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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I chose this cruise because it fit our schedule. It was a 'last minute' decision to replace a postponed Japan trip. Neither my husband nor I have been to Alaska and this was also our very first cruise. My husband and I don't ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it fit our schedule. It was a 'last minute' decision to replace a postponed Japan trip. Neither my husband nor I have been to Alaska and this was also our very first cruise. My husband and I don't have kids and are looking for a quiet environment with the best food. Celebrity was the cruise line that I found (based on research) to best fit these categories that also had a price that we were willing to pay for. I opted for the AquaClass due to the feedback I've seen here at Cruise Critic and some other research I've done. Neither me nor my husband like going to a spa, but I was looking forward to Blu - its the only reason why I picked AquaClass. The SuiteClass was a bit too pricey so AquaClass was the best we could afford. I also booked kind of late - about 30 days before the ship date. TRANSPORTATION: We flew to Anchorage on Thursday afternoon and booked a bus to Seward Friday morning. There are other options such as taking the train (no more seats available when I looked 30 days prior to sail date, so if you want to take the train, book early). The ticket price I saw was $238 for the gold service for 1 person. The other option was to rent a car from Hertz (apparently its the only car rental place in Seward and they wanted ~$400 for a compact car for that 2.5 hours that it would take to drive from Anchorage to Seward). I read somewhere there's Uber and Lyft available but I did not explore that option. The bus ticket (with ACT) was $126 per person for a direct transfer and they still had seats available. The bus also had a touring option which would extend the trip to 4 hours, but I just wanted to get to the ship and start the cruising experience so I chose direct transfer from the Anchorage airport to the port in Seward. They also have the option to pick you up at your hotel but the pick up time was too early and so I opted to just go to the airport (11AM). We just took the hotel shuttle from the hotel back to the airport that Friday morning. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott. EMBARKATION DAY: The bus got to the port around 1:45PM. We did the expedited check-in and it was smoother than I thought. No lines whatsoever. The entry point lands at Deck 3, and we were welcomed with a glass of sparkling wine. Note this was our first cruise so we didn't know what's going on. We were not sure if there's a passengers gathering or whether we could go straight to our cabin, but then again we didn't know where to get our room keys. Since we were surrounded with cruise employees, we just asked and everyone was just so willing to help and answer questions. We were pointed to the nearest elevator and were told that our room keys will be at our door. OCEANVIEW CAFE: We went exploring and found the OceanView Cafe. Based on research I already knew this was the buffet with no additional charge - but my husband was floored when I told him everything he sees in there was free. The food at the cafe was okay. The only thing I did not like about the first day experience was almost everyone was really trying SO hard to sell the drink package. I was getting flustered in having to say no to so many people. But this selling was only on the first day, as I dont recall anyone asking again for the remainder of the cruise. Note: We did not purchase any drink package as we are not big on drinking. We thought about getting the non-alcoholic package but then again I was really only drinking 2 watermelon tropics a day, and 2 coffees in the morning between the two of us from Blu. We also brought two 1 litre of Aquafina with us onboard which lasted us a couple of days. After that we were happy with tap water from the cafe so we couldn't justify even the non-alcoholic package. Blu Restaurant: This was the reason why we ended up in AquaClass. For an entire month I have been looking forward to eating as much good food as I could. So when dinner time came, we headed up to Blu. The food definitely tasted so much better than the cafe. Also - nobody tried to sell us the drinking package at Blu. We ate here almost every morning and every night. Some dinner menu items changed daily (lobster, halibut, veil, ribeye steak) while some items are static (herb roasted chicken, new york strip, salmon). Breakfast menu is the same all week but our favorites were eggs benedict and berry-pecan pancakes. Note: Lunch is not served at Blu nor at Luminae (exclusive to suiteclass). We did not bother going to the Metropolitan (which is the main dining room) because the line starts building up 30 minutes prior to opening, when we could just walk-in at Blu and be seated right away (or at the cafe and find a seat somewhere). I also read somewhere here that the food at the cafe is just like the food served at the main dining, so I did not feel like we were missing anything. Qsine: We only had 1 lunch at the Qsine when they were having a King Crab feast. We paid the $45 for each of us and we got two king crab legs. I thought it was all you could eat king crabs so I was a bit disappointed that we only got 2 legs. It was good, but I havent decided whether it was worth the $45. We did not try Tuscan Grille (fully booked on embarkation day and did not bother for the rest of the week). We also did not get to try Sushi on Five - maybe next time. EXCURSIONS: We booked 3 excursions with Celebrity (as I did not want to stress about getting left behind). We went hiking in Juneau (4.45 hours hike) and got a good view of Mendenhall Glacier. We were fortunate enough that it did not rain too much (just small sprinkling, then again we were in a Rainforest). This was categorized as a strenuous activity and they did not lie. So please know that you're getting yourselves into before booking. We booked the White Pass trail (train ride) when we got to Skagway. This excursion requires passport as we crossed the Canadian border. Our favorite is the zip rider when we got to Icy Strait Point. It looked intimidating as its the worlds largest zipline but it's not scary at all! (Note that I'm the biggest chicken out there and I hate heights and roller coasters). The only reason why I got brave enough to do this ride is because of the videos I saw on youtube. The way they did this ride (with at seat that they buckle you in) really takes the scariness away. I felt really secure and I didn't feel the 60 MPH descent from the top of the mountain. Really, I would go back to Icy Strait Point, or do the whole cruise again just to do this zip rider again. We did not book anything in Ketchikan as I didnt find anything interesting. We heard the Lumberjack show was good. Activities on the ship: My husband enjoyed the gym and the basketball court on decks 11 and 12. We both went to a couple of wine tasting at the Cellar Master and enjoyed both. My husband discovered a his new favorite whiskey and I had the best Old Fashioned I've ever had. DEBARKATION: We opted for the Self-assist and carried our luggage down the gangway ourselves. This also went smoother than I had thought, so kudos to the people who planned the logistics. Service: I cannot say enough good things at the service we got at both Blu and the room service from Gusti and his team. They were all very accommodating and very friendly. The only other thing I did not like is the way they had setup the exit and entry at the ports (after the embarkation day). Seems the porters (?) had no problems keeping the lines long by waiting on unprepared passengers to look for their Seapass cards and keep the rest of us waiting in line despite having our SeaPass cards on hand. Our first port was Juneau and there was this family who couldn't wait to get out of the ship and actually CUT IN LINE only to find that they didn't know they needed their Seapass cards to get out and so everybody waited for them to finally find it in their jacket pockets and purses. The entire family was clueless! You would think the porters would have told them to step aside so the rest of us could scan our cards and leave the ship - but no! Everyone ended up waiting! It was even more irritating when we were getting back from our almost 5 hour hike and it was cold and started to rain and we were being held up right outside of the ship because a couple of the passengers could not find their Seapass cards that they have tucked away somewhere in their thick layered jackets. I would think the porters have done this multiple times before and they would know its more efficient to just let the people who are READY and had the cards on hand to board/deboard the ship while the unprepared passengers are set aside until they get their act together. This is the only thing that could be improved, and the only reason why I am leaving 4 stars out of 5 on this review. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Always wanted to see Alaska and decided on Celebrity Solstice. This was our first time cruising with Celebrity and we were not disappointed. All Staff was wonderful and accommodating and very friendly. Dining was always a pleasure ... Read More
