out those songs in a hurry. The ship has a few live music acts that play throughout the ship and a full band that accompanies the shows. That band is pretty great, and if you want to see them really doing their thing, check them out at the Ensemble Lounge when they play there late some nights--it's a much more relaxed, improv-type performance and it's obvious they're digging it. There were a couple comedians during the week, but we didn't see them. The Liars Game show with the captain and the cruise director was pretty funny (adults only!). Karaoke was a blast (lots of participants!) the first night they had it, but subdued later in the week. Trivia was frequently crowded--get there early if you want a drink or a chair! The enrichment program on this ship was great. We loved Miss Amanda's talks about the upcoming ports and also Brent Nixon's discussions of some of the wildlife and scenery. The highlight of this program comes on Monday morning when the ship goes up the Tracy Arm (or in our case the Endicott Arm--not a problem for us as it was spectacular) and Mr. Nixon can be heard in the public areas (and in your stateroom if you put the tv to channel 5) pointing out wildlife (we saw mama seals and their pups!), describing how the terrain was formed, and occasionally reading snippets from John Muir's journal or lines of poetry. It starts REALLY early, like around 4 AM, but we were on our balconies from about 4:30 until after 10:00 just mesmerized by the scenery. We may have been on a cruise ship with thousands of other people, but I thought the experience was as magical and personal as if I'd gone in a canoe! Kudos to Celebrity for putting a focus on educational enrichment on this cruise. You can also tune your tv to channel 5 at 10:15 (double check that time!) each morning to hear the captain's daily address to the passengers. He and the other officers also do several events throughout the week in an effort to be accessible to the passengers (including a standing-room-only talk on how the ship was built). PORTS: SEATTLE: We stayed at the Homewood Suites Downtown (where one suite accommodates a family of 5) and were happy with it. It's about a half mile walk to Seattle Center from there (uphill!), where you can go up in the Space Needle, see the Chihuly Museum, or take a duck tour (very fun!). There's also a monorail from there to Westlake Center just a couple blocks from Pike Market. It's $2 per person each way (cash only) and will save you a mile and a half of walking each way. Not a lot of restaurants close to the hotel, though. KETCHIKAN: We did not schedule an excursion for Ketchikan, but we did take a tour we booked from the pier. I don't remember the name, but it was a red and green trolley parked right as you get off the ship. If you want a tour, it might be better to book ahead. Our guide did take us to a spot where we saw dozens of bald eagles (amazing!) so I don't regret going, but he was proof that you can give anyone a microphone and call him a tour guide--not much prepared info and very lacking in details and even accurate facts! Still, it gave us an overview of the town. Our kids went to the lumberjack show and enjoyed it. We just walked around and shopped a bit on Creek Street and near the pier. JUNEAU: This was an incredible day, starting with the trip up the Endicott Arm to see the Dawes Glacier. After that we had time for naps and showers before arriving in Juneau around 1:30. Celebrity's pier is quite a long walk from town and the shuttle that runs back and forth charges $5 per person each way. You have to stand in one line to get shuttle tickets and a separate line to board--ridiculous and inefficient. If you've booked an excursion through Celebrity, though, there's a bus waiting to take you to your trip and you can skip the shuttle from the ship to town. We booked a float plane excursion through the cruise ship. Amazing doesn't begin to cover the views from that plane as we flew over the 80-mile ice field near Juneau. By the time we landed, I'd just run out of words to describe the beautiful things I was seeing. The flight gives you an amazing perspective on it all from above. It cost a small fortune ($229/per person x 5), but I'm so glad we did it. BE SURE TO TAKE A MOTION SICKNESS PILL IF YOU DO THIS EXCURSION AND ARE AT ALL PRONE TO IT! I take Bonine instead of Dramamine--doesn't make me as tired . . . SKAGWAY: This was my favorite port. Skagway is a very small, tidy, adorable town at the base of the mountains. Unlike Juneau, they are there to welcome cruise passengers with transportation down the long pier if you need it. Golf carts zip up and down the pier taking up to 8 people with each pass. There's no charge and we were happy to tip for this service. We booked an excursion with Chilkoot Tours (highly recommend this company and making reservations early). Our guide Jamison was waiting for us right at the end of the pier and drove us up the mountain in a coach bus, stopping several times along the way so we could take pictures and telling us about the history of Skagway. Excellent tour. When we reached the White Pass Summit, he directed us to an assigned car on the historic train (not the last car as mentioned in some other reviews) for the ride down the mountain. The views from the train are breathtaking. Two tips: First, take your motion sickness medicine again because the train rocks and sways from side to side! Second, if you're going downhill, sit on the right side! Most of the views will be out your window. At times the terrain fell away so steeply it felt a bit like a roller coaster rather than a train ride. Terrific port to wrap up 3 days in Alaska that left us exhausted and awed. VICTORIA: We didn't book an excursion in Victoria, but we did walk/scooter into town and back. It's a long walk and it was raining, but we wanted to see the city. I imagine that on a busy, sunny day the inner harbor is gorgeous, but it was kind of gloomy and deserted while we were there. We also walked through Beacon Hill Park, which is beautiful and I'm sure will become even moreso as the weather warms up and more flowers bloom. We saw deer and rabbits, peacocks and turtles just in the 15-20 minutes we were in the park. X-CLUB/KIDS: There were truly passengers of all ages on this cruise, though there were fewer young children than on a Disney or Royal Caribbean ship. I can't speak to the children's program, but my 16-year-old made his way to the XClub after a couple days and found a big group of like-minded kids. XClub activities were mostly loosely organized, but that was perfect for this age group--enough to get them together and let them get comfortable with each other without over-scheduling their days. We frequently saw teens hanging out in the card room on deck 9 from the elevators, too. DISEMBARKATION: This was kind of a mess because of the elevator situation. We finally split up and started getting on UP elevators and riding them to deck 14 and then back down. It became apparent we would never get on together--or in fact at all--if we waited for space in the elevators going down. That was at about 7:20. I don't know if leaving earlier would have helped. We chose to carry our own bags off and were in our pre-arranged shuttle and back at the Homewood Suites by 9 AM. Be warned that if you stay at this hotel and are hoping to get an early check in after disembarking, it's unlikely. They had a long list of guests waiting to check in and even with DH's hhonors gold status, we didn't get a room until after 2:00. We passed a couple hours at the MoPop museum at Seattle Center--interesting exhibits for rock music fans and also for scifi lovers. Thank you to everyone who shares information on this site. Your summaries, trip reviews, and other information were invaluable to me as I planned our vacation! Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Just got back from my 7th cruise; 1st with Celebrity and first to Alaska. Starting off, I, 33, took my parents, 68 and 70, on this cruise to fulfill a dream they've had for 30+ years. They often talked about sailing to Alaska, but ... Read More
Just got back from my 7th cruise; 1st with Celebrity and first to Alaska. Starting off, I, 33, took my parents, 68 and 70, on this cruise to fulfill a dream they've had for 30+ years. They often talked about sailing to Alaska, but something always came up - need new roof, weddings, car expenses, whatever; but after a health scare late last year, I told them, we're going, no matter what. We booked May 26-June2. We live in Virginia Beach, VA and made the plans to travel out to Seattle the day before. Due to unforeseen circumstances, my husband and grade school son could not attend, so some last minute changes, the three of us were in the same cabin, an accessible balcony, 7139. Getting to Seattle was rough- we hit terrible turbulence leaving Norfolk, VA Thursday afternoon, so much so we rerouted our flight over 45 minutes out of the way. We landed in Midway, late of course, and there was a plane at our gate, we waited another 20 minutes, and that was just enough time to have us miss our connecting flight to Seattle. I was a little stressed, but kept a smile up for my parents, as they don't handle stress and change of plans well. We got on the next flight after showing the gate attendants our cruise paperwork. We landed in Seattle at 11pm Pacific time, so 2 am our time, and I went to work for a half day Thursday, so needless to say I was tired. We waited at the airport for nearly an hour waiting for our shuttle to our hotel, Town Place Suites, In Renton. We checked in, my parents had their wheelchair accessible room and I fell asleep as soon as I hit the pillow in my room. We took Seattle Express Shuttle Company to the port from our hotel. $15pp each way, they were on time and friendly and had great communication with me before the departure day. My google maps app had alerted me that traffic was heavy going to the port - and I didn't pay it much mind. We were picked up at the hotel at 10:30, and went to the port, and got stuck in the worst traffic. We were let off the shuttle around 12:40 and were greeted with confusion and chaos abounding. There were lines everywhere outside the port, people yelling and screaming, and I was shocked at the lack of flow, direction or signage. I accessed the situation, knew what ship we were leaving on (some people in front of us waited 40 minutes in the wrong line, they were sailing on the Freedom of the Seas, who was parked right next to the Solstice) and started that way. We dropped our luggage with the valet - double checked it was going to the Solstice and headed inside. Lines, confusion and disarray proceeded us inside the building as well. Mom is in a wheelchair and I have priority embarkation due to my status with RCI, so we bypassed a good 90 minutes of lines. Even so, we were not onboard our ship until well after 1pm. After speaking with tons of fellow cruisers onboard, we were not alone in our fate at the pier. it was complete chaos and so unorganized. Seattle cruise port - definitely the worst I've ever experienced. Once onboard - breathing a sigh of relief, and