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10 Celebrity Perth (Fremantle) Cruise Reviews

Here we are on the second leg of our back to back Celebrity Solstice Cruse, returning to the ship for the second leg at the Port of Fremantle. We found embarkation excellent with no hassles whatsoever. Here again, we give the five star ... Read More
Here we are on the second leg of our back to back Celebrity Solstice Cruse, returning to the ship for the second leg at the Port of Fremantle. We found embarkation excellent with no hassles whatsoever. Here again, we give the five star rating mainly because of the excellent service by the staff, including our room attendant for the second leg, again this was Raymundo who looked after our every need and his service was quite outstanding. As we were in Aqua Class, we dined in the restaurant for Aqua Class guests, which is called Blu. This time in our serving section of Blu, we received outstanding service from "Uncle Jimmy", ably assisted by Sabar, with our wine sommalier, Ben, plus all other staff members in Blu who also attended us from time, ten out of ten to these assistants too. We must also mention Dimitri in the World Class Bar, who gave us superb service during our second leg. After leaving Perth, our first port of call was Adelaide again. Here we found the disembarkation a lot smoother than the previous forward visit to this port, as Celebrity used two gangways which made ease of offloading of guests much smoother. Our next stop was Melbourne. Here the ship docks at Port Melbourne which is in close proximity to the shopping district of Port Melbourne and trams into the Melbourne city precinct. Our next stop was supposed to be the Sounds, including Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound, but due to a medical emergency by one of the guests, the ship returned to the dock of Melbourne after an announcement over the PA system at about midnight. Here we lost approximately twelve hours of sailing time and it was the decision of the Captain and the Company to miss visiting the Sounds. A large number of guests were very unhappy about this decision as the Sounds are the major highlight of this particular voyage. A more practical solution would have been to miss either Dunedin, Akaroa or Wellington. As we ourselves had seen the Sounds before, we were not quite as upset as many other guests on board. The next port of call was Dunedin followed by Akaroa, Wellington, Picton and then the final leg to Sydney Australia. As we had seen many of the shows on the previous back to back cruise, we omitted to view these on the second leg, but they did have a few new single artists who were entertaining. We noticed during both cruises that some of the entertainers we had seen previously on Celebrity Solstice cruises and these entertainers need to have "fresh" material for guests, as you are hearing the same jokes and material. The public areas throughout the ship were always kept spotlessly clean by a highly efficient maintenance team. Hand sanitisers are provided at the openings to all restaurants, but we noticed on this second leg of the cruise there were a lot more people sneezing and coughing, which even after our own stringent hand washing with our own personal hand sanitiser, we still managed to still pick up head colds and flu. As is the case, it is not the ship that causes the colds and flu, it is the guests with no consideration whatsoever for the health of fellow passengers with their sanitising procedures. Arriving home sick with colds and flu is no fun. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Our first visit to Australia and New Zealand was in October 2015, when we cruised from Sydney round both Islands of New Zealand, returning to Sydney. Unfortunately, storms prevented us from visiting Fiordland, Dunedin and Akaroa on that ... Read More
Our first visit to Australia and New Zealand was in October 2015, when we cruised from Sydney round both Islands of New Zealand, returning to Sydney. Unfortunately, storms prevented us from visiting Fiordland, Dunedin and Akaroa on that occasion, with two days spent in Wellington, an unscheduled port, instead. Despite the long journey from the UK, when we spotted the Celebrity Solstice cruise from Perth (Fremantle), along the south coast and on to South Island NZ, finishing in Sydney, we thought it too good to miss, with the Southern Autumn offering a different season for our visit and, hopefully, better weather for Fiordland, which is the major attraction on this and similar cruises. We always spend a few days at the departure port to avoid the risk of missing the ship! Perth was enjoyable, with beautiful weather. Our travel agent provided a taxi to take us to Fremantle and we were on board Solstice before lunch, after a very swift embarkation process, with our Concierge Class room being available at around 14.00. The required safety briefing for us took place in the Art area, with very little seating and a limited view of the small screen, where an adventure-style film, presumably aimed at young people, rather failed to bring across the important safety points which would have been much clearer in a traditional presentation and was somewhat insulting to adults, in my opinion. This was our first voyage with Celebrity. Our room was fairly centrally placed, on deck 10, not far from the library area, which provided a useful land mark! We were between the two projecting areas and found the overhang above us useful in providing shade, although we were limited in our view of the stars on some clear nights. We chose the port side of the ship to place us on the landward and sunny side during the cruise. The view was slightly spoilt by the window cleaning gantry off to the right above us, but otherwise everything was fine and we had a good degree of privacy. Solstice has a central atrium, reaching to deck 14, with glass fronted lifts and an interesting living tree in an enormous pot suspended in the space. Live entertainment took place at times on the lowest deck, deck three, which also housed the Customer Relations desk. Unfortunately, the live entertainment could be devastatingly loud, making communication difficult with the desk staff as well as being extremely unpleasant. The noise reached high up through the atrium space and we were thankful to be far enough away not to be disturbed. We choose to eat all our meals in the self-service area on deck 14, mainly because we like to watch the world go by and also because we like the relaxed atmosphere. The area is often quiet in the evenings, but not always so. A concern was the fact that the hand sanitisers were placed near the entrance, but a good distance from the serving areas, meaning that a return to the sanitiser took longer than on most ships, where they are available next to the food area. They were manned at busy times by a member of staff, who also dispensed the sanitiser as you passed, but in the evenings it was up to the individual to use them, and not everyone did. We were told that the particular liquid in use on Solstice took time to dry