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10 Night Australia & New Zealand Cruise from Melbourne

10 Night Australia & New Zealand Cruise from Melbourne

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Celebrity Solstice (Photo: Celebrity)
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Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Melbourne
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    Sydney (Australia)
  • Day 4
    Cruising
  • Day 5
    Cruising
  • Day 6
    Milford Sound
  • Day 6
    Doubtful Sound
  • Day 6
    Dusky Sound
  • Day 7
    Dunedin
  • Day 8
    Akaroa
  • Day 9
    Cruising
  • Day 10
    Tauranga
  • Day 11
    Auckland

Celebrity Solstice

Celebrity Solstice - Celebrity Cruises

Pros

Elegant, modern ship with impressive drinking and dining venues

Cons

Exclusive venues for certain cabin categories could make some passengers feel excluded

Bottom Line

Sophisticated, contemporary and delicious cruise experience for all ages


Cruise Reviews

6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
About me: Solo traveler, experienced cruiser (stopped counting around 20), second time on the Alaska cruise itinerary, first time on Celebrity. This was by far one of the best cruise experiences I have had in a very long time. The ... Read More
About me: Solo traveler, experienced cruiser (stopped counting around 20), second time on the Alaska cruise itinerary, first time on Celebrity. This was by far one of the best cruise experiences I have had in a very long time. The staff and crew were all very friendly and accommodating, the officers were accessible, and Captain Tasos was one of the most entertaining captains I've sailed with - ever. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. We were docked next to the Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas. Looking over at the enormously long lines on that side as opposed to the Celebrity side, I was grateful to be on a smaller ship. The ship itself is a bit weathered but I would still call it well maintained considering its age. It did not take long to get acclimated to the locations of various venues throughout the ship, and although there were long wait times for elevators on port days, getting around was not difficult. Cabin: I sailed in Aqua Class and the only drawback was that there was some sort of overhang over my balcony that I did not know was going to be there. Although it did distract from an overhead view of the sky a bit, it did not deter from the majestic views of the glaciers and scenery. More in the cabin review section. Dining: Since I was in Aqua Class I dined mostly in Blu. The food there was very good, although advertised as "California Cuisine" or "a healthier alternative", I did not notice a difference in quality. For specialty dining, my favorite was by far Murano. Not only did they have a tasting menu that included wine pairings, the service and food were exceptionally outstanding. I also tried Sushi on Five, which for me was not so impressive since I have access to good sushi where I live. Although everything I had was tasty,the service was a bit lack-luster. I dined in the main dining room once for dinner, and found it to be above par compared to other cruise lines in this category. The buffet, well, it's a buffet. The food on the buffet was good compared to other cruise lines, however the typical difficulties finding a seat during peak times was not unusual. If I could have had all my meals in either Murano or Blu, that would have been fine by me. Entertainment and Activities (and More Dining): I did not make it to any of the big production shows, but that's just me - sometimes they work with my schedule and sometimes they don't. This cruise, none of the showtimes were convenient to my personal schedule, yet I did not feel I missed out on anything. Silent disco - that was definitely fun to watch, especially when everyone started singing along. My absolute favorite activities - wine tastings, cooking class, and chef's table special dinner. What an experience! Again, this is just me, but I do love a good wine tasting/food pairing, and this cruise did NOT disappoint. There were the run of the mill wine/food pairing classes, a wine tour around the world (progressive wine tasting sampling multiple countries), a special Riedel wine glass class where you received a voucher for 4 glasses to be shipped to your home (mine have already arrived), and also scotch/whiskey tastings. I think I did all of them with the exception of the whiskey since scheduling did not permit. The sommeliers really know their stuff, and the cellar has an excellent variety of wines. Ah-mazing! There was a cooking class offered in Murano, where we put together our own appetizer in the galley and then were treated to a chef led demonstration of cooking sea bass and steak Dianne. It ended with us eating our appetizer and feasting on what the chef prepared with, of course, more wine pairings. The best experience was the chef's table. It is an add-on where you are part of a group of 10 or so people that receive a private galley tour, seeing the various galleys in operation during dinner service, and then ending up at a private table in Murano with a very extensive tasting menu with perfectly paired wines, and the chef joins you for the main course. It was definitely worth every penny! Service: The service I received on this cruise was by far some of the best I've experienced in quite some time. Staff knew my name and I had no idea if I'd ever seen them before. I began to wonder if I'd done something to stand out, but I suspected they kept a pool behind the scenes to see how many of them could remember the most passenger's names. That extra little personal touch made it so much more enjoyable. My room steward was exceptional, all the wait staff was great, and I have to call out the