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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
With all the competition from cruise lines, Celebrity should be ashamed for the way they treated guests on the Oct. 22 cruise from Ensenada to Hawaii on the Celebrity Millenium. In fact, think twice before you cruise on the Millenium. Not ... Read More
With all the competition from cruise lines, Celebrity should be ashamed for the way they treated guests on the Oct. 22 cruise from Ensenada to Hawaii on the Celebrity Millenium. In fact, think twice before you cruise on the Millenium. Not only were there very few activities, but embarkation was a disaster, entertainment was awful, the stabilizers didn't seem to keep the ship from constantly rolling and making many guests seasick, and the facilities, especially the gym, was unacceptable. 1. Embarkation: I’m sure Celebrity has been inundated with complaints about how disorganized and awful the embarkation was for the cruise from San Diego to Hawaii on October 22. When we registered for the cruise, we were not told until we had completed our purchase in full, that there would be a 3.5 hour bus ride from San Diego to Ensenada to board the ship. In fact, we were led to believe that we were to be picked up at the airport and taken to the San Diego pier to board the ship. Many of the guests had been traveling since 5 am in the morning, and were made to wait at the airport for pick-up by Celebrity for two hours. Since most flights no longer serve food, hungry and tired guests who had waited for hours at the airport for pick-up were only given a dry croissant with one slice of turkey and one slice of cheese when they arrived at the San Diego pier. Passengers were then forced to wait in San Diego for hours with no real food or entertainment (a movie would have been nice) at the pier or even a movie on the 3.5 hour bus ride to the ship. Decent food and beer or wine would have put the tired, disgruntled passengers in a better frame of mind. Instead we were bundled on buses and when we arrived at the pier in Ensenada, there was no ship. We waited another 45 minutes on the bus until we could get into our cabins. Our luggage was not brought to our cabin until midnight which on EST time was then 3 am. The lack of coordination and consideration for the passengers left 2000 people with an enormous distaste for Celebrity. Lack of activities: For the 11 day cruise to the Hawaiian islands, there was very little to do...no ballroom dancing classes, art classes, bridge classes, or anything else for that matter. There were no movies to watch, especially from the gym and very few, if any, lectures. In fact, I complained about this on the second or third day and eventually towards the last day of the 11 day cruise, more activities were offered. Terrible equipment in the gym: Of the six elliptical machines in the gym, only three were working at any one time. One or two had no tv’s and the others had no resistance. Even with the tv's, the only channels accessible was FOX news and the ship's channels. Stabilizers on ship not working correctly: We have been on over 20 cruises and never had we had to experience the rocking that we had on the Millenium. The ship is old and rusty and the stabilizers apparently are not working properly. Shore excursions: In Bora Bora our shore excursion was cancelled one hour before we were to leave. No substitutions were offered. Throughout the shore excursion process, we were subjected to warnings that if we didn’t sign up for the ship’s shore excursions, there would be no private tours, public transportation or taxis available, This of course was not the case and there were many private tours available at each port. The shore excursion desk knew this and wouldn’t share this information with the passengers. If they had to cancel the shore excursion, they could have at least let us know that there were private tours available and good customer service would have found alternatives instead of just leaving us without anything to do for the day. I could go on and on about the rudeness we experienced, especially when we were denied service for lunch in the Metropolitan dining room because the maitre d did not like my husband's attire of long pants and a polo shirt. While denying us entrance, many gentlemen wearing bathing suits with a shirt over it and flip flops were allowed in, dressed considerably less formal than my husband. The amazing thing was, my husband had worn the same outfit for the previous two weeks at lunch and no one objected. This arbitrariness as well as the boredom on the Millenium made us realize that Celebrity doesn't really care about its customers.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
Having previously cruised on celebrity solstice , I expected - wrongly - that the Millenium would be of similar standard. The embarkation in Ensanda was a fiasco. The activities staff - other than a guy named Michael , were frankly lazy ... Read More
Having previously cruised on celebrity solstice , I expected - wrongly - that the Millenium would be of similar standard. The embarkation in Ensanda was a fiasco. The activities staff - other than a guy named Michael , were frankly lazy compared to the Solstice crew. The whole ship was less than impressive and despite a goodly number of Australian and European guests, overtly geared to just the American guests. The continual 'hyping ' up of people is tedious. I can only take so many " are you having fun !! " comments The formal nights were a joke - a joke that is if you expected that the majority of guests would be dressed in evening attire , my estimate is that about 5% were in tuxedos . Now I don't have a problem with that, just don't list a Formal evening if it isn't in reality going to be one. I'm happy with smart casual. I thought the staff, were like. Corporate clones, just followed the course instructions without using their brain or personality. I witnessed an I firmeder lady, who had been sent to pillar and post getting quite rightly very cross with an officer , who in turn instead of resolving the issue and showing a bit of empathy and initiative, inflamed the situation by saying, " I am not prepared to listen to you if you raise your voice """ The poor lady was rightly very cross at being given false information - twice and therefore had a right to be dealt with in an understanding manner and not having it made worse. I raised an issue with the cruise director, the every smiling ' Rich ' and he appeared disinterested and in fact - and I quote " Perhaps this product doesn't suit you " that is arrogant and not conducive to engendering a happy guest I am on the next leg to Australia but based on the last cruise I will not reccommend anyone to use this ship. It's sloppy any lazy. This cruise was not fun - at all The cabin staff and stewards however as usual are hardworking and very pleasant people. Celebrity will not be getting my business again for sometime   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
We were told to be at port at 10am in San Diago,to catch a connecting coach to Mexico to start the cruise. We had booked out of our hotel to follow this instruction. I can only describe the experience as terrible. We're told to pull ... Read More
We were told to be at port at 10am in San Diago,to catch a connecting coach to Mexico to start the cruise. We had booked out of our hotel to follow this instruction. I can only describe the experience as terrible. We're told to pull our own cases from one pier to another, then shouted at , and told to pull them back . Instructions were given to get a pedicab to take them back at our own expense. No one from the company knew what was happening and whoever was responsible failed to take charge all blaming one another. We were allocated a coach that left hours later at gone 5pm. Everyone was held in a large departure hall with few facilities, the toilets soon ran out of paper it was horrible. We finally boarded the ship gone 9pm, lifeboat drill was instructed at 945pm . This didn't t occur until 10pm, we didn't t have the opportunity to eat. My suitcase didn't t arrive until after 11pm. This episode was the talk of the ship, never once did anyone take responsibility or apologise We have also cruised with this line before,but would have to think hard before we do so again. I agree with comments re formal night. Celebrity you have let yourselves down. However, our cabin steward was great and his understudy plus all the lower grade staff including waiters and dinner maître ,d were good. Pity Celebrity had to rely on it's many staff to save the day, what about leadership and responsibility from the top.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
We are pretty new to cruising, our first and only other cruise was 2 years ago in the southern Caribbean with Carnival. Booked this trip to Hawaii with Celebrity for our 25th anniversary, along with friends. All we kept hearing from people ... Read More
We are pretty new to cruising, our first and only other cruise was 2 years ago in the southern Caribbean with Carnival. Booked this trip to Hawaii with Celebrity for our 25th anniversary, along with friends. All we kept hearing from people was how upscale Celebrity was, and that it would be much more luxurious than Carnival. Really? We had a great trip to Hawaii and a lot of fun while there, but that had more to do with Hawaii itself and the friends we were traveling with. To be honest we didn't find Celebrity to be better than Carnival in any way, certainly would not consider it a luxury line. Embarkation in San Diego/Ensenada was crazy. All passengers have to go thru the Pier in San Diego, they had limited sandwiches and water/lemonade available while we waited. No secure place to leave your carry on luggage, so unless you want to drag it around with you you're stuck there until the buses start to leave. We were just lucky to have been given the wrong bus number (the girl asked me if I was in a suite and not knowing any better I said yes - we were giving bus 6, our friends were given bus 30, but we managed to switch them to bus 6 when we noticed the difference) so arrived in San Diego 12:30 pm, on a bus at 4:00, boarding the ship at 8:00 and able to have a full dinner. Looking at the people getting off the last bus at 10:30 - 11:00 I recognized a few people that had been at the San Diego pier when we were there and heard lots of grumbling that there was no dinner provided for these people once they were on board. Found the food to be pretty average overall. Very little variety in the buffet, pretty much the same thing every day. Found I had to be careful with the omelets and fried eggs, staff tended to rush when there was a line up and you needed to make sure that the eggs were actually cooked. We did not try any of the specialty restaurants, don't see spending an extra $49 per person when I have already paid for my dinner. Formal nights? We made a conscious decision ahead of time not to bother with the formal nights - guys didn't want to carry suits just for 2 dinners. Sitting having a drink in Rendezvous we were very surprised to see what was passing as formal wear for some of the other guests - Hawaaiin shirt and jeans? golf shirt, khakis and running shoes? Didn't see any of these people turned away. Formal night on Carnival was more formal. Attended a couple of seminars while we were at sea. "Suffer from Back Pain" or "Want to Improve your Posture" - that is Celebrity code for Buy this Orthotic Insert ($179). "Learn How to Make Crepes" - Celebrity code for Come and Buy Crepe's for lunch or dessert ($5) or Come and Eat in Our Fancy Olympic Dining Room ($49 each) Accosted every time you passed thru the lobby on Deck 10 on the way to the pool by staff trying to sell you on the specialty restaurants. One thing we did appreciate is that we weren't forced to have our photo taken every time we turned around. Average age on our cruise was 60+, and we were told by one of the staff that it was much better than the previous cruise where it was 70+. Entertainment was very bland with 2 exceptions - Glenn Smith was very entertaining and native Hawaaiin entertainment from Honolulu was excellent. Ran into a few issues with the tipping. Our friend booked some training sessions at the gym and noticed afterward that they had added the 15% gratuity to the cost of the sessions. When he went to Customer Relations they wouldn't take it off. Sorry but if you are paying $120 for a personal trainer why do you need to tip them too? Also on our final night, we had a drink at the pool bar before going to get ready for dinner. My husband noticed the bartender look for the extra tip amount when he picked up our bill, and scowl when he saw it was empty. Not sure what he thought he did that warranted more than a 15% tip. We found the stewards and wait staff all very friendly and helpful. The final issue we had was the fact that you have to be off the boat by 9:30am on the final day - doesn't matter what time your flight is. With Carnival we were bused to the airport, but this time around we were on our own. It was suggested that we try to book an excursion that would drop us off at the airport - but that still would have had us at the airport about 6 hrs early. We decided to go to the airport and rent a car for the day since our flight wasn't until 9:30 pm. Looked into the shuttle provided by the boat but they wanted $25 per person to get us to the airport, checked with the taxis outside and it was < $30 to get all 4 of us to the airport. Despite spending a lot of money for our luxury cruise, I feel like Celebrity had their hand out for more, more, more every where you looked. Recommendation: Baked goods in the Cafe are much better than those in the Oceanview buffet, worth the trip downstairs to grab a muffin, croissant or sticky bun in the morning.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
