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110 Celebrity Alaska Cruise Reviews

The Solstice is one of the best designed cruise ships my wife and I have been on. However, the experience is significantly undermined by Celebrity's attitude to customers. Here are some of our stories. 1 The cruise itinerary showed a ... Read More
The Solstice is one of the best designed cruise ships my wife and I have been on. However, the experience is significantly undermined by Celebrity's attitude to customers. Here are some of our stories. 1 The cruise itinerary showed a day of cruising the inside passage. However my wife and I were awoken to the ship rolling in 3-5 metre swells in the early hours of the inside passage day. The ship was not sailing the itinerary at all but had sailed around the outside of Victoria island into the ocean waters There were many passengers very upset that this happened ( and some very sea sick). Numerous questions to ship staff about why we were not sailing the itinerary resulted in numerous different responses: eg "the ship is too large to sail the inside passage", "we have never sailed the inside passage all summer", "a Russian jet fighter flew over the inside passage so for security we did not go there" and "we did sail the inside passage between 2:30am and 4am this morning". No one would tell us the truth. Our itinerary showed a day of sailing the inside passage. We were told we must have printed the wrong itinerary from the web site, but then I showed staff Celebrity Excursion booklet for OUR cruise and it showed on the inside of the back page that there was a day cruising the inside passage. The staff member then commented that the ship was not responsible for this as these were printed by Celebrity Head Office and were incorrect!! Many passengers felt "ripped off" as some Aussies on board commented. 2 We went to Murano specialty restaurant and thought the food was average apart from a spectaclular dessert 3 We went to the Asian Fusion restaurant where all main meals were well and truly overcooked eg dry fish, black duck bone and overcooked meat. When we mentioned this to the waiter, the head waiter was brought over. Then a few minutes later the Head Chef. We told the head Chef the same story but he was more interested in texting on his mobile phone as I was speaking to him!! 4 Most people we dined with in the main dining room commented that the food was lacking flavour and it was obvious that most food prepared on board was from frozen ingredients. 5 Some crew commented to us that Celebrity had reduced crew numbers and there was a general cost cutting program in place. 6 The main theatre entertainment was well below cruise standard and by the last few nights of the cruise the main theatre was less than half full for the early show - normally the busiest show on most cruise ships. 7 Shortly after this cruise we hooked up with friends in Sydney who had sailed across the Pacific on Celebrity Century. They had similar stories to tell about the food and a general consensus that the food lacked flavour. We have now sailed on Infinity and Solstice and have been disappointed with both but the lack of integrity shown by the senior Solstice crew in telling us why we missed the inside Passage cruising day is inexcusable. At Vancouver airport after disembarkation we met someone who was on the bridge when it was decided they could not sail the inside passage as the ship had a full grey water tank which needed to be overboarded and this was not permitted while sailing the inside passage. If this is true then the senior crew has messed up big time in not planning the management of their water system correctly. It would be nice if Celebrity could respond and provide a true explanation for this event. After our Infinity cruise I sent 3 letters to Celebrity management regarding issues with that cruise but never had a response to any of these. After this recent Solstice cruise I completed the post cruise on-line Celebrity survey but have not had any follow-up either. In my view this demonstrates again a lack of integrity by Celebrity management in not choosing to respond or not having effective processes in place to really "listen to the customer".   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
I have been on almost 30 cruises, mostly Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. I have always been satisfied with past cruises and looked forward to going on the Solstice as it was a newer ship. I was extremely disappointed in the layout of the ... Read More
I have been on almost 30 cruises, mostly Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. I have always been satisfied with past cruises and looked forward to going on the Solstice as it was a newer ship. I was extremely disappointed in the layout of the ship. The lounges were very small and lined the hallways with the exception of the one at the top of the ship. There was no entertainment in the dining room. The dining room was partitioned into smaller sections so you felt quite isolated. Fortunately we traveled with six in our group so kept each other entertained. The wait staff did a great job as did our room steward. The cruise director was a woman and did not do a great job. She told us the first night she was responsible for everything on the ship so I would assume that meant the entertainment in the lounges, etc. The theater entertainment was very good but the rest of the entertainment in other sections of the ship consisted of gals "yelling" rather than singing. You had to almost plug your ears as you went from the dining room to the theater. There was no variety of entertainment. The food in the dining room was not presented in the fine manner as on other Celebrity ships. The specialty restaurants had a demonstration one day where they displayed their food in a central area and it looked disgusting. I was pretty surprised. Even sampling what they had did not taste very good. I would not recommend the Solstice or its sister ships to anyone that is expecting Celebrity quality. I have been on about 13 Celebrity cruises and in particular like the Millennium-class ships. All other Celebrity cruises (outside the Solstice) were excellent. I gave my comments to the company and so far no response has been received. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Three of us recently returned from the 7/4 sailing on the Celebrity Solstice, Alaska Sawyer Glacier cruise. We have all cruised multiple times in the past, but this one was "special" as my elderly, handicapped but still sharp as ... Read More
Three of us recently returned from the 7/4 sailing on the Celebrity Solstice, Alaska Sawyer Glacier cruise. We have all cruised multiple times in the past, but this one was "special" as my elderly, handicapped but still sharp as a tack Mother would be joining my husband and me. Gullible idealists, we assumed that the Celebrity tag line, "Modern Luxury" and a pricey cabin would reward us with what we expected. Alas, from our booking date on May 1, they failed to deliver as promised and caused me hours and hours of frustration on the phone and in letter and e-mail conversations to address all their oversights. We worked with "Certified Vacation Planner ". I could not have been more specific about the need for a fully handicapped accessible cabin. She also booked our flights on "Choice Air" and reserved airport transfers. We paid $5227.78 on that date. When I received the confirmation, I discovered that the cabin was not handicapped accessible and the third person, 92 year old granny, was expected to climb into an upper berth. Next, I discovered that we had been charged an additional $207 for " any time dining". The time necessary to straightening out this mess was inexcusable. Every time I called, I was told the wait time was close to an hour, but at least they kept up the pep-talk about "modern luxury. We fixed this situation and were reassigned to a cabin identified as "handicapped accessible" with a queen/king bed and an convertible couch (More on the convertible couch to follow). They also removed the $207. for "anytime dining". OK.... things were looking up... but only briefly. I then reviewed the air arrangements we had purchased through our Celebrity Certified Planner, round trip from LA to Seattle. The first leg was fine with a appropriately scheduled flight. But, the flight home was another thing. Although disembarkation began at 7AM our flight back to California was scheduled more than 13 1/2 hours later, at 8:35PM. Again, I called Celebrity. Again, I was put on hold with the ongoing "pep-talk" for another hour. I explained that it was absurd to think that a wheelchair bound 92 year old could be expected to rise before 6AM and sit, either in a wheelchair, taxi, or aircraft for 20 hours straight. They suggested that we book a series of "shore excursions" in Seattle to fill our time They didn't really get it, nor were they interested. I was told that they could change the flights at an addition cost; I seem to remember $150.00 a person. I told them to forget it. I then called Alaska, the airline we were booked on. The Alaska Airlines rep was most gracious and accommodating, moving our flight up to noon and even making sure we had seats that would be most suitable for someone with a mobility issue. NO COST. We were booked in a Concierge Class cabin which promised a Concierge Lounge at the dock while waiting to board, in our cabin, fresh flowers, a custom "pillow menu", and bathrobes. When we arrived at the dock check-in, we asked about the lounge. The blank stares meant that this amenity did not really exist or that no one had ever asked about it in the past. Oh well. We get to the cabin, which was actually quite spacious and pleasant. Alas, no flowers. Celebrity staff was seemingly unaware of the "pillow menu" and we had only robes and towels for 2. Next, bed time. The third bed, the convertible couch" turned out to be a chair whose seat pillow was removed and a rubberized mattress installed....on the floor! Unbelievable. On the plus side, the ship was well appointed, clean and spacious, although much of the lounge furniture was showing significant wear and age. The stateroom hallways were sometimes difficult to navigate with walkers or wheelchairs since there were usually large housekeeping carts in the way. On several occasions we attempted to call housekeeping and/or the cruise assistance desk. NO ONE EVER ANSWERED. A third line, dubbed the "Concierge", connected us, on every occasion to a recording "the person in stateroom (?) is not answering. Food was OK, sometimes quite good, other times failing miserably. I enjoyed one of the best racks of lamb I have ever had offset by the final evening presentation of the "chef's recommendation" an excessively breaded but not browned thick slab of inedible "shoe leather" veal "cordon bleu". Vegetables were well prepared. Fresh and never overcooked. The BEST part of the cruise was provided by our overworked, but always amazing attentive, smiling and positive dining room waiters, Rodrigo Nadora and Mark Manuel. Our sommelier was also delightful and wonderfully attentive ,although, regrettably his name escapes me. Additionally, floor helpers in the buffet area were fantastic about helping elderly or handicapped folks who might have issues maneuvering a walker and a plate of food. It never was crowded as is so often the case on some of the more "bargain" lines. It was never hard to find a window table. Embarkation and disembarkation staff were alert, timely and very, very helpful with assistance for those who required extra time or equipment. The last night, we reviewed the dreaded "FINAL BILL"... another $1700 plus which included only two "second level" beverage packages and tips. Is Celebrity worth it? I don't think so, but then I remember Rodrigo and Mark who salvaged 6 weeks of confusion, annoyance, overpromising and underperforming and overcharging by those in far more executive and pivotal roles. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Just had a really disappointing cruise with Celebrity. The only thing I really liked was the pasta bar where they make you spaghetti. Got an omelet from the omelet bar and it was horrible. I think the guy didn't heat up the oil ... Read More
Just had a really disappointing cruise with Celebrity. The only thing I really liked was the pasta bar where they make you spaghetti. Got an omelet from the omelet bar and it was horrible. I think the guy didn't heat up the oil enough. I guess the pizza and the lunch meat were ok. When you go to your table usually one of the servers will ask you if you want water or even coffee and they never did. Oh but there were plenty of servers walking around asking you if you wanted to buy a drink. I naively thought the first time they came up to the table that I would get water from them. So you had to make sure you got your water unless you wanted to make 2 trips. Now that doesn't seem so bad but I've never seen people in the buffet restaurant act the way they did on this one. Just walking right in front of you etc. OK we like to hide the shampoo etc so we always can get a new one so we can take it home. They didn't give us any new ones except on the very first day. We actually used up all the hand lotion and had to call to get another one. Had to call twice to room service to get our ice bucket refilled. Got a really tough steak in the regular restaurant. The breakfast buffet had cold eggs, bacon didn't taste good either. They did have good fresh fruit though. Oh and if you like coffee forget about it. The room service coffee was horrible and the buffet coffee was only a tiny bit better. Got a crummy hamburger from the hamburger bar by the pool. One of the elliptical machines was out of order for the whole trip. We took one shore excursion through Celebrity SW12 which is in Seward it's called Kenai Fjords Cruise with Lunch, Sealife Center & Airport Drop Off. Sealife center is awesome and the lunch on the boat was surprisingly good. The boat had two seating levels the first level had these nice square tables not too close to one another. So we get on the boat and they said "oh you're on the second level for Celebrity people." That's right we got our own level. Up there the seating was ridiculous they set up six foot tables with six chairs 3 on either side. If you scooched your chair back too much bang right into the guy behind you. I'm left handed there's no way in the world I was gonna be able to eat with a right handed guy next to me. Every table was totally full with 6 people. Some of the folks went downstairs and sat but the tables were assigned so if the people wanted to sit down again you were out of luck. OK you say it's a whale watching cruise so you shouldn't be sitting down that much. It was cold wet and rainy which is normal for Alaska. So being out on deck was pretty miserable. But I was so uncomfortable in that ridiculous seating arrangement (6'3" tall) I had to get up. And there really was no where to stand unless you put your butt right in someone's face that was sitting down. I felt like one of those "Dangerous Catch" sailors when we got back. I would definitely NOT recommend this shore excursion because of that. Stood in line for around an hour or more in Vancouver waiting to get on the ship. I guess that's normal? I slipped and fell in the Thallasotherapy pool area because it's humid in there and misty etc. They really need to put in a slip resistant floor in there (there is such a thing). I have some bad legs and if I walked anymore carefully I'd be standing still. One day they couldn't decide which level in the restaurant they wanted us to sit in for lunch. Seems like I'm talking about food a lot? Well isn't that supposed to be one of the high points of any cruise? Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
