Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by salcruizer: Fantastic
Overall Member Rating
This is our second time to Alaska and second time on Celebrity. We cruise very often with RCCL, and being Diamond we were given Elite status on the Solstice. Pre-cruise we stayed one night at the Hyatt Olive 8 in Seattle -- it was just okay, nothing special. A quick tour of Pike's market then off to bed to get up early for the Solstice!
We had a Celebrity Suite, so arriving at the Pier we had express check in, and were escorted on to the ship and right into Michael's club, which is the lounge for Suite guests. It could not have been more than 10 minutes from the curb to Michael's club. Efficiency and service at its best! Once in Michael's club, we met Samantha our concierge for the week. I can't speak highly enough about Samantha. Best concierge on all the cruises we have been on. Personable, yet professional. Always available to help and it was like she was a mind-reader -- always anticipating our needs. Celebrity (and guests like us!) are lucky to have her. Our Butler More (sorry, I cant remember his name!) escorted us to the Suite and introduced all of its features. The Suite itself was the one minor disappointment. It was rather small, and unlike nearly every other cabin we have been on (from small ones to large suites), it was very awkward in design. I was always bumping into corners, doors, etc. And, storage was at a premium. But, who were we to complain! It had everyone one could want and made for a comfortable sleep. Weather was too cold to really use balcony, but it looked very inviting.
The ship itself is elegant but casual. Passenger flow is excellent. Never seemed crowded, except for the buffet -- as others have mentioned there simply is not enough seating. That was annoying. And while the Service overall was fantastic, the buffet team left a bit to be desired. They seemed to just watch guests search for tables. They must be used to it.
Otherwise, the Service throughout the ship was top notch. Food was very good to excellent. We ate in the dining room three nights, and it was very good. We had the Select dining, and even though we made reservations in advance, we generally showed up whenever we wanted and were seated quickly (except for one night when there was some mix up with our table mates and we were shuffled around a bit). We did two specialty dinners -- Tuscan Grill and Murano. Both were excellent. I'd give the edge to Tuscan Grill. We also took advantage of dinner in BLU -- the aquaclass dining room that is available to Suite guests. That one was just Ok. Menu was kind of limited. However, we had breakfast there one morning and it was fantastic. Lunches were usually in the buffet, which was very good. One day we tried the crepe place, which had a slight surcharge but well worth it.
Perks with the Suite included a bridge tour, which was neat, as well as a small private mingle with the officers, including the captain and cruise director. They were a pleasure to talk to and to enjoy a cocktail with. Another Suite Perk was private access to the heli-pad for Tracy Arm viewing. With hot chocolate and blankets to boot! My only complaint about TracyArm is that we arrived around 5am and the narration started on the PA system shortly there after. For those of us that needed a little more sleep that was a bit early. We traveled in late June, just after the summer solstice (how fitting!) so there was daylight well into the night -- it was twilight at midnight!...and the sun was back up around 3am.
Of course, no cruise would be complete without a trip (or two or three) into the Casino. The fact that it didnt get dark until late made it that much easier to stay up late and indulge! The Solstice Casino was fun and energetic. It was also completely smoke-free and was bright and airy -- different from many other smoky, dark casinos. The staff was great and recognized us after a few visits and greeted us by name and with a few perks every now and then.
We only saw one show (the Cirque type show) and enjoyed it. That said, we saw Patti the cruise director often at many venues around the ship and she was personable and seemed really interested in making sure guests were having a good time.
Disembarkation -- other than really bumming that this great week was over, there were no complaints about disembarkation. Again, a suite perk meant leaving as you wish, and from our capital at 8:15, we were at the curb by 8:45. The only slight cluster is that the luggage area mixes right into the dis-orderly customs lines. So trying to find and collect your bags while fighting your way through people already in the lines is something Celebrity should insist the that Seattle port fix. Less
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