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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
We cruised on Celebrity Millennium for a 7 night Alaskan cruise in June 2014. This was our first experience with Celebrity cruise lines. We have sailed 4 times with Royal Caribbean and once with Princess. We held high expectations of ... Read More
We cruised on Celebrity Millennium for a 7 night Alaskan cruise in June 2014. This was our first experience with Celebrity cruise lines. We have sailed 4 times with Royal Caribbean and once with Princess. We held high expectations of Celebrity as they market themselves as a 5 star line (as opposed to Royal Caribbean's 4 star). We had a balcony stateroom with double sized balcony. The room was tastefully decorated with ample storage and was spotlessly clean. The bathroom was larger than those experienced on other lines and was well stocked. The room was a highlight of the cruise and was very nice. Unlike other cruises though, we barely set eyes on our stateroom attendant - we missed the rapport that we generally build with them. Another disappointment was that there were no towel animals whatsoever! (Obviously this is seen as too common for a 5 star line....) There was a definite sewage smell around certain areas of the ship - so much so, that our friends were unable to even use their balcony because of the stench! After MUCH complaining over the course of 4 days, they were offered a $200 OBC. The food and service in the main dining room (we were on Select Dining) was VERY good. However, this was still only the same standard as all the Royal Caribbean ships that we have sailed on (we were expecting even better food and service being "5 star"). The buffet dining was a real let down. The food selection was VERY poor - so much so, I was really pushed to find ANYTHING I could eat at lunch. Breakfast selection was also poor. I NEVER found a pancake or waffle, and only found a muffin one morning. I see these as staples, and this is the first time on ANY cruise ship that these were impossible to find. Cereal choices were very minimal, and the only fresh fruit I found throughout the entire 7 days of the cruise were half frozen brown bananas (inedible). Breakfast in the MDR was a far better option. Service was quick and food was very tasty and well prepared. Nightly shows were quite entertaining. I especially enjoyed comedian Fred Klett. Sea day activities were few and far between. When perusing the daily newsletter we were pushed to find more than one or two activities of any interest. Fortunately for us, we are not night owls....as all the activities seemed to come to an untimely end around 10pm. Perhaps the clientele of this ship (huge majority over 60) are all tucked up in bed by 9pm. There were also only a handful of children on board. Unlike Royal Caribbean ships there is no Centrum or Royal Promenade feature where you can listen to music and have a bite to eat in a light, bright environment. The only "feature" on Millennium was a yellow toned illuminated staircase straight out of The Wizard od Oz. :( The ship itself is a bit of a rabbit warren, with no standout features. Perhaps if this was my first cruise, or if I hadn't sailed on Royal Caribbean previously, then I may have thought this cruise was wonderful. But, unfortunately it fell short of my expectations. I will not be sailing with Celebrity in the future and would suggest Radiance of the Seas (which we did a South Pacific cruise on) as a much better option for Alaska. The itinerary and tours which we undertook were very good, although I would suggest booking something in Icy Strait Point as walking around the port on a rainy day (after waiting 2+ hours for a tender) was underwhelming. P.S. We also did not receive the $200 on board credit that we were owed, and are still fighting with the company now (one month later) for it to be credited back to our card. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
We were first time cruisers with Celebrity and chose the Millennium for its itinerary. We are a couple in our mid fifties. We had read bad reviews prior to our trip about viruses, the age of the ship and poor service, so we were a little ... Read More
We were first time cruisers with Celebrity and chose the Millennium for its itinerary. We are a couple in our mid fifties. We had read bad reviews prior to our trip about viruses, the age of the ship and poor service, so we were a little wary. I’m pleased to say most of these reviews were unfounded in our opinion. We read good advice to get to Vancouver early to avoid the possibility and stress of plane delays, etc. We loved Vancouver and spent three days there. Our Vancouver embarkation was smooth. We were disappointed to have a 4 hour delay of our ship as some passengers did have plane delays and the ship waited for most of them. So, if you book your airfare through Celebrity, they will try to take care of you. The delay did not affect the rest of the trip. The ship was impressive and clean. If you looked very close there were some signs of age, but again she is not brand new. The staff were all friendly and helpful. The ship is also very easy to get around and you can get the layout very quick. I thought our cabin was clean, beds were comfortable and our steward did what was expected. We did lose water and toilets one morning but the ship really did everything to fix it as quick as possible. This problem occurred on the whole third floor not just our cabin. There were no towel animals or extras, but if we requested something it was done promptly. I did not smell any foul odors on any part of the ship. We ate most meals in the main dining. We did not attend any specialty restaurants. We found the service very satisfactory. The food was good, not excellent. You have a variety of choices, but nothing that I can say stood out as a truly great meal. My husband was disappointed, as he had been told you would have crab and lobster each night as an entrée, but that was not an option. The buffet was “cruise food” at best. The best part of the buffet, in my husband’s opinion, was the Asian grill where the food was prepared fresh. We had late seating, so when you come back on board the ship after excursions, be prepared for only pasta and pizza until your main seating time. The main buffet shuts down around 3p. I believe. The buffet has only self serve coffee, so some mornings coffee ran out and there would be a line until it was brewed. There are some very crabby people in the mornings without their coffee, especially the Hubbard Glacier morning where people are up early and breakfast is late in the main dining room. The entertainment on board the ship is probably the most disappointing to me. There was an excellent dance troupe on board, but the entertainment was very repetitive each night. The crew played some games in the Cosmos Lounge that were funny, but that was about it. If you looked at your daily each morning, most activities are centered around something they are trying to sell. This is an older crowd and I feel the activities and entertainment reflect that. I did not understand “formal night,” in that I thought there would be some formal type entertainment or activities to go with it. As far as dining, it was like any other night. The shows were pretty much the same each night. Most people are dressed well for all meals each night. We enjoyed the Thalassotherapy pool. It was great after a cold, rainy day walking the streets at each port. I did use the Persian Garden room one day. It was ok but not worth the daily price. We enjoyed our experience on the Millennium. We got a great deal on an outside stateroom, so I feel we got our money’s worth. I know some people pay much more and have higher expectations, so I can understand their disappointment. We came mainly to see Alaska and not just the cruise and Alaska met all our expectations. The captain was able to get up close to Hubbard Glacier and we were blessed with great weather most days. My favorite part of the ship was the Cosmos Lounge with its large windows. I spent most of our free time there listening to stories about nature and other guest’s experiences. Our excursions were wonderful . We got to see Humpbacks in Juneau and took the Yukon Pass Railroad in Skagway. Alaska is amazing and did not disappoint.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
This is our first time to sail with Celebrity and we found the Solstice to be a good quality boat. The food was well above average and two of the specialty restaurants, Murano, and Silk Harvest were of excellent quality. The cleanliness ... Read More
This is our first time to sail with Celebrity and we found the Solstice to be a good quality boat. The food was well above average and two of the specialty restaurants, Murano, and Silk Harvest were of excellent quality. The cleanliness of the ship was very good and the staffs attention to sanitization was omni present. We sailed in the concierge class which for a few more dollars offer a somewhat faster embarkation and few extra perks for the room. Room steward services were seamless and polite and our person went out of the way to help us with a few things we either lost intransit or forgot to pack. We availed ourselves of some of the more challenging shore excursions and spent most of the entire day ashore and as such we didn't participate in many of the shipboard activities. All three of our Celebrity sponsored excursions were professionally staffed and very well run. A couple of the oddities of the boat should be mentioned. The best of the bars for relaxation and general view is the Sky Bar forward deck 14. The unfortunate aspect is that the basketball court is directly above the bar so any solace you'll find there is only at freezing cold ports where the court isn't being used. Another area that Soltice comes up short on is the bar tending. I'm a little fussy over how my Cosmopolitans are made and if you expect a textbook version the only place on the boat you'll find one is the martini bar deck 4. Even there getting the bartender to take a call liquor pour was like pulling teeth. Even there if you aren't seated at the bar itself you'll be served a melted version that won't contain your call liquor. Shipboard noise is a growing problem with the various lines all frantically scrambling to turn the main social areas into discos. Solstice is no exception. Virtually every night the core is occupied with a loud pop group that makes quiet conversation an impossibility. I'm not too sure what happened to the thoughtful use of skilled acoustic performance, but wherever it is, it certainly isn't here! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
lovely ship, great service, excellent excursions: those are the positives. We felt the food was quite poor in quality and preparation. Everything was lukewarm and overcooked, no doubt from too much time under heat lamps after being ... Read More