Always wanted to see Alaska and decided on Celebrity Solstice. This was our first time cruising with Celebrity and we were not disappointed. All Staff was wonderful and accommodating and very friendly. Dining was always a pleasure whether in the main dining, buffet and especially in the specialty restaurants. Murano was my particular favorite although the others were also outstanding. Cafe Biaco was also very very good for lattes and cafe mochas and of course their delightful desserts. Entertainment was top notch on the ship. All the musicians were fabulous. Don't miss Rock City! Although the ship could use some renovations, we found our balcony cabin to be perfect for storage and very comfortable. The ship was very clean throughout. The only thing we would have changed is to be forward rather than aft on our next cruise. For excursions, we did not book anything in Ketchikan but did go see the Lumberjack Show which was very fun! Skagway, we booked the Best of Skagway tour which included a visit to Liarsville with Salmon Bake Lunch (We loved it!) and train ride on the yukon/white pass railway. In Juneau we booked a whale watch cruise which was AWESOME!! All were booked through Celebrity. Our favorite was cruising through Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier. The views were breathtaking and although everyone was out on their balconies to enjoy it, you couldn't hear a sound. People were in awe. We definitely will be cruising with Celebrity again! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Great itinerary, visiting great Alaska areas. Weather in July was beautiful. We were in the pool on the first sea day! Sunny and warm. We opted for a suite, as you get expedited embarkation, disembarkation, a butler, access to ... Read More
Great itinerary, visiting great Alaska areas. Weather in July was beautiful. We were in the pool on the first sea day! Sunny and warm. We opted for a suite, as you get expedited embarkation, disembarkation, a butler, access to Luminae, and Michael’s Club. The ship is showing signs of age, but is due for refurbishment in 2020. Common areas are clean though. Staff are (for the most part) well trained, professional and personable. Our butler, Glenn, was OUTSTANDING. My friend traveled with us and was a tad demanding (ordering drinks, coffee, desserts at will), but Glenn responded quickly and with a smile. We ate breakfast in the cabin almost every day, and he delivered it hot and ACCURATE. Also enjoyed occasional wine, cheese and fruit. Luminae had a hiccup, but Sam, the Maitre D, quickly resolved the issue. Jules was a good waiter and Lewelyn was an excellent sommelier. Food was quite good on board, especially at Murano (Ricky was an excellent waiter there). LOVED the Dawes Glacier experience on the helipad with a mimosa. Got some fabulous photos getting that close, and saw harbor seals lounging on the icebergs. Captain Tasos was funny in both his announcements and his participation in the Liars Club. Funny show!! The captain was also very gracious and VISIBLE throughout the cruise, something we appreciated, given his personality. The SkySuites (S2, Cabin 2124) are a good size and comfortable for 3. Again, the perks and nice size verandah justify the extra cost. The naturalist provided us with some great education on what we were seeing (including orcas and humpback whales, 150-200 yards from the boat! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We were asked to join another couple on an Alaskan cruise and after looking at all the cruise lines, we selected Celebrity because it was not as large as Royal Caribbean and not as expensive as smaller ships such as Viking. We spent one ... Read More
We were asked to join another couple on an Alaskan cruise and after looking at all the cruise lines, we selected Celebrity because it was not as large as Royal Caribbean and not as expensive as smaller ships such as Viking. We spent one night in Seattle and had plenty of time to check out Pike Place Market and walk around a bit. We waited to board till around 3 pm and it went very smoothly and quickly. We used the Valet service for our luggage at disembarkation and that went smoothly also. It was nice to not have to schlep around our luggage at the end of the cruise. The Solstice is a well maintained ship. It's not as new as some other ships, but it is beautifully appointed. The staff is always seen to be cleaning everything. We had a Sunset Veranda cabin and it was very nice. Roomy with a gorgeous view off the back of the ship. Note that it is very long walk to the elevator. Our cabin steward was excellent and always greeted us by name and asked about our day. The only downside was that we were sandwiched between two cabins that had parents in one room and their kids in another....We heard a lot of slamming doors and running back and forth at all times of the day/night. The food in the Cafe was always good because there is so much variety. We did get a little tired of seeing the exact same offerings at breakfast everyday. The food in the main dining room was average. Some meals were good and some were just so-do. We ate one time at the Tuscan Grille but decided it was too expensive ($30 per person) for just another version of the main dining room. We attended one of the wine tastings and it was pretty disappointing... plenty of wine but it was just kind of a "free for all". We were each given a glass and told we could drink as much as we wanted for 1 hour. I would have liked to have an explanation about each wine as we slowly enjoyed each one. We were so exhausted every day that we never made it to any of the evening shows. The wait staff was pretty good. There were a few surly people here and there but overall they were polite. We did feel like there were not enough servers in the public areas (such as the pool) for taking drink orders. We always had to walk up to the bar to get a drink. Our ports included Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway. In Ketchikan we booked (on our own) a salmon fishing trip. We caught a total of 10 salmon and had a great time! In Juneau, we booked the canoe trip to the Mendenhall glacier. This ended up being beautiful but a LOT of work. I thought it would be a leisurely canoe trip but it was a large canoe that held 14 people and we paddled about 2 miles across the lake at a very fast pace. We spent about 10 minutes at the glacier and then went to the waterfall. After a short rest, we paddled all the way back. My arms were quivering and I was sore the next day. In Skagway, we splurged and did the "Luxury Rail Car " train ride. This was worth every penny! We were picked up by golf cart at the shipped and taken right to the rail car. Only 14 people were in the car that was beautifully appointed with leather swivel seats and big glass windows. It also had a nice restroom onboard. A wonderful breakfast buffet was set out and all the beverages (non alcoholic as well as beer and wine) you could drink. Our guide was amazing and kept us entertained with many stories and local history. We only had a few hours in Victoria, so we took the shuttle bus to town and walked around and had a nice dinner out on the harbour. We did not travel with children however we saw a lot of children on the ship and they appeared to have a good time. This is our third alaskan cruise but everytime we go, we see new sights and try new excursions. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Overall, an amazing cruise. Great weather. Amazing sites. Ship is beautiful and staff really works to keep it spotless. Service was spot on. Took the train/subway from the airport to the Waterfront stop - super easy and ... Read More
Overall, an amazing cruise. Great weather. Amazing sites. Ship is beautiful and staff really works to keep it spotless. Service was spot on. Took the train/subway from the airport to the Waterfront stop - super easy and convenient ($8 CAN). Though on a weekday it might be crowded with our luggage (it was Saturday). We stayed at the PanPacific right above the cruise port in Vancouver the night before the cruise. Nice but very expensive. Really appreciated the free luggage transfer to the ship though. This was our first Celebrity cruise (Diamond on Royal Caribbean) and although it was great, Royal does it better overall. However, I appreciated that Celebrity seems to be less pushy than Royal with the up-selling and shopping on the ship. I’ll start out with what I thought was lacking – again, overall a great cruise but just some items that I noticed. Though nice to look at, I think the Eclipse is not as well designed as the Royal ships we have been on (Grandeur, Anthem, Liberty) with respect to getting around. Seems like there are lots of dead ends with no way to get back without simply backtracking. The promenade is short and does not loop around at all – not in the front or the back of the ship. Entire back of deck 5 is just specialty restaurants with no public space at all – if you go back there you have to turn around. There is a deck with lounge chairs at the front of the ship that we were never able to find the door to access. Ensemble Lounge was ridiculously dark. Signage was just ok – it would tell you what was on a deck but not where on the deck. They need to install the interactive screens like Royal. Public spaces are generally small and a few are odd - not sure what Team Earth is supposed to be, though the big globe was neat. The iLounge – lots of computers but with no internet access without signing out of your own phone to use your package, I never saw anyone use them so just wasted space. I will say the Library was the best of any ship I’ve been on – most selection and nice place to read. The card/game lounge seemed to get a lot of use. Grass on back deck is neat but a bit pointless (though I did enjoy glass blowing on that deck). The fitness center elliptical machines are awful – a no-name brand that are very jerky. I’m a regular elliptical user and was not able to use them because they are so bad. I use them every day on Royal (they have either Precor or LifeFitness machines) I know Celebrity is supposed