sommeliers and cellar master as being phenomenal. Overall, service for me was top notch on this journey. Ports and Shore Excursions: Ketchikan: I took the Deadliest Catch tour, and it did not disappoint. The boat picks you up right next to the ship and the crew of that vessel was not only knowledgeable but also very entertaining. They took us on a little cruise to pull up some bait lines, pull a crab pot, and also had red king crab available for purchase to snack on during the tour. Overall it was an amazing time and I'd definitely do it again. Endicott Arm: No excursions, just stayed on the ship as we sailed through the glacier area and took in the amazing scenery. They even circled around a few times so everyone could get the most breathtaking views. It is truly a thing of beauty to see this scenery. Juneau: I opted to not take an excursion but instead go eat king crab at Tracy's Crab Shack by the port. It's something to partake in for the whole king crab eating experience. Not only are the legs huge, but they have a great bisque and some pretty tasty crab cakes if you can fit it all in. It's a LOT of food. Skagway: Opted for the "Big Nugget" tour which included going to the dredgery for a tour, panning for gold, learning about mushers, meeting husky puppies, bottling our own root beer, and BBQ. Since our group turned out to be very small (I think may 6 or 7 total), it was almost like a personal tour. Our guide was great and the overall experience learning about the history was definitely worthwhile. Victoria: No excursions there, just went into town and hung out a bit. The town has a lot of history and there were many options that I felt I needed to explore but just did not have the time. Overall Impressions: I'm ready to go again! Same itinerary (same crew if I could have them), and same ship. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I had not been interested in seeing Alaska since I live in the Seattle area. I believed the climate and scenery would be similar, so I typically travel away from the rain and cold toward sunshine and warmth. However, our friends (two ... Read More
I had not been interested in seeing Alaska since I live in the Seattle area. I believed the climate and scenery would be similar, so I typically travel away from the rain and cold toward sunshine and warmth. However, our friends (two couples we had traveled with previously) invited us to join them on this cruise, and I am so happy we did. I would happily go on another Alaskan cruise, and I hope I get to one day. The scenery is so beautiful, and must be experienced in person. Words and pictures do not capture it. I have only been on one other cruise ship, RCI Symphony of the Seas, so in comparison the Solstice is much smaller. I definitely felt the ship movement more on this ship, but it did not affect me. I did, however, wear sea bands as a preventative measure. The ship is very clean and very pretty. We had an Aqua Class cabin on deck 11 and enjoyed the privileges of unlimited Persian Garden use in the Spa, and eating in the Blu restaurant. The captain was very engaged with the passengers, and his sense of humor was a delight. We were very lucky to have a gorgeous sunrise over Mendenhall Glacier, and the captain spun the ship 540 degrees so all could view the majestic glacier up close. The crew were all very friendly, work very hard, and are all eager to provide a great experience to every guest. We thoroughly enjoyed the educational talks offered on the ship about the wildlife, history of the port towns, and gold rush history. And the captain's powerpoint of the building of Solstice. If you can take time to hear these talks you won't be disappointed. We went to one show called Broken Strings. They did a great job dancing, but it was not easy to follow the story line through the songs. I could not hear the lyrics of the songs at all. I only knew what was going on by the dancing and acting (in love, cheating, breakup, make up). We saw both comedians, and they were just ok. I'd pass next time. My friends did the glass blowing, and enjoyed it. A bit pricey, but ended up with cool souvenirs. Canyon Ranch Spa: I had a deep tissue massage and also a paraffin wax treatment, and both were great. Beware of the emphasis by all the spa staff to upsell everything. They were very insistent that I buy a small tube of hand lotion for $33 (I declined). As aqua class, we were allowed to use the Persian Garden anytime. It has heated tile loungers with a floor to ceiling widow view of the ocean. I used this frequently, and it really warmed me up after the Juneau tour in the rain. DINING: We ate at Blu most of the time, which was the best option for Aqua Class. It is not crowded, you do not need reservations, they remember your name, and there is a great view from most tables. Blu is open for breakfast and dinner, which was fine since we were off the ship on port days. I ate at Grand Epernay (main dining room) three times. The dining room is very pretty, but the food was just ok. Nothing spectacular. The service was friendly and fast. The Oceanview Cafe is the buffet, and typically very crowded at meal times. Some dishes were very good, and others were very cafeteria bland. I did like that the cafe attendants were very attentive and offered to bring drinks from the bar to your table (if you could find a table!) Specialty Restaurants: We ate at Murano and at Silk Harvest. Murano was just ok. I had the lasagna that was oddly all meat and noodles, with very little cheese; not my favorite. Silk Harvest was the best experience. We had family style meal with all 3 couples and tried most of the menu items. I did not care for the shrimp pad tai but all the rest was really good. Drinks package: We had the premium package, and while it was nice to have the option to drink anything, we did not drink enough to make it worth the