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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
Returned again to enjoy Christmas New Year on the enjoyable Solstice with another couple from home. The first impact on boarding (which was consistent throughout) was of the immediate and ongoing “upsell” on dining speciality ... Read More
Returned again to enjoy Christmas New Year on the enjoyable Solstice with another couple from home. The first impact on boarding (which was consistent throughout) was of the immediate and ongoing “upsell” on dining speciality restaurants/ drink packages/ photo opps etc… However a now normal so.. The ship itself was spotless and remained clear of the dreaded “Nora Virus” thanks to the infection control measures implemented at ALL venues ( even when departing and returning the ship) by the ever smiling staff and their hand sanitising procedures…. thank you The main dining room (Grand Epernay).. Thanks to Alex the Maitre De, we negotiated and allocated a regular table for the four of us serviced by the cheerful and efficient Luisto and Sabar…. a delight, where we enjoyed the evening meals of consistent high quality and choice. Also attended for breakfast and lunch as available…. far more relaxing than Ocean View cafe which, while the food buffets are excellent offering a huge variety of selections and choice the ongoing battle to find a seat is often frustrating… but do enjoy the ice-cream . We also managed, 3 evenings at Murano restaurant ( ahh lobster and the Sole) and 1 at Tuscan ( wow, the Fillet steak)..all fabulous and a pleasure to enjoy the service Evening entertainment on stage this trip was beyond expectation particularly the energetic and professional dancers and singers…crisp choreography and soaring high wire acrobats…wow. Not to mention individual singers, illusionist and instrumentalists other evenings In fact throughout the ship all the entertainers at various venues were excellent. Our favourite meeting place remained the Cafe al Bacio. New Zealand port excursions were unattended as we have been there several times and simply strolled around the towns and their “fish and chips”… it is an island We enjoyed the whole trip, perhaps mainly attributable to the relaxed and happy crew and staff which we believe was a function of one of the best ever “Masters”, Captain Tasos Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
The Celebrity Solstice has to be our favourite of favourites. Not only is it a beautiful ship both inside and out but the layout and convenient access to public areas is excellent. And, in spite of the number of passengers (over 3000), ... Read More
The Celebrity Solstice has to be our favourite of favourites. Not only is it a beautiful ship both inside and out but the layout and convenient access to public areas is excellent. And, in spite of the number of passengers (over 3000), there is never a feeling of overcrowding (oh, with one exception: the Pool Deck on New Years Eve - but it was a great party). I should also mention in this regard that with 12 constantly operating elevators we rarely experienced the elevator wait time frustration that we've felt on other ships even when re-boarding. Also, boarding was a breeze and Celebrity should be highly commended for their attention to this critical aspect of the cruise. We were onboard within 15 minutes of our arrival at the International Cruise Terminal in Sydney. This compares to 2 hours on a Princess cruise out of Sydney a couple of years back and 2-1/2 hours getting on the Ovation in Freemantle last year. We chose this cruise for three main reasons: (1) it was the Solstice; (2) it was a Christmas/New Year cruise with all the fun and glitter that entails; and (3) although this was our third cruise to New Zealand this one focussed on the South Island which is spectacular and there were things we hadn't seen that were still on our bucket list. The other thing that made this particular cruise special was the Captain. Captain Tasos has to be the most congenial ship's master we have ever sailed with. He, and by example his senior officers, were constantly about the ship mingling with guests and showing a presence that is rarely matched on other cruise ships. His sense of humour is also amazing. We would look forward to his daily navigational update simply for the humour he brought into it. He was funnier than the cruise director by a long shot. Finally, he was sincerely interested in making the cruise as enjoyable as possible for his guests and did some impressive navigational exercises such as carrying out a "doughnut" turnaround in Milford Sound to make sure that passengers on either side of the ship could enjoy the spectacular views. Captain Tasos is definitely a credit to Celebrity and we will look forward to sailing with him again. All in all, it was a great cruise on a great ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
My Wife and I had not cruised with Celebrity before this cruise and were keen to try this line - mainly due to positive comments from fellow cruisers. The Solstice class of ship seems to be what we consider a good size and ,importantly to ... Read More
