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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This cruise took us too Hawaii, of which we have not been. Also it gave us a taste of Celebrity as we have never sailed Celebrity before. And was not too pricey. Overall, seemed like the perfect cruise. For this cruise we booked an ... Read More
This cruise took us too Hawaii, of which we have not been. Also it gave us a taste of Celebrity as we have never sailed Celebrity before. And was not too pricey. Overall, seemed like the perfect cruise. For this cruise we booked an inside cabin. The stateroom was very large for an inside room. And had contemporary design with a wonderful stateroom attendant, Dragana. We were on deck 7, all the way forward. For two days when crossing the pacific we felt a little seasick, though for the rest of the cruise we did decent. As far as dining goes, we went to the main dining room twice (once for dinner, once for lunch), and the buffet for the rest of the cruise. As far as the buffet, the food was good with a large selection. However, breakfast was almost the same every day, it got a little monotonous. Regarding the main dining room, it as a bit of an experience. The one time we went for lunch the food was very delicious, we looked forward to our next visit to the main dining room. Dinner was where things took a turn. We went to dinner in the main dining room for the first time on the ninth night of the cruise (the 8:30 dining time got in the way of activities and was too late to eat for us). First, our waiter shamed us for not attending dinner service in the main dining room, alright...then, he said "I gave up your table because you didn't attended for so many nights." We felt shamed, though we sat with a wonderful couple. Furthermore, he begged us to give him and the assistant waiter a 10 as "it will lower their salaries." After this fiasco, we did not go back to the main dining room. Entertainment on the Eclipse was phenomenal, the best we've had on a cruise. The production shows blew us away, especially with the acrobatics. All of the guest entertainers were always entertaining, and interacted with the guests. Even the cruise director, Alejandro always entertaining, he was hilarious. There were enrichment activities regarding Hawaii every day, and always were appealing topics. Also, there were trivias every day, sometimes two a day. Great for those who enjoy trivia; most of it is more modern trivia. In our first port, Hilo, we did the most. In our first day in Hilo we booked rental car (of which I highly recommend). We first went to Punalu'u Black Sand beach. It as absolutely wonderful as there was a lot of wildlife and scenic areas. Soon after, we drove to the Papakolea Green Sand beach. To get to the actually beach after parking there were two options, by an hour hike, or by standing in a truckbed going 30+ mph through deep trenches and sharp hills. It was very rough and we sustained a few bruises when holding on to the bars. Though if you're lucky, you will be on of the select four who get to sit inside of the pickup. The fee was 10 dollars per person for both ways. Even so, the journey was worth it. The beach was absolutely stunning. To get down to the beach we had to hike down a very narrow corridor of sharp rocks...not very ideal. With this, we still find this our favorite journey ever. For the second day in Hilo, we took a Celebrity sponsored bus tour that took us to Akaka falls, a macadamia nut farm, and the tropical rainforest zoo. Our favorite was Akaka falls, absolutely gorgeous. The excursions was very worth it, I highly recommend it. Our next port, Kailua Kona was more modern and new compared to Hilo. We did not stray far from the port, we bought souvenirs and hanged around the beach at the port. Kailua Kona was very walkable. We also booked a glassbottom boat reef tour. We saw many fish and even a turtle, which was unexpected by the guides. It was a pretty good excursion. For our final port, Lahaina, we stayed for two days. On the first day, we booked a whale watching excursion. Of which we saw a mother humpback whale and her baby on a couple of occasions. Lahaina was also very wakable. On the second day we browsed around shops and walked pretty far. Overall, this cruise was the best cruise we have had yet. The itinerary, and the overnights. Not to mention the stateroom, ambiance, and overall atmosphere was a pleasure. We plan to sail Celebrity in the future and we strongly encourage you to book a Celebrity cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We had done this cruise before on the Solstice three years ago, had seen all the sights, and stayed in Lahaina and Waikiki for several weeks some time ago. So we merely wanted some R&R, good food, originating in Vancouver, some ... Read More
We had done this cruise before on the Solstice three years ago, had seen all the sights, and stayed in Lahaina and Waikiki for several weeks some time ago. So we merely wanted some R&R, good food, originating in Vancouver, some sunshine, and were not interested in organised shore excursions. We got exactly what we paid for. Embarkation at Vancouver took much longer then we expected. Disembarkation at Honolulu was OK. I particularly enjoy Celebrity's English breakfasts and the variety in the buffet at other times, especially the cheese selection in the afternoons. The MDR - and the service there - was excellent, though one or two evenings we couldn't get the early time we preferred. One night in the buffet I complained about the poor quality of a prime rib, as did the passengers at the next table. Qsine was a gimmick and the food not particularly good. The ship's facilities, pools and public areas are excellent throughout. The entertainment in the theatre was excellent, as were the violin/cello couple from Ukraine(?) in one of the bars. I am no fan of Polynesian music but the group from Lahaina were very good. I asked for copies of the daily news summary Celebrity used to have available at the Guest Relations desk from Canada, UK and US. “Sorry sir, we don’t have them any more – gone paperless sir.” So I asked about the distribution of their daily on-board program on paper every day when they could just as easily be distributed to guests on the web or by email or posted on the in-room TV. Answer came there none. Not quite so paperless after all? The “James Bond style” safety video shown at the beginning of the cruise was ineffective and, even worse, insulting to many guests. They told me so because I asked them. Many people were little the wiser when it was all over. Two guests who had cruised in double figures with Celebrity and other lines told me they learned nothing and that it was pathetic compared with Celebrity’s competitors. I suggest that Celebrity change this program immediately, fire the producer responsible and the senior safety officer who approved it. Safety aboard is a serious matter. We are not particularly demanding of our stewards but our steward (Sijas, from India) was very attentive and looked after us very well. The lettering on the staff name/country badges is far too small to be legible by the guests. They are thus quite useless for the purpose intended. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise because I could get off at the end in Honolulu which would allow me to shorten the flight to Korea. This was my first time sailing with Celebrity and only my second cruise. I selected my cabin and Aqua class before I ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I could get off at the end in Honolulu which would allow me to shorten the flight to Korea. This was my first time sailing with Celebrity and only my second cruise. I selected my cabin and Aqua class before I knew anything. After booking this cruise I began reading reviews here on cruise critic and on Ship Mate to learn what I was in for. Funny there were no reviews or pictures of the cabin 1544 I chose but lots of info on Aqua class. Aqua class turned out to be a great choice for me and my husband. Many reviews from those that were not Aqua class look at this as snobbish or at a way for this cruise line to make extra money. Yes mabe that is the case when comparing this line to other lines that I had no experience with. But for me and comparing it to the Princess cruise ship Star(my only other cruise) I found this to be a great option to have. Choosing this class gave me a great shower. Note I measured and took pictures which I will share. I am a large woman. Comparing the shower on the Star Craibe deck cabin C709 I would chose spending a little more to have this shower available to me. Another perk with Aqua class is the assigned restaurant Blu. I kept reading reviews about clean cuisine and thought it meant diet food, not so. Entrees were an array of meats and seafood with sauces artfully arranged on your plate. When the reviews spoke of intimate dinning it was not enough info that explained what it was like in the Blu. The tables in the Blu were grouped and arranged in several ways. Looking at the plan provided you will see an area near the windows with a row of tables perpendicular to the windows.these were tables not treated as a group but as individual tables for two. The space between was just enough for the waiter to squeeze through while servicing the table. Each perpendicular row was primarily serviced by a group of waiters for your morning and evening meals. The service was outstanding. My husband is a picky eater. He doesn't eat vegetables or any greens. They brought him the menu for the next day so he could choose what he would like that would be customized to his taste. The tables were close enough to have conversations with the couple next to you if you wanted but if you chose to not speak to your neighbors you didn't feel obligated. Now there were large round tables that could seat large groups of people that liked that. I thoroughly enjoyed