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248 Transpacific Repositioning Cruise Reviews

Cruise to Sydney on the Explorer of the Seas 2017 10/6 Olympic Peninsula, WA to Pier 91 in Seattle. About 11:45. Dropped off perfect, porter took the bags away and check in went very smooth. Had 2 bottles of wine we got checked in. We ... Read More
Cruise to Sydney on the Explorer of the Seas 2017 10/6 Olympic Peninsula, WA to Pier 91 in Seattle. About 11:45. Dropped off perfect, porter took the bags away and check in went very smooth. Had 2 bottles of wine we got checked in. We missed a sign for the Suite guests check-in which was supposed to be somewhat faster, but the line of non-Suite pax moved just fine, 10 minutes. Our only wait was the security scan, like a TSA operation, maybe 30-40 minutes. Got on the ship and got our bearings, grabbed a bite at The Promenade Cafe. Bought deluxe drink pakage on line and my wife got the Soda package. Also a 15 cup coffee card. Rooms opened up around 1PM but our bags weren't there yet. Nice junior suite with a walk-in closet, tub and balcony, etc. We got a call about our first day specialty dinning and an upgrade. Met our cabin Steward at around 3:30 and she retrieved our bags and took our request: Ice, 2 robes, 2 wine glasses. Robes didn't show up. The pre-ordered sail away, wine and cheese platter showed up in our cabin around 8-ish while we were at dinner. Sail Away at Dizzy's very busy, but no trouble getting a drink. Dinner at Giovanni's was excellent. Waiter had a bit of trouble "deshelling" shrimp, but none the less, well prepared. Wine bottle 40% off with card. Only slight oh so slight complaint, a piece of tin foil on my Oso Bucco that I'm not quite sure the waiter conveyed to the chef. Language barrier perhaps. A few people wearing blue jeans in the specialty restaurant. Only one show first night and we missed it, 7:15. In bed by 9:00. Stored that wine n cheese for another day. A bit rough seas but gentle 10/7 coffee is brewed, not instant at the Promenade yeah! Cappuccino was ok and the scones were just dry. Great place to watch people in the early morning, INCLUDING the woman in the house robe and slippers. Almost made a comment to her, but bit my tongue. Only thing missing, curlers in her hair and a cigarette hanging from her lips. Very windy up on Deck 12 for my walk. Then the gym, very crowded but it's the first day at sea. Walked a mile and then breakfast. Its too was very busy and seats hard to find. They are announcing instructions (waiters and seating) and asking people to take their books and card games elsewhere so patrons can find a seat. Two minutes and I'm seated. Easy. Meet n Mingle at 10. Talk on Hawaii people so boring I fell asleep. Dinner was roasted duck, a bit dry. Went to the evening Bob Arvon it was good not great. Lost $40 in the casino 10/8 Seas have calmed a bit and may reach 65-70 degrees. Pool is uncovered! Enjoyed reading in the Windjammer. Afternoon talk on the History is Rock n Roll. Boring, a guy reading from a script of 50's guys with a dull PowerPoint presentation. Theater staff uncooperative with dimming the lights so made it unbearable. Left. Dinner tonight was very good cordon blu. I went to the early evening theater, Inspiration of Dance. Good and very high energy dancers. Had a night cap at the bar on the 5th floor aft. Very friendly guys with some great conversation, etc, no TV, just a lounge. 10/9 warming up! Was looking for some Kaluha for my coffee at the Promenade Cafe, nope. Asked for Baileys, nope. Tasted with Jamison, nope. Had a very nice breakfast in the Sapphire. Dizzy’s is the spot for reading and watching people by the pool down below. Ate at Windjammer. The hotdog buns were flatten, almost unusable. I was going on to bring it to someone's attention. Disgraceful buns. Went to the ice skating show in the afternoon. Get there early. Seating is very limited. Fantastically show on ice. Ate at Chops and fantastic service and meal. They let one guy in with a T shirt. Funny. When we ate at Giovanni on the first night, we left an unfinished bottle of wine for safe keeping. The past two nights staff has been unable to find this bottle. We have been comped two glasses. We went to the Hayden Smith show. Very talented along with his wife put on a great show. The late night show, adult comedy, Chris Bliss, was just OK 10/10 morning coffee and a trip to the busy gym. Pajamas at the Promenade Cafe. People! Where is your decency? Nice fresh omelet in the Windjammer. Wanted to read outside this morning but wind and rain picked up. Did the Windjammer for dinner. The evening show was with a Bob Arno, thiefhunter.com. He is an expert on pickpocketing and had a very entertaining show. 10/11. The best time to get to the gym, before 8 AM. I looked in the casino for a quick Texas Hold em lesson but there was no one teaching. But I later watched and learned. Bob Arno later gave another talk on pickpocketing and hackers. Good! Lunch and other meals in the Windjammer.... the stuff is NOT presented in an appealing way. Hamburgers look pathetic. Vegetables get soggy. Buns dry out. Stews the grease rises to the top. Pizza dries out sitting there. More freshness is needed. Desserts are well done with turnover and replenishment often. And a Mexican pizza with curry? Yuck. This evening we went back to the Sapphire dining room hoping to get our favorite table (#342 requested) and waiters Michael and Ray. Host led us to a table that was not the correct one, another guy butted in and drug us to a table for two, hated it and the location, #240. Staff was not attentive to us, no pepper! lasagna was unacceptable, and we didn't get offered dessert. I told the supervisor his staff was in the "Honolul-vacation" mode and he promised to make it better. He punched some numbers into his computer. We'll see. Had to go to Windjammer for dessert. Good dessert. I just want to find a Supervisor and shake him. Some staff just needs to care more! This evening the show was Tony Pace, very good and creative ideas. Hawaii in the morning. 10/12 had a friend pick us up outside the dock area on Ana Moana Blvd. Koke Head for breakfast, small local place. Drove around to dry side and back up the middle. Stopped at Island Snow Shaved ice in Kailua. BHO hangout. Made this a tourist town with many Asians. That evening we went to the Hale Koa Luau. Excellent and our friends (natives of Hawaii) were very impressed with both the food and entertainment. 10/13 Friday the Thirteenth. Docked in the bay of Lahaina and tendered in. I learned that those with mobility scooter cannot take those scooters on a tendered. They can't Store the scooter. Hot in Lahaina. Wandered around and hoped to catch a public bus to Kaanapali. Forget it. Once an hour, and no extra buses for the cruise ship passenger. Got a cab, $17. Watched people and played in the water for an hour. Coming back to Lahaina, same story, only an hourly bus so we took a cab. Uber was available but the time kept jumping from 4 to 14 minutes. Uber $11, but got a cab instead. Learned something else today. The Chinese tourists travel in packs (later named a “swam”) of 20-30 and all think they can get on the bus as a group. Same can be said of a cab but a smaller pack. The cab driver told us they always try to talk them down and no tips. Burger at Cool Cats. Back to the boat by 4. Windjammer for a late dinner interesting. Interesting use of leftovers they call "Chinese Food". The Kung Pao Chicken and sweet n sour pork, no more than "reused" meat with a sauce. Tough meat. And no vegetables mixed in. Something my mom would have done when rations were tight. Wonder what our Chinese passengers thought? Just had to share this. In the Windjammer tonight I witnessed our ship's Captain Kjetil, shook down a crew member or two. First, one of the dessert guys was engaged in a very cordial talk with the Captain. Kid was very happy with his job and all went well. Then along comes another crew member, from an unknown department dressed in a t shirt and sweat pants type clothes with his RCI name tag on. Captain was none to pleased. In fact another officer was brought over and you could tell the topic was the manner in which this worker was dressed. The worker was flustered and walked out without his dessert. This got a few of the crew's attention. A comedian was on at 10:15 named CC or something like that. From Australia. Not funny and I along with a handful walked out 20-25 minutes into the show. Horrible Martini on the 4th floor in the Palace Theater, no olives so let's try a lemon in that Martini. Nope. Then got a very good Martini up at Dizzy's. I was the only one there as people were beat from the day in Maui. 10/14. Crowds are light in the gym around 7. First day I sat around the pool. Not too crowded, 80 degrees. Windjammer what are you using for cheese on top of those pizzas? Looks like a crumbly “cheese product”. Hot dogs are good, it's just those stale mangled buns I don't like. Fries are good. Played in the slot tournament again. It's $20 if you are a returning player. I didn't do so well. Formal dinner tonight was very good but a bit noisy. Little lobsters and Prime Rib on the menu. Good service and wonderful couples from Australia and Florida. Entertainment tonight was Jeff Nease and it was very funny. Dizzy's was hopping too. 10/15 a good calm morning on the high seas. Hoscicia is our Cabin Attendant. The weather soon turned rainy off and on. The cabin crawl was this morning. And poker run. What a fun time! A lazy day at sea. Enjoyed watching the blackjack and poker players. Dinner in the Sapphire was good, scallop linguine and I asked for extra scallops and got them. Evening's show was a couple of singers, Rachel Sears and Craig Robinson. She had a great voice. Tried my hand a blackjack and played quite awhile with minimum loss. Had a dealer that I did not care for, kind of cocky and she dealt entirely too fast, like she was trying to break a speed record. Many times cards were not out of the shoe before she was done paying the previous hand. Suspect. She miss read my hand signals a few times so used voice instead of a hand wave. I don't think she liked that because it slowed her down bit which I was doing intentionally. Fed up and left at midnight. 10/16 Met for some cribbage games in the AM. Then joined in at the mini golf tournament. Nothing to serious, very breezy up on the 13th. Fun. Then got a little sun time with a mediocre Caribe band by the pool. Entered the slot tourney again and did well. Slot tourney price weird. First time you play it's $25, then $20 the 2nd and 3rd time. No one knows why this is the rule. Tonight's dinner at Giovanni's was outstanding. They pile on the dishes because they think you should try this and that. Most were great. Some were only worth a bite. Lamb and veal good. The hypnotist show afterward with Shawn was good and entertaining. Housekeeping left a message to call their manager. He just wanted to make sure all was OK. 10/17 Crossed the equator this morning around 7:15. The shellback and pollywog event will be at noon. There is also an outdoor BBQ. Boy was it hot outside today! Said 82 degrees but clear skies and close to the equator made for a short hot time around the pool. Some chocolate dipped strawberries showed up in out room today From ?? Received a call from one of the dining room managers about my survey responses. Very understanding and wanted to rectify the bad service and opinions on the Windjammer as well. Manager made a point to see us when we entered the Sapphire tonight and sit near table #342 so we could get Ray and Michael as our servers. The two did an outstanding job. We ordered a bottle of wine off the wine list, $41. When we got the bill I did not receive my drink package discount of 40%. Only 15%. There was a mix up and after some back and forth I got the 40%, not 15%. So watch it before you sign the receipt. BTW, they were out of the Kendall Jackson Reserve Cabernet. Went to Strings Alive show in the Palace. Very good. Comedian Jeff Nease did a late night adult show and it was fantastic. Good to see RCI let loose with adult comedy. 