Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by Sea Aggie: Enjoy Alaska
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Cruisers: We are mid-50s and took this cruise without any children. This was our 18th cruise (second on Celebrity). We were about average age of guests. Many guests were much older (Some in wheel chairs). There were several younger guests with young children.
Ship: Beautify ship. I thought the elevators would be limited and crowded but we rarely waited long for any elevator. The library and game room were heavily used. Walking on grass was a treat. Glassblowing area was under renovation for most of the trip but we did enjoy one demonstration. Theater was comfortable and large with good visibility.
Cabin: Great cabin. We were in Cabin 9270 with a large balcony. Couch is near window and bed closer to bathroom in this cabin. Some cabins are reverse of this. Great cabin. Bed was perfect. No big canyon in the middle like some cruise ship beds where two beds are shoved together. We were near game room but never heard any noise from that area.
Food: Above average More for cruise ships. However, they could cook a juice plump steak. I ordered a “medium” ribeye one night that arrived so tough and dry that I gave up trying to saw pieces off. Steaks in the buffet area were just as terrible. Now the lamb was tender and tasty. Fish was cooked very well and great to eat. The lobsters at second formal night were the largest and best flavor we had on any cruise.
Shopping Staff: Did usual salesmanship for the Alaskan ports. However, at Victoria, Celebrity could not bother to provide a map or good directions. A Guest relations person did a five-minute presentation; basically saying get off ship and follow directions to cab, bus, or walking trails. I guess no stores in Victoria fund the shopping staff so they ignore it.
Itinerary: Good itinerary except for last port (Victoria). Arriving in Victoria at dinnertime, you either stay on board to eat or get off to get the best sunlight for pictures. Forget your dinner reservation and assigned seating on this last night, as they force you to open seating due to “being in port”. Also, you are in Victoria until midnight but your bags must be packed and outside your cabin by 11:00 pm. Best part of itinerary is Tracy Arms cruise (the ship goes into a fjord with ice floating in the water and cliffs on both sides). In Tracy Arms, we saw several bald eagles and numerous waterfalls. In Skagway, we took the white pass train excursion. The train had to stop and blow whistle to get a bear and her cub off the train bridge ahead (great photo op). In Juneau, we took a floatplane in Misty Fjords (another great excursion).
Entertainment: There were three big production performances. The last day at sea is the best (very very good show). Two other non-big performance nights were single performers. The first single performer was so poor we did not attend the second one. The naturalist on board gives lively, funny and informative talks (high recommended to attend these). He is hyper active with great pictures (no frumpy podium college lecture). The late adult comedy club shows were very funny. They were definitely adult only shows.
Issues to be aware of:
1) You are required to fill out a Canadian Customs form three days before arriving in Victoria. We were within the Customs allowable. Not sure if they would charge customs on any Alaskan purchases made before arrival.
2) Ship is serious about no sharp objects. They took my Swiss executive pocket knife with 1” blade. They took all of our Ulu Alaskan cooking knives we bought for family gifts. You get them back at end of trip. But when did they ever mention this policy?? I have never had my small pocket knife taken on any cruise.
3) Information provided by Celebrity on Victoria is very poor.
4) Celebrity requests you fill out your debarkation information card on third day of the cruise. It was a real downer filling in an end of cruise card so early in the cruise. I thought this was in poor taste.
5) Embarkation in Seattle was the fastest we have experienced. Usual wait in theater for debarkation (typical of most cruises). Less
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