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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, and in that respect, it delivered. We booked the Hilton on Princes Wharf for a 3-night pre-cruise stay in Auckland, and the ship was docked beside the hotel when we woke up on embarkation ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, and in that respect, it delivered. We booked the Hilton on Princes Wharf for a 3-night pre-cruise stay in Auckland, and the ship was docked beside the hotel when we woke up on embarkation day. Porters met us in the lobby and delivered our luggage to the ship, and from that point, everything went smoothly. We had pre-booked the Murano specialty dining room for the first evening's dinner. It was very nice and worth the extra cost, but there was an odd twist. My wife ordered a dessert which was prepared and flambeed table-side with great fanfare -- only to be rolled away quickly with a flippant "Now the real one will be delivered to you from the kitchen." We're still trying to figure out what happened ... Our first cruise was with Celebrity many years ago, and we were hoping for the same quality of food and beverage service as we had experienced before. Overall, I'd have to say that the main-dining-room food on this ship was good to very good, but not great. Several fellow passengers commented that the food served in the Oceanview Cafe was generally better in terms of variety and quality, even for dinner. Somewhat disappointing was the fact that we weren't able to access some dining venues, even for an extra fee, because we hadn't paid for one of the highest-price cabins. The major irritation, however, was during bar service, where our mid-range "classic" beverage package required as much as $4.50 extra per drink, depending on what bar we were in and what drink was ordered. The size of our drinks was actually smaller than the same drink in the "premium" package, as well, which was a great way to limit the amount of alcohol poured during busy bar times when the waiter might not get back to you for 15-20 minutes after you've finished your first drink. This "nickle-and- dime" approach will most likely prevent us from cruising with Celebrity again, as we've recently been accustomed to all-inclusive cruising, with no tricks to limit costs and squeeze more money from guests. Overall, we found New Zealand to be the most beautiful country we've ever visited, and Sydney is an amazing city -- perhaps the most vibrant we've visited. Our ship took us to many interesting ports, and we're glad we made the trip One highlight of our trip was the crew. Especially for such a large ship, this was the friendliest crew we've experienced in 9 cruises. Our cabin was the most spacious we've ever had, and it made a noticeable difference in our experience. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We joined four friends for one of those life time trips. We always wanted to cruise and see NZ..so we did both with Celebrity. Also to revisit a special place..Australia. Booked this 14 day cruise. Ship was Celebrity Solice. Does ... Read More
We joined four friends for one of those life time trips. We always wanted to cruise and see NZ..so we did both with Celebrity. Also to revisit a special place..Australia. Booked this 14 day cruise. Ship was Celebrity Solice. Does to Auckland for cruise launch. Boarded after a day exploring Auckland (which we explored before)had hired a private tour..Wonderful Boarding went quickly....this process was very well done by Celebrity. As we were watching leaving Auckland..We decided to eat in Ocean View Cafe. This was my first day and we loved the view. But then...food. Was so bland... over cooked, lots of bad deserts. This first impression did not change throughout trip. Poor food all around except hotdogs and hamburgers at an outside grill. Very disappointed..but no weight gain... Service great, outings good. Rooms good. Very poor condition for hallways, and veranda furnishings. Broken curtains, torn bath towels..then no fair shake for a gay couple on being in stage..Very concerning. Told Cruise person all this on ship in Future Cruise dept. Have not received any communication from them on a review of our concerns. Probably done with Celebrity. Will cruise again though! Thx for reading. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We had this cruise booked almost two years in advance, in order to secure an accessible room. We picked this cruise as we had previously cruised NZ but had a lot of ports cancelled, so we decided to try again as we had heard good things ... Read More
We had this cruise booked almost two years in advance, in order to secure an accessible room. We picked this cruise as we had previously cruised NZ but had a lot of ports cancelled, so we decided to try again as we had heard good things about Solstice. We had a fantastic time. It is the best cruise we have ever done. Embarkation - we stayed at the Quest on Queen in Auckland (very nice hotel, very handy to the port if you are just wanting to wheel your luggage down to the wharf). We had to book a taxi to take us to the ship and when the taxi arrived at the pier, he spoke to one of the baggage handlers who called for some assistance, and our bags were taken directly from the taxi to be loaded onto the ship. We were then directed inside to the wheelchair assistance area, and we then had a man push the wheelchair all the way past the lines of people right to the front of the queue. From there it was only a few minutes until we were on the ship. Our cabin was Aqua class stateroom 1526 on deck 11 and it was the best accessible cabin we have had on a ship to date. There is an automatic door so once you insert your card it swings open to allow the wheelchair to enter. There is a large entryway and enough room in the cabin for a wheelchair to pass between the desk and the beds to the balcony. There is a ramp from the cabin onto the balcony. The bathroom is huge with a shower chair and bars around the toilet. The only things we might criticise is that the toilet is not raised and the bed is almost a little too high to transfer in and out of the chair, but other than those two minor things which we worked around, the cabin was excellent. As to the state of the cabin itself, I thought it was in good condition. The beds were very comfortable (they have a squishy topper on the mattress). The wooden railing on the balcony was a bit rattly but you couldn't hear it with the door closed inside the cabin. The bathroom was in good condition as well but because there is nothing to stop the water, when the ship is rolling I did have to put down a towel around the shower so I didn't flood the bathroom with water. Our room steward was excellent, although we did keep surprising him by turning up when he was trying to clean, but he was very nice about it. As we were Aqua class we dined in Blu. The food was very good but the service was excellent. I was a little concerned that Blu might be too fancy for us but we found something to our tastes every night, and if we didn't, they had a back-up or two in the kitchen that they could bring out. Our waiters were hilarious and they greeted us like friends every night which made the whole restaurant experience that much more enjoyable. We had breakfast in the buffet only a few times because it was so hard to find somewhere to sit and it was just so crowded. On port days we had breakfast in our cabin so we could get an early start (there is no charge for room service on Celebrity). We had breakfast in Blu and it was very good as well. We had lunch in the buffet most days. If you arrived at the wrong time (i.e. between 12 and 1.30pm) it was almost impossible to find somewhere to sit. Thankfully they have helpers in the buffet who were able to take control of the wheelchair and find a seat for us. I thought the food in the buffet was the best I have had at a buffet at sea - every day there was something different to try. I especially loved the ice cream and the pasta station. We would often go in the afternoon and get ice cream or sorbet to take back to the room, it was delicious. We tried all three specialty restaurants (except the sushi place). Of the three Tuscan Grille was our favourite. The lobster rigatoni alfredo was to die for. We had dinner there the night we left Milford Sound and it was a very special experience to watch New Zealand grow smaller and smaller behind us. We tried the seafood fiesta at Silk Harvest which was good (but costs extra, and you can only book once on board). We tried the lobster at Murano and it was delicious. I don't have any complaints about the specialty restaurants. I had read bad reviews about them but we thought they were excellent. Next time I would wait until I was on board before booking, as you could get the restaurants cheaper on board, and they were always trying to offer us deals. Re the drinks packages - we had onboard credit (about $350AUD worth) so we didn't bother buying drinks packages, as neither of us drink alcohol. The non-alcoholic package is $22 a day per person. It averaged out that we would not have spent enough on board to warrant buying the drinks package (we averaged about $15 per day each, on port days we might've only spent about $8 each, some days we spent nothing). In saying that, we are booked again on Solstice in 2021 and we received two perks with our booking, so we are both getting a drinks package. Why? Because the amount of times I was asked why I didn't have a drinks package, how it will work out better for me if I have one, and the amount of huffing and puffing from the bartenders was so unbelievably frustrating that it is just easier to have a damn drinks package. I don't know how many times, and to how many different people, I explained that we are not spending enough per day to warrant it - they just don't understand. I know they are meant to push it on you but it was really annoying. Honestly, my biggest overall complaint is that I found the bar service at every single bar I went to absolutely terrible. Maybe they care if you're buying cocktails and you've got a drinks package, but other than that, they just want you gone. And just trying to get noticed to place an order was an ordeal in itself, especially at the pool bar. I didn't have any problems with the table service at the Sky Lounge - that was excellent. Other people may have had an easier time but by the end I was dreading having to order anything at a bar. The other thing we didn't buy that I wished we had bought was an internet package, but it was just so expensive that I didn't really think I could justify having it. Thankfully it is our second perk for our 2021 cruise, so I won't have to worry about it next time. We didn't see all of the shows. We saw the Buddy Holly show, Nikki Bennett (awful, just awful), the Motown