head upstairs for lunch. The Oceanview Café (buffet) was very nice. I was impressed with the variety, choices, flow and amount of space. My anxiety was finally starting to wind down as I sipped my first (of many) Peach Bellini. We finished lunch, and the buffet was just starting to get busy, but nothing too terrible, just seats beginning to fill up. We headed to deck 7, room 7139 and we were all pleasantly surprised with how spacious this room was. The accessible cabin was well appointed, plenty of space, and the balcony was great. I had a little bed, that was a chair, and our room steward broke down the chair the first day, and we left it like that all week. It was a single mattress- but still did the job. Everything in the room worked fine, everything looked updated and in well repair. No complaints with the room or location. It was quiet and no wind issues on the balcony. Muster drill was an improvement from RCI - we were in the theater, with the chance to sit down and watch the silly video - think super hero spy movie mixed with information about the muster drill. Sailaway - beautiful sunny day in Seattle - leaving the port was great - we left on time - with some people left behind. We enjoyed exploring the ship - Solstice is amazing, beautiful and an engineering masterpiece. I loved the ship. I jumped in the hot tub before dinner to officially begin my vacation. Dinner - a table for just us - a little disappointed, as we love to meet people and converse over dinner, but not a big deal. We had many laughs and tears together over dinners. Our waiter, Rony was AMAZING! He was great, we say at table 602, near the wine tower in the rear of the dining room on deck 3. The food was great - no complaints - plenty of choices and we all tried new things with mostly great reviews. We had the classic alcohol package for all of us, and we ordered our drinks, but found inconsistencies with bar keeps on what was included on our packages... different bars allowed different cocktails, and others didn't. Still not a big deal - we always found something to drink. "Sunset" was about 9:30pm... pretty cool. We saw whales from the balcony every night. but a bunch this evening was magical, the way the sun was hitting the water, very cool. Brent Nixon did his first of 5 nature talks - it was stellar. He was so passionate and educated about his topics- sampler, bears, humpback whales, orcas and eagles. 1st sea day - I bought a week long pass to the Persian Gardens for $117 after tax and gratuity. I was in the Persian gardens a lot this week. It was my happy place. It opened at 8, and I was there almost everyday at 8. The first sea day it was full at 9. The hot glass show was AWESOME. Just a heads up - they give away at the 1st show only, an object they made on the last weeks cruise. It was so informative and fun to watch. It's a 2 hr long show - come and go as you please, and grab a blanket before you go. Seating gets pretty full as ShowTime approaches. Dining was room service for me for breakfast and the dining room for lunch and dinner - all the food was good, no complaints. Ketchikan was fun - beautiful weather - shorts and t shirts. I saw a bunch of bald eagles from the balcony and seals in the water as well. I booked a float plan flightseeing excursion not through the cruise ship, and it was great. Definitely the best way to see Alaska - every turn was even more beautiful than before. We landed on a lake and were able to get out of the plane - stood on the floats and just listened to the waterfalls. I booked through shoreexcustionsgroup. Highly recommended. The actual town of Ketchikan was really fun - and the shopping is incredible- great prices on jackets (got a reversible embroidered jacket for my husband and son for $19.99 each) We cruised into the Tracy Arm Fjord the morning before Juneau. This was the highlight of my cruise - so beautiful. The mountains drop right into the water. The captain, Captain Tasos was awesome! Of all the cruises I've been on, never has a captain been so interactive, funny and take such pride in his ship. He did such a great job of getting us close to the glacier and into the fjord. He did two 360's so everyone onboard could see the glacier no matter where on the ship they were. Juneau was fun - again, beautiful weather, no shorts, but t shirt and jeans. I booked a whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier excursion through the same shore excursion group. This was a highlight of the trip. We saw so many whales, no breaching, but plenty of tails. So much fun. Dolphin Jet Tours was the name of the actual tour company. I hiked to the Mendenhall glacier by myself, and had plenty of time to see the waterfall and glacier and get back to the tour bus, we were given 70 minutes. It's a 1 mile walk each way, and I am so happy I got out there to see it. Again, highly recommend it. Skagway was our last Alaskan stop. I booked a horseback riding tour on my own, through Alaska shore excursions. The tour was well run and worth the price. The horses were in such great shape (having horses of my own a few years ago). They were healthy, had great looking feet and had shiny coats. The horses were well behaved and well matched with our riding abilities. This was the first day we saw any rain - not terrible , just a little chilly and drizzle. Upon leaving Skagway we cruised through the Inside Passage. I was topside with my normal whale watching crew (people I'd met top side all watching for wildlife) We saw 8-12 whales in the first hour. It was awesome. The photos don't do it justice. I was dressed warm, a few layers with a hat and gloves and I was ok. Celebrity has fleece blankets for onboard use - that was a nice touch. They are available topside in a few sections of the ship. I spent most of my days in the Persain Gardens, topside watching for wildlife, or on the balcony. I didn't spend a lot of time in the public areas - but when I did - they were beautiful. The shops had the normal sales - and the crowds that go with them - one night my mom - with her walker - was nearly toppled over by the hordes trying to get a $20 watch once they opened the sale - we were only trying to get to the Tuscan Grill The Tuscan Grill was wonderful - my travel agency included this for us and wow - it was the best meal we ate all week. The steak was great, the wine paired with our meal was perfect and the salads were just plain yummy. I, and my parents, enjoyed this meal. We saw some dolphins (Dall Porpoises) jumping in the wake of the ship - just magical! Brent Nikon - my favorite Celebrity Life activity. He was so passionate about the topics and fun and funny to listen to. I attended every one of his talks and bought his DVDs. He was great - if I could recommend one thing to attend - it would be his talks. He did presentations in the morning and evenings depending on the day. Victoria was a late port call -we didn't arrive till 5 pm. Since this was our last evening of the cruise :-( I got out, walked around a little and got back onboard to pack. Suitcases out by 10 pm. Disembarkation - very smooth, we had a late flight out of Seattle, so we were scheduled to disembark at 9am. Our group was called at 8:55, found our bags, went through customs and were on our shuttle by 9:10. This was the fastest I've ever made it through customs. I was impressed. Things that stuck out to me - Celebrity Solstice was gorgeous, never felt crowded or cluttered. Each time coming back on board, after security I was greeted with either ice water, hot chocolate, hot cider or hot chicken noodle soup broth - that was a nice touch. The service was great, the rooms were in great shape and larger than I remember on RCI. I can't wait to return to Alaska or Celebrity Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
My wife has waited for 40 years to see Hawaii but this trip was the worst ever. The ship was very good but the excursions are not set up for passengers with disabilities as there was nothing that could accommodate an electric portable ... Read More
My wife has waited for 40 years to see Hawaii but this trip was the worst ever. The ship was very good but the excursions are not set up for passengers with disabilities as there was nothing that could accommodate an electric portable scooter . We saw nothing of Hawaii only the shops around the dock area. The entertainment was so poor that the passengers were leaving the theatre as the shows were going on , some shows were over a year old as seen on an Alaska cruise before. Staff and food were very good but a complete waste of money for us would not do this again. This could be our last cruise on Celebrity or Royal Carribbean as we feel like that the qualiy has dropped below the standard we expect from them.Tendering is a complete nightmare for those with a disablity as we were informed 3 times that we could take her travel scooter on the tender and when we got to the tender we were informed that it was not possible to take it. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
My wife and I joined our Bridge Club yearly cruise. A totally new experience for both of us as the last trip we each had on a ship was in the 1950s when we left our country of birth Egypt as refugees. Our expectations were high and I am ... Read More
My wife and I joined our Bridge Club yearly cruise. A totally new experience for both of us as the last trip we each had on a ship was in the 1950s when we left our country of birth Egypt as refugees. Our expectations were high and I am pleased to say, on behalf of my wife too, that we were more then pleased. Our cabin was comfortable, but the service by young Periton was ultimate best. The experience at the Grand Eperney Restaurant was just that a grand experience. Our MD Gilmar made our experience even more grand, he was perfect, and the food that came out of the kitchen was very tasty. May I add that the food experience on deck 14 at the Oceanview restaurant was beyond all expectation. The variety and the excellence of each bar showed a keen endeavour by each cook to out do the other. On the whole, my wife and I would like to thank you as a whole but also as each individual member of the staff that made our mornings start bright with your loud 'good mornings' and always feel at home anywhere on the ship. Thanks to our Captain Tasos Kafetsis for a fantastic cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We've completed 8 cruises. This last cruise on the Solstice was a repeat of our 2013 cruise. We loved the cruise then, and it was just as great this time! The closest we could get to a complaint is the temperatures around the ... Read More