We were a group of 8 and we all enjoyed the cruise very much! The waiting in the terminal and bus ride to Ensenada was exactly what we expected. A long wait in a cruise terminal and a bus ride. Ran into a few people on the cruise who were ... Read More
We were a group of 8 and we all enjoyed the cruise very much! The waiting in the terminal and bus ride to Ensenada was exactly what we expected. A long wait in a cruise terminal and a bus ride. Ran into a few people on the cruise who were still bitching about it 4 days into the cruise. I made a mental note to avoid these "Debbie Downers". Celebrity did a great job- texts, phone call and email to let us know what to expect. We made it safely onto the ship before 10pm and we were one of the last busses to leave San Diego. The 5 Sea days went much too quickly! We were concerned that we might get bored, but it was just the opposite. Days and nights went by much too fast. The seas were very calm and by late the 2nd day the sun was out and the decks chairs were full. We went to the top forward deck and never had a problem finding a chair. The tendering experience in Maui was not good, as the harbor master who was controlling the tenders/ship movements was not allowing more than 2 boats to dock at the dock at the same time. Took a long time to get off ship get on shore. All other tenders and port calls went smoothly. Loved that we got to see both coasts of the big island. Only disappointment was the volcano/lava flow/mother nature did not cooperate the night we were cruising by. Food and service was above average in main dining room and we really enjoyed our Qsine experience. Ship was clean and overall in good shape. All staff we encountered from officers, excursion desk, photographers, room service, entertainers, room stewards were friendly and helpful. I find treating people like you would like to be treated goes a long way. Biggest negative was the walls between the cabin (we were aft port corner so only 1 one neighbor) were really thin. We could hear them when they talked loudly and when the TV was on. Opening the door and letting the sound of the ships wake in helped muffle the noise. We would definitely cruise on the Millennium again and with Celebrity Cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
We are HAL cruisers and are currently giving Celebrity a try for a few cruises. Millenium is a very pretty ship. No issues with maintenance, everything functioned and there was attention to detail. Meals were all very enjoyable. Martini ... Read More
We are HAL cruisers and are currently giving Celebrity a try for a few cruises. Millenium is a very pretty ship. No issues with maintenance, everything functioned and there was attention to detail. Meals were all very enjoyable. Martini Bar is very fun, live music was plentiful and professional with something for everyone. Showroom entertainment was typical but fun and worth the time. We had nice weather so the pool was busy and again, well attended to by the staff. We're poker players and this was the worst poker we've had on a cruise. The electronic table had a very old version of software and the play was very slow. That slow play kills the tournaments as the amount of hands between blind increases is so few, it is not really a valuable game. The live games start so late, usually 10:30 (advertised as 10PM starts) that not many people played. We felt there was not as much to do during the days as we are used to on HAL but we still had a great time. Planning to try Solstice class for next two cruises and looking forward to those ships. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
Celebrity Millennium Hawaii Cruise Review October 22 – November 2, 2013 Wow! What a great cruise. I cruise a lot and this has to be one of my best cruises ever. I am 50 and traveled with my elderly, disabled mother. We have cruised ... Read More
Celebrity Millennium Hawaii Cruise Review October 22 – November 2, 2013 Wow! What a great cruise. I cruise a lot and this has to be one of my best cruises ever. I am 50 and traveled with my elderly, disabled mother. We have cruised many times before on NCL, HAL, Princess, and Carnival. Gone are our Carnival days. We prefer to travel with adults with polite mature behavior. No seat saving in the show room, no wall to wall kids with no parents in sight, no drunks making scenes. Celebrity is it! This was our second time on this cruise. So we were prepared for the San Diego/Ensenada transfer. It is just a necessary evil with this cruise. However, the cruise is so wonderful it makes the difficult transfer worth it. We flew to San Diego on the day of the cruise. We arrived around 11am. We had to wait around 30 minutes for the bus to the pier. The pier area was a zoo. There was one very long line. The check in area was just not large enough. It took us nearly an hour to get thru the check in procedure. We were given boarding number 27. We then had 6 hours to kill before our transfer would leave. Celebrity had a lovely lunch station set up with water, lemonade, and sandwiches. We were going to go out for lunch but this was free and delicious. After lunch we went for a walk down to Seaport Village, and looked around in the shops etc. It was quite a walk but we had nothing better to do. Finally we had nothing else to look at so we went back to the pier. The pier area was mass confusion and it was so crowded you could hardly move. The cruise pax had no idea what was going on and nether did the employees. We just sat and waited. There was no PA system and employees would walk around yelling out the bus numbers. Finally our bus was called and we were boarded. No one asked to see our boarding number and later I heard many people just boarded whenever they wanted even tho they had a later number. Dishonest people chap my hide. My mom and I were very excited to be on our way. We were having fun and on vacation. We tried to joke with the bus driver but he was not in a good mood at all. There were a few people around us who also were in a good mood but the majority of the bus were full of sour people. Come on people you are on vacation and heading to your cruise to Hawaii! What could be better? The border crossing was quite fast, however the drive was long. After around 2 hours we finally made it to our ship. You should have heard the collective groan as we arrived to find a line of around 20 buses ahead of us. We had to wait another 1 ½ sitting on the bus. Only one bus was allowed at the ship at a time. It took around 10 minutes for each bus to unload. Finally a Celebrity rep came on our bus and told us what was going on. Me and mom were joking with him, however the rest of the bus was ready to string him up. Poor guy. Finally it was our turn to get off the bus. We went thru security and finally boarded the ship. We were given free champagne. Then we had an ½ hour wait for the elevator to take us to our cabin. We found our cabin no problem. We had a lovely outside cabin on deck 6. We were exhausted. We knew it was going to be grueling. I think we arrived around 9pm. We then had to go to the muster drill. The dining room had open seating however we were too tired. We ordered room service to our room (which was very good) and relaxed in our cabin. We slept late the next morning. We then had a lovely 5 days at sea to rest up. Our room steward was from India and was wonderful. He always said God Bless you, which we appreciated. He kept our cabin clean , our beds made and never bothered us. Whenever he saw us coming down the hall way he would run and open our cabin door for us. Dinner was the highlight of our day. We had the most wonderful dinner companions and we looked forward to visiting with them every night. The food was exceptional. Our head waiter was Manny and asst was Andres. They were excellent. If you didn't like something he encouraged us to order something else. If we didn't know what to get. Manny would always have a suggestion. Many times I would just tell Manny to bring me what was good and he would. His suggestions were spot on. Soon the asst waiter knew what we wanted after diner and we wouldn't have to ask. He would just bring it. My mom loves dessert and she would order 2 or 3 every night. This was no problem at all. They tried to push the extra pay restaurants but we never went. We thought why pay extra when the dining room food was so exceptional. We never had a bad meal. I ordered two lobster dinners thinking the lobsters would be tiny. Imagine my surprise when our lobster came and the one tail filled the plate. And we had ordered two. To say we were stuffed is a under statement. One night we had fillet minion which was the best steak I think I have every had in my life. The shrimp cocktails were to die for and we ordered them every night. Mom and I would always order room service for breakfast. We only ordered toast. But you could get eggs, bacon etc. It always arrived on time and was never incorrect once. We would usually skip lunch and then go to dinner. There was just too much food. We couldn't eat non stop like everyone else seemed to. The ship sparkled and was so clean. At night I would see the crew washing the walls! I purchased an Internet plan. It was quite expensive as it is on all ships. I had some trouble getting hooked up at first but got some help from the Internet office and then had no trouble. It was slow (as usual) but I never had trouble getting service. I could use my lap top anywhere on the ship. In the theater, in my cabin or on deck. They had some special speakers on this cruise. One man had climbed all these tall mountains and spoke of his experiences. They had Hawaiian Island talks, however, this gentleman had such a heavy accent I had trouble understanding anything he said. Entertainment was excellent. We didn't make it to the welcome aboard show on the first night but made it to every show after that. Some shows were better than others but they were all good and entertaining. My favorite were the production shows, and the Hawaiian show we had one evening. Rich was the cruise director. We really liked him. He was the cruise director on this cruise last year too. Every night after the shows he would be at the exit of the showroom if you wanted to talk to him. Lots of people seemed to want to complain to him. Not us. We made a point to tell him what a wonderful time we were having and how everything on the cruise was wonderful. We had a nice meeting for cruise critic. I was embarrassed as everyone was still complaining about the transfer from San Diego. It was 4 days ago, get over it. The cruise director all the senior officers and the captain attended. I was able to talk to the dining room senior officer and arrange large print menus for my mom. I had told special needs of my request but they didn't get it done. One word to the proper person and my mom had large print menus that night and every night after that. Funny thing was we all wanted large print menus at our table as the printing in the regular menus were small but it could have been the very dim lighting. So mom's large print menus got a lot of use at our table. All the staff on this ship were so nice. Not fake nice but they seemed genuinely eager to please. Just walking down the halls, all the room steward even if they weren't your room stewards were so friendly. I did a stupid thing in Kona. I left my cell phone in my rental car and didn't realize it until I was back on the ship. The ship was leaving in 30 minutes. Security wouldn't let me tender back as no ships were going back to shore so late. The port agent tried to get my phone as the rental agency was right across the street from the pier but the car key was already put into a lock box and they couldn't retrieve my phone. The concierge on the ship were excellent. They let me call the rental agency on the phone several times and didn't charge me a cent. They didn't have to do this as this whole thing was my own fault. Thanks to them letting me call the rental agency I was able to get my phone back. The rental agency mailed it home to me. It made it home before I did. We rented cars in all the ports except Honolulu. It was inexpensive and it gave us the freedom to go where we wanted when we wanted. We would hit the beach, snorkel around, sightsee, drive down the road hit another beach etc. We were free to go to Hilo Hatties or K-Mart for some quick shopping sprees and not have to wait on their busy free shuttles. My watch broke in San Diego so I bought a cheap $10 watch on board. I had to return the watch twice because they kept quit working. I finally got a refund with no problem. Such is the nature of cheap watches. I finally bought a watch at K-Mart. We talked to the cruise director and he said they will not longer be doing this cruise from Ensenada as San Diego and Ensenada are not able to meet Celebrity's needs. Next year this cruise will be from Vancouver. No transfer will be involved and Canada Place is a huge and very nice pier to depart from. We are already booked on this cruise. :-) Perhaps we had such a wonderful cruise because we are so easy to please. Feed us, make our beds and at the same time take us to wonderful tropical ports of call and we are happy people. Celebrity is a class act and I can't wait to cruise on them again.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