lovely ship, great service, excellent excursions: those are the positives. We felt the food was quite poor in quality and preparation. Everything was lukewarm and overcooked, no doubt from too much time under heat lamps after being thawed. We ate in Blu for breakfast 4 times and it was by far the best experience we had. The dinners (2) were not good at all. Lobster was so overdone it was inedible. We ate lunch once in the main dining room...very poor food, under seasoned and more like cafeteria food that is served on the 14th floor scramble. First night we had dinner in the Tuscan Grill. The veal chop was over cooked and rubbery with no seasoning at all. Generally in an Italian preparation this would have some rosemary and garlic. I had Pappardelle with lobster. Little rubber knots of lobster meat and a dull bechamel sauce. We stayed with wines offered on the upgraded drinks package. Throughout the ship the wines were undistinguished better supermarket wines. A defensive move was to have coffee at Al Bacio as the coffee throughout the ship was undrinkable. Think Folger's. On a ship sailing from Seattle, you would think they might upgrade that a little. We had great service in all areas of the ship. The spa needs a lot of work. Poor quality services but they were trying but have not had completely training from Canyon Ranch.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
This was only our second cruise, the first being ten years ago. Everybody who had cruised Alaska raved about it, so we wanted to see for ourselves. Seattle is not one of my favorite cities, but Solstice is now one of my favorite ships. The ... Read More
This was only our second cruise, the first being ten years ago. Everybody who had cruised Alaska raved about it, so we wanted to see for ourselves. Seattle is not one of my favorite cities, but Solstice is now one of my favorite ships. The rumors are correct; you do not realize that 2799 of your best buds are on the same ship, except possibly in the buffet at lunch, or when one of the shows has just let out. But there were plenty of times when we'd be the only person in the corridor, or on the elevators. We were in cabin 7151, which is right next to the forward elevators. I worried we'd hear noise from them, but we never heard a peep. Of course the weather was awful. It's Alaska, and it's always cold and wet. As a disclaimer, I live in Florida, so anything below 70 is cold. But I'm recovering from the sinus infection as I write this, so it really was dreary. The cabin had everything we needed space-wise, and was attractive. The balcony was useful for picture taking, but too cold and windy to spend any real time on. Loved the curved shower doors, and the amount of storage in the bathroom. Since the weather was generally wet, spent a lot of time in the Sky Lounge. One problem is that we kept getting thrown out of there for "private parties", which I think were for frequent cruisers. We finally found that only the starboard side was used for the party, and the port side and forward areas were OK, or else they gave up and stopped throwing us out. Not sure which. The food was good, but we only ate in the main dining room twice. The Tuscan Grille had the best view on the ship, and great food to go with it. Murano and Silk Harvest were OK, but nothing special. The shows are OK, but with an Alaskan cruise, one super part was the lectures by the ship's naturalist, and the lectures on the upcoming ports. Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway aren't that well known in the lower 48, so it was nice to know in advance what were were coming into. The highlight of the cruise, hands down, is the trip into Tracy Arm Fjord. The scenery is drop dead gorgeous, even at 6AM in 40 degree weather! We'd highly recommend this cruise, on this ship. The next cruise will be to warmer parts of the world, and we'll be looking at Celebrity and Solstice's sister ships. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
I guess I'm just not cruising material, the ship is very nice, as is the crew( with one exception) They are very very clean concious, almost fanatical, but that's a plus. The shows are 50/50 some very good and some just ok. ... Read More
I guess I'm just not cruising material, the ship is very nice, as is the crew( with one exception) They are very very clean concious, almost fanatical, but that's a plus. The shows are 50/50 some very good and some just ok. What I didn't like was the constant selling, everywhere I turned there was merchandise, kind of like a floating wal- mart. I would rather pay extra then to be buying a drink package, restaurant package, spa package, package package. Can't complain about the food one bit, it's very good, it's very fresh, and it's so plentiful. I finally saw first hand the cruiser crowd, pile those plates boys, we eat again in 15 minutes! One caveat, DO NOT USE INTERCRUISES bus service, they get you as you return to the airport, sounds good, sounds cheap, then the fun begins. They herd you, corral you, stack you, then you wait, and wait, and wait. Take a cab, pay the extra money. If you need help at the excursion desk, stay clear of Valeria, she is not the least bit interested in helping you. On the other hand at guest services, look for Jimmy, he is only interested in helping you. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
My family booked two cabins (solstice 7153 and solstice 8341) for a week long alaska voyage last month. We have previously sailed only once, on Oceania's Marina for 10 days in the Med. The purpose of this cruise was primarily to ... Read More
My family booked two cabins (solstice 7153 and solstice 8341) for a week long alaska voyage last month. We have previously sailed only once, on Oceania's Marina for 10 days in the Med. The purpose of this cruise was primarily to assess whether Celebrity would tick the same Oceania boxes for my parents, since Vacations To Go ranks the Solstice as 5.5 stars, right beside Marina. We would hate to find out in ten years that much-cheaper Celebrity had it all along. Turns out, it really doesn't compare. Embarkation was a mess, and that was to be expected. I was warned by everyone and his toaster that embarkation for 2800 people would be a schmozzle in Seattle and it was. We were given assigned boarding times to help with the sheer numbers, but it made no difference. Everyone was there. We queued to drop the bags, we queued to enter the terminal, we queued for customs, we queued for security, and we queued for check-in. Marina check-in (granted, we were in concierge so we went early) was 10 minutes at the most. This was probably two hours. When we got inside the vessel we were treated to champagne (and a little orange juice in champagne glass for my 5-year-old) which was brilliant. Sadly, little did we know that this little nicety was about to be overshadowed by the quasi-apocalyptic spectacle in the buffet (oceanview cafe). First impressions of the buffet fit somewhere between orgiastic feeding frenzy and semi-professional wrestling show, coupled with the table-availability of a university pub. This, together with the "hard sell" bar waiters who wanted us to upgrade to the Bigger Drinker Package was enough to spoil the cruise for both of my parents. They won't admit this, because they like to have an 'open mind', but it's true. Day one lost them both. The cabins were totally comfortable, whatever my mother says. 8341 does not have an enlarged balcony like the deck plans suggest, that's 8343 and it's pretty big. I sneaked a photo and will post it wherever things like that go. There were no noise issues, but it's at the absolute back of the boat and I was heaving barf for all of the stormy day at sea. 7153 is right beside the elevators midships and there was no elevator noise. We found the location to be extremely convenient. The bathrobes are tiny, nearly threadbare and gray from washing, as are the towels. We were provided with only two towels, but on request got six and that was great. The pillowcase had a giant hole in it, one day we had no pillows at all, and then suddenly our bedskirt was taken away. All small mysteries which would have been deal-breakers for my folks, but I don't care much about that stuff. we almost never got our "sea mail". one day our attendant just walked in. he almost died from embarrassment, but still. Hello. Anyway, I liked the cabins. Full stop. Jeez, I heard this was a foodie cruise but I have sailed on Marina and that's the best food I have had on land or sea. This just wasn't the same, not even close. The buffet breakfast was good, I admit really good. They have everything (I mean it, my dad got a scottish breakfast which includes awful things like herring and black pudding. He loved it). Lunch was terrible at the buffet. I can't really explain that because there is so much to choose from, but the pasta was crunchy and the paninis were barely introduced to the panini press. They have consomme which was welcomed by everone. Dinner at the buffet was encouraging - one night quiches, always sushi. Good show, if not excellent. My daughter loved it. Room service was hot and on-time, bravo. MDR was pretty good, but not excellent. A few of the meals were really sub-par but a couple were excellent. Somewhere in between. I got the impression though from fellow cruisers that for mainline cruising this was really really good. The "eat anytime" dining plan puts you on the upper deck, which sadly is shoulder-to-shoulder people (2 inches between tables, maybe 6?) and you can't avoid them. You can't, you can't, you can't. We didn't do casinos or entertainment, but my five-year-old did the fun factory a couple of days. She liked the hot-glass show day and they tried really hard they really did but she couldn't get into it. I can't speculate why she didn't love it she just didn't. Day one was the storm at sea so both sides of the kids floor were basically a quarantine, hazmat infirmary where the non-english speaking crew handed out "bark bags". It was bad luck, that's all. Some people said this was a hard ship to find a drink on. I didn't feel that. Maybe because I don't have 14 bars in my house, but this felt pretty easy. Chief complaint: the crew speaks next to no English. I'm serious. You can ask "will you have pepperoni pizza today?" and she will reply "Hello!" and sort of smile at you. this was the only aspect of the cruise that i felt was a bit of a strain (keeping in mind that I am not my mother who finds everything to be a bit of a strain). Also, the staff has so many different nationalities aboard that they can't speak with each other. that makes problem solving on the fly really really slow. and difficult. My parents won't sail with celebrity again, i figure. But I will, absolutely. Because I am not my mother. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
Although my husband and I have traveled the world, this was our first cruise. We decided to experiment by using our home port of Seattle. In summary, the experiment was a success and we will cruise again, perhaps with Celebrity or possibly ... Read More
