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97 Celebrity Solstice First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

My travel agent suggested celebrity was on top of the line of cruises regarding service and entertainment, so I trusted her and although I don't have any cruise experience ( this was my first) I had a great time, everywhere I went ... Read More
My travel agent suggested celebrity was on top of the line of cruises regarding service and entertainment, so I trusted her and although I don't have any cruise experience ( this was my first) I had a great time, everywhere I went there was someone smiling at me and asking me if I needed something. I personally loved the gym, I like to workout and it is a very well equipped fitness center with more than enough tradmills and ellyptical machines, and the view was amazing! how often do you get to work out looking at the fjords. The entertainment was the funniest, I almost wanted to stay on the ship the days we were on ports. I think thay I still need need to cruise a little bit more so that I can have a more objective point of view, but for a fist tiem, believe these guys really made want to cruise with them again. ( or any other cruiseline for that matter. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise because friends were also going. EMBARKATION went very smooth. We waited until later in the afternoon to board and the line was short and fast. DISEMBARKATION was fast. It was my husband, myself and our 8 year old. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because friends were also going. EMBARKATION went very smooth. We waited until later in the afternoon to board and the line was short and fast. DISEMBARKATION was fast. It was my husband, myself and our 8 year old. We each had 1 carry on and left the ship at 7:30am with our bags in hand. THE SHIP furnishings have some wear and tear, cloth covered furniture was a little tired and dirty looking. OUR ROOM was appealing, clean and we had a balcony. More storage than we could use for 3. DINING So disappointed in the food. It was not anywhere close to 5 star 4 star or any star. It was average at best. White table cloths, a proper place setting and clean drinkware this is where the fine dining experience begins and ends. The food is not worth mentioning but I will mention it here as a cruise I thought was supposed to have excellent food. The presentation was blah, no sauces which is very important for fine dining. Menu items were not creative in the least. Duck with orange glaze a signature dish from the 1970s and other blah fare. There was nothing here to impress anyone but those used to eating fast food. Of course food is subjective I’m sure the masses liked that they can gorge, but for us it’s about quality. The quality, creativity, and care was not there. Wait staff was professional and friendly. The BUFFET was large and had the same items every day. Biggest station was pasta. They did bring out turkey once. The vegetable items limited and hard to find. Pasta, pizza, eggs, and deserts are plentiful. As are pancakes, waffles and anything with flour. Lots of pork items. Made to order (grill) items included salmon. Folks flock to the pizza, pasta and pancakes. Which tells it all. There is a “healthy” café that serves…wait for it…..melon and watered down green drinks. If you want something more than plain coffee, get a non-alcoholic premium package. Then you can get espresso, cappuccino, and the like. If not your stuck with plain coffee. I can’t believe we paid over $6K for this. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
well this was are first trip .it was our anniversary cruise the food was very good and the service was excellent with the breakfest too dinner too the dinning hall .our room was clean twice a day which shock us which we enjoy. we enjoyed ... Read More
well this was are first trip .it was our anniversary cruise the food was very good and the service was excellent with the breakfest too dinner too the dinning hall .our room was clean twice a day which shock us which we enjoy. we enjoyed the smiley coffee guy on deck 14 cafe.we enjoy the evening shows. but we did not like that they had the movies late at night. we did not like that bingo was so high price and most of the excursions was so pricey too! if we would have known about those things we were have been prepared. we didnt like that we could not use our phone or the internet without paying extra money. we also had an on board credit and had too fight with them for three days to get it staighten out, along with the drink package took one day to straighten out. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We were fairly nervous first time cruisers who decided to take a shorter (8 night) cruise to test our sea legs. Based on a recommendation from a friend, we were incredibly happy we chose to cruise on Celebrity Solstice. The ship is truly ... Read More
We were fairly nervous first time cruisers who decided to take a shorter (8 night) cruise to test our sea legs. Based on a recommendation from a friend, we were incredibly happy we chose to cruise on Celebrity Solstice. The ship is truly beautiful with wonderful appointments and I've never experienced such amazing customer service from every staff member we encountered. Maybe this is usual service on a cruise? We can't be sure but we certainly noticed the difference after disembarking and re-entering the real world. Dining: The main dining room is a marvel of logistics. Each night there was a different (if limited) a la carte choice. The food was good but not great. But, considering the huge size of the dining room, I'm amazed that they managed to provide even good food. I would highly recommend (actually, you're completely mad if you skimp here!) booking for the specialty restaurants. We went to Murano (French) and Tuscan Grill (Itallian). Both were truly exceptional and worth every extra penny spent. Entertainment: I thoroughly enjoyed most of the shows in the evenings. Only one wasn't to my taste. There was plenty on offer from the usual bingo and trivia to the more exotic eg an excellent glass blowing exhibition. Children's club: Apparently, there were about 180 kids on board. The kids' club must have been great because I hardly noticed them! Any negatives? Well, considering this ship is trying to attract a more upmarket crowd, the average age of cruisers is likely to be middle aged and above (yep, that includes me.) My only real whinge is that all of the chairs every where seemed incredibly low. For those with dodgy knees and back (me again!), I found it incredibly difficult to get out of them. I also met many others who had the same complaint. My only other negative cannot be blamed on Celebrity. I'm embarrassed to admin many Australians are very ugly travellers. Seriously, did you really need to be slurping on a stubbie of beer at 8.30 in the morning? It's a shame that the loud and appallingly drunk Australians are the ones you really notice......because we also met some lovely people on the cruise. It's just that the drunk ones are more obvious. Will we cruise again? Yes, I think so. Although, we'll more likely consider European or north American with more port stops for future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our first cruise and on the recommendation of others, this ship was the only one to go on. My husband and I are both early to mid 50's and were looking for a trip with everything. Boarding was a breeze, met with a champagne ... Read More
This was our first cruise and on the recommendation of others, this ship was the only one to go on. My husband and I are both early to mid 50's and were looking for a trip with everything. Boarding was a breeze, met with a champagne and then toured the ship, which is so big! Had a beautiful lunch at OceanView Cafe. We had booked Aqua Class and were very happy with all the amenities, beautiful veranda over looking the ocean and when sailing in to ports, what a view! Our cabin attendants Mariano and Raj were just fantastic. So helpful and quick, very efficient, nothing was ever too much trouble.. We were close to the gym and Spa facilities. The gym was fully equipped with all that you need and then some. Even offering classes everyday. We loved the persian gardens, with the Steam, sauna and aromatherapy rooms, we were there nearly everyday. We also enjoyed a wonderful massage each. Staff very friendly and ever so helpful. The dining room with Aqua is Blu for breakfast and dinner. This was a highlight of the trip. The level of service is impeccable. You are greeted by the lovely Diana, who was extremely professional, friendly and a most gracious hostess. Seated at a table with such a wonderful view each morning for breakfast and greeted by the exceptional waiters Iman, Tony and August (007)& Bonny ,remembering just the little things that make you feel special. All the staff there were so attentive. Breakfast was amazing always, beautiful food and accommodate special needs if be. Dinner what can I say, was truly amazing. The chef is brilliant, dinner everyday was different with a few favorites as well. Lobster was sensational as was the frogs legs, enjoyed every meal there. The range of food caters for all. Our sommelier Milo was awesome, nothing was too much trouble and was very attentive to all of us. Had a exceptional dinner at Tuscan Grill, this definitely was such a wonderful experience, Elyas was a standout for us, this gentlemen was just the most wonderful person and went out of his way to make our experience there a memorable one. Our night there was spectacular and the food just amazing! Tracey the appetizer and salad chef even came out and spoke with us. Before dinner having a cocktail at either of the many bars to have a drink. Watching the guys at the Martini Bar make cocktails is fabulous.. Talented for sure. We had the premium beverage package so pretty much all is covered. Then off too a show! Every Night something different the cruise director Peter is just wonderful and talented himself, but the shows were really good and enjoyed them immensely. Great singers and dancers. great aerial show as well. Loved Chiko, he is brilliant talented man. Beautiful pianist Kim and comedians, even opera! The range of entertainment was fabulous. Visiting all the islands and leaving the ship was so effortless, they really are very efficient. When waiting for the tenders to go back to the ship, staff were offering cold drinks and iced wet towels for people. Service always with a smile. Swimming in the pools during sea days and relaxing was most enjoyable, always a waiter to serve you and lunch at the ocean view cafe, food there was great only had lunch there a few times but it was really good, Sushi, fresh made caesar salads to order, pizza, fresh made asian noodles, so clean... Staff always handy with hand disinfectant! I could write forever, but I will leave here and we were so happy with our experience we have booked NZ to Sydney in January 17 and so look forward to it. I can see why people rave on about this ship, was just such a fantastic holiday. Do not hesitate you will not be disappointed Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our first cruise, and definitely will not be the last. I am not sure if all cruise lines are this good but celebrity was amazing. From the moment we got onboard we went straight for lunch at the buffet. The choice of food was ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and definitely will not be the last. I am not sure if all cruise lines are this good but celebrity was amazing. From the moment we got onboard we went straight for lunch at the buffet. The choice of food was huge and the quality excellent. Once we were allowed into our stateroom we were more than happy with the room and the balcony was great. Our first night at dinner blew us away at the quality of the food and the service. The staff in the dining room were so helpful and nothing was a problem. There were lots of really cool bars on board and it was really relaxing to hang out at the pool through the day drinking cocktails. As we were onboard on new years eve the boat put on a big party on the top deck. This was a really cool night, they emptied all the spas and filled them with Champagne bottles and we almost like we were in a Las Vegas nightclub!! There was a Dj playing some good music and just a really well organised night. The thing we most liked about being onboard is we felt there are not all these over the top rules and regulations like we have in Sydney bars. People were allowed to have fun and let their hair down and not worry about getting in trouble. So overall we were hugely impressed by all the staff onboard who go above and beyond to make everyone happy. I have no idea how people can write bad reviews about this boat!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Decided to go on the Christmas cruise for a change with my husband and our two teenage boys. Even though we are New Zealanders we thought it would be cool to see NZ coastline from the sea. We have travelled a lot but never on a cruise. On ... Read More