We sailed on a repositioning cruise on 'Millie' for our anniversary. It was a wonderful trip and one of the best cruises that we have taken. Overall, the ship was great. It seemed like every day got more and more incredible. We ... Read More
We sailed on a repositioning cruise on 'Millie' for our anniversary. It was a wonderful trip and one of the best cruises that we have taken. Overall, the ship was great. It seemed like every day got more and more incredible. We had 5 amazing days at sea and then toured the islands. Each shore excursion was memorable. We met so many wonderful people on this trip. We do have to say that all things associated with the trip to Ensenada from San Diego was not what one would hope to go through, but we just kept reminding ourselves that we had the cruise to look forward to, so it was tolerable. As I mentioned everything about the cruise was fantastic with one exception. Having sailed on many cruises with various cruise lines, I would have to say that we were somewhat disappointed in the quality of food served in the main dining rooms on several nights. We had heard so many great things about Celebrity that maybe our expectations were to high. Maybe this had to do with the fact that this was a repositioning cruise for the ship. But, for whatever reason, we were not impressed. Numerous other passengers with a vast history of cruising were also disappointed with this aspect of the cruise. That being said, every things else about our first cruise with Celebrity was wonderful. Our cabin was excellent. The service was very good. We were very impressed. One thing that impressed us was that this ship never seemed to be crowded even though the ship was close to capacity. We also enjoyed how quiet our hallway always seemed to be. The ship is well organized to allow you to move from one location to another. We did not have one complaint about our cabin. All other things probably exceeded our expectations. Although this was our first cruise with Celebrity, we would recommend this cruise line to anyone. We do have to admit that the atmosphere is different than you would experience with another cruise line such as RCL or Carnival (There were much fewer kids, perhaps due to the time of the year, and much more of a laid back atmosphere although there was plenty of fun things to experience on the ship. The entertainment was first class). We are already trying to plan our next cruise but may be spoiled now that we have experienced a trip to Hawaii! Overall, our cruise and additional days at Waikiki Beach were magical. We cannot wait to do this again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2013
The cruise was great. Regarding: Celebrity Millennium. We did find most things a notch above Royal Caribbean. The ship interior was a bit nicer looking. The ship gym and spa area, not as nice a Royal Caribbean. The Officers on the ship ... Read More
The cruise was great. Regarding: Celebrity Millennium. We did find most things a notch above Royal Caribbean. The ship interior was a bit nicer looking. The ship gym and spa area, not as nice a Royal Caribbean. The Officers on the ship were very visible and attended many event. So friendly. The shows were great. The food everywhere was very good. Speciality dining restaurant The Olympic was a "10”. Our waiter not so great. Efficient but didn’t speak much, never learned our names. Our room steward was "efficient” also but didn’t really seem very warm.  The cabin was excellent. We had plenty of room for storage and we were very happy with how much room there was in the bathroom. We had robes in our room. Our cabin steward, while not overly friendly was very efficient. Loved that one wall was full of mirrors and it made the room seem much larger. The layout was excellent and our balcony was just fine. We loved that our room was fairly close to the elevator, and there was no noise. Boarding in Ensenada (after waiting 6 hours in San Diego) and then 90 minutes on the bus in Ensenada, and not having our luggage delivered until the next morning was terrible. We did get over it quickly the next day. Our excursions - Atlantis Submarine, Catamaran Ride and Zip Line were all great. Looking forward to sailing Celebrity again next year from Barcelona. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2013
By way of introduction, we are a couple in our mid-80’s who bemoan the loss of consideration, politeness and gentility that so marks these times. My wife suffers from dementia so that the addition of a third party to share the care of ... Read More
By way of introduction, we are a couple in our mid-80’s who bemoan the loss of consideration, politeness and gentility that so marks these times. My wife suffers from dementia so that the addition of a third party to share the care of Alice was both welcomed and important to our overall enjoyment of the cruise. We are not, by nature, gregarious people but did find several dear friends earlier on the Cruise Critic website who enhanced our joy. The Embarkation at Ensenada: We were delighted to receive a personal telephone call on the Sunday prior from Diego”, who assured us that all had been prepared. Unfortunately, his careful planning fell apart at the hands of Mexican Immigration. Both vans of our caravan (carrying ourselves and the other Penthouse occupants) and another private vehicle arrived almost simultaneously at the Gate of Ensenada Seaport. Despite our pleas that all had been planned for us to proceed directly to the ship, we were all forced to fill out some Immigration Forms, unload our luggage and then proceed to an awaiting van operated by the Mexican authorities. Our luggage was then piled in all the available space in the aisles, between seats, etc. for the 200 yard trip from Gate to Ship. We had expected to be among the very few first people embarking so early; however as we were proceeding to the ship three of the Celebrity busses drove up and occupied the usual unloading area. Our van was told to park several hundred feet away at a more isolated area and we were told to carry our own luggage back to the now crowded unloading area. With three bags and a hand luggage, this was becoming a difficult problem for Alice and myself when I finally rested a moment en route " looking for some target to aim at. At that point, Mario, of the ship’s crew, took us under his wing, had handlers take care of our luggage (using the xray machine for hand baggage) and instructing that they be taken directly to Room 1616. Mario then arranged to have someone escort us to the stateroom. Our friend got lost in the crowd and had her luggage delivered to the stateroom while we were at dinner around 7:00PM. I heard the other Penthouse couple say, "We are not used to travelling like this!” but I was much to concerned about Alice and myself to bother myself with naught but ourselves. In a few words, the Embarkation took on all the aspects of a Chinese Fire Drill " however once Celebrity returned to the picture all was handled with the care and service we truly expected. The Penthouse: Although I had seen pictures and movies of the stateroom, I was entirely in awe as all unfolded before me. I had expected some evidence of deterioration, etc after several years of hard service " in both stateroom and general areas of the ship " but was pleasantly surprised at how well everything has been maintained. In all aspects, the appearance, décor, and general condition belie her years of service. We had the Klaviarpiano playing shortly with our disks and " wonder of wonders " found that Hendrick’s Gin was included in the room and on board in addition to Bombay Sapphire. Since this had been consideration that I most regretted loss while on cruise, I was delighted that even this small loss of pleasure was no longer denied and supplied a lot of en suite entertainments. Nice. Captain’s Club and Elite Status: We were invited to the Senior Officer’s Table on the second night because we had opted for early dining throughout the trip. The event was in all respects akin to what is usually expected at such a celebration. However, because the shape of the table and high noise level in the room, it was impossible to carry on a conversation with anyone more than one person removed. We nonetheless enjoyed the evening which allowed the ladies to don their most chic evening wear for the event. We used few of the perks offered to Elite .. never attending the morning breakfasts and evening gathering of the Captain’s Club Elite. Our most favorite times on board were the casual en suite breakfasts which could be enjoyed in our robes. I usually went up to the buffet just before six AM to return to the cabin with coffee and Danish " to be enjoyed on the veranda to watch the sunrise. Breakfast was served about 7:30AM. While I have my own personal rule not to eat dinner out in any short sleeved shirt and, on this cruise, often wore a light jacket or dressy long-sleeve shirt when dining in the restaurants. It did dismay me that all too often people show little or no regard for others " arriving for dinner in much less formal attire  even reducing their efforts to a previously worn white T-shirt. One such woman coyly boasted on her shirt "I was born in a Brewery!”  a motto not much needed due to her girth and otherwise slovenly appearance. It is regrettable that many of the niceties of past times are forever lost " however I do commend Celebrity that while it must seek out cruisers of all sorts and financial stations, there were always islands of gentility available. In fact, it is amazing at how many different types are so well accommodated on Celebrity. It is equally amazing that with a full complement of passengers there were seldom times that we felt the least bit crowded in the variety of public rooms available. Priority Embarkation and Debarkation: Our one suggestion is that you devise some manner in which Elite passengers can avoid the long lines to get off and get on board ship. Fortunately, we were able to make our way towards the front of the lines " usually by commenting upon our Penthouse status " but running such interference ahead of long line does little to assure the more timid of such access and does a lot towards personal anger of others in the line. I would suggest a separate entry, suitably labeled, for Elite and suite Passengers, that would enable those in that category to proceed to a separate line which then merges with access to the gangway or tender. If nothing else, such an arrangement would certainly inspire many to consider such upgrades on future cruises. The Restaurants: We did not visit all the food establishments. Of those we did, we find that Blu was by far the most satisfying and appealing to us. Our two dinners in Tuscan Grille were also a delight with especially fine service. Our dinner at the Silken Garden on the first night was a disaster " at least for me personally, I am especially fond of Sushi and Sashimi and tripled ordered when I found them on the menu = preferring good raw fish to an entrée. However, the Tuna and Salmon Sashimi served can only be described as lightly colored cardpaper " with a texture and taste concomitant thereto. Better remove these items from the menu than mislead your guests. However, that single service aside, the meals were generally well prepared and presented .. the roast pork chop being exceptionally fine. The special brunch featuring ice sculptures was such a melee of people " thronging with loaded plates " that my wife and guest sought relief elsewhere with little improvement. The Bars: Without doubt, Raoul in the Sunset Bar was my favorite bartender and my favorite hangout. I had presupposed that I would spend my time at the Martini Bar and went there first on our first evening. However, I found it loud, disturbing, riotous and without decorum " so we never visited it again. There is no doubt as to its appeal to some. We were fortunate to find the Ensemble Lounge a perfect spot for our pre-dinner cocktail. The String Trio there was also a draw as was the very personal attention of the bar tender. In Summary: We enjoyed a totally delightful cruise to Hawaii " no doubt more to the luxury and ease of the Penthouse Suite than to all the many other activities offered. We never got to wet our toes in the pool, nor basked in the sun, or use the spa (we have such niceties in our home in Southern California) and never saw the Glass Show. We attended only a very few lectures, etc. preferring to host a cocktail party or entertainment in the Penthouse. The expanse of the Penthouse made us feel that is was a retreat from all the hustle and bustle outside " offering a second home with tranquility and peace of mind. I seriously doubt, after being in one, that I would ever consider even a Royal Suite for any future cruise  such was my joy and contentment. My one last comment on Hawai`I in general is that with the exception of Moloka`i it reminds one of the dry stretches of Southern Calilfornia with a similar touristy flavor. Our highlight excursion was the heli-tour of Maui and Moloka`I - seconded by a 2-hour tour of Honolulu Pedicab operated by one man for $50 - the rest was Disneyland surrounded by water.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Embarkation Getting on board was fine for my wife and me. We followed advice from previous reviews to try to show up early and be on one of the early buses from the San Diego cruise terminal to Ensenada. Calling the Celebrity phone line, ... Read More
Embarkation Getting on board was fine for my wife and me. We followed advice from previous reviews to try to show up early and be on one of the early buses from the San Diego cruise terminal to Ensenada. Calling the Celebrity phone line, the call center agent said check-in would start 12 noon. We showed up a little after 10:30 am and check-in had started already. We eventually boarded the ship by 2:30. Waiting on the bus in the Ensenada parking lot took 30 minutes since they were queuing buses and only loading people onto the ship 2 buses at a time. From talking with other passengers, some people did not board until after dinner. Food Generally, food was okay to very good. Regarding the main dining room, dishes like the home style pork chop on the first night was about Marie Calendar's level and later on the week, the rib eye was almost Ruth Chris' level. Consistency is probably an issue depending when your order gets picked up on the queue line. For example the Chocolate Lava dessert was served twice in the week with the first time being excellent, and the second time being a little dry and cold. And the fish is, of course, hit or miss with it being perfectly cooked or overcooked. Portion sizes can be un-expectantly on the large size. Beware if you order any lamb shank because a Flintstones-sized leg will be dropped in front of you. My main criticism on the Main Dining Room is that it doesn't seem that much bigger than the main dining rooms of the Millennium class vessels, despite the Solstice class having a larger passenger capacity. As consequence, most of the Table for Two’s are only an inch away from each other which make them seem like six person table tops. I feel that couples may as well as opt for the larger tables because the person who is inches away from you is more likely to carry on a conversation, rather than Table for Two person who is trying to avoid eye contact. About the canapés for Concierge Class, it seemed like there were some budget cuts from when we last sailed on the Infinity. The canapés consisted mostly of tortilla chips, humus, and seasoned olives. Shows The three main productions were pretty standard for Celebrity: the Broadway revue show, the eclectic song/dance show, and the Cirque du Solei type show. The Broadway one was called Ghost Light and the plot device used to bring together such varied songs as We Want to Live in America and Defying Gravity is that the cast and crew of a closing theater are reminiscing their favorite acts. Because of the large attendance we couldn't get to see the eclectic song/dance show but I did catch the beginning where the homage to Stomp led into the Bugle Boy from Company B. As far as Solstice: The Show, which is the Cirque du Solei type show...you can either feel that this is an incredible show of sights, sounds, and celebration of the human body...or you can say that I've already seen the real show in Vegas. Public Areas The ship is clean and from the Kohler-like fixtures in the restrooms to the bright paneling on the walls, you really do get the sensation of Modern Luxury. There are also plenty of places to plant yourself for reading, playing cards, or sunbathing. The pools had enough deck chairs that I didn't notice any towel reserving chair hogs. Activities I have to give kudos to the Activity Staff here because I ran out of space on my comment card. Thank you to Michael, Von, Chris and Tanika for being excellent hosts. You encouraged guest to participate with your welcoming (but unobtrusive) personalities. As far as actual activities, the ship had a very good mix of Trivia, Xbox Kinect, Table Tennis, Egg Drop/Paper airplane/Karaoke Contests, and Scrapbooking. On this trip, there was no Pictionary or Water Coloring. On top of the usual luggage tag, lanyard, and pen prizes, Billboard magazine sponsored some of the music trivia, so guests were able to win music download cards. Disembarkation Because we had to leave early, we carried our own luggage and left the ship before the regular 8:30 am disembarkation. It was a direct walk-off for us with the only thing for us to do was the final swipe of our Seapass card. Overall I feel if you read the message boards and reviews ahead of time, you can make the most out of your cruise vacation. There are some noteworthy things about cruising or Celebrity cruising, but I'm not going to be the spoiler. :)   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
It started with the meet and greet at the airport, we finally found the greeters and it felt like we were bothering them. they were short with answers and we had to ask passengers how to get the bus to the pier. There was no greeter at the ... Read More
It started with the meet and greet at the airport, we finally found the greeters and it felt like we were bothering them. they were short with answers and we had to ask passengers how to get the bus to the pier. There was no greeter at the bus stand to ensure you got the right bus. very confusing and frustrating. At the pier the welcomers were not helpful as my mom needs assistance with a wheelchair and it took us half an hour for the crew to find somebody to help with the wheelchair. They said they were busy, however when they took us to checkin there where only 6 people checking in. Once we got to the ship we sat in the bus for 3/4 hour while they processed all the buses. I t felt very unorganized and like they've done this for the first time. lots of people upset.. Once we got on the ship it was very nice. the stateroom attendant was pleasant. most of the ship was very clean, except for the hallway carpets. they looked like they didn't clean them. Two restaurants were exceptional, namely Tuscan and silk harvest. The munora we did not like, service was great, food not special, bisque very salty. The ephanry main dining was good, but Royal Caribbean was a step above, not vica versa. The oceancafe was very nice , nicer then the main dining room.. All excursions were fantastic. Getting a hold of guest relation was difficult. we tried 3 different times and they did not answer, had to go downstairs to deal with them. The shows were average, nothing special, We left early on several of them. When you come back from excursions you were suppose to be greeted with a Face cloth. On 5 excusions only once did this happen. In a nut shell it seemed like the staff was not trained well and celebrity claims they are a step above other lines. They are not. Royal carribean was much better. They were not terrible just average, but I will not use them again Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
My background: my 7th cruise, 3rd with Celebrity. Most recently on the Silhouette in Dec 2102. I'm mid 40s, cruised with my 80 year old mother and a couple of friends. Embarkation: because of Cruise Critic I knew to arrive well ... Read More
My background: my 7th cruise, 3rd with Celebrity. Most recently on the Silhouette in Dec 2102. I'm mid 40s, cruised with my 80 year old mother and a couple of friends. Embarkation: because of Cruise Critic I knew to arrive well before noon for check-in. We arrived around 11:00 and we got number 40 since we were not elite and were not in concierge, aqua or a suite. We were told it would be a short wait and it was. They didn't have enough "special" people to fill the early buses so they jumped to the mid 30s. We were on a bus by noon. The bus ride was fine, very scenic at times. We waited on the bus for about 45 minutes when we got to the ship, which would have been a lot easier to take if a rep had just kept us informed about why we had to do it. A little information goes a long way. Overall I was pleasantly surprised, but the key was getting there early. We had a great time, met lots of nice people, loved the general feel of Celebrity as usual. Never had an issue with deck chairs, though there were some hogs dropping towels on chairs for the day and disappearing. The pool crew would generally ignore it in the morning but start removing them mid afternoon. We only went to the circus type show, which we enjoyed. The other shows are a little too old school for me. We liked the deck party and the various dance events in the atrium. Our cabin attendant was the worst I've ever had, but it was all little things that you'd never go to guest services about. Problem is that when something lets you down almost every day, it adds up. It was bare minimum, certainly no "above and beyond". She had this weird thing about uncovering the bible, she moved my stuff off it every day. We had a good laugh about that every night at the bar. I couldn't wait for my first drink at the molecular bar. What a bummer that the bartender on day one was downright grumpy and gave me a glass of ice with a bit of drink in it. Luckily he wasn't around much after that. There was a girl there for the rest of the cruise who was lovely. She made better drinks than the 2 guys who seemed to be senior to her, and she had a much better attitude. The martini bar was very quiet. Service was adequate there, just nothing special. The buffet was good, minor gripe about how long it would take for used plates to be taken away. We did the 3 dinner package. Murano and Tuscan were wonderful, Silk Harvest wasn't great. Next time I'd order all appetizers there, they were a lot better than any of the 4 main dishes we ordered. To be fair it's not my favorite food. The best service I think was at cafe Al Bacio, though I only went a few times. I was disappointed to never find any finger sandwiches there, I loved picking up a few of those after coming back from shore when I was on the Silhouette. I only ever saw pastries on the Solstice. My biggest letdown: select dining. So, so rushed, my mother dreaded going there by the end. Second courses were served before some had finished their first course. You couldn't dare put your fork down to take a breather, your plate would be gone. A waiiter got an order wrong and then argued when the guest said it wasn't what they ordered. Food was mainly just ok, whereas on other cruises I've felt that the food was just as good or even better than in the specialty restaurants. We were almost never asked if we wanted bottled water. The sommeliers had no time to spend at each table, at least not for those of us ordering by the glass. Refills were rare or came when the meal was virtually done. It was all very impersonal. There was very little fun or relaxation. One night we sat on the railing and watched how empty the fixed seating was below us from 8:00 on. Hardly anybody showed up for the 8:30 seating. Here's a suggestion: keep one early seating on deck 3, then open the whole dining room to select dining afterwards. Guests and staff would be far more evenly distributed instead of cramming 75% of the later diners on deck 4 with inadequate staffing. Customs before going ashore in Hilo was a terrible experience, esppecially for the elderly. Why they couldn't have just called groups like they do for disembarkation is beyond me. We went when we were told to go, only to find a huge line snaking outside into the rain, which took over an hour to get through. We loved our time in Hawaii, especially Hilo and Lahaina. We didn't have any real problems with tenders, though they did a get a little, ahem, ripe by the end of the day. We had the bad luck of returning at the same time as all the busses coming from the luau, so we did have a very long line for the tenders that night. It was very discouraging at the end of a long day but It went faster than we expected, so it wasn't the end of the world. Again, hard for the elderly and no help from staff. At least we weren't on the bobbing tender from Hell. Disembarkation was very good on Celebrity's end, since customs was already done. After preaching to everyone I know that Celebrity is so much better than other cruise lines, I had to eat my words on this cruise. My mother enjoyed her Carnival Freedom and NCL Epic cruises more. The horror! ;) I really hope it was a fluke, I hope the Eclipse and Equinox will restore my faith. But hey, even a less than stellar cruise is better than no cruise!   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
