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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
It is always so interesting to me how different people have such different experiences when traveling. I heard a lot of happy people and I heard a lot of whining on the ship, but I can only share my experience and we had a fantastic time ... Read More
It is always so interesting to me how different people have such different experiences when traveling. I heard a lot of happy people and I heard a lot of whining on the ship, but I can only share my experience and we had a fantastic time sailing on Solstice. When traveling my top priority is always the destinations, the scenery! Alaska did not disappoint - it was breathtaking! Cruising is a wonderful way to see it, especially the first time! I lost count of how many times I cried standing on my balcony just taking it all in! As a travel agent, I have had the great fortune of seeing many beautiful places, but Alaska is tops in my book! I feel extremely blessed to have had the chance to visit, I will definitely be back! When traveling - Service is very important. The service on Celebrity Solstice was top notch! Captain Alex and his crew were fantastic - skilled and entertaining! Our cabin steward Vicky, he was so pleasant, non-intrusive and our cabin was always tidy and a pleasure to come back to each evening. Our head waiter at Blu - Orlando was very friendly, we sampled many of the dining options throughout the ship and found all of our service to be wonderful. All of the Sommeliers were very friendly & attentive. We did the galley tour and it was fun to see behind the scenes, I am so fascinated by the amount of food service and preperation it takes on a cruise ship! Husband and I are not Spa people, at all, but decided to splurge - Roxana at the Canyon Ranch Spa was spectacular! We each went twice! From the bartenders (make sure to defintely stop at the Martini Bar!), to the shops to the Guest Services folks, the service was immpecable and very friendly everywhere we went on this ship. We are not much on joining in on group activites - but anything we did happen to catch, people seemed to really be enjoying themselves. The dancers and singers were very good. We really enjoyed Tony Tillman's Las Vegas style show. We did do several wine tastings and a cocktail making class that we really enjoyed at the Master Class Bar. We loved the White Pass Railroad in Skagway and the Enchanted Butchart Gardens Tour in Victoria BC - Kent our bus driver/guide gave great information about Victoria. We enjoyed roaming the streets in Ketchikan and Juneau, just shopping, visiting local bars & restaurants. The Food, I know I am a bit odd, but the food is never a huge priority for me when cruising, so this review won't be all that in-depth when it comes to food. We found it to be mostly good. The buffet was fine for what it is, a buffet. We very much enjoyed Blu (Aqua Class main dining retaurant), Silk Harvest and Tuscan Grill, all the food we had in these restaurants was very good. The Main Dining Room (Grand Epernay Restaurant) was good, I especially enjoy the fruit soups when cruising, so we did go to the Main Dining Room several times. Embarkation, we arrived at the ship early, probably around 10am and it was a breeeze. Our luggage was delivered just fine to our cabin, we had one small bag that did come a little later than the others, so don't panic if everything is not there at the same time. Disembarkation, we did the standard disembarktion and it went very smooth. My one suggestion, when cruising anywhere, is coming in the day before, it takes away so much stress! We took taxis from and to the airport. We stayed at the Homewood Suites on Western Ave. and took an Uber to the port, very easy and hassle free. Homewood was very nice, clean and good service. This hotel does offer a shuttle for a nominal fee to the port, evening drinks and a little food as well as breakfast was included, which was very nice before heading to the ship on embarkation day. Solstice is a beautiful ship, while she is getting a bit tired and ready for some updating & sprucing up (aren't we all?) in 2021 is the last I read, she was super clean and very well cared for by the cleaning crew. Overall this was a wonderful trip and I would go again tomorrow if I could. Thank you to everyone associated with Celebrity Solstice for providing us with a perfect, relaxing vacation! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
After reading reviews of all the lines serving Alaska, I chose Celebrity because I thought it would offer great service and dining, along with enough activities to keep my 10 year old grandson engaged. I also did not want a megaship ... Read More
After reading reviews of all the lines serving Alaska, I chose Celebrity because I thought it would offer great service and dining, along with enough activities to keep my 10 year old grandson engaged. I also did not want a megaship offering too many on-board activities as I wanted him to be interested in the excursions of the port cities and not want to stay on board. I also wanted to fly in/out of Seattle and wanted four ports. Embarkation and disembarkation were both smooth. Crew members were helpful. We booked Concierge class. It would have been helpful to receive a list of perks. We did not have robes or binoculars in the room when we arrived although our wonderful steward brought them to us when asked. We also had a welcome lunch on embarkation, a concierge dedicated to just this class and a couple of special events we were invited to. When we booked, our fare was not much different than a regular balcony room but I'm not sure how much this class was actually worth. My grandson enjoyed the Fun Factory. There were many children on board as this was summer and Alaska. He particularly liked being able to check in and out on his own. He made friends to pal around with and there were many activities that engaged the tweeners. The entertainment was great. We went to both musicals as well as the magician and comedian. The only one lacking was the impressionist. We also attended talks by the naturalist and historian that were quite interesting. We also enjoyed the live music which was in many locations on the ship. As for activities, we participated in many of the nightly games. My husband loved the gym and yoga classes. I did daily line dancing and meditation. We also took a swing dance class. We did excursions in all ports. The Skagway mushers' camp was a real highlight. We also enjoyed the White Pass train, the Wildlife Safari and Beach Bonfire, and the Lumberjack Show. We were a bit disappointed with the Mendenhall Glacier and Salmon Bake as you only see the glacier at a distance. In retrospect I wish we had explored Victoria on our own. The O Canada bus tour wasn't that great and was pricey for what it was. All these tours were booked on the website or on the ship. Note that the prices increase the closer to embarkation date. We did the Mt. Roberts Tram on our own. We usually had room service breakfast as the buffet gets quite crowded. We ate at both the buffet and main dining room for dinners, preferring the main dining room. Both venues offered a lot of choices. We had one meal in the Tuscan Grille that was excellent. My grandson loved the trip and did not want to come home. We all wished we had more days. I am already planning another trip. Interesting note--Capt. Tasos announced on our last day that it was his last day on the Solstice and that he would be moving to the Equinox. He is a captain who gets involved with the passengers, playing sports and games, and making the rounds. He has a great sense of humor and added to the enjoyment of this cruise. If this cruise is representative of Celebrity I cannot recommend it enough! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We thought we would enjoy it because we had taken an Alaskan cruise 17 years ago on Princess - it was a wonderful experience. The ports/locations were almost the same as our ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We thought we would enjoy it because we had taken an Alaskan cruise 17 years ago on Princess - it was a wonderful experience. The ports/locations were almost the same as our previous cruise so we were confident that we would enjoy that part of the cruise. So our only "unknowns" had to do with sailing with Celebrity to Alaska. This was our 8th cruise and our second on Celebrity. Our first cruise on Celebrity was 20 years ago on a much smaller ship - The Galaxy. The ship is old and showing its age in some areas. The carpet, furnishings, and furniture needs to be upgraded and replaced. The worst are the seats in the Solstice theater. They are so worn that they are uncomfortable- especially those closest to the stage. It is my understanding that Solstice is scheduled for an refurbishment soon. It is time. Cabin: We had the Deluxe Veranda. Plenty of storage and space for the two of us. We were impressed with the size of the bathroom- it is the largest bathroom we have ever had in a ship cabin (even larger than on Disney). The veranda was large with two chairs and a table. We had breakfast (room service) on our veranda most mornings. Our only complaint is the lack of electrical outlets and no USB ports. I'm sure that will be addressed in a refurb. Dining: Let me first be clear - we are not picky eaters or food snobs. We have always used the MDR and buffets for cruises and most of the time have been happy and often impressed. We usually do not use the specialty restaurants because of the quality of the free options. However, we were gifted 3 visits to specialty restaurants on this cruise, so we ate at Murano twice and Silk Harvest once. Murano is superb! Silk Harvest was good but not any better than the MDR. We did not eat at Tuscan, so I cannot review it. MDR was excellent. Now for the buffet - IT WAS AWEFUL! The food was pretty good, but the design leads to such chaos I couldn't stand to eat there. We ate at the buffet three times, and all three experiences were terrible due to having to hunt for a table, stand in numerous lines, and then navigate through the crowds to locate foods. We quickly came to the conclusion that we would have room service for breakfast (on our veranda) and do lunch somewhere other than the buffet. Entertainment and Activities: Celebrity needs to let the singers and dancers go- they were mediocre at best. I've seen better at highschool talent shows. The best entertainment were the guest entertainers. The comedian and magician were excellent. Service: AMAZING! Everyone from our room attendant (Charley) to our waiter (Dipo) were wonderful and attentive. Embarkation and Debarkation: Easy and efficient! I had read on these reviews that it was a nightmare and embarkation could take as long as an hour. We arrived at the pier and 15 minutes later we were sitting on the deck having our first cocktail! No joke - 15 minutes! Debarkation was just as easy and smooth. And now..... the reason we are now Celebrity Loyal - We purchase our flights through Celebrity. It was easy and the cost was the same as us doing it on our own. I thought it was the best way to ensure we wouldn't be bumped off a flight and would be rebooked quickly if our flights were cancelled on our way to the start the cruise (a fear I have always had). I really didn't think it would be an advantage for our flights home - BOY, WAS I WRONG! We arrived in Seattle and debarked around 7:30 AM (self-assist walk off). Our flight was scheduled to leave Seattle that night at 10:00 PM so we scheduled a private day tour to Mt. Rainer. At 4:45 PM I got a text from American Airlines that our flight had been cancelled and we were rebooked for a flight on Sunday morning - that was 48 hours later! At that point I called the Celebrity to see if they could help me - WOW! They were awesome! I talked to a man named Aaron. He thought is was ridiculous that we had been rebooked for a flight leaving two days later. His words were "that is unacceptable, I am going to see how to change that". Aaron was then able to book us on a flight for the next morning on Delta. Next, he made a reservation for us at an excellent hotel near the airport and told me to be sure to keep any receipts for taxi/transportation to the airport so he could reimburse us for that expense. I WAS BLOWN AWAY! Aaron (Celebrity) took care of everything in about 30 minutes over the phone! Given that we were still on our tour of Mt. Rainier, we were able to finish our tour, our driver simply dropped us at our hotel, we had an easy check in, were given 2 coupons for the hotel breakfast, and spent the evening relaxing! We didn't have to spend hours on the phone arguing with the airline or stand in line at the airport hoping for a voucher for a hotel stay. With that experience, we became Celebrity Loyal! We are already looking at Celebrity itenararies for 2020. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Ship: over the top great. I’ve cruised on 3 other lines, 6 other ships, none compare to the Solstice for design style or functionality. It’s like staying at an Intercontinental Hotel, only as sea. Atrium and elevator designs are ... Read More
Ship: over the top great. I’ve cruised on 3 other lines, 6 other ships, none compare to the Solstice for design style or functionality. It’s like staying at an Intercontinental Hotel, only as sea. Atrium and elevator designs are beautiful. Elevators came quickly on most occasions. Fellow passengers were friendly. There were two formal nights, branded “evening chic”. Everyone dressed up in their own way and posed for photos. Not many suits or tuxedos like the old days, but people made an effort and looked good. Had some nice elevator discussions on what everyone chose to wear. On more traditional cruise lines where they still call it “formal night”, I’ve seen passengers “protest” by showing up in jeans or a T shirt and a ball cap. Didn’t see anything like that on Celebrity. Main Dining Room (MDR): fantastic, well prepared and presented food and outstanding service. Knowledgeable sommeliers took good care of us. Beautiful venue; we were told it was designed to look like you are inside a glass of champagne. We had anytime dining and never had to wait for a table for two, aside from a maximum five minutes in the hostess line. They always gave us table 444 or 445, which are on the 2nd level, overlooking the lower, assigned time dining section. Great people watching. Buffet was good quality with a wide variety of choices. Sometimes hard to find a table, but we managed. More challenging to find ketchup and mayo – be sure to ask someone. On embarkation day, we avoided the buffet crowd and got burgers at the Mast Grill. Decent burger, good fries, good service and a great view leaving port. Wine lover? This is the ship for you. Great wine selection and they serve it in Reidel glasses at every venue except the pool bar, where they use plastic glasses for safety. No problem taking your drink with you if you need to be somewhere else. Not every venue has all the wines. Frequent Cellar Masters, MDR and the specialty restaurants for the best stuff. Say hi to Dimytro in Cellar Masters if you see him. A couple small tips ($2 - $5) early in the week and Dimytro will be your friend for life. If you like martinis, check out the martini bar, across from Cellar Masters on Deck 4. If whiskey is your thing, the World Class Bar is your place. Deal: by paying a larger, nonrefundable deposit, Celebrity comped us the premium beverage package, internet, gratuities and $300 on board spending credit. Wow! That made for a great cruise. We wanted for nothing the whole time. Beverage package includes much more than booze: fresh squeezed juice and brewed coffee at breakfast, fancy coffee drinks at Café Al Bacio, bottled water, tea – you name it. Once the servers know you have the premium package, they really take care of everything. Had fun spending the OBC at the shops and Sushi on Five. You can also use OBC for shore excursions or in the casino. Internet was sometimes slow and dropped out altogether on the first night. Specialty restaurants: expensive compared to other cruise lines. Enjoyed Sushi on Five twice. The Kobe beef slider is the best burger I’ve had. Also loved the sushi rolls and seafood stuffed wontons. Did not visit the other pay restaurants. Had room service breakfast once. They showed up right on time with everything we ordered. We also went off menu, requesting lox and cream cheese for our bagels. They brought the same spread that you get if you have breakfast in the MDR: smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, onion, lemon and tomato. Bravo! Lots of good music throughout the ship. Almost always someone performing in the Grand Foyer. Danny Smart was our favorite. They had trivia every afternoon in the Sky Lounge, which has some of the best views on the ship, a good bar, and plenty of comfy places to sit and relax. Watched Captain Tasos do a slide show and Q&A on the construction of Solstice in the main theater. The Captain is informative and has great comedic timing. His PA announcements throughout the cruise are a hoot. Conclusion: Alaska was stunningly beautiful and the Celebrity Solstice ship, crew, food, drink and fellow passengers were first class. We have a new favorite cruise line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We were three generations of our family (Grandparents, Parents and Toddler in tow) looking to make memories, and decided to go on a cruise to Alaska. We chose Celebrity just because it was the best deal our Travel Agent could get us. With ... Read More
We were three generations of our family (Grandparents, Parents and Toddler in tow) looking to make memories, and decided to go on a cruise to Alaska. We chose Celebrity just because it was the best deal our Travel Agent could get us. With a grand total of one cruise (on Carnival) behind us, we had nothing to compare with, really - but all I can say is - the Celebrity experience was fabulous and future cruises for us will have a high bar to live up to! We are local to Seattle so getting to the ship was the easiest thing - we drove up to the Pier. Parking at the Pier for a week is pretty expensive, but still, an Uber XL would cost almost the same, so it was an easy choice to make - at least we wouldn't have to carry our toddler's car seat along! Our embarkation experience was sadly, not the best. We unfortunately arrived at the peak rush period, and so the lines to check in were serpentine and endless, and the check in hall was stifling hot. The person at the counter also was very slow, and took ages to check us in and get us our SeaPass cards. We were still at the counter after people behind us had been checked in and gotten onboard! He took my credit card to put it on record, but that never happened, and I had to go to Guest Relations onboard to get it corrected. Once we got on the ship - well, it was a totally different world! The Solstice is amazingly luxurious, even if it is an "old" ship. The crew is hospitable, and very attentive to the passengers' comfort. My mother suffers from bad knees, and the attendants at the embarkation gangway guided her to an armchair so she could recover her breath, brought her some orange juice and generally took care of her till she felt rested. Our cabins were fantastic - we had booked Deluxe Verandahs on the mid ships "hump", and they were totally worth the price. Ours probably had the biggest balcony around - big enough to fit four deck chairs and a table. The cabins were neat, clean, well appointed with lots of storage areas and hidden cabinets. The bathroom was cramped, but adequate. Our cabins were close to the mid ship elevators, and the Team Earth lobby, but we never heard any outside noises ever. The food.. ahh, the food!! We ate most of our meals in the Ocean View Cafe buffet, and hardly ever felt we missed anything. This place served every kind of cuisine possible- including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. They also had "theme" meals - like a Taste of America, Taste of Mediterranean themed lunch, and a Taste of India, Taste of China, Taste of Eastern Europe themed dinners - where in addition to the regular stations, they had additional stations dedicated to the advertised cuisine. On the last night, they had a "Best of the Cruise" buffet, with the most popular items from the entire cruise, and to make things fun - a chocolate fountain with fruits and bits to dip into it. Absolute treat! We had a couple of meals in the MDR which were lovely - my family prefers Indian food, and the MDr had an excelltn Indian menu to choose from. They also adapted the menu items to cater to my father's dietary needs, and when requested for something that was not on the dining room menu, they went and fetched it from the Buffet! The entire Catering and Serving staff We didn't really indulge in any shows, etc on board the ship - preferred to spend our time enjoying the glorious views outside. the talks by the naturalist (and the running commentary during the fjord visit) and the destination highlight sessions were wonderful, though. And so was the Q&A session with Captain Tasos - I admire the way this man can talk, Greek accent and all, and the tongue in cheek manner he has! We did visit the Silent Disco (hilarious) and the dueling violins and band performances in the Atrium which were enjoyable. It might have been better to have them a bit further away from the Guest Relations desk though, since it made conversation harder. There were also quite a few good free movies on TV, on Demand, that we were able to catch up on. We avoided booking any excursions via the Cruise line, instead preferring to do our own thing in each port we visited. The Daily planners provided each ay were helpful though, in planning out what we could get done when in port. Overall, we had a fabulous family trip, and experienced something we can relive over and over again for the rest of our lives. Our kid enjoyed his time aboard the ship and was sad to say good bye to the Solstice. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Wowww... just returned from an Alaskan cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice. The ports of call were breathtaking but the highlight was Captain Tasos and his team that made the trip an unforgettable experience! You can see that the cruise ... Read More
