May 2016 - Celebrity Solstice to Alaska - Inside Passage
The ship was nicely appointed. The food was pretty good, though the choices were a bit limited. The ports were excellent. But the constant upselling and 'nickel and dime' additional charges made the overall experience unpleasant. Here is how our first day and a half went.
We purchased a Deluxe Verandah (balcony) cabin, with the Classic alcohol beverage package and the specialty dinner package. When we boarded the ship our room wasn't ready yet, so we decided to have lunch. We found a sit-down restaurant. But when we attempted to enter, we were told we could not, it was for suites only. We were informed, OUR lunch was the buffet, in a rather snooty tone. We opted for the grill at the pool and had burgers. When ordering a beer, it was suggested that we should upgrade our beverage package to Premium. We declined, as we felt we didn't need premium spirits. After lunch we roamed the ship to get comfortable with its layout. We stopped at a place to inquire about wine offerings with dinner. We were strongly encouraged to upgrade our beverage package to Premium, as many wines weren't covered by the Classic package, and were informed some entire bars weren't covered by the Classic package. We reluctantly agreed to purchase the upgrade, not because we felt we needed it, but we just didn't want to worry about whether or how much additional we were being charged. We continued walking around the ship and spotted a pastry/gelato bar. A little gelato sounded good, so I inquired. I was informed it was "just $5."
The next day was at sea. With a late breakfast, we weren't overly hungry for lunch. But there was a Bistro that specialized in soup and sandwiches. We stopped by, but there was a $10 surcharge per person. So we went to the main dining room for lunch. That evening we went to the Murano specialty restaurant. When we were seated we were told we could only order from the right side of the menu. The left side was a Prix Frix offering, with matched wines, for an additional $57 per person (above the regular specialty dinner surcharge). We ordered dinner from the right side of the menu, and were then informed that the recommended wine was not covered by the specialty dinner surcharge or the Premium beverage package. It would be an additional $6 per glass. We said fine, but the entire experience was uncomfortable. We left before finishing dinner. Hoping to salvage the evening, we decided to go to the 9:00 show. We entered the balcony of the theatre, as that was on the same level as Murano. But the entire center section (about 20% occupied) was roped off, reserved for suite customers only. We stayed for about 15 minutes and went to one of the bars. Later that evening we discovered we had been charged $6.50 for drinking the bottled water that was left on the desk in the cabin.
The rest of the cruise was similar. We cherished our time off the ship, where we could relax and get away from the constant selling pressure. Please understand, we are not cheap. We have sailed with Seven Seas, Silver Sea, Seabourne and Crystal. We will gladly pay premium prices for premium products and service. But Celebrity made us feel unwelcome - we did not purchase a good enough cabin, or the right package, and even when we did, we just needed to spend a few dollars more. Not a relaxing environment, at least not for us.