The Solstice is a nice ship of that there is no doubt and our cabin (with veranda) was adequate if not exactly large, we have had bigger cabins on a cross channel ferry. Still that was not a big problem. The two big problems on this cruise were the lack of bar staff from the start. There was a distinct atmosphere of discontent from the bar staff who were there and we were eventually given the explanation that 10 bar staff had just not turned up at the start of the cruise, We were later told by a crew member that the missing staff had been put off the ship in Sydney on arrival from New Zealand after the previous cruise, suffering from Nora virus which, in light of the rapid spread and drastic emergency steps that were taken in an attempt(failed) to contain the virus, may well have been true. We have all become used to the dreaded hand cleanser at every turn and I for one have no objections, but to have everything including condiment containers, menus and serving implements removed More
from passenger reach, the rails, doors, lifts, tables, chairs, windows and everything that may have been breathed on, being constantly wiped down by crew members did take the edge of things a bit. It had to be done but it ruined the cruise for us. That and the fact that the only information that was forthcoming about the spread of the Nora virus was a, dull as dishwater, monologue EVERY morning about how to wash your hands! Again probably necessary as we personally saw several male and female passengers leave toilet rooms having used a sit down, without going near soap and water. And they were American so no excuse about not understanding the announcement. We felt the whole 18 day cruise was marred by the mishandling of this unfortunate crisis.
Disembarking at the various islands was a nightmare as well with queues everywhere, especially where we needed ferried ashore. People with trips booked had priority so if you didn't have a trip booked you waited, and waited and waited. We went back to the Oceanview Restaurant on deck 12 for lunch one day after waiting all morning to get off and we gave up trying until we had been fed. Some people didn't manage off until 3:30pm that day and had to be back on for 4:30pm. Too many passangers I think, ships are too big and often immigration etc., cannot deal with such numbers. Another reason not to cruise again, certainly not with a company running ships the size of the Solstice and bigger. The first stop in the Hawiian islands, our first landfall in USA territory, was another queue, queue, queue day where USA border control turned up late, had too few staff and couldn't cope with the numbers going ashore. It took hours getting off.
Final disembarkation in Honolulu was shambolic with more or less a free-for-all luggage grab and run for the queue (again) to get a taxi. Some nice person took our two large suitcases by mistake and then sneaked them back half an hour later minus labels, without having the face to apologise.
Shore excursions were another bugbear with some at nearly three times the price onboard as they were in the tourist office. I know one Australian lady who got a trip ashore for USA $39 which was over USA $140 on board. We fell for some of them but only a few.
No, sadly it's probably the end of cruise ships for us, certainly ones as big as that and most likely never with Celebrity ever again. Less