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Celebrity Solstice

5 1
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Price: $$     Size: L     Refurbished: 3 yrs ago    

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Cruisin' is a blast!

sisterjunus1 reviewed 1 month ago

What people said about this ship:

"The main dining room food was better though went down hill from first night." in 39 reviews.

"...i very impressed with the service and staff on the celebrity cruise we took to alaska." in 14 reviews.

"i have been in many ships including the oasis from royal caribbean , but i have to admit that the solstice is one of the..." in 14 reviews.



Recommended Reviews


rabarker
Third Mate

Traveled As:
Couple

Room Type:
Balcony

Experience:
4-6 cruises

4 star
4 star
4 star
4 star
empty star

Good cruise, not crazy-great.

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Celebrity Solstice | Sail Date: Sep 12, 2014

The ship was a nice ship, though I disliked the number of dead-end decks that made getting around a bit challenging.  The Blu restaurant was quite good, but employed mostly pretentious menu descriptions and was hardly worth the upcharge involved in "Aqua-class".  The Aqua-class spa is a bust.  It was obviously little-used, mostly because it was nothing more than a few heated ceramic lounges looking out behind glass over the bow of the ship on each of two decks.  The added charge for eating in Murano and Tuscan ($50 and $35 apiece respectively) were pretty absurd.  My opinion is that you have to have a high need for status to pay an extra hundred just for the privilege of eating a different menu one night.)  And the drink packages on the ship are pricey...we're not drinkers and would have been much better off if we had bought a coke just individually at each meal.

 

The food in the Grand Epanay dining room was really excellent.  The staff throughout the ship were uniformly top-notch.  Friendly, helpful, and thoughtful.  The ship seemed clean and well-maintained.  The grass lawn on the top deck seemed like a silly use of space to me--don't we all have a lawn to take care of at home?

 

We hit wonderful weather, and so our float-plane ride, train ride, and visit to Buchaert Gardens were all absolutely memorable and worth the price.  That garden is NOT one to miss!  Whale-watching was good, though September is not the best month.  We did see some whales and porpoises from the ship as well.

 

The shows on board were quite good.  We had Lindsey Hamilton sing, which was awesome, and enjoyed a juggler, an electronic zylophone artist, a couple comedians, a very good Broadway review, an acrobatic show resembling the Cirque, Delisco--an excellent pop artist--, an impressionist musician, and regular entertaining and informative lectures by the ship naturalist.  The hot-glass artists were remarkable for their physical and intellectual virtuosity, but it was cold up in the open air watching them. 

 

The stops on this 11-day cruise were all worthwhile except for Icy Strait Point and Nanaimo, which both offered very little to get excited about.  The days at sea were relaxing, as they always are.  We hit an interesting day of rolling seas after Juneau, unpleasant for some passengers but nothing particularly challenging.

 

All-in-all, it was a very nice way to see some high points of Alaska and a pleasant ship to travel on.  I don't think I'd bother with Aqua-class again, though.

 

 

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Traveled As:
Family w/young children

Room Type:
Balcony

Experience:
7+ cruises

3 star
3 star
3 star
empty star
empty star

A lot to like but be aware of the LOUD music everywhere

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Celebrity Solstice | Sail Date: Aug 15, 2014