the option of having our waiters just for us and we could enjoy the guest that would sit next to us that would rotate from time to time depending on what time they arrived. We met so many wonderful people. The room was a great location for attending the shows but not a good location for going to eat at the many restaurants on the ship, which was at the opposite end of the ship. The room was quite never heard any people noise nor any elevator noise. View from the balcony was great. Now what I found could use some improvements is the outlets. The only 110v outlet in this cabin was located desk level. I was told by Celebrity I could not bring an extension cord nor a multi plug adapter without surge protecter aboard the ship. However, spoke with fellow shipmates that have sailed with Celebrity that they brought adapters on board without surge protecter with problems. If you need a extension cord one will be provided. We were provide with two. One was for a C-Pap and the other was for a electric nasal flush. The downside to using extension cords is they were strung across our cabin. This is the only negative I have for this ship. I had the premium non-alcoholic beverage package. At dinner I could order special coffees, teas and other frozen non-alcoholic drinks. I could get bottled water where ever it was available all over the ship. At the Cafe Blanco I could get a large assortment of speciality coffees with the free assortment of pastries. When it came to water from this place. I could get more than one bottle at a time. Funny thing is is across from the Cafe Blanco was the icecream bar was not free. Also when at the shows you could order frozen virgin drinks like pinata colettas, strawberry daiquiris and the like non-alcoholic or bottled water. All and all I had a wonderful experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Love leaving out of my home town, and wanted to try 5 days at sea! Cruise was great, good activity staff and a great roll call who had many activities to help fill up those days at sea. Love the fact that Celebrity now does Silent Disco ... Read More
Love leaving out of my home town, and wanted to try 5 days at sea! Cruise was great, good activity staff and a great roll call who had many activities to help fill up those days at sea. Love the fact that Celebrity now does Silent Disco one or two times per trip. Do not miss this, as it is hilarious. Guest speakers Brent and Mary Amanda were very knowledgeable and enjoyable. Celebrity Life activities sharing information about other itineraries and ports were very informative as well, and helped us pick out our next cruise. Dined in the main dining room which was quite good, with lovely table mates. Only issue was that they had us originally as Select Dining, when we were a set seating but that was quickly sorted out on the first night. No problems with embarkation ( >15 mins!) and disembarkation was great. Ports were good, tendering was a bit painful in Hilo, but they sorted it out for Lahaina! Highly recommend this cruise Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We sailed on the Celebrity Solstice from Sydney to Hawaii via Auckland & Tahiti in April 2018. This ship was breathtakingly fabulous. We stayed in the Celebrity Suites and this we could not fault. Our private dining room for breakfast ... Read More
We sailed on the Celebrity Solstice from Sydney to Hawaii via Auckland & Tahiti in April 2018. This ship was breathtakingly fabulous. We stayed in the Celebrity Suites and this we could not fault. Our private dining room for breakfast lunch dinner was outstanding. Nothing was a bother for them. The food was simply delicious and the staff were absolutely brilliant. Although we could have dined here every night on our 19 day cruise we chose to eat in Murano Restaurant. This restaurant is not to be missed. The food and the staff are very very professional. The service is akin to six star fine dining restaurant. The meal selection is very varied and they will offer you something else if you can’t find a suitable selection from the menu.. Being Suite guests we had the opportunity to visit Michaels. Michaels is a suite only private area where you have canapés and drinks before dinner. Our female bartender was brilliant. She could remember everyone’s drink orders and was an asset to the ship. Our Butler was very attentive and prompt. We are sailing on the Queen Elizabeth in February 2019 for 12 days around New Zealand. This ship has got some very big shoes to fill. I have my doubts. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
We have sailed Celebrity Solstice class ships several times before, but we chose this itinerary as our first trip to Hawaii. Overnights in Oahu, Maui, and ports on both sides of the big island were much enjoyed. Our last day in Hilo we ... Read More
We have sailed Celebrity Solstice class ships several times before, but we chose this itinerary as our first trip to Hawaii. Overnights in Oahu, Maui, and ports on both sides of the big island were much enjoyed. Our last day in Hilo we experienced two earthquakes about 1/2 hour apart while on a bus tour in Volcanoes National Park and its environs. It was great and very exciting. All our excursions were from Celebrity, and all were well organized. We had one guide on the island of Hawaii, Anthony, who was very knowledgeable and entertaining. We actually enjoyed him on 2 separate tours. We learned a great deal about the history and geology of this island. I also really liked the "Beyond the Podium" lectures that were offered on the 5 sea days, especially the ones about the art of the south Pacific. I joined the choir, directed by Isaac, and had a great performance on our last night of the cruise in Victoria, B.C. A great way to get back to Canada! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Once again, Celebrity provided top quality, top service and a great experience. From cabin steward, Dominic to our wait staff Ian and Vincent to Debbi the Event Coordinator and Josef, the Concierge everyone was very professional; service ... Read More
Once again, Celebrity provided top quality, top service and a great experience. From cabin steward, Dominic to our wait staff Ian and Vincent to Debbi the Event Coordinator and Josef, the Concierge everyone was very professional; service oriented and provided excellent service. The main dining room: excellent service for our large group. Wait staff, Ian and Vincent were exemplary. From remembering each cruisers drink request to special requests for "back pillows" for shorter legged women; our menu selections were varied, from fish to filet to lobster. Great selection. Cafe au Bacio: Variety of coffees and pastries. Spa service: easy to make reservation and great service. Ice Bar/Martini bar: We met up with a bartender, Yodi, whom we had met on the Equinox two years prior. Bartenders were entertainers while serving a mass of cruisers each and every day! Stores/shops on board: Usual variety if merchandise, They were selling all Alaska items at discounted rate since we were headed towards Hawaii. Photos: Finally, they have stopped printing photos! The kios where you swipe your sea pass cards were easy to use and after viewing photos, you could delete those you did not want. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We wanted to see Hawaii and thought this would be the best way to go. Stayed at the L'Hermitage Hotel in Vancouver for 3 nights before our cruise--an elegant hotel within walking distance of many conveniences. Vancouver is a beautiful ... Read More
We wanted to see Hawaii and thought this would be the best way to go. Stayed at the L'Hermitage Hotel in Vancouver for 3 nights before our cruise--an elegant hotel within walking distance of many conveniences. Vancouver is a beautiful modern city, very clean and friendly. We rented bikes and rode around the sea wall in Stanley Park and the following day we went to Grouse Mountain. Embarkation was extremely easy especially since The Solstice was the only ship in port that day. Amazingly all rooms on the ship were ready by 1:30. This was our fourth trip on Celebrity, all of which were in AquaClass. We like the fact that we can dine in Blu where there are tables for two and there is no scheduled dining time. The service in Blu is incredibly good and everyone is very friendly and welcoming. We think that some of the meal choices are becoming too "foodie" or too odd for normal diners. Yes, you can always choose one of the three everyday choices but that gets a little tiring sometimes. We did just go to the buffet a few times and ate in Lahaina one night. We received excellent service as we usually do on Celebrity. The crew was extremely friendly. We attended many of the excellent Beyond the Podium talks given by Brent Nixon, Eric Ball, and Mary Amanda Fairchild. Had a lot of fun with ukulele lessons with an excellent teacher. The production numbers were not that enjoyable for us though the singers and dancers are extremely talented. It's just that the shows are not really shows but just a mélange of singing and dancing. Did enjoy the singer Jesse Hamilton and the Australian singer from Las Vegas. Really enjoyed the classical music duo and some of the other entertainment in smaller venues. The Atlantis Submarine excursion was just great as was the walk across the Volcano Crater in Hilo. We would definitely recommend against the Road to Hana excursion. The guide was excellent and he was a very good driver, but the trip was 9 1/2 hours--just too long with not that many things to see and the last hour was in the dark. The trip to Haleakala the next day also was just too much driving and not enough to see. Stayed a few extra days in Honolulu at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort--a great place to stay! Had a balcony overlooking the beach where we had breakfast each morning. Took an E noa tour to Pearl Harbor which turned out very nice. We had a great guide and everything was well paced. And the next day we climbed Diamondhead and then enjoyed the beach and water. All in all, a great trip. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This cruise was basically a repositioning cruise. It went from Vancouver BC to Hawaii and then continued on to the South Pacific and Australia. Our cruise spent 5 days at sea and then another 5 days in the Hawaiian Islands. The ship ... Read More
