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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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We had a great cruise, the Celebrity Solstice is a beautiful ship, the itinerary was amazing, the staff was efficient and friendly. Our veranda cabin on deck 7 was quite big, but it was rather narrow and long, so we had a small balcony. ... Read More
We had a great cruise, the Celebrity Solstice is a beautiful ship, the itinerary was amazing, the staff was efficient and friendly. Our veranda cabin on deck 7 was quite big, but it was rather narrow and long, so we had a small balcony. The bathroom was very well designed with many shelves to store things and there was enough storage in the cabin. The best part: the cabin was very quiet, I believe it was at least partially because there were no internal cabins on the other side of the corridor. The organization was quite good with smooth tender boats operation. However the embarkation was quite chaotic, with one older lady having difficulties controlling the crowd. And we were told to check-in not later than at 3 pm while the departure from Auckland was at 8 pm. On the other hand the disembarkation was the smoothest I have ever had. The emergency and lifeboat drill was half an hour long - longer than on any of my previous cruises. Since only half of its time was devoted to the drill I felt that it was inconsiderate to the older passengers who had no choice but to stand in the crowded room without a place to sit. The last weak point was in Picton where there was a long line (approximately half an hour) to get off the ship because the shuttles were unavailable. It would have been nice to hear an announcement about estimated waiting time at the gangway instead of the usual "you may now proceed to the gangway". The Cruise Director Rich was excellent. We had a different show every day and the quality was impressive. That includes the Maori performance in Tauranga. The Solstice ship's star aerialists were amazing. I would say that other ship's star performers were second only to NCL performers. I was glad to attend some lectures about ports of call, but some of them were before we returned to the ship and conflicted with our excursions. So the timing was inconvenient. Also there could be more activities for the days at sea. The main restaurant was very good with exceptional service. The food was great, enough choices and daily changes of the menu. We had an amazing waiter, Peter: prompt, friendly, knowledgeable. Whenever we could we had lunch at the restaurant too, because the weakest part of the cruise was the buffet at Oceanview Cafe. The best part of the buffet was that it was still partially open for late lunch when we were returning to the ship around 4 pm after our excursions. I would say that about 60% of the food was well prepared/had good quality ingredients. There were enough choices to find something good, but every day the menu was the same. There were theme days, but often there was the same dish with a different name: one day it was a beef stew, the next day Hungarian goulash, without a trace of paprika, so it tasted like beef stew. It was the worst buffet of the 8 cruises that I took. That includes desserts. For example when the Australian lunch was announced I went to the buffet to sample the Pavlova dessert. I enjoyed the Pavlova at the Cafe al Bacio very much, but in the buffet the Pavlova dessert was not as good: it was a meringue cake and some soggy fruits without any cream. The best buffet we had was on Holland America when both the main restaurant and the buffet were outstanding. The ship excursions were very expensive, so mostly we booked our excursions with local tours. However in Akaroa we booked with Celebrity and it was very well organized. All in all we are happy we took this cruse and will book with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
This cruise was most agreeable. Meals were of high quality and variety. Particularly the pastries.Wines rather expensive. Evening entertainment : not truly exciting except for the ship's own dancers and acrobats. We were awed by ... Read More
This cruise was most agreeable. Meals were of high quality and variety. Particularly the pastries.Wines rather expensive. Evening entertainment : not truly exciting except for the ship's own dancers and acrobats. We were awed by the orchestra : top notch ! The conferences about our destinations were informative and -sometimes - very funny. The one thing all passengers complained about (those we met after disembarking in B.A.) is the taxi mafia at the exit of the cruise-terminal. Normal taxi ride into town costs around 200 Pesos. Disembarking in Buenos Aires you could book your taxi only through "agents" charging 20 or 15 US$( if you were fussy) which is 600 to 800 pesos !! No other possibility. I cannot understand that port authority allows this thieving practice. It gives the town a bad reputation right on arrival. Why do you pay a given sum for the cruise but are automatically charged nearly 25% on top for (gratuities). Shouldn't this be included in the price ? These so called gratuities must be sufficient to pay a big part of the staff's salaries. For us Europeans this system appears somewhat dishonest. You sell a package but then add on a big extra cost which is not always clearly indicated on the offer. This was the case for a group of young first-time cruisers who were demoralised by this attack on their budget. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We went for a 12 day holiday to NZ but after travelling on many other cruise lines we found the food was shocking and staff rude on Solstice. We were advised that this ship was superior to most of the other cruise lines. NOT SO!! I ... Read More
We went for a 12 day holiday to NZ but after travelling on many other cruise lines we found the food was shocking and staff rude on Solstice. We were advised that this ship was superior to most of the other cruise lines. NOT SO!! I thought the ship itself was great with heated pools which was handy as it was so cold and also entertainment was good at night. But this was overshadowed by bad service with next to no seafood and only fruit was watermelon, rockmelon and oranges!!!!!! Only seafood they had was deep fried fish which was mainly batter. No range of cereals which we found ALL OTHER cruise lines supply. When going to the bars we found on the pool deck and in the main dinning on the 14th floor we found it hard to get any service and even though we had a basic drinks package we were encouraged to pay an extra $150.00 for better wine and beer. We were under the impression that the basic would cover this but then had to pay $1.00 extra for every drink?? On board specialty dinning we did not go to as they were too expensive and when speaking to fellow passengers they told us they were not worth the money. Most meals started at $45.00 extra per head. We had 3 days at sea but found activities were very limited as only one band onboard that played from about 4pm to 9pm and then nothing!!! But the onboard shows were good and we went to most of them except the dance ones held by the crew. We didn’t do any port excursions from the boat as we are from NZ and knew the places to go on our own. We went downstairs to the formal dinning twice (which was free) and found one night the food was dreadful but the second time we enjoyed both the service and the food. They rang our cabin and wanted to know why we hadn’t gone back so told them we would give them another go. Embarkation was shocking with arguments going on with other passengers and staff yelling because of time we all had to wait in lines. Over 2 hours for many. This was a cold and rainy day which didn’t help tempers. Disembarkation went smoothly as we got off on our own when we docked at Sydney. We were advised to arrange for a transfer from the ship which would cost us US$30.00 each as in a note to everyone they stated NO taxis would be there. Not true as many, many taxis were there waiting and we got away first and the cost was only A$30.00 for both of us instead of US$60.00. It seemed to me it was important for staff to get passengers to upgrade their drinks and dinner meals. We wont be travelling with them again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We wanted to experience a different cruise ship to the ones we had used in the past. Unfortunately our experience at Auckland cruise terminal was unbelievable & we had thoughts of abandoning the cruise altogether. It took 3 ... Read More
We wanted to experience a different cruise ship to the ones we had used in the past. Unfortunately our experience at Auckland cruise terminal was unbelievable & we had thoughts of abandoning the cruise altogether. It took 3 hours to board the ship & another hour to get our luggage. There did not seem to be any priority embarcation for Elite, Elite Plus, etc. We have never experienced this before & have done over 20 cruises. The ship was fantastic overall. Great Captain, crew, staff & attendants. We had some dinners in Blu restaurant, but the choice onthe menu was not always good. On the final night in Blu I askedfor the main dining room menu as there was nothing that I was interested in. Most of the fish & beef dishes were overcooked & dry. The Ocean Cafe buffet was really good with a great range of choices but as usual too crowded. Best entertainment was the pianist & the final show. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise as we hae always wanted to see New Zealand and decided the cruise on offer visited all the places we wanted to see without the hassle of driving. This didnt disappoint, in fact we had expected to have damp wet weather ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we hae always wanted to see New Zealand and decided the cruise on offer visited all the places we wanted to see without the hassle of driving. This didnt disappoint, in fact we had expected to have damp wet weather whilst cruising around, as we had seen several videos people who had been on the same cruise had put on Youtube. But we had amazing weather. All the staff were absolutely wonderful and could not do enough at any time day or night, especially the person who kept our cabin clean, tidy and supplied with all our needs, he was amazing, always smiling and happy and helpful. The Captain was incredibly and told us along the way exactly what we would see and do, with times so that we would be prepared to experience the amazing scenery.We ate mainly in the Blu restaurant and again the staff could not have been more helpful, nothing too much trouble and the food was first class. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We sailed from Sydney to Auckland NZ departing Nov 8. The ship was in excellent condition. The balcony cabin was nice and well organized if a bit small. The choice of ports was quite good and the ship had plenty to do. First the ... Read More