tribute show and then a few of the Celebrity productions. I didn't really enjoy the shows but it seemed like I was in the minority there, as there were a lot of standing ovations. We went to Captain Tasos' talk about the building of Solstice and it was standing room only for good reason - it was absolutely fantastic and a highlight of the trip. I wondered what all the fuss about Captain Tasos was until I got on board - the hype is worth it. He is hilarious. I participated almost exclusively in trivia and had a great time doing so. The entertainment staff were very friendly and it was a lot of fun. I spent a lot of time in the Sky Lounge; it was my favourite part of the ship. We never did make it up to watch the glass blowing - it was too cold to be out on deck most of the time, but I will definitely go for a look when we're back on in 2021. We also didn't make it to any movies - they play the movies up on the grassed area but again it was too cold and I wasn't really interested. For the most part (bar service aside), I found the service on the ship to be above and beyond what we were expecting. The staff were unbelievably helpful, attentive and friendly. We had assistance every single time we were getting on or off the ship - usually an army of men to help push the wheelchair up and down the ramp. If there was a long walk (for example in Tauranga and Dunedin), one would often walk the wheelchair about half of the distance for me. The wheelchair was a fast pass in itself - we bypassed the queues getting off the ship in Tasmania, were straight off and through customs before the rest of the passengers had even gotten off the ship. In Akaroa they have a stair-lift to carry the wheelchair down to the tender boat, and they helped us on and off the boat. The staff were really wonderful and they are a big reason why we decided to book again for 2021. We booked this cruise for the itinerary and unlike the last time we cruised NZ, we were able to make it into every single port. I love Auckland and I think it's a beautiful city. In Tauranga we rented a car through Rite Price Rentals (highly recommend them) and drove ourselves to Rotorua and Waiotapou, and the next day up north to a small town on the coast called Bowentown. In Wellington we booked a private tour with a driver who took us all around the city; it was fantastic. In Akaroa we simply went ashore and did some shopping. In Dunedin we booked another private tour with Good Company Tours, did a city tour, a tour of Olveston House and then a train ride (some disappointment there for us as it turned out the train wasn't wheelchair accessible and we couldn't go, but other than that the tour was very good). In Hobart we met a friend and wandered around the city and in Melbourne I got off the ship for a few hours to do some shopping. The highlight of the ports were the sounds - we had unbelievable weather, blue skies and sunshine. I was able to stand out on the helipad for our entrance into Dusky Sound in the early morning which was wonderful. We saw dolphins in Doubtful Sound and seals in Dusky Sound. In Milford Sound the captain took us right up to the big waterfall and did a 360 turn - it was spectacular. Other thoughts on the ship: It really does cater to an older crowd which suits me just fine, even though I'm only in my 30s. There were a lot more Americans than I was expecting. There were hardly any kids - I think I saw less than 20 the entire time, which again, suits me just fine. I was a lot more comfortable on this ship with an older crowd than I was on Explorer of the Seas with a much younger crowd. As such the entertainment, activities and trivia are all geared towards an older crowd, which might bother some people but it didn't really worry me. I think the ship itself is really nice - very clean. The bathrooms have attendants so they are kept really neat and tidy. I didn't get sick on board but my mother picked up a cough in the last couple of days. I didn't hear about anyone getting gastro or anything like that. I usually pick up a cold but thankfully I managed to avoid it this time. There are probably a few things that need doing up but honestly, it's the second best ship I've ever been on and I really don't have any complaints about the ship itself. We got roped into "lunch with the captain" which was actually $90 to sit with a bunch of people we didn't know and make awkward conversation, and meet the Captain for two minutes at the start. So that was disappointing, but even though we didn't complain about it to anyone, we ended up getting a second free lunch at Tuscan Grille for the last day. And the hostess from Blu was really apologetic about it, but we definitely didn't complain so I have no idea why they thought we were upset. Anyway, the free lunch was really good. I think the shops are a bit... ridiculous, but I guess it's a fancy ship so they sell fancy things. We went to a couple of the sales and bought some cheap jewellery, and I did get some cheap t-shirts for my friends back home. We didn't bother with the art auction as they are a waste of time. We also didn't bother with bingo as it seemed really expensive. If I had known when we were on board that we were going to book again a few days after we got off I would've booked through Future Cruises, but I guess I will next time. This two week cruise with Celebrity has turned me into a convert - I think this may be my favourite cruise line now. Honestly, I may have some complaints about the bar service but overall this was the best cruise we have ever done, hands down, and I can't wait to sail on Solstice again in 2021. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I want to point out that I have cruised with Celebrity before and have been quite happy but I was unimpressed with this cruise. A 14 night cruise should give you the opportunity to see and visit many interesting locations in New Zealand ... Read More
I want to point out that I have cruised with Celebrity before and have been quite happy but I was unimpressed with this cruise. A 14 night cruise should give you the opportunity to see and visit many interesting locations in New Zealand and Australia but this was not the case with this particular cruise. The cruise started in Auckland NZ which is a vey nice city to explore if you choose to book independent excursions. The shore excursions through Celebrity overall during this cruise was marginal. The overviews for the excisions did not actually explain how long some of the bus rides were to get to a destination. We had a 7 hour bus ride (3 1/2 to and 3 1/2 back to ship) in Akaroa NZ to go on a TransAlpine Train that was supposed to reach some of the Southern Alps and traverse through a gorge. We did go through the gorge but no real mountain views and the train ride was about 1 hour. That excursion was $349.00 per person... A very expensive bus ride... Most other excursions were ok but again beware of the bus rides to get to the destinations. If you have the means and opportunity to investigate private tours and their cost versus ship excursions my recommendation is to go on your own. We actually cancelled some excursions from the ship and found that the price for the private tours to the same destinations were comparable and more comfortable. Just a suggestion to do your homework before obligating yourself to a particular ship excursion. Celebrity does give you the opportunity to cancel prepaid excursions with 48 hour notice prior to the excursion date. Also note that there were 5 days of at sea. The Tasman Sea did get rough during a 2 day sea voyage to Tasmania for Milford Sound NZ. 18 foot waves one night. The Ship: Celebrity Solstice The ship we found to be very comfortable to walk around and explore. The drink package was good to get if you enjoy beer, wine, cocktails without wondering what the final cost would be if not using it. Premium package was good because it enabled you to get any specialty drinks (top shelf liquor) as well as any specialty coffee drinks from any part of the ship unlimitedly. The food from the main dining room was not exceptional. Portions were small in most cases and the variety of choices was limited. We did choose a 3 night specialty dining package to eat in some of their premium restaurants. We chose the Tuscan, the Murano and the Silk Harvest. We found the Asian Silk Harvest to be the best and the Murano just so so. Again you have to consider if the additional price to dine in their specialty restaurants is worth the investment. It was interesting and a bit annoying that when we were eating dinner in the main restaurant that someone always came over to give us information to book reservations in one of their specialty restaurants. The buffet dining room (Ocean View Cafe) was always crowded for breakfast and the selections very good. The lunches were very good as well. You can eat breakfast and lunch in the main dining rooms also. A bright spot was the entertainment on board. We went almost every night and enjoyed all of the programs. The Cabin: We booked a Concierge Room in the aft section of the ship (2142). Being in the back was very quiet and the view from the balcony exceptional. However the room was small and since we did bring 4 large luggage bags, it was hard to find room to store clothes. I kept clothes in my luggage bags under the bed that I could not find room to place in the cabin. Some of the draws in the cabin needed to be fixed due to age but will probably be redone when the ship gets some refurbishment at it's next dry dock. Service: Service for the most part was very good. I did have an issue with one on my white polo shirts that became back with a blue tint from the laundry but the ship did address the situation and issued a no charge for the entire laundry and did finally get the blue out of my shirt. Please note that there are specials in laundry that give you one price for all items the you can place in their bag for one price of $49 regular or dry cleaning (no ripping the bag) but ask them which day the specials are given. I spent $80 one day before we were informed of the discounted special day. I hope I gave you an informative review of the ship and it's destinations. Overall good cruise but I expected more from Celebrity to show case these countries that you usually only get a chance to visit once. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Last sailing of the season – 3 senior couples traveling together, 2 couples from Phoenix, 1 couple from WA state – our 4th cruise as a group of 6, 14 days, March/April 2019. GREATEST FEAR: Dread of the flight to AKL and the ... Read More
