Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by North/South: Alaska the Best Way
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Alaska the Best Way
Just returned from a wonderful experience aboard the Solstice on it's Summer Alaska itinerary. This is truely a bucket list experience. The only way to see this part of Alaska is by water. Weather was generally good. Seasonal temps, bring a jacket, and only rainy in Skagway in the afternoon. This is my second experience on this itinerary and it was just as enjoyable as the first time. Have cruised many times but not on Celebrity since early 2000.
The ship was one of the best designs I've been on. Althought full, it did not feel crowded at all. Generally found a table at breakfast and never waited for our table for two at dinner in the main dinning room with Celebrity Select dinning option.
Food options at the buffet breakfast/lunch were good. It didn't vary much each day but so many choices you had plenty of variety just by trying different things each day. Had luch in Aqua Spa a couple of days and it was nice. Did not try the specialty venues. Heard good things but More didn't want to spend the money and the Main dinning room was very good.
One of our favorite areas of the ship was the Aqua Spa pool area. It was heated and sheltered and adult only. The Pool staff did a good job of speaking to parents who brought children in and asked them to leave. Thank You. This area was open to kids for an hour in the morning and late afternoon and usually overrun and became very noisy with the children.
Boarding in Seattle was quick but our rooms were not ready until 100 pm so we toured the ship and had lunch. If you need transportation from airport hotels to ship use Seattle Express 206-793-8430. It's $12 per person each way and they pick up at airport area hotels. Great service. They drop you off at the airport or airport hotels on the return. They are not allowed to pick-up at the airport just area hotels.
First day at sea was slightly rough as we exited Puget Sound into the Pacifc. The ship handled it well and my travel partner got her sea legs soon enough but didn't like the roughness. I assured her she didn't really know what rough was, having been in 15-20 ft seas once. Inside passage is like glass and return day at sea was nice as wind/swells were behind so no rocking.
Attended the first show and it was good. My travel partner was not a song and dance person so she didn't enjoy it but I thought it waspretty good. Caught part of the jugglers act and he was really good. Did not make it to comedy night or other production shows. We are not gamblers so no casino advice. Shipboard activities were plentiful but we spent many ours just watching the scenery go by and looking for whales. Less
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Cabin review: 6129
Cabin was very nice. It's great to have a balcony on this trip as so much happens outside. It's nice to be able to go out and see it. In port it was warm enough but underway it was often too chilly to sit there. Only complaint was closet. Plenty of hangers but configuation of doors to closet made it tight to get into the closet. Bathroom had a wonderful shower and water pressure was good. Bed was fine as were the pillows. Agus our room steward was always on top of things and we often had coffee delivered to the room in the morning to sit and watch the scenery pass by before breakfast.
Port and Shore Excursions
You must go to the Mendenhall Glacier. No need to book through the ship unless you want some other attractions added on. Just get off the ship and pay $10 each pay per person for the Glacier Express bus. Runs every 20 minutes. The Visitors Center is great and just walking around and seeing the glacier is amazing. Take the trail near the drop off point as well to see a wonderful creek and maybe some wildlife. Salmon are in the creek spawing in August but not now. Of course you can spend big bucks and do the helicopter thing and it is probably amazing. Your money you choose. Again the town is overrun with jewlery stores. Red Dog saloon is fun and Tram to the top of Mt Roberts could be nice with hiking trails at the top if you are inclined.
Didn't do any excursion. Kind of wanted to fish but thought we were between seasons, King and Silver so didn't pursue it. Come to find out the King salmon season was 4 weeks late so they were still catching fish. Did not hear of reports from people coming off the charters how it was so don't know if they were successful. Toured Creek street and saw some salmon below the steel bridge but none in the creek yet, too eary for the spawing season. It's amazing when they run, the creek is full. It is sad to see these Alaska towns overrun by jewelry stores. Wish there was some way to ban them and just have native crafts and local shop keepers. If you want to splurge I'm sure the floatplane trips were wonderful.
White Pass Scenic Railway
Our Railway trip was truely a highlight. It is amazing scenery and fun to be on the train. Elle was our guide and did a great job. Since we were the first of several trains for the morning we got to go an extra 7 miles to Fraser, BC to turn around. The landscape for the 7 miles was something out of National Geographic. Above the tree line, barren and beautiful. The views from the train are excellent and the story of the Yukon Gold Rush were amazing and helped one to understand the grit of these early explorers. Rain began on walk back to the ship from train so stayed on board for afternoon and didn't explore the town.
I wish the cruise line would allow extra time here vs. Skagway. This is a wonderul stop. We did the Butchart Gardens and they were truely beautiful and so glad we went. Unfortunately in doing this there is no time left to explore the city althought the bus driver did give us a quicky tour of downtown and the lights on the way back to the ship so we got to see it but would have preferred a couple of hours to explore after the garden.