Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by Phez
Well... where to begin?!
My husband and I traveled the Celebrity Solstice to celebrate our honeymoon. We absolutely loved our time on the ship. We met so many like minded cruisers of all ages, and got to know some wonderful staff members.
The cruise itself had many highlights, and some very unfortunate experiences, however overall we could not have chosen a better way to spend time together. This was our first cruise.
The cruse was a 12 night cruise from Sydney to Auckland.
The first night was spent in Sydney, which was amazing as our room looked out to the Harbor bridge. Because of issues at the overseas passanger terminal in Sydney, where we would have normally been processed through customs etc. we were instead asked to travel out to the P&O terminal in another port. While this was frustrating, and little information was given to guests to what they could do (half the people we spoke to were provided with a bus service, the other half had to find their own way), we were processed quickly and received a free ferry ride under the bridge to the boat.
The first few days on the boat, we met few people our own ages (32 and 40), and many on the boat were more interested in complaining about the small things, than actually sitting back and relaxing. As my husband is a smoker, we soon met some lovely people in the smoking areas, and later met some lovely people that were closer to our ages.
We opted to obtain the premium alcohol package prior to boarding, which worked in our favor, as the price had increased when we boarded, and it allowed us to have higher drink prices included in our package. We soon found the Molecular Bar in the center of the ship, and got to know the bar staff (Petr and Rohit) really well. They introduced us to other guests, and we quickly made some lifelong friends.
Food wise, we also purchased the 5 premium dinner package prior to boarding, which gave us 5 meals between the 3 specialty restaurants (Silk Harvest, Tuscan Grille and Murano). On the first night all the restaurants offered 50% off dining, so we took advantage of this too, plus we had access to Blu. So in the 12 night cruise we did not dine in the main dining room at all. We did hear awesome reviews about the MDR from other guests though.
While it also cost extra, we had breakfast in Bistro on 5 a few times also, this was mainly because we weren't ready for breakfast until after 9am when Blu closed, and we didn't feel like the later breakfast session in the buffet. Bistro on 5 was well worth the extra $7pp. They specialise in crepe's, but also have soups and focaccias. Plus they are open all day.
The entertainment was not designed to be for us. They had a Tom Jones impersonator, a jazz group, a string group, and a singer that appeared most nights in the theater. We only went to one production, which was on the second last night when they put the acrobatic show on. Unfortunately the illusionist was on the last night, and we were too keen to spend our last night with our new friends.
We would strongly suggest that if you do this cruise, stay an extra night or two in Auckland (or the port you are travelling to), while none of us really liked Auckland all that much, it gave us a few extra days to spend with our friends before we all flew out to our homes around the world. We are not really travelers, so for us, we may never get to see our friends again, so those extra couple of days were days that i will remember forever.
Phez’s Full Rating Summary
The room was fantastic! We were underneath the day-spa area, so there was no noise at all. We heard our neighbors a couple of times, but from what i have read prior to the cruise, this is completely normal.I doubt we will choose to go Aqua Class again though, for what you get, the fellow guests in that class, and what we actually used, it really was not worth the extra money. We purchased our tickets 18 months prior to sailing. When we booked there were a few 'perks' that sold us on going Aqua Class, this included the extra Elemis day-spa products, the champers on arrival (hey.. we were on our honeymoon.. to us this sounded so romantic!!), canapes, the access to Blu, the pillow menu, the Aqua Spa Cafe, and the access to the Persian Gardens. The plan was to utilize most of these extras as much as possible. Unfortunately we used very little of these extras. The Elemis spa had been taken over by Canyon Ranch, and while the products were okay, they weren't on any level that Elemis is, I think i only used the conditioner because my hair went crazy with the sea air. The Champers was okay, it took us 3 days to drink it, and it remained bubbly even on the third day.Canepes were fantastic the first few days of the cruise. It was nice to get back to our room around 5 to prepare for dinner and find a snack to nibble on before dinner, however these became repetitive, and we soon came to dread the smell of the dips and olives.Access to Blu. Well... We went there 4 times, three times for dinner, and once for breakfast. I do believe we were the youngest couple there, which showed in both the service we received, and the attitude towards us by other guests. Plus Blu was very much what i would assume Main Dining to be, and their necessity to feed everyone quickly to get them out again. The best examples i have for this is the second dinner we had there, we were offered the desert menu at the same time our first glasses of wine came out. The Third dinner we had there, we were fed and out the door in the time it took the lady next to us to lodge numerous complaints to the waiter about the boat/staff/service/food/atmosphere/prices/cleanliness/chocolates on the pillow.. and any other issue she had (sorry.. there were more.. I think i have just blocked them out!!). We had the same issues in the Persian Gardens. I believe that being Aqua Class, guests felt a level of entitlement, and no consideration for others. I used the Persian Gardens twice before giving up. While the gardens themselves are lovely, and the staff try to keep the atmosphere serene, when you have 4 or 5 fellow tone-deaf guests banging out the latest hymns, there is no way you can possibly relax.The Pillow menu is the option of a Tri-pillow, a duck-down pillow or a normal pillow. we made do with what we had. We didn't actually use the Aqua Spa Cafe. While it was lovely, and all healthy foods. It was located in with the indoor pool, and next to one of the Spas. I guess the last thing we wanted to eat was in a chlorinated environment next to the spa baths.Now the good stuff!! The room was very comfortable, the balcony was surprisingly large, the movies available to view for free had a large selection, and our room staff were amazing. A note of caution however, If you order breakfast, keep in mind that everything you order is put onto separate plates, so its not a good idea to go crazy like we did.. because you end up with 24 full sized plates!!! Room service is excellent though, and you order through your TV, to which can be a lengthy process, but is handy when you try to order pizza at 3am in a drunken haze and fall asleep half way though!!
Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins
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