We've completed 8 cruises. This last cruise on the Solstice was a repeat of our 2013 cruise. We loved the cruise then, and it was just as great this time! The closest we could get to a complaint is the temperatures around the ship are a tad low for us - but we live in the tropics in Cairns. Our cabin and balcony were excellent - as usual. Our cabin steward was very attentive, even when our key card failed for the third time, and we appreciated the call from Celebrity two days before sailing to upgrade us. Perhaps a loyalty bonus? The food was occasionally variable, but overall excellent, particularly in Blu restaurant that our upgraded status allowed. The tables were cleverly laid out each for two, but close enough that you could chat with people either side - on not if you preferred. The weather was disappointingly cold, even for the time of year. But all shore visits were most enjoyable and usually the sun came out to take the chill off. The most impressive feature was the shows. Four were of international standard - brilliant, three with trapeze acrobats performing together with the singers and dancers - mind-blowing. All the shows were at least very good. Happily, the sound volume was not too high - a problem for us on several previous cruises. We still reckon the wine is far too expensive, but as we usually have cocktails - often during 'happy hour' - this isn't a problem. We often have sparkling Perrier Water instead of wine with dinner. All the staff were very attentive with genuine helpfulness and no perfunctory chats, not the artificial help some establishments provide - particularly when they are playing for a big tip. Would we repeat the experience? You bet! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
My first cruise was in 1993 and I have loved cruising ever since - I love it so much that I changed careers to become a cruise consultant. CRUISING WITH A DISABILITY I am vision impaired & this was my first cruise on Celebrity ... Read More
My first cruise was in 1993 and I have loved cruising ever since - I love it so much that I changed careers to become a cruise consultant. CRUISING WITH A DISABILITY I am vision impaired & this was my first cruise on Celebrity Solstice and my first international cruise with my guide dog. Taking aside the loads of paperwork which needed to be completed prior to departure, the actual embarkation process was great. We were immediately met my staff & were escorted past all the check in & immigration queues onto the ship. This smooth embarking and disembarking process continued throughout the cruise which was great. I found the Solstice to be easy to navigate. Once my guide dog & I worked out the deck layout, I felt safe & comfortable enough to have my own independence which can sometimes be challenging in unfamiliar places. The Solstice has braille labelling for those who can read braille and electric sliding doors which came in very handy for me and anyone with mobility concerns. This cruise was a great experience & my guide dog was definitely the star of the Solstice, however I did lost count of how many times I had to politely ask that she not be patted as she was on duty and how many times I was asked "where does she go to the toilet". I guess my biggest frustration was trying to liaise with the "Special Needs" department in the USA as there were some miss communications between this department, the ship & myself in regards to my guide dog's toileting & being left un-attended in the cabin arrangements. As I had anticipated some miss-communications, I had printed copies of all correspondence with head office and most of these hick-ups were resolved relatively hassle free. ENTERTAINMENT - The evening entertainment on the Solstice was mostly of high quality & the new Flying show was amazing. I would have liked more activities & music out on the pool deck on our warm days + I think a few more roaming waiters would have been good out on deck. CHILDREN - I would suggest that this ship may not be most suitable for families with young children. Although there were some facilities, I don't think we had more than 20 children on board. This ship is definitely suitable for mature passengers who enjoy a premium product. DINING - I was very impressed with my dining experience. I found the Horizons buffet to be of high quality & clean. We were on the open dining sitting and we were never turned away from the restaurant and asked to come back. The waiters & waitresses were always willing to provide great service & have a chat which was great. STAFF - All the staff were professional & friendly and they were always on hand & willing to assist with a smile at any time. The captain of the Solstice was a breath of fresh air. I don't believe that out of all the cruise ships I have travelled on I have come across a captain who was so engaged and hands on. He was constantly in the public areas speaking with passengers, watching the evening shows and skippering the tenders. He did a fantastic talk to a jam packed theatre on the building of the Solstice and showed genuine care for his passengers and staff. Each morning the ship fell into silence which was followed by great laughter during his daily message from the bridge. On our last day he asked if he could have his photo taken with my beautiful doe - I was so proud!! All in all - I would highly recommend the Celebrity Solstice and. She is a beautiful ship with a great captain and crew to make your cruise a wonderful experience. I am already looking at some of her upcoming itineraries for my next great adventure. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Having cruised only once before with Royal Caribbean, we tried Celebrity Solstice because the timing suited and the ship got great reviews - deservedly! We booked through Vacationstogo.com - they were excellent! We booked an inside ... Read More
Having cruised only once before with Royal Caribbean, we tried Celebrity Solstice because the timing suited and the ship got great reviews - deservedly! We booked through Vacationstogo.com - they were excellent! We booked an inside stateroom because we only sleep in the stateroom and this was true of this cruise too. There was too much to do elsewhere. The shows at night were excellent with a wide variety of sensational acts. Some nights we would have 2 courses to get to the 7pm show then have desert in the Cafe. Other nights we would have the complete meal in the Dinging Room then go to the 9pm show. The food in the main dining room Grand Epernay was well above standard and then we spent one evening at Murano. Murano would equal any 5 star restaurant. Particularly if you are lucky enough to get Ibraham as your waiter. We selected fixed time dining on a table of 6 people so met 2 other couples and got on so well, we looked forward to dinner each evening (I hope they did too). This is not a ship to get bored in. There is everything from the well-stocked library across two levels to a range of bands and singers during the evening and night at various locations across the ship to guided behind-the-scenes tours of various aspects the ship to dancing and shows. There is also the specialty Corning Museum of Glass exhibitions of glass blowing daily which is absolutely fascinating to see. We did not book the ship's shore excursions preferring smaller more intimate tours we booked ourselves so can't comment on these. As members of Cruise Critic, we attended a morning tea hosted by the ship and attended by some of the senior crew where we had the chance to meet some really interesting Cruise Critic members and formed friendships from day 1. I would highly recommend the Celebrity Solstice. There were 2 staff members who were particularly good - Deborah from Guest Services and Ibraham from Murano. Celebrity should be extremely proud to have these staff. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
What a great cruise. I am an experienced cruiser. I have been on Carnival,, NCL Princess, HAL and Celebrity. Celebrity being my favorite cruise line right now. Embarkation was the usual lines and waiting but nothing out of the ... Read More
What a great cruise. I am an experienced cruiser. I have been on Carnival,, NCL Princess, HAL and Celebrity. Celebrity being my favorite cruise line right now. Embarkation was the usual lines and waiting but nothing out of the ordinary. We stayed at the Pan Pacific hotel in Vancouver which takes your luggage down to the ship for you. Lovely hotel for a pre cruise stay. The ship was lovely and was so clean everything sparkled. We were offered champagne or orange juice upon boarding. Out cabins were not ready until 1pm so we headed to the Lido for a buffet lunch. After lunch we changed into our suits which we had packed in out carry ons and hung out at the hot tub until our room was ready. We had a handicapped cabin on deck 6 as I am disabled. The ship was totally accessible for me with automatic doors everywhere. All the public bathrooms were handicapped accessible with automatic doors. The only problem I had was finding a place to sit in the buffet. It was packed with people and there was no where to sit. Here I am with my food on my lap and no where to sit and eat. I think some tables should be reserved for handicapped people like they do on NCL. We cruised from Vancouver to Kona, Hawaii on very smooth seas. No rough weather at all. .However, we don't get seasick even with heavy seas. I even missed being rocked to sleep at night. It was a wonderful itinerary. What can beat Hawaii but I missed going to Kauai which is my favorite island. We went to Kona, Hilo, and two days in Lahaina and ended the cruise in Honolulu. We had to tender in Kona and Lahaina and it was a major pain. Had to go stand in line for a tender ticket. We got tender number 19 and had to wait 2 hours for our number to be called. It was horrible. I wish they would dock on the other side of Maui. We booked the go best program which included premium drink package, unlimited internet, and gratuities. We are not big drinkers but it was nice to order any kind of drink we wanted including martinis, wine, pop and bottle water. Internet was strong and we always had a signal. Had a wonderful room steward by the name of Berri from St Vincent. He was great. He cleaned our cabin when we wanted it cleaned and when we didn't want to be bothered he left us alone. I had two massages at the spa. I had a hot stone massage with Andrea and a regular massage with Ru. Both were great therapists. There was no hard sell.for their products. I said one no and that was it. There is a 18% gratuity that they add on to all services. We dined a few times in the dining room but we found the service to be very slow. Once we ordered drinks and didn't get them for 47 minutes, by that time we were already on our main course. Sometimes it was quicker and easier to go to the Lido buffet. I think a lot of people had the drink package as the bar and wine service was slow everywhere.. I talked to many people who complained about the food in the dining room. Not me. I thought all my meals were excellent, however, I am not picky. If someone else makes it I'll eat it. My husband ordered rooms service many times and loved it. Entertainment was hit and miss. I usually love the production shows but not on this ship. I found them way too loud. I couldn't wait to get out of the show room as I felt like I had been yelled at for an hour. Other shows I found boring. I enjoyed the juggler and really enjoyed the enrichment talks during the day. There was handicapped seating in the show room but I found you had to get there early to get any of it. Either there was a lot of disabled people on this cruise or there is not enough handicapped seating in the show room. We did no excursions as we had been to Hawaii so many times before. We always rent a car and have favorite places we like to go. Besides trying to get handicapped accessible excursions are close to impossible. I like Celebrity so well that I booked another cruise in 2018. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