Wowww... just returned from an Alaskan cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice. The ports of call were breathtaking but the highlight was Captain Tasos and his team that made the trip an unforgettable experience! You can see that the cruise team truly care and want to offer an amazing experience. We have been fortunate to have cruised before with a number of cruise lines before but this definitely set the standard of how cruising is meant to be! Ship was perfect size, cabins were very comfortable and had great cupboard space for a family of 4, food of an extremely high standard and service was amazing where the staff went out of their way to accommodate our every wish and desire and to top it all the entertainment was outstanding. We travelled with kids and they loved attending the kids club. I would highly recommend Celebrity Solstice and look forward to cruising again with Celebrity. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We wanted to try Celebrity and we wanted to go to Alaska, so this seemed to check all the boxes for us. So many of our friends have told us we had to see Alaska. They couldn't adequately describe it, we just had to go. So we thought ... Read More
We wanted to try Celebrity and we wanted to go to Alaska, so this seemed to check all the boxes for us. So many of our friends have told us we had to see Alaska. They couldn't adequately describe it, we just had to go. So we thought we would take our once in a lifetime trip. But now we want to go back. It’s worth it for the scenery alone...it’s just incredible. We had Celebrity Select dining, which let us make reservations in advance online for each day. This worked out really well. There was a chef's special every night, which was usually the thing to get. The 2nd night was halibut, which is my favorite. The service as generally very good. If there was one thing I would do differently, it would be to eat breakfast on Monday at 5:30 when the buffet opens. The shop enters the Endicott Arm at 6:00 AM, and I just couldn't get away from the views after that. Finally abut 8:30 I reluctantly wolfed down some breakfast, but I felt bad about the views I was missing. The naturalist, Brent Nixon, had several entertaining and informative shows which were popular. We loved the house band, but overall I am used to more and a greater variety of entertainment. Doesn't every cruise ship have a piano player? We did the Misty Fjords excursion in Ketchikan. I think this one is hit or miss depending on the weather and if the Orcas and Harbor Seals show up. In our case, it was a grand slam! Saw a pod of Orcas, several seals, great waterfalls since it had been raining for several days, etc. Fantastic! In Juneau we did a whale watching tour with Juneau tours through Trip Advisor. I'll review this on their site, but it was great and much less than Celebrity charges. We took the White Pass railroad in Skagway up into Canada and the bus back. The train goes up the south side of the Skagway River Gorge and the bus goes down the north side, so you get two different views. I would do this again tomorrow! I was taking pictures all the way up. If I ever do it again I'll just sit there and take it all in. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I choose this cruise to go to Alaska. I wanted the convenience of leaving and returning to one port which was Seattle. I did a ton of research and this was my number one choice. So, things I could not find on line. 1. From Seattle, ... Read More
I choose this cruise to go to Alaska. I wanted the convenience of leaving and returning to one port which was Seattle. I did a ton of research and this was my number one choice. So, things I could not find on line. 1. From Seattle, they have a very easy Uber/Lyft location at the airport. We were picked up within about 8 minutes. The ride was about $43.00. They do have a drop off pick up site at Pier 91 which is then about 2 block walk to where you drop off your luggage. Not a big deal if you have roller bags which everyone has. Upon leaving the ship, we went to the same place and pick up was about the same wait. Very easy and hassle free. 2. There were NO outlets by the beds. So, if you want your cell phone on your night stand, you need to bring a 16 feet interior extension cord. $6-$8 bucks at ACE hardware. Some people brought some plastic tape to place on carpet so they did not trip over cord. 3. Layers is the name of the game. I had a vest with a waterproof fleece coat. You do not need your winter Parka 4. Skip the specialty dining (Sorry Celebrity). We ate at Murano, Tuscan Grill and Silk Harvest. Of the 3, Murano was the best but I still did not feel it was that spectacular of a meal to warrant the extra money. 5. If you can at all swing it, upgrade to a suite. We did through an upgrade program offered right before the start of the cruise. It was well worth the extra money with a private dining room. They have a private club, Michaels which which was too stuffy for our taste.The concierge there, Alexandra was awesome. You get a butler for your room and he made the trip. Thanks, Dominic. The Luminae is a private dining room for the suite class. The food was great. Kavi was our waiter and would remember all of our preferences. 6. The shore excursions were just OK. I booked a Yukon 1/2 day tour through Trip Advisor in Skagway. That was a good tour. When you go to Victoria, they have a shuttle bus into town. It is $15.00 per person round trip even though town is not that far away. They say it is $15.00 Canadian dollars or $15.00 American. Do NOT pay cash, use your credit card. The exchange rate is $1:00 US to 1:38 Can. Your credit card will adjust automatically and you will save a bunch. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
About me: Solo traveler, experienced cruiser (stopped counting around 20), second time on the Alaska cruise itinerary, first time on Celebrity. This was by far one of the best cruise experiences I have had in a very long time. The ... Read More
About me: Solo traveler, experienced cruiser (stopped counting around 20), second time on the Alaska cruise itinerary, first time on Celebrity. This was by far one of the best cruise experiences I have had in a very long time. The staff and crew were all very friendly and accommodating, the officers were accessible, and Captain Tasos was one of the most entertaining captains I've sailed with - ever. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. We were docked next to the Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas. Looking over at the enormously long lines on that side as opposed to the Celebrity side, I was grateful to be on a smaller ship. The ship itself is a bit weathered but I would still call it well maintained considering its age. It did not take long to get acclimated to the locations of various venues throughout the ship, and although there were long wait times for elevators on port days, getting around was not difficult. Cabin: I sailed in Aqua Class and the only drawback was that there was some sort of overhang over my balcony that I did not know was going to be there. Although it did distract from an overhead view of the sky a bit, it did not deter from the majestic views of the glaciers and scenery. More in the cabin review section. Dining: Since I was in Aqua Class I dined mostly in Blu. The food there was very good, although advertised as "California Cuisine" or "a healthier alternative", I did not notice a difference in quality. For specialty dining, my favorite was by far Murano. Not only did they have a tasting menu that included wine pairings, the service and food were exceptionally outstanding. I also tried Sushi on Five, which for me was not so impressive since I have access to good sushi where I live. Although everything I had was tasty,the service was a bit lack-luster. I dined in the main dining room once for dinner, and found it to be above par compared to other cruise lines in this category. The buffet, well, it's a buffet. The food on the buffet was good compared to other cruise lines, however the typical difficulties finding a seat during peak times was not unusual. If I could have had all my meals in either Murano or Blu, that would have been fine by me. Entertainment and Activities (and More Dining): I did not make it to any of the big production shows, but that's just me - sometimes they work with my schedule and sometimes they don't. This cruise, none of the showtimes were convenient to my personal schedule, yet I did not feel I missed out on anything. Silent disco - that was definitely fun to watch, especially when everyone started singing along. My absolute favorite activities - wine tastings, cooking class, and chef's table special dinner. What an experience! Again, this is just me, but I do love a good wine tasting/food pairing, and this cruise did NOT disappoint. There were the run of the mill wine/food pairing classes, a wine tour around the world (progressive wine tasting sampling multiple countries), a special Riedel wine glass class where you received a voucher for 4 glasses to be shipped to your home (mine have already arrived), and also scotch/whiskey tastings. I think I did all of them with the exception of the whiskey since scheduling did not permit. The sommeliers really know their stuff, and the cellar has an excellent variety of wines. Ah-mazing! There was a cooking class offered in Murano, where we put together our own appetizer in the galley and then were treated to a chef led demonstration of cooking sea bass and steak Dianne. It ended with us eating our appetizer and feasting on what the chef prepared with, of course, more wine pairings. The best experience was the chef's table. It is an add-on where you are part of a group of 10 or so people that receive a private galley tour, seeing the various galleys in operation during dinner service, and then ending up at a private table in Murano with a very extensive tasting menu with perfectly paired wines, and the chef joins you for the main course. It was definitely worth every penny! Service: The service I received on this cruise was by far some of the best I've experienced in quite some time. Staff knew my name and I had no idea if I'd ever seen them before. I began to wonder if I'd done something to stand out, but I suspected they kept a pool behind the scenes to see how many of them could remember the most passenger's names. That extra little personal touch made it so much more enjoyable. My room steward was exceptional, all the wait staff was great, and I have to call out the sommeliers and cellar master as being phenomenal. Overall, service for me was top notch on this journey. Ports and Shore Excursions: Ketchikan: I took the Deadliest Catch tour, and it did not disappoint. The boat picks you up right next to the ship and the crew of that vessel was not only knowledgeable but also very entertaining. They took us on a little cruise to pull up some bait lines, pull a crab pot, and also had red king crab available for purchase to snack on during the tour. Overall it was an amazing time and I'd definitely do it again. Endicott Arm: No excursions, just stayed on the ship as we sailed through the glacier area and took in the amazing scenery. They even circled around a few times so everyone could get the most breathtaking views. It is truly a thing of beauty to see this scenery. Juneau: I opted to not take an excursion but instead go eat king crab at Tracy's Crab Shack by the port. It's something to partake in for the whole king crab eating experience. Not only are the legs huge, but they have a great bisque and some pretty tasty crab cakes if you can fit it all in. It's a LOT of food. Skagway: Opted for the "Big Nugget" tour which included going to the dredgery for a tour, panning for gold, learning about mushers, meeting husky puppies, bottling our own root beer, and BBQ. Since our group turned out to be very small (I think may 6 or 7 total), it was almost like a personal tour. Our guide was great and the overall experience learning about the history was definitely worthwhile. Victoria: No excursions there, just went into town and hung out a bit. The town has a lot of history and there were many options that I felt I needed to explore but just did not have the time. Overall Impressions: I'm ready to go again! Same itinerary (same crew if I could have them), and same ship. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Weather in Alaska was incredibly warm for this time of year. Seeing all that sunshine on ice was a memorable sight. Embarkation Day went better than expected. A crew member spotted my mother in line walking with her cain and kindly ... Read More
