We've cruised Windstar, Princess and Oceania on multiple cruises. This was our first time on Celebrity. Comments in order of best to worst.
The food on Celebrity Solstice far surpassed every other cruise and cruise line - except the Murano specialty restaurant. Silk Harvest and Tuscan Grille were outstanding and worth the upcharge. Oceanview café was good with great variety for being a giant cafeteria. Baylon, Ron and Merta took great care of us in the main dining room (Grand Esperey) and the food was surprisingly good as long as you stay away from the soups. Murano (specialiy restaurant) was disappointing - pretentious, stuffy, and the sommelier was no where to be found. Food was still generally good there.
The veranda cabins were good choices for a combination of quality and value. Other passengers who chose Aqua level consistently said it wasn't worth it. Fitness center was really great and no difficulty gaining access to machines. Entertainment was above average ("Elton John" show, the illusionist, singers and acrobats). None of us cared for Ken, the cruise director, though. Edward, the executive chef, was actually much more engaging.
Excursions were good, not great. Wine events were mixed. Wine pairing event in Blu was outstanding. Wine around the world event in the casino was awful. Too many sea days at the end of the cruise, especially when we all realized the trip to the Sounds was a sea day, too.
The worst - which might cause us never to sail with Celebrity again - was the UPSELLING. We were constantly being accosted to buy photographs, buy another upcharge to restaurants, buy the beverage upgrades, buy this watch, this bracelet, this X, Y and Z. And $6 for a bottle of water? You have to be kidding. It was like taking a vacation with telemarketers. UGH.
Cabin was well laid out. Good storage space. Bathroom bigger than some other veranda staterooms. Comfortable bed. Mini-bar was NOT equipped, but it was fine except the forms suggested you were being charged for things that weren't stocked.
Book separately with the vendor; great experienceView All 5 Waiheke Walking Tour Reviews
Take a bus or taxi into the little town. Great mussels at Cornerstone Cafe. Museum is not worth it, but the Elms Mission House definitely is!
Trinity Hill and Craggy Range were great and worth the time. Good wines with great information. Skip Church Road. They are the only one who charged to taste their red wines and then they pushed shipping a case of wine to the U.S. for $268!View All 16 Winery Tour Reviews
You can do the walk up to the Giant's house. It is worth it. I felt like I was back in Barcelona enjoying the works of Gaudi. Incredible gardens. This is the DON'T miss visit in Akaroa. The rest of us isn't worth it. It is too far to do Christchurch from an Akaroa docking.View All 2 Giant's House and Canterbury Farm Reviews
I've already said above not to use Good Company Tours. Do the city tour on your own. We didn't get any time in the Octagon because he kept driving us through residential neighborhoods, and then got us back late to the ship.View All 45 City Tour Reviews
Do not use Good Company Tours. Completely disorganized. We almost missed the train trip. Then bus driver for City Tour had a load of unhappy passengers when he failed to respond to attempts to return us to the ship as he was running late, insisting on showing us things anyway. We were 35 minutes late back on board and barely made it. Since it was NOT a ship's tour, they will NOT wait for you. Do not be fooled. Take the Taiero Gorge Railway tour with another company and do the city tour on your own by foot; then take the ship's shuttle back.View All 68 Taieri Gorge Railway Reviews
The cable car is walkable from the bus drop off. Take the cable car up and walk down through the botanical gardens into the city. Incredible day. No guide needed.
We walked the city on our own. This was our favorite port of all.
You don't need to book this through anyone. Just go. Plan to spend several hours...which you could do just on the fourth floor alone. This is a don't miss museum.View All 28 Te Papa Museum Reviews
Rent a taxi for a flat fee of $30-$35NZ from the city centre and go up to the Lookout. It's about 10-15 minutes to take great pictures and then head back into the city. Avoid the tour bus!!
LONG drive, but worth it. Would have liked more time at Port Arthur Penal Colony. Tasmanian devil and kangaroo feedings at the UnZoo were highlights of the trip, but the Celebrity cruise operators were major disappointments. Disorganized and unpleasant.View All undefined undefined Reviews