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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
2 Helpful Votes
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We arrived in Seattle the night before embarkation to allow stress-free checking in. It took less than an hour from arrival at the pier to on boarding. We chose to keep our carry-on luggage as recommended which we shouldn't have to. ... Read More
We arrived in Seattle the night before embarkation to allow stress-free checking in. It took less than an hour from arrival at the pier to on boarding. We chose to keep our carry-on luggage as recommended which we shouldn't have to. Our luggage arrived by 1:30 pm at the same time that stateroom was ready! 5 Stars - Cruise amenities, activities, public area, Aqua class experience, Stateroom, Cabin Steward, Food quality, Spa experience, Fitness classes Blu restaurant - very good dining experience each night. 4 Stars - Excursions - We selected all of our excursions directly from Celebrity pre-cruise which is a lot cheaper than purchasing on board. All the tours arranged smoothly. Minus one star because one of our excursion was cancelled without any offer for replacement. Oceanview Cafe - Good variety of food and dessert! Minus one start because of overcrowded and competitively seating by the window! They should break up more tables into two so that all the seats are occupied. Most of the time table for 4-6 would have been occupied by two people. We really enjoy daily dessert selection, Lavazza coffee, indian food, stir-fry bar, ice-cream station, and daily fair. Breakfast is good, you can come and leave quickly without hassle. Should have more lunch spots and "grab & go" or quick lunch for people that don't eat much and want to do something else while on cruise. Oceanview is always busy at lunch time, you will have to spend at least 1 hour for lunch. It felt a bit uncomfortable to bring plate to your room, so many people at the entrance of the restaurant. Entertainments and Lectures - Every nights and on the sea day, it is packed with several things to do. We purchased fitness class package ($55/5 classes + $50 spa credit). We took zumba, yoga, spinning, and pilates classes. The spa credit is a joke since it can only be used on sea day and cannot be combined with other sea day discount. So, you end up paying almost the same price for already reduced price for sea day spa service (e.g. massage = $150/$115 on sea day, if using $50 credit, you will pay $150-50 = $100). 3 Stars - Itinerary, we arrived at Tracy Arm Fjords very early in the morning, followed by another port of call, Juneau which you barely spend half-day at most in the capital city of Alaska. There are many things to see and we were not able to fit all into our calendar. We almost missed Sawyer's Glacier, they only stopped for less than 15 min and left quickly. We were at the restaurant and did not know that we have arrived! Ketchikan - nothing much to see at this port, would rather spend only half day and preserve more times at Tracy Arm Fjords or Juneau. Victoria - arrived late, nothing much to see as our excursion was cancelled (whale watching tour). Almost three-day at sea (Day 2, Day 6 and Day 7 as we arrived late in Victoria) which could have been improved compared to other cruiseline itinerary. The Solstice did not visit Hubbard Glaciers, which should have been included in the itinerary, unlike the Millennium. 2 Stars - Service at Blu restaurant. On one night, we have to wait for > 30 min until someone can take our order. Constantly, we have to ask to refill water on our empty glasses. They were either disappeared or busy chit-chat with other tables. Constantly, they keep asking us to give them 10/10 on post-cruise surveys. The quality of food and daily selection deserved 5 start, but minus 3 stars for the very poor service. The hostess did not do well in fitting people on the table. At one point, we have to wait for more than 15 min to seat despite several empty tables. In my opinion, the set up, service type and resource management at Blu cannot accommodate too many large group dining. We have one table of 15, several tables of 8+ people every night. They need to allocate enough waitress to allow for this type of service and not shared with other "small" tables. In-room dining. No paper menu, limited selection on smart TV. Breakfast was poor but delivered on time. No water, again? 1 Stars On board payment and up selling. We paid over $1K despite some $250 credit we received from the travel agency. No coffee, no water without buying a package. They do not allow you to refill water from oceanview cafe to your individual container. We ended up paying in-room minibar daily for water (which is also not included in basic drinking package). A 1L bottle of Evian costs $6.50. We don't need Evian, just to be fair, spring water is good enough but that is $2/500 mL bottle and you have to walk to the cafe to purchase one (plus tax + service charge). To promote healthy and prevent certain compromised infection, they shouldn't have been so difficult about water. We don't want to purchase a package because we have to walk to cafe to get bottle water daily or multiple times a day. We ended up asking our cabin steward to bring two Evian bottles daily to our room and pay for the mini-bar service. Overall, despite some "flaws", I almost gave 5 stars to our wonderful travel with Celebrity Solstice on Aqua class. We will definitely book our next cruise with Celebrity, but may upgrade to suite class for better service overall. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was only or second cruise and it has been many tears since the first. We found the ship to be incredible. It's amazing what can fit on a cruise ship! The common areas were awesome and we never felt crowded wherever we went. As ... Read More
This was only or second cruise and it has been many tears since the first. We found the ship to be incredible. It's amazing what can fit on a cruise ship! The common areas were awesome and we never felt crowded wherever we went. As for the staff, our room keeper, Rhonda, was a dream. She never intruded on us and somehow managed to keep our room spotless. We had several servers at Epernay that were beyond amazing. Froilan, Christina and Ranburne. They gave us amazing service. We experienced some snarkiness at the martini bar and the third floor bar. In my opinion, the martini bar servers were more interested in showing off than providing service. Other than that, the service was great. Excursions: Ketchikan-we did the nature hike. It was ok. Our guide was knowledgeable enough and we were stoked to see some bears in the water fishing for salmon. Skagway-Mendenhall canoe trip. All I can say is be prepared to work. And work hard. It's a lot of paddling (6 miles there and back). My shoulder still hurts! It was beautiful, yes and our guide Mitch was entertaining but it was not as I expected. Juneau-Eagle preserve raft float-the most enjoyable trip! Saw lots of bald eagles and it was so relaxing. Our guide was an expert on the eagles no doubt. Gorgeous. Victoria-Beautiful place! We enjoyed the lantern tour at Butchart Gardens. Absolutely stunning scenery! One thing we wished is that we had more time in each port. If you do an excursion, there is little to not time left to explore the city. That was a bummer. If you're planning on souvenirs, I thought Ketchikan was the best for that. I did feel like all of the ports were reasonably priced though. We would definitely go again! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This cruise was to celebrate my partners special birthday, and would be our first cruise together. Firstly, before i get into the issues and some aspects that were not up to exceptions, we had a fantastic time cruising the Tracy Arm ... Read More
This cruise was to celebrate my partners special birthday, and would be our first cruise together. Firstly, before i get into the issues and some aspects that were not up to exceptions, we had a fantastic time cruising the Tracy Arm inside passage and the scenery was second to non. the weather was also on our side during our severn days. We chose Celebrity for a more mature cruising experience with fewer children and think we made the correct choice, with some exceptions. There was no excitement and the promoting of a "sail away" cocktail. We had to ask for one, but it seemed a chore and we had to choose a cocktail. Anyhow, we enjoyed sailing away from Seattle, glass in hand in glorious sunshine. After sail away, we navigated to some of the "open" bars to sample some onboard beverages. Prior to the cruise, we had upgraded to the Premium drinks package. There were some attempts to up sell drinks package as we walked around, but not as hard sell as expected. A simple show of sea pass and they left you alone. We ate in Blu restaurant each evening and were not disappointed. The food was excellent. Feel free to order more than one dish! As we did. It is a more intimate restaurant and you recieve personal service and build a rapport with your waiting staff and sommelier. (Budi, Mimi and Angga). They were genuinely pleased to see us each evening, and us them. Had breakfast in the MDR on one occasion but generally used the buffet, which was chaotic, and difficult to find a seat. Buffet had a good choice for lunch, but all that was on offer after dinner, was pizza and pasta. The pizza was very poor and tasteless! One of things that surprised us most, was how the dress code wasn't upheld. We travelled from the UK, with suits, shirts and dresses, but i feel we were the minority. Most folk chose to dress in sweat pants and hoodies for the duration of the cruise, even for dinner. This