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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose the transpacific cruise because of the ports and Celebrity Solstice because of reviews and recommendations. Very pleased we went Aqua class as the food and service in Blu restaurant was outstanding, especially for anyone with ... Read More
We chose the transpacific cruise because of the ports and Celebrity Solstice because of reviews and recommendations. Very pleased we went Aqua class as the food and service in Blu restaurant was outstanding, especially for anyone with special dietary requirements. By comparison, the main dining room was mediocre, but the buffet was better than expected. The Spa cafe was also good for light breakfast and lunch options but the burgers at the Mast Grill were disappointing. Al Bacio Cafe is very popular for specialty coffee and tea but expensive unless you have a drinks package. The daily treats there are provided free and some are very good. The gym is modern and spacious and evening entertainment was very good, especially the Lighthouse Duo and Gilly and the Girl. Some of the special artists were also great but there was a lack of variety of activities during the day and the cruise catered more to an older crowd with two sets of five consecutive sea days with mostly passive activities on offer. Although there were a small number of families on board this cruise which spanned the school holidays, and there is a kids club, the ship does not really cater to children or a younger crowd. It is quite accessible for people with mobility issues but there were often long delays for the lifts especially when disembarking. There were only 6 ports of call on this 19 night cruise so it was disappointing for a cruise called Tahitian Treasures that we visited two of the three ports in Tahiti over Easter where many places were closed due to the holidays. Shore excursions can be prebooked through the cruise line or independently online for convenience but are usually much cheaper and quite easy to book when you arrive in a port if you have done some research beforehand. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this back to back cruise because of the destinations more than the ship. We were a little uncertain what to expect as it seems aimed at US market. The ship itself it lovely. Clean to a very high standard. The staff are very ... Read More
We chose this back to back cruise because of the destinations more than the ship. We were a little uncertain what to expect as it seems aimed at US market. The ship itself it lovely. Clean to a very high standard. The staff are very accommodating and helpful always. The spaces on the ship are weirdly set out. There are few quiet indoor areas! The library is over looking the Atrium and Open to the ensuing noise. As is the card/game room. The stupidest place for these public areas. The Atrium itself hosts all sorts of inane activities as well as live music. There is a tree suspended in midair for no apparent reason? There are many bars. Some are nice but the drinks are ridiculously expensive. The drinks packages are ridiculously expensive too unless you can down 9-10 alcoholic drinks a day every day ( there are a lot is shore days on this cruise) . We rarely drink during the day and maybe a couple in the evening with dinner or at a show. We were harangued on day 1 to get a package ! It was uncomfortable and we were told we could have 1 package if we wanted whereas we read you MUST have 2 of the same! At $70 a day each $140 x 28 is a lot of dollars!! ( nearly $4000!) our spend was less than $ 700 and we had bottles of wine regularly. The food was very underwhelming. Nothing looked particularly pretty there was a distinct lack of vegetables choice in the restaurant. The buffet desserts were literally CAKE. Red green blue orange cake. Proper puddings as I would describe there were 2 and only served at lunch and tea time. Not in the evening. There was ice cream too. And MELON. Always Melon . Fruit variety was also very lacking. Melon pineapple and apple. Bananas cut up for breakfast. There were lots of choices for breakfast and lunch in the buffet. It was nice enough but nothing wowed me food wise anywhere. Even speciality dining which again we were harassed on a daily basis to book ( we ‘d prebooked anyway for one meal in Asian Fusion restaurant for valentines evening) it was really nothing special and certainly not worth paying extra for. We tried the Tuscan grill and again not impressed. I had to send my steak back as it was so salty I couldn’t eat it. All dining staff however are wonderful. In Epinay we were freedom dining but when we eat there we always tried to be in the same dining area where Chris and Custodio looked after us. Shore excursion were very pricey and not particularly good. Everything seemed rushed. We booked several of our own tours before we came and found them far more fun informative and 5x cheaper! We will never book ship excursions again unless there is no choice. This is a big ship with not too many passengers which we liked. No fighting for sun beds etc. The entertainment in theatre was ok. I have definitely seen a lot better. Some of the acts were poor and some good but never dazzling! Our favourite individual artist was a hoolahoop act! Yes exactly! Whoever edits the daily news sheet can’t spell or use correct grammar.This did make us laugh. The spa was nice . I like saunas and steam but you have to pay for steam and hot beds. Again very expensive $59 per day! I did manage to broker a deal near the end of the holiday as I knew there were a few sea days. Photography! OMG ! We were dumbfounded by photographers on board. Dressing up in costumes and accosting you to have a photo! Why would I have a photo of me with a stranger in a costume ( which generally had little relevance to where we were- a frog? A cheeky sailor in an unconvincing costume! A back drop of The titanic staircase?? Why? Maybe it’s just us but we found this flabbergasting tbh. If it were aimed at children I could understand. I am sure on a Disney ship this would be acceptable. The photos themselves were not particularly good quality and yet again Expensive! In conclusion we liked the ship the crew and the destinations. We would not rush back to book celebrity but neither would we not travel with them again if the itinerary was right. There was a lot of outward fakery based on the size of your wallet rather than true quality. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We have chosen this cruise and next cruise from Auckland because of their interesting itinerary. Our opinion about embarkation was very good and very quickly. We expected much more from Premium Class ship it is very much in need of ... Read More
We have chosen this cruise and next cruise from Auckland because of their interesting itinerary. Our opinion about embarkation was very good and very quickly. We expected much more from Premium Class ship it is very much in need of renovation and new furniture all over the ship. The food and presentation of the food at Main Dining Room was not even medium class. We tried buffet few times for lunch that was okay. Big surprise no table served lunch every day, only at days at sea. Room Service at the beginning was out of this world, always something missing or wrong items. For example got coffee not cups got yoghurt but not spoons etc. Only few times at the end of second cruise all was good. We both bought a very expensive drink package compared to other cruise ship we have been cruising before.On this ship the most heard saying at bars was sorry Sir not in this bar maybe that drink is available on some other bar. And we asked only the drinks was on a list we got when we bought packages. Two days after Sydney the ship was out of " Tonic" can you understand that, we don´t. Once I ordered GT and I got Gin and Soda , and that was not told me before I asked what you gave me ? Sorry no tonic I put soda instead was the answer, very nice ! Near the bars the live and other music was too loud to speak to other people, especially when you are not using English as a first language. And finally this disembarkation at Perth was horrible we were out of the ship before our bags came. We were waiting in a very very hot area without cooling, next straight out to burning sun to wait for transport and no shade at all. Even most of the staff was friendly and nice we have to say no more Celebrity Cruises unfortunately ! Ps. At Celebrity the biggest problem is their logistic not staff. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - didn't pay much attention to which cruise line, and hadn't previously cruised with Celebrity before. We won't be cruising with them again. Cabin design and layout of the ship ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - didn't pay much attention to which cruise line, and hadn't previously cruised with Celebrity before. We won't be cruising with them again. Cabin design and layout of the ship was excellent, but that's where the good points end. Worst feature of the cruise was the outrageous pricing of every extra - drinks, WiFi, speciality dining, all seriously over priced. No laundry facilities without paying through the nose, the list goes on. Food was uninspiring, and certainly not of the standard we are used to with lines like Cunard or P&O. My wife is vegetarian, and very unimpressed, especially with the buffet offerings. We were on back to back cruises, and were thoroughly bored with the repetitive menu's - we have seldom taken so many opportunities to eat while ashore! Entertainment on board was variable - some excellent resident musicians and on board shows, but some very dull guest artists, including the worst Beatles tribute band I have ever suffered, but big thanks to Gilly and the Girl and Pete Henry for making the musical aspects of the cruise up to standard! The ports we visited, and tours were almost all wonderful, with the possible exception of the Marlborough railway trip. We would return to New Zealand and Australia at the drop of a hat, but not with Celebrity. Chatting with fellow cruisers who had been with the line before, the general feeling was that standards had slipped and corners cut - not the quality we expect. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
First cruise with Celebrity, had previously done 2 Alaskan cruises with HAL. We prefer a more sedate and classy vibe, but the reviews for the analogous HAL cruise ship were poor in comparison. In general I think this cruise is targeted ... Read More
First cruise with Celebrity, had previously done 2 Alaskan cruises with HAL. We prefer a more sedate and classy vibe, but the reviews for the analogous HAL cruise ship were poor in comparison. In general I think this cruise is targeted towards the livelier of the older crowd. Itinerary was fine. I would've preferred fewer cities and more nature. It's a bit of a tradeoff, though, since it'd be difficult to get rental cars. Didn't do any excursions, just went touring independently. Good: * Crew is excellent. They work so hard and really aim to please. My impression is that they're asked to do a lot. * Handicap accessibility and assistance. My dad is in a wheelchair, and we found no issues getting around or sitting anywhere. The crew were very accommodating. In particular, they were very helpful whenever we tendered. It can be tricky helping someone who can't really walk to step on and off a rocking tender boat, but the crew kept my dad safe at all times and just did a really commendable job. * Food overall. We didn't do any specialty dining. We did Oceanview Cafe buffet for breakfast and lunch. Excellent variety. Quality was good but I can see room for improvement there (some items were verging on stale). We usually did Grand Epernay for dinner, where the meals were higher quality than the buffet, as expected. We did Grand Epernay for lunch once, and it was quite good. * Entertainment overall. * Live music overall. * Gym was well-maintained. Equipment was abundant and clean. Not great: * The library. Maybe we've been spoiled by HAL, but on the Solstice it's just an extra space that was made into a library. Furnished decently enough, but it's small, and exposed to the atrium, meaning it's potentially noisy and with no outside views. Not a single ottoman here (or anywhere on the ship, for that matter, I don't think). No happily falling asleep on accident as you lean back in a comfy chair, reading a book, with the ocean in the background. * There are no quiet and unexposed public spaces on the ship with a view. * Two of the smoking areas are indoor-ish, on the 12th floor by the pools. * Music is constantly pumped everywhere, so you feel like you're always in a shopping mall. I found this to be less than classy. There are likely some areas where there is no music, but I remember far more places where music seemed inappropriate. For example, I remember being in the Sky Lounge (a confusing space in itself - more on that later) on the morning of entering Milford Sound, before sunrise, and for some reason Eye of the Tiger and some other song with "sex pot" in the lyrics were playing loudly. Just really conflicted with the mood you would expect so early in the morning, which should be serene, peaceful, to be gently introduced to the splendor of nature. * Or maybe it was just the choice of music. In general the music aesthetic was as if you put "Lisa Loeb - Stay" into Pandora. Why not some classical instead? * There are way too many bars on this ship, especially in the nicer parts of the ship. I wonder how the friends of Bill W feel about that. Anyway, if there's a nice space, there's a high probability that there's a bar in it to take it down a few notches. Examples: Sky Lounge and the Lawn Club. This ties back to confusing spaces. Sky Lounge is a potentially relaxing part of the ship, yet there's a bar and dance floor in it, effectively removing the relaxation potential. * Lots of up-selling. It's easy to decline but I found this to be tacky, and felt bad for the crew who have to do it. * Port information is not given along with the daily infosheet. You have to visit Guest Relations to get the port's infosheet. It's too easy to take a cynical view of why this is done. * Very expensive laundry service, whereas it's a non-issue on HAL. What we ended up doing was dropping off our laundry at Mall Drycleaning in Wellington (day 8 or 9 of cruise - we had another destination after the end of the cruise) on Johnston St, then picking it up at the end of the day before boarding. It was about 30 NZD for straight wash-dry-fold of about 4 large reusable shopping bags' worth of clothes. That's compared to 50 USD for one small bag on the Solstice only about 4 or 5 days into the cruise. Quibbles: * Not enough turnover on the pizza in Oceanview Cafe led to oftentimes surprising staleness. * Guest Relations crew should feel more OK to say when they don't know something but that they'll try to find the answer we're looking for. * I think it would be OK to call "music trivia" what it really is, which is "name that tune". * There were oftentimes typos and grammatical errors in the daily infosheet. There were also a lot of fluff sales-y phrases, where simple, accurate descriptions would be better. * There was some issue with linking expense accounts to each person in our party. Online, I had assigned everyone in my family to my credit card, but I still had to go to Guest Relations to swipe my card to associate it to each person. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our first cruise on a large ship and the Celebrity Solstice was recommended to us by friends. We were very happy and impressed with the level of service and the overall quality of the food. The ship is lovely with plenty of ... Read More
This was our first cruise on a large ship and the Celebrity Solstice was recommended to us by friends. We were very happy and impressed with the level of service and the overall quality of the food. The ship is lovely with plenty of places to go and be entertained or you can also find several quiet spots too. The nightly shows were all very good. We were particularly impressed with the amazing service from Minguel, Anna, Alex and Raj in the main dining room and also Rhonda our cabin steward was excellent. The quality of food in both the main dining room and the Oceanview Cafe was very good. The only negatives on the cruise were a long delay with disembarking by tender one morning and we would not recommend Murano Restaurant with both the food and service being disappointing. Overall, the cruise was fantastic and we have booked two more cruises with Celebrity. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We booked the back to back from Sydney to Auckland then back to Perth. The cruise ticked all the boxes of places we wanted to see and we thought it would be easier than the alternative of lots of flights because of the sheer scale of the ... Read More
