Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by Travel Guru 13
- Sail Date: March 2013
- Destination: Australia & New Zealand
- Cabin Type: Concierge Class
Our 12 day cruise leaving Sydney started out great. Prior day hotel (Menzies) which was booked by Celebrity was wonderful. Check-in to the Solstice was our best experience on any cruise ship. Concierge Class Balcony Room was new, clean and everything that was advertised. People who worked on the ship, waiters, stewards, bar tenders, exercise (Kelly - Zumba great), Corning Glass Experts worth their weight in gold.
Now to the out of sync... Wrong information on tours (no on lied), everyone truly had a different story. Tours seemed to be having trouble booking bus drivers, some where just bus drivers, some where bus driver tour guides, one from what we heard, shouldn't have been driving. Some tours should be reevaluated by cruise ship (too expensive for what you get or just not good). We probably cancelled a good tour the next day because we had a bad experience the day before. Had rogue people (3) who went shopping and the rest of the tour missed one of the advertised stops. Better information should be available as to what you should bring on the tour - bathing suit, changing rooms, food, bugs, etc. Kayaking to Glow Worm Caves, Puffy Train and Gannett Observatory, Sheep Shearing Wine Tour were our favorites. Others had hitches.
Shows were not great except for on board First Night & Circus Night. Pool and common room Entertainers were much better.
Unless you book an Extra Fee Dinner, I was shocked at the quality of the Dining Rooms for dinner. Murano Lobster Dinner was incredible, but to tell you the truth this is what you used to experience in the Main Dining Rooms. People refuse to dress and wear what you used to see at the back of the boat. Warning when at the Specialty Restaurants remember 15% is an automatic tip to your $45, per person bill. You should consider leaving extra because they are flaming, mixing and putting on a show of their own.
Back to out of sync. Called for a wake up call for 7:30 for a Yoga Class. Got the call at 8:30 because of time change - missed class (not charged for). Some people on our horrible tour got Champagne our friends who cancelled with us got priority tender passes, we asked and got them also. Had the head of Stewards show up 2 days later, at our room and inform us that we shouldn't have received the express tender passes. We kept our mouths shut because we didn't want to get anyone in trouble. Happy Hour would be advertised and two bartenders would be working, you can guess the rest (why not transfer bartenders to more active bars?). Everyone was told we would pick up our luggage right off the ship. Then we were told they were on the way to the airport. We had an all day tour and were a little nervous. The staff seemed at times a little confused as well.
We waited at the airport with many of our fellow passengers from 3:30 to 10:45, there was a lot of discussion and people who travel with Celebrity assured us that this was really not a typical Celebrity Cruise. They were a little let down also. I would give Celebrity another try because deep in my heart, I feel these problems will be corrected. The worst part for Celebrity is they should be seeing a better return on the tours, bars, etc., if things ran a little better. Not to mention with how competitive the cruise booking market is and you are selling your self as the best - bring it! P.S. I would suggest after noon wine service for $$ (Happy Hour) with delivery of the savories. I would pay a little more for better quality food and smaller portions at dinner.
Bathroom and shower better size than some cruise ships. Before you used to have to put all your toiletries, pills, etc. on a small ledge. This room has side glass front cabinet and drawers as well as back up toilet brush, paper and Kleenex. Shampoo, Conditioner, Lotion and Body Wash as well as cotton balls and q-tips provided. Only thing I wish had been provided would be a swing arm magnifying mirror.
Closet was the down side. It is small, There were enough hangers, this is were the safe is and complimentary umbrella. Not a lot of shoe space and hanging room. Did not realize we could use space above the bed (would have helped). Not a lot of drawer space (maybe configure closet differently)?
Overall loved room.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
AucklandForest Express Gannet Colony. Best bus driver, ran the show kept us informed on track, flexible and did the cruise a favor by ending on a high note. Am so mad I cannot remember this mature, blond, tall New Zealander with a wonderful attitude and smile (Bus 1).View All 271 Auckland Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Auckland Cruise Port Review
Otago Peninsula and Yellow-Eyed PenguinsRedeemed tours on ship. Akaroa was next and is not on your list (probably have Christchurch). Wine and Cheese/Sheep Shearing. 5 will be a 5+ when leaving from Christchurch and not such a winding, long bus ride (Got car sick Dunedin and Akaroa.View All 12 Otago Peninsula and Yellow-Eyed Penguins Reviews
City TourDave was great, informative in the 91 degree heat. Beware cab drivers will not take you to the ship at end of day. Go to Train/Bus station before rush hour buy your $6 ticket and get train back to ship.View All 9 City Tour Reviews
Blue MountainsLoved the Blue Mountains for the 20 minutes we spent there. Traffic going out Too long at lunch 2 hours and didn't want to shop 20 minutes.View All 16 Blue Mountains Reviews
Sydney Opera HouseBought at the Opera House. Wonderful.View All 10 Sydney Opera House Reviews
The RocksWalked it ourselves.View All 3 The Rocks Reviews
TaurangaLoved this tour. Needed some exercise. Glow worms fun! Black Swans not so friendly.View All 180 Tauranga Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Tauranga Cruise Port Review
Cable carRushed - bus driver Murray was just a bus driver - no tour commentary.View All 21 Cable car Reviews