OK, just a quick review. I know that I looked on Cruise Critic daily and saw few reviews about the Celebrity Solstice. Background: Late 50's..ahh! Cruised Princess, NCL,Carnival, Disney and RCCL. First cruise with Celebrity. Overall ... Read More
OK, just a quick review. I know that I looked on Cruise Critic daily and saw few reviews about the Celebrity Solstice. Background: Late 50's..ahh! Cruised Princess, NCL,Carnival, Disney and RCCL. First cruise with Celebrity. Overall I would give it a 8 out of 10. We have done the repositioning cruise previously with RCCL and Carnival so we were prepared for the bus ride to Ensenada and check in at San Diego. Compared to the 2 previous cruises Celebrity actually did very well. On the Carnival Spirit we had the Worst bus ever. Ugh...it`was disgusting, you did not want to even use the restroom. This bus was very very nice no complaints and we were lucky only sat for 15 minutes in Ensenada before we boarded. Our bus driver was a good driver and took his time and I was very Thankful for that-too many bus accidents lately. And he did speak English-Carnivals driver did not! Felt like everything on Celebrity was just a little bit better. Champagne when you boarded, public restrooms on ship very clean, pretty and loved that they had wash cloths to dry your hands. Cold wet washcloths given at the pool area when you were laying out, and sorbet on a couple of days. Always could find a lounge chair and enjoyed that they were padded and you didn't have to check out towels. ServIce I thought was vey good. Our room steward was Excellent! Dining room was hit and miss. Steak and Lobster Delicious, another nites NY steak Tough.. Oceanview Cafe..same thing ever day...kinda boring but they would cook fresh salmon, veal white fish and that was delicious. We were very lucky to have Beautiful weather-a little rocky for day 2 and 3 but not bad. Ship is gorgeous! Didn't compare to Oasis that we were on last but not bad-just not as many activities. Loves: Martini Bar- they were so much fun and lots of energy I enjoyed the Celebrity dancers and singers and loved watching Zumba every day! Enjoyed both the Captain Club activities Dislikes: Ok..Most Boring Casino ever... Only Jen was fun all the other dealers didn't even talk and the casino was very slow.. They sat us in the back table by the kitchen and I hated that table! Great servers but bad location. Next time will request a different table when I book. They couldn't seem to move us after the first night, Thankfully we Loved our table mates. We also signed up for the Crusie Critic Meet and Greet like 3 x but still had no idea when they all met>?? Never got the invite or infor.? Would we do Celebrity again?? Of course! Loved the 11 nights and the ports..ok Maybe not Hilo..   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
We just returned from our Hawaiian cruise on the Celebrity Solstice. .this was a repositioning cruise so I do understand some of the problems..... Some improvements could be made, but overall a good experience. This was our first time ... Read More
We just returned from our Hawaiian cruise on the Celebrity Solstice. .this was a repositioning cruise so I do understand some of the problems..... Some improvements could be made, but overall a good experience. This was our first time cruising with Celebrity, we have sailed with Princess, Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. We flew into San Diego( the morning of the cruise since the ship was not due to sail till 11:59pm,) where we were met by Celebrity reps that did not seem to know what quite to do, we were told to go outside and wait for a bus to take us to the San Diego pier where we would check-in. That process was a little on the long side, but what the crazy and aggravating part was, is the ride to Ensenada.. (about 3 hours), we were given a bottle of water and some cheese crackers for our ride to Ensenada....when we got to Ensenada we had to stay on the bus and wait over an hour, then we were allowed to get off the bus, but after we were given a little cup of juice, we were told to get back on the bus to wait for our turn to be driven about 50' to unload again to go through security and get on the ship. This was VERY unorganized, we missed the ships mandatory fire safety drill, so at 10:00PM we had to go do the drill.....we had been up since 4:00AM and very tired. Five days cruising over to Hawaii was so relaxing. we enjoyed the indoor pool area with soothing music and just sitting and catching up on some reading. We were required to go through immigration again since we left from Ensenada. before we got off the ship in Hawaii...we were told to go on deck 12 I believe and wait in line, after waiting in line for maybe 30 minutes a crew member showed up and told us to turn around and go back in the direction we were just coming from the last half hour, again the crew personal acted like they were not sure what to do or how to do it. Eventually we got through immigration and then began to enjoy Hilo, Hawaii, our first stop. We did the helicopter tour but the volcano was not very active, we were told it had a "blockage" so you could not see the molten magma, except for a couple small holes in the hardened magma, but it was still exciting to take the helicopter ride. We cruised that evening around to Kona, cruising by the volcano, we could see two small places where the red magma was flowing, but again since the blockage, there was no molten lava flowing into the sea......hopefully it will start up again soon, we would love going back to see it. Next two days on Lahaina, Maui. We did a tour to go see the seahorses...it was awesome and very informative. The last two days were on Honolulu, Oahu which we had planned on seeing the Arizona and Pearl Harbor, w(as closed on the days we were there with the government shut down, so again we will have to make another trip to see) Our balcony cabin was nice, but could have used a little larger drawer space since we were on board for 12 days. The evening entertainment was good, except the gentleman that juggled, he tried making jokes, but was not that funny. The piano player was awesome, would have enjoyed seeing him for 2-3 nights. The Solstice entertainers did a great job, could have watched their shows more nights. My husband did have some accupuncture treatments while onboard, (we had not seen offered before on other cruises that we have been on.) I also really enjoyed the glass blowing.......the three gentleman made several beautiful objects from goblets to bowls to hand blown fish. The green lawn up on deck 15 was nice for playing games on. We enjoyed the food in the dining room, we did not go to any of the specialty restaurants, and a couple of nights we went up to the buffet for dinner, which was great. We are booked on this ship again in March, sailing from Auckland, New Zealand to Sydney, Austrailia. We are looking forward to that cruise, one nice part is that we will know our way around the ship already. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Arrived from the east coast to San Diego, stayed at the Marriott Marina hotel in San Diego (fantastic), close to pier, excellent service. The next day, the four of us (2 couples) took a taxi to the pier, where celebrity had us go through ... Read More
Arrived from the east coast to San Diego, stayed at the Marriott Marina hotel in San Diego (fantastic), close to pier, excellent service. The next day, the four of us (2 couples) took a taxi to the pier, where celebrity had us go through the cruise terminal there, check in and board a bus for Ensenada Mexico. Bus stopped at border, given a customs/immigration form. The ride to Ensenada was about 3 hours, total. Once we arrived at the port in Ensenada we waited on the bus for close to an hour. Our bus was cool, but apparently some of the others had a little A/C problems and was very hot waiting to get off bus. My complaint was that no one from Celebrity came on board the buses to explain the hold up. Bad public relations, because the complaints started...and you know how that goes. Once on board the ship, everything went smooth. Although we didn't leave until midnight, and once again, not sure why that was. Prior to our cruise I called Celebrity to book the 3 package specialty restaurants and was told none was available. That confused me....so I booked at 2 different restaurants and then decide on the ship if we wanted to do any more. But once on the ship, some of the crew members were trying to get us to book the 3 specialty restaurant package! And by the way, I am traveling on Celebrity for new years and was told you can't book any specialty restaurant for that cruise....didn't advertise that when I made my cruise reservation. Entertainment was good. Ship was lovely. But I truly felt our cabin was small! When we first walked in we were very surprised how small it was and wondered if we would find a place for everything. Surprisingly we did. But we couldn't pass each other without waiting for the other to pass by, and we are small people. Bathroom was small as well. Deck size was okay. Enjoyed the café, where I had the best chai tea. Had access to blu restaurant, which we enjoyed very much. Our waiter, Bertram, was just fantastic, although not assigned a table, we usually had him as our waiter. But the whole staff was super friendly. All the specialty restaurants were very good, but our favorite was Tuscan. The crew on board the Solstice were very friendly and helpful. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2013
In summary – we had a FABULOUS cruise! We are Aussies, both in our 40s, and this was our eighth cruise, our third with Celebrity and second time on the Solstice. We flew Canberra to Melbourne to Los Angeles to San Diego and spent three ... Read More
In summary – we had a FABULOUS cruise! We are Aussies, both in our 40s, and this was our eighth cruise, our third with Celebrity and second time on the Solstice. We flew Canberra to Melbourne to Los Angeles to San Diego and spent three days pre-cruise to get over the flights and because we love San Diego, it was our fourth visit. We stayed at the Wyndham Hotel (previously Holiday Inn) which is located directly opposite the cruise terminal. You can’t beat the location for convenience, it is close to the airport and the trolley (tram) and train system operate just a couple of streets behind. Shopping is another couple of streets behind that. We met up with some Cruise Critic (CC) friends from our Infinity Panama Canal cruise in 2011 at Sea World and had a great day with them. The night before we sailed a group of us from CC met at the Elephant & Castle (the pub within the Wyndham) and had a pre-cruise meet and greet dinner. It was wonderful to meet so many lovely people face to face after so many months of ‘chatting’ online. On sailing day we went to the cruise terminal at 11am (a quick walk across the road). We were processed fairly quickly and then waited for our bus number to be called. We were on a bus just before noon, and we were given a bottle of water and a packet of crackers. The drive to Ensenada was two hours but when we arrived at the ship we had to wait almost an additional hour. We were kept on the bus because there were only two x-ray machines/security stations to process all of the passengers. This was an oversight; with 2800 guests and presumably hundreds of ship personnel needing to go through the security process you would think that someone would have thought two machines will not be enough. So everyone was kept on their buses, when we arrived there were 8 buses already there and it took a long time to process everybody. Once on board all was fine, the ship is beautiful, very clean the service is wonderful and all of the staff are super friendly. We had five days at sea on our way to Hawaii. We met all of the cruise critic people and a lovely lady named Betsy made us all a beautiful name tag. Thank you! We love to spend time on the ship, we love trivia and games and tried not to miss any of the sessions. We always have select dining, so we can eat whenever and with whoever we want. The service in the MDR was good, we only had one or two slip ups the entire time, overall they were attentive and the food is very good. We ate a lot as usual. We also had the classic alcohol package so we drank a lot as well. But we were on holiday, so we live it up. We ate at Murano for our wedding anniversary and it was delicious! We did the five senses menu ($89), they pair wines with the courses and it is just fabulous. The usual cost at Murano is $45. Make sure you don’t have lunch that day, because there is so much delicious food, and the service is excellent. The wines really make the additional cost worth it, and the sommelier and waiter go to great pains to explain how and why they work together with the food. It was a wonderful and memorable meal. Our waiter Eric was fabulous, he was a really nice and friendly guy, and he suggested that as we were also doing the next cruise (we were on the back to back to Sydney) we might be interested in the Chef’s table. See our next review for 4 October 2013 for detail on that. We spent time in the bars listening to the bands most evenings before dinner, there was a string