10/18 cloudy and rain today. This kept many inside venues busy. I have noticed the Captain and his crew among the people. Good to see them mingling about. Had a good omelet to order. Cribbage this morning. Went to the golf tourney finals but I did not make the cut for the finals. Watched the Flowrider. This afternoon, Love and Marriage game show was very funny. Mostly read today. Tried Johnny Rocket's Hamburgers tonight. For $6.95 any burger and dessert. Drinks and shakes extra (2 for 1). Very good and fresh. Good service too. Tonight's show was Wild, Cool & Swingin' just OK. I'm not a fan of these sort of music & dance productions. Finally, the bars have run out of limes and lemon so no more mojitos until we can resupply. 10/19 Hot coffee. I like to carry a couple of cups to my room. And now the Promenade coffee shop has run out of those cardboard "to go" cup carrier-trays that allow a person to carry hot beverages. Good news! We now have limes and lemons at the bars. Must have went to produce locker. Went to an interesting talk on "Autopsies" for an Aussie police officer. Dinner tonight with our favorite waiters Michael and Ray. Miss a day and they question you, in a good way. Braised beef rib and beef shoulder. Shoulder very tender and what was supposed to be a braised rib was a huge blob of fat with few strands of tasty beef. They offered more but I didn't need it. Mo town tonight. Good. Won a bit of cash in the casino tonight 10/21 Docked in Lautoka Fiji at 8 AM. Beautiful weather with a slight breeze. Town is about 3 miles from the port so we opted for the $9 shuttle bus. Drops you off at a shopping area. Nothing special. Friendly locals. Got my beard trimmed for $2. We did not eat in town. I take it that a lot of people did not spend much time in town as ship was again busy by early afternoon. 10/22. Slight delay getting into Saba this morning. A cargo ship was in our space. This appears to be a very shallow harbor with two sunken ships near the docks. Trip of Suva arraigned thru Cruise Critic blogger was well organized. We did the 3 hour tour. Basically was a bus ride around the island with a few photo stops. Also stopped at a resort for potty and soda break. Final stop was at Jacks for souvenirs, limited to twenty minutes. We got back at around 1:30 and hoped on the free shuttle to the shopping center for lunch. Ate a decent NY style pizza at the food court. Those guys and gals on the shuttle were fun. Many things are closed on Sunday but some of the popular places were open. A lot of people in churches today. On a trip to the shopping store a gentleman stopped us, flashed an ID and asked us to beware if pick pocketers, place our wallet in our front pocket and that the younger men were preying on tourists. Just keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings. It really was not that bad. Nice people. This evening’s show, Bevin Addinsall didn't interest us so we did not attend. Internet is down tonight. Restarting server. It's affected a lot of people. Will ask for a refund for today's internet service. 10/22. Sea day. Somehow I was up and around at 5AM. Walked an hour around deck 12. Seen the most disgusting man in the Promenade Coffee shop. Luckily I got my coffee, self-serve, before he did. He walks in carrying his flip-flop sandals in his hands. Barefooted. He puts the flip-flops on the ground and helps himself to coffee in his bare feet without washing his hands. Ewww! Played cards this morning. Word is the internet is still down for a few more hours. Problem with the Miami office. Went to the talk on Mare. Good talk little to do there. Toilet system is down for only an hour. Went to Izumi tonight for our final 3 dinner package. It was ok, nothing too fancy. Good flavors and choices but can be pricey with its ala carte choices. Serious smoke problems when all the guests are cooking on hot rocks. Heard a number of patrons coughing from the smoke. Smoke also drifts into Dizzy's. The entertainment tonight was Jon Darsk, very good. Pianist. Also the EOTS orchestra back-up band does an excellent job with each act on the ship. The casino had Ladies Night and was good to both of us. Laundry ready. Wash n fold service for $25. 10/24 approaching Mystery Island, 7:25 a medical emergency has come up and we must skip this island. Oh well, Mystery Island is just an island with no facilities. A beach stop. Made it to Lifou Island vicinity at 1600 where the tender took the body ashore. Captain says we can't dock at Lifou a day early so we'll set sail and return in the morning. Tonight's entertainment is Chelsea Gibb. Ok if you like cabaret music. The casino had to wait until the ship was 12 miles off shore to start up the machines. 10/25. Filled out the Aussie immigration form. This morning in Lifou Island, back to where we dropped off the patient last night. The map indicated we cruised out and back last night. Went ashore for a few hours. Very primitive. Walked up to the church that is on the cliff, 30 minute walk and it overlooks the Jinka Bay. Various drinks and native food for sale. Snorkeled a bit but I've seen better. Small beach with all the cruisers in one spot! Tonight's entertainment was Nick Nicholas a magician and comic. Strong Brit accent. Funny in some spots but nothing amazing. 10/26 Arrived in Mare, New Caledonia. Tenders were available early. Once on shore, if you plan on going to the beach, Yejele, then you will need to purchase a shuttle ticket either in shore or ship. I heard complaints about the $16 round trip fee for the shuttle. Don't believe anyone that it's s short walk to Yejele. Beautiful beach with toilets and refreshments available from the local. Snorkeling was OK. There is an under current at the snorkeling location. Ship was a little late leaving. Tender was waiting for someone who appeared to have a bandage hand, no details. Incidentally, my wife fell near the beach area. Scrapes and bruises from the sharp volcanic stones. Got a Crown and Anchor invite to Rock of Edges ice show tonight. Very good! Then thought I'd see the Palace Theater show afterwards with Nathan Foley. The guy does a butchering job on all song. Bad singer and performer. 10/27 A trick to a nice peaceful breakfast. Go at 7AM. Delightful and breakfast the way I would want it, tasty, hot and no crowds. Workers are much friendlier. And for us people watchers....a treat. We have an immigration interview today. Immigration is by muster station. It was easy, just making sure you have your visa in the computer. Tonight's show is the production show, Fast Forward. The show was ok. You can only sing 70-80's for so long and it gets old fast. This show might may have been better on first day when entertainment was more of a "wow" and disco hits were not so worn out. A better male singer would help too. Ugly bug Halloween party was a hit and the guest's rendition of "Thriller" worked. Went to casino, big pay day for one lady. Went to Dizzy's and the wind and rain and lightning was awesome. Sheets of rain! Down at the pools/tubs water splashed as high as 10' as the ship rocked in the swells. 10/27. Rain has left and gorgeous day ahead. Breezy. Actually saw a sailboat on the starboard side this morning. Ship traffic is rare. Not much going on that I want to do today. I placed in the top ten for the slot machine tournament, so the finals were today for a free cruise. I got second place! But RCI gives NOTHING for the finalist. Not a tee shirt, coffee cup or a deck of cards. Sheesh! A little sun time! Lots of good-byes. Dinner was eggplant Parmesan which was cold so had some giant prawns and an extra dessert. Tonight's entertainment was a variety show with Martin Ralph. Funny but nothing amazing. So-so. Then the crew made their final appearance on stage. Went to the casino a final time and tripled my money. Lots of winners this cruise. Suit cases are packed and on the way tonight. We will be the last off the ship in the morning. 10/29 disembark day. May I recommend the 3rd floor for breakfast? Overall RCI really does well to make guests feel welcome. The itinerary is meant for long sea days which I enjoyed. The small islands, while beautiful in their own way, didn't really make the trip any better for us. Now the crew must endure six months of traveling to these itty bitty out of the way islands. I cannot believe there is that much of a demand to see these tiny primitive places, but RCI has apparently found a niche. The ship is getting tired: carpets, rusty balconies, furniture, frayed towels and scarred (banged up) walls in common areas. The entertainment is good, always hard to please an international crowd. Staff did a super job of making our trip a memorable one. I would do this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Our 22 Cruise to Australia on the Explorer of the Seas This was our longest cruise ever and for the most part, we were very pleased with the entire experience. This review is an effort to provide specific information to help future ... Read More
Our 22 Cruise to Australia on the Explorer of the Seas This was our longest cruise ever and for the most part, we were very pleased with the entire experience. This review is an effort to provide specific information to help future cruisers plan a Transpacific cruise and to know more about the ExplorerOTS. I also have a lot of useful information on my website www.DonnaGawell.com. Please look on the menu under Europe and Australia. I subdivided the ports and also am doing detailed reviews and travel stories on our adventure at the ports, Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Hobbiton in NZ, and Auckland. More will be added through the end of 2017. Seattle Like most cruisers, we always fly in the day before our sailing. We had previously stayed at the SeaTac Sleep Inn and Suites near the airport and found it to be very cruise friendly and efficient, so we booked there. The room was quiet, comfy and there were lots of Explorer of the Seas cruisers joining us. Port and Embarkation: I had also booked Seattle Express, a very efficient service that picks up passengers at the hotel. We were whisked off to the port at 10:00 AM, and we arrived just before 11:00. The Explorer of the Seas was the only cruise ship in town as Alaska cruising season had just ended. We flew through the check-in process and walked onto the ship at 11:30. We went to the MDR for embarkation lunch which was probably a mistake since they offered only a very limited buffet and closed at 1PM. The food wasn’t the best either. We met an elderly (80 year old?) Australian lady who shared her experience with US Customs. Seems she neglected to properly check herself out of the USA two years ago and was arrested and put in jail for 16 hours. The worst part, she reported, was not being told why she was arrested. That is a lesson for us all about entering and exiting foreign countries. A Few Preliminary Notes: • There were no service pets aboard the ship as Hawaii and Australia have some pretty stringent regulations. Interesting how the dogs disappear when passengers are held to very strict standards. • The casino does NOT allow smoking, making the air onboard so much easier to handle. • This cruise had MANY Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle passengers. The ship turned the cigar lounge into an exclusive Pinnacle lounge since there were 25 of them aboard. There were close to 1,000 Diamond and Diamond Plus cruisers and the assigned lounge was of course too small so the Star Lounge was turned into the Diamond and above lounge for cocktail hours. There were also 600 Gold and Emerald status cruisers (that includes us). I didn’t meet any people with Diamond attitudes, but the Diamond people seemed to be the ones who complained about their peers. Go figure. Fellow Passengers This sailing had four major groups: About 1,000 North Americans, 800 Australian/NewZealanders, and a significant number of Asians (from North American and Asia) and Germans. The Americans and Ozzies mixed very well while the other groups seemed to stay within their own circles. It was perhaps the most segregated cruise I have experienced. Dining Venues: We chose the 5:30 time and were immediately presented with a problem on our first day. At our table were a French Canadian couple who spoke little (husband) to no English (wife), four no-shows, and another couple who were, let’s say, somewhat unappealing (he rarely spoke and she never smiled.) For the first time in our cruising experiences, we decided to seek out another table. The maître-de was very sympathetic and selected a new table for us the next evening. This group was the best we have ever had! Almost everyone showed up each night, and we looked