and could not be placed close to the food area. On one occasion, we asked if French Onion soup was on the menu during the cruise and we were assured it could be requested from the MDR on any evening. We tried this and it was not so simple, but we did eventually receive our excellent soup! Generally, there was a good choice of food at various stations and usually no long queues. The staff were quick to clear tables and remove trays. The bar staff also were friendly and helpful. Because we don’t use the entertainment facilities and only used the bars to order our drinks with our complimentary package, plus preferring to eat all our meals in the self-service facility, our experience of the ship was fairly limited because we could access most places quickly from the central area. We did enjoy the hot tubs in the evenings, when it was quiet, and the promenade area on decks 15 and 16, with the interesting Hot Glass Show, but the lack of a lower, covered promenade area on the lifeboat deck was somewhat disappointing. Only a small public area was available on that deck. My general impression of Solstice was that it was somewhat characterless, but very pleasant nevertheless. We had on-board credit and put it towards a Wifi package, which covered the whole cruise. The Wifi was excellent with high speeds and we made the most of the facility to post photos to our family and friends, at home in the UK with the Beast from the East. Our first port of call was Adelaide, where we took the train into town to visit the Botanical Gardens. Afterwards, we waited for an overdue free bus to tour the town, but got off after ten minutes as we had hardly moved in the heavy traffic and thought we had better return to the ship! Melbourne was our next port, where we met up with family and enjoyed a tour of the Diamond Valley Railway with my cousin, a founder member of the miniature railway group. By the time we had enjoyed lunch and visited my cousins’ homes, our planned tram ride in the city had to be abandoned, but we made the 16.30 deadline at the ship with 20 minutes to spare! Concierge Class passengers were invited onto the Helideck for the sailaway, a very windy location that afternoon, but the views of Port Philip Bay and the strong currents, The Rips, were worth facing the stiff breeze. The forecast for our visit to Fiordland was looking good, as bad weather frequently prevents entry into the Sounds. However, late in the evening of our departure from Melbourne, the Cruise Director made an announcement directly into staterooms, an unusual procedure other than in emergencies. Unfortunately, a passenger had been taken seriously ill after our departure and needed to be taken back to Melbourne. Other methods of evacuation were not possible, we were told. Consequently, the morning of the next day found us leaving Port Philip Bay once again and we were informed that the time lost meant our scenic cruising in Fiordland was cancelled. This being the highlight of the cruise, most passengers were far from happy about the cancellation, although the needs of the passenger concerned, who apparently was recovering, were not disputed. It was felt that at least one of the Sounds might still have been a possibility, but a film made by the Captain and the Cruise Director, shown all day, explained the decisions made. Our conclusion is that Fiordland is best visited by land! We had spent time in Doubtful Sound in 2015, but were still very frustrated by the second missed visit. Thus we had an extra day at sea, on top of the eight sea days already in the itinerary, so Dunedin was a welcome chance to go ashore, especially after missing the port in 2015. Again we visited the Botanical Gardens, with an extensive aviary, then the delightful Chinese Gardens. The shuttle bus from Port Chalmers should have cost 20 US$, but the charge was removed with no explanation. The sailaway was another spectacular journey. Akaroa was a tendered port, another missed in 2015. We had booked an independent trip with Akaroa Dolphins for midday, thinking that we might not make the earlier boat, but email messages informed us that forecast bad weather meant that our boat was cancelled and offered us places on the earlier trip. Tickets are required to take the tender boats, but we were still able to disembark in plenty of time. We were lucky enough to see a good number of dolphins, better than the four seen the previous day! The weather did indeed deteriorate and the tender boat back to the ship provided some unfortunate passengers with several cold showers, as waves washed through the open door. Our only port in North Island was Wellington. This time, the ship had to dock further from the town following earthquake damage after our previous visit, but once again the shuttle bus was unexpectedly free of charge. From the town, we went by free shuttle to Zealandia Wildlife Park, which we visited in 2015, well worth visiting for the bird life as well as the setting. There are also Tuataras to spot in a protected area. The shuttle returned us to the top of the Botanical Garden, where a “cable car” or funicular can be taken down to the town, but we walked down through the gardens. Picton is a pleasant small town. The ship docks in a nearby harbour so once again a free shuttle bus was needed. The bus driver mentioned the EcoWorld Aquarium, where Tuataras can be seen at close quarters, so we called in after visiting the Craft Market and enjoyed the Little Blue Penguin, almost ready to be returned to the wild, as well as the other inhabitants and especially the Cook Island Tuatara we were allowed to touch. Cook Island Tuataras live in temperatures which dictate that their eggs are female, so they are not threatened. On the other hand, Brothers Island Tuataras live in warming areas which means they produce males and are threatened, with very few females left. EcoWorld has two males but cannot introduce a female until one male proves to be dominant over two years. These two have not decided the issue yet. Nothing is fast in a Tuatara’s life. The sailaway through Queen Charlotte Sound was once again a wonderful experience. We enjoy cruising for the scenery and the wildlife we encounter along the way and we were not disappointed, being treated to visits from dolphins on several occasions, but you have to be looking, of course. We prefer to self-disembark, carrying our suitcases, so we were off the ship around 07.00, having watched Solstice enter Sydney Harbour in the dark, and we had deposited our cases in the Shangri-La and were out enjoying Sydney by 08.00. In the evening, we watched Solstice depart, while we still had several days left to reacquaint ourselves with Sydney. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We finally had a window of time to travel to this part of the world. Our sixteen-night cruise was sandwiched in between two road trips to explore this beautiful area. We arrived a week before our sail away from Freemantle and were glad ... Read More