We booked the back to back from Sydney to Auckland then back to Perth. The cruise ticked all the boxes of places we wanted to see and we thought it would be easier than the alternative of lots of flights because of the sheer scale of the Australia and to some extent New Zealand. On hindsight we should have done a couple of weeks driving round New Zealand - even for us oldies it would have been very doable but we only realised that once we got there - and we could have done Australia by cruise and train - a number of people we spoke to on the cruise had done the train across Australia from Perth and said it was well worth the money. The ship was bigger than we are used to and we found it busier and noisier - really difficult to find somewhere to chat with folk over a quiet drink or a coffee - so difficult to find a seat in Cafe Baccio. We spent more time in our cabin than we have done on any other cruise just because it was quieter. The design of the central atrium sends music playing at the bottom right the way up to the library on deck 10. Having said the groups singing and playing were very good and we would have enjoyed the music more if it hadn't always seemed so loud. Staff as always were amazing and happy to assist but with Premium Drinks Package pre-purchased the ship ran out of our tipple on day one. They did seem to do everything to remedy that situation but hmnn. Food was first class in Blu and Epernay we found good too - the buffet up top was too busy and a bit of a free for all so we mostly avoided it. Hard sell on Speciality Dining was awful and we pitied the poor staff sent out to harangue us into parting with even more cash when dining in our restaurant was first class already - why would we pay again? We used Celebrity Shore Excursions - expensive and invariably on 50 seater buses - mostly unable to hear the commentary and a bit hurried. We organised one excursion ourselves to Tussock Ridge Farm only 20 minutes out of Wellington and IT MADE OUR TRIP - so we'll try to organise more like that in future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We had not been to these destinations before and this cruise offered us just what we wanted. The crew was really friendly and most of them always acknowledged us and many of them entered into ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We had not been to these destinations before and this cruise offered us just what we wanted. The crew was really friendly and most of them always acknowledged us and many of them entered into a conversation. The cabin was always cleaned well, but it could do with a little updating, some of the furnishings need replacing. The guest entertainers in the theatre were ok however, the the ships dancers and singers put on very good shows. Some of the entertainment singers or bands around the ship were very good especially a young group, Jeam Beam and two girl violinists. The daily activities could have been better, again not a lot to choose from unlike P&O cruises.The Oceanview Cafe served a very good range of food and we ate there in the evening too, the Maitre D’ Zeljko Cickovic always found time to chat and couldn’t do enough to help. We feel the restaurant didn’t offer enough of a choice for the evening meal although the food was good. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We wanted to cruise NZ and after a good experience sailing with Celebrity in the Caribbean on the Eclipse decided on the Solstice. The ship was well appointed, the same set up as the Eclipse. We boarded smoothly around 11.30 but ... Read More
We wanted to cruise NZ and after a good experience sailing with Celebrity in the Caribbean on the Eclipse decided on the Solstice. The ship was well appointed, the same set up as the Eclipse. We boarded smoothly around 11.30 but didn't receive luggage until after 6pm. Never experienced that before. After a long trip to Sydney my wife, having no change of clothes etc , was not happy. The staff seemed disinterested in locating the luggage. Said they'd get back to us but never did. Anyway, once this was sorted out we got into cruising mode and had a really good time. Met a lot of good people. The staff in the main dining and the Martini Bar were great. Fun and really attentive. The food generally was pretty good in the main dining but became a little same same after awhile. So we decided on the fine dining package, The experience in all these restaurants was underwhelming. The food was basically bland. The sauces used had little flavor, steaks overcooked and definitely no wow factor. Was much better in the Caribbean. In fact the meals we had on shore for lunch in bothe Australia and NZ were of far greater quality. Really disappointing. Also the coffee on board was simply terrible. Can't understand what's so hard about getting a decent coffee. Australians and NZ's are used to quality coffee these days. We're not the complaining type. Certainly I'm of the opinion one should let the little things slide but quality food and beverage is a must when you're paying out good money. Really enjoyed NZ. The people are friendly and the food and wine was great. It's a quality country. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We choose cruises based on places we want to stop, and have preferred Celebrity when possible for the past 15+ years. Things we liked: Every place we stopped. Love New Zealand. Cruising the fjords of New Zealand. Select dining ... Read More
We choose cruises based on places we want to stop, and have preferred Celebrity when possible for the past 15+ years. Things we liked: Every place we stopped. Love New Zealand. Cruising the fjords of New Zealand. Select dining started at 5:30 so you could catch the 7 pm show. Everyone tried hard to please, and most succeeded. They really do have good people. Liked the Elite benefits--bag of laundry, 3 free drinks everyday from 5-7 anywhere on the ship (except dining room). Looked forward to the captain's announcements--always learned something. Ice cream every day. They even had cinnamon every single day (normally we only see it a few days). Captains presentation on the last sea day was the best presentation I've ever seen on a ship--better even than our Panama Canal presentations. Things we didn't like: Food in the dining room and on the buffet seems to be significantly going downwards. I've heard these complaints for years, but this cruise it really really seemed true. On a shore excursion someone asked how the food was, and another passenger replied "average". Sad, because we originally chose Celebrity years ago because the food was above average. Sloooooow select dining service. Servers could have sped things up a bit (often sat for 15 minutes waiting for a menu, dishes cleared, etc), but I also think there is something about how they run it that it just goes slow (an organizational and management problem). Took 3 days and 5 trips to the customer service desk to get my Elite benefits working properly. They were nice enough about it, just couldn't fix it right the first time. Heard several times "sometimes it doesn't work, just put it on your bill and we'll take it off". Guest lecturers were pretty dry. I give the ship 3 stars mostly because of the food and organizational issues. 5 stars for the destination. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We were interested to try a Celebrity cruise out of Australia, and this one offered an interesting itinerary as it visited Newcastle and Hobart as well as New Zealand ports. Embarkation was quick but we had special assistance with elderly ... Read More
We were interested to try a Celebrity cruise out of Australia, and this one offered an interesting itinerary as it visited Newcastle and Hobart as well as New Zealand ports. Embarkation was quick but we had special assistance with elderly mother, and we also had an accessible stateroom for her. Generally the public rooms of this ship were in excellent condition, and they were very elegant. We enjoyed the many different places on the ship to hear music of excellent quality, and also enjoyed the main production shows very much. Some of the guest acts were not quite as good, but it is necessary to cater for the many different tastes of the passengers in entertainment and one cannot expect to like everything. The house band was fantastic and we found ourselves dancing every night. We found the cruise director and staff to be very good, and the captain was hilarious! We were in the Captain's club lounge every night, and enjoyed the service there. Select dining around 8pm worked very well and the food and service in the main dining room was of a very good standard. The sommeliers were also knowledgable, and we found good wines to drink with our meals. Overall the service all around the ship was excellent. We have been to NZ many times so the ports were predictable for us, but we were lucky with the weather and were able to see everything on the itinerary. People we met who were experiencing NZ for the first time seemed to really love the ports. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise to see New Zealand, it was our first cruise and we were not disappointed. We picked this particular one for the stops in Sydney and New Zealand.We had wonderful service and would like to thank especially Catalin, ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see New Zealand, it was our first cruise and we were not disappointed. We picked this particular one for the stops in Sydney and New Zealand.We had wonderful service and would like to thank especially Catalin, Larissa and the wine waiters for table 271 they were especially attentive and pleasant and very helpful when I was feeling under the weather. The captain was great and we enjoyed listening to his amusing updates on the weather and the ports. We went to his talk about the history of the vessel and found it very entertaining. The weather wasn’t always good but had it been the sun deck would have been used much more. We did find the solarium useful on the dull days but couldn’t always find a seat. The journey into the Fjiords was great and beautiful. We particularly enjoyed the trip on the Ketch in Akaroa and the Jet boat ride in Rotarua. Overall we had a great time and wouldn’t hesitate in booking again. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Food was very average not high quality always served cold food that had been sitting in a fridge all day The fine dining was not worth spending $100 on each meal I expected much better after spending $11,000 for a aqua class tickets. ... Read More
