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13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
My husband and I wanted to travel someplace new and go all out since we were celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary. When on a Royal Caribbean cruise in July 2016, we booked this 7 night Alaskan cruise on the Celebrity Solstice. We ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to travel someplace new and go all out since we were celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary. When on a Royal Caribbean cruise in July 2016, we booked this 7 night Alaskan cruise on the Celebrity Solstice. We originally chose this ship because we knew that it was a more contemporary ship and we were drawn to the spa amenities and the wine bar (among other things). The night before the cruise, we stayed at the Hyatt House on 5th Avenue N in downtown Seattle. It was the PERFECT choice as the hotel itself was in a great location with a complimentary hot breakfast, and it was only a $12 cab ride to the pier for 3 people with a ton of luggage. I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone staying one, or several, nights in Seattle before or after a cruise! We arrived at Pier 91 at 10:30 AM. The pier was quite crowded as there were two ships in port (Celebrity and Royal Caribbean) and many previous cruise guests were still waiting for transportation while new guests were arriving. We were a little confused as to where we should drop off luggage as the area was not clearly labeled. We asked one pier employee for help and he took us straight to the man who was loading luggage for the Solstice. We double checked that the luggage was indeed going to the Solstice and not the Royal Caribbean ship and when he eased our fears, we left our luggage with him and walked right into the main building. Everything was clearly labeled from here on out and it took us less than 10 minutes to travel through very short lines to receive our Sea Pass card (we took advantage of online check-in a few weeks prior) and walk onto the ship. We were on the ship by 10:45 AM. The ship itself is BEAUTIFUL; very contemporary furnishings and everything was well maintained and kept very clean. We were welcomed onto the ship with a glass of Champagne and proceeded to explore every bit. The layout of each floor was great as all restaurants were located at the aft of the ship; most shopping, the casino, and some bars were located in the middle of the ship; the theater, fitness center and spa, and most bars were located at the front of the ship. There were elevators at numerous points throughout the ship that helped to decrease wait time. We had some drinks and walked all around the ship before going to the Oceanview Café for lunch and it was still quite crowded at 1 PM. Soon after lunch, our stateroom was ready, so we were able to check that out as well! We chose to book an Aqua Class room on the starboard side of the ship, room 1558. Our room was very large for a cruise ship cabin with PLENTY of storage in both the room itself and the bathroom so that we were easily able to store the contents of 2 large suitcases and a suit bag (including toiletries and shoes). All of our suitcases fit neatly under the bed so we had no clutter in the room, allowing us to maneuver with ease. Our bathroom had 1 sink and a large vanity area, as well as a shower with one large shower head and about 4 or 5 small, massaging shower heads that were at different points below the main showerhead. We figured out that we could have all showerheads turned on at once or we could have only the main showerhead turned on (which was most helpful for shaving in the shower!). Our bed was SO comfortable and there was not one night that we had a bad night's sleep! Our balcony was rather large with enough room for a small table with 2 chairs and 2 footrests, while still leaving some room to easily enter and leave the balcony. Our room attendant was Wiji and he was OUTSTANDING!! The service that he provided was second to none and he always met our requests quickly and with a smile! We purposely chose the starboard side of the ship because the itinerary has this side facing land for the first 4 days of the cruise and the views were spectacular! The location of our Aqua Class room allowed for a private staircase to enter the spa and fitness center areas (which we used daily) so that was a perk for us. The only disappointment about the Aqua Class room was that there was no pillow menu as advertised (although Wiji did bring cotton pillows upon request) and the daily snack left a lot to be desired. We are not tea drinkers so we did not drink the tea on a daily basis, but we did enjoy the fresh fruit provided every day. However, there was also a second snack provided mid-day which always consisted of olives (YUCK!) and usually some dip or cheese snack that was not quite appetizing. If this is your only motivation for an Aqua Class room, you may want to choose another room instead. Overall, we felt that dining and service were fantastic! We ate at Blu (another Aqua Class perk that was WELL worth it!) almost daily for breakfast and 4 times for dinner. The food portions were small, which was good in my opinion as I always had room for dessert, but I was never disappointed in a meal. Like the main dining room, the menu changes daily, but there are three "classic" items on the menu each day that can be ordered. The service in Blu was wonderful and we got to know and love the same server and assistant server (Paul and Vikktoriia) as if we were in the main dining room, as well as the hostess (Maria) and the manager (Ante). Every day, the sommelier would approach our table and ask if we would like wine. We learned on the first day that if we said no to wine, we had to order another drink immediately; otherwise, he would collect the wine glasses, walk away, and never return. Even if he provided the first drink, the only time that he would return is if we requested his presence through our server. But that was the only semi-issue that we had in Blu, which wasn't really a big deal in the end. We never made reservations for breakfast or lunch and walked right in on most days, with the exception of the evening that we were in Victoria, which we had to wait a whopping 5 to 7 minutes. Before cruising, we ordered the 3 dinner specialty package and we were SO happy that we did! Our first meal was in Tuscan Grill, where we fell in love with the marinara sauce, but not necessarily the service. It was our least favorite of the specialty restaurants. However, Murano and Silk Harvest did not disappoint and both restaurants were surprising to us for different reasons. We couldn't understand the menu at Murano and most of the items were not foods that we would regularly choose to eat. However, our waiter was super helpful in explaining the food items and helping us to make our choices, and his service surpassed outstanding. The food was delicious and we had a very romantic meal. There were several items that were cooked tableside, which added a nice touch! Silk Harvest was surprising to us because it was restaurant that most reviewers complained about so we weren't expecting much. However, the food is served family style so we had a TON of food and it was all delicious! The family style serving allowed us to try several dishes on the menu and our server would consistently ask if we wanted to try more. The drink service was great as well! It was the only restaurant that we did not have room for dessert and we walked away very pleasantly surprised and pleased! We tried to avoid the Oceanview Café at all costs as it was ALWAYS crowded and tough to find a table. We tried to go when we thought it would not be a "peak" time, and the only time that it was not crowded was at midnight when we went for a late night snack. However, we did like that there was a bar located inside of the buffet, as well as outside seating. We also ate at Mast Grill one afternoon for lunch and had a very tasty burger and fries, as well as the Aqua Spa Café for afternoon snacks; both were a MUCH better alternative to the Oceanview Café. We LOVED Café al Bacio and frequented it in the afternoons for a caramel macchiato and hot chocolate, as well as whatever delectable treats were being offered that day (it changed daily). The service was always amazing as everyone was so happy to help you at all times. The treats are complimentary to all, and since we had the Premium drink package, our coffee and hot chocolate were included. We did not eat at Sushi on 5 since I am pregnant and cannot have raw fish. Otherwise, we probably would have tried it out, even though we only saw a handful of people in there daily; perhaps because it is a la carte. We tried most of the bars onsite and found that the Passport Bar, the Sky Observation Lounge, and the Sunset Bar were hardly ever crowded. Service at all 3 bars was great and the Passport Bar always had a server walking around taking drink orders. There was a server in the Sky Observation Lounge as well, but we must have never sat in a popular area, because my husband would always have to get up to get a drink and then was intercepted by a server on his way to the bar, who would then get his drink. The Sunset Bar was hardly ever crowded because it was so cold for outside for most of the cruise, so we would grab blankets while my husband smoked a cigar and I would chat with Vlad and Barretta at the bar (who were always sure to keep my pina coladas non-alcoholic!). They were our favorite bartenders on the ship as they would go out of their way for both my husband and I, getting us blankets if there were none available or searching for my husband's favorite Alaskan beer if they did not have any at the bar. And finally, in the evenings, we would sometimes go to the Martini Bar, which was typically crowded because the bartenders were so entertaining. We always had fun watching them put on a show and interacting with one another and the guests. There were a lot of activities going on for adults, but it seemed like there wasn't a lot for children. They had a children's club and a teen's club on the ship, but we hardly ever saw or heard of any children's activities. We have no interest in jewelry or art so we did not attend the NUMEROUS activities centered on shopping sales and art presentations, nor did we attend any presentations by Bret Nixon or Miss Amanda. We listened to both of them on the TV one evening and they weren't as interesting to us as other reviewers have made them out to be. We would attend the evening shows quite regularly and were pleased with the comedians, but not so much with the shows. Rock was an incredible disappointment. While the dancing was decent and most of the performers had decent voices, to be incredibly blunt and honest, I have seen better high school musicals before. The apparent talent of the performers was masked by a terrible show. There were SO MANY excellent, well-known songs that could have been performed and instead there were too many songs that were unknown. There was one singer who performed a Red Hot Chili Peppers song as if it were a ballad (which is a huge no-no for my generation). I almost walked out at that point because why anyone, producers or talent, would find that even remotely entertaining is beyond me. Same thing with Euphoria. The acrobats were incredible, but the music mixed in with the acrobatics was not. Moonlighting to Adele, one of the greatest voices of this time, should not be done by anyone and while the girl who sang her song put forth a good effort, it was almost as though I was sitting through karaoke. The song "A Thousand Years" should have been solely instrumental as the performers playing the cello and violin were OUTSTANDING; they brought tears to my ears. Then, the singing began, and it was a duet no less with my favorite Red Hot Chili Peppers cover singer who absolutely butchered the song. I hate to be so incredibly harsh, but this was a HUGE disappointment and those who create and produce these shows should really put thought into what will bring out the best in their performers. As mentioned earlier, we frequented the spa and fitness center area on a daily basis. Although we had complimentary access to the Persian Garden as Aqua Class guests, we did not visit it once since my pregnancy would not allow for me to take advantage of their (mostly) heat-based treatments. The fitness center was crowded during the first sea day, and then afterwards, we had no trouble getting a machine after 11 AM. I wanted to take a yoga class or two, but was