My wife & I had our first experience on the Millennium when it stayed at the dock in AK. The defenseless dock check-in worker put four handicapped people right on the ship even though over 2800 crazy screamers were waiting on the dock. ... Read More
My wife & I had our first experience on the Millennium when it stayed at the dock in AK. The defenseless dock check-in worker put four handicapped people right on the ship even though over 2800 crazy screamers were waiting on the dock. From the moment we were on the ship until we sailed one week later to Vancouver everyone made our third cruise to AK an amazing experience. The cruise part of our trip was "free" when the ship could not sail because of one of the engines having electrical problems. Two days later, we were all given a "chit" for a cabin on another cruise. WOW! We did not expect this to happen. Our handicapped cabin was upgraded to a Sky Suite as well at no cost to us. Ever aspect of the trip was wonderful! We booked a 10 day cruise on the Equinox to the Southern Caribbean that was fantastic. We always book a handicapped balcony cabin. This cruise was even more amazing! Although my wife was injured in our cabin before we reached St. Maartan, they treated us incredibly well including making sure we could conclude the cruise back to FL with wonderful experiences to remember. My wife took seven months to heal once we were home. She did wish to go back to AK again for the 7 day portion we missed when the Millennium was disabled. Now she wanted to upgrade from our usual HC balcony to a Concierge level cabin. Having read the brochures, I suggested that we book an Aqua Class HC cabin because of the perks that went with it. While all 3 balconies are the same size and general starboard location, the perks made all the difference. Blu was fantastic! Food and service were truly worth the cost difference. We are "hooked" on Solstice class ships & Aqua cabins and extras. Breakfast and dinner in Blu and the Spa lunch were varied, well prepared and all the service staff made it a grand experience. We are booked on the Reflection for this cruise and have already booked another cruise on the Eclipse, all in the Aqua class. We received a special cake for our birthdays and anniversary. It arrived at our table 5 minutes after I mentioned to our Maitre de that they would happen within the month. The Persian Garden, included, was most enjoyable. The entertainment on each of our cruises was extraordinary. We have sailed many times on five different lines since 1995. Our last experiences on these lines were claimed to have been "upgraded and enhanced" but we found them to be downgraded significantly in quality of food and entertainment. This is why we are now dedicated to cruising on the Solstice class ships of Celebrity. Each line had had good things to report, but those days are gone forever! Given the positive experiences we have now had on Celebrity, we are "home" cruising on their ships. After we do all 5 of the Solstice class ships, we shall try their next creation when it hits the waves in late 2017 or early 2018. Keep up your great dedication to quality! Ou children plan to join us on the Refection in March 2017. Hope to meet more of you on board. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
The MS Foundation organizes an annual Cruise for a Cause, focusing on education and empowerment for people with Multiple Sclerosis and their companions. My stepdaughter, who has MS and uses a wheelchair, had previously taken this Alaskan ... Read More
The MS Foundation organizes an annual Cruise for a Cause, focusing on education and empowerment for people with Multiple Sclerosis and their companions. My stepdaughter, who has MS and uses a wheelchair, had previously taken this Alaskan cruise and wanted to go again. She encouraged me to accompany her, knowing that I would love the itinerary and gorgeous scenery. She was right. This was my second cruise with Celebrity Cruise Lines, and both times I have been extremely pleased with the on-board experience. Our accessible accommodations were wonderful, the personnel is both professional and personable, and the on-board activities were varied. In addition, I loved the shore excursions offered. Many of our activities were "wheelchair accessible," and the on-shore personnel were helpful and attentive to my daughter. I would highly recommend Celebrity Cruise Lines and the Inside Passage Alaskan itinerary. And given the opportunity, I would take this cruise again. Read Less
29 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My wife's mother had been wanting to take an Alaska cruise for some time. After some family discussion, we chose to go in 2016, taking my wife and I, MIL, and my wife's younger niece. Did a bunch of research on the various ... Read More
My wife's mother had been wanting to take an Alaska cruise for some time. After some family discussion, we chose to go in 2016, taking my wife and I, MIL, and my wife's younger niece. Did a bunch of research on the various cruise lines, ships, and scheduling options. Ended up choosing Celebrity due to reviews on CC, the planned Vancouver-Alaska-Victoria-Seattle itinerary, and the early May sailing. Flew to Vancouver the day before we sailed, and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon/evening touring the city. It had been 12 years since we were there for our honeymoon. The metropolitan area has grown so much, but is still one of our favorite North American cities. Stayed Thursday night at the Marriott Pinnacle Downtown, about 4 blocks from Canada Place. Had a late lunch at the hotel restaurant across the street, and then dinner at Cardero's, which has been a favorite of ours for many years. Cardero's is in the middle of the Coal Harbor marina, and an easy walk from most of the hotels in that area. Great seafood, drinks, people watching, and service. We hadn't cruised from anywhere before (much less Vancouver), so we did a bit of scouting of Canada Place both the day before and morning of the cruise. There were 3 ships in port the day of embarkation, with the resulting large numbers of people arriving and leaving the port/terminal. On Friday, we dropped our bags off at Canada Place right at 10am. This turned out to make our lives much easier later that day. Headed back to the terminal at around noon on Friday to check-in. My MIL has some mobility problems, which complicated (needed wheelchairs, on-board scooter) and assisted (got to the head most lines we waited in) our trip a bit. Upon arrival to Canada Place we got directed first downstairs to the cruise ship area, then upstairs to a conference space where they were staging the embarkees. Tried to get a wheelchair, and was directed by the extremely nice lady supervising things to find one + a Celebrity employee to assist. I walked back downstairs, found the chair+Celebrity guy, which got us to the front of the line to get checked-in/embarked. Talked a bit more with the supervisor, she mentioned that most of her staff was new. Now assisted by the Celebrity guy+wheelchair, we got back downstairs, went through security, cleared customs, and checked in for the cruise. Overall we got onboard by around 1pm-ish, which is a much experience result than other people had later in the day. Kudos to the Celebrity crewman that wheeled my MIL around that day, we couldn't have done it without him. Once on board we quickly got to our cabins (Sky Suites on deck 12), met our butler (Jacky), and then went down to lunch @ Luminae. After lunch we unpacked and looked around the ship, with the plan of being on deck when we departed. We waited until the planned lifeboat drill was cancelled, then waited a bit more, then attended the lifeboat drill (6-ish). After that everyone wanted dinner so we went to the main dining room. The ship didn't end up departing until around 7-ish, so we had plenty of time to eat and then get onto the Solstice deck to watch the ship sail through Coal Harbour, and under the Stanley Bridge; both awesome sights, especially in the twilight hours. Spend the 1st full day at sea (Saturday) doing normal cruise ship things. Had lunch @ Luminae, and dinner at Silk Harvest. Was really impressed by the food quality and service @ Silk Harvest; an outstanding experience all around. We arrived in Ketchikan on Sunday. My wife and niece-in-law did a rainforest hike, while MIL and I had lunch on board, then then walked around town a bit. Weather was pretty good, a bit overcast + 2 rain drops. Ketchikan was "fine", not too impressive of a stop, but the rainforest hike was fun, and it was nice to get on land for a few hours. Enjoyed dinner @ Luminae (see the trend here)? Monday was a combination of the sail up Tracy Arm and Juneau. I got up at 5am to get us a seat inside at the Sky Observation Lounge. Made it up there at 515am, and got us 2 chairs in the 2nd row, at the front of the lounge/ship. After my wife and MIL arrived, I headed outside to exercise room observation area on deck 12. We all very much enjoyed the trip up Tracy Arm, and the view as the ship turned around to head back out was incredible. In Juneau, my NIL and I did helicopted dog sledding, and my wife+MIL did a floatplane glacier tour. They were supposed to do a helicopter glacier tour, but it had been cancelled as the company used by Celebrity had cancelled all of its flight operations due to an accident the week before. We were a smidgen disappointed, but they enjoyed the floatplane, and the money "saved" was subsequently "unsaved" in the spa and onboard shops :-). Everyone got back to the ship fairly late, so we at in Bistro on 5 for dinner. Skagway was our Tuesday destination, with a 1240pm YPNR railway trip planned. Overall I'd say Skagway was the nicest slice of Alaska we saw, with the town, shopping, railway, scenery, and great weather all combining to make a fantastic day. We got back to the ship at around 5, and then had dinner in Tuscan Grille at 6pm. If you're looking for a special experience, eat in Tuscan Grill during the departure from Skagway; the view off the back of the ship is tremendous at that time of day. Wednesday was another at sea day. Had lunch and dinner at Luminae, and stayed up pretty late enjoying the bars and music that night (more details below). Thursday included sailing the final distance to Victoria, with a delayed departure off the ship due to customs issues (400 people that needed to be seen in person by Canadian border controls before the ship could be cleared). Boarded our bus to Butchart Gardens, and enjoyed a fantastic 1.5 hours touring the Gardens at sunset. I highly recommend going there; it's a very special place. Arrived in Seattle by 5am on Friday, had breakfast 1 more time @ Luminae, and the off the ship by 830am. No problem