This cruise was basically a repositioning cruise. It went from Vancouver BC to Hawaii and then continued on to the South Pacific and Australia. Our cruise spent 5 days at sea and then another 5 days in the Hawaiian Islands. The ship itself was very clean, and it's a beautiful ship. We were initially in cabin 3126 but it had some kind of mechanical noise coming through the floor that sounded like a hydraulic pump. The service department was very attentive and helpful and they moved us to another cabin, cabin 3133 on the port side of the ship. Our new cabin was very quiet and our new cabin attendant was awesome! On this cruise, we decided against visiting the specialty restaurants and ate dinner mostly in the Main Dining Room. Apparently many other guests did the same thing because the specialty restaurant staff was constantly walking around the ship advertising the specialty restaurants. The MDR was great and our waiter and assistant waiter were very attentive and pleasant. Also the food in the MDR was very good! We usually had both breakfast and lunch in the Oceanview (the buffet) and enjoyed the food and the service there. Although at times it was quite crowded, we never had a problem finding a table for 4 people. We didn't attend all of the shows but the ones that we did attend had great entertainment. Yes, some of the shows were excellent and some were just a little better than average. But, none of the shows were "bad". Also the musicians around the ship were all pretty good and we enjoyed all of the entertainment in general. We found the staff around the ship to be very friendly and attentive. They all seemed quite happy and it showed. An example of note was in the Elite Lounge in the Sky View from 5pm to 7pm every night. Our main server always had our regular drinks on a table for us when we got there at 5pm. She was awesome! And, she was one of the many that we interacted with that showed genuine attentiveness to the guests. The only thing that we didn't like about this cruise is that the "Early Seating" was moved up from 6pm to 5:30pm. This was only a half an hour but it was not pleasant and we were always about 15 minutes or more late for dinner because of it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We had previously sailed on the Solstice in Alaska and also in Australia/New Zealand. We recently cruised on Solstice on a repositioning cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii because we love the layout of the ship and the professionalism and ... Read More
We had previously sailed on the Solstice in Alaska and also in Australia/New Zealand. We recently cruised on Solstice on a repositioning cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii because we love the layout of the ship and the professionalism and friendliness of the crew and we had not visited Maui or the Big Island before. Snorkeling in Kona and Maui as well as Ziplining in Hilo were outstanding excursions - all booked through Celebrity. This was our first stay in a suite and we are ruined for life! Stevo, our butler went above and beyond to make sure we had everything we needed and Lezlie kept our room spotless! The suites-guests-only (Illuminae) restaurant really spoiled us, too - we haven't eaten filets, NY strips, and chateaubriand anywhere that were even close!! We will ALWAYS book a suite or will stay home! The service (and room) was outstanding! Can't wait to go again. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This cruise was amazing. All the ports were outstanding. The Solstice is in excellent condition. There were lots of activities for sea days: ukulele lessons, hula lessons, Maori Poi Ball dance, cooking classes, a passenger chorus, ... Read More
This cruise was amazing. All the ports were outstanding. The Solstice is in excellent condition. There were lots of activities for sea days: ukulele lessons, hula lessons, Maori Poi Ball dance, cooking classes, a passenger chorus, outstanding lectures (Pacific Ocean, WWII, Women of Pearl Harbor, Volcanoes etc). Blu and Oceanview Cafe were both great. Crossing the Equator ceremony was lots of fun.. Damian our CD was very entertaining. The crossing was smooth with only one day out of New Zealand a little bumpy with 15 ft swells. The Sail Away from Sydney is the most beautiful I have ever experienced. We sailed at night and the Opera House was all lit up. Unfortunately the new production shows are not very good with the worst one the supposedly "Mozart" show. The guest entertainers were very good. One of the best tours we took was on Oahu from Escape Waikiki Tours. Kevin was a high energy fun and knowledgeable guide and the warm breakfast donuts are not to be missed. He will tailor a tour to the size (2-14 people) of your group and include whatever you like, but his knowledge of secret beaches and views on the island really sets this tour apart. The other tour was "Patrick's " snorkel tour on Bora Bora. It was an amazing experience with snorkeling and a pig roast on a private motu (small island) with wine, champagne and beer. Definitely plan on staying in Sydney at least three days before the cruise. It's a beautiful city and there is so much to do. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
The itinerary was great, service was fantastic, with so many of the staff that we could name that went the extra mile. One waiter was Bobby, although there were many others. The ship, although the largest we have siled on did not appear ... Read More
The itinerary was great, service was fantastic, with so many of the staff that we could name that went the extra mile. One waiter was Bobby, although there were many others. The ship, although the largest we have siled on did not appear too big as getting around was not a problem, the lifts were so convenient. Even when we had to use a tender for getting ashore it all went very smoothly and no great waits even with the number of passengers. The food was very good and even when there was nothing that we liked on the menu there was always a choice of steak, chicken or fish available each night. The entertainment was average as having sailed with Thomson they take some beating for entertainment. There was plenty of activities to get involved with as we were 5/6 days at sea, with quizzes, table tennis and talks. The captain was really funny when making his daily announcements, but very good at making sure we saw all the sights such as the volcano lava flowing inti the sea as we passed. Wonderful cruise, brilliant ship and great staff, thank you Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
embarkation a nightmare. There were 2 ships at the same terminal for checkin. confusion and unorganized. After dragging luggage thru terminal for 200 yards we thought we final reach the end of line. But no, a luggage handler said leave ... Read More
embarkation a nightmare. There were 2 ships at the same terminal for checkin. confusion and unorganized. After dragging luggage thru terminal for 200 yards we thought we final reach the end of line. But no, a luggage handler said leave luggage by this door leading to garage and ship. He pointed and said go to elevator by a green door about 150 feet away thru 100s of other passengers. We went to 2nd floor and now total confusion, lines did not really exist. About 1/3 of passengers still had their luggage. Checkin had no way to handle luggage so after checking in they had to go down stairs to get rid of luggage. We people upstairs followed signs to 3 more check points. Customs , carry on luggage check and board ship. It took over 1 hour , on previous 4 cruises total terminal time 70 minutes. I can not blame Celebrity for all of this. First cruise with 5 days cruising no ports. Plenty to do, we are over 65 yrs old. Purchased 2 specialty dining pkg. Had lunch in Murano , the Ocean View buffet had a island with a different countries food every night. Solstice select dining wasn't run as nicely as Silhouette. On Silhouette the 4th floor starboard side was just for select diners. On Solstice mixed diners and waiting. Ports were Ok, 2 required tending. Weather on 5 day Pacific were warm, 75 degrees or warmer except 1st day 68 degrees. Water had a slight chop. Partly clouds and clear. Did have fog one night, ship used horn. Hardly heard it. Rented a car on Maui, Driving was relaxed, no speeding , parking lots in cities. Entertainment had 3 bands all 4 star. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
