First time on Celebrity anywhere and I was looking forward to seeing how they measure up against the competition I’ve already cruised with; Princess, RCL, Silversea etc. Checking off a bucket list item; Oceania we decided to book the Solstice on a 12 day cruise up and down the east Australian coast. We chose concierge class which cost a little more but the cruise was competitively priced, no argument there. The cruise began in Sydney, ported in Newcastle, Airlie Beach, Cairns, Port Douglas & Brisbane before returning to Sydney. So, here we go with impressions of the ship, the crew and the food. The various ports and activities are reviewed elsewhere as Celebrity really doesn’t have much control so can’t really be responsible for excursions; good or bad. One thing I will say, and this is true on most if not all cruise lines, do the research in advance on cost of excursions, through the ship and the independents. Before Trip Advisor, and other similar review sites, you had an excuse for getting surprised. Now you don’t.
The Ship -
Built for a passenger complement of over 2,500, the Solstice is well appointed, tastefully designed and functionally competent. What stands out? - the specialty restaurants, the core restaurant, shops are really well designed and impressive. The buffet restaurant less so - a mass of humanity jockeying for an open table and the soda/coffee station. The pool areas are only average and extremely busy through the day. Some of the lounges like Sky doesn’t seem to utilize the vast space available to it very well. However the fitness centre is fantastic (nice sized studio area, top notch machines and bikes/treadmills etc. all set against a beautiful horizon at the front of the ship. The adjoining spa areas appeared quite elegant as well. Good sized casino and the Solstice theatre would match the finest facilities in many cities. The cabins/suites are well designed as well with some balcony space. The bathrooms are generous but not marble. Decent for sure. All in all, the Solstice holds it own.