Celebrity does many things right, an Incredibly Wonderful, hardworking staff, Wonderful food, Beautiful cabins, elegant ships and a wide array of options to customize your vacation time. We sailed on the August 15, 2014 Inside Passage Cruise to Alaska with our family.  We had multiple cabins, ours was a Concierge Level cabin, #1207 on Sky Deck. Beautifully laid out and well designed this was a pleasant roomy cabin with a small balcony. Our room attendants were friendly, helpful yet unobtrusive...although the same can be said for absolutely every staff member we encountered. Everyone was a delight and no question or concern was too small or trivial. The staff and how it relates to and works with guests is one of Celebrity Cruises very strong points. Food throughout the ship was thoughtfully prepared, well presented and tasty. Surprisingly, The Oceanview Café (the Lido buffet) was among the best we've ever experienced (this was cruise number 14 for us). The layout of Café was well planned and facilitated an easy flow throughout. The food was of equal quality to the Main Dining Room and was well displayed creating an appealing visual presentation. It would be very easy to completely blow your diet here. We also had occasion to try some of the food offerings in SPA area of the Solstice, forgive me but I forgot the name of this eatery. Again, quality was very good and beautifully presented as well as tasty. The Grand Epernay Dining Room is a breathtaking room that settles somewhere between late 90's modern and Jetsonesque in appearance. Understated, this room lets the food and service be the star of the show, and it was. A diversified menu offered many options and we were able to find a delicious entrée each evening. Our group also tried The Tuscan Grill one evening. Again, spot on service, and very good food. Here though we encountered one of the few challenges of our trip; there was a problem with several orders of steak that were not prepared as requested and arrived very overcooked. When this was brought to the attention of our waitstaff, they offered to recook the entire meal. Those with the overcooked food refused (this is not a fast service venue and the rest of us would have been finished with our meal by the time the food had been re-cooked) and chose not to finish their meal and simply requested that they not be charged. There was much discussion amongst the waitstaff and restaurant manager but in the end, they refused to remove the charges for those who didn't eat. Our group spent $300 dining in this venue and this should have been handled better.

There are a number of bars onboard and many of them were busy at all hours. The most popular spot was the Martini Bar. It is obvious that the staff here enjoys their work and wants to create a memorable experience for every passenger. The Molecular Bar is good but not outstanding, at $13 per cocktail I expect to be wooed and tempted. The multi-page menu here is somewhat overwhelming but the knowledgeable bartenders (they won't let forget how much they know and how lucky you are to be there) offer suggestions but are rather abrupt and even a bit catty in trying to get you make a decision so they can move on to the next guest. The Sky Lounge Was a spectacular space that offered panoramic views. It was sadly very underutilized and remained empty much of the time. The same was true for Quasar Nightclub which was mostly used for table tennis and for Cellar Masters Wine Bar, which just seemed to empty anytime we stopped by.

During one of our sea days we did happen upon The Corning Hot Glass Show. In a word, outstanding. Do not miss this. The artisans onboard were knowledgeable, approachable and created a sense of excitement and beauty in the work they performed. Viewing is up close and sightlines are quite good. It is amazing what they are able to accomplish with the limitations they have trying to do a glass show at sea.

When we cruise we usually purchase a pass to the Persian Gardens (Thermal Suite) for the length of cruise and did so this time. We find that it is important to spend some time unwinding, especially after a day of touring and this is a good way to do it. The Persian Gardens are a part of The Canyon Ranch Spa onboard. This is a mixed venue with both men and women. Well designed and with uninterrupted views of the ocean this was a place we went to daily. It was quite relaxing although very busy. With the addition of AquaSpa cabins the PG was far busier than we have ever experienced although this is not much of a problem. What was a problem was the PG was largely unmonitored and we were aware of one group of guests who hadn't paid for use of this area being admitted by another family member who had purchased the pass. Alternatively there are saunas in each of the dressing rooms (Men's and Women's) as well as showers and dressing areas. This would be good for those sharing cabins as it gives the possibility of showering outside your cabin while freeing up the cabin shower for other family members, however the dressing rooms are part of Canyon Ranch and so are subject to the same opening and closing hours...which is not always convenient.

As I stated earlier, this was an Inside Passage Cruise to Alaska, and we were not disappointed. Yes there was rain for about half the cruise but that was not anything we could control so we just moved on and enjoyed the stops as much as possible. Ketchikan was a pleasant stop with a little bit to do, much of it surrounding the Ketchikan Creek and the "Red Light District" building that have since been converted to restaurants, artist spaces and tourist shops. Pleasant and a good way to kill some time. We opted to spend time at the Ketchikan Historical Museum and were not disappointed, the local history is fascinating and gives a good albeit brief overview of the Ketchikan story. This stop was quite rainy and so we did not explore as much as we would had the weather been better.

Juneau was the 2nd stop and there was much to do. Of course the requisite tourist shops were there in abundance. We opted to do zip lining as "our tour" in Tongass National Forest. Yes it is scary, yes I was scared, true it was high up there but I'm so glad I did go and likely will do it again. The rush of excitement, the uncertainty of my abilities and egging on of the others in our group made it an excursion to remember. Once safely back on land, we also explored the surrounding area and happened into the oldest Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska. It is tiny, and despite all odds the local population is trying mightily to preserve and restore this bit of Juneau history.

Skagway was our last Alaska stop and owing to much improved weather was  one of our favorites. It has retained the frontier flavor of a bygone era. Colorful, friendly, full of tourist shops there is something for everyone in Skagway. We booked a local excursion here and paralleled, by bus, the White Pass train trail. We had numerous stops and plenty of time to photograph and do some brief exploring. As do most tours, ours culminated at the border crossing between the U.S. and Canada in the Klondike. The views were breathtaking and our knowledgeable guide made the trip well worth the cost. Don't forget to ask about the wild blueberries! YUM.

Victoria B.C. our final stop of this cruise was Victoria. This is truly a gem and it was unfortunate that we only had a few hours here as this would easily be an overnight stop. Beautiful, friendly and infinitely walkable, Victoria abounds with pleasant sights, people and history. If you photograph at all, be sure to have your camera with you here. Look in at The Empress Hotel, walk the side streets of charming little houses, talk to the locals...we were asked several times what our impression was of the island and people were genuinely curious to know if we liked Victoria...we did, so will you. It is an easy walk to town from the pier, walking through the neighborhood rather than along the seawall cuts the walk time to about 15 minutes.

Celebrity does many things right, from ships, to staff, to itineraries, to food. There is much to be said about their desire to create a vacation experience. However, where it goes off track it does so with alarming consequences for its' passengers:

The Life Boat Drill is one of the most chaotic, disorganized events I have ever witnessed. I observed that even the crew is not entirely sure of what to do with all the passengers. The drill is conducted indoors, so you don't actually report to your lifeboat station as on other cruises. Once you find your indoor meeting place then the chaos begins. Stand here, move there, sit here, no don't sit here, move over to the far side of the room, line up in rows, break the rows down, squeeze together more. I understand and support the need for these drills but was left wondering how this would be handled if the emergency were real. Concerning.

Music. This was the real challenge of this cruise, music. Where Celebrity goes off track badly, this is it.

From morning to night it was one continuous din. We enjoy a party as much as the next person, but the overwhelming, pulsating, pounding, driving, loud bar music made for a very unpleasant trip. I'm not elderly, not really even old but felt as if we couldn't escape the noise anywhere other than our cabin. We felt like prisoners being "musicboarded". Even in areas of the ship where you'd expect quiet, the music was over-loud, Persian Gardens (irritatingly loud screechy vocals as well the thumping music from the fitness center next door), the Solarium Pool, blasting instrumentals (here at least they willingly would turn down the volume to a reasonable level if asked), The Atrium area (the volume of music was so loud that you couldn't speak to the person standing next to you without shouting. Amazingly this is also an area where passengers and staff conduct business at the front desk, shore excursions office, etc and having to shout to be heard means having to announce your business to everyone around.). Yes, I understand that Celebrity is trying to create a "party atmosphere" however, how is it enjoyable when one is assaulted by the music? Imagine waiting outside The Grand Epernay Dining Room for the doors to open, you and several hundred others crowded into a small area with thumping bar music playing so loud that all you can do is stand and listen since there is no conversation possible, not pleasant.). Or how about the elderly female passenger outside Celebrity Central theater who repeatedly tried to get help from a staff member as she was becoming ill and needed to be assisted to a restroom but had to resort to yelling for help as the music was so loud that she could not be heard until it was too late. Not pleasant for her I'm sure. I also understand that "too loud" is a matter of opinion so others may disagree. We are not looking for a "snooze cruise" but an experience where music is appropriate to the venue in which it is located. A 15 deck open atrium that has the library, card room and ILounge backing onto it, having insanely loud, thumping, pumping music is not the answer. As others have noted, many obvious music venues where under-utilized (Sky Lounge, Quasar, Cellar Masters) and these areas sat empty most evenings or were used for table tennis (Quasar). In the Sky Lounge and Quasar, I expect dance or techno music and welcome it and will likely participate as the mood strikes me. If I choose not to be a part of the music activities, then my choice offends no one and I can move to an area of the ship where I can relax with a book, have a quiet drink, socialize with friends and recharge and re-energize myself in my own way. Let ME choose when to be part of the party. Celebrity has made a serious mistake with this marketing model and I can't help but think it will turn away more of us than attract. This why my review goes from a 5 star to a 3 star. I understand that some will say this is an unfair reduction in the rating after so many positives, but like ongoing rude service, or a too hot cabin, missed stops and bad food the music was a deal breaker since it was so pervasive and inescapable.  This is my 4th cruise on Celebrity and this experience will make this my last...it appears that I am past the marketing target that Celebrity is going after.

