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Sail Date: April 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: September 2013
Embarkation in Seattle was good. The Solstice is a beautiful ship. The décor was simple and elegant. The inside stateroom was spacious and comfortable. There was plenty of closet/storage space. Our cabin steward, Peter, was superb. He was ... Read More
Embarkation in Seattle was good. The Solstice is a beautiful ship. The décor was simple and elegant. The inside stateroom was spacious and comfortable. There was plenty of closet/storage space. Our cabin steward, Peter, was superb. He was very attentive to our needs and concerned as my husband didn't feel very well most of the trip. We visited the onboard medical center and was very impressed with the facility, state of the art equipment, and quality of care received there. My husband's Xray showed fluid on the lungs and he received antibiotic and diuretic . The cost was less than I expected. We had purchased the trip insurance, so it will be covered anyway. The food in the café was excellent, with many food stations and a great variety. I do miss the trays that Celebrity used to have. The main dining room Epernay was hit or miss with the food. Some was to die for and some was just so-so. Service was great and we enjoyed interaction with our servers. We had a table for 10 and enjoyed our dining companions. I agree with the reviewer who thought the Americas Cup theme was a misnomer. We did view the two races they had on Sunday in SF. It was very exciting to see, but that was all. There was very little information about it and no enrichment lectures. I'm not a racing enthusiast, but would have liked to learn something about it. The ports along the coast of CA were beautiful. We live in CA so didn't need to book excursions or plan too much adventure ashore. Tendering was an adventure in Monterey, but Mother Nature sometimes just doesn't cooperate. Ensenada to the border was horrendous. My husband is diabetic, so 8 hours without food was concerning. Bus toilets were fllthy or nonworking. Many passengers missed their flights from San Diego. We barely made ours. Will not debark in Ensenada ever again. Just not an option. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
We sailed from Seattle on Celebrity Solstice on September 13th on a Cruise that was advertised as an 'Americas Cup' cruise. Have been on Celebrity several times in the past but this was the worst organized I have had the mis ... Read More
We sailed from Seattle on Celebrity Solstice on September 13th on a Cruise that was advertised as an 'Americas Cup' cruise. Have been on Celebrity several times in the past but this was the worst organized I have had the mis fortune to be on. Boarding in Seattle was a breeze. After the first day at sea to San Francisco I noticed the standards and service were not up to the ships I had been on 6 or 7 years ago. You had to try and juggle a dinner plate, soup, coffee, cutlery etc to a table in the buffet. No staff to help, no trays. Dining room of course, you had waiters staff. On our 2nd night in the dining room, our waiters disappeared for 40 minutes between soup and mains. We didn't stay for the rest of the meal and insisted on a different table for the rest of the cruise. The only excellent part of the cruise was our cabin attendant. Above and beyond good service. Now for the biggest complaint. This was advertized as an America's Cup cruise but it soon became evident that either: Celebrity advertised it this way just to fill the ship which would be very dishonest as they seemed to have no intention of giving guests anything in the way of America's Cup information except a day in San Francisco to watch one or two races live and after that..NOTHING. Or perhaps the dope back in head office that decided to call this an America's Cup cruise had no idea that there were more than 2 races, had done no research on it and had not made arrangements to have any kind of TV broadcasts when the ship was in port, or even to have up to date postings on board. There were some day old postings after the service (?) desk received many, many complaints. But they cared less about it and said they had notified head office. I met many people who had come from New Zealand just because of the misleading advertising Celebrity had posted. Then the final kick in the @88 was the bus ride back from Ensenada to San Diego. Do not believe what the Celebrity staff tell you about the trip. I asked several different people on guest service desk and got a 2 hour, a 3 hour and a 4 hour trip.We left at 7am from the ship and it took 6 hours to get to the airport. Our driver got lost and we nearly ended up in the zoo. Fortunately we had a Spanish speaking guest on board who got the driver back on the road to the airport. When you have over 2500 guests in a bus convoy all going through the border at the same time.... Friends, do not EVER go on a ship that disembarks in Ensenada. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
My husband and I have just retired in our early fifties and have been scoping out cruise lines, trying to find "the one." I think we've found "the one" that we will cruise with most often--that is, Celebrity. We ... Read More
My husband and I have just retired in our early fifties and have been scoping out cruise lines, trying to find "the one." I think we've found "the one" that we will cruise with most often--that is, Celebrity. We cruised the Pacific Coast, leaving from Seattle and going all the way down to Ensenada, Mexico. The Pacific Coast cruise on Celebrity Solstice was an excellent experience overall. We had a fabulous time and high recommend the Celebrity Solstice to all interested cruisers. Let me start from the beginning. We boarded at Seattle, Washington. We were met at the airport and bused to the ship. This process was smooth as silk. We did not have to wait too long in line before we were given our ship identification cards. Once inside, we were greeted with champagne and mimosas and were able to go to the Oceanview Cafe' for lunch. It was a bit crowded because everyone was waiting for their luggage and access to their staterooms. Once in our stateroom, we were delighted with its amenities. Although we had only a balcony stateroom, it was well appointed and seemed larger than the stateroom we had on the Princess cruise line. The room had ample electrical outlets, both European and American. It had a couch in addition to a nice size bed. It was pretty and fresh in appearance. The bathroom, in our stateroom, only had a shower but it was glassed in, and didn't have the nasty shower curtain we had in one of our previous cruises. The only down side to a cruise ship room is the hard (extra firm) mattresses. Although our mattress had a mattress pad on it, the mattress itself was so hard that I rarely slept through the night. I asked for extra pillows so that I could sleep on top of them for more comfort. Because the mattress had no give (and I mean none), I woke up with a back ache every morning. I never got a good night's sleep. The hard mattress phenom, however, is not unique to Celebrity. I haven't slept comfortably on a cruise ship mattress yet. When will a cruise line offer a "real" heavenly bed option (something like Sleep Number)? The only thing that could lure me away from Celebrity is if I find a cruise line that offers a comfortable mattress. Our room attendant, Mario, kept the room refreshed, was always available and eager to assist. I asked for extra towels on the first day and he kept the room continually refreshed with towels. Mario refreshed the stateroom twice a day (after we left for lunch or an excursion in the morning) and after we left for dinner in the evening. Mario was always helpful and met every request promptly. He kept the room spotless and neat. We dined at all the restaurants on this ship--Epernay, Oceanview Cafe', Bistro at Five, Tuscan Grille, Silk Harvest and Murano. All of the restaurants offered excellent food. The Epernay had the best grilled New York strip that I have eaten in a long, long time. It was seasoned and cooked to perfection. It also offered escargot daily and a variety of selections throughout the week. The Oceanview Cafe', cafeteria style, was also very good. It had a carving section, with freshly prepared meats. It also had a least a half dozen salad choices, with a regular salad bar. It gave lots of choices--Italian, Asian, Indian, Mexican--with many fresh preparations available. For example, one could choose a fresh stir fry or freshly prepared waffles and so on. We ate at Oceanview frequently and never had a sub par meal. To me, the best meals were found at the Tuscan Grille. Although billed as an Italian steakhouse, this restaurant was that and much more. The appetizers--steak tartare, beef carpaccio, crab cake, etc.--were extremely well prepared and delicious. The main courses--the steaks, the pasta--were also excellent. Most important, the service at Tuscan Grille was superb. If you like crepes, you must go to Bistro at Five--try the banana nutella crepe. Murano's, the french restaurant, was also delicious. We had the chateaubriand--it was cooked perfectly. Silk Harvest, the Asian fusion restaurant, offered a whole barramundi (fried or broiled), that was off the hook good. Silk Harvest had traditional Japanese and Chinese offerings but the barramundi was a dish I tried on a whim, that turned out to be one of the better meals I had on the ship. Definitely try to specialty restaurants but don't turn your nose up at the Epernay which offered great service and great food. We didn't do a lot of excursions. This cruise left from Seattle, stopped in San Francisco, Monterrey, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Catalina Island and Los Angeles. We paid for the hop on/hop off bus excursion in San Francisco which allowed us to tour San Francisco at our own pace. If you choose this option, I suggest choosing a 48 hour pass, not just a 24 hour pass. The ship docked in San Francisco for 2 days. We spent the first day at the piers --watching the America's cup, the seals at pier 39 and going to Ghiradelli's. I wish we had chose a 48 hour bus pass so that we could have explored all of San Francisco in more depth. We were able to go to the Golden Gate Park and China Town. My husband walked across the Golden Gate bridge which I believe was a big highlight for him. The next excursion we took was a trip to the San Diego Zoo. We got there early enough to avoid large crowds and were able to see all part of the park, except for the pandas (very long lines there so if you want to see them, go there first). San Diego Zoo is a must-see if you haven't been there before but it takes all day, thus no