Last sailing of the season – 3 senior couples traveling together, 2 couples from Phoenix, 1 couple from WA state – our 4th cruise as a group of 6, 14 days, March/April 2019. GREATEST FEAR: Dread of the flight to AKL and the transport home from SYD. Into AKL we arrived 2 nights early – all on Hawaiian. One couple did PDX to HNL to AKL in one shot – the others did PHX to HNL, overnight, then HNL to AKL on day two. This gave us 2 non stops PHX to HNL 7 hours, then HNL to AKL 9 hours by leaving a day early. Though an inconvenience to go from airport to hotel then back using free hotel shuttle and free breakfast the 4 of us felt this was a great way to go. JET LAG ISSUES: Indeed for all of us – about 18 hours ahead of our normal time, plus while onboard we had 3 instances of setting the clock back 1 hr each time. We found we did not bounce back from this quickly and seemed tired for a week trying to adjust to the time change issues. Pricing to do this by Hawaiian was very good. TRANSPORT HOME: 1 couple left upon concluding the cruise, 3 flights, SYD to AKL, AKL to HNL, HNL to PDX. We all found air fares back to US from SYD very high with a saving by first going to AKL then home. Our 2nd couple in fear of 13 + hours non stop chose to cruise SYD to HNL on the Radiance, then fly home from HNL. Couple 3 braved the long non stop which was 12 hrs 35 mins SYD to SFO, then SW SFO to PHX (USED UAL FF MILES for the non stop and paid for the extra comfort seating, which we felt was a good idea). Couples 2&3 stayed 5 nights after disembarking to tour Sydney as 1st time visitors. We’ve come too far not to see Sydney !! EMBARKING – GETTING ABOARD: As we arrived into AKL at 10pm 2 nights prior to departure we chose to stay near the airport at a hotel with free airport transport. The other 4 chose to ride into the CBD after the flight and stayed 2 nights in the CBD. We decided to get to the ship via an Auckland City Tour just prior to loading. We used Skybus from the airport to get into the CBD, day of boarding, was quick, efficient and about $12 USD each. There we were picked up by the tour operator. The other 4 were added at their hotel and the 6 us had a 4 hour tour of Auckland with Auckland Scenic Tours, dropping us at conclusion with our luggage at the Solstice Pier. THE SHIP: Sept 2014, 4 of us had been on Solstice, 11 day Alaska sailing. Had been in dry dock since and was somewhat improved. Still very shiny, well cared for, public areas neat clean – it is like a floating palace it’s so nice. CREW: Had a change of Master’s mid cruise, never had this before. New one, Captain Tasos, was a ton of fun with his 10AM briefing - one favorite quote; “put the pedal to the metal”. Staff was very good, mostly friendly and helpful with a smile. PASSENGERS: Approximately 2900 + crew – 1/3rd US/Canada, 1/3 Aussie/NZ, and 1/3rd other countries. Few children, mostly a senior crowd but a good age mix. DINING: A very annoying situation here – we all booked over a year in advance and requested linked traditional early dining (6pm) with a table for six. All of us requested this and at times we were linked and at times the linkage would disappear. One week before leaving home I was told by Captain’s Club we were at a table for six, but I should check with the maître'd to be certain. 1st thing on boarding we checked and the link had again disappeared – 1 table of 4, 1 table of 2, not a table for six. We immediately went to the maitre’d who had an explanation of why this had happened but after being forceful and determined he agreed to seat us together the 1st night in MDR and would arrange for seating together the 2nd and subsequent night. That is what occurred but our permanent table assignment though for six was too noisy to hear one another during dinner. Why does a linkage for 6, set up in advance disappear? This should never have even been an issue and did not get us off to a good start on boarding so beware. Once a link occurs it should be impossible to tamper with this – this needs fixing. Our evening dining at our joint table was a very important part of the cruise. SERVICE AND FOOD QUALITY DIVERSITY: Some nights were okay – menu choices were not special many times; food quality was sometimes very good, other times not what we expected. Service was fine but the noisy table and food prep overshadowed everything else so we skipped the MDR the most times we ever had on this cruise as a result. Also – show times were 7pm and 9pm; with the 6pm dining we could not make the 7pm show so we dined at the Oceanview buffet at 6pm to make the 7pm showtime; not liking a show starting at 9pm normally. Too late for our needs and enjoyment. We did dine in one specialty restaurant, the Murano one night and found it to be a special experience, well worth the added cost. Otherwise most dining was in the buffet; we found their food better overall than the MDR so kept going back and we usually could hear each other as we dined together. Good service and usually tables available to select. We did have prime rib twice and lobster once in the MDR. PORTS AND ITINERARY: This was a winner – ports were outstanding, docked and departed on time, great weather but why an overnight in Tauranga? One day was enough. Nice balance of ports and sea days. TOURS: We normally stay away from the ship’s product assuming it will be on a big bus (55 people) and usually too expensive. We did tours in most stops but took only 2 Celebrity Tours, using OBC for that. Though convenient for pickup and return big bus it was but pricing for these 2 tours was acceptable too. Our private tours worked just fine and usually came with a smaller bus as well – never a problem getting back to the ship on time. I think my favorite port and tour was in Hobart, Tasmania – we took a Gray Line tour with Jim on a tram type car but this did involve a 10 minute walk from the pier after an involved immigration clearing as this was our 1st port into Australia. We all loved Tasmania and it was a good city to walk upon tour conclusion. THE EVENING SHOWS: As stated. Shows at 7pm and 9pm – never an issue getting a seat. Many production shows by Celebrity talent and orchestra; most were good and entertaining. Had some singers; a comedian my favorite was the Motown show by the OZ brothers; for them we dined in Oceanview at 6pm and attended the 7pm show. Was advertised as a Motown show but that was a 3rd of the music they performed. Also did 4 Seasons and other artists – well done guys. DISEMBARKING – GETTING FROM SHIP TO OUR SYDNEY HOTEL: Four of us stayed the 5 nights to see Sydney, staying at the Hyatt Regency Darling Harbor, near the ship docking pier. The four shared an SUV, along with all our bags and in 20 minutes or so were at the hotel – cost: $35 AUD total including a tip – hard to beat. SHIP ACTIVITIES: On those days not visiting a port we always did the trivia sessions and there were usually 3 per day. There were the usual exercise classes, information lectures and the crew selling various products. Also the retail area regularly had sales and offers and there were numerous upscale retail outlets on board. We found no trouble staying busy as we also enjoyed playing games as our group of six. PUBLIC AREAS: We found them to be clean and in great condition, we could usually find a quiet place to do our group game sessions. INTERNET CAFÉ: As stated having access to 180 complimentary minutes allowed us to avoid paying for internet use on board. Once docked it was usually easy to find free wi fi locally to stay caught up. Pricing was the usual outrageous number. CASINO: ENTIRELY NON SMOKING ALL THE TIME -The slots were not very generous but we certainly had seen worse on prior cruises and cruise lines. Enough of a variety to keep a gambler interested, also the usual blackjack, craps, roulette. TRIP HINTS CPAP BREATHING MACHINE – Suppose to use distilled water in the device – almost impossible to find in NZ/AUS. CAPTAIN’S CLUB – This was our 1st time at the elite level and the benefits we found were very nice to have, e.g., unlimited drinks in most bars between 5 and 7 pm most days. A free bag of laundry and 90 mins of free internet. NOTE: These benefits are per person, not per stateroom. We were thinking per stateroom until our room steward called this to our attention so we really had twice what we thought we had. POST CRUISE LAUNDRY: Arriving into Sydney with a lot of dirty laundry and plans to stay 5 days meant trying to address laundry needs. A coin laundry in the central city was not possible but we found a true gem for this problem. WASH ON THE ROCKS.COM.AU ON HICKSON ST. They are in the rocks area of the city and they pick up, do the laundry, fold it and deliver back to your hotel. They picked up before noon and by 6pm of the same day it was all done. We (the 2 couples) sent them 4 loads and for that the charge was $84.00 AUD. That includes pick up and return to the hotel – we were all so excited to have clean laundry done for us for this pricing and set us up for the balance of our trip. SYDNEY HOTEL RECOMMENDATION: Hyatt Regency, 161 Sussex near Darling Harbor. We opted for the “deluxe” room for our 5 nights. Rates were reasonable for Sydney, the hotel is beautiful and the Darling Harbor location a good location, felt safe and excellent location. Employees were friendly and helpful; received many helpful hits from Tony, Hyatt valet for 22 years re: things to see, do and where to dine. He is a treasure. Room was quiet, good bed and pillows, good for temperature control (note they use Celsius not F). A great choice for our needs. SUMMARY Overall would give the cruise and ship a 4.8 out of 5.0 due to the small very irritating items mentioned earlier. Celebrity does so many things well and we feel offers a superior, premier cruising product without requiring premium pricing to cruise. The six of us are booked in April on the Silhouette and all looking forward to that cruise. If Celebrity could just address these nagging problems I would not hesitate to give them a 5.0. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise for its itenenary, and the duration and of course the ship, we loved everything about the cruise, all the staff on board were excellent everywhere we went we encountered helpful, happy staff which added to our ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itenenary, and the duration and of course the ship, we loved everything about the cruise, all the staff on board were excellent everywhere we went we encountered helpful, happy staff which added to our enjoyment, the stand out staff for us were Edward, Arief, Rakesh, and Monwa in the Main dinning room were very efficient especially Rakesh who was excellent in finding the drinks my husband wanted at dinner time. All the specialty restaurants were great too except when we got the boniest fish Ever served to us in any restaurant ever was in Silk Harvest which was not enjoyable at all and when we brought it to their attention we got told “oh that’s how they serve it the Asian style” I know for sure no one would serve that kind of fish no matter what style. Elton our room person on deck 10 Concierge stateroom was so efficient in keeping our room fully stocked with toiletries and towels twice a day, the girls in Cafe Bacio gave us excellent service too with lovely smiles, we also received excellent service from Errol in the Gift Shop which kept us all coming back to shop. The shows are night were very enjoyable. The cruise director Lewis made sure everyone had something to choose to do everyday, our group of friends had a great time on this cruise. We enjoyed it so much we did a future cruise booking too. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