Decided to go on the Christmas cruise for a change with my husband and our two teenage boys. Even though we are New Zealanders we thought it would be cool to see NZ coastline from the sea. We have travelled a lot but never on a cruise. On the whole really loved Celebrity Solstice, the room, food and also the entertainment. The itinerary was just great with a mixture of port stops and days at sea. We hired rental cars to tour and took one excursion on the train in Dunedin. You will see some of the most spectacular scenery that NZ has to offer. Of course my views might not be the views of others on the cruise as we are all different, especially in respect to food quality and enterainment value. Was a bit concerned about two things, 1. was level 7 too low on the ship and 2. would there be too many kids?? Level 7 is the best value, central location on the ship Fortunately neither eventuated and I feel that the two level 7 balcony cabins 7278 and 7282 we had on the central hump are some of the best value cabins for their central location to the lower common areas. If the lifts were slow then it was an easy walk down to the dining rooms or else to disembark from the ship. Also there is minimal motion in rocky seas. I would recommend the 2A cabins on the central hump which look straight down to the water from the balcony and the starboard side for doing the akl-sydney trip. The forward part of the ship seems to be the 'adult' part of the ship with the adults only solarium and spa and gym areas. A well run, clean ship I thought the ship was well run, very clean and the cabins very well designed from an organisational and space point of view. I used cruise critic extensively to check out which are the best cabins. However I would warn against taking too much notice of all the minutiae/one off rants of the various reviewers of this ship. On the whole it's a great product. The ship was full but there are lots of areas to go to. There was a majority of aussies, and americans, then some english, Canadians, 150 other fellow New Zealanders and the balance made up of predominantly asian passengers. There were about 200 kids on board, many family groups and also many elder (65+ couples)passengers, whom on talking to them, seemed to have been on multiple cruises. Didn't notice the kids,too much. All fellow cruisers seemed to have made the conscious decision to vary from their usual Christmas routine and go on the cruise. The ship was decked out beautifully with Christmas decorations. Anyway here is a summary of my pros and cons (you might call it a rant!). Pros • Well designed cabin, comfy bed • Extremely clean - thank you room attendants Raquel and Larry for your impeccable service • Staff all very polite and eager to help • Well maintained ship • Consistent level of food in the Ocean view buffet where we ate most with the kids. Not fine dining, but an acceptable buffet. Excellent sweet melon fruit especially • Main dining room was pleasant to eat in every night. Consistent standard of food, you can treat it like degustation and have seconds of dishes you like -no questions asked • Efficient embarkation, lots of checkin staff. Even though we had no prioirty boarding it didn't take long. • Queues not that long for dining • Excellent meals at the Murano and Tuscan Grill speciality restaurants. Flambe lobster at your table and the soufflé dessert were exquisite. • Loved the lobster served in the main dining room on Xmas day, we were even allowed seconds!! • Loved the musical performers Hayden Smith and Jane Cho electrical violin, Bayne Bacon was hilarious and a great musician too • Eddy, the cruise director bought a bit of an 'english' flavour to the cruise with his wit – He worked hard with Pete the activities manager in cajoling people, who have seen and done everything, to show some form of life! • Enjoyed the onboard Apple certified trainer, Charles's, iPad, iCloud and ios workshops, although I feel he could run an advanced class as well as some particpants were extreme learners! • Enjoyed naturalist Dirk’s commentary of the Milford Sounds and also his lectures. • Loved the beautiful photos the photographers take round the ship but print price a bit expensive. Bought them anyway • Mast grill burger bar level 14 has very nice burgers. • Loved an excuse to dress up – lots of ladies with lovely clothes and sequins at night. Cons • Lots of areas to spend your money on board, all in USD. Not good if you come from NZ and converting back to NZD. Maybe they could offer an Australia/NZD price as well. • Wouldn't buy the beverage package again, we were mobbed on embarkation to sign up for a beverage package by several staff and ended up spending $700usd on non alcoholic package alone for 4. We struggled to get our money's worth. You get tea, coffee and water with meals anyway and if you didn't buy the package but paid for a few drinks then you still probably wouldn’t reach the cost of the beverage package. • It appeared that a lot of others had obtained a reasonably priced but high level floor with inclusions such as the beverage package and also internet and tips paid for in their fare. Not sure if they booked early or negotiated with their agents. • Silk Harvest restaurant was the only disappointing paid for outlet. Sushi ok and asian fusion dishes very average. My tips for this trip would be: • Shop round for lowest fare via internet and agents, get drinks package and internet included if possible. I booked in April and monitored the fares and can let you know if went gradually higher with the good cabins selling out. The cruise seemed to be sold out about October. • Take a Go Travel water jug, set to 110 v and you can make your own tea in the cabin without having to wait for room service, you would need cups and long life milk and teabags. • If you are getting a prepaid NZ cell phone SIM card to use in port with your iphone the Spark coverage is better than the 2degrees coverage although you will lose signal 30-60 mins out from the coast. • Use Pocket app or Apple reading list to load up some reading! • If travelling together try and get interconnecting rooms on the hump and get them to open back the glass panel so you can backwards and forwards on the deck. Would have to get in quick as the central hump cabins go quickly. • Book speciality restaurants before getting on the boat works out cheaper than buying on board. • Take a variety of layered clothes from high summer to decent wind breaker jacket, from sandals to sneakers. There is all manner of temperatures on the boat and when you go outside to the front it is definitely cold but you want to be out there for the sail ins and sail outs. All in all had a wonderful cruise, really enjoyed our first cruise. Celebrity Solstice is lovely and the company runs a well oiled ship. The well trained staff are the stars of this company. New Zealand scenery is spectacular. Even if I do say so myself coming from New Zealand. I believe you could have several different experiences on this ship depending on what level of cabin you booked. For families it is a mid range product with buffet style food most of the time or if you booked the aqua spa or suite cabins it would be very different with the spa inclusions and exclusive speciality dining. There were definitely a few high net worths on the ship but you didn't encounter them in the ocean view buffet!! What I liked was the variety of being on a bigger ship. Although at times it felt a bit impersonal due to the size and really the only staff you encountered regularly were your cabin attendants. There are a lot of inducements to spend more on board you just have to exercise restraint. I would travel with celebrity again if I could get a good fare and included Internet and beverages. I booked onboard to go on an Alaska trip with them in September. Will travel level 7 again on the Solstice. A memorable trip and we got to spend some quality time with our boys. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I was apprehensive due to getting motion sick on the slightest rock on a tinnie. I decided to go on Celebrity Solatice eight night Noumea cruise and wow,wow,wow was I really and truly so pleasantly surprised! From the moment I wend aboard ... Read More
I was apprehensive due to getting motion sick on the slightest rock on a tinnie. I decided to go on Celebrity Solatice eight night Noumea cruise and wow,wow,wow was I really and truly so pleasantly surprised! From the moment I wend aboard I was treated like royalty, the food in the main buffet dining area was fantastic and the specialty restaurants were just awesome! The staff in every department couldn't be more pleasant or helpful and constantly smiling. I cannon give this Mega Ship a more highly valued review. To sum it up PERFECT! I have only been home a day and am planning my next cruise. Thank you Celebrity Cruises the ultimate cruising line. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was the very first cruise for me. I'm glad that my wife made all the arrangements from the flights to and from Honolulu , hotel bookings, cruise itinerary, excursions, and the visits in Sydney after the cruise. I had a marvelous ... Read More
