Review Solstice South Pacific Cruise March 20th
We are sisters and frequent cruisers in our early 50’s and have been on the Solstice at least 5 times from Sydney.
We are also Elite and Platinum level on Princess Cruises.
We choose Celebrity Solstice as it is the nicest ship that leaves Sydney at the moment, apart from the Diamond Princess which we love as well.
We choose this ship as it caters for mainly adults and not as many kid’s attractions as other cruise lines.
The following is our own opinion, and we realise everyone is different and likes different things.
We have done this cruise before, so we know what we like and don’t like to do and mostly what to expect.
Arrived at 11am and was on the ship by 11.30.
Luggage arrived before 3pm, so all unpacked before muster. Very happy.
Warmly welcomed to a glass of sparkly and then straight to arrange our dinner package and drink upgrade.
Thank you Bhye, from Silk Harvest(forgive spelling) for being so helpful and making us feel special. We got the 3 dinner package and also half price for Tuscan Grille on the first night. We saw Bhye throughout the cruise and always charming and couldn’t do enough to help.
Cabins were ready by 1pm.
8248- Our favourite cabin was on the hump and in a convenient position near the lift. It was nice and quiet with great views directly down to the water. Being on starboard side also eliminated any cigarette smells that you get from the smoking section on the port side deck.
Our cabin was roomy with lots of storage for two people. Not sure how it would go with more than two however, for drawer space is limited. We brought our own coat hangers for packing and unpacking convenience. Also, those wooden coat hangers get noisy with the sway of the boat and they are bulky.
The bathroom was always immaculately clean and we love the glass shower screen!
The face washers, however, were threadbare and like sandpaper. Hopefully new ones with the upcoming refurb??
Thank you Sydney for keeping everything tidy and clean.
The ship was always immaculately clean and still in great condition.
Public toilets were always being cleaned and we love the elegantly rolled cloth hand towels. In the busier bathrooms, attendants were always stationed to keep things tidy and clean. Didn’t have to touch the door handles or taps, but were automatic.
The lounges and public areas were always clean and attended by cleaners, security and staff.
We loved lounging in the Solarium. It is so quiet, peaceful and adults only! The pool was clean and warm.
We didn’t swim outdoors but it was always busy and everyone looked like they were having fun.
The coffee lounge needed more seating. Always crowded, however service was fast. Love those Aspen coffees!!
We spent a lot of time at the Martini Bar in the evenings. Norman the cocktail waiter was so entertaining and friendly. A couple of other bar tenders there, however, were very brusk and unfriendly.
We especially loved the Eurikatini with basil and cucumber. Very disappointed to be given one with no basil OR cucumber (which were the main ingredients)! When we questioned the waiter, he didn’t seem to care and just said there was no ingredients for it. Strange for this to happen on the first night! Thank you Norman for organising the basil just for us!!!
As a matter of fact nearly all drink ingredients had run out long before the end of the cruise.
Whoever is in charge of the background music for the Martini bar needs to be sacked. The majority of people using this bar were around 50+ years. Loud techno, duff duff music is a stupid choice to have playing constantly and loudly from 4pm. It would have been better to have no music playing. Many people complained, but nothing changed.
Having said this, the Martini bar was still fun and the place to be at the end of the night.
All other bars were great, however the outside bars needed more staff as there was a lot of people waiting to be served.
Some of the bar men did not know how to make basic cocktails or drinks. They were also very inconsistent in flavour and ingredients throughout the ship.
However, we can’t complain too much as drinks were free flowing and generously poured!
Thank you Louie, Iputu, Bhye, and Stanley for remembering us and making us feel special!
The MDR was mainly good. Food came hot and tasty. Waiters were all friendly and helpful.
Choice of food has significantly decreased over the past few years, however, we never left hungry! You could always have as much as you wanted.
Choices of wines by the glass have been cut dramatically. Only one choice per wine type. Always seemed to push to buy a bottle that was nicer. We tended to drink cocktails instead as we didn’t like the wine on offer. That’s a personal taste thing of course!
The Oceanview Café was about the same as always. Food was always fresh and hot with good variety. However, after a few days, we notice that is the same food on offer every lunch and dinner. The only changes were in the roast of the day. A few days had something different like calamari or bbq ribs, but these didn’t last long and within a few minutes were all gone and not replenished. Obviously chefs didn’t allow for any extra to last the whole sitting.