cost. It came with our package on this cruise, but I would not pay for it as an add on. Our friends had the classic package. Initially, it was not explained that there is a charge for drinks that cost over $9, and figuring out what drinks were part of their plan was confusing. I really liked getting specialty coffee or tea at Cafe al Bacio. It was comfortable seating with a view and treats. KETCHIKAN: We toured the town and Creek Street on our own, and went to the Great Alaskan Lumberjack show. It was cheesy show - but was also entertaining and showed off the amazing skills of the lumberjacks. In town, my husband ate a reindeer chili dog. Not my thing, but he liked it. JUNEAU: Mt Roberts Tramway: We docked at 1:30 and went on the tram before our 3:00 pm excursion. There were many cruisers in line for the tram, with long lines both ways. Be sure to allow enough time to do this if you have an excursion. The view would have been amazing, but was obstructed by fog. I did not think it was worth the price of $29 each. We did not plan to do a hike at the top, the resident eagle was not there, and we only spent about 20 minutes at the top because we had to return to the dock for our excursion tour at 3:00. Photo Safari Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier: This is a misnomer. No one on the tour was interested in photography, and the focus of the tour guide's information was on glacier conservation efforts, not cameras or photo opportunities. The nature trail to the glacier was through a dense forest, and it rained the entire time. The guide stopped frequently to talk about plants and glaciers, and the scenery lacked any real photo ops and only one viewpoint. Just before we finally got to the glacier visitor center and view, he told us that he had run out of time and we had to run to the bus to make it to the whale watching part of the tour. We basically missed the main destination! We were not allowed to go into the glacier visitor center. I snapped two pictures and ran to the bus. The next part of the tour was on a small boat guaranteed to see whales or we get $100 back. We did see whales, and photo ops were in abundance on the boat, but we were so cold from walking in the rain for two hours, the wind chill on the boat ride added more discomfort to our cold and wet bodies. They really should do the tour in the opposite direction. Boat tour first, then glacier visitor center, and then nature walk for those interested while allowing others to roam free in the glacier area. SKAGWAY: White Pass Summit and Beyond: (booked off cruise - Frontier Excursions and Adventures). This was a bus tour to White Pass and the Yukon Suspension Bridge. The tour guide, Brooke, was very funny and knowledgeable, and she stopped the bus frequently for photo ops when wildlife was spotted. She even backed up the bus and did u turns to allow us to view the animals, which would not be possible if we had taken the more popular White Pass train ride. We stopped to observe three different bears, and a mama moose and her calf. This was the best tour of the trip, and I got some spectacular photos. The scenery of the tundra-like arctic landscape and majestic mountains and glacial lakes was like nothing I'd ever seen before. Going to the Yukon is a must do for sure! VICTORIA: Buchart Gardens tour. We docked at 5:30, and took a bus to Buchart Gardens. This was barely enough time to see the garden. It is an amazingly beautiful place, and to really enjoy it you need time to just sit and experience the beauty. This tour was expensive and way too fast. I am glad I live in Seattle and can go again at a more leisurely pace. The tour guide on the bus talked non-stop about uninteresting random things. I would have preferred a quiet ride to his personal jabber, "beyond those trees is a lake, and I have memories of taking the children there when they were small", which did not add to my experience. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Weather in Alaska was incredibly warm for this time of year. Seeing all that sunshine on ice was a memorable sight. Embarkation Day went better than expected. A crew member spotted my mother in line walking with her cain and kindly ... Read More
Weather in Alaska was incredibly warm for this time of year. Seeing all that sunshine on ice was a memorable sight. Embarkation Day went better than expected. A crew member spotted my mother in line walking with her cain and kindly directed us to the easy quick route. Later Iin the cruise mom needed a wheelchair which Celebrity promptly supplied and allowed us to take off the ship at each port so she could get around and see more of Alaska. In Kitchikan there was a taxi company named Sourdogh that accompanied wheelchairs. Since our last cruise to Alaska on the Solstice we noticed great improvements on providing plant based menu items for dinner with a seperate vegan dinner menu and a vegan station added to the dinner buffet. We enjoyed both the food and dinning service the entire cruise. We had a fantastic. Maitre D' Anthony who did everything to accommodate our requests in the most professional and kind manner. Celebrity had our backs when it came to the excursion we booked through them. We booked the Endicott adventure excursion. However, after we boarded the tour boat we were informed by the operator that the tour would be modified and we would not see the glacier due to ice conditions caused by glacier calving. A day after the tour, we received a call from the shore excursions desk letting us know Celebrity Solstice gave us a full refund. Enjoyed seeing Captain Tasos participate in sporting events like pool volleyball. The crew and staff at always were excellent. They promptly took care of any requests or issues that came up. We will certainly cruise again with Celebrity. Read Less
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