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18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
In a nutshell, this cruise was near perfect in every respect EXCEPT for shore excursions. Celebrity needs to take a good hard look at how it trains and staffs it shore excursions team, and how it executes tender days. We chose this as ... Read More
In a nutshell, this cruise was near perfect in every respect EXCEPT for shore excursions. Celebrity needs to take a good hard look at how it trains and staffs it shore excursions team, and how it executes tender days. We chose this as our first cruise because of the outstanding price on this pseudo-positioning cruise. For the price of an inside cabin, we got a partially obstructed verandah stateroom (6287), albeit probably the least lovely verandah room on the ship. However, with a classic beverages package and $300 onboard credit included, it was still a steal. Make no mistake - this is a gorgeous and tastefully appointed ship. From the large and extremely well-equipped gym, which we used every day, to the luxurious 'basic category' Grand Epernay restaurant, this ship exudes quality. While I'm at it, the Solstice is an exceptional seakeeper. We barely felt any motion at all in our 14 days of cruising. Perversely enough, I was a bit disappointed - I wanted to get some sea legs! Dining was wonderful, and one of our highlights. We got into the habit of having a healthy breakfast of fresh fruit and muffins at the Aqua Spa cafe before heading into the gym,and eating lunch and dinner at the Grand Epernay. We cannot speak highly enough of this restaurant and its staff. Being Aussies, tipping is a little foreign to us, but we found ourselves willingly handing out substantial envelopes at the end of our cruise to our wait staff on top of the included gratuities fees. These guys made us feel *special*. And on the subject of wait staff, ask your sommelier to show you over the two-story wine cellar/wine tower. It is a piece of over-the-top fun. Pro-tip: if you don't see anything on the ever-changing standard menu that appeals, ask to see the Vegetarian and Indian menus. They prepare a full menu for each style every night, and I found myself regulary eating some of the best authentic Indian cuisine I had ever had. Our Balinese room attendant, Edy, was a delight. He dealt with a number of minor issues for us through the cruise, and only ever had to be asked for anything once. Enrichment activities abounded. There were plenty of live entertainers in different genres, and they were of uniformly high quality. The unlikely highlight for us was the glass blowing show, which we ended up attending four times. The three women running the show were very talented, and no two shows were the same. For us, this was the must-do activity of the cruise. There was a restaurant and a bar for every taste. The large buffet-style Oceanview cafe was not to our liking, but the food was abundant, diverse and generally superb. Many passengers preferred it to the Grand Epernay. The only low point, and it was a big one, was the handling of shore excursions. The counter staff in shore excursions knew less about the destinations than we did, and indeed one of them knew almost nothing, as it was his first cruise. We all have to start somewhere, but a good start would be to read the same brochure that the passengers received in their staterooms! Another staffer insisted in the face of all evidence to the contrary that the Great Barrier Reef excursions from Airlie Beach and Cairns went to the same reef platform (not identical platforms - the exact same one), despite these two ports being 290 Nautical Miles apart! If you are reading this Kressia, stop saying it!!! However, the worst was to come with the actual excursions themselves. On our Cairns Reef trip, we were all dutifiully loaded on to our excursion boat over a 30 minute period, only to be told that we had been put on the wrong boat. The right boat was tied up alongside us, and all of us, including many people with limited mobility and at least two wheelchair passengers, had to cross-deck from one reef boat to another, This basic error chewed an hour from our time on the reef, which had already been truncated anyway. To add insult to injury, after we returned from our foreshortened reef trip, our excursion boat stood 300 metres off the ship for two hours before we were permitted to unload. None of this was the fault of the excursion company. It was all down to Celebrity. To be fair, they did try to make good with partial refunds and a free bottle of champagne in the room, but all anybody really wanted was a good trip and a decent amount of time on the Reef. We basically gave up on shore excursions after that, but feedback from other passengers was that the excursions were rushed, and that too little time was allowed for each place or attraction. Tender ports are undoubtedly difficult, especially for large ships, and this cruise included three of them. However, Celebrity is in control of all of the variables, and they should cut their coat to suit their cloth. Shore excursions were the only aspect of the trip where we felt we got less than we deserved. Would we do this trip again? You bet your life we would. In fact, we booked our next cruise on board. However, if there were any 'must see' desitnations en route, I would have a contingency to get to them independently in case Celebrity's shore excursions let us down. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We just finished the Singapore to Sydney Cruise - post multi dollar investment 'maiden cruise' - very glad to be home. Based on our two previous excellent cruises on the Solstice, it is very apparent that this once great ... Read More
