Our first ever cruise. Celebrity were easy to deal with and the paperwork was easy to complete. From when we arrived at the pier to when we were on board took about 30mins.
Stateroom 3154 outside window
Our room attendant was there to greet us and he was very friendly ( A bit hard to understand but very friendly ) the room was a good size for 2 people with at lot of hanging space. There isn't a lot of draw space but we never unpacked the rest we just lived out of the cases. The room was neat and clean. It was always kept like this for the trip. The attendants were around all the time but we never felt pressured to be out of the room at any point and a few times we slept in very late but we were not disturbed so that was great.
Very clean and tidy for the whole cruise. There was a slight gastro bug going around and the staff were on a 30min cycle to clean all the public areas. They cleaned all the things that people touched regularly ie lift buttons, stair rails, tables, etc. I thought they did a great job, as far as we saw there weren't many that got sick. So full credited to the Solstice cleaning team and management.
All the staff seemed happy and we always got a "hello" as we pasted in the halls.
The bar and restaurant staff could not do enough to make the cruise enjoyable.
There was a massive amount of food to be tried if you couldn't fine something you liked then you must be dead. We tried Murano, Tuscan, Silk Harvest, Epernay and all were wonderful. At Tuscan I tried a dish ( I'm not a foodie so I didn't know it was raw meat ) that I couldn't eat when our waiter seen I didn't eat it he offered to get me something else straight away if I wanted.
We had the premium drinks package and for us it was well worth the money about $60 p.day all you can have. It covers all drinks so if you have a fresh OJ $3 at breakfast a coffee $5.25 a large water $4.75 and a couple of soft drinks $2.50 during the day you can easily spend $25-30 a day before you have an acholic drink so if you have 3 or 4 wines, beers cocktails a day it more than covers the $60.
Our cruise had approx 2800 passengers out of that 80% would have been 60+ my wife and I are 27 and 42. Almost all of the entertainment was aimed at the 60+ group. The music was 90% classical or '60s and '70s great for the older but a bit boring for us. There is a night club bar that opens at 10:30 but was closed by 12 due to that fact that all the oldies go to bed at 11. The daily entertainment was mini golf, glass blowing, table tennis, playing cards, learn to line dance.
In the pool area there are a lot of sun lounges that you can use but the problem is that people put towels on the lounges to sun bake but when they are finished they don't bother to remove their towels so you don't know if the lounges are beings used or not. That's not Solstice fault just lazy passengers.
Port Hedland ( Docked) personally I enjoyed the mill tour as I'm into that type of thing, big machinery, mining,etc. But I must admit we were there all day and the tour only took an hour an a half. I heard a lot of passengers saying it was a waste of time stopping at Port Headland we would have been better to get an extra day at 1 of the other ports. Even the comedian said one word to describe Port Headland " WHY"
Bali (Tendered) Tender process a bit of a shambles but not to bad.
First day we went white water rafting it was fantastic fun would do it again in a heart beat. The only issue we had was on the paperwork about the trip is said " must be able to walk down approx 500 steps to river and approx 50 up from the river" the trouble was it's more like 400 steps up.
Second day we went shopping on our own. Firstly I must admit shopping for me is like having teeth pulled. But my wife LOVES shopping. We got a taxi to the shopping district and the drivers over there are crazy and that's all I can say. Shopping there is good as long as you enjoy the whole people in your face doing the BUY BUY BUY BUY this thing.
Darwin ( Docked) Litchfield national park. Good just very rushed didn't really get a lot of time to enjoy some of what was on offer.
Cairns ( Tendered)Green Island tour Tender process was nothing short of a complete joke. On the tour paperwork it had tour time as 5hr 20min with approx 5hr to enjoy the Island. We thought it would be a 10 min trip each way to the Island. Short version of trip. We waited 45mins to get a tender 40min to load 40 mins from ship to shore 40 bus trip to ferry 40 mins to Island 2.5hrs on the Island then the return. So in over 8.5hrs we got 2.5 hours on the Island. We complained and received a 35% refund.
Brisbane for us it was Ok as we had family come pick us up. Others complained that it wasn't in fact Brisbane but 40mins from Brisbane and the shuttle cost $22p.p for a day pass.
As this was our first cruise we can't judge it against anything else but from what we saw and enjoyed it will not be our last. When we cruise again I will do more research on the age groups that normally travel on the ship as the entertainment is most certainly aimed at the majority. The staff were all fantastic. We could not say enough about the staff at the passport bar Amit and Peter we the best bar tenders I have ever meet. They are FANTASTIC FUN to be around.
I would give the cruise a 7 out of 10. Part of the reason it's a 7 is because I never checked better on the age group that normally travels on the Solstice. So that's my fault not the ship. Which by the way won the BEST CRUISE IN THE WORLD AWARD FOR 2012.