Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by saymonkey: Awesome Alaska!
Overall Member Rating
Food The dining room menu didn't impress me. I ate there once! The portions were tiny and felt like it was more for show not substance. The service is impeccable but too slow for someone who's hungry.
Hence I went to the buffet pretty often. The variety of food was not too bad. New to me was a taco bar - hard shells, guacamole, the whole deal AND a stir fry noodle bar - little too greasy for my liking. Food was refilled consistently.
The service and food at Murano was amazing. I was expecting a tiny lobster tail but got 2! I was actually FULL! Didn't even get to try the dessert. Oh it's 20% off the first night, didn't see any other deals besides that.
What I like about Celebrity is that they offer FREE activities instead of trying to nickel and dime you EVERY time there is an activity like Norwegian. I did everything from Sudoku, morning gym stretch, karaoke (had the whole stage to ourselves no one was there!), and a free slot pull FOR More FREE. Of course there are some activities you have to pay for - yoga glasses, casino tournaments, bingo. But it was nice to at least sample some of these activities. The casino area was gloriously smoke free however I found it very small. Lost on the slots (they were extremely stingy) and won some back on the blackjack tables. I enjoyed the shopping as well in the duty free shops in the boat. Mikimoto, Swavrovski, Lancome, Chanel cosmetics were some of the brands.
Ports of call/Excursions
Ketchikan and Juneau were the biggest shopping ports. Ketchikan had more of the souvenir type (I saw a lot of Made in China items here). Skagway reminded me of a Caribbean port with Diamonds International trying to lure you in. I did the dogsledding in Juneau (the weather was perfect!) and White Pass Rail in Skagway. I booked both independently and saved myself much $$. I almost didn't get off the ship at British Columbia but I did. It was a 40 minute walk to downtown so we stayed around for free wifi (by the gift shop) and went back to the ship. They do offer a $10 round trip shuttle...
The only REAL qualms I had with this cruise was leaving and entering the ship between excursions. It took an HOUR to get off the boat at Juneau! I almost didn't make my dogsledding excursion (it's one of the pricier ones)! They made us wait on line prior to docking to get tickets (which are numerical). We were supposed to wait til our number was called (REALLY? are you JOKING?) This was to put us on tender boats to bring us to shore (Celebrity gets the crappiest dock locations I swear). We were supposed to get off at 1:30 pm. I got to land at 2:45 pm. There were NO announcements made over the PA system even to tell us to wait patiently. NO ONE knew what was going on. We had staff who just told us to wait by the gangway staircase. It was MAYHEM! People were missing their excursions! I barely made my 3:15 one!
The dock location at Skagway was pretty far also from the pier start so they offered golf cart shuttles if you didn't walk - nice! But you had wait...Getting back on the boat at Skagway was poorly handled as well. The line to get back on the boat was extremely long - especially with special situation passengers all going in first at the front of the line. The crew line to return was open AND NO ONE FROM THE STAFF mentioned it - I had to ASK the guy at the FRONT. I walked down the ramp and there was practically no line! Why wouldn't you make that announcement!?!
Ok the positive stuff, the views are freaking spectacular! You had to be up at 5:30 am to start to see the fjords and glaciers from the boat. We were done at 10 am. We initially went up to see but it got cold and wee bit crowded. Watching the scenery while sipping on some hot coffee was great! Captain decided to do a 360 so that everyone could get a view at some point - how nice of him! But I'm sure this contributed to us being late in Juneau.
All in all I would definitely cruise with Celebrity again. It was a nice change from NCL. Less
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