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121 Celebrity Solstice Cruise Reviews for Family 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 chose this cruise to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We thought we would enjoy it because we had taken an Alaskan cruise 17 years ago on Princess - it was a wonderful experience. The ports/locations were almost the same as our ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We thought we would enjoy it because we had taken an Alaskan cruise 17 years ago on Princess - it was a wonderful experience. The ports/locations were almost the same as our previous cruise so we were confident that we would enjoy that part of the cruise. So our only "unknowns" had to do with sailing with Celebrity to Alaska. This was our 8th cruise and our second on Celebrity. Our first cruise on Celebrity was 20 years ago on a much smaller ship - The Galaxy. The ship is old and showing its age in some areas. The carpet, furnishings, and furniture needs to be upgraded and replaced. The worst are the seats in the Solstice theater. They are so worn that they are uncomfortable- especially those closest to the stage. It is my understanding that Solstice is scheduled for an refurbishment soon. It is time. Cabin: We had the Deluxe Veranda. Plenty of storage and space for the two of us. We were impressed with the size of the bathroom- it is the largest bathroom we have ever had in a ship cabin (even larger than on Disney). The veranda was large with two chairs and a table. We had breakfast (room service) on our veranda most mornings. Our only complaint is the lack of electrical outlets and no USB ports. I'm sure that will be addressed in a refurb. Dining: Let me first be clear - we are not picky eaters or food snobs. We have always used the MDR and buffets for cruises and most of the time have been happy and often impressed. We usually do not use the specialty restaurants because of the quality of the free options. However, we were gifted 3 visits to specialty restaurants on this cruise, so we ate at Murano twice and Silk Harvest once. Murano is superb! Silk Harvest was good but not any better than the MDR. We did not eat at Tuscan, so I cannot review it. MDR was excellent. Now for the buffet - IT WAS AWEFUL! The food was pretty good, but the design leads to such chaos I couldn't stand to eat there. We ate at the buffet three times, and all three experiences were terrible due to having to hunt for a table, stand in numerous lines, and then navigate through the crowds to locate foods. We quickly came to the conclusion that we would have room service for breakfast (on our veranda) and do lunch somewhere other than the buffet. Entertainment and Activities: Celebrity needs to let the singers and dancers go- they were mediocre at best. I've seen better at highschool talent shows. The best entertainment were the guest entertainers. The comedian and magician were excellent. Service: AMAZING! Everyone from our room attendant (Charley) to our waiter (Dipo) were wonderful and attentive. Embarkation and Debarkation: Easy and efficient! I had read on these reviews that it was a nightmare and embarkation could take as long as an hour. We arrived at the pier and 15 minutes later we were sitting on the deck having our first cocktail! No joke - 15 minutes! Debarkation was just as easy and smooth. And now..... the reason we are now Celebrity Loyal - We purchase our flights through Celebrity. It was easy and the cost was the same as us doing it on our own. I thought it was the best way to ensure we wouldn't be bumped off a flight and would be rebooked quickly if our flights were cancelled on our way to the start the cruise (a fear I have always had). I really didn't think it would be an advantage for our flights home - BOY, WAS I WRONG! We arrived in Seattle and debarked around 7:30 AM (self-assist walk off). Our flight was scheduled to leave Seattle that night at 10:00 PM so we scheduled a private day tour to Mt. Rainer. At 4:45 PM I got a text from American Airlines that our flight had been cancelled and we were rebooked for a flight on Sunday morning - that was 48 hours later! At that point I called the Celebrity to see if they could help me - WOW! They were awesome! I talked to a man named Aaron. He thought is was ridiculous that we had been rebooked for a flight leaving two days later. His words were "that is unacceptable, I am going to see how to change that". Aaron was then able to book us on a flight for the next morning on Delta. Next, he made a reservation for us at an excellent hotel near the airport and told me to be sure to keep any receipts for taxi/transportation to the airport so he could reimburse us for that expense. I WAS BLOWN AWAY! Aaron (Celebrity) took care of everything in about 30 minutes over the phone! Given that we were still on our tour of Mt. Rainier, we were able to finish our tour, our driver simply dropped us at our hotel, we had an easy check in, were given 2 coupons for the hotel breakfast, and spent the evening relaxing! We didn't have to spend hours on the phone arguing with the airline or stand in line at the airport hoping for a voucher for a hotel stay. With that experience, we became Celebrity Loyal! We are already looking at Celebrity itenararies for 2020. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
After reading reviews of all the lines serving Alaska, I chose Celebrity because I thought it would offer great service and dining, along with enough activities to keep my 10 year old grandson engaged. I also did not want a megaship ... Read More
After reading reviews of all the lines serving Alaska, I chose Celebrity because I thought it would offer great service and dining, along with enough activities to keep my 10 year old grandson engaged. I also did not want a megaship offering too many on-board activities as I wanted him to be interested in the excursions of the port cities and not want to stay on board. I also wanted to fly in/out of Seattle and wanted four ports. Embarkation and disembarkation were both smooth. Crew members were helpful. We booked Concierge class. It would have been helpful to receive a list of perks. We did not have robes or binoculars in the room when we arrived although our wonderful steward brought them to us when asked. We also had a welcome lunch on embarkation, a concierge dedicated to just this class and a couple of special events we were invited to. When we booked, our fare was not much different than a regular balcony room but I'm not sure how much this class was actually worth. My grandson enjoyed the Fun Factory. There were many children on board as this was summer and Alaska. He particularly liked being able to check in and out on his own. He made friends to pal around with and there were many activities that engaged the tweeners. The entertainment was great. We went to both musicals as well as the magician and comedian. The only one lacking was the impressionist. We also attended talks by the naturalist and historian that were quite interesting. We also enjoyed the live music which was in many locations on the ship. As for activities, we participated in many of the nightly games. My husband loved the gym and yoga classes. I did daily line dancing and meditation. We also took a swing dance class. We did excursions in all ports. The Skagway mushers' camp was a real highlight. We also enjoyed the White Pass train, the Wildlife Safari and Beach Bonfire, and the Lumberjack Show. We were a bit disappointed with the Mendenhall Glacier and Salmon Bake as you only see the glacier at a distance. In retrospect I wish we had explored Victoria on our own. The O Canada bus tour wasn't that great and was pricey for what it was. All these tours were booked on the website or on the ship. Note that the prices increase the closer to embarkation date. We did the Mt. Roberts Tram on our own. We usually had room service breakfast as the buffet gets quite crowded. We ate at both the buffet and main dining room for dinners, preferring the main dining room. Both venues offered a lot of choices. We had one meal in the Tuscan Grille that was excellent. My grandson loved the trip and did not want to come home. We all wished we had more days. I am already planning another trip. Interesting note--Capt. Tasos announced on our last day that it was his last day on the Solstice and that he would be moving to the Equinox. He is a captain who gets involved with the passengers, playing sports and games, and making the rounds. He has a great sense of humor and added to the enjoyment of this cruise. If this cruise is representative of Celebrity I cannot recommend it enough! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We were three generations of our family (Grandparents, Parents and Toddler in tow) looking to make memories, and decided to go on a cruise to Alaska. We chose Celebrity just because it was the best deal our Travel Agent could get us. With ... Read More
We were three generations of our family (Grandparents, Parents and Toddler in tow) looking to make memories, and decided to go on a cruise to Alaska. We chose Celebrity just because it was the best deal our Travel Agent could get us. With a grand total of one cruise (on Carnival) behind us, we had nothing to compare with, really - but all I can say is - the Celebrity experience was fabulous and future cruises for us will have a high bar to live up to! We are local to Seattle so getting to the ship was the easiest thing - we drove up to the Pier. Parking at the Pier for a week is pretty expensive, but still, an Uber XL would cost almost the same, so it was an easy choice to make - at least we wouldn't have to carry our toddler's car seat along! Our embarkation experience was sadly, not the best. We unfortunately arrived at the peak rush period, and so the lines to check in were serpentine and endless, and the check in hall was stifling hot. The person at the counter also was very slow, and took ages to check us in and get us our SeaPass cards. We were still at the counter after people behind us had been checked in and gotten onboard! He took my credit card to put it on record, but that never happened, and I had to go to Guest Relations onboard to get it corrected. Once we got on the ship - well, it was a totally different world! The Solstice is amazingly luxurious, even if it is an "old" ship. The crew is hospitable, and very attentive to the passengers' comfort. My mother suffers from bad knees, and the attendants at the embarkation gangway guided her to an armchair so she could recover her breath, brought her some orange juice and generally took care of her till she felt rested. Our cabins were fantastic - we had booked Deluxe Verandahs on the mid ships "hump", and they were totally worth the price. Ours probably had the biggest balcony around - big enough to fit four deck chairs and a table. The cabins were neat, clean, well appointed with lots of storage areas and hidden cabinets. The bathroom was cramped, but adequate. Our cabins were close to the mid ship elevators, and the Team Earth lobby, but we never heard any outside noises ever. The food.. ahh, the food!! We ate most of our meals in the Ocean View Cafe buffet, and hardly ever felt we missed anything. This place served every kind of cuisine possible- including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. They also had "theme" meals - like a Taste of America, Taste of Mediterranean themed lunch, and a Taste of India, Taste of China, Taste of Eastern Europe themed dinners - where in addition to the regular stations, they had additional stations dedicated to the advertised cuisine. On the last night, they had a "Best of the Cruise" buffet, with the most popular items from the entire cruise, and to make things fun - a chocolate fountain with fruits and bits to dip into it. Absolute treat! We had a couple of meals in the MDR which were lovely - my family prefers Indian food, and the MDr had an excelltn Indian menu to choose from. They also adapted the menu items to cater to my father's dietary needs, and when requested for something that was not on the dining room menu, they went and fetched it from the Buffet! The entire Catering and Serving staff We didn't really indulge in any shows, etc on board the ship - preferred to spend our time enjoying the glorious views outside. the talks by the naturalist (and the running commentary during the fjord visit) and the destination highlight sessions were wonderful, though. And so was the Q&A session with Captain Tasos - I admire the way this man can talk, Greek accent and all, and the tongue in cheek manner he has! We did visit the Silent Disco (hilarious) and the dueling violins and band performances in the Atrium which were enjoyable. It might have been better to have them a bit further away from the Guest Relations desk though, since it made conversation harder. There were also quite a few good free movies on TV, on Demand, that we were able to catch up on. We avoided booking any excursions via the Cruise line, instead preferring to do our own thing in each port we visited. The Daily planners provided each ay were helpful though, in planning out what we could get done when in port. Overall, we had a fabulous family trip, and experienced something we can relive over and over again for the rest of our lives. Our kid enjoyed his time aboard the ship and was sad to say good bye to the Solstice. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Overheard: "Oh great... another line to stand in." Pros: Clean. Nice staterooms with good layout. Cabin steward/staff excellent. Nice balcony. Nice connecting rooms for those with kids. Nice, clean ... Read More
