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It may well be time for us to branch out and try a new cruise line. Much as we've enjoyed Celebrity Solstice on 3 separate occasions, reading other reviews leaves me wondering if we're missing out. I don't believe that my husband and I qualify as "old" yet, so I think we bring down the average age onboard. We prefer not to be surrounded by other folks kids when we're on a trip without our own, and Celebrity fits in this regard. We generally travel Concierge class with Celebrity, we like the occasional show but don't need to be constantly entertained, we enjoy good quality food, and are happy to pay for great excursions. My husband gave me this particular trip as a Christmas gift. Sometime during this year Celebrity started advertising the 1.2.3 GO offer - onboard credit, "free" drinks package and I can't recall what else - I called customer service and was advised that we could change our reservation to "take advantage" of the "offer", however, when we went through the procedure it turned out to be more expensive than the price we had paid, meaning we would, in actual fact be paying for all of the things which were being grouped together under the guise of a "special offer", we went back to our original reservation and cost. Flights to Vancouver from Atlanta were very expensive, so we travelled to Seattle on the previous day and took the train from Seattle to Vancouver - great idea, what a beautiful train ride, and we got to spend a night in Seattle (which I love). The check-in procedure was a total debacle. There was no centralized place to leave luggage. Folks who were being dropped off went in one direction and taxis went in another, while "walk up" passengers took their luggage with them into a central hall, where 3 cruise ships worth of passengers were herded like cattle. Perhaps because these were the first cruises of the year? I'm not sure, but it appeared that the port of Vancouver had not properly thought through this scenario. So much for Concierge Class and expedited check in, it saved us, at best, 10 minutes by the time we eventually made it to the actual Celebrity check in hall. It was a horrible set up, very poorly organised, and most definitely needs to be addressed before the full season gets underway. I would hesitate to travel through Vancouver again for this very reason. There have been a couple of changes since our last cruise, there are now 2 restaurants for the suite and Aqua class passengers, one of which has been carved out of the main dining room on the lower level. We used the Select Dining option which is situated on the upper level, looking down the lower level appeared to be quite cramped. Another change, which was a tad more irritating is that one of the bars, Michael's Club, is now only available to the Suite and Aqua class guests. We particularly enjoyed popping in there for a nightcap every night on our previous cruises, but this wasn't an option this time - irritating since we only saw someone in there once (although to be fair it's not like we were sitting outside with our noses pressed against the window). The tables in the main dining room are very close together. We prefer to be seated at a table for 2 but there is little/no room between the tables - you couldn't walk between them for example, so it's impossible to have a private conversation without your neighbours hearing every word. As a result you end up having to chat with your seating companions anyway. Generally the food was very good in the main dining room - and I'm very picky. Meats and fish were very well prepared, veg was okay - potatoes were meh - the risotto in the main dining room on the second formal night was stodgy mush (I pity the poor vegetarian who was stuck with that option). Having been disappointed in Silk Harvest on a previous cruise we decided to give it another try, it was good - shrimps were perfectly cooked and sushi was okay - not great but okay. Murano was superb, both the service and quality of food were outstanding, however the "cover charge" had gone from $35 on our previous cruise to $50 this time, still worth it for the quality of experience but expensive for being a "cover charge". The food was all very samey in the buffet, I'm not really a big fan of breakfast and at lunch I'm not looking for a 5 star experience, so it generally seemed that there was something for everyone. The drinks onboard are very expensive - if you're not too bothered about wine and are happy with the selection "by the glass" then perhaps one of the drinks packages might work out for you. We could have a beer/wine with lunch, an afternoon cocktail, bottle of wine with dinner and a nightcap and still have spent less than the cost of the drinks package. I can't imagine how much you'd actually have to drink to make it worth the cost. The talented entertainment staff worked really hard. The shows we saw were generally good. However, for me the highlight of the onboard entertainment was Brent Nixon and his passionate talks about the animals and environment that we would encounter in Alaska. It was worth the cost of the cruise to hear him speak and to have an opportunity to meet him. Our cabin (1184) was very familiar, perhaps starting to show signs of wear but comfortable and clean. This cabin was starboard/aft, being away from the central stairs/elevators certainly helped us get in our steps every day. Our Concierge Badras and his sidekick Sam were great, attentive without being intrusive. Disembarkation was a breeze, very smooth - we were all checked in at the airport within half an hour - despite Seattle rush hour traffic. For some reason we didn't get a final letter with instructions or an immigration form, not a big deal since we're familiar with immigration procedures. Excursions: Ketchikan - We did the Misty Fjords boat trip and float/sea plane return. The boat part of it was fun - Jenna, our onboard naturalist was great, lots of stories and fun facts. We were joined half way through by a pod of Dahl's Porpoise - such a treat. We saw a couple of humpback whales and mountain goats. The sea plane journey on the return was over way too soon. We were on one of the larger planes which flew at a higher altitude than the small ones, I can only imagine that it would have been more thrilling to be closer to the mountains. Juneau - Salmon fishing - paid $30 for a fishing licence only to catch cod (4 of us on the boat - each of us caught one). Nevertheless it was a gorgeous day for a boat ride and we got to be up close and personal with the bald eagles which flew overhead. Christian our boat captain was fun, but upstairs so we didn't get much interaction with him. Brian the deck hand worked hard to try and find us some salmon but, being so early in the season it wasn't to be. Skagway - We went on the train ride/bicycle ride combo, a stupid idea at best. When you get on the train, they tell you it doesn't matter which side you choose - not so, sit on the left side, there's much more "action" at that side. We didn't see any wildlife but a guy who was on the train after us saw a couple of bears. The bicycle ride was hairy at best - time is short so you're basically hurtling down a mountain road (with traffic - think tour buses) at what I believe was upwards of 15 mph. Not really my idea of fun. There was another excursion I wanted to do but they didn't begin until the next day so we had to go with my husband's choice. Kind of regret not taking a helicopter ride to the glaciers. Everyone should see Alaska up close and personal, this was a wonderful way to do it. The opportunity to see nature at it's finest makes all the little niggling inconveniences of the ship pale to insignificance. Brent tells us that "they" are campaigning to start whaling again in the Alaskan waters - go experience this beautiful part of the world and hopefully you'll think, same as I do, that this is a really STUPID idea!!

Wonderful Cruise

Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by Mandarina65

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2015
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Concierge Class
It may well be time for us to branch out and try a new cruise line. Much as we've enjoyed Celebrity Solstice on 3 separate occasions, reading other reviews leaves me wondering if we're missing out.

I don't believe that my husband and I qualify as "old" yet, so I think we bring down the average age onboard. We prefer not to be surrounded by other folks kids when we're on a trip without our own, and Celebrity fits in this regard. We generally travel Concierge class with Celebrity, we like the occasional show but don't need to be constantly entertained, we enjoy good quality food, and are happy to pay for great excursions.

My husband gave me this particular trip as a Christmas gift. Sometime during this year Celebrity started advertising the 1.2.3 GO offer - onboard credit, "free" drinks package and I can't recall what else - I called customer service and was advised that we could change our reservation to "take advantage" of the "offer", however, when we went through the procedure it turned out to be more expensive than the price we had paid, meaning we would, in actual fact be paying for all of the things which were being grouped together under the guise of a "special offer", we went back to our original reservation and cost.

Flights to Vancouver from Atlanta were very expensive, so we travelled to Seattle on the previous day and took the train from Seattle to Vancouver - great idea, what a beautiful train ride, and we got to spend a night in Seattle (which I love).

The check-in procedure was a total debacle. There was no centralized place to leave luggage. Folks who were being dropped off went in one direction and taxis went in another, while "walk up" passengers took their luggage with them into a central hall, where 3 cruise ships worth of passengers were herded like cattle. Perhaps because these were the first cruises of the year? I'm not sure, but it appeared that the port of Vancouver had not properly thought through this scenario. So much for Concierge Class and expedited check in, it saved us, at best, 10 minutes by the time we eventually made it to the actual Celebrity check in hall. It was a horrible set up, very poorly organised, and most definitely needs to be addressed before the full season gets underway. I would hesitate to travel through Vancouver again for this very reason.

There have been a couple of changes since our last cruise, there are now 2 restaurants for the suite and Aqua class passengers, one of which has been carved out of the main dining room on the lower level. We used the Select Dining option which is situated on the upper level, looking down the lower level appeared to be quite cramped. Another change, which was a tad more irritating is that one of the bars, Michael's Club, is now only available to the Suite and Aqua class guests. We particularly enjoyed popping in there for a nightcap every night on our previous cruises, but this wasn't an option this time - irritating since we only saw someone in there once (although to be fair it's not like we were sitting outside with our noses pressed against the window). The tables in the main dining room are very close together. We prefer to be seated at a table for 2 but there is little/no room between the tables - you couldn't walk between them for example, so it's impossible to have a private conversation without your neighbours hearing every word. As a result you end up having to chat with your seating companions anyway.

Generally the food was very good in the main dining room - and I'm very picky. Meats and fish were very well prepared, veg was okay - potatoes were meh - the risotto in the main dining room on the second formal night was stodgy mush (I pity the poor vegetarian who was stuck with that option). Having been disappointed in Silk Harvest on a previous cruise we decided to give it another try, it was good - shrimps were perfectly cooked and sushi was okay - not great but okay. Murano was superb, both the service and quality of food were outstanding, however the "cover charge" had gone from $35 on our previous cruise to $50 this time, still worth it for the quality of experience but expensive for being a "cover charge". The food was all very samey in the buffet, I'm not really a big fan of breakfast and at lunch I'm not looking for a 5 star experience, so it generally seemed that there was something for everyone.

The drinks onboard are very expensive - if you're not too bothered about wine and are happy with the selection "by the glass" then perhaps one of the drinks packages might work out for you. We could have a beer/wine with lunch, an afternoon cocktail, bottle of wine with dinner and a nightcap and still have spent less than the cost of the drinks package. I can't imagine how much you'd actually have to drink to make it worth the cost.

The talented entertainment staff worked really hard. The shows we saw were generally good. However, for me the highlight of the onboard entertainment was Brent Nixon and his passionate talks about the animals and environment that we would encounter in Alaska. It was worth the cost of the cruise to hear him speak and to have an opportunity to meet him.

Our cabin (1184) was very familiar, perhaps starting to show signs of wear but comfortable and clean. This cabin was starboard/aft, being away from the central stairs/elevators certainly helped us get in our steps every day. Our Concierge Badras and his sidekick Sam were great, attentive without being intrusive.

Disembarkation was a breeze, very smooth - we were all checked in at the airport within half an hour - despite Seattle rush hour traffic. For some reason we didn't get a final letter with instructions or an immigration form, not a big deal since we're familiar with immigration procedures.

Excursions:

Ketchikan - We did the Misty Fjords boat trip and float/sea plane return. The boat part of it was fun - Jenna, our onboard naturalist was great, lots of stories and fun facts. We were joined half way through by a pod of Dahl's Porpoise - such a treat. We saw a couple of humpback whales and mountain goats. The sea plane journey on the return was over way too soon. We were on one of the larger planes which flew at a higher altitude than the small ones, I can only imagine that it would have been more thrilling to be closer to the mountains.

Juneau - Salmon fishing - paid $30 for a fishing licence only to catch cod (4 of us on the boat - each of us caught one). Nevertheless it was a gorgeous day for a boat ride and we got to be up close and personal with the bald eagles which flew overhead. Christian our boat captain was fun, but upstairs so we didn't get much interaction with him. Brian the deck hand worked hard to try and find us some salmon but, being so early in the season it wasn't to be.

Skagway - We went on the train ride/bicycle ride combo, a stupid idea at best. When you get on the train, they tell you it doesn't matter which side you choose - not so, sit on the left side, there's much more "action" at that side. We didn't see any wildlife but a guy who was on the train after us saw a couple of bears. The bicycle ride was hairy at best - time is short so you're basically hurtling down a mountain road (with traffic - think tour buses) at what I believe was upwards of 15 mph. Not really my idea of fun. There was another excursion I wanted to do but they didn't begin until the next day so we had to go with my husband's choice. Kind of regret not taking a helicopter ride to the glaciers.

Everyone should see Alaska up close and personal, this was a wonderful way to do it. The opportunity to see nature at it's finest makes all the little niggling inconveniences of the ship pale to insignificance. Brent tells us that "they" are campaigning to start whaling again in the Alaskan waters - go experience this beautiful part of the world and hopefully you'll think, same as I do, that this is a really STUPID idea!!
Mandarina65’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Concierge Class
Cabin C2 1184
Well laid out, everything you need is there. It's a hotel room, with dozens of exact replicas on other floors, can't really think of anything you really need to know about it.
Resort Deck Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews