Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by SimonBlade
- Sail Date: November 2018
- Destination: Australia & New Zealand
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Veranda
Cabin - black scum line around the toilet bowl and congealed dirt stuck to the wall. The kind of accommodation you would expect in a caravan in the 1970’s. Reds and browns designed to hide the filth accumulated over years. Bathroom like faded yellow fibreglass and toiletries guaranteed to have your skin flaming within 24 hours.
Entertainment - the shows in the theatre were the highlight and the experience was improved when the lights dimmed and it was no longer necessary to look at the tired mahogany seats and gold velvet/synthetic seat covers. Other musical entertainment was thin on the ground and ironically given its scarcity, almost universally terrible. One evening the only live music entertainment at 10pm on a boat with 3,000 plus people was a male vocalist with a mouth organ. A waiter helpfully suggested I go to the silent disco where there would be a choice of three different music types to listen to! This ship is boring beyond belief.
Food - I cannot begin to describe how bad the food is. Looked forward to getting off at every port of call to find something edible. Only managed on trip to the crowded buffet place at the top of the ship. Could hardly find breakfast cereal not covered in sugar or synthetically multicoloured. Yoghurt - only peach or apricot made from skimmed milk. It is an insult to the English language to name the main restaurant Grand Epernay. The food was almost universally cold, over-cooked, bland ... dreadful, I am reminded of a motorway service station,
Specialty Dining - Invested in a package in the hope that throwing money at the problem may resolve the inclusive dining experience. How wrong I was. The worst experience had the be the specialty Asian restaurant called Silk Harvest. The fact that this restaurant is a hybrid of purportedly Japanese, Chinese and Thai food (plus a bit of Indonesian and Malay) should have been a warning signal but nothing could prepare me for the “favourite” cheese wantons. I think some of this congealed glob is still stuck to the top of my palate. The only remotely passable specialty restaurant was Murano, which, believe it or not is French, apparently named after an original Murano shade which has now been replaced by a plastic replica after the original broke.
Bars - Think drinking on the edge of a casino corridor being oggled by the passing foot traffic. No intimacy anywhere just places to very occasionally have your ear drums assaulted by the dreadful house singers when Celebrity disdained to fit them into their pitiful live music schedules. I do a disservice. There is a Cellar Master Wine Bar just off the main drag. Trouble is in port this becomes the main gangway so it is not difficult to imagine what the carpet is like - gross.
Drinks Package - Persuaded to upgrade to premium package before we left. It was not explained that classic package could be used pay for premium drinks with a small uplift over the premium ceiling. Further, it became apparent that Celebrity has a policy of not holding premium drinks and numerous outlets and trying to fob off inferior quality drinks. On more than one occassion we were given a sparkling blanc de blanc when we had requested champagne. The default premium chardonnay was a Celebrity label wine called Elegance. I was unable to get a glass of Poilly Fume or a bottle of Grolsch (as advertised on their premium list) anywhere on the ship. About a week into the cruise I discovered that Evian water was available on the premium package - not once had it been offered! Celebrity should provide what has been paid for.
Guest Relations - My wife had a visa issue. She was told her business visa would not allow her entry into Australia so we applied for a tourist visa. Over four days we had to make numerous visits to the Guest Relations desk to be told numerous different stories before finally being told she could now gain entry to Australia an hour before we were about to be disembarked on a business visa organised by Celebrity. I understand there can be visa issues but Celebrity refused our numerous requests for a face-to-face meeting with the Documentation Officer despite her frequently being in the adjacent office, or condescend to provide an explanation. The reality is they did not deal with our predicament until the last minute and we were truly anticipating being disembarked at the last minute - which ironically I was somewhat hoping for by this stage.
My advice to anyone would be to avoid Celebrity generally and the Solstice in particular.
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