1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Hawaii Cruises
  4. Hawaii Cruise Reviews

58 Ensenada to Hawaii Cruise Reviews

This is our first post on Cruise Critic and we only found out about it from friends who sailed with us to Sydney. We are a retired couple who are currently spending our kids inheritance. We enjoy our cruising and to date have ... Read More
This is our first post on Cruise Critic and we only found out about it from friends who sailed with us to Sydney. We are a retired couple who are currently spending our kids inheritance. We enjoy our cruising and to date have completed 15 cruises with enough on Royal Caribbean to get to Diamond status (free drinks). on this trip we sailed on the Oosterdam from Sydney to Vancouver then made our way to San Diego for a end to end cruise from Ensenada to Sydney via Hawaii. We were to board at Ensenada but to save hastles crossing the Mexican boarder we elected to purchase a one night stay at San Diego with breakfast and a bus transfer to the ship at Ensenada. This was booked through RCI. The hotel was great with a buffet breakfast and it was close to the airport. When we got up on the morning that we were to sail, we were told by thr RCI representative that we would be taken by bus to the San Diego terminal, get our sea pass than reboard the bus with a "box lunch" to travel to Ensenada to board the ship. To our dismay the ship was there at San Diego and around 2000 passengers were waiting to book in. After standing in long lines for a long time we eventually booked in and were then told that our bus would not leave until 4-45 pm. What were we to do till then? The ship sailed around midday and we sat all afternoon in the terminal building before boarding the bus around 4pm ( we were given a biscuit and a bottle of water). At the border there were about 40 buses who lined up and waited, some for over 4 hours before we were allowed to move on, we were not able to get out of the bus. On arrival at the ship we waited another hour before being able to get off and board the ship, this was around 9-15 pm. Then we had a muster at 10-15 pm. ONE FULL DAY LOST BY POOR ORGANISATION OF RCI. We did get a letter saying "sorry buy there will be no compensation" Once we sailed, the staff on board were terrific and helped us with anything that we wanted. The ship is a bit dated but it rode well and even though some complained, it was a great cruise. I wish RCI would sort themselves out and not allow things like the happen again. The "Jones Act" in only an excuse by them. For the first leg, we were in an inside cabin on deck 2. This was very small but comfortable. The biggest problem was that when we had a shore day, the people were queued along our corridor before getting off the ship. The second leg we were moved to a slightly larger cabin on deck 6. We ate most meals in the dining room and only used the Windjammer if we had been ashore and had a late lunch on the ship. It bothered us that so many things were organised on the ship around noon, when we would be having lunch. The lecturer was great, having an hour most sea days mornings in the theater. He had a great knowledge about "Captain" Cook and other explorers of that time. We did not take part in deck activities but spent most of our time sitting, reading, talking to new friends, knitting (my wife) and Casino for me. The theater entertainment was not as good as we have had on other ships and it was disappointing to have the same shows repeated on the second leg. Overall we both felt that the cruise was great and especially the staff on board. Disembarking was a brease even though we had to go through Customs in Sydney because the Customs people could not board the ship due to high seas at the Island of Pines. There are always people who complain about the food and the weather but we had a great trip on a very nice ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Worst embarkation experience ever. Because a law prohibits US port to US port cruises, this cruise had to depart from Ensenada, even though most of us checked in at the San Diego port. That wasn't RC's fault, but the lack of ... Read More
Worst embarkation experience ever. Because a law prohibits US port to US port cruises, this cruise had to depart from Ensenada, even though most of us checked in at the San Diego port. That wasn't RC's fault, but the lack of communication and botched implementation was! We received no email or call from RC before the cruise (others who did got bad info, though, so that probably wouldn't have helped). We were lead to believe that we would go from the hotel to the San Diego port and then be bussed to Ensanada. Everyone thought arriving early at port would get us on an early bus, but when we arrived for check-in at 11:30, we found that we had been preassigned buses to Mexico (ours was not to leave San Diego for another 5 hours - had we known, we might have delayed our arrival to San Diego by a day). When we finally boarded our bus, we set out on a 5 hour trip in a bus that leaked water horribly, so that we were literally drenched inside as we drove through rain. Fortunately, though, we were at the back of the bus, as the passengers up front said the reckless driving scared them to death on the trip. We finally boarded the ship after 9:00 pm. So much for Day 1. After the Day 1 debacle, the cruise was fine. The ship is a little small for my taste, but the crew was excellent, and we had a good time. It was a very old clientele, so the energy level was low, but the experience was good. It was our anniversary and our first trip to Hawaii. I would recommend seeing Hawaii for the first time this way (good chance to see multiple islands easily), but not if embarkation is from Ensenada. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
What a disappointment.....Looked so forward to a lovely five day ocean cruise with five day island hopping - what was I thinking? Have been on many cruises over the years....in the travel business for over 25 yrs. and this was a ... Read More
What a disappointment.....Looked so forward to a lovely five day ocean cruise with five day island hopping - what was I thinking? Have been on many cruises over the years....in the travel business for over 25 yrs. and this was a nightmare.....the embarkation at San Diego and on to Ensenada was torture.....We left the Terminal at 2:35 PM - arrived at the ship around 9:00 PM.....what cruise line treats their passengers that way.....we were only 25 miles from the Terminal while at the border - no sign of any RCC representation at all....not allowed to get off the very cramped bus.....bathroom stopped up...disabled people who were in wheelchairs, walkers, etc. absolutely unattended to.....We did receive a pathetic letter once aboard the ship that naturally "passed the buck" onto Mexican authorities rather than take any responsibility themselves....RCC should have checked all this out - should have had people there to pacify us - tell us what was going on - not a single soul.....our bus driver sat an extra hour outside the bus as he said no one told him he could have left an hour earlier - I think the whole ship had a "I don't care attitude" - the workers were great....no fault of theirs that the ship is run-down, dirty carpets, cabins too small to be considered Luxury Outside cabins with Balcony......I could go on and on but why? No more RCC for me and will tell anyone that asks.....let's have some value for money.....plus decent food.................... Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Having previously cruised on celebrity solstice , I expected - wrongly - that the Millenium would be of similar standard. The embarkation in Ensanda was a fiasco. The activities staff - other than a guy named Michael , were frankly lazy ... Read More
Having previously cruised on celebrity solstice , I expected - wrongly - that the Millenium would be of similar standard. The embarkation in Ensanda was a fiasco. The activities staff - other than a guy named Michael , were frankly lazy compared to the Solstice crew. The whole ship was less than impressive and despite a goodly number of Australian and European guests, overtly geared to just the American guests. The continual 'hyping ' up of people is tedious. I can only take so many " are you having fun !! " comments The formal nights were a joke - a joke that is if you expected that the majority of guests would be dressed in evening attire , my estimate is that about 5% were in tuxedos . Now I don't have a problem with that, just don't list a Formal evening if it isn't in reality going to be one. I'm happy with smart casual. I thought the staff, were like. Corporate clones, just followed the course instructions without using their brain or personality. I witnessed an I firmeder lady, who had been sent to pillar and post getting quite rightly very cross with an officer , who in turn instead of resolving the issue and showing a bit of empathy and initiative, inflamed the situation by saying, " I am not prepared to listen to you if you raise your voice """ The poor lady was rightly very cross at being given false information - twice and therefore had a right to be dealt with in an understanding manner and not having it made worse. I raised an issue with the cruise director, the every smiling ' Rich ' and he appeared disinterested and in fact - and I quote " Perhaps this product doesn't suit you " that is arrogant and not conducive to engendering a happy guest I am on the next leg to Australia but based on the last cruise I will not reccommend anyone to use this ship. It's sloppy any lazy. This cruise was not fun - at all The cabin staff and stewards however as usual are hardworking and very pleasant people. Celebrity will not be getting my business again for sometime   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We are HAL cruisers and are currently giving Celebrity a try for a few cruises. Millenium is a very pretty ship. No issues with maintenance, everything functioned and there was attention to detail. Meals were all very enjoyable. Martini ... Read More
We are HAL cruisers and are currently giving Celebrity a try for a few cruises. Millenium is a very pretty ship. No issues with maintenance, everything functioned and there was attention to detail. Meals were all very enjoyable. Martini Bar is very fun, live music was plentiful and professional with something for everyone. Showroom entertainment was typical but fun and worth the time. We had nice weather so the pool was busy and again, well attended to by the staff. We're poker players and this was the worst poker we've had on a cruise. The electronic table had a very old version of software and the play was very slow. That slow play kills the tournaments as the amount of hands between blind increases is so few, it is not really a valuable game. The live games start so late, usually 10:30 (advertised as 10PM starts) that not many people played. We felt there was not as much to do during the days as we are used to on HAL but we still had a great time. Planning to try Solstice class for next two cruises and looking forward to those ships. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
With all the competition from cruise lines, Celebrity should be ashamed for the way they treated guests on the Oct. 22 cruise from Ensenada to Hawaii on the Celebrity Millenium. In fact, think twice before you cruise on the Millenium. Not ... Read More
With all the competition from cruise lines, Celebrity should be ashamed for the way they treated guests on the Oct. 22 cruise from Ensenada to Hawaii on the Celebrity Millenium. In fact, think twice before you cruise on the Millenium. Not only were there very few activities, but embarkation was a disaster, entertainment was awful, the stabilizers didn't seem to keep the ship from constantly rolling and making many guests seasick, and the facilities, especially the gym, was unacceptable. 1. Embarkation: I’m sure Celebrity has been inundated with complaints about how disorganized and awful the embarkation was for the cruise from San Diego to Hawaii on October 22. When we registered for the cruise, we were not told until we had completed our purchase in full, that there would be a 3.5 hour bus ride from San Diego to Ensenada to board the ship. In fact, we were led to believe that we were to be picked up at the airport and taken to the San Diego pier to board the ship. Many of the guests had been traveling since 5 am in the morning, and were made to wait at the airport for pick-up by Celebrity for two hours. Since most flights no longer serve food, hungry and tired guests who had waited for hours at the airport for pick-up were only given a dry croissant with one slice of turkey and one slice of cheese when they arrived at the San Diego pier. Passengers were then forced to wait in San Diego for hours with no real food or entertainment (a movie would have been nice) at the pier or even a movie on the 3.5 hour bus ride to the ship. Decent food and beer or wine would have put the tired, disgruntled passengers in a better frame of mind. Instead we were bundled on buses and when we arrived at the pier in Ensenada, there was no ship. We waited another 45 minutes on the bus until we could get into our cabins. Our luggage was not brought to our cabin until midnight which on EST time was then 3 am. The lack of coordination and consideration for the passengers left 2000 people with an enormous distaste for Celebrity. Lack of activities: For the 11 day cruise to the Hawaiian islands, there was very little to do...no ballroom dancing classes, art classes, bridge classes, or anything else for that matter. There were no movies to watch, especially from the gym and very few, if any, lectures. In fact, I complained about this on the second or third day and eventually towards the last day of the 11 day cruise, more activities were offered. Terrible equipment in the gym: Of the six elliptical machines in the gym, only three were working at any one time. One or two had no tv’s and the others had no resistance. Even with the tv's, the only channels accessible was FOX news and the ship's channels. Stabilizers on ship not working correctly: We have been on over 20 cruises and never had we had to experience the rocking that we had on the Millenium. The ship is old and rusty and the stabilizers apparently are not working properly. Shore excursions: In Bora Bora our shore excursion was cancelled one hour before we were to leave. No substitutions were offered. Throughout the shore excursion process, we were subjected to warnings that if we didn’t sign up for the ship’s shore excursions, there would be no private tours, public transportation or taxis available, This of course was not the case and there were many private tours available at each port. The shore excursion desk knew this and wouldn’t share this information with the passengers. If they had to cancel the shore excursion, they could have at least let us know that there were private tours available and good customer service would have found alternatives instead of just leaving us without anything to do for the day. I could go on and on about the rudeness we experienced, especially when we were denied service for lunch in the Metropolitan dining room because the maitre d did not like my husband's attire of long pants and a polo shirt. While denying us entrance, many gentlemen wearing bathing suits with a shirt over it and flip flops were allowed in, dressed considerably less formal than my husband. The amazing thing was, my husband had worn the same outfit for the previous two weeks at lunch and no one objected. This arbitrariness as well as the boredom on the Millenium made us realize that Celebrity doesn't really care about its customers.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We were told to be at port at 10am in San Diago,to catch a connecting coach to Mexico to start the cruise. We had booked out of our hotel to follow this instruction. I can only describe the experience as terrible. We're told to pull ... Read More
We were told to be at port at 10am in San Diago,to catch a connecting coach to Mexico to start the cruise. We had booked out of our hotel to follow this instruction. I can only describe the experience as terrible. We're told to pull our own cases from one pier to another, then shouted at , and told to pull them back . Instructions were given to get a pedicab to take them back at our own expense. No one from the company knew what was happening and whoever was responsible failed to take charge all blaming one another. We were allocated a coach that left hours later at gone 5pm. Everyone was held in a large departure hall with few facilities, the toilets soon ran out of paper it was horrible. We finally boarded the ship gone 9pm, lifeboat drill was instructed at 945pm . This didn't t occur until 10pm, we didn't t have the opportunity to eat. My suitcase didn't t arrive until after 11pm. This episode was the talk of the ship, never once did anyone take responsibility or apologise We have also cruised with this line before,but would have to think hard before we do so again. I agree with comments re formal night. Celebrity you have let yourselves down. However, our cabin steward was great and his understudy plus all the lower grade staff including waiters and dinner maître ,d were good. Pity Celebrity had to rely on it's many staff to save the day, what about leadership and responsibility from the top.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We sailed on a repositioning cruise on 'Millie' for our anniversary. It was a wonderful trip and one of the best cruises that we have taken. Overall, the ship was great. It seemed like every day got more and more incredible. We ... Read More
