I think this itinerary was mis-named. For me, South Pacific Treasures would have been more accurate, because it was traversing the South Pacific ocean that was the purpose of this cruise, with a total of 11 sea days. One day we were ... Read More
I think this itinerary was mis-named. For me, South Pacific Treasures would have been more accurate, because it was traversing the South Pacific ocean that was the purpose of this cruise, with a total of 11 sea days. One day we were treated to 4-5 meter waves, another day 2 meter waves, another day it was a pacific ocean, smooth as a lake. Overnight of Oct. 5, we were treated to a beautiful full moon reflected on the water. As attractive as most of the stops were, spending time on open water was the central reality of this re-positioning cruise.
Embarkation in Honolulu was smooth, with a different look, we each received a shell necklace as we entered the registration area.
We cruised the Inside Passage on the Solstice last year, and it seemed a fair number of other passengers had previously been aboard this ship, allowing a comfortable familiarity for us. Certainly for us, the other passengers help make this a very enjoyable vacation. The many Australians we met during this trip were individually and as a group friendly and good-humored. The fun we had with our trivia team was a highlight of the whole cruise.
The Cruise Critic meeting was well attended by cruisers and officers. Hotel Director Andrea and the Cruise Director Ben were very visible and active leaders throughout the cruise, one never knew where and when either of them might appear.
Parag was our stateroom attendant, and he performed his duties with a smile, and proved quick to respond to both face-to-face requests and to phone calls.
Blu was good for us. Telma and her restaurant staff provided excellent service throughout the cruise. Our main complaint is and has been, that we would like richer flavors in the food. Over 17 nights, the menu of course had repetition, and constraints of resupply further limited some of the potential choices. Considering there was some understandable drop-off in fresh produce, we admired the way Celebrity handled the logistics of supplying our cruise.
Rose of Captain's Club had plenty to do, and was once again helpful to us.
Ben was ok as CD, he is definitely energetic. Alexa and Nick ran trivia, both injecting some dry humor into the sessions. The house band Sound Stars was as good as any we have seen during our 16 years cruising. They played a range of popular music, covering different styles well, with some good interpretations thrown in. Prisma, the string duo, were excellent throughout the cruise, and I made an effort to hear them play. Starlight, the fusion quartet were good. Duo, the acoustic pairing were not as good for us as the other performers. Of the stage productions, the acrobatic/aerial show was much better than the other productions. Yoomi was good, as was Denny Elliot.
The entire Hotel Staff deserves kudos for their efforts to clean and re-clean the ship during the Norovirus outbreak. Days before the cruise ended, thorough cleaning and re-cleaning of some state rooms commenced, pillows and linens were removed.
The housekeeping and restaurant staffs, I think the entire Hotel management and staff, worked hard long hours to contain and rectify this outbreak. People were quarantined, care was offered and given. We very much appreciate all the efforts the service staffs made on the passengers behalf.
The Polynesian Enrichment team provided ukulele lessons that I attended when they were available. They also were offering hula and other dance lessons, and were well attended, again when they were officially scheduled. It was odd to see them aboard and stating they were willing to hold classes that for some reason weren't being scheduled by the activities director. We watched some of the Enrichment lectures via the television, which was a first for us.
We made good use of the fitness center and walking track. We the number of sea days, we had ample time to walk the promenade, and decks 14 and 15.
Disembarkation in Sydney was easy, with helpful attendants sprinkled throughout the terminal.
If the meters worth of missing wood railing on decks 14 and 15, and the connecting stairways; and the amount of rust clearly visible on our veranda and other parts of the ship are any indication, then the Celebrity Solstice best not wait until 2019 or even later to be totally refurbished.
Overall, the combination of meeting friendly and interesting fellow cruisers, excellent service, the Pacific ocean, and attractive ports made for memorable travel. Read Less