We finally had a window of time to travel to this part of the world. Our sixteen-night cruise was sandwiched in between two road trips to explore this beautiful area. We arrived a week before our sail away from Freemantle and were glad we had this time to explore a small part of WA. We spent four nights in Margaret River and four in Perth. Great wine, delicious food, and sandy beaches are the best way to kick start any vacation! We stayed at a Quest property in Perth across from King's Park that was an apartment hotel. This worked perfectly as it provided a way to launder a week’s worth of clothes before setting out on the cruise. It also was close enough to return the rental car and walk back to the hotel. We took a taxi from Perth to the port in Freemantle, a thirty-minute ride and $38 AUD. Once you board the ship and go through passport control you are not allowed to go back off the ship. However, you can drop off your luggage and board later if you want to see a few more things in port. Embarkation was smooth and we were in our Aqua 2 cabin by 1:30 pm. Our aft location had staterooms above and below and we found it to be very quiet. Our configuration had the sofa nearest the balcony which had two chairs and footstools. Our luggage arrived before the muster drill and there was adequate storage space to unpack. The luggage fit under the bed. Before we had lunch, we confirmed our dinner reservations in the specialty restaurants (purchased onboard 4/$125,) manicure in the spa, and purchased an internet package with our Captain Club discount. Connection speed was good during sea days. Demographics-Mostly American, Canadian, British, Australian, Kiwis. There were only 16 children on board. Dining/Drinks-Liked the Classic Beverage Package and the fact that you could pay the difference if you ocassionaly wanted something more expensive. Also, the package was convenient for getting bottled water at the bars or coffee at Café al Bacio Blu was a big factor in our decision to book an Aqua class cabin and we were not disappointed. We appreciated having a smaller venue for dinner and always got a table for two at our preferred later time. We were fine with getting a drink at the World Class Bar if we had to wait a bit to get a window table or to be seated in a preferred area. We found the food to be very good and enough choices including a few that were always available from MDR menu. Favorites were short ribs and corn soup volute. The sommelier was available when you needed him. The breakfast menu was ok but you could get both your bacon and English muffin crispy if requested! Tuscan Grill-excellent food with matching service. We wanted to try a few appetizers and they accommodated us with smaller portions. Veal Marsala with polenta fries and pappardelle were favorites. Silk Harvest-great variety of dishes to try and they also portioned them just right. All delicious with favorites being Black Bean Chicken and Orange Beef. Excellent service as well. Murano-Exceptional food and service. We recommend the Chateaubriand for 2. As we had visited some wineries before the cruise, we purchased a couple of bottles to enjoy with dinner knowing there would be a corkage fee. We brought one bottle with us for dinner but it appeared somewhat awkward as though this was more an exception. We just wanted to enjoy a local wine and something not available to us back home Chef’s Table-a definite splurge but well worth it. We started at Celler Masters getting acquainted with our fellow tablemates enjoying Champagne and canapés. We were then treated to a tour of the MDR galley and the Murano kitchen as well. The multi-course dinner and wine pairing with the chef was a lot of fun and delicious too! Oceanview Café-good for a quick bite with some buffet menu items changing from day to day. A large variety from breakfast options, salads, sandwiches, hot items, desserts. My favorite was Caesar Salad. Aquaspa Café-I tried this twice and did not find what I wanted. Only plain yogurt not basic vanilla. The turkey wraps were seasoned well but the tomatoes made them soggy. Too bad as I liked the seating area. Mast Grill-great burgers and you could get cooked onions on them too. Tables close to the rail in this area as well World Class Bar-great service either at the bar or in the comfy chairs. A good place to have a pre or post dinner drink. Usually entertainment offered as well Martini Bar-this iced bar was always buzzing and Espresso Martinis the best Cellar Masters-a cozy clubby atmosphere but service not the best Café al Bacio-great coffee and desserts. Often difficult to get a seat. Best get a take-away and go down a level to find a place to sit and read/plan your day The Lawn-a favorite spot but getting a seat is like winning the lottery Room Service-we used it three times and our breakfast arrived on time (even early) and at the right temperature. Even if you forgot to request something obvious like butter or jam for your toast it was included. Entertainment –We were pleasantly surprised with the entertainment onboard. Throughout the ship you would find a variety of musical genres being performed whether it was classical, R&R, jazzy, music in the Atrium for ballroom dancing. In the theater a variety of performers entertained us with song, comedy, and acrobatics. Some like Andy Joy and Belinda Marks even performed matinee shows on the many sea days we had. We also can’t deny how funny the “Newlywed and Not so Newly Wed” show and similar ones were as well as the Silent Disco. Things we never thought we would participate in. Also enjoyed the Corning Glass Show. Staff-Can’t compliment them enough for their hard work with a smile to ensure guests have a wonderful cruise Ports Freemantle/Perth-Great history with lots to see and do. We were so glad that we got to spend time in Western Australia and at the end of our long trip on land and sea it stands out as one of our favorite places. If you embark from here arrive early to enjoy this part of the country. Adelaide-Only an 8-5 stop and we arranged for a trip to the Barossa Valley wine country and liked it. Melbourne-Wish we had an overnight here as short time provided only an overview of the city. Would definitely return. Fjords-Dusky, Doubtful, and Milford Sound. Unfortunately, ours was the cruise that experienced a medical emergency and after sailing six hours away from Melbourne we had to return. This prevented our sailing through the Sounds as timing would not be viable once we were back on course. We understand this decision but for some guests it was a great disappointment after traveling so far. Dunedin-We booked a small group tour which included a visit to Larnach Castle. A fascinating story to a beautiful place. Akaroa-This is a tender stop. There is a small cluster of shops and cafes when you get off the tender. We walked around the shore and then walked up to The Giant’s House. It was definitely worth the $20 NZD as the life-size mosaic sculptures created by Ms. Martin are stunning as is her lovely garden. A real gem of a photo opportunity. Go inside and watch the video as it gives you a good background story. There is also a café on site. This is definitely an Akaroa highlight. Otherwise, as