to be more laid back than Royal, but activities were severely lacking – I never thought I would want a bingo game or two because Royal overdoes it, but there were hardly any activities. The daily itinerary listing each day was not well designed and too busy with activities that were not really activities (things like table tennis that is available every day all day). Random items were highlighted. Some activities are not included in the overall list and are only in separate boxes, making it hard to plan the day. Cruise Compass on Royal is much better. Casino is small but nice. I do not play table games but like to watch and noticed they never opened the craps table. Dealers seemed very nice. Good though not extensive selection of slot machines. They did not publicize any special casino events very well. Buffet was the same as most ships – good selection, large quantities, ok taste. Could get extremely busy at lunch. Not much selection of non-bar (i.e., free) drinks – no flavored waters like Royal. Spa café was good, but they had only a few dishes for lunch that did not change. “Smoothies” were just cold juice, but it was nice to get something different to drink. We were able to afford a suite, so had access to Luminae. We ate most meals there – it was amazing food and service was impeccable. After first day, they knew our names and preferences. Rozi our waiter and Vira the assistant waiter were exceptional. Sky Lounge is awesome – great views and nice seating. Milo, the on-board expert was great – his talks were fun and informative and the commentary during Hubbard Glacier was a highlight. We liked the World Class Bar – Nikolas and Roberto are great. Though it’s stuck next to the art gallery and no windows, so not the best location. Again, overall a great cruise, and I’m just nit-picking because it’s easier to remember what isn’t perfect sometimes. All staff was friendly – they would all smile and say hello. Service was great overall. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
First, the bad. The Celebrity Suite was remodeled and generally a very good job. Except, unlike the regular rooms where the renovation put in a glass-doored shower, the much more expensive Celebrity Suite is left with a difficult to ... Read More
First, the bad. The Celebrity Suite was remodeled and generally a very good job. Except, unlike the regular rooms where the renovation put in a glass-doored shower, the much more expensive Celebrity Suite is left with a difficult to climb into bathtub with a plastic shower curtain -- which we asked be replaced due to smell and which they promptly did. Most important, and referred to in another review, this room (9096) is NOISY! The public space (pool, pool cafe, walkway into pool) is not only noisy all day, including chairs scrapping across the floor, which resonates right into the expensive suite, the NOISE continued all night, somehow. Among all the hotels and cruise ships we've been on, this is by far the noisiest room we've ever experienced. After many complaints, they did close the walkway above us from 10 pm to 6 am, which helped some nights and for some reasons did not help the other nights. FYI, because it is the top floor for units, there is also a large overhang on the outdoor balcony which blocked part of the review. Second, the rest was pretty good. We found the staff, including our butler, to be great -- friendly, competent, nice. We were a large family group so ate mainly in the main dining room for dinner and it was fine. We'd been on this ship before (pre-renovation) and thought the food a bit better this time around. The Martini Bar is well named, and the wines available on the Premium Beverage Package were completely fine, though once or twice we did order a bottle off the wine list. Third, the intiniary overall was good -- most Alaska cruises follow the same route/stops. One excursion was hardly worth it, but others were very enjoyable. Hubbard Glacier was amazing. At Icy Point (Hoonah) we strongly recommend lunch at the Crab House (Crab Shack?) -- the freshest biggest best King Crab we've ever had (and I used to live in Alaska) -- not cheap, for sure, but awesome. Dungeness crab was good too. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose Celebrity because our travel agent recommended it for fewer children travelling and a slightly more upscale experience. We upgraded to the premium drink package for an additional $10 per day which turned out to be a good ... Read More
We chose Celebrity because our travel agent recommended it for fewer children travelling and a slightly more upscale experience. We upgraded to the premium drink package for an additional $10 per day which turned out to be a good investment since it included all of the specialty coffees and premium drinks at no additional cost. We sampled only one specialty meal (Tuscan) which turned out be be good not great. The embarkation and disembarkation were suprisingly easy and smooth. We were eager to start our cruise and got to the terminal about 1/2 hour before the official start time for embarkation. Fortunately they were already processing people in and we were on board in under 15 minutes. Disembark was almost as easy although customs lines were a little slower. We planned/scheduled our own excursions and all turned out to be great. In Ketchikan we used Islands Wings Service and flew with Michelle to the Misty Fjords. Beautiful flight and all of the passengers wear headsets so the entire flight is narrated by Michelle. We landed on a fjord lake and coasted up onto a beach. We had time to take pictures and explore a little before heading back. Michelle is a very experienced pilot and I would highly recommend this trip with Island Wings. In Juneau we went out whale watching (~2 hrs) and the visited the Mendenhall glacier/Nugget falls (~1.5 hrs). We used Juneau Tours and were very happy with the experience. We got lots of video of humpback whales and were somewhat rushed at Mendehall since the last visitor bus left at 7 pm but we had enough time to make it to Nugget falls and take the pictures we wanted before catching the last bus of the day. I was probably most surprised by how much we enjoyed our excursion in Skagway. We signed up for the Yukon Dog Sledding Adventure with Skagway Day Trips and Skagway Scooter. Our driver/guide Mikey was enthusiastic and a pure pleasure as a guide. I don't recall any guide previously making us feel as if our enjoyment on this trip was the most important thing in his day. Our dog sledding excursion involved a comfortable van ride to the Yukon (~ 2 hrs) with stops along the way for waterfalls, glacier pictures and finally to the Tagish Lake Kennel where we got to hold husky puppies, play with older husky puppies, have a Q&A with Michelle Phillips an Iditarod musher before taking a husky pulled cart (think Polaris 4 wheeler) ride. You find out that these cart rides are part of the husky pairing process, conditioning, and evaluating which dogs work best together. If you take this excursion and have Mikey as your guide and you like dogs I guarantee you'll have a good time. Pros: - Room was larger than expected. - Service was 1st rate everywhere on the ship. - Nightly theater entertainment was good. We saw a comedy show and a couple of musical/dance shows and all were good. - Gym was good. I saw several whales jump while walking on the treadmill. - We are coffee drinkers and the 5th floor coffee shop is Celebrity's version of Starbucks (with alcohol drinks too). On sailing days this was a great place to hang out and read your book or surf the internet. Our package came with 1 device unlimited internet and most of the cruise I had good service on my Galaxy S10. My wife's Apple iPhone for some reason didn't seem to connect as well to the internet. When you are in port service wasn't as good but we have Verizon phone service and we could use Verizon in all of the ports. - Martini bar was fun each evening before dinner - Breakfast buffet was probably the best meal of the day for us. Omlettes and fresh squeezed OJ (premium drink package) were good. Good selection of fruit too. - Room service Turkey BLT & fries with a salad was lunch most days. Cons: Dinner meals were just OK. We always found the starters preferable so we would order 2 or 3 starters for most of our meal and then typically salmon. I tried the steak in the dining room a couple times and at the Tuscan and all were just average at best. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Bucket list to see Alaska and it’s beauty. The land portion was most enjoyable. We took the Wilderness Express from Fairbanks to Denali to Anchorage. The train allowed you to see aAlaska not many people get to see. We were lucky ... Read More
Bucket list to see Alaska and it’s beauty. The land portion was most enjoyable. We took the Wilderness Express from Fairbanks to Denali to Anchorage. The train allowed you to see aAlaska not many people get to see. We were lucky to see Denali from the north and south side of the mountain. It was very warm and two of the hotels did not have A/C just fans. The ship was very clean and the staff could not do enough for you. Blu restaurant for Aqua Class passengers was excellent in the service and food. The staff could not do enough for you to make you feel special. The staff took the time to talk to you about your day and family. The excursions we took were great. The Pilots Choice helicopter tour was expensive but worth it. We landed on the Taku Glacier (only 6 on tour + pilot) and the Juneau Ice Field (Tricouni Peak). Beautiful Alaska. In Skagway we took the White Pass Railway tour and train. Amazing views - highly recommended. The public areas were very nice and the entertainment was good. The different activities allowed you to do different things each day. The internet on the ship was slow - I did not use it. I waited until the ports to connect. Would highly recommend to visit the 49th state to see Alaska and learn about the people who live(d) there. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Alaskan cruise from Vancouver BC. Sitting on the front top deck enjoying my first drink and taking in the peaceful moment. Relaxing and chilling and then the ships horn blasts with no warning. People ducked, swore, and were shaken. Poor ... Read More
