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14 Celebrity Solstice Cruise Reviews for Cruises for the Disabled Cruises to Alaska

I selected this cruise for my annual summer vacation with my two grandchildren (both 6 years old). My grandson has Autism and I was searching for a vacation that would be appropriate for us all. I read that Celebrity Cruise had a Autism ... Read More
I selected this cruise for my annual summer vacation with my two grandchildren (both 6 years old). My grandson has Autism and I was searching for a vacation that would be appropriate for us all. I read that Celebrity Cruise had a Autism friendly program. I was excited to find out the details, so I contacted Celebrity direct and got the details. I was impressed that they were including a much ignored traveler and I booked the cruise the same day. I paid for two cabins and my grandchild were billed at the same rate as an adult. I won’t go into everything that was so “not” friendly about this cruise. But it started at boarding. It continued through the Muster drill and meal times were pathetic. Not only is this ship not Autism friendly. It really isn’t kid friendly. I went to guest relations to try to find a solution to standing in line for 30 minutes or more to feed two hungry six year olds. I was told that I could take my meals back to my stateroom. That wasn’t exactly true. The specialty restaurants will not accommodate you in any way. You have to eat the meal in the restaurant (with the exception of Sushi on Five).So we ended up eating in the buffet or room service for all 7 Days. We were able to order non- hot food from Sushi on Five ( most of their food was hot!) I refused to eat in a fancy restaurant and my grandchildren’s only options were hot dogs, pizza and an occasional hamburger. So we all ate the same foods. This was their vacation and it should have been special for them. We attempt to use their kids club. And after questioning the staff I learned that they have a “general” knowledge of Autism. The staff member complained that the parents with children afflicted Autism expected their children to have one on one supervision. That certainly wasn’t the case for me. I was looking for a safe place that the children could interact with their fellow shipmates. Not feeling comfortable with the staffs lack of training, we passed on that amenity. So to sum it up, I spent over $8,000 to eat hamburgers, pizza and hot dogs mainly in my cabin. But the highlight was the Alaskan scenery. I can best sum up this vacation as upscale camping. Nothing luxurious or special. I wouldn’t have been disappointed had they not misled me about their Autism program. There was no Autism program. This is pure marketing. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We absolutely loved this cruise. We thought we would do this cruise for our 50th anniversary but we just couldn’t wait. Embarkation went very smoothly and quickly. The ship was beautiful and never seemed crowded except for the buffet of ... Read More
We absolutely loved this cruise. We thought we would do this cruise for our 50th anniversary but we just couldn’t wait. Embarkation went very smoothly and quickly. The ship was beautiful and never seemed crowded except for the buffet of course. We sailed aqua class and are so glad we did. Our favorite restaurant on the ship was Blu. Such mouthwatering food and so many choices. We ate breakfast there everyday and dinner almost everyday. The service was unbelievable, someone there to take care of every need practically before you needed something. We learned a lot from the different speakers and the entertainment was great. We did all our excursions through the ship, the trolley in Ketchikan was the only thing that was less than stellar. We all enjoyed the lumberjack show although the line to get in was very long. Juneau was the second stop.The whale watch excursion was so exciting, we saw 5 whales one of them was just a baby. The Mendenhall glacier, was a sight to behold. It is sad how much the glaciers are melting. Next part was Skagway, we took the vintage rail to the White Pass Summit. It was great to hear about the gold rush. We learned amazing new things about it. Well, at least it was new to me. Our major disappointment was the helicopter to the glacier and the dogsled excursion, we got all dressed in our warm clothing and boots, went up in the helicopter, saw a smaller glacier on the way up, but we encountered dense fog and had to go back down. It was nothing that was anybody’s fault but it was to be the highlight of our trip. We were refunded in full, so I guess we can look at it as a free helicopter ride. We traveled with our best friends and we loved this cruise. It may be harsh, but I left off one star because the drinks did not measure up to other cruises we have been on. For example the Bloody Mary’s had no celery nothing but the mix and the alcohol. I tried margaritas at two different bars and they were both terrible. All in all the cruise was worth every penny and I would definitely go again! Our room Stewart “Devin” was great! He kept our room stocked and clean throughout our cruise. All of the crew would bend over backwards to help all cruisers. They always were smiling and had kind words for everyone. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I was very impressed with a lot of thing about Celebrity Solstice and very disappointed with other things. The shows were great, especially the Alaska shows. I was a little disappointed in the age of the ship but it wasn't dirty just ... Read More
I was very impressed with a lot of thing about Celebrity Solstice and very disappointed with other things. The shows were great, especially the Alaska shows. I was a little disappointed in the age of the ship but it wasn't dirty just a little aged. The Ocean View Cafe was great if you were of Asian or Indian background or if you love their food. The American fare was poor. The food looked right but it definitely didn't taste right. The sauces for the pasta was runny, the eggs were runny, the hamburgers were burnt, and the selection was almost nonexistent. There were very few waiters/waitresses on the floor so you just had to make do with pushing used dishes out of the way. The main dining room was terrific. The food here was outstanding. Our service was slow (we don't drink) and we spent too much time waiting on our waiters to serve the food and take our dessert order. But the staff was extremely nice. Our cabin steward was the best. He worked very hard every day to make sure that everyone was happy and had everything needed, We just sailed on May 10, 2019, so our experience is fresh, The ship is well suited for couples. Of course, we sailed during the school year. Our excursions were through Viator instead of Celebrity. Other than almost missing our connection in Juneau, we didn't have any trouble finding our tour groups. The bus tour through the Yukon, in Skagway, with our tour guide Mike, was the best. We saw 2 bears, mountain goats, and a young moose. Our tour guide had sharp eyes and he was very entertaining. I believe anyone will enjoy this cruise and we are looking forward to our next one. The departing from the ship was extremely streamlined and it didn't take very long for everyone to be on dry land. The Celebrity excursions were the easiest to find since they were the first ones you came upon when docking. There were always other ship at port when were got to port so we were usually the farthest from the city. The other ships had mostly already unloaded their passengers when we first were let off the ship. Getting back on was a breeze. I brought two lanyards to hold our sea passes and we just had to show them when we boarded. Having the sea passes on the lanyards worked well for dining as well. We just showed them to the waiters and they used them to bring our sodas. The ship had a lot of things going on so you weren't bored at any time. We had to make time to go swimming and look around the ship. It was a wonderful experience and we had a great time (other than the fact that we brought our colds with us from home, but we found that the ships liquor store had things that you would normally buy in a pharmacy. Nail polish remover, cold meds, etc.) I recommend this ship and the experience to anyone wanting to discover Alaska! I no I don't have a reference point to compare this sailing to but I really enjoyed the experience. The captain came on loud speaker (outside the ship) he was Greek and a little hard to understand but he continued with the same message in a different way a few times so we were able to understand his message. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I chose this cruise because the medical centre has dialysis machines and my wife has kidney failure. However at the last minute she was unable to travel. Celebrity Cruises insisted that I pay the fare for a single person travelling in the ... Read More