Weather in Alaska was incredibly warm for this time of year. Seeing all that sunshine on ice was a memorable sight. Embarkation Day went better than expected. A crew member spotted my mother in line walking with her cain and kindly directed us to the easy quick route. Later Iin the cruise mom needed a wheelchair which Celebrity promptly supplied and allowed us to take off the ship at each port so she could get around and see more of Alaska. In Kitchikan there was a taxi company named Sourdogh that accompanied wheelchairs. Since our last cruise to Alaska on the Solstice we noticed great improvements on providing plant based menu items for dinner with a seperate vegan dinner menu and a vegan station added to the dinner buffet. We enjoyed both the food and dinning service the entire cruise. We had a fantastic. Maitre D' Anthony who did everything to accommodate our requests in the most professional and kind manner. Celebrity had our backs when it came to the excursion we booked through them. We booked the Endicott adventure excursion. However, after we boarded the tour boat we were informed by the operator that the tour would be modified and we would not see the glacier due to ice conditions caused by glacier calving. A day after the tour, we received a call from the shore excursions desk letting us know Celebrity Solstice gave us a full refund. Enjoyed seeing Captain Tasos participate in sporting events like pool volleyball. The crew and staff at always were excellent. They promptly took care of any requests or issues that came up. We will certainly cruise again with Celebrity. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
This was my second cruise on the Solstice and both times it was just wonderful. The service, food and drinks are just some of the things that made it perfect. I can tell you that every staff members goes out of there way to make sure ... Read More
This was my second cruise on the Solstice and both times it was just wonderful. The service, food and drinks are just some of the things that made it perfect. I can tell you that every staff members goes out of there way to make sure you are having a good time. I never passed a staff member that did not tell me Hello and just acknowledge my presence. We had six of us traveling together in a group. One night for dinner my sister in law was going to dinner by herself because the rest of us would be getting back late from a shore excursion. All we heard the rest of the trip was how wonderful the dining room staff made her feel so special. She said I never felt like I was dining alone. They even sang to her. Sometimes its just the simple things that make your cruise so special. Our waiter and wine steward learned after the first night what we liked and made sure it was waiting for us when we arrived at dinner. We paddled to the glacier, we hiked in Tongass Forest and we even did the Zodiac cruise in Victoria. It was quite the adventure and everything could not have been better. We would travel on Celebrity again, in fact we booked our next cruise on Celebrity for December since we had such a great time on this one. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was my second cruise to Alaska, both on the Solstice, both Inside passage. Traveling into and out of Seattle is always a plus for me. I like the itinerary for the trip. Although I've visited before there is always so much to ... Read More
This was my second cruise to Alaska, both on the Solstice, both Inside passage. Traveling into and out of Seattle is always a plus for me. I like the itinerary for the trip. Although I've visited before there is always so much to do. Alaska deserves a balcony room, where you can enjoy the scenery without crowds and looking for a place to sit. There were 6 of us, ages from 25 to 71, and we all found shore excursions to excite and challenge us. I, 71, took the easier excursions Saxman Village, Glacier tender boat and White Pass RR in Skagway. All were very enjoyable and easy for me. The others did canoeing, hiking and whale watching, which from the pictures were real adventures. I enjoy cruising because it does give everyone an opportunity to do "their own thing". We would come together at dinner time talking about our daily adventures. The cabin was on floor 9 concierge level. Plenty of room for 2 people, 3 would still have been comfortable. Our cabin server, Isamia, was pleasant and always available to help. He kept the room clean and tidy. We ate in the main dining room almost every night except one. Our first night on ship, we dined at Murano. The food was delicious. The ambiance was impressionable. Well worth the price but the food in the main dining room was just as good. Our waiter, Anthony, was on top of things always making sure everything was exactly as we wanted. Elizabeth, the wine steward, was excellent. Our glasses were never empty. I drank a Zinfeldal, while the rest of the table drink a red. Upon our arrival the wine was on the table ready to be poured. All the meals in the dining room were well planned and delicious. There was a lot to do on the ship but not enough time to do it all. We did make a couple of the shows, which were very funny. Silent Disco was a favorite. Karaoke left an unforgettable scare on a couple of us. Trivia. How to Demonstrations. And do forget the daily talks, casino and shopping. With only 2 sea days we had a lot to do. Two of our favorite places were the Martini bar and the Sunset bar. The guys at the Martini bar put on a real show. You can tell they enjoy pleasing the audience, people come just to watch their performance. The guys at the Sunset bar hung with us even when the temps were below zero, it felt like that. Always with a smile on their face and joke or two. I did the glassblowing class on board. Everyone should do this. On my last cruise, I watched the demonstration. They made it look easy; it's not. But the young lady who holds the glass is a good teacher. I wish I would have booked 2 classes instead of 1. But there is always a next time. I would do this cruise again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I primarily chose this cruise because of all the perks being offered by my online Travel Agent and we have always wanted to go on an Alaskan cruise. Should you choose an Alaskan cruise do yourself a favor and save up for the luxury of a ... Read More
I primarily chose this cruise because of all the perks being offered by my online Travel Agent and we have always wanted to go on an Alaskan cruise. Should you choose an Alaskan cruise do yourself a favor and save up for the luxury of a balcony stateroom. It was worth every dime. I spent a great deal of time on my balcony watching the beauty of Alaska go by as we sailed the inland passage and the Endicott arm. From the master of the ship on down we enjoyed extreme customer service, great food and entertainment. We primarily ate in the main dining room, but had a premium dining selection included, so we chose the tuscan grille. It was very good, but if I had to pay the 45 bucks for it, I wouldn't have been all that pleased. Service was excellent, actually superior which made it a memorable experience. Food was good, but just not exceptional. Other than the natural beauty of the state, a huge highlight of the cruise was the naturist speaker Brent Nixon. His presentations were absolutely riveting. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We had this cruise booked almost two years in advance, in order to secure an accessible room. We picked this cruise as we had previously cruised NZ but had a lot of ports cancelled, so we decided to try again as we had heard good things ... Read More
We had this cruise booked almost two years in advance, in order to secure an accessible room. We picked this cruise as we had previously cruised NZ but had a lot of ports cancelled, so we decided to try again as we had heard good things about Solstice. We had a fantastic time. It is the best cruise we have ever done. Embarkation - we stayed at the Quest on Queen in Auckland (very nice hotel, very handy to the port if you are just wanting to wheel your luggage down to the wharf). We had to book a taxi to take us to the ship and when the taxi arrived at the pier, he spoke to one of the baggage handlers who called for some assistance, and our bags were taken directly from the taxi to be loaded onto the ship. We were then directed inside to the wheelchair assistance area, and we then had a man push the wheelchair all the way past the lines of people right to the front of the queue. From there it was only a few minutes until we were on the ship. Our cabin was Aqua class stateroom 1526 on deck 11 and it was the best accessible cabin we have had on a ship to date. There is an automatic door so once you insert your card it swings open to allow the wheelchair to enter. There is a large entryway and enough room in the cabin for a wheelchair to pass between the desk and the beds to the balcony. There is a ramp from the cabin onto the balcony. The bathroom is huge with a shower chair and bars around the toilet. The only things we might criticise is that the toilet is not raised and the bed is almost a little too high to transfer in and out of the chair, but other than those two minor things which we worked around, the cabin was excellent. As to the state of the cabin itself, I thought it was in good condition. The beds were very comfortable (they have a squishy topper on the mattress). The wooden railing on the balcony was a bit rattly but you couldn't hear it with the door closed inside the cabin. The bathroom was in good condition as well but because there is nothing to stop the water, when the ship is rolling I did have to put down a towel around the shower so I didn't flood the bathroom with water. Our room steward was excellent, although we did keep surprising him