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For background, we (my wife and I), have been cruising since 2012, our first and third cruises were with Celebrity, and had anyone asked us since that time, we would have recommended them as our favourite cruise line. We have also cruised with HAL, RCL, NCL and Princess. Unfortunately, we can no longer say that after our last outing on the Solstice. The Staff The staff are still top notch. Our stateroom attendant was excellent (best to date), the Martini Bar crew are still excellent fun, and the activities staff and main dining room staff were also very good. Nothing to fault here. The Ship The ship is starting to show its age a bit, but it is still pretty good considering its been cruising for over a decade. It could use a freshening up, but it’s still fine. There were noise issues, however, in a number of the cabins. A fellow trivia team mate, and former merchant mariner, suggested air conditioning ducts were probably loosening in their brackets, causing intermittent clanging noises. Presumably this is something that would have to be addressed in dry dock. The balcony door also caused quite a racket when exposed to moderate winds, but leaving it unlocked helped with that issue (at least for us). The Seaview Cafe So many cruise lines focus on getting quantity out there and often the food is cool when it should be hot and/or variety is lacking. The Solstice is still above average on this front, in my opinion. Main Dining Room This is where the Solstice is failing, badly. This is not just our opinion, but something echoed by many other passengers. The issue is not with the staff, however, who were excellent, in our experience, but rather the food variety and quality. Variety was generally lacking as we saw many repeat dishes over the 16 day cruise. In addition, the chefs seemed to have a fixation with cold soups and smothering seafood dishes with tomato-based sauces. We looked forward to the lobster tail on the second last day, but it was basted with an unknown seasoning which completely ruined the dish. Dessert pastries were generally OK, but hardly spectacular. When asked why local fare wasn’t used (Blue mana crabs are in season in Australia), it was suggested such meals would only be in the speciality dining rooms. Speciality dining We didn’t – the prices are becoming quite ridiculous. Activities Meh best describes this. After having a lot of fun on the Norwegian Breakaway, where we almost had to jog from event to event, 3 hour gaps in the Solstice activities simply don’t cut it. Some nights there were mini game shows, which were reasonably fun, but for the rest it was trivia and name that tune. The activities crew were good, but they were hampered by lack of numbers and props/facilities. The stand out for us was a guest lecturer (Bill Lee) covering theoretical physics. My advice to Celebrity: You were never the go to for bells and whistles activities and entertainment. Get your food sorted out, at the very least, or you’ll find those staterooms progressively harder to fill.

Has Celebrity lost its edge?

Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by BulldustHHH

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2019
  • Destination: Australia & New Zealand
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Veranda (partially obstructed view)
For background, we (my wife and I), have been cruising since 2012, our first and third cruises were with Celebrity, and had anyone asked us since that time, we would have recommended them as our favourite cruise line. We have also cruised with HAL, RCL, NCL and Princess. Unfortunately, we can no longer say that after our last outing on the Solstice.

The Staff

The staff are still top notch. Our stateroom attendant was excellent (best to date), the Martini Bar crew are still excellent fun, and the activities staff and main dining room staff were also very good. Nothing to fault here.

The Ship

The ship is starting to show its age a bit, but it is still pretty good considering its been cruising for over a decade. It could use a freshening up, but it’s still fine. There were noise issues, however, in a number of the cabins. A fellow trivia team mate, and former merchant mariner, suggested air conditioning ducts were probably loosening in their brackets, causing intermittent clanging noises. Presumably this is something that would have to be addressed in dry dock. The balcony door also caused quite a racket when exposed to moderate winds, but leaving it unlocked helped with that issue (at least for us).

The Seaview Cafe

So many cruise lines focus on getting quantity out there and often the food is cool when it should be hot and/or variety is lacking. The Solstice is still above average on this front, in my opinion.

Main Dining Room

This is where the Solstice is failing, badly. This is not just our opinion, but something echoed by many other passengers. The issue is not with the staff, however, who were excellent, in our experience, but rather the food variety and quality. Variety was generally lacking as we saw many repeat dishes over the 16 day cruise. In addition, the chefs seemed to have a fixation with cold soups and smothering seafood dishes with tomato-based sauces. We looked forward to the lobster tail on the second last day, but it was basted with an unknown seasoning which completely ruined the dish. Dessert pastries were generally OK, but hardly spectacular. When asked why local fare wasn’t used (Blue mana crabs are in season in Australia), it was suggested such meals would only be in the speciality dining rooms.

Speciality dining

We didn’t – the prices are becoming quite ridiculous.

Activities

Meh best describes this. After having a lot of fun on the Norwegian Breakaway, where we almost had to jog from event to event, 3 hour gaps in the Solstice activities simply don’t cut it. Some nights there were mini game shows, which were reasonably fun, but for the rest it was trivia and name that tune. The activities crew were good, but they were hampered by lack of numbers and props/facilities. The stand out for us was a guest lecturer (Bill Lee) covering theoretical physics.

My advice to Celebrity:

You were never the go to for bells and whistles activities and entertainment. Get your food sorted out, at the very least, or you’ll find those staterooms progressively harder to fill.
BulldustHHH’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Entertainment
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