Alaskan cruise from Vancouver BC. Sitting on the front top deck enjoying my first drink and taking in the peaceful moment. Relaxing and chilling and then the ships horn blasts with no warning. People ducked, swore, and were shaken. Poor move Celebrity for not announcing a warning to passengers on decks. The ship was nice and easy to find deck seats to enjoy the coastal views. The sky lounge was a nice indoor viewing spot. There are no pool side bands. No pool games. No ice carving. No rock wall climbing. No flow rider. No water slides. No indoor game arena. No north star. There was a 1/2 basket ball court. Lots of time to soak in hot tubs or sit in a chair. Saw all the evening shows and walked out on 3 of them. Food and room were good. Ship was good. But lacking activities. At least turn up the canned mu8sic past volume 1 at poolside. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We have always wanted to see something of Alaska, so we thought, what better way than a cruise? Our choice of cruise line was based upon itinerary, ship reviews and cost. We wanted a 7-day cruise that went up to Anchorage, that visited ... Read More
We have always wanted to see something of Alaska, so we thought, what better way than a cruise? Our choice of cruise line was based upon itinerary, ship reviews and cost. We wanted a 7-day cruise that went up to Anchorage, that visited the Hubbard Glacier and that appeared to be good value for the money. We are budget conscious travelers! Let me say at the outset that the Celebrity Millennium has just been refurbished and was in great condition. As regards the ship, the crew and the food, I can't think of any criticism of any nature at all. It was a pleasure to be aboard! As an aside, we didn't go to the specially restaurants, being quite content to use the standard food services. Unlike a previous cruise with a different cruise line, the food choices were excellent and seating was plentiful. As regards the cruise itself, the highlight, without doubt, was the Hubbard Glacier. What an impressive sight. In clear second place was our trip to the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau. However, its recession over the last 100 years has been dramatic, so best see it while you can! While other ports of call were of interest to us, most especially Skagway and Ketchikan, they didn't hold the same interest for us as the first two. At Skagway, we enjoyed a bus tour up the Yukon which we had booked online with a private company. At Ketchikan we attended the Lumberjack show which was well done. In total, though, while these places were of historic and scenic interest, the glaciers were more of a focus for us. Unfortunately, we had mostly grey days during the cruise with a smattering of rain (typical Alaskan weather some told us). However, these are factors that one can't control. We found the evening entertainment in the theatre to be very good. We attended four shows, all of which were very well done. Two Russian gymnasts were the highlight for us. We didn't attend any enrichment activities so can't comment on them. I like to keep up a regular fitness program and found the gymn to be well appointed. While not to the level that one typically finds in a shore-based gymn, it was certainly quite adequate. There were also plenty of opportunities to go running during the port calls. While embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly, it is helpful to be aware of three things. Firstly, when booking our cruise (we do all our travel arrangements ourselves), we could find nothing on the Celebrity website when it came to the issue of embarkation in Seward. Our questions were simple: How does one get from Anchorage to Seward, and, is this transfer included in the cruise price? A Google search answered the first question, but the second remained uncertain for some months. Celebrity certainly didn't reply to an email that I sent asking about this issue. In the end, we presumed that nothing was provided and so ended up booking on the Alaskan Cruise Transfers bus. This proved to be just fine. Others seemed to have something arranged with Celebrity, but how and where they did that, we never found out. . Secondly, at the end of the cruise we had a 1:55 pm flight out of Vancouver. The ship had arrived in Vancouver by 7:00 am. As it turns out we could have made a 12:00 noon flight. It is quicker (and less expensive) to take a train to the Airport (Canada Line from Waterfront Station) than take the bus laid on by the shipping line. However, an important word of warning here. If three of four ships arrive the same morning than you can have as many as 40 buses offloading people at the airport. United Airlines, for one, can't handle these numbers and so the check in lines become very, very long. In this case, expect long delays. Fortunately, the Millennium was the only large cruise vessel to arrive in Vancouver on 21 June - resulting in about 10 bus loads of people. Had there been other liners arrive an airport staff member warned me of the chaos this causes. My third issue relates to the excessive cost of any extra packages you might purchase from the cruise line. For example, $US 300 for their internet package. Outrageous! Our solution was to buy an AT&T SIM card with 40 Mb of data that we used for internet access whenever we had cell phone coverage. Having iPhones we had the SIM card on one and then used that as our local Hotspot for our other devices. While we didn't have outstanding coverage, it worked. I was constantly impressed with the many creative ways that Celebrity had dreamed up to try to entice their passengers to buy high-priced extras of one type or another. Just be aware. All in all, though, a very good trip, done in comfort and with the pleasure of seeing some beautiful scenery. Ah, yes, one other thought. We visited both Denali plus Kenai and the Kenai Peninsula prior to the cruise. While the Denali is beautiful I would highly recommend a visit to Kenai, if time is available. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I have been on several cruise lines and this was my first Celebrity cruise. I was told by many people that this would be the best cruise I have taken so far and that Celebrity is the best cruise line. Maybe I was expecting too much but I ... Read More
I have been on several cruise lines and this was my first Celebrity cruise. I was told by many people that this would be the best cruise I have taken so far and that Celebrity is the best cruise line. Maybe I was expecting too much but I didn't feel that it lived up to its reputation. There was really nothing special about it compared to other cruise lines - in fact there were a few areas that were lacking: Facilities - little to no public trash cans in common areas, veranda railings varnish are worn and flaking. Other areas were always clean and well maintained. Information - daily schedule not posted in any public locations, temp on TV always displayed 140F/60C, Celebrity App doesn't include the Solstice even though the entertainment director said it was, daily schedule listed Monday for three different days. The muster drill was the worst I have ever experienced. We were group C1 and we were stuffed standing in a packed hot lounge only to be shown a childish video about washing our hands and then an uninformative theatrical video about the lifeboat and life jackets; this was not a good way to start a cruise. Technology - "high" speed Internet was not high speed - video streaming was not possible and general surfing and access was very slow - especially for the exorbitant price, TV in the room was unreliable - it kept turning off and on, channels offered were sometimes not displayed, TV turned on by itself between 4A and 5A two nights - we finally unplugged it, the music channels were not titled correctly unless Bach and Mozart are now considered "Classic Rock." Accommodations - our cabin was 7277, just above lifeboat 20. On Deck 5 below us there was a kitchen for one of the specialty/private dining rooms. The first few days of the cruise, the door to the kitchen was left open and pop music was being played which ruined the quiet and peaceful atmosphere of sitting in the on the balcony early in the morning and late at night. Sales - like most cruises, they are sponsored by Diamonds International etc. Celebrity was no different, it was like living on a one big sales pitch vessel. The first day we were constantly being hounded to buy drink packages. Following days were were being pitched specialty restaurants, overpriced photos, and drinks. Activities constantly included money making schemes for jewelry and art purchases. Activities and Entertainment - We purchased the ship tour and enjoyed it although the wireless earpieces we were given cut in and out a lot so we couldn't really hear much of the presentation. For the price, I expected a bit more organization. At the end, were were given a piece of rope as a "gift." The other entertainment was top notch! We greatly enjoyed all of the shows we attended and thought that the talent and production value was excellent. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The ship is a beautiful ship, and the international staff were excellent. The cabin steward was great, and everyone we met was so friendly and helpful. You could not ask for nicer people and better service while on board. Food was ... Read More