trio, a jazz band, and a singer who had a big range of songs. There was also a party band that played by the pool and at night a lot. All of them were very good, and it was great to meet friends for a pre-dinner drink and be entertained with live music. The music in the Martini Bar is pre-recorded and is hit and miss, we spent more of our time in the Passport Bar and the Ensemble Bar. There is a show every night, and the majority were fabulous. We were also on the ship in March/April this year, so some of the ship’s company of singers and dancers routines were repeated so we didn’t go to every show. Also sometimes we were just too busy to make it to the show with dinner and meeting friends etc. Overall the shows we did catch were wonderful. The Solstice show is a Cirque-Du-Soleil inspired show, and it is amazing. Very good. One of the guest entertainers is an impersonator and we had also seen before, but he is just hilarious and a great mimic, so definitely worth a return to see him. I cannot remember his name, James? We also used Café Al Bacio a lot, the baristas are wonderful and make a great cappuccino and Raisa was a great waitress who remembers your names and your order and is always friendly and happy to see you. Raisa also was the drinks waitress at night in the MDR and even though we ate there at different times and at different tables she would keep an eye out for us and bring us our after dinner drink. Excellent service, she is a credit to the company. It was our first visit to Hawaii, so we were excited to get to the first port of Hilo. The US immigration officers came onto the ship to process everyone which was a long wait, we waited an hour to have our passport stamped. There were only about 8 officers I think to process the entire ship, and the first people got off the ship about 10.15am. We had a ship’s tour booked for the early afternoon (helicopter over the volcano and waterfalls) so we waited until the crowd passed before we got off. The helicopter tour was great, you could see lava and the caldera but there was not a lot of lava flow. It was very interesting, there was a small bush fire as the lava was burning the forest away slowly. The tour also takes you over the coast line of Big Island, and over the waterfalls, which are lovely. You can buy a DVD of your tour as well. The cost was $269 per person, but we considered this to be good value, and a once in a lifetime flight. You can do it slightly cheaper if you buy directly from the helicopter company, however you need to get yourself to and from the airport at the right time, and we were originally booked in for a morning flight which was cancelled because of the immigration hold-up. But because we were on a ship’s tour, there was no loss or inconvenience to us, we were just put on the 1pm flight instead. The next port was Kona, also on Big Island, and our first tender port. Here we did the Atlantis Submarine which was wonderful, it goes down over 100 feet and they show you a range of shipwrecks which are full of fish as artificial reefs. It was smooth and comfortable, nobody was unwell on the submarine, it was very pleasant. You can buy a big photo which comes with a DVD of the trip and your photo on the DVD too for $20 which was reasonable. When we got back on shore we went on the free shuttle to Walmart, which for us Aussies is always fun. We bought souvenirs and some flippers there. It was very warm at Kona. Then onto Maui, we didn’t have anything planned, so we just walked around for a couple of hours and checked out the amazing giant Banyan tree, looked at the shops, and walked a block or so up from the shorefront to Starbucks – where we had icy coffee drinks and free Wi-Fi, so we caught up on email. There was a supermarket next door to Starbucks, so we bought some stuff there too. We were at Maui overnight, so many people went to the Luau that evening, but we stayed on board as we had booking at Murano for our anniversary. The next day we went back over and did a similar walk around, and spent the afternoon by the pool. We had great weather just about all cruise, a couple of showers here and there but that was about it. We were very lucky. Then we sailed into Honolulu for an overnight, and there was a beautiful turtle swimming in the harbour. I love seeing wildlife from the ship, we saw flying fish most days from Mexico but not many birds. At Honolulu we had a Circle Island Tour booked privately (Lani’s E Komo Mai tour - $133 each) with some other CC friends, there were six of us in a large SUV and we were taken all over the island to different look-outs and beaches and we took some terrific photos. We also stopped at a macadamia nut farm, and our guide was surprised to hear from us that macadamia nuts are Australian, and the first plants were given to Hawaii about 200 years ago. Most people think they are native to Hawaii. We also stopped at a shrimp truck for lunch, and had a swim at a beautiful white sanded, bright blue clear water beach. I can’t remember what it was called, there were so many beaches. It was lovely. We awoke to another great day at Honolulu. The only sad part was saying good bye to so many new friends (the Hulagans!) as they got off the cruise. We were sailing on to Sydney so see the next review for more information. As we said, overall the cruise was fabulous!   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
The Solstice is a nice ship of that there is no doubt and our cabin (with veranda) was adequate if not exactly large, we have had bigger cabins on a cross channel ferry. Still that was not a big problem. The two big problems on this ... Read More
The Solstice is a nice ship of that there is no doubt and our cabin (with veranda) was adequate if not exactly large, we have had bigger cabins on a cross channel ferry. Still that was not a big problem. The two big problems on this cruise were the lack of bar staff from the start. There was a distinct atmosphere of discontent from the bar staff who were there and we were eventually given the explanation that 10 bar staff had just not turned up at the start of the cruise, We were later told by a crew member that the missing staff had been put off the ship in Sydney on arrival from New Zealand after the previous cruise, suffering from Nora virus which, in light of the rapid spread and drastic emergency steps that were taken in an attempt(failed) to contain the virus, may well have been true. We have all become used to the dreaded hand cleanser at every turn and I for one have no objections, but to have everything including condiment containers, menus and serving implements removed from passenger reach, the rails, doors, lifts, tables, chairs, windows and everything that may have been breathed on, being constantly wiped down by crew members did take the edge of things a bit. It had to be done but it ruined the cruise for us. That and the fact that the only information that was forthcoming about the spread of the Nora virus was a, dull as dishwater, monologue EVERY morning about how to wash your hands! Again probably necessary as we personally saw several male and female passengers leave toilet rooms having used a sit down, without going near soap and water. And they were American so no excuse about not understanding the announcement. We felt the whole 18 day cruise was marred by the mishandling of this unfortunate crisis. Disembarking at the various islands was a nightmare as well with queues everywhere, especially where we needed ferried ashore. People with trips booked had priority so if you didn't have a trip booked you waited, and waited and waited. We went back to the Oceanview Restaurant on deck 12 for lunch one day after waiting all morning to get off and we gave up trying until we had been fed. Some people didn't manage off until 3:30pm that day and had to be back on for 4:30pm. Too many passangers I think, ships are too big and often immigration etc., cannot deal with such numbers. Another reason not to cruise again, certainly not with a company running ships the size of the Solstice and bigger. The first stop in the Hawiian islands, our first landfall in USA territory, was another queue, queue, queue day where USA border control turned up late, had too few staff and couldn't cope with the numbers going ashore. It took hours getting off. Final disembarkation in Honolulu was shambolic with more or less a free-for-all luggage grab and run for the queue (again) to get a taxi. Some nice person took our two large suitcases by mistake and then sneaked them back half an hour later minus labels, without having the face to apologise. Shore excursions were another bugbear with some at nearly three times the price onboard as they were in the tourist office. I know one Australian lady who got a trip ashore for USA $39 which was over USA $140 on board. We fell for some of them but only a few. No, sadly it's probably the end of cruise ships for us, certainly ones as big as that and most likely never with Celebrity ever again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Boarding in Sydney was ok considering 2800 passengers were to be boarding.Upon our arrival at the terminal we were totaly surprised at the demographics of the people standing in line.I would say 90% would have been over 65/70 years old.We ... Read More
Boarding in Sydney was ok considering 2800 passengers were to be boarding.Upon our arrival at the terminal we were totaly surprised at the demographics of the people standing in line.I would say 90% would have been over 65/70 years old.We are a family of 5, aged in our early 40s with 3 teenage kids. Main dining room was good,my only complaint being our seating arrangements.Younger family seated with two elderly couples does not make sense to me.X could have made an effort to seat people with a similar age group together, it would not have been hard. Poolside entertainment was non existent, apart from pool zumba in the mornings for the senior cruisers. There was hardly any music played poolside during the day.I gave up asking the poolside attendants to play music by the pool. Everything seamed to be set up for the senior cruisers from entertainment to the "back pain" lectures. X should let Australian passengers know that these cruises cater mainly for the over 70 age group, change your brochures and let people know, alternatively provide entertainment for the younger guests. Ports of call were good.Some hiccups disembarking in Lahiana(customs) same again in Honolulu (gangway issues)I would blame x cruises for both issues because if I was the responsible X agent in Lahaina I would have ensured that the US customs sent the appropriate number of agents to clear the ship.The same goes for the gangway that did not fit in Honolulu, someone from x cruises should have checked that it would fit prior to its arrival. Overall the Solstice is a huge clean ship.I had no problems with the sanitising that was required to control the Norovirus out break, It all comes down to personal hygiene. I would not recommend X cruises for young families. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Embarkation was a breeze however unknown to us they had mixed myself up with my six year old daughter on our cruise cards. This was discovered at our first port when I tried to get back on the ship and they wanted to know where my child ... Read More