actually surprised that there was very little education on prenatal exercises and treatments. I had asked a trainer if the yoga instructor offers guidance on alternate poses that may not be safe for pregnant women and he provided me with an answer that made it clear that he had absolutely no idea that certain poses were not for pregnant women. The same thing occurred with my massage therapist and esthetician. At first, I almost wasn't even able to have a massage because the therapists thought that 16 weeks was still in the first trimester of pregnancy, which it is not. Then, I was given a completely inaccurate reason why a massage MAY be dangerous for pregnant women in the first trimester (I did my research and discussed this with my doctor ahead of time). My esthetician was much more educated on products that can and cannot be used during pregnancy, but both my massage therapist and my esthetician had me lying flat on my back for an extended period of time, which is NOT good during the second trimester. Perhaps a little more prenatal education is needed, even if I was likely in the minority. As for port excursions, we only had 1 planned through the ship. We decided to explore on our own in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Victoria. In Juneau, we purchased a $60 (for 2 people) round-trip bus ride to the Mendenhall Glacier and were able to hike and see both the glacier and Nugget Falls without any time constraints. My husband did the Klondike Bike Ride in Skagway, which was an excursion through the ship. He loved the excursion since there were only 4 people and they made numerous stops as they biked down the mountain. Luckily, we're ok with being independent explorers because we didn't want to pay the exaggerated prices offered through the cruise ship and the daily planner provided information about each port that was completely useless to us. I understand that this is a luxury cruise line and that it caters to those who are a little more well-to-do and likely have no qualms about spending money on material things. However, having that said, there are some of us average people who are looking for a great experience and some awesome advice on ports, and deals as well. PAGES of information on jewelry sales, where to buy jewelry in ports, etc. does not necessarily appeal to the masses. I had heard in Juneau that the cruise companies own the numerous jewelry stores that line the streets of each port, which is why they are advertised so heavily. Whether this is true or not, I'm unsure, but we found that the further we would travel from the port, the better shops, food stops, and deals we would find. One last thing that surprised us about the ship were the photographers. They were much more pushy than any other ship that we have been on before and this was the biggest disappointment. I understand that they have a job to do, but I absolutely do not care to be TOLD to do something. For example, when I'm having a quiet dinner with my husband, I don't want a photographer approaching my table, interrupting our conversation, and TELLING me to pose a certain way without ever asking if I wanted a picture in the first place. We ended up turning down all photography on the ship because being posed is not our idea of a nice picture; it's rather cheesy in our humble opinion. Sessions and packages are offered for those who enjoy that type of thing. Finally, when the cruise was (sadly) over, disembarkation was extremely simple. In fact, the most difficult part was catching an elevator because most guests did not listen to directions (or just didn't care) and started to head towards their debarkation areas well before it was their time. We chose self-assist so we walked off with our luggage and once we were actually able to get on an elevator, we walked right off the ship and right through customs with no issues. There was a short line for taxis and one that moved very quickly, so we were able to catch a taxi by 7:45 AM and were at the airport by 8:30 AM, in plenty of time for our flight. I would suggest planning wisely for debarkation because due to the massive number of people who were just standing around waiting, I can only imagine that it would become tougher to leave the ship as time went on (not to mention catching a cab, traffic at the port, etc.). In the end, we're definitely happy that we chose the Celebrity Solstice to see Alaska. We had a great time and met a lot of wonderful, hard-working people who simply wanted to please on a daily basis. We would highly recommend this ship for singles, couples, groups of adults, or families with adults. We would not bring our child on this cruise as we did not feel that it was as family friendly as Royal Caribbean. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose this cruise because of the budget, and a desirable itinerary. The embarkation procedures at Seward seem a little bit disjointed, if not amateurish. Having to pull up on the city shuttle bus only to be told to drag your ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the budget, and a desirable itinerary. The embarkation procedures at Seward seem a little bit disjointed, if not amateurish. Having to pull up on the city shuttle bus only to be told to drag your check-aboard luggage a hundred yards across the gravel parking lot was a new experience. Not a pleasant one. I like to drop the luggage at the curb with a porter and go on through the building. I can only imagine how this experience would play out in the frequent rains of Seward. The views along this cruise's itinerary are stupendous. I never got tired of snowcapped mountains and treed shorelines. Hubbard Glacier was amazing. Juneau was a joy. Don't miss the tram ride. Skagway was entertaining in a natural kind of way. We liked the gardens more than the tourist traps. Icy Straits was cool, but so was I. The rainy skies kept me from enjoying it more, and after you've seen one T-shirt shop you've seen them all. Ketchikan had the city flavor while being close to sightseeing nature trips. We went to VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver and loved it. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was our second cruise to Alaska, our first with Celebrity. The crew and staff were absolutely outstanding, 5+ out of 5. Reynaldo, our stateroom steward, was out of this world. Our state room was always turned down, perfectly clean, ... Read More
This was our second cruise to Alaska, our first with Celebrity. The crew and staff were absolutely outstanding, 5+ out of 5. Reynaldo, our stateroom steward, was out of this world. Our state room was always turned down, perfectly clean, and he found time to make creative animals from towels to amuse our 8 year old. Bobi, a waiter in the Grand Epernay dining room, was another 5+ out of 5. His attention to detail and ability to navigate through a special diet with food allergies was superb. All of the staff was super friendly, and it seemed as if there were more staff than passengers at times, I couldn't walk one deck without seeing a staff member busy working, or cleaning, but with a smile and cheerful disposition. All of the staff get 5 out of 5 stars. The only disappointment from the staff was the breakfast we ordered twice via room service, as we received about 80% of what we had ordered. The food was the biggest disappointment. The buffet food service area is a big open area, but chaotic, you have to be a defensive walker to dodge people coming at all angles. The buffet food was okay, once in a while an individual item would be outstanding (filet mignon, served one time), but then other items would disappoint (i.e. the ranch dressing, the scrambled eggs). The food in the Grand Epernay was also disappointing. For a 2-hour-plus dining experience, the food was only 3 or 3 1/2 out of 5. Bobi did the best with what he had to work with, and the quantity was fine, but the quality was underwhelming. The specialty restaurant Murano was a 5 out of 5 experience, provided you can afford such an experience. One suggestion for Celebrity. Upgrade the toilet paper. Single ply? We're paying too much for a cruise to use material I'd expect to find in a motor home. If your systems can't handle better quality, then upgrade the plumbing! Another suggestion, but this is a design flaw - the "walking path" on Deck 14 is on the same deck as the buffet, so anyone attempting to walk or run anytime near meal hours is constantly dodging people who don't know any other way to get to the buffet. Our child had a great time at the Fun Factory, the entertainment provided for three age groups for children under 13. The entertainment was good, as was the overall cruise experience. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, who can argue with being greeted with a free mimosa upon entering the ship? I definitely recommend Celebrity, and the Solstice, and if you can afford it, definitely get your own balcony when on an Alaskan cruise, there's no better way to see a glacier. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Overall trip was great. Captain was funny and entertaining. Staff and services were great. Food was great as was entertainment. What was bad was the art auction . Stay away from this all they wanted was to sell art to u and never gave ... Read More
Overall trip was great. Captain was funny and entertaining. Staff and services were great. Food was great as was entertainment. What was bad was the art auction . Stay away from this all they wanted was to sell art to u and never gave up attempting. It felt like time share salespeople . A big joke. The glass auction was better and well deserved. But please stay away from the art guys. Also the beverage prices arent cheap. Before u book decide how much u drink and break it down to the cost per drink vs the pkg deal. U might be better off with individual charging vs pkg. If u can afford it dine at the Murano cost is 50 extra per person but worth it.. Also if u want to save on beverage cost get one but use it for two people. At least this way u break even.. Individual pkgs for 1 isnt worth it Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was our fifth time to Alaska but our first time going there on Solstice and we were going with all our Martini Mates and I can actually say it was a GREAT cruise with only a few blips on the part of the Celebrity. Here's our ... Read More
This was our fifth time to Alaska but our first time going there on Solstice and we were going with all our Martini Mates and I can actually say it was a GREAT cruise with only a few blips on the part of the Celebrity. Here's our review. (If you would like to see this review with photos, check it out here: http://www.jkbellomo.com/Alaska2017/index.html) Embarkation On the morning of embarkation (June 16, 2017) we were all (16 of us) either at our home in Redmond, WA (a Seattle suburb) or at a nearby hotel. At 9:15 we were picked up by a wonderful new shuttle service (new to us) that Mike had found from all the way down in Florida. First, I can't say enough good things about Seattle Express shuttle service. I dealt (via e-mail) with Matt, their manager who was AWESOME! Got back to me with pricing, routing and pretty much every question I asked him in what seems like an instant. His driver was on-time, every time (they took us to the ship, took us back to our place after and then took some Mates to the airport that afternoon). You will find them at https://seattleexpress.com. They also do guided tours so if you are here on a shore day (as opposed to embarking or disembarking) that might be a possibility. We have not done one of their tours but if they are as good at tours as they are dependable, it will be a great tour. I would love to hear from someone who has done a tour with them. Please e-mail me if you have and let me know how they did. They got us to the port in record time and we had been reading on Cruise Critic that getting into the port and getting on board for the first couple of Alaska cruises had been problematic to say the least (we were hearing about hour and a half delays in the waiting lines) but that did NOT happen to us. From the time we drove into the line to unload until we were onboard the ship sipping mimosas was about 40 minutes flat. It was amazing. Our shuttle parked, a porter grabbed all the bags for 16 of us, we headed in, got scanned, got our seapass cards, had our picture taken (that didn't come out very well—more about that later) and were onboard in no time. Onboard Once onboard we hung out for a few minutes in the Martini Bar while I went to check on our main dining room