We sailed on a repositioning cruise on 'Millie' for our anniversary. It was a wonderful trip and one of the best cruises that we have taken. Overall, the ship was great. It seemed like every day got more and more incredible. We had 5 amazing days at sea and then toured the islands. Each shore excursion was memorable. We met so many wonderful people on this trip. We do have to say that all things associated with the trip to Ensenada from San Diego was not what one would hope to go through, but we just kept reminding ourselves that we had the cruise to look forward to, so it was tolerable. As I mentioned everything about the cruise was fantastic with one exception. Having sailed on many cruises with various cruise lines, I would have to say that we were somewhat disappointed in the quality of food served in the main dining rooms on several nights. We had heard so many great things about Celebrity that maybe our expectations were to high. Maybe this had to do with the fact that this was a repositioning cruise for the ship. But, for whatever reason, we were not impressed. Numerous other passengers with a vast history of cruising were also disappointed with this aspect of the cruise. That being said, every things else about our first cruise with Celebrity was wonderful. Our cabin was excellent. The service was very good. We were very impressed. One thing that impressed us was that this ship never seemed to be crowded even though the ship was close to capacity. We also enjoyed how quiet our hallway always seemed to be. The ship is well organized to allow you to move from one location to another. We did not have one complaint about our cabin. All other things probably exceeded our expectations. Although this was our first cruise with Celebrity, we would recommend this cruise line to anyone. We do have to admit that the atmosphere is different than you would experience with another cruise line such as RCL or Carnival (There were much fewer kids, perhaps due to the time of the year, and much more of a laid back atmosphere although there was plenty of fun things to experience on the ship. The entertainment was first class). We are already trying to plan our next cruise but may be spoiled now that we have experienced a trip to Hawaii! Overall, our cruise and additional days at Waikiki Beach were magical. We cannot wait to do this again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
The cruise was great. Regarding: Celebrity Millennium. We did find most things a notch above Royal Caribbean. The ship interior was a bit nicer looking. The ship gym and spa area, not as nice a Royal Caribbean. The Officers on the ship ... Read More
The cruise was great. Regarding: Celebrity Millennium. We did find most things a notch above Royal Caribbean. The ship interior was a bit nicer looking. The ship gym and spa area, not as nice a Royal Caribbean. The Officers on the ship were very visible and attended many event. So friendly. The shows were great. The food everywhere was very good. Speciality dining restaurant The Olympic was a "10”. Our waiter not so great. Efficient but didn’t speak much, never learned our names. Our room steward was "efficient” also but didn’t really seem very warm.  The cabin was excellent. We had plenty of room for storage and we were very happy with how much room there was in the bathroom. We had robes in our room. Our cabin steward, while not overly friendly was very efficient. Loved that one wall was full of mirrors and it made the room seem much larger. The layout was excellent and our balcony was just fine. We loved that our room was fairly close to the elevator, and there was no noise. Boarding in Ensenada (after waiting 6 hours in San Diego) and then 90 minutes on the bus in Ensenada, and not having our luggage delivered until the next morning was terrible. We did get over it quickly the next day. Our excursions - Atlantis Submarine, Catamaran Ride and Zip Line were all great. Looking forward to sailing Celebrity again next year from Barcelona. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Celebrity Millennium Hawaii Cruise Review October 22 – November 2, 2013 Wow! What a great cruise. I cruise a lot and this has to be one of my best cruises ever. I am 50 and traveled with my elderly, disabled mother. We have cruised ... Read More
Celebrity Millennium Hawaii Cruise Review October 22 – November 2, 2013 Wow! What a great cruise. I cruise a lot and this has to be one of my best cruises ever. I am 50 and traveled with my elderly, disabled mother. We have cruised many times before on NCL, HAL, Princess, and Carnival. Gone are our Carnival days. We prefer to travel with adults with polite mature behavior. No seat saving in the show room, no wall to wall kids with no parents in sight, no drunks making scenes. Celebrity is it! This was our second time on this cruise. So we were prepared for the San Diego/Ensenada transfer. It is just a necessary evil with this cruise. However, the cruise is so wonderful it makes the difficult transfer worth it. We flew to San Diego on the day of the cruise. We arrived around 11am. We had to wait around 30 minutes for the bus to the pier. The pier area was a zoo. There was one very long line. The check in area was just not large enough. It took us nearly an hour to get thru the check in procedure. We were given boarding number 27. We then had 6 hours to kill before our transfer would leave. Celebrity had a lovely lunch station set up with water, lemonade, and sandwiches. We were going to go out for lunch but this was free and delicious. After lunch we went for a walk down to Seaport Village, and looked around in the shops etc. It was quite a walk but we had nothing better to do. Finally we had nothing else to look at so we went back to the pier. The pier area was mass confusion and it was so crowded you could hardly move. The cruise pax had no idea what was going on and nether did the employees. We just sat and waited. There was no PA system and employees would walk around yelling out the bus numbers. Finally our bus was called and we were boarded. No one asked to see our boarding number and later I heard many people just boarded whenever they wanted even tho they had a later number. Dishonest people chap my hide. My mom and I were very excited to be on our way. We were having fun and on vacation. We tried to joke with the bus driver but he was not in a good mood at all. There were a few people around us who also were in a good mood but the majority of the bus were full of sour people. Come on people you are on vacation and heading to your cruise to Hawaii! What could be better? The border crossing was quite fast, however the drive was long. After around 2 hours we finally made it to our ship. You should have heard the collective groan as we arrived to find a line of around 20 buses ahead of us. We had to wait another 1 ½ sitting on the bus. Only one bus was allowed at the ship at a time. It took around 10 minutes for each bus to unload. Finally a Celebrity rep came on our bus and told us what was going on. Me and mom were joking with him, however the rest of the bus was ready to string him up. Poor guy. Finally it was our turn to get off the bus. We went thru security and finally boarded the ship. We were given free champagne. Then we had an ½ hour wait for the elevator to take us to our cabin. We found our cabin no problem. We had a lovely outside cabin on deck 6. We were exhausted. We knew it was going to be grueling. I think we arrived around 9pm. We then had to go to the muster drill. The dining room had open seating however we were too tired. We ordered room service to our room (which was very good) and relaxed in our cabin. We slept late the next morning. We then had a lovely 5 days at sea to rest up. Our room steward was from India and was wonderful. He always said God Bless you, which we appreciated. He kept our cabin clean , our beds made and never bothered us. Whenever he saw us coming down the hall way he would run and open our cabin door for us. Dinner was the highlight of our day. We had the most wonderful dinner companions and we looked forward to visiting with them every night. The food was exceptional. Our head waiter was Manny and asst was Andres. They were excellent. If you didn't like something he encouraged us to order something else. If we didn't know what to get. Manny would always have a suggestion. Many times I would just tell Manny to bring me what was good and he would. His suggestions were spot on. Soon the asst waiter knew what we wanted after diner and we wouldn't have to ask. He would just bring it. My mom loves dessert and she would order 2 or 3 every night. This was no problem at all. They tried to push the extra pay restaurants but we never went. We thought why pay extra when the dining room food was so exceptional. We never had a bad meal. I ordered two lobster dinners thinking the lobsters would be tiny. Imagine my surprise when our lobster came and the one tail filled the plate. And we had ordered two. To say we were stuffed is a under statement. One night we had fillet minion which was the best steak I think I have every had in my life. The shrimp cocktails were to die for and we ordered them every night. Mom and I would always order room service for breakfast. We only ordered toast. But you could get eggs, bacon etc. It always arrived on time and was never incorrect once. We would usually skip lunch and then go to dinner. There was just too much food. We couldn't eat non stop like everyone else seemed to. The ship sparkled and was so clean. At night I would see the crew washing the walls! I purchased an Internet plan. It was quite expensive as it is on all ships. I had some trouble getting hooked up at first but got some help from the Internet office and then had no trouble. It was slow (as usual) but I never had trouble getting service. I could use my lap top anywhere on the ship. In the theater, in my cabin or on deck. They had some special speakers on this cruise. One man had climbed all these tall mountains and spoke of his experiences. They had Hawaiian Island talks, however, this gentleman had such a heavy accent I had trouble understanding anything he said. Entertainment was excellent. We didn't make it to the welcome aboard show on the first night but made it to every show after that. Some shows were better than others but they were all good and entertaining. My favorite were the production shows, and the Hawaiian show we had one evening. Rich was the cruise director. We really liked him. He was the cruise director on this cruise last year too. Every night after the shows he would be at the exit of the showroom if you wanted to talk to him. Lots of people seemed to want to complain to him. Not us. We made a point to tell him what a wonderful time we were having and how everything on the cruise was wonderful. We had a nice meeting for cruise critic. I was embarrassed as everyone was still complaining about the transfer from San Diego. It was 4 days ago, get over it. The cruise director all the senior officers and the captain attended. I was able to talk to the dining room senior officer and arrange large print menus for my mom. I had told special needs of my request but they didn't get it done. One word to the proper person and my mom had large print menus that night and every night after that. Funny thing was we all wanted large print menus at our table as the printing in the regular menus were small but it could have been the very dim lighting. So mom's large print menus got a lot of use at our table. All the staff on this ship were so nice. Not fake nice but they seemed genuinely eager to please. Just walking down the halls, all the room steward even if they weren't your room stewards were so friendly. I did a stupid thing in Kona. I left my cell phone in my rental car and didn't realize it until I was back on the ship. The ship was leaving in 30 minutes. Security wouldn't let me tender back as no ships were going back to shore so late. The port agent tried to get my phone as the rental agency was right across the street from the pier but the car key was already put into a lock box and they couldn't retrieve my phone. The concierge on the ship were excellent. They let me call the rental agency on the phone several times and didn't charge me a cent. They didn't have to do this as this whole thing was my own fault. Thanks to them letting me call the rental agency I was able to get my phone back. The rental agency mailed it home to me. It made it home before I did. We rented cars in all the ports except Honolulu. It was inexpensive and it gave us the freedom to go where we wanted when we wanted. We would hit the beach, snorkel around, sightsee, drive down the road hit another beach etc. We were free to go to Hilo Hatties or K-Mart for some quick shopping sprees and not have to wait on their busy free shuttles. My watch broke in San Diego so I bought a cheap $10 watch on board. I had to return the watch twice because they kept quit working. I finally got a refund with no problem. Such is the nature of cheap watches. I finally bought a watch at K-Mart. We talked to the cruise director and he said they will not longer be doing this cruise from Ensenada as San Diego and Ensenada are not able to meet Celebrity's needs. Next year this cruise will be from Vancouver. No transfer will be involved and Canada Place is a huge and very nice pier to depart from. We are already booked on this cruise. :-) Perhaps we had such a wonderful cruise because we are so easy to please. Feed us, make our beds and at the same time take us to wonderful tropical ports of call and we are happy people. Celebrity is a class act and I can't wait to cruise on them again.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We are pretty new to cruising, our first and only other cruise was 2 years ago in the southern Caribbean with Carnival. Booked this trip to Hawaii with Celebrity for our 25th anniversary, along with friends. All we kept hearing from people ... Read More
We are pretty new to cruising, our first and only other cruise was 2 years ago in the southern Caribbean with Carnival. Booked this trip to Hawaii with Celebrity for our 25th anniversary, along with friends. All we kept hearing from people was how upscale Celebrity was, and that it would be much more luxurious than Carnival. Really? We had a great trip to Hawaii and a lot of fun while there, but that had more to do with Hawaii itself and the friends we were traveling with. To be honest we didn't find Celebrity to be better than Carnival in any way, certainly would not consider it a luxury line. Embarkation in San Diego/Ensenada was crazy. All passengers have to go thru the Pier in San Diego, they had limited sandwiches and water/lemonade available while we waited. No secure place to leave your carry on luggage, so unless you want to drag it around with you you're stuck there until the buses start to leave. We were just lucky to have been given the wrong bus number (the girl asked me if I was in a suite and not knowing any better I said yes - we were giving bus 6, our friends were given bus 30, but we managed to switch them to bus 6 when we noticed the difference) so arrived in San Diego 12:30 pm, on a bus at 4:00, boarding the ship at 8:00 and able to have a full dinner. Looking at the people getting off the last bus at 10:30 - 11:00 I recognized a few people that had been at the San Diego pier when we were there and heard lots of grumbling that there was no dinner provided for these people once they were on board. Found the food to be pretty average overall. Very little variety in the buffet, pretty much the same thing every day. Found I had to be careful with the omelets and fried eggs, staff tended to rush when there was a line up and you needed to make sure that the eggs were actually cooked. We did not try any of the specialty restaurants, don't see spending an extra $49 per person when I have already paid for my dinner. Formal nights? We made a conscious decision ahead of time not to bother with the formal nights - guys didn't want to carry suits just for 2 dinners. Sitting having a drink in Rendezvous we were very surprised to see what was passing as formal wear for some of the other guests - Hawaaiin shirt and jeans? golf shirt, khakis and running shoes? Didn't see any of these people turned away. Formal night on Carnival was more formal. Attended a couple of seminars while we were at sea. "Suffer from Back Pain" or "Want to Improve your Posture" - that is Celebrity code for Buy this Orthotic Insert ($179). "Learn How to Make Crepes" - Celebrity code for Come and Buy Crepe's for lunch or dessert ($5) or Come and Eat in Our Fancy Olympic Dining Room ($49 each) Accosted every time you passed thru the lobby on Deck 10 on the way to the pool by staff trying to sell you on the specialty restaurants. One thing we did appreciate is that we weren't forced to have our photo taken every time we turned around. Average age on our cruise was 60+, and we were told by one of the staff that it was much better than the previous cruise where it was 70+. Entertainment was very bland with 2 exceptions - Glenn Smith was very entertaining and native Hawaaiin entertainment from Honolulu was excellent. Ran into a few issues with the tipping. Our friend booked some training sessions at the gym and noticed afterward that they had added the 15% gratuity to the cost of the sessions. When he went to Customer Relations they wouldn't take it off. Sorry but if you are paying $120 for a personal trainer why do you need to tip them too? Also on our final night, we had a drink at the pool bar before going to get ready for dinner. My husband noticed the bartender look for the extra tip amount when he picked up our bill, and scowl when he saw it was empty. Not sure what he thought he did that warranted more than a 15% tip. We found the stewards and wait staff all very friendly and helpful. The final issue we had was the fact that you have to be off the boat by 9:30am on the final day - doesn't matter what time your flight is. With Carnival we were bused to the airport, but this time around we were on our own. It was suggested that we try to book an excursion that would drop us off at the airport - but that still would have had us at the airport about 6 hrs early. We decided to go to the airport and rent a car for the day since our flight wasn't until 9:30 pm. Looked into the shuttle provided by the boat but they wanted $25 per person to get us to the airport, checked with the taxis outside and it was < $30 to get all 4 of us to the airport. Despite spending a lot of money for our luxury cruise, I feel like Celebrity had their hand out for more, more, more every where you looked. Recommendation: Baked goods in the Cafe are much better than those in the Oceanview buffet, worth the trip downstairs to grab a muffin, croissant or sticky bun in the morning.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We were a group of 8 and we all enjoyed the cruise very much! The waiting in the terminal and bus ride to Ensenada was exactly what we expected. A long wait in a cruise terminal and a bus ride. Ran into a few people on the cruise who were ... Read More