by turning up when he was trying to clean, but he was very nice about it. As we were Aqua class we dined in Blu. The food was very good but the service was excellent. I was a little concerned that Blu might be too fancy for us but we found something to our tastes every night, and if we didn't, they had a back-up or two in the kitchen that they could bring out. Our waiters were hilarious and they greeted us like friends every night which made the whole restaurant experience that much more enjoyable. We had breakfast in the buffet only a few times because it was so hard to find somewhere to sit and it was just so crowded. On port days we had breakfast in our cabin so we could get an early start (there is no charge for room service on Celebrity). We had breakfast in Blu and it was very good as well. We had lunch in the buffet most days. If you arrived at the wrong time (i.e. between 12 and 1.30pm) it was almost impossible to find somewhere to sit. Thankfully they have helpers in the buffet who were able to take control of the wheelchair and find a seat for us. I thought the food in the buffet was the best I have had at a buffet at sea - every day there was something different to try. I especially loved the ice cream and the pasta station. We would often go in the afternoon and get ice cream or sorbet to take back to the room, it was delicious. We tried all three specialty restaurants (except the sushi place). Of the three Tuscan Grille was our favourite. The lobster rigatoni alfredo was to die for. We had dinner there the night we left Milford Sound and it was a very special experience to watch New Zealand grow smaller and smaller behind us. We tried the seafood fiesta at Silk Harvest which was good (but costs extra, and you can only book once on board). We tried the lobster at Murano and it was delicious. I don't have any complaints about the specialty restaurants. I had read bad reviews about them but we thought they were excellent. Next time I would wait until I was on board before booking, as you could get the restaurants cheaper on board, and they were always trying to offer us deals. Re the drinks packages - we had onboard credit (about $350AUD worth) so we didn't bother buying drinks packages, as neither of us drink alcohol. The non-alcoholic package is $22 a day per person. It averaged out that we would not have spent enough on board to warrant buying the drinks package (we averaged about $15 per day each, on port days we might've only spent about $8 each, some days we spent nothing). In saying that, we are booked again on Solstice in 2021 and we received two perks with our booking, so we are both getting a drinks package. Why? Because the amount of times I was asked why I didn't have a drinks package, how it will work out better for me if I have one, and the amount of huffing and puffing from the bartenders was so unbelievably frustrating that it is just easier to have a damn drinks package. I don't know how many times, and to how many different people, I explained that we are not spending enough per day to warrant it - they just don't understand. I know they are meant to push it on you but it was really annoying. Honestly, my biggest overall complaint is that I found the bar service at every single bar I went to absolutely terrible. Maybe they care if you're buying cocktails and you've got a drinks package, but other than that, they just want you gone. And just trying to get noticed to place an order was an ordeal in itself, especially at the pool bar. I didn't have any problems with the table service at the Sky Lounge - that was excellent. Other people may have had an easier time but by the end I was dreading having to order anything at a bar. The other thing we didn't buy that I wished we had bought was an internet package, but it was just so expensive that I didn't really think I could justify having it. Thankfully it is our second perk for our 2021 cruise, so I won't have to worry about it next time. We didn't see all of the shows. We saw the Buddy Holly show, Nikki Bennett (awful, just awful), the Motown tribute show and then a few of the Celebrity productions. I didn't really enjoy the shows but it seemed like I was in the minority there, as there were a lot of standing ovations. We went to Captain Tasos' talk about the building of Solstice and it was standing room only for good reason - it was absolutely fantastic and a highlight of the trip. I wondered what all the fuss about Captain Tasos was until I got on board - the hype is worth it. He is hilarious. I participated almost exclusively in trivia and had a great time doing so. The entertainment staff were very friendly and it was a lot of fun. I spent a lot of time in the Sky Lounge; it was my favourite part of the ship. We never did make it up to watch the glass blowing - it was too cold to be out on deck most of the time, but I will definitely go for a look when we're back on in 2021. We also didn't make it to any movies - they play the movies up on the grassed area but again it was too cold and I wasn't really interested. For the most part (bar service aside), I found the service on the ship to be above and beyond what we were expecting. The staff were unbelievably helpful, attentive and friendly. We had assistance every single time we were getting on or off the ship - usually an army of men to help push the wheelchair up and down the ramp. If there was a long walk (for example in Tauranga and Dunedin), one would often walk the wheelchair about half of the distance for me. The wheelchair was a fast pass in itself - we bypassed the queues getting off the ship in Tasmania, were straight off and through customs before the rest of the passengers had even gotten off the ship. In Akaroa they have a stair-lift to carry the wheelchair down to the tender boat, and they helped us on and off the boat. The staff were really wonderful and they are a big reason why we decided to book again for 2021. We booked this cruise for the itinerary and unlike the last time we cruised NZ, we were able to make it into every single port. I love Auckland and I think it's a beautiful city. In Tauranga we rented a car through Rite Price Rentals (highly recommend them) and drove ourselves to Rotorua and Waiotapou, and the next day up north to a small town on the coast called Bowentown. In Wellington we booked a private tour with a driver who took us all around the city; it was fantastic. In Akaroa we simply went ashore and did some shopping. In Dunedin we booked another private tour with Good Company Tours, did a city tour, a tour of Olveston House and then a train ride (some disappointment there for us as it turned out the train wasn't wheelchair accessible and we couldn't go, but other than that the tour was very good). In Hobart we met a friend and wandered around the city and in Melbourne I got off the ship for a few hours to do some shopping. The highlight of the ports were the sounds - we had unbelievable weather, blue skies and sunshine. I was able to stand out on the helipad for our entrance into Dusky Sound in the early morning which was wonderful. We saw dolphins in Doubtful Sound and seals in Dusky Sound. In Milford Sound the captain took us right up to the big waterfall and did a 360 turn - it was spectacular. Other thoughts on the ship: It really does cater to an older crowd which suits me just fine, even though I'm only in my 30s. There were a lot more Americans than I was expecting. There were hardly any kids - I think I saw less than 20 the entire time, which again, suits me just fine. I was a lot more comfortable on this ship with an older crowd than I was on Explorer of the Seas with a much younger crowd. As such the entertainment, activities and trivia are all geared towards an older crowd, which might bother some people but it didn't really worry me. I think the ship itself is really nice - very clean. The bathrooms have attendants so they are kept really neat and tidy. I didn't get sick on board but my mother picked up a cough in the last couple of days. I didn't hear about anyone getting gastro or anything like that. I usually pick up a cold but thankfully I managed to avoid it this time. There are probably a few things that need doing up but honestly, it's the second best ship I've ever been on and I really don't have any complaints about the ship itself. We got roped into "lunch with the captain" which was actually $90 to sit with a bunch of people we didn't know and make awkward conversation, and meet the Captain for two minutes at the start. So that was disappointing, but even though we didn't complain about it to anyone, we ended up getting a second free lunch at Tuscan Grille for the last day. And the hostess from Blu was really apologetic about it, but we definitely didn't complain so I have no idea why they thought we were upset. Anyway, the free lunch was really good. I think the shops are a bit... ridiculous, but I guess it's a fancy ship so they sell fancy things. We went to a couple of the sales and bought some cheap jewellery, and I did get some cheap t-shirts for my friends back home. We didn't bother with the art auction as they are a waste of time. We also didn't bother with bingo as it seemed really expensive. If I had known when we were on board that we were going to book again a few days after we got off I would've booked through Future Cruises, but I guess I will next time. This two week cruise with Celebrity has turned me into a convert - I think this may be my favourite cruise line now. Honestly, I may have some complaints about the bar service but overall this was the best cruise we have ever done, hands down, and I can't wait to sail on Solstice again in 2021. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise for its itenenary, and the duration and of course the ship, we loved everything about the cruise, all the staff on board were excellent everywhere we went we encountered helpful, happy staff which added to our ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itenenary, and the duration and of course the ship, we loved everything about the cruise, all the staff on board were excellent everywhere we went we encountered helpful, happy staff which added to our enjoyment, the stand out staff for us were Edward, Arief, Rakesh, and Monwa in the Main dinning room were very efficient especially Rakesh who was excellent in finding the drinks my husband wanted at dinner time. All the specialty restaurants were great too except when we got the boniest fish Ever served to us in any restaurant ever was in Silk Harvest which was not enjoyable at all and when we brought it to their attention we got told “oh that’s how they serve it the Asian style” I know for sure no one would serve that kind of fish no matter what style. Elton our room person on deck 10 Concierge stateroom was so efficient in keeping our room fully stocked with toiletries and towels twice a day, the girls in Cafe Bacio gave us excellent service too with lovely smiles, we also received excellent service from Errol in the Gift Shop which kept us all coming back to shop. The shows are night were very enjoyable. The cruise director Lewis made sure everyone had something to choose to do everyday, our group of friends had a great time on this cruise. We enjoyed it so much we did a future cruise booking too. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