My Wife and I had not cruised with Celebrity before this cruise and were keen to try this line - mainly due to positive comments from fellow cruisers. The Solstice class of ship seems to be what we consider a good size and ,importantly to us from other cruise experiences, there would not be too many people on board. This was our first opportunity to visit Australia and New Zealand together and the ports of call Celebrity had chosen looked interesting. Embarkation was slick and well organised. We had paid for an inside cabin and were very pleased to find that we had been up-graded to one with a balcony. Thank you very much. The solstice is an easy ship to get around and there was plenty of space . Some areas (like the ceiling in the main foyer) were looking like they could do with a refresh but the overall ambience and comfort was very good. We very much liked the design and layout of the sun deck areas, and the forward lounge with tall ceilings , comfortable chairs and great views was excellent. Dining on board was great. The quality of food and service surpassed our expectations and all of the staff that we encountered were courteous and helpful . One of the ship's waiters even bought my wife and two fellow passengers a coffee whilst in one New Zealand port of call - they did not have sufficient local currency and I was in a local museum. This is exceptional kindness that of course we do not and should not expect , but a credit to the company nonetheless. The evening Entertainment on board ranged from very good to excellent and the Cruise Director was outstanding. Together with the ship's Captain and senior crew members he gave us many memorable moments . Our captain deserves a special mention. He was really informative in an inimitable style with marvellous Greek humour. We know that he and his crew tried their best to present their passengers with the best possible aspects of places of interest by thoughtful yet careful positioning of the ship. Great. We have been on some cruises where daytime entertainment has been better, but the presentations and talks by learned Guest Speakers and experts were all really good. One of the highlights of this ship is of course the Hot Glass show that is presented by The Corning Museum. The three highly skilled members of that organisation were all excellent. A joy to watch and listen to. One of the glass experts also provided much appreciated commentary over the ship's Public Address system on aspects of the wildlife and topography at places we visited. Particularly good when we were traversing the picturesque Sounds of New Zealand. We were very impressed with the groups of Volunteer Guides of Australia and New Zealand that greeted us in a number of ports where the ship called and where the ship's shuttles and tenders operated. Good planning. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise for its itinerary and the fact we have sailed on 2 other Celebrity Cruises. The Solstice is a beautiful ship. She is showing a little bit of age in a couple of areas but really well maintained The ports of call ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinerary and the fact we have sailed on 2 other Celebrity Cruises. The Solstice is a beautiful ship. She is showing a little bit of age in a couple of areas but really well maintained The ports of call were awesome. The staff were incredibly helpful and professional at all times. Our cabin 9136 had lovely unobstructed views from the balcony. There was a little noise from above. I am not sure if this wasn't just a very noisy family with kids. It was always clean. Nothing was too much trouble for John our Steward. The standard of the food was great which is why we are now both on a diet. As usual the Martini Bar was our favourite. A special call out to Yogi !! We would definitely recommend this itinerary if you haven't been to Australia or New Zealand. Alaska next!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
Family holiday to celebrate son and daughters achievements. Wanted a all inclusive trip with minimal unpacking and an experience of New Zealand. This is wonderful cruise ship with beautiful clean cabins. Excellent amenities especially ... Read More
Family holiday to celebrate son and daughters achievements. Wanted a all inclusive trip with minimal unpacking and an experience of New Zealand. This is wonderful cruise ship with beautiful clean cabins. Excellent amenities especially superb fine dining restaurants. Never felt crowded and passengers were fruendl. Embarkation and disembarkation all very smooth and thorough. Safety a premium on this ship. We did the transalpine railway excursion. It was a full day and simply unforgettable experience. We travelled with adult children they loved it too, especially the martini bar and night fun! The ports were very enjoyable, we mainly did our own thing including shopping and swimming. Going through the sounds was a highlight for us. We did have a confussion with our beverage package in the first few days. This was eventually sorted and we received a bottle of wine and strawberries from guest relations. Please remember to ensure you have proof in writing of any beverage packages or other entitlements you have on board. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We picked the Celebrity Solstice sailing from Auckland to Sydney so that we could visit my husband's family in New Zealand. We were pleasantly surprised, having done multiple sailings around the world with Princess, this was our first with ... Read More