We were a group of 8 and we all enjoyed the cruise very much! The waiting in the terminal and bus ride to Ensenada was exactly what we expected. A long wait in a cruise terminal and a bus ride. Ran into a few people on the cruise who were still bitching about it 4 days into the cruise. I made a mental note to avoid these "Debbie Downers". Celebrity did a great job- texts, phone call and email to let us know what to expect. We made it safely onto the ship before 10pm and we were one of the last busses to leave San Diego. The 5 Sea days went much too quickly! We were concerned that we might get bored, but it was just the opposite. Days and nights went by much too fast. The seas were very calm and by late the 2nd day the sun was out and the decks chairs were full. We went to the top forward deck and never had a problem finding a chair. The tendering experience in Maui was not good, as the harbor master who was controlling the tenders/ship movements was not allowing more than 2 boats to dock at the dock at the same time. Took a long time to get off ship get on shore. All other tenders and port calls went smoothly. Loved that we got to see both coasts of the big island. Only disappointment was the volcano/lava flow/mother nature did not cooperate the night we were cruising by. Food and service was above average in main dining room and we really enjoyed our Qsine experience. Ship was clean and overall in good shape. All staff we encountered from officers, excursion desk, photographers, room service, entertainers, room stewards were friendly and helpful. I find treating people like you would like to be treated goes a long way. Biggest negative was the walls between the cabin (we were aft port corner so only 1 one neighbor) were really thin. We could hear them when they talked loudly and when the TV was on. Opening the door and letting the sound of the ships wake in helped muffle the noise. We would definitely cruise on the Millennium again and with Celebrity Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
In summary – we had a FABULOUS cruise! We are Aussies, both in our 40s, and this was our eighth cruise, our third with Celebrity and second time on the Solstice. We flew Canberra to Melbourne to Los Angeles to San Diego and spent three ... Read More
In summary – we had a FABULOUS cruise! We are Aussies, both in our 40s, and this was our eighth cruise, our third with Celebrity and second time on the Solstice. We flew Canberra to Melbourne to Los Angeles to San Diego and spent three days pre-cruise to get over the flights and because we love San Diego, it was our fourth visit. We stayed at the Wyndham Hotel (previously Holiday Inn) which is located directly opposite the cruise terminal. You can’t beat the location for convenience, it is close to the airport and the trolley (tram) and train system operate just a couple of streets behind. Shopping is another couple of streets behind that. We met up with some Cruise Critic (CC) friends from our Infinity Panama Canal cruise in 2011 at Sea World and had a great day with them. The night before we sailed a group of us from CC met at the Elephant & Castle (the pub within the Wyndham) and had a pre-cruise meet and greet dinner. It was wonderful to meet so many lovely people face to face after so many months of ‘chatting’ online. On sailing day we went to the cruise terminal at 11am (a quick walk across the road). We were processed fairly quickly and then waited for our bus number to be called. We were on a bus just before noon, and we were given a bottle of water and a packet of crackers. The drive to Ensenada was two hours but when we arrived at the ship we had to wait almost an additional hour. We were kept on the bus because there were only two x-ray machines/security stations to process all of the passengers. This was an oversight; with 2800 guests and presumably hundreds of ship personnel needing to go through the security process you would think that someone would have thought two machines will not be enough. So everyone was kept on their buses, when we arrived there were 8 buses already there and it took a long time to process everybody. Once on board all was fine, the ship is beautiful, very clean the service is wonderful and all of the staff are super friendly. We had five days at sea on our way to Hawaii. We met all of the cruise critic people and a lovely lady named Betsy made us all a beautiful name tag. Thank you! We love to spend time on the ship, we love trivia and games and tried not to miss any of the sessions. We always have select dining, so we can eat whenever and with whoever we want. The service in the MDR was good, we only had one or two slip ups the entire time, overall they were attentive and the food is very good. We ate a lot as usual. We also had the classic alcohol package so we drank a lot as well. But we were on holiday, so we live it up. We ate at Murano for our wedding anniversary and it was delicious! We did the five senses menu ($89), they pair wines with the courses and it is just fabulous. The usual cost at Murano is $45. Make sure you don’t have lunch that day, because there is so much delicious food, and the service is excellent. The wines really make the additional cost worth it, and the sommelier and waiter go to great pains to explain how and why they work together with the food. It was a wonderful and memorable meal. Our waiter Eric was fabulous, he was a really nice and friendly guy, and he suggested that as we were also doing the next cruise (we were on the back to back to Sydney) we might be interested in the Chef’s table. See our next review for 4 October 2013 for detail on that. We spent time in the bars listening to the bands most evenings before dinner, there was a string trio, a jazz band, and a singer who had a big range of songs. There was also a party band that played by the pool and at night a lot. All of them were very good, and it was great to meet friends for a pre-dinner drink and be entertained with live music. The music in the Martini Bar is pre-recorded and is hit and miss, we spent more of our time in the Passport Bar and the Ensemble Bar. There is a show every night, and the majority were fabulous. We were also on the ship in March/April this year, so some of the ship’s company of singers and dancers routines were repeated so we didn’t go to every show. Also sometimes we were just too busy to make it to the show with dinner and meeting friends etc. Overall the shows we did catch were wonderful. The Solstice show is a Cirque-Du-Soleil inspired show, and it is amazing. Very good. One of the guest entertainers is an impersonator and we had also seen before, but he is just hilarious and a great mimic, so definitely worth a return to see him. I cannot remember his name, James? We also used Café Al Bacio a lot, the baristas are wonderful and make a great cappuccino and Raisa was a great waitress who remembers your names and your order and is always friendly and happy to see you. Raisa also was the drinks waitress at night in the MDR and even though we ate there at different times and at different tables she would keep an eye out for us and bring us our after dinner drink. Excellent service, she is a credit to the company. It was our first visit to Hawaii, so we were excited to get to the first port of Hilo. The US immigration officers came onto the ship to process everyone which was a long wait, we waited an hour to have our passport stamped. There were only about 8 officers I think to process the entire ship, and the first people got off the ship about 10.15am. We had a ship’s tour booked for the early afternoon (helicopter over the volcano and waterfalls) so we waited until the crowd passed before we got off. The helicopter tour was great, you could see lava and the caldera but there was not a lot of lava flow. It was very interesting, there was a small bush fire as the lava was burning the forest away slowly. The tour also takes you over the coast line of Big Island, and over the waterfalls, which are lovely. You can buy a DVD of your tour as well. The cost was $269 per person, but we considered this to be good value, and a once in a lifetime flight. You can do it slightly cheaper if you buy directly from the helicopter company, however you need to get yourself to and from the airport at the right time, and we were originally booked in for a morning flight which was cancelled because of the immigration hold-up. But because we were on a ship’s tour, there was no loss or inconvenience to us, we were just put on the 1pm flight instead. The next port was Kona, also on Big Island, and our first tender port. Here we did the Atlantis Submarine which was wonderful, it goes down over 100 feet and they show you a range of shipwrecks which are full of fish as artificial reefs. It was smooth and comfortable, nobody was unwell on the submarine, it was very pleasant. You can buy a big photo which comes with a DVD of the trip and your photo on the DVD too for $20 which was reasonable. When we got back on shore we went on the free shuttle to Walmart, which for us Aussies is always fun. We bought souvenirs and some flippers there. It was very warm at Kona. Then onto Maui, we didn’t have anything planned, so we just walked around for a couple of hours and checked out the amazing giant Banyan tree, looked at the shops, and walked a block or so up from the shorefront to Starbucks – where we had icy coffee drinks and free Wi-Fi, so we caught up on email. There was a supermarket next door to Starbucks, so we bought some stuff there too. We were at Maui overnight, so many people went to the Luau that evening, but we stayed on board as we had booking at Murano for our anniversary. The next day we went back over and did a similar walk around, and spent the afternoon by the pool. We had great weather just about all cruise, a couple of showers here and there but that was about it. We were very lucky. Then we sailed into Honolulu for an overnight, and there was a beautiful turtle swimming in the harbour. I love seeing wildlife from the ship, we saw flying fish most days from Mexico but not many birds. At Honolulu we had a Circle Island Tour booked privately (Lani’s E Komo Mai tour - $133 each) with some other CC friends, there were six of us in a large SUV and we were taken all over the island to different look-outs and beaches and we took some terrific photos. We also stopped at a macadamia nut farm, and our guide was surprised to hear from us that macadamia nuts are Australian, and the first plants were given to Hawaii about 200 years ago. Most people think they are native to Hawaii. We also stopped at a shrimp truck for lunch, and had a swim at a beautiful white sanded, bright blue clear water beach. I can’t remember what it was called, there were so many beaches. It was lovely. We awoke to another great day at Honolulu. The only sad part was saying good bye to so many new friends (the Hulagans!) as they got off the cruise. We were sailing on to Sydney so see the next review for more information. As we said, overall the cruise was fabulous!   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Embarkation Getting on board was fine for my wife and me. We followed advice from previous reviews to try to show up early and be on one of the early buses from the San Diego cruise terminal to Ensenada. Calling the Celebrity phone line, ... Read More
Embarkation Getting on board was fine for my wife and me. We followed advice from previous reviews to try to show up early and be on one of the early buses from the San Diego cruise terminal to Ensenada. Calling the Celebrity phone line, the call center agent said check-in would start 12 noon. We showed up a little after 10:30 am and check-in had started already. We eventually boarded the ship by 2:30. Waiting on the bus in the Ensenada parking lot took 30 minutes since they were queuing buses and only loading people onto the ship 2 buses at a time. From talking with other passengers, some people did not board until after dinner. Food Generally, food was okay to very good. Regarding the main dining room, dishes like the home style pork chop on the first night was about Marie Calendar's level and later on the week, the rib eye was almost Ruth Chris' level. Consistency is probably an issue depending when your order gets picked up on the queue line. For example the Chocolate Lava dessert was served twice in the week with the first time being excellent, and the second time being a little dry and cold. And the fish is, of course, hit or miss with it being perfectly cooked or overcooked. Portion sizes can be un-expectantly on the large size. Beware if you order any lamb shank because a Flintstones-sized leg will be dropped in front of you. My main criticism on the Main Dining Room is that it doesn't seem that much bigger than the main dining rooms of the Millennium class vessels, despite the Solstice class having a larger passenger capacity. As consequence, most of the Table for Two’s are only an inch away from each other which make them seem like six person table tops. I feel that couples may as well as opt for the larger tables because the person who is inches away from you is more likely to carry on a conversation, rather than Table for Two person who is trying to avoid eye contact. About the canapés for Concierge Class, it seemed like there were some budget cuts from when we last sailed on the Infinity. The canapés consisted mostly of tortilla chips, humus, and seasoned olives. Shows The three main productions were pretty standard for Celebrity: the Broadway revue show, the eclectic song/dance show, and the Cirque du Solei type show. The Broadway one was called Ghost Light and the plot device used to bring together such varied songs as We Want to Live in America and Defying Gravity is that the cast and crew of a closing theater are reminiscing their favorite acts. Because of the large attendance we couldn't get to see the eclectic song/dance show but I did catch the beginning where the homage to Stomp led into the Bugle Boy from Company B. As far as Solstice: The Show, which is the Cirque du Solei type show...you can either feel that this is an incredible show of sights, sounds, and celebration of the human body...or you can say that I've already seen the real show in Vegas. Public Areas The ship is clean and from the Kohler-like fixtures in the restrooms to the bright paneling on the walls, you really do get the sensation of Modern Luxury. There are also plenty of places to plant yourself for reading, playing cards, or sunbathing. The pools had enough deck chairs that I didn't notice any towel reserving chair hogs. Activities I have to give kudos to the Activity Staff here because I ran out of space on my comment card. Thank you to Michael, Von, Chris and Tanika for being excellent hosts. You encouraged guest to participate with your welcoming (but unobtrusive) personalities. As far as actual activities, the ship had a very good mix of Trivia, Xbox Kinect, Table Tennis, Egg Drop/Paper airplane/Karaoke Contests, and Scrapbooking. On this trip, there was no Pictionary or Water Coloring. On top of the usual luggage tag, lanyard, and pen prizes, Billboard magazine sponsored some of the music trivia, so guests were able to win music download cards. Disembarkation Because we had to leave early, we carried our own luggage and left the ship before the regular 8:30 am disembarkation. It was a direct walk-off for us with the only thing for us to do was the final swipe of our Seapass card. Overall I feel if you read the message boards and reviews ahead of time, you can make the most out of your cruise vacation. There are some noteworthy things about cruising or Celebrity cruising, but I'm not going to be the spoiler. :)   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