forward to hearing about one another’s day and sometimes hung out together outside of evening dinner times. I think everyone sincerely enjoyed one another’s company. The food in the MDR at dinner was fine, but not spectacular or memorable. Our service team was efficient and kind. Most of those at our table loved the cold fruit soups, and it was served every night in a goblet rather than a cup. I was surprised at how many other tables seemed to have irregular attendance. Lunch in the MDR was preferred to the Windjammer which was hit or miss and almost always crowded. There were some very nice selections on the MDR menu in addition to their salad buffet at lunch. The breakfast menu was the same each day, but there was also a buffet of basic foods. The atmosphere in the MDR was so much better with responsibly prompt and efficient service. We had dinner just once in the Windjammer and it is quiet before the first show lets out and then becomes quite active. We would sometimes go to look at the WJ after we ate in the MDR. The food looked fine and of course there was variety but most wasn’t overly appealing. The desserts were sporadic and somedays featured only pudding sorts of desserts and one bread pudding. The other complimentary dining was in the Café Promenade which offered continental breakfast items and sandwiches and wraps at lunch. The staff had a challenge keeping up with making coffee because of the lack of other early morning options. People were trying their best to adjust to the frequent time changes, so there were always people in the Café in the very early morning. There was one poolside luncheon which was very minimal and uninspired. Cabins: As Cruise Critic members, we had the chance to do a cabin crawl which allows you to see examples of various types of cabins and suites. The inside cabins were a reasonable size with a loveseat and the suites all varied with amenities and other features. Be sure to check out cabin reviews on Cruise Critic and Youtube to actually see what the cabin looks like. The top suites, nice as they are, still don’t compare to those on NCL in the Haven which allow passengers exclusive access to the Haven pool and decks, more free amenities, a butler, and a Lavazza coffee machine. RCL just has Mr. Coffee makers. If you discover that your mattress is too hard, ask for an insert which should help. Gold and above receive terry robes. Our cabin was comfortable and well attended. Medical Issues (some cautionary notes) Transatlantic and Transpacific cruises seem to attract people who have upper respiratory illnesses (coughs and colds) which are so easy to transmit to other passengers. Despite frequent handwashing, not touching the railing, using our knuckles or wrist for the elevator buttons, etc., we both caught the virus mid cruise. Fortunately, we have learned to bring a well-considered medical kit filled with medicines, cough drops, a thermometer, etc. The most effective medicines would be Nyquil and Dayquil. Be sure to bring an expectorant and cough suppressant.The ship store ran out of Nyquil, and you can’t find a similar product west of Hawaii. One passenger suffering an acute attack of appendicitis resulted in Mystery Island being cancelled on this sailing. Although there was grumbling, most accepted it as a responsible action. We were actually at Mystery Island in the morning but didn’t begin to tender when the decision to take the patient to Lifou was made. The ship went back out to sea for the night and returned the next morning. BTW- I was told that the suffering passenger returned to the ship two days later and continued on to Sydney. One topic that might be helpful is the idea of cruising with an elderly person with dementia. Three of our dinner partners were medical personnel (a doctor and two EMTs) who came upon a frightening situation where an elderly woman was outside her cabin and quite disoriented. She told them that her sister had died. There was no responsible relative nearby, and our friends were worried they would find a dead woman in her cabin. They called for the ship’s medical help, and a regular staff member told them they would take over. This staff person was obviously not well trained because medically trained people are mandated to only turn over a patient to another health care professional. The woman’s son appeared and took over, and that is another story that won’t be discussed here. The lesson learned is that anyone considering taking a person with dementia on a cruise should think long and hard. New situations are very stressful for these patients, and you can’t guarantee you can be with the patient 100% of the time. Seasickness: The winds on day 2 were wicked and caused a jerking and rolling motion which resulted in a wave of seasickness around the ship. This was my first time ever with this problem and it was severe and I’m a veteran of transatlantic sailings. An officer told me it was his first time also, and he has done nine TP sailings. Customer service provides free seasickness tablets upon request. Here is a question we will all have to answer one day: are we getting too old and feeble to cruise or go on some excursions? In Maui, we waited for a very feeble and weak elderly man in a wheelchair to board the tender. The seas were really rocking and “his able bodied attendant” was his elderly wife who knew how to fold up the chair and did not assist. It took three crew members to assist him while he screwed up the courage to make the one required step on and off the tender. I felt sorry for him as his facial expression was of real fear and apprehension as he stood there to make the decision to move. Besides making the other passengers sit for quite a while on a wild tender boat, this couple’s decision to go on this tender put the crew at risk of injury. BTW- have you noticed that many bad cc reviews are written by people with physical limitations who feel the crew didn’t accommodate them adequately? I certainly can see the cruise line’s dilemma and situation with these problems. A man we met on the first night had been very ill and had almost died three weeks during his brief time in the USA before the cruise. He was not seen after that first night. Many of us wondered how he was allowed to embark in the first place. Our suspicion is that he was taken off in Hawaii. The cruise lines need to do a better job in their health assessment of obviously ill passengers. Entertainment: The Sound Waves stayed with the sailing for all 22 days and they were excellent. The singer even worked through her upper respiratory illness and deserves lots of praise for that. The other bands that rotated were the typical Caribbean sort of band that seemed to have the same beat. David Curtis, a pianist, singer and great entertainer was a ship favorite at the Schooner Bar. Robbie McNay entertained in the Pub and was also very good. Segundo was a classical guitarist who was very skilled who played in various venues. As usual, The Ice Show was very impressive and the skaters really looked like they wanted to entertain and smiled throughout the shows. Gold status and above Crown and Anchor passengers were treated to an additional show during the last week of the cruise. The Production Cast performed three shows in the twenty two days we sailed. The set design was excellent in some cases, but the shows were just okay. There were quite a few opportunities for ball room style dancing in the evening with the Sound Waves. The ship also offered dance lessons on sea days with Joy and Emanuel. They were excellent teachers, but the venue for this event (the theater stage) was so small with way too many people. There were some folks who wanted to stand on the stage and just video tape the lessons but not participate. Fortunately, the instructors were pros at crowd control. These lessons should have been held on the larger wooden floor of the Ice Rink, but they were having “technical difficulties” with the floor, and many planned events like the Master Chef competition never happened because of this floor problem. Headline Entertainers: There were a series of entertainers ranging from pianists, singers, jazz musicians, comedians, jugglers, etc. A few who were outstanding were Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Hayden Smith) and three male entertainers from Australia who were closer to the end of the cruise. In all, it was a respectable line up of talented people. Folkloric Hulau Hula Olana, a group from a hula school in Honolulu presented in the theatre on the evening we were in Oahu. They were sensational! The youngest girls were so skilled and graceful and danced with the same precision as the older girls. Not to be missed! Some friends who attended Germaine’s Luau (which wasn’t the sensational experienced promised), really regretted missing this opportunity. BTW- the very best Luau experience for cruisers is only for those who have are active or retired military. Search on CC for details. Enrichment Lectures Leanne Fiedler presented a series of lectures on the ports and other related topics. She is well traveled and has been to these islands and ports about thirty times. Her advice was spot on and helpful in planning the details. Paul Kearney provided a series of lectures on music history that seemed to be appreciated by many passengers. Tracey Hawkins presented a series of lectures on crime investigations (autopsies, criminal investigations, etc.) Activities There were the typical activities such as trivia, tournaments, seminars, competitions, scrapbooking, a book club, arts and crafts, games, etc. The staff did a good job at providing a wide variety of activities. The sports areas were kept busy on nice weather days, and the pool area was never overcrowded. The ship opened up one level of the dining room for cards and games from about 9:00- 3:00 each day. This helped to keep the monopolization of Solarium and deck area tables to a minimum. Special Events These were hit and miss. The Halloween party was held in the Ice Rink and was entertaining. This is probably the first time that the Thriller dance made total sense on a cruise ship, and the passengers did a great job. Kudos for a nice job in decorating. The music that followed was of the line dancing sort. The Octoberfest was a major disaster. Now, the ship knew they had a significant number of Germans onboard and could have asked if they had no clue about what happens at this important ethnic festival. It began with a silly game of musical chairs, but with bottles instead. It took forever, and by the time it ended all the Germans had gone to a tavern on Deck four for their own Octoberfest. The dancing was so “unGerman”, no German beer at the bar, etc. We left as soon as we saw this event was silly and quite disappointing. The activity staff often doesn’t know how to read the pulse of certain groups of cruisers. One example was conducting a twist contest for about 20 minutes while the majority just wanted to get out there and dance! The British Invasion Night was the activity staff (pretty weak) dancing on the bridge in the Promenade. Dancers really don’t want to watch the activity staff dance as the feature of the evening. Religious Services The ship provided services for the Roman Catholics with a priest who offered daily mass. He was also in charge of the nondenominational service on Sundays. I’m not sure what he thinks nondenominational means as he reflected on the wisdom of Erma Bombeck and Eleanor Roosevelt during his message. The Jewish passengers were offered the chapel for weekly Sabbath services. A group of Protestants attempted to reserve a room for a fellowship/Bible study, but the ship was uncooperative. Sheldon promised the same venue to a few other groups during the same time period. We were all told he confirmed it. It finally worked out that we met in the chapel on sea days at 2PM with a group of about 15-20 who met each sea day. When this problem was brought to the ship’s attention, they listed a 10 AM self-led Bible study in the chapel (that was not led by anyone), but a Chinese group of Christians held their Bible Study there from 9:00-11:30 each day. What was RCL thinking? Fitness Areas The fitness area and instruction room were busy but not overly so. The activity level varied with the health of the passengers. They could use another rowing machine in there! Cruise Critic The Cruise Critic folks are always the ones in