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We went on the Australian Top End Cruise out of our home port of Fremantle - going from our own port was a novelty and boarding of the ship was reasonably painless. The cruise was supposed to go to Bali as its first stop which we were looking forward to but for security reasons the cruise line decided to skip this port and instead have an extra night in (the not very exciting ) Darwin. This made the first part of the cruise a very long 7 nights at sea with very little entertainment to soften the blow. Now I understand that security is the number 1 concern of all tourism organisations at the moment so no issue there - but the way the cruise company basically skipped over any complaints that their customers had about missing out on a part of a vacation really shows their true colours. Because they could not pick up the entertainers booked from Bali - entertainment suffered badly - because they could not pick up the major food and drink supplies from Bali then food and drink suffered with the bars running out of certain types of drinks etc and the main restaurants getting very boring and basic. Finally as there was supposed to be a swap of staff in Bali service also suffered (although only slightly). To compound all this the cruise line had to then take a major detour to conserve their status as an "International Cruise Line" for Australia customs purposes and to avoid duty being levied on all their profitable items such as drinks - onboard shopping - gaming. The company seemed to putting their profit margin well above the needs of their paying customers and deciding to ignore the fact that decisions they had made for whatever reason reduced the quality of the vacation for their customers. The Solstice is overall a lovely ship to look at and our cabin was very nice looking off the back of the ship was a bonus for us. We were upgraded to Concierge class C1 at no charge so can not complain about that - but a tip for anyone else would be never to pay for concierge (as we have done in the past) as you do not really get any tangibles for the extra cost. My biggest gripe about the ship is that it is very large with lots of "what is this for" space onboard. The cruise line really needs to get with the times and blend a little of the RCCL into the Celebrity offering in order to make the ships more appealing and more exciting. The biggest problem with the cruise was the blatant up selling and scandalous pricing. The drinks offering seemed to have been set high to make you obliged to take out a beverage package to soften the blow. An example of this is that a glass of "premium" wine is $12 US plus 18% tip at an exchange rate of .63 A$ to $1 US - this effectively make this glass of wine nearly $23AU - the same BOTTLE of wine in Australia costs around $9AU retail (celebrity are charging this out at around $135AU a bottle calculated from the above) as I said the list prices are ridiculous!!!!! - luckily for us we had the Classic drinks package selected as our 321Go bonus and I then upgraded this for around $255AU each to the Premium package so this effectively allowed us to drink what we wanted for only for only $15AU per day each. I have got to say that some of the nightly entertainment was very good however that was not the norm which was a shame on a cruise with very few port stops. One night we actually had a DJ singing and although she was a lovely girl someone really needs to tell her that she is not a singer. Some of the entertainment was laughable by how bad it was. Finally the demographics of our particular cruise was that the vast majority of those onboard seemed to be over 70 - which meant that the ship went just about dead after 10:30pm - I am no spring chicken (59) but I really don't want to go to bed early when I am on vacation - a good drink and a dance is what we like - you had to look very hard on the ship to get either after 10:30 on this ship. We have sailed before with Celebrity in 2011 when we went to Alaska on a 7 day cruise on the Infinity - this smaller ship was better in so many ways - what a shame they could not scale up the experience to the much larger and newer Solstice. I have got to say that I will have to think long and hard before I book with the lack lustre Celebrity cruise again.

Out of Date and Middle of the Road

Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by andrewuser

13 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We went on the Australian Top End Cruise out of our home port of Fremantle - going from our own port was a novelty and boarding of the ship was reasonably painless.

The cruise was supposed to go to Bali as its first stop which we were looking forward to but for security reasons the cruise line decided to skip this port and instead have an extra night in (the not very exciting ) Darwin. This made the first part of the cruise a very long 7 nights at sea with very little entertainment to soften the blow. Now I understand that security is the number 1 concern of all tourism organisations at the moment so no issue there - but the way the cruise company basically skipped over any complaints that their customers had about missing out on a part of a vacation really shows their true colours.

Because they could not pick up the entertainers booked from Bali - entertainment suffered badly - because they could not pick up the major food and drink supplies from Bali then food and drink suffered with the bars running out of certain types of drinks etc and the main restaurants getting very boring and basic. Finally as there was supposed to be a swap of staff in Bali service also suffered (although only slightly).

To compound all this the cruise line had to then take a major detour to conserve their status as an "International Cruise Line" for Australia customs purposes and to avoid duty being levied on all their profitable items such as drinks - onboard shopping - gaming. The company seemed to putting their profit margin well above the needs of their paying customers and deciding to ignore the fact that decisions they had made for whatever reason reduced the quality of the vacation for their customers.

The Solstice is overall a lovely ship to look at and our cabin was very nice looking off the back of the ship was a bonus for us. We were upgraded to Concierge class C1 at no charge so can not complain about that - but a tip for anyone else would be never to pay for concierge (as we have done in the past) as you do not really get any tangibles for the extra cost. My biggest gripe about the ship is that it is very large with lots of "what is this for" space onboard. The cruise line really needs to get with the times and blend a little of the RCCL into the Celebrity offering in order to make the ships more appealing and more exciting.

The biggest problem with the cruise was the blatant up selling and scandalous pricing. The drinks offering seemed to have been set high to make you obliged to take out a beverage package to soften the blow. An example of this is that a glass of "premium" wine is $12 US plus 18% tip at an exchange rate of .63 A$ to $1 US - this effectively make this glass of wine nearly $23AU - the same BOTTLE of wine in Australia costs around $9AU retail (celebrity are charging this out at around $135AU a bottle calculated from the above) as I said the list prices are ridiculous!!!!! - luckily for us we had the Classic drinks package selected as our 321Go bonus and I then upgraded this for around $255AU each to the Premium package so this effectively allowed us to drink what we wanted for only for only $15AU per day each.

I have got to say that some of the nightly entertainment was very good however that was not the norm which was a shame on a cruise with very few port stops. One night we actually had a DJ singing and although she was a lovely girl someone really needs to tell her that she is not a singer. Some of the entertainment was laughable by how bad it was.

Finally the demographics of our particular cruise was that the vast majority of those onboard seemed to be over 70 - which meant that the ship went just about dead after 10:30pm - I am no spring chicken (59) but I really don't want to go to bed early when I am on vacation - a good drink and a dance is what we like - you had to look very hard on the ship to get either after 10:30 on this ship.

We have sailed before with Celebrity in 2011 when we went to Alaska on a 7 day cruise on the Infinity - this smaller ship was better in so many ways - what a shame they could not scale up the experience to the much larger and newer Solstice.

I have got to say that I will have to think long and hard before I book with the lack lustre Celebrity cruise again.
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