This was our first cruise on Celebrity, our other cruises were on Royal Caribbean. We arrived in Vancouver 2 days early to allow us some free time before the cruise. We went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, and the Fly Over Canada. ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Celebrity, our other cruises were on Royal Caribbean. We arrived in Vancouver 2 days early to allow us some free time before the cruise. We went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, and the Fly Over Canada. Both well worth the money. We stayed at the Days Inn, a couple of blocks from Canada Place. It was a very easy walk even with our luggage (one large roller, three smaller roller suitcases). The hotel has some age on it, and the rooms were small, but we saved a hundred or so per night compared to other hotels. The embarkation was a little tricky. You had to drop off your luggage on one floor, go up to the next floor to check in, then back down to the previous floor to board the ship. Canada Place should send some personnel to the Port of Baltimore, they have embarkation down to perfection. The ship was nice, could not tell she needed to go in for a referb. We had a Concierge class stateroom (2103), on the port side. It was well situated. We were on the pool deck one room away from the doors to the pool area. We were also just below the Oceanview Cafe. We could here some noise, but that was because we had the door to the balcony slightly open. We went to the Martini Bar every night as a group of us would use this location to meet up after dinner. The bartenders were quite good and very entertaining. It was a pleasure to watch them mix and pour the martinis. The food in the main dining room was very good. We ate there almost every night. The service was very nice as well. The servers always made you feel as though you were the only ones they were waiting on that night. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. The five days at sea went by fast as there was always something to do on the ship. We were treated to a special event, as we were able to watch the lava flow into the ocean the night we left Hilo. The Capt was nice enough to stop the ship off the coast, then do a 360 so everyone that wanted to view the lava flow had a chance. We would welcome another chance to sail on the Solstice. We hope Celebrity keeps her on the same schedule as now because we have two cruises on our bucket list (Alaska, and cruise to Australia) that would mean sailing on her again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2016
luxery of traveling prima diner and service..clean cabines en very friendly personel on all sites of the ship...nice food and variation and a very good service at dinertable from Cheatan and his help..very clean toilets everu-yware on the ... Read More
luxery of traveling prima diner and service..clean cabines en very friendly personel on all sites of the ship...nice food and variation and a very good service at dinertable from Cheatan and his help..very clean toilets everu-yware on the ship...entertainment was niveau...ports and shore excusions were very expencive...the embarkation was smoothly....and we come back!!I did not explore the before the cruise...we are in mars of 2017again on a celebrety soltice cruise to the far east...so it is because we are very happy with the cruisefacilitys we come back..we want to be registrate as a membre of the ship so we have the invitations of captein and special activitis..service on board were nice and very nowing their job as we where a lt in cafebar where it was very good quallity..the drinks as the cakes that we eat and personel was kindly and correct..so whe surtenly come back in mars 2017..thanks very much Read Less
Sail Date: May 2016
My husband and I always wanted to go to Hawaii but we don't like long flights. The cruise was round trip to from and to San Diego. We were able to spend several days in San Diego prior to the cruise. We rented a car and drove up the ... Read More
My husband and I always wanted to go to Hawaii but we don't like long flights. The cruise was round trip to from and to San Diego. We were able to spend several days in San Diego prior to the cruise. We rented a car and drove up the coastline of California stopping in several towns. Entertainment and service on the ship was exceptional. The ship did a night time cruise around the big island to see lava flowing into the ocean. We loved the variety of the shore excursions offered, We took a tour in a helicopter and flew over the volcanoes and the calderas on the big island. The helicopter crew were very entertaining and pointed out many highlights on the island. The best excursion was snorkeling/snuba at the Molokini Crater. I snorkeled and my husband did the snuba. The water was crystal clear and there many beautiful fish and coral reefs. Staff on the snorkeling boat were very friendly and knowledgeable. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We chose this cruise because of the value, ports, length of the cruise, cruise line reputation and cruise ship rating. We were very pleased with our selection and our cruise. The service was excellent, the food was excellent. You have ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the value, ports, length of the cruise, cruise line reputation and cruise ship rating. We were very pleased with our selection and our cruise. The service was excellent, the food was excellent. You have to go to Murano, the specialty restaurant. It was amazing. The entertainment was great as well. The room layout is the best we have had on a larger ship. I do wish they had a Promenade Deck as other cruise line do but they have a track on the top of the ship. It is just smaller and congested if you go anytime other than early in the morning. The fitness area is excellent. There were always machines available if you wanted to go that route. I was disappointed that there were no self service laundry facilities. That would probably keep me from doing a real long cruise with them. We ate most of our meals in the main dining room, anytime dining, and we had excellent service and quite a selection to choose from each day. The time we were in port was good and the ports were good as well. The on board shopping was expensive and the selection OK. I actually did not purchase anything on board and I usually do. Some of the activities were more expensive as well, Bingo for example. This ship is rated 5 star so I guess that is why the additional costs were higher. One thing that was very clever was that when the ship photographers took pictures of us they would show up on our television as a rotation. That was very inventive of them and I am sure helps with the photo sales. The activities were fun, Trivia, Galley Tour, Apple classes. We also had a naturalist on board who was very enthusiastic and informative. I would cruise with Celebrity again in a heartbeat. The officers and wait staff were outstanding. One other note, there is no smoking in the casino. It was so nice to be able to walk through there without having to hold your breath. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We chose this cruise based on the itinerary. It included 5 ports of call we had never visited (2 in New Zealand, Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora), and ended in our favorite travel destination, Hawaii. The length was about what we wanted and of ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on the itinerary. It included 5 ports of call we had never visited (2 in New Zealand, Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora), and ended in our favorite travel destination, Hawaii. The length was about what we wanted and of course the capability to visit 3 islands in French Polynesia made this cruise very attractive. The Solstice is a fantastic ship and the crew is outstanding. We were very impressed with the entire ship, especially the theater and the Solstice crew. Boarding in Sydney was very easy. We dropped out luggage off early the day of departure and then spent several hours in The Rocks area since that was market day. Our only issue with sailing day was the muster drill. Our muster point was on deck 4 promenade and it was very chaotic trying to get everyone's attention and maintain it during the drill. The drill lasted rather long, ending at 5:50pm, which was pushing early dining at 6pm. The sailing time of 6:30pm also conflicted with those of us with early dining so we had to make our first choice of the cruise--attend sail away or go to main dining. Our cabin on deck 3 (ocean view) was very nice and our cabin attendants were 2 of the best we've every had. A hit attraction for this cruise was the presence of the Polynesian team of 4 from Hawaii that taught several courses including ukelele (which I took). lei making (my wife too) and also performed on many occasions including crossing the equator ceremony. On board lectures were very informative. I want to call out Chelsea Behymer, the on-board naturalist, in particular. She has a passion for her subject area that made her lectures come alive and made you want to learn. Entertainment was top notch for the most part with the Solstice singers and dancers our favorites. Another highlight was the ANZAC memorial at 6am the day we sailed into Hawaii. A special thank you for Ben the cruise director for coordinating and directing that effort. Immigration and customs was conducted at anchor at Lahaina since that was the first port of call in the US. It went well for us US citizens as most of us were through immigration and on the tender by 10am. Disembarkation in Honolulu was one of the smoothest I've ever done. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
This was the second time we had been on this ship and I loved it even more this time around. We had a suite and a premium drinks package and I felt very looked after and spoilt. The staff are generally very friendly and helpful and our ... Read More
This was the second time we had been on this ship and I loved it even more this time around. We had a suite and a premium drinks package and I felt very looked after and spoilt. The staff are generally very friendly and helpful and our cabin was clean comfortable. They take great pains to keep the ship clean and keep people healthy. The food is great and the various restaurants are terrific. They have a new restaurant for suite guests called Luminae which is wonderful. Bora Bora and Moorea are to die for. Water like a warm bath and fantastic snorkelling. I would do it all again! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
I read many reviews about Celebrity Solstice and many reviews leave me wondering what on earth people do on their cruise, maybe all day finding fault very anything they can? Our second cruise on Solstice was as memorable and wonderful ... Read More