I chose this cruise because the medical centre has dialysis machines and my wife has kidney failure. However at the last minute she was unable to travel. Celebrity Cruises insisted that I pay the fare for a single person travelling in the cabin although the dialysis company did refund some of the cost of dialysis and a small portion of the additional cost that dialysis patients and their partners are forced to pay by Celebrity. The cost is very high as Celebrity charges a premium for dialysis patients and their accompanying partners in adding to the cost of dialysis. In the traumatic circumstances I had hoped that Celebrity would only charge the cost for the cabin but they insisted on the cost for a single person travelling in this cabin class. This is a huge ship with some thousands of people on board. I had a premium cabin which I thought entitled me to priority but it certainly didn't work out like that. The designated restaurant was poor with second rate food. I normally ate in the restaurant of other classes which had a much better selection of dishes and better service. There was nothing particularly attractive or special about the so-called "special" class for which I paid and many of the advertised benefits did not materialise. Most of the passengers seemed intent on sitting at the numerous bars or in the casino or shopping in the many, many overpriced shops onboard. If that is your idea of a holiday then this will suit you. The elevators are constantly packed and it takes forever to get between decks on the ship. There are children everywhere, the pool facilities are overwhelmed with children, and the other facilities are taken up by groups traveling together. I found this cruise a most unpleasant experience, extremely highly priced for what you receive and I certainly would not recommend it to anyone who was interested in the sights of Alaska. The priority seemed to be ship board partying rather than Alaska as a destination. Others on board who made comments to me similarly decided they would not cruise again. I would not choose such a cruise again nor have I found Celebrity Cruises at all responsive to my needs, concerns, or particular situation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
OH NO, DON’T GO! CRUISE FROM HELL! GOT SICK! PROFITS OVER PASSENGERS! Celebrity Solstice Alaska Cruise. Embarkation, guest services & excursions were horrible. (1.) Embarkation day was a nightmare. 3 ships in port. Arrived at 11:30 ... Read More
OH NO, DON’T GO! CRUISE FROM HELL! GOT SICK! PROFITS OVER PASSENGERS! Celebrity Solstice Alaska Cruise. Embarkation, guest services & excursions were horrible. (1.) Embarkation day was a nightmare. 3 ships in port. Arrived at 11:30 a.m. Didn’t board ship for many hrs. Totally disorganized. Port reps stated no Celebrity reps to assist. Check-in counter’s credit card machine malfunctioned. Waited longer. Took hrs. Then instructed to go to another room & wait for our number to be called. Then directed to another room. 100’s of passengers in back and forth lines. Port reps reminded us 3 ships were in port. I asked “Why don’t you have 2 ships in port on one day & the 3rd another day”. Celebrity contracts with the port, we pay port fees, makes Celebrity responsible. Celebrity reps should be present & assist it’s passengers without giving full authority to the port. During the week, embarkation stories were common topic amongst passengers. Elderly woman complained that she waited in line for hrs. & was refused food for her diabetic husband. (2.) Specialty dining discount offer in room. Discount in specialty restaurants if prepaid on the 1st day of cruise, could be used any night of cruise. Called to confirm with guest services. Was told it was valid on 1st night only. Asked to speak with Neal, the manager. Guest services rep asked what it was regarding. When I said “I preferred to speak with the manager,” she rudely said “What do you think this is a bloody hotel”. Guest service staff were patronizing figureheads who lack authority to make decisions. (3.) Booked the ship’s 1st log cutting show & totem pole excursion in Ketchikan. Met early in the morning. 5 ships in port that day so had to tender in. Were delayed & missed our scheduled log show returning hours later. Delayed us so that 2nd excursion group was on time & saw the show before us. 2 1/2 hr. excursion became 5 1/2hrs. Returned to ship for lunch just as food was put away. Day was chaotic, not fun & frustrating. (4.) Began to feel ill on the last day of the cruise. Arrived home sick (vomiting, diarrhea, & developed a rash). Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I've wanted to cruise Alaska since I saw a commercial showing Glacier Bay and featuring the same booming, echoing voice used by MONSTER monstermonster truck ads not so long ago. Recently, I came into a decent sum of money allowing me ... Read More
I've wanted to cruise Alaska since I saw a commercial showing Glacier Bay and featuring the same booming, echoing voice used by MONSTER monstermonster truck ads not so long ago. Recently, I came into a decent sum of money allowing me to sail. I chose Celebrity Solstice due to its September prices in Alaska as opposed to its itinerary. Next time I hit Alaska, I'll likely go via an M class ship and take a round-trip Hubbard at least as much for the glacier as for the extra sea day (assuming I take Celebrity). We flew into Seattle, and I wish I remembered the name of our hotel. Embarkation was uncomplicated and we didn't get there until around 12:30. I was as awed and impressed with the Solstice (still am) as I was the tray of mimosas and champagne offered by the crew when we entered the ship. We went on a tour and hit Luminae for lunch. EVERYTHING I tasted on the Solstice bordered on sublime or surpassed it. I hesitated to try the Crispy Pork Belly the first night, and I'm terrifically pleased that I did. It was perfectly cooked (and I know since, during my last cruise, it was not). I shopped in Juneau for a short time after going on a whale watching trip, coming away with the utter conviction that every single person who exists needs to go. Orcas have been my favorite sea dweller almost forever, having impressed me on documentary after documentary and thereby kicking out their competition, seahorses. Seeing tham skim the water, leap out right next to our catamaran had me feeling like a fangirl at a concert. I hope I behaved somewhat better than that. In any case, the shops seemed stripped of the bulk of their merchandise. I got what I came for, though. We asked to tour the bridge. Our butler told us to meet the others going on the tour at the ship's forward, I forget which floor. We waited awhile and followed a young man who had us wait awhile. As we stepped into the room, I noticed at least a dozen plumes on the water in front of us. The poor kid who was attempting to corral our group around his station was ignored by the lot of us as we immediately realized that the source of the plumes was a pod of some sort of whale, some said blue and others humpback -- I never found out. We watched them; hypnotized by their presence and numbers. When they swam past us, our bridge kid had what little part of our attention that we could provide. I can't tell you anything about what he said (although I tried to appear attentive throughout). As soon as we left, we all broke out in excited chatting about those whales and their startling numbers. I neglected to mention that the second dinner I had on the Solstice was in the Silk Harvest and there is where we experienced our first marine creature encounter and was, in this case, a dolphin. S/he rode the ship's waves in order to snatch fish thrown out there by our passing. You never grow jaded by encoutering wildlife. The final sea animal we saw was close to Victoria. That I actually saw a sea otter should have ticked this state off of my bucket list. TBH, I'm that much more interested and can't wait to go again. Alas, Alaska will have to wait until after we pass beyond the arctic circle and hopefully experience a few good midnight sunsets and see even more orcas, etc.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I planned this cruise last October (2016) as an 80th Birthday Surprise Gift to my Mom. I specifically chose this cruise because of the roundtrip in/out of Seattle and the itinerary. As I had booked a suite, I knew my Mom would appreciate ... Read More