was rather disappointing, as we like to make an effort for dinner, not to be sat next to folk wearing their comfies! The dress code needs to be enforced. Not once did i see a Tuxedo being worn on board, let alone a bow tie. Only a smattering of ties could be counted, and these were on the more seasoned cruiser, but which i expected as the norm. For us, one of the main issues was the sky bar being closed most of the time for private parties. This was the largest bar on board and became infuriating. We walked in one night, to find around 30 people with large name tags around their neck on lanyards stood around talking! The bar appeared to be closed! Some nights we had to walk the full length of the ship to find a bar that was open for a nightcap! The bars en route to the speciality dining rooms were all closed we dinner had finished! One bar midships was always open, with fairly good service, but the martini bar was taken over by the silent disco one evening, so the bar could barely be accessed, and we had already attended the silent disco earlier in the week. It appears Celebrity do not like you drinking, or certainly make it difficult to use what you have pre paid for! Maybe Americans, which were the majority of passengers, do not drink the same as us Europeans. This caused us to complain at guest services the following day, but we were given a stock answer that certain bars were open as described in your daily newsletter. When we mentioned the dress code not being enforced, we were told that we should cruise with Cunard if thats what we wanted! Unbelievable from guest services. Surely they should be promoting their product? There was a piano onboard that was never played. Just sat gathering dust. Was told there was no pianist on board! There was a full orchestra. Surely the ivories should be tinkled occasionally? Any how, we did have a good time, but maybe our expectations were set a little too high! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Our first cruise (20 something yrs ago) was out of Boston to Bermuda and I can say this cruise was so much more smooth. We had heard that the best way to see Alaska (Glaciers) was to take a cruise. We decided to do the land portion the ... Read More
Our first cruise (20 something yrs ago) was out of Boston to Bermuda and I can say this cruise was so much more smooth. We had heard that the best way to see Alaska (Glaciers) was to take a cruise. We decided to do the land portion the week before cruising because we knew there was more to Alaska than the Glaciers and I'm so glad we did it in that order. We were pretty tired at the end of the cruise and not sure the land portion would have been as enjoyable. The land portion has you up and going each morning to go to a specific place and then travel to the next destination so it was busy. The Cruise - To start with the cons, which are just a few. Upon arriving and not having a clear understanding of the beverage system we opened the Evian water and figured we would have to pay for it (and we did). My suggestion to Celebrity is to offer a couple of free bottles of the regular water in the rooms upon arrival , we just wanted to collapse for a bit before exploring the ship. I know by now I'm getting people shaking their heads at our naivete thus my title for the review. LOL Our room was comfortable - but just note - the type of blowdryer which I'm assuming was in all rooms has a button that you must hold down while you use it. My thumb got a workout. I have thick hair and so holding that button was a workout and was probably the only truly aggravating thing my whole trip. My husbands most aggravating moment was when he paid $50.00 for a one time internet service. It was not worth it - he was trying to download and could not get a good connection. When he called about it, he was told to go to a more public area, which he did but didn't make much of a difference. So having said all that we truly enjoyed the cruise both land and sea. We tried the Tuscan Grill the first night - they have a discount on the first night - the food was fine but I don't think worth the $60.00 cover charge. So once again - first time cruisers - they charge for the specialty restaurants. You eat whatever you want from the menu for that cover charge. We ate at the Main Dining Room on the first Chic Night (when you get dressed up) and it was good. We stood in line and were given a pager - no big deal. We ate there one other night (we were Any time Dining on the 4th deck) and ate with some people who said that they were placed at the same table most of the time so the waiter knew them and was so personable.. The rest of the time we just ate at the buffet. We aren't very picky and we always found something we liked. My husband went to the fitness center and thought it was very good. Free weights and all the machines. There is a jogging track on deck 11 and people were using it. I'm trying to run a 5K in every state so thought this would be my opportunity for checking off my State of Alaska 5K. When we went to Icy Strait there is a paved walkway that everyone is using to walk to Hoonah so I jogged on that and it was really perfect. Great views of the water and the weather was perfect. I think it would be very safe to run in any of the ports. On the first day there is a presentation of all the ports and I'm glad we went - just kind of gave us an overview of what was going on for the week. Excursions I found the ones online 20-50 dollars less than what is offered with Celebrity - Juneau we had booked the helicopter ride and sled dogs online through a tour company, but were disappointed because the weather was bad and it was cancelled. I was determined to see Mendenhall Glacier so we walked into town and took a bus $45.00 per person Round trip. There is a trail that gets you to Nugget Falls and the Glacier is beside it, there is Visitor Center to walk through and explain Glaciers. You are not walking on the glacier when you take the bus, just viewing it. Plenty of shopping in Juneau and we went back to the ship. Because we didn't have internet service we ended up booking through the Ships Shore Excursions but there are Tour Companies at each port as you walk off the ship. Only problem is the popular tours get booked fast so we didn't want to take our chances and booked on the ship. Skagway - we booked a helicopter ride to a glacier (I just wanted to say I walked on a glacier) and once again it was cancelled due to high winds. We were able to catch the last Mushers camp tour through the Ships Shore Excursions. It was cool seeing the dogs and having them pull us for a mile. Just a note - these are Alaskan huskies that are a mixed breed and who LOVE to run. Don't think you will be seeing fluffy Malamute, or Siberian Huskies. We got to hold the puppies and spoke with an Iditarod musher. 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. We used ours a lot. We are from Massachusetts so the 60 degree weather didn't seem cold and I wrapped up in a blanket to enjoy the fresh air and great scenery with a cup of coffee in the mornings. Icy Strait - we did the Zip Line - an hour up the mountain (stops for picture taking) and 90 seconds down. So much fun. It's the longest zip line but so smooth. Really anyone can do it. This is where I ran my 5K into Hoonah. Ketchikan - we booked a fishing trip online with someone who was recommended on the Alaska Cruisers FB page. He met us (my husband and I) at the port and off we went for the day. My husband caught two Halibut but no salmon. We had it shipped home - you get off the fishing boat at the Processing place and they take care of it.. The last day was cruising and I went to the Naturalist Talk about Eagles and wish I had gone to all her talks - she had 3 or 4 other talks during the week and was so informative . We went to the show the first night - a comedian who was good, we didn't go to any other shows - the shows run twice each night 7PM and 9 PM. We had borrowed my daughters camera and they offered a class in the photography area and it actually really helped us have a clue about how to get some good shots. As far a packing, I overpack - but then I do when we go to the Caribbean. My husband brought a sports jacket (because I wanted a good picture of us - we were celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary) and I brought a black dress. Very few were REALLY dressed up with long gowns but there were a few. For women it was mostly dresses and black pants with a pretty top. Most men wore buttoned down shirts, some wore jackets and ties. The second chic night not many dressed up and the people who went to the buffet didn't dress up at all. It's very casual - if you eat in the buffet - jeans. I had brought black pants but didn't need to wear them in the buffet. We brought our hiking boots but didn't need them - sneakers with good rubber soles are fine. I suppose if you are doing an excursion that says it is more strenuous you would need them but even at Denali National Park (land portion)we walked on a very smooth path. YES bring a rain jacket/wind breaker. I wore mine a lot with a t shirt and long sleeved t-shirt. I wasn't cold ever. I bought a sweatshirt there because I wanted one from Alaska and thinking I would need it but didn't. The coldest weather was at Hubbard Glacier, I wore a hat and the light stretchy cotton type gloves - cheap ones from Walmart. Overall the trip was a great way to see Alaska - doing both the land and the sea part. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We just got back from a seven-night Inside Passage Alaskan cruise on the Solstice and, in general, it was very nice. Background: My wife (37) and I (43) took this cruise with my parents as a celebration of their 50th anniversary. ... Read More