We sailed from Sydney to Auckland NZ departing Nov 8. The ship was in excellent condition. The balcony cabin was nice and well organized if a bit small. The choice of ports was quite good and the ship had plenty to do. First the high points: Dining at Murano, Silk Harvest, Tuscan Grill and particularly Chef's Table. They were all excellent. We booked specialty dining for EVERY night and never ate in the main dining room. I think it was a brilliant decision. The staff in all three restaurants got to know us by name and taste. In Murano, our waiter, Sommelier, and Maitre D were all fantistic. In Silk Harvest, the young lady from Indonesia had boundless energy and an endless smile with excellent service. At Tuscan Grill, our waiter and Sommelier were all fantastic and took great care of us. The food was excellent at each venue. The Chef's Table was special even for "foodies". Drinks at the martini bar with the endless bar stunts by the staff were typically well prepared and very entertaining to have served. Flawless individual service. The lead bar tender from Bali is a star. We loved our quiet before dinner glass of wine at the Wine club also. A special shout out to the Sommelier from the main dining room who pitched in to help in the Wine Bar on several occasions. She was great. Variety of activities on board was also very good. From Glass blowing and lawn bowling on the top deck to the Casino. Plenty of fun and diverse things to do. Now for the NOT so good. First we had a very negative "bait and switch" on a shore excursion in Tauranga. Clearly stated and showed a picture of a jet boat running on the river. Instead without ANY explaination of articulation on the ticket, it was dull antics in the jet boat on a lake with a cultural tour of sites. That was a 20 year plan to do that after my father spoke so highly of it years ago. I went to the Shore Excursions desk to ask them nicely for an explanation and to make it right by me. I was curtly told that they were closed at 9:30 am would not return until 6 pm at night, and to "put it in writing" for the customer service desk. I did. customer service got them to call THE NEXT DAY at 9pm in my cabin. I got out of bed and went down to their desk and explained my disappointment. He said he would contact the tour operator. Despite the fact that the Tour Operator was CLEARLY not to blame. Celebrity changed the excursion and failed to notify the passengers at some time from when I booked it to when I was on the jet boat. I was pissed they changed it and failed to notify me. I could have adapted. By not on the next to last day on the ship. I asked the man that night to contact me by Email within 7 days with Celebrity's proposed "make it right" solution after he said he would escalate it to "Corporate". It has now been almost 3 weeks of radio silence from Celebrity. I can only conclude that the Shore Excursions group and leadership is Rude, Lazy and not customer focused at all. Be warned and do not "trust them". For the rate premium they charge, they should do much better. My next complaint was with tender management of the Shore Excursion. Ruturning to the ship after a long train and SUPER HOT bus ride from the Alpine Railway, we had a 45 minute line to get on a tender with a rude and agitated shore Officer who lost his composure no doubt under pressure to get the passengers back on board. Finally the ship house band was not up to expectations. We really love live music but some of the songs were so poorly done, it quite some time to even recognize personal favorites. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
This was or 6th cruise and the 3rd with Celebrity. We now rate Celebrity as our top choice, even although our other 3 cruises have been with Azamara. From the moment we got to the terminal in Sydney, we felt looked after. Our cases were ... Read More
This was or 6th cruise and the 3rd with Celebrity. We now rate Celebrity as our top choice, even although our other 3 cruises have been with Azamara. From the moment we got to the terminal in Sydney, we felt looked after. Our cases were whisked away and we walked trough the check in in minutes. Lovely staff, and no delays. Our balcony cabin was excellent in fact the best we ahve had so far. Its jut a little bigger than usual and the bathroom with a proper shower with doors was excellent ( we hate the shower curtain in other ships we have been on), Masses of storage space, lovely balcony which seemed wider than previous ships. The staff were fabulous throughout. Food in the main dining room was very good and lunch and breakfast in the oceanview was also good, although often crowded at breakfast. The entertainment was overall quite good, but none of the comedians could compare with the wit and timing of the captain who was constantly informative and entertaining. His talk on the building of the ship was outstanding ( 2 hours without notes and was both funny and interesting). We had dinner in the Murano one evening and it was fabulous. We enjoyed the itinerary and New Zealand is simply beautiful and this was a wonderful chance to see so much in a short space of time. We are just considering our next booking but in the interim we have a big Azamara cruise booked for April, but this recent trip was so good we are now considering is it worth it to pay the extra for Azamara. Well done Celebrity. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We had always wanted to visit New Zealand and this cruise allowed us to sample this amazing country. The whole experience that The Solstice offered was first class. We stayed on deck 9 mid ships in a good sized balcony cabin. Great bed and ... Read More
We had always wanted to visit New Zealand and this cruise allowed us to sample this amazing country. The whole experience that The Solstice offered was first class. We stayed on deck 9 mid ships in a good sized balcony cabin. Great bed and storeage facilities along with a large and well appointed shower room. As soon as we got on board the quality of service was evident. Staff at all levels were only too happy to help. The quality of food and bar service was amazing. We took the premium drinks package and this allowed us to get all of our favourite wines,spirits,beers and cocktails with no concerns about running up a large bar bill.Add to this premium coffees from the cafe and we were very happy. The pool arreas are excellent and there were ample sun beds ensuring we always achieved a good spot to enjoy the great weather that we had. We sampled all of the restaurants and the quality of food and service was first class. The speciality restaurants are excellent but we would have been more than happy to dine each night in the main dining room where the menus are varied and service very friendly and efficient. We didn't go on any of the excursions,we prefer to do our own thing and this worked well. Port embarkation so and tender facilities worked well and there was always staff on hand to assist. To sum up, we loved our cruise. The only reason we gave it 4 stars and not 5 is that the ship is a wee bit tired but I believe due for a refit soon. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My husband have done many cruises and couldn't wait to do the Australia/New Zealand cruise with Celebrity, we were booked on the Solstice, Nov. 18,2018. We had done a Hawaiian cruise on the Solstice in Sept. 2018 and at that time we ... Read More
My husband have done many cruises and couldn't wait to do the Australia/New Zealand cruise with Celebrity, we were booked on the Solstice, Nov. 18,2018. We had done a Hawaiian cruise on the Solstice in Sept. 2018 and at that time we thought the ship was looking a little worn. Our veranda chairs were ripped and very dirty, paint chips everywhere, rust...it just wasn't up to expectations, we were actually worried about the upcoming trip in November and worried thinking maybe we should cancel the cruise. We really should have cancelled it. The Solstice ship should be taken off the line and refurbished completely, it's old and worn out, of course that's expected due to the masses on the ship each week, but Celebrity is aware of this and pushes these older ships to the limit thinking it's ok that customers put up with it. First I'm so tired of Celebrity and it's 'nickel and dime' mentality. Yes they are a business, but you also have to consider and entice your customers. They don't anymore. I think so many people cruise now that they just cram us in, stack on the $$ and off they go. At one time it was wonderful walking onto a cruise ship, elegant, beautiful, couldn't wait for the adventure to start. This time we couldn't eat a meal without them trying to sell us specialty restaurants, or someone trying to take our photos when we politely said no. Or hearing over the PA system sales on at stores, and we all know what that means - trying to get rid of same crap we always have on every cruise. We paid extra for Aqua class for the Blu restaurant and use of the Spa area. This trip the Blu restaurant was a total disappointment, the food was below pare, so much so, we actually asked for the menu from the Main Dining Room. Believe me it wasn't just us with complaints in the Blu restaurant, it was actually another couple who put us on to getting the other menu. Why pay extra? Never again! Our Aqua class room was just like any other Veranda room on the ship, no extras really so save your money people. Even in this cabin the chairs on the veranda were torn and very dirty as well as an old chipped table. The deck floor filthy. I spent time trying to wipe everything down which I've never had to do before. The couch was worn and torn, the pillows like something I would have tossed out. Drawers stick etc. Though bed was comfy. Our cabin attendant was a lovely polite fellow but how clean the cabin was, well let me just say that there was a glass water jug which was filled with a light tea. This tea looked very refreshing the first day but we didn't drink it. By the third day it had slim growing in it, literally strands of slim, on the fourth day I took it upon