Food was very average not high quality always served cold food that had been sitting in a fridge all day The fine dining was not worth spending $100 on each meal I expected much better after spending $11,000 for a aqua class tickets. in room movies $14.99 pay view absolutely crap movies not worth viewing. $5.00 for a gelato ice cream ARE YOU KIDDING! 2 hour wait time for the tender to take us to Akaroa many people were very upset at the waiting time. SUMMARY It was not the best holiday a little boring always trying to up sell you from the minute you got on the ship It felt like Thailand cheap watches crap jewellery I was a little bit embrassed to tell the family but I was rather happy to get off and go and have a nice cooked hot meal . The Sky Deck was nice but nothing ever happens there a bar that doesnt open until 3.30pm a lot wasted space The staff are nice Sorry but it didnt leave me wanting to go back. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My wife & I were fortunate enough to have enjoyed (for $75) a TA ship's tour, including coach travel & lunch, on the Solstice whilst it was in port in Sydney just prior to Christmas in 2017. That sold us & shortly after, ... Read More
My wife & I were fortunate enough to have enjoyed (for $75) a TA ship's tour, including coach travel & lunch, on the Solstice whilst it was in port in Sydney just prior to Christmas in 2017. That sold us & shortly after, we booked the 2018 Christmas/NY New Zealand 12 night cruise. We'd not been to NZ previously & certainly hadn't sailed during the festive season. It would also be first time with Celebrity. Initially it was just the 2 of us, but a few months' later a friend signed up & we changed our standard balcony cabin to a concierge class balcony room for 3. As it eventuated, 2 more friends from USA wanted to do the trip & they booked a sky class suite. So all up, 5 of us, but in fairness, this review is based on my wife's & my experiences. Embarkation: We arrived at the terminal at 11.45am & dropped off our luggage - very easy. Consistent with our previous experiences on other ships, it took about 35 minutes all up from the time we entered the terminal until boarding. Mind you, without concierge class, it would definitely have been longer. I must comment on the vast number of helpful & pleasant service officers standing by, pointing us in the right direction as we progressed through the terminal. They helped set the tone for our cruise & it was a perfect start when we were offered a glass of bubbly on boarding. Concierge Class: Near the ship's entry point as we boarded, we were greeted by our concierge, Javier, who introduced himself & told us that we should contact him if we have any questions or concerns. He gave us his card. Excellent start from Celebrity! Daily & most times, twice daily, there were recorded messages sent by Javier to our cabin 'phone with updates. These were especially helpful with info re excursion tendering & disembarking during port visits & also, for our final disembarkation in Sydney. Javier's message always gave particulars of the hours he would be available daily at his desk on deck 7. He also facilitated a helipad visit for concierge class passengers when the ship was arriving in Picton. He was exceptional. We enjoyed our first lunch in the Main Dining Room as part of the concierge deal. Our bottle of bubbly was waiting for us on ice in our room. Daily canapés were provided & initially, we ordered 3 plates of 4 canapés each, but we stopped these after a few days as we truly had enough food at meal times to more than satisfy our hunger. A small set of binoculars were in our cabin, as per the concierge service. Concierge also promises preferred dining options in the MDR. We invariably were seated at our desired table there at night. Would we pay the extra $$$ again for concierge? Probably not now that we're retired & every $ really counts; however, if you can afford it, I'd recommend you seriously consider it. Dining: We ate most of our meals in the MDR, although we went to the buffet for lunch on port days & also enjoyed Murano & Tuscan. MDR provided us with an adequate variety of courses, although perhaps an over concentration on cold soups which weren't our thing. But still plenty of appealing & tasty dishes to choose from. We thoroughly enjoyed each & every meal we had here & we were fortunate enough to be seated at Table 561 (seats 6) for our group of 5. Our servers, Head Waiter Clamelle, Assistant Marija, Drinks Waiter Mark & Sommelier Nelson, were all outstanding. They truly spoilt us. Mind you, all the staff at each meal time in the MDR, whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner, were wonderful. Lunch on 4 occasions in the buffet provided us with an amazing array of food from which to choose. Quality & flavour weren't missing. We had no issue getting a table each time as we only ate there on port days. Loved the ice cream bar & the dessert & cake selections were staggeringly good! Our evening in Murano was very special & was definitely a 5 star event. Such attentive staff & perfectly professionally friendly. Food was exceptionally good & the whole experience, as a one-off for us, was worth the US$65 per head. We dined the 1 night in Tuscan & whilst we preferred the menu in Murano, Tuscan's location at the ship's aft provided a tremendous setting. We did enjoy our night here; cost was US$60 per head. Café: Inevitably stopped for a liqueur coffee & tea here at night & I can't believe how quick & efficient service was. Also a stop over point for a mid morning coffee. Most times, but not always, seats were available, but there was a quick turn over of tables. A most pleasant venue to relax. Room Service: We ordered pre-breakfast tea, coffee, smoothies & juice each morning & this is a wonderful free service. Bars & Lounges: Mainly had our drinks at lunch & dinner times so didn't frequent the bars in the main. However, did enjoy an occasional beer or wine in the Ensemble and Passport bars. Both were nicely furnished & relaxing & service was no issue. Paid about USA$30 for a "world wide" wine tasting of 6 reds & 6 whites from different international wine regions, hosted in Cellar Masters. Enjoyed this, a pleasant couple of hours & no shortage of drinks. Rest Rooms: I can understand why they were rated number 1 by Cruise Critic readers. Cloth or paper towels, constant cleaning (there was always a cleaner there ) & fresh smelling. The standard is at the highest level. Activities & Entertainment: We only participated in a number of the trivia games & the bingo. The latter was expensive at USA $39 - $59 & we only played on one day of the 3. Trivia was as you'd expect, but don't have high expectations when it comes to prizes (not that it mattered to us as we rarely won anyway!). It's there for the fun & that's okay. But one trivia host was excruciating. It was all about him & his Sicilian heritage. He was over - indulgent, infantile, went on & on & it got to the point of narcissism. Just not at all funny after a few minutes. Went to most stage shows which included a rock/dance show, 2 individual performers/singers, a comedian & 4 singers, The Other Lads. Enjoyed them all, although nothing sensational , but an entertaining way to spend an hour. Plenty of seats available at the late shows. The Ship: We think this is a wonderful ship with a great variety of public rooms. It was beautifully decorated throughout the public areas for the festive season & Santa was on hand on Christmas Day for the kids & families. Especially loved the solarium area, just to chill & look at the beautiful view from there. Not that we tried them, but they serve healthy meals there too. There were 3 to 4 metre swells crossing the Tasman going over & the Solstice handled them admirably. Smoother than all previous cruises I've been on. Christmas/NYE: As mentioned, Santa came on board, in the morning & all kids were given a gift. All diners in the MDR had a bon-bon at their table setting. We dined in the MDR on NYE & all diners were given headwear & hooters for the evening. A nice touch. Unfortunately, NYE celebrations on Lido Deck were rained out & as it eventuated, boring old us were sound asleep when the NY rolled over. Upselling: Of course, this takes place but noting that we couldn't quickly put an end to. Not a concern to us, just be firm. Kids' Clubs: With no kids of our own on board, this didn't interest us but after a discussion with Mum with a teenage daughter, if your kids are thinking of going, get them to go from day & try it out. This Mum's daughter didn't go in the first few days & by the time she did, groups or cliques had already been formed & she felt shut out & somewhat unwelcome. Ports: Enjoyed visiting all ports but Akaroa is the most beautiful we've ever seen. An absolute standout & a credit to the townsfolk. Laundry: As you'd be aware, there is no self- service laundry on board. This is definitely a negative with Celebrity & undoubtedly an opportunity for them to extract $$$. They even had the temerity to offer a "special" during the cruise: fill up your room PAPER laundry bag with as much as you can cram in for US$49.95! In summary, we had a fabulous & relaxing holiday on Solstice & would recommend it to anyone. Would we sail on her again? In a heartbeat, but cost wise it's a bit dearer than some others. Hopefully we will, but in the meantime, we've snapped up a bargain on Carnival Splendor for 2020. Perhaps the beautiful Solstice once more in 2020 if we save our pennies! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Selected this cruise because wife was travelling in Asia and it was convenient for he to meet me in Sydney for the cruise. The Ports of call were great. It was the food in the Ocean Cafe Deck 14 which was unacceptable since it was cold. ... Read More
Selected this cruise because wife was travelling in Asia and it was convenient for he to meet me in Sydney for the cruise. The Ports of call were great. It was the food in the Ocean Cafe Deck 14 which was unacceptable since it was cold. How can you have Hot dishes being served cold. We had Aqua Class could have easily eaten Lunch in the Epernay Dining Room but preferred to eat lunch in the Ocean Cafe.Brought it to the attention of Management (Ms. Tonja). They listened to me but did nothing. Tonnes of tasteless bulk quantity food being served cold. Did not matter if it was Chinese, Thai, Indian, Pasta or Pizza,Mexican or American Food."Blu" Dining for Aqua Class Members was a OK nothing to brag about. Couldn't understand how Celebrity is classified as Premium Cruise Line. Embarkation at Sydney was chaotic. Did not see any priority check in was dumped in a regular line by Celebrity staff and took forever to check in. Disembarkation was a exercise in frustration was sent to area A instead of area B to pick up luggage. Was waiting in Area A for an hour to pick up luggage when the luggage was lying in area B.Celebrity staff were not helpful. Inquired 3 times about the luggage. Finally a supervisor informed me that I was in the wrong area and guided us personally to the correct area. No Entertainment just singing and music not worth mentioning except one show " Euphoria" which was good. Precruise: Sydney toured on a Day 1 on our own using Uber to commute back and forth from the Hotel. Day 2 took a special Day Tour of Blue Mountains with cruise to Darling Harbor from oztrails.com.au. which was excellent and would recommend highly. Took 3 NZ tours thru Celebrity Cruises 1) Wellington City Tour 2) Napier City Tour 3) Tauranga: Blue Baths Tea and Rotorua Thermal Outing to use the ship credit and were reasonably priced . The Tauranga Tour is a must see and would not miss. The other tours we took were Dunedin Shore Excursion: Taieri Gorge Railway Tour and City Sightseeing , Bay of Islands Shore Excursion and lastly Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. All these were thru Viator (Trip Advisor). All are must see and were excellent. Reasonably priced compared to the outrageous prices quoted by Celebrity Cruises. After Cruise took a city of Auckland tour with Airport Drop off thru Milestone tours. Very reasonably priced compared to Celebrity Cruises.The tour was excellent. Ship was clean and in excellent condition. Nothing extraordinary about the Cabin. Did not see anything to indicate Premium Cruise! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
11-day cruise, December 2018, Sydney to Auckland It wasn't that Celebrity was awful. It was that for every positive, there seemed to be a corresponding negative. At the end of the day, there wasn't anything compelling that ... Read More
11-day cruise, December 2018, Sydney to Auckland It wasn't that Celebrity was awful. It was that for every positive, there seemed to be a corresponding negative. At the end of the day, there wasn't anything compelling that would make me think I'm better off giving Celebrity my business when considering future cruises. The ship: The Solstice looks nice and Celebrity does a good job keeping it looking good. Anyone who's cruised knows the hallways on the stateroom decks are usually pretty narrow. This was a nice bonus on the Solstice. Hallways are a bit wider and the entrances to cabins are recessed. This allows a person to step out of the hallway while they're unlocking the door to their stateroom, thereby permitting another person to pass without crowding or bumping into one another. I think most people, though, would prefer to have some of this extra room IN the cabin and not in the hallway. The design of the Solstice features an atrium near the back of the ship. It's a dramatic feature, allowing a person to have an unobstructed view from the 14th floor down to the third. This, however, also creates the ship biggest and most annoying logistical nightmare: noise. While waiting for an elevator on the 12th floor, the noise from a band playing on the third floor is such that you'd swear the musicians were 25 feet away. Sometimes, you just want to find a quiet place to read a good book, work on a puzzle or maybe even take a nap. On the Solstice, you're best off doing any of these things in your cabin. Quiet does not exist anywhere else on the ship. Service: Passable. Room attendant was usually timely with his daily cleaning. On previous cruises with other companies, the one thing I've liked is getting drink service while poolside. Isn't this the epitome of the cruising lifestyle, soaking up the sun and sipping on a cool umbrella drink? There was no poolside drink service on the Solstice, and in a number of other locations a customer was better off going up to the bar themselves and placing an order as opposed to waiting for a server to appear. Food: It was OK. Near the end of the cruise, one of the people at our regular dining room table remarked, "I was hoping there would be something that would make me say to myself, 'I can't wait to have that again.' " Worst problem with the food was constantly being served dishes that weren't hot or otherwise showed signs of sitting around too long before they were served. It's nice to order a fillet wrapped in phyllo, but we all know what happens if the timing of the dish is off. The pastry soaks up any and all available moisture and the part of the dish that should be crisp turns out wet, soggy and disappointing. Wine service was below average. Two wines on the menu were unavailable throughout the entire cruise. The buffet dining area was OK for breakfast, then progressively substandard as the day went along. Of course, this is not a problem confined to Celebrity. I don't care who makes it, no dish of mashed potatoes can taste good after it sits in a warming dish for an hour. We tried one specialty restaurant. Food was better but not worth the extra charge. Activities: A disaster. You'll be bored out of your mind. One evening at dinner, the wine sommelier asked if we'd be interested in attending a wine function the next afternoon. It sounded like a nice chance to learn about wines we'd never tried, from various points around the world. Unfortunately, they sold way more tickets than the room could comfortably hold. As a result, they extended the function into an outer hallway. The staff pouring the wines knew absolutely nothing about the vintages they were pouring other than if they were red or white. Ten minutes into the function, a dance class began on the floor right below the part of the hallway where people were trying to enjoy their wine. You could not possibly ask for a worse atmosphere, trying to enjoy a nice wine while someone else is trying to learn line-dancing to god-awful music that could be heard throughout every inch of the ship. I suggested to no one in particular that the people who scheduled these two functions at the same time, at virtually the same location, be thrown overboard immediately. The sell: While researching this cruise and Celebrity, I think the one constant I read about concerned a never-ending barrage of trying to be sold on drink packages or dining upgrades. This was far worse than I ever imagined possible. It's nonstop and it doesn't stop after a few days. It started when we were no more than 15 feet onto the ship during the boarding process and lasted up to the final full day. What saved the day? The ports were great and the excursions we booked (through vendors other than Celebrity) were excellent and pulled off without the slightest hitch. Would I try Celebrity again? Not without the best deal in the history of crusing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My wife and I recently took this cruise. Overall condition of the ship was good. Food and service were also good. Walter is a great server if you can get him. The Captain navigated some very rough waters through the Tasman Sea during ... Read More
My wife and I recently took this cruise. Overall condition of the ship was good. Food and service were also good. Walter is a great server if you can get him. The Captain navigated some very rough waters through the Tasman Sea during the first three days but did his best to keep things stable. The New Zealand Sounds were beautiful, great to just sit on the veranda and watch them go by. They also had a naturalist on board who gave a running commentary of the the area. We did private excursions with other Cruise Critic members so I cant comment on the Celebrity ones. Dunedin was very nice - saw the Penguins and Sea Lions. Christchurch was a little disappointing, a very long drive and then most of the town is still being rebuilt following an earthquake a few years ago. Wellington was nice - take the cable car to the top. In Napier, try the walking tour conducted by the Art Deco Society - very nice. Tangauroa was a real highlight - did Hobbitown in the morning and a very nice Moari performance in the afternoon. Used Tours by Locals for Tanauroa and highly recommend them. Did the Glowworm caves in Bay of Islands - very unique. Did the hop on hop off bus in Auckland which was great. Be sure to visit their Botanical Gardens. Only negative on this trip was that there was a virus going around on the ship, many people coughing and we caught it. When we got home, went to the doctor and learned that we had both contracted Community Acquired Pneumonia. We have been sick for three weeks and still not feeling great. Can't really blame Celebrity, but when you pack 3,000 people together for two weeks in a confined space I guess you put yourself at risk for something like that. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was our fourth cruise on the Solstice since 2013 and will probably now only rebook if I am offered a great discount with an included drinks package. We had an Aqua stateroom which was very nice with lovely staff looking after our ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise on the Solstice since 2013 and will probably now only rebook if I am offered a great discount with an included drinks package. We had an Aqua stateroom which was very nice with lovely staff looking after our room. However, we were just as happy when we stayed on deck 6 on previous cruises! One of the ‘perks’ of Aqua Class is the use of the Persian Garden Room in the spa area which sounds great in theory, though good luck getting a lounge to relax on - too many people stayed way longer than the 30 minutes and didn’t worry about keeping others waiting. Spa staff weren’t interested in moving people on to allow others a turn. Staff were friendly and professional. I really noticed how expensive $$$ everything had become, particularly the price of drinks (priced in US dollars which raised the cheapest price of a glass of wine to around A$15-$16). My husband unsuccessfully tried every day to order a lemon lime and bitters at numerous bars and restaurants. It was quite an interesting experiment to see what he ended up with, none of which remotely resembled what he ordered. The only lemon lime and bitters he had was in a pub at Napier! We enjoyed the food and coffee. We had lunch and breakfast at the Aqua Spa most days, though go early to get a table. We had the best lunch at the Sushi restaurant - spectacular! To be honest, we both preferred the meals and menu choice from the main dining room rather than Blu, neither of us are into pretentious dining and felt Blu was trying to be a little pretentious. Celebrity only offers water throughout the day in the Ocean Cafe rather than having glasses of water freely available at other locations around the ship. There appears to be a huge overuse of single use plastic bottles when reusable cups/glasses could be offered. Seems a big waste of plastic. I felt there could have been a lot more activities offered other than dance classes and short games in celebrity central. There wasn’t regular live music playing or activities on the pool deck during the voyage either. Maybe I only noticed this because I wasn’t drinking $15 wines!! Be mindful that on board spending can add up very quickly,so check your account balance daily. The internet is hideously expensive which is something to consider. Overall Solstice is still a beautiful ship and offers a relaxing holiday. New Zealand is a great destination with lots to see and do, though can still be a little chilly in the South Island. An enjoyable holiday with great destinations and mostly interesting and friendly fellow passengers to share the journey. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We did this cruise to New Zealand in January 18 but missed Dunedin due to fog and all the sounds due to cyclone, so we decided to have another go to see if we could get to those places, which we did. I really like the ship but have only ... Read More
We did this cruise to New Zealand in January 18 but missed Dunedin due to fog and all the sounds due to cyclone, so we decided to have another go to see if we could get to those places, which we did. I really like the ship but have only been on a few cruises to compare and a river cruise. I was comparing it with the trip in January and would have to say the service was a bit down in the dining room, where we ate every night, except one night at the Tuscan Grill which was very good. Breakfast was in the oceanview café which was fine and there was plenty to choose from. We often grabbed something from the health café near the indoor pool for lunch if we were onboard, which has healthier options. I found it hard to get a drink at the bars took forever. Only late around 11 or after when most people had gone to bed as there was nothing on did it get easier. The entertainment was basically the same as we had on the cruise in January which was disappointing. The comedian was absolutely hopeless, the Captain could do a better job and he was very funny with his daily comments. I found our cabin adequate except we had rough seas going over and the door on the balcony squeaked so you either had to leave it open or pack it with something I did tell our cabin boy but nothing was done, our neighbours had the same problem with their door too. I think there should be more activities to do on sea days and they shouldn't be trying to hard sell speciality restaurants or spa treatments etc If you want them you know where to go to get them. Even the shops didn't seem to have as good a stock as they did on the January cruise. I thought solstice singers were only mediocre no where as good as the ones singing in January the violinist who was excellent, but she told the same story of her life as she did in January. I know I shouldn't complain doing the same cruise twice in a year but I just thought there would be different shows. The best band was the one that played around the pool and at different places on the ship, called Jim Bean (I think) the girl singer had the best voice of the lot and could sing anything. They did an Abba show which was fine but not everyone loves Abba. Did the Abba Move Mamma Mia 2 and Jurassic Park think they could come up with a few better choices for movies. We did a few of the ship excursions this time as I was offered a discount and they were pretty good. I did all the excursions off the ship on the January cruise and they were good too and never late back to the ship. I used the gym every day and I like the facilities and also did spin and pilates classes that you had to pay extra for, which I didn't mind. I have booked another cruise with this line so I hope entertainment is different and they add a few more activites on sea days. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Part of a package put together by trailfinders Excellent cruise crew were great, entertainment was superb and the meals were fine. Breakfast was a bit fraught trying to find a table was difficult but not impossible. We had a ... Read More
