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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise as it was a long time since we had been on a larger ship (Celebrity Alaskan cruise 11 years ago) and we felt like an end of summer holiday through Australian ports that we are fairly familiar with. We flew to Perth ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was a long time since we had been on a larger ship (Celebrity Alaskan cruise 11 years ago) and we felt like an end of summer holiday through Australian ports that we are fairly familiar with. We flew to Perth from Auckland 4 days prior to the cruise and thoroughly enjoyed this delightful city. Embarkation was a nightmare as no training had been given to the local staff who were trying their best to process the guests with no help from the bored Celebrity staff who were wandering behind them. Once onboard we ran the gauntlet of Celebrity staff trying to sign us up for drinks and dining packages( we had been warned but they are very annoying). The cabin war excellent except for the wardrobe doors which supposedly slid and got in the way. No doors or bifold would be s vast improvement. Food in Blue and the main dining room was excellent. Also good in the buffet restaurant but the huge number of people there turned us off. We enjoy good lectures but these were scheduled at 9.00am on sea days which is crazy especially as you had lost an hour due to time changes. We also enjoy playing bridge on sea days as did a lot of fellow guests but nothing was organised. Flying paper aeroplanes and throwing bean bags is not everyone’s idea of entertainment. Shows were mixed with some very good and some less so. Overall our experience was enjoyable and good value for money but could have easily been better Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Good itinerary and ships reviews. Pablito in Al Baccio was the hardest working member of staff on the ship, a real asset to Celebrity. Platino, Kevin and Thia looked after us very well in the restaurant, very pleasant and professional ... Read More
Good itinerary and ships reviews. Pablito in Al Baccio was the hardest working member of staff on the ship, a real asset to Celebrity. Platino, Kevin and Thia looked after us very well in the restaurant, very pleasant and professional service received from them all. Kadek our steward friendly and helpful, made us feel very welcome and did a good job. Disappointed with the evening offering in the restaurant, quite repetitive, especially for desserts, would have welcomed a cheese board. Entertainment was poor, for the general age of the guests on board, most of the activities were quite childish. Artists in the theatre were not of a good standard with the exception of the magician. Lighthouse, the two young ladies with electric violin and chello were excellent, really enjoyed their music. Embarkation in Fremantle was very slow and we had nowhere to stand in the shade whilst waiting to enter the port building. All other disembarkation went without any hitches. Did not do any of the ships 'extortions' as we found the cost to be prohibitive. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise as we had done the cruise from Auckland to Perth the year before and were very impressed with the Solstice . What a difference a year makes , the ship was showing a lot of wear. The entertainment on the cruise the year ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had done the cruise from Auckland to Perth the year before and were very impressed with the Solstice . What a difference a year makes , the ship was showing a lot of wear. The entertainment on the cruise the year before was excellent , this trip it was less than average. The drinks packages had gone up and the discount they offered on board was 10% , 15% ,20% respectively as apposed to the 30% we received of the basic package last year. When we embarked we ticked the box which indicated that our account would be charge direct to our visa card at end of cruise . that didn't happen and we were charged through the cruise lines bank which resulted in a lot higher conversion rate. BE WARNED. Overall the service on board was excellent , the crew were very good and were always polite and helpful which certainly goes to making a pleasant cruise. We thought the food was a bit ordinary this time around , we dined in the GE , anytime dining . Overall an average cruise and we will probably try a different cruise line next time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
CELEBRITY SOLSTICE embarked in PERTH for a back to back of 29 nights, to SYDNEY/AUCKLAND/FIJI/SAMOA/TONGA and back to AUCKLAND. A wonderful experience of personal service, excellent dining in the Luminea / Murano / Tuscan restaurants, ... Read More
CELEBRITY SOLSTICE embarked in PERTH for a back to back of 29 nights, to SYDNEY/AUCKLAND/FIJI/SAMOA/TONGA and back to AUCKLAND. A wonderful experience of personal service, excellent dining in the Luminea / Murano / Tuscan restaurants, especially the Luminea where all the staff were very attentive and obliging, our thanks, and deserving recognition were KAVI ( nothing was ever too much), RYAN (thanks Sunshine), DOMINIC, ALEX and JURUS ( Christine is now hooked on 'Pinot Gris'). Although the food in Ocean View ( renamed: Bread Pudding Café) a little more imagination there please Chef, was good with a wide choice to please any calorized diet. But it was MANIC a frenzied throng weaving around the food stations and hunting elusive seats and slow Bar service. ALAN from excursions was amazing, he tirelessly coordinated, organised, arranged and lectured upon forthcoming excursions, whilst expediting the vast numbers of guests ashore on their trips. LEWIS..mmm..with his extensive wardrobe, still forgot his socks! The theatre productions were very professional, enhanced by the brilliant ACROBATIC TROUPE who were phenomenal. The guest acts varied depending on your personal choice, but generally good and entertaining. All guest areas were busy and noisy, apart from the 'Silent Disco', very good ( we even joined in!) Fortunately our sanctuary was the suite guest club room, and the delightful OLGA and helpful bar steward. Now our Suite Attendant & Butler, ALDRIN (Buzz) was so friendly, caring and efficient he deserves an award, along with ROGELIO and his constant smile and attention, he made sure we wanted for nothing. The Suite Manager ANASTASIA and the lovely ALANA Guest Relation Director, whom had the unenviable task of being front line to guest complaints, including our suite issues, they deserve medals and a salary hike, they did all they could in an impossible situation, thank you both. Celebrity and RCCL as a company, seriously need to address the problems on the Solstice and others in this class during the forthcoming refurbishments. We will avoid any concierge or S2 suites on Deck 12 on these vessels. Again our thanks to all the dedicated staff and crew. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We researched heavily before we picked a cruise line and ship, broken down into tonnage, amenities and restaurant choices, as well as general destinations. We chose to book a deluxe verandah stateroom, and got placed starboard on level 7. ... Read More
We researched heavily before we picked a cruise line and ship, broken down into tonnage, amenities and restaurant choices, as well as general destinations. We chose to book a deluxe verandah stateroom, and got placed starboard on level 7. We feel that our travel agent should have indicated to us that by paying more we would have had included all the perks and extras that we paid for anyway, but hey, she didnt, we didnt know, there you have it. The embarkation process in Perth was actually not that bad at all - a small wait in a holding area but that wasnt a drama. Do not understand why people grizzle about that when they are trying to process through as many people as you could find living in a small town. We got on board and found our cabin - it was tidy and clean. We realise that unless you board a vessel of ANY sort on its maiden voyage of course things will feel a bit pre-used, but on the whole they have gone to length to make it feel clean and fresh. For those grumbling about the black line around the toilet, I suspect that has to do with the sanitation system so maybe is just the way it is - it didnt make our bathroom smell nor did it detract from the use of the loo in any shape or form, so hey - get over it! The staff are nice and very helpful, but also pushy - a constant push to buy more, upgrade more, do this, do that. Some are extremely aggressive, some try to do it in a more subtle way - but the outcome is the same, it isnt nice when we have already paid a bit to get there and prepaid for packages and extras before we even embarked. We found the household staff a bit intense - we do not want our cabin turned down at night, dont want our things picked up and moved and dont want our already folded clothes refolded and put in one big pile. we tried to explain we didnt need the evening service thanks, which sort of fell on deaf ears so we started to put up the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door. A morning spruce-up of the cabin is nice, fresh towels etc (which sometimes when the old ones were removed no new towels were left in replacement) but this constant in and out was a bit much. The premium non-alcholic drinks package was a brilliant investment - we used that a lot. Really liked that we had this as we are frequently at Cafe el Bacio on level 5, where most of the staff who prepare coffees etc do a sterling job. We had one staff member who made ghastly coffees, frappes etc - I mentioned to the wait staff who brought the coffee that it wasnt very good at all, she made excuses for the fact