finding our bags or getting through US customs, and we were at SeaTac by 1030am for the flight home. Food? Overall we thought the food was pretty good, with a notable exceptions. Solstice seemed to do the following things very well: salads, soups, appetizers, Asian entree's, sandwiches, sweets, coffee drinks. Solstice did chicken and fish entree's pretty well, but most of the beef entree's (steaks, burgers) were disappointing, except for the Mast Grill burgers which were great. Restaurant-wise our favorite was Silk Harvest, followed by Luminae. We really enjoyed Luminae, for the quality of the food, fantastic service, and generally unhurried/uncrowded atmosphere. Not sure if that's enough for most people to justify the cost of a suite-class cabin, but it certainly was for us. Caffe Bacio was outstanding for coffee drinks and desserts, and Bistro on 5 did a good jobs with soups, sandwiches, and crepes. We ordered breakfast room service several mornings via the door hanger card, which really helped us the 3-4 days we had early activities planned. We also ate @ Tuscan Grille. Drinks, salads, and appetizers were fantastic, but our steaks were pretty disappointing. Service and the view though were amazing. Drinks? We all had the classic drink package as part of the 1-2-3-Go offer, which we upgraded to premium for an extra $11/day. Not sure exactly if we got our full money's worth, but we certainly tried :-). It was very nice to be able to order just about anything and not worry about extra costs, and my wife+NIL were cocktail drinkers anyways which probably would have gotten expensive without the premium package. All of the bars fit into our plans at one time or another. We regularly hit Sky Lounge bar at 3-ish for Trivia, Molecular Bar at 5pm for pre-dinner cocktails, either Passport Bar or Ensemble Lounge for after-dinner drinks, Martini bar for during/post show drinks, and then up to Sky Lounge for later night live music + drinks. We only went to Quasar once, but the post-show late night party always seemed to be at Martini Bar (live DJ). Fun? This was our 1st cruise, so we didn't quite know what to expect. Overall the ship didn't seem very crowded on this trip. I'd say the average age of the cruisers was older than us (mid-40s), but we didn't have any problem meeting and talking with people. It seemed like there were quite a few guests from Australia and the UK. On board fun for us included working out in the morning, followed by reading, trivia at 3pm, the drink schedule mentioned above, and then music at night. My NIL and MIL went to and enjoyed Brent Nixon's and Miss Amanda's presentations, as well as the evening shows. I enjoyed the band Funky T during their multiple shows. Overall? We really enjoyed our Celebrity and Alaska experience. The ship included enough restaurants, bars, and activities to please everyone in our multi-generational party, and the service was fantastic. Our Sky Suite butler was extremely helpful, especially when facilitating all of the little things my MIL needed. We're definitely looking to do another Celebrity cruise, maybe next year to Europe. Lastly... Kudos to the Cruise Critic community. Everyone's info+opinions on Celebrity and Alaska was invaluable in making this a fantastic vacation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2016
Second time on the Solstice,this time with 3 other couples. This is an excellent ship with excellent staff and great food and drink. My wife is in a wheelchair permanently and she loved it as well. The crew helped whenever we asked ... Read More
Second time on the Solstice,this time with 3 other couples. This is an excellent ship with excellent staff and great food and drink. My wife is in a wheelchair permanently and she loved it as well. The crew helped whenever we asked and we had a great time. We were in a wheelchair room 7139 and it was excellent and suited my wife perfectly. Nyoman and his crew at Martini, Amazing Randy in the passport, Radu in Cellarmasters, Yan in the dining room all looked after our beverage requirements and Giovanni and Judas for the dining room for dinner were sensational and I almost forgot Sunshine in the Oceanview Cafe. We went to Tuscan twice, Silk Harvest and Murano once each. We had the premium drink package and even though it cost a packet because it was 18 nights I would not do it any other way. Never had to stress about bill shock and we certainly got our value from it. The onboard shows were good and never the same artist. Auckland,Papette, Moorea, Bora Bora,Maui and then Honolulu. We drove around Papette and that was average as it was Sunday and most things were closed, Swam with the sharks and rays in Moorea and then Jet Ski around Bora which was the highlight. Everyone enjoyed a fantastic cruise which was all but full of passengers but it never seems crowded and the 8 of us were able to find tables and chairs when needed for our group or if we split up at times it was never an issue. Can't wait until we go on this ship again. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Cruise review Review with photos can also be found on following link: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2298377 Celebrity Solstice 26 November 2015 - 8 night South Pacific cruise Introduction - myself and my ... Read More
Cruise review Review with photos can also be found on following link: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2298377 Celebrity Solstice 26 November 2015 - 8 night South Pacific cruise Introduction - myself and my partner, both travel agents in our late 20's / early 30's We cruised Celebrity Solstice for the first time earlier this year after RCI having been our favourite, and we loved celebrity so much we had to come back! We love good food and wine, and this cruise line suits us perfectly. Although the age demographic on the previous cruise did tend to be 50+ that was fine for us as we were looking for a quality cruise line to spend time with each other, with a bit more quiet than RCI with their belly flop competitions, kids facilities etc. DAY 1 We flew from Melbourne and found it very easy to get a taxi to the port as we have done before. Pricing was approx AUD$80 for the one way, similar to the price of the airport transfer with Celebrity once you convert to AUD however we didn't have to wait around for other travelers or other flights, which makes getting to the port feel that much more efficient. On arrival, the ships was docked stern first - which is an often asked question! She can dock either way, however Solstice often docks stern first. Dropping off luggage was a breeze, and we made our way into the overseas passenger terminal. As I am a Select Captains Club member, we had a priority queue which was a relief when we saw the normal queue. Again, check in was super quicksand done in five minutes. Through security they were confiscating all power boards as they have done before, so a reminder not to try and bring one. After security we were straight on to the ship with our glass of bubbles in hand. One thing I did notice different with embarkation was that there was no one taking the embarkation photos. I wasn't planning on buying many photos however this was one I would have bought. That being said, once onboard, there were a number of background displays and photographers ready to take your photo, along with photographers on the decks at sail away, so there were other opportunities for a photo if one wishes. As soon as you board, there is a desk right there for your specialty dining reservations. This is one of the first things we do, secure our bookings. I know that some do like to wait for discounts that can be offered later to dine in the specialty restaurants, however for us, we prefer to book on day 1 for the restaurants we want and pay the full price to make sure we can get into the restaurant on day and time of our choice. On a previous longer Celebrity cruise earlier this year we booked the three night specialty package which we loved for a 12 night cruise. On this shorter cruise, we preferred to book just Tuscan and Murano as we loved the quality of food in the main dining room so much. Silks was great to visit on our last cruise however we're lucky to have some fantastic Asian restaurants in Melbourne so are giving it a miss this time. For those who are thinking value, the three night package definitely is great value as it is only an extra US$9 per person to add on silks if you're already dining at Murano and Tuscan. Before the cruise I had tried to pre book the restaurants online however there was only very limited availability. We knew we wanted to dine in a specialty restaurant the last night (a tradition of ours), and was hoping for Murano however as it wasn't available, we booked Tuscan. When onboard, of course there were a lot more days and times for reservations. I enquirers bout swapping the prebooked Tuscan to another night, and booking / paying for Murano for the last night, however it now appears that once you have made a reservation online, it cannot be changed for a different day or time. Wasn't the end of the world for us, we kept Tuscan for the last night and booked Murano for a night in the middle of the cruise to break it up. With specialty restaurants sorted and confirmed, the next thing we do is check our table allocation in the main dining room. We were booked in the late sitting 8.30pm which suits is perfect as we like to take our time getting back from port and getting ready for dinner, even sneaking in a pre dinner drink. Traveling my partner and I, we like to request a table for two. Everyone is different when they cruise, and for us this really is a down time to spend quality time with each other. Having that table of two means that we can enjoy romantic dinners for two every night, this is a big part of the cruising experience for us. We went to the main dining room where there was a desk setup to enquire and make any changes to your table allocation. We were very excited to find out that we had been assigned a table of two by the window, which was just perfect and even though when dark during dinner, you could still see the water below. Happy that our two main tasks had been completed, we felt ready to head off and start enjoying the cruise. Off to the buffet for a quick bite to eat, by this stage it was 12.30 and all the tables were full except the outdoor ones aft in the sun. We were hungry and took this table, with a million dollar view of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Unsure what we felt like, we settled for some beautiful soft pizza right out of the oven and some Indian curries full of flavour. Staterooms were ready at 1pm, and we have a midship balcony on deck 7. Sitting on the balcony, you can see the roof of the lifeboat when you glance downwards however doesn't at all interrupt the view. I'm definitely glad we did spend the littler extra and upgraded form deck 6 balcony as this would have been a very obstructed view. Stateroom is identical to the deck 8 balcony cabin we had last time. Spacious enquire with glass shower door and plenty of space to unpack your toiletries. Large queen bed with a variety