My background: my 7th cruise, 3rd with Celebrity. Most recently on the Silhouette in Dec 2102. I'm mid 40s, cruised with my 80 year old mother and a couple of friends. Embarkation: because of Cruise Critic I knew to arrive well ... Read More
My background: my 7th cruise, 3rd with Celebrity. Most recently on the Silhouette in Dec 2102. I'm mid 40s, cruised with my 80 year old mother and a couple of friends. Embarkation: because of Cruise Critic I knew to arrive well before noon for check-in. We arrived around 11:00 and we got number 40 since we were not elite and were not in concierge, aqua or a suite. We were told it would be a short wait and it was. They didn't have enough "special" people to fill the early buses so they jumped to the mid 30s. We were on a bus by noon. The bus ride was fine, very scenic at times. We waited on the bus for about 45 minutes when we got to the ship, which would have been a lot easier to take if a rep had just kept us informed about why we had to do it. A little information goes a long way. Overall I was pleasantly surprised, but the key was getting there early. We had a great time, met lots of nice people, loved the general feel of Celebrity as usual. Never had an issue with deck chairs, though there were some hogs dropping towels on chairs for the day and disappearing. The pool crew would generally ignore it in the morning but start removing them mid afternoon. We only went to the circus type show, which we enjoyed. The other shows are a little too old school for me. We liked the deck party and the various dance events in the atrium. Our cabin attendant was the worst I've ever had, but it was all little things that you'd never go to guest services about. Problem is that when something lets you down almost every day, it adds up. It was bare minimum, certainly no "above and beyond". She had this weird thing about uncovering the bible, she moved my stuff off it every day. We had a good laugh about that every night at the bar. I couldn't wait for my first drink at the molecular bar. What a bummer that the bartender on day one was downright grumpy and gave me a glass of ice with a bit of drink in it. Luckily he wasn't around much after that. There was a girl there for the rest of the cruise who was lovely. She made better drinks than the 2 guys who seemed to be senior to her, and she had a much better attitude. The martini bar was very quiet. Service was adequate there, just nothing special. The buffet was good, minor gripe about how long it would take for used plates to be taken away. We did the 3 dinner package. Murano and Tuscan were wonderful, Silk Harvest wasn't great. Next time I'd order all appetizers there, they were a lot better than any of the 4 main dishes we ordered. To be fair it's not my favorite food. The best service I think was at cafe Al Bacio, though I only went a few times. I was disappointed to never find any finger sandwiches there, I loved picking up a few of those after coming back from shore when I was on the Silhouette. I only ever saw pastries on the Solstice. My biggest letdown: select dining. So, so rushed, my mother dreaded going there by the end. Second courses were served before some had finished their first course. You couldn't dare put your fork down to take a breather, your plate would be gone. A waiiter got an order wrong and then argued when the guest said it wasn't what they ordered. Food was mainly just ok, whereas on other cruises I've felt that the food was just as good or even better than in the specialty restaurants. We were almost never asked if we wanted bottled water. The sommeliers had no time to spend at each table, at least not for those of us ordering by the glass. Refills were rare or came when the meal was virtually done. It was all very impersonal. There was very little fun or relaxation. One night we sat on the railing and watched how empty the fixed seating was below us from 8:00 on. Hardly anybody showed up for the 8:30 seating. Here's a suggestion: keep one early seating on deck 3, then open the whole dining room to select dining afterwards. Guests and staff would be far more evenly distributed instead of cramming 75% of the later diners on deck 4 with inadequate staffing. Customs before going ashore in Hilo was a terrible experience, esppecially for the elderly. Why they couldn't have just called groups like they do for disembarkation is beyond me. We went when we were told to go, only to find a huge line snaking outside into the rain, which took over an hour to get through. We loved our time in Hawaii, especially Hilo and Lahaina. We didn't have any real problems with tenders, though they did a get a little, ahem, ripe by the end of the day. We had the bad luck of returning at the same time as all the busses coming from the luau, so we did have a very long line for the tenders that night. It was very discouraging at the end of a long day but It went faster than we expected, so it wasn't the end of the world. Again, hard for the elderly and no help from staff. At least we weren't on the bobbing tender from Hell. Disembarkation was very good on Celebrity's end, since customs was already done. After preaching to everyone I know that Celebrity is so much better than other cruise lines, I had to eat my words on this cruise. My mother enjoyed her Carnival Freedom and NCL Epic cruises more. The horror! ;) I really hope it was a fluke, I hope the Eclipse and Equinox will restore my faith. But hey, even a less than stellar cruise is better than no cruise!   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Arrived from the east coast to San Diego, stayed at the Marriott Marina hotel in San Diego (fantastic), close to pier, excellent service. The next day, the four of us (2 couples) took a taxi to the pier, where celebrity had us go through ... Read More
Arrived from the east coast to San Diego, stayed at the Marriott Marina hotel in San Diego (fantastic), close to pier, excellent service. The next day, the four of us (2 couples) took a taxi to the pier, where celebrity had us go through the cruise terminal there, check in and board a bus for Ensenada Mexico. Bus stopped at border, given a customs/immigration form. The ride to Ensenada was about 3 hours, total. Once we arrived at the port in Ensenada we waited on the bus for close to an hour. Our bus was cool, but apparently some of the others had a little A/C problems and was very hot waiting to get off bus. My complaint was that no one from Celebrity came on board the buses to explain the hold up. Bad public relations, because the complaints started...and you know how that goes. Once on board the ship, everything went smooth. Although we didn't leave until midnight, and once again, not sure why that was. Prior to our cruise I called Celebrity to book the 3 package specialty restaurants and was told none was available. That confused me....so I booked at 2 different restaurants and then decide on the ship if we wanted to do any more. But once on the ship, some of the crew members were trying to get us to book the 3 specialty restaurant package! And by the way, I am traveling on Celebrity for new years and was told you can't book any specialty restaurant for that cruise....didn't advertise that when I made my cruise reservation. Entertainment was good. Ship was lovely. But I truly felt our cabin was small! When we first walked in we were very surprised how small it was and wondered if we would find a place for everything. Surprisingly we did. But we couldn't pass each other without waiting for the other to pass by, and we are small people. Bathroom was small as well. Deck size was okay. Enjoyed the café, where I had the best chai tea. Had access to blu restaurant, which we enjoyed very much. Our waiter, Bertram, was just fantastic, although not assigned a table, we usually had him as our waiter. But the whole staff was super friendly. All the specialty restaurants were very good, but our favorite was Tuscan. The crew on board the Solstice were very friendly and helpful. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
It started with the meet and greet at the airport, we finally found the greeters and it felt like we were bothering them. they were short with answers and we had to ask passengers how to get the bus to the pier. There was no greeter at the ... Read More
It started with the meet and greet at the airport, we finally found the greeters and it felt like we were bothering them. they were short with answers and we had to ask passengers how to get the bus to the pier. There was no greeter at the bus stand to ensure you got the right bus. very confusing and frustrating. At the pier the welcomers were not helpful as my mom needs assistance with a wheelchair and it took us half an hour for the crew to find somebody to help with the wheelchair. They said they were busy, however when they took us to checkin there where only 6 people checking in. Once we got to the ship we sat in the bus for 3/4 hour while they processed all the buses. I t felt very unorganized and like they've done this for the first time. lots of people upset.. Once we got on the ship it was very nice. the stateroom attendant was pleasant. most of the ship was very clean, except for the hallway carpets. they looked like they didn't clean them. Two restaurants were exceptional, namely Tuscan and silk harvest. The munora we did not like, service was great, food not special, bisque very salty. The ephanry main dining was good, but Royal Caribbean was a step above, not vica versa. The oceancafe was very nice , nicer then the main dining room.. All excursions were fantastic. Getting a hold of guest relation was difficult. we tried 3 different times and they did not answer, had to go downstairs to deal with them. The shows were average, nothing special, We left early on several of them. When you come back from excursions you were suppose to be greeted with a Face cloth. On 5 excusions only once did this happen. In a nut shell it seemed like the staff was not trained well and celebrity claims they are a step above other lines. They are not. Royal carribean was much better. They were not terrible just average, but I will not use them again Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We just returned from our Hawaiian cruise on the Celebrity Solstice. .this was a repositioning cruise so I do understand some of the problems..... Some improvements could be made, but overall a good experience. This was our first time ... Read More
We just returned from our Hawaiian cruise on the Celebrity Solstice. .this was a repositioning cruise so I do understand some of the problems..... Some improvements could be made, but overall a good experience. This was our first time cruising with Celebrity, we have sailed with Princess, Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. We flew into San Diego( the morning of the cruise since the ship was not due to sail till 11:59pm,) where we were met by Celebrity reps that did not seem to know what quite to do, we were told to go outside and wait for a bus to take us to the San Diego pier where we would check-in. That process was a little on the long side, but what the crazy and aggravating part was, is the ride to Ensenada.. (about 3 hours), we were given a bottle of water and some cheese crackers for our ride to Ensenada....when we got to Ensenada we had to stay on the bus and wait over an hour, then we were allowed to get off the bus, but after we were given a little cup of juice, we were told to get back on the bus to wait for our turn to be driven about 50' to unload again to go through security and get on the ship. This was VERY unorganized, we missed the ships mandatory fire safety drill, so at 10:00PM we had to go do the drill.....we had been up since 4:00AM and very tired. Five days cruising over to Hawaii was so relaxing. we enjoyed the indoor pool area with soothing music and just sitting and catching up on some reading. We were required to go through immigration again since we left from Ensenada. before we got off the ship in Hawaii...we were told to go on deck 12 I believe and wait in line, after waiting in line for maybe 30 minutes a crew member showed up and told us to turn around and go back in the direction we were just coming from the last half hour, again the crew personal acted like they were not sure what to do or how to do it. Eventually we got through immigration and then began to enjoy Hilo, Hawaii, our first stop. We did the helicopter tour but the volcano was not very active, we were told it had a "blockage" so you could not see the molten magma, except for a couple small holes in the hardened magma, but it was still exciting to take the helicopter ride. We cruised that evening around to Kona, cruising by the volcano, we could see two small places where the red magma was flowing, but again since the blockage, there was no molten lava flowing into the sea......hopefully it will start up again soon, we would love going back to see it. Next two days on Lahaina, Maui. We did a tour to go see the seahorses...it was awesome and very informative. The last two days were on Honolulu, Oahu which we had planned on seeing the Arizona and Pearl Harbor, w(as closed on the days we were there with the government shut down, so again we will have to make another trip to see) Our balcony cabin was nice, but could have used a little larger drawer space since we were on board for 12 days. The evening entertainment was good, except the gentleman that juggled, he tried making jokes, but was not that funny. The piano player was awesome, would have enjoyed seeing him for 2-3 nights. The Solstice entertainers did a great job, could have watched their shows more nights. My husband did have some accupuncture treatments while onboard, (we had not seen offered before on other cruises that we have been on.) I also really enjoyed the glass blowing.......the three gentleman made several beautiful objects from goblets to bowls to hand blown fish. The green lawn up on deck 15 was nice for playing games on. We enjoyed the food in the dining room, we did not go to any of the specialty restaurants, and a couple of nights we went up to the buffet for dinner, which was great. We are booked on this ship again in March, sailing from Auckland, New Zealand to Sydney, Austrailia. We are looking forward to that cruise, one nice part is that we will know our way around the ship already. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
OK, just a quick review. I know that I looked on Cruise Critic daily and saw few reviews about the Celebrity Solstice. Background: Late 50's..ahh! Cruised Princess, NCL,Carnival, Disney and RCCL. First cruise with Celebrity. Overall ... Read More
OK, just a quick review. I know that I looked on Cruise Critic daily and saw few reviews about the Celebrity Solstice. Background: Late 50's..ahh! Cruised Princess, NCL,Carnival, Disney and RCCL. First cruise with Celebrity. Overall I would give it a 8 out of 10. We have done the repositioning cruise previously with RCCL and Carnival so we were prepared for the bus ride to Ensenada and check in at San Diego. Compared to the 2 previous cruises Celebrity actually did very well. On the Carnival Spirit we had the Worst bus ever. Ugh...it`was disgusting, you did not want to even use the restroom. This bus was very very nice no complaints and we were lucky only sat for 15 minutes in Ensenada before we boarded. Our bus driver was a good driver and took his time and I was very Thankful for that-too many bus accidents lately. And he did speak English-Carnivals driver did not! Felt like everything on Celebrity was just a little bit better. Champagne when you boarded, public restrooms on ship very clean, pretty and loved that they had wash cloths to dry your hands. Cold wet washcloths given at the pool area when you were laying out, and sorbet on a couple of days. Always could find a lounge chair and enjoyed that they were padded and you didn't have to check out towels. ServIce I thought was vey good. Our room steward was Excellent! Dining room was hit and miss. Steak and Lobster Delicious, another nites NY steak Tough.. Oceanview Cafe..same thing ever day...kinda boring but they would cook fresh salmon, veal white fish and that was delicious. We were very lucky to have Beautiful weather-a little rocky for day 2 and 3 but not bad. Ship is gorgeous! Didn't compare to Oasis that we were on last but not bad-just not as many activities. Loves: Martini Bar- they were so much fun and lots of energy I enjoyed the Celebrity dancers and singers and loved watching Zumba every day! Enjoyed both the Captain Club activities Dislikes: Ok..Most Boring Casino ever... Only Jen was fun all the other dealers didn't even talk and the casino was very slow.. They sat us in the back table by the kitchen and I hated that table! Great servers but bad location. Next time will request a different table when I book. They couldn't seem to move us after the first night, Thankfully we Loved our table mates. We also signed up for the Crusie Critic Meet and Greet like 3 x but still had no idea when they all met>?? Never got the invite or infor.? Would we do Celebrity again?? Of course! Loved the 11 nights and the ports..ok Maybe not Hilo..   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
By way of introduction, we are a couple in our mid-80’s who bemoan the loss of consideration, politeness and gentility that so marks these times. My wife suffers from dementia so that the addition of a third party to share the care of ... Read More
