Seattle to Seattle, cruised with family (2 fifty something couples, 70s grandma and 20s granddaughter, and single 50s), 4 cabins in a row, first cruise for all but two of us.
We had 1066, 1068, 1070 and 1072. The only thing I would change is to be one deck lower. The 10th deck on Solstice had these large diagonal support posts for the large overhead awning above the top deck, so although they opened the veranda partitions for us, we didn't really have a seamless veranda between rooms. We did a lot of communicating on the veranda, so having to climb through these posts was not great. We will pay attention to that next time. Otherwise, we were mid-ship, the rooms were nice, had plenty of storage and the bathrooms were large enough for 2 of us.
First a BIG thank you to everyone who posts on these boards, I read extensively and felt prepared for my first cruise. Here were the best tips we used: 40# magnet hooks to hang hats, lanyards, fleeces, laundry bags, etc... Next time we will bring 10 per room. Brought thin hangers and put the thick wood ones from the cruise above my side of the bed since I can't reach that cubby anyway. Purchased lanyards with plastic holder prior to cruise - indispensable. I don't care if I look like a tourist - I am one, and it was handy. Used reusable plastic baggage tag holders. Only needed one pair of waterproof tennis shoes as my outdoor shoes for Alaska. Glad I listened to seasoned cruisers on this one. Chose Chilkoot Charters for the Skagway train tour.
Loved having an assigned seating time for dinner (6 pm), we enjoyed getting to know our servers and sommelier, it enhanced our experience. We purchased for only $100 each the classic beverage package when booking the cruise (it was part of a promotion) and even though my husband doesn't drink alcohol, he drank sodas, seltzer, bottled water and fancy coffees, all of which were included. I drink alcohol and liked that if I wanted a high end wine or fancy martini, I only had to pay the difference of $3 or so. Also loved the Cafe al Bacio for lattes, which were included in the package. I don't think it would have been worth paying the full price of $55/day (plus service charge).
This was a great cruise, we felt pampered the entire time by every single person on staff. Hubby was worried about motion sickness, so he wore the patch and no issues. I used Bonine, and no issues.
Excursions, all A+++:
Ketchikan: Alaska Coastal Expedition: This was the Zodiac boat tour, purchased through Celebrity. We paid $129 each. Worth every penny, great guide, saw a whale, each of us got to pilot the boat. A little rainy, but they provided excellent rain gear.
Juneau: Mendenhall Glacier by Helicopter, walk on glacier, 2 hours 15 minutes: Purchased through Celebrity, we paid $379 each. I waited too long to book, had I booked in January, I would have paid $349 each. It went up to $399 on the ship. We LOVED this excursion, and we were fine with only 20-25 minutes on the Glacier. Great guides, we felt safe.
Skagway: White Pass Summit Rail, 3 hours 15 minutes: Purchased through Chilkoot Charters, $119 each. Outstanding decision - smaller buses (we did bus up, train back), out guide Jennie was awesome, knowledgeable and funny. The advantage to the small bus was we got to stop in different places and shorter time getting on and off the bus, easier for my Mom with mobility issues. Plus easy to hear our guide Jennie. Sit on the right side of the train on the way down.
Naturalist: Brent Nixon - we went to his Humpback Whale talk, it was informative, but he is not really my style of speaker. I am more of a "give me the facts, no nonsense" person, but I will say that most of the crowd really enjoyed his style. He is extremely knowledgable.
Entertainment: The production cast was talented, although the first show's "storyline" (Amade) was a little disjointed. The Rock City show was high energy and fun. Two in our group saw the last day comedian Rich Aronovitch and really enjoyed his show. The musicians around the ship were talented, but often the music wasn't really my cup of tea. No big deal though.
Fitness: get to the gym early or late, by about 8 AM or after 12 pm, it was pretty crowded. It was cool to see a whale while on the Elliptical machine!
We loved it so much, all 7 of us booked a "placeholder" before leaving for our next family cruise.
The ship was lovely, there was a lot of different options for food, we enjoyed the main dining room, and did one lunch at Tuscan grill. I will say the food at the Tuscan Grill did seem to be higher quality than in the main dining room. The service from everyone was top notch. The food in the MDR was, in my opinion, better than the food in the buffet. We enjoyed dressing up for the Evening Chic nights.
We did Concierge class, and felt it was worth it to us. We liked having lunch in the main dining room the first day. It was a relaxing way to start. I am not really a buffet person - I like having a table that I don't have to wander around to find. It seemed like the couple of times I went to the buffet, it was crowded and hard to find seating for a group of 4 or more. Our assigned concierge was great and had a reception on the heliport leaving Skagway, which was really special. He also arranged for a wheelchair for my Mom to get off the ship within 5 minutes after Guest Relations told her it would be an hour or so since she didn't have an assigned number.
Embarkation: We arrived around 10:30 AM by Uber. Normally in Seattle Uber has to drop off a pretty good distance from the ship, but since my Mom has mobility issues, our driver made sure we got dropped off up close. Someone got our bags immediately, and my Mom was put in a wheelchair and the 3 of us were whisked into the ship in minutes. The rest of our crew went through the Concierge line in minutes and we all got on the ship before 11 AM.
Disembarkation: We used the Port Valet service (AMAZING!! -boarding passes given to us on the ship and saw our bags again in San Diego) and had a 12:05 flight out of Seattle. Ship docked by 6 AM and I think people were getting of the ship by 7 am, maybe earlier. We had a latte and then got off the ship and into a cab by 7:30 AM. We were to the airport, through security and at our gate by 8:30 AM. We could have made the 10:15 AM flight.
I am afraid to try other cruise lines now, this was such a great experience. I can't stress enough how accommodating and wonderful every single Celebrity staff person was to us the entire cruise.
Our cabin was nice, very clean, decent size, suitcases fit well under the bed, more space in bathroom than I expected. Room serviced 2x/day, which was nice. Our stateroom attendant was great.
So much fun, great guide, gave you all of the outer gear you needed.View All 34 Zodiac Boat Reviews
We arrived 2 days before our cruise to enjoy Seattle. It was a beautiful city and we were able to walk to everything we wanted to see. We stayed at the W downtown, perfect location. Went to the Pike's Place market area, Space Needle, and wharf. Lots of food options.
Wonderfull excursion and for us, the 2 hours 15 minutes was just right. About 15 minute helicopter ride each way, 20-25 minutes on the Glacier, great guide on the glacier.View All 138 Helicopter Tour Reviews
Fantastic Guide (Jennie), we did the bus up and rail back. The independent charter used smaller buses, which was important to us. The guide was great, we made 3-4 stops on the way up to the train. She got our bus of 24 people on our car before the other groups assigned to that same car, so we got to sit on the right side of the train for the way down- much better view on that side.View All 1212 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews
We walked to Fisherman's Wharf, took a water taxi to Chinatown and walked through downtown to the Empress Hotel and Parliament Building, then back on the water taxi. We didn't arrive to port until 6 pm, I think we would have enjoyed it more had we arrived during the day and done an excursion.