My family and I tried Celebrity for the first time. We had read mixed reviews prior to booking. It seems there are some loyal customers, but those that have cruised other cruise lines, tend to give them low marks. We have sailed on Disney ... Read More
My family and I tried Celebrity for the first time. We had read mixed reviews prior to booking. It seems there are some loyal customers, but those that have cruised other cruise lines, tend to give them low marks. We have sailed on Disney many times (14+), but now that our kids are older, we thought we would branch out. If you have sailed and liked Disney, our advice is to stick with them. Not only do we feel that way, but it became apparent that the crew on the Millennium felt the same way. At the beginning of the cruise, one of the crew members asked if we had ever sailed before. When we said yes on Disney, they hung their head and said "oh, we can't compete with them"! Here are the good things about the ship: the rooms are spacious and clean. The inside pool is awesome, especially when in Alaska. There is a large variety of shopping on board. Here are the things to be aware of: the crew are not rude, but are very uncaring. They have a job to do, but don't really want to go out of their way to help. The food is acceptable at best. The photo team are all very rude and will not allow you to take your own photo with their characters. They could all learn a lot from the "Disney Difference". A major miss was during the booking process. One week after the booking, the rates came down. Celebrity would not adjust our rate or provide an upgrade. Their call center acknowledged this as a big issue with their company, but said that "the CEO was not willing to budge on this policy, regardless of how bad that made them look". Can't make this stuff up. All in all, an ok experience. No other major misses, but a lower quality experience than what we are used to. Disney is a premium price, but also a premium product. Don't go into this assuming Celebrity is a premium product. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This is my second cruise to Alaska: the first time I have cruised Celebrity and will, sadly, be the last. Although I found the ship adequate overall, the experience beginning with embarkation was below standards I expect. Embarkation was ... Read More
This is my second cruise to Alaska: the first time I have cruised Celebrity and will, sadly, be the last. Although I found the ship adequate overall, the experience beginning with embarkation was below standards I expect. Embarkation was exceptionally poorly planned; took over an hour from the time we got in line to the time we actually were showing our documents. Our room was a veranda room, & the balcony was dirty. The bathroom had dirty corners the entire week; I used a cloth to clean them myself finally. On the first night my roommate & I realized we wanted separation of the beds so we called stateroom attendant. It was 9:01 so he was off-duty. We then called guest services for help & they said they would send someone up. No one ever arrived. We moved the beds & tables ourselves: a sign of things to come. We had two minor problems after 9 p.m., called guest services each time, was assured someone would help, NEVER had anyone arrive nor did the Guest Service desk ever check with us on resolving the problems. We generally ate early meals in the cafe where there was a good variety of well cooked food. Organization here is peculiar but servers & staff were very pleasant. The music was very loud & generally inappropriate pop tunes; several times we gave up talking when too near speakers. I asked twice that the music be turned down. It was lowered once but promptly turned back up. The Metropolitan Main Restaurant had good choices and generally good food. The reception desk for the restaurant had unfriendly, brusque personnel, particularly the man who never smiled or responded to pleasantries the entire trip. Generally the servers were friendly & good at their jobs; occasionally we got someone who was curt & clearly unhappy that we took longer to make choices. We waited half an hour one night to receive our menus & water. My roommate felt we were "invisible" quite often & we did indeed get seated behind people who were in line behind us twice. This was the "no reservation" line so I can't see any reason this would occur. I am pretty easygoing so just went with the flow but my roommate was rather upset a couple of times over the lack of service. Disemarkation was also quite slow. Overall: if I had never cruised before would probably rate a 3. My roommate cruised on Carnival lines & thought it was a much more elegant ship with much better service. Unfriendly personnel probably a main reason I would not recommend this line, as well as badly organized from beginning to end. The service staff on the decks were excellent; always friendly, as well as all stateroom attendants.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
My wife and I booked the 7 night Tracy Arm Fjord cruise out of Vancouver, BC. Finding the Cruise terminal was beyond me. My sister drove us and we passed it 5 times before we asked a constable for directions. We were right outside the ... Read More
My wife and I booked the 7 night Tracy Arm Fjord cruise out of Vancouver, BC. Finding the Cruise terminal was beyond me. My sister drove us and we passed it 5 times before we asked a constable for directions. We were right outside the entrance at the time, interestingly enough. The sign was a lighted picture of a ship with an arrow. No words at all. Once we were in the terminal we had a very long wait to get through US Customs. It must have taken 2 hours and my feet were tired from all the waiting. After customs boarding was a breeze. The ship is very nice and clean. The Veranda Stateroom had plenty of storage, which was really nice, and the room was larger than what we were used to on RCCL. I was disappointed that the Solstice does not have a Lawn Club Grill like the Silhouette does. Most of the remainder of the ship was the same. The little cafe at the Solarium is probably one of my favorite things about the ship. They serve complimentary salads, antipasto, poached pears, along with various healthy seafood options for around 5 buck. Very nice. The dining room was nice and the food was what I expect from the cruise lines. Tasty and fresh. We did not eat at any specialty restaurants other than Bistro on Five (which I loved). I believe that the first port was Skagway, but if I get the order wrong, I apologize. We took the Big Nugget Excursion, which was fabulous. It combines most of the Nugget tours into a single excursion. We met the Iditarod musher who spoke about his experiences in the sled races. There was a chance for questions and answers before we got to meet the dogs. I still have the picture of my wife holding the puppies. They ran the dogs around a training track (and they were very eager to run). Next they took us into the 40 Below Experience. They give you a Parks and send you into a 40 degrees below freezer to get the experience. I didn't last long. Next we toured the gold dredge, an enormous monstrosity that tears up the land in search of treasure. After this we panned for gold in seeded tanks. Picked up a few flecks and bought the clear pendant to keep it in. Lastly we went to the brewery for a tour of the brew tuns, tasting of the various brews, and a buffet lunch of ribs and salmon. In all, a good day. The next port was Icy Strait Point, which is a re-purposed fish cannery that does presentations, has shops, and a small cafe. We had booked the "In Alaska's Wildest Kitchen" excursion. They give you a glass of beer or wine and feed you, so it can't be bad, right? We tasted a seafood chowder, salmon dip, and salmon burger before they gave us each a piece of salmon and a piece of halibut to season and grill. In all, very tasty. We would not have thought of using Montreal Steak Seasoning on salmon, but it was great and we use it on everything now. We did take the shuttle into Hoonah for 5 dollars round trip, but there is little there. We looked at the dream catchers and bought a few native design postcards there. When we stopped in Juneau, we did not have an excursion. While the other ships were right next to the Mt Roberts Tramway, we were parked in the cheap seats half a mile from everything. Then they had the nerve to charge for shuttle service to get to town. We thought about taking the shuttle to the glacier, but wound up taking the city bus to Fred Meyer instead. They had a Alaska Souvenir section with some of the same stuff on the ship for 1/3 of the price. We picked up some antler handle Ulu Knives which are beautiful. We also had Halibut and Beer at the Flight Deck near where the ships dock. Great food and reasonable prices (for Alaska). Our last stop was in Ketchikan. The shops had the best prices there and it was worth the wait. There is a popcorn shop across from the dock with more kinds of cheese, caramel, habenero pepper, and other popped corn. A bit pricey, but very good. Our excursion there was the Crab Feast. They take you out on a boat to pull up crab pots that have been sitting there overnight. You can hold up the crab for photo ops, which my waif was too afraid to do. Then they take you to the lodge for all you can eat crab. I had read some reviews that said they didn't serve enough, but this was not my experience. I could barely eat the berry pie for dessert. What really messed everything up was the Ulu Knives we bought in Juneau. They confiscated them when we boarded, as we expected, and told us we would get them back the night before we left the ship. This was a lie. On the last night of the trip we were told that when our bags were packed to call security to bring them. We could pack them and let them take our bags to the hold. This was also a lie. That night we called security and were told that they only do this if we pay for Luggage Valet service. Since we were taking the train from Seattle to Chicago, we could not do this. The next day before leaving the ship we could not find out where to pick up our knives. Finally we were told they would give them to us after we left the ship. Let me tell you, it was a great disappointment to see our 200.00 knives buried in a pile of stuff on a table where anyone could walk off with them. We had to wait almost an hour to get to the table. The table was 40 feet long with everything confiscated piled about 6" high for the entire length. Finding your things was near impossible. We found them and waited, and waited. I told my wife we should just leave with them and not look for the corkscrew (which they had also confiscated because it had a 1" dull blade for cutting labels). When they got to us they took our knives away and said that they have to give them to us. I wish we had just left so they would have had an accounting nightmare (if they even cared enough). Taking Amtrak from Seattle to Chicago was nice, but we had a bedroom. They had showers for stateroom passengers. Coach passengers don't get to bathe, I suppose. The food was good and it was very relaxing. To add insult to injury, the online surveys were expired by the time we got home, so Celebrity knows nothing of any of this. I'm not sure that they would have cared, in any case. If you take this cruise, ship your knives. The stores will do this for you. If you do not, get off the ship with the first call. This will give you time to get your things. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This little Celebrity ship(91K tons) tried and tried but just could not make it to Seward. She pulled a hammy on her way out of Ketchikan and had to limp back to port. She is now on the the 28 day DL awaiting reconstructive surgery in he ... Read More
This little Celebrity ship(91K tons) tried and tried but just could not make it to Seward. She pulled a hammy on her way out of Ketchikan and had to limp back to port. She is now on the the 28 day DL awaiting reconstructive surgery in he Bahamas. It was a great disappointment to not be able to finish our cruise. The repeating of the same "We are evaluation the root cause" announcement to the constantly changing information regarding charter flights out of Ketchikan for 2000 passengers only added to everyone's frustration. The compensation is fair but could have been better for valid airfare considerations were lacking. The worst has to be the constant changing of charter info from choices of Anchorage, Vancouver or Seattle to just Seattle and Vancouver caused quite an uproar. The notification of which charter group you were in was horrible. They just put a letter and luggage tags on your door. If you were already asleep and had group 1 or 2, you missed the flight. I had group 6 and did not find the info until 9AM Wed. morning. It told us to have our luggage out by 10AM. Oh the fun of it all. It took 6 hours to get the first 3 of ~20 groups off the ship. Otherwise, I found the food in the main dining room and fancy restaurant excellent. They dining staff did an excellent job of accomodating my DW's special requests each night. Our Butler, Ramir, took very good care of us and even assisted when I had a room key issue. Our breakfast each morning in suite was superb. The buffet, as always, is the weak spot in the dining group. The limited selection and constantly closed stations always kept my expectations low. I usually only had salads and pasta. Even they were below par in service, quality and taste. The on board guitar player, Justin Wade, and guest performer Christina Bianco were excellent and I looked forward to their next performances. Passengers for the most part kept a positive attitude until the breakdown in Charter flights. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Yes, we were on the cruise that had problems. The biggest problem was that people were originally led to believe that everyone who had post land tours out of Anchorage would be flown there. Later, it became only land tours booked with ... Read More
