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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We choose cruises based on places we want to stop, and have preferred Celebrity when possible for the past 15+ years. Things we liked: Every place we stopped. Love New Zealand. Cruising the fjords of New Zealand. Select dining ... Read More
We choose cruises based on places we want to stop, and have preferred Celebrity when possible for the past 15+ years. Things we liked: Every place we stopped. Love New Zealand. Cruising the fjords of New Zealand. Select dining started at 5:30 so you could catch the 7 pm show. Everyone tried hard to please, and most succeeded. They really do have good people. Liked the Elite benefits--bag of laundry, 3 free drinks everyday from 5-7 anywhere on the ship (except dining room). Looked forward to the captain's announcements--always learned something. Ice cream every day. They even had cinnamon every single day (normally we only see it a few days). Captains presentation on the last sea day was the best presentation I've ever seen on a ship--better even than our Panama Canal presentations. Things we didn't like: Food in the dining room and on the buffet seems to be significantly going downwards. I've heard these complaints for years, but this cruise it really really seemed true. On a shore excursion someone asked how the food was, and another passenger replied "average". Sad, because we originally chose Celebrity years ago because the food was above average. Sloooooow select dining service. Servers could have sped things up a bit (often sat for 15 minutes waiting for a menu, dishes cleared, etc), but I also think there is something about how they run it that it just goes slow (an organizational and management problem). Took 3 days and 5 trips to the customer service desk to get my Elite benefits working properly. They were nice enough about it, just couldn't fix it right the first time. Heard several times "sometimes it doesn't work, just put it on your bill and we'll take it off". Guest lecturers were pretty dry. I give the ship 3 stars mostly because of the food and organizational issues. 5 stars for the destination. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We wanted to spend Christmas and New Year on the Solstice. We would highly recommend this cruise to anyone. The ship was decorated, and the staff were exceptional. This was our fifth cruise on Celebrity, and have four more coming up. We ... Read More
We wanted to spend Christmas and New Year on the Solstice. We would highly recommend this cruise to anyone. The ship was decorated, and the staff were exceptional. This was our fifth cruise on Celebrity, and have four more coming up. We love the decor of the Solstice class ships, and always go to the Specialty Restaurants. The Main Dining room is just beautiful, and the food is fabulous. We also used the buffet at times. During this cruise I indulged in a massage, which was just wonderful. We loved the Solarium in the mornings and the Spa Cafe with the healthy options for a quick breakfast after a swim. Our next cruise is on Summit, then another on Solstice this year. The shows in the evenings were so good, and although we had seen them before, we still enjoyed seeing them again. Great entertainment. Keep it up Celebrity. You are the best. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My wife & I were fortunate enough to have enjoyed (for $75) a TA ship's tour, including coach travel & lunch, on the Solstice whilst it was in port in Sydney just prior to Christmas in 2017. That sold us & shortly after, ... Read More
My wife & I were fortunate enough to have enjoyed (for $75) a TA ship's tour, including coach travel & lunch, on the Solstice whilst it was in port in Sydney just prior to Christmas in 2017. That sold us & shortly after, we booked the 2018 Christmas/NY New Zealand 12 night cruise. We'd not been to NZ previously & certainly hadn't sailed during the festive season. It would also be first time with Celebrity. Initially it was just the 2 of us, but a few months' later a friend signed up & we changed our standard balcony cabin to a concierge class balcony room for 3. As it eventuated, 2 more friends from USA wanted to do the trip & they booked a sky class suite. So all up, 5 of us, but in fairness, this review is based on my wife's & my experiences. Embarkation: We arrived at the terminal at 11.45am & dropped off our luggage - very easy. Consistent with our previous experiences on other ships, it took about 35 minutes all up from the time we entered the terminal until boarding. Mind you, without concierge class, it would definitely have been longer. I must comment on the vast number of helpful & pleasant service officers standing by, pointing us in the right direction as we progressed through the terminal. They helped set the tone for our cruise & it was a perfect start when we were offered a glass of bubbly on boarding. Concierge Class: Near the ship's entry point as we boarded, we were greeted by our concierge, Javier, who introduced himself & told us that we should contact him if we have any questions or concerns. He gave us his card. Excellent start from Celebrity! Daily & most times, twice daily, there were recorded messages sent by Javier to our cabin 'phone with updates. These were especially helpful with info re excursion tendering & disembarking during port visits & also, for our final disembarkation in Sydney. Javier's message always gave particulars of the hours he would be available daily at his desk on deck 7. He also facilitated a helipad visit for concierge class passengers when the ship was arriving in Picton. He was exceptional. We enjoyed our first lunch in the Main Dining Room as part of the concierge deal. Our bottle of bubbly was waiting for us on ice in our room. Daily canapés were provided & initially, we ordered 3 plates of 4 canapés each, but we stopped these after a few days as we truly had enough food at meal times to more than satisfy our hunger. A small set of binoculars were in our cabin, as per the concierge service. Concierge also promises preferred dining options in the MDR. We invariably were seated at our desired table there at night. Would we pay the extra $$$ again for concierge? Probably not now that we're retired & every $ really counts; however, if you can afford it, I'd recommend you seriously consider it. Dining: We ate most of our meals in the MDR, although we went to the buffet for lunch on port days & also enjoyed Murano & Tuscan. MDR provided us with an adequate variety of courses, although perhaps an over concentration on cold soups which weren't our thing. But still plenty of appealing & tasty dishes to choose from. We thoroughly enjoyed each & every meal we had here & we were fortunate enough to be seated at Table 561 (seats 6) for our group of 5. Our servers, Head Waiter Clamelle, Assistant Marija, Drinks Waiter Mark & Sommelier Nelson, were all outstanding. They truly spoilt us. Mind you, all the staff at each meal time in the MDR, whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner, were wonderful. Lunch on 4 occasions in the buffet provided us with an amazing array of food from which to choose. Quality & flavour weren't missing. We had no issue getting a table each time as we only ate there on port days. Loved the ice cream bar & the dessert & cake selections were staggeringly good! Our evening in Murano was very special & was definitely a 5 star event. Such attentive staff & perfectly professionally friendly. Food was exceptionally good & the whole experience, as a one-off for us, was worth the US$65 per head. We dined the 1 night in Tuscan & whilst we preferred the menu in Murano, Tuscan's location at the ship's aft provided a tremendous setting. We did enjoy our night here; cost was US$60 per head. Café: Inevitably stopped for a liqueur coffee & tea here at night & I can't believe how quick & efficient service was. Also a stop over point for a mid morning coffee. Most times, but not always, seats were available, but there was a quick turn over of tables. A most pleasant venue to relax. Room Service: We ordered pre-breakfast tea, coffee, smoothies & juice each morning & this is a wonderful free service. Bars & Lounges: Mainly had our drinks at lunch & dinner times so didn't frequent the bars in the main. However, did enjoy an occasional beer or wine in the Ensemble and Passport bars. Both were nicely furnished & relaxing & service was no issue. Paid about USA$30 for a "world wide" wine tasting of 6 reds & 6 whites from different international wine regions, hosted in Cellar Masters. Enjoyed this, a pleasant couple of hours & no shortage of drinks. Rest Rooms: I can understand why they were rated number 1 by Cruise Critic readers. Cloth or paper towels, constant