myself to empty it after I saw the first sign of mold in it. I left the container by the sink in the bathroom, thinking it would give him a hint. When we came back it was refilled and very obvious the container had just been swished clean, still cloudy OMG. Don't touch anything in the room until I disinfect with my disinfectant wipes. Now all I could picture is him wearing his rubber gloves washing the toilet, then sink, then counters with the same rag and gloves on. The entertainment, oh my gosh, please give me high school kids they would have been more entertaining. Cruise Director Rich Spacey very nice guy but come on his jokes are old, same exact ones as on the Hawaiian cruise and there certainly wasn't much to do on Sea Days at all. People were just wondering aimlessly. We got to talk to a number of them who felt the same way we did and they had cruised many more times than us. I can remember when cruise ships had little horse races in the Theatres, talent contests that cruisers entered, dancing contests, etc. and you actually won a pretty good prize. Now it's all trivia for the masses, ABBA music (I like ABBA but not on every ship). The entertainment was great when they brought people on board like Pianist Van-An Nguyen and Violinist Yoomia - Wow, but the Solstice Band plays like a high school band and thinks they have to play as loud as they can to drown out the actual artists. Tone it down! The Magician they had was embarrassing, his magic act was the calibre of someone just learning, but his jokes were funny. After the show a man told him he was a great comedian and the guy was offended and curtly said I'm a Magician not a comedian LOL. Trust me he should stick to telling his jokes and drop the magic act. The stores are a joke, same stuff on every cruise, same prices, even when they say 75% off - same prices as first day on ship. Big sale come and get it, what a laugh, people lined up and then when they saw it was the same old stuff and same prices they all started complaining loudly, LOL. I had to use up a room credit and had great difficulty since it's always the same stuff on every cruise. I ended up buying chocolates for others just to use it up. Chocolates that cost $21.99 on the ship and $4.99 in the port LOL. We've been on enough cruises to know they really push the Art Auctions, they are always the same, same pictures, same prices, same guess the price contests etc. The Shore Excursions - well I'll just say this "huge rip offs" the prices are in the hundreds of dollars, please please book private shore excursions, you will see more, in the end pay less and trust me you will be back on the ship on time. They always scare you saying that if you don't book through the ship you may be late getting back and they don't wait. Private tours you tell them we'd like to be back by 4:00 etc., and viola you are. TOURS - Melbourne - Countryside, Birds & Vintage Train - SAVE YOUR MONEY. You do this tour on the Puffing Billy Train, which should be called the Choking Billy Express. We actually had our money refunded on this tour as it started late, not enough seats, then ended at a train stop half way of where we were suppose to go. We were told we get off and wait by the side of the road for our bus, didn't see one bird, nada, zip...only the back of homes along the tracks. Tour guide did very little talking and didn't answer when asked by people why we got off here and when are we going to see birds. Dunedin, New Zealand - Excursion on Taieri Gorge Train - excellent, tour guide attendant on train was excellent, big tip for her! Food for lunch was pretty good for a boxed lunch. Akaroa, Christchurch on your own. Long drive on bus through hills and lakes, it was nice for the first 2 hours, after awhile I took pictures of the entire bus sleeping. My husband and I were taking bets on how long it would take for them to drift off LOL. Once in Christchurch - well there wasn't that much shopping and people were back at the bus meeting area early. What does that say? Wellington - Windy Wellington, it's always windy here. Went to Zealandia, save your money and do it on your own. Take free shuttle from ship to Lambton Quay then walk over to Cable Car, ($9.00 for round trip up and down) it's not far, couple blocks and you pass lovely stores. Ride Cable Car to top, walk around take photos then walk right over to the shuttle stop (which is right there) and take it free to Zealandia - pay fee to get in and off you go, lovely. Let me point out it is not a regular Zoo, you are walking paths along river which is below and see nature and MAY see birds, but there is no guarantee because it is a natural setting. But just walking the paths and listening to the birds is very relaxing. After this you can take shuttle back to top of Cable Car then go to your left and walk through the botanical gardens which is lovely, but all downhill and not good if you have a walking disability as you have steep hills to get back to the top to catch cable car. Pick your tours carefully, as many tours through Viatour, or as I said Private Tours are much cheaper and you get more as you are in smaller groups and not waiting on 50 other people. Last day Authentic Maori Experience with Airport/Hotel Drop off - one huge rip off, they make sure they tell sometimes the men can't be present off fighting etc. I immediately said to my husband here we go, so the women 7 or 8 young women did the "wero", I'm also sure the Maori had no plywood or wire for their huts and the food was definitely not authentic at all. Just a usual Sunday dinner LOL, stuffing, chicken, pork, boiled potatoes, salad, tea, coffee. No way it was cooked in the ground and you definitely don't see it, it comes out of the kitchen and served by 3 ladies - the end. Big disappointment for Big Money. We've actually seen a real Maori ceremony. Cruise line should veto this one big time. Hope this helps at least one person. Remember we each have our own opinions and I've given you mine. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I chose the Sydney to Auckland cruise on Celebrity Solstice to celebrate our 50th Wedding anniversary. The service and other features of the cruise justified my choice. This was our second cruise on Solstice, the first being to New ... Read More
I chose the Sydney to Auckland cruise on Celebrity Solstice to celebrate our 50th Wedding anniversary. The service and other features of the cruise justified my choice. This was our second cruise on Solstice, the first being to New Caledonia etc. We travelled C3 Concierge and our cabin was deck 10 a little aft of the bulge on the starboard side. Everything about the cruise was just perfect, from the very quick embarkation procedure in Sydney to our sad farewell to Solstice in Auckland. In Sydney after we dropped our bags off it was pretty much straight through Customs and Immigration - probably a 15 minute process at the most. We went aboard and were greeted with the customary glass of champagne and then proceeded to Cafe al Bacio to kill some time before lunch and wait for our cabin to be ready. Shortly after we had finished lunch we got the call that cabins were ready so went to check ours out. As we might have expected our cabin was immaculate, everything as it should be in Concierge, including the welcome bottle of bubbly. We couldn't fault the cabin, plenty of storage, a very comfortable bed, quiet and a more than adequately sized balcony. Our Cabin Steward Eduardo was one of the most pleasant and obliging people you could wish to meet, times we didn't encounter him in the hallway or in or about our cabin when we returned made me wonder if he wasn't hiding in the wardrobe. We dined most nights in Grand Epernay and the service and food was faultless. We opted to eat in Oceanview on the first night because we wanted to be up on deck for our departure from Sydney and it was certainly worthwhile. It was a beautiful clear evening and the buzz among fellow passengers on deck 12 as we cleared the International Terminal and eased out into Sydney Harbour was palpable. There was no hiding the excitement we were all feeling. The food on offer in Oceanview was also quite good - there was a very wide range of cuisines to choose from. There were several good shows on offer to keep us entertained, "Amade", a tribute to Mozart was very enjoyable as was the Elton John tribute and Rock City. There was always something happening in the Sky Lounge or Celebrity Central or the Entertainment Court hosted by Lauren and Emily to keep passengers happy and laughing, just too many alternatives to mention but something to suit everybody. The session in Solstice Theatre on our last sea day by Captain Tasos explaining the construction of Solstice was most interesting and very well received by a packed theatre. The service we received could not be faulted, from the waitresses in Cafe al Bacio to bar stewards at ny bar you care to mention, at the Mast Grill or Mast Bar. Our Head Waiter, Assistant Waiter, Drinks Waiter and Sommelier in Grand Epernay were excellent, always had a smile, our drinks waiter did not need to be told what we wanted after the second day - he would ask to confirm that we wanted the same as we had previously and return with our drinks in a flash. Again, with this foursome nothing was ever a problem. We only booked one shore excursion with Celebrity, the Blue Baths Tea and Rotorua Thermal Outing for when we were in Tauranga. In Dunedin and Wellington we chose to visit I-Site, the visitor information centre, in Akaroa and Bay of Islands we just did our own thing. We were staying Auckland for a couple of days after our arrival and were in no hurry to disembark so we chose a 9.30am disembarkation. Due to some passengers having problems with Customs and Immigration there were a few holdups but we were off by 10am. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose celebrity due to previous reviews from friends. We had been on Viking and wanted a more livelier experience . This cruise was a total pleasure. Great crew, employees are very customer oriented. There is a ton to do on this ship. ... Read More
