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We have just completed a cruise on the Celebrity Solstice. We boarded the ship in Auckland New Zealand on February 17 and disembarked on March 21 in Sidney Australia (32 days). I will try to leave my personal opinion out of this commentary and just relay factual observations of our experience on the ship. We are Elite + members with Celebrity so we are not new to the line. We also have very high status on several other cruise lines. The first impression of the ship that you get is that it is a tired, worn out old vessel. The walking deck (5) is worn out, meaning that the deck base material is showing through the surface coating and looks worn out and decrepit, all of the metal surfaces are rusted and give you no comfort level if you were dependent on them in an emergency. There were dead crickets, spiders and assorted bugs everywhere. The ship overall is dirty, worn out and quite tired. Cruising about 150 days a year with a handful of cruise companies, we can honestly say that this ship is one that is in the worst shape we have ever seen. Our room was well worn. The night stands looked like they had been chewed by rats, the furniture was worn, stained and dirty as was the carpeting, the toilet did not flush properly and generally the room felt like a cheap motel. As we arrived to the first port of call, we were informed that at all ports, in order to disembark, you would have to get in line early in the morning to get a number to get in line to disembark after the ship was cleared by port authorities. This is obviously absurd at best. People were lining up for tickets hours before arrivals. When questioning the Hotel Director, she made the comment that she felt it necessary to maintain order and avoid long lines for debarkation. So now, this ridiculous idea caused people to have to line up twice to disembark instead of once. No wonder she is nicknamed Ms "Queue"on other ships. This HD is the least visible Hotel Director we have ever experienced. She intentionally makes an effort to avoid eye contact. She is snobbish, aloof, pedantic, condescending and cold. She only associates with suite guests or people with stripes on their shoulder. Most of her meals are consumed at the Luminae restaurant, Celebrities' restaurant just for suites. We won't even go into her stupidity at making a guest disembark the ship early into the cruise for making a joke to his room steward about jumping overboard. This is the third cruise we have had the displeasure of having her at the helm of the hotel, therefore this is not an isolated observation. I have managed upper middle managers my entire working life and understand there are different management styles, she has no style in any way. Difficult to understand how this gal is still employed in such a high profile position. The Celebrity Captain's Club hostess (joke) is another story. In thirty two days I think we saw her twice in the captain's club breakfast. The only time we came even close to "inconveniencing" her was when we were tendered in Akaroa. The previous night she sent out a letter advising us that as Elite Plus members we could meet her in the dining room in the morning to be taken to the tenders with priority. When we showed up she told us we had to go to the main foyer to line up for tickets. She is quite worthless, worse Captain's Club Hostess (joke) in the fleet. The real purpose for this review is the atrocity that the ship called food, which was just awful. Clearly a bean counter in the corporate office has tightened the belt on the ship. Everything has been watered down. The oatmeal in the morning has the consistency of water with just a little bit of oats in it, the Dahl at lunch is like weak soup, the only curry at the Indian Specialties counter is "vegetable" curry which consists of only potatoes and peas, which is fine from time to time but this was for 32 days in a row. The sandwich station housed couscous, coleslaw, beets or garbanzo sandwiches which were made with four feet long, one foot wide and 8 inches thick undercooked Ciabatta and the cut to custom size, (who in the hell has heard of a couscous sandwich! - seriously, these are the daily sandwiches!)), in the morning, the French bread often felt hard as a rock and might have been day old bread. During the "International" buffet we had shrimp fried rice with no shrimp and curry chicken rice with no chicken. The salad bar was comprised of lettuce and various assorted canned vegetables. This is indisputable. It is pretty hard to not recognize canned corn, peas, a mix of corn, peas and carrot and canned olives with the cute hole in the middle. What looked like they took a huge Bologna roll and cut into cubes, scraps of bad Cheddar, oxidized black mushroom scraps, fried Chinese noodles, etc., etc. The only fruit ever present was unripe cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon and apple. Grapes were used as a display for cheese and the next mornings