Although my husband and I have traveled the world, this was our first cruise. We decided to experiment by using our home port of Seattle. In summary, the experiment was a success and we will cruise again, perhaps with Celebrity or possibly on their more prestigious line, Seaborne. The Good: * Naturalist Brent Nixon was GREAT! I can't say enough about his ability to teach, entertain and grab the attention of everyone, of every age, in the room. Don't miss this. In fact, take your kids to his first presentation and give them a set of binoculars. They will be so busy scanning the ocean and shoreline for animals that you can sit back and enjoy your adult beverages in peace. Illusionist Jason Bishop was very entertaining for all ages as well. * The ship is beautiful and well appointed. There are may photo opportunities with beautiful backgrounds in the public areas. Every nook and cranny was spotless at all times. The ambiance was lovely or lively, depending on your preference. * The food was quite good in the main dining room and buffet, especially considering the number of meals they serve in each. If you are like us and want four star cuisine, visit the Tuscan Grill or Murano (at an extra charge). * We chose "Aqua Class" and our room had all advertised amenities and was very comfortable. Our room attendant, Mariano was unbelievably attentive. We asked for ice on the third night and then, magically, every night after that, we had ice! I wanted to bring Mariano home with us. The Bad: * The entertainment with the exception of Mr. Nixon and Mr. Bishop, was mediocre at best. The house band and orchestra was difficult to stomach. "Cruise Director Patty" had that necessary combination of perky, engaging, and annoying! However, her best moment was her Carol King impersonation. She can sing! * The Aqua Spa restaurant, Blu, was a big disappointment. The food was overcooked and boring. After three tries, we moved on to the other venues. Next time, concierge class will be adequate. * The beverage packages, which we did not purchase, were a complaint by many on board. You cannot possible drink enough to justify the price, because the waiters or wine stewards are difficult to find. The buffet has coffee, tea, water, and fruit drinks available all day and night. * There was an extra charge for every exercise class and wine tasting. Yes, even yoga and spinning. Just so you know... The Ugly: * Don't be fooled by the "Adults Only" pool. They have "family" hours twice each day. We all know what kids do in pools and that ruined it for me. However, if you have kids, be happy -- they will have access to the indoor pool! * Really UGLY - As the ship traveled through Tracy Arm and the beautiful scenery narrated by Mr. Nixon from the bridge, Celebrity employees were hawking hot chocolate for $9.50. Yes, baseball stadium style. It destroyed some of the pleasure. At the same time, the view restaurant was piping in loud pop music. You couldn't get a moment of peace in any of the viewing areas. This could easily be fixed by the cruise line.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014
My wife and I enjoyed a great cruise from Vancouver to Seward. While it wasn't perfect (if you're expecting a perfect vacation, I wouldn't recommend cruising or ever leaving your home), the food was good, the staff superb, ... Read More
My wife and I enjoyed a great cruise from Vancouver to Seward. While it wasn't perfect (if you're expecting a perfect vacation, I wouldn't recommend cruising or ever leaving your home), the food was good, the staff superb, and the ship, while obviously not a newer vessel, was in absolutely fine condition. We are in our 30s -- a younger clientele than many (but not all) of the other passengers. Food: Olympic was great; perfectly cooked lobster for our splurge dinner, along with impeccable service. The main dining room ranged from okay to very good, with most meals falling closer to the "very good" category. I can't imagine how hard it is to cook for 1000 people every night, so I commend them for getting as much of it right as they did. The buffet was decent but got repetitious. The burgers and fries on the sun deck were great for an easy "fast food" experience. Staff: We were treated with nothing but respect and kindness. Our waiter and room attendant were both fantastic. The bar tenders were friendly and seemed to enjoy their work and interacting with the customers. Entertainment: We stayed away from the shows put on by the cruise staff -- they just didn't appeal to us as much as they might have to the older crowd. We did really enjoy the comedians and the aerialists who performed a couple evenings. Ship: While the Millennium isn't the newest ship, don't believe the horror stories people might want to sell you. It's in fine shape. Our room was clean and comfortable; the public areas were kept in good condition; and I saw nothing that seemed out of the ordinary for a ship of this age. Excursions: We booked all of our excursions in Alaska through private companies and not through the ship, but greatly enjoyed them. Too much beauty and nature in Alaska to not have a great time off the ship. Spa/Gym: My wife had a great massage and we both really enjoyed the acupuncture (we'd never done it before). Fitness center has everything you'd need for a week at sea. Too bad we didn't use it more. The Hiccups: Embarkation took a while - perhaps it could have been better organized. Perhaps not. We also had several problems with our room keys not functioning - required several trips to guest relations and too much time waiting in line. Staff were friendly but should have handled the problem more quickly. Classes at the fitness center were expensive for what you get (we tried yoga), but these were probably also geared more toward the older crowd. Casino/Bingo: I'll have my revenge! One bit of advice: We upgraded to the premium drink package and didn't regret it for a second. While neither of us is heavy drinker, when we do drink we like to have a nicer glass of wine, scotch, or a martini with top shelf liquor. With the exception of a couple more expensive wines (and bottles) on the list, we were able to enjoy almost everything the bars were offering. Worth it, in my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
This was our fifth cruise and first on Celebrity. i chose it because I like to try different cruise lines and this one was rated 5 stars. However unless things have gone downhill really fast I don't understand all the raves. The ship ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise and first on Celebrity. i chose it because I like to try different cruise lines and this one was rated 5 stars. However unless things have gone downhill really fast I don't understand all the raves. The ship itself was very stark and bland. Perhaps that is the preferred look but after seeing some really beautiful decor on other ships we found it rather boring. The embarkation in Vancouver with an absolute nightmare with standing in line time of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It was absolutely painful in addition to a cramped plane ride. We traveled to Vancouver last time and it wasn't like this. In fact my doctor said he went to Alaska on Princess a year and a half ago and it was a breeze going through Vancouver. The main dining room was very disappointing. And as much as I hate the cattle call of the buffet we chose it half the time because of the poor menu choices but more because of the poor taste. Buffet foot was good but just be ready to deal with mobs of rude people from a certain Asian section of the globe (is that careful enough for the editors). Monday's itinerary said there was a tea in one of the specialty restaurants but when I got there they didn't know what I was even talking about. On the plus side our inside cabin was very comfortable. Room service was great and the ship was spotless. The entertainment was spectacular. Very high end. The specialty restaurants if you can afford them were all perfect. But I think the goal there is to aim for charging for all food down the line. All in all I probably would not choose Celebrity for my next cruise and will keep experimenting. So far the best has been Royal Caribbean/   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
We are fairly frequent cruisers - Carnival, HAL, Princess and this was our second Celebrity. 1st Celebrity cruise was 12 night Holy Land cruise in 2011 - fantastic. We always thought Celebrity was a cut above. We invited our daughter and ... Read More
We are fairly frequent cruisers - Carnival, HAL, Princess and this was our second Celebrity. 1st Celebrity cruise was 12 night Holy Land cruise in 2011 - fantastic. We always thought Celebrity was a cut above. We invited our daughter and son-in-law for an 8 night Alaskan tour. We were both in Concierge balcony cabins. Very tight space, closet was inadequate for 2 people. However- food in dining room was abysmal. Choices were limited unless you like turkey and beef cheeks (seriously) My daughter and her husband stopped coming to dinner with us so they could eat at the buffet. We even splurged on Murano (specialty restaurant) one night to try and salvage something ($200 for 4 of us) and other than the presentation tableside, we could have saved our money. My son-in-law is a vegan and all they could do was bring him a vegetable plate - nothing on the menu for vegetarians (our mistake for not checking) -were not even able to give him pasta. What I find interesting is that the food improved dramatically on the last 2 nights - were they hoping that was what we would remember?? Lobster one night and filet mignon the next. It was almost an insult because you knew they were capable of it all along. We are not picky eaters, but in 2004 we went to Alaska on Carnival and had fresh fish every night that was put on the boat the same morning. We spoke to many people on our shore excursions this time and 100% of them agreed they were very disappointed with the food. We spoke to the dining room supervisor when she visited the table with the chef and she looked at me like I was crazy and dragged him to the next table. Would hesitate to book Celebrity again - quality for the money just not there.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
Celebrity Solstice is a queen. What a beautiful ship. The staff wonderfull. The food sensational. The optional restaurants amazing. The drinks package awesome. The whole experience was almost perfect... EXCEPT... EMBARKATION We were to ... Read More