We picked the Celebrity Solstice sailing from Auckland to Sydney so that we could visit my husband's family in New Zealand. We were pleasantly surprised, having done multiple sailings around the world with Princess, this was our first with the Celebrity line - we were not disappointed. I will try & summarize as best as I can. Embarkation/Disembarkation/Tenders Etc. I had read mixed reviews about how there were far too many passengers which made for extremely long wait times. There was 2871 passengers onboard our cruise. We never waited more than 15 minutes. We were on the ship on day 1 within minutes of receiving our room keys and even on tender days things went very smoothly. Coming back the longest wait we had was 10 minutes and that's because all of the shore excursions were returning at the same time. Cabin We had cabin 8253 which was a midship, deck 8, category A1 cabin. We could not have been more pleased. We were located in a fantastic position close enough to the lifts, but not close enough for any noise. Our cabin was fantastically appointed with all the modern amenities and we found everything we needed. At one stage, we noticed some small holes in the curtains, but as soon as we bought it to our room attendants attention they were replaced within 2 hours. Our shower was great (sometimes water pressure can be a bit basic on cruise ships - but we weren't disappointed). The one weird find I thought, was a mini bar that had 2 cans of coke & 2 cans of diet coke in it. We were told that the mini bar was not free, however we had the premium beverage package as part of our promotion & we could get cans of coke anywhere on the ship. The room attendant said if we wanted to drink them we would need to replace them - I found that odd, but it didn't affect my journey. Food This was probably the only let down of the cruise. We were spoilt on night 1 dining at Tuscan Grille, it was so delicious that we walked away in a food coma. That night we visited the Grand Epernay to advise of my husbands allergies, where we got told a few lies about how the chef hadn't yet prepared the next nights menu. After taking a stand they finally bought us the menu and we pre-ordered. However the food was terrible the next night and we left after the starter. The Maitre'd tracked us down in the buffet and we told him of our experience. That night waiting in our room was the entire dining menu for the remainder of the cruise for my husband to pre-order. We went back multiple times after that and it was ok, never great, just ok. The food was always just warm. On lobster night, the butter was warmer than the lobster leaving for a cold clarified solution which was a let down. In the buffet, the pizza was soggy through, the ice cream, no matter which flavor you had tasted bland. On some of the desserts the icing wasn't dissolved. But, you could have your own stir-fry's made from scratch and they were fantastic. We also ate in Silk Harvest. The starters were exciting but when the main dishes came out we found them very underwhelming and not very asian. All in all though, we were always able to find something to eat that suited us, even if it was luke warm. My husband was particular fond of the burgers & hot dogs in the Mast Grill they were definitely yummo. With all that being said, we aren't the kind of people who come of cruise ships as cargo rather than passengers so we weren't too affected. Bars & Public Areas We spent alot of time in the main areas. Our favourite bar was the World Class Bar, however we found the staff weren't always happy to be there. In particular one gentlemen who we talked to every day, seemed very depressed about being onboard & particularly home sick. It made us feel incredibly sad for him, but he still made great cocktails so we kept returning. More so than Princess, sometimes the staff struggled to understand our orders - ie we would have to repeat a drinks order 4 to 5 times. But again, it's a nitpick not a major issue. Cafe El Bacio did a wonderful hot chocolate and fresh cinammon donuts each morning were a treat. Also, when we travelled with Princess, once we became a regular they would always remember our drinks order but this didn't really happen on Celebrity - nobody ever remembered our orders. We spent a lot of time in the Solarium which was lovely and relaxing. If I was being really picky I would say that it would have been nice if they had staff wandering to take drink orders, but that didn't happen at all and they are missing an opportunity there. We also loved the shopping areas which are vast and beautiful, the main atrium which was decorated for Christmas & all of the different public areas including the library and most of all the way the lifts face inwards towards that magical tree (which happened to reach it's peak on Deck 8 so we spent a lot of time loving it from our cabin's deck). Crew & Captain Captain Tasos. Wow! That man is absolute comedy gold & perfectly suited to be on cruise ships. His demeanor, sense of humor, ability to calm the masses - it was a masterpiece and I will follow him and sail with him wherever possible. His crew were always warm & welcoming everyone was polite and friendly. Yes, sometimes there were language barriers but in the grand scheme of things we were swept up in the beauty of this wonderful cruise line and it's amazing experiences. As a final note, I would rate Princess 7/10 and Celebrity 8/10. They are almost on par, and where one lacks the other picks up. But when we got off in Sydney we really felt like we were leaving home as opposed to returning to it. If you are thinking about doing a cruise, Celebrity Solstice will not disappoint. It's too beautiful to do anything other than amaze you! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Never been to New Zealand or Australia, so this was a great introduction. We have been on Celebrity before but never aqua class which we really liked, especially the Blu restaurant. We usually do shore excursions on our own. My favorite ... Read More
Never been to New Zealand or Australia, so this was a great introduction. We have been on Celebrity before but never aqua class which we really liked, especially the Blu restaurant. We usually do shore excursions on our own. My favorite port was Tauranga, NZ, where I spent all day hiking the beautiful trails on Mt Maunganui (easy walk from the ship). They also have lovely beaches there. One of the best things on the cruise was Captain Tasos’ talk about the building of the Solstice. It was hysterical. Don’t miss it. Only went to a couple of the big shows and they were OK but I’m not much for the entertainment. However they did have several small venues of musicians in the bars which were quite excellent. Also have to give a shout out to the bar staff who went out of their way to make a special cocktail for me that wasn’t on the menu. My only complaint was the cost of the premium beverage package. It was nice for the convenience to get whatever you wanted but you had to drink a lot to justify the cost. Overall excellent cruise which I highly recommend and will certainly sail on celebrity again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We chose this cruise for its itinerary. We normally cruise Princess but chose Celebrity for this reason. We were part of a group of 17 who booked this cruise. From the very beginning we all experienced problems with the website. Its ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinerary. We normally cruise Princess but chose Celebrity for this reason. We were part of a group of 17 who booked this cruise. From the very beginning we all experienced problems with the website. Its very hard to navigate and at times does not work at all. Sometimes information is there, sometimes not. Very frustrating. We usually arrange our own excursions independent of the ship however this time we booked through the ship. A mistake that would bite us all along the way. When you book excursions with Celebrity you have to pay for them at the time of booking, we booked all of our excursions more than 6 months out and paid for them. Several months out from the booking Celebrity had a sale on their excursions, and would not honor the sale to those who had already booked. It was 30% off, so a significant amount. More about excursions later. We embarked in Sydney which went ok, but we boarded later in the day so I dont know how it was at our embarkation time. From the moment of embarking the ship we noticed the lack of information and differing bits of information we did get. The ship was under quarantine due to the Nova Virus and according to some members of the crew it had been for two months. That would have been nice to know. All food was covered in plastic and you could not serve yourselves, it would have been tolerable if the crew was in a good mood but they were not and werent afraid to share their views. Most of the crew was downright rude or would just ignore you completely. You had to get your own drinks, condiments, etc. I figured this would change once the quarantine was lifted, but it didnt. Trying to get a drink from a server proved to be near impossible unless you created a relationship with a server from the get go. After 3 days the quarantine was lifted and it was so much nicer, however the crews mood did not alter. As a matter of fact after interacting with the crew in many different areas we came to the conclusion that this crew seemed to be brand new, there was no team spirit, and no cohesion. Over the course of this 14 day cruise we saw a very noticeable distance between the crew and any management above