I read many reviews about Celebrity Solstice and many reviews leave me wondering what on earth people do on their cruise, maybe all day finding fault very anything they can? Our second cruise on Solstice was as memorable and wonderful as the first, just over a year prior. Embarkation in Sydney was busy but efficient, it did not take long to board, the traffic jam at Circular Quay took far longer and not the fault of Celebrity. Our sail away from Sydney was damp, but wonderful. Once again we had selected Concierge Class C1, we loved it before and loved it again with our aft facing stateroom (same as last time) quiet, comfortable and spotlessly clean. Our stateroom attendants were friendly and did a great job, extending themselves for special occasions we celebrated on board. The canapés were tasty and fresh, the room service very good and the variety of towel animals a lot of fun. Our fresh flowers courtesy of the stateroom attendants were beautiful. For us it was a blissful cruise, many happy days on board Solstice, still an elegant lady of the sea's, friendly staff and always plenty of good morning, afternoons and evenings shared each day. Entertainment was very good, loved the Aussie Boys and several other individual artists. Especially loved the cooking shows, Chef Richard was knowledgeable and very approachable, a good selection Celebrity. We opted to do our thing regarding shore excursions in Moorea and Bora Bora, Papeete was expensive and hot, but enjoyed a walk around the town and enjoyed mixing with the locals at the markets, such beautiful flower arrangements. Our ATV tour on Moorea was fantastic, thoroughly recommended, and Bora Bora was a 4WD adventure, once again a great time and beautiful sights but my heart fell in love with Moorea. We heard people niggle about things on board, we could not agree, honestly are all our days perfect at home? We only dined once in the main dining room, then enjoyed the great variety at the buffet which was delightfully quiet in the evenings all meals were very good, we chose the 3 restaurant package and loved all three, Silk Harvest, Murano and Tuscan Grill, the latter was amazing. Our Maritime rescue at sea added a bit of drama to our cruise and slightly delayed our Lahaina arrival, sadly we were last on the list for immigration which did cut down our time on shore, but a place we will return to one day. Overall an excellent cruise we would do again, but Solstice and Singapore is on the list for 2016, our biggest complaint would be the higher prices for drinks and laundry, with the shrinking Aussie dollar it was rather expensive...our favourite bar on board was The Ensemble Lounge, superb service and always with a smile. We thoroughly recommend this ship... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
We are experienced cruisers in late 40's/early 50's. This was the best of 18 cruises, 6 with Celebrity. We were in Aqua Class. There wasn't much I didn't love about this cruise. Ship - Clean and fresh. This ship is ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers in late 40's/early 50's. This was the best of 18 cruises, 6 with Celebrity. We were in Aqua Class. There wasn't much I didn't love about this cruise. Ship - Clean and fresh. This ship is getting older but you wouldn't know it. It was sparkling...every day without exception. Crew - excellent service, happy and fun attitude. I didn't run into any crew member that wasn't willing to go the extra mile and helpful. Special call out to the Blu restaurant staff for their excellent service and flexibility. Wow... loved it. Relaxing - this is the first time ever that I didn't even care what time it was. We got up when we wanted and just relaxed all day on the six sea days crossing to Hawaii. The drink package was amazing.... will never said again without one. The first day was a bit rocky but I expected it would be. Food - We've sailed on this ship and other solstice class ships before and I would say this cruise was above average. It's true that in order to get the really high quality steaks and seafood you must go to a specialty restaurant. We didn't bother...the food in Blu was excellent and they did special orders if I didn't like what was on the menu. We didn't eat in the main dining room so I can't speak to that. The Ocean View cafe buffet had a great assortment of items for breakfast and lunch that were excellent quality. I was never unhappy with any of the food. Room Stewards - They were easy going, fun and pleasant. Did a great job with the room and were never in the way or lurking around. Lawn Club - LOVED IT. We spend many hours up there relaxing with our books with a cocktail in hand. The views of the islands were wonderful. The service from Sunset Bar was great Hawaii - Loved having overnight stops. Islands were wonderful and we had some great excursions... a mix of cruise sponsored and private. The views from the ship in Maui were beyond fabulous... I can't even begin to imagine the cost of a hotel room with the view we had from our balcony. I thought maybe tendering would be an issue but it wasn't ....done very well with no problems. Passenger mix - Loved the international mix of passengers on this cruise. We met many wonderful people from all over the world. The only negative for this cruise is embarkation. I believe it was long and drawn out due to the fact everyone had to go through customs before getting on the ship. It took a couple hours to get through. I would recommend this cruise to anyone wanting a longer cruise experience with a good mix of relaxation and fun. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
As it was our first time cruising, were not quite sure what to expect. We were very happy with the cruise. The ship was beautiful. Our room was clean and bright and once we settled in, it felt like home. In fact, we were saddened when it ... Read More
As it was our first time cruising, were not quite sure what to expect. We were very happy with the cruise. The ship was beautiful. Our room was clean and bright and once we settled in, it felt like home. In fact, we were saddened when it was time to leave the ship. We were impressed with the quality of the entertainment on board and looked forward to the evening shows. The sight of the young acrobats dressed in exotic costumes flying around the theatre is something we will not soon forget. We also attended some of the interesting lectures and slides which helped prepare us for our trip to Hawaii. I took advantage of the Hula lessons although for some reason, my husband found our debut on deck extremely funny which I discovered as I watched and listened to the video. The food was varied, well presented and represented a variety of cultures. We did not eat in the main dining room much because we were given a late dining time and could not change it. This would be my only dissatisfaction with the cruise. The staff were friendly, helpful and organized. The staff encouraging us by saying "washy,washy" as we were given hand sanitizer going into the dining room usually made us chuckle. It also made us feel more secure in their maintaining the cleanliness of the ship. Overall the staff made us feel very safe and well care for. We were planning our next cruise before we left the ship. Thank you Celebrity!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2014
We did the ’18 Night Tahitian Treasures Cruise’ from Sydney to Honolulu trip via New Zealand and Tahiti leaving on 11th April 2014. We were in Aqua Class, room 1651 on the 11th level. This was our 1st cruise on any ship and therefore I ... Read More
We did the ’18 Night Tahitian Treasures Cruise’ from Sydney to Honolulu trip via New Zealand and Tahiti leaving on 11th April 2014. We were in Aqua Class, room 1651 on the 11th level. This was our 1st cruise on any ship and therefore I have tried to focus on information (as opposed to opinion) which I think would be more useful for other newcomers like ourselves. Overall the cruise was better than expected as I probably read too much negative feedback from various on-line critics before heading off. Generally the seas were calm except for the last 2 or 3 days when there was a bit of a gale. Even under these conditions, we did not feel sick as the ship remained relatively stable. All references to monies are in US dollars unless stated otherwise. Leaving Having arrived at the dock, we found we had to drop off our bags with men who were placing them under a large tarpaulin for transfer to the ship later in the day. They were armed with stapler and spare luggage tags for those who came ill-prepared. However we retained one of our airplane style carry-on bags where we put our permitted two bottles of wine and as we were a bit nervous about the security with our bags, we put all of our documents and valuables in it as well. While waiting, we had to fill in 2 forms being handed out by people on the dock. One was the standard government form when leaving Australia and another was a declaration that we didn’t have any colds, flu, etc. A passenger near us looked like she was ready to go to hospital with something terrible but she seemed to get on the ship without any troubles. We met her a few days later and she confirmed that she had recovered from her ordeal. There were 3 queues on the dock, one for people with suites or certain Captain’s Club membership, one for aqua and concierge class and one for the rest. People started queuing in the aqua/concierge line a bit after 10am and they opened the gates half an hour early at 11am for the two priority queues but always allowing the suites/Captain’s Club to jump the queue as it were. It didn’t really matter though as it didn’t take long to get to challenge no. 1 – the check-in counter. I forgot our on-line check-in printout and I was admonished by the staff member (and my wife) for doing so. As punishment I was asked to fill in a form which took less than a minute and gave them a credit card (Amex) for swiping for on-board expenses. We were then