So there it is in a large, long nutshell. Many positives. An itinerary that I would quickly recommend, a beautiful ship with an outstanding staff, delicious food, beautiful cabins and public areas. Of concern, a more than challenging life boat drill and completely overwhelming music from stem to stern at all times. A good cruise but much better when your not on the ship.

 

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Kakalina
Purser

Traveled As:
Couple

Room Type:
Balcony

Experience:
7+ cruises

4 star
4 star
4 star
4 star
empty star

Highly recommended!

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Celebrity Solstice | Sail Date: Sep 05, 2014

Rating this cruise was tough--I'd say 4.5 stars is closer to my vote. The scenery in Southwest Alaska is spectacular. The seas were 'bathtub calm'--not at all what I expected in September. Sunny, with warm temperatures for 85% of the week--couldn't be better. The Solstice is a beautiful ship; very clean and modern. At about 2900 passengers, it was the largest ship we've sailed on. That's a lot of people, but in most cases, the numbers were handled well. Exceptions to that: the Dining Room table assignments--many people (like us) were "double-booked" on tables, and that was rather chaotic for a couple of days. My husband and I actually prefer to have an "assigned" table each night, as Celebrity does, and was a major factor for our ship choice. Also, the ship did not dock in Juneau like other cruise line ships did. Tendering this large crowd ashore was disorganized, and poorly handled--especially for the hundreds of passengers that had "independent" shore excursions (not sold by Celebrity). The ship's wait staff and cabin attendants were excellent, but its Guest Relations staff needs to have a refresher course. All in all, it was a VERY good cruise experience, and we recommend it.

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Traveled As:
Couple

Room Type:
Oceanview

Experience:
1 cruise (first)

4 star
4 star
4 star
4 star
empty star

Cruisin' is a blast!

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Celebrity Solstice | Sail Date: Sep 12, 2014

The cruise was so nice!  Very friendly workers all!  The cruise ship was very clean, neat and festive.  Many offerings of food choices and things to do.  Everything seemed well organized and set up...pretty much a rote routine.  

 

My concerns were with the charges for simple things such as a soda, $3.50, laundry being charged piece by piece, that was ridiculous!  Even a full load offered at the end of the cruise for $45.00 was too extreme!  We had saved and planned our trip for almost two years. I am a computer/FB junky and I missed the connection, but could not afford the prices offered for the internet service on board. Also the TV opportunities were limited and our TV never worked properly.  The screen kept 'spotting' out and would cut off shows before the end for no reason. The costs were expensive enough without having to be charged for everything else on the cruise!  We made do, as we always do.  We are good at that.