Pizzas were yummy, but never seemed to cook enough and always a wait. As soon as a pizza would come out of the oven, they’d be gone in a split second. Surely they could foresee this and make adjustments.
The specialty restaurant food was good. Murano had nice food, but we felt the waiters were in such a rush all the time and we were in and out within an hour or so. Tuscan grille great food and service. We were unlucky enough to be talked into the Silk and Soul Asian night in the Silk Harvest. It was a waste money and all the patrons sitting near us complained. The 7 courses could have fit on half a plate. The so called Peking duck was cold in a wrap. The scallops were cold and under cooked. The dessert was burnt and completely inedible. The waiters looked very embarrassed and apologised. Were given a refund and a half price meal for the next night in the Silk Harvest which we thoroughly enjoyed.
The Mast Grill served yummy hamburgers and chips. Delicious.
Aqua Spa had nice food and smoothies, however the girl behind the counter was not very friendly.
The Celebrity Shows were very enjoyable and the singers and dancers were very talented. The Australian singer, Mark, was especially good.
For us, the other entertainment was a bit hit and miss. It all depends on what your tastes are, of course. Most was reasonably entertaining, however after 3 years on the Solstice, many of the entertainers are repeats, playing exactly the same show as before. Most of the cruisers we spoke to were repeat passengers. This is due to a lack of choice of better ships for Australians to choose from who want a bit more class than P & O Australia. Surely Celebrity, knowing this after all the surveys they must read would select some different acts that haven’t been on before. In 3 years of cruising on the Solstice we have seen Peter Cousins 3x, Hayden Smith 5x, Pete and the Boys 3x all with exactly the same content. We had almost three quarters of passengers who were from Australia.
We loved the Boys in the Band group. Fantastic! Fusion were entertaining as well. The 2pm shows were also very enjoyable.
The Celebrity Band (Funky T?) were great, playing a wide range of music to suit all tastes and occasions.
The lounge entertainers were not to our liking. The Ensemble Lounge had very boring string duet that made us feel we were attending a funeral. On Evening Chic night they were dressed in inappropriate attire (like for a farmhand) and never smiled.
Steve Aubry was also playing quite boring songs that no one knew. When we asked for a request he refused. This lounge was more or less empty every time we passed it. On previous cruises, the Neil Diamond singer had standing room only and people dancing in the isles.
We loved the trivia in the Sky Lounge. Very fun. On a few occasions we had an announcer/host who was very apathetic and you could tell he didn’t want to do it. He lessened the experience and fun for everyone. Pete, Chico and other announcers were great fun.
DJ Lucas was a terrible DJ. Arrogant and would not listen to most requests to play less techno music and more music suitable to the age group listening to it. The other husband and wife team DJs were far more cooperative with requests and played to suit the audience.
Noumea: Just a walk around the city. Had been here numerous times.
Lifou: Got first tender off early to avoid cues and sun. Walked to church, snorkeling bay, then had a swim on the beach beside the pier. Clean and beautiful. Back to the ship early.
Suva: Just a walk around the city as we had been there before. People very friendly all greeting you with “Bulla”
Latouka: Oolala Cruise to Suvala Island. Fantastic day of swimming, kayaking, singing, eating and relaxing. Could see the ship from the island covered in black clouds and rain. Sunny where we were, luckily! Thought was very overpriced, however. $265 for an excursion that we know costs only $130 online.
Isle of Pines: Took early tender to avoid cues and avoid sun as we got sunburnt at Latouka. Lovely walk to the end of the beach, then a swim in the warm, clear water. Got back to the wharf to take tender back by 9.40, only to be told no returns to ship until 11! After 5 empty tenders left to go back to the ship and many irate passengers wanting to get back on, we eventually got on a tender after waiting for 20 minutes. We were not happy after this as it was very poor duty of care to many of the passengers who needed to get back on the boat. Hopefully this won’t happen again.
We chose to use self disembarkation. Due to the anticipated Customs Officers strike a lot of people chose to use this option at the last minute. Unfortunately, Celebrity didn't accommodate the extra people and the cues to get off were huge. We were one of the first in the cue, so got off very quickly with no one checking anything at customs.
Apart from the few minor issues we mentioned, we had a great time! We met great people, most of the crew were fantastic, the ship was beautiful, weather and seas perfect, food delicious and plentiful and drinks flowing abundantly!
Looking forward to our next cruise on the Solstice in November and March!!!!!