May 2016 - 7 Night Alaska Tracy Arm Fjord (Seattle Roundtrip) Cruise on Celebrity Solstice
We enjoyed the entire cruise. The service throughout the entire ship was outstanding. The staff treated us like royalty, from the cabin stewards to the dining room waiters. Before sailing we had a special request for a fan and it was promptly delivered to our state room on arrival with a smile. I can't say enough about the service. There were some things that I would consider the next time I cruise. One being the taste of the food, the percentage of cruises that actually make it to their promised destinations (ports or viewing points) and I will never go near any Park West Art auctions again.
The food needs some improvement, even in the specialty dining restaurants. I found it not to be worth the extra expense to dine in the specialty dining restaurants. The buffet was very large with lots of different foods and choices, but again tasted ok. Nothing to write home about. The main dining room dinner was also ok. Note that the presentation was very nice and all areas were very clean. I have had better food on other cruise lines.
I was very disappointed that we did not get to see the main attraction, the large glacier in the Tracy Arm Fjord. We were told that we would sail right up to the glacier and the ship would turn 360 degrees for all to see the enormous glacier revealing huge chunks of ice falling off into the water. This didn't take place. Instead, we stopped while in route to that area to allow probably 400 passengers off load onto two private sight seeing boats. We waited up to 2 hours for the boats to return and all those passengers to reembark onto the Solstice. Once this was done, the captain announced that there were too many ice burgs for him to navigate to the grand finale. The ship turned around and headed back out of the Fjord. Later in talking to other passengers, it was rumored that it was because the private tour boats held us up and we ran out of time. Icebergs had nothing to do with completing that portion of our trip. Very disappointing. I found it very strange to have 2 tour boats come out of nowhere, in the middle of nowhere, and the huge ship to stop in the middle of the water allowing some passengers to transfer to and from these tour boats, while the other 2200 passengers waited for their return.
Park West Art auctions were fun, but pressure to buy was so intense that it was very uncomfortable. Cruising is to have fun, not to be made to feel uncomfortable. I have attended these art auctions in the past and do not remember experiencing such intense sales pressure, ever before. The pressure was so intense that when the Auctioneer saw my mother walking by the gallery, she would stop her to tell her to have me come by so she could "help" me. When I did talk to her (the auctioneer), she projected an attitude with her body language and mannerisms along with intense personal questions asking why I didn't want to buy a Max that I seemed so interested in, and would not take my rationale for an answer. It was a bizarre experience. I have cruised several times and have always enjoyed the art auctions. I have purchased art at each of them, but this time I felt very uncomfortable and now regret my purchases. We should feel good about our art purchases. Not regretful and take away a bad feeling, because art is to be enjoyed by its collector. Collectors collect for their personal enjoyment, not for others or because of pressure by the sales person. I hope Park West and Celebrity Cruise Lines will evaluate this high pressure tactic, as it did not make my cruise experience a positive one.
On the other hand, we enjoyed everything else about the cruise. Again, I cannot say enough about all of the staff and the service. They made our experience worth every minute that we were on board. The ship was absolutely beautiful and very clean. We appreciate the hard work of all staff members and thank each and every one for being so wonderful.