The ship is a beautiful ship, and the international staff were excellent. The cabin steward was great, and everyone we met was so friendly and helpful. You could not ask for nicer people and better service while on board. Food was excellent - above my expectations. There was a wide variety of foods in the general cafeteria - from salad bar to excellent Indian buffet to sandwiches, burgers, whole roast turkey or ham, asian food, pizza, lots of good deserts. The table service restaurant was also very good, with a good choice of well-prepared foods every night. We did not eat at any of the premium restaurants. I did not really find the need to - food was good enough! The ship is a beautiful ship. It feels spacious, and the only times it felt crowded was in the cafeteria. Art was modern and gave the ship a modern and lively feeling. Most days there was pleasant music from a live group playing in the center atrium area which added a nice ambiance. One weird, and not so good thing with the ship itself: There is a basketball court at the very front of the ship in a most premium spot. Bizarre - as the kids playing basketball could care less about the view, and if you were in the lounge/viewing area below you often heard the thump, thump, thump of balls being bounced on what is your ceiling. That being said, the layout of the ship was pretty good with lots of areas to chill out in. We loved the front lounge/viewing area (mentioned above) with it's incredible 180 degree windows and views, and comfy chairs to sit and watch the world go by. Most nights they were playing disco or band music (although not too loud), so if you wanted a really quiet place to retreat to, this wasn't always the best place. But the view was to die for. My only real complaints lie with the cruise line itself and deceptive practices and outright incompetence or lies. We were booking a year ahead for a family reunion and my wife has food allergies. When we were investigating the various cruise options, the agent told us that it was best to get a guaranteed table/dinner time as the waiter would make sure the allergies were taken care of every night. Even though the 6:15 seating was full, he told us that the allergies would guarantee us a table at that time. Needless to say, after we booked that turned out not to be true. After a few calls over the next 10 months we finally got that done (one person even suggested we call EVERY day to ask for this hoping a table would open up). They confirmed this in writing to us, but that's not the end of that story.... My wife also filled out a very detailed allergy form, and submitted it a year ahead when we initially booked. She decided to call 2 weeks before the trip to make sure everything was in order. They said they never got the request. Really? She submitted again. When we boarded the ship, the first night we went to dinner and our family was seated at two different tables - even though we got written confirmation that we were to be seated all together. It was total chaos in the dining room that night. Presumably ours wasn't the only screwed-up reservation. It was only through the very kind guests at one table who agreed to move and take a less desirable table that we ended up together. Then the final problem came on the last day. We had some onboard credit, and the night before we got a draft bill which showed some credit left. We asked if we should spend this before the trip ended, and the staff person in customer service told us that this was not necessary - it would be refunded to our Visa. Guess what... It was not, and down on the bottom of the bill it says non-refundable (even though right under the credit amount it clearly says "This amount will be credited to your Visa"). That's mis-leading at best. I should also mention that the food allergy issues for my wife were a bit mixed. On the one hand the kitchen was incredible - allowing my wife to order anything from the menu the night before, and then having that item made allergy free. Wow! Also, at lunch in the cafeteria, we would often have a waiter look all over the room for us to bring my wife an allergy-friendly desert. That's amazing! The flip side was that in the cafeteria, virtually nothing was labeled as to the ingredients, so while the choices were fantastic for me they were a pain for her. If you wanted to know the ingredients of any one item, you had to ask the busy staff, who would then track down the busy head waiter, who would track down the chef. Minutes later you would get your answer. This was all unnecessary, as you could see the food signs were pre-printed and had been used many times - so why not just label them like "Contains, nut, shellfish, dairy etc." Again, when we booked, we were told something to the effect that that the chef would walk us through the line and describe what my wife could have. It all sounded very personal. Well, when you have a thousand or so people scurrying for food and the staff trying to keep up, that's out of the question. Maybe that was not realistic of us to expect, but then again why tell us a line of BS. So the bottom line is that in spite of the deceptive and incompetent practices of Celebrity, we enjoyed the trip due to the really beautiful ship and exceptional staff on board. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We sailed a 'back to back' from Vancouver on 7th June to Seward returning by the 21st June. We thoroughly enjoyed the sights, trips and scenery even though we had a few days of rain. So.. why not a rating of 5 ? - no ... Read More
We sailed a 'back to back' from Vancouver on 7th June to Seward returning by the 21st June. We thoroughly enjoyed the sights, trips and scenery even though we had a few days of rain. So.. why not a rating of 5 ? - no relevant guest speaker on the Northern Cruise, instead we had lectures on the Mayan Peninsula and cave diving. Celia Garland, the naturalist, gave excellent talks on Alaskan wildlife on the Southern cruise - several issues regarding the Ocean View cafe...hot food often cool or cold, tables not cleared, guests in bathrobes and children in wet swim suits allowed in, many guests not sanitizing or washing hands on entry, the washbasins were often dirty and nearby washroom had toilets out of use for days - Main dining restaurant shambolic on first couple of nights on both cruises and the Evening Chic dress code was completely ignored with guests wearing baseball caps and ripped jeans - only suite guests have access to forward open deck and sun deck, a new policy which is restrictive to the overwhelming majority of guests - restrictions on entry to the Cosmos lounge e.g. kid's club uses the lounge for activities, sometimes until 10 p.m., private functions in the day time - poolside staff allowed guests to drink from glasses in the whirlpools There needs to be a tighter grip on the running of certain aspects of the Millennium. Would we sail with Celebrity again ? Probably...but on another ship ! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We absolutely loved this cruise. We thought we would do this cruise for our 50th anniversary but we just couldn’t wait. Embarkation went very smoothly and quickly. The ship was beautiful and never seemed crowded except for the buffet of ... Read More
We absolutely loved this cruise. We thought we would do this cruise for our 50th anniversary but we just couldn’t wait. Embarkation went very smoothly and quickly. The ship was beautiful and never seemed crowded except for the buffet of course. We sailed aqua class and are so glad we did. Our favorite restaurant on the ship was Blu. Such mouthwatering food and so many choices. We ate breakfast there everyday and dinner almost everyday. The service was unbelievable, someone there to take care of every need practically before you needed something. We learned a lot from the different speakers and the entertainment was great. We did all our excursions through the ship, the trolley in Ketchikan was the only thing that was less than stellar. We all enjoyed the lumberjack show although the line to get in was very long. Juneau was the second stop.The whale watch excursion was so exciting, we saw 5 whales one of them was just a baby. The Mendenhall glacier, was a sight to behold. It is sad how much the glaciers are melting. Next part was Skagway, we took the vintage rail to the White Pass Summit. It was great to hear about the gold rush. We learned amazing new things about it. Well, at least it was new to me. Our major disappointment was the helicopter to the glacier and the dogsled excursion, we got all dressed in our warm clothing and boots, went up in the helicopter, saw a smaller glacier on the way up, but we encountered dense fog and had to go back down. It was nothing that was anybody’s fault but it was to be the highlight of our trip. We were refunded in full, so I guess we can look at it as a free helicopter ride. We traveled with our best friends and we loved this cruise. It may be harsh, but I left off one star because the drinks did not measure up to other cruises we have been on. For example the Bloody Mary’s had no celery nothing but the mix and the alcohol. I tried margaritas at two different bars and they were both terrible. All in all the cruise was worth every penny and I would definitely go again! Our room Stewart “Devin” was great! He kept our room stocked and clean throughout our cruise. All of the crew would bend over backwards to help all cruisers. They always were smiling and had kind words for everyone. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I choose this cruise for three generations,: a 14 year old boy, parents and us, the grandparents. The 14 year old is a world traveler and all of us enjoy good food. I believed Celebrity had great dining and I was not disappointed. We ... Read More