Yes, we were on the cruise that had problems. The biggest problem was that people were originally led to believe that everyone who had post land tours out of Anchorage would be flown there. Later, it became only land tours booked with Celebrity. So a cautionary tale, be sure your TA books the land portion with the cruise line.I am unsure why some people got flown to Anchorage and some did not.Some had to fly to Vancouver or Seattle, then arrange flights to Anchorage.We also had to scramble last minute to find a hotel room in Anchorage, that was stressful. I spent a lot of time either reading on board or hanging out in the hot tubs.My brother in law and husband bought 3 day fishing licenses and fished from shore. My sister in law hit the shops in town. We still had entertainment at night and the two shows I saw, a comedian, and a singer/impersonator, were quite good. Food was tasty, though buffet crowded during breakfast and lunch so sometimes a little difficult to snag a table. Thought main dining room was good. Service was excellent, our room steward and waitstaff were second to none. Room was OK, though sometimes had a weird, old shoe smell. I was bummed that I couldn't shop on board, apparently they must remain closed while in port. I feel that things could have been much worse and Celebrity did a pretty good job of taking care of us. Hopefully, their promises of reimbursement will come through soon. In fact, we are planning our next cruise and will book when they send us our voucher!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
I am furious with Celebrity and their parent company Royal Caribbean, and the Millenium for their thoughtless disregard for their 2100 passengers to sail a ship that had been stuck just a week previously in Seward Alaska and never ... Read More
I am furious with Celebrity and their parent company Royal Caribbean, and the Millenium for their thoughtless disregard for their 2100 passengers to sail a ship that had been stuck just a week previously in Seward Alaska and never completed that ship's committed itinerary. They left Vancouver on August 16th and after one day at sea we docked in Ketchikan, Alaska for 1 day and when we sailed from there within an hour or so the ship slowed down and the Captain came on the loudspeaker to announce there was a problem with one of the propellers and we would be returning to Kethcikan to deal with it. Day two in the small town of Kethcikan passes with the only announcement that they are still researching the problem. My husband and I begin to realize that this ship is not going anywhere and we book flights the next day from their small airport. The next morning at breakfast, the Captain announces "The cruise is over..Their experts are not able to solve the problem and Celebrity will provide charter flights out over the course of the following two days. We would also get 100% of our cruise fare returned as well as that amount applied to our next Celebrity booking. They announced for those passengers wishing to disembark that day to go to a certain lounge, which we did along with a dozen people. A sort of frenetic energy took over the ship. I saw the man in charge and said we had flights that day and he said we would be reimbursed for that and one night stay as the only place you can fly from there is Seattle or Anchorage. I told him I was cancelling the post cruise land trip four days hence and he said that would also be reimbursed. NOW Celebrity refuses to reimburse any of those charges: the flight, the hotel nor the land trip and I am angry. I will file a claim with THEIR Trip Insurance but do not know what will happen. If they think I will cruise with them again even with this large incentive, they are mistaken. What makes this especially maddening as they are in a large lawsuit against the manufacturer of the propellers, who are known to have problems and Royal Caribbean has already replaced the same propellers on other ships. If I had the energy I would file a class action lawsuit against this Company for malicious intent. They knew there were problems and still chose to sail. Unconscionable! I liked many of the crew, Qsine restaurant and the public spaces. I did not like the food mostly and could not even get a decent bowl of berries for breakfast. The hot tub was not hot, the lounge chairs did not change positions nor did they have comfortable pillow cushions on them. All in all I certainly am a unhappy Celebrity one time cruiser! I had a 7 week, three segment cruise booked on this ship leaving Honolulu on November 2nd with them, but obviously have cancelled that after both the fiasco and aftermath and I could not see spending 7 weeks on this ship with the bad memories!. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We enjoyed our pre-cruise from Fairbanks to Seward. The weather was amazing and the sights were inspiring. We only heard complaints from people about the hotel in Denali. But, what do you expect for such a rugged area. We took the optional ... Read More
We enjoyed our pre-cruise from Fairbanks to Seward. The weather was amazing and the sights were inspiring. We only heard complaints from people about the hotel in Denali. But, what do you expect for such a rugged area. We took the optional excursion to go deeper into Denali and we both loved it and regretted it due to our bus and driver. The scenery was amazing. The sky was clear and Denali (Mt McKinley) became larger and clearer as we approached. Our bus however decided to let the dust into the cabin and it was a dust cloud in the rear. We all spoke up but that seemed to upset the driver. We survived and we were grateful for what we saw along the way. The Alaska Train was such a wonderful way to relax, sightsee and ENJOY our time. The staff was fun, the dining car experience was great and we were so comfortable! Anchorage was our last night and we walked the city and found a sushi restaurant to enjoy. The only drawback was in the morning there were 6 busloads trying to navigate the lobby and breakfast buffet..... Once we arrived at ships dock everyone became excited. Our checkin was seamless. We boarded the ship... That's when we found out...we were stuck in Seward. 2 options were given. We chose to stay since it was going to take 3 days to get us out anyway. The weather turned as ugly as our trip. We tried to enjoy ourselves and did, to a point. However it is hard not to feel ugly about the whole thing... Announcements were not informative. No real information was given except the weather.... well we had a whole lot of time to just look out and SEE the clouds, fog, rain. Our one highlight, the CREW... ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.. They all did there very best to make us all feel like we really were on vacation. We finally got the word we were leaving on Monday night... yippie! However, another glitch. We were supposed to go through the inside passage... Tuesday night we were at dinner and we all felt the ship shudder, stutter, almost like a speed bump... when passengers started asking questions they were answered with the shades in the dining room being put down so you couldn't see out. Interesting.... We soon all figured out what the deal was.. the engine. So we never went through the inside passage, but straight to Vancouver.. No announcements explaining anything... not the mechanical problem or the course .... the last highlight of our trip was the hugh brunch buffet on Thursday, our last and final day at sea... Such beautiful work and such presentation ... bravo to the chefs and staff for putting this together.. We sat in the dining room for hours just visiting with so many people we met ... Once in port we couldn't get off fast enough.... not usual with me on a cruise. We then heard from our shuttle driver that the ship was in trouble again and would not be leaving Vancouver... well we all know what happened then.... So now to finish.. Today 8/28 we received our refund directly to our CC... $1248 each....... Are you serious???? How can I replace the cruise you ruined for us and take an Alaska Cruise next year to see and do what we couldn't this year for $1200??? Shame on Celebrity Cruise Line.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We've been loyal Celebrity cruisers for several years now. Sadly, this cruise may have ended that. The attention to detail that we've enjoyed on many Celebrity cruises is apparently gone. When we arrived,our stateroom looked ... Read More
We've been loyal Celebrity cruisers for several years now. Sadly, this cruise may have ended that. The attention to detail that we've enjoyed on many Celebrity cruises is apparently gone. When we arrived,our stateroom looked lovely and clean. After spending a few minutes in it, we began to discover things. We found vitamins from previous guests on the floor. The tray that held toiletries had a wet sludge at the bottom of it (gross!). Many other little things showed that someone had spent as little time as possible our on cabin. The first time in the dining room, I found a long hair in my appetizer. I sent it back. My entree came, and sure enough...another hair! We never went back to the dining room. The Elite member lounge was wonderful, and Chandru was fantastic! At least we had a good breakfast there each morning. The staff was just about as apathetic as they could be. Alaska was so beautiful, but I don't think that I would ever go back on the Solstice. And to think that she used to be my favorite ship! Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
If you have a chance to go to Alaska then do it! This was our second cruise in Alaska and we may have had high expections after the first one with NCL but Celebrity did not come close to meeting them. On NCL there always seemed to be ... Read More
If you have a chance to go to Alaska then do it! This was our second cruise in Alaska and we may have had high expections after the first one with NCL but Celebrity did not come close to meeting them. On NCL there always seemed to be something going on while on the ship and beyond eating, sitting by the pool and drinking we found Celebrity had very little to offer that did not cost an additional arm and a leg. On average the food was mediocre. Dinner at the main seating was above average typically and after changing tables our service was excellent. The first table was bad enough that we asked for a change. Food at the buffet was not very good and the selection was minimal. They had plenty of stations to get made to order things but the lines at those tended to be long and block people form getting to prepared food. Room service was hit or miss. Service was above par as the crew did the best they could with what they were give. If it was not for them the cruise would have been a disaster. We will not be sailing with Celebrity again and will be hesitant to cruise again after this one. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We sailed in July, so my memories are not as fresh in my mind. We had not sailed on Celebrity before, and it was not our choice but we were with family and we kept an open mind. Embarkation was fine, no lines and easy on. That was ... Read More
We sailed in July, so my memories are not as fresh in my mind. We had not sailed on Celebrity before, and it was not our choice but we were with family and we kept an open mind. Embarkation was fine, no lines and easy on. That was probably the only day there were no lines to get back on the ship. Our room was ready when we arrived around 2 pm. Our luggage made it with no problems, another in our group was not as lucky. Not because of the cruise line, but the longshoremen who loaded the luggage. Initial impression of the ship was that it was not the modern luxury liner I had been led to believe. The ship is in need of updating, the furniture in the dining room was worn and stained, stateroom curtains were torn, carpeting was a bit worn and dirty, paint on windows, peeling paint on the exterior of the ship, and a broken window in the covered pool area. Our wait staff was very good and we had no complaints about the dining room food. We did dislike that large sections of the buffet were closed during the day. You needed to walk a great distance to see which sections were open, and often when you returned to an area it was closed. The food tasted fine in the buffet but there was not much variety during the non-standard eating times. When an area of the buffet was closed, they pulled down shades to cover. That was very annoying and it looked terrible. The mirrors in the buffet were annoying and you had to be careful not to walk into them. The main dining room was never open for lunch. We had lunch one day at the grill, that took forever since there was only one person working. We did dine in the Olympic restaurant one night and that meal was the highlight our trip. We never saw a show, nothing was appealing. As in other posts, the ship seemed to shut down at night. We love to go to the "nightclub" and dance, but when you are one of two or three couples it is a bit weird. We loved Hoonah and our tender trip back to the ship was no problem, but communication about where to disembark on the ship was terrible throughout the trip. We often waited to disembark, even in non tendered ports. Getting back on was even more frustrating. We would wait in line for twenty minutes or more. There was no explanation or apology, ever. Disembarkation on the last day was absolutely terrible. We went to wait at our assigned time, which passed without explanation. We were over two hours late getting off the boat in Vancouver. Again, no explanation or apology, just a really long wait. After our return I sent Celebrity a similar review as this post, never heard back. What a surprise.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We took our first and probably our last cruise. We were extremely disappointed. You always hear how great the food is and how great you are treated by the stateroom attendant and other ship staff. The food in the main dining room is ok, ... Read More
