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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose the Millenium for this transpacific crossing because we wanted a BTB that visited Japan. This cruise fit the bill! We were on the ship from September 2 - 29, the first leg left Vancouver September 2. We have family that lives ... Read More
We chose the Millenium for this transpacific crossing because we wanted a BTB that visited Japan. This cruise fit the bill! We were on the ship from September 2 - 29, the first leg left Vancouver September 2. We have family that lives in the Vancouver area so we did not explore the area before embarking the ship. We did stay at a Vancouver Airport hotel and took the Skytrain to Canada Place with 2 suitcases and 2 carry-on pieces without any difficulties. Embarkation went smoothly and despite the rather long lines it went very fast. As per usual on any cruise, the buffet was packed with new cruisers at lunchtime. We were able to share a table with another couple and enjoyed our lunch. It was shortly past 1 p.m when we were allowed to go to our stateroom. One nice touch with the room is that there is now a built in night light in the bathroom. It shines a soft light fro behind the picture above the toilet. As many raisers know the bathroom is pitch black in the night so a light is always needed, whether it is a small flashlight or a night light. The strange thing with the bathroom is there are no plugs at all, this meant my hubby had to shave at the vanity and I had to do my hair there as well. Not very convenient. The vanity had 2 electrical sockets attached and could take 110 or 220. I brought along a small power bar so that all electronics were sure to be charged each morning. We did find it odd that there were 4 wooden hangers in the closet. Only 4 hangers. Period. When I asked our stateroom attendant for more hangers she said that she could only give us wire ones. Did someone take the wooden hangers home with them? The other thing that was missing was the guest services binder. When we asked about it we were told that they had been removed for updating. We never saw one the whole journey. The t.v does have a room service menu if you wish to order something off that menu and the Celebrity Today newsletter has all of the opening hours of the restaurants and activities so I guess the guest binder has been done away with. We found the dining room service very good but the food quality seems to have gone down a little since our last Celebrity cruise. I am not complaining, just my observation. We ate in the main dining room, the buffet and one evening at Qsine. Qsine is a speciality restaurant that is available for a fee. It is supposed to be a taste of a lot of countries and is served in very interesting formats. We found it way too much food for 2 people, it would be good for a party of 4. Again, my opinion only. We ordered room service breakfast a couple of times on port days when we had an early tour. I find room service delivery times rather hit and miss. I asked for breakfast between 7 - 7:30 the first time and it was delivered at 6:35. The second time I ordered I asked for it to be delivered between 8 - 8:30 ans it arrived at 8:15. Seems the earlier you order delivery the earlier it arrives. It is probably due to the volume of people ordering breakfast on a port day. If you haven't checked out the "Silent Disco Party" you are missing out on a lot of fun! We also went to a couple of trivia games. The cruise critic meeting was huge! My guess is there were more than 250 people in attendance. It was held in the Cosmos Lounge on deck 11 and almost all seats were occupied. There were only 4 ports of call on the transpacific, Dutch Harbour, Alaska and then 2 ports in Japan. Tokyo was the disembarkation point for the transpacific crossing. I was worried what there might be to do in Dutch Harbour because it is so small. There were 4 school buses provided that shuttled us to the Safeway grocery store parking lot. From there we could easily walk around and explore this delightful little place. Of course this is the infamous Dutch Harbour from the t.v show "The Deadliest Catch" so we went hunting for the fishing vessels that are featured on the show. We found out later that there were 2 of the fishing boats in the only area that we didn't explore! Otaru was our first port in Japan therefore we had to clear Japanese Customs. The officials came onboard and we were called according to the information delivered to our cabin the night before. The immigration process was very well organized...as is Japan itself, and we were cleared in no time at all. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
I have about 2-3 months cruise trip every year. This economic crossing pacific ocean plus extensive calls to Japanese ports made me take the cruise. A unexpected storm made us stay in ship extra 4 days, the way customer service handled ... Read More
I have about 2-3 months cruise trip every year. This economic crossing pacific ocean plus extensive calls to Japanese ports made me take the cruise. A unexpected storm made us stay in ship extra 4 days, the way customer service handled the situation is one of my review. The cabin and dining (only apply to fixed dining area) are excellent. The service crews and manager have made a great adjustment to different passengers, from mainly American to Chinese in the last 8 days of my cruise.(I cutted 2 days short from the normal intanary. The major problem came from the lack of coordination among departments, especially between customer service area and others. Plus the attitude of a few individuals from customer service made some situation intolerable. There are some examples. 1, I had an excursion and waited in waiting area. When the excursion staff called my number to go down to the gangway about 10 of us got up and took the elevator down to gangway on deck one. When the elevator opened on deck one, a customer service staff, his name is Silvio, shouted to us "you are not supposed to come down here before the announcement, go back up...." In fact, we came down under the announcement of excursion staff. Should a customer service staff told us nicely instead of shouting, it was way before a lot Chines got on board, most of us are American. This is the first leg of my cruise. 2, When the ship arrived in Yokohama Japan, I had a big luggage for my daughter who lives in Tokyo. Because the luggage is heavy and wheel is broken, I asked a help to bring the luggage down the ship as a debarkation passenger, to avoid beaking the carpet if I dragged the luggag by myself. I was told, no problem, will issue a luggage tag to my cabin. When the luggage tags distributed to all cabin, I did not have it. When I was in front of customer service desk to ask the tag, the customer staff, Silvio approached me and told me that bring a luggage down the ship requires a documentation, and I have to talk to "Documentation Official". When I finally find a documentation official and she had no idea what I was talking about. At the end, I found the head of documentation official, Rose, She was surprised, and told me that is customer service job, and all I need is a luggage tag. So, I got a tag, and bought the luggage to my daughter. How nice, or lack of knowledge of Mr. Silvio from customer service area. This is still the first leg of my cruise. 3, Because I will cut my 3rd leg of cruise short by 2 days and landed in Japan, instead of going to China. At the first port of call in Japan, every one has to go through Japanese immigration. I was told repeatedly by staffs from documentation official and customer service that I have to get my passport from customer service, cut the line, and go to a special immigration booth (most passenger only has a copy of passport). I did not know why I have to cut the line, and was very uncomfortable to do so, as I was educated, after asking the staff in customer service multiple times, I ask him to write a note, so I can show a staff who control line. I went to the front of line with difficulty, there was Mr. Silvio again, my luck,when I showed him the note, he just did not care at all, and asked me wait at the end of line. I asked him call the customer service desk to verify it, He just refused. What kind of customer service staff, how much that Mr. Silvio liked to show his big authority, not warm service. (It happened in the 4th leg again, this time I asked the head of documentation official to escort me to cut the line. I still do not know why I have to cut the line.) 4, Because there was a big storm coming, captain decided to skip the last port of call in Japan where I was scheduled to land and leave the ship in my 3rd leg. So, I had to stay in ship for a short 4th leg cruise. The ship shows accommodation to customers who planned to leave the ship as I try to do, but I still spend extra thousands dollars on the 4th leg cruise fee (It should be free to me, but it was not), and hotel cancellation that I can not get refund, and last minutes expensive hotel booking in Japan. The worst part is the attitude of customer service staff, again, when the passengers realized that the ship skip the last port of call in Japan, there were a lot of passengers in the customer service desk to find out what to do with their individual need. However, the first sentence I hear from the staff was "we have a legal right to change the itinerary and skip a port of call" Come on, customer service should try to diffuse the tension, not fuel the tension, It was service desk and legal court house. The manager had a big problem and wrong attitude. No wonder, some Chinese passengers made a big deal in the next few days. Do not blame the chinese, they are the customer (they are different, but same as Italian and Brazilian need different way of service), the attitude of customer service staff was bad, way before Chinese customer on board. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We usually cruise with RC but this time www decided to try Celebrity. We were impressed with the poshness of the ship, but after spending a while on her you could see she was tired and in need of a freshen up. When first on the ship it can ... Read More
We usually cruise with RC but this time www decided to try Celebrity. We were impressed with the poshness of the ship, but after spending a while on her you could see she was tired and in need of a freshen up. When first on the ship it can be quite disorientating. but you get the hang of it. We were on Deck 9 in cabin 9179, It was kept spotless and well cared for during our stay, our Attendant was very good. Dining was a complete disappointment we found that the menu selection was far better on the RC. We didn't like the set starters and deserts on every day. the menu as a whole we found to be poor in the main dining room, and we went to Mucanos for my 50th birthday but unfortunately there were a group of people in like a side room who the chef was cooking for, but at one stage i counted 16 members of staff going into serve this table or something, i felt left out and felt we didn't get the service we maybe should have. Also our waiter was so busy serving 6 other tables and cooking the lobster at the table side he was run ragged. he was juggling so many balls and just couldn't control them calmly. We then went to the Tuscan Grill on the last night, well wow, the food was amazing, the very best lasagna i have ever had, and the soup was beautiful, if we had gone to them the first night i would of eaten there every night. Well now, in the Ensemble lounge where we liked to sit was a guy called Stephen Aubery, He was the worst entertainer i have ever heard. he asked for people to tell him what they wanted him to play but he could only play 4 or 5 songs and he just repeated them, i even heard him (unfortunately) in by the Ice-cream bar and he sang the exact same songs. out of tune as well. He did not play one request, i listed off about 6 songs from different genre and different tempo and he didn't know any of them, none of the music he played current it was more obscure and also he had an awful habit of saying this next song is from tonights show and play something we never heard of. if we wanted to hear a song form the show we would of gone and if we were going we certainly didn't want it ruined by him singing the songs from it. He also went from playing the guitar to the piano but the song was still playing on the guitar even though he wasn't touching it. he's a fake and a brutal entertainer, not one person was tapping or dancing, and speaking of dancing, it was awful the tiny space there was to dance and it was at the base of the stairwell. really disappointing. Going ashore was also disappointing ... one we did was to a beach, but the bus took us to a hotel holiday resort beach, when the buss arrived a guide got on and spoke for about 20 minutes on everything we had to purchase. we then had a long walk (husband was disabled, able to walk but not far) then he stops us like a group of school children, and tells us where to go to buy this or that, and that we were going to collect our beach chairs then, but we didn't realise we would have to carry them some distance. We had to pay for one meal and get the other half price i believe, i had thought we were going to be taken to some exclusive beach somewhere not a hotel resort, yugh terrible. We spent 2 days in Honolulu before the cruise and stayed on Waikiki beach and that was amazing. I had bought we were getting like private transport to the cruise, i wasn't expecting to be put on a bus, as it was my birthday we had splashed out a bit. When we were on this cruise some loyal cruisers to Celebrity said that when you book a cruise with them and pay for it that is only a deposit as the amount of stuff you have to pay for onboard is never ending. we had bought an alcoholic drinks package yet www couldn't get a Kir Royal on it. Having said all that, we have booked another cruise with Celebrity and really looking forward to it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
For decades, celebrity has been my favorite cruise line. I have recommended celebrity to hundreds of people. After spending time on the Solstice, I honestly cannot recommend this cruise line anymore. The ship itself was great. While ... Read More
For decades, celebrity has been my favorite cruise line. I have recommended celebrity to hundreds of people. After spending time on the Solstice, I honestly cannot recommend this cruise line anymore. The ship itself was great. While buffets for breakfast and lunch where diversified and tasty, dinner is a different story. I was sitting at a table for 10 and not one night went by without someone returning their meal. In over 100 cruises I never sent back an entrée but I did so on the Solstice. Also, diner service was slow. Waiters were really hustling but, in my judgment, they were spread too thin and could not keep up with their table assignments. Visiting entertainment was very good. On the other hand, the production shows where too loud, and all rock type music. The average age on the ship was probably between 55 to 60. The shows should have been presented to teenagers or 20-year-olds. . We were on Azamara a month or two ago and found the same problem. The dancers were excellent but the content of their shows was entirely misdirected. A complete waste of talent! On sea days, we found two guest lecturers were excellent. But that's about it. The rest of the daily activities were average, at best. Well most of the day crew were well-trained and provided good service, a reasonably large percentage of crewmembers, especially in the the cafeteria and deck areas were much too anxious to get where they were going in as a result there was a lack of courtesy to passengers who happened to be in the way. As far as shore excursions were concerned, we did not participate. I did not hear any comments, good or bad from fellow passengers Did use the gym two or three occasions and the equipment was above average.. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We wanted to go back to Hawaii & see some of the other islands & were intrigued by cruising to Vancouver. All in all we had a great cruise, but to do it again we'd cruise from Vancouver to Honolulu with the weather getting ... Read More
We wanted to go back to Hawaii & see some of the other islands & were intrigued by cruising to Vancouver. All in all we had a great cruise, but to do it again we'd cruise from Vancouver to Honolulu with the weather getting progressively warmer. The last 4 sea days we couldn't use our (wonderful oversized) balcony as it was too cold We spent 5 wonderful days precruise at the Hale Koa (military resort) revisiting spots that we'd been to on our first visit (45 years ago...a few had changed) Our ports (Maui, Kona & Hilo) were lovely, especially Kona & Hilo. We did private excursions on both ports. Maui we depended on the local bus (utilizing it as a hop on hop off) Embarkation in Honolulu was superb, 7 minutes from departing our van (JohnnyCab--great) to sitting in Bistro on 5 for a delicious (but very slow) lunch. It's a great place for embarkation lunch as we werent in a rush. Of course, when we got to our cabin we found an invitation for concierge to dine in MDR for embarkation lunch--that would have been nice to know at checkin! MDR was very nice, we had a superb table of 6 right by the wine tower. Food was good, not exceptional every night, but good. We did have delightful tablemates & a great maitre d, Daniel. We were disappointed by the lack of production shows, the entertainment just seemed off. The entertainment in the Atrium area was great, but you can't enjoy it standing around (my only real complaint on Solstice class ships) Didn't see as many officers walking around chatting with passengers, surprised with that & really missed it. Enjoyed the few conversations we did have with ships personnel (most up in the Sky Lounge during Elite cocktail time) We thoroughly enjoyed Molecular (will really miss that) & Martini Bar & the great conversations we had at both. Brent Nixon, the naturalist, is truly stupendous - his talks are not to be missed Disembarkation was very smooth in Vancouver & we were quickly in our rental car (also in Pan Pacific) & headed off to Seattle Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
The cruise started in Honolulu, with an overnight in Maui, onto Kona and Hilo. Then five days crossing the Pacific with disembarkation in Vancouver. All was wonderful - balcony on the ninth level, very good meals and excellent weather. ... Read More
The cruise started in Honolulu, with an overnight in Maui, onto Kona and Hilo. Then five days crossing the Pacific with disembarkation in Vancouver. All was wonderful - balcony on the ninth level, very good meals and excellent weather. I went parasailing on Waikiki beach - highly recommend this (and thankfully I did not have a big breakfast). Took the helicopter ride over Maui and bus tours for the other three islands. Was able to stay in Vancouver for two days and enjoyed my first visit in that part of the world. We had a Hawaiian cultural group on board and it was wonderful to make our own orchid leis, learn how to hula and play guitars with authentic island music. The entertainment shows were good, production shows were very good - not thrilled with the cruise director or the casino host (who showed a strong dislike for Americans). Did enjoy how enthusiastic and pleasant our dance instructor, Chico was with ALL the different passengers he had to try to deal with. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2016
This was our cruise of a lifetime. We decided to spend the extra $$$ and go for the deluxe balcony. I was extremely disappointed. We were on the 7th floor and instead of overlooking the water there was a blue deck under the balcony. It was ... Read More
This was our cruise of a lifetime. We decided to spend the extra $$$ and go for the deluxe balcony. I was extremely disappointed. We were on the 7th floor and instead of overlooking the water there was a blue deck under the balcony. It was okay if you looked straight out but not down. Also the lifeboats were just several rooms away. The balcony table was in very poor shape. The top was not fastened and the tray almost flipped off. The legs of the table had the paint peeling off in strips. The telephone did not work and our Stewart said" oh well you don't need to call anyone" 2nd attempt at fixing the phone and still not working and Leslie said we just wanted a new phone. Finally 3rd call was to House Manager, Margaretha. Phone was fixed immediately, Also the clothes hook that was pulled from wall was reinstalled. Drapes were dirty and ripped. Day 2 we noticed a bobby pin on the floor in the bathroom. Neither me nor my partner wear these pins. Stayed on the bathroom floor for 3 days until we picked it up. Also found a bobby pin in the cabin. Again we picked it up and an old potato chip after 3 days. Room was never dusted or vacuumed.. The Solstice has 2 tiny outdoor pools, one with a wooden ladder to climb down. There was no bar service in the pool area. The one pool bar always had long lineups and usually only one attendant. The ship advertised The Lawn Club with real grass. Several times we ventured up to this level only to see signs to "Stay Off The Grass.....It is Resting." Total nonsense. We never did see anyone playing or sitting on it. Now on the positive, the food was great. Our waiters were extremely helpful and they were especially attentive and mindful around food allergies Entertainment was wonderful and we especially enjoyed the lecture series on the 5 days sailing back to Vancouver. Met some great people from The USA and had many laughs.Movies were good and it was nice to get the lectures on the TV in our cabin. Loved the Trivia games. Also enjoyed the Ukulele lessons and the concert. If you have mobility issues, there are only 2 elevators, one at the front and the other in the centre of the ship. Make sure you book near the elevator. The walk from aft to elevator if very long although it was good to walk off all the wonderful food we had. I would sail with Celebrity again but certainly not on the Solstice. It is in need of a complete refurbishing. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This cruise was selected as we had done the identical cruise, same time, same ship, last year (2015). On the basis of that particular cruise we were (and are) in a position to make an unbiased comparison to both cruises. Itinerary was the ... Read More