 

Our room was just right for us, and my agent who booked for us, Jerry Guard (1-800-972-7447, extension 78084), was very thoughtful and seemed genuinely interested in giving us the best that we could afford.   He got us a room right in the main happening of events, live band every evening, dancing, service center, elevators, stairs, restaurants or drink bars, and also the excursion counter for outside the ship trips.  So convenient to all levels, elevators was within a short walk of our room, as were the stairs.  All were very friendly and helpful if we had a puzzled expression!  :o)  It was wonderful.  The food in the main buffet was a wide variety of food choices and a friendly, busy atmosphere!  We ate there practically the whole cruise, except for off ship trips.  A wide variety of choice for a diabetic and recovering cancer patient!  Jerry, also called afterwards to assure we enjoyed the cruise!  He is a pleasure to talk with and sharing stories and concerns.  A very personable young family man with complete knowledge of his job!

 

The excursions were planned out so well.  Everything was well organized and accommodating to those with bum knees!  A wheelchair and help were always available.  An assisting hand was always there.  The guides on the tours off the ship were very interesting and entertaining.  Each excursion was very informative and educational.  Let alone the spectacular sights and views!  Fantastic!!  Yes, there's a lot of walking and yes, there is a lot of up and down, but to the most part, I count it as worthwhile to see all the beauty this cruise through Alaska and Canada provided.  God's beauty is always appreciated, no matter the circumstances!

 

This was our first cruise.  Hopefully it will not be our last.  We would have loved to continue on with the cruise extending to Hawaii and to Australia, but the money was not there.  Not sure if we could have afforded ship life either!  I do approve of the gratuity charges daily, I too was a waitress once upon a time and know that each person usually works hard at their particular job.  It would have been more personal to give it to them personally, but I can see why it was done this way.  It was also a joy to getting acquainted with our room steward, Anselmo.  He was fantastic!  Very helpful and caring of us.

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fruffo
Purser

Traveled As:
Couple

Room Type:
Balcony

Experience:
7+ cruises

5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star

Excellent surprise

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Celebrity Solstice | Sail Date: Aug 29, 2014

We were in concierge class.  The stateroom was roomy with a king-sized bed.  We took advantage of the specialty restaurants where, in all three, the food, service and ambiance was outstanding. I have cruised for many years on much smaller ships (ie "Windstar) so I was reticent to cruise on a large ship with so many passengers.  However, on Solstice, we hardly noticed the number of people since it was so roomy with many activities and amenities. I will now consider other cruises on these ships at the same level as smaller ships since they both have their unique charm.

One negative. I received a massage and although the masseuse was excellent she "tricked" me into buying some body potions that I would have never purchased ( she presented them as if they were part of her service and then automatically added them to my bill--they were expensive)

Other than that overall, it was a great experience.

 

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More about Celebrity Solstice


Cabins

Celebrity Solstice has 1426 cabins and 25 categories. Explore each cabin type and read cabin reviews from the community.

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Deck Plans

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Dining

Explore the 13 dining options including complimentary and up charge restaurants.

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Entertainment

Explore the 32 entertainment options on this ship.

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Popular tips for Celebrity Solstice.


mkcal
Purser

If you have a suite you have to ask for the pillow menu and if the ship does tender service to shore don't wait in line just go down to the tender level you have priority service.

Alter your meal times for lunch and supper, no lines usually and always plenty of foods in the full buffet on the 14th floor. Lots of healthy choices for a diabetic. We used room service for coffee and breakfast most morning. I am not familiar with any other food services on the ship.

rabarker
Third Mate

Eat in the dining rooms whenever possible. The Oceanview Cafe was so-so, though a good spot to get ice-cream and gellato. The Bacio Cafe gave nice sweets just for the asking and were good to take back to the cabin. The hamburgers at the Mast Grill were very good.

Roll Calls


Celebrity Solstice

18 Night Tahitian Treasures (Sydney To Honolulu)

Sail Date: Apr 03, 2015

Ship Name: Celebrity Solstice


17 Ship Mate app members

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Celebrity Solstice

14 Night New Zealand (Auckland To Sydney)

Sail Date: Jan 04, 2015

Ship Name: Celebrity Solstice


13 Ship Mate app members

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Celebrity Solstice

18 Night Tahitian Treasures Southbound (Honolulu To Sydney)

Sail Date: Oct 02, 2015

Ship Name: Celebrity Solstice


12 Ship Mate app members

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