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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
Let me start by saying up until the final payment was made I wasn't sure we weren't going to have to cancel. My husband had back surgery in January and his recovery was taking time. This was our fifth cruise -- the third on ... Read More
Let me start by saying up until the final payment was made I wasn't sure we weren't going to have to cancel. My husband had back surgery in January and his recovery was taking time. This was our fifth cruise -- the third on Celebrity with our two previous cruises being on the Infinity. We thought the ship was beautiful, and while different than the Infinity, set up well and easy to navigate. We especially loved the tree suspended in the atrium outside the elevators. We had a balcony cabin on the 'bump out'. Embarking: We found it to be about what we expected when you have to process 2800 people in a relatively short period of time. We had the 2:30 check in time but since we needed to vacate our hotel room prior to that, we arrived at the dock early. We checked in our baggage and found a seat to 'watch the world go by'. My husband, who uses a cane, has a hard time being in one position for any period of time so he would sit, then walk, sit, etc. After a couple of hours he noticed the line was very short and approached one of the crew members asking if it were possible for him to board a little earlier due to his discomfort. They directed him to a line right then. We very much appreciated that consideration. He was offered a chair later but we were nearly at the counter. I think we made it through the line in less than an hour and boarded the ship. Our cabin was ready so we were able to drop off our carry on bags and relax. All but one of our bags had been delivered by early evening -- the other later that night. The ship: Even though there were more people on this ship than we have in our entire town we rarely felt crowded. Waiting for an elevator during busy periods was about as bad as it usually got. While maintenance was on-going we noticed rusty areas on our balcony and our portion of the giant "X" on the balconies was peeling. It did not have any bearing on our trip -- just something we noticed. Our cabin was better than we had expected. We liked the bed next to the balcony door. There seemed to be plenty of storage overall but when you pack for a nearly 3 week trip it's hard to find spots to put everything. The bathroom was well designed and we really liked the shower with the glass doors. There was plenty of storage in there as well. The cabin drawbacks: the one electrical outlet was too far from the bed for my sleep machine and little clock, and the extension cord I brought didn't reach. Our room steward, Gaston, was kind enough to bring in an extension cord. (I'm sure some people are wondering why I brought a clock. It's because the only clock in the room is on the telephone -- hard to see in the dark when you aren't wearing your glasses and in my case, on the opposite side of the bed. ) Another drawback -- no clothes line in the shower. I really missed that. While I don't hold it against Celebrity for wanting us to pay for their laundry services, I feel $1.95 for a pair of socks or ladies underwear is a bit steep. I ended up hand washing a few small items and hung them on hangers hooked to the chairs on the balcony (out of sight). Celebrity needs to understand that passengers are going to hand wash some delicate things and if they don't want 'tidy-whities' hanging from the balcony, a clothesline would be a nice option. We bought a couple of t-shirts on clearance in the gift shop -- they were cheaper than having Celebrity launder the dirty ones. Every review I give Celebrity has the same statement: do what Princess does -- put laundry rooms in. Most people will pay to use a washer and dryer. I'd much rather travel home with clean clothes than have to do 6 loads of laundry when I return. Our favorite place to hang out was in the Sky Lounge. In the morning it was a quiet get-away. Later on in the day there would be activities of some sort there. Dining: We had the early seating in the main dining room. Due to a mix up at the time of our reservation (in Sept 2011) we ended up at a table for two rather than one of the larger tables. Unfortunately our table was set up against a pole, behind curtains, so it appeared we were out of sight as our waiter and assistant waiter couldn't see when we were finished with one course and ready for the next. Despite being among the first to arrive we often felt ignored after we were given our menus....with the exception of the young lady who brought my husband his bottle of beer each evening. Also unfortunate, we lost our original waiter and assistant after the first night. "Dan" was requested by another guest as she was on a back to back and was upset to discover she was sitting outside of his serving area. Klara was reassigned to a table of German tourists as she spoke German. But Dan continued to help us out and Klara would stop by when she had a free moment to see how we were doing. The food was good -- I loved the prime rib and salmon dishes. My husband had one bad steak -- tough and overcooked. I thought the portions were more than adequate. I guess Celebrity doesn't do baked potatoes for dinner now. I didn't ask but they were never on the menu. We enjoyed the desserts, too. Even though the portions weren't large, I was lucky to even get a few bites down. I was usually over full. The only bad dessert we got was the Baked Alaska (I think that's what it was). It was icy and a bit gummy like refrozen ice cream and the 'crust' was frozen and gummy. I understand making special desserts for so many can be daunting but it was pretty bad. We ate at the buffet (Oceanview Cafe) most mornings and afternoons. The food was fine. The special orders were better than the 'sitting' food but that's to be expected. There were always plenty of options. We were usually up for breakfast early so finding a table wasn't a problem. Trays would have been nice but we made do making two trips to get food and beverages. Occasionally one beverage machine would be out of something so it was just a matter of going to another beverage area. Not a big deal -- you have to expect something is going to run out with lots of people getting drinks. Lunch was busier and tables were a little harder to find, but plenty of food and something for everyone. Until the noro-virus hit, we were perfectly happy with the cafe. I loved the ice cream station. We didn't try the specialty cafes but I only regret not trying the Bistro. Entertainment, Activities, etc: Part of the reason we chose this cruise was for it's down time -- the sea days. We didn't come to be entertained or do 'things'. We came to relax, read, kick back. That being said, we didn't attend any of the evening shows. I think we would have but the timing was off for us. We aren't real 'night' people so the late show was too late for us, and the earlier one didn't seem to work with dinner. Some regrets there but not a big deal. We did, however, enjoy the glass blowing show. Once we discovered it we went to nearly every show. I even won one of the pieces in their raffle at the end of the cruise. We also went to some of the talks about French Polynesia and they were entertaining. My husband went to one of the programs by a sports writer and to be honest, as big of a football fan as he is, he was bored stiff. He said the guy can probably write but he wasn't much of a speaker. We didn't go to any of the art auctions. We have in the past and a lot of the art looked like what we'd seen before. We were disappointed that the gift shop didn't have any Sydney/French Polynesia items. Asking about it we were told those items were being shipped to Honolulu so I guess the passengers continuing on would have been able to buy them. And they'll be clearance items by the time the ship moves to a new itinerary. Too bad. We didn't use the casino but appreciated the library...at least while the books were accessible. We felt the library was pale in comparison to the one on the Infinity -- maybe ½ the books and open to the atrium so it really wasn't quiet. The internet was slow but I expected that. And not cheap...also expected...so our internet activity was mainly used to check in at home to make sure all was going well. Ports: We were really looking forward to seeing Tahiti, etc. We are more into the sightseeing than beach/water activities and had booked ship sponsored tours in all but Lahaina where we had a rental car reserved. Our tour for New Caledonia was cancelled (no explanation) so we went to the little museum and found that interesting. Other than that, we just walked around town. We were disappointed in Tahiti. I guess we've seen too many movies and expected this pristine, beautiful island. It was beautiful but so much trash everywhere subtracted from the beauty. Our tour was ok....not great. We were on a Tahitian treasures tour -- not overly impressed with it. We liked our tour guide, though. Moorea was better -- more what we expected in Tahiti but still had a lot of trash everywhere. Again, a tour around the island was good for sight-seeing and we had a good guide. Bora Bora was about the same as Moorea....beautiful. We didn't find the people very friendly. Polite usually (but not always) but that was about it. Maybe they didn't like being invaded by more than 2000 people at once. We were shocked at the dogs. Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora had dogs roaming everywhere. None were 'fixed' -- lots of nursing mothers. None looked cared for or even fed. When I finally asked our tour guide on Bora Bora he said that there were few vets and they were expensive so the animals didn't get the treatment they needed. As an animal lover I'm afraid I was concentrating more on the care of the dogs than I was on the islands. Overall, if we were to do a vacation on a tropical island, I think we'd choose one of the Hawaiian Islands. Crew: I think we found the majority of the crew friendly and hard-working (with the exception of one person -- more on that later). When the virus broke out it looked like everyone was pulling extra shifts. Our room steward and his assistant did a great job of keeping our room and I saw them doing constant cleaning in between the room servicing times. Once my husband asked for ice, it was there all the time. But I missed the water pitcher we had on the Infinity. I think they wanted you to buy water rather than provide it. We just made our own with the ice and tap water. I think we were greeted by just about every crew member we passed. I have nothing but admiration for these people. Our one bad experience was in the clinic. The young woman at the front desk was positively rude. If someone is showing up at the medical clinic they probably aren't feeling well and having someone with the "you're bothering me' attitude doesn't help. My husband was on his second course of antibiotics for an abscess when we left home. His doctor told him that if it flared up after the two weeks' of meds were gone he could get more pills anywhere in the world. A couple of days after he finished his pills, it came back. So he went the clinic to see about a refill. Our greeting upon entering was on the line of 'what do you want'. He said he needed a refill and showed her the bottle. Without looking at it she told him he was 'supposed to get refills before leaving home'. He told her he had and finished the meds but the problem had returned. She glanced at him and told him the doctor would have to see him but not now and we shouldn't be here now and the door should have been locked. Granted, this was after the virus outbreak and maybe she was overworked but there was no excuse for the rudeness. My husband returned at the proper time and the very nice doctor gave him enough pills to get him through the remainder of the cruise (about 5 days). I didn't go back for the second visit but he said she was just as rude that time. The noro-virus outbreak: this is the first time we've been on a ship with an outbreak big enough to take major actions. Having suffered though this bug in the past (though not caught on a cruise -- likely caught on a flight going to HI) we took every precaution to avoid it this time....extra-long hand washing and hitting all the hand sanitizing stations. You can't blame Celebrity for it. They can only do their part -- the passengers have to do their part as well. And it looked like Celebrity was doing their best to keep it under control. But it was like a science fiction movie -- every time you entered the Oceanview Cafe or the dining room, something else was missing from the tables. Books disappeared from the library -- anything the public may have touched disappeared. Except the casino...it was still operating. I think some of the crew members were down with it, too. We saw fewer and fewer staff at the buffet. I understand why they took away our self-serve privileges at the buffet. But sometimes it seemed really hard to get just a cup of coffee. As time went on they were less and less likely to offer you sugar (or salt or pepper). Once in a while someone would come around with a coffee pot and offer to refill your cup. But if they didn't, you were back in line for more coffee. Several passengers had a 'me first' mentality. It didn't matter if there were people in a line, they'd walk up and demand service. In cases like this, Celebrity may have been better off with cordoned off 'lines'. I know there is a lot of wasted food when people serve themselves but having to ask for another piece of bread because the 1 piece won't make a sandwich got old. Often you weren't offered more...you had to ask. And there were times I felt like a pig when I was getting some desserts for the two of us. Yes, I would really like two pieces of that cheesecake, please. It was easier for just one of us to stand in a line. At the end, we figured if we were going to have to be served coffee in the morning, we'd have it served to our cabin and just ordered room service. By the way, room service was excellent. Moving the many, many people: I think Celebrity should take some people moving lessons from Disney. Most of the time it wasn't an issue but immigration day was a major headache. Again, you can't blame Celebrity because the gov't didn't get their agents there timely. But Celebrity could have taken a little more pro-active role in moving people through. Obviously the people with ships tours should have gone through immigration first. But maybe another option was to separate the passengers by 'citizen/non-citizen' lines, too. We were separated by citizen/non-citizen once we got close to the agents -- maybe things would have been smoother if we were broken down prior to then. After about an hour or so in line -- and we got in line at the theater -- we were told if we had confirmed reservations we could go to the front. We had 11:00 car rental reservations (it was 11:30 at that time). I asked a crew member and was told if I had the document to prove it, we could go up front. I got my reservation confirmation from the cabin and we were through immigration in about 10 minutes. Disembarking: at the last minute we decided to buy the ship to airport transfer. I'm very glad we did. Due to some problems getting the gangway attached to the ship in Honolulu we were late getting off the ship. We were all sent to various areas of the ship to wait. And that's what we did....wait. The information was sporadic and when it came across the loud speakers it was difficult to understand. Again, there was the 'me first' attitude coming through. In fact, one man stated he didn't see any reason HE should have to wait. What people should have learned in kindergarten was apparently forgotten in their advanced years - wait your turn. At one point word was coming down through the passengers that all '20s' were allowed to proceed...never heard anything from the crew but all the '20s' were in the moving line. We finally got off, found our luggage and promptly asked a porter for help. He loaded our luggage on to the cart, led the way to the buses and found the transport to the airport. Without him we'd probably still be there (ok, I'm kidding) but we are very thankful for his assistance. The situation wasn't helped when there was a bomb threat in downtown Honolulu that morning. But we got to the airport in plenty of time and lived to cruise again. So, will we cruise on Celebrity again? Absolutely - we booked a 'future cruise' on the ship. But we will stick to the smaller ships. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
Our first Celebrity cruise and we were delighted because we got such a great deal on the cruise itself and the airfare. So it was a no-brainer when we decided to visit beautiful Hawaii and check it off the old bucket list. We flew from New ... Read More
Our first Celebrity cruise and we were delighted because we got such a great deal on the cruise itself and the airfare. So it was a no-brainer when we decided to visit beautiful Hawaii and check it off the old bucket list. We flew from New York the day of the boarding (it was a good flight but long) we finally arrived at the port around 4:00 in the afternoon and we were aware of the issues the Solstice was having with NoroVirus (as they had sent us an email advising the boarding would be delayed until 2:00 so that they could sanitize the ship) We appreciated that and understood because let's face it no one wants to get the Norovirus. HOWEVER the check in was a mess, very unorganized it was almost like they had never used the Honolulu port before and you would think that they should know that most of the people boarding there had traveled a long way so they really should have provided a rest area and some light refreshments. There was nothing! We finally boarded around 4:30ish and our rooms were ready around 6:00. The ship was beautiful and we were very happy to see that the inside cabin we had booked was roomy and very comfortable (we have never stayed in an inside cabin before) and based on this experience I would definitely consider staying in an inside room again. Because of the virus everything was "served" by the crew for the first 7 days or so. This was necessary I am sure but really clogged up the buffet particularly at the coffee stations in the morning at breakfast. The food at the buffet was varied and plentiful but the scrambled eggs they served were most definitely of the powdered variety. Breakfast in the dining room was delicious though. The main dining room was very elegant and by and large the food was very good there but I did get a lobster tail that was most definitely "spoiled" it was rectified immediately when I brought it to the attention of the waiter. Our fellow passengers were decidedly much older I would say age 70 plus but we would much rather travel with older folks than kids. The shore excursions were great except when we tried to book Pearl Harbor pre cruise we were told there was only one ticket left on line and that we should just book that one ticket and MAYBE we would get another when we got on board the ship. Twice I called Celebrity customer service with questions pre cruise I must say for a cruise line that prides itself in being more upscale they were not very helpful or friendly (this after I held for a good 1/2 hour). The entertainment was excellent I particularly enjoyed Greg Bonham, David Klinkenberg, Kuba and the Cirque du Soleil type show called "SOLSTICE" was outstanding. The sea days were very relaxing that is of course until we got to Ensenada. We were assured that our luggage would travel on the same bus as us. It of course was not (actually 3 buses behind ours) fortunately we had a later flight so when it turned up we were relieved and had plenty of time to calm down we were not the only people missing luggage there were several people one poor woman was fairly certain she was going to miss her flight. Not very organized Celebrity. We did enjoy the ship and would consider cruising with Celebrity again but it would have to be a good deal because I didn't find it to be superior to any other cruise line we have sailed with. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
WE boarded ship 3 hours late due to Noro virus on previous leg of the repositioning cruise. We knew of the delay thru CC, X never notified us even though many were notified by X up to 3 different ways of the late boarding. We didn't ... Read More
WE boarded ship 3 hours late due to Noro virus on previous leg of the repositioning cruise. We knew of the delay thru CC, X never notified us even though many were notified by X up to 3 different ways of the late boarding. We didn't get to our rooms until 5:30. X said it was due to ship cleaning, but we also were told that previous leg had major luggage and immigration problems on the Sydney part of the cruise. Minimal amenities when we finally got to our room (no drinking classes and were told we couldn't have any even though my husband needed them to take his medicine). We have been on a Princess cruise with Noro virus and have not had all the room amenities removed. No ice bucket, champagne, etc. We finally got items during cruise. No library books or games the entire cruise, but casino and shops were open. The buffet was very good, but it had almost exactly the same food every day. The food was good, but it would have been nice to have more variety from day to day. Example in the curry section there were the same curies, with only the meat one changed. Breakfast was exactly the same each day with maybe one sausage changed. The desserts were the same every day, and many were tasteless, almost like the baker didn't like to use sugar. Crusts were not made by a pastry chef. Most days there were 4-5 desserts and they were almost always the same. Once or twice near the end the pastries changed and were actually fairly good. The coffee bar also had exactly the same items every day. The muffins were very good and the apple turnover was good but it would have been nice to have different types of fruit inside. The afternoon tea was a joke. There were 2 sandwiches, 5 of the everyday desserts, scones, and serve yourself coffee. Teas on other cruises were sit down, in a dining room, and a special event. This was just same old, same old. Dinner in the MDR ranged from awful to OK. Appetizers and soups were good. Main entrees were often un edible. There was limited food choices. Almost no pasta items. No "comfort type" everyday food choices. On several occassions the water told us not to order specific meats because they were either very dry or tough. On one of the first days of the cruise the waiter told us not to order a specific dinner because it was very bad and it was listed in the daily activity letter as a favorite of the chef. We should have known at that time what to expect. Food was often just plunked on the plate with no sense of dressing the plate. Some meals were the meat and 2 mini potatoes only on the plate. Lamb shank sat on a bed of weird beans, a hunk of fish on a pile of polenta and nothing else on the plate. Some entrees were repeated on a 11 day cruise. Ice cream often came totally melted and when it was frozen had ice crystals like it had been re-frozen. I finally asked the waiter to bring me a plate of vegetables since I had only had them a couple of times at dinner. When there were vegetables, they often were finally chopped mystery veggies and only about a tablespoon. On other cruises, the entries were dressed up like a gourmet restaurant, not Denny's. Wonderful waiter, but he had 6-7 tables with 2 assistants. Service was still good. We also had problems with smoking. It seems like the owner of X must be a smoker. The smoking area is on deck 5 near the rear elevators and totally exposed to the cabins above it. We could see smokers from our cabin on the 9th floor (9245) since the smokers were directly below us and we could watch them smoke and smell the smoke. At first X denied that there was a smoking section directly below us, but after the flood in our room and huge fans to dry the flood on the second day after the flood made our cabin unusable and then the balcony unusable due to the smoke, we were moved to a suite. We were moved to the 12th floor near the rear elevators. The smoking area was just outside the port side. Often the elevator waiting area was so smoky, it was hard to wait for the elevator to come. There is also a smoking area right next to the jogging track so if you walked, you had to endure smoke there. Our bus ride to San Diego was OK. Bus was filthy, potty worked but was gross, had to wait 60 minutes at the border to get to immigration, 15 minutes when we finally got to immigration, bus driver got lost and pulled over to the shoulder on the interstate and just sat there for 15 minutes. We were in the back of the bus so we don't know what he was doing. This will probably be our only X cruise. BAck to Princess and Holland America. I don't know if this cruise was an exception, or the norm for X. I had always been told that this was an upscale cruise company, but we have had better food on Carnival. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
