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10 Celebrity Solstice Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to South Pacific

We chose this ship after reading reviews and after seeing the ship docked in Wellington when in holiday in NZ three years ago. We could have picked up a cruise in Brisbane but we chose to fly down to Sydney as we thought the ship would be ... Read More
We chose this ship after reading reviews and after seeing the ship docked in Wellington when in holiday in NZ three years ago. We could have picked up a cruise in Brisbane but we chose to fly down to Sydney as we thought the ship would be worth a special effort. We have two teenage children and were looking for a cruise that catered primarily for the adults, without ignoring the kids completely. Embarkation was efficient and took about 45 minutes.The ship has been recently been refurbished and looked almost new. Our cabins (or stateroom as they prefer to call them) were clean with everything in working order. Our stateroom attendant, Michael was well liked by us all. He was always asking me if there was something he could do for us. Leaving from Sydney was certainly spectacular and was probably worth the flight down alone. It was school holidays but we were surprised at how many kids were on board. The ship has kids clubs and pools but no other gimmicks such as ice-rinks or climbing walls that other big ships now have. It seems that plenty of other parents thought the same as we did, and the number of kids gave the cruise a younger feel, which we liked. There are plenty of dining options and food served seemingly at all hours. The Oceanview Cafe is a large buffet which a large variety of food options. This was so popular at mealtimes and it was sometimes hard to find a seat, especially at around 2pm on shore days. Despite the wide range of food, constantly replenished, we still heard of people complaining at what they regarded as the lack of choice. You'll find whingers wherever you go. Most nights we had our evening meal at the Main Dining Room. The quality of food was very good and portion sizes here were more sensible than the buffet where you are inclined to load up your plate as everything looks so appetising. Having said that, we never said no to dessert. Service here was friendly and efficient - our serving staff Edward and Eddy were great and the kids just loved them. We had a 6pm sitting and were usually served our three courses by 7.15 - just time for a drink or two before the 9pm show. There were bars all over the ship that each offered their own vibe. We tried them all! Highlights included sipping drinks in the early evening at the Sunset Bar at the blunt end of the ship (stern) while the talented Michael sang and played guitar to us and about ten others - it was like a private show - and the Martini bar which become another favourite after we upgraded our 'Classic' drinks package to 'Premium' halfway through the cruise. One constant grumble we heard from other passengers was the poor attitude of some of the bar staff at certain very busy bars. There was some merit in this, but unlike normal bars where people are primarily ordering beer and wine, on board most people are ordering cocktails which slows down the whole process and put the staff under more pressure. Celebrity try to ease this pressure by having trolleys loaded with beer and wines wheeled around the pool decks during the day - but the poolside and sunset bars remained particularly busy. We thought the quality of live music throughout the ship was excellent. The lighting and sound quality in the theatre was of the highest standard. The ship's band were top notch. Some of the entertainers weren't to everyone's taste, including ours, but we were prepared to sit for 45 minutes and clap someone trying their hardest to entertain, while others were just plain rude and walked out. The singers, dancers and acrobats from the ship's production crew put on four top quality shows - ROCK and BROKEN STRINGS were favourites - and 45 minutes weren't enough (but hey, they were doing two shows a night!) The cruise director Ben was from Australia and his dry sense of humour was appreciated by the predominantly Australian audience. His talk about his time at Australian Zoo with Steve Irwin drew a large crowd in the theatre and was well received. Captain Tasos is a pretty funny man for someone with such great responsibility. He gave a talk on the building of the ship to a packed theatre of over 1000 people and had the audience in stitches. The cheer he received when he entered the pool for the officers versus passengers pool volleyball game was a fair indication of the respect he had quickly gained from his guests. The ship was always being cleaned and handrails were constantly wiped down. Everyone entering a dining area was offered hand sanitiser. I must give a special mention to the cleaners who were constantly stationed in the ship's public toilets. Although they didn't have the highest of positions on the ship, they obviously took pride in their work and they kept their toilets spotless. Was everything perfect - no, but's that's life. Were some staff a bit rude? Yes, but most were friendly and efficient. Some things were overpriced - $250 for a weeks internet seemed pricey but then again, it is a ship in the middle of the ocean! And besides, it meant we saw our daughter's face for the first time in ages - and not just the top of her head as she constantly sends texts and Facebook posts . Maybe as first time cruisers we are a bit naive, but if you go on this ship with a positive attitude and treat the staff with respect and not as your servants, you will have an enjoyable experience - and avoid the whingers! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Fantastic cruise from Sydney to New Caledonia to Vanuatu to Fiji and back. Beautiful ship Excellent staff at every location on the boat. Every night at dinner there are 4 wait staff per table. The staff to passenger ratio is ... Read More
Fantastic cruise from Sydney to New Caledonia to Vanuatu to Fiji and back. Beautiful ship Excellent staff at every location on the boat. Every night at dinner there are 4 wait staff per table. The staff to passenger ratio is impressive Public areas like toilets are always pristine with dedicated staff cleaning non stop. Tour of the galleys shows an excellent kitchen, extremely clean. Exceptional quality food. Well worth visiting some of the speciality restaurants too. We visited Murano and Tuscan Grille. Well maintained rooms with twice daily servicing Drinks package was excellent. would recommend it for cruises that have many sea days Improvements - small pools, would be ideal in school holidays if one pool could be for children and another for adults. Outdoor cinema was rarely used - 2 movies I think played in the 12 nights, a daily movie would have been great use of the space. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We went on the 12 night South Pacific cruise from Sydney on 23 December. It was our 7th Celebrity cruise but first from Australia (all the others were from US/Caribbean ports). We have also been on Silversea, Oceania, Royal ... Read More
We went on the 12 night South Pacific cruise from Sydney on 23 December. It was our 7th Celebrity cruise but first from Australia (all the others were from US/Caribbean ports). We have also been on Silversea, Oceania, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Carnival. We are Celebrity Elite level members. Here is the good and the not so good. Cabin Attendant – Excellent – Our cabin attendant (Gabriel) was superb. He was always efficient, smiling and helpful. Our departures were noted and our cabin made up immediately. Tenders – Excellent – Tenders were used at Isle de Pines and Mystery Island. On previous Celebrity cruises tenders have been a problem. On this cruise there were only short waits and even long queues moved quickly. The reason was simple – whoever was in charge used up to 7 lifeboats to provide a high frequency service from two boarding platforms. This was a problem from past cruises fixed – let us hope the same approach is adopted on other ships. Photo Shop – Poor – Bring your own camera and take your own photos. Avoid the photo packages. On previous Celebrity cruises the photo packages were good value by skilled photographers. On this cruise we felt there was no skill or art involved and the resulting photos were poor quality camera work such as parts of heads cuts off. Delays and stresses even getting the package USB on the last night suggested incompetence. Shuttle Bus – Excellent – Noumea – Often a problem on other cruises this, like the tender issue, was solved by whoever was in charge by having plenty of buses in Noumea running a high frequency service so there were no waits. Main dining room (Epernay) – Very Good – We had recently been on much higher priced Silversea and Oceania cruises. The food in the main dining room on Solstice was better than the main dining room on each of those cruise lines although not up to the standard of the speciality restaurants on those lines. Celebrity remains the best food in the mega ship market. Service in Main Dining – Excellent – Our waiters (Valentin and Iryna) were excellent and helpful. Seating in Main Dining – Poor – We are Elite Celebrity members but for some reason got about the worst table in the middle of the bottom level of the dining room. We used to get much better tables before we reached the Elite level. At no stage were we aware of the presence of a maitre d’. Coffee – Poor – The coffee throughout the ship is terrible. Café Bacio does not live up to the hype with poor service, attitude and coffee. Coffee was bitter and too hot. Children – Being an Australian school holiday cruise the ship had over 3000 passengers with lots of children (and prams). Most were well behaved but a few insisted upon pushing all the buttons in the lifts and gangs playing chasing games around the corridors on treasure hunts posed a hazard. Smoking – As non-smokers we were pleased that overall the smoking on board was only a minor inconvenience. Walking/Jogging Track – A design flaw of the Solstice is that the jogging track runs around a deck used for sun lounges and often during the day is hard to use because people put their sun lounges across the track. Whilst not as bad as on other cruises this was still an issue and the staff did not move sun lounges off the track. Sun Lounges – Most of the passengers being Australian it was shade rather than sun that was in demand. There were plenty of lounges available in the sun and sometimes in the shade. Unfortunately there was a lot of saving of lounges by passengers who rarely used them or who put belongings on adjoining lounges to stop them being used and give themselves extra space. This did not appear to be policed by the staff. Ocean View Buffet – Excellent – Huge and at times overcrowded it is usually possible to find something to eat from the wide range. The effort made for Christmas and New Year was spectacular and greatly appreciated. Sushi – Not Good – On previous Celebrity cruises Ocean View Café had reasonable sushi in the