My Wife and I had not cruised with Celebrity before this cruise and were keen to try this line - mainly due to positive comments from fellow cruisers. The Solstice class of ship seems to be what we consider a good size and ,importantly to us from other cruise experiences, there would not be too many people on board. This was our first opportunity to visit Australia and New Zealand together and the ports of call Celebrity had chosen looked interesting.
Embarkation was slick and well organised. We had paid for an inside cabin and were very pleased to find that we had been up-graded to one with a balcony. Thank you very much.
The solstice is an easy ship to get around and there was plenty of space . Some areas (like the ceiling in the main foyer) were looking like they could do with a refresh but the overall ambience and comfort was very good.
We very much liked the design and layout of the sun deck areas, and the forward lounge with tall ceilings , comfortable chairs and great views was excellent.
Dining on board was great. The quality of food and service surpassed our expectations and all of the staff that we encountered were courteous and helpful . One of the ship's waiters even bought my wife and two fellow passengers a coffee whilst in one New Zealand port of call - they did not have sufficient local currency and I was in a local museum. This is exceptional kindness that of course we do not and should not expect , but a credit to the company nonetheless.
The evening Entertainment on board ranged from very good to excellent and the Cruise Director was outstanding. Together with the ship's Captain and senior crew members he gave us many memorable moments . Our captain deserves a special mention. He was really informative in an inimitable style with marvellous Greek humour. We know that he and his crew tried their best to present their passengers with the best possible aspects of places of interest by thoughtful yet careful positioning of the ship. Great.
We have been on some cruises where daytime entertainment has been better, but the presentations and talks by learned Guest Speakers and experts were all really good. One of the highlights of this ship is of course the Hot Glass show that is presented by The Corning Museum. The three highly skilled members of that organisation were all excellent. A joy to watch and listen to. One of the glass experts also provided much appreciated commentary over the ship's Public Address system on aspects of the wildlife and topography at places we visited. Particularly good when we were traversing the picturesque Sounds of New Zealand.
We were very impressed with the groups of Volunteer Guides of Australia and New Zealand that greeted us in a number of ports where the ship called and where the ship's shuttles and tenders operated. Good planning.
Full marks to our cabin steward who kept the room perfectly during our trip and quickly attended to all our needs. As already stated, we were given a complementary upgrade from internal to a balcony , thank you so much. The Shower and bathroom were excellent, but the bed (formed from two single units) was not a good shape for optimum comfort. Decor could do with a refresh- balcony furniture etc.