Solstice 5-17-2013 sailing Alaska--Ketchikan, Tracy Arm, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria
Let me start by saying it was a marvelous, wonderful cruise. The weather could not have been better. However, it was not the Caribbean...
My wife and I went with another couple, leaving the kids at home for the first time.
This is simply MY point of view, and hope it enlightens or helps those getting ready to take this cruise or are thinking of it.
I am not going into a whole lot of depth, more statements. If you would like more you can ask. I hope to be able to add pictures at the end.
We live across from Seattle so simply walked across on the ferry and took a taxi to the terminal.
Having been on Princess once, and RCI twice, I must say nothing really jumped out at me for Celebrity being anything more spectacular or above the rest.
Solstice is a very lovely ship. She is absolutely gorgeous. However, I am still amazed at what all a cruise ship entails. Any cruise ship for that matter. I am in awe on every ship.
We were Aqua class room 1605. Our friends 1603. Very large balcony on the hump.
Made even bigger by opening the doorway between.
Embarkation as Aqua was FANTASTIC>>> Just kept mentioning it to the terminal staff, was shown the way to go, and did not stop till we were in front of the check-in desk. Less then two minutes from getting out of the taxi till we were checking in.
The shower was neat, but not anything to get all gaw gaw over.
Do not drink so on day two returned the first and second bottles of champagne.
Asked if we could get sparkling apple juice instead.. However, there was a language barrier.
I suppose I could have pursed more, but it was not a big deal to me.
The tea was a little weak. However, I did drink some each day. Drank the waters, as
well as took on excursions. Placed in fridge overnight, cold next morn.
Received two towel animals.
Chocolate every night.
The room was spacious, yet did not really need the little table.
Never really sat on the sofa.
Bed was by the balcony.
There is storage above bed in cabinets as well as room for luggage under.
Not a lot of drawers/closet space. Left some clothes in luggage.
The staff was always very pleasant and helpful.
I have never had so many men turn the water on and pump the soap
so I could wash my hands in the bathroom. Yes, there are paper towels
above the "cloth" towels. Above very urinal was a quote. Very interesting.
The Baristas in Cafe al Bacio were super. Jirina, Olga and Eva were everything
you would expect in your local Starbucks. They knew your drink preference by day 2.
On that note, We did do the PMNA (premium non-alcoholic drink package for
$18 a day plus gratuity. $144 total)
Well worth it. I had 28 coffee/teas from al Bacio alone.
(A decaf white chocolate mocha at night was pretty tasty.)
Not to mention CANNED coke, smoothies, and premium water through out the day too.
Took unopened coke on excursions, and back to the room many times. Did not have to
drink the coke in the fridge.
We did the 3 night Specialty Dining Package. Plus we received one from our TA.
Ate at Blu 3 times. Tuscan twice, Murano and Silk once.
I would do a Package next time too.
The lobster in Murano is a must.
Had "Steak and Lobster" in Blu on second formal night.
A second lobster fell on one of our plates too. (Just ask)
The fillet in Tuscan the best.!!
Silk was okay. Did not care for the Sushi
Ordered multiple appetizers and desserts.
Ordered escargot in Blu when not on the menu.
They would have brought frog legs too if we had really wanted.
They were on the menu in MDR one night.
Did Tuscan first night. ( X puts you there with package.)
Blu second night... service was not great. (first formal)
Adi in Tuscan was WONDERFUL the night before.
Murano 3rd night. Took 3 hours, but the food was excellent. They bring each appetizer separate.
unlike Tuscan and Blu.
They all brought the extra desserts about the same time.
Service in Blu on the 4th night was much better.
Assistant waiter Klara, she was super once you got to know her.
Tuscan 5th night . Had the Fillet again. Tried different appetizers and desserts.
Service was great. Had Adi again.
Blu second formal (6th night). As mentioned ask for a second Lobster, and the steak too. Service was great.
Did silk last night. The spicy soup, cream cheese wantons, and the tempura shrimp were excellent. .