other excursions can be taken if you choose it. It required a lot of walking but did offer bus tours and stops as well as ski lifts from one side of the park to the other. My husband insisted on walking the whole time so by the end of the day, I was totally worn out. We did not go to Monterrey, Los Angeles or Santa Barbara as we preferred to relax on those days and simply enjoy the amenities of the ship. We did tender into Catalina Island and were pleasantly surprised by the Arts and Craft Fair they offered. It was a very pretty place and definitely worth the trip. I was able to take some wonderful pictures of the Celebrity Solstice as well as the picturesque island. The ship offered dozens of activities within a 24 hour period, so many in fact that the average cruiser will not be able to partake of all of them. The big highlight for me was the cruise entertainers. Many cruise ships offer average or mediocre entertainment but not Celebrity Solstice. The comedians were really funny, especially the one who did imitations. The ship also gave a cirque de soleil type show that was simply fantastic (Celebrity: The Show) and I definitely recommend it to all. The singers and dancers were superb. Singers were found in almost every lounge and bar area. I particularly enjoyed Jonny Mantra--who had an unusual voice and exceptions musical abilities. Celebrity also has a separate movie theater--passengers can watch the movie there or in their rooms for free. The movie showings were quite good. The Sin City Comedy show (offered late at night due to adult content) is very funny, unusual and a must see. We did not take advantage of bocce on the lawn but I think I'd try it the next time I go on a Celebrity cruise. My husband and I did not go to the casino but it seemed very busy and a large number of people were drawn to it. The Celebrity's attempt a karaoke didn't seem to work well. Often fostered in Quasar, few people showed up or one lone singer would be belting out a tune (often poorly) and it scared everyone out. I hope they can fix the logistics because in a crowd of preferably inebriated people, I like to do karaoke occasionally but I don't want to the be sole attraction. Numerous self-help seminars and educational talks were available on the ship. My husband and I went to the gym every day. The treadmill machines were out of date. It was hard to set them up for interval walking and to also watch television. They were functional at a minimum level and I was glad to return home to my regular gym. We did not take advantage of aqua class activities but I would like to do so in the future. The Celebrity Solstice is a beautiful ship. It is well-designed, and beautifully decorated. For a large ship, it does not feel crowded even in the cafeteria. It is restful and peaceful in the staterooms but plenty of action outside for those who want it. The Sky Observation room offers great views and a wonderful place to read a book or take a nap. On the last day of the cruise, the ship before our departure offered us breakfast. We could get breakfast between 5:30ama nd 7;00am. We all really appreciated this so that we could be fortified for our journeys back home. The only downside to this cruise experience was the trip from Ensenada to Tijuana. We boarded a bus, traveling from Ensenada, Mexico to the Tijuana border crossing, at 7:30am. We waited in the bus, at the border crossing, for about three hours and didn't reach the San Diego airport (via bus) until 1:00pm. My husband and I, as well as many other passengers, feared we would miss our flight. This was not a perfect end to an otherwise perfect cruise. Passengers were frustrated and angry. I hope Celebrity will find a solution to this problem. We were told that the journey would only take two hours. Spending the day on the bus was less than desirable. I definitely plan to cruise with Celebrity again. It was a marvelous ship and crew. Bon voyage!   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
My wife and I have been home for two weeks or so and have mellowed from our anger. Time really does heal all wounds. We are both avid Ocean Sailing fans and, to us, the America's Cup Yachting event in San Francisco was theWorld Cup ... Read More
My wife and I have been home for two weeks or so and have mellowed from our anger. Time really does heal all wounds. We are both avid Ocean Sailing fans and, to us, the America's Cup Yachting event in San Francisco was theWorld Cup Soccer Championships and the superbowl, all rolled into one. As beautiful and world class the celebrity Solstice is, it is a Business. Businesses are run from other places, in other cultures that, I have now learned, may not have an understanding or appreciation for my sports passion. But, to highlite the event in the title of the cruise does set up certain expectations that were grossly unfilled. We boarded two days in advance of our overnight in San Francisco, where the Regatta was staged. The Challenging nation, New Zealand had, the previous week, put the American boat all but on the ropes; needing but two more victories to walk away with the revered trophy. The first of those two races was scheduled during the day that we were sea. There was no television coverage (NBC Sports) and You Tube made the entire race available), no information in the daily newsletter, no "Brain Candy" prepared for the more than 800 passengers who were of common interest. The one point of light was the sailing expert who lectured in the great hall. "Celebrity", your ships are great, your programs are run of the mill, your food is good, your service has its ups and downs. BUT, Your program planning my be lack creativity and culture sensitivity. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
First, a little about ourselves. We are experienced cruisers, and this was our 24th cruise on Celebrity and our 3rd on Solstice. We are in our late 50’s/early 60’s, and while we enjoy meeting new people our real goal is relaxation more ... Read More
First, a little about ourselves. We are experienced cruisers, and this was our 24th cruise on Celebrity and our 3rd on Solstice. We are in our late 50’s/early 60’s, and while we enjoy meeting new people our real goal is relaxation more than socialization. It was our first cruise on the California coast, as our other cruises so far have been to the Caribbean, Alaska, and the Mexican Riviera when that was an option. It was our first experience in Aqua Class. As I have a lot to say in general, I will skip overall definitions of the ship and its facilities as those can be found elsewhere. Overall cruise comments " A fantastic itinerary, a beautiful ship, and an overall great time. For this ten day cruise the average age in my estimation was 65-75. I literally saw only three children onboard, but there may have been a couple more. Pros: Nice itinerary with some very interesting American cities with a lot to do, ship still in very good condition, service excellent in most cases, food good, and the usual entertainment. Cons: Three tender ports (one of which was a great adventure " see below), a so-so experience in Blu, takes up to 2 hrs or more to tender everyone from the ship which causes difficulty to those renting cars to go on their own, worst casino on any Celebrity ship. As many of these ports rarely see cruise ships, and even more rarely the size of Solstice, they were not as prepared to handle the crowds as other ports we have been to. In most cases if you wanted to rent a car it was a logistical challenge, if not nightmare, especially considering the limited time in port and extra challenge of tendering. Aqua Class " We had never tried this before and since it was not much more expensive, we chose it primarily for Blu. We had room 1580, on the 11th floor under the pool deck. It was so cool outside most days we could not really evaluate whether the location would be noisy. When on our deck we could hear footsteps above us. We did not like the large overhang which shaded the balcony at all times and did not allow us to see up into the foothills of ports like San Francisco. We only had two sea days so really did not make much use of the spa, which was in no way big enough to accommodate the number of AQ passengers. We also did not enjoy being on the 11th floor as elevator riding was an exercise in patience. Our room steward was great " no issues there at all. Blu " We expected a lot, and were disappointed in some ways. The food was very good (only one so-so dish) and the asst. waiters were excellent. The regular waiters ran hot and cold. Sometimes we got really good service, other times poor " we had to actually get up and talk to the hostess one night to get service. We did not like how the” two tops” were crammed together, making it impossible to have a private conversation and awkward if the couples on either side of you were not inclined to chat. There were three large tables that were often empty, despite the fact that on several nights the wait time was as much as half an hour to get a table. More practical would be all two top tables which could be put together as needed - this would have helped solve the problem. I suspect also that suite guests are no longer seated as available’ but are given the same chance as the AQ folks. I do not like this, at use of this restaurant is a key perk of AQ, the room for which it was designed. There were usually two sommeliers, one of which was horrible (complete lack of service), and one of which was ok. Elite events " We had vouchers, which overall we liked better, although we miss the days of quiet social times in Michaels Club. My one complaint is that with the number of Elites onboard, they really should have also extended the social hours. Between 5 and 7 the bars were sometimes literally so crowded seating was hard to find (including the Sky Lounge!). We did like the fact that they offered us more choice of drinks " within a certain dollar amount rather than just a few options. They need to up their beer allowance, though " why are beers only up to $5 but other drinks $8? Not fair I think. And one last comment " anyone who thinks being Elite is of little advantage has never taken a cruise with so much tendering! Being able to leave the ship on an early tender was a very, very valuable perk. San Francisco " We had an overnight stay which was great " allowed us to take our time and not feel rushed like we did in the other ports. The ship docks right down the road from Pier 39. Easy walking distance there, and to Ghiradelli Square and that general area. The second day we took a private tour organized by someone on our roll call which we enjoyed. The Americas Cup was running, and the finish line was literally in front of the ship. We got to see two races, one of which