We live on the Olympic Peninsula, so we drove to a ferry and arrived in Seattle about 11:30am. The drive to the parking area from the ferry took forever, but once we got to the Seattle Cruise Park, things moved very quickly. The shuttle bus picked us up right by our car within a couple of minutes and we were at the cruise terminal five minutes later.
We were a little overwhelmed by the embarkation process and it didn't help that we had some bulky, heavy carry-on items. Next time we will consolidate a bit and use a smaller suitcase with wheels to do the heavy work.
We arrived at our room a little before 1pm and it was ready. We were extremely happy with the size, the layout, the balcony and the storage areas. The bathroom had an excellent shower and lots of storage space.
Our room steward was Desmond and he did a terrific job of keeping our room tidy.
As I mentioned, we were on our first cruise and we were stunned by the food selections in the Oceanview Cafe. The food in the main dining room, the Grand Epernay, was excellent, along with the service. Our only regret was that we didn't eat there more often (due to excursions and too lazy to dress up a bit more than for the Oceanview Cafe. We also missed the fancy brunch in the Grand Epernay because we didn't pay enough attention to the daily newsletter (don't repeat our mistake!) We did not eat at any of the specialty restaurants; we were very happy with the main dining room and didn't want to spend extra money.
The entertainment was everywhere, anytime. We especially enjoyed the circ de solie type show (Solstice -The Show), A Voyage to Remember (summary of all the productions) and most of all Brent Nixon's Beyond the Podium nature talks/shows. We saw every one of them, ranging from Alaska to Humpback Whales, Eagles, Sea Lions and Seals, Killer Whales and Bears. Don't miss his shows!
There were obviously people with money onboard. We walked by an on-going art auction and heard "sold, for $40,000".
The ports were nice, but very crowded-there were usually 3-4 cruise ships docked at each port. The stores and sidewalks were jammed with people, but we didn't do any shopping, so it wasn't too bad.
We did two excursions-one to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau where we saw a mother bear and her two cubs about 20 feet from us. We were on a walkway and the mother was fishing in a stream right below us. Her cubs were up in a tree, lying motionless, waiting for her signal to come down for lunch. Our bus driver, Kyle, was outstanding, he was a wealth of information and very entertaining.
Our only other excursion was the White Pass Railway in Skagway. It was well worth the money and the scenery was gorgeous.
One of our favorite places to sit was the Sky Lounge at the bow of the ship on the 14th deck. The huge windows and variety of chairs and lounges made for a very relaxing place to watch the passing scenery.
The highlight of the trip, besides the rest and relaxation and being pampered, was the Tracy Arm Fjord. The ship goes through it from 6am-10am, but it's worth every minute to get up early. Be sure and dress warmly (we needed a warm jacket, gloves and hats in mid August) and take lots of photos. There are waterfalls everywhere and seals on the icebergs and occasional sightings of bears, eagles and whales.
We would definitely take the Celebrity Solstice again and would love to take a longer cruise to Alaska.