By way of introduction, we are a couple in our mid-80’s who bemoan the loss of consideration, politeness and gentility that so marks these times. My wife suffers from dementia so that the addition of a third party to share the care of Alice was both welcomed and important to our overall enjoyment of the cruise. We are not, by nature, gregarious people but did find several dear friends earlier on the Cruise Critic website who enhanced our joy. The Embarkation at Ensenada: We were delighted to receive a personal telephone call on the Sunday prior from Diego”, who assured us that all had been prepared. Unfortunately, his careful planning fell apart at the hands of Mexican Immigration. Both vans of our caravan (carrying ourselves and the other Penthouse occupants) and another private vehicle arrived almost simultaneously at the Gate of Ensenada Seaport. Despite our pleas that all had been planned for us to proceed directly to the ship, we were all forced to fill out some Immigration Forms, unload our luggage and then proceed to an awaiting van operated by the Mexican authorities. Our luggage was then piled in all the available space in the aisles, between seats, etc. for the 200 yard trip from Gate to Ship. We had expected to be among the very few first people embarking so early; however as we were proceeding to the ship three of the Celebrity busses drove up and occupied the usual unloading area. Our van was told to park several hundred feet away at a more isolated area and we were told to carry our own luggage back to the now crowded unloading area. With three bags and a hand luggage, this was becoming a difficult problem for Alice and myself when I finally rested a moment en route " looking for some target to aim at. At that point, Mario, of the ship’s crew, took us under his wing, had handlers take care of our luggage (using the xray machine for hand baggage) and instructing that they be taken directly to Room 1616. Mario then arranged to have someone escort us to the stateroom. Our friend got lost in the crowd and had her luggage delivered to the stateroom while we were at dinner around 7:00PM. I heard the other Penthouse couple say, "We are not used to travelling like this!” but I was much to concerned about Alice and myself to bother myself with naught but ourselves. In a few words, the Embarkation took on all the aspects of a Chinese Fire Drill " however once Celebrity returned to the picture all was handled with the care and service we truly expected. The Penthouse: Although I had seen pictures and movies of the stateroom, I was entirely in awe as all unfolded before me. I had expected some evidence of deterioration, etc after several years of hard service " in both stateroom and general areas of the ship " but was pleasantly surprised at how well everything has been maintained. In all aspects, the appearance, décor, and general condition belie her years of service. We had the Klaviarpiano playing shortly with our disks and " wonder of wonders " found that Hendrick’s Gin was included in the room and on board in addition to Bombay Sapphire. Since this had been consideration that I most regretted loss while on cruise, I was delighted that even this small loss of pleasure was no longer denied and supplied a lot of en suite entertainments. Nice. Captain’s Club and Elite Status: We were invited to the Senior Officer’s Table on the second night because we had opted for early dining throughout the trip. The event was in all respects akin to what is usually expected at such a celebration. However, because the shape of the table and high noise level in the room, it was impossible to carry on a conversation with anyone more than one person removed. We nonetheless enjoyed the evening which allowed the ladies to don their most chic evening wear for the event. We used few of the perks offered to Elite .. never attending the morning breakfasts and evening gathering of the Captain’s Club Elite. Our most favorite times on board were the casual en suite breakfasts which could be enjoyed in our robes. I usually went up to the buffet just before six AM to return to the cabin with coffee and Danish " to be enjoyed on the veranda to watch the sunrise. Breakfast was served about 7:30AM. While I have my own personal rule not to eat dinner out in any short sleeved shirt and, on this cruise, often wore a light jacket or dressy long-sleeve shirt when dining in the restaurants. It did dismay me that all too often people show little or no regard for others " arriving for dinner in much less formal attire  even reducing their efforts to a previously worn white T-shirt. One such woman coyly boasted on her shirt "I was born in a Brewery!”  a motto not much needed due to her girth and otherwise slovenly appearance. It is regrettable that many of the niceties of past times are forever lost " however I do commend Celebrity that while it must seek out cruisers of all sorts and financial stations, there were always islands of gentility available. In fact, it is amazing at how many different types are so well accommodated on Celebrity. It is equally amazing that with a full complement of passengers there were seldom times that we felt the least bit crowded in the variety of public rooms available. Priority Embarkation and Debarkation: Our one suggestion is that you devise some manner in which Elite passengers can avoid the long lines to get off and get on board ship. Fortunately, we were able to make our way towards the front of the lines " usually by commenting upon our Penthouse status " but running such interference ahead of long line does little to assure the more timid of such access and does a lot towards personal anger of others in the line. I would suggest a separate entry, suitably labeled, for Elite and suite Passengers, that would enable those in that category to proceed to a separate line which then merges with access to the gangway or tender. If nothing else, such an arrangement would certainly inspire many to consider such upgrades on future cruises. The Restaurants: We did not visit all the food establishments. Of those we did, we find that Blu was by far the most satisfying and appealing to us. Our two dinners in Tuscan Grille were also a delight with especially fine service. Our dinner at the Silken Garden on the first night was a disaster " at least for me personally, I am especially fond of Sushi and Sashimi and tripled ordered when I found them on the menu = preferring good raw fish to an entrée. However, the Tuna and Salmon Sashimi served can only be described as lightly colored cardpaper " with a texture and taste concomitant thereto. Better remove these items from the menu than mislead your guests. However, that single service aside, the meals were generally well prepared and presented .. the roast pork chop being exceptionally fine. The special brunch featuring ice sculptures was such a melee of people " thronging with loaded plates " that my wife and guest sought relief elsewhere with little improvement. The Bars: Without doubt, Raoul in the Sunset Bar was my favorite bartender and my favorite hangout. I had presupposed that I would spend my time at the Martini Bar and went there first on our first evening. However, I found it loud, disturbing, riotous and without decorum " so we never visited it again. There is no doubt as to its appeal to some. We were fortunate to find the Ensemble Lounge a perfect spot for our pre-dinner cocktail. The String Trio there was also a draw as was the very personal attention of the bar tender. In Summary: We enjoyed a totally delightful cruise to Hawaii " no doubt more to the luxury and ease of the Penthouse Suite than to all the many other activities offered. We never got to wet our toes in the pool, nor basked in the sun, or use the spa (we have such niceties in our home in Southern California) and never saw the Glass Show. We attended only a very few lectures, etc. preferring to host a cocktail party or entertainment in the Penthouse. The expanse of the Penthouse made us feel that is was a retreat from all the hustle and bustle outside " offering a second home with tranquility and peace of mind. I seriously doubt, after being in one, that I would ever consider even a Royal Suite for any future cruise  such was my joy and contentment. My one last comment on Hawai`I in general is that with the exception of Moloka`i it reminds one of the dry stretches of Southern Calilfornia with a similar touristy flavor. Our highlight excursion was the heli-tour of Maui and Moloka`I - seconded by a 2-hour tour of Honolulu Pedicab operated by one man for $50 - the rest was Disneyland surrounded by water.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Where do I start? This was supposed to be the best holiday us a family where ever going to have!My financial situation won't allow me to save that money again my eldest daughter said she would never do that trip again.Schools will ... Read More
Where do I start? This was supposed to be the best holiday us a family where ever going to have!My financial situation won't allow me to save that money again my eldest daughter said she would never do that trip again.Schools will only allow term holidays now or your fined.And the most important point, my Husband is disabled and has a degenerative spine condition he will never be able to travel that distance ever again!! This was a surprise holiday for my Husbands 50th Birthday to his ultimate destination Hawaii.My father in-law was a merchant seaman and had recently passed away,my husband sat with his dying father and he reminisced about the time he spent at sea in Hawaii and how his Son should visit this beautiful part of the World.So know I knew what to do for his 50th. It took me a year to save for this trip it was a surprise, I couldn't get any financial help from Hubby he didn't Know! Firstly we travelled from Liverpool 4hrs drive to London Heathrow.Then 11&1/2hrs flight to San Diego.In San Diego Airport was our first queue 1&1/2 hrs in a small room, packed with people to get through customs and then our First US Customs Form.We got outside to pandemonium trying to find our hotel transfer so we could use our Celebrity's Transfer Voucher USELESS!Nobody wanted to take it,instead we used the Sheraton's bus transfer. The Sheraton was our Pre cruise hotel which was lovely,room,Staff,food (of which we paid for.)Stayed overnight.We were being picked up 12pm in the Afternoon.Got on the coach our understanding was we were visiting San Diego's Street Pier B then going straight on to Ensenada where we would board the Celebrity Millennium's 5* ship Pfft!Anyway back to horror that was Street Pier B.The coach literally drove round the corner (could have walked). As we pulled in, the Millennium was in Dock.We immediately thought we were boarding here.Some passengers Said no that can't happen,others said we must be,because it would take way too long for the ship to get to Ensenada. It only took 2-3hrs depending on the Border by coach, so we would be there before the ship!This confusion carried on for the next 4&1/2hrs most of this was spent in another QUEUE, FILLING IN MORE FORMS (so that's 4 forms x four people=16 forms to fill in whilst queueing with nothing to lean on) WITH CHILDREN, WITH NOTHING TO EAT OR DRINK!at the end of the queue we got seapass cards and a piece of paper with the No 49 on it.When I enquired what was it for? The lady said look on the clip board for your number.I informed her the numbers stopped at 46, which stated the time 6:30pm. She then informed me we would be there long after 6:30 then!There where very uncomfortable metal seats in this room toilets where a mess, some not working,no food or drink left that celebrity had put on.This was Horrific and I had paid for this!Finally the coaches started boarding about 4:30pm so that's 12:15-4:30!!!!Got on the Coach set off thank god,well so you would have thought. The coach had no Toilet or A/C and we were on it for 5hrs stuck between approx 50 coaches at the Border no sorry, this bit was the Horrific part.We finally arrived at Ensenada and other people must have suffered the same toiletry denial, because I am not exaggerating the toilets in this port had excrement on the floor where I think some of the older passengers had not been able to hold on any longer. Sorry, this bit was the most Horrific Part. Then we crawled to the ship,to be greeted by staff who wanted us to have 'Welcome aboard Photos, Please! You should have seen the state of us. Other staff trying to force their restaurant vouchers or spa deals.I couldn't believe they where doing this, they must have known what we had just been through! There where four of us in our party 3adults 1child, I booked a Family Deluxe Stateroom with Veranda, sound big enough for 4?It did to me.I have seen bigger bathrooms!We couldn't all unpack there just was not the room.It was tiny could not swing a cat!The trundle bed my daughter had to sleep on was broken we reported it,it never got changed.I asked for a larger room but was denied they said nothing was available. I didn't believe that I think they thought I wanted it free!I would have gladly used my spends so we could have been comfortable.We were met with no empathy at all! We were as sick as dogs for 2 days I was told you couldn't feel the ship moving, rubbish! when we did get on deck my son wanted to get in the pool every person in the pool glared at us as we got in shaking their heads one person then pointed at the pool sign, at the 'No Children' part.We made a hasty retreat before they drowned us and went to the other pools. Every single one had 'No Children' On the signs.Some people had a real moan about children being on the ship and they shouldn't be in the pool.I tried to think of a clever comeback,only SHUT IT,came out!Oops.I was concerned about insurance if something had happened in the pool would we not have been covered because it says no children? But nobody tells you this when booking.The food I thought was very bland and repetitive, staff couldn't be bothered.We where told by other passengers if you made complaints about specifics the staff would lose their jobs so I did not want my husband who was now at teeth baring frothing mouth ,angry looking pitbull dog stage, to go and complain.I had to constantly calm him down.Stress-less travelling not on your Nelly. Entertainment, One word actually there`s three OUT OF TUNE!In the Theatre singers out of breath dancers falling over had to leave before we where thrown out for laughing! Then after 5days at sea we had arrived at port in Hawaii yay.Got a letter in the room to tell us to meet at Deck 6 at 7:30am guess what, another queue with more forms!We queued and slowly made our way up to deck 11 where 1 US border official was trying to process 2000 passengers unreal!We had an Excursion to get to at 9am, more Stress! Eventually 4 more US officials arrived, nobody could get off until it was done. The Excursion I just mentioned was purchased through the ship and it included a visit to Pan'e'wea Zoo where we would see a rare white Bengal Tiger couldn't wait, so after Akaka falls (lovely)and a Macadamia nut factory visit(could have done without.)We then where on our way to the Zoo.We arrived I and the kids ran to Namaste's(tigers name)enclosure,to find it was Namaste's day off he was'nt there!