it was awful, then must have gone back and told the girl who was acting as barista that day. We heard "expletive you" from behind the counter, so we consequently made a decision to AVOID the cafe if this staff member was on the machines. Because so many of the rest of the staff were really nice and some made really quite good coffees, we did not go down to Guest Relations and make a complaint. On the mainland it would have been very different. OCEANVIEW CAFE - is really okay actually, they try really hard to turn out a good selection for the masses, I think they do very well and have no complaints. A great staple with a stack of selection. Whats not to like. I will say though that real vegetable selection was sparse but once again it must be hard to carry enough of everything on a ship. GRAND EPERNAY - We went twice. It was a horrid experience and is the fly-in-the-soup of the restaurant dining experience for us. We refused to go back there again, rather using speciality restaurants most nights or good old ocean view cafe. Epernay was like a factory, noisy, seated almost right on top of the next couple where too many 2-seat tables had been crammed together. The cruise demographic did not help Epernay I suspect, all trying to turn up at the same time for dinner and of course the staff will attempt to accommodate them, but its not nice when you just want to eat in peace and the neighbours who are almost sitting on your lap feel obliged to talk to you. Other half and I obliged somewhat, but werent really there for the chitchat with others beyond the odd hello here and there so found that felt like a difficult transaction that was forced upon us because of the tight space. The food was okay but not outstanding. MURANO - We love Murano and have been many times. Small portions but you will feel stuffed when you leave, nicely prepared food. A definite 10 out of 10. SUSHI ON 5 - a hidden gem! Once again suspect because of the demographic on the ship it has been under-utilised on this trip. Good sushi, great serving staff - this was our other 10 out of 10. A really great sushi chef. MARTINI BAR - loved it. Good martinis pre dinner - candied apple martini and dessert martinis scrumptious. A fair few happy martinis pre dinner were had. The whole laundry service isnt a good concept - I have woollen items that I am NOT paying someone else to wreck, and anyway we refuse to pay at least 25USD per day on Laundry. Its not that we cant afford it, its that they warn you that its a case of caveat emptor when it comes to using laundry services. No thanks. We did pre-order two cakes off the web site for the stateroom - one choc raspberry for one week, and one choc coffee. We got the same choc raspberry each time which wasnt that great so consequently ended up getting binned. We just let it go because sometimes things can be very hard to sort, and when we mentioned it to the housekeeping girl who brought it to the room (that they had got it wrong and we received the same thing two weeks running) she just looked blank, and to be honest I couldnt be bothered going there. Be careful when ordering cakes in advance as a room treat. We didnt do organised shore packages - more just a trip into town in whatever port we were in. It was really great. Didnt go into adelaide but went everywhere else. Shop staff in esperance WA rude. We didnt do theatre etc - for us this has been about catching our breath and decompressing on a real break. The Gym and the Persian garden top up have been great. For better or worse we feel like we had a break. This has been our learning curve cruise - we now know how it works. The mistake we made is that we didnt go for suite class in the booking phase. It might have given us a bit more respite from some of the faux snobbery that seems to prevail amongst certain of the demographic, but on thorough dissection we have decided we are going to bite the bullet and go for royal suite or penthouse suite class next time if we go celebrity as that will give us the extras and packages that we bought anyway if I understand correctly, plus a suite with a bit more room will be a bonus! Dont get me wrong through - I have never felt like we are falling all over one another, but a bit more space will make it really amazing. We went down to future cruises and tried to secure something for approx 2 years away in July 2021 - the very helpful lady there told us that we could find 2021 cruises up on the site by the end of this year - that works for us. We've already worked out that we want to do St Petersburg 14 nights, Viking cruises does a better itinerary of stops in Scandinavia but we are debating giving Celebrity another go and see if booking a different sort of class of accommodation irons out the wrinkles, so to speak. All in all, a very good experience, we feel rested and like we have had a real holiday, someone else has done the driving and the cooking and the cleaning. Loved seeing Melbourne and Sydney again, the sounds are stunning and Dunedin is a southern gem. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We have been cruising since 1986 and truly have enjoyed most experiences. We chose this cruise as a B2B since we had not been to this part of the world and it was a long flight from the states. We booked an Aqua spa class cabin (first ... Read More
We have been cruising since 1986 and truly have enjoyed most experiences. We chose this cruise as a B2B since we had not been to this part of the world and it was a long flight from the states. We booked an Aqua spa class cabin (first time) and was not disappointed. The cabin located on deck 11, was small but adequate. The Blu restaurant was excellent and worth the cost of the room itself. From the hostess to the waiters and the sommeliers, the experience was exceptional. Food was perfectly presented, in nice small portions and prepared as requested. Seating was well staged with mostly paired tables but just close enough if you wanted to carry on a conversation with your neighbor. I'm afraid I will never go back to the main dining room. We also ate in Tuscan and Murano. Food was good and plentiful but not worth the cost unless you can get a discount. The cafe (buffet) was also a good experience as the food and layout made it easy to see the offerings and find what you were looking for. However, on seas days you could not find a place to seat let alone a table as people camped out for many hours at a time playing cards, grazing, playing on their tablets and phones killing time. We frequented the Martini bar and Cafe al Bacio utilizing our premium drink package. Love the specialized coffees and variations in martinis. Prices however are outrageous if you don't have that package. We purchased 9 ship tours and 3 private tours. All tours met or exceeded our expectations except for the ship's "taste of Barossa." On that tour the wineries were not prepared for 45 people at one time. On the other tours, the animals many times were the stars of the tours especially the Koalas, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, seals and penguins. The seas by luck were mainly calm even in the Tasmanian sea. Weather in ports for February and March was 70's (expected and packed for hotter) and mainly clear except for Sydney where it rained off and on both times we were there. As mentioned in earlier reviews the ship is looking worn. Although beautifully designed, much of the furniture is thread bear and needs replacing. This includes most public areas especially the chairs. Again as mentioned in earlier reviews, there was a significant amount of rust showing in the upper superstructure. Not what I am accustomed to on a Celebrity ship. Lastly the things that will make me think twice before booking another Celebrity cruise with sea days. The constant promoting of the specialty restaurants, wine purchases, drink packages, spa packages and "pay to play" promotions (wine tastings for example) from morning to night around every corner of the ship was awful. A real turnoff to most passengers. You could not escape it especially on sea days. I can not stress enough how hard they tried to sell these products. But the most disappointing thing I found on the cruise was how Celebrity has gutted the "activities staff" and the activities they provide. The CD talked a good game each day but was mostly missing in action. His recently promoted assistant tried his best to provide some form of sea day activities, but with what appears to be no budget, offered little. Celebrity's program is pay to play or entertain yourself. My idea of sea day activities does not include making paper airplanes for an hour to challenge for 10 seconds an officer, making an egg drop contraption or a "boat" out of ship garbage (referred to by Celebrity as recyclables) or waiting an hour to hit a golf ball one time in the foyer to an "X" taped to the floor. Cost for these activities to Celebrity = $0.00. The hot glass program and outside movies to me were non-existent. Overall we still had a great time, but with many ways to spend your travel dollars these days, I will think long and hard before making my next booking. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
For background, we (my wife and I), have been cruising since 2012, our first and third cruises were with Celebrity, and had anyone asked us since that time, we would have recommended them as our favourite cruise line. We have also cruised ... Read More
