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Just back from a 7-night trip to Alaska on the Celebrity Solstice and it was an incredible journey for me, my 80-year old dad and 12-year old daughter. We loved this trip and had a hard time leaving the ship for the last time. After a 7-day trip to Mexico on Carnival years ago, I swore off cruising forever. But this is all my dad wanted for his 80th so after countless hours of research, I booked the Celebrity Solstice. Best decision ever. Well, getting the basic beverage package was a great decision too! :-) Embarkation city: SEATTLE. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt downtown for two nights. Ok location and ok hotel somewhat close to everything touristy. The service was lacking and rooms were small (but huge bathroom). It was a long walk to Pike Market, close to the monorail that goes to Space Needle (a must see) and very quick walk to the "Duck Tours" kiosk which...cheezy as it sounds... was so much fun and a great way to see the city. The hotel has an independent deli and Starbucks attached downstairs which was nice. City area was a bit sketchy.... If I went again, would choose a different hotel but highly recommend the Duck Tour (seriously). Two days in Seattle was enough. EMBARKATION was smooth sailing. Enough staff on hand to keep the lines moving and avoid confusion. Impressed with organization and how fast it went.... The CELEBRITY SOLSTICE - The SHIP: I would follow this ship anywhere!! The ship is beautiful and sophisticated; a perfect size, configured well so you can find anything with ship maps/diagrams located by and on all elevators. It's obviously a huge ship but *never* felt overwhelming. I thought there was a perfect balance of restaurants, observation areas, theaters, pools, spa, bars, casino, elevators, etc. Again, this is a classy ship... it wasn't built FOR the casino and bars (like the Carnival Splendor). It offers enough of everything for all ages and tastes to find a favorite spot. Have to mention there were also plenty of places on board to enjoy panoramic views of the Alaska beauty and splendor!!! Whales, bald eagles, glaciers, sunsets... you were able to see it ALL from the huge indoor observation lounge. We loved the card room; there was always someone there playing a game (provided for you). The SERVICE: Captain Yannis Berdos and his senior officers were visible throughout the cruise and had a strong presence with the passengers. HIGHLY recommend registering for the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet!! The captain and senior officers attended, interacted with the guests and remembered us throughout the cruise. The meet and greet was one of my highlights of the cruise. Our room stewards, restaurant wait staff, and salon staff were ALL amazing. They were personable, funny (!) and very responsive. They made our satisfaction a priority at all times. The DINING: Based on previous reviews, I was worried about food quality, but our family found the food to be superb. It continuously exceeded our expectations. We enjoyed the buffet for breakfast and lunch and the main dining room for dinner. The main dining room was very nice but not stuffy. Formal nights were comfortable... a typical dress was fine and slacks and jacket for men. Only saw a couple of tuxedos and evening gowns. The overall feeling in the dining room was nice but relaxed. Don't sweat the evening dinner attire when packing. LOVED the coffee bar Il Bacio. Best coffee and service!! The XCLUB for teens: Great club for 12+ with a schedule of events planned every day. My daughter went to a few activities and enjoyed the leaders and other kids her age. She was able to drop in and out as she wanted. The ACTIVITIES: There was a broad range of activities for a variety of interests. My 80-year old dad LOVED the lectures about ports and wildlife in Alaska. My 12-year old and I loved the ping pong, croquet on the lawn, and karaoke nights. And the trivia competitions were crowded! haha... My only disappointment was that there weren't language classes offered as I expected. But overall it was well communicated what was going on every day and there was enough to keep anyone busy (or not). Outdoor pool was heated enough to swim while in cool Alaska temperatures. Indoor pool (Solarium) was beautiful. Fitness Center was very nice with ample equipment and beautiful VIEWS! The PASSENGERS: If I may be so bold as to rate my fellow guests, I would give them 6 STARS. Our co-cruisers became like a second family. 