Celebrity Solstice is a queen. What a beautiful ship. The staff wonderfull. The food sensational. The optional restaurants amazing. The drinks package awesome. The whole experience was almost perfect... EXCEPT... EMBARKATION We were to embark in Vancouver and decided to spend that day taking a day tour (they would transport our luggage from our hotel to the ship) while we digested hours until it was a recommended time to board the ship. We arrived at the departure terminal to find that 500+ people had the same idea. Not Celebrity's fault, but a very good idea to keep in mind (luggage gone and a day of sightseeing). Problem was, American customs had 3 stations open. Again not Celebrity's fault. The problem I have with this is why can't Celebrity stagger times and passengers? e.g. Passengers 0 to 500 @ 12.00pm, Passengers 501 to 1000 @ 2pm etc. Anyway, we waited 2 hours to get processed and boarded the ship only to find that we could not go anywhere but the MUSTER station compulsory drill. Not happy. DISEMBARKATION Another disaster. Actually this was so bad it was funny. We had to collect 'confiscated goods' .i.e. a tomahawk and an Ulu knife. We went down the gangplank to a portable trestle table with everyone's confiscated gear on it. There was no system and 2 staff that had no idea. After waiting about 40 minutes we cut the queue to see what was going on. We ended up handing out everyone's gear ready to have it checked off by the 2 very confused staff. I ended up with 2 Ulu knives because the lady behind me couldn't stand waiting. This might not sound so bad, but embarkation and disembarkation leaves a lasting memory that cruise company's should pay particular attention to. A beautiful cruise marred by getting on and getting off. Wake up. You get paid well to get this right Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
I love Celebrity and have already booked two more cruise on the Silhouette and the Summit. I had a great time on a very nice ship. Our verandah stateroom was beautiful. We especially enjoyed the violinist, Doug Cameron. The crew, cabin ... Read More
I love Celebrity and have already booked two more cruise on the Silhouette and the Summit. I had a great time on a very nice ship. Our verandah stateroom was beautiful. We especially enjoyed the violinist, Doug Cameron. The crew, cabin steward, Peter, waiters, Carlos, Domenic, bartenders at the molecular bar, and cruise director , Alejandro, went out their way to ensure we had a great experience. And we did, but it was not without problems. First, embarkation was a nightmare. We stood in line inching along with crowds of people wondering why it was such a problem. When we did get close enough we could see employees milling around and not many checking people in. We think there were computer glitches though no one apprised us of the situation or apologized. Next, the organization of the Ocean View cafe was horrendous. People were rushing from station to station cutting you off or just standing in the middle dazed and confused. I literally got punched in the face when a crew member tried to direct a cruiser with a sweep of his arm. If you wanted to browse the offerings before selecting you were always in the way. Another time I approached a station only to be cut off by a women who then stopped to talk to her husband while I waited. Impatient because I was standing there she pushed my arm to move me ahead of her. Unbelievably she was insulted when I asked her not to touch me. It was also hard to find a seat at lunch. Crew tried their best, but it was impossible to keep the tables cleaned quickly unless you were eating and they were whisking your empty dishes from under you in attempt to hurry you along. I didn't enjoy eating here as I have on the Summit. Finally, the shore excursion in Juneau was delayed 90 minutes while we waited in the theater to be tendered to the dock. After an hour something was mentioned about rough seas and the tender boats having trouble docking. Could be. Since it was a ship sponsored tour I wasn't worried about missing it, but was annoyed when the tour guide said our tour would be cut short. After all, they were at the dock waiting for us at the scheduled time she explained. After protesting, we got the full tour and it was wonderful. Again, there were no apologies from Celebrity just exasperated comments about doing their best. The second problem with an excursion was after disembarkation. We booked a tour with airport drop off. After dealing with the hoards of people trying to claim luggage we made our way outside and couldn't find anyone to direct us to the correct busses. After being told different things we finally made our way aboard. The excursion was very good and I recommend it. I never experienced any of this sailing on the Summit for 6 cruises. Please Celebrity keep everyone informed and don't act like we are doing you a favor. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
Every time you board the ship and every time you enter a food area, you will be expected to use Purell hand sanitizer. Staff members will be holding dispensers and you WILL be stopped and questioned if you don't use it. I totally ... Read More
Every time you board the ship and every time you enter a food area, you will be expected to use Purell hand sanitizer. Staff members will be holding dispensers and you WILL be stopped and questioned if you don't use it. I totally understand their reasoning, but it can be problematic if you're allergic to the stuff like I am. Explaining the situation and promising that you JUST washed your hands might get you by, but they won't be happy with you. Thankfully, I'd brought along a small bottle of alcohol-free sanitizer spray, thinking it might be useful in port. I ended up keeping it in my pocket and letting them see me using it whenever we went to eat. I highly recommend you do the same if you can't (or don't want to) use Purell. That said, we enjoyed our cruise very much. Our previous cruises have been on Carnival, and this was a MUCH calmer, quieter, older crowd. Good for relaxing, not so much for partying, which was fine with us. Our cabin was large and very comfortable. The minor issues we had (one glitch with the television and another with the safe) were addressed very promptly, and our stewards were awesome. The food quality, in our opinion, was exactly the same as Carnival. That means the main dining room was very good and the buffet was decent (but got pretty boring by the end of the trip). All the produce tasted very fresh, and you could always make a good meal or snack from the wide assortment of fresh bread, fresh fruit and cheese. The buffet did get very crowded, but we were always able to find a table within a few minutes. I do wish they'd rethink the organization of the buffet, though. Things like putting the salad dressings at the same end as the lettuce, requiring everyone to double back, made for far more chaos than was necessary. We booked two excursions through Celebrity -- whale watching in Juneau and dog sledding in Scagway -- and we loved them both. We also loved the trip through Tracy Arm-- totally worth getting up at 5am and standing on the deck in the freezing rain. :) We definitely wouldn't hesitate to sail on the Solstice again.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
My wife and I were married while on this cruise (wonderful experience!) and overall we really loved the cruise and our time aboard. There were just a few issues that we felt to be bothersome that Celebrity should work to correct. We ... Read More
My wife and I were married while on this cruise (wonderful experience!) and overall we really loved the cruise and our time aboard. There were just a few issues that we felt to be bothersome that Celebrity should work to correct. We traveled with my wife's parents for the big event and had two nice balcony's rooms on the 8th deck right at the bend of the ship so our balcony's were extra large :-). That is probably my biggest tip for an Alaskan cruise, while we always get balcony's when cruising (this was our 4th cruise), a balcony on an Alaskan cruise is absolutely worth it so you can see all the scenic views (more on this later)! Embarkation: Embarkation went very smoothly. There was a decent line but all in all it was very orderly. There was a gentlemen that greeted us as soon as we got our luggage out of the taxi who helped us tag all our bags and then we proceeded through the check in process. Room: (Balcony on the 8th floor) The balcony room we stayed in was laid out very well and very spacious. There was a large king size bed with a large couch, nice size flat screen tv, hanging locker / closet, and desk / dresser area. The bathroom was also nice size (again for a boat). The room was very clean, and since we booked one of the rooms that is right at the midship where the balcony rooms start to get larger, we had an "extra large" balcony compared to most balcony rooms. You can do this without any type of up charge also. The other great thing about the balcony's was that they are very comfortable, very little to no wind / and temperate. Ship: The ship is very nice, not too extravagant, very clean, and has a good layout. Only a couple of negatives which was bothersome. First was the elevators. For the size ship, the 6 elevators could not keep up and unless you are willing to wait 10mins or more on occasion for an elevator, then you had better be willing to take the stairs. My wife and I regularly take the stairs anyway when only going a couple of floors, but at times waiting on the elevator was really annoying. This was something that I have not experienced on any of my previous cruises (2 X 7 days on Carnival, 1 x 14 day on Norwegian). The 2nd negative we had regarding the ship was that the observation deck was CONSTANTLY closed for "Private Events". This was very bothersome to us! First, we are on a cruise to Alaska, so it's was too cold for the most part to stand in the outside decks, so when in port or cruising the best gathering area with a view is the observation lounge. The issue for us was, the thing was closed for more than 1/2 the trip for private events. The space is very large and they would close it down for about 12 to 15 people....the whole thing....We did have a balcony so for us, we could just go sit on our balcony, but paying a not insignificant amount to sail on this ship we felt we had a right to use of the public areas along with everyone else. I really felt bad for folks without balcony's. Food: We ate at the main dining area, the buffet area, and one of the specialty restaurants "Murano". One thing we did not like about the Celebrity cruise was the dinning selection options. On other cruises we have had more options for dinning outside of the maine area and buffet that do not charge (or not significant up charges). On Celebrity, your only free options are the buffet or main dinning, or your going to be paying $30 to $50 a person for a specialty restaurant. On other cruises we've taken there were specialty restaurants without the up charges or the charges were closer to $7 to $15. The main dining room is very nice, with great service (Thomas and Pasa on our cruise were excellent!). The food was very good (although the lobster was over cooked). The escargot was some of the best I've ever had and we ordered multiple orders for the table every night! Service: Service on the ship is double edge sword. The people they had there were excellent, but there just weren't enough of them. The bars are terribly understaffed. At no time on our entire trip was the bar not completely overwhelmed with people. Usually there was just one bar tender, sometimes