photographed and in return we were given our id cards. Challenge no. 2 was passport control which was fast and easy; challenge no. 3 was doing the x-ray thing in the same manner as airports do. I was interested to see the fellow in front of us carrying two big packs of diet coke without any problems. And as an aside, we met a fellow passenger who didn’t get his dropped-off bag delivered to his door like the rest of us but rather, many hours later he received a message asking him to report to the “you’re in trouble” room down on level 2 where he had to open his bag in front of other similar passengers to explain his Swiss knife and unexpectedly, his thongs. His thongs were given the ok but the knife was confiscated for the duration of the voyage. He was then allowed to take his bag to his room. Challenge 4 was to walk the gang plank (job well done) and challenge no. 5 was accepting a glass of champagne on-board though I have to confess that we helped ourselves to many more glasses over the next hour or two while we explored the ship. Getting on-board from start to finish was no more than 20 minutes. The staff were out in force past the free champagne spot encouraging sign-ups for the specialty dining, drink packages and I think, excursions. Interestingly enough, we couldn’t sign up, for the dining packages on the internet prior to departure but could easily do so once on-board. I asked many people why this was so but nobody had a sensible answer. Indeed there have been other mysteries about the cruise that were like this and I tried my best to solve as many as possible. One bit of advice I have when you get on-board is just to walk into all the different places even though it might be hard to find a staff member and start asking questions when you find one. Guest Relations To be found on the 3rd level; it has its uses. On the stands near the queue, there is the ‘Australia Today’ printout and a selection of other countries, information sheets on the various destinations and spare copies of the ‘Celebrity Today’ printout giving the day’s activities which you get every night in your room for the next day. At the desk, they can get on the internet and print stuff out for you though like everyone else, the internet is painfully slow so such things are best done in the quiet hours, early in the morning or late at night when there are no queues. They have a special machine that will punch a hole in your Id card so that it can be attached to a lanyard and hung around your neck. The exchange of currencies can be done but it can be expensive with an approximate 7.5% margin added to the AUD$/US$ exchange rate (1.01/0.86). My advice (and what we did) is to setup a credit card facility and then pay off amounts from time to time in US$ that we had brought with us from Australia. We spent about $1,200 on the trip all up which included drinks, internet access, an excursion and who knows what else. We also were able to change US$ notes to smaller denominations suitable for tipping which we preferred to do this way in preference to sticking a tip on those ubiquitous dockets. Being Australians we tipped when we thought the service was praiseworthy as opposed to Americans who seem to do it regardless. A thought I had was that it would be extremely useful if Celebrity setup an intranet on the ship. Apart from the obvious benefits of providing an alternative to a whole array of printouts and announcements, gateway to the internet etc., it would be excellent for guests like ourselves via an app on our electronic devices to give any staff member a tick or a cross with optional commentary for good or bad service. Celebrity could then have a reward system for those staff who score the best in their category. And Celebrity, if you’re reading this, think about it and contact me if you want to get more detail on how it could work. Eating We tried every place which was everything except for secret places for those in suites and high scoring Captain’s Club passengers. We quite liked the food everywhere though dishes can vary and service can be quite random on occasions. There are two different types of places to eat, those where you just arrive and grab a table wherever you can – Oceanview Café, Mast Grill, AquaSpa Café, Gelateria; and the restaurant types where you arrive and you are ushered to your table and a menu is provided – Grand Épernay (aka the ‘Main Dining Room’ or ‘MDR’), Bistro on Five, Blu, Murano, Tuscan Grille and Silk Harvest. The allocation of tables is done when you arrive so if you want a view then you need to turn up when they open or perhaps even earlier and then ask for a view or perhaps you might turn up at the right time when somebody is leaving except in the case of Murano where there is a limited view. And then there is the Café al Bacío and the many bars which you can order at the counter/bar or wait for someone to serve you when you seat yourself nearby. I am generally impatient so I tended to go up and order rather than wait for someone to find me. Sometimes they tried to encourage me to go and sit down and wait but I kind of worked out a system to get some action depending on where we were. It is important to note that with many things on-board you will need to look after yourself but best to do it with charm in preference to aggression. I had some dollar notes too which can always help to endear yourself to an individual if you frequent the same place quite a bit; thank you Dario at the Passport Bar. The buffet (aka as the Oceanview Café) was big and quite good for a buffet if that’s what you’re into, and it had the benefit of being open all hours of the day and night though what’s available varies depending on the time. And I appreciated it that they provided hot plates. It was very useful as it was simple to go there in the most casual wear, especially given its proximity to the pool area. Many mornings I popped up there early to grab a mug (they don’t really have cups) of tea and a bit of fruit to bring down to our room 2 floors below. Our default dining room however was Blu which we thought was pretty good. Like most places, they tended to rush you through your meals but we didn’t mind that. It is not that different to the Grand Épernay other than it’s a lot smaller, it feels a bit more posh and there were a few extra things like fresh orange juice (as opposed to the standard orange juice which tasted like cordial), a trolley brought to your table to make your cereal/fruit combo for you and I think the menu selection is probably better too but I wasn’t observant enough to work that one out. We went to the specialty restaurants five times in all. We did the Specialty Dining package for 3 meals and twice we couldn’t resist a two for one offer at the Murano on the first night and a later offer at the Silk Harvest at a reduced price with a glass of champagne thrown in. These offers seem to occur randomly and it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time. We thought the Silk Harvest was great and the Murano was too with certain orders like lobster or crepes being prepared at the table. The Tuscan Grille was disappointing which is a pity because we love Italian and it has the best views at the back (stern) of the ship. We spoke to some others and they agreed too so maybe they’re just going through a bad patch. Anyway, it was my wife’s birthday so they didn’t let us down as they provided us with a delightful, personalised birthday cake. I asked for the cake beforehand though I did notice later on when I read some of the brochures in our room that they offer all sorts of specialty packages for birthdays and other important occasions at a price of course though I didn’t get charged for our cake. Drinks We didn’t go for the drinks packages as we thought it would encourage us to get drunk all the time particularly on sea days of which there were many. We’re essentially white wine drinkers and don’t mind ordering the cheaper stuff as nowadays in our view, it’s all ok really. Cheaper in the context of Celebrity is a bottle costing between $30 and $35. So we had two approaches to our afternoon drinking. One was to buy a bottle at the bar which is sometimes a bit tricky as they encourage you to buy by the glass and so tend to keep the bottle list out of sight. It is there though but the list can vary by bar and what they have can vary from what they have on their list. Stick with it though. It’s not that hard really and it can be fun for people with my sense of humour and you do end up with an ice bucket. On occasions we took the unfinished bottle to dinner though apparently it’s not appropriate to go to the specialty restaurants (excluding Blu) with a bottle in hand. Nevertheless we took one from the Ensemble Lounge to the Murano. The other alternative is to buy by the glass which we did at the Passport Bar for the happy hour between 4 and 6 and way past our bedtime between 10 and 12. The wine is $5 per glass, the beer is $3.50 per glass, certain cocktails are $6 and all with a glass container of nibbles thrown in (if you ask for it) though they do add on a gratuity to the bill. Getting served can be tricky on occasions but we worked out a system that made an impatient person like me happy. As a word of warning, drink waiters will appear in all sorts of places, but mainly when dining and you may request a glass of wine and not ask the price as it seems vulgar to mention such things. The default charge is around $11. Better by the bottle. The standard coffee tends to be pretty ordinary, similar to our experiences in America. Sorry America. In pursuit of something better you are compelled to order a cappuccino or similar which costs around $5.25 no matter where you are. We got into the habit of going to the Café al Bacío after breakfast when there are no queues and ordering a takeaway and getting a bigger cup as a bonus. Still, we found even the purchased coffee was very weak (like in