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190 Celebrity Auckland Cruise Reviews

We like New Zealand and decided that it would be a good way to go for a short cruise which started in Auckland and finished in Sydney. One of the selling points was that the ship was coming back to Sydney via Eden on the south Coast of ... Read More
We like New Zealand and decided that it would be a good way to go for a short cruise which started in Auckland and finished in Sydney. One of the selling points was that the ship was coming back to Sydney via Eden on the south Coast of NSW.. On the morning of embarkation in Auckland it was a fairly long process because of the corona virus scare - everyone had to have their temperature taken.. But it was handled well and to know that we were considered safe to board the vessel was good news. Our balcony cabin on Deck 6 was OK apart from a slightly restricted view because of the life boats. The balcony furniture was very tatty and one of the chairs was less than safe to 'perch' on. There were a few things around the ship that needed attention. I don't like the idea of a 'minibar' and requested all the things in it be removed. Another thing which really annoys me is that as soon as one sets foot on the ship someone is trying to take your photo, others are endeavouring to make sure one has a drinks package or others are trying their hardest to get one to sign up for extra dining packages or spa treatments etc etc. If I want those things I am quite capable of making my own decisions. The WiFI costs on Celebrity Solstice are beyond belief. No wonder people hightail it off the ship when there are port calls to search for free WiFi. I thought the food in the buffet cafeteria was quite good - a wide variety of food. We never went to the formal dining room. One things I didn't appreciate was the 'music' that constantly bashed one's ears. Why does it have to be so loud and intrusive. Very difficult to hold a good conversation - I guess it's also a way of quickly shunting people through the dining areas. Their system of accounts makes it appear on the in room TV that each person has the same credit. We spoke to one of the desk staff about this and he said that quite a few people had been 'caught out by this'. An easy way to make an extra buck or two for the company. The Captain was quite a good communicator - quite amusing as well. Most of the staff were friendly and our room attendant was efficient and pleasant. The end of the cruise was less than satisfactory. We couldn't dock in Eden because of the corona virus (I understand that). We docked on the evening 19/3 in Sydney but couldn't disembark until the following morning. With everything that was/has been happening with corona virus we would have thought that we all would have been checked before getting off the ship or at least on the dock. But NO - it didn't happen. Something fell down with communication between the ship and NSWhealth/ border control. When we got to the dock we had to sign a form about going into 14 days isolation. Which of course we did and we will be 'in-house' for quite a few more days before that time is up. It was an unhappy ending to an otherwise fairly good trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Chose this cruise for the itinerary Auckland to Melbourne ,on a positive note excellent staff both in level of service and quantity ,no issue with getting drink etc having sailed with NCL and RCI Celebrity and the quality of food was ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary Auckland to Melbourne ,on a positive note excellent staff both in level of service and quantity ,no issue with getting drink etc having sailed with NCL and RCI Celebrity and the quality of food was Superior . Itinerary was excellent with the over night in Sydney (although we did have to return to ship by 9.30pm) ,generally the entertainment was very good but the organisation and scheduling was poor ,for example for the house band played for a max 45 minutes session then stop (even if dance floor full)with no interim entertainment ,subsequently mass exodus from the audience leaving a 90% empty ,plus overlapping events and confusing use of venues where you had to keep skipping around to attend events ,it was a real struggle for the entertainment staff to keep the 2800 odd passengers to stay up any later than 10.30 pm ,during the day the ship had the feel of a carehome (I am 55) ,party ship this isn't !.felt really sorry for the Dj starting at 11ish with empty dance floor, however Patrick (activities manager )is destined for better things with his energy and enthusiasm . Another annoying issue was the 3 levels of drinks package ,never had this before where you could only have certain drinks and the premium drinks you could have were only available in 1 bar Tendering absolute debacle 2.5 hours to get off at bay of islands . The ship is looking very old and tired ,in need of a refurb and not by adding speciality restaurants at the expense of venues ,absolutely no WOW factors Not sure why the Captain was vying with the cruise director for entertainment value ? Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We have sailed on 4 Celebrity ships all in Aquaclass, and enjoy the access to BLU as well as the Spa amenities. We chose Solstice for the itinerary, as New Zealand was on the bucket list. We stayed in Auckland, on Princes Wharf, so we ... Read More
We have sailed on 4 Celebrity ships all in Aquaclass, and enjoy the access to BLU as well as the Spa amenities. We chose Solstice for the itinerary, as New Zealand was on the bucket list. We stayed in Auckland, on Princes Wharf, so we were able to leave our hotel room, walk to the end of the building, drop our luggage, and enter the cruise port within a few minutes. We were directed to a line for Aqua passengers, and were boarding the ship within 10-15 minutes. Service and food quality in Blu was exceptional. We dined around 7pm most nights, and did not have to wait to be seated. The waiters and assistant waiters worked together as a team, and quickly learned our names and preferences. We found the bartenders and waiters went out of their way to find a selection of wines to match our beverage package. The choices available in the outside bar at Oceanview tend to be narrow, but the inside Oceanview bar always had multiple premium wine choices to pick from. We enjoyed the range of daily activities on the ship for sea days. We only booked one shore excursion through Celebrity, and it was well done. We had 3 tender days, and were very impressed with the speed and efficiency displayed by the captain and crew in handling the tendering process. We also found the Disembarkation to be very smooth. We typically walk off, with our luggage, but as we were staying on in Melbourne, we chose to set out our luggage the night before. We were able to enjoy a last trip to Blu, and were able to relax in a lounge, and our number was called 10 minutes before the assigned time of 9:15 am. Overall the ship was as outlined in great shape, and the staff across the board were excellent. If there is one thing that Celebrity needs to stop, it is the upselling. We always had to bypass 3 photographers getting off of the ship, and then multiple portrait stations in the evening going to dinner and returning, Everyone has an iPhone, if we want our picture taken, we will ask someone to take it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Just like to start of by saying -Thank you so much for such an amazing experience. Everything from the cabin we had to the atmosphere/entertainment and food, comfort it was all well above excellence. Everything was absolutely above ... Read More
Just like to start of by saying -Thank you so much for such an amazing experience. Everything from the cabin we had to the atmosphere/entertainment and food, comfort it was all well above excellence. Everything was absolutely above expectation and it was my first time on a cruise and it goes beyond words to explain how wonderful it all was. Our cabin was comfortable, spacious, clean and had all the facilities we needed. The services throughout the cruise including all the facilities and cleanliness were excellent. Definitely deserve over 5 stars. Meet amazing people, the atmosphere was wonderful the food and cocktails were divine always! With so much variety to choose from and such great entertainment. A BIG thank you! to Marvin (our waiter) and his team for always providing such a lovely service! Such a friendly, lovely team thank you! Exceptional teams, the services were all excellent. An experience to never forget. Thank you! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was our second cruise on Celebrity Solstice and found it most enjoyable with no complaints bar two which I will go into later. Embarkation a breeze. Just board when you want, Dont follow their advisory boarding times. Their a pain if ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Celebrity Solstice and found it most enjoyable with no complaints bar two which I will go into later. Embarkation a breeze. Just board when you want, Dont follow their advisory boarding times. Their a pain if you get a late time. They dont hassle if you turn up early. Everyone was very pleasant. Complaing ONE/ Boat drill was a real pain. They made us stand in a small atrium with virtually no seating so everybody had to stand for 20 minutes so of course we couldnt see the demonstration talk come video. I eventually had to sit down on the floor due to aching back. Their were over 2800 passengers and for some reason lots of asians, americans, canadians british etc.Lots of pushing for drinks package for first couple of days, Got a bit annoying Our cabin 2507 was balcony and very spacious. Bed was great. Good sized bathroom, No complaints there. Cabin steward Rhonda was very nice and polite. Cabin electricity suitable for Aussie appliances but you will need American or British electrical plug adaptor. Ship is huge but easily naviable. Plenty of elevators. Lots of public lounges and other spaces to find quite spot for some quiet time. Ship is gears to mature passengers, not a lot for kids and hardly