We just returned from our cruise on Celebrity Solstice and can say that we will never sail on them again. While the ship is well maintained and easy to get around, the customer service, staff knowledge, and prices were anything but acceptable. Examples:
1) We found out that prior to arriving in Honolulu where we met the ship, all bar prices were raised 80%. This was done, as explained by one of the bartenders, due to the fact that all Australian passengers received a 35% discount through Scoupon for their fares. So, as he continued, Celebrity needed to recoup some costs and raised all drink prices. Martinis were $16.00 and mixed drinks were $11.00.
2) To make things more confusing they had 6 different drink packages. Very confusing and not at all equitable. I opted for the $65.00/day package which included Bombay Gin but not Grey Goose vodka. Why?
3) There was no 24 hour open dining anywhere on the ship. Breakfast was 7-930, continental breakfast was 930-1100, lunch 1200-230, and so on. The Oceanview Café shut down every night at 11:00 pm
4) Shore excursions were a joke. The catamaran cruise in Moorea was suppose to be a "sailing adventure". Not so. We were under power for 55 of the 60 minutes.
5) The duck boat ride in New Zealand was mostly a ride through the city.
6) Hotel room in Sydney had holes in the carpet, the bathroom walls were cracked, and location in Sydney was in the middle of nowhere for restaurants.
7) Shore excursion staff on the ship were not familiar with any of the ports.
8) Entertainment was limited to the Solstice theatre. Smaller venues had a singer or a string quartet, no modern music only boring music.
9) No port shopping presentation on the ship or guide. We found out the port shopping person got off the ship in Honolulu.
10) The hotel in Sydney did not have a safe in the room.
11) No hostess in Honolulu to direct us to our bus. We were told by the concierge desk to go to the side entrance and wait for the bus The bus actually came to the front of the hotel and was searching for us. BTW both hotels, pre and post cruise were booked by Celebrity.
12) We called 3 weeks prior to our departure to see if there were any cabin upgrades available. First we were told to call back on Tuesday. We called back the following Tuesday and were told if there are any upgrade Celebrity will call us. 1 week before our departure to Honolulu we decided to call one last time. This time we were told that first time cruisers on Celebrity are not eligible for any upgrade. This showed us that there are no policies in place for upgrades.
13) Meals were nothing special. Example: Meatloaf was served 4 times during our cruise. No variety. Vegetables were always the same, green beans, broccoli, carrots.
14) No coffee service in the Oceanview Café. Only bar staff trying to get you to buy a drink. The first morning we had breakfast, I had a waiter ask me if I wanted anything to drink. I ask for orange juice. I was ask if I would like orange juice from the machine or fresh squeezed. I chose fresh squeezed. I was then ask for my cabin card as they charge for fresh squeezed OJ. We have been on 23 cruises with Princess and Holland America. We never have had so many problems with a cruise line.
Small but workable. Our room steward was extremely helpful and very friendly. Not a lot of storage.
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