evening. Now that is gone. Instead there is only a Sushi café on level 5 which costs extra. Embarkation – Good - Surprisingly quick and efficient. On board 25 minutes after arriving at pier at 12.30pm. Unfortunately we were not then allowed off again that afternoon to spend any more time in Sydney and had not been warned this would be the case. Disembarkation – Good - At 6.40am there was a huge line for walk offs which commenced at 6.50am and went so quickly we were at Sydney airport at 7.20am. Itinerary – OK – Australia is a long way from anywhere which means too many days at sea. There were 6 days at sea and only 5 ports on this cruise. Cabin – Clean and functional the cabins are good for the price. Hygiene – Problem – Whilst there is hand washing lotion everywhere the system for obtaining beverages (sodas, water or alcoholic) seemed likely to be very efficient at spreading disease. You have to hand your seapass to a waiter who swipes it and hands it back and then does the same with someone else’s seapass and on it goes. The system needs to be contactless with the passenger simply waving their seapass. Beverage Packages – Poor – Even if the beverage package you purchase includes the type of drink available in your minibar you get charged again if you take it from the minibar. If your package includes Coke you cannot take the can of Coke from your minibar. Your package only allows you to get one drink at a time from a bar even if that drink is water or soft drink (and each time your seaspass is handled by a staff member who is handling lots of other seapasses and bottles and glasses handled by other passengers). At times the brand of bottled water sold was undrinkable. Internet – OK – Internet costs extra still unless some minutes are included in a deal or because of your status. Speed was fair. Security – As an Australian holiday period cruise there were a lot more passengers in the 20-40 age group than on other cruises, many of them appearing to consume vast amounts of alcohol. Given the amount of alcohol consumed security did a very good job of keeping it a safe cruise. It is certainly far safer than going out in an Australian capital city at night. Entertainment – Disappointing – Apart from Aussie Boys the acts and Celebrity in house entertainers were below the standard expected out of US ports. Movies – Some nights recent release movies were shown in Celebrity Central which is a comfortable cinema. Overall we were impressed. Christmas and New Year were made special which they have not been on some other cruises we have been on. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was our first cruise however others in our group were seasoned cruisers. The ship was great, the decor and the design was fantastic.First we stayed in a balcony room, 1091, which was good nothing to complain about. The food choices ... Read More
This was our first cruise however others in our group were seasoned cruisers. The ship was great, the decor and the design was fantastic.First we stayed in a balcony room, 1091, which was good nothing to complain about. The food choices were endless. We were on a Christmas cruise which was great, added to the feeling and atmosphere. The crew were great. Captain Tasos was amazing, he would mingle with passengers daily and eat at the restaurants on occasions. His humor was brilliant everyone waited with anticipation each day for his briefing which was informative but funny. All staff we crossed paths with were exceptional - no complaints.We had tips included in our fare however ended up tipping 6 special people who really looked after us and made us feel welcome. This was my first cruise and I was worried i would get bored at sea, far from it, i didn't want to get off, two more nights would have been perfect!!!!! The shows at night and during the day were great, a real variety. I went to things i thought i would never like such as a lady playing electric violin with a band with modern songs!!! I am hooked on cruises and was very impressed with Celebrity, will be travelling on the them again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose to do the Christmas /New Year cruise as something different over the holiday period , my wife ,two children (12 & 8) and parents throughly enjoyed our 12 night cruise, from embarkment in Sydney which we were on the ship with ... Read More
We chose to do the Christmas /New Year cruise as something different over the holiday period , my wife ,two children (12 & 8) and parents throughly enjoyed our 12 night cruise, from embarkment in Sydney which we were on the ship with 20 min of arriving at the pier, first thing was to sign the kids up for the Kids Club (fun factory) , as we had not seen many reviews about the kids club we were concerned about keeping the occupied, the kids loved it and didn't want to leave each night , whilst it is open to 1.00 am, we made a point of collecting the kids at 10.00 pm ... the dining options had plenty of choices , with the Oceanview & Grand Epernay being our choice most nights - we did go to Silk Harvest one night and once again very impressed. The entertainment was good we felt that the ships entertainers were of a much higher quality than the Speciality acts brought on board , overall no complaints and will travel with celebrity again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was our 6th cruise, and 1st with Celebrity. We only booked to meet up with some friends from UK, as we would not do a South Pacific cruise otherwise. The scene for this cruise was set on the first day with passengers, both male ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise, and 1st with Celebrity. We only booked to meet up with some friends from UK, as we would not do a South Pacific cruise otherwise. The scene for this cruise was set on the first day with passengers, both male and female, walking around the decks and lounges with stubbies of beer and other alcoholic drinks. The drinking seemed to start early in the day and this was the 'norm' for a good percentage of the other passengers. We were dismayed at the lack of security at the NYE pool party, where we saw a champagne bottle smashed on the deck and not cleaned up whilst drunken passengers with bare feet were walking around. We are not wowsers, but the behaviour we witnessed was reminiscent of the NYE parties of old that are now banned in public places. It would seem that the staff had no indication of what was to come on this particular trip. However, we were both impressed with the embarkation process, which was very efficient, the ship was sparkling clean, as was our cabin and bathroom, ably looked after by very happy and efficient staff. We had select dining and our wait staff could not have been more efficient. We both found the meal proportions were spot on, however thought the drinks prices were a bit too high especially when duty free. We also loved the Corning Glass show which was innovative and great to watch such talented young people. Disembarkation and baggage collection was the best we have experienced, however disembarking some 2 hours before our shuttle nominated time was not so good. (our fault, because we did not speak up). All in all, we would likely travel with Celebrity again, however it won't be out of Australia and it certainly won't be on a New Years Eve cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This cruise was very disappointing to say the least and we had such high expectations of this cruise line as they advertise modern luxury with a strong focus on service. Pros Embarkation was good and the cabins were very good. The ... Read More
This cruise was very disappointing to say the least and we had such high expectations of this cruise line as they advertise modern luxury with a strong focus on service. Pros Embarkation was good and the cabins were very good. The bathrooms were very clean and modern and the bedroom was spacious as was the balcony. Much wider than roayl Caribbean. The solarium was well appointed and the lawn club was well maintained and had a great feel. They had about 4 afternoons of wine and cheese on the green with live music , this was well done.. Cafe served premium coffee with very nice setting and ocean views. Disembarkation was fast itinerary was fantastic especially mystery island and isle of pines. Tours were limited but you didn't need them as the locals had tours which were well priced. If going to Lifou Isle of Pines and Mystery Island take your own snorkel gear as it has some awesome spots and its approx $20 to hire from the locals and is not always the best gear. Cons drinks service was nearly non existent in the pool areas and sunset bar. drinks weren't cleared away some outdoor bars were dirty. wine service in restaurant was slack as it would take a long time to get the wine list and then along time to receive your drinks. We had the premium drinks package which was great value but most of the bars never had your drink in stock and they were warm or even hot. Many of the passengers complained about this from 4he first day of the cruise. The bar staff on the outdoor decks were rude to say the least. dining in the main restaurant was ok to good but not consistent. Entertainment only ever went for 45 to 60 mins except the theater productions. Summary The lack of service, rude staff and cleanliness of the outdoor bars took away from the cruise. Many of the passengers were complaining about this from the start which icreased throughout the trip. I have been on 11 cruises and was expecting this one to have exceptional service and very good food but it was the worst service.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I was a cruise virgin until I spent 14 nights on the Solstice sailing from Sydney to Auckland and loved it! As a Brit, I loved the British entertainment crew - they made it for me. Seeing Santa in the Solstice theatre on Christmas ... Read More
I was a cruise virgin until I spent 14 nights on the Solstice sailing from Sydney to Auckland and loved it! As a Brit, I loved the British entertainment crew - they made it for me. Seeing Santa in the Solstice theatre on Christmas morning giving gifts to all the kids up the age of 17 was such a treat and made me feel so Christmassy even though I don't have kids myself. Had a wonderful dinner in the Epernay main dining room in the evening and the turkey and stuffing were cooked to perfection as always. New Years Eve was so lively with plenty going on that we didn't get to bed until around 4am! All of the staff were awesome and so attentive we were made to feel special All in all a great first cruise that I would definitely do again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I have just returned from a 12 night cruise around New Zealand and back to Sydney. I travelled with a family group of 10 so we were quite a crowd. We have travelled as a family many times before and this cruise was everything we had hoped ... Read More
I have just returned from a 12 night cruise around New Zealand and back to Sydney. I travelled with a family group of 10 so we were quite a crowd. We have travelled as a family many times before and this cruise was everything we had hoped for, The Solstice is a very large ship with a LOT of passengers and crew. Never-the-less, we only felt crowded when trying to dine and I was surprised at how many quiet nooks and crannies could be found when we simply wanted to get away and have a quiet read. The food was extremely good and the service in the dining room was efficient but still very personal. Within a day of boarding the waiters knew all of our names and our personal drink preferences. They always took care of the younger members of our group and made each of us feel very special. The food was rich, varied and tasty and I understand why the average passenger gains 0.5 of a kg per day (the executive chef told us that). We had adjacent balcony cabins on deck 6. I have previously travelled on higher decks but I prefer to be closer to the water also, the rocking of the boat is more obvious the higher up you get. The cabins were scrupulously clean and well fitted out and the stewards very attentive. The balconies were a good size and large enough for 2 comfortable chairs and a table with room to spare. The entertainment was hit and miss. Some of the shows and acts were very amateurish including singing out of tune and dancing out of step. Others were spectacular, especially Solstice's own show. The activities staff were fun and funny and took time to engage with most of the passengers. The lawn was a nice touch but I think the space could have been used better. The art auctions were given far too much emphasis and regularly took over whole bars, rooms and other public spaces, preventing the majority of passengers from using that area. I really resented them blocking windows and seating in some of the large bars where trivia and other more broadly popular activities were also held. I think art auctions on cruise ships are terribly over priced and rely on you getting caught up in the moment, trusting their descriptions and advice and not being able to access the internet to check the truth of what they tell you. Be very weary and do your research before you go. Read some reviews and complaints about Park West Gallery and make up your own mind. Every day for us was fun, interesting and full of food and laughter. Cruising really is the best way for a family group to travel. It was especially easy for my 83 year old mother as she could rest when needed, only had to unpack and repack once but could still be with us all as we travelled. I highly recommend cruising and Celebrity did not let us down.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We just finished a 12 night cruise to the south pacific, visiting 5 ports - Lifou, Noumea, Isle of Pines, Suva and Lautoka. Embarkation was hassle free and we were on board in less than 45 mins. The ship itself is very impressive - clean, ... Read More
We just finished a 12 night cruise to the south pacific, visiting 5 ports - Lifou, Noumea, Isle of Pines, Suva and Lautoka. Embarkation was hassle free and we were on board in less than 45 mins. The ship itself is very impressive - clean, modern, classy, elegant yet casual at the same time (not stuffy) and, you would never think that there is 3000 passengers onboard - it's very spacious. The crew & staff onboard were all very friendly, helpful and the service was fantastic. We travelled with our 4 year old daughter, who thoroughly enjoyed all the time she spent in the kids club - the counsellors were fantastic and do an exceptional job looking after all the kids and keeping them entertained. We chose select dining in the Grand Epernay dining room, which has its benefit of dining anytime between 6 - 9:30. Whilst this has it's advantages, we thought the service was sometimes lacking. Choosing fixed dining would give you the benefit of having the same waiters and sommeliers, which hopefully should provide better & consistent service, however it provided us with an ability to meet a number of other people at other tables. The food was still of high quality in the main dining room. We also experienced Tuscan Grille, Silk Harvest and Blu, where the food and service was exceptional! Don't forget to try Bistro on 5 - nice and relaxed dining, serving crepes, soup and dessert. The Oceanview Cafe buffet was very nice for lunch and snacks, along with the burgers and hot dogs at the Mast Grill. The entertainment at night was pretty good - the 60's and 70's night went off in the Grand Foyer. The Ensemble Lounge, Cellar Masters, Sky Lounge and Martini Bar all great places to have a few drinks and listen to some tunes. We thought the Isle of Pines was the pick of the ports, pristine white beaches, great snorkelling and swimming, we didn't get off the ship in Lifou or Suva. We did a tour on the choo choo train in Noumea which was good, (don't purchase on the ship, get it when you arrive there, it'll only cost you half the price). In Lautoka, we took a taxi from the city centre and toured the city and countryside, went to a village and then spent the afternoon in a resort for lunch and swimming in the pool. The weather was kind to us most of the way.....until the last night just as we were approaching Sydney - all decks were closed and the ship was rocking & rolling and shaking most of the night.....the Captain had the stabilizers working overtime and managed to get us back to Sydney safe & sound, however, not much sleep was had! Overall, we had a ball - Celebrity Solstice is a beautiful ship and we will definitely be back with Celebrity......!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
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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