the USA boat won. A once in a lifetime for us. Monterey - A nice pier right next to where the tenders unloaded. We rented a car (Hertz, who picked us up but not without hassles), and drove the 17 mile drive, stopped at Pebble Beach, and spent some time in Carmel and at the Mission. All in all a great time until we got back to the pier and saw the 45 minute line to get the tenders. Why? The wind and subsequently the seas had picked up " seas were up to 10’ . What a roller coaster ride " have never experienced anything like it. The boat was rocking and rolling like you wouldn’t believe and water was pouring through the side door where one of the zippers was broken. I do not exaggerate! Our tender half-unloaded once we finally arrived and then one of the ropes snapped and the captain of the tender yelled at the crew to detach the other. Thankfully we had already disembarked the tender. Someone could have been killed had they fallen in when the rope snapped. That tender boat and the remaining additional two had to ride the waves for close to half an hour while the ships’ Captain turned on the thrusters to create a small area of calm water next to the ship so the tenders could unload. The port is so beautiful I am glad we were able to have our day but I question whether in retrospect that was the correct/safe decision by the Captain, presuming the weather was forecasted. Kudos to the crew for handling the challenge so well! Santa Barbara " Tendering again " no issues this time. A beautiful town we had never visited before. Word of caution " there was only ONE public trolley running that day. We bought tickets online ahead of time and were happy we got to the trolley stop very early. Others had done the same but could not board as it was full " they were quite unhappy as the trolley only stops near the dock every hour or longer. We could not use it as we had originally intended (hop on/hop off) as we knew we would have issues trying to get on again. On a cruise day, I cannot honestly recommend this option. Rent a car or cab it. We loved the mission, the town, and the funk zone. A beautiful area. Catalina Island " Tender #3 " again no issues. I guess we had not learned our trolley lesson as we took the trolley up to the botanical garden. The trolley was inexpensive, but again there were significant issues with overcrowding. The garden itself is small but nice " we have a reciprocal agreement with a local garden so got in free " not sure I would pay the regular price. The town has some nice shopping and cute restaurants in easy walking distance of the pier, and the casino is a short walk as well. I would love to visit again. Los Angeles " Ugh. Traffic as bad as expected. We had been there before (albeit years before) so rented a car and skipped the usual touristy spots. We drove to a museum we had always wanted to see " the Autry Museum of the West I believe it is called. A very, very nice museum, but plan up to 1 ½ hours to and from. The ship actually docks in San Pedro, which is a considerable distance from…...well, almost everything. They did have a free shuttle to Long Beach which has a number of attractions and an inexpensive shuttle bus in-between. Unless you have a must-see in LA I would do that next time for sure. Renting a car and driving is an exercise in patience and frustration. San Diego " A lovely town with a lot to see. We had been several times, so rented a car and took in Old Town and some other sights. They have a great zoo, but be advised it is quite pricey. We had seen it before so did not want to spend the $$ for such a short day (onboard at 6 if I recall). Same for SeaWorld. Too much $$ for such a short time " we wish they could overnight here as well. Disembarkation in Ensenada " What can I say " we were on a very early bus so our transit time took around 3 hours and our bus and driver were decent. Others on our roll call had horror stories to tell " from buses full of ants, to overflowing toilets, to 3 hour waits at the border crossing, to bus drivers getting lost. This is completely unacceptable and Celebrity needs to do more to fix it! I would hesitate to take this cruise again because of the issues still experienced by many. Celebrity also needs to change their literature to NOT tell cruisers the transfer takes two hours. Ours went very smoothly and took longer than that. The ride itself should take two hours " no way of knowing what the border crossing time will be. I know their hands are somewhat tied as they do not control Customs but I would think they could negotiate a more smooth process with the governmental powers that be if they tried. They need to try. In summary, this was a very enjoyable cruise, if not necessarily that relaxing due to our own desire to cram too much into each port, while dealing with tendering, car rental, etc.. I wish Celebrity would consider more cruises along the west coast. Once Vancouver can handle S class ships (or has that happened?) I wish they would run some cruises up and down the coast and expand their choices beyond Alaska or Hawaii. Hopefully if they start or end in Vancouver they could avoid Ensenada - presuming that would satisfy the government regulations. The ports all have so much to see and do in nice, clean, safe, and beautiful areas I suspect they would sell-out regularly. We would definitely be one of the first to book if that happens based on this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
This was not our first cruise but our first with Celebrity. Having heard great reviews from many, I was astounded when the Solstice fell so short. I was told the food was great. It was mediocre in the dining room but the specialty ... Read More
This was not our first cruise but our first with Celebrity. Having heard great reviews from many, I was astounded when the Solstice fell so short. I was told the food was great. It was mediocre in the dining room but the specialty restaurants were nothing short of wonderful! Traveling with a wheelchair, I encountered several problems. First, the elevator door didn't sense my presence and jammed into my wheel, taking a chunk out of the wheel and ripping off my foot rest. Needing to check with guest services early on for departure, I disembarked in my wheelchair to the surprise of the ground services and had to have things rearranged to accomodate me. Excursions were really disorganized. I am used to Princess. People are preassigned to buses and there is always staff to lead you in the right direction. Not so with Celebrity. You get off the ship and you might see staff and then no one until you get near the buses. (If you are lucky, they are nearby!) Not all was bad. We had the best room steward EVER. Most of the onboard staff was extremely helpful, courteous and friendly. Never saw so many smiles. Jury is out whether we will revisit Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
if I was to pick a first time cruise I would pick the Celebrity Solstice. My sister and along with 6 of my sisters in sorority embarked from Seattle on Friday the 13th of September on the America's Cup trip. From the moment we ... Read More
if I was to pick a first time cruise I would pick the Celebrity Solstice. My sister and along with 6 of my sisters in sorority embarked from Seattle on Friday the 13th of September on the America's Cup trip. From the moment we stepped on the ship we felt we were queens for 10 days. Everyone of the crew were very helpful. When we arrived at our staterooms we were very surprised that the room was so big and beautiful, lots of cupboard space a big queen size bed and couch a desk and chair and a balcony with 2 chairs and a table. The bathroom was very large with a large shower, toilet, sink and lots of Soave for our toiletries. My sisters luggage did not arrive right away but our cabin steward Abel made it his priority to find her luggage and bring it to our room. From then on we knew we could count on Abel throughout the cruise to cater to all our needs. We were at a table in the Eparnay at 6:00 pm daily with all 8 of us. We had a fabulous waiter named Vernon and his assistant Dimitrina who were very efficient in their service and made our meals special. The ship is beautiful and even when their is 2850 passengers and 1500 crew aboard we never felt crowded. The spa, pools, entertainment all added to our wonderful trip. We did our own thing at the ports and coming under the Golden Gate Bridge was a highlight. Also Catalina, I will be back, We went to the Murano one night and was treated to an amazing meal with extraordinary service. I am recommending to anyone I can tell that the Celebrity Solstice is a ship that is simply the best. Kudos to all the crew. Thank you Janet  Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
We flew to Seattle the morning of departure. I prearranged for a town car to meet us at baggage claim. Within an hour and a half we were on board the ship. No wait to check in. With champagne in hand went to the restaurant to check on our ... Read More
We flew to Seattle the morning of departure. I prearranged for a town car to meet us at baggage claim. Within an hour and a half we were on board the ship. No wait to check in. With champagne in hand went to the restaurant to check on our assigned table. We had requested a large table and were assigned a table for two. Changed to a large table very quickly and started exploring the ship. After wandering around for awhile we headed to the Ocean Cafe for some lunch. The food stations had a good flow and good selections. After lunch we headed to the cabin and our luggage was waiting for us. We unpacked and found we had ample room for the two of us. Having been to most of the port cities before this trip we did not find it necessary to book cruise excursion. Overall the cruise was a wonderful experience. The service and food and cleanliness were what we have come to expect from Celebrity, very attentive. We are elite members and because there were so many they did not have a designated cocktail location before dinner. Instead they gave out drink coupons to be used in most lounges from 5:00 until 7:00. We preferred this over the normal set lounge. We don't go to the big shows, but enjoy the lounge entertainment. The performers for the most part were enjoyable, some better than others. We had a great cruise until we boarded the bus in Ensenada. Our bus had to wait for over an hour for one couple. We boarded the bus at 6:30 and arrived at the San Diego airport 6 hours later. The bus was dirty and the toilet was worse than any porta potty I have used. Then sat at the border for 90 minutes. Not a good end to a wonderful cruise. I will never depart from Ensenada again. I will make sure there is a major airport in the ending port. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
With airfare credit that was getting to the "use or lose" state, I had been keeping my eyes open for an expensive getaway, and found it in the Celebrity Solstice 9-night "Wine Cruise". We got a interior guarantee cabin ... Read More
With airfare credit that was getting to the "use or lose" state, I had been keeping my eyes open for an expensive getaway, and found it in the Celebrity Solstice 9-night "Wine Cruise". We got a interior guarantee cabin for a great price, did a bit of research on what to expect and started on our "adventure" to reach the ship. The point of this cruise was just to get away from reality and recharge my internal batteries. We planned very few excursions. I knew, from reading on Cruise Critic, that it might be an adventure to reach the ship itself. Due to the Passenger Vessel Service Act, the Celebrity Solstice was not allowed to sail from Hawaii to the mainland US. Instead, it was required to use a foreign port to disembark passengers finishing one leg of its trip, and embark new passengers. As a result, Celebrity provides service from San Diego to the ship in Ensenada, MX. I also knew that there might be issues with buses, but I was prepared to be patient, knowing I would have 9 nights to recover before starting back toward home from Seattle, WA. Monday, May 6: Upon reaching the airport in San Diego, we spotted a Celebrity representative near the baggage claim. We grabbed our bags, and she had us escorted to a bus to head to the nearby Sheraton for check in. We were told to leave our bags near the bus and they would be loaded onto a truck for transport to the ship. While a little nervous, we knew we had ID on the bags, as well as the cruise line luggage tags (which we put on there twice just in case), and we saw them moved away to a holding location for the next truck. We were transported to the Sheraton Pavilion for check-in. As we arrived, we saw they had already started checking in guests, about an hour earlier than they said they would begin. The line for regular (non-elite, non-priority) guests took about 30 minutes to move through. We checked in and were given transport group numbers in the mid-40's. At that point, we realized we had a bit of a wait, since they were only loading buses with groups in the mid-teens, and we had a while to go. Unfortunately, there was not a way to really go anywhere else, since we were traveling with a couple with an infant and no infant seat. The only restroom facilities were only semi-permanent, with long lines, and they had run out of water. While the cruise line was providing a "snack" for the bus ride, it appeared to be a sandwich and bottle of watter. The line for this snack was crazy, they had run out and were making more on the spot, and we realized that many of our fellow passengers were helping themselves to more than one lunch. Rather sad, but we didn't let it deter us. We decided, with a little while to wait, that we'd try walking over to the main part of the hotel to look for a snack there. We found a nice and clean restroom with real running water and and Starbucks. With refreshments in hand, we headed back to see what boarding group they were on. We finally got on a bus a little after 3pm. From the time we arrived to the Pavilion to the time our bus left, it was about 3.5 hours. This wasn't great, but at least I had known it might be an issue. If I take this trip again, requiring the bus ride, I'll seriously consider paying for a higher class cabin. Those with priority boarding did have an advantage here. Our bus was not as clean as I'd like, but it could have been a lot worse. I really appeared like a city bus after the end of a long day - nothing a good vacuuming and spray cleaner wouldn't have fixed. We set off for the border and ran into no issues. The driver stepped off to speak to the border guards, both on the US and the Mexico sides, but we had no issues. A dog walked around the bus, then tape was put on the compartments under the bus, and we were through. The bus ahead of us was not so lucky, as all luggage was being removed. I have no idea how long they were there. At the last stage of crossing the border, the driver stopped again, and a man with a guitar stepped on. We started driving through Tijuana to Mexican folk songs, like La Bamba, and as we neared the outskirts of Tijuana were asked for tips by the singer. The driver let the singer off the bus after he collected a little cash from some of the passengers, and we were off on the coastal road. The speed limit was 60 KPH (about 45 MPH if you need the conversion), and our bus appeared to be safely driving it. It was a pretty drive once we were on the coastal road. We had a good driver. Later on the ship, we heard some horror stories, both about buses in very poor condition or breaking down on the way as well as about scary drivers. We reached the ship, went through security, handed in our passports (they collected them and gave us a receipt) and boarded the ship just in time to hear the ships horn blow. We arrived at the end of the safety briefing. I knew they would find a way to get us the info, however, since there were plenty of buses arriving after us. Having been on the Eclipse and Reflection, I had a good idea of what would be in the briefing. We checked to see what emergency station we were in, and where that was, and headed to our rooms. As we got there, we found a red card stuck in the lock. Luckily, our room steward showed up just as we started to remove that card. Supriman, who answers to "Superman" would make many appearances over the next few days! Dinner was a bit crazy, as they decided to just seat everyone using Select style, but using the entire dining room a section at a time. We finished dinner and went for a walk around the ship to get a feel for what was different about the Solstice from the two previous S-Class ships we had been on. The most obvious thing was on deck 5, by the Molecular Bar, where there were fewer tables and chairs than on the Eclipse, and instead was a small "art gallery". This area was taken over by Park West and was a waste of space. Since it had been a long day, starting about 3:30 AM Central time, and it was after 8pm Pacific time, we decided to make an early night and get started again in the morning. "Clang" and "Bang" were heard a few times in the night, from our neighbors above us who couldn't control their cabin door. They also turned up their TV so loud that we could hear it through the floors, and then they yelled over it. Oh, well. While this happened a lot, it was never so bad that we called Guest Relations to complain. I was tempted to a few times, but their hours weren't terribly different from ours. Tuesday, May 7:We headed to breakfast about 8am in the Main Dining Room. There was a bit of chaos with getting the ship cleared, and Customs and Border Patrol had apparently decided to change how they were going to clear the ship. Instead of them clearing the entire ship at once, they instead decided to interview every person. We heard a few announcements over the intercom, asked our breakfast companions what that was about, and found out that we should have received a letter in our rooms before breakfast. It seems that all foreign citizens had to present themselves in the Sky Lounge and all US citizens in the MDR on 3 to be cleared individually. By the time breakfast was over, they had at least started letting passengers off the ship. We got back to our room, found the letter had been left while we were out. It told us to report to the MDR on 3 between 11am and 11:30am to be interviewed. So, we had an hour or so to goof off on the ship, then got in line. We were given back our passports by ships security and proceeded to the other side of the dining room to show them to CBP and back out. Another waste of time, but I blame CBP. We could finally start our day! Luckily, our plan was simply to walk down to the USS Midway. We paid our entrance fee to the Midway and spent the next 4.5 hours there. For us, it was a great day. We arrived back at the ship in time for Tea - warm scones to tide us over until dinner. While at dinner, we spoke with Vladimir the Asst Maitre D' with a special request - Spanakopita. He was happy to request it for us - stating it used to be on the menu but was no longer on there, and that he missed it himself. We received it a couple of nights later :) Oh, and it was formal night. After dinner, we reported to the theater for the showing of the emergency video and quick demo for those of us who missed it. Then, the Captain's Toast - except the Captain didn't make it. Instead, the newly arrived Cruise Director handled it. Hmmm, she is from Chicago and attended SEMO. We know where that is! Wednesday, May 8: LA. The ship took forever to be cleared for passengers to go ashore. Since it was a nice day, we decided to stay on board and get some sun. We headed to the Solstice Deck. They had removed the sign allowing topless sun-bathing, which had reportedly been at the steps previously. We could see where it had been. I wonder, is that because they were now in the US? We ran into the IT Manager, and learned that they were in the middle of upgrades to their network and had satellite contractors on board working. We decided the Solstice Deck would be a good place anyway. There were very few passengers that high on this day. Unfortunately, we never saw a bar waiter while up there. On previous sailings, a bar waiter would walk through every 15 minutes or so. We also noted that the blue pool towels often seemed worn and thinner than we remembered. Later in the afternoon, the previous two days caught up with us. A nap was in order. Upon waking and showering, I realized I had a mild sunburn. Dinner in the MDR, a check in with the kids at home, and we pulled away. At some point, I also managed to put my elbow through the sheet on the bed. It apparently had a thin spot. Thursday, May 9: Santa Barbara. Again, the ship took forever to be cleared for passengers to go ashore. This was complicated by the fact that Santa Barbara was a tender port. We sat in the Cafe al Bacio, watching tenders go back and forth, seeing that it looked pretty, and trying to decide if we wanted to go ashore. The sun came out, and we stepped outside. We ended up having a nice conversation with Rachelle, the ship's Concierge. A beautiful young woman, we found that she shares some of our taste in music and likes the same wines we do. We shared that we had decided to make the day a "sea day" of our own and enjoy the ship while it was nearly empty. We visited with her for 10-15 minutes and found out that the reason things seemed "off" for a Celebrity cruise was because the Mexican authorities refused to allow any crew to join