2850 strangers and ALL those I encountered were kind, supportive, funny, well-mannered and... high class. After one trip on Carnival, I was surprised the casino and bars were almost empty. Too many martinis and you miss a whale sighting! The highest concentration of passengers were well-traveled over 60+, but there were plenty of families, plenty of younger couples, plenty of teens. It felt incredibly SAFE to give my daughter (and 80-year old dad) some freedom. This is not a "PARTY" ship... this is a VERY FUN ship (without the hangover). ENTERTAINMENT: Fantastic! The ship entertainers were very talented and put on a great show. Just like the rest of the crew, they were personable and interactive with the audience. The expert speaker Brent Nixon was one of the best speakers I've heard on nature and the singer Tricia Kelly was great! The shows were great for family... more broadway and cirque de soleil style than burlesque style (as I experienced on Carnival). DISEMBARKATION: Extremely organized and easy. Plan for your shuttle to the airport ahead of time through "guest relations." I was glad I did! Reasonably priced and easier than trying to get a shuttle or taxi on your own at the cruise terminal. ALASKA PORTS and EXCURSIONS - Rained off and on every day for 6 days... be ready for rain. Was cool (not *cold*). Sweater and mid-weight jacket were perfect. Jacket was off and on a lot (had to carry it or stick it in a backpack when off). KETCHIKAN: VERY cute and authentic town. Bit of a walk from ship to heart of old town. Salmon ladder only good if they're in season, otherwise, nothing happening there. Just a pretty creek. Actually got lost a few times (ha!); wished we booked a short walking tour. Booked the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman excursion (directly with the company, not through Celebrity) and would highly recommend. It lasted 3+ hours so took up most of the day. Good for family of all ages. Highly recommend booking at least one excursion for Ketchikan as there isn't much else to do there... TRACY ARM FJORD: Don't sleep through this!! Be UP and READY when cruising through this area. Even though the ship doesn't dock, there is a lot to see and will be described over the PA system in public areas. Probably best to see from observation lounge with panoramic view. View of Sawyer Glacier... AWESOME!!! One of the highlights of the cruise. JUNEAU: Larger of the Alaska stops and not really a cute "town;" more like a boardwalk. Loved our 5-glacier floatplane excursion. Felt very safe and saw (from the air) five massive glaciers. Loved landing on the water. BE aware... floatplanes are subject to cancelation at slightest change in weather so make sure your trip is fully refundable. I booked this through Celebrity. Also, DON'T MISS Mendenhall glacier. We took a shuttle ($10 roundtrip each) to the glacier, 20 min out of town. BEAUTIFUL and retreating so may not be around in a few years. I would skip the Tramway unless you get a great discount. Very overpriced and just a...tramway. SKAGWAY: Our favorite stop in Alaska! Shuttle from dock to town runs continuously for $5 roundtrip. Town has a cute "wild west" vibe. Truly is a one-horse town (and would highly recommend catching that one horse and carriage on main street for a narrated tour of the town and residential areas). The buildings on main street are the original... Would pre-arrange tour for Red Onion Saloon. Was so crowded, couldn't see inside. Would only book a short excursion so you can spend more time in town. Again, horse and carriage ride made this stop our favorite. VICTORIA: Enjoyed horse and carriage so much in Skagway, did it again in Victoria!! But don't book through the ship... just catch one close to town. There were plenty of carriages available. It will take you through pretty harbor area and then back to the ship. Wish we had planned something here but this stop was late in the day... Horse and carriage was perfect ending of our trip. $145 total for 45-minute ride and back to ship (for four of us). In summary, this was a WONDERFUL TRIP on a WONDERFUL SHIP and we loved everything about it. Can't go wrong with this one...

