Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by fastbailer
- Sail Date: February 2018
- Destination: Australia & New Zealand
- Cabin Type: Concierge Class
Embarkation went well, but not the lifeboat training drill later that afternoon. Our drill was the longest I have experienced, first taking attendance for 700 guests, then scouting up the absentees, then delivering our instructions in slow-mo, then showing a cartoon film covering the same ground again, and ending with an infomercial on the new ship that Celebrity is bringing online. To fully achieve the sense of regimentation, the ship’s staff insisted on forming us in squared up columns. Over three quarters of an hour, and all done standing up.
Then there were the small chintzy changes. Chocolate on the pillow is only on request. In concierge class cabins, daily hors d’oeuvres are your right, but they have to be separately ordered each day. And if you are not there when they arrive, no hors d’oeuvres for you. To get the daily newspaper at sea, you queue up at the Guest Relations desk and when your turn comes, wait for one copy to be printed just for you - saving paper, but wasting labor and guests’ patience. The stateroom TV includes a news headline function, but for many days on end, the headlines were the same. Bottled water is offered on the way off the ship at each port, but your room is charged. Want stamps for your postcards? Guest Relations recommends that you seek out a post office at the next port. The overall feeling is that Celebrity has pared the staff down and also the service.
Entertainment was about average. Enrichment lectures were very limited, and although they were supposed to be replayed on stateroom TVs, we never discovered where or when. Port lectures were fine, but printed information for the ports was just shabby.
There seem to be fewer menu selections in the main dining room. The quality of the food is adequate, and the staff try to please. A significant chunk has been chopped out of the dining room to create a restaurant exclusively for suite guests. Specialty dining prices have crept up. But we particularly enjoyed three of the specialty restaurants, Silk Harvest, Tuscan and Sushi.
We can highly recommend the itinerary. The Australian ports Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart, all presented excellent opportunities for sightseeing. Sailing Milford Sound in New Zealand is fascinating.
At Napier, New Zealand, an excursion is unnecessary: take the free shuttle to downtown and simply wander through the Art Deco simulation of a 1930s town. The Celebrity excursions hold local artisan stops to the bare minimum. At Auckland, we took the half-day get acquainted excursion that dropped us at the airport. There was no guide and precious little get acquainted. Otherwise, the excursions we selected did what they promised.
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