Sometimes the the over-inflated reviews of past guest cause you go into an experience with too high of expectations. Our cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice was one of those. The ship itself is simply beautiful and glides through ... Read More
Sometimes the the over-inflated reviews of past guest cause you go into an experience with too high of expectations. Our cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice was one of those. The ship itself is simply beautiful and glides through the water so smooth you barely know you're moving but it seems that the hotel management operation is where the short-comings were for us. While you didn't hear about it in the news the ship was infected with the Noroviruse in the previous cruise therefore there were lots of leftover affects during our cruise that affected what was in our cabin, all dining operations, etc. I think the greatest shortcoming of this cruise were in the areas of dining and entertainment. In these areas this ship was far from the 5-Star experience I expected and did little to make this a fun and enjoyable experience. The food was boring, over-thought, limited and did nothing to compliment our Hawaiian cruise theme. The entertainment was brilliant in the big shows but did little to encourage nightlife in the lounges and casino. Perhaps that was because the median passenger age on board was around 65-70 years of age. This cruise was essentially a floating retirement home. I'm no partier but I do still have a pulse and the Solstice did little to increase it's rate! Boring! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
We are long time cruisers and Celebrity Elite Captains Club members That have been looking forward to the arrival on the west coast of a Solstice class ship. Lets not delay this experience was a huge disappointment. They let us know ahead ... Read More
We are long time cruisers and Celebrity Elite Captains Club members That have been looking forward to the arrival on the west coast of a Solstice class ship. Lets not delay this experience was a huge disappointment. They let us know ahead of time that the dreaded Novo virus had broken out on the previous cruise from Australia. The consequence of this was an advisory to not come to the dock prior to 2:00PM. Not a problem with us since our flight from San Diego did not get to Honolulu til 1:25PM. Not a problem until we got to the dock and found a morass of humanity entangled in a disorganized boarding that approached being a disaster. We were being exposed to poor management and leadership that became the hallmark of the whole cruise. What a way to be introduced to a beautiful ship in many ways ! The Cruise over all was marred by having 9 out of 11 days being put under quarantine with no self service in the buffet. No salt and pepper on the tables. Resulting in long long lines in the buffet . This even affected the Morning Elite breakfast where no food was served during the quarantine. In your cabin there were no amenities , eg., glasses ,ice buckets etc--BUT THE CASINO WAS OPEN . I have been a victim of the Novo on Holland and was quarantined for only 2 days and have nothing but praise for the efficient and caring way I was handled Once on board we were delayed til 6:00pm from going to our cabin and were shuttled to the Buffet which was a mad house. Finally to our the concierge verandah cabin we booked. Nice room and verandah with a very nice bathroom. The bedding was very comfortable The only downside was the lack of storage . Much less than even the Century. The Food in the MDR was spotty a best. The big problem was wondering if they really knew how to cook meat which usually came way overcooked from the way you ordered it. They absolutely ruined our beautiful veal chop. We had soups that were at best watery for the most part. One night we ordered escargot and snail portion were very small and suggested they were at least halved. I ordered a steak one night and after three tries they still did not get it right. The food overall was mediocre in the MDR. We did try the Tuscan grill and it was superb--perhaps the best filet mignon ever. Well worth the money. The buffet was so poorly organized that we avoided it as much as we could NOW for SERVICE which is an area Celebrity has always excelled. Last November we had a 15 day cruise to Hawaii on the Century which I lauded the CAPTAIN for being very visible daily and showing his concern for customer satisfaction. This concern actually radiated to the whole crew including Officers and they provided the best service and in fact the best cruise we ever took. The opposite was true on the Solstice. Not once during the cruise did any crew member address us by name-- even the room steward. We went to talk to the Captains Club Host (who did a good job). He was not there and spoke to a female staff member who had to be the rudest person ever. I remember the days when a staff member would get your plate in the buffet and carry it to the table (I am handicapped so this was important to me). The table people in the buffet were so lackadaisical that getting any service was at best problematic. I BLAME THE CAPTAIN FOR THE POOR ATTITUDE OF HIS PEOPLE. With a ship this size you need better than average leadership and organization. And most of all COMMUNICATION Entertainment was fair . The production shows were ok and the individual performers were for the most part mediocre in the main show room MOVIES Were not first run . ON the port days in the islands they usually had movies in the AM and PM This was very good HOWEVER announcements on the PA system for the tenders blasted away in the movie. The Captains club host fixed this after the second day. On non port days there were no movies during the day and were scheduled at the same time as the evening show or later The Cruise director was unimpressive. Sure would be nice during activities like trivia if the host spoke unaccented English so we could understand them. Patricia from Portugal had problems but she had a great personality and had a guest read the info for us Suffice it to say we will stick to the Century and the Millenium class ships. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
The solstice is a really beautiful ship well laid out and we liked how everything was easily accessed from midship elevators . we were in conciegre class and the cabin was quite good although the couch was a bit uncomfortable and it was ... Read More
The solstice is a really beautiful ship well laid out and we liked how everything was easily accessed from midship elevators . we were in conciegre class and the cabin was quite good although the couch was a bit uncomfortable and it was too close to the wardrobe but that is something and nothing the bathroom was very nice and the bonus was no shower curtain. We ate in the buffet for all meals so i can only comment on that and we found the food to be very nicely cooked, well, what we ate anyway, but it was the same everyday not much variety. There was an outbreak of a gastric bug on the previous cruise so this led to all sorts of problems but i have to say that the ship was thoroughly cleaned before we got on and we were most grateful for that as the last thing we wanted was to catch any nasty bugs, we really had the best time and above is the only good stuff i can mention because it wasn't all plain sailing. We flew from Sydney to Honlulu to meet the ship and after about a two hour train ride a three hour wait for the plane and then a nine hour plane ride all we wanted was to have a shower something to eat and maybe have a look around Honolulu.. Wrong!! because of the bug we were delayed getting on the ship but before that we had to line up for about 45 minutes to hand over our luggage then about an hour or more to get through security then about the same to get our sea pass then sit and wait for the ship to be ready for boarding I think we got on about 3 or 4 pm but we couldn't get to our cabins till 7pm they kept putting an announcement that it would be 5.30 and that announcement kept coming way after 5.30, the Hawaiian port authority was really bad and i do hope it was a one off because that alone would put me off cruising for life. Now getting back to conceirge class although we had a nice cabin it wasn't worth the extra as there was no priority anything, harping back to the port authority our bags should have been taken off us we should not have had to line up only a petty gripe but very annoying no priority bags to your cabin the poor stewards were to overwhelmed by the extra work they had to do to get the ship clean so our bags didn't turn up till about nine pm, also no pillow menu no welcome bottle of bubbly so had to guess it was because of the bug which is ok but there was no communication about it and that was to become the theme of this cruise we hope that it was a one off and celebrity are not usually this unorganised and i am told by past passengers that they are usually very good but the organisation and communication on this cruise was terrible we had no idea what was going on especially at meal times if you have cruised before and you eat in the buffet you get a tray plate and help yourself well we were all standing around looking for said items not having a clue what we were doing until the penny dropped and the staff were serving out the food and most of the staff were new as some had to go off because they had caught the bug so the new ones didn't have a clue what they were doing. We were told it would be 72 hours and it would be back to normal but it only got back to normal three days from the finish of the cruise and then we were all confused again because we were waiting for the staff to serve us. There was more bad than good on this cruise but it did not detract from our enjoyment of it we had a very relaxing time and we loved Hawaii, I won't put celebrity down and say they were really awful because that is not the case, it was just unfortunate that we had the outbreak and although it was annoying it didn't make the cruise a bad one. What was annoying and very bad was the lack of organisation for example the tendering which was another line up for about 45 minutes or more and communication or lack of we should have been kept up to date with what was going to happen in the dining areas we get a newsletter with what is happening on board so they could have kept us updated through that There was a lot of little and some big annoying things but not everything is perfect and as i said we still had a great time now to cruise celebrity again or not it would have to be more organised and it would have to be a great cruise deal and i wouldn't pay the extra for concierge because at the end of the day everyone is treated the same no matter what your cabin choice is Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Good news first: cruise was fine; the tour past the active volcano at night was breathtaking. It was a hassle to have the crew serve everything, but if it kept the ship healthy, then people should get over the inconvenience. Bad news: ... Read More
Good news first: cruise was fine; the tour past the active volcano at night was breathtaking. It was a hassle to have the crew serve everything, but if it kept the ship healthy, then people should get over the inconvenience. Bad news: embarkation was a mess. No communication, no clear direction, check-in staff who were at best untrained, at worst totally incompetent. And the fundamental flaw? Few if any Celebrity people visible -- those that were, were IT types, trying to just keep the computers up. Atrocious news: Celebrity provided transport to the airport in San Diego on dirty, ill maintained buses. Ours got stuck in the Mexican desert. The transmission was bad, apparently, since the driver couldn't shift into first gear without turning the engine OFF. As we wound our halting way up the steep hills from Ensenada, the journey became more dangerous by the minute. After more than 20 stops by the side of the road to re-start the engine, a mechanic arrived -- WITH A SCREWDRIVER. He was going to fix the bus; instead, he took over as driver. Problem not solved. Finally, after 4 hours, (with no water, bathrooms, explanation of what was happening, etc.) a replacement bus arrived and the passengers moved the luggage from one bus to the other and the journey began (again) for the 2 hour trip to San Diego. We then had to change to a 3rd bus at the border since the replacement bus was not allowed to cross the border. In total, a 7 hour journey from Ensenada, Mexico to the San Diego airport. Of course, people missed flights, but Celebrity assured us that the airlines had been notified -- by the time we realized that they hadn't, we were on our own to negotiate with the airlines about changed reservations. The end of this cruise has soured us -- and others that we have talked with since returning home -- on EVER cruising with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Celebrity Solstice -- 2 out of 6 rating. No organisation/communication on this ship. They had norovirus on the ship on the Australian leg, but did not even advise the guests on board at the time. Guest relations were not consistent with ... Read More
Celebrity Solstice -- 2 out of 6 rating. No organisation/communication on this ship. They had norovirus on the ship on the Australian leg, but did not even advise the guests on board at the time. Guest relations were not consistent with their information. No passenger booklets/info in rooms No drink menus until 2nd last day, so missed out on so many potentially nice drinks in bars and restaurant, and teas at cafe -- such a huge selection that I did not even know they had. Asked bar staff what I could have (my drinks package include non alcoholic drinks) -- they couldn't tell me. No salt and pepper shakers until 2nd last day No books in library Few bar staff -- had to search for them/go to bar ourselves Ship does not accept preloaded travel card for payment of account, and both ATM machines were out of order at end when we were all paying our accounts. DAY 1 - Arrived embarkation 1130am -- no signs/verbal info -- just told to drop our bags and go line up, which we did, for hours. No seating. Exhausted from long flight over and lack of sleep night before. Finally herded into the big warehouse, given a 100ml bottle of water and small packet of chips. Not enough seats inside for everyone. No communication. After another couple of hours, told to line up and board, took another hour. - Got on board. Again no signs/information, only announcement that our rooms were not ready. A previous passenger said they were going to cafe on deck 14, so we followed them up. NO STAFF ADVISED US OF THIS. - We did not get into our rooms until 630pm. No information booklet/leaflet/info in rooms. I phoned guest relations to ask for info -- they were evasive and said we could go to dining room. Luggage did not arrive in our rooms until 9pm!! If staff had notified us of the delay/even a sign, we would have happily hired a car and looked around island. DAY 2 - We had a car booked for the day. No information at pier/taxi rank -- had to get to airport for car ($30 each way). Told by care rentals that they do not go to pier. At the end of the day, we saw Thrifty shuttle bus to pier. We were told we had to be back on board at 4pm for safety talk. WHY DIDN'T THEY DO THAT WHEN WE WERE ALL SITTING AROUND ON DAY 1? We weren't sailing until midnight! Some people had booked night time shows and had to cancel. MAUI -- tender from ship to shore -- took 4 hours to get off, so didn't get ashore until 12md, then had to be back on at 4. Some people lost money on pre-booked cars and tours. The bottom of a glass of coke dropped off (faulty glass) at the restaurant when lifted, spilling coke and ice all over the table, plates and cutlery. The waiter covered it all with layers of serviettes and continued to serve our meals with the coke still on the cutlery and the tablecloth where I sat soaked, forcing me to sit on the corner -- this is 5 and a half star service????? We were finally moved after we refused to eat there, and offered a bottle of champagne. We went past the lava flowing into the sea at 1030pm one night -- very spectacular, brochure had said it would be at midnight -- no announcement over PA system to inform people -- many very upset that they missed it. We had asked guest relations -- 2 different staff told 2 different times, but we were fortunate to have balcony suite to see it clearly. Final day -- we were being transferred by bus from Ensenada to San Diego. Buses were told to be there at 3am, commenced boarding them at 5am, we were told we would be leaving at 810am, we didn't leave until 1130. So disorganised!! We were told it was a one and half hour drive to airport, took 4 hours. Many people missed their flights. Highlights -- the Cafe coffee, food and friendly competent staff were great. The Tuscan (Italian) restaurant food and staff were excellent, definately worth the extra $35 to eat there, the best scallops and lobster I have ever had, and the most amazing desserts. I would not recommend Solstice to anyone. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2013
We're a multigenerational family who typically cruise once or twice a year. We've tried many of the major cruise lines and have especially enjoyed our trips with Norwegian and Holland America in recent years. We thought it was ... Read More
We're a multigenerational family who typically cruise once or twice a year. We've tried many of the major cruise lines and have especially enjoyed our trips with Norwegian and Holland America in recent years. We thought it was time for a change and booked a trip on the Celebrity Solstice from Hawaii to Ensenada. We were all very excited to try Celebrity and cruise on a Solstice-class ship. I will apologize in advance for the length of this review; there was a lot to write about but unfortunately for all of the wrong reasons. Embarkation The first clue that all might not go well arrived in the form of an email from Celebrity a few days before embarkation. It read "During the ship's last sailing, a small percentage of guests experienced a gastrointestinal illness. We will conduct enhanced sanitizing onboard the ship and within the terminal to help prevent any illness from affecting your cruise. Therefore, your check-in and boarding will be delayed. We ask that you not arrive for check-in before 2:00 PM." Fair enough. By all means, clean the ship and clean it thoroughly. For good measure, we thought we would delay embarkation by a few additional hours just to be on the safe side and arrived at the terminal at 4:00pm. After checking in and boarding the ship, there were hundreds of people everywhere. Thinking it was just regular boarding-day crowds, my family split up to go to our respective staterooms. With all of our carry-on bags, we figured out where to go, found the elevators, got to the right deck, and then encountered heavy steel doors closing off the corridors. A small sign on the door indicated that cabins were not yet ready for passengers, which was indeed frustrating. Of all the Celebrity staff we encountered, from the time we checked in, lined up, boarded the ship, and made our way to the right deck, NO ONE bothered to tell the passengers anything about cabins not being ready. My parents had it much worse. When they got to their deck, the doors blocking off the corridors had been opened so they, along with a group of other passengers, started off to find their cabins. An officer encountered the group and shouted at them to immediately get out. Lack of communication and rude staff would become twin themes of this cruise. My daughter and I found room in the disco to sit and wait...and wait... and wait... Over the next two hours, there would only be two announcements indicating that the cabins were still not ready. Finally, at around 6:30pm, we were told that the cabins were ready so we raced up to ours quickly, only to find it completely unprepared. No linen on the beds, no towels, nothing. We went to eat and finally returned to a ready cabin around 8:00pm. Bags did not arrive until 10:30pm. This was not a good start to what was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime. The captain finally surfaced a few days later and referenced the boarding process in an announcement. He carefully avoided anything resembling an apology. He did insist however on ending each announcement throughout the cruise with inane inspirational quotes. This habit started out as annoying and quickly became irritating. Public Spaces and Cabins There's no doubt that the Solstice is a beautiful ship and her dEcor was stunning. Abundant natural light, soft colours, pleasing wall and floor coverings, and contemporary glass screens and backdrops made the Solstice feel warm and comfortable. Although the atrium was at times far too noisy, it was perhaps the most impressive space afloat. Eight glass-fronted elevators shot up and down 14 stories while a massive tree was somehow suspended half-way up. This soaring, stunning piece of maritime architecture made the ship feel more like an exclusive condo building or trendy waterfront hotel. Cabins aboard the Solstice were equally as impressive. On our trip, we had booked both a balcony and an inside stateroom. They were identical in layout, decor, and size. Attractive artwork, light-coloured wood panelling, large and comfortable sofas, and stylish curtains, pillows, and carpeting gave the rooms a chic feel. Cabins felt roomy and modern and everything seemed to be in fine working order (well, all except the safes, both of which jammed shut on the first day). A variety of services could be accessed from the interactive tv, including menus & room service, guest account balances, photos, and international news stories. There was no children's life jacket in our room and after asking our room steward, one appeared the next day. The bathrooms were especially spacious