or leave the ship while in Mexico, and that the US authorities were very selective in who they would allow to join the ship. Plus, the ship had just come off a Code Red a few days earlier, and the crew was quite tired. She asked us to come down and see her in her office later in the day. When we did, she asked us our room, and what kind of wine we liked. What a surprise! I guess it was just for being nice? From what we later heard, a lot of people had been complaining up and down like crazy. We spent some time in the Solarium so as to not make my sunburn worse. Definitely a lack of bar waiters. Also, I noticed that the towels in my room looked rather worn. Kind of like the once I trim, zig-zag with my sewing machine, and send to school (PE) or camp with my teenagers. Not what I expect from Celebrity's Modern Luxury. We had lunch today in the Bistro on 5. Yum! Friday, May 10: Sea Day - everything was crowded. The weather was not friendly to being outside, and there was not enough to do inside. Park West took over the Sky Lounge for an art auction. When we had bad days like this in the Caribbean in February, the Hotel Director showed movies in the big theater. Not here! The ship had a new (she boarded on Tuesday) Cruise Director, and I think she was still getting into her job. We spent some time in the Solarium just chilling. Again, no bar waiters in 3 hours. Not sure what is up with that! No worries - Rachelle sent us a delightful bottle of wine. Saturday, May 11: San Francisco. We had purchased tickets for Alcatraz a couple of weeks before, and was glad we did! The early sailing were all sold out! The ship cleared a little faster, but not as fast as it should have. We reached Alcatraz Cruises about 8:45 for our 9:10 sailing. We spent the morning out at the island, learned a lot, and arrived back hungry. We considered a few other places, but we have been to San Francisco before and didn't need anything. Checked in with the kids, all is well back home. Sunday, May 12: Mother's Day, and a day at sea. The "Brunch" is today. We avoided that chaos since the same food is available elsewhere on the ship. DH took a few photos of it. Formal night as well. So, we dressed up. Afterwards, I wanted to relax in the Solarium. The pool and hot tubs are supposed to be open until 10-11pm. We got up there and they were drained! The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Monday, May 13: Astoria, OR. It is raining. We'll stay on the ship. I think everyone from Astoria is on the ship to visit it! All wee there have been groups touring the ship, but even more today! Lunch isn't being served in the MDR because we are in port, but the buffet is CRAZY! I think they should have opened the MDR. Tuesday, May 14: Victoria, BC. We finally cleared the ship and stepped off. It was a very steep ramp off from deck 4 (I think). I don't understand why they used so high a deck. In the Caribbean, we often left from 2-3 instead. A number of the passengers struggled to get down that ramp. We were on shore just a few minutes, then decided we were cold and went back to the Solarium. We know we have to go home tomorrow. And darn, there is definitely a lack of bar waiters! Wednesday, May 15: Seattle, WA. We have a disembark time of 9:20. They only have one line open to leave the ship for passengers, not two like in Florida. That line is rather long, but does seem to move pretty fast. Getting off the ship was easy, Customs didn't even want to see our passports. Just handed in our declarations and went looking for our ride. We had transportation booked with "Already There" car service. We reserved an SUV with a car seat. I don't know that I'll do that again - the car seat wasn't installed and the driver didn't know how to install it. The car was older - a 1999 model and the car seat was a number of years newer, and didn't have the extra clip to secure it correctly in that older car. Plus, the car STUNK of smoke. By the time we reached the airport, we needed to pull out the Benadryl and inhaler. In all, the Solstice is a nice ship, but is showing a little wear compared to her sister ships. She was under-staffed and it showed. There were not enough bar waiters, not enough sommeliers, and a couple of the sommeliers were poorly trained. Yes, I would take this trip and sail this ship again, but I wouldn't want it to be my first Celebrity sailing. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
This was our first Celebrity cruise. We cruise often and have cruised with many of the other major cruise lines (Holland America, Princess, Norwegian, RC, Carnival). We did the CA Coastal repositioning cruise from Ensenada to Seattle. ... Read More
This was our first Celebrity cruise. We cruise often and have cruised with many of the other major cruise lines (Holland America, Princess, Norwegian, RC, Carnival). We did the CA Coastal repositioning cruise from Ensenada to Seattle. It is hard to rate this cruise because it was very much a mixed bag but overall, we were very disappointed in Celebrity and probably will not sail this cruise line again. We did have a great time but this was in spite of the cruise line. We met nice people and enjoyed the port stops (did all non-ship excursions, none with the cruise line.) Ship - the ship was beautiful. We enjoyed the lawn, hot glass show and relaxation/indoor pool area. The layout of the ship was very easy to learn. Enrichment/Entertainment - The productions shows were very good. If you wanted to attend the early show (8:30 and 10:30 show times), you had to arrive 30 minutes early if you wanted to get a seat (not a good seat but any seat). They had Brent Nixon do two enrichment talks but due to poor planning, the talk on Orcas was completely full 30 minutes in advance (They used the Celebrity Central, which isn't big enough). About 20 to 30 people were standing and they were trying to bring in more chairs. It was chaotic. Other talks from other speakers were so boring and dull, we had to walk out. State Room - average. It was no better or worse than any other ship we have been on. There was one unusual thing. The sofa blocked half of the closet (had sliding doors) so you were forced to reach into the closet if you hung clothes in the other end of it. It was very odd and wasted space. We did have issues with noise most nights. We must have been close to a closet or storage area (though we checked the deck plans very well to avoid this and nothing appeared to be close to us). We had to call some nights to ask them to stop the noise (like someone was spraying a hose on the back of our wall, lots of banging of things, dropping things, etc). They handled it but it took a while for them to "find the source of the noise". Dining in Main Dining Room - We had the late seating. Some meals were very good and others average. The service was excellent. The food was no better than we have had on other cruise lines such as Carnival, Norwegian, etc. Sometimes the soups were not hot enough. Overall, a pleasant experience in the main dining room. Oceanview Buffet - Extremely poor selection (same thing every night) and service, the worse we have ever had on any ship. The staff and management seemed oblivious to the issues in the Oceanview Buffet. It was understaffed (one person taking omelet orders, one person manning an entire section). On most days, you had to walk to more than one tea/juice machine because the machine was out. For some reason, they didn't use all of the machines at one time so you had to figure out which machine actually had tea/juice in it. Once I poured tea and water came out. I had to walk around and find a staff person. He told me that it did have tea in it. I had to bring him over and show him that only water was coming out It took about 15 minutes to refill it. No other machines were working that day. This issue became laughable. They were often out of the "to go cups" for coffee and you had to tell them it was out. Things weren't refilled without someone being told it was out. It wasn't from lack of trying. I felt it was lack of training, leadership and management in the buffet area. Another example is, if you requested grilled chicken, they would grill it on the same part of the grill that they had just used to grill fish. Again, it was laughable. Clearly, it was lack of training because the staff was working hard and was very pleasant. Specialty Dining - Tried Bistro on Five for lunch, which was very good. Tried Silk Harvest (Asian Fusion) and it was like eating a typical frozen Chinese meal you buy at the grocery store that you cook in the microwave. We were shocked that they were charging $30 per person for the quality of the meal. Ports - We loved the ports, CA coastal, Victoria, and Seattle. Avoided all ship tours and so glad we did. I only heard negative feedback. Travel to Embarkation - This was a nightmare. I feel compelled to warn others about this experience because I feel it is a tragic accident waiting to happen if things do not change. The bus ride from San Diego to Ensenada was extremely dangerous. We were required to board in Ensenada and the ship arranged bus transportation for everyone. Check in was done at a tent at the Sheraton hotel in San Diego. There were portable bathrooms outside of the tent with extremely long lines. The Sheraton had guards at the doors so that cruise ship passengers could not enter into their hotel. The entire embarkation process was unorganized and long. The buses used was from a Mexican bus company. Our driver was speeding the entire time, changing lanes very often and overall driving recklessly. When I saw the signs" dangerous curves ahead and "landslides Zones" I thought he would slow down. He sped up! The transmission was making loud noises when gears were shifting. The bus was filthy. There was food and gum in the window will. My window had several almonds that had white, fuzzy mold on them. The bathroom didn't lock, smelled horrible and the sink had a board nailed over it. One bus got lost several times and the another one broke down and they had to get on a new bus. I did go to Guest Relations and told them the entire story and my husband and I had to put everything in writing (along with others at Guest Relations that were also complaining about their bus ride, not on our bus, but with similar experiences). We were told that these were not Celebrity buses, as if to say that this was not really their fault. This is when I lost faith in Celebrity. They booked these buses. They are responsible. The line for Guest relations was very long the first 2 days. There were many others complaining about their bus ride. Summary - Again, we had a great time in spite of the cruise line. I feel this ship has a lot of potential with great, hardworking staff (just not enough of them in certain places on the ship and many that need better training). I feel like somewhere along the line, someone in upper management has dropped the ball. Maybe things will get better but for now, we are sticking with Holland America (our favorite so far), Princess, RC or Norwegian. 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Sail Date: May 2013
This was my 11th cruise. In the past, we have chosen our ship and cruise line by destinations rather than loyalty to a particular cruise line and as a result we have been on ships from Holland America, Princess, Disney, Norwegian, Royal ... Read More
This was my 11th cruise. In the past, we have chosen our ship and cruise line by destinations rather than loyalty to a particular cruise line and as a result we have been on ships from Holland America, Princess, Disney, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity. Usually we take a cruise because we want to get away from the Seattle rain, and also because we want to see someplace new and different. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't have been particularly interested in a cruise up the west coast of the US that stopped in places I had already visited many times. However, when we received an e-mail from a travel agent we had used before explaining the deal he had put together we decided it was just too good to pass up. Celebrity was doing a repositioning cruise to get the Solstice from Australia where it had bee cruising in the Southern Hemisphere summer to Seattle where it would be on the summer run to Alaska. They broke the trip up into 3 segments, the last being the trip up the west coast from Ensenada. I suspect they had a lot of empty cabins and they offered our travel agent some great prices. He offered to fly us to San Diego (air fare included)where we would check in and then be bussed to Ensenada, an outside balcony cabin, a drink package where drinks including specialty coffees, all soft drinks and bottled water, beer up to $5, mixed drinks up to $8, and wine up to $8 glass were all included and unlimited. Then to top it off, all gratuities were included. This was a 10 day 9 night cruise with stops in San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Astoria, Victoria B.C. and finally ending in Seattle where we live. The price for all this was $999 per person plus some tax and port fees which came out to a total of just over $1200. We could also leave early to spend extra time in San Diego at no extra charge except we would be paying for our hotel and any other pre cruise expenses. That package deal along with knowing we would be escaping the normal May rain in Seattle was enough to get me to pull out the old credit card. First, let me say Celebrity does many thing right, but the do some things very wrong. Because of the Passenger Vessel Service Act, an old law from 1886 meant to protect American shipping and American jobs, a foreign flagged vessel can't leave one American port going to another American port without stopping in a distant foreign port. The ship was coming from Hawaii so it couldn't end the cruise in San Diego. Likewise our cruise was ending in Seattle so we couldn't start in San Diego. We had to start in Ensenada. This was not Celebrity's fault but they had to transfer well over 2000 passengers to Ensenada. Everyone expected the check in to be a bit of an ordeal. Celebrity had never done this before since this wasn't a regular cruise. We had to check in for the cruise in San Diego and then get on buses for a two hour ride to Ensenada. We had to cross the international border with our luggage and nobody knew how long this would take. They said they were going to start check in at noon but we got there at 11:30 and they were already started. When I go on a vacation, I really try not to be upset by the little things and I understand and expect glitches along the way. I do know there was a lot of grumbling from people about how the check in was handled and I will explain what happened and maybe Celebrity will learn what they can do better next time. We got divided up into different lines at the check in. There was a drop off where we left our big bags before we actually started the check in process. These were to be taken directly to the ship by truck. The check in happened at the Sheraton Hotel where they had a huge white tent where people stood in line to get checked in. People who had the more expensive cabins or who had sailed many times on Celebrity got special treatment and got into shorter lines. That seems reasonable and I don't think anyone objected to that. We had sailed on Celebrity before but not enough to get into a short line. Still the lines moved pretty quickly and by 12:15 we were checked in and had been assigned a group number for boarding our bus. We were group 41. They had seats for us to sit with our carry on luggage. Celebrity had arranged for box lunches and water which were to be given out on the buses. I can understand that it takes time to move close to 3000 people but people were getting hungry and some people managed to get their box lunches early and were eating them and others including us were hungry and were told no lunches until we get on the bus. I understand that was a way of controlling who received lunches but as the afternoon rolled on, hunger was a problem. It was ridiculous to make us wait until almost 3 p.m. (when we got on our bus) for our lunch. The second problem was that while we were in groups waiting, there was a steady stream of people who were put at the head of the line. These were frequent cruisers on Celebrity who were allowed to jump to the front of the line and that created a lot of resentment to those who had been waiting. We finally got to board our bus at 2:45PM and got our box lunch. If I was making suggestions to Celebrity, I would say give people their box lunch as they finished their check in. Give people a number to get on the bus then and don't allow anyone the right to jump in front of other passengers just because they have sailed many times before. I didn't mind them having shorter lines for check in but after check in, then people should be treated equally. I also think nobody would mind if there were separate buses just for the privileged passengers but to see people continually allowed to jump ahead offended many who were waiting. We left San Diego just before 3 and were getting off the bus at the ship just before 5 PM. We went right to our cabin and they were announcing the lifeboat drill for 5:30. There was still over a third of the passengers who hadn't arrived. We went to the drill which was really just a video in the dining room and then went off to explore the ship. Since we had just eaten at 3 we were not hungry. We were very impressed with the ship. It is big and beautiful with lots of glitz. My dear wife loves her coffee and we found a specialty coffee place called Cafe al Bacio on deck 5 that serves wonderful coffees all free with our drink pass. We stopped for an iced specialty coffee that was made with espresso and chocolate and whipped cream and was fantastic. We sat down with some folks from Australia and had a great time just relaxing. A second thing that Celebrity does that I found annoying and dumb was they way they handled the service club meeting. Many passengers on cruises are members of service clubs like Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis etc. and most cruise ships have a time and a place where the members of the various service clubs can meet and talk about what their clubs are doing. They advertise the location and time for these meetings in the daily bulletin. It is a great way to meet your fellow passengers who share interests with you. So, I went down to the customer relations desk when it wasn't too crowded to ask if they were having a service club meeting on board. We had a great meeting on the last Celebrity sailing I was on but the people at the Solstice desk seems to have never heard of it. They said it was against company policy to put announcements for things like that in the daily bulletin. I would think they would do everything the could to get people who are in service clubs to cruise with them. It would be so easy to put the announcement in the daily bulletin for a day at sea. They said they would put a notice up on the bulletin board by the desk but of course very few people would read it. This whole episode just makes me wonder who is really in charge and how bright they really are. The way Celebrity handled this was very poor and I would actually hesitate to sail with them again just because they treated us so shabbily. They put the notice of the meeting up on a bulletin board that few read, and then put the wrong location on the notice. Then they took the notice down to fix their mistake but forgot to put it back up. Not surprising, we didn't get a big turnout. To me, this is just an example of Celebrity missing the boat when it comes to service. The ship itself was very nice. It was large but never felt crowded. The main dining room was in the back of the ship on decks 3 and 4. We chose select dining meaning we didn't have an assigned table or time. We ate on deck 4 for dinner and usually sat at a table for 8 or 10. We usually had new table mates for each dinner which gave us an opportunity to meet more people. We found many people were from the Northwest and were on the same cruise package deal we were on. The food was very good and we never saw a need to visit any of the specialty dining rooms where there was a charge. The first night, things were a bit confused with very slow service but after that, everything went very smoothly. Our stateroom was about what I expected. It looked very nice and the bed was comfortable. It had a bit less closet and drawer space than some ships I have been on and the way the closet was situated, it was hard to use. There was the couch set to within about 18 inches of the closet which was really just poor design. Other than that, the room was very nice and we lucked out because we were near the elevator. The room contained the normal amenities like a refrigerator and a safe. We had great cabin attendants who would make up the room promptly and deliver ice. Overall we were quite pleased with the accommodations. One of the best places to hang out on the ship was the solarium. This was an adults only pool on deck 12 that had a glass roof. It had a swimming pool and two hot tubs and lots of lounge chairs. Even when the temperature was in the 50's on our sea day north of San Francisco, the solarium was quite warm. With our drink card package, we could sit in there and read while imbibing on a margarita or a cold beer. The shows were very professional. They were at 8:30 and 10:30. The early show was always