We chose celebrity due to previous reviews from friends. We had been on Viking and wanted a more livelier experience . This cruise was a total pleasure. Great crew, employees are very customer oriented. There is a ton to do on this ship. Entertainment all over the ship every evening and excellent quality. Food choices are also excellent and quality is exceptional in their specialty restaurants. The Buffett is very good with a huge selection. We ate at their specialty restaurants and the quality was exceptional. Celebrity employees are happy and personable . The Cruise Director and Captain were in frequent contact and always were fun. A big difference in this cruise was the quality of entertainment. A great show every night at 7 or 9. The entertainment varied from Broadway music, classic rock, singing and dancing, aerial silks, etc. the one thing I would say about this cruise is I would be careful on their shore excursions. We took 3 and would say the description did not match the tour. We provided this feedback to the Shote Excursion desk. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This is our first ever cruise and I must admist we were sceptical ! But having spoken to our travel agent and told her the areas we wanted to visit she, without hesitation recommended the Celebrity Solstice 12 Night New Zealand Cruise and ... Read More
This is our first ever cruise and I must admist we were sceptical ! But having spoken to our travel agent and told her the areas we wanted to visit she, without hesitation recommended the Celebrity Solstice 12 Night New Zealand Cruise and as it was our first, we decided that we would like to be able to choose to have a table in the dining room just for the two of us. Our agent told us the benefits of Aqua Class with dining in the Blu Restaurant. The 12 days aboard the Celebrity Solstice exceeded our expectations with the cabin being larger than we had expected and the bed was one of the most comfortable we have ever slept on and without exception the Blu restaurant was first class. All the staff (ncluding the Captain) on the ship could not have been more helpful at the same time very professional, nothing was too much trouble. The Captain kept us constantly informed of where we were and where we were going. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
This was a back to back cruise to Australia and New Zealand, two countries on my wish list since many years. We spent two days in Sidney staying at the Sidney Hilton Hotel before departure with excursions to the Sidney Opera House and ... Read More
This was a back to back cruise to Australia and New Zealand, two countries on my wish list since many years. We spent two days in Sidney staying at the Sidney Hilton Hotel before departure with excursions to the Sidney Opera House and to the Blue Mountains. All was most interesting and enjoyable, especially the ride on the steepest train ride and seeing a koala bear for the first time. Indeed there were several firsts on this cruise. We were picked up by a limousine from the hotel to the port-side. Once onboard our cases were soon delivered to our cabin. In the meantime we relaxed on the balacony. Indeed we enjoyed using the balcony throughout our cruise for relaxing during the day and most evenings watching the landscape change or looking for sea and bird life. Very good entertainment on most evenings. Dining at the Ocean View had excellent choice for breakfast and lunch. Evening meals were taken in the Grand Epernay. Excellent food and good service. There were several chic evenings were people could dress up to make an occasion of the meal.However not all diners were dressed appropriately and still allowed in to the dining room. After our first cruise we were badgered by dining room staff to complete a survey within 7 days. This we did in the iLounge on board ship. One evening the table waiter announced that we had not completed the survey in front of the other diners. I saw the Maitre’d immediately and the the iLounge staff who had helped me to login to the survey initially, which I had received a thank you message for completing. One thing, the survey was not annonimous and staff were fully aware who and what were the results- this almost destroyed our holiday, which until then had been exceptional. Our disembarkation at Auckland was chaotic as recent changes at port-side had left cars no spaces to park for the pickup. We arrived at the Pullman Hotel where our reservation could not be found in our name. A wrong name had been entered, it took us an hour before it was sorted and we eventually had a room, but not before thinking we would sleep on the street. A highly stressful end to our cruise that took the shine off a generally enjoyable time. We were satisfied with our dining options, so we had no reason to pay the xtra at other restaurants offered. We were astonished that there was no free wifi. It was only available at an extortionate rate. This caused us to miss an urgent message regarding the death of our dog whilst we were at sea. It was two days later when ashore that we received the news. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Me and my partner chose to cruise with celebrity after enjoying a fantastic cruise on the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas 2 years prior. We thought since the two are related and celebrity is more expensive that the experience ... Read More
Me and my partner chose to cruise with celebrity after enjoying a fantastic cruise on the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas 2 years prior. We thought since the two are related and celebrity is more expensive that the experience should be even more fantastic. I have to say, we had a better time on the Explorer. Not sure whether this is because of the people on the ship... we are 25 but we don't drink and aren't party animals - But wow, this is a very sloooow crowd and the daily planner reflects that. There is literally nothing to do during the day other than go to talks where they try to sell you things. Other than that the daily features are bingo, glass blowing, spa talks on how to reduce lines and ease back pain + more activities that lets just say, I'd rather watch paint dry. if we hadnt booked such a great Shore activities I'm not sure how much we would have enjoyed this cruise... Cabins - we just had a regular interior cabin on level 8. We were unfortunate enough to have probably one of only three babies on board 4 cabins down and this one was definitely a screamer. I have to say I think every single time we were in the cabin, that baby was crying... including multiple nights. However I have to admit that's obviously not celebrities fault but it did impact the trip. also, the cabins on the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas are much nicer than the solstice cabins except for a smaller bed. There is way more storage on the Explorer and the rooms are just laid out a lot better. Another little thing that is sort of silly but it's one of the things makes a cruise, we didn't get any towel animals except for the first night. That was one of the most exciting things on the Explorer! Seeing which new one we got every day! A weird damp smell also lingered the whole time... Dining in the buffet - we only ate in the buffet and included restaurant the entire trip because we usually find that that's all you need... Again, the food at the buffet on the Explorer was much superior to the food on the solstice. The breakfast did not change literally every single day. Lunch varied somewhat but barely. Most of the dinner was also the same, except for a few theme nights where they basically just had maybe 10 more dishes added. Dining in the no fee restaurant - firstly I want to say that our waitress Taisiia was amazing. She was extremely prompt, friendly and informed about the food. We also found this on the Explorer with our waiter. but once again, the Explorer had much better dinner food than the solstice. we found that the menu on the solstice was very bizarre and somewhat pretentious. The entrees were pretty much just soups and salads for the entire duration of the cruise which I guess you can mass make and not really stuff up. The mains were really hit and miss...some of the steaks were really overcooked even though we ordered them all medium rare. But then again some of the food was fantastic. it's really hard to say but it's really just a game of luck every night with the menu. But I have to say it was a process of elimination of things we didn't like most of the time... another small thing to know is that the bread options are really limited on the solstice. At dinner on the Explorer we were given about 6 to 8 different options of bread but on this cruise we only had three different types of bread to choose from one of which was bread sticks. Dessert was great but honestly it's pretty hard to stuff up dessert. Shows in the theatre- the one thing that celebrity did mirror with Royal Caribbean Explorer was the fantastic shoes on board. But I have to admit that the entertainment was only really great when it was with the solstice theatre performers. All the other extra performers were pretty rubbish other than one comedian. Most nights there were plenty of seats left in the theatre when it wasn't the solstice group performing. Pools - pool areas were nice and tidy and they did have plenty of chairs for everyone in the main pool. This was not k's in the adults only area. You'd go literally at 9 a.m. and all the chairs would have towels and things on them from people dumping them on the way to the buffet. They really should have some sort of system in place to avoid this happening as we saw chairs with no one in them for hours on end... Gym and spa - we did go to the gym a couple of days and I have to say it was pretty fantastic. Loads of equipment and weights. Plenty of cold towels for anyone and a really great Fitness classroom. we also did take advantage of the Persian room for our stay. It was expensive but we really enjoyed it. The steam room was awesome and the hot pads were really relaxing. We also did have one couples massage that was pretty good but in hindsight we probably wouldn't do it again how much money it cost. that was another thing, throughout the entire ship there were the massage ladies sitting you in chairs giving you a random shoulder rub and running you through the price list. It was a bit full on and I was really over it by the end of the trip. Shore excursions - we did 3 excursions, quad biking in the sand dunes in Newcastle, Australia Zoo and also a Great Barrier Reef snorkeling Discovery. Quad biking was definitely the highlight. this was due to the fact that there was only about 10 of us considering the general demographic on the cruise wouldn't be able to physically quad bike, plus the dunes were fantastic and the guys were amazing. Australia Zoo was ok, I mean it's just a zoo and it may have been more exciting for someone who isn't an Australian but we still did have fun and we don't regret going but wouldn't do it again. we have mix feelings about the great barrier reef discovery . Unfortunately it was the best day for it it was a really rough seas - the boat the incredibly rocky the entire time and multiple people were being sick. This gets pretty full-on since it's over an hour and a half trip to the reef. I got sick too. The reef itself was ok I have to say I don't think we were taken to a particularly beautiful part. I've done snorkeling a lot of times and there are much better spots all around Australia in Thailand and as well in New Caledonia. I was happy we went but again we wouldn't do it again. The rest of the staff were ok. The guest relations staff were pretty average an abrupt but all of the buffet and public room staff were very kind and accommodating. all in all, it was a bit disappointing and I wouldn't be cruising with celebrity again. I think I'll stick to Royal Caribbean. To give you some feedback also, my partner has cruised with multiple lines and he said that celebrity is pretty hand in hand in terms of food with P&O. Save your money, go with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