4th cruise, 3rd with Celebrity, 2 others on smaller Constellation & Millenium. Value of cruise good but inclusions very expensive. Had balcony midships level 8, excellent. Internet usage $55US per day, Drink Packages ridiculous ... Read More
4th cruise, 3rd with Celebrity, 2 others on smaller Constellation & Millenium. Value of cruise good but inclusions very expensive. Had balcony midships level 8, excellent. Internet usage $55US per day, Drink Packages ridiculous prices as well. $25US corkage if you bought your own wine to dinner. (1 bottle per person allowed onboard first day). Food in main dining ok except for 2 nights when the choice was inedible. Ocean View cafe ok but again some of the meat dishes were a bit dry & unappetizing. Trying to find a seat at breakfast was a challenge. Solstice is getting a bit tired & needs a refit which is happening next year I think. Captain Tasos is THE best & he & his staff of many could not be faulted. Dining room staff were exceptional & really looked after you. Ports of Call on this itinerary were great, especially our sail through The Sounds. Much prefer to cruise on smaller ships. 2200 pax & 1200 staff just not as personal. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This is not a luxury five star ship whatever the travel agents claim, not now. It was back in 2008 when it was launched, but its been worked hard since then. Its evident when you embark through its nice white hull and enter its interior ... Read More
This is not a luxury five star ship whatever the travel agents claim, not now. It was back in 2008 when it was launched, but its been worked hard since then. Its evident when you embark through its nice white hull and enter its interior that its tired and overdue for a refit. We did venture up to the buffet on the first day and were surprised it was a serve yourself affair (a known novivirus risk) and the carpet was badly food stained and furniture chipped and stained. We never went up again. The food in the main dining room was good though, and our table staff were excellent, but the stained drapes and furnishings were similarly in need of attention.We went to most of the shows which were pretty average Broadway type shows, although we did have a good comedian one evening. We had pre-dinner drinks most evenings at the ice bar where the bar staff (and some of the guests) were always entertaining. The other bars offer a more relaxed experience with faster service though. We got off the ship at every stop and found them interesting and worth a visit, especially if the weathers good. Overall we had the impression they are only attending to basic maintenance and cleaning on the Solstice leading up to its refit next year. Avoid this ship until after its refit, or in the meantime there are other better alternatives like Princess or Holland America. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We choose this cruise because the last Solstice trip (to Sth Pacific) the average age was around 60, still way older than us but ok. This time is very around mid 80s and most people were not mobile. Getting around the ship was very ... Read More
We choose this cruise because the last Solstice trip (to Sth Pacific) the average age was around 60, still way older than us but ok. This time is very around mid 80s and most people were not mobile. Getting around the ship was very frustrating and the music on board was obviously to cater for them - 30s and 40's (which my husband and I can't stand). We don't have children (by choice, they annoy me); so it was good that there weren't too many to be seen or heard. The ports were mostly good but I would get rid of Lautoka and Suva and try and use a beautiful outer Fijian island. I've been to Fiji a few times and the ports are not a true reflection of the beauty of the Fiji. We both really enjoyed Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga - we did shore trips in each location but not through the ship. We did the Oolala trip, with the ship, in Lautoka and it was terrible - I went two years ago and everything has changed for the worse. It was overcrowded, mean and the food was inedible. The entertainment was generally ok, if geared towards very old people. The dining was good but portion sizes are very small. I'm a size 8 and I had to eat 2nd dinner in the buffet some night as I was still starving. One of the guys (a professor) giving talks was so boring and his material very old. Surely they can find people who are actually interested in their material and pass that on to the cruises. Cost for gym classes is a bit expensive at $17US Why is the spa so expensive? I would love to have treatments but not at twice the price of Australia. The shops are ridiculous - LV and Tiffany - seriously???? why not have nice brands that your target market can afford. Get rid of the stupid art show - just have nice stuff around the ship to admire (not to purchase) Based on this cruise, we have decided to cruise again in about 20 years time - unless Celebrity really do something to encourage a younger (but Childfree) market. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Found the cruise relaxing staff were very helpful. Didn't enjoy the meals tried twice in the restaurant on Deck 3 or 4. Because we don;t consume alcohol and don't put on airs down to earth couple didn't really feel welcomed ... Read More
Found the cruise relaxing staff were very helpful. Didn't enjoy the meals tried twice in the restaurant on Deck 3 or 4. Because we don;t consume alcohol and don't put on airs down to earth couple didn't really feel welcomed there. After that experience used the Ocienveiw Cafe for all our meals and the Mast Grille nice presented food. Enjoyed the show put on most nights in the Solstice Theatre pity they were only a hour long. Enjoyed the outdoor movies pity they repeated them over and over especially The Black Panther and Skycraper. Enjojed watching the girls on deck 15 working with the glass very pleasant and customer looked happy with their items. Bands that played were good normally listened to them in the library. Really not a lot to do at night if you don't gamble or drink. The ship looked nice and clean Indra did a good job making and tiding our room. A few issues with wind blowing thru the door at night whistling, broken tiolet seat cracked T.V. losing signal when watching it otherwise okay.Choose excursions thru the ship 1st not to be left behind and 2nd not to indated by the locals if going ashore. Went on the Nausori Farmers Market Drive hard to hear the person talking as microphone kept cutting in and out. The third excursion I didn't do due to illness which was spreading thru-out the ship coughing, sneezing runny nose and sore throat, as no opening windows in our room think it was spread by the air conditioning.Older couple early 60's no children. Yes we have booked again for same trip 2021 with a room at back of ship with opening balcony hopefully to prevent illness. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This is my second cruise with hubby (both 50 yr olds) and our first one was on Solstice also 2 years ago. Our first cruise was perfect and so it was inevitable that we would be comparing both cruises and that the second one wouldn't ... Read More
This is my second cruise with hubby (both 50 yr olds) and our first one was on Solstice also 2 years ago. Our first cruise was perfect and so it was inevitable that we would be comparing both cruises and that the second one wouldn't be as good as the first. Celebrity have the embarkation/disembarkation process down pat and we can't fault them on that at all. Even at Princess Wharf Auckland where it is so small and could be utter chaos, everything was good and moved quickly. We had stayed at the Sebel Quay West the night before which I recommend as it is a lovely hotel and an easy walk with luggage down to the wharf. The ship is as lovely as ever and looked after well although you can see some minor things showing some wear and tear. The best thing about Celebrity is the staff - they are all friendly and helpful. As with the last cruise, the only staff member to not acknowledge us as we walked by everyday was the Captains Club hostess. This itinerary seemed to attract an older age group - a lot of baby boomers on this cruise and more then half were New Zealanders. We seemed to find this age group to be really rude - always needing to be first in line for everything, and would push in front of you to grab something (with their hands) in the buffet. We noticed on a few occassions some were really rude to the bartenders - was terrible to see and was no need for it. Poor bartenders have to work so hard to keep us thirsty aussies and kiwis satisfied as it is without having to deal with people who think they are entitled. I thought there might not be much nightlife because of the older crowd but a lot of them liked to party. The Full Moon party, and silent discos were pretty popular. The sea days were pretty quiet with not too many activities which was disappointing. We ended up going to the afternoon trivia most days to fill in some time - even though we are really bad at it. Luckily the bartenders there were the best on the ship- in particular Eric and Nevil. Last cruise we spent a lot of time at the outdoor bars - Sunset and Mast but they've changed the rules and they are now smoking bars so we didn't go there much at all. Sunset bar is only supposed to be smoking on port side but this doesn't seem to get enforced. While we were sitting at the centre of the bar, a woman was standing directly behind us smoking while ordering a drink. Bit of a deal breaker unfortunately for us when the best bars are now off limits for the non smokers. The food is still good but probably not as good as the first cruise. The quality has dropped a bit in the buffet eg used to be able to get different varieties of bacon but now only thin stuff that was cooked in the oven making it hard. There isn't as much variety either. The food in the main restaurant is tasty. The bread basket is dangerously good. The portion sizes are small on some things but you can order more. We found it is difficult to get a drink there if you don't drink wine. Went one night without being asked at all if we wanted a drink. And another night we had to ask. We went to Silk Harvest once - good food but the restaurant is a bit too dark and it was very stuffy. Tuscan Grille is a lovely place to have a good meal before it gets dark so you can see the views. Service was good, they were probably a bit too attentive if anything as there was always someone asking us how the food was, do we need anything else etc. Pretty sad but one thing I was looking forward to was the $10 watch sale. They don't have it anymore. Luckily nothing else grabbed me, including the casino so didn't have to spend much costly US$. Missed hearing Captain Tasos's daily announcements this time- Captain Taramas doesn't have the same character and isn't seen as much around the ship. The ports were interesting to see. We didn't do any Celebrity excursions as they all seemed too expensive. In hindsight it might have been better to go with Celebrity - it would have saved us having to deal with some undesirables in all of the ports who see cruisers coming and want to rip them off. The entertainment was good mostly - pity the production shows are the same ones we saw over 2 years ago. The singers seemed more suitable for musicals - they weren't really cut out for Rock City. The impressionist seemed to be popular with the older people but wasn't to my taste. Magician was good but all the tricks were shown on a screen that made everything look blurry so was difficult to watch. Couldn't fault our cabin - had a balcony on the hump on the Portside. If this itinerary is repeated exactly, I would recommend staying on the Starboard side. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Good itinerary and ships reviews. Pablito in Al Baccio was the hardest working member of staff on the ship, a real asset to Celebrity. Platino, Kevin and Thia looked after us very well in the restaurant, very pleasant and professional ... Read More
Good itinerary and ships reviews. Pablito in Al Baccio was the hardest working member of staff on the ship, a real asset to Celebrity. Platino, Kevin and Thia looked after us very well in the restaurant, very pleasant and professional service received from them all. Kadek our steward friendly and helpful, made us feel very welcome and did a good job. Disappointed with the evening offering in the restaurant, quite repetitive, especially for desserts, would have welcomed a cheese board. Entertainment was poor, for the general age of the guests on board, most of the activities were quite childish. Artists in the theatre were not of a good standard with the exception of the magician. Lighthouse, the two young ladies with electric violin and chello were excellent, really enjoyed their music. Embarkation in Fremantle was very slow and we had nowhere to stand in the shade whilst waiting to enter the port building. All other disembarkation went without any hitches. Did not do any of the ships 'extortions' as we found the cost to be prohibitive. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. It satisfied the ports we wanted to visit. The food was great, the desserts were amazing, The ship and stateroom were immaculate. The entertainment overall was soso compaired to other ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. It satisfied the ports we wanted to visit. The food was great, the desserts were amazing, The ship and stateroom were immaculate. The entertainment overall was soso compaired to other cruises we have been on. The shining star was the Piano player from Geelong. The big screen is hidden up on a deck where nobody visits. It would be better on the swimming pool deck. Cruise went from Fremantle so we spent 4 days in Perth investigating the area then one night in a BnB in Fremantle. First stop at Esperance was interesting but a bit of a waste of time (Hobart would be better). Was a bit disappointed with the amount of smoke from the funnels in our beautiful Milford Sounds. The in room videos about the pod motors, electric generators, and the side thrusters were very informative, The free movie channel had to be reset twice during our voyage. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We have previously sailed on Celebrity and enjoyed the upmarket ambiance and cultured environment BUT alas this seems to have been eroded into what has become a very ordinary cruise line. The harassment we experienced form staff as ... Read More
We have previously sailed on Celebrity and enjoyed the upmarket ambiance and cultured environment BUT alas this seems to have been eroded into what has become a very ordinary cruise line. The harassment we experienced form staff as soon as we boarded to 'purchase a package' was beyond annoying. On no less than 45 occasions we were asked to purchase on day one. This continued for 3 days and on one occasion I was even challenged to explain why I did not want to buy a 'package' .. by a wine waiter. After declining to purchase a package we then found it literally impossible to get served on deck and in the theatre unles we were standing at a bar. The other great dissappointment was the total lack of discernable dress code. Evening chic - a joke. On dressier nights it was common to see formal attire mixed with shorts and thongs. TRhe redeeming factors were .. the dining room staff who were excellent .. the room steward who was also excellent .. the Lighthouse string duo who were beacons of entrertainment .. and the best show on the ship The Hot Glass blowers .. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise as we had done the cruise from Auckland to Perth the year before and were very impressed with the Solstice . What a difference a year makes , the ship was showing a lot of wear. The entertainment on the cruise the year ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had done the cruise from Auckland to Perth the year before and were very impressed with the Solstice . What a difference a year makes , the ship was showing a lot of wear. The entertainment on the cruise the year before was excellent , this trip it was less than average. The drinks packages had gone up and the discount they offered on board was 10% , 15% ,20% respectively as apposed to the 30% we received of the basic package last year. When we embarked we ticked the box which indicated that our account would be charge direct to our visa card at end of cruise . that didn't happen and we were charged through the cruise lines bank which resulted in a lot higher conversion rate. BE WARNED. Overall the service on board was excellent , the crew were very good and were always polite and helpful which certainly goes to making a pleasant cruise. We thought the food was a bit ordinary this time around , we dined in the GE , anytime dining . Overall an average cruise and we will probably try a different cruise line next time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
CELEBRITY SOLSTICE embarked in PERTH for a back to back of 29 nights, to SYDNEY/AUCKLAND/FIJI/SAMOA/TONGA and back to AUCKLAND. A wonderful experience of personal service, excellent dining in the Luminea / Murano / Tuscan restaurants, ... Read More
CELEBRITY SOLSTICE embarked in PERTH for a back to back of 29 nights, to SYDNEY/AUCKLAND/FIJI/SAMOA/TONGA and back to AUCKLAND. A wonderful experience of personal service, excellent dining in the Luminea / Murano / Tuscan restaurants, especially the Luminea where all the staff were very attentive and obliging, our thanks, and deserving recognition were KAVI ( nothing was ever too much), RYAN (thanks Sunshine), DOMINIC, ALEX and JURUS ( Christine is now hooked on 'Pinot Gris'). Although the food in Ocean View ( renamed: Bread Pudding Café) a little more imagination there please Chef, was good with a wide choice to please any calorized diet. But it was MANIC a frenzied throng weaving around the food stations and hunting elusive seats and slow Bar service. ALAN from excursions was amazing, he tirelessly coordinated, organised, arranged and lectured upon forthcoming excursions, whilst expediting the vast numbers of guests ashore on their trips. LEWIS..mmm..with his extensive wardrobe, still forgot his socks! The theatre productions were very professional, enhanced by the brilliant ACROBATIC TROUPE who were phenomenal. The guest acts varied depending on your personal choice, but generally good and entertaining. All guest areas were busy and noisy, apart from the 'Silent Disco', very good ( we even joined in!) Fortunately our sanctuary was the suite guest club room, and the delightful OLGA and helpful bar steward. Now our Suite Attendant & Butler, ALDRIN (Buzz) was so friendly, caring and efficient he deserves an award, along with ROGELIO and his constant smile and attention, he made sure we wanted for nothing. The Suite Manager ANASTASIA and the lovely ALANA Guest Relation Director, whom had the unenviable task of being front line to guest complaints, including our suite issues, they deserve medals and a salary hike, they did all they could in an impossible situation, thank you both. Celebrity and RCCL as a company, seriously need to address the problems on the Solstice and others in this class during the forthcoming refurbishments. We will avoid any concierge or S2 suites on Deck 12 on these vessels. Again our thanks to all the dedicated staff and crew. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
This cruise is a disappointment.The food in the restaurant was never hot and the menu choice just seemed to be juggled about each night.Restaurant staff very good as usual but the wine waiters seemed to give you one glass then ... Read More