there were two or three (like right before or after dinner) but they couldn't handle the crowds. It wasn't from a lack of effort, as the staff was very hard working, there simply just wasn't enough of them. On other cruises there were so many waiters and staff at bars, it would actually get annoying at times telling them that your ok. Not on this cruise. We sat by the in door pool on a sea day (along with about 1/2 the folks on the cruise) - NOT a SINGLE waiter working the deck....Not one.....No one...So, everyone flooded the bar with 2 guy's working it. For a upscale line, this should not be. I've sailed Carnival and Norwegian and NEVER had an issue with lack of people to service the guests. This issue and the constant closing of the observation deck were so bothersome that it's likely I will not cruise again on Celebrity. Route / Ports: Kethcikan: We went Salmon fishing through a private excursion arranged away from the ship. It was AWESOME. First tip - DO NOT pay for a whale watching tour. For one thing, on the main boat when cruising the inside passage from port to port - you will see tons (we probably saw upwards of 30 or more). Second - book a fishing tour, the whales don't care if you your salmon fishing :-). On our fishing excursion we had 5 or more humpbacks in Ketchickan within 20 to 30 yards of the boat! Also my Mother-In-Law caught a 20lb Salmon!!! I can't even count the number of bald eagles we saw, i'm sure it was in the 100's. Those things are like pidgins up there! We had one nearly land in our fishing boat for some of the bait. Cruising Tracy Arm: One word - AMAZING! This is why you have a balcony on this cruise. Words just can't do it justice and i'm truly not easily impressed. Waterfalls, seals, icebergs, fjords, glaciers, incredible views, I could just go on and on. Juneau: We were married in this port! We booked the wedding away from the cruise which included a limo and helicopter tour to Hebert glacier. I will never forget this. It was AMAZING! I can't speak highly enough about Coastal Helicopters, and our wedding coordinator. It really was one of the amazing things ever. Skagaway: And well, not for us. The town is really just designed to part you with your money. I have hard time believing that the 20+ jewelry stores pitching tanzanite are somehow owned by the cruise lines. Anyway, the weather was ok when we were there and it was nice to walk around off the ship for a bit. We personally didn't think this place was worth a stop. A lot of folks did the train / bus tour and we heard mixed reviews but we didn't actually go on those. We did hear "IF" you get a good seat, then it was fun. Otherwise it's a cramped and a bit smelly train / bus ride. Victoria: Personally - I think the boat should skip Skagaway and spend more time in Victoria. Beautiful little city but on cruise we land at 6pm and leave at mid-night. So most of the stores were closed. Entertainment: The singers were good, we didn't end up going to many of the shows but from what we saw they were pretty good. We also enjoyed the Sin City Comedy show they had on board, although make sure you are there in line an HOUR early, otherwise you will not get a seat because they do this show in a very small room not the main theater. Disembarkation: Very smooth. We took our luggage off ourself instead of tagging the luggage and placing for the ship porters to take off for us. We had 4 manageable bags between my wife and I and we had no issues and walked right off the boat. Overall Overall we really loved the cruise - Juneau / Ketchikan / and cruising Tracy Arm really made the cruise for us (Not to mention getting married! :-)). Maybe my expectations were a bit high for the service as I felt the lack of people to provide service was extremely annoying, Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
Very pleasantly surprised by seattle. Recommend the maxwell, great location. Don't miss chihuly gardens. In Ketchikan - misty fjords sea plane ride was breathtaking & fun. Juneau - helicopter ride over glacier was cancelled very ... Read More
Very pleasantly surprised by seattle. Recommend the maxwell, great location. Don't miss chihuly gardens. In Ketchikan - misty fjords sea plane ride was breathtaking & fun. Juneau - helicopter ride over glacier was cancelled very last minute due to weather, which we understand. No alternate activity though was offered. Left having to wait over an hour for tender to town which had nothing worthwhile. That day a total bust! Skagway - train/bus ride with chilkoot tours - well run & very worthwhile. (Ships tour is train both ways, bus allows you to stop, get off & take photos) Then musher dog run - ok, interesting, ride fun but short, takes way too long to wait for bus back after tho. Victoria - arrived at nite, beware that only with excursion can you get into bushcart gardens after 6, at least early June. Very beautiful, don't miss. Followed up by quick tour of city, which was very nice. Ship: Main dining food not too great -& service erratic. specialty restaurants worth the splurge if you can (tuscan & silk harvest excellent). Ocean view buffet acceptable, ice cream/yogurt bar saved me. Entertainment better than expected & I'm a nyc snob. Casino fun. Staff very warm & helpful. A bit too enthusiastic with those constant & overly generous Purcell squirts! Never a problem with lounge chairs or finding quiet areas .... Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
We enjoyed our trip enormously. A few things for you to consider if you are thinking about taking this trip: 1. Our #1 favorite part of the cruise was taking the Tracy Arm Fjord catamaran shore excursion. This is a limited-seating option, ... Read More
We enjoyed our trip enormously. A few things for you to consider if you are thinking about taking this trip: 1. Our #1 favorite part of the cruise was taking the Tracy Arm Fjord catamaran shore excursion. This is a limited-seating option, so you should book early if it sounds appealing to you. But if you go, DO NOT BOOK AN AFTERNOON SHORE EXCURSION IN JUNEAU. Our catamaran spent an extra hour in the Fjord and then it took 20+ minutes for the crew to properly align the catamaran to the ship so people could transfer back to the ship. By that point, we were 1-1/2 hours later than we were supposed to be. Many people missed their afternoon shore excursions. We had not booked an excursion, so we were OK. We went on shore in Juneau and immediately went to one of the MANY tour kiosks right next to the ship. For only $20 round trip, we were taken on a bus to the Mendenhall Glacier where we had ample time to hike to Nuggett Falls. 2. Our only real complaint was that the Skyview Lounge (a large,windowed interior space with lots of comfy seating, located on an upper deck in the front of the ship) was often closed to the public due to some special group gathering or other. At times, the ropes were up but it appeared that the room was empty. On a chilly Alaska cruise, this was prime space where we wanted to be and it was frustrating to have it closed so often. 3. We were surprised at the enormous number of Asian passengers who have different cultural habits regarding things like letting people out of an elevator before pushing in, going to the dining room in flip flops and shorts. But everyone on the ship got along and we generally found people were pleasant. 4. DO NOT BOOK the Skagway White Pass & Yukon Railway shore excursion (SK01). Limited narration which is repeated word-for-word on the way up and again on the way back. Also, you have to step outside the train car to get a good picture but they have no speakers outside the train, so you have to choose -- do you want to take pictures or do you want to know what you are passing? You can't do both. third problem with that excursion is that they never let you off the train. Afterwards, we spoke with other passengers who took an excursion that was van/bus in one direction and train in the other direction and that seemed to be a much better tour. 5. The onboard naturalist, Brent Nixon, was wonderful and really added to our trip experience. If you go, attend each and every one of his talks. Celebrity is so smart to have Brent Nixon on board!! 6. An observation about dress code. We had been on a Celebrity cruise to the Caribbean, which was much dressier than this cruise to Alaska. The Alaska cruise was much more casual at all times: day and evening, smart casual and formal. "Formal" nights in Alaska were like non-formal nights in the Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
My SO and I had never been to Alaska cruise. We decided to take a fall cruise to Alaska, flying into Seattle from New Jersey on United for a 7 night cruise on the Celebrity Soltice. Arrival at the port in Seattle was uneventful and I was ... Read More
My SO and I had never been to Alaska cruise. We decided to take a fall cruise to Alaska, flying into Seattle from New Jersey on United for a 7 night cruise on the Celebrity Soltice. Arrival at the port in Seattle was uneventful and I was very glad I had concierge class service or would have stood in a very, very long line checking in. We were checked in very quickly, having used the on-line check-in on the Celebrity website. Once on the ship, we found it to be beautiful, in good taste, and had our first lunch in Oceanview Cafe which turned out to be our "go to" source of meals for the most part on throughout our cruise. While we dined in the Epernay main dining room a few times as we liked our table mates, there was really no reason to do so otherwise, as I thought the quality of the food at the buffet was better. Obviously there are always exceptions, such as the second formal night when lobster was on the menu. The required Baked Alaska dessert was probably the best dessert served in Epernay all week. Service was weak there, especially the assistant waiter, a young woman, who never got it that when she poured our water she should also ask if we wanted another beverage. We are ice tea drinkers, but she must have thought we were going to seek out alcoholic beverages which was a different waiter. When my SO asked for tea following dinner, she brought coffee. While the buffet fare was similar over the entirety of the cruise, it was always fresh, the meats tasty, and the variety enough for every type of palate. The ice cream was so so...did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants or bistro, etc. Our stateroom was on the Sky Deck, concierge class. It was very clean and comfortable and our stateroom attendant took care of our every need. Once, however, another attendant cleaned our room for some reason and did not wipe down the granite countertops which were sticky and still had some broken toothpicks lying about. Our cabin was at the very front of the ship, next to where the "wings" of the bridge stick out. In other words, it had its drawbacks including an exit/entrance for crew outside our door and not being able to look out to our left side due to the wing of the bridge. The second day I had to complain to guest services