(I know... close your Mouth) Then the days the ship tendered was a queueing nightmare as well.They would tell you to be at a certain point at a certain time but nothing was ever ready the staff would say it's not worth waiting here, because the backlog of people was huge.They advised, to go to a public place so you could here the announcement of when it was ok to disembark. So we did as was asked and went to the pool area to wait for announcements and low and behold the tannoy system didn't work!When we did finally get to leave it was scary getting children and yourselves on lifeboats banging against the ship on a very rough Ocean. Nobody ever apologised ,no announcements or apologises for the San Diego/Ensenada horror no apology for US Customs Hold up no apologies for hold ups trying to disembark.We even sailed through a Tsunami we where thrown around our cabin had to put my son in bed with us before he flew out of the bunk bed.We found this out of other passengers what had happened through the night,again no announcements saftey warnings or apologies from the Captain to see if every one was OK.My husband found screws and metal sheets in the pool which could have caused damage to somebody.He called a member of staff to show him what he had just fished out of the water,Staff member just shrugged his shoulders and walked off.Hubby did get pictures before staff member took it. The final straw for me was the first day in Honolulu. We got up a the crack of dawn we where heading to Waikiki beach(It is Gorgeous!)We were starting our journey back home the next day so we had a couple of hours on the beach then had to make our way back to the ship to check in for our flight using the ships computer,it was going to be busy, a lot of people where departing the next day.So I'm told to go the ilounge Deck11 when I get there are people visibly distressed they said the computers Internet kept disconnecting but they where still being charged.Being Charged? That's news to me. Now I had organised an Excursion for the whole Family to a Hawaiian Luau traditional Hawaiian dances,food,craft making in Paradise Cove couldn't wait great photos for us to remember for years to come. Got into the ilounge approx 1:30 told the others to start getting ready for Luau at 3:30-3:45. The Internet kept cutting off but carried on charging me.The printer broke down somebody went down to guest services to tell them we needed help.Nobody came!When I finally got on to the Airline site there where only preferred seating left which meant I had to pay, my oldest child had to sit miles away from us and I had to pay for our 3 seats $49 each. I didn't have my credit card with me, luckily my daughter came in to see why I was taking so long.I got her to run back to our CUPBOARD Sorry Cabin to get my Credit Card.Then my Husband came up to see why I needed my Card, when I told him why he started to get agitated because as far as he and I was concerned I'd already paid for my seats. It was now 3:35 I gave up trying to print boarding passes phoned guest services to ask if they could let the Ships Excursion staff know we were on our way She Said 'No i can't the phone lines are down' and proceeded to put the phone down on me. The tears just started rolling down my face, I could not hold them back any longer!I was trying not to show the family how upset I was, but this usually care free,happy woman had finally broken down!And then when they see the Woman who holds them all together break down they break down!We ran crying all the way through the ship up the gangway down three flights of stairs into the port to meet our Excursion for the Luau and they had gone!!!It was just after 3:45.We made our way back to the ship absolutely gutted so upset.We arrived at security which was just in front of guest relations the security guard was shocked to see us back so soon and crying.I headed straight for reception and let rip then a member of staff came with a walkie talkie and said 'you want to go on excursion' in broken English we all shouted yes!She said follow me.Which we did all wiping tears away and the excitement at going to the Luau was back.We again ran up the gangway down the stairs and there was the Excursion staff, we thanked the guest relation lady she ran back to the ship we then looked at the excursion lady and said 'we're so happy thought we missed you''You can't go on the Luau' she said 'they are 20 mins down the road Our jaws hit the floor!She tried to put us on another one but we had done them all, I had spent $1328.00 on excursions.I demanded our money back she said she would try.I glared at her and said you make sure you try very hard or else.We did get a refund for the Luau. It cost me $45 to use the Internet, disgusted! We spent our last night wondering the shops in Honolulu nice but not what we had dreamt of! Our suitcases where picked up at 11pm that night and we were told to meet on Deck3 at 7:15am to leave the ship. So another early rise 5am get ready, queue for breakfast, get to rendezvous. We where kept waiting again they said it was US customs holding us up not the baggage because that had been done last night the staff had worked all through the night, he said. So we could leave efficiently but by now I didn't believe a word the Celebrity staff said. When we were finally told we could leave, which was after 9am.We got down to the pier to find not one suitcase or bag ready to go...Liars!!! There was no Celebrity Staff to direct us to transfer coaches it was a complete mess again. Most passengers said I can't queue anymore I can't argue anymore, I'm getting my own taxi to the Airport which was 20-25 mins away. WE WILL NEVER CRUISE AGAIN EVER!!I think I wasted £10,500 the rest I spent was excursions and costs and I'm glad I spent that, as we would not have seen some of Hawaii. Hawaii was the only positive thing about the Cruise in my opinion. It feels like we need to go back it is as though the bad things that happened have overshadowed what should have been an amazing Journey. When sitting on the transfer coach we heard this tale,A Lady on the cruise celebrated her 60th birthday on the ship and her wrapped birthday presents and cards where stolen out of her cabin. One elderly couple we met at LA airport said he'd been on Celebrity Solstice and was told by the medical officer he was having a heart attack, because he was light headed and the doctor noticed a small bruise on his arm and rushed him to hospital. When he got there they dismissed the heart attack straight away but the ship had sailed without them so he and 83 year old wife had to organise their own flights home not one member of Celebrity helped them get there.CELEBRITY SORT YOURSELVES OUT!!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This was my eight cruise, my third visit to Hawaii and also my second with Celebrity. This was also Celebrity's second chance at getting my vacation right after the awful cruise I had with them in 2010. I'm sad to say that ... Read More
This was my eight cruise, my third visit to Hawaii and also my second with Celebrity. This was also Celebrity's second chance at getting my vacation right after the awful cruise I had with them in 2010. I'm sad to say that Celebrity screwed up their chances within hours of me setting foot on the ship in Ensenada. This review isn't going to be very complimentary as a lot of things went wrong (although I will concede that some problems were not of Celebrity's making) and in my conversations with Tony (KangarooCruiser) on the ship, I have promised him that I will be very fair and I will include the good bits of the cruise (but there weren't many of them). I am going to put the review in catergories starting with.... Landing at USA airports. Despite the fact that several people on the Roll Call said that there were going to be Celebrity staff to "meet & greet", I didn't see one member of Celebrity staff anywhere at San Diego (SD) airport. We were left to fend for ourselves (I had to fend for myself in 2010 too) and the vouchers supplied by Celebrity were useless. I used the free Sheraton shuttle to get to the hotel. Embarkation. We were all taken to the (B) Street Pier in SD to check in. This was a very large building with lots of chairs/benches etc. and on one side all of Celebrity staff waiting to check everybody in. The ship was already there (and it had been since around midnight the same day) but we were not allowed to board it because of something called the Jones Act. This is a 19th. century maritime law which boils down to this...if a ship comes from an American port to another American port without visiting a foreign port in between, then all 50 US states can come and collect taxes from you. So you have around 2,000 people milling around doing nothing as we were not allowed to board the coaches to Mexico. Celebrity did supply refreshments but they were soon gone and people starting to complain that there was nothing to eat/drink. I was told that my coach was number 43 and would be leaving around 5.20 with an approx 2 1/2 hour drive to Ensenada. I was told that I could go out of the terminal to explore SD on my own-this I did but where we were there wasn't a lot to see. I have been informed on a Roll Call (on this site) that the ladies toilets were only three stalls, one of which was broken. This was for around 1,000 women. The "VIP" area was exactly the same as the rest of us. We eventually started to board the coaches around 3.00pm with my coach leaving at 4.05pm. This meant that there were around 55 coaches leaving within minutes of each other going to the San Ysidro USA/Mexico border crossing-THE busiest border crossing. We ended up at the border in one lane as we were in coaches and all of the coaches had to do this. My own coach took over two hours to travel less than 400 yards. Which idiot at Celebrity decided to send 55 coaches to the border at one go? why didn't Celebrity send a coach as and when it was filled by guests that had already checked in? I was also told that some of the drivers got lost in Mexico and didn't get to the ship until very late-I heard of coaches arriving around 11pm. My own journey took five hours and not the 2 1/2 hours predicted. On board. The sail-away was going to be midnight and I decided to video the event. We did sail around 12.30am and I went back to my cabin. I still didn't have my suitcase and I found a letter from Celebrity that they were holding my suitcase on deck 1. I went to deck 1 and found a room with a small fenced off area with several bags (I estimate around 30) in it. There was also an American woman who was clearly very distressed and crying. She was wearing a bathrobe (out of her cabin) and she said that Celebrity wouldn't give her her cases as they wanted to examine them for "contraband". I asked why my case was being kept and I was told that I "was smuggling alcohol on the ship". At this stage I let rip. I am not a patient man at the best of times and this guy got both barrels. I can't write what I said in this review, but I used several words beginning with F, C and whatever else I could think of. He also accused me of bringing a clothes iron with me. Why would I bring such a heavy item with me when I am restricted to 50 pounds in my checked-in bag on a plane? The guy wanted to examine the contents of my case and asked me to open it. This I refused. I also told him that if I didn't get my case back, I would leave it there and walk around the ship completely naked with just a bathrobe and a pair of sandals. All of my toiletries were also in my case so I would not have been able to use any deodorant-and it wouldn't take long for me to start smelling. After a lot of shouting and screaming, he eventually gave me my case. I do not know what happened to the woman, but I seem to recall that she was threatening to sue Celebrity for all the distress. By this time it was very late (I was still unpacking at 2.00am), I was very tired and extremely angry that I was accused of smuggling. Food. This was excellent. The main dining room was very well attended and the food on offer was top notch. The buffet was a also quite good. Breakfasts were in the American taste-VERY crispy bacon (almost cremated), hash browns, corned beef hash, several styles of eggs (scrambled, coddled, Benedict to name a few) a wide selection of fruits, cakes, danish, yogurts etc.....Lunchtimes were nearly all the same with a varied selection of sandwiches, hot and cold food/snacks etc. and the evening meals didn't change a bit (as was the case in 2010 on the Infinity). there were "Chefs Specials", a pizza bar, pasta station, a varied sushi bar and the usual currys/meats/vegetables. What really spoilt the buffet was the people who were behind the counters. The buffet was not self-service and you had to ask the staff several times for the foods that you wanted. Celebrity needs to sort this out. Make the buffet self-service or don't put morons behind the counters. The staff either didn't want to know, didn't care or were half asleep all the time. There are two speciality restaurants on the ship. One was the SS Olympic and the other was Qsine (this is the correct spelling!). A group of us did Qsine. I must say that the style of Qsine is very different. We were given small tastes of everything instead on three or four courses like a normal restaurant. The menu was very good and I thoroughly enjoyed the meal. I didn't go to the Olympic but I was told that the fare was very good indeed. There is a small cover charge for these restaurants but I would recommend doing one or both. Entertainment. I cannot comment on the shows as I didn't see any. I was told that the productions were very good and there was an American comedian on board who was very good indeed (if second-hand reports were true-and I have no reason not to believe them). There were two guest speakers. A Dr. Michelle Thaller who is a NASA scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Centre (along with her husband). She gave lectures of our place in the universe. I really enjoyed these lectures and Dr. Thaller is a very approachable woman who is willing to speak (at length) and to respond to any questions that were asked of her. I was on the same coach (on disembarkation) and thanked her personally for the lectures. There was a Mr. Hall (I forget his first name) who gave lectures on the history of Hawaii which were also very interesting. The Chefs on board also did a cooking demonstration and had an "Iron Chef" competition in the main theatre. Both shows were very entertaining and very amusing. There was also the usual Guest versus Staff shows such as "Dancing with the Stripes" and a Karaoke/Talent competition which (I have been told) were very good. Disabled persons/access. I am not discriminating against disabled persons (my own father is disabled), but Celebrity needs to look at this. The disabled people on the ship seemed to think that they owned it. If you didn't get out of the way of an electric scooter, they just drove at you anyway. Anybody that didn't get out of the way were "bigots". I had first-hand reports of disabled persons knocking people over because they didn't get out of the way. I am all for access for all people, but what about my rights as a fare paying passenger? Don't I get some respect? An example I personally experienced...At breakfast in the buffet, there were a group of Americans (three couples) one of whom was disabled. Do you think that they took the first accessible table available? NO. They had to have the furthest table away from the entrance to the buffet and that meant that everybody had to stop with their breakfast and move chairs out of the way to accommodate this woman's scooter. Not only was this disruptive, when they got sat down, they started to steal other chairs from tables without asking and snatching condiments from other peoples tables as they didn't have enough. There is a word for this-IGNORANT! I would suggest to =X= that the buffet needs to be split up to give disabled persons their own part of the restaurant and not disturb the rest of us. Customs/Immigration at Hawaii. After five days at sea, we had to go through US Customs (again). This was because we has sailed from Mexico and not SD. Do US Customs think some of us had swam back to Mexico? Had we visited another country? NO. The customs inspection was in the Cosmos Lounge. I was told to report at 0745 and when I got there, there was around 500 (maybe more) people waiting to have their passports checked. This included US citizens. After an hour, there was very long line and there was only TWO US Customs officers doing the checking! Eventually, four more officers turned up and they received a round of applause from all of the guests in the lounge. I was in there for one hour forty-three minutes and only just got to my bus for my excursion. There was absolutely no organisation from Celebrity, no apologies and it was a complete mess from start to finish. Excursions. I booked mine online before the cruise and they were very good. I did Mount Kilauea (big island of Hawaii), a Luau in Lahaina, a tour of coffee/chocolate plantations and a general sightseeing tour. These were very good although a little pricey. Several people did independent tours from locals on the piers at each port. If you do these independent tours, they are NOT obliged to get you back to the ship on time. If you miss the ship, you will have to get to the next port at your own expense. Commendations. This cruise wasn't a complete mess. I would like to commend several staff who went above and beyond their duties-Kian and Vince in the Sunset Bar and Shaun in the Rendezvous lounge were very friendly and got to know all of the guests preferences. The rest of the staff were very attentive and nothing was too much trouble. My cabin was very clean all of the time (if a little threadbare) and the ship was kept neat and tidy all of the time. Decor in the general public areas of the ship wasn't to my taste but was in keeping with other cruise ships I have travelled on. On a personal note...my evening meals were spoilt by one of the people on my dinner table. This person was a thirty something US citizen by the name of Jeff. I am certain that he didn't change his shirt for the entire cruise. He was completely naive and didn't have a clue about any other part of the world. He kept saying that the wanted to visit the UK and would be based in London. He didn't seem to understand that we in the UK do not drive on the same side of the road as he does. He also didn't accept that the price of petrol in the UK was at least 2 1/2 times as much as the US. He also wanted 110 volts so that he could bring all of his gadgets with him-we use 240 volts. I could go on about this guy but I eventually snapped and told him in no uncertain terms about which side of the road we drive. I also told him he couldn't drive to Scotland and back in one day (as he said he wanted to do) and that I lived 240 miles north of London and Edinburgh is a six hour drive from my location. I left my dinner table early that night so I didn't say anything I might have regretted later. Two of my fellow diners-a British couple Helen & Karl-were of the same opinion as me and I apologised to them the next night for storming off. Disembarkation. Another mess. We were each given luggage tags so that we got off the ship in time for our respective travel arrangements. My time was 0730 in the Rendez-vous lounge. We were told that all of our luggage had been off-loaded the night before. This was a lie. All you had to do was look over the side of the ship to see shore staff still unloading luggage! When I eventually got to the exit (over half an hour later than scheduled), I was prevented getting off and was told to report to Guest Relations for a message. This I did only to find one person behind the counter. After a few minutes with still only one staff helping and around twenty people behind me, I walked up to the counter a shouted at the top of my voice "..is there anybody here? I have a plane to catch..". With that, three or four staff members suddenly appeared. I said that there was a message for me. Firstly, the staff asked me to stop shouting at them-this I refused to do. I was told that there was no message and that I could leave the ship immediately. This I did still shouting (with lots words not printable in this review) included. When off the ship, Celebrity staff had absolutely no idea which coach we were supposed to be on and I was nearly put on a coach that was going on a tour before dropping people off at the airport. I eventually got on the correct coach only to be confronted by yet another "Jobsworth" (as in '..it's more than my jobs worth..') who insisted on seeing all of my documentation. Were does he think I've been for 11 days? Honolulu airport. I must say that US Customs Officers seem to have been on a charm offensive since the last time I travelled through the USA. Instead of being constantly shouted at and intimidated, I was pleasantly surprised to find very nice people who were very courteous and polite. Finally, if any US citizens are reading this, can I ask you to write to your Congressman/Woman to get the Jones Act repealed. I will not be doing this transfer again! Conclusions. 1. If you are going on a cruise that involves being transferred from a US port to Mexico-make your own travel arrangements. Do not rely on Celebrity to get you there in comfort. 2.Celebrity does not provide "Meet & Greet" staff at airports-you will have to fend for yourself. 3. Don't expect any proper organisation from Celebrity. Everybody I spoke to (including US citizens) was disgusted with the treatment that they received. 4. No explanations. 5. No apologies. 6. And finally....DO NOT book a cruise with Celebrity! This was Celebrity's second chance. I will not be booking a cruise with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We sailed on the Millenium on 10-22-2012 from Ensenada to Hawaii. I will start off with the bad part of the trip-Day one. In order to take this itinerary you must check in at the San Diego airport, be bused to the San Diego port, wait for ... Read More
