Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by HappyTravelFan: Celebrity Solstice Alaskan Cruise
Overall Member Rating
Celebrity Solstice Alaskan Cruise
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 More 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. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
This tour also included Glacier Gardens, a small but pretty garden which offers a sweeping view of the area. The visit to the glacier was enhanced by an excellent explanation of the formation of glaciers and of glacial action by a park ranger.
I think this tour is worth what it costs.
Misty Fjords Wilderness Cruise
The tour itself is okay, with interesting narration and unexpected, delicious free food and coffee/hot chocolate. However, it is expensive and not close to being as spectacular as the Tracy Arm Fjord, which we saw from the Solstice the next day.
White Pass Scenic Railway
This tour is costly but fantastic. It appeals to history buffs, fans of old railroads,photographers and anyone who enjoys viewing spectacular outdoor scenery. One plus is you get to see a little of the interior of Alaska and more varied terrain. Our bus ride back was made more enjoyable by our excellent guide.
As stated above, the ship is scheduled to arrive late (6 PM), making it impossible to see all of the garden at a reasonable pace. Everyone we talked to on our tour loved the garden but was unhappy about the little time available to enjoy it. The brief tour of Victoria afterward was pleasant, but the constant, sometimes inane chatter of our bus driver/guide was annoying.
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