Overheard: "Oh great... another line to stand in." Pros: Clean. Nice staterooms with good layout. Cabin steward/staff excellent. Nice balcony. Nice connecting rooms for those with kids. Nice, clean bathrooms. Naturalist Brent Nixon... while he may be a bit dramatic, he knows his audience. Lectures were informative and entertaining. Captain Tasos was entertaining as well, although who was sailing when he was playing water volleyball??? It's hard to argue with Alaska as a wonderful sailing destination. Cons Embarkation painful. Lines were massive and moved fairly slowly. Deck 7 port side midship to aft. There's a smell of grease/fried food from the stateroom balcony beginning with lunch until after dark. Food meh. Regarding both the buffet and main dining, the food wasn't bad. And it wasn't good either. It's rough not having a satisfying meal three times per day for a week. The buffet is absolute chaos. We routinely were not able to find a place to sit. I've never seen a cruise buffet staff not try to clear plates/glasses within minutes of finishing. Tables are usually cleaned within 5 minutes on other boats. Not so here. The layout leads to lots of people colliding constantly. The food was fine, but not great. The highlight was the salmon and halibut freshly prepared on the last lunch meal service. The main dining room fare was pretty mediocre. I'm not certain if they have a lower staff ratio than other boats, but service was quite slow. I'd routinely wait 15-25 minutes with an empty water glass for a refill. The assistant waiter was often missing in action. Debarkation was fine until the Seattle cruise terminal. The line for customs there is a scrum with several hundred people heading towards 4 CPB officers. Why not have a line management system???? All in all, having sailed on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney, and Cunard, I'll not sail with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Wowww... just returned from an Alaskan cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice. The ports of call were breathtaking but the highlight was Captain Tasos and his team that made the trip an unforgettable experience! You can see that the cruise ... Read More
Wowww... just returned from an Alaskan cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice. The ports of call were breathtaking but the highlight was Captain Tasos and his team that made the trip an unforgettable experience! You can see that the cruise team truly care and want to offer an amazing experience. We have been fortunate to have cruised before with a number of cruise lines before but this definitely set the standard of how cruising is meant to be! Ship was perfect size, cabins were very comfortable and had great cupboard space for a family of 4, food of an extremely high standard and service was amazing where the staff went out of their way to accommodate our every wish and desire and to top it all the entertainment was outstanding. We travelled with kids and they loved attending the kids club. I would highly recommend Celebrity Solstice and look forward to cruising again with Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I chose this cruise because I wanted a roundtrip cruise to Alaska from a US port. This cruise checked the boxes. This ship was recommended by a travel agent friend who frequently cruises. This was a second cruise for my companion and me. ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted a roundtrip cruise to Alaska from a US port. This cruise checked the boxes. This ship was recommended by a travel agent friend who frequently cruises. This was a second cruise for my companion and me. My stateroom was spotless. The ship was beautiful. My companion and I LOVED Captain Tazos. We were obsessed and we wanted to talk with him every time we saw him, but the gaggle of ladies would objectify him and gossip over their obsession as they parted from him. He’s quite a funny guy with an agreeable philosophy and we would like to go in another cruise with him. The shopping area of the ship was typical and mall-like. I would’ve liked to be able to find trash cans. The staff was helpful and ensured a fun environment. The shows were entertaining but didn’t have much of a plot. The dancers were impressive and I had a good time watching the audience squirm and squeal with excitement as dancers flew over the audience in a surprising aerial routine. There were 2 silent discos and a pride party. My favorite entertainment host was Tiago at trivia and putting. I really liked the availability of hand sanitizer. Dining was good in the main dining room and at Murano. I’m unsure of whether the additional cost was merited, (my companion was a little drunk and unsure of whether the calculations were adding up as offers of dining packages were presented) but we enjoyed our time. The wait staff was definitely attentive and remembered my drinks of choice. Kennedy joked with us. Constantyn made sure we were stuffed with delicious food and also packed leftovers for us to nosh on in the middle of the night. We dined at Murano 3 times. The other restaurants didn’t appeal to me. The main dining hall’s offerings rotated nightly and dished repeated towards the end of the trip. I love dessert and there were plenty of god desserts to choose from. There were some very dry cakes at the buffet—like a tres leches cake with no leche. Some of the pastries could have used more butter, as they were missing crispness and flakiness. The buffet was mostly the same for breakfast. The lunchtime rotation of Indian curries and Filipino adobo was surprisingly good. I was pleased with the availability of melon. Upon boarding there was a child running around, but that subsided after departing from port. One day at the Sky Lounge bar, excessive people were waiting for service. As I waited patiently, older men cut in front of me. My thought was, typical old men, blinded by privilege, cutting in front of a younger person, but I was determined to not let it ruin my vacation. I intended to avoid kids on this vacation but forgot about adults behaving poorly. There was no enforcement rules except in the fitness center. Zumba, cycling, and HIIT classes were $17.70 each. The exercise bikes weren’t very sturdy. It would have been helpful to find more sanitizing wipes around. We booked an excursion to go dog-sledding on a glacier. The tickets showed Mendenhall Glacier, but the trip was on Denver glacier. The puppies were cute. We did not go very fast, but it was still great. The cost was quite high $800pp, but we enjoyed ourselves. Glacier viewing from the ship was better than expected. We got very close to the Dawes glacier and Capt. Tazos turned the ship 360+180 degrees. During disembarkation, we had a little trouble finding a place to sit. When our turn came, we quickly walked out and found a nicely organized luggage retrieval set-up at bag claim, but the rows were off by a few numbers. Overall, I would go again, but now I feel better prepared for what to expect. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I had not been interested in seeing Alaska since I live in the Seattle area. I believed the climate and scenery would be similar, so I typically travel away from the rain and cold toward sunshine and warmth. However, our friends (two ... Read More
I had not been interested in seeing Alaska since I live in the Seattle area. I believed the climate and scenery would be similar, so I typically travel away from the rain and cold toward sunshine and warmth. However, our friends (two couples we had traveled with previously) invited us to join them on this cruise, and I am so happy we did. I would happily go on another Alaskan cruise, and I hope I get to one day. The scenery is so beautiful, and must be experienced in person. Words and pictures do not capture it. I have only been on one other cruise ship, RCI Symphony of the Seas, so in comparison the Solstice is much smaller. I definitely felt the ship movement more on this ship, but it did not affect me. I did, however, wear sea bands as a preventative measure. The ship is very clean and very pretty. We had an Aqua Class cabin on deck 11 and enjoyed the privileges of unlimited Persian Garden use in the Spa, and eating in the Blu restaurant. The captain was very engaged with the passengers, and his sense of humor was a delight. We were very lucky to have a gorgeous sunrise over Mendenhall Glacier, and the captain spun the ship 540 degrees so all could view the majestic glacier up close. The crew were all very friendly, work very hard, and are all eager to provide a great experience to every guest. We thoroughly enjoyed the educational talks offered on the ship about the wildlife, history of the port towns, and gold rush history. And the captain's powerpoint of the building of Solstice. If you can take time to hear these talks you won't be disappointed. We went to one show called Broken Strings. They did a great job dancing, but it was not easy to follow the story line through the songs. I could not hear the lyrics of the songs at all. I only knew what was going on by the dancing and acting (in love, cheating, breakup, make up). We saw both comedians, and they were just ok. I'd pass next time. My friends did the glass blowing, and enjoyed it. A bit pricey, but ended up with cool souvenirs. Canyon Ranch Spa: I had a deep tissue massage and also a paraffin wax treatment, and both were great. Beware of the emphasis by all the spa staff to upsell everything. They were very insistent that I buy a small tube of hand lotion for $33 (I declined). As aqua class, we were allowed to use the Persian Garden anytime. It has heated tile loungers with a floor to ceiling widow view of the ocean. I used this frequently, and it really warmed me up after the Juneau tour in the rain. DINING: We ate at Blu most of the time, which was the best option for Aqua Class. It is not crowded, you do not need reservations, they remember your name, and there is a great view from most tables. Blu is open for breakfast and dinner, which was fine since we were off the ship on port days. I ate at Grand Epernay (main dining room) three times. The dining room is very pretty, but the food was just ok. Nothing spectacular. The service was friendly and fast. The Oceanview Cafe is the buffet, and typically very crowded at meal times. Some dishes were very good, and others were very cafeteria bland. I did like that the cafe attendants were very attentive and offered to bring drinks from the bar to your table (if you could find a table!) Specialty Restaurants: We ate at Murano and at Silk Harvest. Murano was just ok. I had the lasagna that was oddly all meat and noodles, with very little cheese; not my favorite. Silk Harvest was the best experience. We had family style meal with all 3 couples and tried most of the menu items. I did not care for the shrimp pad tai but all the rest was really good. Drinks package: We had the premium package, and while it was nice to have the option to drink anything, we did not drink enough to make it worth the cost. It came with our package on this cruise, but I would not pay for it as an add on. Our friends had the classic package. Initially, it was not explained that there is a charge for drinks that cost over $9, and figuring out what drinks were part of their plan was confusing. I really liked getting specialty coffee or tea at Cafe al Bacio. It was comfortable seating with a view and treats. KETCHIKAN: We toured the town and Creek Street on our own, and went to the Great Alaskan Lumberjack show. It was cheesy show - but was also entertaining and showed off the amazing skills of the lumberjacks. In town, my husband ate a reindeer chili dog. Not my thing, but he liked it. JUNEAU: Mt Roberts Tramway: We docked at 1:30 and went on the tram before our 3:00 pm excursion. There were many cruisers in line for the tram, with long lines both ways. Be sure to allow enough time to do this if you have an excursion. The view would have been amazing, but was obstructed by fog. I did not think it was worth the price of $29 each. We did not plan to do a hike at the top, the resident eagle was not there, and we only spent about 20 minutes at the top because we had to return to the dock for our excursion tour at 3:00. Photo Safari Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier: This is a misnomer. No one on the tour was interested in photography, and the focus of the tour guide's information was on glacier conservation efforts, not cameras or photo opportunities. The nature trail to the glacier was through a dense forest, and it rained the entire time. The guide stopped frequently to talk about plants and glaciers, and the scenery lacked any real photo ops and only one viewpoint. Just before we finally got to the glacier visitor center and view, he told us that he had run out of time and we had to run to the bus to make it to the whale watching part of the tour. We basically missed the main destination! We were not allowed to go into the glacier visitor center. I snapped two pictures and ran to the bus. The next part of the tour was on a small boat guaranteed to see whales or we get $100 back. We did see whales, and photo ops were in abundance on the boat, but we were so cold from walking in the rain for two hours, the wind chill on the boat ride added more discomfort to our cold and wet bodies. They really should do the tour in the opposite direction. Boat tour first, then glacier visitor center, and then nature walk for those interested while allowing others to roam free in the glacier area. SKAGWAY: White Pass Summit and Beyond: (booked off cruise - Frontier Excursions and Adventures). This was a bus tour to White Pass and the Yukon Suspension Bridge. The tour guide, Brooke, was very funny and knowledgeable, and she stopped the bus frequently for photo ops when wildlife was spotted. She even backed up the bus and did u turns to allow us to view the animals, which would not be possible if we had taken the more popular White Pass train ride. We stopped to observe three different bears, and a mama moose and her calf. This was the best tour of the trip, and I got some spectacular photos. The scenery of the tundra-like arctic landscape and majestic mountains and glacial lakes was like nothing I'd ever seen before. Going to the Yukon is a must do for sure! VICTORIA: Buchart Gardens tour. We docked at 5:30, and took a bus to Buchart Gardens. This was barely enough time to see the garden. It is an amazingly beautiful place, and to really enjoy it you need time to just sit and experience the beauty. This tour was expensive and way too fast. I am glad I live in Seattle and can go again at a more leisurely pace. The tour guide on the bus talked non-stop about uninteresting random things. I would have preferred a quiet ride to his personal jabber, "beyond those trees is a lake, and I have memories of taking the children there when they were small", which did not add to my experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Started cruising in the 70's when Carnival had only one ship before all these mega ships,all they care about now is milking as much money as they can.In my over 3 dozens cruises,i finally will give it up or cruise with the smaller ... Read More
Started cruising in the 70's when Carnival had only one ship before all these mega ships,all they care about now is milking as much money as they can.In my over 3 dozens cruises,i finally will give it up or cruise with the smaller more refined cruise lines.I always heard Celebrity was above the rest,but came to realize maybe they were,but not anymore.Their food is not for experienced cruisers and foodies like myself.I ate one night in the main dining room and that was it !Ate the rest of my meals at restaurants while in port and at the ship buffet and room service for breakfast.The cabin attendants expect double or triple their recommended tips.There is not even a room for the guest to use to iron their clothes,you have to pay for that service.The aft cabin on the 10th floor Concierge class Elite was a nice package with the balcony a big plus.Inexperience passengers will thinks it's great because they never knew what it was like back in the days. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Weather in Alaska was incredibly warm for this time of year. Seeing all that sunshine on ice was a memorable sight. Embarkation Day went better than expected. A crew member spotted my mother in line walking with her cain and kindly ... Read More
Weather in Alaska was incredibly warm for this time of year. Seeing all that sunshine on ice was a memorable sight. Embarkation Day went better than expected. A crew member spotted my mother in line walking with her cain and kindly directed us to the easy quick route. Later Iin the cruise mom needed a wheelchair which Celebrity promptly supplied and allowed us to take off the ship at each port so she could get around and see more of Alaska. In Kitchikan there was a taxi company named Sourdogh that accompanied wheelchairs. Since our last cruise to Alaska on the Solstice we noticed great improvements on providing plant based menu items for dinner with a seperate vegan dinner menu and a vegan station added to the dinner buffet. We enjoyed both the food and dinning service the entire cruise. We had a fantastic. Maitre D' Anthony who did everything to accommodate our requests in the most professional and kind manner. Celebrity had our backs when it came to the excursion we booked through them. We booked the Endicott adventure excursion. However, after we boarded the tour boat we were informed by the operator that the tour would be modified and we would not see the glacier due to ice conditions caused by glacier calving. A day after the tour, we received a call from the shore excursions desk letting us know Celebrity Solstice gave us a full refund. Enjoyed seeing Captain Tasos participate in sporting events like pool volleyball. The crew and staff at always were excellent. They promptly took care of any requests or issues that came up. We will certainly cruise again with Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was my second cruise to Alaska, both on the Solstice, both Inside passage. Traveling into and out of Seattle is always a plus for me. I like the itinerary for the trip. Although I've visited before there is always so much to ... Read More
This was my second cruise to Alaska, both on the Solstice, both Inside passage. Traveling into and out of Seattle is always a plus for me. I like the itinerary for the trip. Although I've visited before there is always so much to do. Alaska deserves a balcony room, where you can enjoy the scenery without crowds and looking for a place to sit. There were 6 of us, ages from 25 to 71, and we all found shore excursions to excite and challenge us. I, 71, took the easier excursions Saxman Village, Glacier tender boat and White Pass RR in Skagway. All were very enjoyable and easy for me. The others did canoeing, hiking and whale watching, which from the pictures were real adventures. I enjoy cruising because it does give everyone an opportunity to do "their own thing". We would come together at dinner time talking about our daily adventures. The cabin was on floor 9 concierge level. Plenty of room for 2 people, 3 would still have been comfortable. Our cabin server, Isamia, was pleasant and always available to help. He kept the room clean and tidy. We ate in the main dining room almost every night except one. Our first night on ship, we dined at Murano. The food was delicious. The ambiance was impressionable. Well worth the price but the food in the main dining room was just as good. Our waiter, Anthony, was on top of things always making sure everything was exactly as we wanted. Elizabeth, the wine steward, was excellent. Our glasses were never empty. I drank a Zinfeldal, while the rest of the table drink a red. Upon our arrival the wine was on the table ready to be poured. All the meals in the dining room were well planned and delicious. There was a lot to do on the ship but not enough time to do it all. We did make a couple of the shows, which were very funny. Silent Disco was a favorite. Karaoke left an unforgettable scare on a couple of us. Trivia. How to Demonstrations. And do forget the daily talks, casino and shopping. With only 2 sea days we had a lot to do. Two of our favorite places were the Martini bar and the Sunset bar. The guys at the Martini bar put on a real show. You can tell they enjoy pleasing the audience, people come just to watch their performance. The guys at the Sunset bar hung with us even when the temps were below zero, it felt like that. Always with a smile on their face and joke or two. I did the glassblowing class on board. Everyone should do this. On my last cruise, I watched the demonstration. They made it look easy; it's not. But the young lady who holds the glass is a good teacher. I wish I would have booked 2 classes instead of 1. But there is always a next time. I would do this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was my second cruise on the Solstice and both times it was just wonderful. The service, food and drinks are just some of the things that made it perfect. I can tell you that every staff members goes out of there way to make sure ... Read More
This was my second cruise on the Solstice and both times it was just wonderful. The service, food and drinks are just some of the things that made it perfect. I can tell you that every staff members goes out of there way to make sure you are having a good time. I never passed a staff member that did not tell me Hello and just acknowledge my presence. We had six of us traveling together in a group. One night for dinner my sister in law was going to dinner by herself because the rest of us would be getting back late from a shore excursion. All we heard the rest of the trip was how wonderful the dining room staff made her feel so special. She said I never felt like I was dining alone. They even sang to her. Sometimes its just the simple things that make your cruise so special. Our waiter and wine steward learned after the first night what we liked and made sure it was waiting for us when we arrived at dinner. We paddled to the glacier, we hiked in Tongass Forest and we even did the Zodiac cruise in Victoria. It was quite the adventure and everything could not have been better. We would travel on Celebrity again, in fact we booked our next cruise on Celebrity for December since we had such a great time on this one. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I primarily chose this cruise because of all the perks being offered by my online Travel Agent and we have always wanted to go on an Alaskan cruise. Should you choose an Alaskan cruise do yourself a favor and save up for the luxury of a ... Read More
I primarily chose this cruise because of all the perks being offered by my online Travel Agent and we have always wanted to go on an Alaskan cruise. Should you choose an Alaskan cruise do yourself a favor and save up for the luxury of a balcony stateroom. It was worth every dime. I spent a great deal of time on my balcony watching the beauty of Alaska go by as we sailed the inland passage and the Endicott arm. From the master of the ship on down we enjoyed extreme customer service, great food and entertainment. We primarily ate in the main dining room, but had a premium dining selection included, so we chose the tuscan grille. It was very good, but if I had to pay the 45 bucks for it, I wouldn't have been all that pleased. Service was excellent, actually superior which made it a memorable experience. Food was good, but just not exceptional. Other than the natural beauty of the state, a huge highlight of the cruise was the naturist speaker Brent Nixon. His presentations were absolutely riveting. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Had a wonderful time. Our servers st dinner Gilmar and Dan were out of this world. They were always there to get us what we needed, they were nice and helpful in every way. Mari our cabin attendant on 6 was marvelous . So attentive to ... Read More
Had a wonderful time. Our servers st dinner Gilmar and Dan were out of this world. They were always there to get us what we needed, they were nice and helpful in every way. Mari our cabin attendant on 6 was marvelous . So attentive to us. My husband and I. All of the waiters at Martini bar s d others were good . Great cruise directors. All of the staff were very accommodating . The food and dining were great. Enjoyed meeting the captain and the other crew members . Of course photographers. Were always there to make photos. Great photographer on the 15 floor . We bought the good pictures . I cannot day enough good things snout out dinner servrrs Gilmar and Dan on 3 floor dining. . They were superb. I only wished for my family members. I would have liked for my grandchildren to have gone on this cruise to Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We just got back from a seven-night Inside Passage Alaskan cruise on the Solstice and, in general, it was very nice. Background: My wife (37) and I (43) took this cruise with my parents as a celebration of their 50th anniversary. ... Read More
We just got back from a seven-night Inside Passage Alaskan cruise on the Solstice and, in general, it was very nice. Background: My wife (37) and I (43) took this cruise with my parents as a celebration of their 50th anniversary. They had booked it and wanted us (as cruise experts/excursion planners/luggage porters) to join them, which we did “last minute” by cruise standards (two months out). This was our 9th cruise, (7 on Celebrity, 2 on Princess), going back to 2007 and all our cruises have reviews on Cruise Critic. In my last review (January 2017 Caribbean Princess), I did a comparison of X vs. Princess and rereading it now, I can say my comments actually stand the test of time. Here it is: https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=563757 Though our seventh X cruise, this was our first on X in over five years as well as our first on a Solstice-class ship (now almost 10 years old). Definitely feel the increased size a when getting on/off the ship, but not usually too many other times, with perhaps the exception of the buffet, which at times seemed rather crowded. This was our second cruise to Alaska (first on Infinity back in 2008) and we were very much looking forward to returning. Cruise had more children than I expected (would guess at least 400 or so), but generally not an issue in terms of behavior, and I am certainly not one who seeks opportunities to spend time with children. Many baby boomers in their 60s or early 70s, not as many 75+ as I expected. My parents (in their mid-70s/early-80s) had contemporaries, but not as many as those 10 years younger. Pre-Cruise: We flew United from Washington IAD to SEA the night before. Available hotel rooms in downtown Seattle were basically nonexistent that night, and really expensive if available (e.g., $500 for Best Western), so we stayed near SeaTac, seemingly along with everyone else going on a cruise. Still $275 for one night at a Hampton Inn a mile from the airport. We walked to Safeway early the next morning to get water, diet soda, and tonic and a lime to bring aboard. Taking an Uber back, the driver told us about a friend who could take all four of us (in a black Suburban) to the pier for $70. Considering the other option seemed to be a $25/person shuttle or taking two taxis, we took the opportunity and he showed up on-time. Embarkation: Though it didn’t seem to say on any of our cruise documents, the ship was at Pier 91, not Pier 66; fortunately, our driver knew where to go when we took him to Pier 66 and no ships were there. Dropoff was a bit chaotic (RCL Adventurer of Seas was at the port too), but easier than Pier 66 ten years ago because there’s more space to load/unload as it’s not in the middle of downtown. Dock workers were helpful once you could get one. We tipped $10 and he helped my parents a lot. Check in wasn’t too bad: went through security, then lines to check in. Regular line was long (for my parents), Elite was a two minute wait, which is what we had. Boarding was very fast with no issues. Luggage came in the afternoon, though our last bag (containing only sodas, water, etc.) took a little while to arrive. We brought in our usual two bottles of wine per cabin with no issues. Cabin: We had a regular balcony room (2B), which seemed pretty good on Solstice, but the large sofa made drawer and closet space smaller than would like. Our cabin steward, Peter, was excellent and eager to please. BTW, my parents were down the hall with a massive handicap accessible room (though they are not mobility impaired—just was what was available as we booked only two months out). Their room was like a hotel room in size, but with annoyances to deal with if you are not in fact handicapped (e.g., a door that only opened by pushing a button, emergency alarms that seemed to malfunction at times). Main Dining Room: Had “select” (anytime) dining for the first time on X, and that went well. The first night, the four of us got a table by ourselves and we locked in an 8:15 time for four at the same table for the rest of the cruise after hitting it off with the waiters. Not a big fan of “starters” and “entrees” as only options, rather than listed as courses (though of course, can do so—we usually had four courses including dessert). Our waiters, Widana and Suryati (both from Indonesia) were kind, thoughtful, and by the end of trip, sad to say goodbye to. They had good recommendations and were accommodating of my parents who are getting up there in age. We tipped them extra of course. We skipped dinner the final night (like many) as we were in Victoria, BC during dinner. We do miss the “formal” nights to some degree, but many people were still dressed up during the “elegant chic” nights (us included) in dresses, sports jackets/suits, etc. And the food is better those nights too, of course. Murano: We ate one night at Murano (while my parents ate in the MDR). I suspect this is the only specialty restaurant on Solstice that’s actually worth it. Based on how they hard-sell the upcharge restaurants other than Murano, I suspect that’s a common opinion. It’s a little pricey for $50/person, but it’s worth it one night a cruise for us, as it’s a slower pace, quieter and a more refined menu and experience. Buffet: I generally avoid the buffet when I can (limited to maybe 3 lunches on this cruise), and I found this to be generally disappointing. The pizza is much worse than I remember (I think recipe has changed) from old X cruises (Princess’s is definitely better). It was more crowded than the Millennium class ships too, and was often hard to get a seat. I found the sanitation practices to be as lax as I have ever seen on any cruise. People using tongs in ways that would spread germs easily and no one was serving you food. Didn’t have any issues in that regard, but was mildly turned off by it. Due our “Elite” status, we could make use of the Elite breakfast, which was a major highlight. Located in the Tuscan Grille, we had a choice of many coffees/morning cocktails with interesting (though limited) breakfast options. Great attentive service, and the Captain’s Club (CC) hostess (Paulina from Mexico) was great. She was a constant presence, very helpful, made sure you knew about all the events, never tried to sell you anything, and always asked if you wanted something else. The Elite breakfast was quiet, uncrowded, and very civilized. The CC Cocktail hour (really two hours) in the Sky Lounge was similarly a nice treat. Their one-day only “elegant tea”, however, was a dud and far less impressive than Princess’s, which is available most days and open to everyone, not just Elite loyalty members. As I detailed in my most recent Princess review (again, link posted above), there are places where X and Princess do better than the other. I won’t repeat them here but after this trip, I felt like Princess might have a small edge, though our Elite status on X is worth quite a bit (free bag of laundry, aforementioned breakfast and cocktails, 90 minutes of internet) so our eggs are somewhat in one basket. If you care most about sleek ship styling, elegant spaces, staterooms with nicer touches, uncrowded public rooms (especially the theatre) and interesting MDR food (especially starters and entrees), X has the edge. If you care more about affordable drinks/wine (as well as water/soda packages), better value alternative restaurants, dining on your balcony, better desserts (if slightly less interesting entrees and starters), more dining options for lunch, elegant afternoon tea, self-serve laundry, functional—if less glamorous and slightly worn—staterooms, then Princess clearly has the edge. As for Solstice’s main downside, we thought there was LOTS of space for shops, and to a lesser extent, specialty restaurants. I don’t mind the latter, but the former makes it often feel more like a casino/shopping mall than ship. As many have mentioned, and more so than what I recall from prior X cruises, there was hard selling of drink packages and specialty restaurants, which leads me to believe that the product offerings are overpriced; and thus they must resort to hard selling. Other than Murano, the upcharge restaurants seemed, empty which I think means the menus can’t justify their prices. We were “greeted” many times throughout the ship when it was clear that the waiter/sommelier, etc. was only doing so as an entrée for a sales pitch (often a crab lunch that we had no interest in). I don’t mind extra charges, but I do mind hard selling on my vacation. The prices for drinks, drink packages and specialty restaurants seem very high, and the fact that on Princess it’s pushed much less and is even hard to get a reservation at their specialty restaurants is probably an indication that X is failing in this regard. Basic arithmetic would say that you would need around 10 drinks/day to break even on the drink packages—and sporty amount for anyone, especially considering you’re often in port, drinks are not available in your room, you can’t order two at a time, etc. It’s clear X knows this; even when I was ordering drinks (and paying for them normally), the waiters asked if I wanted a drink package—sometimes, two or three “no thanks” were required. Frustrating. Entertainment: the evening shows were generally pretty good. The singers, dancers and acrobats were impressive, and both comedians (Rich Aronovitch in particular) were very solid and even a bit edgy. I was initially skeptical of our cruise director, Alejandro from Argentina, but he was in fact very charming, funny and very likeable. Like Princess, there could be more enrichment activities, but we were delighted that Brent Nixon, the naturalist who was aboard on our prior Alaskan cruise 10 years ago, was aboard once again. He’s definitely not everyone’s (including my father’s) cup of tea, as his shows are very much performances and he engages at times in histrionics, but he’s also very well-informed about all things related to Alaskan wildlife. Even if the style is not to everyone’s liking, X (and Princess) needs more of these types of people on board to give talks, not fewer. Fortunately, these talks were well-attended so I hope the message is getting out. Mercifully, there was no a capella quartet on this cruise (unlike previous X cruises we’ve been on). Sadly, that did not seem to translate into more musicians—there were just two classical musicians aboard for my parents to enjoy. Ketchikan: took a taxi ($30 each way) on our own to Perseverance trail (near Ward Lake). Good hike (about 5.5 miles r/t and a 500 feet climb), but it’s just a lake (though nice one) at the top. Great weather helped, though it was more good exercise than great views. Cabbie came back to meet us on time. Based on my experience, it seems likely your driver will be a talkative, helpful Alaskan cabby with interesting life stories. Afterwards, we headed to dive bar, Sourdough, right near the port for a couple of beers before heading back to the ship. Juneau was a bit of a washout weather wise. We went to Mendenhall Glacier with my parents. Similar nice cabbie (talked about his life growing up in a tiny SE Alaskan town). $35 + $12/person (since we had an annual pass for National Parks). Very crowded with lots of (Chinese) tourists, and less good views of the glacier than Dawes glacier in Tracy Fjord earlier in the day—so a bit of a disappointment, but still a decent walk and some exercise, and we saw up close a bear and her two cubs. We planned to do Mt. Roberts Tramway afterwards with a longer hike, but it was rainy and fogged in, so it wouldn’t have been worth it, so we skipped. We instead went to the Alaska Bar, somewhat divey, and less overtly touristy than some others. Unlikely everything else in Alaska, drinks at bars are actually rather cheap (drafts like $5-$6 for Alaska beer, cheap macros were like $3-$4). Skagway: A much smaller town where cabs are not necessary. My wife and I hiked to Lower Dewey Lake and around most of it. Steep, but not too long to get there (about a mile each way). Good exercise and not as muggy as the hike in Ketchikan. Like many, did the White Pass and Yukon Railway trip. Very crowded with four cruise ships in town that day (Ruby Princess, Star Princess, Nieuw Amsterdam and us). But worth the trip for the unbelievable scenery, helped by generally very good weather. The main street in town, Broadway, was a little prettier, even if filled with tourists and gift/jewelry shops, than equivalents in Ketchikan and Juneau. We went down to the end of the street to have a Sitka Spruce Tips Blonde at Skagway Brewing company, continuing the theme of a local bar visit after a day of excursions/hiking. Though slightly pricier than the bars in Ketchikan and Skagway, still cheap compared to D.C. prices and especially since everything else in Alaska is expensive. Victoria: nice town, but of course, a short stop. We went downtown. Note: r/t tickets from pier were $13/person on shuttle bus, so we instead took a taxi (four of us) for fixed $10 plus tip each way, which was obviously much cheaper. We had a few beers and a light dinner at a pub (Bard and Banker, I think it’s called) on Government Street and walked around for a few hours. Disembarkation was fine, though there seemed to be waits for taxis. We had the driver who took us to the port come and pick us up (he was early, which was great). Stayed post-cruise at Westin Downtown. Perfectly fine, if you can stand Seattle prices. Flight home the following day was blissfully uneventful. Used the same driver who drove us to the pier to drive us to the airport for $70. Note that a taxi from downtown is fixed at $40, but we would have had to take two with my parents and our luggage, so still a decent value. Final Thoughts: No one in his right might can complain about a pleasant, event-free Alaskan cruise with his wife and parents celebrating their 50th anniversary. Celebrity continues to excel in MDR and cabin service, very good MDR food at dinners, evening entertainment, nice décor and generally upscale atmosphere. We were impressed enough to put a deposit on another cruise at some point in the future, but I think it’s safe to say that to a large extent our decision for what cruise line to use in the future will be based on itinerary, amenities, and price. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Background: I’ve traveled several times on DCL without kids and then with kids. I’ve been on the Wonder and the Dream. I recently sailed on the Celebrity Solstice to Alaska with a 6 and 3 yr old. Here are my thoughts on some ... Read More
Background: I’ve traveled several times on DCL without kids and then with kids. I’ve been on the Wonder and the Dream. I recently sailed on the Celebrity Solstice to Alaska with a 6 and 3 yr old. Here are my thoughts on some of the differences. Summary: I feel that both DCL and Celebrity offer luxurious cruises with good food. I’ve enjoyed each cruise I’ve taken. Celebrity has a much lower price tag than DCL. If you have kids, DCL seems to me to be clearly worth the price difference. If you don’t have kids, I still think the whole DCL experience is better, but the price difference might not be worth it. Adult food: I’m not a foodie. Very expensive food or wine is wasted on me. In general, I would say the food on Celebrity and DCL was routinely excellent. On the whole I would say I had a general preference for the Disney menu, because I think Disney tended to have a bigger selection of “boring” items which I tend to prefer more than “adventurous” menu items. Celebrity did have a number of “boring” items, though, to keep me happy. :-) Twice on Celebrity I ordered the salmon, and they asked me how I wanted it cooked. Both times, I answered “medium-rare”. The first time the fish was opaque for the outer 1 mm or so, and translucent/raw for the entire middle. It was delicious. The second time, the fish was completely cooked throughout even though the server presented it as “medium-rare” when handing it to me. It was delicious. Why am I writing a paragraph about how I enjoyed the delicious fish? Well, when you order the exact same thing and the result is so different, even if it’s good either way, I have to wonder about Celebrity’s quality control measures. Regardless, the food on either cruise line is good. I don’t eat at the upcharge specialty restaurants. I have kids and the food quality in the main restaurants exceeds my requirements, so I don’t see the need. Kid food: DCL was always great. Kids could always find something they wanted. Chocolate milk is a standard option. Kids’ drinks always come with a lid on them and a straw. Entrees, Veggies, and desserts are kid-friendly. The cruise line explicitly plans to make things work for kids. Celebrity was not great. No chicken nuggets the whole week we were on the boat? The Mac&Cheese wasn’t sufficiently cheesy for my 6 yr old. Each dinner choice came with fries and no vegetables. So we always asked for vegetables, and they brought us broccoli and carrots. But the carrots were long cuts with pretty parsley flakes on them. Good if you’re a grown up. If you’re 3 and there’s something green on your carrots, your carrots are ruined. My 6 yr old really enjoyed my prime rib one night, and there was a filet mignon on the kids’ menu, so we asked for that the next night. The filet came covered in black pepper. Fine for an adult, but my daughter was crying, unable to get her tongue to calm down after biting into a peppercorn. On DCL, we’d often ask for fruit with the kids’ meals, and they could bring fresh sweet blueberries or strawberries. The Celebrity berries were tart. My 3 yr old subsisted on bread and fries for the week. She was happy about this until she needed to poop. Maybe hire an American Mom as a consultant for the kids’ menu? Service: DCL servers are friendly, but they sometimes seem a bit overworked. One time on DCL, we had 15 at our table, some with food allergies. DCL adhered to a strict division of labor, where the assistant server did drinks while the main server did food. This took a long time for our table of 15, and it would have been far better to have two people taking drink orders when we sat down and two people taking food orders after we had read the menu. For smaller tables, however, the division seems to work pretty well. Celebrity had a server and assistant server, and they were not constrained by the specific DCL roles, which I thought was good. The Celebrity servers were more overworked than Disney's. They were nice enough, but the DCL ones seemed nicer. But the real problem was the alcoholic drinks, which the server and assistant server don’t do. One day we got to our 6:00 seating at 6:10. The bartender got to our table at 6:45, and the sommelier arrived at 6:50, and that’s after I had asked our waiter and then the maître d’ for help. I can’t even blame the sommelier, though. She was literally running from table to table and to the rack of wine bottles. Another day we arrived at 5:55, and the bartender and sommelier were there as soon as we sat down, and before we had menus. And that could be fine if you’re not trying to see if you want the drink of the day, or trying to match your wine to your dinner. Anyway, I would have preferred service from people that weren’t as overworked. Restaurant Rotation: I like DCL’s rotation of going to a different restaurant each night. Dress: Disney has one “Pirate Night”. This is neat in that the kids enjoy watching people dressed up as pirates. It can be a little annoying to take a set of pirate themed clothes with you. Celebrity has a couple dressier-than-normal nights. I like that idea. Tips: DCL is more explicit on tips: You get automatically charged near the end of your trip, and cards and envelopes are printed where you can present folks with the card plus extra cash if you want. Frankly, presenting the envelope is a little awkward, but you feel like you’re doing something for someone that’s been working hard for you. The sudden $300 bill is a bit jarring. Celebrity is more hidden on tips. Each day, we were charged $15 per person, and Celebrity charged my credit card every day. I don’t know where that money went. Who got what? On the plus side, the quiet $45 per day makes it easier to ignore than Disney’s. On the whole, I prefer the DCL system, but I can see how many would prefer the more subtle Celebrity system. I also wonder if the DCL system is partly responsible for me perceiving the staff as more “friendly”. On DCL, I regularly tip some people more than the “standard” amount. On Celebrity, I didn’t think of doing this, and I wouldn’t have, anyway, even given an opportunity. Smartphone App: I thought the DCL app was mediocre. Passenger to passenger texts were sometimes flaky. The onboard “Wave phone” was more reliable, if more difficult to use. Celebrity didn’t even have an app, as far as I could tell. Well, they have one for some ships, but not the Solstice. And it’s not clear what their app does. The DCL app lets you see the daily schedule, deck plans, and text your family. That seems like a straightforward thing to do, so do it. No Wave phone, and no app, so we wound up communicating with each other via email. And for seeing what my personal itinerary was? Paper only, I think. On the first day I was able to login to my Celebrity account and see what was planned, but by the 2nd day, it was a past cruise, and I could no longer see it. Pool: The DCL pools have long lines for any water slides, and the pools are crowded. They’re heated as much as you might expect a pool to be heated (low 80s). The Disney Dream’s sprayground is pretty fun for toddlers. Solstice has no waterslides, and the sprayground was closed our whole trip. But the pools are very much not crowded, and one pool was heated to a heavenly temperature (90°?) This had a huge positive impact on our trip as my girls loved playing in the warm, uncrowded pool. Celebrity has an indoor pool, but it’s usually reserved for adults, so we never used it. Anyway, even without the waterslides or sprayground, Celebrity was a huge win here due to water temperature and lack of crowds. Both ships used desalinized water. Kids’ Club: The kids’ club is a highlight for my kids on DCL. 3-12 yr olds can all be in the same room. They have independent imaginative play areas, they have Disney movies playing, they have computer games, and they have activities led by a staff member. My girls love it. The Celebrity Solstice kids club disappointed my kids. Much of this is their own fault, I think. My 6 yr old looks at the lack of toys and claims, “this area is no fun”, without even giving the staff members a chance to help her have fun. The Solstice had board games and Xbox games, but my kids aren’t into that. The other issue for my kids is that there’s a 3-5 age group, a 6-9 age group, and a 10-12 age group. My 6 yr old was not allowed to join the 3-5 kids, so there were times where my two girls were not allowed to be together and they refused to enter the kids club. There were other times where 3-9 were all together. Unsurprisingly, Disney is a big win here. Shows: DCL has full on nightly Disney stage productions with large casts. The theater is huge, and you need to get there early to get a number of adjacent seats with a reasonable view. DCL starts their shows at the same times as the dinner seatings. If you have the first dinner seating, you need to see the second show, and vice versa. The Celebrity Solstice had some good shows with generally smaller casts. I really don’t know how someone can do a one armed handstand, nevermind various acrobatic poses on one arm on a rocking ship. Of course, this defiance of physics is somewhat lost on kids, and we skipped the show over half the time. The sound system on the Solstice was very good. We could show up after the show started and find 5 seats together with a good view of the stage. Celebrity starts their shows 1 hour after the dinner seating times. That allowed us on several occasions to rush through our 6 pm dinner and still get to the 7 pm show. On the other hand, we never had a leisurely dinner to attend the 9 pm show. If you like Rock’n’Roll and acrobatics, the Solstice shows are better, while if you prefer seeing Disney characters act like Disney characters, DCL is better. In other words, adults should prefer the Celebrity shows while kids should prefer the Disney shows. Ship Elegance: Both cruise lines have beautiful ships. All DCL ships feel luxurious. The Celebrity Solstice feels luxurious, too. Its glass elevators looking out over a living tree in the middle of the boat is pretty darned cool. Ship Repair: Both cruise lines seemed to keep the ship in good repair. One time on DCL, there was a drawer in our stateroom that wasn’t working well, and it was quickly fixed. This time on Celebrity, there was a drawer in our stateroom that was broken (same drawer manufacturer as DCL?), and it was quickly fixed. Some dinner napkins were noticeably worn. Several of our bedsheets had tiny holes in them. Things felt clean, but that they could spend more time inspecting and discarding worn out fabrics. Staterooms: The DCL staterooms are bigger, and there are more drawers and cabinets. Celebrity has some storage over the bed which is quite welcome, but otherwise lacking in space to put stuff. I like that they hid the life jackets under the bed instead of in the closet. DCL separates the toilet from the bath/shower, which is nice. The Solstice doesn’t have a bathtub. On both ships, the cabin steward can open a balcony partition to connect adjacent rooms via balcony. Safety Drill: Both cruise lines have a mandatory muster drill that doesn’t take long. Intriguingly, DCL opens crew staircases for the drill, while Celebrity reserves those for only real emergencies. Celebrity gave our kids plastic bracelets labeled “A2” to wear the whole trip so that they could bring my kids to station “A2” in case of an emergency. DCL gives kids RFID bracelets while in the kids’ club, but you can take them off after you leave the club. Celebrity took the opportunity to show a handwashing video and a ship safety video. Both were very well done and entertaining for the whole family. TV: DCL shows Disney movies and Disney stations (including ESPN and ABC) in the stateroom. Celebrity’s TV lineup is quite anemic. Without anything better on, my kids literally kept watching the above hand washing video over and freakin over again. Stuff to do: DCL has mini golf on the Dream. Midship Detective Agency on the Dream. Disney’s jogging track is on a middle deck (e.g., deck 5), and is 1/3rd of a mile long. The gym is lovely, but requires a fee. Celebrity has a casino, which I guess is good if that’s what you like. It’s not something I used. The Solstice’s jogging track is at the top (Deck 14), is 1/8th of a mile long, and gets too crowded to use after about 7 am. The gym is lovely, and is free. The Solstice has living grass on the top deck, and glass art that you can watch or participate in. The stuff to do situation on DCL is clearly better if you have kids. Without kids, Solstice is probably slightly better. Pier: Celebrity consistently had the worst pier at every location. I don’t know how piers are assigned, but Celebrity should look into fixing this. In several locations (e.g., Juneau), the “good” piers allow you to walk right from your ship to downtown, while the Solstice’s pier required you to pay $5 for a 1-mile shuttle bus ride. This sounds like a stupid thing to whine about, but it makes a big difference to the vacation experience when you can walk 5 minutes to get back on the boat for lunch vs. walking 20 minutes in the rain each way to get lunch. Deck Food: I thought DCL did better with their pool deck options (self-serve cones) They also have more pool deck seating, and I don’t remember smokers on DCL. The Solstice has a grill on the port side with limited seating. The starboard side is for smokers. Horn: DCL’s “When You Wish Upon a Star” tune when sailing away is pretty cool, but it’s a single pitch at a time. Celebrity’s horn doesn’t play a tune, but it’s two pitches at once, an A5 chord, I believe. Nicer listening to that as a foghorn than a single pitch foghorn. Either way, cooler than just a single pitch. Debarkation: DCL in San Diego has been a bit of a disaster for me. Breakfast is over before they let people anyone off the boat, and there’s a 1000 person long line to get off the boat, many people carrying luggage. There aren’t any queuing guides and people are cutting the line everywhere because it’s unclear how the line works. DCL in Port Canaveral is better, but the line to get off the ship is still too long and too poorly managed. The Celebrity experience wasn’t great, but it was much better. People were getting off the ship long before breakfast ended. They had over 20 groups that they were calling one by one to try to avoid having a 200 person group suddenly get into a long line. Unfortunately, the port of Seattle was a mess after we got out of the cruise ship terminal. The taxi line was about an hour long. Taxis were queued up to come in, but due to a crosswalk struggled to get to the passengers. The Uber waiting area was a 15 minute walk away, where you had to walk across the roadway the taxis were using (thereby causing the taxi line to get unreasonably long, causing more people to use Uber, …). And then there were 200 people at the small Uber waiting area, making that its own disaster. Concierge: The concierge level rooms on DCL are a huge upcharge. They have multiple concierges nearby, so you can walk out your stateroom and ask for help within seconds. If one concierge is on break, another is there to help you. It’s a large fee for something that’s modestly helpful. The concierge level rooms on Celebrity are a small upcharge. There is one concierge, and he might be nowhere near your room. If he’s busy or out at the moment, there’s nobody to cover for him. That makes his position somewhat useless. It’s a small fee for something that’s hardly helpful. In either case, the concierge level is only for those not pinching pennies. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
My first cruise. I picked the solstice cruise bc I could drive to Seattle. I saved money on the flight and booked a celebrity suite with the money saved. I also read positive reviews about kids club and heard the food was quite good. My ... Read More
My first cruise. I picked the solstice cruise bc I could drive to Seattle. I saved money on the flight and booked a celebrity suite with the money saved. I also read positive reviews about kids club and heard the food was quite good. My goal with the suite was to get as close as possible to an all/inclusive type cruise (like crystal or regency ss) which wouldn’t have been a good choice for my kids. We loved the service in general, especially Luminae. Our room attendant Silvio was very sweet and did a great job. We didn’t see our Butler until day 2, disappointing! But I got the sense the bulters were multitasking too much and didn’t have time to attent to suite guests. He was very nice, just always busy doing something else. Embarking was super easy and that alone almost made the upgrade worth its value. The people helping with checkin/embarkation were fantastic. My kids both liked the fun factory, a first in our family. We have never had luck with resort kids clubs. The staff was kind and fun. They worked really hard. My kids are 6 and 11 and both had fun. I read past posts about suite passengers getting tours of the bridge. I asked our butler twice to set that up for our family and was disappointed that the tours were discontinued last month. He had no idea why. I asked to have canapés brought to our suite in the afternoons bc I was frequently hanging out there watching for whales from the balcony. At first the butler resisted and said that’s no longer offered to suite guests, but he started bringing them every afternoon after that. Excursions were ok. We waited too long to book and couldn’t get to the glacier via helicopter and go dog sledding. That was our fault. Whale watching in Victoria was by far the best. Got to see a pod of orcas up close off San Juan Island. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Traveled with two other couples, all wanted to see Alaska and Celebrity offered a good package that included beverages for the same cost as Royal, where we have done most travel. As others have noted, the Celebrity website is terrible. ... Read More
Traveled with two other couples, all wanted to see Alaska and Celebrity offered a good package that included beverages for the same cost as Royal, where we have done most travel. As others have noted, the Celebrity website is terrible. I can get more information more easily on Carnival, for heaven's sake. Make sure you print everything out and be prepared to carefully review at check-in. Embarkation was relatively easy. The port is north of downtown Seattle while the airport is south. So you're going to have some transportation costs. Downtown hotel, figure about $300 per night. We stayed by the Seattle Center. The Solstice is kept very clean. Prepare to be greeted by attendants in almost every public restroom. What a great job to have. It looked like these poor people spend their entire shift confined inside a restroom. Kept it clean and all but... We had a category 1C balcony cabin on Deck 8 toward the rear of the ship. Good location as we take stairs and it was a few flights straight up. Rarely saw our cabin attendant but he kept things clean. Little things like mishanging cabinet doors and loose wall hooks, nothing major. Plenty of closet space. Not a lot of drawer space but we managed. We had heard positive things about food on Celebrity, but while some of the foods were very good, we found ourselves ordering the everyday regular choices too often, Steak, chicken, salmon. We had an entertaining waiter and wine sommelier which made dinners fun. Dress code is inconsistently enforced. Some men wore shorts, others turned away. T shirts aplenty. At lunch time, there wasn't much variety. If you eat in the Oceanview Cafe, if one person in your party just wants a burger, you have to go to a completely separate bar to get it - same level but at the other end of the pool area. Really a lousy set-up. Mercifully they offer soft serve ice cream but you can't dispense it yourself. This cuts down on the children gunking it up and we saw no down times for it, unlike on other cruises. In the evenings the stage shows in the main theater were okay or better. The regular singers and dancers (no "stars"), and two comedians. One very good (Carl Banks), the other, well, I caught a good nap, thanks. The most entertaining person you will encounter on the ship is Captain Tasos, whose morning announcements were both informative and hilarious. I didn't realize that virtually every word had greek origins. Including "pismire". By comparison, the cruise director, Alphonso, well, he had nice shoes. The "cultural" speakers were dreary, particularly "Miss Amanda" who sounded sedated at times and frequently told us how privileged we were to be able to witness these miracles of nature. It was my "privilege" to sink about 6 grand for this trip including air fare, hotels,excursions, etc. I didn't appreciate her preachy tone. We did not book excursions through the ship due to both their high prices and the terrible Celebrity website. I would recommend using reviews from T-A and going with high rated vendors. Ketchikan only has tourist shops. Travel to Alaska to visit Diamonds International and Del Sol! We booked a fishing trip online and it was fine. There's also a Wal-Mart that you can get to either by city bus ($2 each way) or a free shuttle that it packed with cruise ship staff. The Tracy Arm Fjord was beautiful; the ship gets close to the Dawes Glacier, and the captain did a "donut" (his turn) to turn us around an head out. Juneau is more built up (it's an actual town) and we did a bus trip to Mendenhall and a whale watching boat. Very much enjoyed the whales. Alaska Tales; check their reviews. Skagway is a nice town with a whole lot of tourist shops. The main attraction is a train up to White Pass. We went with a bus trip that went on to the Yukon Suspension Bridge which we enjoyed. We had heard that the train passengers get pretty pushy to sit on the right hand side where the view is much better, but in the van it wan't an issue. Used Rainbow Glacier tours. Finally Victoria. What a disappointment. A major city with a downtown overrun with tourist shops. And high prices. If you choose to stay on the ship while in port, there is virtually nothing to do. Television channels are poor. Activities are scarce. Between 11 am and 4 pm there is little or nothing else to do. After 10 pm, similar, Bars are open. Either karaoke or silent disco. That's really about it. And please - most people don't want to see your 9 year old butchering Katy Perry at 10:30 at night. Children have no place in the bar that late and family karaoke is offered on specific nights. I think two nights had a game show - Battle of the Sexes and Liars Club, that drew large crowds, probably due to the novelty of finally having something to do. Poolside was pretty dead. We had nice weather with temps above 75 in the afternoon. Hot tubs weren't overcrowded. Solarium for mornings. We had a good time overall due to the excursions we took and our evening table servers. I felt like we were on our own for being entertained - not a knock on the performers, who were talented, but more is needed. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The boat was clean and staff was very helpful. The shows were fun and the comedians were fabulous. More than enough food and varieties that we always found something tasty. Remember to read your daily itinerary for the daily theme day in ... Read More
The boat was clean and staff was very helpful. The shows were fun and the comedians were fabulous. More than enough food and varieties that we always found something tasty. Remember to read your daily itinerary for the daily theme day in the Oceanview cafe because we missed some great opportunities like reindeer hotdogs on Alaskan Day and paella on Taste of Spain Day. The cabin was large (8154) and since we also had (8152) for adult children we had cabin steward removed the balcony wall so we had access to each other’s rooms and balcony became bigger. There is not one compliant about the cruise except announcements were not played into rooms unless you had tv on and by time you did that if on balcony you missed it by time you put on. I think an on/off speaker option would be appreciated. Fellow guests for the most part friendly and respectfully of each other. The gym was always crowded so I just gave up since on vacation but my children did use it just on off hours. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was our 3rd cruise to Alaska, but the first on Celebrity.... Never again will we use Celebrity! We cruised on the Solstice going to Alaska We have lots of comments to make. First of all, our travel agent told me that Celebrity ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise to Alaska, but the first on Celebrity.... Never again will we use Celebrity! We cruised on the Solstice going to Alaska We have lots of comments to make. First of all, our travel agent told me that Celebrity was one of the better cruise lines.... more like the cadillac. We found this to be totall incorrect as soon as we boarded. We wanted a mini suite but they were already booked and we didn't have much choice. We did however get a balcony. WE found that there were few amenities in our room... not even an ice bucket or pen and paper. Later we were told that the imenities were taken away from the lower paying cabins and given to the more luxurious ones. I call this discrimination! We found NO electrical outlets next to the bed which was crucial for medical reasons. Zenon, our room steward was very helpful and supplied us with an extension cord. We also asked him for an ice bucket as well as pen and paper. He was extremely nice. We loved the balcony door that locked in place so we could have the door open in any position. There were no foot stools on the balcony. The TV only worked sporadically and I found myself calling to have it fixed on many occasions. There were very few good movies and way too many world news stations. Very few announcements that we could hear especially when TV wasn't working correctly. Our cabin was close to the bridge making even the elevator a long walk. MUSTER.....Lasted way too long compared to other cruises we have been on. CASINO: Even tho we wanted to, could not use it much for two reasons. The first was we didn't bring much cash expecting to use our room key as the other cruise lines. Refused to pay a service fee to cash in credit card. ALSO, most seating had NO BACKs and people with bad backs can't sit that way very long..... I am one of them. I guess we saved $$ that way. Did appreciate the size of the casino and NO Smoking. ENTERTANMENT: sucked!! Ships performers were not worth watching. Jessie Hamilton was good, but loud. There was no naturalist on TV that pointed out glacier highlights....but then the TV didn't work much of the time. FOOD: Buffet hostess Kartini was the best and aimed to please! Food sucked! Way too many repeats and pasta dishes. Too many cakes for dessert... some stale. A better variety would have been nice with cookies easily come by. Not all wait staff aimed to please. No ready made sandwiches or potato chips. Decided to make my own sandwich but there was no sliced bread in site! So, asked for some but the staff could not find a knife to cut it...... Waited 15 minutes just to have bread cut. No hot chocolate or chocolate milk available. Pickled herring only available in the morning and never later in the day...WHY? Fresh fruit minimal with unripe plums and pineapple mostly available in mixed fruit bowls where people picked thru it. No berries, peaches, etc. Pastry was horrible with not much in the way of donuts. Buffet hours need to change to accomodate those returning from excursions. Too many exclusive restaurants and high prices....... again discrimination! Room service did not give enough varieties or choices. Hamburgers lacked ample lettuce & tomato. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST..... Sometime toward the end of the cruise we got a note for cruise credit (no amount shown) for birthdays. It was from our kids (names spelled incorrectly. It was very cold and no explanation given......Amount left off and written on plain piece of paper. Thought more info would be shown on our departing statement.....BUT WE were STILL WAITING FOR THAT STATEMENT TO COME long after our return home. Many more problems including the guy washing the outside of the ship and getting the deck furniture all wet. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I choose traveling with Celebrity to Alaska because the itinerary with Fjord was really good and the price was ok. The Ship is not a big one, it only has two elevators sections, three on the front and like six at the back. The ... Read More
I choose traveling with Celebrity to Alaska because the itinerary with Fjord was really good and the price was ok. The Ship is not a big one, it only has two elevators sections, three on the front and like six at the back. The embarkation was easy but the waiting line was pretty large and that took me about one hour. I embarked the Ship around noon and the rooms were ready at 1 pm. The food at Solstice is amazing! even the Buffet has great food, the Grand Epernay changes the menu all days and the food is outstanding. I really recommend to visit the speciality restaurants that are more outstanding than the others. I was with a big party of 12 and the majority were in Balcony Rooms but I stayed at a interior one. The room was spacious and the bedding and all that stuff was really good! The service around the Ship was amazing! really amazing!! The Captain (Tasos) was really funny and I really appreciate sailing with this Captain. The shore excursions were absolute great and we have a wonderful time!!! The entertainment was world class and we really enjoyed the shows!! I really thinking in coming back with Celebrity Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
First a little bit about us so that you can compare your own perceptions to ours (which may be different): We are a family of four - Mom and Dad in our late 40's; a boy and girl - each teenagers. We traveled with two sets of ... Read More
First a little bit about us so that you can compare your own perceptions to ours (which may be different): We are a family of four - Mom and Dad in our late 40's; a boy and girl - each teenagers. We traveled with two sets of grandparents, and an Aunt and Uncle in their 50's. We tend to choose restaurants that are nicer and have eaten at James Beard award winning restaurants. We prefer staying at well appointed condos with at least two bedrooms when traveling on vacation. Traveling to Alaska will be the 48th state for one member of our family, and we have only traveled abroad a few times (New Zealand, Australia, England, Italy and Greece). We took a short 3 day cruise on Carnival out of Long Beach, CA 8 years ago, but otherwise have not gone on any other cruises. I will break down our feedback into different categories below. Overall review of ship: We all thought the ship was well maintained, clean, and nicely decorated. I believe that the ship will be undergoing updates in a year or two, but I did not think it was dated at all. We tended to take the stairs and walk around a lot so we easily got 10,000 steps in a day just on board the ship. You can choose close to the elevator banks (one forward and one aft) which bring you to the main activities of the ship. Cabin: We could not have asked for a better cabin. We had a room with a balcony, and our two teenagers had an inside stateroom right across the hall. There was plenty of room to store all of our belongings, which is a lot considering cruisers need to bring multiple changes of clothes for exploring destinations, dressing up for dinner, hanging around the ship during the day, and sleeping. While we did see a room with bunk beds so 4 family could stay together, I don't know if we could have fit all of our belongings as well. The bathrooms were big enough for one person to use, but all our toiletries easily fit as there were many different spaces to store things. Our cabin steward took good care of the room as it was always clean. We did have Concierge class which meant nicer robes, nightly snack, a welcome bottle of champagne and access to a concierge who could help us with dinner reservations, shore excursions, and other things. We were celebrating a birthday and 50th anniversary during our cruise, so we got a special cake at one of our dinners. I did see people who had signs posted on their room doors wishing them a happy anniversary or birthday, but I don't know how to request those signs. Dining: We purchased one package for 3 specialty dining restaurants and had room credit to use towards dining in the same restaurants. The three specialty restaurants we dined in were Silk Harvest (Asian and really not worth the extra charge as we can get equivalent food in most towns for take out); Tuscan Grille (Italian steakhouse where the pasta was delicious, the view amazing as it was at the back of the ship, and the filet mignon was soft and tender); and Murano (French inspired where the food is prepared table side. This food was over the top wonderful including a