I planned this cruise last October (2016) as an 80th Birthday Surprise Gift to my Mom. I specifically chose this cruise because of the roundtrip in/out of Seattle and the itinerary. As I had booked a suite, I knew my Mom would appreciate the beautiful balcony as she likes to rest and the extra time At Sea and Cruising the Fjords and Inside Passage would give her a great cabin experience! I picked 2 excursions specifically for her, the White pass Railroad in Skagway and the Buchart Gardens in Victoria. Unfortunately, our Skagway stop was cancelled due to a mud/rockslide the morning we were to arrive. The diversion to Icy Strait Point was nice, but my mom, husband and I were all greatly disappointed, as the train ride was what she was most looking forward to during the entire planning. Hoonah is not very wheelchair-friendly, and the Tendering is extra difficult. The beautiful weather in Ketchikan was a huge plus, and we enjoyed the tram up the hill and the shopping there. We were also happy that our Victoria Butchart Gardens tour went as planned, although it would have been nice to have more time in the Gardens. We also missed the Tracy Arm Fjord and Sawyer's Glacier due to weather, but the alternative was breathtaking, and a bonus for my husband and I, as we had already cruised the Tracy Arm. Having sailed on the Solstice last December for the New Zealand/Australia 14-day, my husband and I noticed a huge difference with this Captain and Officers. We did not see them as much as we did last year--Capt. Tazos was Fantastic, and he and his Officers were constantly interacting with the passengers! I also noticed that the Solstice had some odor problems, specifically in the Casino Bar area and other public areas...perhaps due to the high humidity of Alaska VS New Zealand?? The Hot Glass Show was fascinating, as always! Seeing that artist Cat Burns was again on this ship was a Huge Bonus!! Her infectious laughter and dynamic personality is what drew us to the Hot Glass Show last December, and the Show again became our favorite entertainment onboard! This was our first time in a Suite and it was very nice. My favorite? A Bubble Bath at Sea!! The larger balcony and receiving all 4 "Perks" is a definite Plus! As I mentioned before, this cruise was all planned for my 80 year old Mom. While Dominic, our Room Steward, always made the room nice, I was disappointed that he did not change a dirty sheet on Mom's sofa bed that occured the first night. (It took 2 days until a clean one appeared.) I had also specifically requested that we have the ice bucket filled every morning and evening, and that was only done twice. Jose, our Butler, very nicely provided bottles of water for us, which meant we did not have to bring our own from a Bar with our Beverage Package. Overall, however, the suite was a nice change from our normal Concierge Balcony cabin, and we may consider booking it again, if the price is right. We give this cruise an 8 out of 10 because of the unexpected (and we do understand, unavoidable) port changes, the presence of odors on more than one occasion and general lack of good entertainment (other than the Glass Show!) The Positives of this cruise, as always, are your Staff and Crewmembers... Specifically Alex in the Cafe Bacio and Michael's Club, Vi in the Luminae Dining Room and Cat with the Corning Glass Show! These folks are what keep us coming back! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We had friends who did this cruise and it was recommended highly by them. We enjoyed the informative talks before the land days. The captain did a fantastic job piloting through Tracey Arm and getting us up close to the glacier. We ... Read More
We had friends who did this cruise and it was recommended highly by them. We enjoyed the informative talks before the land days. The captain did a fantastic job piloting through Tracey Arm and getting us up close to the glacier. We enjoyed our shore excursions in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway. We booked with local vendors for private taxi tours in Ketchikan and Juneau and took the White Pass Railway in Skagway. Food & service in the specialty restaurants was impeccable for the two nights we ate there. We ate in the main dining room using select dining times two nights and it was fine but not outstanding. The other nights we ate in the Oceanview Cafe and enjoyed the wide variety of options and the views. We bypassed the drink packages - as neither of us drink that much that we needed the drink package. Still managed to have as much wine and beer as was desired. The fitness classes were great - but you need to sign up early. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Just back from our trip to Alaska on the Solstice and I wanted to share our experience here because so many of the posts I read before our trip were helpful to me! Our family of 5 (DH in his 50s, me in my 40s, 2 kids in their early ... Read More
Just back from our trip to Alaska on the Solstice and I wanted to share our experience here because so many of the posts I read before our trip were helpful to me! Our family of 5 (DH in his 50s, me in my 40s, 2 kids in their early 20s and 1 who is 16) sailed from Seattle on June 9. This trip renewed my hope for cruising. Our only previous cruise--several years ago on Royal Caribbean--was such an unpleasant experience I swore I'd never take another one. On that cruise, we were treated rudely at every turn,forced to sit with a family that didn't speak to us for days at meals, and pushed to buy, buy, buy from the minute we boarded to the moment we got off. On the Solstice, none of those issues came into play. We had a fantastic time and I'd go again tomorrow if I could! Here's a summary of the main points: EMBARKATION: Traffic into and out of Seattle's port is slow going at any time during the day because of the narrow road in /out, but even with that we left our hotel at 10:45 and were on the ship by 12:15. It was all fairly painless and efficient. Be sure to book your transportation in advance and to get your carrier to commit to a pick-up time in advance. There were many guests at our hotel who were just realizing over breakfast that the shuttle was already full until 1:00. NOTE for travelers with disabilities: We brought my son's mobility scooter all the way from Florida only to have it break down on our first day in Seattle. I read about Scootaround.com on these boards and called them the afternoon before our embarkation and they were amazing. I rented a scooter over the phone and it was in the cabin when we arrived and we left it there when we departed. It cost $175 for the week and there was no charge to have it delivered directly to the ship. The scooter was a snug fit in the cabin (not an accessible cabin), but we had no issues with getting it through the doors. It was stable and rugged enough to use in all the ports--highly recommended means of mobility if you are able to get on/off the ship without it (wheelchair service was readily available for both) CABIN: See below for description. We booked 2 C1 concierge rooms, but we did not pay extra for them over the cost of balcony rooms. I got the upgrade to a C2 when cabin prices briefly dropped. As many other reviewers have mentioned, I would definitely not pay extra for this category, but it was nice to have the small perks that came with it at no extra cost. Tip: Bring your own binoculars--the ones that come with these rooms are better than nothing, but they're tiny and not good quality. Also bring a power strip and extra hangers! SHIP: It's beautiful! Clean, classy, laid out in a way that is easy to figure out and remember. Our favorite places on board were the Sunset Bar on deck 15 aft (though sometimes it got too smoky for us), the Sky Lounge on deck 14 forward (perfect place to curl up with a book or just look out the window at the beautiful scenery), the Ensemble Bar (deck 5 aft) for late night drinks, and our own balconies! The one shortcoming is the elevators, which seemed quite slow and sometimes got jammed up when we were arriving in or departing from ports. SERVICE: The service on the Solstice was outstanding. Everyone aims to please and they are overall efficient, accommodating, cheerful and kind. There was a push during the first couple days to get guests to upgrade their drink packages, but other than that the sales efforts were mostly unobtrusive. A lot of little things contributed to the sense we had that we were in good hands--the consistent good cheer and helpfulness of our stateroom attendant, the cocktail waitress who learned my name on the first day and always seemed to be around when I needed something, the crew members who were so quick to help guide my son on his scooter on and off the ship at the ports, the bottles of water crew members were sometimes handing out as we disembarked and the hot chocolate they were waiting with when we came back. The only real exception to the rule was the acupuncturist/masseuse my husband encountered in the spa who took multiple phone calls DURING his treatment--the whole appointment was a disaster and we would NOT recommend the spa at all. DINING AND DRINKS: We booked a package that included the classic drink package for the 4 of us