them. The crew being disheartened and frustrated, the management not being aware of what was going on. On our first excursion we were surprised to find that the excursion was not as advertised and that a 4 hour excursion meant a total 3 hour bus ride with a half hour bathroom stop and a half hour in a tiny town (which would have been good to actually spend some time in). We complained about this, that we did not see and do what was in the description, and were compensated 30% of the excursion cost. It was a big waste of time, we could have done something worthwhile. At this point we decided to check our excursions to make sure we werent going to have bus rides that were 3/4 of the excursion time. And what did we find, the excursion we booked for the next day had a completely different description than it did when we booked and paid for it. So we went to Michaels Club and had the representitive check it for us. We were told, oh that is wrong, it was done by a person. Really? Its ok to distribute something like this with no proofing? Really shaking our heads at this point. But it was to continue, unbelievably. Overall we had two excursions where the time was changed for part of our group. No concern by Celebrity over whether they split up groups or not. We did the overnight excursion from Milford Sound which would have been excellent except that we were taken off the ship at 8am and we did not get to our hotel until 1230 that night. Over 16 hours. Everything we did was great, it was just too long of a day. It became clear during this excursion that the excursion team from Celebrity really needs to spend some time with the actual tour operators to figure out what is going to be seen and the timing. There were things in the description of the tour that we did not experience and there were things that Celebrity thought we should see or do that were absolutely nothing or in the middle of nowhere with nothing to see. We ended up dropping some of the further excursions we had booked and did our own thing. On to the cabin. We had originally booked a Concierge level room on the aft and then decided to go big and get an aft suite. We had cabin 6305 on the aft corner. Great room but after living in it for a bit we saw it wasnt worth it. Every day or so the decks/balconys were washed down. The water from every balcony above ours washed directly onto our balcony. Literally a waterfall cascading down of dirty water. Four times we were in the room with the slider open, one time I was on the balcony and got all wet. Complaint after complaint and promise after promise this continued to happen up till the day before we disembarked. You could tell it had been happening continually as the carpet in front of the slider was constantly damp and discolored. The food was good, with good choices. I didnt really care for the premium restaurants, the service was perfect but the food wasnt spectacular and the portions were way too big. The dining room was good, food and service. The buffet was good except for the desserts which were quite tasteless. Dessert was only good in the dining room. The bars do not offer menus which makes for one that likes to try new things a difficult task. Our room steward was excellent. Trying to get a drink in any area without going to the bar yourself was impossible. Either nonexistant or took an incredible amount of time. It seemed like there was not enough staff in this area. One thing that happened really upset me was when I tried to buy cough drops and a bag of potato chips. The cough drops were $8 US and the chips $10 US (single serve). Really. That is over the top taking advantage. The charge for a bottle of water was $4 US, again excessive. Your TV is your information system, however none of our group's TV worked, it always said unavailable. I wanted to like this cruise line, I really did, we even booked another cruise while onboard thinking it would get better. But it didnt. One thing I really enjoyed was the Hot Glass Show. Oh and the itinerary was good. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This was our first cruise ever and chose it as the best way for us to see Australia and New Zealand. Our travel agent recommended Celebrity over other cruise lines touring Australia and New Zealand. Overall the trip was okay and ship's ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever and chose it as the best way for us to see Australia and New Zealand. Our travel agent recommended Celebrity over other cruise lines touring Australia and New Zealand. Overall the trip was okay and ship's excursions good with some exceptions. Long wait (1+ hour) for embarkation in Sydney at our 11:30 time slot. The Concierge lunch was very nice but cabins were not ready until after 3 PM. When we went to our cabin after the "cabins ready" announcement, our attendant and a ship's officer said this was not correct so we waited another 30 minutes. Our cabin (1407) was missing several items including the bottle of sparkling wine for Concierge class. It took three days and requests every day before we finally received it. Toilet paper seemed to be in short supply too. Took several requests to obtain a second roll. After all, it was a 14 day cruise! However, our attendant was great about supplying buckets of ice each day. The daily canapes were okay but wish we had booked Aqua class instead to have access to Blu restaurant. The ship is 8 years old and the cabins are tired. Chipped furniture and deck furniture. I requested a foam pillow from the pillow menu. It smelled very bad and couldn't use it. We loved the view from our aft cabin when leaving each port! The ship followed strict sanitation protocol for the first 3 days due to previous norovirus outbreaks. It caused long lines even in the Main Dining Room but we appreciated the attention to protecting passengers. Food was not allowed to be taken out of the buffet. We weren't sure if this was typical or due to sanitation protocols. The ship's excursions were very good for the most part. Some times we had a long wait time (up to an hour) in the theater for excursions to be called for boarding. The best excursion was the 2 day excursion that included Queenstown NZ. Great tour guide and driver, lots of interesting scenery and good history about NZ. The first day was long (8 AM to 12:15 AM). It could have been shortened if the sheep shearing demo and steamboat trip back to Queenstown had been moved up by an hour. Also loved the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary excursion in Tasmania. We only ate three times in the MDR due to the length of time it took to dine (3 hours one evening) and limited selection. Most evenings and lunches, only 5 entrees offered, one of which was seafood and the other vegetarian. Saw pork belly several times on the menu which is a dish many from the US are not fans of. We preferred the greater options in the Oceanview buffet. Flavor was lacking in some cases, for example, the desserts were lovely to look at but all tasted the same. Same with the salad bar, nice to look at but the dressings all tasted the same. Pizza were good! We tried the Tuscan Grille once and definitely enjoyed it. Good service without being overly attentive and good food. Worth the up price. We purchased the premium drink package but often the bars were out of the premium beverages. The shops were disappointing. My husband likes to collect T-shirts but the shop never had an XXL size the entire cruise. The sales person initially said more were being delivered but this never happened. Overall, an okay cruise but doubt we will cruise again if there are other touring options. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Always wanted to see Australia & New Zealand. !4 night cruise best suited us for this adventure. Embarkation was a bit of mess with construction at the port, congestion, & many cruisers arriving early. The entire process was about ... Read More
Always wanted to see Australia & New Zealand. !4 night cruise best suited us for this adventure. Embarkation was a bit of mess with construction at the port, congestion, & many cruisers arriving early. The entire process was about an hour. Celebrity Solstice is a beautiful ship, well maintained,& we enjoyed very smooth sailing throughout the entire trip. Some overcast days, with some light rain in the first sound, Service levels were quite good for us, with the exception of the Martini Bar with very slow service & very limited sitting. Therefore we enjoyed most of our cocktails at the Passport Bar & Sunset Bar outside at the end of the stern. We enjoyed the best dinner staff ever with the head waiter & assistant very good & the sommelier excellent. Cabin attendant good & produced a bucket of ice everyday at 4:30 pm as requested on the first day. We had early seating at 6:00 pm in the MDR & a 3 night package for speciality dinning. The MDR was good & we listened to our waiter's suggestions, she was always spot-on. The speciality dining was good, however this time I would rate Tuscan Grill or Murano about equal. For us the best food was in Sushi on 5. You will not leave hungry. Entertainment subjective. We liked some of the performers & one production number. We did not attend all performances. We found our fellow passengers very friendly & engaging throughout the entire cruise. Many passengers from the United Kingdom & Australia. Even a nice like us from Arizona. We encountered some of the up-selling by crew members, however it not as bad as on past sailings. We saw many of the officiers & the captain on most days speaking with fellow passengers. Crew in general was happy & smiling & trying to assist your needs. Overall this was a very good cruise for us. High point for us was a bridge tour of the Solstice. It was very informative & interesting. The most difficult thing is the amount of time it takes to fly to Australia. I cannot endure another one of these long flights overseas flying in economy. Until the up grade fairy arrives & changes this for us, it is likely our next cruise with be in Alaska, Mexico, or the Caribbean. Happy travels, John Read Less
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