We sailed on the Millenium on 10-22-2012 from Ensenada to Hawaii. I will start off with the bad part of the trip-Day one. In order to take this itinerary you must check in at the San Diego airport, be bused to the San Diego port, wait for hours at the San Diego port and take a bus to Ensenada(about a 3 hour adventure).We arrived early for check-in at the airport and found only one Celebrity employee at the kiosk handling the check-in. We were about 20th in line and by the time we got to the front of the line there were about 75-100 people in line. A second employee arrived to help but it was mass confusion. After getting to the port in San Diego we saw the ship leaving to go to Ensenada and were told that no buses would be leaving San Diego for at least 3 hours so that the ship could get to Ensenada ahead of the hordes of travellers. Of course when you travel to Mexico you must first pass though Mexican customs and it took over an hour to get through that mess. My spouse and I kind of shrugged off the bad day knowing that a magnificent cruise was in store for us, however, I cannot even count the number of people that said they would never sail on Celebrity again because of the chaos surrounding getting to the ship. Once we managed to get on board(about 7 pm) our luggage had already been delivered (one piece was severely damaged somewhere between San Diego and Ensenada). We had booked an Aqua class sunset veranda on the 11th floor at the back of the ship and it was amazing! The view throughout the cruise was spectacular although our room was directly above the rear lounge/smoking area. The amenities that come with the Aqua class package are well worth the few extra bucks you pay. Dinners and breakfast in the Blu restaurant were impressive and the Aqua spa offered a great relaxing respite while on board. My spouse and I are cruise veterans and the shows on this trip were without a doubt the best we have ever seen on a ship(except for one Hawaiian dancing show). The Millenium itself is in excellent shape after its recent makeover and the crew is friendly and professional. We felt that some of the windows could have used a little more cleaning than they got but all in all the ship was great. Once we got to the islands we did our own thing and did not book any excursions through the ship. In Hilo we hired a local van to take us around the various tourist spots and it cost about half what the cruise line was charging. In Kona and Maui we took local transportation to the beautiful beaches and shopping areas. My favorite beach in the whole world is Kanapali Beach in Maui and we spent two days renting a little beach cabana on the beach. The final day was in Honolulu and again we did our own thing shopping and sightseeing. On the final day we used the ship's shuttle service to the airport ($25 person) and would have been better off just taking a local taxi service. All in all I give this cruise a B+ and plan on sailing with Celebrity in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
It always amazes me how you can take a group of vacationers, put them all on the same ship, same itinerary, at the same dates and yet the experiences can be so different. I can only speak of our experience and how we chose to handle ... Read More
It always amazes me how you can take a group of vacationers, put them all on the same ship, same itinerary, at the same dates and yet the experiences can be so different. I can only speak of our experience and how we chose to handle certain inconveniences. This review will focus more on the items I know we were searching for information on before we sailed but found little on: Hump cabins, Ensenda Embarkation, Halloween on a ship, Fitness Center and All Inclusive Premium Drink Package. We were lucky to secure a Hump Cabin within Aqua Class meaning we had a slightly larger balcony in a room that sat directly below the Aqua Spa cafe / Solarium. It was a great room with no noise disturbances. Having sailed on both the Equinox and Solstice we were interested to see how comparable the retro-fit ships were to the actual Solstice builds. We are pleased to report that the cabins look virtually the same with the exception of the missing overhead storage typically above the bed however; there was no lack of storage space without it (with 6 suitcases packed I put the storage space to the test!). So let's talk about the Ensenada embarkation which is such a hot topic with this particular sailing. Having cruised often and as we are usually flying in from a winter wonderland, we typically fly in a day or two early to limit the stress of having to "catch a ship". Therefore we just caught a $9.00 cab from the car rental drop off rather then take the shuttle back to the airport to then have to take the Celebrity shuttle to the pier. Best $9.00 spent of the entire cruise! Staff at the pier were very friendly and accommodating considering they were under vast amounts of pressure due to the ship being parked right behind the check in counter and then seeing it sail away. Kinda funny when you think about it... For those that were shocked and panicked all I have to say is your cruise tickets clearly stated we were sailing from Ensenada Mexico not San Diego. When we checked in we were given bus ticket #6 and were told to come back before 3:00 pm to board. I appreciate that they told us to go out and enjoy San Diego pier as opposed to waiting in the terminal and I was even more impressed that they took care of our carry on luggage while we did this. We went for a lovely lunch on the pier and even managed to get some shopping in. Armed with my Starbucks Latte in hand we headed back to the terminal at about 2:45 where we spent about half an hour chatting with the people sitting next to us and by 3:30pm we were boarding our bus. Were we delayed a little due to a couple of people requiring scooters and oxygen tanks to be loaded. Ultimately we ended up being about bus #11 to pull out at around 4:00 pm. Border wait time was 60 minutes (not bad considering I have waited longer at airports to clear customs and at least here I was seated in a comfortable air-conditioned bus). Personally I enjoyed the bus ride along the coast, it was beautiful and we got to see the sunset. To expedite the process we were given declaration forms to fill out on the bus to be handed in once we arrive at Ensenada. Unfortunately we ended up on a bus that got lost in Ensenada and ended up going the wrong way down a one way street and then thought that he was rear-ended so stopped in the middle of another intersection to check things out (Luckily he wasn't hit). This all added about 30 extra minutes to our journey but with every U-Turn this driver performed with this motor-coach the bus cheered to show how impressed we all were with how well he maneuvered it. Eventually after 3 passes by the ship we made it to the dock overall time from San Diego to Ensenada was approx 3.5 hours. This was the first cruise we decided to experiment with the drink package so once we were a little settled in, we headed up to Blu for dinner and a drink. We definitely utilized our purchase with everything from: smoothies over breakfast, vitamin waters after a workout, fruity frozen drinks by the pool, lattes in the afternoon, pre-dinner drinks, cocktails and wine with dinner, after dinner drinks in Michael's lounge and a Martini at the Ice Bar. Now it sounds like we are lushes and that we should have been drunk for the entire cruise but that is not the case. Truly we used it to sample drinks that we normally would not. My husband is a beer snob so each night he sampled a different beer at Michael's and for myself, I do not like wine so I took this opportunity to utilize the the sommelier in Blu and tried to find wines I could enjoy...Success!!! To order the drink package again though I'm not so sure I would. We looked at the $1400.00 drink package expense as if it was a tour package or upgraded room. (only way I could justify it in my mind). Yes we drank our monies worth but in the end it was only empty calories that we didn't need and although the sampling was fun, we've done it once and don't feel the need to do it again. At least I know for certain that I do not like Cognac. To counter balance the consumption of food and drink we did utilize the gym frequently an participated in a spin class. Great experience and would do it again (I do think Celebrity should drop the $10.00 class fee though). But...the spin class led to a discussion with Daniel (Celebrity Fitness Instructor)about private training sessions and from that I enrolled in a 3 session personal training package complete with body composition analysis and a 17 page customized workout regiment to take home. The document covered everything from nutrition to an analysis specific to my body type and current fitness level. I was very impressed and have continued using the program Daniel built for me. Only downside was after the first session I had difficulty moving and was very sore the next day so I had to remind Daniel that I was on vacation and did need to be able to move about without pain. Once again... Money well spent. Halloween: We were sailing out of Maui the day of Halloween which was neat because Maui shuts down their main street in Lahaina for a children's parade right where we tender to the ship. Very fun and entertaining to see both children and parents dressed up following behind a fantastic marching band. Back on the ship we were one of the couples that brought costumes (remember the 6 suitcases)so we had fun dressing up that night. There were actually many passengers that dressed up as well as the crew and it was an electric atmosphere that night. They had a costume contest and we spent the night having people stop and ask if they could take photos of us. If you are sailing on Halloween we suggest that you join in the fun even if only with something simple. Kudo's to Rockin Ron the DJ for his incredible Rolling Stones Routine dressed up as Batman. He also showed an interesting and informative lecture on Marilyn Monroe which we thoroughly enjoyed. We weren't impressed with the Party Band "Kenosis" but stilled enjoyed dancing most nights. Those are my detailed comments on the items I thought are not usually reported on. Here are some remaining shorter comments and thoughts: Aqua Spa Cafe for breakfast was our favorite, Persian Gardens were terribly disappointing (no windows or private beds and was very dark and dingy), Bistro on Five was O.K., Olympic Restaurant was outstanding! We really enjoyed the progressive trivia (met some great people) and the shows were fantastic especially the backstage tour! We stayed away in general from the buffet (many grumpy pushy people up there) but the pizza was a favorite to grab and take away. Staff was ALWAYS friendly and outstanding especially the "washy, washy" guy by the elevators outside the buffet. The seas were generally smooth (relative to a pacific cruise)and the officer's pool volleyball game is always a pleasure! ***TIP*** We exercised the option to walk off the ship carrying our own luggage for disembarkation. We have done this several times and highly recommend it. We didn't have to send our suitcases away the night before or wait for them to be unloaded only to have to sift through the rows of black suitcases to find our own. We were off the ship with absolutely no crowds to fight through by 7:00 am, in our rental car and on our way to Pearl Harbor. Easy, simple and efficient. Clearing customs - There is no reason to bad mouth Celebrity regarding having to clear customs in San Diego (if arriving out of Country), then to have to do it in Mexico, and then one last time in Hilo... These are not "Customer Service" line-ups designed for your comfort but rather arrival and departures into and out of COUNTRIES!!! Celebrity has no control, nor should they, over being given "special treatment" for getting their 2400 passengers across. Additionally common sense should tell you that you have booked KNOWINGLY that you have to enter and exit out of Mexico along with 2400 fellow cruisers and the rest of travellers crossing that border at that same time. 2400 passengers do not clear customs all in under an hour whether or not you are entering or exiting a country by tender or bus, this is why this specific cruise cost less than the other ones sailing in and out of San Diego. Kudos to Celebrity for staggering the buses and allowing passengers to explore San Diego longer that day for their comfort. To complain about it is like being upset because you don't get the free blanket and pillow flying in coach as do the people paying double in first class. Overall this was a fantastic holiday especially for the price paid. Was everything perfect - NO but we chose to choose our attitude and as such it attracted the same attitude back. Honestly the most un-enjoyable part of the vacation was having to listen to others complain in the elevators, on the buses and in the line-ups. There was so much to do and enjoy on the ship that 5 days at sea truly wasn't enough. It's vacation, pull up your big panties and enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
I have cruised many times before on many cruise lines. This was our first Celebrity cruise and I had heard it was a step above Princess and HAL. I am 49 and was traveling with my 75 year old disabled mom. We had cruised to Hawaii before ... Read More
