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My wife and I booked the 7 night Tracy Arm Fjord cruise out of Vancouver, BC. Finding the Cruise terminal was beyond me. My sister drove us and we passed it 5 times before we asked a constable for directions. We were right outside the entrance at the time, interestingly enough. The sign was a lighted picture of a ship with an arrow. No words at all. Once we were in the terminal we had a very long wait to get through US Customs. It must have taken 2 hours and my feet were tired from all the waiting. After customs boarding was a breeze. The ship is very nice and clean. The Veranda Stateroom had plenty of storage, which was really nice, and the room was larger than what we were used to on RCCL. I was disappointed that the Solstice does not have a Lawn Club Grill like the Silhouette does. Most of the remainder of the ship was the same. The little cafe at the Solarium is probably one of my favorite things about the ship. They serve complimentary salads, antipasto, poached pears, along with various healthy seafood options for around 5 buck. Very nice. The dining room was nice and the food was what I expect from the cruise lines. Tasty and fresh. We did not eat at any specialty restaurants other than Bistro on Five (which I loved). I believe that the first port was Skagway, but if I get the order wrong, I apologize. We took the Big Nugget Excursion, which was fabulous. It combines most of the Nugget tours into a single excursion. We met the Iditarod musher who spoke about his experiences in the sled races. There was a chance for questions and answers before we got to meet the dogs. I still have the picture of my wife holding the puppies. They ran the dogs around a training track (and they were very eager to run). Next they took us into the 40 Below Experience. They give you a Parks and send you into a 40 degrees below freezer to get the experience. I didn't last long. Next we toured the gold dredge, an enormous monstrosity that tears up the land in search of treasure. After this we panned for gold in seeded tanks. Picked up a few flecks and bought the clear pendant to keep it in. Lastly we went to the brewery for a tour of the brew tuns, tasting of the various brews, and a buffet lunch of ribs and salmon. In all, a good day. The next port was Icy Strait Point, which is a re-purposed fish cannery that does presentations, has shops, and a small cafe. We had booked the "In Alaska's Wildest Kitchen" excursion. They give you a glass of beer or wine and feed you, so it can't be bad, right? We tasted a seafood chowder, salmon dip, and salmon burger before they gave us each a piece of salmon and a piece of halibut to season and grill. In all, very tasty. We would not have thought of using Montreal Steak Seasoning on salmon, but it was great and we use it on everything now. We did take the shuttle into Hoonah for 5 dollars round trip, but there is little there. We looked at the dream catchers and bought a few native design postcards there. When we stopped in Juneau, we did not have an excursion. While the other ships were right next to the Mt Roberts Tramway, we were parked in the cheap seats half a mile from everything. Then they had the nerve to charge for shuttle service to get to town. We thought about taking the shuttle to the glacier, but wound up taking the city bus to Fred Meyer instead. They had a Alaska Souvenir section with some of the same stuff on the ship for 1/3 of the price. We picked up some antler handle Ulu Knives which are beautiful. We also had Halibut and Beer at the Flight Deck near where the ships dock. Great food and reasonable prices (for Alaska). Our last stop was in Ketchikan. The shops had the best prices there and it was worth the wait. There is a popcorn shop across from the dock with more kinds of cheese, caramel, habenero pepper, and other popped corn. A bit pricey, but very good. Our excursion there was the Crab Feast. They take you out on a boat to pull up crab pots that have been sitting there overnight. You can hold up the crab for photo ops, which my waif was too afraid to do. Then they take you to the lodge for all you can eat crab. I had read some reviews that said they didn't serve enough, but this was not my experience. I could barely eat the berry pie for dessert. What really messed everything up was the Ulu Knives we bought in Juneau. They confiscated them when we boarded, as we expected, and told us we would get them back the night before we left the ship. This was a lie. On the last night of the trip we were told that when our bags were packed to call security to bring them. We could pack them and let them take our bags to the hold. This was also a lie. That night we called security and were told that they only do this if we pay for Luggage Valet service. Since we were taking the train from Seattle to Chicago, we could not do this. The next day before leaving the ship we could not find out where to pick up our knives. Finally we were told they would give them to us after we left the ship. Let me tell you, it was a great disappointment to see our 200.00 knives buried in a pile of stuff on a table where anyone could walk off with them. We had to wait almost an hour to get to the table. The table was 40 feet long with everything confiscated piled about 6" high for the entire length. Finding your things was near impossible. We found them and waited, and waited. I told my wife we should just leave with them and not look for the corkscrew (which they had also confiscated because it had a 1" dull blade for cutting labels). When they got to us they took our knives away and said that they have to give them to us. I wish we had just left so they would have had an accounting nightmare (if they even cared enough). Taking Amtrak from Seattle to Chicago was nice, but we had a bedroom. They had showers for stateroom passengers. Coach passengers don't get to bathe, I suppose. The food was good and it was very relaxing. To add insult to injury, the online surveys were expired by the time we got home, so Celebrity knows nothing of any of this. I'm not sure that they would have cared, in any case. If you take this cruise, ship your knives. The stores will do this for you. If you do not, get off the ship with the first call. This will give you time to get your things.

A bad day can ruin a great cruise

Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by Tralfaz

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2014
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Veranda
My wife and I booked the 7 night Tracy Arm Fjord cruise out of Vancouver, BC.
Finding the Cruise terminal was beyond me. My sister drove us and we passed it 5 times before we asked a constable for directions. We were right outside the entrance at the time, interestingly enough. The sign was a lighted picture of a ship with an arrow. No words at all.
Once we were in the terminal we had a very long wait to get through US Customs. It must have taken 2 hours and my feet were tired from all the waiting. After customs boarding was a breeze.
The ship is very nice and clean. The Veranda Stateroom had plenty of storage, which was really nice, and the room was larger than what we were used to on RCCL. I was disappointed that the Solstice does not have a Lawn Club Grill like the Silhouette does. Most of the remainder of the ship was the same.
The little cafe at the Solarium is probably one of my favorite things about the ship. They serve complimentary salads, antipasto, poached pears, along with various healthy seafood options for around 5 buck. Very nice.
The dining room was nice and the food was what I expect from the cruise lines. Tasty and fresh. We did not eat at any specialty restaurants other than Bistro on Five (which I loved).
I believe that the first port was Skagway, but if I get the order wrong, I apologize. We took the Big Nugget Excursion, which was fabulous. It combines most of the Nugget tours into a single excursion. We met the Iditarod musher who spoke about his experiences in the sled races. There was a chance for questions and answers before we got to meet the dogs. I still have the picture of my wife holding the puppies. They ran the dogs around a training track (and they were very eager to run). Next they took us into the 40 Below Experience. They give you a Parks and send you into a 40 degrees below freezer to get the experience. I didn't last long. Next we toured the gold dredge, an enormous monstrosity that tears up the land in search of treasure. After this we panned for gold in seeded tanks. Picked up a few flecks and bought the clear pendant to keep it in. Lastly we went to the brewery for a tour of the brew tuns, tasting of the various brews, and a buffet lunch of ribs and salmon. In all, a good day.
The next port was Icy Strait Point, which is a re-purposed fish cannery that does presentations, has shops, and a small cafe. We had booked the "In Alaska's Wildest Kitchen" excursion. They give you a glass of beer or wine and feed you, so it can't be bad, right? We tasted a seafood chowder, salmon dip, and salmon burger before they gave us each a piece of salmon and a piece of halibut to season and grill. In all, very tasty. We would not have thought of using Montreal Steak Seasoning on salmon, but it was great and we use it on everything now. We did take the shuttle into Hoonah for 5 dollars round trip, but there is little there. We looked at the dream catchers and bought a few native design postcards there.
When we stopped in Juneau, we did not have an excursion. While the other ships were right next to the Mt Roberts Tramway, we were parked in the cheap seats half a mile from everything. Then they had the nerve to charge for shuttle service to get to town. We thought about taking the shuttle to the glacier, but wound up taking the city bus to Fred Meyer instead. They had a Alaska Souvenir section with some of the same stuff on the ship for 1/3 of the price. We picked up some antler handle Ulu Knives which are beautiful. We also had Halibut and Beer at the Flight Deck near where the ships dock. Great food and reasonable prices (for Alaska).
Our last stop was in Ketchikan. The shops had the best prices there and it was worth the wait. There is a popcorn shop across from the dock with more kinds of cheese, caramel, habenero pepper, and other popped corn. A bit pricey, but very good. Our excursion there was the Crab Feast. They take you out on a boat to pull up crab pots that have been sitting there overnight. You can hold up the crab for photo ops, which my waif was too afraid to do. Then they take you to the lodge for all you can eat crab. I had read some reviews that said they didn't serve enough, but this was not my experience. I could barely eat the berry pie for dessert.
What really messed everything up was the Ulu Knives we bought in Juneau. They confiscated them when we boarded, as we expected, and told us we would get them back the night before we left the ship. This was a lie. On the last night of the trip we were told that when our bags were packed to call security to bring them. We could pack them and let them take our bags to the hold. This was also a lie. That night we called security and were told that they only do this if we pay for Luggage Valet service. Since we were taking the train from Seattle to Chicago, we could not do this. The next day before leaving the ship we could not find out where to pick up our knives. Finally we were told they would give them to us after we left the ship.
Let me tell you, it was a great disappointment to see our 200.00 knives buried in a pile of stuff on a table where anyone could walk off with them. We had to wait almost an hour to get to the table. The table was 40 feet long with everything confiscated piled about 6" high for the entire length. Finding your things was near impossible. We found them and waited, and waited. I told my wife we should just leave with them and not look for the corkscrew (which they had also confiscated because it had a 1" dull blade for cutting labels). When they got to us they took our knives away and said that they have to give them to us. I wish we had just left so they would have had an accounting nightmare (if they even cared enough).
Taking Amtrak from Seattle to Chicago was nice, but we had a bedroom. They had showers for stateroom passengers. Coach passengers don't get to bathe, I suppose. The food was good and it was very relaxing.
To add insult to injury, the online surveys were expired by the time we got home, so Celebrity knows nothing of any of this. I'm not sure that they would have cared, in any case.
If you take this cruise, ship your knives. The stores will do this for you. If you do not, get off the ship with the first call. This will give you time to get your things.
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