We just finished the Singapore to Sydney Cruise - post multi dollar investment 'maiden cruise' - very glad to be home. Based on our two previous excellent cruises on the Solstice, it is very apparent that this once great vessel has 'Lost It's Gloss'. We assume the ship's 'X' (pun intended) factor has been bludgeoned by short sighted accountants. The ship, what it now has to offer and its 'human resources' are very ... in fact VERY! tired - to the point of being 'not up too par' in the emergence of far superior ships now sailing in the Australian market. The alleged multi million dollar facelift did not however include the basics and maintenance of acceptable comfortable accomodations. Gazebos/ Cabanas (profit generating ... they do not come free!), Audio Visual infrastructure and a Sushi Restaurant (Now a specialty restaurant - and believe me - there ain't! anything special - at the cost of being once an inclusive bill-o-fare offering in the Oceanview Cafe) does not IMHO, represent a multi million dollar makeover. Celebrity needs to get the bling and marketing out of their equasion and get back to the tiredness of their staterooms, the sheer filth of the carpet in the Oceanview Cafe, the weather worn deck furniture and the list goes on and on!!! The ship is a floating petri dish - we are both nursing gastro and chest infections & feeling quite dreadful. Yes! It was once a very classy lady - in fact iconic - which once convinced me that cruising was a no brainer for the 'holistic' and 'turnkey' holiday experience. A cruise retailer who we met on board, succinctly summed up the experience ... "the service standard on this cruise is way off point". We quickly got the impression that the crew morale was at an all time low and there were serious issues at the human resources level. At times, the food was inedible, and every second plate in the Oceanview Cafe was chipped (fabulous environment for bacteria) and/or insufficiently washed. At best, these 'gastronomic free for alls' - which at times resemble the trading floor of the New York Stock exchange, are reputed for being 'the bain maries of death'. On arriving in Darwin, our cabin was 'randomly selected' by border security for a search. And! I mean a search - just short of including an internal. I complained bitterly to Guest Relations who promised the earth to get to the bottom of the issue and the violation of our rights. After promising the earth, the next morning we were advised by guest relations that we would need to address our concerns and displeasure to the legal department of RCC in Miami. They passed the buck - Nasty experience. The embarkation process in Singapore begged a description - waiting in line for two hours in sweltering humidity. Yes! the tendering process was also appalling. Lots of very pissed off punters. From now on ... we will seek an alternative cruise line or stay firmly on land. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I chose this cruise because I just wanted a holiday. The idea of one flight, an easy 8 or so hours to Singapore and then cruising home to Sydney via ports I had already seen really appealed. We also got an incredible deal and the new ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I just wanted a holiday. The idea of one flight, an easy 8 or so hours to Singapore and then cruising home to Sydney via ports I had already seen really appealed. We also got an incredible deal and the new improved interent is wonderful. It would be worth paying for if not included. No more waiting and watching the minutes tick by and the costs mount up when downloading. Embarkation was a mess. Turned up at the time requested and it the took one and three quarter hours to check in. Not good enough. Trying to decide if this a Singapore problem having struck a similar problem a few years ago on Azamara. At least this time there were seats! Tendering was always a very, very slow process, so time in Bali and Cairns was very limited. The Cairns debacle was evidently caused by Celebrity loading 280 passengers going to the Great Barrier Reef on to the wrong boat and then having to get them off and on again. Unbelievable. Dining was fine except for a meal in Silk Harvest where the loud live music made conversation impossible. If they are going to put Kimchi on the menu I think it should be authentic, not watered down. Extra chili could have been offered. I think I have only ever enjoyed one production show in all my years of cruising, a wonderful Cirque de Soleil type of performance on Solstice. I had hoped for something similar. No such luck.Yes, the dancers move well but the singers seem to have a very limited range and just belt out noise. Not nice. The string quartets were lovely to listen to. No complaints at all about service. I'd go again if there was an itinerary that appealed and a similar all in deal on offer. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Having cruised previously with several other cruise companies, we chose Celebrity solely because of the itinerary. Living in England, a chance to see some of Australia and New Zealand with days in Singapore before and Sydney afterwards ... Read More
Having cruised previously with several other cruise companies, we chose Celebrity solely because of the itinerary. Living in England, a chance to see some of Australia and New Zealand with days in Singapore before and Sydney afterwards justified the long haul flights. Embarkation in Singapore was a farce, taking two and a half hours! The TV and Safe didn't work in our cabin and our cases didn't arrive until late in the evening! We also had a constant problem with our sea pass card not working properly. Celebrity fairly obviously rely on selling expensive packages to swell their funds. Internet, Spa, Alcoholic and soft drinks and even water packages were being constantly pushed. (A bottle of wine for US$50 could be bought for Aus$12.50 !) Tendering ashore from Bali, Cairns, and Airlie Beach was a joke! Up to two and a half hours, shore to ship! Also thought when paying the inflated prices for the 'ships excursions' a complimentary bottle of water could have been made available when temperatures reach 30 degrees + and 90%+ humidity, instead of having to purchase one! The second part of the cruise from Sydney around New Zealand was a definite improvement, coincidently with a new Captain at the helm? Tendering ashore at Akaroa and Bay of Islands was a great improvement with even Officers from the ship seen at the helm of the tenders! When docked for example at Brisbane and Dunedin where the size of the ship stopped her berthing more centrally, transfers to the town centres where charged for, (approximately $25) - surely these could have been complimentary? In summary, the Solstice was well equipped and our cabin was comfortable, once Bharath, our cabin steward - who couldn't have been more helpful- had sorted the problems. The food was excellent both in the Grand Epernay and the Oceanview Café - where Don cooked a mean steak just to our liking. The staff were friendly and obliging and the itinerary was what we had hoped for. It's just a shame the administration let it down and if only Celebrity treated their Passengers as 'Guests' and not captive 'Cash Cows' then it might have warranted five stars! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We had already had a nice long cruise earlier in the year but this one was too cheap to pass over. We had also cruised on Solstice in late 2015 after usually cruising Princess and found it refreshing to sail on a modern spacious ship with ... Read More
We had already had a nice long cruise earlier in the year but this one was too cheap to pass over. We had also cruised on Solstice in late 2015 after usually cruising Princess and found it refreshing to sail on a modern spacious ship with a younger passenger list. Ship's staff were very friendly, efficient and mostly went out of their way to help but in the Oceanview Buffet, we thought some were hesitant to serve us with tea of coffee. Food quality and presentation was excellent at most venues. We bought a Three Dinner Specialty Package which we would not do again. Silk Harvest was OK but food was ordinary. Murano quality and service was excellent but the waitress ignored our requests for small servings. Murano atmosphere was also diminished by the Maitre D allowing jeans and poloshirts in on an 'Evening Chic' dress code night. Tuscan Grille was outstanding in every way: service, quality and views down the ship's wake. Embarkation at Singapore was unusually slow and confused, but that may have been a problem with Singapore port authority. Tender services at Bali, Yorkies and Airlie were very slow leaving and returning. Other cruise ships do it better. We bought a ship's excursion in Bali and it was OK. We also bought bus shuttle tickets in Darwin which were disgracefully expensive for and 800 mter bus ride. Sky Observatory lounge was closed off each evening for Elite Only passengers which seemed a waste and was a bit annoying. The Classic Beverage package was included in our ticket price and we upgraded to Premium as a special treat. We thought it was worthwhile and enjoyed the better wines, coffees and cocktails. The Martini Bar and Cafe Al Baccio were excellent. Ship's attention to hygeine and hand cleanliness was visibly excellent and there were always staff cleaning and polishing windows and handrails. Unfortunately we both caught chest infections in the last few days and recently found we had also contracted transient viral hepatitis which has flattened both of us. My wife is still recovering and the experience has changed our views on the risks of cruising. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Well, this 27 night back to back cruise was part of adventure which started in Singapore and ended 39 days later in Dubai. 5 ports tendered, 6 ports docked and what an amazing trip we had with somegreat memories Embarkation in Singapore ... Read More