cleaning (there was always a cleaner there ) & fresh smelling. The standard is at the highest level. Activities & Entertainment: We only participated in a number of the trivia games & the bingo. The latter was expensive at USA $39 - $59 & we only played on one day of the 3. Trivia was as you'd expect, but don't have high expectations when it comes to prizes (not that it mattered to us as we rarely won anyway!). It's there for the fun & that's okay. But one trivia host was excruciating. It was all about him & his Sicilian heritage. He was over - indulgent, infantile, went on & on & it got to the point of narcissism. Just not at all funny after a few minutes. Went to most stage shows which included a rock/dance show, 2 individual performers/singers, a comedian & 4 singers, The Other Lads. Enjoyed them all, although nothing sensational , but an entertaining way to spend an hour. Plenty of seats available at the late shows. The Ship: We think this is a wonderful ship with a great variety of public rooms. It was beautifully decorated throughout the public areas for the festive season & Santa was on hand on Christmas Day for the kids & families. Especially loved the solarium area, just to chill & look at the beautiful view from there. Not that we tried them, but they serve healthy meals there too. There were 3 to 4 metre swells crossing the Tasman going over & the Solstice handled them admirably. Smoother than all previous cruises I've been on. Christmas/NYE: As mentioned, Santa came on board, in the morning & all kids were given a gift. All diners in the MDR had a bon-bon at their table setting. We dined in the MDR on NYE & all diners were given headwear & hooters for the evening. A nice touch. Unfortunately, NYE celebrations on Lido Deck were rained out & as it eventuated, boring old us were sound asleep when the NY rolled over. Upselling: Of course, this takes place but noting that we couldn't quickly put an end to. Not a concern to us, just be firm. Kids' Clubs: With no kids of our own on board, this didn't interest us but after a discussion with Mum with a teenage daughter, if your kids are thinking of going, get them to go from day & try it out. This Mum's daughter didn't go in the first few days & by the time she did, groups or cliques had already been formed & she felt shut out & somewhat unwelcome. Ports: Enjoyed visiting all ports but Akaroa is the most beautiful we've ever seen. An absolute standout & a credit to the townsfolk. Laundry: As you'd be aware, there is no self- service laundry on board. This is definitely a negative with Celebrity & undoubtedly an opportunity for them to extract $$$. They even had the temerity to offer a "special" during the cruise: fill up your room PAPER laundry bag with as much as you can cram in for US$49.95! In summary, we had a fabulous & relaxing holiday on Solstice & would recommend it to anyone. Would we sail on her again? In a heartbeat, but cost wise it's a bit dearer than some others. Hopefully we will, but in the meantime, we've snapped up a bargain on Carnival Splendor for 2020. Perhaps the beautiful Solstice once more in 2020 if we save our pennies! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Food was very average not high quality always served cold food that had been sitting in a fridge all day The fine dining was not worth spending $100 on each meal I expected much better after spending $11,000 for a aqua class tickets. ... Read More
Food was very average not high quality always served cold food that had been sitting in a fridge all day The fine dining was not worth spending $100 on each meal I expected much better after spending $11,000 for a aqua class tickets. in room movies $14.99 pay view absolutely crap movies not worth viewing. $5.00 for a gelato ice cream ARE YOU KIDDING! 2 hour wait time for the tender to take us to Akaroa many people were very upset at the waiting time. SUMMARY It was not the best holiday a little boring always trying to up sell you from the minute you got on the ship It felt like Thailand cheap watches crap jewellery I was a little bit embrassed to tell the family but I was rather happy to get off and go and have a nice cooked hot meal . The Sky Deck was nice but nothing ever happens there a bar that doesnt open until 3.30pm a lot wasted space The staff are nice Sorry but it didnt leave me wanting to go back. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We paid an awful lot of money for the cruise. Even when you have a cabin with a balcony you have to pay extra to have an unobscured view (a balcony without a lifeboat outside). The cabin was remarkably small and cramped. Despite the ... Read More
We paid an awful lot of money for the cruise. Even when you have a cabin with a balcony you have to pay extra to have an unobscured view (a balcony without a lifeboat outside). The cabin was remarkably small and cramped. Despite the already high cost we still had the extra expense of over £200 for wi-fi. The vast majority of hotels these days offer free wi-fi and what is a cruise ship but a floating hotel. Every day we were pestered by staff with offers to upgrade/buy/get extra and it was a real nuisance. They really try to squeeze every penny out of you and ultimately it left a pretty sour taste and spoiled what was otherwise a nice holiday. There were upsides however as the staff were really hardworking and pleasant plus the food was very good, which was pleasantly surprising bearing in mind the amount of people that were being served simultaneously. We probably won't cruise again after this experience and could not recommend it to friends or family. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
going around new zealand was wonderful watching as depart was so cool! we enjoyed ourselves so much, we got spoiled rotten by the staff ,the Elton jack show was amazing , Picton and Akaroa are gorgeous, the food was Excellent not to ... Read More
going around new zealand was wonderful watching as depart was so cool! we enjoyed ourselves so much, we got spoiled rotten by the staff ,the Elton jack show was amazing , Picton and Akaroa are gorgeous, the food was Excellent not to forget the amazing, Joseph, Jay Jay, Thia and Victoria the made our experience triple! the last night was tough, the whole ride was very smooth, except for some bumps every now and then. the cabin was very nice with an amazing view everyday, the creme brûlées were spectacular, just everything was bliss, many thanks to all the amazing staff that made the cruise AMAZING! and of course to the amazing, hilarious captain that made me and my family laugh, i am just so grateful for the experience and i wish it never ended. D: The James Family #2 sorry for any constant words this was written by an eleven year old that just woke up. :) Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Our group of 6 chose this cruise as a reunion cruise. Previously we met and became cruise buddies 6 years ago when cruising on the Millenium through Asia and this was the first time as a group we had been together. The 6 of us had a ... Read More
Our group of 6 chose this cruise as a reunion cruise. Previously we met and became cruise buddies 6 years ago when cruising on the Millenium through Asia and this was the first time as a group we had been together. The 6 of us had a fabulous time together but it had nothing to do with the quality of the ship. Firstly, while the ship in public areas is quite stylish and clean the cabins were not. We had splurged and got a suite. It was spacious but upon embarkation my first experience was to lift the toilet seat lid and discover the previous guest's faeces was still on the toilet seat. So I got the wonderful job of using my hand sanitiser and anti- bacterial wipes to clean the seat and after this 'lovely' welcome was dubious about the standard of cleaniness so after the cabin steward had finished I always wiped the seat and then with separate handwipe of course tap handles! Our butler and steward were lovely people but it was extremely obvious they were tired and over worked. We didn't ask them for much because we could see how exhausted they were. Our butler was fantastic and every morning brought us cappuccinos and breakfast. We are late risers and it was clear that he appreciated that! Most of the staff on board though appeared exhausted and tired and jaded. Smiles for most were forced and there was an obvious feeling of discontentment. This of course was when you could find staff. The ship certainly does not have the staff ratio to guests it claims. No pool service, no Lawn Club service, bars were understaffed and our friends staying in an Ocean view catergory didn't see the cabin steward until the third day of the cruise and only after they had seen the supervisor 'accidentally in passing' were they able