scenic as this stop is you may be underwhelmed for things to do if you plan to just stay in town. Wellington-Visit the National Museum Te Papa Tongarewa. The modern museum is well done and entry is free. A good place to learn about Maori art and culture. There was a free shuttle from the ship to the Tourist Information Center and you could walk to the museum from there. You can also visit the Botanic Garden riding the cable car up to the top. We explored this on our own by walking but it is a bit of a walk once you leave the garden if you don’t take the cable car back down. You can catch the free shuttle for your return to the ship. Picton-Marlborough Valley is a beautiful area. Book a tour and enjoy some wine! Sydney-sailing in at dawn and seeing the Sydney Opera House.....as they say...Priceless! Disembarkation Sydney-As at the end of any cruise I've taken, when you get off the ship you will find your luggage grouped somewhere in the terminal. It was pouring rain when we got off the ship and we were flying to Aukland to do a land trip. We had booked an airport transfer and glad we did. The only difficulty was having more luggage than was easily carried outside to the street where the coaches were parked without having a luggage cart or any porters to assist you and rain! This was a great cruise but I believe the contributing factor was having the drink package, Aqua with Blu access, and OBC that covered most of the extras. All perks that made a difference for a hassle free time. It would have been nice if more wines from Australia and NZ were on the ship's wine list since it spends a lot of the year cruising in this region. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Because it was going to the countries we have always wanted to visit and we wanted to do it in luxury.We were a bit disappointed we did not see the Sounds but understood the circumstances,the Captain made the correct decision to save ... Read More
Because it was going to the countries we have always wanted to visit and we wanted to do it in luxury.We were a bit disappointed we did not see the Sounds but understood the circumstances,the Captain made the correct decision to save somebody"s life.The staff were excellent and we cannot single anyone out because they were very professional in their roles and are a credit to Celebrity Cruises. The variety of restaurants catered for everyone and the food was excellent. The shows were brilliant and all the acts were professional. This cruise was a celebration of our Golden Wedding Anniversary and we could not have wished for a more wonderful and exciting. It is something that will live in our hearts for ever.It also gave a wonderful opportunity to see our old neighbours who emigrated to New Zealand 47years ago.We had a wonderful day with them recalling many memories and Celebrity Cruises made it all possible. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Wonderful Holiday. Lovely helpful smiling crew. A Joy to be around. We have done 5 previous cruises and never on Celebrity. If this is what this cruise line always offers we will most certainly be travelling with them again. We are a ... Read More
Wonderful Holiday. Lovely helpful smiling crew. A Joy to be around. We have done 5 previous cruises and never on Celebrity. If this is what this cruise line always offers we will most certainly be travelling with them again. We are a couple 61 and 67 and were not looking for a specific itinerary just a relaxed holiday. This vessel suited us perfectly. Its not got the wow standout flashy but a more sophisticated vessel I believe they spend their money on the things that count. Also I felt other ships which we have travelled on more suited to the younger set and family holiday fun. It didn't have roller skating, slides etc. At our age we worry about dislocating something so they are always irrelevant other than entertaining to watch. We seem to tolerate child cruising easier than most but I must admit it was nice to not have them taking over the lifts and pools. Only about 10 children on board who were looked after and taken care of extremely well with more one on one staff than normal. We loved the real grass on the top deck and used the area often enjoying the ambiance of the outside aft bar with its wonderful high views and picnic wine tasting on a blanket was very different. We also loved the onboard glass blowing studio in the same area. That was such a treat as were the many enrichment talks. We boarded in Fremantle quickly due to half the ships passengers staying on from the last cruise and disembarkation in Sydney was a breeze. We were supposed to go to Bali Darwin Cairns Whitsundays Brisbane Newcastle and Sydney. We enjoyed all except Bali. This was cancelled due to Terrorist Warnings issued by Indonesia and Australia. The staff mainly Indonesian and looking forward to visiting family held up very well. I was more upset for them than the passengers. I won't go into that any further only to say this is the way of the world and ultimately it is the decision of the shipping company and safety always prevails. Thank Heavens. Two nights Darwin was not so bad. Berthing at their lovely marina we got to see a little more than we had intended. I would have liked for mostly the lovely international travellers to have been more informed on what they were travelling past as they went around Australia. It was like the entire West Coast of Aus was not there. Unlike us they were here to see and learn. What else can I tell you. Wonderful Gym overlooking the water with very good up to date gear. I didn't use the Spa but it looked good. We had a veranda(balcony) which was lovely. Plenty of room the balcony offering lay back chairs and completely open half glass ensuring lovely outlook from the cabin. Plenty of cupboards draws even extra over the bed. Enough room under the bed to easily store medium size bags. This vessel supplied shampoo soap and moisturiser. The room attendants are fabulous but the poor buggers are sooo busy sanitising twice a day. No silly time waster bed animals but you get turn down and chocolates. My preference. The shower was glass wrapped and larger than I have previously experienced. I'm a coffee addict and just love it in my stateroom but there was no kettles on this vessel. The booking clerk told me to ask for one. That I did but none was given. Room service was good, we used that. We just made up a breakfast menu daily requesting early tea and coffee. It was good and still hot. For me laundry was a bit expensive. Celebrity does not have laundries on board so its best to pay the airlines for a little extra luggage and bring plenty if you are budgeting. Smart Casual was the main dress code at night though they did have a couple of Evening Chic if you wanted to dress up. During the day pretty casual. Bit of info for first timers. Its in the fineprint rarely read. Don't attempt to take electrical irons hairdryers or kettles as they will be picked up in the xray. Probably delay your bag to your room as you will be asked to go and take it out and only be given