Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by Otani
- Sail Date: March 2017
- Destination: Australia & New Zealand
- Cabin Type: Concierge Class
The Solstice is a beautiful ship. It is well designed, with tasteful finishing and seems very well maintained given it’s almost 10 years old. Parts of the ship had recently undergone an $8.5m revitalisation process, giving the ship a new gallery space, a refitted specialty restaurant and new patio furniture in the staterooms, among other things.
The ship is incredibly well managed and everything seems to run like clockwork, which is a huge testament to the management team. We generally found the level of service on the Solstice to be very professional, friendly and efficient. However, some of the service staff in the main dining room and Sushi on 5 did come across as “trying too hard” with their forced effusiveness and tired jokes while mistaking that for quality service. Personally, I would prefer simple warmth and efficiency. It goes a long way.
The dining options on Solstice were good. We had dined at all four specialty restaurants and found Murano to be our absolute favourite. It was the perfect combination of impeccable traditional fine dining service/ambiance with a nicely planned menu that was well executed. Tuscan Grill was a close second. Our least favourite was Sushi on 5. It was okay, but nothing special at all.
We found the food in the main dining room (Grand Epernay) to be very average – both in terms of presentation and taste. Somewhat disappointing. It felt like we were dining at big event functions catering to volume where the food has been cooked and sitting at warming stations waiting to be served at short notice. Efficient - yes, appealing - no. We found the food at the Oceanview Café a lot fresher and better executed with a much more interesting variety of cuisines, which was a surprise given we generally avoid buffet dining.
The shore days were good and everything was run very smoothly. The cruise director always gave very detailed and clear instructions regarding the embarkation and disembarkation process. There was great attention to detail to ensure all the guests’ needs were met.
The gym was clean and well run. Though the number of guests working out there dropped very steadily from the first few days towards the end of the cruise!
The only 'gripe' we have about the experience would probably be the pressure on staff to "up sell" the dining and drinks packages in the initial part of the cruise, especially on the first day. Given it was our first cruise - with the process being a bit new for us regardless and that we were trying to figure things out anyhow - the constant bombardment of service staff to sell us something was rather distasteful. It all eased after the first few days, which was nice as it gave us some space and peace to enjoy being on the ship.
All in all, we were happy to have sailed with Celebrity on our first adventure out on the high seas! I think they have set the bar at a comfortably high level for any future cruises.
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