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Boarded our second trip on the Celebrity Solstice in Auckland on Friday February 17, 2017. We were booked AQUA CLASS so we had priority boarding at 11:30, although all the other guests were given designated times most turned up at 11:30, so confusion occurred with the Celebrity staff standing at the front of the queue asking if people were on Decks 11&12 instead at the back of the queue directing people to the correct line, other than that check in and boarding were okay. Less hassle about buying “Beverage Packages” like on our previous cruise, (see review Sun Sets on Solstice 1/12/2016). This was probably because Celebrity are now including them in the selected prices. Our AQUA CLASS Suite 1526 was good and reasonably close to the front of the ship lifts. Our ports of call, Tauranga, Wellington, Akaroa, Dunedin, Hobart and Sydney together with the Fiords cruise through were excellent. Overall (for New Zealand, the land of the long wet cloud) the weather was near perfect and the seas were very calm. Did our own excursions in all locations, and like many, refuse to use the ships “rip off” excursions. They still harass LOL’s by telling them they will go without them if they don’t get back to the ship on time, forcing them to use their excursions. We had to cancel the small group tour we booked with Custom Day Tours to Rotorua due to the weather, with no cancellation fee. We did a small group, four hour tour in Dunedin for $46 USD per person, when the ship was charging $20 USD per person for a return shuttle from Port Chalmers to Dunedin. Their day will come when people get more cruise line choices and will boycott these ships. Finally they have seen the logic in not charging Australians “gratuities” and are giving them the options at the time of booking. Aqua Class, Blu dining was a big disappointment. The first night I had a beautiful Filet Mignon (USA), just Filet steak in Australia, which was up there with the best. Meals as we progressed were ordinary, except I ordered the Filet Mignon on the last night, even though it wasn’t on the menu, good as the first. Celebrity are trying to get a restaurant to sit in between Grand Epernay and their overpriced speciality restaurants, but have failed. Even the staff didn’t know there was 25% less menu items in Blu, than in Grand Epernay. We didn’t go to the over priced, half full, Speciality Restaurants this cruise as they don’t have the value for the priced charged. The Grand Epernay and the Oceanview Cafe’ are of a standard comparable to most cruise lines, although very congested at breakfast, especially on sea days. The only day guests lined up for the chefs’ lunchtime special was when he put on fish & chips, 20 deep. When asked whether it would be on again, NO. When we stopped in Hobart, every Fish & Chips Seafood restaurants were full of cruisers. Attended the “Beyond the Podium with Mary Atkins” on Tasmania. Very informative and I suggested to her she include the Beaconsfield Mine Disaster in her updates, as the Americans were across it when it happened, with Brant and Todd appearing on prime time TV in USA. Special thanks to our cabin boy Paul, Georgiana at reception in Epernay and Charlie and the boys in the Passport Bar. The entertainment was of a high standard with only two flops. Artists like Bayne Bacon, Greg Andrew (Elton John Experience), Ryan Joyce, Mario D’andrea, Will Martin, Keith Scott and the Solstice, Singers, Dance and Acrobats were all very entertaining. Cruise Director Ken (if he picks the entertainment) has excelled and only said “awesome” 100 times instead of 1000 times like on the last cruise. Spoke to a number of cruisers who were involved in the coach/car crash in Akaroa and they all spoke highly of the assistance given by Celebrity. At the end of the day we can complain about the mash potato being cold, the entertainment and the overpriced shore excursions, but when accidents occur and Celebrity stand up and are counted above and beyond, that's all that really matters. Well done. Disembarkation was fair considering we were third off and it was raining in Sydney and the dope handling the coaches couldn’t get it into his head that people travelling to the airport wanted to go in the coach that their luggage was in. Can’t comment on how it was after us. Celebrity are slowly getting it right for Australian cruisers: 1. NO GRATUITIES. (Pay the staff a decent wage). 2. CUT THE EXCURSIONS PRICE IN HALF. 3. MORE ACTIVITIES ON BOARD. (especially on days at sea). Use the entertainers on board to do an afternoon show. 4. STOP THE “IN YOUR FACE” JUNK SALES. 5. LET THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S KNOW THAT IF CRUISERS WANT PHOTOS THEY’LL APPROACH THEM. TC TWEED HEADS

SOLSTICE SAILS ON

Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by mysticrealm

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Boarded our second trip on the Celebrity Solstice in Auckland on Friday February 17, 2017.