We just got back from a seven-night Inside Passage Alaskan cruise on the Solstice and, in general, it was very nice. Background: My wife (37) and I (43) took this cruise with my parents as a celebration of their 50th anniversary. They had booked it and wanted us (as cruise experts/excursion planners/luggage porters) to join them, which we did “last minute” by cruise standards (two months out). This was our 9th cruise, (7 on Celebrity, 2 on Princess), going back to 2007 and all our cruises have reviews on Cruise Critic. In my last review (January 2017 Caribbean Princess), I did a comparison of X vs. Princess and rereading it now, I can say my comments actually stand the test of time. Here it is: https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=563757 Though our seventh X cruise, this was our first on X in over five years as well as our first on a Solstice-class ship (now almost 10 years old). Definitely feel the increased size a when getting on/off the ship, but not usually too many other times, with perhaps the exception of the buffet, which at times seemed rather crowded. This was our second cruise to Alaska (first on Infinity back in 2008) and we were very much looking forward to returning. Cruise had more children than I expected (would guess at least 400 or so), but generally not an issue in terms of behavior, and I am certainly not one who seeks opportunities to spend time with children. Many baby boomers in their 60s or early 70s, not as many 75+ as I expected. My parents (in their mid-70s/early-80s) had contemporaries, but not as many as those 10 years younger. Pre-Cruise: We flew United from Washington IAD to SEA the night before. Available hotel rooms in downtown Seattle were basically nonexistent that night, and really expensive if available (e.g., $500 for Best Western), so we stayed near SeaTac, seemingly along with everyone else going on a cruise. Still $275 for one night at a Hampton Inn a mile from the airport. We walked to Safeway early the next morning to get water, diet soda, and tonic and a lime to bring aboard. Taking an Uber back, the driver told us about a friend who could take all four of us (in a black Suburban) to the pier for $70. Considering the other option seemed to be a $25/person shuttle or taking two taxis, we took the opportunity and he showed up on-time. Embarkation: Though it didn’t seem to say on any of our cruise documents, the ship was at Pier 91, not Pier 66; fortunately, our driver knew where to go when we took him to Pier 66 and no ships were there. Dropoff was a bit chaotic (RCL Adventurer of Seas was at the port too), but easier than Pier 66 ten years ago because there’s more space to load/unload as it’s not in the middle of downtown. Dock workers were helpful once you could get one. We tipped $10 and he helped my parents a lot. Check in wasn’t too bad: went through security, then lines to check in. Regular line was long (for my parents), Elite was a two minute wait, which is what we had. Boarding was very fast with no issues. Luggage came in the afternoon, though our last bag (containing only sodas, water, etc.) took a little while to arrive. We brought in our usual two bottles of wine per cabin with no issues. Cabin: We had a regular balcony room (2B), which seemed pretty good on Solstice, but the large sofa made drawer and closet space smaller than would like. Our cabin steward, Peter, was excellent and eager to please. BTW, my parents were down the hall with a massive handicap accessible room (though they are not mobility impaired—just was what was available as we booked only two months out). Their room was like a hotel room in size, but with annoyances to deal with if you are not in fact handicapped (e.g., a door that only opened by pushing a button, emergency alarms that seemed to malfunction at times). Main Dining Room: Had “select” (anytime) dining for the first time on X, and that went well. The first night, the four of us got a table by ourselves and we locked in an 8:15 time for four at the same table for the rest of the cruise after hitting it off with the waiters. Not a big fan of “starters” and “entrees” as only options, rather than listed as courses (though of course, can do so—we usually had four courses including dessert). Our waiters, Widana and Suryati (both from Indonesia) were kind, thoughtful, and by the end of trip, sad to say goodbye to. They had good recommendations and were accommodating of my parents who are getting up there in age. We tipped them extra of course. We skipped dinner the final night (like many) as we were in Victoria, BC during dinner. We do miss the “formal” nights to some degree, but many people were still dressed up during the “elegant chic” nights (us included) in dresses, sports jackets/suits, etc. And the food is better those nights too, of course. Murano: We ate one night at Murano (while my parents ate in the MDR). I suspect this is the only specialty restaurant on Solstice that’s actually worth it. Based on how they hard-sell the upcharge restaurants other than Murano, I suspect that’s a common opinion. It’s a little pricey for $50/person, but it’s worth it one night a cruise for us, as it’s a slower pace, quieter and a more refined menu and experience. Buffet: I generally avoid the buffet when I can (limited to maybe 3 lunches on this cruise), and I found this to be generally disappointing. The pizza is much worse than I remember (I think recipe has changed) from old X cruises (Princess’s is definitely better). It was more crowded than the Millennium class ships too, and was often hard to get a seat. I found the sanitation practices to be as lax as I have ever seen on any cruise. People using tongs in ways that would spread germs easily and no one was serving you food. Didn’t have any issues in that regard, but was mildly turned off by it. Due our “Elite” status, we could make use of the Elite breakfast, which was a major highlight. Located in the Tuscan Grille, we had a choice of many coffees/morning cocktails with interesting (though limited) breakfast options. Great attentive service, and the Captain’s Club (CC) hostess (Paulina from Mexico) was great. She was a constant presence, very helpful, made sure you knew about all the events, never tried to sell you anything, and always asked if you wanted something else. The Elite breakfast was quiet, uncrowded, and very civilized. The CC Cocktail hour (really two hours) in the Sky Lounge was similarly a nice treat. Their one-day only “elegant tea”, however, was a dud and far less impressive than Princess’s, which is available most days and open to everyone, not just Elite loyalty members. As I detailed in my most recent Princess review (again, link posted above), there are places where X and Princess do better than the other. I won’t repeat them here but after this trip, I felt like Princess might have a small edge, though our Elite status on X is worth quite a bit (free bag of laundry, aforementioned breakfast and cocktails, 90 minutes of internet) so our eggs are somewhat in one basket. If you care most about sleek ship styling, elegant spaces, staterooms with nicer touches, uncrowded public rooms (especially the theatre) and interesting MDR food (especially starters and entrees), X has the edge. If you care more about affordable drinks/wine (as well as water/soda packages), better value alternative restaurants, dining on your balcony, better desserts (if slightly less interesting entrees and starters), more dining options for lunch, elegant afternoon tea, self-serve laundry, functional—if less glamorous and slightly worn—staterooms, then Princess clearly has the edge. As for Solstice’s main downside, we thought there was LOTS of space for shops, and to a lesser extent, specialty restaurants. I don’t mind the latter, but the former makes it often feel more like a casino/shopping mall than ship. As many have mentioned, and more so than what I recall from prior X cruises, there was hard selling of drink packages and specialty restaurants, which leads me to believe that the product offerings are overpriced; and thus they must resort to hard selling. Other than Murano, the upcharge restaurants seemed, empty which I think means the menus can’t justify their prices. We were “greeted” many times throughout the ship when it was clear that the waiter/sommelier, etc. was only doing so as an entrée for a sales pitch (often a crab lunch that we had no interest in). I don’t mind extra charges, but I do mind hard selling on my vacation. The prices for drinks, drink packages and specialty restaurants seem very high, and the fact that on Princess it’s pushed much less and is even hard to get a reservation at their specialty restaurants is probably an indication that X is failing in this regard. Basic arithmetic would say that you would need around 10 drinks/day to break even on the drink packages—and sporty amount for anyone, especially considering you’re often in port, drinks are not available in your room, you can’t order two at a time, etc. It’s clear X knows this; even when I was ordering drinks (and paying for them normally), the waiters asked if I wanted a drink package—sometimes, two or three “no thanks” were required. Frustrating. Entertainment: the evening shows were generally pretty good. The singers, dancers and acrobats were impressive, and both comedians (Rich Aronovitch in particular) were very solid and even a bit edgy. I was initially skeptical of our cruise director, Alejandro from Argentina, but he was in fact very charming, funny and very likeable. Like Princess, there could be more enrichment activities, but we were delighted that Brent Nixon, the naturalist who was aboard on our