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