We took our first and probably our last cruise. We were extremely disappointed. You always hear how great the food is and how great you are treated by the stateroom attendant and other ship staff. The food in the main dining room is ok, nothing spectacular. You can get this type of food in any good restraint. Had dinner there every night and had lunch there once. Ordered a burger for lunch and if that is their idea of hamburger that is scary. The buffet was worse than a Golden Corral. That is what we started calling it. Breakfast was terrible. Food was lukewarm at best. If you ordered eggs it was tolerable. After a late excursion in Juneau we tried to eat there for dinner but the food looked like it had sat there for a few hours. We opted to order room service. Called 3 times and was hung up on each time. Finally called guest services to find out how to get room service and of course they said call. When I told them I had called 3 times and been hung up on they said hold on. About 5 minutes later room service answered. They brought our food quickly but only ate a few bites. One nice place to check out is the coffee place. Real good coffee, pastries, and the service is outstanding. We saw our stateroom attendant the day we left. He came to explain where things were. We never saw him again until 3 days later. That day the towels we had were wet. We told him we had wet towels. He tried to blame us saying we hadn't left the towels on the floor the previous day and that was why they were wet. When we told him they were on the floor he turned and left. A couple of hours later they brought new towels. He never apologized. He came by the next day to see if the towels were ok. After that never saw him again until he came to drop off the ratings form. Of course he asked for a superior rating. Needless to say that didn't happen. The waiters and staff on the ship were really nice and pleasant. The ship is extremely clean. The bars are nice with some decent entertainment. The excursions we went on were OK. Went salmon fishing in Knudson Cove. Our boat did poorly. Just 2 fish for 6 people. Other boats all said each person caught at least one fish and some two fish apiece. Definitely way over priced. The whale watching was fun. Saw lots of whales and the food on the trip was good. One huge disappointment was we were told and it was on our itinerary that we would have a toast and cake to celebrate our 30th anniversary. This never happened. Finally it was overall a nice trip but not nearly worth the money Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
I have sailed a number of times on Celebrity. I have always had good service, clean rooms and delicious food. This time, our entire group felt that Celebrity completely missed its mark of supposed excellence. The buffet carpets were often ... Read More
I have sailed a number of times on Celebrity. I have always had good service, clean rooms and delicious food. This time, our entire group felt that Celebrity completely missed its mark of supposed excellence. The buffet carpets were often dirty, with food everywhere. When I complained about this, the manager of the buffet simply said that people don't like it when we clean while they are eating, so it has to stay like this. That's baloney! It was awful. The food was mediocre. The cabin I was in was also unclean. The carpet had a huge stain, which they only tried to clean, once I complained. They did manage to clean it, but why didn't they do this before we got there? The cabin was extremely dusty, there was fingerprints all over the mirrors and the windows. The bathroom had dirty towels on the floor that had been used and it was not clean. I had to complain to get this taken care of more than once. We had a special celebration planned and pre paid for. However, all of the items we paid for and had our receipts for were not in their computer system. I had to repeatedly go back to Guest Relations to get these things straightened out. What a terrible way to spend a vacation on a very expensive ship. There were other problems as well with other members of our groups cabins and service. All in all, it was a huge disappointment. We have decided to try other cruise lines as a result of this poor service, cleanliness and other issues on the Celebrity Solstice. By the way, everyone in our group - there were several, all complained that the ship looked run down and the rooms looked like Motel 6. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We had wanted to cruise Celebrity because it was reputed to be the leader of the mainstream cruise lines. We were shocked to find it was the worst we had been on, including Holland, Princess, NCL and Royal Caribbean. The ship was ... Read More
We had wanted to cruise Celebrity because it was reputed to be the leader of the mainstream cruise lines. We were shocked to find it was the worst we had been on, including Holland, Princess, NCL and Royal Caribbean. The ship was very shabbily decorated with seemingly little thought, expense or design sense involved. The center atrium had a long staircase and really nothing else. Nothing to marvel at by looking around or up. Just blah. The worst offense of the cruise was the cafeteria where we were used to finding food similar to what was served in the dining room, but without the personal service. They usually involve parallel lines of food that will satisfy most tastes, but organized so you can pick up your plate and silverware and logically proceed through the food entrees. This ship had entries that seemed to have to start or end, and long passageways with walls and no food available -- just wandering past tables of diners as though you're on an exercise walk. Every meal there was a sushi section, a Mongolian BBQ section, pizza and burgers (connected to the pool area), and often that was about it. We often could not put a complete meal together that would likely satisfy and a simple American taste. Breakfast was usually okay with usual eggs, meat, potatoes, etc. The dessert section for lunch/dinner was pathetic with several little 2-inch square desserts that were few, small and not very good placed a the end of the main course line. The best ships have a separate dessert section that provides larger desserts and selection, and isolated from the main food line, I assume to separate traffic, which is always a problem in the cafeterias of all ships. Desserts are usually something we marvel at and remember fondly long after the cruise. Not so on the Mellenium. It should be noted that the dining room was good and typical of cruise ships we've been on. The food and service was good, though nothing unusual for experienced cruisers. In fact, we wondered if perhaps the cruise line was purposely devaluing the cafeteria to encourage people to use the dining room instead. That would be to possibly ensure it was full each night, or to increase revenue from wine and alcoholic beverages which are more commonly ordered in the dining room. We have no proof of this, of course. We bypassed the excursions since they were elaborate (e.g. helicopter) and expensive. But we did have a good time on our own at ports like Ketchikan, Juneau (especially) and Skagway. So we enjoyed the ports (other than Icy Straight Point). Their stop at the Royal/Celebrity-developed port of Icy Straight Point was a huge disappointment. Almost nothing there, and clearly was designed to save the cruise lines money. We should have gone to an actual port like Sitka. The entertainment was typical of what we usually see on ships, no better or worse. We don't partake of a lot of ship activities, so won't comment on those, but they appeared typical of other cruises. Our oceanview room was actually quite nice with large window, good-sized tv flatscreen (a first) and wifi in the room (also a first). Embarkation was a problem since three ships were boarding all at the same time. But it was actually handled very well and the experience wasn't any worse than normal, given that "normal" is never any fun. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
After nearly a year of anticipating a lovely, elegant cruise on the Celebrity Solstice, I find myself disappointed in the experience. The ship was nice, the food was good, the staff was friendly. The onboard amenities and entertainment did ... Read More
After nearly a year of anticipating a lovely, elegant cruise on the Celebrity Solstice, I find myself disappointed in the experience. The ship was nice, the food was good, the staff was friendly. The onboard amenities and entertainment did not live up to my expectations. All of the presenters must have been told to amp up their energy levels, because each of them over-performed almost to the point of being ridiculous. There were only 5 or 6 shows/lectures that were worthwhile, and the rest of the time there was little of interest to do on the ship. The ports revealed spectacular beauty, but the shore excursions were another disappointment. In two cases we had tour guides who had lived in the region only 2-3 months. Another trip had information that was read to us by a college freshman. For the price of these tours, and also because the tours promise expert narration, I didn't feel that the tours were worth the prices charged.Will I cruise again? Probably. But not on Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
I'm a "butt in the sand - toes in the water" kind of person, so when my husband said NEXT TIME, WE ARE GOING TO ALASKA - I had to give in. We live very far from any port, and typically spend as much on air fare as a cruise ... Read More
I'm a "butt in the sand - toes in the water" kind of person, so when my husband said NEXT TIME, WE ARE GOING TO ALASKA - I had to give in. We live very far from any port, and typically spend as much on air fare as a cruise ticket, and therefore, only have the financial ability to cruise every other year. As my TA and I were debating on Alaskan cruises, she had talked me in to trying Celebrity. (Carnival, NCL are or only other two experiences) Ironically, the Concierge Class Balcony was LESS than what the other options were. So, we took the leap of faith and tried the "Luxury" line. Pier 91 is a cluster. Period. RCCL and Celebrity were both disembarking and embarking at the same time. So, your experience in the "herd" begins. Confused people, screeching whistles, taxis, semi trucks, hotel buses - just realize that once you get on board, you will be beyond this. Right?! Due to rides/parking/blah blah, we arrived a little early - about 9:45. The terminal, as you are standing south, is RCCL on the LEFT and Celebrity on the RIGHT. The building has 3 entrance/exits. The CENTER is where people that have just cleared customs and picked up ALL their luggage appear from - and most have that look - post-traumatic cruise disorder or a severe hangover. The last thing on their minds are manners for people in the way. So, give them their due - and just understand - your turn is next. The outside entrances are where the boarding process will start. Also, when the security dude with the blonde curly hair says NO PARKING, by golly he means business! And the traffic guards screening their whistles to alert people to STOP - I was surprised no one was killed, or worse. Please just be aware of your surroundings. And don't try to pet the drug dogs! That is frowned upon!We had a concierge balcony, so we got shuffled to the front of the line...WOO HOO! (The doors opened about 11:00 am and there was a line behind us) Not without some staff confusion about who goes where - but nevertheless, it was up the escalator and to security. No need to take off your shoes, but they do have you empty your pockets. After we received our sign and sail cards, we didn't even have the opportunity to sit down before we were shuffled aboard. I have to give Celebrity an A++ for their Embarkation. It was phenom! They did check our passport 3 or 4 times...so don't shove it in your pocket after the security checkpoint. Champagne and Mimosas as you boarded the vessel - nice touch. So far, I'm thoroughly impressed with our "Luxury" cruise.As you board the vessel, there are elevators. Duh. Know that there are 4 on the port side as well. If there is a line, just walk around. There was often no one there! We grabbed an elevator and headed to the Buffet - got our "squirt" of hand sanitizer, (get used to that) and grabbed a window table and we watched all the people in the boarding process as we grazed on the goodies, drank our mimosas. We were on board, had established our territory/table in the buffet, drink in one hand, food in the other by NOON. BUFFET FOOD - Not bad... I certainly have had "not such a high quality" on other lines. Wasn't impressed with the pizza or the pasta - tried something different all the time. LOVED their cheese and dried fruits layout! (That I do miss) My husband has a sweet tooth, and well, we know where he spent his time. There were a couple of carving stations - I did try the stir fry once. Not a lot of flavor, but good and spicy just the way I like it! Someone started making announcements around 1 that the rooms weren't quite ready and continued in nearly 15 minute intervals until a little after 2:20. I thought it was a nice touch keeping everyone posted. Off to a good start!Our room - 9291 on the Port Side near the AFT - was a Concierge Balcony. Holy Moly - The balcony was HUGE! 2 chairs (both of which did recline) and a table and room to spare. Nice, clean room. Bathroom had a round shower enclosure - no curtain. Then again, where the toilet was positioned, I was glad my butt wasn't any bigger than it was - NOT a lot of room. Storage area was ok - couple little drawers and a closing shelf (not open) - But what killed me was the fancy sink. Upscale and enjoying it! The bed was standard - but way too HARD! Bedding was nice - not a lot of blankets and fluff, but the room was warm enough we never really needed that down comforter I had imagined for Alaska. Nice flat screen TV and it was on hinges that moved out so one could adjust it and see it from bed. One thing I will say - there is a MASTER SWITCH on the wall. If you shut this off before you go to bed, and have to get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, we are talking "potty by braille" - there is NO LIGHT anywhere if that MASTER SWITCH is off. So look at the light switch set up right by the door once you get to your room, and understand how they work.Muster - now that was odd. We all headed to our respective stations - we were all seated in Blu, the restaurant - and watched a video. Half the people could not see it. Set up was really poor, but I guess that was their answer to 3000 people standing 5 deep out on the deck, outside, while crew members tried to talk above the noise. Plus, there was no direct way for the cabins on the PORT AFT side of the ship to get to our muster area. We had to go clear to the starboard side of the vessel and then back around. Guess if we really had an emergency, we'd just grab a drink and wave at everyone. Sail off was pretty awesome - it was windy and there were scattered showers all day. Every now and again, we'd see a patch of blue sky. As we pushed off from Pier 91, we began to see the mountains surrounding the area, and finally our first glance at Mt Rainier.We had elected early Main Dining Room where we were seated at table 221 with phemon wait staff. We were seated right next to another 2-top table, and over the course of the journey, we were able to make some new friends from San Diego. The food in MDR was pretty good - there was an entire menu of