We arrived in Seattle the night before embarkation to allow stress-free checking in. It took less than an hour from arrival at the pier to on boarding. We chose to keep our carry-on luggage as recommended which we shouldn't have to. Our luggage arrived by 1:30 pm at the same time that stateroom was ready!
5 Stars -
Cruise amenities, activities, public area, Aqua class experience, Stateroom, Cabin Steward, Food quality, Spa experience, Fitness classes
Blu restaurant - very good dining experience each night.
4 Stars -
Excursions - We selected all of our excursions directly from Celebrity pre-cruise which is a lot cheaper than purchasing on board. All the tours arranged smoothly. Minus one star because one of our excursion was cancelled without any offer for replacement.
Oceanview Cafe - Good variety of food and dessert! Minus one start because of overcrowded and competitively seating by the window! They should break up more tables into two so that all the seats are occupied. Most of the time table for 4-6 would have been occupied by two people. We really enjoy daily dessert selection, Lavazza coffee, indian food, stir-fry bar, ice-cream station, and daily fair. Breakfast is good, you can come and leave quickly without hassle.
Should have more lunch spots and "grab & go" or quick lunch for people that don't eat much and want to do something else while on cruise. Oceanview is always busy at lunch time, you will have to spend at least 1 hour for lunch. It felt a bit uncomfortable to bring plate to your room, so many people at the entrance of the restaurant.
Entertainments and Lectures - Every nights and on the sea day, it is packed with several things to do. We purchased fitness class package ($55/5 classes + $50 spa credit). We took zumba, yoga, spinning, and pilates classes. The spa credit is a joke since it can only be used on sea day and cannot be combined with other sea day discount. So, you end up paying almost the same price for already reduced price for sea day spa service (e.g. massage = $150/$115 on sea day, if using $50 credit, you will pay $150-50 = $100).
3 Stars -
Itinerary, we arrived at Tracy Arm Fjords very early in the morning, followed by another port of call, Juneau which you barely spend half-day at most in the capital city of Alaska. There are many things to see and we were not able to fit all into our calendar. We almost missed Sawyer's Glacier, they only stopped for less than 15 min and left quickly. We were at the restaurant and did not know that we have arrived!
Ketchikan - nothing much to see at this port, would rather spend only half day and preserve more times at Tracy Arm Fjords or Juneau.
Victoria - arrived late, nothing much to see as our excursion was cancelled (whale watching tour).
Almost three-day at sea (Day 2, Day 6 and Day 7 as we arrived late in Victoria) which could have been improved compared to other cruiseline itinerary.
The Solstice did not visit Hubbard Glaciers, which should have been included in the itinerary, unlike the Millennium.
2 Stars -
Service at Blu restaurant. On one night, we have to wait for > 30 min until someone can take our order. Constantly, we have to ask to refill water on our empty glasses. They were either disappeared or busy chit-chat with other tables. Constantly, they keep asking us to give them 10/10 on post-cruise surveys. The quality of food and daily selection deserved 5 start, but minus 3 stars for the very poor service. The hostess did not do well in fitting people on the table. At one point, we have to wait for more than 15 min to seat despite several empty tables. In my opinion, the set up, service type and resource management at Blu cannot accommodate too many large group dining. We have one table of 15, several tables of 8+ people every night. They need to allocate enough waitress to allow for this type of service and not shared with other "small" tables.
In-room dining. No paper menu, limited selection on smart TV. Breakfast was poor but delivered on time. No water, again?
On board payment and up selling. We paid over $1K despite some $250 credit we received from the travel agency. No coffee, no water without buying a package. They do not allow you to refill water from oceanview cafe to your individual container. We ended up paying in-room minibar daily for water (which is also not included in basic drinking package). A 1L bottle of Evian costs $6.50. We don't need Evian, just to be fair, spring water is good enough but that is $2/500 mL bottle and you have to walk to the cafe to purchase one (plus tax + service charge).
To promote healthy and prevent certain compromised infection, they shouldn't have been so difficult about water. We don't want to purchase a package because we have to walk to cafe to get bottle water daily or multiple times a day. We ended up asking our cabin steward to bring two Evian bottles daily to our room and pay for the mini-bar service.
Overall, despite some "flaws", I almost gave 5 stars to our wonderful travel with Celebrity Solstice on Aqua class. We will definitely book our next cruise with Celebrity, but may upgrade to suite class for better service overall.
The best thing about Celebrity Solstice is our Aqua class experience and stateroom 1605!
Cabin steward provided twice daily service, keep the room very clean. He even cleaned our bathroom in the evening with the turn-down service and made sure we have fresh towel.
1605 has an extra room in the balcony with chairs and foot stool. View from our balcony is amazing. Because this room is right next to the celebrity suite, the location is perfect. Very short walk from everything, including elevators and stairs. We're so glad we chose this room. We loved that the sofa/seating area is set right after you entering the room and not by the balcony. This way, the space is utilized much better than having to walk pass through the bed.
Not many things to see. We visited "Dolly's house" which was old, small or not well maintained. It took us 5 minutes to finish walking around the house! It is very dirty around the house and inside the house.
We walked to salmon ladder and watched the fish jumping on the rock. It was rainy in the morning, so we walked in rain. We purchased some smoked salmon but all shops are designed for tourist so we don't really expect high quality in this expensive salmon pack.
Arrived one night early to avoid hassle on the day of embarkation.
On the website, they said jacket will be provided, so we did not know that jacket was basically a very thin, water-proof, wind-proof type. They should have let us know more about inner layers which should included fleece and down jacket before adding their provide jacket. We had a one hour walk tour on the icefield, so it was extremely cold! They gave me a Large glove to use, although I would have fit into XS, which they also have plenty but didn't even ask or offer to me. They are crowded, dirty facility. All outerwear and belt bag are very old and didn't look clean. I wish I booked with other company like temsco that also offered through the cruiseline.
We did visit Mendenhall Glacier, using taxi. It costs ~ $30 per trip which is almost the same price with shuttle bus. Nothing much to see at the visitor center. You will have to go with Glacier trekking or rafting tour to explore more.View All 138 Helicopter Tour Reviews
We will definitely come back with Temsco! They are very professional. The helicopter is sparkling new, clean and well maintained. The tour guide on the Glacier is very knowledgeable and provided a lot of fun, fact and interesting story. This time, we dressed in our own clothes, only using their snow boots. We were able to tolerate the cold weather and enjoy walking on the glaciers!
BTW, the glacier water is the purist, best tasting water you can find in this planet.View All 64 Helicopter Tour Reviews
This is our most favorite Alaskan city. White pass scenic railway, organized by cruise line is phenomenon. Minus one star because of the visit at Liarsville. We stopped there for an hour for nothing.View All 1212 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews
We were there at the sunset, nothing much to see.View All 1 Mt. Tolmie Reviews
Ok bus tour, limited view. The tour guide is very knowledgeable and fun. This type of tour is good for guests who are > 60 years old with limited walk and exercise. They took us to Tim and Horton which is disappointing. Overly sweet and so-so coffee. Since it is part of the tour and they gave us a lot of goodies, it is ok for us but we'd rather spend more time in the city before it's dark.View All 61 Scenic Victoria City Tour Reviews