Well, this 27 night back to back cruise was part of adventure which started in Singapore and ended 39 days later in Dubai. 5 ports tendered, 6 ports docked and what an amazing trip we had with somegreat memories Embarkation in Singapore was a little delayed due to the ship not arriving at the terminal as scheduled following its partial refit. Celebrity’s best laid plans of allocating embarkation time slots based on the deck of your stateroom was well intentioned but it ended up not quite so well executed as a result of the delay. Never mind, we were getting on board for 27 nights so what was a couple of hours! Accommodation 1C balcony cabin deck 8 absolutely fine, kept very clean by Cabin steward and bedding and towels changed regularly - no complaints whatsoever. Main Dining room Select dining, same group of tables each night (455/456) meant same waiter (Jesso) and his assistant (Singh) who looked after us admirably every evening meal time. Aleksander our wine waiter was also brilliant. He knew exactly what wines we liked (three different types of wines across the four of us!) and glasses were poured as soon as we sat down. When it looked as if the supply of one was running out he quickly found us a very suitable alternative. All three of them were very pleasant, chatty and efficient. It was a pleasure to be served by them, nothing was too much trouble. I often read complaints that the portion sizes have been reduced, steaks are thinner etc as cruise ships seek to reduce overheads. Well there is always enough to eat one way or another in any number of places 24 hours a day! Oceanview cafe dining Always busy no matter when you picked to go for breakfast or lunch so occasionally on a sea day when we were not in any rush we went to the main dining room for breakfast. Excellent choice of food as usual. If you can’t find something here to satisfy your hunger then you are very hard to please. Whilst cafe was always busy it was not often that you stood for more than a couple of minutes waiting either to be served by the crew or to find a seat. Cafe al Bacco Maurita one of the staff was a star here. Always knew what we wanted to drink (we are creatures of habit!) and looked after us really well. If I have a criticism here it is that the cafe is not big enough and often it was hard to find a seat which was why it was often the case that the Sushi restaurant had many coffee drinkers encroaching into the area when it was closed just to get a seat for a coffee. The Sushi restaurant was never ever full on any evening and the ship could do with the cafe area expanding and the Sushi restaurant contracting to meet demand better as there were always certainly more coffee drinkers than Sushi diners! Theatre Entertainment A very mixed bag as far as the four aged 60+ Brits in our group were concerned. It’s very much our opinion as some people loved every show; we just felt that some of the shows would be better suited to an audience where the average age is much lower than was on this 27 night voyage. Ben Powey, Cruise Director was very good, excellent sense of humour and gave an excellent talk on his working relationship with the late Steve Irwin. Guest Relations Felt we always got good service from Guy Brundrett and his team. They are always pleasant, keen to help despite some long queues at times. I know that on our trip there were an unusually high number of back to back cruisers, over 900 I was told, so a third of the passengers were staying on board to do the second cruise. The arrangements made specifically for us by Guy and his team in respect of complying with Australian immigration requirements as a result of this was first class. (All passengers were required by Australian immigration to leave the ship for a minimum of three hours). We attended a presentation in the theatre two days before arriving in Sydney at the end of the first cruise, were talked through the process step by step and received detailed documentation and instructions in our stateroom. As a result our one day stop in Sydney was managed extremely well and both disembarkation in the morning and embarkation later in the day went very smoothly, a breeze in fact! Tendering Operations Do the maths!- 2,700 passengers, 4 of the ships tenders ferrying 120 people at a time, 25 minute crossing to shore plus return trip and “loading and unloading” time. I understand that it is the Port Authority that dictates how this operates so where Celebrity had to use local operators with bigger tenders (250+ passengers) then further delays are often inevitable. Unfortunately tendering is one of the factors we have to live with on some cruises more than others. Shore excursions We only did three Celebrity excursions (all on the first cruise – Bali, Darwin and Yorkey’s Knob). All three were well organised and we were happy with them. Overall Positives:- Captain Tasos was first class and did his morning briefing with nice touch of humour. Stateroom clean and spacious, more than adequate for the gear needed for 27 nights on board. Laundry service was very good and efficient, albeit not particularly cheap. Dining experience in main dining room excellent. Guest relations teams work on immigration issues/paperwork etc was worthy of mention as I often think this team gets all the flak from guests and little praise. Negatives:- Ship starting to show it is ready for some further refurbishment – carpets get hammered by 2,700 guests and 1,300 crew members. I think some need replacing, particularly around the Oceanview cafe area. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We chose this back to back cruise because we had never been to Australia or New Zealand before and it was my husband's retirement year so we now had the opportunity. We firstly travelled to Dubai where we spent two nights and then ... Read More