For background, we (my wife and I), have been cruising since 2012, our first and third cruises were with Celebrity, and had anyone asked us since that time, we would have recommended them as our favourite cruise line. We have also cruised with HAL, RCL, NCL and Princess. Unfortunately, we can no longer say that after our last outing on the Solstice. The Staff The staff are still top notch. Our stateroom attendant was excellent (best to date), the Martini Bar crew are still excellent fun, and the activities staff and main dining room staff were also very good. Nothing to fault here. The Ship The ship is starting to show its age a bit, but it is still pretty good considering its been cruising for over a decade. It could use a freshening up, but it’s still fine. There were noise issues, however, in a number of the cabins. A fellow trivia team mate, and former merchant mariner, suggested air conditioning ducts were probably loosening in their brackets, causing intermittent clanging noises. Presumably this is something that would have to be addressed in dry dock. The balcony door also caused quite a racket when exposed to moderate winds, but leaving it unlocked helped with that issue (at least for us). The Seaview Cafe So many cruise lines focus on getting quantity out there and often the food is cool when it should be hot and/or variety is lacking. The Solstice is still above average on this front, in my opinion. Main Dining Room This is where the Solstice is failing, badly. This is not just our opinion, but something echoed by many other passengers. The issue is not with the staff, however, who were excellent, in our experience, but rather the food variety and quality. Variety was generally lacking as we saw many repeat dishes over the 16 day cruise. In addition, the chefs seemed to have a fixation with cold soups and smothering seafood dishes with tomato-based sauces. We looked forward to the lobster tail on the second last day, but it was basted with an unknown seasoning which completely ruined the dish. Dessert pastries were generally OK, but hardly spectacular. When asked why local fare wasn’t used (Blue mana crabs are in season in Australia), it was suggested such meals would only be in the speciality dining rooms. Speciality dining We didn’t – the prices are becoming quite ridiculous. Activities Meh best describes this. After having a lot of fun on the Norwegian Breakaway, where we almost had to jog from event to event, 3 hour gaps in the Solstice activities simply don’t cut it. Some nights there were mini game shows, which were reasonably fun, but for the rest it was trivia and name that tune. The activities crew were good, but they were hampered by lack of numbers and props/facilities. The stand out for us was a guest lecturer (Bill Lee) covering theoretical physics. My advice to Celebrity: You were never the go to for bells and whistles activities and entertainment. Get your food sorted out, at the very least, or you’ll find those staterooms progressively harder to fill. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
INTRO My wife and I went on a 16-night cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice out of Auckland, NZ with ports of call in New Zealand (Tauranga, Napier, Picton, Wellington) and Australia (Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth). We spent three ... Read More
INTRO My wife and I went on a 16-night cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice out of Auckland, NZ with ports of call in New Zealand (Tauranga, Napier, Picton, Wellington) and Australia (Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth). We spent three days in Auckland before boarding the ship. One funny thing happened while we were in Auckland. The first day we had lunch at the Harbourside Ocean Bar and Grill in the old ferry building – a great place for lunch BTW. We had some questions about the menu, and at one point the waiter asked me if I liked oysters. I was tired from the flight from the States; my hearing isn’t what it used to be; and I had not had a chance to acclimate myself to the Kiwi accent; because I would have sworn he asked me if I liked horses! Sigh. REVIEW Ship I am not going to say much about the Solstice because it has been reviewed so many times before. Furthermore, the Solstice has consistently won Cruiser’s Choice Awards year after year, with Cruisers and Cruise Critic Editors each rating the Solstice 5.0 on a 5.0 scale. What I will say is that ship was large, but it still had a very intimate feel, which is probably due to the outstanding crew on the Solstice. Everyone was incredibly friendly and hospitable. We found that the crew would go out of their way to take care of whatever requests or needs we had, some before we even voiced them. One of the things we really enjoyed was the Hollywood Hot Glass’ workshops on the Lawn Deck (Deck 15) where you can create a glass piece of your own coloring and choosing. There are a number of different things you can make, e.g., a flower, heart, vase, tumbler, ruffle bowl and ornament). I would have preferred to make a ruffle bowl, but we didn’t have enough room in our suitcase or any way to protect the glass. So we made really cool paperweights. Smile. I highly recommend taking a glassblowing class (or two), but plan ahead by bringing some bubble wrap and leaving a little extra room on your suitcase. The other thing I really enjoyed was looking at the fine art on the Solstice (owned by Celebrity, not the auction). I noticed some of the artwork in pictures of the Edge, so I paid particular attention to the paintings and sculptures on the Solstice. It really enhanced my appreciation of the ship. Dining The food onboard the Solstice was excellent. The main dining room for suite-class passengers is Luminae. The food there was excellent and the service was second to none. The Maître D' in Luminae (Dimitri) set the tone for Luminae. He always greeted us as though we were long lost friends he was happy to see again. He made us feel welcomed and right at home every time we entered the restaurant. Our waiter (Chitra) paid attention to our likes and dislikes, and made it a point to recommend things that we would like. I didn’t particularly care for the sausages they served there. I preferred the sausages in the Oceanview Café, so Chitra made sure Luminae had the sausages I liked for breakfast every day. One evening, Chitra served a special dessert. It was a chocolate sphere. She poured a flaming hot liquor over the top of the sphere that melted the chocolate revealing some vanilla ice cream. I asked if they could make that dessert another evening so I could take a video of the presentation. Chitra and the chef were more than happy to make that happen. The assistant waiter (Natalie) couldn’t have been friendlier. We always enjoyed talking to her. The wine steward (Juris) made great selections for us. In the one or two instances we didn’t particularly care for the wine he selected, he made some alternate suggestions, which were excellent. We also ate at several specialty restaurants Murano, the Tuscan Grille and Sushi on Five. I loved them all, but Sushi on Five was my favorite. Kudos to the F&B director (Mihai) and restaurant manager (Mazy) for their outstanding work in creating a five-star experience in every venue on the Solstice. Entertainment I have to give a shout out to the cruise director (Lewis). The entertainment aboard the Solstice was outstanding. It included acts such as Peter Cousins, an actor who performed in such musicals as Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables; Keith Scott, an outstanding voice actor, impressionist and comedian; and, Matt Mcgurk, an award-winning magician and illusionist. Two of our favorite acts were (1) the Beatnix, a Beatles tribute band, and (2) the Lighthouse String Duo (with Lia on the electric violin and Alina on the electric cello). Both acts connected well with audiences. If you are interested in checking out the latter act, which was pretty unique, you can visit their Facebook page at .) We looked for performances throughout the cruise and were never disappointed. Another great show was the aerial acrobatic show entitled “Euphoria” by the French Cirque Les Farfadais & Co. that Celebrity saved until the end of the cruise. Euphoria was a combination of acrobatics, silk dance and aerial rings that rivaled Cirque du Soleil in every way and left us amazed and awed by their skills. We would be thrilled to see any of these acts again on future Celebrity cruises. Service From the moment we checked in and all throughout the service onboard the was exceptional. This was the first time we had a butler. I wasn’t sure why I needed a butler, but I quickly found out how valuable he was. We were invited to dinner one evening, and I needed a shirt pressed right away. Our butler (Anu) took care of that and had the shirt back to me within the hour. We also had a bottle of champagne that I wanted sent to the dining room to be chilled for dinner, and Anu took care of that as well. It was a nice luxury to be able to enjoy the cruise and not take the time to work on the logistics of something like that. We also found the Michael’s Club Concierge (Olga) extremely professional, competent and helpful. I asked Olga if I could get a list of lectures and shows for the cruise (so I could better plan our evenings). She would have had the list back to me the next day, but it was not to her liking because It only listed the names of each act. She sent the list back and asked that they add a description of each act. I also asked if Olga could arrange for someone from future cruises to meet me in Michael’s Club to book a future cruise, which she did. Even if there was a lot going on in Michael’s Club, Olga never appeared distracted as she welcomed guests and answered questions. The suite manager (Anastasia) was fantastic. You could tell that she was all about providing the best guest service possible in the way she regularly checked in with us and the way related to others on her team. She really looked after us. PORTS & SHORE EXCURSIONS We enjoyed all of the ports-of-call, but I will only highlight four: two in New Zealand and