who are of age and a soda/water/coffee package for my 16-year-old son. We also received $300 onboard credit per stateroom. I can't say enough about how easy this made things. I am not a big drinker, but it was wonderful to be able to order wine with dinner or a drink at the show or at sailaway with no hassle. It was also great to have that onboard credit. It eliminated any stress of worrying about how much we might spend on the ship. We honestly had everything we wanted (I even converted some of the OBC to slot credit in the casino) and ended up with just a few dollars charged to our credit card in the end. My husband upgraded his drink package to premium, but the classic was fine for the rest of us. It's worth noting that contrary to some of the older reviews I'd read, Celebrity does have the capability now to charge you the difference between the cost of the drink you ordered and the one covered by your package. The only thing I was wanting that wasn't in my package was Bailey's in my coffee, but it turned out to be only a dollar upcharge. There are menus on most of the bars that help you identify which drinks are included in your package, but if you're not sure, ask your bartender--they know. Most mixed drinks are included with the classic package, but if you call your liquor (rather than taking the speed rack booze) you may get an upcharge. We had flex dining and this was a mixed bag. I thought this meant you can eat whenever you like, but that's not exactly true. Everyone wants to eat between 6:30 and 8, so we could only make reservations for before 6 or after 8. That said, when we did show up and agree to wait for a table, we never waited more than about 30 minutes. We were given a beeper and sat in the martini bar, so it was pretty painless. We had a different waiter team almost every night, but they were all friendly and capable. There was a bit of a language problem with a couple of the assistant waiters, but not enough to cause any serious issues. Every dinner menu included a handful of staples that appeared every day (on our cruise they included Caesar salad, French onion soup, sirloin steak, and grilled salmon) as well as a number of items that change each day. My daughter is a vegetarian and did not have any difficulty finding things to eat. The food was good but not great. We had hoped for crab legs (it was Alaska, after all), but they never served them. They did have lobster on the second formal night and it was wonderful. Dress code was obviously flexible. We saw the full range from jeans and polo shirts to ball gowns. Lots of people did go all out for the formal nights, which gave the whole ship a festive feel. We were limited in how much luggage we could squeeze into our car and on the plane, so I opted for a simple black dress for both formal nights and wore it with different sweaters/wraps/jewelry to dress it up. I was not out of place as underdressed or overdressed. We ate most of our lunches and breakfast at the buffet (or took breakfast food from there back to our cabins). The pizza was better than expected and there was always something decent to eat, but it's a buffet, so don't expect gourmet food. If you get a chance, go one day between 4 and 5 for the afternoon tea--they have finger sandwiches and biscuits and cookies and fresh fruit--it's lovely. I wish we'd discovered it earlier in our cruise! Even though there is a ton of variety to choose from, foods are not very well labelled--and the key designed to indicate which dishes were vegetarian was never filled out. So it was a bit of a guessing game. For lunch you can also go to the Mast Grill. They make burgers (including veggie burgers) and hot dogs with different toppings (like sauteed mushrooms and onions) that seemed better than a lot of the buffet fare. We did not go to any of the specialty restaurants, but we did enjoy Cafe al Baccio for coffee and sometimes pastries in the afternoon. If you have a sweet tooth, note that the desserts in the case at this location are included with your cruise fare (though the coffees are not) and many of those desserts are a big step up from the mostly-whipped-cream confections on the buffet! I made a habit of leaving lunch and walking down the stairs to the Cafe's counter to get dessert :) Room service: I love the idea of room service, but in practice it was more hassle than going up to the buffet to make a plate and bringing it back. We ordered room service for 2 breakfasts and one dinner during the trip, and none of the orders was accurate on arrival. They do make pretty good burgers, sandwiches and fries--handy if you happen to have a 16-year-old with a bottomless appetite like we do! They also seemed willing to accommodate requests for items that are not on the menu (I asked for onion soup from the dining room) but it takes extra time. ENTERTAINMENT: The Solstice has a lot going on every day! We went to several of the nightly shows in the theater. The Rock program and Broken Strings were a little cheesy (would it kill them to throw in a little plot between all those songs strung together?), but the singers, dancers and acrobats are pretty talented. The shows typically run under an hour, so if you can easily see the 7 pm show and then make it to the dining room for a meal at 8 or 8:15. The singers' best show of the week was hands down their Thursday afternoon performance of show tunes. It was clear that this was their wheelhouse, whereas the other shows feel somewhat forced--like they're rushing through them and trying too hard to belt out those songs in a hurry. The ship has a few live music acts that play throughout the ship and a full band that accompanies the shows. That band is pretty great, and if you want to see them really doing their thing, check them out at the Ensemble Lounge when they play there late some nights--it's a much more relaxed, improv-type performance and it's obvious they're digging it. There were a couple comedians during the week, but we didn't see them. The Liars Game show with the captain and the cruise director was pretty funny (adults only!). Karaoke was a blast (lots of participants!) the first night they had it, but subdued later in the week. Trivia was frequently crowded--get there early if you want a drink or a chair! The enrichment program on this ship was great. We loved Miss Amanda's talks about the upcoming ports and also Brent Nixon's discussions of some of the wildlife and scenery. The highlight of this program comes on Monday morning when the ship goes up the Tracy Arm (or in our case the Endicott Arm--not a problem for us as it was spectacular) and Mr. Nixon can be heard in the public areas (and in your stateroom if you put the tv to channel 5) pointing out wildlife (we saw mama seals and their pups!), describing how the terrain was formed, and occasionally reading snippets from John Muir's journal or lines of poetry. It starts REALLY early, like around 4 AM, but we were on our balconies from about 4:30 until after 10:00 just mesmerized by the scenery. We may have been on a cruise ship with thousands of other people, but I thought the experience was as magical and personal as if I'd gone in a canoe! Kudos to Celebrity for putting a focus on educational enrichment on this cruise. You can also tune your tv to channel 5 at 10:15 (double check that time!) each morning to hear the captain's daily address to the passengers. He and the other officers also do several events throughout the week in an effort to be accessible to the passengers (including a standing-room-only talk on how the ship was built). PORTS: SEATTLE: We stayed at the Homewood Suites Downtown (where one suite accommodates a family of 5) and were happy with it. It's about a half mile walk to Seattle Center from there (uphill!), where you can go up in the Space Needle, see the Chihuly Museum, or take a duck tour (very fun!). There's also a monorail from there to Westlake Center just a couple blocks from Pike Market. It's $2 per person each way (cash only) and will save you a mile and a half of walking each way. Not a lot of restaurants close to the hotel, though. KETCHIKAN: We did not schedule an excursion for Ketchikan, but we did take a tour we booked from the pier. I don't remember the name, but it was a red and green trolley parked right as you get off the ship. If you want a tour, it might be better to book ahead. Our guide did take us to a spot where we saw dozens of bald eagles (amazing!) so I don't regret going, but he was proof that you can give anyone a microphone and call him a tour guide--not much prepared info and very lacking in details and even accurate facts! Still, it gave us an overview of the town. Our kids went to the lumberjack show and enjoyed it. We just walked around and shopped a bit on Creek Street and near the pier. JUNEAU: This was an incredible day, starting with the trip up the Endicott Arm to see the