that the banging of the door and the throwing of heavy items about inside the bridge area had to stop as it was driving me nuts every time I was in our room. They toned it down immediately and maintenan ce repaired the crew door so that it didn't slam. Alaska was beautiful, we had beautiful weather the entirety of the cruise,and there is no question the excursions, whether purchased through Celebrity or not, are a must on this cruise. Photo opportunities abound whether it be sightseeing or learning about indigenous animal species. We saw two orca wales near the ship. The stops at Ketchikan, Skagway, and Juneau were enlightening and our favorite excursion was the Whitepass Railroad, a must see. Not enough time to really see beautiful Victoria, BC with evening arrival & departure. The ship entertainment was good, not great, but there was a significant amount of different types of entertainment. The people on the cruise were very nice, and all the workers worked with a smile and greetings. Hand sanitizer encouraged absolutely everywhere. The final day's excursion which included a tour of Seattle with drop off at SeaTac Airport was very worthwhile for us since we hadn't seen much of the City before the cruise and it was enjoyable to say the least. Also we availed ourselves of the new valet service costing $20 per person for Celebrity to take care of having our checked luggage transported to the airport without us lifting a finger, and boarding passes ready for us so as soon as we got to the airport, we simply went through the TSA process and went to our gate. It remains to be seen whether the service was worth the cost, as I am sitting in the airport now awaiting my flight back home!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2013
Room: Was very spacious, bed was comfortable, up to date furnishings, nice balcony. Service: Our room steward was wonderful. We always had enough clean towels, and he cleaned multiple times each day. Our dining waiters (Ryan & ... Read More
Room: Was very spacious, bed was comfortable, up to date furnishings, nice balcony. Service: Our room steward was wonderful. We always had enough clean towels, and he cleaned multiple times each day. Our dining waiters (Ryan & Surhendar) were also great. These gentlemen made sure we liked our meal choices each night and if not, brought us something else promptly. They also made our group of 6 feel special every night by making recommendations and talking with us on a personal level. Also throughout the boat all of the personnel were very friendly and accommodating. Food: We ate in the dining room each night for dinner and the food was fine. Most of us didn't have a problem cleaning our plates and always had dessert. One day for lunch we ate at the Bistro which was very good. I believe our waitress was Anisha and she was a delight. For breakfast and some lunches we ate at the buffet. I felt as though there were enough different choices of food that you could always find something and everything I had was good. Entertainment: We went to two shows which were entertaining. I will have to say we were disappointed that there was a minimum charge of $39 to play bingo which included 3 cards. We all felt that was a bit much and did not play. Embarkment: We arrived at 11 for early embarkment and were on the boat within an hour or less. This included going through customs and getting our boat cards. Everything was smooth and the few lines we encountered moved quickly. Excursions: Unfortunately we were only able to take one excursion because our cruise was cancelled at our first port because of propulsion problems. We took a seaplane over Misty Fjord. The weather was a bit rainy but the views were beautiful. Cancellation: This of course was very disappointing not only because we were unable to go on our excursions to Icy Strait (whale watching), Juneau ( helicopter ride to glacier), Skagway ( raft ride to eagle preserve), but also the planning that goes into a trip like this, money spent for airline tickets that we probably will not be refunded, money spent for trip insurance, vacation time taken from our jobs, and also missing a portion of our 3 day land tour because of the need to remove all of the passengers earlier than expected. Until the night before disembarking we felt the communication had been well concerning the propulsion problems. But at dinner around 9pm it was announced we had to have our bags packed and ready at 11pm and would be disembarking at 10:30am the next morning. We were also told our flight out of Ketchikan would go to Anchorage and we would stay the night there. After arriving in Anchorage the Celebrity reps let us know we would not be spending the night but had a two hour ride to Talkeetna. The bus driver was kind enough to stop at a grocery store to let us buy food because we had not eaten since breakfast. We arrived exhausted in Talkeetna at 2am. So we missed our scenic bus tour from Seward through anchorage. Thankfully the rest of our land tour couldn't have gone smoother. Tour guide (Steve) and bus driver (Arta) were wonderful. They took care of luggage and all hotel check in's. In conclusion, Celebrity promises to refund our cruise portion of the trip along with a voucher of the same amount for a future cruise. We would not have expected anything less. We also hope to get a refund on the 3 excursions that were cancelled.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
This was our third cruise on Celebrity. I am sad to say that it was not what I had experienced before and what were looking forward to. The ship itself is beautiful and it was very clean all the time. We booked Concierge Class because ... Read More
This was our third cruise on Celebrity. I am sad to say that it was not what I had experienced before and what were looking forward to. The ship itself is beautiful and it was very clean all the time. We booked Concierge Class because our agent quoted us a price that was less than a regular veranda. All the perks they advertise with Concierge Class except the priority check-in were unexceptional. Priority luggage delivery? Three of four bags arrived about 4 hours after our 12:00 check-in. One was broken beyond repair. The bag with my cosmetics was misplaced for hours, arrived at about 7pm. This is priority luggage delivery???? Not such a good start! Wilted flowers in stateroom. I couldn't see anything special about the stateroom. The bathroom was nice, maybe a little bigger than most. The shower had a nice curved glass door. Maybe all the bathrooms on the Solstice are like this. We were previously on the Eclipse and I remember a shower curtain. Nice to not have the shower curtain sticking to you. The advertised Concierge hor'dourves were not very good any day. A few olives, a blob of some kind of dip, some stale chips. Looked very similar every day. The last night we received some mozzarella balls and grape tomatoes in olive oil and basil. Nothing to pick them up with! A toothpick would have been nice. Note to self...don't pay extra for Concierge Class, not worth it. Dining room...oh what a disappointment. We had a beautiful table for two next to a window. The waiter was incredibly inexperienced and the sommelier was dismissive and inattentive. As soon as he realized we had a beverage package and would not be ordering bottles of wine, he couldn't be bothered. I asked the waiter for a different sorbet, We did this for the first two nights then we ate at the Oceanview for a couple nights. The last three nights we did select seating which was so poorly represented we didn't even know it existed! Totally different experience. Waiters, assistant waiters and sommelier were incredibly friendly and accommodating. My husband asked for an ice cream that was not on the menu and within a few minutes the assistant waiter had served it. This is the way it should be! Food was OK, not exceptional.It was very hard to get attention at the bars or in the Oceanview. Drink waiters would be walking by with their trays above their heads, making no eye contact, not asking if you wanted anything. I would have to wave them down to get a glass of wine! Unacceptable! And the Oceanview was terribly overcrowded. Very hard to ever get a table. We have not experienced that before. Perhaps because it was cold outside and people couldn't be on the decks? I don't know, but not very pleasant. And there were many times that I was almost mowed down by employees in the Oceanview. They didn't vary their course at all, I had to move out of their way. Seemed odd to me. Cruise director Patty needs to cut back on the coffee! Annoying voice that goes on forever. Shows, average. Cirque de Soleil type show was fun. Brent Nixon, who did the Alaska talks was very informative every time, entertaining most of the time, sometimes more manic than entertaining. Cruise had way too many port days/hours for us. We knew that going in and thought it might be OK. When you can't be outside at all because of wind and cold what amounts to about three days in port is not enough for us. All in all, I felt it was not a good value for our money. Flew round trip to Rome last year and spent 11 days on Azamara Quest for less than I spent for this Alaska cruise. Way better service and ports. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
ONCE IN A LIFETIME CRUISE TO ALASKA BY Tikigal: Kimberly Foreman Ship: Celebrity Solstice Date: August 16-23 Seattle, Ketchikan, Tracy Arm, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria, Seattle http://tripwow.tripadvisor.com/tripwow/ta-07d2-10e2-d2f5?ln ... Read More
ONCE IN A LIFETIME CRUISE TO ALASKA BY Tikigal: Kimberly Foreman Ship: Celebrity Solstice Date: August 16-23 Seattle, Ketchikan, Tracy Arm, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria, Seattle http://tripwow.tripadvisor.com/tripwow/ta-07d2-10e2-d2f5?ln Click here to enjoy and download the slideshow Our Captain was Zisis Tarams, and Staff Captain was Dimitri Petros. Both very gracious hosts to us while we were on board. Attire: A bit more casual than an elegant Caribbean Cruise, dressy works fine, and a nice pant suit or dress for ladies every night works great. Bring a sweater, as it is always a bit chilly going sleeveless. This is Alaska, remember, not the Caribbean, so dress appropriately. Bring a warm jacket for your day trips. After 29 cruises, this was my thirtieth cruise. I had never been to Alaska before, and though I have seen icebergs floating past Greenland, and Iceland, never before have I witnessed such spectacular scenery, and a crew all too eager to help us see the sights. CHECK IN: We arrived at 11:445AM, and had a smooth check-in without a wait. We proceeding through security, with all of our paperwork in hand, keeping passports and stateroom cards available. Be sure you have printed up your express pass to bring with you. We were greeting by champagne, mimosas or orange juice, and enjoyed the friendliness of the waiters for our First Impression. I think a nice touch would have been a Senior Officer or two at the door to greet and assess his passengers, as well as the Cruise Director, and Captains Club representative for past cruisers. I understand these individuals are busy, but first impressions go a long way! I was able to drop off my backpack with wine inside, and then walked around the chip. We met our new Captains Club Hostess, Tanushka D Souza, from India, who was a delight. Chandru, her counterpart, had just left the ship for vacation, which I previously knew from the Eclipse. Touring the ship (my fifth sail aboard the Solstice) I noticed Park West Galleries had re-entered the scene. I saw a lovely painting by Peter Max of The Solstice, which has always been a favorite of mine. We attended the art auctions, which was fun, as my roommate bought a series of paintings. I showed my roommate around the ship, as she had not been on the Solstice. Our ship departed on time, and we went to the Sunset Bar in the aft for sail away, and met up with a group of cruise critic friends. We went to the Blue restaurant for dinner, as is part of our Aqua Suite package. BLU RESTAURANT: Delicious, all natural food, without all the heavy cream sauces. A more health conscious dining restaurant that I would consider upscale by anyone's standards. All the meals were good, and yes, you do get a lobster dinner. Yummy! You may take your time, and even though they plan on turning the tables a few times during the evening, there is no rush, and if you want to take your time, you may. You may come at any time you wish, no rules, just dress fairly nice. The service is excellent. I have eaten at Blu before. Things to do: $10 Blowout for purses, scarves, and lots of fun things that the crowd on board goes crazy for. Bingo, Practice for Flash Dancing, Ballroom dance classes, cooking demonstrations with Executive Chef, Robert Sauer, glass blowing demonstrations up on the lawn, lawn croquet, art of food and wine parings, music trivia, talent shows, Zumba classes, watercolor classes with Ken Withrow, table tennis, the pool, spa, scrapbooking club, you name it, it happened. I was picked to play in the Officers vs. Guests Game show, family feud, and won a t-shirt and a lanyard, and bragging rights for a few minutes. The Captains Club party was fun, with the winner having 48 points, and receiving beautiful flowers, and other goodies. Tracy Arm Fjord: We started sailing in there early, around 5:45 AM. Our enrichment experience was narrated by Brent Nixon, an expert on Alaska. He talked over the loudspeaker so every passenger could here on deck only of course. Here we saw a thirty-mile glacial fjord from millions of years ago. I recommend going next year, before we lose all the glaciers! There are rain forest here at the mouth of the fjord, leading into active tidewater glaciers. Oh my, this was an incredible journey. Please see my slide show link at the top to view this experience. Captains Club Elite: Positive things for me: I found Tanushka extremely warm and friendly. She is a jewel for Celebrity and works very hard to accommodate all of the Captains Club guests with their special wishes and needs. Kudos to you, my dear! I was invited to many events and appreciate her graciousness and that of the Senior Officers' Staff. We were able to go to Captains Club cocktail hour nightly as I had Elite Status. You could sip on a variety of drinks on the house, and enjoy the best view on the ship during certain hours of the day. I found it odd that Select guests were at Elite events, but went with the flow. I was here for fun, not to complain. I found that the Sky Lounge had closed the very forward section, and was entertaining another group on board, and we were put on the side. Captains Club was a small group, but alas, we were there to make friends and have fun. Silk Harvest was Elite's morning hang-out with a variety of goodies for us. Things not present in the normal program printed for Elite: Afternoon tea, Elite Bridge Tours, Elite galley tours. I always enjoyed the Elite galley tour as it ended with a tidbit in Oceans, or other specialty restaurants on different ships. I was really looking forward to that. It is my favorite part of the sailing. Maybe it was just the time restraints, but I missed the special invitations that I automatically had. The cruise booklets were no longer available, so you could not sit in your room and dream, looking at the pictures in the book, and reading all the information, before booking another cruise. I really miss that, and wish they would be available on board, on request only. I assume it was a cost factor. Ketchikan: Saw the Great American Lumberjack show. Lots of fun to see this and a good family show. It rained, but we sat high enough to remain undercover. Choose a back row for the best protection in inclement weather. Lots of shopping in town as well Skagway: Took the White Pass Railway Journey. If you haven't gone don't miss it. One the way back, I could literally watch Alaskan king Salmon jumping in the river by the bridge! It was awesome. Victoria: Went to Butchart Gardens for the evening tour. We were given Chinese paper lanterns that lit up. Some worked, some didn't but the theory was good, as many of our passengers were carrying around lit lanterns at nights, so we could see some of the plants. An awesome experience. We then toured Chinatown. We had great weather- 81 degrees. I loved Victoria, and we got to stay there until almost midnight! Seattle: It was smooth sailing in and out of Seattle. If you get a chance, visit Pikes Place Market (where they fling the fish, have a flower market, and lots of fun) Gig Harbor (west of Tacoma), take in a Mariners Baseball game, take a spin on the Ferris wheel overlooking the Sound near the ship. Disembarkation was a breeze, found our luggage in 3 minutes, and left the ship. We used nearby parking for $140 per week (ouch) Seattlecruisepark.com http://tripwow.tripadvisor.com/tripwow/ta-07d2-10e2-d2f5?ln Click here to see the slideshow of the trip. Approximately 12 minutes. Enjoy!   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
If you overnight in Seattle before the cruise, take a cab to the pier versus the local shuttle if your hotel is not on their normal list of stops. You can get the cab from the Pike Place area for the same $12 as the shuttle service charges ... Read More
If you overnight in Seattle before the cruise, take a cab to the pier versus the local shuttle if your hotel is not on their normal list of stops. You can get the cab from the Pike Place area for the same $12 as the shuttle service charges from their normal hotels. Schedule a pickup from a hotel not normally serviced and you will be charged over $30. Embarkation and the walk-off disembarkation was easy. The Solstice is a beautiful new ship. The dining room seemed chaotic. I was not given my requested size table and asked for a change after the first night. Only 2 other people showed up at that large table. Finally no one showed, and I made my own change. The second table was at the entrance to the dining room's lower level and next to a staging area where waiters were constantly bringing trays etc. One of our waiters needed better personal hygiene. Those running the dining room operations were constantly on their cell phones, chatting, and looking at the seating diagram well after the dining time had begun. The menu descriptions often did not match what you were served. Spinach salad had 4-5 leaves of spinach and had mostly mixed greens. Dishes had what seemed strange ingredients like black pepper in chocolate mousse. Pasta dishes had no garlic seasoning. It seemed they tried to be too "fancy" and tried to offer too many cuisines. As someone else stated, there was a limited standard menu if you did not want the offerings of the day. The brunch was the best effort. They had quiche for the brunch, but I never saw it offered on the menu on another day. Never saw a baked potato offered. This was my second Celebrity cruise and my second disappointment with dining on Celebrity. I expected better on their new ships. Victoria was a disappointment as the stop began at 6:30pm and the excursion I wanted that I saw offered online was not offered by the ship's excursion desk. I guess this was due to the brief evening stop. No one even believed I read about it on the Celebrity website or could explain. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2013
We just got married in April and knew this trip was going to be our honeymoon. I did lots of homework on cruise lines, ships, destinations, ports, etc. I chose carefully and because I'd read so many reviews I wasn't actually too ... Read More
We just got married in April and knew this trip was going to be our honeymoon. I did lots of homework on cruise lines, ships, destinations, ports, etc. I chose carefully and because I'd read so many reviews I wasn't actually too surprised by what I experienced. We booked the Westin Hotel in Seattle for the night before the cruise - we booked through the cruise line in order to get the transfer to the pier. The hotel was okay - clean but with an odd setup and no refrigerator to use. I would not have wanted to spend more than one night there. The transfer from hotel to pier from the Westin hotel was disorganized and chaotic. The staff from Celebrity seemed to be lost in space and the hotel did not provide a meeting area so people were milling about in the lobby and meeting rooms on the floor below. We found the bus on our own and boarded - and finally the Celebrity staff came on board and found all of us that they were missing - it just took them forever. We traveled on Celebrity Solstice - 19/July 2013 sailing. The crew were quick to say they were fully booked with 3,060 passengers. The ship is laid out fairly well and only rarely were there crowds to navigate. The ship is very beautiful. The Soltice Theater is poorly laid out with very long rows of seats that leave passengers climbing over one another a good portion of the time. The Sky Lounge has a beautiful view but the seating is uncomfortable so when you want to watch for whales on a cruise like this you can't sit there very long. Our stateroom was small, clean and fairly well thought out. Our attendant, like another reviewer was Wilfred. He was fantastic. I asked for ice on the first day and he made sure the ice bucket never went empty. The only complaints we had were about the bed - the bed is an odd shape and they seemed to have trouble finding sheets/blankets that fit it. The flat sheet was not tucked in and only ran 3/4 of the way down the bed so it would slide up at night and wind up wrapped around my neck and shoulders. My husband is tall and his feet hung way off the bottom of the bed as well. While tiny, the bathroom was set up well - and love that shower! I've been on other cruises where the bathroom was hard to use for a large person - this one was really laid out well and seemed almost spacious! The naturalist on board, Brent Nixon was alot of fun to watch. He is very animated and knowledgeable. He was a great stage performer but tended to lose his less enthusiastic audience members who thought he put too much info in his talks. My husband would glaze over after about 30min - but I enjoyed the talks. The Hot Glass show by the Corning Museum of Glass was great. We saw at least a portion of almost every show they gave. The glass blowers on our cruise were fantastic artisans, knowledgeable about their craft and very nice as well. The venue there on the lawn is beautifully set up and it was nice of the cruise line to provide blankets to viewers of the show because it sometimes got very cold up there. The Sin City Comedy show was fun. It is an adult comedy show and the cruise line states that you must be over 18 to attend - but the 11:15pm show we went to had many teens under 18 in attendance. The dining on board was hit-or-miss. Make reservations for the specialty restaurants well in advance - we didn't and could not get into any of them. The main dining room was lovely and the staff were very nice. Although a waiter did accidentally drop a plate of escargot on my husband's back - the service otherwise was excellent. We enjoyed the food for the most part, too. The Oceanview Cafe was rough. It is not laid out very well and passengers are forever running into one another. The bus staff are good but the staff working behind the stations aren't very helpful for the most part. Many of the dishes taste like no one from the staff ever tasted them while cooking - they are overly salty or sweet in most cases. There were some good dishes - but it really seemed to be the exception and not the rule. The Mast Grill was terrible - the guy working the grill seemed like he did not want to be there - and he treated every person that walked up as if we were taking him away from something important. Food was overdone or looked like it had been prepared days before! The Gelataria was very nice - the ship-made gelato was very good. The coffee/tea specialty place was also very good! The ship has a youth center on board - which is great for younger children. There were many family groups on board though with pre-teens and teens who were left running unsupervised much of the time. It seems many parents can't be bothered spending time with their own children. These unsupervised teens were found running in groups - mostly in the forward stairs/elevators and on the upper decks around the pool and the basketball courts. They were loud and oblivious to some of the seniors and physically challenged passengers so would sometimes create problems as they ran by other people. Many people we met said they would not travel on Celebrity again because of this. The crew was almost always of sunny disposition - with polite and friendly conversation. The staff working at the grills in the Oceanview Cafe were the only regular exception - they were usually oblivious to the passengers and a bit surly if you asked them for anything. We booked many excursions and stayed very busy in most ports. Thanks to other reviews here on CruiseCritic we made sure to book the Tracy Arm Glacier excursion. When we reached Tracy Arm the captain chose not to go into Tracy Arm because of the large amounts of ice in the mouth of the fjord which presented a hazard to the ship. He instead took us into Endicott Arm to see the Dawes glacier. This was the inaugural trip for the Solstice into Endicott Arm so there were lots of ship staff on deck photographing and shooting video. Since we had booked the shore excursion we were in the group that exited the ship in front of the glacier getting on a catamaran that stayed near the glacier for an extended time (they can stay there for up to 30min) and then took us sightseeing along different stretches of beach to see if we could find bears, eagles, etc. The Solstice dropped us off and then quickly turned around and left to travel up to Juneau. The catamaran we were sightseeing on met up at just about 1pm where we boarded the ship - and right away got in line to exit again to the pier on the other side of the ship. While we did not get to see bear - we did see harbor seals, arctic tern, bald eagle, ice bergs, waterfalls, etc. It was lovely - and well worth the money and time - EXCELLENT! The other shore excursions were also lovely. We did the Mystic Fjords in Ketchikan, Mendenhall Glacier (the naturalist had told us that a bear with cubs was feeding in the stream near the glacier) where we saw spawning salmon and just missed the bear, the dog sled summer camp, the train/bus tour in Skagway and Craigdarroch castle in Victoria. All of the excursions were well thought out and we had lovely weather so there was lots to see. The disembarkation process was simple and moved quickly. The loading of buses for transport to the airport outside the terminal was a bit taxing - very long lines and very slow moving. I would recommend Celebrity Solstice to friends and family - I would just warn people about what they are getting into. Don't buy the drink package - once the waiters know they will not get any tips from you they never come back to offer you another drink - EVER! It would be very difficult to utilize the drink package enough to make it worth the money. Choose to eat in the main dining room - the food is much better there than the Oceanview!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2013
This was our third cruise with Celebrity and our second on Solstice. This was also the first season in Alaska for a "Solstice Class" ship for the cruise line. Even though there was a fair amount of families on this cruise,many ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Celebrity and our second on Solstice. This was also the first season in Alaska for a "Solstice Class" ship for the cruise line. Even though there was a fair amount of families on this cruise,many more than our Mediterranean cruise last year, Celebrity is geared more for adults than children. No pool slides, rock climbing walls, zip lines,etc. If I was considering a cruise with children, my sense is that another cruise line may be a better pick. The Solstice was extremely clean, had a very friendly crew that work very hard to ensure you have the best experience possible. Brent Nixon as others have commented, did a great job in presenting Alaskan wildlife. He is not to be missed if you are going this season. Mario our room steward was also wonderful and serviced our requests promptly and always with a smile. We elected the specialty restaurant package and added an additional night at the Murano. Don't miss an opportunity to eat at the Murano at least once.In fact, it is suggested that you make reservations BEFORE the cruise,since they sell out that restaurant quickly, especially days at sea. But,we would not do the package again. Main reason was that the Tuscan Grille, where we had dinner twice, fell far short as far as food quality. The soup and salad courses were very good. But after that, pasta and meat course was terrible. Too bad, the Tuscan Grille is situated on the rear of the ship with floor to ceiling windows and has the best location of all three specialty restaurants. Our waiter on the first evening in Tuscan Grille was not very experienced, or just was having a bad night. He had a number of tables and had to do it all. No busboys to be seen. Had to ask for water refills and he served us the 3rd and 4th course at the same time. He also told us that the steaks would be cooked perfectly even though they would look like they were well done. Well,they were well done and the filet that my wife ordered was tasteless and meat quality was well below expectations. This is supposed to be an Italian Steak House. Pass on this one. The food and service in the main dining room is much better in all ways. The Silk Harvest had excellent service and the food was good, but not great. We ate there twice also and did not have regrets, but it is not a must-do. We did three excursions. One through celebrity, one through the internet with a private company and one we booked when we got off the ship. In Ketchikan we did the sea plane to Misty Fjords with celebrity. The pilot "Mike" with Promech Air didn't speak during entire trip except when we landed at Misty Fjords. He pointed to the shore line and said there was a bear there earlier in the day. That was it. The rest of the flight was a limited pre-recorded narration and the rest music. As we were returning back to the place of origination, the recording started all over introducing us to the flight. This went on for about five minutes before "Mike" turned it off. We landed, no thank you, no have a nice day, nothing. Bizzare!! After cruising the Endicott Arm (Plan B)earlier in the day (Tracy Arm had too much floating ice)we booked a tour once we got off the ship with Dolphin Tours and went whale watching. The BEST day of the cruise and the best excursion. We spent serveral hours watching humpbacks bubble feeding. The crew were outstanding. Look for Dolphin Tours when you disembark and book it. I hope your experience is as magical as ours was. We did the White Pass train in Skagway. It was interesting and time well spent. Now for Alaska in general. Weather can be iffy and you have to be prepared for that. Rain, cloudy days, fog, some sun (maybe), 50's to 70 degrees, and anything in between. Wild Life!! The is not the discovery channel. Besides the humpbacks, we saw dolphins and 2 bald eagles with binoculars. No bears, no caribou, no orcas, no moose. Set your expectations or you may be disappointed. I hope this is helpful to all that are considering The Solstice and Alaska for their vacation.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
We had priority boarding via Aquaclass, so I don't think it took more than ten minutes to board the ship after we dropped off our bags. We arrived early to the ship so our balcony stateroom was still being made ready. We headed up to ... Read More
We had priority boarding via Aquaclass, so I don't think it took more than ten minutes to board the ship after we dropped off our bags. We arrived early to the ship so our balcony stateroom was still being made ready. We headed up to the Oceanview cafe for an awesome buffet lunch. We sat outside on the patio in the sunshine and enjoyed our first meal overlooking the water and the Seattle skyline in the distance. This was the beginning of a week long cruise that was nearly perfect. The scenery in Alaska is amazing. Brent Nixon is a naturalist on the ship who did several wildlife presentations that were very educational and entertaining. The Ghost-lite Broadway show was my favorite of the cruise. Hiking in Alaska is free, if I cruise AK again I will skip the high $$ excursions.Aquaclass allows for breakfast and dinner in a restaurant called Blu, I would pay for Aqua just to dine in Blu. Aquaclass offers several more perks too. Liquor on board the ship is incredibly expensive and so are the drink packages. I would compare Celebrity pretty closely to Royal Caribbean, both exceptional. That said, neither is a a luxury cruise line but both work very hard to provide an amazing cruise experience. Read Less
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