This cruise is a disappointment.The food in the restaurant was never hot and the menu choice just seemed to be juggled about each night.Restaurant staff very good as usual but the wine waiters seemed to give you one glass then disappear.The cafe is a nightmare and very difficult to find a seat not because there are not enough of them but the over 70 groups seem to just sit there for hours after they had finished breakfast and refuse to move.The Itinerary is lacking in ideas with too many days at sea and two of the ports Esperanza and one of the New Zealand ones were just stop to refuel.The Dunedin trip is a waste of time as we wandered a botanic garden for over an hour when only getting 25mins in downtown Dunedin not even time to enjoy the shops or have a coffee.Your tours are also overpriced compared to the local tours when you disembark.I have never seen such disorganisation than at Fremantle port where preferred guests are ok but others waited for over 2 hours to board.Perhaps you could cut New Zealand out of the tour and let us see Brisbane and Canberra and please arrange to dock in Sydney and not tenders.Lastly your staff on board were impeccable as usual but the bands were somewhat lacking in variation.I would not recommend this cruise to the under 30s unless they want to sit about playing cards,knitting,or sleeping in the library.CELEBRITY can do better than this Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise as it was a long time since we had been on a larger ship (Celebrity Alaskan cruise 11 years ago) and we felt like an end of summer holiday through Australian ports that we are fairly familiar with. We flew to Perth ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was a long time since we had been on a larger ship (Celebrity Alaskan cruise 11 years ago) and we felt like an end of summer holiday through Australian ports that we are fairly familiar with. We flew to Perth from Auckland 4 days prior to the cruise and thoroughly enjoyed this delightful city. Embarkation was a nightmare as no training had been given to the local staff who were trying their best to process the guests with no help from the bored Celebrity staff who were wandering behind them. Once onboard we ran the gauntlet of Celebrity staff trying to sign us up for drinks and dining packages( we had been warned but they are very annoying). The cabin war excellent except for the wardrobe doors which supposedly slid and got in the way. No doors or bifold would be s vast improvement. Food in Blue and the main dining room was excellent. Also good in the buffet restaurant but the huge number of people there turned us off. We enjoy good lectures but these were scheduled at 9.00am on sea days which is crazy especially as you had lost an hour due to time changes. We also enjoy playing bridge on sea days as did a lot of fellow guests but nothing was organised. Flying paper aeroplanes and throwing bean bags is not everyone’s idea of entertainment. Shows were mixed with some very good and some less so. Overall our experience was enjoyable and good value for money but could have easily been better Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We researched heavily before we picked a cruise line and ship, broken down into tonnage, amenities and restaurant choices, as well as general destinations. We chose to book a deluxe verandah stateroom, and got placed starboard on level 7. ... Read More
We researched heavily before we picked a cruise line and ship, broken down into tonnage, amenities and restaurant choices, as well as general destinations. We chose to book a deluxe verandah stateroom, and got placed starboard on level 7. We feel that our travel agent should have indicated to us that by paying more we would have had included all the perks and extras that we paid for anyway, but hey, she didnt, we didnt know, there you have it. The embarkation process in Perth was actually not that bad at all - a small wait in a holding area but that wasnt a drama. Do not understand why people grizzle about that when they are trying to process through as many people as you could find living in a small town. We got on board and found our cabin - it was tidy and clean. We realise that unless you board a vessel of ANY sort on its maiden voyage of course things will feel a bit pre-used, but on the whole they have gone to length to make it feel clean and fresh. For those grumbling about the black line around the toilet, I suspect that has to do with the sanitation system so maybe is just the way it is - it didnt make our bathroom smell nor did it detract from the use of the loo in any shape or form, so hey - get over it! The staff are nice and very helpful, but also pushy - a constant push to buy more, upgrade more, do this, do that. Some are extremely aggressive, some try to do it in a more subtle way - but the outcome is the same, it isnt nice when we have already paid a bit to get there and prepaid for packages and extras before we even embarked. We found the household staff a bit intense - we do not want our cabin turned down at night, dont want our things picked up and moved and dont want our already folded clothes refolded and put in one big pile. we tried to explain we didnt need the evening service thanks, which sort of fell on deaf ears so we started to put up the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door. A morning spruce-up of the cabin is nice, fresh towels etc (which sometimes when the old ones were removed no new towels were left in replacement) but this constant in and out was a bit much. The premium non-alcholic drinks package was a brilliant investment - we used that a lot. Really liked that we had this as we are frequently at Cafe el Bacio on level 5, where most of the staff who prepare coffees etc do a sterling job. We had one staff member who made ghastly coffees, frappes etc - I mentioned to the wait staff who brought the coffee that it wasnt very good at all, she made excuses for the fact it was awful, then must have gone back and told the girl who was acting as barista that day. We heard "expletive you" from behind the counter, so we consequently made a decision to AVOID the cafe if this staff member was on the machines. Because so many of the rest of the staff were really nice and some made really quite good coffees, we did not go down to Guest Relations and make a complaint. On the mainland it would have been very different. OCEANVIEW CAFE - is really okay actually, they try really hard to turn out a good selection for the masses, I think they do very well and have no complaints. A great staple with a stack of selection. Whats not to like. I will say though that real vegetable selection was sparse but once again it must be hard to carry enough of everything on a ship. GRAND EPERNAY - We went twice. It was a horrid experience and is the fly-in-the-soup of the restaurant dining experience for us. We refused to go back there again, rather using speciality restaurants most nights or good old ocean view cafe. Epernay was like a factory, noisy, seated almost right on top of the next couple where too many 2-seat tables had been crammed together. The cruise demographic did not help Epernay I suspect, all trying to turn up at the same time for dinner and of course the staff will attempt to accommodate them, but its not nice when you just want to eat in peace and the neighbours who are almost sitting on your lap feel obliged to talk to you. Other half and I obliged somewhat, but werent really there for the chitchat with others beyond the odd hello here and there so found that felt like a difficult transaction that was forced upon us because of the tight space. The food was okay but not outstanding. MURANO - We love Murano and have been many times. Small portions but you will feel stuffed when you leave, nicely prepared food. A definite 10 out of 10. SUSHI ON 5 - a hidden gem! Once again suspect because of the demographic on the ship it has been under-utilised on this trip. Good sushi, great serving staff - this was our other 10 out of 10. A really great sushi chef. MARTINI BAR - loved it. Good martinis pre dinner - candied apple martini and dessert martinis scrumptious. A fair few happy martinis pre dinner were had. The whole laundry service isnt a good concept - I have woollen items that I am NOT paying someone else to wreck, and anyway we refuse to pay at least 25USD per day on Laundry. Its not that we cant afford it, its that they warn you that its a case of caveat emptor when it comes to using laundry services. No thanks. We did pre-order two cakes off the web site for the stateroom - one choc raspberry for one week, and one choc coffee. We got the same choc raspberry each time which wasnt that great so consequently ended up getting binned. We just let it go because sometimes things can be very hard to sort, and when we mentioned it to the housekeeping girl who brought it to the room (that they had got it wrong and we received the same thing two weeks running) she just looked blank, and to be honest I couldnt be bothered going there. Be careful when ordering cakes in advance as a room treat. We didnt do organised shore packages - more just a trip into town in whatever port we were in. It was really great. Didnt go into adelaide but went everywhere else. Shop staff in esperance WA rude. We didnt do theatre etc - for us this has been about catching our breath and decompressing on a real break. The Gym and the Persian garden top up have been great. For better or worse we feel like we had a break. This has been our learning curve cruise - we now know how it works. The mistake we made is that we didnt go for suite class in the booking phase. It might have given us a bit more respite from some of the faux snobbery that seems to prevail amongst certain of the demographic, but on thorough dissection we have decided we are going to bite the bullet and go for royal suite or penthouse suite class next time if we go celebrity as that will give us the extras and packages that we bought anyway if I understand correctly, plus a suite with a bit more room will be a bonus! Dont get me wrong through - I have never felt like we are falling all over one another, but a bit more space will make it really amazing. We went down to future cruises and tried to secure something for approx 2 years away in July 2021 - the very helpful lady there told us that we could find 2021 cruises up on the site by the end of this year - that works for us. We've already worked out that we want to do St Petersburg 14 nights, Viking cruises does a better itinerary of stops in Scandinavia but we are debating giving Celebrity another go and see if booking a different sort of class of accommodation irons out the wrinkles, so to speak. All in all, a very good experience, we feel rested and like we have had a real holiday, someone else has done the driving and the cooking and the cleaning. Loved seeing Melbourne and Sydney again, the sounds are stunning and Dunedin is a southern gem. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
INTRO My wife and I went on a 16-night cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice out of Auckland, NZ with ports of call in New Zealand (Tauranga, Napier, Picton, Wellington) and Australia (Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth). We spent three ... Read More