I have cruised many times before on many cruise lines. This was our first Celebrity cruise and I had heard it was a step above Princess and HAL. I am 49 and was traveling with my 75 year old disabled mom. We had cruised to Hawaii before on the Carnival Spirit from Vancouver several years ago. My mom had a stroke 10 years ago and is unable to walk unaided due to her balance issues. She depends on her electric scooter for mobility. She can walk short distances, with difficulty, with her walker. This was to be our last mother/daughter cruise as her physical and mental disabilities are getting too difficult to allow her to travel. I put a lot of time, money and homework into this vacation. You have to do your homework when you cruise or vacation with someone who is disabled. You always have to expect the unexpected. I had been in contact with Celebrity Special needs many times before this cruise. They were aware my mom would require a bus with a lift for her scooter for the transfer from the airport to the pier and from the pier to the ship. Celebrity Special needs advised me many times all was taken care of. I booked an accessible cabin with a balcony on deck 6. My mom just loves having a balcony on a cruise. She will sit out on the balcony for hours. She would sleep out on the balcony if I let her. Not on this cruise. More on that later. We arrived at the San Diego airport at 8:45am. It was a much too early a flight but we didn't know that then. We collected our luggage and found the celebrity reps. They quickly took our luggage and told us transfers to the pier would not begin until 11am. They told us they had no accessible transfers and we would have to pay $15pp for an independent accessible transfer to the pier. I couldn't understand this when celebrity told us that an accessible transfer would be available and complimentary. I had even given Celebrity my flight information. I still don't know what happened to the accessible transfer we were promised. The rep at the airport advised us if mom could get up the steps onto the bus they could put the scooter under the bus in the luggage compartment and they would be able to transfer us for free. We agreed. We went and had a bite to eat in the airport and began our 2 hour wait for the transfer. We were finally called to the transfer bus. The rep was insistent that mom get the front seat as she was disabled. As mom struggled to get up the steps into the bus, I watched as the men tried to get mom's scooter under the bus. It would not go right side up so they put it on it's side and slid it into the luggage compartment very roughly. I could only hope it wasn't hurt or damaged. Upon arrival to the pier the Celebrity Millennium was there and we wished so much we could board her there. Unfortunately, we were not allowed due to a law called the Jones act. Thankfully the scooter worked when taken out of the bus but with a few more scratches by it's rough handling. The pier was basically a warehouse. We checked in and then began the 4 hour wait for the bus to Ensenada. Celebrity did provide us with a light lunch of small sandwiches, potato salad and water or lemonade. Finally at 3pm the buses started to arrive and people began boarding the buses. Mom and I continued to wait until 4pm. We were then told that a lift bus would take several more hours wait. They said we could leave immediately if mom walked the few steps up into a regular bus and the scooter was put into the luggage compartment. We agreed. They made sure they boarded us onto an empty bus so mom could have the front seat. Several nice men helped mom up the bus steps. The scooter was put under the bus and we waited as people were loaded onto the bus. At 5pm we started on our journey to the border. At first our bus driver got lost and couldn't find I-5. He had to go around the block twice. Thankfully he found the freeway after that. We had to wait 2 hours at the border as all 50 buses were put in one line at the border. In the two hours the only excitement was a drug dog inspecting the luggage compartment of the bus and even entered the bus and walked up and down the aisle. Of course the dog found nothing. I thought this was useless as I don't think drugs are going into Mexico. This should be done on the other side in Mexico where drugs are coming into the US. We finally got through the border and began our two hour drive to Ensenada. We had a Mexican bus driver who did not speak or understand English. The bus driver drove very fast and we had to hang on for dear life so we were not dumped into the aisle of the bus at every turn. The views from the bus would have been beautiful if we would have been able to see them in the light, however it was already dark by that time. We were never so glad to see the lights of Ensenada. We finally arrived at the pier in Ensenada where the men broke my mom's scooter getting it out of the bus. We arrived into our cabin which I though had to be a joke. It was TINY. I have been on many, many cruises and I have never seen such a small accessible cabin. However I had no time to think of the small cabin as the broken scooter was of the utmost importance. It would not run and it's charge indicator was broken out of the dashboard of the scooter. I went down to guest relations and told them that my mom's scooter had been broken. The guest relations worker quickly told me that Celebrity did not break my mom's scooter but the bus company had. This confused me. Wasn't the bus hired by Celebrity? I asked if a maintenance man could please come look at the scooter. They said under no circumstance would they touch my mom's scooter. They explained they might break it worse and then would be responsible. I was beside myself. My mom's cruise would be ruined with out the use of her scooter. Not only the cruise but our 10 day post cruise vacation booked in Honolulu. Our room steward saw how upset were we about the scooter. Somehow, a maintenance man did come up and look at the scooter. His English was very poor and he refused to touch the scooter. I asked to use his screwdriver and as he watched I unscrewed the dashboard of my mom's scooter. I tried to put the indicator back in place but it was cracked. I then noticed the wire that went down to the battery compartment in the scooter was unplugged. It could not be plugged back in because the prongs were all bent. I used the screwdriver as best I could to re bend the prongs. I was then able to plug it in and low and behold it worked!!!! I was relieved beyond explanation. I was so proud of myself and my husband would have been too. The cord and plug must have been pulled out and damaged as the men pulled the scooter out of the luggage compartment. I thanked the maintenance man for lending me his screwdriver.. Later guest relations would call me and leave a message on my phone saying how glad they were that their maintenance man was able to repair my mom's scooter!!!!! What? I didn't care about this at all as all is well that ends well. For the first two days the lights in our cabin did not work. On the first night we really didn't care as we were so tired we just wanted sleep. They tried to fix them that evening but right after the electrician left they went out again. The next day the electrician had to return two more times. This finally fixed the problem and we didn't have a problem with the cabin lights again. We couldn't move in our cabin it was so crowded, with us the furniture, the beds and the scooter and walker. I removed the little table and chair that was in the cabin and put it on the balcony. This still didn't give us any room. There was no room beside the bed to get the walker or scooter near it so my mom would be able to transfer. We discovered the bed was too close to the mounted desk against the wall to allow mom access to the balcony. We were so disappointed. Here I had gone to all the extra expense of getting a balcony accessible cabin and the balcony was not accessible to my mom. What is the use of offering a handicapped balcony cabin when the balcony is not able accessible??? The balcony even had a lovely ramp but due to the smallness of the cabin the bed was on it. So, mom was not able to use the balcony at all on the entire cruise. The bathroom in the cabin was accessible. It had grab bars and a shower with a seat. Thankfully, our cabin was right next to the open area near the stairs. We stored our scooter out in that area. Mom used the walker in the cabin. This made it difficult to constantly get to her scooter but we survived. There was no place to charge the scooter out there so periodically we would have to have it in the cabin. Needless to say we were exhausted after the day we had. I went to the muster drill but mom was too sick and tired to go. We were so tired we didn't even go to dinner. We ordered a little room service and ate it in the dark as the lights weren't working. We slept late the next morning. Mom was still exhausted from the day before. So she stayed in the cabin for the most part. That is the reason I got a balcony cabin. I knew she would stay in the cabin quite a bit. Whenever, I think of this I still get upset. I explored the ship. I really liked the layout of the ship. It was not one of those mega ships. It was not too small and not too big. The ship was gorgeous. All shiny and clean. I really liked the clear elevators. I had brought my lap top and bought Internet with the ship. It was quite expensive. I think I spent $200. I was able to use my lap top from my room or anywhere on the ship. I was glad I had brought my lap top as the Internet lounge sometimes was very busy with a line of people waiting to use a computer. The next 5 days were sea days and after that nightmare of a embarkation we needed the relaxation. I went to our cruise critic meeting to meet all the people I had been chatting with before our cruise. Celebrity had champagne, orange juice and snacks for us. The cruise director came too. It was nice meeting and talking with some people but the group was so large it was overwhelming. During the sea days Celebrity offered many things to do. Hair seminars, space lectures, trivia and computer classes to name just a few.. The food was great on this ship and the dining room was very nice and the waiters were exceptional. We had 6pm fixed seating. One thing Celebrity did right was at dinner they seated mom at a table right near the entrance so she didn't have to do an obstacle course in order to get to her table.. Our table was also right next to a window. Mom would drive her scooter up to the table. The waiter would help mom transfer to her seat and then the waiter would drive the scooter away to park it out of the way. After dinner he would go get the scooter for mom and help her transfer back. I had asked Celebrity Special needs for large print menus but we never did get them. There are obviously some serious communication problems between Celebrity Special needs and their ships. The waiters learned our names and learned our likes and dislikes. The waiter wanted to make sure we enjoyed dinner. If we ever didn't like something we ordered he would encourage us to order something else. Our assistant waiter was also good but his English was not as good as our waiter and got confused or didn't understand some things . My mom just loves desserts and she would order two. She would eat both of them too. My mom is very skinny so doesn't need to worry about her weight. Our waiter encouraged us to do this. The lava cake, cheesecake and souffle's were the best. Lobster night was great. Nice big lobsters that were very tender. I ordered two. Then some nights nothing really looked good. Those nights we would just order two or more appetizers skip the entree and order dessert. The waiter allowed us the freedom to do anything we wanted. We were seated at a table of six and we loved our table mates. We would always get room service breakfast. We would order it the night before on a card and hang it on the door. It was always right on time. It was not always accurate. There was usually always something missing. One morning the coffee was missing. Another morning the toast. No butter on another morning etc. I would call them and they would bring whatever was forgotten. We couldn't imagine going to breakfast in the dining room when we could eat in our cabin in our pajamas. Twice we did go to the buffet to get waffles in the morning. They were so yummy. For the most part all the crew were very kind and helpful. I must say the only time we saw a bad attitude once or twice was at the guest relations counter. Our cabin steward was so nice and did her job so well. We would often sleep in and then just leave the cabin for 15 minutes before we would return again. I don't know how but we would come back to a clean, made up cabin. She must have been watching for us to leave. We loved going to the shows in the showroom. The productions shows were our favorites. There were 3 and they were so good. We also had a fiddler, magician, pianist, a singer and a comedian. Some shows were better than others but we never missed a show. One night we had a Polynesian show. We thought it would be a professional show but found out it was just a hula school that brought their students to the ship to do a show. One group that we really enjoyed were the acapella quartet. They were such nice young men and very personable. Also very talented. They had a large number and variety of songs. We always searched the daily paper to see where and when they were performing. We loved the reserved handicapped seating in the showroom. Usually it is at the very back of the theater in the nose bleed section, however, they had front row seats that were also handicapped accessible. My mom loved this as she can't see very well. The cruise also had the usual newlywed game, Liar, liar and dancing with the stars. I love these shows. The cruise director was always at these late night shows and he was so much fun. I really enjoyed our cruise director. What a busy guy, but so nice. Mom and I always had to go by his office to get into the showroom. There was a very heavy door we had to open to enter. If he was there, which he usually was, he would run ahead to open and hold the door for us. He was always out and about. Always very open to talk to anyone. After he had closed the show he would sprint up a deck so he could greet the guests as they came out of the main entrance of the showroom. I don't know when the man slept. He was up very late doing shows. Then was up at the crack of dawn. He said he lived on 6 hours sleep a night. Upon arrival into Hilo we had to go to customs on the ship before we were able to leave the ship. We all headed to a showroom. It started out with one customs agent trying to check out 400 people. This did not go over well. People were afraid of missing their excursions. Finally, 3 more agents came in and the line began to move. It was a crowded, confusing mess. Especially when mom is disabled and there is not any space for her to maneuver. But after an hour we got through it and were soon off the ship. We rented a car here and headed to Walmart where we really needed to get some additional medical supplies for mom. We also hit Hilo Hattie's for some shopping. We drove around and checked out some sea views. We had been to Hilo many times before. It is usually raining here but not today. Our weather on this whole trip was exceptional. Also the seas were never, ever rough. It was the calmest seas we had ever experienced. We couldn't believe people complaining about the movement and rocking of the ship. Mom and I would look at each other in amazement and say. What movement? Next stop was Kona. This was a tender port. We had quite a wait for a tender as they started with only one tender going back and forth. Finally they got more tenders going. Many disabled people were very, very upset as they were not allowed off the ship if they were not able to transfer onto the tender without their electric chair/scooters.. There were around 10 steps we would have to climb down and then had to step onto a swaying tender boat. The crew were very, very helpful. They would carry my mom's walker and helped her onto the tender. Some people who were confined to wheelchairs/scooters did not know of this requirement. Imagine going all the way to Hawaii and not be able to get off the ship. Thankfully, we were aware of this rule as we had cruised so many times before. In Kona we again rented a car and went to the place of refuge to snorkel. Mom didn't snorkel of course, she just waited on the beach. Some of the best snorkeling is here. We enjoyed the hour drive out here along the ocean with incredible views. We were in Lahaina, Maui for two days. We again rented a car. We just loved the freedom of driving and stopping where we wanted and when we wanted. I went snorkeling many places. Black rock had horrible snorkeling. However, we did have fun using the Sheraton's pool here. We stopped on a beach at the side of the road once and we were the only ones there. We were able to swim and snorkel and have the entire beach to ourselves. We loved it. Since we were here two days we required some place to park our rental car. We found a place close to the ship behind Burger King. It cost $25. This may be expensive but it was worth the ease of getting to the car. Lahaina was again a tender port. I had to wait over an hour for a tender back to the ship one afternoon. There were only two tenders going at the time. Not that I really cared as I was on vacation and had nothing to rush to. The line of people waiting was snaked all around town. Next stop was Honolulu. Our favorite. We arrived in the morning and stayed overnight until the next morning. We know Honolulu like the back of our hands since we have been here so many times before. Since we were post touring here for an additional 10 days we made this a ship day. It was wonderful to have the ship and pools to ourselves. We didn't have to fight over lounge chairs as hardly anyone was on board. We lounged by the pool, swam, sunned and ate at the near by buffet. Also there were the lovely views of Diamond head from the ship. The ship had wonderful soft Hawaiian music playing in the pool area. It was so peaceful and relaxing. We had the best day until around 2pm. This is when the crowds were making their way back to the ship. Loungers were getting full, and you could no longer hear the nice music over the shouting and laughter of all the people. Oh well, it was wonderful while it lasted. We got off the ship the next morning with no trouble at all. I had arranged a private transfer with a lift from Roberts to take us to our hotel. There were some bumps along the way but no cruise is perfect. I was ashamed by some of the behavior of the people on this cruise. Having fits, yelling and making scenes because they had to wait to get a tender or wait on a customs official, etc. Come on people, you're on vacation. I guess Mom and I are pretty easy to please. Feed us, entertain us, make our beds and at the same time take us to tropical ports of call and we are happy. I hope to cruise Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click