Embarkation in Seattle went as smoothly as could be expected. The room was ready promptly and was what I expected. It was worth the money for a veranda for an Alaska cruise because we had great scenery every day except for one sea day. This was our first time with a balcony, and the fresh air was wonderful and relaxing.
However, at times there was much confusion. First about from which pier the ship departed, which was disconcerting. Also, disembarking in Victoria was disorganized and led to frustration and crowds. As a result some people had less time to enjoy Victoria and Butchart Gardens.
The tours were a mixed bag. The highly recommended tour of Misty Fjords from Ketchikan was expensive and not nearly as spectacular as the views of the Tracy Arm Fjord we saw for free the next day. Even though the excursion staff on our boat was more than amiable and served delicious free food, this outing was not worth the money and should not have been so markedly touted by Celebrity. The Mendenhall Glacier and Gardens Tour was not exceptional but inexpensive and, therefore, worth the money we paid for it. The White Pass Rail/Bus tour was costly but informative and varied in scenery and made even better by a great guide. Butchart Gardens is truly beautiful. However, the ship starts disembarking at 6 PM, so to see everything before it gets dark you cannot afford to linger. The advertised lighting is only sufficient to find the paths.
The food was something of a disappointment. Because Alaskan cruises are convenient for Asians, many of whom were on board, the menu included numerous East Asian dishes. As a result, we tended to make more selections than usual from the limited Celebrity Classic menu.
The Solstice is well appointed inside but is almost a replica of the Equinox. If you enjoy exploring a new ship, this is a let down.
Our head waiter was a real joy, always cheerful, full of information about what to do and see, and eager to please.
In general, despite our complaints, we enjoyed the cruise, largely because of the lovely scenery and the ship's comforts.