to follow this up. Their steward went 'missing' several times so for clean towels they sometimes needed to get pool towels to shower with. Friends in Aqua class also experienced dissatisfaction with their steward as well. The food on board was though fantastic! But the drinks service in the main dining room was particularly slow and not tailored to personal tastes, instead it seemed to be the Sommelier recommending the same wine every night she wanted to get rid of the infamous 'Elegance' Chardonnay. Thankfully it was drinkable but not fine dining worthy. Specialty restaurants are expensive. Silk Harvest was good and Murano too, who doesn't like Lobster cooked table side? The buffet always had sensational food. If you are in suite class the Michaels Club is fantastic, however Luminere didn't impress at all. Limited choices and repeated choices during the 10 days didn't entice us. Between the main dining room food and the buffet you don't really need anything else. The entertainment was not impressive overall. Rock City was enjoyable but overall,the entertainment was sub standard when you consider other ships/cruise lines have shows like Burn the Floor in the past. Despite these negatives we had a great time! We had many enjoyable meals together and great conversations. Ports were great but there was a lack of information. For example the Terracotta Warriors are on display at the Wellington Museum yet this wasn't made apparent to guests. I want to make a comparison between suite products and value for money. We have sailed on the P and 0 Pacific Aria suite product and it was a better standard and value for money product than Celebrity this time. We have also sailed in the suite products on NCL Jewel and the NCL Epic. NCL is a far superior luxurious experience and at a better price. Overall we had nice time but I'd prefer to give my cruise dollars to NCL when booking a suite in future. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
As a first-time cruiser, I choose this cruise because of the dates fitting in with my work Christmas closedown and the opportunity to visit friends. Unfortunately, when I got the booking sorted, Napier had fallen of the list of ports to ... Read More
As a first-time cruiser, I choose this cruise because of the dates fitting in with my work Christmas closedown and the opportunity to visit friends. Unfortunately, when I got the booking sorted, Napier had fallen of the list of ports to visit. I also chose Concierge Class because of the room location and concerns about safety as a solo female traveller. Embarkation. Slow and no promised (Conceirge Class) priority check-In. I never met my Conceirge during the entire trip. Also promised but not delivered for Conceirge Class was the exclusive departure lounge, priority disembarkation, welcome sparkling wine and fresh fruit. I forego the daily delivery of afternoon savouries as there was something that looked like cat’s vomit left on the coffee table. Room – 12th Deck. The attendant was very pleasant and kept the room very clean and tidy. Though tired, the room was functional, and the bed and pillows were incredibly comfortable. The shower was great for me (little person) but my 6’3” son would have had to shower on his knees if he wanted water on his face or shoulders. Food. My first night experience in the main (Grand Epernay) restaurant found a menu of limited variety and contained ingredients I don’t eat (and I’m not a fussy eater). What I ordered (bolognaise) came with no vegetables and was cold. Breakfast was generally taken first thing (6-6.30 am) in Ocean View Café where the food was more likely to be hot and fresh, and I could enjoy a slow and leisurely meal with my book or puzzles. By 9-9.30am the Cafe was bedlam and best avoided. While there was plenty of variety at lunch and dinner, the selection was much of a muchness. I found the lunchtime soups delicious and with a couple of pieces of French loaf and a sprinkle of parmesan (caesar salad bar) and spring onions (stir fry bar). After hearing conflicting reviews about the specialty restaurants, I decided the extra charge would probably not be worth additional cost and more disappointment. The best meal was at the Mast Grill (Deck 14). The hamburgers and chip were really good – much moreso than that on offer in the Ocean View. Service. The Ocean View Cafe was dirty at times, a point noted to a senior staff member was food and crumbs still on the bench seats at 6 am. The staff member commented that someone had complained the previous day but he obviously hadn’t checked the night cleaning crew had upped their game. The cafe also ran out of black tea on a regular basis. On the first occasion just after leaving Dunedin, a query to a senior staff member elicited a response that they had run out and they couldn't resupply as you can't buy [black] tea in NZ. Need it be said, irrespective of running out, the tea stations were intermittently resupplied. The other resupply of the coffee stations was chaos with access to cups being cut off while coffee filters were prepared on the cup counter. The Grand Epernay also lacked in service. Having tried to book a large group (20 pers) in for a lunch the following day, the Maitre D said she couldn't pre-book so to arrive as a group. When we arrived, there was a lot of eye rolling and muttering about why we wanted to be seated as a group. Bar Service. The pool bar closed earlier than advertised nearly every day. Previous travellers with Celebrity also commented on the lack of poolside service. One quickly worked out it was better to go to the bar than wait for service. At the Poolside Bar the service was generally quick and efficient except for the propensity to pour inferior wines. In the Ocean View you are more likely to leave without a drink than wait for service at a table. Here, cafe bar staff ignored patrons and would do a round of the room without taking a single order prior to returning to the bar to spin jokes with workmates. It was also annoying that the bar staff would flip the drinks menu onto it’s side (a sign that you don’t want a drink) without asking if you did want one. In the Grand Epernay, one of our lunch group had asked for a particular wine, was told they had run out, then after specifically asking for champagne was served sparkling wine. The wine waiter then magically turned up with a bottle of the wine they had previously ‘run out’ of. When making an objection another wine waiter back-chatted and said that with her attitude she was lucky to have anything to drink. A ‘house’ wine on offer was proffered as a very good NZ Sauvignon Blanc but it was a bottle you could buy for $12 from the supermarket. Entertainment. An old and very limited selection of movies both on the lawn or on the room TV. Gave up on the main theatre entertainment that was mediocre at best and the comedian worst (fell asleep). Listening to fellow travellers unanimously agreed Motown was good, and Rock City in the later stages when the acrobat joined the stage. Many of us didn’t get that far as the opening was aweful. On Deck 4 the house bands and dance lessons were held in a very tight area with very little seating, floorspace, at the bottom of a ‘grand’ stairway and where a constant stream of traffic moving between two bars, lifts and shops. Three of the group I met up with got a skin rash from the spa pool and insect bites on top lawn. The better entertainment included the Naturalist talks and Captain Tasos’ onboard commentaries, Liars Club and talk about the Solstice. Excursions. An excursion talk on the first day hinted that visitors to the little blue penguin colony at Oamaru might get a peek in the hutches and to maybe even hold a penguin. I know this not done and Celebrity should not hint at the prospect. The same excursion talk offered a visit to a high country farm and the opportunity to see livestock and maybe get to see other native NZ mammals. It is a shame that the only land based NZ mammal are bats and highly protected. Through Dusky Sound the Naturalist lauded about being able to hear the birds if you listened carefully but spoke the whole way thus denying any opportunity to hear anything. I did local onshore activities on my own arrangements and booked fellow travellers onto a train trip in Dunedin at 1/5th of the Celebrity excursion price. Up-Sell. The up-sell was constant including being accosted at the entrance to the Ocean View Café and on disembarking at shore destinations with people dressed in weird outfits and a guy waving a miniature lifebuoy for a photo opportunity. It was also the case for specialty restaurants, pushing to buy packages. Once we hit the Tasman inbound for Sydney it was a constant tirade of buy buy buy. Disembarkation. The disembarkation directions were not relayed to outdoor speakers. Fortunately I had a later flight and by time I joined the queue grinding it’s way offboard I was thankful that I could sit on my suitcase when the grind became a halt. Heard of many other complaints from fellow travellers include a lack of advertised services such as babysitting, toilet paper resupplied reluctantly, and passengers confined temporarily to a wheelchair not able to get a disabled suite when there were others 'upgraded' to a disabled suite. In all, if it hadn’t been for a great bunch of people I met up with, I would have cut my losses and bailed at Dunedin. I would recommend a 10 day stay in a spa resort with a decent restaurant. It would be cheaper, the food would be better and service of a much better quality. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
