Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by World Gallery
- Sail Date: May 2013
- Destination: USA
Ship - the ship was beautiful. We enjoyed the lawn, hot glass show and relaxation/indoor pool area. The layout of the ship was very easy to learn.
Enrichment/Entertainment - The productions shows were very good. If you wanted to attend the early show (8:30 and 10:30 show times), you had to arrive 30 minutes early if you wanted to get a seat (not a good seat but any seat). They had Brent Nixon do two enrichment talks but due to poor planning, the talk on Orcas was completely full 30 minutes in advance (They used the Celebrity Central, which isn't big enough). About 20 to 30 people were standing and they were trying to bring in more chairs. It was chaotic. Other talks from other speakers were so boring and dull, we had to walk out.
State Room - average. It was no better or worse than any other ship we have been on. There was one unusual thing. The sofa blocked half of the closet (had sliding doors) so you were forced to reach into the closet if you hung clothes in the other end of it. It was very odd and wasted space. We did have issues with noise most nights. We must have been close to a closet or storage area (though we checked the deck plans very well to avoid this and nothing appeared to be close to us). We had to call some nights to ask them to stop the noise (like someone was spraying a hose on the back of our wall, lots of banging of things, dropping things, etc). They handled it but it took a while for them to "find the source of the noise".
Dining in Main Dining Room - We had the late seating. Some meals were very good and others average. The service was excellent. The food was no better than we have had on other cruise lines such as Carnival, Norwegian, etc. Sometimes the soups were not hot enough. Overall, a pleasant experience in the main dining room.
Oceanview Buffet - Extremely poor selection (same thing every night) and service, the worse we have ever had on any ship. The staff and management seemed oblivious to the issues in the Oceanview Buffet. It was understaffed (one person taking omelet orders, one person manning an entire section). On most days, you had to walk to more than one tea/juice machine because the machine was out. For some reason, they didn't use all of the machines at one time so you had to figure out which machine actually had tea/juice in it. Once I poured tea and water came out. I had to walk around and find a staff person. He told me that it did have tea in it. I had to bring him over and show him that only water was coming out It took about 15 minutes to refill it. No other machines were working that day. This issue became laughable. They were often out of the "to go cups" for coffee and you had to tell them it was out. Things weren't refilled without someone being told it was out. It wasn't from lack of trying. I felt it was lack of training, leadership and management in the buffet area. Another example is, if you requested grilled chicken, they would grill it on the same part of the grill that they had just used to grill fish. Again, it was laughable. Clearly, it was lack of training because the staff was working hard and was very pleasant.
Specialty Dining - Tried Bistro on Five for lunch, which was very good. Tried Silk Harvest (Asian Fusion) and it was like eating a typical frozen Chinese meal you buy at the grocery store that you cook in the microwave. We were shocked that they were charging $30 per person for the quality of the meal.
Ports - We loved the ports, CA coastal, Victoria, and Seattle. Avoided all ship tours and so glad we did. I only heard negative feedback.
Travel to Embarkation - This was a nightmare. I feel compelled to warn others about this experience because I feel it is a tragic accident waiting to happen if things do not change. The bus ride from San Diego to Ensenada was extremely dangerous. We were required to board in Ensenada and the ship arranged bus transportation for everyone. Check in was done at a tent at the Sheraton hotel in San Diego. There were portable bathrooms outside of the tent with extremely long lines. The Sheraton had guards at the doors so that cruise ship passengers could not enter into their hotel. The entire embarkation process was unorganized and long. The buses used was from a Mexican bus company. Our driver was speeding the entire time, changing lanes very often and overall driving recklessly. When I saw the signs" dangerous curves ahead and "landslides Zones" I thought he would slow down. He sped up! The transmission was making loud noises when gears were shifting. The bus was filthy. There was food and gum in the window will. My window had several almonds that had white, fuzzy mold on them. The bathroom didn't lock, smelled horrible and the sink had a board nailed over it. One bus got lost several times and the another one broke down and they had to get on a new bus. I did go to Guest Relations and told them the entire story and my husband and I had to put everything in writing (along with others at Guest Relations that were also complaining about their bus ride, not on our bus, but with similar experiences). We were told that these were not Celebrity buses, as if to say that this was not really their fault. This is when I lost faith in Celebrity. They booked these buses. They are responsible. The line for Guest relations was very long the first 2 days. There were many others complaining about their bus ride.
Summary - Again, we had a great time in spite of the cruise line. I feel this ship has a lot of potential with great, hardworking staff (just not enough of them in certain places on the ship and many that need better training). I feel like somewhere along the line, someone in upper management has dropped the ball. Maybe things will get better but for now, we are sticking with Holland America (our favorite so far), Princess, RC or Norwegian.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
City TourEnjoyed seeing Los Angeles but cannot recommend Sunseekers. The guide we had, Alberto, talked mostly about his own views in life, not much history, only silly trivia about celebrities and movies. Enjoyed seeing Los Angeles but not the tour guide.View All 30 City Tour Reviews
San DiegoVisited USS Midway and Balboa park on our own. We did the ranger free tour in Balboa park and it was very good. The USS Midway was very interesting and you will leave with a renewed respect for our great military.View All 243 San Diego Cruise Port Reviews
Also visited La Jolla the day before our cruise. Maybe my expectations were too high but didn't enjoy it. The Cove and area with the seals was smelly, to the point that we had to be very brief and move on or risk getting sick from the smell.
View Cruise Critic's San Diego Cruise Port Review
AlcatrazExtremely interesting! I wasn't sure what to expect but very much enjoyed it. Views from the Island are great. Bring a jacket because it was much cooler there.View All 31 Alcatraz Reviews
Muir WoodsBeautiful and worth the trip. Go in the morning because it is not as crowded.View All 23 Muir Woods Reviews
SausalitoWe did the Muir Wood and Sausalito in the morning til 1:00 with Best Bay. We did Alcatraz on our own, buying tickets for the 2:10 time slot. Enjoyed all we did very much!View All 17 Sausalito Reviews
If you really want to ride the Cable Car, you need a plan. You need to get a taxi and drive to the CA line. Otherwise, you will spend half your day in line trying to get a ticket then getting in line to actually ride. We tried and gave up, getting the taxi and going to the other line.
Pike Place MarketWent to Pike Place Market before our flight. We booked a private driver with Shuttle Express which kept our luggage in the car while we were in Pike Place market. This was our 2nd time going there. I love the atmosphere and food here. Go hungry because the food is excellent.View All 38 Pike Place Market Reviews
Butchart GardensBooked with CVS tours. They pick up at the cruise terminal. It was about half the cost of the ship's tour and the ship was using the same bus company!View All 191 Butchart Gardens Reviews
After, visited the very small Chinatown and had lunch. We also went to the BC History museum, which is very well done.