We chose this back to back cruise because we had never been to Australia or New Zealand before and it was my husband's retirement year so we now had the opportunity. We firstly travelled to Dubai where we spent two nights and then Singapore where we also spent two nights before embarkation. The embarkation took hours and I began to wonder how it would be getting on and off at the ports later on! The ship was fine, lots of space in our cabin which was 8260, and we were well looked after by Michael our steward. There were many opportunities for entertainment which was important as we had quite a few 'sea' days. However, I should have liked less 'selling' activities. The shows were especially good. The gym was excellent but I couldn't find any wrist or ankle weights. The pool areas were also excellent and people seemed to love the solarium especially. With regard to the restaurants we only visited the main buffet restaurant and the formal evening dining restaurant where we had the 8.30 sitting which suited us fine. After the first cruise we lost two members from our table of six and, for some reason they were not replaced! It took ages for us to be allocated another table, this time for ten, for more company, and then it was only because our area was drafty and I complained about this, only then were we moved. Prior to this there was no attempt to replace the two guests who left at Sydney. Bali, Cairns, and Airlie Beach were all tendered ports. I had booked private tours and suffered a great deal of stress because of repeated statements regarding’ only people who booked tours with the ship’ would be tendered first. Actually some passengers, allocated higher status gold cards, were also given priority. We were told to go to the area of debarkation when we wanted to leave the ship but this did not work and you would then be on a high number tender. We had to queue from approx. 6.00am in order to get a relatively low number tender ticket or we would not have made the rendezvous for our trips. With regard to New Zealand this was not so bad and we had a new captain which might have helped. However at the last port on the Bay of Islands; thick fog was the problem. The tenders were halted and we did not get off until late morning. Luckily for us the boat tour that we had booked put on an afternoon trip and shorted its timing so that cruise passengers could go on it. Others were not so lucky apparently and lost their trip. I must praise the tour companies who, knowing the problems, did everything in their power to help us achieve the trips that we had booked, and, in the event we managed to undertake all that had been booked. However, the stress and the waiting and still wondering if we would be OK was a huge factor in spoiling the enjoyment of the cruise for me. I had booked a great deal of private tours. In fact, the only one that I booked with the solstice was the last day when we docked in Sidney and were supposed to go directly to the airport when our flight was not until late evening! I booked the tour to the Blue Mountains mainly so that our luggage would be with us and it was not due back until 3,00pm which, although still early was better than 8.am. However at the last moment the cruise ship altered the timing of the trip and instead of leaving at 7.45am we had to meet at 6.45am and then we were back at 2.00pm at the airport instead of 3.00pm. This was to accommodate passengers with earlier flights. With hindsight, I would have looked for a private tour who would also have taken our luggage and had a leisurely day rather than a very rushed one. Also, another alternative would be to leave the luggage at a facility near the port in Sidney and do whatever you liked until time to go to the airport. My only other comment is with regard to the vegetables in the restaurant. They were constantly undercooked and the green beans in particular, which I normally love, were inedible. At one time I asked the waiter if had ever wondered why the beans were always left on the plate. I also asked him if mine could be taken back and cooked a bit more. He then returned with a dish full of other vegetables. I tried again and stated, no, I wanted just the beans but fully cooked. He then returned with a large dish of beans, which all at the table eagerly took some, only to find that they were all cooked exactly the same but with more salt! Obviously language was a problem here and the vegetables are all still being undercooked I expect. I know the fashion is for al dente, and I hate overcooked vegetables but they must be edible? The only problem in going again would be the tendering anxieties but it is a real problem and makes me think that flying directly to a country and touring is a better option than being on a cruise ship far longer than in the country being visited? However, cruising in itself is what a great deal of people enjoy and I must admit we did have a lovely time and very much appreciate the ports that we visted and the kindness and helpfulness of most of the ship's staff. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Australia to Singapore We, a party of 4, had sailed from Perth to Sydney via New Zealand 2 years ago & decided we'd like to do another, we decided on this cruise because we'd been with Celebrity twice before and they had ... Read More
Australia to Singapore We, a party of 4, had sailed from Perth to Sydney via New Zealand 2 years ago & decided we'd like to do another, we decided on this cruise because we'd been with Celebrity twice before and they had been very good, how have they got things so wrong. 1. Embarkation was fine bag drop at the cruise terminal and then had a stroll around the Opera house until our time to get aboard and our balcony room was also ready for us to inspect, a good start. 2. We had each decided to buy the Premium beverage package which we did...we love our wine and beer and cocktails. I'd priced this up before leaving the UK at $65per day which I was told, by the Celebrity staff in the UK, included the 18% gratuity, only to find that in Australia it's $77 per day, reason Aussie don't like tipping so the 18% gratuity is now included in the price. Nowhere in Celebtity's literature is this mentioned, not happy bunnies. When I went to complain about this to Guest Relations showing them an e-mail I had with me they stuck to their script that that's the price and I'd have to contact head office to complain. We got a gift certificate of £75 pp for all the inconvenience we've had but not admitting they were wrong but as a good will gesture. 3. Laundry, don't use if want your clothes ruined. My wife sent down 2 pairs of her trousers for pressing, as irons are banned, and when they came back they were ruined, she hadn't even worn them. The trousers came back with a white powdery coating on them and were shiny totally ruined. She went to Guest Relations showing them the problem and they told her to give them back to the laundry to see if they could make them any better, this time the other pair had a snag, like a pull near one of the pockets again down to Guest Relations who offered initially $30 compensation for both trousers then changed it to per trouser. 4. The organisation for tendering when you want to do your own thing and not a ship's excursion was very poor, We were told to get your tender tickets only when you're ready to go ashore but tenders didn't start before 9.30am, half the morning gone. We got our tickets at 10am for Cairns and actually got into Cairns at 1pm total joke. Talked to a couple who were on our tender who just got the same one back when thay saw the queue for the bus into Cairns. 5. Excursion prices are very expensive. The coach transfers by Celebrity which I personally believe should be free into the ports we visited as they weren't near the towns , except Darwin, were expensive Brisbane was $22 pp, Airlie beach $5 local bus, Cairns $22 I think, Darwin $5 local bus, Bali did our own tour for $25 each for 3-4 hours. Your bus tickets are non-refundable if you decide not to use them. 6. Overall the food on the ship was fine, if you didn't like something the waiters would change it. We ordered early morning tea for our stateroom one day but found that was lukewarm so didn't bother again. how is it that you can't get a decent cup of tea aboard cruise ships. One thing that didn't work in the main restaurant was the dress codes we saw people sat for dinner in tee-shirts, shorts & trainers and not very clean ones at that. 7. One annoying thing was we were always asked if we wanted speciality dining every time we went into the Ocean View Cafe which we always declined, why would you want to pay extra. If I wanted speciality dining I would have booked prior to coming on board. 9. The Martini & World Class bars on decks 4 & 5 were our favourites for cocktails. We went to the Ensemble Lounge for a pre dinner drink and sat at a table waiting for a waiter to take our order but no body came so we sat at the bar and some people sat at the table we'd just vacated and as if by magic a waiter appeared. To be honest this lounge was scruffy and had bits of nibbles all around the floor of that table not a nice experience, so we headed back to the Martini bar where we got served straight away. we did complain to a member of staff about our experience but we didn't hear anything from Guest Relations. Also a mention must go to Café al Bacio and the very funny Alexandria who had us in stitches whilst dishing out coffee & cake. 10. Room attendants were always polite and nothing was too much trouble couldn't fault them at all. 11. We went to a couple of the shows and they were about average nothing good enough to bring you back. After the 9.00pm show there wasn't much else going on even in the Sky lounge which is supposed to be the night club on ship, even here you would only get around 2 dozen people in here. the only time tis lounge was full was when the daily 3.15 & 3.45 quizes were on. We met some really nice people over the holiday but things have definitly taken a downward turn for Celebrity and I can't see us sailing with them in the near future. Solstice was going in for a minor refit when in Singapore so I'll keep an eye out to see any reviews. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This review joins others covering the recent cruise from Sydney to Singapore on the Celebrity Solstice. As with my other reviews on this site, I always want to start by describing myself as someone you will find at the bars, restaurants, ... Read More