of pillows to suit different tastes and a large sofa by the balcony. Again plenty of space to unpack for two adults however would have preferred more standard hangers to hang dresses, shirts, dinner jackets. Plenty of pant clip hangers. We had an early start so it was great to have time for a nap. The suitcases arrived at some point between 1.30pm-4pm, so I unpacked right away. Not having to live out of a suitcase is one of the things I love about cruising. The empty cases fit perfectly under the bed. The three main things we do before we're officially I'm holiday mode - make restaurant reservations, check dinner table, unpack - had been done. Muster drill was at 5pm in the photo gallery and while for us who have cruised before it can feel quite repetitive and I'm sure not the highlight of our day, it was great to be able to see where the emergency exits are in the event of an emergency, especially as some were quite hidden. After the muster drill, as you can imagine, it's a sea of guests waiting to leave. We wanted to grab a seat at the Sunset Bar on starboard side for sail away so we ran up the 7 flights of stairs and were one of the first ones. Sail away wasn't for another hour so while the seats were taken, the area didn't fill up until closer to 6.30pm. By this stage, a cold front was sweeping over Sydney so it was rest to have the lawn blankets for extra warmth. Cocktail in hand, this was the perfect side to watch sail away as we're had the full view of the harbor bridge and the opera house. The buffet was opened at this stage for dinner, so we had a little plate of cheese and sushi which watching us sail from Sydney. This seemed to be a perfect spot for sail away and it certainly got busier with guests setting up picnic blankets on the lawn. Quick showers and getting ready for dinner, we headed off to the main dining room for our 8.30pm window table for two. This was our first thanksgiving dinner and being Australians we weren't sure what to expect, I thought there may have been some "happy thanksgivings" going around or some mention, however I guess being a crowd with mostly non Americans, there wasn't much made of the night other than Turkey on the menu. Service was fantastic by both of our waiters and the sommelier. The sommelier in particular would come refill our glasses without asking. We had the complimentary classic beverage package included at time of booking. Last cruise we upgraded to the premium and we found we definitely got well above our value, so again we upgraded. We found that again already, the package upgrade was worth it for us as we love bring able to order sparkling water, wines and cocktails without looking too much at the prices, They have now changed the menu format in that the left side of the menu has drink recommendations including some great tasting cocktails! And the right side has the top half for starters and the bottom half for entrees. In each section there is also a list of the everyday items that are available each night. There is still no problem with ordering as many starters or entrees as you'd like. One of the things I loved was that some of the traditional cruise starters such as escargots, French onion soup, shrimp cocktail, and crème brûlée for dessert are on the everyday available menu, whereas with some other cruise lines such as P&O Australia and Carnival Australia, these are bought out one a cruise, perhaps for formal nights. It's these little touches that bought us back to Celebrity. Dinner for us was two starters each, thanksgiving turkey for dinner (with a "happy thanksgiving" glass clink, and a crème brûlée to share. Still being tired from the day mixed with perhaps a little sleepiness caused by the wines and seasickness tablets (just in case!), we had an early night and a good night’s rest. There was quite a bit of movement overnight due to the extreme heat / cold front sudden swap, but it was a nice feeling being rocked to sleep! We always take sea sickness tablets for the first two or three days. Who knows, without them we may be fine. But we don't want to risk being unwell and missing out, so we take them just in case. With many sea sickness tablets, they are a preventative, not a cure. We were feeling great so who knows if it was because the tablets were working, or maybe we didn't need them. But not a chance we were risking to take! We have also found this cruise to have a much younger demographic. We have seen not too many kids - perhaps fives so far - but also about 10 other young adult couples, and the average adult demographic tends to be 40-50. This is quite different in comparison to last cruise where there was perhaps only five or ten young couples all up. DAY 2 After sleeping like a baby, I woke up at 8am and the ship is still moving quite a bit. A cool sea day, quite cloudy, so it's jeans and a jumper time! Feeling a little off, I headed off to the aqua spa cafe for a light breakfast while my partner slept. Fantastic light offerings here from yogurt parfaits, poached fruit, fresh fruit plate, mini muffins, and savory dishes made to order. Also a great variety of smoothies and juices made to order, and included in the premium package. I took my fresh fruit plate and smoothie back to the balcony, and enjoyed while I started this review :) We had a relatively quiet sea day. Coffees and pastries for morning tea at bacio cafe. I love the variety of pastries on offer, with four different crossings, and beautiful berry filled donuts. Bacio cafe was organised chaos, but they did have a lot of servers on the go so the wait wasn't too long. On deck four, they had displays of the specialty restaurants dishes and menus, as well as some tastings to try, and you could also make reservations if you didn’t already have any. This was a great opportunity to see the dishes so you had an idea of portion size and which dishes looked best. While my partner went to the gym (which he raves about their facilities), I headed off to the shops for their Black Friday sales. To say they were busy is an understatement. The queue to pay was out the door, and the tables were full with discounted clothing, jewellery, watches, accessories etc. I had a brief walk around but didn't stay for long as it was too hard to move. We had lunch in the main dining room as it was a sea day, and this is something we love to do on a cruise. We indulged in a glass of bubbles to start lunch, as it was included in our beverage package and because holidays are about doing things you normally wouldn’t do! Table for two by the window, I had the cheesy mozzarella sticks which burst with melted cheese when cut into, and beautiful tender teriyaki duck breast. There were desserts but we opted to skip a dessert course. This afternoon we booked ourselves in the World Wine Tasting event which we did on a previous cruise and loved. US$24 per person there were 6 white and 6 red tastings from around the world, and you could have unlimited tastings. The sommelier selected some great grape varieties that we wouldn't know much about, to really give us the experience of new wines. This coupled with cheese platters, made for a great afternoon activity on a cool sea day. All wines tasted were available by the bottle for purchase in the restaurants / Cellarmasters, but I think we'll stick with buying by the glass as we do prefer tasting more wines. We headed off to the martini bar for some afternoon martins, which is something we really enjoyed. The lychees and watermelon martinis were our favourites. 6pm and tired we went back to our stateroom and showered, and enjoyed some room service before an early night. DAY 3 Up early and it's a perfect sea day! Smooth seas, bright blue sky and beautiful warm weather. We had a light breakfast from the buffet and I was really impressed with all the offerings. Omelettes and eggs made to order, Asian noodles and congee, variety of bagels and toasts, smoke salmon and mackerel, fresh fruits, lots of bacon, and pancakes and waffles. The weather was just beautiful and the decks were full, but a deck chair could still be found. We had a lovely sea day lunch in the dining room of satay skewers and spaghetti bolognaise and Spanish paella. The afternoon was spent in the solarium which does have those premium padded deck chairs perfect for relaxing. Swim in the pool and spa both comfortable temperatures. Pre dinner tonight we purchased a card for the enematic wine dispensers at Cellarmasters, as you could do a self wine tasting with 8 whites and 8 reds. The wine pour size options were a small tasting from $1-$3 depending on the bottle, to half a glass, to a full glass. We thought this was a great concept but to be honest, the two wines I tasted I was not a fan of. This tasting is not compatible with any drink packages. We absolutely loved Cellarmasters on our previous cruise however the sommelier really made the experience for us, making recommendations and educating us each night. We haven't really had the opportunity yet to build the rapport with the current sommelier, so hoping our experience will improve throughout the cruise. We were very excited to find molecular bar still in action! There was no sign of world class bar, when asked I was told this would be implemented on Solstice in February. There is half the original menu from old molecular bar plus a few "specials". We were happy with the variety on offer and they were also able to make my favourite - coming up roses - even though it isn't on the menu. Only difference was that they don't stock the rose petal garnish but that was perfect for me. From memory, most cocktails were $15.50 per drink, and therefore covered in the premium alcohol package. Dinner this evening in the main dining room, it was top chef menu night. Food was very good, with tuna tartare, tomato gazpacho and escargots for starters, and perfectly cooked flank steak and confit salmon for mains. Desserts was strawberries & cream with a twist. Early night for a day in port tomorrow! DAY 4 Waking up early and unable to get back to sleep, I headed up to bacio coffee for a pre breakfast tea and donuts. Our arrival is 10am to Lifou which is a little later than previous cruises, but it does mean we're not as rushed. Bacio table service fantastic and really is a nice relaxing place to be at this time of day. The queue for the tender tickets was horrendous, and I imagine so because of the late time arrival, all guests will be ready to go ashore. Whereas with the normal arrivals times of 8am, some guests are still eating / getting ready, so the queues are much shorter. Once we had the ticket, getting on to a tender was quite stress free. We had been to Lifou previously so this time opted for a short stay. Quality over quantity of time is our motto for the ports on this cruise! We waited for our tender ticket to be called while enjoying iced coffees at Café Al Bacio. We found a great shady spot to setup our beach mats, and indulged in some massages on offer. You can't miss them - there are lots of local women offering massages and hair braiding. Cost was 1500CPF South Pacific franks for 20 minutes and well enjoyed. We purchased some drinking coconuts for 300cfp