seating. Being a party of 16 we were worried that all our reservations had not been linked and I am glad I checked as they weren't. If you are in the same boat, just go to the main dining room on deck four and there you will hopefully find the wonderful Tiana who was quick to assist me in moving our entire party to a table for 10 and a table for six right next to each other. Each night we took turns sitting at the six top (because to be honest, 10 is too many at a table). Having the same excellent waiter helped with that immensely. After I had taken care of that, a bunch of us headed up to the mostly empty (at that point) buffet for lunch. (More about the food below.) After lunch we were thrilled to hear that our cabins were ready (at about 1:00 pm) so we headed down to drop our carry ons and check the cabins out. We were in 6209, a forward facing hump cabin with bed by the door. Our luggage arrived by 2:30 and then we were off to the muster/lifeboat drill. Our station was the main dining room and since much of the presentation is now on video, that was fine. But let's talk about those videos for a minute. I am sorry to even mention them. There were two. The first was a sing-song piece that looked like it was made for five-year-olds, about washing your hands. The song is still stuck in my head as I type this. My buddy Bob who has a movie of the song sent it to me the other day and stuck it back in there—thanks Bob. We had seen this one before and we still find it childish. Why not just say, "Wash your hands so we don't get norovirus on board." We are all adults except for the kids and their parents can tell them. But the one we hadn't seen almost made us understand why cruise prices are going up. Someone in the marketing department at X must have gotten the idea that to make us listen to directions about lifeboats we needed a Hollywood spy film. That film must have cost a fortune to make. How about having the old lifeboat spiel that worked for at least 20 years and then give us all back $10. It had to have cost that much (not $10 for each person on our cruise but $10 times all the people who cruise X). Ridiculous. We followed the viewing of these cinematic masterpieces with a wonderful sail-away party (under cloudy skies) in the Sunset Bar. We added five new Martini Mates who got their pins and that's a great way to start a cruise. The Good stuff Let's divide the onboard stuff into good and bad. Yes, there was some bad but let's look at the good first. I want to start by saying that Solstice is in great shape. We were on her eighth cruise the year she was launched (2009) and she is pretty much in the same great shape. I will remark that some of the stuff in the cabin could use some upgrading (the TVs are next to unwatchable at their LOW resolution but that's probably because we are all so used to our HD models and why watch TV on a cruise?) but most of the ship was looking good. Service Celebrity continues to provide what we believe is some of the best service in the world. Her crew is second to none and her captain should be proud. Check the dailies by clicking the link at the top of the page to see the ship's officers on page six. We would especially like to single out some great crew members who went above and beyond to make our cruise AWESOME! Our stateroom attendant Jacinto, our waiter, Savio, our assistant waiter Jose, our sommelier Nelson, Valeria in the Ensemble Lounge, Milena in Cafe al Bacio, Tiana in the MDR, Ryan on the activities staff and so many more who were wonderful to us all week long. Activities There was plenty to do. I have scanned all the dailies (the list of things to do for those of you new to cruising) and put them online. Click here to see them. We (a bunch of the Martini Mates) are trivia junkies so we never missed a trivia session. All were pretty good and no one asked who had "discovered" nylon. (Sorry, it's an inside joke.). Lots of great prizes including tee shirts, wrist bands, decks of cards and more. Can you tell we won a bunch. On sea days the sessions were WELL attended but on port days we were often the only ones there, or Bob and Holly were. The gym I used the gym every morning and was VERY impressed with Solstice's gym and the staff who work there. Always clean, open on time and four upright stationary bikes to choose from for me, all in good working order. And as usual, on day one in the morning it was packed at 6:00 am and by morning seven, I was pretty much alone. Shows I should say a word here about the shows after dinner but we aren't big show people when onboard. I think one reason is that we cruise to socialize (we both work in pretty isolated jobs) so we rarely go to the shows. If you want to know more about the shows, check out my buddy Mike Preisman's review by clicking here (it will be up soon if you don't find it). I will say that there was no show on the first night. There was an Alaskan presentation instead. Usually X (how us old cruisers refer to Celebrity) puts on a sample show of the other shows that will be coming that week. We did attend the second night's show, which was a production show called "Broken Strings," It featured a lot of songs I have never heard (yes, I know I am 64) sung by singers who to us and everyone around us in the audience on the upper tier of the showroom were unintelligible. Either they were mumbling or the sound system was going bad. I believe the former to be true. I should add here that another member of our party who was sitting on the main level, LOVED this show so certainly beauty is in eye of the beholder. The only other show we went to was a comic who came aboard in Ketchikan. His name is AJ Jamal and he was hilarious. He was billed as a "clean comic" and he was. But still funny. Everyone with us at the first show thought he was hoot and just cackled but the same friends who had loved the production show hated him. Who knows? Other shows during the week included a different comic (only did a late night/adult show), a Beatles tribute band that others told us was superb, another production show (Sixties music—I should have gone) and a Cirque-type acrobatics show. See the Dailies for a full description of all of these. BTW: If you want to see pics of all the shows check out my buddy Mike Preisman's review at www.thepreismans.com. He takes pics of all the shows. Notes on dress and pax I want to add a little bit about something that surprised us. We were told by officers that this cruise had more than 1500 (out of 2600) first-time cruisers on board. This is pretty usual for an Alaska cruise. It's the reason that our Cruise Critic roll call was so small—those folks haven't discovered Cruise Critic yet. This was pretty evident during most the cruise when those of us with multiple cruises under our belts watched the new folks wandering about with their mouths hanging open with wonder. But what really surprised me was when we got to night number two. X has done away with "formal nights" (which we miss) and replaced them with "Evening Chic" on two nights on a seven night cruise. Five nights call for "Smart Casual." You can see descriptions of these on the first daily. We (our group of 16) were divided on this and ended up with 5 of the men in tuxedos, and three just in shirts or jackets. That was fine with us. Some of us (me included) love dressing up so we went for it. What surprised us on the first "Evening Chic" (or as Paul calls it shabby chic) night was the number of other cruisers in formal attire. We had bit of a different experience on the next "Evening Chic" night but I will leave that for later. It was just nice to see so many people dressed for dinner and later around the ship. At our table, our newest Mate won hands down for classiest formal wear as he is a long-time Chief in the US Navy and still on active duty so he wore his dress uniform and WOW did he look great. That's him with his beautiful bride Holly in the picture. See what I mean? The Food I had heard from a friend who cruised to Alaska on Solstice last summer that the food had not been up to par. That was NOT our experience. We enjoyed almost all the food we ate. In fact, I enjoyed it all but some others in our group had assorted problems with it. More about that later. We ate all but two of our dinners in the Main Dining Room (MDR). Had some great meals there. Seafood, pasta, prime rib and lots of other great stuff. The menu shows two courses (appetizers and entrées) but most people would order an appetizer from that section of the menu and then a soup or salad from the same section. I almost always started with escargot which I love and only eat on ships (it is available every night along with other appies and entrées), followed that with another appetizer or a shrimp cocktail (always available). And then dessert after all that. Every night. No wonder I gained four pounds. I would have gained more but I make it a policy that I never take an elevator on a 16 deck ship so I know I ate a lo and worked off a lot. And they just keep bringing us their outstanding bread (especially the breadsticks)! We ate most lunches in the buffet but did have one at the deck 14 hamburger bar in the sunshine while in Ketchikan and the last day of the cruise we had lunch in the MDR. Breakfast was usually in the buffet which was fine except on the day we were doing glacier viewing and then going on to Juneau. It seemed like everyone went there at one time for both breakfast and lunch which made for a maddeningly slammed buffet. We ended up in the Aqua Spa cafe eating while sitting on the edge of the pool area. We did two dinners in specialty restaurants. All 16 of us went to Murano for a special dinner. It turned out great for eight of us who were sitting at a table where our server turned out to be an old friend of Bob and Holly's which meant we got incredible service while the other table of eight got a server that never came back. Took their orders and disappeared. And Paul (at the other table) had the "made tableside" whole fish which was cold by the time he got it. Sad and very unCelebrity like. On the last night of the cruise about 90% of the ship went into Victoria at 5:30 when we docked. But those of us who stayed behind were all relegated to one part of the dining room on one floor, open seating. We were also disappointed to find out that much of the rest of the ship was closed down as well. Kind of ticked us off that even though we were not going into Victoria, X decided that our cruise was mostly over. We were able to go to the Tuscan Grille for an Italian meal which was neither good nor bad. We enjoyed ourselves because of the company, not the food or the service. Only a few lounges were open after dinner and that was sad. Solstice also still features the Asian cuisine restaurant (Silk Harvest) which I wish they would dump and put in Qsine as they have on all their other S class ships. Ports—Ketchikan I am pretty sure I mentioned before that this was our fifth cruise to Alaska. When you live in Seattle, an Alaskan cruise is one of the few you can do without having to pay to fly. So while we have cruised in Europe, Asia and Down Under, when we want to hit a ship for a quick week at our favorite moving hotel, we do an Alaskan cruise. Besides, neither of us like the Caribbean so that is out for us. The last three (including this one) times we have gone to Alaska, I think we got off the ship a total of an hour (if you don't count Skagway on this trip). For that reason (except for Skagway) we can't give you a lot of info. In Ketchikan we can say that we had AMAZING weather. It was sunny. On four previous cruises, when we did whale watching, flight seeing, etc., it poured rain as it does so often in that town. Like all but 20 days a year. But as my fellow Mate BSeaBob says, "We got a tan, in Ketchikan." So we got off and walked the gang over to Creek Street area since we had bee there before. We got them there and headed back to the ship for a hamburger and a beer out on deck 14 with Bob, Holly, Mike and Carol. Ports—Juneau In Juneau, we had gotten up early to see the glacier so by the time we docked in Juneau we were pretty tired. As Elite Plus members we get a free day in the Persian Garden (steam rooms, hot benches and more, in the spa) so we stayed onboard and did that. Ports—Skagway and some opinion about ports in Alaska. We had not been on a cruise that stopped in Skagway since our first Alaskan Cruise in 2000 so when we got there we were looking forward to getting off and walking around and even though I got talked into a tour with Skagway Alaskan Street Car Company there is something I need