and contemporary. While there is a significant "wow" factor, there are some glaring design flaws. For starters, there is an absence of a traditional promenade deck. On deck Five, there is indeed some outside space but the views are primarily obscured by the lifeboats. I found two small sections on either side with chairs (about twenty in total per side) but when I decided to make myself comfortable, I soon had to retreat elsewhere as these areas turned out to be the smoking sections. In the absence of a quiet spot on Celebrity's non-existent promenade deck, I tried without success to find a quiet spot elsewhere. The library, card room, and "Team Earth" space (whatever the heck that is) all have comfortable chairs overlooking the soaring atrium. Aha, I thought...here's the quiet spot I've been looking for. Well, any quiet was quickly shattered by the booming voice of the cruise director a few decks below. It was time for an activity and anything that happens in the atrium can be heard throughout the ship. Massive open spaces may look impressive but they allow noise to travel unimpeded, so much so that live music played in the atrium (which happens frequently) could be heard in my cabin four decks above. I could feel the floor of the cabin vibrating and the music could be heard all the way down the corridor. Of an evening, the noise is almost unbearable. The atrium becomes the hub of activity and the combination of live music, recorded music, casino machines, crowds, and announcements is deafening. Public spaces on the Solstice are both numerous and too few. There are of course lots of venues to be parted from your money (and yes, I know that this is the ultimate goal of any cruise line). If you're a drinker, then there's a bar wherever you are. If you're a shopper with lots of cash and don't care about paying top-dollar, there are high-end jewelry and clothing options. Sadly, the souvenir shops carry the same poor supply of tacky, overpriced garbage as on most other lines. Worse in fact. Celebrity had by far the worst selection I've seen on a ship (and if you've been to the shops on HAL, you already know that the bar is set pretty low). If you're just looking for a quiet place to relax, then you won't find too many options on the Solstice. The huge Sky Observation lounge is perhaps the most attractive space on the ship. It's a gorgeous lounge at the front of the ship with wonderful seating and views. Sadly, it was taken over on every sea day by the seemingly mandatory Park West "art" auctions. I tried to sit and ready a book one day but the salesman's pitch was unbearable. He was loud and slick and people mindlessly applauded like lemmings after the description of each piece. When the hundreds of easels and paintings were carted away each day, the lounge was then reserved for a variety of private functions so I was never able to relax and enjoy this great space. Seats in the library were in short supply and on my cruise, the library was stripped bare of any books (an asset which most would view as mandatory in order to actually call a space a 'library'). One might assume that the books had all been quarantined due to the massive norovirus outbreak on the previous cruise but obtaining the real story would involve Celebrity being forthcoming with details, something which they seemed loathe to do throughout the cruise. Even a simple sign posted on a shelf indicating why this room had become a book-free zone was obviously out of the question Ports Honolulu - We had to be back on board by 4:00pm for the safety drill even though in pre-departure information, we saw that the ship would sail at midnight. It was frustrating to learn afterwards that if this boarding time was queried, passengers were told that they could stay ashore until 11:30pm as long as they watched the safety video later. We lost a night ashore in Honolulu because of this. Poor communication from Celebrity. Maui - This is a tender port and even though the Solstice arrived at 8:00am, it was a very long process to get thousands of people ashore. We were lucky to finally arrive on shore by 10:30am. We had to be back on board at 4pm and as the last shuttle from the car rental office left at 3:00pm, we had considerably less time ashore than we had anticipated. This process was repeated again when the ship revisited Maui a few days later. Heard lots of grumbling from unhappy people about the length of the tendering process. Huge line-ups at the dock to come back to the ship. Celebrity clearly hasn't figured out an efficient way to get its passengers to and from shore in a timely fashion (and perhaps for large ships like the Solstice, it's just not possible). Hilo - You will dock here. If you've not been to see Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, go! It's very impressive. Kona - Yet another tender port. We booked a ship excursion here and were therefor able to beat some of the lines to get ashore. Children I had read a number questions from people wondering if Celebrity was appropriate for children. As someone who travels with a six year old, I'm pleased to say that the answer is a resounding 'yes'. The Fun Factory is a fantastic venue offering all kinds of arts, crafts, sports, games, and Wii. Counsellors were very friendly and enthusiastic and because of the small numbers of children on board, my daughter received very personal attention. Arrangements can be made for lunch or dinner care at minimal cost. Celebrity has an edge over the other lines I've travelled on in terms of the quality of their programming. Also of note for parents with children is that the Solstice has two outdoor pools. One of them has a maximum depth of 4' so life jackets are not necessary depending on the height of the child. The splash pad poolside was another big hit. Crew No ship can be perfect and the Solstice is no exception. Unfortunately, her biggest flaw is massive and potentially a deal-breaker where future cruises with Celebrity are concerned: her crew. Drawn from all over the world, the level of customer service was as varied as the nationalities of the crew. My introduction to Celebrity service came on the first evening in the buffet-style Oceanview Cafe. Due to the massive norovirus outbreak on the previous cruise, the crew were serving all dishes. The servers managed to do so without any smiles, warmth, or friendliness. The pizza server managed to literally throw my slice on a plate and shove it into my hands without once ever making eye contact. He was far too busy chatting with his co-server and clearly I had interrupted his social time by asking him to do his job. The next night, we thought we would try 'Select' dining. A letter in our cabin informed us that this worked in two ways. We could either make a reservation or simply show up at our desired time to see what was available. We opted for the latter not knowing how the day's schedule would unfold. Upon our arrival at the main dining room desk, we were 'greeted' by a surly young woman who scowled at us. We said that we were a party of four and did not have a reservation. Her response was a curt "I no have table for four!" And that was it. Move on. I don't care where you eat but you're not eating here. Undeterred, I tried again. We would be happy to wait until a table became available - perhaps she could tell us how long this would take? "You come back in forty minutes - go have drink in martini bar!" she barked, before turning to the next in line. Sure, I'll take my six year old and we'll knock back a couple of Cosmopolitans. Thanks. This individual didn't smile, she didn't want to help, and she just clearly didn't care. She had all the warmth of a North Korean prison guard. Perhaps Celebrity's secretly outsourced its customer service training to Pyongyang...The situation was only resolved when the head waiter observed what had happened, apologized profusely, and had us seated within a few minutes. I've been on enough cruises to know that tables are not always available if you don't have a reservation. I don't expect them to be. What I DO expect is to be treated with at least a basic level of courtesy and professionalism. Dining The Main Dining Room is an impressive venue to look at but the tables are placed extremely close together. It was impossible not to overhear the conversations of those beside you and, depending on your neighbours, this could be uncomfortable. We had to put up with a table of bigots beside us one evening and listen to their loud and intolerant views. The food itself was fine but the service was painfully slow. It was impossible to finish a meal in under two hours. We also noted that there was a charge for an end-of-the-meal cappuccino. While free on HAL, there's a $5 charge for this (just as there's a $2.50 charge for orange juice, another free item on HAL). The Oceanview Cafe was an attractive venue with ample seating. It was never difficult to find a place to sit and because of the numerous food stations, it was eventually a simple process to help yourself to breakfast and lunch. I say 'eventually' because for the first nine days of the cruise, everything was handed to you. This created huge line-ups as the crew really didn't seem to know what to do. It seemed like only one drink station ever worked and instead of having multiple glasses of water, lemonade, etc prepared for distribution, each order was taken and filled individually. One of the biggest problems was the very poor level of English spoken by the crew. Multiple explanations seemed necessary for the simplest of requests and there were always huge line-ups. The food in the Cafe was ok but not outstanding. The selection seemed great on the first day but never really changed much after that. There were also no announcements from Celebrity on how long the ban on serving ourselves would last. Another example of exceedingly poor communication. I ordered room service once and it took me three attempts. I first tried to order using the interactive TV but got an error message indicating that the system wasn't working. I then called, got placed on hold, and was promptly disconnected. Placed the order successfully on the third try and it didn't take too long for the food to arrive. Unfortunately, when I opened the door and said hello, I came face-to-face with another sour-faced employee who didn't smile or say hello. She simply stormed in, banged the tray down on the counter, turned, and left without a single word. Another graduate of Celebrity's Pyongyang Academy of Customer Service. Absolutely appalling, yet sadly predictable, behaviour and attitude from another Celebrity employee. Disembarkation Having read reports of previous miserable journeys from Ensenada to San Diego, we were prepared for the worst. Little did we know that the actual bus journey wouldn't be anywhere near as bad as getting off the ship. We had to be out of our cabins by 8:00am and were expecting to be on our way shortly thereafter. Instead, we sat in the main theatre for 3.5 hours waiting for our bus number to be called. The cruise director was nowhere to be seen and it was left to one poor young man to keep an increasingly agitated crowd entertained (or at least to prevent a mutiny and mass exit from occurring). The first several bus numbers were called and then it just stopped - for what seemed like hours. The only Celebrity announcements were to indicate that the rain had slowed the disembarkation process. Perhaps it was true, or perhaps it was in fact because the entire process was so poorly organized. We finally left the ship at 11:30am and were at San Diego airport around 3:00pm. There were lots of unhappy people on our bus who had missed their flights and I'm so glad that we had opted to stay the night before flying home in the morning. Final Thoughts Celebrity could learn a few things from HAL (and probably other lines too) about customer service. HAL's crew is exclusively from Indonesia and the Philippines and they are the best I've ever encountered. Always smiling, always asking how they can help, and always hardworking. They make you feel special every day of your vacation and if there is a problem, they genuinely want to resolve it. Celebrity may have some of the fanciest ships afloat but if guests are treated like an inconvenience (instead of valued guests who have spent thousands of dollars each to be aboard), then those guests probably won't return. I doubt I will and judging from the many unsolicited comments that I heard over the duration of the cruise, many people aboard the Solstice won't either. If I had a dollar for each time I heard someone say that they would never sail on Celebrity again, then I would be well on my way to funding my next cruise on another line. I've always been of the opinion that there's no such thing as a bad cruise. Some are just better than others. Well, Celebrity has proved me wrong. This was a bad cruise. From shambolic embarkation and disembarkations, huge waits for tenders, disorganized meals, rude staff, and overwhelmingly poor communication, it was a really, really bad cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Having had a wonderful cruise two years ago on Eclipse thought we would go to Hawaii have to say the Solstice is not a patch on Eclipse in every way. We knew we were in for a wait when we arrived and were told to go and take a seat and ... Read More
Having had a wonderful cruise two years ago on Eclipse thought we would go to Hawaii have to say the Solstice is not a patch on Eclipse in every way. We knew we were in for a wait when we arrived and were told to go and take a seat and have a drink and snack, 3 hours later we were called on board only to be told that the rooms would be ready at 5.30, OK we know why they were doing this, due tot he Noro scare, 5.30 arrived only to be told it would be announced when we could go into cabins. Rather then keep repeating this they could have told us there was show as usual, etc, got into cabin at 6.30, other people have mentioned there were no programmes, etc, so no one went to the show!! Entertainment, the singers and dancers were very good, energetic and did a pretty good job. The other 'entertainers' varied from OK to awful. The trio playing classical music were good, but were always placed in a walk through area so the enjoyment was spoilt. The dining room was very noisy, our saving grace was the company we had from two lovely American couples, they made out trip for us and we spent hours at dinner chatting and laughing, when we could hear each other! The food was OK, we thought the ship and food was no where near as good as Eclipse. Be warned if you are vegetarian, very little choice, meals were repeated, curry to hot to eat (spicy hot). No appetiser on one day, the portions were small too, I may be vegetarian not on a diet!! The meals were always lukewarm or cold, and even after mentioning this several times, it never improved. Tendering is a bit of a problem, but if you get your ticket early the longest you should have to wait is an hour or two. Our biggest groan is the never ending piped music loud and intrusive, it was simply awful, loud, all over the ship and different tunes in different areas, the only place for some peace was in the cabin!! The journey back to San Diego was something to remember,two and a half hours late getting off the ship due to the rain. Then onto a coach, the driver took a wrong turn and had to reverse onto a main road on a hill to get back, he then took the wrong turn at the border in Mexico, it was chaos at the airport, they really need to sort this out. If you are doing this trip allow at least 5-6 hours from when you get off! All together a nice trip, but not up to the mark for us, we are going on a river cruise next.Disappointed In Celebrity not 4 star! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2013
We sailed on an 11 night Hawaii cruise from Honolulu to Ensenada Mexico. Unfortunately, as luck had it, the cruise prior to ours had a Norovirus outbreak which affected our cruise and was not handled very well by Celebrity. See last ... Read More
We sailed on an 11 night Hawaii cruise from Honolulu to Ensenada Mexico. Unfortunately, as luck had it, the cruise prior to ours had a Norovirus outbreak which affected our cruise and was not handled very well by Celebrity. See last section Below. SHIP. First, the good points. The Solstice is a very nice ship. It is in very good shape considering its age and the Art Deco and Nouveau design of rooms are appealing. Even full, the ship is not crowded. PASSENGER TYPE The average age of our passage was older than expected, perhaps late 60s or early 70s. It may have been the itinerary or length, but certainly the age was much older than expected. we had lovely table mates and did find some folks to hang out with who, like us, were in their 30s or 40s. There MAY have been 10 children on the whole ship. We cruise with friends who are AWESOME! ENTERTAINMENT. Entertainment reflected this age group. For us, the 60s music of bands and Muzak at the pool were a bit of a bore, and wanted some more current options. We asked for more current music at the pool, but were told the "old people " would complain. the daily activities, likewise, were clearly geared towards retirees. However, we enjoyed the hot glass show and the Solstice "circus"production show should not be missed. X just needs more options if they want a younger crowd. Pool chairs were nice. Solarium pretty, but not nearly as pretty as some of the RCI Solariums. SKY SUITE. Cabin 6304, a SS1, was a highlight. Great, quiet room, with plenty of space, a tub and nice sized balcony. Roomier and much nicer than junior suite on RCI. More like a Grand Suite on RCI. Room attendants very nice. Be warned, there is a LARGE blue roof of the restaurant below that extends many feet past your balcony, for a not so good view of the ocean. And despite no smoking, Those above us threw cigarette butts on our balcony all the time. Nevertheless, great cabin. You do have a lighted magnifying makeup mirror, large TV, iPod docking, robes, umbrellas, tote bags and binoculars...in case those are of import to you. No DVD player. DINING. The main dining room is quite lovely with very good food and good selections. We really enjoyed the food and thought it superior to past cruises and I think a step up from RCI or M Class. Service was exceedingly slow, causing us to miss shows, but our table mates kept us entertained! We ate at Silk Harvest and Tuscan Grille, neither of which we paid for because we had a suite. Both we just OK and certainly the specialty restaurants on the M Class FAR outshine these, as to RCI venues like Chops and Giovanni's Table. I would not pay the high cost to eat at these, but as I said, we did not, so they were fine. SH is probably a bit better than TG. They are worth a $15 surcharge, but not the $35 to $45 extra you pay... Especially given the fine food in the MDR. BARS. As noted below, we really had trouble enjoying these for 9 of the 11 days. I REALLY wanted to try the Molecular Bar, but couldn't until Day 10 due to no menus... See below. When we did try it, the drinks are super unique! Loved the Lucky Cat. Had aMartini Tasting at Martini Bar which was a bore at first.... Served on a little tray.... Until we complained and Orlando rescued us! He dumped out those drinks and poured 18 martinis at once!! Great show and got the passengers excited! We were going to get a drink package, but with issues below, didn't waste our money and felt bad for those who did. PORTS. Hawaii is nice, albeit commercialized and IMHO, a bit overrated. We did ship excursions... Never smart due to overcrowding....except in Hilo where we had a GREAT private tour. We just prefer the beaches, prices and more private excursion options of Caribbean I guess, NOROVIRUS/MANAGEMENT. The real let down of this cruise was management. Let me explain. There was a NV outbreak on the prior cruise and I guess X didn't know what to do? We were supposed to board at 11 am in Honolulu Day 1, but cabins not ready until 6 pm. So what do you do all day on a port day with carryons? You wait around. The cabins had NOTHING in them... No ice bucket, glasses, mirror, hair dryer, menus, robes...no suite amenities... Nothing at all but furniture. Not even the Celebrity Today to explain anything. No card with a table assignment. No one knew where to go or what to do.... No luggage until 10 pm. No one had explanations. We stayed overnight in Honolulu and had Day 2 there as well until midnight. However, our tour was ruined on the Day 2 Honolulu port day by a 4 pm lifeboat drill in the middle of a port day.... We didn't leave until midnight. Many complained and were so upset.... you had to plan everything around an extremely ill timed drill. i complained and one officer told me "too bad." Service was very slow due to no salt, sugar, bread on table. Strangely, things were rationed.... Like you were only given one tiny salt packet if you asked. You almost had to beg for more. I kept saying "can I please have just one more Equal." We didn't get the normal things in the cabin for many many days, and then only after repeated requests. Nothing was self serve, so lines for food or iced tea, water, were very long. Food lines were so long. We waited 30 minutes for a cup of water. Bartenders refused to give us iced water and told us to wait in line. It just got very tiresome waiting for 9 days. There were no menus at any bar, so you had no clue what to order or prices. We asked servers and managers and were told stories from X is changing bar prices, to menus were burned, to no one knew where they were at. Bartenders didn't even have a menu to hold for you to look at. This all went on for 9 of the 11 days, with no explanation, information in daily Celebrity Today, etc. Management just shrugged when asked when we would get things like a glass in the room. No one knew anything and management didn't seem willing to address or fix issues. We understand the need to sanitize, and appreciate that may take a day or two, but this was basically the whole cruise. given the impact on lines, service, cabins, X should have (1) kept passengers informed or at least offered explanations, (2) reallocated staff to reduce lines... Such as instead if having MANY waiters asking if we wanted wine at lunch, assign them to walk around with water or tea or coffee, and (3) figure out solutions sooner... Like at least a menu a bartender could hold?? Anyhow, this was one of the most expensive cruises we have done... More than many European cruises.... We just felt the situation and especially management were subpar. I guess it was luck of the draw, but not sure we would give X another try.... I guess we will see how they handle customer comment cards. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
We were informed by text 2 days before sailing that there was still norovirus on the ship and asked not to arrive for embarkation before 2pm as the staff were deep cleaning the ship. (We know people on the ship that actually caught ... Read More