INTRO My wife and I went on a 16-night cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice out of Auckland, NZ with ports of call in New Zealand (Tauranga, Napier, Picton, Wellington) and Australia (Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth). We spent three ... Read More
INTRO My wife and I went on a 16-night cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice out of Auckland, NZ with ports of call in New Zealand (Tauranga, Napier, Picton, Wellington) and Australia (Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth). We spent three days in Auckland before boarding the ship. One funny thing happened while we were in Auckland. The first day we had lunch at the Harbourside Ocean Bar and Grill in the old ferry building – a great place for lunch BTW. We had some questions about the menu, and at one point the waiter asked me if I liked oysters. I was tired from the flight from the States; my hearing isn’t what it used to be; and I had not had a chance to acclimate myself to the Kiwi accent; because I would have sworn he asked me if I liked horses! Sigh. REVIEW Ship I am not going to say much about the Solstice because it has been reviewed so many times before. Furthermore, the Solstice has consistently won Cruiser’s Choice Awards year after year, with Cruisers and Cruise Critic Editors each rating the Solstice 5.0 on a 5.0 scale. What I will say is that ship was large, but it still had a very intimate feel, which is probably due to the outstanding crew on the Solstice. Everyone was incredibly friendly and hospitable. We found that the crew would go out of their way to take care of whatever requests or needs we had, some before we even voiced them. One of the things we really enjoyed was the Hollywood Hot Glass’ workshops on the Lawn Deck (Deck 15) where you can create a glass piece of your own coloring and choosing. There are a number of different things you can make, e.g., a flower, heart, vase, tumbler, ruffle bowl and ornament). I would have preferred to make a ruffle bowl, but we didn’t have enough room in our suitcase or any way to protect the glass. So we made really cool paperweights. Smile. I highly recommend taking a glassblowing class (or two), but plan ahead by bringing some bubble wrap and leaving a little extra room on your suitcase. The other thing I really enjoyed was looking at the fine art on the Solstice (owned by Celebrity, not the auction). I noticed some of the artwork in pictures of the Edge, so I paid particular attention to the paintings and sculptures on the Solstice. It really enhanced my appreciation of the ship. Dining The food onboard the Solstice was excellent. The main dining room for suite-class passengers is Luminae. The food there was excellent and the service was second to none. The Maître D' in Luminae (Dimitri) set the tone for Luminae. He always greeted us as though we were long lost friends he was happy to see again. He made us feel welcomed and right at home every time we entered the restaurant. Our waiter (Chitra) paid attention to our likes and dislikes, and made it a point to recommend things that we would like. I didn’t particularly care for the sausages they served there. I preferred the sausages in the Oceanview Café, so Chitra made sure Luminae had the sausages I liked for breakfast every day. One evening, Chitra served a special dessert. It was a chocolate sphere. She poured a flaming hot liquor over the top of the sphere that melted the chocolate revealing some vanilla ice cream. I asked if they could make that dessert another evening so I could take a video of the presentation. Chitra and the chef were more than happy to make that happen. The assistant waiter (Natalie) couldn’t have been friendlier. We always enjoyed talking to her. The wine steward (Juris) made great selections for us. In the one or two instances we didn’t particularly care for the wine he selected, he made some alternate suggestions, which were excellent. We also ate at several specialty restaurants Murano, the Tuscan Grille and Sushi on Five. I loved them all, but Sushi on Five was my favorite. Kudos to the F&B director (Mihai) and restaurant manager (Mazy) for their outstanding work in creating a five-star experience in every venue on the Solstice. Entertainment I have to give a shout out to the cruise director (Lewis). The entertainment aboard the Solstice was outstanding. It included acts such as Peter Cousins, an actor who performed in such musicals as Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables; Keith Scott, an outstanding voice actor, impressionist and comedian; and, Matt Mcgurk, an award-winning magician and illusionist. Two of our favorite acts were (1) the Beatnix, a Beatles tribute band, and (2) the Lighthouse String Duo (with Lia on the electric violin and Alina on the electric cello). Both acts connected well with audiences. If you are interested in checking out the latter act, which was pretty unique, you can visit their Facebook page at .) We looked for performances throughout the cruise and were never disappointed. Another great show was the aerial acrobatic show entitled “Euphoria” by the French Cirque Les Farfadais & Co. that Celebrity saved until the end of the cruise. Euphoria was a combination of acrobatics, silk dance and aerial rings that rivaled Cirque du Soleil in every way and left us amazed and awed by their skills. We would be thrilled to see any of these acts again on future Celebrity cruises. Service From the moment we checked in and all throughout the service onboard the was exceptional. This was the first time we had a butler. I wasn’t sure why I needed a butler, but I quickly found out how valuable he was. We were invited to dinner one evening, and I needed a shirt pressed right away. Our butler (Anu) took care of that and had the shirt back to me within the hour. We also had a bottle of champagne that I wanted sent to the dining room to be chilled for dinner, and Anu took care of that as well. It was a nice luxury to be able to enjoy the cruise and not take the time to work on the logistics of something like that. We also found the Michael’s Club Concierge (Olga) extremely professional, competent and helpful. I asked Olga if I could get a list of lectures and shows for the cruise (so I could better plan our evenings). She would have had the list back to me the next day, but it was not to her liking because It only listed the names of each act. She sent the list back and asked that they add a description of each act. I also asked if Olga could arrange for someone from future cruises to meet me in Michael’s Club to book a future cruise, which she did. Even if there was a lot going on in Michael’s Club, Olga never appeared distracted as she welcomed guests and answered questions. The suite manager (Anastasia) was fantastic. You could tell that she was all about providing the best guest service possible in the way she regularly checked in with us and the way related to others on her team. She really looked after us. PORTS & SHORE EXCURSIONS We enjoyed all of the ports-of-call, but I will only highlight four: two in New Zealand and two in Australia. Tauranga, NZ Our first stop was Tauranga, NZ where we visited the Māori (pron MOU•ree, not may•OR•ee) village of Whakarewarewa in Rotorua, which was a lot of fun. (The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand.) After touring the village, the Māori served lunch and put on a show. The Māori villagers like to have fun with you by presenting the name of their village as one word: Tewhakarewarewatangaoteopetauaawahiao. It seems overwhelming, right? It really isn’t. If you break that word down into its component parts, it is actually “Te Whakarewarewa Tanga, O Te Ope Taua A Wahiao,” which means “gathering place for the war parties of the Wahiao.” If you want to have a little fun with the Māori, you can learn how to pronounce the name of the village before you go. When they ask if anyone can pronounce the name of their village, you can surprise them by sounding like the Māori. They will definitely not expect it. Here is how the Māori pronounce the name of their village: http://alturl.com/abr3f. Napier, NZ We were lucky to be in Napier (pron NAY•pee•er) during the weekend of the year they held their Hot Rod & Classic Car Festival, one of several Art Deco Festivals held every year celebrating the classic Art Deco period of the 1920’ and 30’s. (For more about the festival and events throughout the year see their website at . Much of Napier was destroyed by an earthquake in 1931 and many of the buildings were rebuilt in the (Art Deco) style of that period. It was fun to walk around the town and to see many of the locals (flappers and dappers) dressing in period garb for the occasion. If you want to join in the fun, stop by Napier Antiques and Jewelry store at 65 Tennyson St. in Napier. They had a wide variety of styles for men and women from which to choose. People there also displayed beautifully restored antique cars and old motorcycles. A band played music in the square. Several dance troupes performed in the town square. All in all it was a lot of fun. Sydney, AUS Bridge climb or Pylon? A number of passengers on the cruise opted to climb the “coat hanger (Sydney Harbour Bridge). The cost is AUD $263 – $403 per person (USD $186 - $285 per person). That’s USD $372 - $570 per couple! The climb takes 3 ½ hours and you have to wear a suit that others have worn before. (I have no idea how often the clean the suits, but it didn’t appeal to me one way or the other.) We spent a fraction of that and chose to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon. The cost of climbing the Pylon is AUD $15 per person (USD $10.63pp). That’s only $22 per couple! There is an interesting historical exhibit on the climb up, and we had virtually the same view of famous Sydney Harbour Opera House as those who spent a whole lot more money and time. That left us plenty of free time to grab lunch at the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar, which was located at 1 East Circular Quay just down from the Opera House across the way from the Circular Quay and Overseas Passenger Terminal. It had a great view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour. The food was excellent. I ordered BBQ’d shrimp (what else?) and my wife ordered seafood linguini. We also had a surprise visit by some parakeets. We mentioned that to the waiter, and he said they loved the sugar. Who doesn’t? Adelaide, AUS We visited the Cleland Wildlife Conservation Park in Adelaide where we saw a Tasmanian devil, kangaroos, koalas, emus, geese, various birds and more. It was too hot that day to hold a koala, but we were able to pet a couple of kangaroos. My one regret is that we did not purchase food to feed the animals, primarily because I didn’t want to throw food at the animals, but what I didn’t know is that some of the animals, like the kangaroos, and I am guessing the koalas as well, would eat out of your hand. It might have been fun. CONCLUSION Pros Celebrity’s Solstice is a beautiful ship. Great food, service, and entertainment. An outgoing and professional staff who genuinely cared about you and who went out of their way to make sure you wanted for nothing. Cons I really don’t have any cons other than recommending those with mobility issues booking rooms closer to the elevators, which are located amidship. Value The value for what we received was excellent. I heartedly recommend Celebrity Cruise Line and the Solstice. You will not be disappointed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary which was great. We had never been to this part of the world or had been on a Celebrity ship. The cabin was clean and pretty spacious but it did need a bit of a refurb especially the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary which was great. We had never been to this part of the world or had been on a Celebrity ship. The cabin was clean and pretty spacious but it did need a bit of a refurb especially the curtains.The food in the Oceanview Cafe was great and there was a wide choice to choose from. Zeljko Cickovic the Maitre D’ in the cafe was so friendly and always stopped to chat with us. However, in the restaurant the food was good but we felt there wasn’t much of a choice. The entertainment was ok however, the show put on by the Celebrity dancers and singers were very good. The daily activities was ok, not as good as P&O cruises. The crew were very friendly and some would always chat to us when we saw them. One of the Officers Stelios always made time to chat to us , he seemed a lovely genuine man. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We had not been to these destinations before and this cruise offered us just what we wanted. The crew was really friendly and most of them always acknowledged us and many of them entered into ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We had not been to these destinations before and this cruise offered us just what we wanted. The crew was really friendly and most of them always acknowledged us and many of them entered into a conversation. The cabin was always cleaned well, but it could do with a little updating, some of the furnishings need replacing. The guest entertainers in the theatre were ok however, the the ships dancers and singers put on very good shows. Some of the entertainment singers or bands around the ship were very good especially a young group, Jeam Beam and two girl violinists. The daily activities could have been better, again not a lot to choose from unlike P&O cruises.The Oceanview Cafe served a very good range of food and we ate there in the evening too, the Maitre D’ Zeljko Cickovic always found time to chat and couldn’t do enough to help. We feel the restaurant didn’t offer enough of a choice for the evening meal although the food was good. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
You either love cruising or you hate it, and we are one of those couples who absolutely love it! You unpack once and if you find a place you really like, you can come back to it later. We try to take at least one cruise every year. The ... Read More
You either love cruising or you hate it, and we are one of those couples who absolutely love it! You unpack once and if you find a place you really like, you can come back to it later. We try to take at least one cruise every year. The New Zealand cruise we booked two years out while on board the Celebrity Eclipse (a sister ship) for two weeks in the Caribbean. We decided it was time to go check out what everyone had been raving about. The itinerary was fantastic, 14 nights Auckland to Sydney on our favorite class of ship. We'd been through the Panama Canal, Canada, Alaska, Iceland, Europe, and so on. Being from California we were really dreading the long flight to Auckland, and we wavered back and forth the entire two years. Oh my gosh...we are so glad we forged ahead! We flew direct from LAX to Auckland, and then after spending time in Australia, flew direct from Sydney to LAX. The flight really is not all that bad. I started my research about New Zealand about nine months out, and while researching I fell in love before we even got there. To top it off, we got super lucky. Our Cruise Critic thread was quite active, and we had a really great couple who set up an offsite page we could all access for an abundance of information. We could add private tour info to this, and also post info along the way as needed (before, along the cruise, and after the cruise). They kept it (and all of us) organized. A big shout out of thanks to Tom & Barbara! We arrived in New Zealand a day ahead (not early enough in my opinion). At least two days would have been better. After researching Taxis vs. Uber vs SuperShuttle, I opted for prearranging the SuperShuttle to take us from the airport to our hotel. It could not have been easier! Prepaid conversion cost us $36.40 US from airport to Hilton Hotel. Yes, it might have taken us ten minutes longer than Uber, but the upside was seeing a couple hotels along the way and meeting others who would be on the ship with us. We are social (heck, you have to be a bit social to cruise, right?), so we didn't feel the need for a private taxi or Uber. We stayed at the Hilton Auckland Princess Wharf for its location and membership in their loyalty program. We could walk along the waterfront, to shops and the sky tower. Since we only had the one day in Auckland, we chose to ride the Hop On Hop Off to get an overview of the area. There are two companies that do this, so check them both out. I researched them ahead of time, and my preference was the "Auckland Explorer Bus" as they had better reviews, and the ferry trip to Devonport was included. I can't give the Hilton Hotel enough Kudos! The location is awesome; rooms were modern; staff was friendly; restaurant and bar on site was good. It is literally right where the ship docks, and in the morning when it is time to turn your luggage over to the porters and check in for the cruise, you only have to walk out of the lobby and turn left, walk about fifty feet and you are there! January 17, 2019 - The day is finally here! We had a nice leisurely breakfast, walked around the corner to a couple of shops to pick up a couple of gifts. Grabbed our bags from the hotel, dropped the luggage to the porters at 11:30 and got in line. Check in for the Celebrity Solstice went smooth. It seemed the lines were moving along fairly fast. We only waited about ten minutes. Once we boarded, we did not want to disembark. We had a full day ahead of us. We had opted for a Sky Suite (Aft 2155) celebrating our 38th Anniversary and wanted to meet up with the Michael's Club Concierge, our Butler, dine for lunch in Luminae, unpack, check out the ship, muster drill, and get ready for our Cruise Critic group Sail away. For us the Solstice class is the perfect size ship. It has a nice selection of restaurants, bars, and quiet space to just hang out and read a book if you so choose. The spa is a nice size, and if you choose to go to the gym it is located in the front of the ship with plenty of windows to look out and enjoy the scenery. Some ships can be so dreary, and Celebrity does a fantastic job at bringing the light in. The artwork throughout the ship is always interesting and fun to look at. We’ve tried all the different staterooms along the way. It just depends on budget and needs. We tend to opt for balconies, and since Celebrity introduced the Aqua Class, we have been quite happy with that. Splurging for the Suite was a real treat. We were spoiled with our Butler bringing us our morning Lattes, tea and scones in the afternoon, escorting us to our show seats on formal evenings, etc. etc. etc. Michaels Lounge was an extra special enhancement. I won’t even go in to detail on that, but one huge perk is tendering days, the concierge escorted us to the front of the line for disembarking. Luminae’s dining experience was superb. By far the best meals, and the best service we’ve had on Celebrity. Our favorite spots to hang out on the ship are Café Al Bacio, the Martini Bar, Grand Foyer for Entertainment, Sunset Bar and Lawn Club, Solarium, Sky Observation Lounge, and if we are looking for something light to eat, we love the Spa Café. A couple of times we grabbed a burger and fries on the upper deck by the pool and just enjoyed some sunshine and people watching. The entertainment was especially good this cruise with the Celebrity Singer & Dancers, and variety of entertainers on board. We were really excited to see the daily entertainment throughout the ship included two girls Alina & Lia, known as the “Lighthouse String Duo” (one plays the violin, the other the cello). We had seen them before on a New Years Eve Cruise. They are talented musicians who play classical and popular music on their electric strings. Their energy is captivating! January 18 - Oh my gosh. The weather is fantastic! Our arrival into the Bay of Islands brought us calm waters and blue skies with beautiful poofy clouds. I don’t think I’ve seen such beautiful green rolling hills and valleys. Beautiful blue water. The coastline is dotted with islands .... wow ! Everything is spotless!!! Cute rural towns. I’m in love! I’m dying to put my feet in the water to check the temperature! Today’s excursion was a ship excursion “Glow Worm Caves & Te Waimate” We went to see the glow worms at the Kawiti Cavern, along with an afternoon tea at Te Waimate Mission House. Unfortunate that we are unable to take photographs of the glow worms, as they do not allow it. But .... wow it was super cool! A must do if in the area. The aft stateroom is paying off right now as we pull out. Today, February 19 had to be one of our best excursions ever! We arrived in Tauranga, NZ at 8:00 AM and joined the tour arranged by a fellow Cruise Critic member with Carolyn & Terry (husband/wife team) of Custom Day Tours. Our van had five couples from Cruise Critic. Terry (our guide) stopped along the way for us to watch the river rafters coming down Kaituna River. Then we were off to Rotarua. We see an active geothermal area (Te Puia) which includes 2 of 8 spontaneous geysers in the world, bubbling mud pools, a Maori welcome, and lunch & much more!!!! Then we were on our way to the Redwood Forest and a Kiwi fruit orchard for tasting. Pictures can’t even tell the story. What a fantastic day. Back to our stateroom to enjoy the sail away jet skiis were riding the wake as we left port. Glory our Butler had delivered a beautiful platter of cheeses and prosciutto along with a bottle of wine on ice. Nice! Our first Sea Day was busy starting with the Cruise Critic get together in Cellar Masters. One of the best groups we’ve connected with over the years. We attended a private glass blowing show for Suite guests by the new company Celebrity has onboard (they took over Corning’s spot). Tonight is our first of three Evening Chic nights. In Wellington I arranged a small group tour for 13 of us. It was a six hour driving tour with Michelle that would have many stops and photo ops along the way, including lunch at a funky very busy whimsical restaurant along the waterfront. We rode the famous cable car, went up to Mount Victoria for stunning views, saw the Parliament building, Weta Cave - Home of Lord of the Rings, Art Deco Roxy, Old St Paul’s Cathedral, and the incredible Te Papa