prior Alaskan cruise 10 years ago, was aboard once again. He’s definitely not everyone’s (including my father’s) cup of tea, as his shows are very much performances and he engages at times in histrionics, but he’s also very well-informed about all things related to Alaskan wildlife. Even if the style is not to everyone’s liking, X (and Princess) needs more of these types of people on board to give talks, not fewer. Fortunately, these talks were well-attended so I hope the message is getting out. Mercifully, there was no a capella quartet on this cruise (unlike previous X cruises we’ve been on). Sadly, that did not seem to translate into more musicians—there were just two classical musicians aboard for my parents to enjoy. Ketchikan: took a taxi ($30 each way) on our own to Perseverance trail (near Ward Lake). Good hike (about 5.5 miles r/t and a 500 feet climb), but it’s just a lake (though nice one) at the top. Great weather helped, though it was more good exercise than great views. Cabbie came back to meet us on time. Based on my experience, it seems likely your driver will be a talkative, helpful Alaskan cabby with interesting life stories. Afterwards, we headed to dive bar, Sourdough, right near the port for a couple of beers before heading back to the ship. Juneau was a bit of a washout weather wise. We went to Mendenhall Glacier with my parents. Similar nice cabbie (talked about his life growing up in a tiny SE Alaskan town). $35 + $12/person (since we had an annual pass for National Parks). Very crowded with lots of (Chinese) tourists, and less good views of the glacier than Dawes glacier in Tracy Fjord earlier in the day—so a bit of a disappointment, but still a decent walk and some exercise, and we saw up close a bear and her two cubs. We planned to do Mt. Roberts Tramway afterwards with a longer hike, but it was rainy and fogged in, so it wouldn’t have been worth it, so we skipped. We instead went to the Alaska Bar, somewhat divey, and less overtly touristy than some others. Unlikely everything else in Alaska, drinks at bars are actually rather cheap (drafts like $5-$6 for Alaska beer, cheap macros were like $3-$4). Skagway: A much smaller town where cabs are not necessary. My wife and I hiked to Lower Dewey Lake and around most of it. Steep, but not too long to get there (about a mile each way). Good exercise and not as muggy as the hike in Ketchikan. Like many, did the White Pass and Yukon Railway trip. Very crowded with four cruise ships in town that day (Ruby Princess, Star Princess, Nieuw Amsterdam and us). But worth the trip for the unbelievable scenery, helped by generally very good weather. The main street in town, Broadway, was a little prettier, even if filled with tourists and gift/jewelry shops, than equivalents in Ketchikan and Juneau. We went down to the end of the street to have a Sitka Spruce Tips Blonde at Skagway Brewing company, continuing the theme of a local bar visit after a day of excursions/hiking. Though slightly pricier than the bars in Ketchikan and Skagway, still cheap compared to D.C. prices and especially since everything else in Alaska is expensive. Victoria: nice town, but of course, a short stop. We went downtown. Note: r/t tickets from pier were $13/person on shuttle bus, so we instead took a taxi (four of us) for fixed $10 plus tip each way, which was obviously much cheaper. We had a few beers and a light dinner at a pub (Bard and Banker, I think it’s called) on Government Street and walked around for a few hours. Disembarkation was fine, though there seemed to be waits for taxis. We had the driver who took us to the port come and pick us up (he was early, which was great). Stayed post-cruise at Westin Downtown. Perfectly fine, if you can stand Seattle prices. Flight home the following day was blissfully uneventful. Used the same driver who drove us to the pier to drive us to the airport for $70. Note that a taxi from downtown is fixed at $40, but we would have had to take two with my parents and our luggage, so still a decent value. Final Thoughts: No one in his right might can complain about a pleasant, event-free Alaskan cruise with his wife and parents celebrating their 50th anniversary. Celebrity continues to excel in MDR and cabin service, very good MDR food at dinners, evening entertainment, nice décor and generally upscale atmosphere. We were impressed enough to put a deposit on another cruise at some point in the future, but I think it’s safe to say that to a large extent our decision for what cruise line to use in the future will be based on itinerary, amenities, and price. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was the first time my husband and I embarked on a ship for a vacation. We were invited by a couple friend of ours who were seasoned cruisers (they had one of the two penthouses on board), and talked about just how wonderful it was, a ... Read More
This was the first time my husband and I embarked on a ship for a vacation. We were invited by a couple friend of ours who were seasoned cruisers (they had one of the two penthouses on board), and talked about just how wonderful it was, a sentiment that was echoed by a number of friends and family who had also been on cruises, although not necessarily Celebrity. Given that we had vacationed with this couple before, and knowing that we tend to go first-class when we do take time off, this couple suggested booking a Sky Suite on the ship, which I'll review under the cabin area of this posting. We boarded in Seattle, and our group - which, by the time we sailed, was actually made up of 10 people total - was met at the dock by a Celebrity representative, and ushered through the checkin process, which was all very smooth and friendly. Time from drop-off to on board the ship was only 20 minutes! One of the crew even recognized that I was struggling a bit (my generalized anxiety disorder crops up at the WORST times!), and helped me to a quieter area with some water, to wait for the rest of the group to check in, which gave me a chance to actually get more excited about boarding. The process was so wonderful, a great way to get to know Celebrity and the crew right off the bat. Great customer service! We made our way to Michael's Club to wait for our rooms to be ready, and thought about where to get some lunch, when one of the MC staff said that Luminae was open for lunch. So we made our way there for the first on board meal of the trip. It was at that point I knew that my husband and I were in trouble...in a really good way. In Luminae, the food, the service, the drinks, the atmosphere - everything was five-star impeccable. The staff was incredibly helpful and friendly, the serving sizes of both the entrees and the appetizers were big enough to satisfy but not *too* big, and the sommelier had a wonderful selection of wines, some vintages that I hadn't ever been able to get while in the US! And the service didn't change at ANY time that we were eating at Luminae, either. We were greeted with a "welcome home" from the staff when we came back from excursions, or just came down for breakfast. Luminae is one of the biggest reasons we rebooked, and we rebooked at suite class level, heh. The ship itself is very nice - you can tell she's a bit older (I'm really looking forward to all of the refurbishment going on!), but like a fine wine, she's aging gracefully. There were a few small issues here and there that I noticed, but nothing major - one of the issues I detail in my cabin review. Although it's bigger than I expected (I kept losing my way as to whether I was forward, aft, or midship, heh), it was still cozy where it needed to be. After I got more used to the layout, everything was easy to find, and even if I was a little lost, no one had any problem pointing me in the right direction. Every crew member we ran into seemed to have a smile on their face and a greeting for us, from the captain on down. By the end of the cruise, I felt in many ways like I was leaving family members. As far as other dining is concerned, we ate at Murano, Sushi on Five, and Silk Harvest. All of them were amazing - we did an all-you-can-eat option at Sushi on Five when they were having a discount day, and the only complaint I had was that they didn't have any Ikura (Salmon Caviar), which is my favorite Nigiri (I actually had it in Murano instead, heh). They are more roll-heavy than anything, and while those are tasty, I prefer Nigiri and Sashimi. Murano was absolutely five-star like Luminae, but even more upscale. If you want a fine-dining experience, go to Murano - I've eaten at a Michelin-starred restaurant that didn't treat me as well. The food is amazing; I had one dinner that consisted solely of small plates, because I just wanted to try them all! Silk Harvest was excellent too. We had a variety of small plates and a few big plates, and just shared them, family style. They knew about my food sensitivity as well, and went out of their way to make sure that I wouldn't have any problems. We even got to meet the chef! Great dining options - I didn't think that I would be so happy with the food on board, and it all was lovely. Michael's Club was a great place to go and unwind just before sail-away from any of the ports, I think I spent the most time there when we weren't in our room. We tried the Martini Bar, but it was so busy and crowded when we went, it felt like forever before someone came over to take our order, and then more time while we waited for it. I wanted to watch the bartenders, since they're supposed to do all of the fancy bottle-flipping and things, but there was no room at the ice bar (which looked as cool as it probably felt, heh), and from what we could see, there wasn't much going on behind