We were informed by text 2 days before sailing that there was still norovirus on the ship and asked not to arrive for embarkation before 2pm as the staff were deep cleaning the ship. (We know people on the ship that actually caught norovirus at Christmas 2012 so it is sadly an ongoing issue). We arrived for check in at 5pm; it was chaotic and our suitcases arrived at 8pm so many people had to go for dinner in their casual clothes. Celebrity relaxed the rules on this occasion. We never heard anything from the Captain for 3 days and actually enquired if he was aboard as the ship was docked for this period. Because of the norovirus restrictions were in place so there was no self service even in the buffet restaurant and the poor staff worked relentlessly serving everyone with everything, even cutlery. We previously travelled on this ship in 2008 and the service was exemplary; not the case this time. There were no drink menus so no idea how much anything cost; no books in the library, no ice buckets or condiments until the last 2 days when the restrictions were finally lifted. As we had 5 days at sea it made for very long queues especially to get drinks in the buffet restaurant. For some reason this seemed to have a knock on effect on other areas and room service was incorrect every time we ordered it. The ordering by tv wasn't working so we completed the cards given to us by the cabin steward. One day we got 4 cooked breakfasts! We tried completing individual cards for each of us but it seemed that no-one could understand the orders. So much food must have been wasted. Even breakfast in the Grand Epernay dining room was chaotic, taking a long time to get served and having to ask 3 or 4 times for juice. Aside from these issues all the food was good and the menus very varied. The entertainment as usual left a lot to be desired and bizarrely a lot of the late night entertainment took place in the foyer with the singers and dancers performing on the stairs while the purpose built Sky lounge was devoid of entertainment and therefore empty. What I love about the Solstice is the Solarium (adults only)and we always found somewhere to sit even if we arrived at midday. We don't go for the napkin folding or trivia but the lectures were really good. The guy who delivered them was witty and made them very interesting. Nearly all the ports were tendered which seemed to take forever and the organisation once again seemed chaotic. There were many elderly people on the ship so it took ages to get everyone off and on again. We had a lovely spacious cabin with a large balcony; one of the largest there was and made full use of it. Internet was very expensive and I think in this modern world this needs to be addressed. There was no information about the ports of call to be found anywhere and no-one willing to give information if you weren't taking the shore excursions. Even then the information was scant; we booked a snorkeling trip in Kona at $115 each. When we arrived for the excursion we were informed that it wasn't suitable for people with bad backs so had to opt out. This meant we wasted the whole day in Kona and didn't then have the opportunity to arrange anything else as the trip was at 1pm and the last tender was at 4.15pm. We didn't feel it was worth buying the drinks packages; you would have to be a serious drinker to do so. We didn't find the drinks that expensive; cocktails were $6 so cheaper than wine. You can take 2 bottles of wine aboard to drink in your cabin which we did with no problems. Dinner is at 6pm or 8.30; we had the 8.30 option. Other chose anytime dining but apparently this didn't work too well and you had to prepay tips for this option. Overall the cruise was lovely but it was compromised by the restrictions. The ship is well maintained The best part of the trip was sailing past Mount Kileaus at night. Spectacular! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
This was my third cruise on Celebrity. I chose Aqua Class because my traveling companions were booked on that level and they told me that their restaurant, "Blu", was phenomenal, both for its food and service. (More on Blu ... Read More
This was my third cruise on Celebrity. I chose Aqua Class because my traveling companions were booked on that level and they told me that their restaurant, "Blu", was phenomenal, both for its food and service. (More on Blu later.) We were informed before the cruise that that there was a norovirus outbreak on the prior cruise from Sydney, so our embarkation would be delayed. That's fine...let's keep as many people safe as possible. The line getting to the check in area was crazy long, and the bag drop off was hectic (at 3:30pm). Once inside the un-air conditioned terminal, we finally found our check-in point and were given a number that would be called when the ship was ready to receive us. We moved to a part of the terminal that was suppose to have provided us with water and something to eat, but all we found were two empty tables with crew members breaking down boxes that once held cookies. So, we received nothing to quench our thirst as we waited 10 minutes for our number (14) to be called. Once called, we waited on line 30 minutes until we could go up the escalator to join other passengers before we could get on the ship. That line was another 25 minute wait. We situated ourselves in the Cafe on deck 14, and sat to listen to numerous announcements saying that our crew was working hard to disinfect the ship BUT OUR ROOMS ARE NOT YET READY. OK...we are expecting a 5:30pm "all clear" based on Celebrity's earlier pre-cruise communication, so we continue to wait...have a little bite...a beverage... At this point, the every-15 minutes communication on the loud-speaker is getting annoying, because there is nothing encouraging about them. FINALLY, at 6:15pm, we get the all clear. I'd like to suggest to Celebrity that if you are going to be so bold as to put a time down that guests can expect to get into their cabins (in our case, 5:30pm) that you stick to that OR you do something to make the who-knows-when-this-is going-to-end waiting period tolerable by bringing around trays of wine and beer, at your expense. That gesture would have brought you some goodwill and probably lightened the mood for most travelers on this cruise who had already been traveling 12 hours or more that same day, to get to Honolulu on time. So, finally in our rooms...let the cruise begin. Blu: I went to Blu Friday morning, solo, and the service was terrible. My understanding was that Blu is assigned seasoned servers, but you would never know this by my experience. The greeter, Anita, was great and personable, but the servers were bumbling for the most part. I get that we were still on "anti-noro" alert - I've been on other cruise lines that have had to deal with this issue - but this group had no clue what they were doing. My first morning took FOUR servers to get cream to me for my coffee (which was cold by the time they arrived.) I asked the coffee server, who had only coffee and milk....he said he would get the cream. I waited 5 minutes then asked a server who had bowls of sugar if they could find some cream...he left and so another 5 minutes goes by. (FYI - no one has asked me what I want to eat for breakfast yet, and only 15 other patrons were in the dining room at the time.) My next request was made to the (I assumed from his uniform) dining room captain, who looked to his left, then his right and then walked away to find someone. ANOTHER 5 minutes, and then some poor soul comes with a pitcher of skim milk and I was like, FINE, I'll take it. Ridiculous. For the next several mornings, the service was pretty much the same, but I was "armed" with more info based on morning one's experience. So, when I found the sugar person, I knew to ask for salt and pepper too. (Somewhere in their training, these servers were never taught to ask if you would like sugar, cream, milk with your coffee...butter and jam with your toast...salt and pepper with your eggs. They were all 'thrown' by the extra measures taken to avoid our contact while they tried to ensure the noro wouldn't spread to our cruise...these servers had no clue to ask if they could get us the basics you would expect for breakfast in a lovely dining room experience.) This experience was repeated every morning until I couldn't take it anymore and wrote to the hotel director. My comments were dealt with immediately and the service improved...for me. But, I wonder about those that didn't speak up? Many other cruisers spoke of the pitiful service in Blu when I was on different excursions in ports in Hawaii. I knew my experience wasn't unique based on these several conversations, but I kept my critical comments to my own specific experiences when I complained. (and, if you are wondering, dinner service in Blu was hectic and uncomfortable for at least one week. I don't know what was going on with this group of servers. Was it the Maitre d'hÃ'tel? Was it the training? All in all, it took at least a week before service seemed to be of the caliber I was expecting from Blu.) On the other hand, I had dinner one night in Murano, and it did not disappoint! (I've had dinner in Murano on other Celebrity cruises and it was also a fabulous experience.) To make a final food footnote here, the Oceanside Cafe on 14 was terrific. Very good food considering they are cooking for the masses and the bar service and busing service were very strong. My cabin (1525) was wonderful and I had terrific attendants who did a great job of incorporating items back into the room as the virus concern lifted. I had a manicure our first day at sea and I would say to you "save your money". Not worth it. The actual manicure (polish and top coat application) itself was botched and I had to go back for touchups...and for $60, I was not happy. It still looked pretty bad after that, but I wasn't going to waste any more time in the Spa on a manicure. All the bars were great and efficient with the bartenders at the Martini Bar being as entertaining as I've come to expect. The ship was very, very clean throughout and overall I would rate this a good experience...until we get to the disembarkation in Ensenada, Mexico. Ensenada: If Celebrity keeps the same itinerary as we had (Honolulu to Ensenada), I would say to you to be VERY careful about your flight plans from San Diego. Let me explain: You get on a bus in Ensenada, are driven at least 1.5 hours to Border Control in Tijuana by someone who does not really speak english and there is no Celebrity representative with you, go through Customs (thankfully for us, ON THE BUS) for 30 minutes, then another minimal 45 minutes to San Diego airport and/or nearby hotels. We were to be in Solstice theater at 8:30am for departure...and we were...and our bus was called at 11:00am! We pulled out of Ensenada port at 11:15am and arrived at our hotel (five minutes from the airport) at 2:30pm. Thankfully, I had a 'red-eye' and my traveling companions were staying overnight and flying out the next morning, so we had no schedule worries, just general aggravation. However, there was one woman put on our bus (#65 - the last bus) at the last minute who's luggage was on bus #59 and her handicapped husband on an entirely other bus. Our driver went to San Diego airport first...I saw bus #59 go by and stop about four buses ahead of us, and so this woman jumped off to at least get their luggage and then figure out how/when she was going to locate her husband. (I can only imagine the letter she is going to write to Celebrity!) ...and to say nothing about the fact that she left her passports, credit cards and other travel docs on our bus -someone found them on her vacated seat while we were stuck in airport traffic, handed them to me and so I raced off our bus to find her to return them to her. INSANE! I would definitely take a cruise with Celebrity again, (my other two cruises with them were superior to this one) but this itinerary was ridiculous. The funny thing is, our ship was in San Diego the day after we disembarked in Mexico. So, I don't understand, why we could not have disembarked there instead...why did we have to go through all that craziness in Ensenada? Celebrity never clued us in on what to expect at disembarkation. They left all of us stranded in the theatre for hour upon hour with no water, juice, Danish set-up. Everything was closed at 8:00am so we couldn't get coffee, sodas, etc even if we wanted to pay for it. (Although at one point it was announced that the Cafe would be open until 11:30am that, in fact, was not true.) The weather - rain - had been forecast and we were told that the disembarkation process was halted after the first five or so buses left at 6:00am because of the rain - they didn't want us to get wet waiting outside. What? So, grab the porters, all the large umbrellas in the state rooms and let's get going! They had no contingency plan for rain? Really? Celebrity left us in the hands of a lovely guy from Spain named Andres, who did whatever he could to keep us occupied during our long, long wait. He was fantastica and should get a raise and promotion plus additional port time for his efforts in keeping us engaged and not enraged. (Note: Not an officer in sight either during embarkation delay nor disembarkation craziness.) Oh...Celebrity...you let us down this time... I'll still love you, but I'll give you only one more time to redeem yourself. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Solstice Hawaii to Ensenada, April 25th - May 6th. The week before we arrived for our cruise from Hawaii to Honolulu, we were informed by Celebrity by email that the ship had the norovirus on board, and we would only be allowed to come ... Read More
Solstice Hawaii to Ensenada, April 25th - May 6th. The week before we arrived for our cruise from Hawaii to Honolulu, we were informed by Celebrity by email that the ship had the norovirus on board, and we would only be allowed to come on board after 2:30 on embarcation day. That was fine, and I appreciate the information as well as the care taken to sanitize the ship for the next set of passengers. Many people however, did not get this information - as they had already departed for Hawaii. Their "fault" for not checking email, I guess but you have to figure that many would not be pre-informed prior to embarcation day. Embarcation was a mess!! Many of the uninformed passengers arrived well before 11 AM only to have to wait in a large open area with not much information and no amenities - and no other alternatives other than to wait there.. I certainly understand that Celebrity had to sanitize the ship before we arrived, but they knew this in advance, they notified us in advance - so why weren't comfort stations with water and some snacks set up for the early arrivals? Or a shuttle set up to head back into town? Or something? Our fellow passengers informed us that they had to ask a number of times before bottled water and some packaged cookies were finally brought out. We personally got there around 4ish and actual boarding began around 4:30 PM, but all passengers had to go to the public areas and sit until well after 6:30PM. I am not privy to the restrictions Celebrity had to work under, but maybe there was a better way to have gotten us through it, other than an announcement every 15 minutes that 2000+ passengers couldn't get into our cabins. How much more difficult would it have been to divert a few of the waiters to pass out water or cold drinks - or even a free glass of wine as a good will gesture? Celebrity had knowledge of how many of us had arrived that day after long flights from the mainland - we personally had been up for more than 24 hours by the time we finally got into the cabin. Another 15 minutes wait time would have been irrelevant if someone had seen to my comfort a bit more. The trip itself was fine but the restriction on sanitization held until close to the end of the trip. I do understand and appreciate the efforts the crew had to go thru - passengers could touch nothing with respect to food and our usual Aqua amenities and cabin comforts were missing. Meal times were not so enjoyable; but no real complaints on this from me - I am happy that I did not get sick. Then yesterday on disembarcation day in Ensenada -- several hundred of us all trooped dutifully into the theater at 7:30. 7:45, 8:00, 8:15, 8:30 and sat and sat and sat. We were left with no information for most of the time. Finally we were told that disembarcation had been delayed because it was raining. (Really???) We, on bus 65, sat there for almost three hours. At one point, we were told that the buffet was open until 11:30 in case we wanted some coffee. It was not!! I went up to get a coffee at 9:30 and the buffet was closed completely. I even had trouble using the ladies room up there as they were sanitizing it for the next round of guests! C'mon Celebrity - couldn't you even have set up a coffee station for us down in the theater? Maybe just bottled water???? Were we so much less important than getting ready for the next round of guests??? I cannot believe that you couldn't have had a contingency plan in case of rain - was that the very first time anyone had been to that port? Did you not believe the weather forecast? Couldn't you have walked us off with the gazillions of umbrellas there are on board that ship???? There was little communication as to what was REALLY going on and poor Andres, our favorite trivia guy from the entertainment staff was virtually left "hanging in the wind"! He was wonderful, cheerful and without ANY support from his management that I could see for more than three hours in a theater full of increasingly aggravated passengers! He told jokes, did trivia, asked passengers for jokes, even tried charades with his fellow crew member (whose name I did not get). Celebrity - SHAME on you for leaving this young man alone with virtually no communications as to why we were all stuck in limbo with hundreds of our fellow disgruntled passengers. BTW - please promote him - he is terrific. As for the bus - we personally were "lucky". Our bus didn't break down like another did, and we weren't delayed at the border -- but when I woke up that morning I never dreamed that it would take me over 9 hours to get to our hotel in San Diego -- I wonder how many passengers missed flights? We left even later than late as we waited another half hour on the bus for two additional women to join us -- it turned out that #1 had been scheduled on bus 56, and they put her luggage on that bus, but then told her there was no room for her on that bus as and they couldn't' remove the luggage as it had been "sealed" by the Mexican authorities; so she ended up on our bus and her handicapped husband on another bus as ours didn't have a lift !!!!!??? What a screwup!! #2 also needed to go to the airport but our bus was to go only to the Sheraton and Embassy Suites. Our bus driver did not speak ANY English, and was told mid trip on his cellphone that he had to divert to the airport to drop off the first lady to meet her husband. He had no idea that we had another passenger who needed to be at the airport as well. Thankfully, she just had carry-on and was able to take an intra airport shuttle to get to her British Air flight. So . . .Celebrity . . KUDOS to you and at the same time SHAME on you overall! You did a great job eliminating the virus onboard, but the comfort things you could control -- you didn't. In your efforts to eliminate the virus, you ignored us in many ways. You didn't keep us informed, you didn't alleviate in small ways the waiting times we had to endure for circumstances out of your control, you didn't set our expectations correctly and basically, you didn't do your usual good job of taking care of us. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Embarkation We were among the lucky ones who received an Email from celebrity that notified us about the delay in boarding so we extended our time on Waikiki beach and took advantage of our hotel's courtesy clean up room before ... Read More
Embarkation We were among the lucky ones who received an Email from celebrity that notified us about the delay in boarding so we extended our time on Waikiki beach and took advantage of our hotel's courtesy clean up room before heading over to the pier. when we arrived at around 5:30 pm there were no lines and check-in was quick. We boarded just as the announcement was made that the staterooms were ready. we noticed all the folks waiting on the floor... we dropped our carry on luggage in the room which wasn't really ready... the bed wasn't made and some of the bath amenities were missing. The things I expected to be there from our previous sailing on the Equinox included a Celebrity Today, bottles of water, pitcher of iced tea, pen and pad...Public AreasI really love the design of the Solstice and it's sister ship the Equinox. they are great examples of modern but classic decor. You feel as if you are in a chic New York hotel. Many areas have floor to ceiling windows and that makes it feel spacious. The design is circa 2008, but is definitely not dated.PoolsThe two outdoor pools are a bit smaller than you might expect for a ship it's size.  The Solarium (indoor pool) is nice but sometimes has a chlorine smell.  Nevertheless, it creates a comfortable area to sunbathe (without being exposed to UV rays) when the weather outside is chilly.  It was quite busy on the final sea days across the Pacific. Gym and Spa, Persian GardenThe gym is spacious and clean and if you like treadmills it has plenty.The  TV's and touchscreen displays on a number of the machines don't work very well.  Towels and antiseptic wipes were plentiful. The Persian Garden room is one of the big selling points of the Solstice class ships.  Access is included in the Aqua class fare and we think it's worth every penny.  There were usually lounges available.  The heated lounges worked well, but there were some problems with the dry sauna and the showers. Also every now and then some machinery would kick on and it sounded like church bells chiming in the distance.Entertainment and ActivitiesThe poolside entertainment was minimal to non-existent, and when it was going, it was not pleasant to listen to. We attended three of the evening shows... The first was a Broadway review that I would have really enjoyed if the singers were better.  The song choices were predictable crowd pleasers and spanned the decades. They included numbers from West Side Story, Carousel, Rent and Wicked.  The second show was by a headliner named Greg Bonham from Australia who also appears in Las Vegas. He is a decent singer and a talented trumpet player. His original songs were enjoyable and the covers were good but he didn't really put his own artistic spin on them.  The last was an acrobatic show which was probably the best we saw. It was colorful and creative. and you have to give these folks credit for performing on a moving ship!I watched about an hour of the Hot Glass Show since I missed it on the Equinox. it was an entertaining and informative demonstration of how art glass pieces are created. It certainly included some "Aha" moments!BarsOur de facto hangout was the Martini Bar & the Crush. While the vibe and the drinks are big attractions, the bartender's show and playful attitude are what really draws people in. The clubby cubes around the perimeter are nice hangouts, but I found that the seats were too far apart to have a decent conversation -- so our impromptu group of 8 would gather around the Crush table, order some fun martinis and chat about the day. Quasar (the nightclub) was pretty un-happening during this voyage. The only time when there were more than a handful of people in the place was during one of the many "blow-out" sales during the day.  