two in Australia. Tauranga, NZ Our first stop was Tauranga, NZ where we visited the Māori (pron MOU•ree, not may•OR•ee) village of Whakarewarewa in Rotorua, which was a lot of fun. (The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand.) After touring the village, the Māori served lunch and put on a show. The Māori villagers like to have fun with you by presenting the name of their village as one word: Tewhakarewarewatangaoteopetauaawahiao. It seems overwhelming, right? It really isn’t. If you break that word down into its component parts, it is actually “Te Whakarewarewa Tanga, O Te Ope Taua A Wahiao,” which means “gathering place for the war parties of the Wahiao.” If you want to have a little fun with the Māori, you can learn how to pronounce the name of the village before you go. When they ask if anyone can pronounce the name of their village, you can surprise them by sounding like the Māori. They will definitely not expect it. Here is how the Māori pronounce the name of their village: http://alturl.com/abr3f. Napier, NZ We were lucky to be in Napier (pron NAY•pee•er) during the weekend of the year they held their Hot Rod & Classic Car Festival, one of several Art Deco Festivals held every year celebrating the classic Art Deco period of the 1920’ and 30’s. (For more about the festival and events throughout the year see their website at . Much of Napier was destroyed by an earthquake in 1931 and many of the buildings were rebuilt in the (Art Deco) style of that period. It was fun to walk around the town and to see many of the locals (flappers and dappers) dressing in period garb for the occasion. If you want to join in the fun, stop by Napier Antiques and Jewelry store at 65 Tennyson St. in Napier. They had a wide variety of styles for men and women from which to choose. People there also displayed beautifully restored antique cars and old motorcycles. A band played music in the square. Several dance troupes performed in the town square. All in all it was a lot of fun. Sydney, AUS Bridge climb or Pylon? A number of passengers on the cruise opted to climb the “coat hanger (Sydney Harbour Bridge). The cost is AUD $263 – $403 per person (USD $186 - $285 per person). That’s USD $372 - $570 per couple! The climb takes 3 ½ hours and you have to wear a suit that others have worn before. (I have no idea how often the clean the suits, but it didn’t appeal to me one way or the other.) We spent a fraction of that and chose to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon. The cost of climbing the Pylon is AUD $15 per person (USD $10.63pp). That’s only $22 per couple! There is an interesting historical exhibit on the climb up, and we had virtually the same view of famous Sydney Harbour Opera House as those who spent a whole lot more money and time. That left us plenty of free time to grab lunch at the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar, which was located at 1 East Circular Quay just down from the Opera House across the way from the Circular Quay and Overseas Passenger Terminal. It had a great view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour. The food was excellent. I ordered BBQ’d shrimp (what else?) and my wife ordered seafood linguini. We also had a surprise visit by some parakeets. We mentioned that to the waiter, and he said they loved the sugar. Who doesn’t? Adelaide, AUS We visited the Cleland Wildlife Conservation Park in Adelaide where we saw a Tasmanian devil, kangaroos, koalas, emus, geese, various birds and more. It was too hot that day to hold a koala, but we were able to pet a couple of kangaroos. My one regret is that we did not purchase food to feed the animals, primarily because I didn’t want to throw food at the animals, but what I didn’t know is that some of the animals, like the kangaroos, and I am guessing the koalas as well, would eat out of your hand. It might have been fun. CONCLUSION Pros Celebrity’s Solstice is a beautiful ship. Great food, service, and entertainment. An outgoing and professional staff who genuinely cared about you and who went out of their way to make sure you wanted for nothing. Cons I really don’t have any cons other than recommending those with mobility issues booking rooms closer to the elevators, which are located amidship. Value The value for what we received was excellent. I heartedly recommend Celebrity Cruise Line and the Solstice. You will not be disappointed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary which was great. We had never been to this part of the world or had been on a Celebrity ship. The cabin was clean and pretty spacious but it did need a bit of a refurb especially the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary which was great. We had never been to this part of the world or had been on a Celebrity ship. The cabin was clean and pretty spacious but it did need a bit of a refurb especially the curtains.The food in the Oceanview Cafe was great and there was a wide choice to choose from. Zeljko Cickovic the Maitre D’ in the cafe was so friendly and always stopped to chat with us. However, in the restaurant the food was good but we felt there wasn’t much of a choice. The entertainment was ok however, the show put on by the Celebrity dancers and singers were very good. The daily activities was ok, not as good as P&O cruises. The crew were very friendly and some would always chat to us when we saw them. One of the Officers Stelios always made time to chat to us , he seemed a lovely genuine man. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This was our first time on Celebrity, we are RCCL people, which own celebrity. Embarkation was OK no issue at all, the ship looked good but you can see some areas are tired and in need of some work but that is not a big issue. From ... Read More
This was our first time on Celebrity, we are RCCL people, which own celebrity. Embarkation was OK no issue at all, the ship looked good but you can see some areas are tired and in need of some work but that is not a big issue. From the minute we got on board we were endlessly pounded with first, drinks packages, then were ever we went it was specialty restaurants. I felt they were hiding at every corner, breakfast , lunch before entering dining room and leaving dining room , it just never stopped. Then when going to the gym you had to run the gauntlet of massages etc etc. I want to pass on a tip, you can offer specialty restaurants but when you ask around $40-$50 US, then the food needs to be rather special and sorry, it was not. Drinks on all cruise lines are out of control and crazy expensive, $6US for a ordinary coffee UP to $15 US for a cocktail and $11-15 US for wine really is too much. which includes an 18% gratuity .For us poor Aussies add at least 25%+ to get Aussie pricing We booked a concierge cabin and we thought it was good value with the extras you got. Our cabin was a bit smaller than we were used to, with not as much storage space but a slightly larger bathroom I thought the service on the ship was great however for some reason, the staff do not appear happy. The food in the dining room was mostly good although became repetitive. I thought the Buffet selection was ordinary and not a great variety. Entertainment was generally Ok, I have a thought, do not expect good entertainment and if you get it then it is a great bonus. I was happy with most of the entertainment I did notice there were a lot of bars on board but not much to do like, mini golf etc. If you did not follow the daily activities then there was not much else. The top deck was covered in lawn which was different but frankly, useless and the glass blowing for me was a little boring. The adds say Premium cruising and I did expect to get the wow factor but generally speaking it was very little difference to any other of the 300 nights I have been on ships Cruising has become like " lamb to the slaughter", they just try and extract every dollar possible. I would not personally, go on Celebrity again and I hope other cruise lines are not pounding you with upselling otherwise I will stop going. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We have had a number of Celenrity Cruises this was the most disappointing. The positives - Luminae dining, cabin housekeeping and general level of service. The Sky Suite was spacious and service excellent but the noise from trolleys ... Read More
We have had a number of Celenrity Cruises this was the most disappointing. The positives - Luminae dining, cabin housekeeping and general level of service. The Sky Suite was spacious and service excellent but the noise from trolleys in the buffet restaurant directly above was intrusive - especially in early morning. Negatives- We saw no evidence of 'priority boarding' which is sold as part of the package. Our check in at Auckland, which was a shambles and left is standing on the gangway with all other passengers for over 20 minutes, set the scene for all other ports. We appreciate port restrictions where only one gangway ( which would sometimes only carry 5 at any one time) seemed to be a feature but no attempt was made to prioritise and there tended to be only one card reader in operation,which for a ship this size is ridiculous. We felt sorry for disabled passengers. Occasionally there were two bag screening machines but not very often. NOISE! Screaming music invaded almost every public space even the Lawn Club, which we associate with peace and calm. A number of other passengers asked for it to be turned off or turned down but it was systematically turned back up. So many of us complained especially in the Martini bar where a disco was thumping out mindlessly. Up selling was intrusive and infuriating. Celebrity clearly have a mandate to squeeze as much out of passengers as possible. This is even more evident in our bookin for next year ( which we will probably cancel). Gratuities are added to the total cost of the cruise and the customary service for those of us who have to fly to Florida, where flight times are not compatible with cruise times, were an overnight hotel pre cruise and day room on day of departure are now an extra the latter being totally unavailable. We have contacted Celebrity. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Bucket list to see Australia. Embarkation and disembarking are the worst part of any cruise. This was no different, although clearing the ship of that large a number of passengers and preparing for the arriving passengers in 4 to 5 hours ... Read More