America) and so we had to ask for an ‘XtraShot Espresso’ which then took the price up to $6.50. The Café al Bacío comes with free cakes, pastries which can be ordered without the need for a coffee being ordered. Hamburgers, chips and hot dogs were available at the Mast Grill in the pool area and they looked a bit much for us but we had a go. They didn’t taste too bad at all. There can be quite a queue for a feed but we went there when it was raining so that kept the punters away. Bistro on Five does crepes but they do other things as well. They’re open long hours and have a flat charge of $5 per person. It was good enough for us to go back a 2nd time. Port or Starboard? (Left or Right?) And for those who think too much we have the question of which side of the ship to have the cabin (aka the ‘stateroom’). I have to say that there wasn’t much in it in the end. Given our route, for most of the time we got the afternoon sun which we liked but then there others who may disagree. In summary this is how it went at each port. Sydney: faced the dock and the Bridge but away from the Opera House. Bay of Islands: faced away from the port. Auckland: faced the dock but away from the city. Papeete: faced the dock and exposed to the night time music coming from the direction of the Vaima Centre, though closing our balcony doors did the trick. Moorea & Bora Bora: more or less faced out to sea away from the island. Places to Stop and See Getting to the Bay of Islands meant being taken by a boat of up to 100 people to the mainland (aka ‘tendering’). We wanted to get off as early possible as we had sights to see and most importantly, we hate having to wait around. Because we couldn’t get off till 9am, it was always going to be a challenge to get off quickly. They have a system where they hand out numbered tickets at the Cellar Masters wine bar (and for Australians, this has nothing to do with the wine selling company). Only one person has to turn up on behalf of others to get these tickets so I took a book down 50 minutes early, dragged a comfortable seat over to the short queue that had formed of a dozen or so, and read a book. By the time they were ready to hand out tickets, the queue was very long indeed. Anyway we got straight off the ship and walked to the Waitangi exhibition which was close by but they wanted NZ$25 (free for locals) and more seriously, they wanted to take 4 hours of our time. We declined but not before having a coffee. We walked the couple of kilometres to Pahrua though a free shuttle bus was available and then caught the ferry (NZ$24 return) to Russell, enjoyed a very nice fish, chips and wine and then returned to the tender. They x-ray, airport style, all your stuff when you get back on-board the ship so there is no bringing back more wine or other contraband. Auckland was easy as you just walk off when you want though I was surprised that more locals weren’t at the dockside trying to offer great things to thousands of cashed-up tourists. As for ourselves, we were entertained by Kiwi friends. Papeete likewise was easy to get off too and we went in search of a hire car only to find that Avis were charging far too much and what looked like a long wait to get served. After a couple of hours we grabbed a $50 per person tour around the main part of the island (‘grand tour’ they called it) for 4 hours but in the end took quite a bit longer than that. It was quite a circus getting on the ‘truck’ in the first place but we got there in the end. The ‘truck’ had sideways bench seats with no one sitting on the middle bench which made it all very sociable facing each other making it quite a fun time. Though I did see others in ‘trucks’ that weren’t so lucky in that they had people crammed in on the middle bench. Diego was the guide and he was good for the first hour or so but he then got distracted and we didn’t see much of him after that. Tahiti was quite hot and humid and we were surprised that it was so difficult to find an ice-cream. Eventually we got Diego to stop the ‘truck’ at a Mobil service station for a very welcome ice-cream (Magnum in our case). All up, quite enjoyable. Because the tendering started early at 7am there was no need to queue at the Cellar Masters. In fact we went on the first tender even though we had tickets to a later one as some of those who were supposed to go on it, didn’t. Always keep a lookout for this sort of stuff. And in fact, the same thing happened at Bora Bora. Because we were off straight away, we had first go at what the locals were offering dockside. We rented a Fiat Panda off Albert Rent-a-Car for 6,800PF (about $75) for 4 hours plus petrol. If we had gone for 8 hours, it would have been 8,000PF. Avis nearby also had offerings but I think they were more expensive and I think that their cars were pre-booked. It takes about 3 hours to go around the island including miscellaneous stops but being Easter Sunday, we had to work hard to find a café which we eventually did. We also went for a spin up to Belvedere to check out the view. We got a tender boat to Bora Bora in the same way as Moorea. We had booked a tour with Celebrity for us to ‘truck’ around the island for about $65 each but we missed out on booking the trip leaving at 8.30 and had to settle for the one at 11.30. Because we couldn’t resist being one of the first to get ashore, we were now faced with a problem of having to wait for 3 extra hours. But luck’s a fortune and we were able to get a couple of spare seats next to each other on the 8.30 tour after everybody else had been seated. The ‘truck’ had seating in the traditional manner as opposed to the seating at Papeete and therefore was not as sociable. Our tour guide was a delightful woman and so much better than Diego back at Papeete. We went round the island, bought a ‘Bloody Mary’, shopped in downtown Bora Bora which isn’t very big and then returned to the ship early afternoon. As with the other French Polynesian destinations, I was surprised by the shortage of places for refreshments though there were plenty of clothes and black pearl shops. US Immigration We were booked to go to Los Angeles after spending a few days in Honolulu, so we were quite excited about having the opportunity to bypass the US immigration problems that we had experienced at Los Angeles in the past. I have to report that we were sucked in bad because it was an even greater stuff-dealing with US immigration on-board the ship. We were left a note advising what time we had to turn up at the Sky Observation Lounge. They staggered the arrival times so as to make it work smoothly. But what a mess it ended up. It seemed many passengers ignored the staggered arrival times and no staff were there to deal with that but more frustratingly was that they created a new queue resulting in many getting in very quickly and others having to wait a long, long time. It was very bad timing to upset so many passengers at the very end of the cruise. Bits and Pieces The Solstice Shop on deck 4 had quite a reasonable stock of various pharmaceuticals including sea-sickness remedies at surprisingly sensible prices. You should bring your own clothes hangers to supplement the few on offer. Bring US dollars with you. Walking up the stairs in preference to the lifts is necessary if you are watching your weight as you’re going to eat too much. The chairs on the stateroom balcony are particularly well designed for hanging wet clothes off them. We booked a Mediterranean trip while on-board and we felt it was a better deal than what we would have got otherwise. I went to the online@celebrity lounge on deck 6 to organise our wi-fi internet after finding it impossible to do so using the television in our stateroom. I spent a bit over $100 over 18 days which I generally used for dealing with emails on our iPhones/iPads but also for some other enquiry as well.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2014
This was our second Celebrity cruise but first time on an S Class. WOW…Absolutely Loved it! We arrived in Honolulu 4 days early and stayed at the Ilikai which we’ve stayed at several times in the past. Quick cab ride to the port. ... Read More
This was our second Celebrity cruise but first time on an S Class. WOW…Absolutely Loved it! We arrived in Honolulu 4 days early and stayed at the Ilikai which we’ve stayed at several times in the past. Quick cab ride to the port. Check in was very easy at 11:30. Lots of lines open and we made it onboard pretty quick. Thanks to Cruise Critic I knew to head to Bistro on Five for lunch... Fantastic option! Thanks for that advice. Well worth the $5 each. It also gave us an early opportunity to check out the Premium Drink Package…More on that later! Rooms were ready by 1:30 and we made our way to deck 8. We had 8256, third cabin on the hump. CABIN Couldn’t have asked for a more central location. Cabin was great, especially the bathroom. So nice to not have to deal with a shower curtain. Lots of storage everywhere in the cabin. Balcony was nice and large. Cabin steward was nice, but very quiet so we didn’t get a chance to interact that much but she seemed efficient enough. FOOD: 10 night cruise, we dined in the MDR 3x, Oceanview Café 2x, Tuscan Grille 2x, Murano 1x, Bistro on Five 1x, Room Service 1x. Our first venture into the MDR was the second night of the cruise, the first formal night. To be honest, we weren’t that impressed. It seemed very rushed service and the food was ok. I’m putting that down to perhaps we just ordered wrong as the other two trips to the MDR were very good. We had Select Dining and didn’t have an issue getting a table for two. The last night of the cruise we had about a 20 minute wait for a table which we spent in the martini bar (shocker) and they came to get us. Tuscan Grille: We ate here twice, once the first night of the cruise and the second time on my Birthday. Both were outstanding and well worth the upcharge. Service was fantastic as well