I don't think it is the DJ's fault -- the couple times we peeked in there the music was good -- it's just that the space is cold and uninviting. The small bar is pushed up against a side wall and so it's not the place to "see and be seen".The Sky Bar is a great space, and attracted a good crowd for Karaoke. We had a lot of fun the one evening we went. Unfortunately, music from my favorite artist (Billy Joel) is not included in the selections, so I didn't sing. However, it would have been fun to go again, but there were only two Karaoke nights on our 11 night sailing. I'm not sure why they didn't schedule a third, given the number of participants.Michael's Club is a beautiful room off of the Ensemble Bar (which is basically a hallway from the hub of the ship to the specialty restaurants and Blu). It was usually empty -- though by the end of the cruise a few folks had discovered it. The piano and comfy sofas make it a great place to take very elegant photos, especially with a snifter of brandy in your hand.One of the downsides of this particular voyage is that the bar menus were removed until the second to last night of the cruise. I suppose they were being quarantined. It's a shame because there was really nowhere to find out what the special drinks were (other than the ones published in the Celebrity Today), and the bar staff was not able to recite all the selections. Seems like there should be a better way to advertise the drinks -- for example, the Molecular Bar has video screens -- but they are dedicated to an art installation and couldn't be used to display the unique drink selections. I think Celebrity should consider better ways to present these menus. It would be great if we could view them on the stateroom TVs, but that feature was not available.Staterooms 1648 and 1650The staterooms on the Solstice class ships are designed really well. They seem spacious even though you know they are half the size of a typical hotel room. The decor is clean and elegant with granite tops and blonde wood. Lots of storage, including a large cabinet above the bed.The bed is very comfortable and has a memory foam topper. While the cabins do not have connecting doors, you can have the staff open the glass divider on the balcony so there is private access between the two rooms. On deck 11, this works as long as the cabin doors are right next to each other since angled support beams are placed every two cabins.The bathroom is the highlight of the stateroom. The shower is roomy and in Aqua class there are additional body sprays along with the handheld shower head. The tall cabinet and several drawers provide a lot of storage places for toiletries. The only complaint is that the sink faucet is large like a kitchen faucet and gets in the way. Though we were able to push it back toward the mirror. Another issue is that the shower stack is hollow so you can't put anything on top without risking that it will fall inside and you will not be blue to retrieve it. We learned this lesson on the Equinox so I make sure to spread the word (the Equinox staff actually retrieved an item for us, given the boarding issues on our sailing, I don't expect that the Solstice crew would have done the same).I do like that they provide Qtips and cotton balls, as well as very pleasant soap, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lip balm and lotion.DiningI love the Blu concept. It's one of the primary reasons why I think it's worth paying extra for Aqua. I like the intimate dining experience, the dedicated serving staff and the clean, creative menu. An additional benefit is the excellent breakfast service that includes muesli prepared tableside so it's just as you want it.Blu combines the best of "anytime" dining and traditional seatings. As the staff in Blu get to know you, they provide the kind of service you expect from a traditional seating but allow you to dine at whatever time you choose. The layout of Blu is such that the tables are less dense than in the MDR so you feel like you have more elbow room. The space is also quieter, and since you're dining with a smaller set of the ship's passengers, you do meet and socialize with folks at other tables.We ate lunch one day in the upper level of the MDR and it was quite enjoyable. We were seated a table by the window. The service and the food were excellent.I'm not a big fan of the buffet, so the AquaSpa cafe is perfect for me. Even though the food selections are limited, the items available were tasty and varied throughout the sailing. The salad bar was fresh and delicious. Additional protein options are available (grilled chicken, pork or fish) to supplement the salads. It is informal, quick and much less frenetic than the buffet. Breakfast at the AquaSpa cafe is also limited, but if you want yogurt, fruit, muffins and coffee, it's awesome.As others have mentioned, the buffet was not a lot of fun during our voyage. For most of the trip, you waited in line for everything. My few trips to the buffet were at off times (late breakfast, appetizers before dinner or an afternoon ice cream) so we could avoid the craziness. Under more "normal" circumstances, the buffet is reasonably nice, but the layout makes it a bit crazy until you learn where things are. I do like the seating areas with floor to ceiling windows, comfortable seats and banquets.We ordered breakfast to be delivered to the stateroom on several occasions. The complicated and frustrating TV system for ordering food was not working properly (you would put in your whole order and then be told that there was a system error), so we used the door hanger forms provided in the stateroom (and filled them out with our own pen until we got an official Celebrity one). Unfortunately, the menu on the door hanger is not the same as that on the TV, so I had to hand write in some of the selections. The quality of the food was very good and it was delivered at the requested time. One time the coffee was only lukewarm, and they didn't have any bananas, but those are minor complaints.Fellow PassengersOur particular sailing had a lot of folks in the 70 and above category.  The Med cruise on the Equinox had a younger crowd -- so I don't think it's fair to say that Celebrity is primarily for older cruisers. There were very few families with children on board, and this was true on the Equinox as well. We really enjoyed the folks we met on board. They were diverse, energetic, out going and well-educated.Guest RelationsOne thing I noticed about Guest Relations is they typically route every request to another area and thus make you feel like you are in a Department of Motor Vehicles office rather than on vacation. Instead of taking ownership of simple requests like having a form delivered to the stateroom, they would me to my stateroom attendant, the Captain's Club or the Future Cruise Sales office. Many of the forms that should have been in the stateroom upon sailing were missing and I expect that was because of the problems caused by the health issues.Another issue is that each Guest Relations crew member that you spoke to gave a different answer. Folks should be trained that if they are unsure of a correct response they should simply take your stateroom number, find the correct answer and then call you back.General StaffOne of the reasons why I really like Celebrity is that the staff is pleasant and always acknowledge you when you go by; This was true even with the additional stress the staff was under through the voyage. Unlike other sailings (on Celebrity and other lines), there was a noticeable absence of officers patrolling the ship and greeting passengers. I suppose they were busy -- but I do wonder if they were hiding from us.Maintenance IssuesOverall, the Solstice class of ships are just awesome -- well designed and extremely comfortable. However, the Solstice is showing it's age, and does not appear to be maintained terribly well. The items are mostly cosmetic, but you do wonder if there are more serious issues that aren't being taken care of. Some of the items we noticed are:- stateroom drawers don't slide well- in-stateroom safe malfunctioned- many TV features did not work (for example, there was no "current location" screen and the outside temperature was routinely reported as somewhere between 139 and 146 degrees). When we asked Guest Services about this, we were told that it was just our TV and it needs to be reset by a technician. We don't know if anyone ever serviced the TV, but we heard from many others that their TVs were not working either, and the problems persisted throughout the cruise.- ordering in stateroom dining on the TV was not functional (as mentioned above)- fitness equipment issues (as mentioned above)- trying to get a message from the phone system did not work, and we were told to "call back later". This was because all the messages we got were broadcast to half the passengers and everyone was trying to access them at the same time.- speaker phone feature did not work - this was inconvenient because we were put on hold by Guest Relations on several occassions.- the frozen surface of the Martini Bar was broken, and has been for months. It's a shame because its useful to keep your drink cold, and it also allows you to scribble in the frost!Ports- Honolulu- Lahaina, Maui, Tendering (twice)- Hilo, Big Island- Kona, Big Island, Tendering- Ensenada, MexicoDebarkation I was impressed that Celebrity hired about 70 buses to get us all from the dock in Ensenada to San Diego airport. Loading the buses was slow and because we were on a later departure, we did not board our bus until about an hour after the scheduled meeting time. It was also frustrating that the announcements were localized to the original meeting area, which quickly ran out of seats as the loading delays mounted. So while we were sitting at Cafe al Bacio, we did not hear the announcements being made at th Ensemble lounge only steps away. We brought this to the attention of the staff member announcing the bus departures and she seemed quite surprised, but then they started broadcasting ship wide since folks were scattered throughout the public areas looking for seating. Unlike the tenders at port, you were assigned to a specific bus (since your luggage was loaded on it), so they had to find any folks that were missing before a bus could depart the pier. The bus stopped first in Rosarita so the Mexican government could collect a simple form. Then we continued north toward the border.While it is annoying that you have to re-enter the US after sailing from Hawaii, Celebrity did their best to ease the process and so crossing the border at Otay Mesa (instead of San Ysidro) went quickly. They collected our customs forms, two different dogs sniffed us and then some folks got off to use the restrooms. When we arrived at the airport, we got off the bus and collected our luggage. Note to travelers... Food choices at San Diego airport are poor. There is only one restaurant in the non secured area of Terminal 1 and since the gates are in small clusters with separate security screening areas, it is not possible to go to a secured area other than where your assigned gate is located. Also, Southwest would not take our luggage until 2 hours before our flight, so we had to hold on to it. I remembered that there are some hotels right across from the airport on Harbor Island, so we called the Sheraton and got some information about their dining choices. Then we took their free shuttle bus over to the hotel, had a decent lunch and took the shuttle back.  We were thankful for a decent meal because our flight was delayed and when we finally got home there was no food in the house. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
- Background Information We were a group of 4 adults, 3 had cruised before, one was a new cruiser. The cruise was booked partly as a celebration -- my niece graduated from university with a Masters in Geology, and my brother and his wife ... Read More
- Background Information We were a group of 4 adults, 3 had cruised before, one was a new cruiser. The cruise was booked partly as a celebration -- my niece graduated from university with a Masters in Geology, and my brother and his wife are both retiring next year. I just went along for the ride, having wanted to visit Hawaii for the past 40 years! As a disabled traveller, I'd had considerable contact with both the Shore Excursions department and the Special Needs department, and both seemed efficient and reassuring -- I felt I'd covered all possible issues, and made sure that the holiday would go smoothly. - Hotel Info (if any) We flew into LA, and expected a flight to San Diego, though as it turned out that flight was cancelled, so we were transferred by bus. No sign of any Celebrity representatives at San Diego airport, so in spite of having vouchers for transfers, we had to find our own way to the Sheraton hotel -- we used the hotel shuttle. This was the first sign that things might not go as smoothly as it should -- the room booked for me and my niece was not wheelchair accessible, despite assurances I'd received from Celebrity's Special Needs department that everything had been arranged. We were able to transfer to an accessible room, so we put it down to 'one of those things', and prepared to enjoy ourselves as the holiday developed. - Travel To Port of Embarkation Transfers from San Diego to Ensenada were a nightmare. We were transferred from the hotel at mid-day, and waited in what can only be described as a warehouse, with little in the way of facilities. Catering was joke, as were restroom facilities. In spite of contact with Celebrity, no-one at the pier seemed aware that I needed a bus with a wheelchair lift. Eventually we boarded a coach, and had to sit for over an hour while other buses were filled, and they started to put people on ours. Then came the long, slow journey to Ensenada -- the whole transfer took over nine hours from the time we were collected from the hotel. Surely it's not beyond Celebrity's capability to allow those staying in hotels to remain there until there's a realistic chance of them being able to leave the port? We eventually arrived at 9.20pm, just in time for the muster -- no refreshments and no chance to use the restrooms. - Ship Info We'd seen the ship in San Diego, and thought that, in spite of the refit, she was looking a bit 'scruffy'. However, on boarding our first impressions were good -- everything was clean, bright and polished. I wasn't keen on the glass lifts, but that's a personal thing, and I soon found enclosed lifts I felt more comfortable with. - Stateroom This is where things started to fall apart. We'd booked an accessible balcony cabin, but it was anything but accessible. There was no room to get the wheelchair next to the bed for transfers, and even after the stateroom attendant moved the furniture, I couldn't get onto the balcony with the wheelchair. There was barely enough turning space for the wheelchair, and no seating for my niece, apart from the desk chair. It was difficult all through the cruise to move around the stateroom. My niece kept turning the main light on during the night, since her bed was right next to the wall where the switch was located, and she knocked it when she turned over or moved at night. The bathroom was huge, and easy to use. The balcony is overlooked from the lifts, since for some reason Celebrity have put a transparent panel at the end of the balcony, unlike on other decks where there is a solid panel. - Dining Meals in all venues were fantastic -- I think the only places I didn't eat were Blu and Cafe al Bacio, although I had several coffees at the Cafe -- great place to wait for dinner, and listen to the piano player. The Metropolitan was great, and our waiters were just attentive enough without being annoying. The sommelier was fantastic, we never had to ask for a refill. We also ate in the Olympic and at Qsine, where we found the staff very friendly and informative, and a great laugh! Most lunchtimes found us in Aqua Spa Cafe -- fantastic food -- and occasionally at the Pool Grill, where I had the best cheeseburgers and fries I've ever tasted! Oceanview Cafe was a bit difficult to negotiate, as the servers didn't seem to see me sitting low down, and it was difficult to attract their attention. I would just like to give extra points to the ice-cream station, which not only served great ice-cream, they seemed to be more on the ball than the rest of the cafe -- maybe because they weren't so busy. - Activities We didn't take part in a lot of organised activities, although I did go to talks on Astronomy given by Michelle Thaller -- great lecturer, made difficult concepts easy to get a grip on, even if I didn't understand them all as well as she did! We did the quizzes in Rendezvous, and didn't disgrace ourselves, at least! My niece was involved in some volleyball sessions, which she enjoyed greatly. Mostly on sea days we sat by one or other of the pools, taking the occasional dip or soak in the Jacuzzi -- although the jigsaw in the Library saw a lot of activity when it was too hot to sit out. We all found other passengers very friendly and helpful, and had some great conversations with people we met at various venues. - Service On the whole, service was great -- there was one major exception, a Guest Services representative who dismissed my concerns about the stateroom being unsuitable, and kept telling me to phone the travel agent! Completely uninterested and offhand. In contrast, when I broke the footrest on my wheelchair, another Guest Services representative went out of her way to make sure I got a temporary repair -- so many thanks to her, and to Greg the maintenance man who carried out the repair. - Entertainment The entertainment was good, though we missed some of the late night shows -- it would have been nice if they could have been on a little earlier. I particularly enjoyed the 'casual' entertainment -- the piano player, the string quartet, and the a cappella singers. - Port & Shore Excursions I can't comment on these -- in spite of informing Celebrity at several points about my capabilities and needs, they sold me excursions at tendered ports, which they knew I would not be able to take. A cruise to Hawaii became 'a cruise to near Hawaii'. I was never so disappointed in anything in my life -- I'd spent almost £3000 on a cruise that was not, and never could have been, what I'd planned. All Celebrity had to do was to tell me there was no roll-on capability, and that 8 steps would be involved in tendering, and I wouldn't have booked the cruise. Right up until the morning in Kailua-Kona, I believed that I would be able to tender, and that was confirmed by the Shore Excursions rep, who gave us instructions about where to go for transfer to the tender. It was only after waiting for an hour, and asking several times what was going on, that we discovered that I wouldn't be able to tender -- and by that time the tour had left from a different gangway, so my family couldn't go on it either. They enjoyed the rest of their excursions, while I spent time on the pool deck or exploring the ship. - Disembarkation Disembarkation went fairly smoothly, though again, the staff didn't seem to be aware that I need a bus with a wheelchair lift for transfer to the airport. We flew from Honolulu to Los Angeles, and again in spite of vouchers, there was no transport to our overnight hotel arranged, and no sign of Celebrity anywhere. - Summary This cruise was very disappointing for me, since I was unable to visit the place I had booked the holiday to see. The cruise itself was good, with the exception of the unsuitable cabin. For my family, their experience was good, although they didn't feel Celebrity's standards matched those of the MSC Splendida, which they'd travelled on earlier this year. None of us have any wish to travel with Celebrity again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2012
Where do I start? This was supposed to be the best holiday us a family where ever going to have!My financial situation won't allow me to save that money again my eldest daughter said she would never do that trip again.Schools will ... Read More
Where do I start? This was supposed to be the best holiday us a family where ever going to have!My financial situation won't allow me to save that money again my eldest daughter said she would never do that trip again.Schools will only allow term holidays now or your fined.And the most important point, my Husband is disabled and has a degenerative spine condition he will never be able to travel that distance ever again!! This was a surprise holiday for my Husbands 50th Birthday to his ultimate destination Hawaii.My father in-law was a merchant seaman and had recently passed away,my husband sat with his dying father and he reminisced about the time he spent at sea in Hawaii and how his Son should visit this beautiful part of the World.So know I knew what to do for his 50th. It took me a year to save for this trip it was a surprise, I couldn't get any financial help from Hubby he didn't Know! Firstly we travelled from Liverpool 4hrs drive to London Heathrow.Then 11&1/2hrs flight to San Diego.In San Diego Airport was our first queue 1&1/2 hrs in a small room, packed with people to get through customs and then our First US Customs Form.We got outside to pandemonium trying to find our hotel transfer so we could use our Celebrity's Transfer Voucher USELESS!Nobody wanted to take it,instead we used the Sheraton's bus transfer. The Sheraton was our Pre cruise hotel which was lovely,room,Staff,food (of which we paid for.)Stayed overnight.We were being picked up 12pm in the Afternoon.Got on the coach our understanding was we were visiting San Diego's Street Pier B then going straight on to Ensenada where we would board the Celebrity Millennium's 5* ship Pfft!Anyway back to horror that was Street Pier B.The coach literally drove round the corner (could have walked). As we pulled in, the Millennium was in Dock.We immediately thought we were boarding here.Some passengers Said no that can't happen,others said we must be,because it would take way too long for the ship to get to Ensenada. It only took 2-3hrs depending on the Border by coach, so we would be there before the ship!This confusion carried on for the next 4&1/2hrs most of this was spent in another QUEUE, FILLING IN MORE FORMS (so that's 4 forms x four people=16 forms to fill in whilst queueing with nothing to lean on) WITH CHILDREN, WITH NOTHING TO EAT OR DRINK!at the end of the queue we got seapass cards and a piece of paper with the No 49 on it.When I enquired what was it for? The lady said look on the clip board for your number.I informed her the numbers stopped at 46, which stated the time 6:30pm. She then informed me we would be there long after 6:30 then!There where very uncomfortable metal seats in this room toilets where a mess, some not working,no food or drink left that celebrity had put on.This was Horrific and I had paid for this!Finally the coaches started boarding about 4:30pm so that's 12:15-4:30!!!!Got on the Coach set off thank god,well so you would have thought. The coach had no Toilet or A/C and we were on it for 5hrs stuck between approx 50 coaches at the Border no sorry, this bit was the Horrific part.We finally arrived at Ensenada and other people must have suffered the same toiletry denial, because I am not exaggerating the toilets in this port had excrement on the floor where I think some of the older passengers had not been able to hold on any longer. Sorry, this bit was the most Horrific Part. Then we crawled to the ship,to be greeted by staff who wanted us to have 'Welcome aboard Photos, Please! You should have seen the state of us. Other staff trying to force their restaurant vouchers or spa deals.I couldn't believe they where doing this, they must have known what we had just been through! There where four of us in our party 3adults 1child, I booked a Family Deluxe Stateroom with Veranda, sound big enough for 4?It did to me.I have seen bigger bathrooms!We couldn't all unpack there just was not the room.It was tiny could not swing a cat!The trundle bed my daughter had to sleep on was broken we reported it,it never got changed.I asked for a larger room but was denied they said nothing was available. I didn't believe that I think they thought I wanted it free!I would have gladly used my spends so we could have been comfortable.We were met with no empathy at all! We were as sick as dogs for 2 days I was told you couldn't feel the ship moving, rubbish! when we did get on deck my son wanted to get in the pool every person in the pool glared at us as we got in shaking their heads one person then pointed at the pool sign, at the 'No Children' part.We made a hasty retreat before they drowned us and went to the other pools. Every single one had 'No Children' On the signs.Some people had a real moan about children being on the ship and they shouldn't be in the pool.I tried to think of a clever comeback,only SHUT IT,came out!Oops.I was concerned about insurance if something had happened in the pool would we not have been covered because it says no children? But nobody tells you this when booking.The food I thought was very bland and repetitive, staff couldn't be bothered.We where told by other passengers if you made complaints about specifics the staff would lose their jobs so I did not want my husband who was now at teeth baring frothing mouth ,angry looking pitbull dog stage, to go and complain.I had to constantly calm him down.Stress-less travelling not on your Nelly. Entertainment, One word actually there`s three OUT OF TUNE!In the Theatre singers out of breath dancers falling over had to leave before we where thrown out for laughing! Then after 5days at sea we had arrived at port in Hawaii yay.Got a letter in the room to tell us to meet at Deck 6 at 7:30am guess what, another queue with more forms!We queued and slowly made our way up to deck 11 where 1 US border official was trying to process 2000 passengers unreal!We had an Excursion to get to at 9am, more Stress! Eventually 4 more US officials arrived, nobody could get off until it was done. The Excursion I just mentioned was purchased through the ship and it included a visit to Pan'e'wea Zoo where we would see a rare white Bengal Tiger couldn't wait, so after Akaka falls (lovely)and a Macadamia nut factory visit(could have done without.)We then where on our way to the Zoo.We arrived I and the kids ran to Namaste's(tigers name)enclosure,to find it was Namaste's day off he was'nt there!