INTRO My wife and I went on a 16-night cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice out of Auckland, NZ with ports of call in New Zealand (Tauranga, Napier, Picton, Wellington) and Australia (Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth). We spent three days in Auckland before boarding the ship. One funny thing happened while we were in Auckland. The first day we had lunch at the Harbourside Ocean Bar and Grill in the old ferry building – a great place for lunch BTW. We had some questions about the menu, and at one point the waiter asked me if I liked oysters. I was tired from the flight from the States; my hearing isn’t what it used to be; and I had not had a chance to acclimate myself to the Kiwi accent; because I would have sworn he asked me if I liked horses! Sigh. REVIEW Ship I am not going to say much about the Solstice because it has been reviewed so many times before. Furthermore, the Solstice has consistently won Cruiser’s Choice Awards year after year, with Cruisers and Cruise Critic Editors each rating the Solstice 5.0 on a 5.0 scale. What I will say is that ship was large, but it still had a very intimate feel, which is probably due to the outstanding crew on the Solstice. Everyone was incredibly friendly and hospitable. We found that the crew would go out of their way to take care of whatever requests or needs we had, some before we even voiced them. One of the things we really enjoyed was the Hollywood Hot Glass’ workshops on the Lawn Deck (Deck 15) where you can create a glass piece of your own coloring and choosing. There are a number of different things you can make, e.g., a flower, heart, vase, tumbler, ruffle bowl and ornament). I would have preferred to make a ruffle bowl, but we didn’t have enough room in our suitcase or any way to protect the glass. So we made really cool paperweights. Smile. I highly recommend taking a glassblowing class (or two), but plan ahead by bringing some bubble wrap and leaving a little extra room on your suitcase. The other thing I really enjoyed was looking at the fine art on the Solstice (owned by Celebrity, not the auction). I noticed some of the artwork in pictures of the Edge, so I paid particular attention to the paintings and sculptures on the Solstice. It really enhanced my appreciation of the ship. Dining The food onboard the Solstice was excellent. The main dining room for suite-class passengers is Luminae. The food there was excellent and the service was second to none. The Maître D' in Luminae (Dimitri) set the tone for Luminae. He always greeted us as though we were long lost friends he was happy to see again. He made us feel welcomed and right at home every time we entered the restaurant. Our waiter (Chitra) paid attention to our likes and dislikes, and made it a point to recommend things that we would like. I didn’t particularly care for the sausages they served there. I preferred the sausages in the Oceanview Café, so Chitra made sure Luminae had the sausages I liked for breakfast every day. One evening, Chitra served a special dessert. It was a chocolate sphere. She poured a flaming hot liquor over the top of the sphere that melted the chocolate revealing some vanilla ice cream. I asked if they could make that dessert another evening so I could take a video of the presentation. Chitra and the chef were more than happy to make that happen. The assistant waiter (Natalie) couldn’t have been friendlier. We always enjoyed talking to her. The wine steward (Juris) made great selections for us. In the one or two instances we didn’t particularly care for the wine he selected, he made some alternate suggestions, which were excellent. We also ate at several specialty restaurants Murano, the Tuscan Grille and Sushi on Five. I loved them all, but Sushi on Five was my favorite. Kudos to the F&B director (Mihai) and restaurant manager (Mazy) for their outstanding work in creating a five-star experience in every venue on the Solstice. Entertainment I have to give a shout out to the cruise director (Lewis). The entertainment aboard the Solstice was outstanding. It included acts such as Peter Cousins, an actor who performed in such musicals as Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables; Keith Scott, an outstanding voice actor, impressionist and comedian; and, Matt Mcgurk, an award-winning magician and illusionist. Two of our favorite acts were (1) the Beatnix, a Beatles tribute band, and (2) the Lighthouse String Duo (with Lia on the electric violin and Alina on the electric cello). Both acts connected well with audiences. If you are interested in checking out the latter act, which was pretty unique, you can visit their Facebook page at .) We looked for performances throughout the cruise and were never disappointed. Another great show was the aerial acrobatic show entitled “Euphoria” by the French Cirque Les Farfadais & Co. that Celebrity saved until the end of the cruise. Euphoria was a combination of acrobatics, silk dance and aerial rings that rivaled Cirque du Soleil in every way and left us amazed and awed by their skills. We would be thrilled to see any of these acts again on future Celebrity cruises. Service From the moment we checked in and all throughout the service onboard the was exceptional. This was the first time we had a butler. I wasn’t sure why I needed a butler, but I quickly found out how valuable he was. We were invited to dinner one evening, and I needed a shirt pressed right away. Our butler (Anu) took care of that and had the shirt back to me within the hour. We also had a bottle of champagne that I wanted sent to the dining room to be chilled for dinner, and Anu took care of that as well. It was a nice luxury to be able to enjoy the cruise and not take the time to work on the logistics of something like that. We also found the Michael’s Club Concierge (Olga) extremely professional, competent and helpful. I asked Olga if I could get a list of lectures and shows for the cruise (so I could better plan our evenings). She would have had the list back to me the next day, but it was not to her liking because It only listed the names of each act. She sent the list back and asked that they add a description of each act. I also asked if Olga could arrange for someone from future cruises to meet me in Michael’s Club to book a future cruise, which she did. Even if there was a lot going on in Michael’s Club, Olga never appeared distracted as she welcomed guests and answered questions. The suite manager (Anastasia) was fantastic. You could tell that she was all about providing the best guest service possible in the way she regularly checked in with us and the way related to others on her team. She really looked after us. PORTS & SHORE EXCURSIONS We enjoyed all of the ports-of-call, but I will only highlight four: two in New Zealand and two in Australia. Tauranga, NZ Our first stop was Tauranga, NZ where we visited the Māori (pron MOU•ree, not may•OR•ee) village of Whakarewarewa in Rotorua, which was a lot of fun. (The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand.) After touring the village, the Māori served lunch and put on a show. The Māori villagers like to have fun with you by presenting the name of their village as one word: Tewhakarewarewatangaoteopetauaawahiao. It seems overwhelming, right? It really isn’t. If you break that word down into its component parts, it is actually “Te Whakarewarewa Tanga, O Te Ope Taua A Wahiao,” which means “gathering place for the war parties of the Wahiao.” If you want to have a little fun with the Māori, you can learn how to pronounce the name of the village before you go. When they ask if anyone can pronounce the name of their village, you can surprise them by sounding like the Māori. They will definitely not expect it. Here is how the Māori pronounce the name of their village: http://alturl.com/abr3f. Napier, NZ We were lucky to be in Napier (pron NAY•pee•er) during the weekend of the year they held their Hot Rod & Classic Car Festival, one of several Art Deco Festivals held every year celebrating the classic Art Deco period of the 1920’ and 30’s. (For more about the festival and events throughout the year see their website at . Much of Napier was destroyed by an earthquake in 1931 and many of the buildings were rebuilt in the (Art Deco) style of that period. It was fun to walk around the town and to see many of the locals (flappers and dappers) dressing in period garb for the occasion. If you want to join in the fun, stop by Napier Antiques and Jewelry store at 65 Tennyson St. in Napier. They had a wide variety of styles for men and women from which to choose. People there also displayed beautifully restored antique cars and old motorcycles. A band played music in the square. Several dance troupes performed in the town square. All in all it was a lot of fun. Sydney, AUS Bridge climb or Pylon? A number of passengers on the cruise opted to climb the “coat hanger (Sydney Harbour Bridge). The cost is AUD $263 – $403 per person (USD $186 - $285 per person). That’s USD $372 - $570 per couple! The climb takes 3 ½ hours and you have to wear a suit that others have worn before. (I have no idea how often the clean the suits, but it didn’t appeal to me one way or the other.) We spent a fraction of that and chose to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon. The cost of climbing the Pylon is AUD $15 per person (USD $10.63pp). That’s only $22 per couple! There is an interesting historical exhibit on the climb up, and we had virtually the same view of famous Sydney Harbour Opera House as those who spent a whole lot more money and time. That left us plenty of free time to grab lunch at the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar, which was located at 1 East Circular Quay just down from the Opera House across the way from the Circular Quay and Overseas Passenger Terminal. It had a great view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour. The food was excellent. I ordered BBQ’d shrimp (what else?) and my wife ordered seafood linguini. We also had a surprise visit by some parakeets. We mentioned that to the waiter, and he said they loved the sugar. Who doesn’t? Adelaide, AUS We visited the Cleland Wildlife Conservation Park in Adelaide where we saw a Tasmanian devil, kangaroos, koalas, emus, geese, various birds and more. It was too hot that day to hold a koala, but we were able to pet a couple of kangaroos. My one regret is that we did not purchase food to feed the animals, primarily because I didn’t want to throw food at the animals, but what I didn’t know is that some of the animals, like the kangaroos, and I am guessing the koalas as well, would eat out of your hand. It might have been fun. CONCLUSION Pros Celebrity’s Solstice is a beautiful ship. Great food, service, and entertainment. An outgoing and professional staff who genuinely cared about you and who went out of their way to make sure you wanted for nothing. Cons I really don’t have any cons other than recommending those with mobility issues booking rooms closer to the elevators, which are located amidship. Value The value for what we received was excellent. I heartedly recommend Celebrity Cruise Line and the Solstice. You will not be disappointed. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We have been cruising since 1986 and truly have enjoyed most experiences. We chose this cruise as a B2B since we had not been to this part of the world and it was a long flight from the states. We booked an Aqua spa class cabin (first ... Read More