the know and lots of fun, and I was shocked that many Diamond and above folks have never heard of the website. For those who aren’t aware, www.cruisecritic.com is the world’s largest cruise website, and the best parts are the roll calls, reviews and port of call boards. The majority of people on this board are very knowledgeable and helpful and will answer all sort of questions. The roll calls are for a particular sailing, and someone who signs up for a cruise when the cruise is first listed usually starts one. On Cruise Critic (CC), you can log in and discuss questions or offer advice to your fellow cruisers. You have the opportunity to get to know these folks before you sail. Topics range from hotel and flight advice to finding the best tours and adventures at each port. The CCs usually have CC only activities onboard such as the Meet and Mingle (hosted by the ship), a slot pull, a cabin crawl, LRC and other games, etc. This group organized a group of twenty at tables in MyTime Dining. BTW- the officer and crew want to make the CCs happy, because this website provides an opportunity to review the cruise and the ship wants to impress! Internet Voom sputtered along on many days in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There were many frustrated people as the connections were erratic. There was a person at the help desk in the internet center, but he was often not able to help. Weather The first few days out of Seattle were a bit chilly, and the temperatures improved as we neared Hawaii. There were two sea days of gloomy, rainy weather and one pretty steamy day on about day 8 or 9. The weather as we neared the equator really was quite pleasant. The Pacific Islands were cooler than most passengers had expected and it definitely wasn’t warm swimming weather. Sydney’s weather ranged from sunny and quite warm to breezy and a bit chilly (in just three days’ time.) Equator Crossing We officially crossed the equator on Oct 17 at 7:21 AM. There was a poolside ceremony around lunchtime (I didn’t attend) but every passenger received their Imperium Neptuni Regis Certificate to show that they were initiated as a trusty shellback into the Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep. The air temperature was about 80◦ at the equator. Debarkation The entire process went smoothly with no problems. Summary Positives: The ship’s crew are excellent and friendly, the ship is clean and well maintained (although shows a bit of wear), the entertainment and most activities were good to excellent, Dan the cruise director was great, a dance instructor couple was very helpful, and the food quality and selections were fine (but not great.) Negatives: Lifou didn’t offer any really interesting options, the officers did not mix with the regular passengers (they were visible at the Diamond and Plus Cocktail hours), health screening needs to be stepped up as some very ill people managed to get onboard, the quality of the desserts in the MDR and Windjammer were sporadic, the staff didn’t accommodate the large number of ballroom dancers, and the high number of Diamond and above passengers were allotted a large number of public areas which diminished the space for the non-higher tier passengers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Highs: Enjoyed the variety of friendly shipmates, Giovanni's Table, and the positivity of many of the crew. Good snorkelling in Honolulu, Maui, and Lifou. Absolutely loved Sydney and the number of days at sea in one of many very ... Read More
Highs: Enjoyed the variety of friendly shipmates, Giovanni's Table, and the positivity of many of the crew. Good snorkelling in Honolulu, Maui, and Lifou. Absolutely loved Sydney and the number of days at sea in one of many very nice quiet shipboard spots. Promenade room was wonderful surprise- felt spacious, bright and was not noisy at all. Level 3 dining worked really hard to accommodate allergy related breakfast and lunch needs. Coffee card was really helpful. Cabin crawl with Cruise Critics was much fun- don't miss it! Large selection of activities to keep most everyone occupied (if you needed assistance). Lows: Consistently inconsistent dining service at main dining and at Chops. Izumi was a disaster food and service wise. Our main dining dinner server was replaced by end of week 1 and this helped a little. Kitchen was off in terms of speed and sequencing of meals- Often I ate dinner while waiting for my husband's order to arrive- really really often. Food allergy (gluten) was inconsistently accommodated- really depended on whom was serving you. Several episodes of gluten poisoning narrowly averted by repeated questioning. What different celiacs experienced depended on whom they spoke to- found out at the end of cruise some special desert and cookie requests had been provided to another cruiser though not to my spouse. Internet was terrible- could not download materials we needed even with upgrade. Had planned to work on some cruising days and this was very problematic. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Wanted to visit S Pacific islands and Australia. Some poor weather; no one can help weather! but the RCL selection of Fiji islands that were visited caused this cruise to be just average. Ports showed more poverty than other islands and ... Read More
Wanted to visit S Pacific islands and Australia. Some poor weather; no one can help weather! but the RCL selection of Fiji islands that were visited caused this cruise to be just average. Ports showed more poverty than other islands and were somewhat disappointing. Other S Pacific Island stops offer more of what we envisioned would be the case for the S. Pacific. Tours to the local villages were just OK. On the positive side, the ships crew and service were excellent. Cabin service, Windjammer and main dining services were all excellent. The casino bar personnel were particularly friendly knowing your preferences before you even made your request. Public areas were well maintained, very clean. We had the unfortunate opportunity to visit the ships medical center during the cruise for my wife and they were absolutely wonderful and efficient. Much thanks and praise for the Explorer Of The Seas medical team! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I always wanted to go to Australia, and this transpacific cruise was the right price. It was 22 days from Seattle. We had a balcony cabin on deck 10. The ship was very clean and the staff was very attentive. However, the ship was ... Read More
I always wanted to go to Australia, and this transpacific cruise was the right price. It was 22 days from Seattle. We had a balcony cabin on deck 10. The ship was very clean and the staff was very attentive. However, the ship was showing her age. We are seasoned cruisers and found the food to be okay, but did buy the 3 specialty dining package and enjoyed the meals in Giovanni's, Chops and the Japanese restaurant. It was a nice break from the ordinary dining. I will continue to do the specialty dining when we cruise. We also did the Mystery Dinner, which was a lot of fun. It was in Chops, which was delicious. We enjoyed the ports of call. We did the beaches. That was our main reason for going. The clear blue water and white beaches were our main focus. Our tour in Fiji was excellent. The beach, entertainment, snorkeling and food was wonderful. The beach was beyond my expectations. We had an excellent time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Best things: Cruise critic people and activities. Glad we joined the rollcall. - Our organizer is a natural and loves doing it. Mostly great shows and entertainment, lots of variety. Activity director, Amy, listens; She added a ... Read More
Best things: Cruise critic people and activities. Glad we joined the rollcall. - Our organizer is a natural and loves doing it. Mostly great shows and entertainment, lots of variety. Activity director, Amy, listens; She added a passenger organized activity, stargazing. Got to tryout and explore new activities, choir, improv, etc. Dining room food and service were fine overall, easily 4+ out of 5 Opportunities to buy quality wine cheaply as ship was going to AU to stock up on AU wines and clearing out others. Getting on-off ship was fast and easy, even tendering, smooth embark/disembark. Honolulu stop was a full day. Ship did not leave till around midnight Ship itself is lovely, comfortable. Not so good: Constant upsell, staff forced to walk around with adverts for drink and diving upgrades. 1ST dinner hard-sell was especially disturbing. Fiji Latoka was grungy, Suva was OK but not much doing on Sunday ( but interesting church services, singing) A few entertainers e.g. a comedian, a juggler magician and happy days guy is over the hill, not a very good singer anymore. Elevators: a few indicator lights not working , one would not carry more than half load. Issues never addressed thoughout the cruise. Australian lady who did the upcoming ports-of-call lectures took some getting used to, but if stuck with her, she had useful info. No special perks, not even one cocktail free for 1ST time cruisers on RCL. But they do cater to Diamond and up. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Originally booked this cruise because of the price and because it offered a Transpacific destination. I can't say enough about the crew as they made this trip a once in a lifetime experience! The entire crew always had a smile for ... Read More
Originally booked this cruise because of the price and because it offered a Transpacific destination. I can't say enough about the crew as they made this trip a once in a lifetime experience! The entire crew always had a smile for you no matter what! We would not hesitate to recommend this ship and this itinerary to anyone considering it! We plan to repeat it again in 2019. We chose to have most meals in the Sapphire dining room, we were happy with the staff (especially Gianni, Tatiana, Kasim, and Yamile) and the food was great. We had e some meals in the Windjammer Cafe and found the food assortment impressive. For evenings we chose the Crown and Kettle Pub, we enjoyed the nightly entertainment by Robbie McNay (yes, we chose to attend every evening that he was performing) and we met a wonderful bartender, named is LeHar , he is one of the most personable crew members we have ever met on any cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I can't tell you how pleased we were with our transpacific voyage to Sydney on the Explorer of the Seas. Having done Silverseas, we were a little worried about a ship this size. It was wonderful.The staff were incredible and ... Read More
I can't tell you how pleased we were with our transpacific voyage to Sydney on the Explorer of the Seas. Having done Silverseas, we were a little worried about a ship this size. It was wonderful.The staff were incredible and everyone wore a smile and were so upbeat and positive all the time. The food was very good and the maitre'd and our waiters (2) were exceptional. The entertainment on this 23 day sailing was new and different every night. The rating of 4-4.5 for this ship concerned us but don't go by that. This ship and the staff are a clear 5+in our estimation.We look forward to our next cruise with RCL. For a large ship we were pleasantly surprised at how comfortable we felt in all the public rooms. They were very attentive in making sure everyone used hand sanitizer on entering dining venues as colds seem to be prevalent on many cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We sailed on the NCL Jewel from Vancouver to Hawaii. This was our first transpacific cruise and were worried about the sea conditions. Having done a transatlantic cruise 2 years ago, we were expecting some rough seas but nothing compared ... Read More