Dawes Glacier. After that we had time for naps and showers before arriving in Juneau around 1:30. Celebrity's pier is quite a long walk from town and the shuttle that runs back and forth charges $5 per person each way. You have to stand in one line to get shuttle tickets and a separate line to board--ridiculous and inefficient. If you've booked an excursion through Celebrity, though, there's a bus waiting to take you to your trip and you can skip the shuttle from the ship to town. We booked a float plane excursion through the cruise ship. Amazing doesn't begin to cover the views from that plane as we flew over the 80-mile ice field near Juneau. By the time we landed, I'd just run out of words to describe the beautiful things I was seeing. The flight gives you an amazing perspective on it all from above. It cost a small fortune ($229/per person x 5), but I'm so glad we did it. BE SURE TO TAKE A MOTION SICKNESS PILL IF YOU DO THIS EXCURSION AND ARE AT ALL PRONE TO IT! I take Bonine instead of Dramamine--doesn't make me as tired . . . SKAGWAY: This was my favorite port. Skagway is a very small, tidy, adorable town at the base of the mountains. Unlike Juneau, they are there to welcome cruise passengers with transportation down the long pier if you need it. Golf carts zip up and down the pier taking up to 8 people with each pass. There's no charge and we were happy to tip for this service. We booked an excursion with Chilkoot Tours (highly recommend this company and making reservations early). Our guide Jamison was waiting for us right at the end of the pier and drove us up the mountain in a coach bus, stopping several times along the way so we could take pictures and telling us about the history of Skagway. Excellent tour. When we reached the White Pass Summit, he directed us to an assigned car on the historic train (not the last car as mentioned in some other reviews) for the ride down the mountain. The views from the train are breathtaking. Two tips: First, take your motion sickness medicine again because the train rocks and sways from side to side! Second, if you're going downhill, sit on the right side! Most of the views will be out your window. At times the terrain fell away so steeply it felt a bit like a roller coaster rather than a train ride. Terrific port to wrap up 3 days in Alaska that left us exhausted and awed. VICTORIA: We didn't book an excursion in Victoria, but we did walk/scooter into town and back. It's a long walk and it was raining, but we wanted to see the city. I imagine that on a busy, sunny day the inner harbor is gorgeous, but it was kind of gloomy and deserted while we were there. We also walked through Beacon Hill Park, which is beautiful and I'm sure will become even moreso as the weather warms up and more flowers bloom. We saw deer and rabbits, peacocks and turtles just in the 15-20 minutes we were in the park. X-CLUB/KIDS: There were truly passengers of all ages on this cruise, though there were fewer young children than on a Disney or Royal Caribbean ship. I can't speak to the children's program, but my 16-year-old made his way to the XClub after a couple days and found a big group of like-minded kids. XClub activities were mostly loosely organized, but that was perfect for this age group--enough to get them together and let them get comfortable with each other without over-scheduling their days. We frequently saw teens hanging out in the card room on deck 9 from the elevators, too. DISEMBARKATION: This was kind of a mess because of the elevator situation. We finally split up and started getting on UP elevators and riding them to deck 14 and then back down. It became apparent we would never get on together--or in fact at all--if we waited for space in the elevators going down. That was at about 7:20. I don't know if leaving earlier would have helped. We chose to carry our own bags off and were in our pre-arranged shuttle and back at the Homewood Suites by 9 AM. Be warned that if you stay at this hotel and are hoping to get an early check in after disembarking, it's unlikely. They had a long list of guests waiting to check in and even with DH's hhonors gold status, we didn't get a room until after 2:00. We passed a couple hours at the MoPop museum at Seattle Center--interesting exhibits for rock music fans and also for scifi lovers. Thank you to everyone who shares information on this site. Your summaries, trip reviews, and other information were invaluable to me as I planned our vacation! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Just got back from my 7th cruise; 1st with Celebrity and first to Alaska. Starting off, I, 33, took my parents, 68 and 70, on this cruise to fulfill a dream they've had for 30+ years. They often talked about sailing to Alaska, but ... Read More
Just got back from my 7th cruise; 1st with Celebrity and first to Alaska. Starting off, I, 33, took my parents, 68 and 70, on this cruise to fulfill a dream they've had for 30+ years. They often talked about sailing to Alaska, but something always came up - need new roof, weddings, car expenses, whatever; but after a health scare late last year, I told them, we're going, no matter what. We booked May 26-June2. We live in Virginia Beach, VA and made the plans to travel out to Seattle the day before. Due to unforeseen circumstances, my husband and grade school son could not attend, so some last minute changes, the three of us were in the same cabin, an accessible balcony, 7139. Getting to Seattle was rough- we hit terrible turbulence leaving Norfolk, VA Thursday afternoon, so much so we rerouted our flight over 45 minutes out of the way. We landed in Midway, late of course, and there was a plane at our gate, we waited another 20 minutes, and that was just enough time to have us miss our connecting flight to Seattle. I was a little stressed, but kept a smile up for my parents, as they don't handle stress and change of plans well. We got on the next flight after showing the gate attendants our cruise paperwork. We landed in Seattle at 11pm Pacific time, so 2 am our time, and I went to work for a half day Thursday, so needless to say I was tired. We waited at the airport for nearly an hour waiting for our shuttle to our hotel, Town Place Suites, In Renton. We checked in, my parents had their wheelchair accessible room and I fell asleep as soon as I hit the pillow in my room. We took Seattle Express Shuttle Company to the port from our hotel. $15pp each way, they were on time and friendly and had great communication with me before the departure day. My google maps app had alerted me that traffic was heavy going to the port - and I didn't pay it much mind. We were picked up at the hotel at 10:30, and went to the port, and got stuck in the worst traffic. We were let off the shuttle around 12:40 and were greeted with confusion and chaos abounding. There were lines everywhere outside the port, people yelling and screaming, and I was shocked at the lack of flow, direction or signage. I accessed the situation, knew what ship we were leaving on (some people in front of us waited 40 minutes in the wrong line, they were sailing on the Freedom of the Seas, who was parked right next to the Solstice) and started that way. We dropped our luggage with the valet - double checked it was going to the Solstice and headed inside. Lines, confusion and disarray proceeded us inside the building as well. Mom is in a wheelchair and I have priority embarkation due to my status with RCI, so we bypassed a good 90 minutes of lines. Even so, we were not onboard our ship until well after 1pm. After speaking with tons of fellow cruisers onboard, we were not alone in our fate at the pier. it was complete chaos and so unorganized. Seattle cruise port - definitely the worst I've ever experienced. Once onboard - breathing a sigh of relief, and head upstairs for lunch. The Oceanview Café (buffet) was very nice. I was impressed with the variety, choices, flow and amount of space. My anxiety was finally starting to wind down as I sipped my first (of many) Peach Bellini. We finished lunch, and the buffet was just starting to get busy, but nothing too terrible, just seats beginning to fill up. We headed to deck 7, room 7139 and we were all pleasantly surprised with how spacious this room was. The accessible cabin was well appointed, plenty of space, and the balcony was great. I had a little bed, that was a chair, and our room steward broke down the chair the first day, and we left it like that all week. It was a single mattress- but still did the job. Everything in the room worked fine, everything looked updated and in well repair. No complaints with the room or location. It was quiet and no wind issues on the balcony. Muster drill was an improvement from RCI - we were in the theater, with the chance to sit down and watch the silly video - think super hero spy movie mixed with information about the muster drill. Sailaway - beautiful sunny day in Seattle - leaving the port was great - we left on time - with some people left behind. We enjoyed exploring the ship - Solstice is amazing, beautiful and an engineering masterpiece. I loved the ship. I jumped in the hot tub before dinner to officially begin my vacation. Dinner - a table for just us - a little disappointed, as we love to meet people and converse over dinner, but not a big deal. We had many laughs and tears together over dinners. Our waiter, Rony was AMAZING! He was great, we say at table 602, near the wine tower in the rear of the dining room on deck 3. The food was great - no complaints - plenty of choices and we all tried new things with mostly great reviews. We had the classic alcohol package for all of us, and we ordered our drinks, but found inconsistencies with bar keeps on what was included on our packages... different bars allowed different cocktails, and others didn't. Still not a big deal - we always found something to drink. "Sunset" was about 9:30pm... pretty cool. We saw whales from the balcony every night. but a bunch this evening was magical, the way the sun was hitting the water, very cool. Brent Nixon did his first of 5 nature talks - it was stellar. He was so passionate and educated about his topics- sampler, bears, humpback whales, orcas and eagles. 1st sea day - I bought a week long pass to the Persian Gardens for $117 after tax and gratuity. I was in the Persian gardens a lot this week. It was my happy place. It opened at 8, and I was there almost everyday at 8. The first sea day it was full at 9. The hot glass show was AWESOME. Just a heads up - they give away at the 1st show only, an object they made on the last weeks cruise. It was so informative and fun to watch. It's a 2 hr long show - come and go as you please, and grab a blanket before you go. Seating gets pretty full as ShowTime approaches. Dining was room service for me for breakfast and the dining room for lunch and dinner - all the food was good, no complaints. Ketchikan was fun - beautiful weather - shorts and t shirts. I saw a bunch of bald eagles from the balcony and seals in the water as well. I booked a float plan flightseeing excursion not through the cruise ship, and it was great. Definitely the best way to see Alaska - every turn was even more beautiful than before. We landed on a lake and were able to get out of the plane - stood on the floats and just listened to the waterfalls. I booked through shoreexcustionsgroup. Highly recommended. The actual town of Ketchikan was really fun - and the shopping is incredible- great prices on jackets (got a reversible embroidered jacket for my husband and son for $19.99 each) We cruised into the Tracy Arm Fjord the morning before Juneau. This was the highlight of my cruise - so beautiful. The mountains drop right into the water. The captain, Captain Tasos was awesome! Of all the cruises I've been on, never has a captain been so interactive, funny and take such pride in his ship. He did such a great job of getting us close to the glacier and into the fjord. He did two 360's so everyone onboard could see the glacier no matter where on the ship they were. Juneau was fun - again, beautiful weather, no shorts, but t shirt and jeans. I booked a whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier excursion through the same shore excursion group. This was a highlight of the trip. We saw so many whales, no breaching, but plenty of tails. So much fun. Dolphin Jet Tours was the name of the actual tour company. I hiked to the Mendenhall glacier by myself, and had plenty of time to see the waterfall and glacier and get back to the tour bus, we were given 70 minutes. It's a 1 mile walk each way, and I am so happy I got out there to see it. Again, highly recommend it. Skagway was our last Alaskan stop. I booked a horseback riding tour on my own, through Alaska shore excursions. The tour was well run and worth the price. The horses were in such great shape (having horses of my own a few years ago). They were healthy, had great looking feet and had shiny coats. The horses were well behaved and well matched with our riding abilities. This was the first day we saw any rain - not terrible , just a little chilly and drizzle. Upon leaving Skagway we cruised through the Inside Passage. I was topside with my normal whale watching crew (people I'd met top side all watching for wildlife) We saw 8-12 whales in the first hour. It was awesome. The photos don't do it justice. I was dressed warm, a few layers with a hat and gloves and I was ok. Celebrity has fleece blankets for onboard use - that was a nice touch. They are available topside in a few sections of the ship. I spent most of my days in the Persain Gardens, topside watching for wildlife, or on the balcony. I didn't spend a lot of time in the public areas - but when I did - they were beautiful. The shops had the normal sales - and the crowds that go with them - one night my mom - with her walker - was nearly toppled over by the hordes trying to get a $20 watch once they opened the sale - we were only trying to get to the Tuscan Grill The Tuscan Grill was wonderful - my travel agency included this for us and wow - it was the best meal we ate all week. The steak was great, the wine paired with our meal was perfect and the salads were just plain yummy. I, and my parents, enjoyed this meal. We saw some dolphins (Dall Porpoises) jumping in the wake of the ship - just magical! Brent Nikon - my favorite Celebrity Life activity. He was so passionate about the topics and fun and funny to listen to. I attended every one of his talks and bought his DVDs. He was great - if I could recommend one thing to attend - it would be his talks. He did presentations in the morning and evenings depending on the day. Victoria was a late port call -we didn't arrive till 5 pm. Since this was our last evening of the cruise :-( I got out, walked around a little and got back onboard to pack. Suitcases out by 10 pm. Disembarkation - very smooth, we had a late flight out of Seattle, so we were scheduled to disembark at 9am. Our group was called at 8:55, found our bags, went through customs and were on our shuttle by 9:10. This was the fastest I've ever made it through customs. I was impressed. Things that stuck out to me - Celebrity Solstice was gorgeous, never felt crowded or cluttered. Each time coming back on board, after security I was greeted with either ice water, hot chocolate, hot cider or hot chicken noodle soup broth - that was a nice touch. The service was great, the rooms were in great shape and larger than I remember on RCI. I can't wait to return to Alaska or Celebrity Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
My wife & I had our first experience on the Millennium when it stayed at the dock in AK. The defenseless dock check-in worker put four handicapped people right on the ship even though over 2800 crazy screamers were waiting on the dock. ... Read More
My wife & I had our first experience on the Millennium when it stayed at the dock in AK. The defenseless dock check-in worker put four handicapped people right on the ship even though over 2800 crazy screamers were waiting on the dock. From the moment we were on the ship until we sailed one week later to Vancouver everyone made our third cruise to AK an amazing experience. The cruise part of our trip was "free" when the ship could not sail because of one of the engines having electrical problems. Two days later, we were all given a "chit" for a cabin on another cruise. WOW! We did not expect this to happen. Our handicapped cabin was upgraded to a Sky Suite as well at no cost to us. Ever aspect of the trip was wonderful! We booked a 10 day cruise on the Equinox to the Southern Caribbean that was fantastic. We always book a handicapped balcony cabin. This cruise was even more amazing! Although my wife was injured in our cabin before we reached St. Maartan, they treated us incredibly well including making sure we could conclude the cruise back to FL with wonderful experiences to remember. My wife took seven months to heal once we were home. She did wish to go back to AK again for the 7 day portion we missed when the Millennium was disabled. Now she wanted to upgrade from our usual HC balcony to a Concierge level cabin. Having read the brochures, I suggested that we book an Aqua Class HC cabin because of the perks that went with it. While all 3 balconies are the same size and general starboard location, the perks made all the difference. Blu was fantastic! Food and service were truly worth the cost difference. We are "hooked" on Solstice class ships & Aqua cabins and extras. Breakfast and dinner in Blu and the Spa lunch were varied, well prepared and all the service staff made it a grand experience. We are booked on the Reflection for this cruise and have already booked another cruise on the Eclipse, all in the Aqua class. We received a special cake for our birthdays and anniversary. It arrived at our table 5 minutes after I mentioned to our Maitre de that they would happen within the month. The Persian Garden, included, was most enjoyable. The entertainment on each of our cruises was extraordinary. We have sailed many times on five different lines since 1995. Our last experiences on these lines were claimed to have been "upgraded and enhanced" but we found them to be downgraded significantly in quality of food and entertainment. This is why we are now dedicated to cruising on the Solstice class ships of Celebrity. Each line had had good things to report, but those days are gone forever! Given the positive experiences we have now had on Celebrity, we are "home" cruising on their ships. After we do all 5 of the Solstice class ships, we shall try their next creation when it hits the waves in late 2017 or early 2018. Keep up your great dedication to quality! Ou children plan to join us on the Refection in March 2017. Hope to meet more of you on board. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The MS Foundation organizes an annual Cruise for a Cause, focusing on education and empowerment for people with Multiple Sclerosis and their companions. My stepdaughter, who has MS and uses a wheelchair, had previously taken this Alaskan ... Read More
The MS Foundation organizes an annual Cruise for a Cause, focusing on education and empowerment for people with Multiple Sclerosis and their companions. My stepdaughter, who has MS and uses a wheelchair, had previously taken this Alaskan cruise and wanted to go again. She encouraged me to accompany her, knowing that I would love the itinerary and gorgeous scenery. She was right. This was my second cruise with Celebrity Cruise Lines, and both times I have been extremely pleased with the on-board experience. Our accessible accommodations were wonderful, the personnel is both professional and personable, and the on-board activities were varied. In addition, I loved the shore excursions offered. Many of our activities were "wheelchair accessible," and the on-shore personnel were helpful and attentive to my daughter. I would highly recommend Celebrity Cruise Lines and the Inside Passage Alaskan itinerary. And given the opportunity, I would take this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
My wife's mother had been wanting to take an Alaska cruise for some time. After some family discussion, we chose to go in 2016, taking my wife and I, MIL, and my wife's younger niece. Did a bunch of research on the various ... Read More
My wife's mother had been wanting to take an Alaska cruise for some time. After some family discussion, we chose to go in 2016, taking my wife and I, MIL, and my wife's younger niece. Did a bunch of research on the various cruise lines, ships, and scheduling options. Ended up choosing Celebrity due to reviews on CC, the planned Vancouver-Alaska-Victoria-Seattle itinerary, and the early May sailing. Flew to Vancouver the day before we sailed, and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon/evening touring the city. It had been 12 years since we were there for our honeymoon. The metropolitan area has grown so much, but is still one of our favorite North American cities. Stayed Thursday night at the Marriott Pinnacle Downtown, about 4 blocks from Canada Place. Had a late lunch at the hotel restaurant across the street, and then dinner at Cardero's, which has been a favorite of ours for many years. Cardero's is in the middle of the Coal Harbor marina, and an easy walk from most of the hotels in that area. Great seafood, drinks, people watching, and service. We hadn't cruised from anywhere before (much less Vancouver), so we did a bit of scouting of Canada Place both the day before and morning of the cruise. There were 3 ships in port the day of embarkation, with the resulting large numbers of people arriving and leaving the port/terminal. On Friday, we dropped our bags off at Canada Place right at 10am. This turned out to make our lives much easier later that day. Headed back to the terminal at around noon on Friday to check-in. My MIL has some mobility problems, which complicated (needed wheelchairs, on-board scooter) and assisted (got to the head most lines we waited in) our trip a bit. Upon arrival to Canada Place we got directed first downstairs to the cruise ship area, then upstairs to a conference space where they were staging the embarkees. Tried to get a wheelchair, and was directed by the extremely nice lady supervising things to find one + a Celebrity employee to assist. I walked back downstairs, found the chair+Celebrity guy, which got us to the front of the line to get checked-in/embarked. Talked a bit more with the supervisor, she mentioned that most of her staff was new. Now assisted by the Celebrity guy+wheelchair, we got back downstairs, went through security, cleared customs, and checked in for the cruise. Overall we got onboard by around 1pm-ish, which is a much experience result than other people had later in the day. Kudos to the Celebrity crewman that wheeled my MIL around that day, we couldn't have done it without him. Once on board we quickly got to our cabins (Sky Suites on deck 12), met our butler (Jacky), and then went down to lunch @ Luminae. After lunch we unpacked and looked around the ship, with the plan of being on deck when we departed. We waited until the planned lifeboat drill was cancelled, then waited a bit more, then attended the lifeboat drill (6-ish). After that everyone wanted dinner so we went to the main dining room. The ship didn't end up departing until around 7-ish, so we had plenty of time to eat and then get onto the Solstice deck to watch the ship sail through Coal Harbour, and under the Stanley Bridge; both awesome sights, especially in the twilight hours. Spend the 1st full day at sea (Saturday) doing normal cruise ship things. Had lunch @ Luminae, and dinner at Silk Harvest. Was really impressed by the food quality and service @ Silk Harvest; an outstanding experience all around. We arrived in Ketchikan on Sunday. My wife and niece-in-law did a rainforest hike, while MIL and I had lunch on board, then then walked around town a bit. Weather was pretty good, a bit overcast + 2 rain drops. Ketchikan was "fine", not too impressive of a stop, but the rainforest hike was fun, and it was nice to get on land for a few hours. Enjoyed dinner @ Luminae (see the trend here)? Monday was a combination of the sail up Tracy Arm and Juneau. I got up at 5am to get us a seat inside at the Sky Observation Lounge. Made it up there at 515am, and got us 2 chairs in the 2nd row, at the front of the lounge/ship. After my wife and MIL arrived, I headed outside to exercise room observation area on deck 12. We all very much enjoyed the trip up Tracy Arm, and the view as the ship turned around to head back out was incredible. In Juneau, my NIL and I did helicopted dog sledding, and my wife+MIL did a floatplane glacier tour. They were supposed to do a helicopter glacier tour, but it had been cancelled as the company used by Celebrity had cancelled all of its flight operations due to an accident the week before. We were a smidgen disappointed, but they enjoyed the floatplane, and the money "saved" was subsequently "unsaved" in the spa and onboard shops :-). Everyone got back to the ship fairly late, so we at in Bistro on 5 for dinner. Skagway was our Tuesday destination, with a 1240pm YPNR railway trip planned. Overall I'd say Skagway was the nicest slice of Alaska we saw, with the town, shopping, railway, scenery, and great weather all combining to make a fantastic day. We got back to the ship at around 5, and then had dinner in Tuscan Grille at 6pm. If you're looking for a special experience, eat in Tuscan Grill during the departure from Skagway; the view off the back of the ship is tremendous at that time of day. Wednesday was another at sea day. Had lunch and dinner at Luminae, and stayed up pretty late enjoying the bars and music that night (more details below). Thursday included sailing the final distance to Victoria, with a delayed departure off the ship due to customs issues (400 people that needed to be seen in person by Canadian border controls before the ship could be cleared). Boarded our bus to Butchart Gardens, and enjoyed a fantastic 1.5 hours touring the Gardens at sunset. I highly recommend going there; it's a very special place. Arrived in Seattle by 5am on Friday, had breakfast 1 more time @ Luminae, and the off the ship by 830am. No problem finding our bags or getting through US customs, and we were at SeaTac by 1030am for the flight home. Food? Overall we thought the food was pretty good, with a notable exceptions. Solstice seemed to do the following things very well: salads, soups, appetizers, Asian