any at all/ Numerous places to eat. Their is set dinning or select dinning. We choose select dinning. You have to ring them to book time. You can choose size of table from two to eight people. Waiters effecient and ;polite. Their are a number of PAY restaurants. We tried the Tuscan grill the first night and not greatly impressed. We found the main dining room food just as good We found the entire crew very polite and effecient. Tables are cleared immediately. Their is no compulsory tipping but please tip them. These guys work long hours every day for upto 7 months No complaints about crew at all. Two pools. One outside. One inside. Both with spas. Two of the spas have small hoists to help disabled people into them. This ship is disabled friendly. All doors including toilets open automatically [except cabin door] In port ramps are used, no stairs. Staff will help you if required. Quite a few electricl wheelchair people on board. Tendering is not very disabled friendly. You may miss out. Lots of entertainment. I think their were four different groups playing throughout the ship during the day and evening. A lot of the daytime activities were designed to seperate you from your money! The jogging track was only 200 metres round and crowded which was a pain. Good gym if your into that. Smallish library, pretty useless really. The Oceanview buffet is where you have breakfast, lunch and dinner if you want. Multiple stations have various menus such as Asian. Western, Salads. Bread, Desserts. Carvery etc. Except for the Carvery its all self serve. I found some of the meats dry and tough. The Carvery was usually ok. Some desserts were dry as well. It can get very crowded and noisey in this place. We always found a spot out the back deck but can get breezey and cold sometimes. Disembarkation good as we were able to take all our luggage of with us and not wait for them to unload so you can get off immediately. Complaint TWO. Piped music is played throughout most of the public areas. I found this most annoying, In particuar the music at the Oceanview cafe was atrocious and sometimes sounded like a strangling cat. This ship is geared to the mature and seniors but yet the piped music to the oceanview and coffee shop was geared to the young set of which their were hardly any. Both my wife and I couldnt stand it and would eat and get out as quickly as possible. We had this problem last cruise to which I complained but apparently fell on death ears. Now for something really important HYGEINE. Last time on this ship I got the dreaded Noro virus. Confined to cabin for two days and missed a good port. This time we took no chances. Upon entering our room we used sanitised wipes to clean everything. Door handles. Taps, Toilet, TV remote, phone etc/ We did this every couple of days as the cabin attendent cleans 15 rooms so germ transfer is a problem. When you enter any eatery you must use the hand wash dispenser but I noticed some people sneak in without doing so. The most contaminated implement are the food thongs. We used hand wipes after useing them. Also take my advice and do the following. Under no circumstances unless necessary touch handrails or bannisters. Use your knuckle to touch elevator buttons. Even clean your seacard every couple of days. Countless waiters touch them. You may think Im paranoid but I am an ex paramedic and know how easy it is to get contaminated and having the noro virus once was enough for me/ I would have given this ship five stars except for the two complaints noted. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We were looking forward to the Solstice as not previously been on this ship, but on other Celebrity Ship. Weather was not too kind to us, mostly rain or wind or cold, no laying around on desk this cruise. Ship is good size and has ... Read More
We were looking forward to the Solstice as not previously been on this ship, but on other Celebrity Ship. Weather was not too kind to us, mostly rain or wind or cold, no laying around on desk this cruise. Ship is good size and has lots of good features, however it seems very sterile with not much colour. From the time you get on, the main thing you notice is the sell, sell, sell of the staff. Buy a drink package, buy a restaurant package, buy a spa package, buy this buy that. This is normal first day on most ships, but it went on most of the cruise. The main thing I found that irritated us was the cost of everything, all prices are in $US. So for example a can of beer in $Aust works out to be $12 to $18, and a wine is from $19 up, it just goes on. Even the bottle spirits from the duty free on board work out to be the same price as purchasing from Coles or Woollies. A coffee was $9 for a very small cup. There are so many restaurants on board and all except one I think you need to pay big money to enter, we just ate at the Oceanview Buffett ( it was fine - it had a few themed meals, and seating was available without much problem most of the time). The cast on board shows ( two only ) were terrible, not like you would expect. Other entertainers were quite reasonable ( however, everyone of them was from Australia). Best part of the day was the Elite 2 hour drinks, if we didn't get that, then I would not have had a drink at the prices they were asking. The cabin was fine - except the cabin steward kept forgetting to put things in our room. The Casino was the biggest I have seen, it took up half of one desk. There were two guest lecturers ( one on astronomy and one on wildlife ), they were both good and interesting. Staff - some were happy some were very sad looking indeed. We could opted out of graduities not problems. Captain was funny and worth listening too at 10am. No laundries on board, so either pay heaps or take into shower and hang up in the room. Room also had the best air conditioning control we have ever had, it would alter temperature by about 5 degrees up and down if not more. Day entertainment and night activities were so so, mid ship always was small area and no open room. Not much to do on deck, just lots of sitting areas, no big screen. Overall was disappointed in the ship and was not up to the hype. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Highlights - sailing though the NZ Fjordland National Park on the bow- stunning! - Tasmania is gorgeous and we loved the wildlife (kangaroos, koalas, wombats etc) - Melissa at the Captain's Club desk really makes you feel ... Read More
Highlights - sailing though the NZ Fjordland National Park on the bow- stunning! - Tasmania is gorgeous and we loved the wildlife (kangaroos, koalas, wombats etc) - Melissa at the Captain's Club desk really makes you feel special! - so glad there is still a library onboard Lowlights -hot tub so chlorinated we only lasted a few seconds, eyes burning -no thalasso pool, just an indoor pool that was cool (and this was a cold cruise...) -the buffet..ugh.. unless a formal night, very crowded, on sea days, no seats available, with pushy sales people at the entrance saying, "you should go to specialty restaurant" - so bc X doesn't want to organize sea day meals, I need to pay to get a seat??? Princess has overflow of seats to their specialty restaurants on the same floor, and there's always room and always food, so it CAN be done. the food was just okay there, MDR okay, hit or miss, excess of Indian dishes and dessert at buffet, had a very hard time finding cooked vegetables -prices - a bottle of water is now $7 USD, really? -front desk: you really need to learn your ship (didn't know the extended room service menu had been abandoned but was told to search for it on TV), also see 'biggest disappointment' below -super loud and pretty bad 'house band'. Our upper tier veranda was right at the entrance to the Earth thingy and thus the atrium. The sliding door they installed was good noise insulation, but anybody walking by activated it and it was a constant teeter totter of loud-silence-loud-silence.. -wine tasting: wouldn't do it again. It was fun, but there was only one really good wine out of 6-7 stations with 2-3 wines each. Biggest disappointment -we got a flyer saying notify front desk regarding your shore plans for Hobart. We have an elderly Tasmanian friend who waited for us at the pier, so we called 3 days ahead of Hobart and asked for earliest possible time. We got the LAST group!!! She had to wait at the pier for nearly 4 hours and got a parking ticket. She was worried she would miss us and didn't move her car. Our friends onboard had an excursion at 1pm and got the earliest disembarkation group which they ignored since it was way too early for them. It's okay to put us last but LET US KNOW. We thought our group number was about half way, but in fact it was last.. Celebrity punishing us for not taking any of the overpriced excursions! In the future, we will stay away from Celebrity's bigger ships and maybe from Celebrity in general, in favor of all-inclusive lines. Getting nickled and dimed gets on our nerves and the crowding adds to stress while on vacation. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We joined four friends for one of those life time trips. We always wanted to cruise and see NZ..so we did both with Celebrity. Also to revisit a special place..Australia. Booked this 14 day cruise. Ship was Celebrity Solice. Does ... Read More
We joined four friends for one of those life time trips. We always wanted to cruise and see NZ..so we did both with Celebrity. Also to revisit a special place..Australia. Booked this 14 day cruise. Ship was Celebrity Solice. Does to Auckland for cruise launch. Boarded after a day exploring Auckland (which we explored before)had hired a private tour..Wonderful Boarding went quickly....this process was very well done by Celebrity. As we were watching leaving Auckland..We decided to eat in Ocean View Cafe. This was my first day and we loved the view. But then...food. Was so bland... over cooked, lots of bad deserts. This first impression did not change throughout trip. Poor food all around except hotdogs and hamburgers at an outside grill. Very disappointed..but no weight gain... Service great, outings good. Rooms good. Very poor condition for hallways, and veranda furnishings. Broken curtains, torn bath towels..then no fair shake for a gay couple on being in stage..Very concerning. Told Cruise person all this on ship in Future Cruise dept. Have not received any communication from them on a review of our concerns. Probably done with Celebrity. Will cruise again though! Thx for reading. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I want to point out that I have cruised with Celebrity before and have been quite happy but I was unimpressed with this cruise. A 14 night cruise should give you the opportunity to see and visit many interesting locations in New Zealand ... Read More