We sailed on the NCL Jewel from Vancouver to Hawaii. This was our first transpacific cruise and were worried about the sea conditions. Having done a transatlantic cruise 2 years ago, we were expecting some rough seas but nothing compared to what we experienced on this cruise. The Ship The Jewel is very outdated and needs to be refurbished. The ship layout is confusing and there are a lot of dead ends. The crew did a great job keeping the ship clean. Cabin Worst ever. See below. However the cabin steward was very friendly and kept the room clean. Dining We had the 3 specialty restaurant package. The food in Cagney's was very good. The service not so much. Waited 20 minutes before the waitress acknowledged us and gave us water, which was a reoccuring theme in most restaurants. The menu has been changed with cheaper options. Moderno was good and the meats had great flavor. The salad bar had less options as compared to our cruise on the Breakaway and Dawn. Service was better here. Teppanyaki was very fun and the food was great as always. They need to change the dessert options here as both desserts were not good. They should have mochi or something similar Garden Cafe food was good but was very repetitive throughout the cruise. This being a 10 day cruise, it gets old quickly. The main dining room food was just ok. Like the garden cafe, the food options get old and after day 7, the menu repeated from Day 1. The service is the worst we have experienced on any cruise. Water glasses were never refilled unless asked, took 15-30 minutes before anyone acknowledged us and took our order. Sometimes the restaurant wasn't even busy. Unacceptable. Entertainment Cruise Director was an annoying guy from Australia. A lot of corny jokes. When hearing his voice during the announcements, it made you quiver. With so many sea days, the entertainment and activities were lacking. Spent a lot of time in the casino and as everyone does, lost. Maybe this is their goal so you spend more money in the casino. The shows were good especially burn the floor. The ventriloquest was hilarious as was the comedian. The hypnotist Brenda was very good as well. The Hawaiian show they had in the theater was very entertaining. Service Some crew members were great and others were not very welcoming especially in the dining room. There were times if we asked for something, it seemed like they were doing us a favor and like we were bothering them. Ports Hawaii was AWESOME! Will definitely be going there again After sailing our last 4 sailings on NCL, it's time for a change. Service has been declining and we feel like we are not enjoying the NCL product anymore. Next cruise will probably be on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
A relatively EXPRENSIVE 17 DAY TRANSITION CRUISE TO SYDNEY FROM HONOLULU...Lots of people sick from on board virus..(removed number 0ver 200). food in dinning room and buffet monotonous and bland. Asst Ma'de tried to calm us down ... Read More
A relatively EXPRENSIVE 17 DAY TRANSITION CRUISE TO SYDNEY FROM HONOLULU...Lots of people sick from on board virus..(removed number 0ver 200). food in dinning room and buffet monotonous and bland. Asst Ma'de tried to calm us down over food issues and brought chef to us--who then made excuses about trying to please guest who didn't like spicy or tasty food. (Cruise line trying to please wrong people). .Ports ok... Specialty results were good=with the quality one used to find of Celebrity.. Stale crackers in essentially forced quarantine. What we were offered for restitution totally inadequate. Service on board was great except for room service who may have gotten overwhelmed because of serving quarantined guest. Restitution offered only for days you had sought medical treatment. Had to smooze staff to get a refund on excusion we were unable to go on due to sickness. Policy exist to only refund those unable to attend during quarantine. (we had been sick for two days before quarantine)... Won't be traveling Celebrity any time soon... Kudos to our cabin attendant Lenie who went far beyond the normal call of duty. We were in 9356... This was out 19th cruise.. 4k video will soon be posted on you tube.. Bora Bora and Sydney were the best ports. Ackland cultural experience excursion Disappointing--2.6 hours on bus thru NZ countryside not mentioned beforehand. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
First time on Celebrity and first time at ALL the ports. We selected this cruise because we wanted to see all the ports and relax on the slow float back to our home port. We flew to Honolulu from Sydney stayed at the Moana Surfrider in a ... Read More
First time on Celebrity and first time at ALL the ports. We selected this cruise because we wanted to see all the ports and relax on the slow float back to our home port. We flew to Honolulu from Sydney stayed at the Moana Surfrider in a Bunyan Room with views to the beach and Diamond head, it also had access to the Beach Club Room (pay the extra it is worth it). We pre-ordered a day pass/passport at Pearl Harbour through recreation.gov, so we had our allocation to the tender to see the Arizona and entry (plus audio guide) to all the sites at the memorial, the Bowfin submarine, Museum, Missouri and the Aviation Museum. You need a full day to see all the sites, I would highly recommend a visit. Note: they don't allow bags in the site, so pack your pockets not a bag. Embarkation in Honolulu was hot and noisy and the lines were long. However, when you get near the front, they ask those with priority boarding/Aqua Class to go to another area. However, the customs official for our embarkation area was very strict, so the priority line was longer than the non priority - you have to wait sometime. Once onboard, the holiday begins, Celebrity service and staff are wonderful, treat people as you want to be treated and a smile goes a long way. Those who board who expect servants not service make me annoyed. Unfortunately, there are a number of those personality types who cruise. We booked Aqua Class as this was our preview cruise with Celebrity. The cabin 1541 was spotless and the location was fantastic, one fight of stairs turn right to Aqua Spa Cafe - light breakfast and lunch and the adult indoor heated pool, turn left and you are at the entrance to the Canyon Spa and the Gym. Book early for embarkation deals if you like the Spa treatments onboard, I had saved for 'something special' and the embarkation deal I purchased was the buy 4 massages and get 1 free. Five heavenly massages from Riyha, the highlight of the cruise. Two flights up and you are at the Sky Lounge and the walking track. Sky Lounge is the location for trivia and evening band 'Celebrity Life' activities, our cruise have Bandioke, CelebrityVoices, and many other fun nights after 10pm. We always walk down the stairs and up the lifts, however, the location of our cabin made walking up easy to all our favourite locations. Their is even access through an open door on Level 11 on the starboard side (forward) so you can access the treatment rooms and the relaxation room only available to aqua class. This room has the best view of the ship over the bow with comfortable lounges, reading and sleeping as you sail. Dining - We bought a 7 night Specialty restaurant package - our first booking by Celebrity was in the Silk Harvest 7/10. If you do the same, cancel straight away and book all your meals at the Murano. We did not find out how good the Murano was until we had also eaten at the Tuscan Grille (being Italian - 6/10 Nonna cooks better). However, the Murano is a MUST and Sasha the Maitre'D is excellent. I ordered the same meal (5 times) - Crab parfait 10/10 entree and the Lobster Main course, the Lobster is cooked at your table. 20/10 Entertainment was hit and miss, most shows are OK. I don't cruise for the shows or the entertainment, I want to relax, if it interests me, then I go. Ports - Lahaini - we would go back to port and have the pineapple at the cafe across from Bubba Gumps - Maui Aquarium was a good surprise. Papeete - BB Cafe for the Surf and Turf - best meal and free wifi Bora Bora - Bloody Mary's and the Public beach - wonderful Auckland - catch the ferry to Devonport and wonder, then public library has the best view and free wifi. Bay of Islands - Ferry to Russell, then to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds (a must) Shore Excursions - Lahaini - Robert's Hawaii - 8/10 Papeete - Celebrity - Bus around the island - 6/10 Visit to the gardens was the highlight Bora Bora - Celebrity - Glass Bottom Boat - 9/10. Our own local 'taxi' to Bloody Mary's' and the main beach 10/10 Auckland - own - Fullers ferry to Devonport and 1 hr tour - 9/10 . Walked around and had lunch at Hum Cafe 10/10 Bay of Islands - own Ferry to Russell 9/10, self guided visit to Waitangi treaty ground + Museum 10/10 Do it again - we booked a future cruise on board and saved, plus Perks - next time we have our Classic drinks package and Internet included - bam! Note to Celebrity - if they included Aperol in the Classic Drinks Package I would book 20 more cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Just completed the October 2017 Solstice from Hawaii to Sydney. We had a fabulous time. The staff were friendly and the activities team led by Shawna had picked two terrific bands who provided lively dance music to suit lots of different ... Read More
Just completed the October 2017 Solstice from Hawaii to Sydney. We had a fabulous time. The staff were friendly and the activities team led by Shawna had picked two terrific bands who provided lively dance music to suit lots of different age groups at different times of the evening.This meant that our group of party-goers were able to have fun every single night dancing either in the grand foyer, Sky Lounge or the nightclub. The three silent discos were a blast especially the one up the lawn where we danced barefoot! The headphones provided had three choices of types of music to suit most tastes. Food in the buffet and the main dining room was delicious and the service was always attentive. An exercise dance class with Shawna on sea days helped us to keep fit and not put on weight either ( combined with always taking the stairs not the elevator). One suggestion though- please provide more seats around the foyer on all the levels including the bottom one as older people such as my mother cruising with me cannot endlessly stand up to watch the entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Well done Celebrity Solstice, we love and adore you. Your staff and ship are just awesome, we can't wait till our next one in Europe in 2019. So very sad to have to disembark after such an amazing time. Dining anytime was very well ... Read More
Well done Celebrity Solstice, we love and adore you. Your staff and ship are just awesome, we can't wait till our next one in Europe in 2019. So very sad to have to disembark after such an amazing time. Dining anytime was very well organised, loved sitting at different tables every night or just the two of us. Staff in this area were well trained and wonderful human beings. Our room steward was just more than happy and anything we asked was attended to immediately. Entertainment was awesome as expected, played bocce every sea day as port days taken up with tours. Evening Shows were amazing spectacular events, managed to make the majority of them but with so much to do on this ship didn't get to them all. Martini Bar was the place to be seen of an evening before or after dinner. Love the Lycheetini's, mmmmmmm. We cannot wait for our next Celebrity Cruise with we booked whilst on board for 2019 Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I think this itinerary was mis-named. For me, South Pacific Treasures would have been more accurate, because it was traversing the South Pacific ocean that was the purpose of this cruise, with a total of 11 sea days. One day we were ... Read More