Embarkation was a breeze however unknown to us they had mixed myself up with my six year old daughter on our cruise cards. This was discovered at our first port when I tried to get back on the ship and they wanted to know where my child was. I did a split second panic and said well she had better be in the kids club where I had signed her in to. We realised the mistake and took steps to fix this up. We made three attempts but this was never sorted out properly and throughout the cruise they sent dining information to my 6 year old and charged her bottles of wine and when we crossed the equator they even sent a letter to my daughter and my husband as a couple. Minor gripe I suppose but frustrating after we had been to customer relations to sort this out. Actually minor gripes all built up to create a disappointing service experience for us. Things like we were told we would be called and no call occurred. We ordered things and they never arrived (in room service and in the main dining room). Staff were apathetic more than a few times and customer relations often couldn't seem to come up with simple information. Other cons for us included an extremely rude female staff member at the future cruise office who I am amazed works in sales at all after leaving us feeling unwelcome and a burden to her time. The design of the main pool is something we wondered on as when there was any wind it seemed to act like a mini wind tunnel this made it unpleasant to be there while it was windy. However when it was hot it was nice to always catch the breeze. We also felt that the Grill closed too earlier and clearly could not keep up with demand as there was often a long cue to get a burger here, it seemed too small for the purpose and closed at 6pm. The buffet all but closed at 9:30 pm as the selection after this time was really poor. This was frustrating as often the last show would finish at 10pm and we would feel like some supper. We were not overly impressed with the food on this cruise and I was never wowed in the dining room, it was adequate/nice though. The ship had a large outbreak of norovirus and our daughter was quarantined in our cabin, which meant we all missed a port. I feel like this really isn't the ships fault but then I have read subsequently that this is an ongoing problem for the Solstice. After the outbreak passengers were served food and drinks, library books and games were locked away, perfume testers were removed and every 50 metres there was someone shoving hand sanitiser at you. Even the salt and pepper shakers were taken off the table in the dining room. I have cruised before and heard this happens and thought it a good idea however on this cruise there were not enough staff at the food bays and there were lines at each bay so by the time you got all your food half of it was cold. The wait for a coffee or water at times was ridiculous and breakfast was a joke when you had toast at one station with a long line and eggs at another with another long line by the time you have your food you just think scrap the coffee everything will be cold. They also closed half of the bays in the buffet so the selection shrunk considerably. Staff were probably mirroring some frustration shown by passengers but the level of service definitely dropped even further. Speaking of customer service we attended the medical centre and encountered a rude abrupt nurse, we were pretty frustrated at this point as we haven't experienced so many negative interactions while cruising before and we aren't generally hard to please people or complainers. Thankfully the doctor was great which was reassuring. There are many lovely things about this ship and it wouldn't be fair not to mention them. Tuscan Grill was wonderful. The sky lounge is a beautiful place to be in and watch the ocean. The entertainment was slightly better than we have encountered on Princess. Also hands down the stateroom was better in our opinion than we have had on Princess and we also felt Celebrity were more organised in the way they tendered than Princess. Well that was until we hit Lahaina (Maui). We were given a card asking us to go down to immigration processing in the dining room at 11:30am. We were upset as we had a car booked in Maui for the morning and had planned to drive up the coast for the day, we spoke to customer relations who suggested we go down at 9:30am. We were hopeful that we could still make the most of the time onshore. We went down to the dining room at 9:30 and the line stretched the entire length of the ship, I am not kidding the end of the line was in the theatre. People in the line said that it had been like this for a long time and people were still waiting after getting in line at 7am. The people on celebrity shore excursions were pushed through first but even some of these people missed out on their tours. I couldn't justify making my six year old stand in a line for four hours so we went and had a swim and some lunch. We approached the line at one thirty and the line was still in the casino. Around an hour later we were near the front of the line when an announcement came over the ship asking all remaining passengers to come into the line now as the line was short. There was an astonished gasp at this insensitive announcement from those remaining in the huge line through the casino. I guess in all honesty it was shorter than three hours earlier. We were processed and on our tender at 3pm. Needless to say it was too late to get our car and drive up the coast and our days plans were spoilt. Celebrity staff blamed US Customs and said they had missed a flight to the ship, and then we heard that there had been a mix up with dates. Either way staff conceded that this is a bad port to come into the states to and it always happens. I am not impressed with this excuse. Celebrity should have informed passengers that this would occur so appropriate arrangements could be made. We might have booked an evening Luau or a later tour. We were lucky that we had not paid for our rental car there were plenty of others who had or who missed their paid excursions. I think it's dishonest of Celebrity knowing this occurs every time they enter here as a first US port and not telling passengers in advance. I think this was the last straw of many and although we had many wonderful moments as a family we won't be putting our precious holiday cash towards Celebrity again and I am cancelling a future cruise I have booked with them and we will book with Princess instead. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
Recently sailed on the Celebrity Solstice, on the first leg of a repositioning cruise from Australia to Hawaii and ultimately back to North America. Our journey ended in Hawaii, where we stayed on for another 5 nights enjoying the sights ... Read More
Recently sailed on the Celebrity Solstice, on the first leg of a repositioning cruise from Australia to Hawaii and ultimately back to North America. Our journey ended in Hawaii, where we stayed on for another 5 nights enjoying the sights of Honolulu. I will say from the outset, the Solstice is a floating palace full of wonderful places to explore and fun to be had. We enjoyed every minute on board her, and for us, the best part was the extended sea days between ports. Very relaxing! We embarked in Sydney on the 8th April, having booked into "Concierge Class" for this sailing. Embarkation was pretty easy, took about 30 minutes to get up from the dock side to the embarkation lounge. One thing we thought would happen, was that as concierge class (or higher) you would have a priority in boarding. Sort of happened with a separate line for all those classes other than general, but in fact it turned out the the general class boarding was the shorter line and moved far faster than ours. Shows that most people were actually paying for the higher cabin class I suppose. Once on board, the rooms were not yet open for occupation, so we had lunch in Bistro On 5. Lovely cafe, serving crepes for lunch, well worth the extra $5 per person to be able to sit down and not fight through the lines in the buffet. Our cabin was on deck 21, starboard side with a balcony, located close to the stairs and elevators. As far as that goes, not a problem as we heard very little noise from either the elevator space or the stairs. Perfect for getting to the pool deck, (on the same deck as us) and to the outside spaces. Cabin size was good, loved the bathroom with the glass shower doors, plenty of room to do what you needed to do in there. But, we had a problem that wasn't rectified the whole cruise. For some reason or other, the cabin always had an underlying odour of sewerage! We spoke to guest services and they did send an engineer up to see us, but were unable to locate why this was the case or how to rectify it. We were offered alternate cabins after we departed, but have to say none were of the standard or location we booked for. It was ok whilst the outside door was open, cleared the odour out of the cabin, but when closed up, first thing to hit you was the smell. We did get used to it, but was a little off putting when we first moved in. The cabin steward did find us a room deodoriser/ perfume that sort of cancelled the odours,but that was all that was done. Had no further contact with guest services over this, not sure what the problem was. But, other than that, our cabin was in the perfect place for us. Loved the bed by the way, king size!! And the ship has a no smoking policy on the balconies, made for a much more enjoyable time when we sat out there. Tip! Ask for room service for breakfast, beautiful way to start the day. We ate in the MDR on most nights in "Select" seating, which suited us. Met heaps of very interesting people each night and the wait staff and sommeliers were excellent in their knowledge and professionalism. Never had more than 5 minutes to wait to get a seat for dinner, and most times we were able to sit in the area of the dining room we enjoyed being in. Dined in both Tuscan Grill and Muranos on two separate nights, have to say that Tuscan was our favourite. Food was sublime, plenty of it and wonderful decor made the experience worthwhile. Muranos was ok, but over priced for the meal we thought. Of course, the menu was different than in the MDR, but we just felt that it wasn't that much better to ask for the extra payments. Unfortunately, never got to eat in Silk Road, so can't comment. One experience to definitely get to do is Chefs Table. This was never advertised, but we knew from previous experiences on other ships, that this would be offered. We booked early in the cruise through our maitre de and were not disappointed. Highly recommend anyone contemplating taking part in this experience to ask early at guest services and do so, as it fills very quickly. We had 10 other people dining with us, the chef explained the meal, sommelier perfectly matched wines with courses and at the end of it all, we got a marvellous cook book signed by the chef. Well worth the money we felt. Stage shows were magnificent, great variety of guest entertainers and the two major productions on stage were worth of any land based theatre we thought. The Circe De Sole style show was packed, a highlight of the entertainment on board. A little disappointed with the rest of the on board entertainment, very short spots and all the live entertainment was over by 11:30 - midnight most nights. The artists themselves were of a high standard, especially the house band, but the actual play times were not very long. Would have enjoyed a late night piano bar style location with sing along style entertainment, but that is just us. No shortage of bars, all of a very high standard. We had the "premier" drinks packages, for us was great value, definitely got our monies worth from that purchase! Best bar was the Martini Bar, followed closely by the Molecular Bar. But all the bars are worth visiting. Gymnasium was adequate, but have to say that the cardio equipment was wrongly positioned I believe. All the machines were placed across the the floor, (facing out the starboard windows) instead of being in line with the vessel, (stem to stern)which meant that you perspective was skewed to what your brain was saying. And especially when we were in heavier seas, with the vessel rolling was bringing on cases of motion sickness to people using the gear. But, overall, the gym was a good size with plenty of equipment. Dud get crowded, but I never had to wait for a machine or weight station. A well thought out program was the Celebrity Life classes. We attended on most days, especially the talks given by Milos. Very entertaining as well as being educational. Every topic he covered was pitched at the general level, he made it very easy to understand and on top of that, he is a great entertainer. Loved his hats!! Pool deck was fun, plenty of deck lounges and loved the fact that there was a separate "adults only" area with its own pool and spas. Have to say that it seemed to be well policed, never saw any children in there at all the whole cruise. Tip for sunbathing, go to the Solstice deck on 16, well out of the way, great beds and private. Can go topless up there if that is what you are looking for. One down side to this cruise was the lost time when we arrived at Lahaina, waiting for US Immigration agents to get on board. Supposed to have 10 agents on board at 0700, only 1 was on board then Took many hours before they were all on board, most people missed their shore excursions, (us included) due to this delay. Not the ships cause at all, blame lies ate the feet of the US agency and lack of preparation. Disembarkation was a chore at Honolulu, once again not the fault of the cruise line but a issue with a bomb hoax in the port facility. Imaging 3000+ people all wanting to get off and been held on board until the situation was resolved!! Eventually got off, and a tip if you want a taxi quickly, grab a porter! Saved us tons of time, went straight out to the taxi rank and into a cab in no time!! Overall, we enjoyed this cruise, the sea days were what we looked forward to the most. As far as age grouping went, we are sort of "in between" the cruise demographics that the cruise lines cater to. This particular cruise had a very high proportion of 60+ cruisers, many retired and returning to North America. And this was probably reflected in the lack of late night entertainment which we have found on other ships with a younger age grouping. The disco was open to late, but was never really hopping. Would I cruise with Celebrity again, definitely. The service was excellent, public spaces plentiful and well furnished,the ships crew and officers professional and attentive. The only downside to this trip was the outbreak of GI. It is a problem that the ship tried to hold at bay, plenty of hand cleaning stations, entry to the dining rooms had staff on hand to dispense antiseptic hand cleaners etc. But, like it seems to happen on long duration cruises, Norovirus did make an appearance, laying low a fairly large proportion of guests. Luckily we escaped it, cast iron tummies I think! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