South Pacific francs. The tour operators and local stalls also accepted AUD, but you never know, so we're glad we took local currency. There were a number of local tours on offer, as well as opportunities to walk to the beautiful Baie de Jinek for snorkeling, visiting a lookout or three caves. But as we had been before, we were happy to just relax and enjoy the beach. We spent time having a swim and relaxing on the beach and then headed back to the ship for lunch. One thing I would definitely recommend is reef shoes for this beach, as it is quite sharp with the coral. Quick lunch at the buffet and it was lovely to enjoy a quieter than normal pool deck back on ship. A specialty they had at the buffet today for lunch was a whole tuna which they were using for sashimi. Incredibly fresh and tasty, and I really liked that they changed things up a bit in the buffet. Cheese and bubbles on our balcony, it was a great way to start the night, followed by molecular bar cocktails and wines for the evening show. This evening we watched the hypnotism show which was great and full of laughs. As it was audience participation, you never really know how it will go. We're not much for shows but enjoyed this one and found plenty of seating by arriving 25 minutes early. We had a quick go at the casino, before dinner. We were able to withdraw cash against our onboard account for a 5% fee. We only withdrew $50 so the fee wasn’t a huge deal to us. Dinner was in the main dining room and while we didn't find anything much that stood out from the menu, what we did order was as usual of a high quality and very tasty. One thing I did want to point out with the ensemble bar because it happened twice in one night - once to myself, once to my partner. I went up hoping to get two glasses of bubbles to enjoy on our balcony with our cheese plate. Reading the menu, I asked for two glasses of a particular bubbles, which was the most expensive one they had at $12 a glass. In the same sentence, I asked - is that the best bubbles you have at this bar? Before he could answer, another bar attended already started pouring my glasses. The bartender said yes, unless of course you want to pay extra. I said yes I was happy to pay extra if there is a better one they have off the menu, however as the other attendee had already started pouring, they were hesitant for me to order the premium one. Later, my partner went to order a red wine to take to the show. He also asked for a glass of their best cab sav, they gave him a glass of the best in the premium package and when he asked if this was the best they had, they replied and said yes, unless he wanted to pay extra. This was all after pouring. We found in this venue that the attendees were very quick to assume that we wanted the cheapest. While I understand many passengers would want only drinks in their package allowance, it would definitely be worth them taking their time to explain the other options even if they cost extra, for those passengers who are specially asking for a "best" glass of bubbles or wine. DAY 5 Today's visit to Noumea was again a short but lovely one. Again we have visited Noumea previously and seen most of the must to sights that interest us. No tenders were needed which was a great relief to just walk off the ship whenever we were ready. On a previous cruise we visited a beautiful patisserie off the beaten track called Le Autellier Gourmand so decided our visit to Noumea would be back here for brunch. We caught the complimentary ship shuttle to the city centre terminal and then purchased the hop on hop off bus ticket for 1500cpf per person. They also took Aud and credit card, and their ticket desk was located inside the terminal to the back right. The hop on hop off runs every 20/25 minutes and is a great way to see Noumea. Being a Monday, the morning market and aquarium was closed so something to keep in mind depending what day you're arriving to Noumea. At the patisserie, we indulged in a plain baguette, a cheese and olive baguette, croissants, some mini cakes and a macaron. I don't remember how much we spent but would estimate 2000cpf for the two of us, and we were full. It was a fantastic way to experience a local side to Noumea as you are off the beaten track. You would definitely need local currency here. Afterwards we returned to the terminal with the hop on hop off and back to the ship. My partner visited the gym while I took the opportunity to relax on one of the pool deck hammocks with some magazines. There was a P&O ship docked at the cruise ship terminal near Coconut Square. This ship arrived at 3pm and I assume would be staying until late night. I was glad to be back onboard and have done my sightseeing earlier in the day, as the city would have been that much busier with two ships visiting at once. Lunch was a light salad so that we wouldn't get hungry later in the afternoon before having a nice day time nap. Waking up at 4, we had some I cream for the gelataria. The small serve is two scoops in one cup for $5, but the great news is that they can also do two cups of one scoop each for the same price. Yes you can get the complimentary ice cream in the buffet, however we find for a small cost this one to be more creamier and indulgent. The outdoor pool deck and solarium were busy but enough room for swims, and was fantastic to sail out if Noumea while enjoying cocktails in the solarium spa. The solarium on this cruise does have family times allowed 5-7pm and while there were some kids, we didn't find them too loud. This evening we were invited to the senior officers cocktail party held in Cellarmasters. A fantastic selection of canapés and bubbles / wines / cocktails / non alcoholic drinks available. It was great to see the captain and his senior officers. Dinner was Murano and even though we ate light all day, we left Murano completely full! What I loved was that it didn't feel like just another restaurant on a ship. Murano rivals many restaurants on land, with the food and service being a step above. Starting with a scallop amuse bouche, we were able to select two starters each so we had the lobster bisque, pork belly and the scallop Wellington. While the scallop Wellington was lovely, the other two starters definitely stood out. For main, we both had the venison medium rare as per chef recommendation and wow - just amazing. Perfectly complimented with onions, sultanas and spinach, the dish was faultless. For dessert we had the mini samplers which was a great light dessert to share between two, and of course the amazing cheese cart to finish with a selection of beautiful cheeses. The sommelier service was amazing, and an incredible wine list. The great thing about having the premium package was that we ordered wines a little more in price and just paid the difference. Loved Murano even more than the first visit, and would definitely recommend a visit. DAY 6 Isle of pines is our favourite port and we were excited about this one! Tender tickets were needed and as we were there a full day, we didn't rush to get to the island. I picked up breakfast of bacon, hash browns and salmon bagels, and we enjoyed this on the balcony as we watched the tenders. Visit to bacio for a relaxing coffee, before we went back to the room and got ready to go ashore. By this stage it was 11am so no tender tickets were needed! The tender was a little choppy however the crew we're fantastic when instructing you when safe to step on to the tender. There are two main beaches here, the front beach great for swimming and relaxing on the sand, the back beach great for snorkeling. We've been and snorkeled before, so this time we stayed on the front beach and just relaxed. I had bought from home an inflatable donut that I took to both Lifou and Isle Of Pines, and loved just sitting and floating on this, and readying a magazine too! Only cost a few dollars and at the end of the day left it with a very excited little local girl to enjoy. We have done this in previous cruises as well as pool noodles, and they make enjoying the water much easier as you can really just relax. The main souvenir shop they have has been knocked down and they are now building what looks to be some type of food store. There were a number of food and gift shops all along the main road. Gift shops accepted local currency and AUD, with all your normal sort of sarongs and souvenirs. The food shops accepted local currency (not sure about AUD), and sold hot food, baked goods, cans of soft drinks, packet chips and ice cream scoops. I was quite surprised that there was no stalls selling drinking coconuts! While the day wasn't as hot as the previous two ports, we still enjoyed a good part of the day on the island swimming and relaxing on the beach. Going back to the ship, we loved how celebrity always had ice cold hand towels and cool drinks ready for you. These little touches are what we love about this cruise line. As we had skipped lunch while on shore, I grabbed some miso soup and sushi for us to enjoy on our balcony as we sailed away, which would carry us over for dinner. We had martinis at the martini bar, and molecular cocktails before dinner. At our table by the window we were able to see the pilot leave on the pilot boat which was quite exciting. There were some amazing sorters tonight to pick from! We both had the venison carpaccio and clam chowder, however there was also duck confit as well as your regular prawn cocktails, escargots etc. With the entree / main courses, the dishes that are available every night do vary by a dish or two here or there. They had steak in this section so my partner enjoyed and loved that, while I had the chicken Kiev. Mains were simple however done very well. With dessert, we were also offered a dish off the menu - grand marnier soufflé which I jumped at, and my partner had the crème brûlée with is on the always available dessert list. We always have the best intentions so staying up after dinner, but at 10.30pm, we rolled into bed and ready for a sea day. DAY 7 Woke up to a beautiful sea day today, weather looks fantastic! It's a little bumpy but not too bad. I'm not sure if it's just me, but it tends to be the bigger the ship, the more I am feeling the movement! We're always similar deck, midship, balcony cabin and similar time of year to cruise. Our next cruise is on RCI Explorer Of The Seas with the extended family, back to the South Pacific. We love Celebrity and will cruise again on Celebrity in a heartbeat, but RCI Explorer suited better for the next cruise as there is a little one coming along, and some of the passengers like to do more such as rock climbing, flowrider etc. and with their buy 1 get 1 half off sale, it was fantastic value. We tried the main dining room for breakfast today which was good, however they were so busy bing a sea day, it did take a bit of time for our egg orders to come out. When they did arrive, they were cooked to perfection and well enjoyed. Feeling a little unwell, we had a rest in the room until lunch, again in the main dining room. We have always found service to be so amazing here, which is why the start of our lunch was a disappointment. We asked for a