My SO and I had never been to Alaska cruise. We decided to take a fall cruise to Alaska, flying into Seattle from New Jersey on United for a 7 night cruise on the Celebrity Soltice.
Arrival at the port in Seattle was uneventful and I was very glad I had concierge class service or would have stood in a very, very long line checking in. We were checked in very quickly, having used the on-line check-in on the Celebrity website. Once on the ship, we found it to be beautiful, in good taste, and had our first lunch in Oceanview Cafe which turned out to be our "go to" source of meals for the most part on throughout our cruise. While we dined in the Epernay main dining room a few times as we liked our table mates, there was really no reason to do so otherwise, as I thought the quality of the food at the buffet was better. Obviously there are always exceptions, such as the second formal night when lobster was on the menu. The required Baked Alaska dessert was probably the best dessert served in Epernay all week. Service was weak there, especially the assistant waiter, a young woman, who never got it that when she poured our water she should also ask if we wanted another beverage. We are ice tea drinkers, but she must have thought we were going to seek out alcoholic beverages which was a different waiter. When my SO asked for tea following dinner, she brought coffee.
While the buffet fare was similar over the entirety of the cruise, it was always fresh, the meats tasty, and the variety enough for every type of palate. The ice cream was so so...did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants or bistro, etc.
Our stateroom was on the Sky Deck, concierge class. It was very clean and comfortable and our stateroom attendant took care of our every need. Once, however, another attendant cleaned our room for some reason and did not wipe down the granite countertops which were sticky and still had some broken toothpicks lying about. Our cabin was at the very front of the ship, next to where the "wings" of the bridge stick out. In other words, it had its drawbacks including an exit/entrance for crew outside our door and not being able to look out to our left side due to the wing of the bridge. The second day I had to complain to guest services that the banging of the door and the throwing of heavy items about inside the bridge area had to stop as it was driving me nuts every time I was in our room. They toned it down immediately and maintenan ce repaired the crew door so that it didn't slam.
Alaska was beautiful, we had beautiful weather the entirety of the cruise,and there is no question the excursions, whether purchased through Celebrity or not, are a must on this cruise. Photo opportunities abound whether it be sightseeing or learning about indigenous animal species. We saw two orca wales near the ship. The stops at Ketchikan, Skagway, and Juneau were enlightening and our favorite excursion was the Whitepass Railroad, a must see. Not enough time to really see beautiful Victoria, BC with evening arrival & departure. The ship entertainment was good, not great, but there was a significant amount of different types of entertainment. The people on the cruise were very nice, and all the workers worked with a smile and greetings. Hand sanitizer encouraged absolutely everywhere.
The final day's excursion which included a tour of Seattle with drop off at SeaTac Airport was very worthwhile for us since we hadn't seen much of the City before the cruise and it was enjoyable to say the least. Also we availed ourselves of the new valet service costing $20 per person for Celebrity to take care of having our checked luggage transported to the airport without us lifting a finger, and boarding passes ready for us so as soon as we got to the airport, we simply went through the TSA process and went to our gate.
It remains to be seen whether the service was worth the cost, as I am sitting in the airport now awaiting my flight back home!