have been on the ship before it was great but this time just poor food and shows .xmas dinner was bloody poor not xmas at all a very poor selection of food the same for new years eve small steak spoon full of mash potato and small serve of ... Read More
have been on the ship before it was great but this time just poor food and shows .xmas dinner was bloody poor not xmas at all a very poor selection of food the same for new years eve small steak spoon full of mash potato and small serve of veg.We did have very good service from the staff.the cost of shore trips was very high it was far cheaper to buy these when in port.also the on board exchange rate was a rip off.will i travel with them again think not.very good cabin staff room was always clean and tidy. again it was the poor food selection and shows were poor.As my wife has done 4 trips on this boat she has rated this one very poor. i feel the boat is now dated this was more so with the air con not working properly and internal carpet is very dated Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We booked this cruise to unwind from a busy and stressful year, and tied it in to allow us to see friends and family in NZ. The package included Classic beverage, which we upgraded to Premium before we departed, and also included some ... Read More
We booked this cruise to unwind from a busy and stressful year, and tied it in to allow us to see friends and family in NZ. The package included Classic beverage, which we upgraded to Premium before we departed, and also included some dinners and a lunch at the premium restaurants. This was our first Celebrity cruise, having previously cruised with P&O (past that now) and Norwegian (comparable), and we have definitely decided to add them to our "will return" list with the Norwegian Jewel. Pros - Well equipped and maintained ship; Absolutely awesome crew; Great food and drink options. Cons - Show venue is more of a Cabaret than a Theater so the shows weren't as spectacular; Karaoke venue a bit naff and not nightly. Our favorite aspects of the ship were: The main dining room, where there was a definite attempt to place you in a consistent part of the room, even with "non-booked" times, and where the staff were friendly and knowledgeable; Cafe al Bacio, where we spent most post-dinners and were well looked after by the crew there; World Class Cocktail Bar, where we ended up after coffee and whiled the evening away! The verandah cabin was well maintained and easy to get around with a good bathroom. For future cruises in NZ, we'll note some gotcha's, like the paid transport from the dock to the city in Tauranga and Dunedin, but for the most part, the off-shore access was well organised and easy to work with. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and the ship because we were told it was amazing.plus a good price with balcony and drinks package. Boarding was good with a welcome glass of sparkly as you got on. Our cabin was very nice as was our ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and the ship because we were told it was amazing.plus a good price with balcony and drinks package. Boarding was good with a welcome glass of sparkly as you got on. Our cabin was very nice as was our steward, The safety talk was a bit of a mish mash as all done on a screen..... We had anytime dining and requested where possible table for two and the lady in charge accommodated us nearly every night so we had the same wonderful waiters, Joinar and Jobi. However, the tables were all so close together so the waiters barely had room to get through.The menu was good and steak available every night if required but nothing was outstanding, Our lovely "Rapunzul" drinks waitress was gorgeous and efficient but had to see another waiter for wine??? I feel that the waiters (apart from ours) were not as well trained as on Princess. This was more notable at breakfast where you were really squashed in but the alternative of the buffet was worse as never able to get a table plus food cold. The sunbeds by the pool were squashed next to each other with no tables so nowhere to put your drinks, etc. The pool bar was very small and not the usual hub of the pool area like Princess,also, absolutely nothing going on around the deck apart from the odd exercise to music with the boring Lauren, although the band wasn't too bad but not good enough to want to dance to. The movies on Lawn Deck were also boring. Evening entertainment was pretty bad too apart from Motown night. Comedian terrible. Captain Tsasos was quite funny and interesting . The martini bar and staff there were good as was the bar in the casino, especially our friend Made, but one of the other bar staff in casino not too good. We had already booked a cruise with Infinity in August in the Med and now wished we'd done NCL or Princess but they didn't have same itinerary so lets hope it is better!!!! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My husband and I chose this ship as we heard a lot of good things about it so we decided to try it out on the Sydney to Auckland journey. We were not disappointed! This is our 6th cruise and I must say it was one of our best experiences. ... Read More
My husband and I chose this ship as we heard a lot of good things about it so we decided to try it out on the Sydney to Auckland journey. We were not disappointed! This is our 6th cruise and I must say it was one of our best experiences. Destinations around the north and south islands were very good which gave us a taste of how beautiful and picturesque New Zealand is. Definitely a place to return to in the future. From embarkation in Sydney to the last day in Auckland, our time on this beautiful ship was exceptional, Service, food and experience was great and the many bars and chill out areas around the ship suits everyone. Activities on the ship were very entertaining especially the daily commentary from Captain Tasos. The only negative about the cruise was the nightly entertainment in the main theatre as there was only 2 nights (Mo Town and Rock City) which were very good, but the rest of the shows were a bit to be desired. Speciality restaurant package is great value and thoroughly recommend booking early for these. We booked Aqua Class and had the privilege of dining in the designated Blu Restaurant, however, no bookings can be made for this restaurant and the wait can be up to 30 mins and food is mediocre - we only dined here one night. Buffet has a large variety of food from all nations which is very good, however, the speciality restaurants was our favourite! Cruise Director, Rich, is great value and very entertaining, especially his daily banter with Activities Director, Lauren, on the TV. Fully recommend you try this ship as there is so much happening all the time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My wife and I recently took this cruise. Overall condition of the ship was good. Food and service were also good. Walter is a great server if you can get him. The Captain navigated some very rough waters through the Tasman Sea during ... Read More