Bucket list to see Australia. Embarkation and disembarking are the worst part of any cruise. This was no different, although clearing the ship of that large a number of passengers and preparing for the arriving passengers in 4 to 5 hours is a difficult task. The crew was fantastic in every department. They actually appeared to be happy to serve you. The food was well prepared but the selection was small. It seems they want you to use the buffet or pay for one of the specialty restaurants. My main complaint is the constant up selling. I researched to find the cruise I wanted along with the type cabin and extra packages. I bought the classic drink package and was constantly receiving emails trying to get me to upgrade. At least twice a day on the cruise I was approached about booking specialty dining. Everything now seems to be geared toward getting you to spend every cent you have in the shops and restaurants. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Chose this cruise because it was hubby’s bucket list trip to go to Australia and I wanted to go to NZ. Solstice is showing her age a bit...things are just looking a little worn...some holes in our cabin drapes, chairs in the public ... Read More
Chose this cruise because it was hubby’s bucket list trip to go to Australia and I wanted to go to NZ. Solstice is showing her age a bit...things are just looking a little worn...some holes in our cabin drapes, chairs in the public areas are a worn...that type of thing. If you look passed all those types of things then Solstice is still a beautiful ship. Food this time out for me was a bit of a disappointment. Had to send one dinner in the MDR back all together. There was a good mix of choices. They were free with the lobster on the night they served it which hubby was quite happy with. Staff were marvellous, Joaquim our cabin attendant was very good with our request to get the night light in the bathroom fixed and sorting out a different appie plate for us in the afternoon. He was very helpful and pleasant and attentive to all our needs. Martini Bar staff were lovely too. Thank you Alin! MDR staff were wonderful although I gave them such a bad tim*e trying to get them to stop calling me madam...had fun though. Entertainment wasn’t an attraction for us...we previewed the early show after dinner to see if it was something we wanted to see. Over a 16 night sailing I think we only took in maybe 4 shows. There were special ABBA or Queen music nights in Sky Lounge we attended instead. Ports were all good. Excursions for the most part were good. Some narratives were better than others. The Adelaide excursion we went on the commentator sort of stammered and repeated himself. The sound system on the bus wasn’t working right or he wasn’t talking loud enough but half the bus couldn’t hear him. I was quite surprised by the number of people with walking/travelling aides on this cruise. I know I am not a spring chicken but I found it frustrating trying to move freely sometimes because of the number of people with scooters etc. I understand now that the longer the cruise the more chance you have of that happening. So if you are young and want more action.....think on. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
My wife and I have been on 55 cruises, the shortest 11 days, the longest 28 days. We have sailed with NCL, Holland America, Princess, Azamara and Celebrity. On Celebrity we are Elite Plus members with 2000 points. Our most recent cruise ... Read More
My wife and I have been on 55 cruises, the shortest 11 days, the longest 28 days. We have sailed with NCL, Holland America, Princess, Azamara and Celebrity. On Celebrity we are Elite Plus members with 2000 points. Our most recent cruise was a back to back on Celebrity Solstice. Here are the pros and cons.  The pros: Friendly Crew and excellent service though out the ship. Good meals. Nice casino. Wi-Fi is good. The daily get together for Captain's Club members in the Sky Lounge was very enjoyable. The music played at the pool wasn't deafening. The cons: Because the backs lounge chairs in the Solarium can only be raised about 45 degrees and we found them too uncomfortalbe to just sit and read. The ship is starting to get a "tired" look. I noticed a lot of rust. Maybe Celebrity should attend to the fleet before more building new ships. Unrelated pet peeves:: Cruisers who come to breakfast for the gym or track wearing their sweat soaked work out attire. They obviously don't have any respect of their fellow travels. Maybe a security guard should be posted at the entrances and deny them entry. This happens on all the ships. Cruisers who linger chatting or reading after breakfast and lunch while others are searching for a table. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this back to back cruise because of the destinations more than the ship. We were a little uncertain what to expect as it seems aimed at US market. The ship itself it lovely. Clean to a very high standard. The staff are very ... Read More
We chose this back to back cruise because of the destinations more than the ship. We were a little uncertain what to expect as it seems aimed at US market. The ship itself it lovely. Clean to a very high standard. The staff are very accommodating and helpful always. The spaces on the ship are weirdly set out. There are few quiet indoor areas! The library is over looking the Atrium and Open to the ensuing noise. As is the card/game room. The stupidest place for these public areas. The Atrium itself hosts all sorts of inane activities as well as live music. There is a tree suspended in midair for no apparent reason? There are many bars. Some are nice but the drinks are ridiculously expensive. The drinks packages are ridiculously expensive too unless you can down 9-10 alcoholic drinks a day every day ( there are a lot is shore days on this cruise) . We rarely drink during the day and maybe a couple in the evening with dinner or at a show. We were harangued on day 1 to get a package ! It was uncomfortable and we were told we could have 1 package if we wanted whereas we read you MUST have 2 of the same! At $70 a day each $140 x 28 is a lot of dollars!! ( nearly $4000!) our spend was less than $ 700 and we had bottles of wine regularly. The food was very underwhelming. Nothing looked particularly pretty there was a distinct lack of vegetables choice in the restaurant. The buffet desserts were literally CAKE. Red green blue orange cake. Proper puddings as I would describe there were 2 and only served at lunch and tea time. Not in the evening. There was ice cream too. And MELON. Always Melon . Fruit variety was also very lacking. Melon pineapple and apple. Bananas cut up for breakfast. There were lots of choices for breakfast and lunch in the buffet. It was nice enough but nothing wowed me food wise anywhere. Even speciality dining which again we were harassed on a daily basis to book ( we ‘d prebooked anyway for one meal in Asian Fusion restaurant for valentines evening) it was really nothing special and certainly not worth paying extra for. We tried the Tuscan grill and again not impressed. I had to send my steak back as it was so salty I couldn’t eat it. All dining staff however are wonderful. In Epinay we were freedom dining but when we eat there we always tried to be in the same dining area where Chris and Custodio looked after us. Shore excursion were very pricey and not particularly good. Everything seemed rushed. We booked several of our own tours before we came and found them far more fun informative and 5x cheaper! We will never book ship excursions again unless there is no choice. This is a big ship with not too many passengers which we liked. No fighting for sun beds etc. The entertainment in theatre was ok. I have definitely seen a lot better. Some of the acts were poor and some good but never dazzling! Our favourite individual artist was a hoolahoop act! Yes exactly! Whoever edits the daily news sheet can’t spell or use correct grammar.This did make us laugh. The spa was nice . I like saunas and steam but you have to pay for steam and hot beds. Again very expensive $59 per day! I did manage to broker a deal near the end of the holiday as I knew there were a few sea days. Photography! OMG ! We were dumbfounded by photographers on board. Dressing up in costumes and accosting you to have a photo! Why would I have a photo of me with a stranger in a costume ( which generally had little relevance to where we were- a frog? A cheeky sailor in an unconvincing costume! A back drop of The titanic staircase?? Why? Maybe it’s just us but we found this flabbergasting tbh. If it were aimed at children I could understand. I am sure on a Disney ship this would be acceptable. The photos themselves were not particularly good quality and yet again Expensive! In conclusion we liked the ship the crew and the destinations. We would not rush back to book celebrity but neither would we not travel with them again if the itinerary was right. There was a lot of outward fakery based on the size of your wallet rather than true quality. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our first cruise on a large ship and the Celebrity Solstice was recommended to us by friends. We were very happy and impressed with the level of service and the overall quality of the food. The ship is lovely with plenty of ... Read More