I think this itinerary was mis-named. For me, South Pacific Treasures would have been more accurate, because it was traversing the South Pacific ocean that was the purpose of this cruise, with a total of 11 sea days. One day we were treated to 4-5 meter waves, another day 2 meter waves, another day it was a pacific ocean, smooth as a lake. Overnight of Oct. 5, we were treated to a beautiful full moon reflected on the water. As attractive as most of the stops were, spending time on open water was the central reality of this re-positioning cruise. Embarkation in Honolulu was smooth, with a different look, we each received a shell necklace as we entered the registration area. We cruised the Inside Passage on the Solstice last year, and it seemed a fair number of other passengers had previously been aboard this ship, allowing a comfortable familiarity for us. Certainly for us, the other passengers help make this a very enjoyable vacation. The many Australians we met during this trip were individually and as a group friendly and good-humored. The fun we had with our trivia team was a highlight of the whole cruise. The Cruise Critic meeting was well attended by cruisers and officers. Hotel Director Andrea and the Cruise Director Ben were very visible and active leaders throughout the cruise, one never knew where and when either of them might appear. Parag was our stateroom attendant, and he performed his duties with a smile, and proved quick to respond to both face-to-face requests and to phone calls. Blu was good for us. Telma and her restaurant staff provided excellent service throughout the cruise. Our main complaint is and has been, that we would like richer flavors in the food. Over 17 nights, the menu of course had repetition, and constraints of resupply further limited some of the potential choices. Considering there was some understandable drop-off in fresh produce, we admired the way Celebrity handled the logistics of supplying our cruise. Rose of Captain's Club had plenty to do, and was once again helpful to us. Ben was ok as CD, he is definitely energetic. Alexa and Nick ran trivia, both injecting some dry humor into the sessions. The house band Sound Stars was as good as any we have seen during our 16 years cruising. They played a range of popular music, covering different styles well, with some good interpretations thrown in. Prisma, the string duo, were excellent throughout the cruise, and I made an effort to hear them play. Starlight, the fusion quartet were good. Duo, the acoustic pairing were not as good for us as the other performers. Of the stage productions, the acrobatic/aerial show was much better than the other productions. Yoomi was good, as was Denny Elliot. The entire Hotel Staff deserves kudos for their efforts to clean and re-clean the ship during the Norovirus outbreak. Days before the cruise ended, thorough cleaning and re-cleaning of some state rooms commenced, pillows and linens were removed. The housekeeping and restaurant staffs, I think the entire Hotel management and staff, worked hard long hours to contain and rectify this outbreak. People were quarantined, care was offered and given. We very much appreciate all the efforts the service staffs made on the passengers behalf. The Polynesian Enrichment team provided ukulele lessons that I attended when they were available. They also were offering hula and other dance lessons, and were well attended, again when they were officially scheduled. It was odd to see them aboard and stating they were willing to hold classes that for some reason weren't being scheduled by the activities director. We watched some of the Enrichment lectures via the television, which was a first for us. We made good use of the fitness center and walking track. We the number of sea days, we had ample time to walk the promenade, and decks 14 and 15. Disembarkation in Sydney was easy, with helpful attendants sprinkled throughout the terminal. If the meters worth of missing wood railing on decks 14 and 15, and the connecting stairways; and the amount of rust clearly visible on our veranda and other parts of the ship are any indication, then the Celebrity Solstice best not wait until 2019 or even later to be totally refurbished. Overall, the combination of meeting friendly and interesting fellow cruisers, excellent service, the Pacific ocean, and attractive ports made for memorable travel. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We always wanted to do this cruise and visit Hawaii. Unfortunately our time in Hawaii of 5 days was not enough time, you definitely need a full week or more. Hawaii is great. The weather was great and so was our accomodation at the ... Read More
We always wanted to do this cruise and visit Hawaii. Unfortunately our time in Hawaii of 5 days was not enough time, you definitely need a full week or more. Hawaii is great. The weather was great and so was our accomodation at the Hilton Embassy Suites. Celebrity Cruises are great as was this one. The service and staff are amazing and very friendly. No faults there. However I will say that this cruise really needed more port stops. It was too many sea days. It was definitely very relaxing as the weather was great, but by time the second lot of 5 days of sea days came, we were a little over it, especially during the day. At night it was fine, as you had a pre-dinner drink, then dinner in the Dining Room (open dining times) then after we would go to see the 9pm show. But for us we just felt you needed at least two more port stops. Possibly in Fiji or the Cook Islands region. Overall we definitely enjoyed it though. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Great service generally, great food, Made lots of new friends. We were disappointed to miss Dutch Harbour, but understood the Captain's decision to avoid bad weather. Embarkation speed was impressive, and disembarkation went smoothly. ... Read More
Great service generally, great food, Made lots of new friends. We were disappointed to miss Dutch Harbour, but understood the Captain's decision to avoid bad weather. Embarkation speed was impressive, and disembarkation went smoothly. The cabin was much the same as most, the service was vert good. Dining was excellent except persons who do not like spices are poorly catered for. The evening entertainment was very good, catering for many tastes. However we were very disappointed to find that daytime activities were extremely limited. We and others found that at times during the day we had to resort to reading, when normally we are flat out all day and evening. The ship is small, but We have been on a number of ships of the same class, but different lines, and daytime activities were plentiful. It seemed at times that we were being force fed sales pitches and not much else. The line has still not recognised the previous cruising of one of us, despite repeated requests to update their data. Consequently that person was deprived of all the benefits they were entitled to. Bad move Holland America,! We only took one shore excursion, it was very good, but we considered in general the shore trips were expensive, so we preferred to "wing it" most times. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I have had my eye on this cruise for some time. Actually we booked the Yokohama to Vancouver this spring, but had to cancel. So now we did the Vancouver-Yokohama-Shanghai cruise. It was a pleasant experience. The Volendam is a nice ... Read More
I have had my eye on this cruise for some time. Actually we booked the Yokohama to Vancouver this spring, but had to cancel. So now we did the Vancouver-Yokohama-Shanghai cruise. It was a pleasant experience. The Volendam is a nice ship, not too big, with an excellent crew. The information from the bridge was good and the presentation by the two 3rd officers avout the things they do were excellent. You can't book the weather, and this cruise lacked badly in sunshine. Lots of fog and clouded skies, Japan rained. An exception, Glacier Bay on a sunny Sunday! When we booked we were supposed ro visit Korea after Japan. Some polilitical issues forced the dompany to change the itinary, no Korea, more Japan, which was fine with me as I'm a Japan fan. Japa, Hokkaido brought us some nice autumn colors and cranes. From Osaka we visited the Takarazuka theater, by train and as usual the people helped us to get tickets and the right train. Everybody will help you. The excursion department was well organised. Chaos was avoided. About dining, we dined some evenings in Pinnacle and Canaletto restaurants. We used the Dining room but occasionally. Most evenings we dined at the Lido. The atmosfeer there was cosy, of course you get your own food but the interaction with the mostly Indonesian crew was very pleasant. It felt very much like Terrace Cafe on Oceania. Management did good thing there! Our overall feeling was that this holiday was excellent. After the lightshow in Shanghai it was tije to go home. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Thought it was an exciting way to avoid flying to Japan and do some hiking in Alaska. One cruise port (Dutch Harbour) was cancelled for good reason I guess and we were credited but made it boring especially when all the theme were ... Read More
Thought it was an exciting way to avoid flying to Japan and do some hiking in Alaska. One cruise port (Dutch Harbour) was cancelled for good reason I guess and we were credited but made it boring especially when all the theme were Japanese. Seemed like the cruise director made it a Japanese theme cruise. What happened to those high demand line dancing. Totally ignored. It was a good way to introduce the Japanese culture to the public but not everyone took this cruise because of that. The stretch program in the morning needs improvement. May be because of the wave that the trainer cannot do a proper stretch program. Or may be because this space was limited. The spa also made a mistake of advertising a paid yoga session as free. About 6 -8 showed up but none of us stayed because they didn't honor their mistake. The Microsoft sponsored digital classes were excellent though. The instructor was very professional and knew her stuff well. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
The itinerary of this cruise was not to be believed. We saw the 49 day from Seattle to Sydney and then found they had an opportunity to extend the trip by combining a 5 day to Tasmania with a 13 day to New Zealand after reaching Sydney. ... Read More
The itinerary of this cruise was not to be believed. We saw the 49 day from Seattle to Sydney and then found they had an opportunity to extend the trip by combining a 5 day to Tasmania with a 13 day to New Zealand after reaching Sydney. Embarkation in Seattle was a little confusing to us, as well as the NCL personnel. There were circumstances we later learned that were overblown that kept cash paying customers from coming to Seattle to board the ship. They received a notice that if they were allowed to board the ship as their booking stated that they would be in violation of the Jones Act in some fashion. Most of us seasoned travelers could never figure out what the violation would have been unless it had something to do with the way the trip was booked by some of the cruisers in separate segments instead of the entire 49 day initial segment altogether. Anyway once we got past the visa/ETA snafu the boarding process was quick and efficient. We were welcomed aboard at the top of the ramp by a host of Officers and Uniformed Staff and once inside there was champagne being distributed by the wait staff and musicians were playing in the atrium. Having sailed with NCL on a few occasions we were familiar with the process of waiting for the staterooms to be announced as ready. We went up one deck to O'Sheehans and had some mozzarella cheese sticks and French fries while we waited. It wasn't long before they announced our floor was ready and we proceeded down what I like to call the "Secret Passageways" ( a couple of hallways on each side of the bar) to our room which was also located on Deck 8. The same as O'Sheehans. Clean, comfortable, cool and laid out well is how I would describe our Starboard side Oceanview Cat.A stateroom. Lots of closet space and convenient to the main dining room, Tsars, which has its Main Entrance just one floor below ours. The restaurant itself is on Deck 6. A spacious shower and the toilet was not cramped as is with a lot of other rooms. They replaced the mirror in our bathroom about 10 days before we reached Sydney. It was on their list of things to do. We had no issue with it. All in all I can recommend Stateroom 8122 as a good choice for location and quietness. The entertainment and Cruise Directors staff aboard the Jewel for this voyage was second to none. The Jewel Showband, the guest musicians playing guitars and piano in the atrium, the Alambre Trio, Taylor Kundolf, Fire and Ice, Temperature, the singers and dancers of the Jewel Production Cast and the Burn The Floor dancers kept everyone applauding the whole trip! Bravo.. The ports visited on this voyage were in order: Seattle WA, Ketchikan AK, Cruise Sawyer Glacier, Juneau AK, Skagway AK, Cruise Glacier Bay, Icy Point Strait AK, Sitka AK, Prince Rupert BC, Vancouver BC, Hilo HI, Nawiliwili Kauai HI, Kahului Maui HI (2 nights), Honolulu HI, Nawiliwili Kauai HI (2nd time), Hilo HI (2nd time), Nuku Hiva French Polynesia, Fakarava FP, Bora Bora FP, Moorea FP, Papeete FP, Raiatea FP, Bora Bora (2nd time and overnight),Pagp Pago American Samoa, Cossing International Dateline, Lautoka Fiji, Suva Fiji, Port Vila Vanuatu, Noumea New Caledonia, Isle of Pines New Caledonia, Sydney Australia, Burnie Tasmania, Hobart Tasmania, Sydney (2nd time) Melbourne, Australia, Burnie Tasmania (2nd time) Wellington New Zealand, Napier NZ, Tauranga NZ, Auckland NZ, Bay of Islands NZ and finally Sydney for disembarkation. 68 wonderful action filled days intertwined with days of nothing but leisure and enjoying the amenities of the NCL Jewel. Accolades to the Captains and the staff for our numerous tendering to a lot of these exotic locations that went off without a hitch. Using tender tickets and discovering that using ALL of the boats available was the best way to go with getting passengers off the ship and onto these islands so they could spend their time onshore. The weather cooperated 95% of the entire cruise with smooth sailing. The Jewel is a very capable ship and I look forward to visiting her again for another round of adventure. The officers made it clear that this voyage was a learning tool for them as well as an adventure for the passengers. Other than Alaska and Hawaii these were waters not traveled by an NCL vessel before and caution with safety seemed to be in place at all times. If this itinerary is ever visited again, along most of the same lines, I would seriously consider boarding for it once more. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Where do I begin with this cruise review. We have been on this ship before and this time was as good as the last, except longer. What a great way to come home from Hawaii - so much more relaxing. We actually stayed in Waikiki for ... Read More