My sister & I chose this cruise as we wanted to sail up the coast of Australia from Sydney to Cairns. The Solstice is a well appointed huge ship.The food was excellent & most of the entertainment was good. On the whole the staff ... Read More
My sister & I chose this cruise as we wanted to sail up the coast of Australia from Sydney to Cairns. The Solstice is a well appointed huge ship.The food was excellent & most of the entertainment was good. On the whole the staff were friendly but a number found it hard to look interested. Our Stateroom Attendant was fantastic. The shore excursions were so expensive as was the drinks package & because we were paying in American Dollars & not Aust Dollars it made it worse. It pays to look into local shore excursions.. When we went ashore in Brisbane there was no alternative other than to pay the $30 US to get into the city as the bus company the cruise was dealing with had the monopoly on transport from the Port.. We tired very quickly of the constant loud music throughout the ship. It wasn't turned down when the Captain whom we couldn't understand at the best of time, spoke. He did have a great sense of humour. We also tired of being accousted by crew members daily to buy special dinners etc. Going ashore at Airlie Beach took two hours from the time we got down to get a pass to when we actually got ashore. Not once during this time were we told what was happening or why it was taking so long. There were many irate passengers & even more during our Safety Drill Deck 5 C1. Many passengers had to stand for about an hour. We couldn't see the screen or hear what was happening. Nobody had any confidence if anything did go wrong. It was a disgrace. I have been on Azamara which was amazing & ran like clock work. Princess & Royal Caribbean which were great & Costa which lacked any form of organization. If I cruise again it will be with Azamara. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We are seasoned travelers on cruise ships with many of them on Celebrity and previously have always had above average experiences. However, my husband and I (and MANY fellow travelers we learned throughout) have seen a noticeable drop in ... Read More
We are seasoned travelers on cruise ships with many of them on Celebrity and previously have always had above average experiences. However, my husband and I (and MANY fellow travelers we learned throughout) have seen a noticeable drop in overall quality. Let me start by saying that in our BTB cruise (NEW Zealand also) our room was very nice, clean, spacious, with plenty of storage, The person who took care of our room was beyond excellent. The food in The Blue Dining room was very good and the staff warm and gracious. We were so impressed that many remembered our names and preferences after only a few days. I also loved the Persian Gardens that came with our Blue upgrade. I enjoyed laying on the warmed tile seats and sweating it out in the steam room. My husband and I also enjoyed the workout facilities although I wish they were much quicker to repair broken equipment. 3 treadmills were out of order so at certain mid morning times we would have to wait awhile to get on one. Same was the case with the Persian Garden chairs. I believe by the end of the trip there were two out of order. Where the ship fell short were primarily in the excursions. Many of them were disorganized (more so on the New Zealand half but I'll save that for my other review). We at times felt rushed with not enough time to do much of anything. That said, we were taken to some beautiful areas, especially the Great Barrier Reef. It was unfortunate though that we were not able to see the quantity of fish and coral we were hoping for. Some on this excursion claim they saw almost no fish. Some guidance from the crew on the platoon as to where to snorkle once we got on the beach would have been helpful. I found I had to go out quite a bit further than others to see what I came to see. As a side note, a couple of days prior to this excursion we tried to change it to another snorkling experience because the man at the excursion desk told us "you aren't really snorkling in the Great Barrier Reef". When we asked to change it he told us they were all booked and "you should have booked one of the other ones earlier". We left sorely disapponted and scratching our head that he would say this to us. We later learned that it WAS part of the Great Barrier, just the southern part. This was one of a handful of mishaps with customer service but overall the many great workers on the ship made up for the handful of poor ones with fatigue attitudes. To sum up our shore excursions I would advise anyone going on a cruise to either book your cruises through Cruise Critic when someone in your group sets one up or go to a site like Viator to book it. You will get better excursions for less price and smaller groups. From this point forward we will be avoiding ship excursions until/unless we read that they have upped their game. They are way overpriced for what you get. Another area of disappointment was the food in the cafe on the 14th floor. Almost universally the food was just blah with little flavor. The best were the asian noodles but I can't say too much for the other food (and I'm not a picky eater at all). There was almost no variety from a day-to-day basis. This is 100 percent true with the healthy eating area on the other side of the ship on the 12th floor. The selection there (albiet limited) NEVER changed for either of the 2 cruises we were on. Overall we enjoyed the nightly entertainment in the theater. Some were better than others but still entertaining. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise as we had heard great things about Celebrity X. We have cruised several times Royal Caribbean so expected it to be better as Celebrity is supposed to be their premium brand. Our room attendant kept our rooms cleans ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had heard great things about Celebrity X. We have cruised several times Royal Caribbean so expected it to be better as Celebrity is supposed to be their premium brand. Our room attendant kept our rooms cleans but could barely speak English so was very hard to communicate with. The main dining room staff were gorgeous, kind and fun and the food on board is definitely a grade above Royal Caribbean. The entertainment was severely lacking and we were very bored most of the time. The evening shows were very hit and miss, the illusionist on the first night, Raymond Crowe, was particularly cringe-worthy. We were told by the Entertainment director at the Rock Show that only half the orchestra had boarded the ship for our cruise. The wait to be served at the bars could be up to 20 minutes which became very frustrating when you just wanted a bottle of water or a can of soft drink. The staff at Bacio cafe were very sour and happy to tell you off if you ordered incorrectly or not as they liked. Overall we felt like we had paid to go on the staffs holiday and everyone we spoke with onboard said similar. Other travellers said they had been told by staff that only half the crew had arrived on time for our cruise. Not sure exactly the correct reason but this cruise was a major letdown and disappointment. We wouldn’t cruise with Celebrity again: Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We have cruised with Holland America and Royal Caribbean previously. This cruise was to places we had been to before but we wanted a "Solstice Experience". Many of our friends have said - what a beautiful ship she was, and so ... Read More
We have cruised with Holland America and Royal Caribbean previously. This cruise was to places we had been to before but we wanted a "Solstice Experience". Many of our friends have said - what a beautiful ship she was, and so we wanted to see if they were right... and they were right! EMBARKATION was smooth and seamless from shore to ship with a lovely glass of bubbly waiting for us, once on board. But then as like a tornado the ON SELL started! Our BALCONY CABIN on deck 9 was ready by 1pm. It was spotlessly clean - with no apparent signs of wear and tear. Loved the sliding doors to the shower! But hated the pillows... they were shockers - very lumpy and small but the bed was comfortable. DINING - We had "dine as you please". The meals in the main dining room were excellent - not big serves but enjoyable. There were 2 nights where the menu selection was poor. If you left anything on your plate the waiter would seek reassurance that the meal was o.k. and would offer you something else if it was not to your liking. The Oceanview Buffet was excellent and the best on any ship we have sailed. The selection was fresh and excellent quality. Oceanview had several days which featured different countries eg, Aussie, Mexican. Some of the cake deserts in Oceanview were the same as what was offered in Silk & Tuscan Grille. We bought a 3 night dining package. Silk Harvest and Tuscan Grill look out onto the ocean but Murano is full enclosed. Our impressions were: SILK HARVEST - Not worth the surcharge. The meal was comparative to our local Thai. TUSCAN GRILL - Well cooked steak but this was the only time we noticed a slip in the excellent service we had experienced. The wrong entree was served