My wife and I recently took this cruise. Overall condition of the ship was good. Food and service were also good. Walter is a great server if you can get him. The Captain navigated some very rough waters through the Tasman Sea during the first three days but did his best to keep things stable. The New Zealand Sounds were beautiful, great to just sit on the veranda and watch them go by. They also had a naturalist on board who gave a running commentary of the the area. We did private excursions with other Cruise Critic members so I cant comment on the Celebrity ones. Dunedin was very nice - saw the Penguins and Sea Lions. Christchurch was a little disappointing, a very long drive and then most of the town is still being rebuilt following an earthquake a few years ago. Wellington was nice - take the cable car to the top. In Napier, try the walking tour conducted by the Art Deco Society - very nice. Tangauroa was a real highlight - did Hobbitown in the morning and a very nice Moari performance in the afternoon. Used Tours by Locals for Tanauroa and highly recommend them. Did the Glowworm caves in Bay of Islands - very unique. Did the hop on hop off bus in Auckland which was great. Be sure to visit their Botanical Gardens. Only negative on this trip was that there was a virus going around on the ship, many people coughing and we caught it. When we got home, went to the doctor and learned that we had both contracted Community Acquired Pneumonia. We have been sick for three weeks and still not feeling great. Can't really blame Celebrity, but when you pack 3,000 people together for two weeks in a confined space I guess you put yourself at risk for something like that. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Part of a package put together by trailfinders Excellent cruise crew were great, entertainment was superb and the meals were fine. Breakfast was a bit fraught trying to find a table was difficult but not impossible. We had a ... Read More
Part of a package put together by trailfinders Excellent cruise crew were great, entertainment was superb and the meals were fine. Breakfast was a bit fraught trying to find a table was difficult but not impossible. We had a very comfortable Cabin and having a balcony set the trip off fine. Swimming pools were small and got crowded when the weather was good. The excursions were well planned but expensive ,getting to shore was organised and fairly easy. The ship was in good order and clean. The crew were very helpful and cheerful always had a smile on their face,amazing! Disembarking was very easy but very early in the day rushing your breakfast time but this was understandable. All together it was a good cruise with plenty of information given out.as a none drinker I found that canned drinks were expensive and a package would be more expensive . We still enjoyed the experience Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Choose the cruise because we wanted to see New Zealand but the cruise line Celebrity was recommended by the travel agent . Well recommended, Celebrity Solstice was perfect for us, not too big but big enough to have plenty to do and mainly ... Read More
Choose the cruise because we wanted to see New Zealand but the cruise line Celebrity was recommended by the travel agent . Well recommended, Celebrity Solstice was perfect for us, not too big but big enough to have plenty to do and mainly adults. The ships crew from the captain down were friendly, helpful and extremely efficient. The food was excellent although the main buffet resturant, huge choice of different types of food, could get very busy and sometimes vacant seats were difficult to find. we found the main restaurants to provide a much better dining experience. Excellent food and a good selection of dishes to choose from. The waiting staff were excellent, friendly, knowledgeable and extremely polite and efficient. The ports of call were varied and interesting but the ship excursions were expensive. We booked all our through Viator on line before we left home. Roughly about half the price. The cabin was spotless and kept spotless as was the rest of the ship. Hand gel use was encouraged at all the dining rooms and on returning to the ship after shore excursions. We found the embarkation easy and straight forward, much quicker than our previous experience on another cruise line. We extended our stay by 4 days.at Sydney prior to the cruise and at Auckland after the cruise. Well worth the extra time. Loved the cruise the ship and it’s staff. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was our fourth cruise on the Solstice since 2013 and will probably now only rebook if I am offered a great discount with an included drinks package. We had an Aqua stateroom which was very nice with lovely staff looking after our ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise on the Solstice since 2013 and will probably now only rebook if I am offered a great discount with an included drinks package. We had an Aqua stateroom which was very nice with lovely staff looking after our room. However, we were just as happy when we stayed on deck 6 on previous cruises! One of the ‘perks’ of Aqua Class is the use of the Persian Garden Room in the spa area which sounds great in theory, though good luck getting a lounge to relax on - too many people stayed way longer than the 30 minutes and didn’t worry about keeping others waiting. Spa staff weren’t interested in moving people on to allow others a turn. Staff were friendly and professional. I really noticed how expensive $$$ everything had become, particularly the price of drinks (priced in US dollars which raised the cheapest price of a glass of wine to around A$15-$16). My husband unsuccessfully tried every day to order a lemon lime and bitters at numerous bars and restaurants. It was quite an interesting experiment to see what he ended up with, none of which remotely resembled what he ordered. The only lemon lime and bitters he had was in a pub at Napier! We enjoyed the food and coffee. We had lunch and breakfast at the Aqua Spa most days, though go early to get a table. We had the best lunch at the Sushi restaurant - spectacular! To be honest, we both preferred the meals and menu choice from the main dining room rather than Blu, neither of us are into pretentious dining and felt Blu was trying to be a little pretentious. Celebrity only offers water throughout the day in the Ocean Cafe rather than having glasses of water freely available at other locations around the ship. There appears to be a huge overuse of single use plastic bottles when reusable cups/glasses could be offered. Seems a big waste of plastic. I felt there could have been a lot more activities offered other than dance classes and short games in celebrity central. There wasn’t regular live music playing or activities on the pool deck during the voyage either. Maybe I only noticed this because I wasn’t drinking $15 wines!! Be mindful that on board spending can add up very quickly,so check your account balance daily. The internet is hideously expensive which is something to consider. Overall Solstice is still a beautiful ship and offers a relaxing holiday. New Zealand is a great destination with lots to see and do, though can still be a little chilly in the South Island. An enjoyable holiday with great destinations and mostly interesting and friendly fellow passengers to share the journey. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We did this cruise to New Zealand in January 18 but missed Dunedin due to fog and all the sounds due to cyclone, so we decided to have another go to see if we could get to those places, which we did. I really like the ship but have only ... Read More
We did this cruise to New Zealand in January 18 but missed Dunedin due to fog and all the sounds due to cyclone, so we decided to have another go to see if we could get to those places, which we did. I really like the ship but have only been on a few cruises to compare and a river cruise. I was comparing it with the trip in January and would have to say the service was a bit down in the dining room, where we ate every night, except one night at the Tuscan Grill which was very good. Breakfast was in the oceanview café which was fine and there was plenty to choose from. We often grabbed something from the health café near the indoor pool for lunch if we were onboard, which has healthier options. I found it hard to get a drink at the bars took forever. Only late around 11 or after when most people had gone to bed as there was nothing on did it get easier. The entertainment was basically the same as we had on the cruise in January which was disappointing. The comedian was absolutely hopeless, the Captain could do a better job and he was very funny with his daily comments. I found our cabin adequate except we had rough seas going over and the door on the balcony squeaked so you either had to leave it open or pack it with something I did tell our cabin boy but nothing was done, our neighbours had the same problem with their door too. I think there should be more activities to do on sea days and they shouldn't be trying to hard sell speciality restaurants or spa treatments etc If you want them you know where to go to get them. Even the shops didn't seem to have as good a stock as they did on the January cruise. I thought solstice singers were only mediocre no where as good as the ones singing in January the violinist who was excellent, but she told the same story of her life as she did in January. I know I shouldn't complain doing the same cruise twice in a year but I just thought there would be different shows. The best band was the one that played around the pool and at different places on the ship, called Jim Bean (I think) the girl singer had the best voice of the lot and could sing anything. They did an Abba show which was fine but not everyone loves Abba. Did the Abba Move Mamma Mia 2 and Jurassic Park think they could come up with a few better choices for movies. We did a few of the ship excursions this time as I was offered a discount and they were pretty good. I did all the excursions off the ship on the January cruise and they were good too and never late back to the ship. I used the gym every day and I like the facilities and also did spin and pilates classes that you had to pay extra for, which I didn't mind. I have booked another cruise with this line so I hope entertainment is different and they add a few more activites on sea days. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Selected this cruise because wife was travelling in Asia and it was convenient for he to meet me in Sydney for the cruise. The Ports of call were great. It was the food in the Ocean Cafe Deck 14 which was unacceptable since it was cold. ... Read More