Hard to say good-bye to Celebrity Solstice and Alaska!

Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by mistcruiser

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2015
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Concierge Class
Just back from a 7-night trip to Alaska on the Celebrity Solstice and it was an incredible journey for me, my 80-year old dad and 12-year old daughter. We loved this trip and had a hard time leaving the ship for the last time. After a 7-day trip to Mexico on Carnival years ago, I swore off cruising forever. But this is all my dad wanted for his 80th so after countless hours of research, I booked the Celebrity Solstice. Best decision ever. Well, getting the basic beverage package was a great decision too! :-)

Embarkation city: SEATTLE. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt downtown for two nights. Ok location and ok hotel somewhat close to everything touristy. The service was lacking and rooms were small (but huge bathroom). It was a long walk to Pike Market, close to the monorail that goes to Space Needle (a must see) and very quick walk to the "Duck Tours" kiosk which...cheezy as it sounds... was so much fun and a great way to see the city. The hotel has an independent deli and Starbucks attached downstairs which was nice. City area was a bit sketchy.... If I went again, would choose a different hotel but highly recommend the Duck Tour (seriously). Two days in Seattle was enough.

EMBARKATION was smooth sailing. Enough staff on hand to keep the lines moving and avoid confusion. Impressed with organization and how fast it went....

The CELEBRITY SOLSTICE -

The SHIP: I would follow this ship anywhere!! The ship is beautiful and sophisticated; a perfect size, configured well so you can find anything with ship maps/diagrams located by and on all elevators. It's obviously a huge ship but *never* felt overwhelming. I thought there was a perfect balance of restaurants, observation areas, theaters, pools, spa, bars, casino, elevators, etc. Again, this is a classy ship... it wasn't built FOR the casino and bars (like the Carnival Splendor). It offers enough of everything for all ages and tastes to find a favorite spot. Have to mention there were also plenty of places on board to enjoy panoramic views of the Alaska beauty and splendor!!! Whales, bald eagles, glaciers, sunsets... you were able to see it ALL from the huge indoor observation lounge. We loved the card room; there was always someone there playing a game (provided for you).

The SERVICE: Captain Yannis Berdos and his senior officers were visible throughout the cruise and had a strong presence with the passengers. HIGHLY recommend registering for the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet!! The captain and senior officers attended, interacted with the guests and remembered us throughout the cruise. The meet and greet was one of my highlights of the cruise. Our room stewards, restaurant wait staff, and salon staff were ALL amazing. They were personable, funny (!) and very responsive. They made our satisfaction a priority at all times.

The DINING: Based on previous reviews, I was worried about food quality, but our family found the food to be superb. It continuously exceeded our expectations. We enjoyed the buffet for breakfast and lunch and the main dining room for dinner. The main dining room was very nice but not stuffy. Formal nights were comfortable... a typical dress was fine and slacks and jacket for men. Only saw a couple of tuxedos and evening gowns. The overall feeling in the dining room was nice but relaxed. Don't sweat the evening dinner attire when packing. LOVED the coffee bar Il Bacio. Best coffee and service!!

The XCLUB for teens: Great club for 12+ with a schedule of events planned every day. My daughter went to a few activities and enjoyed the leaders and other kids her age. She was able to drop in and out as she wanted.

The ACTIVITIES: There was a broad range of activities for a variety of interests. My 80-year old dad LOVED the lectures about ports and wildlife in Alaska. My 12-year old and I loved the ping pong, croquet on the lawn, and karaoke nights. And the trivia competitions were crowded! haha... My only disappointment was that there weren't language classes offered as I expected. But overall it was well communicated what was going on every day and there was enough to keep anyone busy (or not). Outdoor pool was heated enough to swim while in cool Alaska temperatures. Indoor pool (Solarium) was beautiful. Fitness Center was very nice with ample equipment and beautiful VIEWS!

The PASSENGERS: If I may be so bold as to rate my fellow guests, I would give them 6 STARS. Our co-cruisers became like a second family. 2850 strangers and ALL those I encountered were kind, supportive, funny, well-mannered and... high class. After one trip on Carnival, I was surprised the casino and bars were almost empty. Too many martinis and you miss a whale sighting! The highest concentration of passengers were well-traveled over 60+, but there were plenty of families, plenty of younger couples, plenty of teens. It felt incredibly SAFE to give my daughter (and 80-year old dad) some freedom. This is not a "PARTY" ship... this is a VERY FUN ship (without the hangover).

ENTERTAINMENT: Fantastic! The ship entertainers were very talented and put on a great show. Just like the rest of the crew, they were personable and interactive with the audience. The expert speaker Brent Nixon was one of the best speakers I've heard on nature and the singer Tricia Kelly was great! The shows were great for family... more broadway and cirque de soleil style than burlesque style (as I experienced on Carnival).

DISEMBARKATION: Extremely organized and easy. Plan for your shuttle to the airport ahead of time through "guest relations." I was glad I did! Reasonably priced and easier than trying to get a shuttle or taxi on your own at the cruise terminal.

ALASKA PORTS and EXCURSIONS - Rained off and on every day for 6 days... be ready for rain. Was cool (not *cold*). Sweater and mid-weight jacket were perfect. Jacket was off and on a lot (had to carry it or stick it in a backpack when off).

KETCHIKAN: VERY cute and authentic town. Bit of a walk from ship to heart of old town. Salmon ladder only good if they're in season, otherwise, nothing happening there. Just a pretty creek. Actually got lost a few times (ha!); wished we booked a short walking tour. Booked the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman excursion (directly with the company, not through Celebrity) and would highly recommend. It lasted 3+ hours so took up most of the day. Good for family of all ages. Highly recommend booking at least one excursion for Ketchikan as there isn't much else to do there...

TRACY ARM FJORD: Don't sleep through this!! Be UP and READY when cruising through this area. Even though the ship doesn't dock, there is a lot to see and will be described over the PA system in public areas. Probably best to see from observation lounge with panoramic view. View of Sawyer Glacier... AWESOME!!! One of the highlights of the cruise.

JUNEAU: Larger of the Alaska stops and not really a cute "town;" more like a boardwalk. Loved our 5-glacier floatplane excursion. Felt very safe and saw (from the air) five massive glaciers. Loved landing on the water. BE aware... floatplanes are subject to cancelation at slightest change in weather so make sure your trip is fully refundable. I booked this through Celebrity. Also, DON'T MISS Mendenhall glacier. We took a shuttle ($10 roundtrip each) to the glacier, 20 min out of town. BEAUTIFUL and retreating so may not be around in a few years. I would skip the Tramway unless you get a great discount. Very overpriced and just a...tramway.

SKAGWAY: Our favorite stop in Alaska! Shuttle from dock to town runs continuously for $5 roundtrip. Town has a cute "wild west" vibe. Truly is a one-horse town (and would highly recommend catching that one horse and carriage on main street for a narrated tour of the town and residential areas). The buildings on main street are the original... Would pre-arrange tour for Red Onion Saloon. Was so crowded, couldn't see inside. Would only book a short excursion so you can spend more time in town. Again, horse and carriage ride made this stop our favorite.

VICTORIA: Enjoyed horse and carriage so much in Skagway, did it again in Victoria!! But don't book through the ship... just catch one close to town. There were plenty of carriages available. It will take you through pretty harbor area and then back to the ship. Wish we had planned something here but this stop was late in the day... Horse and carriage was perfect ending of our trip. $145 total for 45-minute ride and back to ship (for four of us).

In summary, this was a WONDERFUL TRIP on a WONDERFUL SHIP and we loved everything about it. Can't go wrong with this one...
mistcruiser’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 10 to 12
Service
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Cabin Review

Concierge Class
Cabin C3 9241/9243
These staterooms were in the PERFECT location!!! Right next to the elevators and the center atrium which always had something going on but not noisy at all. We never heard a peep from any cabins around us or out in the hallway. These two cabins connect by an outer door that creates a private hallway between the two cabin doors so you can walk between the two cabins privately. Located in the center of ship, these cabins probably have the least amount of motion (the ship did have some occasional rocking/rolling when at sea). Rooms are good size and well-stocked. LOVED the extra large balcony on the "hump." Enough room for all four of us to sit outside together. Concierge class which was nice but not a huge difference from regular class of rooms... but I did use the "pillow menu!" Plenty of space under the bed(s) for storage of luggage. There were three of us in this room and still had empty drawers, plenty of hangers and plenty of room. Each room had two robes and one good blow dryer. As other reviewers have stated, the complimentary afternoon canapes weren't great (we never ate them) so don't book Concierge class just for that! :-) If I traveled on the Solstice again, I would book these same staterooms. We were so sad to leave! Out of a dream and back to reality...!
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