Part of a package put together by trailfinders Excellent cruise crew were great, entertainment was superb and the meals were fine. Breakfast was a bit fraught trying to find a table was difficult but not impossible. We had a very comfortable Cabin and having a balcony set the trip off fine. Swimming pools were small and got crowded when the weather was good. The excursions were well planned but expensive ,getting to shore was organised and fairly easy. The ship was in good order and clean. The crew were very helpful and cheerful always had a smile on their face,amazing! Disembarking was very easy but very early in the day rushing your breakfast time but this was understandable. All together it was a good cruise with plenty of information given out.as a none drinker I found that canned drinks were expensive and a package would be more expensive . We still enjoyed the experience Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My husband and I chose this ship as we heard a lot of good things about it so we decided to try it out on the Sydney to Auckland journey. We were not disappointed! This is our 6th cruise and I must say it was one of our best experiences. ... Read More
My husband and I chose this ship as we heard a lot of good things about it so we decided to try it out on the Sydney to Auckland journey. We were not disappointed! This is our 6th cruise and I must say it was one of our best experiences. Destinations around the north and south islands were very good which gave us a taste of how beautiful and picturesque New Zealand is. Definitely a place to return to in the future. From embarkation in Sydney to the last day in Auckland, our time on this beautiful ship was exceptional, Service, food and experience was great and the many bars and chill out areas around the ship suits everyone. Activities on the ship were very entertaining especially the daily commentary from Captain Tasos. The only negative about the cruise was the nightly entertainment in the main theatre as there was only 2 nights (Mo Town and Rock City) which were very good, but the rest of the shows were a bit to be desired. Speciality restaurant package is great value and thoroughly recommend booking early for these. We booked Aqua Class and had the privilege of dining in the designated Blu Restaurant, however, no bookings can be made for this restaurant and the wait can be up to 30 mins and food is mediocre - we only dined here one night. Buffet has a large variety of food from all nations which is very good, however, the speciality restaurants was our favourite! Cruise Director, Rich, is great value and very entertaining, especially his daily banter with Activities Director, Lauren, on the TV. Fully recommend you try this ship as there is so much happening all the time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Choose the cruise because we wanted to see New Zealand but the cruise line Celebrity was recommended by the travel agent . Well recommended, Celebrity Solstice was perfect for us, not too big but big enough to have plenty to do and mainly ... Read More
Choose the cruise because we wanted to see New Zealand but the cruise line Celebrity was recommended by the travel agent . Well recommended, Celebrity Solstice was perfect for us, not too big but big enough to have plenty to do and mainly adults. The ships crew from the captain down were friendly, helpful and extremely efficient. The food was excellent although the main buffet resturant, huge choice of different types of food, could get very busy and sometimes vacant seats were difficult to find. we found the main restaurants to provide a much better dining experience. Excellent food and a good selection of dishes to choose from. The waiting staff were excellent, friendly, knowledgeable and extremely polite and efficient. The ports of call were varied and interesting but the ship excursions were expensive. We booked all our through Viator on line before we left home. Roughly about half the price. The cabin was spotless and kept spotless as was the rest of the ship. Hand gel use was encouraged at all the dining rooms and on returning to the ship after shore excursions. We found the embarkation easy and straight forward, much quicker than our previous experience on another cruise line. We extended our stay by 4 days.at Sydney prior to the cruise and at Auckland after the cruise. Well worth the extra time. Loved the cruise the ship and it’s staff. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Wanted to travel to this part of the world for a long time and when the oppertunity came could think of no better way to do it. The ship was beautiful, the food and service was first class and our table of six people was a great mix and we ... Read More
Wanted to travel to this part of the world for a long time and when the oppertunity came could think of no better way to do it. The ship was beautiful, the food and service was first class and our table of six people was a great mix and we have all vowed to keep in touch.The excursions were very well organised and ran like clockwork ,we were a little bit dubious about this aspect of the cruise as the only other cruise we have been on was a free for all when it came to disembarking and boarding coaches for excursions. Our cabin steward was called Leonardo who couldn't have been more attentive.Coming back to the cabin after a wonderful evening was crowned by what Leonardo had sculpted out of the fresh towels.All in all we had a wonderful,memorable holiday where we have made friends for life. So many highlights, wonderful sights and lovely friendly people. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My husband have done many cruises and couldn't wait to do the Australia/New Zealand cruise with Celebrity, we were booked on the Solstice, Nov. 18,2018. We had done a Hawaiian cruise on the Solstice in Sept. 2018 and at that time we ... Read More
My husband have done many cruises and couldn't wait to do the Australia/New Zealand cruise with Celebrity, we were booked on the Solstice, Nov. 18,2018. We had done a Hawaiian cruise on the Solstice in Sept. 2018 and at that time we thought the ship was looking a little worn. Our veranda chairs were ripped and very dirty, paint chips everywhere, rust...it just wasn't up to expectations, we were actually worried about the upcoming trip in November and worried thinking maybe we should cancel the cruise. We really should have cancelled it. The Solstice ship should be taken off the line and refurbished completely, it's old and worn out, of course that's expected due to the masses on the ship each week, but Celebrity is aware of this and pushes these older ships to the limit thinking it's ok that customers put up with it. First I'm so tired of Celebrity and it's 'nickel and dime' mentality. Yes they are a business, but you also have to consider and entice your customers. They don't anymore. I think so many people cruise now that they just cram us in, stack on the $$ and off they go. At one time it was wonderful walking onto a cruise ship, elegant, beautiful, couldn't wait for the adventure to start. This time we couldn't eat a meal without them trying to sell us specialty restaurants, or someone trying to take our photos when we politely said no. Or hearing over the PA system sales on at stores, and we all know what that means - trying to get rid of same crap we always have on every cruise. We paid extra for Aqua class for the Blu restaurant and use of the Spa area. This trip the Blu restaurant was a total disappointment, the food was below pare, so much so, we actually asked for the menu from the Main Dining Room. Believe me it wasn't just us with complaints in the Blu restaurant, it was actually another couple who put us on to getting the other menu. Why pay extra? Never again! Our Aqua class room was just like any other Veranda room on the ship, no extras really so save your money people. Even in this cabin the chairs on the veranda were torn and very dirty as well as an old chipped table. The deck floor filthy. I spent time trying to wipe everything down which I've never had to do before. The couch was worn and torn, the pillows like something I would have tossed out. Drawers stick etc. Though bed was comfy. Our cabin attendant was a lovely polite fellow but how clean the cabin was, well let me just say that there was a glass water jug which was filled with a light tea. This tea looked very refreshing the first day but we didn't drink it. By the third day it had slim growing in it, literally strands of slim, on the fourth day I took it upon myself to empty it after I saw the first sign of mold in it. I left the container by the sink in the bathroom, thinking it would give him a hint. When we came back it was refilled and very obvious the container had just been swished clean, still cloudy OMG. Don't touch anything in the room until I disinfect with my disinfectant wipes. Now all I could picture is him wearing his rubber gloves washing the toilet, then sink, then counters with the same rag and gloves on. The entertainment, oh my gosh, please give me high school kids they would have been more entertaining. Cruise Director Rich Spacey very nice guy but come on his jokes are old, same exact ones as on the Hawaiian cruise and there certainly wasn't much to do on Sea Days at all. People were just wondering aimlessly. We got to talk to a number of them who felt the same way we did and they had cruised many more times than us. I can remember when