and one us was not served our main. MURANO - Top Notch - great menu, well presented and some dishes cooked in front of you. Excellent service and worth the surcharge. Next trip if we get the restaurant package we have decided we would do all three nights at Murano. ENTERTAINMENT - Was mixed, several mediocre performances in the Theatre and several high quality performers like the silk acrobats, Oz Boys and Kym Purling. The theatre timing was a little late. Both could have been brought forward an hour, so other activities later in the evening were achievable before falling asleep from a day in the sun and snorkling. CRUISE DIRECTOR - Rich Spacey was TOPS!! such a talented man. Professional in every way! Other cruise ships should take a look at the quality act he gives and mimic it. ACTIVITIES - This is one area where Celebrity could lift its game. A couple of dance classes, 3 games of trivia each day, and a couple of games on the sports deck and poor quality selection of movies. Everything else was ON-SELL. ENRICHMENT - Beyond the Podium. These were on sail days with two speakers. One on Forensic and the other on the Ocean Deep (who was excellent). The choice of speaker on Forensic was poor one. A policeman from Broome WA whose claim to fame was 2 weeks in Bali after the bombing. His talks contained more padding than fact and when someone asked a question he said he needed to do more research before he could answer. Surely Celebrity could have looked for quality candidate for the roll from Sydney or Melbourne whose career was in Forensics. PORTS OF CALL - Celebrity did not give any talks on the destinations and so there were people on the ship who were unaware of the facilities (or lack there of) walks and snorkling opportunities on the islands. At all ports the tendering was done efficiently and quickly. We never had to wait more than 5 minutes to get on a tender boat. We noticed that the crew had put 4-5 tender boats out. Other cruise lines could take a lesson from Celebrity on how to effectively manage this process. CHILDREN - There were only about 30-40 children on board. This ship has limited outdoor activities for children. WOULD WE GO AGAIN? Most definitely Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We adored this cruise. 3rd time on the ship 1st time in the royal suite. Could we ever go back to a Sky Suite ? yes of course we can they are all delightful. The royal suite is so perfect. everything about it. Space luxury, service ... Read More
We adored this cruise. 3rd time on the ship 1st time in the royal suite. Could we ever go back to a Sky Suite ? yes of course we can they are all delightful. The royal suite is so perfect. everything about it. Space luxury, service everything. Internet and premium drinks included but with this bar stocked everyday and all bar services available on room service who needs to even use the drinks package. Unlimited specialty dining and even your washing done, it's so worth it even if it's a one of cruise of a life time. The staff make everyone feel special so you can imagine how your butler and room steward go that extra mile. We have done sky suite at the AFT and loved that we have done concierge at the aft and loved that too. we just love the ship. Food is great, service is great, passengers are all friendly. Give it ago if you get a chance. the pacific islands are amazing places to visit and the beaches with the ship in the background make the perfect holiday snaps. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I chose this cruise ship as i did hear good things about it...This is my sixth cruise (Carnival Spirit, Princess Sapphire,Diamond,Sun & Sea) and 1st with Celebrity... The Outstanding : I must say Firstly, "THE FOOD IS ... Read More
I chose this cruise ship as i did hear good things about it...This is my sixth cruise (Carnival Spirit, Princess Sapphire,Diamond,Sun & Sea) and 1st with Celebrity... The Outstanding : I must say Firstly, "THE FOOD IS SENSATIONAL ON THE SOLSTICE" !!! OMG, so much variety to choose from with such high quality. And this is just at the Oceanview cafe (buffet)...Being in construction, i do love my food, and weight just falls off me( haha), so i eat ALOT...And it was such a pleasure with the different ways they could serve beef, chicken, pork, turkey , kangeroo and crocodile... YES, i said crocodile ! FANTASTIC......Cakes,pastry,jelly,icecream,pavlova,tarts,pies,brulee,arrrrggghhhhhh EVERYTHING.... The "Blu" Restaurant . quality in food and service. And it felt very comfortable, relaxed and classy. I even requested 2 mains for myself (you know, big eater and all) and with not even the slightest look of evil coming from the waitor. Instead, i get no problem at all , Sir. And then proceeded to organise what was coming out when.. Did not try other "specialty" restaurants. The Cabin Steward..kept our cabin clean and attended to our every request (laundry, room service mess, extra towels, itinerary brochure for days events,NOT to keep the bed tucked in neat,). And genuinely happy every time i talked to him. The secrets of Cruise ship Navigation talk by one of the high ranking Captains. The Guy could have been a comedian. Great personality by the Irish guy. Delivered the talk show with in depth information for around an hour and a half. A great range of Topics discussed, and the average person has NO IDEA of the complexities of Cruise ship industry and running until you see this talk/show...you think flying a jumbo jet plane is hard? not even in the same league as these cruise Captains...You will finally understand WHY they have so many captains on the ship... All staff in ANY food area . Just seemed to have the perfect amount of staff to serve the customer. Well organized and had everyone adhering to the high hygiene standards. The Great : The Cabin (review below) The Hot Glass show...my son made me a drink glass. got to choose colours and was helped to make it by the staff. The silent Disco thing...Attend this party , everyone has headphones on. There are 3 different channels you can tune the headphones to and each channel has a different glowing colour when your listening to it. At first i thought how silly. But after arriving with a couple of Tequila Sunrises under my belt, and seeing how everyone was into it, it was great and totally weird at the same time. take your headphones off, and the room is dead silent with crazy people dancing around in all different ways and speeds corresponding to whichever channel they are listening to..just watching was hilarious. Embarkation & Disembarkation both floorless procedures The NOT so good. The member of staff who somehow managed to put a $650 drinks package on my card after the 3rd day in. Was annoyed it took me 4 times to approach the customer desk to remove it from my account. its a long story and too much for here. The itinerary on the ship...The events they did have planned WERE great, it was just NOWHERE near enough of them. Not enough things to do on the ship. Overall though, Best Ship ive been on...just needed more of a itinerary on the ship and a better cruise destination. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
My wife and I had twelve prior cruises under our belt, but had never done a re-positioning cruise. The "Tahitian Treasures" cruise from Honolulu to Sydney via French Polynesia and New Zealand sounded like just the ticket for our ... Read More
My wife and I had twelve prior cruises under our belt, but had never done a re-positioning cruise. The "Tahitian Treasures" cruise from Honolulu to Sydney via French Polynesia and New Zealand sounded like just the ticket for our inaugural re-positioning, and we were not disappointed in the slightest. The Solstice, although the oldest of the Solstice class ships, is still relatively young (in service since 2008) and is in tip-top shape. Everything is sparkling clean, in good working order, and we didn't see anything that showed signs of wear and tear. Our stateroom was reasonably spacious for two, as was the veranda. One thing I liked was that the bed frames were high enough off the floor to easily allow our 29-inch suitcases (and we had four of them since we were staying on in Australia after the cruise and needed clothing for a couple of climate zones) to fit underneath them. There is also a nice-sized couch in addition to a small but functional desk. The large TV provided for easy viewing and the controls worked well. Storage space was adequate, but just barely. More drawer space would have been nice although I'm not sure where it could have gone. One minor complaint is that the safe was in a less-than-convenient spot, requiring you to get on your hands and knees to operate it. At least there was a safe, however, which we think is a critical piece of equipment for storing passports and other valuable. This was the first time we opted for Celebrity's "Select Dining" rather than having a fixed dining time and fixed seating assignment, and we found it worked quite well. Being able to eat when we wanted was very convenient, and allowed us to select the time that best worked relative to shows or other activities that we wished to see. We never had to wait for a table, and although the tables are relatively close together, it afforded us the opportunity to meet some very nice people while also avoiding the situation, which has sometimes occurred, of being seated for the whole cruise at a table with people with whom you have nothing in common. Also, over time Celebrity has cut back on the selections available in the main dining room, and we found that on some nights where there was nothing that compelling on the main menu we enjoyed the more relaxed atmosphere of the buffet in the Ocean View Cafe. Food quality was uniformly good in the main dining room and the Ocean View Cafe. We also tried three of the premium restaurants -- Silk Harvest (Asian fusion--nothing particularly impressive), Murano (continental--limited menu but excellent quality and superb service), and Tuscan Grill (Italian/steak house--good amount of choices, also with excellent quality and service). We found the entertainment on this cruise to be somewhat better than on other Celebrity cruises we have taken in the last couple of years. There was a good variety of singers, comedians, and production shows. We particularly enjoyed Ivan Rutherford, who for many years was in the Broadway production of Les Miserables, and Nikki Barrett, an Australian singer. The singers, dancers and band really put their all into the production shows. Although