Our first visit to Australia and New Zealand was in October 2015, when we cruised from Sydney round both Islands of New Zealand, returning to Sydney. Unfortunately, storms prevented us from visiting Fiordland, Dunedin and Akaroa on that occasion, with two days spent in Wellington, an unscheduled port, instead. Despite the long journey from the UK, when we spotted the Celebrity Solstice cruise from Perth (Fremantle), along the south coast and on to South Island NZ, finishing in Sydney, we thought it too good to miss, with the Southern Autumn offering a different season for our visit and, hopefully, better weather for Fiordland, which is the major attraction on this and similar cruises.
We always spend a few days at the departure port to avoid the risk of missing the ship! Perth was enjoyable, with beautiful weather. Our travel agent provided a taxi to take us to Fremantle and we were on board Solstice before lunch, after a very swift embarkation process, with our Concierge Class room being available at around 14.00.
The required safety briefing for us took place in the Art area, with very little seating and a limited view of the small screen, where an adventure-style film, presumably aimed at young people, rather failed to bring across the important safety points which would have been much clearer in a traditional presentation and was somewhat insulting to adults, in my opinion.
Our room was very well appointed, with the bed next to the window and a sofa in the middle of the room. This meant we used the bed to sit on during the day and the sofa housed the many extra cushions which decorated the bed unnecessarily. The largest ended up under the bed with our suitcases. Our bags and camera cases were also housed on the sofa.
There was a choice of pillows available and the bed had an egg crate topper and was comfortable. There was ample wardrobe storage next to the sofa.
The bathroom was large, with a corner shower boasting glass doors and again, ample storage.
The balcony was not very big, but had space for the normal furniture and was sheltered by the overhang above.
We were happy with the location of our room and found it a very quiet spot, with none of the usual creaking associated with life at sea!
Our room steward was efficient and friendly, as usual. We asked for an extension cable to plug in our tablets etc next to the bed at night, as there are no convenient sockets there. There were US and European sockets available.