As first time cruisers (longer than 3 days on a small boat!), I guess we were pretty excited ( and my husband would say "huge understatement!") for the whole year leading up to our trip. I did so much research on cruise critic, ... Read More
As first time cruisers (longer than 3 days on a small boat!), I guess we were pretty excited ( and my husband would say "huge understatement!") for the whole year leading up to our trip. I did so much research on cruise critic, and the celebrity website, that I felt I knew the ship before we even got on it! I have read so many differing reviews, I have to ask myself...were these people on the same ship? Even the same cruise?? I know as first timers, we don't have any comparisons, but REALLY?? I can only think this world is full of hard to please people. We went on this cruise for a Holiday, and that is what we had. From start to finish, every part of it was great. The ship is mind blowing. Except for a couple of events ( crossing the equator ceremony around the pool area) we never felt crowded at all. You could always find a quiet place to sit and read if that's what you wanted, or something fun to do if that was your thing. Food was exceptional, and we ate in most places. You would have to be super fussy not to find something to your liking! The staff were outstanding on the whole. ( my husband had a run in with a nurse in the medical centre.....I'm afraid she let the team down!) Our room attendants couldn't have been more accommodating. Always ready with a big smile and an "anything I can get for you?" Yes, there was a gastro bug on board with us, and my husband had a couple of days in the cabin, but to be honest, it certainly didn't ruin our trip. The staff certainly worked their butts off trying to keep all surfaces clean, so it had to have been spread by passengers that were less than hygienic. The ports we visited were great, and for the amount of passengers that were unloaded & loaded again at each stop, Celebrity did a great job. Again, really, what do people expect?? Not everyone gets off at the same time....geeez! We also had the premium drinks package. It was so nice to know all these costs were payed up front and only a few on board purchases added to our bill. Overall, our cruise on the Solstice will never be forgotten. (Our kids at home are sick of hearing about it!! Lol) We are already planning & about to book the next one.....on the Solstice again. Luckily for our kids this one is only 7 months away!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Firstly the Ship is beautiful. Lovely decor and very stylish. Our Aqua Class room was tastefully decorated. had a good bathroom and a comfy bed. Only two issues with the room. not enough closet space and power points otherwise great. All ... Read More
Firstly the Ship is beautiful. Lovely decor and very stylish. Our Aqua Class room was tastefully decorated. had a good bathroom and a comfy bed. Only two issues with the room. not enough closet space and power points otherwise great. All the restaurants were great we mainly dined in Blu but also did the main dining for lunch plus the speciality restaurants. Special thanks to our waiters Krumi, Luka and Sommelier Sanjay who looked after us very well. The speciality restaurants are definitlely worth buying as a package. Photgraphers are great. We bought an unlimited package so constantly had photos taken. A great cheap way to get professional portraits done. We didn't attend a lot of the shows but what we did see was great. Cruise Director John we knew from a previous cruise and he was great as always. The shore excursions whilst a bit pricey were worth it. We missed Noumea as we went into voluntary isolation for gastro and we were well compensated for doing this. If only all passengers did this the bug would not spread and everyone could get the most out of their holiday. Bought the premium Alcohol package which was great as far as saving money but of course we then drank way too much. Its a good deal if you have more than 6 drinks a day. My only major Gripe with this cruise was the bar service. On previous cruises I was inundated with waiters wanting me to buy drinks however these types of waiters were few and far between on the solstice. This was the main complaint I heard from nearly every passenger I talked to. Solstice simply needs a lot more bar staff to improve this service. And a little tip fro some of the staff on the ship. If you are going to have a conflict with another staff member do this privately and not in front of passengers. Saw three hissy fights within the 1st two days. Not very professional. Would I recommend this cruise. Definitely Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
We are first time cruisers. We sailed on the Dawn Princes in March 2012 as a "sampler" to see if my wife would be hanging over the balcony being sea sick. Quite the contrary, we got hooked. So in March 2012 we booked the ... Read More
We are first time cruisers. We sailed on the Dawn Princes in March 2012 as a "sampler" to see if my wife would be hanging over the balcony being sea sick. Quite the contrary, we got hooked. So in March 2012 we booked the Celebrity Solstice cruise to Hawaii. Embarkation was approx 2 hours in Sydney 08/01/2013. Our cabin was 9272 deck 9 mid ship, with balcony. The room was beautiful and a good size and had lounge area. Bathroom and shower significantly larger then the Dawn. All facilities ultra modern and good size. Rooms and public areas were all clean and well maintained. Ship in general opulent. Waitering staff awesome. Credit to MD Marian, Boyan and Peter. Other staff such as Rok, Anna, Abbas, Jorge, Jasmina, Rose, Jose ( room attendant) and all other staff in the Oceanview Cafe ( buffet) and the Grand Epany dining room where all exemplary. Staff could not do enough to try and please every guest. During our 18 days not once did we feel over crowded, despite there being 2850 guests and 1200 plus staff Cruise director John Grantham was sensational. He organized the events and activities to ensure maximum satisfaction and fun. Shows were top notch and of Broadway caliber. Off course there were some that lacked that "heart string" tug, but these may have appealed to other audience members Food was fantastic. There was something for every taste and even the "finicky" eaters. Both Oceanview Cafe and Grand Epany Dining service and food quality was outstanding. Definitely arrange shore excursions once you are at port, as ship excursions are expensive. However be cautious that you return to the ship well in advance to the ship leaving port. Customs processing in Lahaina ( Maui) was a bit of a debarkle. US Customs officers did not arrive till late and this created lengthy delays and frustrated guests and long queues. This was not a Celebrity problem. ONLY one downfall, "noro virus". It had apparently been transferred on board in Sydney and as some guests did not use good hand cleansing practices this lead to an outbreak. The staff on the ship however were very professional and put in long tiring hours in every attempt to contain the spread of the virus, which they successfully achieved by the time we disembarked in Honolulu. However this did not prevent my wife from finally succumbing to the virus on terra firma. She was in agony for 36 hours. Those of you who had had it will know how awful it is. My advise to all guests cruising, don't spoil the trip for yourself and others and be mindful of, and perform the recommended hand cleaning instructions. Also if you have any symptoms, let the cruise staff know immediately as they will ensure that you do board and that you recover quickly. All staff are awesome. Despite the "Noro virus" we were so impressed with the quality of the Celebrity Solstice that we have already booked 28 days ( 2 trips back to back) on the same ship for 2014. That says a lot for the Celebrity Solstice crew and ship. I hope that the management of this ship do not down grade any quality or services. And please clone and keep the great John Grantham on this ship particularly for the long repositioning cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
Embarkation - we arrived at our assigned time of 11.30 am and it took an hour to board. Our bags arrived at about 5 pm. We had our first meal on board at Bistro on Five so as to avoid the buffet. The food was fine, it was not crowded and ... Read More
Embarkation - we arrived at our assigned time of 11.30 am and it took an hour to board. Our bags arrived at about 5 pm. We had our first meal on board at Bistro on Five so as to avoid the buffet. The food was fine, it was not crowded and well worth the $5 charge. The ship is modern, attractive, clean and very stable. It is also quite peaceful as there was usually only quiet classical music played around the different areas. Our cabin on deck eleven was large enough with adequate storage, very quiet and was kept immaculately clean by our cabin attendants. The bed was huge and comfortable and the shower is great - the best thing about Aqua class. Our balcony was a good size and we could actually use it! No smoking on balconies is such a huge advantage of sailing with Celebrity. On our previous 2 cruises we had smokers next door to us so we could barely get any use out of the balcony. Entertainment - overall the entertainment was of a surprisingly high standard. Will Martin was exceptional and amazingly talented. He even sang some songs better than the original performers. Jane Cho was also great. We enjoyed the pianist and the Italian Australian singer guitarist. The production shows were also good with some very talented performers. I particularly liked the very flexible dancer/ gymnast. Celebrity Life - We went to quite a few talks. Milos is a standout. Better than most comedians I have seen in my lifetime. He made every topic he spoke on interesting and informative. He was also hilarious in the Liar's Club. Gymnasium - I used the gym a few times, mainly for stretch and other free classes. These were fine but extremely crowded. Maybe more should be scheduled. And a word of advice to Celebrity - buy some new yoga mats! The ones they have are dreadful and well past their use by dates. Food - cafe al Bacio. Often crowded but we could usually find a seat somewhere. We used it at least once everyday. The coffees were quite good but would have been better with fresh milk rather than long life milk. The treats were great. We started out eating our meals in Blu. The food is "clean" healthy food in a quiet environment. The servings are not large. We actually found Blu a bit boring so we changed to the MDR where we enjoyed the food more and found it much more fun and sociable. We joined a large table with lovely people and a great waitstaff. We tried the 3 specialty restaurants and enjoyed all of them. Murano is very elegant with great service. The lobster cooked table side is great and the chocolate souffle is delicious. Tuscan Grille had very good fish and a very picturesque view over Papeete. Silk Harvest was excellent and our favourite of the three restaurants. The Aqua spa cafe had good healthy food, although it could get pretty crowded. Ports. Noumea - we walked around in the morning and took a ship's tour to the mangroves in the afternoon. It was an excellent example of a mangrove swamp and the guide was excellent. Moorea - we took a ship's afternoon circle island tour. It was fine. Bora Bora - this was the nicest place and the best tour by far. It was a tour organised through Cruise Critic with Patrick. A boat ride with snorkelling, swimming with the stingrays and sharks and a motu picnic or feast with traditional food. It was a fantastic excursion - the highlight of our cruise. Lahaina - here we experienced a huge customs mess. Initially there was only 1 customs officer as the others were delayed so there were delays. It didn't really affect us as we had a ship's tour booked so we didn't line up but waited till we were called. However I did speak to some people who waited an hour or two. We went to the Haleakala volcanic crater. It was along drive but the scenery at the crater was very interesting. It was well worth doing once. Minor issues - the cruise did have many cases of norovirus on board as well as lots of coughing. I hit the jackpot and caught both! Norovirus is nasty, but quick and I was only confined to my cabin for 24 hours. The cold lasted much longer and luckily I had bought my own medicines. But these illnesses really didn't affect my overall enjoyment of the cruise. With regards to queues the cruise did have some problems. There were definitely long queues to embark, disembark and clear customs and immigration in Lahaina. None of this really affected us as we were not in a hurry but they may have upset some people. They were generally caused by circumstances that were beyond Celebrity's control and it would be unfair to blame the cruise line. Overall we had a great time with excellent service. Celebrity is a classy, caring cruise line who endeavour to provide a wonderful experience to all their guests. We have already booked further cruises. Read Less
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