This cruise was selected as we had done the identical cruise, same time, same ship, last year (2015). On the basis of that particular cruise we were (and are) in a position to make an unbiased comparison to both cruises. Itinerary was the same however on a scale of 1 - 10, 2015 cruise rated an easy 8. This year however was an entirely different story and the cruise rates a (struggling) 2. We had MAJOR problems with our stateroom (Concierge 9243) regarding persistant noise issues. These issues were due to construction being carried out within the ship and continued (during the day) unabated. Apparently a major construction was under way to enable the ship to re-enter Alaskan waters - or so we were told. Requests for another stateroom was a failure and we were told the job was a "contract" that had to be completed so problem could not be resolved. Three page letter sent to Miami via ships Concierge desk. Refund of cruise of replacement cruise requested which resulted in a settlement of sorts after much haggling.... initial offer of 250$ onboard credit. both offensive and inadequate. Surrounding cabins (10 or so) had similar problems, grinding, drilling banging etc resulting in bathroom floor literally vibrating. Lack of staff on this cruise remained blatantly obvious. Stateroom staff struggled to keep up with their 20 something cabins and gone was the (entertaining) towel formations. Cabin Staff seemed to lack the inbuilt "radar" and "sonar" witnessed on other ships which saw them enter your cabin two or three times a day. Pillow chocolates have returned if that,s your "thing". Cabin lads did their best however. "Concierge" class did not rate the extra payment resulting in a couple of extra pillows. dressing gowns and afternoon snacks delivered to the stateroom at 4 each day. Would NOT travel this class again. Disappointing all round considering having traveled Celebrity previously. l Dining room staff were also in short supply and having the late "sitting" at 8.30pm saw us enter the Dining Room like a herd of cattle exiting a stock holding yard. No staff assisted this manouver and as we all had our "allocated" tables we descended onto the restaurant like a flock of seagulls on the beach. Previous year saw 10 or 12 staff on the inside of the doors waiting to escort us to our tables, pull out the chairs for the ladies and place the serviettes onto our laps.....in true dining room style. A complaint lodged on the first night achieved only knowledge of our christian names by staff but the lack of service continued. Noticeable also was a deterioration in suitable attire with the removal of the "formal" nights. Significant events held in either the "grand Foyer" or the pool deck were a disaster with insufficient space for the quantity of people crew were trying to entertain. Entertainment has also fallen off dramatically since last year with several "showroom" nights now having members of the ships crew entertain guests in lieu of the more traditional professional entertainers. Three such "concerts" consisted of this form of entertainment. It seems in every direction, cost cutting measures have been made. Dining venues were much the same as previous and yet seemed lacking in variety in the Dining Room. The usual "bun fight" was nearly always apparent in the "Coles Cafeteria" or Oceanview Cafe regarding lack of seating space. Not long now and you will be required (I believe) to attend this venue by deck numbers to alleviate the crush. Bad weather on the pool deck made it even busier at lunch without the poolside BBQ. Sadly, for those who had not been to Morea or Bora Bora previously the weather was not good and the beauty of these ports and islands was not apparent. Beyond the control however of ships crew. Overall, the ships is beginning to look tired and due for its refit come October/November this year. It desperately needs a facelift in addition to the Sushi restaurant planned for deck 5. Would definitely re-consider travelling with Celebrity again and made this obvious at time of settlement of our complaint. STRONGLY suggest that maintenance of such a nature that resembles having a stateroom within a construction zone, be looked at VERY hard by Celebrity. I hold whomever made the decision for this work to be carried out whilst passengers were on board irresponsible and that includes Miami, the ships Engineer and indeed, the Captain of the vessel. lt will be interesting to see what response emerges from Head Office in Miami...if any!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Beautifully appointed, lovely cabins and cabin staff but let down by poor food, overpriced wine, poor timing and exorbitant excursion charges. Firs impression was "Make my own luggage tags by photocopying a template, folding and ... Read More
Beautifully appointed, lovely cabins and cabin staff but let down by poor food, overpriced wine, poor timing and exorbitant excursion charges. Firs impression was "Make my own luggage tags by photocopying a template, folding and stapling to my bags. Really!" The food was a disgrace. We took the chef's table on the fourth night where the sous chef (who learnt to cook in Edmonton Canada and favourite food is hamburger) demonstrated he couldn't cook a scallop. Executive chef was unsighted, and the kitchen staff were determined to show their disgust with a lack of leadership by even failing to cook a good bowl of rice. Yogurt presented 10 days after expiry, 6 month old fish (supplied in Ft Lauderdale), a Kenyan cooking Italian and worst of all Mohammed making sushi with a weird American sauce to spice it up. Dishes that had no resemblance to their name: Vitello tonnato (veal with tuna sauce) is not carpaccio with aeoli, prawn tempura is not school prawns in a nondescript sauce, pad thai is not pad thai with the wrong noodles and wrong sauce, a soufflé rises above the ramekin and risotto is not rice soup............................. So much for the food on a relocation cruise. Only one meal of three good courses - in the Tuscan grill because the Maitre'd told the chefs what the food should look and taste like. We reversed more transactions (mainly unauthorised gratuities) than were accurate, dress standards had been dropped so that patrons were allowed into the specialty dining rooms in T shirts and shorts. Disembarkation was a farce, Papeete is closed on Sundays, and Lahaina has little to offer in comparison with Hilo which the ship avoided. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Flew Etihad Airways from LHR to Sydney, excellent flight and then stayed at the Shangri-La Hotel for five nights prior to our cruise. Highly recommend the Hotel, beautiful rooms and food was wonderful too. We did the Sydney Harbour ... Read More
Flew Etihad Airways from LHR to Sydney, excellent flight and then stayed at the Shangri-La Hotel for five nights prior to our cruise. Highly recommend the Hotel, beautiful rooms and food was wonderful too. We did the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb and other tours while in Sydney awaiting our cruise on April 9th. We have sailed on many Celebrity Cruises over the past, almost 7 years, and this was third time on the Solstice. As this ship is 8 years old, I was expecting it to be a little tired, however, not so, it was still lovely, granted some minor repairs were being carried out, but nothing drastic. As usual, the majority of the staff were friendly and can't do enough for you to ensure all guests have the best time ever. Special thanks to the Guest Relations Manager, Christian Bell and the F & B Director, Mihai Olaeriu, who were real diamonds! We stayed in the Penthouse Suite 1616, which was simply fantastic and had great butler too. Again, service was just amazing, and, with unlimited speciality restaurant visits, we ate several times in Tuscan and Murano but only once in Silk Harvest, only because I felt the food in there was a bit too greasy. Luminae restaurant, (for Suite Class guests), was lovely and the maitre d, Linda, was absolutely delightful and the service and food was great too. Sadly, the entertainment was not good, but Celebrity are still in the process of introducing new, specially trained, singers and dancers from their Celebrity Productions studio in Miami. We did get a taste of such shows on the mini cruise on Eclipse in May, and I can tell you the show was far superior to anything they have ever seen in the past. So be patient, these replacements will come in over the fleet in time. Ports of Call: Bay of Islands - beautiful with really friendly people. We did a boat trip with about 50 other people, which was nice, but I could easily have missed that. Aukland - Another city, ok just for a walk about. Papeete - Not really anything to write home about. Moorea - Beautiful, went to the Pearl Hotel and bought a day pass, but unfortunately, weather was not that great. Lovely to see the hotel though. Bora Bora - Favourite place, not for the land, but the sea was just so beautiful. Weather not great, no sunshine, but we still hired a boat and went snorkling where we swam with stingrays, sharks, (small ones), and swordfish, it was an amazing trip. Maui, Hawaii - Paid for private hire of a speed boat for four of us, and the captain took us out to an area to do some snorkling where we saw turtles - really beautiful place and again, the people were just so friendly and kind. We had the most wonderful cruise and just love the Suite Class benefits, however, on a trip such as this were there are several sea days, all the sunbathing areas were busy and it would be nice if Celebrity could have an area for Suite guests to use. The solstice deck would be the obvious choice, and, really the basketball court has always been a waste of space - perhaps it could be converted to a pool? Just a thought! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was an18 night cruise from Sydney to Hawaii with lots of sea days. We have cruised before on both Princess and Royal Caribbean ships and this was our first with Celebrity. I had read quite a few reviews of the Solstice that were all ... Read More