taken off the stems and cut in half as the only accompaniment to cereal. For toast, bread or muffins the only "butter" was some foul flavorless, no brand "butter". For "jam", only artificial spreads, never marmalade or preserves of any kind. Never any berries of any kind, only unripe bananas cut in half and browning and dried out raisins. When we inquired about the food selections, we were advised by a manager that a "food grid" was being followed per corporate directive and the ship management had no control of the matter. The meat in the main dining room was flavorless and tough as leather, same for pork. If not for sauce, there would be no taste. "Crab cakes" with no crab, just filler, mashed potatoes made with instant potatoes and water, disgusting! Braised beef short ribs, just braised gristle and fat. The chicken saltimbocca had no ham or sage so you are basically having a dried out chicken breast which was rolled up with with chopped parsley inside to make it look like it had something inside, by the way Chefs, Saltimbocca is not rolled up to hide the fact that you are not using any Prosciutto. How can you have Beef Bourgeon with meat and potatoes that you cannot cut? After all, isn't it supposed to be an endlessly braised stew? Everything is supposed to fall apart! Chicken Kiev with no butter and parsley inside? Pizza made with sliced American cheese? Cauliflower Mournai that is raw Cauliflower with a dried out clump on American cheese on top? Where is the white sauce? The classic salmon comes with Hollandaise sauce that is congealed and cold? The portioning was also absurd. The roast pork loin (from previous Celebrity cruises) has gone from being three nice slices equaling about 6 oz. to three slices equaling 3 oz. The seared salmon went from a nice 4 or 5 oz. portion to what looks like 2 or 3 ounces. Obviously I realize I could order two portions but this is not my style. My wife and I eat twice a day and not much, we expect what we eat to not be garbage. Clearly there is a corporate directive to cut costs. This was in fact confirmed when a Zenith guest who was going to be on board for close to five months inquired as to why the Captain's Club breakfast always had the exact same type of cheese (Jack and Provolone) and always the same luncheon meat (never Ham, Salami etc., only some weird looking processed "thing" that would look about the same coming in as going out). He was told, by the never present Captain's Club hostess, that the ship had no say in the matter, they were following corporate directive. After everyone complained about the matter, a couple pieces of Brie were hidden away for a pair of Zenith guests for the following morning. This is not hearsay, I was sitting next to them. I could go on ad nausea but I think anyone would get the message. After presenting this list of atrocities to the maitre'd, knowing that the corporate food and beverage manager was on board, nothing changed. On inquiry I was told that proper protocol has to be followed to approach this person with guest complaints. In summary, my wife and daughter volunteer to cook and serve meals at a homeless shelter in Santa Ana, California. She would attest to the fact that the food on board is not fit to be served there. As if to add insult to injury, we just completed our flight home and the airplane food was better than any meal we had on the Solstice. They should be embarrassed. 80% of the reason we went on this cruise, half a world away, was to go through the New Zealand sounds. 4 hours after leaving Wellington, we had a medical emergency on board, rather than air evacuation or evacuation from shore, the captain decided to turn back to disembark the passenger. Due to this, the captain chose to skip the sounds and proceed to our next port Dunedin. It would have been as easy to skip Dunedin and go through the sounds. The reason that this option was not chosen, even though Celebrity advertises the sounds of New Zealand as the highlight of the cruise is that in a never ending quest to make money at the expense of guests, Celebrity allows agents in Australia and New Zealand to purchase blocks of rooms on this 16 day segment and sell them as 4 day cruises. Of course Dunedin was an embarkation and debarkation port for many of these guests. This ship is very poorly run by senior management with and by Corporate directive. The balance of the crew are absolutely wonderful!!! They were kind, hardworking, serviceable and warm. They continue to carry forward the image that Celebrity advertises, unfortunately without all of the "tools" they used to have at their disposal to carry forward the tag line of "modern luxury". It would appear this "modern luxury" is clearly something reserved for the exclusive benefit of Suite guests. The nickel and diming has reached comical low levels. The new ship "The Edge" must have gone over budget and we are footing the bill. If there is any doubt left, we will not be sailing with Celebrity again anytime soon.

