Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by msfrolic: First time's a charm!
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First time's a charm!
I will begin by saying that we find traveling easy in general, domestic, abroad - doesn't matter, we love it and consistently have the experience of "easy". Our cruise on the Solstice was no different. Our flight was on time and the transportation we purchased from Celebrity was right on time, taking our luggage upon arrival and we did not have to handle our bags again until we disembarked. The ship is exquisitely designed - moods changing with the location - an espresso bar and gelateria with beautiful appointments and soothing music accompanied by the smell of fresh cooked waffle cones, a martini bar with hip displays and music around the corner, a french creperie and pastries and different music altogether. A place for every person according to what "mood" you felt at any time. There was also the spa level with enclosed pool, fountain, whirlpools and healthy morning fare. Note, the age restriction (18 or over) for this area is not really observed. The activities were endless, More
beginning early in the morning and running through the evening. Shows, music - jazz, acapella singing groups, cover band, classical - theme parties in the grand foyer, again many styles to suit your preferences. Hot glass blowing was very interesting and highly recommended - 4 pieces made during the week were auctioned off on the last night. Croquet, putting up on the lawn level was a unique option as well.
We were fortunate enough to have a dining table in the middle of the ballroom - underneath fantastic chandeliers and facing a magnificent wine cellar in a 2 story tower. Elegance, nice variety of meals beginning with a starter then salad, entree and dessert - each course served efficiently and in a professional manner. If you couldn't decide which entree you wanted, you ended up getting both. We opted for the premium wine 5 package and if you enjoy wine, this is a great value - 5 bottles of wine for $199 (plus gratuity). We had options for the bottles we did not finish at dinner - either bring to your room or leave for the next night (they mark your room number, table number and seating time). This was well worth the price for us. We also opted for the premium water package (only 1 of us did that, but we both enjoyed the Evian throughout the day) - this was likely a "break-even" for us, so not sure we would do that again.
The service was flawless across the board - in the restaurants, cafes, bars, stateroom - everyone was very attentive to our preferences and requests. We chose shore excursions and again, they were organized and carried out very efficiently. We chose the helicopter ride to the Mendenhall Glacier and a glacier walk (complete with an icy drink of glacier water) and highly recommend the experience! Glacier shoes are provided, so you feel comfortable walking on the icy surface - the view from the helicopter only begins to capture the vastness of the slow moving ice structure. Very glad we did it.
The other excursion we chose was the train ride through White's Pass - we opted for the train ride only and it was perfect. The weather cleared as we made our way to the top - the ride spectacularly scenic and easy - ample photos taken along the route.
While we had signed up for both of these prior to departure, the one excursion we chose aboard was the Space Needle and Chihuly Gardens tour with airport drop-off. Our ONLY complaint about this was that the description given in our daily activity list was not the description of all that it included. Our main purpose was to view the Gardens, which we had read about on the in-flight magazine on our way to Seattle. With a very smooth Disembarkation experience (part of that was booking this excursion so you have one of the first disembarkation times) our bags were easily gathered and on we went to our bus.
We arrived at the Seattle Center around 9:15 and had to return to the bus at 10:45. While this was shorter than we all thought, we thought it would be fine. Up the Space Needle - back down 10 minutes later after a panoramic walk at the top, on to the Gardens......they did not open until 10......this we did not know, nor were we told. So this only gave us just over 30 minutes to visit and experience this fantastic space that has only been opened for a year. Return to the bus for an hour drive to the airport (this was not in the description) with supposed "sights" being pointed out as we drove by them. Not our idea of the excursion for which we thought we were signed up.
Back to the ship - she is magnificent! All the appointments are luxurious, tasteful and rich. The casino has a nice variety of slot machines, crap tables, roulette, various levels of blackjack, poker and baccarat. Our room (9273) was on the Concierge level and worth the extra cost. A wonderful balcony, privacy, ample storage, a comfortable mattress with ultra soft linens and a pillow "menu" (we never needed a different pillow as our down pillows were perfect), a large bathroom and shower with nice product (shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion) and plush robes. Our room attendant was invisible except if we needed something and respected our leisurely morning time. What ever we wanted, we had across the board and felt pampered and well cared for.
We would choose Celebrity again in an instant and look forward to our next cruise experience. Less
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Cabin review: Celebrity Solstice Concierge Class Panorama Deck (9) 9273
Great room and great location. We enjoyed being on the port side of the ship and just aft. The room was well appointed, ample storage for our clothes, toiletries, shoes and luggage. The sound-proofing is amazing, we only heard the voices of our neighbors if we were both on the balcony. Occasionally, we heard footsteps of someone walking heavily, but that was it. The only think we would have preferred is to somehow be able to hear the occasional announcement that was broadcast over the speakers. They are not piped in to the room, so you either need to open your door to try to hear it or not hear it at all. They say you can view on channel 5, however, announcements are not stored, so if you miss it - you miss it.Nice product in the bathroom and plush towels, robes and soft linens.
Port and Shore Excursions
We had booked this in advance from the online descriptions. We were very happy with this choice and highly recommend! Our trip began with a bus ride to the airfield - a pleasant driver, easy ride and upon arrival, we viewed a safety video and then on with the life vest, glacier boots and bundled up for the ride as it was drizzling and would be cold up on the glacier. We had a great ride in the helicopter complete with head sets. It would have been helpful to know that you could only bring what you could wear - no bags or purses - they were locked up at the airfield in lockers.
It would also been helpful to know that glacier boots were provided and they just slip over your shoes, so it really doesn't matter what shoes you have on underneath as long as they are comfortable and you have warm socks. The glacier guide was fun, informative and kept us moving around viewing the various spouts, crevasses to be seen in the 20 minutes before we were picked up. All in all, a wonderful excursion and awesome to see the glacier from above.
We did not opt for an excursion in this port, and were fine with that choice. The town is very nice, we did a little shopping and spent quite a bit of time in Diamonds International purchasing Tanzanite jewelry. The town is picturesque and quaint. We returned to the ship early.
White Pass Scenic Railway
A wonderful ride - we were the first of 4 trains that were making their way on the second round of the day. As the first, we were able to go all the way to the top, another 30 minutes of scenic beauty which was a real bonus. Also, being on the later time, we were able to see much more than the early group (according to our guides). A wonderful round trip and glimpse into the past.