This was an18 night cruise from Sydney to Hawaii with lots of sea days. We have cruised before on both Princess and Royal Caribbean ships and this was our first with Celebrity. I had read quite a few reviews of the Solstice that were all very good so my expectations were high. Embarkation was smooth and easy and we were soon on the ship. Our stateroom 6162 had partially obstructed view - which comprised of the tops of the supports for some lifeboats. This was not a problem, as looking out to sea wasn't obstructed. The stateroom was a good size and layout although the balcony was smaller than we are used to. The bathroom and shower were probably better than we have had before. The shower is a really good size and there is plentiful hot water. There wasn't a drying line in the bathroom which would have been handy as there is no laundrette on-board. On an 18 night cruise the lack of a laundrette is noticeable. The main atrium area where the lifts are is very unimpressive - Princess know how to do it! The lifts seem to work on some programme that defies logic. It's fun just to stand there and watch the lifts go by while you wait to go to dinner. This is the 21st century isn't it? For some reason they decided to "Dumb-down" the formal evenings and make them "Evening Chic". A notice sheet in our stateroom on the first day set out the dates for the Evening Chic evenings which we noted into our diary - Except that they subsequently changed the date of the last evening without highlighting this on the daily news sheet. Many passengers only went by the daily news sheet so didn't get caught out, but unfortunately we did as we had already noted it from the initial information. Not amused really. Dinner was in the Epernay Dining room and the meals offered were most uninspiring. I'm so used to being "wowed" by the selection on cruises and this was just plain boring. Breakfast and lunch were in the Oceanview Café. Very good selection and seating was generally ok. The big problem here is that after a while the staff start closing sections and putting barriers up. Then the fun begins as passengers try to navigate across the room avoiding barriers and trying to find where the food has been moved to. Princess and RCI don't do it this way. We found all the staff to be friendly and very helpful. Finally, the pool/sun-deck areas - clearly designed without passengers in mind. There are way too many shaded areas around the pool. Placing your lounger (if you can get one) in the sun around the pool is a feat in itself. Watch out for the feature fountain - you can't put any loungers there! Large areas of the top decks are laid out with real grass - which Celebrity are very proud of. Then they rope off most of it and put signs "Lawn is Resting" and "Even the grass needs a vacation - Please use the paved walkways to give the grass a rest". Crazy, who came up with the bright idea of making large areas of deck un-usable? No wonder there aren't enough loungers - there's nowhere to put them. Would I cruise Celebrity again - probably not. There are already very good cruise operators out there. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2016
Mainly to see the islands on the the way to Hawaii. Ports of call were uninteresting and third world islands - nothing there. Also schedule was wrong as most ports visited were on public holidays, shops bars and restaurant were ... Read More
Mainly to see the islands on the the way to Hawaii. Ports of call were uninteresting and third world islands - nothing there. Also schedule was wrong as most ports visited were on public holidays, shops bars and restaurant were closed. Too much time spent at sea and nothing to do. Swimming pools 3 in all were too shallow, too small and too crowded. Lawn bowling green was under repair, the gym overcrowded and walking deck too short to stretch a leg. Evening entertainment fairly good but ship lacked atmosphere and ship captain and officers had no personality. So called duty free shopping a load of rubbish, inferior quality and jewellery outrageously expensive. Cosmetics and perfume limited for choice. Drinks package overpriced particularly the wine selection which was not good. Food overall very basic everything tasted the same from curry to lobster... either tasteless stew ( not even curry in a hurry) or dried overcooked lobster. So too was the overcooked fish, roast pork, beef and steak which was always tough and totally inedible. The worst of this ship and cruise is that every other passenger after one week's cruising got sick and after five weeks still suffering from a virus that cannot be yet be identified. My rating of this ship is…. ZERO. 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2016
Our first time with Celebrity - in no hurry to go back. With the exception of the wonderful very hard working cabin staff, our overall experience on this ship was generally disappointing - average service, disinterested staff, average ... Read More
Our first time with Celebrity - in no hurry to go back. With the exception of the wonderful very hard working cabin staff, our overall experience on this ship was generally disappointing - average service, disinterested staff, average food, inadequate venues and for us, a lack of activities. Clearly, there was a lack of bar and wait staff. Drinks handed to us in a can - no ice, no straw, no glass. Ocean view cafe food was above average but at times it was impossible to get a seat. Shows in the foyer area- no room and unable to see. Night time entertainment was hit and miss - a couple of really god acts and some really not so good. Glad we brought our own games as there was a distinct lack of interesting daytime activities. On the plus side, the ship itself is nicely fitted out. The cabins were well set out and the shower in the bathroom was a generous size. Good storage areas available. Have had a much better experience with RC and Cunard. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2016
We had cruised around Australia and New Zealand a few years ago and while we wanted to go back, we dreaded all the flying. Our answer was to fly over and cruise back. After looking at all the options we decided to do 3 back to back ... Read More
We had cruised around Australia and New Zealand a few years ago and while we wanted to go back, we dreaded all the flying. Our answer was to fly over and cruise back. After looking at all the options we decided to do 3 back to back cruises on Solstice. We used Choice air and were very pleased with all the arrangements and they made it very easy. We also decided on some time in Sydney before the cruise and used Celebrity to arrange our transportation to the hotel, the hotel and the trip to the ship. Had a private car and driver for both trips, and the Menzies Hotel was wonderful. We arrived in Sydney at 8:30 am, so had called Celebrity to see if they had early check in and were told 3 pm. When we arrived at 10 am our room was ready for us! We had read several negative reviews on the hotel, but we found it a beautiful facility with a great location. The staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome, to include sending us a bottle of sparkling wine. Dinner at their pub, which included happy hour was reasonabe and delicious. Our first cruise went to New Caledonia, we found all 3 islands unique with the Isle of Pines the most impressive. Second cruise was from Sydney to Honolulu via New Zealand and French Polynesia. The final cruise was around Hawaii to Vancouver. We can not find a single negative in the 36 days we were on board. The ship, crew, officers, food, entertainment and especially their educational programs were amazing. We were kept as busy on sea days as port days! We thought we would be more than ready to leave the ship, instead we wish we had added another cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
My husband and I cruised with friends. We took a cruise from Auckland to Sydney on another cruise line on which we have no status so there were no benefits. We are Diamond members with RCCL so we are Elite with Celebrity. The benefits ... Read More
My husband and I cruised with friends. We took a cruise from Auckland to Sydney on another cruise line on which we have no status so there were no benefits. We are Diamond members with RCCL so we are Elite with Celebrity. The benefits of the status adds a fun addition to the cruise. We boarded the ship with our friends, so they were able to experience priority boarding. It made the embarkation easy. Our friends have no status on Celebrity so we missed most of the Elite events because we did not want to leave our them. Dee, the Captain's Club hostess let us bring them to happy hour once so they could experience that benefit. It was on the night we left Moorea with beautiful views so they enjoyed it. Our cabins were nice but small. The balconies were roomy and we enjoyed them a lot. We wished we had the wall that can be opened on the balcony so we could open it and sit out on them together. The ports were nice but didn't particularly like Fiji. There were so many crew members that we liked. If you're on this ship in the near future, look for Sati, the bartender, Karyati (assistant waiter), Jhoana (assistant waiter), Paul (waiter), Rudi (assistant waiter who should be a waiter), Agnello (sommelier), Edwin (room steward), Lubis (assistant room steward who should be a room steward), Yusmin (Chef DuJour), Darko (waiter in Qsine), Dadek (server in Qsine), Daniela (we saw her everywhere with a smile). There are so many others whose name I don't know. We dined at Qsine and Olympic (twice). Qsine is a fun and filling experience. It's very different from your typical restaurant. Olympic is elegant and the food and service was wonderful. I'm sorry to hear it is being replaced. The entertainment was fabulous. Most nights there was new entertainment and not the singers and dancers. Steve Gayda is a excellent cruise director. We truly liked his travel adventures. The immigration process was painful. The line was long and slow. Celebrity wants you out of your cabin at 8:30 AM which leaves a lot of time to spend waiting when everything starts closing. People went to the immigration line before their scheduled time which made it even more congested. On the competing line, you can stay in your cabin until 10:00. Our captain was out and about on the ship. He seems to be a very caring and gracious man. Overall, it was a wonderful trip. The ship needs work but is headed to dry dock. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We chose this cruise because we had thoroughly enjoyed a S. Pacific cruise going to Sydney 2.5 years ago. This time, we wanted to tour New Zealand on our own and return via another long cruise. We flew into Sydney from Queenstown on ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had thoroughly enjoyed a S. Pacific cruise going to Sydney 2.5 years ago. This time, we wanted to tour New Zealand on our own and return via another long cruise. We flew into Sydney from Queenstown on JetStar early on the day before Millennium sailed. We took the train to Circular Quay, noting that mass transit is the same everywhere when an agitated young girl got on and proceeded to swear loudly and crudely at anyone she thought was looking at her. Relieved to get off, we walked to our hotel, Holiday Inn Old Sydney, which is very convenient to the Quay. We have spent time in Sydney before, but we revisited several spots in the 24+ hours we had before we could board the ship. We weren’t able to get on the cruise ship until mid-afternoon sail day, but we did drop off our bags early. Once on board with champagne in hand, we found our well-situated room (#6098, perfectly mid-ship; a terrific location) and made our way to the OceanView for a late lunch. Millennium is showing her age, and the dry dock (happening now?) is desperately needed. Our bathroom grout, toilet, and floor were stained; the curtains were moldy at the bottom; my mattress was soft and sagging (an egg crate topper helped); towels were frayed and stained; plants were growing out of the overhang visible from the treadmills! Nevertheless, our steward Peter kept the room clean and tidy and was unfailingly polite and helpful, as were all the crew members we saw. The staff also showed their professionalism and poise when on our second sea day we had a helicopter evacuation of a passenger with heart issues. The captain thoroughly explained what would happen. We deviated from our course and were at dinner when the ship slowed way down; we could see the helicopter circling again and again, waiting for the medical crew they had lowered to the ship to evaluate. The passenger was evacuated safely, but we heard later that he had died the next day in New Caledonia. We enjoy Celebrity and HAL both for their enrichment lectures. We had a destination expert (history, culture), married astronomers (little too keen on sharing Polynesian worldview, Hawaiian words, etc.), and a botanist. All were good. The astronomers held two star gazing nights toward the end of the cruise. The husband was excellent at pointing out constellations (we saw the Milky Way, Southern Cross, and Alpha Centauri for the first time), but when his wife would take the microphone and give us Hawaiian names and a Polynesian view of the stars and navigating, we grew impatient and finally left. We heard later that many others felt the same way. A Hawaiian native woman taught dances and lei-making, and her sessions were always well-attended. The entertainment was standard cruise fare, although the Aussie Boys put on a concert that was the best show we have ever seen on a cruise ship. A close second was the Gold Art aerialist duo. Singers, a humorist/magician, a mentalist, singers, musicians, and the production shows completed the offerings. We always attended the entertainment, although getting there early was important. Visibility in the theater is very good. We enjoyed trivia, made use of the running track and gym, watched some dance lessons, thoroughly enjoyed the informal Q&A with some of the Celebrity dancers, and made it to the DateLine Crossing and Equator Crossing parties. The former was way too loud with a rock band in a confined space, and the latter was held at night and without much class or ceremony to it, losing a good deal of its fun. We chose AnyTime dining and were happy with that; however, we came to realize dinner would last close to 2 hours. Time between courses took way too long, but I don’t know if that would have been true at the timed seatings as well. We found the food very good, but we are not food snobs. Fish routinely disappoints me on cruise ships (dry and tasteless), unless it’s the always-dependable salmon. The bread baskets always had different varieties (loved the sundried tomato foccacia) and three types of spread (excellent hummus). A separate vegetarian menu is available, so I had double the choices since fish is not on the vegetarian menu. I found the carrot cumin salad, the stuffed mushroom, and spicy corn soup with green chili and cilantro fabulous! Others regularly praised the rack of lamb and prime rib. We had a full-sized lobster tail on the last “elegant chic” night. “Elegant chic” encompassed everything from casual capris and tennis shoes to tuxedos! We never tried the formal dining room for breakfast or lunch. The OceanView has a huge variety of food at both meals, and it is long enough and stations are on both sides of the café, so crowds are kept to a minimum. Homemade sticky buns appeared about every 3rd day in the OceanView. At the back of the café, I was a frequent patron of the made-to-order pasta station. I have never found a good veggie burger on any cruise ship, but by Day 15 of the cruise, I was ready for something different. I ordered one at the poolside grill, and it was fantastic! I ordered one for the following four days as well and wished I had found it earlier. The lightly-battered fries were also very good, just not available every day. The AquaSpa café has tasty and lighter alternatives at breakfast and lunch (lentil and quinoa make frequent appearances). A small menu on the wall offers quiche and made-to-order grilled tuna or salmon. Add that to a salad for a lovely lunch (just be prepared to wait 12-15 minutes). Occasionally, they offered mango slices which were scooped up fast! We ate dinner in the OceanView a couple of times. Again, be sure to go all the way to the back for the grill and a choice of meats and fish. Also available only at night is the Mongolian grill. Our first three days at sea were filled with exercise, lectures, trivia contests, shows, an art auction, reading, sunning, the Thelassotherapy pool, and plenty of eating! Lautoka, Fiji – on the recommendation of good friends, we had pre-booked a driver for both stops in Fiji. He was a bit pricey, but we had a bad experience with a taxi driver last time we visited Suva, Fiji. Another couple from the ship joined us for a tour including an authentic village, an ornate Buddhist temple in Nadi, the Sleeping Giant orchid gardens, optional mud baths (it was too hot to even consider these!), the Denarau marina (shops and harbor), and general countryside driving. Our driver, Fasail, ordered Indian appetizers and sodas at the Buddhist temple and paid all entry fees for our AU$120 each (his price is on the high side, he admitted, since Fasail drives from Suva). He was very knowledgeable and provided excellent commentary as well as an air-conditioned van, most welcome in the heat and humidity. After the 4-hour tour, we ate a late lunch on the ship and walked 20 or 30 minutes to McDonald’s for very slow wifi (code given with purchase). Had we walked further into town, we found out later, we could have located a café with better wifi. A Fijian cultural group came aboard in the evening and danced and sang for us. Suva, Fiji – I recruited two other couples for the tour with Fasail. Since Suva is the capital, he showed us government buildings as well as landmarks, Albert Park, Thurston Gardens, the Grand Pacific Hotel, and a wealthy neighborhood before making a stop to order Indian appetizers. While we were waiting for them, Fasail took us to two local stores (almost all stores were closed, being a Sunday, but he must know the owners, and he assured us we were contributing to local family businesses). Two of the guys bought Fiji shirts at the first store, and two of us bought an assortment of cannibal forks at the second (we all left the store while our negotiator bargained for a good price for the bundle!). We picked up the delicious appetizers and bottled water and headed into the countryside. We tried to hike in the Colo-i-Suva national forest, but steady rain cut that short. We made our way into the rainforest for about 20 minutes before giving up, soaked in our rain gear despite the cover of trees. Fasail’s tour was also supposed to include a trip to the beach with some time for swimming, but that clearly wasn’t happening. Most of us wanted some wifi, so Fasail went to one of the resorts, but they would not let us use their wifi, even if we purchased food. He suggested we return to the Colo-i-Suva forest and the delightfully-situated RainForest café which did have wifi, and we sat on a covered patio overlooking a small lake. We ordered appetizers and drinks and caught up on email and websites for a couple of hours. We also fed French fries to the fish! The day’s outing wasn’t exactly the tour we had paid for (and I thought we would see some fire walking), but we all felt connected again. The tour was discounted from AU$100, since I had recruited another couple. We each paid $AU80 + $5 each for the forest fee. Another four sea days followed the Fiji stops, and we crossed the International DateLine during this time. Bora Bora, French Polynesia – Do get up early to watch sail in; this is an extremely beautiful island. We tendered here, and that was a mess. We had been told tender tickets would be available at “x” time, so that’s when we went, only to learn people had lined up almost an hour earlier (lesson noted for the next day!!). So we ended up waiting an hour for a tender. We had pre-booked Reef Discovery Pure Snorkeling (gear and water/soda/fruit drinks provided), and they waited the extra 20 minutes for us (obviously, they know cruise ship and tender procedures). The boat held 8 of us + two guides who were professional, helpful, and fun. We were gone four hours and had four snorkel stops: manta rays, The Aquarium where we were given bread to attract the fish (and a reef shark and an unwelcomed barracuda), eagle rays (true to their name, they looked like they were flying), and the Coral Gardens. Guillaume was adept at finding eels and coaxing them out. Fabien showed us a seahorse, although it wasn’t anything like what we’re used to seeing. At each stop, fish were abundant, the gorgeously multi-hued water was warm, and boating past the resorts with the over-the-water bungalows was amazing. This was a spectacular excursion. Online, I had requested and was granted a drop-off at Matira Beach, but the guides must not have gotten the message, and we decided to get some lunch on the ship anyway. I wish we had insisted on the drop-off, for once we ate and took the tender back to the island, it was too unbearably hot and humid to even think about walking a beach, no matter that it was supposed to be amazingly beautiful. We found a restaurant a short walk from the pier that offered wifi with a meal purchase, but it was full with a wait list, so we returned to the ship. If you’re looking for wifi here, this restaurant is in a small strip of shops across from the church. Or you can take a taxi to Bloody Mary’s, but I imagine you’ll have to purchase something there as well. Moorea – This is the most beautiful island we have ever seen; the iconic picture of what “Tahiti” should look like! We pre-booked a car with Albert Transport, and the pickup was right on time. We went straight to the Lagoonarium with two other couples. This is a must-do if you like the water and snorkeling. The Lagoonarium is a few miles past the ferry dock. After paying the entry fee + snorkel gear fee (incidentally, you will get a much better price if you have CPF) at the hut at the small parking area, a little motor boat ferried us and a honeymooning couple to the completely idyllic motu three minutes offshore. We were taken around the tiny island, given a hut, shown the free life vests and plastic shoes as well as the kitchen with free coffee/tea, told when the first fish feeding was, and had the two snorkeling “tours” explained to us – the thick cables offered protection from the current and we could take the longer route all the way to the reef. We all quickly changed and got to the water. The snorkel gear was of poor quality, so if you plan on this, have your own gear if possible. The fish were plentiful, and we saw some colorful ones as well as a hundreds-strong school of tiny bright blue fish. The coral was abundant and varied, just not colorful. Before the scheduled fish feeding, the guides got in the shallow water with bait and were soon swarmed by stingrays. Anyone could pet the rays, and this was quite a fun experience. The guides kept up this portion of the feeding for a generous amount of time. Then the guides asked everyone to go into the deeper water and get on the outside of the cables. In a U-shape now, we watched the guides feed and attract reef sharks, more rays, and myriad fish. The feeding went on for close to 45 minutes. We had packed some food from the ship and ate in the hut, escaping from the brutal sun. The hut has windows that open for cross ventilation, so it was quite comfortable. It would be easy to spend an entire day here. We never even made the full circuit of the closer-in snorkel trail. But we only had the one day, and we wanted to see some of the island, so off we went. Our first stop was at a marked lookout over a stunning white sand beach, water of an almost-unimaginable aqua color, and bungalows stretched across the water. We gaped for a good while, continued our drive, found a French café offering free wifi so we stopped for pastries, iced coffee, and internet catching-up, before resuming the island tour to Belvedere Lookout. The drive is windy and torturous, but the lookout is so worth it! We wished for more time (I don’t know why the cruise ship left at 5 when we were so close to the next island) to stop at the agricultural school, fruit juice factory, and fruit stands. We mistakenly thought Le Petit Village was near the pier, or we would have stopped there before turning in the car. But we made do with browsing the stalls set up by the tender pier. With more time, I would have liked to visit a pearl farm. The black Tahitian pearls are stunning and oh so expensive. Back on board the ship, we cleaned up and went to the specialty restaurant Qsine (2/1 special). We found it just as unique as advertised, from the décor to the iPad ordering system to the unusual way every dish is presented. Some of the small bites were delicious; others we wouldn’t order again! But we definitely recommend it. I heard they were offering the 2/1 special almost every night, but when we booked, we were told it was only on port days. Papeete – While waiting for friends to meet us off ship, we watched native dancers performing for the tourists. We shared a rental car with our friends, necessitating a hot and humid walk to the Avis office and a wait behind several others. We intended to get out of Papeete as quickly as possible, following a Fodor driving tour. We made several stops, including the black sand beach and lighthouse at Pt. Venus, blowholes, waterfalls, lookout views, gardens, and grottos over the course of five hours. While not as pretty as the other two islands, Tahiti still is gorgeously green and mountainous, but also more crowded. We returned the car with enough spare time to hunt down wifi (a challenge, but we found an internet café at a shopping center whose name started with a “V” near the ship), connect online for an hour, and then try to spend our remaining Central Pacific Francs at the now-closing local market. I found a bar of Tahitian vanilla soap, and when I gave the lady my remaining change, she insisted I take another bar of soap! Some stalls were still set up close to the ship, and I bought a very inexpensive Tahitian pearl bracelet. We now had five remaining sea days, and while at first we didn’t want them to end, by day four, the inevitability had sunk in, and we were ready. Unfortunately, the immigration process to get off the ship in Honolulu was a nightmare with terribly long lines and poor communication of a US-citizen line. We texted our shuttle driver we would be late, but we made it to the airport in plenty of time. But for a while there, we weren’t so sure! During this 18-day cruise, plus our 18 days self-driving in New Zealand, we saw some truly amazing places, reveled in extraordinary beauty, experienced new countries, enjoyed spectacular weather, and met wonderful people. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We have recently returned from a cruise to the South Pacific on the Celebrity Millennium which was advertised as a five star cruise The cruise from Sydney to Honolulu via Fiji & Tahiti on the Celebrity Millennium would in our ... Read More
We have recently returned from a cruise to the South Pacific on the Celebrity Millennium which was advertised as a five star cruise The cruise from Sydney to Honolulu via Fiji & Tahiti on the Celebrity Millennium would in our opinion rate as 3 stars at best and this was a case this of false advertising & misrepresentation on the part of Celebrity. We have friends who have sailed with Celebrity and had told us we should expect to have a better experience than we had previously with Princess Cruises and Carnival. We can now tell them that they are mistaken and that they should sail with Princess Cruises or Carnival before they make such ridiculous statements. The problems started from the moment we set foot aboard the ship. Our cabin which had been reserved several months earlier was occupied by other passengers. Even though we had booked the cruise and chose the cabin in August 2015 the couple who were occupying the cabin decided to extend their cruise but instead of moving them to a new cabin Celebrity staff saw fit to let them remain in the cabin we had reserved. This only came to light when we entered the cabin and found it was occupied and there were personal belongings scattered around the room. This situation could have been very embarrassing for both parties and we are still concerned that our ship’s pass could open a cabin that was occupied by others and for the entire duration of the cruise my partner was worried that somebody else may be able to enter our cabin. As you can imagine this was not the best start to our relaxing holiday Not 5 star service Leaving Sydney on a cruise ship should be an unforgettable experience and as Sydney is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful & spectacular ports in the world we were expecting a spectacular sail away party to remember. You can imagine our dismay when we just sailed out quietly - what a disappointment that was! Our experience with other cruise lines led us to expect certain things to be as standard, so we asked our cabin steward why there was no shower gel in the bathroom only to be told that those sorts of luxuries are for Concierge and Suite class guests only. We were appalled and yet another trip to Guest Relations. Not 5 star service SERVICE We are at a bit of a loss to understand why you charge 18% service charge on your drinks when service on the deck area and in the theatre was virtually non-existent. Not 5 star service Although the shows presented were of a very good standard this was let down by having one member of staff taking drinks orders in a 900 seat theatre that was generally full to capacity. Not 5 star service Additionally on our several days at sea the service on the open decks was again virtually non-existent, so again we were paying 18% service to collect our drinks at the bar. Not 5 star service At dinner my partner decided to have a glass of Port after her meal only to be served this in a champagne flute Not 5 star service OVERCROWDING The sunbeds were of poor quality and there were no sunbed cushions making them quite uncomfortable. The positioning of the sunbeds on the open decks was ridiculously close together making it impossible to put things like bags, drinks and the like down beside you. Has nobody in the Celebrity organisation heard the phrase "Sometimes less is more?" A few less sunbeds and a bit more personal space would be a vast improvement, again not what we would call 5 star service ENTERTAINMENT The only saving grace in this area were the shows put on in the theatre. There was very little entertainment around the pool during the day. In the evening the entertainment consisted of Latitude the house band who is a scruffy rock band who played very little other than rock, rock and more rock and generally when they were playing the dance floor would be empty. If you consider that the average age of the passengers was probably 70+ I think some soul, swing or pop would be more likely to fill the dance floor. DJ Rock star awful we can’t say any more than that The end of cruise party should not be held on the last night as everybody is packing and had to be up early for disembarkation so no one wanted to party. If it had been held the night before we think it would have been better attended instead we were subjected to something called Bandioke where guests could sing with the band. Only two guests did so and to be honest they were better than the band. Crossing the Dateline celebrations consisted of a few balloons falling into the Atrium. Crossing the Equator party was over by 10 p.m. Definitely not 5 star entertainment DINING The standard of dining in the Metropolitan was generally very good but the lack of variety in fresh fruit options in the Ocean view restaurant was very disappointing – only watermelon, honeydew melon and cantaloupe for the whole 18 days – no pineapple, strawberries or other exotic fruits even though we were in the South Pacific!! We visited the speciality restaurants Qsine, Bistro on 5 and The Olympic. Qsine was fun and definitely different Bistro on 5 also good fun The Olympic was a great disappointment - it was what we would normally expect in the standard dining room on a Princess or Carnival cruise SHORE EXCURSIONS We booked several shore excursions the second of which was our excursion in Papette which was cancelled due to the venue (The Intercontinental Hotel) not being able to accommodate us for lunch. Therefore we did our own thing and got a local tour and had a great time On our return we got chatting to other passengers and found that they had made their own way to the Intercontinental hotel and had eaten and drunk there and the hotel was able to accommodate them. After that we cancelled the rest of our tours through shore excursions and we then had some fantastic experiences without the aid of Celebrity Definitely not 5 star service On a closing note We have delayed writing this review as we both completed the online feedback questionnaires. And as we were told that feedback is taken very seriously. We thought we would hear back from Celebrity as we raised all of the above in our questionnaires. It was not until I contacted Lisa Lutoff-Perlo President and CEO (lLutoff-Perlo@celebritycruises.com) did I get a response The Millennium was going for a refit in Vancouver. It is very tired ship and I feel that Celebrity knew they could get away with using a tired and tatty ship as the itinerary sold the cruise. We spoke to many passengers and most of them were very disappointed with the Celebrity experience. We will relay our experience to all our family and friends and will not consider using Celebrity again We would like to add that cruising is becoming more and more popular and competition is increasing. We feel that Princess and Carnival offer a more enjoyable and luxury brand than Celebrity!! There was nothing 5 star about this experience except the price !!! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We chose this cruise for the itinerary: it was a repositioning cruise taking the Millennium from the Asian Market to Alaska, with our portion being from Sydney to Honolulu with stops in Fiji and French Polynesia. We booked a Royal Suite ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary: it was a repositioning cruise taking the Millennium from the Asian Market to Alaska, with our portion being from Sydney to Honolulu with stops in Fiji and French Polynesia. We booked a Royal Suite and purchased the 1-2-3 GO! package so we ended up with pre-paid gratuities, unlimited internet, premium beverage package and unlimited specialty restaurant dining. The cruise is the longest in Celebrity's rotation at 18 days. This review is going to be less about the Millennium (which will be undergoing a significant refit, not a small one as suggested by the previous review) and more about Celebrity Cruises and how the brand is changing and what it means for loyal Celebrity cruisers. The "Suite Experience", introduced a few years ago under the Modern Luxury banner, was designed to provide guests who book a Suite or higher a better on-board experience including the use of Luminae (restaurant for Suite guests only), Michael's Club (with a dedicated MC Concierge and complimentary beverages), priority embarkation, disembarkation and tender service, and more. For the most part it's a good program and adds some value, but could be expanded (see suggestions below). Since we were in a RS and had a premium beverage package Michael's Club became redundant and we never used it, although Lucy - the MC Concierge - was charming and helpful. Until the Xcelerate program is rolled out slow internet continues to be a challenge for a lot of guests, although it wasn't a problem for us since we had unlimited internet. We ate primarily in Luminae and it was exceptional - food, service and ambience. For us this really makes booking a Suite worth it. Bruno, Elena and the entire team made breakfast, lunch and dinner wonderful! We dined twice in Qsine and three times in The Olympic, the latter of which is being replaced by Tuscan Grill (a Celebrity staple) during the renovation, which is a shame because while the atmosphere may not necessarily be "modern" but it certainly is "luxury". All our dinners in both were excellent. We also purchased the Progressive Dinner one evening ($125 p.p. including wine pairings) and enjoyed visiting 3 restaurants and Cellar Masters (for dessert) with 7 other diners, several who also did the Chef's Table dinner ($250 p.p.) and loved it. We may try that next time. We did eat in the Oceanview a couple of times for breakfast and lunch. While the selection was very good, the layout needs to be reconfigured to allow a better flow, but that's not part of the upcoming dry dock. As it is right now the Oceanview setup leads to people cutting in line and other rather rude behavior. Cafe al Bacio was our go to after lunch latte destination (Johannes makes an awesome one!). Since the PBP includes specialty coffees, making a trip to Michael's was, again, unnecessary and redundant. Bistro on Five is being replaced with an ala carte Sushi Restaurant. Good idea as Bo5 was usually empty. It used to be a favorite treat for lunch, but we never went there (in 18 days!). Not sure how the a la carte pricing is going to "go over" - time will tell. Formal Nights are now dubbed Elegant Chic which concerned us a little as we enjoy getting dressed up and were afraid we would be the only ones, but our fears were unwarranted as there were many women in dresses and men in tuxedos. I guess Elegant Chic sounds more in tune with Modern Luxury, but in reality it's all the same. Celebrity is known for many industry firsts, especially with the launch of the Solstice class ships. Now, however, Celebrity is playing catch up with the installation of a lawn with an outdoor movie screen area a la Carnival, NCL Disney and others. If Celebrity wants to imitate other cruise lines they should follow NCL's example and offer a Haven-style pool area as part of the "Suite Experience" or at minimum have an area around the pool sectioned off. Instead we had to deal with "chair hogs" on a daily basis and frequently saw loungers being held with towels and books for hours at a time, never occupied. Celebrity may try to convince guests clearing the belongings is the responsibility of the Pool Butlers, but this is not the case whatsoever and guests spend a lot of time circling around looking for available loungers. Our cabin stewards (Benji and Redford) did a nice job keeping our room clean and Peter, our Butler, was always around with a smile. Since we enjoyed delicious lunches in Luminae we rarely took advantage of the afternoon tea Peter offered each day. He did help us with laundry and pressing, and in bringing and retrieving our passports to Guest Relations when they were requested - all of which was very helpful. The RS's are being completely redone, so I won't comment on the cabin. We had 5 ports of call and booked three shore excursions through Celebrity and two independently. While Shore Excursions is surely a revenue generator for the cruise line, 1-2 should be offered complimentary as part of "Suite Experience". Of the 3 we booked through Celebrity one was good, one was fair, and one was beyond poor and the value for the money would all be rated fair to poor. The "Suite Experience" includes priority tendering off the ship in ports where required, but should also include priority tendering when returning to the ship. We didn't attend any of the shows, art auctions (aren't these a thing of the past?), guest lecturers/Celebrity Life activities, or visit the Canyon Ranch SpaClub. We used the Fitness Center a few times and it was fine, although I'm glad I brought my iPod so I didn't have to listen to Pitbull over and over and over. No kidding. Overall we had a good time (see my ratings above). We previously booked a Transatlantic cruise on Silhouette for November 2016 and a Greek Island cruise for June 2017. We have also booked a Transatlantic cruise on Azamara Quest for October 2017. We feel like Celebrity is moving in the wrong direction and more toward becoming a mass market brand. With few exceptions there wasn't the "wow" factor we have come to expect, so we have decided to take a look at other cruise lines that offer more of what we are looking for. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Boarding the ship was the quickest ever with no queues. We were advised that due to possibly some problems in Bali, we would not go there. Instead spend the first night in Singapore and spend another night at Darwin. Some were upset ... Read More
Boarding the ship was the quickest ever with no queues. We were advised that due to possibly some problems in Bali, we would not go there. Instead spend the first night in Singapore and spend another night at Darwin. Some were upset by this, especially some of the crew who had family in Bali. The Captain explained that three ships from the Company were avoiding Bali due to a threat and the safety of those on board were the most important thing, most agreed with him. Unfortunately, another ship was in Darwin so we did not dock until late afternoon then left very late the next day. They arranged free shuttles to Darwin, where most ships are charging $5 per person. Yorkeys Knob also had free shuttles to Cairns and so did Brisbane. Brisbane is generally a pain with the larger ships docking at the Grain Terminal, which is half an hours drive from Brisbane. However, being Easter Sunday, Brisbane was generally shut. Having Diamond status with RCI, gave us Elite on the Millennium and Even though the "Club" time was an hour shorter than RCI, we were very well served for drinks etcetera. The ship, being 15 years old was due for some maintenance, which it will get when it reaches Vancouver, but we found it spacious and very well maintained. Being on deck two, we noticed many holes in the corridor floor and saw one person trip and fall from one of these. The Officers were very visible and availably for a chat any time. They attended our Happy Hour as a group an many nights. The entertainment was reasonably good, some of the individual acts were excellent and some not quite so good. It was disappointing to find the Singers & Dancers shows were pretty similar to those that we have had on recent RCI cruises. We ate in the dining room whenever we could and only used the buffet on shore days for lunch. It was a shame that the buffet virtually closed a number of times each day. 4 pm is too late for afternoon tea when you have early sitting for dinner. Most disappointing was the special afternoon tea for Captains Club Members. We had coffee cups and little stainless steel jugs with tea bags, no refills offered. There were two young ladies playing for our enjoyment but they looked like they did not want to be there, with scowled on there faces, they spoiled what ever we had. We expected the cake stands on the tables and little sandwiches and scones with jam & cream. No such luck. Waiters slowly went around the room with a very basic set of cakes etcetera. We will never bother to attend such an event again. What happened to tea cups and tea pots that would be constantly topped up? Cruise Director, Susi Q was fantastic, even though she had this "cushy job" (she will know who I am if she reads this) She did it well and entertained us with her "one woman show" She is now on a holiday but we expect her to return for more punishment after a couple of months. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This cruise started out in singapore .we spent 4 days prior to explore this wonderful city. Ports of call were bali and then 4 ports in australia. We swam the great barrier reef, held a koala bear, petted kangaroos and explored sydney. ... Read More
This cruise started out in singapore .we spent 4 days prior to explore this wonderful city. Ports of call were bali and then 4 ports in australia. We swam the great barrier reef, held a koala bear, petted kangaroos and explored sydney. Food on the ship was good. Lobster night we had all the lobsters we could eat. There were not many americans on the ship. Mostly australian and english. It was interesting hearing their opinions on our presidential candidates. The stop in bali was canceled due to terrorist activities but they added a day onto singapore. The cancellation was very disappointing but necessary. We took alot of tours on our own in singapore and the city is fantastic and the people were lovely. it was very safe. We are planning on going back next year out of sydney and do new zealand and tahiti and hawaii. We love the south pacific. It was a great ship and cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Some background to start- this is my 6th cruise and first on Celebrity. Things they did well: Very Clean- toilets were exceptional- they have attendants in them constantly cleaning them- this was great. The ship is nice but nothing ... Read More
Some background to start- this is my 6th cruise and first on Celebrity. Things they did well: Very Clean- toilets were exceptional- they have attendants in them constantly cleaning them- this was great. The ship is nice but nothing exceptional. The room attendants were good, no complaints at all there. The buffet was pretty good but the egg stations ere chaos each morning and they seemed unable to cook toast to a crisp- it was always underdone. The rooms were a good size and the bathrooms were great- plenty of room and a shower screen and not a curtain which was appreciated Things that were Ok: The entertainment was Ok- some really good guests but some average shows as well. Most of the staff were pretty good. Things they did bad: Dining room only average- meals not hot all the time- variety not great. Casino- Rudest staff I have ever seen at a ship casino- manager was disgraceful Bingo- $59 u.s to play 3 games of bingo! It as such a rip off that one of the days they had to refund people who had paid because they didn't have enough people playing- fancy not enough people out of 2850 passengers- shows that people refuse to be ripped off. Selling- Constantly trying to sell restaurant visits (paid) and drink packages. We heard they put the price of drink packages up when all the Australians boarded the ship on Honolulu- top package was $77u.s per night PLUS 18% tip (compulsory) when you take into account the Aussie dollar the cost was around $120 aussie dollars per day for top drink package. The celebrity brand is a rip-off - not as good as you would expect for the dollars paid- will stick with carnival in future- food better and staff much better. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Stayed at the Hilton Hawaiin Village for 7 days prior to cruise -been to Hawaii too many times to mention so just kicked back & relax in lead up to cruise. Shuttle to terminal, drop off bags outside then go through customs, checkin ... Read More
Stayed at the Hilton Hawaiin Village for 7 days prior to cruise -been to Hawaii too many times to mention so just kicked back & relax in lead up to cruise. Shuttle to terminal, drop off bags outside then go through customs, checkin & security, embarkation in Honolulu was an easy process - was less than an hour. Booked a balcony cabin mid ship deck 7 & it was well appointed, plenty of room to move around, lots of storage & hanging space, bathroom was big and fully stocked of all amenities. Large flat screen TV and small fridge which cabin steward emptied so we could put our own drinks in that we bought on board, plus for soft drink package we would purchase later. When moving around the ship it was well appointed and looked after in all areas, a quick tour of the ship got us our bearings. Once on board we started to hear about Celebrity jacking up prices because 2000 Aussies had boarded, it didn't take long till we could see personally that it was true. The TV in the room besides movies has your own account and menu for drinks & restaurant -availability, booking & pricing. We soon realised that the price on the TV in all stateroom said one price but in bars they were another, soft drinks went up by $2US per item, cocktails, spirits, wine & beers by $3US per item, water $1.50US per item. My husband doesn't drink ( had medical certificate to support) we were going to get one ultimate drinks package & one soft drink package, but were told we would need to buy 2 alcohol packages, I declined to buy anything & just bought soft drink packages & bought on a number of bottles of wine to drink at each of the ports. We witnessed people who had been on the ship since Vancouver who had prepurchased drinks packages to be told at Hawaii they would need to upgrade their packages again as the drink prices has gone up due to Australian Taxes, that was a lot of rubbish, celebrity had the alcohol already in a US port & would be highly likely to have very little left by the time the ship arrived in Australia - so why should be there a tax ? There were some other poor excuses and the result meant that the individual price increases all of a sudden pushed you out of a cheaper package into another higher package and you were stung another $15-25US per day for it. interestingly the cruise that would later leave Sydney on 21/10 prices were dropped back - so it was a money grab by celebrity nothing more - nothing less. We felt sorry for older people who were small drinkers 1-2 a day - prices were ridiculous - a corona $15au, a Peroni $17.50 au, a lady was charged $25au for a double shot espresso. To get my very short hair trimmed, roots coloured and a wash and dry they wanted to charge me $400US - it was a joke! From that point on I made a choice not to give Celerbrity any more money than I needed too, my prior cruise ship bills have been no less than$2000 sometimes up to $5000 but not this one, got off at the end of the cruise with a $600 AU bill. Ports - Maui -tender arrival -extremely hot day so we just got off and went for a walk around Lahaina, we had been there before, so wasn't interested in any tours, 5 days at sea and then Tahiti, Mkoorea & Bora Bora - just got off ship for a few hours no tours we had been there previously -was stinking hot so AC on the ship was nice, another 5 days at sea to Auckland - we got off and caught ferry to Devonport (terminal next door ) to where ship docked $12 return each, walked around city & climbed 2 lookouts, had lunch in a little cafe which had wifi, back to Auckland to burger bar & indulged in quite a few beers till we got on ship, next stop bay of islands & tendered in, caught complimentary shuttle to Paihia & then caught ferry to Russell & walked around city & up to lookouts, had lunch in a local eatery, 2 days home to Sydney, a little rough but nothing too bad. Entertainment was on par with other ships, didn't drink in any of the bars, most under utilised area is the lounge at front of ship, nothing on throughout the day till mid afternoon, it's a great viewing area but had to leave everyday for members drinks -until we asked why do we & so many others have to vacate -access was relaxed after that and an area sectioned off for the non members. Didn't go to any speciality restaurants as I refused to give celebrity anymore of my money, they were very expensive, cheapest started at $35US pp for Asian up to about $55US for Italian, there was a constant up sell for all drinks & restaurant packages, we just ate at buffet everyday, a huge range and covered a lot of nationalities, plenty of options and was always able to find some thing to eat, room service for breakfast on most days. For us this trip was about relaxation so wasn't interested in going to shows or any classes, but we checked out a few as it turned up out, employee talent show always a highlight, June the hawaiin lady was very interesting to watch, bingo was not well supported, people said prices were too high, plus everyone was out in sun baking themselves, didn't watch glass blowing as we have seen it before, but everyone said it was impressive, the grass lawn was a huge dissapointment, it was always asleep, you could not sit on it at your leisure, also people hoggi lounges needs more control around the ship, what I found funny with the lawn was they want to protective grass so you cannot walk or sit on it, except for 1 hr per day, but hey lets play bocci - where you lob heavy balls from one end to the other. All in all I would sum up the cruise to be a relaxing g holiday on a beautifully appointed ship but was put off by the unethical business practises of Celebrity. We sail NCl primarily (platinum members) and on Princess & P&O,we will not sail on celebrity in future because they ended up ripping off many people without any hesitation or accountability. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Here is a summary of comments regarding my cruise. 1. There were not enough tables in the Oceanview cafe. Very crowded. Maybe remove some of the speciality restaurants and add space in Oceanview. 2. Food in the Metropolitian was ... Read More
Here is a summary of comments regarding my cruise. 1. There were not enough tables in the Oceanview cafe. Very crowded. Maybe remove some of the speciality restaurants and add space in Oceanview. 2. Food in the Metropolitian was very good. Food in the Oceanview Cafe at Lunch and dinner was of poorer quality and lacked imagition. 3. Suggesions for the Oceanview Cafe: A. prepare cooked fried eggs for breakfast on regular serving. This would remove some of the congestion and waiting when cooked eggs are combined with omelette section. B. Move regular spagetti availability to the regular stations. This would remove some of congestion and waiting when combined with the stir fry section. 4. Be a little clearer about the excursion travel times. On a 4 hour excursion, over 2 hours were spent just on bus riding. 5. Boarding process in Vancouver was very disorganized. This was my first time on the Millemium. Several people who had cruised this ship before said this cruise experience had detiorated from previous ones. I was dissappointed that non demoniation religeous ceremonies were not held on Sundays. I would think twice about using this ship again. Read Less
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