Museum! Yes, Wellington topped Tauranga!!!! Wow! As we pulled in to the Port of Picton we were treated to the beautiful scenery and waters of Queen Charlotte Sound. Our excursion was a ship tour “Explore Marlborough Wineries by Bike’. Great exercise and visited three wineries. The last one Mahi being the best! We had a fabulous lunch of baked salmon, warm potato salad, and a cold corn salad served by their chef Marcia. Yum! The Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays of this Marlborough region are so flavorful. Mahi even had a fantastic Pinot Noir. This was such the great day! Akaroa! What can I say? It just kept getting better and better. We love the Countryside of New Zealand. The Akaroa hills remind us a lot of the rolling hillsides as you drive through Cambria to the coast in the spring time, or Santa Ynez if the hills were green all year and dotted with pine trees here and there. The homes along the coast are modern architecture, and the homes walking up into the neighborhoods are a bit more modest but modern wooden with metal roofs. Flowers are incredible!!! The trees and flowers are what we have in Santa Barbara, but more vibrant in color and healthier!!!! It’s peaceful. The climate is dryer than ours which surprised us. Used more lotion. Great for the hair ...... lol. In all of our travels we think this is that special spot! Wish it wasn’t so far from family. Could we bring a piece of New Zealand home with us? Including their government! Safest Country in the World!! Today we were doing our own thing. We walked along the seashore to the Light House (something we have a thing for), and then weaved our way through the neighborhoods up to the Giants House. Oh my gosh. We highly recommend “The Giants House”! It is not anything like it sounds. Be sure to look it up online. It is something you can do on your own, and we highly recommend you do so you are not rushed for time. We shared a light lunch up there (egg salad sandwich, crust was cut off cut in quarters and delicious fresh lemonade). Afterwards we walked back down the hill to town and did some shopping along the waterfront before returning to the ship by tender. Dunedin - Really a beautiful arrival into the channel. We chose the ship tour “Scottish Experience, Castle & Brewery”. The unexpected bonus to this tour was stopping at the famous Dunedin Rail Station on the way to the Brewery for a photo op. We toured the 141 year old Speight’s Brewery and tasted fabulous beer! Toured New Zealand’s only Castle, the Larnach Castle. Along the way our guide pointed out many highlights and shared many interesting historical facts about Dunedin. Beautiful countryside again!! Great tour, but really wish we had more time at the Castle. Too much time was spent on lunch at the Castle, and not enough time to explore the beautiful gardens! Cruising the Fjords – Wow….what a day! Our arrival to Dusky Sound was a welcome sight off our aft balcony. Then on to Doubtful Sound. The best of all was Milford Sound. It was stunning! We were invited to the Heliport for this portion of cruising the Sounds. The Captain pulled up close to waterfalls, and later did a 360 degree turn on the cruise out of the fjord. For that portion we went back to our stateroom to enjoy the waterfalls super up close!! Photos….photos….photos! Sea Day was a Lazy Day We took a Backstage tour of the Production shows put on by four of the cast members. Attended a fabulous concert by the two girls Alina and Lia. Another Sea Day – this one was fun and a bit busy. We attended a fabulous talk about the Antarctic, then a Bridge Tour so different than what we experienced before. The afternoon the Solstice theatre was standing room only for an impressionist from Australia. He was so da## funny. Later we went again to listen to our favorite girls on the strings!!”Lighthouse String Duo”. For those of you who like “duelling banjos” or “duelling pianos” these two girls take it to a whole new level !!!!!! Day 1 in Hobart Tasmania Australia we first went through Immigration process prior to exploring the city. Even though the line for immigration was very long and we were standing outside for a good portion of the time (wear a jacket, as it is cold!!!), the process was fairly quick. We decided to do the Hop On Hop Off Bus for a 90 minute narrated tour of the highlights but did get off at the botanical gardens. The Japanese Gardens were absolutely beautiful. The botanical gardens are free and it was a holiday so there were many families with children having picnics throughout the park areas. The Hop On Hop Off is just a short walk from where the ship docks. Easy to do on your own. In the evening we had a ship excursion called “An Evening With the Devils”. It was an after hours tour of Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. We were able to feed the kangaroos and pet a Koala, and see all sorts of other animals. We also got to see the Tasmanian Devil!!!! Day 2 in Hobart we got up early. Glory, our Butler delivered breakfast to our stateroom as we had an early excursion to Port Arthur, one of Australia’s most notorious penal colonies developed in the 1830’s. I’d say this is a must do in Hobart, especially if you have an overnight. We chose to do this as a ship excursion on the second day as we knew we’d have to be back on board early and figured “let them be responsible for getting us back on time”. Worked out perfectly. We packed in a lot while in Hobart. January 30 - Last Day at Sea – Lots to do on the daily schedule. Lots of goodbyes to be said. My hubby attended a cooking class where one of the chef’s prepared alligator and kangaroo in the fry pan using butter, olive oil and lemon. We met with a Cruise Vacations Associate, and booked two more cruises. We will miss tossing our towels on the floor morning and night; having our bed made for us daily with chocolates on our pillow every night; scrumptious meals served to us with smiles; nonstop entertainment......but when we wake tomorrow we shall be sailing into the magnificent Sydney Harbour and setting our sights on the world famous Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge! According to Captain Tasos, we should be arriving into port about 5:15am. January 31 - We’ve arrived in Sydney. Set our alarm for 5:00 am so we’d be up and dressed for the arrival into the magnificent Sydney Harbour. Wow! What a sight it was. The skyline is spectacular. Like no other. Disembarkation went off without a hitch. Our bags were easily spotted. The lines to exit went fast. The only hiccup we had was at the very end after disembarkation. We needed a taxi to take us to our hotel in Sydney. There were no taxis, and there was a long line waiting for one. When we asked for help, we were directed to walk straight up the street and cross the street to where there would be another taxi pick up area. We were wheeling two bags each. This was not an easy task. We could not find the spot she told us to go, and it turned into a total fiasco. We walked for blocks. We should have stayed in the taxi line at the port (or, in hind sight I should have prearranged transportation). I had no idea it was going to be that difficult to get to the hotel that was only one mile away. We have never had a problem getting a taxi in a port on departure. But, best cruise ever!!!!!!! Ship was beautiful, and clean. Captain, and all the staff were friendly, helpful and fun. The entertainment was fantastic! The dining was fabulous. We tried them all, except Silk Harvest. Murano was very good, Luminae the favorite of course. Ports of Call were absolutely the best. As said.....Perfect Destination, Exceeded our Expectations! Thank you Celebrity. We love New Zealand! This is definitely a place we would like to go back to and spend more time. Note: Since we’ve been home, he’s been preparing most of our fish, chicken and steak over a propane flame like the chef (but outside) instead of our barbecue. Oh my gosh, its so much more flavorful, and moist! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise to see New Zealand, it was our first cruise and we were not disappointed. We picked this particular one for the stops in Sydney and New Zealand.We had wonderful service and would like to thank especially Catalin, ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see New Zealand, it was our first cruise and we were not disappointed. We picked this particular one for the stops in Sydney and New Zealand.We had wonderful service and would like to thank especially Catalin, Larissa and the wine waiters for table 271 they were especially attentive and pleasant and very helpful when I was feeling under the weather. The captain was great and we enjoyed listening to his amusing updates on the weather and the ports. We went to his talk about the history of the vessel and found it very entertaining. The weather wasn’t always good but had it been the sun deck would have been used much more. We did find the solarium useful on the dull days but couldn’t always find a seat. The journey into the Fjiords was great and beautiful. We particularly enjoyed the trip on the Ketch in Akaroa and the Jet boat ride in Rotarua. Overall we had a great time and wouldn’t hesitate in booking again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We were interested to try a Celebrity cruise out of Australia, and this one offered an interesting itinerary as it visited Newcastle and Hobart as well as New Zealand ports. Embarkation was quick but we had special assistance with elderly ... Read More
We were interested to try a Celebrity cruise out of Australia, and this one offered an interesting itinerary as it visited Newcastle and Hobart as well as New Zealand ports. Embarkation was quick but we had special assistance with elderly mother, and we also had an accessible stateroom for her. Generally the public rooms of this ship were in excellent condition, and they were very elegant. We enjoyed the many different places on the ship to hear music of excellent quality, and also enjoyed the main production shows very much. Some of the guest acts were not quite as good, but it is necessary to cater for the many different tastes of the passengers in entertainment and one cannot expect to like everything. The house band was fantastic and we found ourselves dancing every night. We found the cruise director and staff to be very good, and the captain was hilarious! We were in the Captain's club lounge every night, and enjoyed the service there. Select dining around 8pm worked very well and the food and service in the main dining room was of a very good standard. The sommeliers were also knowledgable, and we found good wines to drink with our meals. Overall the service all around the ship was excellent. We have been to NZ many times so the ports were predictable for us, but we were lucky with the weather and were able to see everything on the itinerary. People we met who were experiencing NZ for the first time seemed to really love the ports. Read Less
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
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
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
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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