items that were offered every night - the other side of the menu had the variations. Again, I was brave - tried a bunch of different "odd" things. And enjoyed some of the good ol' basics. French onion soup had great flavor (was very HOT temperature wise) and the ceasar salad was much to fishy tasting for me. I did notice that much of everything was unsalted. MDR dinner service was an A; quality was about a B. Since our luggage had showed up right before dinner, we went back to the cabin and unpacked. Then we went exploring. No shows - no karaoke... just a quiet and relaxing evening. DAY 2 - SEA DAY - We did not get up in any hurry - had breakfast at the buffet and received our first wake up call. PS - if there isn't a line, the omelets and eggs Benedict were very good, one of the highlights of breakfast, imo. But, now the fun starts here...we had discovered ourselves on a ship based out of the good ol' USA, and we were the minority. Not saying any nationality, but over the course of our 7 days, we were FAR from the UGLY AMERICANS. I have never - NEVER - seen such horrendous behavior in public. Not just line cutting and loud arrogant behavior, but they were physical - pushing and shoving. Yes they were from another country, but they should have been TOLD about the GUEST RESPONSIBILITIES in their own language. They were even horrid to the crew, which I felt so bad - what could they do but take it and smile. It was BAD from day 1. And just got worse.Brent Nixon, the naturalist, was the most fun, entertaining and informative aspect of this journey. The first one we went to (I don't think it was his first one though) was "Whales" and I drug my hubby along, hoping to find out what to look for (again, we are very land locked). And boy did we - and more. His first show was about half full (hour long) - the last one was standing room only. So DON'T MISS it! And although the front chairs in the theater are a little uncomfortable, it was, by far the best seat in the house. A++The LAWN is so cool! Real Grass. Take your flip flops off and walk barefoot. Talk about a cool job - Yea, I mow the lawn every day on a LUXURY cruise liner. Has a nice ring to it.Glass Blowing is pretty cool - I got bored quickly, though. I'm more of a go go go kind of girl - besides, I saw something in the water that caught my attention - was that, why yes - A BLOW! I saw whales! The irony of it all, was after Brent Nixon's first show about whales, we saw them everywhere. We also saw a couple of groups of porpoises - we didn't know what they were until later on, however. They don't JUMP out of the water like a dolphin, but you can certainly see something swimming. TAKE BINOCULARS! You will USE THEM!Lunch in the MDR - was lousy. One of our table mates mentioned everything they fed us could be picked up at COSTCO - and it tasted like it too. Sad. C- because they still have good service.We then just ventured out and did some more exploring. Beautiful ship. Not over decorated and ALWAYS CLEAN! Really liked the front of the ship - lots of places to sit and some very creative and comfy chairs to just watch the water! Until the "other people" showed up. Time to leave. There is an indoor pool - an "adult" area - that is very zen, very relaxing. It also has some amazing seating and creative lounge chairs - smells like chlorine, but is warm, humid, and has some great music (very faint) in the background. The water fountain is almost mesmerizing.First Formal Dining - I was surprised; there were a lot of folks dressed up. I guess I shouldn't have been - after all, it is a LUXURY ship with a completely different kind of clientele, right? Mostly. Dinner was pretty good - Lobster night was the 2nd Formal night. But the lamb was excellent! We turned in early because Ketchikan was bright and early.The buffet hours do vary based on the ports. So check your daily schedules if you want to eat on the way out. They serve fruit and juice about half an hour before the hot food - and because of some of the behavior issues, they actually had to rope off most of the buffet because "other people" were removing covers and helping themselves anyway. Ketchikan - As we pulled into the bay and were preparing to dock, we were greeted by a couple of bald eagles! FINALLY! They were sitting on a red buoy off the Port side. They were chattering back and forth, and that is a nature sound that made me want to cry it was so amazing. Ketchikan is an island - you can only get there by air or boat. And let me tell you, the float planes were like mosquitoes! We booked the flight-seeing and crab feast (Celebrity Tour) We had some time before our tour, so we did some shopping and exploring. We opted to rent a vehicle that resembled a golf cart. We drove around for an hour - went to the totem pole museum, saw some deer in the middle of town. Cute little town. Stopped into a grocery store to grab a soda - decided to wander and check out prices. 7 BUCKS FOR BOLOGNA - WOW! Milk, eggs, cheese, produce, meat - were just a little high, but I was very surprised how close they were to back home. No Bologna for me though!We got on a bus that took us to the float plane company headquarters. We were all sat down, and watched a safety presentation. We were then assigned to a pilot. The planes hold 5 people including the pilot. For one very unlucky person that gets assigned the back seat (its HARD to see anything) I'd have asked for a discount. One LUCKY person rides shotgun with the pilot. They say its based on WEIGHT distribution. We were in the air 20 minutes, maybe longer. Pilot was a hoot! (Mike) We weren't the last to leave, but were the last to land. We landed on a lake inland, and made our way up to the fishing lodge for lunch. (I don't like flying - but this was not bad at all. You don't get the turbulence and the g-force like a large commercial jet. It was ok and I'd do it again!) There, it was Dungeness crab for everyone. As MUCH as you could eat. Soda and Beer, Salad and Cheesecake. Beer was ok - a little stout for my lightweight taste, but was very very good. Service was amazing. And thankfully, the 20 other people on our tour were great! The bus ride back to town, on a full stomach and a windy road, did not set well for my poor hubby. No MDR tonight - ran up to buffet for something light - salad and cheese - good grief, I was NOT HUNGRY after eating like 345,923 crabs. (Just kidding) The line to board the ship was crazy bad - they only had ONE security station set up? First epic fail. Also, pack pepto bismol - they don't sell it in the gift store, and if you try to get it from the medical people, they want to do a 48point physical to make sure its not noro-virous. (That was fun trying to get out of that...Over Eat + Windy Road = indigestion and motion sick! Not NORO!)Tracy Arm - The HIGHLIGHT of the trip. When you are looking to book a room, I suggest a cabin on the starboard side. Granted, it's all very beautiful and pristine, but early in the morning, the way the sun comes up, the SOUTH side of the arm is breathtaking. The glaciers polished the sides of the rock so much, they looked wet. But they weren't. Waterfalls, amazing rock structures, pieces of blue ice bobbing up and down in the water. Ahhhhh. We had a port side balcony, and I didn't want to sit outside. So hubby grabbed a very early table in the front of the buffet area and we sat there the whole time. Windows were a little dirty, but we were close enough to the outside, we could grab pictures quickly as needed. Pieces of ice floating in the water was eerily reminiscent of the TITANIC, but the Captains' experience and talent were FIRST CLASS. Another A++. He took the vessel back into the canyon further than most and then he stopped and rotated the ship so both sides could get photos. CRAZY! Even a little wildlife too - we saw several seals. We were there early June, and passed several floats covered in blood - which at first was a little shocking. But the seals were calving - lots of new babies somewhere! I also managed to find a large grizzly near the actual glacier, but without binoculars, you couldn't really see it. I did get a picture of his butt though! The only complaint - there is narration about Tracy Arm all morning - and that was very nice, very informative - definitely trying to set the mood. But as soon as the soothing, quiet narration took a break, that nasty crappy loud piped in music came on. Really annoying. So much for setting the mood for what I think should be one of the seven wonders of the world. Narrator - B (some of his readings were a little cheesy) - Annoying piped in music - F!After the ship was turned around and headed back down the Arm (we did see another glacier up to the north in a smaller crevice) we headed up to Juneau - which is also an island that you have to take a plane or boat to get to.Now, I will come right out and say it - the TENDERING situation was NOT ACCEPTABLE. For any company. I understand there are limitations for unloading 3000 people in a very small area, but here's the problem. We were informed that we needed "tender tickets" - OK. No biggie. And that the Celebrity Excursions had priority. Again, OK. So we get in line - and watched all the "other people" walk around us, and jump in line with their friends. Really? Is this acceptable in YOUR country? Guess you haven't been to Disneyland huh? We get our ticket (22), and figure about 4 numbers per boat - that puts us about 5 boats out. Again, OK. We were warned. We had an independent fishing charter scheduled, and had them delay our time because of this. So with ticket in hand, we make our way to the central lobby and find a chair with the other 2500 irritated people waiting to get off. And we waited. And waited. I looked at my watch - it was 2:00 and the ship was still moving? (We were scheduled to start tendering at 1:30) We hadn't even anchored? 2:15 - still moving. So I walked to the starboard side, and watched them lower an emergency boat into the water. At first I was startled. Then I overheard someone stating that our tenders were the life boats. Well this is new - I've tendered in Cayman, Belize - and had never had any issues. Ever. I relay the information to my hubby and told him they had just barely lowered the first boat into the water. A Celebrity employee (how I wish I'd got her name!) was walking around handing out shopping material - so I asked "any ideas?" She told me they'd already started taking people ashore. I then replied -" really? Isn't that a little difficult to do when the ship hasn't anchored and the tenders aren't even in the water yet? Wish they'd "beam me up Scotty" ashore!" I don't tolerate lies very well. But the epic failure on Celebrity's part was not the ditz that was told to push the shopping agenda, but the fact that they could have easily made announcements about a delay. Passengers were pissed at this point. A little love could have gone a long way. I mean, they were great about the status announcements on embarkation day - what was so hard about some fyi information for their passengers? I would expect the lack of communication from other companies - not Celebrity.Once we got to shore, it cost us $40 to grab a taxi to take us to the rendezvous point for our fishing charter. PS - Fishing was GREAT! Catching...not so much. But a couple of fishing poles in the water and trolling around, watching the eagles, and the sea lions - who can complain, right?! The tendering back wasn't quite as bad - but we were like the second to the last tender. And by the time we got back to the ship, there was pretty slim pickings at the buffet (dining rooms had closed by then) Sushi, salad and a hot shower. I was DONE.The next morning, we actually docked (thank God) in Skagway. We had another fishing charter. Nice boat, guide had the personality of a mud pie. Again - fishing was phenom; catching not so much. There was some bad weather moving in and he actually had to cancel his afternoon trip. That made me sad for them - but the wind picked up and was bouncing the boat all over! I'm not one to get sea sick, but I had taken some Dramamine just in case. And was very thankful I had! We got back to town, took the shuttle bus into town (same shopping as the other ports) grabbed a burger at the brew pub on the north end of town (nothing to write home about) and then caught one last tour bus to the Canadian border. Full bus held about 20 people - big windows. Driver was a young lady from the states - she stopped several times for photos. One of those stops, my hubby found a Mountain Goat with her baby about 100 yards off the road! Pretty awesome - and then...the bear. Young black bear right by the road. So close, we couldn't get OUT of the bus. Had to take pictures from inside. Drove down the mountain - passed a nasty bicycle wreck (passed the ambulance a little later) Last stop - the cemetery. A little creepy, but it was history and still very beautiful. We did a little shopping, - all the authentic Alaskan items made in xxxxx. It is what it is. I liked Skagway - but it was dagum windy!2nd sea day - we didn't do much - hung out in our cabins. Every time we tried to go somewhere, someone was cutting, or pushing, or trying to MOVE YOU out of the way. I saw one instance that I thought would come to blows... Pretty sad - we'd see them coming down the hall and we'd turn around and go the other way. Not right. Not right at all. It wasn't the fact that they were everywhere or their complete disregard for anyone other than themselves, but the fact that Celebrity did NOTHING about it. What, you ask, could have been done? I could write a 30 page dissertation about that - in fact, I will be sending a very detailed solution to their Corporate. It was such a problem, that you will find several other posts - reviews - and just the forum - about the same situation2nd Formal night - not so many frills and suits - but it was lobster night. And Celebrity does LOBSTER right...except - what is lobster without butter?! They drizzled a little on your plate - but nothing to dunk in. Yes, I may be nit picking - and lobster without butter is one of the most lean and calorie and fat free proteins you can have - but its just not the same. We did the GALLEY tour - which was the first sea day like at 10am. Ask your waiter about it. Interesting. And we did the cooking show in the comedy theater. They pick TWO guest chefs from the audience to help with this IRON CHEF type contest. JUMP UP AND DOWN and make a BIG FUSS! They also choose 3 guest judges out of the audience. JUMP UP AND DOWN and make a BIG FUSS! And the back seats are NOT the best seat in the house - sit close to the front! Entertaining if you like cooking shows. There was also a grand brunch buffet 2nd sea day - and it was GREAT! Get there early! Lots of people - but the food was very good. They had a chocolate fountain AND a white chocolate fountain and a desert display...OH MY. A+Canada - they called...and called...and called...and called (over the intercom that they should have utilized in Juneau) looking for people that had to be cleared for customs in Canada. Those people should have their butts kicked, because I was told that was one of the reasons we were delayed getting off the ship was because these people had to be cleared by the Canada Authorities first. Really - After the 43rd announcement, everyone on the ship knew their name and cabin number. Once we got off, there Isn't a lot of time to do much of anything there - some went out whale watching, but we just shopped. Interesting - Pretty. Lots of Candy stores. Chinatown is nothing unusual. Indoor mall was like 4 levels - Because it was such a late stop, everyone packed before they got off. And that sucked. Plain and simple.Debarkation - was a nightmare. I understand they want you out of your cabins so they can get them turned around for the next group, but putting 2500 people in waiting areas all over was not cool. And we waited and waited. Really? Epic Fail. I would have walked off and taken all my luggage with me to have not had to sit there for 2 hours.So when I came out of that debarkation door, I was tired, angry, and just ready to be done. That may explain some of the looks on the faces of some you may pass as you are trying to get on.All in all, the ship was beautiful, and clean - not gaudy and obnoxiously decorated. The food was good, not great. And the cabin was always clean - with fresh flowers and 5pm appetizers. Our dining room service people were phenom. And that was about all the good I can say about our "Luxury" vacation. I hope Carnival will forgive me for straying and take me back. At least I know my expectations will be met.PS - Be very careful where you turn your phone on - the international roaming is very expensive. My friends have to mortgage their home to pay their bill. We put our phones on airplane mode, and then caught the signal once we were on land. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We sailed Infinity to Alaska 8 years ago and were looking forward to an enhanced trip after her update. I'll start my review with the very few positives: We always choose Concierge for the better cabin locations and slightly better ... Read More
We sailed Infinity to Alaska 8 years ago and were looking forward to an enhanced trip after her update. I'll start my review with the very few positives: We always choose Concierge for the better cabin locations and slightly better service. Because we wanted to spend as much time on the balcony as possible sailing Alaska, we choose an aft cabin on deck 8, which was by far the best location for this itinerary. It has an extra long covered balcony which kept us dry in rainy Alaska, but when the weather cooperated, we were able to get panoramic views out the aft of the ship. The wake was amazing! For those considering aft cabins, choose this deck. Deck 9 gets noise from the ocean grill directly above and is not private. Deck 7 is too close to the family suites below on 6. The room feels spacious and the closet is huge! Storage was very good for two people. The other advantage to Concierge is the preferred debarkation. The ship tenders in Juneau and because of the late arrival if you don't have preferred debarkation you risk missing your excursion. And getting off on the final day is almost pleasant because you wait in the SS United States dining room with coffee and pastries. So for those two perks, I would recommend Concierge class. As others have mentioned, the late afternoon snacks are awful, the fruit plate is average, and the "flowers" are tiny and only changed twice. Our cabin attendants were prompt to clean but very slow for all other requests. We received a gift of two bottles of RED wine when our children had ordered WHITE. It took 4 days to get these exchanged. It took 3 days to get down pillows, and the mattress topper that would have made the bed tolerable was no where to be found. The absolute best experience we had was in Qsine! Do not miss this specialty restaurant. We had an enjoyable FOUR HOURS of tasting all kinds of food, and sat at the window watching the inland passage of Alaska pass by. A TEN! Our itinerary was amazing, even though we had dreary weather. Tracy Arm is hands down so much better than Hubbard Glacier (saw that in 2006). And a big thumbs up on the ship's excursions. Even though they were expensive, they were worth the money for us (train in Ketchican and misty fjords float plane in Skagway). We took an unsponsored excursion in Juneau that was given rave reviews on these boards. Captain Larry - Orca Whale Watching. Very disappointed - we did see whales but he kept his boat very far away from the pod where other boats were almost close enough to touch the whales. We found the staff to be hot and cold. Our dining room servers were rushed and not personable. The bar servers were rude. But the shining example of good service and attitude was Cafe Al Bacio. Hats off to that whole staff! We had lots of specialty coffees here and their little sandwiches for lunch were perfect! And the absolute best experience was Brett Nixon's talks and narration throughout the cruise. Don't miss one! On the down side (very, very down), our experience at the SS United States was abysmal. If you decide to have dinner here, take note: When you are seated for dinner, they will bring a cart by with 4 bottles of Champagne and ask if you'd like a glass. The way they presented, it seemed it was complimentary so even though we're not huge Champagne drinkers, we accepted only to find a charge of $27 per glass on our bill! I ordered chardonnay and was served pino grigio in a red wine goblet. We were a party of four. One ordered lobster, which was prepared table side. Two others ordered dover sole, again a table side preparation. The last order was for rack of lamb. The lobster was prepared first, and then whisked away to make room for the sole preparation. Those two dinners were prepared and left UNCOVERED for ten minutes while we waited for the lamb to arrive so they could do the great unveiling of all 4 meals at once. So . . . the lobster was overcooked, the fish was cold, but the lamb was perfect! 1 out of 4 meals at $40 each? Continuing our culinary disappointment, the food in the main dining room was awful! We ended up either sending most of it back for something else or not eating at all. Celebrity has always been known for its upgraded cuisine but something awful has happened. I heard good things about Blu, the Aqua Class restaurant. Wish we had chosen that. The dining room breakfasts were always good but room service was terrible. Because of the ports, we ate most lunches off ship. Tried the crepes (Bisro on 5) twice but not really impressed and there is a $5 cover. Although we enjoyed the mini (3/4 hour) music performances in the cafes and bars during the day, the evening entertainment was really bad. I guess we got spoiled the past two years on Royal Caribbean's Oasis and Allure. But on the upside, we loved that the crew got involved and thoroughly enjoyed "Dancing with the Stripes" and the culinary challenge. I mentioned how effortless debarkation was. I have to say a few words about embarkation. Even though it was a little expensive, we were happy to stay at the Marriott Waterfront because it was right across the street from the pier. We just got a hotel porter to wheel our luggage over. But that's when the pleasantry ended. If you are not a seasoned cruiser, you would not know the first thing about where to go or what to do. No one there from the ship to direct you. The bellman knew who the porters were, but if not for him, I would not have felt comfortable giving my luggage to someone who did not have any form of identification and was just on the sidewalk no where near check in. Check in itself was long and disorganized. You were given a token champagne or mimosa after that procedure, but had to gulp it down and leave your glass BEFORE boarding the ship. No big fanfare or welcome. So there's my highs and lows. I'm sorry, but I just can't recommend the Infinity right now. But do yourself a favor and GO TO ALASKA! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Research/Planning: If there is one area where I would do it much better, it would be this phase of the trip. Although I thought I had researched cruise lines thoroughly I should have spent more time in this area. Unfortunately, the cruise ... Read More
Research/Planning: If there is one area where I would do it much better, it would be this phase of the trip. Although I thought I had researched cruise lines thoroughly I should have spent more time in this area. Unfortunately, the cruise lines don't make it easy to find out specifics and particulars so it can be very time consuming. Although I selected Celebrity, I would not recommend them due to my personal experiences and will never do business with them again. Their awful website, poor customer service on the phone and lack of follow-up information, even after paying in full, results in the conclusion that I will not book another cruise nor accompanying land tour with them. The frustration and energy expended trying to get basic information from Celebrity simply is not worth the effort, in my opinion. Especially when paying thousands of dollars up-front! Despite multiple phone calls and e-mails to Celebrity, we never got confirmed information (hotels, timeline, etc.) about our land tour until we actually got on the bus after disembarkation when they handed us a sheet with the daily itinerary and times listed, along with an excursions list. They had told us that due to possible fluctuations they couldn't provide any of this information ahead of time. Bullfeathers. The sheet they provided us on the bus was obviously mass-produced and printed in quantities so Celebrity clearly knew what hotels we were staying at and approximately what time we would be in certain locations. So why don't they give this same information to customers beforehand? I believe the main reason is that you cannot try and plan any excursions on your own and are forced to use the ones Celebrity offers. This is a similar tactic to warning people not to book cruise excursions other than with their excursion companies because you might get "left behind." On both the cruise and the land tour, I booked excursions directly with local AK companies who were VERY professional and accommodating and were able to shift our reservations accordingly. These local companies in AK are very familiar with the cruise ships and their livelihoods depend on good service! I must say that the best information I got was right here on Cruisecritic from other passengers who had been on this ship/cruise/land tour - much more valid information than I ever got from Celebrity itself. One caveat, however, is that you must be mindful of certain individuals on the forums who are Celebrity-influenced advocates who sing the Celebrity song, give you pro-Celebrity advice and will quickly attack anyone who is critical of the line. Important note: Illness struck both passengers and crew members on this cruise. While the captain provided a letter saying it was Norovirus, as of the date of this writing the CDC has it listed as "unknown." The U.S. Health Service boarded the ship in Juneau and we saw them inspecting the kitchen. So perhaps the illness could have been food-borne - such as food poisoning? While we did not become ill, and most passengers did not, more than 100 did. Those that reported it or sought medical attention were confined to their cabins for the duration of the cruise. While it is certainly understandable that those who are ill with something potentially communicable should be confined until contagion is ruled out, I would be very upset if I found out what I really had was a case of food poisoning and was confined for the duration of the cruise for that reason. Remember, you get no refund for illness - no matter the cause! So in my opinion, the captain declaring it was Norovirus before the CDC or other authority had confirmed it was premature, but certainly warranted all the extra precautions. Embarkation in Vancouver: A nightmare. No other way to describe it. All told, waited in line(s) for almost two hours. When finally getting inside the main doorway, a Celebrity rep barked out that everyone had to put their cell phone/cameras away as there could be no photographs. This was no where near the secure area which housed any official gov't personnel so the only reason I can guess is that a photo of the zigzagging Disney-like line isn't good for business. When finally reaching the counter, the new employee serving us had very limited English skills and needed to ask for assistance from three different people, including a supervisor, who she had great difficulty understanding. We had signed in on line, but she had no idea how to retrieve any of the information in the computer! In addition, she had no idea what I was telling her when I asked to fix my on board account credit card, as it was erroneously my travel companion's card information. So now we are stuck with having to figure out what expenses belong to who, as it is all on one card. Pretty bad start, all in all. Ship: The ship is very well-designed and everything appears to be clean, functioning and in good order, at least to my novice eyes. I have absolutely no complaints whatsoever about the ship itself or its maintenance. The cabin we had was spacious, well-designed and had plenty of room for two including so much storage space we didn't even use it all. However, the "soft" items on-board needed significant improvement - our linens were in awful condition; towels and sheets were mismatched, the colored towels had lots of bleach stains, the coverlet on the bed was seriously pilled and frayed, and the mattresses were sagging and worn. Certainly not up to the so-called higher standards Celebrity seems to pride itself on. So be prepared - your average hotel chain has much better quality linens and bedding than Millennium does. Staff: Divided by categories; service staff and the "professional" staff. The service staff were absolutely flawless - from our stateroom attendants to the guys cleaning the pool area, every one of them were hard-working, pleasant to deal with and professional in demeanor. They earned every penny they get, which probably isn't much. The so-called professional staff were another matter - the guest relations staff were curt and abrupt, the cruise activities folks were condescending and talked to people like they were children, and the managers of the restaurant areas were not accommodating at all. But by far the worst, and a HUGE disappointment on an AK cruise, was the so-called on-board "naturalist" named Milos who was responsible for providing factual and interesting information about AK and