we enjoyed some of the shows more than others, we never for a moment felt that any of the cast were putting less than 100% into their efforts, even though by this point (they were all near the end of their tours) they must have done these shows any number of times. The only entertainer we were a little put off by was a juggler who, although quite talented, made a number of comments we thought were a bit too edgy for an audience that included some (although granted not a lot) of children. Special mention goes to one of the bands, Jeam Beam, who we thought did an excellent job with every genre of rock, pop and contemporary music. Service was exemplary. We don't know how they do it day in and day out, but one thing we have found on every Celebrity cruise we have taken is that to a person, the crew is friendly, cheerful, and anxious to please. Being a re-positioning cruise, there were lots of sea days, but we never felt bored or as if we were going through the same routine day after day. There were a variety of activities to keep us busy, and plenty of time to just sit, relax, and read if that's all we wanted to do for the moment. We enjoyed all the ports of call and the shore excursions we did, although Papeete on Tahiti was something of a disappointment--a bit grungy around the edges. Bora Bora and Moorea were excellent, and we highly recommend the Aqua Safari on Bora Bora--you put on a diving helmet into which air is pumped under pressure so it keeps the water out, and you can walk on the sea bed 15 feet below the surface, surrounded by hordes of tropical fish. A truly memorable experience! Moorea was scenically magical--very reminiscent of Bali Hai in South Pacific. For some reason, it has been dropped from next year's itinerary for this cruise, however. Would we do this cruise again? In a heartbeat! It was one of the best we've ever done. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Our experience aboard the Celebrity Solstice was wonderful, despite there being 12 sea days throughout our cruise the options for entertainment were wonderful, you could be continuously entertained or you could always find a quiet spot for ... Read More
Our experience aboard the Celebrity Solstice was wonderful, despite there being 12 sea days throughout our cruise the options for entertainment were wonderful, you could be continuously entertained or you could always find a quiet spot for some time on your own. Great ship and always smiling obliging crew, only one negative was the terrible coffee at elbacio, the baristas had no idea, when the manager made a coffee it was superb, the other staff need to learn quickly. Food on board fantastic from the buffet right through to fine dining. Well done to all in the catering department. Entertainment in the theatre was incredible, we did not miss a show, and whilst it is impossible to please everyone and we are included in this, not all shows were our cup of tea, however the skill on the cast in every case was amazing, and when we next cruise on the Solstice we will again be sure to catch every show. A big thumbs up to cast and crew Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We recently traveled from Honolulu to Sydney, Australia on the Solstice. We were in Aqua Class and as usual the food and service in Blu was excellent. We were very pleased with the stateroom attendant who was personable and exceeded our ... Read More
We recently traveled from Honolulu to Sydney, Australia on the Solstice. We were in Aqua Class and as usual the food and service in Blu was excellent. We were very pleased with the stateroom attendant who was personable and exceeded our every request. We thought our meals in Murano, the Oceanview Cafe and the AquaSpa Cafe were very good. We enjoyed our ports of call and the shore excursions which included Maui, Tahiti, Bora Bora , Moorea, Auckland and Bay of Islands. We thought the cruise director was excellent and really enjoyed the shows, lectures and various entertainment. On occaison we visited the Martini Bar and found the bar tenders to be very personable and quite entertaining. We found the Fitness Equipment to be in good working condition and thought the Embarkation and Disembarkation process was efficent . We were assigned a Guaranteed Cabin which was Stateroom 1510. We had read several reviews regarding the noise from the treadmills located in the Fitness Center being problematic. Actually, it was not an issue for us since we are early risers and only on a couple occaisons did someone use the treadmills prior to the 6 am Fitness Center opening.We did not hear any noise after 7pm. You can hear the treadmills in the Cabin and on the Veranda but again it was not an issue for us but could be for someone else. The real issue we had with the Cabin was that the Couch was worn and the fabric was ripped in three different areas. The paint on the ceiling of the Veranda was peeling in two separate spots and ready to fall. On one of the days during the 18 day cruise they power washed the verandas and the peeling paint fell on the floor and onto our porch furniture. The paint that fell actually dried and stuck to the recliners and our room attendand cleaned the furniture to the best of his ability.. This was our eight cruise with Celebrity and it is the first time we departed a Celebrity ship not being able to recommend that ship to our family and friends. The only other negative we experienced ,and heard many others comment on, is the constant Upsellling from Specialty Dining to Photos etc;. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This is going to be long winded! So many times, I have read that this itinerary only comes around twice a year and therefore, fewer reviews. If I can help anyone decide to take this journey, my job will be done. I decided to sail from ... Read More
This is going to be long winded! So many times, I have read that this itinerary only comes around twice a year and therefore, fewer reviews. If I can help anyone decide to take this journey, my job will be done. I decided to sail from Honolulu instead of Sydney mainly to escape airline luggage restrictions and also to rest after my first visit to Hawaii. This trip was 18 months in planning with no stones unturned. I really don’t know where to start. I’m always sceptical about people who have a gripe against a cruise line or hotel when something goes wrong that clouds their entire review (sometimes due to unrealistic expectations), or those, much like me, who can see no wrong. I’m a glass half full kind of person. I will try to give this review balance. A little background. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii and more importantly, to Bora Bora, my bucket list place. My youngest daughter aged 19 and I flew to Hawaii on Jetstar on September 24 from Sydney. We spent a marvellous week there before embarking the Solstice on Oct 1 for the cruise home via French Polynesia and New Zealand. What a month-long journey it was…. We stayed at the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel in a premier oceanfront room. The view was stunning and well worth the extra cost for this room in my opinion. It made me constantly “feel” I was finally in Hawaii. It’s located next to the Park Shore Hotel and the Zoo in the quieter end of Waikiki. It was an easy 10-minute walk to Waikiki central. The staff at this hotel were friendly, helpful and professional. We luckily paid $USD60 for an early check in which was much appreciated after arriving from Sydney at 6am. Those overnight flights are brutal if you can’t sleep on a plane (like me). Check in and check out was super easy and fast. The pool area was very pleasant. You could check out towels and deck chairs to take to the beach across the road without charge. There’s an ice machine on some floors. One thing about this hotel is that there is no room service. That didn’t bother us in the least because there were 2 ABC stores, a Wolfgang Puck, a juice place, a cookie store and a Subway on the ground level. The weather in Hawaii was very warm and humid. The locals saying that it was unusually so due to the recent hurricanes and volcanic activity around the islands. I enjoyed swimming at Kuhio Beach to cool down on many occasions. The ocean was refreshing and not cold. Whilst in Hawaii we went with Oahu Photography Tours to the “North Shore” and a “Beautiful Hawaii” tour. I can highly recommend them. You don’t need to be a photographer. They will help you get great shots at some beautiful locations if you want or you can do your own thing. An iphone is just as good as an SLR. We took both. It’s a great way to see the island. I do have to say here that many people we spoke with went to the North Shore with Hi5. It sounds that this may have been a better option. I will go with them next time. Oh, and there will be a next time. Already booked for next June before I even left Hawaii. LOL. We also went to Pearl Harbour. Got a shuttle from our hotel, for something like $USD32 return for both of us. Of course, you still can’t disembark the boat onto the memorial due to structural defects, however, the moving video and 2 free museums were well worth the visit. The movie really explained in simple terms why and how the bombing of Pearl Harbour occurred. Such a tragedy. I booked Arizona tickets online two months out. We got there two hours before our tour asked if we could change our times. Numbers are down so we were able to do that no problem and did not have to wait. One morning at 6am we hiked Diamond Head. We caught an Uber as the buses weren’t running that early. My daughter called it the “death hike” although it wasn’t that bad. It was tough though. There were lots of places to stop and rest on the way up with great photo opportunities. There are lots of uneven lava paths, tunnels and stairs +++. I saw some young and older people have trips and spills. TIP. Once you get to the top and arrive at the near vertical stairs on your right, turn left, a much easier climb to the summit. We were greeted by an amazing scene that included a rainbow! Well worth the effort. Some other things we did was to eat Poke’ in backstreet restaurants, tuna, salmon and octopus, yum. I tried Loco Moco once, and ate at a lovely Italian place, Arancino Di Mare, down near the zoo. Beautiful food. Of course, we went to the Cheesecake Factory and Dukes. No complaints. Lulu’s attached to the Park Shore had great breakfast although way to big portions that were very tasty and economical. Get one meal for two. Great views too. Tikis grill at