I choose this cruise for three generations,: a 14 year old boy, parents and us, the grandparents. The 14 year old is a world traveler and all of us enjoy good food. I believed Celebrity had great dining and I was not disappointed. We marveled how it could produce french onion and all the soups hot to the table. The last night grand finale souffle for dessert was perfect! i would have liked more included dining areas. There are many things for the higher class travelers - dining and activities. We were surprised that we became attached to our waiter. He was very pleasant and enhanced our sailing. Rancio was not available the last night but he came to our table to wish us a safe journey home. It was small personal things like that which made us smile though out our cruise. Having been on other cruise lines, we were disappointed in the activities and entertainment. Perhaps just not to our taste. As a family group, it was not important because we talked, played cards and read books to fill the time.. There were few kids on board so not much excitement in the teens club. Our teen spent some time there. We loved that 5 Asian boys and our boy from AZ could enjoy time with games. The excursions and ports were as expected. (We had been to Alaska before.) The kids took a private 6 passenger whale watch tour in Hoodah that was fantastic. We took the shuttle and saw two bear cubs along the shore. Our cabin 6155 was a "partial obstructed' with only a pulley to lock the view. Our kids in 6167 could see the top of a life boat but not an issue. Our balcony was larger because it was on the leading edge of the hump. I looked for a reasonable, food highlight cruise (Celebrity in early June), easy access (flight to Vancouver and hotel shuttle for the first night) Aerocar Services picked us up to transport to the ship. Embarkation was organized and swift. Success!!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Bucket list cruise that fulfilled all expectations. Visited Icy Strait Point, Juneau and Ketchikan. Not forgetting the amazing Hubbard Glacier. Saw so much wildlife including a brown bear who came within 15ft of us. Too many experiences ... Read More
Bucket list cruise that fulfilled all expectations. Visited Icy Strait Point, Juneau and Ketchikan. Not forgetting the amazing Hubbard Glacier. Saw so much wildlife including a brown bear who came within 15ft of us. Too many experiences to list. Took tours through Celebrity. Booked them online before we sailed which was much cheaper. All the tours were excellent. See below for cabin reviews. Blu restaurant food was excellent although the service could be very hit and miss. The Oceanview Restaurant always delivers excellent food although i felt that cleanliness of the tables could have been better. Dined in Le Petit Cuisine which was excellent. This is a must visit especially with children. The Cocktail Bar is a lot of fun and the measures very generous! Only went to one show this time which was ok. Made the most of the stunning sunsets from the Sunset Bar. Would highly recommend this cruise, certainly the top one we have done. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Alaska was on our bucket list and our 5th Celebrity Cruise. Very scenic and the weather was not too cold for June 2-9, 2019. Some rain but overall the weather was great. Being from Canada the coastline is similar to Ontario lakes other ... Read More
Alaska was on our bucket list and our 5th Celebrity Cruise. Very scenic and the weather was not too cold for June 2-9, 2019. Some rain but overall the weather was great. Being from Canada the coastline is similar to Ontario lakes other than the massive mountains along the coast. Saw a few whales and whale tails as well as Bald Eagles. One of the disappointing things at the Glacier (no fault of Celebrity) was we could not hear the Glacier movement. Perhaps not everyone knows this but Glaciers make sounds as they move. We had a group of 50+ people down on the helipad singing at the top of their lungs for 10 minutes or so which ruined the experience for everyone else onboard. I have mentioned this to Celebrity via Facebook to inform their guests on future cruises the need for quiet as this is an important part of the Glacier experience. Not sure if we expected more than on previous cruises but the service while good for the most part was not exceptional as it has been on our past 4 cruises with Celebrity. We have been traveling Aqua Class (3rd time now) and the breakfast service was slower than we are used to in Blu and I'm sure they lost my breakfast order one morning as it took more than 30 minutes to arrive. Luckily it was a sea day so did not have to be anywhere. The food in Blue was not up to normal standards either. Had a rib eye that had far too much fat on it and somewhat chewy. Stateroom attendant Made (yes his name) was exceptional. I have a shellfish allergy which Celebrity knew and was on my reservation but still had canapes delivered on the first day that had shrimp in it. We informed Made and we asked for fresh fruit and cheeses to be our daily canapes and he made those arrangements for us. Celebrity should not have delivered the shellfish to begin with. We ate in the Ocean View Cafe one afternoon for lunch and had a Chinese Food Day onboard and I took a couple of scoops of fried rice with chicken (that is what the sign said) and guess what? There were small shrimp in there too! Glad I saw that before I ate it. We stayed in stateroom #1610 which given the location allowed for a larger balcony that other staterooms. Interior was the same as other Aqua Class staterooms we have had. Not sure if we will choose Celebrity on our next cruise or go back to Holland America or something else. Make sure if you have the time post cruise to visit Whistler, BC for a couple of days to top off your trip. It was incredible. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I had not been interested in seeing Alaska since I live in the Seattle area. I believed the climate and scenery would be similar, so I typically travel away from the rain and cold toward sunshine and warmth. However, our friends (two ... Read More
I had not been interested in seeing Alaska since I live in the Seattle area. I believed the climate and scenery would be similar, so I typically travel away from the rain and cold toward sunshine and warmth. However, our friends (two couples we had traveled with previously) invited us to join them on this cruise, and I am so happy we did. I would happily go on another Alaskan cruise, and I hope I get to one day. The scenery is so beautiful, and must be experienced in person. Words and pictures do not capture it. I have only been on one other cruise ship, RCI Symphony of the Seas, so in comparison the Solstice is much smaller. I definitely felt the ship movement more on this ship, but it did not affect me. I did, however, wear sea bands as a preventative measure. The ship is very clean and very pretty. We had an Aqua Class cabin on deck 11 and enjoyed the privileges of unlimited Persian Garden use in the Spa, and eating in the Blu restaurant. The captain was very engaged with the passengers, and his sense of humor was a delight. We were very lucky to have a gorgeous sunrise over Mendenhall Glacier, and the captain spun the ship 540 degrees so all could view the majestic glacier up close. The crew were all very friendly, work very hard, and are all eager to provide a great experience to every guest. We thoroughly enjoyed the educational talks offered on the ship about the wildlife, history of the port towns, and gold rush history. And the captain's powerpoint of the building of Solstice. If you can take time to hear these talks you won't be disappointed. We went to one show called Broken Strings. They did a great job dancing, but it was not easy to follow the story line through the songs. I could not hear the lyrics of the songs at all. I only knew what was going on by the dancing and acting (in love, cheating, breakup, make up). We saw both comedians, and they were just ok. I'd pass next time. My friends did the glass blowing, and enjoyed it. A bit pricey, but ended up with cool souvenirs. Canyon Ranch Spa: I had a deep tissue massage and also a paraffin wax treatment, and both were great. Beware of the emphasis by all the spa staff to upsell everything. They were very insistent that I buy a small tube of hand lotion for $33 (I declined). As aqua class, we were allowed to use the Persian Garden anytime. It has heated tile loungers with a floor to ceiling widow view of the ocean. I used this frequently, and it really warmed me up after the Juneau tour in the rain. DINING: We ate at Blu most of the time, which was the best option for Aqua Class. It is not crowded, you do not need reservations, they remember your name, and there is a great view from most tables. Blu is open for breakfast and dinner, which was fine since we were off the ship on port days. I ate at Grand Epernay (main dining room) three times. The dining room is very pretty, but the food was just ok. Nothing spectacular. The service was friendly and fast. The Oceanview Cafe is the buffet, and typically very crowded at meal times. Some dishes were very good, and others were very cafeteria bland. I did like that the cafe attendants were very attentive and offered to bring drinks from the bar to your table (if you could find a table!) Specialty Restaurants: We ate at Murano and at Silk Harvest. Murano was just ok. I had the lasagna that was oddly all meat and