table of 2, and were advised that it would be a wait. That was fine with us, we were more than happy to wait for an available table of 2, along with half a dozen other couples, meanwhile letting other passengers who were happy to share a table, pass through. We were looking forward to a quiet lazy lunch and were more than happy to wait. When we were seated, we were handed menus however 20 minutes passed and no one offered us water or came to take our order. They were busy, I understand this, however tables around us who were seated after us, we're attended to. It felt like our table was being overlooked no one was sure who we belonged to. We asked a passing waiter and they said they would return but no luck. My partner went and asked to speak to the maître d, explaining that while we understood they were busy, it was like we were forgotten! The maître d was amazing and took it upon himself to serve us. He promptly took our order, delivery and clearing our meals. For dessert, he noticed we were enjoying a glass of bubbles so he also bought chocolate strawberries for us - noting that they would go perfect with the rest of our bubbles. He certainly went above and beyond for us, and it didn't go unnoticed. We spent the lazy afternoon relaxing by the pool desks whichever ere busy but easy to get two deck chairs. We continued our 6pm sushi tradition on the balcony tonight, which was again from the buffet and so very fresh, with a great selection. One thing we did notice was the stateroom tv now also had Australian channels such as 7,9,10 and sbs, as well as the USA channels. The evening was formal night and we love an occasion to dress up. With the generally younger demographic on the cruise this time, some were dressed more casually in almost sun / day dresses, however most made an effort. We visited Cellarmasters for a pre dinner wine and met with the Cellarmaster himself who was fantastic to speak with and shared some humour on different accents from around the world. This was the busiest we had seen cellarmasters which I believe formal night may have bought out the wine drinking side of everyone! We were lucky to get a seat at the bar, and there would have been five sommeliers run off their feet. On the previous cruise they served wine only, however they now also had a selection of beers available. This was our favourite main dining room menu so far, and we were excited. We shared a few starters as we couldn't decide - BBQ smoked oysters, blue cheese soufflé, escargots, chilled pea and mint soup with crab. For mains, we couldn't go past the lobster tail however also our waiter also bought out a leg of lamb dish for us to share, which tasted fantastic accompanied with mint jelly. Desserts I was hoping for bombe Alaska, however it wasn't on the menu. So I went with the crème brûlée which was again fantastic, and my partner a vanilla meringue with cream and fruit which was beautiful. Chatting with our table sommelier, we asked about packages. He said that with the 123GO promo, now 90% of guests have a drink package. Of those 90%, only 15-20% upgrade to premium. I found it surprising that the percentage was so low for the upgraded packages, when taking into account the per day upgrade cost is less than one premium glass of wine, one martini, one molecular cocktail. We are not smokers at all, however we had a Cuban cigar we bought with us to mark the formal night occasion. We headed up the sunset bar to enjoy the cigar, and it was a beautiful relaxing part of the ship we had never explored at night. Quick go at the casino before we headed to bed. We were keen to make the most of tomorrow, our last sea day! DAY 8 We woke up to a bumpy cool sea day today, 4m swells. The deck chairs were mostly packed up so it was going to be a busy day inside today. We had a quick buffet breakfast before I relaxed with some magazines on a hammock, which my partner went to the gym. Lunch was again in the main dining room and arriving right at 12pm we had no trouble getting a table for two by the window. Beautiful lunch of prawns, a seafood pasta and orange sorbet as a nice palate cleanser. This afternoon we had booked the privee wine and cheese tasting event in Cellarmasters. There was just us and another couple, and a fantastic opportunity to sample some more premium wines $100-200 bottle price range and artisan cheeses. The sommelier was fantastic with his extensive knowledge and we really loved this tasting. A quick afternoon nap, and we packed our cases before show and dinner. I wanted to get the packing done early so we could enjoy our night and not have to worry about it later. Cases had to be out by 11pm, but having them out by 6pm, we headed to the molecular bar for our last cocktails for the trip. Tonight's show was our second and a violinist which really surprised us how much we enjoyed the show. We like to end our last dinner with a specialty restaurant which was Tuscan. At 8pm we had a table by the window, with a view of the light up wake which was just stunning. Beautiful antipasto and breads set the tone for the evening. We each ordered the steak tartare which was amazing, shared a Caesar salad prepared table side, and both had the filet mignon which was cooked medium to perfection. For the sides we had the mac and cheese, and steak fries which were a great accompaniment followed up a new twist on Toffee Panacotta for dessert - four tastings of toffee and Panacotta. The sommelier was fantastic, offering some amazing wines to match as well as giving some insight to the grapes. Service could not be faulted. Exhausted, we had an early night in preparation for the next day. DAY 9 Woke up just in time to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge sail past our balcony at 5.30am. The buffet was available until 8.30am for breakfast, and was relatively easy to find a table for 2 here. Full offerings were available, and you could hear the disembarkation groups being called at the buffet. Luggage was easily available, and took 10minutes from the time we were off the ship to have our cases, clear customs and exit the terminal. We were picking up a hire car from Avis at the Marriott, which was only a 10 minute walk away. SUMMARY That was a day by day review, but wanted to end with a summary: The heated topic of drink packages We had the classic package included when we booked however for us it was a no brainer to upgrade to premium as we enjoy sparkling water, and the premium cocktails and wines. We definitely don't drink $1400 worth on a cruise, so a classic or premium package wouldn't work worthwhile for us if we had to purchase a package. Instead we would just buy the a paralleling water / premium cocktails and wine / coffees etc as normal and pay by the glass / drink. While we definitely saw value in upgrading to premium as we prefer premium drinks, I wouldn't see the value for us to purchase a classic package. We had no trouble at all using our package, and liked not having to sign for each drink. Sommeliers were more than happy to offer recommendations to fit within your package, or go above the limit on request. Best thing about the premium package was that we could purchase premium wines or bubbles by the glass, and just pay the price difference. There was also when onboard a new Standard package on offer. This was advertised at Café Al Bacio however it wasn’t clear if this included the specialty teas and coffees. Buffet dining Buffet dining was always busy as is the case with buffets, however found there to be a great variety and food always hot. The pizza station was always popular, and we really enjoyed the sushi station for a pre dinner snack. Our breakfast was normally bagels with smoked salmon and there was always a large variety of bagels and breads on offer, including the famous fried bread. Main dining room dining We found breakfast here to be okay, however didn't find the food that much better than the buffet. Of course, it was great not to have to get your own food and the crowds, but would in future prefer buffet breakfast on celebrity, especially as we often took the food back to our balcony. Sea day lunches were fantastic and a nice quiet way to enjoy lunch. Food quality always amazing, and plenty of variety with a daily changing menu. Dinner here, wow. We loved the main dining room quality and options, and it was always am exceptional experience dining here. The waiters and sommelier always went above and beyond, and we really appreciated the table for two. Menu was amazing, with always something adventurous to try if you wished. The bread basket with whipped butter, hommus and a spring onion dip was a great way to start each night. One recommendation I do have is that if you would like a table for two, to contact celebrity before and make sure there is a request note on your booking, and to follow up as soon as you get onboard. Specialty Restaurants The specialty restaurants were again fantastic value and well worth the extra money for an extra special meal. If you are wanting to try all three, the restaurant packages work out the best value for money. I recommend to prebook before you go or as soon as you are onboard, so you don’t miss out. Ask for the window tables in Tuscan, well worth the view even if it is dark. Bar service Bar service throughout the ship was fantastic and in particular we found the wait at Molecular Bar quite minimal. The only bar that was a bit chaotic was again the pool bar. It seemed that same as last cruise, there was no order as to how they took orders. Entertainment We watched two shows and found them to be of a fantastic standard. I'm sure the other shows would have also been great if they were to our taste. Ports & tendering We had been to the ports before so were not in a rush to disembark. With the later scheduled arrival to Lifou we found the queue quite long for the tender tickets. I understand that will it be difficult to issue tender tickets for so many people however maybe it would have been good to have two allocated areas issuing tender tickets. Other than this, getting on and off the ship was hassle free. My tips - take an inflatable donut for optimum relaxation on the beach - straw beach mats are cheap and I do recommend to take them with you. They are great to use to setup your place on the beach, and keeps your towel sand free and for drying yourself. - reef shoes are a must for Lifou. - in Noumea, have a plan. Whether you are prebooking a ship tour or doing your own thing, have a plan of what you want to see and do, to get the most of your day. - take local currency with you. You don't want to be trying to find an atm at the start of your day on port in Noumea. If you have any questions, big or small, feel free to let me know and I’d love to help! Link to full photo album: http://s1293.photobucket.com/user/LuckiePuris/library/Celebrity%20Solstice%20Cruise%20November%202015 Please feel free to share photos, however I just ask that you please ask for permission to use photos on any pages, blogs or publishing formats, and share credit to Luckiepuris. 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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