its environment/wildlife. IMO, he completely failed and was an absolute waste of time. Just because someone has taught in a college environment and got a bit of "filler time" on local PBS stations does not make them a good fit for a cruise ship audience. That's how he presented his information - as though he were talking to bored college-age students. As an example, he spent the first 30 minutes of his first presentation talking about HIMSELF trying to impress everyone with his professional and personal history, to include family photographs. Thirty minutes!! After this less-than-stellar introduction, which was not impressive, he then proceeded to talk about the downfall of the dinosaurs - like most of us had never learned this in elementary school. Even during the Hubbard Glacier portion, he rambled on with information so simplistic in nature it was laughable, coupled with slapstick humor which was not. But I'll give Milos this, he ALWAYS got his pitch in multiple times for additional purchases whether it was liquor-laced hot chocolate or his little self-published booklet of anecdotes which included de rigueur photographs of ... himself. What a huge let-down and one of the reasons I would NEVER recommend Celebrity for an AK cruise since learning about the environment and animal species can be so important. Food: We ate almost all breakfasts in our rooms (enjoying the prompt and efficient room service) and almost all dinner meals in the main dining room. The breakfast room service menu is not as much as at the buffet but certainly sufficient; egg choices were limited - only scrambled eggs or plain omelets. The MDR fare was very good in quality, coupled with excellent service by our wait staff. However, it was disappointing to find out that a simple change could not be accommodated. For example, a meat dish had a mushroom sauce I could not eat. I asked if they could provide the meal without the mushroom sauce added on. The manager said that any special accommodation like this would have to be done a day in advance. Huh? How in the world can you do that if you don't even know what is going to be on the menu? Holding a sauce does not seem like a huge accommodation needing a day's notice, IMO. If fast food restaurants can withhold condiments with minimum fuss, why not a cruise ship? Since many of the dishes wound up having mushrooms, I had limited selections some days. As for the buffet, we avoided it. Particularly after the illness outbreak when you couldn't touch anything and nothing was self-serve - including drinks. The logjams of people and wait time was tiresome. Before the illness outbreak, when it was still self-serve, there were issues with people hogging food like they were starving. At the pizza bar, people would literally taking entire pies and I saw one "lady" pile up two plates with every single piece of garlic bread out of the large basket - even though others were waiting! Some of these actions may be due to cultural differences, as there were many nationalities on this cruise. But I think the staff could have politely told people to return if they needed more - not take every bit of it and leave others with nothing. Entertainment: The comedian was very funny. We went to both of his performances and really enjoyed him. We went to one of the dance performances and walked out after about ten minutes; it was very amateurish. The casino had some penny slot machines (we are not big gamblers) and they actually had pretty decent payouts which kept us amused for awhile. The acoustic performer in Cova Cafe was very talented as were the a capella group. But after long days on excursions, we were more content to sit on our balcony and enjoy the passing scenery since it stayed daylight until very late. T-Pool - By far, one of the nicest amenities on the Millennium was the T-pool. It is completely covered, so weather is not an issue. There are no children allowed, which keeps it quiet. The pool itself is very large, warm and has many jets so you can easily massage aching muscles. There is a small cafe there which serves healthy choices during breakfast and lunch. All in all a very tranquil area. Not counting the day they decided to do a sales pitch for spa services and actually set up a table and USED A MICROPHONE to tout their specials - which reverberated around the entire pool area! Thankfully it only lasted ten or fifteen minutes, but still - what is Celebrity management thinking when they do things like this in an area that is supposed to be tranquil? Fellow passengers: Definitely a mature crowd but that's a plus, IMO. The majority on our cruise were certainly eligible for AARP but had a wide variety of activity levels and interests. By and large, most people were well-behaved and friendly. There were only a handful of children but they too were all well-behaved. The biggest problem I had were the larger tour groups from some cultures who didn't see a problem with food hoarding, yelling loudly, ignoring lines and pushing/invading individual's personal space. Just as we try to avoid behavior that may tag us with the "Ugly American" moniker when visiting other countries, it would be beneficial for Celebrity to educate foreign tour group LEADERS that this kind of behavior is not acceptable on their ships and is considered rude. Ports: All the ports of call were interesting and had plenty to do. We booked our own excursions and enjoyed them all, at a price much better than what the ship offers. We also enjoyed our communications ahead of time with the AK reps; they were all extremely professional, friendly and accommodating. It was so nice to be picked up by friendly faces who were looking for you specifically and calling you by your name. We looked for companies that were family run, if possible, and those who took out small groups rather than large hordes of people. Land tour: We opted for the #10 land tour. I would not do it again. I did not care for the agenda, and had I been able to get more information ahead of time I doubt I would have booked it. It would have been MUCH easier and more inexpensive to simply rent a car and visit Denali on our own, stopping where we wanted along the way. The first hotel, the Aleyeska Resort was absolutely fabulous although it was out in the middle of nowhere. The hotel they use in Denali, Grande Denali, is in the worst location possible. Way up high on a hill, far from the restaurants and shops, you need to take the twice-hourly shuttle just to get down there. Very inconvenient. The complexes run by Princess and Holland are conveniently located next to each other and a simple walk across the street from the activity hub. At first glance the room looks fine, but "small touches" like a mattress pad on the bed, for instance, would have been nice. Especially when they use flat sheets which easily pull off. So much for its "Grandness". The #10 tour then takes the train from Denali to Fairbanks and it was a disappointment. The first 30 minutes out of the park is somewhat scenic, but after that it is nothing but trees. The Celebrity train car is very nice, however, with huge windows, very comfortable seats and nice bathrooms. The dining portion is on the lower floor of the train. The chicken meal we had was by far the worst of the entire trip, and the most costly! Think of a barely boiled piece of chicken breast, then rolled in plain breadcrumbs. Yuck. We didn't eat more than a bite or two and left the rest. The waiter didn't even ask, or care, that the meal was virtually untouched. Perhaps it was fitting as it was the last time we will ever sign away any of our money to a Celebrity operation. There was a sense of relief when signing that bill for the last time! The last night was spent at Pike's Riverfront in Fairbanks which was a very, very nice property (a little kitchy in design but excellently maintained and a fine profesional staff) and very comfortable, although it too was located out of town and across from the airport. It is on the river, and next door is a nice restaurant where you can eat outside and enjoy the river rolling by. Just be sure to bring plenty of bug spray - the mosquitos are horrible! Bottom line: Alaska is a majestic and beautiful state filled with wonderful and friendly people. If a cruise ship is the most economical way for you to see it, then go for it. Personally, after seeing it from our ship and in the ports, I was intrigued by the Alaskan Marine Highway which is a state-run ferry system that runs the same (and more) routes as the cruise ships. If we are lucky enough to visit again someday, that is what we will look into so we can visit the ports we want as long as we want and have more flexibility. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We took the southbound Millennium on August 13th. We embarked Seward in the rain, but were very lucky, other than a half day of rain in Ketchikan, we had great weather. We arrived in Anchorage at noon on the day of the cruise. We were ... Read More
We took the southbound Millennium on August 13th. We embarked Seward in the rain, but were very lucky, other than a half day of rain in Ketchikan, we had great weather. We arrived in Anchorage at noon on the day of the cruise. We were picked up at the airport by a van and taken to the little bus station (a storefront) , we had booked the bus trip to Seward with Seward bus company. The bus was clean and ontime, although the driver did not offer any commentary or point out any landmarks on the 3 hour trip, which was a bit of a disappointment. We arrived at the cruise ship dock at 5:30pm. There was a small line which moved quickly and we were onboard within 1/2 hour. Our cabin was 7199 a corner port side family veranda and it was great! Huge balcony which we used a lot , plenty of storage , the living room, which had two pullout couches ,and the bedroom had a sliding door between the two. The balcony had a table , four chairs and four lounge chairs as well. Perfect. The food: This was a hit and miss situation. While the food in the main dining room was always good and our server and asst. server were great, there was not one dish that had a WOW factor. The morning buffet was good, with all the usual breakfast items, but no variety , pretty much the same everyday. And the way they have the tables set up, is terrible. You have to access the tables through a narrow walkway in each section, which is tough when it is busy. also, all of the drink stations were NEVER open, even in the crowded periods, the stations would be out of coffee or the juice machine was closed...very annoying. At lunch they had a variety of items pizza, pasta, burgers and hot dogs by the pool. At 5:30pm they had sushi and Asian stir fry , pizza and pasta this went until 9:30 after that NOTHING, unless you ordered room service. This ship did not have a regular dinner buffet, only the above items. On our last night we decided to just eat at the buffet for dinner, no one even bused our dirty plates, you were on your own. And when they say closed at 9:30, they mean it! As you can tell this is a sore spot with me. We have been on many cruises and although we never went hungry, I was less than impressed with the food on this ship. I really expected more, my mistake. The ports: We cruised the Hubbard Glacier which was fantastic, the captain got us really close 4 tenths of a mile. We saw some wonderful calving. Next stop was Juneau. Here and in Skagway we rented cars. The excursions are quite pricey , unlike the Caribbean or Mexico, where you can find a bargain. In Juneau we drove to the Mendenhall Glacier, hiked back to the waterfall. Went to the brewery where my husband listened to the talk and had free beer. We drove around, went to Douglas Island, had GREAT JUMBO king crab legs at Tracy's crab shack. In skagway, we had the car and drove the yukon highway to Emerald Lake, beautiful drive. Stopped at the dog sled camp near Carcross, rode the dog sleds, and held the puppies. This was fun. Only wish the ride had been longer. In Icy strait point (hoonah), we went on a bear watching trip with Keith from tekk outfitters. Had a great time, saw bears and learned so much about the area. In Ketchikan we took the Deadliest catch boat excursion, this was also alot of fun. On our last day at sea we saw a large pod of Orca Whales in the inside passage. Nightlife: Basically none after 11pm. Since we had late dinner, the shows were either at 7pm before dinner or a couple were 10:45 after dinner. Unlike most cruises we have been on , other than the show or another event in the Cosmos lounge there is nothing going on in any of the other clubs or bars after 11pm. This was a huge disappointment. Speakers: The naturalist Milos was fantastic. great informative and funny speaker. Kids: Or I should say lack of kids. Our boys are 17 & 18 years old. We saw, maybe a few other teens of their age, and a handful of 13-15 year olds and that was it. There was nothing at all for them to do. There was shuffleboard, a basketball court with two semi flat balls. There was a golf net, but no equipment, and a indoor ping pong table, which you could never get on, since every child and teen on the ship was in there. When people tell you Celebrity is focused on the adults...believe them ! I wish I had! even in the middle of summer break, they didn't do anything to try an accommodate the kids onboard. We swam in the pools and the therapy pool, although they could not seem to get the temperatures regulated, either they were to hot or to cool. Overall, Alaska is beautiful. I would not recommend going unless you are prepared and willing to pay high cost of the tours. I just couldn't see spending $1000 for my family of four to go on float plane trip in addition to the cost of the cruise and airfare. Also, I would advise against Celebrity for teens, kids or adults who want a little night life. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
The Ship Food was mediocre, which was surprising as Celebrity is thought to be upscale from our usual cruise line of choice. Boat is older and shows it's wear Small craft, not much in the way of physical activities to do. ... Read More