(I know... close your Mouth) Then the days the ship tendered was a queueing nightmare as well.They would tell you to be at a certain point at a certain time but nothing was ever ready the staff would say it's not worth waiting here, because the backlog of people was huge.They advised, to go to a public place so you could here the announcement of when it was ok to disembark. So we did as was asked and went to the pool area to wait for announcements and low and behold the tannoy system didn't work!When we did finally get to leave it was scary getting children and yourselves on lifeboats banging against the ship on a very rough Ocean. Nobody ever apologised ,no announcements or apologises for the San Diego/Ensenada horror no apology for US Customs Hold up no apologies for hold ups trying to disembark.We even sailed through a Tsunami we where thrown around our cabin had to put my son in bed with us before he flew out of the bunk bed.We found this out of other passengers what had happened through the night,again no announcements saftey warnings or apologies from the Captain to see if every one was OK.My husband found screws and metal sheets in the pool which could have caused damage to somebody.He called a member of staff to show him what he had just fished out of the water,Staff member just shrugged his shoulders and walked off.Hubby did get pictures before staff member took it. The final straw for me was the first day in Honolulu. We got up a the crack of dawn we where heading to Waikiki beach(It is Gorgeous!)We were starting our journey back home the next day so we had a couple of hours on the beach then had to make our way back to the ship to check in for our flight using the ships computer,it was going to be busy, a lot of people where departing the next day.So I'm told to go the ilounge Deck11 when I get there are people visibly distressed they said the computers Internet kept disconnecting but they where still being charged.Being Charged? That's news to me. Now I had organised an Excursion for the whole Family to a Hawaiian Luau traditional Hawaiian dances,food,craft making in Paradise Cove couldn't wait great photos for us to remember for years to come. Got into the ilounge approx 1:30 told the others to start getting ready for Luau at 3:30-3:45. The Internet kept cutting off but carried on charging me.The printer broke down somebody went down to guest services to tell them we needed help.Nobody came!When I finally got on to the Airline site there where only preferred seating left which meant I had to pay, my oldest child had to sit miles away from us and I had to pay for our 3 seats $49 each. I didn't have my credit card with me, luckily my daughter came in to see why I was taking so long.I got her to run back to our CUPBOARD Sorry Cabin to get my Credit Card.Then my Husband came up to see why I needed my Card, when I told him why he started to get agitated because as far as he and I was concerned I'd already paid for my seats. It was now 3:35 I gave up trying to print boarding passes phoned guest services to ask if they could let the Ships Excursion staff know we were on our way She Said 'No i can't the phone lines are down' and proceeded to put the phone down on me. The tears just started rolling down my face, I could not hold them back any longer!I was trying not to show the family how upset I was, but this usually care free,happy woman had finally broken down!And then when they see the Woman who holds them all together break down they break down!We ran crying all the way through the ship up the gangway down three flights of stairs into the port to meet our Excursion for the Luau and they had gone!!!It was just after 3:45.We made our way back to the ship absolutely gutted so upset.We arrived at security which was just in front of guest relations the security guard was shocked to see us back so soon and crying.I headed straight for reception and let rip then a member of staff came with a walkie talkie and said 'you want to go on excursion' in broken English we all shouted yes!She said follow me.Which we did all wiping tears away and the excitement at going to the Luau was back.We again ran up the gangway down the stairs and there was the Excursion staff, we thanked the guest relation lady she ran back to the ship we then looked at the excursion lady and said 'we're so happy thought we missed you''You can't go on the Luau' she said 'they are 20 mins down the road Our jaws hit the floor!She tried to put us on another one but we had done them all, I had spent $1328.00 on excursions.I demanded our money back she said she would try.I glared at her and said you make sure you try very hard or else.We did get a refund for the Luau. It cost me $45 to use the Internet, disgusted! We spent our last night wondering the shops in Honolulu nice but not what we had dreamt of! Our suitcases where picked up at 11pm that night and we were told to meet on Deck3 at 7:15am to leave the ship. So another early rise 5am get ready, queue for breakfast, get to rendezvous. We where kept waiting again they said it was US customs holding us up not the baggage because that had been done last night the staff had worked all through the night, he said. So we could leave efficiently but by now I didn't believe a word the Celebrity staff said. When we were finally told we could leave, which was after 9am.We got down to the pier to find not one suitcase or bag ready to go...Liars!!! There was no Celebrity Staff to direct us to transfer coaches it was a complete mess again. Most passengers said I can't queue anymore I can't argue anymore, I'm getting my own taxi to the Airport which was 20-25 mins away. WE WILL NEVER CRUISE AGAIN EVER!!I think I wasted £10,500 the rest I spent was excursions and costs and I'm glad I spent that, as we would not have seen some of Hawaii. Hawaii was the only positive thing about the Cruise in my opinion. It feels like we need to go back it is as though the bad things that happened have overshadowed what should have been an amazing Journey. When sitting on the transfer coach we heard this tale,A Lady on the cruise celebrated her 60th birthday on the ship and her wrapped birthday presents and cards where stolen out of her cabin. One elderly couple we met at LA airport said he'd been on Celebrity Solstice and was told by the medical officer he was having a heart attack, because he was light headed and the doctor noticed a small bruise on his arm and rushed him to hospital. When he got there they dismissed the heart attack straight away but the ship had sailed without them so he and 83 year old wife had to organise their own flights home not one member of Celebrity helped them get there.CELEBRITY SORT YOURSELVES OUT!!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2012
This was my eight cruise, my third visit to Hawaii and also my second with Celebrity. This was also Celebrity's second chance at getting my vacation right after the awful cruise I had with them in 2010. I'm sad to say that ... Read More
This was my eight cruise, my third visit to Hawaii and also my second with Celebrity. This was also Celebrity's second chance at getting my vacation right after the awful cruise I had with them in 2010. I'm sad to say that Celebrity screwed up their chances within hours of me setting foot on the ship in Ensenada. This review isn't going to be very complimentary as a lot of things went wrong (although I will concede that some problems were not of Celebrity's making) and in my conversations with Tony (KangarooCruiser) on the ship, I have promised him that I will be very fair and I will include the good bits of the cruise (but there weren't many of them). I am going to put the review in catergories starting with.... Landing at USA airports. Despite the fact that several people on the Roll Call said that there were going to be Celebrity staff to "meet & greet", I didn't see one member of Celebrity staff anywhere at San Diego (SD) airport. We were left to fend for ourselves (I had to fend for myself in 2010 too) and the vouchers supplied by Celebrity were useless. I used the free Sheraton shuttle to get to the hotel. Embarkation. We were all taken to the (B) Street Pier in SD to check in. This was a very large building with lots of chairs/benches etc. and on one side all of Celebrity staff waiting to check everybody in. The ship was already there (and it had been since around midnight the same day) but we were not allowed to board it because of something called the Jones Act. This is a 19th. century maritime law which boils down to this...if a ship comes from an American port to another American port without visiting a foreign port in between, then all 50 US states can come and collect taxes from you. So you have around 2,000 people milling around doing nothing as we were not allowed to board the coaches to Mexico. Celebrity did supply refreshments but they were soon gone and people starting to complain that there was nothing to eat/drink. I was told that my coach was number 43 and would be leaving around 5.20 with an approx 2 1/2 hour drive to Ensenada. I was told that I could go out of the terminal to explore SD on my own-this I did but where we were there wasn't a lot to see. I have been informed on a Roll Call (on this site) that the ladies toilets were only three stalls, one of which was broken. This was for around 1,000 women. The "VIP" area was exactly the same as the rest of us. We eventually started to board the coaches around 3.00pm with my coach leaving at 4.05pm. This meant that there were around 55 coaches leaving within minutes of each other going to the San Ysidro USA/Mexico border crossing-THE busiest border crossing. We ended up at the border in one lane as we were in coaches and all of the coaches had to do this. My own coach took over two hours to travel less than 400 yards. Which idiot at Celebrity decided to send 55 coaches to the border at one go? why didn't Celebrity send a coach as and when it was filled by guests that had already checked in? I was also told that some of the drivers got lost in Mexico and didn't get to the ship until very late-I heard of coaches arriving around 11pm. My own journey took five hours and not the 2 1/2 hours predicted. On board. The sail-away was going to be midnight and I decided to video the event. We did sail around 12.30am and I went back to my cabin. I still didn't have my suitcase and I found a letter from Celebrity that they were holding my suitcase on deck 1. I went to deck 1 and found a room with a small fenced off area with several bags (I estimate around 30) in it. There was also an American woman who was clearly very distressed and crying. She was wearing a bathrobe (out of her cabin) and she said that Celebrity wouldn't give her her cases as they wanted to examine them for "contraband". I asked why my case was being kept and I was told that I "was smuggling alcohol on the ship". At this stage I let rip. I am not a patient man at the best of times and this guy got both barrels. I can't write what I said in this review, but I used several words beginning with F, C and whatever else I could think of. He also accused me of bringing a clothes iron with me. Why would I bring such a heavy item with me when I am restricted to 50 pounds in my checked-in bag on a plane? The guy wanted to examine the contents of my case and asked me to open it. This I refused. I also told him that if I didn't get my case back, I would leave it there and walk around the ship completely naked with just a bathrobe and a pair of sandals. All of my toiletries were also in my case so I would not have been able to use any deodorant-and it wouldn't take long for me to start smelling. After a lot of shouting and screaming, he eventually gave me my case. I do not know what happened to the woman, but I seem to recall that she was threatening to sue Celebrity for all the distress. By this time it was very late (I was still unpacking at 2.00am), I was very tired and extremely angry that I was accused of smuggling. Food. This was excellent. The main dining room was very well attended and the food on offer was top notch. The buffet was a also quite good. Breakfasts were in the American taste-VERY crispy bacon (almost cremated), hash browns, corned beef hash, several styles of eggs (scrambled, coddled, Benedict to name a few) a wide selection of fruits, cakes, danish, yogurts etc.....Lunchtimes were nearly all the same with a varied selection of sandwiches, hot and cold food/snacks etc. and the evening meals didn't change a bit (as was the case in 2010 on the Infinity). there were "Chefs Specials", a pizza bar, pasta station, a varied sushi bar and the usual currys/meats/vegetables. What really spoilt the buffet was the people who were behind the counters. The buffet was not self-service and you had to ask the staff several times for the foods that you wanted. Celebrity needs to sort this out. Make the buffet self-service or don't put morons behind the counters. The staff either didn't want to know, didn't care or were half asleep all the time. There are two speciality restaurants on the ship. One was the SS Olympic and the other was Qsine (this is the correct spelling!). A group of us did Qsine. I must say that the style of Qsine is very different. We were given small tastes of everything instead on three or four courses like a normal restaurant. The menu was very good and I thoroughly enjoyed the meal. I didn't go to the Olympic but I was told that the fare was very good indeed. There is a small cover charge for these restaurants but I would recommend doing one or both. Entertainment. I cannot comment on the shows as I didn't see any. I was told that the productions were very good and there was an American comedian on board who was very good indeed (if second-hand reports were true-and I have no reason not to believe them). There were two guest speakers. A Dr. Michelle Thaller who is a NASA scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Centre (along with her husband). She gave lectures of our place in the universe. I really enjoyed these lectures and Dr. Thaller is a very approachable woman who is willing to speak (at length) and to respond to any questions that were asked of her. I was on the same coach (on disembarkation) and thanked her personally for the lectures. There was a Mr. Hall (I forget his first name) who gave lectures on the history of Hawaii which were also very interesting. The Chefs on board also did a cooking demonstration and had an "Iron Chef" competition in the main theatre. Both shows were very entertaining and very amusing. There was also the usual Guest versus Staff shows such as "Dancing with the Stripes" and a Karaoke/Talent competition which (I have been told) were very good. Disabled persons/access. I am not discriminating against disabled persons (my own father is disabled), but Celebrity needs to look at this. The disabled people on the ship seemed to think that they owned it. If you didn't get out of the way of an electric scooter, they just drove at you anyway. Anybody that didn't get out of the way were "bigots". I had first-hand reports of disabled persons knocking people over because they didn't get out of the way. I am all for access for all people, but what about my rights as a fare paying passenger? Don't I get some respect? An example I personally experienced...At breakfast in the buffet, there were a group of Americans (three couples) one of whom was disabled. Do you think that they took the first accessible table available? NO. They had to have the furthest table away from the entrance to the buffet and that meant that everybody had to stop with their breakfast and move chairs out of the way to accommodate this woman's scooter. Not only was this disruptive, when they got sat down, they started to steal other chairs from tables without asking and snatching condiments from other peoples tables as they didn't have enough. There is a word for this-IGNORANT! I would suggest to =X= that the buffet needs to be split up to give disabled persons their own part of the restaurant and not disturb the rest of us. Customs/Immigration at Hawaii. After five days at sea, we had to go through US Customs (again). This was because we has sailed from Mexico and not SD. Do US Customs think some of us had swam back to Mexico? Had we visited another country? NO. The customs inspection was in the Cosmos Lounge. I was told to report at 0745 and when I got there, there was around 500 (maybe more) people waiting to have their passports checked. This included US citizens. After an hour, there was very long line and there was only TWO US Customs officers doing the checking! Eventually, four more officers turned up and they received a round of applause from all of the guests in the lounge. I was in there for one hour forty-three minutes and only just got to my bus for my excursion. There was absolutely no organisation from Celebrity, no apologies and it was a complete mess from start to finish. Excursions. I booked mine online before the cruise and they were very good. I did Mount Kilauea (big island of Hawaii), a Luau in Lahaina, a tour of coffee/chocolate plantations and a general sightseeing tour. These were very good although a little pricey. Several people did independent tours from locals on the piers at each port. If you do these independent tours, they are NOT obliged to get you back to the ship on time. If you miss the ship, you will have to get to the next port at your own expense. Commendations. This cruise wasn't a complete mess. I would like to commend several staff who went above and beyond their duties-Kian and Vince in the Sunset Bar and Shaun in the Rendezvous lounge were very friendly and got to know all of the guests preferences. The rest of the staff were very attentive and nothing was too much trouble. My cabin was very clean all of the time (if a little threadbare) and the ship was kept neat and tidy all of the time. Decor in the general public areas of the ship wasn't to my taste but was in keeping with other cruise ships I have travelled on. On a personal note...my evening meals were spoilt by one of the people on my dinner table. This person was a thirty something US citizen by the name of Jeff. I am certain that he didn't change his shirt for the entire cruise. He was completely naive and didn't have a clue about any other part of the world. He kept saying that the wanted to visit the UK and would be based in London. He didn't seem to understand that we in the UK do not drive on the same side of the road as he does. He also didn't accept that the price of petrol in the UK was at least 2 1/2 times as much as the US. He also wanted 110 volts so that he could bring all of his gadgets with him-we use 240 volts. I could go on about this guy but I eventually snapped and told him in no uncertain terms about which side of the road we drive. I also told him he couldn't drive to Scotland and back in one day (as he said he wanted to do) and that I lived 240 miles north of London and Edinburgh is a six hour drive from my location. I left my dinner table early that night so I didn't say anything I might have regretted later. Two of my fellow diners-a British couple Helen & Karl-were of the same opinion as me and I apologised to them the next night for storming off. Disembarkation. Another mess. We were each given luggage tags so that we got off the ship in time for our respective travel arrangements. My time was 0730 in the Rendez-vous lounge. We were told that all of our luggage had been off-loaded the night before. This was a lie. All you had to do was look over the side of the ship to see shore staff still unloading luggage! When I eventually got to the exit (over half an hour later than scheduled), I was prevented getting off and was told to report to Guest Relations for a message. This I did only to find one person behind the counter. After a few minutes with still only one staff helping and around twenty people behind me, I walked up to the counter a shouted at the top of my voice "..is there anybody here? I have a plane to catch..". With that, three or four staff members suddenly appeared. I said that there was a message for me. Firstly, the staff asked me to stop shouting at them-this I refused to do. I was told that there was no message and that I could leave the ship immediately. This I did still shouting (with lots words not printable in this review) included. When off the ship, Celebrity staff had absolutely no idea which coach we were supposed to be on and I was nearly put on a coach that was going on a tour before dropping people off at the airport. I eventually got on the correct coach only to be confronted by yet another "Jobsworth" (as in '..it's more than my jobs worth..') who insisted on seeing all of my documentation. Were does he think I've been for 11 days? Honolulu airport. I must say that US Customs Officers seem to have been on a charm offensive since the last time I travelled through the USA. Instead of being constantly shouted at and intimidated, I was pleasantly surprised to find very nice people who were very courteous and polite. Finally, if any US citizens are reading this, can I ask you to write to your Congressman/Woman to get the Jones Act repealed. I will not be doing this transfer again! Conclusions. 1. If you are going on a cruise that involves being transferred from a US port to Mexico-make your own travel arrangements. Do not rely on Celebrity to get you there in comfort. 2.Celebrity does not provide "Meet & Greet" staff at airports-you will have to fend for yourself. 3. Don't expect any proper organisation from Celebrity. Everybody I spoke to (including US citizens) was disgusted with the treatment that they received. 4. No explanations. 5. No apologies. 6. And finally....DO NOT book a cruise with Celebrity! This was Celebrity's second chance. I will not be booking a cruise with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