Where do I begin with this cruise review. We have been on this ship before and this time was as good as the last, except longer. What a great way to come home from Hawaii - so much more relaxing. We actually stayed in Waikiki for eleven days before the cruise and didn't want to leave there. We had a package and stayed at the Hyatt Regency on the 33rd floor. Fantastic. Buffet breakfast was included in our package. Carnival should be congratulated on their hardworking staff. Their friendliness and efficiency certainly goes a long way to making a cruise a fantastic way to holiday. especially on such a long cruise. From our room steward and his offsider, the dedicated staff who looked after us in the restaurant every night, to Jen the cruise director. Fantastic service from everyone. We ate in the main dining room (MDR) - Truffles Restaurant - every night with four others on our table. These people certainly helped to make our cruise what it was. Great bunch of people. We loved the entertainment by the staff in the restaurant - dancing their way around the restaurant with guests joining in. The staff seemed to have much as fun as the guests. It certainly livened the place up. The food in Truffles was wonderful. We couldn't believe just how tender the steak was and wondered every night just how they did it. In the Lido Bistro we found the food pretty good too. Quite a lot of different food on offer and you certainly did not go hungry at all. The only problem we found in there occasionally was looking for a table to eat our meal and people playing cards or reading on tables. At the busy times, tables could be scarce. Quite often we would join up with another table, but we still found it inconsiderate. We had Cabin 8112 with a balcony and totally unrestricted views. Great cabin. There was so much to see and do on board that you couldn't possibly get bored. Games on the Lido deck, quite a few trivia games every day, Bingo on the sea days, shows every night in the Follies Theatre, games/card room, library, bars with and without entertainment, casino, movies. Heaps to do or do nothing. My husband and I are in our sixties and travelled alone. But we met so many lovely people. We could not fault the ship or its staff in any way. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. Disembarkation at Sydney was effortless. Once we got on the ship we had a problem though with trying to put cash on our Sail & Sign card. The line was HUGE and very slow - and there were only two staff working on it. Thought we would get in line first to book excursions as they go quickly, but had to put funds on our card first. By the time that was done one of the excursions we particularly wanted to do was sold out. If Carnival let people book their excursions before getting on the ship it would be so much easier. Another suggestion we would make to Carnival is some chairs on Deck 3. Most of the time this deck was empty as there was nowhere to sit. If there were chairs here, it would certainly alleviate the crowding on the Lido deck. And so much quieter. All in all, we would recommend this cruise to anyone. And Carnival in particular. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We booked this cruise so that we could have a week in Waikiki and then cruise home. We had a great time in Honolulu. This was our first time on Carnival Legend, but have been on Carnival Spirt twice. We had the first boarding time ... Read More
We booked this cruise so that we could have a week in Waikiki and then cruise home. We had a great time in Honolulu. This was our first time on Carnival Legend, but have been on Carnival Spirt twice. We had the first boarding time of 12.30 - 1pm, although it did appear that everyone had turned up to board at the same time! So it did take a little while to get through and on board, although the process went fairly smoothly (nothing like the repo cruise we did on the Carnival Spirit from Singapore in 2015, which took nearly 3 hours to get on board and standing in extreme temperatures). Once on board we arrived at our cabin (7180 extended balcony) and our bags were already at our cabin. so it was great to be able to unpack and get organised. We had five sea days ahead of us,(we were traveling with another couple). So first priority for my husband was to make sure that they were going to get the footy finals, pleased to say they did. The five sea days passed quickly with trivia and relaxing in Serenity. Not sure what time some people got to Serenity each morning, but we only got a pod on one occasion. Would have been nice if it was policed and the pods that some people only seem to use for a short period of time but chose to leave their books and towels so that no one else could use them, if the staff could have collected these belongings and given someone else a chance to use the pods. Also for the first few days there were a few kids in this area but thankfully they did move them on. There were quite a few kids on this cruise and mostly well behaved, but it did get a bit frustrating when you would go to watch karaoke and it was mostly kids (think they need to do one for kids and one for adults), we also experienced kids taking up seats in the piano bar at 11pm at night and even though Kylie (piano player) did mention that there should not be kids in there at this time of the night, the parents did not seem to care. Towards the end of the cruise, everyone seemed to be getting sick with cough and cold and I think this was largely due to staff not policing the hand sanitizer. In fact could not believe how many people didn't use it and my husband said he even saw men leave the toilets and not wash their hands! So needless to say I ended up in bed for 2 days so as not to spread it any further. Food in mdr was always very good, I think there was only one night that nothing on menu appealed to me, and food was always hot and our Waiter Alun and his team were very good, even when we couldn't decide what we wanted he would just bring both dishes for us to try. Lido was also quite good with plenty of choice. We did the Chefs Table and would highly recommend the food was amazing. Our cabin was in a good position and very rarely heard any noise and Noyman and his team kept it clean and tidy. Ports were what we expected, but have to say we loved Bora Bora and swimming with the Rays and sharks. So overall we had a great time, and would highly recommend this repo cruise to everyone, especially once Carnival Legend has had her refurb. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was the longest cruise we had undertaken at 17 nights. We felt a strange vibe when boarding the ship. On all of our previous cruises, everyone boarding the ship is in a great mood – as we are all going on holiday at the same ... Read More
This was the longest cruise we had undertaken at 17 nights. We felt a strange vibe when boarding the ship. On all of our previous cruises, everyone boarding the ship is in a great mood – as we are all going on holiday at the same time. This one was a little different with some people boarding cranky and staying cranky the whole cruise. For some it was their first cruise, which is a bit strange – perhaps they should have tried something shorter to see if they liked it. There was also a significantly older demographic than other cruises we had been on – more like Princess in average age! This was our second cruise on Carnival – both on the Legend. I would have to say that the overall experience was even better than the first time, especially given the extra inclusions due to being classed as a “Journey” cruise. Food and service at the Truffles (Level 3) was great. The food on most nights was fantastic, with only having to revert to the regular options very occasionally. We really liked the “You always wanted to try but…” as a great food option. Food and Service at the Unicorn Cafe provided a great range, with generally easy access due to the individual stations – we had some great curries early in the cruise, but found less choice as the days passed, but the Asian stir frys were always great. The desserts were without doubt the best I have seen cruising both in Truffles and Unicorn. It will be interesting to see when the ship is refitted to include Blue Iguana and Guy’s Burger Joint to utilise space better than some areas on deck 9 which are currently under utilised. We thought the drinks prices were a little high. $29 for the cheapest wine that would go for no more than $7 in a Bottle Shop in Australia is a bit excessive, especially as Carnival do not pay duty. Wine should be priced from around $22. However the cocktails were better than previous cruises (including Carnival) with a better range and more “mature” options being available on lower decks. It was great to see that cocktails were served in appropriate glasses on the ship. I realise that on a 17 night cruise you should have a larger range of entertainment for a longer cruise, however I believe that there were too many hypnotists / magicians and not enough singers. The best guest entertainment was Patrick McMahon with his mix of signing and comedy and Marcus Anthony with his cabaret show – he really knew how to work the audience. The 4 Show list productions were also enjoyable - even better than previously - having been reworked since we first saw them 2 years ago. It was also great to see the Show list performers taking on other tasks such as dance lessons etc – a great chance to be taught by professional performers which some passengers really appreciated. Being trivia buffs, we found ample opportunity to test our knowledge with quizzes and cooking demonstrations, dance classes etc. We also enjoyed the lectures by Tom Parks, the Polynesian ambassadors and the Naturalist (mainly through Carnival TV). The music was a highlight with all bands / performers of a high standard. There seemed to be more musicians on board than previously with pre and post dinner music in most lounges. Billies Piano Bar still seems to be an underutilised gem however. Given the relative lack of children on board, there were more than enough activities for kids at Circle C with a good blend to suit the varying ages. Scavenger Hunts, Wii / Playstation and parties were a highlight for our son. It was great to see Cruise Director, Jen Baxter and all of her team around the ship regularly. We found Jen to be fantastic 2 years ago and even better this time. On some previous cruises with other lines, we have barely seen the Cruise Director. Her visibility and energy together with taking time to talk with all who want to talk to her makes her a stand out. Her music “parties” were musts to attend. She would be one of the main reasons we would cruise on the Carnival Legend (or whichever ship she was on) again. Found Guest Services efficient and helpful when required. However we found it difficult to split down our bill as we were looking to monitor our son’s expenses on his card and needed to get a full statement and highlight his expenses to verify his daily spend. I hope that the dry dock upgrade next year will also provide a chance to upgrade the systems / software to allow more flexibility to provide actual details clients need. Shops sold the usual range of items with regular sale events. Duty Free liquor however provided a limited range of options and not particularly good prices, we made of purchases in Noumea which we had not done before. Photos looked great, but there is so much waste in printing them out. I know some lines have facial recognition which means you can see relevant photos on a screen tailored to your group personally, by simply recalling your room number. Embarkation - Efficient and well handled - once we were through US Customs and Immigration the process seemed to speed up appreciably. Our bags were at our cabin when we arrived on board. Disembarkation – Worked well in an orderly manner. Shore Tours – Only booked 1 on board tour as our other selections were sold out. You can see a difference in the professionalism of the tour operators who conduct the Carnival tours. Papeete was a bit of a surprise in how large / busy it was with a population of 130k. The extra time here however allowed us to have a good look around in the town as well as also do a tour out of town. The food vans set at night were also interesting. Moorea was a real hidden gem as it is in the shadow of the better known Bora Bora. Activities seemed a little more accessible here and almost as beautiful. We anticipated that Bora Bora would be the highlight of the trip and we were not disappointed. The water here was so clear and the option to swim with the sharks and rays a once in a lifetime experience. Suva was a bit of a surprise, having not been there since 1987, some areas were almost the same, however there were also modern shopping centres and the Grand Pacific Hotel was an oasis from the hustle and bustle. We had a very enjoyable day in Noumea (due to great weather) and relaxed vibe. Also we tried not to do too much, but enjoyed a swim and drink at Lemon Beach, the morning markets and a picnic lunch – purchased at the supermarket using all French products. Likes: Playlist Productions Better / more interesting talks / lectures / lessons than on shorter cruises Live Music choices Most consistently high standard of food in MDR and Unicorn Café. Dislikes: No Breakfast Pizza at Unicorn Café – this was a highlight from our previous cruise. Expensive drinks. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose this cruise as a way to get to Australia in a relaxing way without jet lag. This was our 7th cruise and 5th with RCL. We enjoyed the cruise but did find both stretches of 5 sea days a little challenging. The staff were excellent ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a way to get to Australia in a relaxing way without jet lag. This was our 7th cruise and 5th with RCL. We enjoyed the cruise but did find both stretches of 5 sea days a little challenging. The staff were excellent Raj and Mohammed in Windstar outstanding, also our stateroom attendant Eko. We ate in Chops Grille once, not the best service but steaks were good. Giovanni’s twice, it was excellent and we had a wonderful waiter but have unfortunately forgotten his name. Staff all knew you by name, no idea how they do that. Food in main dining and Windjammer was good and my standby of salmon was always good if I didn’t like the menu. The shows were, for the most part, pretty good. We had an Aussie comic who surprised us as we didn’t think we would get his humour but he was great. Entertainment in the bars was good and varied. Only negative was RCL bumped up all prices of drinks etc. That was a bit disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Bookd this cruise as it was dirt cheap, at C$40 per person per day before taxes and fees. We were using it for transportation so it was a bargain. Ship is o.k. Rather on the big side. Pool is small and unheated (good as it kept the ... Read More
Bookd this cruise as it was dirt cheap, at C$40 per person per day before taxes and fees. We were using it for transportation so it was a bargain. Ship is o.k. Rather on the big side. Pool is small and unheated (good as it kept the great legions of unwashed out). Hot tubs, especially the outside ones, were only lukewarm on some days. Maintenance was o.k No issues with toilets or bad smells for the most part. Cabin review below. Food was o.k. - I cringed as I read reviews after the ship got to Asia last year. We ate in the MDR for every dinner, and all except one lunch (menu was that bad). We were advised by a waiter on the first night that breakfast in the buffet had more selection. He was right, breakfast in the MDR was pretty poor and one could do better in the buffet except for getting something other than overcooked poached eggs. The other trouble is that there is a lot of misrepresentation in the menu. Chicken Kiev is not stuffed with butter, Mâche salad has absolutely no mâche in it, barramundi on the second lunch (lunch menus only took 4-5 dayd before the started to repeat) was not barramundi. A lot of meats are also over cooked or improperly cooked (dry heat instead of wet heat, etc.) Really a lot of merely o.k. and even more mediocre. MDR service, especially for "Select" dining was very rushed. We'd be seated at 1930 and could easily make the 2045 show even with 4 courses and a coffee. Very friendly otherwise. Food, especially entrées a.k.a. appetises were more often than not served not in the other that we wanted, Maybe a training or management issue. We don;t begrudge the frontline staff. Menus were also fairly unadventurous and seasoning, even for dishes vaunted to be boldly flavored, weren't. Don;t expect fine dining (unless you pay for Aqua, Suite or an exorbitant extra charge restaurant. We found the food on Holland America, at least 3 years ago, to be better. The buffet was o.k but sometimes we'd go around a few times before picking something to eat. SOme stuff was o.k. but food was rather mediocre for the most part. Bread was however excellent and some pastries and desserts were delightfully not oversweetened. Ethnic foods were generally a poor facsimile of what they were supposed to be. Buffet was kept cleaner than some Carnival Corp lines for the most part. Watch for the "no sugar added" ice creams and desserts as Maltitol or other sugar alcohols may be used and cause a lot of gas (there are no warning labels). Spa Café food was o.k. though surprisingly a lot of sugar was used in a lot of the foods (namely the muesli). If nothing else, the entertainment was superior to some other lines, namely Holland America and Princess. Some oft he performers were mediocre but some were stellar, and came back for quite a few more performances. Production show especially singers and dancers were also better. Activities were generally poor and not much going on without having to pay. Cooking demonstrations were not very well run and you didn't really learn much, or could see unless you were in the first row or two. The staff are very friendly for the most part, or at least acted that way. Food service was haphazard though. Didn't pay for any port excursions (in fact, didn't spend onboard other than a duty-free purchase and mandatory HSCs as pricing for the most part is extortionate). Dutch Harbor was changed to Sitka rather at the last minute. Didn't care for stops so I didn't mind. Otaru and Hakodate were o.k. but I would have been fine with sailing straight to Yokohama. I'd go again, but only if the price was very low. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
As a regular cruiser with over 300 nights at sea, this was our second Celebrity Cruise. I found what appeared to be a decline in service and onboard quality compared to the first trip in 2009. Other cruise lines offer a better experience ... Read More
As a regular cruiser with over 300 nights at sea, this was our second Celebrity Cruise. I found what appeared to be a decline in service and onboard quality compared to the first trip in 2009. Other cruise lines offer a better experience and in talking with Celebrity guests, many find the attraction is the Captains Circle perks. None of this should be considered a reason not to take Celebrity but to let you know - Celebrity fell short of expectation and needs to advance their game. Celebrity does not do any place set up at the Oceanview Buffet. Other cruise line puts napkins, forks, knife, and spoon on every table. Doing so will alleviate crowding/ circulation issues. Other cruise lines put a coffee mug and glass on every table. Celebrity: nada. This means passengers need to carry many things away to their table and sometimes make multiple trips back to the serving area. This compounds the already crowded space. Celebrity puts a spoon holder next to the coffee dispenser. People put used spoons into the spoon holder. If not, the spoon holders are otherwise empty. Other cruise lines put out coffee stir sticks plus spoons but the spoons are already on the table thus are often not necessary. Celebrity coffee is very good. Keep it up. Prepare to spice your food – Celebrity adds minimal seasoning. Sticky buns – only once on the voyage. No bran muffins. Oat muffins yes. They have no sugar added cookies – thanks. Other cruise lines create a main course style buffet dinner using elements from the main dining menu. Some also put a place mat and wine glass at the buffet place setting. Celebrity did not use much imagination here and sometimes appears to create the buffet dinner menu out of what was available for lunch. We had the occasional “Good Evening” from the Celebrity waiters as diners entered the restaurant. Other cruise lines have a variety of individual cereal boxes for breakfast. Celebrity uses only 3 bulk cereal dispensers. Different fruits may be available occasionally, yesterday bananas, today grapefruit. So far no fresh plums, strawberries, blueberries, nectarines or peaches. Cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, pineapples and apples are the usual. It appears the custom pasta dishes lack garlic, basil, capers and fresh squeeze lemon – no flavour. Due to the extended cold weather, the line up for lunch in the dining room is too long and tables in the buffet at noon are scarce. Signs urge passengers to not occupy the table any longer than necessary so others can sit down. Dining areas are often crowded. Something is amiss. Celebrity sugar free and no sugar added desserts are varied and tasty - kudos. Celebrity fish and chips were quite good. The Celebrity Timeless Dinner menu carries both steak and escargot - bravo! Celebrity Scampi are only large shrimp. Formal night scampi was a mere 4 shrimp with rice. Another formal night had lobster. The dinner portions on Celebrity are small – enough for me but many people ordered double everything. Salad soup entrée. Some waste observed and definitely adds to the cruise line costs. Stores were nice and probably too big and too numerous. The staff appeared under worked and needed sales. Celebrity had a buffet chocolate dip dessert for fruit. Nice. The Beef Bourgogne was sent back – it had strips of burnt bacon added to the stewed beef. The sea bass fish was over cooked, the seafood bisque smelled foul fish and some fish dishes were simply not fresh. The Greek salad had no tomatoes, red onions or Greek dressing. The trout was a mere half of a fillet. The potatoes whether on the plate or in a salad were undercooked. Many items were very good. The Captain Nicholas from Chania was personable, exuded competence and kept us all informed. Excellent leader. Theatre and lounges were very nice. Entertainment average to “Let’s leave early” The invite to the Heli Pad was nice. Terrible TV, no on demand service, the onboard recording service in some cases used old equipment. No published movie schedule The Deck 8 Library was almost void of any books. No onboard laundry or ironing board. Laundry by the bag is $50 each. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017

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