full and the late show nearly empty. I think they would have been better off to start them at 7:30 and 9:30. There were several comedy acts, a magician and some Broadway singing. Then there was a spectacular show with acrobats doing a Cirque du soleil type performance. Everyone says to make sure to see the Hot glass show. This is up on deck 15 where they have the lawn. I don't really see the need for the lawn on the ship but they have it. The hot glass show was interesting but it is cold up there and most people watched for awhile and then left. It was ok but not a can't miss as far as I was concerned. The observation lounge in the front of the ship is normally one of the nicest places to spend your time on a sea day. The lounge of deck 14 was very nice but I was disappointed that they decided to use this space for an art auction on our second sea day. They put art up in such a way you couldn't sit and watch the water. This took up the whole day and since this cruise only had 2 sea days, it meant that half the time the observation lounge was not usable. This again was just poor planning on the part of the people in charge. I know that the art auction makes money for the cruise but I doubt if there were 50 people interested in it out of 2700 passengers and it sure inconvenienced those of us who wanted to sit and look for sea life. My overall opinion of Celebrity was the ship was great, the food was great, the solarium was great. The cabin was pretty good, and decisions that allowed the art auction in the observation lounge, the lack of putting the service club announcement in the daily bulletin and they way they handled the busing and lunch for Ensenada was down right dumb. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
This being our first time on a Cruise Line other than Princess we were just plain amazed at the beauty of the ship inside and out. We did not have to participate in the bus adventure from San Diego to Ensenada to embark. We came into ... Read More
This being our first time on a Cruise Line other than Princess we were just plain amazed at the beauty of the ship inside and out. We did not have to participate in the bus adventure from San Diego to Ensenada to embark. We came into Ensenada on a Princess ship and then just walked across the pier to board the Solstice. Everyone that came from San Diego on the buses had their Sea Pass Cards already, but it only took about 10 min. for someone to take our information that the ramp and go make up our cards. We were onboard in about 15 min. from disembarking the Princess ship. With the lovely ship we were expecting great service, but that was not to be. The staff were efficient and did greet everyone, but it was robotic. We did see the Glass Blowing show, but there are not enough seats for everyone. The show was well done and explained in laymans terms. The Theater Shows were better than Princess with the Cirque style show above and beyond anything we expected to see at sea. Having the two level theater seating is a big plus. Having grown up on the West Coast and done other coatal cruises we did not take any of the tours offered. The Tender operation into Santa Barbara went very smoothly, good job. Our Veranda stateroom with the extra bed was a little tight at times, but the larger bath than on Princess with the glass shower and shower foot rest were pluses. The closet is much smaller with less storage space and I could not understand the cages under the beds just taking up space. The food was better than on Princess, but with a 10 person table being so long and thing one might as well sit at a 4 person table. The round 8 person tables were perfect for conversing. Service was good at all our meals. The buffet was very large and nice, but I do prefer the servers coming around with all the beverages and then serving them at the table. Then also having cups and silverware already on the table. Just get your plate of food and everything else is taken care of on Princess. We did not try any of the Speciality Restaurants as we deemed them too expensive. Some of the venues for events were too small or just not designed to be multi-purpose. Bingo was way overpriced and in too small of a space with no where to put down your cards. Ping Pong in a main thourough fare area, come on. I just missed hitting a lady in the face as I was going for a ball. Good for spectator viewing, but not for playing a tournament. The Martini bar was a great place if they would only turn down the Techno music. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
This cruise is a Pacific Coast Itinerary. This is the repositioning of the Solstice from Australia to Alaska. We started out in San Diego by heading to the Sheridan Marina to check in for our bus trip down to Ensenada Mexico which is ... Read More
This cruise is a Pacific Coast Itinerary. This is the repositioning of the Solstice from Australia to Alaska. We started out in San Diego by heading to the Sheridan Marina to check in for our bus trip down to Ensenada Mexico which is about 90 miles.to start our cruise. We got there around 2:00pm. At first I noticed a very long line for check in , however as everyone in my party had booked suites, our line was empty and the 8 of us managed to check in immediately. After check in we were told to walk outside to the buses and all of us got onto the waiting bus. It took all of 15 minutes to check in and get on the bus. We were given box lunches which were at best, fair and proceeded down to Ensenada via I-5. It took us 35 minutes to reach the US-Mexico border and going into Mexico uneventful. While in Mexico, our driver was going pretty fast towards Ensenada and the Mexican Police actually stopped us. Don"t think he got a ticket as we were on our way pretty fast (maybe a bribe?). At least he slowed down. Our trip took about 2 hours. Went aboard the Solstice and were able to go immediately to our cabins. Able to watch all the dogs sniff through our luggage section by section when it arrived at the dock. Th Solstice is gorgeous. Our cabin was on the 11th floor, beautiful and large. We had a 1/2 bath when you enter and a dining area with a bar , wine rack , refrigerator and a dining table that seats 6.. On the bar was 2 bottles of liquor and canned sodas for us. Very nice. The master bath is beautiful. With separate shower, whirlpool bath and double sinks with plenty of room for our toiletries. Bedroom is large with very comfortable bedding and pillows. There is a small makeup table with great lighting ( hairdryer is in the closet if needed) and a large flat screen TV. Really loved the Royal Suite. Will definitely reserve this room again. Centrally located, right by the elevators.My friends had the Penthouse suite, another Royal Suite and a Celebrity Suite. We even had our own hallway. Hardly ever saw anyone in the halls We ate in Blu the first night. Unfortunately we did not like. I actually had to send my food back. The chicken was bone dry and not eatable. Found out later that all the food trucks were not allowed over the border and the ship had to use the food left from the previous cruise (Hawaii) We ended up eating mostly specialty restaurants. Loved them all. I think my favorite was Silk Harvest. We ordered almost everything on the menu (no sushi). Very good. Tuscan Grill and Murano's were excellent. We traveled the Pacific Coast. I found the weather to be colder and rainier than expected. Had to purchase a warmer jacket. As I had had a part time residence in Southern California, I took our friends to the tourist haunts The San Diego Zoo in San Diego, . In Los Angles we went to Hollywood walk of fame, the "Hollywood" sign and went to the "Farmers Market/Grove" Managed to catch a taping of Extra" and were even part of the show. Lots of fun. Our next day at sea, I was invited by the captain to the Bridge. That was a highlight and fascinating. Security is very tight and we were frisked with the hand wand. before going in.That was definitely on my bucket list. Next we went to San Francisco and I must say my favorite. Took the trolley to Union Square and walked thru Chinatown, Little Italy back to the Embarcadero. Did everything on my list for that city. Another day at sea, then we were in Astoria Oregon. Very rainy, very cold. Felt bad for the vendors, they don"t get too many ships into their port. Did not stay on shore very long. Our last day was in Victoria BC, a lovely town and a beautiful day. Went to the Empress Hotel for afternoon tea. pretty expensive $59.95 per person for tea and crumpets . To go home, we decided to use Celebrity's Luggage Valet Service You need to sign up for this the first few days of the cruise. The cruise line does not tell you if they accept you until 24 to 48 hours before you leave. We were accepted and it is the best $20.00 per person spent.. They give you your boarding passes, luggage tags and instructions. We put our luggage out the night before. Got off ship and straight thru Customs and out the door at our leisure. No waiting around and no looking for our luggage. . Went to the airport, (where we happened to miss our connection), but our luggage still traveled with us. First ones off the baggage ramp after we landed. Highly recommend. This was truly one of the best trips for me. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