This was our first cruise on a large ship and the Celebrity Solstice was recommended to us by friends. We were very happy and impressed with the level of service and the overall quality of the food. The ship is lovely with plenty of places to go and be entertained or you can also find several quiet spots too. The nightly shows were all very good. We were particularly impressed with the amazing service from Minguel, Anna, Alex and Raj in the main dining room and also Rhonda our cabin steward was excellent. The quality of food in both the main dining room and the Oceanview Cafe was very good. The only negatives on the cruise were a long delay with disembarking by tender one morning and we would not recommend Murano Restaurant with both the food and service being disappointing. Overall, the cruise was fantastic and we have booked two more cruises with Celebrity. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We booked the back to back from Sydney to Auckland then back to Perth. The cruise ticked all the boxes of places we wanted to see and we thought it would be easier than the alternative of lots of flights because of the sheer scale of the ... Read More
We booked the back to back from Sydney to Auckland then back to Perth. The cruise ticked all the boxes of places we wanted to see and we thought it would be easier than the alternative of lots of flights because of the sheer scale of the Australia and to some extent New Zealand. On hindsight we should have done a couple of weeks driving round New Zealand - even for us oldies it would have been very doable but we only realised that once we got there - and we could have done Australia by cruise and train - a number of people we spoke to on the cruise had done the train across Australia from Perth and said it was well worth the money. The ship was bigger than we are used to and we found it busier and noisier - really difficult to find somewhere to chat with folk over a quiet drink or a coffee - so difficult to find a seat in Cafe Baccio. We spent more time in our cabin than we have done on any other cruise just because it was quieter. The design of the central atrium sends music playing at the bottom right the way up to the library on deck 10. Having said the groups singing and playing were very good and we would have enjoyed the music more if it hadn't always seemed so loud. Staff as always were amazing and happy to assist but with Premium Drinks Package pre-purchased the ship ran out of our tipple on day one. They did seem to do everything to remedy that situation but hmnn. Food was first class in Blu and Epernay we found good too - the buffet up top was too busy and a bit of a free for all so we mostly avoided it. Hard sell on Speciality Dining was awful and we pitied the poor staff sent out to harangue us into parting with even more cash when dining in our restaurant was first class already - why would we pay again? We used Celebrity Shore Excursions - expensive and invariably on 50 seater buses - mostly unable to hear the commentary and a bit hurried. We organised one excursion ourselves to Tussock Ridge Farm only 20 minutes out of Wellington and IT MADE OUR TRIP - so we'll try to organise more like that in future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We have chosen this cruise and next cruise from Auckland because of their interesting itinerary. Our opinion about embarkation was very good and very quickly. We expected much more from Premium Class ship it is very much in need of ... Read More
We have chosen this cruise and next cruise from Auckland because of their interesting itinerary. Our opinion about embarkation was very good and very quickly. We expected much more from Premium Class ship it is very much in need of renovation and new furniture all over the ship. The food and presentation of the food at Main Dining Room was not even medium class. We tried buffet few times for lunch that was okay. Big surprise no table served lunch every day, only at days at sea. Room Service at the beginning was out of this world, always something missing or wrong items. For example got coffee not cups got yoghurt but not spoons etc. Only few times at the end of second cruise all was good. We both bought a very expensive drink package compared to other cruise ship we have been cruising before.On this ship the most heard saying at bars was sorry Sir not in this bar maybe that drink is available on some other bar. And we asked only the drinks was on a list we got when we bought packages. Two days after Sydney the ship was out of " Tonic" can you understand that, we don´t. Once I ordered GT and I got Gin and Soda , and that was not told me before I asked what you gave me ? Sorry no tonic I put soda instead was the answer, very nice ! Near the bars the live and other music was too loud to speak to other people, especially when you are not using English as a first language. And finally this disembarkation at Perth was horrible we were out of the ship before our bags came. We were waiting in a very very hot area without cooling, next straight out to burning sun to wait for transport and no shade at all. Even most of the staff was friendly and nice we have to say no more Celebrity Cruises unfortunately ! Ps. At Celebrity the biggest problem is their logistic not staff. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - didn't pay much attention to which cruise line, and hadn't previously cruised with Celebrity before. We won't be cruising with them again. Cabin design and layout of the ship ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - didn't pay much attention to which cruise line, and hadn't previously cruised with Celebrity before. We won't be cruising with them again. Cabin design and layout of the ship was excellent, but that's where the good points end. Worst feature of the cruise was the outrageous pricing of every extra - drinks, WiFi, speciality dining, all seriously over priced. No laundry facilities without paying through the nose, the list goes on. Food was uninspiring, and certainly not of the standard we are used to with lines like Cunard or P&O. My wife is vegetarian, and very unimpressed, especially with the buffet offerings. We were on back to back cruises, and were thoroughly bored with the repetitive menu's - we have seldom taken so many opportunities to eat while ashore! Entertainment on board was variable - some excellent resident musicians and on board shows, but some very dull guest artists, including the worst Beatles tribute band I have ever suffered, but big thanks to Gilly and the Girl and Pete Henry for making the musical aspects of the cruise up to standard! The ports we visited, and tours were almost all wonderful, with the possible exception of the Marlborough railway trip. We would return to New Zealand and Australia at the drop of a hat, but not with Celebrity. Chatting with fellow cruisers who had been with the line before, the general feeling was that standards had slipped and corners cut - not the quality we expect. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We had not been to these destinations before and this cruise offered us just what we wanted. The crew was really friendly and most of them always acknowledged us and many of them entered into ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We had not been to these destinations before and this cruise offered us just what we wanted. The crew was really friendly and most of them always acknowledged us and many of them entered into a conversation. The cabin was always cleaned well, but it could do with a little updating, some of the furnishings need replacing. The guest entertainers in the theatre were ok however, the the ships dancers and singers put on very good shows. Some of the entertainment singers or bands around the ship were very good especially a young group, Jeam Beam and two girl violinists. The daily activities could have been better, again not a lot to choose from unlike P&O cruises.The Oceanview Cafe served a very good range of food and we ate there in the evening too, the Maitre D’ Zeljko Cickovic always found time to chat and couldn’t do enough to help. We feel the restaurant didn’t offer enough of a choice for the evening meal although the food was good. 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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We love the fellow travelers on celebrity cruises, especially on longer cruises. The food is very good, entertainment is fair compared to Royal Caribbean, and there is a decent amount of night life. The smaller groups of musicians are ... Read More
We love the fellow travelers on celebrity cruises, especially on longer cruises. The food is very good, entertainment is fair compared to Royal Caribbean, and there is a decent amount of night life. The smaller groups of musicians are excellent in the side venues. The main theater entertainment could really use some improvement. The pool areas are only crowded on sea days, but between the solarium and outer decks is large, so you can usually find a comfortable spot. The abundance of towels is wonderful, and unlike Royal Caribbean, you don't have to show your card as they seem to ration towels like old war era Soviet union lines for toilet paper. One thing that has changed is the switch from the Corning glass blowing exhibits on the long club. Now, under new management, there's a do it yourself with instruction, which charges a fee. Also, try and book tours on your own as the ship charges a premium for variable quality tours. This is true for most lines it seems. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
You either love cruising or you hate it, and we are one of those couples who absolutely love it! You unpack once and if you find a place you really like, you can come back to it later. We try to take at least one cruise every year. The ... Read More
You either love cruising or you hate it, and we are one of those couples who absolutely love it! You unpack once and if you find a place you really like, you can come back to it later. We try to take at least one cruise every year. The New Zealand cruise we booked two years out while on board the Celebrity Eclipse (a sister ship) for two weeks in the Caribbean. We decided it was time to go check out what everyone had been raving about. The itinerary was fantastic, 14 nights Auckland to Sydney on our favorite class of ship. We'd been through the Panama Canal, Canada, Alaska, Iceland, Europe, and so on. Being from California we were really dreading the long flight to Auckland, and we wavered back and forth the entire two years. Oh my gosh...we are so glad we forged ahead! We flew direct from LAX to Auckland, and then after spending time in Australia, flew direct from Sydney to LAX. The flight really is not all that bad. I started my research about New Zealand about nine months out, and while researching I fell in love before we even got there. To top it off, we got super lucky. Our Cruise Critic thread was quite active, and we had a really great couple who set up an offsite page we could all access for an abundance of information. We could add private tour info to this, and also post info along the way as needed (before, along the cruise, and after the cruise). They kept it (and all of us) organized. A big shout out of thanks to Tom & Barbara! We arrived in New Zealand a day ahead (not early enough in my opinion). At least two days would have been better. After researching Taxis vs. Uber vs SuperShuttle, I opted for prearranging the SuperShuttle to take us from the airport to our hotel. It could not have been easier! Prepaid conversion cost us $36.40 US from airport to Hilton Hotel. Yes, it might have taken us ten minutes longer than Uber, but the upside was seeing a couple hotels along the way and meeting others who would be on the ship with us. We are social (heck, you have to be a bit social to cruise, right?), so we didn't feel the need for a private taxi or Uber. We stayed at the Hilton Auckland Princess Wharf for its location and membership in their loyalty program. We could walk along the waterfront, to shops and the sky tower. Since we only had the one day in Auckland, we chose to ride the Hop On Hop Off to get an overview of the area. There are two companies that do this, so check them both out. I researched them ahead of time, and my preference was the "Auckland Explorer Bus" as they had better reviews, and the ferry trip to Devonport was included. I can't give the Hilton Hotel enough Kudos! The location is awesome; rooms were modern; staff was friendly; restaurant and bar on site was good. It is literally right where the ship docks, and in the morning when it is time to turn your luggage over to the porters and check in for the cruise, you only have to walk out of the lobby and turn left, walk about fifty feet and you are there! January 17, 2019 - The day is finally here! We had a nice leisurely breakfast, walked around the corner to a couple of shops to pick up a couple of gifts. Grabbed our bags from the hotel, dropped the luggage to the porters at 11:30 and got in line. Check in for the Celebrity Solstice went smooth. It seemed the lines were moving along fairly fast. We only waited about ten minutes. Once we boarded, we did not want to disembark. We had a full day ahead of us. We had opted for a Sky Suite (Aft 2155) celebrating our 38th Anniversary and wanted to meet up with the Michael's Club Concierge, our Butler, dine for lunch in Luminae, unpack, check out the ship, muster drill, and get ready for our Cruise Critic group Sail away. For us the Solstice class is the perfect size ship. It has a nice selection of restaurants, bars, and quiet space to just hang out and read a book if you so choose. The spa is a nice size, and if you choose to go to the gym it is located in the front of the ship with plenty of windows to look out and enjoy the scenery. Some ships can be so dreary, and Celebrity does a fantastic job at bringing the light in. The artwork throughout the ship is always interesting and fun to look at. We’ve tried all the different staterooms along the way. It just depends on budget and needs. We tend to opt for balconies, and since Celebrity introduced the Aqua Class, we have been quite happy with that. Splurging for the Suite was a real treat. We were spoiled with our Butler bringing us our morning Lattes, tea and scones in the afternoon, escorting us to our show seats on formal evenings, etc. etc. etc. Michaels Lounge was an extra special enhancement. I won’t even go in to detail on that, but one huge perk is tendering days, the concierge escorted us to the front of the line for disembarking. Luminae’s dining experience was superb. By far the best meals, and the best service we’ve had on Celebrity. Our favorite spots to hang out on the ship are Café Al Bacio, the Martini Bar, Grand Foyer for Entertainment, Sunset Bar and Lawn Club, Solarium, Sky Observation Lounge, and if we are looking for something light to eat, we love the Spa Café. A couple of times we grabbed a burger and fries on the upper deck by the pool and just enjoyed some sunshine and people watching. The entertainment was especially good this cruise with the Celebrity Singer & Dancers, and variety of entertainers on board. We were really excited to see the daily entertainment throughout the ship included two girls Alina & Lia, known as the “Lighthouse String Duo” (one plays the violin, the other the cello). We had seen them before on a New Years Eve Cruise. They are talented musicians who play classical and popular music on their electric strings. Their energy is captivating! January 18 - Oh my gosh. The weather is fantastic! Our arrival into the Bay of Islands brought us calm waters and blue skies with beautiful poofy clouds. I don’t think I’ve seen such beautiful green rolling hills and valleys. Beautiful blue water. The coastline is dotted with islands .... wow ! Everything is spotless!!! Cute rural towns. I’m in love! I’m dying to put my feet in the water to check the temperature! Today’s excursion was a ship excursion “Glow Worm Caves & Te Waimate” We went to see the glow worms at the Kawiti Cavern, along with an afternoon tea at Te Waimate Mission House. Unfortunate that we are unable to take photographs of the glow worms, as they do not allow it. But .... wow it was super cool! A must do if in the area. The aft stateroom is paying off right now as we pull out. Today, February 19 had to be one of our best excursions ever! We arrived in Tauranga, NZ at 8:00 AM and joined the tour arranged by a fellow Cruise Critic member with Carolyn & Terry (husband/wife team) of Custom Day Tours. Our van had five couples from Cruise Critic. Terry (our guide) stopped along the way for us to watch the river rafters coming down Kaituna River. Then we were off to Rotarua. We see an active geothermal area (Te Puia) which includes 2 of 8 spontaneous geysers in the world, bubbling mud pools, a Maori welcome, and lunch & much more!!!! Then we were on our way to the Redwood Forest and a Kiwi fruit orchard for tasting. Pictures can’t even tell the story. What a fantastic day. Back to our stateroom to enjoy the sail away jet skiis were riding the wake as we left port. Glory our Butler had delivered a beautiful platter of cheeses and prosciutto along with a bottle of wine on ice. Nice! Our first Sea Day was busy starting with the Cruise Critic get together in Cellar Masters. One of the best groups we’ve connected with over the years. We attended a private glass blowing show for Suite guests by the new company Celebrity has onboard (they took over Corning’s spot). Tonight is our first of three Evening Chic nights. In Wellington I arranged a small group tour for 13 of us. It was a six hour driving tour with Michelle that would have many stops and photo ops along the way, including lunch at a funky very busy whimsical restaurant along the waterfront. We rode the famous cable car, went up to Mount Victoria for stunning views, saw the Parliament building, Weta Cave - Home of Lord of the Rings, Art Deco Roxy, Old St Paul’s Cathedral, and the incredible Te Papa Museum! Yes, Wellington topped Tauranga!!!! Wow! As we pulled in to the Port of Picton we were treated to the beautiful scenery and waters of Queen Charlotte Sound. Our excursion was a ship tour “Explore Marlborough Wineries by Bike’. Great exercise and visited three wineries. The last one Mahi being the best! We had a fabulous lunch of baked salmon, warm potato salad, and a cold corn salad served by their chef Marcia. Yum! The Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays of this Marlborough region are so flavorful. Mahi even had a fantastic Pinot Noir. This was such the great day! Akaroa! What can I say? It just kept getting better and better. We love the Countryside of New Zealand. The Akaroa hills remind us a lot of the rolling hillsides as you drive through Cambria to the coast in the spring time, or Santa Ynez if the hills were green all year and dotted with pine trees here and there. The homes along the coast are modern architecture, and the homes walking up into the neighborhoods are a bit more modest but modern wooden with metal roofs. Flowers are incredible!!! The trees and flowers are what we have in Santa Barbara, but more vibrant in color and healthier!!!! It’s peaceful. The climate is dryer than ours which surprised us. Used more