I want to point out that I have cruised with Celebrity before and have been quite happy but I was unimpressed with this cruise. A 14 night cruise should give you the opportunity to see and visit many interesting locations in New Zealand and Australia but this was not the case with this particular cruise. The cruise started in Auckland NZ which is a vey nice city to explore if you choose to book independent excursions. The shore excursions through Celebrity overall during this cruise was marginal. The overviews for the excisions did not actually explain how long some of the bus rides were to get to a destination. We had a 7 hour bus ride (3 1/2 to and 3 1/2 back to ship) in Akaroa NZ to go on a TransAlpine Train that was supposed to reach some of the Southern Alps and traverse through a gorge. We did go through the gorge but no real mountain views and the train ride was about 1 hour. That excursion was $349.00 per person... A very expensive bus ride... Most other excursions were ok but again beware of the bus rides to get to the destinations. If you have the means and opportunity to investigate private tours and their cost versus ship excursions my recommendation is to go on your own. We actually cancelled some excursions from the ship and found that the price for the private tours to the same destinations were comparable and more comfortable. Just a suggestion to do your homework before obligating yourself to a particular ship excursion. Celebrity does give you the opportunity to cancel prepaid excursions with 48 hour notice prior to the excursion date. Also note that there were 5 days of at sea. The Tasman Sea did get rough during a 2 day sea voyage to Tasmania for Milford Sound NZ. 18 foot waves one night. The Ship: Celebrity Solstice The ship we found to be very comfortable to walk around and explore. The drink package was good to get if you enjoy beer, wine, cocktails without wondering what the final cost would be if not using it. Premium package was good because it enabled you to get any specialty drinks (top shelf liquor) as well as any specialty coffee drinks from any part of the ship unlimitedly. The food from the main dining room was not exceptional. Portions were small in most cases and the variety of choices was limited. We did choose a 3 night specialty dining package to eat in some of their premium restaurants. We chose the Tuscan, the Murano and the Silk Harvest. We found the Asian Silk Harvest to be the best and the Murano just so so. Again you have to consider if the additional price to dine in their specialty restaurants is worth the investment. It was interesting and a bit annoying that when we were eating dinner in the main restaurant that someone always came over to give us information to book reservations in one of their specialty restaurants. The buffet dining room (Ocean View Cafe) was always crowded for breakfast and the selections very good. The lunches were very good as well. You can eat breakfast and lunch in the main dining rooms also. A bright spot was the entertainment on board. We went almost every night and enjoyed all of the programs. The Cabin: We booked a Concierge Room in the aft section of the ship (2142). Being in the back was very quiet and the view from the balcony exceptional. However the room was small and since we did bring 4 large luggage bags, it was hard to find room to store clothes. I kept clothes in my luggage bags under the bed that I could not find room to place in the cabin. Some of the draws in the cabin needed to be fixed due to age but will probably be redone when the ship gets some refurbishment at it's next dry dock. Service: Service for the most part was very good. I did have an issue with one on my white polo shirts that became back with a blue tint from the laundry but the ship did address the situation and issued a no charge for the entire laundry and did finally get the blue out of my shirt. Please note that there are specials in laundry that give you one price for all items the you can place in their bag for one price of $49 regular or dry cleaning (no ripping the bag) but ask them which day the specials are given. I spent $80 one day before we were informed of the discounted special day. I hope I gave you an informative review of the ship and it's destinations. Overall good cruise but I expected more from Celebrity to show case these countries that you usually only get a chance to visit once. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Last sailing of the season – 3 senior couples traveling together, 2 couples from Phoenix, 1 couple from WA state – our 4th cruise as a group of 6, 14 days, March/April 2019. GREATEST FEAR: Dread of the flight to AKL and the ... Read More
Last sailing of the season – 3 senior couples traveling together, 2 couples from Phoenix, 1 couple from WA state – our 4th cruise as a group of 6, 14 days, March/April 2019. GREATEST FEAR: Dread of the flight to AKL and the transport home from SYD. Into AKL we arrived 2 nights early – all on Hawaiian. One couple did PDX to HNL to AKL in one shot – the others did PHX to HNL, overnight, then HNL to AKL on day two. This gave us 2 non stops PHX to HNL 7 hours, then HNL to AKL 9 hours by leaving a day early. Though an inconvenience to go from airport to hotel then back using free hotel shuttle and free breakfast the 4 of us felt this was a great way to go. JET LAG ISSUES: Indeed for all of us – about 18 hours ahead of our normal time, plus while onboard we had 3 instances of setting the clock back 1 hr each time. We found we did not bounce back from this quickly and seemed tired for a week trying to adjust to the time change issues. Pricing to do this by Hawaiian was very good. TRANSPORT HOME: 1 couple left upon concluding the cruise, 3 flights, SYD to AKL, AKL to HNL, HNL to PDX. We all found air fares back to US from SYD very high with a saving by first going to AKL then home. Our 2nd couple in fear of 13 + hours non stop chose to cruise SYD to HNL on the Radiance, then fly home from HNL. Couple 3 braved the long non stop which was 12 hrs 35 mins SYD to SFO, then SW SFO to PHX (USED UAL FF MILES for the non stop and paid for the extra comfort seating, which we felt was a good idea). Couples 2&3 stayed 5 nights after disembarking to tour Sydney as 1st time visitors. We’ve come too far not to see Sydney !! EMBARKING – GETTING ABOARD: As we arrived into AKL at 10pm 2 nights prior to departure we chose to stay near the airport at a hotel with free airport transport. The other 4 chose to ride into the CBD after the flight and stayed 2 nights in the CBD. We decided to get to the ship via an Auckland City Tour just prior to loading. We used Skybus from the airport to get into the CBD, day of boarding, was quick, efficient and about $12 USD each. There we were picked up by the tour operator. The other 4 were added at their hotel and the 6 us had a 4 hour tour of Auckland with Auckland Scenic Tours, dropping us at conclusion with our luggage at the Solstice Pier. THE SHIP: Sept 2014, 4 of us had been on Solstice, 11 day Alaska sailing. Had been in dry dock since and was somewhat improved. Still very shiny, well cared for, public areas neat clean – it is like a floating palace it’s so nice. CREW: Had a change of Master’s mid cruise, never had this before. New one, Captain Tasos, was a ton of fun with his 10AM briefing - one favorite quote; “put the pedal to the metal”. Staff was very good, mostly friendly and helpful with a smile. PASSENGERS: Approximately 2900 + crew – 1/3rd US/Canada, 1/3 Aussie/NZ, and 1/3rd other countries. Few children, mostly a senior crowd but a good age mix. DINING: A very annoying situation here – we all booked over a year in advance and requested linked traditional early dining (6pm) with a table for six. All of us requested this and at times we were linked and at times the linkage would disappear. One week before leaving home I was told by Captain’s Club we were at a table for six, but I should check with the maître'd to be certain. 1st thing on boarding we checked and the link had again disappeared – 1 table of 4, 1 table of 2, not a table for six. We immediately went to the maitre’d who had an explanation of why this had happened but after being forceful and determined he agreed to seat us together the 1st night in MDR and would arrange for seating together the 2nd and subsequent night. That is what occurred but our permanent table assignment though for six was too noisy to hear one another during dinner. Why does a linkage for 6, set up in advance disappear? This should never have even been an issue and did not get us off to a good start on boarding so beware. Once a link occurs it should be impossible to tamper with this – this needs fixing. Our evening dining at our joint table was a very important part of the cruise. SERVICE AND FOOD QUALITY DIVERSITY: Some nights were okay – menu choices were not special many times; food quality was sometimes very good, other times not what we expected. Service was fine but the noisy table and food prep overshadowed everything else so we skipped the MDR the most times we ever had on this cruise as a result. Also – show times were 7pm and 9pm; with the 6pm dining we could not make the 7pm show so we dined at the Oceanview buffet at 6pm to make the 7pm showtime; not liking a show starting at 9pm normally. Too late for our needs and enjoyment. We did dine in one specialty restaurant, the Murano one night and found it to be a special experience, well worth the added cost. Otherwise most dining was in the