this back on departure. You can take on departure only two 750ml bottles of champers and wine and no hard spirits. If you take and its found this will also be confiscated and given back on dep. The vessel itself was spotless and much care was taken regarding hygiene. Buffet food was fabulous even sushi most days. You name it they had it. I gathered cheese at lunchtime from a large variety to go with my afternoon chardonnay. My husband headed to the fabulous icecream bar in the dinning room which was complimentary all day and night. Around the pool they had an easy access burger bar and in the adults only spa pool area a very very healthy alternative food venue. Epernay the main dinning room was where we ate most nights and here we found the food and table service very good. Lovely old fashioned service still. We love Asian Spicy Food so we had a night at Silk Harvest. Its one of the extra cost restaurants on board to us worth it. Sometimes they have special priced nights when they are not busy so purchasing on board when you feel like it and not in advance is a good idea. As per usual you can also purchase special coffees and teas and water but good and varied was available free. Always note the water out of your tap is the same as in the ice fridges. I heard people complaining about the cost of water and wondered what they were on about. We enjoyed all the nightly entertainment. Seeing anything live is just such a pleasure and there were some extremely skilled varied entertainers and shows on this voyage receiving stand up ovations. Of course you can't please everyone. I've found in life enjoyment is often more ones state of mind. What I can tell you is the absolute majority of 2500 loved the ship staff and cruise and 1100 were onboard for 35days. Many unwell unhealthy people were looked after by the staff so compassionately. We had a drinks packages which we thoroughly enjoyed. When you purchase these you must pay from that day daily to the end of the cruise but you can purchase anytime up to 4 days to disembarking. I believe most cocktails were about 14.50US and beer about 7US. Excursions were good and varied but on a ship this size you have to be prepared to go out sometimes large groups. The tender days were ok, well organised the ship spending extra money for large ferries from shore if available which made the transfers quicker and more comfortable and anyone disabled was looked after. Passengers doing their own thing are always limited to time only able to get off after ship booked excursion people. On a large ship its an issue you need to be prepared for. Time is a numbers thing. Quite a few first time cruisers on board did not relate just how long it takes to get people off and had organised to be met early. Speak to guest relations and they will help if they can. As with most ports you should do homework on them before you go. Look through these areas and perhaps ship ports on the internet. For instance the ship did not tell you there was a hop on hop off bus right at the port in Darwin and Sydney. Maybe they didn't know maybe they don't so you do their tours?. Baggage needing to be held securely for a while at the dock in Sydney is available but a bit of a climb if you are elderly and if the markets are on not an easy find. It also costs $20 per bag and only open 0930-5pm. My gripe only!!! Captains Club members had an exclusive function in the largest forward enclosed viewing area the Sky Lounge not once but twice right on departure time when all wanted to use it. This was a bad move by the entertainment organisers as it definitely put a few noses out of joint and not good for anyone with health issues. Go see for yourself. Unless you are a bunch of teenagers or have kids wanting climbing frames skating rinks or waterslides this ship will suit. If it doesn't I would suggest you stay at home. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our fourth Celebrity Solstice Cruise which departed from Fremantle on 3 March 2016 to destinations, Bali, Darwin, Cairns, Whitsundays (Airlie Beach), Brisbane, Newcastle and ending in Sydney. Boarding at Fremantle was hassle free ... Read More
This was our fourth Celebrity Solstice Cruise which departed from Fremantle on 3 March 2016 to destinations, Bali, Darwin, Cairns, Whitsundays (Airlie Beach), Brisbane, Newcastle and ending in Sydney. Boarding at Fremantle was hassle free although there was a slight delay with customs procedures for guests. The usual practice of having your picture taken whilst boarding the ship and the complimentary champagne or juice on arrival was as per usual on embarking days. There was a huge presence of specialty restaurant staff doing a fair bit of what we would call "pestering" for guests to dine in the speciality restaurants. As we had already pre-booked a 3 dinner package in specialty restaurants, this does become a bit annoying as it continues throughout the cruise days on the ship. Also talking about pestering, we find the same goes for the staff of the shops selling jewellery, watches, etc, along the walkway from the theatre as you leave the shows. We were in an Aqua class suite at the rear of the ship on the port side. We were very happy with this position as it was down the end of the corridor with less noise from passing traffic. We were happy with all aspects of the suite, including storage and hanging space. The bed was located next to the ensuite with the sofa next to the sliding door to the balcony. There were two chairs with footstools and a small table provided on the balcony. The air-conditioning in the suite provided comfort whilst on our journey. The ensuite, as in all Aqua class suites is of a good size with a sliding shower door and shower tower with jets. Our room attendants, Palton and Mahammad, were outstanding in the service they provided keeping our stateroom in topnotch condition, which was much appreciated. From our observations, on the Celebrity Solstice, the room attendants and public area staff do a wonderful job which could not be faulted. As Aqua class guests, we dined in the specialty restaurant for Aqua class guests "Blu". This was a first class operation run by extraordinaire maître d", Mugurel and his wonderful staff. Every one of them were friendly and attentive and you could not wish for better service from them. The food provided by the chef of Blu is of a very high quality in presentation and taste. The other specialty restaurants we dined in were Silk Harvest, Tuscan Grille and Murano, overseered by Jerry Van der Velde, maître d' of the specialty restaurants who does a great job in the services he offers guests. We make special mention in the specialty restaurants of Lina in Silk Harvest, Cagla in Tuscan Grille and Ibraham in Murano. We found their service to us whilst dining was first class. The Ocean View Café always seemed to be overcrowded to us, as was the Café Al Bacho at certain times. The shows each night provided a good range of artists but we did find the Celebrity Solstice in-house artists to be very loud in their singing, which in some cases, was quite ear-splitting. The