We did B2B2B from Seattle to Sydney on the Solstice. Three cruises back to back. We have done several prior cruises on Celebrity in Europe and New Zealand and are sold on the Solstice class ships. They are large with plenty to do on ... Read More
We did B2B2B from Seattle to Sydney on the Solstice. Three cruises back to back. We have done several prior cruises on Celebrity in Europe and New Zealand and are sold on the Solstice class ships. They are large with plenty to do on sea days yet they almost never seem crowded. The staterooms are well played out with a great bathroom and roomy shower. To us it seems like the average passenger age on the ship is mid 60s. Very few kids on board and many people in their 70s and 80s. Lots of canes and motorized carts. We had one lady 102 years old in a wheel chair. Overall a lot of very pleasant people we met on the cruise.
Checking in was a breeze in Seattle and we were soon enjoying lunch in the Ocean Cafe. This was our first time to Alaska and we found it to be quite beautiful. The weather was nice the first few days but got very rainy for the second part of the cruise. The highlight was our float plane excursion to Misty Fiords with Island Wings where we landed on a remote lake and sampled some wild blueberries. Victoria and Vancouver stops were excellent and the weather improved so we had beautiful days there.
There were some long lines getting back on the ship due to the U.S. Immigration deciding to pre-clear passengers before arriving in Hilo. Then we has 5 sea days in a row getting to Hawaii. Celebrity had a wonderful Hawaiian program for the sea days where passengers were able to learn to Hula and make Hawaiian Leis with fresh orchids and Kukui Nuts. The instructor June was delightful. Weather in Hawaii was outstanding in every way.... but that is normal for Hawaii. We tendered Kona and Maui which is a fairly slow process but we were not in a hurry. We usually don't plan to get off early on tendered ports so we can enjoy the day more. The last thing we want to do is stand in line or sit around in the lobby and wait for our tender number to be called.
The ocean was quite rough when we got to Maui and this made tendering very slow and difficult. This is not the cruise line's fault, chalk it up to Mother Nature. Arriving in Honolulu to start our 3rd segment of our 3 part cruise we spent the 2 days visiting family and friends that live there. Back on the ship we headed for Tahiti. Another 5 sea days to Tahiti! The ocean was on the choppy side and it wasn't as smooth as previous cruises. Not like the Mediterranean that's for sure. When you travel on a ship you have to expect some rough seas now and then, plus trans-Pacific or trans-Atlantic are prone to some rough seas sometimes.
We were getting tired of sea days but when we pulled into Tahiti it was all worth it! What a beautiful group of islands! Bora-Bora is truly the most beautiful island in the world in our opinion. The snorkelling with the sting-rays and sharks in vivid light blue crystal clear waters was the highlight. This alone made all the sea days worthwhile. Moorea was also a beautiful island and we did an ATV ride in the hills which was great. A couple more sea days and we are in N.Z. Bay of Plenty and Auckland. Finally bringing the cruise to an end in Sydney.... waking up to the Sydney Opera House directly across from our balcony. Wonderful cruise.
Celebrity has cut corners in the past year. I personally would prefer they raised their prices a bit rather than eliminating popular offerings, but I understand that there is a lot of competition in cruising industry now and that the cost of operations go up every year. We were disappointed that they no longer had the fresh orange juice available in the Ocean Cafe. On previous cruise we looked forward to fresh OJ every morning for breakfast. Such is life, things do change and what can a person do?
Overall we found the food quality in the Ocean Cafe to be quite good. That is not to say we liked everything all the time but it is a buffet and there are plenty of things to choose from. The Mast Grill has great hamburgers and cheeseburgers! On windy days they offer them in the Ocean Cafe as well. The main dining room where we ate dinner most of the time was excellent. They had a standard menu that remained pretty consistent for most night ( NY Steak, Salmon, Chicken breast, etc ) and then they had another menu that changed every night. They have Top Chef items quite often which are hit and miss, either you like them or you do not. The waiters always would tell us if we tried something and did not like it they would bring us something else.
The Solstice crew and staff are excellent. We really enjoyed talking to them and seeing them every night. Always smiling and friendly. The Cruise Director Ben and Activity director Pete were very good. Entertainment was overall quite good. We liked their new production shows, the Studio has some talented singers & dancers. The Diamonds ( 3 girl singers ) from Sydney were excellent too.
I read some very negative reviews on CC saying NEVER AGAIN, TERRIBLE FOOD, TERRIBLE ENTERTAINMENT, WORST CRUISE EVER, ETC.... First I would like to say that anyone expecting everything to always go perfect with ANYTHING in life is setting themselves up for a big let-down. Things always go wrong because that is life. Plus personal taste means you won't like all the entertainment or food all the time. Then you combine that with Mother Nature giving you rough seas or bad weather makes things worse. We found that ships do make creaking noise in rough seas. Our neighbour pounded on our joining wall once because he thought we were making the noises he heard. LOL. With almost 3,000 passengers the ship staff are kept very busy and do make mistakes sometimes..... they are human after all. If you get a over-cooked steak just tell the waiter and they are more than happy to get you a new one. If you don't like your dinner they will bring you something else. They always made this perfectly clear when we were ordering and dining. If you want quick service eat early not prime time. I have to admire the Celebrity employees, they work extremely hard everyday without days off and normally have a split shift with only a few hours in between for themselves. How they keep smiling and friendly day after day amazes me.
Bottom line ........ sure things did not go perfect and there were a couple frustrations but overall Celebrity delivered a wonderful experience and vacation. We have 4 cruises booked for 2016 and two pending for 2017. Read Less