entree's, sandwiches, sweets, coffee drinks. Solstice did chicken and fish entree's pretty well, but most of the beef entree's (steaks, burgers) were disappointing, except for the Mast Grill burgers which were great. Restaurant-wise our favorite was Silk Harvest, followed by Luminae. We really enjoyed Luminae, for the quality of the food, fantastic service, and generally unhurried/uncrowded atmosphere. Not sure if that's enough for most people to justify the cost of a suite-class cabin, but it certainly was for us. Caffe Bacio was outstanding for coffee drinks and desserts, and Bistro on 5 did a good jobs with soups, sandwiches, and crepes. We ordered breakfast room service several mornings via the door hanger card, which really helped us the 3-4 days we had early activities planned. We also ate @ Tuscan Grille. Drinks, salads, and appetizers were fantastic, but our steaks were pretty disappointing. Service and the view though were amazing. Drinks? We all had the classic drink package as part of the 1-2-3-Go offer, which we upgraded to premium for an extra $11/day. Not sure exactly if we got our full money's worth, but we certainly tried :-). It was very nice to be able to order just about anything and not worry about extra costs, and my wife+NIL were cocktail drinkers anyways which probably would have gotten expensive without the premium package. All of the bars fit into our plans at one time or another. We regularly hit Sky Lounge bar at 3-ish for Trivia, Molecular Bar at 5pm for pre-dinner cocktails, either Passport Bar or Ensemble Lounge for after-dinner drinks, Martini bar for during/post show drinks, and then up to Sky Lounge for later night live music + drinks. We only went to Quasar once, but the post-show late night party always seemed to be at Martini Bar (live DJ). Fun? This was our 1st cruise, so we didn't quite know what to expect. Overall the ship didn't seem very crowded on this trip. I'd say the average age of the cruisers was older than us (mid-40s), but we didn't have any problem meeting and talking with people. It seemed like there were quite a few guests from Australia and the UK. On board fun for us included working out in the morning, followed by reading, trivia at 3pm, the drink schedule mentioned above, and then music at night. My NIL and MIL went to and enjoyed Brent Nixon's and Miss Amanda's presentations, as well as the evening shows. I enjoyed the band Funky T during their multiple shows. Overall? We really enjoyed our Celebrity and Alaska experience. The ship included enough restaurants, bars, and activities to please everyone in our multi-generational party, and the service was fantastic. Our Sky Suite butler was extremely helpful, especially when facilitating all of the little things my MIL needed. We're definitely looking to do another Celebrity cruise, maybe next year to Europe. Lastly... Kudos to the Cruise Critic community. Everyone's info+opinions on Celebrity and Alaska was invaluable in making this a fantastic vacation. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Three of us recently returned from the 7/4 sailing on the Celebrity Solstice, Alaska Sawyer Glacier cruise. We have all cruised multiple times in the past, but this one was "special" as my elderly, handicapped but still sharp as ... Read More
Three of us recently returned from the 7/4 sailing on the Celebrity Solstice, Alaska Sawyer Glacier cruise. We have all cruised multiple times in the past, but this one was "special" as my elderly, handicapped but still sharp as a tack Mother would be joining my husband and me. Gullible idealists, we assumed that the Celebrity tag line, "Modern Luxury" and a pricey cabin would reward us with what we expected. Alas, from our booking date on May 1, they failed to deliver as promised and caused me hours and hours of frustration on the phone and in letter and e-mail conversations to address all their oversights. We worked with "Certified Vacation Planner ". I could not have been more specific about the need for a fully handicapped accessible cabin. She also booked our flights on "Choice Air" and reserved airport transfers. We paid $5227.78 on that date. When I received the confirmation, I discovered that the cabin was not handicapped accessible and the third person, 92 year old granny, was expected to climb into an upper berth. Next, I discovered that we had been charged an additional $207 for " any time dining". The time necessary to straightening out this mess was inexcusable. Every time I called, I was told the wait time was close to an hour, but at least they kept up the pep-talk about "modern luxury. We fixed this situation and were reassigned to a cabin identified as "handicapped accessible" with a queen/king bed and an convertible couch (More on the convertible couch to follow). They also removed the $207. for "anytime dining". OK.... things were looking up... but only briefly. I then reviewed the air arrangements we had purchased through our Celebrity Certified Planner, round trip from LA to Seattle. The first leg was fine with a appropriately scheduled flight. But, the flight home was another thing. Although disembarkation began at 7AM our flight back to California was scheduled more than 13 1/2 hours later, at 8:35PM. Again, I called Celebrity. Again, I was put on hold with the ongoing "pep-talk" for another hour. I explained that it was absurd to think that a wheelchair bound 92 year old could be expected to rise before 6AM and sit, either in a wheelchair, taxi, or aircraft for 20 hours straight. They suggested that we book a series of "shore excursions" in Seattle to fill our time They didn't really get it, nor were they interested. I was told that they could change the flights at an addition cost; I seem to remember $150.00 a person. I told them to forget it. I then called Alaska, the airline we were booked on. The Alaska Airlines rep was most gracious and accommodating, moving our flight up to noon and even making sure we had seats that would be most suitable for someone with a mobility issue. NO COST. We were booked in a Concierge Class cabin which promised a Concierge Lounge at the dock while waiting to board, in our cabin, fresh flowers, a custom "pillow menu", and bathrobes. When we arrived at the dock check-in, we asked about the lounge. The blank stares meant that this amenity did not really exist or that no one had ever asked about it in the past. Oh well. We get to the cabin, which was actually quite spacious and pleasant. Alas, no flowers. Celebrity staff was seemingly unaware of the "pillow menu" and we had only robes and towels for 2. Next, bed time. The third bed, the convertible couch" turned out to be a chair whose seat pillow was removed and a rubberized mattress installed....on the floor! Unbelievable. On the plus side, the ship was well appointed, clean and spacious, although much of the lounge furniture was showing significant wear and age. The stateroom hallways were sometimes difficult to navigate with walkers or wheelchairs since there were usually large housekeeping carts in the way. On several occasions we attempted to call housekeeping and/or the cruise assistance desk. NO ONE EVER ANSWERED. A third line, dubbed the "Concierge", connected us, on every occasion to a recording "the person in stateroom (?) is not answering. Food was OK, sometimes quite good, other times failing miserably. I enjoyed one of the best racks of lamb I have ever had offset by the final evening presentation of the "chef's recommendation" an excessively breaded but not browned thick slab of inedible "shoe leather" veal "cordon bleu". Vegetables were well prepared. Fresh and never overcooked. The BEST part of the cruise was provided by our overworked, but always amazing attentive, smiling and positive dining room waiters, Rodrigo Nadora and Mark Manuel. Our sommelier was also delightful and wonderfully attentive ,although, regrettably his name escapes me. Additionally, floor helpers in the buffet area were fantastic about helping elderly or handicapped folks who might have issues maneuvering a walker and a plate of food. It never was crowded as is so often the case on some of the more "bargain" lines. It was never hard to find a window table. Embarkation and disembarkation staff were alert, timely and very, very helpful with assistance for those who required extra time or equipment. The last night, we reviewed the dreaded "FINAL BILL"... another $1700 plus which included only two "second level" beverage packages and tips. Is Celebrity worth it? I don't think so, but then I remember Rodrigo and Mark who salvaged 6 weeks of confusion, annoyance, overpromising and underperforming and overcharging by those in far more executive and pivotal roles. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
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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