The Ship Food was mediocre, which was surprising as Celebrity is thought to be upscale from our usual cruise line of choice. Boat is older and shows it's wear Small craft, not much in the way of physical activities to do. Wasted space in some venues cramped the passengers even tighter in common ares. Not enough enclosed deck areas for an Alaska cruise. The Itinerary A cruise to Alaska is not what you see on the commercials. There is no attempt made to spot life the whales,land animals and beauty of Alaska, except the day of your glacier or inlet stop. You basically run from port to port to shop for Caribbean gems and Alaskan trinkets. If you are going through a whale area the ship may announce that it's a good time to be on deck but that's about it for whale watching. Tracy Arm was very disappointing, you wind up though a steep, narrow inlet and stop due to ice flow miles from the actual glacier. The crew puts on this big drama about the captain risking the ship getting you as close as possible today, but the turnaround spot is always the same due to the narrowing of the inlet. The only wildlife to be seen is a couple of seals. The only eagle spotted the whole trip was in Juneau Juneau and Ketchikan are small, OK for a couple hours of shopping Skagway was a long day in a tiny port with nothing to do unless you do the train trip. Victoria was interesting and we wanted to see more, unfortunately it is not a real stop, just a customs requirement. So they dump you in port for a few hours just at dusk with no real chance to see the city. The Crew As usual on most cruises the servers and housekeepers did a fantastic job. The activities crew however was lifeless, just going through the motions with not enough things scheduled for the passengers to do. Things really went badly after the stop in Victoria, with every attempt made to get you to go to bed early, suspect crew on duty was minimized either to rest them or because many had left the boat in Victoria. Cruise atmosphere was that of a prison that last cruising day starting about Noon. Worst part of the experience was the treatment by Celebrity post cruise, they promised to check in to some of our concerns and try to convince us to go with their line again. Yeah, still waiting for that return call, it's much easier and cheaper to find a fresh batch of bodies than build a repoier with existing clients. Their loss,we cruise a lot and will spend our bucks elsewhere (like their parent company). Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We anxiously awaited our cruise to Alaska since we have been to Alberta,Canada and saw absolutely breathtaking scenery and friends that have cruised to Alaska told me to expect the same. We arrived in Seattle and boarded the ship after ... Read More
We anxiously awaited our cruise to Alaska since we have been to Alberta,Canada and saw absolutely breathtaking scenery and friends that have cruised to Alaska told me to expect the same. We arrived in Seattle and boarded the ship after waiting in moderate lines. There seemed to be a concierge class place to queue but we were directed into the main line with all passengers. There were no passengers in the CC "line". Our room was ready so that was great. The room was satisfactory, some rust and grunge in the bathroom, the balcony glass railing piece was filthy, and the bed was hard as a rock, but otherwise, the room was clean and kept clean throughout the cruise. Good pressure in the shower and always plenty of hot water. I was worried about the placement of our room so far toward the back, even though celebrity considered it mid-ship; I hoped I wouldn't become sea sick. You could certainly feel motion, but the Bonine worked well. Others did have problems on one particularly rocky night. The food was good. We enjoyed almost everything we ate except the majority of the desserts were not that great. Some were lovely to look at but needed to be spit out once tasted. The dining staff were very nice and not pushy about drinks. The service was almost always good. Only once did my husband's meal come so much before mine, that he had finished before I received my meal. We thought the ship was nice but didn't compare to Brilliance of the Seas in any way. Brilliance was bigger, of course, and just prettier, more glamorous. We wanted to use the hot tubs but every time we attempted (4 times) there were kids in all of them even though the sign says no one under 18 was allowed. Evidently the staff did not enforce this rule. They also had nothing to say when children raced through the ocean view cafe during mealtimes. The disappointment: There was an "electrical problem" on the bridge which caused us to leave Ketchikan 5 to 6 hours late. This caused us to miss the Tracy Arm Fjord and go straight to Juneau. This was to be the highlight of the "Tracy Arm Fjord Cruise" to Alaska. Major disappointment ! I was upset for obvious reasons but reasoned that at least we still would see the scenery of the famed "Inside Passage". Well, the evening we were to sail that area (it stays light until 10:30 or 11 pm), the entire ship blacked out and although the power was restored in under an hour and the captain said we would be leaving momentarily, the ship did not leave for another 2 hours and therefore we sailed the inside passage in the dark. We did receive a $200 shipboard credit but really, that hardly makes up for missing the reason we went on the cruise in the first place. Having spent close to $5000 to go on this vacation, a mere $200 just doesn't cut it. Celebrity, of course, has chosen to deny further compensation, as is their right per contract. All in all, I wish we had picked another cruise line and will in the future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
QUICK REVIEW All in all the experience was good. However, the experience was NOT typical of the Royal Caribbean cruise which we have been accustomed. The service was poor and not what I was expecting from an upper end RC cruise. The food ... Read More
QUICK REVIEW All in all the experience was good. However, the experience was NOT typical of the Royal Caribbean cruise which we have been accustomed. The service was poor and not what I was expecting from an upper end RC cruise. The food times were also horrible. If you came onto the ship late (15 mins. or so before the final boarding), you would find yourself out by the pool eating pizza and burgers! The buffet lines were closed and this was the ONLY food available! We only did one excursions with the boat and it was good. The rest of the excursions we did outside of the boat and saved big $$$. I would recommend booking what you can on your own before you leave and then finding private excursions when you arrive at port. There are so many to choice from at prices 50% off what the boat is charging and you get back in plenty of time to get on the boat. Believe me they don't want a bad reputation either. The weather was untypical Alaskan weather from what everyone was saying 50-60 degrees, with sunny skies at every port and only a few sprinkles that you could avoid by dipping into a store for 5-10 mins. It was fantastic and I felt very luck. The main dining room food and service was for the most part good, but not the drink service. Buffet food was fair, but the lines and buffet services were horrible and the hours were unreasonable. Stateroom service was fair. Our porter kept coming into our room! This happened three times! Granted we forgot to put our do not disturb sign on the door, but he could at least knock! The bedspread was also stained and our ported was never around when we needed him (which wasn't that often). The shows were horrible as well. The dancers were mediocre, they couldn't stay in sync and a few of them didn't seem to know the dances. The singers were a tad bit better, but not up to the standard of RCCL normal shows that I'm used to watching. The magic show was horrendous. It is really bad when you can tell how he was doing the trick. At dinner the next night we all compared notes and all figured out the same thing. In fact, one of them could see the black box where the girls were coming out of! Just horrible! Activities were limited. I know that RCCL got rid of the ship shape dollar activities, but on a ship this small you need something. Most of the activities were trying to either sell you something or cost extra money. Very disappointing. The only thing that saved us was our balcony, where we ended up spending most of our time. The whole ship staff in general seemed to be overstretched and performing multiple duties. I really think this is why our stateroom attended wasn't around. The ship, again, wasn't as nice as other RCCL ships that I have cruised on and seemed to missed a lot of the detail. LONG REVIEW Hubbard Glacier I HIGHLY recommend anyone going on an Alaskan cruise to get a balcony if you can. It really mad a good cruise, GREAT!. The cold Alaskan weather makes it hard to enjoy the upper decks for too long and experiencing Hubbard Glacier on those crowded decks was not fun. It was cold on the balcony as well, but we could pull off our comforter and stay out for hours. We did go out on the helicopter pad because they were only going to open it for this sight and I wanted to see it. It was very cold and crowded. The drink waiters pressured everyone with hot chocolate with baileys which was annoying and the videographer and photographers wouldn't leave you alone until you took a picture. We got within a few thousand feet of the glacier. We didn't see any chunk of ice fall, it might have been too early in the season. Juneau - Helicopter to the Glacier We did the Temsco helicopter tour to glacier and dog sledding. It was amazing to say the least! It was a lot of firsts for us. Our first helicopter ride, our first time walking on a glacier, our first time riding a dog sled, or first time seeing how people live on a glacier over the summer! The staff was fabulous and the ride (both of them) was a once in a life time experience. I would highly recommend this tour! Gold mining tour- We wanted something to do after the helicopter tour and decided to go into the vistor's center to see what we could book. We found a great gold mining tour. The tour was done with a real miner and we got to see a demonstration of the tools and what an average day is like. At the end we panned for gold, which took a lot more patients then I thought ti would. Juneau itself was not that great and littered with tons of jewelry stores, gimmicky shops and expensive souvenir shops. The surrounding country side on the other hand was beautiful. We shared the port with the Rhapsody of the Seas, Mercury and a HOA ship. Skagway - Snow shoe hike We did the train ride to the Yukon! It was a beautiful ride and our tour group was small (the only tour we couldn't book outside the ship). During the ride we saw very cool bridges and animals. We also were told to make a few sandwiches for our hike to add to the food supplies we were already given (chocolate and trail mix)! We then arrived at our stop, a old house that had our shoes. The hike was amazing and our guides were very nice and helpful! It was a fantastic journey and I have to say we ate all the food they gave us, which was a lot! After the hike we went to the local brewery and had a beer and then did some souvenir shopping. Again there as a lot of cheap jewelry shops, similar to the same stuff you got in Caribbean. Icy Straight Point, Hoonah - Whale watching Icy Straight Point pier was very disappointing. The place was build to mimic a actual city, which in fact it was not. It was extremely gimmicky shops and more ways for the ship to get your money. It really reminded us of Disney World. The ship actually had tours around the fabricated city, i.e. Native American shows. We decided to leave the port and walk the mile and half to the real city, Hoonah (You can also take a bus for $4 each way if you like, but on our walk we saw an eagle and the scenery were really nice. The town was very small, but the locals were so nice and eager to chat. We actually spoke to the cop for a good 20 min. who told as about the city and where to see the local seal and sea lions. We also booked a whale watching tour with Dan Anderson as the Misty Bay Lodge. It was a great time and only three of us on the ship! The cruise tour had over 100 and not everyone could see the whales because they were so packed into the boat. We know this because we were in the same spot and were just as close to the whales! I think the coolest part was when the engine was turned off and you could hear them singing to each other. It is worth the extra $6 bucks to book with a local. Ketchikan - Totem poles and Lumberjack Show We first toured the sight with the largest amount of authentic totem poles. They bused you to the location, where you first watch a movie about the history of the area. The best part however was watching the Native American show and watching a guy carve the totem poles. After a quick stop to the gift shop it was back on (a now very hot bus, the driver wouldn't turn on the AC for some reason) to the lumberjack show. The Lumberjack Show was very entertaining. It was so much fun to watch the guys compete and at the end you got to meet with them. In terms of the port itself, I would say I liked Ketchikan the most. It still has the touristy/gimmicky shops, but it is probably the easiest to explore and has some really cool areas. It was also the place I got to view sea otters up close. Inside Passage - Not very exciting for us. The night before the captin told us that we would be there between 2-4 pm, but later changed it to 4-6. When we arrived, we didn't see one animal. Even the naturalist on board gave up looking after a couple of hours. It was a little disappointing.  Main Dining Room (Metropolitan): We had the main seating. The waiters were good. The dinner food here was good, but nothing spectacular. There seemed to be a lot of fish on the menu so it was hard to find something other than that. Buffet Area (Ocean Grille Cafe): The buffet food was alright. However, instead of serving yourself the staff had to hand you the food. Many times they wouldn't understand you and give you something you didn't want. Or they'd give you ONE and you had to keep asking for more. Furthermore, the staff here was snippy and dismissive. You would ask for something and they would just say now, without checking to see where it was located. So both the Ocean Grille Cafe and the Main Dining Room service was severely lacking, but I am in no way blaming the staff. They seemed like they were trying, but they were simply over worked and under staffed. I believe that a lot is due to financial cut backs. Having horrible meal experiences a day definitely puts a damper on things. Some other grievances: Drink Staff - Not nearly enough. We do not drink much, but when we wanted a coke at lunch, or a cocktail at dinner or up on the decks, it was hard to find a waiter. Our Main Dining Room Drink waiter was constantly busy and hard to get a hold of. Cruise Director and Shows - Those shows were not very good. The words that comes to mind are corny and tacky. The cruise director was good, and easy to meet and talk to. It was overall good, but I would have expected better from Celebrity. I guess part of my disappointment comes from me expecting better service then RCCL and it was actually below par. I will probably try and not cruise with them again. As far as cruising to Alaska: we liked the experience. I would highly suggest it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
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