This was our 3rd experience with Celebrity. Our first 2 were excellent. Our connection from the San Diego airport to Celebrity's SD terminal was quick. It went downhill from there. The terminal was chaotic and dirty. We finally ... Read More
This was our 3rd experience with Celebrity. Our first 2 were excellent. Our connection from the San Diego airport to Celebrity's SD terminal was quick. It went downhill from there. The terminal was chaotic and dirty. We finally boarded a bus to Ensenada at around 4PM. The bus proceeded to the border, where we were delayed about 1 hour by Mexican border security (not too bad, others were much worse). As night fell, the passengers enjoyed the darkness, as there was no light in the restroom. ( I leave this to your imagination). We reached the dock at 8 PM. Incredibly, we sat on the dock, waiting to board, until 9:05. After 5 hours, I thought it was reasonable to get an explanation from an officer. I was told that no officer was available, but someone from Guest Relations would contact me. We finally made it to our cabin at 9:20, just in time for the mandatory safety muster. We informed the officer at the muster station that there were still hundreds on guests on the dock, waiting to board. We also mentioned that we hadn't eaten since early that morning. We were told that the Captain had ordered the restaurant to stay open until 10:30 PM. After the safety meeting, we tried to get to a restaurant, only to find that only part of the buffet was open. We also had the pleasure of walking up from Deck 4 to Deck 10, because the elevators were being used for luggage. The next day, when I received no call from Guest Relations, a I decided to pay them a visit. Their response was that they had received similar complaints from many passengers (surprise!), that they were very sorry, and that 'corporate' had been notified. My reply was that this was disgraceful and unacceptable, which prompted another 'sorry'. (As a postscript to this, we followed up in writing in the ship's survey. Finally, after no callback we called corporate to repeat our complaint. This generated another 'sorry'). Here is my (hopefully) objective review of the balance of the cruise: Cabin - small, but modern and clean Housekeeping - excellent General ship condition - good to very good Entertainment - very good to excellent Dining - In general, not as good as prior Celebrity cruises. - Buffet - good - Metropolitan - quality good, presentation fair, deserts poor - Qzine - very good - Excursions - pricey but very good To summarize, under no circumstances should you consider embarking in Ensenada. Celebrity quality and service, on which the company prides itself, has slid significantly. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2012
I have cruised many times before on many cruise lines. This was our first Celebrity cruise and I had heard it was a step above Princess and HAL. I am 49 and was traveling with my 75 year old disabled mom. We had cruised to Hawaii before ... Read More
I have cruised many times before on many cruise lines. This was our first Celebrity cruise and I had heard it was a step above Princess and HAL. I am 49 and was traveling with my 75 year old disabled mom. We had cruised to Hawaii before on the Carnival Spirit from Vancouver several years ago. My mom had a stroke 10 years ago and is unable to walk unaided due to her balance issues. She depends on her electric scooter for mobility. She can walk short distances, with difficulty, with her walker. This was to be our last mother/daughter cruise as her physical and mental disabilities are getting too difficult to allow her to travel. I put a lot of time, money and homework into this vacation. You have to do your homework when you cruise or vacation with someone who is disabled. You always have to expect the unexpected. I had been in contact with Celebrity Special needs many times before this cruise. They were aware my mom would require a bus with a lift for her scooter for the transfer from the airport to the pier and from the pier to the ship. Celebrity Special needs advised me many times all was taken care of. I booked an accessible cabin with a balcony on deck 6. My mom just loves having a balcony on a cruise. She will sit out on the balcony for hours. She would sleep out on the balcony if I let her. Not on this cruise. More on that later. We arrived at the San Diego airport at 8:45am. It was a much too early a flight but we didn't know that then. We collected our luggage and found the celebrity reps. They quickly took our luggage and told us transfers to the pier would not begin until 11am. They told us they had no accessible transfers and we would have to pay $15pp for an independent accessible transfer to the pier. I couldn't understand this when celebrity told us that an accessible transfer would be available and complimentary. I had even given Celebrity my flight information. I still don't know what happened to the accessible transfer we were promised. The rep at the airport advised us if mom could get up the steps onto the bus they could put the scooter under the bus in the luggage compartment and they would be able to transfer us for free. We agreed. We went and had a bite to eat in the airport and began our 2 hour wait for the transfer. We were finally called to the transfer bus. The rep was insistent that mom get the front seat as she was disabled. As mom struggled to get up the steps into the bus, I watched as the men tried to get mom's scooter under the bus. It would not go right side up so they put it on it's side and slid it into the luggage compartment very roughly. I could only hope it wasn't hurt or damaged. Upon arrival to the pier the Celebrity Millennium was there and we wished so much we could board her there. Unfortunately, we were not allowed due to a law called the Jones act. Thankfully the scooter worked when taken out of the bus but with a few more scratches by it's rough handling. The pier was basically a warehouse. We checked in and then began the 4 hour wait for the bus to Ensenada. Celebrity did provide us with a light lunch of small sandwiches, potato salad and water or lemonade. Finally at 3pm the buses started to arrive and people began boarding the buses. Mom and I continued to wait until 4pm. We were then told that a lift bus would take several more hours wait. They said we could leave immediately if mom walked the few steps up into a regular bus and the scooter was put into the luggage compartment. We agreed. They made sure they boarded us onto an empty bus so mom could have the front seat. Several nice men helped mom up the bus steps. The scooter was put under the bus and we waited as people were loaded onto the bus. At 5pm we started on our journey to the border. At first our bus driver got lost and couldn't find I-5. He had to go around the block twice. Thankfully he found the freeway after that. We had to wait 2 hours at the border as all 50 buses were put in one line at the border. In the two hours the only excitement was a drug dog inspecting the luggage compartment of the bus and even entered the bus and walked up and down the aisle. Of course the dog found nothing. I thought this was useless as I don't think drugs are going into Mexico. This should be done on the other side in Mexico where drugs are coming into the US. We finally got through the border and began our two hour drive to Ensenada. We had a Mexican bus driver who did not speak or understand English. The bus driver drove very fast and we had to hang on for dear life so we were not dumped into the aisle of the bus at every turn. The views from the bus would have been beautiful if we would have been able to see them in the light, however it was already dark by that time. We were never so glad to see the lights of Ensenada. We finally arrived at the pier in Ensenada where the men broke my mom's scooter getting it out of the bus. We arrived into our cabin which I though had to be a joke. It was TINY. I have been on many, many cruises and I have never seen such a small accessible cabin. However I had no time to think of the small cabin as the broken scooter was of the utmost importance. It would not run and it's charge indicator was broken out of the dashboard of the scooter. I went down to guest relations and told them that my mom's scooter had been broken. The guest relations worker quickly told me that Celebrity did not break my mom's scooter but the bus company had. This confused me. Wasn't the bus hired by Celebrity? I asked if a maintenance man could please come look at the scooter. They said under no circumstance would they touch my mom's scooter. They explained they might break it worse and then would be responsible. I was beside myself. My mom's cruise would be ruined with out the use of her scooter. Not only the cruise but our 10 day post cruise vacation booked in Honolulu. Our room steward saw how upset were we about the scooter. Somehow, a maintenance man did come up and look at the scooter. His English was very poor and he refused to touch the scooter. I asked to use his screwdriver and as he watched I unscrewed the dashboard of my mom's scooter. I tried to put the indicator back in place but it was cracked. I then noticed the wire that went down to the battery compartment in the scooter was unplugged. It could not be plugged back in because the prongs were all bent. I used the screwdriver as best I could to re bend the prongs. I was then able to plug it in and low and behold it worked!!!! I was relieved beyond explanation. I was so proud of myself and my husband would have been too. The cord and plug must have been pulled out and damaged as the men pulled the scooter out of the luggage compartment. I thanked the maintenance man for lending me his screwdriver.. Later guest relations would call me and leave a message on my phone saying how glad they were that their maintenance man was able to repair my mom's scooter!!!!! What? I didn't care about this at all as all is well that ends well. For the first two days the lights in our cabin did not work. On the first night we really didn't care as we were so tired we just wanted sleep. They tried to fix them that evening but right after the electrician left they went out again. The next day the electrician had to return two more times. This finally fixed the problem and we didn't have a problem with the cabin lights again. We couldn't move in our cabin it was so crowded, with us the furniture, the beds and the scooter and walker. I removed the little table and chair that was in the cabin and put it on the balcony. This still didn't give us any room. There was no room beside the bed to get the walker or scooter near it so my mom would be able to transfer. We discovered the bed was too close to the mounted desk against the wall to allow mom access to the balcony. We were so disappointed. Here I had gone to all the extra expense of getting a balcony accessible cabin and the balcony was not accessible to my mom. What is the use of offering a handicapped balcony cabin when the balcony is not able accessible??? The balcony even had a lovely ramp but due to the smallness of the cabin the bed was on it. So, mom was not able to use the balcony at all on the entire cruise. The bathroom in the cabin was accessible. It had grab bars and a shower with a seat. Thankfully, our cabin was right next to the open area near the stairs. We stored our scooter out in that area. Mom used the walker in the cabin. This made it difficult to constantly get to her scooter but we survived. There was no place to charge the scooter out there so periodically we would have to have it in the cabin. Needless to say we were exhausted after the day we had. I went to the muster drill but mom was too sick and tired to go. We were so tired we didn't even go to dinner. We ordered a little room service and ate it in the dark as the lights weren't working. We slept late the next morning. Mom was still exhausted from the day before. So she stayed in the cabin for the most part. That is the reason I got a balcony cabin. I knew she would stay in the cabin quite a bit. Whenever, I think of this I still get upset. I explored the ship. I really liked the layout of the ship. It was not one of those mega ships. It was not too small and not too big. The ship was gorgeous. All shiny and clean. I really liked the clear elevators. I had brought my lap top and bought Internet with the ship. It was quite expensive. I think I spent $200. I was able to use my lap top from my room or anywhere on the ship. I was glad I had brought my lap top as the Internet lounge sometimes was very busy with a line of people waiting to use a computer. The next 5 days were sea days and after that nightmare of a embarkation we needed the relaxation. I went to our cruise critic meeting to meet all the people I had been chatting with before our cruise. Celebrity had champagne, orange juice and snacks for us. The cruise director came too. It was nice meeting and talking with some people but the group was so large it was overwhelming. During the sea days Celebrity offered many things to do. Hair seminars, space lectures, trivia and computer classes to name just a few.. The food was great on this ship and the dining room was very nice and the waiters were exceptional. We had 6pm fixed seating. One thing Celebrity did right was at dinner they seated mom at a table right near the entrance so she didn't have to do an obstacle course in order to get to her table.. Our table was also right next to a window. Mom would drive her scooter up to the table. The waiter would help mom transfer to her seat and then the waiter would drive the scooter away to park it out of the way. After dinner he would go get the scooter for mom and help her transfer back. I had asked Celebrity Special needs for large print menus but we never did get them. There are obviously some serious communication problems between Celebrity Special needs and their ships. The waiters learned our names and learned our likes and dislikes. The waiter wanted to make sure we enjoyed dinner. If we ever didn't like something we ordered he would encourage us to order something else. Our assistant waiter was also good but his English was not as good as our waiter and got confused or didn't understand some things . My mom just loves desserts and she would order two. She would eat both of them too. My mom is very skinny so doesn't need to worry about her weight. Our waiter encouraged us to do this. The lava cake, cheesecake and souffle's were the best. Lobster night was great. Nice big lobsters that were very tender. I ordered two. Then some nights nothing really looked good. Those nights we would just order two or more appetizers skip the entree and order dessert. The waiter allowed us the freedom to do anything we wanted. We were seated at a table of six and we loved our table mates. We would always get room service breakfast. We would order it the night before on a card and hang it on the door. It was always right on time. It was not always accurate. There was usually always something missing. One morning the coffee was missing. Another morning the toast. No butter on another morning etc. I would call them and they would bring whatever was forgotten. We couldn't imagine going to breakfast in the dining room when we could eat in our cabin in our pajamas. Twice we did go to the buffet to get waffles in the morning. They were so yummy. For the most part all the crew were very kind and helpful. I must say the only time we saw a bad attitude once or twice was at the guest relations counter. Our cabin steward was so nice and did her job so well. We would often sleep in and then just leave the cabin for 15 minutes before we would return again. I don't know how but we would come back to a clean, made up cabin. She must have been watching for us to leave. We loved going to the shows in the showroom. The productions shows were our favorites. There were 3 and they were so good. We also had a fiddler, magician, pianist, a singer and a comedian. Some shows were better than others but we never missed a show. One night we had a Polynesian show. We thought it would be a professional show but found out it was just a hula school that brought their students to the ship to do a show. One group that we really enjoyed were the acapella quartet. They were such nice young men and very personable. Also very talented. They had a large number and variety of songs. We always searched the daily paper to see where and when they were performing. We loved the reserved handicapped seating in the showroom. Usually it is at the very back of the theater in the nose bleed section, however, they had front row seats that were also handicapped accessible. My mom loved this as she can't see very well. The cruise also had the usual newlywed game, Liar, liar and dancing with the stars. I love these shows. The cruise director was always at these late night shows and he was so much fun. I really enjoyed our cruise director. What a busy guy, but so nice. Mom and I always had to go by his office to get into the showroom. There was a very heavy door we had to open to enter. If he was there, which he usually was, he would run ahead to open and hold the door for us. He was always out and about. Always very open to talk to anyone. After he had closed the show he would sprint up a deck so he could greet the guests as they came out of the main entrance of the showroom. I don't know when the man slept. He was up very late doing shows. Then was up at the crack of dawn. He said he lived on 6 hours sleep a night. Upon arrival into Hilo we had to go to customs on the ship before we were able to leave the ship. We all headed to a showroom. It started out with one customs agent trying to check out 400 people. This did not go over well. People were afraid of missing their excursions. Finally, 3 more agents came in and the line began to move. It was a crowded, confusing mess. Especially when mom is disabled and there is not any space for her to maneuver. But after an hour we got through it and were soon off the ship. We rented a car here and headed to Walmart where we really needed to get some additional medical supplies for mom. We also hit Hilo Hattie's for some shopping. We drove around and checked out some sea views. We had been to Hilo many times before. It is usually raining here but not today. Our weather on this whole trip was exceptional. Also the seas were never, ever rough. It was the calmest seas we had ever experienced. We couldn't believe people complaining about the movement and rocking of the ship. Mom and I would look at each other in amazement and say. What movement? Next stop was Kona. This was a tender port. We had quite a wait for a tender as they started with only one tender going back and forth. Finally they got more tenders going. Many disabled people were very, very upset as they were not allowed off the ship if they were not able to transfer onto the tender without their electric chair/scooters.. There were around 10 steps we would have to climb down and then had to step onto a swaying tender boat. The crew were very, very helpful. They would carry my mom's walker and helped her onto the tender. Some people who were confined to wheelchairs/scooters did not know of this requirement. Imagine going all the way to Hawaii and not be able to get off the ship. Thankfully, we were aware of this rule as we had cruised so many times before. In Kona we again rented a car and went to the place of refuge to snorkel. Mom didn't snorkel of course, she just waited on the beach. Some of the best snorkeling is here. We enjoyed the hour drive out here along the ocean with incredible views. We were in Lahaina, Maui for two days. We again rented a car. We just loved the freedom of driving and stopping where we wanted and when we wanted. I went snorkeling many places. Black rock had horrible snorkeling. However, we did have fun using the Sheraton's pool here. We stopped on a beach at the side of the road once and we were the only ones there. We were able to swim and snorkel and have the entire beach to ourselves. We loved it. Since we were here two days we required some place to park our rental car. We found a place close to the ship behind Burger King. It cost $25. This may be expensive but it was worth the ease of getting to the car. Lahaina was again a tender port. I had to wait over an hour for a tender back to the ship one afternoon. There were only two tenders going at the time. Not that I really cared as I was on vacation and had nothing to rush to. The line of people waiting was snaked all around town. Next stop was Honolulu. Our favorite. We arrived in the morning and stayed overnight until the next morning. We know Honolulu like the back of our hands since we have been here so many times before. Since we were post touring here for an additional 10 days we made this a ship day. It was wonderful to have the ship and pools to ourselves. We didn't have to fight over lounge chairs as hardly anyone was on board. We lounged by the pool, swam, sunned and ate at the near by buffet. Also there were the lovely views of Diamond head from the ship. The ship had wonderful soft Hawaiian music playing in the pool area. It was so peaceful and relaxing. We had the best day until around 2pm. This is when the crowds were making their way back to the ship. Loungers were getting full, and you could no longer hear the nice music over the shouting and laughter of all the people. Oh well, it was wonderful while it lasted. We got off the ship the next morning with no trouble at all. I had arranged a private transfer with a lift from Roberts to take us to our hotel. There were some bumps along the way but no cruise is perfect. I was ashamed by some of the behavior of the people on this cruise. Having fits, yelling and making scenes because they had to wait to get a tender or wait on a customs official, etc. Come on people, you're on vacation. I guess Mom and I are pretty easy to please. Feed us, entertain us, make our beds and at the same time take us to tropical ports of call and we are happy. I hope to cruise Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We sailed on the Millenium on 10-22-2012 from Ensenada to Hawaii. I will start off with the bad part of the trip-Day one. In order to take this itinerary you must check in at the San Diego airport, be bused to the San Diego port, wait for ... Read More