lotion. Great for the hair ...... lol. In all of our travels we think this is that special spot! Wish it wasn’t so far from family. Could we bring a piece of New Zealand home with us? Including their government! Safest Country in the World!! Today we were doing our own thing. We walked along the seashore to the Light House (something we have a thing for), and then weaved our way through the neighborhoods up to the Giants House. Oh my gosh. We highly recommend “The Giants House”! It is not anything like it sounds. Be sure to look it up online. It is something you can do on your own, and we highly recommend you do so you are not rushed for time. We shared a light lunch up there (egg salad sandwich, crust was cut off cut in quarters and delicious fresh lemonade). Afterwards we walked back down the hill to town and did some shopping along the waterfront before returning to the ship by tender. Dunedin - Really a beautiful arrival into the channel. We chose the ship tour “Scottish Experience, Castle & Brewery”. The unexpected bonus to this tour was stopping at the famous Dunedin Rail Station on the way to the Brewery for a photo op. We toured the 141 year old Speight’s Brewery and tasted fabulous beer! Toured New Zealand’s only Castle, the Larnach Castle. Along the way our guide pointed out many highlights and shared many interesting historical facts about Dunedin. Beautiful countryside again!! Great tour, but really wish we had more time at the Castle. Too much time was spent on lunch at the Castle, and not enough time to explore the beautiful gardens! Cruising the Fjords – Wow….what a day! Our arrival to Dusky Sound was a welcome sight off our aft balcony. Then on to Doubtful Sound. The best of all was Milford Sound. It was stunning! We were invited to the Heliport for this portion of cruising the Sounds. The Captain pulled up close to waterfalls, and later did a 360 degree turn on the cruise out of the fjord. For that portion we went back to our stateroom to enjoy the waterfalls super up close!! Photos….photos….photos! Sea Day was a Lazy Day We took a Backstage tour of the Production shows put on by four of the cast members. Attended a fabulous concert by the two girls Alina and Lia. Another Sea Day – this one was fun and a bit busy. We attended a fabulous talk about the Antarctic, then a Bridge Tour so different than what we experienced before. The afternoon the Solstice theatre was standing room only for an impressionist from Australia. He was so da## funny. Later we went again to listen to our favorite girls on the strings!!”Lighthouse String Duo”. For those of you who like “duelling banjos” or “duelling pianos” these two girls take it to a whole new level !!!!!! Day 1 in Hobart Tasmania Australia we first went through Immigration process prior to exploring the city. Even though the line for immigration was very long and we were standing outside for a good portion of the time (wear a jacket, as it is cold!!!), the process was fairly quick. We decided to do the Hop On Hop Off Bus for a 90 minute narrated tour of the highlights but did get off at the botanical gardens. The Japanese Gardens were absolutely beautiful. The botanical gardens are free and it was a holiday so there were many families with children having picnics throughout the park areas. The Hop On Hop Off is just a short walk from where the ship docks. Easy to do on your own. In the evening we had a ship excursion called “An Evening With the Devils”. It was an after hours tour of Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. We were able to feed the kangaroos and pet a Koala, and see all sorts of other animals. We also got to see the Tasmanian Devil!!!! Day 2 in Hobart we got up early. Glory, our Butler delivered breakfast to our stateroom as we had an early excursion to Port Arthur, one of Australia’s most notorious penal colonies developed in the 1830’s. I’d say this is a must do in Hobart, especially if you have an overnight. We chose to do this as a ship excursion on the second day as we knew we’d have to be back on board early and figured “let them be responsible for getting us back on time”. Worked out perfectly. We packed in a lot while in Hobart. January 30 - Last Day at Sea – Lots to do on the daily schedule. Lots of goodbyes to be said. My hubby attended a cooking class where one of the chef’s prepared alligator and kangaroo in the fry pan using butter, olive oil and lemon. We met with a Cruise Vacations Associate, and booked two more cruises. We will miss tossing our towels on the floor morning and night; having our bed made for us daily with chocolates on our pillow every night; scrumptious meals served to us with smiles; nonstop entertainment......but when we wake tomorrow we shall be sailing into the magnificent Sydney Harbour and setting our sights on the world famous Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge! According to Captain Tasos, we should be arriving into port about 5:15am. January 31 - We’ve arrived in Sydney. Set our alarm for 5:00 am so we’d be up and dressed for the arrival into the magnificent Sydney Harbour. Wow! What a sight it was. The skyline is spectacular. Like no other. Disembarkation went off without a hitch. Our bags were easily spotted. The lines to exit went fast. The only hiccup we had was at the very end after disembarkation. We needed a taxi to take us to our hotel in Sydney. There were no taxis, and there was a long line waiting for one. When we asked for help, we were directed to walk straight up the street and cross the street to where there would be another taxi pick up area. We were wheeling two bags each. This was not an easy task. We could not find the spot she told us to go, and it turned into a total fiasco. We walked for blocks. We should have stayed in the taxi line at the port (or, in hind sight I should have prearranged transportation). I had no idea it was going to be that difficult to get to the hotel that was only one mile away. We have never had a problem getting a taxi in a port on departure. But, best cruise ever!!!!!!! Ship was beautiful, and clean. Captain, and all the staff were friendly, helpful and fun. The entertainment was fantastic! The dining was fabulous. We tried them all, except Silk Harvest. Murano was very good, Luminae the favorite of course. Ports of Call were absolutely the best. As said.....Perfect Destination, Exceeded our Expectations! Thank you Celebrity. We love New Zealand! This is definitely a place we would like to go back to and spend more time. Note: Since we’ve been home, he’s been preparing most of our fish, chicken and steak over a propane flame like the chef (but outside) instead of our barbecue. Oh my gosh, its so much more flavorful, and moist! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise to see New Zealand, it was our first cruise and we were not disappointed. We picked this particular one for the stops in Sydney and New Zealand.We had wonderful service and would like to thank especially Catalin, ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see New Zealand, it was our first cruise and we were not disappointed. We picked this particular one for the stops in Sydney and New Zealand.We had wonderful service and would like to thank especially Catalin, Larissa and the wine waiters for table 271 they were especially attentive and pleasant and very helpful when I was feeling under the weather. The captain was great and we enjoyed listening to his amusing updates on the weather and the ports. We went to his talk about the history of the vessel and found it very entertaining. The weather wasn’t always good but had it been the sun deck would have been used much more. We did find the solarium useful on the dull days but couldn’t always find a seat. The journey into the Fjiords was great and beautiful. We particularly enjoyed the trip on the Ketch in Akaroa and the Jet boat ride in Rotarua. Overall we had a great time and wouldn’t hesitate in booking again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We were interested to try a Celebrity cruise out of Australia, and this one offered an interesting itinerary as it visited Newcastle and Hobart as well as New Zealand ports. Embarkation was quick but we had special assistance with elderly ... Read More
We were interested to try a Celebrity cruise out of Australia, and this one offered an interesting itinerary as it visited Newcastle and Hobart as well as New Zealand ports. Embarkation was quick but we had special assistance with elderly mother, and we also had an accessible stateroom for her. Generally the public rooms of this ship were in excellent condition, and they were very elegant. We enjoyed the many different places on the ship to hear music of excellent quality, and also enjoyed the main production shows very much. Some of the guest acts were not quite as good, but it is necessary to cater for the many different tastes of the passengers in entertainment and one cannot expect to like everything. The house band was fantastic and we found ourselves dancing every night. We found the cruise director and staff to be very good, and the captain was hilarious! We were in the Captain's club lounge every night, and enjoyed the service there. Select dining around 8pm worked very well and the food and service in the main dining room was of a very good standard. The sommeliers were also knowledgable, and we found good wines to drink with our meals. Overall the service all around the ship was excellent. We have been to NZ many times so the ports were predictable for us, but we were lucky with the weather and were able to see everything on the itinerary. People we met who were experiencing NZ for the first time seemed to really love the ports. 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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