This was the very first cruise for me. I'm glad that my wife made all the arrangements from the flights to and from Honolulu , hotel bookings, cruise itinerary, excursions, and the visits in Sydney after the cruise. I had a marvelous time traveling with her as well as my 90 year old father and 40 yr old niece. We had adjacent cabins and the crew removed the partition between our balconies so that we could share some space there. Our cabins were on the 8th floor towards the aft of the ship. If you have never seen New Zealand before, I would heartily recommend going the cruise ship route. It enabled us to see many points of interest without having to unpack, plus all your transportation is taken care of, and you never have to worry about finding meals for most of your travel. The Solstice is a beautiful ship and we took full advantage of many of the amenities on board including the gym, casino, showrooms, upgraded dining, Cafe Bacio, Canyon Ranch Spa, and shore excursions. There were only a couple of negatives. While initial boarding was efficient and smooth, I can't say that the disembarkation from the ship in Sydney at the end of the cruise was the same. It seemed to be a free for all with everyone scrambling to find their luggage and go through the scrutiny of Australian immigration/customs. We never had a problem with getting into the main dining hall on a timely basis, even though we did not have reservations. Service was generally quick and attentive. I personally didn't enjoy the challenge of finding seating for the four of us during breakfast and lunch at the Oceanview buffet. It tends to get pretty crowded at those times. I have to take a moment to praise the services of our cabin attendants Isaura and Averon. They were great. Also , nearly all of the casino personnel were very polite and professional. I would have no issue with booking my next cruise with this ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I travelled with my Mother and this was our first cruise. The Sydney Terminal on embarkation day was challenging but organised chaos. Streamlined as could be expected with the large number of passengers. Celebrity know how to do ... Read More
I travelled with my Mother and this was our first cruise. The Sydney Terminal on embarkation day was challenging but organised chaos. Streamlined as could be expected with the large number of passengers. Celebrity know how to do cruising and do it well. We had Stateroom 1253 Concierge Balcony located towards mid back of the ship. Great room as near elevators for convenience. Library nearby so nice and quiet. The two Jason's who were our Stateroom Attendants were A+ and if I could I would bring them home. I struggled when I returned not having my bed turned down and a chocolate on my pillow. I used the Gym most mornings and found it excellent. I would like to see a proper water dispenser rather than small drink fountains. Hard to fill a water bottle. The service overall is very good and in some cases exceptional. The Grand Dining room staff are all of a high calibre, stateroom attendants were very attentive and the amazing Cynthia who manages the Select Dining in the Grand Epernay Dining does an amazing job. We had Select Dining but found we had to book to have dinner - which negates to whole Select Dining at a time that suits you. The food was excellent and the menu ever changing so we found no need to pay for our evening meals at the alternative restaurants. Drinks were expensive. We did not purchase a drinks package as we did not drink enough to warrant it being economical. The shore excursions were expensive and so I arranged private tours when we arrived in port or in one case prior to arriving in port. We could cover more ground rather than having a big bus with 30 plus passengers to negate. The entertainment was first class and we enjoyed all the shows. The ship is immaculately clean and the staff do an excellent job. Disembarkation was organised. My only grumble is the alcohol prices and drinks packages - ridiculously expensive. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We were pleasantly surprised by the standard of the ship and the service we received from every staff member we encountered. This was our first cruise and will be hard to beat. Food was "wow" in Blu and well worth the ... Read More
We were pleasantly surprised by the standard of the ship and the service we received from every staff member we encountered. This was our first cruise and will be hard to beat. Food was "wow" in Blu and well worth the upgrade. Entertainment was much better than we expected and there was always something to see and do on the sea days if you prefer not to relax with a book. Everything is spotlessly clean. Shore excursions were good and we know we paid a little more but it was our first time. Coffee and Drink prices were scary to say the least and we were glad we got Classic packages. A glass of Pino Grigio was USD12 and a coffee around USD5 - USD6. That hurts when your exchange rate is only 70 cents. Internet was sold in time rather than data and in the middle of the Pacific we burned valuable minutes on nothing. Would recommend unlimited. Free access to the saunas and heated beds was great, as well as gym access for all passengers. You could hardly tell there were 2850 passengers on board. Would recommend to anyone but have a good think about how you will manage drink prices before you go. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Let me start by saying that the wife and I have done 38 cruIses to date. Our last cruise back in Apr 2015 with RCCL had a lot of problems and we decided that it would be some time before we would sail again with RCCL. However, with that ... Read More
Let me start by saying that the wife and I have done 38 cruIses to date. Our last cruise back in Apr 2015 with RCCL had a lot of problems and we decided that it would be some time before we would sail again with RCCL. However, with that said the cruise with celebrity cruises line on the Sositice was the best cruise we have taken year to date. I thought that celebrity cruise line would have been in line with Princess cruise lines, but it exceeded in all of our expatations. The embarkations/debarkations was fast and easy,the condition of the ship was well maintained and very clean, the food on all decks was very good and cooked to order, the staff were very friendly and went well and above to take care of any problems that we had. Our cabin stewards were excellent and did a outstanding job in taking care of our needs. The only issues that my wife and I had was with the entertainment on board the ship. The shows on the ship were totally boring. The production was sub standard and guest performers (either a singer or comedian) were boring. Most of the time my wife and I left before the show was well over. Here is a area that I think needs work. All in all, thank you for a very nice cruise and very much needed vacation. We are in the Military and Law Enforcement and needed some down time. Great job Celebrity and hope to see you in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We chose Alaska as our very first cruise and based on recommendations from friends and online reviews, we chose Celebrity Solstice. I did a lot of research before we booked the cruise and even more after – there was a lot to learn! ... Read More
We chose Alaska as our very first cruise and based on recommendations from friends and online reviews, we chose Celebrity Solstice. I did a lot of research before we booked the cruise and even more after – there was a lot to learn! Based on advice given by others on the Cruise Critics board, we booked our cruise and took advantage of their additional onboard credit as well as Celebrity’s 1-2-3 Go promotion. Since we got a beverage package, two onboard ship credits and mandatory gratuities included, we upgraded to a slightly better cabin than we had originally budgeted for, which was 7228. We flew to Seattle the day before departure and took a cab to the hotel - Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown and enjoyed some sightseeing and a wonderful dinner at the Sky City restaurant atop the Space Needle in celebration of our 34th anniversary. We checked out of the hotel around 10:00 a.m. and the desk clerk called a cab for us. After a 10 or 15 minute wait, the cab arrived and dropped us off at Terminal 91 where the friendly porter took our bags and we proceeded through the terminal, customs, etc. and after a short wait, we were walking onto the gorgeous Solstice. All in all, it was 30 minutes from the time we arrived by cab until we were stepping onboard. The weather was gorgeous so we walked around, checking out the lawn and the upper decks and settled into a couple of lounge chairs until the announcement came that the cabins were ready. We found our cabin and it was ideal – we had ample storage, the bed was very comfortable, we loved the veranda and our cabin stewards, Bicham and Melvin, were very attentive and provided excellent service throughout our cruise. Our only complaint was the Stompy McStomperson’s who were directly above us – a couple of mornings we were awakened much earlier than we had planned. That was a minor inconvenience, however. We ate most of our meals at the Oceanview Café – hubby really liked the options and the fact that we could eat on our own schedule. Our only complaint was the desserts – I have never eaten such tasteless desserts in my life! They looked gorgeous and we kept trying different ones, hoping to find one we liked. Alas, they all disappointed for one reason or another. The fresh fruit though, was excellent and we enjoyed some at every meal. We tried the main dining room twice – once for dinner and another time for breakfast and we were not impressed by either our tablemates (one man was incredibly rude to the server and on the other occasion, we were basically ignored by the others at the table) or the food – it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything particularly outstanding either. We tried to have lunch at Bistro on 5, but after being ignored by all the servers for over 15 minutes, we were informed that there was a $10 charge per person to dine there and since all I really wanted was a milkshake, we declined and left. I liked the breakfast options in the Oceanview Café and once I found the English breakfast station, I was hooked! Hubby had fresh orange juice a couple of times and we learned to grab bottles of water from the bar before going back to our cabin. We don’t drink alcohol, so I think the basic beverage package we got for free worked well for us. We had an occasional Coke and used quite a few bottled waters – other than that, we drank from the fountain area in the Oceanview. We loved the Hot Glass Show and saw it 4 or 5 times. Hubby was fascinated by the whole glass-blowing process and the skills of the 3 young glassblowers onboard. When they auctioned off 4 pieces of ship-blown glass for charity, we had watched them blow 3 of the auction pieces. Other shows we enjoyed were Broken Strings which featured mostly current pop music and an energetic cast; the Chad Chesmark comedy/magic show which was quite funny; the impressionist Jason Neistadt who was hilarious; a ventriloquist who was pretty good, but we had to stand through the entire show and sometimes couldn’t see him very well; Rock City, a show that featured some acrobats who were very talented; and comedian Carl Banks who had us laughing out loud. We bought 2 of our shore excursions through our TA. We saved some money and we were in much smaller tour groups, which was great for us. We bought the Lumberjack Show and Potlatch Park excursion in Ketchikan onboard, using some of our onboard credit. Potlatch Park was really interesting and we had a great guide, “Taylor from Salt Lake City.” The Lumberjack Show also had its interesting moments and was just as cheesy as others on the board had claimed. We enjoyed it anyway! The ship was delayed getting to Tracy Arm as we had detoured 1.5 hours off course to meet up with a Coast Guard medivac helicopter as one of the passengers onboard had fallen seriously ill during the night. The Coast Guard personnel did a great job in picking up the passenger. The captain really put the pedal to the metal and got us to Tracy Arm with time to make the cruise up to Sawyer Glacier. It was pretty chilly out on the veranda, but we would just step back into the cabin for a few minutes to warm up and then back out we would go, cameras in hand. It was an amazing sight – and watching the ship do the slow-motion 180 degree turn was pretty cool, too. The narration by Brent Nixon was interesting as well. Once we were out of Tracy Arm, the captain hit the gas and we made it to Skagway on time. It was cloudy, breezy and cool but not too bad so we walked into town to the meeting point for the Yukon Sightseeing and Dog Musher Adventure tour. We were in a small group and had an entertaining guide – Brian. My only disappointment with him was that he did not stop at the Yukon or Canada signs as there were several large buses at both and he thought it would be better to go on. The scenery was incredible, and when we arrived at Caribou Crossing, they had lunch ready for us. Then it was out to see the sled dogs – and go for a ride on a summer training cart. What an experience that was! I could not believe how fast those dogs could pull the cart. We got to mingle with the puppies when we got back; then after a talk by our musher (all the mushers at Caribou Crossing are female and they are amazing!), we loaded back up and headed back to Skagway. Next stop was Icy Strait and we took a tender to shore and wandered around the museum, shops, and boardwalk. Hubby had some reindeer chili and I enjoyed some salmon BLT sliders for lunch. We had booked a whale watching tour in Juneau. There was some confusion over the bus that did not arrive on time to pick us up so I was a little apprehensive about the tour itself. However, once we were on the boat (12 passengers, the captain and tour guide pretty much filled it up) it was fine. We went out into the bay for about 45 minutes, and then we started seeing whale spouting so the captain cut the engine and we just drifted there – soon whales were all around us – at one point the captain said he counted 10! It was thrilling and a little terrifying as I kept thinking that each one of those whales was bigger than the boat I was on! I didn’t get any decent pictures at all, but hubby managed to snap a few tail fins and breaching whales. The next 2 sea days were pretty rough. The captain said we had “moderate” seas. I say when the water in the pools is cresting 2-3 foot waves as it moves from side to side, that is a little more than moderate! I am very thankful that the Trans-Scop patches I got from my doctor worked so well. It was a challenge to carry plates of food and glasses of beverages in the Oceanview Café, but we managed not to make a mess or injure ourselves or others. We were very glad to get to Victoria, despite the cloudy, windy, rainy weather. We put on our waterproof boots, grabbed the umbrella from our cabin and off we went! We took the shuttle into town and then walked and walked and walked. Victoria is beautiful and I finally got the milkshake I was craving, so it was a very successful stop! We opted not to get off the ship in Nanaimo. We had a leisurely day onboard and packed our bags for departure. We opted to do a “walk off” and were so glad that we did! We wheeled our bags off around 9:30 a.m., cruised through security and customs and walked right up to a taxi for our trip to the airport. We arrived a little too early to check in for our flight, so we sat and watched the luggage trucks from the ship pull up and unload hundreds of bags. Then we watched the passengers get off the shuttles and stand in lines, waiting to get said bags. I don’t think that was a very pleasant way to end their cruise, and I heard some complaints later about the lengthy lines. Although we had mandatory gratuities included in the 1-2-3 Go deal, we took envelopes with $5 bills in them and left one in our cabin every day for the stewards. It was a small thing for us, and something we do whenever we stay more than a day or two in a hotel. Our stewards were very grateful and thanked us every day. We had a wonderful cruise - we met some great people from all over the world, saw some incredible sights, ate a lot of food, saw some interesting shows, and learned a bit about some different cultures. I would like to say that we are going on another cruise soon, but alas, our travel plans for the next several years are already set. Thank you to all the folks who take the time to post on the board and patiently answer the many questions of us newbies! 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Sail Date September 2015
We did B2B2B from Seattle to Sydney on the Solstice. Three cruises back to back. We have done several prior cruises on Celebrity in Europe and New Zealand and are sold on the Solstice class ships. They are large with plenty to do on ... Read More
We did B2B2B from Seattle to Sydney on the Solstice. Three cruises back to back. We have done several prior cruises on Celebrity in Europe and New Zealand and are sold on the Solstice class ships. They are large with plenty to do on sea days yet they almost never seem crowded. The staterooms are well played out with a great bathroom and roomy shower. To us it seems like the average passenger age on the ship is mid 60s. Very few kids on board and many people in their 70s and 80s. Lots of canes and motorized carts. We had one lady 102 years old in a wheel chair. Overall a lot of very pleasant people we met on the cruise. Checking in was a breeze in Seattle and we were soon enjoying lunch in the Ocean Cafe. This was our first time to Alaska and we found it to be quite beautiful. The weather was nice the first few days but got very rainy for the second part of the cruise. The highlight was our float plane excursion to Misty Fiords with Island Wings where we landed on a remote lake and sampled some wild blueberries. Victoria and Vancouver stops were excellent and the weather improved so we had beautiful days there. There were some long lines getting back on the ship due to the U.S. Immigration deciding to pre-clear passengers before arriving in Hilo. Then we has 5 sea days in a row getting to Hawaii. Celebrity had a wonderful Hawaiian program for the sea days where passengers were able to learn to Hula and make Hawaiian Leis with fresh orchids and Kukui Nuts. The instructor June was delightful. Weather in Hawaii was outstanding in every way.... but that is normal for Hawaii. We tendered Kona and Maui which is a fairly slow process but we were not in a hurry. We usually don't plan to get off early on tendered ports so we can enjoy the day more. The last thing we want to do is stand in line or sit around in the lobby and wait for our tender number to be called. The ocean was quite rough when we got to Maui and this made tendering very slow and difficult. This is not the cruise line's fault, chalk it up to Mother Nature. Arriving in Honolulu to start our 3rd segment of our 3 part cruise we spent the 2 days visiting family and friends that live there. Back on the ship we headed for Tahiti. Another 5 sea days to Tahiti! The ocean was on the choppy side and it wasn't as smooth as previous cruises. Not like the Mediterranean that's for sure. When you travel on a ship you have to expect some rough seas now and then, plus trans-Pacific or trans-Atlantic are prone to some rough seas sometimes. We were getting tired of sea days but when we pulled into Tahiti it was all worth it! What a beautiful group of islands! Bora-Bora is truly the most beautiful island in the world in our opinion. The snorkelling with the sting-rays and sharks in vivid light blue crystal clear waters was the highlight. This alone made all the sea days worthwhile. Moorea was also a beautiful island and we did an ATV ride in the hills which was great. A couple more sea days and we are in N.Z. Bay of Plenty and Auckland. Finally bringing the cruise to an end in Sydney.... waking up to the Sydney Opera House directly across from our balcony. Wonderful cruise. Celebrity has cut corners in the past year. I personally would prefer they raised their prices a bit rather than eliminating popular offerings, but I understand that there is a lot of competition in cruising industry now and that the cost of operations go up every year. We were disappointed that they no longer had the fresh orange juice available in the Ocean Cafe. On previous cruise we looked forward to fresh OJ every morning for breakfast. Such is life, things do change and what can a person do? Overall we found the food quality in the Ocean Cafe to be quite good. That is not to say we liked everything all the time but it is a buffet and there are plenty of things to choose from. The Mast Grill has great hamburgers and cheeseburgers! On windy days they offer them in the Ocean Cafe as well. The main dining room where we ate dinner most of the time was excellent. They had a standard menu that remained pretty consistent for most night ( NY Steak, Salmon, Chicken breast, etc ) and then they had another menu that changed every night. They have Top Chef items quite often which are hit and miss, either you like them or you do not. The waiters always would tell us if we tried something and did not like it they would bring us something else. The Solstice crew and staff are excellent. We really enjoyed talking to them and seeing them every night. Always smiling and friendly. The Cruise Director Ben and Activity director Pete were very good. Entertainment was overall quite good. We liked their new production shows, the Studio has some talented singers & dancers. The Diamonds ( 3 girl singers ) from Sydney were excellent too. I read some very negative reviews on CC saying NEVER AGAIN, TERRIBLE FOOD, TERRIBLE ENTERTAINMENT, WORST CRUISE EVER, ETC.... First I would like to say that anyone expecting everything to always go perfect with ANYTHING in life is setting themselves up for a big let-down. Things always go wrong because that is life. Plus personal taste means you won't like all the entertainment or food all the time. Then you combine that with Mother Nature giving you rough seas or bad weather makes things worse. We found that ships do make creaking noise in rough seas. Our neighbour pounded on our joining wall once because he thought we were making the noises he heard. LOL. With almost 3,000 passengers the ship staff are kept very busy and do make mistakes sometimes..... they are human after all. If you get a over-cooked steak just tell the waiter and they are more than happy to get you a new one. If you don't like your dinner they will bring you something else. They always made this perfectly clear when we were ordering and dining. If you want quick service eat early not prime time. I have to admire the Celebrity employees, they work extremely hard everyday without days off and normally have a split shift with only a few hours in between for themselves. How they keep smiling and friendly day after day amazes me. Bottom line ........ sure things did not go perfect and there were a couple frustrations but overall Celebrity delivered a wonderful experience and vacation. We have 4 cruises booked for 2016 and two pending for 2017. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was the first cruise for both my husband and I. Neither of us had been to Alaska, either. We booked this to celebrate his 60th birthday, which was later in September. We arrived in Seattle one day early and stayed overnight at the ... Read More