We were booked AQUA CLASS so we had priority boarding at 11:30, although all the other guests were given designated times most turned up at 11:30, so confusion occurred with the Celebrity staff standing at the front of the queue asking if people were on Decks 11&12 instead at the back of the queue directing people to the correct line, other than that check in and boarding were okay.

Less hassle about buying “Beverage Packages” like on our previous cruise, (see review Sun Sets on Solstice 1/12/2016). This was probably because Celebrity are now including them in the selected prices.

Our AQUA CLASS Suite 1526 was good and reasonably close to the front of the ship lifts.

Our ports of call, Tauranga, Wellington, Akaroa, Dunedin, Hobart and Sydney together with the Fiords cruise through were excellent. Overall (for New Zealand, the land of the long wet cloud) the weather was near perfect and the seas were very calm.

Did our own excursions in all locations, and like many, refuse to use the ships “rip off” excursions. They still harass LOL’s by telling them they will go without them if they don’t get back to the ship on time, forcing them to use their excursions. We had to cancel the small group tour we booked with Custom Day Tours to Rotorua due to the weather, with no cancellation fee.

We did a small group, four hour tour in Dunedin for $46 USD per person, when the ship was charging $20 USD per person for a return shuttle from Port Chalmers to Dunedin. Their day will come when people get more cruise line choices and will boycott these ships. Finally they have seen the logic in not charging Australians “gratuities” and are giving them the options at the time of booking.

Aqua Class, Blu dining was a big disappointment. The first night I had a beautiful Filet Mignon (USA), just Filet steak in Australia, which was up there with the best. Meals as we progressed were ordinary, except I ordered the Filet Mignon on the last night, even though it wasn’t on the menu, good as the first. Celebrity are trying to get a restaurant to sit in between Grand Epernay and their overpriced speciality restaurants, but have failed. Even the staff didn’t know there was 25% less menu items in Blu, than in Grand Epernay. We didn’t go to the over priced, half full, Speciality Restaurants this cruise as they don’t have the value for the priced charged.

The Grand Epernay and the Oceanview Cafe’ are of a standard comparable to most cruise lines, although very congested at breakfast, especially on sea days.

The only day guests lined up for the chefs’ lunchtime special was when he put on fish & chips, 20 deep. When asked whether it would be on again, NO. When we stopped in Hobart, every Fish & Chips Seafood restaurants were full of cruisers.

Attended the “Beyond the Podium with Mary Atkins” on Tasmania. Very informative and I suggested to her she include the Beaconsfield Mine Disaster in her updates, as the Americans were across it when it happened, with Brant and Todd appearing on prime time TV in USA.

Special thanks to our cabin boy Paul, Georgiana at reception in Epernay and Charlie and the boys in the Passport Bar.

The entertainment was of a high standard with only two flops. Artists like Bayne Bacon, Greg Andrew (Elton John Experience), Ryan Joyce, Mario D’andrea, Will Martin, Keith Scott and the Solstice, Singers, Dance and Acrobats were all very entertaining. Cruise Director Ken (if he picks the entertainment) has excelled and only said “awesome” 100 times instead of 1000 times like on the last cruise.

Spoke to a number of cruisers who were involved in the coach/car crash in Akaroa and they all spoke highly of the assistance given by Celebrity.

At the end of the day we can complain about the mash potato being cold, the entertainment and the overpriced shore excursions, but when accidents occur and Celebrity stand up and are counted above and beyond, that's all that really matters. Well done.

Disembarkation was fair considering we were third off and it was raining in Sydney and the dope handling the coaches couldn’t get it into his head that people travelling to the airport wanted to go in the coach that their luggage was in. Can’t comment on how it was after us.

Celebrity are slowly getting it right for Australian cruisers:

1. NO GRATUITIES. (Pay the staff a decent wage).

2. CUT THE EXCURSIONS PRICE IN HALF.

3. MORE ACTIVITIES ON BOARD. (especially on days at sea). Use the entertainers on board to do an afternoon show.

4. STOP THE “IN YOUR FACE” JUNK SALES.

5. LET THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S KNOW THAT IF CRUISERS WANT PHOTOS THEY’LL APPROACH THEM.

TC TWEED HEADS
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Cabin Review

AquaClass
Cabin A2 1526
Very good
Penthouse Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews