Celebrity Solstice Cruise Review by teamflames
- Sail Date: September 2019
- Destination: Australia & New Zealand
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Veranda
Embarkation was generally smooth although our check in agent was clearly inexperienced and flustered and things were progressing very slowly until a manger noticed and intervened. Everyone at the port was very friendly.
Unfortunately the weather turned but we still decided to hit the pool, as it was raining no one joined us and we got the pool and most of the deck to ourselves.
The ship was in very good condition. Captain Alex was phenomenal and proves that good management trickles down as we found all the crew to be incredibly fun and helpful. The captains announcements were always entertaining and even more importantly he always kept guests informed on all events. He even stood and farewelled every guest on departure- impressive! The CD Maarten was a young Belgium fellow who we feared might struggle with the predominantly Aussie crowd but we could not have been more wrong, his enthusiasm and self deprecating manner was perfect. Everyone was full of praise for his efforts. Likewise his partner in crime Patrick led the activities amazingly well. Chico and Mulvey were great supports.
We had a balcony cabin and it amazed me again how comfortable these cabins are, they are large as was the balcony. Loads of storage space. Comfortable bathroom. Our attendant Arnold was phenomenal. It was a little worn but very comfortable.
Dining - we were very nervous after some very forgettable dining experiences on the Eclipse. Our nerves were allayed after our first night in the mdr. Service was amazing and the quality of food was good. We moved around a little but once we found Pranata we never left him again, easily the best waiter we have had. Not surprisingly we lost him one night when the F&B manger dined in the mdr and our waiter was assigned to him. This in fact was a minor gripe of ours as why should we as paying customers receive inferior service so that an officer is looked after? Our questions on this matter were never responded to. As the mdr was good and we have felt underwhelmed on previous experiences we gave the specialty dining a miss, it is simply way too expensive for a supplemental experience. This didn’t stop them trying everyday to upsell us on dining and wine experiences.
We had the premium beverage package, we found drinks in the world class bar to be exceptional, however as per usual there were problems attaining premium drinks in other locations. This is a real bugbear of mine, if you choose to sell a premium product than it is your duty to supply what you promise, while it was better than on the Eclipse too many times we were simply told something wasn’t available. My main complaint however again goes to the Martini bar, I know others love this location but it is a disgrace. Incorrect glasses consistently used, inferior spirits often used. They try and distract people with tricks but the product is poor. A classic martini was served in a huge Margarita glass, if I had drunk this I would probably be dead right now. I have found this bar a problem on every cruise and it continued. Overall though bar service and drink quality was improved (still inferior to HAL).
Entertainment- the productions shows were excellent and big kudos to the ship and X for using a live band/orchestra, it makes such a difference. The highlight of the cruise was the Polynesian performance in Tahiti, this was an amazing show. Most other guest entertainment was a little lacklustre and the shows that Chico (part of the actives team) put on were far superior! There were loads of activities, lectures, music etc so you could never be bored.
Service - as mentioned previously was top notch. Dining, bars, housekeeping, guest relations were all good. Crew regularly joked with us, seemed to know our names which is amazing on such a big ship. Kudos to the hotel manager because with so many sea days it is understandable that crew get tired but this simply wasn’t the case on our cruise.
Ports - this was really a repositioning cruise but the ports were very enjoyable. Lahaina on Maui was very cute, Bora Bora was sensational.Bay of islands was gorgeous. Weather and sea conditions were generally good. Even our “rough” sea day was relatively tame, the captain went out of his way to avoid the weather.
This cruise was just one of those great cruises where the vibe on the ship was seriously relaxed. Everyone seemed to be full of praise for the crew.
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