Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by copmom: Great Trip with a few glitches
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Great Trip with a few glitches
This trip was over a year in planning and it was the first time we were on a Celebrity Cruise. We are in our mid 50's and were traveling with another couple. Embarkation was very easy and smooth as we were in a Sky Suite (2125), however there were no lines at all for any room type when we boarded. We went to the Ocean View Cafe for lunch and were able to find a seat. Shortly after they announced that the rooms were ready. Our Suite was very nice and spacious with a lot of storage. Most importantly, there was a bathtub!! Our only room complaint was that our room was under the buffet and was very noisy especially late at night when we were trying to sleep. You could hear a lot of banging and carts rolling across the floor.
After getting settled, our "Butler" Ryan appeared to introduce himself. It was a good thing because after that we barely saw him. The only time he was around was when he was delivering afternoon snacks which we rarely wanted. Our room attendant, Luz and her More Assistant, Mulyo were great!! The room was always clean and if Luz saw us coming down the hall, she called us by name and opened the door. She needs a promotion!
The first morning we went to the dining room for breakfast but it was very unorganized and slow. After we ordered we waited at least 30 minutes and then they came to say they didn't have the right cheese for the omelet (which was one of the items on the menu that day). We almost had to leave without eating because of our excursion. So after that we just went to the buffet everyday. The buffet was good once you could snag a seat. That part was an adventure each day!
We had Select Dining for dinner but went at the same time each night so we always had the same table for the four of us with the same Waiters (Charlie and Charlie) They were awesome as were the drink specialists who would automatically bring us our drinks. We loved the food in the Dining room but we did manage to eat in the Specialty Restaurants 3 nights. The only time I did not enjoy my dinner was in the Tuscan Grille. I ordered the sea bass but I don't think that was the fish I got. It was just not good. We ate twice at Murano and all I can say is that it was spectacular!! The quality of the food and the service were amazing. If you go to just one specialty restaurant, go to Murano!
The entertainment was very good and aimed at the older crowd on board. The Cruise Director, Alejandro, was funny and quick witted. The only complaint I have it that with the Suite, our "Butler" was supposed to reserve seating for us on the formal nights. Ryan did this on the first formal night, but not on the second. Although seats were roped off upstairs in the balcony, no one from Celebrity was there to seat anyone. After a few minutes, people just took the rope down and seated themselves, whether they were supposed to be there or not. Again, our Butler was very disappointing during this cruise.
The other disappointment was the shore excursions. In Maui, the men were golfing and my friend and I signed up to see the crater and the advertised "panoramic views". We endured a 2.5 hour bus ride around hairpins turns up the volcano and when we finally reached the top there were NO VIEWS at all. Complete fog. According to an employee in the small shop, the views are only visible less than 50% of the time. Really Celebrity?? No mention of this in your description of this excursion. Also no mention that neither of the stops sell food except for beef jerky and macadamia nuts. A heads up on that would have been great since we did not stop for lunch on the way back until almost 2pm. A total waste of $110 not to mention of entire port day ruined. Five hours on a bus is just too long, even if we had been able to see the crater. When we went to the excursion desk to complain, they were not interested and could have cared less.
The next day in Hilo, we were supposed to go on a helicopter tour of the volcanoes and waterfalls but do to bad weather it was cancelled. This was not their fault, it happens,and we received a refund to our account without a problem.
I did use the spa one day because they advertised a special that day for an 80 minute massage for $106. Sounded like a good deal so I called for myself and my girlfriend. We showed up, got settled in the robes (the slippers were so uncomfortable they actually hurt and we had to walk around barefoot) and then I was called into the room where the massage therapist confirmed my "50 minute" massage. I said, no, the flyer clearly said 80 minute. I was told it was a "typo" and I should have been told that when I made the appointment. Well I wasn't and they would not make good on it. What could I do at that point? We were looking forward to it so we went ahead and had the 50 minute massage but we felt like it was a bait and switch. Not only that but the spa is operated by Canyon Ranch and they add an 18% service charge. This would be fine if it was the tip, but it is not. It is the fee that Canyon Ranch must pay to Celebrity. So we had to pay that and THEN the tip. Again, if I had received the advertised special, I don't think I would have felt so ripped off.
The only other glitch was disembarkation. We were supposed to exit at 8:15am but weren't called until an hour later. After we were called we proceeded to deck 5 to exit and got in the long line. As we got closer to the exit point, we saw that many people were coming up a stairway from the 4th floor that was close to the exit and cutting in the line that everyone had been waiting in. There should have been someone from Celebrity at the entrance to the stairway on the 4th floor to redirect them to the midship in order to get in the back of the line. Once off the ship, we found our luggage with no problem and there were plenty of carts to use.
We had a great time despite the bad weather in each port. The seas were smooth enroute to Vancouver and we enjoyed relaxing and not being at work. I will most likely never book another excursion through the ship because of the lack of honesty in advertising, but the food and entertainment onboard were very enjoyable. Less
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