noodles, with very little cheese; not my favorite. Silk Harvest was the best experience. We had family style meal with all 3 couples and tried most of the menu items. I did not care for the shrimp pad tai but all the rest was really good. Drinks package: We had the premium package, and while it was nice to have the option to drink anything, we did not drink enough to make it worth the cost. It came with our package on this cruise, but I would not pay for it as an add on. Our friends had the classic package. Initially, it was not explained that there is a charge for drinks that cost over $9, and figuring out what drinks were part of their plan was confusing. I really liked getting specialty coffee or tea at Cafe al Bacio. It was comfortable seating with a view and treats. KETCHIKAN: We toured the town and Creek Street on our own, and went to the Great Alaskan Lumberjack show. It was cheesy show - but was also entertaining and showed off the amazing skills of the lumberjacks. In town, my husband ate a reindeer chili dog. Not my thing, but he liked it. JUNEAU: Mt Roberts Tramway: We docked at 1:30 and went on the tram before our 3:00 pm excursion. There were many cruisers in line for the tram, with long lines both ways. Be sure to allow enough time to do this if you have an excursion. The view would have been amazing, but was obstructed by fog. I did not think it was worth the price of $29 each. We did not plan to do a hike at the top, the resident eagle was not there, and we only spent about 20 minutes at the top because we had to return to the dock for our excursion tour at 3:00. Photo Safari Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier: This is a misnomer. No one on the tour was interested in photography, and the focus of the tour guide's information was on glacier conservation efforts, not cameras or photo opportunities. The nature trail to the glacier was through a dense forest, and it rained the entire time. The guide stopped frequently to talk about plants and glaciers, and the scenery lacked any real photo ops and only one viewpoint. Just before we finally got to the glacier visitor center and view, he told us that he had run out of time and we had to run to the bus to make it to the whale watching part of the tour. We basically missed the main destination! We were not allowed to go into the glacier visitor center. I snapped two pictures and ran to the bus. The next part of the tour was on a small boat guaranteed to see whales or we get $100 back. We did see whales, and photo ops were in abundance on the boat, but we were so cold from walking in the rain for two hours, the wind chill on the boat ride added more discomfort to our cold and wet bodies. They really should do the tour in the opposite direction. Boat tour first, then glacier visitor center, and then nature walk for those interested while allowing others to roam free in the glacier area. SKAGWAY: White Pass Summit and Beyond: (booked off cruise - Frontier Excursions and Adventures). This was a bus tour to White Pass and the Yukon Suspension Bridge. The tour guide, Brooke, was very funny and knowledgeable, and she stopped the bus frequently for photo ops when wildlife was spotted. She even backed up the bus and did u turns to allow us to view the animals, which would not be possible if we had taken the more popular White Pass train ride. We stopped to observe three different bears, and a mama moose and her calf. This was the best tour of the trip, and I got some spectacular photos. The scenery of the tundra-like arctic landscape and majestic mountains and glacial lakes was like nothing I'd ever seen before. Going to the Yukon is a must do for sure! VICTORIA: Buchart Gardens tour. We docked at 5:30, and took a bus to Buchart Gardens. This was barely enough time to see the garden. It is an amazingly beautiful place, and to really enjoy it you need time to just sit and experience the beauty. This tour was expensive and way too fast. I am glad I live in Seattle and can go again at a more leisurely pace. The tour guide on the bus talked non-stop about uninteresting random things. I would have preferred a quiet ride to his personal jabber, "beyond those trees is a lake, and I have memories of taking the children there when they were small", which did not add to my experience. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Choose this cruise for our 40th Wedding Anniversary. The ship was lovely after its recent refurbishment. The Stateroom was nice and comfortable with plenty of storage. After asking for some softer pillows we slept better. The shampoo ... Read More
Choose this cruise for our 40th Wedding Anniversary. The ship was lovely after its recent refurbishment. The Stateroom was nice and comfortable with plenty of storage. After asking for some softer pillows we slept better. The shampoo provided was hopeless and the toilet paper not so soft. The selection of food was good and the Sea View Cafe spacious. I didn't like the way we were constantly asked to purchase specialty dining. The main dining room was good and waiters pleasant. Food portions sometimes a little small but you could always get an additional serve, even the lobster. The most impressive part of the cruise was the entertainment. All the shows were excellent. The captain was very approachable and friendly. He was often around the ship mingling with the passengers. He also got us to ports ahead of schedule and gave us an amazing close up view of the Hubbard Glacier. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise as an excellent way to see Alaska, the literary appeared better than others on offer and we have always been very happy with previous Celebrity cruises. After a night in Anchorage we travelled by train on the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as an excellent way to see Alaska, the literary appeared better than others on offer and we have always been very happy with previous Celebrity cruises. After a night in Anchorage we travelled by train on the Alaskan Railroad, we splashed out on the Goldstar service and it was well worth the extra cost as the trip was excellent: - Baggage was collected at the station and transferred direct to our stateroom. - The breakfast and refreshments were good. - The scenery was stunning, especially from the outdoor viewing platform and we spotted moose, bears and a number of eagles. - The only minor negative was the commentary was hard to hear, due to the sound quality and rather noisy passengers. We have previously cruised on Celebrity Millennium and it was in need of refurbishment. We booked Aqua Class as our previous experience of eating in Blu and access to the Persian Garden have been very good. I’ll start with areas of concern: - Although maximum passenger numbers have not increased, there has been a significant number of extra cabins added to this ship over a period time, which I understand provides greater flexibility, resulting in the library and the original saunas which had large outside windows being removed. As we regularly used these facilities, this is a significant disappointment. - Access to the top deck at the front of the ship is now only accessible to suite class passengers and has been renamed the Retreat Sun Deck. I fully understand Suite passengers have paid a significant premium and therefore can expect extras, however fewer passengers appeared to be using this than the Retreat Lounge, which I only ever spotted a handful of people visiting. I would question the ability of the executives running Celebrity to make a rational decision which is detrimental to approximately 90% of the passengers. This is especially important on a cruise where sightseeing from the ship is vital. Also in addition to the extra cabins this change reduces the space per passenger ratio. - It appeared not enough passengers were choosing to use the speciality restaurants based on the amount of pressure crew were under to up-sell to us. - The choice and presentation of food in the Ocean View Cafe seems to have dropped slightly. - We booked the ATV Expedition at Icy Strait Point, although the trip was as described, I wouldn’t do it again, the guide was miserable and complained about the number of cruise ships visiting, which seems rather ironic and we didn’t see any wild animals, other than an eagle as we left the port. - Mount Roberts Tram Way in Juneau, in my opinion it was significantly over priced, the ride is only short, the walks are poorly signposted and the cafe at the top was absolutely chaotic. Now the Positives: - 10 out 10 for the crew, one could not ask for more friendly, helpful and hardworking people. - The ship looks significantly better, there were a few rusty marks here and there, but overall the new paint scheme and furnishings are much better. - We ate in Blu, we never had to wait, often sat near the windows, there was a good choice of well presented and tasty food and we were always made feel extremely welcome and valued. We also had breakfast in Blu most days, which was very good and far more relaxed than the Ocean View Cafe (MDR also offers sit down breakfast). - We had lunch in the MDR on two occasions, this was very good, the portions were adequate, with a good choice. - We didn’t see any of the shows in the main theatre, however the variety of performers around the ship was good and we enjoyed listening to most of them throughout the cruise. - We did attend a number of Beyond the Podium presentations, all were excellent, especially Orca (this was delivered by the onboard sea life experts who were on hand throughout the cruise and were a tremendous bonus to the overall enjoyment of our trip), Millennium Revolution by Staff Captain Giuseppe and Dominique Lavigueur - The Classic Drinks package was OK and we particularly enjoyed the variety of coffee and cakes served in Cafe al Bacio, as well as the friendly, attentive service from the staff there. - The itinerary was excellent, this was helped by exceptional weather, the view of the Hubbard Glacier was spectacular. - The White Pass Train and Coach tour (Skagway); the views were beautiful, the coach stopped at a few points and for many passengers there was sheer excitement of crossing the border into Canada. - The 5 Glacier Seaplane Exploration (Juneau); probably a once in a lifetime trip and it was stunning, the flight was incredibly smooth and the views were amazing. - Captain’s Club; Graeme Kellerher is an excellent host, we only wish we could have fitted in attending more Captain’s Club events and using all of the offers available. - Disembarkation; this was effortless and the Canadian officials seemed genuinely pleased to welcome tourists to their country. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I was very impressed with a lot of thing about Celebrity Solstice and very disappointed with other things. The shows were great, especially the Alaska shows. I was a little disappointed in the age of the ship but it wasn't dirty just ... Read More
