My DH and I just returned from our 12 night Australia/New Zealand cruise on the Celebrity Solstice. What an amazing experience! We were in cabin #8289, a veranda mid-ship cabin on Deck 8. The room was great. The ship overall never felt crowded. For the most part, service was impressive, especially from our waitress, Leijanja (sp?) and the staff at Bacio.
We had late seating dining and found the food quality to be good. We ate at two specialty restaurants, Murano and Tuscan Grille, and really enjoyed both restaurants. The service and food was exceptional. The buffet was very good in the morning, but some of the staff were a bit grumpy. The guest relations manager, Christian, promptly and professionally helped rectify a scenario we were experiencing in our cabin. The situation was quickly resolved.
The ports we visited were fascinating. We especially liked having Mikos, the Naturalist, on board. He was funny and so knowledgeable. The entertainment on board was pretty good. We took one ship excursion to Christchurch and the sheep herding farm. We booked and took our own tours in Tauranga/ Rotorua and Auckland with Simon of "Cruise Tauranga," AKA "Learning Journeys." He and his company were fantastic to work with! Plus the tours were reasonable.
For anyone who is taking this itinerary and is interested in buying gifts, would recommend buying at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne.
Overall, would highly recommend the Celebrity Solstice. Loved the ship, itinerary, and the staff.