our hotel was lovely too. You could have a light meal by the pool with drinks or dine in the restaurant for a more a la carte menu. There was nightly music and entertainment. We were on the 10th floor and the music was enjoyable, not intrusive. Of course, we also did some retail therapy at the Waikele outlets and Ala Moana Centre and got some high-end bargains compared to prices in Australia. We caught an Uber to the outlets from Ala Moana, $USD35, and then got a Robert’s air-conditioned bus back to the hotel for $USD10 each which you could book at the outlets. Now to the cruise October 1, got to the terminal by 11am with Hawaii23 shuttle service and were on board by 12 eating lunch at a dedicated dining room function for Concierge class. A lovely way to start. This would be my 7th cruise. All the others on Royal Caribbean. As Concierge class we were invited by the concierge Javier, to the bridge and to sail into Auckland on the helipad which were really nice touches. The main advantage of Concierge class for me was the location. We had a hump cabin on the pool deck with a bigger balcony. We were starboard and had shade most of the day. From day 1 I was blown away. This ship by far is the best I have been on. Probably the biggest difference is that this ship seems to have 2 passengers to each crew member. That is amazing. Considering I have been on Ovation where it was probably 10 to 1. There were no lines on this ship! The Solstice staff were standout. They are truly a credit to their ship and industry. So friendly and willing to help anyone and assist at every opportunity. I could name so many people. But here goes some….Greg and Abel on the pool deck, Maurice, our room attendant, Jim, Faishoul, Kim and Almandi in the dining room. Thank you. You deserve all the recognition you can get. The Solstice has tendering down to a fine art. We had no problems getting off or back on the ship whenever we wanted. We were docked for Honolulu, Papeete, Auckland and of course Sydney. The entertainment was enjoyable with a few standout performances. I enjoyed the enrichment talks about sharks, rays and turtles etc with Brent Nixon prior to French Polynesia. They were appropriate and informative. Especially as we would be swimming with them in Bora Bora. The food was amazing. Not one bad meal. We were careful not to overeat and enjoyed our food. Often skipping lunch after a lovely breakfast where you are spoiled for choice. Occasionally we had a hot dog or burger from the Mast Grill that were always tasty. We dined at many of the specialty restaurants, namely Murano, Silk Harvest, and Tuscan Grill. The flambé lobster at Murano was particularly good. At Silk Harvest, we did a set menu that consisted of a lot of seafood with an Asian twist titled Silk ‘n’ Soul. Very nice. Tuscan Grill was my least favourite, only because I am not a steak person. We had pre-purchased a 3-night dining package. Most nights we did select dining and did not ever wait to be seated. We were treated like royalty. We ate breakfast in the Oceanview café daily except when we ordered room service on days that we had early tenders. It was on time, complete and still hot enough to eat. I was not going to purchase a drink package; however, I could not pass up the premium package for $AUD46 a day! It went on sale just before our cruise. By the time I had daily bottled water, speciality coffees, soft drink, nightly wine with dinner and a cocktail or two, it worked out economical for me. Whenever we went ashore I would grab some cold bottled water to take with me. I suppose I should mention here that we were advised not to drink anything other than sealed bottles of water in French Polynesia which surprised me a little. We were also warned about having drinks with ice in it. My daughter had the premium non-alcoholic package which was not on sale. I was under the impression that she would not be able to drink alcohol as this cruise originated in the USA where drinking laws are 21. However, after clearing Hawaii and in international waters, the drinking age was reduced to 18. So, she ended up having a couple of drinks which were charged at full price and 18% gratuity. Luckily for me she doesn’t drink much. Our first port of call was Maui after departing Honolulu at midnight. We had organised a ship’s tour on what was a beautiful day without any wind. A 45min helicopter flight. How else to see the most of Maui in one day? I can only say that it was worth every dollar. My daughter and I travelled in the front with the pilot as we ascended 10000 feet to the Haleakala Crater. Awe inspiring. It looked like something out of a sci fi movie. A bit like Mars, the red planet. We then travelled the road to Hana by air and saw majestic waterfalls and beautiful terrain that you can’t see from the road. We travelled the famous Jurassic Park helicopter scene into the “park” as Blue Hawaiian had the contract for all the helicopter scenes for all the Jurassic movies. On return to the port we visited the shops and bought some souvenirs and enjoyed the shade of the Banyan Tree. After Maui we had 5 sea days. There was always something to do around the ship or relax around the pool. The cruise director, Rick Spacey and his team could certainly entertain. The uniformed staff often played games against passengers which I think they genuinely enjoyed. Many people debated that 5 sea days in a row were too much, however, I didn’t think so. I used the Canyon Ranch Spa for a massage and a manicure however I found the staff unengaging, condescending and dismissive on two different occasions. Karin who did the massage and Kim the advanced aesthetics technician who did my nails were less than happy to be there in my opinion. I believe they are not employed by Celebrity which could have enhanced their business in my eyes. I could not wait to get out of there. Our next port of call was Papeete, Tahiti. The city itself was like any other capital city with a French flavour. We did another ships tour down the West Coast. It was a nice way to see some of the island. We visited a grotto, a scared ground, and a botanical garden. We called into the markets to buy some souvenirs and found them to be quite expensive. $USD10 for a fridge magnet minimum. This was the same all over French Polynesia. I did get some beautiful unique flower arrangements for my granddaughters to wear in their hair. The next port day was Bora Bora. My destination!! I was up early because I was so excited. It was another beautiful day. I had organised a private tour for about 30 cruisers with Maohi Nui. We had booked nearly a year out to ensure we could experience all Bora Bora has to offer. 12 of us, 6 at a time, did a full day combo tour for $USD215 each which included going up the mountain in a 4-wheel drive for some stunning views, a drive around the island with commentary from Arii who was obviously proud of his country and culture. Up the mountain we visited an artist studio where I bought 4 beautiful hand painted sarongs for my family at home. They were not cheap but definitely unique and of good quality. The artist said it takes him 4-5 hours to paint each one. We then went down the mountain and boarded a 12-seater outrigger canoe with Teddy and Vaitiare and went snorkelling in a coral garden. So many fish all swimming around you. We were serenaded by ukulele as we were taken through the pristine waters to Patrick’s private motu for a true Polynesian feast of suckling pig cooked underground. It was melt in the mouth good! It was served with fruits cooked in the oven, two types of BBQ fish, a chicken and spinach dish and some salad. Cold drinks were supplied and included bottled water, beer, wine, soft drink and champagne. We ate with our hands as you do in Bora Bora from banana leaf plates. After lunch, Patrick performed his fire dance before we headed back to the outrigger to swim with sharks and rays, and that we did in 1-2 metres of water! It was thrilling. Finally, we headed out to the reef to swim in 40ft of deep blue water on top of sharks deep below. To top everything off, a mother and calf whale breached in front of our outrigger as we headed back to the port. What a day! Words are not enough. This day turned out to be the highlight of our month-long holiday. It’s a good idea to take water shoes, an underwater camera, and your own snorkels as we did. If you go to Bora Bora, do yourself a favour and tour with Maohi Nui. Vaitiare likes to book groups to make her job easier so use your roll call and organise things early with one person to do the planning. I do recommend the combo tour however only 12 people per day can do this. The other cruisers did the full day tour and Polynesian lunch minus the 4 wheel drive up and around the island and most raved about the day. All money is payable on the day in cash. The last port of call in French Polynesia was Moorea. It was very hot and humid. We booked the ships Capture Moorea photo tour. It was a lovely way to see the island from Belvedere Lookout and atop Magic Mountain. It was very majestic scenery. After we left French Polynesia, the weather changed. We had cold windy weather with 4 metre swells. They closed the top decks for a couple of days. I was rocked to sleep two nights in a row. The weather settled a little in New Zealand and remained cool till we reached Sydney. Fortunately, I heard of no one coming down with gastro. Unfortunately, many people including myself became unwell in the last few days of the cruise. Many people were quarantined due to influenza A or another virus going around that caused razor blade throats and a hacking cough. I am still recovering. I don’t blame Celebrity for this. The ship was kept meticulously clean and they maintained mandatory hand sanitising. It was just a consequence of many people in a confined space with viruses that were airborne and helped along via the air conditioning when everyone was forced inside due to inclement weather. Despite the illness, I had the time of my life!! I met so many nice people to share my time with. I can now tick off Bora Bora and hope that you can too one day. It really is paradise. Everything else on this remarkable voyage was a bonus. Tours Hana and Haleakala Helicopter Exploration ++++ Discover Tahiti’s West Coast +++ Maohi Nui- Bora Bora ++++++ Capture Moorea- Photo tour ++++ Auckland- Hop on Hop off bus and the Skywalk +++ Bay of Islands- Island and Cave Adventure ++ 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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