On 10 December 2012, we had the privilege to cruise on board the Celebrity Solstice cruising from Sydney Australia to New Zealand. The ship was completely full of passengers coming from variety of countries that included large number of Australians, Americans, Asians and smaller number from other countries as well.
This was our 13th cruise, however, first cruise with Celebrity Cruises, so we were keen to experience what Celebrity had to offer its guests compared to the other cruise companies we had travelled with in the past. On boarding this magnificent ship we couldn't help be impressed with firstly it's size followed by the opulence that exudes from every where you go be it forward through to aft of the ship or port side to starboard, everywhere you go on this beautiful lady called the Celebrity Solstice suggests its an honor to travel on her!
On arrival at our stateroom (7253) with a balcony, we couldn't help but be impressed by the sheer size of our cabin with its king size bed, large flat screen television, fridge with variety of alcohol stacked inside that could be purchased at nominal prices and charged to your account. When entering the ensuite we were impressed by its size and well thought out design that included a glass shower screen with heaps of room to move around in the shower. The best part of this of course is that this is first ship we have travelled on that does not use shower curtains in their ensuite. It was a joy to have a shower without the uncomfortable feeling of a shower curtain sticking to you!! Everything about this ship tells you that size DOES matter and even our stateroom balcony was large enough to accommodate a number of guests if so desired with room to spare.
While it was a joy to stand on our balcony to enjoy the view, we couldn't help be disappointed that the deck two floors below us protrudes out past the level of our balcony. This wasn't the problem however, it was that this was designated a smoking area for passengers ( we were not aware of this fact when booking our cruise and no one made us aware of it either), and regularly smoke would waft up to and into our cabin if the door was open, worse still this would sometimes trigger an asthma attack for my wife. Some days were worse than others and we were able to leave our balcony door open at times to enjoy sound of the ocean, but other times had to keep the door shut because of the cigarette smoke.
I am pleased to say that the air conditioning in our cabin was very effective and we could adjust to our level of comfort. This has often been a problem when cruising with another cruise company in the past where their air conditioning was clearly faulty and regularly would over heat our cabin, not with the Solstice however.
We found there was a lot to do on this ship and there was always something to do for everyone if you read the onboard ships daily newspaper called the Celebrity Today which explained all of the days events. We found this ship to be "alive" at all times even at midnight, yet it's not a party ship that you expect with some cruise lines. We found the average age of passengers to be in their 50's but of course there were many young people on this cruise too. The atmosphere on board was of a happy ship. The staff that we met, and there were quite a few of them I might add, were very pleasant and obliging, they couldn't do enough for you. In fact after being on 13 different cruises now, I have to say these staff were some of the friendliest we have come across!
Even sea days kept us busy on board with the many shops to explore including art gallery's, Boutique Gallerias, shops on the Boulevard, along with a myriad of lounges and bars to relax in and of course lots of entertainment to be part of.
We have always enjoyed our food, what better way to do it than on a cruise! The Celebrity Sostice did not disappoint in this area either, most meals we had were consumed in the dining room and they were presented at the highest standard and quality, easily comparable to the most expensive hotels in the world. The taste was exquisite to say the least. Occasionally we had lunch in the Bistro situated on level 14, even this food was presented nicely and there is no complaints about the quality or taste of the food from either my wife or I.
If I may mention one annoying problem that Celebrity may want to address on their cruises, in particular on the Celebrity Solstice, we often liked to go to dinner and have a table just for the two of us. However, with the Solstice table layout, table for two were that close to other table for two's that we may as well have been sitting on a table for 4 or 6. There was no privacy or for that matter any real separation from other guests. It was therefore deceptive practice to say we could sit at table for 2. In reality there was no such thing. In saying that though, we had many good conversations with those sitting next to us which would not have occurred if we sat on our own away from others in the dining room.
In conclusion, negatives about this ship are few and far between, the positives are many. I have barely touched the surface about all the good things I could say about the Celebrity Solstice! Yes it is only a few years old and still quite new, but we would highly recommend others cruising on her. We would definitely cruise on her again! This ship exudes an opulence and style that gives off a positive feel and energy about her wherever you go on her and I am sure this will continue for those who cruise on her for years to come!