to say about the Alaskan ports in general. More about the tour in a minute but I want to say something about all these ports but it was especially notable in Skagway because we had not been there in 17 years. We had seen this happen in Ketchikan and Juneau over the years but we saw it happen gradually so we really didn't notice how bad it had gotten, but since we had 17 years between visits to Skagway we really noticed the change here. The cruise industry has ruined the Alaskan ports. When we first went to Skagway in 2000 it was a nice small town with lots of local business people selling fun and interesting things. You got to talk to actual Alaskans. You didn't see a single Diamonds International, Alaska T-shirt company (with the same products in every town) or any of the many other cruise-attracted businesses who have come to Alaska from the Caribbean and taken over the tourism retail industry. When we were there in 2000 there was one ship with 1500 people on board in port the day we were there. When we arrived this time, there were four ships in port, each with more than that 1500 people. Solstice was the biggest and when we arrived the town doubled in size just from us being there, forget the other three ships. It was just too much. We walked through town and found it hard to stay on the sidewalk and we seemed to be jostled with every step. We did have a chance to visit the Skagway City Museum (a really nice place with clean bathrooms) where we spoke to a local who told us that the Park Service (who owns most of the historic buildings in town) would refurbish a building and when that building went back on the market to rent, the rents had sky-rocketed to a point that the local business people could not afford to rent them. At that point, the Caribbean-like chains swooped in with imported workers who just come for the summer and sleep in trailers, tents and RVs and rented the stores. This is NOT supporting the local economy. This is economic imperialism at its worst. We went out of our way to spend our money at locally owned businesses and we hope you will too. Have a beer and lunch at the local brewery (Skagway Brewing Company—great beer and delicious chili), visit the local museum and take a cool bus tour with Skagway Alaska Street Car Company. I was so disgusted by the time we decided to book this, I just wanted to get back on the ship but my wife, brother and sister-in-law (new mates Steve and Jamie) talked me into this tour and I loved it. Owned and operated by locals, this tour (where you are driven around in big yellow Yellowstone-like buses) was super! Go do it. Look for AB (That's our guide's name). She does an amazing tour. So much fun. She will be there. She lives there. Not only do you get a cool tour but you get so much info about the town and the people and the history that it a tremendous amount of fun and a great value. I have never taken a somewhat political stance in a cruise review before but I want to urge each person reading this if you are new to cruising or been cruising for years, to please BOYCOTT these damn chains. I am sure there are better jewelry stores in the town where you live. Just as I am sure that you can find Alaskan tee shirts at locally owned stores. Please take tours with local tour companies like the one we did. And we know you can find a better lunch than at a chain restaurant. Don't even go inside. Don't get their free stuff. If we stop buying from these companies, they will go away and give Alaska back to Alaskans. In the future, if go to Alaska, I will only patronize local businesses. We hope you do the same. Ports-Victoria, BC Sorry, I can't say very much about this port because we stayed on the ship, ate dinner, packed and went to bed. We live less than 110 miles from Victoria and have been there many times before and are going back in August to celebrate our anniversary. Most of our party that had never been there before took the ship's tour to Butchart Gardens and if you have never been there before, it is a MUST-SEE! And now the bad stuff—Hey, I'm a Cruise Critic, right? We love Celebrity. We must, we have taken 17 cruises on their ships, we are sorry to report that they had some real problems on this cruise but thankfully they were isolated incidents. For instance, the last day of the cruise we were subjected to the terrible service of a waiter (who is nameless here but was reported to Celebrity) at lunch in the MDR. He was very condescending, in a huge rush (took our plates while we were still eating—literally still putting fork to plate) and worse, insulted a friend who has special dietary needs. He was about two seconds away from me asking to see his superior. He even served one of our Bobs a hot dog that was still frozen in the middle. We continue to be disgusted and disappointed by the music in the Martini Bar. On this cruise not only was it offensive in volume but we were "treated" to a song featuring the racist N word repeated numerous times which we reported to an officer. This music needs to go. PLEASE. At least before dinner at early seating. The average age of the cruisers in the Martini Bar at the same time as us was around 55-70. I am not sure who the thump-thump music is for. How about some Sinatra or maybe Adele, at a low enough level you can hear the people in your party who are sitting next to you. The photo gallery sucks. There is no other way to say it. If you haven't been aboard for a while you will be thrilled to know that they have stopped printing a multitude of photos and hanging them on a wall. The area taken up by where the photos used to hang is now all rip-off art auction (and it is a rip off). Now when they take your photo, they ask your room number, put it in the computer and it is supposed to show it on your TV screen in your cabin. I say supposed to because not one of us (all 16) could access that screen from their cabin. There are also monitors in the current photo gallery which is in this tiny space next to the casino. You swipe your seapass and you get to see every photo you are in (using facial recognition). Well that worked a little better than the cabin TV but we still could not see the two photos that we had taken when we came aboard. In fact, I went to the photo gallery every single day of the cruise and the people working there promised to find it for me. I told them it would be easy. It would be 16 people trying to make stupid faces. I even told them when we came aboard (approximately) and yet they couldn't find it. They did find photos that were not us of a couple kissing and attached it to our room. Then on the last night we had a group shot taken (see it at right) and when we went to look at it, it did not show up on the screens either. We were informed that if there were more than 12 people in a photo, they would only print them and they would not sell them digitally because they were afraid that those in the photo would just share the digital photo. But as we were looking through the actual photos (in a pile behind the cash register) to find ours, we met a guy who had been on our Cruise Critic roll call and we realized he was one half the of kissing couple on embarkation that had shown up on our photo screen. He said they had come on board right behind us and using the number from that photo, one of the guys in the photo studio was finally able to find us (on the last day of the cruise!!) But here's what really ticked me off. When he finally found it, the guy said, "Oh, you should have told me there were 16 people in the photo. We never post those." The thing was, I had. Every single day. This new system is not working. On top of that, while we were there a gentleman came in who had been in a HUGE family photo taken the night before, right before our group. He asked to see the shot which had more than 35 people in it. He asked if it was included on the "digital package" he had purchased which was unlimited digital shots he was in for more than $300 over the entire cruise. They told him that this shot was not included because there were too many people in it and that they could sell him prints at $20 a copy. He said he needed 25 prints and was very upset that it wasn't part of the digital package. Apparently he had never heard of a scanner because he ended up with an additional $600 in prints. Sorry folks, but that is highway robbery. This is just wrong. How much do they need to bleed you in the photo gallery. All this disorganization and their photos are just not that good. Oour group shot has a huge reflection in the glass above our heads. They had a gigantic reflector light set up exactly opposite that piece of glass so every picture they took in that spot that night has that blown out area. Are you kidding me? High school kids could do better and these are supposed to be professionals. Enough said. As I mentioned before, we were also very disappointed that on our last night in Victoria, those of us who chose to stay aboard found many of the bars and lounges closed, our regular dining table not available. This is unfair to those of us that you would like to keep coming back. This was our fifth cruise to Alaska (4 on Celebrity) and we live in the NW and really did not feel the need to get off in Victoria. Lastly we had a VERY disconcerting thing happen in the main dining room on the last "evening chic" night. As I mentioned above, our party had chosen to dress up in tuxes and nice dresses for the ladies (group of 16 seated together). We were fine with the fact that others did not. What we were NOT fine with was the fact that as we were finishing up our dinners a party was escorted to the next table dressed in their cabin's bathrobes. Yes, they had clothes on under them, but when they were next to our table they made some very obnoxious remarks about how did we like their formal dress? The very idea that the maître d' seated this bunch dressed in bathrobes defies our experience with Celebrity. This should NEVER happen. We were insulted by the fact that Celebrity would let it happen. Disembarkation This was the worst part of the cruise. Not because of any problem with getting off the ship. In fact the whole process was one of the best we have ever done. The reason I said it was the worst part of the cruise is that as every cruiser knows, getting off a ship is the worst day of any cruise. We loved every minute of it, have two more X cruises booked and can't wait to go back. Let me sum up This was a great cruise. We had a great time. We were treated well. We loved seeing our friends but there are some things that need to change about Alaskan ports and Celebrity. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
On our bucket list after retirement.. Our dining experience was incredible. We had Jorge and Kurdek ( table 202) our entire cruise for dining Staff more than accommodating. Evening entertainment well done. Our shore ... Read More
On our bucket list after retirement.. Our dining experience was incredible. We had Jorge and Kurdek ( table 202) our entire cruise for dining Staff more than accommodating. Evening entertainment well done. Our shore excursions we well organized and informative. We had the drink package with our fare, and be aware you will not be entitled to a drink over nine dollars and if you do decide to order that specialty drink it will be added to your bill with 18 percent gratuity. Went to open a bottle of Evian water in our suite and decided to read the tag... $5.50 plus 18 percent gratuity if opened.........Needless to say went to Oceanview Cafe on 10 and I am sure it tasted the same for less. Departure from ship well organized and worth the wait until the end. No searching for your luggage, Only a few rows to search.. Bon Voyage.... Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We had a fantastic time on the Infinity for our 25th anniversary cruise. This was our first Celebrity cruise, although not our first cruise. We embarked in Vancouver after two lovely days there. Very easy process. We left our hotel ... Read More