Worse cruise ever!!

Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by arosetti

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We have just completed a cruise on the Celebrity Solstice. We boarded the ship in Auckland New Zealand on February 17 and disembarked on March 21 in Sidney Australia (32 days).

I will try to leave my personal opinion out of this commentary and just relay factual observations of our experience on the ship. We are Elite + members with Celebrity so we are not new to the line. We also have very high status on several other cruise lines.

The first impression of the ship that you get is that it is a tired, worn out old vessel. The walking deck (5) is worn out, meaning that the deck base material is showing through the surface coating and looks worn out and decrepit, all of the metal surfaces are rusted and give you no comfort level if you were dependent on them in an emergency. There were dead crickets, spiders and assorted bugs everywhere. The ship overall is dirty, worn out and quite tired.

Cruising about 150 days a year with a handful of cruise companies, we can honestly say that this ship is one that is in the worst shape we have ever seen. Our room was well worn. The night stands looked like they had been chewed by rats, the furniture was worn, stained and dirty as was the carpeting, the toilet did not flush properly and generally the room felt like a cheap motel.

As we arrived to the first port of call, we were informed that at all ports, in order to disembark, you would have to get in line early in the morning to get a number to get in line to disembark after the ship was cleared by port authorities. This is obviously absurd at best. People were lining up for tickets hours before arrivals. When questioning the Hotel Director, she made the comment that she felt it necessary to maintain order and avoid long lines for debarkation. So now, this ridiculous idea caused people to have to line up twice to disembark instead of once. No wonder she is nicknamed Ms "Queue"on other ships. This HD is the least visible Hotel Director we have ever experienced. She intentionally makes an effort to avoid eye contact. She is snobbish, aloof, pedantic, condescending and cold. She only associates with suite guests or people with stripes on their shoulder. Most of her meals are consumed at the Luminae restaurant, Celebrities' restaurant just for suites. We won't even go into her stupidity at making a guest disembark the ship early into the cruise for making a joke to his room steward about jumping overboard. This is the third cruise we have had the displeasure of having her at the helm of the hotel, therefore this is not an isolated observation. I have managed upper middle managers my entire working life and understand there are different management styles, she has no style in any way. Difficult to understand how this gal is still employed in such a high profile position. The Celebrity Captain's Club hostess (joke) is another story. In thirty two days I think we saw her twice in the captain's club breakfast. The only time we came even close to "inconveniencing" her was when we were tendered in Akaroa. The previous night she sent out a letter advising us that as Elite Plus members we could meet her in the dining room in the morning to be taken to the tenders with priority. When we showed up she told us we had to go to the main foyer to line up for tickets. She is quite worthless, worse Captain's Club Hostess (joke) in the fleet.

The real purpose for this review is the atrocity that the ship called food, which was just awful. Clearly a bean counter in the corporate office has tightened the belt on the ship. Everything has been watered down. The oatmeal in the morning has the consistency of water with just a little bit of oats in it, the Dahl at lunch is like weak soup, the only curry at the Indian Specialties counter is "vegetable" curry which consists of only potatoes and peas, which is fine from time to time but this was for 32 days in a row. The sandwich station housed couscous, coleslaw, beets or garbanzo sandwiches which were made with four feet long, one foot wide and 8 inches thick undercooked Ciabatta and the cut to custom size, (who in the hell has heard of a couscous sandwich! - seriously, these are the daily sandwiches!)), in the morning, the French bread often felt hard as a rock and might have been day old bread. During the "International" buffet we had shrimp fried rice with no shrimp and curry chicken rice with no chicken. The salad bar was comprised of lettuce and various assorted canned vegetables. This is indisputable. It is pretty hard to not recognize canned corn, peas, a mix of corn, peas and carrot and canned olives with the cute hole in the middle. What looked like they took a huge Bologna roll and cut into cubes, scraps of bad Cheddar, oxidized black mushroom scraps, fried Chinese noodles, etc., etc. The only fruit ever present was unripe cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon and apple. Grapes were used as a display for cheese and the next mornings taken off the stems and cut in half as the only accompaniment to cereal. For toast, bread or muffins the only "butter" was some foul flavorless, no brand "butter". For "jam", only artificial spreads, never marmalade or preserves of any kind. Never any berries of any kind, only unripe bananas cut in half and browning and dried out raisins. When we inquired about the food selections, we were advised by a manager that a "food grid" was being followed per corporate directive and the ship management had no control of the matter.

The meat in the main dining room was flavorless and tough as leather, same for pork. If not for sauce, there would be no taste. "Crab cakes" with no crab, just filler, mashed potatoes made with instant potatoes and water, disgusting! Braised beef short ribs, just braised gristle and fat. The chicken saltimbocca had no ham or sage so you are basically having a dried out chicken breast which was rolled up with with chopped parsley inside to make it look like it had something inside, by the way Chefs, Saltimbocca is not rolled up to hide the fact that you are not using any Prosciutto. How can you have Beef Bourgeon with meat and potatoes that you cannot cut? After all, isn't it supposed to be an endlessly braised stew? Everything is supposed to fall apart! Chicken Kiev with no butter and parsley inside? Pizza made with sliced American cheese? Cauliflower Mournai that is raw Cauliflower with a dried out clump on American cheese on top? Where is the white sauce? The classic salmon comes with Hollandaise sauce that is congealed and cold? The portioning was also absurd. The roast pork loin (from previous Celebrity cruises) has gone from being three nice slices equaling about 6 oz. to three slices equaling 3 oz. The seared salmon went from a nice 4 or 5 oz. portion to what looks like 2 or 3 ounces. Obviously I realize I could order two portions but this is not my style. My wife and I eat twice a day and not much, we expect what we eat to not be garbage. Clearly there is a corporate directive to cut costs. This was in fact confirmed when a Zenith guest who was going to be on board for close to five months inquired as to why the Captain's Club breakfast always had the exact same type of cheese (Jack and Provolone) and always the same luncheon meat (never Ham, Salami etc., only some weird looking processed "thing" that would look about the same coming in as going out). He was told, by the never present Captain's Club hostess, that the ship had no say in the matter, they were following corporate directive. After everyone complained about the matter, a couple pieces of Brie were hidden away for a pair of Zenith guests for the following morning. This is not hearsay, I was sitting next to them. I could go on ad nausea but I think anyone would get the message. After presenting this list of atrocities to the maitre'd, knowing that the corporate food and beverage manager was on board, nothing changed. On inquiry I was told that proper protocol has to be followed to approach this person with guest complaints. In summary, my wife and daughter volunteer to cook and serve meals at a homeless shelter in Santa Ana, California. She would attest to the fact that the food on board is not fit to be served there. As if to add insult to injury, we just completed our flight home and the airplane food was better than any meal we had on the Solstice. They should be embarrassed.

80% of the reason we went on this cruise, half a world away, was to go through the New Zealand sounds. 4 hours after leaving Wellington, we had a medical emergency on board, rather than air evacuation or evacuation from shore, the captain decided to turn back to disembark the passenger. Due to this, the captain chose to skip the sounds and proceed to our next port Dunedin. It would have been as easy to skip Dunedin and go through the sounds. The reason that this option was not chosen, even though Celebrity advertises the sounds of New Zealand as the highlight of the cruise is that in a never ending quest to make money at the expense of guests, Celebrity allows agents in Australia and New Zealand to purchase blocks of rooms on this 16 day segment and sell them as 4 day cruises. Of course Dunedin was an embarkation and debarkation port for many of these guests.

This ship is very poorly run by senior management with and by Corporate directive. The balance of the crew are absolutely wonderful!!! They were kind, hardworking, serviceable and warm. They continue to carry forward the image that Celebrity advertises, unfortunately without all of the "tools" they used to have at their disposal to carry forward the tag line of "modern luxury". It would appear this "modern luxury" is clearly something reserved for the exclusive benefit of Suite guests. The nickel and diming has reached comical low levels. The new ship "The Edge" must have gone over budget and we are footing the bill.

If there is any doubt left, we will not be sailing with Celebrity again anytime soon.
arosetti’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Concierge Class
Cabin C2 9360, 1134
Very long in the tooth, see above review.
Resort Deck Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews