A review of a 16 day cruise on Solstice from Singapore to Sydney. Overall a wonderful cruise. Previous cruisers but first timers on Solstice.
We spent three days in Singapore prior to embarkation at the Swissotel Stamford. Excellent hotel is a great location opposite Raffles Hotel. Views from the sky high bar are fantastic.
Embarkation. There were lenghty delays in both boarding and sailing. There were some problems with Singapore authorities who came on board to check passports.
On board: We were in a verandah cabin on deck 8. Very comfortable bed and loved the fact that the shower had sliding glass screens and not the flapping wet shower curtain that most other ships have. Storage space could be better but still manageable. Cabin attendants were friendly and helpful. Any requests were responded to promptly.
Dining: We tried all the dining options on board including the 3 speciality restaurants; Silk Harvest, Tuscan Grill and Muranos...all excellant. We especially loved the lobster cooked at table side in Muranos. We also tried the new service of tapas at the Cellar Masters and the high tea at Muranos. We had breakfast most mornings at the Oceanview Cafe on Deck 14. Wide selection of food served buffet style. The main dining room is assigned seating which we didnt fancy. There were four of us travelling together who preferred our own company. Eventually we were able to move to a table of four. Must say that we prefer the freestyle dining we have had on other cruises. I think Celebrity will need to rethink this for the Australian market. The food served in the main dining room was good with a variety of dishes to choose from. Cafe al Bacio was a favourite spot to enjoy a cappuccino or hot chocolate...very comfortable and relaxing. We found the service at restaurants to be especially good. At Silk Harvest, I enquired about added MSG, knowing it is often added to Asian dishes. I have a strong reaction to it. Our waiter consulted with the chef to ensure I was able to order food without MSG...all done without a fuss. Our waiters in the main dining room were friendly, funny and quiet entertaining. The brunch event was another highlight with some amazing ice sculptures, extensive variety of food all beautifully displayed.
Drinking. There were plenty of bars to choose from but our favourite for pre dinner drinks was the Passport Bar on Level 3. Fabulous bar staff and live music.
We went to the many onboard activities including the glass blowing demonstration. The nightly shows in the Solstice theatre were good especially loved the Aussie Boys..great entertainment. Most bars had live music of different genres and enjoyed them all...probably not the big band.
Only hiccup was the tender process at Bali which was a bit of a mess. For some reason only a few of the ships tender boats were launched supplemented by a couple of boats from Bali. Returning to the ship was dreadful with a wait of an hour or more in blistering heat. The crew did their best by handing out cold towels and water but this needs to be sorted before the next trip to Bali.
Several people had the flu including my husband. I think the problem was exacerbated by poor health and hygiene practice on behalf of our fellow passengers. Witnessed someone sneezing into their hands..the ship can only do so much. My husband went to a doctor in Darwin and got medication so recovered in a couple of days.
We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and thought it compared favourably to other cruises we have done including Oceania and Azamara. Yes these others cruises have more inclusions but are more expensive to start with. The staff were wonderful and did a great job responding to the needs of diverse travellers some of whom whinged and complained from day one...it is often the other passengers who are the biggest problem not the staff .
Solstice is a magnificent ship and we love to cruise on her again ...as the Captain says....Ooouuutt