This review joins others covering the recent cruise from Sydney to Singapore on the Celebrity Solstice. As with my other reviews on this site, I always want to start by describing myself as someone you will find at the bars, restaurants, gym and casinos - not the shows. First to confirm what others have said - the ship is tired in places. (No comparison, for example, to the Diamond Princess, which was truly spotless.) I don't think the 9 day dry dock that was scheduled at the end of the cruise (and which is now presumably complete) could possibly be enough. For example, in my (Royal) suite, trim was missing from a couple of the doors, reflective film on the glass on my balcony (making part of the signature X that you can see mid-ship when you look at the ship from a distance) was peeling in a number of places and more than a little bit of rust was pushing through the white paint on the balcony. Also, even though drinks and specialty dining were included in my fare, I can see why people are commenting on the shameless commerce sales job on drink packages and specialty restaurants - which was constant....and I agree that north of $75/day is too much for the premium booze package. The shore excursions were not that great. Getting to them was ok - typical meet in the showroom and get your numbered sticker - although the person in charge at the microphone treated the passengers much like a third grade teacher handling her unruly students. From the tone of the voice and repeated commands the words "ladies and gentlemen" morphed after a while to sounding like "boys and girls"........... Finally, although I had priority, if you had to get off the ship via tender - good luck. The ship did hire local (faster) vessels to assist - but it was still slower than normal for a ship that size getting off. I found the staff overall to be very friendly - everywhere, including the casino. The food was good - about the same as most other large cruise ships. I generally look to the buffet to judge/compare food and the food here on the solstice was better than most. The coffee is good - unlike most similar ships. I found that there was adequate seating - and prompt clearing of tables. In this case even better than the Regent 7 Seas. My only comment is that they lacked a full selection of condiments - no A-1 (I finally found some in the Tuscan Grille - they may have had a secret stash), no green Tabasco and, believe it or not, no regular good old yellow mustard (you had to go to the hamburger grill 6 decks up to find any). Celebrity - Coleman's Hot yellow mustard (English - super hot) and Dijon just does not cut it. To be fair, this cruise was at the tail end of a series of cruises outside of the US and the ship was headed to dry dock - so inventories may have been down. The bars had the best selection of booze of any ship that I have been on recently. At the Martini Bar the selections of vodka included many brands, including Chopin (which Regent seemed to conveniently run out of on my last trip) and Imperia that was bottled in Saint Petersburg....but watch out - its $15 per drink at that bar. There is also very little knee room at the bar - you almost have to sit sideways. If you want the best free pour - go to the bar in the casino. The Ensemble bar outside the specialty restaurants is the most pleasant visually and also had pretty good low key entertainment, including a classical duo (wedding style) and pretty good lounge show acoustic guitar artists. These acts toured the entire ship, but they pretty much ended up at this bar between 7pm and 9pm. The other bars were ok - but nothing special. Drinks were around $13. The casino is very good and large - one of the best. The staff is friendly, they have a regular sized craps table (regular 5-4-3 odds), single deck 21, three card poker etc. etc. Moreover, the slots seemed to pay out pretty much like Vegas - I even saw some lady hit the 1000 on the Wheel of Fortune........which is pretty unusual. The gym is great - large with plenty of equipment and located right at the bow of the ship with a great view. The guy in charge of the gym was friendly (one review had a negative comment - which is not deserved in my opinion). Further he held pretty good yoga and exercise classes - which is not necessarily the norm on most cruise ships. I did not eat in the main dining room - which is huge on two levels. I had access to the Luminae restaurant - which is an extension the main dining room for suite guests. The menu is very limited and the service was sometimes slow. The specialty restaurants are ok - with the Tuscan Grille (or Grill?) being the best. It doubles as the steak house. If you want to spend your money in these restaurants, wait until you get on the ship and look for the "up-sell" stations outside of the buffet which offer discounts on these restaurants. As noted above, I splurged this time on a Royal Suite -which was very nice. The bed was comfortable and there was enough water pressure. the drain in the shower was slightly slow - but not bad enough to call someone. The air conditioning worked well - quiet with easy controls. I did not feel any vibration. There were ample lounges around the pool - due in part to the ship's policy of not allowing guests to "hoard" chairs by leaving a book or a hat on them all day. If something is left like this it is taken to guest services - great idea. One or two of the acts who played by the pool were way too loud (as commented on by others) - you could not hear yourself think. The public restrooms were clean and attractive. Many of the most popular locations seemed to have a resident steward to make sure everything was clean. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
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
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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