buffet; we found their food better overall than the MDR so kept going back and we usually could hear each other as we dined together. Good service and usually tables available to select. We did have prime rib twice and lobster once in the MDR. PORTS AND ITINERARY: This was a winner – ports were outstanding, docked and departed on time, great weather but why an overnight in Tauranga? One day was enough. Nice balance of ports and sea days. TOURS: We normally stay away from the ship’s product assuming it will be on a big bus (55 people) and usually too expensive. We did tours in most stops but took only 2 Celebrity Tours, using OBC for that. Though convenient for pickup and return big bus it was but pricing for these 2 tours was acceptable too. Our private tours worked just fine and usually came with a smaller bus as well – never a problem getting back to the ship on time. I think my favorite port and tour was in Hobart, Tasmania – we took a Gray Line tour with Jim on a tram type car but this did involve a 10 minute walk from the pier after an involved immigration clearing as this was our 1st port into Australia. We all loved Tasmania and it was a good city to walk upon tour conclusion. THE EVENING SHOWS: As stated. Shows at 7pm and 9pm – never an issue getting a seat. Many production shows by Celebrity talent and orchestra; most were good and entertaining. Had some singers; a comedian my favorite was the Motown show by the OZ brothers; for them we dined in Oceanview at 6pm and attended the 7pm show. Was advertised as a Motown show but that was a 3rd of the music they performed. Also did 4 Seasons and other artists – well done guys. DISEMBARKING – GETTING FROM SHIP TO OUR SYDNEY HOTEL: Four of us stayed the 5 nights to see Sydney, staying at the Hyatt Regency Darling Harbor, near the ship docking pier. The four shared an SUV, along with all our bags and in 20 minutes or so were at the hotel – cost: $35 AUD total including a tip – hard to beat. SHIP ACTIVITIES: On those days not visiting a port we always did the trivia sessions and there were usually 3 per day. There were the usual exercise classes, information lectures and the crew selling various products. Also the retail area regularly had sales and offers and there were numerous upscale retail outlets on board. We found no trouble staying busy as we also enjoyed playing games as our group of six. PUBLIC AREAS: We found them to be clean and in great condition, we could usually find a quiet place to do our group game sessions. INTERNET CAFÉ: As stated having access to 180 complimentary minutes allowed us to avoid paying for internet use on board. Once docked it was usually easy to find free wi fi locally to stay caught up. Pricing was the usual outrageous number. CASINO: ENTIRELY NON SMOKING ALL THE TIME -The slots were not very generous but we certainly had seen worse on prior cruises and cruise lines. Enough of a variety to keep a gambler interested, also the usual blackjack, craps, roulette. TRIP HINTS CPAP BREATHING MACHINE – Suppose to use distilled water in the device – almost impossible to find in NZ/AUS. CAPTAIN’S CLUB – This was our 1st time at the elite level and the benefits we found were very nice to have, e.g., unlimited drinks in most bars between 5 and 7 pm most days. A free bag of laundry and 90 mins of free internet. NOTE: These benefits are per person, not per stateroom. We were thinking per stateroom until our room steward called this to our attention so we really had twice what we thought we had. POST CRUISE LAUNDRY: Arriving into Sydney with a lot of dirty laundry and plans to stay 5 days meant trying to address laundry needs. A coin laundry in the central city was not possible but we found a true gem for this problem. WASH ON THE ROCKS.COM.AU ON HICKSON ST. They are in the rocks area of the city and they pick up, do the laundry, fold it and deliver back to your hotel. They picked up before noon and by 6pm of the same day it was all done. We (the 2 couples) sent them 4 loads and for that the charge was $84.00 AUD. That includes pick up and return to the hotel – we were all so excited to have clean laundry done for us for this pricing and set us up for the balance of our trip. SYDNEY HOTEL RECOMMENDATION: Hyatt Regency, 161 Sussex near Darling Harbor. We opted for the “deluxe” room for our 5 nights. Rates were reasonable for Sydney, the hotel is beautiful and the Darling Harbor location a good location, felt safe and excellent location. Employees were friendly and helpful; received many helpful hits from Tony, Hyatt valet for 22 years re: things to see, do and where to dine. He is a treasure. Room was quiet, good bed and pillows, good for temperature control (note they use Celsius not F). A great choice for our needs. SUMMARY Overall would give the cruise and ship a 4.8 out of 5.0 due to the small very irritating items mentioned earlier. Celebrity does so many things well and we feel offers a superior, premier cruising product without requiring premium pricing to cruise. The six of us are booked in April on the Silhouette and all looking forward to that cruise. If Celebrity could just address these nagging problems I would not hesitate to give them a 5.0. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, and in that respect, it delivered. We booked the Hilton on Princes Wharf for a 3-night pre-cruise stay in Auckland, and the ship was docked beside the hotel when we woke up on embarkation ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, and in that respect, it delivered. We booked the Hilton on Princes Wharf for a 3-night pre-cruise stay in Auckland, and the ship was docked beside the hotel when we woke up on embarkation day. Porters met us in the lobby and delivered our luggage to the ship, and from that point, everything went smoothly. We had pre-booked the Murano specialty dining room for the first evening's dinner. It was very nice and worth the extra cost, but there was an odd twist. My wife ordered a dessert which was prepared and flambeed table-side with great fanfare -- only to be rolled away quickly with a flippant "Now the real one will be delivered to you from the kitchen." We're still trying to figure out what happened ... Our first cruise was with Celebrity many years ago, and we were hoping for the same quality of food and beverage service as we had experienced before. Overall, I'd have to say that the main-dining-room food on this ship was good to very good, but not great. Several fellow passengers commented that the food served in the Oceanview Cafe was generally better in terms of variety and quality, even for dinner. Somewhat disappointing was the fact that we weren't able to access some dining venues, even for an extra fee, because we hadn't paid for one of the highest-price cabins. The major irritation, however, was during bar service, where our mid-range "classic" beverage package required as much as $4.50 extra per drink, depending on what bar we were in and what drink was ordered. The size of our drinks was actually smaller than the same drink in the "premium" package, as well, which was a great way to limit the amount of alcohol poured during busy bar times when the waiter might not get back to you for 15-20 minutes after you've finished your first drink. This "nickle-and- dime" approach will most likely prevent us from cruising with Celebrity again, as we've recently been accustomed to all-inclusive cruising, with no tricks to limit costs and squeeze more money from guests. Overall, we found New Zealand to be the most beautiful country we've ever visited, and Sydney is an amazing city -- perhaps the most vibrant we've visited. Our ship took us to many interesting ports, and we're glad we made the trip One highlight of our trip was the crew. Especially for such a large ship, this was the friendliest crew we've experienced in 9 cruises. Our cabin was the most spacious we've ever had, and it made a noticeable difference in our experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
4th cruise, 3rd with Celebrity, 2 others on smaller Constellation & Millenium. Value of cruise good but inclusions very expensive. Had balcony midships level 8, excellent. Internet usage $55US per day, Drink Packages ridiculous ... Read More
4th cruise, 3rd with Celebrity, 2 others on smaller Constellation & Millenium. Value of cruise good but inclusions very expensive. Had balcony midships level 8, excellent. Internet usage $55US per day, Drink Packages ridiculous prices as well. $25US corkage if you bought your own wine to dinner. (1 bottle per person allowed onboard first day). Food in main dining ok except for 2 nights when the choice was inedible. Ocean View cafe ok but again some of the meat dishes were a bit dry & unappetizing. Trying to find a seat at breakfast was a challenge. Solstice is getting a bit tired & needs a refit which is happening next year I think. Captain Tasos is THE best & he & his staff of many could not be faulted. Dining room staff were exceptional & really looked after you. Ports of Call on this itinerary were great, especially our sail through The Sounds. Much prefer to cruise on smaller ships. 2200 pax & 1200 staff just not as personal. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise for its itenenary, and the duration and of course the ship, we loved everything about the cruise, all the staff on board were excellent everywhere we went we encountered helpful, happy staff which added to our ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itenenary, and the duration and of course the ship, we loved everything about the cruise, all the staff on board were excellent everywhere we went we encountered helpful, happy staff which added to our enjoyment, the stand out staff for us were Edward, Arief, Rakesh, and Monwa in the Main dinning room were very efficient especially Rakesh who was excellent in finding the drinks my husband wanted at dinner time. All the specialty restaurants were great too except when we got the boniest fish Ever served to us in any restaurant ever was in Silk Harvest which was not enjoyable at all and when we brought it to their attention we got told “oh that’s how they serve it the Asian style” I know for sure no one would serve that kind of fish no matter what style. Elton our room person on deck 10 Concierge stateroom was so efficient in keeping our room fully stocked with toiletries and towels twice a day, the girls in Cafe Bacio gave us excellent service too with lovely smiles, we also received excellent service from Errol in the Gift Shop which kept us all coming back to shop. The shows are night were very enjoyable. The cruise director Lewis made sure everyone had something to choose to do everyday, our group of friends had a great time on this cruise. We enjoyed it so much we did a future cruise booking too. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We had this cruise booked almost two years in advance, in order to secure an accessible room. We picked this cruise as we had previously cruised NZ but had a lot of ports cancelled, so we decided to try again as we had heard good things ... Read More
We had this cruise booked almost two years in advance, in order to secure an accessible room. We picked this cruise as we had previously cruised NZ but had a lot of ports cancelled, so we decided to try again as we had heard good things about Solstice. We had a fantastic time. It is the best cruise we have ever done. Embarkation - we stayed at the Quest on Queen in Auckland (very nice hotel, very handy to the port if you are just wanting to wheel your luggage down to the wharf). We had to book a taxi to take us to the ship and when the taxi arrived at the pier, he spoke to one of the baggage handlers who called for some assistance, and our bags were taken directly from the taxi to be loaded onto the ship. We were then directed inside to the wheelchair assistance area, and we then had a man push the wheelchair all the way past the lines of people right to the front of the queue. From there it was only a few minutes until we were on the ship. Our cabin was Aqua class stateroom 1526 on deck 11 and it was the best accessible cabin we have had on a ship to date. There is an automatic door so once you insert your card it swings open to allow the wheelchair to enter. There is a large entryway and enough room in the cabin for a wheelchair to pass between the desk and the beds to the balcony. There is a ramp from the cabin onto the balcony. The bathroom is huge with a shower chair and bars around the toilet. The only things we might criticise is that the toilet is not raised and the bed is almost a little too high to transfer in and out of the chair, but other than those two minor things which we worked around, the cabin was excellent. As to the state of the cabin itself, I thought it was in good condition. The beds were very comfortable (they have a squishy topper on the mattress). The wooden railing on the balcony was a bit rattly but you couldn't hear it with the door closed inside the cabin. The bathroom was in good condition as well but because there is nothing to stop the water, when the ship is rolling I did have to put down a towel around the shower so I didn't flood the bathroom with water. Our room steward was excellent, although we did keep surprising him by turning up when he was trying to clean, but he was very nice about it. As we were Aqua class we dined in Blu. The food was very good but the service was excellent. I was a little concerned that Blu might be too fancy for us but we found something to our tastes every night, and if we didn't, they had a back-up or two in the kitchen that they could bring out. Our waiters were hilarious and they greeted us like friends every night which made the whole restaurant experience that much more enjoyable. We had breakfast in the buffet only a few times because it was so hard to find somewhere to sit and it was just so crowded. On port days we had breakfast in our cabin so we could get an early start (there is no charge for room service on Celebrity). We had breakfast in Blu and it was very good as well. We had lunch in the buffet most days. If you arrived at the wrong time (i.e. between 12 and 1.30pm) it was almost impossible to find somewhere to sit. Thankfully they have helpers in the buffet who were able to take control of the wheelchair and find a seat for us. I thought the food in the buffet was the best I have had at a buffet at sea - every day there was something different to try. I especially loved the ice cream and the pasta station. We would often go in the afternoon and get ice cream or sorbet to take back to the room, it was delicious. We tried all three specialty restaurants (except the sushi place). Of the three Tuscan Grille was our favourite. The lobster rigatoni alfredo was to die for. We had dinner there the night we left Milford Sound and it was a very special experience to watch New Zealand grow smaller and smaller behind us. We tried the seafood fiesta at Silk Harvest which was good (but costs extra, and you can only book once on board). We tried the lobster at Murano and it was delicious. I don't have any complaints about the specialty restaurants. I had read bad reviews about them but we thought they were excellent. Next time I would wait until I was on board before booking, as you could get the restaurants cheaper on board, and they were always trying to offer us deals. Re the drinks packages - we had onboard credit (about $350AUD worth) so we didn't bother buying drinks packages, as neither of us drink alcohol. The non-alcoholic package is $22 a day per person. It averaged out that we would not have spent enough on board to warrant buying the drinks package (we averaged about $15 per day each, on port days we might've only spent about $8 each, some days we spent nothing). In saying that, we are booked again on Solstice in 2021 and we received two perks with our booking, so we are both getting a drinks package. Why? Because the amount of times I was asked why I didn't have a drinks package, how it will work out better for me if I have one, and the amount of huffing and puffing from the bartenders was so unbelievably frustrating that it is just easier to have a damn drinks package. I don't know how many times, and to how many different people, I explained that we are not spending enough per day to warrant it - they just don't understand. I know they are meant to push it on you but it was really annoying. Honestly, my biggest overall complaint is that I found the bar service at every single bar I went to absolutely terrible. Maybe they care if you're buying cocktails and you've got a drinks package, but other than that, they just want you gone. And just trying to get noticed to place an order was an ordeal in itself, especially at the pool bar. I didn't have any problems with the table service at the Sky Lounge - that was excellent. Other people may have had an easier time but by the end I was dreading having to order anything at a bar. The other thing we didn't buy that I wished we had bought was an internet package, but it was just so expensive that I didn't really think I could justify having it. Thankfully it is our second perk for our 2021 cruise, so I won't have to worry about it next time. We didn't see all of the shows. We saw the Buddy Holly show, Nikki Bennett (awful, just awful), the Motown tribute show and then a few of the Celebrity productions. I didn't really enjoy the shows but it seemed like I was in the minority there, as there were a lot of standing ovations. We went to Captain Tasos' talk about the building of Solstice and it was standing room only for good reason - it was absolutely fantastic and a highlight of the trip. I wondered what all the fuss about Captain Tasos was until I got on board - the hype is worth it. He is hilarious. I participated almost exclusively in trivia and had a great time doing so. The entertainment staff were very friendly and it was a lot of fun. I spent a lot of time in the Sky Lounge; it was my favourite part of the ship. We never did make it up to watch the glass blowing - it was too cold to be out on deck most of the time, but I will definitely go for a look when we're back on in 2021. We also didn't make it to any movies - they play the movies up on the grassed area but again it was too cold and I wasn't really interested. For the most part (bar service aside), I found the service on the ship to be above and beyond what we were expecting. The staff were unbelievably helpful, attentive and friendly. We had assistance every single time we were getting on or off the ship - usually an army of men to help push the wheelchair up and down the ramp. If there was a long walk (for example in Tauranga and Dunedin), one would often walk the wheelchair about half of the distance for me. The wheelchair was a fast pass in itself - we bypassed the queues getting off the ship in Tasmania, were straight off and through customs before the rest of the passengers had even gotten off the ship. In Akaroa they have a stair-lift to carry the wheelchair down to the tender boat, and they helped us on and off the boat. The staff were really wonderful and they are a big reason why we decided to book again for 2021. We booked this cruise for the itinerary and unlike the last time we cruised NZ, we were able to make it into every single port. I love Auckland and I think it's a beautiful city. In Tauranga we rented a car through Rite Price Rentals (highly recommend them) and drove ourselves to Rotorua and Waiotapou, and the next day up north to a small town on the coast called Bowentown. In Wellington we booked a private tour with a driver who took us all around the city; it was fantastic. In Akaroa we simply went ashore and did some shopping. In Dunedin we booked another private tour with Good Company Tours, did a city tour, a tour of Olveston House and then a train ride (some disappointment there for us as it turned out the train wasn't wheelchair accessible and we couldn't go, but other than that the tour was very good). In Hobart we met a friend and wandered around the city and in Melbourne I got off the ship for a few hours to do some shopping. The highlight of the ports were the sounds - we had unbelievable weather, blue skies and sunshine. I was able to stand out on the helipad for our entrance into Dusky Sound in the early morning which was wonderful. We saw dolphins in Doubtful Sound and seals in Dusky Sound. In Milford Sound the captain took us right up to the big waterfall and did a 360 turn - it was spectacular. Other thoughts on the ship: It really does cater to an older crowd which suits me just fine, even though I'm only in my 30s. There were a lot more Americans than I was expecting. There were hardly any kids - I think I saw less than 20 the entire time, which again, suits me just fine. I was a lot more comfortable on this ship with an older crowd than I was on Explorer of the Seas with a much younger crowd. As such the entertainment, activities and trivia are all geared towards an older crowd, which might bother some people but it didn't really worry me. I think the ship itself is really nice - very clean. The bathrooms have attendants so they are kept really neat and tidy. I didn't get sick on board but my mother picked up a cough in the last couple of days. I didn't hear about anyone getting gastro or anything like that. I usually pick up a cold but thankfully I managed to avoid it this time. There are probably a few things that need doing up but honestly, it's the second best ship I've ever been on and I really don't have any complaints about the ship itself. We got roped into "lunch with the captain" which was actually $90 to sit with a bunch of people we didn't know and make awkward conversation, and meet the Captain for two minutes at the start. So that was disappointing, but even though we didn't complain about it to anyone, we ended up getting a second free lunch at Tuscan Grille for the last day. And the hostess from Blu was really apologetic about it, but we definitely didn't complain so I have no idea why they thought we were upset. Anyway, the free lunch was really good. I think the shops are a bit... ridiculous, but I guess it's a fancy ship so they sell fancy things. We went to a couple of the sales and bought some cheap jewellery, and I did get some cheap t-shirts for my friends back home. We didn't bother with the art auction as they are a waste of time. We also didn't bother with bingo as it seemed really expensive. If I had known when we were on board that we were going to book again a few days after we got off I would've booked through Future Cruises, but I guess I will next time. This two week cruise with Celebrity has turned me into a convert - I think this may be my favourite cruise line now. Honestly, I may have some complaints about the bar service but overall this was the best cruise we have ever done, hands down, and I can't wait to sail on Solstice again in 2021. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This is not a luxury five star ship whatever the travel agents claim, not now. It was back in 2008 when it was launched, but its been worked hard since then. Its evident when you embark through its nice white hull and enter its interior ... Read More
This is not a luxury five star ship whatever the travel agents claim, not now. It was back in 2008 when it was launched, but its been worked hard since then. Its evident when you embark through its nice white hull and enter its interior that its tired and overdue for a refit. We did venture up to the buffet on the first day and were surprised it was a serve yourself affair (a known novivirus risk) and the carpet was badly food stained and furniture chipped and stained. We never went up again. The food in the main dining room was good though, and our table staff were excellent, but the stained drapes and furnishings were similarly in need of attention.We went to most of the shows which were pretty average Broadway type shows, although we did have a good comedian one evening. We had pre-dinner drinks most evenings at the ice bar where the bar staff (and some of the guests) were always entertaining. The other bars offer a more relaxed experience with faster service though. We got off the ship at every stop and found them interesting and worth a visit, especially if the weathers good. Overall we had the impression they are only attending to basic maintenance and cleaning on the Solstice leading up to its refit next year. Avoid this ship until after its refit, or in the meantime there are other better alternatives like Princess or Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This is my second cruise with hubby (both 50 yr olds) and our first one was on Solstice also 2 years ago. Our first cruise was perfect and so it was inevitable that we would be comparing both cruises and that the second one wouldn't ... Read More
This is my second cruise with hubby (both 50 yr olds) and our first one was on Solstice also 2 years ago. Our first cruise was perfect and so it was inevitable that we would be comparing both cruises and that the second one wouldn't be as good as the first. Celebrity have the embarkation/disembarkation process down pat and we can't fault them on that at all. Even at Princess Wharf Auckland where it is so small and could be utter chaos, everything was good and moved quickly. We had stayed at the Sebel Quay West the night before which I recommend as it is a lovely hotel and an easy walk with luggage down to the wharf. The ship is as lovely as ever and looked after well although you can see some minor things showing some wear and tear. The best thing about Celebrity is the staff - they are all friendly and helpful. As with the last cruise, the only staff member to not acknowledge us as we walked by everyday was the Captains Club hostess. This itinerary seemed to attract an older age group - a lot of baby boomers on this cruise and more then half were New Zealanders. We seemed to find this age group to be really rude - always needing to be first in line for everything, and would push in front of you to grab something (with their hands) in the buffet. We noticed on a few occassions some were really rude to the bartenders - was terrible to see and was no need for it. Poor bartenders have to work so hard to keep us thirsty aussies and kiwis satisfied as it is without having to deal with people who think they are entitled. I thought there might not be much nightlife because of the older crowd but a lot of them liked to party. The Full Moon party, and silent discos were pretty popular. The sea days were pretty quiet with not too many activities which was disappointing. We ended up going to the afternoon trivia most days to fill in some time - even though we are really bad at it. Luckily the bartenders there were the best on the ship- in particular Eric and Nevil. Last cruise we spent a lot of time at the outdoor bars - Sunset and Mast but they've changed the rules and they are now smoking bars so we didn't go there much at all. Sunset bar is only supposed to be smoking on port side but this doesn't seem to get enforced. While we were sitting at the centre of the bar, a woman was standing directly behind us smoking while ordering a drink. Bit of a deal breaker unfortunately for us when the best bars are now off limits for the non smokers. The food is still good but probably not as good as the first cruise. The quality has dropped a bit in the buffet eg used to be able to get different varieties of bacon but now only thin stuff that was cooked in the oven making it hard. There isn't as much variety either. The food in the main restaurant is tasty. The bread basket is dangerously good. The portion sizes are small on some things but you can order more. We found it is difficult to get a drink there if you don't drink wine. Went one night without being asked at all if we wanted a drink. And another night we had to ask. We went to Silk Harvest once - good food but the restaurant is a bit too dark and it was very stuffy. Tuscan Grille is a lovely place to have a good meal before it gets dark so you can see the views. Service was good, they were probably a bit too attentive if anything as there was always someone asking us how the food was, do we need anything else etc. Pretty sad but one thing I was looking forward to was the $10 watch sale. They don't have it anymore. Luckily nothing else grabbed me, including the casino so didn't have to spend much costly US$. Missed hearing Captain Tasos's daily announcements this time- Captain Taramas doesn't have the same character and isn't seen as much around the ship. The ports were interesting to see. We didn't do any Celebrity excursions as they all seemed too expensive. In hindsight it might have been better to go with Celebrity - it would have saved us having to deal with some undesirables in all of the ports who see cruisers coming and want to rip them off. The entertainment was good mostly - pity the production shows are the same ones we saw over 2 years ago. The singers seemed more suitable for musicals - they weren't really cut out for Rock City. The impressionist seemed to be popular with the older people but wasn't to my taste. Magician was good but all the tricks were shown on a screen that made everything look blurry so was difficult to watch. Couldn't fault our cabin - had a balcony on the hump on the Portside. If this itinerary is repeated exactly, I would recommend staying on the Starboard side. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Found the cruise relaxing staff were very helpful. Didn't enjoy the meals tried twice in the restaurant on Deck 3 or 4. Because we don;t consume alcohol and don't put on airs down to earth couple didn't really feel welcomed ... Read More
Found the cruise relaxing staff were very helpful. Didn't enjoy the meals tried twice in the restaurant on Deck 3 or 4. Because we don;t consume alcohol and don't put on airs down to earth couple didn't really feel welcomed there. After that experience used the Ocienveiw Cafe for all our meals and the Mast Grille nice presented food. Enjoyed the show put on most nights in the Solstice Theatre pity they were only a hour long. Enjoyed the outdoor movies pity they repeated them over and over especially The Black Panther and Skycraper. Enjojed watching the girls on deck 15 working with the glass very pleasant and customer looked happy with their items. Bands that played were good normally listened to them in the library. Really not a lot to do at night if you don't gamble or drink. The ship looked nice and clean Indra did a good job making and tiding our room. A few issues with wind blowing thru the door at night whistling, broken tiolet seat cracked T.V. losing signal when watching it otherwise okay.Choose excursions thru the ship 1st not to be left behind and 2nd not to indated by the locals if going ashore. Went on the Nausori Farmers Market Drive hard to hear the person talking as microphone kept cutting in and out. The third excursion I didn't do due to illness which was spreading thru-out the ship coughing, sneezing runny nose and sore throat, as no opening windows in our room think it was spread by the air conditioning.Older couple early 60's no children. Yes we have booked again for same trip 2021 with a room at back of ship with opening balcony hopefully to prevent illness. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We choose this cruise because the last Solstice trip (to Sth Pacific) the average age was around 60, still way older than us but ok. This time is very around mid 80s and most people were not mobile. Getting around the ship was very ... Read More
We choose this cruise because the last Solstice trip (to Sth Pacific) the average age was around 60, still way older than us but ok. This time is very around mid 80s and most people were not mobile. Getting around the ship was very frustrating and the music on board was obviously to cater for them - 30s and 40's (which my husband and I can't stand). We don't have children (by choice, they annoy me); so it was good that there weren't too many to be seen or heard. The ports were mostly good but I would get rid of Lautoka and Suva and try and use a beautiful outer Fijian island. I've been to Fiji a few times and the ports are not a true reflection of the beauty of the Fiji. We both really enjoyed Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga - we did shore trips in each location but not through the ship. We did the Oolala trip, with the ship, in Lautoka and it was terrible - I went two years ago and everything has changed for the worse. It was overcrowded, mean and the food was inedible. The entertainment was generally ok, if geared towards very old people. The dining was good but portion sizes are very small. I'm a size 8 and I had to eat 2nd dinner in the buffet some night as I was still starving. One of the guys (a professor) giving talks was so boring and his material very old. Surely they can find people who are actually interested in their material and pass that on to the cruises. Cost for gym classes is a bit expensive at $17US Why is the spa so expensive? I would love to have treatments but not at twice the price of Australia. The shops are ridiculous - LV and Tiffany - seriously???? why not have nice brands that your target market can afford. Get rid of the stupid art show - just have nice stuff around the ship to admire (not to purchase) Based on this cruise, we have decided to cruise again in about 20 years time - unless Celebrity really do something to encourage a younger (but Childfree) market. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
For background, we (my wife and I), have been cruising since 2012, our first and third cruises were with Celebrity, and had anyone asked us since that time, we would have recommended them as our favourite cruise line. We have also cruised ... Read More
For background, we (my wife and I), have been cruising since 2012, our first and third cruises were with Celebrity, and had anyone asked us since that time, we would have recommended them as our favourite cruise line. We have also cruised with HAL, RCL, NCL and Princess. Unfortunately, we can no longer say that after our last outing on the Solstice. The Staff The staff are still top notch. Our stateroom attendant was excellent (best to date), the Martini Bar crew are still excellent fun, and the activities staff and main dining room staff were also very good. Nothing to fault here. The Ship The ship is starting to show its age a bit, but it is still pretty good considering its been cruising for over a decade. It could use a freshening up, but it’s still fine. There were noise issues, however, in a number of the cabins. A fellow trivia team mate, and former merchant mariner, suggested air conditioning ducts were probably loosening in their brackets, causing intermittent clanging noises. Presumably this is something that would have to be addressed in dry dock. The balcony door also caused quite a racket when exposed to moderate winds, but leaving it unlocked helped with that issue (at least for us). The Seaview Cafe So many cruise lines focus on getting quantity out there and often the food is cool when it should be hot and/or variety is lacking. The Solstice is still above average on this front, in my opinion. Main Dining Room This is where the Solstice is failing, badly. This is not just our opinion, but something echoed by many other passengers. The issue is not with the staff, however, who were excellent, in our experience, but rather the food variety and quality. Variety was generally lacking as we saw many repeat dishes over the 16 day cruise. In addition, the chefs seemed to have a fixation with cold soups and smothering seafood dishes with tomato-based sauces. We looked forward to the lobster tail on the second last day, but it was basted with an unknown seasoning which completely ruined the dish. Dessert pastries were generally OK, but hardly spectacular. When asked why local fare wasn’t used (Blue mana crabs are in season in Australia), it was suggested such meals would only be in the speciality dining rooms. Speciality dining We didn’t – the prices are becoming quite ridiculous. Activities Meh best describes this. After having a lot of fun on the Norwegian Breakaway, where we almost had to jog from event to event, 3 hour gaps in the Solstice activities simply don’t cut it. Some nights there were mini game shows, which were reasonably fun, but for the rest it was trivia and name that tune. The activities crew were good, but they were hampered by lack of numbers and props/facilities. The stand out for us was a guest lecturer (Bill Lee) covering theoretical physics. My advice to Celebrity: You were never the go to for bells and whistles activities and entertainment. Get your food sorted out, at the very least, or you’ll find those staterooms progressively harder to fill. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was our first time on Celebrity, we are RCCL people, which own celebrity. Embarkation was OK no issue at all, the ship looked good but you can see some areas are tired and in need of some work but that is not a big issue. From ... Read More
This was our first time on Celebrity, we are RCCL people, which own celebrity. Embarkation was OK no issue at all, the ship looked good but you can see some areas are tired and in need of some work but that is not a big issue. From the minute we got on board we were endlessly pounded with first, drinks packages, then were ever we went it was specialty restaurants. I felt they were hiding at every corner, breakfast , lunch before entering dining room and leaving dining room , it just never stopped. Then when going to the gym you had to run the gauntlet of massages etc etc. I want to pass on a tip, you can offer specialty restaurants but when you ask around $40-$50 US, then the food needs to be rather special and sorry, it was not. Drinks on all cruise lines are out of control and crazy expensive, $6US for a ordinary coffee UP to $15 US for a cocktail and $11-15 US for wine really is too much. which includes an 18% gratuity .For us poor Aussies add at least 25%+ to get Aussie pricing We booked a concierge cabin and we thought it was good value with the extras you got. Our cabin was a bit smaller than we were used to, with not as much storage space but a slightly larger bathroom I thought the service on the ship was great however for some reason, the staff do not appear happy. The food in the dining room was mostly good although became repetitive. I thought the Buffet selection was ordinary and not a great variety. Entertainment was generally Ok, I have a thought, do not expect good entertainment and if you get it then it is a great bonus. I was happy with most of the entertainment I did notice there were a lot of bars on board but not much to do like, mini golf etc. If you did not follow the daily activities then there was not much else. The top deck was covered in lawn which was different but frankly, useless and the glass blowing for me was a little boring. The adds say Premium cruising and I did expect to get the wow factor but generally speaking it was very little difference to any other of the 300 nights I have been on ships Cruising has become like " lamb to the slaughter", they just try and extract every dollar possible. I would not personally, go on Celebrity again and I hope other cruise lines are not pounding you with upselling otherwise I will stop going. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We have had a number of Celenrity Cruises this was the most disappointing. The positives - Luminae dining, cabin housekeeping and general level of service. The Sky Suite was spacious and service excellent but the noise from trolleys ... Read More
We have had a number of Celenrity Cruises this was the most disappointing. The positives - Luminae dining, cabin housekeeping and general level of service. The Sky Suite was spacious and service excellent but the noise from trolleys in the buffet restaurant directly above was intrusive - especially in early morning. Negatives- We saw no evidence of 'priority boarding' which is sold as part of the package. Our check in at Auckland, which was a shambles and left is standing on the gangway with all other passengers for over 20 minutes, set the scene for all other ports. We appreciate port restrictions where only one gangway ( which would sometimes only carry 5 at any one time) seemed to be a feature but no attempt was made to prioritise and there tended to be only one card reader in operation,which for a ship this size is ridiculous. We felt sorry for disabled passengers. Occasionally there were two bag screening machines but not very often. NOISE! Screaming music invaded almost every public space even the Lawn Club, which we associate with peace and calm. A number of other passengers asked for it to be turned off or turned down but it was systematically turned back up. So many of us complained especially in the Martini bar where a disco was thumping out mindlessly. Up selling was intrusive and infuriating. Celebrity clearly have a mandate to squeeze as much out of passengers as possible. This is even more evident in our bookin for next year ( which we will probably cancel). Gratuities are added to the total cost of the cruise and the customary service for those of us who have to fly to Florida, where flight times are not compatible with cruise times, were an overnight hotel pre cruise and day room on day of departure are now an extra the latter being totally unavailable. We have contacted Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Bucket list to see Australia. Embarkation and disembarking are the worst part of any cruise. This was no different, although clearing the ship of that large a number of passengers and preparing for the arriving passengers in 4 to 5 hours ... Read More
Bucket list to see Australia. Embarkation and disembarking are the worst part of any cruise. This was no different, although clearing the ship of that large a number of passengers and preparing for the arriving passengers in 4 to 5 hours is a difficult task. The crew was fantastic in every department. They actually appeared to be happy to serve you. The food was well prepared but the selection was small. It seems they want you to use the buffet or pay for one of the specialty restaurants. My main complaint is the constant up selling. I researched to find the cruise I wanted along with the type cabin and extra packages. I bought the classic drink package and was constantly receiving emails trying to get me to upgrade. At least twice a day on the cruise I was approached about booking specialty dining. Everything now seems to be geared toward getting you to spend every cent you have in the shops and restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My wife and I have been on 55 cruises, the shortest 11 days, the longest 28 days. We have sailed with NCL, Holland America, Princess, Azamara and Celebrity. On Celebrity we are Elite Plus members with 2000 points. Our most recent cruise ... Read More
My wife and I have been on 55 cruises, the shortest 11 days, the longest 28 days. We have sailed with NCL, Holland America, Princess, Azamara and Celebrity. On Celebrity we are Elite Plus members with 2000 points. Our most recent cruise was a back to back on Celebrity Solstice. Here are the pros and cons.  The pros: Friendly Crew and excellent service though out the ship. Good meals. Nice casino. Wi-Fi is good. The daily get together for Captain's Club members in the Sky Lounge was very enjoyable. The music played at the pool wasn't deafening. The cons: Because the backs lounge chairs in the Solarium can only be raised about 45 degrees and we found them too uncomfortalbe to just sit and read. The ship is starting to get a "tired" look. I noticed a lot of rust. Maybe Celebrity should attend to the fleet before more building new ships. Unrelated pet peeves:: Cruisers who come to breakfast for the gym or track wearing their sweat soaked work out attire. They obviously don't have any respect of their fellow travels. Maybe a security guard should be posted at the entrances and deny them entry. This happens on all the ships. Cruisers who linger chatting or reading after breakfast and lunch while others are searching for a table. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Chose this cruise because it was hubby’s bucket list trip to go to Australia and I wanted to go to NZ. Solstice is showing her age a bit...things are just looking a little worn...some holes in our cabin drapes, chairs in the public ... Read More
Chose this cruise because it was hubby’s bucket list trip to go to Australia and I wanted to go to NZ. Solstice is showing her age a bit...things are just looking a little worn...some holes in our cabin drapes, chairs in the public areas are a worn...that type of thing. If you look passed all those types of things then Solstice is still a beautiful ship. Food this time out for me was a bit of a disappointment. Had to send one dinner in the MDR back all together. There was a good mix of choices. They were free with the lobster on the night they served it which hubby was quite happy with. Staff were marvellous, Joaquim our cabin attendant was very good with our request to get the night light in the bathroom fixed and sorting out a different appie plate for us in the afternoon. He was very helpful and pleasant and attentive to all our needs. Martini Bar staff were lovely too. Thank you Alin! MDR staff were wonderful although I gave them such a bad tim*e trying to get them to stop calling me madam...had fun though. Entertainment wasn’t an attraction for us...we previewed the early show after dinner to see if it was something we wanted to see. Over a 16 night sailing I think we only took in maybe 4 shows. There were special ABBA or Queen music nights in Sky Lounge we attended instead. Ports were all good. Excursions for the most part were good. Some narratives were better than others. The Adelaide excursion we went on the commentator sort of stammered and repeated himself. The sound system on the bus wasn’t working right or he wasn’t talking loud enough but half the bus couldn’t hear him. I was quite surprised by the number of people with walking/travelling aides on this cruise. I know I am not a spring chicken but I found it frustrating trying to move freely sometimes because of the number of people with scooters etc. I understand now that the longer the cruise the more chance you have of that happening. So if you are young and want more action.....think on. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We have been cruising since 1986 and truly have enjoyed most experiences. We chose this cruise as a B2B since we had not been to this part of the world and it was a long flight from the states. We booked an Aqua spa class cabin (first ... Read More
We have been cruising since 1986 and truly have enjoyed most experiences. We chose this cruise as a B2B since we had not been to this part of the world and it was a long flight from the states. We booked an Aqua spa class cabin (first time) and was not disappointed. The cabin located on deck 11, was small but adequate. The Blu restaurant was excellent and worth the cost of the room itself. From the hostess to the waiters and the sommeliers, the experience was exceptional. Food was perfectly presented, in nice small portions and prepared as requested. Seating was well staged with mostly paired tables but just close enough if you wanted to carry on a conversation with your neighbor. I'm afraid I will never go back to the main dining room. We also ate in Tuscan and Murano. Food was good and plentiful but not worth the cost unless you can get a discount. The cafe (buffet) was also a good experience as the food and layout made it easy to see the offerings and find what you were looking for. However, on seas days you could not find a place to seat let alone a table as people camped out for many hours at a time playing cards, grazing, playing on their tablets and phones killing time. We frequented the Martini bar and Cafe al Bacio utilizing our premium drink package. Love the specialized coffees and variations in martinis. Prices however are outrageous if you don't have that package. We purchased 9 ship tours and 3 private tours. All tours met or exceeded our expectations except for the ship's "taste of Barossa." On that tour the wineries were not prepared for 45 people at one time. On the other tours, the animals many times were the stars of the tours especially the Koalas, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, seals and penguins. The seas by luck were mainly calm even in the Tasmanian sea. Weather in ports for February and March was 70's (expected and packed for hotter) and mainly clear except for Sydney where it rained off and on both times we were there. As mentioned in earlier reviews the ship is looking worn. Although beautifully designed, much of the furniture is thread bear and needs replacing. This includes most public areas especially the chairs. Again as mentioned in earlier reviews, there was a significant amount of rust showing in the upper superstructure. Not what I am accustomed to on a Celebrity ship. Lastly the things that will make me think twice before booking another Celebrity cruise with sea days. The constant promoting of the specialty restaurants, wine purchases, drink packages, spa packages and "pay to play" promotions (wine tastings for example) from morning to night around every corner of the ship was awful. A real turnoff to most passengers. You could not escape it especially on sea days. I can not stress enough how hard they tried to sell these products. But the most disappointing thing I found on the cruise was how Celebrity has gutted the "activities staff" and the activities they provide. The CD talked a good game each day but was mostly missing in action. His recently promoted assistant tried his best to provide some form of sea day activities, but with what appears to be no budget, offered little. Celebrity's program is pay to play or entertain yourself. My idea of sea day activities does not include making paper airplanes for an hour to challenge for 10 seconds an officer, making an egg drop contraption or a "boat" out of ship garbage (referred to by Celebrity as recyclables) or waiting an hour to hit a golf ball one time in the foyer to an "X" taped to the floor. Cost for these activities to Celebrity = $0.00. The hot glass program and outside movies to me were non-existent. Overall we still had a great time, but with many ways to spend your travel dollars these days, I will think long and hard before making my next booking. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
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