the bar - probably too busy to be really artistic. I would recommend going to World Class Bar over the Martini Bar, the bartenders at World Class were so sweet, and very good at the mixology of the drinks they had available. When I went up to Darko (one of the bartenders) and told him I was in the mood for something tart rather than sweet, and I was looking for a vodka drink, he whipped something up for me right there that tasted just like what I wanted, even though I didn't know it's what I wanted! We also tried Cellar Masters - I'm actually rather sad that will be going away with the refurbishment. I understand why; it was very quiet when we were there. But the sommeliers we had there were friendly and helpful. I was so sad when I found out that a Chateauneuf du Pape was on board, and that they were all out! They went hunting for it, but alas, were out of luck. I didn't get to it until towards the end of the cruise, and now I'm sorry that I didn't go earlier! My husband is looking forward to the gastrobar, though, as he is a craft beer drinker. Our shore excursions were a lot of fun, our favorite being the smaller ship that took us closer to the Dawes glacier and whale-watching. We watched the glacier calve a few times with big pops and cracks that sounded like thunder, and on our way back to the ship docked in Juneau, saw an Orca and two Humpback whales and a number of Harbor seals. We also did a hike through the rainforest area in Ketchican, and saw a LOT of bald eagles and salmon. It was lovely, if a bit over-crowded - I would have liked to do more actual hiking. But it was a good excursion, nonetheless. We did a few things in terms of entertainment and activities; some were just for suite class, so I'll skip those, and will talk about the activities available to everyone. I wanted to attend the opening of Tiffany's, which was a lot of fun - the crew members were getting people into it by dancing and singing, especially since the captain was running a little late to do the ribbon cutting. Other activities included a tour of the galley, but there was so many people there and they were moving slowly, so we wound up leaving after about 20 minutes. The crew member meet-and-greets on the Evening Chic nights were a lot of fun, some great picture-taking opportunities, and my husband and I wound up watching a few activities as well, such as the salsa dancing lessons and the paper airplane flying contest, in which all the participants looked like they were having a great time. The biggest disappointment in entertainment for both me and my husband was actually the first Evening Chic theater night presentation. It was supposed to be something that supposedly Cirque du Soleil had worked or consulted on, and was (very loosely) based on the music and time-period of Mozart. Hearing that, I expected far more acrobatics and Cirque-style demonstrations than we got. I get that acrobatics are difficult on a moving ship (and the waters we were in were moving us around a bit), but it still seemed like there was a lot of modern dance to modern music that had little to do with Mozart, and very few acrobatics. The acrobats we *did* see were very good, but we saw almost the same acts *again* during the Rock of Ages-type show that was a part of the second night. A couple of folks in our party were so disappointed by the first night, they didn't go to the second one. My husband and I went, but I think it was better the second night, because we got more of the performance that we expected then. I only attempted to use the fitness center once, and made the mistake of doing it on a sea day. I knew it was going to be crowded, but my biggest issue was the lack of any sort of structure when it came to the treadmills and ellipticals. When I was there, they were completely full, and as I waited, I noticed that as soon as someone stepped off their treadmill, someone else would rush right up to it. So I waited for *another* one, and then as soon as one became available, someone else - who had been on a bike right up to then - immediately rushed up to it as I was walking towards it. I didn't know who was waiting or not, and I felt really uncomfortable, since I made it obvious that I was waiting (had been for 10 minutes by the time the *second* machine became available), but no one appeared to care - I didn't see any attendants. I waited another 5 minutes, and then went up to dodge people on the jogging track, which actually wasn't so bad. I tried to go back to the workout room, but by then, everyone had moved on to the weight machines and free weights, and since I didn't want a repeat of the treadmill issue, I left. The spa was somewhat of another disappointment. The day we went to the spa was a port day where our excursion actually got cancelled due to high winds and seas, so we thought we'd check out the Persian Garden and get a treatment. While the Garden was actually pretty nice, the steamroom and sauna that accompanied it wasn't. The steamroom had a vaguely citrusy smell that you could barely get a whiff of above the smell of, well, moisture, and the sauna had eucalyptus in it - I could only spend about 30 seconds in there before my eyes started burning and I was coughing. The "rain showers" that were in the Garden itself were cold too - even after waiting for a couple of minutes, they never warmed up, and then shut off after about 5 minutes. The treatment I got was a disappointment too - after I asked the therapist use a little more pressure on my back, she basically tried to upsell me to a "deep tissue" massage, when I was asking for medium pressure instead of the light pressure she was using. Then she tried to tell me that I hadn't prepaid, and was trying to charge me in full for the service! Fortunately it got all worked out, but I don't know that I'll be going back to Canyon Ranch after all of that. I expected a luxury spa experience - my husband and I will spend several hours in the spa at Aria, and I have a membership to Massage Envy - and didn't really get it at all. It was disappointing. We tried to go back to the Persian Garden too (the same day as my experience in the fitness center), but when both me and my husband tried to find a place in the locker room to store our stuff, none were available. The locks on them were confusing as well. So we kind of gave up; a waste of money too, since we had paid to enter the Persian Garden. There were a few things that made me not able to give the cruise 5 stars. Overall, however, it was an amazing experience, from the customer service to the food to the activities and excursions. The room was comfortable, and it was a great vacation made even better by the attention to detail by Celebrity. My husband and I have already booked a Celebrity Suite on Equinox *next* August (I've always wanted to go to Puerto Rico, and my parents actually honeymooned in the Dominican Republic)! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We planned our first cruise to celebrate our honeymoon and Celebrity cruises did not disappoint. Embarkation was smooth and quick. The downside was the immediate selling of drinks packages and specialty restaurants. We both went for a ... Read More
We planned our first cruise to celebrate our honeymoon and Celebrity cruises did not disappoint. Embarkation was smooth and quick. The downside was the immediate selling of drinks packages and specialty restaurants. We both went for a non-alcoholic drinks package, however we did not feel we got our moneys worth as there is only so much coke zero you can drink. We found it more affordable to buy any alcoholic drinks. The food in the main dining room was fabulous every night. Our waiter had great suggestions that we thoroughly enjoyed. It would be advisable to book if you have flexible dining. They always very helpful to get us seated when we didn't have a reservation. The buffet had a great variety of choices, however I could get busy at peak times but we always found somewhere to sit. The ship was a good size and it gave a variety of things to do. We never stood in queue for anything and could get a lounger by the pool. Coffee's and teas at Cafe al Bacio are worth the trip and you can enjoy free pastries. If you want to do the hot glass activity its worth getting booked in early. There was a variety of evening entertainment and having shows at 7pm and 9pm gave you an option for dinner etc. On the Victoria docking day they do the show at 2.30pm and it is worth a watch Solomon Jaye was a fantastic entertainer. It is a shame that the film times are at unusual times (4.30pm and 10.15pm) so we never got to watch a film. The seminars by naturalist Brent Nixon and historian Miss Amanda were fantastic and informative and worth a visit. Brent even went on the bridge to give announcements to whale sightings. The port and shopping seminar was informative to a point but then there was a lot of pushing for the same shops in every port. We were surprised my how early we disembarked but it did give us a whole day in Seattle. We left the ship at 7.50am quickly and easily. Our luggage was easy to locate and cabs were well managed and we at the top of the space needle by 9am. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
My first cruise. I picked the solstice cruise bc I could drive to Seattle. I saved money on the flight and booked a celebrity suite with the money saved. I also read positive reviews about kids club and heard the food was quite good. My ... Read More
My first cruise. I picked the solstice cruise bc I could drive to Seattle. I saved money on the flight and booked a celebrity suite with the money saved. I also read positive reviews about kids club and heard the food was quite good. My goal with the suite was to get as close as possible to an all/inclusive type cruise (like crystal or regency ss) which wouldn’t have been a good choice for my kids. We loved the service in general, especially Luminae. Our room attendant Silvio was very sweet and did a great job. We didn’t see our Butler until day 2, disappointing! But I got the sense the bulters were multitasking too much and didn’t have time to attent to suite guests. He was very nice, just always busy doing something else. Embarking was super easy and that alone almost made the upgrade worth its value. The people helping with checkin/embarkation were fantastic. My kids both liked the fun factory, a first in our family. We have never had luck with resort kids clubs. The staff was kind and fun. They worked really hard. My kids are 6 and 11 and both had fun. I read past posts about suite passengers getting tours of the bridge. I asked our butler twice to set that up for our family and was disappointed that the tours were discontinued last month. He had no idea why. I asked to have canapés brought to our suite in the afternoons bc I was frequently hanging out there watching for whales from the balcony. At first the butler resisted and said that’s no longer offered to suite guests, but he started bringing them every afternoon after that. Excursions were ok. We waited too long to book and couldn’t get to the glacier via helicopter and go dog sledding. That was our fault. Whale watching in Victoria was by far the best. Got to see a pod of orcas up close off San Juan Island. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
My son chose this cruise for me and two grandchildren because of his schedule; otherwise would have chosen Disney or Princess, more kid-oriented. Very good food with lots of choices, either buffet, which kids usually preferred, or waiter ... Read More
My son chose this cruise for me and two grandchildren because of his schedule; otherwise would have chosen Disney or Princess, more kid-oriented. Very good food with lots of choices, either buffet, which kids usually preferred, or waiter service, food excellent but long wait time, however next to ocean view window. Nice swimming pools kids liked and outdoor film showing, hot tubs not hot enough by our Asian standards. Enjoyable Broadway-quality performances, and chamber music and well as loud pop music. Very lucky week of warm California-like weather. However, I think the notification system for activities could be much better than just the daily newsletter, which was hard to read and cluttered with diamond ads. How about some modern technology, i.e. screens near the elevators? Also some videos and maps of where we are going, the geology, and why? Finally found a map and one screen, several days in, but missed most activities. Nature program by very knowledgeable Mickey was good, but too short, not enough pictures, and only presented once a day about half an hour -- overall, hardly any information or education about Alaska, its animals and people, its geography, which is supposed to be the main point of the tour. By contrast, I got very irritated with the continual pushing of diamonds both on ship and at tourist stops -- a large portion of a deck occupied with shops for luxury items, esp. diamonds. Large casino area. But no place on ship to buy needed toiletries, like Listerine, sanitary pads, hair ties, toothbrush -- and overpriced and rare at tourist ports, too. Painful lack. Millenium prices for shore activities also seemed inflated, like $100-$300 a pop, but I couldn't compare with local prices. Gotta expect spending another $1000 a person for the shore activities, which I would have thought would be included or not inflated. Note also, the fresh crab at eateries on land was much better than the crab dinner offered on the cruise for $35, but lines were long and prices even higher. The tours of the inner workings of the cruise ship were very interesting, to my surprise; too bad additional charge. Kids liked meeting the captain. Excellent report by the environmental engineer, how water for the ship all comes from the ocean water filtered, distilled, and/or reverse osmosis (tastes better than the Evian water in plastic bottles). And waste carefully managed and discharged, if at all, in controlled way biological only and shredded into the ocean. Passenger max of 2200, to staff of over 900. Greatest number in food service. It would be handy if not everything on board except food required additional payment, e.g. even charge for drinking water bottles -- kids had a meltdown when the arcade machine was out of order and would not change cash into play tokens. It was fixed by evening, but not before much grief. Impossible to deprive modern kids of their electronic fix! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I had avoided cruises in the past both due to extreme seasickness and watching travel shows about cruises in which everyone was line dancing. I was convinced to go to Alaska because the Inside Passage is calm and the scenery fantastic. I ... Read More
I had avoided cruises in the past both due to extreme seasickness and watching travel shows about cruises in which everyone was line dancing. I was convinced to go to Alaska because the Inside Passage is calm and the scenery fantastic. I did not experience any seasickness with the help of Bonine, and we were blessed with terrific weather to view the sights. I was surprised there were so many young children on board, as well as large three-generational family groups. The only time the ship felt super crowded was during the days at sea. The kids were raucous and as there were several noisy ones both next door to our cabin and seated next to us in the dining room, I may need to find a more kid-free cruise in the future. We were amazed by the excellent quality of both the food and the shows. Also, the staff were truly awesome. We didn't opt for any specialty dining as we were blown away by even the regular menu. We did get the drink package that was well worth it, even for me who doesn't drink much, so I could get diet coke and specialty coffee fixes. Our favorite activity was playing trivia, although I'm convinced there may have been some cheating. The captain was hilarious and the best part of the trip was seeing Dawe's glacier in the Tracy Arm Fjord. We saw almost no wildlife, although since we only took one excursion, we probably have ourselves to blame. We enjoyed walking around Ketchikan, Skagway and Victoria, while Juneau was a bit of a let-down. I lost 20 bucks presto prompto in the casino and didn't give it another chance. We didn't even go in the pools, although that seemed a popular activity. We glanced into the gym once and were put off by hundreds of sweaty Olympic athletic bodies, so most of our exercise was extensive walking in each port. They did have a full schedule of mostly free exercise classes that might have appealed if it rained. We really enjoyed reading in the Sky lounge with terrific views and relative quiet during the day. Also, our balcony was great for taking photos. The bed in our cabin was the most comfortable I have been in EVER!! I slept like a log, or perhaps that was due to the drink package. There was plenty of storage and we were very happy with our accommodations except for the lack of sound-proofing. We could hear every conversation next door as well as the band in the lobby. After hearing horror stories about illness, embarkation, and disembarkation, I was prepared for the worst and shocked when all of the above was no issue at all. It was so quick and easy, even during the stop in Canada! I had good intentions before the cruise, being fore-warned about the dangers of massive over-eating and over-imbibing. Let's just say only willpower of steel would have prevented this, and we didn't possess such strength. So the next cruise will have to wait until I recover my figure from this one. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I chose this cruise because I had never been to Alaska before. It was also my first cruise, and I had heard fantastic things about Celebrity. I enjoyed the ports of Juneau and Ketchikan, and the choice of excursions that were provided in ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I had never been to Alaska before. It was also my first cruise, and I had heard fantastic things about Celebrity. I enjoyed the ports of Juneau and Ketchikan, and the choice of excursions that were provided in each port. Celebrity was very organized in arranging the excursions and ensuring we maximized our time out in port. Staff and workers were very professional and friendly when interacting with them, and attentive when we had questions. The service in Trellis Restaurant was beyond incredible. Our waiter, Godole, was wonderful! He was friendly, professional, and kind, and always attentive to our needs. As someone who is gluten free, he met my needs in terms of ensuring options were available. I enjoyed Cafe al Bacio on deck 5 and the assortment of specialty drinks that were available. We had excellent service there. In particular, Vivi did a great job and was very professional, friendly, and nice. I was also a member of concierge class, and Joao took care of all of our needs. He was professional and responsive to our questions. Our cabin steward, Xavier, was very nice. Our stateroom was always clean. I would like to point out disappointment with the classic drink package. I was traveling with someone who had been on five Celebrity cruises prior to this. On all of the other ships (one of which was Infinity), the drinks (juices and smoothies) from Aqua Spa cafe on deck 10 were included in the classic drink package. When we went to order one on this cruise, we were extremely disappointed to find out they were only available to those who had the premium drink package. Perhaps better customer service from Celebrity is needed to outline what exactly is included in each of the drink packages prior to customers purchasing them. That way those who were looking forward to fresh juices and smoothies such as myself could have selected a different drink package. Thank you for a wonderful, memorable cruise, Celebrity. It was a trip of a lifetime, and I will definitely be cruising with you again! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our first Alaska cruise and our third cruise with Celebrity. Compared to other cruise lines I thought the food was very good and the service was great in most places. The only place we weren't pleased with the service was the ... Read More
This was our first Alaska cruise and our third cruise with Celebrity. Compared to other cruise lines I thought the food was very good and the service was great in most places. The only place we weren't pleased with the service was the martini bar - a couple of the bartenders were arrogant and made you feel like a second class passenger if you don't purchase the premium drink package. Otherwise, though, the service in every other part of the ship was outstanding. We went to the after-dinner shows almost every night and thought they were very well done. One night we even went to the "silent" disco, which turned out to be a lot of fun too - I'd recommend checking that out. We ate dinner in the dining room every night and the food was consistently very good - and the sommelier and beverage staff were also very helpful. I had some question on our folio on the last sea day and went to the guest services desk and they were also very helpful and accommodating.Though I didn't get full resolution before we disembarked, the guy who was helping me really went above and beyond to be helpful. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Background Information: I have sailed on Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America, Disney, Costa, Cunard, and Celebrity. This was my 16 cruise on Celebrity. I am 46 years old. Ship Info: Celebrity is one of our ... Read More
Background Information: I have sailed on Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America, Disney, Costa, Cunard, and Celebrity. This was my 16 cruise on Celebrity. I am 46 years old. Ship Info: Celebrity is one of our favorites when we are traveling with just adults. The average age on this sailing was probably in the 40’s and 50’s. Not a lot of children compared to other cruise lines that offer a lot of family activities (water slides, etc). The ship was extremely clean and looked new. Activities: If you want to take some gym classes (yoga, spinning), you should make reservations on the first day for these classes. It costs around $15 per class. We love sitting in the solarium pool area because it is peaceful. The solarium also has a small healthy breakfast and lunch buffet in the corner I enjoyed. Service: Service was friendly in all areas. I believe that this might have been the nicest crew at sea! Shore Excursions: We decided to book our shore excursions through the cruise line several weeks before we left. Over the years, we have coordinated our tours on our own. When it comes to doing non-beach tours, I prefer booking through the cruise line for convenience and the ability to cancel 24 hours prior. Booking in advance also was cheaper versus booking onboard. I highly recommend the following tours: Skagway - White Pass Summit Train tour; Victoria - Butchart Gardens; Juneau - see a glacier (dog sledding was amazing but it is expensive). In Ketchikan, we walked around the town and loved it! Stateroom: We stayed in a balcony on this sailing; however, our favorite category is Aqua Class because we enjoy the Blu Restaurant and the Persian Gardens Spa area. Dining: Before you order your meal, ask the waiter what they recommend. If you don't like crowds, eat in the main dining room for breakfast and lunch instead of the buffet. All of their specialty restaurants are excellent too. To avoid the first day lunch buffet crowd, go to a specialty restaurant when you get on board. We went to the sushi restaurant after embarkation and it wasn’t busy; well worth the money. The pastries and desserts at the coffee bar are free and very good! We were traveling with 8 people and had the open seating for dinner. The service was VERY slow (2.5 hours for dinner and we went at 5:45 pm). The next time, I will sign up for a set meal time. Dress Code: They offer two Evening Chic nights, but only a handful of people dressed up. Most people dressed business causal during the dinners. Entertainment: We didn’t see any of the shows. If you want to see them, they are usually at 7 pm and 9 pm. Disembarkation: If you want to carry all your bags off the ship by yourself, they will let you off starting at around 7 a.m. Overall: 4 out of 5 stars (would have been a 5 if the service was faster at night). Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We just completed the seven-day Hubbard Glacier Cruise, which we thoroughly enjoyed. The itinerary was excellent, and we were very fortunate to have great weather. I’d highly recommend it as a quiet respite from hot summer weather in ... Read More
We just completed the seven-day Hubbard Glacier Cruise, which we thoroughly enjoyed. The itinerary was excellent, and we were very fortunate to have great weather. I’d highly recommend it as a quiet respite from hot summer weather in the Lower 48. Embarkation and disembarkation in Vancouver were seamless. I’d highly recommend spending some time in Vancouver before or after the cruise, as it is an incredible city. We arrived the night before the cruise departed and stayed in the Pan Pacific Hotel. Note that this hotel is on the cruise pier and offers complimentary bag transfer from your room to the ship. This was extremely convenient. Post-cruise, we stayed at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver, which was fantastic. Upon entering the ship, the first thing we noticed is the smaller scale compared to the Solstice class vessels. Having recently sailed on both the Solstice and the Silhouette, the difference was immediately noticeable. However, we quickly adjusted and came to really enjoy the more manageable size of Infinity. While this ship has been updated, you quickly see signs that show its true age. The corridor lighting and teal doors are dead giveaways. The cabin itself was tidy and felt familiar except for the bathroom. Our shower had mold in the grout, some rust where the wall met the tile, and a moldy shower curtain. Note that our relatives staying in a different room did not have these issues. Nevertheless, I was pretty disappointed in the mold issue, since that is simply a sign of poor upkeep. My past experience with Celebrity has been better in this regard. I should also note that the balcony attached to our aft-facing room (8172) was gigantic. We actually laughed when we saw how large it was, wondering why the ship’s designers didn’t utilize some of that space for a bigger stateroom. Regardless, we thoroughly enjoyed that large, private space and would very much recommend these aft balcony rooms to anyone. Relative to dining, our experience in the main dining room was outstanding in all regards. The Oceanview Cafe, on the other hand, was overcrowded and not well laid-out to manage passenger flow. Finally, we did miss dining at Murano as we do on the Solstice-class ships, since that is our favorite restaurant at sea. Hopefully the next update to Infinity adds it. In summary, this cruise was another great Celebrity experience, crummy bathroom aside. Even though Infinity is aging, she has a lot to offer including a great crew and Alaskan itinerary. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This cruise on Celebrity Infinity was part of a package arranged to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary and it did not disappoint. Having been on Celebrity Eclipse in the Caribbean in 2017 we expected a really nice ship and the Infinity ... Read More
This cruise on Celebrity Infinity was part of a package arranged to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary and it did not disappoint. Having been on Celebrity Eclipse in the Caribbean in 2017 we expected a really nice ship and the Infinity lived up to our expectations. Everything was first class from the silky smooth check-in, our cabin to the entertainment. The unrestricted views from cabin were excellent and enabled me to see not only porpoises but also a whale leaping on our return to Vancouver. Very little that I can actually be negative about with the exception of the food in the Oceanview Restaurant in the evening, the quality was absolutely fine however the food could have been warmer (I like my food very hot) so after the first evening we used the main restaurant every evening and the food there was amazing and piping hot, served by a very attentive waiter named Arta and his team. Special thanks to them for making us both feel very special on this special trip. The one thing I do really like is the evening entertainment in the theatre - this was very professional with a proper orchestra whose abilities and talents are of the highest quality and the whole experience was as expected. Please do not go down the route of recorded music a live band or orchestra really adds to the overall performance of both the on board team and the guest entertainers. As this was the first part of a 3 week adventure in Canada and Alaska it certainly got us off on a high and that never dropped so if you are looking for a great time amazing scenery and a real high do it