Selected this cruise because wife was travelling in Asia and it was convenient for he to meet me in Sydney for the cruise. The Ports of call were great. It was the food in the Ocean Cafe Deck 14 which was unacceptable since it was cold. How can you have Hot dishes being served cold. We had Aqua Class could have easily eaten Lunch in the Epernay Dining Room but preferred to eat lunch in the Ocean Cafe.Brought it to the attention of Management (Ms. Tonja). They listened to me but did nothing. Tonnes of tasteless bulk quantity food being served cold. Did not matter if it was Chinese, Thai, Indian, Pasta or Pizza,Mexican or American Food."Blu" Dining for Aqua Class Members was a OK nothing to brag about. Couldn't understand how Celebrity is classified as Premium Cruise Line. Embarkation at Sydney was chaotic. Did not see any priority check in was dumped in a regular line by Celebrity staff and took forever to check in. Disembarkation was a exercise in frustration was sent to area A instead of area B to pick up luggage. Was waiting in Area A for an hour to pick up luggage when the luggage was lying in area B.Celebrity staff were not helpful. Inquired 3 times about the luggage. Finally a supervisor informed me that I was in the wrong area and guided us personally to the correct area. No Entertainment just singing and music not worth mentioning except one show " Euphoria" which was good. Precruise: Sydney toured on a Day 1 on our own using Uber to commute back and forth from the Hotel. Day 2 took a special Day Tour of Blue Mountains with cruise to Darling Harbor from oztrails.com.au. which was excellent and would recommend highly. Took 3 NZ tours thru Celebrity Cruises 1) Wellington City Tour 2) Napier City Tour 3) Tauranga: Blue Baths Tea and Rotorua Thermal Outing to use the ship credit and were reasonably priced . The Tauranga Tour is a must see and would not miss. The other tours we took were Dunedin Shore Excursion: Taieri Gorge Railway Tour and City Sightseeing , Bay of Islands Shore Excursion and lastly Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. All these were thru Viator (Trip Advisor). All are must see and were excellent. Reasonably priced compared to the outrageous prices quoted by Celebrity Cruises. After Cruise took a city of Auckland tour with Airport Drop off thru Milestone tours. Very reasonably priced compared to Celebrity Cruises.The tour was excellent. Ship was clean and in excellent condition. Nothing extraordinary about the Cabin. Did not see anything to indicate Premium Cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Wanted to travel to this part of the world for a long time and when the oppertunity came could think of no better way to do it. The ship was beautiful, the food and service was first class and our table of six people was a great mix and we ... Read More
Wanted to travel to this part of the world for a long time and when the oppertunity came could think of no better way to do it. The ship was beautiful, the food and service was first class and our table of six people was a great mix and we have all vowed to keep in touch.The excursions were very well organised and ran like clockwork ,we were a little bit dubious about this aspect of the cruise as the only other cruise we have been on was a free for all when it came to disembarking and boarding coaches for excursions. Our cabin steward was called Leonardo who couldn't have been more attentive.Coming back to the cabin after a wonderful evening was crowned by what Leonardo had sculpted out of the fresh towels.All in all we had a wonderful,memorable holiday where we have made friends for life. So many highlights, wonderful sights and lovely friendly people. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
11-day cruise, December 2018, Sydney to Auckland It wasn't that Celebrity was awful. It was that for every positive, there seemed to be a corresponding negative. At the end of the day, there wasn't anything compelling that ... Read More
11-day cruise, December 2018, Sydney to Auckland It wasn't that Celebrity was awful. It was that for every positive, there seemed to be a corresponding negative. At the end of the day, there wasn't anything compelling that would make me think I'm better off giving Celebrity my business when considering future cruises. The ship: The Solstice looks nice and Celebrity does a good job keeping it looking good. Anyone who's cruised knows the hallways on the stateroom decks are usually pretty narrow. This was a nice bonus on the Solstice. Hallways are a bit wider and the entrances to cabins are recessed. This allows a person to step out of the hallway while they're unlocking the door to their stateroom, thereby permitting another person to pass without crowding or bumping into one another. I think most people, though, would prefer to have some of this extra room IN the cabin and not in the hallway. The design of the Solstice features an atrium near the back of the ship. It's a dramatic feature, allowing a person to have an unobstructed view from the 14th floor down to the third. This, however, also creates the ship biggest and most annoying logistical nightmare: noise. While waiting for an elevator on the 12th floor, the noise from a band playing on the third floor is such that you'd swear the musicians were 25 feet away. Sometimes, you just want to find a quiet place to read a good book, work on a puzzle or maybe even take a nap. On the Solstice, you're best off doing any of these things in your cabin. Quiet does not exist anywhere else on the ship. Service: Passable. Room attendant was usually timely with his daily cleaning. On previous cruises with other companies, the one thing I've liked is getting drink service while poolside. Isn't this the epitome of the cruising lifestyle, soaking up the sun and sipping on a cool umbrella drink? There was no poolside drink service on the Solstice, and in a number of other locations a customer was better off going up to the bar themselves and placing an order as opposed to waiting for a server to appear. Food: It was OK. Near the end of the cruise, one of the people at our regular dining room table remarked, "I was hoping there would be something that would make me say to myself, 'I can't wait to have that again.' " Worst problem with the food was constantly being served dishes that weren't hot or otherwise showed signs of sitting around too long before they were served. It's nice to order a fillet wrapped in phyllo, but we all know what happens if the timing of the dish is off. The pastry soaks up any and all available moisture and the part of the dish that should be crisp turns out wet, soggy and disappointing. Wine service was below average. Two wines on the menu were unavailable throughout the entire cruise. The buffet dining area was OK for breakfast, then progressively substandard as the day went along. Of course, this is not a problem confined to Celebrity. I don't care who makes it, no dish of mashed potatoes can taste good after it sits in a warming dish for an hour. We tried one specialty restaurant. Food was better but not worth the extra charge. Activities: A disaster. You'll be bored out of your mind. One evening at dinner, the wine sommelier asked if we'd be interested in attending a wine function the next afternoon. It sounded like a nice chance to learn about wines we'd never tried, from various points around the world. Unfortunately, they sold way more tickets than the room could comfortably hold. As a result, they extended the function into an outer hallway. The staff pouring the wines knew absolutely nothing about the vintages they were pouring other than if they were red or white. Ten minutes into the function, a dance class began on the floor right below the part of the hallway where people were trying to enjoy their wine. You could not possibly ask for a worse atmosphere, trying to enjoy a nice wine while someone else is trying to learn line-dancing to god-awful music that could be heard throughout every inch of the ship. I suggested to no one in particular that the people who scheduled these two functions at the same time, at virtually the same location, be thrown overboard immediately. The sell: While researching this cruise and Celebrity, I think the one constant I read about concerned a never-ending barrage of trying to be sold on drink packages or dining upgrades. This was far worse than I ever imagined possible. It's nonstop and it doesn't stop after a few days. It started when we were no more than 15 feet onto the ship during the boarding process and lasted up to the final full day. What saved the day? The ports were great and the excursions we booked (through vendors other than Celebrity) were excellent and pulled off without the slightest hitch. Would I try Celebrity again? Not without the best deal in the history of crusing. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise in order to visit relatives and see destinations we missed previously. We were not disappointed as the tours we went on covered the South Island which was new to us. The position of our cabin was very good and ... Read More
We chose this cruise in order to visit relatives and see destinations we missed previously. We were not disappointed as the tours we went on covered the South Island which was new to us. The position of our cabin was very good and although we were offered an upgrade we declined as this would have put us either bow or stern, not very steady if bad weather ensued. We thought the ship lacked the 'wow' factor as did the entertainment. All the entertainers were good but not cruise material. We have come to expect West End/Broadway quality and the Celebrity X did not offer this. The cinema was on deck and it was not warm enough to attend. This also applied to the outdoor pools but the solarium was fine. The entertainment timing was not good and the main house band played in an area with very little seating, at the bottom of a stairway and with obstructed views along with guests moving around between two bars, lifts and shops. Although the food was fine it could have been available in any high street. Where were the ice sculptures and carved fruit or chocolate fountain - all now standard on most cruise lines. Our cabin attendant was excellent, our waiter attentive but not intrusive but we did eat in the cafe most times as we were not happy with the allocated table arrangements which didn't allow guests to mix. To finish this review, please note this review is totally personal and for anyone cruising for the first time it would have been a good experience, although for us we would choose a different line next time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
just wanted to provide some feed back from my perspective. The first cruise we did was on P&O and we were thrilled to be going on our first ever totally child free holiday. After having 7 children now all grown up it was so nice ... Read More
just wanted to provide some feed back from my perspective. The first cruise we did was on P&O and we were thrilled to be going on our first ever totally child free holiday. After having 7 children now all grown up it was so nice to be away just the two of us. The ship was ok but the air con in the room did not work and was not fixed. It was so bad the pillow chocolates melted. It was only a 4 night cruise and we were never moved. (I felt sorry for the honeymoon couple next door who also had no air con) We were also in a cabin with no balcony. The entertainment was a bit thin and the food was ok, the ship seemed to feel every wave though and even though I was not sick I was looking for a sun lounge at the back of the ship to combat the feeling. The staff were really nice. Next cruise was so different, We went on Royal's Ovation of the seas . It was a four night cruise to Hobart and back. We had a balcony. a beautiful room, we loved exploring the ship. The shows were great , food amazing, always something to do and not over crowded at all. It was so big and clean and and friendly. Smooth sailing just a few bumps on the bass but did not affect us at all. Staff were so helpful and so nice, I dont know how they remember you no matter where on that huge whip you are. Everything is charged in US dollars on the ship and that was probs the only thing that was a bit of a pain but you get use to it. We bought the drinks package so there were no surprises and it all went smoothly. Honestly had no complaints at all. Next cruise and everyone since has been on celebrity solstice , Why we keep going back (though we are itching to try Edge:)) Still all in USD The ship is big but not too big, It has plenty of places to drink. to chill, to listen to music, to take part in Trivia and other activities, The shows are really good and the food is amazing even in the grand dining room. The demographics are a bit different too certainly not a BOOZE cruise. You have a real good mix of ages and there is a really nice team there to look after the Camp at Sea kids (the kids club is never overcrowded and they really look after them) I do prefer the solarium on Ovation but the solarium on Solstice is still really nice and has the pool and whirl pools and lots of lounges. It also has an amazing Aqua Cafe there for a healthy snack. I love catching a movie on the real grass be it day or under the stars of a night. Mast Grill is a must for burgers and hotdogs. The tenders works well and the destinations are fab We have stayed in Suite at the Aft and enjoyed that so much, Butler, dedicated Suite only lounge where all the drinks are free, dedicated suite only dining where the food and staff are amazing. Reserved seating for the shows, no tender queues . We have stayed on concierge at the Aft again brilliant and the Aft for me is the best place to be. We have stayed in a royal suite AMAZING no extras at all fully stocked fridge with what ever you want in it. Free internet washing drinks, everything. Even a bath on the balcony not to mention the two bathrooms and walk in wardrobe and afternoon tea severed for you and any guests by your butler. We have stayed in a balcony and done the main hall dining and again amazing. A really good vibe in there and staff will do everything they can to help. People complain about staff trying to up sell the other dining (in Royal suite its all included BTW) .. I dont have an issue with that I just say no thank you . The buffet is great and you can go grab something from there and enjoy the food out on the deck if you want. The ship tour is also amazing. The guests are friendly and like I said mixed age. You can dance with the younger ones or sit by the pool taking to the older ones. The lifts even become a social trip where you can say hi to new people. If you smoke there are areas dedicated for that an people meet up there for a drink and a chat. The full moon party is always great and the silent disco is something you have to try even just watching that is fun. They gym on board is good (not that we did anything other than walk through it) and the pamper spa is great. We could always find an area to just chill where sometime there would be no one else around. There is a games area/lounge where you can play cards or board games and a lounge with a library feel where you can just sit and relax or read. There is always trivia going on but we get so busy we miss it most the time :) But its fun to do and again you meet other people. There are ship activities to join in. There is always something to do or you can do nothing . thing is on Celebrity your on a beautiful ship that caters for everyone. Your holiday is what you want it to be ...relaxing..or full on it's up to you. The destinations are great and the tours offered are varied. If you have never been on a cruise and are looking to do one. I would say go with Celebrity it's our favorite. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
The cost of sailing with Celebrity could not lead to expectations of Four Seasons quality accommodation, service, and food. I went with an open mind but at the end the highlight was finally getting off this tacky vessel which closely ... Read More
