We have sailed on 4 Celebrity ships all in Aquaclass, and enjoy the access to BLU as well as the Spa amenities. We chose Solstice for the itinerary, as New Zealand was on the bucket list. We stayed in Auckland, on Princes Wharf, so we were able to leave our hotel room, walk to the end of the building, drop our luggage, and enter the cruise port within a few minutes. We were directed to a line for Aqua passengers, and were boarding the ship within 10-15 minutes.
Service and food quality in Blu was exceptional. We dined around 7pm most nights, and did not have to wait to be seated. The waiters and assistant waiters worked together as a team, and quickly learned our names and preferences.
We found the bartenders and waiters went out of their way to find a selection of wines to match our beverage package. The choices available in the outside bar at Oceanview tend to be narrow, but the inside Oceanview bar always had multiple premium wine choices to pick from.
We found the ship interior and out cabin to be in great shape. This was our second time on Solstice, and the prior time the cabin and common areas were clean, but we noticed little things like a tear in the drapes, and chipping paint on the balcony. It appeared that things are being attended to, as the linens, drapes, carpet, furniture was in great shape this time, and we returned to the ship one day to find a crew repainting the balcony ceiling.
Cabin attendant John was responsive, and attentive without being intrusive. The room was cleaned and well stocked twice daily. He was usually available in the hall if we needed something, or could be reached via phone. This room has the overhang from the pool deck above, which we prefer, as it is sheltered from sun and rain.
DIY - Devonport:
Easy trip via Fullers Ferry to Devonport. The town is quaint, and the views of Auckland from Mount Victoria Summit are beautiful.
We cruised Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sounds. The morning was a bit rained, but the weather kept improving, and by the time we were leaving Doubtful Sound the sun was out, and the visibility in Milford was perfect. It was a very scenic and relaxing day in Fiordland National Park.