Could have just ordered the shrimp and wantons and been happy.
The sushi was not the best.
The cheese burgers and fries at Mast Grill were fantastic. Three times worth....once without the bun...
Tried the Banana and Nutella crepe at Bistro on Five.
I make that at home on wheat bread with peanut butter.. Nothing exciting.
The egg/bacon and cheese crepe was ok. Yes I ordered both for the $5.
Ate breakfast once in Blu.. It was ok, nothing special.
Ate lunch in MDR between Tracy Arm and Juneau. Not impressed, seemed rushed
Ate breakfast three times in Oceanview cafe. You can always find something to eat here. Everything was good.
The homemade hard ice cream was great. Long line at times.
We did not take formal wear this time. Smart casual. It was really nice.
Saw everything as far as dress on formal nights.
Sat. and Wed., sea days, formal nights..2nd and 6th nights.
Slacks, button shirts, dresses, blouse, pants, tuxes, evening gowns.
Wore nice jeans with polo, and button down shirt some nights.
Seemed like there was always something going on in the Sky Observation Lounge.
Private party, art auction.. who knows.. except those attending. Was not able to get in there
when we wanted to.
I do not drink so did not sit in many bars much. However, the bartenders in
the Martini and Molecular bars put on great shows.
Casino was always busy. Lost in slots, won in craps.
Noise from the Grand Foyer on the 3rd floor reverberated all the way past the library.
A little loud at times.
Hot Glass show was great. Just bundle up. Windy and cold
The Solstice entertainers were good. The third show..cirque type show... not to be missed. Is amazing.
The heated beds in Persion Gardens were relaxing and very warm.
Solarium pool and hot tubs were used by many. Outdoor hot tubs too.
Ketchikan was overcast. It rained before we got off and after we got back on.
Did the Wilderness exploration crab fest ke19. Pretty awesome, and good crab.
Walked Creek street before we went out to George inlet lodge.
Tracy Arm was beauuuuutiful.....Very few clouds, blue skies and sun. Yet cold.
Were able to get real close to the glacier. Lots of bergs in water.
Sunny blue skies.
Tendering in Juneau sucked. Fortunately had an excursion through the ship. We were the 4th boat off.
Our friends had to wait till late afternoon to get off. After waiting in line to get tender tickets.
Only two docks for tenders. That needs to be fixed. Heard they are going to dock every other week
Something about every other trip switching with Princess.
Sadly there were 8 foot swells out where the whales were. So the Excursion was cancelled. Did receive a full refund.
It was a Mendenhall glacier, Whale watch, wildlife quest. ju-40
Ended up walking up to a booth and for $30 each, rode a bus around town and then to Mendenhall glacier.
Back in town walked around the shops.
Getting back on tender was not to bad.
Skagway. Beautiful blue sunny skies. A little chilly in morning.
White pass railway and Historic city tour sk-49
Took the bus up/train down .
Ran back onto the ship ate at Mast grille
then back for
Ghost and Good time girls sk-06
Living in Puget Sound we get to Victoria quite often during the summer.
Did not get off the boat.
Living in Seattle area, we just took clothes we wear during winter. My "heavy rain" jacket
has a zipper liner, allowing me to use it 3 different ways. (as I do during winter here.)
Wore a tee shirt with a long sleeved pull over half zipper fleece afternoon of Skagway.
Morning in Skagway and Juneau, had the inside liner of my rain jacket on over the same. (Blue sunny skies)
In Ketchikan, had both parts of my rain jacket/liner. With a tee-shirt and pull over fleece. (More overcast possible rain)
Tracy Arm, did bundle up some, used my stocking cap to cover my ears. Wife had hat, gloves and scarf when we were
top side, and still cold. Not as windy when on our balcony
Disembarkation was a breeze.
Handed the declaration to the officer, and he waved us through. Not a line at all
Again this is MY thoughts...
Hope this helps and /or enlightens
The cruise will be awesome no matter what!!!!!!!