We had a fantastic time on the Infinity for our 25th anniversary cruise. This was our first Celebrity cruise, although not our first cruise. We embarked in Vancouver after two lovely days there. Very easy process. We left our hotel just before noon and we were on board and heading to our stateroom by 1pm. Our room steward was terrific. Very efficient and friendly. We were in an Oceanview cabin on deck 2. I felt there was ample storage for two people, lots of cabinets, shelves and drawers to store all we needed. One of the best parts of this cruise was Mickey Live. He had sessions most early mornings to look for wildlife and most mid- mornings in the theater to talk about the natural highlights of the cruise and to let you know what to look for the next day or so. This added tremendously to our experience. He was very informative and entertaining. We had select dining and managed to be in the same section of the Trellis restaurant 5 of 7 nights. Our team was wonderful (Chris and Kris), service was top notch. The food was mostly very good (Beef Wellington was fantastic). I felt that the breakfast and lunches were not as well done as the dinners here, and the staff was professional but not that friendly. Our evening team was just the best. Bar service and coffee shop service was efficient and professional, but once again, not that friendly. They did a fine job, but I do enjoy some banter with staff. The exception to this was the staff at the Martini Bar who were just wonderful, friendly and lovely. Oceanview dining was good early morning for breakfast or later in the afternoon for lunch. Other times it was a crowded mess with not enough seating. The stations were very spread out so it was hard to see all that was available. The stations at the very back did fresh omelettes in the morning and fresh grilled meat for lunch. Very nice. The eggs Benedict station in the morning was wonderful as well. We learned to enjoy the Oceanview at non-peak times. Food quality was good for the most part with lots of variety. Entertainment was fine. I felt that the talent was good, but the shows themselves weren't that inspired. Duo Destiny was the aerial team and they were wonderful. We did amazing excursions at all ports, and these made the cruise just wonderful. Whale watching with Glacier Winds at Icy Straight, Adventure Bound small boat trip to Tracey Arm Fjord in Juneau, and Float plane with Island Wings in Ketchikan. All were well worth it. Disembark was fast and easy. Overall this was a lovely cruise and we had a fantastic time. I am not one to worry about some rust here or there or a worn seat cover. The Infinity is an older vessel but well taken care of. I would sail her again or another Celebrity ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
We have sailed with Celebrity before, but this was our first time in Aqua Class. Embarkation was excellent and we were having a snack in the buffet before noon. The Stateroom was nice, but not any nicer than the "regular" ... Read More
We have sailed with Celebrity before, but this was our first time in Aqua Class. Embarkation was excellent and we were having a snack in the buffet before noon. The Stateroom was nice, but not any nicer than the "regular" balcony staterooms that we would normally stay in. In fact, the Aqua class staterooms have an over-hang above the balcony which we didn't care for. It seemed to block out the sun and on a June cruise to Alaska, we wanted all the sun we could get. We had our dinners at Blu restaurant. I thought the food was good, but no better than the food served in the traditional restaurants. I must admit, however, that we are not picky eaters.. The service at Blu was excellent, and the entire staff was outstanding throughout the voyage. This was our third trip to Alaska, so we only had two tours which were arranged through Celebrity. Both were very enjoyable. The ship (Solstice) is showing its age a bit, but everything appeared to be spotless. I should mention the disembarkation process. Celebrity offered "valet" luggage transfers wherby you place your luggage outside your Stateroom the night beforede parting, it is delivered to the airport, placed on your flight, and you pick it up at the carousel when you arrive at your final destination. Flawless! All-in-all a lovely trip on The Solstice. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Had a wonderful time on a great ship. Stayed in Cabin 7199. Very nice, no complaints but 1 deck higher would have been perfect. Food in main dining room was very very good. No need for specialty restaurants. Breakfast in main dining room, ... Read More
Had a wonderful time on a great ship. Stayed in Cabin 7199. Very nice, no complaints but 1 deck higher would have been perfect. Food in main dining room was very very good. No need for specialty restaurants. Breakfast in main dining room, buffet and in room was also very good. Lunch was just average buffet food. Did not buy any specialty drink packages. You would have to drink yourself into a coma to break even. And we don't hesitate to order a drink when we want one. Guest speakers Bret Nixon and his wife Amanda gave excellent information on sea life and the towns we were to visit. A must do. Most enjoyable was as we entered the fjord sitting on the balcony at 4:30 am. The next three hours of ice and glacier was amazing. Bring binoculars, I bought them on board. We where on the port side, seem to be better viewing. Ketchikan : went on the Allusion Ballard a working king crab boat seen on TV. Enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Juneau : Hovercraft was cancelled due to bad weather. Did the helicopter to top of glacier. My wife enjoyed it I was ho hum, so I'm on top of an ice cube. Skagway : Kershal animal rescue in Haines. A lot of fun. Really worth the time and money. Wife got to kiss a moose. Was on her bucket list. A word of advice. When arriving at the port before departure take a cab. The shuttle from the hotel always runs late. There are thousands of people arriving at the same time to fill two cruises ships and there is only one lane. Cab is best the wont allow Uber near the entrance. Get there early. We had a great time I hope you do too. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
This was a family cruise and included 10 members from 10-70. I had a royal suite this time. This was huge. About 3 times as large as a regular cabin with a separate bedroom. It also had a tub,shower, and 2 bathrooms. The other 2 ... Read More
This was a family cruise and included 10 members from 10-70. I had a royal suite this time. This was huge. About 3 times as large as a regular cabin with a separate bedroom. It also had a tub,shower, and 2 bathrooms. The other 2 cabins were Celebrity suites.This is way above my pay grade and was a one time thing. I just happened to get a good deal right before the cruise. I will now go back to my balcony room. We had a table for 10 in the Luminae . Special recognition (and please forgive the spelling) to Nicasio and his assistant Khartina. Excellent and I was impressed that they knew all of our names by the second day. Yan the wine steward was also excellent. The food there was good and changed nightly. The location of this restaurant is on deck 3 . I believe and does not have as good of a view as the other specialty restaurants. Although they are both excellent, I think I prefer the food in the Blu a little better. Specialty restaurants. Since my cabin included unlimited specialty restaurants, I treated all of my grand children to a lunch in them. All 3 were great, but the lunches are not as fancy as the dinners. I was impressed that Goezda from Turkey remembered us from a previous cruise. She over sees the specialty restaurants. Our cabin steward was excellent but I can't come up with his name. Sylvia the Michael's club hostess was excellent Embarkation-great. We were escorted to michaels club. However the traffic into the port was horrible. Dis embankment. We walked off Cons-And this is about all cruises. All of the ports have become tourist traps and cover up the beauty of Alaska. I also think the so called "art sales" are detestable Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was my 1st cruise EVER and it happened to be planned around my birthday and my husband and I went with my retired parents. We had rooms next door to each other and veranda staterooms (LOVED having the private balcony). Let me start ... Read More
This was my 1st cruise EVER and it happened to be planned around my birthday and my husband and I went with my retired parents. We had rooms next door to each other and veranda staterooms (LOVED having the private balcony). Let me start by saying that if you get a 'special' invitation to an Art Auction, IGNORE IT and throw it away immediately. They had this 60 pieces within 60 minutes but 2 hours later long past the 60 minutes (supposedly because customers requested more art be auctioned) it was still going and I really felt like I was part of a Time Share presentation. Mind you out of 87 art pieces 'auctioned', 5 actually sold and the rest were a 'pass' said in a low voice and very quickly (because no one wanted this stuff). It was all such a theatrical show though raising bids as if someone was actually bidding when no one was. Supposedly I won an art piece but they wanted $35 for shipping and it was hideous so I said no thanks and refused it. I will never go anywhere near an Art anything again after that horrible experience so consider yourself warned! Now onto the good stuff! The Captain was wonderful, the food was amazing, the views were spectacular and other than the Art crap, we really enjoyed Celebrity. My favorite was the glacier and the 2 360s the Captain did with the ship. We couldn't go to Tracy Arm but the glacier we went to (Dawes Glacier) was absolutely amazing and I have no regrets about it. Even though we enjoyed from our balcony, we couldn't resist the urge to get out of the room and run upstairs to see from the other side as it slowly turned. So many photos of the Dawes Glacier because of how breathtaking it was. This is what I expected, hoped and dreamed an Alaska cruise would produce and I was not disappointed! I must admit we had nothing to compare it to BUT our dinner server Zafir every evening was wonderful always smiling and happy giving us sightseeing tips and where to buy the cheapest T-shirts (HINT: Wait until Skagway to buy your T-shirts should you want them!) We are not drinkers and did NOT buy a drink package and couldn't be happier about it after hearing others complain about it along with reading negative comments here. I actually called ahead of time and learned we were allowed to bring our own sealed packaged water on board with us as carry-on as long as it wasn't the cruise brands so that's exactly what we did instead of paying $3 per bottle of water! We were perfectly happy drinking tap water with ice with every dinner thanks. (what we normally drink anyway). Breakfast and lunch in the Cafe on the 14th floor had other drinks too on tap so there was variety if you tire of water (fruit punch, apple and orange juice and some funky guava mix that was pretty good actually) We had a $50 onboard dining credit so we spent that for 'taste of Alaska' in Tuscon Grill for lunch our 1st full at-sea day which had great views and was very nice but we later learned we could have gotten the same items at the poolside cafe for less $ in less fancy surroundings so I'd suggest that if you are misers and care more about the food vs. the fancy upscale extra pay restaurant! The only tour we did through Celebrity was the Skagway train ride and dog sled tour and it was very enjoyable. Because this tour is so popular, we were warned it sells out so we booked it early and were not disappointed-- we had beautiful sunny clear weather in Skagway so it make this excursion that much more enjoyable. Holding the 3 week old dogsled puppies was fantastic (who doesn't love puppies?) We did the 'lumberjack' show on our own and saved $11 per person this way (its walking distance from the ship anyway in Ketchican). We also did the Mendenhall Glacier tour in Juneau on our own and I believe it was $8 cheaper per person this way as well. Make sure you have extra batteries for your camera (or phone camera if that's your poison) because I did have to swap from taking so much video and photos. My only big complaint about Celebrity was the 2 hours and 10 minutes it took to wait in line before boarding the ship (the embarkation was not smooth or quick) but once aboard, we were able to eat a late lunch in the Cafe on the top floor at 2pm. Leaving meant another hour and half wait in line for the bus to take us back to the airport but at least we were not late for our flight and had time to spare once we were at the airport. A few times in the Cafe for lunch or breakfast there were cold items that were supposed to be warm but with so much variety, I just took something else and didn't let it bother me. The last day breakfast didn't have a favorite staple item I ate every morning (hash browns) so that was disappointing but I guess I should be happy it was only the last morning. The evening shows were entertaining but not exactly the type of shows I would call super spectacular or even off-broadway quality but we were a captive audience and it wasn't so horrible we wanted to leave early either. I just hope you aren't going on this cruise for the cruise show entertainment! Our favorite evenings were the comedian AND the Liars Club should not be missed despite being so late at night because it is well worth attending (just not with the kids as it is Adult content). I know many reviewers here have taken Alaska cruises multiple times but I really do consider this a trip to take once as a bucket list item but now I would actually consider other cruises (perhaps Panama Canal for example). Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, first; then for the value. It was an older ship, but in excellent condition. I've been on other ships that pleased me more, aesthetically; but it was very good, nonetheless. Embarkation ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, first; then for the value. It was an older ship, but in excellent condition. I've been on other ships that pleased me more, aesthetically; but it was very good, nonetheless. Embarkation in Vancouver went smoothly, although someone with mobility issues would find the walking distance difficult. No steep inclines, though. Cruise staff members were top-notch. My only frustration was around reservations for a specialty restaurant. Weeks prior to cruising, we reserved for a special occasion, and had to pre-pay with a Visa, and couldn't use our onboard credit. We were told it could be fixed onboard at Guest Relations.That didn't happen. Ultimately, we cancelled and rebooked, with a credit back to our Visa. BUT the problem was that we had paid for 4 people, but payment for 2 was refunded to us and 2 to the other cabin. After my conversations with 6 different staff members, we resolved the issue by the other party giving us a check for the amount refunded to them. The specialty restaurant was very good, but not worth the $45 per person/dinner, especially since the main Dining Room was so good. We've been on several cruise lines, but found the Celebrity menus perfect for our tastes. We did like the Tuscan Grille gnocchi so much that we decided to take advantage of the last day $25/pp lunch. Not seeing an alternative menu, we assumed it was the posted dinner menu. The naturalists on board were Mickey Live and Kathy Slamp (?). Top notch! They gave me a heightened appreciation for Alaska, and I came home with thoughts of a return visit, although this was my 6th time there. As mentioned earlier, we make cruise decisions based on itinerary, first, and value second. We would be thrilled if our next cruise decision led us to Celebrity, again! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This is a mixed review. Overall the ship, the food and the activities were great. The staff were absolutely great. However, the Millennium is a problem for people dependent on wheels. The door sills or thresholds and all the joints between ... Read More
This is a mixed review. Overall the ship, the food and the activities were great. The staff were absolutely great. However, the Millennium is a problem for people dependent on wheels. The door sills or thresholds and all the joints between different parts of the ship are about an inch high with not enough slope to run wheels over easily. The wheels on walkers and wheelchairs hit these joints and come to a halt, turning sideways instead of running over. The front wheels always have to be lifted over, which is a problem when you are by yourself with no one to do the lifting. Also the doors to the public toilets are too heavy to hold open and wheel through. I use a walker and could never use a public toilet unless someone was there to hold the door open for me. Ditto for the doors to the outside decks. I was recently on Celebrity's Solstice and Silhouette and they both had a push button on the side to open doors in public areas. Millennium was supposedly refurbished recently, but they missed this important item. The handicap stateroom was excellent. Lots of room and well designed. Getting into it, however, was a problem. It had the same high metal barrier as all the other rooms. As cruises are an easy vacation when you have a wheelie, perhaps someone will start a list of ships that are accessible throughout the ship, not just in the designated stateroom. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We are 3 star HAL mariners, but I wanted to experience another cruise line and having heard positive things about Celebrity, decided to give them a try. With a couple of exceptions, we had a wonderful cruise and post cruise experience. ... Read More
We are 3 star HAL mariners, but I wanted to experience another cruise line and having heard positive things about Celebrity, decided to give them a try. With a couple of exceptions, we had a wonderful cruise and post cruise experience. We booked the go better package, which included OBC and the drink package. This made our cruise an amazing value. Hope they continue to offer these perks as it will entice us to cruise with them again as we loved not having a large bill to pay at the end. Embarkation was a tad slow but that was due to US customs. Disembarkation in Seward, no hassle, right onto the bus to begin our tour to Denali. (Highly recommend this tour. Big thanks to our tour guide, Alex, and our bus driver, who made it a joy.) Loved being welcomed aboard with bubbly and rbeing surprised with a cake on our anniversary. It made us feel so special. This has never happened with HAL. Cabin steward, Lydia, was fantastic. Always cheerful and kept our cabin organized and clean. Our dining room wait staff were wonderful, so we reserved the same table each night. Big shout out to Movin, Lu and Vincent, who brought delicious food and wine. Thanks for making our dinners so enjoyable. Enjoyed the nightly shows and watching the antics in the martini bar, as well as the participants in the silent disco. The passengers were a tad younger and livelier than HAL and I loved that. Okay, now for the negative. With the exception of the roast beef and filet mignon, the beef dishes were tough. Organization of morning coffee was a disaster. If you take cream and sugar like we do it was rare that a station would have coffee, mugs, cream and teaspoons all at once so you found yourself running from one coffee station to the next. Meanwhile breakfast is getting cold. This needs to be fixed. Weighing positives against negatives, I loved our first cruise with Celebrity and would definitely sail with them again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We originally booked the Hawaii to Vancouver trip, but then decided we didn't want the flight to Hawaii and then home from Vancouver. So we switched to this cruise, so we could fly round trip to Seattle. We went in a day early, ... Read More
We originally booked the Hawaii to Vancouver trip, but then decided we didn't want the flight to Hawaii and then home from Vancouver. So we switched to this cruise, so we could fly round trip to Seattle. We went in a day early, stayed at the Hyatt at Olive & 8 we used Shuttle Express to take us from the airport to Hotel, next day hotel to pier and then pier back to airport - total was $108 for two. Our driver picked us up at 11:15 from the hotel and had us at the pier in 20 minutes, but everyone was directed to the overflow parking lot where we sat for over an hour. Then we were allowed a few cars at a time to go to the drop off point, where we had over an hour going through security and waiting in line to check in. We did not get on the ship until 2:00 and went directly to our Aqua cabin. All personnel were great - except for the service at the bar in the casino, where you could not get served. We ate in Blu and enjoyed every meal. We ate twice in the MDR for lunch and that was good. We had one dinner in Tuscan - excellent. Ketchikan we walked off the ship, did no excursions, Juneau - we did an excursion by our travel agency to Mendenhall Glacier - not impressed after seeing Tracy Arm Fjord Skagway - did Celebrity excursion White Pass train and bus ride back. four hour tour. waste of time and money. should have done the whale watching. Victoria - did not get off the ship -we have been before and didn't want to spend $20 total to take shuttle from ship to downtown. We have done our last 7 cruises with Celebrity, but they do not have itinerary for what we want next, so we will be trying Holland America and then Princess. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This was our first cruise to Alaska after a number of Caribbean, Bahamas, Med, etc . This has been on our bucket list for quite some time so we finally went for it! We booked this about a year ago, and maybe 60 days prior to the sailing ... Read More
This was our first cruise to Alaska after a number of Caribbean, Bahamas, Med, etc . This has been on our bucket list for quite some time so we finally went for it! We booked this about a year ago, and maybe 60 days prior to the sailing upgraded from a standard balcony room to Aqua class. We landed in Seattle the day before the cruise and took the Link Light Rail to the Westlake station. We stayed the night before at the Mayflower Inn. The location was outstanding and the hotel was quite nice. We were upgraded for free to a corner suite. We did some sightseeing the day before and the morning of. We decided to try Uber to the port. Mistake number 1. Uber and other private drivers are taken to a staging area, while taxis are sent right up to the port. So much for Seattle being an Uber friendly city. We had our driver leave us and we walked about 2/3 mile by my guess to the terminal. The embarkation process was the worst. San Juan, Barcelona, Bayonne - all smooth and easy compared to Seattle. The lines were horrendous and slow moving. It took us the better part of an hour to get on the ship, and as noted we were in Aqua (and are Elite). This was probably the biggest complaint but by the time we got on the ship, to our room and up to lunch it was all a memory. The cruise itself was amazing. First off, Celebrity had both a Naturalist and a Cultural Historian as guest speakers. They were both excellent - entertaining AND informative. The guest entertainers, especially A Hard Day's Night (Beatle's Tribute band as you have probably guessed). The production shows were hit and miss. The Rock and Roll show was pretty good. The others were a bit bizarre. And Liar's Club as always didn't disappoint. Dining was good. We were well taken care of in Blu for our dinners. The service was efficient mostly but not as personable as we had come to expect. Our biggest complaint was that two of the days breakfast service was really slow. I mean slower than dinner. But the food in general was good in Blue. Oceanview Cafe was hit and miss as always. Mast Grill was quite good. We didn't do specialty restaurants. We really didn't do many of the other activities. Between the ports, the lecturers and entertainers and also relaxing (we are in the process of moving and this came at a really busy time for us!) we just wanted to enjoy the trip. More on the ports will come below. Disembarkation was not too bad. We went through customs quickly. The line for a taxi was pretty long. Both ships in port that day fed one taxi line. But we were at our hotel in Pioneer Square by 9 am. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I chose this cruise for the excellent food and the itinerary was perfect. I would have rated 5 stars, but I did have a couple of annoyances, minor, but still. First the many positives: Excellent room steward, and we found all the crew ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the excellent food and the itinerary was perfect. I would have rated 5 stars, but I did have a couple of annoyances, minor, but still. First the many positives: Excellent room steward, and we found all the crew very friendly throughout. Service in Blu (we were aqua class) and all the specialty restaurants which we thoroughly enjoyed was excellent. Ship is beautiful- comfortable library, solarium wonderful- we never had difficulty finding two loungers in there, no matter what time of day. Celebrity actually stuck to their word: area was over 16 accept for a few posted hours each day for family use. There weren't many children on board anyway-- what few that were on board were well behaved from what I can see, not an issue. I did have a couple of annoyances- no it did not ruin the cruise for me, but still annoying. One reason I like Celebrity, is that I had been assured that in Cafe Al Bacio- their wonderful coffee area, that they are well stocked with sugar free syrups for their coffee. As it turned out, on the Solstice, none of this was on board. On the past two Celebrity sailings that I have been on, both the Reflection and the Summit had the syrups displayed as in a coffee shop, both regular and sugar free. If I had known that for what ever reason, that the Solstice does not carry this on board, I would have brought my own with me, which I do on other cruise lines. The other thing that was annoying: we had their classic soda package, which we also had on our last sailing. We don't drink wine, will just upon occasion have a couple of alcoholic beverages, but that is about it. I only drink decafinated diet soda when I drink soda at all. Not picky if decafinated diet coke or Sprite Zero, which Celebrity uses. What was annoying is this: The bar tenders would pour in a thin glass full of ice, the soda. Then refuse to give the small remaining part that is left in the can? Just because the premium package gives out the whole can now? I could care less, but once the can is open and poured, why not just send the 1/4 a can with the drink. What I found was that most of the time, the soda in the glass would be flat- obviously poured from a previously opened can. So when I caught on to this, here is what I did: I made the bar tender open the can in front of me, pour it straight into the glass. Then I put in one of the glasses from the buffet area ice of my own. Yes this was a hassle, that could easily have been avoided. Shame on Celebrity- Fortunately, I don't drink much soda anyway, but to basically offer flat left over soda in a glass? as the classic package. Ridiculous. Again, other than the two peeves that I mentioned above, cruise was very nice. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This was our seventh Alaska Cruise, second on Celebrity. We chose this cruise for a variety of reasons.. 9 nights instead of the usual 7; it visited the Hubbard Glacier and Sitka, where we had never been before; and it coincided with ... Read More
This was our seventh Alaska Cruise, second on Celebrity. We chose this cruise for a variety of reasons.. 9 nights instead of the usual 7; it visited the Hubbard Glacier and Sitka, where we had never been before; and it coincided with my birthday and our 24th wedding anniversary. Embarkation at Canada Place was a mess! Three ships in, and not enough staff or Customs people to deal with the crowds efficiently. With 6-7,000 people disembarking and another 6-7,000 embarking, it was 7 pm before we left.. two hours late! We were lucky as we arrived to board early, had priority checkin with Concierge Class, and were ushered to the front of a couple of lines as my husband and I both need canes to walk. We were on board soon after 11:30. Some people spent 5 hours (maybe more) in the check-in process! The Solstice, itself, is impressive, especially the Grand Foyer. There are lots of public areas for small or large groups to get together, and shops/ boutiques on two levels. The only problem with this is that whenever you walked past them someone was trying to push you to buy something you didnt need, want or could afford! In addition, there was a constant push to buy drinks packages, photo packages etc.. The Main Dining Room is also impressive - particularly the 2 story wine rack! It has to be seen to be believed. Overall the food was good, although some was a little on the bland side. The buffet had lots of choices, but the scrambled eggs and the oatmeal left alot to be desired - very runny and bland. Other than that, no complaints - good, but not great! We did not eat at the Specialty Restaurants - very highly priced when you have already paid for meals .. The Persian Garden Pass for the week was useful, but we did not get our moneys worth as it was always busy.. would not buy the pass again. Overall, this was a good cruise, in spite of the fact that it rained in Juneau and Skagway.. however, I think we will stick to HAL in the future. I much prefer the mid-sized ships. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
The Solstice was a great ship to Alaska, food, service, entertainment,ports and staff. Unfortunately the boarding process in. Vancouver was terrible. We were lucky, it took us 2 1/2 hours of standing on lines, others took up t four hours. ... Read More
The Solstice was a great ship to Alaska, food, service, entertainment,ports and staff. Unfortunately the boarding process in. Vancouver was terrible. We were lucky, it took us 2 1/2 hours of standing on lines, others took up t four hours. The muster drill was moved and we departed late. After a wonderful cruise when we docked in Seattle Royal Caribbean Explorer of the sea docked at the same pier, same time, so getting a taxi was an additional hours wait! Someone at RC should have predicted this. All in all we had a great trip except for on and off. The beyond the podium learning experience was priceless! The additional Titanic's last song lecture was also so interesting. The excursion desk was helpful since we were able to get excursions for our next cruise printed up and book them while on board at a small discount. Captain's club elite lounge was relaxing though I do like choices in Diamond lounge on Royal better. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
About 3 weeks before sailing we received an email from Celebrity offering a 20% discount on First Night Specialty Dining reservations booked and paid for up to 2 days prior to sailing. We booked the Tuscan Grille. We were told we would ... Read More
About 3 weeks before sailing we received an email from Celebrity offering a 20% discount on First Night Specialty Dining reservations booked and paid for up to 2 days prior to sailing. We booked the Tuscan Grille. We were told we would receive a room credit for the 20% discount once we dined (we had to prepay the full amount). We never received our credit. I went to Customer Services while on board to get this corrected — they had never heard of this but after checking they came back and said my account would be credited. IT NEVER WAS. And it is such a hassle to complain about sloppy service I just dropped the matter. BUt I finally decided I would write a review to hopefully prevent other customers from being scammed too! BTW, the departure on this cruise was the worst I have ever experienced. The blame was put on US Customs since they could not handle 3 ships in port at the same time — Vancouver usually only has a single cruise ship in port at the same time). But some of the blame should probably be placed on the cruise lines that didn't foresee this might be a problem. Other than this we enjoyed our cruise. We arrived in VANCOUVER a day early. The weather was nice and we walked along the Seawall to Cardero's, where we had a great meal on the deck. Found a tasty Canadian wine - Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay - to have with our seafood dinners. Enjoyed our stroll back to our hotel afterwards, as well. The next morning we had breakfast at the JAM Cafe, Quite tasty, but there was a 15" wait outside to be seated, which we were told is typical. We took in some more sights before heading to Canada Place at Noon to board the Solstice for our 2nd cruise on her. She is a beautiful ship, and the crew very pleasant and quite helpful. Our first night on board we dined in the TUSCAN GRILLE with another couple that was traveling with us. We had a wonderful experiece. The food was delicious and the service excellent. My wife and I shared a pasta course - Strozzapretti Carbonara - before our main course. It was delicious, but quite filling. For our main course I had the Grilled Branzino with Broccolini Aglio E Olio and my wife had the Broiled Filet Mignon. We both loved our dinners. The next day we were cruising the INSIDE PASSAGE. We found the MARTINI BAR and I was able to sample a variety of martinis with their Flight. It was quite an experience, not only in the tasting, but in the show put on by the bartender as he prepared the drinks then poured all 6 of them into 6 glasses at the same time. Our "normal" dining venue was the Grand Épernay Restaurant. We enjoyed all our meals and had great service. Our wine steward, Rolando, provided superb service as well as being quite entertaining. We loved it. We were in KETCHIKAN the following day/ This was our 3rd visit to this port and we opted to leave town and see some of the wildernss via the "Misty Fjords and Wilderness Explorer" excursion, which we really enjoyed. The natural scenery was beautiful. And we lucked out and saw a whale as well. Upon returning we had delicious grilled halibut at Annabelle's. The next found us in JUNEAU with a misty rain. Since we had already been here 2 other times and had seen the highlights we opted to stay on board. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at SUSHI ON FIVE. And that eveining we dined in MURANO. This was a bit more upscale than the Tuscan Grill as far as its decor and service, and the food was the same high quality. My wife thoroughly enjoyed her Murano Lobster (prepared tableside) and my Loup De Mer was delicious. SKAGWAY was our next port. We had previously taken the White Pass RR up to Fraser, BC, with a bus return on the Klondike Hwy. Our friends were interested in seeing this, so we all chose the full day excursion "Yukon Adventure & White Pass Scenic Railway" which we loved. We were met on the port by our bus and then drove up the Klondike Hwy into Canada, going past Fraser, passing alongside Tutshi Lake and Tagish Lake before arriving in the Yukon Territory. It was a beautiful ride. Much of the landscape was still snow covered. The lakes were splendid. We turned around at the entering the Yukon sign and headed back to the Cliffside Restaurant. It was now 12:45 and this was the 1st bathroom stop of the trip! After using the facilities we were fed Bison Chili with a homemade roll overlooking the Yukon River.The food was quite tasty and the views were awesome. This is also the site of the Yukon Suspension Bridge, which we had time to cross for even better views of the river. We then continued on to Fraser to board the train for the trip back down the mountain to Skagway. The sun was coming out and the sky clearing in Fraser, but as we descended the clouds got thicker and the rain heavier. By the time we arrived at the port in Skagway it was COLD, the wind was blowing something fierce, and it was raining hard. They could not drive the bus back onto the port, so we had to walk thru the gates to the port, then a L-O-N-G walk to our ship. With the wind it felt like we were being stung by ice pellets. A miserable end to an otherwise very enjoyable day. The following day we visited HUBBARD GLACIER. This was our 3rd time here, but today was the BEST VIEWS we had ever had. Hopefully you understand how fickle the weather and other factors in the Alakan wilderness can be and you just never know for sure what it is going to be like. BUT TODAY WAS GREAT. The following day found us in SITKA, one of our favorite ports. It was another rainy day but we enjoyed ourselves - though we both we coming down with colds/sinus. This was followed by a DAY AT SEA, then an afternoon visit to VICTORIA, followed by an early morning docking in SEATTLE. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Embarkation was a nightmare going out of Vancouver. It took us four hours to get through the lines! No excuses as to why the problem occurred. The excursion for salmon fishing we found after we were on the boat to fish had been told ... Read More
Embarkation was a nightmare going out of Vancouver. It took us four hours to get through the lines! No excuses as to why the problem occurred. The excursion for salmon fishing we found after we were on the boat to fish had been told they couldn't salmon until June 17th. Celebrity took care of this for us. Then an excursion in Sitka through an outside vendor was cancelled without letting me know. This was disappointing as it was too late to book another. The Kroschel Animal Sanctuary in Haines was an experience not to have been missed. I got to kiss a moose and pet a fox! Otherwise, the cruise was great! I love the cabin we had and the staff was wonderful. Food and beverages were fabulous. The captain was humorous in his daily announcements. The entertainment was enjoyed every evening. I wish the slots were a little friendlier. I love the Soltice and will return. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise to visit and find out more about Alaska. The cruise and the shore excursions achieved that ... and more! Overall the cruise experience was first class, with a great emphasis on service to guests and provision of a ... Read More
We chose this cruise to visit and find out more about Alaska. The cruise and the shore excursions achieved that ... and more! Overall the cruise experience was first class, with a great emphasis on service to guests and provision of a range of experiences and entertainment to enhance the holiday. We enjoyed the talks, quizzes and evening entertainment - it's a pity the cinema was outdoors for an Alaska cruise! We ate in the restaurant each night - the food was good, but we did have issues with some of the waiters (see below). We ate in the self-service restaurant for breakfast and lunch - the food was good after the search for it (see below). We really enjoyed the Hubbard glacier, the walk and talk at Icy Straight and the whale-watching at Juneau. The Saxman village tour at Ketchikan was a bit disappointing ... it could be so much better if it was addressed in a more professional way (e.g. compared to Maori village visit in NZ I have been to). Some other thoughts: - at times we thought the emphasis on service became a bit over-bearing, e.g. constant approaches to have photos taken, including at meal times and too many interruptions to meals to ask if the food was OK (sometimes 6 times a meal!) - constant approaches to have coffee re-fills at self-service breakfast ... but I always had tea, and that was never offered Either it is set-service or it is served ... this experience was frustrating - the self-service food was arranged apparently randomly which made it difficult to choose what to eat ... and the glass covers over the food made it almost impossible to get to the food at the back of the counter - it would have been nice to have more of the free coffee and tea areas on other decks of the ship - the emphasis on shopping at each of the ports of call was disappointing ... we would rather see the ports in their natural state - perhaps having a line on wine glasses to indicate how full a glass should be would be worth introducing to avoid short- or over- measures - some of the charges seemed a bit steep - e.g. internet access - maybe put the casino on one side of the ship to enable it to be avoided when moving from theatre to dining room - the gym was very warm when I used it, and the water machine was difficult to locate Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2016
This was one of my "bucket list " things to do . The ship was lovely ; the staff were lovely ; the scenery was stunning ; the weather was excellent ; but - the food was very disappointing . As a vegetarian and being on Celebrity ... Read More
This was one of my "bucket list " things to do . The ship was lovely ; the staff were lovely ; the scenery was stunning ; the weather was excellent ; but - the food was very disappointing . As a vegetarian and being on Celebrity ship I had high expectations but was very disappointed . The buffet in the main café was Ok as obviously toy can pick & choose what you have . However , the main meal in the evening was very woeful . Out of 8 choices of main meals , there was only 1 vegetarian and it took a few days for me to find out that there was in fact a vegetarian menu . This gave me a whole two choices ! ! Lucky me ! ! The last night I had spaghetti , and I was not actually sure that it may have come from a tin ! It had certainly been sitting under a heat lamp as it was one complete lump of pasta . The desserts were the same every night , except for the last night when we were offered "Baked Alaska " How exciting - except it was just ice cream with a sponge covering . I think they set sail without any chef's on board that had no pride in what they were preparing as I was very much under impressed with my food . ALSO , do not prepay for private transfer from Vancouver to the airport . I paid almost £78 for 2 people to have one of these but according to all the staff at Vancouver this is not something that is provided and everybody that booked one of these returned to the airport on a coach . The Customer support at Celebrity told me that I missed the transfer & seemed to blame me for not finding something that seemingly cannot be provided . Am still waiting for the refund . There is an airport shuttle that costs CA$15 . Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Went on this cruise as I travelled on the same boat when on the New Zealand Christmas cruise. The boat is well maintained, has good staff, however has a somewhat impersonal feeling and the food in the ocean view buffet is definitely sub ... Read More
Went on this cruise as I travelled on the same boat when on the New Zealand Christmas cruise. The boat is well maintained, has good staff, however has a somewhat impersonal feeling and the food in the ocean view buffet is definitely sub par. The excellent naturalist Brett Nixon gave 4 fabulous talks. His wife, Miss Amanda, the historian is also excellent and gave interesting talks about the ports we were going to. Their Beyond the Podium talks greatly enhanced the cruise for me and if Brett Nixon were going to be onboard I would definitely have a preference towards that ship for future cruises. I booked a 1a cabin, 7286, I was travelling solo. Had previously been in a 2a, cabin 7282 with smaller deck but right out on the hump. 7286 had a much larger deck and also had a deck lounger and table and chair. There is much discussion on cruise critic on the merits of larger decks. I guess if there are two of you and you plan to spend a lot of time on the deck then it's worth the extra money. I've posted a photo of the cabin from shore so you can see the deck I got. However next time I think I'd save my money and even book an obstructed view cabin. I like the central location near lifts and level 7. If the lifts are busy you can take the stairs. Ate mainly at the ocean view buffet. I think you could liken this to flying econmy class. The food on the whole is mediocre. The quality of the food is not there. Tasteless bake beans, unripe tomatoes, eggs with very pale yolks, everything seems to lack flavour. I would put money aside next time to dine half the time in the speciality restaurants. There were lots of Americans and Australians predominantly onboard. I was surprised at how many Australians there were. They must be spending their pension payouts on cruises! Not too many kids - thank goodness. An Australian told me they had booked as there was a half price promotion about 3 months before sailing. So much for booking months ahead. The room attendants keep the ship very well maintained and clean. However there seems to be a lack of middle management around should you want to speak to one. You could go for days without seeing anyone twice. What really made this trip for me and personalized it were the series of four fantastic nature talks by naturalist Brett Nixon. He is so entertaining and he spoke to full houses totally engaging the audience. I'm glad I read good words about him on cruise critic reviews so looked out for his talks. I cannot believe I spoke to some people on board who had not even attended one of his talks!! I would be very interested to know how the park rangers that go on board the Princess cruises measure up against Brett’s talks. We were taken to quite small port towns and usually 3 possibly 4 ships in. Everything is very touristy. Some felt like tourist traps. Just all souvenir shops. And also hard to find s place to eat with so many people in the towns. I think there should have been more cruising around fjords and less going to the towns. Wild life is surprisingly hard to spot, glimpses of whales, only saw 2 eagles and saw no bears! We went up the Endicott arm fjord and saw Dawes glacier as apparently there was too much ice on the Tracy arm. I was somewhat disappointed I didn't see Tracy arm but I guess it couldn't be avoided. Internet was included in my package. It was ok especially at dinner time or early in the morning and late at night, defintely couldn't stream videos! Good in the ports. However on sea days when you really want it it just crapped out completely probably due to overload. I wouldn't have liked to be paying the $229 they want to charge you for the Internet. I did.buy an AT&T prepaid sim for my iPhone in Seattle for $60 and that got me US coverage, 5 gb of data for a month, in ports and also roaming in Canada. I found that quite helpful when in ports as I could look things up. The apple trainer on board held 4 trainings, tips and tricks on the iPad, photos on iOS and iCloud tips. Very good presentations for a $10 charge per session. Entertainment was ok, the Rock City musical was poorly pitched for the average age of the cruiser which I would say was about mid 60-mid 70s. Far too noisy and pop type music. They need more Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller band etc. Lots of retirees and family groups on board. The Whitney Houston tribute show with Ashlie Amber Harris was excellent however. To summarise Brett Nixon the naturalist onboard is the jewel in the crown for Solstice Alaska cruises. He is the point of difference for Celebrity there and greatly enhanced my cruise. He is the only one onboard who personalised the trip for me, he made himself available after his presentations. The captain and crew management are largely invisible and not contactable. Celebrity really need to address that. Also there is absolutely zilch organised for solo travellers. Food quality in the buffet needs improvement, there needs to be more cruising around the fjords, middle management needs to be assigned and visible to your area of the ship. I think I might look to try Oceania or Crystal next time as I’m quite fussy on the food. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Always liked Celebrity and wanted to go out of Vancouver. In Vancouver we did the suspension bridge which was great, the Canada Flyover which was short but great, loved it. Stanley park bikes which was terrific. Food was ok, unless your a ... Read More
Always liked Celebrity and wanted to go out of Vancouver. In Vancouver we did the suspension bridge which was great, the Canada Flyover which was short but great, loved it. Stanley park bikes which was terrific. Food was ok, unless your a foodie., just grab some dinner because some restaurants expensive. However remember your US is @1.28 to Canadian. Not bad. We stayed at Hyatt Regency, Very nice and good location. Fairmont waterfront was right by Canada place and looked real nice. The ship although old was maintained well. But for some unsightly worn chairs, railings, steps, broken elevator buttons the ship for the most part was well maintained. Service was very good throughout. The food at the buffet was good. Good variety, Good tasting for the most part. Crowded particularly because the weather kept people inside. But no real complaints. The desserts have never been celebrity strength. They look great but do not taste great. The ice cream and gelato is very good. The cake spectacular (lots of cakes on display was beautiful, and some were very good tasting. Dinner at the Trellis was average. Not like it use to be. I rarely sent anything back but ie: First night Prime Rib was fair to good. They had roasted turkey one night which was again good, the lobster tail and the lamb chops were good. The beef wellington was good. Again most of the meals were fine. (on a 1-10 they were a 6 or 7). Service again was very good. Drinks were weak but fine. The martini bar was understaffed, difficult to get a drink (yell it out). The excursions were expensive, but good We did the whales in icy straight and saw some humpbacks and other wildlife. Got rained out of the helicopter landing on glacier with dog sled down in Juneau (disappointed). We did the gardens and trip to Mendenhall. Mendenhall glacier with the waterfalls was very nice, gardens were fine, In Ketichikan we did a float plane to neets for bear watching at the hatchery. This was a great trip. We saw bears snatching salmon out of the water and eating it. Real wildlife. Because of the type of trip, lots of time on the ship, little boring, but I was with wife, and friends and so had a great time. Weather was cold sometimes and beautiful other times. Glacier Bay was a cloudy cold day, but we got right up close and with my balcony it was amazing. Ketchikan had some nice shopping as all the ports, but reasonable in Ketchikan Overall great trip No real complaints. Read Less
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