We have been cruising since 1986 and truly have enjoyed most experiences. We chose this cruise as a B2B since we had not been to this part of the world and it was a long flight from the states. We booked an Aqua spa class cabin (first time) and was not disappointed. The cabin located on deck 11, was small but adequate. The Blu restaurant was excellent and worth the cost of the room itself. From the hostess to the waiters and the sommeliers, the experience was exceptional. Food was perfectly presented, in nice small portions and prepared as requested. Seating was well staged with mostly paired tables but just close enough if you wanted to carry on a conversation with your neighbor. I'm afraid I will never go back to the main dining room. We also ate in Tuscan and Murano. Food was good and plentiful but not worth the cost unless you can get a discount. The cafe (buffet) was also a good experience as the food and layout made it easy to see the offerings and find what you were looking for. However, on seas days you could not find a place to seat let alone a table as people camped out for many hours at a time playing cards, grazing, playing on their tablets and phones killing time. We frequented the Martini bar and Cafe al Bacio utilizing our premium drink package. Love the specialized coffees and variations in martinis. Prices however are outrageous if you don't have that package. We purchased 9 ship tours and 3 private tours. All tours met or exceeded our expectations except for the ship's "taste of Barossa." On that tour the wineries were not prepared for 45 people at one time. On the other tours, the animals many times were the stars of the tours especially the Koalas, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, seals and penguins. The seas by luck were mainly calm even in the Tasmanian sea. Weather in ports for February and March was 70's (expected and packed for hotter) and mainly clear except for Sydney where it rained off and on both times we were there. As mentioned in earlier reviews the ship is looking worn. Although beautifully designed, much of the furniture is thread bear and needs replacing. This includes most public areas especially the chairs. Again as mentioned in earlier reviews, there was a significant amount of rust showing in the upper superstructure. Not what I am accustomed to on a Celebrity ship. Lastly the things that will make me think twice before booking another Celebrity cruise with sea days. The constant promoting of the specialty restaurants, wine purchases, drink packages, spa packages and "pay to play" promotions (wine tastings for example) from morning to night around every corner of the ship was awful. A real turnoff to most passengers. You could not escape it especially on sea days. I can not stress enough how hard they tried to sell these products. But the most disappointing thing I found on the cruise was how Celebrity has gutted the "activities staff" and the activities they provide. The CD talked a good game each day but was mostly missing in action. His recently promoted assistant tried his best to provide some form of sea day activities, but with what appears to be no budget, offered little. Celebrity's program is pay to play or entertain yourself. My idea of sea day activities does not include making paper airplanes for an hour to challenge for 10 seconds an officer, making an egg drop contraption or a "boat" out of ship garbage (referred to by Celebrity as recyclables) or waiting an hour to hit a golf ball one time in the foyer to an "X" taped to the floor. Cost for these activities to Celebrity = $0.00. The hot glass program and outside movies to me were non-existent. Overall we still had a great time, but with many ways to spend your travel dollars these days, I will think long and hard before making my next booking. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We have had a number of Celenrity Cruises this was the most disappointing. The positives - Luminae dining, cabin housekeeping and general level of service. The Sky Suite was spacious and service excellent but the noise from trolleys ... Read More
We have had a number of Celenrity Cruises this was the most disappointing. The positives - Luminae dining, cabin housekeeping and general level of service. The Sky Suite was spacious and service excellent but the noise from trolleys in the buffet restaurant directly above was intrusive - especially in early morning. Negatives- We saw no evidence of 'priority boarding' which is sold as part of the package. Our check in at Auckland, which was a shambles and left is standing on the gangway with all other passengers for over 20 minutes, set the scene for all other ports. We appreciate port restrictions where only one gangway ( which would sometimes only carry 5 at any one time) seemed to be a feature but no attempt was made to prioritise and there tended to be only one card reader in operation,which for a ship this size is ridiculous. We felt sorry for disabled passengers. Occasionally there were two bag screening machines but not very often. NOISE! Screaming music invaded almost every public space even the Lawn Club, which we associate with peace and calm. A number of other passengers asked for it to be turned off or turned down but it was systematically turned back up. So many of us complained especially in the Martini bar where a disco was thumping out mindlessly. Up selling was intrusive and infuriating. Celebrity clearly have a mandate to squeeze as much out of passengers as possible. This is even more evident in our bookin for next year ( which we will probably cancel). Gratuities are added to the total cost of the cruise and the customary service for those of us who have to fly to Florida, where flight times are not compatible with cruise times, were an overnight hotel pre cruise and day room on day of departure are now an extra the latter being totally unavailable. We have contacted Celebrity. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary which was great. We had never been to this part of the world or had been on a Celebrity ship. The cabin was clean and pretty spacious but it did need a bit of a refurb especially the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary which was great. We had never been to this part of the world or had been on a Celebrity ship. The cabin was clean and pretty spacious but it did need a bit of a refurb especially the curtains.The food in the Oceanview Cafe was great and there was a wide choice to choose from. Zeljko Cickovic the Maitre D’ in the cafe was so friendly and always stopped to chat with us. However, in the restaurant the food was good but we felt there wasn’t much of a choice. The entertainment was ok however, the show put on by the Celebrity dancers and singers were very good. The daily activities was ok, not as good as P&O cruises. The crew were very friendly and some would always chat to us when we saw them. One of the Officers Stelios always made time to chat to us , he seemed a lovely genuine man. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Chose this cruise because it was hubby’s bucket list trip to go to Australia and I wanted to go to NZ. Solstice is showing her age a bit...things are just looking a little worn...some holes in our cabin drapes, chairs in the public ... Read More
Chose this cruise because it was hubby’s bucket list trip to go to Australia and I wanted to go to NZ. Solstice is showing her age a bit...things are just looking a little worn...some holes in our cabin drapes, chairs in the public areas are a worn...that type of thing. If you look passed all those types of things then Solstice is still a beautiful ship. Food this time out for me was a bit of a disappointment. Had to send one dinner in the MDR back all together. There was a good mix of choices. They were free with the lobster on the night they served it which hubby was quite happy with. Staff were marvellous, Joaquim our cabin attendant was very good with our request to get the night light in the bathroom fixed and sorting out a different appie plate for us in the afternoon. He was very helpful and pleasant and attentive to all our needs. Martini Bar staff were lovely too. Thank you Alin! MDR staff were wonderful although I gave them such a bad tim*e trying to get them to stop calling me madam...had fun though. Entertainment wasn’t an attraction for us...we previewed the early show after dinner to see if it was something we wanted to see. Over a 16 night sailing I think we only took in maybe 4 shows. There were special ABBA or Queen music nights in Sky Lounge we attended instead. Ports were all good. Excursions for the most part were good. Some narratives were better than others. The Adelaide excursion we went on the commentator sort of stammered and repeated himself. The sound system on the bus wasn’t working right or he wasn’t talking loud enough but half the bus couldn’t hear him. I was quite surprised by the number of people with walking/travelling aides on this cruise. I know I am not a spring chicken but I found it frustrating trying to move freely sometimes because of the number of people with scooters etc. I understand now that the longer the cruise the more chance you have of that happening. So if you are young and want more action.....think on. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
My wife and I have been on 55 cruises, the shortest 11 days, the longest 28 days. We have sailed with NCL, Holland America, Princess, Azamara and Celebrity. On Celebrity we are Elite Plus members with 2000 points. Our most recent cruise ... Read More
My wife and I have been on 55 cruises, the shortest 11 days, the longest 28 days. We have sailed with NCL, Holland America, Princess, Azamara and Celebrity. On Celebrity we are Elite Plus members with 2000 points. Our most recent cruise was a back to back on Celebrity Solstice. Here are the pros and cons.  The pros: Friendly Crew and excellent service though out the ship. Good meals. Nice casino. Wi-Fi is good. The daily get together for Captain's Club members in the Sky Lounge was very enjoyable. The music played at the pool wasn't deafening. The cons: Because the backs lounge chairs in the Solarium can only be raised about 45 degrees and we found them too uncomfortalbe to just sit and read. The ship is starting to get a "tired" look. I noticed a lot of rust. Maybe Celebrity should attend to the fleet before more building new ships. Unrelated pet peeves:: Cruisers who come to breakfast for the gym or track wearing their sweat soaked work out attire. They obviously don't have any respect of their fellow travels. Maybe a security guard should be posted at the entrances and deny them entry. This happens on all the ships. Cruisers who linger chatting or reading after breakfast and lunch while others are searching for a table. Read Less
Celebrity Solstice Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 5.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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