We were looking forward to the Solstice as not previously been on this ship, but on other Celebrity Ship.
Weather was not too kind to us, mostly rain or wind or cold, no laying around on desk this cruise.
Ship is good size and has lots of good features, however it seems very sterile with not much colour.
From the time you get on, the main thing you notice is the sell, sell, sell of the staff. Buy a drink package, buy a restaurant package, buy a spa package, buy this buy that. This is normal first day on most ships, but it went on most of the cruise.
The main thing I found that irritated us was the cost of everything, all prices are in $US. So for example a can of beer in $Aust works out to be $12 to $18, and a wine is from $19 up, it just goes on. Even the bottle spirits from the duty free on board work out to be the same price as purchasing from Coles or Woollies. A coffee was $9 for a very small cup.
There are so many restaurants on board and all except one I think you need to pay big money to enter, we just ate at the Oceanview Buffett ( it was fine - it had a few themed meals, and seating was available without much problem most of the time).
The cast on board shows ( two only ) were terrible, not like you would expect.
Other entertainers were quite reasonable ( however, everyone of them was from Australia).
Best part of the day was the Elite 2 hour drinks, if we didn't get that, then I would not have had a drink at the prices they were asking.
The cabin was fine - except the cabin steward kept forgetting to put things in our room.
The Casino was the biggest I have seen, it took up half of one desk.
There were two guest lecturers ( one on astronomy and one on wildlife ), they were both good and interesting.
Staff - some were happy some were very sad looking indeed.
We could opted out of graduities not problems.
Captain was funny and worth listening too at 10am.
No laundries on board, so either pay heaps or take into shower and hang up in the room.
Room also had the best air conditioning control we have ever had, it would alter temperature by about 5 degrees up and down if not more.
Day entertainment and night activities were so so, mid ship always was small area and no open room. Not much to do on deck, just lots of sitting areas, no big screen.
Overall was disappointed in the ship and was not up to the hype.
We flew into Wellington and boarded the Northern Explorer to Auckland train, it was a full day and was excellent value, we organised.
Walked up Mt Manganui as usual, then took the free shuttle to Tauranga for a walk around.
Rained most of the day, took the free shuttle into town and went to Museum's etc with lots of walking. Lovely city.
We walked up the hill to the towers for the view's, then back to ship for lunch then out again for walks along beach roads and boardwalks.
Took the local bus into Dunedin ( $6 each way) shuttle was $20 direct, local bus went into other towns etc, much more interesting. Took local bus No.8 out the Baldwin St ( steepest street in the world) and walked up and down. Then back into town and walked around the local areas just out of main area for some more interesting sites as been here 4 times .
Just walked around the port area and up and down the city area for a few hours.
Next day took the local bus over the bridge to Rosny to walk up the lookout hill, then walked along the waterfront walk that goes for a few kilometers. Even seen a large rare dolphin just off shore. Then walked into large shoppping centre for lunch etc, then bus back to city for another walk around to see Museum's etc.
Always lovely going through the fiords. Some rain but still great.