This was our first cruise on Celebrity. I had heard that the food was way better than other lines we had been on and the ship was gorgeous. I have to say, I don't agree with either. We flew into San Diego and were greeted by celebrity ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Celebrity. I had heard that the food was way better than other lines we had been on and the ship was gorgeous. I have to say, I don't agree with either. We flew into San Diego and were greeted by celebrity staff. Celebrity provided transfers to Ensenada, where the ship was departing from. We arrived at the airport at about 11 and were taken by bus to the Sheraton Marina for checkin. The lines were long and we had to wait for a bus to take us to Ensenada. The bus trip took two hours and we had no problems. We did have to wait in line before we were allowed to get off the bus. This cruise became the "queue" cruise. It seemed we waited in line an awful lot. Our bags arrived in a timely fashion and after muster we had dinner in the main dining room. We ate all of our meals in either the MDR or buffet. The food was adequate, but not as high quality as I had been expecting. I thought the variety of food was lacking and my husband and daughter had to send their steaks back to have them cooked properly. The breakfast buffet was ok, but lacked variety and was boring after nine days. We did have the free drink promotion, so we were able to get fresh squeezed orange juice every morning, which we enjoyed. We felt the entertainment on the ship lacking also. We skipped most shows as they did not interest us. We went to see the comedian, Dave Burleigh, who was very good. The next night was a comedian/impressionist. We left before the end of the show. Also, the cruise director was the most absent cruise director of any ship we have ever been on. She didn't do anything to make the cruise entertaining. After nine days, my daughter had no idea who she even was. The ship is pretty, but we missed the active promenade area that we are used to on the Royal Caribbean ships. There was no real gathering place on this ship, except for the martini bar area, which is very small. The ships interior trim and quality was beautiful and the cabin decor was very nice, but the cabins are on the small side. This sailing was definitely an older crowd and as far as we could tell, most people went to bed after the first main show. We were disappointed in the lack of activities at night. We went to a "jeopardy" type game show and there were about 8 of us there. Same goes for the trivia and karaoke. Most activities at night involved music, which were the same every night in various venues. We did enjoy Patricia and her Zumba classes and party. Since the weather was so cold, we were not able to really use the lawn area or the hot glass show. We went up to watch once and it was just too cold to stay. Not Celebrity's fault on that one.We did love the itinerary though. We did the San Diego zoo, California Adventure(which was cut a little short due to the ship not being cleared for over an hour and a half once we arrived), cable car, Chinatown and fisherman's wharf in San Francisco. Saw only a bit of the Golden Gate Bridge going under when we arrived and departed as it was shrouded in fog the entire day. Walked around downtown Astoria, where all the locals went out of their way to make this stop enjoyable and finally Victoria, where we toured Butchart Gardens and enjoyed their downtown, shopping and having a beer at a Scottish pub. Overall, we had a good time. I liked not being hounded for extra money for everything, although i thought the charges for the specialty restaurants were a bit high. Loved the ports, the ship, not so much. It was definitely an older crowd (and we are in our fifties), With scooters parked out by the stairs. We will stick with Royal Caribbean. We enjoy a livelier cruise with better entertainment and activities. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Embarcation started smoothly at San Diego Airport. Celebrity met us and directed us to buses and our bags were taken to trucks. I asked the representative if we needed our paperwork i.e. set & sail pass and was told no just needed ... Read More
Embarcation started smoothly at San Diego Airport. Celebrity met us and directed us to buses and our bags were taken to trucks. I asked the representative if we needed our paperwork i.e. set & sail pass and was told no just needed credit card and passport, which I found out was wrong after getting bussed to a Sheraton hotel for processing along with thousands of other passengers. At the processing it was by room class so even being elite we end up in a 45 minute waiting line and then have a new girl with a lap top that never seemed to work take another 30 minutes to reenter everything I had entered online including swiping my credit card over 40 times before it seemed to be approved. (the next day I was summoned to pursor when to redo it all again). Then we massed together in a mob of 200 to run for box lunches and the buses to be transported to Ensenada and to go through immigration. Three hours later at 6 pm we boarded. Our bags arrived at 10 pm after open seating dinner at 8:30. Of course almost all entertainment was either delayed or rescheduled I guess since mostly we never found out until too late and were too exhausted to do much but hit the sack after getting notice we would have to through immigration again the next day in San Diego to get off the ship. The next day we waited for the ok to go ashore, finally after no announcements we were down to deck 4 and found lines with hundreds of people who like us received no announcement. After wasting all this time half of our time ashore was gone so just went to the USS Midway museum nearby (which was great)grabbed a soda and headed back to the ship.So we had wasted the better part of two days, everything we wanted to go like the welcome party and meet and greet was either cancelled or rescheduled and we missed them. As for the ship it was nice, clean and very concerned with sanitation as they had some prior norovirus problems I was told. The room steward Ronald and his assistant were exceptional, it seemed they were always working, but always willing to answer questions or be of service. The food in the MDR was very good though it seems the number options has dropped and only 4 or 5 entrees. We dined in the Tuscan Grille which was good in parts; my filet was great, my spouses blackend ribeye was tough and chewy sent back and replaced by one even worse. Desserts were pretty but bland. The buffet was very good particularly in the Morning for eggs, omelets and pancakes. The coffee bars and restaurants on 4 and 5 very good. The main problem with the cruise was there never seemed to be a place that wasn't jammed. All of the public areas near both elevator shafts always seemed full. Both floors of the library , the team earth floor, the internet room,the card room, the lounges, the bars, the guest services, excursions, everywhere you looked it was packed( atleast from 6 am to 10pm). Partly this was due to cool weather no one used the open air pool areas, bars, or lawn areas even the solarium was usually empty. And consequently the elevators were always running and waits were long. The other factor was it seemed everyone on board was 65 or older, active but not ones to partake of strenous activity or cool weather. We were told there were 600 Elite cruisers, but it seemed everyone I met was, and if not Elite they were Suite or Concierge Class.We have another cruise booked with Celebrity in the fall on the Summit going to Quebec from New Jersey which with 123 program and cooler weather looked to have the same clientel and weather which I probably will cancel after having been on this cruise. This wasn't a bad cruise it started very poorly and was very disorganized (like everyone was new to their jobs)but the crew seemed overwhelmed and proccupied. We will cruise with Celebrity again as it was our favorite line but we certainly will think a lot more about it Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
First, this line or maybe just this ship lacks any effective communication with its guests. Embarkation and tendering were utter disasters and resulted in at least 2452 passengers that were unhappy from the very start and a topic of ... Read More
First, this line or maybe just this ship lacks any effective communication with its guests. Embarkation and tendering were utter disasters and resulted in at least 2452 passengers that were unhappy from the very start and a topic of conversation over dinner for the entire cruise. We checked in at the Harbor Sheraton at 1:00 PM as specified on the useless website. We finally got on a bus (#50) at 4:30 PM. Finally got on board near 7:00 PM in Encinada. Our luggage finally got to our room after 9:00 PM. At the check in facility, there was no PA system to inform passengers as to to what was going on, or where facilities were etc. A talented high school gym teacher with a bull horn could have easily solved the problem. Food was being served outside, but no one knew it. The restrooms were also outside and you only found that out by chance rumor. If you simply got in the bus line after check in and denied that you had been given a bus assignment, you were just boarded on the next available bus. Honest, compliant people just waited and got on their assigned bus hours later. Their website is very short on information. We could not find show times. We could not find definitive wine and alcohol policy. Two bottles per stateroom. What size, when etc. Their website needs a major overhaul. The 800 number is not much better. In trying to determine whether to accept late dining or open dining, we were told that shows were anywhere from 6 and 9 to 7 and 10. Actual times were 8:30 and 10:30. We chose open dining based on that bad information. That only allow us to go to the open dining room and get in line for over 30 minutes to be seated. As for the cruise, the ship is absolutely outstanding. Room was very good. Service was excellent. Dining room waiters and assistants were very good. Food was OK but not great. The Ocean View Cafe evening menu was very limited compared to the dining room selections. Hot foods were cold and salads were warmer than then they should have been. We also waited over an hour in Seattle for our rental car pickup. We docked at a different pier than the website told us they would. Again, their communication absolutely sucks. Having previously cruised on Holland America, Delta Queen, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean etc. we will never again use Celebrity. Just a lot better options out there. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
Recently we joined the Celebrity Solstice in its repositioning cruise from Italy to Fort Lauderdale. The ship is new, well appointed and a good sailor. The gym is one of the best I have used at sea and it is well staffed with good ... Read More
Recently we joined the Celebrity Solstice in its repositioning cruise from Italy to Fort Lauderdale. The ship is new, well appointed and a good sailor. The gym is one of the best I have used at sea and it is well staffed with good trainers. One of the main drawbacks on board is a lack of card tables which takes the players into dining areas and hogging tables in the Spa breakfast and lunch area. Food in the main dining room is definitely on the cool side. For some reason they cannot get a hot meal from the kitchen to your table despite the fact the kitchen is on the same floor as the dining room. It is one of the most attractive dining rooms at sea. No problem with the quality of the ingredients used in cooking but for some reason the chefs on Solstice like to kill everything with heavy sauces which do not help the food. A big ship, it is easy to move around with excellent fast elevators and wide stairways. Except for the dining room it is well worth a visit. The special dining rooms help make up for it but of course they cost you extra. Maybe that is what Celebrity is aiming at. Buba079 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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