This was the first cruise for both my husband and I. Neither of us had been to Alaska, either. We booked this to celebrate his 60th birthday, which was later in September. We arrived in Seattle one day early and stayed overnight at the Moore Hotel, which was in easy walking distance from the light rail (which we took from the airport to Westlake) and the Monorail (which we took to Seattle Center later that day) and Pike Place Market; among many other downtown spots. The hotel itself was very quaint and comfortable. We would definitely stay there again, weather permitting. I say that because it is a "green" hotel with no a/c. Since the temps were in the 50's & 60's while we were there, not having a/c was not a problem at all. We opened the windows until we got a little too cool, then closed them and were comfortable all night. They have a very nice coffee shop in the hotel as well, so we were able to just go down and grab some delicious specialty coffees before heading to the Pier. Hotel staff called a cab for us when we checked out. We took the cab to the Pier, which I think ended up costing about $15. Embarkation was easy - always someone standing there telling you where to go and what to do next. Lines were not bad at all. We were on board the ship by 11:00 am. Celebrity staff greeted us with champagne/mimosas and we walked to Cafe al Bacio to have a seat and enjoy our drinks. The ship is HUGE and it's beauty is overwhelming. We had a 6:00 dining time and our waiters Nurul & Bonny were magnificent. The food was amazing every single night. I think the food is what we miss most after being home! Seriously, everything we had, whether in the MDR or in the Buffet or anywhere else was just fantastic. Every morning we got specialty coffees from Cafe al Bacio. My husband raved about his Caramel Macciatos. He said they were better than Starbucks. :) I fell in love with the Cafe Mochas. The casino was fun, albeit a bit tight on the slots - not much payout there. We still enjoyed ourselves, though. We went to a magic show in the theater and it was really good. Brent Nixon, the Naturalist on board, gave wonderful talks. He did a superb job of narrating our way through Tracy Arm. We enjoyed that immensely. The pool area was very nice. Not much swimming going on, as temps were in the 50's, but we did see a handful of people in the pools and lots of folks using the hot tubs. The Sky View Lounge was a favorite spot to sit and relax with a drink and take in the views of the ocean. There was live entertainment there for sail-away parties. The Ensemble Lounge had live music every night, I believe. We went there many times to grab a quick drink. It was only one floor below our room, so it was an easy trip down the stairs to the bar. All of the staff were super friendly and helpful and always had a smile and a hello! Our waiters even remembered our names, even if they saw us out somewhere on the ship other than at dinner time! We definitely had the best vacation we have ever been on. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We went into the planning of this trip blind. Neither of us had ever been on a cruise before, and RCI, X, NCL, HAL, CCL was all just a whole lot of alphabet soup to us. Our wise travel agent asked us some questions and decided that the ... Read More
We went into the planning of this trip blind. Neither of us had ever been on a cruise before, and RCI, X, NCL, HAL, CCL was all just a whole lot of alphabet soup to us. Our wise travel agent asked us some questions and decided that the Celebrity Solstice would be the best fit for us. She was spot on. LOVED - The ship. It was wonderful. The interiors are statement-making without being cheesy. It was large enough that I rarely felt crowded, and at times, it seemed like we were among only a handful of people on board. Now that I’ve delved into Cruise Critic a little more, I’ve seen the reports of lines after long lines on some ships. That was not the case with the Solstice. There are also enough bright, inviting areas a bit off the beaten path to sit, read a book, and stare out the window at the glorious scenery. - The pool. We mostly used the indoor/atrium one, since we did have cooler temps some days. And even when it was warmer, it felt more peaceful indoors. With beautiful Alaska as a backdrop, it was quite relaxing. - Meals in specialty restaurants. I know some people have no use for this extra and feel that it is a waste of money, but I thought that it offered an elevated experience. I liked Silk Harvest so much that we had dinner there twice. Tuscan Grill was also very good, especially since we were there as we pulled away from Skagway. That view is a wonderful memory. - Alaska! And the weather! We really lucked out our week. We know people who went the week before, and they had the opposite experience. I’m sure we would have enjoyed ourselves regardless, but there’s no doubt that this is a factor… and we hit the jackpot. - Doing things I never do, like drinking poolside on a weekday afternoon. Ordering dessert before lunch, then dessert again after. Having a very loose agenda most days, but never being bored. LIKED/THOUGHT WAS OK - Our stateroom. We had a balcony on deck 8, so we were well above the rooms that are at eye level with the lifeboats, fortunately. I wouldn’t call the room luxurious, but it was pleasing and did the trick. I will say that the bed was magnificent, and when I looked underneath and saw that it is basically the same frame as a cot, I was amazed. The mattresses are top notch. - Food in main dining area. Both of our formal night dinners were there, and I thought they were fine. But not memorable. I mostly used the buffet for breakfast and snacks, and I wouldn’t recommend it beyond that. - Excursions. Since this was our first cruise, we wanted to enjoy the ship and not pack in too many activities. And we had our own agenda in Juneau and Victoria, so we only did things in Ketchikan and Skagway (wilderness tour/crab feast and zipline/rock climbing, respectively). They were nice and added to the experience… I don’t have any negatives. But I was also glad to get back on the ship and relax. - Onboard activities. They really fill up the daily program with shopping events, in which I have zero interest. I liken it to watching QVC... it's not my thing. And I’ll admit to having a short attention span, so when it came to watching the naturalist, or the hypnotist, or anything else I saw, I ended up leaving early, as discreetly as possible from my aisle seat. Since our weather was so fantastic, I became antsy sitting in a dark room on a beautiful afternoon in Alaska and headed to the pool. THUMBS DOWN - The Wifi. I get that some people want to disconnect on vacation. I’m not one of them. And it isn’t even that I’m tethered to work email… I just like to see what’s going on online. The unlimited package was $199, and that was precisely $199 too much… so, SO slow. And while I understand that there are issues with connectivity while in the ocean, I wish they could come up with a better solution. - Bistro on 5. I had a cheeseburger that was peculiar in taste and texture. I just wouldn’t recommend it at all. - Lineup for bus at SeaTac. Not necessarily Celebrity’s issue, but we found the transfer from the airport to the pier inadequately staffed. It delayed our arrival onboard by about an hour. Next time we’ll arrive a day early and/or take a cab. Finally, a few words about Tracy Arm Fjord: it’s the view that appears on the cover of most promotional brochures for cruises to Alaska, and there’s no doubt that it’s a highlight. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t get to see it. There was a medical emergency onboard our ship several hours before we were due to arrive, and we had to change course in order for the U.S. Coast Guard to land a helicopter on the ship and take away the sick passenger. First of all, isn’t it amazing/comforting that they are able to do that? Secondly, the crew was terrific in not only evacuating the passenger safely but in keeping the rest of us informed. (There was a separate issue that same morning of a minor passenger going missing, which resulted in two very early — 5 am — announcements that woke everyone up. For a time, we thought the two incidents were related, but they were not, and the crew did a great job of clearing that up). I was dismayed to be behind an elderly couple in the Guest Services line who was absolutely berating the agent because they missed seeing Tracy Arm Fjord. They wanted a full refund. I’m sure that up to that point, they ate Celebrity’s food and slept in Celebrity’s bed, so why they thought they were entitled to this (and to hold up the line for the rest of us) was beyond me. I’m glad that the sick passenger was able to get to a hospital safely, and I believe that Celebrity owes me or them or any of the other passengers nothing. They got a sick passenger to a hospital rather than letting her die so we wouldn't miss Tracy Arm Fjord. Meanwhile, the rest of us are in the midst of an amazing vacation! Two causes for celebration, if you ask me. And I’d feel the same way even if the sick passenger were one of the unreasonable people in front of me. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Background: I'm a well traveled person used to higher end accommodations, but new to cruising. My wife and I decided to upgrade to a suite class and at the last minute spent the extra on a Celebrity Suite vs. the Sky Suite. Great ... Read More
Background: I'm a well traveled person used to higher end accommodations, but new to cruising. My wife and I decided to upgrade to a suite class and at the last minute spent the extra on a Celebrity Suite vs. the Sky Suite. Great decision - I'll tell you why below. We hit four ports - Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria BC. We did excursions in all ports as detailed below. We also cruised Tracey Arm Fjord, which was a highlight. Hope you find this informative! Many of the things detailed below were "nice surprises" so I have to give you the "spoiler alert" warning here. If you take this cruise suite-class, you are in for a treat. General/Ship Information: We decided at the last minute to change our plans from the Millennium to Solstice, which is a much newer ship. Another great decision. The ship was gorgeous, immaculately maintained, safe and environmentally friendly. I found the later two items out because as a suite guest I got invited to tour the engineering spaces and talked to the Chief Engineer. Safe? Yes, the ship is double hulled so what happened to Concordia couldn't happen to it. Eco-friendly? Thumbs up, they have some incredible water, food and emissions control technology. Two minor critiques: 1. The ship was a bit too hot in the public spaces. We packed for cold but many of the public spaces were just a few degrees too warm for our tastes. Tip - Since you spend a lot of time inside, be sure to pack lighter clothing and have layers because the outer spaces do get chilly. 2. The internet is way expensive and incredibly slow. Tip - It's not worth the $299 they charge for unlimited wifi access, since you can connected in three of the four ports using your existing US plan and it's a great cruise to disconnect. Also because of our suite class, we got two certificates for 90 mins of wireless time. That was all we needed to do a quick email check every night. Other than that we were disconnected and loved being that way. Boarding: We were worried about how long it would take to board and decided to show up right at 11:00, the earliest time for this cruise. We had ordered luggage tags ahead of time. They took our tagged luggage from our Uber ride right away. We had read that some had problems with their luggage getting put on the other cruise ship in port, but this wasn't a problem for us. Everything worked very smoothly. Next we followed the signs to board the ship and went through the suite class security lines. We followed the signs for check-in, were met by Rose and escorted to Michael's club after a quick stop to give our credit card and fill out a medical questionnaire. It took about 10 min to get to the club, where we had a seat and relaxed. We were offered drinks and some snacks while we waited for our room to be ready. I have only one critique and one tip - Critique - part of the suite experience is a concierge to help with things, but there is only one and she was spending all her time with very large parties. Twosomes like us, who were spending less, didn't get much attention. Celebrity needs more people here. Tip - one of the things that the concierge does for you is help book speciality restaurants. We didn't realize there would be so much demand or limited availability. She recommended that we book for Tuscan Grill pulling away from Skagway. The restaurant is in the back of the ship and offers a great view of as you depart. She called us back later and said the restaurant had already booked out for the time we requested - but we were some of the first people on the ship, so we were confused. We told our butler, once we got to our room, and he magically found a space for us. Point is that we could have booked with our pre-cruise concierge a few days before we departed, but at the time we didn't think we needed to. Next time we will. Cabin - Our cabin was amazing. Lounger on the balcony saw much action. We just hung out there for Tracey Arm Fjord and were amazed by the scenes flowing past us. Had breakfast there a bunch too. Bed was very comfortable pillow top style - you couldn't tell is it was two twins pushed together. We loved the canapés and tea every afternoon too. The best part of suite class, however, was the butler service. We didn't start thinking we would get much from it (we aren't butter type people). But Ciprian (Chip) was our best friend. Very professional, hooking us up with reservations, taking care of minor things in the room, serving us food, and literally always on the other end of any phone on the ship. He was wonderful and a big surprise. One critique - the software system that powers the TVs (one in main room and one in bedroom) was in bad need of maintenance. TV froze frequently on menus so it was a bit frustrating. Tip - as a suite guest, we got coupons for one-time laundry service up to twenty items, one complimentary dry cleaned item and two pressed items. If I'd known about the laundry I wouldn't have packed so much. Food - As a suite class passenger we had an amazing food experience. We had heard that the Oceanview buffet and the Epernay main dining room food was "so so". We never ate at these so I can't tell you. Luminae - the center piece of suite class dining is the new Luminae restaurant. They serve very high quality breakfast, lunch and diner w/o being overdone or stuffy. And the service was excellent! Diner was a five course meal every night with four choices for appetizer and four main dishes; the lunch menu rotated through a three day cycle and breakfast was the same wide variety of choices every day. The last formal night diner featured lobster and chateaubriand. Don't miss this - I had surf and turf :-) Speciality restaurants - we ate at Tuscan Grill twice; it was fabulous. One of the best views in the boat is the back window of Tuscan Grill, so book early if you can. We also ate at Silk Harvest, and were also very happy with the food and service. Room service - We had room service for a few breakfasts and late diner once. The food was extremely mediocre, but it's nice to eat in your suite. Drinks - We both got the classic beverage package and that was fine. Neither one of us are big drinkers and classic package provided high quality wine and spirits. The premium package has a few more really high end choices but I never felt like I was missing out. There is one specialty cocktail bar only for premium packages guests were they mix all kinds of fancy booze, so if that is your thing it might be worth it. From my point of view, this is a cruise that is better enjoyed mostly sober. Entertainment - We were really surprised by the quality of the entertainment. Shows were at 7 and 9 each night and there were also naturalist and a few other day shows. The ship's dance/acrobatics crew was very good. They did a Cirque du Soleil style show and two music shows. They had a comedian and a few late night comedy shows for adults too. The hypnotism show was very fun as well. The best part however was the naturalist, Brent Nixon. Not sure how long he will be with the ship, but his shows on Alaska, Whales, Bears, Eagles and more really brought the cruise to life. His show on Orca inspired us to take the Victoria whale watching cruise, which was a moving, magnificent experience. Our lives are changed forever by the knowledge he gave us on this amazing state. We in the US are so lucky to have it. Tip - we found it was better to see the 7pm show then go to diner afterwards. The sun is out and it doesn't feel so late. Better seats at the 7 shows too, and you don't feel rushed to get diner done so you can make the show. Tip - there is reserved seating for suite guests on the formal nights on the upper balcony on deck 5. But we found the sloping rear center seats on Deck 4 to be much better. Excursions - Despite the fact that it rained two of the three Alaska ports, we had a great time and saw a lot. Ketchikan - we did the zip-lining. It was great, very professional and safe. Great views of the rain Forrest too. We found a bear picking through the vegetation on the ground below us - the only bear we saw. It was listed a strenuous, but we didn't find it so. They said an 82 year old woman just did it. Tracy Arm Fjord - we only got with in five miles of the glacier due to ice conditions, which was disappointing. They off loaded 100 passengers to tour further up the fjord in a small boat. We didn't know you could do that and might have considered it so we could pull up closer to the glacier. Since our help excursion in Juneau got canx, we never got to see a glacier up close. Our only regret. Juneau - we originally booked the helicopter glacier/dog sledding tour but it was canx due to the rain. Apparently this happens a lot so be warned. They didn't tell us until we got to the pier off the boat. Critique - The problem was the ship only sent two people to help a hundred+ people re-book on new excursions - it was a mad house. THIS IS MY BIGGEST COMPLAINT. Celebrity should provide a better service for its suite guests because weather cancellations must happen all the time. We did get really lucky, however. The girl from the dog musher camp was standing next to us as we wondered what we should do, and she said she had two slots available. So we jumped on her bus, traveled into the woods and had a good time meeting all the dogs, hearing about the different races, and holding puppies! If you love dogs this excursion is a must. Skagway - the big thing is the White Pass train, so we did that; and chose the tour that lets you bike down the mountain. Again, lots of rain, but it was fun but a little nerve racking. However, after we got the hang of it, we enjoyed it a lot. All in all, there was plenty of great scenery, photo ops, and great stories about the Yukon gold rush and Skagway's part in it. Victoria - we were originally going to just go into town, but got inspired by Brent's talks so went whale watching - which really means Orca watching this time of year. We probably saw 10 over two hours; we got great photos and saw one whale they call "Granny" (because she is over 100 years old) breach three times. We will never go to Sea World again. These whales are so much like us. It was moving to see them. Did you know that they remain with their families their whole lives, celebrate new births and morn their dead? It's criminal we make them perform like circus animals. Tip - the excursions booked through Celebrity are the way to go. They are a bit more expensive, but since the excursion companies work with the ship, they ensure you make it off to your excursion and back smoothly. Also, if there are delays, Celebrity will ensure you get back on the ship. Also they are really good about quickly processing refunds if things change. Tip - Regarding tipping for excursions, we called ahead to Celebrity and they said that tipping was not expected. However on our excursions, the hat was passed a few times and others we decided to tip just because the kids who ran the tours were so welcoming and professional. A $20 for two we felt was appropriate and well received. Fitness - I worked out four times to offset all the eating. The facilities were well maintained and there is a great view from the cardio machines. It could get crowed though. The Persian Garden is a combined hot stone recliner relaxing room with a hot and cold sauna, but it costs extra unless you are Aqua Class. If you like that thing, it cost $99 for the entire cruise. Attached to the fitness center is a nice heated solarium with a pool, hot tubs and lounges for reading. Its also only for adults except for three hours a day, were families get to come in. Problem is that, during these times, I observed so many little children in the hot tubs that I couldn't bring myself to go in. We all know what kids do in hot tubs. Yuk. Celebrity should limit hot tubs to adults in the Solarium. Disembarkation: This was very smooth. We were off the ship and in a bus headed for the airport in less than 30 min. Tip - take advantage of the luggage valet service. For $40 they pick your luggage up the night before and you don't see it again until you arrive at you destination airport. Very easy. We also took the shuttle buss to the airport instead of messing with taxi. It was smooth and efficient. Well worth the $25ish bucks it cost. Other miscellaneous items and tips: 1. You can take money out against your ship's account for the casino, but you can't use on board credit so it comes off your credit card. 2. They don't authorize your credit card in advance, but authorize it daily based on the amount you have spent once you have exhausted on board credit. 3. If you book another cruise while you are there, they give you some nice perk package alternatives, plus the give you a deal that we took. We put $400 deposit on a future cruise and got $400 on board credit to spend on this cruise. So the deal paid for itself immediately. 4. For poker plays, they run single table sit and go's and low blind no limit cash games all the time. They use totally electronic tables, which I was wary of but turned out to be very fun. 5. You definitely want to do a Solstice class ship if you can. 6. We were concerned about dress - we had read that people really dress up. But I didn't want to bother with a tux, and found a jacked and tie just fine. My wife had a few long dresses and was fine too. Some folks wore more formal attire, but others stayed in jeans. 7. The passengers included of all ages. A ton of kids (we were surprised), also lots of 70+ guests. The only thing that was missing was a lot of 20 something party kids, which was fine with us. This was a definitely a family cruise. 8. Tipping - we pre-paid our gratuities, but because of the excellent service decided to leave extra for our butler, our room attendants and the staff at Luminae. We thought there would be envelops or something in our room but there weren't. We ended up giving cash to each group. There wasn't any pressure, however, to give extra tips; and each person seemed really appreciative. Summary - Other than a few small snafu's and points of improvement as noted above, we found the experience amazing. Ship, cabin, food, service, excursions, entertainment - all big winners. We plan to do Greece on Reflections next. The highlights for me were Brent Nixon (the naturalist), Chip (our butler), the all suite Luminae restaurant, and our amazing balcony. Highly recommend this cruise. I'll end with a quote from the last day's journal entry: "Alaska had always been something I had heard about and understood from books and movies. Now I can say, 'Alaska, I've seen you and you are awesome!'" [thanks to Celebrity for making that possible!] Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Yes, my brother has always wanted to vacation in Alaska - for his gift last Christmas I gave him this Solstice Alaska Cruise! Needless to say, he was thrilled! Our journey stated on June 30 th as we flew to Seattle for a few days there ... Read More
Yes, my brother has always wanted to vacation in Alaska - for his gift last Christmas I gave him this Solstice Alaska Cruise! Needless to say, he was thrilled! Our journey stated on June 30 th as we flew to Seattle for a few days there before sailing on July 3. I could be the guide in Seattle since I had visited this nice city several times in the past. Our stay at the Celebrity recommended hotel the Fairmont Olympic Hotel was great & me t all of our expectations . We could walk to Pike Market, several Starbucks , various parks & the Seattle Needle. Since the weather was perfect we made the most of our time here. Our transfer to the ship was provided by Celebrity & went smoothly on July 3 as did the embarkation process. My brother was so excited to be sailing for the first time & beyond excited to be going to Alaska. The B1 Veranda was perfectly located on level 8 midship on the bump out. The cabin was roomy & perfectly kept my our kind & helpful attendants. Of course the balcony was used a great deal in enjoying the wonderful Alaska views. With excellent on board entertainment --- especially the production shows were enjoyed. The variety of guest entertainers was good from singers to comedian - something for everyone. In the Alaskan ports we enjoyed the uniqueness of each one as we soaked up the flavor of this amazing state. All I can say about the dinning is ---- delicious food & great service in the regular dinning room, the buffet, the Tuscana Specialty Restuarant & the outside grill. I really think my brother must have gained several pounds - he loved the food & the great variety of foods! I forgot to mention that my little brother is a 59 year old Navy Vet. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was my first time visiting Alaska and it was absolutely amazing! Embarkation in Seattle went very smooth. It took a total of 10 minutes from the moment we walked into the building the moment we walked onto the boat. Quickest ... Read More
This was my first time visiting Alaska and it was absolutely amazing! Embarkation in Seattle went very smooth. It took a total of 10 minutes from the moment we walked into the building the moment we walked onto the boat. Quickest and easiest embarkation I have experienced. Once we were on the boat it probably took about 3 hours before our room was ready. We ate at the Tuscan Grille the first night with a table by the wall of windows and we watched as we sailed away from Seattle while eating our amazing meal. The ship was clean and did not feel crowded, even though it was a sold out ship! We didn't have to wait in line for much and if we did, it wasn't very long. The food was delicious in both the Main Dining Room and at the buffet, although service in the Main Dining room tended to be a little slow. Activities on board were so much fun. There always seemed like there was something to do. Hot glass show is very entertaining but found the hypnotist a little boring and ended up leaving after a half an hour. Staff was always smiling and engaging and I appreciated someone always supplying hand sanitizer before eating. Our room was a balcony room and I felt like (for a cruise ship) there was plenty of space for the two of us. The bed was comfortable although I wish they had thicker blankets. Many movie options on the T.V. Plenty of storage. Closet was roomy. No outlets by the bed. Bathroom was larger than expected with a semi-big shower. All the ports were so beautiful. Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria. White Pass Railroad in Skagway is a must! We had a blast at each one, even if all we did was shop the scenery was breathtaking. Tracy Arm was beautiful! Skip the sleep and wake up early so you don't miss it. You wont regret it. The weather was excellent the entire time. No rain and mid 60's. Disembarkation was my only complaint. We had to leave our cabin by 8 and wait in a room with others until 9 to leave the ship. It was a little frustrating that we had to sit around for so long. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We did the 7day inner cruise flying into Seattle from London. The stateroom with a balcony proved a must particularly with our body clock out of sync as the 03.00 viewing of humpback whales in calm water was ethereal. Although we ... Read More
We did the 7day inner cruise flying into Seattle from London. The stateroom with a balcony proved a must particularly with our body clock out of sync as the 03.00 viewing of humpback whales in calm water was ethereal. Although we didn't partake of any evenings entertainment due to body clock, my wife and I loved the seminars reviewing what treats we were in for at each port and for anyone going, here was our take; If you do nothing else you must do the Tracy Arm excursion, Orca whale, Bald Eagles and Bear was spied as close as you like...this and the Sawyer Glacier made the trip for me. All other trips can be booked at ports or beforehand but be prepared for changes to itineries and the trips selling out quite quickly. Not sure I'd want to do this twice. Lady in the cabin next door had done it before and was disappointed as she didn't see as much this time so when you go do it all!! The Solstice was fantastic in every way possible with amazing staff. Then why the 4 stars - When you sell an excursion - stick with the program, Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
The Solstice is well appointed and the staff generally great. The Captain was an amazing navigator thru the Tracy Arm which turned out to be a trip highlight. There did not seem to be announcements in the rooms, so we may have missed out ... Read More
The Solstice is well appointed and the staff generally great. The Captain was an amazing navigator thru the Tracy Arm which turned out to be a trip highlight. There did not seem to be announcements in the rooms, so we may have missed out on some information. The Excursion staff was a weakness cancelling excursions early and not being helpful for those who arranged on their own as we did part of the time in advance--their attitude seemed to be you did not buy from us so forget any help. The food was the weakness with great items and some poor. Fish was superbly prepared (salmon especially) but some meat dishes were poor like the veal and chicken. Why not a good fried chicken? Other weak areas were the pizza (like cardboard) and the bread with few "healthy" multigrain type selections. How about great donuts. Salads were excellent and fresh. Wine selections were good and price fair for a cruise at $8 to 10 per glass. Desserts were also quite variable with the Creme Brulee very good. Dining room service was attentive and fast considering the number of diners. We did not do the special dining but heard the food was about the same. This was our first cruise and we would take Celebrity again, but had high expectations. Situations like lines in boarding were expected and the staff seemed to manage well even with waits, but the food was a real surprise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our first cruise and first trip to Alaska and it was the most wonderful trip. The ship is lovely and spotless. It took us 20 minutes to go through the process and get onboard. No issues or problems, it was a breeze. We ate ... Read More
This was our first cruise and first trip to Alaska and it was the most wonderful trip. The ship is lovely and spotless. It took us 20 minutes to go through the process and get onboard. No issues or problems, it was a breeze. We ate at the buffet, main dining room, Murano and Tuscan. All were very good with the exception of Tuscan. I think that was because we loved Murano so much. We enjoyed the shows and the comedians. Ms Amanda and Brent Nelson were so informative and enjoyable. There is not one thing we can complain about, food is good, the ship is lovely and you are in Alaska. We had no rain and temps in the 70's. Very lucky weather wise. Packed to much, lessons learned. 2 pairs of jeans, 1 fleece, 1 turtleneck, 1 pair of black pants and lots of tops for dinner. Throw in shortsleeved shirt. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We sailed Aqua class, room 1579, on our first cruise, we had wanted to see the Bay of Islands and Bora Bora, so this was a perfect way to do it. We figured if we did not like cruising, we were heading to Hawaii, so what did we have to ... Read More
We sailed Aqua class, room 1579, on our first cruise, we had wanted to see the Bay of Islands and Bora Bora, so this was a perfect way to do it. We figured if we did not like cruising, we were heading to Hawaii, so what did we have to lose! The ship was just beautiful, not one of the wood panelled fossils or a 'you will have fun' type of places, just a sophisticated atmosphere. There are several bars with comfy chairs to relax in, and lots of reading nooks as well. The pool area has two pools and an area for entertainment/fountain, and of course a pool bar. There is also an indoor pool which is cool on very hot days, and warm on the days heading to NZ when it was a bit cool for outside swimming. One thing that really impressed us about the ship is the level of cleanliness, its spotless, and kept that way constantly. The Aqua class rooms have plenty of space, and storage, no need to bring shoe hangers etc. for your bits and pieces. The shower is smallish, of course, but has lots of jets, so is quite comfortable. Bed is a queens size, two chairs and a table on the balcony, water and cold tea is supplied daily, and we were very comfortable. Fresh fruit is supplied daily, and we had champers on arrival. I have read comments that there was nothing to do on the ship, well all I can say is you were not looking The activities were varied, from the usual games to presentation/talks, to learning the Hula or euk, or how to take better photos. Of course, every activity is not for everyone, you just go to what you are interested in. We loved Chef Richard's cooking classes, he is a really funny guy. The pool was a focus for entertainment in the afternoons, and the lounges in the evenings. Staff were terrific, friendly and quick to help. We loved the Blu restaurant, which is for Aqua class only, it is smaller and more intimate than the big dining room. Food was excellent, with an ever changing menu and portion sizes were not large. This meant we did not feel too full even when we had 3 courses. Breakfast in Blu is lovely each morning, and I often had muslie made at the table, but the eggs were delicious too. But what makes Blue even better is the wonderful staff, who are clearly top of their profession, and who work together to make sure each and every guest is attended to according to their needs. Whatever guests want is supplied, and they pay particular attention to guests on their own to ensure they have a great experience. We bought a drinks package, which was well worth doing on a cruise where there are so many days at sea. If I was taking a cruise where we were off the ship on shore every day, I would not bother with a package. But I did enjoy the martini bar a bit too much! We did not eat in the specialty restaurants, as we did not see the need, and their menus seemed a bit too heavy for us, but others did and all seemed to have a great time. We did eat in the buffet for lunch, and there was plenty of variety. We had a great Indian curry one day, as good as we make at home. Most days we had salad, cold cuts or fresh made rolls and sat on the stern of the ship at the bar for a couple of hours admiring the view and chanting to people we had met. The day after we left Auckland the buffet had fresh prawns, mussels and oysters, which explains why we could not get any in NZ! Apparently we bought the market out of them. One group of friends had the right idea, they just sat together eating fresh seafood and drinking champagne for the afternoon. Evening entertainment was varied, we went to a couple of shows we were interested in and really enjoyed them. Of course not every show was for us, so we just skipped them and sat for the evening in one of the lounges where there was entertainment. The ship had a jazz group, a solo singer who sang more contemporary songs, a band that played dancing music, and a duo who sang a wide range of music. Something for everyone I think, and we enjoyed them all at different times. Getting on and off the ship was easy, we had no problems, unfortunately the US customs process is slow, and that meant many people did not see much of Maui, as this is where the immigration etc is done ON THE SHIP. You cannot disembark without going through the process. We only did one shore excursion with the cruise line, at Bora Bora we went to the Lagoonarium. This was fun, thanks to the staff on the ship, who took us to another spot to snorkel as well. The Lagoonarium is tired, lacks fish (its mostly sting rays and sharks) and the grounds have not been kept well and are starting to get unsafe. It quite rocky to get in and out of the water and the rocks had a lot of moss on them, which meant a couple of people fell. There are better snorkelling trips that are on offer. In Morea we booked a day pass at the Hilton, which has its own area for snorkelling, and a lovely pool etc. it included lunch, and we had a great day. I do not think this is a cruise to take kids on, there is not enough for them to do, look for a line that is more family orientated. In summary, we loved the cruise, and felt we had value for money. Celebrity have a motto of modern luxury, which exactly describes the trip. In hindsight I would probably do the cruise in reverse, and fly to Hawaii then cruise home. Just saves on luggage weight hassles. Our luggage was damaged in both Sydney and Honolulu so I have had to buy a new suitcase, which is why you have travel insurance I suppose. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Sailed on her (Celebrity Solstice) on the 22nd March 2015, it was our first cruise, we had the best time on board, all the staff were very friendly, the ship was spotless, food was great. We didn't buy a drinks package as we ... Read More
Sailed on her (Celebrity Solstice) on the 22nd March 2015, it was our first cruise, we had the best time on board, all the staff were very friendly, the ship was spotless, food was great. We didn't buy a drinks package as we aren't drinkers but coffee and 1Litre bottled water was very reasonably priced $6 for each. Entertainment on board was varied, something for everyone. Our cabin 6217 was spacious, with plenty of room in the bathroom. Our cabin attendants were very nice in fact were the best you could ask for. Guest relations were very helpful. Shore excursions were a little on the expensive side if you book on board but were well managed. Disembarking was a breeze it was very well organised by staff. My only fault were the pillows, but having said that I didn't ask if they had one that would suit me. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
A couple of things, we are a married couple in our early 40s. This was our first cruise and we live in Seattle. We Ubered down to the pier in about 30 minutes. We arrived around 11:35 am. The check in process was really fast but where to ... Read More
A couple of things, we are a married couple in our early 40s. This was our first cruise and we live in Seattle. We Ubered down to the pier in about 30 minutes. We arrived around 11:35 am. The check in process was really fast but where to leave your bags was confusing and chaotic. You kind of just throw your bags onto a cart being pulled by dudes. You just had to have faith that your bags were delivered to your room. Walking onto the ship, you receive a glass of champagne (very nice) and you kind of just roam around the ship until you can get into your room. (I think this was around 1 or 2 pm). The Buffet (Ocean View was open) and we went there later since it was pretty chaotic. We headed up to the top of the ship and the lawn on the Solstice is pretty cool but it seemed pretty useless. (I think the space could be better used). I don't think in the 7 days, we did anything on the lawn and after a while you kind of forget about it. The ship is pretty nice and it's huge. It didn't feel crowded (except certain times such as the Buffet when everyone is arriving for the first time). There are lots of places to hang out and relax and not deal with any people. You just need to roam and get a feel for the ship. The ships seemed pretty new and the only wear and tear I noticed on the ship was the wood hand railings but other than that for 6 year old ship, it looked pretty new and didn't seem dated at all. Once we got into the room, a bottle of champagne was waiting for us. We had 2 bags and one of our bags showed up quickly but the other bag didn't show up for like 2 hours. (Really weird since they were on the same cart). You start to stress when one bag is missing which is not a nice way to start out on a cruise. We kept bugging the Cabin Steward since you would look out in the hallway and see the other rooms with all their bags or at least multiple bags. Maybe we were just stressing too much on this. We were in an Aqua Class room. (the price was the same as the concierge class rooms). The cabin is nice and clean. The bathroom was nice as well. The room is small and you have to very organized. They do have a lot of storage space which is a positive. We didn't have any noise problems. We did notice the sheets sometimes had holes in them. The information booklet was being held together by scotch tape. We mentioned this to the Cabin Steward who said they were going to be replaced. The Veranda is pretty cool but my issue about the 11th floor is that you have all the support beams holding up deck 12 which obstructs your panoramic view. You also can't look up which comes into play when the boat is in Tracy Arm. The Cabin Steward was nice and he did address any concerns we had. The TV was pretty cool. It was using Apple TV. It did flake once a while (sound and downloading) and the free on demand was pretty good (movies). They also had Season 11 of Top Chef and I ended up watching most of the episodes. There is WiFi but the price is pretty steep and you are getting a modem download speed so don't expect to be watching Netflix. The room was on the Port side, mid-ship but towards the front. We were very close the elevators which if you went down directly led you to the theater and directly up to the fitness center+spa and the Sky Lounge. The fitness center was very nice. They had all new machines. You could even blue tooth connect an iPhone/iPod/iPad to it. (I heard they just got this equipment a couple of weeks ago). The fitness was really small and I did walk by a Yoga Class one morning and it was packed like sardines in there but in the late evenings if you work out, it is pretty quiet and you use the room for yourself. The relaxation room and the *special* showers, steam room & sauna were ok. I'm not sure if it is worth it in Aqua Class. The SPA prices were equivalent to the Four Seasons. We did not use their services so we can't comment on it. Aqua Class allows you access to Blu which we tried once for breakfast but after they kind of left us standing on the 2nd day, we never went back so we never ate their for dinner. We did eat at the main dining room (Gran Epernay) for lunch and dinner. The service and the food was ok. We also ate at the Tuscan Grille which we really enjoyed (plus its in a great location at the back of the ship). Murano was ok. Some of the food was delicious and the other food items were ok. If you are paying, I would stick with the Tuscan Grille. We didn't eat at Silk Harvest. Yes, the service is better at these places but if you are expecting the service of a Michelin Star Restaurant, you are going to be disappointed. The one thing about the specialty restaurants is that you can order as much as you want. (They are basically buffets where somebody serving you). This is hard to get used to since you can eat as much as you want. The Buffet (Oceanview Café) was pretty good and they change the food everyday so you don't get tired of the food. We enjoyed the Sushi (which changes everyday too) which was available for dinner. The food at the Buffet was probably better in my opinion than eating at the main dining room plus you can eat whenever you want. The set dinner times just didn't work for us since our schedule would change everyday (due to the shows or if it was a port day, etc...) The one thing I will mention about room service is the menu is limited so we ended up getting food from the Buffet and bringing it back to the room in the daytime or evening. The buffet ends at 1 am so anything after that until 6 am, you will have to order room service. The only thing I'll mention about the coffee is that it seemed watered down. I purchased the premium beverage package so I was buying my lattes, Americanos, shots of espresso and cappuccinos from Café on the 5th Floor deck. I would recommend getting a premium beverage package that covers this. In regards to the beverage package, I thought I got my money's worth from the bottled water, shots of espresso and drinking all the wine (especially in Cellar Masters) I wanted. The wine selection is excellent on the ship but you may have to go to certain locations to find the wines such as Cellar Masters) The Martini Bar was good as well as the Molecular Bar. You will encounter a lot of intoxicated people in the evenings and at the bar. I didn't see a lot in the daytime. You will notice the same people hanging out at the same places. Cruising is definitely for old people, the youngest couples are probably in their 40s and there weren't a lot of kids. The shows are pretty good. I especially enjoyed Brent Nixon and Jason Bishop (illusionist). The Top Chef at Sea Quick fire wasn't that good. It wasn't really a quick fire. It was more like, you cook some fish and you cook some meat. The live bands on the ship were pretty good. There was all kinds of music to enjoy. My comments on the ports are below but the weather was sunny and warm (in the 60s). The weather in Seattle is typically very nice so are departure and arrival in Seattle was beautiful. The weather was also beautiful in Victoria. The only issue was the tendering in Juneau which was poorly executed. A lot of people were waiting for a long time to exit the ship. We barely met our 4 pm excursion when the boat arrived at 1:30. Disembarkation was pretty straight forward. We chose to take our bags off the ship. We departed at 7:30 and we were home by 8 am. Overall, we expected more and we'll probably choose a different line to see if we were judging to harshly or if this is the typical experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Celebrity Solstice Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 5.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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