delicious chateaubriand and chocolate soufflé perfectly prepared.) If you are a foodie, I recommend considering dining in Murano and Tuscan Grille, but if you had to pick one, I would pick Murano. We ate in the main dining room a few nights; ate at the buffet; ate at the grille near the indoor pool; and ate at the grille outside by the outdoor pool. My daughter had room service one night and the food was delivered quickly. All the food was good, and I thought there was a good variety at the buffet. We have a teenage son who got to try a lot of different food, and I do mean A LOT! I thought the food in the main dining was good enough, not superior like Murano, but good. The one area that the ship could have done to improve our dining experience was to talk with my husband at the beginning of each meal about the menu as he can not eat gluten or dairy. This never happened without us mentioning it first even though it was marked on our ship reservation, the reservations for dining, and confirmed by the Concierge. Cruisers can make reservations for dinner if they choose Celebrity Select Dining or choose a specific time to eat each night. If you choose to dine at the same time each day you will probably get the same server and wait staff. We made reservations for 10 of us on two nights, but otherwise just showed up when we wanted to eat. Teen club: Our 14 year old daughter did participate in some teen club events. She could come and go as she wanted and did not need to be checked in. Our 16 year old chose to watch music events more and did not utilize the teen club. Each day my daughter received a note listing the teen events for the day so she could pick and choose what she wanted to do. Otherwise the two had the run of the ship and enjoyed a variety of activities such as the paper airplane competition, trivia, and nightly entertainment. Entertainment: Our son attends an arts school for music so we are exposed to a lot of musical events. We thought the musicians on the ship were excellent and they allowed my son to play with them a few times. They were kind to speak with him about working as musicians on a cruise ship. Each night there was a show in the main theater and the set designs were engaging each night. Basically the shows were different musical reviews with singing, dancing, and aerial acrobatics. One night there was a comedian who did a family show, and an adults only show. There was a funny comic show, called the Liars Club, which included the captain, activities manager and comedian. The biggest highlight was Brent Nixon who is a naturalist and had many presentations about Alaska and the animals who live on land and in the sea. He also narrated our visit to the Dawes Glacier. As mentioned above there were daily trivia games and other activities. Cruisers could choose to do nothing or everything, and there was something for everyone including scrapbooking! Service: With the exception of the servers not consulting with my husband at the beginning of each meal, our overall service experience was good. We could not have asked for anything more from our room stewards. The servers in the buffet were patient and cleaned up tables quickly. There were many servers in the buffet to help serve the line food (which was nice to make sure the food hygiene was good). We did have a problem we knew we had to address when we boarded the ship and it was this: We had a classic drink package for two included in our cruise fee (we bought through Costco), but we had two rooms that were required to have one adult in each room. So the drink package for two translated to a drink package for one plus a soda package (not an equivalent value). It took three people to get the matter resolved, but it did get resolved. I thought our concierge was patient and helpful. We did have a special room to hang out in at the end of the trip before disembarking as part of concierge class and that room had some pastries, coffee and tea. Ship Ports: We were happy with the four ports: Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria. It was also exciting that we got to see a glacier with ice dropping off (calving). You really don't need to book an excursion if you don't want - you can get off the ship and tour the towns. In Ketchikan we spent a lot of time at a jazz club where ship musicians sometimes hung out during the day (Creek Street Cabaret). We did zip lining in Juneau (a safe and reputable outfitter); did a bus tour to the Canadian/Alaskan line in Skagway where we also attended a mush dog presentation (excellent); and finally we took a bus ride to a farmer's market in Sidney, Victoria which traveled through the city. We would not have done this last excursion, but would have gotten ourselves to downtown Victoria to hang out instead. My sister did a whale watching tour in Juneau where she got to see whales feeding! That sounded like a great excursion. Some Things to Know (Especially if you are first time cruiser - sort of like us): The cruise fares are not all inclusive. Certain restaurants like the main dining, buffet, and grilles are included in the price, but not specialty restaurants. While cruisers can get coffee and tea at these restaurants, there is a charge for coffee items at the dedicated coffee place. Only the tea, coffee, juices and tap water is included in the cruise fare. Cruisers can purchase drink packages which are currently listed at three different price points. I hope Celebrity changes this because it makes it harder to maintain for people traveling together using different packages. As another example, Evian water is charged at $9.50 in the main dining hall and the classic drink package only covers drinks up to $9.00. Gratuities are not included, but are charged to the final bill based on a daily basis. Something that needs to change: We were accosted (I know this is a harsh word) no less than 5 times the first day we were on the cruise about purchasing a drink or dining package. This took away from a relaxing vacation vibe and made the servers seem like hard core salespeople instead of being focused on serving the customers. I think everyone would be better off if the staff was not asked to do this selling. Hygiene: Every time we entered the ship or dining areas we were greeted by a person spraying hand sanitizer. When coming on board from ship excursions we were given cups of chicken broth. If you read through this whole review - you are dedicated ship researcher! I hope the information I provided was helpful. Overall everyone in our party enjoyed the cruise which covered ages from 14 - 72. I couldn't say if I would recommend this cruise for little ones (under 10). Thanks for reading! Enjoy your cruise - whichever one you pick! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My extended family decided on Celebrity Alaska Cruise. This was my first time on Celebrity. Dealing with website precruise was dreadful. Embarkation was very smooth, so expectation rose, but welcome lunch in MDR for concierge class ... Read More
My extended family decided on Celebrity Alaska Cruise. This was my first time on Celebrity. Dealing with website precruise was dreadful. Embarkation was very smooth, so expectation rose, but welcome lunch in MDR for concierge class was a joke. You only had a few lunch options, all of which were terrible. Skip it and go to the Ocean View Cafe. Ship was nice looking. Some nice bars. Specialty restaurants are pretty. Lack of laundry facilities is annoying. Cabin was fine. Decent size and nice balcony. Not much drawer space. Very limited television options. Food was generally adequate in main dining room. The Ocean View Cafe was fine if you stuck to salads, carved meats and sandwiches. Specialty restaurants nowhere near worth the money. Entertainment was mediocre. Interesting activities were minimal. Only 1 lecturer for the entire cruise, who was not particularly interesting. Service and overall ship experience is the reason I would not go on Celebrity again. The MDR staff, cabin steward and a few bartenders were friendly and competent. Most of the staff, however, was neither welcoming nor helpful. Casino staff was not in the least bit friendly. Servers were nonexistent at the pools or in the public areas near the dining room. You generally had to go to a bar to get a drink. The drink policy was absurd. You pay $70 for the premium drink package, but still have to pay for a bottle of water or soda in the room. To get a bottle of water at the gym, you had to go to the spa desk, have your card swiped, give your room number and sign for it. You can't get two bottles of water at a time. It was obvious that there was some kind of crackdown on the staff for giving away too much free water. Constant selling was highly irritating. Every day, they dried to sell us a crab shack lunch at a specialty restaurant. They sold it by saying the $35 you paid them was less than paying off the ship. But if the steak I got at Tuscan Grill for a surcharge is any indication of the quality of the crab, there is no question that you should pay for the higher cost crab off the ship. God help you if you did not prepay for the drink package, as you would get hounded until you relented. Shore excursions were expensive and minimalist. Other cruise excursion I have been on give some interesting information and history during the dead times of the excursions. None of that on these excursions. I would never consider Celebrity again. They seem much more concerned with maximizing revenue from my stay on the ship than providing a welcoming and relaxing experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary in that it both departed and returned to Seattle. We were generally pleased with the cruise. But there were a few things that were off-putting. Our cabin service and the main dining room ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary in that it both departed and returned to Seattle. We were generally pleased with the cruise. But there were a few things that were off-putting. Our cabin service and the main dining room wait staff was excellent as was the food quality and food choices. The ship, including our cabin and all the public areas, was spotless. On the down side, the ship is showing signs of wear which was noticeable on the worn furniture in the public rooms. Secondly, Celebrity is a bit too pushy in selling their drink and various other packages. Another problem is the manner in which they operate their Celebrity Select Dining in which guests are allowed to make advance dinner reservations at a time of their choosing. In spite of having reservations each night, it took us 20 minutes to be seated. The problem was caused by passengers with no reservations who just showed up in line. Celebrity needs to streamline the dinner check in process so that passengers with reservations receive priority. Otherwise, there is no advantage to making reservations. Also, Celebrity markets themselves as a "Premium Cruise Line." We did notice any significant difference from our experiences on Royal Carribean. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We don't do much cruising but not much choice in seeing Alaskan ports so had to do a cruise. Have never repeated a cruise line. Over our many travel years, have done four cruises with various lines like Princess, Carnival, Seven ... Read More
We don't do much cruising but not much choice in seeing Alaskan ports so had to do a cruise. Have never repeated a cruise line. Over our many travel years, have done four cruises with various lines like Princess, Carnival, Seven Seas, and now Celebrity. Seven Seas by far the best but also reflected in pricing. Celebrity is probably second. Service was excellent. Enrichment presentations were educational, thoughtful, and humorous. Wish they had more of those. Food was mediocre at best. Very disappointing really. Didn't appreciate all the up-selling during the cruise too. Wished they would just charge a fair amount and stop with the selling. Then I guess it would be Seven Seas and those lines. Was surprised how easy to disembark at the ports. Maybe this is how it is now on cruise ships since we haven't cruised for awhile. Overall, cruise was good enough and good value. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
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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