cleanliness of the ship all over was very good with plenty of hand sanitizing stations available to guest. This is a very important aspect of ship cruising as guests are in close proximity to each other and one must be aware of the possibility of getting a cold or other virus unless extra attention to cleanliness of hands is practiced. Our first port stop was supposed to be Bali, but we were advised by the ship's captain by letter the day before we were scheduled to be in Bali, that we would not be going to Bali due to safety issues as there was a terrorist alert in place. (After arriving home and consulting our travel agent, we were advised that no other cruise ships took this action, so we wonder if there was any other reason that we were not advised of). Because we did not go to Bali, we had an extra day in Darwin, and an extra sea day. In Darwin we went on the Celebrity Litchfield Park shore excursion. This excursion we were quite satisfied with. Next stop was Cairns (Yorkeys Knob). This was a tender stop and here we chose the Celebrity Cairns Panorama Tour. This was a half day tour which showed the sights of Cairns including the botanical gardens and the seaside resort area of Palm Cove. Next stop was the Whitsundays (Airlie Beach). Here we took the Celebrity Airlie Beach sights and history tour. This was a half day tour which took us to a museum in Proserpine finishing off at the Airlie Beach Yacht Club for coffee and cake. Next stop was Brisbane where we took the Celebrity Brisbane sights and Lone Park Koala Sanctuary tour. We enjoyed the Koala Sanctuary although it was hugely overcrowded with many coach tours, which spoilt the experience. There was a long line-up just to get a drink. The next stop was Newcastle. As we were here on a Saturday, Newcastle (Hunter Street) had quite a buzz about it with markets at the far end of Hunter Street near the beach. The General Manager of Guest Relations, Mr Christian Bell, always ably assisted us with any queries or problems we had on the cruise and they were attended to in a prompt and efficient manner. All in all, we were very happy with this 17 night Australian Top End Cruise, although we were advised that Celebrity will no longer be doing this particular cruise in the future. The weather at this time of the year in the Top End area is extremely hot and humid and it was sometimes uncomfortable when on excursions or visiting the ports. However, the ship itself was always kept comfortably cool. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our second cruise. We are a couple of 50 year olds and we travelled with another couple of the same age. We had adjoining stern cabins 7311 & 7315 on deck 7. The cruise was titled Australia’s Top End and travelled from Perth ... Read More
This was our second cruise. We are a couple of 50 year olds and we travelled with another couple of the same age. We had adjoining stern cabins 7311 & 7315 on deck 7. The cruise was titled Australia’s Top End and travelled from Perth up around the top of Australia and finished in Sydney. All ports were Australian with the exception of Bali, Indonesia. 17 nights with 10 sea days. Incredibly calm seas all the way. Cyclones whipped up off Western Australian and Queensland after we cruised past. We were in the bottom 10% by age group on the ship i.e. lots of older passengers, mobility scooters, walking frames etc. As one of the bar staff pointed out, the longer the cruise the older the passengers (generally speaking). The pax were predominantly Australian but with a good mix of North Americans, English and Europeans. We had the Classic drink package as part of the 123 go promo and upgraded to the premium package before we boarded. We do enjoy a drink so this worked well for us. It cost us $11.50 per day to upgrade. So it paid for itself with one cocktail at USD $15/AUD$19 per day. It was just nice passing the card over and knowing that there were no more charges.. What really surprised me is the ability of people to find something to complain about. I work hard in my own business and holidays are always much anticipated and taken with a happy disposition. On a ship like Solstice the general approach by all crew is to make passengers experience as enjoyable as possible – they generally bend over backwards to help/serve you. Of course sometimes there are inconveniences, some which could possibly have been avoided but most are insignificant in the overall scheme of things. Yet people get worked up over little things/first world problems (no English Breakfast tea) and are rude to staff. The ship – we loved the ship. Whilst it’s 7 years old now, the only place that I really noticed that was the balconies of the cabins. They were showing small amounts of rust and the rail was in need of a coat of varnish. Everywhere else throughout the ship was in good condition. For the most part It’s a bright airy, open, modern ship. There’s plenty of tasteful art all over the ship, plenty of quiet spots if that’s what you wanted and always something going on if you want to be active. I was told that the ship was full so that means 2850 pax or close to it. Surprisingly it never felt crowded. I think the only time we queued was for tender boats and for customs paper work. I never ceased to be amazed at the size of the ship but I only really appreciated it when we were in port and I was looking at it. The Cabin – stern cabin so peaceful and wind free. There has been complaints about soot on the balconies of the stern cabins. We did not experience this at all – clearly it depends on what fuel they burn. No over hang on the balcony so it was very sun exposed. We had the balcony divider opened to share with our friends in the adjoining cabins – that works to a limited extent. The inter connecting doors at the cabin entrance are a bit of an odd setup and worked …sort of. Our cabin 7311 had the bed near the balcony whilst 7315 was near the bathroom. Good size bathroom with a proper shower screen. More than enough storage for us. We had Peter our cabin steward empty the fridge so we could bring back drinks and put them in there. It is however a 100 metre walk from the stairs/lifts to the cabin. Not an issue for us but if you had mobility issues it might be. All in all, very happy with the cabin. The Crew – We make a habit of trying to engage the staff and create a friendly relationship with them. It helps us enjoy the experience more and they seem to enjoy it too. It must be so hard for the crew – long contracts, long shifts, away from family. Every day must be groundhog day for them and whilst as passengers we’re excited about our holiday/experience, it’s just another day/cruise for them. Our cabin stewards Peter from India and Ahktar from Mauritius were friendly, attentive and only to happy to help if there was an issue. Bar staff and MDR staff were generally very good. I happened to meet the Chief Engineer one day and he was happy to chat with me and answer my questions. We also had a good chat with Richard Green, the head chef, who gladly gave us a few minutes of his time. The entertainment –A very talented ensemble cast in the Solstice theatre. The house band Spitfires were a bit under whelming – their performances always seemed to lack punch. There was a duo who sang daily throughout the ship and even performed in Solstice theatre one evening. A good variety of performers brought on for a few days eg. Aussie Boys, Rat Pack, David Campbell, magician, comedian and my favourite, the Cirque Soleil style show. overall very good. The Ports – Port Hedland was an industrial mining port and was interesting. I may not ever get back that way so it was worth seeing/the experience. Interestingly it’s been dropped from the same cruise next year. Bali and Cairns were tender ports – due to windy conditions tendering was delayed in Cairns so we ended up with only about 3 hours on land there. We enjoyed Bali but again because of tendering our time was limited. Darwin, Cairns and Newcastle were all enjoyable and I know we’ll get back there individually to get a better look around. Coming back on board it was often very hot so the crew would be waiting at the port with iced towels and cold drinks … just an extra special level of service. The Food – I was a bit disappointed in the quality of the food in the MDR. Variety was plentiful but was often just bland. By contrast, we found the buffet food quality and variety excellent. Bistro on 5 was not that good. The only specialty restaurant we tried was Tuscan Grille and it was the food highlight of the cruise. The mast grill was very good for burgers and gourmet sausages. The Bars – we really enjoyed sitting out the back at the Oceanview Café at any time of day – we often had brekky out there. It has more cover than the sunset bar and comfy couches. We were regulars at the Molecular bar – we found it surprisingly quiet, particularly compared to the Martini bar, and got to know the bar tenders there quite well. They were a bit stand offish early but became more engaging as the cruise progressed. I personally loved the passport bar, it had the best variety of beer on board and you could sit quietly and have a drink or alternatively you could always find someone to chat to. Sky observation lounge was good afternoon trivia venue and live band venue in the evening. Qasar night club was a good karoke venue and late party spot. The older crowd seemed to work well in our favour at the bars. There was hardly any waiting or crowds at the bar so no waiting for drinks – this was because the older crowd didn’t frequent the bars too much and were tucked up in bed early. Shops, photos, art sales. Not really our thing. We did a little bit of shopping and bought a couple of photos. Whilst we got 'personal' invitation to the Art Auctions, we didn't attend. We did attend a couple of the enrichment presentations which were OK - you've just got to pick your mark. The casino looked impressive although I didn't utilise it. Overall – a wonderful experience on a beautiful ship. We had great friends with us and made some new ones along the way. I certainly got the fun and relaxation I was looking for. It was a great experience cruising around northern Australia, especially down the east side of Cape York. At times it felt like you could reach out and touch the mainland on the starboard side and islands on the port side – the shipping channel was only a couple of kilometres wide. 17 nights was probably a bit long for us (personal view) but we persevered. Not sure that I could or would travel without a drinks package again – for us it was well worth it. Whilst I love sea days, 10 was a lot. This was only our second cruise so we’ve learnt a lot – we would probably avoid (as far as possible) tender ports. Embarkation was a breeze but that might be because we didn't board until about 3pm as we were waiting for our travelling companions to fly in. Disembarkation was an equally simple and well organised process. We had a very active roll call group with plenty of well organised activities. We even had a pre-cruise meet up the night before in Fremantle. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
What an amazing cruise! The Solstice is a beautifully appointed ship with great attention to guest satifaction, you only have to ask and you have it.We splurged a little and stayed in an Aqua class stateroom which enabled us to use Blu ... Read More
What an amazing cruise! The Solstice is a beautifully appointed ship with great attention to guest satifaction, you only have to ask and you have it.We splurged a little and stayed in an Aqua class stateroom which enabled us to use Blu Restaurant for breakfast and dinner.The service and food were outstanding with charming staff who couldn't do enough to ensure you were satisfied.We also tried the three specialty restaurants and found each to be well worth the small extra cost.We liked Silk Harvest the most and the Asian menu was outstanding,the best I have ever tasted.The ship was spotlessly clean,may be a little strange to comment on the ladies toilets but I have never experienced them to be so immaculate with friendly,happy attendants to turn on the tap and hand you a towel and wish you a happy time. There was always plenty to do,the Hot Glass Show on deck 15 was wonderful to watch, only wish they had auctioned more pieces that they made on board.We like our sea days on board and as the weather was very hot we used the pool deck a lot.Standing room only in the two pools but as you really only needed to cool off this was ok.We enjoyed the cooking demonstrations from Executive Chef Geoff and we bought the Excite your Senses book and got the Blu Team to sign.The entertainment was as entertainment is on board,you like it or you don't,great Solstice dancers and acrobats on the last nights show and a fabulous Brunch in the Grand Epernay Restaurant was a sight to behold if you are a foodie with ice sculptures and tables laden with everything you could imagine to eat.To put all this in a nutshell, the best cruise yet.If you like to eat and what cruiser doesn't,don't miss this one. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Having been to Australia 5 years ago but mainly to the East coast region, ie Sydney, Brisbane, etc, we decided to do the West coast option but doing cruising as opposed to land based tour. We are a couple of reasonably fit, adventurous 70 ... Read More
Having been to Australia 5 years ago but mainly to the East coast region, ie Sydney, Brisbane, etc, we decided to do the West coast option but doing cruising as opposed to land based tour. We are a couple of reasonably fit, adventurous 70 ish people from the UK. After a couple of long uncomfortable flights we arrived in Perth to spend 3 days pre-cruise. Perth is a beautiful city, we used the free CAT buses to get around with four different routes (why doesn't every large city have this option). We spent a few hours walking around Kings Park, beautiful sights overlooking the Swan River, following day we did a tremendous wine tasting tour with Out and About Wine Tours incorporating river cruise, three wineries, brewery and chocolate factory, it didn't get any better than this. We embarked at Fremantle and were told quite wrongly that we had to be back on the ship by 16.00 hours for lifeboat muster. This was apparently wrong as we could have done it later in the evening we, therefore, cancelled going walkabout in Fremantle. Embarkation was a doddle, in our cabin within 20 minutes. This was our first cruise with Celebrity and it's quite possible that we picked the best ship in the fleet?? Arguable. We were absolutely blown away by the style and elegance of this beautiful ship and considering there were so many people on board you never had the feeling of being overcrowded, plenty of sun loungers, you were always able to find a lounger on any deck. There was always something interesting going on, glass blowing demonstration, popular Zumba, interesting talks particularly by a guy called Milos who gave talks on a variety of interesting subjects but with a quirky offbeat sense of humour. The standard of service on board was exceptional from the bar staff, waiters, cabin steward, dining room staff, all were superb. We had the drinks package and we found this a very quick and hassle free option when ordering drinks, so much quicker and easier to check your onboard account, instead of looking for the things you have ordered just looking for the ones you haven't. We chose to use the Ocean View buffet everyday for breakfast and lunch. The first 72 hours service was a little slow due to the fact that the passengers were not allowed to help themselves, after this period there were generally no problems but we suppose that's for the good of everyone hygienewise. The buffet food was very good with lots of variety, it would be your own fault if you couldn't find anything acceptable. We chose Select Dining and usually went for dinner 7.30 - 8.00 pm each evening. The food and standard of service at any of the dining rooms was nothing short of exceptional. Full credit to those responsible. We had balcony cabin 9109 close to the front of the ship which was very quiet and it involved much needed exercise to and from the main areas of the ship. The cabin was immaculately clean and kept that way by a super-friendly cabin steward. Not much hanging wardrobe space! The itinerary involved Port Headland, very hot but interesting only for those who like large industrial mining operations. We found the locals extremely friendly with lots of people volunteering and school children with clip boards given time off school to interview passengers. Small tip rather than waste time trying to connect to the free wifi at the Visitor Centre, best to walk 20 yards down the street to the Seafarers Club where you can use their computers for $5 per hour or $2.50 for half an hour. Next stop Bali was a tendered port and as such there was a lot of problems. Priority was given to people on ship shore excursions if you were doing your own thing (which we were) even allowing for the fact that we started queuing 15 minutes before tender tickets were issued, we were still on number 19 tender which resulted in us not being ashore until 11 o'clock. Fortunately this did not affect the private tour that we had arranged but it could have done. We thought it was a fiasco. Next stop Darwin, again very hot, we arrived on the day Australian soldiers were marching through the town on their return from Afghanistan to a rapturous welcome. We also saw the Australian Prime Minister and his entourage also marching through the town centre. We did the jumping crocs excursion with the ship, very interesting. Next stop Airlie Beach, again this was a tendered port but without the problems of Bali, lots of local volunteers greeting people, went on a private tour, we did a flight over the Whit Sunday islands and then onto the Great Barrier Reef which was absolutely amazing. The pilot of the 6 seater aircraft was a young girl (23??) such a fantastic experience well worth the extra money involved. Next port Brisbane, having been before we chose the shuttle bus option into town. Next port Newcastle. This is the one that really blew us away, we woke early as usual 7 am to go out on the balcony and there before us were thousands of people giving up their Sunday morning lie in lining the beach and the headland waving and cheering as we entered Newcastle harbour. As we got off the ship the Lord Mayor was there to greet the passengers as they got off, also dozens of volunteers (we've never seen so many smiling faces) what a credit to the town of Newcastle. We did a Hunter Valley wine tasting which again was very interesting but the best was saved til last, the sailaway from Newcastle. Again thousands of people lining the beaches and headlands and in honour of the ship docking there we had a three gun salute from one of the World War 2 artillery pieces stationed at the entrance to the harbour, fantastic, so emotional! Final port Sydney, what can be said about Sydney that hasn't already been said, fabulous place. We had the added bonus of meeting up with relatives who were staying with their son. We couldn't rate this cruise any higher we have never come across so many smiley faced happy people in one place and as we write this review we have already booked our next Celebrity cruise, recommendation indeed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
It was a leap of faith to choose this cruise as our first but either through luck or good judgement we really chose well. The ship was, in our opinion, 5 star in every aspect; comfortable, clean, superb staff, great food and good ... Read More
It was a leap of faith to choose this cruise as our first but either through luck or good judgement we really chose well. The ship was, in our opinion, 5 star in every aspect; comfortable, clean, superb staff, great food and good entertainment. Despite having almost 3000 passengers we never felt crowded and the solitude of the cabin was always available. The route was what we had wanted although a couple of the stops were not that exciting (e.g. Port Hedland). There were a number of sea days but it was a top end trip around Australia and it's a big place! In fact the sea days were rather nice. Plenty of activities if you wanted and peace and quiet to be found if you didn't. Our cabin stewards (Joe from Goa and Lincoln from Jamaica) were great and really deserve a special mention. The cabin was always spotless and they were both discreet and professional. We could wax lyrical about the food and the choices of menus and restaurants. Only bad experience was at one of the speciality restaurants but we did complain and this was taken seriously. Good choices that we made were to have a cabin with a balcony, go for select dining instead of sittings and choosing a starboard cabin as the cruise went clockwise around Australia. No real bad choices although I think that, for us, the shore excursions were a bit overpriced and we preferred to do our own thing when in port. All in all a great experience, a great ship, great crew and a great Company to cruise with. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
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