and do it with Celebrity. PS I only gave a 4 star rating due to the temperature of the Oceanview food on the first night I would have made it 4.9 if I could have Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary in that it both departed and returned to Seattle. We were generally pleased with the cruise. But there were a few things that were off-putting. Our cabin service and the main dining room ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary in that it both departed and returned to Seattle. We were generally pleased with the cruise. But there were a few things that were off-putting. Our cabin service and the main dining room wait staff was excellent as was the food quality and food choices. The ship, including our cabin and all the public areas, was spotless. On the down side, the ship is showing signs of wear which was noticeable on the worn furniture in the public rooms. Secondly, Celebrity is a bit too pushy in selling their drink and various other packages. Another problem is the manner in which they operate their Celebrity Select Dining in which guests are allowed to make advance dinner reservations at a time of their choosing. In spite of having reservations each night, it took us 20 minutes to be seated. The problem was caused by passengers with no reservations who just showed up in line. Celebrity needs to streamline the dinner check in process so that passengers with reservations receive priority. Otherwise, there is no advantage to making reservations. Also, Celebrity markets themselves as a "Premium Cruise Line." We did notice any significant difference from our experiences on Royal Carribean. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This cruise offered the ports and timeframe that best suited us, Vancouver to Seward. We had cruised Celebrity before in the Ssky Suite. This time we were in a superior veranda suite which seemed a little tight. There was plenty of ... Read More
This cruise offered the ports and timeframe that best suited us, Vancouver to Seward. We had cruised Celebrity before in the Ssky Suite. This time we were in a superior veranda suite which seemed a little tight. There was plenty of storage space but we were constantly ducking either other and waiting to open a door or cabinet. It was spotlessly clean though and the bed was very comfortable. We had a couple minor issues which were quickly corrected. Our cabin attendant was super. In fact all the crew were exceptionally professional and friendly. Very impressed with the entertainment which was varied and all very good, probably the best overall of any cruise we’ve been on. Food in main dining room was generally above average to quite delicious. Buffet was spotty, some tasty, some bland. Breakfast was generally good. Hard to find a table in the buffet if you went in prime time. Qsine was terrific. Did not use room service. Table in room was so small it would have been hard for two to eat on it. Specialty coffee shop very good. We did not do any ship excursions as they seemed overpriced as compared to private ones easily booked online. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth and quick. Efficient in ports also. Good selection in shops. Too much photo hyping but we dodged it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
Getting on and off at beginning of our cruise was a dream...Got on board by 11am and sunbathing in rare Vancouver heat on deck (?) by 11.30am. So - life drill was a pain, it was very hot in our area and standing only, but I suppose it ... Read More
Getting on and off at beginning of our cruise was a dream...Got on board by 11am and sunbathing in rare Vancouver heat on deck (?) by 11.30am. So - life drill was a pain, it was very hot in our area and standing only, but I suppose it replicated real life possibility. Cabin 9070 in midships suffered from overhang and some obstruction from our balcony but it wasn't the end of the world. Our Cabin lad organised a kettle and tea and coffee for us, we didn't even have two ask. We were in Aqua class so had caanpies on sea days, free bottle of wine, tote bag etc, nice little extras. Had to ask for robes, they'd run out, and info to set up safe. Cabin spotless, though the balcony door was very difficult to open, something they sorted on day five of seven, and the towels had seen much better days. Needed binning. Good tv system, we had fresh fruit, toiletries and settee. Excellent. As Aqua guest we had our breakfast and dinner in the superb Blu restaurant, Wow this really made a difference. Limited numbers, fine different menu daily and service which was top class. The staff really were magnificent and so friendly. makes me wonder howI can ever go back to the crazy world of mass dining room eating. We just turned up and in we went, often to a fabulous window view. The ship was a little rough round the edges in places but nothing to affect our cruise.The lunchtimes in the cafe could get a bit manic, but then it is the same on all ships. We enjoyed the reception the captain put on for British guests, lovely touch. The weather was amazing throughout specially when we reached the Hubbard glacier. So the downsides - the constant flow on day one of people trying to sell you outrageously high priced drinks packages, one after the other, til i got sick of it. Moreso their shock when you refused. You would need to be an alcohol to get your money's worth - and remember you are off the ship three days so not drinking. We hate the US style 18 pc gratuity attached to every beer or glass of wine, soft drink they sell. Waiter pours two £10 drinks at once and you have to pay them £3,60 for just pulling them at the bar. Really. Price of being on US ship I suppose. Entertainment was hit and miss, we liked the bought in shows but felt Celebrity's own dance troop (sorry) was very ordinary. Nothing lavish, same old, same old stuff - they need an upgrade and some new costumes to match. December 63 were brilliant by the way. We organised our own excursions, which as the locals were keen to tell us, were vastly less expensive than this on the ship. Pools were fine, we got use of the Persian Garden as Aqua guests but search as we could we were unable to find the enclosed hot beds which offered views across the sea... there weren't any though they were advertised. Apparently only on bigger ships. Anyway, we really enjoyed our cruise. We really did. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We bolted this cruise on to a holiday to Canada Rockies and BC. WE chose Celebrity because it gave the better deal compared to other Alaska 7 day cruises. Checking in was fine but immigtation seemed to take a long time. Once eventually on ... Read More
We bolted this cruise on to a holiday to Canada Rockies and BC. WE chose Celebrity because it gave the better deal compared to other Alaska 7 day cruises. Checking in was fine but immigtation seemed to take a long time. Once eventually on board the first contact witrh a cruise member of staff was about drinks packages which was rather annoying as all we wanted to do was setlle in and look around the ship. The cruise itself was great, even better as the weather was excellent. We thought Icy Straight Point was a bit of a waste of time but enjoyed the huskeys sleigh ride in Juneau. Hubbard Glacier was excellent the ship being able to get up very close to the glacier and was proably the highlight of the trip. As for the cruise Ship Celebrity Infinity compared to UK based cruise chips (e.g. P&O) we thought it was expensive and at every corner Celebrity seemed to want to take money from passengers. Food in the buffet was average but always crowded and difficult to find seats. The Restaurant for dinner was excellent with helpful staff although 3 times our group of 4 had to send the main course back. Ou cabin (6000) was right at the front (just a window) and it did get a bit choppy sometimes in the night. Entertainment in the theatre was good what we saw and some of the lectures were very good. One of the excursions we booked didn't run and was cancelled at short notice. The orgainsation/advice to passengers shore side was poor. We would consider Celebrity again but are put off by the high gratitude cost and high general costs not helped by being in dollars so wanted to compare with UK £ all the time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our second cruise with celebrity to Alaska the cruise on the whole was good the ship was fantastic clean easy to get around we had a Aqua class cabin with a balcony which was lovely for sitting outside taking in the beautiful ... Read More
This was our second cruise with celebrity to Alaska the cruise on the whole was good the ship was fantastic clean easy to get around we had a Aqua class cabin with a balcony which was lovely for sitting outside taking in the beautiful scenery dining we only used the Buffett it suited us . The entertainment was terrible out of the 7 nights there was 2 nights of comedian December 62 was another night that was the best thing the other nights where a waste of time the day activities included making a paper plane and throwing it through a hoop really celebrity !!! The staff on the ship were great porters, housekeeping and food and bar service staff but as for the other staff ie cruise director were stuck up we've cruised with Thomson before and all staff were very friendly. The service from housekeeping and bar and food service was excellent made you feel welcome had a great laugh in cafe every night with them . We only did one excursion as we'd done the rest on our first cruise they are quiet expensive . We spent 4 days in Vancover before the cruise that we enjoyed. Read Less
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