We sailed on the Millenium on 10-22-2012 from Ensenada to Hawaii. I will start off with the bad part of the trip-Day one. In order to take this itinerary you must check in at the San Diego airport, be bused to the San Diego port, wait for hours at the San Diego port and take a bus to Ensenada(about a 3 hour adventure).We arrived early for check-in at the airport and found only one Celebrity employee at the kiosk handling the check-in. We were about 20th in line and by the time we got to the front of the line there were about 75-100 people in line. A second employee arrived to help but it was mass confusion. After getting to the port in San Diego we saw the ship leaving to go to Ensenada and were told that no buses would be leaving San Diego for at least 3 hours so that the ship could get to Ensenada ahead of the hordes of travellers. Of course when you travel to Mexico you must first pass though Mexican customs and it took over an hour to get through that mess. My spouse and I kind of shrugged off the bad day knowing that a magnificent cruise was in store for us, however, I cannot even count the number of people that said they would never sail on Celebrity again because of the chaos surrounding getting to the ship. Once we managed to get on board(about 7 pm) our luggage had already been delivered (one piece was severely damaged somewhere between San Diego and Ensenada). We had booked an Aqua class sunset veranda on the 11th floor at the back of the ship and it was amazing! The view throughout the cruise was spectacular although our room was directly above the rear lounge/smoking area. The amenities that come with the Aqua class package are well worth the few extra bucks you pay. Dinners and breakfast in the Blu restaurant were impressive and the Aqua spa offered a great relaxing respite while on board. My spouse and I are cruise veterans and the shows on this trip were without a doubt the best we have ever seen on a ship(except for one Hawaiian dancing show). The Millenium itself is in excellent shape after its recent makeover and the crew is friendly and professional. We felt that some of the windows could have used a little more cleaning than they got but all in all the ship was great. Once we got to the islands we did our own thing and did not book any excursions through the ship. In Hilo we hired a local van to take us around the various tourist spots and it cost about half what the cruise line was charging. In Kona and Maui we took local transportation to the beautiful beaches and shopping areas. My favorite beach in the whole world is Kanapali Beach in Maui and we spent two days renting a little beach cabana on the beach. The final day was in Honolulu and again we did our own thing shopping and sightseeing. On the final day we used the ship's shuttle service to the airport ($25 person) and would have been better off just taking a local taxi service. All in all I give this cruise a B+ and plan on sailing with Celebrity in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
I'll skip an in-depth discussion of the Embarkation Procedures that involved busing to Ensenada to board the ship, though quite honestly, in my opinion, it wasn't bad at all. However, I am sure many would disagree with that ... Read More
I'll skip an in-depth discussion of the Embarkation Procedures that involved busing to Ensenada to board the ship, though quite honestly, in my opinion, it wasn't bad at all. However, I am sure many would disagree with that assessment, and I know many issues have been directed to Celebrity Management. Once we boarded the ship, almost immediately the "Celebrity Experience" (think relaxation, service, food, drink, smiles) took hold, and continued throughout the 11 nights. Staff were pleasant, helpful, accommodating, kind, professional and unfailingly full of smiles and genuine warmth. I typically get up around 4 am to wander the ship (even with the many time changes) and spoke to every level of crew member I encountered...and every exchange was "excellent" (typical Celebrity response) !! The ship was in very good/excellent overall condition, and staff are seen at all hours cleaning, polishing, washing, etc to make sure it stays that way. Cabins (C1 Aft) were comfortable and the bathroom, carpets, fixtures etc all in good condition; bedding was good, storage is adequate (much prefer the M Class bedside tables to those on the S Class). We are aft/stern lovers, and the size of those balconies is wonderfully large, with 2 lounge chairs, 2 regular chairs and a small table. Though pads were not initially provided for the lounge chairs, they were quickly obtained when I asked my Stateroom Attendant. We were on deck 9, and were a bit worried of noise from the deck above, but for the most part, it was a total non-issue...yes, you could, at times, hear the scraping of chairs, but not to the point of "disturbing". We could also sometimes hear talking/music from the deck above, but only if we had the balcony door open. Friends on decks 7 and 8 had absolutely no noise issues. One item of note, that I think I recall being mentioned on CC...at night on several nights, we could hear a thumping sound...almost like the sound of a loud bass from a car radio that you hear while sitting in traffic next to someone with the radio turned excessively loud...At first I thought it was just that...music from somewhere...but it was 3am. Other nights we never heard it...so I never was able to determine what it was/where it was coming from ?? There was a group of 6 of us traveling together, and we were assigned late seating in the MDR (chose this because of the number of sea days, and because we typically indulge in the offerings of the Sushi Bar at 5;30-6pm...so a later dinner works well for us. Our Head waiter (Ali from Turkey) and Assistant (Ernest from the Philippines) were super fantastic, and in fact probably rate as the 2 best I have had on any cruise. Ali in particular was one of the kindest, most sincere, and friendly individuals I have met in my life...and I look forward to staying in touch with him. Trying to recall, I think during the entire cruise, our table (6 of us) returned/were not satisfied with a total of 3 dishes....that's impressive, since we ate in the MDR for 10 of the 11 nights....one night was on-shore at Old Lahaina Luau. Food quality, quantity, portion size, temperatures, served as ordered, etc...were routinely excellent. We had planned to eat at the Specialty Restaurants a couple of times during this cruise, but were so satisfied with the MDR, that we never did. Cafe al Bacio was my morning ritual (several times each morning), and I am happy to report that service, quality and consistency of coffee drinks was excellent. I am a coffee addict, and although I know Celebrity has improved the quality of their coffee in the machines in the OceanView Cafe...it still is not the least bit appealing to my taste buds....and yes, since Cafe al Bacio didn't open til 6:30am (better than 7am as on previous cruises) I had to partake of the machine coffee each early morning...not good !! T-Pool was wonderful. Gym was in good shape, with all but 1 or 2 machines in working order. Just a note, although the Gym opening hour is listed as 6am, the doors are never locked, and I was often done my workout by 6am. We are not big show folks, so I can't give a detailed account of the quality/noise levels/crowds etc. We did attend a Comedian...very good, and a Pianist...also, very good. Theater seats and condition overall appeared excellent. On a related note, CC recently had long threads discussing music noise levels on Celebrity ships lately...I never noticed loud music in any venue during this entire cruise. Tendering went well, with no overly long waits on-board or on shore (except the first morning in Kailua-Kona and the evening after the Luau's were over at Lahaina, and buses of folks were returning at the same time). Martini Bar was popular...Thanks to Wid from Indonesia !! Casino seemed popular...I make it a point to never lose in excess of $10...that took all of 5 minutes, and I was done in the casino for the next 10 nights !! Photographers did not seem as intrusive on this cruise as in the past...in fact, we found it a bit strange that the Photo Shop was closed upon our initial arrival in Honolulu (it was an overnite), and we saved money, as we were not able to purchase pics on our last days !! Never fear, between the 6 of us, we probably took a few thousand pictures combined ! Several activities were offered that were fun/educational and well attended. Specifically, we very much enjoyed the Hula Lessons, and lei making. Very popular and great fun !! One area of the ship that I think is wasted space is the aft/stern area of deck 12...above the new Aqua Class Cabins. There are lounge chairs up there...but nothing else. Seems kind of unappealing in my eyes...Appears like it would have been a perfect spot to install a couple of Hot Tubs/Endless Pools, and some tables with umbrellas or something. Rarely saw anyone up there at any time, except sail-aways. We did 2 ship sponsored excursions...snorkeling in Lahaina on the first morning (excellent); and on debarkation day...Pearl Harbor/City Tour with Airport drop-off (excellent). Overall, this was a Great cruise, with Great service from Great Staff, on a Great itinerary, spent with Great friends ! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
This was ninth cruise,5th with Celebrity,2nd Embarkation from Ensenada. We arrived at the San Diego Cruise Terminal at 1015 and were on our own taking our luggage into the terminal until finally Porters showed up. We checked in and ... Read More
This was ninth cruise,5th with Celebrity,2nd Embarkation from Ensenada. We arrived at the San Diego Cruise Terminal at 1015 and were on our own taking our luggage into the terminal until finally Porters showed up. We checked in and were given Group 2 which they said would leave 2-3 hours after the ship departed for Ensenada which was suppose to be 1000 . For what ever reason the ship did not leave until 1215 and we were told to be they would start boarding buses 230-300p.To their credit they did serve sandwiches,patato salads and light beverages at the terminal. We left the terminal for part of the wait to have some drinks at a nearby bar.They had a place to check your carryons if you left the terminal. We boarded our bus around 3pm for our journey to Ensenada.The trip was normal until we stopped at the Mexican Boarder.I expected a delay but what I did not expect was the bus driver openning the door to allow a young man to board playing a guitar and singing and of course collecting tips.Why would they open doors for anyone but authorities? After an hour delay we proceeded to the ship arriving around 6:30 and things went smoothly from there. We were welcomed with sparkling wine then went to our Cabin 6048 where we met our Attendent Andi.Cabin was 170 sq feet but had an oversized balcony. Andi was excellent bringing us extra towells,pillows,ice bucket always had ice and wine gasses were always clean. Dinner in the MDR was open seating the first night and we had a very good meal,though I heard some late arrivers had their meal disrupted by the lifeboat drill. The next night we met our regular Wait staff Alesandre and Maryanna who were excellent.The meals and desserts were very good to excellent. Had dinner one night in Qsine and really enjoyed.Was disappointed with Bistro on Five.Lots of choices at the buffet and never had a problem finding something good to eat. Really enjoyed the Martini Bar and the show by Bartenders Wid and Alin.I also overall enjoyed the music in the venues throughout the ship. Used the Gym and it was clean and equipment in good working order and the trainers were there to help if you needed it.Enjoyed the Solarium Pool also. The Islands,Hawaii(Big Island) Maui,and Oahu were all great. Fellow passengers were the BEST of any cruise I have been on. Disembarkation went better than average. Overall a Great Cruise despite the Embarkation process Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
It always amazes me how you can take a group of vacationers, put them all on the same ship, same itinerary, at the same dates and yet the experiences can be so different. I can only speak of our experience and how we chose to handle ... Read More
It always amazes me how you can take a group of vacationers, put them all on the same ship, same itinerary, at the same dates and yet the experiences can be so different. I can only speak of our experience and how we chose to handle certain inconveniences. This review will focus more on the items I know we were searching for information on before we sailed but found little on: Hump cabins, Ensenda Embarkation, Halloween on a ship, Fitness Center and All Inclusive Premium Drink Package. We were lucky to secure a Hump Cabin within Aqua Class meaning we had a slightly larger balcony in a room that sat directly below the Aqua Spa cafe / Solarium. It was a great room with no noise disturbances. Having sailed on both the Equinox and Solstice we were interested to see how comparable the retro-fit ships were to the actual Solstice builds. We are pleased to report that the cabins look virtually the same with the exception of the missing overhead storage typically above the bed however; there was no lack of storage space without it (with 6 suitcases packed I put the storage space to the test!). So let's talk about the Ensenada embarkation which is such a hot topic with this particular sailing. Having cruised often and as we are usually flying in from a winter wonderland, we typically fly in a day or two early to limit the stress of having to "catch a ship". Therefore we just caught a $9.00 cab from the car rental drop off rather then take the shuttle back to the airport to then have to take the Celebrity shuttle to the pier. Best $9.00 spent of the entire cruise! Staff at the pier were very friendly and accommodating considering they were under vast amounts of pressure due to the ship being parked right behind the check in counter and then seeing it sail away. Kinda funny when you think about it... For those that were shocked and panicked all I have to say is your cruise tickets clearly stated we were sailing from Ensenada Mexico not San Diego. When we checked in we were given bus ticket #6 and were told to come back before 3:00 pm to board. I appreciate that they told us to go out and enjoy San Diego pier as opposed to waiting in the terminal and I was even more impressed that they took care of our carry on luggage while we did this. We went for a lovely lunch on the pier and even managed to get some shopping in. Armed with my Starbucks Latte in hand we headed back to the terminal at about 2:45 where we spent about half an hour chatting with the people sitting next to us and by 3:30pm we were boarding our bus. Were we delayed a little due to a couple of people requiring scooters and oxygen tanks to be loaded. Ultimately we ended up being about bus #11 to pull out at around 4:00 pm. Border wait time was 60 minutes (not bad considering I have waited longer at airports to clear customs and at least here I was seated in a comfortable air-conditioned bus). Personally I enjoyed the bus ride along the coast, it was beautiful and we got to see the sunset. To expedite the process we were given declaration forms to fill out on the bus to be handed in once we arrive at Ensenada. Unfortunately we ended up on a bus that got lost in Ensenada and ended up going the wrong way down a one way street and then thought that he was rear-ended so stopped in the middle of another intersection to check things out (Luckily he wasn't hit). This all added about 30 extra minutes to our journey but with every U-Turn this driver performed with this motor-coach the bus cheered to show how impressed we all were with how well he maneuvered it. Eventually after 3 passes by the ship we made it to the dock overall time from San Diego to Ensenada was approx 3.5 hours. This was the first cruise we decided to experiment with the drink package so once we were a little settled in, we headed up to Blu for dinner and a drink. We definitely utilized our purchase with everything from: smoothies over breakfast, vitamin waters after a workout, fruity frozen drinks by the pool, lattes in the afternoon, pre-dinner drinks, cocktails and wine with dinner, after dinner drinks in Michael's lounge and a Martini at the Ice Bar. Now it sounds like we are lushes and that we should have been drunk for the entire cruise but that is not the case. Truly we used it to sample drinks that we normally would not. My husband is a beer snob so each night he sampled a different beer at Michael's and for myself, I do not like wine so I took this opportunity to utilize the the sommelier in Blu and tried to find wines I could enjoy...Success!!! To order the drink package again though I'm not so sure I would. We looked at the $1400.00 drink package expense as if it was a tour package or upgraded room. (only way I could justify it in my mind). Yes we drank our monies worth but in the end it was only empty calories that we didn't need and although the sampling was fun, we've done it once and don't feel the need to do it again. At least I know for certain that I do not like Cognac. To counter balance the consumption of food and drink we did utilize the gym frequently an participated in a spin class. Great experience and would do it again (I do think Celebrity should drop the $10.00 class fee though). But...the spin class led to a discussion with Daniel (Celebrity Fitness Instructor)about private training sessions and from that I enrolled in a 3 session personal training package complete with body composition analysis and a 17 page customized workout regiment to take home. The document covered everything from nutrition to an analysis specific to my body type and current fitness level. I was very impressed and have continued using the program Daniel built for me. Only downside was after the first session I had difficulty moving and was very sore the next day so I had to remind Daniel that I was on vacation and did need to be able to move about without pain. Once again... Money well spent. Halloween: We were sailing out of Maui the day of Halloween which was neat because Maui shuts down their main street in Lahaina for a children's parade right where we tender to the ship. Very fun and entertaining to see both children and parents dressed up following behind a fantastic marching band. Back on the ship we were one of the couples that brought costumes (remember the 6 suitcases)so we had fun dressing up that night. There were actually many passengers that dressed up as well as the crew and it was an electric atmosphere that night. They had a costume contest and we spent the night having people stop and ask if they could take photos of us. If you are sailing on Halloween we suggest that you join in the fun even if only with something simple. Kudo's to Rockin Ron the DJ for his incredible Rolling Stones Routine dressed up as Batman. He also showed an interesting and informative lecture on Marilyn Monroe which we thoroughly enjoyed. We weren't impressed with the Party Band "Kenosis" but stilled enjoyed dancing most nights. Those are my detailed comments on the items I thought are not usually reported on. Here are some remaining shorter comments and thoughts: Aqua Spa Cafe for breakfast was our favorite, Persian Gardens were terribly disappointing (no windows or private beds and was very dark and dingy), Bistro on Five was O.K., Olympic Restaurant was outstanding! We really enjoyed the progressive trivia (met some great people) and the shows were fantastic especially the backstage tour! We stayed away in general from the buffet (many grumpy pushy people up there) but the pizza was a favorite to grab and take away. Staff was ALWAYS friendly and outstanding especially the "washy, washy" guy by the elevators outside the buffet. The seas were generally smooth (relative to a pacific cruise)and the officer's pool volleyball game is always a pleasure! ***TIP*** We exercised the option to walk off the ship carrying our own luggage for disembarkation. We have done this several times and highly recommend it. We didn't have to send our suitcases away the night before or wait for them to be unloaded only to have to sift through the rows of black suitcases to find our own. We were off the ship with absolutely no crowds to fight through by 7:00 am, in our rental car and on our way to Pearl Harbor. Easy, simple and efficient. Clearing customs - There is no reason to bad mouth Celebrity regarding having to clear customs in San Diego (if arriving out of Country), then to have to do it in Mexico, and then one last time in Hilo... These are not "Customer Service" line-ups designed for your comfort but rather arrival and departures into and out of COUNTRIES!!! Celebrity has no control, nor should they, over being given "special treatment" for getting their 2400 passengers across. Additionally common sense should tell you that you have booked KNOWINGLY that you have to enter and exit out of Mexico along with 2400 fellow cruisers and the rest of travellers crossing that border at that same time. 2400 passengers do not clear customs all in under an hour whether or not you are entering or exiting a country by tender or bus, this is why this specific cruise cost less than the other ones sailing in and out of San Diego. Kudos to Celebrity for staggering the buses and allowing passengers to explore San Diego longer that day for their comfort. To complain about it is like being upset because you don't get the free blanket and pillow flying in coach as do the people paying double in first class. Overall this was a fantastic holiday especially for the price paid. Was everything perfect - NO but we chose to choose our attitude and as such it attracted the same attitude back. Honestly the most un-enjoyable part of the vacation was having to listen to others complain in the elevators, on the buses and in the line-ups. There was so much to do and enjoy on the ship that 5 days at sea truly wasn't enough. It's vacation, pull up your big panties and enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We checked in at the port in San Diego for our bus trip to Ensenada.There was a delay.no big deal,But Celebrity provided lunch. Our bus trip to Ensenada had the normal delays at the boarder shockingly a few seemed overly irratated by ... Read More
We checked in at the port in San Diego for our bus trip to Ensenada.There was a delay.no big deal,But Celebrity provided lunch. Our bus trip to Ensenada had the normal delays at the boarder shockingly a few seemed overly irratated by this butI'm not going to let a couple of whinners ruin my day. When we boarded and were handed a glass of bubbly we knew we were in for a delightful trip and we were not wrong. We went to our stateroom and were greeted by Marco a man who loves his job and does it well.The cabin was a cozy 170 sq feet but with plenty of storage for mmy wifes things. The first night we ate at the buffet and were delighted with the choices.We both had the stir fry and it was great. The next night we went to the main dining and were served by Sasha and Anna who were at the top of their game. The beef and lamb were very good and we had escargot most nights.Great desserts and the rum raison ice cream was to die for. The 5 sea days were enjoyable.The seas seemed exceptionbly smooth for for the Pacific.Lots of activities to keep yourself busy but I managed to go to the gym for some cardio everyday . Enjoyed the bars .The Ice bar served great Martini's and Micheals had a very good section of beers.Enjoyed the live music. Went through imagration when we arrived in Hilo and it went smoothly. Sea were a little choppy in the tendering ports but Celebrity made sure we boarded safely.A couple of people not surprsinly thought that Celebrity has control of the seas(eyes rolling). Overall a fantastic trip thanks to a Great Crew and a Great Ship Read Less
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