The cost of sailing with Celebrity could not lead to expectations of Four Seasons quality accommodation, service, and food. I went with an open mind but at the end the highlight was finally getting off this tacky vessel which closely resembles a bottom end Vegas casino masquerading as “glamour”. Where do I start .... here we go: Cabin - black scum line around the toilet bowl and congealed dirt stuck to the wall. The kind of accommodation you would expect in a caravan in the 1970’s. Reds and browns designed to hide the filth accumulated over years. Bathroom like faded yellow fibreglass and toiletries guaranteed to have your skin flaming within 24 hours. Entertainment - the shows in the theatre were the highlight and the experience was improved when the lights dimmed and it was no longer necessary to look at the tired mahogany seats and gold velvet/synthetic seat covers. Other musical entertainment was thin on the ground and ironically given its scarcity, almost universally terrible. One evening the only live music entertainment at 10pm on a boat with 3,000 plus people was a male vocalist with a mouth organ. A waiter helpfully suggested I go to the silent disco where there would be a choice of three different music types to listen to! This ship is boring beyond belief. Food - I cannot begin to describe how bad the food is. Looked forward to getting off at every port of call to find something edible. Only managed on trip to the crowded buffet place at the top of the ship. Could hardly find breakfast cereal not covered in sugar or synthetically multicoloured. Yoghurt - only peach or apricot made from skimmed milk. It is an insult to the English language to name the main restaurant Grand Epernay. The food was almost universally cold, over-cooked, bland ... dreadful, I am reminded of a motorway service station, Specialty Dining - Invested in a package in the hope that throwing money at the problem may resolve the inclusive dining experience. How wrong I was. The worst experience had the be the specialty Asian restaurant called Silk Harvest. The fact that this restaurant is a hybrid of purportedly Japanese, Chinese and Thai food (plus a bit of Indonesian and Malay) should have been a warning signal but nothing could prepare me for the “favourite” cheese wantons. I think some of this congealed glob is still stuck to the top of my palate. The only remotely passable specialty restaurant was Murano, which, believe it or not is French, apparently named after an original Murano shade which has now been replaced by a plastic replica after the original broke. Bars - Think drinking on the edge of a casino corridor being oggled by the passing foot traffic. No intimacy anywhere just places to very occasionally have your ear drums assaulted by the dreadful house singers when Celebrity disdained to fit them into their pitiful live music schedules. I do a disservice. There is a Cellar Master Wine Bar just off the main drag. Trouble is in port this becomes the main gangway so it is not difficult to imagine what the carpet is like - gross. Drinks Package - Persuaded to upgrade to premium package before we left. It was not explained that classic package could be used pay for premium drinks with a small uplift over the premium ceiling. Further, it became apparent that Celebrity has a policy of not holding premium drinks and numerous outlets and trying to fob off inferior quality drinks. On more than one occassion we were given a sparkling blanc de blanc when we had requested champagne. The default premium chardonnay was a Celebrity label wine called Elegance. I was unable to get a glass of Poilly Fume or a bottle of Grolsch (as advertised on their premium list) anywhere on the ship. About a week into the cruise I discovered that Evian water was available on the premium package - not once had it been offered! Celebrity should provide what has been paid for. Guest Relations - My wife had a visa issue. She was told her business visa would not allow her entry into Australia so we applied for a tourist visa. Over four days we had to make numerous visits to the Guest Relations desk to be told numerous different stories before finally being told she could now gain entry to Australia an hour before we were about to be disembarked on a business visa organised by Celebrity. I understand there can be visa issues but Celebrity refused our numerous requests for a face-to-face meeting with the Documentation Officer despite her frequently being in the adjacent office, or condescend to provide an explanation. The reality is they did not deal with our predicament until the last minute and we were truly anticipating being disembarked at the last minute - which ironically I was somewhat hoping for by this stage. My advice to anyone would be to avoid Celebrity generally and the Solstice in particular. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise as we thought it would be a more relaxing way to travel to the North & South Islands of New Zealand. We picked up the ship at Auckland after a two night at the Rydges Hotel. A very nice city. There were very ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we thought it would be a more relaxing way to travel to the North & South Islands of New Zealand. We picked up the ship at Auckland after a two night at the Rydges Hotel. A very nice city. There were very large queues on embarkation & although we were advised it could take two hours before we got on board our queue moved quite quickly. The organisation did seem a bit haphazard with some queues moving quickly while others seemed to move at a snails pace, You were just lucky if you were in a fast moving queue. We were impressed with the ship & although we had an inside cabin, it was a very good size compared to other cruise lines we had been on. We were happy with all our ports of call, although we found some more interesting than others. The scenery was fantastic, the highlight of which was our last day in New Zealand. It was an at sea day sailing around the Dusky, Doubtful & Milford Sounds. The scenery in this area was stunning, it certainly had the Wow factor. We choose a set dining time at 8.30 which was a lot later than we would have liked to have eaten. However, we thought 6pm would be a bit of a rush when we were at a port. I found the standard of food good, although there was a limited choice if you were gluten & dairy free. The sweets especially got a bit boring often I was given the same dessert two or three times in a row & by the end of the cruise I didn't want to see another chocolate cake again. The waiters were very attentive. we couldn't fault Umesh & Lucas who we got to know very well. Umesh was very helpful,especially as I had other food allergies as well as being gluten & dairy free. The breakfast buffet could be a bit manic. There was always plenty of food but finding somewhere to sit often proved to be very difficult. There wasn't much choice on the room service breakfast menu if you were gluten & dairy free. We did order breakfast room service on two occasions. The firsttime the food was ok but the second time, the order was wrong & the hot food choices were cold, We never used it again after that. The lunch & evening buffet menus had plenty of choice at the self service cafe/restaurant on level 14. There was an excellent choice of gluten & dairy free desserts here, so I couldn't understand why the choice was so limited when having a set meal choice. We only went on one Celebrity shore excursion The Marlborough Flyer steam train from Picton to Blenhim. We enjoyed the train journey through the coutryside but there wasn't much to see at Blenhim. The trip was well organised but for other trips we used Viator. Their shore exursions were less expensive & good value for money. For us the most disappointing thing about the cruise was the activities & entertainment. On other cruise lines that we had been on the entertainment had been more varied & there were more talks & activities going on when at sea. The entertainment was very run ofhe mill & was more geared to the Australian guest. There were not many late night shows. We did enjoy the Maori show when we stayed overnight at Tauranga & the acrobatic show on the last evening of the cruise. The films shown in the theatre & the free film selection on the television again was limited compared to other cruise lines. However,on this occasion we were there for the beautiful scenery that New Zealand was famous for & that certainlydidn't disappoint us. One fault design on the ship was the walking/ running track. This was on level 14. However this was the cafe level so there was a lot of activity with people walking to & from the cafe in various directions Therefore, it was difficult to do laps around the track if you liked to do a lot of walking or running. Another highlight was arriving in Sidney as dawn was breaking, with the sun coming up over the Opera House. Then sitting having breakfast looking out over the Opera House before getting ready for disembarkation. Disembarkation went smoothly & we left to spend two enjoyable days in Sidney. 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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