cruise ships had little horse races in the Theatres, talent contests that cruisers entered, dancing contests, etc. and you actually won a pretty good prize. Now it's all trivia for the masses, ABBA music (I like ABBA but not on every ship). The entertainment was great when they brought people on board like Pianist Van-An Nguyen and Violinist Yoomia - Wow, but the Solstice Band plays like a high school band and thinks they have to play as loud as they can to drown out the actual artists. Tone it down! The Magician they had was embarrassing, his magic act was the calibre of someone just learning, but his jokes were funny. After the show a man told him he was a great comedian and the guy was offended and curtly said I'm a Magician not a comedian LOL. Trust me he should stick to telling his jokes and drop the magic act. The stores are a joke, same stuff on every cruise, same prices, even when they say 75% off - same prices as first day on ship. Big sale come and get it, what a laugh, people lined up and then when they saw it was the same old stuff and same prices they all started complaining loudly, LOL. I had to use up a room credit and had great difficulty since it's always the same stuff on every cruise. I ended up buying chocolates for others just to use it up. Chocolates that cost $21.99 on the ship and $4.99 in the port LOL. We've been on enough cruises to know they really push the Art Auctions, they are always the same, same pictures, same prices, same guess the price contests etc. The Shore Excursions - well I'll just say this "huge rip offs" the prices are in the hundreds of dollars, please please book private shore excursions, you will see more, in the end pay less and trust me you will be back on the ship on time. They always scare you saying that if you don't book through the ship you may be late getting back and they don't wait. Private tours you tell them we'd like to be back by 4:00 etc., and viola you are. TOURS - Melbourne - Countryside, Birds & Vintage Train - SAVE YOUR MONEY. You do this tour on the Puffing Billy Train, which should be called the Choking Billy Express. We actually had our money refunded on this tour as it started late, not enough seats, then ended at a train stop half way of where we were suppose to go. We were told we get off and wait by the side of the road for our bus, didn't see one bird, nada, zip...only the back of homes along the tracks. Tour guide did very little talking and didn't answer when asked by people why we got off here and when are we going to see birds. Dunedin, New Zealand - Excursion on Taieri Gorge Train - excellent, tour guide attendant on train was excellent, big tip for her! Food for lunch was pretty good for a boxed lunch. Akaroa, Christchurch on your own. Long drive on bus through hills and lakes, it was nice for the first 2 hours, after awhile I took pictures of the entire bus sleeping. My husband and I were taking bets on how long it would take for them to drift off LOL. Once in Christchurch - well there wasn't that much shopping and people were back at the bus meeting area early. What does that say? Wellington - Windy Wellington, it's always windy here. Went to Zealandia, save your money and do it on your own. Take free shuttle from ship to Lambton Quay then walk over to Cable Car, ($9.00 for round trip up and down) it's not far, couple blocks and you pass lovely stores. Ride Cable Car to top, walk around take photos then walk right over to the shuttle stop (which is right there) and take it free to Zealandia - pay fee to get in and off you go, lovely. Let me point out it is not a regular Zoo, you are walking paths along river which is below and see nature and MAY see birds, but there is no guarantee because it is a natural setting. But just walking the paths and listening to the birds is very relaxing. After this you can take shuttle back to top of Cable Car then go to your left and walk through the botanical gardens which is lovely, but all downhill and not good if you have a walking disability as you have steep hills to get back to the top to catch cable car. Pick your tours carefully, as many tours through Viatour, or as I said Private Tours are much cheaper and you get more as you are in smaller groups and not waiting on 50 other people. Last day Authentic Maori Experience with Airport/Hotel Drop off - one huge rip off, they make sure they tell sometimes the men can't be present off fighting etc. I immediately said to my husband here we go, so the women 7 or 8 young women did the "wero", I'm also sure the Maori had no plywood or wire for their huts and the food was definitely not authentic at all. Just a usual Sunday dinner LOL, stuffing, chicken, pork, boiled potatoes, salad, tea, coffee. No way it was cooked in the ground and you definitely don't see it, it comes out of the kitchen and served by 3 ladies - the end. Big disappointment for Big Money. We've actually seen a real Maori ceremony. Cruise line should veto this one big time. Hope this helps at least one person. Remember we each have our own opinions and I've given you mine. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We sailed from Sydney to Auckland NZ departing Nov 8. The ship was in excellent condition. The balcony cabin was nice and well organized if a bit small. The choice of ports was quite good and the ship had plenty to do. First the ... Read More
We sailed from Sydney to Auckland NZ departing Nov 8. The ship was in excellent condition. The balcony cabin was nice and well organized if a bit small. The choice of ports was quite good and the ship had plenty to do. First the high points: Dining at Murano, Silk Harvest, Tuscan Grill and particularly Chef's Table. They were all excellent. We booked specialty dining for EVERY night and never ate in the main dining room. I think it was a brilliant decision. The staff in all three restaurants got to know us by name and taste. In Murano, our waiter, Sommelier, and Maitre D were all fantistic. In Silk Harvest, the young lady from Indonesia had boundless energy and an endless smile with excellent service. At Tuscan Grill, our waiter and Sommelier were all fantastic and took great care of us. The food was excellent at each venue. The Chef's Table was special even for "foodies". Drinks at the martini bar with the endless bar stunts by the staff were typically well prepared and very entertaining to have served. Flawless individual service. The lead bar tender from Bali is a star. We loved our quiet before dinner glass of wine at the Wine club also. A special shout out to the Sommelier from the main dining room who pitched in to help in the Wine Bar on several occasions. She was great. Variety of activities on board was also very good. From Glass blowing and lawn bowling on the top deck to the Casino. Plenty of fun and diverse things to do. Now for the NOT so good. First we had a very negative "bait and switch" on a shore excursion in Tauranga. Clearly stated and showed a picture of a jet boat running on the river. Instead without ANY explaination of articulation on the ticket, it was dull antics in the jet boat on a lake with a cultural tour of sites. That was a 20 year plan to do that after my father spoke so highly of it years ago. I went to the Shore Excursions desk to ask them nicely for an explanation and to make it right by me. I was curtly told that they were closed at 9:30 am would not return until 6 pm at night, and to "put it in writing" for the customer service desk. I did. customer service got them to call THE NEXT DAY at 9pm in my cabin. I got out of bed and went down to their desk and explained my disappointment. He said he would contact the tour operator. Despite the fact that the Tour Operator was CLEARLY not to blame. Celebrity changed the excursion and failed to notify the passengers at some time from when I booked it to when I was on the jet boat. I was pissed they changed it and failed to notify me. I could have adapted. By not on the next to last day on the ship. I asked the man that night to contact me by Email within 7 days with Celebrity's proposed "make it right" solution after he said he would escalate it to "Corporate". It has now been almost 3 weeks of radio silence from Celebrity. I can only conclude that the Shore Excursions group and leadership is Rude, Lazy and not customer focused at all. Be warned and do not "trust them". For the rate premium they charge, they should do much better. My next complaint was with tender management of the Shore Excursion. Ruturning to the ship after a long train and SUPER HOT bus ride from the Alpine Railway, we had a 45 minute line to get on a tender with a rude and agitated shore Officer who lost his composure no doubt under pressure to get the passengers back on board. Finally the ship house band was not up to expectations. We really love live music but some of the songs were so poorly done, it quite some time to even recognize personal favorites. Read Less
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