as the food. Wine/Drink service was very prompt. Murano: Another WOW...perhaps more so than Tuscan. We had a dinner and a lunch at Murano and both times rolled out stuffed. Again, nothing but impeccable food and service. Lunch at $25 is a bargain in Murano. Buffet: Surprisingly good. I only say surprisingly as my last cruise was on Millennium and the evening offerings were pretty sparse. Never had a problem getting a seat. SHIP: In a word…Stunning…simply stunning. So modern and light. Absolutely loved the atrium and how open it is. There were no issues with loud music in any venue. Quick elevators and being by the hump is so convenient. Martini Bar: Our second home apparently. Had a blast in the martini bar. The staff were beyond fantastic. We were there every day…thank you Premium Package Molecular Bar: So Cool! We missed it the first couple of days but once we found it we took full advantage. Imagine a couple of nutty professors mixing your drinks. We tried A LOT and they were all good. Personal favourite of mine was the Dragonfly. Solarium: Beautiful and a great place to hang out. We had 5 port days followed by 5 sea days. I’d say sea day 4 & 5 were very busy in there but it was pretty easy to get seats in there any other day. Lovely and tranquil with very comfortable lounge chairs. Main Pool: Needs a paint job, badly. This was the only area I noticed that felt a bit run down. Lots of chairs available, chair hogs didn’t seem too bad. Bar service was hit and miss but really, it’s not that far of a walk. Mast Grill Good burgers & fries. Not much of a wait. Other Areas: We walked through lots of bars/lounges but never really stopped, Cellar Masters looked empty all the time so I think it’s great they’re converting it to a gastro pub. The observation lounge looked great but we only strolled through there when they were closed on embarkation day. We had a tendency to stick to the M Bars...Molecular and Martini Shows: Didn’t go to any – sorry. We did attend a Sushi Demo in Silk Harvest which was pretty good. Casino: Hot and cold - it was good to me on the first sea day ($380 playing 25 cents) but then went very cold for the rest of the trip. I was able to save some of my winnings and not donate it all back. Drink service in the casino seemed non-existent but the bar is right there if you want something. Casino was never that busy and boy is the no smoking great. Announcements: I’d laugh every day. The captain had a strong Greek(?) accent and he’d be followed by the CD who had a strong (Mexican?) accent and because there were a lot of Germans on the cruise there’d be a 3rd announcement in German. For 15 minutes every day we couldn’t understand a word that was being said J PORTS: We visit Hawaii quite a bit so forgive me in that we didn’t do too much exciting. Honolulu – we were there 4 days ahead of time and go sometimes twice a year (and we’re back in December) so we just hung out on the beach or by the pool relaxing. From the ship I walked down to Ward Centre for a bit of retail therapy. If it’s your first trip to Honolulu please take in some of the sites. Maui (Tender) – we were married on Maui so it’s always lovely to return. This trip we just hung out in Lahaini, walked up and down Front Street. We’d debated taking the bus to Whalers Village but decided to pass. We had a fantastic lunch at Kimos on the main drag. Very good food! Try the coconut shrimp. Hilo – we originally had a car reserved for Hilo as we wanted to take in some of the waterfalls but close to sail date we found out that because we’d booked with an AMEX agent, this was a Mariner cruise and they would have a rep onboard and would be hosting a shore excursion to the waterfalls. Deal! We cancelled the car. OMG did it ever rain. We’re from Vancouver, we know rain…this was crazy. And of course to see waterfalls usually involves a hike. Some people didn’t want to get off the bus but what the heck. The area of Akara falls was beautiful (when the rain slowed to see it) and I would definitely recommend heading out there if you’ve already been to VNP. Boy we were wet! We then headed to Big Island Candies which was a great surprise. Didn’t even know this place existed. Great chocolate, nuts, shortbread etc. Brought lots home. Kona (Tender) – Dolphin Alert! We had to cut the motor on the tender because we were surrounded by Dolphins. Very Cool! Nice little town – very laid back. We tendered and then just hung out. We walked to the right on the main drag and on the left hand side there’s a little swap meet. Then if you cross the road there’s a nice little shopping area. We spent the morning in that area then made our way back to the main area, went up the hill and went to Kona Brewing Company for a great lunch. WEATHER: Was that really the Pacific? I’m not sure the Pacific is supposed to be that calm. We were soooo lucky. Calm seas and pretty good weather for the entire voyage. WILDLIFE: (not referring to my DH after a night at the martini bar) For those that will repeat this cruise, keep your eyes peeled for whales in Maui, Dolphins in Kona and then the last sea day heading into Vancouver we had whales, dolphins and seals. PREMIUM DRINK PACKAGE: Is the bomb! Man we loved this and it’s going to be really hard cruising without one…let’s hope that day doesn’t come. It was so nice to be able to just hand your card and get what you want as often as you like. Silly things that we wouldn’t normally do you do because you have the drink package..like mimosa’s with breakfast. Dinners; champagne to start, white wine with my appetizer please and then a lovely cab followed by a port and cappuccino. Stop trying to do the math to see if it’s worth upgrading, the premium package changes how you cruise and you can’t factor that into any equation. GRIPES: I don’t have many, we had a really good time and found the staff overall to be excellent and very friendly. I was annoyed one day sitting on our balcony reading and a torrent of water came down. The cabin steward above decided to take a hose to the glass above us…absolutely soaked the last two feet of our deck and missed me by mere inches. We really missed the laundry rooms on Princess. We didn’t need any laundry done but DH sent two shirts out to be pressed as soon as we boarded. They didn’t come back in time for formal night the next day so he ended up wearing a black golf shirt under his jacket. It’s so much easier to run down the hall and iron the bumps out yourself. That’s about it. We now have a new favourite ship and we booked onboard to enjoy one of her sisters next year. Any questions, I’d be happy to answer them.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2014
Our pre-cruise we stayed at the "Outrigger on the Beach" in Waikiki beach we were able to purchase an upgrade to the Diamond Suite, which was a great room overlooking the ocean and Diamond Head. The hotel was directly on the ... Read More
Our pre-cruise we stayed at the "Outrigger on the Beach" in Waikiki beach we were able to purchase an upgrade to the Diamond Suite, which was a great room overlooking the ocean and Diamond Head. The hotel was directly on the beach. We had lunch at Dukes and dinner at Chuck's both were good. It was a great place to start our vacation. Now for the Solstice, it was our 4th cruise on the Solstice class but our 1st on the "Solstice" Cons are: Embarkation was the strangest we have ever had in the 15 cruises we have done. It took us almost an hour to get to where we got our keys. Elemis Spa is no longer, the new company is Canyon Ranch Spa Club. The prices for treatments are much higher; the upkeep of the Persian Gardens is not being addressed. Steam room not very hot, the benches are sometimes too hot, some days music, some days not music and some days the music is too loud and they appear to be understaffed and not very friendly. The changes to the Aqua Spa Cafe were not for the better. Very very small portions with even smaller selection and half of the menu items cost extra. The Sommeliers in the "Blu" restaurant were the worst we ever had. Silk restaurant was a disappointment food was not as good and the service was rushed not like the first time we ate there on the Equinox. Also lunch menu in the Ocean View Cafe was a big disappointment compared to our last March 2013 cruise on the Eclipse which had a great lunch menu. One last thing this was our 4th Solstice Class ship that we cruised on so far and this ship, Solstice, needs a face lift. For Captain's Club members - the Captains Club social hour on this cruise was in the Sky Lounge which it normally is except for our last cruise which they gave us vouchers to be used at any bar on the ship and we could actually take our drinks to dinner and it was a much better system. Celebrity should really just bag the upstairs and go with this system not just when there are too many Captain Club members on board. If you want to see Hawaii I don't really recommend this cruise because of the limited amount of time you are in the ports and when they weather is bad like it was in 2 of our 4 ports our helicopter ride to the volcano was cancelled and our 6 1/2 hour bus ride to the crater was a bust because of no visibility. We came to the conclusion that it would have been better to have come over to Hawaii and spend 4 or 5 nights in a couple of different islands, especially since this was our very first trip to Hawaii. Pros are: "Blu" restaurant was excellent in both food and service. Our cabin attendants were excellent. In every other aspect the ship was great as the other 3 Solstice Class ships we were on. One thing we really liked was Celebrity's extension of the choice of 3 benefits for booking new sailings while on the ship. So now we have a booking on the Solstice to Alaska and a cruise to the Caribbean on the Reflection. We ended our vacation with 2 nights in San Francisco which was great!!   Read Less
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