Since I use reviews to make travel decisions, I need to get around to writing one...
We went on a 12-day Cruise on Celebrity's Solstice from Sydney to Fiji because it was a seminar cruise with someone we like.
If you love cruises, you'll probably love this one, but for those of us who don't cruise often, I want to alert others to a few big disappointments:
1. There's cigarette smoke everywhere: Blowing into our stateroom from other balconies, swirling through the wind on the 2 pool decks (1/4 of which is reserved for outside smokers), and blowing all around the outside bars.... When I asked Guest Relations if they had any non-smoking cruises we could choose from, the reply was, "This IS a non-smoking cruise!" I thought she was kidding. Granted, when we told them our room was smokey, they sent an enforcer to catch our neighbors lighting up outside, who claimed they didn't know it wasn't allowed. You'd think they would put signs in the rooms...
2. Internet service is slower than slow. And it's expensive: $300 for the cruise. What they don't tell you is that it is nearly worthless. I thought it might be slow only in our stateroom, so I walked down to the Internet Room, and did a speed test on my computer. Download speed was 0.26mbps. That's 1/4 of 1 megabite!!! Quite the ripoff.
3.Extras: Shore Excursions are very expensive and not worth it. They make up for deals on the cruise price by up-charging for everything. Drinks are $11 - $15. The special restaurant upgrades are often the same food as the regular dining room, with more doting service.
The good: New Caledonia was enchanting. Great snorkeling. We bought fins there and took masks from home. Cruise food was nice but nothing amazing. The cruise employees try hard to please, but overall, it's like being in Las Vegas. If you like that, you'll love this cruise.
Nice! Plenty of room. The balcony was great when we could breathe out there.
We spent a week in Sydney before the cruise and LOVED it! The Opal pass makes transportation easy and it works on all the ferries. Want to go back.
You need to book a shore tour here. Or take a chance and buy one from the booths on the dock. We found a taxi and asked to be taken to a beach. 25 miles later, we walked through a hotel to a beach only to find the tide out. There, that means the ocean is almost too far away to see, and the path to get there is endless dead coral mud. What a disappointment.
We walked into town and found a dive shop, bought fins and asked where to snorkel. They said Duck Island was close and directed us to the local bus and boat out to the island. For $40 total we had a great day and ran into friends from the ship on Duck island who had paid $75 each for the same trip, except that they had to go back much earlier.
We took a bus to a hotel to a wharf to a catamaran that took us out to an island and the most beautiful day ever. At a private beach, we snorkeled through colorful reefs and climbed up a hill so steep we held onto ropes for support. The view from the top of the volcanic peak was stunning! The local family made us lunch and played music. After the horrible day in Lautoka the day before, this was as amazing as it gets. Perfect South Sea experience.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Get off the ship and walk around to the main beach for the day. We rented lounge chairs from the hotel and lunched in their restaurant. The water was warm but not super clear. And the sand!!! It felt like velvet on our feet. The softest white sand I've ever seen. Loved that day.