I was very impressed with a lot of thing about Celebrity Solstice and very disappointed with other things. The shows were great, especially the Alaska shows. I was a little disappointed in the age of the ship but it wasn't dirty just a little aged. The Ocean View Cafe was great if you were of Asian or Indian background or if you love their food. The American fare was poor. The food looked right but it definitely didn't taste right. The sauces for the pasta was runny, the eggs were runny, the hamburgers were burnt, and the selection was almost nonexistent. There were very few waiters/waitresses on the floor so you just had to make do with pushing used dishes out of the way. The main dining room was terrific. The food here was outstanding. Our service was slow (we don't drink) and we spent too much time waiting on our waiters to serve the food and take our dessert order. But the staff was extremely nice. Our cabin steward was the best. He worked very hard every day to make sure that everyone was happy and had everything needed, We just sailed on May 10, 2019, so our experience is fresh, The ship is well suited for couples. Of course, we sailed during the school year. Our excursions were through Viator instead of Celebrity. Other than almost missing our connection in Juneau, we didn't have any trouble finding our tour groups. The bus tour through the Yukon, in Skagway, with our tour guide Mike, was the best. We saw 2 bears, mountain goats, and a young moose. Our tour guide had sharp eyes and he was very entertaining. I believe anyone will enjoy this cruise and we are looking forward to our next one. The departing from the ship was extremely streamlined and it didn't take very long for everyone to be on dry land. The Celebrity excursions were the easiest to find since they were the first ones you came upon when docking. There were always other ship at port when were got to port so we were usually the farthest from the city. The other ships had mostly already unloaded their passengers when we first were let off the ship. Getting back on was a breeze. I brought two lanyards to hold our sea passes and we just had to show them when we boarded. Having the sea passes on the lanyards worked well for dining as well. We just showed them to the waiters and they used them to bring our sodas. The ship had a lot of things going on so you weren't bored at any time. We had to make time to go swimming and look around the ship. It was a wonderful experience and we had a great time (other than the fact that we brought our colds with us from home, but we found that the ships liquor store had things that you would normally buy in a pharmacy. Nail polish remover, cold meds, etc.) I recommend this ship and the experience to anyone wanting to discover Alaska! I no I don't have a reference point to compare this sailing to but I really enjoyed the experience. The captain came on loud speaker (outside the ship) he was Greek and a little hard to understand but he continued with the same message in a different way a few times so we were able to understand his message. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
First time cruising and we chose Alaska for it's scenic. It's was our 29th anniversary and decided on Celebrity Solstice after reading the reviews. We got a really good price and the weather was wonderful. Would go again. Ports ... Read More
First time cruising and we chose Alaska for it's scenic. It's was our 29th anniversary and decided on Celebrity Solstice after reading the reviews. We got a really good price and the weather was wonderful. Would go again. Ports were very nice. If going again would just choose the land tour next time. Ship was nice. Just needed a little more entertainment and maybe a couple of quick snack places. Ocean side café was just ok with bland food. Main dining was good and our staff was very good. We had a balcony on the 10th floor with concierge class. Was nice. The shows were ok. There really wasn't a lot of activities do to. Skayway was the best port. Would recommend the train ride. Didn't have any problems with the embarkment and disembarkation. Would have like a little more variety in shops beside jewelry and purses. Have read prior reviews about too much upselling but we didn't see much of that beside some stands posted around the ship. Overall a very nice experience and we enjoyed ourselves. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Past experience has always brought us back to Celebrity. This time around was a little disappointing. The attempted up-sale to the specialty dining rooms was relentless. It was never this way in the past. I was also disappointed with ... Read More
Past experience has always brought us back to Celebrity. This time around was a little disappointing. The attempted up-sale to the specialty dining rooms was relentless. It was never this way in the past. I was also disappointed with the bar service. When I asked for a mixed drink with a specific alcohol it was no problem at the bar and it was poured in front of me but when I asked for the same drink from a waiter I received a drink with an obviously inferior alcohol from the back bar. My drinks were not the only substituted alcohols that I heard of on board. Sad to find them cutting corners this way. The new entertainment being produced by Celebrity's production company is great. They do need to review and probably change the guest entertainment sources that fill out the shows for the cruise. Some of the singers were not even sufficient in talent to warrant a "b" stage show in Vegas. I haven't walked out of a show in many years but it happened on this cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We booked thi s cruise in early may because it was with Celebrity and it offered longer days than the 7 day cruise. This was our 5t celebrity cruise and we had previously sailed on the Eclipse years ago. We saied aqua class. mainly for the ... Read More
We booked thi s cruise in early may because it was with Celebrity and it offered longer days than the 7 day cruise. This was our 5t celebrity cruise and we had previously sailed on the Eclipse years ago. We saied aqua class. mainly for the blu restaurant. It did not disappoint for the staff Nirtalia Hugo and stephen they were great always with a smile and very nice Wish we could say the same for the food. We found a decline in the food. Everything was good but a bit repetitive in the cuisine.I do not eat meat the fish were very similar in taste. My companion though said his meat was very good. The boat is going for a refresh look soon and this will be good. The ship was very clean and well kept but it did show a bit of age. we did not attend many shows but the one we went to were very good . Also Milos the naturalist was very good and entertaining wish we could have seen more of his lectures. One thing we found was lacking was a bit more variety in the music maybe they will add more variety as the summer goes this being their first trip. It was the first time we encounter one staff that was not to par with their customer excellence but you are bound to encounter this once in a while. We will still sai with Celebrity we tried Holland of America, Princess and Norwegian and this is our preferred line Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was an amazing cruise , not one that I would normally do I love the sun and expected this to be cold and wet , far from it we had exceptionally good weather, fantastic sights, to see the northern lights 2 nights in a row was amazing. ... Read More
This was an amazing cruise , not one that I would normally do I love the sun and expected this to be cold and wet , far from it we had exceptionally good weather, fantastic sights, to see the northern lights 2 nights in a row was amazing. The Scenery wow, wow, wow, the wildlife wow the people wow the activates wow, the food was good not the best I have had on a cruise I must say... the coffee lounge was very good and the staff here were brilliant.Embarkation took all of ten minutes from the time we arrived at the dock until we were on the ship. Received a glass of champagne before heading to the stateroom. Pretty typical veranda room - the shower is a little larger than most. Hubbard Glacier was amazing from the ship. Captain Alex turned the ship around so all sides could get a great view. We had a balcony - if you can afford it, I would get it. The boat is pretty worn and I believe is having a refit she sure needs it. Read Less
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